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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 232)

Ex-Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker told lawmakers he was worried about former prosecutor’s reliability, sources say

Westlake Legal Group Volker720 Ex-Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker told lawmakers he was worried about former prosecutor's reliability, sources say Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox news fnc/politics fnc article 85b3e8c2-c2f9-5143-9ce6-bdadfafdc3a4

Republican lawmakers who were present at ex-Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker’s closed-door marathon interview before three House committees on Thursday seemed confident it disproved any allegations of a “quid pro quo” in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, as sources told Fox News that Volker was worried about the reliability of the Ukrainian prosecutor informing Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Volker abruptly resigned last week after a whistleblower complaint claimed he traveled to Kiev to help Ukrainian officials navigate Trump’s alleged request to investigate 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden, his son Hunter and their business dealings in Ukraine. The complaint also claimed that the envoy connected Giuliani with Ukrainian officials.

Sources familiar with the nine-and-a-half hour interview before the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees told Fox News it was a “clean” and “powerful” interview.

Volker did not think Victor Shokin, the prosecutor investigating Ukrainian firm Burisma — on which Hunter Biden held a board seat — was reliable when he told Giuliani that he was told to back off of the investigation at then-Vice President Joe Biden’s behest, which is why he worried what Giuliani might try to do with Shokin’s claims, according to sources familiar with the testimony.

Text messages obtained by Fox News showed Volker and other U.S. officials battling internally over whether Trump was engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine as he pressed the country to look into the Biden family, reportedly using $400 million in military aid as leverage during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to induce him to have officials investigate the Bidens.

CONGRESSIONAL INTERVIEW WITH TRUMP’S EX-UKRAINE ENVOY BLOWS HOLE IN DEMOCRATS’ ‘QUID PRO QUO’ CLAIMS, GOP LAWMAKER SAYS

Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said Thursday’s interview with Volker “undercut” the Democratic narrative that Trump tried to interfere with an election.

House Democrats launched their impeachment inquiry into Trump, prompted by the whistleblower complaint, after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., made a formal request on Sept. 10 to transmit the complaint to Congress.

“The facts we learned today undercut the salacious narrative that Adam Schiff is using to sell his impeachment ambitions,” Jordan and Nunes said in a joint statement. “We hope the American people get to read the transcript of today’s testimony and see the truth.”

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., was also present at the interview and asserted Thursday on Fox News’ “The Story” that Volker’s testimony disproved the idea of a quid pro quo.

“You really couldn’t have a more professional and more credible witness — and more knowledgable about Ukraine,” Perry said. “I would call Ambassador Volker the star witness in the so-called whistleblower’s report. Everything he said unsubstantiated this claim of a quid pro quo.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

Democrats did not have the same takeaway from Volker’s interview.

“We saw further evidence that there was a shadow shakedown going on and that the lead […] deputy for the president was Rudy Giuliani. You had an experienced diplomat working for free — special envoy Mr. Volker — who, in many ways, was a front for work that was being done on the side parallel to his efforts by Rudy Giuliani,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., as NBC News reported.

Fox News’ Martha MacCallum and Chad Pergram contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Volker720 Ex-Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker told lawmakers he was worried about former prosecutor's reliability, sources say Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox news fnc/politics fnc article 85b3e8c2-c2f9-5143-9ce6-bdadfafdc3a4   Westlake Legal Group Volker720 Ex-Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker told lawmakers he was worried about former prosecutor's reliability, sources say Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox news fnc/politics fnc article 85b3e8c2-c2f9-5143-9ce6-bdadfafdc3a4

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Jury finds Chicago gang member guilty in the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Jury finds Chicago gang member guilty in the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee

CHICAGO — After just a few hours of deliberation late Thursday night, a Cook County jury found a man guilty of first degree murder of Tyshawn Lee, a 9-year-old boy who was shot and killed in one of Chicago’s most horrific crimes.

Jurors found Dwright Boone-Doty guilty of murder in the first degree for shooting the boy in the head after promising to buy him a treat. Boone-Doty led the boy into an alley and executed him in a gang hit that shocked the nation for its brutality.

Boone-Doty and another man, Corey Morgan, were tried before separate juries. Morgan’s jury was still deliberating as of Thursday night.

Several members of the boy’s family held hands as the court read the verdict. Upon hearing the verdict, they began crying.

A third man involved in the murder, Kevin Edwards, has already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for a 25-year prison sentence.

