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Don Lemon Tonight

U.S. Provided Intel That Helped Ukraine Target Russian Warship; Ukrainian Soldier Held Prisoner in Russia Speaks Out to CNN; What Happens if Roe v. Wade is Overturned?; What Could Possible Roe Decision Mean for Midterms?; Manhunt Intensifies for Alabama Inmate and Corrections Officer; Amber Heard Testifies Against Ex-Husband Johnny Depp. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 05, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is "Don Lemon Tonight." The breaking news, bullseye. The United States provided intelligence that help Ukrainian sink a prized Russian warship.

And ahead, absolutely appalling. Those words from Chief Justice John Roberts about the leak of the draft opinion that will overturns Roe v. Wade, one Democratic senator saying that is not all that is appalling.


SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Fundamentally, Republicans don't give a rip about women.


LEMON: And the manhunt widens. Tips coming in about an Alabama corrections officer and a dangerous inmate who fled a county jail one week ago.


CHAD HUNT, COMMANDER, U.S. MARSHALS GULF COAST REGIONAL FUGITIVE TASK FORCE: We have gotten several hundred in. You know, to be quite honest, you know, all the four corners of the United States, we've got tips.


LEMON: We have all the latest developments on that story just ahead this hour.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, though, warning tonight that shelling at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol is not stopping. Desperate pleas to get the remaining civilians evacuated even as defenders make their last stand.

CNN's Scott McLean has the latest. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, the Azovstal steel plant, under what a city official calls nonstop shelling and assault by Russian Forces. Inside, an untold number of civilians are still trapped as a bloody battle rages.

The commander of Ukrainian troops in the plant saying Thursday fierce combat is ongoing after, he says, Russian forces breached the compound's barrier. The commander begging for transport of the bodies of soldiers who have died in weeks of violence at the complex. He pleads for more evacuations of civilians still trapped inside.

The United Nations says it is hard to know exactly how many remain, but they are trying to send help.

MARTIN GRIFFITHS, UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL ENVOY FOR UKRAINE: The convoy is proceeding to get to Azovstal, hopefully to receive those civilians remaining in that bleak hell that they have inhabited for so many weeks and months and take them back to safety.

MCLEAN (voice-over): On Thursday, Putin promised a passage for civilians out of Mariupol and the Kremlin denied an assault on Azovstal. But as Russian forces besieged the city from all sides, Ukrainian troops say the plant is a final holdout for Mariupol's last defenders as the enemy closes in.

An exceptionally bitter fight for a city that is vital to Putin's war effort in Ukraine. Full control over Mariupol completes a Russian- controlled land corridor between its mainland and Russian-controlled Crimea.


MCLEAN (voice-over): It also means Russian access to the port city's key export hubs on the Black Sea. A major blow to Ukraine, whose remaining soldiers fights at all costs to protect the strategically important city.

Inside, the Azovstal steel plant, Ukrainian forces singing a battle hymn. It's sweeter to die in battle than to live in chains as slaves, they chant, prepared to fight for Mariupol and Ukraine until the bitter end.

Scott Mclean, CNN, Lviv, Ukraine.


LEMON: I want to bring in now CNN military analyst and retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. Colonel, thank you once again for joining us. So, sources are saying tonight that the U.S. provided the intel that allowed Ukrainian forces to target and sink the Moskva last month. Is that kind of information even more deadly than giving Ukraine more fighter jets?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You know, it can be, Don, and did so. Let's go take a look at the Moskva. This was the big command ship that the Russians had for the Black Sea fleet. And when you see the result of exactly what happened, this was intelligence at work. And whether it was us that provided it, as the reports indicate, or they got it from some other sources or they combined it, this still had some major results.

So, yes, intelligence can be deadly, especially if used in this way.

LEMON: The news from defenders still inside Mariupol, harrowing, with the plant under significant shelling. But will shelling alone be enough to force them out?

