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Man to plead guilty in plot to kidnap Michigan governor

One of six men charged in an alleged plot to snatch Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has agreed to plead guilty to a kidnapping conspiracy

DETROIT — One of six men charged in an alleged plot to snatch Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has agreed to plead guilty to a kidnapping conspiracy, according to a court document filed Wednesday.

The filing was made by prosecutors ahead of Ty Garbin’s appearance in federal court in Grand Rapids.

The plea agreement signed by Garbin indicates that he will “fully cooperate” with investigators. There is no agreement on his sentencing guidelines.

The FBI in October said it broke up a plot to kidnap the Democratic governor by anti-government extremists upset over her coronavirus restrictions. Six people were charged in federal court while eight others were charged in state court with aiding the alleged scheme.

Garbin’s guilty plea would be a swift resolution for prosecutors, just nearly four months after the arrests.

His attorney, Mark Satawa, last fall said Garbin had no intention to carry out a kidnapping, no matter what he might have said in recorded or online conversations. A “big talk” defense had emerged as a defense strategy.

“Saying things like, ‘I hate the governor, the governor is tyrannical’ … is not illegal, even if you’re holding a gun and running around the woods when you do it,” Satawa said in October.

The other defendants are Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta. A trial has been scheduled for March 23.

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Woman injured by police during Floyd unrest settles lawsuit

The city of Minneapolis has settled the first lawsuit by a demonstrator injured by a police projectile in violent protests that followed the death of George Floyd

MINNEAPOLIS — The city of Minneapolis has settled the first lawsuit by a demonstrator injured by a police projectile in violent protests that followed the death of George Floyd.

Graciela Cisneros, 22, will receive a payment of $57,900 for injuries to her face when a police officer fired a non-lethal round at her May 29 as she walked home from a demonstration. Cisneros’ cheekbone was broken and her injury required stitches. She was not arrested.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey signed off on the settlement last week.

Major civil unrest followed the May 25 death of Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police. Four officers have been charged in his death, including Derek Chauvin, who is white and who knelt on his neck while Floyd lay handcuffed in the street.

Cisneros’ lawsuit is one of several that allege police misconduct during the protests following Floyd’s death. At the time, Cisneros was a student at Augsburg University in Minneapolis and was living in the suburb of Eagan.

Her attorney, Nico Ratkowski, said there was green paint on Cisneros’ face, indicating she was likely shot with a “marking round” used by police to control a crowd. Ratkowski said he could not determine the name of the officer who fired the round.

Ratkowski also represents Ericka Khounedaleth, 21, an accounting administrator from Plymouth, in a second federal lawsuit. Her lawsuit said she was yanked from her car at gunpoint by a Minneapolis police officer who pushed her to the pavement on May 31, the Star Tribune reported.

Khounedaleth was driving a car with four passengers with the intention of passing out water bottles to protesters and pulled into a parking lot to turn around when police pointed guns at her, Ratkowski said.

“She was ripped out of the car without any warning,” said Ratkowski. Khounedaleth was handcuffed with plastic ties and put on a city bus with other protesters.

The Minneapolis city attorney’s office declined to comment on the settlement.

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Rittenhouse, mother fixated on social media treatment

Newly released police video shows that an Illinois teen accused of killing two people during unrest in Wisconsin and his mom were fixated on social media comments about them in the hours after his August arrest

MADISON, Wis. — An Illinois teen accused of killing two people during unrest in Wisconsin and the teen’s mom were fixated on social media comments about them in the hours after his August arrest, newly released police video shows.

Prosecutors say Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, opened fire during the protest, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse faces multiple charges, including intentional homicide. He has argued he was protecting businesses and fired in self-defense. Conservatives have rallied around him, generating enough money to make his $2 million cash bail.

Cellphone video shows Rittenhouse walking past police in the moments after the shootings, his rifle slung over his shoulder and his hands in the air. Officers let him go, and he turned himself in to police in his hometown of Antioch the next day.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the police video shows Rittenhouse sobbing and hyperventilating. Investigators reminded him of his right to remain silent. Rittenhouse, who once participated in programs for aspiring officers, replied, “I know Miranda,” and said he wanted a lawyer.

Police left him in the interrogation room with his mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, who spent the next several hours scrolling through her phone. At one point she put her head in her hands and lamented about people posting derogatory remarks about both of them on Facebook.

His mother told him he needed to deactivate his social media accounts.

“’I have to get rid of social media?” he asked.

“Yep … ‘Cause they’re going to harass you if they can find you anywhere,” she said.

