Social media influencer convicted for violent plot to hijack website name

U.S. NEWS Social media influencer convicted for violent plot to hijack website name

iStock/xijian(NEW YORK) —  A social media influencer from Iowa is facing 20 years in prison for planning a violent home invasion to hijack an internet domain name for his company.

Rossi Lorathio Adams II, 26, was convicted of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats and violence on Thursday, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Iowa.

According to the statement, Adams founded the social media company “State Snaps” and at one point had more than a million followers on his social media sites. These sites mostly contained images and videos of young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness and nudity. Adams’ followers often used the slogan: “Do It For State!”

When Adams tried to purchase an internet domain named after the slogan — “” — he discovered that it belonged to a Cedar Rapids resident who had registered it on, the statement said. When the owner rejected Adams repeated offers to buy the domain between 2015 and 2017, Adams became aggressive, in one instance threatening one of the domain owner’s friends with “gun emojis” after the friend used the domain to promote concerts, according to the statement.

When that didn’t convince the domain owner to sell the website, Adams enlisted his cousin, Sherman Hopkins, Jr., to help. On June 21, 2017, Adams and Hopkins drove to the domain owner’s home. Adams then gave his cousin a note containing instructions for the domain owner to transfer the domain name to Adams’ GoDaddy account, the statement said. Hopkins, a convicted felon who lived in a homeless shelter at the time, then broke into the home and forced the domain owner at gunpoint to transfer ownership of the domain to Adams.

Hopkins then pistol whipped the victim in the head multiple times, according to the statement. The victim managed to gain control of the gun, but during the struggle, he was shot in the leg. The victim shot Hopkins multiple times in the chest before calling the police, the statement said.

Hopkins was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in June 2018.

Adams was taken into custody by the United States Marshal after the verdict was returned and will remain in custody pending sentencing. In addition to a possible 20 years in prison, Adams faces a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 19 Apr 2019

Mueller investigated whether Russians used chess to build a bridge to Trump

Political News Mueller investigated whether Russians used chess to build a bridge to Trump

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) —  Of all the topics special counsel Robert Mueller put before President Donald Trump during his sweeping 22-month investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, chess was perhaps the most surprising.

But buried among the myriad of revelations contained in Mueller’s 448-page report, released on Thursday with limited redactions by Attorney General William Barr, was the fact that Trump disclosed to investigators that sanctioned Russian powerbroker Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, then the president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), invited the Trump Organization to host the 2016 World Chess Championship at Trump Tower.

“During the course of preparing to respond to these questions,” wrote Trump on November 20, 2018, in response to a chess-focused inquiry from Mueller, “I have become aware of documents indicating that in March of 2016, the president of the World Chess Federation invited the Trump Organization to host, at Trump Tower, the 2016 World Chess Championship Match to be held in New York in November 2016.”

That invitation, from a Russian sports chief with ties to the Kremlin, appears to represent both another Russian outreach to Trump and his associates in the height of a political campaign, and another example of the ways in which critics say Russia has used sport in general, and chess in particular, as statecraft.

In the days following Trump’s shocking electoral victory, Russia’s business and political elite, headlined by Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, gathered in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport to watch Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin challenge Norwegian world champion Magnus Carlsen at the biennial World Chess Championship.

Mueller, it seems, suspected that someone – perhaps one of the powerful Russians in attendance – may have invited the president-elect to attend the pre-tournament gala.

In response to questions from Mueller, Trump said he did not attend the event and “[does] not remember” being invited. But according to Mueller’s report, the World Chess Championship indeed appears to have been an unlikely nexus of characters central to the Trump-Russia drama.

Mueller reported that Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian sovereign wealth fund, flew to New York for the event and invited George Nader, a mysterious Middle Eastern businessman who was later questioned by Mueller about his meetings with Trump allies, to join him for the opening of the tournament. He asked Nader if there was “a chance to see anyone key from Trump camp,” Mueller found, because he “would love to start building for the future,” and urged him to invite Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Nader did not pass along the invitation, the report said, and investigators “did not establish that Trump or any Campaign or Transition Team official attended the event.”

