tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC March 12, 2019 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
breaking news tonight. shockwaves as hollywood actresses and top ceos are among dozens charged in a massive college admissions scandal. "despera housewives" star felicity huffman taken into custody, and "full house" star lori loughlin, a warrant issued for her arrest. >> they flaunted their wealth, sparing no expense to cheat the systems. >>hat they're accused of doing to get their kids into the nation's most elite colleges. and tonight outrage from parents, who say their kids played by the rules while the rich and famous and powerful cheated to get ahead. also breaking tonight, the u.s. standing nearly alone as most of the world from europe ts australia how grounded that boeing jet after two fatal crashes. authorities have the black boxes. so why don't they know what's on
them? a major storm on the me. blizzard warnings on tth plains, and ey're on alert for tornadoes in the south. former vice president joe biden taking on president trump, and what he said today, dropping a .jor hint about his plans a crushing defeat throws er a's closest ally to the chaotic unknown, just over two weeks om a divorce deadline with europe.>> > a highway tragedy and the hunt for whoever threw a rock off an overpass, killing a mother of three. and the major u.port that is warning tonight you may have been exposed to the measles. >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening, everyone. federal prosecutors today revealed what they say is the largest case of college admissions fraud in u.s. history, charging coaches and affluent parents, includingin hollywood elit massive bribery scheme to fast track kids into some of the country's top universities, including yale and stanford. among those arrested, actresses felicity huffman and "full house" star lori loughlin.
today the accused ringleader of the $25 million scheme pleading guilty. we he it covered from colleg campuses to the courthouse, starting with pete williams at georgetown. and pete, a lot of people have reason to be outraged about this story. >> including here at georgetown in washington, lestere the former tennis coach is accused of taking $3 million to admit 12 students as players. nationwide, 50 people have been arrested, parents and the college coaches they're accused of bribing.eg the co are some of the nation's most elite, yale, stanford, ucla, eight in all. the fbsays they unwittingly admitted students with inflated test scores or phony athletic records paid for by their parents. >> this is a case where they flaunted their wealth, sparing no expense to cheat the systems so they could set their children up for success with the best education money could buy.ng >> reporter: ahose charged, "full house" actress
lori loughlin, "desperate housewives" starelicity huffman, and top ceos and lawyers. at the centeof the scam is william sier, who ran a college prep business. >> getting into the right college will set the trajectory for the rest of your son or daughter's life. >> reporter: he pleaded guilty today, admitting that parents paid him a total of $25 million to get students admitted as etes, many never having played a sport. hi photoshopped the faceof their children on to faces of actual athletes and got samples of a student's handwriting. singer then bribed coaches at ol the s who put the applicants into their designated admission slots. prosecutors say the forr yale women's soccer coach was paid $400,000 to admit a student he knew didn't play competitive soccer. singer also admipred paying test tors to let someone else take a student's admission exams to get better scores. the fbi says some parents spent as much as $6.5 million for guaranteed admission of their dr chilen, and then they disguised their payments to er sis contributions to a
charity he ran so they could deduct the payments on their income taxes. >> the parents charged today, despite already being able to give their children every legitimate advantage in the college admissionsame, instead os ce or allbeptne ifindt.ly >> reporter: a tonight osecutors say more charges are nkely. pete williams, nbcews, washington. >> i'm miguel almaguer in los angeles, where actresses felicity huffman and lori loughlin are headed from the ree carpet tral court amid outrage at college campuses across the country. >> that's just so incredibly unfair. it's taking a spot from someone who really deserves to be here and really wants to be here. >> reporter: famous for her role on "full house" and married to designer mossimo giannulli, investigators say lori loughlin and her husband agreed to pay bribes totalling half a million dollars in exchange ving their two daughters designated as recruits to the usc crew team, despite the fact that they did not participate in crew.