“Tyshawn Lee’s life is over, way too short. Although his life is over, his story isn’t,” state’s attorney Craig Ingleford told the jury earlier in the day during closing arguments. “It’s an ending you get to write. It will never be a happy ending, but it can be a just one.”

Tyshawn was a fourth grader in November 2015 when he was killed by gang members to send a message to his father, an alleged member of a rival gang, prosecutors say. The killing was seen by many as underscoring the viciousness of warring factions in Chicago.

Murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee: Gang members will stand trial

Trial begins: ‘Heinous’ gang-related murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee

Over the past two and a half weeks, the jury has borne witness to the horrifying details of the child’s execution-style murder, with testimony ranging from police to family members.

After school on Nov. 2, 2015, Tyshawn was sitting on a swing at the park down the street from his grandmother’s house when a man approached him, dribbled his basketball, offered to buy him a snack and then led him to an alley, where he shot the child several times at close range, prosecutors say.

The execution-style shooting was an act of revenge, according to prosecutors. Boone-Doty and Morgan, members of the same gang, believed that a rival faction had killed Morgan’s 25-year-old brother and wounded his mother a month earlier.

Morgan and Boone-Doty were angered by the attack and wanted to get back at Tyshawn’s father, Pierre Stokes, who was also an alleged member of the rival gang, prosecutors say. So Boone-Doty struck up a conversation with Tyshawn and led him to the alley.

Shell casings at the scene of the crime and the associated gun would eventually be linked back to Morgan and his brother, Anthony Morgan, who purchased the gun from a man in New Mexico.

A major moment in the case came last week, when a witness revealed how officers first recovered the weapon used to murder Tyshawn: In 2017, a squad car pulled up on an empty lot where a rap video was being filmed, causing “several dozen people” to flee the scene, leaving behind five guns, according to Sun-Times reporting. One of those guns was linked to Tyshawn’s murder.

The revelation angered Morgan’s lawyers, who wondered why individuals involved with the video were not brought in for questioning. On Thursday, Cook County Circuit Judge Thaddeus Wilson said that the new information did not merit a mistrial. 

The final week of testimony packed a punch.

On Monday, jurors heard recordings of Boone-Doty from 2015 bragging about the murder to a jailhouse informant, who was secretly wearing a wire. In the recording, Boone-Doty can be heard rehashing how he lured Tyshawn into the alley and laughing about how he shot the boy.

Boone-Doty’s attorney argued that the defendant didn’t really mean what he had said —that he was only putting on a front to look tough in jail.

On Wednesday, prosecutors revealed graphic images of the boy’s autopsy, including images of bullet wounds to Tyshawn’s head and hands.

Cook County medical examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar testified that the manner of death was homicide, caused by multiple gunshots wounds.

About a dozen of Tyshawn’s family members and supporters were present in the fourth-floor courtroom for closing arguments Thursday.

In the morning, prosecutors reiterated the evidence against Corey Morgan and replayed a clip of one key eye-witness identifying him. The prosecution based its argument on eyewitness testimony, GPS tracking in the car that Edwards drove, Morgan’s cell phone records, DNA evidence found in the car and on Tyshawn’s basketball, and more. Ingleford again made the case for Morgan’s motive: His family had been attacked, and he wanted revenge.

At one point, the prosecution briefly showed two images of Tyshawn’s small body crumpled on the ground in the alley where he was shot.

Morgan’s lawyer Todd Pugh presented the defense’s closing argument, saying that Morgan had been improperly identified, and that Chicago police had not explored other potential suspects.

Pugh labeled the prosecution’s argument a “wonderful presentation,” but called it a “pivot” that “bends the evidence.” He encouraged the jury to consider the credibility of “coerced” witnesses and said several police lineups had not been conducted properly, to Morgan’s detriment.

Pugh told the jury not to let the tragedy of the case or prejudice against gang members lower the burden of proof. 

“You know, if Corey Morgan had been somebody different, the investigation would have been different. In the eyes of the police, he’s one of those throwaway people,” Pew said.

The defense honed in on one of the eye-witness identifica, saying that the witness was shown photos of the defendants before the official ID process began, prompting him to identify Morgan. The defense also pointed to GPS information to show that the timeline of the afternoon that the witness presented was “just not possible.”

Pugh highlighted the testimony of one witness who did not see Morgan or Boone-Doty at the park.

In his rebuttal, Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Waller said the defense was placing blame on Chicago police and making them a “scapegoat.”

He responded directly to Pugh’s characterization of Morgan as a “throwaway person.”