But the invitation to host, which the match’s organizer Ilya Merenzon confirmed to ABC News that Ilyumzhinov extended to Trump, not through official FIDE channels but rather “via his personal connections,” could have established another business relationship between the Trump Organization and an institution with close ties to the Russian government.

As described in a recent joint investigation undertaken by ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, Ilyumzhinov, the wealthy former governor of the Russian state of Kalmykia, has repeatedly been alleged to have acted as an informal envoy for the Russian government.

The Kremlin denies this characterization, but over the years, Ilyumzhinov maintained a packed travel schedule that saw him unexpectedly appear beside some of the world’s best-known strongmen leaders, typically under the auspices of promoting chess.

In 2003, Ilyumzhinov flew to Iraq, less than two days before the start of the U.S. invasion, where he reportedly met with Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday. In 2011, he flew to Libya, amid an ongoing NATO bombing campaign, where he played a chess match against Moammar Gadhafi. And in 2012, he flew to Syria, shortly after the outbreak of civil war, where he met with Bashar Assad to, in Ilyumzhinov’s telling, deliver chess textbooks to Syrian schoolchildren.

Indeed, Ilyumzhinov’s son David confirmed that his father served a unique role. “It’s not a secret,” David said. “He can go like he is just there for chess, for the chess tournament, but he can deliver a message. And the message won’t get screwed up.”

He was recently forced to step aside as FIDE president — following a scandal-plagued reign that included allegations of corruption – after struggling for legitimacy in the wake of the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioning him in 2015 “for materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria.”

It was that sanction, in fact, that prevented him from attending the 2016 World Chess Championship, the very event that had drawn Mueller’s attention.

But even without Ilyumzhinov, FIDE and chess remain firmly in the Kremlin orbit, with former Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who led Russia’s successful staging of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, succeeding Ilyumzhinov as president. And with 188 national chess federations scattered across the globe, the opportunities for chess diplomacy are all but endless.

With Ilyumzhinov’s outreach to Trump, those opportunities appeared to reach new heights.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 19 Apr 2019

Dramatic video shows officers pulling victims out of burning car before it’s engulfed in flames

U.S. NEWS Dramatic video shows officers pulling victims out of burning car before it's engulfed in flames

iStock/Fedorovekb(CAMDEN, N.J.) —  Police in Camden, New Jersey, have released new body camera video from a dramatic rescue of passengers inside two burning cars on the interstate.

Just moments after the 2:30 a.m. April 7 accident on I-676, four police officers are seen struggling to rescue two drivers and two passengers trapped inside.

“Come here. Give me your hand!” an officer is heard shouting in the video.

The car and SUV were quickly engulfed in flames. Officer Vincent Russomano even caught fire himself.

Those officers were honored by Camden police for their heroism by being named “Officers of the Week.”

Officer Joseph Mair was first on the scene, after hearing the call while on patrol nearby. He was joined by Russomano and Officers Vaughn Edwards and Brian McCline.

Four good Samaritans helped in the blaze. All four passengers were saved, though two victims were badly burned.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 19 Apr 2019

8-year-old girl killed after storm causes tree to crash through her Florida home

U.S. NEWS 8-year-old girl killed after storm causes tree to crash through her Florida home

iStock/aijohn784(WOODVILLE, Fla.) — An 8-year-old girl in Florida was killed after a morning storm caused a tree to crash through her house, fatally injuring her and another child in the home, police said.

Officers responded to a 911 call from the home just after 8 a.m. Friday, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

A storm, which had struck the area Friday morning, caused the tree to go through the Woodville home where the 8-year-old and a 12-year-old boy were inside.

Both children were transported to the hospital with injuries, police said.

The 8-year-old was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to officials.

The 12-year-old, who is now with family members, suffered non-life threatening injuries, police said.

The deceased child’s identity has not been released.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 19 Apr 2019

After Mueller report exposed Russian interference ‘roadmap,’ is US ready for 2020?

Political News After Mueller report exposed Russian interference 'roadmap,' is US ready for 2020?

iStock/mashabuba(WASHINGTON) —  Now that special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report has revealed the purported “sweeping and systematic” effort by the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, the U.S. government is left with a pressing challenge looking forward: how to prevent or defend against a similar attack in 2020.