LEIGHTON: I don't think so directly. Of course, it really depends, Don, on how much food they have left, how much ammunition they have left. And, you know, when you look at the plant right here, you see some of the developments when it comes to, you know, how the plant is being attacked. It is going to be very tough for them.

But there is a lot of -- there are a lot of basically cavernous rooms in this area, six floors down below. You have lots of different areas -- see the explosions right there. This is the kind of thing that can happen here, that people can actually survive for quite some time, but they need food, they need water, and in this case, they need ammunition in order to do it. So, it could take a while before it's actually completely subdued.

LEMON: So, if Mariupol falls, colonel, what is Ukraine's best hope to defend their remaining coastal areas?

LEIGHTON: So, when you look at the big map here and you see what they have, the best thing that they can do is keep everything -- keep the Russians away from this area right here. Keep them away from the rest of the area to the west of Kherson, and obviously keep them away from Odesa.

This is going to require so many different aspects of force. They're going to have to really draw the Russians down into areas here. They're going to have to try to push back here which is tough. They're going to have to try to keep them out of this area. They're going to have to try to keep them out of here.

That's really what they're going to have to do. It's not going to be easy to do that. But with the weapons systems that they're being provided, this could allow them to do some of that at least.

LEMON: So, the Pentagon is assessing that Russian forces have made -- quote -- "some small progress in the Donbas, even as we have seen Ukrainians gaining ground around Kharkiv." Where can defenders absolutely not afford to lose ground in the coming days, colonel?

LEIGHTON: So, when you look at the map of the Donbas, this is what you have here. You have Kharkiv right up here, and where the Ukrainians have to be really careful is to keep their forces that are at raid against the Russians this way and this way. They have to keep them from getting surrounded.

This is going to be really tough because once the Russians move their forces out of Mariupol -- and we know that they've moved most of them out, that they only have two battalion tactical groups still in Mariupol -- what is going to happen is they're going to take those forces. And as soon as they're refurbished or replenished, they're going to move them up probably in this direction.

So, the Ukrainians have to make sure that they block the Russians at every turn right here in order to keep this area from becoming a Russian-controlled area.

LEMON: The Ukrainian forces have been getting replenished with fresh supplies like American howitzer and cutting-edge drones. How much of an edge does this give Ukraine since Russia has been facing issues resupplying their own forces from their stockpiles?

LEIGHTON: That's right, Don. You know, these howitzers, for example, are really critical because they've got a radar associated with them that allows the Ukrainians -- will allow the Ukrainians to actually track what fires are coming at them.

In other words, when they're being shot at, they'll be able to pinpoint where those utility rounds are coming from and be able to take out those rounds with the radar coupled with these weapons systems. So, that's one part.

Of course, with the drones, this is the S-600, and there are other drones like the ghost drones, the Phoenix ghost drones that have been developed by the U.S. Air Force.


LEIGHTON: When these are used, they will provide even more pinpoint accuracy for the Ukrainians. When that happens, this is going to help enable the Ukrainians to achieve those goals that we talked about earlier, which means keep the Russians where they're at, make sure they don't move any further, and if possible, push them back to where they came back.

LEMON: Colonel Leighton, thanks as always. Appreciate it.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Don.

LEMON: I want to turn now to the harrowing story of Ukrainian soldier who was injured fighting for Mariupol and then held captive in Russia.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh now with more.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): This is how Hlib's war ends. But if you told him he was lucky, he would probably agree. He fought for Mariupol in the other steel factory, Illich, since the war begun. (INAUDIBLE) felt the heat of Russian tanks blasting his building from just meters away. He survived, but only just here, after 17 days, as a wounded prisoner in Russia.

HLIB STRYZHKO, INJURED UKRAINIAN MARINE (through translator): Very often, when I close my eyes, I see that moment when the tank was firing at me and the side getting injured. On the day of my injury, one of my boys, a machine gunner, was killed. Every time, it is personal. Every time I heard it over the walkie talkie or in person that someone was dead, it would conjure memories of him.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): His mind also in pieces, left grappling with fragments of the worst fighting in Europe for decades.

