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Isa Soares Tonight

O.J. Simpson Dead At Age 76 After Cancer Battle; Netanyahu Warns Of "Scenarios" In Places Other Than Gaza; Russian Attack Destroys Largest Power Plant In Kyiv Region; After Battling Cancer, O.J. Simpson Passed Away At Age 76; Interpreter For Baseball Star Faces Bank Fraud Charges; Russia's War On Ukraine; Interview With Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski; Zelenskyy Requesting Additional Weaponry From The West; Unsafe Water Levels Hit Several Areas Of Russia. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 11, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, O.J. Simpson has died at the age of 76.

We'll look back on the complicated legacy of the former American football star who was controversially acquitted for double murder.

Then fears of a wider conflict in the Middle East that Benjamin Netanyahu issues a new warning, saying his government is preparing for scenarios in

other locations. Plus, an increasingly desperate situation inside Ukraine as Russia launches a major attack on the country's power plants.

I speak to Poland's Foreign Minister who calls these strikes a war crime. We'll begin tonight though with the death of a one-time American hero whose

life included a spectacular rise to fame and an equally spectacular fall from grace. Legendary American football star O.J. Simpson has died at the

age of 76 after battle with cancer.

Simpson was a star athlete, actor, as well as a broadcaster. But he went from being a pop culture icon to the most famous murder defendant in

history after, of course, the 1994 deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

And although he was acquitted in the trial that became a national obsession, Simpson became a pariah to many who still believed he was

responsible for the murders. Here's CNN's Stephanie Elam now on the life of O.J. Simpson.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): O.J. Simpson's soar to fame as number 32 for the Buffalo Bills --


ELAM: And plummeted to infamy as inmate number 102, 7820 in the Nevada Department of Corrections. In-betweens, Simpson led a life filled with more

surreal drama than all of his various film and TV projects combined.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O.J., are you a --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, come on --

ELAM: Mass media experts say Simpson's sensational televised low-speed chase arrest and murder trial --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't fit, you must acquit.

ELAM: Stand as the first reality show and perhaps the greatest three-ring television phenomenon ever. At one point, the world heard O.J. Simpson's

ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson say --

NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON, LATE WIFE OF O.J. SIMPSON: I don't want to stay on the line, he's going to beat the --


ELAM: Than later, Simpson was charged with the horrific murders by knife of Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron and Nicole were butchered.

ELAM: The trial made lawyers and even witnesses household names.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder.

ELAM: When the jury freed Simpson, celebration erupted in parts of Los Angeles, but Simpson would never recapture his idol status. Simpson first

brimming into the national spotlight as the Heisman Trophy winning running back at the University of Southern California.

Then 11 spectacular years with the NFL vaulted him to the pro-football hall of fame. Simpson cashed in on the popularity, becoming a pitchman for Hertz

and an actor, becoming well-known for the "Naked Gun" movies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O.J. Simpson, as you've never seen him before.

ELAM: Simpson played a law man on screen and ran into trouble with the courts off-screen. He lost a multi-million dollar wrongful death suit

brought by the families of his ex-wife and Ron Goldman, then moved to Florida in 2000. Simpson was accused of assault in a road-rage incident in

Miami, he was found not guilty.

In 2005, he was found guilty and fined for stealing satellite television, then in 2007 in Las Vegas, police arrested him on several felony charges,

including kidnapping and armed robbery. In that case, Simpson and armed accomplices raided a hotel room and what he called an attempt to just get

back some of his stolen belongings.

SIMPSON: And I didn't know I was doing anything illegal. I thought I was confronting friends in retrieving my property.

ELAM: The Nevada jury never bought his story and instead sent him to prison. He was released on parole nine years later in the dead of night

with no funfair and no bright future. Just the distinction of arguably the greatest rise and fall in pop-culture history.



SOARES: Well, CNN's Jean Casarez covered O.J. Simpson's 2008 armed robbery trial that we mentioned there in Nevada, and she joins us now.

And Jean, the 2008 armed robbery trial was perhaps kind of his final disgrace. Speak to the dichotomy of the sporting icon, hero, almost

untouchable that Stephanie Elam was mentioning there, and then the darker side to him. How did you see them during that trial?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's very interesting. I was the correspondent for his Las Vegas trial, which is very serious trial.

