‘Missing’ Hunter Biden Witness Comes Forward in Video Statement Accusing Bidens of Corruption, DOJ of Coverup
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Citizen Frank



American-Israeli energy expert Gal Luft accused the Department of Justice (DOJ) of maliciously targeting him to protect President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Luft said in a video statement obtained by the New York Post that he had provided evidence of Biden family corruption to the FBI and DOJ in March of 2019, weeks before Biden announced his run for the White House. Luft said he heard nothing from the DOJ until American authorities arrested him in Cyprus earlier this year on charges of illegal arms trading, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, and lying to the FBI.

Luft has been the “missing witness” of House Republicans’ investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings for months, according to the Post. House investigators have been unable to locate him to request his testimony to Congress.

Luft, who spends most of his time in Israel, offered to meet with the DOJ in 2019 to hand over evidence and information from Hunter Biden’s dealings with CEFC. Luft advised the now-defunct Chinese energy company for roughly four years and during the time that Hunter and the company were working together.

Luft said he met a six-person team from the DOJ and FBI in Brussels in March weeks before President Biden announced his bid for the White House. The team included two DOJ prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, Daniel Richenthal and Catherine Ghosh. Representing the FBI side, Special Agent Joshua Wilson of the Baltimore field office was one of the four in attendance. Wilson’s signature would later appear on the subpoena authorizing the FBI to confiscate Hunter’s laptop from a Delaware computer repair store.

In addition to Hunter’s dealings with CEFC, Luft said he also told the DOJ about a mole close to the FBI that was informing on its activity to the Biden family. The mole, Luft said he learned from CEFC executives, had a very distinctive physical appearance related to his nickname: “One-Eye.”

“After Brussels, I never heard back from the DOJ, but instead of showing appreciation for my whistle blowing, I became public enemy number one. Over the past four years that followed, me, my family, my friends, my associates were all harassed, intimidated, and, finally, I was prosecuted,” Luft said.

Luft has called on the DOJ to release his indictment and the evidence against him to the public. He said he is facing a 100-year prison sentence if convicted. Luft has denied the charges against him.

Luft said he was arrested in Cyprus in February and was awaiting possible extradition to the U.S. when he escaped and is now in hiding from U.S. authorities in an undisclosed location.

“While I was detained in Cyprus, I was portrayed in the international media as an arms dealer, even though I never traded a bullet in my entire life. In fact, nowhere in my indictment, the DOJ claimed or presented the evidence that I bought, sold, shipped, or financed any weapons,” Luft said.

The energy expert was also charged under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), he said, for ghost-writing an article published in a Chinese newspaper under former CIA head James Woolsey’s name. The indictment says Luft caused a $6,000 payment from CEFC to Woolsey over the article.

“Nowhere the indictment, the DOJ mentioned the well-known fact that Mr. Woolsey had been an advisor to my think tank since 2002, and that there was nothing in the article that represented a Chinese interest. To the contrary, the notion that I, Gal Luft, spoon-fed a CIA director with policy proposals on China, treating him like a useful idiot, is not only an insult to the intelligence community, it is an insult to the intelligence of every American,” Luft said.

Luft said the false statements charge was equally ridiculous, pointing out that it is based off a meeting that he set up with the DOJ in the interest of being a good citizen.

“Why won’t the FBI submit to Congress the minutes from the Brussels meeting? Let everybody see what happened in Brussels. Why not? Are you trying to protect anything? Are you trying to protect anybody?” Luft said.

Luft said he is speaking out now, after being silent about what he knew for years, because he does not believe he will receive a fair trial in New York.

“I do not have faith that I would receive a fair trial in a New York court,” he said.

“The very same prosecutor who is now after me, Daniel Reichenthal, told the judge at the time that mentioning the name Biden would quote, ‘add a political dimension to the case.’ And the judge agreed,” Luft said, “which means that if I’m ever brought before a U.S. Court, I would not be allowed to utter the word Brussels or Biden. The real context of my arrest, me being patient-zero of the Biden family investigation would be hidden from the jury.”

Read 9 Comments
  • Avatar Guest says:

    If any harm should come to this man, we know that it will be at the hands of the FBI, DOJ, or the Biden Administration. Gal Luft’s testimony needs to be heard; no more hiding for the Biden’s, or any other entity.

  • Avatar Proud Veteran says:

    Put this video on national television! Let everybody in America hear what he has to say!

  • Avatar Rick says:

    The United States is now officially a third world banana Republic, with no law and order.

  • Avatar Gary says:

    When in the hell is the American people going to say enough is enough and rise up and stop the corruption in DC.

  • Avatar L'Angelo Mysterioso says:

    I wonder how long this guy will be in good health? Where the hell is the House on this? Get this guy in front of Congress to testify before he meets with an “accident”! Hey, Little Mac….get off your ass & get this guy on the witness stand, NOW!!

    • Avatar Mary L. Reed says:

      He cannot appear in our Congress as he is in hiding from the Biden Mob. If he would reveal his location he would probably suddenly and mysteriously either disappear or die.

      • Avatar Mary says:

        I wonder if he can appear in Congress, then he would be put behind a dark screen and his voice will be disguised. If that does happened, I would be sitting in front of the TV. I would love to hear what he has to say along with everybody hearing the same thing that I am hearing. But you know the Dam o rats will not let this man to testify.

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    Putin Wants Ukraine Ceasefire on Current Frontlines: Reuters

    Citizen Frank



    Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to halt the war in Ukraine with a negotiated ceasefire that recognises the current battlefield lines, four Russian sources told Reuters, saying he is prepared to fight on if Kyiv and the West do not respond.

    Three of the sources, familiar with discussions in Putin’s entourage, said the veteran Russian leader had expressed frustration to a small group of advisers about what he views as Western-backed attempts to stymie negotiations and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s decision to rule out talks.

    “Putin can fight for as long as it takes, but Putin is also ready for a ceasefire – to freeze the war,” said another of the four, a senior Russian source who has worked with Putin and has knowledge of top level conversations in the Kremlin.

    He, like the others cited in this story, spoke on condition of anonymity given the matter’s sensitivity.

    For this account, Reuters spoke to a total of five people who work with or have worked with Putin at a senior level in the political and business worlds. The fifth source did not comment on freezing the war at the current frontlines.

    Asked about the Reuters report at a news conference in Belarus on Friday, Putin said peace talks should restart.

    “Let them resume,” he said, adding that negotiations should be based on “the realities on the ground” and on a plan agreed during a previous attempt to reach a deal in the first weeks of the war. “Not on the basis of what one side wants,” he said.

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on X that the Russian leader was trying to derail a Ukrainian-initiated peace summit in Switzerland next month by using his entourage to send out “phony signals” about his alleged readiness to halt the war.

    “Putin currently has no desire to end his aggression against Ukraine. Only the principled and united voice of the global majority can force him to choose peace over war,” said Kuleba.

    Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, said Putin wanted Western democracies to accept defeat.

    Not “Eternal War”

    The appointment last week of economist Andrei Belousov as Russia’s defence minister was seen by some Western military and political analysts as placing the Russian economy on a permanent war footing in order to win a protracted conflict.

    It followed sustained battlefield pressure and territorial advances by Russia in recent weeks.

    However, the sources said that Putin, re-elected in March for a new six-year term, would rather use Russia’s current momentum to put the war behind him. They did not directly comment on the new defence minister.

    Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in response to a request for comment, said the country did not want “eternal war.”

    Based on their knowledge of conversations in the upper ranks of the Kremlin, two of the sources said Putin was of the view that gains in the war so far were enough to sell a victory to the Russian people.

    Europe’s biggest ground conflict since World War Two has cost tens of thousands of lives on both sides and led to sweeping Western sanctions on Russia’s economy.

    Three sources said Putin understood any dramatic new advances would require another nationwide mobilisation, which he didn’t want, with one source, who knows the Russian president, saying his popularity dipped after the first mobilisation in September 2022.

    The national call up spooked part of the population in Russia, triggering hundreds of thousands of draft age men to leave the country. Polls showed Putin’s popularity falling by several points.

    Peskov said Russia had no need for mobilisation and was instead recruiting volunteer contractors to the armed forces.

    The prospect of a ceasefire, or even peace talks, currently seems remote.

    Zelenskiy has repeatedly said peace on Putin’s terms is a non-starter. He has vowed to retake lost territory, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. He signed a decree in 2022 that formally declared any talks with Putin “impossible.”

    One of the sources predicted no agreement could happen while Zelenskiy was in power, unless Russia bypassed him and struck a deal with Washington. However, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking in Kyiv last week, told reporters he did not believe Putin was interested in serious negotiations.

    Swiss Talks

    The Swiss peace summit in June is aimed at unifying international opinion on how to end the war. The talks were convened at the initiative of Zelenskiy who has said Putin should not attend. Switzerland has not invited Russia.

    Moscow has said the talks are not credible without it being there. Ukraine and Switzerland want Russian allies including China to attend.

    Speaking in China on May 17, Putin said Ukraine may use the Swiss talks to get a broader group of countries to back Zelenskiy’s demand for a total Russian withdrawal, which Putin said would be an imposed condition rather than a serious peace negotiation.

    The Swiss foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    In response to questions for this story, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said any initiative for peace must respect Ukraine’s “territorial integrity, within its internationally recognised borders” and described Russia as the sole obstacle to peace in Ukraine.

    “The Kremlin has yet to demonstrate any meaningful interest in ending its war, quite the opposite,” the spokesperson said.

    Kyiv says Putin, whose team repeatedly denied he was planning a war before invading Ukraine in 2022, cannot be trusted to honour any deal.

    Both Russia and Ukraine have also said they fear the other side would use any ceasefire to re-arm.

    Kyiv and its Western backers are banking on a $61 billion U.S. aid package and additional European military aid to reverse what Zelenskiy described to Reuters this week as “one of the most difficult moments” of the full scale war.

    As well as shortages of ammunition after U.S. delays in approving the package, Ukraine has admitted it is struggling to recruit enough troops and last month lowered the age for men who can be drafted to 25 from 27.


    Putin’s insistence on locking in any battlefield gains in a deal is non-negotiable, all of the sources suggested.

    Putin would, however, be ready to settle for what land he has now and freeze the conflict at the current front lines, four of the sources said.

    “Putin will say that we won, that NATO attacked us and we kept our sovereignty, that we have a land corridor to Crimea, which is true,” one of them said, giving their own analysis.
    Freezing the conflict along current lines would leave Russia in possession of substantial chunks of four Ukrainian regions he formally incorporated into Russia in September 2022, but without full control of any of them.

    Such an arrangement would fall short of the goals Moscow set for itself at the time, when it said the four of Ukraine’s regions – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – now belonged to it in their entirety.

    Peskov said that there could be no question of handing back the four regions which were now permanently part of Russia according to its own constitution.

    Another factor playing into the Kremlin chief’s view that the war should end is that the longer it drags on, the more battle-hardened veterans return to Russia, dissatisfied with post-war job and income prospects, potentially creating tensions in society, said one of the sources, who has worked with Putin.

    ‘Russia Will Push Further’

    In February, three Russian sources told Reuters the United States rejected a previous Putin suggestion of a ceasefire to freeze the war.

    In the absence of a ceasefire, Putin wants to take as much territory as possible to ratchet up pressure on Ukraine while seeking to exploit unexpected opportunities to acquire more, three of the sources said.

    Russian forces control around 18% of Ukraine and this month thrust into the northeastern region of Kharkiv.

    Putin is counting on Russia’s large population compared to Ukraine to sustain superior manpower even without a mobilisation, bolstered by unusually generous pay packets for those who sign up.

    “Russia will push further,” the source who has worked with Putin said.

    Putin will slowly conquer territories until Zelenskiy comes up with an offer to stop, the person said, saying the Russian leader had expressed the view to aides that the West would not provide enough weapons, sapping Ukraine’s morale.

    U.S. and European leaders have said they will stand by Ukraine until its security sovereignty is guaranteed. NATO countries and allies say they are trying to accelerate deliveries of weapons.

    “Russia could end the war at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine, instead of continuing to launch brutal attacks against Ukraine’s cities, ports, and people every day,” the State Department said in response to a question about weapons supplies.

    All five sources said Putin had told advisers he had no designs on NATO territory, reflecting his public comments on the matter. Two of the sources cited Russian concerns about the growing danger of escalation with the West, including nuclear escalation, over the Ukraine standoff.

    The State Department said the United States had not adjusted its nuclear posture, nor seen any sign that Russia was preparing to use a nuclear weapon.
    “We continue to monitor the strategic environment and remain ready,” the spokesperson said.

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    WATCH: Confused Biden Calls Kamala Harris ‘President’ During Press Conference

    Citizen Frank



    President Biden lambasted the White House press corps Thursday — complaining that reporters “never keep the deal” when a journalist asked a second question at a joint press conference with Kenyan President William Ruto.

    The 81-year-old Biden repeatedly evinced confusion and irritation at the 32-minute event and mistakenly referred to his vice president as “President Kamala Harris” — making the error for at least the eighth time — before trying to bar the reporter’s second query.

    “Thank you, Mr. President. Two questions, if I may,” began the McClatchy newspaper chain’s chief Washington correspondent Michael Wilner, one of two US journalists selected to ask questions — along with two Kenyan reporters — of both Biden and Ruto at the so-called “2:2” press conference.

    “No, one!” Biden replied — in what his chuckling audience initially assumed was a joke.

    Wilner asked first about US-supported peacekeeping efforts in Haiti, to which Kenya is contributing troops — a widely anticipated topic — before attempting to ask his second question about a pending arrest warrant application against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, filed Monday by International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Karim Khan.

    “And on Israel,” Wilner began before Biden cut him off.

    “One question. I’ll answer your question,” the president said, before reading a scripted reply on Haiti.

    The White House press office generally has some idea of what a journalist will ask at such events — either due to their recent history of questions at briefings and gaggles or because press officers ask, sometimes slyly, about topics a reporter under consideration is interested in that day.

    When Wilner — who frequently covers Haiti-related news due to interest among readers of the Miami Herald, one of McClatchy’s biggest titles — was given time to ask his question of Ruto, he politely defied Biden’s restriction and went ahead and asked his second question of the US president.

    “I do very briefly have a question,” Wilner calmly proceeded, “on whether the United States has any evidence at all that would substantiate the ICC prosecutor’s specific allegations against Israeli leaders that they are using starvation as a tactic of war in Gaza — or exculpatory evidence, for that matter.”

    Wilner asked Biden whether “you would commit to releasing that information before any potential issuance of ICC arrest warrants?”

