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Clashes in Ukraine; Crisis in Venezuela; Cruise Ship Brutality
Aired February 19, 2014 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thank you.
I'm Brooke Baldwin.
We begin right now, political violence. I mean the pictures tell the stories here, absolutely erupting all around the world. Usually peaceful capital cities are under fire. Anti-government protesters are seizing the streets all the way from Caracas, Venezuela, here, to Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine, and also in Bangkok, Thailand, where protesters are retaking parts of that city.
Let me begin in the Ukraine, in Kiev. Basically, just to put this in perspective for you, this roughly the size of Chicago, the capital city there. But look at this, these buildings, smoldering right now. These pictures we are getting here at CNN today show fires still raging. Dozens are dead. Hundreds more injured. And the numbers continue to rise.
Ukraine is a country potentially on the brink of civil war. Most of the injured are protesters. Many have been hurt, killed, and some have just up and disappeared. Police and security personnel there throwing Molotov cocktails at civilians, shooting people in the middle of the streets, like the man you're about to see. Just a warning, this video is incredibly graphic, so turn away if you need to.
BALDWIN: Washington has called the Ukrainian president three times with the same message each time, government force must pull back, must deescalate the violence. Protests first flared back in November. This is the big picture context for you, when the Ukrainian president backed out of this popular trade deal with the EU, the European Union. Instead, he chose closer ties to Russia and the president there, Vladimir Putin. It was a move that angered the people in Ukraine who want closer ties to Europe, closer ties to the United States. CNN's Phil Black is in Kiev right now for us.
And, Phil, I'm hearing reports that journalists are among those being attacked in the streets. It is just after 9:00 at night your time. Can you just set the scene for me right now?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, sure, Brooke. Here on the square, it is a large, but largely thoughtful and much quieter crowd that we saw in Independence Square yesterday after that day of such terrible violence and loss of life. When there was a feeling in that crowd all through last night, the security service were going to punch through their barricades and clear out the square. That hasn't happened, but tonight they've still got the barricades, they still lit the fires around them in an effort to keep the security services away.
But it is certainly a much quieter, more thoughtful mood out on the square. They are not screaming. They are listening to music. Some quietly spoken speeches. They have even prayed together. It is a day perhaps of reflection following that terrible violence and loss of life that we saw yesterday.
But the security services are still here in big numbers, standing just a short distance away in full protective riot gear. And now today, the Ukrainian government has threatened to launch what it describes as an anti-terror operation because it has labeled all the people responsible for yesterday's violence as extremists. It's trying to paint all of the protesters as such and it says it is going to mobilize the resources of the government to deal with them in the coming days, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Phil, let me ask you this, because obviously the pictures here at Independence Square, essentially that the Times Square, just to put it in the context for an American viewer, you know, of Kiev, are incredibly compelling. But I was talking to a colleague from CNN International earlier this morning about the situation there and she was telling me though not two blocks away from what we're looking at is quiet. Is that the case?
BLACK: Yes, it is. You actually don't have to travel too far from this very central point in the center of the city and you wouldn't know that it's going on. Last night when we arrived into Kiev to cover this story, making our way from the airport, you wouldn't have known that this was a country in crisis for much of that journey. It was only as we really approached the center of the city, the police roadblocks were there, that we found it very difficult to get through.
And then it is really here in the heart of Independence Square where the camp has been set up, where the protests have been taking place. Either here or just a short distance from here, because that's where all the main government buildings are, that's where the protests have been focused. There are, however, other protest actions in other cities across the country as well, Brooke.
BALDWIN: OK, Phil Black for us in the capital city there. We'll bring you back to the Ukraine momentarily. Phil Black, my thanks to you.
I want to turn to the crisis that's erupted much closer to us here at home, the socialist oil-rich Venezuela. A large crowd gathered at a government building awaiting the arrival of Leopoldo Lopez. Remember, he's the Harvard groomed leader of the country's opposition. Lopez is under arrest. He turned himself in yesterday after one final speech to all these supporters here. Peaceful demonstrations have now turned deadly. Opposition leaders now raising the stakes and calling for an end to socialism. CNN's Karl Penhaul is standing by for us in Caracas right now.
