RFK Jr. on Verge of Making Debates
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Citizen Frank



Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a shot to make the June presidential debate, but the clock is ticking on two challenging thresholds.

He would be the first independent presidential candidate to make the debate stage in 32 years — and just the third in presidential debate history.

Kennedy has the financial support, aggressive ballot access plan and strong polling to make his long-shot endeavor a fight.

Kennedy has blasted Biden and Trump over the June debate, accusing them of “colluding” against his campaign to “avoid discussion of their eight years of mutual failure.”

Instead of having until September to get on enough state ballots to qualify for a debate, Kennedy now has about a month.

Former President Trump and President Biden agreed earlier this month to forgo the traditional fall debates held by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.

Ross Perot, the last independent presidential candidate to make the debate stage, didn’t qualify for the ballot in all 50 states until Sept. 18, 1992, per CNN. (He briefly suspended his campaign from July to September).

To qualify, Kennedy has to hit at least 15% in four national polls that meet CNN’s standards and achieve ballot access in enough states to have a chance at winning 270 electoral votes.

Kennedy, polling higher than any independent candidate since Perot, appears to have met the polling requirement in three polls.

He received 16% among registered voters in two polls from last month that meet CNN’s requirement, CNN/SSRS and Quinnipiac University.

Kennedy drew 17% in a Marquette Law School Poll of registered voters out this week, another CNN-approved poll.

He has until June 20 to qualify in a fourth poll.

Kennedy’s campaign has launched a robust ballot access plan to get him on ballots before the election, but not by June 27.

Five states confirmed to ABC News that Kennedy had qualified for the ballot — Delaware, Hawaii, Michigan, Oklahoma and Utah, totaling 35 electoral votes.

The Kennedy campaign says it has submitted signatures for ballot access in seven states, totaling 139 electoral votes. It has collected enough signatures for eight other states, the campaign said.

The secretary of state offices still have to validate many of the signatures, a process that is out of Kennedy’s control.

Signature collection isn’t due in many states until late summer, per Ballot Access News, so there’s no way to know how long verification could take.

Kennedy campaign director Amaryllis Fox wrote on the social media platform X earlier this month that enforcing a 270 electoral college threshold before September is “nonsensical.”

“Nonetheless, thanks to the exceptional dedication of our tens of thousands of volunteers across the country, we are in a position to meet their criteria. And we shall do so.”

Kennedy’s ballot access mission has gotten a boost from the strong financial support of his running mate, Nicole Shanahan.

Shanahan, a lawyer who is the ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, has given $10 million to their campaign.

That’s on top of the $4 million she gave to the super PAC supporting Kennedy’s campaign that ran an ad during the Super Bowl.

Read 6 Comments
  • Avatar Guest says:

    Communist North Korea is only allowed to vote for one party. In a free country we’re allowed the choice of 2 party’s.

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    GOP-Led House Passes Resolution Holding Garland in Contempt

    Citizen Frank



    The GOP-led House is preparing to vote on a resolution holding Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress on Wednesday.

    The vote to advance the measure was 208-207 along party lines.

    The contempt resolution is focused on Garland’s refusal to turn over an audio recording of President Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur, who investigated Biden’s handling of classified documents.

    Biden has invoked executive privilege to prevent the recording from being released.

    Democrats argued on the House floor that the transcript of the interview in the special counsel’s report is sufficient and a public release of the recording isn’t needed.

    Republicans argued that the recording should be released for the sake of transparency.

    A final vote is expected to take place in the evening.

    Here’s what would happen next if the contempt resolution passes in the House

    If the contempt resolution against Attorney General Merrick Garland succeeds, House Speaker Mike Johnson would certify the report to the United States attorney for the District of Columbia.

    Under law, this certification then requires the US attorney to “bring the matter before the grand jury for its action,” but the Justice Department will also makes its own determinations for prosecuting.

    Democrats have used the process several times as they ran into uncooperative allies and former aides to Trump during their investigation into the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

    The Department of Justice ultimately did not pursue charges against Trump aide Dan Scavino and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. But federal prosecutors did take two Trump allies, Stephen Bannon and former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro to trial on the criminal contempt charges.

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    Russian Nuke-Powered Sub Arrives in Cuba

    Citizen Frank



    A Russian nuclear-powered submarine and other naval vessels arrived in Cuba Wednesday for a five-day visit to the communist island off Florida’s coast in a show of force amid spiraling US-Russian tensions.

    The submarine Kazan, which Cuba says is not carrying nuclear weapons, was accompanied by the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, as well as an oil tanker and a salvage tug.

    The Kazan and Admiral Gorshkov, which is one of Russia’s most modern warships, could be seen just off Havana, which is about 90 miles (145 km) from the tip of Florida.

    The tanker Pashin and the tug, flying the white, blue and red tricolor of Russia, entered the harbor early Wednesday morning, an AFP reporter said.

    The Cuban government announced that Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez was meeting his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday, as the two former Cold War allies further tighten their links.

    The unusual deployment of the Russian military so close to the United States — particularly the powerful submarine — comes amid major tensions over the war in Ukraine, where the Western-backed government is fighting a Russian invasion.

    Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last month for the annual May 9 military parade on Red Square outside the Kremlin.

    During the Cold War, Cuba was an important client state for the Soviet Union.

    The deployment of Soviet nuclear missile sites on the island triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when Washington and Moscow came close to war.

    Relations between Russia and Cuba have become closer since a 2022 meeting between Diaz-Canel and Putin.

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    Hezbollah Launches Largest Attack on Israel Since Oct. 7

    Citizen Frank



    Lebanese militant group Hezbollah fired barrages of rockets at Israel on Wednesday and vowed to intensify its attacks after an Israeli strike killed a senior commander in south Lebanon the previous day.

    Hezbollah has traded near-daily cross-border fire with the Israeli army since its Palestinian ally Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, triggering war in the Gaza Strip.

    The exchanges have escalated in recent weeks, with Hezbollah stepping up its use of drones to attack Israeli military positions and Israel hitting back with targeted strikes against the militants.

    “We will increase the intensity, strength, quantity and quality of our attacks,” said senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine, speaking at the funeral of commander Taleb Sami Abdallah, who was killed in Tuesday’s Israeli strike.

    In Doha, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed calls Wednesday for a diplomatic solution on the Israel-Lebanon border and said a long-sought Gaza ceasefire deal would “take a tremendous amount of pressure out of the system”.

    Hezbollah in statements said it launched “dozens of Katyusha rockets” at three bases and a barracks in northern Israel.

    The Iran-backed militant group said it also struck a “military factory” with guided missiles “in response to the assassination carried out by the Zionist enemy”.

    The Israeli army said more than 150 “projectiles” had been fired from Lebanon in three successive barrages.

    “Approximately 90 projectiles were identified crossing from Lebanon,” it said, adding several were intercepted but others struck inside Israel, sparking fires in parts of the north.

    The initial barrage was followed by a second of about 70 projectiles and a third of around 10, the military said, adding the army struck several sites in south Lebanon in response.

    ‘Knight of the resistance’

    As temperatures have soared in recent days, the exchanges of fire have sparked brush fires on both sides of the border.

    “Israel Fire and Rescue Services are currently operating to extinguish the fires that broke out as a result of the launches,” the military said.

    Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency medical service said there were no immediate reports of casualties.

    The Israeli army on Wednesday confirmed it had “eliminated” Taleb Sami Abdallah in a strike the day before on a Hezbollah command centre in southern Lebanon.

    In a statement, it called Abdallah “one of Hezbollah’s most senior commanders in southern Lebanon” and said he “planned, advanced, and carried out a large number of terror attacks against Israeli civilians”.

    Abdallah was killed along with three Hezbollah comrades in an Israeli strike on Jouaiyya, 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the border, a source close to the group told AFP.

    A Lebanese military source said the commander was “the most important in Hezbollah to be killed… since the start of the war”.

    The group had urged its supporters to attend Abdallah’s funeral in the southern suburbs of Beirut, describing him as “one of the knights of the resistance”.