Rittenhouse said he couldn’t give her access to some accounts because the passwords were stored in his phone, which police had taken. He later asked an officer if detectives could delete his accounts. The officer said he would look into it.

In the audible portions of the video, Rittenhouse didn’t ask about the men he shot. He also didn’t appear to understand the seriousness of the situation, asking an officer if he could go home and if he could get counseling to help him cope.

“I don’t want to be one of those people that lives with PTSD the rest of their life,” he said.

Last week, a judge ordered Rittenhouse to have no contact with known white supremacists after he was seen drinking in a bar in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, and posing for a photo with two men who made hand gestures used by white supremacists. Prosecutors also alleged men at the tavern serenaded Rittenhouse with the anthem of the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group.

The legal drinking age in Wisconsin is 21 but Rittenhouse could legally drink alcohol because he was with his mother.

Rittenhouse is due back in court in Kenosha on March 10.

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Police find no bias, terror motive in Portland road rampage

Investigators have identified the driver accused of killing a pedestrian and injuring nine other people in Portland, Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — Investigators have found no evidence that terrorism, politics or any bias motivated the rampage of a 64-year-old Oregon man who witnesses said repeatedly drove into people along streets and sidewalks in Portland, killing a 77-year-old woman and injuring nine other people, police said.

Police identified the driver as Paul Rivas of Oregon City. He was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on initial charges of second-degree murder, assault and failure to perform the duties of a driver, the Portland Police Bureau said in a news release.

Rivas is accused of striking the woman, who was dragged a short distance beneath the wheels of a small SUV, and then continuing to drive, hitting other people and vehicles. After the driver fled on foot, neighbors surrounded him until police arrived.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined that Jean Gerich died of blunt force trauma and ruled her death a homicide, according to police. Police released a statement from her family thanking the people at the scene who tried to help her.

“Jean Gerich was not a nameless victim. She was a loving mother of two. She was a proud grandmother of five, ages 4 to 16. She would have turned 78 in twelve days. She beat cancer five years ago. She received her first vaccination shot last week and was overjoyed to get out in the world again,” the family said.

Larry Wolfe told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he had an appointment with the woman who was killed and saw her get hit by the car and scream. He was walking toward her when the car came back, hit her again, did a U-turn and dragged her along the pavement, he said. The driver eventually crashed and ran away before a group of people corralled him, Carmon said.

Police said Rivas’ actions did show he intended to hit and injure people, but that “detectives did not find evidence that this was an act of terrorism. Detectives did not find bias indicators, nor do they believe this is politically motivated.”

The Oregonian reported that Rivas had a history of driving dangerously, citing court records that show he got his license reinstated in 2014 after being convicted three times for failing to obey traffic signals, in 2007, 2011 and 2013.

The driver hit pedestrian after pedestrian while speeding down residential streets at up to 60 mph, police spokesman Derek Carmon said. Callers to police said someone driving a Honda Element was striking people and vehicles over a 15-block span. A total of ten people were hit, including two cyclists. Most were pedestrians. One man with a head injury couldn’t remember whether he had gotten out of his car before being struck, police said. Most suffered minor injuries and were recovering, police said.

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Autopsy: Texas man died of neck injuries in animal attack

The final autopsy for a Texas man who sheriff’s officials believe was killed by a mountain lion found he died from neck injuries due to an animal attack, though state wildlife officials don’t believe a wild animal was to blame

LIPAN, Texas — A final autopsy for a Texas man whose body was found last month in the woods determined that he died from neck injuries due to an animal attack, but wildlife experts and sheriff’s officials disagree on whether that animal was a mountain lion.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that 28-year-old Christopher Allen Whiteley’s cause of death last month was from neck injuries due to an animal attack, the Hood County sheriff’s office said Tuesday. The manner of death was ruled an accident.

The sheriff’s office said there’s still a disagreement with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on whether Whiteley was killed by a mountain lion.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Tuesday said that none of the evidence they’ve reviewed indicates an attack by a mountain lion or other wild animal. The department said wildlife officials couldn’t rule out that an animal killed Whiteley, but said the evidence indicates it wasn’t a wild animal, like a mountain lion or coyote.

Lt. Johnny Rose of the Hood County sheriff’s office said they believe Whiteley was killed by a mountain lion. He said the autopsy does not specify what kind of animal killed Whitely.

The sheriff’s office, which says there were no signs of foul play in the death, said it would be closing the case as an animal attack.

Whiteley’s body was found in the woods near Lipan, located 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Fort Worth.