“It’s sobering to see all in one place the various attacks on the election in 2016,” Lawrence Norden, deputy director at the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, told ABC News. “We’re much more aware of this problem than we were in 2016, and we’ve taken some steps, but [the report] also highlights in some respects how inadequate our response has been.”

The U.S. intelligence community and previous Mueller indictments had already accused Russia of three interference efforts: a hack-and-leak operation that targeted democratic figures, a widespread online influence campaign designed to sow social and political discord in the U.S. and cyber attacks targeting election infrastructure itself, such as voter databases. But on Thursday, the Mueller report laid out, in narrative detail, the push by the Kremlin to weaken American democracy – a strategy that officials and experts say continues today.

 The 2018 midterm elections did not see the hack-and-leak strategy, or any especially-significant attacks on voting infrastructure, but foreign online influence operations continued unabated, an intelligence community assessment said. Top U.S. security officials have been vocal in their warnings that Russia, potentially along with China, Iran and others who learned dark lessons from 2016, are likely to take aim at the 2020 race.

“The risk of election interference by a foreign government is an existential national security threat,” said John Cohen, a former senior Department of Homeland Security official and current ABC News contributor. “While some agencies like the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Cyber Command are working to mitigate this threat, the U.S. government can and must do more to address the threat to our election process, but that requires visible leadership from the White House and the president himself.”

Former Donald Trump campaign adviser and ABC News contributor Chris Christie told the ABC News podcast “The Investigation” Thursday that if he were speaking to the president, who’s been publicly reticent to accept the intelligence community’s findings that Russia interfered in the election to his benefit, he would tell him to “shift focus” now to the 2020 threat.

“You know, bring in [CIA Director] Gina Haspel and [FBI Director] Chris Wray, bring in the DNI [Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats] and say, ‘Listen, we now have a roadmap for what the Russians did, what are we doing to prepare for the 2020 election? I authorize you to do everything it is you need to do to protect the integrity of that election and we’ll work with Congress to make sure… if you need additional funding that you’ll get it in order to protect the integrity of our elections.’

“I have often thought that that would be a really productive thing for him to do, and a smart thing for him to do politically,” Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, said.

 A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council declined to comment for this report but pointed to moves by the administration to counter foreign election interference, from loosening offensive cyber rules to paving a pathway for sanctions for those “determined to have interfered in a United States election,” to the Department of Justice indictments against suspected Russian operatives.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he would warn his Russian counterparts about the “steadfast requirement that Russia not engage in activity that impacts the capacity of our democracy to be successful.”

“And we will make very clear to them that this is unacceptable behavior and as you’ve seen from this administration, we will take tough actions which raise the cost for Russian malign activity,” he said. “And we’ll continue to do that.”

In the wake of the 2016 elections where, according to the Department of Homeland Security, at least 21 states were targeted by foreign hackers, Congress appropriated $380 million in grants made available to states to help upgrade their election infrastructure ahead of the 2018 midterms, the first such money since 2010.

But despite mounting threats from increasingly sophisticated bad actors, Congress has been deadlocked on additional legislation ever since and failed to approve any additional funding.

One bill, the Secure Elections Act that sought to shield voting systems from cyberattacks, seemed to be on a glide-path to passage last year with bipartisan support from lawmakers as well as a powerful group of former national security professionals.

But the legislation, authored by Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who is now running to unseat President Trump in 2020, was scuttled by White House objections of federal overreach. Its House counterpart bill, while not garnering a single Republican signature, suffered a similar fate.

State officials also decried the lack of funding attached to mandates in the measures, though many supported the granting of security clearances for states’ top election officers to receive real-time briefings on threats. (Ahead of the 2018 election the federal government worked to approve state officials for at least temporary security clearances for the purpose.

 Another bill that was introduced in June 2018 would mandate disclosures on political ads – like the ones Mueller said Russia bought on social media – has yet to receive a vote.

Scores of lawmakers have thrown out other ideas — from a cybersecurity inspector general to conduct spot audits of voting systems, to a new standing cybersecurity committee in Congress, but none of those ideas have stood a chance in the current partisan environment ahead, and the prospects are likely only to get worse ahead of the already highly-divisive 2020 presidential race.

