tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC February 22, 2019 7:00pm-7:31pm EST
breaking news tonight.av shockwes as the billionaire owner of the new england , patriotsrobert kraft, is charged in a day spa ostitution sting. tonight the video surveillance c operation thaught the architect of an nfl dynasty and a powerful friend to the president. we have reaction from south florida to boston. also breaking, prosecutors charging sinr r. kelly with sexually abusing underage girls for more than a decade. one kelly's alleged victims in the indictment speaks to nbc news. new fallout on the jussie smollett saga. and we take a closer look at thc technology polsay they used to unravel this story. ere's late word of the mueller investigation, that looming mueller report. d richargel is inside syria with the isis bride begging to return to america.
>> i'm just as american as any blond-haired, blue-eyed girl, and i would like to stay in my country. >> one of thousands of isis wives and children here now looking to leave. the parents cutting a plea deal in that california house of horrors. 13 children found shackled in their home. one of the kids making a daring escape to save the others. bystanders screaming, watching a slow-motion disaster as a pair of massive cruise sh s collide. inside the chaos, controversy, and high drama this weekend. it could be the wildest oscars in years. good evening, everyone. one of the most powerful voices in the nfl is caught up in a prostitution scandal tonight. florida authories say robert kraft, the billionaire owner of the super bowl champion new england patriots, has been charged with misdemeanor counts of soliciting sex. the alleged acts took place at a
jupiter, florida, day spa. one of nearly a dozen spas where investigators think young female workers were actually human trafficking victims. erth details we start with sanders. >> reporter: today police in florida identified 77-year-old robert kraft as one of more than two dozen men who allegedly frequented this massage parlor,y a front,nvestigators, for prostitution. >> we're as equally stunned as everybody else. notoriety that would be arsted. >> reporter: this was one of ten spas closed after a six-month investigation of massage parlors across the state. several alleged conspirators were taken into custody. the coordinated takedowns were a result of round the clock surveillance with cameras outsidand hidden cameras inside. >> the video that we obtained, it shows the acts that took place.an on every gentlhat you have a list of, the acts that took
place is recorded on that video. >> reporter: investigators say kraft, who has a home in florida, visited twice.on of those trips, they say, just two weeks before the super bowl. a spokesman for kraft says, we categorically deny that mr. kraft engaged in any illegal tivity. because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting furthe the case was launched aftor a complainhe health department and quickly became a multi-agency investigation into both sex and human trafficking. women from china, some as young as 24 years old, tricked, say police, into thinking they wer coming to new york for legitimate jobs. instead this were sent to some of the now-shuttered florida ag maparlors whose owners did not respond to nbc's requests for comment. melice arrested these two this week accused of luring some of the unsuspecting victims. detectives say many ofhe women from china, who did not speak english, were forced to eat andt live whey worked. as for why they didn't leave?
>> fr, intimidation, debt, shame, the whole nine yards when they get he. and they're stuck. anthey're truly victims. >> reporter: kraft, who now faces misdemeanor charges of soliciting a prostitute, could face 60 days in jail if convicted. kerry sanders, nbc news, jupiter, florida. i'm morgan chesky in boston where the man praised for buy ding the patriots dynast now in need of defense. kraft, who is worth $6 billion, has helped guide the patriots to six supebowl wins. most recently just three weeks ago. news of the chars against kraft could have a ripple effect. >> robert kraft is the gold standard of nfl owners. his team is the crown jewel of the nfl. and for him to be wrapped up in something as sordid as this is l shocking and is really a black eye for him and his team and the nfl, of course.te >> rep kraft's reach stretches far beyond the confines of the patriots' gillette stadium. he owns the new england
revolution soccer team and has given millions to charities. president trump weighing in about his friend, who nts mar-a-lago. >> i was very surprised to see it. 's proclaimed his innocence totally. >> reporter: kraft's charges could bring serious shment from the nfl because of the league's personal conduct pocy. in 2014 the league suspended lt owner jim mercier for six games and fined him half a million dollars after he pleaded guilty to dwi. >> it's going to be hard for him to recover from this one, at least in the public eye. >> reporter: the beloved ownro virtual yalty in boston. >> he's not a good man, he's a great man. >> on the charges alone here, do you ink he should step down? >> absolutely not. >> i still appreciate the patriots, t i don't appreciate him. >> reporter: aynasty in potential turmoil in a city where sports are king. morgan chesky, nbc news. also breaking tonight, the bombshell invoing r. kelly, the music star who's been trailed by allegations of sexual misconduct for years has now been criminally charged with sexually abusing mul underage victims.
