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#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

#News - New Orleans & South Louisiana

Pelicans overcome slow start to beat the Spurs

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 09:02 PM PST

New Orleans -- The Pelicans trailed 17-2 to start the game, but slowly chipped-away at the Spurs lead to go-on to win the game 107-90. They out-scored San Antonio 31-13 in the second quarter to take an 8-point lead into the locker room, and then out-scored them 37-17 in the third.

"Obviously we started out struggling," said Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry. "Always in the second quarter, we seem to get our feet under us. We started to play. I thought our defense was great in the second and third quarters. They got 30 points in the second and third quarters-- 13 and 17-- so against that team if you can do that. Then the defense is really what turned the tide for us, and obviously we got some easy lay-ups. We started to move the basketball well. We started to make better cuts. When we did that, that turned into easy shots really."

Anthony Davis led the way for New Orleans, shooting 11-17 from the floor and finishing with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Davis also moved-up in the franchise record books, passing Chris Paul (7,936) for second place on their all-time scoring list. He surpassed that mark in the 4th quarter of the game. DeMarcus Cousins also finished with a double-double, with 24 points and 15 rebounds. This is the 9th time this season that those two have each had at least 20 and 10.

Pau Gasol led the Spurs (11-7) with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points.

The Pelicans (10-8) are off Thursday before a 2-game road trip-- at Phoenix Friday and at Golden State Saturday.


Big news about the Wheel of Justice

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 08:45 PM PST

METAIRIE, LA -- Since it's Thanksgiving time, we thought we'd say thanks to all the police officers and sheriff's deputies who have worked hard to send criminals to jail.

And another round of applause goes to all the neighbors and concerned citizens who saw something suspicious and phoned in a tip to CrimeStoppers.

We also wanted to update everyone on some of the cases that we've featured on our Wheel of Justice reports.  Turns out, a lot of cases are now closed.  In fact, as we tally up the cases over the years, 363 people have now landed behind bars after their cases rolled on the Wheel of Justice.

To see some of the latest successful cases, click on the video button above.

There's no way the Wheel of Justice can take credit for all the busts.  Good police work and tips from everyday people to CrimeStoppers are more important.  But we're going to keep doing our part, so you do yours!

If you see something suspicious, call your local police department.  If you have information about a crime, call CrimeStoppers at 504-822-1111.

Remember, you don't have to reveal your name or testify in court, and you could earn a CrimeStoppers cash reward.

So let's hear it for safe neighborhoods and 363 arrests!

Wheel of Justice hits 363 arrests

D.E.T. Dream Foundation gives back in the Lower 9th Ward

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 07:23 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS-- Residents of the Lower 9th Ward were treated to turkey and all the fixings by native son DJ Ro's Don't Even Trip Dream Foundation.

DJ Ro Watts is a longtime Q-93 DJ, born and raised in the Lower 9 and he told us that the entertainment industry doesn't always get good press, and that he hoped to inspire others to give as well.

"We have so much negativity in the world, especially the music business, the rappers and all that. They got the bad rap and all of that all the time so we're just trying to show the other side of the game," said Watts.

The D.E.T. Dream Foundation's Thanksgiving giveaway got some help with this year from Cajun Seafood, Walmart, and a host of anonymous sponsors.

Police investigating homicide in Uptown

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 06:56 PM PST

New Orleans – Police are investigating a homicide in Uptown.

Detectives say the victim’s body was found Wednesday afternoon in the 500 block of Robert Street.

No further details have been released.

Man fighting for life after shooting in Gretna

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 06:51 PM PST

GRETNA – A man is fighting for his life after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, the man was found shot in the 400 block of Lapalco Boulevard around 5 p.m.

He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.


7-year-old girl travels the country to hug a cop in every state

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 06:42 PM PST

PONCHATOULA, La. - A little Louisiana girl is in a big hurry to hug a cop - in every state.

Rosalyn Baldwin is just seven.

Everybody who gets a hug from her also gets a heart sticker because the hugs come from Rosalyn's heart.

"I'm hugging them because they risk their lives for other people," Rosalyn tells WGNO. "Because they risk their lives and they're kind and they're everything and besides, there are more good police officers than bad police officers."

Ponchatoula Police Chief Bry Layrisson says it's his "first time for a hug of that magnitude."

After a year, Rosalyn has hugged half the country - 25 states down and 25 to go.

As she travels cross country, her mom is her driver, but not her driving force.

Angie Baldwin says, "No, I would not have thought about going to 50 states, trust me, this was inspired completely by her. She loves police officers."

From coast to coast, hugs are inspiring her mission, but so far, not her career.

Rosalyn says she doesn't want to be a police officer when she grows up.

"No, it's too dangerous."

She says she wants to be a veterinarian, so she'll grow up and go from hugging cops to canines.

