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Disgraced Movie Producer Harvey Weinstein Learns Fate in Rape Trial
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Jurors reached a split verdict Monday in the sexual assault and rape trial of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in Los Angeles.

Weinstein, who is serving a 23-year sentence for rape in New York, stands accused of sexually assaulting five women between 2003 and 2014.

According to reports, jurors said Weinstein is guilty of forcible rape & other charges relating to Jane Doe 1, not guilty of sexual battery for Jane Doe 3, and a hung jury for counts related to Jane Doe 2 and California’s first lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

Weinstein was also acquitted of a sexual battery allegation made by another woman, according to The Associated Press.

Jurors reached the verdict after nearly 41 hours of deliberations over ten days.

Weinstein pleaded not guilty to all seven charges, which included two counts each of forcible rape, sexual battery by restraint and forcible oral copulation, and one count of sexual penetration by foreign object as reported by CNN.

The Associated Press reported that he faces up to 24 years in prison when he is sentenced.

“It is time for the defendant’s reign of terror to end,” Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez said in the prosecution’s closing argument. “It is time for the kingmaker to be brought to justice.”

Weinstein was convicted of a first-degree criminal sex act and third-degree rape in 2020. He has denied raping anyone and says all of his sexual encounters were consensual. He was extradited to California last year in anticipation of his second trial, which will feature up to 50 witnesses, says the L.A. County District Attorney’s office.

Earlier this year, a New York Appeals court ruled that Weinstein’s team could argue for another trial or have his conviction dismissed. Weinstein’s lawyers shared various reasons why they believe Weinstein was not given a fair trial and is entitled to a new one, including that they say too many witnesses unrelated to the sexual assault charges were allowed at trial.

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Trump Lawyers Meet with DOJ

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Lawyers for former President Donald Trump — John Rowley, James Trusty, and Lindsey Halligan — were seen entering the Justice Department this Monday morning. This visit comes after allegations of classified documents from Trump’s tenure being discovered at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

The attorneys, who have previously criticized the treatment of their client by the Special Counsel and his team, have requested a meeting to discuss their concerns and the status of the investigation. Charges related to the case are expected to be announced soon.

CBS News reported:

Attorneys representing former President Donald Trump — John Rowley, James Trusty and Lindsey Halligan — were seen arriving at the Justice Department around 10 a.m. Monday, weeks after Trump’s lawyers had requested a meeting with top federal law enforcement officials.

CBS News saw Trump’s legal team walking into the Justice Department. They did not speak as they entered the building in Washington.

Special counsel Jack Smith has been investigating the former president after documents with classified markings from his White House tenure were uncovered at Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, in August 2022. Prosecutors are also looking into whether there were efforts to obstruct attempts to recover the records, according to multiple sources close to the investigation.

Several sources with knowledge of the investigation believe that a charging decision in the documents case is imminent, and Trump lawyers in recent days were expected to meet at some point with the Justice Department to talk through where things stand and to potentially lay out their concerns about the prosecutors’ efforts so far.

Trump lawyers Rowley and Trusty had written a letter in May complaining that their client was being treated “unfairly” and asked to “discuss the ongoing injustice that is being perpetrated by your Special Counsel and his prosecutors.”

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Alan Dershowitz Analyzes Classified Documents Criminal Charge Against Trump

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OPINION by Alan Dershowitz:

It seems likely that former President Donald Trump will allege that he declassified the documents that he took to Mar-a-Lago before he left office.

If that claim is presented to the courts, either by legal pleadings or testimony, it will raise several related issues. The first is a question of law, the second is an issue of evidence, and the third is one of procedure.

Let’s begin with the law.

There could be little dispute that a president, while in office, has the power to declassify any previously classified documents or material. As the head of the executive branch, he has the last word on what remains classified or declassified. It is possible, though not beyond dispute, that Congress could constrain that power if it enacted clear legislation.

Some would argue that the Constitution precludes the legislative branch from limiting the power of the executive, but that is moot at the moment because Congress has not enacted statutes that specifically prevent the president from declassifying material.

Some think they should, as a matter of policy, formalize the declassification process so as to make it transparent. But absent such legislation, it seems clear that the authority to classify and declassify is an executive function, and the president is the executive. So if Mr. Trump did declassify documents that were then moved to Mar-a-Lago, mere possession of such documents would not be a crime.

The next question is, did Mr. Trump in fact declassify these documents? If he claims he did, it will be up to the government to challenge that assertion. It could do so in several ways. It could offer evidence designed to disprove Mr. Trump’s claim. But proving a negative — in this case, that he did not declassify the documents — is always difficult.

Theoretically, there could be evidence that Mr. Trump told an associate that he was taking classified material with him, knowing it was still classified. It is extremely unlikely, however, that any such evidence exists.

The government could also claim that absent any evidence either way, it must be presumed that a document once classified remains classified. But that ignores the fact that a statement by Mr. Trump to the contrary, if given under oath, would be evidence. And if Mr. Trump decides not to testify, there may be no admissible evidence either way.

In addition, the government could argue that the circumstantial evidence, especially the failure to announce any declassification until the criminal investigation began, can be weighed against his allegation. This is a weak argument, especially if there is no requirement in the law that declassification be announced or recorded.

These factual disputes would have to be resolved by 12 jurors if the government were to present sufficient evidence to warrant its submission to a jury.

The third basic issue, and the one that could determine the outcome of any criminal case, is closely related to the second: Who has the burden of proof on the claim of declassification? That is an issue of legal procedure.

In the usual criminal prosecution, the government has the heavy burden of proving every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The status of the documents as classified is an element of crimes that prohibit the unauthorized possession of classified material. The government may claim that the question of whether documents once classified have been declassified is a matter of law to be decided by the judge. That is a weak argument under the Fifth and Sixth amendments and their history.

The bottom line is that if Mr. Trump or his lawyers allege — even without his testifying — that he declassified the documents, a criminal charge of unauthorized possession of classified documents would be difficult to prove. That doesn’t mean that a prosecutor could not get a grand jury to indict this particular ham sandwich. It does mean that it’s unlikely that a conviction against Mr. Trump would be sustainable.

The government is certainly aware of these difficulties, so it may be seeking to indict Mr. Trump on some process crime, such as obstruction of justice. But it will be difficult to establish that Mr. Trump crossed the line from vigorously and lawfully defending his conduct to engaging in criminal obstruction.

No citizen is required to cooperate in a Department of Justice criminal investigation, as President Biden and others have commendably done. Nor can he actively obstruct such an investigation by unlawful means. The government will have a hard time proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Trump willfully crossed this line.

