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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  July 7, 2022 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT

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this interactive show, "getting answers." tonight, several developing stories as we come on the air. wnba star brittney griner's surprise plea while on trial in russia. brittney griner carrying a picture of her wife while walking into court today, pleading guilty to drug charges, telling the judge, quote, i had no intention of breaking any russian law. griner arrested for bringing vape cartridges of hashish oil into the country. the charges carrying up to ten years in prison. and after writing president biden, telling him she's terrified, u.s. officials hand delivering the president's response. back here at home, new details tonight about the suspect charged in the deadly parade shooting in illinois. abc news speaking to his father, who claims he had no warning this was going to happen. why he says he has no regrets helping his son obtain a gun
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permit. and what he is now saying about under police investigation himself. authorities now confirming a long history of calls from the home. also tonight, in the face of unrelenting pressure, prime minister boris johnson resigns. his own party and cabinet ministers leaving him no choice. the final scandal forcing him out of office. and what happens now. a rare look at some of the u.s. veterans on the ground in ukraine. an elite group of american volunteer medics operating near the front lines, preparing far top secret mission. newly released video shows the moments a baggage handler stole a plane, flying for several hours before crashing. what investigators are saying about how he did it and the mystery that remains. former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin sentenced to 21 years in prison for violating george floyd's civil rights. chauvin with a message to floyd's family. president biden awarding the nation's highest several yan honor to 17 americans. a widely diverse group of
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recipients including the youngest person ever to receive the honor. and remembering actor james caan. his roles as sonny corleone and brian pick low in "brian's sock." and the remarkable career that followed. good evening, thank you for joining us on this thursday night. i'm whit johnson, in for david. we begin tonight with the surprise plea from wnba star brittney griner on trial in russia. the case being closely watched back here at home, with pressure building from the white house to gain her release. griner today pleading guilty to drug possession and smuggling charges, arrested for bringing vape cartridges into the country. explaining to the judge they were placed in her luggage by accident. the basketball star detained for 140 days now, faces up to ten years in prison.
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she sent a hand-written letter to president biden, saying she's terrified she may be in russia forever. president biden writing her back, officials at the u.s. embassy personally delivering his letter to her in court today. her team, the phoenix mercury, holding a rally in griner's honor last night to push for her release. the u.s. state department saying griner is being wrongfully detained. the biden administration facing growing calls to get her out of russia and back home immediately. abc's rachel scott leads us off from the white house. >> reporter: tonight, the sudden admission from wnba star brittney griner, pleading guilty in a russian courtroom outside moscow. >> i would like to plead guilty on the charges. >> reporter: griner walking into the second day of her trial handcuffed, carrying a photo of her wife, cherelle. it's been 140 days since griner was detained, arrested at the airport for carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil. now facing up to ten years in prison. >> but i had no intention on breaking any russian law.
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i was in a rush packing and the cartridges accidentally ended up in my bag. >> reporter: like many athletes, griner spends the offseason playing overseas, where she can earn more than her wnba salary. >> we are hoping for the softest sentence possible. >> reporter: and experts beleive that guilty plea might be part of a strategy. >> the only way to get to a potential prisoner swap would be to have her properly convicted in a russian court so that the russians can then negotiate. >> reporter: just days ago, the two-time 0 limb olympian wrote to president biden, pleading for help, saying, "i'm terrified i might be here forever." today the president's response hand delivered to griner. >> i was able to share with ms. griner a letter from president biden, and ms. griner was able to read that letter. >> reporter: the biden administration says griner is being wrongfully detained. but the russian deputy foreign minister warning that "attempts by the american side to make noise in public don't help the practical settlement of issues."
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and 5,000 miles away at the home stadium for the phoenix mercury, griner's teammates, family and fans with a simple message -- bring brittney home. >> i'm frustrated that a 140 days have passed since my wife has been able to speak to me, to our family, and to our friends. >> we can hear that pain and frustration from her family. rachel scott joining us now from the white house. rachel, what more are you learning about how this guilty plea could play into the strategy for brittney griner's release? >> reporter: well, whit, all of this is a calculated decision. tonight, the legal team for brittney griner says she wanted to take full responsibility for her actions, but given the nature of the case, as well as her contribution to the sport, they are hoping for the lightest sentence possible. and the white house says even with that guilty plea from griner, it will have absolutely no effect on their efforts to try to bring her home, whit.
