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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Barnini Chakraborty" (Page 2)

Texas judge sues state agency after receiving warning for refusing to officiate same-sex weddings

Texas judge who was given a public warning last month for refusing to officiate same-sex marriages is suing the agency that threatened her and claims it violated state law by punishing her for actions she took that aligned with her faith, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

McLennan County Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley has said her Bible-believing Christian conscience prohibited her from performing same-sex weddings and that she was entitled to a “religious exemption.”

Westlake Legal Group Dianne-Hensley Texas judge sues state agency after receiving warning for refusing to officiate same-sex weddings fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/judiciary/state-and-local fox-news/politics/judiciary/individual-rights fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty b88f85e7-aa6f-561b-bb00-3502cff53790 article

McLennan County Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley has said her Bible-believing Christian conscience prohibited her from performing same-sex weddings (Facebook)

Hensley claims the investigation into her refusal to marry same-sex couples “substantially burdened the free exercise of her religion, with no compelling justification.”

TEXAS JUDGE WARNED OVER REFUSAL TO PERFORM SAME-SEX MARRIAGES 

She is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court claiming that any justice of the peace may refuse to officiate same-sex weddings “if the commands of their religious faith forbid them to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies.” She is also seeking $10,000 in damages.

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Following the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision, Hensley refused to officiate any weddings. She changed her mind in 2016 and resumed marrying heterosexual couples. She said she would refer same-sex couples looking to other officiants in the Waco-area who were comfortable doing it.

BOTHAM JEAN’S BROTHER, WHO HUGGED KILLER, GIVEN AWARD FOR ETHICAL COURAGE

However, the State Commission of Judicial Conduct said that Hensley should receive a public warning for “casting doubt on her capacity to act impartially to persons appearing before her as a judge due to the person’s sexual orientation.”

The commission concluded that Hensley violated a portion of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct that claims: “A judge shall conduct all of the judge’s extra-judicial activities so that they do not cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge…”

Hensley was issued the public warning on Nov. 12. Her case has divided Texans and has strained political relations in the state.

Two members of the commission who looked into Hensley’s case after being appointed last year by Gov. Greg Abbott, claim the Republican governor ousted them after they indicated they would not vote in her favor. A spokesperson for the governor did not immediately return calls from Fox News. The spokesman told The Texas Tribune that all nominations for the commission are based on merit.

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Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martinez told the Tribune that Hensley took an oath “to serve all Texans.”

“The elected officials continue to waste taxpayer money in an obsession to discriminate against gay and transgender Texans,” he said. “This is not what Texas wants or expects from elected officials. Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. Their actions are mean spirited, futile, a waste of taxpayer money and most importantly, it’s wrong.”

Westlake Legal Group Dianne-Hensley Texas judge sues state agency after receiving warning for refusing to officiate same-sex weddings fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/judiciary/state-and-local fox-news/politics/judiciary/individual-rights fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty b88f85e7-aa6f-561b-bb00-3502cff53790 article   Westlake Legal Group Dianne-Hensley Texas judge sues state agency after receiving warning for refusing to officiate same-sex weddings fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/judiciary/state-and-local fox-news/politics/judiciary/individual-rights fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty b88f85e7-aa6f-561b-bb00-3502cff53790 article

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California city considers ban on feeding homeless on public streets, sidewalks, parking lots

A California city is considering a controversial measure that would limit the places where the homeless can get food.

If passed, handing out food in Lancaster would be banned on public streets, sidewalks, parking lots and other city-owned property.

Supporters say the measure will cut down on trash and public nuisance, but critics claim it will make it harder to feed the homeless and could even put their lives in jeopardy.

Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris and homeless advocates faced off in a contentious meeting Tuesday night that at times broke down into shouting matches.

Westlake Legal Group Rex-parris-City-of-Lancaster California city considers ban on feeding homeless on public streets, sidewalks, parking lots fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/topic/homeless-crisis fox-news/politics/state-and-local/cities fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 8e687147-e9de-5329-8e7a-4b9dcccd8f2b

Rex Parris, the Lancastor mayor, and homeless advocates faced off in a contentious meeting Tuesday night that at times broke down into shouting matches.