This was kidnapping and armed robbery, life sentence was the possibility under Nevada law for kidnapping.

And it was a fact that he had personal memorabilia trophies and pictures, and they were rightly owned by someone else, but he and his cronies decided

that they were going to figure out how they could storm this hotel room in Las Vegas to get them back.

So, two of his cronies actually had guns on them. We don't know -- I don't think O.J. necessarily knew that at all, but they went to the room, found

the items, found the rightful owners, wouldn't let them out of the room. So, the charges were really justified here, but yet, everyone looked upon

him still as a celebrity when I was at the courthouse for the preliminary hearing, it was so strange. It was like it was a red carpet premier.

And that's not the fact, this was a preliminary hearing in a felony case, and then when we got to the trial, O.J. was out on bail at that point, and

he was very personable. He was so nice to everybody, he would just be in the hallway during breaks, he would talk to people in the gallery, anybody.

Sometimes he would just sort of stand around because he'd finished talking to everybody.

But I remember meeting him and I'm from California, I'm a graduate of USC, and so he loved that. He just loved that he found someone that had that

USC, those USC roots and just talking like crazy, very personable. His sisters were there for that entire trial, never saw his kids.

But his two older sisters, one is deceased now, they were just sort of -- stood there on the sideline, nobody really knew who they were, but they

were there, and I spoke to them, very kind people. Day-in-and-day-out to support him. Obviously convicted, sentenced to 33 years.

SOARES: And he, of course, he was controversially cleared of the murder of Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman. Have we heard from their families?

Have they responded to his death today? What are you hearing?

CASAREZ: They are not wanting to speak out publicly right now. I actually spoke with their attorney, David Cook about an hour ago. He has been their

attorney for a long time, and they did speak this morning, so, the family obviously is very aware about the passing of O.J. Simpson.

But the issue with the Goldmans this whole time is justice. There was a civil trial after the criminal trial, there was a civil verdict that he was

liable for the wrongful deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, but collecting the monies that they were due was extremely difficult.

And I've spoken with David Cook, that attorney for years, and it was difficult for them to get it because he tied it up. There were pensions and

then once he moved to Florida, there were real estate holdings that you really couldn't touch. But if you remember that book that came out, "If I

Did It" by O.J. Simpson.

Well, the Goldmans got the right to that book, and it was republished as "I Did It", and that book got on the bestsellers list, and that's how the

family got some of the justice, the monetary justice, which is all they could get at that point with that civil verdict.

SOARES: Jean Casarez, appreciate it, thank you very much, Jean.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

SOARES: Well, from sports superstar to accused murderer, the U.S. and the world were gripped, of course, to their televisions when O.J. Simpson went

on trial for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ron. Joining us with that part of the stories, journalist Linda Deutsch, she covered the

case. Linda, great to have you on the show. I mean, this was really a trial --


SOARES: That captivated not just America, I should say, but captivated the world. Everyone was glued to it, everyone remembers, Linda, where they

were. You had a front-row seat to this. Talk to that moment, what it was like covering this trial.

DEUTSCH: Well, the O.J. trial was the first in the country really that was broadcast gavel-to-gavel on TV, on networks, and people were able to watch

it live. It changed I think the public perception of what a trial was, even though this trial was a little different than most, because it was

quite sensational.

But it gave people a chance to step into the courtroom. For me, it was a change in my whole perception, the public perception of me because I had

been an "Associated Press" reporter covering trials for many decades, and people knew my name, they knew my byline, but I did not have a TV



Now, I was the pool reporter for jury selection. So, I was on TV every day, and that was a huge change. I couldn't go out on the street without people

stopping me and asking me about the case. When it was all over, and the verdict came in, I think that I was not terribly surprised at what the

verdict was, although, a lot of people were.

And then, I got a call from O.J., I had already left town, I was out of town, and he called because he felt he wanted to thank me for being fair to

him during the trial, and he talked to me for a while and said, what has it been like for him to be in jail, et cetera.

From then on, we were phone buddies basically. If he had anything to say publicly, he called me, if I had to get a comment from him, I called him.

And we kept in touch, and I really had been talking to him regularly until about a year ago when he kind of stopped returning calls, and I should have

known he was sick, but I guess I didn't guess so because he always looked so healthy.