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>> all right, rachel, thank you. tonight, we're getting new details about the alleged gunman charged in the deadly parade shooting in illinois. police confirming they received multiple calls from his home over the years, raising more questions about possible missed warning signs. 21-year-old robert crimo is being held without bail, charged with seven counts of murder and more charges on the way. newly released video shows a s.w.a.t. team arriving at his mother's house on july 4th. abc news speaking to his father, who insists there was no warning this was going to happen. what he's now saying about his son and being under police investigation himself. abc's alex perez is in highland park. >> reporter: tonight, growing questions about how the suspect in the july 4th rampage was able to legally buy five firearms despite the red flags. his father, who sponsored the application for his son's gun permit because he was under 21, now telling abc news he doesn't regret it. >> they do background checks. whatever that entails, i'm not exactly sure.
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>> reporter: bob crimo saying it was up to law enforcement to vet him. investigators say just months before, his son attempted suicide and later threatened to kill family members. the father says he didn't know about the suicide attempt and didn't believe the other threat was real. >> making threats to the family, i think it was taken out of context, where it's like just a child outburst, whatever he was upset about. >> reporter: but that same day, officers confiscating more than a dozen knives, a dagger, and a sword from the home. the father now could face criminal charges for sponsoring that gun permit application. >> we've seen more prosecutors being more aggressive with parents who should have done more to stop something like this from happening. so the maximum kind of charge that he could potentially face would be something like involuntary manslaughter. >> reporter: the night before that horrific attack, crimo's father insists they had a normal conversation and his son was in
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a great mood. >> i had no -- not an inkling, warning, that something like this was going to happen. you know, i'm shocked. >> reporter: after police say his son confessed to killing seven people and wounding more than 30, bob crimo is blaming the system. >> we need to come together as a community here and the country, to come up with something, whether it's new laws, guidelines to prevent this from happening again, because it continues to happen. >> reporter: and tonight, we're learning police were called to the family home a number of times since 2002, mainly domestic calls. only a few involved the suspect. >> there is only so much the police department can do. we have a social worker on board. you know, we do what we can. but absolutely i -- you know, i'm disappointed there wasn't more maybe we could do. >> alex perez joining us now. let's go back to the father of the alleged gunman here who clearly is not accepting any responsibility himself, but could he still be held
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accountable, even though his son was 21 at the time of the shooting rampage? >> reporter: well, whit, some legal experts believe the father could be held responsible, because his son acquired most of those guns before he was 21, after his -- acquired most of those guns after the father, i'm sorry, whit, after the father approved that consent form, whit, so, still, a lot of questions here, whit. >> certainly are. all right, alex, thank you. and one more note on this, the highland park community preparing to say good-bye to the victims of the july 4th shooting. services will be held for three of the seven victims tomorrow. funerals for stephen straus and nicolas toledo and a memorial service for beloved former preschool teacher jacki sundheim. next here, the major international headline involving one of the u.s.'s biggest allies. british prime minister boris johnson resigning today.
