tv CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell CBS October 12, 2022 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT
♪ ♪ ♪ captioning sponsored by cbs nige very latest on that >> o'donnell: tonight, the very latest on that stunning billion-dollar judgment 10 years after the sandy hook massacre. what it means for the families of the 20 children and six educators killed. the emotional moments after the unanimous verdict. a jury rules "infowars" host alex jones must pay $965 million after he labeled the shooting a hoax and called the parents actors. cbs' nikki battiste is in connecticut. missiles rain down on ukraine, as putin promotes the man known as "general armageddon" to lead russian forces. cbs' charlie d'agata reports on the new weapons from the west to help ukraine. the navy seal scandal-- a story we've been following closely.
well, tonight, three officers face punishment for the death of candidate kyle mullen during hell week. cbs' david martin speaks to the mother of the yale football player. and, a warning for parents. tonight, the respiratory illness on the rise in children. cbs' nikole killion talks to parents and doctors. this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell, reporting from the nation's capital. >> o'donnell: good evening to our viewers in the west and thank you for joining us. we want to begin with the breaking news in what is the largest defamation suit payout ever in american history. the landmark verdict awarded the families of those killed in the sandy hook massacre-- parents who lost their young children, and then faced a decade of torment-- a small sliver of justice.
a connecticut jury ordered far- right "infowars" host alex jones to pay nearly $1 billion in damages for spreading lies about the elementary school shooting. the 2012 massacre in newtown, connecticut, killed 20 children and six adults, in the deadliest elementary school shooting in the nation's history. jones falsely told millions of his radio show listeners that it was staged, as part of a government plot to confiscate guns. well, relatives of the victims alleged the conspiracy theorist then profited off those lies. cbs' nikki battiste is outside the courthouse in waterbury, connecticut. good evening, nikki. i can only imagine what the families are going through today. >> reporter: norah, good evening. and this trial, which has gone on for a month, has forced the victims' family members to relive unthinkable trauma. as the verdict was read this afternoon, i was sitting next to several parents who lost their young children. they were emotional, but strong, and they tell me, this accountability is what they were fighting for. >> we the jury have reached our verdict.
>> reporter: it took six jurors less than three days to come up with a price tag-- more than $965 million-- that conspiracy theorist alex jones must pay for spreading false claims that the 2012 sandy hook shooting was a hoax. >> total of $120 million. >> reporter: robbie parker was among the parents who broke down in tears as the verdict was read. >> while the truth is being said in the courtroom, he was standing right here, lying. >> reporter: his daughter, emilie, was among the victims. during the trial, prosecutors played video of jones mocking him at her funeral. mark barden lost his son, daniel. as you stand here today, i'm sure your son daniel is on your mind. >> my son daniel is always on my mind. and, with everything i do, i feel i owe it to him to honor him. >> reporter: jones and his company, free speech systems, were sued by eight victims' families, and an f.b.i. agent who responded to the shooting that took the lives of 20
students and six staff. judge barbara bellis had already found the "infowars" host liable for defamation. jones testified. >> i've already said i'm sorry hundreds of times, and i'm done saying i'm sorry. >> reporter: today on his show, jones reacted in real time, again asking his viewers for donations. his attorney said he would appeal. >> in the course of my career, i have never seen a trial like this. >> reporter: family members testified they were harassed by followers of jones. david wheeler lost his six-year- old son, benjamin. >> people were, you know, accusing me of lying, telling me ben never lived, telling me that i was going to burn in hell. >> reporter: it is unlikely the victims' families will receive the full payout. all along, alex jones' attorney has said jones is not responsible for the actions of his listeners. in his first trial, jones was already ordered to pay $50 million, and he still faces a third trial later this year. norah. >> o'donnell: nikki battiste, thank you for being there. well, president biden is
facing pressure from his own party to punish a major strategic partner. democrats argue, the recent move by saudi arabia to cut oil production is bad for the u.s. and good for russia, and it comes as the national average for a gallon of gas is $3.92. that's up nine cents in just the last week. cbs' nancy cordes is traveling with the president in california. >> we will take action. >> reporter: a vague warning from president bien about consequences for a global oil giant. >> we're going to react to saudi arabia. >> reporter: but that wasn't specific enough for some senate democrats. >> you know, we can't take this sitting down. >> reporter: they're pushing him to freeze arms sales to saudi arabia, or pull all u.s. troops out of the country, after the saudis and other oil-producing nations, known as opec+, chose to cut worldwide oil production by about 2%. the move could push gas prices back up, and boost russia's oil revenue.
