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Erin Burnett Outfront
Criminal Charges Citied In Target Letter Suggest DOJ Will Prosecute Bigger Case Than Trump Team Expected; Russian Attack On Odesa Underway For Third Night; "Get Him": Witness: U.S. Soldier Suddenly Ran Into North Korea; Investigation Into Serial Killings Suspect Expands. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 19, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump bracing for an indictment as the grand jury is expected to meet in just hours. This as the former president suffers new legal defense in two other major cases today.
Plus, new video appearing to show the head of the Wagner group for the first time since his failed rebellion. Yevgeny Prigozhin tonight unleashing new criticism of Putin's war.
And a woman coming forward and revealing her frightening encounter with the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer. What he told her about the murders he's now charged with committing.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, Trump's legal team is scrambling. New information suggesting the special counsel's 2020 election case against the president is far bigger than they anticipated. Trump is now staring down his third potential indictment, which could come as early as tomorrow. His legal team says the DOJ has given him until midnight tomorrow to say whether he'll report to that federal grand jury. That grand jury is expected to meet tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile, Trump's been hit with two other major losses in other legal battles he's fighting.
In one case, a judge ruling against Trump in the Stormy Daniels hush money case. That's in New York. And the judge denying Trump's efforts to move the case to federal court. So, that's the first.
The second is the judge denying Trump's request for a new trial in the case he lost to E. Jean Carroll who accused him of sexual abuse.
Now, all of these legal dominoes are falling around Trump right now. But the biggest threat at this moment does remain that third possible indictment against the former president in the federal election case. And "The Wall Street Journal" is now reporting that the target letter that Trump says he received mentions three federal statutes that Trump could be charged with. We're going to talk more about what those charges are and what they mean in a moment, you know, whether it's three and only three, or three and maybe more.
This as we're learning some new evidence that prosecutors may have against Trump in this case. So let me share this with you so you try to connect these dots yourself. We know prosecutors subpoenaed all security video from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta around polling day.
Now, this is significant because Trump and his team specifically targeted poll workers in that arena. They claimed this is a place where they said they were the suitcases full of Biden ballots. You no doubt remember that whole line, suitcase as a ballot.
They -- the Trump campaign even released a heavily edited brief clip from the arena security video which they said shows poll workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss committing election fraud. Well, that did not happen.
Trump and his team repeatedly accused them. They had no evidence of it. Trump actually mentioned Ruby Freeman in that infamous call with the Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: She's a vote scammer, a professional vote scammer and hustler. Ruby Freeman.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: And just to be very clear here, Secretary Raffensperger has made it clear that Ruby and her daughter were cleared of any wrongdoing after a year's long investigation by the Georgia state election board. Trump's claim about her and what happened with her at that arena was all made up. But now we know that prosecutors are going through that video evidence and we don't know for that reason, but we know they have it, as we await this possible criminal indictment against the former president, possibly hours away now.
Paula Reid is OUTFRONT in Washington.
Paula, you've been talking to your sources. What more are they telling you about the possible charges coming against Trump?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, a source familiar with the investigation tells me that if the former president is charged that, those charges would be filed here in Washington, D.C. There was a little bit of confusion over where this case would be filed after, of course, the Mar-a-Lago documents case was investigated with a grand jury here in D.C. but eventually filed down in Florida. That was largely because most of the alleged conduct there occurred in the state of Florida.
But it's notable that Trump's attorneys have really been caught off guard by this target letter. We know they have been telling us for about a year now that they did not expect their client to be charged in the January 6th case.
And they're pretty well looped in on what's going on with this investigation. As we've reported, many of the defense lawyers representing various witnesses are paid by a Trump-aligned political action committee. And that's one of the key ways that Trump lawyers get information about what exactly is going on here.
So as our colleague Kristen Holmes is reporting, now they're trying to figure out does the special counsel have witnesses or evidence that they're now familiar with? Because the charges outlined in that target letter paint a picture of a much broader case than anything they had been anticipating.
Now, if there are charges filed, we can expect that the Trump legal strategy will be, as it always is, Erin, to delay, delay, delay.
I was in court yesterday in Florida with special counsel prosecutors, Trump's legal team, and they were actually explaining to the judge, the defense attorneys, just how much work they have. They even referenced the possibility of these January 6th charges. And you can expect if charges are filed, they will likely try to delay any potential trial just like they are in Florida until after the 2024 election.
BURNETT: Paula, thank you very much with all of those details you're getting from your sources. Let's go now to the former Republican Congressman Fred Upton. He voted to impeach Trump over his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol; Karen Friedman Agnifilo, the former chief assistant district attorney of the Manhattan D.A.'s office; and Ryan Goodman, former special counsel at the Department of Defense.
