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Does brothers' key testimony put pressure on Jussie Smollett to take stand in hoax hate crime trial?

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CHICAGO — Not long after they allegedly pretended to beat up actor Jussie Smollett in January 2019, two Chicago brothers took off for their ancestral home of Nigeria, where they were going to audition for a show called “Big Brother Naija.”

The brothers, aspiring actors Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, never got the roles. But they wound ...Read more

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America/TNS

Biden wants to remove lead pipes for cleaner drinking water. But does new law spend enough?

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has vowed to replace lead pipes to ensure every American has access to clean drinking water, but policy experts say the billions of dollars he has committed may fall short of that goal.

The new infrastructure law steers $15 billion to lead service line replacement, the largest federal investment in the issue ...Read more


In Florida, 1,983 new COVID-19 cases added to state toll as hospital patients increase

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MIAMI — Florida reported 1,983 COVID-19 cases and one new death on Thursday, according to Friday’s report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on Miami Herald calculations of CDC data.

In all, Florida has recorded at least 3,697,624 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 61,631 deaths. In the past seven days, on average, the state...Read more


St. Paul left reeling after hitting homicide record

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — St. Paul was left reeling Friday, a day after a man was stabbed to death in the capital city's record 35th homicide of the year.

The killing, which started over a parking dispute on the 1700 block of East 7th Street on the East Side, left leaders with more questions than answers as St. Paul tries to combat an increase in ...Read more

Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Thousands in Michigan gather to reclaim Oxford, honor slain sons and daughters

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OXFORD, Mich. — The strength of Oxford wasn’t just a hashtag Friday night. Of course, it never was.

It was a people, who in the dark, cold evening flooded the village streets by the thousands young and old, bundled up to honor the community’s stolen members and reclaim a home now known in infamy by those who’d never heard of it before ...Read more

ZAK BENNETT/Getty Images North America/TNS

Court denies Seminole Tribe's request to halt gambling ruling as it pursues appeal

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A District of Columbia appellate court panel late Friday dealt another blow to the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s efforts to control online sports betting in Florida and ruled that the tribe has not shown that it will be irreparably harmed if it is forced to halt its sports book operation while it appeals a lower court ...Read more

Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Macron hard-power diplomacy helps Saudis turn page on Khashoggi

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With a mammoth military deal already in his pocket, President Emmanuel Macron ends his Gulf tour in Saudi Arabia Saturday where he’ll seek to raise France’s standing as a serious player in global affairs despite criticism over the kingdom’s human rights record.

Macron, who faces a tough election fight in April, is the first major Western ...Read more

Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/TNS

Capitol riot panel delays ex-Justice official's reappearance

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WASHINGTON — Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark’s scheduled return on Saturday for questioning before a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was postponed Friday because of “a medical condition,” the panel announced.

After refusing to answer questions during an earlier appearance on Nov. 5 ...Read more

Oakland County Sheriff’s Office/TNS/TNS

Teacher alarmed by Michigan suspect's drawings ahead of shooting, warned school leaders

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DETROIT — A teacher at Oxford High School was so disturbed by what she saw on Ethan Crumbley's desk the day the teen is accused of going on a killing spree in school, she took out her cellphone and snapped a photo as evidence to show school leaders.

According to authorities, on a piece of paper in front of Crumbley, the teacher saw the words:...Read more

Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Jussie Smollett judge, defense attorney differ on lunging claim

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CHICAGO — It was a jaw-dropping moment in an already dramatic trial: An attorney for Jussie Smollett said in court that, just moments before, the judge presiding over the case had lunged at her while attorneys huddled in a sidebar.

“Judge, you physically moved towards me,” Tamara Walker told Cook County Judge James Linn during the trial ...Read more

News briefs

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House GOP apathetic on Boebert’s Islamophobic remarks

WASHINGTON — Just a few days after Iowa Rep. Steve King made comments sympathetic to white supremacy in January of 2019, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other top Republicans decided he was not fit to serve on committees.

“We believe in swift action, because we do not believe...Read more

Tyger Williams/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Thieves broke into this Philadelphia Catholic school. They took more than copper and computers

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PHILADELPHIA — In the darkness of an early morning this week, thieves bent a metal grate shielding a basement window, slipping into the Kensington Catholic school through basement bathrooms. A U-Haul truck waited outside.

Over four hours early Tuesday, the thieves ripped out copper and metal pipes and even urinals and sinks, breaking the main...Read more

Scott Olson/Getty Images North America/TNS

Parents knew Oxford High suspect was troubled, charged with manslaughter, officials say

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PONTIAC, Mich. — Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald revealed Friday that the parents of the suspected Oxford High School shooter were aware their son had access to an unsecured weapon in their home, knew he'd been caught searching the internet for ammunition and that, the morning of the shooting, a teacher found a graphic picture the ...Read more

Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News/TNS

At Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking trial, lurid photos from Epstein home barred by judge

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NEW YORK — The prosecution in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking trial suffered a series of setbacks Friday as Maxwell’s lawyers successfully challenged a key witness’ testimony and persuaded the judge to exclude FBI photographs of Jeffrey Epstein’s New York mansion.

Maxwell, seated at the defense table with her bevy of lawyers, ...Read more

Oakland County Sheriff’s Office/TNS/TNS

US Marshals join fugitive team in search for parents of alleged Michigan school shooter

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PONTIAC, Mich. — The U.S. Marshals and the Oakland County Fugitive Apprehension Team are searching Friday night for the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old Oxford High sophomore charged with first-degree murder in the slayings of four students in Tuesday's mass shooting.

The search came hours after James and Jennifer Crumbley of Oxford...Read more

Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News/TNS

Maxwell jury is shown video of Epstein's 'domicile of debauchery'

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NEW YORK — Jurors in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial were shown video of the interior of Jeffrey Epstein’s Florida mansion as well as what prosecutors described as sexually suggestive photographs of very young girls the financier used as decorations.

Manhattan federal prosecutors on Friday entered into evidence a 2005 videotape ...Read more

Zach Gibson/Getty Images North America/TNS

Upton sought out Omar to express support after they both received 'nasty' death threats

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WASHINGTON — Michigan Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton sought out his colleague, Rep. Ilhan Omar, on the House floor this week to express solidarity after they both received "nasty" death threats in recent weeks, he said.

Upton noted it was the first time he'd ever spoken to Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota who is often the target of other ...Read more

Defense bill's new path forward would cost votes on GOP priorities

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WASHINGTON — With his colleagues ready to proceed, Florida Republican Marco Rubio scuttled floor consideration of the Senate’s version of the annual defense policy bill this week, costing his own party a chance to get Democrats on the record on key priorities.

The bill’s managers had struck a deal to hold 24 amendment votes, on topics ...Read more

Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images North America/TNS

Why Mexico's president is promoting a recall against himself

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MEXICO CITY — Standing before hundreds of thousands of cheering supporters in downtown Mexico City’s central square, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador saved his most striking comment for the end of his speech.

He urged the Mexicans packed into the Zócalo to participate in an April referendum to decide whether they want to boot him ...Read more

Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

'This has been happening for a long time': Modern-day slavery uncovered in South Georgia

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ATLANTA — A yearslong human trafficking operation trapped migrant workers in “modern-day slavery” on South Georgia farms, according to a federal indictment unsealed last week.

Victims include over one hundred laborers smuggled from Mexico and Central America into “brutal” and “inhumane” working conditions. Under the threat of gun ...Read more