    “Look, we made my position known on ICC. You guys never keep the deal — but that’s OK,” Biden said in a displeased tone.

    “You know, we’ve made our position clear on the ICC,” he added.

    “We don’t think — we don’t recognize the jurisdiction, ICC, the way it’s been exercised. And it’s that simple. We don’t think there’s an equivalence between what Israel did and what Hamas did.”

    Biden’s performance at the press conference drew immediate attention for other reasons, including his apparent confusion at multiple points, such as when he made reference in his opening remarks to “our nation’s first black vice president, President Kamala Harris.”

    In response to the first Kenyan reporter’s question, regarding the US decision not to send its own troops to Haiti, Biden appeared to claim that American troops were serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa.

    “We’re kind of occupied around the world, but we’re also engaged in Congo, in the neighborhood, and you know, we’ll continue to help mitigate human suffering there,” Biden said — though no such deployment is publicly known.

    Moments later, Biden lost his train of thought.

    “What was my question?” Biden asked the second American reporter, the Grio’s April Ryan, who had queried him about efforts to crush a powerful Haitian gang.

    Before the fourth reporter at the “2:2” presser was selected, America’s oldest-ever president asked Ruto, “That it?”

    Biden’s latest stumbles came as an overwhelming majority of voters say he’s too old to serve another four-year term ahead of his Nov. 5 rematch against former President Donald Trump, 77. Biden would be 86 if he completes a full second term in January 2029.

    A New York Times/Siena College poll released in March found 73% of registered voters believe Biden is “too old to be an effective president” — while just 42% said the same of Trump.

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    Republican Rep’s Daughter and Son-in-Law Killed in Haiti Gang Attack

    Citizen Frank



    Missouri state Rep. Ben Baker’s daughter and son-in-law were among three people shot and killed in a gang attack while serving as missionaries in Haiti, the politician said Friday.

    “My heart is broken in a thousand pieces. I’ve never felt this kind of pain,” the Republican lawmaker wrote on Facebook.

    Baker’s 21-year-old daughter, Natalie, and her husband, Davy Lloyd, 23, died alongside their mission group’s director when they were “attacked by gangs” on Thursday evening, Baker said.

    “They went to Heaven together. Please pray for my family we desperately need strength. And please pray for the Lloyd family as well. I have no other words for now,” the grieving father added.

    Natalie and Davy served in Port au Prince with Missions in Haiti Inc., which was founded by Davy’s parents, David and Alicia Lloyd, in 2000.

    They were leaving a youth church meeting when they “were ambushed by a gang of three trucks full of guys,” the mission said on Facebook.

    Davy Lloyd was tied and beaten up before the gang allegedly looted the site and fled, only for another group to show up after them, the statement read.

    “This gang went into full attack mode,” the missionary’s statement said.

    The couple and the mission’s Haitian director, Jude Montis, 20, took shelter in a house while the gang shot out all the windows, the post added.

    All three were shot and killed around 9 p.m. Thursday, a follow-up statement said.

    The news of Natalie and Davy Lloyd’s deaths was quickly reshared by former President Donald Trump, who lamented the young couple’s death in a fiery Truth Social post.

    “God bless Davy and Natalie. Such a tragedy. Haiti is totally out of control. Find the killers NOW!!!” the presumptive Republican presidential candidate wrote.

    Natalie and Davy were also mourned by conservative Christian singer Sean Feucht, who told his fans that the pair “were martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ.”

    Natalie and Davy were married in June 2022, and moved to Haiti three months later, according to Natalie’s Instagram account.

    They documented their work in the country on their joint Instagram, @adventuresinhaiti_, as well as on Natalie’s personal page.

    The last post on the joint account was a carousel of images to mark Haitian Flag Day on Saturday, May 18.

    “Celebrated Haitian Flag Day with pizza today!” the caption read.

    On April 30, Natalie also shared a series of pictures showing groups of smiling kids eating, doing crafts, and listening to Davy preach in a chapel.

    In March, the US State Department issued a travel advisory urging Americans not to travel to Haiti due to ongoing political unrest and an uptick in serious gang violence.

    In the weeks before Natalie and Davy were killed, Missions in Haiti Inc. documented the island nation’s recent struggles in a series of Facebook posts.

    “Things have been calmer over the past 2 weeks,” the last update on May 19 read. “Gang activity still happening with looting and destruction, but much less than before.”

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    Trump Sends Cease and Desist Demand to Block Release of ‘The Apprentice’

    Citizen Frank



    Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have reportedly sent a cease and desist letter to the filmmakers of The Apprentice in an effort to block the movie’s release, warning the producers not to pursue a domestic distribution deal.

    The existence of the letter was first confirmed by two unnamed sources to Variety, while excerpts were obtained by Deadline.

    “The Movie presents itself as a factual biography of Mr. Trump, yet nothing could be further from the truth,” the May 22 letter to director Ali Abbasi and screenwriter Gabriel Sherman reportedly states.

    The letter continues:

    “It is a concoction of lies that repeatedly defames President Trump and constitutes direct foreign interference in America’s elections. If you do not immediately cease and desist all distribution and marketing of this libelous farce, we will be forced to pursue all appropriate legal remedies.”

    “You have until May 27, 2024, to respond with your agreement to immediately comply with this demand. President Trump reserves all rights.”

    The Apprentice, which had its world premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival this week, was independently financed and produced outside the Hollywood studio system — mostly through overseas companies as well as some domestic investors.

    Since its Cannes debut, the movie has ignited a firestorm of debate over its portrayal of a young Trump (played by actor Sebastian Stan) and his rise to power beginning in the 70s.

    In one scene, Trump is seen raping his first wife, Ivana — an alleged incident that Ivana Trump herself has denied ever happening. Other scenes depict Trump undergoing plastic surgery and liposuction.

    The Apprentice has yet to secure a domestic distribution deal. Any potential buyer — whether it be a major streamer or a speciality theatrical label — would have to weigh the possible costs of a protracted legal fight with Trump.

    Iranian-born director Ali Abbasi has stated he hopes his movie will open in the U.S. before the November presidential election — specifically, during the upcoming presidential debates.

    The movie’s producers responded to the cease and desist letter in a statement sent to Variety. “The film is a fair and balanced portrait of the former president,” they said. “We want everyone to see it and then decide.”

    As Breitbart News reported, the Trump campaign threatened to sue the makers of The Apprentice following its Cannes premiere.

    “We will be filing a lawsuit to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers,” the Trump campaign’s chief spokesperson Steven Cheung said, “This garbage is pure fiction which sensationalizes lies that have been long debunked.”

    Cheung also called the movie “malicious defamation.”

    The Apprentice co-stars Succession star Jeremy Strong as Roy Cohn, Borat 2 actress Maria Bakalova as Ivana Trump, and Martin Donovan as patriarch Fred Trump.

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    Judge Denies Alec Baldwin Request to Drop Rust Manslaughter Case

    Citizen Frank



    Alec Baldwin is set to stand trial on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the 2021 killing of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins after a New Mexico judge denied the actor’s bid to dismiss the case Friday.

    Baldwin, who has pleaded not guilty, is set to go to trial in July.

    “We look forward to our day in court,” Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro, attorneys for Alec Baldwin, said in a statement Friday.

