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Judge declines to grant stay of Trump's $83.3 million judgment in Carroll defamation trial

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(NEW YORK) -- Judge Lewis Kaplan has declined to grant a stay of Donald Trump's $83.3 million judgment in his defamation case and requested a written response from columnist E. Jean Carroll's lawyers.

"The Court declines to grant any stay, much less an unsecured stay, without first having afforded plaintiff a meaningful opportunity to be heard," Kaplan wrote in an order filed Sunday morning. Kaplan set a Thursday deadline for Carroll's response and a March 2 deadline for Trump's reply.

A lawyer for the former president requested last week that Kaplan temporarily delay the judgment or permit Trump to post a bond for "an appropriate fraction" of the total damages.

Trump's lawyer Alina Habba filed the motion on Friday, requesting a stay until 30 days after the resolution of his post-trial motions filed in early March, or grant a partially secured stay while Trump posts a reduced bond.

"There is a strong probability that the disposition of post-trial motions will substantially reduce, if not eliminate, the amount of the judgment," Habba argued in the motion.

"Plaintiff failed to offer any evidence that her alleged distress was of any significant severity or duration, or that it resulted in any medical, physical, or clinical consequences—or even any extreme emotional effects," Habba wrote about the emotional damage suffered by Carroll, who described living in a state of fear following Trump's statements.

Habba suggested that the court should project a reduction of the total judgment to $22.25 million, for which Trump could post a $24.475 million bond.

"The figure awarded to Ms. Carroll is egregiously excessive," Habba said in a statement to ABC News. "The Court must exercise its authority to prevent Ms. Carroll from enforcing this absurd judgment, which will not withstand appeal."

The request comes amid a renewed spotlight on the former president’s finances following two costly New York civil trials. On Friday, New York's Supreme Court entered the judgment in Trump's civil fraud case, in which he owes $355 million in fines plus approximately $100 million in interest.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing and has said he doesn't know who Carroll is.

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Man in critical condition after setting himself on fire outside Israeli Embassy in Washington: Police

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- A man was hospitalized in critical condition Sunday after authorities say he set himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The incident unfolded just before 1 p.m. ET outside the gates of the Israeli Embassy in northwest Washington, according to statements from the city's Metropolitan Police Department and Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

"We arrived to find an apparent adult male who had been on fire," the Fire and EMS Department said in its statement.

Members of the U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division extinguished the flames before fire crews arrived, officials said.

The man, whose name was not immediately released, was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries and is listed in critical condition, according to police.

It was not immediately clear why the man set himself ablaze.

Police detectives, the Secret Service Uniformed Division and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the incident.

The police department's Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit was also called to the scene as police investigated a suspicious vehicle in the area that authorities believe is linked to the man. The vehicle was searched, but no hazardous material was found, police said.

The Israeli Embassy released a statement saying the man was "unknown" to embassy staff.

No embassy workers were injured in the incident, and all were reported safe, embassy officials said.

A similar incident occurred on Dec. 1 outside an Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta, where a woman wrapped in a Palestinian flag intentionally set herself on fire in an apparent political protest, according to police. The woman, who was critically injured, ignited herself after dousing herself with gasoline, police said. A security guard suffered burns when he attempted to put the fire out, according to police.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

ABC News' Luke Barr and Sinead Hawkins contributed to this report.

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Suspect charged with murder after woman who went on run found dead on University of Georgia campus

Augusta University

(ATHENS, Ga.) -- A suspect was taken into custody a day after a woman who went for a run on the University of Georgia's Athens campus was found dead due to "foul play," school officials said Friday.

The victim, Laken Hope Riley, 22, was found in a wooded area on campus on Thursday with "visible injuries," the university said. She died from blunt force trauma, according to University of Georgia Police Department Chief Jeffrey Clark.

A suspect in her death, 26-year-old Jose Antonio Ibarra, has been charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, obstructing an emergency call and concealing the death of another. He was denied bond during an initial court appearance on Saturday and is being held at the Clarke County Jail.

Clark told reporters Friday evening they took three to four people into custody in connection with the murder but only plan to arrest Ibarra, who is from Venezuela.

"The evidence suggests that this was a solo act," he said.

Police do not believe he knew the victim and do not have a motive, according to the chief.

"I think this was a crime of opportunity, where he saw an individual and bad things happened," Clark said.

"Key input" from the community, physical evidence and video footage from campus security cameras helped lead investigators to the suspect, who lives in Athens, the chief said.

"There are no indications of a continuing threat to the community related to this case at this time," Clark said.

The Justice Department said Saturday that Ibarra's brother, Diego Ibarra, had also been arrested during the course of the investigation for presenting a fake green card after officers approached him because he matched the description of the suspect. Diego Ibarra has been charged by federal complaint with possessing a fake green card and is in state custody.

In a statement Sunday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Jose Ibarra had been arrested on Sept. 8, 2022, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) "after unlawfully entering the United States near El Paso, Texas."

"He was paroled and released for further processing," ICE said.

"On Sept. 14, 2023, [Jose] Ibarra was arrested by the New York Police Department and charged with acting in a manner to injure a child less than 17 and a motor vehicle license violation," the statement continued. "He was released by the NYPD before a detainer could be issued. On Feb. 23, 2024, ERO [Enforcement and Removal Operations] Atlanta encountered Ibarra pursuant to his arrest by the University of Georgia Police Department and being charged with murder and other crimes. ERO Atlanta lodged a detainer."

A friend reported Riley missing shortly after noon on Thursday when she failed to return home from a run at the school's intramural fields earlier that morning, the university said.