“A lot of people would come to eat, the people feeding them would leave and the mess would be left behind,” Parris said. “We’re talking about people defecating in the entryways of the business. It became a public health problem.”

SAN FRANCISCO’S ‘POOR STREET CONDITIONS’ A FACTOR IN THE CITY’S LOSS OF $64M ORACLE TEACH CONFERENCE: REPORTS 

Homeless advocates claim the proposed fees and fines would dramatically scale back on volunteers who have helped feed the homeless in the past.

Westlake Legal Group homeless-Lancaster-Getty California city considers ban on feeding homeless on public streets, sidewalks, parking lots fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/topic/homeless-crisis fox-news/politics/state-and-local/cities fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 8e687147-e9de-5329-8e7a-4b9dcccd8f2b

Derrick Chambers checks out a homeless encampment in an open area of Southern part of Lancaster while documenting their number in the area.  (LA Times via Getty)

“Don’t penalize my people for going to feed people because we don’t follow your organization or rules,” one advocate said. His comments were met with applause in the meeting.

Another homeless advocate told the mayor and other city leaders that the ban is “not only punitive against the hungry but it’s even punitive against the people trying to help the homeless.”

Michael Ouimet, a Navy veteran who has been homeless for 11 years, told ABC7 that meals are already difficult to find if you’re living on the streets and that the proposed measure could make it impossible.

“You never really know where you’re going to get your next meal from,” he said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Following the hearing, city officials set up a committee to work with nonprofits to study the issue. It is unclear how long the “study” would last or how much it would cost.

A quarter of the nation’s homeless people live in California. The crisis has hit hard in large cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, but smaller cities and towns across the state are also seeing an uptick in their homeless population.

Westlake Legal Group homeless-Lancaster-Getty California city considers ban on feeding homeless on public streets, sidewalks, parking lots fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/topic/homeless-crisis fox-news/politics/state-and-local/cities fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 8e687147-e9de-5329-8e7a-4b9dcccd8f2b   Westlake Legal Group homeless-Lancaster-Getty California city considers ban on feeding homeless on public streets, sidewalks, parking lots fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/topic/homeless-crisis fox-news/politics/state-and-local/cities fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 8e687147-e9de-5329-8e7a-4b9dcccd8f2b

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Georgia man gets 7 years in prison for swindling women on Match.com, Craigslist

Money can’t buy you love, but a Georgia man who used Match.com to meet the supposed woman of his dreams showed his love’s money could buy an $80,000 BMW — a car the 34-year-old used to skip town and leave his lady high and dry, until the law caught up with him.

The so-called “Sweethart Swindler” known as John Martin Hill, 34, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of theft by taking and one count of perjury, Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Dan Mayfield said. He was sentenced to seven years behind bars and another 13 on probation.

GEORGIA MAN CHARGED WITH SCAMMING WOMAN OUT OF MORE THAN $6.5M WITH FAKE ONLINE RELATIONSHIP

Hill convinced the woman — a widow with three children — that he was a millionaire and in love with her. They decided to wed within a week of meeting on the dating site, and Hill told her the $80,000 he took from her would go toward their dream home, as well as some furniture.

Cpl. Michele Pihera told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that once the woman gave Hill the money, she never heard from him again. The woman also didn’t know that Hill was reportedly already living in an apartment nearby with another woman and child and had only $6 to his name.

After Hill’s arrest, other women came forward and said they, too, had been duped by the local Lothario.

According to the AJC, Hill had arrest warrants out in at least four separate states under various names. Authorities said his go-to move in the past has been to post bail and disappear. Investigators said they did not know the total number of woman Hill had fleeced but confirmed he’s changed his name five times in the past few years.

The Gwinnett County Police Department says Hill had gone by the name of: Gregory Dutton, George Hill, Maverick McCray, Gregory Davis and Gregory Hill. He was wanted in Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey.

