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Up To 3 Hospital Staffers Reportedly Investigated For Alleged Breach Of Princess Catherine's Medical Records; Queen Says King Charles "Doing Very Well" Amid Cancer Treatment; Dodgers Fire Ohtani's Interpreter Amid "Massive Theft" Accusations; Pig Kidney Transplanted Into Living Person For First Time. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 21, 2024 - 13:30   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: A new report says at least three hospital staff members are now being investigated for allegedly trying to access Princess Catherine's medical records.

Both the princess of Wales and King Charles were treated the same London clinic back in January, the king for an enlarged prostate and Princess Catherine for abdominal surgery.

Well, British media reports King Charles' medical data was not compromised in this alleged breach.

CNN's Anna Stewart joining us now from London with the very latest.

So, Anna, any further word today from the palace?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, first of all, Kensington Palace has said this is a matter for the London clinic, that is for the hospital. And we've actually had no comment at all from Buckingham Palace at this stage.

So now we have at least -- or sorry, up to three staff members from that hospital who are being investigated for a potential breach. The idea that they tried to access the private medical records of the princess of Wales, which, of course, is wrong. it's illegal. And it could see them be prosecuted.

It's being taken very seriously by the data regulator here in the U.K., the ICO. Also by the hospital. Investigations have been launched.


What is unclear though, is whether that breach was actually successful and whether these medical records were compromised -- Erica?

HILL: So as we wait for the answers to those questions, as I understand it, Queen Camilla was out and about speaking with some well-wishers earlier today. What more did she share? Anything about the king's condition?

STEWART: Yes, she spoke to well-wishers in Northern Ireland earlier today. And actually, she said the king is quote, "doing very well."

And he continues to work from home or work, or work from the palace perhaps. And he was busy today. He received two new high commissioners from Singapore and Tanzania.

Meanwhile, I think it should be said that Queen Camilla has really stepped up. She's done a number of engagements. She was in the Isle of Man yesterday, Belfast today. She went to the castle, visited some ministers, visited local businesses. She visited the rifle's regimens.

And as you see, her schedule is full on, as you would imagine, as you have to pick up some of the slack from other working members of the royal family being off sick. But worth noting, yes, Queen Camilla, very busy, aged 76 -- Erica?

HILL: Very busy.

All right, Anna, appreciate the update. Thank you.

Up next here, baseball superstar, Shohei Ohtani, in the spotlight but for all the wrong reasons today after the Dodgers fired his longtime translator amid accusations of massive theft. There is much more to that story.

And a just-released report reveals disturbing details in a deadly car accident that killed Mitch McConnell's sister-in-law, Angela Chao.



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: With baseball's is opening day just a week away, the sport is dealing with a bombshell headline, a gambling scandal alleged to involve not just any player, but arguably the sport's biggest, best and, definitely, its highest paid star, Shohei Ohtani.

CNN's Coy Wire joins us now with more.

Coy, what's going on with his interpreter?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Hi, Boris. The explanation of how things all went down changed so quickly, it really stands out.

Shohei Ohtani's spokesman originally telling an investigative reporter at ESPN that Ohtani was covering the gambling debts of his longtime interpreter and friend, Ippei Mizuhara, to the tune of $4.5 million.

But then Ohtani's lawyers contradicted that on Wednesday saying Ohtani was the victim of massive theft.

This all came to light because federal investigators are looking into an illegal California gambling operation, as first reported by "The L.A. Times."

According to ESPN, Ohtani sent millions of dollars in wire transfers from his bank account to an alleged bookmaking operation, with Mizuhara originally telling ESPN on Tuesday that the transfers were to cover his losses, but that Ohtani had, quote, "zero involvement in the betting."

And Mizuhara also said he didn't know that gambling was illegal in California. ESPN says he also said that Ohtani wasn't happy about his debts but decided to pay it off for him.

Well, as ESPN was getting ready to publish their store on Wednesday, Ohtanis lawyers sent out this statement saying, "In the course of responding to recent media inquiries, we discovered that Shohei has been the victim of a massive debt theft and we are turning the matter over to the authorities."

On Wednesday, Mizuhara walked back much of what he originally told ESPN, saying that he had lied and that Ohtani had no knowledge of his gambling activities, his debts, or any efforts to repay them.

CNN is attempting to contact Mizuhara. We've reached out to local authorities. Major League Baseball will not comment at the moment.

Now, Mizuhara was in the dugout for Wednesday's MLB season opener against the Padres. He was seen smiling, talking to Ohtani. But Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers after that story came out.

SANCHEZ: So, Coy, what kind of impact do you think this is going to have on Ohtani during the season?

WIRE: So we're talking about, Boris, as you know, arguably the biggest sports star in America right now, one of the biggest in the world.

He was already this huge draw. And now he's on the la, L.A. Dodgers after signing the richest deal in American sports, for 10 years, $700 million.

And now he's going to have to move forward without Mizuhara, who has been with him ever since he stepped foot in America. Mizuhara was so much more than his interpreter.

He was with him wherever he went. We're talking workouts, promotional events. Mizuhara was even a catcher for him when he competed in the 2021 Home Run Derby.

Losing the person that has been your one constant since moving to the U.S. is, certainly, Boris, not going to be an easy adjustment for Ohtani moving forward as he starts to season.

