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Alex Murdaugh Sentenced to Life in Prison; Israeli Activists Demonstrate in Huwara; Russia's Foreign Minister Draws Laughter at G20 Meeting in New Delhi. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 03, 2023 - 10:00   ET



JUDGE CLIFTON NEWMAN, SOUTH CAROLINA CIRCUIT COURT: Son Paw Paw, and it might not have been you. It might have been the monster you've become when

you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 60 opioid pills. You take 15, 20, 30, 40, 60 opioid pills, maybe you've become another person. I've seen that before.

The person standing before me was not the person who committed the crime, though it's the same individual. We'll leave that at that.

Before announcing sentence on these cases, with regard to all of the other pending cases, are any of them here in Colleton, I'm sure some of them are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor.

NEWMAN: Half of them or --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have that in front of me but there are substantial number of charges here that (INAUDIBLE), Allendale, there might

be others I'm not thinking of right now.

NEWMAN: We might have worn out are welcome here in Colleton. They have been, and I'll take this opportunity to thank Sheriff Phil and all of the

court officials, and really everyone I've met and dealt with while here in Colleton County. It's been great.

But without any delay, we're going to schedule some of the other matters. I know Mr. Harpootlian's scheduling is complicated, and you sacrificed quite

a bit to be able to be here defending Mr. Murdaugh, as well as the attorney general's office, with all the other many, many things and obligations you

have. And to be able to have the attorney general here, Alan Wilson, for the period of time that he's devoted to being here along with everyone

else, it's been quite a sacrifice.

But there are other victims whose cases deserve to be heard. And this case has jumped some of those other cases. Perhaps jumped it because of the --

this case resulting in an assault on the integrity of the judicial system in our state. Law enforcement in our state. Even during this trial, law

enforcement have been maligned for the past five or six weeks by one who had access to the wheel of justice. To be able to deflect the investigation

and as evidence has pointed out in this case, the looming storm that Mr. Waters talked about, I can just imagine on that day, June 7th.

When a lawyer is confronted and confesses to having stolen over a half a million dollars from a client and he has a tiger like Mark Tinsley on his

tail, pursuing discovery in the case involving the death of Mallory Beach. And having a father, for the most part on his death bed. I could imagine, I

really can't imagine, but I know it had to have been quite a bit. Going through your mind on that day.

But amazingly, to have you come and testify that it was just another ordinary day that my wife and son and I were out just enjoying life, not

credible, not believable. You can convince yourself about it, but obviously you have the inability to convince anyone else about that.


So if you made any such arguments as a lawyer, you would lose every case like that. Cases you will never have an opportunity to argue anymore.

Except perhaps your own as you sit in the Department of Corrections. Anything further?


NEWMAN: All right, Mr. Murdaugh, I sentence you to the State Department of Corrections on each of the murder indictments and the murder of your wife

Maggie Murdaugh, I sentence you for term of the rest of your natural life. For the murder of Paul Murdaugh, whom you probably loved so much, I

sentence you to prison for murdering him, for the rest of your natural life.

Those sentences will run consecutive. Under the statute involving possession of a weapon during a violent crime, there is no sentence, where

a life sentence is imposed, another indictment. That is the sentence of the court and you are remanded to the State Department of Corrections. And

officers may carry forth on the imposition.


NEWMAN: Yes, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May we approach?

NEWMAN: Yes, sir.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: We've just witnessed quite a moment in an American courtroom. The judge in the Alex Murdaugh case, Clifton Newman, delivering

the sentences, two consecutive life sentences for Alex Murdaugh, one each for the murder of his wife, and for the murder of his son. He said, in

these words, that's Murdaugh would spend the rest of his natural life in prison for those crimes.

And Erica, quite a preamble to that sentence there. Twice Alex Murdaugh said I'm innocent. His words, I would never under any circumstances hurt my

wife Maggie. I would never under any circumstances hurt my son Paw Paw, as he referred to him. But the judge saying, he didn't believe him. The judge

said, you continued to lie throughout your testimony, and he said that many -- most, he described it as more than 90 percent of the people observing

this case, would continue to believe that he was lying in his statement of denial in that courtroom in these final moments there.

Let's listen back in again. Here's the judge speaking.

NEWMAN: An order was issued concerning maintaining the jurors' identity being anonymous. That order was issued and for the most part, it's been

complied with. Except for a jury leaving the courtroom yesterday or not the jury, but the defendant leaving the courtroom while the jury was still


SCIUTTO: Erica, just one thought. It struck me, and I wonder if you had the same thought, he did raise the point, Judge Clifton Newman raised it before

he got eventually to those consecutive life sentences that, in his view, the crimes qualified under South Carolina's state death penalty statute.


