NYPD OFFICERS PROBED FOR BLASTING PROFANITY THRU CAR LOUDSPEAKER
NEW YORK (AP) — Two police officers assigned to patrol New York City’s desolate streets were put under department investigation after a video showed them purportedly making profane comments to a man over their police vehicle’s loudspeaker.
Video posted on social media showed officers in a police department SUV on Wednesday night telling the man to “shut the (expletive) up” and threatening to “slap the (expletive) out of” him as he screamed out from a midtown Manhattan sidewalk.
The NYPD said it has opened an internal investigation into the matter and that such behavior will not be tolerated.
“An incident involving two members of our department on patrol in Midtown Manhattan last night has surfaced,” the department tweeted yesterday.
The tweet said the investigation “will be conducted as expeditiously as possible.”
Eliel Cruz, an activist who shared the video on social media, said the officers’ alleged actions were “unacceptable.”
TRUMP’S FORMER LAWYER TO BE RELEASED BECAUSE OF COVID-19 CONCERNS
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and longtime fixer Michael Cohen will be released from federal prison to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement amid the coronavirus pandemic, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
Cohen is currently locked up at FCI Otisville in New York after pleading guilty to numerous charges, including campaign finance fraud and lying to Congress. He will remain under quarantine for 14 days before he is released. Federal statistics show 14 inmates and seven staff members at the prison have tested positive for coronavirus.
After he is released, Cohen will serve the remainder of his sentence at home, according to the person, who could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Cohen’s release comes as prison advocates and congressional leaders have been pressing the Justice Department for weeks to release at-risk inmates ahead of a potential outbreak, arguing that the public health guidance to stay 6 feet away from other people is nearly impossible behind bars.
Cohen began serving his sentence last May and was scheduled to be released from prison in November 2021.
TRUMP ALLY ROGER STONE DENIED RETRIAL BID
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request for a new trial made by Trump ally Roger Stone following his conviction on charges related to the Russia investigation.
Stone claimed the jury forewoman was biased and petitioned for a new trial; his first such request was denied. It prompted Judge Amy Berman Jackson to call nearly all jurors back for a hearing, a highly unusual move, after Stone's attorneys also alleged misconduct after some jurors spoke out publicly following the case.
During a trial, jurors are not allowed to read news accounts or social media posts about the case or discuss it with anyone until deliberations, but after their verdict is rendered, they are released from duty and can speak publicly if they wish.
New trial requests are not uncommon, but this case was surprising in many ways — including a barrage of tweets from President Donald Trump on the trial, threats by the attorney general to quit and the departure of the entire prosecution team following Justice Department leadership’s decision to back off its sentencing request.
MAINE PAPER MILL FIRE PROBE
JAY, Maine (AP) — State and federal investigators began searching for the cause of a paper mill explosion that shook the ground and sent debris and a slurry of chemicals raining down on nearby cars and buildings.
Elation over the stunning news that no one was hurt began to shift toward concern about how long the Androscoggin Mill would be idled. A long-term closure could send ripples through the rural economy.
“We are not in a position to estimate the exact timing of restarting any part of the mill,” Roxie Lassetter, human resources manager, said yesterday.
The investigation into the cause of the Wednesday blast was led by a team of investigators from the Maine Fire Marshal’s Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The blast happened in a massive, kettle-like “digester” where a slurry of wood chips, water and chemicals is transformed into pulp. Nearby vehicles were covered with a thick, brown substance that fell from the sky after the blast.
MAN ACCUSED OF TRYING TO SET FIRE TO NURSING HOME RELEASED
BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge has released a Massachusetts man to home confinement after he was accused of trying to set fire to a Jewish-sponsored assisted living center.
Judge Katherine Robertson released John Michael Rathbun, 36, shortly after he was charged with attempted arson.
The judge's decision garnered a written objection from U.S. Attorney Steven Breslow, who wrote that Robertson's decision to release Rathbun “appears to have been greatly influenced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
Breslow added that while the pandemic has created “laudable” concerns, the reasoning is not a sound basis for releasing the East Longmeadow resident, who presents both a flight risk and a risk to public safety.
Officers found a full gas canister that had a Christian religious pamphlet burned out in the nozzle at the entrance of Ruth’s House in Longmeadow on April 2.
Authorities then discovered blood stains on the canister and pamphlet and traced the DNA back to Rathbun, according to a police affidavit.
Prosecutors described the alleged crime as an act of anti-Semitic violence.
KENTUCKY STATE REP. ARRESTED IN DUI CASE AFTER LAWMAKERS ADJOURNED
LONDON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky state representative was arrested yesterday on accusations of driving while intoxicated only hours after the state House had adjourned.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that State Rep. Derek J. Lewis of London was charged with drunken driving.
Laurel County Sheriff’s officer Gary Mehler said he responded to a call and came upon a pickup truck in a ditch resting against a fence. Lewis got out and was “extremely unsteady," had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.
Lewis refused to take a field sobriety test and became belligerent.
His arrest came about two hours after the Kentucky House adjourned.
A lawyer for the representative says Lewis will plead not guilty in his case.