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Charges filed against Ray Epps, protester at center of far-right Jan. 6 conspiracy theory

The former U.S. marine who became the center of a Jan. 6, 2021, conspiracy theory, has been charged with a misdemeanor offense in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot. Ray Epps is expected to plead guilty, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

Epps is charged with disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds, court records show. Epps attorney, Edward J. Ungvarsky, said in an email that the case was filed with an anticipation that Epps would plead guilty to the charge. The judge has scheduled a plea agreement hearing for Wednesday.

Epps, a one-time supporter of Donald Trump, claimed in a lawsuit filed this year that Fox News Channel made him a scapegoat for the Capitol riot. Epps has said he went to Washington to protest the 2020 election, was falsely accused by Fox of being a government agent who was whipping up trouble that would be blamed on Trump supporters. Although the lawsuit mentions Fox News personalities Laura Ingraham and Will Cain, former Fox host Tucker Carlson is cited as the leader in promoting the theory. Epps was featured in more than two dozen segments on Carlson’s prime-time show, the lawsuit said.

Epps’s lawsuit against Fox News says the U.S. Justice Department told him in May that he faces criminal charges for his actions on Jan. 6, and he blames that on “the relentless attacks by Fox and Mr. Carlson and the resulting political pressure.” However, in an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee in July, FBI Director Christopher Wray denied having any knowledge of Epps being a “secret government agent.” Wray said: “I will say this notion that somehow the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources and agents is ludicrous.”

Epps was a previously member of the far-right Oath Keepers extremist group, serving as an Arizona chapter leader before parting ways with the anti-government group a few years before the Jan. 6 attack. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and other members were convicted of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 attack.

Editorial credit: Sebastian Portillo /

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President Biden urges allies to assist in aide to Ukraine in U.N. speech

In a speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, President Joe Biden urged world leaders not to abandon Ukraine in its war against Russia. Biden implied that if the U.S. and other nations that have aided Ukraine were to withhold support, every nation would feel vulnerable and isolated in the face of an attack.

Biden warned that Russia was hoping on other nations growing “weary” of the fight, saying in his speech to UNGA: “If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure? I respectfully suggest the answer is no.”  Biden drew applause when saying that the United States and its allies would stand with Ukraine’s fight for freedom:  “Russia alone bears responsibility for this war. Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately.”

Biden’s remarks come as polls show that U.S. support for Ukraine’s defense is beginning to wane, despite Biden’s pledge to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who attended and applauded Biden’s remarks ahead of his own speech at UNGA on Tuesday, is scheduled to. meet Thursday with Biden at the White House, as well as meet some congressional leaders.

Biden’s address at the annual gathering was the centerpiece event of his three-day visit to New York, which will include meetings with the heads of five Central Asian nations, and the leaders of Israel and Brazil. On Wednesday, Biden will meet Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and join him in an event with labor leaders from Brazil and the United States. The President will also have his first face-to-face meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since Netanyahu regained power last December.

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Hunter Biden files lawsuit against IRS over alleged unlawful disclosures of tax information

Hunter Biden has filed a lawsuit in a Washington, D.C., federal court against the Internal Revenue Service over alleged “unlawful disclosures” made by a pair of whistleblowers who accused government prosecutors of mishandling their investigation into Hunter Biden. After a nearly five-year probe, Hunter Biden was indicted last week on felony gun charges, two months after a plea deal he had negotiated with prosecutors fell apart under questioning from a federal judge.

Biden’s attorneys accuse veteran IRS investigators Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler of waging a campaign to “to embarrass and inflict harm on Mr. Biden” by improperly sharing his private taxpayer information in media interviews.  Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell said: “During these interviews, Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler provide unsubstantiated and selectively chosen allegations of nefarious and potentially criminal behavior,” adding that the IRS “failed to take reasonable steps to prevent its personnel from unlawfully disclosing” Hunter Biden’s confidential taxpayer information in violation of the Privacy Act. Attorneys for Hunter Biden are seeking $1,000 in damages for each “unauthorized disclosure” of his tax information, a declaration that the IRS “willfully, knowingly, and/or by gross negligence, unlawfully disclosed Mr. Biden’s confidential tax return information,” and any documents in the IRS’ possession related to Hunter Biden’s tax information.

