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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/15/14

Guests: Tony Plohetski, Anthony Gray

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Amazing stuff, again. Get thee to an umbrella. But amazing stuff, man. Well done. CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: Thank you very much. Thanks. MADDOW: Thanks. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. We have some new reporting ahead this hour on the situation in Ferguson. And we`re going to be keeping an eye on the protests that you could see unfolding over Chris`s shoulder there. Unfolding there yet again tonight, after what really was an explosive day of news in Ferguson, Missouri. I should also tell you, we`re going to be joined live by the attorney for Michael Brown`s family in just a few minutes. That`s coming up live in just a couple of minutes. But before we get to that, we do have some late-breaking news tonight out of Texas. A grand jury in Austin, Texas, tonight has indicted Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry. He`s charged with two felony counts of abuse of power. The technical charges are abuse of official capacity and also coercion of a public servant. If convicted of these felonies, Governor Perry faces a maximum prison term of 10 years for the coercion charge, and a range of five years to 99 years for the other felony charge. Now, these charges center on Rick Perry`s public efforts to remove from office a Democratic elected state official in Texas. That Democrat is named Rosemary Lehmberg. You see her on the right screen side of your screen there. She`s the district attorney for Travis County, Texas. That`s where the state capital of Austin is located. Of course, Texas is a red state, but Austin and Travis County, that`s a blue dot in the middle of red state Texas. Those places lean Democratic, both the county and Austin itself. And that actually ends up being potentially a really important part of this story, because when you are the district attorney of Travis County, as Rosemary Lehmberg is, you`re not just the D.A. for that one county. Travis County is where the state capital is, and the D.A. for Travis County, therefore, is also responsible for the behavior of government officials in the state capitol. The Travis County D.A.`s office includes the state`s public integrity unit which investigates ethics allegations against Texas county officials. So, as Travis county D.A., Rosemary Lehmberg`s job, in addition to being the district attorney like they have in every other county, in addition to that, her job is also to investigate all ethics complaints against Texas state officials. Remember, she`s a Democrat. Last year, Rosemary Lehmberg, herself got into some personal trouble with the law. She was driving through Austin on a Friday night when a fellow motorist called police to report that somebody was driving erratically. Eventually, police tracked Rosemary Lehmberg down. She was parked in a church parking lot. She failed a field sobriety test, she had an open bottle of vodka in the car with her, refused to take a breathalyzer test, and she ultimately was arrested that night on DUI charges, it was a first offense. Rosemary Lehmberg spent the night in jail that night and it did not go well. She was videotaped kicking her cell door, shouting at the officers on duty that night. She eventually was put into a restraint chair at the jail. After that incident, Governor Rick Perry was among those who called on Rosemary Lehmberg to resign her job. To resign her office as Travis County district attorney. But Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down. She served about 20 days in jail, which is a long sentence for a first offense DUI, but she served her time, she apologized, and she stayed in office. That, apparently, was not good enough for Governor Rick Perry. And this is where we take the turn toward tonight`s felony indictment of Governor Perry. Last summer, the "Austin American-Statesman" newspaper reported that Texas state officials were warning Rosemary Lehmberg that if she did not resign as D.A., Governor Perry was going to strip the public integrity unit of its funding. He was going to veto funding for that unit in her office unless Ms. Lehmberg stepped down. And the reaction in Texas was that, OK, yes, some of this is about Rosemary Lehmberg`s drunk driving thing, but some of it felt more like some familiar politics. Texas is a red state, but that public integrity office for all state officials is in the office of a district attorney elected by a Democratic county. And Texas Republicans have long hated that. They have tried many times in the past to defund that office, to get this public integrity office with this Democratic D.A. off their back. Texas Republicans never succeeded before at defunding that office, but then, the D.A. who runs that office -- well, she got herself this DUI. Opportunity strikes. And so, Rick Perry made his demand that she resign. It should be noted that if she had resigned, Rick Perry would have been allowed to point her replacement. If she didn`t resign, he said he would defund that office, that office that Republicans had been trying to defund anyway. Well, Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down in the face of that threat. And Rick Perry did follow through on his threat. He vetoed $7 million in funding for that office. And Rick Perry, as governor, does have the power to veto funding measures passed by the state legislature. But a group in Texas called Texans for Public Justice, they filed an ethics complaint against Governor Perry when he did that. They were accusing him of trying to coerce a public official to resign by using the threat of withholding state funds. He plainly was doing that. They just alleged that it was illegal. This past August, a Texas judge appointed a special prosecutor to look into those charges against Governor Perry to see if his actions were illegal. That special prosecutor impaneled a grand jury in Austin. That grand jury met with Rick Perry`s chief of staff and his legislative counsel. That grand jury has met repeatedly over the last few months, and then tonight, surprise, they handed down a felony indictment, a two-count felony indictment against Governor Rick Perry of Texas -- two felony counts that accuse Governor Perry of abusing his powers as governor of Texas. Just a short time ago tonight, this soft-spoken special prosecutor in this case announced the indictment to the public. