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Potential Levy Breach Could Threaten Homes in Lumberton, N.C.; Border Patrol Supervisor Confesses to Serial Murders in Texas; Who is Kavanaugh's Friend Mark Judge; Sen. Orrin Hatch Talks Kavanaugh Allegations; Chinese Actress Missing Since June. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired September 17, 2018 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:42] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: The Carolinas inundated by days of torrential rain and wind, now preparing for the worst, which is yet to come. The remnants of Hurricane Florence now moving through Virginia and slowly making its way out of the Carolinas, but not before dropping record amounts of rainfall, misery, catastrophic flooding. Rivers continue to rise, many yet to crest. Roads and even some train tracks are just totally washed out. Access to cities, completely cut off by historic flooding that could last for several more days.
This storm claiming the lives of 20 people so far. More than a thousand people have been rescued and now more waiting for help to arrive.
Right now, one of the most-dire situations is unfolding in Lumberton, North Carolina. A temporary levy is in serious danger of breaching. The break could threaten hundreds of homes.
Polo Sandoval is there for us.
And what's the situation with the levee, Polo?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two key points here, access and rescues. The first is rescues. We have mentioned many of these rescues take place on this street here in Lumberton, turned into a boat ramp. We have seen these volunteers come and go. In fact, a little while ago, we may have some video of this woman and her puppies getting rescued from her home. She says this is much worse than what they witnessed during Hurricane Matthew about two years ago. Some good news here, some officials telling us the majority of areas that were deeply affected were evacuated. And a lot of that has to do with what you just mentioned, that temporary barrier, that temporary levee that was erected in a certain part of town where the waters breached two years ago. We were with the coast guard and watched as that levee was compromised. The water was seeping through the rubble that was used to reinforce that. However, that bought people time to head to higher ground. And we're told thousands of people are already safe since the Lumberton river crested overnight.
The other issue, access. Getting in and out of this area is approving to be quite a challenge, even for us, too, as we try to get around, first responders, as well, as we try to get to one part of the city to another. That's because when the river crested overnight, it spilled on to I-95. That's a major route that's used for people headed north and south. So that is something to keep in mind here, is the few people that are here may be stuck here for a while now. The Lumber River itself has gone down three feet since it's crested, but that means this floodwater isn't going to go anywhere anytime soon. It's still in neighborhoods. It's still covering streets, and it could be days before the waters recede.
Last thing, Brooke, I can tell you, though, people are certainly keeping it together. They are leaning on each other, not just for the rescues, but also as they try to get through this limited access to various parts of town. They are getting too good at this, since it's been only two years since Hurricane Matthew left behind widespread devastation. I was here then, speaking to many people, who say it seems like history is repeating itself.
BALDWIN: I know the town is hoping to avoid that.
Polo, thank you so much, in Lumberton, North Carolina.
Meantime, she is the romance novelist who wrote a piece called "How to Murder Your Husband." Today, she appeared in court charged with murdering her husband. We'll tell you what happened.
[14:34:01] And in a stunning story, a Border Patrol agent confesses to being a serial killer. We'll speak with the D.A. who says, if not for her daring escape, she would have been his next victim.
BALDWIN: She is the romance novelist who once wrote an article entitled, "How to Murder Your Husband." She is now charged with murdering her husband. And today she was in court. Nancy Crampton Brophy pleading not guilty today in a Portland, Oregon, courtroom. Her husband of 27 years was found shot to death at the Oregon Culinary Institute where he worked, back in June. This romance novelist once wrote a 700-word essay detailing the pros and cons of killing one's husband.
A supervisor for the U.S. Border Patrol is being labeled a serial killer after a would-be victim narrowly escaped and alerted police. Juan Ortiz is charged with four counts of murder and one count of kidnapping. Investigators say he confessed to killing four sex workers, all of them women, along the Texas border near Laredo. All of these victims were shot in the head. Investigators say Ortiz killed two of the women early Saturday while on the run after pulling a gun on a fifth woman who escaped and alerted a state trooper.
So Webb County District Attorney Mr. Isidro Alaniz is with me now.
Mr. Alaniz, thank you for being with me.
Just begin with, how did you get him?