So, thanks to all. Karen, let me start with you.
So, you just heard what Paula's reporting, that the potential charges in the target letter do suggest a much broader case, a broader set of possible charges, certainly than the former president's team had been expecting and frankly that many out there had been expecting.
Is this bigger than you thought it might be from what you see now?
KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, WORKED WITH SPECIAL COUNSEL JACK SMITH: So, there's two possibilities. Anyone who watched the Jan 6 hearings saw how sweeping and big and vast this criminal enterprise that Trump was managing really was. And it could be this huge sweeping indictment, or it could be much more discreet just to get a case to trial before the election.
So, we still don't know what Jack Smith is going to do. But I certainly wasn't surprised because there's so much that could be -- that he could be charged with. It's a matter of picking.
BURNETT: So -- and so, Ryan, to that point, the target letter mentions conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States, deprivation of rights, witness tampering. Now, it's unclear, you know, just because they say three doesn't mean there's only three. You can kind of read the tea leaves on what they're choosing to include those three means. What does it tell you?
RYAN GOODMAN, JUST SECURITY CO-EDITOR-CHIEF: So, the first and the third are not unexpected. The first one is conspiracy to defraud. Very likely that includes the scheme with the false slate of electors. It is defrauding the United States and the ability to conduct an election by having these false electors submit their certificates and gumming up the works with false statements.
BURNETT: Right, and we know the special counsel has been really looking on these issues, for example, the Georgia video.
GOODMAN: A hundred percent.
GOODMAN: And CNN's reporting has been over this for months, that this is one of the potential charges, and the last one that you mentioned is the witness tampering statute. But actually, in those statutes, it's very broad, and it easily includes obstruction of official proceedings, which the DOJ has charged dozens of people for that, for the Capitol riot.
But it also could include the pressure on Mike Pence. That would be the obstruction of Congress. That's easily fits.
The middle one is a surprise. Not many --
BURNETT: Deprivation of rights.
GOODMAN: Yeah, deprivation of rights. Not many experts were talking about this. I think I'm one of many legal experts across the country who were scrambling to research this. But it actually looks like a very good fit.
It is a statute that says when you deprive voters of their ability for votes to be counted fairly, that is a crime that could fit quite easily with what we know about the facts.
BURNETT: So, Congressman Upton, as Ryan goes through all this, the reality of it is is that this third indictment, which could be more sweeping, more historically significant and profound than anything else out there, at least to this point. The other indictments haven't done anything to hurt Trump. In fact, his lead in the polls has grown. GOP House leadership is strongly defending him.
Could a third indictment -- does it move the needle either way, Fred?
FRED UPTON (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM MICHIGAN; VOTED TO IMPEACH TRUMP: I don't think it moves the needle at all. It's not yet another straw that breaks its back. Anyone that watched the January 6th hearing, anyone that saw it firsthand like I did knows precisely what was going on, it's taken the Justice Department some time to get to where they are. And in terms of where the voters are, particularly the base, Trump is
using this to raise more money, he's stronger than ever before. He's got all the wind out of the balloon from any of the other dozen or so candidates that are out there. They can't get a breakthrough.
And it's really sort of over in terms of his winning the Republican nomination. I mean, he has portrayed himself as the victim, the martyr. This is not going to change that. It's only going to strengthen that as he sort of pushes through with even the shorter time frame than before.
The bottom line, too, is even if the trial goes forward, let's say he gets convicted eight, 10, 11 months from now, there will be an appeal. I mean, it is -- this is -- it's not going to have an impact on his nomination for the presidency.
BURNETT: Well, it's certainly not resolved by election day in terms of getting all the way through the legal system.
Karen -- and, yet, Trump's team is scrambling in the sense of Kristen Holmes reporting that -- did somebody turn in that they weren't aware of?
Is there some witness that they're not aware of, right? They're not just saying they're surprised. They're actually -- they seem to be walking the walk on that one.
AGNIFILO: I think they want to know exactly who is testifying, who's cooperating, who are the witnesses? I mean, you know, he likes to keep his -- the people close to him, or in return, he will intimidate witnesses, right? Like, how many people has he gone out there and said things about that would then be afraid to come forward. So, he won't -- he really -- I think they want to figure out exactly who is in that orbit.
BURNETT: And, Ryan, the security video that I mentioned, right? This is the State Farm arena on Election Day. And we know that Trump had made these false accusations about the suitcases full of ballots. Dinesh D'Souza ran to the -- you know, ran to the bank with that one, right? It got a lot -- it gotten a lot of people's heads, a lot of people still believe it. It's not true. It didn't happen.