University police officers subsequently found her behind a lake near the fields "unconscious and not breathing," the university said. Officers attempted to provide medical aid but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Riley was a junior at the Augusta University College of Nursing who studied at its Athens campus, the school said. She had previously attended the University of Georgia.

"This sudden loss of one of our students is truly heartbreaking," the Augusta University College of Nursing said in a statement on Friday.

She graduated from River Ridge High School in Woodstock, Georgia, in 2020, where she ran on the school's cross-country team for four years.

"Her passion for health care science and running are to be admired," River Ridge High School cross-country coach Keith Hooper said in a statement to ABC News. "She will always accompany us as we run."

Classes were canceled at the nursing school on Friday, with counselors available to staff and students.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Athens-Clarke County Police Department are assisting in the homicide investigation, the university said.

"We have been fully briefed on this terrible situation," the university said in a statement. "We want to assure you that the safety and welfare of our campus community is our top concern."

The incident follows the "sudden death" of a student in the campus' Brumby Hall Wednesday night, the school said. A cause of death has not been released.

Chief Clark said there is no connection between the two deaths.

Classes will resume on Monday, the school said, calling the past 24 hours a "traumatic time" for the university.

University officials recommended that students travel in groups when possible and download the school's safety app.

Clark urged anyone with information on the incident to contact the University of Georgia Police Department.

There has not been a homicide on the campus in the past 20 years, according to Clark.

ABC News' Luke Barr, Alyssa Gregory, Jason Volack and Nick Uff contributed to this report.
 

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Cross-country storm to hit the Northwest with severe weather before heading East

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A new cross-country storm is expected to begin Sunday in the West and travel across America, hitting the East Coast by Wednesday evening.

On Sunday morning, 11 states from Washington to New Mexico were put on alert for heavy snow and strong winds.

By Monday, the storm will stretch from California to the Rockies with snowfall, strong winds and coastal rain expected.

Heavy mountain snow will continue in the Northwest throughout the day on Monday extending from Washington and Oregon into Montana and Utah.

This is not expected to be a major storm for California. San Francisco to Los Angeles could see some light rain showers while up to a foot of snow could fall in the highest elevations of the Sierras.

On Tuesday afternoon and evening, the storm will move into the Midwest with severe thunderstorms possible from Missouri to Michigan, including major cities such as Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis.

The biggest threat with these severe thunderstorms will be damaging winds, large hail and a few tornadoes.

On Wednesday, the severe weather will move into the Mid-South with a threat for damaging winds possible from Kentucky to Alabama, including major cities such as: Louisville, Nashville and Memphis.

On the back side of this same storm, snow will be possible from Denver to Minneapolis and Green Bay.

Ahead of the storm, the Plains to the East Coast will enjoy spring-like temperatures from Monday to Wednesday as high temperatures soar to 10-30 degrees above normal.

The core of the storm will move to the East Coast and I-95 corridor late Wednesday with heavy rain and very warm temperatures possible from D.C. to Boston.

The storm is projected to exit to the East early Thursday morning with colder, more seasonable, air filtering in behind it.

ABC News' Max Golembo and Melissa Griffin contributed to this report.

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Arrest made after Kentucky student found dead in dorm room, police say

Campbellsville Police Department/Facebook

(CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.) -- A suspect has been arrested in connection to the death of a Kentucky student who was found dead in his dorm room over the weekend at Campbellsville University, according to police.

Josiah Kilman, 18, was discovered unresponsive in his Campbellsville dorm room around 1 a.m. local time Saturday morning and was transported to Taylor Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the university said in a press release.

On Saturday evening, the Green County Sheriff's Office and Kentucky State Police announced that 21-year-old Charles Escalera was arrested at approximately 5:15 p.m. in connection with Kilman's death, officials said.

Authorities were dispatched after receiving a call for a "suspicious male located inside a barn" on the Green County and Taylor County line, according to a police update posted to Facebook.

Police said Escalera was taken into custody without incident.

Escalera is facing murder and burglary charges and is being held in the Taylor County Detention Center, according to online records. He does not yet have an attorney listed.

Kilman's cause of death has not been determined, according to police, who said his body was transferred to the Kentucky Office of the Medical Examiner in Louisville for an autopsy.

"Campbellsville University is grieving the loss of one of our family. We have lost a student and our hearts are broken," Dr. Joseph Hopkins, Campbellsville University president, said in a statement.

"During this devastating time, the continued safety of our students and the residents of our community are our primary concern. With consultation from local law enforcement, we will continue to implement every measure necessary to protect and support students and our community," Hopkins said.

Campbellsville University announced early Sunday that all scheduled classes, events and activities on campus will resume.

Campbellsville is a private Christian university that's about 84 miles southeast of Louisville and approximately 83 miles southwest of Lexington.

Kilman's death in Kentucky is at least the third death of a college student reported this month in the United States.

In Georgia, a 22-year-old woman was found dead last week after going for a run on the University of Georgia's Athens campus. The victim, Laken Hope Riley, was found Thursday in a wooded area on campus with "visible injuries," the university said. She died from blunt force trauma, according to University of Georgia Police Department Chief Jeffrey Clark.

A suspect in her death, 26-year-old Jose Antonio Ibarra, has been charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, obstructing an emergency call and concealing the death of another, according to police.

Tragedy also struck the University of Colorado -- Colorado Springs campus earlier this month when a student allegedly gunned down two people in the dorms, including his roommate.

Nicholas Jordan, 25, was arrested on Monday and charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of his roommate, Samuel Knopp, and Celie Rain Montgomery, who were found dead on Feb. 16, according to Colorado Springs police.