ISIDRO ALANIZ, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, WEBB COUNTY, TEXAS: This case broke up when an individual, a female, was able to escape from Mr. Ortiz on September the 14th of 2018 at approximately 9:00 p.m. She was in his pickup truck. She feared for her life and was able to escape at a gas station. He pulled a gun on her and grabbed her and she was able to escape, herself free. He took -- he grabbed her shirt, pulled her shirt off, and at that time, she was able to exit the truck. Luckily, there was a trooper fueling up at the gas station and she ran to the trooper for help, at which time we believe that Ortiz drove away.
[14:40:23] BALDWIN: And she -- it's my understanding, she had been talking about one of her friends who happened to be one of the women who he had been with, who had gone missing. She had a funny feeling. She runs, authorities eventually catch him, and he confesses. Was he cooperative or no?
ALANIZ: OK, that's right. She's able to make a very courageous escape. She feared for her life when the subject did come up about a friend of hers that had been killed about a week or more before. She felt, at some point in time, when she was in his truck, that her life was in danger, so she makes the escape. The trooper takes her to the sheriff's office, where she provides detailed information on the subject. She tells investigators that she knows where Ortiz lives, she knows what he drives, she knew him by the name of David. With that information, authorities were able to put a lookout for his truck. And it was later on, the next morning, about 1:00 a.m., when he was found and confronted at a gas station on San Bernardo Avenue. He made his escape to a parking lot, which at about 2:00 a.m., he was taken without incident.
At first, he was not cooperative, selective memory, I guess it could be best described, that he had selective memory about the details. But he was read his Miranda warnings and eventually confronted with evidence and other details, he decided to confess to the four murders.
BALDWIN: And this Mr. Ortiz, 10-year veteran of the Border Patrol, in my understanding, worked in intelligence. Did he indicate why he wanted to kill these women? Why these sex workers?
ALANIZ: This -- this case, I believe, started as a personal crime. The first victim that he killed, we believe the evidence is going to show that there was some sort of personal relationship with this first sex worker. He kills that individual and then eventually we believe that this developed into a scheme of a certain group of the community. Prostitution is a crime in the state of Texas. We believe that his crimes eventually began to target this group of individuals. Unfortunately, these people had drug addictions, had very -- their lives were very risky. And so, I think for him, they made the perfect victims. But we're --
BALDWIN: Do you --
ALANIZ: I want to applaud the work of the Texas Rangers and the sheriff's office and DPS in bringing this man into custody.
BALDWIN: Do you think -- last quick question -- no, it's been extraordinary work for you guys in Texas. Had this most recent woman not escaped, what are her chances that she could have been next? ALANIZ: One-hundred percent, in my opinion. I've been an attorney
more than 23 years, and the district attorney for 10 years. I'm very certain that she was going to face the same fate as these other individuals. And she saw an opportunity, very bravely escaped --
BALDWIN: And she ran.
ALANIZ: And she ran. And you know, a lot of times, in law enforcement, we need some luck. And luck was on our side, you know. And obviously, she had her guardian angel looking out for her, too, because of her escape, we're able to bring this monster into custody.
BALDWIN: Well done.
Isidro Alaniz, thank you so much.
ALANIZ: Thank you.
[14:44:38] BALDWIN: Coming up next here on CNN, the woman now at the center of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation battle says another person was in the room when he allegedly assaulted her. So who is Kavanaugh's friend, Mark Judge? We'll tell you, next.
BALDWIN: The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault says there was another person in the room who witnessed this alleged attack. Christine Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh's friend, Mark Judge, was there when he tried to take her clothes off. She also claims both were drunk at the time. Judge strongly denied the allegation in an interview with the "Weekly Standard" on Friday, saying, quote, "It's absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way.
CNN's justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, is me now.
So tell me more about Mark Judge.
[14:49:50] JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: So, Brooke, we know that judge has spoken out, saying it's absolutely not true. But he was a classmate of Brett Kavanaugh's at Georgetown prep in the early '80s. And this accuser does say that Mark Judge was in the room when Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her. She told the "Washington Post" this weekend that she was trapped in a bedroom at that party with Kavanaugh and Judge and she said that Kavanaugh pinned her to the bed, at which point she claims that Mark Judge jumped on top of all of them, which sent all of them tumbling, and that's when she says she was able to escape and run from the room.