And, Karl, this opposition leader, Lopez, he's supposed to have been in court. Maybe at a bail hearing. Do we know if that's happened yet? KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, Brooke, (INAUDIBLE) have arrived (ph) there has been (INAUDIBLE) sources as well. When we arrived outside the courthouse, several thousand (INAUDIBLE) protesters had gathered. But when Leopoldo Lopez didn't show what he brought to the courtroom, those protesters dwindled. And by the end, anti-riot police far outnumbered any of the protesters. So one really does have to start to question the opposition's strategy, are they really organized enough to push now what has become one of their (INAUDIBLE) demands and that is the socialist government that Nicolas Maduro should resign because politics in Venezuela (INAUDIBLE).
BALDWIN: I think we lot of him. I hope he's OK. Let's check back in. We lot of him. Karl Penhaul for us in Caracas. We'll make sure he's OK, I can promise you that.
Also, we are expecting remarks from President Obama very soon. We will bring that to you.
Also, another nightmare playing out on board a cruise ship, but this time a worker is accused of sexually assaulting a passenger and nearly tossing her overboard. We will tell you what happened to him.
Plus, the sixth largest jackpot in American history up for grabs tonight. Find out your odds of winning. You're watching CNN.
BALDWIN: Holland America's new Amsterdam charter cruise to the Caribbean was not exactly your typical voyage. It was chartered by Bare Necessities. Translation, passengers not required to wear clothes. But now the ship has a much darker, deeply disturbing distinction. Holland's president says he believes this is the first time in the company's 140 year history that a cruise attendant has been accused of brutalizing a passenger, nearly tossing her overboard. A federal affidavit from this victim says, quote, "remembers being violently" - this is the victim, "remembers being violently struck with several unknown items all over her body. The subject also strangled her with several items, including a telephone cord and the cord to her curling iron." That's coming straight from that affidavit.
CNN's Victor Blackwell explains what may have trigged that attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): We know you'll find our version of unwinding in the tropics truly different.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Holland American Line Vacations are a dream for some, but one woman claims her Caribbean cruise turned into a nightmare. A 31-year-old American woman says she was brutally attacked by this man, Ketut Pujayasa, on a seven-day round trip Caribbean cruise out of Florida. Pujayasa worked as a cabin attendant. According to a complaint, he told authorities on February 14th he delivered breakfast to the alleged victim's room. When he knocked, he said he heard a voice shout, "wait a minute, son of an expletive." Later that day, Pujayasa searched the ship in order to punch her in the face for insulting him that morning but he was unable to find her.
Pujayasa told authorities that evening he used his master key card to enter her state room and then hid on the balcony as the victim entered. He's then accused of violently beating and then sexually assaulting the unsuspecting woman. At one point, attempting to throw her off the balcony as the ship near the coast of Roatan, Honduras.
JIM WALKER, MARITIME LAWYER: There are no cameras, in most cases, on most cruise ships, that record what happens on the balcony. If he was successful in getting her off the ship, it could just end up as another mystery on the high seas.
BLACKWELL: The victim managed to escape and was flown to a hospital. Pujayasa faces federal charges of attempted murder and aggravated sexual abuse since the alleged attack happened over international waters.
WALKER: It's happened before. People have disappeared from these ships. The prosecution rates are exceedingly low and this is the place - it's the perfect place to commit a crime, to assault someone and to throw them overboard. Most people get away with it.
BALDWIN: That was CNN's Victor Blackwell. That assault happened the night before and in the early morning hours of Valentine's Day. So, what about the legal ramifications here? CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin joining me now.
And, first thing I'm thinking is, what happens when you have, you know, a crime committed way out, you know, on the ocean. The suspect was apparently under guard, put under guard on the ship. Can a cruise line just, you know, toss someone in a contained area like that?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean the cruise line certainly is responsible for the safety and security of everyone on the ship. And so, absolutely, the cruise line can confine this worker because the worker was under their control as well.