“Election security is national security, and we know that adversaries are likely to continue to evolve their tactics and attempt to influence future elections,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Friday.

But a recent report from the Brennan Center said the election infrastructure still has concerning weaknesses, from out-of-date voting machines to states and counties still using voting systems that don’t have a paper trail, which can be critical to identifying irregularities.

The DHS official also said the department has begun reaching out to announced presidential campaigns, “trying to get an early start” on advising them on how to secure their campaign infrastructure in hopes of avoiding a repeat of the purported Russian hack of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails in 2016, as detailed in the Mueller report. The outreach follows a September 2018 FBI initiative designed to encourage campaigns to up their “cyber hygiene.”

On the online influence front, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the RSA cybersecurity conference in March that there’s a “lot more engagement” with the social media companies so that the FBI can warn them about abuse of their platforms, and the social media companies, in turn, can provide information to the FBI for potential investigative leads.

Over the past two years, major social media firms like Facebook and Twitter made public commitments to combat “inauthentic behavior,” periodically announced major takedowns of fake accounts and updated their transparency policies.

Still, Wray said the online “malign influence campaigns” ramp up as elections approach, and the FBI is “gearing up for it to continue and grow again in 2020.”

So with the presidential primary season around the corner, the question remains: has enough been done?

“There’s a lot of things that keep me up at night,” A DHS official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said. “What could our adversaries do? What could they do to undermine our democratic system?… I’ll certainly be nervous but confident in the lines of communication we have and the steps that we’ve taken.”

Norden, the election security expert, said he’s concerned that the ongoing work isn’t moving fast enough.

“I don’t want to make it sound like we haven’t made progress, but when you read the Mueller report, it’s hard not to say, ‘Why is this taking so long and why is this so difficult, when there’s such a consensus in the national security community?’” he said.

The Russian government has long denied the hacking and online influence campaign allegations, calling it a symptom of anti-Russian hysteria in the U.S.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 19 Apr 2019

What did the Mueller report reveal about Trump’s overtures to the Russians?

Political News What did the Mueller report reveal about Trump's overtures to the Russians?

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling, 22-month long investigation culminated Thursday in the release of a meticulous examination of Russia’s efforts to sow discord in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump administration’s actions to block investigators.

But at its core, the Mueller probe sought to settle one question: Did then-candidate Donald Trump seek assistance from Russians to tip the balance of the 2016 election?

Setting aside the scintillating details about Russia’s social media campaign or descriptions of a toxic West Wing, what was the evidence of possible collusion between candidate Trump, personally, and any overtures for assistance from Russia?

In December 2017, the special counsel informed the president’s lawyers that Trump was, indeed, a “subject” of their investigation — a formal designation that meant his conduct fell under the scope of their probe. But there was little known publicly about what actions he took, personally, that most interested the investigators.

Two episodes unearthed by Mueller reveal how deeply interested and personally involved Trump was in his campaign’s efforts to find and disclose emails belonging to Hillary Clinton and her campaign — particularly when examined alongside his public remarks on the campaign trail.

In July 2016, around the time Trump encouraged Russians “to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mueller found that “the Trump Campaign was planning a press strategy, a communications campaign, and messaging based on the possible release of Clinton emails by WikiLeaks.”

 In explaining how the campaign came to adopt this “press strategy,” Mueller described — with interspersed redactions — a time in late summer of 2016 during which “Trump and Gates were driving to LaGuardia Airport.”

The beginning of the next sentence is redacted, but the end of that sentence suggests Trump took a phone call from an unidentified person, and “shortly after the call,” Mueller wrote, “candidate Trump told [former Trump campaign deputy director Rick] Gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming.”

While redactions, codified as being due to an ongoing investigation, obscure the full story, it is clear that Trump welcomed updates about WikiLeaks’ activities. By July 2016, news reports had tied WikiLeaks’ document dumps back to the Russian government.

By late July 2016, Trump was “repeatedly” asking Michael Flynn, a senior campaign adviser and short-lived national security adviser, to “find the deleted Clinton emails,” according to Mueller’s report.