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UN: 250,000 people affected by Cyclone Eloise in Mozambique

A senior U.N. official says Cyclone Eloise has affected 250,000 people in the Mozambique port city of Beira and surrounding areas and damaged or destroyed 76 health centers and 400 classrooms

“We also see widespread floods that are still there,” Myrta Kaulard, the U.N. resident coordinator in the African country, told U.N. correspondents in a virtual briefing from the capital Maputo. “And what we can see is a lot of people trying to get out of the flooded areas.”

She said that “nearly two years ago Cyclone Idai devastated exactly the same areas that are now affected.” Hundreds of people were killed by Idai, one of the Southern Hemisphere’s worst cyclones that flooded much of Beira, collapsing homes or washing many away.

In December, Cyclone Chalane hit the same area, Kaulard said. Then there was flooding about a week or 10 days ago, and on Saturday Cyclone Eloise passed through.

She said the number of people affected rose from 170,000 on Monday to 250,000 on Tuesday including 18,000 who are internally displaced.

What’s needed now, Kaulard said, are tents, emergency shelter, blankets, drinkable water, hygiene products, sanitation, face masks and food.

Kaulard said assessments are still going on including the extent of flood damage to crops, which are due to be harvested in April. If the water stays, she said, this could have “a very devastating impact on the harvest.

“Basically, this is really a very bad wake-up call of how much Mozambique is exposed to climate, and this yearly rendezvous with the cyclonic season is just too frequent for recovery to progress,” Kaulard said.

This is just the beginning of the cyclone season, which will continue into April, she said, “and the waters in the Mozambican channels are very warm,” and the coast is 2,700 kms long.

Kaulard lamented that people had been making progress with their crops and rebuilding their houses when the latest flooding hit.

“These are very poor people that have become even poorer because of the damage,” she said.

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Today in History – ABC News

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Jan. 27, the 27th day of 2021. There are 338 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 27, 1756, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria.

On this date:

In 1880, Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric incandescent lamp.

In 1901, opera composer Giuseppe Verdi died in Milan, Italy, at age 87.

In 1944, during World War II, the Soviet Union announced the complete end of the deadly German siege of Leningrad, which had lasted for more than two years.

In 1945, during World War II, Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland.

In 1967, astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee died in a flash fire during a test aboard their Apollo spacecraft.

In 1972, “Queen of Gospel” Mahalia Jackson, 60, died in Evergreen Park, Ill.

In 1973, the Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris.

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, greeted the 52 former American hostages released by Iran at the White House.

In 1984, singer Michael Jackson suffered serious burns to his scalp when pyrotechnics set his hair on fire during the filming of a Pepsi-Cola TV commercial at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

In 1998, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, on NBC’s “Today” show, charged the sexual misconduct allegations against her husband, President Bill Clinton, were the work of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

In 2006, Western Union delivered its last telegram.

In 2010, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad tablet computer during a presentation in San Francisco. J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of “The Catcher in the Rye,” died in Cornish, New Hampshire, at age 91.

Ten years ago: Tens of thousands of Yemenis demanded their president step down; taking inspiration from Tunisians’ revolt, they vowed to continue until their U.S.-backed government fell. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that color-coded terror alerts would be phased out by late April 2011.

Five years ago: The Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department agreed to overhaul its policies, training and practices as part of a sweeping deal with the Justice Department following the 2014 fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. As he honored four people for risking their lives to protect Jews, President Barack Obama warned during a visit to the Israeli Embassy in Washington that anti-Semitism was on the rise; he said an attack on any faith was an attack on all faiths.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor James Cromwell is 81. Rock musician Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) is 77. R&B singer Nedra Talley (The Ronettes) is 75. Ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov is 73. Latin singer-songwriter Djavan is 72. Chief U.S. Justice John Roberts is 66. Country singer Cheryl White is 66. Country singer-musician Richard Young (The Kentucky Headhunters) is 66. Actor Mimi Rogers is 65. Rock musician Janick Gers (Iron Maiden) is 64. Actor Susanna Thompson is 63. Political and sports commentator Keith Olbermann is 62. Rock singer Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 60. Rock musician Gillian Gilbert is 60. Actor Tamlyn Tomita is 58. Actor Bridget Fonda is 57. Actor Alan Cumming is 56. Country singer Tracy Lawrence is 53. Rock singer Mike Patton is 53. Rapper Tricky is 53. Rock musician Michael Kulas (James) is 52. Actor-comedian Patton Oswalt is 52. Actor Josh Randall is 49. Country singer Kevin Denney is 43. Tennis player Marat Safin is 41. Rock musician Matt Sanchez (American Authors) is 35. Actor Braeden Lemasters is 25.

