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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 8, 2019 5:30pm-5:58pm PST

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stuff. the cost of a contract. breaking news tonight. major new charges for jussie smollett. a 16-count felony indictment against the actor accused of orchestrating a fake attack on himself that he called racist and homophobic. tonight, wild new details. how prosecutors say it all went down. chelsea manning back behind bars tonight. a stunning turn of events for the former army private freed by president obama, now jailed again for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating osive new allegation. a powerful group ofome u.s. women's so t fairness on and off the field. and whoopi goldberg shocks the audience by revealing a medical scare so serious she said she almost died.
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>> i came very, very close to leaving the earth. >> tonight, a health warning everyone should hear. this is "nbc nightly news" wies good evening and welcome to our viewers in the west. we begin with breaking news from chicago where actor jussie smollett has just been indicted on 16 felony counts for what authorities say were false claims, being the target of a racist and homophobic attack by strangers. the "empire" actor was arrested last month for allegedly lying to police, accused of orchestrating the attack to enhance but tot finds himself in even deeper legal trouble. our miguel almaguer has late details.epter: not seen publicly since posting bail, tonight jussie smollett faces new lel trouble. a chicago grand jury indicting the actor on 16 felony counts, saying he lied to police in two separate interviews about being the victim of a hate crime. smollett's attorney
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just learning the news. >> they have their ability to do whatever they're going to do, and we will -- we'll push back against that. >> reporter: the 36-page indictment just released tonight includes 16 felonies for lying to police. he told them he was beaten on this chicago street corner by two men who yelled out "this is maga country," poured a chemical on him, and left a noose around his neck. >> who the [ bleep ] would make something like this up? >> bogus police reports cause real harm. >> reporter: chicago's top cop says the actor orchestrated the stunt for publicity. or hired abel and ola osundairo seen here, to stage the attack. th charges. in cook county, most criminal cases don't go to trial. often resolved in a plea deal for a reduced sentence. but smollett could also face federal charges after police say he mailed himself a death threat. if convicted, smollett
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could face up to three years for each criminal count. the actor who police say desperately craved attention now getting it for all the wrong reasons. miguel almaguer, nbc news. and more breaking news tonight. a stunning turn of events for chelsea manning, the former army private who leaked thousands of classified documents now back behind bars for refusing to testify in an investigation of wikileaks. our pete williams has late details. >> reporter: chelsea manning walked into federal court in virginia this morning fully aware that she might not walk before a federal grand jury now investigating wikileaks and its founder, julian six sa years. originally subpoenaed last month to testify, she has declined saying she doesn't want to answer questions unless they're asked in open court. >> i don't believe in the grand jury process. i don't believe in the secrecy of this. >> reporter: in 2010, the former army intelligence
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analyst gave more than half a million classified documents to wikileaks, the largest such leak in u.s. history. it made the website and assange household names. manning served seven years in a military prison until president obama commuted the rest of the 35-year sentence. now she'll remain in jail until she agrees to testify or until the term of the grand jury ends in several months. >> and pete joins us now. pete, what exactly is this grand jury looking into, and why was manning called to testify? >> reporter: it's the leaks, the government's interest in assange predates the mueller investigation. the obama administration intelligence service. lester? >> pete williams, thank you. as that wa president trump traveled to alabama where he and the first lady toured the damage from the tornado outbreak that killed 23 people. he also visited a church where he signed bibles for survivors. on his way to alabama, president trump made an eyebrow-raising new claim -- that his ex-attorney,
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michael cohen, asked him directly for a pardon, a request the president says he refused. nbc's hallie jackson has that story. >> reporter: a he said/he said tonight on whether michael cohen requested a presidential pardon. after dropping this hint -- >> his lawyer said that they went to my lawyers and asked for pardons. and i could go a step above that, but i won't go do it now. >> reporter: president trump did go there tweeting from air force one, "cohen directly asked me for a pardon. i said no." it's an explosive allegation. one thesident's former attorney denies. cohen calling it "just another set of lies by donald trump." the conflicting accounts made more complicated after cohen volunteered this under oath on capitol hill -- >> and i have never asked for, nor would i accept a pardon from president trump. >> reporter: but just days after that, cohen's lawyer acknowledged his reps did reach out to the president's legal team to explore a possible pardon.