nbc's rehema ell has the latest. >> reporter: tonight r. kelly ic facingrges for sexual abuse spanning more than a decade, from 1998 to 2010. >> earlier today, robert kelly was indicted before a cook county grand jy on ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims. >> reporter: prosecutors say msthree of the alleged vic were between 13 and 17 years old. jeronda pace is one of them. in january she tol"dateline" she began a relationship with kelly when she was 16. >> if i didn't agree to having sex with him, orerforming, i would be locked in a room. >> reporter: the charges come aa weer michael avenatti said he gave authorities a video showing kelly ving sex with a 14-year-old girl. avenatti says he represents two alleged victims. one was included in y's indictment. for years the singer has been under suspicion of sexually abusing young women.
in 2008 he was acquitted of child pornography charges. 52-year-old kelly has consistently denied all allegations against him and his lawyer has said kelly never knowingly had sex with anyone underage. >> they're making him a sacrificial lamb for their own sake.d anthere's no merit to any of this. >> reporter: the embattled singer came under renewed scrutiny last month after a es docuse revealed explosive allegations of sexual, mental, and physical abuse. soon after, the chicago prosecutor made a plea for any victims to come forward. >> we cannot seek justice without you. >> reporter: tonight, several have. if convicted, kelly could face up to 70 years in prison. rehema ellis, nbc news. meantime tonight, there is new fallout in the jussie saga. the actor cut from the last two episodes of the seasonf his hit show "empire" after poce say he orchestrated a fake attack on himsf. miguel almaguer reports from
chicago. >> reporter: facing more real-life drama than his character on "empire," tonight executive producers say actor jussie smollett is out of the final two episodes of the season following his felony charge foro ly police about a hate crime. >> make room, make room. reporter: after smollett posted bond, he was driven to the set of "empire" where he reportedly denied any wrongdoing to cast and crew. >> he orchestrated this. >> reporter: with smollett vilified, filmmaker tyler perry poing, i have personally spoken to jussie and he is adamant at he is telling the truth, yet the evidence seems to state otherwise. in meticulous detail, police tlined their case. ree linchpin, these brothers who investigators say iven a $3,500 check from smollett to buy supplies and stage the attack. police say while they were complicit, they face no charges because they didn't orchestrate the scam and are needed to convict smollett.
>> we substantiated the timelin andetails that they gave to us in ts interview. >> reporter: with police claiming smollets motive was to drum up publicity to boost his career, fox says it's "considering our options." tonight the actor facing growing backlash after a shocking plot twist.th despitthree-week ve igation, the actor's legal team says, quote, the presumption of innocence was trambled upon at the expense of mr. smollett. if convicted oa felony, he could have to pay restitution, even have a probation served, op geo three years in prison. rister? >> allt, miguel almaguer with that update from chicago, thanks. late tonight, a senior justice department off tells nbc news that the much-anticipated mueller report is not expected to be released to the attorney general while president trump is overseas next week. hallie jackson is at the white house tonight. hallie, what can you tell us about this?