Based on what we know, we believe that there is no legitimate basis for a criminal indictment of Mr. Trump based on the material that was found at Mar-a-Lago.

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UPDATE: Republican Donor Family Identified as Victims of Virginia Jet Crash

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A sonic boom was heard across the Washington, DC, area Sunday afternoon when military jets raced after an unresponsive private plane that crossed into restricted airspace and later crashed, killing all four people onboard.

The deafening boom rang out when two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to investigate the aircraft that was not responding to radio transmissions shortly after 3 p.m., according to the Department of Defense.

Residents around the capital and surrounding communities were left bewildered until more information came out.

The F-16s were deployed after the private Cessna flew into restricted airspace over the capital before it crashed in southwest Virginia.

The fighter jets saw that the pilot of the plane appeared to have passed out, a US official told ABC News.

Rescuers were able to reach the site of the plane crash hours later on foot in a rural part of Shenandoah Valley, and no survivors were found, according to police.

The aircraft departed Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, heading for Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

It had reached the New York area before making a nearly 180-degree turn and flying toward Virginia, according to the flight-tracking website Flight Aware.

It’s not clear why the plane was nonresponsive or why it crashed.

The jet dropped at a rapid rate, at one point falling more than 30,000 feet per minute before crashing.

The Cessna appeared to be flying on autopilot, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The two F-16s were allowed to travel at supersonic speeds, causing the sonic boom that was heard across the region, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement, according to the New York Times.

The owner of the company where the plane was registered told the Times Sunday that his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter and their nanny, as well as the pilot, were on the doomed plane on their way back to their East Hampton home.

John Rumpel, of Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc., said they were returning to New York after visiting him in North Carolina.

He told the newspaper he didn’t have much information but suggested the plane may have lost pressurization.

The 75-year-old, who is a pilot himself, said he hoped his family didn’t suffer in the wreckage as his voice broke.

He added that if the plane lost pressurization, “they all just would have gone to sleep and never woke up,” according to the publication.

Rumpel’s wife, Barbara Weimer Rumpel, posted photos of their daughter and granddaughter on Facebook.

“My family is gone, my daughter and granddaughter,” she wrote.

Barbara Rumpel is known for her work advocating for gun rights and has been a member of the NRA’s Women’s Leadership Council since 2002 and an executive committee member of the council since 2012, according to LinkedIn.

The couple is also politically active and together have donated to numerous Republicans running for federal office in the past few years — including $250,000 to the Trump Victory PAC in 2020, online records show.

The sonic boom, which occurs after a vehicle breaks the sound barrier at 767 mph, could be heard throughout the capital, and cities in Maryland and northern Virginia, with many taking to Twitter to question the noise that rattled their homes.

“It was loud enough to shake my f—king coffee table,” local Matt Cox tweeted following the boom. “Thank God there isn’t an infant in the house.”

Washington’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency said earlier in the day the boom was heard across the National Capital Region, but that “there is no threat at this time.”

Officials also made clear that the Cessna was not shot down by a military jet.

The crash is under investigation by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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Elon Musk Hosts Event with Robert F Kennedy Jr on Twitter; Instagram Reinstates

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Elon Musk announced Sunday that he will host Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on Twitter Spaces this week.

The discussion titled “Reclaiming Democracy” is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. ET Monday.

This comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis historically chose to announce his presidentially candidacy through Twitter Spaces last month, though the 2024 campaign launch was marred by technical difficulties and delays.

“The truth was censored repeatedly, and now that Twitter is in the hands of a free speech advocate, that would not be able to happen again on this Twitter platform,” DeSantis said during the event.

Musk, who purchased Twitter for $44 billion and took it over in October, responded as the event’s co-host, “Twitter was indeed expensive, but free speech is priceless.”

The roughly hour-long live event drew a high of about 300,000 concurrent listeners while the audio failed and the stream glitched several times. Twitter numbers showed a day after the announcement that more than 3.4 million people had listened to the Space or a recording of it, the New York Times reported.

Kennedy, an outspoken COVID-19 vaccine critic and environmental lawyer, traveled from his home state of California to Boston, once the helm of his family’s political dynasty, to announce his 2024 presidential bid in April.

During his nearly two-hour long speech at the Park Plaza Hotel, he wielded criticism toward former President Donald Trump over pandemic-era lockdowns, as well as toward mainstream media and Big Tech, whom he accused of censorship.

“This is what happens when you censor somebody for 18 years,” Kennedy said in April. “I got a lot to talk about. They shouldn’t have shut me up for that long because now I’m really going to let loose on them for the next 18 months. They’re going to hear a lot from me.”

The son of the late senator, attorney general and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and the late longtime Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, RFK Jr. headed out on the campaign trail last week for the first time since announcing his bid for the White House in 2024. He noted how recent numbers show he’s polling in the double digits – though President Biden still maintains a competitive lead.

For Democrats, Marianne Williamson is polling dead last in the primary fight. On the Republican side, DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., recently announced challenges to former President Donald Trump’s next White House bid.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy were already in the race, while former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, are among those expected to further crowd the GOP primary fight in coming weeks.

Instagram Reinstates Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Facebook-owned Instagram announced that it has lifted its suspension against the personal account of Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after previously being suspended over supposed misinformation about the coronavirus and vaccines.

The Meta spokesman went on to claim that blocking Kennedy’s campaign from setting up its own account had been an error, saying: “We quickly fixed the issue that prevented the campaign Instagram account from being created.”

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Biden UN Appointee Calls for ‘Mandatory Reparations’ of $5M Per Person — Without US Approval

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A group of African American academics is pushing for a UN ‘reparations tribunal’ to make Washington pay multimillion dollar sums to black citizens for slavery-era abuses, DailyMail reported.

Justin Hansford, a professor at Howard University School of Law, led the charge for $5 million payouts to black Americans at the UN this week, flanked by colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University.

The long-shot effort underscores how reparation payouts are unpopular among white American taxpayers and have little chance of becoming federal law, leaving advocates scrambling for a workaround.

‘I come to you today with a novel proposal, that we begin to think our own thoughts, propose our own vision of justice, and implement that justice,’ Hansford told UN racial justice talks in New York City this week.

He called for a ‘process of apology, and reparation — not on their terms, but on our terms.’

Hansford, a rising star of the critical race theory movement, spoke at the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, a group that was created in 2021.

The ‘special tribunal’ was formally proposed by David Comissiong, representing Barbados, a Caribbean island state.

Hansford quickly endorsed the plan. He later told DailyMail.com that many African and Caribbean UN members were behind the scheme.