Jordan had allegedly told Knopp weeks prior that he'd "kill him" if he was asked to take out the trash again, according to court documents. Jordan allegedly had an AK-47-style assault rifle and a handgun in his car when he was arrested, according to prosecutors.

ABC News' Meredith Deliso, Jeffrey Cook and Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.

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Nex Benedict, nonbinary teen who died day after school fight, describes altercation in police footage

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(OWASSO, Okla.) -- Newly released body camerage footage shows Nex Benedict, a nonbinary 16-year-old who died one day after a physical altercation with several other students in a bathroom at their Oklahoma high school, describing what led up to the fight during an interview with police from the hospital.

While lying on a gurney in the hours after the Feb. 7 fight at Owasso High School, Nex Benedict told a school resource officer, Caleb Thompson, that they had poured water on three students who were making fun of the way they and their friends laughed and dressed, the footage released Friday by the Owasso Police Department shows.

"We were laughing and they had said something like, 'Why do they laugh like that?' And they were talking about us in front of us," the teen said in the 21-minute video about the students she had an altercation with. "And so I went up there and I poured water on them. And then all three of them came at me."

The teen told the officer that they blacked out during the ensuing physical altercation.

"I threw one of them into a paper towel dispenser. And then they got my legs out from under me and got me on the ground ... beating the s--- out of me," Nex Benedict said. "And then my friends tried to jump in and help but I'm not sure, I blacked out."

Nex Benedict said that they didn't know the names of the students but the group had been "antagonizing" them in the days leading up to the fight. When asked by Thompson why they didn't alert school administrators, she said they "didn't really see the point" but had told their mother.

In the video, the teen's mother, Sue Benedict, told Thompson she was "very mad" and "wanted something done" about the altercation. The mother called 911 after taking the teen to the hospital to report that her child was attacked at school, according to newly released 911 records.

While discussing the logistics of filing a report on the fight, Thompson told the two that Nex Benedict "essentially started it" by throwing the water.

"The way the courts are going to look at it is it's a mutual fight," he said. "Both parties are victims, but both parties are also suspects in this."

Thompson advised that they consider whether they want to press charges and said he would follow up the next day and proceed from there.

The teen died on Feb. 8, a day after the altercation. On a 911 call made that day around 1 p.m. local time, Sue Benedict can be heard asking for an ambulance because the teen's hands were "posturing." Their breathing was shallow and their eyes were "kind of rolling back," she said.

Police have said that preliminary information shows that the teen's death was not a result of physical trauma from the altercation. The cause of death is pending until toxicology results and other testing results are completed, police said.

A final cause and manner of death will be determined by the State Medical Examiner's Office.

An investigation by Owasso Police is ongoing. Once concluded, the case will be forwarded to the FBI for a "complete and thorough review," the police department said.

While awaiting the full results of the autopsy, the teen's family is calling on "all school, local, state and national officials to join forces to determine why this happened, to hold those responsible to account and to ensure it never happens again."

"The Benedicts know all too well the devastating effects of bullying and school violence, and pray for meaningful change, wherein bullying is taken seriously and no family has to deal with another preventable tragedy," the Benedict family said in a statement to ABC News.

The Owasso Police Department has said Owasso High School and Owasso Public Schools have been cooperative in the investigation.

Owasso Public Schools declined to comment on the investigation into the teen's death, but told ABC News in a statement that the "safety and security of our students is our top priority and we are committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for everyone."

"Bullying in any form is unacceptable," the statement read. "We take reports of bullying very seriously and have policies and procedures in place to address such behavior."

The teen's death has sparked calls against anti-LGBTQ bullying, including by Vice President Kamala Harris.

"My heart goes out to Nex Benedict's family, friends, and their entire community," Harris said on Friday. "To the LGBTQI+ youth who are hurting and are afraid right now: President Joe Biden and I see you, we stand with you, and you are not alone."

The Human Rights Campaign is demanding federal investigations into whether protections for LGBTQ students were violated in the case. The organization sent letters to the Department of Education and the Department of Justice asking for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding their death.

The incident has also struck a chord nationwide with 2SLGBTQ groups and allies who are demanding answers regarding the circumstances around Nex's death. 2SLGBTQ includes Two Spirit, an umbrella term used to describe a third gender in Native and Indigenous communities. Sue Benedict is a registered member of the Choctaw Nation.

Local organizations -- including Transgender Advocacy Coalition of Oklahoma, Freedom Oklahoma, and Oklahomans for Equality -- are holding vigils across the state and country throughout the weekend so the 2SLGBTQ community can honor the teen's memory.

A student walkout against bullying is also planned for Monday at Owasso High School.

ABC News' Kiara Alfonseco, Tristan Maglunog and Erica Morris contributed to this report.

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Flaco, the escaped Central Park Zoo owl, dies

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Flaco, the rare Eurasian owl that captured the attention of New York City and dubbed "the most famous owl in the world," has died after an apparent collision with a building, the Central Park Zoo said in a statement.

"We are saddened to report that Flaco, the Eurasian eagle owl discovered missing from the Central Park Zoo after his exhibit was vandalized just over a year ago, is dead after an apparent collision with a building on West 89th Street in Manhattan," the zoo said in a statement Friday.

The zoo said that Flaco was reported to the Wild Bird Fund (WBF) by people in the building. Staff from the WBF quickly responded, but he was non-responsive and they declared him dead shortly afterward.

"The vandal who damaged Flaco's exhibit jeopardized the safety of the bird and is ultimately responsible for his death. We are still hopeful that the NYPD, which is investigating the vandalism, will ultimately make an arrest," the statement continued.

