Acosta defends his role in Epstein plea deal, offers no apology to victims

Political News Acosta defends his role in Epstein plea deal, offers no apology to victims

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Labor Secretary Alex Acosta on Wednesday defended his decision to negotiate a plea deal with convicted financier Jeffrey Epstein in a 2008 case in Florida that allowed him to serve a shorter sentence on state charges of prostitution.

“The goal here was straightforward,” Acosta said. “Put Epstein behind bars, ensure he registered as a sexual offender, provide victims with a means to seek restitution, and protect the public by putting them on notice that a sexual predator was within their midst.”

Acosta added, “We believe we proceeded appropriately.”

When asked by ABC News’ Tom Llamas whether Epstein’s victims deserved an apology, Acosta responded by noting decisions the prosecutor in the case made to try to help victims secure financial restitution.

“When it was finally clear that Epstein would comply with the agreement, she talks about how she made efforts to notify the victims,” Acosta said.

Acosta has faced growing calls from top Democrats that he resign over his role in the controversial 2008 plea deal in Florida involving Epstein, arrested over the weekend on federal charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy in New York.

During his time heading the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami, Acosta negotiated a plea deal that allowed Epstein to serve a 13-month sentence on state prostitution charges, avoiding more serious federal sex trafficking charges calling for a much longer prison term. While serving out his sentence in a private wing of the Palm Beach County Jail, Epstein was allowed out for work release 12 hours a day, six days a week. The deal, now under review by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, also gave Epstein and any alleged co-conspirators immunity from further federal prosecution in the Southern District of Florida.

Acosta was asked Wednesday whether he would resign if the Office of Professional Responsibility found misconduct related to the case. Acosta said he would “clearly submit for an interview” but said he would refer to the office for further information the status of the review.

For the young women who say they were victimized, justice for Epstein is long overdue.

Courtney Wild, who said Epstein abused her when she was younger, has been fighting for years, including suing the Justice Department in 2008, demanding that it make public the plea deal Acosta helped arrange. Wild told ABC News she was unfairly kept in the dark about details of Epstein’s plea agreement while it was being negotiated, in violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004, which guarantees crime victims the right to be informed about developments in their cases.

“They could have called me they could have done many things it was like the roles were reversed I was calling them saying ‘Hey my name’s Courtney Wild. I’m a victim of Jeffrey Epstein is there anything happening with this case what’s going on?’ I would get no response,” Wild told ABC News.

Wild said she felt that the Justice Department was “excluding me from the resolution of what his outcome should’ve been for what he committed against me and hundreds of other girls.”

During his news conference Wednesday, Acosta said victims were delayed notification due to an arrangement in the plea agreement that Acosta said would allow the victims to make claims for restitution. Acosta repeatedly stated that Epstein’s actions were “horrific” but did not offer an apology to victims.

“The men and women of my office going back to 2006 and 2007 and 2008, have spent their career prosecuting these types of cases and in their heart, in our heart, we were trying to do the right thing for these victims,” Acosta said.

“As to a message to the victims, the message is you need to come forward,” Acosta said.

In February, a federal judge ruled in Wild’s favor, determining that the government had failed to confer with the victims before reaching the deal.

When asked by ABC News what she would ask Acosta if given an opportunity, Wild said she’d like to know “why he would think that punishment is appropriate?”

Michelle Licata, who has also said she was a victim of Epstein’s, echoed Wild’s anger toward Acosta and had her own question for the Labor secretary.

“How would he feel if it was his daughter?” Licata asked.

Acosta defended his handling of the case in a series of tweets on Tuesday.

“The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence,” Acosta wrote. “With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator.”

Epstein’s arrest over the weekend has ratcheted up calls from Democrats for Acosta to resign as secretary of the Department of Labor, his position on the president’s cabinet.

The president defended Acosta on Tuesday while answering reporters’ questions in the Oval Office, calling him an “excellent” secretary of labor. “I feel very badly actually for Secretary Acosta because I’ve known him as someone who has worked so hard and has done such a good job,” Trump said.

At the same time, Trump said his administration will be looking “very closely” into Acosta’s role in Epstein’s plea deal.

Trump was quoted in 2002, before any allegations had been made, calling Epstein a “terrific guy.” He told reporters Tuesday that while he did know Epstein, it’s been many years since the two last spoke.