How are they going to use this video now you know that they've asked for it?
GOODMAN: I think a very likely use of that video is the way that it came up in the New York state court with Giuliani's license being suspended. The court looks at the video and says, you presented this video in a highly doctored format, no reasonable person could see the entire video and come to the conclusion that you see fraud.
That I think would be very strong evidence. It's not like did Donald Trump believe the fraud. It's that he and his team created the fraud -- the image of fraud. And I think that might be what that video can show. It would be very strong evidence if that's, in fact, the way the prosecutors want to use them.
BURNETT: And, Fred, the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as you mentioned, right? He's got -- Trump has the support on Capitol Hill of Republicans, the majority of them. McCarthy's been very clear.
Tonight, he said this when asked what he would do if Trump was found criminally responsible, not just indicted, right? Found criminally responsible. Here's McCarthy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don't see how he could be found criminally responsible. He did not charge it. What criminal activity did he do? He told people to be peaceful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Fred, I'm just going to put aside that that's the opposite of what Kevin McCarthy said in the day after the attack when he planted the blame firmly on the former president. But when you hear him say this, you were there on January 6th. He was there. You know what he thought in the moment. Not what he's saying now.
What do you think of what he's saying now?
UPTON: Well, you remember -- and it's not been challenged at all for two years, the report that the president called -- or actually Kevin called Trump and said, you know, call the dogs off, tell these folks to go home. And Trump reportedly said, I guess they care more about the election than you did.
No one has discounted that. That's been out there. That was a part of the January 6th testimony. You all broke that story two years ago. It's still -- you know, it's unchallenged.
So -- but I got to tell you, everyone knows -- I mean, I look at my own Michigan congressional delegation. Every one of them endorsed Trump last week in the primary. Even in Florida -- two-thirds I think of the Florida Republican delegation has endorsed Trump, not DeSantis. DeSantis might have one or two of the 18 or 20 Republicans that are there.
So, anyone looking at the tea leaves, particularly in the leadership, Trump's going to be the nominee, don't walk away from this guy. And that's what it is from the top to the bottom.
BURNETT: All right, all of you, thank you very much in these hours before a possible historic indictment.
Next, we have breaking news from Ukraine. Our team in Odesa just hearing explosions and flashes across the sky, as a third night in a row of missile strikes from Putin. We're live on the ground. Our Alex Marquardt is there.
Plus, quote, get him. A witness describes the moment a U.S. soldier ran away from a tour group and into North Korea. And artificial intelligence taking over Hollywood, and our Donie
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't know who you are, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Breaking news, there are loud explosions lighting up the sky in Odesa for the third night in a row. Let's listen.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BURNETT: That was just moments ago. Russia terrorizing the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa. There's been a launch of missiles, drone strikes in the dark of the night happening again right now. Our Alex Marquardt is there. You just heard his voice there, if everyone was listening there on the background of that. Alex, describe for me what you're hearing and seeing here in these minutes.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, this was right on cue. Just moments before you went to air, we started to get the first warnings that something might be happening that this might indeed be the third night in a row that we would see a major attack by Russia. It is clear that this is underway.
It is quiet right now. But this is almost certainly a temporary lull. What we've seen in the past few moments are more of those just extraordinary scenes. All of this firepower on both sides.
Let me remind our viewers, last night we saw some 60 drones and cruise missiles fired at southern Ukraine, most of them at this city. We have to assume that something similar is happening right now. In just the past few moments we have seen those air defense rounds lighting up the night sky, bright red tracers, as well as spotlights reflected against the sky.
Those spotlights used to search for drones, and then perhaps most dramatically, Erin, what appeared to be interception rockets flying every which way, one going that way appearing to try to be taking out an incoming missile, another one a straight back behind me, which did appear to take out a missile. There was a huge explosion in the sky, this monster glow lighting up the night sky.
There was a lot of anxiety earlier today and into the night, Erin, of course, after these two just staggering nights of attacks. The question whether there would be a third, it does appear this city is now under attack yet again by Russia.
Whether it will continue, of course, that is the big question for now. Last night's attack lasted over an hour. And for now, it has only been about 20 minutes. So we are obviously keeping a close eye on the situation.
The Ukrainian military had warned that there was a missile warning for this region, and that appears to have materialized -- Erin.
BURNETT: And, Alex, as you're there, you're talking about the duration that you had heard 20 minutes and, obviously, as I point out to people, it's 2:20 a.m. where you are right now. So you don't know whether you're done or in the middle or what. But you say last night was about an hour.