In 2011, Hill was arrested by the West Long Branch police department in New Jersey on “several outstanding warrants and charged him with three counts of theft by deception,” according to the Long Branch-Eatontown Patch.

Hill was accused of taking money from young women after claiming to be an executive and advertising a job on Craigslist.

“Hill made claims of being a CEO and owner of a company that specialized in obtaining scholarships for high school athletes,” Capt. Larry Mihlon told Patch.

He would make contact with women looking for a job, set up an interview with them and then ask for cash upfront after taking their information.

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Some of the company names used by Hill were College Bound Recruits and Athlon Sports.

In 2014, a Facebook page titled “Stop Gregory Hill” was created, detailing more accusations against the man.

Westlake Legal Group John-Martin-Hill- Georgia man gets 7 years in prison for swindling women on Match.com, Craigslist fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/crime fox-news/tech/topics/cybercrime fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 36b1a8fe-98f8-50bc-a347-ae832411aef9   Westlake Legal Group John-Martin-Hill- Georgia man gets 7 years in prison for swindling women on Match.com, Craigslist fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/crime fox-news/tech/topics/cybercrime fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 36b1a8fe-98f8-50bc-a347-ae832411aef9

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UK girl, 7, writes heartbreaking letter to Santa, prompts pledges of donations after going viral

Westlake Legal Group labour-councilor-letter UK girl, 7, writes heartbreaking letter to Santa, prompts pledges of donations after going viral fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/world fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 7eae4e32-5d4c-577a-914c-9394e8dac76e /FOX NEWS/LIFESTYLE/OCCASIONS/Holiday

A 7-year-old girl from England sent a heartbreaking handwritten letter to Santa asking for a home and food for her family this Christmas.

The child, whose name has not been made public, dropped the letter in a special Santa mailbox inside the L6 Community Center in Liverpool. The Santa box was left out for children who visit the center to write their Christmas wishes.

The letter starts off, “Dear Father Christmas, Can you help? Can we have a home for Christmas? Mam wants us to be all together. Can you give us some food and can I have just a nice doll for Christmas?”

BRAZEN BURGLARS STEAL $1M JEWELRY FROM MANSION WHILE FAMILY WAS INSIDE, BRITISH POLICE SAY

The sweet but sad wish prompted Labour councilor Gerald Woodhouse to tweet a picture of the girl’s note.

He wrote: “Last week @L6Centre we started getting down Xmas decorations we placed The Santa post box in the cafe until grotto is set up. Today, I went into @L6Centre to sort food parcels for residents while passing post box I looked in it!! Just read a 7 yrs old letter Vote Labour.”

“It was so upsetting to read,” Woodhouse told Sky News. “I know the children, and it’s not right that a 7-year-old child is worrying about Christmas in November. There is no one around to support these children.”

According to the report, the children current live with a relative. Woodhouse said the community center is trying to help the family and get them in a hotel for Christmas Day.

10-YEAR-OLD’S PRICEY CHRISTMAS LIST GOES VIRAL VIA TWITTER

His tweet garnered several sympathetic responses to the little girl’s letter, with some offering to donate their time and money to the non-profit.

Amanda Nicolson, @amanda_nicolson, tweeted, “The sweet innocence of a child believing that santa can help. Heartbreaking. Why did we let it get this far?”

Emma J (@Emmaroodle) also weighed in: “This has broken my heart. I’m donating my time and stock to paint the kids faces at the L6 Christmas party… Can’t bear this.”

@teaceeme tweeted: “A child asking Santa for a home and some food. 21st Century UK, rolling back the centuries.”

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According to Sky News, poverty in Liverpool is higher than the U.K. average, with 29 percent of children in the city living below the breadline once housing costs are taken into consideration.

