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CNN Internaitonal: Source: Judge Convinced Trump May Have Committed Crime; Fed Struggles To Fight Inflation, Protect Banks; Study: Americans Ditch premium Goods For Cheaper Choices; California Battered By Heavy Rain And High Winds; Latest On $1.6B Defamation Case Against Fox News; Mother of Irvo Otieno: Indictments Are Just The Beginning; Police: Stephen Smith's Death Was Not A Hit-And-Run; Colorado Dentist Accused Of Fatally Poisoning His Wife; Gwyneth Paltrow Fighting Injury Lawsuit. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired March 22, 2023 - 04:30   ET




NOBILO: I'm Bianca Nobilo. And if you're just joining us, let me bring up to date with our top stories this hour. Sources tell CNN the Justice Department has convinced a federal judge that it has evidence that Donald Trump used his own attorney to cover up a crime in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents investigation.

And later today, the Federal Reserve is set to decide on another interest rate hike. The decision comes as global markets are hoping to recover from a banking crisis that's kept investors and consumers on edge.

A grand jury in Virginia has indicted seven sheriff's deputies and three hospital workers over the death in custody of Irvo Otieno, a 28- year-old black man. New video shows that officials were pinning him to the ground and the moments leading up to his death. Otieno's mother says the deputies and hospital workers, quote, smother the life out of her son. She and the family's attorney spoke to the media following the indictments.


CAROLINE OUKU, MOTHER OF IRVO OTIENO: Those 10 monsters, those 10 criminals, I was happy to hear that they were indicted and that is just the beginning step.

CRUMP: It was so unnecessary. That's what I got communicated from around America. People everywhere said they don't understand and neither do we.


NOBILO: The family is demanding justice.

CNN's Brian Todd has more now from Virginia. A warning though, his report contains graphic content.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Handcuffed and leg shackled, Ivor Otieno is brought into the intake area of Virginia's Central State Hospital with some difficulty within minutes he is on the floor. For the next 12 or 13 minutes, he will be held down by deputies and staffers, sometimes with a deputy on top of him.

At points, his position changes or the officers reposition their grip. There is no audio and for much of the video, Otieno is not in full view. At least once a deputy seems to use his knee to restrain him. Later, he is turned on his side. A person appears to administer an injection and then CPR. It is not clear exactly when he died or his official cause of death.

On Tuesday, seven deputies were indicted by a grand jury for second degree murder, as were three hospital staffers.

ANN CABELL BASKERVILL, DINWIDDIE COUNTY COMMONWEALTH ATTORNEY: The victim in this case was not fighting back or anything there was there's no legitimate purpose for pulling him down on the ground.

TODD: 911 calls show how a hospital staffer described the incident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He to be aggressive, right? So they're trying to put him in restraints. Then eventually, he then -- he's no longer breathing. They're doing a CPR right now and there's no pulse anymore.

TODD: Also just released, jail video that the prosecutor says shows Otieno before he was transported to the mental facility. It shows commotion around the slot in the door of his cell. The prosecutor alleges Otieno is handcuffed, yet even so, she says, pepper spray is sprayed through the door slot.

In that video, at any point, is he combative? Is he resisting?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not that I could see frankly at all.

TODD: Six officers then enter the cell and the prosecutor alleges blows are delivered. Nearly 15 minutes later, he is carried out in handcuffs and deputies load him into an SUV to drive him to the mental facility.

An attorney for one charge deputy says the cause of death could have been something else like the injection and says Otieno was violent, aggressive, and non-compliant.

CALEB KERSHNER, ATTORNEY FOR DEPUTY RANDY BOYER: The officers who were there had to go -- had to hold him and constrained him given not only his resistance previously but out of concern for others around given his mental state.

TODD: But Otieno's mother says, that's not what the video shows.

OUKU: My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog. I saw it with my own eyes on the video.

TODD: Only a couple of attorneys for the deputies and security guards charged have come out and commented specifically on the charges denying that their clients did any wrongdoing. One attorney for Deputy Randy Boyer has come out and said, it was the employees of Central State Hospital who were supposed to handle the intake and the restraint of Ivor Otieno that day and they failed.


Contacted by CNN a spokesperson for the Central State Hospital declined to comment on that allegation.

