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Isa Soares Tonight

California Braces For More Rain, Floods This Weekend; 7 Dead After Tornadoes Rip Through Southern U.S.; Trump Organization Fined $1.6 Million Over 17 Felonies. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired January 13, 2023 - 14:00:00   ET




RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: The state of California, they are bracing for more potentially deadly weather. There was a momentary brief respite. Now,

California is looking into another round of rain and flood. It's feared that Monterey Peninsula near San Francisco could actually turn into a

complete Island and be cut off from the mainland. At least 18 people have died in the weeks of heavy rains and flooding. Veronica Miracle is tracking

the story for us, joins me now. Where is the greatest concern at the moment?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the greatest concern for this weekend is going to be the central California coastline and the valley. A

staggering 15 million people are under flood advisories this weekend. And that is after weeks of destruction and damage. There has been little to no

relief. Right now here in San Francisco, it's not coming down, but earlier, it really was raining hard. And this is the first of three storms expected

over the weekend, the second of those storms starting tomorrow and that is where officials are very concerned.

Down south in the Monterey Peninsula, there is concern that widespread flooding could block off and overflow onto two major roadways, which could

potentially cut off access for people to travel in and out of the peninsula, as well as get those emergency services in there. Authorities

are already there. They have seen widespread flooding starting yesterday, starting Thursday. So there is concern that this is going to be an issue

over the weekend through Monday. And then a third storm is expected to enter the region on Sunday. And that is potentially going to bring renewed

chances of rain, flooding all the way through Monday.

It's really been a difficult time in California because this comes after years of drought. So, the state needs this water. It needs this rainfall.

It has really helped with those drought levels, but the level and the pace at which this rain is coming down has created an incredible amount of

destruction. It has really caused the soil to be so dense with water that there are trees falling. There are many landslides. Eighteen people at

least have been killed, including a 5-year-old boy who was swept away in floodwaters whose body still has not been recovered. So, an incredible

amount of damage. I'll send it back to you.

QUEST: Yes. Which also then, I mean, how different is this year from previous years?

MIRACLE: Just incredibly different because of that historic drought. It has been so dry, all of the reservoirs in the State of California have been

very at historic lows, now reaching historic highs, including the snowpack, which funnels into those reservoirs, also reaching historic levels. So,

there is some good news that the state is receiving water, but the level and the pace at which this water is coming is very, very difficult and



QUEST: Thank you, Veronica. We'll be with Ryan in the eastern side as we talk about tornadoes in just a moment. We'll be talking about that with


Coming up in just a moment, obviously, I'll update you with what's happening with the tornadoes and other aspects of bad weather in the U.S.

And the judge that's imposed a maximum penalty, financial penalty on the Trump Organization, arguably largely symbolic. The life and career of Lisa

Marie Presley only a few days ago on the red carpet. We celebrate the film about her father, Elvis.


QUEST: In the southern United States, at least seven people are dead after a powerful storm systems tore through the region on Thursday. The storms

that we see ripped roofs off the homes and businesses left tens of thousands of people in that path. Alabama officials fear the death number

could rise and they say they are still finding bodies in the wreckage. The system's shown more than 30 tornadoes across the three southern states,

Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky. There was one tornado that was believed to be on the ground for some 80 kilometers. CNN's Ryan Young is in Selma,

Alabama, one of the cities that was hit especially hard. The damage looks like that one.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It looks like a warzone in some places here because almost everything in every building has been impacted, Richard. You

can see this car alone, which got pushed almost to its side and there's a dozen other cars just like it. But as we walk back this direction, and you

can see where the direction of the storm was cutting through, it lifted off at least four of the roofs of businesses nearby. And then it just tossed it

like it was nothing. If you look across the railroad tracks here, you can see how that metal is just across that large tree. But as we turn our

camera to the side here, you can see that industrial building that has been impacted greatly by this, all this happening in a matter of seconds.

We talked to people who were inside a store here and they had to run for their lives, went inside a closet, and tried to hide together. Some of

their cars are caught -- captured by the roof that fell on top of it. Listen to this person and talk about trying to run for the storm and being

glad they made it out.


NATHANIEL WALKER, SELMA STORM SURVIVOR: About two or three minutes before the storm came, and I saw a lot of dark clouds over the school right here,

this very school.


And I went to the center of the house and just sat down. And, man, I really thought that -- I thought the worse I'll be quite frank with you.


YOUNG: As you can see now, there are people who are trying to clean up here, the power crews are moving through. The big issue right now is, with

so many trees and power lines down, they can't get crews into some of these areas to do the kind of work they need to do to clear the roads. They've

been running helicopters in this area as well just to do a survey. Now we also have some drone video, I hope we have that we can show it to you, from

above almost, every single roof in a two-mile area has been damaged by the storm.