Westlake Legal Group labour-councilor-letter UK girl, 7, writes heartbreaking letter to Santa, prompts pledges of donations after going viral fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/world fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 7eae4e32-5d4c-577a-914c-9394e8dac76e /FOX NEWS/LIFESTYLE/OCCASIONS/Holiday   Westlake Legal Group labour-councilor-letter UK girl, 7, writes heartbreaking letter to Santa, prompts pledges of donations after going viral fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/world fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 7eae4e32-5d4c-577a-914c-9394e8dac76e /FOX NEWS/LIFESTYLE/OCCASIONS/Holiday

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Third suspect in murder of Joshua Brown, witness in Amber Guyger trial, sought in Louisiana; 2 arrested

Two of the three men wanted in connection to the killing of Joshua Brown, a key witness who testified in the high-profile murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, have been arrested while a third, Thaddeous Green, remained on the lam Wednesday morning.

The second suspect, Michael Mitchell, 32, was arrested by federal deputy marshals Tuesday night in Marksville, Louisiana, while Mitchell’s nephew, 20-year-old Jacquerious Mitchell, is in critical condition in a Dallas-area hospital with a gunshot wound.

Authorities believe the three men traveled from Alexandrian, Louisiana, to buy drugs from Brown, 28, in the parking lot of a Dallas apartment complex.

DALLAS POLICE NAME 3 SUSPECTS IN KILLING OF JOSHUA BROWN, WITNESS IN AMBER GUYGER MURDER TRIAL; 1 ARRESTED

Jecquerious Mitchell told the police that Brown shot him in the chest after an argument during the drug deal. Dallas Police Assistant Chief Avery Moore said that during the deal Green shot Brown twice.

Green left with Brown’s backpack and gun. Investigators also seized 12 pounds of marijuana, 149 grams of THC cartridges and more than $4,000 in cash during a search of Brown’s home. It was unclear how the three men came into contact with Brown or why they would have driven more than 300 miles from central Louisiana to purchase pot in Texas.

While there had been widespread speculation that Brown’s death had something to do with Guyger’s trial, Moore on Tuesday afternoon cautioned against it.

Westlake Legal Group green-mitchell Third suspect in murder of Joshua Brown, witness in Amber Guyger trial, sought in Louisiana; 2 arrested fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 980c90f9-cb94-56b6-84da-92f16f9113fe

Even though an attorney representing Brown’s family previously said Brown had reservations about testifying in the high-profile Guyger trial, Moore said Brown’s killing had nothing to do with the case.

Brown, who lived in the same apartment building, testified about what he heard the night Botham Jean was murdered. Lee Merritt, an attorney representing Brown’s family, said Brown’s mother told him about her son’s reservations about his visibility in the Guyger trial. In November, Brown was wounded in the foot in a shooting that left a 25-year-old man dead outside a Dallas nightclub, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“He was concerned that the people who shot him there still wanted to do him additional harm,” said Merritt, who also represented Botham Jean’s family.

TEXAS JUDGE DEFENDS HUG, HANDING BIBLE TO AMBER GUYGER AS SHOW OF ‘LOVE AND COMPASSION’

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and other officials had asked the public to refrain from speculating about the killing of Brown while police investigated. Meanwhile, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. requested an independent investigation into Brown’s slaying, calling it “deeply alarming and highly suspicious” in a news release.

Dallas police had no comment on calls for an independent investigation.

Guyger testified that in September 2018, after working a long shift, she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own and thought he was a burglar. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison for murder.

At the time of Jean’s shooting, Brown lived in the same apartment building as Guyger and Jean. Brown was killed at a different complex, investigators said.

Brown testified that on the night of Jean’s killing, he was in a hallway on the fourth floor, where he and Jean lived, and that he heard what sounded like “two people meeting by surprise” and then two gunshots.

At times during his testimony, Brown became emotional and used his T-shirt and tissues to wipe away tears. He said he had met Jean, a 26-year-old accountant from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, for the first time earlier that day.

Judge Tammy Kemp, who presided over Guyger’s trial, said Monday she was “saddened” and “stunned” to hear about Brown’s death, adding that “he seemed to be a very compassionate young man and I hate that his life has ended so soon.”

