tv Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield CNN May 25, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PDT
chad, thanks so much. >> you're welcome. >> that is all for us. thank you so much for joining us "at this hour." "legal view" with guest star kate bolduan begins now. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> hello, everyone. i'm in for ashleigh banfield today. welcome to "legal view" on this memorial day. thank you so much for joining us. we start with breaking news, though. the air force says it scrambled two f-15 fighter jets as a precaution this morning after word of a threat on an airliner from france headed to new york. they say it was an air france flight headed to jfk. nor rad says law enforcement received the threat. jean casarez following all of this. >> it's happening right now. well that plane has not been given an all clear but did land safely at jfk about 10:17 this morning. law enforcement has been searching that plane and according to the north american
aerospace defense command they tell cnn a threat came in on air france flight 22 and because of that, as a precautionary measure, that is why the two f-15 fighter jets came in and were launched as a precautionary measure. now, as we say, the flight has not been cleared yet. it did land safely. at this point, there are more questions than answers, but law enforcement has been searching that flight to see if there is any credible information that comes from this threat that was launched directly at law enforcement on this flight. we do want to tell everybody that the flight did leave paris, france, this morning, charles de gaulle airport, at 8:32, landing at jfk safely at 10:17. >> it goes without saying early on they haven't cleared the flight, they're in the middle of looking into what the nature of the threat was. do they any idea who the threat came from? >> it was at this point an anonymous threat but taken seriously enough to launch the fighter jets to help bring it?
>> jean, thank so much for bringing us up to date. let's discuss what this all means as this develops as we speak. bring in former fbi assistant director and cnn analyst tom fuentes joining us from washington and former inspector general of the u.s. department of transportation, and cnn aviation analyst, mary schiavo joining us from south carolina. as jean points out, more questions than answers at this point but they scrambled two f-15 fighter jets so they're clearly taking this seriously. what does this mean for how they're going to investigate this threat? >> kate, they've had this happen so often with getting a bomb threat or some unspecified anonymous threat to aircraft, they have to take it seriously. they scramble the jets so they have an eye on the plane as it's in the air and i think that the question there is, if they thought it had been hijacked or thought they had a pilot go rogue like the germanwings plane, would the f-16s have shot
it down if it started heading for, you know, the tall buildings of manhattan like we experienced in 9/11. now at this point, it's landed safely. they'll do as they've done in so many of these, do a search of the plane to determine if an explosive device has been planted and if they find no evidence of that, that will be the end of it and they'll go forward other than trying to identify who made the threat, who made the call. >> absolutely. and that's a whole other different kind of leg of the investigation. let's get to that in a second. mary, to you, what is happening with the plane right now? does it -- as tom kind of points out, does it depend on what the real nature of this threat was to this plane? what scenario are they going through right now? >> i happened to be at detroit the day of the underwear bomber on christmas day a number of years ago and what they do is take it to a remote part of the airport and because it's a chemical threat, they will also have to very carefully search through luggage because tom probably remembers, at the fbi at the time, when they had the
subway gassings in tokyo they used a particular kind of weapon that had two plastic bags full of chemicals and those together mixed to create a concoction. they will have to do a careful search through all the bags, all the planes, because it's a chemical threat and not a bomb, the explosive dogs, the bomb dogs, may not be as much help as they ordinary would. the passengers on the planes are in for a rather long day as they will have to search literally everything on the plane. >> absolutely. and those are reports that it is a chemical weapons threat, not necessarily confirmed yet by our sources. everyone is looking into it at this point. if it would be, if that would be the nature of the threat, a chemical weapons threat, that seems more unusual than what you normally hear if you will on these -- in terms of a threat to planes. as you point out, these threats come in so often, what does this then mean for the other part of this investigation trying to track down who tipped off law enforcement to this? >> well, they'll be going back to the call that came in and try
to identify where that might have come in. you know, is there some reason that somebody that was a passenger on that plane might be in the middle of a business dispute or marital dispute or something of that nature where someone might want to inconvenience them or hassle them in some way. when you have an anonymous phone threat, people can say anything, they could say that plane has a nuclear device on it and there's no way until you search it to know whether it does or not. as mary correctly pointed out, every airport, particularly in the u.s., has a specific d designated spot where a plane in trouble, whether high jacked or whatever the situation is, is supposed to go which takes them away from the terminal, off the main runway area, puts them in a secure area where the fbi and the other authorities can control the situation, bring in communications, establish a perimeter around the plane and go to work essentially because as mary said it's going to be a
long day for everybody involved in this. >> that's absolutely right. that long day is already under way. to remind our viewers the flight landed safely at jfk airport around 10:16 as jean casarez was reporting on the nature of the threat, still looking into it, the flight coming from france and was -- and landed in jfk but they scrambled two f-15 fighter jets to, as a precautionary measure to bring that plane in to jfk. that threat and the nature of it being investigated as we speak. tom, mary, thank you so much. >> you're welcome. of course coming up for us, who to blame? who is to blame for the rapid rise of isis? iran pointing fingers right now at president obama. his defense secretary, though, saying just over the weekend that iraqi troops have shown no will to fight. what does this all mean most importantly, what does this mean for u.s. strategy there? sunday dinners at my house...