STRYZHKO (through translator): You know, there is a point when the brain accepts it. Seeing the phosphorus missiles. Seeing aviation flying in. When this became normal, that was scary. We learned how to fall asleep with this accompaniment. Instead, it became scary to fall asleep in the silence.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): Two moments, though, haunt him here.

STRYZHKO (through translator): The first time, I use tourniquet on my friend, and the second scene is this. We saw aviation destroying whole hangar, watching a huge hangar to have nothing left in just seconds. This has really been engraved on my memory.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): Wounded on April the 10th. When he regained consciousness, he was not where he thought he was.

STRYZHKO (through translator): First time that I found out I was held captive was when we were inside the ambulance. Me and another guy with similar injuries. He asked, are you ours? And they replied. It is unclear now who you mean by ours now. They said I was under the guard of the Ministry of State Security of the separatist DPR.

But it was scarier when I got to the separatist hospital. I was told by a Russian soldier -- you will have to forget Ukraine now. You will only get help if you asked in Russian.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): The Russians kept him alive, he says, so they could exchange him for their own.

STRYZHKO (through translator): There were two of us bedridden. So, we had to be fed by nurses. So, they would say, because of you, my son got killed. I tried to be understanding. But they were accusing us of things we never did. And we had Russian news read to us all the time, in the morning and evening. That was a lot of pressure on the mind. A distortion of reality.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): On April the 27th, the exchange happened. He was put on a plane. His pelvis crushed, his lower jaw broken, brain concussed, but he can still feel his legs.

STRYZHKO (through translator): And I also have problems with my eyes because of constant bright flashes and dust. So, at first, they were glazed, then they opened. For now, I still can't see with my left and my right only silhouettes. My body was broken, but not my spirit. My doctor says that I would be able to pick any New Balance sneakers by autumn. That makes me happy.

PATON WALSH (on camera): Don, a remarkable story really of courage, resilience, and ultimately hope of recovery there. And while the fighting around Azovstal in Mariupol, the steel plant there where there are still some Ukrainian soldiers holding out, is widely the focus of so much attention right now, what happened to Hlib, the Illich plant, a matter of weeks ago, he says, is an example of how different Ukraine treats its injured, its fallen to Russia.

There are multiple reports of Russian troops simply being left to die or dead where they fell, and his point is that Ukraine has done all it can to get him back to his motherland here. Don?


LEMON: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very much. Appreciate that. The chief justice, John Roberts, speaking out in the wake of the bombshell draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. But what happens if a right Americans have had for nearly 50 years is taken away?



SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): It is unconscionable what this decision will do to the American people! I do not think that 50 percent of America should be told that they have to put their bodies at risk of life or death without their consent!



LEMON: The chief justice, John Roberts, speaking publicly for the first time since the leak of the Supreme Court draft decision that if upheld would overturn Roe v. Wade. He's calling the leak absolutely appalling.

Joining me, CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Dean and Mark McKinnon, the former advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain and the executive producer of "The Circus."


LEMON: Not lacking for material lately. Thank you both for joining. I really appreciate it. Good evening to you.

Jessica, I'm going to start with you. I'm going to get to Chief Justice Roberts in just a minute. But first, you've got some breaking news of potential violence in the wake of this leaked draft. What can you tell us about that?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Don. We're learning late tonight that officials here in D.C. are alerting law enforcement both here in D.C. and across the country for the potential for violence in the wake of this draft opinion being leaked. Specifically, we know that there was an alert generated by the U.S. Capitol Police, it has been reviewed by CNN, and it outlines the potential for violence from far-right groups that are calling for violence against a planned protest that's being put together by people who support abortion rights. So, that's one piece of it.

We also know what we're seeing with our eyes and that is that on Wednesday, they started putting up non-scalable fencing outside the Supreme Court. And just tonight, we've seen them now come back and put concrete barriers up around the Supreme Court as well. So, that is a key indicator of what they are preparing for.