“Well you know whose life was thrown away by this defendant and his compatriots?” Waller asked. “Tyshawn Lee. They threw his life away.”

As the jury in Morgan’s case was still deliberating Thursday afternoon, the court heard closing arguments in Boone-Doty’s case.

The prosecution detailed how probabilistic genotyping had linked Boone-Doty to DNA found on Tyshawn’s basketball. In situations where DNA evidence is of low quality or comes from a mixture of different sources, probablistic genotyping software offers scientists a way to statistically determine how much that DNA evidence should be weighed.

The prosecution then re-played the audio of Boone-Doty bragging and laughing about shooting Tyshawn. 

“This is someone without an ounce of remorse,” Waller said.

After hearing the audio, one family member had to step outside the courtroom.

The defense opened its closing arguments with a recognition of the horror of Tyshawn’s murder.

“What does someone say to a jury when they’ve sat through three weeks of testimony about the murder of a 9-year-old child?” asked Boone-Doty’s lawyer Danita Ivory.

Ivory critiqued the way that Chicago police had collected witnesses and conducted lineups. Ivory said one key eye-witness only identified Boone-Doty after requesting a reward. She said that the science behind probablistic genotyping was suspect and could not definitively link Boone-Doty to the murder.

“You can have all the sympathies in the world for Tyshawn…but justice doesn’t say you convict for the sake of conviction,” Ivory said. “Justice does not mean convicting the wrong person.”

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As government cares for migrant children, private sector seeks profit in their detentions

A teenage girl who spoke with The Associated Press and “Frontline” said she and other children were constantly watched while detained inside a Florida facility for migrant children, not allowed to touch, and there were alarms on the windows.

“It looks like a camp, but sometimes it seems like a jail because you feel very trapped,” said the girl, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for her safety.

Sheltering migrant children has become a growing business for Comprehensive Health Services Inc., the private, for-profit company paid by the U.S. government to hold some of the smallest migrant children.

The Florida-based government contractor is cashing in as the number of minors in government custody has swollen to record levels over the past two years.

Westlake Legal Group Migrant-Kids-Profit-1 As government cares for migrant children, private sector seeks profit in their detentions Frank Miles fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 3b09a518-9f57-5cf6-b664-e96bd7e36769

A migrant toddler is cradled by a Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. caregiver at a “tender-age” facility for babies, children and teens, in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in San Benito, Texas. Sheltering migrant children has become a booming business for Comprehensive Health Services, a Florida-based government contractor, as the number of children in government custody has swollen to record levels over the past two years. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

TRUMP ASKED ABOUT SHOOTING MIGRANTS AT BORDER IN LEGS IF THEY THREW ROCKS AT AGENTS, REPORTEDLY WANTED A ‘TRENCH WITH DEADLY REPTILES’

The migrant children are officially under the custody of the federal government.

The Trump administration has started shifting some of the caretaking of migrant children toward the private sector and contractors instead of the largely faith-based nonprofit grantees that have long cared for the kids.

So far, the only private company caring for migrant children is CHS, owned by Washington-area contractor Caliburn International Corp. In June, CHS held more than 20 percent of all migrant children in government custody. And even as the number of children has declined, the company’s government funding for their care has continued to flow. That’s partly because CHS is still staffing a large Florida facility with 2,000 workers even though the last children left in August.

Trump administration officials say CHS is keeping the Florida shelter on standby in case they need to quickly provide beds for more migrant teens, and that they’re focused on the quality of care contractors can provide, not about who profits from the work.

Westlake Legal Group Migrant-Kids-Profit-3 As government cares for migrant children, private sector seeks profit in their detentions Frank Miles fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 3b09a518-9f57-5cf6-b664-e96bd7e36769

A young migrant boy walks with a Comprehensive Health Services caregiver at a “tender-age” facility for babies, children and teens, in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in San Benito, Texas. Sheltering migrant children has become a booming business for Comprehensive Health Services, a Florida-based government contractor, as the number of children in government custody has swollen to record levels over the past two years. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“It’s not something that sits with me morally as a problem,” said Jonathan Hayes, director of the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. “They’re not getting any additional money other than the normal grant or contract that would be received. We’re not paying them more just because they’re for profit.”

HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement runs migrant children programs by funding 46 organizations that operate more than 165 shelters and foster programs for more than 67,000 migrant children who came to the U.S. on their own or were separated from parents or caregivers at the border this budget year.

Overall, the federal government spent a record $3.5 billion caring for migrant children over the past two years to run its shelters through both contracts and grants.