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you're looking at live pictures from arlington national cemetery. today, americans paying tribute to america's fallen heroes. our military men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. it's a beautiful day especially in that most harrowing, solemn of places in arlington national cemetery. last hour you saw president obama lead america's solemn observance of memorial day, like so many commanders in chief before him, president obama placed a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns and made remarks at arlington national cemetery honoring the sacrifices of military men and women and their families. we'll be looking at those images throughout the day and taking a moment to remember. but this is also coming just a day after the u.s. defense
secretary ashton carter publicly accused the iraqi army of abandoning the city of ramadi. iraqi troops and police had allied -- and allied militias are said to be massing on the outskirts. local officials tell cnn officials are waiting for the order to push back into ramadi to try to drive isis out once again. the u.n. estimates more than 50,000 iraqi civilians have fled ramadi since isis militants took control there eight days ago. arwa damon is joining me now from the iraqi capital of baghdad. arwa, what is the very latest other than the back and forth of war of words it seems we're hearing right now? >> well, that troop levels that iraqi government have massed on the outskirts of ramadi are quite a patchwork combination of army, police, as well as these iranian-backed shia paramilitary units. the sunni tribes involved in this as well, but they are more
in a defensive position. it does seem at this stage, since the iraqi government clearly does not have competent and capable forces at its disposal, it's having to rely on this unconventional fighting force to begin retaking the city of ramadi, most certainly is not an ideal situation, but the country does not have much else to fall back on. now those comments by the u.s. defense secretary are causing quite a few people to bristol here. they believe that his statements are misplaced. the prime minister saying that much to the bbc. and they feel as if this is the u.s.'s attempt to perhaps try to distance itself from any sort of responsibility it may have when it comes to its own restructuring and when it was trainings the iraqi army itself, as well as the, perhaps, current failure's of america's strategy when it comes to trying to
defeat isis. we did speak to an iraqi soldier whose unit was on the front lines and among the last to withdraw when the order was given to retreat from ramadi. he says the key problem they were facing was a lack of ammunition logistical failure and a failure in command structure not necessarily a failure in a will to fight the situation on the ground is very complicated, many viewing carter's comments as being a simplistic view to what is a very intricate situation. >> absolutely. arwa damon in baghdad for us, thank you very much for bringing us the latest. additional insights from mark hertling, retired general, former commanding general of the u.s. forces and cnn military analyst. great to see you. thank you so much for coming in. >> good to see you, kate. >> so you hear, you've heard and discussed it, ashton carter the defense secretary's remarks that the iraqi forces showed no will to fight. what do you make of his comments? >> i believe mr. carter was stalking specifically about --
talking specifically about the leadership aspect and arwa brought up key issues. it's a lack of ability to communicate between forces, coordinate those same forces and there are a variety out there conduct good intelligence operations, resupply through logistics, coordinate air and close air support fires, so all of those things are problematic in the iraqi military right now. i don't think mr. carter was bashing the iraqi soldiers and if he was, i would counter those remarking because i believe the iraqi soldiers certainly have the will to fight if led correctly. unfortunately, they are not being led very well right now. you can see that based on the discord that's occurring throughout the force. they also have the challenges of fighting all over the country. i mean, as americans, we're almost exclusively focused on tikrit and ramadi, but there are battles going on throughout the width and depth of iraq right now and most of the iraqi forces
are doing quite well holding back isis, their gains in some of those areas. >> well, take that, but then also the response, if you will, that came from the iraqi prime minister, speaking to the bbc, it seems pretty startling, he said he believes -- he said he was surprised and he believes that the defense secretary was fed wrong information. this does not sound like two top government officials that are on the same page in a fight together. >> no, it certainly doesn't. you add to that, i think, general dempsey's remarks earlier in the week where he said the iraqis were not driven out of ramadi, they drove out of ramadi. i think what mr. carter and the chairman of the joint chiefs are attempting to do is hold up a mirror. part of the president's strategy is based on iraq taking the fight to the enemy on the ground. we will support that and, in fact, the president has also said he will consider additional options if he sees the iraqi government consolidating and