SCIUTTO: Noting that two people were killed. And it struck me for a moment there that the judge might be going another way. But that was notable.

HILL: It was, and he said, and when he was talking about it he said very clearly I don't question the state's decision. However, when he takes into

account, he also went on to say, he referenced, and we talked a lot about this during the course of the trial, and of course over the last year and a

half or so since Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were killed, the impact that this family has had on this county, in this area of South Carolina.


HILL: From a legal perspective, and the judge in those moments also talking about, over the past century, that this family has been prosecuting people,

sometimes in this courtroom, he said, many who received death probably for lesser conduct.


SCIUTTO: Yes. About that detail he said that he had to have the accused grandfather's portrait, which was hung at the back of the courthouse, taken

down in advance of the trial to guarantee it would be or to help it be a fair trial.

HILL: Yes. Absolutely.

Joey Jackson, Sarah Ford back with us now.

You know, Joey, just continuing to pick up on this point. So if you are just joining us, consecutive life sentences for the murders of his wife

Maggie, his son Paul for Alex Murdaugh. We also heard throughout from the judge talking about who Alex Murdaugh was in his view prior to these

murders. Prior to this moment in court now this morning, and who he was today. And he said maybe you weren't the person who killed them, maybe you

weren't the person because you had popped so many pills. Maybe you weren't in that moment.

I've had people stand before me who were not the person who committed the crime, but they were the same individual. I found that really interesting,

Joey, that he would lay it out in that way.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. You know, remarkable, Erica, and in addition to that, even the personal connection that the judge spoke to.

Remember the judge saying that, hey, I have seen you at events. I've known you as a member of the bar. I know you and your family to be a beautiful

family. I know you to have been a nice person. What happened?

And then going back to the point that you made, Erica, which is compelling, that the judge talked about, which is that, yes, perhaps it wasn't you, but

maybe it was that individual that was so strung up on these pills that had happened.

You know, big picture, Erica, when you look at the sentencing issues, they're about punishment, rehabilitation and deterrence, right. And judges

look for those things. And clearly, this is not a person who can be rehabilitated, so the judge then has to pivot to what's the appropriate

punishment under these circumstances. Is there anything else that anyone would believe that would be appropriate other than multiple life sentences?

And then the deterrent factor. No one else should be able to get away with this, whether you're a lawyer, whether you have a family that has a

portrait hanging on the courthouse door or anyone else. So it'd seem to me that the judge was very reflective, very thoughtful. Had a number of things

to say. Spoke to the sacrifices of the attorney general and the prosecutors and everyone who was there to mete out justice.

I think the judge under these circumstances did what justice required and demanded, and that was the two consecutive life sentences that we saw.

SCIUTTO: Well, one thing that was clear, the judge did not believe Alex Murdaugh's testimony or denials like the jury. He said many times you lied

through your testimony and even said you seem to be lying still when you deny here.

I do want to get to Sarah Ford. We do have our correspondent Dianne Gallagher outside the courthouse.

And Dianne, as I said earlier, quite a moment in American courtroom. You've been following this case for some time. What was the reaction outside the

courthouse there?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolute silence, and some gasps as the judge started saying things. Look, I want to add a little bit

of context here, too. You heard him say that I am sure you loved your son very much. It was chilling to me to listen to. I cannot imagine Alex

Murdaugh, the judge looking him in the eyes and telling him, that I know you have to see Paul and Maggie when you attempt to sleep. I am sure they

visit you.

Alex Murdaugh said all day and every night. And he said I am sure you have to reflect on the last moments they looked you in the eyes. Judge Newman

obviously saying that as a judge. He's extremely respected judge for his even keel temperament and fairness here in South Carolina. But he also says

that as a grieving father, Judge Clifton Newman's son, Brian, died at the age of 40 right before this trial began unexpectedly.

And so he has gone through this, listening to Alex Murdaugh talk about his Paw Paw, and listening to the testimony of Paul's friends discussed the

fact that they had heard him there. And that they identified his voice there. He pulled no punches. You know, we talked about the privilege, the

prominence here in the low country of the Murdaugh family, that century of them controlling the law as solicitors here.