>> they are helping and aligning with a murderous, brutal war criminal, vladimir putin. >> reporter: white house officials had lobbied opec nations not to cut back, and president biden himself traveled to saudi arabia this summer, even fist-bumping crown prince mohammad bin salman, despite his role in the murder of "washington post" columnist jamal khashoggi. >> saudi arabia is our second most important security partner in the middle east after israel. >> reporter: cbs news senior security contributor mike morell says many of the potential punishments come with downsides. >> denying arms sales to saudi arabia not only hurts u.s. firms selling those weapons, but it also hurts the security of the region, because we want the saudis to have american weapons, they want to have american weapons, because if we ever have to fight iran together, we want those weapon systems to complement each other.
>> reporter: the president said today he wants to consult with congress before imposing any consequences on saudi arabia. and it's a delicate situation, because any rift in the u.s.- saudi relationship could rattle oil markets and drive prices up, just one month before the midterm elections. norah. >> o'donnell: nancy cordes, thank you. well, tonight, the kremlin is claiming that it has arrested eight people in connection with the embarrassing destruction of a key bridge linking russia to crimea. the explosion led to an escalation of attacks across ukraine this week that have killed dozens and injured more than 100 others. cbs' charlie d'agata reports from inside ukraine today, that that country got a boost from the west. >> reporter: russia's punishing missile barrage this week, captured on dash cams... ( explosion ) ...and other cameras across the country. today's indiscriminate shelling on civilians out
grocery shopping in advivka, killing at least seven-- proof of russia's lethal reach, and ukraine's vulnerability in trying to stop it. the brutal retaliation for the blast on the bridge connecting russia to crimea directed by hard-line commander sergei surovikin, promoted by president putin within hours of the bridge attack, now in charge of the war. known as "general armageddon," he ordered the ruthless bombing of civilian targets in syria, while commanding russian forces in support of the assad regime. now, employing those tactics to reverse russia's battlefield defeats. ukraine's air force has been seen patrolling the skies sincen seen p russia's onslaught. ukraine's ground troops pushing south and east, before the worst of the winter sets in. russia retaliating in ways not seen since the war began.
germany has announced the delivery of the first of four high-tech air defense systems to ukraine, norah. it's one of the most advanced weapons of its kind in the world. so new, they've never been used on the battlefield. >> o'donnell: well, that's interesting. charlie d'agata, thank you. back here at home, a former san antonio police officer has been charged in the shooting of a teenager who was eating a hamburger in his car in a mcdonald's parking lot. the former rookie officer, james brennand, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault. 17-year-old erik cantu remains unconscious and is on life support, according to his family. now to that navy seal scandal that we've been following. we learned today that three navy officers were punished after an investigation into the february death of seal candidate kyle mullen. it's the latest black eye for the naval special warfare unit, which is still investigating a brutal training program that cbs news exposed. cbs' david martin has more now from the pentagon.