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL MCCRUM, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: The grand jury today returned a two-count indictment against James Richard Rick Perry. Count one of the indictment charges him with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony. And count two of the indictment charges him with coercion of a public servant, a third degree felony. REPORTER: Where specifically does this go from here? What`s the process, what`s the timetable? MCCRUM: Next week we`re going to set up a time for Governor Perry to come before court, to be arraigned, and given notice of his constitutional rights, and give notice of the charges against him in the statutory penalties that he`s facing. That date has not been set yet. It will be set probably Monday some time. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Rick Perry has been Texas governor since the year 2000. He was elevated from the lieutenant governor when George W. Bush was first elected president, and Rick Perry has held the office of governor ever since. He`s been governor for 14 straight years. But Governor Perry is due to leave office this upcoming January, whereupon he`d been widely expected to run for president. Although he`s still Texas governor, Rick Perry has been more frequently been in the news in Iowa these days, than he has been in his home state. But for context here, consider this -- when Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, when he was charged with his felonies, he was charged with 14 felony counts of corruption earlier this year, that was less of a surprise than these Rick Perry indictments were. It was more clear that the McDonnell indictment was coming. But in the case of Governor Bob McDonnell, prosecutors actually decided to wait until bob McDonnell was out of office before they charged him. Yes, they charged him less than two weeks after he left office as governor, but, still, the fact that they waited until he was no longer governor did spare the state of Virginia the sort of incremental dignity of having a former governor indicted on felonies instead of the man currently in charge. It also spared Virginia the humiliation of having to decide if it would be OK to keep their governor in his job while he was under felony indictment or if they would have to force him out. They didn`t have to make that decision, they didn`t have to worry about that in Virginia, because prosecutors waited to indict Bob McDonnell until he was just out of office. Didn`t go down that way in Texas, though. Today, in Rick Perry`s case, prosecutors decided to not spare Texas that same humiliation. Rick Perry is still the serving governor of the state of Texas. And so what happens now? The Texas Democratic Party is also -- excuse me, has already released a statement calling for Governor Perry to step down, to resign as Texas governor because of these felony charges today. Late tonight, Governor Perry`s office released a statement about the indictment. "The veto in question," it says, "was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution. We will continue to aggressively defend the governor` lawful and constitutional action and believe we will ultimately prevail." Of course, it remains to be seen how likely Governor Perry is to be convicted of these two felony charges, but can he stay in office while he is under indictment? What does this do to the rest of Texas politics around him in the meantime? And, I mean -- I don`t mean to be too petty about this, but does this for sure mean we`re not all going to get to experience the untrammeled joy of Rick Perry running for president again? Joining us now is Tony Plohetski. He`s an investigative reporter for "The Austin American-Statesmen" and has been covering this story since day one. Mr. Plohetski, thanks very much for being with us. I appreciate it. TONY PLOHETSKI, AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN: Yes, good to see you, Rachel. MADDOW: So, you`ve covered this from day one and intensively. I have to ask you if I screwed anything up in my summary there. Did I get anything wrong? PLOHETSKI: No, that was actually a really good summary of the events that have really transpired over the past year and few months, you know, beginning with Rosemary Lehmberg`s DUI arrest in April 2013, and then, of course, culminating today. MADDOW: Can you tell from your reporting, some sense of how solid the case is against the governor? I mean, was this indictment a foregone conclusion or does the fact that this indictment come down mean that prosecutors are very confident that they`re going to be able to get a conviction here? How tight this case? PLOHETSKI: You know, let me just tell you, this was a real bombshell to a lot of people in Austin`s legal community. I had been talking to attorneys, prosecutors, defense attorneys here in Travis County for several weeks, leading up to today`s indictment. And virtually no one thought that there would be an indictment in this case. MADDOW: Wow. PLOHETSKI: The only signal that there might be an indictment was an interview I actually conducted several months ago in April with Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor in this case. At that point, he did say that he is deeply concerned about the governor`s actions. But beyond that, that was the only signal that the governor