court documents say they even had their girls stage photos as athletes. >> i'm going to do a dorm room tour today. >> reporter: loughlin's youngest daughter, followed by nearly two million people on youtube spoke about attending usc. i do want the experience of i don't really care about school, as you guys all kn. >> i was pretty pissed off that someone is able to pay their way into a school that other students have worked really hard to get into. >> reporter: oscar nominee felicity huffman is accused of 0 paying $15o boost her oldest daughter's s.a.t. scores. her husband, william h. macy, is mentione is not charged.nt, but investigators say huffman arranged for a third party to rport to proctor their daughter's s.a.t. and secretly correct her answers. >> it's disappointing because i want takes a spot from a kid htat did it the right way. >> reporter: tonigollywood's elite accused of paying top
dollar to buy admission to a higher education theirren did not earn. here in federal court in los angeles, both actresses are expected to face a judge. loughlin, who was out of the country earlier today, has not issued a comment. as for huffman, shis expected in front of a judge in just a short time and will likely immediately post bail. lester? >> all right, miguel almaguer, thank you. the faa tonight under pressure and increasingly alone over the fatof boeing 737 max 8 jet liners. several more countries today e acrossope and beyond grounding the planes until the cause of sunday's crash in hi opia and another last fall ardetermined. the faa, however, maintains the plane is safe. tom costello now with the latest. >> reporter: in baltimore today, a perfect landing for southwest 24 0e 02, a 737 max 8 arahving from oa city. but outside of the u.s. and canada, the max 8 is largely
grounded tonight, amid concern a deadly flaw could be responsible for two plane crashes in five unnths. in ethiopia on sday, in indonesia last october. the european union joining the uk, australia,ingapore, indonesia, china, and a long list of other countries and airlines banning 737 max 8 flights. but in the u.s., the faa says it's not grounding the plane, th gh it insists it will act if the evidence suggests a problem. >> the department and the faa will not hesitate to take immediate and approprie action. >> reporter: in the u.s., united flies the longer max 9. southwest and american fly the max 8. all say they do not have safy concerns. >> i'm 100% comfortable of this and every other 737 we actually have in the fleet. >> reporter: but the american airlines flight attendant union now wants the max 8 ounded. >> they're very concerned about their safety, but also the safety of our customers, who we care for every day. >> reporter: the faa feeling the heat as members of congress and a former transportation
secretary also call for the faao tod the max 8. >> i'm sure the agency is feeling the pressure, and the way to relieve the pressure is to ground the planes. reporter: the central question remains whether the crashes in ethiopia and indonesia have anythin common. both were max 8s. but tonight it appears the black boxes from ethiopia still have not been read. the ceo of the airline says they'll likely be sento another country for analysis. in ethiopia today, an outpouring of grief at the sight where et flight02 went down. sky news reporter john sparks is there. >> today the site has been given over to members of the red cr s, who are now looking for the remains of the passengers, 157 people, who were on that flight. >> reporter: among the eig americans on board, melvin and bennett riffel have been identified, two brothers from california. tennessee doctor manisha nukavarapu, and antoine lewis, e u.s. service mr. >> antoine is whtoe we he wanted e.
he left here doing what he wanted to doand he is in his motherland soil. >> reporter: meanwhile, president trump stirred confusion today when he tweeted airplanes are far too complex to fly. pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from m.i.t., and the complexity creates danger. thatmp pd a call with boeing ceo dennis muilenburg who made it clear he is absolutely confident in the safety of the airlines. late today, the faa said it has no data to justify grounding the max 8s. meanwhile, boeing says it is pushing out an urgent software patch toddress a potential computer glitch that may have been intified and that anti-stall system related to the indonesian crash. and finally, lester, most iation experts really believe all the automation, all the computers, all the complexities have made air travel far safer. >> all right, tom, thank you. in just a few minutere going to take a look at how you know whether you're booking a flight on one of the particular airplanes still flying in the u.s., and what happens if you want to cancel.g that's com.
we move on now to major storm on the move. funnel cloudeast of phoenix today and about 2 inches of snow near flagstaff, arizona. part of the system threatening l ns in the south and southwest tonight. blizzard warnings are in effect for denver and for parts of the rockies and plains where the system moves on wednesday. tonight former vice president joe biden is coming out swinging, taking on president trump in a pair of itpearances a felt at times like campaign ralliesut the campaign part. so is he in or out? as kristen welker report, biden dropped a brit pretty big hint. >> reporter: tonightbrs biden on thk? >> run, joe, run! run, joe, run! >> reporter: with the crowd urging him on, the former vice president dropping his strongest alnts yet about a presiden run. >> i appreciate the energy you showed when i got up here. l save it a littger. i may need it in a few weeks. >> reporter: going after president trump two events. >> the guardrails we put up to
prevent the abe of power, they're under enormous stress now. >> reporter: if the former vice president gets into the race, polls suggest he would instantly become a democratic front-runner in aalready crowded field. anit could set up a trump/biden showdown already playing out. biden on candidate trump. i wish we were in high school. i could take him behind the gym. >> reporter: the president taking his own sho. >> i think he ran three times, and he never had more than 1%. so we call him 1% joe. >> reporter: biden recently calling himself the most qualified person to be president, but acknowledging, quote, i am a gaffe machine. biden would out the his working class appeal, but would face a new challenge, a field of younger more progressive democrats. the question now, is it biden time? andrea mitchell pressing him today. >> why wouldt you run, vice esident? >> i can't think of any reason. >> reporter: biden declined in run in 2016 after his son's death.