    Men wearing military fatigues and black berets carried his coffin, covered in Hezbollah’s yellow flag, as a brass band played for the ceremony.

    ‘Harsh blow’

    Pro-Hezbollah newspaper Al-Akhbar described the strike that killed Abdallah as “a harsh blow” to the group.

    But Britain-based Middle East specialist Amal Saad played down the prospect of wider escalation.

    “I don’t think that the death of this highest-ranking commander is going to change any of Hezbollah’s calculations,” she said, adding civilian casualties were “red lines” for the group rather than the targeting of commanders or fighters.

    “We witnessed an escalation in quality and quantity of (Hezbollah) attacks in order to put pressure on Israel and the US in the ceasefire talks and improve Hamas’s bargaining position,” Saad said.

    On Tuesday, Hezbollah said it fired about 50 rockets at Israeli positions in the annexed Golan Heights.

    More than eight months of cross-border violence has killed at least 468 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also including 89 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

    Israeli authorities say at least 15 Israeli soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed.

    Tens of thousands of people have been displaced on both sides of the border since the violence erupted the day after the Hamas attack on southern Israel.

    The October 7 attack resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

    Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 37,202 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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    Sydney Powell Cleared of Charges in Texas

    Citizen Frank



    Former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, who brought four lawsuits challenging the results of the 2020 election, was cleared of charges from the State Bar of Texas by the Texas Court of Appeals this month.

    The court ruled in a 24-page opinion upholding the trial court that the Texas Bar’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline failed to show how she engaged in “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” in lawsuits she filed challenging former President Donald Trump’s presidential loss.

    The lower trial court found that the evidence against Powell  granted no-evidence summary judgment for her against the Texas Bar, which the bar appealed. The higher court criticized the Texas bar, “The Bar employed a ‘scattershot’ approach to the case, which left this court and the trial court ‘with the task of sorting through the argument to determine what issue ha[d] actually been raised.’”

    The court said Powell’s “lawsuits alleged a vast election fraud conspiracy involving U.S. Dominion, Inc. (‘Dominion’), a company that manufactures voting machines, foreign actors, state and party officials, and county elections workers.” The Texas Bar alleged that two of Powell’s exhibits had been altered. The court said, “Specifically, the Complaint described these exhibits as undated, and the copies attached were undated, but the documents were in fact dated.

    The court said two of the exhibits were “copied in landscape rather than portrait mode,” which is why the dates were cut off. Powell said she did not draft the complaint or download and attach the exhibits, relying on other counsel. She also said the date or signature on the certificate was in the public record, so “not an issue, and an ‘indisputable fact.’”

    The court said it would affirm a summary judgment if “there is a complete absence of evidence of a vital fact,” “the evidence offered to prove a vital fact is no more than a mere scintilla,” or one of a couple of other reasons.

    The Texas Bar claimed that Powell “knew of the falsity of the evidence she presented and did nothing to correct the same” when she referenced an exhibit filed by the Texas Bar, Exhibit (E), instead of another, Exhibit (G). The court disagreed, stating, “The Bar offers no explanation of the purported significance of the exhibit and supplies no authority to suggest that an opposing party’s arguments and allegations have any cognizable relationship to the claims asserted against Powell.”

    The court pointed out that the Texas Bar was guilty of doing the same thing it went after Powell for allegedly doing.

    “By its own admission, the Bar misidentified or failed to include multiple exhibits it claims to have relied on in its Second Amended Response,” the opinion said.

    “The deficiencies go far beyond mislabeling exhibits,” the opinion added.

    The court listed many more issues with the exhibits, including that “the Bar not only failed to cite to or argue about any additional documents — the documents are not mentioned at all.”

    Regarding whether Powell knew whether one of her exhibits had a date on it, the court said that “there is no competent summary judgment evidence that Powell had actual knowledge that the pleading included false information.” The opinion went on, “Although the Bar characterizes Exhibit F as ‘doctored,’ and ‘altered,’ there is no competent summary judgment evidence to establish the accuracy of these characterizations or to demonstrate that Powell knowingly made a false statement about the exhibits.”

    The Texas Bar accused Powell of ethics rules typically used against conservative attorneys. One was Disciplinary Rule 8.4(c), “A lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.” The court acknowledged that “the rules do not define ‘dishonesty,’ ‘deceit,’ or ‘misrepresentation.’”

    The justices refused to follow the Texas Bar’s expansive rule interpretation.

    “We are troubled by the Bar’s implicit suggestion that application of the ordinary meaning of the term dishonesty means the DR encompasses imprecise pleadings and carelessly filed exhibits,” they said. “Regardless of whether the challenged conduct must be knowing, intentional, or otherwise, a question we need not resolve here, it is axiomatic that dishonesty involves some conscious perversion of truth.” They went on, “As common sense dictates, and the case law illustrates, dishonesty involves something more than carelessness or inadvertent conduct.”

    Powell was one of 19 defendants, along with Trump, in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s RICO prosecution related to the 2020 election. She pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts related to election interference, which will be eliminated from her record completely after she serves six years of probation. Dominion and Smartmatic have pending defamation lawsuits against her.

    Fox News settled a defamation lawsuit from Dominion for $787.5 million. Dominion asserted that several people made defamatory statements on air about the company and election fraud, including Rudy Giuliani, Powell and Lou Dobbs.

    In Judge Eric M. Davis’s ruling on the parties’ motions for summary judgment, he indicated that he would instruct the jury that they must consider those statements false. “The evidence developed in this civil proceeding,” he said, “demonstrates that it “is CRYSTAL clear that none of the statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.”

    The Texas Bar has also targeted other conservative attorneys, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The Texas Bar issued sanctions against him over his efforts to challenge irregularities in the 2020 election, which he appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

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    Top Takeaways from Tuesday’s Primaries in South Carolina, Nevada, and More

    Citizen Frank



    Congressional primaries in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina are once again proving how hard it is to unseat incumbent lawmakers.

    Reps. Nancy Mace (R-SC), Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Susie Lee (D-NV) all beat back competitors in their party primaries.

    Former President Donald Trump proved his hold over the Republican Party once again, even though he wasn’t on the primary ballots on Tuesday night, after most of his endorsed candidates saw success in several races.

    One of the Trump-backed candidates who saw success was Sam Brown, whom Republicans selected to compete against vulnerable Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in one of the most closely watched races this election cycle.

    Here are the top takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries.

    Nancy Mace survives McCarthy-backed primary challenger

    Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) overcame a GOP primary challenge from Catherine Templeton, who was backed by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

    Mace was among the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy from the speakership last year. McCarthy’s revenge campaign against Mace failed on Tuesday night, as the Republican lawmaker had the crucial backing of Trump.

    The Associated Press called the race for Mace nearly two hours after polls closed at 7 p.m. Eastern time. Mace bested Templeton, 56.8% to 29.8%, with 70% of the votes counted.

    Mace’s victory also comes despite longtime Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) backing Templeton. Democrat Michael Moore won the primary to take on Mace, but the Palmetto State’s congressional map has made it more likely that Mace will cruise to victory in November.

    It’s official: Sam Brown to take on Sen. Jacky Rosen

    Nevada Republican and Army veteran Sam Brown won the GOP primary and is now gearing up for a general election matchup against Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in one of the most crucial races that will determine control of the Senate.

    The Associated Press called the race for Brown more than one hour after polls closed. Brown won nearly 57%, with 58% of the votes counted.

    His closest competitor was Jeffrey Gunter, a former Trump ambassador to Iceland who pulled in nearly 17% of support.

    Trump made a late endorsement in the primary for Brown in a major snub of Gunter. Brown was also backed by National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines (R-MT).

    Republicans chose challengers to take on incumbent Democrats

    Maine state Rep. Austin Theriault won the GOP primary to take on Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) for the 2nd District.

    Theriault defeated Republican Michael Soboleski in the primary, 66.4% to 33.6%, with 73% of the votes counted, according to the Associated Press.

    Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) supported Theriault in the primary as the GOP hopes to flip Golden’s seat in November, helping maintain its control of the House.

    But Golden remains formidable. He defeated then-Rep. Bruce Poliquin in 2018 and won reelection in 2020 despite Trump winning the district in 2016 and 2020.

    In Nevada, results from the Republican primary to decide who will run against incumbent Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) in the general election race for the 3rd District had not been called as of midnight Wednesday morning. Tax analyst Drew Johnson led the field at 31.1%, with 74% of the votes counted.

    The district is another closely watched contest that will help determine control of the House.

    Ohio voters decide on Bill Johnson’s replacement

    Republican state Sen. Michael Rulli will finish former Republican Rep. Bill Johnson’s term for this Congress after winning the special election on Tuesday night.

    The Associated Press called the race at 9:02 p.m., with Rulli winning 52.7% of the votes counted at the time the race was decided.

    Rulli’s win gives Mike Johnson an extra boost to his already slim control of the House. Democrat Michael Kripchak will face off against Rulli in November for the seat’s full term.

    Kelly Armstrong wins primary to succeed Doug Burgum

    Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), the lone House member in North Dakota, won the GOP primary to succeed outgoing Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND).

    The victory all but ensures Armstrong will be the next governor in North Dakota, a state Trump won by nearly 34 percentage points in 2020.

    The Associated Press called the race for Armstrong, who had the backing of Trump, at 9:21 p.m. Eastern time at nearly 73%, with 89% of the votes counted. Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller, who was backed by Burgum, won 27.1%.

    The battle to replace Armstrong is set

    North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak and Democrat Trygve Hammer won their respective primaries to replace Armstrong in North Dakota’s 1st District.

    Fedorchak won 46.2% of the vote, with 91% of the ballots counted, defeating four other Republican candidates.

    Hammer defeated Roland Riemers in the Democratic primary, winning 74%, with 91% of the votes counted. The 1st District is a solidly Republican seat, meaning Fedorchak will likely become North Dakota’s sole member of the House after the November election.

    Trump has mostly good night on endorsements

    The former president’s endorsement power proved to have the Midas touch as most of his endorsed candidates, including Mace, Theriault, and Brown, survived primary competitors.

    Meanwhile, in the Palmetto State’s 4th District, Trump-backed Rep. William Timmons won, with the Associated Press calling the race at 11:55 p.m. at 51.6%, with 99% of the votes counted. The race took more than five hours to call after polls closed at 7 p.m.

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    NBA Legend Jerry West Dies at 86

    Citizen Frank



    Jerry West, the basketball legend whose silhouette still serves as the NBA’s logo, has passed away at 86. The Los Angeles Clippers revealed the news Wednesday, stating that West’s wife Karen was by his side.

    Known as ‘Zeke from Cabin Creek,’ the West Virginia native teamed with Elgin Baylor to turn the Los Angeles Lakers into a perennial contender in the 1960s, which unfortunately coincided with Bill Russell’s dominance with the rival Boston Celtics. Upon Russell’s retirement in 1969, West and Wilt Chamberlain led the Lakers to the 1972 NBA title, albeit without the retired Baylor.

    Chamberlain and Baylor died in 1999 and 2021, respectively. West, meanwhile, went on to have a remarkable front-office career, winning eight NBA crowns and two Executive of the Year awards. He was still serving in an executive role with the Clippers at the time of his death.

    News of West’s passing sparked an immediate outpouring of grief from fellow basketball legends Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

    ‘I am so deeply saddened at the news of Jerry’s passing,’ Jordan wrote in a statement provided to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. ‘He was truly a friend and a mentor. Like an older brother to me. … Rest in Peace, Logo.’

    ‘Will truly miss our convos my dear friend!’ James wrote on X. ‘My thoughts and prayers goes out to your wonderful family! Forever love Jerry! Rest in Paradise my guy!

    In their statement, the Clippers described West as ‘the personification of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him.’

    NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued his own statement on Wednesday.

    ‘Jerry West was a basketball genius and a defining figure in our league for more than 60 years,’ Silver wrote. ‘He distinguished himself not only as an NBA champion and an All-Star in all 14 of his playing seasons, but also as a consummate competitor who embraced the biggest moments. He was the league’s first Finals MVP and made rising to the occasion his signature quality, earning him the nickname ”Mr. Clutch.”

    ‘I valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he shared with me over many years about basketball and life,’ Silver continued. ‘On behalf of the NBA, we send our deepest condolences to Jerry’s wife, Karen, his family and his many friends in the NBA community.’

    West’s on-court success often came at a price. As he admitted years later, the 6-foot-3 guard typically battled depression in the offseason, much of which was tied to his six NBA Finals defeats to the hated Celtics.

    ‘I would go to bed feeling like I didn’t even want to live,’ West told HBO. ‘I’ve been so low sometimes and when everyone else would be so high because I didn’t like myself.’

    In his autobiography, ‘West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life,’ the West Virginia University legend wrote that he went unloved as a child and was often the focus of his abusive father’s rage.

    A mostly private figure, West had been with Karen since 1978 and they had two sons, Ryan and Jonnie, the later of whom played basketball at his father’s alma mater and later married golfer Michelle Wie.

    Previously West was married to his college sweetheart, with whom he had three sons: David, Mark and Michael.

    To many, West is known simply as ‘The Logo.’

    Legend has it that the current NBA shield was created by Alan Siegel in 1969 by incorporating West’s silhouette from a photo taken by Wen Roberts.

    The logo was modeled after Major League Baseball’s, which was a silhouette of a player that many erroneously believe to be Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew. (The image is supposedly a composite of several players in the late 1960s).

    The West logo debuted in 1971, and although the NBA has never confirmed that it is, indeed, him, there have been no denials either.

    ‘It sure looks a lot like him,’ a coy Silver said in 2021.

    The second-overall pick in the 1960 draft and a gold medalist at the 1960 Rome Games, West was named to 14 All-Star teams during his career, while averaging 27 points a game. He won the NBA’s scoring title in 1970, led the league in assists in 1972, and has since had his No. 44 retired by the Lakers.

    West went on to have an unsuccessful three-year run as Lakers head coach before taking up a scouting role and then becoming the team’s general manager during the famed ‘Showtime’ era.

    In the 80s and early 90s, West was credited with acquiring Lakers stars such as James Worthy, Byron Scott, AC Green, Vlade Divac, Nick Van Exel, and Derek Fisher.

    Later, West built the Lakers team that won three NBA titles between 2000 and 2002 with Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and coach Phil Jackson.

    West famously acquired Bryant at the 1996 NBA Draft by trading Divac to the Charlotte Hornets for the rights to the 17-year-old phenom. Bryant rewarded West by winning the NBA’ Sixth Man of the Year award as a rookie, and ultimately becoming an 18-time All-Star.

    West later described himself as Bryant’s surrogate father due to their close bond.

    He left the Lakers to become general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002 before a brief retirement five years later. West ultimately earned his seventh and eighth titles as an executive with Golden State in 2015 and 2017, albeit in a secondary role.

    He also joined the board of the Clippers in 2017, helping to successfully recruit two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard as a free agent in 2020.

    West was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Donald Trump in 2019.

    ‘You know, it never ceases to amaze me the places you can go in this world chasing a bouncing ball,’ West told reporters at the time. ‘My chase began in Chelyan, West Virginia, where I strung a wire basket with no net to the side of a bridge. If your shot didn’t go in, the ball rolled down a long bank and you would be chasing it forever. So, you better make it.

    ‘I was a dreamer. My family didn’t have much, but we had a clear view of the Appalachian Mountains, and I’d sit alone on our front porch and wonder, ”If I ever make it to the top of that mountain, what will I see on the other side?”

    ‘Well, I did make it to the other side, and my dreams have come true. I’ve been able to see the sides, thanks to that bouncing ball.’

    Many younger generations of players became familiar with West during Summer League play, where he would often evaluate the NBA’s young talent.

    ‘The game transcends many things,’ West told The Associated Press while attending Summer League last year. ‘The players change, the style of play may change, but the respect that you learn in this game never changes.’

