Newsroom

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Republican snorted cocaine with escort who had ‘No Show’ government job

When Matt Gaetz attended a 2019 GOP fundraiser in Orlando, his date that night was someone he knew well: a paid escort and amateur Instagram model who led a cocaine-fueled party after the event. The Florida congressman’s one-time wingman, Joel Greenberg, will identify that escort to investigators as one of more than 15 young women Gaetz paid for sex. But what distinguishes this woman, Megan Zalonka, is that she turned her relationship with Greenberg into a taxpayer-funded no-show job that earned her an estimated $7,000 to $17,500.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Matt Gaetz scandal deepens as associate admits paying 17-year-old for sex

The scandal engulfing Matt Gaetz, one of Donald Trump’s brashest supporters in Congress, deepened on Friday after an associate admitted sex trafficking involving a minor and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Florida, said he and unidentified others paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and he provided the girl with drugs, according to court papers cited by multiple media outlets. Greenberg, 37, is expected to plead guilty to six federal charges, including financial crimes, in court in Orlando on Monday.

General Ruslan Ryaboshapka

Former Ukrainian prosecutor says he was fired for not investigating Hunter Biden

Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka said in an interview published on Wednesday that he believes he was fired from his position last year for refusing to investigate President Biden’s son Hunter Biden at the request of Rudy Giuliani and former President Trump.

National Public Radio

U.S.-Mexico efforts targeting drug cartels have unraveled, top DEA official admits

A senior Drug Enforcement Administration official told NPR efforts to target drug cartels operating inside Mexico have unraveled because of a breakdown in cooperation between law enforcement agencies and militaries in the two countries. "We're willing to share [intelligence] with our counterparts in Mexico but they themselves are too afraid to even engage with us because of repercussions from their own government if they get caught working with DEA," said Matthew Donahue, the DEA's deputy chief of operations.

Donald Trump

Inner circle is terrified the feds are coming for them next

If you haven’t been keeping up with the legal affairs of Donald Trump of late, what you should know is that the guy is very likely fucked. With the ex-president facing no fewer than 29 lawsuits and three criminal investigations, his tax returns are currently in the hands of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose team is also working to flip the Trump Organization employee who knows where all the bodies are buried and has both (1) cooperated with prosecutors in the past and (2) made some rather interesting comments about the company’s legal dealings.

Modern Slavery

Judge rules South Carolina restaurant manager owes more than $500K to worker

A judge ruled that a former South Carolina restaurant manager who forced a Black man with intellectual disabilities to work more than 100 hours a week without pay, owes the former employee more than $500,000. According to The Post and Courier, Bobby Paul Edwards, 56, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for forcing John Christopher Smith, 43, to work at J&J Cafeteria without pay.

Ahmaud Arbery killing

Three men charged with federal hate crimes

The US justice department has indicted three men on federal hate crime charges in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was jogging when he was shot and killed in Brunswick on 23 February last year. Arbery’s family characterized his death as a modern-day lynching.

Rudy Giuliani

US officials search Trumps attorney's home and office as part of Ukraine investigation

The Justice Department sharply escalated an investigation into President Donald Trump’s longtime confidant and lawyer Rudy Giuliani Wednesday by executing search warrants at his Manhattan home. The actions were part of a long-running probe into Giuliani’s dealings with a shadowy cast of characters in Ukraine during Trump’s presidency. The FBI also arrived Wednesday morning at the D.C.-area home of another attorney who had dealings with Ukrainians and remains close to Giuliani and Trump.

Andrew Brown

Judge denies requests to release body-cam video of shooting

A judge on Wednesday denied requests to release body-camera video in the case of a Black man who was shot to death by North Carolina deputies as they tried to arrest him on drug-related warrants. Judge Jeffery Foster said he believed the videos contained information that could harm the investigation or threaten the safety of people seen in the footage. He said the video must remain out of public view for at least 30 days.

Capitol Riots

Richard Barnett who posed inside Pelosi’s office is released from D.C. jail

The stun-gun-toting Capitol rioter who famously posed for a photo with his feet on a desk in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office will be released from a Washington, D.C., jail after nearly four months in government custody, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday. Richard Barnett, 60, who left a crude and menacing note for Pelosi and stole a piece of her mail, does not present the kind of danger to society that would warrant his pretrial detention, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper found.