“I had a falling out with him a long time ago, I don’t think I’ve spoken to him in 15 years, I wasn’t a fan,” Trump said. “I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”

Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are currently arguing that Epstein be held in detention pending his trial, calling him an “extreme flight risk.” If convicted, Epstein, who has pleaded not guilty, could face up to 45 years in prison.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Jul 2019

Katherine Heigl to star and executive produce new Netflix series, ‘Firefly Lane’

Entertainment News  Katherine Heigl to star and executive produce new Netflix series, 'Firefly Lane'


Vera Anderson/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) — Katherine Heigl has a new project in the works at Netflix.

The former Grey’s Anatomy actress is set to star in and executive-produce an adaptation of the Kristin Hannah novel Firefly Lane. Heigl will play the role of Tully Hurt in the 10-episode series.

Netflix describes her character as “a force of nature, still bearing the scars of a traumatic childhood” who shares an “unshakable bond” with her best friend Kate. The story follows the women’s friendship over more than three decades.

Heigl is currently starring on Suits, which debuts its ninth and final season July 17 on USA.

As for whether or not she’d ever reprise her role of Izzie Stevens on Grey’s Anatomy, Heigl told Entertainment Tonight earlier this week that doesn’t seem likely.

“I haven’t [thought about Izzie] in years. I don’t know. I don’t know if I would or if I wouldn’t,” she said. “I almost feel like that would almost be distracting….[because of] what they’ve done with that show in the seven years since I left… and what that’s become and what it is to the fans now.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Jul 2019

Two Marines charged after trying to smuggle undocumented immigrants: Court records

Political News Two Marines charged after trying to smuggle undocumented immigrants: Court records

Sherry Smith/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Two active-duty Marines were charged this week after allegedly trying to smuggle undocumented immigrants for “financial gain,” according to court documents from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero were arrested on July 3 after Border Patrol agents intercepted them transporting three Mexican citizens without immigration documents in their vehicle approximately seven miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border and 20 miles east of the Tecate, California, port of entry. Two of the immigrants later told agents they were going to pay $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. with destinations of Los Angeles and New Jersey.

On Monday, the two Marines appeared before a judge, who set their next court appearance for July 17. A lawyer for Law did not immediately return a request for comment and a lawyer for Salazar-Quintero declined to comment.

Both individuals are riflemen with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division headquartered at Camp Pendleton, California.

“We are aware of the charges facing Lance Cpl. Law and Lance Cpl. Salazar-Quintero, and we continue to cooperate fully with the investigative efforts into this matter,” said 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, spokesperson for the 1st Marine Division, in a statement to ABC News on Wednesday.

Law and Salazar-Quintero are among several active-duty service members who have been charged in recent years in connection with helping immigrants cross the border in exchange for financial benefit, according to the Washington Post.

Border patrol agents had been searching for a group of undocumented immigrants on July 3 when one agent noticed a black vehicle “pull over onto a dirt turnaround from Interstate 8,” according to court documents. That agent found “fresh footprints leading to where the vehicle was momentarily parked” and communicated that information to other agents in the area.

A second Border Patrol agent pulled over the vehicle, found Law and Salazar-Quintero in the driver and passenger seats — respectively — along with three Mexican citizens without immigration documents in the back seat.

Law told the agent that Salazar-Quintero had asked him the night before if he was willing to make $1,000 by picking up undocumented immigrants, according to court documents. The two traveled that night to Jacumba, California, “guided via cell phone instructions from an unknown Mexican number,” and transported an immigrant from a exit on Interstate 8 to another vehicle in a McDonald’s parking lot in Del Mar.

Law told the agent that the two were not paid for that event, but Salazar-Quintero called him again on the morning of July 3 to ask if he would transport additional immigrants, “guaranteeing they would get paid” for both jobs “in cash,” according to court documents. The Marines had just picked up the three Mexican immigrants when they were stopped by Border Patrol.

Salazar-Quintero admitted to the agent that he had traveled to Jacumba to pick up immigrants “on four different occasions” and met with the individual who recruited him for the jobs “on several different occasions.”