Flaco unwittingly transformed from an obscure bird to a cause célèbre after being reported missing on Feb. 2, 2023, from the cramped Central Park digs that served as his home since 2010, when he arrived in the city as a fledgling from a North Carolina bird sanctuary. He had been hatched and raised in captivity for the first 12 years of his life.

Flaco had been released from captivity by Central Park vandals, police said. Despite an extensive search, Flaco was able to evade capture for an entire year—and developed a following.

Flaco immediately caused a stir on one of Manhattan's most fashionable shopping streets, Fifth Avenue, where he landed on the sidewalk near the Bergdorf Goodman department store, drawing a crowd and the NYPD. Officers cordoned him off with yellow crime scene tape and set an open cage next to him, apparently in case he wanted to surrender. Before they could move in to catch him, the mottled-colored creature flew off to a tree in front of the Plaza Hotel.

"He's certainly my most photographed bird of 2023," David Barrett, the creator and manager of Manhattan Bird Alert, and encountered Flaco told ABC News last year. "He's the most famous bird in the world."

Flaco would continue to draw crowds and his survival skills stunned those who did not think he could survive outside the enclosure.

"Several days ago, we observed him successfully hunting, catching and consuming prey. We have seen a rapid improvement in his flight skills and ability to confidently maneuver around the park," zoo officials said last year.

Feb. 2 marked a year since the apex predator slipped through an opening vandals cut in the stainless steel mesh of his enclosure at the Central Park Zoo and bolted into the wilds of America's largest city, testing the limits of his six-foot wingspan for the first time in his life.

ABC News' Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.

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High-altitude balloon intercepted by US fighters over Utah a 'likely hobby balloon': NORAD

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(WASHINGTON) -- A balloon intercepted by fighter aircraft over Utah on Friday was a "likely hobby balloon" and has since left United States airspace, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said Saturday.

The "small balloon" was allowed to continue to fly above the U.S. after being intercepted Friday morning at an altitude of 43,000 to 45,000 feet because it has been determined not to pose a national security threat, NORAD said.

"After yesterday's fighter intercepts, and in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the North American Aerospace Defense Command monitored the likely hobby balloon via ground radars until it left US airspace overnight," NORAD said in a statement on Saturday.

NORAD said it has no additional information on the balloon.

A U.S. official described the balloon as being 50 feet tall and carrying a payload that is the size of a two-foot cube. It is not known what the payload might be carrying, the official said.

"The balloon was intercepted by NORAD fighters over Utah, who determined it was not maneuverable and did not present a threat to national security," NORAD said in a statement on Friday.

The balloon also posed no hazard to flight safety, NORAD said.

The development comes slightly more than a year after a Chinese spy balloon was tracked across the United States before being shot down by U.S. fighters over U.S. territorial waters east of South Carolina.

That balloon measured nearly 200 feet in height, was equipped with a payload described as being the length of three school buses that carried intelligence sensors and was capable of being maneuvered remotely.

That incident created tensions between the United States and China that have only recently improved.

NORAD subsequently made adjustments to its sensors to increase the detection of high-altitude balloons flying across the U.S. and Canada that led to the shootdown of smaller balloons over Alaska, Canada's Yukon Territory, and Lake Huron.

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Trump submits cellphone records allegedly showing Nathan Wade and Fani Willis' interactions before hiring

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(ATLANTA) -- Former President Donald Trump on Friday submitted a request to enter new evidence in his Georgia election interference case based off Fulton County prosecutor Nathan Wade's cellphone records, which the filing claims show that Wade visited the area of the home of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis approximately 35 times during an 11-month period in 2021.

The records could be used to dispute Willis and Wade's claims about their relationship timeline.

The Fulton County DA's office pushed back on Trump's filing Friday night and urged the judge not to admit the phone records or analysis into evidence, saying they were improperly introduced and "simply do not prove anything relevant."

The filings come in the wake of an evidentiary hearing over efforts to disqualify Willis and Wade from the case, during which both Willis and Wade testified under oath last week that their romantic relationship did not begin until after Wade was officially hired in November 2021, and that the relationship started in 2022.

"I don't consider my relationship to be romantic with him before that," Willis testified regarding Wade's hiring.

On Friday, Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee scheduled a March 1 hearing on the disqualification matter.

Trump co-defendant Michael Roman and several other co-defendants are seeking Willis' disqualification from the election case on the grounds that she benefited financially from a "personal, romantic relationship" with Wade, who she hired for the case.

Willis and Wade have admitted to the relationship, but in a court filing said it "does not amount to a disqualifying conflict of interest" and that the relationship "has never involved direct or indirect financial benefit to District Attorney Willis." Willis testified she paid Wade back in cash for trips they took, which were often booked on his credit card.

According to Trump's filing, the cellphone records also show that Wade exchanged thousands of calls and text messages with Willis in 2021.

Trump's filing on Friday was based on an affidavit from a criminal investigator who said he conducted the analysis on Wade's subpoenaed AT&T phone records spanning from January through November of 2021.

The investigator, Charles Mittelstadt, claimed he analyzed "all interactions" between Wade and Willis' phone during this time, which he initially said revealed over 2,000 calls and nearly 12,000 texts messages during that 11-month period -- most of which would likely have been before Wade was hired. In an updated affidavit submitted to the court by Trump's team, the language was changed to say the analysis revealed "just under 12,000 interactions exchanged" -- not text messages, as was previously indicated.