But the last time I talked to him, he said that he was doing fine, he was very happy that he now had grandchildren, two of his children had had

children. His family was close to him. His sister and other people in the family always came to visit him. He was living outside of Vegas.

And when he got out of prison after the 2007 robbery conviction, I had dinner with him and his daughter are now in Vegas. And it was really

interesting because we were at a local restaurant and people kept coming up wanting his autograph, wanting to talk to him, take selfies with him. He

was still a celebrity. As far as --

SOARES: Even after all those years?

DEUTSCH: The verdict --

SOARES: Yes --

DEUTSCH: Yes, even after all those years, and he was playing golf every day at that point, and said that he was never going to speak to -- about

the case again because he said, why would I ever talk about the worst thing that ever happened in my life.

SOARES: I wonder if you can paint for viewers, of course, you don't remember that moment, weren't in that courtroom, didn't have a front-row

seat to this historical case. When, you know, the jury from what I understand deliberated for less than four hours before acquitting him. What

was that moment like, Linda? What did it feel like? Give us a sense of that moment, the tensions?

DEUTSCH: Well, it was quite incredible, I -- you know, I remember that I was in the front row along with a couple of other reporters and was

Dominick Dunne; the writer who had covered the trial. And when the court clerk read the verdict that he was acquitted, his son, who was in the

audience, his son, Jason, his older son just collapsed in tears, and so did the Goldman family on two sides of the courtroom.

People were just weeping and wailing, and O.J. was standing because he had to stand for the verdict, and he looked at his lawyers and smiled and gave

them a kind of thumbs up, and we saw it was over. But it wasn't really. It would wind up being a big story until the day he died really.

SOARES: And Linda, we're running out of time, but very briefly, I mean, you've covered many other trials after, before and after this. How does

this one compare?

DEUTSCH: It was one of the biggest, I suppose, people have said the bookends of my career with events and trial, and O.J., and maybe Michael

Jackson, those were big ones that captivated the entire world, really, more so in this country because O.J. was an American hero --

SOARES: Yes --

DEUTSCH: And -- but everywhere that I went, when I traveled overseas, people wanted to know about the case. It became a sensation and people

asked, you know, what I thought of the verdict in that way, and I always said that I would have acquitted him too, they just did not convict him on

the evidence.


And after that, there was a case in Vegas, which was kind of a kangaroo court, it -- there was a tape played during that trial of two detectives

looking at the evidence, and they said, well, they didn't get in L.A., so we'll get them here. And there was a feeling --

SOARES: I appreciate you being with us, we're running out of time, unfortunately, Linda, thank you very much. Linda Deutsch there, thank you.

DEUTSCH: Thank you.

SOARES: Well, let's get more on the story. Stephanie Elam is in Los Angeles and joins me now. Stephanie, great to see you. Look, this story, I

think it's fair to say touches so many angles of American lives, right? He was iconic for so many, almost untouchable black-man who then, as we saw in

your piece, in your report, was accepted in mainstream media, and then suddenly he appears in the courtroom. Speak to that.

ELAM: You can't underestimate or under-claim how intensely famous O.J. Simpson was at the time. He was that guy that everyone knew and everyone

seemed to like, everyone cheered for. So, when this happened, it was a changing that was seismic for his life.

And I think it's really important to say that O.J. Simpson didn't really see himself as a black-man. The more famous he got, he thought he was, you

know, trans-racial, that he was passed that. Once this court case came down to the end, he realized that, that was not the case.

So, there were a lot of black people in America who didn't really care what happened to O.J. Simpson or whether he did it or not. But what you did see

is that when the verdict was read after the stress and tension that was building in Los Angeles in the '90s, they were just happy to see that the

system could work for a black person.

So, you saw a lot of people cheering in that way, and just to put this into context, Isa, you have to keep in mind that in '91 was the Rodney King

beating that was caught on camera with a camcorder, and it showed those four white officers beating that black man. Shortly thereafter, there's the

trial, they're acquitted.

And three of them are acquitted for using excessive force that leads to the Los Angeles riots, and the city burned for a few days there. All of this

tension because black people in the city felt like they were being over- policed and that things -- that there wasn't equity.

Shortly thereafter in '94, you have this murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and then you have O.J. Simpson's trial. So, you kind of look

at what happened with O.J. Simpson's trial in Los Angeles through the lens of what was going on that entire decade.

