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Man accused of trying to intimidate judge in Potter trial

Man accused of trying to intimidate judge in Potter trial

A Minneapolis man has been charged with trying to intimidate the judge presiding over the manslaughter trial of the former officer charged in Daunte Wright’s deathByThe Associated PressDecember 4, 2021, 4:11 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleMINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis man has been charged with trying to intimidate the judge presiding over the manslaughter trial of the former officer charged in Daunte Wright’s death.The Star Tribune reports Cortez A. Rice was charged last week with tampering with a judicial officer, a felony.Rice allegedly went into the Loring Park condominium building where he thought Judge Regina Chu lived and made comments meant to intimidate her into allowing broadcast coverage of the trial of former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kimberly Potter, who is charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Wright, 20, in April.The criminal complaint was unsealed late Friday afternoon, four days after the 32-year-old Rice was booked into jail in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. It was not immediately clear why he was in that part of Wisconsin. A warrant has been issued in Hennepin County for his arrest and return to Minnesota.Rice livestreamed himself on Nov. 6 standing outside the door of the 12-floor unit he claimed belonged to Chu as protesters gathered outside, demanding that Potter’s trial be broadcast.Chu later approved live video coverage of the trial, but she made clear that the demands of protesters were not a factor.

Alabama inmate who survived execution bid buried with family

Alabama inmate who survived execution bid buried with family

An Alabama inmate who survived an execution attempt and died years later of natural causes was laid to rest in a grave dug by family and friendsBy JAY REEVES Associated PressDecember 4, 2021, 3:38 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleBIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An Alabama inmate who survived an execution attempt and died years later of natural causes was laid to rest in a grave dug by family and friends, his lawyer said.Doyle Lee Hamm, who was convicted of capital murder in the slaying of a motel clerk in 1987, was buried Friday afternoon beside his parents, siblings and other relatives at a cemetery in the northwestern Alabama town of Cherokee, said attorney Bernard Harcourt, who represented Hamm for years.“It was a simple country service with about 35 persons in attendance, including family and friends – his brother, nephews and nieces, grandniece, and many friends and men from the Kairos ministry,” said a statement by Harcourt.Hamm, who was 64, died last Sunday. Diagnosed in 2014 with B-cell lymphoma, Hamm argued before his scheduled execution in February 2018 that the blood cancer had progressed while the state argued that he was in remission.Alabama prison officials tried to execute Hamm by lethal injection but had to stop because medical workers couldn’t find a suitable vein to connect the intravenous line used to send lethal chemicals into his body. Hamm and the state reached an agreement the following month that prevented further execution attempts, but he remained on death row at Holman Prison because of his capital conviction.“Nature finally afforded Doyle the kind of benevolence that he never received from the state, nor our society, at any time in his life. May he now rest in peace,” said Harcourt.Hamm was convicted in the slaying of Patrick Cunningham, who was shot in the head while working an overnight desk shift at a motel in Cullman. Police said $410 was taken during the holdup.Hamm gave police a confession and he was convicted after two accomplices testified against him in exchange for being allowed to plead guilty to lesser offenses, court documents showed.

Michigan school shooting: Tipster led Detroit police to parents of suspect with $10K reward on offer

Michigan school shooting: Tipster led Detroit police to parents of suspect with $10K reward on offer