    Tributes have been flooding social media since the tragedy was announced.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers called West ‘an indelible figure on the Los Angeles sports landscape for more than 60 years,’ and the NBA will do a tribute before Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

    ‘Jerry West is one of my favorite people that I had the honor to get to know in the NBA,’ Miami Heat managing general partner Micky Arison said Wednesday. ‘He welcomed me to the league, offered advice from the first day, and asked nothing in return. He will be missed.’

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    Meet Haiti’s New Boss

    Citizen Frank



    Haiti formed a new government in the wake of mass resignations from the government of the former Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, and three years after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

    The political shift is a hopeful step for the struggling Caribbean as it continues to endure a large scale invasion from organized gangs, which now control large parts of the island, including its capital city of Port-Au-Prince.

    The new government replaces all the ministers from Henry’s government, who relinquished power earlier this year amid the growing violence and fear that has rocked the small nation for several months.

    The new cabinet announced the changes two weeks after the island’s transitional government council appointed Garry Conille as interim prime minister.

    He will now assume the role of interior minister, according to a decree, published in the country’s official gazette.

    As part of Conille and the transitional council’s role, they appointed new ministers and other officials to all of the central cabinet positions, according to Kettia Marcellus, a government spokeswoman.

    Conille’s lawyer, Carlos Hercules, is assuming the role of minister for justice and public security and Ketleen Florestal will preside over the finance ministry.

    Dominique Dupuy, who has been serving as Haiti’s ambassador to UNESCO will be serve as the nation’s new foreign affairs minister.

    The shift finally comes after a breaking point in the country in which former Prime Minister Ariel Henry could not even return to his home country because gangs had invaded the main airport in Port-au-Prince and he was denied entry in the Dominican Republic.

    The former prime minister was instead forced to land in Puerto Rico, when returning from a diplomacy mission in Kenya where he signed an agreement to recruit 1,000 police officers to help restore order in his homeland.

    The new government, along with the reopening of the country’s international airport, will hopefully create some hope for Haitians as they continue to try and take control back and quell continuing violence.

    “While some Haitians will be encouraged by these first steps towards normalcy, especially after the recent re-opening of the country’s international airport, others remain deeply worried about the scale of the task in front of the new cabinet,” the BBC wrote in a June 11 report.

    “Gangs still control most of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and gang leaders refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the interim council or any of the transitional leadership,” the wire service said.

    Gangs currently control about 80% of the nation’s capital city, according to a June 11 report published by The Associated Press.

    The new political shift is the latest move as Haiti continues try and reach a point of stability.

    Both the United Nations and Kenyan government have repeatedly offered assurances to former Prime Minister Ariel Henry and news outlets it would send security forces, but the island is still anxiously awaiting for its arrival.

    Gangs capitalized on the power vacuum left by the prime minister’s exit and expanded their control over swathes of the country, which has effectively become lawless in places.

    During Henry’s visit to the African country, President William Ruto assured the former Haitian prime minister, he would be able to deploy the force to the Caribbean island to help restore peace and security.

    An estimated 1,500 people have reportedly been killed and 800 injured in the first three months of 2024, and the island’s circumstances were called “cataclysmic” in a May 31, 2024 United Nations report (Report No. 25).

    That report noted the following highlights about the growing crisis on the island:

    • The World Food Program (WFP) has noted a significant 27% increase in the cost of the food basket between January and May 2024.

    • A cargo flight carrying almost 15 tons of medicines and other products vital to the humanitarian response landed in Port-au-Prince on 30 May.

    • Since 1 March, almost 13 million liters of water have been distributed by U.N. agencies and their partners, both local and governmental, to sites hosting internally displaced people in Port-au-Prince.

    • From 25 to 31 May, the WFP distributed 88,350 hot meals to more than 18,000 displaced people in 19 sites in Port-au-Prince, and 4,623 hot meals to 2,312 returnees from the Dominican Republic.

    • From 22 to 29 May, more than 4,400 IDPs benefited from awareness-raising sessions on child protection, gender-based violence (GBV) and protection against sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA).

    The U.N. revealed what it described as gang-driven “harrowing practices,” which have reportedly engaged in brutal violence and sexual assault against innocent civilians.

    The violence has also created complications for groups struggling to get aid, food and water to Haitian civilians who are trapped inside Port-au-Prince, igniting a potential starvation crisis.

    Haiti has had no elected president or sitting parliament since the presidential assassination of Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

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    Senate Dem Launches Sweeping Probe Into Jared Kushner’s Investment Firm

    Citizen Frank



    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden launched an investigation Wednesday of an investment firm run by Jared Kushner, saying the vast amount of foreign funding raises the risk that Middle Eastern states will curry favor with politically connected people who may return to power in Washington.

    Mr. Wyden, Oregon Democrat, alleged the structure of the payments to Affinity Partners, founded by Mr. Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump, shields them from public scrutiny and may be an end-run around the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

    “It is deeply concerning that several Middle Eastern governments are using funds managed by Affinity as a means to pay tens of millions of dollars in fees every year to former President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, creating significant conflicts of interest and potential counterintelligence risks,” Mr. Wyden said.

    The Democrat launched the probe on the heels of President Biden’s son, Hunter, being convicted in Delaware of three federal gun crimes.

    Some Republicans say the trial obscured larger questions about Hunter Biden’s work to trade off his famous father’s name through businesses such as Seneca Global Advisors, which claimed to help companies expand into foreign markets. Hunter Biden’s foreign deals are also central to House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Biden, though the probe has largely stalled.

    House investigators say Hunter Biden and his partners used shell companies to obscure the foreign money, and the investments appeared to be an attempt to influence the elder Mr. Biden, who served as vice president from 2009 to 2017.

    Mr. Kushner’s firm, meanwhile, has made over $1 billion in investments in companies in Israel, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Europe. The firms range from car-leasing businesses to food companies in the Middle East to a $500 million hotel and condominium complex in Serbia.

    Mr. Kushner has said he follows the law and will make plenty of money for investors. He has also downplayed the idea he’s eager to return to the White House after serving as an adviser to President Trump.

    Democrats such as Mr. Wyden say the firm, which received 99% of its money from foreign sources, is fraught with potential conflicts of interest as Mr. Trump plots his return to the Oval Office.

    “This series of events creates an appearance that Affinity’s investors are motivated not by commercial interests of seeking a return on investment, but rather by strategic considerations of foreign nationals seeking to funnel money to U.S. individuals with personal connections to former President Trump,” Mr. Wyden wrote to Affinity Partners Chief Financial Officer Lauren Key.

    Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, had no comment on Mr. Wyden’s probe, according to his spokeswoman.

    Mr. Wyden requested an exhaustive list of information by June 26, including a list of Affinity employees and investors since 2021, communications with foreign entities and details on investment values, compensation and fees.

    The senator is particularly aiming at investments from Saudi Arabia.

    According to his letter, roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion worth of assets managed by Affinity Partners is from an investment made by the Saudi Public Investment Fund in June 2021, or shortly after Mr. Kushner left the White House.

    “As the founder and sole owner of Affinity, Kushner is the biggest beneficiary of the fees paid to Affinity by the Saudi PIF and other Gulf state clients,” the letter said.

    Mr. Wyden asserted that Mr. Kusher has little experience in private equity or hedge funds and took a soft approach to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the 2018 murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

    Mr. Kushner, speaking to a Miami summit hosted by Axios this year, said what happened to Khashoggi was “horrific” but defended his work with the crown prince.

    “Again, our job was to represent America and to try to push forward things in America,” Mr. Kushner said.

    Mr. Wyden’s letter said the Saudi PIF’s investment committee objected to Affinity Partners’ operations and lack of experience, only to be overruled by the crown prince and the PIF’s board of directors.

    Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has feuded with Mr. Kushner and Mr. Trump, raised the issue during his short-lived 2024 GOP primary bid for president.