might ultimately be indicted, as he was today. MADDOW: So, the governor`s office response, I would say, broadly Texas Republicans response has been to try to cast it as a political prosecution, trying to criminalize normal political behavior, some sort of witch hunt against the governor. In terms of Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor here, is he seen as a partisan figure? Does he have a Democratic partisan past that`s been part of the case that Republicans have made against this investigation from the beginning? PLOHETSKI: Well, of course, he would say no. He would say he`s worked on both sides of the aisle. He`s a former U.S. attorney, assistant U.S. attorney. He worked under both the Bush administration, he was up to become a U.S. attorney for a district in Texas under the Barack Obama administration, but then pulled his name from the running. So he would say, you know, he was no strong political affiliations either way. MADDOW: OK. Do you think that Governor Perry is definitely going to sort of proceed business as usual, stay in office while fighting these charges, continue to essentially downplay them the way he has thus far, even though he`s now been indicted? PLOHETSKI: Under the law, he certainly can stay in office. And I think most people will anticipate he will stay in office and continue doing his job as governor. MADDOW: In terms of the landscape of Texas politics around him, but also the possibility of him running for president again, he seemed, you know, he spent so much time in Iowa, that alone makes him seen like he definitely wants to run again. Do you have any sense of what this is going to do to the Texas governor`s race to succeed him, Texas politics more broadly around him, or the possibility of him running for president? PLOHETSKI: You know, I think most Republicans will tell you, listen, this is a trumped up charge against a governor of the state of Texas, you know? And, that moving forward, he will continue to fight these charges and ultimately be acquitted. That is at least his position. His position is, listen, yes, I vetoed the money, but I used my constitutional right as governor of the state of Texas to do so. And that is his position. But then you have others, including, apparently, this grand jury, who say, wait, not so fast. Yes, you may have constitutional veto authority, but you can`t attach a threat to that veto authority. MADDOW: Exactly. You may have the constitutional right to vote, for example, you don`t have the constitutional right to sell your vote. Your action itself is not necessarily independently evaluated from its motives in a case like this, at least that`s the allegations. This is a fascinating story. Thanks for helping us understand it, Tony. I really appreciate it. PLOHETSKI: You bet. Good to see you. MADDOW: Thank you. You, too. Tony Plohetski is an investigative reporter for "The Austin American- Statesman," and "The Austin American-Statesmen" have done so much of the important work in terms of reporting this out for the nation and, Tony, specifically. It`s a big deal. Again, the breaking news tonight that Texas Governor Rick Perry has been indicted by an Austin grand jury. It`s two felony counts, including one that carries a potential prison term of up to 99 years in prison. We`ll keep you posted as we learn more. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is a live shot of protests underway right now, tonight in Ferguson, Missouri. Nobody quite knows how things are going to proceed over the evening hours tonight in Ferguson, but as you can see, it is raining there and there are still tons of people out in the streets, both in their cars and also just on the sidewalks and in the streets. And there might have been tons of people turning out tonight in Ferguson, regardless of what happened today in that city, but what did happen today in that city is pretty stunning. What the local police decided to do in the middle of this powder keg in Ferguson, Missouri, today, it really was just stunning stuff. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THOMAS JACKSON, FERGUSON, MO. POLICE CHIEF: Captain Johnson and I just spoke about our communication breakdown and we -- I talked to Chief Belmar about this. We talked to the command post out there, but I did not personally call him. I should have done that. I`m still in the county being in charge mode. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I`m still in the county being in charge mode. That`s the local police chief of Ferguson, Missouri, saying that he`s still in the county being in charge mode. He still what he means is, reporting to St. Louis County, still in that mode, even though the county is no longer in charge of what`s going on in Ferguson. And that`s really important, because the county was in charge and we know what happened. They were in charge of four days of violent armored militarized police tactics that turned Ferguson, Missouri into this. What the county did when they were in charge horrified the whole country, it earned vocal criticism from editorial boards across the country, from politicians of both parties, up to and including the president of the United States. When St. Louis County was in charge in Ferguson, this was their response to the protests of a community concerned about police excessive use of force. Yes, surprisingly, these kinds of tactics did not cool down local concerns about mostly white police using too much force against citizens in a mostly black town. And so, because this is what they did when they were in charge, the county is no longer in charge in Ferguson. The county was taken out of command in policing the protests in Ferguson yesterday by Missouri`s Governor Jay Nixon. And the results of that change in command was a remarkable U-turn, a total turnaround in the policing of the protests. The state highway patrol took command, under Captain Ronald Johnson, who you see here. He ordered