Mittlestadt said he also looked at "geolocation activity" of Wade's phone, which he said revealed "a minimum" of 35 instances in which Wade's phone connected "for an extended period" to the towers near a home in Hapeville, Georgia, where Willis was allegedly living at the time.

"The data reveals he is stationary and not in transit," the affidavit states.

In its 48-page filing Friday night, the DA's office said the records "do nothing more" than show that Wade's phone "was located somewhere within a densely populated multiple-mile radius." They suggest he could have been in that area for other reasons, noting it's an area "where various residences, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other businesses are located."

"The records do not prove, in any way, the content of the communications between Special Prosecutor Wade and District Attorney Willis; they do not prove that Special Prosecutor Wade was ever at any particular location or address; they do not prove that Special Prosecutor Wade and District Attorney Willis were ever in the same place during any of the times listed," the filing stated.

It went on to claim that on "multiple relevant dates and times" referenced by Trump, Willis was elsewhere, including the "three crime scenes" of the 2021 Atlanta spa shootings.

It also included multiple redacted emails from Willis in 2021 and calendar entries as apparent evidence to back up those claims.

The filing from the DA's office accused Trump of "another attempt to garner salacious headlines in the media."

During the evidentiary hearing last week, Wade specifically disputed allegations he had gone to Willis' house frequently in 2021.

"No sir," he replied, when asked by Trump's attorney Steve Sadow if had gone to Willis' condo "more than 10 times" before November 2021.

"It would be less than 10 times?" Sadow asked.

"Yes sir," Wade replied.

"If phone records were to reflect that you were making phone calls from the same location as the condo before November 1st of 2021, and it was on multiple occasions, the phone records would be wrong?" Sadow asked.

"They'd be wrong," Wade answered later.

In one instance, in September of 2021, before Wade was hired for the case, the investigator claims in the affidavit that Wade went to Willis' address in the middle of the night.

Specifically, the investigator claims in his affidavit that records show Wade's phone arrived in the area of Willis' apartment at 10:45 pm in September 2021, and remained there until approximately 3:30 in the morning. The investigator claimed the records show Wade's phone arrived back to the area of his apartment just after 4:05 a.m., and that Wade "sent a text at 4:20am to Ms. Willis."

The filing from Trump's attorney says Mittlestadt is "available to testify at the Court's convenience."

Mittlestadt said in the affidavit that he used a tool called CellHawk to analyze the phone data, which he said "is considered by law enforcement to be the gold standard in cellphone records analytics."

Wade, in the meantime, is seeking to block the judge in the case from questioning his former law partner and attorney, Terrence Bradley, behind closed doors, arguing that the private examination "may unlawfully compel" that attorney to disclose information protected by attorney-client privilege.

Bradley, whom the defense says has evidence that Wade and Willis' relationship began before Wade was hired, largely declined to answer questions from the defense during last week's hearing, citing attorney-client privilege.

Judge Scott McAfee said he was "left wondering" about whether Bradley had "been properly interpreting privilege," and said he would need to examine Bradley in private -- and that he could reopen the evidentiary process if he uncovered anything relevant.

Trump and 18 others pleaded not guilty in August to all charges in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia.

Defendants Kenneth Chesebro, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis and Scott Hall subsequently took plea deals in exchange for agreeing to testify against other defendants.

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Jury finds NRA liable for mismanagement, says Wayne LaPierre violated duties

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(NEW YORK) -- After five days of deliberations, a jury in New York on Friday held the National Rifle Association liable for financial mismanagement and found that Wayne LaPierre, the group's former CEO, corruptly ran the nation's most prominent gun rights group.

LaPierre and a senior executive at the NRA must pay a combined $6.35 million "for abusing the system and breaking our laws," New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office brought the lawsuit against the organization, said following the verdict.

The jury determined that LaPierre's violation of his duties cost the NRA $5.4 million in damages, though he already repaid more than $1 million to the organization. He must pay $4.35 million, the New York Attorney General's Office said.

LaPierre, staring forward with his hands clasped in his lap, sat in the first row of the gallery while the jury read the verdict. He did not speak to the press upon leaving the courthouse Friday.

The New York Attorney General's Office sued the NRA and its senior management in 2020, claiming they misappropriated millions of dollars to fund personal benefits -- including private jets, family vacations and luxury goods. The accusations came at the end of a three-year investigation into the NRA, which is registered in New York as a nonprofit charitable corporation.

The jurors, who began deliberating on Feb. 16, were asked to weigh transactions like hair and makeup for LaPierre's wife, payments or speaking fees to board members, and contracts with favored vendors willing to pay kickbacks.

LaPierre announced his resignation from the organization on Jan. 5, days before the start of the trial, citing health reasons, according to the NRA.

The lawsuit alleged that LaPierre filled executive positions at the NRA with unqualified loyalists in order to maintain control and conceal self-dealing, including co-defendants John Frazer, corporate secretary and general counsel, and Woody Phillips, the former chief financial officer and treasurer, the attorney general's lawsuit said. The three of them stand accused of breaching the trust of donors by using charitable money for luxury travel, private planes and five-star hotels, along with entering into multimillion-dollar contracts with favored vendors willing to pay.

The jury found that Frazer and Phillips were liable for violating their duties to the organization. Philips was ordered to pay $2 million in damages, the attorney general's office said.

The jury also found that the NRA failed to properly administer charitable funds and violated state whistleblower protections, the office said. Frazer and the NRA were also found liable for making false statements on the NRA's regulatory filings, the office said.

The jury found that there was not enough evidence to provide cause for removing Frazer as secretary of the NRA.