Andrew Brown

Execution: The autopsy shows he was shot five times by police, attorneys say

Attorneys for the family of Andrew Brown, a Black man killed by deputies last week, said on Tuesday an independent autopsy showed he was shot five times, including in the back of the head. “It was a kill shot to the back of the head,” one attorney, Ben Crump, told reporters. “It went into the base of the neck, bottom of the skull and got lost in his brain. That was the cause of death.” Another lawyer, Wayne Kendall, said Brent Hall, a former medical examiner in Boone, North Carolina, hired by the Brown family, had examined Andrew Brown’s body.

Trump Administration

Trump delayed $20bn in aid to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, report finds

The Trump administration delayed more than $20bn in hurricane relief aid for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, according to a report by the housing department’s office of the inspector General. The efforts to deliver recovery funding to the island were “unnecessarily delayed by bureaucratic obstacles”, according to the 46-page report. The hurricane, which hit the island in 2017, killed thousands of people and left thousands more without electricity or water for months.

Derek Chauvin trial

Murder, manslaughter: Jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts

The jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd. The trial has been one of the most closely watched cases in recent memory, setting off a national reckoning on police violence and systemic racism even before the trial commenced. Chauvin has been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin, only his eyes visible as the rest of his face was hidden behind a surgical mask, watched as the verdict was returned.

George Floyd trial

Derek Chauvin case goes to the jury as the nation braces for the verdict

The city of Minneapolis and the nation at large began a tense waiting game Monday after closing arguments were heard in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who’s charged with the murder of George Floyd. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher told the jury that Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes was murder, not policing.
“George Floyd was not a threat to anyone. He wasn't trying to hurt anyone. He wasn't trying to do anything to anyone,” Schleicher said.

Capitol Riots

Judge orders two Proud Boys leaders held in custody

A federal judge has ordered two leaders of the far-right Proud Boys group to be detained in jail pending trial for their involvement in the 6 January attack on the Capitol in Washington DC. Both were indicted in one of many Proud Boys conspiracy cases to stem from the investigation into the assault on the building that followed a pro-Donald Trump rally.

Duke of Edinburgh

The Queen wipes away a tear as she sits alone at Prince Philip's funeral

Queen Elizabeth II, wearing a black face mask and seated alone, said goodbye to her husband of more than 73 years, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, at his funeral on Saturday at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. The ceremony for Prince Philip, who died last week at age 99, was highly unusual — in part because coronavirus restrictions meant that it had to be scaled back, but also because it followed a very public airing of a family rift. Members of the royal family — Philip’s four children and some of his grandchildren — walked in a somber procession behind his coffin.

GiveSendGo

US police and public officials donated to Kyle Rittenhouse, data breach reveals

A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website has revealed that serving police officers and public officials have donated money to fundraisers for accused vigilante murderers, far-right activists, and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans. In many of these cases, the donations were attached to their official email addresses, raising questions about the use of public resources in supporting such campaigns.

FedEx Indianapolis

Cops took away Indy shooter’s gun a year before massacre at the FedEx facility

More than a year before he killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, the FBI seized a shotgun from Brandon Scott Hole’s home after his mom had called authorities, warning them he might try to commit “suicide by cop”. On Thursday night, the 19-year-old — who worked at the FedEx Ground-Plainfield Operation until 2020 — got out of his car in the parking lot around 11 p.m. local time and “pretty quickly started some random shooting” in the parking lot with a rifle, gunning down four people before going inside the warehouse, where he fatally shot four more, police said.

Jon Ryan Schaffer

Oath Keeper becomes first Capitol insurrectionist to rat out fellow rioters

A heavy metal guitarist and self-described “founding” member of the Oath Keepers who stormed the U.S. Capitol armed with bear spray has become the first Jan. 6 insurrectionist to plead guilty and cooperate with the feds, prosecutors said Friday. Jon Ryan Schaffer, a 53-year-old from Indiana, pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and entering a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon during a Friday hearing. During the hearing, Judge Amit Mehta also revealed that Schaffer will be sponsored for witness protection.

Gun Violence

Indianapolis shooting: eight killed at FedEx facility

At least eight people have been shot dead at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis and the suspected gunman has killed himself, police say. Multiple other people were injured and went to local hospitals, a police spokesperson, Genae Cook, said at an early morning news conference on Friday.

Capitol Riots

Capitol Police watchdog paints damning picture of Jan. 6 failures

The Capitol Police’s internal watchdog on Thursday described in harrowing detail how officers were woefully underprepared for the Jan. 6 insurrection after leaders failed to communicate intelligence warnings and decided against providing more effective weapons to fight back the violent mob. In testimony before a House committee, Capitol Police inspector general Michael Bolton highlighted two recent reports listing numerous failures by the top brass and called for a major overhaul of training and operations on the force.

