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CNN International: Suspect Bryan Kohberger Silent as Judge Asks for Plea; New Tip Prompts New Search for Madeleine McCann; Fake Image of Explosion Near Pentagon Causes Confusion. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 23, 2023 - 04:30   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring up to date with our top stories this hour.

Still no progress in debt ceiling negotiations, despite the U.S. president and House speaker saying talks were productive on Monday. There are now only nine days left before a complete fiscal catastrophe could play out in Washington.

And writer E. Jean Carroll has asked a judge to amend her defamation case against Donald Trump after he insulted her at a CNN Town Hall earlier this month. Carroll is seeking another $10 million in punitive damages.

NOBILO: The man accused of murdering four Idaho college students will be back in court on June 9th for a hearing on a gag order in the case. On Monday, Bryan Kohberger acknowledged that he understood the charges against him but stayed silent when the judge asked for his plea. CNN's Jeanne Casarez has the details.


JOHN C. JUDGE, JUDGE LATAH COUNTY, IDAHO DISTRICT COURT: Count one, burglary. Count two, murder in the first degree. Count three, murder in the first degree. Count four, murder in the first degree. Count five, murder in the first degree.

Mr. Taylor, is Mr. Kohberger prepared to plead to these counts?

ANNE TAYLOR, BRYAN KOHBERGER'S ATTORNEY: Your honor, we will stand silent.

JUDGE: Because Mr. Kohberger is standing silent, I'm going to enter a not guilty plea to each charge.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brian Kohberger appearing in an orange jumpsuit, only answering to yes or no questions during his arraignment in an Idaho court.

[04:35:00] JUDGE: Anything you do say any other than through your lawyers could be used against you -- against you on either crime. But proceed. Do you understand that?


JUDGE: Do you understand these rights?


JUDGE: Any questions about the rights?


CASAREZ (voice-over): The 28-year-old quietly following along and glancing at his attorney as the judge read through the charges.

JUDGE: Do you understand the maximum penalty?


CASAREZ (voice-over): Prosecutors say Kohberger entered an off-campus house at the University of Idaho in November of 2022 and stabbed for students to death, Kaylee Goncalves, Maddy Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin. He could face the death penalty if found guilty.

It was male DNA found on a Ka-Bar knife sheath discovered at the murder scene linked through genetic genealogy, multiple sightings of a white Hyundai Elantra from surveillance videos, cell phone tower data that put Kohberger near the students home at least 12 times before the murders, and comparison DNA testing of trash outside of Kohberger's family home that eventually led to his arrest.

Body cam video later released showed that Kohberger had been pulled over for an unrelated incident as he drove cross-country after the murders.

JUDGE: Alleging that you --

CASAREZ (voice-over): Kohberger's trial has been set for October 2nd and is expected to last six weeks. While there is no word on Kohberger's defense, his attorney recently told a judge, their investigator found information favorable to the defense known only two surviving roommates Bethany Funk. She has agreed to speak with the defense.

And while indictment documents have been unsealed, investigators are still searching for a motive.

Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.


FOSTER: German prosecutors say criminal procedural measures are taking place right now in Portugal in a renewed search for missing British toddler Madeleine McCann. The three-year-old vanished in southern Portugal in 2007, whilst on vacation with her parents. Now, based on a new tip, investigators from three countries are combing through a wooded area around a remote reservoir to look for evidence that might explain what happened to her. Scott's here following all of this. It does suggest there is some new evidence to warrant such a high-profile search.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and we were hoping in this German -- this statement from the German prosecutor's office that we would maybe get more detail as to why they're going back to this place in particular. But unfortunately, they just confirmed that the search is taking place and they say for investigative tactical reasons no more information can be released.

At this point, according to our colleagues at CNN Portugal, this search is scheduled to take place over the next two days maximum. And we talk about a pretty vast area as well. This is a reservoir area. It's about 15 kilometers from Praia da Luz and near the city of Silves. It is surrounded by parkland and walking trails. It's sort of a mountainous scrubland area. And so, we're talking about potentially a needle in a haystack.

Police have said that they are looking for -- that they are looking for objects that may be of interest and possibly to rule out other hypotheses. But beyond that, we don't know why they go back to this area, which by the way they actually search back in 2008 inside the reservoir itself. They turn up only animal bones in that case. We know that this time around they're going to be focusing on the land in that area.

FOSTER: And because it's the German police, it's obviously linked to their suspect and their trying to find evidence -- more, evidence against him.

MCLEAN: Yes, that would be a logical conclusion here. Under German law, we know that prosecutors have to have enough evidence to secure a conviction. They have to convince the judge that they can secure a conviction in this case before they're even allowed to lay charges. And obviously, the clock is ticking in this case. Because this man is serving seven years for another rape that happen in another area. And he's more than halfway through that sentence right now. So obviously, there is some urgency to make sure they can secure a conviction before that.