The US mission to the UN, which is headed by ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a Biden administration appointee who is black, does not officially support the tribunal.

But Hansford said US diplomats at the mission had been ‘supportive overall.’

Thomas-Greenfield also spoke at the event, saying African-American families often lived in polluted neighborhoods. She grew up in Louisiana ‘near so-called cancer alley,’ she added.

‘Let us dismantle structural racism, brick by brick,’ said the career diplomat.

‘Let’s leave our children a cleaner, fairer, more just world.’

The UN General Assembly in 2005 created a five-point legal framework for reparations for victims of slavery and other abuses, which can lead to payouts, apologies, and demand policy changes.

But like much of the UN system, decisions are not legally binding, and it remains unclear whether a tribunal could do anything other than add some external pressure to buoy racial justice activists in the US.

Neither the US mission to the UN nor the UN’s human rights team in Geneva, which oversees the permanent forum, immediately answered DailyMail.com’s requests for comment.

In an interview, Hansford said a UN reparation tribunal was only one route to push the US federal government, as well as state and city officials, to address racial inequalities dating back to the slavery era.

Howard University gave legal advice to Evanston, Illinois, which in 2021 became the first US city to make reparations payments to black residents, with $25,000 grants to those affected by racist housing policies before 1969, he said.

Payouts to black Americans should be assessed case-by-case, said Hansford, a descendant of slaves in Forsyth, Georgia.

For families that have endured generations of ‘horrific’ oppression, sums of $5 million would be ‘on the low end of what’s appropriate,’ he said.

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Six Key Takeaways from Nikki Haley Town Hall

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Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley laid out a slew of conservative policy solutions during her CNN town hall event on Sunday.

“Nikki Haley is the only presidential candidate talking to real voters on the ground and taking their questions in multiple town halls,” Haley communications director Nachama Soloveichik said. “Nikki Haley won’t cave to the liberal talking heads, and that’s what voters love about her.”

Here are six key takeaways from the town hall event, which took place in Iowa.

Trump and DeSantis loom large

Haley’s two main rivals in the GOP field, Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), cast a heavy shadow over the town hall. Haley has sought to chart her own path without dwelling on her rivals too much, but a few times during the town hall, Haley blasted them directly.

For instance, she bashed DeSantis for his battle with the Walt Disney Company, accusing him of being “hypocritical” for accepting donations from it and then suing the company.

“All this vendetta stuff? We’ve been down that road,” Haley quipped at one point.

“Pick up the phone, deal with it,” Haley argued. “Settle it the way you should, and I just think he’s being hypocritical.”

At one point, Haley condemned Trump’s take on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot while underscoring the importance of having “election integrity” and rebuilding trust with voters.

“He thinks it was a beautiful day. I think it was a terrible day. I’ll always stand by that,” she said.

Calm and collected

Haley’s demeanor attracted some attention from commentators during her town hall event. Unlike Trump or DeSantis, who have been known to get testy when grilled on certain matters, Haley remained evenly tempered throughout the night.

“One thing that really struck me was how folksy she was, how personable she was,” CNN’s Dana Bash said about Haley. “There were a lot of points where she brought back that humanity, and that’s no small thing.”

Haley began the event with an emphasis on the need to ditch the negativity in politics and usher in generational change.

Abortion

Throughout the 2024 GOP primary cycle, abortion has emerged as something of an albatross matter. Haley has laid out her position on abortion numerous times and stuck to her principles while under scrutiny on it.

“What the media have done is they’ve made you demonize the situation when it’s so personal that we have to humanize the situation,” Haley said. “Our goal should always be how do we save as many babies as we can and support as many mothers as we do it.”

She emphasized that she’s pro-life and is keen on trying to find a national consensus on the matter. At one point, Haley dodged answering whether she would back a federal six-week abortion ban.

Entitlements

Haley did not shy away from entitlement reform despite some of her rivals, such as Trump, warning Republicans not to touch Social Security and Medicare.

“We can’t keep kicking this can down the road,” Haley argued at one point. “And I know that Trump and DeSantis have both said we’re not going to deal with entitlement reform — well, all you’re doing is leaving it for the next president, and that’s leaving a lot of Americans in trouble.”

Previously, Haley floated some proposals to prevent Social Security and Medicare from facing their projected bankruptcy, which includes lifting the retirement age for people in their 20s and engaging in means testing — paring down benefits for wealthy recipients.

Haley has also underscored the need to preserve benefits for those already retired and ensure that benefits will be available for the next generation.

“I think they’re not being honest with the American people,” Haley said when discussing some of her rivals’ reluctance to take on the issue.

Foreign policy

Unlike most of her peers in the 2024 arena, aside from Trump, Haley brings considerable foreign policy experience to the table. Her approach to world affairs also differed from some of her top rivals.

At one point, she implicitly rebuked Trump over his congratulating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un late last week for landing a role on the World Health Organization’s executive board. Haley called the WHO a “farce.”

“Congratulate our friends. Don’t congratulate our enemies,” Haley said.

On Ukraine, Haley contrasted herself with Trump and DeSantis, insisting that “a win for Ukraine is a win for all of us.” Trump and DeSantis have equivocated about what the extent of U.S. support for the war-torn nation should be.

“This is bigger than Ukraine,” Haley explained. “This is a war about freedom, and it’s one we have to win.”

Guns

Haley opened up about her position on gun rights, revealing she is opposed to red flag laws, which create an avenue for law enforcement to confiscate guns from people believed to be at high risk of engaging in nefarious activity.

“I don’t trust the government to deal with red flag laws. I don’t trust that they won’t take them away from people who rightfully deserve to have them,” Haley contended. “Because you’ve got someone else judging whether someone else should have a gun or not.”

She also emphasized the need to “end gun-free zones,” pinning blame on locations where guns are heavily restricted for shootings, because “nobody else is going to be able to protect themselves.”

Haley’s town hall comes on the heels of one Trump conducted with the network last month. Former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to announce his 2024 intentions this week and is slated to attend a town hall hosted by the network this Wednesday.

At the moment, Haley is polling in third place among the 2024 GOP field, per the latest RealClearPolitics aggregate.

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Apple Set to Launch VR Headset, First Major Product in Decade — Stock Headed for Record High

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Apple is set to unveil its first major new product in nearly a decade on Monday at its annual developer conference, a headset meant to enable users to experience virtual reality and digital apps overlaid on the real world.

The announcement is poised to overshadow the new software that Apple will unveil for iPhones and other devices at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which begins streaming at 1 p.m. EDT. The rest of the conference, which focuses on software providers making applications in the Apple ecosystem, will run through Friday.