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>> good morning, sir -- >> reporter: before cohen decided to cooperate with investigators and was convicted of lying to congress. now no pardon on the horizon. but prison is, with cohen headed there in two months. and back here at the white house, some staffing news. the search is on now for a sixth communications director. bill shine, the current one, he's a former fox news ed >> hallie jackson at the white house. thank you. now to that sentence for paul manafort. just u feral guidelines suggest. it's a sentence that stunned many attorneys and advocates who say it shows a major disparity in the criminal justice system in america. kristen welker explains. >> reporter: tonight paul manafort's sentence still shocking many. less than four years for bank fraud and cheating on his taxes, when guidelines called for anywhere from 19 to 24 years. >> it's very unusual for a
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defendant in paul manafort's sentencing guideline range to get a sentence this low. but it's ndefense attorneys argue it highlights sentencing inequalities between those who are wealthy and those who are not. >> the american system of mass incarceration is deeply racist, it is deeply unjust. >> reporter: scott heckinger is a public defender in new york. he says many of his clients are low-income people of color. one of them now facing serious time for stealing $100 worth of quarters from a laundromat. >> he's facing if he goes to trial a mandatory minimum of 3.5 years and a maximum of 15. >> reporter: reform advocates point to crystal mason, an ex-felon sent back to prison for five years for voting while on probation. it's now a major national issue. president trump signing a bipartisan bill to reduce mandatory minimum sentences. matthew charles released after a 35-year sentence for selling drugs and having an illegal gun, talking to lester when he got out.be free? what's it like to walk
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along the river? >> it is unexpressible in words. >> reporter: manafort still faces more jail time when he's sentenced for separate crimes next week. kristen welker, nbc news. a big surprise today -- just 20,000 jobs added last month, far lower than expected. the unemployment rate dropped suggesting that there are more jobs than people to fill them. with more, here's tom costello. >> reporter: in youngstown, ohio, city machine technologies has 20 openings right weers. to hire. >> we're looking for we're looking for a younger work force that will carry us through for a couple of years. and also we would like them to be trained by our older and seasoned employees. >> reporter: across the country, companies are struggling to find employees. in february, employers added just a fraction of what wall street expected. that would be very concerning, but the unemployment rate ticked down while wages rose
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over the last year. now averaging $27.66 an hour. >> the big news really was that wages went up, and that's great for the american worker. >> reporter: most analysts say the economy is strong, but with few new jobs created in february, there is concern the momentum may be starting to slow. lester? >> all right, tom, thank you. tonight as part of our week-long reporting inside syria, our richard engel has rare access on the front lines at the last village control where the terror group is making a final stand lost many are surrendering, they say r today of what's left of the isis caliphate. a squalid tent city with a black banner still flies. a kurdish commander took us to a hill overlooking the last piece of the islamic state. we can see them moving around, lots of them, on their motorcycles, men. why aren't you attacking? he said the militants
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have hundreds of their wives and children still with them, and the kurds don't want to make them martyrs. but without water or food, even some of the terror group's diehards are surrendering. the men all told us they were just cooks and cleaners. no one says they're a fighter. no one. but the women didn't hold back. when i approached a group being driven off to a camp, they got enraged, threw water and bottles at us, the hated infidels. even children flashed the isis symbol, a single finger. is it over? isis finished? will come to your land." isis the state is being defeated but not the idealogy. lester? >> all right, richard engel with that tonight. thank you. now to an nbc news investigation into an alarming problem impacting potentially thousands of veterans and their families. coitions, e living mold, lead, leaks, and housing run by
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private companies. nbc's gabe gutierrez spoke with one family fighting a battle on the homefront. >> reporter: calvin and rachel kilpatrick never imagined living in military housing might put them and their four children in harm's way. when did you first start noticing the problems in the house? >> as soon as we moved in. >> the day we moved in. >> reporter: rachel, a u.s. army specialist, took a job repairing medical equipment at ft. bragg in north carolina. a year ago, us >> when we turned on the showerhead, green slleaking from ceilings from the a.c. unit, seeping through the back door. termite damage, and worst of all, they say, mold. their multiple requests for repairs went to corvias, one of many private companies that manage properties like these. >> we kept being told to stay in our lane. weidn't know what we were talking about. >> reporter: then came health problems. said, brt eathing and on by the mold. >> had to go to the e.r. four or five times. >> reporter: the military family advisory network conducted a survey and got more than 16,000
