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tv   Nightline  ABC  November 18, 2021 12:37am-1:06am PST

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♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight, on defense. the dramatic moments in court for the man who killed ahmaud arbery. >> what were you thinking at that moment? >> i was thinking of my son. >> claiming he feared for his life. will this surprising turn on the witness stand work? >> anything to try to justify the unjustifiable killing of ahmaud arbery, who was lynched for jogging while black. >> the reverend jesse jackson, who's become in the court with the arbery family. >> he never was a threat to anybody. he should not have been killed. plus seaweed solution. how underwater farms could help save the planet. >> you don't have to add these marin jungles can
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♪ good evening. thank you for joining us. for the first time since his
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arrest, we heard from travis mcmichael, the man who shot ahmaud arbery, taking the stand in his own defense. telling the jury he thought his life was in danger. >> do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: we're nine days into the trial of the men accused of killing 25-year-old ahmaud arbery. a case that's gripped the nation, which some are calling a modern-day lynching. >> travis, do you want to testify? >> i do. >> why? >> i want to give my side of the story. >> reporter: in a dramatic move today, travis mcmichael, the man who shot and killed ahmaud arbery, taking the stand in his own defense. describing the moments leading up to the shooting. >> he grabs the shotgun, and i believe i was struck. >> what were you thinking at that moment? >> i was thinking of my son. sounds weird, but that was the first -- first thing that hit me. >> what did you do?
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>> i shot. >> why? >> it was obvious that -- that he was attacking me, that if he would have gotten the shotgun from me, then it was a -- this was a life-or-death situation. and i'm going to have to stop him from doing this. so i shot. >> reporter: travis mcmichael, along with his father, gregory mcmichael, and neighbor william bryan, are standing trial together, charged with nine counts each including murder and aggravated assault. it was travis mcmichael filmed in this cell phone video shooting and killing arbery after what mcmichael, his father, and bryan claimed was a citizen's arrest under then georgia law. >> shut it down! >> reporter: arbery's death shook the nation. his name becoming a rallying cry for racial justice. >> he never was a threat to anybody. and he should not have been killed. >> all you had to do is stay in your house or get on the cell
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phone and call 911 and let the police do their job. but you and the lynch mob went and chased this unarmed young black man and tried to create a life-or-death situation so you can justify killing him. it is offensive, and it's an insult on our intelligence. >> reporter: but on this day in court, the younger mcmichael insisting he's not guilty of racism or murder, giving his version of events on that fateful day. >> trying to de-escalate, but i'm trying to feebtd ott out what's going on. >> are blaming the victim, claiming he followed arbery? his truck because he suspected him of committing robberies in the neighborhood. >> i noticed that he's -- he looks very angry. clenched teeth. as i come up to him, i start to ask him, hey, what's going on? what's going on? he turns and runs. >> did you want to stop him and he'd him so the police would come and arrest him? >> that was my plan. >> when you listen to the direct
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examination of travis mcmichael, you tend to hear a bit of a stereotype of, these scary black figures. it's a strenuous leap to think that travis mcmichael was so fearful of this man who's running down the street with nothing in his pockets -- >> of course he's going to blame the victim. of course he's going to blame ahmaud arbery. because ahmaud arbery is not here to defend himself. so he has the benefit of being able to paint the picture to present a narrative however he sees fit. >> reporter: when the shooting occurred, mcmichael claims arbery had charged him, that he was, quote, "on me in a flash." >> he was -- spring loaded, like a running back, he's ready to -- ready to bolt or to move any way he wanted. but he's focused on me. >> the strategy, especially in a self-defense case, is you have to put in the mindset of your client, the defense attorney's done a phenomenal job in prepping travis mcmichael.