Apple has been working on the headset for seven years and has delayed the launch several times, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. The headset is expected to cost $3,000, far more expensive than headsets sold by rivals, such as Meta Platforms’ most expensive Quest Pro headset at $1,000.

Apple is expected to show off many of the device’s capabilities with its own first-party apps, which could include a FaceTime-like communication app. But by announcing the launch at its developer conference, it is clear Apple is hoping third-party developers will figure out new and interesting uses for the device.

Virtual-reality developers are hoping that Apple will reignite interest in the category after a recent slowdown.

“When Apple drops something, VR developers will thrive,” said Todd Hooper, a venture partner at startup investor Acequia Capital and former chief executive of Vreal, a virtual-reality startup that shut down in 2019. “Apple’s got the best hardware, the most loyal customers and the most profitable App Store.”

While the new headset is likely to steal most of the attention, the company is planning to refresh the software running on its various hardware platforms—iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. Apple’s new iPhone operating system, iOS 17, will include a number of new health and fitness features, including a journaling app that will help users keep a record of their daily activities to boost mental well being, the Journal reported.

Apple is also expected to launch new Mac laptops, including a new 15-inch MacBook Air equipped with its M2 processor. Sales of Macs have fallen off recently following a surge during the pandemic after the company unveiled the M-series of chips, which it designed. In the company’s most recently reported earnings for the quarter ended April 1, the Mac business shrank 31% from the prior year.

In the weeks leading up to the conference, many software-makers working on virtual reality and other similar applications have received invitations to the event held at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. Apple has booked in-person demonstrations for some developers following the Monday keynote.

Along with the new hardware, Apple is expected to launch a new operating system for the headset and tools for developers to create the new applications. A large portion of the developer sessions for the week will be focused on developing for the headset, the Journal reported previously.

The applications, which may run the gamut from games to workplace apps, are critical to the company’s strategy of drawing potential new users to the technology, which has yet to take off among a broad consumer base.

Meta’s lineup of Quest virtual-reality headsets has mostly dominated the market to date. Headset sales grew at a fast clip during the pandemic, doubling to nearly 11 million units shipped in 2021. But they dropped 21% to 8.6 million units in 2022, according to market researcher International Data Corp. Meta has also struggled to keep existing users engaged, with more than half of the $400 entry-level Quest headsets not in use six months after they are purchased, the Journal has reported.

The Apple headset is unlikely to be available right away. Mass production isn’t expected to start rolling until the fall. First-year shipments are forecast to be far lower than other new Apple launches, with estimates ranging from only 200,000 to 300,000 units, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously told the Journal.

Apple hits record high

Apple shares hit a record high Monday as the company prepares to launch a number of new updates and products, including its widely anticipated mixed-reality headset, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Shares of the company are up more than 1.5% Monday morning and trading above $182.01, the closing high it hit on Jan. 3, 2022, and above its intra-day high from the following day of $182.94. Apple’s stock is up more than 39% year to date, while the Nasdaq is up around 26.5% for the same period.

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Transgender Inmate Set for Transfer to Women’s Prison, Awarded $495K Settlement and Surgery After Lawsuit

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A Minnesota transgender inmate is being moved to a women’s prison and will receive a vaginoplasty as well as $495,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections.

Christina Lusk, 57, will be transferred to the women’s facility in Shakopee next week, which will mark the first time a Minnesota inmate is moved to a different prison based on gender identity, according to local affiliate FOX 9.

As part of the settlement announced last week, the Minnesota DOC agreed to provide Lusk with a vaginoplasty as well as strengthen its policies regarding transgender inmates.

Lusk, who was arrested in 2018 and is serving a sentence until 2024 for a felony drug offense, sued the Minnesota DOC last year in part because it deferred Lusk’s request for a vaginoplasty, or “bottom surgery.”

After beginning cross-sex hormones in 2009, Lusk changed names in 2018 and was conferring with doctors about surgical options before getting arrested.

The inmate had undergone “top surgery” before going to jail, and was “on the verge of scheduling” a vaginoplasty, according to the lawsuit.

Lusk filed a grievance with the DOC after department medical director James Amsterdam reviewed Lusk’s case and determined that Lusk should not be allowed to receive genital surgery while incarcerated, but “could pursue that after release,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Lusk’s behalf by the St. Paul-based advocacy group Gender Justice, alleged that Lusk was sexually abused by the male inmates at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Moose Lake and demanded Lusk be treated as female and moved to a women’s facility.

“Inmates would heckle her, heckle her roommates… call her ‘it,’ that sort of thing,” Gender Justice legal director Jess Braverman said, according to FOX 9. “And then there were staff who would say things to her, such as, ‘You know, you’re a man in a men’s prison. I’m not going to treat you like a woman. I’m not going to use your proper name and pronouns.’”

Lusk praised the settlement in a statement released by Gender Justice, calling it “appropriate.”

“Everybody needs to come together in unity, and embrace positive change. I believe we have made a big step toward allowing people to express who they truly are, and bring some sort of peace and happiness to their lives,” Lusk said.

“This journey has brought extreme challenges, and I have endured so much. My hope is that nobody has to go through the same set of circumstances. I relied on my faith, and I never gave up hope. I can truly say that I am a strong, proud, transgender woman, and my name is Christina Lusk,” Lusk added.

In January, the Minnesota DOC joined 10 other states and the District of Columbia in establishing a policy by which inmates can be transferred to facilities that match their gender identity.

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Sonic Boom Rocks Washington DC as Fighter Jets React to Unresponsive Plane Before Crash

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An unresponsive private plane that flew over the nation’s capital Sunday afternoon caused the military to scramble a fighter jet before the plane crashed in Virginia, officials said. The fighter jet caused a loud sonic boom that was heard across the capital region.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the Cessna Citation took off from Elizabethtown, Tennessee, on Sunday and was headed for Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. Inexplicably, the plane turned around over New York’s Long Island and flew a straight path down over D.C. before it crashed over mountainous terrain near Montebello, Virginia, around 3:30 p.m. Sources reported the Cessna was on autopilot when it crashed.

It was not immediately clear why the plane was nonresponsive, why it crashed or how many people were on board. The plane flew directly over the nation’s capital, though it was technically flying above some of the most heavily restricted airspace in the nation.

A U.S. official confirmed to The Associated Press that the military jet had scrambled to respond to the small plane, which wasn’t responding to radio transmissions and later crashed. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the military operation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Flight tracking sites showed the jet suffered a rapid spiraling descent, dropping at one point at a rate of more than 30,000 feet per minute before crashing in the St. Mary’s Wilderness.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command later said in a statement that the F-16 was authorized to travel at supersonic speeds, which caused a sonic boom that was heard in Washington and parts of Virginia and Maryland.