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responses. 55% had a negative or very negative experience with privatized military housing. respondents across the country and housing under different management companies describe instances of black mold, lead, even asbestos, and some reported chronic illnesses including respiratory ailments. corvias' ceo testified at a hearing last month. >> that we let down some of our residents. i am sorry, and we are going to fix it. >> reporter: in a written statement to nbc news, the company says it's working "to reduce the backlog of work orders and improve our response time to service requests." at another hearing this week, secretary of the army mark esper admitted the army could have done more. >> in too many cases, it is clear the private housing companies failed to uphold their end of the bargain. a failure that was enabled by the army's insufficient oversight. >> reporter: just days after he toured their house out of concern for the kilpatricks, they were moved out and offered
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another home on base at no cost. >> families deserve to have a livable home. just needs to be fixed. >> reporter: a family like so many others serving their country but fighting a battle they never expected here at home. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, ft. bragg, north carolina. today is international women's day, an opportunity to honor and celebrate women around the world. tonight we're going to do just that with a group of inspirational women that all have one thing in common. here's nbc's cynthia mcfadden. >> reporter: fashion's hot-new cover girl, 97-year-old iris apthel who just signed with a top modeling agency. the supreme court has ruth bader ginsburg. who's become a cultural rock star. ♪ older women are being seen and heard in greater numbers. >> i can't do it anymore, joe. >> reporter: though the oscar eluded her -- >> glenn close, "the wife."
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>> reporter: 71-year-old glenn close won a golden globe. >> i'm thinking of my mom who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life. in her 80s she said to me, "i feel i haven't accomplished anything." right.>> reporter: what's well, part of it's demographic. women are living longer. the average lifespan, 81. five years longer than men. women are also healthier and have more income than any previous generation. many women who grew up in the '60s and '70s were passionate advocates for women's rights. little surprise those activists are still active. of course, it's not all good news. there's robust evidence that age and sex discrimination are still serious problems. nevertheless, it was this mythbusting statistic that captured our attention -- older women are happy. in fact, a study in the u.k. found that women between 65 and
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79 were the happiest people in the country. some beauty companies seem to be getting it. more than 20 years ago when she was 43, lancome fired isabella rossellini because she was too old. after what must have involved a few apologies, rossellini, now 66, is again the face of lancome. >> i don't try to be younger, blonder, or thinner. i am who i am. >> reporter: lynn slater is who she is -- a 65-year-old sociology professor whose fashion posts garnered over 600,000 instagram followers. >> it's all about what i do in this moment and from here on in. r: for many of these women, that's part of the joy of getting older. a big dose of "i can make a lf-acceptance.ti inspiring women of all ages and maybe a few men, too. cynthia mcfadden, nbc news, new york. also ahead on this
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day honoring women, how a powerful group of female athletes is taking a major new stand tonight for equality. we'll have that. also, whoopi goldberg, revealing the health battle she says left her near death. stay with us.
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tell you about a major lawsuit filed by america's women's soccer champs who say they've had enough of being treated differently and paid less than men. here's anne thompson. off the line, and in -- >> reporter: on international women's day, a yellow card from the u.s. women's soccer team. all 28 players suing their employer, the u.s. soccer federation, for gender discrimination, accusing it was paying them less than the men's team and denied equal treatment in everything from training to avelo promotion. >> this is huge. i think what you're seeing is the women saying, listen, we are your most valuable product, and you are not treating us as such. >> reporter: it's the women who brought glory to old glory. four olympic gold medals, three world championships. the men's squad hasn't even come close but wins big
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when it comes to money. the lawsuit says in 2014 u.s. soccer provided $5.3 million in bonuses to the men who lost in the world cup quarterfinals. then offered less than $2 million to the women who won the world cup. >> the pay disparity between the men and women is -- is just too large. >> and score -- >> reporter: tonight, no comment tonight, the health scare that's kept whoopi goldberg off the air. everyone's got to listen to mom.