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johnson speaking in front of 10 downing street, abandoned by most of his cab net and his own party. defiant just 24 hours ago, now accepting his fate. here's abc's senior foreign correspondent ian panel in london. >> reporter: ravaged by scandal and a growing revolt in his own party, after days of resisting calls for him to go, today, boris johnson finally accepted his time has run out. >> i want you to know how sad i am to be giving up the best job in the world. but them's the breaks. >> reporter: as he spoke, crowds came out to boo and heckle him. after three tumultuous years in office, this is the moment that boris johnson's political career comes to an end. he's had massive electoral success. he managed to push brexit through. but his political career ends amid controversy and chaos. he was badly wounded by party-gate, a series of drunken gatherings at his official residence, breaking strict
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pandemic rules at the height of the covid lockdown. johnson lied about it and was even fined by the police. but the final straw was a revelation that johnson not only pomoted a lawmaker who had a record of drunkenness and allegations of sexual misconduct, but that he lied again, saying at first he hadn't known about it. in the last two days, more than 50 ministers and aides resigning from his government. it was a sinking ship. but there were no apologies today, instead criticism of those who turned against him. >> it's painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself. but as we've seen at westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves. >> reporter: but controversially johnson won't step down immediately, not until a replacement is chosen. today even announcing a new cabinet as if nothing's changed. but whit, the economy is in trouble here. people are hurting in their pockets. inflation is up, growth is down,
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and people need stability. normally when a leader is resigned, they are seen leaving here immediately. not johnson. he's going to stay on until the rplacement is announced. that could mean instability until the fall. whit? >> ian, thank you. now, to the war in ukraine and a rare look at an elite group of american veterans, some former special force, medics, now operating near the front lines. our cameras with them as they prepare for a top secret mission. abc's foreign correspondent james longman is in ukraine. >> reporter: hi, guys. tonight, an elite group of u.s. veterans take us inside a life-saving mission in ukraine. darkhorse is a group of former u.s. special operations personnel. they include special forces and navy s.e.a.l.s and they're here in ukraine to provide expert medical support. so this is the operational command center in the bunker under the house. everything here can be stripped out at a moment's notice if they feed to get out quickly. and the intelligence they're discussing here has been fed to them by ukrainians. then, they're off, heading off
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towards the front line. back at base, a colleague monitors the mission and waits for news. >> you get into that, like, that expectant father mode, you know, that, like, the guy pacing in the waiting room, waiting for the doctor to tell you when's going on. the worst part is when you know something's going on and you're here and you feel helpless. >> reporter: and ukraine seems to have given this veteran some meaning. >> old habits die hard. just about everyone i knew in the veteran community had a mental breakdown, you know, when afghanistan fell. everybody just wanted to do something good. >> reporter: around seven hours later, the others get back from their mission, setting up a mini-field hospital. hello, how did it go? >> good, good. >> there was some indirect fire that came in pretty close but that's about par for the course here. >> reporter: they filmed this footage at the front. this man seriously dehydrated in need of immediate medical assistance. >> take him right to the back. >> here, it's a little bit more world war i style, right? and everybody's just lobbing
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ab artillery. but just the other day it happened to me that i was outside. i got a tank round that hit five or six meters from me. >> reporter: people are are saying that you're kind of nuts. this is not your country, this is not your war, they'll be thinking, what are you doing? >> i think this is our war. >> reporter: these men say the united states has warned strongly against this kind of work, but they feel compelled to be here anyway. whit? >> the administration repeating that warning. all right, james, thank you. next here tonight, quite a remarkable scene at the white house today. president biden awarding the medal of freedom to 17 americans from all walks of life, saying they all share something in common. >> this is america. tonight, 17 americans now recipients of the nation's highest civilian honor, the medal of freedom. olympic gymnast simone biles, the youngest person to ever receive the medal at just 25. >> today, she adds to her medal
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count of 32. i don't know how you're going to find room. >> reporter: u.s. women's soccer star megan rapinoe. biden honoring her work fightinh everyone -- everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. everyone. >> reporter: also honored, freedom rider diane nash and civil rights attorney fred gray. >> because of her, lives will be saved and america will be safer. >> reporter: and former democratic congresswoman gabby giffords, a victim of gun violence, for her work on gun control. the president honoring even some republicans, like his longtime friend, the late senator john mccain. his wife cindy there to receive the honor. >> we both wanted to make things better for the country that we both loved and that never wavered. i never stopped admiring john. never said a negative thing about him in my life, because i knew his honor, his courage and his commitment.
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>> also among the recipients, steve jobs and denzel washington, who could not make the say mow sni. when we come back here tonight, the incredible images showing how a baggage handler made off with a passenger plane in seattle. (vo) red lobster's seafood summerfest is fire! turn up for our new! bbq bacon grilled shrimp with your choice of soup or salad and an indiduastarr all three courses for $18.99! hurry into red lobster. it's lit!