“During this event, the NORAD aircraft also used flares – which may have been visible to the public – in an attempt to draw attention from the pilot,” the statement said. “Flares are employed with highest regard for safety of the intercepted aircraft and people on the ground. Flares burn out quickly and completely and there is no danger to the people on the ground when dispensed.”

Virginia State Police said officers were notified of the potential crash shortly before 4 p.m. Police were still working to find the plane on Sunday evening but hadn’t located it, police spokesperson Corinne Geller said.

The plane that crashed was registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc, which is based in Florida. John Rumpel, who runs the company, told The New York Times that his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, her nanny and the pilot were aboard the plane. They were returning to their home in East Hampton, on Long Island, after visiting his house in North Carolina, he said.

Rumpel, a pilot, told the newspaper he didn’t have much information from authorities but hoped his family didn’t suffer and suggested the plane could’ve lost pressurization.

“I don’t think they’ve found the wreckage yet,” Rumpel told the newspaper. “It descended at 20,000 feet a minute, and nobody could survive a crash from that speed.”

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WATCH: Rachel Maddow Confronted Over ‘Russiagate’ Lies During Speech

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A video of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow being confronted by American blogger Max Blumenthal.

Max Blumenthal took on the MSNBC host at Trucon 2023, a public event by the Truman Center held at the Marriott Marquis, Washington D.C. on Friday, June 2.

Keynote speaker Maddow gave her speech to a room full of attendees when Blumenthal walked up to the stage to complain about her coverage of the Steele Dossier, a now-largely discredited document about supposed links between Donald Trump and the Kremlin.

The alleged links between Trump and Russian officials to bolster his chances during the 2016 Presidential Election later became coined as “Russiagate.”

Blumenthal also attacked Maddow over coverage of Russian bounties paid to Taliban leaders for dead American soldiers in Afghanistan. U.S. Intelligence said in 2021 it had found no conclusive evidence to support the claim.

The American blogger has published articles on The Grayzone website which has promoted pro-Russian content. He has also appeared on Russian-state-owned news outlets RT and Sputnik.

During the speech, Blumenthal said: “Rachel, this speech is boring and paranoid. Can you explain why you promoted the Steele Dossier which has been proven to be a lie?

During the confrontation, Maddow could be seen looking at Blumenthal’s badge, while people could be heard complaining or booing his actions.

He continued: “Why did you promote the lie of Russian bounties? Can you ever be held accountable for the lies you’ve told Americans for years and years?”

The video has been seen an estimated 1.3 million times, and liked on more than 14,700 occasions since being shared on Friday, June 2.

In a separate video at the event uploaded by Blumenthal, he asked a panel about how many bombs by Trucon sponsor Lockheed Martin were dropped on children in Palestine and Syria.

He then asked whether any non-binary U.S. Navy divers blew up the Nord Stream pipeline, which supplies gas to other parts of Europe from Russia, off the coast of Denmark and Sweden.

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Chuck Todd Out at NBC ‘Meet the Press’

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“Meet the Press” host and moderator Chuck Todd announced on Sunday that he will step down this year after nine years hosting the public affairs talk show. Kristen Welker, NBC News’ co-chief White House correspondent, will succeed him.

“It’s been an amazing nearly decadelong run. I am really proud of what this team and I have built over the last decade,” Todd said during the broadcast Sunday. “I’ve loved so much of this job, helping to explain America to Washington and explain Washington to America.”

He plans to remain at NBC in a new role as chief political analyst, where he will serve as a key voice both in the field and during coverage of major events. He will also focus on long-form journalism.

“When I took over ‘Meet the Press,’ it was a Sunday show that had a lot of people questioning whether it still could have a place in the modern media space,” Todd added. “Well, I think we’ve answered that question and then some.”

In a memo to staff members, NBC News’ president of editorial, Rebecca Blumenstein, and NBC News’ senior vice president of politics, Carrie Budoff Brown, hailed “Chuck’s thoughtful and passionate leadership.”

“‘Meet the Press’ has sustained its historic role as the indispensable news program on Sunday mornings,” Blumenstein and Budoff Brown said. “Through his penetrating interviews with many of the most important newsmakers, the show has played an essential role in politics and policy, routinely made front-page news, and framed the thinking in Washington and beyond.”

“Meet the Press” is the longest-running show on American television, celebrating its 75th anniversary last year. It has led its rival shows in total viewers for more than eight years and won its first Emmy during Todd’s tenure for a special report titled “Schools, America, and Race.”

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Ad Agency That Introduced Dylan Mulvaney to Bud Light Is in ‘Serious Panic Mode’

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An eight-year-old marketing firm out of San Francisco was responsible for Bud Light’s partnership with Dylan Mulvaney – and the disastrous tie-up sent the firm into “serious panic mode,” The Post has learned.

Captiv8, a San Mateo Calif.-based firm that pairs social-media influencers with major consumer brands, is the outfit that introduced Anheuser-Busch to the 26-year-old transgender actress — resulting in a viral TikTok video that has since become a textbook case of marketing gone wrong, sources close to the situation said.

Nationwide backlash over the video — which unleashed a firestorm when it was posted April 1, showing Mulvaney holding a Bud Light can while taking a bubble bath — sparked anxiety and confusion inside Captiv8’s offices during the initial days of the controversy, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

“There was a lot of chatter” among employees about what blowback the firm might face over the botched campaign, according to the source.

“Internally, the company was in serious panic mode,” the source added.

It couldn’t immediately be learned whether Captiv8 — which claims to have a database of more than 1 million influencers on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter — was also responsible for the now-infamous Bud Light beer can that bore Mulvaney’s image. It also wasn’t clear whether Captiv8 played a direct role in producing Mulvaney’s TikTok video.

Co-founded in 2015 by Krishna Subramanian — a Silicon Valley investor who sold online ad network BlueLithium to Yahoo in 2007 for $300 million — Captiv8 has worked with Walmart, American Express, Twitter and KraftHeinz, according to its website.

Subramanian has made himself available for media interviews as an expert on influencer marketing.

In February, he spoke to The Wall Street Journal about the importance of viral videos around blockbuster ad events including the Super Bowl.

“The best way to think about TikTok is that it’s a vehicle that takes a consumer to the checkout line,” Subramanian told the paper.