getting rid of the sectarian divide and putting together a concerted effort against isis. we have not seen that yet. it's still an issue of isis or i'm sorry shia militias, national guard, sunnis not armed, kurds not being armed, the iraqi security forces being moved all over the country. so i think what mr. carter was doing is, saying basically, hey, you guys need to get your act together before you expect more effort by the united states. >> general hertling, talking about iraq, but we're also talking about iraq on a very important day, on memorial day. a day to honor those who have fallen, our military men and women. i wanted to get your take, just a final thought on what this day means to you, what do you remember on this day? >> well, i was on "new day" this morning, kate, and gave a tribute to all those i served with who gave the last full measure of devotion. it is for those of us who have served with others who have given their lives, who have
sacrificed for our country, this is a day that's not so much about car sales and picnic beaches and picnics on the beach and end of school, it's about those who gave the last full measure. now, we're going to enjoy those other things in tribute to those who gave their measures so we can live the way we do, but we will all take a little bit of time and think about those and, in fact, later on today, i'm going to do a shot of bourbon for one individual soldier who was a huge bourbon lover and we used to have discussions about which one was the best and he gave his last full measure so i'm going to present a toast to him later on. >> absolutely. general, thank you so much. it's great to have you especially on this day. >> thank you very much. >> of course. >> before we move on, i want to take you to a memorial day ceremonies in afghanistan. troops gathered in nato headquarters in kabul to honor more than 2200 u.s. soldiers, airmen and marines killed in action in america's longest war.
president obama pointed out this is the first memorial day with -- since the war in afghanistan has wrapped up. up next for us, acquittal in cleveland for a police officer who fired multiple shots at a car with two unarmed people inside. more than 70 arrests after protesters filled the streets in response. you wouldn't do half of your daily routine. so why treat your mouth any differently. brushing alone does less than half the job, leaving behind millions of germs. complete the job with listerine®. kill up to 99 percent of germs. and prevent plaque, early gum disease and bad breath. complete the job with listerine®. power to your mouth™! also try listerine® pocket packs to kill bad breath germs on the go. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars.
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arraigning 71 people that were arrested during those demonstrations over the weekend. most pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor failing to disperse charge and released on $150 fine. saturday things were tense for a bit when police in riot gear took to the streets asking people to leave the area. the verdict, though, ends a case that began in 2012 with police pursuing these two people, timothy russell and melissa williams in a high-speed chase. police were trying to stop them for failing to use a turn signal, that went completely wrong. the car backfired and the car backfired is actually key here because police thought that was a gunshot. we'll discuss that in a second. officers fired 137 shots, including officer p er brelo wh eventually stood on the hood of the car shooting several rounds through the windshield. the judge in reading the verdict used mannequins to explain his
verdict and said brelo's actions were reasonable because he felt the officers' lives were in danger. his attorney told cnn earlier it is not about the number of shots fired. listen. >> there are many united states supreme court decisions throughout our land that talk about the number of shots not being relevant, so you get into these emotional issues but the issue at the end of the day is what are the facts and what is the pressure. >> let's discuss that. legal analyst joey jackson here as well as cnn law enforcement analyst and president of the national organization of black law enforcement executives cedric alexander joining us from atlanta. thank you, both. joey, first to you, i know his attorney says that it's not about the number of shots fired, but when you take these facts into account, 137 shots, 49 shots total coming from officer brelo. >> right. >> 15, at least 15 of those shots coming from him standing on the hood of the car shooting directly into the windshield.