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he knew all the right answers and right avenues to explore during direct. the real questions are going to come when it comes time to cross examination. >> reporter: special prosecutor linda donnakoski argued michael should have known more and done better, with all the law enforcement training he says he went through when he was in the coast guard. >> so you learned as part of your time in the military that you can't force people to speak with you? >> that's correct. >> and you were taught that deadly force is only to be used as a last resort, correct? >> that's correct. >> part of it's going to be, what did ahmaud arbery perceive? he didn't perceive law enforcement stopping him. he didn't perceive a lawful citizen's arrest. he, a man who grew up in south georgia, saw at least two trucks and three white men with guns chasing after him. it doesn't take someone from that area of the country to think, what could ahmaud arbery
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be thinking as he's running for his life? >> what did you make of the defense strategy to show, my words, the many faces of travis mcmichael? >> you can't have it both bay ways. either he's going to be a trained professional who should have been able to de-escalate a situation, or he's going to be this slave person who never should have been chased and pure sueded in the first place. >> reporter: the prosecution pointed out despite the defense's allegations of crimes in the neighborhood, there were actually very few reports of verified incidents. >> but isn't it true that the neighborhood only had one burglary call in all of 2019? it was a false alarm? >> i heard that there was several burglaries. from my mother and from hearing from the other neighbors. and then seeing a neighbor on the facebook page.
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>> reporter: throughout her case donnakoski repeatedly reminded the jury there's no evidence arbery ever stole anything, and the jogger who, unarmed on the day he was killed, was targeted by three men and their assumptions. >> justice for amaud! >> reporter: most days of the trial, pastors have been present providing the arbery family emotional and spiritual report, holding prayer vigils outside for support. but last week, following reverend al sharpton's presence in the court, defense attorney kevin goff used the pastor's appearance to motion for a mistrial. >> we don't want any more black pastors coming in here, a bunch of folks came in here dressed like colonel sanders with white masks sitting in the back, that would be -- >> i object. >> reporter: two days ago, civil rights leader reverend jesse jackson was with the family during court proceedings. goff objected. >> how many pastors has the arbery family have? with all due respect, the seats
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in tpublic gallery are not like courtside seats at the lakers game. >> reporter: goff today pointed out the reverend's presence in the courtroom. >> jesse jackson is here yet again in the back of the courtroom. i am again moving for a mistrial in this case. >> reporter: the reverend jackson spoke to "nightline" this evening. >> constitutional right to be in the court, moral obligation to be there with the family in distress. i stand with that assertion. >> reporter: attorney benjamin crump standing strong with the family. you said you'd bring a hundred pastors to the courthouse tomorrow. what message are you hoping to send? >> the message is quite simple. the black church and the faith in our community has always been our foundation. and furthermore, instead of being concerned about black pastors coming to pray with the family of ahmaud arbery, they should be concerned about the
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white men that lynched unarmed ahmaud arbery. >> reporter: monday, judge timothy walmsley's called the defense remarks inadmissible and apologized to anyone who may have been inadvertently offended. what was the reaction to the comment about black pastors, then his attempt at an apology? >> ahmaud's parents believe the apology rang hollow. because he made these racist comments. >> there's a lot at stake here. i mean, our very ideal of justice is being put on the stand right now. and what exactly does justice look like for people of color? people like me? >> reporter: so yet again in america, the sins and suspicions of our nation fall to a few shoulders in a small courtroom. whatever the outcome, there will bernso lost.
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♪ seaweed. it's not for everyone. but this underwater delicacy could be a weapon in fighting climate change. here's abc's maggie rulli. >> reporter: beneath these icy
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waters, an underwater rain forest rises from the deep. a jungle of seaweed. just off the coast of the faroe islands sandwiched between iceland and norway is underwater trees, a surprising weapon in fighting climate change. it's a rare sunny day here when we head out to sea with ocean rain forest, pioneers in seaweed farming. the landscape is picture perfect, but the team's quick to warn us, don't get used to the sunshine. take a look at this, the gap between those two mountains heads directly to the north pole. the wintertime, wind just comes ripping through, there are massive waves, water temp is normally a little above freezing. this is a difficult place to farm. olaf gregorson grew up on these seas and launched his company with one mission, to help combat climate change. >> we don't have much land area, but we have enormous ocean area.
