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The CDC says vaccinated Americans can go without a mask in most places, including indoors. Bombshell legal developments hit the investigation into Congressman Matt Gaetz. The rules that give police officers special immunity are examined. Jemele Hill discusses police reform and the state of the country.
But later night: The CDC says vaccinated Americans can go without a mask in most places, including indoors, a lot of people cheering that as a turning point, as good news tonight. We have a special guest on that later. And something that I want to share with you, one of our special reports on justice in America. This is about the rules that give police a lot of immunity, whether they should change.
We begin, though, with a major bombshell legal development. This is bad news for Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz. But he is being investigated for possible sex trafficking and sex with a minor. I repeat, he will plead guilty, according to the filings we have.
That means the s very clearly point to potential cooperation. And he faces an indictment with 33 federal charges. And under the law, a judge has to approve any final deal. Why is it bad news for Matt Gaetz? Well, Greenberg may be in a position, as he has basically appeared to leak that he is in this position, to give these federal prosecutors hard evidence they might use in court against Congressman Gaetz, or to prove allegations that he purportedly made in that explosive letter obtained by The Daily Beast, where he said Gaetz "paid for sex with multiple women, as well as a girl who was 17 at the time" -- end quote.
NBC News has not obtained that letter. So, NBC cannot verify its authenticity. MELBER: As for Matt Gaetz, he has denied all allegations of criminal or misconduct or paying for sex or sex with a minor, and he has not been charged with any crime. Dave, you spoke on air and your analysis for us about why this day would come.
It has come.
What do we know about what it means that this individual will be pleading guilty to something? He knows where all the bodies are buried. He is the key witness. And unless he has corroboration, the feds are not going to cut a deal with him. But the devil is in the details. We will know on Monday more whether the feds believe he has credibility enough to testify before a grand jury and to testify at trial. No disrespect. A Florida lawyer could mean any of things. So, state law is really not the issue here. This would be the same if he were in some other district court in some other federal jurisdiction.
And the question here for Matt Gaetz is, what happens when your wingman starts singing to the feds and cooperating with the feds? I think "Top Gun" would suggest that you are definitely on a highway to the danger zone at this point.
The one solace in all of this, I think, is that, if there was enough information for Matt Gaetz to be charged with some kind of crime stemming from this investigation, and he were to go to trial, Joel Greenberg would make a pretty poor witness for the prosecution First, on the danger zone, Matt Gaetz disagrees with your musical inspiration, Professor.
Take a look. Innocent people are often eager to share that they are innocent. I am an innocent man. And I want to sing it from the rooftop. On the more serious side of this, though, you make a fair point about what is an available potential defense if Monday involves what our other lawyer reminded us, which is potential substantial cooperation.
So we have got reporting here about that defense. Prosecutors would not be likely to rely on his testimony, unless it was corroborated by other evidence.
That "Post" reporting from those sources matches something we have discussed on the show, Professor, which is that, in this instance, as you just reminded us, words alone from this individual are not enough. I waved the white flag. I was trying to think of a good Billy Joel title, but that was amazing. Let me play some of the Daily Beast reporting.
We have obviously credited them a lot because they have been out front. One of their reporters reading from the alleged letter. Take a listen. From time to time, gas money or gifts, rent or partial tuition payments were made to several these girls, including the individual who was not yet Would those kind of receipts come out if there is, as you put it, cooperation on Monday, Dave?
He can just say all he wants and implicate Matt Gaetz. But, remember, in his past, the reason why this whole investigation started was that he made a false investigation against a political rival that that person was a pedophile. And so you need to have the goods. You have got to have Venmo receipts. And you have got to have e-mails and text messages. But it is harder to attack the ex-girlfriend of Matt Gaetz, who now works for the Florida state government and has no axe to grind against Matt Gaetz. Again, that kind of corroboration would go a long way.
So, again, a lot hangs in the balance here what this treasure trove of cooperation evidence actually is. Gaetz has denied all wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime. But, big picture, what does this mean for what we have all been going through? What does today mean, Doctor? If people keep getting vaccinated, this is going to keep getting better and better and better. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. And the politics is about how we feel, what we understand, what our common language and facts are.
What do you see in this new era, which is also the Biden era, that might put some of what had become a very symbolic safety requirement of the pandemic, putting that behind us? What does that do?
I think the fewer sort of symbolic clashes that we have and what is in, for me, the most divisive era of my lifetime, the better. But, basically, we can start to think about returning to completely normally. The airlines are not yet ready to allow large s of people on their airplanes without masks. But these are -- this is getting better and better. And I give Biden a lot of credit for not trying to do too much too fast. So, this is just good news, Ari.
And I just hope Americans keep doing the right thing, which, for the most part, they are. It allows people to step back from the politics that sometimes suffuse these issues, as you just alluded to. Now, the president spoke about this as well, because we all lived through some of the protests and stuff. And I have had people on this program from a lot of different perspectives, Doctor. We had small business owners who felt they tried to follow the rules, and were still unduly punished by certain state rules. And I think there is room for reasonable debate of all this stuff. They will mostly do the right thing.
And most of them did. There are ways to encourage or cultivate rule-following. Few would claim otherwise, especially these days. But one hallmark of our justice system is this idea that people get their day in court. We may disagree on the outcome. But, unlike dictatorships, our government system requires both sides are heard, pressed on their claims, publicly and transparently. And O. While many recall the not guilty verdict in that criminal murder trial, what some may not remember is, under our system, O.
The U. Door one is the most severe, a criminal trial that sends guilty people to jail. Door two is that civil trial, which punishes guilty people through fines and civil penalties that do not involve jail. Only the government can send you through door one, where you can lose your liberty.
Any person can try to send you through door two. And like other checks on power, this feature of our government system was deed so that courts could be used for ability by both the government, through prosecutors, and by regular citizens. And that actually works in many areas. In cases of illegal searches and battery and even in the severe case of killings, door one is usually closed. We have data on this over 15 years. With thousands of police killings in America, you can see there was not a single murder conviction of an officer on the left side there of all those years.
And then, in those final few more recent years, you have one or two a year among thousands of killings. So, we know that door one is mostly closed. You just saw zero or one a year. Now, what about door two? Well, it turns out that door is only slightly cracked, because, unlike doctors or barbers or corporations, police are automatically immune from many of these suits. The reason is not that voters chose to give them immunity or even that legislators passed a law in Congress.Woman want sex tonight Melber
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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 4/5/21