We reported extensively on his grandfather's, you know, portrait being taken down. Creighton Waters, the prosecutor, apologized to Alex Murdaugh,

giving his condolences to Alex Murdaugh's dead father, Randall, who had just passed away two days after Maggie and Paul were murdered, noting that

he had worked with him. The judge pointing out the fact that Alex had argued cases before them.

Just really hitting home. How intricate, how involved everybody in this community was with the Murdaugh family. And as he said over and over again,

Alex Murdaugh fooled everyone, and perhaps most tragically, he said that he had fooled Maggie and Paul.

I have never seen something like that, and I don't know if Alex Murdaugh has ever had someone look him directly in the eyes and dress him down,

trying to hold him accountable for the things he has done.


Judge Newman acknowledged that he also was presiding over the 90 some other charges that Alex Murdaugh still faces in dealing with those victims there.

I spoke with Attorney General Alan Wilson this morning before he went into court. He told me, we're still going to pursue those. This may be two

consecutive life sentences for the murder of Maggie and Paul, but there are a lot of other victims out there who want to get their justice from Alex

Murdaugh as well.

And so, look, there are a lot of additional hearings, trials, may be pleas that we have going forward, dealing with Alex Murdaugh. You know, we've

seen, and you probably can see people coming out of the courtroom now. Most of these are people who are from around the area, or who have traveled then

because of the fascination with this fall from power.

Justin Bamberg, who I spoke with last night, an attorney who represents about 10 of the alleged financial victims of Alex Murdaugh, told me it

wasn't a fall from grace or fall from power, it was a jump from power to watch how quickly this has all unraveled after Alex Murdaugh admitting on

the stand more than a decade's worth of lying and stealing from people.

Now, it is important to note he has been convicted, but he said twice that he did not kill Maggie and Paul. He would never hurt Maggie. He would never

hurt Paw Paw. But obviously, the judge and the jury not convinced by his testimony.

HILL: Yes. Such important context, Diana, really appreciate you adding that and the excellent reporting you've been doing over these several weeks and

really months of all of this.

As we bring in now as well, back to our panel, Sarah Ford, we were waiting to see whether there would be any victim impact statements. Not a single

one. Is that surprising to you?

SARAH FORD, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I don't think that was surprising. You know, victims have the opportunity to speak if they want, but they also have the

opportunity to choose not to. And I think because there is a very fine line, there is no distinguishing between the victims' family and the

defendant's family, you know, Buster is the son of Maggie, the brother to Paul, he's also the son of Alex, and hearing him speak or Maggie's family

speaking, you know, they are all one family.

So I think it would be very difficult for them to speak. But certainly, Creighton Waters and the attorney general's office did an excellent job

advocating for Maggie and for Paul. For asking for the life sentence, which Judge Newman did sentenced Alex to. But, you know, listening to Judge

Newman, his words were chilling and poetic. So thoughtful. Really incredible to hear.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And brutal, frankly, on the defendant. Just very briefly, Sarah Ford, could he have ordered a sentence greater than life in prison? I

mean, he said that they qualified under the death penalty statute in South Carolina. Could have gone beyond the prosecution's recommendation?

FORD: The state has to file a notice to seek the death penalty and the state did not do that.


FORD: So the maximum sentence that would be allowed would be the life in prison and of course the consecutive nature of that which Judge Newman did



HILL: Joey, as Dianne just brought up, she brought up those comments from the judge, which I have to say and will stop taking notes at one point when

he was talking about this, and he said, I'm sure that Maggie and Paul visit you at night, and Alex Murdaugh said all day every night. And he said, and

you must reflect on the last time they looked you in the eye. There has been a fair amount of discussion this morning, right, both from what we

heard from that juror, but also just in court about -- we heard from the prosecutor as well.

Alex Murdaugh and his eyes, and when people would look him in the eye, and what they are seeing in these moments, and in those moments in the

courtroom, as they look him in the eye. All of those words, Joey, paint such a powerful picture of this man in this moment.

JACKSON: You know, they really do, Erica. It's an interesting point because as you will recall, even the prosecutor said that Alex Murdaugh would eye

him down in the court and what he would see is the cold blooded killer that he is. And remember the testimony, even throughout the trial with respect

to his partner coming in and saying he was theatrical in the courtroom. He knew how to put on a performance.

That was really testimony aimed at the jury to say, hey, look, disbelieve what he's telling you, he's trying to emotionally connect with you because

it serves his purpose. But when it doesn't serve his purpose, as we heard from the prosecutor, now you see the cold blooded killer. And so I don't

think that was lost upon anyone.

