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Heard Continues Testimony in Lawsuit; Gennadiy Trukhanov is Interviewed about Odessa; Zeke Unger is Interviewed about the Manhunt for Vicky White and Casey White. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired May 05, 2022 - 09:30   ET




SCIUTTO: In just about 30 minutes, Amber Heard will be back on the stand in the $50 million defamation lawsuit filed by her ex-husband, the actor Johnny Depp. The actress took the stand yesterday for the first time, there she is, detailing alleged physical and sexual abuse she claimed she endured from Depp.


AMBER HEARD, ACTRESS: I just laughed because I thought he was joking. And he slapped me across the face. And I laughed. I laughed because I -- I didn't know what else to do. I thought, this must be a joke. This must be a joke. Because I'm -- I didn't know what was going on. I just stared at him. Kind of laughing, still, thinking that he was going to start laughing too to tell me it was a joke. But he didn't. He said, you think it's so funny. You think it's funny (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You think you're a funny (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And he slapped me again.


SCIUTTO: CNN's Chloe Melas joins me now live.

Chloe, listen, a powerful first day of testimony yesterday. What do we expect next and where does this go from here?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: It will be interesting to see what she has to say today because yesterday was full of incredible bombshells. You know, she claims that she was subjected to verbal and physical and sexual violence, all of which Johnny Depp has denied.

Here's a little bit more from yesterday's explosive testimony. Take a listen.


AMBER HEARD, ACTRESS: And we're standing in this little hallway area outside of the bathroom, and he starts, you know, pat -- pat -- what feels like patting me down or saying he's patting me down. I can't recall. But he ripped my dress, the strap -- top part of my dress, and then he -- he proceeds to do a cavity search. He was looking -- he said he was looking for his drugs, his cocaine, his coke.


MELAS: Jim, really extreme allegations are being made on both sides here from Johnny Depp's side, from Amber Heard's side. But at the end of the day, it is up to the jury to decide if Johnny Depp was defamed. Did Amber Heard, when she wrote that op-ed for "The Washington Post" saying that she was a victim of domestic violence, does -- is that defamatory? Should he be awarded the $50 million or some part of that? He lost his defamation case against "The Sun" some time ago. But this time he's personally suing Amber Heard.

So, it will be interesting to see what the jury decides. Despite all of the explosive allegations, did her op-ed defame him and keep him from getting the roles that he says he's been unable to get in Hollywood.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I mean the essential question here, Chloe, seems to be, does the jury believe Amber Heard's testimony, because, if it is correct, and the abuse she's alleging there is correct, then she would not have defamed him, right, by claiming to be abused. I mean is that the simple question before the jury in effect?

MELAS: Exactly. And so she is having to paint a picture through text messages, through photos that she claims that her team says that she sent her mother of bruises on her, having her witnesses come forward throughout this week and then court is actually off next week because the judge has a prior commitment. Then it will resume again in Virginia. But is she able to prove that Johnny Depp was abusive?

Now, remember, he took the stand multiple times saying that he never laid a hand on her. But her account, Jim, is incredibly different.


MELAS: And will her team be able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this is accurate, that her side is the side to believe, or is the truth somewhere in the middle?

SCIUTTO: Goodness. Just difficult testimony to watch.

Chloe Melas, thanks so much.

MELAS: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: We are hearing from Dave Chappelle, the comedian, for the first time since he was attacked on stage with a weapon during a live show. Reminder, this is the moment the attacker tackled Chappelle, who was carrying a knife, by the way. The representative for the comedian says as unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show.

The statement also commended Jamie Fox and Chris Rock for helping calm the crowd with humor just moments after the assault.

Security rushed the stage, subdued the suspect who police say was armed with this, a knife made to look like a handgun. The suspect has been identified as 23-year-old Isaiah Lee. Still not clear what his motive was.


Coming up next, it's been a key target for Russia since the start of its invasion of Ukraine, but can Ukrainian soldiers hold the key port city of Odessa? I spoke with the mayor about what's happening on the front lines.


SCIUTTO: This morning, an official for the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv says that Russian shelling has injured 15 people in the region just the past 24 hours.


Shows you that those attacks continue. But the Ukrainian military claims it has won back some settlements along the border of the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions. This is where they've been making a big counteroffensive push. Those areas key because Russia would have to take them if they want to eventually capture the port city of Odessa, which the U.S. believes is Russia's goal.

So, I had the chance to speak to the mayor of Odessa, Gennadiy Trukhanov. Here's our interview.