But Mark Judge denies any of this happened, that was to the "Weekly Standard," said the accusations were nuts. And he also told the "New York Times" that Kavanaugh was a brilliant student at Georgetown prep, he loved sports, and was not into anything, quote, "crazy or illegal." So right now, Mark Judge disputing this account of sexual assault. Of course, Brett Kavanaugh's disputed it, too. And Mark Judge, in the meantime, also vouching for Brett Kavanaugh's character here, because they did go to school together in the early '80s at Georgetown Prep just outside of Washington, D.C. -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: Tell me more about Mark Judge's writings later in life and how it speaks to, you know, just how -- how he behaved as a teenager back in high school.
SCHNEIDER: That's exactly what's coming under some scrutiny here. So Mark Judge has written a few memoirs here, where he details his addiction, his addiction to alcohol. And in one memoir, he does seem to allude to Brett Kavanaugh, possibly. He sort of changed some of the names, creative license. He talked about a prep school. It wasn't called Georgetown Prep in his memoir. He renamed that slightly. And he also referred to a Bart O'Kavanaugh. So some people are taking that to saying that he was alluding to Brett Kavanaugh there. In the memoir, he also talked about a Bart O'Kavanaugh who had partied heavily, who had gotten sick in a friend's car after a party. Now some people are looking at that saying, wait a minute, what exactly was the atmosphere here, the partying that they did in high school.
But none of this alludes to any sort of an assault. And Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh, all of them denying that this ever happened -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: Jessica Schneider, thank you for that angle.
We're also now hearing from Republican Senator Orrin Hatch. He just commented on this. He had had a conversation with Kavanaugh.
This is what he told Manu Raju.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ORRIN HATCH, (R), UTAH: I talked to him on the phone today.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What did he say to you?
HATCH: Well, he didn't do that, and he wasn't at the party. So, you know, clearly, somebody's mixed up.
RAJU: He said he wasn't at the party that she's referring to?
HATCH: Yes. Yes.
RAJU: And how long did you talk to him for?
HATCH: Oh, 10 minutes or so.
RAJU: And was he --
HATCH: Could have been longer, I -- it could have been longer, I don't know.
RAJU: Was he upset?
HATCH: Yes, I'd say he's upset. But he handled it well. He's a very strong, decent man.
RAJU: And you believe him?
HATCH: Yes, I sure do.
RAJU: Do you believe the accuser at all or --
HATCH: Well, I think she's mistaken. I think she's -- she's mistaken something that I don't know. I mean, I don't know her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, again, he says Kavanaugh wasn't even at the party.
Ahead here, the most famous actress in China vanishes without a trace. What happened to her? We have that story, next.
And it is one of the most significant developments in the entire special counsel investigation. The president's former campaign chairman, now cooperating with the special counsel, Robert Mueller. Why Ken Starr, the former independent counsel in the Whitewater scandal, says this means, quote, "We're getting much closer to getting the truth," next.
[14:58:06] BALDWIN: It is a mystery worthy of the blockbuster she stars in. One of China's most famous faces has gone missing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Actress Fan Bingbing is best known in the U.S. for her roles in the "X-Men" franchise. She hasn't been seen since June. Her disappearance fueling concern it could be linked to accusations of tax evasion that are rocking China's entertainment industry.
CNN international correspondent, Matt Rivers, is on this for us from Beijing.
Matt, what do you know?
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, this would be China's equivalent of, say, Jennifer Lawrence or Meryl Streep just vanishing. Fan Bingbing is not an A-list celebrity here. She's A-plus list. So back in May, fan was accused of not paying proper taxes by
essentially not reporting all of her income to the government. She immediately denied the allegations and then basically disappeared. One social media post in June is all the public has seen or heard from her since.
Multiple government ministries here did not respond to our request from comment. And we've had no luck in getting a hold of Fan herself.
Our only clue to her status comes from this. It's an article posted on September 6th on a state-run media Web site that says that Fan has been brought, quote, "under control and is about to receive legal judgment." But that article was quickly deleted and state media has gone silent. And when CNN talks about this, our signal in China gets cut by the government.
We should note that people disappear inside China's murky legal system all the time. We've reported extensively on the dozens of human rights lawyers, for example, who have been arrested since 2016. And in many of those cases, their families have no idea what they are.
We can't confirm that Fan Bingbing that, disappeared by the government, but in this country, it's a possibility, no matter how famous you are -- Brooke?
[15:00:04] BALDWIN: You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.
Let me just jog back to 1991. A Supreme Court nominee faced accusations of sexual harassment.