And you can see then why some people responded with such cheers even though they might not have been as invested in the life of O.J. Simpson, the


SOARES: That racial component so interesting because I was looking at some data from CNN and "Time Magazine" poll that said at the "Times", Stephanie,

62 percent of white people surveyed believed him guilty, while 66 percent of African-Americans believed him not guilty, with additionally 65 percent

of African-Americans believing Simpson had been framed throughout of course, as we know, as we've said, he's always maintained his innocence.

But in 2016, polling showed most Americans believed he was guilty. I mean, why do you think his image never really recovered after being acquitted?

ELAM: Well, for one thing, he didn't do himself any favors. You know, like he was staying in places and keeping company with people that just did not

put him in a positive light. And some of the things that he was doing, and that's why I think ultimately, a lot of people felt that's why he was

convicted and sent to jail in Nevada for that case. A lot of people saw that as his just desserts for really getting away with the murder of Nicole

Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

Now, whether or not that's true, we don't know. He wasn't convicted there, but he was convicted in Nevada. And so, a lot of people did see like, haha,

finally, you're getting what you deserve, but he never did recover ever to that super status -- superstar status that he once had.

SOARES: Such impulsion context of that moment of the '90s, what was happening behind the scenes from Stephanie Elam. Stephanie, great to see

you, thank you very much. And still to come tonight, Israel's Prime Minister says his military is preparing for scenarios outside of Gaza,

raising new fears of a broader regional war. We'll explain next.



SOARES: A new warning today from Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his government is preparing for scenarios in other locations even as

it wages war in Gaza. His comments come at an Israeli airbase are raising concerns about a broader regional conflict after U.S. officials warned Iran

could carry out an imminent attack on U.S. or Israeli targets.

Iran blames Israel for deadly strike, if you remember, on its consulate in Syria earlier this month. It is vowing retaliation. U.S. President Joe

Biden says his commitment to Israeli security is ironclad in the face of Iranian threats. Let's get more on this story, our Nic Robertson joins us

now from Jerusalem with much more.

So, Nic, when we hear Israel, Netanyahu says it's preparing for scenarios. What exactly does that mean? What is the Intelligence suggesting here?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, he's certainly - - he's certainly creating the impression, although, he didn't use the word, Iran, that if Israel was struck by Iran, it would strike back, and his

defense minister had effectively said the same the day before, and his Foreign Minister explicitly said yesterday that if Iran struck Israel,

Israel would strike back.

But Iran's been able to -- by saying that it's going to take revenge and strike in revenge of the death of senior commanders within the IRGC at the

conduit inside of Damascus, that they've been able to create an impression here in Israel, perhaps coupled as well by some Israeli local officials,

you know, warning people to make sure that their phone lines, their landlines were working, that it's managed to induce a level of concern

among Israelis that the country might not be ready.

And we heard this evening from Daniel Hagari, Rear-Admiral Daniel Hagari, the IDF spokesman, telling people that Israel has been preparing and

tracking the preparations, if you will, or rather the ability of its enemies to attack it, Israel is prepared for that.

He also spoke about Iran that, he said, if they did strike back directly at Israel, it will show that Iran was intent on escalation. But I think to

underscore that, you say, to make a statement that Iran was intent on escalation, that reinforces that Israel would respond that way.

And the spokesman almost -- also talked about the closeness of the relationship with the U.S. military, because part of what adds to people's

concerns here in Israel is when they hear President Biden, not just say that there's an ironclad support for Israel, but his comments before -- a

day also before about Gaza that there should be a ceasefire.

The sense that there's a growing diplomatic rift between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Biden makes people concerned here about how much

support there would be for Israel in the event of a broader conflict with Iran involving Lebanon.


So, I think what we're hearing is language and posturing, if you will, by the Prime Minister, by the Defense -- by the IDF spokesman to try to soften

people's fears about what could happen and say the country is ready and prepared. But what am I hearing in the region? Several sources in this

region who are -- one in which in particular in content with Iran do not believe the Iranians are going to strike back themselves on Israeli soil.

This is not what they expect that Iranian interests in the region may be or through other means. But it is not expected to escalate in this way, but it

doesn't stop people here, of course, worrying about it.