he says he'll make his 2020 decision in the next few weeks. lester? >> all right, krisk n welker, thu. there is new fallout tonight after house speaker nancy pelosi publicly came out against impeaching president trump for now. today many democrats say they disagree our hallie jackson with details now. >> reporter: democrats divided h toniafter speaker nancy pelosi took impeachment off the table for now, aiming to put policy over politics. >> to tak o our e that ball is not worth it.d an that's why i say impeachment is not worth it. >> reporter: her move met with resistan today by younger progressives like alexandria ocasio-cortez and rashida tlaib, who plans to introduce a resolu impeachment process forward. >> let's have a committee process and investigate these offenses. >> reporter: despite that outspoken minority, many other democrats are praising pelosi's position. >> i think the speaker is ing exactly what she should be doing. >> the only thing worse than putting the country through the trauma of an impeachment is putting the countrthrough the
trauma of failed impeachment. >> reporter: from the white house -- >> i'm glad teet what the rest of us see and that there is no cause for impeachme >> reporter: senator chuck schumer pressed repeatedly on this said he thinks democrats should wait a see about the bert mueller report. and speaker pelosi did leave herself some wiggle room depending on how conclusive the findings aou. >> tha now to venezuela, where the u.s. announced it is withdrawing all remaining diplomatic staff and their families from the caracas embassy this week. blackos in venezuela stretch into a sixth day, there are reports that some of the power was turned back on. there is breaking news we're oswatching from america's t ally tonight. a crushing defeat throwing the uk deeper into political and economic chaos. just over two weeks until that w divorce deadlih europe. nbc's bill neely is in london. >> reporter: humiliated again, britain's prime minister theresa may failing for a second time this year get lawmakers to
back her brexit plan. >> the time has come to back this deal. >> reporter: they ignored her. >> the ayes to the right, 242.th no's to the left, 391. >> reporter: like her voice, she sounded broken. >> i profoundly regret the decision that this house has taken. >> reporter: she spent over twon years negotig her deal with european leaders. now itain risks crashing out of europe. its people have been warned of a national emergency with trade and travel disrupted, medicines and food stock piled already, fears of violence in northern ireland if border checkpoints with the eu are imposed.br ain is in crisis. its link with europe for the last half century will be cut 17 days, unless another path is found. the united kingdom more divided than ever. >> and bill joining us now from london. p bill, what's tn here? only a few weeks left. what happens next?oo >> yeah,evening, lester.
well, here tomorrow in parliament, another vote, this e time oher britain should crash out of the european union without a divorce deal. then on thursday, a third vote on whether britain should ask the european union for a delay in that divorce. but that really is jusing t e can down the road. there is no agreemre after two and a half years on any geurse of action. so there could be ral election there could be a national referendum. it really is very unclear. but what is clear is that this remains the biggt political crisis here in 50 years, and that theresa may's days are numbered. she is tonight in office but not in power. lester? ll right, bill neely in london, thank you. just ahead, a rock thrown fromern ovss kills a mother of three. tonight the urgent hunt for suspects. then worged about f after that crash in ethiopia? after that crash in ethiopia? how to tell if you're if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, little things
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next next tonight, police are searching for a suspect after a rock thrown from an overpa killed a mother of three on a texas highway. our morgan chesky has details. >> reporter: just north of austin on interstate 35, where a family trip turned fatal. >> your patient fe going to be a male. they advise you was hit by a it was thrown from a overpass. >> reporter: that patient , -year-old keila flor sitting in the front passenger seat in front of her kids when something smashed through the front window. >> it looks like someone threw a brick off the bridge and hit the patient. >> it literally the front windshield exploded. >> reporter: boyfriend chris rodriguez didn't know what happened until he pulled over. giving flores cpr until she went to a hospital where she later died. no sign of the person responsible. >> she was a joy of life. and to take that away from her kids, her family and friends, i
don't want nobody in the world to ever have to go with this pain. >> reporter: tonight investigators are still pursuing leads, but say whoever did throw that rock could be facing murder charges. lester? >> all right, morgan chesky, thank you. the growing health concern that today caused a scare at a major aiort. we'll tell you about that. y anou're flying in the states, how to tell if you're ok on the same plane that's been grounded by many countries around the world. miling ♪ ♪ sure it's like a morn in spring ♪ more than half of our community have discovered their irish roots. order ancestrydna, and find the surprises in you. just $59 through march 18th. get your kit today. ensure max protein... to give you the protein you need with less of the sugar you don't.