A two-minute video on Captiv8’s website depicts a tour of a swanky office where influencers like Zion Clark, an athlete who was born without legs, is seen pumping iron and Olivia Sui, a Chinese-American actress, tells viewers that there are over “30 million creators” on Captiv8’s marketplace to “discover.”

But that’s just a “staged advertisement,” according to a source, who said Capitv8’s real office is a small space in San Mateo that can accommodate about a dozen staffers. Most of the company’s 100-odd employees work remotely.

Captiv8 appears to have returned to “business as usual” following the initial panic set off by the Mulvaney crisis, according to the source.

Bud Light parent Anheuser-Busch InBev, which also didn’t respond to requests for comment, has been tight-lipped on the origins of the ill-fated Mulvaney campaign. The company placed two executives — Alissa Heinerscheid, the vice president of marketing, and her boss, Daniel Blake — on leave in April.

After the firestorm erupted, the Belgian-based conglomerate told distributors that Mulvaney’s beer can was not produced by Anheuser-Busch or in any of its facilities, and that it had fired the “third-party” ad agency that was behind the Mulvaney video, several distributors told The Post.

“Ad agencies send out hundreds of influencer kits a year, some of which have a customized can included. This was one of those situations,” a distributor based in Texas told The Post in April, relating one of Anheuser-Busch’s talking points.

In August, Anheuser-Busch retained Anomaly — a New York ad firm that has produced Super Bowl ads — as the creative agency for the Bud Light brand. A spokesperson for Anomaly said it “was not involved in any way with the Dylan Mulvaney campaign for Bud Light.”

A day before the Mulvaney partnership was revealed, former Anheuser-Busch executive Heinerscheid had said during a podcast the Bud Light brand had become “fratty” and “out of touch.”

“I’m a businesswoman, I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light, and it was ‘This brand is in decline, it’s been in a decline for a really long time, and if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand, there will be no future for Bud Light,‘” Heinerscheid said.

Most recently, Bud Light sales suffered their worst week ever, falling 25.7% during the week ended May 20 — endangering its status as the US’s No. 1 beer brand. The plunge follows a 24.6% decline from the previous week and the sixth straight week sales have been hit , according to Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen IQ data.

The precipitous drop has narrowed the gap in sales between Bud Light and nearest rival Modelo Especial, which saw its sales surge 9.2% for the week ending May 20, according to the data.

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Saudi Arabia Announces Cuts to Oil Production to Boost Prices

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Saudi Arabia will cut its oil production by 1 million barrels per day in a move to boost oil prices, according to a Sunday announcement.

“This is a Saudi lollipop,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz said of the decision reported in Reuters.

Riyadh’s voluntary cuts, effective July 2023, fall under a broader plan put in place by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+), the outlet noted.

The Russia-led group settled on a deal to further reduce overall production targets through 2024.

The agreement increases the production targets for the United Arab Emirates while lowering those of others, translating into cuts of 1.4 billion barrels per day, according to Reuters.

The new production targets are “much more transparent and much more fair,” Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said, per AP News. Saudi Arabia’s announced cuts reflect uncertainty over fuel demand in the coming months, the outlet said.

At the start of summer travel season, U.S. drivers enjoy a drop in prices at the pump from last season’s average of $4.57, according to AAA statistics cited by the AP. The forthcoming drop in production by the world’s second largest oil producer could mean an increase in gas prices, the outlet suggested.

The OPEC member’s Sunday announcement follows a similar one made in April which sent crude oil trading temporarily above $84 a barrel. An increase in oil prices could replenish Saudi coffers for the nation’s costly development plans, but could also drive prices too high and fuel inflation with costly impacts stateside, the AP detailed.

Oil Prices Soar

Oil prices jumped more than $2 a barrel in early Asian trade, hours after the world’s top exporter Saudi Arabia pledged to cut production by another 1 million barrels per day from July.

Brent crude futures was at $78.42 a barrel, up $2.29, or 3%, at 2219 GMT after earlier hitting a session-high of $78.73 a barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed $2.27 a barrel, up 3.2%, or $74.01 a barrel, after touching an intraday high of $75.06 a barrel.

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Zelensky Admits Fear of Trump 2024, Begs for More Patriot Missile Systems

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted that he is afraid of a possible return of Donald Trump to the White House in 2024, before begging for more American-made Patriot missile systems.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted he has concerns about the possible re-election of Donald Trump next year, saying that he was unsure how exactly the Republican leader would have reacted had Russia invaded during his presidency.

The Ukrainian head-of-state also praised the response of the Biden administration, which has regularly handed over billions of dollars worth of weapons aid to the Eastern European nation since Moscow’s invasion began last year.

Asked how he felt about Donald Trump, Zelensky admitted that he was more comfortable with dealing with Biden and that the return of a Republican-led government could end up being difficult for his war effort.

“President Biden is the president during a full-scale war and he has been more helpful to us than President Trump,” Zelensky told the interviewer, qualifying the statement by noting that there “was no full-scale war” going on while Trump was in office.

“In a situation like this, when there is support, you are afraid of changes,” Zelensky said. “And to be honest, when you mention a change of administration, I feel the same way as anyone… You want changes for the better, but it can also be the other way around.”

He also appeared uncomfortable with Donald Trump’s claim that he would be able to negotiate a peace settlement to the Ukraine War within 24 hours, adding that the 45th American leader did not seem to care that Ukrainian territory — namely Crimea — was being “occupied” by Russia during his presidency after being illegally annexed under the Obama administration in 2014.

Zelensky also reportedly used the interview as an opportunity to beg the West for more Patriot missile systems, claiming that his country currently does not have enough of the defensive weapons to protect both the frontline and civilians in cities.

“There’s currently one weapon capable of stopping some types of missiles launched by the Russian Federation against our civilian population, schools, infrastructure and energy system,” he said. “The only system in the world is the Patriot.”

The Ukrainian President concluded that “50 Patriots” would be enough to protect Ukraine from Russian air attacks “for the most part”, implying that such weapons would be extremely beneficial to any Ukrainian counteroffensive.

At present, Ukraine has at least two Patriot batteries, which include launchers, a powerful radar system, a control station and other equipment. Zelesnky’s request for as many as 50, therefore, would be a massive ask for the Western world, with each individual Patriot platform reportedly costing over one billion dollars.

To make matters worse, according to Raytheon, the American manufacturer of the weapons system, only somewhere in the region of “240 Patriot fire units” have been produced for the entire world, with individual rockets of the latest generation for the platform costing as much as $4.1 million each.

Such a donation would ultimately dwarf the value of what has already been committed by the United States, alone, with the Biden administration having earmarked around $37 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine, though billions more of American taxpayer dollars have been sent in other forms of aid.