>> that's right. >> how is this not manhattslaug. >> understand this which is very important, the judge was the trier of fact. the defendant waived a jury trial which is his right to have the case heard in front of a judge. what that means logically is that a jury could have concluded differently and another judge could have concluded differently on the issue of manslaughter, clearly someone died here, of course, two people died here, and the -- >> they were unarmed. >> absolutely. and some would argue that car served as a weapon. just to be clear, the judge based it upon causation, saying that it could not be definitively determined that the fatal blow came from brelo's weapon and as a result of that the judge said it was a fatal shot, but did not conclude it was the fatal shot beyond a reasonable doubt. getting to that conclusion the judge opted to reject medical testimony that the prosecution proffered that said just the opposite and that's why the judge concluded there was no manslaughter here and many are left to wonder, listen, just because you can't determine that
one fatal shot hit him, does that mean that you absolve him and absolve everyone else? that was a critical issue here. >> another thing i want to bring up, cedric, come in on this, he is one of 13 officers that fired shots. there were more than 100 officers that pursued them in his high-speed chase over 100 miles per hour in some places, again, there is an investigation into a lot of their actions from the police perspective, but there's no criminal wrongdoing on the part of officer br er brt is the response that you saw and what led to this event, is this good police protocol? >> i think what you're going to see going forward is going to be an administrative investigation that i'm quite sure is under way by the police department, chief williams there and his staff, to look at maybe some policy violations that may have occurred. 60 some cars in a chase in an urban environment, certainly
creates a great deal of risks for those officers and for citizens and, of course, when you begin to think about how this whole case unfold, i think it's through their administrative investigation they may find some reasons to hold some officers accountable. look, at this at the end of the day, is that these are very complicated cases and even though the perception of the public, particularly across this country, is that police could and should be doing better, but we have to look at each one of these cases very individually and i would also say as well, too, that going forward, particular lly for cleveland an other cities across this country, even here in my own community, we have to make ourselves much more available, much more open to our citizens that we serve in terms of what our policies are and how things can sometimes be perceived one way and sometimes be another way. we want to be fair to the citizens, but at the same time, too, we want to make sure
there's an environment of fairness of officers that has to do a difficult job as well too. >> sure. kate, it should be noted that the prosecutor in the case said there were five other officers indicted. now they were supervisors and they were indicted for dereliction of duty, a staungsally minor charge than what brelo was going after and, of course, based upon the chase ensuing to begin with, because was it proper protocol, of course the prosecution says no and as a result of that chase many things happened that didn't need to happen. of course the end result, two people died. >> this isn't the only very sensitive, highly punily sized case that this city is dealing with. that's going to be -- they're dealing with another case involving tamir rice 12-year-old black boy, toy gun, shot and killed by white police officers. there's surveillance video of that. that's another case that city is dealing with and so that is -- speaks -- when you talk about the supper visors charged, you
have this, big questions for how the city handles -- the police department handles that going forward, and what that means for the confidence of that community. it's great to see you. thank you so much. joey, thank you as always. a lot of eyes on cleveland and lot of work there to be done. coming up for us, a dozen people missing in the texas -- in one texas county, homes, cars, swept away and deadly flash floods and more dangerous weather is unfortunately on the way. just look at that. a live report next. the network that monitors her health. the secure cloud services that store her genetic data the servers and software on a mission to find the perfect match. and the mom who gets to hear her daughter's heart beat once again. we're helping organizations transform the way they work so they can transform the lives of the people they serve.
