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Anthony Russia is Interviewed about his Lawsuit against Burger King; Escaped Killer Still on the Loose; Florida State Trounces LSU. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 04, 2023 - 06:30   ET



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The Russian position is, look, what the U.N. is offering, and the U.N. sent concrete proposals to Russia last week saying we want you back in the deal and this is the way to do it. The Russians are saying, hold on, you're just saying let's do this. There are promises in there. We want hard guarantees.

But also Russia has another plan. Putin's got this alternate plan to get his grain, Russia's grain, to international markets. And that is to ship it to Turkey, and then have Turkey ship it on to the rest of the world.

Now, of course, Ukraine has said that deal shouldn't fly. There should be no way that Russia can thwart and subvert this U.N. brokered gain deal. All of Ukraine's backers are saying, you know, Russia needs to get back in compliance. This was Russia's war of choice in Ukraine. The reason it can't get its grain and fertilizer to international markets the way it wants to is because it started a war. Easy solution, right, end the war, you would think.

But Putin, here, seems to be trying to negotiate for some leverage, something better. Perhaps better access to international financial markets. But Russia's point is, they're not getting their goods to market the way they want to. Ukraine shouldn't be able to do it. And they've been blocking it. And that's - and that's where things stand.

Can Erdogan make a difference? Potentially. But Putin's got a plan. He wants - he wants an alternate - he wants his alternate plan.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, the global ramifications here are immense.

Nic, keep us posted -- the meeting just underway -- if you hear anything more in terms of what comes out of it.

Nic Robertson for us. Thank you.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR: And Burger King is facing a lawsuit from customers who say they did not have it their way. We'll speak to a lawyer suing the company for false advertising. MATTINGLY: And as students head back to school, one important supply

could be left off the list, ADHD medication. The real impact of the nationwide shortage, that's ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the first time that me and other people with ADHD are starting a new school year without our medication in some cases. And I think time is going to tell whether or not we sink or swim as a collective ADHD community.



MATTINGLY: Have it your way. Just about everybody knows that's the famous Burger King slogan from the chain that prides itself on flame grilled beef burgers. But some customers say they haven't been getting it their way and they're suing, claiming that the Whopper's depicted on the in-store menu boards are bigger than what they actually got.

Now, a class action lawsuit filed by our next guest alleges, quote, "Burger King advertises its burgers as large burgers compared to competitors and containing oversized meat patties and ingredients that overflow over the bun to make it appear the burgers are approximately 35 percent larger in size, and contain more than double the meat, than the actual burger."

Burger King has responded in a statement saying, quote, "the plaintiffs' claims are false. The flame-grilled beef patties portrayed in our advertising are the same patties used in the millions of Whopper sandwiches we serve to guests nationwide."

Joining us now is Anthony Russo. He's the lawyer behind the class action lawsuit against Burger King and has filed similar lawsuits against Wendy's, McDonald's and Taco Bell.

Anthony, thanks so much for taking the time.

I guess let's start with, from a, you know, an average person who watches TV, sees advertisements, occasionally eats fast food against his wife's wishes, what's the difference between puffery and deceit in this case?

ANTHONY RUSSO, ATTORNEY IN CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST BURGER KING: Well, we used the good old fashioned eye test. If what you see is what you get. You can clearly see the difference from what is being advertised as opposed to what you unwrap when you get the actual product.

MATTINGLY: But how do you - how does an eye test serve as something that can be the basis for an actual lawsuit, right? I can look at any number of things and say, that doesn't look like it looks like it's on TV. That pretty much comprises all advertising to some degree.

RUSSO: Well, when you - when I say eye test, I mean, there's clearly a definitive percentage, weight, some kind of a measurement to use to determine it. But, you know, again, when I say eye test, I mean clearly you can see a - a great difference between what you're buying and what you're actually - what's being advertised and what you're actually buying.