officers to take off their SWAT gear, to get out of their armored vehicles, to stop taking up sniper positions and armored turrets and pointing guns at people protesting. Captain Johnson and his senior officers, they walked with protesters, as the protesters marched in Ferguson yesterday. Captain Johnson himself walked the length of last night`s giant protest in Ferguson, speaking with protesters throughout, occasionally getting an earful, but being there, no armor, no helmet, treating people like human beings, protecting their right to protests, pledging to continue to do that and to listen. There were no roadblocks last night in Ferguson, no 911 calls, no tear gas, no arrests. And that`s true even though more people appeared to have turned out to protest last night than in any previous night since the shooting. The initial crisis in Ferguson was the police shooting this past weekend of that unarmed 18-year-old, Mike Brown. That crisis was created by that police shooting. Police behavior then also created the following crisis, which was the war zone style incompetent, extreme use of force police rioting, right? That secondary crisis took a major turn for the better in the last 24 hours, because somebody else was put in charge, and the county was taken out of charge, because of their failure. But there is still -- well, that`s the subsequent crisis. Right, there is still the original problem, the police killing this teenager this past weekend. And today, the potential peaceful and constructive resolution of that crisis, that went, frankly, completely off the rails, because, apparently, the local police chief in Ferguson, Missouri, is not making the adjustment. He said, he`s still in the county being in charge mode. It`s clear that the local police chief is not recognizing that there is any problem with how things have been in Ferguson, or that there is any expectation now that things will start to be handled better. Because today, even after last night`s breakthrough on the streets, today, it was just a disaster in terms of the prospects for a constructive resolution of this police shooting case. Today began with that local police chief, Ferguson police chief, Tom Jackson, holding a big highly anticipated press event that turned out to be a little bit bizarre. Chief Jackson announced this as a press event, but then announced at the start that he would not be taking any questions from the press. He said he wanted to present all of his information, and then give everyone time to digest it. That was his words. And then he promised he would answer questions about it later. What he presented for digestion was this: surveillance footage taken from inside a convenience store in Ferguson, Missouri, shows two young men walking in. They apparently steal a pack of cigars and in the course of doing that, one of the young men has a shoving, kind of violent confrontation with an employee at the store. The Ferguson police chief, without warning, released this video today and explained that Michael Brown, the teenager who was shot and killed by a member of his police department, was the suspect in the surveillance. That Michael Brown was suspected of what the police chief called a strong arm robbery, that happened shortly before Mr. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer. Now, to be clear, nobody has confirmed that the young man in that surveillance video is, in fact, Michael Brown, but Ferguson police today said they think that it`s him. Now, everybody expected that the huge news out of that press event this morning was going to be the naming of the officer who shot and killed Mike Brown. And they did name that officer. It`s Officer Darren Wilson. But they also, with very little context as to why they were releasing it, released this convenience store video. They gave no chance for reporters to ask questions this morning, they dropped this bomb into the story and said, they`d answer questions later. They also released this police incident report from that alleged robbery, captured in that surveillance video, right, they said Michael Brown was a suspect in. They released that incident report from the convenience store incident, but released the no incident report from the shooting in which Michael Brown was killed. So, that was how the Ferguson police department began the day today, surprises all around. Around that same time, though, this morning, Captain Ronald Johnson, he was, again, out in the streets. He went down to the QuikTrip convenience store, which has become sort of the epicenter of the protests. He again met on the street, man to man, one on one with protesters. He not only met with them, he actually told a group of protesters there that he wanted to personally escort them to a press conference, so that members of the community and not just the media could get their questions answered. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: I don`t think that we should just have a press conference and not have anybody, the activists, the leaders down here. So I came down here today. I can`t take the whole crowd, but I am going to take a select group. The governor is going to be there. And that way, we can answer questions that the crowd has. It`s my hope that gentleman like this, and some other leaders within this group will be able to ask questions that are reflective of the group here, because they`ve been here. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The governor is going to be there, so you guys should come too. Captain Johnson followed through on that. He did bring members of the community, people protesting in the streets, to that press conference, so they could get their questions answered. And at that press conference, there was this dramatic moment when the journalists really wanted Captain Johnson to speak into the microphone, so they could record him for the press. But the people he had invited to that press conference couldn`t hear him, when he was speaking into the press` microphones. And then this is how that went down. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHNSON: I`ll stand here, but if the crowd can`t hear me, then I`m going to step out there, and they can tell you what I say. Because I`m here to make sure they hear what I`m talking about. I`m going to step out here. MEDIA: Oh, you`re killing us! Take the mic with you. JOHNSON: Stop for a minute. The people of our community need to hear what I`m saying. They`ve got questions and I invited them here. This isn`t about Ron Johnson, this isn`t about the highway patrol, this isn`t about St. Louis County, St. Louis City. It is about the people that live in our community. When this day is over, a lot of people will be gone. The people behind you will be here, and I`ll be here. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Captain Johnson emphatically making the point that he`s there for the people of the community, not for the people in the media, you know, not us who are watching this unfold from thousands of miles away. He`s for the people who live there, who aren`t going to leave when the media scrum there is over. But there was another amazing moment at that press conference today, when Captain Johnson was asked about that surprise surveillance video that was released earlier today by the Ferguson police chief. The one Ferguson police say shows Michael Brown committing a crime. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHNSON: I have not seen the video. I was watching the news this morning when I heard that it came out, so I have not seen that. So it would be hard for me to comment on that. I really can`t tell you what it is, because I saw it on the news this morning along with everybody else. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: This is the guy in charge. He did not know the Ferguson police were going to be releasing that video, which might potentially have an impact on how people feel in Ferguson. He heard about it by watching the news. So, that was weird. But things got even weird today from that point on, because by this point in the day, which is 2:00 p.m. Central Time at this point, the Ferguson police had announced their second press conference. The local police had announced their second press conference, the one where the chief was finally going to answer everyone`s questions, now that they`d had time to digest. Except in their case, they sent out a statement to the media, asking reporters not to tell any non-reporters about this big press conference. What they called a Q&A with the Ferguson chief of police. Quote, "Please use discretion in the dissemination of this information, as we want it to be an opportunity for the chief to address the media only without the distractions of large crowds." Those large crowds of real people, very, very distracting. They always want to talk about the stuff that you are so grossly mishandling, such a distraction. It was at the second press conference that the Ferguson police chief addressed what he called a breakdown in communication, where he says he forgot to tell the guy in charge, he forgot to tell Captain Johnson that he was going to drop this bombshell on the community today in the form of that surveillance video. He said, he thought he was still dealing with his old bosses over at county, the way they used to do it. And at that second press conference today, Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson, he went on to give a series of frankly confusing and contradictory statements about why he released that surveillance video today. Why he released that video today at the same time as he released the name of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. At first, he explained that he had to release the surveillance footage, because journalists had forced him too. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JACKSON: We got a lot of freedom of information requests for this tape and at some point, it was just determined that we had to release it. We didn`t have good cause, absent any other reason to not release it. What I did was release the videotape to you, because I had to. I`ve been sitting on it. But too many people put in a flag for request for that thing and I had to release it. REPORTER: Why would you release the video of the robbery? What`s the explanation for the timing of it? JACKSON: Because you asked for it? You asked for it. I held for it as long as I could. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So many journalists were clamoring for that surveillance video from a nearby convenience store that they had to release it and it had to be on the same day they named the policeman who shot and killed Michael Brown. OK, natural next question, was Michael Brown`s alleged crime at all relevant to the fact that he was shot and killed on the street? Did the officer who shot and kill him stop Mike Brown because he knew Mr. Brown was a suspect in a robbery that had just happened? According to the police chief at this afternoon`s press conference, nope, there was no connection between those two events. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JACKSON: The initial contact between the officer and Mr. Brown was not related to the robbery. REPORTER: What are you saying, Chief? Did he know that he was a suspect in a case or did he not know? JACKSON: No, he didn`t. REPORTER: He did not know -- REPORTER: It had nothing to do with the stop? JACKSON: It had nothing to do with the stop. REPORTER: Why did he stop Michael Brown? JACKSON: Because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Chief Jackson then went on to call the officer named in the Michael Brown shooting a quiet man and a gentle man. But about an hour after he made it clear in that presser that the alleged robbery that they released the tape of, right, the alleged robbery and the shooting of Michael Brown, after he made clear that those two things were totally unrelated, Chief Jackson then told the local newspaper, told the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch", that actually, the officer who killed Mike Brown, quote, "saw cigars in Michael Brown`s hands and realized he might be the robber." So, the stopping of Mike Brown by that officer and the shooting of Mike Brown by that officer were related to the surveillance video convenience store? They were? Chief Jackson tried to clarify his comments again this evening. He told NBC News that the officer saw the cigars in Michael Brown`s hand, quote, "at some point during the encounter." We do not know at what point, we do not know if it was before or after Mike Brown had already been shot and killed. Mike Brown`s family and his attorney held their own press conference today, in which they said that the release of this surveillance video, the release of this video of Mr. Brown being an alleged suspect in a crime was an tempt to assassinate his character after his death. And they told reporters that no one had contacted them from the Ferguson Police Department to let them know that these surveillance videos and allegations against their son would be made public today. They learned about it on the news, too. Michael Brown`s family called for people to continue to protest peacefully today and tonight. They asked that protests remain calm and peaceful. The state highway patrol will be in charge of policing these protests tonight, as they were last night, when they succeeded in accomplishing that remarkable turnaround at those protests, with no arrests and no injuries. The local officials here were relieved of managing the policing of protests in reaction to Michael Brown`s death because they badly mishandled that job. They made the situation worse and not better. Maybe it is time for them also to be relieved of managing the information about this case too, because all throughout the day today, very highly sensitive information, very potentially explosive information was issued in a contradictory and confusing way and presented in an incredibly inflammatory way by a police chief who just frankly cannot seem to keep his story straight. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Captain, does the release of the officer`s name and also the security footage showing the suspect possibly involved in a strong-armed robbery change the dynamics, any new challenges from that? JOHNSON: I think the release of the name is what was requested by the community and they`ve gotten it. I have not seen the video. I was watching the news this morning when I heard that it came out, so I have not seen that. So it would be hard for me to comment on that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would he release on the same day as the officer`s name? It seems to be coordinated. JOHNSON: I can`t -- that may have been a question to ask Chief Jackson this morning. REPORTER: Why would you release the video of the robbery? What`s the explanation for the timing of it? JACKSON: Because you asked for it. You asked for it. I held it for as long as I could. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Those are two faces of law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri, right now. Ferguson police apparently not notifying other law enforcement today before releasing to the press surveillance video that they say shows a strong arm robbery in a convenience store, a robbery in which they say 18-year-old Michael Brown was apparently a suspect. Ferguson police department, without warning, put out that video surveillance today. They also revealed the name of the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown at the same time. The Ferguson police initially said the video of that alleged robbery and the shooting of Michael Brown were totally unrelated incidents. The officer who shot Mr. Brown did not know that he was a suspect in that robbery when Mr. Brown was killed. Then, later, the police chief changed that story and said maybe the officer did know that Mr. Brown had cigars on him at the time and knew they came from that robbery, maybe. It`s been a day of surprises, unwelcome surprises, and changing stories from the Ferguson police department, at a very sensitive moment in Ferguson, Missouri. Joining us now is Anthony Gray. He`s an attorney for Michael Brown`s family. Mr. Gray, I know this is an incredibly difficult time for you and a busy one. Thank you for being with us. ANTHONY GRAY, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN`S FAMILY: Thank you so much, Rachel, for having me. MADDOW: I have to ask, when you and the Brown family first knew about the existence of this video from the convenience store, did you know it existed? Did you have any idea that it was going to be released? GRAY: I had some idea that there was some video out there that depicted the images of Michael Brown Jr. I didn`t know where it was from. Actually, we thought it was video footage from the QuikTrip that was burned down right around the corner from the shooting. And then we learned it`s not video from that particular location. So I saw it for the first time as the world witnessed it on nationwide TV after the chief made a strategic decision to release it. MADDOW: What is your reaction as an attorney for the Brown family and what also is the Brown family`s reaction to this having been released. Clearly, one of the surprises today was that the police chief in Ferguson apparently decided to release this without ever notifying other law enforcement, let alone you, that this was coming. GRAY: Well, they were surprised. I mean, they haven`t even had a chance to digest what happened on that Saturday afternoon in broad daylight, to their child. They haven`t had a chance to plan the funeral. They haven`t had a chance to make some of the essential living arrangements, but now, they have to contend with yet another attack on their child, on top of what they