    “Why would you send Jared Kushner to the Middle East when you have Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo as secretaries of state?” Mr. Christie said during a town hall event. “We found out the answer six months after he left office — $2 billion from the Saudis.”

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    RESULTS: Primary Night in America

    Citizen Frank



    In one of the last primary election days before next month’s Republican National Convention in Milwaukee and Democrats’ August convention in Chicago, voters in a handful of states made their choice in state and congressional intraparty contests on Tuesday.

    This week, the primary path to November stopped in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina. Plus, voters in Ohio turned out for a special congressional election.

    SOUTH CAROLINA — Polls close at 7:00 p.m. ET

    Sitting GOP U.S. Reps. Nancy Mace and William Timmons both face challenges in Tuesday’s primary elections, and there’s a crowded five-candidate Republican primary field in the Third Congressional District. South Carolina has a runoff trigger if any of the races end without a candidate gaining 50 percent of the vote.

    MAINE — Polls close at 8:00 p.m. ET

    There are Republican primaries in both of Maine’s two congressional districts, as well as uncontested races for U.S. Senate to choose the Republican and Democrat to challenge incumbent Senator Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

    NEVADA — Polls close at 10:00 p.m. ET

    Nevada Republicans will choose their preferred U.S. Senate candidate and four congressional candidates to represent the GOP in November’s general election.

    NORTH DAKOTA — Last polls close at 9:00 p.m. ET

    Republicans in North Dakota will choose their preferred candidate for governor after Doug Burgum decided not to run for a third term.

    Republicans will also vote in the primary for the state’s one at-large congressional district after current Rep. Kelly Armstrong opted to run for governor.

    OHIO — Polls Close at 7:30 p.m. ET

    A special election was held Tuesday for Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District after now-former Rep. Bill Johnson resigned earlier this year to assume the presidency of Youngstown State University. Voters will choose between Republican state Senator Michael Rulli and Democrat Air Force veteran Michael Kripchak.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    8 Suspected Terrorists with Possible ISIS Ties Arrested in New York, L.A. and Philadelphia

    Citizen Frank



    Eight people from Tajikistan with suspected ties to the Islamic State group have been arrested in the United States in recent days, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

    The arrests took place in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles and the individuals, who entered the U.S. through the southern border, are being held on immigration violations, said the people, who were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

    The nature of their suspected connections to the IS was not immediately clear, but the individuals were being tracked by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, or JTTF.

    They were in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which made the arrests while working with the JTTF, pending proceedings to remove them from the country.

    The individuals from Tajikistan entered the country last spring and passed through the U.S. government’s screening process without turning up information that would have identified them as potential terrorism-related concerns, said one of the people familiar with the matter.

    The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a statement confirming the immigration-related arrests of “several non-citizens” but did not detail specifics.

    The agencies noted that the U.S. has been in a “heightened threat environment.”

    FBI Director Christopher Wray has said the U.S. is facing accelerating threats from homegrown violent extremists as well as foreign terrorist organizations, particularly in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel.

    He said at one recent congressional hearing that officials were “concerned about the terrorism implications from potential targeting of vulnerabilities at the border.”

    The Biden administration in August said that it had detected and stopped a network attempting to smuggle people from Uzbekistan into the U.S. and that at least one member of the network had links to a foreign terrorist group.

    “The FBI and DHS will continue working around the clock with our partners to identify, investigate, and disrupt potential threats to national security,” the agencies said.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Democratic Leaders Arrested on Charges of Election Fraud in Connecticut

    Citizen Frank



    Two Democratic city officials and two Democratic campaign workers from Bridgeport, Connecticut, have been arrested and charged with election fraud.

    Wanda Geter-Pataky, deputy head of the city’s Democratic Town Committee, city Councilman Alfredo Castillo, Nilsa Heredia, a campaigner for Mayer Joe Ganim, and Josephine Edmonds, a supporter for state Sen. Marilyn Moore, have been charged due to their misuse of absentee ballots during the 2019 mayoral primary race.

    In 2019, Ganim won his primary bid against Moore by 270 absentee votes. Moore prompted a trial challenging the election results.

    The five-week trial included testimony from voters who said Ganim campaign workers picked up their completed absentee ballots, which is a violation of state law. Through their testimonies, it was revealed that ballot applications were improperly distributed and mailed out with address corrections.

    Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens ruled there was not enough evidence to overturn the election results despite clear evidence that some level of fraud had occurred with the handling of absentee ballots. Five days after the trial, Ganim won his reelection bid for mayor in the general election.

    Following these allegations, the office of the secretary of state sent a letter of referral to the State Elections Enforcement Commission, which then opened up a civil investigation. The SEEC voted that there was evidence of criminal conduct and referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice on June 7, 2023. The Statewide Prosecution Bureau within the office of the chief state’s attorney moved forward with the referral.

    Geter-Pataky is accused of failing to sign as an assister on an absentee ballot application that she had filled out on behalf of a prospective voter and misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot when she reportedly told a citizen not to vote in person and that she would pick up the citizen’s absentee ballot.

    Heredia is also accused of misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot. She had instructed voters on which candidate to select on their absentee ballots, and had admitted to not submitting an absentee ballot distribution list to the city of Bridgeport clerk’s office.

    Castillo is accused of failing to maintain an absentee ballot distribution list, misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot, and failing to sign as an assister on an absentee ballot application in August 2019.

    Edmonds is accused of being present when four voters filled out their absentee ballots and took possession of them when she left their home. She is also accused of failing to maintain an absentee ballot distribution list and tampering.

    All four defendants have been released from custody with the expectation of returning to court on June 24.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Steve Bannon Files Emergency Request to Delay Reporting to Prison

    Citizen Frank



    Former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon has filed an emergency request to avoid reporting to prison on July 1 after he was sentenced in October 2022 because he defied a House Jan. 6 committee subpoena.

    The request was filed in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.

    In order to justify his continued release, Bannon’s attorney cited his intention “to vigorously pursue his remaining appeals” in the case.

    Bannon is seeking a decision on his request by June 18, a week from now and less than two weeks before he’s scheduled to start his four-month prison stint.

    Bannon has already appealed the ruling in his case, but it was denied. If his request is approved, he will continue to remain out of prison and delay his four-month sentence.

    The former White House adviser is one of a few associates of the former president, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Trump adviser Peter Navarro, to face criminal charges.

    Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝


    Israel Eliminates Senior Hezbollah Official; Highest Ranking Officer Neutralized Since Oct. 7

    Citizen Frank



    Reports are emerging that the IDF hit a significant Hezbollah target in Lebanon on Tuesday afternoon.

    According to the reports, an Israeli strike in Jouya, in southern Lebanon, killed at least four Hezbollah officials. At least one of the members was a high-ranking field officer.

    A Hezbollah commander killed in an Israeli strike late on Tuesday on the southern Lebanon town of Joya was the most senior member of the group to be killed in eight months of hostilities with Israel, a security source told Reuters.

    Hezbollah identified the killed commander by his rank in a statement, naming him as Taleb Abdallah.

    While the IDF has not released a statement, anonymous sources say this was a big hit.

    The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the commander’s role in Hezbollah was as significant as that of Wissam Tawil, a senior Hezbollah commander killed in an Israeli strike in January.

    An unconfirmed report on X says that the IDF received intel about a secret meeting and decided to crash the party.

    This comes only days after the heroic rescue of four hostages, which is now being called Operation Arnon. In the aftermath, protests have erupted around the U.S. and international criticism has mounted. Did we actually think that Israel would be celebrated for one of the most daring, masterful rescue operations in history? They could cure cancer, and somehow, it would be turned against them.

    Chaos erupted in New York as protestors called for a “Day of Rage” in vengeance for the attack. Others actually organized a funeral procession for the fallen “martyrs” (or, as some like to call them, monsters). Protestors also congregated in front of the Nova Festival exhibit honoring those who were murdered.

    And what does the IDF do? It keeps on keeping on, unphased. They are here to show the enemies that they will not back down.