>> reporter: lester, good evening. is means the washington waiting game goes on at least a little longer.to any president trump told me he has not talked with his attorney general about that report's release. >> you've said nothing to him? >> i have not. >> dyou expect to? >> at some point i guess i'll be talking about it. the nice part? there was no collusion, there was no obstruction, there was no anything. so that's the nice part. >> reporter: tonight six top democrats have now sent attorney general bill barr a leer emphasizing their expectation barr will publicly release the report mueller submits to him. but remember, barr is under no legal obligation to do so. lester? >> a right, hallie, thank yo there's late word tonight from the president announcing a nominee to replace nikki haley as ambassador to the united crtions. his pick is kellt, the current ambassador to canada, a choice pushed by senate majority leader and fellow kentuckian mitch mcconnell. also today the trump administration took action to strip millions in feral funds from planned parenthood and other family planning groups,
setting the stage for a new legal battle over abortion. >> reporter: tonight the trump administration now barring taxpayer funds from clinics that provide abortions or refer patients for abortions.la that meansed parenthood stands to lose $60 million a year in federal funding and 'r thplanning a legal challenge. >> we're talking about depriving people of basic health care services. pap smears. breast and cervical cancer screenings. sdi tests. primary care. for so many of our patients, we are their only source of health care. >> reporter: tonight anti-abortion advocates are praising the move which uld also prohibit family planning clinics from being housed in the same location as abortion providers. >> really this is a very sensible proposal. it should be widely accepted. >> reporter: this new move by the president will please s religinservatives and has been a key part of the president's agenda. multiple states already ga
threatening challenges, including the attorney general of new york who called the move dangerous and unnecessary.er lest >> kristen welker, thank you. while president trump has vowed to remove all u.s. troops fromyria, there is word tonight he is changing course. we'll get more on that from inside syria and the american-born isis bride fighting to return to the u.s. she speaks out to our richard engel. >> reporter: after promising to withdraw all american troops, the white house now says about 400 will remain in syria. >> it's a very small, tiny liaction of the people we have. and a lot of peopl that idea. >> reporter: one of them, the u commander . allied kurdish forces fighting isis. "it's good for stability in the region," he said. but questions remain about the fate of thousands offamily members, like u.s.-born hoda muthana, who left alabama to join the terror group, now ng lin a camp with her 1-year-old son.er
i showedecretary of state pompeo's reaction to her pleas to return. >> she is a terrorist, he's not a u. citizen, she ought not return to this country. >> i am a citizen and there's papers to ove it. i'm just as american as any blond-hair, blue-eyed girl, and cawould like to stay in my country and do amethings. >> a lot of people are going to nd that hard to believe after some of the tweets that you put out. >> i know.ow i hat. but it was an ideology that really was just a phase. >> there's one tweet in w particulre you talk about calling on americans to do drive-by shootings, to rent a truck and drive over people, spilling their blood. you say, memorial daerans day, go out and do it. >> again, my lawyer told me not to speak about these things. m >> reportehana is just one of thousands of isis wives and children now trying to leave. lester? ht, thank engel ton you. turning to the crisis venezuela, where today government fors opened fire on
protesters, killing at least two. the u.s. says it has sent nearly 500,000 pounds of aid to ve zuela in the last two weeks but president nicolas maduro still won't allow it in. back in this country, there is word tonight of a plea deal for the parents of that so-called house of horrors casen over a dids found shackled in a case that shocked the nation. steve patterson has details on the plea. >> how do you plea to that charge, mr. turpin? >> guilty. >> rorter: as the judge slow listed each charge, louise turpin began to break down. she and husband david turpin sponding with one word - >> guilty. >> reporpir: the t each pleading guilty to 14 counts ranging from false imprisonment to child cruelty to torture. >> this is among the worst, most aggravated child abuse cases that i have ever seen. >> reporter: the plea deal saving their 13 children from ha ving to testify.
last year the turpins were arrested after one of their daughters called 911, escaping what prosecutors described as a house oforrors. police saying most of the children ranging in ages from 2 to 29 were often beaten, starved, shackled, and only allowed to shower once a year. the children now in foster care. their parents now face life in prison after admitting to creating one, horrifically in th r own home. steve patterson, nbc news, los angeles. now to images of a heart-stopping collision caught on camera. two cruise ships grazing each ot r at a port in buenos aires as onlookers watched in horror. luckily no one was injured. just ahead, who's watching you? how police rely on huge networks of cameras to solve crimes. the show must go on for controversy-plagued oscars. a hero's welcome for a brave kindergartener.