HOSTIN: And I do think that it's interesting that the FBI is involved. Most people don't realize that. But if you are traveling on a cruise ship and you are on international waters under maritime law, it's a federal charge.
HOSTIN: So the FBI is investigating.
What's also - people I think - you know, I cruise all the time, Brooke, as you know. People don't really realize, when you flip over your cruise ticket, there are all these legal rights on the back of it. And so if this ever ends up being a civil case and she wants to sue, typically you would have to sue in the state of Florida for many of the cruise lines -
HOSTIN: Because a lot of the tickets say that and a lot of them are registered actually outside of the country because of, you know, tax breaks.
BALDWIN: As we have discussed before, there's a lot of fine print with it comes to cruising and a lot of people don't realize that. Flip your ticket over.
BALDWIN: Let me make sure I get this in, in our conversation. Holland America sent this response, quoting them, "this has shaken the entire Holland America family to our very core. This individual was hired in 2012 following a careful screening that included a clean criminal history check. He had no performance issues and came with good references." So if - again, this is the if -- if this victim in this case sue this cruise line, would she have a case here?
HOSTIN: I think so. I mean, absolutely. There's no question that she can sue. Clearly people can see for anything. But again, Holland America is responsible for the safety and security of all of its passengers and crew as well.
BALDWIN: But they said they vetted this person.
HOSTIN: Even if they vetted him, I think that there is room for a legal case. I mean this woman was attacked.
HOSTIN: And he admitted the attack. You know, is it safe enough? You're such a captive audience on these cruises. You can't go anywhere. And did Holland America do everything they could have done to prevent something like this? And so I suspect she does have a case if she chooses to file something civilly against Holland America.
BALDWIN: OK. Sunny Hostin, thank you, thank you. Appreciate it.
HOSTIN: Yes. Thanks, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Coming up, Michael Dunn, the man convicted of attempted murder in the so-called loud music trial, he was not convicted of first-degree murder, but at least one juror thinks he should have been and she spoke out today. We'll hear from her coming up next.
Plus, have you seen it? Finally, "The Wolf of Wall Street." Yes, a lot of questionable behavior in that movie. Now, one man who says he inspired one of the characters is actually suing the studio. Hear why he wants that movie yanked out of theaters immediately.
BALDWIN: A juror from the so-called loud music murder trial is now breaking her silence about the verdict over the weekend that has left a number of people across the nation just outraged. Her name is Valerie. She was juror number four. She and 11 others convicted Michael Dunn on attempted second-degree murder changes. You know the story. Dunn fired into an SUV full of teenagers back in November of 2012 after arguing over their loud music. Those bullets hit and killed this 17-year-old Jordan Davis. But Dunn wasn't convicted of first- degree murder in Davis' death because the jury was deadlocked on that charge. Valerie, this juror, told ABC News that Dunn got away with murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think Michael Dunn got away with murder?
VALERIE: At this point, I do. Myself, personally, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you went to the deliberating room, you thought Michael Dunn was guilty?
VALERIE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of killing a 17-year-old boy?
VALERIE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What convinced you of that?
VALERIE: To me, it was unnecessary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't think Michael Dunn had to kill Jordan Davis?
VALERIE: I don't believe so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all first took your first poll on guilt or innocence on the murder of Jordan Davis. What was the vote?
VALERIE: Ten to two.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten people thinking he was guilty?
VALERIE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And two said?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why were you and the others so convinced that Dunn was guilty?
VALERIE: We all believed that there was another way out. Another option.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were his options, do you think?
VALERIE: Roll your window up. Ignore the taunting. Put your car in reverse. Back up to the front of the store. Move a parking spot over. That's my feeling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That was the juror. Jordan Davis' parents watched that interview. This is their reaction to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUCIA MCBATH, JORDAN DAVIS' MOTHER: We believe absolutely with all of our hearts that they did everything that they could to come to what they believe was the most - was the most just decision.
