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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 8, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

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under siege. dr. fauci is here answering your questions. also tonight the powerful testimony, the mother of daunte wright in tears on the stand at the trial of kimberly potter, the former officer accused of killing her son the defense saying potter mistook her gun for her taser. the never before seen images of jeffrey epstein and ghislaine maxwell shown at her sex trafficking trial. what they reveal. the january 6th committee moving to hold former trump chief of staff mark meadows in contempt. just in, the lawsuit meadows has now filed. scott peterson resentenced for the killing of his pregnant wife laci. the emotional words in the courtroom from laci's mother. less than ten months after his near fatal crash, tiger woods announcing he's officially coming back. the head of instagram grilled for the first time by congress the heated questions he faced over teen safety and it is back on the
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big screen two generations of stars coming together for steven spielberg's reimagined "west side story". this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. yo good evening as we head into our third winter of covid,
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but health experts are pointing tonight to a more urgent challenge on another front, where the delta variant is still killing more than a thousand people each day. let's begin with tom costello.
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six states now make up half the country's hospitalizations, michigan, ohio, indiana, pennsylvania, new york and illinois. most patients unvaccinated but some are breakthrough cases. massachusetts is now coping with a third covid wave trauma rooms at umass memorial 120% full the staff utterly exhausted. >> what we're hearing about people now is crying on their way into work knowing what they're about to face. that's what health care workers are going through right now. you're tired, but you are not as tired as the health care workers that have to deal with this crisis right now. despite the rising death toll, a new axios toll finds americans are eager to put the pandemic behind them. only a third say they will stop dining indoors at restaurants. fewer than a quarter say they're canceling holiday travel plans just 28% will skip gathering with friends and families outside their households. >> for folks who are not vaccinated, you are at high risk of ending up at the hospital or icu no
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matter how young and healthy you are. for the rest of us, with those vaccines we can have an added layer of confidence. >> and, tom, the fda just issued an authorized covid treatment. what can you tell us >> reporter: approving astrazeneca's monoclonal antibody treatment for people who are immunocompromised or had a bad reaction to the vaccine. giving them added protection against covid, lester. >> tom, thanks. earlier i spoke to dr. anthony fauci about the pfizer boosters is there any reason not to get a booster at this point? >> not at all, lester. i think if ever there was a reason and underscoring of the importance of getting a booster, it's now. it is very clear from the data that although you can get some protection likely from severe disease from the two shot mrna, the booster raises up that level to the point where you can feel reasonably comfortable that most people will be very well protected. >> you are bullish and you have been bullish on boosters. yet, here we sit two doses now is considered fully
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vaccinated are there conversations underway right now to change the recommendation >> this is something that's on the table that's being discussed. i don't see it happening immediately. but i think as time goes by and we learn more about the importance of this with regard to the new variant, i think you will be seeing at least a consideration of this. >> do you think we're headed in that direction of making that new recommendation >> i believe so, lester i can't say for sure and i don't want to have any promises with people. but at least it's being seriously discussed. >> pfizer is reporting that effectiveness of the boosters you haven't heard from moderna, but would you be surprised if their results, their studies have come to a similar conclusion >> you know, there really is no reason to believe it's going to be any different when you look at all the other parameters that we followed over the period of time of vaccinations, now there has been a great deal with few exceptions, a deal of
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similarity between the moderna and the pfizer product. >> is there any idea what the durability of those boosters are, how long before we need to come back for another? >> we would hope that a third shot boost of an mrna would not only increase the height of the response, the breadth of the response, but we're hoping that we will increase the durability of response and there is reason to believe that that might happen, because when you do a boost, you really increase what we call the affinity maturation of the response, which means you give it broader coverage hopefully that broader will also be broader duration. >> our thanks to dr. anthony fauci. powerful testimony in the trial of a former brooklyn, minnesota police officer. charged in the killing of daunte wright during a traffic stop. wright's mother testifying today as the first witness. ron allen is there >> you shot him. why? >> i don't know. >> reporter: katie bryant, daunte wright's mother scene on police video arriving at the scene after her son had been shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop last
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april. >> and i wanted to protect him because that's what mothers do. >> reporter: bryant the first witness at the trial of former officer kimberly potter charged with manslaughter she has pleaded not guilty potter's attorneys say she fired her gun, mistaking it for a taser. jurors seeing new police video of her reaction. >> this was an accident she's a human being. >> reporter: prosecutors insist potter, who had 25 years of experience, was reckless and flouted her training, showing the jury images of two weapons highlighting the differences. >> she drew it she aimed it she pointed it directly at daunte wright, and she did those things without bothering to confirm what was in her hand >> reporter: while prosecutors portray wright as a young father driving to a car wash stopped because of an air freshener, illegal in that state, the defense telling the jury wright had no driver's license, a outstanding arrest warrant, a case involving a weapon and that wright tried to flee in his car when
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officers tried to take him into custody >> all he has to do is stop and he'd be with us, but he goes. she can't let him leave because he's going to kill her partner. and so she does taser, taser, taser, and she pulls the trigger believing that it was a taser. >> reporter: prosecutors said the case is all about a former police officer failing to do her job and killing an innocent young man attorneys have said potter will testify in her own defense. lester >> ron allen, thank you. late today a jury in chicago began deliberating charges that actor jussie smollett staged an anti-gay racist attack against himself and lied about it to police in closing arguments, the prosecutors said there was overwhelming evidence against the actor, smollett. he testified there was no hoax. here in new york new insights today into the relationship between jeffrey epstein and ghislaine maxwell from photos presented by prosecutors at maxwell's sex trafficking trial. stephanie gosk is following that story. >> reporter: there are no dates, no locations, but the photos of ghislaine