In the meantime, she's got half the country to hug.

Woman charged after using flamethrower to torch her own car, police say

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 04:33 PM PST

BARRINGTON, Ill. — Police arrested an Illinois woman accused of using a flamethrower to destroy her own car, then lying to officials about it.

Julie Gagne, 47, was charged Wednesday with arson and filing a false police report.

Police said she used an X15 Flamethrower to set her vehicle ablaze on November 10 around 10:30 p.m. on the 1500 block of Grove Avenue in Barrington. Sold for over $1600, police said the flamethrower’s pistol tip can send a ball of flames shooting at least 50 feet, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Schaumburg police said she called them to report her car had been stolen and then later retracted that claim.

Gagne turned herself in on November 21.

All in: Vaccaro says he will return for Saints vs Rams Sunday

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 03:21 PM PST

METAIRIE, La. -- Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he will play Sunday against the Rams in Los Angeles.

Vaccaro spoke with reporters Wednesday after practice. He says he is "100 percent." He missed the last two games with a groin injury. Vaccaro was officially listed as limited on the injury report the Saints submitted to the NFL Wednesday evening.

The Saints will likely be without cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who suffered an ankle injury in Sunday's win over the Redskins. On their injury report, the Saints said Lattimore and cornerback Ken Crawley (abdomen) did not practice Wednesday.

"I think Lattimore is star," said Rams head coach Sean McVay on his conference call with New Orleans reporters. "He's a special player I can't say enough good things. I've been extremely impressed with him watching the tape so far this week."

A Saints win over the Rams would be their 9th straight, tying the second longest streak in franchise history.

A Saints win would clinch the club's first winning season since 2013.

North Korean defector had parasitic worms doctor had only seen in medical textbooks

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 02:37 PM PST

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Parasitic worms and a chronic liver infection identified in a North Korean soldier who dramatically defected are providing clues into health conditions inside the secretive rogue state, experts said Wednesday.

The soldier was shot up to five times November 13 while making a run for the South Korean side of the border through the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone, according to dramatic security video released this week.

North Korean soldiers fired at him about 40 times, hitting him with bullets from both pistols and an AK-47, violating the armistice agreement between the two countries after the Korean War, the UN Command said.

The defector, whose last name is Oh, required emergency treatment for his wounds, including extensive surgery. Doctors discovered a large number and multiple forms of parasitic worms.

Some of the parasites removed were as long as 27 centimeters (more than 10 inches), according to the South Korean doctors who treated him. One type of worm they discovered is typically found in dogs.

“In my 20 years as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a medical textbook,” Lee Cook-Jong, the man’s surgeon, told reporters on November 15.

At another briefing Wednesday, Lee revealed the soldier also had hepatitis B, which is a serious risk factor for liver cancer.

David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told CNN that the transmission of hepatitis B was usually a good indication of a country’s poor sterilization practices in hospitals.

“Hepatitis B is mainly transmitted either through unsterilized needles or syringes … or by sexual activity,” he said.

It isn’t the first time a North Korean defector has been found to have large numbers of stomach parasites or hepatitis B.

A 2015 study of 169 defectors by Dankook University College of Medicine in South Korea found that out of the 17 female subjects who provided stool samples, seven had parasites.

One in ten of the total subjects were also discovered to have hepatitis B.

Choi Min-ho, a professor at Seoul National University College of Medicine who specializes in parasites, told CNN the use of human fertilizer on crops and poor sanitary conditions led to the transmission of parasitic cysts in North Korea.

Intestinal worms are typically transmitted through contact with feces or unwashed hands. Infections are easily treated with drugs.

“It is a vicious cycle that is hard to stop in North Korea. They are so desperate to make ends meet that they cannot take proper preventive measures,” he said.

Choi said he believed at least half of North Korea’s population were likely to have parasites. “For those who can eat well and are healthy, parasitic infections might not be a big deal. But for those malnourished, this can be much more critical as parasites steal much-needed nutrition.”

North Korea has a long history of serious food shortages and famines, including a devastating drought between 1995 and 1999 that killed as many as 1 million people.

Meanwhile, the UN World’s Food Programme estimates as much as 70% of the country’s 25 million people still don’t eat a “sufficiently diverse diet.”

Doctors described the soldier’s condition now as great, with Lee saying all parasites had been removed from his system.

Are men really clueless about sexual harassment?

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 02:19 PM PST

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Six weeks after the first stories broke alleging that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein engaged in a decadeslong pattern of sexual harassment (he denies it), the list of men accused of similar acts keeps getting longer. Some offer denials, but others offer more nuanced “explanations”:

Charlie Rose, for example, apologized but added, “I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.” Sen. Al Franken apologized, too, but Michigan Rep. John Conyers only offered, through a spokesman: “The former staffer voluntarily decided to drop the case.” Pixar’s John Lasseter apologized and said, in part, “No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.”