    The hostilities with the Iran-backed proxy have caused many Israelis to be displaced from their homes. Israel has been sending a clear message that they mean business. It is reported that 300 Hezbollah members have been taken out by Israeli forces since Oct. 7.

    Also on Tuesday, the IDF struck a “significant” compound in response to a downed drone.

    “Three Hezbollah members were killed by nine Israeli missile strikes that targeted a convoy of tankers and a building” in a village in Hermel District on the border with Syria, the Hezbollah source told AFP, adding that three people were also wounded.

    This strike is one of the deepest locations within Lebanon that Israel has hit.

    The hostilities between Israel and the terrorist group on their northern front have seemed to be getting closer and closer to all-out war. The only chance that there may be to prevent this would be strong and swift military action now. Regardless, what Israel has shown in the last eight months is that they are here to stay and ready to fight.

    “Whoever thinks that they can harm us and we will sit idly by is making a big mistake,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday.

    “We are prepared for a very strong action in the north.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Oprah Hospitalized for ‘Very Serious’ Stomach Issues

    Citizen Frank



    Oprah Winfrey is recovering after being admitted to a hospital for “very serious” stomach problems.

    Gayle King shared details about her good friend’s medical emergency during the Tuesday, June 11, episode of CBS Mornings.

    “She had some kind of stomach thing — stomach flu — where stuff was coming out of both ends. I won’t get too graphic,” said King. “But needless to say, she ended up in the hospital, dehydration, she had an IV. So it was a very serious thing.”

    “She will be okay,” King added. “I hope she’s not mad at me for sharing that detail.”

    King brought up Winfrey because the talk show titan missed a scheduled appearance on CBS Mornings to introduce her latest book club selection, Familiaris, by novelist David Wroblewski. The book is a follow-up to Wroblewski’s debut 2008 novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which Winfrey also endorsed.

    Instead of being interviewed by the media mogul, the author discussed his new book with the morning show’s three hosts.

    Hours after King revealed why Winfrey was absent, the Oprah Daily Instagram account released a statement saying the mogul is on the mend.

    “Ms. Winfrey is recovering following a stomach virus and received an IV due to dehydration at the recommendation of her doctor. She is resting and feeling better every day,” read the statement signed by a spokesperson for Oprah.

    Winfrey, 70, just recently completed the press run for The Color Purple remake, which she co-produced.

    The film was nominated for an Oscar and won 11 NAACP Image Awards — including Outstanding Motion Picture; Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture; Outstanding Actress for Fantasia Barrino; Outstanding Supporting Actor for Colman Domingo; and Outstanding Supporting Actress for Taraji P. Henson.

    In a December interview, Winfrey told People magazine she was using an unnamed weight loss medication as a “maintenance tool.” Among the side effects of Ozempic and other semaglutides are stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Kevin Spacey Breaks Down in Tears as He Reveals He’s Broke

    Citizen Frank



    Kevin Spacey is on the brink of bankruptcy due to his million-dollar legal fees and has been forced to sell his home.

    The disgraced Hollywood actor admitted on Piers Morgan Uncensored to being ‘handsy’ and ‘pushing boundaries’ despite being cleared of sexually assaulting four men last year.

    He revealed that he has battled suicide thoughts since he was charged with indecent assault against four men in 2018.

    Asked where he is living now and if he is going to file for bankruptcy, the former House of Cards star, 64, said: ‘This week, where I have been living in Baltimore, is being foreclosed on.

    ‘My house is being sold at auction.

    ‘I’m not quite sure where I’m going to live now, but I have been in Baltimore since we started shooting House of Cards there.

    ‘It’s been a couple of times when I thought I was going to file, but we’ve managed to sort of dodge it, at least as of today.

    ‘I still owe a lot of legal bills that I have not been able to pay.

    ‘Many millions, yes. The house itself is many millions.’

    When asked by Morgan what he intends to do in the near future, Spacey said: ‘Get back on the horse.’

    He went on to say he’d spoken to a ‘significant’ number of men to personally apologise for his former conduct.

    When asked by Morgan about what he considered bad behaviour, he said: ‘Pushing the boundaries.

    ‘Being too handsy, touching someone sexually in a way that I didn’t know at the time they didn’t want. I personally, I have caressed people, I have been gentle with people, that is the way that I am.

    ‘You’re making a pass at someone, you don’t want to be aggressive. You want to be gentle. You want to see if they’re going to respond positively.

    ‘I am absolutely 150 per cent prepared to take accountability for those things that I did and the mistakes that I made. ‘Bad, bad, bad behaviour sometimes.’

    Spacey was one of the most recognised faces in Hollywood until allegations of sexual misconduct were made in 2017, with streaming giant Netflix cutting ties with the actor.

    He was accused of abusing his fame and power to carry out nine sex attacks on four men during his tenure as artistic director of the Old Vic theatre. But he insisted the claims were ‘madness’ and accused the claimants of ‘lying for money’.

    In July 2023, the actor was dramatically cleared of sexually assaulting the four men following a high-profile trial at Southwark Crown Court in which Sir Elton John gave evidence in his defence.

    After being linked to Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell, being pictured with the convicted felon during a tour at Buckingham Palace in 2002, Spacey denied ever having been to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s Island.

    When quizzed about his friendship with the American, who died in prison in 2019, Spacey said: ‘He was not my friend. I am not a confidante. I’ve never spent time with him.’

    During his interview with Morgan, Spacey also claimed he was passed on a message of support from King Charles amid his legal battle.

    Spacey smiled as he told Morgan that although he hadn’t been directly contacted from the 75-year-old monarch he had ‘heard a message’.

    ‘And I’m very grateful for that,’ he said.

    But he quickly shut down the conversation as he added that he ‘didn’t want to drag him in to all of this’ while seemingly pointing towards the King’s cancer battle as he added: ‘He’s got a lot on his plate and I wish him the very best.’

    MailOnline has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.

    Spacey said Charles had been supportive of him since he was made artistic director of The Old Vic in 2003 where he would come to watch the productions at the London theatre.

    ‘We were very fortunate that when he was the Prince of Wales he loved The Old Vic, he believed in it… I was always honoured to be able to do what I could for The Prince’s Trust,’ he said.

    ‘And I wish him all the best with his health.’

    It was Charles who presented Spacey with his honorary CBE in 2010 for his services to drama, and again in 2016 when he received an honorary knighthood.

    Spacey also addressed his sexuality, on the same day as allegations made against him in 2017, and came out as gay in a statement.

    He said: ‘I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man.’

    Speaking for the first time about his sexuality, Spacey told Morgan said: ‘I was closeted as a man, and I was fiercely closeted for a very long time, and now that I am out, regardless of the fact that I came out in a way that was not the best coming out party ever, I would like to try to be as positive a voice for those who are experiencing difficulty in embracing their own selves and their own lives.’

    Asked about his current relationships, meeting a partner and what he had learnt, he said: ‘Well, if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that a first move doesn’t have to be physical.

    ‘So I am hopeful and I believe that I will be able to meet someone who is willing to judge me for what they experience and not from headlines.’

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝


    Joey Chestnut Is Out of 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Beef Over Vegan Franks

    Citizen Frank



    The hot dog news from Coney Island is hard to swallow.

    Joey Chestnut, perennial winner of the annual July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition, is out of this year’s beef barf over a deal he made to represent a different weiner brand, The Post has learned.

    The brand is Impossible Foods, according to sources. The leading maker of meatless “meats” is known for its Impossible Burger which contains a laboratory-synthesized substance called “heme.” It recently launched a frankfurter impostor that’s “made from plants.”

    The Nathan’s contest at the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues, one block from the famous Boardwalk, has been a Coney Island tradition since 1916.

    California-born Chestnut has won it 16 times, including every year since 2016. He gobbled a world’s record 76 dogs and buns in 2021 and kept his title with a paltry 62 down the hatch last year.

    A rep for Major League Eating (MLE), which Nathan’s sanctions to run the event, said the organizers bent over backwards to meet Chestnut’s various other demands. They even agreed to let him participate in a rival Labor Day dog-eating fest to be taped for TV as long as no hot dog brand was mentioned.