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Brown, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, graduated from South Florida State College. Following college, he managed Airbnb units in California and Georgia and worked to get a similar business off the ground in Dallas. He had three children – a 6-year-old and two toddlers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group JoshuaBrown720 Third suspect in murder of Joshua Brown, witness in Amber Guyger trial, sought in Louisiana; 2 arrested fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 980c90f9-cb94-56b6-84da-92f16f9113fe   Westlake Legal Group JoshuaBrown720 Third suspect in murder of Joshua Brown, witness in Amber Guyger trial, sought in Louisiana; 2 arrested fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 980c90f9-cb94-56b6-84da-92f16f9113fe

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Amber Guyger guilty in Botham Jean shooting, jury finds

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Amber Guyger guilty in Botham Jean shooting, jury finds fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 0cdac24d-44e4-53e5-8d27-2bf7110a525a

Amber Guyger, the white Dallas cop who shot black neighbor Botham Jean when she mistook his apartment for hers, was found guilty of murder on Tuesday.

Closing arguments ended Monday afternoon in her murder trial.

The shooting has attracted intense national scrutiny not only for the strange circumstances surrounding it but also because it was one in a series of shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers. The incident led to widespread marches, protests and calls for Guyger to be held accountable for Jean’s death.

Guyger, a four-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, initially was charged with manslaughter for the Sept. 6, 2018 shooting. Two months later, a grand jury indicted her on a murder charge.

Throughout the trial, Guyger’s defense team has framed the shooting as a “tragic but innocent” mistake.

Legal analysts said that the trial’s outcome could hinge on whether the jury would believe Guyger’s account that she made a mistake and that the mistake was reasonable.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Jason Fine with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office slammed Guyger for changing her story on the witness stand. He said the case “has to do with [Guyger] making an unreasonable decision that put her in the [defense seat] and Bo in the ground.”

He added: “This case is all about what is reasonable and what is absurd.”

This is a developing story; please check back for updates.

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Who is Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence?

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire Thursday publicly spoke for the first time about a whistleblower complaint involving President Trump.

House Democrats are testing the waters for a possible Trump impeachment and are hoping Maguire, in his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee, will be able to shed light on why the complaint was withheld from Congress for several weeks. There have been multiple media reports that Maguire threatened to resign over concerns that the White House might attempt to force him to stonewall Congress, but Maguire denied he had done so. In a statement, he said that “at no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019. I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now.”

Following his morning testimony, Maguire will speak to the Senate intelligence panel behind closed doors.

INTEL CHIEF MAGUIRE DEFENDS HANDLING OF TRUMP CALL COMPLAINT, CALLS ISSUE ‘UNPRECEDENTED’

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-b8081e0c8e694d9ba0f798a6444f68b0 Who is Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence? fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/hearings fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/cabinet fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc edd81935-681c-58c3-820c-624265d12d80 Barnini Chakraborty article

FILE – In this July 25, 2018, file photo, retired Vice Adm. Joseph Maguire and now current director of the National Counterterrorism Center, appears before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump has named Maguire as acting national intelligence director. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

So who is Joseph Maguire?

Maguire is the acting director of national intelligence, the Cabinet-level official who leads the United States Intelligence Community. The position was created in 2005  by a 9/11 panel set up to examine intelligence failures after the attacks. Maguire, who had previously served as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, moved into the role earlier this year after Director Dan Coats resigned.

Maguire has only been in the position for fewer than two months.

Maguire is a retired naval officer and was previously a vice president at Booz Hamilton. He retired from the U.S. Navy after a 36-year career that included leading the Naval Special Warfare Command. Maguire also served as the president and CEO of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

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Maguire attended Manhattan College for his bachelor’s degree, and earned his master’s degree in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in California, according to Maguire’s biography.