SCIUTTO: First of all, Mayor Trukhanov, can you tell us what the status is of the Russian attack on Odessa now?

MAYOR GENNADIY TRUKHANOV, ODESSA, UKRAINE (through translator): At the moment, the occupants are stopped at the border of Mykolaiv and (INAUDIBLE).

SCIUTTO: President Zelenskyy said that a Russian missile strike on a dormitory in Odessa earlier this week killed a 14-year-old boy, wounded a 17-year-old girl. Can you give us any update on the girl's health status?

TRUKHANOV: Of course. As a result of the missile strike yesterday, which was aimed at the critical infrastructure, it hit a residential building and one teenager was killed. And the girl is now in the hospital with injuries of middle seriousness. Her grandmother and grandfather are also in the hospital receiving medical help and are undergoing stress.

SCIUTTO: You mentioned the Russian attacks on Odessa. Do you believe that Russia still has the goal of taking over, surrounding Odessa as part of its advance?

TRUKHANOV: Yes. We have all the grounds to suggest that the occupants have the plan to invade Odessa. Judging by the nature of the military actions, also their activity in Transnistria, and also the actions of the Russian fleet on the Black Sea and their movements from Mykolaiv. So, yes, we think that they have this plan.

SCIUTTO: But do you believe they have the military capability to do so or do you believe Ukrainian forces can defend Odessa?

TRUKHANOV: Now all the Ukrainian people are united in their attempt to rebuff this attack. And all our efforts are aimed at the victory. And we are trying not to allow this to happen.

But, of course, the threat very much depends on our western partners. The missile strikes are inflicted from all over Ukraine, not just Odessa. And from the Black Sea, from the submarines, from Crimea, from the ships. So, Odessa must become a shield, anti-missile shield for the whole of Ukraine.

And as our president stressed on many occasions, we rely very much on our western partners in helping us with arms, with anti-missile systems.

SCIUTTO: And I wonder how people there are surviving that blockade and what can be done about it.

TRUKHANOV: It is more than that. This is already a food catastrophe. And not just in Ukraine, but other countries in Europe and other parts of the world, because lots of Ukrainian ships with grains are blocked in the Ukrainian ports. We are talking about 4.5 million tons of grain which cannot be delivered to the consumers. We can say that the catastrophe is already there. So we need joint efforts to deal with it.

SCIUTTO: Thank you so much, and we wish you and we wish your city safety.

TRUKHANOV: Thank you very much for your time and for giving me the possibility to tell you about the situation in my city.


SCIUTTO: The mayor of Odessa there.

Still to come this morning, the search intensifying now as new surveillance video comes to light of a murder suspect and the corrections officer accused of helping that murder suspect escape. That's coming up.



SCIUTTO: Nearly one week after an Alabama corrections officer and an inmate suspected of murder disappeared, we are getting new details about their escape, including this new surveillance video of the two, you see it passing there, in a patrol car.


CHRIS CONNOLLY, LAUDERDALE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: She was a long- time, trusted employee at our jail. And she just exploited the system. And, you know, really misused the trust and the credibility that she had gained over the years as a great employee. And that's why it's so shocking.


SCIUTTO: Well, Vicky White is now the subject of an active arrest warrant for allegedly aiding in Casey White's escape. A convicted murderer. The two, we should note, are not related.

I want to bring you bounty hunter Zeke Unger.

You've covered a lot of cases like this.

First, there is news now that a BOLO, as it's know, about a new car that authorities believe they might be traveling in now, purchased by White before this escape here, here's that car. But this was meant to be private. I suppose, I imagine, because authorities didn't want those guys to know that they knew what vehicle they might be in. I mean is that damaging to the investigation now, to the hunt now?

ZEKE UNGER, BOUNTY HUNTER: Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. A BOLO just means be on the lookout.


UNGER: And it's sent out to law enforcement across the country to be aware of the situation.

Sometimes the media helps us in investigations and sometimes it hurts us. I think we're going to be able to get around this hurdle. As you know, the U.S. Marshals Service is involved. Their primary task is to locate, apprehend and transport fugitives. I see a positive outcome. I think it's going to be a -- possibly a violent outcome.


They have weapons. They've had a lot of time to preplan.

So, the breakout was basically a give me, but they did have a lot of time to preplan. So, did it hurt the investigation? Slightly.