MATTINGLY: Right. And so from the percentage basis, I think you guys - the number was 35 percent when comparing burgers in real life to the ones in the ads. Not to get to technical or granular here, but how do you arrive on that number? Are you taking burgers and - and measuring? Explain to people where that 35 percent comes from?

RUSSO: Well, it comes basically from, you know, there are food stylists, there are professionals in the industry that would be able to determine those kind of things. And that's where you get into your experts.

MATTINGLY: When you file a suit like this, and when the people involved file a suit like this, what's the goal here? Is it compensation? Is it to get payback for the 35 percent per burger that you weren't getting if you're on this suit? Or is it to change advertising itself?

RUSSO: Well, first and foremost, as consumer advocates, which is what we do -


RUSSO: We're trying to bring about change. Sometimes change is difficult to accomplish without putting some kind of a monetary penalty or monetary component to it. So, there is going to be a, you know, a financial or monetary component to the claim. However, change is mostly what is determined behind what we're doing.

MATTINGLY: And I think in that sense, particularly when framed as a consumer advocate, if this were a situation where any one of these fast food chains or fast food companies were to say, we will change our advertising in line with what you're asking for if you drop the suit, is that something that you would say would be on the table or something that's acceptable?

RUSSO: That's something we'd have to, unfortunately, consult with our clients and our co-counsels to decide. But, you know, there's been quite a bit of time and effort put into this and I think that it's really necessary to bring about change, but also to make sure that there is some compensation with the general public.


You know, you're talking about tens of thousands, you know, potentially hundreds of thousands of people that have been affected.

MATTINGLY: How much of the money I think if -- you know, if you put out a baseline for you win this case and you get $5 million, or $8 million, how much of that goes to the people that you're saying were - were hurt or hindered in this case, and how much of that goes to you? RUSSO: Well, in a class action lawsuit, they will establish a class,

and the class will be funded by, you know, the - the amount of the settlement. And then people will come forward depending on how many they are. Usually the attorneys' fees are determined by the judge and it's, you know, done on a -- an hourly basis with, you know, some sort of a - you know, a formula that arrives at where, you know, the work is compensated adequately for the amount of time that was put in.

MATTINGLY: Right. I think the question coming from the sense that, you know, there - there has been an uptick of suits like this against fast food companies. And I think you're involved in three or four of them at this point. And I think the question immediately becomes, you know, why, right? Is this something that, from a consumer advocacy perspective, or is this something where you see an opening here? There is clearly movement forward on these cases and therefore you're going to target every fast food restaurant you see?

RUSSO: Well, it's not really targeting every fast food restaurant we see. There are plenty of times we've been asked, give us an example of a company that has, you know, that is doing it right, you know, comes to mind.


RUSSO: There are several companies that are doing it correct. You know, we would say a Domino's Pizza, a Dunkin Donuts. Those are companies that aren't advertising to the extent that these other companies are advertising and bringing about, you know, the necessity for these kind of suits. So, it's really something that we feel as consumer advocates is blatantly in the face of what consumers are asking for and we've, you know, acted accordingly.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it's interesting, especially - you know there's a lot of talk about shrinkflation, the consumer with a lot of concerns, the fact that these suits not only are happening but seem to be starting to edge forward a little bit.

Anthony Russo, we appreciate your time. Thanks so much.

RUSSO: Thank you very much.

CORNISH: And the manhunt intensifies for a convicted murderer who escaped a Pennsylvania prison last week. And residents, where he was last seen, are on edge.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that this guy is still out there after all this time, it's - it's insane.



[06:46:42] CORNISH: This morning no rest for the investigators pursuing an escaped convict in Pennsylvania. Police believe the man is still within about a two mile radius of the prison where he was being held. Now, a residential security camera caught sight of the fugitive early Saturday morning, and police have received more than 100 tips since he broke out on Thursday.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now.