Meanwhile, the Alabama Republican party has reiterated its support of Senate candidate Roy Moore (as has President Trump), who faces allegations of sexual abuse (he denies them), and the number of women accusing former President George H.W. Bush of groping has reached a whopping eight. Responding to four of the allegations last month, Bush’s spokesman “explained” that elder Bush “has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner,” and apologized. For the more recent allegations, he offered no comment.

These and the many other men against whom allegations have been made — some quite a bit more serious than patting “women’s rears” — are all ambitious, smart, powerful men — surely men whom one would think might know better than to behave in this way. In some instances, famous men are alleged to have forced their tongues into an unwilling woman’s mouth, walked around naked, or pulled out their penises to show around.

So why do they do it? And why are there so many? As was proved by the viral #metoo campaign, which saw hundreds of thousands of women sharing their own stories of sexual assault, the problem is rampant; sadly, less an exception than the rule.

One possible explanation points to a deeply ingrained, hard to shake and society-wide sexism that teaches men that women are less dominant. Many men — and women, for that matter –still believe men do the asking out and the chasing (often, too, the paying for dinner).

Setting aside the flat-out predators who walk among us, this misunderstanding of men’s roles may lead some men, especially those in the throes of sexual attraction, to let their desires override their intellect and their knowledge of what is wrong and what is right.

It would be nice to imagine that, in 2017, sexism is an outdated notion in the mainstream: After all, this is the same culture that created not just “The Bachelor” but also “The Bachelorette.” Times have changed, right? As Harvey Weinstein put it in his official statement, “I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”

And yet there’s SO MUCH evidence it’s the culture now, too. We’ve only got to look at the defeat of a highly qualified, highly prepared, definitely female presidential candidate by a less qualified male opponent (himself, let’s not forget, accused of sexual assault by multiple women; he denies it) as proof that sexism lives on. That he largely based his campaign on bluster and bullying — and was elected by 52% of men and 41% of women — only strengthens the point.

Another explanation for the problem of sexual harassment, and one that similarly has roots in sexism, is that we still have a hard time defining (or agreeing on) what constitutes sexual harassment and assault.

A small recent survey by car-selling app Instamotor found that many men aren’t clear on what sexual harassment is. Two in every three men surveyed didn’t think repeated unwanted invitations to drinks, dinner, or dates was sexual harassment. One in five didn’t think sexual harassment should be a fireable offense.

What’s more, many such behaviors are learned: In one story that ran on NPR, a “reformed catcaller” described growing up watching older men he admired holler at women in his Brooklyn neighborhood. “All my life I heard girls are cats and boys are dogs …,” he said. “Hollering at women on the street was what guys were supposed to do, or so I thought.”

Certainly, many of the accusations we’ve all been hearing over the past weeks seem to extend well beyond gray areas. But if there is confusion about those gray areas — that is, what defines harassment at all — it’s possible there could be confusion about what is absolutely off-limits, and what is, perhaps, part of some men’s archaic or delusional idea of the male-female mating dance.

No woman asks to be assaulted or harassed — or touched in a manner that makes her feel uncomfortable. And yet, how else to explain the Bush family spokesman admitting the former president of the United States would often “pat women’s rears” in a “good-natured manner” as “David Cop-a-feel”?

Which means we need to do a better job making damn sure every single man — and woman — is clear about what constitutes inappropriate behavior.

That’s hopefully what the current conversation will do. In addition to holding men accountable for their past actions, it will open up dialogue so that misunderstanding is no longer an acceptable excuse. Because let it be known: Whether you’re a man or a woman, good-natured rear-patting of someone you aren’t 100% sure would welcome it is never as good-natured as you might like to believe.

How to keep weight off without diet or exercise

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 02:07 PM PST

NEW ORLEANS -- During the holidays we tend to over eat and pack on a few extra pounds. If you're not a fan of the gym or dieting, here are four tips to help you keep weight off this holiday season.

  1. Use smaller plates. Decades ago, plates were created smaller than they are now, meaning people ate less. This Thanksgiving try serving yourself on a smaller plate so your eyes can't be bigger than your stomach!
  2. Drink more water. One study found that drinking two cups of water before a meal can reduce your appetite.
  3. Eat without electronic distractions. Focusing on your food can help you realize how full you are when you're eating, instead of mindlessly consuming more calories than necessary.
  4. Spice up your food. It's proven that eating jalapenos and other spicy foods can help speed up your metabolism.

‘I was beaten senseless’: Mississippi man spent 11 months held captive by North Korea

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 01:03 PM PST

CARRIERE, Miss. -- The threat of military action with North Korea.. tension in Washington and Pyongyang..  two leaders unsure if the other might strike first.

Sound familiar?