On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the number of undocumented migrants being apprehended at the southern border has dropped 28 percent since May. DHS attributed the change to less crossings in the hotter, summer months, as well as tougher enforcement by the Mexican government to stop undocumented migrants from traveling into the United States.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Jul 2019

Charges filed in killing of University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck

U.S. NEWS Charges filed in killing of University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck

Salt Lake County Sheriffs Office(SALT LAKE CITY) — Charges were filed Wednesday against the man accused of kidnapping and killing University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck, prosecutors said.

Ayoola Ajayi, 31, is accused of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstructing justice and desecration of a human body, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Lueck, a 23-year-old kinesiology major who was set to graduate next year, had been missing in the Salt Lake City area for nearly two weeks before her suspected killer was arrested on June 28.

Her remains were found on July 3 in a shallow grave in a wooded area of Logan Canyon, Gil said.

Lueck was last seen early on June 17. She landed at Salt Lake City International Airport around 2 a.m. and then took a Lyft from the airport to Hatch Park in north Salt Lake City, police said.

The driver told police that Lueck met someone at the park and that she didn’t seem to be in distress, police said.

She was never seen again.

Authorities later determined Lueck’s last communication was with Ajayi, said police. Phone records show that Lueck and Ajayi were both at Hatch Park within less than one minute of each other, according to authorities.

During a search of Ajayi’s home, his neighbors told police they saw him using gasoline to burn something in his backyard on June 17 and 18, police said. “Several charred items consistent with” Lueck’s belongings were found there, police said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Jul 2019

Death of American scientist found in WWII bunker in Greece was result of a criminal act, authorities say

WORLD NEWS Death of American scientist found in WWII bunker in Greece was result of a criminal act, authorities say

Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden(NEW YORK) — The death of an American scientist whose body was found in an abandoned World War II bunker in Greece is being investigated as a criminal act, according to local authorities.

Molecular biologist Suzanne Eaton, 59, was visiting the Greek island of Crete for a conference, but she vanished on July 2.

Greek police would not release any additional details.

Eaton’s body was found in northwest Crete, about 7 miles from where she had been staying on the island, Vangelis Zacharioudakis, who led the search effort by the Hellenic Rescue Team, told ABC News on Tuesday.

Family and friends believe Eaton went for a run before she disappeared. Her colleagues described her as an avid runner, and her running shoes were the only items missing from her hotel room.

The World War II bunker is in an area where many tourist stay, said Konstantinos Beblidakis, the vice mayor of the local Platanias municipality, in a statement on Tuesday.

“There are many people going out there and especially tourists who go either by hiking or to go to the villas where they have rented rooms,” Beblidakis said in a statement Tuesday. “It is an amphitheatrical area where many tourists pass by daily.”

Eaton was a U.S. citizen and a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany.

Her colleagues described her as a “remarkable person” whose untimely death was “devastating.”

“We have lost an immensely renowned scientist and a truly outstanding human being,” Hans Muller-Steinhagen, rector of the TU Dresden, said in a statement Tuesday.

The Oakland, Calif., native is survived by her husband and two sons.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Jul 2019

Officials looking to trap alligator spotted in Humboldt Park Lagoon in Chicago

U.S. NEWS Officials looking to trap alligator spotted in Humboldt Park Lagoon in Chicago

iStock(CHICAGO) — It’s not your average morning in Humboldt Park in Chicago today — officials are trying to trap an alligator spotted in the lagoon there.

The reptile is between 4 and 5 feet long, specialists said, according to Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

Authorities are hoping for the animal to be “humanely trapped” and taken to a zoo for a veterinary evaluation, police said.

When sightings of the gator came in on Tuesday, Guglielmi called it an “unusual news day.”

The public is urged to let the experts do their job and give them space, Chicago police spokeswoman Kellie Bartoli said on Wednesday.

It’s not clear how the gator ended up in the lagoon but it was likely a pet that got released, according to ABC Chicago station WLS-TV.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Jul 2019

Jessica Simpson reveals her first memoir is coming in February

Entertainment News  Jessica Simpson reveals her first memoir is coming in February


Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Jessica Simpson is ready to share her life story with the world.

The singer, actress and fashion mogul has announced she’ll be releasing a memoir next February.

“I have been waiting for so long to share some exciting news…I will be releasing my first book on February 4th with @harpercollinsus,” Simpson wrote on Instagram Wednesday, her 39th birthday.