SOARES: Indeed, Nic Robertson for us in Jerusalem, appreciate it, Nic, thank you very much. Well, UNICEF is reporting a harrowing incident in Gaza

just a week after multiple Israeli strikes killed seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen. UNICEF says its aid convoy came under fire while

waiting at a designated holding area to bring life-saving supplies to the north. A UNICEF's spokeswoman whose car was hit by bullets spoke to CNN.

Have a listen to this.


TESS INGRAM, SPOKESPERSON, UNICEF: While we were waiting there, gunfire broke out in the -- in the vicinity and shots were fired from the direction

of the crossing towards civilians who then ran in the other direction away from the crossing.

We were caught in that line of fire, three bullets hit the car that I was in, a U.N. colleague dropped to the ground outside and lay on the floor. We

thought he was injured, but thankfully, he was OK, and so was everybody else with us, but this incident is just another example of how dangerous it

is for us and for the people that were trying to serve in Gaza.


SOARES: And the spokeswoman said she doesn't believe the UNICEF's convoy was the target, but rather those civilians she mentioned instead, CNN has

reached out to the IDF and we are still waiting for a response. Well, the attack on the World Central Kitchen convoy last week killed one Palestinian

and six foreigners, including a volunteer from Poland.

I spoke about that attack earlier today with Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.


RADOSLAW SIKORSKI, FOREIGN MINISTER, POLAND: We've had the Israeli ambassador in the Polish Foreign Ministry, I've spoken to the Israeli

Foreign Minister, there's clearly something badly wrong with the Israeli rules of engagement.

Remember, previously, they shot their own hostages who managed to escape. We are not happy at all about what happened to our -- to the humanitarian

convoy and to our own volunteer.

SOARES: Let -- well, let me just tell you what we've heard from President Biden, I'm sure you've seen that President Biden called Netanyahu's

handling of the war a mistake. The Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez has actually gone further. I want you to have a listen to this, Foreign




PEDRO SANCHEZ, PRIME MINISTER, SPAIN (through translator): The absolutely disproportionate response of the Israeli government to the Hamas terrorist

attack is overturning decades of humanitarian law, and threatens to destabilize the Middle East, and as a consequence, the entire world.



SOARES: Do you agree with that, that it threatens to destabilize the Middle East and as a consequence, the entire world. Your reaction.

SIKORSKI: Well, let's remember that it was Israel that was attacked first in a heinous terrorist attack by Hamas. Nevertheless, Israel was told that

if it overreacts, just like the United States overreacted to 9/11, there will be trouble.

What we would like to know is how Israel imagines it can get rid of Hamas and where it wants to be with the 5 million Palestinians that Israel is

responsible for in 5, 10 or 20 years time? You need an anti-terrorist efforts and the political process at the same time.


SOARES: You can hear more from my interview with the Polish Foreign Minister in about 10 minutes time also. Well, less than two hours from now,

the U.S. will host a historic meeting with the Japanese and Filipino leaders. This moment comes amid tensions and uncertainty in the Asia-

Pacific region, including China's rising influence and North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Earlier today, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addressed the U.S. Congress, urging Americans not to doubt the importance of their country's

quote, "pivotal role in world affairs".


FUMIO KISHIDA, PRIME MINISTER, JAPAN: As the United States closest friend, tomodachi, the people of Japan, with you, side-by-side to assure the

survival of liberty.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, we reflect back on O.J. Simpson's complicated legacy, including his years as a sports icon. Plus, more than

200,000 people in Ukraine are now without power. We'll have more on the aftermath of Russia's missile strikes on the country's power plant. Both

those stories after this very short break.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

We now return to our coverage of O.J. Simpson's life and death. The infamous white Bronco chase, as you know, sparked one of the most watched

events in TV history. On June 17, 1994, around 95 million people watched the chase unfold, making it an iconic moment for '90s pop culture. Decades

later, FX premiered a 10-part series dramatizing the case of the century. Bringing the discussion of Simpson's legacy to a new generation.

Meanwhile, before the infamous murder trial, O.J. Simpson was a beloved sports icon. Let's get some context on this. Christine Brennan joins me

now. And Christine, great to see you. Look, to this day, I think it's fair to say that O.J. Simpson's name really spurs strong feelings from a lot of

people. Before we just focus on the sporting perspective and the sporting appeal, how will he be remembered?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST AND SPORTS COLUMNIST, USA TODAY: Isa, you're right. And incredibly strong feelings. And I think he will be

remembered as a fallen star. We will remember and we should remember, I think, first and foremost, the murder of two people.