That was the situation nearly fifty years ago during a standoff with North Korea that confronted President Lyndon Johnson.

In January 1968, North Korean gunboats surrounded a lightly-armed Navy spy ship, the U.S.S. Pueblo, in the Sea of Japan.

Although the Pueblo was in international waters, the North Koreans fired on the ship, killing one sailor, while other crew members frantically tried to destroy the evidence of their mission.

Outgunned and with no military back-up, the Pueblo was forced to surrender, leading to a nearly year-long nightmare for the crew.

Dunnie Tuck—friends call him "Friar" Tuck—was one of two civilian oceanographers on the Pueblo, gathering intelligence for Navy submarines.

He's 80 years old now, but he remembers almost every detail of his time as a North Korean prisoner.

Tuck and his shipmates were taken to a military barracks near Pyongyang, where they had bunk beds to sleep in, and rotten cabbage soup to eat.

They also had daily interrogations.

"Major beatings, with chairs, rifles, broomsticks. I had two chairs broken over my head," says Tuck today from his home in Pearl River County, Mississippi. "I was beaten senseless twice with the chairs."

Tuck thought he and the others would be released in a few days, maybe a week or two at most. But America was in a war in Vietnam, and President Johnson didn't want to risk a second war in North Korea.

So the Pueblo's crew languished in prison for 11 months—a situation that Tuck can't imagine President Trump would allow today.

During that time, Tuck became a mentor and teacher to his fellow prisoners. He says he was about ten years older than his shipmates, and he'd had survival training during a stint in the Army.  And if the guards allowed the lights to stay on in their cells at night, Tuck would hold informal classes in math, history, geography, and of course oceanography-- anything to give the other prisoners something to ponder besides their captivity.

"What are the first three things guys talk about?" says Tuck. "First you talk about women, then you talk about cars, then  you talk about food. You do that for three months and then you gotta do something else."

Finally, North Korean leader Kim Il Sung -- the grandfather of today's leader, Kim Jung-Un-- agreed to release the Pueblo's prisoners by forcing the Johnson administration to say that the ship had been in North Korean waters when it was captured.  (The ship never left Pyongyang. Today it's a North Korean tourist attraction, where the guides call it an example of "American imperialist aggression.")

When they were allowed to leave, each prisoner was forced to walk alone to freedom, crossing the "Bridge of No Return" that separates North and South Korea.

Just before Tuck started to walk, a guard who spoke English asked him if he'd like to come back to North Korea one day.

"Yes," Tuck replied, "I'd like to come back real soon as a bombardier in a B-52!"


Woman raises more than $50k for charitable homeless man from North Carolina

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 01:02 PM PST

PHILADELPHIA – A woman is raising money for a homeless man who spent his last $20 to help her when she ran out of gas in Philadelphia.

Kate McClure, 27, of Bordentown, New Jersey, was driving into Philadelphia on Interstate 95 last month to visit a friend when her car ran out of gas, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I pulled over as far as I could, and got out of the car to head to the nearest gas station. That's when I met Johnny,” McClure wrote on the GoFundMe raising money for the man. “He told me to get back in the car and lock the doors. A few minutes later, he comes back with a red gas can (and) his last 20 dollars to make sure I could get home safe.”

According to the Inquirer, McClure learned the man was Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 34, of the Raleigh area. He was an ammunition technician in the Marines.

A friend in North Carolina who had been close to Bobbitt told the Inquirer he has a "good heart," was a talented paramedic and was smart enough to become a doctor. Unfortunately, Bobbitt fell on hard times due to drug and money problems.

Bobbitt has been homeless in Philadelphia for a year and a half.

McClure said she did not have money to pay Bobbitt back the night he helped her. But she returned to the spot where he sits several times offering him a few dollars or supplies each time.

McClure wrote on GoFundMe of Bobbitt’s character:

“One day I stopped to see him and had a few things in a bag to give him, one of which was a box of cereal bars so he could have something that he could carry around and eat. He was very appreciative as usual and the first thing he said was ‘do you want one?’ Another time I dropped off 2 wawa gift cards and a case of water.. the first words that came out of his mouth were ‘I can't wait to show the guys’ (there are 2 others he hangs out with and they all take care of each other). If just those 2 statements alone do not give you a glimpse of the good heart this man has I'm not sure anything will.”

Then McClure decided to go a step further to help Bobbitt. She started a GoFundMe for him, hoping to raise money for rent, a reliable vehicle and four to six months’ worth of expenses. She said he is very interested in finding a job.

“I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night's rest, his life can get back to being normal,” McClure wrote.

So far, the GoFundMe has raised more than $50,000 and McClure and Bobbitt’s story has gone viral, appearing on websites throughout the country.