During that time, CHS swiftly moved into the business of caring for migrant children, an AP analysis of federal data found. In 2015, the company was paid $1.3 million in contracts to shelter migrant children, and so far this year the company has received almost $300 million in contracts to care for migrant kids, according to publicly available data. The company also operates some shelters under government grants.

TRUMP DENIES REPORT ABOUT WANTING MOAT WITH ALLIGATORS AND SNAKES AT BORDER: ‘THE PRESS HAS GONE CRAZY’

Westlake Legal Group Migrant-Kids-Profit-4 As government cares for migrant children, private sector seeks profit in their detentions Frank Miles fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 3b09a518-9f57-5cf6-b664-e96bd7e36769

Handprints representing migrant children line a hall at a “tender-age” facility for babies, in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, Thursday, Aug. 29 in San Benito, Texas. Sheltering migrant children has become a booming business for Comprehensive Health Services, a Florida-based government contractor, as the number of children in government custody has swollen to record levels over the past two years. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly joined Caliburn’s board this spring after stepping down from decades of government service. He earlier had served as homeland secretary, where he backed the idea of taking children from their parents at the border, saying it would discourage people from trying to immigrate or seek asylum.

Critics say this means Kelly now stands to financially benefit from a policy he helped create.

In a statement, Caliburn’s president, Jim Van Dusen, said: “With four decades of military and humanitarian leadership, in-depth understanding of international affairs and knowledge of current economic drivers around the world, General Kelly is a strong strategic addition to our team.”

Today CHS is operating six facilities including three “tender age” shelters in the Rio Grande Valley that can house the youngest, infants and toddlers. And CHS has plans underway to run a 500-bed shelter in El Paso, Texas, the company said.

Westlake Legal Group MIgrant-Kids-Profit-2 As government cares for migrant children, private sector seeks profit in their detentions Frank Miles fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 3b09a518-9f57-5cf6-b664-e96bd7e36769

A Comprehensive Health Services caregiver watches TV with a young migrant at a “tender-age” facility for babies, children and teens, in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in San Benito, Texas. Sheltering migrant children has become a booming business for Comprehensive Health Services, a Florida-based government contractor, as the number of children in government custody has swollen to record levels over the past two years. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Under Trump, the numbers of detained children grew in part due to new, strict requirements to screen every adult in a potential home, which significantly slowed reunifications until the policy ended late last year.

The government doesn’t disclose the names of individual shelters, nor how many children are in each one. But confidential government data obtained by AP shows that in June nearly one in four migrant children in government care was housed by CHS. That included more than 2,300 teens at Homestead and more than 500 kids in shelters in Brownsville, Los Fresnos and San Benito, Texas. For each teen held at Homestead at that time, it cost taxpayers an average $775 per day.

At the time, a total of 13,066 migrant children were being held in federally funded shelters. Those numbers have dropped sharply over the summer. By early October, HHS said there were 5,100 children in their care.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Migrant-Kids-Profit-4 As government cares for migrant children, private sector seeks profit in their detentions Frank Miles fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 3b09a518-9f57-5cf6-b664-e96bd7e36769   Westlake Legal Group Migrant-Kids-Profit-4 As government cares for migrant children, private sector seeks profit in their detentions Frank Miles fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox news fnc/politics fnc article 3b09a518-9f57-5cf6-b664-e96bd7e36769

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Joe Giudice granted request to return to Italy during deportation appeal

Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Joe Giudice‘s request to be released from the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) so he can move to his native Italy while appealing a deportation order against him has been approved, his lawyer told Fox News Thursday.

Family attorney James J. Leonard confirmed that Joe’s petition, which he filed on Sept. 24, had been granted but declined to comment further. The ruling was first reported by People magazine

According to Page Six, Leonard said in the filing that Joe “wishes to be released so that [he] can begin working and contributing financially to his wife and four young children.”

TERESA GIUDICE SAYS HUSBAND JOE GIUDICE’S DEPORTATION RULING IS TO ‘MAKE AN EXAMPLE OUT OF US’

Joe shares four daughters — Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10 — with wife Teresa.

It is unclear when exactly Joe will return to Italy, but E! News reports that he is expected to go abroad in the coming weeks.

Westlake Legal Group 58abea74dd6fee0e930f6a706700f122 Joe Giudice granted request to return to Italy during deportation appeal Mariah Haas fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 91ce31c1-fb86-5183-9039-08a3fdd77082

Teresa and Joe Giudice enter federal court in Newark N.J. for an appearance on federal conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud charges in 2014. (AP File Photo)

Teresa told Us Weekly it was “a sad time” for her family after a judge denied Joe’s initial request to be released on bail from ICE custody.