They say that they have some new evidence, but clearly, they're looking for something else that can really solidify their cases. And it seems like there's a lot of circumstantial evidence they have already. We're talking about a cell phone, that had been listed under his name that was apparently in that area of the resort at the time. He had tried to reregister one of his vehicles just a day after. Obviously, he is a known pedophile, a convicted rapist. He was living in the area around the resort at the time.

And also, the prosecutors say that he had an alibi that -- or he did not have an alibi at all. And that this girlfriend that he said he was staying with they couldn't find any sign of her. And they also say -- prosecutor was asked when these charges were first laid whether they're any item of Madeleine McCann's that were found in the trailer that he was staying at around this reservoir area.


And he said I don't want to deny it. So, not confirming it exactly, but clearly, they have something they're hoping that they can find just a little bit more to really solidify their case.

FOSTER: Scott, thank you.

NOBILO: In Ghana, at least 19 children were killed and several others injured when a fire broke out Sunday night at a school dormitory. Officials say an initial investigation reveals the fire was maliciously set.

FOSTER: And the police say at least 56 children were in the dorm at the time of the fire. The president has declared three days of a national mourning.

A newly released surveillance video shows the dangers migrants risk when trying to cross the border into the United States. In the video from May the 15th, you can see an unidentified person dropping a four- year-old boy from the barrier near the San Diego, California area. The footage was shared by the head of the U.S. Border Patrol.

NOBILO: The border patrol officials say first responders who treated the injured boy at the scene came under fire, and a border patrol helicopter responded to provide air cover. An investigation is underway in the U.S. and Mexico to identify the suspects. And additional agents have been deployed to the area.

Still to come, a fake photo of an explosion near the Pentagon gets attention around the globe. Details on the chaos that it caused from social media to Wall Street.


NOBILO: Meta is facing a mega-fine from European regulators. They've hit Facebook's parent company with a $1.3 billion penalty for violating the EU's signature data privacy law. Regulators say that Facebook has been transferring data on European uses to service in the U.S., where intelligence agencies can access it. This comes as the U.S. and the EU are working on a deal to enable tech companies to move data internationally without penalty. Meta says it's being signaled out, and it's vowing to appeal the record fine.


FOSTER: A fake image, likely generated by AI, made the rounds on social media on Monday, showing what appeared to be an explosion near the Pentagon. This is the fake image posted on Twitter. Despite what you see, there was no explosion and the building shown isn't even the Pentagon.

NOBILO: But it was enough to form multiple accounts and even some media outlets into sharing it. Earlier, CNN's Donie O'Sullivan spoke with our Anderson Cooper about the potential danger of AI and online misinformation.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Firstly, the image itself, which you can see there, it purported to be the Pentagon. If you look closely, it doesn't actually look anything like the Pentagon. But it was put out there and experts we've spoken to say that that image was created using artificial intelligence technology. You can type -- you know, there are systems out there where you can just type explosion near a building, and it will generate multiple images within seconds.

The second part of this --


O'SULLIVAN: So that's number one. The second part of this is the blue check fiasco on Twitter. People might remember that a few months ago, Elon Musk took away the blue check marks from a lot of organizations and journalists and basically gave them to anybody who was willing to pay for them.

Now, as a result of that, a lot of folks have set up fake accounts. And in this case, this image was first shared by a fake account that had a blue check mark. So, it looked verified, pretending that it was linked to Bloomberg News. It had nothing to do with Bloomberg News.

But it does seem that there has been some coordination here in the pushing of this. A lot of accounts pushed it all at once. It eventually then ended up on television in India. Russian state media also shared this. And as you mentioned, the stock market dipped.


FOSTER: Well, that's amazing, isn't it? Experts say photos like these also pose a threat to the world of politics. It can be especially harmful in the U.S. presidential election, which is coming up next year.

NOBILO: A historic water deal has been struck between three states in the Southwestern U.S. that will conserve millions of gallons from the Colorado River.

FOSTER: The agreement between California, Arizona, and Nevada's is meant to reduce usage by about 10 percent over the next few years. The Department of Interior must still review and finalize the deal. The Colorado River provides water and hydroelectricity to more than 40 million people in the Western U.S.

Scientists say our planet is entering a sixth period of mass distinction. This one caused by humans though. A study in the Journal of Biological Reviews analyze more than 70,000 species across the globe. Everything from mammals to insects, to determine whether their populations have been growing, shrinking or holding steady.

NOBILO: The study found 48 percent of species are declining in population and fewer than 3 percent are seeing increases. The main factor for this decline is the destruction of wilderness to make way for farms and cities. Climate change is also believed to play a role.