Kate Steinle murder trial: No verdict after second day of deliberations

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 01:00 PM PST

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Jurors failed to reach a verdict Wednesday after the second day of deliberations in the trial of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who is accused of the July 2015 killing of Kate Steinle in a case that became a rallying point in a national debate over immigration policy.

Garcia Zarate, a 45-year-old Mexican citizen and undocumented immigrant, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Steinle.

Prosecutors said Garcia Zarate was playing his own “secret version of Russian roulette” when he deliberately fired into an unsuspecting crowd on a San Francisco pier, killing Steinle.

But defense attorneys argued that Garcia Zarate found the 40-caliber Sig Sauer pistol, which then went off accidentally. The bullet ricocheted off the ground and traveled about 80 feet before striking Steinle, attorney Matt Gonzalez said.

“But for the ricochet, it does not hit her,” Gonzalez told jurors during closing arguments.

Prosecutors described Steinle, a 32-year-old medical device sales representative, as “a young, vibrant, beautiful, cherished person” gone too soon.

Closing arguments concluded Tuesday afternoon in the trial. Jurors will also be allowed to consider first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter convictions.

Jurors began deliberating just before noon local time.

Sanctuary cities debate

The undocumented status of the defendant and San Francisco’s status as a “sanctuary city” brought the murder trial into the larger political debate on immigration policies.

Garcia Zarate had been deported from the United States five times before the shooting. Before the shooting, officials in San Francisco released Garcia Zarate from custody instead of turning him over to immigration authorities.

Donald Trump mentioned Steinle’s case on the campaign trail as part of his argument for a stricter approach to immigration policy.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately,” Trump said in a statement in July 2015. “This is an absolutely disgraceful situation and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it. That won’t happen if I become President.”

Trump also included Steinle in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention after winning the Republican presidential nomination.

In June, the House of Representatives passed “Kate’s Law,” a bill that would create harsher penalties for repeat illegal entry to the United States and would expand US law to pressure local cities to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

Garcia Zarate was formerly known as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, one of several aliases he is known to have used. CNN and other media outlets previously identified him as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez.

Closing arguments

Defense attorneys positioned the shooting as a tragic accident and said Garcia Zarate picked up an object wrapped in a cloth or T-shirt.

“He didn’t know the contents and a bullet was fired. He had no intent to hurt anyone,” attorney Gonzalez said.

In a police interview, Garcia Zarate admitted to firing the gun, but he said he was aiming at a seal. He also told police he had never shot a gun before.

However, prosecutors said he attempted to cover his tracks by throwing the weapon into the San Francisco Bay and fleeing the scene. Prosecutors said the argument that the gun was found wrapped in cloth was “fiction,” and that no cloth was found on the pier.

“It’s clear he wanted to fire the gun at people. You know that this gun just doesn’t go off,” lead prosecutor Diana Garcia said. “There’s no reason why this gun would have gone off, other than this defendant pulling the trigger.”

There was a “conscious disregard for everyone” on the pier, she added.

“We’ll never know why, but we know he did it. All the evidence shows you this.”

Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor apologizes, pleads guilty to criminal sexual conduct

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 12:58 PM PST

Larry Nassar, the former acclaimed USA Gymnastics team doctor, pleaded guilty Wednesday to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and admitted in a Michigan court to using his position to sexually abuse underage girls.

Three of the charges applied to victims under 13, and three applied to victims 13 to 15 years old. Other charges were dismissed or reduced as part of a plea agreement. All 125 victims who reported assaults to Michigan State Police will be allowed to give victim impact statements at Nassar’s sentencing in January, according to the plea deal.

Nassar made a short statement apologizing and saying he was hopeful the community could move forward.

“For all those involved, I’m so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control,” he said. “I have no animosity toward anyone. I just want healing. … We need to move forward in a sense of growth and healing and I pray (for) that.”

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said Nassar violated the trust of his patients, and she praised the victims for coming forward.

“You used that position of trust that you had in the most vile way to abuse children,” she said. “I agree that now is a time of healing, but it may take them a lifetime of healing while you spend your lifetime behind bars thinking about what you did in taking away their childhood.”

Aquilina continued, “You violated the oath that you took, which is to do no harm, and you harmed them selfishly. … They are superheroes for all of America because this is an epidemic.”

Dozens of women, including several gold-medal winning members of the famed “Fierce Five” team of American gymnasts, have accused Nassar of sexual misconduct in his role as the USA Gymnastics doctor.

Nassar was the team physician for the Michigan State University gymnastics and women’s crew teams as well as an associate professor at MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. He worked at MSU from 1997 to 2016 and served as the USA Gymnastics physician through four Olympic Games.

In all, Nassar had been charged with 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and 11 counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct at the state level, Megan Hawthorne, deputy press secretary for state Attorney General Bill Schuette, told CNN in July.

Several of the first-degree charges pertained to victims under 13, and all of the state-level charges involve former family friends, gymnasts and patients of Nassar, Hawthorne said.