SCIUTTO: You heard -- we've heard authorities throughout say how shocked they were, how loyal a public servant that Vicky White was. But we hear contradictory information. Some of the inmates say that they were aware of a two-year bond between this inmate and the corrections officer. We hear, as well, that Vicky White visited him in another prison prior to this with no real reason to do so.

I wonder, did -- and, by the way, this is not the first time we've seen relationships like this take place in prison. Did authorities miss something here?

UNGER: Absolutely. You know, the problem is actually systemic through the whole country in the prison system. The guards and inmates are kept together for long periods of time. There's the human factor, male/female. So, there's bonds being made. And then I'm amazed that with her retirement so close, that she decided to give it all up for this inmate.


So, here we have a convicted murderer. And we had the warning, really, to Vicky White from someone else who was one of his victims prior -- prior to his arrest and conviction, accused murderer, we should say. Do you -- are you concerned for the safety of Vicky White here?

UNGER: I don't believe so. I think she's a co-conspirator in this, willingly took place. I don't believe she was extorted. In a lot of cases regarding this type of situation, inmates and guards, there's an extortion. The guards feel obligated to cooperate or lose their job. But in this case, I think she was fully willing when she obliged herself.

SCIUTTO: Well, we'll see -- we'll see how she's treated now that they're out.

Zeke Unger, thanks so much.

UNGER: Thanks for having me.

SCIUTTO: For the first time in more than 20 years, the Feds raising interest rates by a half percentage point. Up next, how this could avoid a recession as well as tackle inflation. What does it all mean? That's coming up.



SCIUTTO: The stock market is down this morning, close to 500 points. This after it rallied yesterday after the Feds announced an interest rate hike, but also said that they wouldn't be raising rates significantly going forward. The Fed is now set to raise rates by half a point in an effort to tackle ongoing inflation. White House Economic Adviser Jared Bernstein says pandemic measures contributed to inflation around the globe.


JARED BERNSTEIN, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: You'll find inflationary pressures everywhere. Now, we all did different fiscal policy, but what did we all have in common? The pandemic. So, the pandemic had impacts on supply chains, it had impacts on people's ability to go to work. And, of course, that led to supply side snarls and that boosted inflationary pressures.


SCIUTTO: Joining me now to discuss, CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

So, Christine, you know this better than me, markets are kind of funny. They sometimes rally on bad news because then the -- sort of the bad news is out here, right? I mean has the market, in effect, priced in interest rate rise?


SCIUTTO: I mean, looking at where it's going right this morning, maybe not.

ROMANS: Yes. And the Fed chief very specifically said they didn't have even more aggressive rate hikes on the table.


ROMANS: There will be more rate hikes but they wouldn't pull out maybe three quarters of a percentage point rate hike. And so that really calms some fears yesterday.

It also shows that the Fed -- look, the Fed has its eye on the ball here. Inflation is too high and the Fed is the inflation fighter and the Fed is being aggressive here.

Listen to what -- how the Fed chief put it. He appealed directly to the American people yesterday. Listen.


JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: And I'd like to take this opportunity to speak directly to the American people. Inflation is much too high. And we understand the hardship it is causing. And we're moving expeditiously to bring it back down.


ROMANS: It's a tough job, Jim. They have to essentially cool off this red-hot inflation, right? They've got to tap the breaks on a very strong overall U.S. economy, right? And do that all aggressively enough, but not tip the U.S. economy into a recession. So that's what they're trying to embark on here, including, also, starting in June, they've got to start unwinding this massive $9 trillion in essentially stimulus sitting in its books.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Yes, it's not clear they got it right. I mean pretty universal criticism of how long it took them to raise rates.


SCIUTTO: OK, question, where is inflation going? We've heard for a few weeks now that, well, you're going to start to see, you know, peak inflation begin to come down a bit. Is that in the numbers yet, or is it too early to say?

ROMANS: So fingers crossed that the peak inflation is being put in here. And when you look at some of these core inflation gauges, some of these very digging deep down into the categories, you can see signs that a peak might be close. Also, Jim, think about the calendar. A year ago right now we did not

have widespread use, right, of the vaccines and double vaxed and boosted, right? We still had some schools closed a year ago now. So you're talking about comparing today's price increases with a year ago when the economy was not really fully open again yet.

As we go on into the summer months, you're not going to have that -- it's called base effects in economics or statistics, right? You're not going to have that very dramatic base effect.


So you could start to see these headline inflation numbers start to cool off a little bit.

I'm still concerned, though, about food and fuel and that's because of the crisis in Ukraine.