A tipster led Detroit police to the location of the parents of Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley early Saturday.James and Jennifer Crumbley were taken into custody following an extensive manhunt for the couple, who had failed to appear for their arraignment on Friday.The pair – who were unarmed – “appeared to be hiding” in the basement of a commercial building at 1111 Bellevue Street and gave themselves up to police, according to Fox 2 Detroit.MICHIGAN SHOOTING SUSPECT ETHAN CRUMBLEY’S PARENTS ARRESTED IN DETROIT AFTER MANHUNTActing on a tip, officers activated their Special Response Team, set up a perimeter and did surveillance. The Crumbleys’ car was left in the building’s parking lot.A business owner called 911 after seeing the car and a woman running away from it. Images of the car and the couple had been posted in the media.The couple was taken to Oakland County Jail for processing following their arrest.
James Robert Crumbley, 15-year-old Ethan Robert Crumbley and Jennifer Lynn Crumbley pose in jail booking photographs taken at the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan.
(Oakland County Jail)U.S. Marshals offered rewards of up to $10,000 for information leading to the capture of each of the Crumbleys. In an overnight news conference, Detroit Police Chief James E. White told reporters they appeared “distressed” during their arrest and are likely to face additional charges. He said they had spoken to officers, but did not divulge any further details.A third person who may have let them into the “art studio” is also being scrutinized by investigators and could face charges, the chief noted.”They didn’t break in. somebody let them in,” White said. “We don’t know the relationship yet. That’s active. That person could face charges.”MICHIGAN SCHOOL SHOOTING: ETHAN CRUMBLEY’S MOTHER TEXTED HIM ‘DON’T DO IT,’ PROSECUTORS SAYWhite said he could not be prouder of his fellow law enforcement officers and the tipster. “Tonight, again, our community came through for us,” he said.The Crumbleys face involuntary manslaughter charges in connection to Tuesday’s fatal Oxford High School shooting. Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announced the charges in a press conference just after noon on Friday.According to Fox 2, sources said the couple had been spotted around 2-3 p.m. ET Friday near Rochester Hills, and allegedly withdrew $4,000 from a bank.
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald addresses the media in her office, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, in Pontiac, Mich. McDonald filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who is accused of killing four students at a Michigan high school. McDonald says the gun used in the shootings at Oxford High School was purchased by James Crumbley a week ago and given to the boy. 
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)The couple’s lawyers had said that they had left the area for their safety after the shooting, but planned to return for their arraignment.”The Crumbleys left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety. They are returning to the area to be arraigned. They are not fleeing from law enforcement despite recent comments in media reports,” attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman previously told Fox News.Ethan Crumbly, 15 was arrested after he allegedly opened fire at the school with a gun his father purchased on Black Friday, killing four students and wounding seven other people. According to authorities, Crumbley’s parents refused to take their son out of school after staff said he had exhibited warning signs of violence and needed counseling within 48 hours.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe younger Crumbley was charged Wednesday with one count of terrorism, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm while committing a felony.Under Michigan law, the involuntary manslaughter charge filed against the parents can be pursued if authorities believe someone contributed to a situation where there was a high chance of harm or death.Fox News’ Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Scenes from Week 1 of Ghislaine Maxwell's sex-abuse trial