And Nicole Brown Simpson, his ex-wife, and Ron Goldman and whatever role he played, legally. Obviously, he was not found guilty, but certainly civilly,

he was. There was a civil judgment against him for the Goldman family. So, that's it. I mean, all the wonderful accolades, all the cheering, that's

great, but O.J. Simpson is certainly a man's -- a name that will live in infamy in the worst way possible.

SOARES: Yes, I'm -- yes, that is -- this is so important. But you -- look, he really did bridge the gap between sports and mainstream celebrity. How

do you think -- and just explain to our viewers who don't remember this trial, who don't know him around the world at the time, obviously. How his

-- how this trial, Christine, changed his name and changed his legacy?

BRENNAN: Well, everyone watched the trial. And I remember where I was when I watched the announcement of the verdict. And I think most people in the

United States, maybe even around the world, also remember that. Sorry, you may hear it, the master's -- a little windy at Augusta, Georgia. But, yes,

I mean, it really was reality TV before there was reality TV.

We had had Tonya and Nancy in the Olympics, the figure skating drama, January and February of 1994, and then June of 1994. Just a few months

later came this story. And it certainly was a must-see television, and it spawned an entire series of -- with the TV ratings, you know, of reality TV

and shows and things about the networks had never done before. And so, there was that. And riveting moment for sure. And of course, the trial

itself as well.

So, yes. He was famous already from sports and then just launched him into -- as to one of the biggest names, certainly, throughout the mid-'90s and

in America, and really not just in sports but obviously in our culture and I would also say worldwide.

SOARES: Indeed. And after being disgraced. I mean he did try, didn't he, to get back to relevancy. Did he manage that?

BRENNAN: No, I don't think he managed to ever become relevant or in any way the O.J. that he was before. You know, you alluded to the sports star.

He was Tom Brady before Tom Brady. He was LeBron James before LeBron James. He was Michael Jordan before Michael Jordan. I'll use the name of the last

few weeks. He was Caitlin Clark before Caitlin Clark.

He was all that rolled into one. He had crossed over from the NFL, great, you know, career in college as a Heisman Trophy. All-star in every ways in

the NFL Hall of Fame. And he was then a celebrity, a pitchman for Hertz commercials. He was in, not only, you know, every family room but every

living room. Fans who didn't care about sports knew him.

And, of course, you know, then you had the movies and so many other things that he did. And he really made himself a part of our culture and fabric of

America. And so, that's what he was when it all came tumbling down, of course, because two people were murdered.

SOARES: Indeed. Thank you very much, Christine Brennan there for a very windy Augusta. Thank you. Appreciate it.

And this just in to CNN, the former interpreter for Major League Baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani is being charged with bank fraud for allegedly

stealing $16 million from him. A short time ago, U.S. Justice Department officials made that announcement, adding that the Los Angeles Dodgers

player is considered a victim in this case. Have a listen.


MARTIN ESTRADA, U.S. ATTORNEY: Our investigation has revealed that due to the position of trust he occupied with Mr. Ohtani, Mr. Mizuhara had unique

access to Mr. Ohtani's finances. Mr. Mizuhara used and abused that position of trust in order to take advantage of Mr. Ohtani. Mr. Mizuhara used and

abused that position of trust in order to plunder Mr. Ohtani's bank account to the tune of over 16 million dollars.


SOARES: CNN's Nick Watt is in Los Angeles following all the developments from -- for us. And Nick, just add some context here. I mean, what more are

you hearing? What more do we know? And are we hearing anything from Ohtani himself?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Listen, in terms of context, Isa, for anybody who doesn't follow baseball, you've got to understand just how

big Shohei Ohtani is. He just signed a deal with the Dodgers, a 10-year deal, for $700 million. And you know, in baseball, you're usually either a

hitter or a pitcher. Shohei Ohtani does both. He's basically the current face of Major League Baseball.

So, what we were led to believe before this press conference this morning is that the interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, had stolen about $4.5 million

dollars to finance his gambling habit and his gambling losses. I've been told by people connected to the case that the interpreter was a terrible

gambler. We were told this morning, in fact, it was $16 million plus that this interpreter stole from Shohei Ohtani.