She added, “I have been working so hard on it — I have opened my heart up in a way I never have before and now I can’t wait to share it with the world.”

According to an official description, the book will feature new details about her stint on the 2003 MTV reality show Newlyweds with her then-husband Nick Lachey, as well as their very public split in 2005.

The as-yet-untitled memoir will offer a candid, behind-the-scenes look at some of her other major life milestones, including “starring on the big screen and topping the Billboard charts, finding new love, raising a family, and running a successful business empire.”

Simpson also promises to reveal “new parts of herself for the first time” and open up about the struggles she’s faced.  

Simpson, who’s married to Eric Johnson, welcomed her third child, a daughter named Birdie, in March. She’s also mom to seven-year-old daughter Maxwell and six-year-old son Ace.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Jul 2019

Trump campaign clashes with early Latino surrogates who feel shunned in launch of ‘Latinos for Trump’

Political News Trump campaign clashes with early Latino surrogates who feel shunned in launch of 'Latinos for Trump'

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) –The Trump campaign rolled out its official “Latinos for Trump” coalition two weeks ago with a blockbuster event featuring Vice President Mike Pence in Miami—but behind the scenes— tensions between the campaign and Latino surrogates from the last election had been boiling over for months.

Several Latino organizers who say they’ve spent the past few years working on building support for the president in Hispanic communities tell ABC News they felt shunned and ignored when they heard the Trump campaign was launching its own “Latinos for Trump” coalition, using the same name they’d worked under since the 2016 election, without their involvement.

Over the last few months, as the campaign pushed its outreach efforts in Hispanic communities, pro-Trump Latino advocates and surrogates have been in an internal war of words and legal threats with the president’s reelection campaign over its decision to launch their own Latino coalition under the same name in late June. Since April, the Trump campaign has issued multiple cease and desist letters threatening legal action against the “Latinos for Trump” organization, according to documents provided to ABC News. The campaign also filed a letter to the Federal Election Commission disavowing the group. The group continues to solicit donations on its website despite the campaign’s multiple requests.

“After all this time spent, they are cannibalizing and taking credit for our work,” Gutierrez, the “Latinos for Trump” president, tells ABC News. Gutierrez also worked alongside the 2016 Trump campaign as a surrogate for Hispanic outreach. He made national headlines during the 2016 election cycle for warning that there would be “taco trucks on every corner” if Trump wasn’t elected.

Ileana Garcia, co-founder of a separate pro-Trump Latino organization “Latinas for Trump,” and former deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security under the Trump administration, also tells ABC News she was stunned to hear the campaign “refused to embrace surrogates from the Latino community who did the real groundwork, took the bullets, took the insults and lost their jobs.”

“It’s actually quite disappointing,” Garcia said, who left the Trump administration in March of this year.

The dispute comes as the Trump campaign continues to ramp up efforts to attract Hispanic voters, hoping to capitalize on the president’s performance in the 2016 election when he took 29 percent of the Latino vote, barely topping 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who took 27 percent of the Latino vote in 2012.

However, President Trump’s 2016 performance still trails far behind President George W. Bush’s support among Latinos voters.

Latinos are poised to become the largest minority voting bloc during the 2020 cycle.

But some in the community view this latest tussle as an example of the campaign not respecting the work that those in Hispanic communities have done on the ground to push the president’s message amid heightened levels of scrutiny and backlash.

“Maybe this is why Hispanics don’t get involved with this stuff because a lot of us Latinos feel used—And used in a not accepting way,” Gutierrez said, though the long-time Trump supporter maintains that he still will work to see the president reelected.

Gutierrez’s “Latinos for Trump” group dates back to September 2016. Since then, Gutierrez says his non-profit organization has helped organize dozens of events in Latino communities during the president’s last campaign and into his presidency. And with nearly 30,000 Facebook followers, the pro-Trump Latino organization currently has a significantly larger social media presence than the newly verified and campaign sanctioned group under the same— which has yet to cross 3,000 likes.

Over the course of the reporting of this story, Gutierrez was removed as president of “Latinos for Trump” organization he founded during the 2016 election “due to breaching his non-disclosure agreement,” according to a press release.