Separately, Nassar is also awaiting sentencing on federal charges of receiving child pornography, possessing child pornography and a charge that he hid and destroyed evidence in the case. That hearing is scheduled for Monday.

US gymnasts speak out

Reacting to Wednesday’s hearing, three-time gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman called Nassar a monster on Twitter and criticized the court for referring to him as a doctor.

“Court referring to Larry as DOCTOR Nassar. I AM DISGUSTED. I am very disappointed. He does NOT deserve that. Larry is (disgusting). Larry is a MONSTER not a doctor,” she wrote.

Raisman and McKayla Maroney, another prominent gymnast, recently spoke out about abuse at the hands of Nassar. Maroney said Nassar molested her starting when she was 13 under the guise of providing “medically necessary treatment.” Raisman, now 23, said she was first treated by Nassar when she was 15.

Earlier in November, Raisman told “60 Minutes” she was angry at Nassar and the broader culture of USA Gymnastics that she said kept victims quiet for years.

“Why are we looking at why didn’t the girls speak up?” Raisman said in a short clip released by “60 Minutes.” “Why not look at what about the culture? What did USA Gymnastics do, and Larry Nassar do, to manipulate these girls so much that they are so afraid to speak up?”

In a statement, USA Gymnastics said it was “very sorry” that Nassar had harmed any athlete.

“We note that affected women contacted by Michigan prosecutors supported resolution by plea, and USA Gymnastics also views Nassar’s guilty plea as an important acknowledgment of his appalling and devious conduct that permits punishment without further victimization of survivors,” it said.

Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast with USA Gymnastics, said in court in May that Nassar sexually abused her on five doctor’s visits in 2000.

Denhollander, a mid-level gymnast, said she went to Nassar because of his esteemed stature with USA Gymnastics. The abuse began at her first visit, when he put two fingers in her vagina. She thought at the time it was a legitimate medical treatment.

At a follow-up treatment, Nassar unhooked her bra, rolled her onto her side on the massage table and put his hand on her left breast, she said.

“I froze, because I knew that was sexual assault,” she said.

‘American tragedy’

In a press conference after the guilty plea, several victims and attorneys representing more than 100 of Nassar’s victims focused their criticisms on three institutions: USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University.

Manley said those three groups had “miserably failed” to protect children under their care.

“Make no mistake: This is an American tragedy,” said attorney John Manley.

He particularly slammed Michigan State University and its administration, which was told repeatedly about Nassar’s abuse and protected him, Manley said. He likened their approach to that of the Catholic Church during the abuse scandals, and he called for them to release an internal report investigating the allegations against Nassar.

“These girls deserve justice, and they deserve to know who knew what (and) when,” Manley said.

Denhollander, who filed the first police complaint against Nassar, said she was “grateful to the army of women that stopped a pedophile.” But she said she had yet to hear the truth from officials who ignored victims and brushed off the women’s complaints of abuse.

“We were silenced, we were mocked, and our abuser was told time and time again, ‘I’m on your side,'” she said. “The culture that allowed this predator to keep abusing has yet to end.”

In a statement, Michigan State University spokesman Jason Cody said the school was grateful to police and the Michigan attorney general’s office in investigating and prosecuting the case.

“The plea deal and conviction of Larry Nassar on November 22 on state criminal sexual conduct charges in Ingham County represents another important step toward justice for the victims,” Cody said.

Gabby Douglas speaks

US Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas released a statement Tuesday apologizing for a comment she made that some perceived as victim-shaming, and she shared her own experience with Nassar.

“I didn’t view my comments as victim shaming because I know no matter what you wear, it NEVER gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you. It would be like saying that because of the leotards we wore, it was our fault that we were abused by Larry Nassar,” the statement said.

She also implied she had been abused as well.

“I didn’t publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful. I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them,” she added.

In a statement, USA Gymnastics praised Douglas and her teammates for their willingness to speak out.

“The conduct of which Larry Nassar is accused is appalling, and we are very sorry that any athlete has been harmed during her or his gymnastics career,” the organization said.

In light of the sex abuse scandal, USA Gymnastics adopted a series of reforms in June that it said will help prevent and respond to future cases of abuse. All members are now required to report suspected sexual misconduct, and adults kicked out of a club will be tracked in a database.

“We are committed to further developing a culture that has safe sport as a top priority throughout the organization,” USA Gymnastics said.

White House disputes senator’s claim of faked bad connection to get Trump off the phone

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 12:53 PM PST

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A senator’s claim that the White House’s chief economic adviser faked a bad connection to get President Donald Trump off the phone during a long call drew immediate pushback Wednesday from the White House and multiple people in the room.