And, Polo, what more have you learned?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Audie, hard to believe that this morning will mark now four days since Danelo Cavalcante actually broke out of a prison and yet they haven't been able to track him down. There is some hope that they have an idea, more or less, of where he is. And that's mainly the search that they're focusing on right now, which is put cops in Township, Pennsylvania. You'll find it about 40 miles west of Philadelphia. And, at the same time, it's also - and here's the thing, it's less than two miles -- when you look at this map, less than two miles from the Chester County Prison, which is where Cavalcante, this 34-year-old convict, actually escaped from.

Now, initially authorities had said on Friday they were worried maybe he was on his way to Mexico and on his way to his native Brazil eventually. But then this Ring camera video surfaced over the weekend. Turns out that a resident actually spotted Cavalcante in that footage, which is why authorities have really been honing in now on this particular area. It is heavily wooded. There are hundreds of homes according to authorities.

So, what we've seen, Audie, is authorities going door to door and asking residents for permission to actually go into their home to clear them. One of the biggest concerns right now for authorities is that maybe Cavalcante has broken into a house of somebody who's been away for the Labor Day weekend. So, they're really urging residents this morning to be extra careful if they're coming back after being away for a few days, if they notice anything out of the ordinary to pick up the phone and call authorities. He's a small guy, about 5 feet, about 120 pounds, curly hair. And authorities are in the air, on the ground searching for him and have -

CORNISH: People have called with tips, right?

SANDOVAL: They have. They've received about 100 tips. And they believe that he may have tried to break into a couple of houses. But at this point, again, they're really focusing on this area with hundreds of homes.

A quick background on him. He had just started serving a life conviction after being convicted for stabbing his girlfriend to death in front of her children. So, it really speaks to the dangerous nature of this individual.

And this is why the Chester County District Attorney's Office has been stressing this over and over again. This is an extremely dangerous individual. If they see any sign of him, pick up the phone and call authorities.

CORNISH: In the meantime, does anyone know how he actually escaped yet?

SANDOVAL: It's still a big question after all this time. Over the weekend authorities did say that they will be in a position eventually to share that information. But right now it's all about finding him.

CORNISH: All right, Polo, thanks so much.

SANDOVAL: Thanks, Audie. You bet.

MATTINGLY: Well, a gender reveal celebration in Mexico turning deadly after the pilot hired to fill the air with pink smoke ended up crashing in front of the guests. In this viral video you can see a couple standing in front of a sign that reads "oh, baby," surrounded by balloons. Moments later the aircraft flies over the couple and releases the smoke. But as it flies off, you can see it twist as the left wing breaks apart and the plane spirals toward the ground. Red Cross officials say the pilot was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

CORNISH: A judge has handed down two of the longest sentences yet for Capitol rioters. Now the Proud Boys leader is set to hear his fate. What could look like, next.

MATTINGLY: And the legend surrounding the birth of rock and roll have long been dominated by straight, white icons like Elvis and The Beatles. Now the new CNN film "Little Richard: I Am Everything" takes a closer look to reveal the black queer origins of rock and roll and the man who brought it all to life, Little Richard. Here's a preview.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just like a shot out of a cannon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His voice. That, oh. He created the rock and roll icon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, y'all, it wasn't Elvis.

LITTLE RICHARD: I am the king of rock and roll!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first songs that you love that your parents hate is the beginning of the sound track to your life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little Richard's lyrics were too lewd to get air play on the radio.

LITTLE RICHARD: It was just as clean as you were.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very good at liberating other people. He was not good at liberating position.

LITTLE RICHARD: Michael was inspired by me. Prince. James Bown. I discovered him. Jimi Hendrix was my guitar player.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I was just down on the desk and doing Little Richard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone was beholden to him.

ANNOUNCER: "Little Richard, I Am Everything," tonight at 9:00 on CNN.




MATTINGLY: Well, mercifully, college football is back in full force. And it was capped off with a Sunday night showdown in Orlando between two top ten teams, Florida State and LSU.

Coy Wire joining us now.