When you talk about what you're seeing, these tracers, the spotlights in the sky, the actual missiles themselves, is this more intense than what you saw last night or the night before? I know this is the third night you've been there for this.
MARQUARDT: This is in line very much with what we saw last night, which turned out, according to the mayor himself, to be the most ferocious assault by Russia on Odesa since this war started. If the attack ends now, and, again, it is rather quiet right now, except for a car alarm that I can hear nearby. And that's what's happened when you've had these rockets being intercepted, these Russian missiles being intercepted and these shock waves just flying all across this city.
So, it's very difficult to say. But, Erin, it has been like clockwork. I've been on your show for the past two nights. It has happened at exactly the same time just before 2:00 a.m., starting to get word on social media from official channels that drones and missiles might be heading towards Odesa. You start to hear those air raid sirens.
Then you start to see the air defense tracers. It looks and I don't mean to trivialize this at all, but it does look like fireworks going into the sky. The tracers will often find a target before that comes down -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Alex, thank you very much.
Of course, we're going to keep in touch with Alex here, see what's happening in Odesa. We'll go back to him in a few moments as this develops. This is -- this is what's happening right now, right? This is the live situation in Ukraine.
And it comes as we've been getting new video that purports to show the Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin for the first time, his first public appearance since he led the armed rebellion in Russia. We believe this video was likely shot or filmed on Tuesday night. We cannot definitively say it is Prigozhin.
But here's what we do know from Fred Pleitgen, OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Nearly a month after Wagner's mutiny, the private military company and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, say they're back. This grainy video, which CNN cannot independently verify, purportedly showing Prigozhin welcoming his fighters to Belarus.
Welcome to the Belarusian land, he says, we fought with dignity, we have done a lot more Russia, what is happening now with the front lines is a shame in which we do not need to participate. We need to wait for the moment when we can prove ourselves fully.
Prigozhin as critical as ever of Russia's defense ministry and apparently signaling his fighters could return to the front lines in Ukraine.
Various social media accounts had already reported movements of what appeared to be large Wagner convoys on the move towards Belarus. And CNN analysis of satellite images from Planet Labs and from Airbus showed a convoy of Wagner fighters had already arrived at a formerly abandoned base southeast of Minsk.
Some of the Wagner fighters training Belarusian troops as seen here on state media.
They have been in combat, and this is undoubtedly a very useful experience for our army, this Belarusian soldier says.
They saw some of the heaviest combat in Russia's war against Ukraine, but after their mutiny, seen as a major threat to Vladimir Putin's power, Prigozhin was labeled as a traitor by Russia's leader. And Wagner had to shutter its main base in southern Russia.
The base ceases to exist, this fighter says. Wagner private military company is relocating to new areas.
Belarus seems to be one of those new areas. Putin apparently coming to the conclusion he still needs the mercenaries and their leader.
The head of Britain's intelligence service MI6 telling CNN Prigozhin is, quote, floating around after the rebellion.
SIR RICHARD MOORE, DIRECTOR OF MI6: If you look at Putin's behaviors on that day, Prigozhin started off, I think, as a traitor as breakfast. He had been pardoned by supper. And a few days later, he was invited for tea.
PLEITGEN: And one of Prigozhin's top commanders, Dmitry Utkin, vowing the mercenaries will come back even stronger.
It's not the end, he says. It's only the beginning of the biggest work that will be done very soon, and, finally, welcome to hell.
[19:25:06] PLEITGEN (on camera): Welcome to hell, he says. And, Erin, you know, the U.S. and its allies are extremely concerned about Prigozhin and Wagner setting up shop there in Belarus. They believe that it could destabilize NATO's eastern flank. And there are already some Eastern European countries who are sending additional military assets to their borders to better secure them -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Fred, thank you very much.
And, next, hear from a woman who witnessed the moment a U.S. soldier ran into North Korea, was taken away fast in a van.
Plus, investigators now speaking to multiple women who had contact with the married architect, father of two, who is now charged with serial killings. Has he been linked to other cases and how many? A district attorney handling that case is OUTFRONT tonight.
BURNETT: Tonight, get him. That's what one witness said a soldier from South Korea yelled as a U.S. soldier made a run for North Korea. The 23-year-old, Travis King, was on a public tour of the joint security area where talks can take place between the North and South Korean officials. It's those blue houses, you can walk in there. You just can only step over the line, that's not what happened with him.
And we've got a new picture taken just minutes before he crossed the border. You see him in this picture on the left-hand side of the photo wearing a dark shirt and a black cap. CNN speaking with the woman who took this photo, and she says she thought it was a stunt until she heard a soldier on the South Korean side yell "get him".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH LESLIE, WITNESSED U.S. SOLDIER RUN ACROSS BORDER TO NORTH KOREA: I thought this was a guy doing it for a TikTok stunt or something really, really stupid like that. But he didn't stop.
