tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC December 12, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
to run right out and use it. >> i thought you were going to give it to me. >> maybe. merry christmas. world news is tonight, several breaking stories as we come on the air. michael cohen is going to prison. president trump's long-time personal attorney and fixer is sentenced to three years behind bars. cohen telling the judge this was, quote, blind loyalty, to cover the dirty deeds, in his words, of donald trump. what the judge then said to michael cohen. also breaking, the bombshell that came just hours later. the owners of "the national enquirer" now flipping, helping prosecutors. what prosecutors say they have now admitted to to help donald trump win. the deadly terror attack at the christmas market, and at this hour, the urgent manhunt. the new image of the suspect tonight who opened fire on so many, and then jumped into a cab to escape. the major storm here at home. several feet of snow in some places. then dangerous rain. the rockies, then straight across to the east coast.
rob has the new timing right here tonight. the surveillance now emerging of the missing mother pushing that grocery cart, last seen on thanksgiving. and tonight, what her fiance has now done. also, the breaking news as we come on the air in the west, that race against time in an american mine. have rescuers just found the three who were missing deep inside that mine? we'll go to the scene. the daring fire rescue. the child jumping into officers' arms. christine blasey ford, who testified before congress about then supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh, breaking her silence tonight for the first time. and the woman swimming alone, suddenly surrounded by killer whales. good evening. and it's great to have you with us here on a wednesday night. we have several developing stories as we come on, but we begin with the president and two major headlines tonight. his long-time fixer and personal attorney, michael cohen, is going to prison. and the publisher of "the
national enquirer" has now flipped, helping prosecutors, too. michael cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for donald trump, tonight sentenced to three years in federal prison. telling a judge today his, quote, blind loyalty, caused him to cover up the dirty deeds of president trump. and then, two hours later, the publishers of "the enquirer." what prosecutors say they have now admitted to. abc's chief justice correspondent pierre thoma >> reporter: michael cohen arriving at court today, clutching the arm of his heartbroken daughter. >> hey, michael! michael! are you afraid? >> reporter: hoping for mercy, he took full responsibility for his crimes. "the personal ones to me," he said, "and those involving the president of the united states." prosecutors say cohen "acted in coordination with and at the direction of individual one," aka donald trump, when he facilitated hush money payments to porn star stormy daniels and playboy playmate karen mcdougal so they wouldn't go public before the election.
cohen once said he would take a bullet for his boss. >> i'm obviously very loyal and very dedicated to mr. trump. >> reporter: but today, cohen told the judge he has been "living in a personal and mental incarceration," ever since he went to work for trump more than a decade ago. "it was my own weakness, and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light," he said. "i felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds." >> mr. president, did michael cohen cover up your dirty deeds? >> reporter: president trump's story about the hush payments has changed over time. first, he told the american people he knew nothing. >> did you know about the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels? >> no, no. >> reporter: then he said he only knew after the fact. >> did you know about the payments? >> later on i knew. later on. >> reporter: now he calls the stormy daniels deal a "simple private transaction," pointing the finger back at michael cohen. but today in court, cohen emotionally declared he'll fight
to make sure history doesn't remember him as the villain. his voice cracking, he described the shame he'd brought on wife, children and elderly parents, all of whom were in court. but the judge was unmoved, sentencing cohen to three years in prison for what he called "a veritable smorgasbord" of fraud. saying cohen had "lost his moral compass." >> pierre thomas joins us live tonight from federal court in lower manhattan. and pierre, prosecutors from the southern district of new york saying today that cohen was motivated by greed and ambition. we know he's also been cooperating with special counsel robert mueller, that's a separate case. and mueller's team did give him some credit today in court for his help in their case. >> reporter: david, cohen has spent more than 70 hours with robert mueller's investigators, and today, the special counsel's prosecutors told the court he sistance, including credible and valuable information. and they said they expect him to continue to do so. david? >> pierre thomas leading us off tonight. pierre, thank you. and as i mentioned at the top tonight, michael cohen was