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maxwell and jeffrey epstein tell a story of wealth and intimacy, including multiple images of a foot massage on a private jet. the fbi seized these images in a seize of epstein's new york city mansion in 2019, hours after the billionaire financier was arrested on sex trafficking charges. the photos taking center stage in maxwell's own trial. her defense team argues the couple's companionship ended and she became an employee, running epstein's estates from around the world but testimony from witnesses who knew maxwell in the early 2000s seemed to challenge that description. the former house manager at epstein's palm beach mansion called maxwell the lady of the house and another employee referred to that property as epstein and maxwell's home on the stand tuesday, an accuser using her first time carolyn testified that epstein abused her for years during massage sessions that began when she was just 14 years old. she said she went to the palm beach estate over 100 times, two to three times a week
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epstein paying her as much as $600 for each other. carolyn said maxwell would sometimes set up the appointments herself. the defense pointed out that carolyn never mentioned maxwell when she gave a statement to the fbi in 2007 while she sued epstein and another associate, she never sued maxwell. the prosecution is blazing through their case after predicting it would take four weeks. now they say it could take less than two, wrapping up as soon as tomorrow, lester. >> stephanie, thank you. the committee investigating the january 6th attack is moving ahead with contempt proceedings against mark meadows, a former chief of staff against president trump. pete williams is here, and, pete, what challenges would the justice department face in deciding whether to indict meadows? >> this will be much
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harder than deciding to prosecute steve bannon the justice department has long maintained that it would be unconstitutional to bring contempt of congress charges against a white house official who claims executive privilege and meadows has cooperated some with the committee. prosecutors would have to decide how much difference it makes that president biden has waived executive privilege on january 6th issues and whether discussions about trying to undo the election results were not official business and can't be covered by executive privilege. now meadows is suing the committee saying it has no legal authority to demand his documents and testimony, lester. >> pete williams in our washington news room, thank you. in just 60 seconds, inside america's homicide surge. just why are so many cities seeing record numbers of murders. and the resentencing of scott peterson
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we turn our focus to crime in this country and cities this year that have already broken their all-time records for murder take a look at some of the cities coast to coast grappling with this troubling trend gabe gutierrez is in philadelphia tonight with more. >> reporter: for many cities big and small
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this has been the deadliest year ever. philadelphia alone 523 homicide breaking a record that stood for over 30 years. and too many agonizing moments to count what will you miss most about her >> samir always smiles samir, like he makes me happy he cheers me up. >> reporter: she still speaks about her 14-year-old son as if he's still here. but as the high school freshman waited for a bus last week he was killed police say two people got out of a car, chased him across the street and then fired about 35 shots these are some of the bullet holes still on the side of this pharmacy samir was hit 18 times. >> the people that killed samir ain't killers. they monsters. like they shot my son 18 times >> reporter: among the cities already setting records for murder this year, portland, tucson, toledo, austin saint paul and albuquerque. the debate over why is raging some experts blame the pandemic in part their reform keeping more criminals out of
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jail more guns and fewer officers indianapolis also hitting an all-time homicide high. >> we're definitely recruiting i want to put those officers on the streets. >> reporter: philadelphia district attorney larry krasner argues that while homicide are up in his city, other crimes like rape and robberies that don't involve a gun are down. >> we don't have a crisis of lawlessness. we don't have a crisis of crime we don't have a crisis of violence. >> reporter: but former mayor michael nutter is slamming those comments as white privilege saying the progressive da has not been tough enough on criminals and demanding krasner apologize to families like desiree >> my son is not coming back. i don't care about no justice. none of that brings samir back none of it. none of it. >> reporter: police here have arrested two suspects in connection to her son's murder. tonight two more are still on the run, lester. >> reporter: all right. gabe gutierrez thank you. and convicted murderer scott peterson was back in a
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california court today where he was resentenced for killing his pregnant wife laci peterson in 2002 it comes after his death sentence was overturned last year erin mclaughlin is at the courthouse >> reporter: after nearly 20 years on death row, scott peterson back in court, re-sentenced to life without parole for the murder of his wife laci and unborn son conner peterson shackled to a seat and wearing a mask showed little emotion in court the judge declining his request to speak lacy's mother sharon rocha addressing peterson directly. i've seen no sorrow and no remorse from you at all i still feel the grief. every day after 19 years. peterson was moved off death row following a california supreme court decision overturning his death sentence citing a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection in 2004, peterson was found guilty of murdering 27-year-old laci then eight months pregnant with their son connor on christmas eve. their remains washed
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ashore months later, just miles from where peterson said he had been fishing the day of her disappearance peterson's team pushing for a retrial. with that pending tonight, rocha's chilling words, no matter what happens. no matter what transpires in the future there are two things that will never change laci and connor will always be dead and you will always be their murderer peterson has always maintained his innocence. the defense plans to present their evidence of alleged juror misconduct in a hearing scheduled for late february. lester >> erin, thank you. up next, the head of instagram faces tough questions about what the social media giant is doing to keep children safe.