>> reporter: seal recruits, staggering out of the pacific ocean to the finish line of the infamous hell week. eight hours later, one of them would be dead from acute pneumonia. >> my son was towards the end. he's being carried by another man. he could barely walk. >> reporter: regina mullen says this freeze frame shows her son, kyle, being helped out of the water. a navy investigation found that after five days of nonstop physical stress, on four hours' sleep, mullen was so short of breath, he had to be given oxygen, and moved from one location to another by ambulance. but, he was allowed to keep going. >> my son wasn't treated medically by the medical team, by their own investigation. two times, they could have saved his life. two times! >> reporter: the instructors, i'm sure, would say they were just trying to help him make it through those final hours, so he could complete hell week. >> so, he completes it. they send him to the barracks and sent the medical team home. >> reporter: according to the
investigation, mullen had to be taken to the barracks in a wheelchair. when sailors assigned to check on him called the duty medical officer, they were told to call 911. but mullen didn't want to go to the hospital for fear he would be dropped from the training. >> my son would never want to be dropped. that's quitting. >> reporter: two officers in charge of seal training received warning letters that almost certainly killed their chances of further promotion. ( groaning ) those same two officers were also in charge when this video captured seal recruits being blanketed with tear gas at point-blank range for a full minute, even though the rules clearly say it should last no more than 15 seconds. the navy calls seal training "extreme stress in a controlled environment." well, kyle mullen's death has now triggered an investigation into just how well controlled that environment really is. norah. >> o'donnell: important questions. david martin, thank you. well, there's breaking news from
los angeles. embattled city council member nury martinez has resigned from her seat, days after a recording surfaced of her making racist and offensive comments about a fellow council member's son. there are growing calls now fora fellow co two other members on that recording to step down. well, with less than a month until the midterm elections, pennsylvania's lieutenant governor and democratic candidate john fetterman is facing a tough battle for the state's open senate seat. five months after suffering a stroke, fetterman gave his first in-person, on-camera interview, and said that despite these new health challenges, he's up for the job. cbs' robert costa is in the battleground state of pennsylvania. >> reporter: democrat john fetterman tackled the subject that was front and center on the campaign today-- his health, after an interview tuesday night showed him using a closed captioning device to read questions. >> the elephant in the room for a lot of folks is that i had a stroke. and there are, there's no-- there's no secret that sometimes i'm going to miss words. and sometimes i'm going to mush
two words together. and that's the truth. >> reporter: the lieutenant governor's health has become a politicaltarget for his republican challenger, trump- backed dr. mehmet oz, who continues to press fetterman to disclose his medical records. fetterman will use a closed captioning device during their upcoming debate. >> i sometimes will hear things in a way that's not perfectly clear, so i use captioning. so, i'm able to see what you're saying on the-- in captioning. >> reporter: for fetterman, and others who suffer a stroke, the recovery can be difficult, including how it affects verbal exchanges. cbs contributor dr. david agus. >> this area was involved in auditory processing. that is taking words or sounds and converting them to words that the brain can understand. so, he can't make that conversion well. >> reporter: veteran democrats say the polls remain tight, and this latest flashpoint might not move the needle. >> they see in john fetterman who they want to see-- whether he is a courageous, sympathetic
candidate, or, whether you see him as a person who is just not physically capable of carrying out the job. >> reporter: sources close to fetterman tell cbs news tonight that they are confident voters understand he is facing health challenges, but will ultimately conclude, he is ready to serve. fetterman's strategy, they say, moving forward, is to continue to engage, with voters, with reporters, and with mehmet oz. norah. >> o'donnell: and robert, i have to ask you, how is fetterman doing on the campaign trail? >> reporter: after the stroke, his schedule was limited. he pulled back, but he has returned to campaign rallies. he had one in bucks county, a crucial area, on sunday. drew over 1,000 people. >> o'donnell: robert costa there fors,nk you. well, there is important health news tonight for parents. today, the f.d.a. authorized the updated covid booster shots for kids as young as five. that's ahead of an expected winter wave of covid. now, this comes amid a nationwide spike in cases of
r.s.v.-- that is a respiratory illness that attacks children. it's serious. so we get more now from cbs' nikole killion. >> reporter: a family vacation turned into a trip to the emergency room for april joines and her six-year-old daughter lillian who suffers asthma, and was hospitalized with a lung infection called r.s.v., respiratory syncytial virus. >> she was more lethargic, and then her breathing was labored. >> reporter: but when they got to the e.r., they were met with an hours-long wait to be admitted into the intensive care unit. >> well, we waited a pretty long time, and it was just kind of a situation that is alarming as a parent to be in, when you-- your child needs care. >> reporter: children's health care of atlanta says they're seeing two to three times the volume of pediatric patients, as r.s.v. cases have skyrocketed in georgia and at least 32 other states. symptoms include coughing, wheezing, runny nose, and decreased appetite. >> one of the great things is
that parents know their children the best. if the child is having difficulty breathing, that may be an indication for the child to seek emergency department or urgent care. >> reporter: r.s.v. is transmitted through direct transmitted throug contact. nearly 60,000 children younger than five are hospitalized due to the virus each year, and there are no approved vaccines. how concerned are you that this could happen to one of your children again? >> very concerned. and it's hard to talk about because it's really emotional. >> reporter: there's also concern over just how bad this winter could be. dr. ashish jha, who heads the white house covid response, said today it's hard to imagine how hospitals will handle the flood of respiratory illnesses. norah. >> o'donnell: nikole killion, with that really important story, thank you so much. well, american high-schoolers hit a 30-year low. the startling impact that covid had on college test scores, when we return.
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