Trump supporter Jazmina Saavedra, who’s worked in California as “Latinos for Trump” spokesperson since the organization’s inception during the 2016 election, also told ABC News in an interview that she was shocked to hear the campaign was moving forward without their group’s involvement.

“We all said, ‘What’s going on?’ We started calling each other asking if anyone was invited and no one was,” Saavedra said after hearing about the Miami roll out in June. “President Trump needs to know who are the people who really support him and who really created the moment,” she added.

In a statement to ABC News, a Trump campaign spokesperson said that while they appreciate the support, the campaign reserves its right to delineate which groups are officially sanctioned by the president’s reelection team.

“We appreciate the enthusiasm that President Trump inspires and the amount of time and effort his supporters have put into his election and re-election. President Trump’s strong record of accomplishment for Latinos – and all Americans – motivates people at the grassroots level. The campaign has a responsibility, however, to make clear which coalitions are official and sanctioned by the campaign,” the Trump campaign told ABC News.

“It’s great that activists want to help the President’s reelection. But raising money for themselves in his name and actually trying to trademark his name are not the ways to do it,” the campaign official added.

But while Latinos for Trump, which lists Moni Casarez as a treasurer, has been registered with the FEC as a political action committee since August 2018, it has barely been active. So far this year, the only donation has come from treasurer Casarez — $242,45 on Feb. 11 — and the only expenditures were a total of $334 to for “trademark our name & logo” in January.

In response to Gutierrez and others criticizing the reelection campaign for using the name the group has worked under for years, the Trump campaign says President Trump selected “Latinos for Trump” for the coalition without any prior knowledge of Gutierrez’s work or organization.

The White House official Twitter account retweeted
a tweet by Gutierrez’s “Latinos for Trump” group as recently as a month before the campaign rolled out its coalition under the same name.

Long-time Latino pro-Trump surrogates say not only is the campaign using their “Latinos for Trump” name, but they also placed a number of high-profile, GOP establishment Latino leaders at the helm of its own coalition—including some who’ve publicly blasted the president’s record in the community.

The campaign named Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez co-chair for its Latino outreach coalition, despite Nuñez’s history of criticizing the president, including calling Trump a supporter of the Ku Klux Klan during the 2016 election cycle.

“Wake up Florida voters, Trump is the biggest con-man there is,” Nuñez wrote in a now-deleted tweet while she was supporting Sen. Marco Rubio’s failed 2016 presidential campaign.

Nuñez’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

And for some Latino surrogates who say they’ve spent the past few years working to build support in Hispanic communities for Trump, having the newly established Trump campaign coalition lead by those who didn’t support the president during the slog of the 2016 election feels like a slap in the face.

“It’s something that we don’t understand —How do these people continue to make up this board and be close to the Trump campaign if they’re not even pro-Trump? We feel that the people on the ground who have the scars of the moment—they don’t acknowledge them,” Gutierrez said.

In late April, weeks before the Trump campaign’s Miami event, Trump campaign lawyers sent multiple cease and desist letters threatening legal action against Gutierrez and his pro-Trump organization, according to documents provided to ABC News and confirmed by the Trump campaign. The campaign demanded that all of Gutierrez’s websites and social media accounts related to “Latinos for Trump” add disclaimers noting that the organization was not endorsed or authorized by the president or the campaign.

Over the next few weeks, Gutierrez’s “Latinos for Trump” organization exchanged multiple heated letters with Trump campaign lawyers— including one where the Trump campaign slammed the group’s “tone” during the discussions. “Rather than complying with the campaign’s fair and reasonable requests, it appears that LFT has chosen a much more obstructionist path,” Trump campaign lawyer Amy D. Carli wrote in a letter obtained by ABC News and confirmed by the Trump campaign.

In one letter to the campaign, Gutierrez’s organization also claimed to have trademarked “Latinos for Trump” name. However, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office database, “Latinos for Trump” received an “initial refusal” from the office in late April because the name of the group contains the name of “a particular living individual” without their consent.

This isn’t the first time the president’s re-election campaign has tussled with outside pro-Trump groups using the presidents likeness. Back in May, ABC News first reported that the campaign had filed a FEC notice of disavowal with former Trump campaign staffer Corey Stewart’s Keep America Great superPAC. Stewart promptly lashed out, telling ABC News he’s “starting to feel like an abused dog who keeps getting kicked trying to help the president out.”