“It’s a sad time with my husband and everything, so we’re going to try and work it out as best we can,” the 47-year-old reality star said at the time.

JOE GIUDICE AND FAMILY ‘EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED’ AFTER DEPORTATION APPEAL DENIED

Joe and Teresa pleaded guilty in 2014 to three counts of bankruptcy fraud and one count conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty to one count of failing to file a tax return.

Teresa was sentenced in October 2014 to 15 months in prison and was released in December 2015. Joe has been held by immigration officials since he completed his 41-month prison term this past March. A judge ruled in October 2018 that he would be deported to his native Italy upon completion of his prison sentence.

Joe Giudice has said he came to the U.S. as an infant and wasn’t aware he wasn’t an American citizen.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

The father of four previously told Fox News he was “extremely disappointed” after his deportation appeal was denied in April.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Board Of Immigration Appeals has denied Mr. Giudice’s appeal,” Leonard told Fox News in a statement at the time.

Fox News’ Sasha Savitsky and The Associated Press contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group AP19109015826620 Joe Giudice granted request to return to Italy during deportation appeal Mariah Haas fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 91ce31c1-fb86-5183-9039-08a3fdd77082   Westlake Legal Group AP19109015826620 Joe Giudice granted request to return to Italy during deportation appeal Mariah Haas fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 91ce31c1-fb86-5183-9039-08a3fdd77082

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Search for pregnant postal worker in Illinois continues one year after she disappeared

Wednesday marked one year since a pregnant Illinois postal worker was last seen. On Thursday police told reporters the case “is still an active missing persons investigation.”

Kierra Coles, the Chicago woman who was 26 when she vanished, was three months pregnant when she was last seen on Oct. 2, 2018, walking around outside her South Side apartment. That same day, she called out sick.

The U.S. Postal Service letter carrier was due to give birth on April 23.

Her family members have said they believe she’s still alive.

MISSING PREGNANT CHICAGO POSTAL WORKER’S FAMILY MAKES RENEWED PLEA TO PUBLIC FOR HELP IN FINDING HER

Westlake Legal Group Kierra-Coles-CPD Search for pregnant postal worker in Illinois continues one year after she disappeared Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 7280df48-9e23-551b-8b5b-546a34e56ccb

Wednesday marked one year since a pregnant postal worker, Kierra Coles, was last seen. (Chicago Police Department)

Surveillance video showed Coles wearing her uniform and walking up and down a street the morning she vanished, according to WBBM-TV.

Following the disappearance, Coles’ purse and cellphone were found in her car, which was reportedly parked on her block.

Chicago police have been working with the postal Inspection service to find Coles, but new information has not been released. Last October police said they suspected “possible foul play.”

“It’s frustrating for everyone that’s involved because our federal agencies, we’re all working together and trying to get any information that we can to locate Kierra,” Chicago Police Lt. Senora Ben told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

Ben added that someone must know something and said police are urging anyone with information to come forward.

Westlake Legal Group Kierra-Coles-Poster-CPD Search for pregnant postal worker in Illinois continues one year after she disappeared Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 7280df48-9e23-551b-8b5b-546a34e56ccb

Kierra Coles is described as being 5-foot-4 and 125 pounds, with a “Lucky Libra” tattoo on her back and one of a heart on her hand. (Chicago Police Department)

POLICE SUSPECT ‘FOUL PLAY’ IN DISAPPEARANCE OF KIERRA COLES

Coles’ family and the U.S. Postal Service have offered more than $46,000 in reward money for information leading to her whereabouts, WBBM-TV reported.

“It’s a struggle to wake up every day not knowing where your child is,” her mother, Karen Phillips, said in August. “We have hope. We know Kierra is coming home, we are going to bring her home. We are not going to stop until she is home.”

Coles is described as being 5-foot-4 and 125 pounds, with a “Lucky Libra” tattoo on her back and one of a heart on her hand.

Anyone with information about Coles is urged to call the Chicago Police Department at 312-747-8274 or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.

Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Kierra-Coles-CPD Search for pregnant postal worker in Illinois continues one year after she disappeared Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 7280df48-9e23-551b-8b5b-546a34e56ccb   Westlake Legal Group Kierra-Coles-CPD Search for pregnant postal worker in Illinois continues one year after she disappeared Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 7280df48-9e23-551b-8b5b-546a34e56ccb

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Feds warn of threatening social media posts as Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ opens in theaters

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Feds warn of threatening social media posts as Joaquin Phoenix's 'Joker' opens in theaters

Writer-director Todd Phillips says it isn’t fair to link his film “Joker” to real-world violence. And star Joaquin Phoenix says he felt uncomfortable while making the movie — and is pleased that audiences have had equally strong reactions. (Sept. 24) AP, AP

Federal authorities are monitoring and warning local law enforcement of a series threatening social media posts linked to the R-rated “Joker,” now in theaters, a law enforcement official said Thursday. 

The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the joint FBI and Department of Homeland Security bulletin was issued out of an abundance of caution, as there is no specific or credible threat against a particular venue. 

Amid polarizing reviews for “Joker,” which holds a 69% positive rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, the Todd Phillips-directed drama is stirring passionate debate and real-world concerns over the film’s portrayal of graphic and random violence.

Fears have been heightened because of the infamous, chaos-loving character at the center of the story (played by Joaquin Phoenix) – and the long-held but debunked belief that the gunman who shot 12 moviegoers to death at a 2012 opening-weekend showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, was dressed as or inspired by Joker. 

Concerns have been raised about the potential for a copycat attack or violence in theaters.

Ranked: Every big-screen Joker (including Joaquin Phoenix), from worst to best

Joaquin Phoenix talks ‘Joker’: ‘It’s shaky ground as an actor’

Review: Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ questions if there’s empathy for the devil

Phillips has pushed back, pointing out misinformation connecting the Aurora shooter to the Joker character. He says “Joker” is being held to a different standard than other violent Hollywood films that glorify real violence and minimize the consequences.

“The movie still takes place in a fictional world,” he told the Associated Press. “It can have real-world implications, opinions. But it’s a fictional character in a fictional world.”

Warner Bros. re-enforced the sentiment with a statement last week: “Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero. “

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Here’s how concerns have played out across the country:

  • An internal Army memo that vaguely warned of a possible mass shooting threat in relation to “Joker” touched off public concern last week, even as Army officials said no credible information has been received. The Sept. 23 memo went public when officers in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, warned service members to be “cautious” and “increase situational awareness” if attending the film. Christopher Grey, chief of public affairs for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, said officials are “not aware of any information indicating a specific, credible threat to a particular location or venue.”
  • Police departments are beefing up visible patrols. NYPD’s Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison told Deadline the department plans to place officers at theaters,  while a significant undercover detachment will also be deployed to make sure nothing untoward occurs inside cinemas throughout the city. The Los Angeles Police Department “will maintain high visibility around theaters when it opens.” according to a police statement to the Los Angeles Times. 
  • Landmark Theatres decreed in a statement last week that “no masks, painted faces or costumes will be permitted in our theaters.” AMC Theaters will continue banning masks, reminding costumers of the theater chain’s existing policy, “Guests are welcome to come dressed in costume, but we do not permit masks, face paint, or any object that conceals the face.”
  •  The theater where the Aurora shooting occurred – previously the Century 16, renamed the Century Aurora – won’t show “Joker.”  Crystal McCoy, public information officer for the Aurora Police Department, told USA TODAY the theater manager confirmed the film would not be shown at the location. 
  •  Family members of Aurora shooting victims expressed their concerns in an open letter sent Sept. 24 to Warner Bros., writing that they were given pause “when we learned that Warner Bros. was releasing a movie called Joker that presents the character as a protagonist with a sympathetic origin story.” The letter didn’t demand that the studio pull “Joker” from theaters, but asked that it stop political contributions to candidates “who take money from the NRA and vote against gun reform.”

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Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/movies/2019/10/03/federal-authorities-warn-social-media-threats-surrounding-joker/3849270002/

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Scope Of Trump’s Ukraine Scheme Comes Into Focus As New Reports Emerge

Westlake Legal Group 5d9685532100003c02fa17f0 Scope Of Trump’s Ukraine Scheme Comes Into Focus As New Reports Emerge

Two reports published Thursday evening shed light on the apparent reach of President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump ordered the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine removed from her post after his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others close to Trump complained she was undermining the administration’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian leaders to investigate the Bidens.

The ouster of Marie Yovanovitch on May 6, also referenced in the recent whistleblower complaint by a member of the U.S. intelligence community concerning Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, came just months after Giuliani began pressing Ukrainian leaders for damaging information about the Bidens.