Brian Todd, CNN, Dinwiddie County, Virginia.


NOBILO: Law enforcement in South Carolina now say that they're investigating the death of a 19-year-old man as homicide. The body of Steven Smith was found on a remote Road in Hampton County back in 2015. And some had linked his death to Buster Murdaugh, the sign of Alex Murdaugh, who was convicted this month of murdering his wife and youngest son. Buster Murdaugh released a statement on Monday denying any involvement.

CNN's Randi Kaye has the new developments.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the first time SLED, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, is saying they don't consider this a hit and run anymore. They are considering this a homicide and investigating this as a homicide.

Now, back when this first happened, the lead investigator, despite it being ruled a hit-and-run accident, the lead investigator was heard during some tapes from the case file, some audio interviews, saying that he didn't think that this was a hit-and-run. Listen to that.

TODD PROCTOR, SOUTH CAROLINA HIGHWAY PATROL: Typically, you don't see the Highway Patrol working a murder. And that's what this is. There's no doubt. We're not classifying this as anything other than a murder.

KAYE: It's important to note that there were no visible injuries to him. He had a very significant wound to his head, but other than that, you know, if you're hit by a vehicle, at a fast speed, his loosely tied shoes were still on him. He didn't have any broken bones. All of this certainly leading his mother and others to believe that there's no way this could have been your standard hit-and-run.


NOBILO: Colorado dentist, James Toliver Craig, is expected to be formally charged on Thursday in connection with the fatal poisoning of his wife, Angela Craig. Meanwhile, an arrest warrant affidavit shows the growing body of evidence against him. CNN's Josh Campbell has the latest.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A Colorado dentist now preliminarily charged with first degree murder, accused of killing his wife by poison, believed to have been given to her in protein shakes.

JAMES TOLIVER CRAIG, COLORADO DENTIST: I love to make dentistry easy for people.

CAMPBELL: James Toliver Craig seen here in this promotional video for his dental group was arrested Sunday by Aurora police. His wife, Angela Craig, died Wednesday after being hospitalized for a third time in a month, this time, complaining of severe headaches and dizziness.

The 43-year-old mother of six soon had a seizure, went on a ventilator and was declared brain dead. Her sister told investigators Angela claimed she'd been drugged by her husband before. Authorities say a forensic analysis of a computer at his dental practice show premeditation.

In the weeks before his wife's death, an arrest warrant affidavit states Craig used an office computer to research multiple undetectable poisons and make internet searches including, "How many grams of pure arsenic will kill a human?" And YouTube searches for how to make poison and top five undetectable poisons that show no signs of foul play. Craig also allegedly used a new e-mail account to order arsenic online.

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's very damning evidence. And then if the autopsy results, the forensic results show that she was poisoned, there's arsenic in there, a natural question is going to be, you know, what other source could have come from?

CAMPBELL: Two days after the package of arsenic was delivered to the Craig's home, Angela Craig went to the hospital complaining of dizziness and eye problems. That day, authorities say they recovered screenshots of text messages between the couple showing Angela messaging James Craig, "I feel drugged." His response, "Given our history, I know that must be triggering. Just for the record, I didn't drug you. I am super worried though. You really looked pale before I left."

MICHAEL TOCE, MEDICAL TOXICOLOGIST BOSTON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Symptoms of arsenic toxicity are generally GI-related. Deaths from arsenic toxicity is typically related to problems with their heart, leading to a dysrhythmia and their heart's inability to effectively pump out blood.

CAMPBELL: Investigators say James Craig also had potassium cyanide delivered to his office before his wife's death. One of his business partners mentioning the suspicious purchase to a hospital nurse who alerted police. Neighbors of the couple's stunned by the alleged murder and the arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just makes me sick.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It didn't seem like something that he could ever do to her.

CAMPBELL: And CNN has reached out to the public defender representing Craig for comment. We have not yet heard back. Authorities say they expect he will be formally charged this Thursday.

Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.


NOBILO: Still to come, Uganda passes a new legislation, criminalizing identifying as LGBTQ plus. Why this East African nation is taking such a harsh step, that's next.

Plus, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. was called to the State Department over controversial legislation passed by Israel's Knesset. Details coming up ahead.