were already dealing with. So you can imagine the initial grief being compounded right now by the strategic release of this information. MADDOW: Do you think the release of this video is an effort to muddy the water around the shooting itself? To color, essentially, the narrative that the police are explaining to the public about what happened there, even as they`re not releasing, say the incident report from the shooting itself? GRAY: Rachel, what other explanation is there? What other explanation is there to release a video that has absolutely nothing to do with the moments right before Michael Brown Jr. was gunned down in broad daylight? What does it have to do with anything? MADDOW: In terms of what -- how this has moved forward, one of the things that has been hard to get a handle on from a distance, at least, is the number of eyewitnesses to the shooting of Mr. Brown. Initially, there did not appear to be many eyewitness accounts. Now some people have come forward and have been speaking out. Do you know how many eyewitnesses there are and whether they have been involved in the formal investigation? GRAY: I do not know the exact number of eyewitnesses. You just have to keep in mind that all of this happened on a Saturday afternoon in broad daylight. I would imagine there are witnesses out there that probably don`t realize that they are critical. They probably feel that what they have, as eyewitness testimony, has already been told to authorities, and don`t necessarily consider themselves essential. So, I don`t know the number, I don`t know how many people have come out, and I know they have picked and prodded apart the various different versions of events, because they`re seen at different angles. So -- but everybody`s consistent with one fact. I just want to point this out, that moments before Michael Brown Jr. was shot by this police officer, he had his hands in the air, as a universal sign of surrender. And that`s the time that pretty much everybody`s consistent with that particular fact. MADDOW: Over the past six days, so much has happened. There`s been so much turmoil and upset, and now we finally have the name of the officer who apparently shot Mr. Brown. Now, we also have this controversial video released, showing the convenience store incident. What do you think, what does the family think should be the focus going forward? We can have those protests happening behind you. We know there`s still a lot of anger on the streets. GRAY: The family has asked me to make sure that I convey to everybody listening, do not get agitated or provoked by this effort to assassinate the character of Michael Brown Jr. Sometimes, where somebody is aggravating and agitating people, they lash out. And they lash back. This family is asking that you don`t take the bait, don`t fall for the banana in the tailpipe, remain peaceful, remain organized, and do not resort to any type of violence whatsoever as a result of what people feel is an intentional attack, by law enforcement, against the community. And sometimes people have a tendency to respond with equal force, and we`re asking that you do not do that. That you remain calm and remain peaceful. MADDOW: Anthony Gray, an attorney for Michael Brown`s family -- thank you so much for your time tonight, sir. I know there`s a lot of pressure on you for your time. GRAY: Thank you for having me. MADDOW: Thank you. I appreciate it. All right. Much more ahead. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Here`s something to keep an eye on in the news for very late tonight. Late tonight, midnight Eastern, polls are going to close in the teeniest, tiniest, tiniest, smallest, little teeny, teeniest smallest, tiniest election that has ever been held to elect who is likely to be a United States senator. Two precincts on the big island of Hawaii were unable to vote in the Democratic primary for Senate last weekend because of tropical storms. Those two precincts are in an area called Puna, which is still very, very hard hit. A lot of residents don`t have power and don`t have water and there`s trees down everywhere. But there`s about 8,300 registered voters in those two precincts who have not yet voted and who are now going to be asked to vote, after everybody else has voted, to decide between the two Democratic candidates for United States Senate in Hawaii -- the serving senator, Brian Schatz, and a very strong challenger, Colleen Hanabusa. There`s only about 1,600 votes difference between them heading into not a recount, but this teeny, tiny, little mini election that`s being held tonight to try to decide that race. Democrats are very dominant in Hawaii, whoever wins this primary tonight is likely to be the next U.S. senator, but this election tonight in Puna, Hawaii, again, where polls close at midnight, is likely to be the smallest election ever held to define the fate of a United States Senate seat from an American state. Watch that tonight. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So the late-breaking political bombshell tonight is the news that Texas Republican governor and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry has been indicted tonight by a grand jury in Texas. Two felony charges related to abuse of power. The special prosecutor in that case says he expects to work out details on Monday about when Governor Perry will have to come into the courthouse in Austin for his arraignment and to get his mug shot taken and to get his fingerprints taken. That news broke at about 7:00 p.m. Eastern tonight. But Rick Perry is not the only Republican governor with presidential hopes and gray hair to now be facing multiple felony criminal charges. Today in court in Richmond, Virginia, the judge hearing the Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell felony corruption trial made an important ruling. That judge had been asked by Mr. McDonnell`s defense counsel today to dismiss all the corruption charges, throw the