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Killer winter tornado stuns storm-savvy Alabama town

FULTONDALE, Ala. — James Scott has never lived anywhere other than a two-story house on hilly Darlene Drive north of Birmingham. Home will never be the same after a tornado smashed the structure into pieces, killed another teen and left the community devastated in the middle of the night.

Standing in the middle of the destruction Tuesday, the 19-year-old stared blankly at the rubble for a few moments, seemingly unsure what to do next.

“It’s time to regroup and start clean,” he said. “It’s the best I can hope for.”

The terrifying nighttime tornado that blasted through suburban Birmingham late Monday, trapping entire families in the remnants of shattered homes and injuring 30, left a trail of destruction that stunned even longtime residents used to Alabama’s violent weather.

Tim Herring, who survived the twister by huddling in a bathtub with wife Patti Herring as winds ripped off the roof of their house and splintered walls, had followed weather forecasts during the day and didn’t expect the worst until it happened.

“I’ve lived here 64 years. I wasn’t too worried,” he said.

“I’ve helped folks after tornadoes,” he added. “This time, it’s us.”

Across the road, Jason Williams struggled to explain how he, his wife Renee and their two daughters made it out alive after their home collapsed, trapping them in the basement shelter where they’d sought refuge.

“God had his mighty hand on us. That’s all I can say. God protected us last night,” said Williams, who had a cut on his forehead and bruises on his legs but was otherwise OK.

Many others narrowly escaped with their lives. At least 30 people were injured as the tornado carved a 10-mile (16 kilometer) path through Birmingham’s northern suburbs, an area severely damaged by a much larger tornado a decade ago.

Ninth-grader Elliott Hernandez, 14, was killed and several relatives were critically injured when their home collapsed, trapping them in the basement, Fultondale Police Chief D.P. Smith said.

“They were doing what they were supposed to be doing,” Smith said.

Search efforts continued for hours in neighborhoods where it was difficult to tell where houses had stood. Across the wrecked landscape, every visible structure was damaged or destroyed. Pieces of children’s toys and clothing were scattered across the terrain littered with broken trees. Fallen utility lines crisscrossed roads.

Located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Birmingham, Fultondale is home to about 9,000 people. It’s mostly middle class with a mix of new subdivisions and older homes.

The National Weather Service said the twister was at least a strong EF-2 with 135 mph (217 kph) winds based on initial surveys, but storm assessments continued.

It wasn’t the first twister for Fultondale, which also caught the tail end of an EF- 4 tornado that ripped across Alabama from Tuscaloosa to northern Jefferson County on April 27, 2011, killing 65 people and injuring 1,500 along a path more than 80 miles (130 kilometers) long, according to the weather service.

Herring already had gotten ready for bed when a warning siren went off and a TV forecaster said the storm was headed toward their home. He said he put on some pants and began looking for his wife’s two cats when they realized they were out of time.

“We ran in the bathroom, got down in the tub and covered over with some towels and then in about two minutes it was all over,” Herring said.

The couple was covered with boards and pieces of walls afterward, but neither was seriously hurt. “We got out and my wife said, ‘We don’t have a roof.’ I walked in the hallway and said, ‘We ain’t got no walls either.’ I said, ‘We’re lucky to be alive, Patti,’” Tim Herring said.

Sobbing, Patti Herring was shaken and as she picked through the debris looking for a missing cat and her late mother’s cherished belongings.

At what was left of Williams’ home nearby, he and some helpers celebrated a small victory amid the devastation: They rescued the family dog Smokey from where it was trapped by falling debris. The dog spent hours near what was left of the basement room where the four-member family sought refuge with no time to spare.

“As soon as we got in there it hit, and it all came down on top of us,” Williams said.

Saving the dog was no small thing for a family that lost everything else, he said.

“I’m just so proud that Smokey is OK. One of my daughters had some guinea pigs and the other one had a turtle. and I can’t find them. I just found part of the guinea pig cage,” he said.

———

Associated Press Writer Kim Chandler in Montgomery; Jeff Martin in Marietta, Georgia; and Desiree Mathurin in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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UN panel: Yemen’s war being fueled by economic profiteering

A new report by U.N. experts says economic profiteering is fueling the catastrophe in Yemen, where a six-year war has involved attacks on civilians, forced disappearances and other human rights violations

UNITED NATIONS — Economic profiteering is fueling the catastrophe in Yemen, where a six-year war has involved attacks on civilians, forced disappearances and other violations of human rights and international law, U.N. experts said in a new report.