    Judge Mary Marlowe’s decision comes after she heard oral arguments from Baldwin lawyers and prosecutors in a Santa Fe court on May 17.

    During that hearing, special prosecutor Kari T. Morrissey said, referring to Baldwin, that “the actor has responsibility for the firearms once it is in their hands.”

    But Baldwin’s attorneys argued that the case should be tossed because Morrissey failed to present critical evidence during a grand jury proceeding in January that resulted in Baldwin’s indictment on the manslaughter charge.

    The charge of involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum prison sentence of 18 months upon conviction.

    Hutchins was killed Oct. 21, 2021, as Baldwin rehearsed a scene on the “Rust” set.

    Baldwin has said that Hutchins told him to aim the gun at her while he practiced a cross-draw maneuver. As he made that move, he has said, the gun discharged a live round of ammunition, fatally striking Hutchins and injuring the film’s director, Joel Souza.

    Baldwin has maintained in interviews that he did not pull the trigger and that the gun malfunctioned.

    Prosecutors in January 2023 initially charged Baldwin and the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed with involuntary manslaughter.

    Two months after that, a special prosecutor assigned to the case, Andrea Reeb, resigned.

    A month later, special prosecutors who replaced Reeb cited “new facts in the case” when they announced that they would temporarily dismiss the manslaughter charge against Baldwin.

    Baldwin afterward flew from New York to Montana, where he filmed the remaining scenes of the film as part of a settlement of a wrongful death claim from Hutchins’ family.

    In January, the grand jury indicted Baldwin on the same manslaughter charge. He pleaded not guilty.

    Gutierrez-Reed was convicted in March of involuntary manslaughter, but jurors found her not guilty of tampering with evidence.

    She is serving an 18-month sentence at the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility.

    Baldwin and Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, in 2022 agreed to settle on undisclosed terms the lawsuit her family filed against the actor and announced that Matthew Hutchins would serve as an executive producer on the film.

    In a statement he issued at the time, Matthew Hutchins said, “I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin). All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident.”

    “I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work,” Hutchins said.

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    Hate Crime Charges Dropped for Christian Vet Who Beheaded Satan Statue at Iowa Capitol

    Citizen Frank



    A Mississippi man accused of destroying a statue of a pagan idol at Iowa’s state Capitol pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge in return for prosecutors dropping a felony hate crime count.

    Michael Cassidy, a former congressional and legislative candidate, was set for trial June 3, but his attorney filed a guilty plea on his behalf to an aggravated misdemeanor count of third-degree criminal mischief, the Des Moines Register reported.

    Cassidy admitted in writing that he “partially dismantled a display in the Iowa State Capitol Building, without a right/license to do so,” and that the damage was greater than $750.

    The statue of the horned deity Baphomet was brought to the Capitol by the Satanic Temple of Iowa under state rules allowing religious displays in the building during the holidays.

    The move drew strong criticism from state and national leaders, including Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Florida Gov. and then-presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, both Republicans.

    On Dec. 14, the figure depicting the horned deity Baphomet was “destroyed beyond repair,” according to the group.

    “I saw this blasphemous statue and was outraged,” Cassidy told the conservative website The Sentinel in December. “My conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted.”

    Cassidy raised more than $134,000 for his defense via the Christian fundraising site GiveSendGo, where supporters said he acted with “bravery and conviction. He was not willing to see God reviled, especially in a building where lawmakers are supposed to honor Jesus Christ as King and look to his law for wisdom as they legislate with justice and righteousness.”

    Founded in 2013, the Salem, Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple says it doesn’t believe in Satan but describes itself as a “non-theistic religious organization” that advocates for secularism. It is separate from the Church of Satan, which was founded in the 1960s.

    The plea agreement calls for Cassidy to receive a deferred judgment with two years probation, an $855 civil penalty, and to pay restitution in an amount to be determined.

    He would also be required to participate in a victim-offender dialogue with representatives of the Satanic Temple if requested. The sentencing recommendation is not binding on the court, however.

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    Rapper Sean Kingston and His Mother Arrested on Fraud and Theft Charges

    Citizen Frank



    Rapper and singer Sean Kingston and his mother committed more than a million dollars in fraud in recent months, stealing money, jewelry, a Cadillac Escalade and furniture, documents released Friday allege.

    Kingston, 34, and his 61-year-old mother, Janice Turner, have been charged with conducting an organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, identity theft and related crimes, according to arrest warrants released by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

    The two were arrested Thursday after a SWAT team raided Kingston’s rented mansion in suburban Fort Lauderdale. Turner was arrested in the raid, while Kingston was arrested at Fort Irwin, an Army training base in California’s Mojave Desert where he was performing.

    Kingston, who had a No. 1 hit with “Beautiful Girls” in 2007 and performed with Justin Bieber on the song “Eenie Meenie,” is being held at a California jail awaiting his return to Florida.

    Robert Rosenblatt, the attorney for the Jamaican-American performer and his mother, said on Friday that Kingston would return voluntarily if allowed, “which would save the state the expense of extradition and the costs of travel for the detectives and Sean.”

    His mother was being held Friday at the Broward County jail on $160,000 bond.

    “We look forward to addressing these (charges) in court and are confident of a successful resolution for Shawn and his mother,” Rosenblatt said.

    Specific details of Kingston’s and Turner’s alleged crimes are not included in the warrants, but the documents say that from October to March they stole almost $500,000 in jewelry, more than $200,000 from Bank of America, $160,000 from the Escalade dealer, more than $100,000 from First Republic Bank, $86,000 from the maker of customized beds and other smaller amounts.

    Kingston, whose legal name is Kisean Anderson, was already on two years’ probation for trafficking stolen property. Further information on that conviction could not be found.

    According to federal court records, his mother pleaded guilty in 2006 to bank fraud for stealing over $160,000 and served nearly 1.5 years in prison.

    The two have also been sued.

    In 2015, a seller of customized watches successfully sued Kingston and his mother in a New York City federal court for $356,000 after they failed to pay.

    In 2018, a New York jeweler successfully sued the two for $301,000 after they scammed the store out of nine items.

    More recently, a Florida entertainment systems company sued Kingston in February, saying he failed to pay $120,000 of a $150,000 bill for a 232-inch (5.8 meter) television it installed in his home. The TV is approximately 17 feet by 9.5 feet (5 meters by 3 meters) and covers a wall.

    He allegedly told the owners that if they gave him a low down payment and credit, he and Bieber would make commercials for them. That never happened, and Kingston never paid, the lawsuit says.

    The company’s attorney says Bieber had no involvement — Kingston was falsely using his name.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Italian Teen Carlo Acutis to Become First Millennial Catholic Saint — 2 Miracles Attributed to Him

    Citizen Frank



    An Italian teenager who was informally known as “God’s Influencer” for using his computer skills to spread the Catholic faith is set to become the first saint of the millennial generation, the Vatican announced Thursday.

    Carlo Acutis died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15. Born in London, he grew up in Milan where he managed the website for his parish and later a Vatican-based academy.

    He also used his computer skills to create an online database of Eucharistic miracles around the world.

    The teenager was beatified — the first step toward sainthood — in 2020 after one miracle was attributed to him. In that miracle, Acutis is credited with healing a Brazilian child of a congenital disease affecting his pancreas.

    On Thursday, Pope Francis attributed a second miracle to Acutis during a meeting with the head of the Vatican’s saint-making department, Cardinal Marcello Semararo.