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at least 12 people -- at least a dozen people are missing today from raging flash floods that roared through central texas. the kendall county sheriff says an elderly man narrowly escaped this, wow, suv just before it was swept away by the deluge. in a news conference a short time ago, hays county emergency officials warned local communities there are not yet out of danger. >> oh, my god. oh, my god. >> there are still rescue operations in play. we're going to keep it in a rescue posture, especially with today's impending rains. we're looking at about 2 inches at the noon hour. >> the weather system that's bringing that few round of rain has already brought on one deadly tornado in mexico, just across the border from del rio,
texas. at least 11 people are reported killed and about 300 homes were damaged there. greatly complicating rescue efforts in the flood ravaged areas of texas are scenes like this. a bridge near the town of whimberly that normally sits high above the blanco river was no match for the wall of water that seemed to slam into it yesterday. up to 400 homes were also washed away, one person is confirmed dead, two others, including a fire fighter, lost their lives due to the flooding in oklahoma. cnn's alina machado is joining us with the latest. it looks like a mess from the pctures from high above in helicopters and looks like a mess behind you as well. what are you hearing? >> yeah, kate, it's an absolute mess. before we slow you the damage, i want to show you, see this, it's raining which is what people here don't want to see. this is what we've been seeing. the more we walk around the area of destruction, this is what we see. piles and piles of tree debris, mixed with pieces of people's
lives. there's a refrigerator, there's also -- we're seeing a child's life vest and other -- there's a mattress on the other side, even a chair. if you walk with me on this side you get a better sense of how bad the damage is. we need to be careful because it's kind of rough over here. look at that. that is what's left of a house that was right on the river, partially destroyed. that over there is the blanco river. that is the river that everybody keeps talking about. that's the one that reached record levels of more than 40 feet high. the damage is absolutely incredible. look at this on the other side of this bridge. a house. also with the roof torn off. on the other side of this house, i don't know if you can see it because we're limited in terms of where we can be, there's a house that is now gone. that is the kind of damage and destruction, kate, that we are
seeing here in texas, one of the hardest hit areas during this flood. >> you pointed out, not only have they already faced record amounts of rainfall, it's now raining where you are at this moment. the threat is not over and it's important to point out to a lot of folks, alina, thank you so much, that viewers or at least 12 people missing in one county there. the threat is not over. the rescue operations are not over on this memorial day. to exactly that point if you want to help those affected by this storm, please visit our website, cnn.com/impact to see how you can help out. coming up next for us, instead of beach towels and umbrellas, hazmat suits at this beach this holiday weekend as nine-mile stretch in southern california the oil spill becoming an economic and legal nightmare as well as an environmental disaster.
moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on. (laugh) nice. doing the big things that move an economy. see you tomorrow, mac. see you tomorrow, sam. just another day at norfolk southern.
over the long memorial day weekend two beaches are closed because of the santa barbara oil spill and they will stay closed until next week. you're looking at live pictures of the beach. open people there are wearing hazmat suits. the closures are an inconvenience to say the least for beachgoers but for business owners it has meant a loss of major revenue on a big weekend.
stephanie elam has taken a look at the impact on santa barbara's economy. >> it's akin to somebody potentially getting hit by a shark in the water. you see everybody goes away. >> reporter: for garret, the oil spill in santa barbara county couldn't have come at a worse time. his sports center at the santa barbara harbor should be bustling with customers who want to get out and paddleboard or kayak. >> we generally would not be able to do this interview where we're standing if it were a normal memorial day weekend. there would be 50 or 60 trying to get on the water right now. >> instead business has slowed. >> how much has your business been impacted this memorial day weekend because of the spill? >> at this point we can estimate in the tens of thousands of dollars of lost revenue. >> the oil spill that leaked more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil into the pacific ocean has impacted a nine-mile stretch of the coastline, forcing him to close his other shop in goleta. >> there was oil on the water.
>> you could actually see it? >> you could see it. it was covering the bottom of our kayak. >> here in santa barbara harbor, several miles south of the spill there's been no sign of oil, but the perception that there might be has been enough to dampen this area's economy and it's one that thrives on tourism. >> obviously people who had reservations at the state camp grounds and our local community used to being able to go out and use the beaches and ocean to sur of, fish, kayak or whatever, have been greatly impacted by that. >> we're a feast and famine business. we don't have very many days to make our money. having this happen at a time where we're expecting good revenues is tough. >> stephanie elam is joining me now. you're talking about the economic impact for the businesses but i want to talk about the impact you're seeing, if you will, on the cleanup work, the efforts underway behind you. you were there last week, you're there, are you seeing progress?