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icials sayt health o flyers may have been exposed to measles at l.a.x. airport on february 21st by a passenger on a china eastern airlines flight on a layover, but they add there is no current risk at l.a.x. now to the questions a lot of nervous flyers are asking, how do i know if i'm booking one of those planes grounded around most of the world, and what happens if i want to cancel?
with more on that, here is joe fryer. >> reporter: at airports across the country, worried passengers are paying closer attention tola what type of they're flying in. on their minds, the boeing 737 max 8 grounded virtually everywhere, except north america. >> a lot of times people are peready scared to fly, and when things like this h it makes the fear even more apparent. >> reporter: the max 8 complete more than 8,500 flights a weekcc worldwide,ding to a flight tracking service. we spoke with passengers after one flight. >> when i saw it was the same plane, you got a little concerned, i could do.s nothing all i can do is pray that the pilots knew what they were doing. >> reporter: how do you know your plane type? it's easiest to check while booking, but if you already have a ticket, you can get that information by going to the airlines' website or app and looking under equipment or aircraft type. if you still can't find it there, there are other sites like flightstats and seat guru, but keep in mind planes can change at the last minute. two u.s. airlines use max 8, southwest and american. >> we think athe very least that the airlines should refund
passengers any cancellation or change fees. >> reporter: southwest already doesn't charge change fees, butw ving any fare difference for passengers who want to nange flights out of concern. so far american changes changing its policies. lester? >> all right. joe fryer, thank you for that. up next, the runner and his best friend, ready to make history. breach your firewall in london & you start to panic... don't. be..y algorithms says we've goon the inside...outside...ut ...& that way you can focus on expanding into eastern europe... ...& that makes the branch managers happy & yes, that's the branch managers happy. at&t provides edge-to-edge intelligence. it can do so much for your business, the list goes on and on. that's the power of &. & when this happens you'll know how to quickly react...
of certain cancelater in li. could be at risk from an infection, human papillomavirus i knew widespread hpv is and while hpv clears for most, that might not be the case for him. i knew his risk increases as hei knew a vaccine could help protect him at age 11 or 12, before he could be exposed. i knew so i talked to my child's doctor. now that youo now that hpv can leadrtain cancers, don't wait. d' talk to your chdoctor today. starts with looking buiat something old,nk and saying, "really?" so capital one is building something completely new. capital one cafes.
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condition took tom's sight in his 20s. >> it's basically like seeing the world disappear ront of you. >> reporter: one of ththings he really missed was running. human guides couldead him, but he craved more independence, so he had a thought. >> dogs love to run, and i love to run. so it sort of made sense. >> reporter: it takes special training. >> hold my arm and close your eyes. eporter: and a special kind of trust. >> wow. >> are you trusting him? >> i'm trying. >> reporter: gus leads us around obstacles in central park and makes sure we're not dogging it. >> gus, you're setting a f bt pace here,uddy. >> reporter: thomas's organization guiding eyes for the blind helps train dogs for others, and this month he will become the first blind runner to complete a half marathon with a canine companion. >> where did you get so fast? >> reporter: three dogs wi g take turnsding tom, but it will be gus who crosses the finish line, his final tirk before retg. >> he deserves a medal, he really does. >> reporter: a man and his dog showing the rest of us --
>> almost ther buddy. >> if you have a disability, there are really no limits. >> reporter: but there are plenty of finish lines ahead. neisten dahlgren, nbc news york. >> and good luck to both of them this weekend. that's "nightly news." i'm lester holt. for all of us, thanks for watching and good night.