We also know that there was a call with the National Fusion Center Association, and what that does is it really connects state and local officials all across the country. It allows them to share some information and it's something that we're seeing in the wake of the January 6th attack here on the Capitol where all of these different agencies can share information and hopefully keep people safe.

But, of course, Don, they're worried about everything from one law enforcement official saying, you know, they're obviously keeping a close eye on the security and safety of the nine justices, but also any sort of First Amendment-protected protests that might be happening as well.

LEMON: Uh-hmm. Mark, Jill Lepore of "The New Yorker" writes that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is surprised that there is so little written about abortion. In a 4,000-word document crafted by 55 men in 1787, there is nothing in that document about women at all. I've got to get your take on the circus of all of this.

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE W. BUSH AND JOHN MCCAIN: It's interesting you mention that quote from Jill Lepore. I just tweeted that out myself. I think she's a terrific legal mind and a great writer, which is in "The New Yorker," I believe.

But this just testifies to -- that the Republicans have caught this car and they've been campaigning on it for years theoretically but never really thought through the ramifications of what this would mean for a policy that more than 70 percent of the country supports.

And here's my real problem, Don. The decision itself is problematic. Having, you know, produced and worked for "The Circus" television show documenting what's happening in American politics in recent history, I'm really concerned about the cultural battle lines and where the Republican Party is headed with all this because there is no end.

The problem is, as we're seeing with this decision, states now are rushing to see which state can be the most conservative. No fetal heartbeat, no 15-week period, no period at all, criminalizing women's behavior.

And so, what I see happening in places when I just did our last episode in Florida, when you look at, you know, at what's happening with books and what's happening with rewarding people for lying and penalizing the truth, what's happening in republican politics is that, as I said, you're rewarded for lying, you're penalized for telling the truth.

And in the politics of all this, what happens is the goal posts keep getting pushed further and further and further to the right on this cultural battlefield and there's no end in sight. And the problem is they can't reel it back in. So, just imagine where this all goes --

LEMON: But the right seems to be winning, Mark.

MCKINNON: -- with everything else.

LEMON: Even with the goal post being pushed further to the right, they seem to be winning. Look what's happening with voting rights. Look what's happening with commissions, whatever. Even legislation being put into place surrounding elections. And now what's happening with abortion. It seems that they're winning. It's a minority rule even though you say the goal posts are getting pushed further and further to the right, to the extreme.

MCKINNON: That's right, Don. That's the problem. They are winning on this issue. That's emboldening them and it is emboldening -- I mean, this party is quickly not just having outliers like Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene. It's becoming the party of Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Those are the policies, those are the voices that are dominating and increasingly because they show no consequence for their behavior, that the party keeps drifting further and further in that direction.

And listen, ultimately, it's a short-term strategy, but a long-term consequence. Obviously, that's where I think the problem lies for the Republican Party. It also is where I see the advantage for the Democratic Party.

LEMON: Yeah.


LEMON: Listen, Jessica, the chief justice speaking out tonight saying he is concerned about the integrity of the courts. He's hoping that this leak doesn't cause people to lose the integrity of the courts. But for the Democrats, what's their latest plan on this to try to codify abortion rights?

DEAN: Right. So, that's what they're going to try to do, Don. But we are going to tell you right now, you have a 50-50 Senate, and that is just the reality of the situation here.

They're going to set up a Wednesday vote next week to codify abortion rights and take that vote. But the problem is they don't even -- we don't even know if they have the support of all the Democrats in their party.

Joe Manchin is a question mark there. But it doesn't matter because, as we've talked about many times on this program, you have the filibuster, and that is a 60-vote threshold that they simply are not going to meet. And we know now that Senator Susan Collins is also a no on that. She says it's just too broad of a measure that they want to push through.

So, this is just a messaging vote that we're going to see next week. It's a lot like what we saw, what they did with voting rights. That is just the political reality that Senate Democrats and Democrats here on the hill are facing down, that they can only get so much done with a 50-50 Senate. And so, they will push forward with this.