And then at that stage, one of the American soldiers said, get inside, run, get inside to all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Will Ripley is OUTFRONT live near the DMZ.
And, Will, what can you tell us about how easy it was for the soldier to make a run for North Korea? And do you know anything about where he is right now?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that he would have driven basically on this exact bridge here, Erin, past the security checkpoint. This is the Unification Bridge. They only opened it to the traffic. And when I say traffic, I mean people who work there, for about an hour and a half in the morning each day. So these cars would have to go through a security check here, then drive down about five miles when they get to that joint security area.
Now, when he was actually walking near the dividing line between North and South Korea, there were armed guards on both sides. But the North doesn't have a lot of guards right now because of COVID. So, actually, it's believed that he sprinted across and was able to jump into a van with North Korean guards who drove him away. But his location right now still unknown, Erin.
BURNETT: It's absolutely incredible to think he would make that choice. His family, I know, was speaking out. What are they saying, will?
RIPLEY: Well, look, his brother was speaking with ABC, saying that they understand the gravity of the situation. His mother telling ABC News that she was shocked, saying she could not imagine her son Travis doing anything like this. And actually we have some sound from the brother which we're going to play for you right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We understand the gravity of the situation. It's a very massive and unfortunate thing. My mom's lost a son before. So this is weighing very heavily on her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: And right now, there is no information available, at least publicly, about where this army private is, where he's being held inside North Korea. He could likely be quarantined because they're very worried about COVID-19 with an unvaccinated population. But, Erin, they're also going to want to question him extensively about his military background to see if he has any valuable intelligence. Of course, he wasn't in the army for very long, so his propaganda and intelligence value for the North Koreans may be limited, which means he could just be sitting, waiting, possibly for some time.
BURNETT: Well, Will Ripley, thank you very much from right outside the DMZ there. Amazing that bridge only open for an hour and a half each way a day for people to go through. It is a tight security zone.
OUTFRONT now, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, our CNN military analyst.
General Hertling, this soldier was a private assigned to the first armored division, which you commanded. You and I have both been to the DMZ. I mean, to just sort of run over it, I mean, it's sort of unfathomable to imagine someone doing it, and yet he did. How big of a problem is this for the U.S. government at this point?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's going to be a problem, Erin. You know, one of the things -- we have an expression in the army that you spend about 90 -- as a leader, you spend about 95 percent of your time on 5 percent of your people. This young private was one of those young people we're going to be spending a lot of time on. You know, it's going to be difficult. He's a young private. He's been
in the army two years, 23 years old. He's a private E2, which means if he's been in the army two years, he's probably gotten in trouble before and has been busted in rank.
He is known to have had some disciplinary problems. They're sending him back to Fort Bliss, Texas, the home of the First Armored Division, as you said, that I commanded.
So, this whole thing is interesting. It's going to cause problems for the State Department, because we don't have a status of forces agreement with North Korea.
HERTLING: And by that, I mean, there's no negotiations when a soldier does something wrong to get him back and punish him under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. They have him. He's not going to give them a whole lot of actionable intelligence because he is a young private as a cavalry scout. He probably doesn't have that much that he can give the North Koreans.
BURNETT: So, then, you know, you heard Will said they don't know where he is. He could be quarantined. I mean, is this just going to be a long time that he's there, then?
HERTLING: I suspect that's going to be true. And North Korea, as they always do, are going to make the most of the propaganda? They're going to talk about how undisciplined U.S. soldiers are, that they are trying to get into North Korea, that they don't want to conform to the Western ways of South Korea, and they'd much rather be in the North.
So we're going to hear those kinds of mantras coming from the North Korean government. And they're just going to delay action on this guy and probably just deliver him back some day soon. But his parents and his family are going to be very concerned about him. But it was him doing this action.
BURNETT: I mean, it is -- it is unbelievable. Now, of course, obviously, it's not related but it comes on the same day as North Korea tested two short-range ballistic missiles, 20 ballistic missile tests so far this year from Kim Jong Un, ICBM with a record-breaking 74-minute flight time.
His sister has also risen in power, fiery rhetoric. She threatened the U.S. saying the price of the United States provoking us will never be light. And now they're showing off a submarine they say can carry 80 nuclear warheads.
So, what does all this add up to?
HERTLING: Well, the submarine is a U.S. submarine docked in a port in South Korea. And it's a very strong message to the president of North Korea that, hey, don't threaten us with nuclear weapons because we will have the capability to go one on one and then some with you with these kind of submarines.