    The second miracle involved the healing of a university student in Florence who had a brain bleed after suffering head trauma, CBS News partner BBC News reported.

    The attribution of a second miracle means Acutis can be elevated to sainthood, but the Vatican did not say when this would happen.

    Acutis died in Monza, Italy. His body was moved to Assisi a year after his death and is on full display alongside other relics linked to him.

    He was also named a patron of last year’s World Youth Day in Lisbon because of his “important role in evangelization through the internet,” organizers of the event said at the time, Reuters reported.

    The pope also advanced sainthood causes for six men and a woman.

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    Blackstone’s CEO Steve Schwarzman Backs Trump

    Citizen Frank



    Stephen A. Schwarzman — chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone, the private equity and real estate giant — said he will support Donald Trump as a “vote for change,” Axios reported.

    Schwarzman said Friday that he plans to donate to Trump and various Republican Senate candidates.

    The endorsement gives Trump access to a potent network of Republican donors Schwarzman has cultivated. Trump also could get a new look from some business leaders who have been reluctant to back him.

    Schwarzman, a billionaire and lifelong moderate Republican, was one of Trump’s most visible business supporters when he was in the White House.

    But ahead of this year’s GOP primaries, Schwarzman called for “a new generation of leaders.” Schwarzman wound up not backing a primary candidate.

    Axios is told Schwarzman’s concern about rising antisemitism sped his decision to re-embrace Trump, along with concerns about President Biden’s policies.

    “The dramatic rise of antisemitism has led me to focus on the consequences of upcoming elections with greater urgency,” he says in a statement to Axios.

    “I share the concern of most Americans that our economic, immigration and foreign policies are taking the country in the wrong direction. For these reasons, I am planning to vote for change and support Donald Trump for President. In addition, I will be supporting Republican Senate candidates and other Republicans up and down the ticket.”

    In November 2020, Schwarzman called on Trump to move on from his defeat as supporters scrambled to try to overturn the election.

    After Republicans’ disastrous midterm performance, Axios reported that Schwarzman was searching for a next-generation candidate in 2024.

    “America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” Schwarzman said in November 2022. “It is time for the Republican Party to turn to a new generation of leaders and I intend to support one of them in the presidential primaries.”

    As some business leaders begin returning to Trump’s camp, Blackstone remains highly bipartisan.

    Jon Gray — Blackstone’s president and COO, and heir apparent to Schwarzman — backs Biden and is a big Democratic donor.

    Tom Nides, formerly Biden’s ambassador to Israel, joined Blackstone in January as vice chairman for strategy and client relations.

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    Final Four: Trump Drops 4 Names When Asked About VP Pick

    Citizen Frank



    In a campaign stop in the Bronx, New York, former President Donald Trump named some of his possible vice presidential picks, a sign the list may be shortening.

    In an interview with News 12 New York, Trump singled out Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as top options on a list that has continued to grow.

    “We have so many,” Trump said when asked about picks for vice president. “You could take people like Ben Carson, people like Marco Rubio, or J.D. Vance. I mean, there’s so many. Elise is doing a fantastic job, but I could go on for quite a long time. We have many people who would do a really fantastic job.”

    When asked about the timeline, Trump said he would make a decision “sometime during the convention,” which is when presidential nominees typically announce their vice president. Trump has floated all of these names as picks for various reasons.

    Sen. Marco Rubio

    There are constitutional problems with Trump picking Rubio as his running mate. The 12th Amendment states the president and vice president on the same ticket cannot be from the same state, or else that state cannot vote for them should they win the state.

    In Florida, that could prove worrisome as the 2024 election between Trump and President Joe Biden is expected to be close.

    When asked about being Trump’s vice president, Rubio said he has discussed it and is aware of reports about the constitutionality of two Floridians on the same ticket.

    “Donald Trump’s going to win no matter who he picks. He’s going to get elected,” Rubio said. “I think the criteria he said publicly is the right one, which is someone who’s ready to be president.”

    Dr. Ben Carson

    Picking Carson would help Trump continue to improve his standing with black voters, something polls suggest he has already been successful at.

    In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Carson said he believed black voters would flock to Trump, a voting bloc the former president has been courting.

    “I think Trump is making major inroads with all demographic groups in our country, including black voters,” Carson said. “They recognize that they were better off with his administration than they are now.”

    He expressed full confidence that Trump would win the election, too. A surgeon-turned-politician, Carson ran for president in 2016.

    Sen. J.D. Vance

    Vance has been proving his loyalty to Trump with a recent visit to the courthouse of Trump’s New York criminal hush money trial. The freshman senator has taken up the role of attack dog, lobbing verbal bombs at Judge Juan Merchan and the entire trial process that Trump’s gag order has prevented him from keeping up himself.

    “Four weeks into New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s criminal trial against Trump, it’s clear this charade is more about partisan politics than law enforcement,” Vance said in a statement after the visit.

    The Hillbilly Elegy author was once critical of the former president and said he did not vote for him in the 2016 election.

    “I’m a Never Trump guy,” Vance said in an interview with Charlie Rose in 2016. “I never liked him.”

    Since then, Vance, along with the rest of the Republican Party, has softened his opposition to the former president.

    Rep. Elise Stefanik

    Stefanik has risen through the ranks of the House, and she gained widespread attention for grilling university leaders during a blockbuster hearing addressing antisemitism on college campuses.

    She is a self-described “ultra MAGA” and “proud of it,” and some believe the ticket with Trump and Stefanik would be “right” for their ties to New York.

    “The former president is certainly associated with New York, and especially New York City,” New York-based Democratic strategist Jack O’Donnell said. “His career, his fame, his show, all of these things are kind of associated with New York. So it seems only right that he would pick a New Yorker like Elise Stefanik to be on the ticket now that he’s no longer a resident of the state.”

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    Media Matters Lays Off Dozen Staffers After Defamation Suit by Elon Musk, Federal Probes

    Citizen Frank



    Media Matters followed suit with several liberal outlets by laying off at least a dozen staffers following a federal probe and lawsuit by “X” chief executive officer Elon Musk.

    Staffers, some of whom have been with Media Matters for years, took to social media announcing their sudden departure from the outlet.

    The layoffs followed federal probes filed by Republican Attorneys General Ken Paxton of Texas and Andrew Bailey of Missouri into the outlet for possible fraudulent activity by allegedly manipulating data on “X,” formerly known as Twitter.

    Musk filed a defamation lawsuit against Media Matters in federal court in November, as the site has accused the outlet of “knowingly” manufacturing images showing advertisements from major corporations alongside posts made by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

    “Bad News: I’ve been laid off from @mmfa, along with a dozen colleagues. There’s a reason far-right billionaires attack Media Matters with armies of lawyers: They know how effective our work is, and it terrifies them (him),” staffer Kat Abughazaleh said, referring to Musk.

    “After nearly four years of working at media matters, I got laid off,” another staffer named Beatrice said. “So if anyone is looking for researchers with video experience, drop a line.”

    “Got laid off, lmk who wants research done,” researcher Brendan Karet said. “On the plus side, no more listening to the dumbest dogshit on earth everyday.”

    “Journalism milestone achieved (got laid off),” now-former Media Matters writer Bobby Lewis wrote.

    I got laid off from Media Matters @mmfa today, proud of the 5 years of intense work I put into fighting right-wing hatred. I’m an incredible manager with superb research skills. Please hire me!” Alex Peterson, associate research director, said.