The campaign also called out “any organization that deceptively uses the President’s name, likeness, trademarks, or branding and confuses voters” after news broke that former Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie had raised millions of dollars using the president’s likeness.

The splintering emerging from outside pro-Trump groups appears to be in part the result of a once insurgent campaign and movement evolving into a more conventional and professional organization around an incumbent president candidate.

“These are now marginalized grifters,” Mike Madrid, a veteran Republican political consultant who opposes the president told ABC News. Madrid sees these early rifts between political outsiders who jumped on the Trump train in 2016 and the reelection campaign as a sign of things to come.

“These are people who picked up these titles, created these titles, when nobody else would touch it. And because this is amateur hour, once those titles are taken from them, their entire identity goes away,” Madrid added.

The Trump campaign is now staffed now with political veterans, the RNC is fully backing the effort, granting even more traditional resources and staffing. And as the campaign looks to minimize the number of voices speaking on behalf of the president of the unified states, those who helped build that 2016 insurgent campaign are starting to feel the movement they worked years on is leaving them behind.

However, despite the contentious relationship with the campaign, Gutierrez says he is considering changing the name of the group to “Latinos for Trump Network” to continue his work supporting the president. However, it’s clear that recent events have rocked his political ambitions.

“I still support the president and his re-election,” Gutierrez said. “But those around him need to be more inclusive to immigrants like me.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Jul 2019

Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce suffered from epilepsy: Here’s what to know about it

Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Fans of Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce were stunned to learn the 20-year-old died in his sleep after a seizure, and now we’re learning more about the condition that led to his death.

Boyce suffered from epilepsy, a neurological disorder that actively affects about 3.4 million people in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Cameron’s tragic passing was due to a seizure as a result of an ongoing medical condition, and that condition was epilepsy,” the Boyce family spokesperson told ABC News in a statement on Tuesday night.

“We are still trying to navigate our way through this extremely heart wrenching time, and continue to ask for privacy so that the family, and all who knew and loved him can grieve his loss and make arrangements for his funeral–which in and of itself, is agonizing.”

It is not clear when Boyce was diagnosed with epilepsy, which affects about 470,000 children, according to the CDC.

Epilepsy is a condition that has no known cause, no cure and causes unpredictable seizures, which vary in type and frequency for different people with epilepsy.

Here is more to know about the condition that contributed to Boyce’s passing:

Why does epilepsy cause seizures?

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain.

Seizures are caused by surges of electrical activity in brain cells, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, a Maryland-based organization that raises awareness of epilepsy and supports research into the condition.

Seizures for people with epilepsy can take many forms, ranging from staring spells to shaking, falling and losing awareness. They usually last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, according to the CDC.

How is epilepsy diagnosed?

A person is diagnosed with epilepsy if they have “two unprovoked seizures (or one unprovoked seizure with the likelihood of more).” Unprovoked means that the seizures were not caused by other factors like alcohol withdrawal or low blood sugar, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

To help with diagnosis, doctors will perform a neurological exam and in most cases arrange blood tests and a brain scan.

Who gets epilepsy?

Epilepsy affects people of all ages and both men and women.

It can be caused by factors ranging from trauma to the head, a stroke, a brain tumor, certain infectious diseases or electrolyte abnormalities, according to ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

Some people are also born with epilepsy, according to Ashton.

How is epilepsy treated?

Epilepsy is most often treated with anti-seizure medication.

Adults and children can often discontinue medications after two or more years without seizures, according to the Mayo Clinic.

How common is it for someone with epilepsy to die?

Around 1 in 1,000 people in the U.S. die every year from what is called Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), according to the CDC.

SUDEP is even more rare in children, where it occurs in about 1 in 4,500 cases, according to Ashton.

Most cases of SUDEP occur during or immediately after a seizure, the CDC notes.

Risk factors for SUDEP include uncontrolled or frequent seizures and grand mal seizures, which are seizures involving a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. Other risk factors include seizures that begin at a young age, missed doses of medicine, drinking alcohol and living with epilepsy for many years, according to the CDC.

How can people help those with epilepsy during a seizure?

Ashton provided these four tips for helping someone experiencing an epileptic seizure.