Flynn eventually contacted multiple individuals to look into the matter, Mueller wrote, even as WikiLeaks continued weekly dispatches of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee emails and internal documents.

For his part, the president has insisted from the outset that he had no role in alleged collusion with Russians.

In fact, in his first public comments about Mueller’s appointment as special counsel in May 2017, Trump told reporters, “there is no collusion between — certainly myself and my campaign — but I can always speak for myself and the Russians. Zero.”

In his 448-page report, the special counsel unequivocally affirmed Trump’s stance in the eyes of the law. “Collusion,” itself, does not appear in the federal code, but corresponds loosely to a crime of conspiracy.

“Although the investigation established … that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” Mueller wrote, “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 19 Apr 2019

Florida officials accused by defense attorneys of peddling alleged Kraft sex tape to the media

Sports News Florida officials accused by defense attorneys of peddling alleged Kraft sex tape to the media

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images(JUPITER, Fla) — Attorneys for the owner and manager of a Florida day spa, where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and other men were allegedly caught on camera receiving sexual favors are claiming either prosecutors or police are trying to profit from the unauthorized sale of the footage “to the highest bidder,” according to newly filed court documents.

“I am deeply disturbed that someone in the Palm Beach County attorney’s office or Jupiter Police Department — who are the only ones with access to these video — would attempt to sell and profit from these videos and be in contempt of the courts orders,” attorney Tama Beth Kudman told ABC News on Friday. “It’s disgraceful.”

Kudman, who represents Hua Zhang, the owner of Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida — charged with multiple counts of running a brothel — in an emergency motion for an order to show cause filed on Thursday evening. The motion seeks to hold officials in criminal contempt and “for violation of this Court’s order prohibiting the release of the video surveillance in this case,” according to filing.

“The motion is asking the court to get to the bottom of whoever attempted to sell these videos and hold whoever it is in contempt because they are violating the judge’s order. It’s disgraceful,” Kudman told ABC News.

Emails and phone calls from ABC News to the Jupiter Police Department and Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office requesting comment about the allegations were not immediately returned.

Zhang’s business was one of numerous Florida spas targeted as part of a larger human trafficking investigation which installed hidden surveillance cameras in spa massage rooms and allegedly captured Kraft seeking and receiving sexual favors from spa staffers on Jan. 19 and 20. Kraft has denied the charges.

The secretly-installed cameras were set up by the Jupiter Police Department during a human trafficking investigation of the spa. While prosecutors with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office have not filed any human trafficking charges related to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, Kraft and two-dozen other men who had visited the facility were arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution.

The latest drama began earlier Wednesday, when Palm Beach County prosecutors indicated that they were preparing to release the potentially embarrassing surveillance video from inside the spa.

County officials said that the video would be released in response to public records requests in the cases of Zhang and another women accused of facilitating the alleged prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. Officials said they would “pixelate or blur depictions of obscene or pornographic images before releasing such records to the public, absent a court order.”

Kraft’s attorneys responded swiftly, filing a letter to the judge to apprise him of what they described as “an extraordinary and alarming development involving what appears to be gross prosecutorial misconduct” and accused law enforcement officials of trying to circumvent the judgment of the court. Kraft’s attorneys had previously filed a motion with the court to suppress the video evidence, and a hearing had been scheduled.

“I don’t want this released until I’ve ruled,” Florida Circuit Court Judge Joseph Marx said in an emergency hearing on a conference call with the two parties and the media late Wednesday afternoon.

That hearing is now scheduled for April 29 at 1:30 p.m. local time.

Defense attorneys for the National Football League (NFL) team owner have said that they intend to argue at that hearing that a search warrant that allowed investigators to install hidden cameras inside the spa’s massage rooms was improperly obtained.

Defense attorneys also filed motions on Wednesday requesting to seal the videos not only to “protect Mr. Kraft’s right to a fair trial” but to prevent it’s released to “millions of people around the world to see.”

“If that were to happen, it would immediately and irretrievably taint the jury pool not just in Palm Beach County, but in neighboring counties (and states) as well. Sealing is the most sensible option,” according to court documents.