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we're back now with a closer look at t we're back now with a closer usok at the technology police use to determine jsie smollettge aly paid to stage an attack against himself. investigators relied on a vast network of surveillance cameras which are increasingly everywhere. here's tom costello. >> reporter: from the store camera that captured the two brothers allegedly buying supplies to stage the attack on jussie smollett, to images of them on the street, chicago police relied on more than four dozen cameras to create a quence of events. >> it was because of these pod cameras and the great assistance from the community in giving us those other cameras that led us to a really solid timeline. >> reporter: with more than 3200 city, business, even private doorbell cameras, chicago has the most extensive video surveillance network in the country. technology that departments are relying on natioide. from identifying the boston marathon bombers to a woman's kidnapping caught on camera, a murder in california, to a woman
stabbed in d.c. how often is a camera critical in solving a crime? >> i think every day. >> reporter: d.c. police have access to 184 of their own cameras plus thousands of traffic, sway, business, and private cameras. ca the command information center, then immediately rewind camera images right after a crime. even audio recordings that pick up gunshots. residents get a rebate check if they agree in advance to give police investigating a crime access to their cameras. >> they're getting everything usually in a half hour hour after an incident. >> reporter: a 24/7 eyewitness that never blinks. tom costello, nbc news, washington. up next, we'll go inside this year's controoscarsial rs. let's be honest:
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♪ there's no business like show business ♪ >> reporter: hollywood's annual prom night is sunday. now 91, the folks behiar seem intent this year on givinge him one of tinltown's famous facelifts. rs le in the past supers like billy crystal hosted the evening -- >> i'll be your master and commander tonight. >> reporter: this year to the disappointment of many and the sasfaction of others, kevi hart didn't even make it to the stage. academy bigwigs alsod to bump four of its 24 award categories from ing shown live during the broadcast. that is until a group of hollywood listers pointed out that without the cinematographers and editors, there wouldn't be any movies to celebrate. now the show's ratings are idmething else the academy would really like to getf. viewership is down more than 50% from 20 years ago. and last year the show was down another 19%, yikes. so no wonder, perhaps, the swag bags given to celebrate the d
winners mfort the losers has gotten bigger. this year the freebies are worth over $100,000. would you like to go to iceland? or how about cannabis edibs? think fancy pot brownies. and finally, a product that has a starring role in a small film. a surprising gift, a plunger. maybe intended as a reminder that despite the glut and the glamor, stars are really just like the rest of us. ♪ on with the show >> reporter: cynthia mcfadden, nbc news, new york. all right, we're back with one heart-warming show of support after this. i found outd age-related macular degeneration, amd, i wanted to fight back. my doctor and i came up with a plan. it includes preservision. only preservision areds 2
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finally, the big welme back for k finally, the big welcome back for a kindergartener who's been so brave. here's kathy park. >> reporter: for derek shaw, what seemed like a bad break has turned out tbe a lucky one. it all started with an untied shoelace and a fall that broke d his arm and re much more. >> howuch you love me? >> this much! >> reporter: it was bone cancer, caught unexpectedly but early. >> is my kid going to have an arm? this kid is so strong. he has not cried. >> reporter: and it's not slowing him down. >> don't get too far ahead! >> reporter: he's racing through the hospital, banging on drums,e ing his cancer. >> he's ck to doing cartwheels. >> reporter: all the cards and get-well messages from his buddies have meant a lot. on we hope you get better >> reporter: this week derek was determined to say thank you, in person.
ithero's welcome. hallways lined wh love, leeers, and high-fives, giving strength to a lioy who remains unbroken. >> i missed you, derek. >> reporter: kathy park, nbc news. >> all right, get well, derek. that's "nightly news" for this friday. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thanks for watching and