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we could grow a forest in the ocean. by seaweed in the ocean, taking up co2, using that seaweed to either replace fossil-based products or use the seaweed for food and feed protects. >> reporter: known as blue harvest, coastal systems like seaweed farms are known as a carbon sink, absorbing dangerous greenhouse gases from the air. >> we have 3%, 5% of the planet that is tropical rain forest and it is decreasing. 70% of the planet is ocean. >> reporter: yard for yard, this marine forest captures more carbon than a tropical rain fore forest. as places like the amazon are burned and razed for commercial use, underwater is the new frontier. >> crab, snails, baby lobster -- >> reporter: scientists can grow entirely new ecosystems. >> oh my god, look at that. >> they're really adorable. everything that we're looking at here used to be an empty water column. and once you put a seaweed f re
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before. >> reporter: while seaweed's been cultivated in asia for centuries, marine farming is brand-new in the west. attracting a whole new generation of scientists and innovators who are ready to revolution it's the industry. >> you don't have to add anything, you just put it in the ocean and that's it. it will grow. >> reporter: iris was getting her master's in aqua culture when she realized seaweed was the future. >> it's actually really exciting. because you throw in a white snaked line, then you go and see after a few months, and you don't see anything of the white line anymore. it just grows. >> reporter: each line hits 40 feet down into the ocean. but from above, all you can see is small buoys. beneath the waves, this massive farm produces as much product yard per yard as a potato farm would. >> there's a strong interest among millennials for products
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that are sustainable and healthy. and this resource is both. >> reporter: unlike traditional farms, seaweed farms don't compete with other resources on land. they don't need fresh water to grow. they don't require pesticides, fertilizers, or antibiotics. what's wild is to think right now we're standing in the middle of a farm. >> yep. the good thing about this farming is the less we do, the better we do. we're harvesting it by cutting a piece of it but leaving a piece so it can regrow. >> reporter: witnessing a seaweed harvest is unlike anything i've seen. the team pulled in lines of a four-story-long seaweed from the water. today's harvest quickly piles up. each bag filled with one ton of seaweed. then it's all brought to this processing plant. here flora marsman is in charge. like everyone else we've met, these bag nat about kelp. >> a long time ago i first heard about the concept of seaweed
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farming. it was in the netherlands. oh my god, that is really cool, you can farm seaweed? >> reporter: she takes us inside this custom-designed factory to show the process. first the seaweed is cleaned and dried before it's fed through a grinder. >> put the seaweed basically in a soup of very small pieces. you can see the seaweed goo. >> nothing goes to waste. that goo is stored and eventually fermented to put into animal feed. back on the boat, olafer explains by turning it into feed, seaweed is taking it one step further. >> methane, like by cattle, we can reduce up to 80% by this type of seaweed. >> 80%, that's incredible. >> adding 3% to 5% to the feed, yes. >> reporter: met thane is one of the most dangerous greenhouse grasses and livestock accounts ile research still needs to be done, seaweed's impact on the environment could extend far beyond these murky waters.
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>> we can have our dairy products with a good conscience, because it will come from a climate-neutral cow. >> reporter: demand for this underwater lettuce is booming. seaweed cultivation globally has become the fastest-growing sector of food production. >> then i think that we can see seaweed products coming in and replacing other products that today are harmful for the environment. >> reporter: for the world wildlife fund, the potential for seaweed to reshape the world environment is so promising that for the first time in its 60-year history, it's investing in a for-profit company with ocean rain forest. is there any concern there could be negative side effects to seaweed farms? >> we worry about making sure we're not filling up entire bays with it. unfortunately, because seaweed farming has been around for a long time, fortunately it's really well studied. it's understood. so regulators can make appropriate decisions.
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>> reporter: he invests for wwf and says the biggest issue is overcoming regulatory hurdles. swe farming is so new in the west, for some nations it's easier to get approval for marine oil exploration than to plant seaweed. is it possible to have seaweed farming make a real impact, a real dent in climate change? >> it's not the silver bullet. it's going to take a number of approaches to resolve the significant issues we have with the climate. >> it goes beyond just being a business. if we don't do something good for the rest of the world as well, if we do something good for the rest of the world, that is fantastic. up next, the record-setting auction and its taste of sweet revenge. oh, man that is wrinkly. like, not even just a little wrinkly, that's a whole lot of wrinkly. there are wrinkles on top of wrinkles!
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♪ finally tonight, more than six decades after her death, ground-breaking feminist artist frida kahlo is making history. her self-portrait "diego and i" selling at auction for a record $34.9 million.
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the most for any work by a latin artist. it depicts frida with an image of her husband, diego rivera, on her tear-stained face. during a turbulent time in their relationship. rivera held the previous record, until now. and that's "nightline" for this evening. catch our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back here, same time tomorrow. thanks for the company, america. good night.


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