Last point, Erica, and that's this. You know, pivoting to what the judge which was compelling about the lies, the defense filed what's called alibi

notice. What does that mean? It means that your client is going to, right, have an alibi defense going to establish that I wasn't even there, and in

fact that's what they were going with until, oh, never mind, there's a video that shows that I am there.


So the judge said who are you, which harkens back finally to the point you made, Erica, which is, hey, you know what, maybe you didn't kill him, as

the judge noted, maybe the person who you have become killed him. And so therefore, the judge did of course what he had to do, and that was issued

the two consecutive life sentences.

SCIUTTO: Now that 180 clearly influenced the juror who spoke to ABC News this morning. This idea he initially denied he was there and then video

proved he was there.

I wonder, the multiple times the judge, Sarah Ford, referenced how ingrained Alex Murdaugh and his family were in the community. The picture

of the grandfather at the back of the courthouse. The fact that Murdaugh had practiced law before the judge in cases prior to this. They knew each

other. They saw each other at events. This is a family that for a century deeply involved in the meting out of the law in this community here, in

these counties here.

In your experience, have you ever seen a case like this, where someone, a lawyer who argued cases like this is now himself in the dock, and has now

been convicted in less than three hours and is now going to prison for the rest of his life?

FORD: I have never seen a case like this before. If seeing someone who was so prominent in the legal community in South Carolina, you know, Alex was

the president of the Trial Lawyers Association here in South Carolina. You know, extremely well respected trial lawyer and a successful trial lawyer.

And to see him go from trying cases in the Colleton County courtroom, to being led out by law enforcement in chains is a tremendous jump, as Justin

Bamberg called it. A jump from grace. It's incredible to watch.

HILL: There were a request for mistrial, the judge said, the evidence here is overwhelming, not going to happen, not going to grant a mistrial. He

did, though, Joey, this morning, he did reference in talking to Alex Murdaugh at the beginning of the sentencing, the judge saying, you have no

obligation to say anything other than not guilty. You know, we are expecting an appeal here. You know, I wouldn't expect a confession.

In terms of an appeal, how do you see that playing out?

JACKSON: Yes. So there is an appealable issue which is quite significant, and that relates to all the testimony concerning his financial fraud. There

was a dispute as to whether or not the judge should permit and allow evidence concerning his financial really misrepresentations, the lies and

everything else to the clients.

The defense saying, hey, number one, it's not relevant to murder, number two, it's so prejudicial. That's a term we lawyers use to say that, listen,

even if the jury doesn't believe you murdered someone, given the fact that that put you and paint you in such a bad light and reflects on your

character, they're liable to find you guilty anyway. So I think that is being all of the introduction concerning the financial crimes that he

wasn't on trial for, it's fertile for an appeal.

Last point, having said that, there was of course a firm legal basis for the judge to permit it. You can permit evidence which goes to show motive.

Remember the whole essence of the prosecution's case in setting the foundation was that Alex Murdaugh did this because the world was crumbling

in. His financial crimes were being exposed, his family was learning about that, so the prosecution says, hey, we should be permitted to put this

before the jury because that's what we're showing what's his motivation to commit these murders. But that will be a central issue on appeal.

HILL: Joey Jackson --

SCIUTTO: We witnessed some court history, no question, this morning. Quite a decision.

HILL: Joey Jackson, Sarah Ford, appreciate you being with us this morning and throughout this trial as well.

We do want to get you caught up on a number of other stories that we are following on this Friday morning. Just ahead the Justice Department

rejecting former President Trump's sweeping claims of presidential immunity when it comes to civil lawsuits against him for January 6th. What the DOJ

is now noting in a letter to the appeals court.

SCIUTTO: Plus, a plot to kill Jewish lawmakers in Michigan thwarted. Hear from one of those officials as the suspect prepares to face a judge later


And later this hour Nikki Haley set to take her 2024 pitch to voters at the CPAC conference today. But the First Lady Jill Biden is responding to Haley

in an exclusive interview with CNN. What she thinks of the idea of giving older candidates mental competency tests.



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi.

You've been watching our colleagues in the United States discussing the sentencing of Alex Murdaugh. The judge gave Murdaugh two consecutive

sentences of life in prison for the murder of his wife and son. It took the jury less than three hours to return a guilty verdict on Thursday evening

after a month of listening to testimony.

Murdaugh comes from a powerful family in the South Carolina legal community, and the notion of a husband killing his wife and son as part of

a scheme to cover up fraud and a drug addiction captured the attention of the American public.