There was some controversy leading up to his appointment. President Trump had announced Maguire’s appointment via tweet following the resignation of Sue Gordon from the DNI. Conservatives had largely viewed Gordon as part of the intelligence community that clashed with Trump the most. Trump had initially tapped Rep. John Ratcliffe to lead the intelligence committee but the Texas lawmaker withdrew his name after stories emerged that he may have padded his resume.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-b8081e0c8e694d9ba0f798a6444f68b0 Who is Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence? fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/hearings fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/cabinet fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc edd81935-681c-58c3-820c-624265d12d80 Barnini Chakraborty article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-b8081e0c8e694d9ba0f798a6444f68b0 Who is Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence? fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/hearings fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/cabinet fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc edd81935-681c-58c3-820c-624265d12d80 Barnini Chakraborty article

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Rouhani says Iran will not negotiate with US, accuses America of ‘economic terrorism’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Wednesday that the Middle East is on the verge of collapse and said a “single blunder can fuel a big fire.”

He also put to rest any hope of a sit-down with President Trump unless crippling economic sanctions are lifted.

“Our response to talks under pressure is no,” he said.

“We cannot believe the invitation of negotiation of people who claim to have applied the harshest sanctions of history against the dignity and prosperity of our nation,” Rouhani said during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He added that Tehran would “not tolerate provocative intervention of foreigners” and promised to respond “strongly to any transgression of our security and territorial integrity.”

Rouhani’s speech came a day after Trump took his turn at the U.N. General Assembly, blasting what he called Iran’s “bloodlust” and rising aggression. The U.S. has blamed Tehran for recent strikes on Saudi oil fields that have rattled the Middle East and global oil markets. Iran has denied being behind the attacks and said they were solely the work of Yemeni rebels.

Just minutes before Rouhani’s speech, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. would impose sanctions on some Chinese entities for knowingly transporting oil from Iran.

“The more Iran lashes out, the greater our pressure will be,” Pompeo said during a speech on the sidelines of the U.N. assembly.

Ahead of Wednesday’s speech, Rouhani said he would not even consider meeting with President Trump until the U.S. lifts the sanctions imposed in the wake of Trump pulling out from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

On Tuesday, Rouhani sat down with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and blamed Trump for damaging relations between the two nations.

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Rouhani said he and Trump needed to “create mutual trust, and the trust that is something that Mr. Trump took away from this framework.”

“We had an agreement. Mr. Trump exited without a valid justification, and illegally, from an international agreement,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6088756306001_6088760963001-vs Rouhani says Iran will not negotiate with US, accuses America of 'economic terrorism' fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/nuclear-proliferation fox news fnc/world fnc d7456223-5730-5b3d-a5b4-16bca72e37aa Barnini Chakraborty article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6088756306001_6088760963001-vs Rouhani says Iran will not negotiate with US, accuses America of 'economic terrorism' fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/nuclear-proliferation fox news fnc/world fnc d7456223-5730-5b3d-a5b4-16bca72e37aa Barnini Chakraborty article

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Iran warns of retaliation against US actions as Trump asks for increased sanctions amid Saudi tensions

Iran on Wednesday warned that it would “immediately” retaliate against the United States if Tehran is targeted over a crippling weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities.

The threat, which was sent via the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, also condemned remarks made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other high-ranking U.S. officials suggesting Iran was behind the move.

POMPEO ACCUSES IRAN OF ‘UNPRECEDENTED ATTACK’ AFTER DRONES HIT SAUDI OIL FACILITIES

“Iran’s response will be prompt and strong, and it may include broader areas than the source of attacks,” Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported.

Tehran’s Far News Agency added that any response would be “rapid and crushing.”

The warning came shortly before President Trump tweeted that he had ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to “substantially increase sanctions” imposed on Iran, amid escalating tensions between the two countries. Trump has not publicly stated that Iran was behind the weekend attack that knocked out almost half of Saudi Arabia’s oil capacity but others in his administration have.

Meanwhile, Saudi officials alleged on Wednesday that Iranian cruise missiles and drones were behind the attack on Sunday, showing journalists remains of the weapons. However, they stopped short of directly accusing Iran of launching the assault.

Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki said the attack “came from the north,” without saying specifically where it originated. Iraq and Iran are to the north of Saudi Arabia across the Persian Gulf.

“The attack could not have originated from Yemen,” he said, disputing the claim by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels that they launched the weapons.