1. Do not panic.
You want to get that person in a safe and protected space so that they don’t injure themselves during the seizure.

2. Roll them gently on their side so it can keep their airway clear.

3. Do not put anything in their mouth.

4. Get that person to medical attention.

Follow the CDC for more information on first aid for seizures.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US women’s soccer World Cup ticker tape parade marked by calls for equal pay

Sports News US women's soccer World Cup ticker tape parade marked by calls for equal pay

Al Bello/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The soccer stars of the U.S. Women’s National Team joined the ranks of Charles Lindbergh, then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, astronauts, world leaders, a pope and war veterans as they were honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City’s famed Canyon of Heroes Wednesday morning.

The excitement of the vivacious team was matched by the thousands of spectators who crowded lower Manhattan, cheering the floats as they headed to City Hall, where the players were awarded keys to the city.

“We have pink hair and purple hair. We have tattoos and dreadlocks. We got white girls and black girls and everything in between, straight girls and gay girls,” co-captain Megan Rapinoe said in a speech to adulation from the crowds and her teammates.

Cheers for the now-four-time World Cup winners were peppered with regular calls for equal pay, serving as a reminder of the battle that the players are facing off the field for equal pay and treatment to their male counterparts.

At the City Hall ceremony, both New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray led chants of “U.S.A., equal pay!”

“Equality of women must be guaranteed in this nation and let’s honor them by doing it. Let’s honor them by showing it,” de Blasio said.

Part of the speech by U.S. Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro was drowned out with chants of “equal pay” as he discussed the issue.

“We hear you. We believe in you, and we’re committed to doing right by you,” Cordeiro said.

“U.S. Soccer has invested more in women’s soccer than any country in the world, and we will continue to invest more in women’s soccer than any country in the world and we will continue to encourage others, including those at FIFA, to do the same,” he said.

In her speech, Rapinoe defended Cordeiro after he faced boos from the crowd, saying, “I think he’s with us, I think he’s on the right side of things, I think he’s gonna make things right.”

She wryly added, “We look forward to holding those feet to the fire.”

During the parade, some of the players were seen holding a handmade poster reading, “Parades are cool, equal pay is cooler.”

Democratic Rep. Joe Manchin introduced a bill Tuesday that would stop any federal funds from being used in the 2026 World Cup — which will be held jointly in the U.S., Canada and Mexico — unless female and male players in the U.S. receive equal pay.

“I received a letter from Coach Izzo-Brown highlighting her worries that women on the WVU Women’s Soccer Team could one day make the U.S. women’s team and not get paid the same as the men’s team. That’s just plain wrong,” Manchin said in a statement released Tuesday.

“The clear unequitable pay between the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams is unacceptable and I’m glad the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team latest victory is causing public outcry. They are the best in the world and deserve to be paid accordingly,” he said.

One of the fans in the crowd, who identified herself as Riley, told ABC station WABC that “it’s just really good to see them and how they keep on fighting and keep on winning.”

“On or off the field, they fight for what they believe in,” she said.

The women received some support on social media from another politician, with former President Barack Obama posting a picture of himself with a team jersey on Twitter Wednesday morning.

“Proud to rep America’s best team! Congrats @USWNT and thanks for being such a strong inspiration for women and girls—and everybody—all across the country,” Obama wrote.



Wednesday’s celebration marked New York City’s 207th ticker tape parade, and the last time that one was held came after this same team’s last World Cup win in 2015. With that parade, the team became the first women’s team to be celebrated with a ticker-tape parade.

The women now join the ranks of sports teams that have been honored multiple times, including the New York Yankees, who have had nine such parades, and the New York Mets, who have had three. Five Olympic teams have had parades in the Canyon of Heroes, a man-made section of lower Manhattan stretching from Bowling Green Park to City Hall Park. The Women’s National Team will now be tied with the New York Giants with two parades a piece.

But in her speech, Rapinoe looked beyond sports. She called on everyone — those present and not present, who “agrees and doesn’t agree” — to “step outside of yourselves, be more, be better,” and “make your community better.”

“This is my charge to everyone: we have to be better,” she said. “We have to love more, hate less. We gotta listen more and talk less. We gotta know that this is everybody’s responsibility.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 Jul 2019