In other top stories, days after a deadly rampage by settlers, dozens of Israeli activists traveled to the West Bank town of Huwara to show their

solidarity with Palestinians there. The Israeli soldiers tried to stop them from entering.

Now these are images from Sunday. Settlers burned cars, businesses and homes in Huwara in response to the killings of two Israelis.

CNN's Hadas Gold following developments for you.

Hadas, why was it that the idea to try to stop these demonstrations from going to the town of Huwara. Explain.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, the Israeli military since that violence on Sunday has declared Huwara a closed military zone. This is

ostensibly both to try and catch the gunman who shot those two Israeli brothers as they were sitting in traffic, those attackers are still at

large, but also to try and de-escalate the situation and essentially keep settlers and Palestinians apart.

Our team was actually on the ground yesterday to interview villagers in Huwara, and they also came into contact with these Israeli soldiers who

told them to stop filming, but they were there to interview villagers and to understand exactly what happened on Sunday and why. Take a look.


GOLD (voice-over): This is the Palestinian village Israel's far-right Finance minister said needs to be erased. Huwara, where Israeli settlers

tried to do just that on Sunday. Revenge attacks after the killings of two Israeli brothers by Palestinian gunman hours before. Days later, the smell

of burning rubber still lingers in the air as residents clean up shattered glass, burnt-out cars, blackened buildings. One Palestinian man killed in

the ensuing chaos.

Huwara has long been a flashpoint for violence between Israeli settlers and Palestinians partly due to the highway that runs through it. Well,

residents say Sunday was some of the worst attacks they have ever seen.

NAHAWAND DAMIDI, HUWARA RESIDENT: They usually attack us by throwing stones. If we tried to defend ourselves they will use weapons. But last

time was different. Wherever you look there are bullets fired. Fired everywhere.

GOLD: Security cameras outside of residence home show masks settlers gathering flammable material to set this home on fire. The door literally

melting. 10-year-old Lamar Abu Saris said her room's window was broken by three big stones.

LAMAR ABU SARIS, HUWARA RESIDENT (through translator): Mom had us in our room and went to the rooftop to see what's happening. We heard them

breaking the windows of the house. We didn't do anything to them.

GOLD: Her 2-year-old sister Suwar (PH) jumps when she hears the noise outside. Big fire, she whispers, a seeming reference to the car set ablaze

at her family's auto repair shop.


Their mother Hana saying her children are traumatized.

HANA ABU SARIS, HUWARA RESIDENT (through translator): They burned the cars and stop three bullets towards me and we're screaming, death to Arabs. We

will wipe out Huwara.

GOLD: A few days later, that phrase, wipe out Huwara, echoed by the Israeli Finance minister and settler leader Bezalel Smotrich.

BEZALEL SMOTRICH, ISRAELI FINANCE MINISTER (through translator): I think the village of Huwara needs to be erased. I think that the state of Israel

needs to do this and God forbid not private people.

GOLD: Smotrich later tweeting he didn't mean it and only wants to, quote, "act in a targeted manner against the terrorist and supporters of


NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: These comments were irresponsible.

GOLD: The U.S. State Department calling his original comments repugnant and disgusting.

At least a dozen settlers have been arrested according to Israeli police, and there's now a heavy military presence in town. Israeli soldiers telling

our team to stop filming because it's a closed military zone as Israeli authorities still search for the gunman who killed the two Israeli brothers

and to keep Israeli settlers out of town.


GOLD: And Becky, what's interesting is Huwara has actually also become a rallying cry for the protesters who have been out in the streets proceeding

against this government's judicial overhaul. They've been chanting at police when they have been clashing with protesters, where were you in

Huwara, essentially asking where were the police, where was the Israeli military to stop this violence, this rampage in Huwara.

But on a bit of positive note, Becky, a crowd funding campaign was actually started by Israeli activists to help the villagers of Huwara to rebuild. It

has raised more than $500,000 as of today -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Hadas Gold, on the story. Hadas, thank you.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, with a very short break.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live from Abu Dhabi, where the time is just after 7:30 in the evening.

The intense battle for Bakhmut may finally be nearing an end. This is a key city in Eastern Ukraine, which has faced a relentless Russian assault for

weeks. Well, just hours ago, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group said his fighters have now all but surrounded the city and the appeal to

Ukraine's president to order a Ukrainian withdrawal, saying, quote, "The pincers are tightening." Well, Russian forces blew up a vital supply bridge

connecting the town to nearby areas.