His Cardinals and my Buckeyes both 1-0. What happened last night, because I went to bed at halftime and it was an amazing game?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: This was the most highly anticipated match-up this opening week. Number 8 Florida State putting in that work against the number five LSU Tigers on Labor Day weekend. More like slaborday. The eleventh meeting between these two teams. First time both of them ranked in the top ten though.

And FSU's quarterback Jordan Travis had himself a day, leading the Noles to 31 unanswered points, throwing for four touchdowns, three of them to Michigan State transfer Keon Coleman, but he ran for a touchdown as well. So, he surpasses Jameis Winston and is now tied for second on FSU's all-time touchdown leader list with Chris Rix's 75 overall. It's a blowout, 45-24 Florida State.

U.S. Open now. And for the first time at any major since 1968, we'll see two black American men in the quarter finals. Twenty-year-old Ben Shelton delivering two 149-mile-per-hour serves, fastest of the tournament, in his win over Tommy Paul. And he's going to face world number ten Frances Tiafoe, who advances to the quarter for a second straight year. It's actually three American men in the quarters as well as Taylor Fritz advanced too.

Now, 19-year-old Coco Gauff facing 33-year-old Caroline Wozniacki, the former world number one who retired in 2020, had two children, but has been rolling in her first major back. Wozniacki forcing this one to three set. But Coco got her groove back, ripping Wozniacki 6-1 in the third, becoming the first teenager since Serena to make back-to-back U.S. Open quarter finals.

And her dad was pumped. Watch this.


COCO GAUFF: My dad isn't in the box anymore because he gets too nervous. So, he's somewhere in one of the suites. And he's been apparently doing laps around the stadium I heard during the matches. So, I don't know if he can hear me right now, but, you know, I felt his energy, his good energy, even though I can't really see him.


WIRE: Love that.

Defending MLS Cup champs L.A. Galaxy hosting soccer legend Leo Messi and Inter Miami. Stars were out. Prince Harry was there to see the GOAT. Owen Wilson showing up. And how about Leo watching Leo. Leonardo DiCaprio and his popsicle.

Check out the reaction from Selina Gomez, though, as some Messi magic was stopped by LAFC keeper John McCarthy. Messi did not score in this, but did have two assists as Inter Miami win 3-1. They are still undefeated since his arrival just about two months ago.

MATTINGLY: Coy, my favorite part was Coco Gauff's dad, who, like my dad, could never actually sit and watch the game. Would just walk in circles around the stadium the entire - I love that. That's amazing.

WIRE: Yes, that's good stuff.

And, hey, we forgot about the minutemen, UMass. Audie, I believe you weren't (ph) there.

CORNISH: Thank you.

WIRE: And you're 1-1 on the season. And those Buckeyes did well. And, yes, Stanford. But your UMass minutemen, they're doing all right too.

CORNISH: Appreciate it.

MATTINGLY: Audie is so -- she didn't even talk about it. You know, I was talking about Ohio State all morning. Audie just knows, right? There's just a quiet confidence with many -

CORNISH: I'm just here for Coy's morning energy. Thank you for this.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, buddy. Appreciate it.

CORNISH: You're just giving it. It's waking me up. Thank you.


CORNISH: CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.

MATTINGLY: Well, good morning, everyone. Audie Cornish is with us.

Let's get things started with "5 Things" to know for this Monday, Labor Day, September 4th.

Seventy thousand people are stranded in the Nevada desert for a third straight day, but roads could reopen today. People at the Burning Man Festival are stuck in ankle-deep mud, too thick to drive on, forcing organizers to impose shelter-in-place orders.

CORNISH: Donald Trump dominate the 2024 Republican field and pulls even further ahead in a new "Wall Street Journal" poll. He's the top choice for almost 60 percent of Republican voters. Inf act, 78 percent of them say Trump's actions after the 2020 election were legitimate.

And on this Labor Day, President Trump - President Biden will travel to Philadelphia to march in a union parade as another union threatens a major strike that could impact the whole country.


United Autoworkers Union and Detroit's big three automakers have less than two weeks to negotiate a new labor contract.