We heard from leadership today, we heard from Chuck Schumer earlier, Kirsten Gillibrand and other Democrats. They were very fired up, Don, but there's only so much they can do with a 50-50 Senate.

LEMON: Jessica, Mark, thank you both. Appreciate it.

MCKINNON: Thank you, Don.

DEAN: Thanks.

LEMON: What could the possible end of Roe mean for the midterms? We're going to talk about that. Ashley Allison, Alice Stewart, next.



LEMON: So, right now, you're looking at barriers outside the Supreme Court. The latest sign of increased security after the leaked draft ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

I want to bring in now CNN political commentators Ashley Allison and Alice Stewart. Good evening to both. Ashley, let's start with you. So, if the court overturns Roe, is it a bombshell? What kind of an impact will it have on the midterms? Could it change turnout in swing states?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it will. We are in an unprecedented time where a constitutional right has been ripped -- could be ripped if this decision is what we think it's going to be from over half of the population like myself who have only known a time when we have full autonomy over our body and what happens to our body and had access to abortion.

And so, to think that this would not have an impact on the midterm would really be underestimating American voters. And I'm not just saying Democratic voters. I mean Republican voters. We know 69 percent of the population supports a woman's right to choose. Those are not just Democrats. Those are independents. Those are Black people and brown people and women and men.

And so, I think that this could really be the thing to charge up the democratic base, but also awaken a population that doesn't always engage in our democracy and say we are not going to let the court take us backwards and we're going to hold people accountable who allow the justices who are writing this opinion to be on the highest court by taking them out of office.

LEMON: Alice, so in that 69 percent that Ashley mentioned, almost 70 percent, there are some Republicans in there as well -- ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.

LEMON: -- against overturning Roe v. Wade. Should Republican candidates be worried that Democrats are going to make this their rallying cry come November?

STEWART: Republicans can expect this to be a rallying cry for Democrats, and we're already seeing that play out. And look, it's clear that abortion and a woman's right to choose is an important issue for Democrats and those who are pro-choice, and I do expect them to use this as a way to galvanize voters as we headed already into the primaries but certainly as we head into November.

Also, on the flip side, Republicans have for decades, Don, you know this, used judicial appointments at the federal and Supreme Court level to rally voters behind this important issue. But even more so than that, the pro-life movement is going to galvanize on this issue.

But also, at the same time as we're heading into this primary season, Don, it's not just what's going on with the high court but is the low approval and the low confidence in the democratic agenda that's really going to turn out Republican voters as we head to November.

Everywhere you look, whether we're talking about inflation or jobs or crime or crisis at the border or foreign policy, it's not good for Democrats. It's not a good platform for them to run on. That's why we're seeing President Biden with a 40 percent approval rating.

Those are the issues that are going to really turn out Republican voters. I'm not talking just about the congressional and Senate races, but most importantly on the state level, they're going to turn out a lot of Republicans, even more so now that we're turning the power of the pro-life issue to the state level if Roe were to be overturned.

LEMON: Well, this is -- listen, perfect segue to my next question, Ashley. James Carville, right, Democratic strategist for a long time, was on CNN earlier, had this to say about the conservative justices on the Supreme Court.



JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: To date, they have no fear of Democrats. That's why they do this. Democrats, you got to understand just what a huge event this is in American politics. Democrats have won a popular vote in seven out of eight presidential elections. Roe is over two to one in approval.

And Alito and them said, we don't care, we're not fair, we don't care. And all the Democrats are going to do is sit around and talk about veganism and pronouns. And to some extent, that is a justified opinion that they have.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So, hearing that, I mean, does he have a point? Is this partly the fault of Democrats themselves, that they did not take this seriously enough, did not fight back seriously enough, were not strong enough on this issue as they were not on voting rights, et cetera?

ALLISON: Well, I think this has been a long-term plan. We know that for decades, as Alice mentioned, the GOP has run on overturning Roe, but it never really felt like it was possible, even though many advocates waved the flag and said, we need to be careful, we need to be careful. This is not about Democrats being weak. This is about people feeling like the system is not working for them.