Trump on Thursday told reporters he had heard “very bad things” about Yovanovitch, a respected foreign service official, prior to her removal. “I don’t know if I recalled her or somebody recalled her but I heard very, very bad things about her for a long period of time. Not good,” he said.

Yovanovitch was also the subject of an attempted smear campaign earlier this year by Trump allies who sent a packet of documents with misinformation about her to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Politico reported earlier this week. Debunked conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden also were included in those documents, according to the Politico story.

Prior to Yovanovitch’s recall, conservative media outlets and the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., accused her of being part of an alleged Ukrainian attempt to support Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump also made threatening comments about Yovanovitch during his July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. “She’s going to go through some things” in the aftermath of her removal from the envoy post, Trump said, according to a White House summary of the conversation released last week.

Democrats now view Yovanovitch as potentially a key witness in the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump.

The false documents sent out about her “provide further evidence of a concerted, external effort to conduct a disinformation campaign against a career U.S ambassador, who has been the subject of baseless attacks, including by the president himself,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to the second Thursday report, this one in The New York Times, two top U.S. diplomats drafted a statement for Zelensky that would have publicly committed him to carry out Trump’s request for an investigation that would have involved the  Bidens.

Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, the envoy to Ukraine, prepared the statement, the Times said, citing three people who were briefed on the matter. The alleged statement, according to the newspaper, would have served the purpose of pushing Ukraine leaders beyond their private pledges to launch the investigation, which would have focused on the energy company Burisma on whose board Hunter Biden served.

Volker resigned from his post last week after he was implicated in the published whistleblower complaint which raised concerns that the pressure being applied on Ukraine by Trump for an investigation that included Joe Biden ― the potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominee ― represented an effort to have foreign officials meddle in the U.S. election. The complaint spurred the opening of the impeachment inquiry by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

In the complaint, the whistleblower said that both Volker and Sondland spoke with Giuliani in an attempt to ”contain the damage″ done by Trump’s requests to Ukraine.

Volker testified before three House committees on Thursday as part of the impeachment inquiry.

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Jennifer Lopez, Maluma ring in ‘Marry Me’ filming with cheeky snaps from first day of shooting

Westlake Legal Group jennifer-lopez-AP Jennifer Lopez, Maluma ring in ‘Marry Me’ filming with cheeky snaps from first day of shooting Julius Young fox-news/person/jennifer-lopez fox-news/entertainment/movies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 5fd14bd3-ce0f-538b-b641-0be6fd793651

Jennifer Lopez and Maluma have officially begun filming their new movie, “Marry Me.”

The “Hustlers” star went on Instagram on Thursday to share photos from her first day of shooting the romantic comedy and praised the Colombian singer as well as her co-star Owen Wilson, calling her time with the crew a “dream come true.”

“The art of collaboration…it’s what I love about this business!!!” Lopez wrote in the caption of her post, in which she shared images of Wilson jotting down notes at the cast table-read and of herself working with Maluma on set.

“True magic happens when inspiration meets the absence of ego. It’s so much fun when different artists come together and everyone contributes to create something special and true and real for everyone to experience and enjoy!! Issa flow… Here we go!!! @maluma #owenwilson @MarryMeMovie #Day1 #musicandmoviesmeet #dreamcometrue.”

JENNIFER LOPEZ SHARES PHOTOS WITH ALEX RODRIGUEZ FROM STAR-STUDDED ENGAGEMENT PARTY

Maluma, 25 replied to Lopez’s post, writing, “I’m so grateful 🙏🏻.” He would also share his own photo from the first day of shooting, simply writing, “DAY ONE / DIA UNO 🎥 🎞@jlo,” with an image of the 50-year-old pop icon laughing while sporting black workout pants and a white long-sleeved crop-top shirt with her hair pulled tightly into a bun.

“Today I fulfilled a dream I had since I was little,” the “El Perdedor” singer also wrote in Spanish on his Instagram Story. “Thank you, God. Thank you, life.”

Lopez and Wilson were spotted filming scenes at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park at Coney Island in Brooklyn, according to Entertainment Tonight.

“Marry Me” is the film adaptation of a graphic novel by Bobby Crosby. The Kat Coiro-directed flick follows a successful pop singer who discovers moments before her wedding that her equally successful fiancé is cheating on her with her assistant. She then randomly picks an unsuspecting math teacher played by Wilson from her audience at a Madison Square Garden concert to marry her instead.

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Lopez has garnered Oscar-worthy praise from many for her performance in “Hustlers,” currently in theaters. She was also tapped along with Shakira to co-headline the Super Bowl halftime show in Miami next year.