HERTLING: It's interesting that that was reported today because usually the submarines are a silent service. You don't know where they are. So to have that go into a port and actually take photos of it and show it on South Korean media tells me that this is a messaging by the U.S. Navy and the State Department to have the North Koreans back down a little bit from some of these rocket launches, which, by the way, are not connected at all to this young private going across the border. Those were all conducted before or during the time when he ran across the border.
BURNETT: Right, right. And of course required advanced planning.
Well, thank you so much, general. I appreciate your time, as always.
And, next, she met with the man now charged with killing at least three women. What the suspect said that left her terrified for her own life. Her story.
Plus, the district attorney in this serial killer case is OUTFRONT.
And our Donie O'Sullivan gets a first-hand look at artificial intelligence and how it could completely change movies as we know them. Just look at Harrison Ford.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Through some technological wizardry, 84-year- old Harrison looks exactly like 40-year-old Harrison Ford. Do you understand how they did that?
HARRISON FORD, ACTOR: Not completely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, new developments in the so-called Gilgo Beach serial murders. Police in Suffolk County are re-interviewing two women after discovering that serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann propositioned them several years ago. This comes as we're learning more about him and his life behind bars. The Suffolk County jail has taken extra precautions to house him, including installing more cameras near his cell. They say they have him under 24/7 monitoring. Extra personnel have been assigned to him because he's 6'6" and roughly 275 pounds, and the charges he is accused of.
They include killing Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello, stuffing their bodies into burlap sacks. He's also a suspect in a fourth murder Maureen Brainard-Barnes.
Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial killing suspect continues, more people coming forward to talk about their interactions with Rex Heuermann.
NIKKIE BRASS, CLAIMS SHE MET HEUERMANN IN 2015: I had a really, really bad feeling, like, my gut was telling me I needed to get away from him.
CASAREZ: Nikkie Brass telling "Good Morning America" Heuermann solicited her online in 2015 when she worked as an escort and that he talked about the Gilgo Beach murders.
BRASS: When he talked about it, he would, like, speak in a "they" and hypothetical. But he had this, like, smile on his face. I mean, it made me really uneasy. And, like, he had this glossed over look in his eye.
CASAREZ: The investigation now spans the country. Authorities in South Carolina searching property owned by Heuermann for any evidence to link the 59-year-old architect to the murder of three young women in New York in 2009 and 2010. Sources tell CNN a Chevy Avalanche was seized from the property and is being combed for evidence.
STEVE CASTON, NEIGHBOR OF HEUERMANN FAMILY PROPERTY IN SOUTH CAROLINA: There were SWAT team, FBI, all kinds of stuff.
CASAREZ: Those living next to the property were stunned.
CASTON: We have an adjoining property to a serial killer, which is, like, I never put that on my bucket list.
CASAREZ: And over 2,000 miles away in Las Vegas, law enforcement officials tell CNN they are looking at cold case homicides to see if there could be any links. According to property records obtained by CNN, Heuermann and his wife purchased two timeshare condos in Las Vegas in 2003 and 2005. On long island where Heuermann lived, crime scene investigators continue to collect and process potential evidence from inside his home and his nearby storage unit.
Also searching for possible connections, the remains of eight other people found along that beach.
SHERIFF ERROL D. TOULON, JR., SUFFOLK COUNTY: Does it tie into any other victims, any other victims that we may not even know where the bodies are, people who may have been reported missing.
CASAREZ: Heuermann remains in jail on a routine COVID restriction protocols and suicide watch. Law enforcement tells CNN he isn't talking and has had no visitors.
CASAREZ (on camera): And Rex Heuermann has pleaded not guilty. His attorney is saying that this is a circumstantial case, and it is weak. I spoke with an attorney this afternoon, John Ray (ph). And he is working with representing two other families of other victims that were found in the vicinity. They're not part of the charges now against Heuermann.
But he says these families are on edge. They are just waiting and wanting to know what the truth is here. And he says it's justice for the victims, but it's mercy for these families that have had to linger for so long not knowing what the truth was.
BURNETT: Right. And, of course, we'll see, you know, what they're saying in three cases, it, of course, could be many, many more.
BURNETT: Jean, thank you very much.
And joining me now, the Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney.
And, District Attorney, I appreciate your time.
You know, people are coming forward. Two escorts among them who interacted with Rex Heuermann. They did not go home with him. Are any of these new tips leading you to more victims, to more leads in this case?
RAYMOND TIERNEY, SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Thanks for having me, Erin.
