Kyle Rittenhouse cleared of all charges in Kenosha shootings
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Kyle Rittenhouse has been acquitted of all charges after pleading self-defense in the deadly Kenosha, Wisconsin, shootings that became a flashpoint in the nation’s debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice. The jury came back with its verdict afer close to 3 1/2 days of deliberation. Rittenhouse, 18, could have gotten life in prison if found guilty of the most serious charge against him. He was charged with homicide, attempted homicide and recklessly endangering safety for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle. The shootings took place during a night of protests over police violence against Black people in the tumultuous summer of 2020. Rittenhouse is white, as were those he shot. The jury appeared to be overwhelmingly white.
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Verdict coming for Kansas City officer in Black man’s death
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge is set to issue a verdict in the case of a white Kansas City, Missouri, police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a Black man in 2019. Jackson County Judge Dale Youngs set a Friday afternoon announcement in the involuntary manslaughter case against Officer Eric J. DeValkenaere. He’s charged in the death of 26-year-old Cameron Lamb, who was parking a pickup truck in his backyard when he was shot. DeValkenaere said he fired after Lamb pointed a gun at another detective. But prosecutors argued that police staged the scene to support their claims that Lamb was armed. A bench trial was held before the judge without a jury at DeValkenaere’s request. DeValkenaere also is charged with armed criminal action.
Jury begins deliberations in ‘Unite the Right’ civil trial
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A jury began deliberations Friday in a civil trial of white nationalists accused of conspiring to commit racially motivated violence at the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017. The jury in U.S. District Court is being asked to decide whether two dozen white supremacists, neo-Nazis and white nationalist organizations are responsible for violence during two days of demonstrations. Jurors will also decide if the defendants are liable for compensatory and punitive damages for nine people who were physically hurt or emotionally scarred by the violence. Just before deliberations began Friday morning, Judge Norman Moon said one juror was dismissed because his two children were possibly exposed to COVID-19 at school and were told to quarantine at home.
Biden undergoes routine colonoscopy, Harris briefly in power
BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — The White House says President Joe Biden transferred power to Vice President Kamala Harris for one hour and 25 minutes while under anesthesia during a routine colonoscopy. Biden went early Friday to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the colonoscopy and his first routine physical as president. Press secretary Jen Psaki says Biden resumed his duties after speaking with Harris and his chief of staff at 11:35 a.m. Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, is the oldest person to serve as president. Harris is the first woman, person of color and person of South Asian descent to be vice president and made history when she was acting president.
US expands COVID boosters to all adults, final hurdle ahead
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration has opened up COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, letting them choose another dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The move expands the U.S. government’s booster campaign to shore up protection and get ahead of rising coronavirus cases that may worsen with the holidays. But there’s one more step: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must agree that even healthy young adults should get either a Pfizer or Moderna booster. Its scientific advisers are set to debate that later Friday. If the CDC agrees, tens of millions more Americans could have three doses of protection ahead of the new year.
Tennessee governor’s aide warned new COVID law was illegal
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s office warned top legislative staffers that a bill limiting public health measures during the COVID pandemic would violate federal law. They passed it anyway and the Republican governor signed it into law even though his legislative counsel warned that Tennessee risks losing federal funding for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Republican governor hasn’t mentioned such concerns. Tennessee’s attorney general must now defend the law Lee’s top lawyer said was illegal. A federal judge asked the state to explain in court Friday how allowing unmasked students to share classrooms won’t violate the rights of at-risk classmates.
Two Democratic senators oppose Powell as Fed chair
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Senate Democrats will oppose the reappointment of Jerome Powell as chair of the Federal Reserve, as President Joe Biden is expected to announce within days who he will pick for the nation’s most powerful economic position. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island and Jeff Merkley from Oregon said Friday that Powell has been insufficiently committed to combatting climate change, an issue that central banks around the world are increasingly confronting. Whitehouse and Merkley join Sen. Elizabeth Warren in opposition. Warren has called Powell “a dangerous man” to lead the Fed because of his support for loosening some bank regulations.
Republican answers ‘call of duty’ with Biden election job
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state’s Republican secretary of state is preparing to move across the country to take a key election security position within the Biden Administration. Kim Wyman, who battled misinformation from some within her own party during the 2020 election, will serve as the election security lead for the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the agency responsible for safeguarding U.S. elections. In the role, she will serve as the government’s top liaison to the states. Wyman has led elections in Washington state for years, and she was reelected to a third term in November — the lone statewide-elected Republican on the West Coast.
Biden to nominate 2 for US Postal board, oust DeJoy allies
President Joe Biden plans to nominate two new members to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors. It’s a potential first step in removing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. DeJoy became a political lightning rod during the 2020 elections as changes he made to the postal service slowed delivery times during a key period when voters were trying to mail in their ballots. Biden is replacing two of DeJoy’s backers on the board, chair Ron Bloom and John Barger. The president is nominating Daniel Tangherlini and Derek Kan to the board.
Memorial held for slain University of Chicago student
CHICAGO (AP) — The mother of a University of Chicago student who was fatally shot near campus last week flew to the city from China to talk about shattered dreams and bringing her son’s body home. Li Rong spoke Thursday at a memorial service at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel of how Shaoxiong ”Dennis” Zheng talked of wanting her to witness his dreams and “look forward to the future together.” But instead of a first trip to the United States for a wedding or graduation ceremony, she was there for his funeral. Zheng was killed by a gunman during a robbery. An 18-year-old man has been arrested on murder charges.
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