Westlake Legal Group jennifer-lopez-hustlers-tiff-getty Jennifer Lopez, Maluma ring in ‘Marry Me’ filming with cheeky snaps from first day of shooting Julius Young fox-news/person/jennifer-lopez fox-news/entertainment/movies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 5fd14bd3-ce0f-538b-b641-0be6fd793651   Westlake Legal Group jennifer-lopez-hustlers-tiff-getty Jennifer Lopez, Maluma ring in ‘Marry Me’ filming with cheeky snaps from first day of shooting Julius Young fox-news/person/jennifer-lopez fox-news/entertainment/movies fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 5fd14bd3-ce0f-538b-b641-0be6fd793651

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Shepard Smith Dunks Trump: President ‘May Have Violated Federal Law… On Live TV’

Westlake Legal Group 5d967f872200007d03dcea85 Shepard Smith Dunks Trump: President ‘May Have Violated Federal Law... On Live TV’

President Donald Trump may have dug himself deeper into the impeachment hole on Thursday, and Fox NewsShepard Smith didn’t mince words when he reported on it.

“As the president faces impeachment proceedings for asking a foreign leader to investigate his political rival, today he did it again on live television,” Smith said as the opener to “Shepard Smith Reporting.” 

He was referring to comments the president made to reporters outside the White House on Thursday: “China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”

This newest comment came in response to a question about what exactly Trump had wanted from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when he asked him in a July 25 phone call to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. This call, which was brought to light by a whistleblower complaint, was the catalyst for an impeachment inquiry launched against the president last week.

Smith did not hesitate to point out that Fox News was not aware of any federal investigation into former Vice President Biden for any violations of U.S. law and that it is illegal to ask a foreign national or country for political assistance.

“If it is determined that the president made that request to help his campaign for reelection, President Trump may have violated federal law.”

“To our knowledge, no president before President Trump in American history has publicly asked an adversary to investigate a rival.”

Just hours after these comments, CNN reported that Trump discussed his two highest-polling rivals for 2020, Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in a June 18 conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to two sources familiar with the call.

The Xi call was stored on the same secure server that the Zelensky call was stored on, CNN reported. This server is generally reserved for highly classified government secrets, according to intelligence officials.

Watch Smith’s segment on Fox News below:

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Florida sea turtle dead after eating more than 100 pieces of plastic

Westlake Legal Group Turtle-Plastic Florida sea turtle dead after eating more than 100 pieces of plastic Vandana Rambaran fox-news/science/planet-earth/pollution fox news fnc/science fnc ec4cbedf-5d5f-5841-8d3b-b796fd8b8599 article

A tiny turtle that washed up on a shoreline in South Florida is just the latest fatality of plastic pollution plaguing marine life.

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton posted a picture on Facebook of the deceased turtle alongside hundreds of pieces of plastic that became lodged in its intestinal tract.

“This turtle, which would fit in the palm of your hand, had eaten 104 pieces of plastic,” the nature center said.

SPECIALLY TRAINED DOGS TRY TO SAVE THREATENED TURTLE SPECIES

Scientists warn that when plastic is dumped into the ocean as pollution, they break down into microplastics that get eaten by sea creatures.

According to Gumbo, it’s washback season, the period between August and November where young sea turtles wash ashore due to heavy winds and surf. Although volunteers and environmentalist groups attempt to rescue the turtles when they get caught on shorelines or wrapped in seaweed, they aren’t always successful because of the added dangers of pollution.

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“Unfortunately, not every washback survives. 100% of our washbacks that didn’t make it had plastic in their intestinal tracts,” the center said.

“This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free.”

The Sea Turtle Conservancy estimates that over 1 million marine animals, including mammals, fish, sharks, turtles, and birds, die each year due to plastic debris in the ocean and there are likely 100 million tons of plastic in oceans around the world.

Conservationists estimate that another 60 billion pounds of pollution will be produced in 2019.

Westlake Legal Group Turtle-Plastic Florida sea turtle dead after eating more than 100 pieces of plastic Vandana Rambaran fox-news/science/planet-earth/pollution fox news fnc/science fnc ec4cbedf-5d5f-5841-8d3b-b796fd8b8599 article   Westlake Legal Group Turtle-Plastic Florida sea turtle dead after eating more than 100 pieces of plastic Vandana Rambaran fox-news/science/planet-earth/pollution fox news fnc/science fnc ec4cbedf-5d5f-5841-8d3b-b796fd8b8599 article

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