James said the verdict is a "major victory" for her office and the people of New York and that LaPierre and the NRA "are finally being held accountable for this rampant corruption and self-dealing."

"In New York, you cannot get away with corruption and greed, no matter how powerful or influential you think you may be," she said in a statement on X. "Everyone, even the NRA and Wayne LaPierre, must play by the same rules."

The NRA said the verdict confirmed that it was "victimized" by former vendors and fiduciaries "who abused the trust placed in them."

"We appreciate the service of the jury and the opportunity to present evidence about the positive direction of the NRA today,” NRA President Charles Cotton said in a statement, adding that NRA members "should be heartened by the NRA's commitment to best practices."

"To the extent there were control violations, they were acted upon immediately by the NRA Board beginning in summer 2018," the statement continued.

The next phase of the proceedings will be a bench trial in which Justice Joel Cohen is expected to rule on any final remedies against the defendants, the NRA said.

A fourth defendant, former NRA operations director Joshua Powell, settled civil claims of fraud and abuse brought by James prior to the start of the trial.

As part of his settlement, Powell admitted he breached his fiduciary duties of care, loyalty and obedience by using the NRA's charitable assets for his own benefit and the benefit of his family. He also admitted he failed to administer the charitable assets entrusted to his care properly.

During closing statements on Feb. 15, LaPierre's lawyer argued the lawsuit was politically motivated and that he "acted in good faith and with honesty, sincerity and intention," according to The Associated Press.

The state told jurors that the NRA and its executives were "caught with their hand in the cookie jar" and were trying to deflect, while the NRA's lawyer said that any corruption was committed against, not by, the group, according to the AP.

Lawyers for Frazer and Phillips told jurors their clients acted in good faith and in the best interests of the NRA, the AP reported. Phillips' lawyer said his client "doesn't deserve to be made penniless," according to the AP.

James' lawsuit seeks to recoup lost assets and permanently ban LaPierre and the others from serving on any charitable boards in New York. Powell accepted that ban as part of his settlement agreement. He also agreed to pay $100,000 in restitution and to testify against LaPierre and others at trial.

The lawsuit additionally seeks an independent monitor to oversee the NRA's finances.

The NRA tried to file bankruptcy in 2021 but a federal judge rejected its petition, saying, "The NRA did not file the bankruptcy petition in good faith."

LaPierre previously said the New York attorney general's lawsuit was an "unconstitutional, premeditated attack aiming to dismantle and destroy the NRA -- the fiercest defender of America's freedom at the ballot box for decades."

In 2020, following the attorney general's filing of the suit, an NRA spokesperson said in a statement that at the time that LaPierre was "required to travel private for security purposes, in accordance with NRA Board policy," and that he was "asked by the NRA's former advertising agency to incur certain wardrobe expenses given his enormous public profile."

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Two National Guardsmen dead after military helicopter crashes in Mississippi during routine training flight

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(NEW YORK) -- Two National Guardsmen are dead after a military helicopter crashed in northeast Mississippi on Friday afternoon during a routine training flight, officials said.

The AH-64 Apache crashed around 2 p.m. in a wooded area near Boonville in Prentiss County, according to the Mississippi National Guard.

Both Guardsmen on board the helicopter died, according to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves.

"Mississippi will always be grateful for their service and we will never forget them," he said in a statement on social media.

One soldier was in A Company 1-149 Aviation Regiment Unit and the other was in D Company 2-151 Lakota Medical Evacuation Unit, the Mississippi National Guard said.

The incident is under investigation and no further details are being released at this time, the Mississippi National Guard said.

"We are grateful to the first responders and safety crews who are still working the scene of the accident with local authorities," the Mississippi National Guard said in a statement.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Alabama women describe heartbreak over IVF treatments stopping following court ruling on embryos

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(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Since last year, Jasmine York, 34, and her husband have been trying to have a baby. The couple, both nurses, began freezing embryos before they got married in March 2023.

York had her first embryo transfer in August 2023, but the transfer failed, she told ABC News.

Determined to grow their family, the couple tried again, and they are currently undergoing their second round of in-vitro fertilization, or IVF.

But, after the Alabama Supreme Court issued a new decision last week ruling that frozen embryos are considered children, their embryo transfer appointment scheduled for March 20 was canceled by her hospital.

"It's obviously really nerve-racking," York told ABC News. "Where do we go from here? What would happen? We're in the middle of this process, I'm taking medications, I've already purchased all of the medications for the transfer cycle."

"But now, it's just devastating, honestly, that all of that has been put on hold, and we don't know what the next steps will be for us, or if we'll even be able to afford the transfer of them out of state," she continued.

The couple has spent more than $20,000 trying to get pregnant, according to York. They are now in limbo, unsure when they'll be able to get the procedure, and if the money they spent on expensive medication will go to waste.

"We're frustrated. Now, especially that a decision has been made to put everything on pause, I'm sad. I've had my moments of crying throughout the whole day and I'm angry. I'm angry that other people get to make a decision about whether or not I get to grow my family. I'm mad that other people's opinions affect medicine and the practice of it," York said.

"None of this is intentionally going in with an intent to harm a child. This is an attempt to create a child and it's just frustrating and it's sad that it could impact the rest of my life," she said.

Alabama Supreme Court rules frozen embryos are 'children'

News that York's appointment was canceled comes days after the state Supreme Court issued a decision saying that frozen embryos are considered children under Alabama's Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, opening the door to civil -- and potentially even criminal -- lawsuits for destroying the embryos, even if done accidentally.