Daunte Wright

Kim Potter appears in court as Wright family calls for ‘full accountability’

The former Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist, during a traffic stop made her first court appearance on Thursday as the Wright family called for “full accountability” for his death. Kim Potter, wearing a plaid shirt, confirmed her presence during a brief online hearing and waved to the judge from a table in her lawyer’s office. Potter, 48, was not asked about the shooting or her intended plea. The next court date is set for 17 May.

Shortnews

Colonial Pipeline

Gasoline demand spikes in several states after pipeline hack

A growing number of gas stations along the East Coast are without fuel as nervous drivers aggressively fill up their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical artery for gasoline. The panic-buying threatens to exacerbate the supply shock."Panicked buying" is "running stations in the region dry," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN Business.

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Colonial Pipeline

Gasoline demand spikes in several states after pipeline hack

A growing number of gas stations along the East Coast are without fuel as nervous drivers aggressively fill up their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical artery for gasoline. The panic-buying threatens to exacerbate the supply shock.

As of 4 pm ET Tuesday, 8.5% of gas stations in North Carolina and 7.7% in Virginia didn't have gasoline, according to outage figures reported by GasBuddy, an app that tracks fuel prices and demand. The Virginia figure was flat from 11 am ET, while North Carolina was up from 5.8% previously.

Rising outages are also being reported at gas stations in Georgia (5.8%), Florida (2.8%) and South Carolina (3.5%), according to GasBuddy, which collects user reports and shares the information with the government during emergencies.

"Panicked buying" is "running stations in the region dry," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN Business.
He warned that the "irrational behavior" could prolong supply issues "for weeks."

Tiffany Wright of AAA Carolinas criticized what she described as "irresponsible behavior at the pump."

The far right conspiracy

New York AG sues Jacob Wohl for $2.75 million over robocalls

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that her office has filed a lawsuit against bumbling right-wing conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman over robocalls the pair allegedly made to suppress the Black vote ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

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The far right conspiracy

New York AG sues Jacob Wohl for $2.75 million over robocalls

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that her office has filed a lawsuit against bumbling right-wing conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman over robocalls the pair allegedly made to suppress the Black vote ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“Hi, this is Tamika Taylor from Project 1599, the civil rights organization founded by Jack Burman and Jacob Wohl,” the automated recordings told the targeted voters.

“Mail-in voting sounds great, but did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts? The CDC is even pushing to use records for mail-in voting to track people for mandatory vaccines. Don’t be finessed into giving your private information to the man, stay home safe and beware of vote by mail.”

James says 5,500 New Yorkers were affected; she’s asking for Wohl and Burkman to pay $500 for each violation and forfeit all profits. If successful, they will be on the hook for $2.75 million, in addition to the felony charges they face in other states for the alleged scheme.

Wohl and Burkman have a history of failed schemes, including an attempt to pin false sexual assault allegations on now-U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, former special counsel Robert Mueller, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Caron Nazario

Police Chief: No apology needed for pepper-spraying

After a video of Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario being pepper-sprayed by Windsor, Virginia cops during a traffic stop went viral last week, Police Chief Rodney D. Riddle said he didn’t feel Nazario was owed an official apology. “My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate,” Riddle admitted of the incident late last year that saw two officers with guns drawn barking at Nazario to get out of his car for allegedly not having a rear license tag.

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Caron Nazario

Police Chief: No apology needed for pepper-spraying

After a video of Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario being pepper-sprayed by Windsor, Virginia cops during a traffic stop went viral last week, Police Chief Rodney D. Riddle said he didn’t feel Nazario was owed an official apology. “My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate,” Riddle admitted of the incident late last year that saw two officers with guns drawn barking at Nazario to get out of his car for allegedly not having a rear license tag.

They pepper-spraying Nazario in the face, before realizing he did in fact have his license tag taped to the rear window of the new car. Riddle went so far as to partially blame Nazario, saying that he wished he’d “complied a whole lot earlier.” The incident is now the subject of a $1 million lawsuit against the officers involved, one of whom was fired earlier this week after an internal investigation.

Fox & Friends

Harry and Meghan cause for Prince Philip's death

Minutes after the British royal family announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, had died at the age of 99, the sleuths at Fox & Friends blamed their inevitable culprits: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Host Brian Kilmeade immediately linked the death of the extremely old and sickly Duke of Edinburgh to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last month and contained shocking claims of racism and cruel treatment against Meghan by royal family members.