what are you seeing there now? >> well, it's exactly it, kate. it's a long, dredge russ process to do this because you have to go through, they're cleaning out bits of the sand to see if there's anything there along this strip of beach here. what is harder to see, that translates on camera, is this strip of rocks that is all covered in tar. little drips of it around it. and it's sort of the dark shaded area here that they're now starting to look at. there are booms that are still out in the water, but overall, kate, from when we were here last week until now, the smell is a lot less pungent. you don't have the nagging head ache from the smell. they've been working on it. based on what we've seen they've been able to clean out the oil. the rest on the water on the surface, they say it's too small to collect and that's going to naturally evaporate. >> the progress being made there. also progress and obviously the big question of how and why did this happen on that beach. a lot of talk about this pipeline, the pipeline that ruptured that didn't have an
auto shutoff valve are mechanism that many are required to have in california. what are you hearing about that? >> there's been so much talk about that and even when you're just out in santa barbara, you hear people, there was a protest we saw where people don't want this offshore drilling, they don't want to see these platforms out off the coast here in the pacific ocean and don't want there to be pipelines and people wondering why weren't these shutoff valves. people coming out to make their voices heard about that. what is interesting is now we've heard from plains all american pipeline that owns the pipeline that ruptured and they're saying that would not work in this case. if it automatically shut off there could be pressure in the pipe that builds up and a rupture somewhere else. saying it makes more sense to slow down, have controllers, people actually out there slowing it down in a step-by-step process so that you don't have a rupture somewhere else along the line. that said the government is taking a look at their process,
watching what they're doing, having them remove the oil from the pipe which they've begun doing and they will have to remove that part of the pipe and examine it to figure out why it ruptured and figure out what needs to be done so this doesn't happen again, kate. >> that investigation clearly is going to continue and take a little while now. stephanie, thank you so much. we'll get back to you as we can. new information, though, after the break, we're going to have new information on a breaking story off the top about the flight that had a direct threat coming to it. some reports it was a chemical weapons threat. an update on the status of that investigation right after this. i'm caridee. i've had moderate to severe plaque psoriasis most of my life. but that hasn't stopped me from modeling. my doctor told me about stelara® it helps keep my skin clearer. with only 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses... ...stelara® helps me be in season. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and increase your risk of infections. some serious infections require hospitalization.
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concern regarding that specific flight. that flight did land safely earlier today and an investigation continues. important to note to bring you up to date, low level of concern regarding that flight, regarding that flight. other big story we're watching today, police in washington, they are not yet closing the books on the home invasion murders of an affluent family and their housekeeper. they say the horrors that culminated in the torching of the lavish home near embassy row in washington, d.c., quote, required the presence and assistance of more than one person. the one person currently locked up and charged with first-degree murder is daron wint, arrested after a multistate manhunt on thursday. our justice correspondent pamela brown is joining us with the latest on this. obviously one person behind bars and think there could be more. where are they in terms of the search for those others. >> absolutely. d.c. police continue to investigate and hunt for more
suspects and we know, kate, from witness interviews by police it's raising more suspicions of the alleged home invader daron wint was not acting alone and is raising new questions about the family's assistant, a witness according to documents who claims to have seen the savopoulos blue porsche after the grisly murders, says the driver had short well groomed hair, a description different from daron wint who showed up with medium length dreadlocks. the family assistant allegedly changed his story several times during police interviews about dropping off $40,000 to the family's home. the assistant initially told police mr. savopoulos directed him to pick up the package on thursday but later told police it was the day before he was told. the assistant allegedly said a door to the family's red car where he was instructed to put the package in was locked and later came back and said it was unlocked and the assistant allegedly said he was given a