Scenes from Week 1 of Ghislaine Maxwell's sex-abuse trial

NEW YORK — The first week of the sex-abuse trial of Ghislaine Maxwell saw the first of her four main accusers taking the witness stand to give emotional testimony accusing the British socialite of coaxing her — at just 14 — into sexual encounters with financier Jeffrey Epstein.The jury at the federal trial in Manhattan also heard from former employees who offered an inside look at a lavish lifestyle Epstein shared with Maxwell, who was his girlfriend and then his employee. Her lawyers say she’s a scapegoat for Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial behind bars.Here are snapshots from a trial drawing international attention:END OF INNOCENCEThe first Maxwell accuser’s story began innocently enough: She was a 14-year-old eating ice cream at a music camp in 1994 when she was approached by Epstein and Maxwell, walking her Yorkie. What followed over the next few years, the accuser said, scarred her for life.The witness — a woman now in her early 40s who was introduced to jurors as “Jane” to protect her privacy — testified that Maxwell and Epstein groomed her by taking her shopping and inviting her and her mother to Epstein’s mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.Soon she was visiting the home by herself when, she said, Maxwell and Epstein lured her into unwanted sexual contact that Maxwell treated as “no big deal.” It was a pattern prosecutors hope to prove was repeated over and over with other girls and young women.On Friday, the prosecution unfolded a green massage table from the Epstein home to corroborate the accuser’s testimony that massages were used as pretense for the sexual encounters.The defense demanded to know why “Jane” had taken so long to come forward.“I was scared,” she said, choking back tears. “I was embarrassed, ashamed. I didn’t want anybody to know any of this about me.”DEAF, DUMB AND BLINDProsecutors say Maxwell created “a culture of silence” to shroud her and Epstein’s crimes. And a piece of evidence seemed to put that culture in writing.Those instructions were part of a 58-page booklet with rules for staff working at the mansion. As if to drive home the point about keeping Maxwell and Epstein’s secrets, prosecutors say Epstein ordered the construction of a detached staff quarters surrounded by a tall wall that prevented any view of the main house.Juan Alessi, a former estate manager, testified he considered the privacy measure “a kind of warning that I was supposed to be blind, deaf and dumb, to say nothing of their lives.”Alessi recalled seeing “Jane” several times at the residence and noticed she looked underage. But he also said he never saw her enter the master bedroom with Epstein — or noticed anything else suspicious about her and the revolving door of young women that would have indicated sex crimes were occurring in his workplace.He claimed no one alerted him to any misconduct.“I wish they would have because I would have done something,” he said.DEFENSE ON THE ATTACKThe defense displayed some of the tactics it plans to use to discredit “Jane” and three other key accusers who are slated to testify before the end of the month.Maxwell’s lawyers are seeking to portray their accounts of abuse as unreliable, suggesting they have faulty memories and are being manipulated by lawyers encouraging them to play up Maxwell’s role in civil claims after Epstein died. One of the lawyers went so far as to infer that “Jane” — a veteran television actor — could be using her acting skills to embellish her testimony.The lawyer ran down some of the plot lines “Jane” has tackled over the years: protective mom, victim of bullying, someone stalked by serial killers, prostitute. “Not my favorite role,” the witness said of the last.When asked whether her background made her adept giving a “melodramatic and sentimental treatment of interpersonal situations,” she demurred.“Hopefully, not melodramatic,” she said. “Just dramatic.”UP NEXTThree more main accusers are waiting in the wings to testify against Maxwell. When that will happen remains unclear, with prosecutors staying tight-lipped about the order of their witnesses.But the defense’s opening statement gave hints about the accusers up next.A Maxwell lawyer said one is a psychotherapist who met Epstein in New York City when she was 16 and later visited his ranch in New Mexico. Another is a former model from Britain who once dated one of Maxwell’s friends. The third is someone the defense claims introduced Epstein to other victims who are not in the case.Other evidence the prosecution still plans to introduce: flight logs of Epstein’s private planes — prosecutors say they confirm that Maxwell, Epstein and alleged victims traveled together — and FedEx records confirming that Epstein sent a gift to one victim when she was just 15 years old.It’s projected the trial could last another five weeks.———Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz and Larry Neumeister contributed to this report.

Joel Osteen’s Houston church had $600K inside wall from 2014 robbery, plumber claims

Joel Osteen’s Houston church had $600K inside wall from 2014 robbery, plumber claims