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when it comes to reducing the sugar in your family's diet, coke, dr pepper and pepsi hear you. we're working together to do just that. bringing you more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all.
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clear calorie labels and reminders to think balance. because we know mom wants what's best. more beverage choices, smaller portions, less sugar. tonight, whoopi goldberg is revealing a major health scare that has kept her off television. goldberg shocking fans by saying her condition was so serious she shefsky. >> reporter: after being absent from "the view" for nearly a month -- >> i had pneumonia, and i was septic. >> reporter: startling news -- >> i came very, very close to leaving the earth. >> reporter: the 63-year-old admitting she almost died from a case of pneumonia that became even worse when the infection led to sepsis. >> the infection starts off in the lung. that's pneumonia. if it spreads to the bloodstream it turns into sepsis, and that's when it becomes a
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deadly condition. >> reporter: pneumonia can turn fatal at any age. muppets creator jim henson died at 53. pneumonia claimed her life in november. a million americans go to the hospital every year for pneumonia, but if caught early, recovery can take just a few weeks. >> people who are not huge fans of mine have actually said nice things about me. we all know that's going to change when i get back. >> reporter: a star showing her trademark sense of humor is as strong as ever. morgan shefsky, nbc news. >> we wish her a swift recovery. up next tonight, the woman putting a modern-day twist on the bedtime story. the cost of
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teachers in oakland are getting a raise, but are some of the most vulnerable students paying a price? plus, sexual harassment at the state capitol. how much taxpayers are ponying up, just to the lawyers.
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in tonight's "those who serve," the principal encouraging students to love reading with a new kind of bedtime story. here's rehema ellis. >> reporter: 5-year-old giselle and her mom are getting ready for a bedtime story on facebook live. >> hi, facebook. thanks for tuning in. >> reporter: the woman reading from her living room in the unicorn pajamas is giselle's principal. >> giselle, you like my unicorn outfit? >> reporter: it's called "tucked in tuesday," when dr. valinda george streams on the school's facebook page to connect with families at home. >> just showing them, dr. george is just like you. i go home, put on my pajamas, ik. >> reporter: in less than a year, reading scores are better. so is behavior in a school where 90% of the students qualify for free lunch. and the project's gone viral. >> sydney, hello, 6 years old, in wichita falls. >> reporter: raise your hand if you think dr. george is a good principal. whoa. double dose.
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>> she makes school just fun and comfortable. >> hi. >> how are you? for the rest of my life as long as i have breath in my body and as long as god gives us tuesdays, i will read. >> reporter: the principal who wears p.j.s. >> the dirty dishes washed themselves and jumped right back up upon the shelves. >> reporter: that's a children's story in itself.rehema ellis, news, beaumont, texas. >> what a terrific idea. that's "nightly news" for this friday. i'm lester holt. i'll see you later on "dateline." the man accused of prowling in the nude.. now out on bail. right now at 6:00 he's back out on the streets. the man accused of prowling in the nude out on bail. a new storm on the way. we'll talk about the early details of this, and when the heaviest of the rain starts to return. the san francisco district
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attorney now has a decision to make. will he file charges video. thas for joining us on this friday. >> we broke the story on our digital platforms earlier this afternoon, a police investigation has been completed. now, prosecutors must decide if what happened there in the park is a criminal act. nbc bay area sam brock is talking to legal experts, bear's attorney and the d.a.'s office about where things go from here. sam? >> the d.a.'s office says it's reviewing the case, but has no time line at this point on a decision. larry bear's own attorney told me in her opinion, she doesn't think he needs a lawyer, because there is no case here. the legal experts say witnesses in their interviews will determine whether or not that's true.tmz.
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pam bear can be seen yelling oh, my god before losing a tug of

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