And on top of all this, they got lucky in this area because no one died in this immediate area. But as you said before, we know of at least seven

deaths because of the storm. And what they're concerned about as they get to some of these outlying areas, they're going to find more bodies. So it's

been a tremendously hard day for some of these people. On top of all that, Richard, the temperature has started to fall and with so many people not

having roofs and not having power, they've been trying to bundle up as much as possible because the temperature has fallen some 30 degrees over the

last 24 hours in this general area.

QUEST: I think the thing that I find extraordinary listening to the gentleman you were talking to is the speed with which these tornadoes

arrive. One minute, there's not, a next minute the dark sky. Now to be to be, you know, to be honest, they're well-used to the warnings in a sense,

but even that really doesn't explain or help understand the speed of it.

YOUNG: I think that's a perfect point. Because a lot of times, especially when you think about hurricanes, you get a day or two warning. Tornadoes,

there were tornado sirens here and everybody told me they worked. The thing they didn't expect here was for the power and for the tornadoes to be on

the ground for so long. So, there was times when they thought the tornado had moved all the way through and the backside, the winds would pick it

back up, and that's when they would lose their roofs or their garage. And that's something that surprised a lot of people who've lived in this area

for quite some time.

QUEST: All right. Good to have you with us. I'm grateful. Thank you.

The Trump Organization has been fined over a tax fraud scheme that involves top executives. The former president's company now has to pay $1.6 million.

It's the maximum allowed by law. The organization was convicted last month of more than a dozen tax crimes. Donald Trump has denied being aware of the

situation. The company says it will appeal.

Our Senior Crime and Justice Reporter, Kaitlan Collins, as is with me now. Now the CFO got time in prison as part of a plea bargain. How does that fit

into the jigsaw with this against the organization?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Richard, you can't sentence a company to jail but you can fine it and so that's what

happened today in New York for two corporations that are both part of Donald Trump's business empire so the Trump Organization is fined today.

That sentence was $1,600,000, the maximum possible penalty a company can face under New York law. The sentence is for 17 felony charges, including

tax fraud and falsifying business records, charges that the Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation were convicted of last month.

It will ultimately be a buck -- a drop in the bucket for the Trump Organization to have to pay something like this because this company is a

multibillion dollar operation. But New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg today said this was consequential because it was a conviction for the

company of a former president of the United States. Richard, he spoke to my colleague Kara Scannell in New York after the sentencing today.


ALVIN BRAGG, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, it's important, regardless who defended is because it's cheating and greed and cheating the taxpayers.

And it obviously becomes more consequential given that it involve the former president's Corporation and CFO and it sends a message, I hope it

sends a message to New Yorkers that, you know, we have one system of justice and that this kind of conduct, regardless of who you are, won't be

countenanced in Manhattan.


COLLINS: Richard, there -- this is a company but there are people, too, that work at this company. Prosecutor said at the trial that Donald Trump

had sanctioned this fraud and Trump and his family were not charged in this case. However, his Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization whom

you mentioned, Allen Weisselberg, he did plead guilty and agreed to cooperate. He had been sentenced to five months in jail related to these

schemes. Back to you.

QUEST: Thank you. Yes.

So the past four months, protesters in Iran have been facing the threat of lethal violence as their demand forces the government. It appears the

crackdown isn't only targeting the demonstrators, loyal hardliners in the Iranian establishment are being promoted into key positions, while

reformers are being sidelined.


CNN's Salma Abdelaziz with this report.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Iran's government is sending a message to its own, fall in line or else. A former Deputy Defense Minister, Alireza

Akbari, was sentenced to death by the country's Supreme Court. His execution could be eminent. The dual British-Iranian citizen stands accused

of spying for the U.K., according to a government-affiliated news site. But in a tweet, the British Foreign Office condemned the sentence. "This is a

politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has total disregard for human life." The execution order comes at a time of mass demonstrations.

Akbari, analysts say, is seen as a pragmatic pro-reform figure.


SANAM VAKIL, DEPUTY DIR. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: The willingness of the Islamic Republic to sentence one of their own

officials to death is a very clear message that they will do whatever it takes to stay in power.


ABDELAZIZ: And there are other signs that Iran's government is hardening. The country's Supreme Leader recently promoted Brigadier General Ahmadreza

Radan to Chief of Police. Radan is notorious for leading the crackdown on the 2009 protest movement. He was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2010 for human

rights abuses.