And listen, he wasn't just an interpreter, these two were friends. You know, and he was actually described, the interpreter, as a de facto

manager. He was a confidant. They hung out. He was his guide. He was Shohei Ohtani's guide in a country where Shohei Ohtani doesn't speak the language

very well and doesn't really know the culture or didn't know the culture as well.

So, the other big question that's been hanging over this, Isa, is how on earth could this interpreter have stolen this money without Shohei Ohtani

or any of his people knowing? Well, according to prosecutors, we are told that the interpreter helped Shohei Ohtani set up this bank account, then

told all of Ohtani's other accountants, et cetera, that Ohtani himself wanted this account to be kept private. He wanted it just for himself. Into

this account went all of his earnings from actually playing baseball. Endorsements, all that other stuff, went into other accounts.

So, the interpreter, apparently, would call up the bank, pretend to be Shohei Ohtani, answering, you know, the biographical questions, et cetera,

to pass the security checks in order to have these transfers made from Ohtani's account to the bookmaker's account. And if there were any

winnings, we are told, those went into the interpreter's account.

SOARES: What a story. Look, $16 million, he definitely is a terrible gambler. Thank you very much, Nick Watt. Appreciate it.

And still to come tonight, my conversation with Polish Prime Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who tells me the cost of deterring Putin and his war in

Ukraine is only rising. That interview is next.


SOARES: It's an increasingly desperate situation inside Ukraine after a Russian missile strike destroyed the largest power plant in the Kyiv

region. This is what's left of the burning power station after that attack. You can see there, black smoke pouring from the wreckage. There were no

casualties in the attack. However, multiple missile attacks in Ukraine's Kharkiv region has left more than 200,000 people without power.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports on how these strikes only amplify Ukraine's calls for weapons support.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kyiv's largest power plant destroyed. The energy company, Centrenergo

declaring Thursday, "A black day." The dark smoke on the skyline marking the end of the company's energy supply.


All three of its power plants across the country either destroyed or occupied. Russian strikes systematically targeting power facilities have

been a constant in Ukraine since late 2022, but have ramped up in recent weeks.

DTEK, Ukraine's largest power company, saying two of their plants were also targeted overnight. They say their facilities have suffered their worst

attacks this month since the war began, with 80 percent of their infrastructure already destroyed.

Employees trying to repair and to rebuild. The burnt-out skeleton of their facilities needing to be back up and running as soon as possible, echoing

each other's calls for the world to ramp up its weapons support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We need more air defenses. If we don't have air defenses, there won't be anything left. A lot of missiles

and drones get through, and we get a lot of hits.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): It's a call heard many times over, with the Ukrainian president currently in Lithuania to meet European leaders, and to

ensure those calls do not become white noise in this very long war.

Warnings by generals also becoming more desperate, with the country's parliament voting on Thursday to overhaul mobilization rules, potentially

allowing the military to call up more men.

GENERAL YURIY SODOL, COMMANDER, JOINT FORCES OF UKRAINE (through translator): The enemy outnumbers us by seven to 10 times. We lack

manpower. We are holding the defenses on the last breath.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The bill still needing to be signed into law by Zelenskyy is a sign of an exhausted front line. Civilians in Kyiv spending

the night, once again, underground. A routine too familiar for a country resilient as ever.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Delphi, Greece.


SOARES: Well, just a few hours ago, I spoke with Poland's foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski. He condemned the attacks on Ukraine's

infrastructure, calling them a war crime. He tells me that it's almost too late to stop Putin in Ukraine, and the stakes are only getting higher.


RADOSLAW SIKORSKI, POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER: First of all, it's a war crime. It is forbidden to attack civilian infrastructure. And secondly,

this was a long time coming. Ukrainian authorities have been warning us that they are running out of effectors from the -- for their anti-missile

systems. And they've been begging U.S. Congress to pass the supplemental for the effectors to be delivered.

And now we have the result one after another. All Ukrainian power station is being destroyed. Soon Ukrainian cities will be out of electricity. I

expected big wave of refugees.