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♪ i see trees of green ♪ ♪ red roses too ♪ ♪ i see them bloom for me and you ♪ (music) ♪ so i think to myself ♪
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♪ oh what a wonderful world ♪ tiger woods is making a comeback. less than ten months after his near fatal suv crash woods says he will compete with his son charlie at next week's pnc championship in orlando. woods said it's been a long and challenging year, but he couldn't be more excited and proud. last week woods said he'll never golf full-time again. on capitol hill, the head of instagram on the hot seat answering questions from lawmakers after leaked documents show the company was aware of its potentially toxic impact on teens. we get more from kate snow >> i firmly believe that instagram and the internet more broadly can be a positive force in young people's lives. >> reporter: it was instagram head adam mosseri first appearance in congress
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with senators expressing frustration over reports that the social media platform knows it can be harmful to teen users. >> nothing changes nothing. >> self-policing depends on trust the trust is gone. >> i do strongly support federal regulation, not industry regulation when it comes to youth safety. >> reporter: ahead of the hearing, instagram announced new tools aimed at teen safety, including nudging them toward different topics if they have been dwelling on something for a long time encouraging them to take breaks. and starting in march, parents will be able to view how much time their teens spend on instagram and set limits today he said he won't stop development on a kids' version of instagram. >> i believe as a parent it will be more responsible to develop an age appropriate version of instagram for those under 13. >> reporter: senator mike lee said his staff created a fictitious account for a 13-year-old girl as soon as she followed the top celebrity recommended by instagram, he said inappropriate content was suggested. >> it was hair styling videos and innocuous stuff one minute the next minute after he followed a famous
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female celebrity, it changed and it went dark fast. >> if we recommended something that we shouldn't have, i'm accountable for that >> reporter: starting next year, mosseri said instagram will allow users to see a chronological version of their feed, instead of one created by algorithms, a significant step, but lawmakers are demanding more kate snow, nbc news. up next for us, a new "west side story" about to be released my conversation with legendary actress, rita moreno.
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a tribute tonight to stephen sondheim, the marquees of broadway theaters going dark for one minute to honor the legendary composure and lyricist who died two weeks ago. sondheim wrote the lyrics for the original "west side story" and film. the classic being reborn on the silver screen this week with one of the film's stars rita moreno back in a whole new role. it is the classic tale of two teenage gangs battling for the same turf in the 1961 movie "west side story." now after 60 years since the original release, director steven spielberg reimagines the film's energetic portrayal of love and family, bringing together two generations, rita moreno first starred as anita ♪ i like to be in america. >> now she will take on the role as valentina. a newly created actor. arina devos plays the co-lead and idolized moreno as a child.
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were you playing rita's anita or your anita? >> i was very adamant that whatever interpretation i delivered for this performance was massively different but by virtue of being a black woman that makes it a different portrayal. >> i loved it that an afro-latina was going to play her. it seemed absolutely right. >> moreno also served as executive producer of the film. were you concerned that in a re-make it may lose some of its soul >> on the contrary, i think it has way more soul. >> it has more authenticity. >> absolutely. there isn't a latino in the script of characters who isn't being played by a hispanic person. >> in the original cast, actors wore brown makeup to represent puerto ricans.
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>> it was so thick and dark and i said to the makeup man, i don't understand this. i'm puerto rican. >> this time is different. >> it's still the same story, but there is an underlying seriousness to it that the original film didn't have ♪ there's a place for us. >> the music carrying a message, helping connect a younger generation to their history. >> "west side story" was actually the gift to me. we learned about tradition and spanish was spoken every day and i felt more myself than i have actually ever felt ever that's "nightly news" for this wednesday. thank you for watching, everyone i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night
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this is elodia. she's a recording artist. 1 of 10 million people that comcast has connected to affordable internet in the last 10 years. and this is emmanuel, a future recording artist, and one of the millions of students we're connecting throughout the next 10. through projectup, comcast is committing $1 billion so millions more students, past... and present, can continue to get the tools they need to build a future of unlimited possibilities. ♪give my regards to broadway!♪ ♪remember me to herald square!♪ ♪tell all the gang at forty second street♪ ♪that i will soon be there!♪ ♪whisper of how i'm yearning♪ ♪to mingle with the old-time throng!♪ ♪give my regards to old broadway♪
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♪and say that i'll be there, 'ere long!♪ i'm raj mathai. scott peterson resentenced to life in prison. but could he ultimately be a freeman after being convicted of murdering his wife laci and their unborn son. why is marin county experiencing an uptick in covid cases? >> it's one of the lessons that we're offering is that what, despite having high vaccination rates, it doesn't necessarily protect you against increases in cases. >> the county's top doctor is with us and tell us why he might reinstate the mask mandate. andor


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