NOBILO: There are fears the death toll could rise much higher after a powerful earthquake struck northeast Afghanistan. It hit a remote area, but the Tremors were felt in several major Pakistani cities including the capital and even as far away as New Delhi.

As of now, the death toll stands at 13 with more than 100 people injured. The 6.5 magnitude quake damaged homes and buildings and triggered landslides, blocking roads in some areas.

Uganda's parliament has passed sweeping legislation criminalizing identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. It imposes punishment of up to 20 years in prison and was amended to include the death penalty for some cases. Human Rights Watch says that the law would violate Uganda's rights to freedom of expression and association privacy.

For more on this now, let's go to CNN's Larry Madowo who's live in Lagos for us. Larry, does this legislation have popular support?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does have a huge amount of popular support in Uganda because it's a deeply conservative Christian nation. And that is why you saw MPs from across the political divide, show up in large numbers and Parliament's to pass it, 389 of them were there, 73 percent of all lawmakers. That's a record.

This was a bill proposed by an opposition MP that got the support of the government. The prime minister of Uganda was in Parliament. The Attorney General said they're comfortable with it. And that is why there's so much condemnation from within the queer community in Uganda civil society groups and allies who say this endangers the lives of anybody who identifies as LGBT in the country.

Because it goes much further than previous legislation in Uganda. Specifically, I want to read a section for you that is raising a lot of concern, because it says that anybody who identifies a person commits the offence of homosexuality, if the person holds out as lesbian, gay, transgender, a queer, or any of the sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female.


So that means that this is one of the harshest laws against LGBTQ individuals in Africa. And this is saying something because more than 30 African countries criminalize homosexuality. But this goes much further than that, and is likely to be assented to by President Yoweri Museveni who has called homosexuals deviant and said he's not sure whether it's a learned behavior, is it nature, or nurture.

But what happens now is this law will likely be contested in court. But when it does go to court, it might still stand that a previous bill was signed by President Museveni to a law but it was thrown out, and technicalities of this will likely stand.

And yet, the arguments being made in Parliament and by many supporters of the bill said, this is not African culture. It's a Western imposition on Africa, though there are scholars who say homosexuality predates colonization, the bill that the law in Uganda that criminalizes homosexual act is from 1950, the penal code. And yet, so much of the work and the lobbying around these sort of legislations in Africa are funded by U.S. conservative groups, many of them operating across the continent. Bianca.

NOBILO: Interesting. Larry Madowo, in -- live in Lagos for us. Thank you so much.

In a rare move, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. was called to the State Department on Tuesday to protest a resettlement law passed by Israeli lawmakers. The Knesset voted to roll back a part of the 2005 Disengagement Law, including the prohibition on establishing settlements in the northern West Bank. A department spokesperson said that the U.S. is, quote, extremely troubled by this move.

For more on the story, I'm joined by Hadas Gold live in Jerusalem. Hadas, what more can you tell us?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, just as an explanation, this 2005 Disengagement Law was a huge issue here. This is when Israel, unilaterally, pulled out of Gaza and evacuated the thousands of settlers there and also did the same in parts of the northern West Bank.

Now, other parts of the occupied West Bank, of course, have plenty of settlers. But this part of the northern West Bank closer to Jenin and Nablus, which of course have been hotspots of violence over this past year and a half, those were also evacuated. And this has been something that the settler leaders in this new right wing Israeli Government have really been pushing for, that they will bring back the settlers to this part of the northern West Bank. So what the parliament passed was they actually passed it in the early hours of the night, overnight, and it was even not even passed with a full Parliament present.

But essentially what it said is it repealed part of the Disengagement Law saying that Israeli civilians should be allowed to return to that part of the West Bank because since the disengagement law, it became a closed military zone and Israeli civilians were forbidden from entering the area.

Now, this was celebrated roundly by settlers saying that it was righting a wrong and that they couldn't wait to have the Israeli flag flying once again. And then what we saw was the reaction from the Americans, which was rather harsh. They summoned the Israeli ambassador to the State Department. This is something that, according to reports I'm seeing, that hasn't happened in Washington. It's something like more than 10 years. I'm still double checking if an Israeli ambassador has been summoned since then, but that just goes to show you how unusual it is.