The safety of the equipment is far from guaranteed either if sent to Ukraine, with one of the two batteries already in the country reportedly being successfully hit in a Russian strike, though U.S. security officials have insisted that the damage done was minimal.

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Cousin of BLM Co-Founder Who Was Tased by LAPD Died from Enlarged Heart, Cocaine Use: Coroner

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The Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner announced on Friday that Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors’ cousin Keenan Anderson’s death occurred due to the effects of an enlarged heart and cocaine use.

“The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner determined the cause of death for 31-year-old Keenan Darnell Anderson as effects of cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and cocaine use (death determined hours after restraint and conducted energy device [CED] use); the manner of death is undetermined,” the group announced in a news release.

Anderson’s family filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles for wrongful death and civil rights violations. According to NPR, the family said they still plan to continue with the lawsuit after the findings were released.

“An unarmed Black man, in obvious mental distress, was savagely attacked and repeatedly tased, in clear violation of LAPD policy by several trained officers,” they claimed, adding that “the innocent life of a little five-year-old boy will be forever changed as a result.”

Cullors responded to the report by saying, “My cousin was alive when he flagged the police. And after his interaction with the police, he was dead,” she continued, “This idea that the coroner is unable to determine how he died is unacceptable. And to point to the substances and point to the enlarged heart and not to the tasers is very, very disturbing.”

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement, “Keenan Anderson was a father, a son, a brother, a cousin, and an educator of young people. He was loved and he is missed.” She added, “I remain committed to expanding the public safety system to include health professionals and to ensuring LAPD officers receive the best possible training to assist people in crisis.”

“The coroner raises questions that still must be answered and I await the result of the investigation already underway. I know that in this time of pain it sometimes feels like there is no hope, but we must turn the pain into concrete, substantive change – and we will,” Bass concluded.

Anderson died on January 3 after being tased by police as he was being arrested for allegedly committing felony hit & run and attempted auto theft. Toxicology reports showed that he had cocaine and cannabis in his system at the time.

Police showed up to the 31-year-old running in the middle of the street and acting erratically after he caused a car accident. While being arrested he yelled, “They’re trying to kill me,” and “They’re trying to George Floyd me.”

Police used a Taser on Anderson, and his activist cousin later blamed the police for his death. “LAPD has killed three people this year,” she said. “One of them is my family member. Keenan deserves to be alive right now, his child deserves to be raised by his father. Keenan we will fight for you and for all of our loved ones impacted by state violence.”

BLM gained national attention after the death of George Floyd while in police custody, sparking riots in the summer of 2020. Cullors stepped down from the organization in May 2021 after a scandal emerged surrounding a $1.4 million California home she purchased in 2021.

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Crime Plunges in Haiti Amid ‘Brutal Vigilante Campaign’

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A rise in vigilante justice on the impoverished island of Haiti has reportedly led to a dramatic reduction in the vicious gang violence that has plagued the island for years.

The New York Times reported that the “brutal vigilante campaign” began in late April when a group of people “overpowered” police in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince after they took 14 alleged gang members into custody.

The group of vigilantes took the suspects outside, doused them with gasoline, and burned them to death.

Since the 14 suspects were executed, civilians have reportedly killed at least 160 additional gang members in the area, the report said.

The report said that the vigilante campaign has led to a “sharp drop in kidnappings and killings attributed to gangs.”

People in the areas infested with gangs have reportedly feared leaving their homes for a long time and often face extortion. In a less than 10-day span last summer, nearly 500 people were murdered in the city, leaving many afraid to even go buy food.

“Before the 24th, every day someone passed by and demanded that I give him money because of my little business,” one resident told the newspaper. “When I had no money, they took whatever they wanted from my table, and this happened at any time of the day.”

Burning gang members alive appears to be one of the vigilantes’ preferred methods for dealing with the thugs.

“The reaction of the population, after years of gangs imposing their law, can be attributed to self-defense,” Gédéon Jean, the executive director of CARDH, told The New York Times. “Gangs are supported by certain authorities, politicians and business people. At almost all levels of the police force, gangs have links with police officers. The police do not have the means to systematically and simultaneously confront the growing gangs.”

The gang problem exploded when Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his home two years ago. The result has been a power vacuum and a country on the brink of a civil war.

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Bible Banned from Classrooms in Utah School District

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In the Bible, Jesus says “Let the children come to me” — but parents and teachers in Utah have decided it’ll have to wait until high school.

At Davis School District, located north of Salt Lake City, the collection of Christian scripture has been shelved for students until they enter high school.

The district has removed the Bible from their elementary and middle school libraries after receiving a petition to ban the holy book due to its descriptions of sex and violence.

The Bible ban is not the first of its kind — Utah schools previously began removing other books from libraries after a 2022 state law required schools to consider parents’ input on age-appropriate books.

The Book of Mormon — a sacred text of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — is the next holy book up for evaluation at the district.

On Dec. 11, the David School District received the petition from a parent to have the Bible removed from schools for being what the parent considered a “sex-ridden” book.

The petition of the parent requesting review of the Bible was made available in March 2022 with the parent’s name and address withheld.

In the petition, the anonymous parent seems to mock Utah Parents United, a conservative parents coalition that sought to remove inappropriately sexual books from school libraries.

Within the first five months of the law being in place, parents filed over 250 complaints petitioning for certain books to be removed from schools.

“Utah Parents United left off one of the most sex-ridden books around: The Bible. You’ll no doubt find that the Bible has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition,” the petition read.

This complaint followed the passing of Utah’s “Sensitive Materials in Schools” law enacted in May which “prohibits certain sensitive instructional materials” if they contain “explicit sexual arousal, stimulation, masturbation, intercourse, sodomy or fondling.”

“Get this PORN out of our schools,” the parent wrote along with an eight-page listing of “offensive” Bible passages. “If the books that have been banned so far are any indication for way lesser offenses, this should be a slam dunk.”

The school district itself did not explain its reasoning for banning the Bible, nor did it cite which verses were the deciding factor in its removal.

Davis School District boasts over 72,000 students across all grade levels.

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Grand Jury in Trump Classified Documents Case to Meet This Coming Week

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The federal grand jury that has been hearing evidence in the Justice Department’s investigation of former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents is expected to meet again this coming week in Washington, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation.

Prosecutors working for Special Counsel Jack Smith have been presenting the grand jury with evidence and witness testimony for months, but activity appeared to have slowed in recent weeks based on observations at the courthouse and sources.