    “Layoffs at Media Matters today. Lots of smart people available for jobs now,” Jared Holt, a senior researcher at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, said.

    Abu praised her now-former colleagues in a thread, urging media employers to hire them.

    “Bea is an incredibly skilled media analyst. She’s also one of the funniest coworkers I’ve ever had. Hire her,” she wrote.

    “Brendan is one of the most effective researchers in the world of some of the shittiest people on the planet. He is able to dig into his research with a very rare work ethic and resilience that any place would be lucky to have,” she said.

    Media Matters’ staffing purge is the latest in the liberal media bloodbath that has become prominent in recent years. NowThis laid off half of its editorial team in February as part of a “broader initiative to realign our resources and structure to ensure a long-term sustainable business in the evolving media landscape.” The Intercept laid off 15 staffers including its Editor-in-Chief Roger Hodge, on the same day.

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    Morgan Spurlock, ‘Super Size Me’ Filmmaker, Dies at 53

    Citizen Frank



    Morgan Spurlock, the documentary filmmaker best known for “Super Size Me,” has died. He was 53.

    He died Thursday night from complications of cancer, The Post can confirm.

    “It was a sad day, as we said goodbye to my brother Morgan,” his brother Craig Spurlock told Variety. “Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas and generosity. Today the world has lost a true creative genius and a special man. I am so proud to have worked together with him.”

    Born in 1970 in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Spurlock graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1993.

    He got his start in the entertainment industry as a playwright, winning awards for his 1999 play “The Phoenix” at the New York Fringe Festival.

    Before rising to fame, he also created and hosted the gonzo web series “Bet You Will,” which paid contestants to do outrageous tasks for money, such as eating a full jar of mayonnaise. The show aired on both MTV and the now-defunct Spike.

    His breakout project was his 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” which chronicled the changes to his health when he spent 30 days consuming only McDonald’s food.

    “It’s a great way to take the edge off a very preachy subject,” he told the Guardian in 2004.

    Spurlock was nominated for an Oscar that year, for Best Documentary Feature, and he won the award for best director at the Sundance Film Festival.

    Following that experience, Spurlock told Civil Eats in 2010, “There are great films that are out there that deal with food, [and] I think if there’s a way I can help champion some of those other filmmakers, I’d rather do that than go into making another food movie.”

    “For me, movies have to be something that if you don’t [make them], then you are going to go crazy. If you don’t tell this story, if you don’t put it on a page, if you don’t put it on film, then it is literally going to affect your brain from this moment forward,” he went on. “There may be something that comes along that kind of strikes me in that way, and if it does, I’ll have to tell it.”

    His follow-up film was 2008’s “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?” in which Spurlock searched for the terrorist and visited countries impacted by his actions.

    Spurlock’s other notable works include 2010’s “Freakonomics” film, based on the book of the same name.

    On TV, he had the CNN series “Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man,” which aired from 2013 to 2016, and the FX series “30 Days,” which aired from 2005 to 2008 and followed people immersing themselves in unfamiliar lifestyles for a month. During that show, Spurlock himself tried to survive on minimum wage for 30 days.

    He followed up with a 2017 sequel, “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!,” which covered the way that fast food has attempted to rebrand itself as healthier.

    In 2017, amid the MeToo movement, Spurlock posted an essay on social media that read, “As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?’” He then detailed cheating on his past partners and instances of sexual misconduct.

    Speaking to Uproxx in 2019, he said about his motivations, “I think that we live in a time where if you look at everything that’s happened around that movement, the mission for anybody is these guys come forward. And I think it was really important for me to basically say, ‘I’m a person who’s made mistakes in my past. I’m somebody who has made it a point to tell the truth in my work. And I recognize that I can do better.’ And I think that we live in a world right now where we encourage people to lie consistently and aggressively, simply for self-preservation. And I think that that is a very wrong message to be sending.”

    Spurlock told Deadline in 2019, “Part of the reason I wrote that essay in the first place, was to be on the right side of it. I’m hopeful that in time, with the work that I do and the changes that I continue to go through, that I can be there on the right side.”

    He also said he went to rehab for alcoholism.

    His career imploded after that. “I’m grateful for what we were able to do, and I’m grateful for what I’ve learned. Does it hurt sometimes? Of course, it does, but all I can do is continue to be as good a supporter of other people, of women, of men, of young filmmakers, of the people that I was really trying to champion for a long time,” he told the outlet.

    “I love what I do. I’m hopeful that I can go from this and start doing what I love to do, that’s the most important thing for me. All I’ve ever wanted to do was be a storyteller. I hope I get to do it again.”

    Spurlock was married to Alexandra Jamieson from 2006 to 2011, with whom he has son Laken, and he married Sara Bernstein in 2016, with whom he had son Kallen.

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    Trump: Nikki Haley Will Absolutely Be on Our Team in Some Form

    Citizen Frank



    Former President Donald Trump told News 12 New Jersey’s Tara Rosenblum that neoconservative primary opponent Nikki Haley will “absolutely” be “on our team in some form,” following his successful Bronx rally in New York on Thursday.

    A self-appointed bête noire of the MAGA movement, Haley and her donors have been attempting to position her for Vice President or another senior position in Trump’s cabinet should he win in November 2024.

    “Well, I think she’s gonna be on our team because we have a lot of the same ideas, same thoughts,” Trump said.

    “I appreciated what she said. You know, we had a nasty campaign. It was pretty nasty. But she’s a very capable person, and I’m sure she’s going to be on our team in some form.

    Absolutely.”Haley’s partners, meanwhile, have been participating in phone calls with the Joe Biden for President campaign. Her family members have even been publicly claiming they will launch a bid against Trump at the Republican Party Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in July.


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    UN’s Top Court Orders Israel to Immediately Halt Rafah Offensive

    Citizen Frank



    The top United Nations court ordered Israel on Friday to immediately halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, but stopped short of ordering a cease-fire for the enclave. Although Israel is unlikely to comply with the order, it will ratchet up the pressure on the increasingly isolated country.

    Criticism of Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza has been growing, particularly since it turned its focus to Rafah. This week alone, three European countries announced they would recognize a Palestinian state, and the chief prosecutor for another international court requested arrest warrants for Israeli leaders, along with Hamas officials.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also under some pressure at home to end the war, which was triggered when Hamas-led militants stormed into Israel, killing 1,200 people, most civilians, and taking some 250 hostage. Thousands of Israelis have joined weekly demonstrations calling on the government to reach a deal to bring the hostages home, fearing time is running out.

    Although the ruling by the International Court of Justice is a blow to Israel’s international standing, the court doesn’t have a police force to enforce its orders. In another case on its docket, Russia has ignored the court’s 2022 order to halt its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

    Israel does not accept the court’s jurisdiction, but South Africa was able to bring its case because both countries are signatories to the Genocide Convention that includes a clause allowing disputes about the convention to be settled by the ICJ.

    The sharply focused decision sent a clear, three-pronged message to Israel, ordering a halt to the Rafah offensive, access to Gaza for war crimes investigators, and a big and immediate increase of humanitarian aid to the region, parts of which are enduring famine.

    “This legally binding and very specific ruling leaves Israel with very little wiggle room,” said Reed Brody, a veteran human rights lawyer and prosecutor.