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Remains of what was described as a misfired Iranian cruise missile used in an attack this weekend that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, is displayed during a press conference by Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. Though Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed the assault, the U.S. alleges Iran was behind it. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

They said the cruise missile, which had what appeared to be a jet engine attached to it, was a land-attack cruise missile that failed to explode.

“Almost certainly it’s Iranian-backed,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, told the BBC. “We are trying not to react too quickly because the last thing we need is more conflict in the region.”

Cmdr. Joshua Frey, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, declined to comment on the Saudi announcement, saying it “would be inappropriate to comment on the status of individual nations and the nature of any potential support.”

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Journalists film what Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki said was evidence of Iranian weaponry used in the attack targeted Saudi Aramco’s facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, during a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

IRAN CRUISE MISSILES AND DRONES USED IN SAUDI OIL FACILITIES, US OFFICIALS SAY

Iran’s state-run news agency also reported that the country’s president and the foreign minister may not be able to attend next week’s high-level meetings at the United Nations because the U.S. has yet to issue them valid visas.

As the host of the U.N.’s headquarters, the U.S. is mandated to offer world leaders and diplomats visas to attend meetings there. But as tensions have risen, the U.S. has put increasing restrictions on Iranians like Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Since becoming Iran’s president in 2013, Hassan Rouhani has spoken each year at the General Assembly.

The U.N. meeting had been viewed as an opportunity for direct talks between Rouhani and Trump amid of a summer of heightened tensions and attacks in the wake of America’s unilateral withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.

NEW UN AMBASSADOR KELLY CRAFT VOWS ‘STRONG AMERICAN LEADERSHIP’ AS SHE TAKES HER POST

However, the likelihood of such talks decreased dramatically following the Saudi oil attack, U.S. accusations that Iran was behind it and hardening comments from Iran. Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed the attack was in response to the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has sparked the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and killed tens of thousands of people.

Iran sent a note through Swiss diplomats in Tehran on Monday, reiterating that Tehran denies being involved in the Saudi attack, IRNA reported. The Swiss have looked after American interests in Tehran for decades.

Pompeo is traveling to Saudi Arabia for meetings after Saturday’s attack, which hit a Saudi oil field and the world’s largest crude oil processing plant.

US SHARES INFO WITH SAUDI ARABIA THAT BLAMES IRAN FOR OIL FIELD ATTACK: REPORT

The coalition aims to secure the broader Persian Gulf region. It includes surveillance of the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s oil travels, and the Bab el-Mandeb, another narrow strait that connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden off Yemen and East Africa.

The U.S. blames Iran for the apparent limpet mine explosions on four vessels in May and another two in June sailing in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, something Iran denies being behind. Iran also seized a British-flagged oil tanker and another based in the United Arab Emirates after the British seized a tanker carrying Iranian oil.

ROUHANI SAYS IRAN’S RESPONSE TO BILATERAL TALKS WILL ALWAYS BE ‘NEGATIVE’

In Tehran, Rouhani told his Cabinet that Saudi Arabia should see the weekend attack as a warning to end its war in Yemen, where it has fought the Houthi rebels since 2015 and sought to restore the internationally recognized government.

Rouhani said Yemenis “did not hit hospitals, they did not hit schools or the Sanaa bazaar,” referring to the Saudi-led coalition’s widely criticized airstrikes on civilian targets.

He added that Iran does not want conflict in the region, but it was the Saudi-led coalition that “waged the war in the region and ruined Yemen.” Saying the Houthis were responsible for the drone strikes, he said: “They attacked an industrial center to warn you. Learn the lesson from the warning.”

Iran’s defense minister, Gen. Amir Hatami, also denied his country launched the attack, saying the Houthis had the capability to launch the assault.

Wednesday’s announcements come after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said late Tuesday that more than half of the country’s daily crude oil production that was knocked out by an attack had been recovered. He said production capacity at the targeted plants would be fully restored by the end of the month, in part by drawing from Saudi reserves of crude oil.

Pompeo was due to land in the Red Sea city of Jiddah, where he was scheduled to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Pompeo will later travel to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to meet with Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Both nations are U.S. allies and have been fighting against the Houthis in Yemen.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that U.S. military experts were in Saudi Arabia working with their counterparts to “do the forensics on the attack” — gleaning evidence that could help build a convincing case for where the weapons originated.