Bob McDonnell case out of court, the judge heard those arguments but refused, and that means the trial is going to go forward. And we`re at a key moment. The prosecution in the Bob McDonnell corruption case has now finished making its case. And so, something to watch for on Monday is that Monday`s the day that the defense of the former governor is going to take up its side of the case. And this is a really high stakes thing. Bob McDonnell and his wife are facing decades, possibly life in prison for these 14 felonies they`re charged with. And from the opening statements at the start of the trial, we have had a little bit of a preview as to what their defense is going to be. We know that somewhat bizarrely it seems like the defense on the McDonnell side is likely to believe that Mr. McDonnell and Mrs. McDonnell had a terrible marriage, and so, therefore, they couldn`t have been conspiring together. They also appeared to be planning to argue that all of the worst evidence of corruption is actually attributable to Mrs. McDonnell. And since she`s not an elected official, she`s not a public official, therefore, her actions technically can`t be corrupt. So, we`ll get to see them mount that defense starting on Monday. But if you don`t like that defense, which we think is what we`re going to get starting on Monday, the other defense that Bob McDonnell`s allies are mounting for him has started not in the courtroom but outside the courtroom at a place called the 700 Club. Pat Robertson, televangelist Pat Robertson is a dear supporter of Bob McDonnell. Pat Robertson has been a campaign donor for him. Bob McDonnell has been a trustee of Pat Robertson`s university, which is where Bob McDonnell did his master thesis as an adult student,. That`s where he wrote his master`s thesis where he argued that government policy should favor married couples over cohabitators, homosexuals and fornicators. So, Bob McDonnell has long ties to televangelist Pat Robertson. And the beyond the courtroom political defense now being mounted for Bob McDonnell by Pat Robertson is not that the McDonnell`s had a bad marriage or that he didn`t actually get all those gifts and cash and the awesome loaner Ferrari from the wealthy businessman with the magic tobacco pills that he (INAUDIBLE). Now, the televangelist defense of McDonnell, coming directly from Pat Robertson now is that the case against Bob McDonnell is a secret Obama plot, it`s a secret Obama plot in which a fantastically Attorney General Eric Holder tried to derail Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign. You know how they say you can`t make this stuff up? Turns out Pat Robertson can. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: Bob was candidate for vice president, without question. And he would have been on the short list of Mitt Romney, the vice president. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. ROBERTSON: Eric Holder is the guy -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The attorney general. ROBERTSON: He`s behind all this stuff. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure, because he, as the chief -- the attorney general to make the decision, this is -- if you looked at the facts objectively and say this is a political prosecution. ROBERTSON: One more reason why this administration is just destroying this nation and is destroying its own credibility. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The Bob McDonnell is just another way that President Obama is destroying the nation. I realize that televangelism is not necessary hue close to the historical record, but this defense honestly doesn`t even make sense as a conspiracy theory. I mean, Mitt Romney had already picked Paul Ryan to be his running mate in August of 2012. "The Washington Post" didn`t report the first allegations about Bob McDonnell`s corruption until the following year, until March 2013. For Pat Robertson`s theory to work, Eric Holder would have to climb atop planet earth, get to the equator I guess, he`d have to run backwards so fast that he could reverse time, like the flying Superman did. Except Holder would be more like (INAUDIBLE) keep running until he spun the planet back through time, from the moment the McDonnell scandal broke back seven months before Mitt Romney had not picked Paul Ryan yet, and then Mitt Romney could pick Bob McDonnell instead the way God intended, if only Eric Holder had not messed it up seven months after the fact. I do not know exactly how Pat Robertson intends to bend the space time continuum in his mighty televangelist hands for the defense of Bob McDonnell, but I will admit to being ready to make the popcorn and wait patiently for the miracle to happen. The prosecution has rested. The defense of Bob McDonnell in court starts on Monday. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is the sixth straight night of protests in Ferguson, Missouri. This is a live shot right now. After a police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown this past weekend, Mr. Brown`s family today calling for people to continue to protest. But family`s attorney, Vincent Gray telling us tonight the family asked them to convey to everyone tonight: do not get agitated or provoked. Remain peaceful, remain organized and do not resort to any type of violence whatsoever, as a result of what people feel is an intentional attack by law enforcement against the community. He said, sometimes people have a tendency to respond with equal force. We`re asking you do not do that, that you remain calm and remain peaceful. Those words tonight from Vincent Gray on this show. Attorney for the Brown family, speaking tonight asking us to convey those words to everybody in Ferguson as a sixth straight night of protests continue there on this rainy sixth night. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again Monday. Thanks for being with us. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END