Under Florida’s Sunshine Law — enacted in 1995 — any records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business are available for inspection, unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature.

Yet on Thursday, the New York Daily News first reported that published an article saying that the newspaper’s reporters, along with “multiple media outlets” were contacted by an unidentified party trying to sell the footage of 77-year-old Kraft with a masseuse.

“In a blatant derogation of this Court’s Order, a (presently) unknown individual, or perhaps even a group of individuals, is now attempting to sell, to the highest bidder, the materials subject to this Court’s order,” wrote Kudman in the motion along with Kathleen S. Phang, who represents the spa’s manager, Lei Wang. “Obviously, this information creates yet another emergency necessitating immediate judicial intervention.”

Kudman and Phang are further requesting the judge to have the police and prosecutors pay for their fees and costs for prosecuting their motion.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 19 Apr 2019

5-year-old victim in Mall of America incident ‘showing real signs of recovery,’ family says

U.S. NEWS 5-year-old victim in Mall of America incident 'showing real signs of recovery,' family says

BanksPhotos/iStock(MINNEAPOLIS) — The family of a 5-year-old boy who was thrown from the third-floor balcony at the Mall of America released a hopeful update on Friday, saying that despite “a long road ahead,” the boy is “showing real signs of recovery.”

“We have good news to share with you on this Good Friday,” the family said in a statement. “Our miracle child is showing real signs of recovery. New test results have been positive, though he remains in intensive care with a long road ahead. Our faith in God and our savior Jesus is strong, and we are gaining more reason for optimism day by day. We continue to appeal for privacy as we focus on our son, and thank you for respecting our wishes. Just know that we absolutely feel your overwhelming love, prayers and support, for they seem to be working. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.”

The incident occurred on Friday, April 12, when Emmanuel Aranda, 24, grabbed the child and tossed him down nearly 40 feet, leaving the boy with life-threatening injuries, including multiple broken bones and severe head trauma, according to charging documents.

Aranda ran away from the scene, but police apprehended him at a nearby light rail station in Bloomington, about 10 miles south of Minneapolis. Officers said he appeared “calm” as he was arrested and never questioned why he was taken into custody.

Aranda told investigators he was “looking for someone to kill, but it did not ‘work out,'” according to a probable cause document released Monday. He said he came up with a plan to “kill someone at the mall” on Thursday and indicated that he was angry because women at the mall had rejected him.

“He said he planned to kill an adult, because they usually stand near the balcony, but he chose the victim instead,” the document said. “[He] indicated he had been coming to the mall for several years and had made efforts to talk to women in the mall, but had been rejected, and the rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive.”

 Investigators said he repeatedly acknowledged he’d come to the mall with intentions to kill and signaled that he was “aware that what he was doing was wrong,” according to the charging documents.

Aranda was previously banned from the mall for throwing water in a woman’s face and destroying property. Police said he also had a warrant for his arrest in Illinois on assault charges.

Police said surveillance video from the scene showed Aranda entering the third floor of the mall and looking over the balcony several times before he approached the 5-year-old victim and his mother.

The victim’s mother said she noticed the suspect getting “very close to them” and asked if she and her son should move, the documents said. Aranda remained silent as he lifted the boy up over the balcony, “without warning,” and threw him down to the first floor, according to the charging documents.

Aranda didn’t appear to know the victim, said police.

Aranda was being held on felony charges of premeditated murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Aranda made a brief court appearance on Tuesday where bail was set at $2 million. His next court appearance was set for May 14.

The 5-year-old was described on a crowdfunding page as a “full of energy” child who enjoys playing hockey with his brother and sister.

A statement from the Mall of America last week said, “This was a senseless act and words cannot truly express our profound shock and sadness. Our immediate and only concern is for the well being of the family and the child, as well as for any individuals who may have witnessed the incident.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 19 Apr 2019

CBS’ ‘Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration’ salutes iconic record label with Stevie, Smokey, Diana, Meghan, John, J-Lo and more

Entertainment News  CBS' 'Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration' salutes iconic record label with Stevie, Smokey, Diana, Meghan, John, J-Lo and more


Courtesy CBS/The Recording Academy/AEG Ehrlich Ventures(LOS ANGELES) — Sunday night at 8 p.m., CBS airs Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration, saluting six decades of the iconic record label.  It features performances and appearances by current acts like John Legend, Meghan Trainor, Jennifer Lopez, Fantasia, Boyz II Men and Pentatonix, and Motown legends like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Thelma Houston and Smokey Robinson.  But Smokey believes Motown music will continue to endure, far beyond these first 60 years.