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A Saudi military officer walks by what was described asa the remains of Iranian cruise missiles and drones used in an attack this weekend that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, during a press conference by military spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. Though Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed the assault, the U.S. alleges Iran was behind it. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

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On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office announced experts from his nation would be traveling to Saudi Arabia to help the kingdom shed light “on the origin and methods” of the attacks. France has been trying to find a diplomatic solution to the tensions between Iran and the U.S., so any conclusion they draw could be used as a third-party assessment of what happened.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Oregon ‘monster’ sentenced to 270 years for sexual abuse, torture of three young sisters

After nearly a decade of delays, an Oregon man described as a “monster” and called the “worst of the worst” was sentenced Monday to 270 years in prison for the rape, sexual abuse, and torture of three young sisters he often offered to babysit.

Andrew Kowalczyk, 44, was also sentenced to a life term of supervised release after years of litigation and attempts to obstruct justice, including soliciting the murder of an assistant U.S. attorney.

Kowalczyk, who at 480 pounds was sitting in a wheelchair by the defense table, stuck his middle finger up at the judge and yelled, “You’re a corrupt piece of sh*t,” before being led out of the courtroom by four deputy U.S. marshals.

“It turns out that Andrew was actually a monster,” one of the victims, now 23 years old, told U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman at the sentencing hearing. “I know now that he was doing something to my sisters and I so that he could rape and molest us.”

OREGON MAN ARRESTED IN 1978 COLD-CASE MURDER OF ALASKA TEEN, AUTHORITIES SAY

The mother of the victims testified that Kowalczyk bought her girls, then 8 and 2-year-old twins, toys, clothing, diapers, shoes and even a birthday cake with their names on it. He also paid for their Portland, Ore., hotel rooms and would regularly babysit the children while the mother looked for work, according to court documents.

“In terms of the sexual exploitation and abuse of children, this defendant is the worst this courthouse has ever seen,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Kerin. “(Kowalczyk) showed no remorse. He will always be a predatory sex offender as long as he lives.”

“It turns out that Andrew was actually a monster.”

— Kowalczyk’s victim

Kowalczyk was arrested on unrelated charges in Puyallup, Washington, on Dec. 27, 2007. He was pulled over by police in Des Moines, Washington, and refused to step out of his vehicle.

Police said Kowalczyk didn’t own the car he was driving, didn’t have a driver’s license and gave officers a fake name. The incident led to a high-speed car chase that police suspended for public safety reasons. However, Kowalczyk was arrested a day later at the Northwest Motor Inn in Puyallup trying to leave in a cab.

It was then that authorities seized the bags he was carrying. They found his cameras and a hard drive that contained 650 child pornography images and videos. Several files showed him sexually abusing two very young children and metadata embedded in some of the digital images revealed they were taken using the camera found in Kowalczyk’s luggage.

Puyallup police published some of the non-pornographic images to help locate victims.

In February 2008, a federal grand jury charged Kowalczyk with a single count of sexual exploitation of a child. In March that year, investigators carried out a search warrant of a storage locker Kowalczky rented and found a sofa, mirror and several shirts that were seen in the pornographic images found on his devices. A superseding indictment with eight additional counts of sexual exploitation of children was returned on March 21, 2012.

Since he was first indicted, Kowalczyk has tried to delay his trial by replacing his counsel more than a dozen times. He’s also filed motions to suppress evidence and even attempted to obstruct justice while he was behind bars by asking his father to retrieve other incriminating evidence found on hard drives before they could be seized by authorities. He also solicited the murder of an assistant U.S. attorney, according to authorities. 

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“Andrew Kowalczyk’s abuse and torture of his victims was unthinkable and will forever impact their lives,” said Billy Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Kowalczyk tried every conceivable tactic to delay prosecution and rob his young victims of the justice they deserve. Today, his attempts to delay punishment for his horrific crimes have ended.”

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