LEMON: Ashley, I understand what you're saying. But part of what your answer is an admission. You just said that people didn't believe that it was going to happen and those were probably Democrats. Many of those people were Democrats, didn't believe that it was going to happen.

If they had, had they taken it seriously? Could they have fought against it? Is this in part quite honestly the fault of Democrats for not fighting hard enough to keep a woman's right to choose as something that is legal?

ALLISON: I don't think it's the fault of Democrats for conservative justices overturning Roe. I think that we also have to -- if we look back at the hearings, these justices said they were precedent. They said that they would not overturn this law. And they lied in their confirmation hearings. It's unacceptable to have justices who are supposed to uphold precedent.

This has been law for decades. And to say that it's Democrats' fault for not codifying Roe, I just think, is unfair. Now, there is an opportunity. We have a huge threshold to get over of the filibuster for Democrats to codify it now.

What I actually would say to Democrats if they are looking towards the midterm and what to do, they should make this an issue, but not just an issue about abortion. Abortion is also an economic issue.

And so, when we talk about the everyday issues of voters, Democrats do have a responsibility this cycle and in future cycles to connect the dots that abortion is about economics, abortion is about access to health care, abortion is about providing autonomy for your own body.

And I think if Joe Biden, if the Senate, if the House members to the state delegates, to the city council, if they actually start talking about this issue the way voters can connect it, I think it will prove well for them. But I'm not going to blame Democrats for conservative justices overturning decade-long precedent.

LEMON: Thank you, Ashley.


LEMON: Thank you, Alice. Unfortunately, that's all the time we have. We'll have you back. This conversation is going to continue. I appreciate both of you.

Hundreds of tips from all four corners of the country. Now, U.S. Marshals are releasing new photos of a missing Alabama inmate and the corrections officer believed to have helped him escape, and what she may look like disguised.




LEMON: Tonight, the manhunt is intensifying for Alabama Corrections Officer Vicky White and inmate Casey White, no relation, who disappeared from a county jail one week ago.

The U.S. Marshall Service is saying that they have received more than 200 tips about the pair's possible whereabouts from people all across the country.

Let us talk about the latest developments in the case with Chris Swecker, former FBI assistant director for the criminal investigative division. Chris, thank you so much for joining. I appreciate it.


LEMON: U.S. Marshals releasing renderings of how Vicky White might look, disguised with darker hair. And they also put out new pictures of Casey White, showing his tattoos. Casey obviously stands out, literally since he is 6'9". But does it make it all the harder to track them down when they could be in disguise?

SWECKER: Well, he would be difficult to disguise up, even in the era of COVID where everybody is wearing mask. She could be pretty in conspicuous, I think. She is not that distinctive. She can change her hair color. She can wear a mask. But I am not sure she's still around. I mean, you have to consider the possibility that she is -- that he is done with her, what he's done with other people that have been associated with him, other girlfriends, if you will.

But I think that they are probably underground right now, Don. As I mentioned earlier, I think they may be watching the news shows, might be watching social media, the internet. She has $100,000 to work with and they had quite a head start.

LEMON: Yeah. It's interesting. If you are going to disguise someone like him -- if he were going to disguise himself, he has to sit down, maybe a wheelchair or something where he is not standing so people don't notice his height.



LEMON: So, I spoke with the sheriff last night. He told me that he expects that they will change vehicles since the description of their car had accidentally been released to the public. Between releasing the car information and now these photos of what Vicky White could look like disguised, could putting all of this out publicly tip them off to what authorities are up to? I guess it's, yes, since you said they're probably watching.

SWECKER: Yeah, I think they've been tipped off for quite a while now. They are putting out the car description. It was a bangle. It was not supposed to happen. That was supposed to only go to law enforcement. That would have given us the edge, law enforcement the edge. And they would've at least been somewhat complacent about their vehicle.

So, that was a mistake. I think that the plan all along, given that long lead up to her planning, her selling her house, her buying the car and that sort of thing, it's not a stretch of the imagination to think that she's already rented a house somewhere, maybe up in the mountains somewhere, somewhere remote where they can just lay low and monitor activities and wait for things to die down.