A Texas plumber was stunned when he found nearly 500 envelopes full of cash inside Lakewood Church in Houston, where Joel Osteen is the pastor.The plumber told the story Thursday when he called in to Houston radio station KILT-FM, according to the city’s KPRC-TV. “Morning Bullpen” host George Lindsey told the TV station he was shocked by the caller’s account.”There was a loose toilet in the wall, and we removed the tile. Went to go remove the toilet and I moved some insulation away and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall,” the caller said. “I was like ‘Oh wow.’ I got my flashlight, shined up in there.”CALIFORNIA’S ZERO-BAIL POLICY SETS FREE 14 SMASH-GRAB ROBBERY SUSPECTS, LAPD CHIEF SAYS
Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen is seen at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. 
(Associated Press)The envelopes were filled with cash and checks, according to the caller.Afterward, the plumber said he reported the find to the maintenance supervisor.”I went ahead and contacted the maintenance supervisor that was there, and I turned it all in,” the caller said.In March 2014, Lakewood Church reported that $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks had been stolen, in addition to some credit card information.
Lakewood Church in Houston.
(Reuters)At the time, the church said the missing money had been insured. Since then, no arrests have been made in relation to the theft.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPLakewood Church said in a statement that cash and checks were discovered recently during work being done on the church, but did not add how much money was found and did not directly confirm what the plumber said.”Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation. Lakewood has no further comment at this time,” the church said in a statement.
Pastor Joel Osteen.
(Reuters)Houston police said in a statement Friday that officers were dispatched to the church after the discovery was made.Police claim that the recovered checks suggest that the money found in envelopes is related to the 2014 theft.The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Michigan DA Karen McDonald slammed for announcing Crumbley charges at media event — long before arrests

Michigan DA Karen McDonald slammed for announcing Crumbley charges at media event — long before arrests

The Michigan sheriff at the center of the investigation into Tuesday’s deadly Oxford High School shooting said Friday night he was blindsided earlier in the day when the county prosecutor held a news conference announcing charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of the teenage suspect in the case.”I’ve been sheriff for 21 years,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told “NewsNation Now,” “and I’ve never had anyone have a press conference announcing charges before we had the opportunity to have somebody in custody.””I’ve been sheriff for 21 years, and I’ve never had anyone have a press conference announcing charges before we had the opportunity to have somebody in custody.” — Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Oakland County, Michigan
Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Oakland County, Michigan
(Pool)Also tearing into Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald were an Oakland County undersheriff and two lawyers representing the Crumbleys, according to a report.In an appearance on CNN on Friday night, again before the arrests, McDonald admitted she had no idea where the Crumbleys were located.PARENTS OF MICHIGAN SHOOTING SUSPECT NABBED IN DETROIT AFTER FRANTIC SEARCH: LIVE UPDATESIn front of media cameras earlier Friday, McDonald told reporters that the Crumbleys were each being charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the carnage allegedly unleashed by their 15-year-old son Ethan that left four of his classmates dead and seven other people wounded.Rewards offeredBut after the Democrat’s new conference, the Crumbleys wouldn’t be in the custody of law enforcement until many hours later, after they were declared fugitives and had rewards of $10,000 each offered for their captures. They were ultimately caught in Detroit early Saturday, after their parked vehicle had been spotted.Bouchard said during his TV interview he was surprised by the timing of DA McDonald’s appearance before the cameras – because the Crumbleys hadn’t been arrested first.MICHIGAN SCHOOL SHOOTING: ETHAN CRUMBLEY’S MOTHER TEXTED HIM ‘DON’T DO IT,’ PROSECUTORS SAY”We actually talk to, even our judges, that if they’re in court, and decide to remand somebody to custody, to not say that before we have deputies in the courtroom,” the sheriff continued, “because the natural indicators typically are that as soon as somebody knows they’re gonna be arrested, they go in the wind.”
James and Jennifer Crumbley.
(Oakland County Sheriff’s Office)Also criticizing McDonald on Friday was Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe, who questioned a reported claim by McDonald that she had been told by an assistant in her office that police had “eyes” on the parents in case they tried to flee.That McDonald claim simply wasn’t true, McCabe told the Detroit News.”We didn’t even know they had been charged with anything until we were informed [Friday] morning by the media,” McCabe told the News.”We didn’t even know they had been charged with anything until we were informed [Friday] morning by the media.” — Michael McCabe, Oakland County undersheriffLater Friday, after McDonald appeared on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show to defend her actions in the response to the shooting, McCabe again told the News he was questioning McDonald’s account.”No one ever talked to an assistant prosecutor and no one ever told anyone we had eyes on [the Crumbleys],” McCabe told the newspaper. “That just didn’t happen.”Lawyers take issueMeanwhile, Crumbley attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman also took issue with McDonald for holding her news conference, according to the News.”The prosecutor’s office doesn’t arrest people.” — Karen McDonald, Oakland County prosecuting attorneyThe lawyers claimed the Crumbleys left home Thursday night “for their own safety” following news coverage of their son’s alleged crime. They said they contacted McDonald’s office and told authorities the Crumbleys would turn themselves in Friday.”Instead of communicating with us,” the lawyers told the News on Friday, “the prosecutor held a press conference to announce charges.”Prior to that, the lawyers claimed, the Crumbleys were not planning to flee from law enforcement.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPDuring her CNN appearance, McDonald was asked why the Crumbleys hadn’t been arrested prior to her news conference.”The prosecutor’s office doesn’t arrest people,” she said. She later expressed confidence that the Crumbleys would ultimately be taken into custody.”They will be apprehended, one way or another,” she said.McDonald, 51, was elected Oakland County prosecutor in 2020, after receiving endorsements from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state Attorney General Dana Nessel, among others.