Sen. Tom Carper made the claim Wednesday morning during an interview with CNN that chief economic adviser Gary Cohn abruptly ended a conversation about tax reform that the President had called into while he was traveling in Asia earlier in November.

The Delaware Democrat said that he had been meeting with Cohn, White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short and other members of the Trump administration, as well as moderate Democrats, when the President called in from his Asia trip.

Carper noted that it was “nice of him” to call, but claimed that “15 minutes later, the President (was) still talking.”

“I said, ‘Gary, why don’t you do this, just take the phone from, you know, your cell phone back and just say, ‘Mr. President, you’re brilliant, but we’re losing contact, and I think we’re going to lose you now, so good-bye,’ ” the lawmaker recounted on “CNN Newsroom” with Poppy Harlow and John Berman.

“That’s what he did, and he hung up,” Carper continued. “And then we went back to having the kind of conversation where we needed to, where they asked the right kind of questions, looking for consensus and common ground and I think we identified a little bit.”

But the White House, and multiple sources, are disputing Carper’s initial recollection of the event.

“Senator Carper’s claim is completely false,” said Raj Shah, the White House’s principal deputy press secretary. “Gary Cohn left the room and continued to speak with the President privately for several minutes before they concluded the call.”

Sen. Chris Coons, a fellow Delaware Democrat who was in the meeting, said that he also remembers the events “a little differently.”

“It was a long call. It was clear that there was some eagerness in the room for us to resume our conversation. We heard a lot from the President,” he explained to CNN’s Jim Sciutto.

“I do remember Senator Carper making that suggestion. I don’t think Gary Cohn abruptly hung up on the President, but it was a challenge to transition him off the call. And I think Gary Cohn handled it appropriately,” Coons continued.

A spokeswoman for Carper later told CNN that the senator maintains that he urged Cohn — in front of the whole group — to tell the President he’s brilliant but they were losing the connection and to hang up. According to Carper, Cohn then wrapped up the conversation.

However, as to whether Cohn hung up the call in that moment or whether he simply took the group off speakerphone and continued the conversation privately, Carper does not recall that exact detail, according to his spokeswoman.

A source in the room also disputed Carper’s recollection of the events, telling CNN that while Carper did say Cohn should “tell (Trump) he’s brilliant and hang up,” he did not suggest faking a bad connection. Cohn then walked away from the table while still talking on the phone and left the room, the source said.

Carper’s description of the incident appeared to put Cohn at odds with the President. In the wake of racially charged deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Cohn seemed to break with Trump when he told the Financial Times that the President’s handling of the protests caused him “distress.” He said the administration “can and must do better” to condemn hate groups.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said at the time that Cohn should have resigned after that public rebuke of the President.

“I’m obviously talking about Gary Cohn and some other people, that if you don’t like what he’s doing, and you don’t agree with it, you have an obligation to resign,” he told CBS’ “60 Minutes.”


Fly me to the moon! Busboy steps on stage and suddenly sings like Frank Sinatra

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 12:46 PM PST

MADISONVILLE, La. --  At Morton's in Madisonville, Louisiana, of course, Louisiana seafood is on every menu.

It's what everybody expects. It's what just about everybody orders.

Nobody knows that better than the busboys who work at Morton's.

One of them is 18-year-old Zach Walls.

He's fast at his job.

He's faster than a fried catfish platter.

Zach is quick.

And Zach is quiet.

As Wild Bill sits down at Morton's for a snack and wishes he had another fork, Zach Walls steps in, without a word, but with a fork.

Wild Bill notices Zach Walls doesn't have much to say. Nothing to say.  That's until he hits the stage.

With his high school orchestra behind him,  Zach Walls stepped on stage and did something he had never done but always had in him.

Zach started singing.

And when he started to sing, Zach sounded like somebody everybody has heard.

Zach sounds like Frank Sinatra.

Zach doesn't know where it comes from.

He does know he'll never hit his high note being a busboy.

He's got music on his resume.  He's a musician who plays piano, trombone, trumpet and bass.

He was never a singer.

But when the spotlight hit him, he did it.

Zach says he did it to test his confidence and that's when somehow, from somewhere, Sinatra came out from inside him.

Wild Bill wonders, "why Sinatra and not say, Snoop Dogg?"

Zach says he likes Snoop Dogg, but he likes Frank Sinatra more.

Zach Walls is about to fly you to the moon.

That's right after he does the dishes.

Emmy nominated Wild Bill's Amazing Kids is brought to you by your friends at the Keating Law Firm.

JPSO to send out 50 deputies to provide holiday security at malls and shopping centers

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 12:41 PM PST

METAIRIE - The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office is stepping up patrols in the parish's most popular shopping areas for the holiday season.

Beginning on Black Friday, shoppers will see a much higher police presence along Veterans and Clearview Boulevards, Terry Parkway. Barataria and Lapalco Boulevards, and around the Clearview, Lakeside, and Oakwood malls.