I think that, you know, this investigation has entered into a new phase. Previously, we had been doing a grand jury investigation, which was secret, which we were deliberately trying to obscure from the target. Now that we've arrested him and executed these search warrants, it's a new phase, and it's an overt phase. So we've executed the search warrants. We're going to have to go through that evidence.
But we're also going to have to interview a great number of people, which we'll be doing over the course of the next couple days.
BURNETT: So, and you're going to do that over the next couple days.
So, moving quickly on that front.
BURNETT: OK. So, I know you said at the arraignment from what you knew then that he had, quote, a lot of torture porn, depictions of women being abused, raped, even killed in his possession. What can you tell me district attorney about some of the other evidence that you found?
TIERNEY: So, you know, we've executed, as your report indicates, a great number of search warrants over a great many different places. And we're looking for everything from, you know, large items to molecular items like blood, DNA, trace evidence, hair. So what's happening is our criminologist from the Suffolk County crime lab are going through each of these areas literally inch by inch by inch to try to obtain as much evidence as possible.
This is a painstaking process. It is a long process. And we're going to let that process play out.
We're going to inventory all that evidence. We're going to analyze it. And then we'll be able to talk about it.
BURNETT: So, are you able to share any more about what was found in his actual home? I mean, you know, people are now understanding, right, in the Carolinas, there were multiple places searched. But in the vault in his home, we know that there were guns.
There are reports out today that suggests other evidence found in his home, maybe handcuff keys or stained t-shirt, I mean, things that could, obviously, lead people's minds in obvious and horrific directions.
Can you confirm any of that?
TIERNEY: Well, you know, when we executed the search warrant, and one of the reasons why we didn't want to arrest the defendant at his home is because we knew he had permits for 92 handguns. So we knew he had access to a large number of guns. We executed the search warrant. Certainly that has been borne out.
So we're going to inventory those guns. And, you know, we'll provide the information once it's concluded. But, again, you know, once you get some -- you get an item of evidence, you're going to swab it, see if you can get blood, saliva, hair, DNA. All of these things, it takes time.
So, you know, as an investigator and as a prosecutor, you don't -- you don't let out information piecemeal, you include your investigation and then you provide your findings in court like we did at the arraignment.
BURNETT: So, can I just ask a question just in terms of -- when you started this, you were doing the grand jury, you didn't want him to know. Were you sort of observing him during that time, watching how he behaved? Did you say anything, or was it -- or did it shock you with its apparent normalcy, given what you believe you have proof he did?
TIERNEY: No, nothing really -- doing this, nothing really shocks you. I think it was pretty clear. We did surveil him. We did physical surveillance and otherwise surveilled him. And, you know, from our observations and our investigation, it was pretty clear that this defendant was living a double life, you know, part of his life that he presented to the public and a part of his life that he very much kept hidden.
BURNETT: And one final question, District Attorney. Do you believe that there will be -- you will be able to link him to multiple more of these killings, right, of these -- of these women? And I know, of course, at least one man, but whose bodies were found all in that area of Gilgo Beach? TIERNEY: So I came in office in January of 2022.
TIERNEY: We started the task force in February of 2022. Rex Heuermann was identified as a target on March 14th, six weeks later. And we've been off and running ever since then.
We're continuing to accumulate evidence through the grand jury with regard to the four women who were known as the Gilgo Four. We've charged three of those murders. We're going to continue to work those murders. We're going to continue to evaluate all the evidence in this case.
And then beyond that, we're going to expand our investigation into the other bodies on Gilgo Beach. It doesn't matter what I think. It matters what I can prove. And after we're done with this exhaustive investigation, I'll have more information for everyone.
BURNETT: All right. Well, District Attorney, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
TIERNEY: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. And, next, A.I. is changing the entire world we live in. It's even changing our own Donie O'Sullivan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't know who you are. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And the Chinese foreign minister vanishes without a trace. He has not been seen in four weeks. Where is he?
BURNETT: Tonight, no end in sight as the actors strike in Hollywood nears a week. This is a strike that some estimate could cost four billion dollars or more. One of the biggest fears for striking actors is the potential for studios to basically wipe out their jobs with A.I.
Is that fear reality or not?
Donie O'Sullivan is OUTFRONT.
JONATHAN BRONFMAN, CEO, MARZ: This is where we started. It's an automated solution for cosmetic and de-aging work. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Jones.
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Through some technological wizardry, 80-year- old Harrison Ford looks exactly like 40-year-old Harrison Ford. Do you understand how they did that?
HARRISON FORD, ACTOR: Not completely.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the latest "Indiana Jones" movie, Harrison Ford's de-aged for a flashback where he fights the Nazis.