The decision stemmed from a lawsuit by couples whose embryos were destroyed after a patient wandered into a fertility clinic and dropped the embryos, according to court documents. In order to remain viable, embryos are stored in subzero temperatures and handled with care to avoid contamination. When the embryos were dropped, they were no longer viable and could not be transferred to create a pregnancy.

The couples then brought civil lawsuits against the facility, but a trial court threw out their wrongful death suits.

The Alabama state Supreme Court then reversed that decision late Friday, ruling that embryos are "children."

"Unborn children are 'children' ... without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics," the Court wrote in its opinion.

Associate Justice Gregory Cook, who wrote the lone fully dissenting opinion, said it was not the Court's decision who meets the definition of "person" under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act and that the ruling would have devastating consequences for Alabamians.

"Moreover, there are other significant reasons to be concerned about the main opinion's holding," he wrote. "No court -- anywhere in the country -- has reached the conclusion the main opinion reaches. And, the main opinion's holding almost certainly ends the creation of frozen embryos through in vitro fertilization ("IVF") in Alabama."

Patients see IVF services paused

At least three IVF providers in Alabama have indefinitely paused procedures following the Court's decision, among them being the University of Alabama Birmingham health system, the largest in the state.

Alabama Fertility Specialists and the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Mobile – in southwest Alabama -- announced Thursday they had decided to pause IVF treatments.

Meanwhile, Huntsville Reproductive Medicine, P.C., located in Madison, near the Tennessee border, told ABC News it was still proceeding with IVF treatments but pausing on discarding embryos, whether the embryos "were genetically tested and found to be abnormal or the couple has simply reached their family building goals and don't want to donate their" embryos.

Already a mother to a 13-year-old from a previous marriage, York has since had three ectopic pregnancies, resulting the removal of one her fallopian tubes. York says IVF was her only option to get pregnant.

"I want to go forth with the IVF. The problem is that I don't know what that looks like for us right now. I don't know. If it's something that will be an option for us, because of all of the factors that come into play, with the transfer in the finding of physician and in taking off work, to go do this whole procedure," York said.

Kendall Diebold, 32, a hematology nurse practitioner from Hanceville -- about 40 miles north of Birmingham -- and her husband have been trying to conceive for two years.

They used two rounds of letrozole, a medication that decreases the amount of estrogen in the body to increase the odds of pregnancy. The first round resulted in a pregnancy that ended in miscarriage, the second round was unsuccessful.

The couple also went through two rounds of intrauterine insemination, which were unsuccessful. They were getting ready to begin IVF at UAB in April when the court issued its ruling and UAB shut down its IVF program.

Diebold was at work when her colleague came in and told her the program was being suspended indefinitely.

"I didn't even stick around to hear what she said next, because I left," Diebold said. "One of my best friends, I called her and I said, 'Where are you because I need you to come take care of me right now.' So, she took care of me. We went on a walk, and she quite literally held me while I cried."

Diebold and her husband have discussed potentially going out of state to seek care in Georgia, Kentucky or Tennessee, which she described as a privilege that many other families may not have. She said she's reached out to Emory Healthcare in Atlanta to ask about what the IVF process may look like there.

"I don't want to transfer care because I love my physician so much and after a while you build a rapport with them," she said. "It's doable, but it's likely incredibly challenging, just from a logistical standpoint."

She described not being able to potentially get fertility care in her home state as "frustrating."

"It's stressful when you're already dealing with something that is so emotional, and so, it's absolutely frustrating, overwhelming, scary, all of the things," Diebold said.

'It should be my choice'

Also impacted by the decision are women who currently have embryos in storage and now may not be able to pursue IVF in Alabama or are not able to discard their embryos.

Audrey B, who asked that just the last initial of her name be used to protect her privacy, from north-central Alabama, is currently 31-weeks pregnant via IVF after she and her husband struggled to conceive for about two years.

Audrey, 35, who was being treated at UAB, still has two frozen embryos. She and her husband originally planned to wait a year or two after giving birth to try and transfer a second embryo.

"It just feels like now we do not have any control over our embryos," she told ABC News. "Like, what does that decision do for me? Like, am I going to have to pay for storage for the rest of my life for those embryos if I don't use them?"

"Even if I do want to use them, who is going to transfer them? My fertility clinic, they said they were stopping all IVF programs," she added.

Audrey and her husband have talked about possibly going out of state for IVF in the future but worry about the added cost and travel expenses.

"Can we transfer or should we transfer our embryos out of state?" Audrey said. "And even though we were transferring out of state, what state? Because like are we transferring them to Georgia, which is the neighbor state, but I mean, what tells us that Georgia is not going to pass the same kind of law?"

"So [if] you have to transfer those embryos to states like Colorado, New York ... how much it's going to cost?" she said.

Taylor Cater Durham, 30, who lives in Birmingham is in a similar situation. Cater Durham and her ex-husband went through IVF for two years but were unable to conceive.

During that time, Cater Durham said she had at least two egg retrievals. The first resulted in just one viable embryo, which was transferred but she didn't become pregnant.

The second resulted in eight eggs being retrieved, four of which led to viable embryos that could be transferred. Three were transferred but they didn't result in pregnancy. They still have one embryo left.

"This new law, the [embryos] that they knew were inconclusive and were not viable, it states that we couldn't donate, we couldn't discard them, that we would have to store them or use them," she told ABC News. "And going through IVF is already very, very heartbreaking, and to know that you're going to have to put these embryos in or store them and know they're not going to work. It's just crazy."

Cater Durham said she is paying $850 a year to store her last embryo and is worried that the price could potentially increase with all the embryos that will now have to be stored due to so many clinics stopping IVF procedures.