just the first shoe to drop today. the second one a short time later. the publisher of "the national enquirer" flipping, helping prosecutors and admitting to paying hush money to help donald trump win. prosecutors say they knew they were breaking the law, and admit they did it anyway. here's cecilia vega on that front tonight. >> reporter: just two hours after michael cohen was sentenced, another bombshell. the u.s. attorney's office announcing a cooperation agreement with the company that publishes "the national enquirer," a.m.i. a.m.i.'s ceo, david pecker, a close friend of president trump. prosecutors say just two months after trump descended that escalator and announced he was running, trump then met with david pecker and michael cohen. according to court documents released today, "the enquirer" publisher offered to "help deal with negative stories about the presidential candidate's relationships with women." and they did. in fact, just three months before the election, a.m.i. tells prosecutors, they bought the story of playboy playmate
karen mcdougal. >> there were real feelings between the two of us. >> reporter: a.m.i. acknowledges they bought her story in order to bury it, a practice known as catch and kill. they say they worked in "cooperation with" and "at the request and suggestion of" one or more people on the campaign to make sure mcdougal "did not publicize damaging allegations" about trump before the election and "thereby influence that election." in the deal which was signed in september, a.m.i. admits they knew this would break campaign finance laws, but they did it anyway. at the same time, americans in supermarkets across the country were seeing these images on a.m.i.'s tabloid covers -- "hillary's failed secret lie detector test!" "hillary's two secret strokes!" "hillary: 6 months to live!" >> and cecilia vega with us live tonight from the white house. and cecilia, the president was asked today about today's developments, about michael cohen. he did not answer. but overnight, we know he was asked about any talk of impeachment, and he said he's not concerned? >> reporter: not concerned at
all, he says, david. in fact, he says people would actually revolt if he was impeached. that came in a new interview with reuters. he also said, quote, it's hard to impeach somebody who hasn't done anything wrong. david? >> cecilia vega live at the white house. cecilia, thank you. we're going to turn next here to the global manhunt tonight, after the deadly terror attack near a christmas market. the scene in strasbourg, france, as the shooting unfolded, the gunman was apparently shot, too, and then jumped into a taxi to escape. tonight, the new image just released in this hunt, and abc's senior foreign correspondent ian pannell is in france. >> reporter: tonight, hundreds of french police and soldiers in an all-out hunt for one man -- cherif chekatt. the 29-year-old career criminal suspected of carrying out that deadly terror attack near the strasbourg christmas market. police today seizing evidence from his apartment and searching cars at the nearby german border. chekatt escaping in a taxi, wounded in the arm by soldiers,
but telling the driver he'd just shot people. >> there were really a lot of gunshots. like, it was so loud. >> reporter: the screams of witnesses harrowing to hear. one victim on the ground as passers-by try to help. two people were killed. a third is brain dead. another dozen wounded. chekatt wasn't just known to the police. he was on a terror watch list. they searched his home earlier that day in an unrelated case, but they found a rifle, grenade and knives. french officials admitting this could've triggered the attack. >> so, let's get to ian pannell live with us again tonight at the scene of that shooting. and ian, i know we're learning much more about the suspect at this hour? >> reporter: yeah, that's right, david. we know that chekatt was born and raised here in strasbourg, france, the same city where he launched that attack just behind me yesterday. here is the problem, that the attacks have taken place in europe aren't carried out by outsiders, they are carried out by people from the home
countries, making it all the harder to detect and prevent. david? >> radicalized at home, which is a worry here in the u.s., as well. ian pannell, our thanks to you. back here at home tonight, and to that major new storm barrelling across the country, hammering the northwest and the rockies first. look at this. snow on interstate 90 in washington state. a dangerous stretch of highway there. winter weather alerts tonight, wind alerts, as well, straight from the west to texas and then headed straight to the northeast. meteorologist rob marciano is tracking it all for us tonight. hey, rob. >> reporter: hi, david. this is a powerful western storm, and it's only going to expand as it links up with the southern jet stream. check out this pattern. very el nino-like, split flow. these jet streams will phase tomorrow over texas and throw a lot of moisture across the southeast. has some wind with it. we had 70-mile-an-hour gusts in wyoming. high wind warnings for parts of the plains. winter storm watch just west of ft. worth and heavy rain down i-10, across louisiana, mississippi, alabama, georgia on friday. across the carolina snow zone friday late and then here in new york over the weekend with some heavy rain potentially. david?