Now, the State Department came out very strongly against this. And also what's interesting to hear from them is not only the protests against the settlements, but what they are noting as well from the State Department podium, the spokesperson saying that these -- the amendments are also inconsistent with Israel's recent commitments to deescalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions, just a few days ago how Israel reaffirmed its commitment to stop discussion of any new settlements for four months and to stop authorization of outposts for six months.

That's referring, of course, to the summit in Sharm El-Sheikh Egypt, where the Israelis, Palestinians, alongside the Americans, Jordanians, and Egyptians were having a summit to try to calm tensions in the region, especially ahead of Ramadan.

And this is a constant theme we're seeing with this Israeli government. On one side, you have these types of amendments being passed. You have ministers making controversial statements. And on the other hand, you have parts of the Israeli government engaging and trying to calm situation down. It's not clear who the real Israeli government is in all of this. Bianca.

NOBILO: Hadas Gold live in Jerusalem, thank you.

Still to come, actress, Gwyneth Paltrow, heads to court by the latest on the injury lawsuit that she's fighting and more from the first day of the trial.



NOBILO: Trending this hour, Gwyneth Paltrow is fighting an injury lawsuit stemming from a 2016 skiing accident in the U.S. state of Utah. A man claims that the actress knocked him down after losing control on her skis that he suffered a brain injury, broken ribs, and more. But Paltrow says that the man actually hit her as he was skiing downhill.

He's seeking more than $300,000 in damages down from three million, originally. Paltrow is countersuing for just $1, plus attorney's fees. KUTV reporter, Lincoln Graves, was in the courtroom and described the first day of the trial.


LINCOLN GRAVES, REPORTER, KUTV 2NEWS: There were some pretty strict rules inside the courthouse, no taking photos of her inside, except one still photographer. And she was really hiding her face from that still photographer. I would assume that she knew that there were cameras inside the courtroom showing a full head on shot of her.

Otherwise besides the -- how she was acting towards photographers, she was fine. She was stoic. She was nodding her head a little bit when things were said that she agreed with and, of course, shaking her head when things she didn't agree with or spoken about in court. So she didn't say a whole lot. Didn't show too much emotion. But, yes, she did a fine job in there.


NOBILO: Whiskey maker, Jack Daniels, is suing a pet company over a dog toy that resembles its signature square bottle. The case is set to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court today. The distillery claims the toy violates trademark laws and says that references to dog excrement on the labeling is damaging to the company's reputation and appeals court had earlier ruled that the toy was done humorously and therefore protected under the First Amendment.

Americans are one step closer to being able to buy chicken grown from animal cells, also known as lab-grown meat. Two companies have received so-called no questions letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which state that the agency is satisfied that the product is safe to sell.


However, they still need final approval from the Agriculture Department. One company, GOOD Meat, has been approved to sell its lab- grown meat in Singapore since 2020 and it's available for purchase at restaurants there too.

And for dessert, after that lab-grown meat, how about a 3D-printed cake? Engineers at Columbia University have made this seven-ingredient vegan cheesecake assembled and cooked entirely by a printing machine.

The technology has been used to make other foods before but in a new innovation. Lasers were used to bake the dessert as it prints. The researchers experimented with different flavors like cherry, banana, peanut butter and hazelnut spread. The team behind the project says that one slice took about 30 minutes to produce. But one thing that they didn't explain if it's vegan, can it actually be called cheesecake? Currently, it's looking a lot like my baking, which leaves much to be desired.

Japan has won the World Baseball Classic beating the three top U.S. teams in the tournament to the final and denying the Americans a second consecutive championship. The U.S. cut the deficit to one run in the eighth inning, but lost the game when U.S. team captain, Mike Trout, struck out facing his Los Angeles teammate, Japanese pitcher, Shohei Ohtani.

Though the Americans lost the final on home soil in Miami, Florida, this is Japan's third World Baseball Classic title. It's also the first classic held since 2017 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And Muslims around the world are gearing up for Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. It'll start at sundown today and continue until April 21st. It's celebrated as the month in which the Prophet Muhammad received the first of the revelations of the Quran. People mark the period by fasting from sunup to sundown, praying together and holding communal meals. The month long observance will end with celebrations.

And that does it here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London, "Early Start" with Christine Romans is coming up for you next.