She added that she was not planning to discard her last embryo but she's angry that the court took that choice away from her.

"It should be the patient's choice," Cater Durham said. "I'm not ready to get rid of that embryo yet [but] I feel like it should be my choice if I want to keep it, donate it, discard it. Whatever I decide I want to do, it should be my choice, not the state of Alabama's."

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American couple missing in Caribbean after fugitives allegedly steal their yacht: Police

Courtesy Suellen Desmarais

(NEW YORK) -- An American couple has gone missing in the Caribbean after three escaped prisoners allegedly used their yacht to island hop before getting recaptured by authorities, according to investigators.

Ralph Hendry and his wife Kathy Brandel disappeared from their yacht, Simplicity, which was docked in the waters of the southern Caribbean nation of Grenada, Hendry's sister, Suellen Desmarais, told ABC News.

Police have not confirmed the identity and nationality of the couple but are investigating the incident.

Hendry and Brandel were last seen alive by their boating neighbor at the dock on Sunday afternoon, according to Desmarais. The neighbor said he saw the couple entering a restaurant, Desmarais said.

"That man went to bed that night and he looked over and Simplicity was there when he went to bed," but when the neighbor "got up at 6:30 a.m. on Monday morning, Simplicity was gone," she told ABC News.

Desmarais said the couple had been in Grenada for about two weeks, and their yacht left the island a week earlier than planned.

The Royal Grenada Police Force said the yacht allegedly became the target of three alleged criminals, Ron Mitchell, Trevon Robertson and Abita Stanislaus, all from St. Andrew, Grenada, who escaped from a police station after they were arrested on Sunday.

They were charged jointly with robbery with violence before their escape, police said. Mitchell was also charged with rape, attempted rape and indecent assault, according to investigators.

All three fugitives allegedly managed to make their way to a neighboring Caribbean country using the yacht, but they were caught by police in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday, according to authorities.

Grenada Police said they are "currently working on leads that suggest that the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process."

The Salty Dawg Sailing Association, a sailing association that the couple belonged to, said in a statement a good Samaritan boarded the yacht when anchored and abandoned off a St. Vincent beach and contacted both them and the Coast Guard when he found no one inside.

The good Samaritan allegedly "found evidence of apparent violence," according to the association.

"I have spoken to the families and have offered our deepest condolences and our assistance in any way possible. In all my years of cruising the Caribbean, I have never heard of anything like this," Bob Osborn, SDSA's president, said in a statement Friday evening.

The investigation is ongoing.

The couple, who lived on the boat, had been sailing the same route for a number of years, Desmarais said. That route started in Virginia, followed by a stop in Massachusetts, then to Florida to see Desmarais and her family, before heading south to island hop in the Caribbean.

Hendry and Brandel's two children and Desmarais' son traveled to St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday to join the search.

"Their love for life and island people, they're good, basic people," Desmarais said. "Until they find a body, they're still alive."

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Suspect in University of Colorado dorm murders had AK-47-style assault rifle when arrested: Prosecutors

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(NEW YORK) -- A student at the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs who is accused of gunning down two people in a dorm room had an AK-47-style assault rifle and a handgun in his car when he was arrested, according to prosecutors.

Nicholas Jordan was arrested on Monday and charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of his roommate, Samuel Knopp, and Celie Rain Montgomery, who were found shot dead on Feb. 16, according to the Colorado Springs police.

Knopp, 24, was a registered student at the school while Montgomery, 26, was not currently registered, police said.

Prosecutors described Jordan, 25, as a relatively new student in the process of withdrawing from UCCS.

A motive for the murders is not clear.

As Jordan appeared in court in person for the first time on Friday, the judge ruled the arrest warrant and affidavit to be unsealed.

A status conference has been scheduled for March 15.

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Black farmer looks to rethink stigma of picking cotton

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(NEW YORK) -- Old images of African Americans picking cotton remind many of the oppression suffered by generations of Black slaves before the Emancipation Proclamation. For Black Americans in particular, their history with this famous crop, that helps clothe the world, is complicated.

Now Julius Tillery, a Black cotton farmer in North Carolina, is working to turn cotton’s painful story with Black Americans into an affirmation of the economic progress that his community has achieved over the years.

“If I don't create a new history for us, it will always be a bad history,” Tillery told ABC News. “So I think it's really important that the work I do to help and foster a better idea around cotton is important. We have to remember, cotton wasn't the oppressive thing. Cotton is just a plant, and it's a magical plant at that. It was people that were oppressive and made us work like machines.”

Tillery owns several hundred acres of farmland and has been teaching other farmers how to survive in a global economy.

The 37-year-old said it is important for him to see the Black farming community grow.

"It's not many of us. We're basically... extinct," he said. "It's less than 100 Black cotton farmers in the whole country."

Outside of his advocacy, Tillery started a side business, Black Cotton, in 2016. He promotes other cotton farmers across the South. The business has created and sold home décor, jewelry, and accessories handmade with cotton. The tagline for the company is: Cotton is Our Culture. Let's Grow Together.

The company also has partnered with shoemaker and clothing line Vans, which purchased 10,000 pounds of cotton from Black Cotton two years ago. Vans produces streetwear, including a T-shirt with a cotton flower logo that uses cotton from the company.

Vans said it plans to buy more cotton from Black Cotton this year.

Tillery said that he sometimes gets remarks from people who wonder how, as a Black man, he could be a cotton farmer. He said that he sees his work as a way for the community to grow.

"I'm a fifth-generation cotton farmer, and I emphasize that because that means five generations of free men decided to do this work," he said.

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