>> we'll be watching it through the weekend. rob, thank you. we're going to turn next tonight to a troubling admission from a d.a. in north carolina tonight in the case of a 13-year-old girl abducted and killed while she was simply waiting to go to school. tonight, the d.a. revealing that there had been dna linking the suspect in her case to a rape long before, and that he should not have been free. here's abc's steve osunsami now. >> reporter: it's a painful admission tonight. >> could that paper right there have saved hania aguilar's life? >> potentially yes, and probably yes. >> reporter: north carolina authorities admit that they had in their hands dna test results that tied 34-year-old michael mclellan, seen here in court, to a rape that happened in 2016, but they say that their investigators never followed up. had they done so, the robeson county prosecutor believes that 13-year-old hania aguilar might be alive today. mclellan is now charged with raping and killing the eighth grader, who was kidnapped last month on her way to school by someone driving away in the suv
seen in this surveillance video. >> i don't know what happened, if it got lost at the sheriff's department, if it got buried on somebody's desk. this hurts. this hurts. this is like taking a punch to the gut and not being prepared to get it. >> reporter: mclellan is now charged in both cases. in this one, police say it was dna evidence removed from the abandoned suv that led them to him. mclellan is being held tonight without bond. and before making this public, authorities had to break this to this girl's family, and that was a tough conversation. david? >> steve, thank you. next tonight, to the race against time in west virginia. several rescue teams deep inside an abandoned coal mine. tonight, where three people were lost. but there is breaking news as we're on the air tonight. their family believes they might have just been found. abc's david kerley on the scene for us. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: jubilation in this small west virginia mining town, as loved ones told that all three missing in the abandoned mine had just been found,
tonight, all alive. >> i knew she wouldn't give up. she's too tough. >> reporter: the happy ending to four and a half days of wondering if the three would be found. the two women and a man had broken into a mine with another male friend early saturday morning. family members admitting they were savaging for copper wire to sell. by blowing air into the massive mine with large fans, rescue crews were able to work without breathing apparatus, and that led to the breakthrough, all three found. >> this is a christmas miracle. >> reporter: the three are said to be a bit banged up, and were taken to a local hospital for treatment, but officials say they will be okay. all three could face criminal charges for entering that mine illegally, but family members say that's for another day, they're just happy they're alive. david? >> good news, indeed. david kerley on this again tonight. thank you.
next, to the nationwide search for that missing mother from colorado. tonight, the surveillance of her in that grocery store, last seen with her 1-year-old daughter. that was thanksgiving day. tonight, amid questions about why her fiance was not at that news conference, tonight, what his attorney is now saying. here's abc's clayton sandell. >> reporter: this is the last confirmed sighting of kelsey berreth, thanksgiving day, shopping at a supermarket with her daughter. tonight, her fiance's lawyer says his client is cooperating with the search to find her. patrick, why don't you talk to us? patrick frazee refused to talk yesterday, leaving his lawyer's office with the couple's daughter. you want to say something about kelsey? frazee says he let police search his phone and take dna samples and photographs. police say frazee told them he got a text message from berreth november 25th. that same day, a second text message from her phone to her job, saying she was taking time off work. as for why frazee was a no-show at monday's press conference? why is he not here? >> that's a question you'll have to ask him. >> reporter: in a statement, his attorney says, "mr. frazee was first notified of the press conference approximately an hour
prior," his lawyer says, "and given more notice, he would have participated." his attorney says frazee is not speaking publicly because he didn't want to interfere with the investigation. david? >> clayton sandell with us again tonight. thank you. and to the breaking headline overseas tonight. britain's prime minister, theresa may, has survived a major challenge to her leadership. she remains in power, for now. abc's james longman joins us from outside parliament tonight. james? >> reporter: david, theresa may has survived tonight this attempt to push her out of power. but her long-term future is anything but certain, and so is the future brexit. the vote on may's leadership was triggered by members of her own party, and it's all because of brexit, even though they voted for it before she became prime minister. many are not happy with the terms she has secured to leave the european union. just moments ago, theresa may addressed the british people outside 10 downing street, saying, quote, we need to get on with the job and focus on building a country that truly works for everyone. but getting a brexit deal the rest of europe will sign off on,
and that the british people will like, well, that remains her biggest challenge. she only has 107 days tonight to finalize it, and the clock is ticking. david? >> all right, prime minister may holds on for now. james, thank you. there is still much more ahead on "world news tonight" this wednesday. the daring fire rescue. police rushing into an inferno, and look at this. an apartment complex in flames, and a child then jumping right into officers' arms. there's also news coming in tonight about christie blasey ford. you remember she testified before congress about then supreme court justice nominee brett kavanaugh. tonight, she's breaking her silence for the first time, and you'll hear from her coming up. and the police crackdown on package thieves at your front door. we've seen so many of these cases. well, tonight, something new. what authorities are now putting inside some of those boxes, and our correspondent is right there as they witness a theft unfolding. what happens next.