The experts estimate Houthi rebels diverted at least $1.8 billion in 2019 that was supposed to go to the government to pay salaries and provide basic services to citizens. And they said the government implemented a scheme to illegally divert to traders $423 million of Saudi money meant to buy rice and other commodities for the Yemeni people.

The report obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press describes a deteriorating situation in Yemen, where the panel said the Houthis and the government “appear to be indifferent” to the devastating impact of the economy’s downfall on its people while continuing to divert the country’s economic and financial resources.

Six years of war between a U.S.-backed Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized government and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been catastrophic for Yemen, killing more than 112,000 people, creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, bringing the country to the brink of famine and wrecking infrastructure. It began with the 2014 Houthi takeover of the north, where the majority of Yemenis live, which prompted a destructive air campaign by the Saudi-led coalition, aimed at restoring the government.

The panel said there is “an increasing body of evidence suggesting that individuals and entities” in Iran supply “significant volumes of weapons and components to the Houthis.”

The panel said the government lost strategic territory to both the Houthis and the Southern Transitional Council, a separatist group backed by the United Arab Emirates. In December, the coalition announced a power-sharing Cabinet including southern separatists, part of a deal to end a power struggle between the former allies.

“The lack of a coherent strategy among anti-Houthi forces, demonstrated by infighting within them, and disagreements between their regional backers, has served to strengthen the Houthis,” the experts said.

The report said the Houthis perform government functions including collecting taxes and other state revenue, “a large portion of which is used to fund their war effort” — not to help the Yemeni people.

“The government of Yemen is, in some cases, engaging in money-laundering and corruption practices that adversely affect access to adequate food supplies for Yemenis, in violation of the right to food,” the panel said.

In the $423 million scheme that illegally transferred public money to traders, 48% was received by a single holding corporation, the Hayel Saeed Anam Group, the experts said.

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Man pepper-sprayed by Portland mayor lawyer, heir to dairy

Police identified a man who was pepper-sprayed by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler as a lawyer named Cary Cadonau

PORTLAND, Ore. — Police on Tuesday identified a man who was pepper-sprayed by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler as a partner at a law firm who also tried to obtain surveillance footage of the mayor in a restaurant and get a copy of his meal receipt.

An additional police report identified Cary Cadonau as the man who was pepper-sprayed by Wheeler after he confronted the mayor leaving a restaurant Sunday evening and accused him of not wearing a mask. No charges have been filed in the incident. Cadonau didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.

Wheeler and Sam Adams, who served one term as Portland mayor from 2009 to 2013, had been dining in a tented area and were walking to their cars when Cadonau approached, unmasked, and got close to the mayor’s face while filming with his phone, according to police reports.

According to a statement the mayor gave to police, Wheeler told the man of current COVID-19 regulations, which allows people to take their mask off to eat or drink.

“He then accused me of other things to which I indicated he did not understand the rules and should probably have a better understanding if he was going to confront people about them,” Wheeler said in his statement.

Wheeler said that the man stood within one or two feet of him and Wheeler became concerned for his safety and contracting COVID-19. Wheeler told the man to “back off” and that he was carrying pepper spray, which he would use if necessary. When the man did not listen, the mayor said he sprayed him in the eyes.

“He seemed surprised and backed off,” Wheeler told police. “He made a comment like, ‘I can’t believe you just pepper sprayed me.’ ”

Adams, whose statement to police was consistent with the mayor’s, suggested to Wheeler he should leave for his safety. Before doing so, Wheeler said he threw a bottle of water towards the man so that he could wash his eyes, he told police.

Cadonau told police when contacted Monday that he didn’t want to discuss the matter because he was an attorney. He said the mayor should be held “accountable” but declined to elaborate, according to the police report.

“Mr. Cadonau said he wanted the receipt because it would show how much alcohol the mayor consumed that evening. I asked him multiple times if he wanted to talk about the incident, share his video footage, or provide his side of the story but he respectfully declined to say anything more,” Officer Matt Miller wrote.

Stories from 2019 in The Oregonian/OregonLive identify an attorney named Cary Cadonau arguing in court over the sale of his family’s business, Alpenrose Dairy, to a Seattle-based company.

Wheeler, who was re-elected in November, has been targeted by left-wing demonstrators, including some who smashed windows and set a small fire inside his condo building.