SANCHEZ: Coy, if I wind up in a $4.5 million hole because of my gambling, I hope I can count on you to help me pay that off, right?


SANCHEZ: Coy Wire, thank you so much. Erica?

HILL: Now turning to some of the other headlines were watching this hour.

A new toxicology report shows Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's sister-in-law, Angela Chao, was drunk at the time of her fatal car accident in Texas last February.

The county sheriff's office says her blood alcohol level was 0.233 -- that's nearly three times the legal limit -- when she mistakenly backed into a pond on the family ranch.

The incident report also notes the 50-year-old was seen on surveillance video walking, quote, "unsteadily" to her vehicle while continuing to hold her cell phone in her right hand.

Despite efforts to save her, Chao died after being submerged in the car for more than 20 minutes.

A short time from now, Joshua Hartfield, the last of these six former Mississippi police officers who pleaded guilty to torturing two black men, will be sentenced.

Earlier, former sheriff's deputy, Brett McAlpin, was sentenced to more than 27 years in prison. That is the latest punishment handed down in what has been a very emotional three days in federal court. The victims sharing horrifying accounts of abuse by the self-styled "goon squad."


And President Biden announces another round of student loan forgiveness today, totaling $5.8 billion for nearly 70,000 public- sector workers.

Teachers, nurses, firefighters, and others serving their communities are eligible for the student debt cancellation after making 10 years of monthly payments.

The White House says 380,000 borrowers may ultimately be eligible for debt relief within the next one to two years.

Well, a historic operation is now showing the lifesaving potential for a new kind of organ donation that does not rely on humans. That's next.



SANCHEZ: Today, the medical world is hailing a transplant milestone that they hope brings them a giant step closer to addressing the extreme shortage of organs.

We should give our viewers a heads-up. This image is graphic. For the first time, a genetically modified kidney from a pig was successfully transplanted into a living person.

HILL: So that's according to the scientists and surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The recipient, a 62-year-old diabetic who had to return to dialysis last year after receiving a human kidney that ultimately failed.

Here's one of the surgeons just moments after the procedure.


DR. TATSUO KAWAI, LEGORRETA CENTER FOR CLINICAL TRANSPLANT TOLERANCE: Upon restoration of blood blow into the kidney's, the kidney picked up immediately and started to make urine.

When we saw the first urine output, everyone in operating room burst in applause.


KAWAI: It was truly the most beautiful kidney I have ever seen.



HILL: "The most beautiful kidney I've ever seen."

CNN health reporter, Jacqueline Howard, joining us now with more of these details.

I mean, this is pretty remarkable. First question, though, how is the patient doing right now?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Its absolutely remarkable. And the patient is doing well. His name is Rick Slayman. And he is still recovering.

This procedure happened on Saturday. It was a four-hour long surgery. We're told he's doing well. He's recovering from that surgery.

And the science behind this is really fascinating. What we know about the pig kidney itself is that it was actually edited with 69 genomic edits to make it more compatible with the human body.

We know that, as part of this procedure, the doctors relied on monoclonal antibodies to make sure that Rick's immune system did not reject this organ.

And this idea of using animal organs, like a pig kidney in humans, has been a part of ongoing research.

And actually, Boris and Erica, at CNN, we were able to exclusively tour a facility that raised and genetically modified pigs for this kind of science.

The facility is owned by the company eGenesis. And they've done a lot of work in this area. And one of their pigs was the donor of this pig kidney for Rick's Slayman's procedure.

Now, like I said, Rick is still recovering. But he did say, in a written statement, that when he was told he could use a pig kidney as an organ transplant procedure, he said, quote, "I saw it not only as a way to help me, but a way to provide hope for thousands of people who need a transplant to survive."

And as part of that statement, he went on to thank his medical team.

But this idea of using animal organs to help many, many patients out there in need of an organ is a remarkable, remarkable area to watch. And this is just one successful step in that goal potentially in the future.

SANCHEZ: And to that point, it makes it more likely, if it is successful, that we'd see animal organs used for people who have been on waitlists for a long time for organ transplants.

HOWARD: Absolutely. I mean, Boris, more than 100,000 people are currently on a waitlist for an organ. And we know that it's estimated about 17 people die each day while waiting for an organ.

And kidneys are actually the most commonly organs that we see in need. So that's an area where we see the most patients who need that specific organ.

But I will say this is the first successful kidney transplant from a pig to a human. So we really have to see how Rick recovers, how he does over time.

The medical team says that they hope the kidney will last at least two years. But again, this is an unknown area, so we have to wait to see what happens next.

But again, it is an exciting moment right now in science and medicine.

SANCHEZ: Yes, clearly congrats to Rick.


SANCHEZ: And we hope the best for him moving forward.

HOWARD: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: Jacqueline Howard, thanks so much for the update.


Stay with NEWS CENTRAL. We're back in just a few minutes.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SANCHEZ: We're following breaking news to start this hour. I'm Boris Sanchez, alongside Erica Hill in CNN NEWS CENTRAL. She's in for Brianna Keilar today.

Starting in Fulton County, District Attorney Fani Willis is pushing forward with her goal of starting Donald Trump's election interference trial this summer.


HILL: Sources telling us she plans to ask Judge Scott McAfee to put that case on the calendar after a two-month detour, of course, saw Willis fend off an effort to be removed from the case.

CNN's Zach Cohen joining us now with the very latest.

So bring us up to speed.