"We always bring a holiday patrol, our bureaus, instead of going out doing their normal day to day duties, will work an extra detail to come out and patrol the holiday corridors," says Sheriff Joseph Lopinto with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Joe Lopinto said about 50 deputies from the Special Investigations Bureau and Reserve Division will join the patrols.

Deputies will turn on the emergency lights of their marked vehicles while on patrol in an effort to increase visibility. There's also a mobile command center.

"It gives us the ability to park our vehicles next to it, to have these mobile units that will drive through the parking lots. It gives us the ability to staff people here for a long period of time," says Sheriff Lopinto.

The deputies will supplement existing mall security, with up to 15 deputies patrolling Lakeside on high-traffic days.

Observation towers will also be deployed to give officers a better vantage point over parking lots and surrounding streets.

The JPSO encourages any shopper who sees any suspicious activity to call 911.

Nick Carter denies Melissa Schuman rape allegation

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 11:59 AM PST

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Backstreet Boy member Nick Carter has been accused by former pop singer Melissa Schuman of raping her 15 years ago.

Schuman shared the allegations in a detailed blog post earlier this month and tweeted a link to her story this week. In the post, Schuman wrote of an incident she said occurred when she was an 18-year-old member of the girl group Dream and Carter was 22.

According to Schuman, she and Carter were working together on a TV movie when he invited her and a friend to hang out at his Santa Monica apartment.

She alleges that after Carter took her into his office to listen to some music he was working on, they began kissing and he led her into a bathroom.

Schuman wrote that Carter performed oral sex on her, despite her refusals, and forced her to perform it on him.

She said she felt “scared and trapped.”

“He was stronger and much bigger than me, and there was no way I would be able to open that door or have anyone help me,” Schuman wrote. “My friend couldn’t help me, I didn’t even know where she was.”

After the bathroom incident, Schuman wrote, Carter took her into a bedroom and despite her pleas that she was a virgin and saving herself for marriage, raped her.

She said the singer tried to entice her by saying “I could be your husband.”

“The one thing I had held as a virtue had been ruined,” Schuman wrote of her feelings after the alleged incident. “I went limp, turned my head to my left and decided I would just go to sleep now. I wanted to believe it was some sort of nightmare I was dreaming up.”

Carter denied the allegations in a statement provided to CNN.

He said he was “shocked and saddened by Ms. Schuman’s accusations.”

“Melissa never expressed to me while we were together or at any time since that anything we did was not consensual,” Carter said in the statement. “We went on to record a song and perform together, and I was always respectful and supportive of Melissa both personally and professionally.”

“This is the first that I am hearing about these accusations, nearly two decades later,” he added. “It is contrary to my nature and everything I hold dear to intentionally cause someone discomfort or harm.”

Schuman addressed the duet in her blog post, writing that she wondered if Carter’s influence was the reason things never moved forward with the song.

Schuman added that her experience with Carter left her “traumatized,” and she lost interest in pursuing a recording career.

CNN has reached out to Schuman for additional comment.

Judge schedules hearing for American accused of fighting for ISIS

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 11:24 AM PST

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A federal judge in Washington has scheduled a hearing for next week on the case of a US citizen detained in Iraq for allegedly fighting on behalf of ISIS in Syria.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which has called for the unnamed American citizen to have access to legal counsel, filed a motion Monday requesting a hearing in federal court on the pending motions surrounding the case.

The hearing will take place on November 30.

“The government’s position that it can hold an American citizen for more than two months without access to a court and to a lawyer undercuts the most fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution,” Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the ACLU, told CNN.

Last month, the Trump administration argued against granting the ACLU access to the individual, who was turned over to US forces by a US-backed Kurdish-led group fighting ISIS in Syria.

The Defense Department said the ACLU has “no significant relationship” with the detainee and “cannot show that it would act in the detainee’s best interests when it has never conferred with the detainee in order to learn what those interests are,” according to a filing with the court.

The Pentagon says it has already arranged a visit with the detainee from the International Committee of the Red Cross, but such a visit “does not satisfy an American citizen’s bedrock right to challenge his detention before a judge,” Hafetz said at the time.

Marine Corps Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told CNN at the time of his apprehension, the individual “is being legally detained by Department of Defense personnel as a known enemy combatant.”

Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle told CNN: “As a part of the President’s national security team, the Department of Justice recognizes the wide range of tools and authorities that the President possesses to protect our national security and to defeat our terrorist adversaries. All options remain on the table, and the Justice Department will continue to use every lawful investigative and prosecutorial tool to achieve these objectives.”

Pentagon spokesman Ben Sakrisson told CNN that the Department of Defense would not comment on pending litigation, and in response to a question on why the defendant is not being named he stated: “We anticipate releasing more information on the individual once a final disposition has been determined.”