Another hardline official, rising to greater prominence and also sanctioned by D.C., Abolqasem Salavati, a senior judge in the Islamic Republic's

revolutionary court, the U.S. calls him the Judge of Death for handing down the sentence of death by hanging to countless political prisoners. Now,

Salavati is presiding over the trials of hundreds of protesters. Four have been executed so far, with dozens more potentially facing the same grim



ABDELAZIZ: What does this tell us about how Iran's government is handling this protest movement?

VAKIL: It tells us very directly that the Islamic Republic has no intention of reform or meeting protesters' demands. It tells us that the -- a purge

of the political establishment is well underway, and there is a hardline conservative monopoly of power.


ABDELAZIZ: But even as the Islamic Republic toughens its stance, brave protesters keep taking to the streets. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


QUEST: As we continue tonight, the famous family with music talent, and Hollywood marriages, is the life of Elvis Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie




QUEST: Welcome back, ISA SOARES TONIGHT. Lisa Marie Presley is being remembered across the world and tributes are pouring in and fans are

shocked by the sudden death at the age of 54. She lived a life marked by profound loss. It started when her father, Elvis Presley, died and she was

just nine years old. CNN's Chloe Melas looks at her life.


CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Singer Lisa Marie Presley, the only daughter of the late Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, died Thursday at

54. Her mother confirmed the death in a statement to CNN. The statement read in part, "The Presley family are shocked and devastated by the tragic

death of their beloved Lisa Marie. They are profoundly grateful for the support, love, and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this

very difficult time."

Lisa Marie Presley had been hospitalized Thursday morning after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest. Presley was born in 1968 at the height of her

father's fame. He died in 1977 when she was just nine years old. She had a troubled childhood that led with her acting out and experimenting with

drugs. It resulted in her mother sending her to a series of private schools. She told the LA Times, "I never really fit into school. I didn't

really have any direction." The sole heir to her father's fortune, Lisa Marie Presley lived a colorful life in the public eye, often leading to

moments in the tabloids.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: The Tabloids have been rough on you.



MELAS: She married four times, including high profile marriages with actor Nicolas Cage and a wedding with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, that

grabbed all the headlines. They divorced in January 1996. Later in a 2003 interview with Diane Sawyer, Presley said this about Jackson.


PRESLEY: When he wants to lock into you, and he wants to intrigue you or capture you or, you know, whatever he wants to do with you, he can do it.


MELAS: Presley had four kids from two of her four marriages. She recorded three studio albums of her own. In, 2003 her debut album, To Whom It May

Concern, reached number five on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold that summer. She said this about taking on the same career as her legendary



PRESLEY: I think I was a little more naive on that front than one would expect. I have been a huge music lover. It's always had a huge impact on

me. I want to write, I want to sing, I want to do the same thing for others. Have my music hopefully do that for others one day, not realizing,

you know, what I sort of had to climb. I had an idea a little bit, but I think that I underestimated.


MELAS: Tragedy followed Presley in 2020 when her son Benjamin Keough died of suicide at the age of 27. Last September, she opened up about the grief

of that loss in an essay for a National Grief Awareness Day. Presley was most recently seen on Tuesday Night at the Golden Globe Awards, which she

attended with her mother to support the Baz Luhrmann film, Elvis, about her late father. Lisa was asked about the film on the carpet.


PRESLEY: I was mind-blown. Truly. I actually had to take like five days to process it, because it was so spot on and authentic.


MELAS: Austin Butler, who played Elvis in the film, spoke about meeting Lisa Marie.


AUSTIN BUTLER, ACTOR: It hit home when I first met Lisa Marie because I didn't meet her until after the film. And she hugged me with tears in her

eyes. And she just said thank you.


QUEST: Lisa Marie Presley who died.

Today is Friday the 13th, a day could be a huge day for someone in the United States. In fact, I've already been texting friends, husband, the lot

to buy some lottery tickets. Yes, the Mega Millions really is mega. It's one and a third billion dollars. The drawing will be held at 11 p.m.

Eastern Time, eight hours from now. It's the second biggest Mega Jackpot. The lump sum cash out.


Remember, you have to pay taxes and things like that. So if you take the lump sum, it's $708,000. I have spent it several times already. And I'm

still looking for more people to buy me the old ticket or three.

Finally tonight, I want to leave you with the quote of the day. It is 11 years since Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Italy. Thirty-two people

lost their lives. The captain is still in prison after an Italian court found him guilty of manslaughter. But a quote of the day comes because the

captain abandoned the ship. Meanwhile, Italian port commanders shouted at him "Get back on board for," I can't tell you the other word. Our quote of


And thank you for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. I'll be back. Here's a short break, then news headlines, and then "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."