“There are kids who haven’t even been born who are gonna hear it,” he notes. “So it’s a beautiful thing.”

The show’s executive producer Ken Ehrlich says his goal was to give a “21st century interpretation of some of the great moments of Motown.”

“We were fortunate in having Stevie and Smokey and Diana and Thelma Houston and a few of the other artists that date back to the really amazing early days of Motown,” he tells ABC Radio. “And then, John Legend does a pretty amazing Marvin Gaye, and Ciara did a medley of more current Motown hits, and Ne-Yo the same way.  So we were able to kinda bring yesterday and today together.”

Show highlights include a “Women of Motown” tribute featuring Meghan Trainor, Tori Kelly and Fantasia performing with Thelma Houston, and an “In Memoriam” segment with Stevie Wonder singing “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer.”

“It’s about people that have left us,” Ehrlich says of the song. “It’s pretty emotional and pretty evocative. Stevie got very emotional and you can see that in the performance. He does some other stuff that’s up[tempo]…but this song just had something special.”

Enjoying the show from the audience: Motown’s 89-year-old founder, Berry Gordy.

“He was just having a ball, he loved it,” says Ehrlich. “We really appreciated his lending us the Motown legacy for a night.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 19 Apr 2019

Before he was a candidate, Pete Buttigieg was voted ‘most likely’ to be president

Political News Before he was a candidate, Pete Buttigieg was voted 'most likely' to be president

Scott Eisen/Getty Images(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) —  Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg may have a leg-up on his competition in 2020.

In 2000, then a senior in high school, Buttigieg was voted “most likely to become president” at St. Joseph High School.

 The Catholic school’s yearbook was unearthed at a public library in South Bend, the same weekend the mayor of the 299th largest city in America announced he was taking his first swing at the White House.   Looking through the rest of his high school yearbooks, he moved from appearing in a single photo his freshman year — sporting shaggy hair and large glasses — to showing off a dizzying array of activities in the following years, including the National Honor Society, Junior Leaders and Philosophy Club. He was often pictured wearing a white shirt, tie and no jacket, which has also become his current political uniform.

His senior year, he was also voted most likely to succeed and eventually became his class valedictorian.

Another person figuring prominently in those same yearbooks is James Mueller. He’s now hoping to eventually take over for “Mayor Pete” at South Bend City Hall and Buttigieg even has a “James Mueller for mayor” sign on his front lawn.

Buttigieg, 37, a self-proclaimed “millennial mayor,” speaks six languages and claims to be the antithesis of President Donald Trump.

He recently told HBO’s Bill Maher that he is a “laid-back, intellectual, young, gay, mayor from the Midwest.”

Buttigieg’s also now openly talking about having a child with his husband, Chasten.

He’s been busy since being anointed in that high school yearbook superlatives section. He graduated from Harvard University and the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He joined the Navy Reserves and served a tour in Afghanistan. And in the weeks leading up to his official campaign kickoff, he has rocketed from near-total national obscurity to a player in the Democratic field.

When he was 18, Buttigieg won the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for his research of then U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the man who stands just ahead of him in the polls among the crowded field.   “Above all, I commend Bernie Sanders for giving me an answer to those who say American young people see politics as a cesspool of corruption, beyond redemption. I have heard that no sensible young person today would want to give his or her life to public service, I can personally assure you this is untrue,” he told the South Bend Tribune on May 15, 2000.   At 29, Buttigieg became the youngest mayor of a city with at least 100,000 residents in 2011. If elected in 2020, he would become the youngest president in American history.   “I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor,” he said during his announcement speech.”

He later added, “Up until recently this is not exactly what I had in mind for how I would spend my eighth year as mayor and 38th year in this world, but we live in a moment that compels us each to act.”

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Posted On 19 Apr 2019