FORD: It's not photoshopped or anything. It does not look that way.
O'SULLIVAN: Hollywood Studios are moving beyond traditional visual effect technology and embracing artificial intelligence, turning to companies like MARZ.
What does MARZ stand for?
BRONFMAN: Monsters, aliens, robots, zombies.
O'SULLIVAN: I think that's the best name for company.
BRONFMAN: Thank you.
O'SULLIVAN: The latest Spider-Man movie released in 2021 features villains like the Green Goblin and Dr. Otto Octavius, characters who haven't been seen in years.
BRONFMAN: So, they took the previous versions of spider-man movies and wanted to bring them back in that moment when they originally performed that character. So, without naming names, we helped Marvel do that on a certain character.
O'SULLIVAN: MARZ says that it's de-aging A.I. technology knocks thousands of man hours of the visual effects process. But they say they aren't killing jobs.
BRONFMAN: The demand for visual effects way outstrips this supply. But there are a finite number of artist in the world that are able to execute on that demand.
O'SULLIVAN: MARZ has also built an A.I. dubbing tool aiming to make awkward out of sync voice-overs like these a thing of the past.
MARZ uses deepfake technology to reconstruct and actor's lips to match the dubbed audio. They traded out on me. First, they sent them the short click I shot in a CNN studio.
That I've always been terrible at speaking any language other than English. In fact, I struggle with English sometimes.
With that, they were able to do this.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) That is very impressive.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
My lips look French.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know who you are.
O'SULLIVAN: This technology can even put other people's words in your mouths.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But what I do have are a very particular set of skills. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. It will not look for you, I will not pursue you.
O'SULLIVAN: My fellow Irishman as well.
MATT PANOUSIS, COO, MARZ: Lip dub was built for the purpose of allowing studios to take content and their native -- and put that across the globe in a way where it looks native to the viewer.
O'SULLIVAN: For its part, MARZ says it's not in the business of replacing actors. It's technology is meant to enhance performances, not create them.
FORD: I don't think it's a question of the technology. It's how you use it.
TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Look, you know, I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and that's it. My performances can go on and on, and outside of the understanding that it's been done with A.I. or deepfake, there'll be nothing to tell you that it's not me, and me alone.
O'SULLIVAN: Fears of how A.I. will be used as partly why SAG-AFTRA, the actors union, is on strike, saying the studio is going to replace them with artificial performances. The movie studios are pushing back on that claim.
BRONFMAN: Technology cannot replace an actor full on. You can't go head to toe and redo the entire face, and expect that to be photo real. The technology just isn't there right now.
Now, as it relates to writers, I think that they can more easily be replaced by artificial intelligence.
BURNETT: All right. You ended on writers there, although by the way, you in the French. Did I hear you mention Japanese, that was amazing.
All right. You ended there with a beneficial threat to writers. This is serious. I mean, ChatGPT, and they're worried about it writing scripts. I gave him prompt to ChatGPT with a picture on the wall, an inch picture, write me a back story, be creative. O'SULLIVAN: Yeah.
BURNETT: Four seconds later, it was damn good, Donie, I couldn't believe it.
So, you know, the script writers, obviously, a serious risk. Is it there for actors, though?
O'SULLIVAN: As you heard, look, I think everybody should be worried about how this could transform all of our jobs. As you heard there, actors are at less risk right now than writers, but there is a fear. And you heard him mention this, it could also be used in good creative ways that essentially actors could be replaced by these avatars, that you can scan a person and that they are then placed into movies.
But what we've -- you know, what we've heard from the experts is that it's sometime away. But this technology is advancing so quickly. We could be having a very different conversation in six months.
BURNETT: Absolutely. All right. Donie, thank you very much. Fascinating piece.
And next, where is he? China's foreign minister hasn't been seen in more than three weeks, and it's a very consecutive absence as U.S. officials have been visiting the country.
BURNETT: Tonight, a story we've been following OUTFRONT, China's foreign minister vanished without a trace. It's been 24 days since Qin Gang was last seen in public. The trusted aide to President Xi Jinping has disappeared with no explanation from the government.
Speculation is running rampant on Chinese social media, which interestingly, the Chinese government hasn't censored as it does with most sensitive topics. The Chinese ambassador to the United States is tamping down the intense speculation about his whereabouts. Hasn't censored as it does with most sensitive topics.
The Chinese ambassador to the United States isn't tamping down the intense speculation about Qin Gang's whereabouts either. When asked earlier if Qin met with the former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, here's the answer.
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XIE FENG, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Well, let's wait and see.
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BURNETT: Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" begins now.