RONALD DAVIS, JORDAN DAVIS' FATHER: I'm in constant contact with Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father. And I text Sybrina all the time and I just want to let them know that every time I get justice for Jordan, it's going to be justice for Trayvon for us. And that the ultimate justice for me - I wanted Michael Dunn to be tried and found guilty of killing my son, of letting him know that it was wrong to kill my unarmed 17- year-old.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Mr. Davis says he will continue working to change Florida's stand your ground law. As for Michael Dunn here, he faces at least 60 years in prison. He is 47 years old.
And now to some of the hottest stories in a flash. Roll it.
So your chance at a multimillionaire life still at hand here. Have faith, folks. The Powerball drawing is tonight. The jackpot now sitting at $400 million. Tonight's lottery is the fourth biggest one for the Powerball and the sixth biggest in lottery history. The odds - I always hate saying this, winning, you know, something like one in 175 million. But, you know, numbers, shmumbers here. The jackpot could grow bigger depending on ticket sales. Good luck.
Derek Jeter isn't shedding any tears about his final spring training. The retiring Yankees superstar addressed the media late this morning and said players hate the yearly ritual and apparently they can't wait until it's over. I mean it is Florida. Why? Well, he says his bum ankle is fine and he will want to be remembered, most of all, as a Yankee.
Big, big announcement coming today from Cee Lo. Singer Cee Lo Green. Folks, he is leaving "The Voice."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CEE LO GREEN, SINGER: Yes, I'm going to miss "The Voice" too. So I'm not coming back, guys.
ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST: Oh, you're not coming back at all? GREEN: I'm not coming back at all.
DEGENERES: I did not know that.
GREEN: Yes, but I just want to - I don't want to wear out my welcome there, you what I'm saying? I have so many other things I want to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Dropping the news to Ellen. Reality TV judge sharing the news. This is during a taping of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Cee Lo said he missed music and that he hadn't released anything for years. He said his next album is almost finished.
And take a look at this video. This is a smash and grab at a Texas gas station. So you'll see the surveillance video. It catches these two masked men using a car to crash into this station here. This is the early morning hours. But here's the kicker, they didn't do this to grab money, they were thirsty. You see what they grabbed, you see this, an 18 pack of beer. Two guys hopped back in the car, off they went. No word yet if they were caught.
And a prisoner used a toilet, of course, to break out of jail. Right now this guy, Larry Farmer (ph), is on the run and considered dangerous. Farmer and another inmate yanked a toilet straight out of a cell wall last night, escaped from a north Georgia prison. Outside they scaled a fence with the barbed wire, another fence with razor wire. Ouch. The second inmate got hurt, turned himself in. But right now authorities are still looking for Farmer. That prison is about 70 miles north of Atlanta.
Coming up next, we're keeping an eye out for President Obama because he could be giving remarks as it pertains to the current situation in the Ukraine, which, as we've been watching over the last 24, 48 hours, at a boiling point. Protesters there furious with the government. The government is striking back, as we've been watching. We'll look for that.
Also, we will hear from one protester who says the government - this American says this government is selling out to Russia. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am a Ukrainian (ph), a native of Kiev, and now I am on my (INAUDIBLE) on the central park of my city. I ask you know to help us. We held this freedom inside our hearts. We held this -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Just about the bottom of the hour. You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
And a difference in political opinion in the Ukraine has led to the deaths of 26 people from both sides with government forces turning on its own people. Look at this, 240 people are at hospitals. More than 70 arrested. And Ukraine's army chief has just been fired.
This began as peaceful protests for a more westernized government. And now one side claim police corruption, the other says radicals are at work.
And breaking right now, we know the president of the United States, President Obama, he has just spoken. We'll be getting the tape very, very soon. So we'll play that for you.
But let me just - let me look at the headlines. These are just some pool notes on the president's comments. He's down in the hometown of Mexican President Pena Nieto in Toluca. So, briefly, the president, President Obama, has said the U.S. condemns, in strongest terms, the violence that's taking place in the Ukraine. We have been deeply engaged with European partners, both the Ukrainian government and the opposition to make sure this violence ends, he says. We hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible for ensuring their handling protesters peacefully, that the Ukrainian people are able to assemble without the fear of repression.
So, again, we're watching for that tape coming in from the president so you can hear precisely what Obama said.