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operation, and what they're now putting in some of those packages. >> reporter: headaches, viral videos and an estimated 26 million victims in the u.s. as so-called porch pirates swipe those packages from our doorsteps. tampa police say these two women did just that this week. but one major american town is now doing something about it. >> these are the locations where our gps devices are deployed right now. >> reporter: we're inside the jersey city police burglary unit. they've teamed up with amazon, planting a gps tracking device inside fake packages, and dropping them off on a porch, waiting for a porch pirate to come steal it. >> this morning, the detectives deployed this, and within eight minutes, we had movement on one of the devices. we swooped in and made the arrest, with big smiles on our face. >> reporter: within the first four hours of their undercover sting, police made three arrests. >> the message to the bad guys are, we're going to catch you. >> reporter: and david, the goal here is to catch repeat offenders and deter others, because you simply can't tell which package is rigged. now, jersey city is one of the
first cities in the country to do this. they hope it goes nationwide. david? >> all right, we'll see if it works. gio, thank you. when we come back, that major apartment fire. officers throwing a baton to crack a window, a child jumping. and christine blasey ford breaking her silence for the breaking her silence for the first time. smoking. it dictates your da breaking her silence for the first time. i didn't like something having control over me. i wanted to stop. the thing is i didn't know how. chantix, along with support, helps you quit smoking. chantix reduced my urge to smoke to the point that i could quit. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. some people had changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts or actions with chantix. serious side effects may include seizures, new or worse heart or blood vessel problems, sleepwalking, or allergic and skin reactions which can be life-threatening. stop chantix and get help right away if you have any of these. tell your healthcare provider if you've had
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the young boy then jumping into the officer's arms. firefighters rescuing his mother, too. everyone survived. dr. christine blasey ford is speaking for the first time since the senate hearing for supreme court justice brett kavanaugh. she presented "the sports illustrated" inspiration of the year award to former gymnast rachael denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse dr. larry nassar of sex assault. he's now behind bars for life. >> in stepping forward, you took a huge risk, and you galvanized future generations to come forward, even when the odds are seemingly stacked against them. and we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the acts of others. >> dr. ford honoring that gymnast. and tonight, the surprise in the water. judy johnson was suddenly surrounded while swimming in new zealand by three playful killer whales. at first, she says she thought they were dolphins. she called it a life-changing experience. when we come back tonight, the mother who thought her baby died right after birth. but what just happened decades
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finally tonight here, the daughter who was adopted decades ago, but who always wondered if she would meet her biological mother. take a look at this photo. a baby girl named connie, born in indiana, may 12th, 1949. she was adopted by a family in southern california, here in the arms of her new father. right in front, her bobbed hair, and through the years, she would wonder about her biological mother. this is connie now, on the right. her daughter with her arm around here. her daughter buying her an ancestry dna kit.
and it revealed a cousin. and it also revealed her mother's name. >> i said, well, here's my mother's given name, and she said, oh, that's my aunt. oh, by the way, she's still alive. i'm like, oh my god. >> reporter: and just days ago, waiting for her in a tampa nursing home, connie's biological mother, genevieve puriton. now 88. watch her face. they hug. there were tears, and genevieve revealing that she was 18 and wasn't married when she gave birth. and she says the hospital told her her baby had died. >> it's okay. it's okay. >> reporter: her daughter connie telling us, that hospital is now gone, and the doctor is no longer living. that they may never have the mystery solved.
what they do know is that there was a time when there was a lot of secrecy around adoptions and young women who weren't married. tonight, a daughter wiping away her mother's tears. and that mother, genevieve, learning she has grandchildren and two great-grandchildren in college, rose on the left, fletcher on the right. and a family reunion with them all next month. wow. what a holiday it will be for that family. i'm david muir. i hope to see you right back here tomorrow. good night. ♪ only on "abc 7 news", hear from an employee of a student loan debt relief company which
is accused of defrauding clients out of millions of dollars. he believes the company was helping people. the deadliest and most destructive fire in state history was possibly started by pg&e equipment. tonight find out what pg&e says happened just before the camp fire in butte county. right now, the "7 on your side" health insurance hotline is open. michael finney and a team of experts are answering your questions about covered california because the deadline is coming up. live where you live, this is "abc 7 news". ♪ so i didn't think that we were hurting anybody. >> only on "abc 7 news" tonight, a current employee of north-based student loan debt relief company accused of scheming clients out of millions of dollars is speaking out. what he says was really happening inside amertech financial. i'm larry beil. >> i'm ama daetz. for the first time tonight we are hearing from a current employee of a sonoma county
student loan debt relief company whose ceo is in hot water with the federal trade commission as well as the fbi. >> the employee believed they were helping people and he is frustrated to be out of a job. >> "abc 7 news" reporter melanie woodrow is in the newsroom with a story you will only see on abc 7. >> reporter: ama and larry, student loan debt is the second largest class of consumer debt in the united states. last year the federal trade commission began tracking down on student loan debt relief scams. they called it operation game of loans. two weeks ago the ftc filed an injunction, schultihutting down sonoma county company. last week they arrested brandon freyer at sfo as he was boarding a flight to mexico. tonight he is out of jail on house arrest. an employee who rose in the ranks from sales rep to