manila envelope with the cash and later admitted he lied and put four bundles of cash into a red bag. court documents show that police interviewed an unidentified second witness who said the assistant texted a picture at 9:00 a.m. thursday morning of a red bag with only two of the four bundles of cash. four hours later, kate, we know the home, the family's home went up in flames. still a lot of unanswered questions here. >> and the story is just tragic and horrific, almost too difficult to believe it is true. we continue to see the investigation playing out. thank you so much for that update on that. coming up next, a problem that could have been fixed for some 57 cents. can now end up costing general motors more than a billion dollars. not to mention possible criminal charges. you wouldn't do half of your daily routine. so why treat your mouth any differently. brushing alone does less than half the job,
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new legal trouble tore general motors over a faulty ignition switch that would have cost, they believe, 57 cents a car to replace. that's a lot of cars, but that would have saved a lot of lives. instead, a "new york times" report says gm will face criminal charges and perhaps even pay out more than a billion dollars for its failure to act sooner. at first gm estimated the faulty switch as linked to as few as 13 deaths but now we know it's died
to at least 100 fatalities. "the new york times" says a settlement could come this summer and could be one for the record books. the doj isn'ting b ining gm did statement saying we are cooperating with all requests and unable to comment on the timing. business correspondent alison kosick joining us as well as legal analyst and defense attorney danny se val loss. we're talking record dollar amounts here. what could this mean for gm? >> already gm has felt the sting of what's happened because in the first quarter of last year it pretty much wiped out their profit for first quarter but funny enough by the end of the year, gm made $4 billion. this even after paying out $4 billion for the recall. you're looking at a $57 billion company. this is one of the -- this is the biggest automaker american automaker here and gm is one of the top 40 most profitable
companies here in the u.s., but the big question is, what's going to happen now? what kind of fine is the doj going to impose on gm? will the doj want to make a posterchild out of gm. >> as an example. >> you know you look at how the doj handled the toyota recall. toyota paid the highest penalty of $1.2 billion. the question is, will gm pay more. >> gm might top that. talking about a corporation so we're talking about the bottom line and the financial hit to them. they're talking about criminal charges against a corporation. how is that possible? what does that mean? >> you can't put a corporation in pris son the idea of a criminal prosecution against a corporation is a bit of a legal fiction. however, what it really means is that the department of justice goes to a corporation and says, listen, unless you want us to prosecute you publicly pay us a lot of money, you can enter into a deferred prosecution agreement, where we will put the prosecution on pause, until
we -- unless and until we like what we see which is lots of fines and monitoring. in the past, the doj has allowed corporations to go into these deferred prosecution agreements, but it seems that times are changing. in the last year alone, they have started having these corporations, instead of avoiding prosecution altogether with an agreement, actually plead guilty which can have serious collateral consequences and it appears the doj is not very concerned about those collateral consequences. >> talk about another consequence is there are also some consideration they could charge not only talking about the corporation but individual employees could face criminal charges. how does that play into this? >> that's another paradigm shift. we've only seen in the last year or so, the doj is not only forcing corporations to plead guilty but corporate and give them names of individuals withins the company that may be responsible. but then, since we're sort of on new ground it creates a thorny issue.
how do you prosecute individual employees in the chain of command, when the most obvious defense is going to be, the guy above me told me to do it. >> well, and take it from the other perspective, talking about 104 deaths, families who are looking, many families looking for justice in their eyes. what would all of this mean for individual wrongful death cases. >> plaintiffs and plaintiff attorneys are watching this case closely. as is usually the case a criminal prosecution can help a civil case by creating more discovery. the plaintiffs attorneys may hope that doj uncovers more discovery than the plaintiffs would have gotten on their own and that can certainly help their case. remember, that at least one other judge has cut off some of the liability in terms of prior to 2009 in these cases, so it's not going to be cart blanche for all plaintiffs' attorneys. >> timing wise, the timing could happen this summer. >> as early as this summer. this is something that gm wants
to get off the headlines. >> we will be covering it. great to see you. thank you very much. danny, great to see you as well. thank you for watching "legal view." have a very good memorial day. brianna keilar takes it from here. hi there, i'm brianna keilar in for wolf blitzer. 1:00 p.m. in washington and new york, 8:00 p.m. in baghdad and 2:00 a.m. in pyongyang. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks so much for joining us. we begin with breaking news. a series of threatening calls were made today against several flights, none of which have proven legitimate so far. one was against an air france jet headed to new york and when the pilots didn't respond to u.s. authorities the air force quickly scrambled two f-15 fighter jets to escort the plane to jfk airport. we're joined now by cnn correspondent jean casarez and cnn aviation