    But they said they drew the line on letting Chestnut pitch for a different hot dog brand.

    A source said Chestnut was paid $200,000 to appear in the Nathan’s contest last year, and was offered a $1.2 million, four-year contract going forward.

    “The two sides could still come to a resolution before July 4, but it depends on Joey,” an insider said.

    “He’s the Michael Jordan of competitive eating. But imagine if Michael Jordan said to Nike, ‘I love being the face of Nike but I want to do commercials for Adidas too,” the source said.

    If Chestnut’s out for good, leading sportsbook Bovada called Geoffrey Esper, who came in second last year for eating 49 hot dogs, this year’s favorite at -225 odds.

    MLE said in a statement: “We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut has chosen to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs rather than competing in the 2024 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest.

    “MLE and Nathan’s went to great lengths in recent months to accommodate Joey and his management team, agreeing to the appearance fee and allowing Joey to compete in a rival, unbranded hot dog eating contest on Labor Day.

    “For nearly two decades we have worked under the same basic hot dog exclusivity provisions. However, it seems that Joey and his managers have prioritized a new partnership with a different brand over our long-time relationship.

    “Joey Chestnut is an American hero. We would love nothing more than to have him at the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. We hope he returns when he is not representing a rival brand.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Hunter Biden Found Guilty on All Charges

    Citizen Frank



    Hunter Biden, 54, became the first child of a sitting president to be convicted of a crime Tuesday after a federal jury found him guilty of three counts related to lying about his drug use in order to buy a gun.

    The panel of six men and six women deliberated for three hours across two days before convicting the 54-year-old of making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm, making a false statement related to information required to be kept by a federally licensed firearms dealer, and possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of or addict to a controlled substance.

    The first son stared at the jurors, who had serious expressions on their faces, and made no visible reaction as the verdict was read out by a court official — except to slightly nod his head as the last “guilty” was spoken.

    Hunter’s wife Melissa Cohen Biden sat in the gallery behind him, next to her husband’s “sugar brother,” attorney Kevin Morris. She also remained impassive at the news of the conviction.

    Hunter then hugged his lead defense lawyer, Abbe Lowell, and other members of his legal team.

    First lady Jill Biden, who was present at every day of the trial except one, was caught out by the speed with which the verdict was reached — entering the courthouse still wearing sunglasses about five minutes after it had been read.

    Judge Maryellen Noreika did not set a sentencing date Tuesday, but noted that such hearings normally take place about four months after conviction — which would mean Hunter would have to return to court as his father’s re-election campaign nears the final stretch.

    The first son faces up to 25 years behind bars — though a lighter sentence is much more likely since he has no prior convictions.

    After the verdict, Hunter huddled in a side room with his family for roughly 15 minutes before saying, “Let’s go” and heading to the elevator with Jill and Melissa in tow and flashing a smile.

    A few moments later, the first son left the federal courthouse in Wilmington holding hands with his wife. He touched his stepmother Jill on the shoulder before getting in a black SUV guarded by Secret Service agents — and ignored the nearby pack of reporters.

    Special counsel David Weiss, whose office brought the charges, told reporters in a brief statement after the verdict that the prosecution “was not just about addiction, a disease that haunts families across the United States, including Hunter Biden. This case was about the illegal choices the defendant made in the throes of addiction.”

    “No one in this country is above the law,” added Weiss, who was not in court when the verdict was read. “Everyone must be accountable for their actions.”

    Lowell indicated he would appeal the verdict, saying he was “naturally disappointed” and would “continue to vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available to Hunter.”

    The first son himself said he was “more grateful today for the love and support I experienced this last week from Melissa, my family, my friends, and my community than I am disappointed by the outcome.

    “Recovery is possible by the grace of God,” Hunter Biden added, “and I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time.”

    Prosecutors Leo Wise and Derek Hines had argued President Biden’s son knowingly fibbed on a gun application form that he did not use controlled substances before walking out of a Wilmington shop with a Colt Cobra .38-caliber revolver on Oct. 12, 2018.

    In fact, Hunter Biden was hooked on crack cocaine at the time, a fact he acknowledged in his own 2021 memoir — which the government used as evidence against him, along with witness testimony, the first son’s own communications, and data taken from his infamous laptop.

    Judge Noreika had ruled before trial that prosecutors didn’t have to prove that Hunter was high the day he purchased the weapon.

    Jurors heard a plethora of excerpts from the audiobook of Hunter’s book — narrated by the first son himself — describing his struggle with addiction and how he had a “superpower of finding crack cocaine anytime, anywhere.”

    The jury also saw copious messages in which Hunter appeared to be pursuing drug deals and talked about being high or how he was using — including texting his dealer in the spring of 2018 asking: “Can you get baby powder, the real soft stuff.”

    Jurors heard from witnesses including the Biden scion’s ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle; his ex-girlfriend, Zoe Kestan; and from his sister-in-law-turned-lover Hallie Biden, who was married to Hunter’s brother Beau until he died of brain cancer in 2015.

    Buhle testified about discovering Hunter used crack the same year as Beau’s death, when she found her then-husband’s pipe on the porch of their Washington, DC home. She said that when he used he was “not himself,” and was “angry [and] short-tempered.”

    Kestan told jurors about dating Hunter for roughly nine months in 2018, a wild period during which she got a front row seat to him smoking crack “every 20 minutes or so.”

    Hallie testified about finding the gun inside Hunter’s Ford Raptor pickup on Oct. 23, 2018 — 11 days after he bought it — and throwing the weapon away in a panic at a Wilmington grocery store.

    Moments later, Hallie recounted, Hunter flew into a rage upon learning she got rid of the .38 and ordered her to retrieve it.

    But when she returned to the store roughly 30 minutes later, the gun was no longer there. (It was later found and turned in by an elderly man who had been searching the trash for recyclables.)

    Lowell told jurors that their client didn’t knowingly lie on the gun application form but rather argued he was in a “deep state of denial” about his drug dependency.

    The defense further described Gordon Cleveland, the salesman at the StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply, as a “whale hunter” who pushed Hunter into buying the weapon.

    Lowell also tried to poke holes in the prosecution’s timeline of Hunter’s addiction in an attempt to show he hadn’t fallen off of the drug wagon, but was instead struggling with alcoholism.

    Hunter had pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case, although in June 2023 he was slated to take a guilty plea — only for the deal with prosecutors to blow up in court after Hunter’s team discovered he wouldn’t receive blanket immunity from possible future charges.

    The verdict is not the end of the first son’s legal trouble.

    He’s scheduled to face a case in Los Angeles federal court beginning Sept. 5 for allegedly evading $1.4 million in federal income tax for the years 2016 through 2019.

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝


    REVEALED: What Trump Said in Probation Interview in Push for Lighter Sentence

    Citizen Frank



    Donald Trump completed his pre-sentencing interview with a New York City probation officer from his home in Florida on Monday.

    Along with attorney Todd Blanche, Trump sat for the interview on Monday afternoon ahead of his sentencing scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 11 after he was found guilty last month of 34 felony charges in his Manhattan hush money trial.

    ‘The President and his team will continue to fight the lawless Manhattan DA Witch Hunt,’ a source familiar with the proceedings claimed.

    Pre-sentencing meetings are usually the time when the defense seeks to lighten the potential sentencing. Additionally, the legal team can submit to the judge letters of support from the friends and family of the 2024 Republican presidential candidate.

    Trump’s legal team is scheduled to submit sentencing recommendations on Thursday, a source familiar with the plan revealed.

    The virtual interview was ‘unusual’ because criminals are usually required to attend the procedure in-person and critics claim it exhibits the ‘special treatment’ the former president is receiving in his felony conviction.

    Judge Juan Merchan could sentence the former president to anything from probation to a maximum 20-year sentence in state prison in New York.

    A New York City official familiar with the interview with probation officers told CNN that Trump answered all questions posed and was described as ‘polite, respectful and accommodating.’