SOARES: And of course, this is, as we see, a more emboldened Putin. We see Ukraine at a critical juncture. Only yesterday, speaking to our Fred

Pleitgen, President Zelenskyy, appealing, as you quite rightly said, for more weapons from the West, and critically from the United States.

Now, you said recently, I'm going to read it out, you said, although I am Poland's foreign minister, my wife, as some of you know, is American. But

most of you may not know that our son is actually an American soldier. My heart and duty are therefore with Poland, but my interest lies also in

keeping America prosperous and confident enough to stay faithful to its allies.

I wonder then, Foreign Minister, when you travel to the United States, when you speak with congressmen in the United States, what is your message? What

are you telling them about the funding and the importance of unlocking this funding for Ukraine?

SIKORSKI: I tell them exactly what I'm about to tell you right now, which is that the president of the United States went to Kyiv in wartime and

assured the people of Ukraine and its president that the United States will do whatever it takes to sustain Ukraine in its resistance against Russian

aggression. That whatever it takes, surely, includes anti-missiles, artillery and rockets to defend Ukrainian cities.

And I appeal again to Speaker Johnson to let democracy decide in the U.S. Congress to let this matter up for a vote so that the money and the

equipment can reach Ukraine. If it doesn't, the Russians will do more destruction and the United States' credibility will be at stake.

SOARES: Yes. And -- I mean, this is important because you did say recently the success in Ukraine is now a matter of U.S. credibility. I suppose it's

a signal as well to the rest of NATO allies if this money, if this aid doesn't come through. I mean, we have an election year, as you well know,

in the United States.


How is Poland preparing if for -- if by any chance, the former president, President Trump, comes into power? How is it preparing for that likelihood?

SIKORSKI: Well, we've been spending two percent of GDP on defense for the last 15 years. We are spending now close to four percent of GDP on defense.

And in fact, I have to tell you, Europe, the European Union and its member states, have spent double what the United States has spent on helping

Ukraine. We are often suspected in the United States, including in Congress, of being free riders.

Well, on this one, we have done the right thing. We now need the United States to do what the president of the United States has promised.

SOARES: And are you confident that the U.S. will come through foreign minister?

SIKORSKI: We've had false dawns before, and the fact of the matter is that this supplemental has been languishing in Congress since August last year.

Since August last year, equipment has not been getting through to Ukraine. And --

SOARES: I sense frustration in your voice.

SIKORSKI: Well, it's -- my frustration is nothing, I can assure you, by comparison with what the president of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine

feel. Because it's they who are being bombarded.


SOARES: And our thanks to the Polish foreign minister.

While regions of Russia are still dealing with flooding, which officials say remains difficult. One area's mayor reports water level is up to 11

meters. Tens of thousands of residences are flooded, as you can see there, between Russia and neighboring Kazakhstan. More than a hundred thousand

people have now been evacuated because of the severe flooding.

We'll stay across that story for you as we have done all this week We're going to take a short break. We'll be back on the other side.


SOARES: Well, police in France say they have detained a man wanted by authorities in Italy in connection with the murder of a 22-year-old woman.

The victim from France was found drained of blood in an abandoned church in Northern Italy. The Italian prosecutor's office haven't released details

about a possible motive.

Police say, the 22-year-old woman may have been hunting for ghosts as part of a TikTok stunt. They say the suspect and victim were seen together in

the days before her death, dressed in dark clothes like vampires, and asking about a legendary haunted house in the area.


And amazing pieces of ancient art have been uncovered in Pompeii. The Pompeii Archaeological Park released several videos of images of the newly

found work. One piece shows Helen of Troy meeting Paris, the Prince of Troy. Another piece shows the Greek god Apollo trying to seduce Trojan

priestess Cassandra. It's believed the pieces were originally displayed in a banquet room used for entertaining. The frescoes were buried by the

eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79. What just absolutely incredible.

And finally, tonight, parts of the Eastern United States are about to experience a natural phenomenon that hasn't appeared since the year 1803.

In a matter of weeks billions of cicadas will surface from the ground all at once.



SOARES: It's a unique event because two broods are emerging at the same time. One that appears every 13 years, another every 17 years. That won't

happen again for another 200 years. The bugs spend most of their lives underground before they come up from the ground to sing, mate, and then die

off all at once.

That does it for us for this evening. Thank you very much for your company. "NEWSROOM" with Jim Sciutto is up next. Have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.