Shapley and Ziegler approached Congress in April with allegations that senior Justice Department officials blocked efforts to bring more serious charges against Hunter Biden, limited their investigative scope, and refused to grant special counsel status to the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney who oversaw the case. The Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland have denied those claims, defending U.S. Attorney David Weiss’ independence over the matter.

In a statement responding to the lawsuit, attorneys for Shapley said, “Neither IRS SSA Gary Shapley nor his attorneys have ever released any confidential taxpayer information except through whistleblower disclosures authorized by statute. Once Congress released that testimony, like every American citizen, he has a right to discuss that public information.” IRS officials declined to comment on the suit.

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5 Americans freed in prisoner swap with Iran return to Washington

Five American citizens have been freed as part of a deal between the U.S. and Iran. The Americans include Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz, as well as two others who asked that their identity not be made public. All five have been designated as wrongfully detained by U.S. government. The five detained Americans all served time in Iran’s notorious Evin prison but were placed on house arrest when Tehran and Washington reached a deal-in-principle.

The Americans were flown out of the country and arrived in Doha, Qatar, Monday before boarding a flight to the U.S. later in the day. Tahbaz’s wife, Vida, and Namazi’s mother, Effie, were also allowed to leave Iran in the arrangement. Unlike the other five, they had not been jailed by the Iranian regime but had previously been barred from leaving the country.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said: “Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home. Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Sharghi, and two citizens who wish to remain private will soon be reunited with their loved ones — after enduring years of agony, uncertainty, and suffering. I am grateful to our partners at home and abroad for their tireless efforts to help us achieve this outcome, including the Governments of Qatar, Oman, Switzerland, and South Korea. I give special thanks to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, and to the Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq, both of whom helped facilitate this agreement over many months of difficult and principled American diplomacy.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry first announced the U.S. nationals would be imminently released early Monday morning, fulfilling a deal struck between Washington and Tehran last month. The five Iranians involved in the trade have either been charged with or convicted of nonviolent offenses. Two do not have legal standing to stay in the U.S. and will be transported by U.S. Marshals Service to Doha and then travel on to Iran. Two more are lawful permanent residents of the U.S., and one is a dual Iranian American citizen.

Editorial credit: Andrew Harker /

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Los Angeles deputy shot and killed in patrol car after being ‘ambushed’

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy said that an on-duty officer was “ambushed” and killed Saturday night while driving in his police cruiser by an unknown suspect. Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters at a late night press conference that Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, 30, was found unconscious in his car at 6 p.m. Saturday night by a good Samaritan at the intersection of the Sierra Highway and Avenue Q.  Bystanders called 911 and Clinkunbroomer was taken to the hospital for a gunshot wound but did not survive.

Luna said they have no theory for the suspect’s motive, but it appeared the deputy was targeted because “he was in uniform.”  Luna added: “He was just driving down the street and for no apparent reason — and we’re still looking into the specific reasons — somebody decided to shoot and murder him.” Clinkunbroomer had just left the Palmdale station, ad a a video clip with that shows a car pulling alongside the patrol car before speeding away. Investigators are looking for additional video that may match what appears to be the moment of the ambush.  Luna said: “Detectives are in the initial stages of this investigation and seeking the public’s assistance to apprehend this suspect. So I’m gonna continue with my notes, but I’m just gonna pause we really need your help.”

Clinkunbroomer, a third-generation deputy, had spent the last year and a half as a field training officer. Luna described the role as one reserved for the “best of the best” in the department: “he embodied the values of bravery… selflessness, and an absolute commitment to justice. Our deputy was a devoted family member and a shared cherished member of our community who was cowardly shot while working tirelessly to serve our community this evening.” Clinkunbroomer got engaged just four days prior to his death; he is survived by his fiancé, parents and grandparents.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the department’s homicide investigators at 323-890-5500, or share an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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Two charged with murder in death of 1-year-old at NYC day care due to fentanyl exposure

Police confirm that two people have been arrested on murder charges after a 1-year-old died and three other children were hospitalized following suspected exposure to opioids at a Bronx, New York daycare on Friday. The 1-year-old, Nicholas Dominici, died; and three other children were hospitalized after being exposed to fentanyl at the daycare. A spokesperson for the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner said Nicholas’s cause and manner of death was under investigation.