Ukrainian police tell CNN they hope to repair that bridge in the coming days. Meantime, Ukrainian forces blew up a rail bridge in Bakhmut that they

had previously damaged. The military denies it's a sign that troops are preparing to withdraw.

Well, as that battle rages, Sergey Lavrov is hearing the sound of international ridicule. On Thursday's gathering of top G20 diplomats in New

Delhi, the Russian Foreign minister was pushing his boss's narrative about Moscow's invasion of Ukraine when this happened.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: You know, the war which we are trying to stop, and which was launched against as using the Ukraine --


LAVROV: Ukrainian people. Of course, it influenced, influenced, influenced the policy of Russia.


ANDERSON: CNN's Vedika Sud is live from the Indian capital.

You've been monitoring what's been going on at these key meetings. What do you believe the key takeaway is at this point?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, perhaps the biggest takeaway would be a day after the G20 Summit here in New Delhi where the foreign ministers

have converged and convened to talk about pressing issues, Becky, mainly emerging from that conflict in Ukraine with Russia is, you know, the rise

in prices in food commodities and energy, and India was hoping to play a leading role in bringing the West and Russia together and finding common


But they failed to do that, and that's essentially because Ukraine was the issue of which there was a sharp divide. We've seen that on Thursday, we've

seen that again on Friday. There was a Quad meeting today of the four foreign ministers. The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, of Japan

foreign minister, Australia foreign minister, as well as the Indian foreign minister.

There wasn't a direct statement or a strong statement that came out condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and perhaps that's because India

has had a very historic tie with Russia for decades now, and they haven't come out and directly condemned Russia for the war in Ukraine. But they did

come out with a joint statement and they did emphasize that the use or the threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.

Now Blinken, for a second day running, while in New Delhi, did send out a strong message to Moscow. Here's what he had to say Friday morning.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If we allow, with impunity, Russia to do what it's doing in Ukraine, then that's a message to would-be

aggressors everywhere, that they may be able to get away with it, too.


SUD: You know, Becky, Lavrov has repeatedly said that the West is trying to deflect from other issues, it's trying to distract the people here at the

G20 Foreign Ministers Meet by talking only about Ukraine. You heard the audience, the way they laughed when he tried to indicate, really, that

Russia is the victim and not the aggressor when it comes to the war in Ukraine. And that's the response he got.

Now the biggest takeaway for me, perhaps as a journalist here in New Delhi at the G20 Summit of the Foreign Ministers, would be that there's been no

joint statement. That only goes on to indicate how sharp the divide is really, between the West and Russia over the issue of Ukraine. And also an

indication that when the big summit, G20 Summit leaders, takes place in India in September, there might not be any consensus all over again, which

will be highly unfortunate -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Vedika Sud on the story for you.

Let's get you up to speed on some of the other headlines that are on our radar right now.

And the human rights advocates says the Premier League should take a closer look at the Saudi wealth fund that took over New Castle United. A court

filing named the club's chairman as a sitting minister of the Saudi government. An Amnesty International official says the league needs to re-

examine assurances that the kingdom would not control the club.

Well, a Minsk court has sentenced Belarusian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ales Beliatski to 10 years in a maximum security penal colony. Russian

state media says he was found guilty on smuggling charges. Pro-democracy activists documented human rights abuses in Belarus for decades and critics

are calling his sentences a sham.

Chaos in the Georgia parliament over a bill the opposition says would move the country towards authoritarianism. Lawmakers clashed and protesters

disrupted a hearing. Well, the bill will require organizations that receive more than 20 percent funding from overseas to register as foreign agents.

Critics say Russia has used a similar law to crack down on civil society there.


Well, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Up next, we will tell you who we'll see fastest around the track as the

Formula 1 season gets underway. That's coming up next. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Right. The Formula 1 season gets underway this weekend in Bahrain. The first day of practice the Red Bull team turning in the fast

this time around the track.

"WORLD SPORTS" Amanda Davies is here with more on that team. Picking up where they left off last season, Amanda.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Very much. And the word from the paddock is people really, you know, don't quite know what to think about it because

they want a race this campaign, but it seems Red Bull as things stands are very much out in front.

Interestingly it was Max Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez who posted the fastest time in the first practice session. Max is ahead of Checo as things

stands in session two. But the ones to watch, Aston Martin and the veteran two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, very much up there, giving people

a run for their money as things stand.

We've got the latest from Bahrain, coming up in just a couple of minutes in "WORLD SPORTS."

ANDERSON: Super thank you for that. We're back top of the hour for you, folks. Taking a short break. Amanda is back.