China's communists bash US democracy before Biden summit

China's communists bash US democracy before Biden summit

China’s Communist Party has taken American democracy to task, sharply criticizing a global democracy summit being hosted by President Joe Biden next week and extolling the virtues of its governing systemBy KEN MORITSUGU Associated PressDecember 4, 2021, 8:27 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleBEIJING — China’s Communist Party took American democracy to task on Saturday, sharply criticizing a global democracy summit being hosted by President Joe Biden next week and extolling the virtues of its governing system.Party officials questioned how a polarized country that botched its response to COVID-19 could lecture others, and said that efforts to force others to copy the Western democratic model are “doomed to fail.”Tian Peiyan, the deputy director of the party’s Policy Research Office, said the pandemic exposed defects in the American system. He blamed the high COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. on political disputes and a divided government from the highest to the lowest levels.“Such democracy brings not happiness but disaster to voters,” he said at a news conference to release a government report on what the Communist Party calls its form of democracy, which is firmly under party control.Neither China nor Russia are among about 110 governments that have been invited to Biden’s two-day virtual “Summit for Democracy,” which starts Thursday. The participation of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that China says should be under its rule, has further angered Beijing.U.S.-China relations remain strained despite a virtual summit between Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping last month. The U.S. president has repeatedly framed differences with China in his broader call for the U.S. and its allies to demonstrate that democracies can offer humanity a better path toward progress than autocracies.The Communist Party has ruled China single-handedly since 1949. It says that various views are reflected through consultative bodies and residence committees, but silences most public criticism with censorship and sometimes arrest.The party argues that strong central leadership is needed to maintain stability in a sprawling country that has been riven by division and war over the centuries.“In such a large country with 56 ethnic groups and more than 1.4 billion people, if there is no party leadership, … and we uphold the so-called democracy of the West, it will be easy to mess things up and democracy will work the opposite way,” Tian said.The recent difficulties faced by some Western democracies have given Communist Party leaders more confidence in their system as they try to build China into a global power. State media often cite the chaos of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol after the last presidential election. The report issued Saturday said “today’s world is facing challenges of excessive democracy.”Chinese officials frequently accuse the U.S. and others of using democracy as a cover to try to suppress China’s rise, a charge echoed at the news conference by Xu Lin, the vice minister of the party’s publicity department.“The U.S. calls itself a ‘leader of democracy’ and organizes and manipulates the so-called Summit for Democracy,” he said. “In fact, it cracks down and hampers countries with different social systems and development models in the name of democracy.”Xu called it undemocratic for others to demand their form of democracy, saying they have a mixed track record themselves.“Their domestic governance is messed up, but they point fingers at and criticize other democracies,” he said. “Is this the democracy they advertised?”———Associated Press writer Aamer Madhani in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report.