    Benny Gantz, a popular centrist member of the war cabinet, appeared to indicate that Israel would not change its course regarding Rafah.

    “The State of Israel is committed to continue fighting to return its hostages and promise the security of its citizens — wherever and whenever necessary — including in Rafah,” he said.

    “We will continue operating in accordance with international law wherever we might operate, while safeguarding to the best extent possible the civilian population. Not because of the ICJ, but because of who we are and the values we stand for.”

    Immediately after the ruling, Netanyahu announced that he would hold a special ministerial meeting to decide how to respond.

    Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, said the court’s order underscored the perilous situation of Palestinians in Gaza, but warned that it could be ignored if the international community doesn’t use whatever leverage it can on Israel.

    “The ICJ’s decision opens up the possibility for relief, but only if governments use their leverage, including through arms embargoes and targeted sanctions, to press Israel to urgently enforce the court’s measures,” Jarrah said.

    The court’s president, Nawaf Salam, read out the ruling as a small group of pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated outside.

    Fears the court expressed earlier this year about an operation in Rafah have “materialized,” the ruling said, and Israel must “immediately halt its military offensive” in the city and anything else that might result in conditions that could cause the “physical destruction in whole or in part” of Palestinians there.

    Rafah is in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip, on the border with Egypt, and over 1 million people sought refuge there in recent months after fleeing fighting elsewhere, with many of them living in teeming tent camps. Israel has been vowing for months to invade Rafah, saying it was Hamas’ last major stronghold, even as several allies warned that an all-out assault would spell disaster.

    Israel started issuing evacuation orders about two weeks ago as it began operations on the edge of the city. Since then, the army says an estimated 1 million people have left as forces press deeper inside.

    Rafah is also home to a critical crossing for aid, and the U.N. says the flow of aid reaching it has plunged since the incursion began, though commercial trucking has continued to enter Gaza.

    The court ordered Israel to keep the Rafah crossing open, saying “the humanitarian situation is now to be characterized as disastrous.”

    But it did not call for a full cease-fire throughout Gaza, as South Africa, which has historic ties to the Palestinian people and brought the case, requested last week.

    South Africa’s foreign minister, Naledi Pandor, said the country’s allegation that a genocide is underway is getting “stronger and stronger by the day.”

    “We are really pleased that the court has given very serious consideration to the matters that we put before it and has affirmed that an urgent decision is needed from the court to pause this onslaught against innocent Palestinian people,” she told South African state broadcaster SABC, adding that it’s now up to the U.N. Security Council to determine how to protect the Palestinians.

    The cease-fire request is part of a case accusing Israel of committing genocide during its Gaza campaign. Israel vehemently denies the allegations. The case will take years to resolve, but South Africa wants interim orders to protect Palestinians while the legal wrangling continues.

    The court ruled Friday that Israel must ensure access for any fact-finding or investigative mission sent by the U.N. to investigate the genocide allegations.

    At public hearings last week at the International Court of Justice, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Vusimuzi Madonsela, urged the panel of 15 international judges to order Israel to “totally and unconditionally withdraw” from the Gaza Strip.

    The court has already found that Israel’s military operations pose a “real and imminent risk” to the Palestinian people.

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝


    Bodies of 3 More Hostages Recovered from Gaza — Including Partner of Shani Louk

    Citizen Frank



    Israel announced Friday it recovered the bodies of three Israeli hostages taken by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attacks — including the boyfriend of fellow hostage Shani Louk, who became a symbol of the terror group’s aggression after her dead body was paraded around Gaza.

    Hanan Yablonka, Michel Nisenbaum and Oryon Hernandez Radoux, the 30-year-old boyfriend of Louk, were located in Gaza in an operation overnight Friday, nearly eight months after they were killed in Hamas’ unprovoked attack on southern Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said.

    Hernandez Radoux, a French-Mexican citizen, and Louk were both at the music festival when Hamas attacked. Yablonka, a 42-year-old father of two who loved music, was also at the event, his grieving family told the Associated Press.

    Nisenbaum, 59, was a Brazilian-Israeli from the southern city of Sderot who was captured when he went to rescue his 4-year-old granddaughter.

    The three were killed on the day of the attack at the Mefalsim intersection and their bodies were taken to Gaza.

    Their recovery comes less than a week after the army said it found the bodies of three other Israeli hostages killed on Oct. 7, including Louk.

    Some 1,200 people, mainly civilians, were killed by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack while around 250 others were kidnapped.

    About half of the hostages have since been freed, most in swaps for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a weeklong cease-fire in November.

    Israel says about 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of about 30 more.

    The latest recovery comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces mounting pressure to resign — and as the US threatens to scale back its support of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

    On Friday, the Israeli leader said the country had a duty to do everything to get those abducted, including those who have been killed, back home.

    Israel’s offensive since the start of the war has killed over 35,000 Palestinians and led to a humanitarian crisis and near-famine, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

    While Israel has weakened Hamas’ capabilities, terrorists have been regrouping in some of the hardest-hit areas. According to Israel, its troops are operating in Rafah in the south, in central Gaza and in Jabaliya in the north.

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    WATCH: Video Released That Shows What Led to Scottie Scheffler Arrest

    Citizen Frank



    The Kentucky police detective who arrested the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer Scottie Scheffler last week violated his department’s policies by failing to turn on his bodycam during the incident, officials said this week.

    Louisville Police Department Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said at a press conference that any disciplinary action against Detective Bryan Gillis would be “in line with our disciplinary protocol and practices.”

    “Detective Gillis should have turned on his body-worn camera but did not,” the chief told reporters on Thursday. “His failure to do so is a violation of LMPD police on uniforms and equipment.”

    Dashcam footage from one of the police cars shows Scheffler’s vehicle slowly turning into the Valhalla Golf Club ahead of second round of the PGA Championship last Friday morning.

    Video footage that was taken from across the street showed that the police officer ran after the vehicle and appeared to throw himself onto the vehicle, at which point Scheffler, who was already driving slowly, brought the vehicle to an immediate stop.

    The arresting officer claimed that Scheffler “refused to comply and accelerated forward,” dragging him to the ground — which is not seen anywhere in the video.

    Scheffler was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic, according to a court document. The second-degree assault charge is a felony, while the others are misdemeanors.

    “Our position remains the same as it was last Friday,” the golfer’s attorney Steve Romines said in a statement. “I am not negotiating as we have no interest in settling. I am preparing to litigate as needed and the case will be dismissed or we will go to trial because Scottie did absolutely nothing wrong.”

    Mayor Craig Greenberg said that a shuttle bus that struck and killed a resident shortly before the incident “led to a series of very unfortunate events in dark, rainy and tense conditions.”


    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    US Service Member Critically Injured, 2 Other Troops Hurt at Gaza Pier

    Citizen Frank



    Three US service members were injured, one critically, while working on the Army’s Gaza aid pier on Thursday.

    The troops had been working to deliver humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip on the temporary floating pier that the US completed last week, US Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, deputy commander of US Central Command told Reuters.

    The incident marks the first injuries for US forces during the operation.

    Two service members suffered a sprained ankle and a minor back injury.

    “Two were very minor, routine injuries. Those individuals returned to duty,” Cooper said.

    A third service member, who was injured on a ship at sea, was medically evacuated to a hospital in Israel, he said.

    A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters the individual was in critical condition.