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>> oh, my god. is he okay? >> reporter: russell performing aerial stunts over puget sound as fighter jets tracked the jet. air traffic control tries to get him to land. >> all right, rich, now, let's try and land that airplane safely and not hurt anybody on the ground. >> i don't know, man. i dont know! i dont want to i was kinda hoping that was gonna be it. >> reporter: russell intentionally crashing the plane into an island 30 miles away. he died in the crash. and the fbi says this was not part of any wider criminal activity or terrorism, that russell acted alone. but why he did it, well, that is still a mystery. whit? >> frightening that something like this could even happen. all right, gio, thank you. when we come back here tonight, derek chauvin sentenced for violating george floyd's civil rights. his unapologetic to flid's family. iabetes or high blood pressure you're a target for chronic kidney disease. you can already have it and not know it. if you have chronic kidney disease your kidney health could depend on what you do today.
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chauvin pleaded guilty to federal charges. his sentence will run con currently with the 22 1/2 years he's serving for killing floyd. chauvin did not apologize for his actions, instead telling floyd's family, he quote, wishes all the best for his children. when we come back, remembering one of the all-time greats, actor james caan. what his co-stars are saying tonight. your mission: stand up to moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. and take. it. on... ...with rinvoq. rinvoq a once-daily pill
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ask your doctor about leqvio. lower. longer. leqvio. finally tonight, we learned today actor james caan has died. the hollywood toughguy with a heart. born in new york city in 1940, his father a butcher who escaped nazi germany, james caan would go on to star in iconic roles for six decades. >> come here.
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>> her happens his most famous role, as sonny corleone in 1972's "the godfather." >> what did he say? >> what did he say? bada beep, bada bap, bada doop. he wants us to send michael to hear the proposition and the promise is deal is so good you can't refuse. >> he was incredibly versatile, playing tough guys and sensitive roles. in 1966, playing opposite john wayne in the western "el dorado." >> in sunshine and in shadow i've journeyed long, singing a song in search of eldorado. >> tens of millions would watch him play real-life chicago bears running back brian piccolo in the 1971 tv movie "brian's song." >> i'll see you tomorrow. >> yeah. if you say so. >> his roles over the years prolific. >> i'm your number one fan. >> 1990's "misery." the obsessed fan played by kathy
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bates. >> i don't know what you're talking about. >> is this what you're working for? >> 2003's christmas movie "elf" with will ferrell. >> i think we should call security. >> good idea. >> i like to whisper, too. >> reporter: cann on the power of believing. >> you know, we all in life have to learn to believe in things or hope that we are able to believe in things we don't see. >> in 2017, the "godfather" cast reuniting. his costar tweeting, "i'm very, very sad to hear about jimmy's passing." andal pa economy owe writing, "he was my fictional brother and lifelong friend." james caan was 82 years old. and we are thinking of his family tonight. thank you so much for watching. i'm whit johnson in new york. have a great night.
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>> live breaking news. >> after years of controversy and a heated recall race that ousted district attorney chesa boudin, brooke jenkins has been selected to be the city's new district attorney. thank you for joining us. >> we have team coverage. let's begin with tim johns. reporter: voters might remember that jenkins used to work in the district attorney's office, but she quit her job to campaign, becoming one of the recalls most prominent voices. jenkins worked in the office for seven years. she says while she believes in criminal justice reform she is a proponent of accountability for repeat offenders. mayor breed has taken a tough on crime approach as voters have become concerned with high-profile smash and grab robberies, car break-ins, and vandalism. picking jenkins as the new da, breed will hope to have an ally.
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be sure to stay with us right here. tim johns, abc7news. >> prior to the recall election, in an interview, chesa boudin did not mention her by name but was clearly referencing jenkin'' ambitions. >> getting millions of republican dollars, putting their faces all over tv, trying to get their names on the shortlist for district attorney. if you want to be district attorney and you don't want to run in an open, fair election for the job, this is a window of opportunity to get your name out there and try to get a job you will never win through a fair and square election. >> joining us now is phil matier. they did successfully recall him, so here we are now, but in your view, was the recall about ambition for jenkins or is it just frustration on the way the das office was run?