FOSTER: Just ahead, the Los Angeles Lakers playoff run is over. Now all eyes are on superstar LeBron James, who might be thinking of calling it quits.



FOSTER: The Denver Nuggets are heading to the NBA finals for the first time in the franchise's 47-year history. They beat the Los Angeles Lakers 113-111 in game four on Monday sweeping all four games. The Nuggets were able to stop Lakers superstar LeBron James from tying the game twice. Late in the 4th quarter, 2-time most valuable player Nikola Jokic got 30 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists. He was also named Western Conference Finals MVP.


NIKOLA JOKIC, DENVER NUGGETS: I mean, I'm going to think that's my signature shot.

I'm joking. And I -- I don't know, and that situation, you're just trying to shoot and just trying to score. I think that's just -- that's kind of the easiest shot, because you need to shoot it. I was wide open in one possession, and I was just driving and Lebron took a charge. And if it's like one second, I would shoot it. So, I think it's so easy to shoot. But you know you've got to shoot, so you just find a way to shoot it.


FOSTER: So easy, so easy.

NOBILO: Yes, simple as that, really. The Nuggets were down 15 points at halftime, before pulling off the victory in the closing seconds after the game. Denver's head coach praised Jokic's work ethic.


MICHAEL MALONE, DENVER NUGGETS HEAD COACH: No one ever could have seen that he'd be a 2-time MVP, passing Wilt Chamberlain. It seems like every other night. And that speaks to his dedication to his craft, getting into great shape, and understanding for him to fulfill its potential he had to work harder.


NOBILO: The Nuggets will play the winner of the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat series in the NBA finals. Miami leads that series 3 games to zero. Game one is scheduled for June 1st.

The Los Angeles Lakers off-season has begun, but all eyes are once again on LeBron James, who hinted an uncertain future after the game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD: We'll see what happens going forward. But I don't know. I don't know. I have a lot to think about to be honest. I've a lot to think to be honest. And just with me personally going forward with the game a basketball, I'd like to think about.


NOBILO: Intriguing. In the National Hockey League, the Florida Panthers are one win away from the Stanley Cup finals, having shut out the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0 in game three of their playoff series.

FOSTER: Florida's Sam Reinhart scored the only goal of the game midway through the 2nd period. Panther's goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky recorded 32 saves in the shut out and has stopped 132 out of 135 shots in the first 3 games. Game 4 is scheduled in south Florida on Wednesday.

Golfer Tiger Woods has withdrawn from next month's U.S. Open in Los Angeles, as he recovers from a recent injury. The 47-yard missed the PGA championship last week and had to pull out of the Masters in April.

NOBILO: The 15-time major champion had surgery to treat posttraumatic arthritis in his ankle after the Masters. That injury stemmed from severe leg injuries that he suffered in the car crash of 2021.


FOSTER: In the spotlight this hour 10-time NBA all-star Carmelo Anthony has announced he's retiring from basketball.


CARMELO ANTHONY, NBA ALL-STAR: To the court where I made my name, the game that gave me purpose and pride. But this bittersweet goodbye to the NBA, I'm excited about what the future holds for me.


FOSTER: Anthony played on 6 NBA teams over 19 seasons and ranked 9th in the NBA all-time scoring list. And as part of team USA, Carmelo won 3 U.S. Olympic gold medals and a bronze. His final message to his fans a simple, quote, now the times come for me to say goodbye. What would you say at the end of your stellar career?

NOBILO: Something similar. I'm a little way off that at that stage. I'll let you know.

A source tells CNN billionaire Jeff Bezos is now engaged to his partner, philanthropist and broadcasters Lauren Sanchez. The couple first went public with their relationship back in 2019. The Amazon founder was previously married to Mackenzie Scott for 25 years. Sanchez was also married before. There's no word yet on when Bezos and Sanchez will tie the knot.

FOSTER: You must know they're fascinated by news though they could be watching anytime.

NOBILO: There could be congratulations if you ask.

FOSTER: Absolutely.

Finally, actress Halle Bailey, has more reasons to cheer this week. She and American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino made their official debut in the first trailer for the upcoming film "The Color Purple."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's time for you to see the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's going to be some changes made.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put it out. This ain't me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First, we need to look like we belong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's see the smile uncover. Sweet love and God.


FOSTER: Halle Bailey, I'm correcting myself.

NOBILO: This film is a musical reboot of the 1985 Steven Spielberg classic based on the novel by Alice Walker. It follows the lives and struggles of Black women living in the South in the early 1900s. And it's expected to hit theaters on Christmas Day.

FOSTER: Definitely to watch.

Thank you for joining us here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster.

NOBILO: I'm Bianca Nobilo. "EARLY START" is next.