    The controversial floating pier was announced by President Biden in March to facilitate humanitarian aid to millions in the Gaza strip during Israel’s ongoing military offensive in the enclave.

    It’s estimated to cost about $320 million for its first 90 days after opening last Thursday and will be operated by about 1,000 US service members — who Biden assured would not enter Gaza itself.

    The Pentagon has said it will prioritize the safety of US military personnel.

    “We’re clear eyed and we continue to look at force protection all day, every day and as it stands now we assess the operations can continue,” Cooper said.

    On Tuesday, the Pentagon said that 569 metric tons had been unloaded on the pier, but none of it had actually made it to Palestinians, who are in dire need of food, water and other vital supplies.

    Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said that some trucks, operated by nongovernmental organizations tasked with delivering the aid to another staging area, had been ransacked by looters.

    “We do anticipate that assistance will be distributed in the coming days here, of course conditions permitting,” Ryder said.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    NEW RULE: Biden Demands to Be Sitting Down During Presidential Debate with Trump

    Citizen Frank



    Donald Trump revealed Wednesday that he has agreed to “sit at a table” with Joe Biden — despite his strong preference to stand — during their upcoming debates.

    The seated format was a request made by the 81-year-old president’s campaign team, according to Trump.

    “I hear now we’re sitting at tables. I don’t want to sit at a table,” the 77-year-old former president told John Catsimatidis and Rita Cosby during an appearance on the “Cats & Cosby Show” on WABC 770 AM.

    “I said, ‘No, let’s stand.’ But they want to sit at a table,” Trump said. “So we’ll be sitting at a table as opposed to doing it the way you should be, in my opinion, in a debate.”

    The presumptive Republican nominee for president explained that his personal preference would be to “walk out to a podium” and “stand for an hour and a half or two hours.”

    “But they have [Biden] sitting at a table, so that’s not so good,” Trump said, calling the seated debate format “one of the many” requests the Biden campaign insisted on.

    “But I agree to their requests because I want to debate him,” the former president told Catsimatidis and Cosby, noting that he intends to press Biden on the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

    “If [Biden] gets through the debate, they’ll say it was brilliant,” Trump argued.

    The Trump and Biden campaigns have agreed to two scheduled debates, which include a June 27 event hosted by CNN and a Sept. 10 showdown with ABC News.

    It’s unclear if the seated format will be for both debates.

    There will be no live audience at either forum, in accordance with the Biden campaign’s request.

    The agreement between the two camps cuts out the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which has organized the head-to-head events since the 1988 election cycle.

    Both campaigns have signaled a willingness to participate in a vice presidential debate as well, but the details of that event have not been agreed upon.

    Biden wants the veep debate aired on CBS, while Trump prefers that the contest be hosted by Fox News.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    WATCH: Crowd Gathers for Trump’s Historic Rally in the Bronx

    Citizen Frank



    Crowds are gathering for former President Donald Trump’s rally in the Bronx — a Democrat stronghold as Trump sticks to his word in making a heavy play for traditionally blue areas in the 2024 election cycle.

    “President Trump is going to speak directly to locals in the Bronx, in the borough, about how their lives have worsened under Joe Biden’s policies, particularly ‘Bidenomics,’ which has led to the highest inflation in a generation,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said in a statement to Spectrum News NY1 ahead of Trump taking the stage in Crotona Park.

    Watch Live:

    Videos are emerging on social media, showing crowds gathering ahead of the former president’s big speech. Some supporters were lined up to see Trump seven hours before the big event.

    Trump also shared a video of voters explaining why they support the former president, writing, “THANK YOU—SEE YOU TONIGHT AT 6:00PM EASTERN!”

    The rally follows Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — clearly disturbed by Trump’s presence in her home state — admitting that Democrats are engaging in lawfare against Trump to keep him off the campaign trail.

    “New York City is blue. Brooklyn is blue. Queens is blue. The Bronx is blue, and he’s got nowhere to go, so he has decided to come to the South Bronx,” she said.

    “He is broke. He needs to pay the legal funds and busing people and to get those donations so he can funnel them to his legal fees is kind of his business right now,” she claimed, ignoring the fact that Trump has said, for months, that he would make a play for Democrat strongholds.

    In May, Trump attracted a crowd of roughly 100,000 at his rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, as well.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Senate Downs Border Bill for Second Time

    Citizen Frank



    The Senate voted down the bipartisan border bill Thursday, marking the second time it has been blocked in a matter of months as Democrats look to shore up their political troubles and give President Biden and incumbent senators a boost in the process.

    In a widely expected outcome, senators voted 43-50 to take down the proposal, which was negotiated over the fall and winter by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.). The bill lost support compared to the previous vote in February, which fell in a 49-50 tally.

    Headlining those who flipped their votes this time around was Lankford, who was the lead GOP member throughout negotiations before the border bill met an unceremonious death.

    The Oklahoma Republican told The Hill last week that Schumer and Murphy didn’t discuss the renewed border push with him and that he was siding with his GOP colleagues, arguing this current push was inherently political and that Democrats were not interested at this point in getting a legislative result.

    “Today is not a bill. Today is a prop. Today is a political messaging exercise,” Lankford said ahead of the vote. “That doesn’t help us as a country.”

    Joining Lankford in flipping their votes to no were Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Sinema.

    Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) voted against the bill in February, but was absent Thursday.

    Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said repeatedly in recent weeks that he wanted to put the bill on the floor again to drive home the point that former President Trump and his supporters killed the bill for political purposes, and that Democrats want action at the border.

    “People want us to get things done. People want us to come together. And when they hear that the only reason Republicans backed away from this bill is not that it wasn’t strong enough, but that Donald Trump said he wanted chaos at the border, they don’t like that,” Schumer said Thursday on the floor.

    “The public is on the same page. And in the polling data, Democrats, Republicans, and independents are all on the same page: act on a bipartisan bill, get something done,” he continued. “Don’t play political games.”

    Republicans have panned those claims and maintain Schumer is the one pursuing a nakedly-political agenda, and Democrats have failed to secure the border throughout Biden’s White House tenure.

    The border vote was also viewed by many as an attempt by Schumer to lend a hand to a number of his Democratic colleagues who are staring down tough reelection fights in November as the border is turning into a potent issue in red and purple states.

    “They’re trying to get right, and they know they need political cover. To me, that’s all this is about,” Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Wednesday. “He knows this is not going to get an outcome. It’s not going to pass the House. We’re not making law here.”

    “This is about political messaging, and they understand it’s a big political vulnerability for them, and I get why he’s doing what he’s doing,” Thune continued. “But I don’t think this is going to work, because people realize who owns the issue of the border, and that’s the Democrats.”

    According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, fiscal 2024 has averaged 217,000 migrant crossings per month, with more than 300,000 crossings marking the high-water mark in recent years.

    “It’s no mystery how we got here. President Biden and Vice President Harris were promising open borders four years ago on the campaign trail. And they started following through literally on day 1,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the floor.

    The border bill emerged out of tense negotiations among the three, along with the Biden administration and staffers for Schumer and McConnell, as part of a bid to gain House Republicans’ backing of the national security supplemental and aid for Ukraine.

    Republicans lined up en masse against it within hours of its release in February, dooming it from the get-go. That prompted Schumer to plow ahead on the aid package, which included funds for Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific and for humanitarian purposes.

    Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) eventually relented and moved ahead with his national security plan in April, which also included a potential ban of TikTok.

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