It’s unclear whether prosecutors are prepared to seek an indictment at this point. The Justice Department would not comment on the status of the investigation.

If Smith decides to indict Trump, it would be the first time a former president has been charged with a federal crime.

Trump maintains that he has broken no laws, dismissing the investigation as a politically motivated smear campaign.

What crimes could Trump be charged with?

Clues about what precise crime or crimes Smith has been investigating can be found in court filings, including the search warrant and an accompanying affidavit submitted by the DOJ. There are two basic categories: 1) crimes about the handling of classified documents, and 2) crimes about obstructing investigators from retrieving those materials.

Prosecutors cited the Espionage Act, which conjures up an image of someone acting as a spy for a foreign country. But the statute, enacted after World War I, is broader. It criminalizes anyone with “unauthorized possession” of “national defense” material who “willfully” retains it. A string of court decisions has concluded that even if a document isn’t technically “classified,” someone can be charged under the law, so long as the information is “closely held” and the information would be useful to US adversaries.

Justice Department attorneys also raised the prospect of an obstruction-related crime in court filings. But that law only applies if prosecutors can show that Trump’s intent was to “impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation.” If Trump is charged with obstruction, it will be important to see what specific evidence Smith’s team has gathered about the former President’s intent.

Could Trump’s case conceivably go to trial before the 2024 election?

It’s difficult to say, especially without an indictment. What’s clear is that Trump’s legal team would fight any charges and undoubtedly attempt to delay the trial.

First, they would likely file multiple pre-trial motions to get the case dismissed. And if that didn’t work, his attorneys could file appeals, which would drag the process out even longer.

Trump is already facing a trial in March 2024 in the New York hush money case. Soon we may find out if he’ll face another.

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California Officials Investigating Migrant Arrivals in Sacramento for Criminal Activity

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California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Saturday an investigation into the arrival of migrants at a church in Sacramento to determine if kidnapping or other crimes were committed.

In a statement, Newsom said more than a dozen migrants were transported from Texas to New Mexico before being flown to Sacramento and left on the doorstep of a local church “without any advance warning.”

“We are working closely with the Mayor’s office, along with local and nonprofit partners to ensure the people who have arrived are treated with respect and dignity, and get to their intended destination as they pursue their immigration cases,” Newsom said.

The governor said the migrant arrivals would be investigated to find out who is responsible for their transportation and to determine any criminal wrongdoing.

“My Administration is also working with the California Department of Justice to investigate the circumstances around who paid for the group’s travel and whether the individuals orchestrating this trip misled anyone with false promises or have violated any criminal laws, including kidnapping,” he said.

Bonta issued a separate statement in which he said the migrants possessed documentation allegedly showing they are from Florida.

“We are investigating the circumstances by which these individuals were brought to California,” he said. “We are also evaluating potential criminal or civil action against those who transported or arranged for the transport of these vulnerable immigrants. While this is still under investigation, we can confirm these individuals were in possession of documentation purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida.”

“While we continue to collect evidence, I want to say this very clearly: State-sanctioned kidnapping is not a public policy choice, it is immoral and disgusting,” Bonta said. “We are a nation built by immigrants and we must condemn the cruelty and hateful rhetoric of those, whether they are state leaders or private parties, who refuse to recognize humanity and who turn their backs on extending dignity and care to fellow human beings.”

It is unclear at this time who is responsible for the migrants’ move to California, but multiple states have relocated migrants to sanctuary cities like New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C., amid an influx of migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has said he will not stop sending buses of migrants to these cities until the federal government fixes the problem at the border. The migrant relocations from Texas began last summer.

The immigration crisis at the southern border has also spilled into states that do not border Mexico. Florida Republican Gov. and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis flew migrants from the Sunshine State to Martha’s Vineyard last fall and Colorado Democrat Gov. Jared Polis sent migrants to sanctuary cities earlier this year.

“California and the Sacramento community will welcome these individuals with open arms and provide them with the respect, compassion, and care they will need after such a harrowing experience,” Bonta said in his statement.

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Texts Show Teachers Union Working with CDC Director to Keep Schools Closed

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Newly obtained text messages show the heads of both major teachers unions personally texting then-CDC Director Rochelle Walensky as the agency was putting together a scientific analysis of reopening schools during coronavirus — with the CDC making a key change that allowed schools to stay closed and appeased the unions.

On February 11, 2021, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten texted Walensky saying that she had heard a “leak” from The New York Times about what was in the CDC’s upcoming guidance, and expressed concern that it was “at odds with [their] discussion.”

“They are running with a full speed ahead angle” for reopening schools, Weingarten wrote. She said the Times sent her a copy of the internal draft guidance that said, “At any level of community transmission, all schools can provide in-person instruction.”

“Hmmm. Argh,” Walensky wrote to the union honcho.

The next day, Walensky’s agency released guidance that was different. It said, “All schools have options to provide in-person instruction.” That allowed school districts to stay closed while still saying they were following CDC guidelines. “Middle and high schools in virtual only instruction unless they can strictly implement all mitigation strategies and have few cases,” it added.

Weingarten’s union then put out a statement praising the guidance, and texted the document directly to Walensky with the message, “Thank you.”

Walensky responded glowingly, saying, “This gave me the biggest smile of my week. Thank YOU, Friend!”

Weingarten then gently chided the CDC director for not going further to push stricter guidelines that would keep schools closed, saying “:) we will fuss a little on ventilation but I am so grateful.”

Walensky said, “Me too. Totally fair!”

The text messages were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from the Fairfax Parents Association, a group of parents who fought to end extended school closures in a Democrat-controlled Virginia district.

The messages also show the president of the other major teachers union, the National Education Association’s Becky Pringle, texting directly with the head of the agency and appearing to invoke “diversity” as an argument to keep schools closed.

“Just got off the phone with your folks. I appreciate them making themselves available. But I’m very concerned about timing and our ability to get the information I talked with you re: evidence gathered in more diverse settings,” she wrote.

The influence by a major Democrat constituency on science guidance raises concerns because Americans were told to “trust the science.”

As it has become undeniable that school closures did more harm than good, teachers unions have since tried to rewrite history and claim they were in favor of reopening schools, even though a long trail of documents show that they consistently fought to “reopen schools safely,” with their focus being on ensuring that the definition of “safely” would mean a very high barrier to opening.

Weingarten testified defiantly to Congress in April and blasted Republicans while saying the Biden administration reached out to her union for its input and that the union suggested “ideas” to the science agency.

A Daily Wire analysis found that states that engaged in prolonged school closures didn’t have fewer children die with COVID than those that kept schools open.

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