    Another source familiar with the proceedings explained: ‘Earlier today, President Trump completed a routine interview with [the] New York Probation Office. The interview was uneventful and lasted less than thirty minutes.’

    Defendants are typically asked during pre-sentencing interviews about their conviction and basic background information.

    While defendants are not required to cooperate with routine pre-sentencing investigations, a judge can view that negatively heading into the sentencing.

    The fact that Trump was able to have his pre-sentencing meeting over Zoom angered some critics who claim the presumed GOP presidential nominee is receiving special treatment. Specifically, some pointed to the fact that due to the virtual nature of the interview, Trump was not subjected to drug testing, which is typical at a pre-sentencing interview.

    ‘There’s been no explanation whatsoever for why this convicted felon gets to do what would normally be mandatory in-person meetings over Zoom, but we can already see the value in this special treatment for Trump, as it’s *essential* that he hide any illicit drug use from voters,’ author Seth Abramson said in a post on X.

    He continued: ‘There is no excuse for Trump not being in NYC. He has a home there. He has a private jet. He’s supposedly a billionaire. His private attorney will fly with him anywhere in the world.’

    ‘Yet if this were you or me we would *have* to go to NYC, whereas *he* is asked to do *nothing*,’ Abramson concluded.

    Other users also took issue with the virtual interview.

    One user posted to X: ‘Can’t wait to see how they spin this as not being special treatment,’ and another wrote: ‘He’s definitely getting special treatment.’

    ‘Unfortunately, he still gets special treatment,’ another user posted. ‘There was no drug test and a Zoom meeting with his lawyer to hold his fragile hand. The American justice system is looking increasingly weak.’

    However, Former Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Corrections and Probation Martin Horn, told NBC News a virtual interview was likely ‘better for the probation officer’ because an in-person meeting with Trump could ‘be very disruptive to the probation office and unfair to other defendants who might not want to be identified.’

    Following the interview on Monday, the probation officer will now report to Judge Merchan ahead of sentencing, which is set just four days before the start of the Republican National Convention.

    The convention will take place this year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Trump is expected to be nominated for a third time as the GOP candidate for president.

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    WATCH: Biden Completely Freezes as VP and Others Dance Next to Him at Juneteenth Event

    Citizen Frank



    President Biden appeared to freeze during a Juneteenth celebration at the White House on Monday.

    Biden, 81, was filmed standing still as stone while those around him, including Vice President Kamala Harris, clapped and danced to a concert featuring gospel singer Kirk Franklin.

    Video shows Biden staring blankly and not moving an inch for about 30 seconds before Philonise Floyd — the brother of George Floyd, whose murder triggered nationwide riots in 2020 — noticed the president and put his arm around him. Biden then smiles as Floyd leans in to say something, and they bump fists after exchanging a few words.

    Republicans, who have sought to make the president’s advanced age an issue in the 2024 election, were quick to deride the president.

    “Why isn’t Biden moving?” the Republican National Committee’s rapid response account questioned on X.

    “Lights are on but no one’s home,” former President Trump’s campaign posted.

    “Who said Biden’s got no rhythm?” quipped Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

    The incident echoed two occasions last year when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. froze in front of reporters at the Capitol and at an event in Covington, Kentucky. McConnell, who was 81 at the time, later announced he would step down from leadership after the election and would not seek re-election when his current term expires in 2027.

    Critics say Biden is declining in his old age and can’t handle the responsibilities of the presidency. Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a report detailing instances in which the president has demonstrated a lack of clarity in private meetings with staff and members of Congress.

    But the White House and Cabinet members have vigorously pushed back against these claims, and defended the president’s mental acuity and ability to perform on the job.

    “Congressional Republicans, foreign leaders and nonpartisan national-security experts have made clear in their own words that President Biden is a savvy and effective leader who has a deep record of legislative accomplishment,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said. “Now, in 2024, House Republicans are making false claims as a political tactic that flatly contradict previous statements made by themselves and their colleagues.”

    Earlier this year, a report from Biden’s own Department of Justice’s special counsel called him an “elderly man with a poor memory” at the end of an investigation into his mishandling of classified documents dating back to his Senate tenure, which ultimately saved him from having charges brought against him by Special Counsel Robert Hur.

    Biden has been prone to gaffes going back to when he was vice president, but the frequency and nature of his verbal missteps in recent years appear to be more significant.

    In May, Biden seemed to have a break with reality when he confused the timing of the COVID pandemic by a factor of years when he said, “And when I was vice president, things were kind of bad during the pandemic, and, what happened was Barack said to me: ‘Go to Detroit — and help fix it.’” The pandemic happened years after Biden’s time as vice president.

    The president has, on several occasions, referenced dead people as being alive. In 2022, at a White House event, Biden called out former Rep. Jackie Walorski during a speech, “Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie?” Walorski had died in a car crash the previous month.

    At a campaign rally in February, Biden told the audience, “Right after I was elected, I went to a G7 meeting in southern England. And I sat down and said, ‘America is back!’ and Mitterand from Germany — I mean France — looked at me and said, ‘How long you back for?'” Mitterand was president from 1981 to 1995 and died in 1996.

    In 2021, Biden claimed he had spoken with the late German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who had died in 2017, while recalling past conversations during fundraising events.

    At 81, Biden is the oldest man to serve as president in U.S. history. If he is re-elected in November, he will be 86 when his second term ends. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, former President Trump, is just four years younger at 77.

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    Ex-Stripper: My iCloud Was Hacked and Content Deleted When I Learned I Was Having Hunter Biden’s Child

    Citizen Frank



    It took Hunter Biden four years and a paternity test to finally admit her fathered a child with ex Lunden Roberts. Their daughter Navy was born in August 2018 after about a year of having what Roberts describes as an on again, off again romance with the now-first son.

    Roberts and Biden’s relationship soured after she found out she was expecting, and she also experienced some bizarre occurrences – the strangest of which involved her cell phones. On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Roberts to discuss her forthcoming book, Out of the Shadows, and what happened to her after she got pregnant.

    Mobile Mystery

    Megyn noted there are “a fair amount” of “whacky stories” in Roberts’ book, but one of the weirdest has to do with what happened to her cell phones after she learned she was pregnant.

    As Roberts explained, she was living in Washington, DC, at the time and had two mobile devices because of issues with her coverage. The Arkansas native said one phone was serviced by AT&T, the other by Sprint, and both mysteriously stopped working at the same time.

    Roberts said that on the night she found out she was pregnant both phones “crashed” in front of her and her friends. She recalled that the screens went black and had static-like green and purple lines running through them.

    But the story didn’t end there. Roberts went to purchase new phones the next day. When she signed into her Apple iCloud account on them, she discovered large portions of her history were missing. “Just about everything with Hunter was gone,” Roberts said.

    To this day, she doesn’t know what happened. “So, what do you think happened there,” Megyn asked. “Do you think given that he was, at that point, the son of the former vice president, there were government forces trying to protect him potentially?”

    Roberts didn’t rule it out. “I don’t know exactly what happened,” she said. “You always wonder… that has always been in the back of my mind. Was, you know, somebody trying to protect him and how far would they go to do that?”

    The Betrayal

    As Roberts writes in the book, Biden was stunned to learn she was pregnant. While he was initially supportive, his attitude changed over time. “He started to just ghost it and avoid it, so I knew the right thing to do was to come home [to Arkansas] and be surrounded by my family and get through that time,” she told Megyn. “I felt like he thought that I was after his money or after him, like I did this on purpose… and that upset me.”

    In her view, he was “looking for a way out” of the responsibility. Biden spent years besmirching Roberts’ character and accusing her of lying about their relationship until a paternity test finally confirmed her claims. Biden even dismissed Roberts in his 2021 memoir as “hardly the dating type,” a claim that still hurts her.

    “I guess I always thought that he would step up and do the right thing because I… always saw the good in Hunter, so I was kind of blindsided,” she concluded. “But at the same time, I know my story, and I know I know my truth, and I know what I went through. That is something that I can speak on.”

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