LEMON: Sheriff Singleton is clarifying that Vicky White and Casey White had contact only via phone while the inmate was in state prison. The sheriff saying that information previously released, that she had visited him in prison, that was incorrect.

The sheriff said that their relationship has been going on for at least two years. How is it possible that it went on that long with no authorities noticing, or if they did notice, they just did not say anything?

SWECKER: Yeah. She was in a position of authority. She was the assistant director of corrections, which put her in a position where nobody really questioned what she did. If she wanted to take phone calls from an inmate, I don't know that anybody would really question her. They didn't question her when she walks out the door by herself with a 6'9" prisoner who was about to face capital murder charges.

So, I like this sheriff, he is very candid, but I do not get the sense that this was a very tight operation at this jail. I think there's a lot of familiarity, a very rural area. County jails can sometimes get that win. So, it is not -- I don't think it's a stretch to think that they were in touch by phone. I actually think they probably had more personal contact than what we are hearing about.

LEMON: Relatives, Chris, and coworkers of Vicky White have expressed shock and disbelief. The sheriff described her as a model employee with an unblemished record. What do you think would lead someone to do this? Look, it's not the first time that we've seen, but what leads people to do this?

SWECKER: If you study up on her, she lived by herself on five acres next to her parents. Her husband, they divorced quite a while back, but he passed away last year.

What I see here is someone who is probably lonely. I'm not a behavioral scientist. We have folks in the FBI at Quantico that did that for a living. But I see a person who did not have close friends it appears, did not have romantic interest in her life. She is in her late 50s. He was in his late 30s.

I think someone was paying attention to her. Even though it was an inmate, it was someone who was obviously grooming her over the course of time. I think at that point, she was very susceptible to it.

LEMON: Casey White is considered an extremely dangerous man. How do you think this is going to end, Chris?

SWECKER: Yeah. I hope that it ends well for Vicky White because this guy has a history. Everything he touches dies it seems like. A former girlfriend committed suicide. They've reopened that case. He admitted to a murder for hire, a stabbing. He got in high-speed chases, kidnappings, assaulted a former girlfriend. This is a thoroughly dangerous individual. He is 6'9". He (INAUDIBLE) before with the cops at 100-mile-an-hour chase.

Unfortunately, I do not see this ending well. I think that he's not out and about moving, but eventually they will have to. And I think when that happens, I do not think it's going to go down well.

LEMON: Chris Swecker, appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

SWECKER: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Amber Heard on the stand, defending herself against the defamation claim by Johnny Depp. She testifies nothing she did made him stop hitting her.


AMBER HEARD, ACTRESS: By this point in our relationship, we are both saying awful things to each other, screaming at each other. Unfortunately, when Johnny would start hitting me, he'd just win.





LEMON: Actress Amber Heard on the witness stand for the second day testifying in her own defense in the defamation lawsuit brought by her ex-husband and actor Johnny Depp. He is suing heard for $50 million over an opinion piece she wrote for "The Washington Post," it was back in 2018, that he claims cost hmm lucrative acting jobs. In her testimony, Heard alleging physical abuse by Depp that kept escalating.


HEARD: Nothing I did made him stop hitting me. Nothing.


HEARD: So, you know, I tried for over a year, maybe two, of just not responding physically, not responding verbally, just staring at him. I tried to freeze. I tried to go to a different place. I'd just -- I would try then lashing out verbally. I would try to threaten that if he hit me again that I would call the police.


LEMON: Heard and Depp met in 2009. They were married from 2015 to 2016. She alleges in her testimony that he abused her before they wed. When Johnny Depp took the witness stand earlier in the trial, he denied ever striking a woman and testified that Amber Heard verbally and physically abused him, claiming that at one point, she threw a bottle at him that shattered and severed the tip of one of his fingers. Now, Heard will be back on the stand on May 16th after a scheduled break in the trial.

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