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Fox & Friends

Harry and Meghan cause for Prince Philip's death

Minutes after the British royal family announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, had died at the age of 99, the sleuths at Fox & Friends blamed their inevitable culprits: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Host Brian Kilmeade immediately linked the death of the extremely old and sickly Duke of Edinburgh to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last month and contained shocking claims of racism and cruel treatment against Meghan by royal family members.

Kilmeade said on Friday’s show: “There are reports that [Philip] was enraged after the interview and the fallout from the interview with Oprah Winfrey, so here he is trying to recover and he’s hit with that.”

Kilmeade then went on to cite Piers Morgan, of all people, as evidence that Philip’s health was hit by the Oprah interview. Morgan resigned in disgrace from his show, Good Morning Britain, after thousands of people complained about his repeated attacks on Meghan. The low point came when he said didn’t believe her admission that she felt suicidal.

The Fox & Friends host said: “Piers Morgan was saying on his morning show, which he famously walked off of, is like ‘Really? Your grandfather is in the hospital, you know he’s not doing well, is this really the time you have to put out this interview?’ Evidently, it definitely added to his stress.”

Philip left his London hospital after a month-long stay for treatment of an unspecified infection. He also underwent a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition in that time. He was also 99 years old.

Ghislaine Maxwell

New charges as US prosecutors expand criminal case

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of aiding in her former partner Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls, faces two more charges, a new Manhattan federal court indictment filed on Monday reveals. This indictment also identified a new accuser in the case, referred to as “minor victim-4” in court papers, and expanded the timeframe of Maxwell’s alleged participation in Epstein’s abuse by seven years – from 1994 to 2004, rather than from 1994 to 1997. Maxwell now faces a total of eight counts.

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Ghislaine Maxwell

New charges as US prosecutors expand criminal case

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of aiding in her former partner Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls, faces two more charges, a new Manhattan federal court indictment filed on Monday reveals. This indictment also identified a new accuser in the case, referred to as “minor victim-4” in court papers, and expanded the timeframe of Maxwell’s alleged participation in Epstein’s abuse by seven years – from 1994 to 2004, rather than from 1994 to 1997. Maxwell now faces a total of eight counts.

The new charges, sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor, involve “minor victim-4”.

The indictment alleges that “minor victim-4” was “recruited to provide Epstein with sexualized massages” that he or his associates – including Maxwell – paid for.

Maxwell allegedly met “minor victim-4” at Epstein’s south Florida home around 2001, when the girl was around 14-years-old, and “interacted with [her] on multiple occasions”, according to court papers.

During their interactions, which happened from 2001 to 2004, Maxwell allegedly “groomed minor victim – 4 to engage in sexual acts with Epstein through multiple means.”

Maxwell did so by asking “minor victim-4” about her family and life. She “also sought to normalize inappropriate and abusive conduct by, among other things, discussing sexual topics in front of minor victim-4 and being present when minor victim-4 was nude in the massage room of the Palm Beach residence,” according to the court documents.

On multiple occasions from 2001 to 2004, this victim gave Epstein nude massages, during which he “engaged in multiple sex acts” with her. Maxwell would sometimes call this victim to schedule these massages, court papers allege.

During this timeframe, Epstein and Maxwell invited her to travel with him, and said they would help her get a passport. She declined their offer.

The court papers also allege that during this period, Epstein’s staff, including Maxwell, sent the victim gifts – such as lingerie – at her Florida home.

Maxwell and Epstein were both accused of encouraging this girl “to recruit other young females to provide sexualized massages to Epstein”.

She did so, the indictment claims, by bringing “multiple females, including girls under the age of 18” to Epstein’s south Florida home.

“On such occasions, both minor victim-4 and the girl she brought were paid hundreds of dollars in cash,” court papers state.

Maxwell has maintained her innocence since her arrest last summer at a secluded luxury home in New Hampshire.

When Maxwell was arrested, she faced six counts, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and perjury.

Her attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new charges.

She is being held in federal detention in Brooklyn.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was found dead in his cell in federal custody in New York in August 2019, where he was awaiting trial on serious charges just over a month after his arrest on charges of sex trafficking girls as young as 14.

Epstein and Maxwell’s arrests have spurred intense scrutiny of Prince Andrew, who was a friend of both purported sex traffickers.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s many accusers, alleged in a civil lawsuit that Maxwell lured her into Epstein’s circle under the false pretense of massage work.

After being pulled into their orbit, Maxwell forced her to have sex with powerful men, including Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, when she was just 17, Giuffre claimed. Maxwell denies the claims. Andrew directly and via statements from Buckingham Palace has vehemently and repeatedly denied all of Giuffre’s claims.