The two suspects — Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, and Grei Mendez, 36 — were arrested Saturday night on multiple counts of manslaughter, assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance and narcotic drug and endangering the welfare of a child. Brito and Mendez’s relationship to the day care center was not immediately apparent. It was also not immediately clear whether Brito and Mendez have lawyers who could speak on their behalf.

Police said that a 911 call came in just after 2:40 p.m. on Friday, and upon arrival at the daycare facility, officers discovered Dominici unconscious and unresponsive. The child was later pronounced dead at Montefiore Medical Center upon arrival. Officers also found an unconscious 2-year-old boy and an 8-month-old girl, who were also transported to Montefiore; the boy is in critical condition and the girl is stable condition. New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said that first responders also administered Narcan to the three children who they found at the day care center. Upon executing a search warrant at the day care, NYPD officials found a “kilo press,” which Kenny described as an item “commonly used by drug dealers when packaging large quantities of drugs.”

A third child, a 2-year-old boy, was also hospitalized at BronxCare Health System in stable condition. Detective Kenny said that the third child’s mother took him to the hospital herself after picking him up from the day care center around 12:15 p.m. that day and noticing that he was “acting lethargic and unresponsive” once they returned home. At the hospital, staff administered Narcan, the opioid overdose antidote, to save the boy’s life.

According to Kenny and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, the day care center was a home-based center licensed by the state of NY, and was last inspected by officials with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Sept. 9. No violations were found at that time, and Vasan added that it was a surprise inspection that the day care officials did not have advance notice of. Vasan said that the day care center, which opened in January, had had two routine inspections early on to secure its license.

Editorial credit: Leonard Zhukovsky /

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Hunter Biden indicted by special counsel on felony gun charges

President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden has been indicted by special counsel David Weiss on felony gun charges. The four-page indictment returned by the grand jury convened in Delaware charges Hunter Biden with three felony counts stemming from his possession of a Colt Cobra 38 special revolver in October 2018.

The first count of the indictment alleges that Hunter Biden “knowingly made a false and fictitious written statement” on a form used for firearms purchases. According to the charging document, the president’s son certified on the form that he was not an unlawful user of any narcotic drugs, a statement that was “false and fictitious.” As detailed in the second count of the indictment, Hunter Biden allegedly knowingly made a false statement and representation to an unnamed, Wilmington-based firearms dealer. In the third count of the document, he is accused of knowingly possessing a firearm, despite knowing that he was a drug user, in violation of federal law.

Originally the president’s son had been charged with two separate criminal informations with misdemeanor tax offenses and a felony firearm offense. The two sides seemed to agree to a plea deal struck in June, which would have allowed Biden to plead guilty to a pair of misdemeanor tax offenses and enter into a pretrial diversion program to avoid prosecution on a felony gun charge. However, that deal fell apart during a court hearing in July after U.S. Judge Maryellen Noreika expressed concern over the structure of the agreement and questioned the breadth of an immunity deal. Hunter Biden ultimately pleaded not guilty to the three charges.

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Suspect in shooting of Iowa police officer is captured in Minnesota after manhunt

A northern Iowa police officer was shot Wednesday night, prompting a manhunt that ended with an arrest in Minnesota.

Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said that police officer Kevin Cram was on patrol in Algona, a town of about 5,300 residents, when he learned of an active arrest warrant for 43-year-old Kyle Ricke on a charge of harassment. Just before 8 p.m,, Mortvedt said the officer saw Ricke and told him he would be arrested, who then shot him. Cram, a 33-year-old husband and father who had been an officer in Algona since 2015, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The shooting prompted a Blue Alert to let the public know a suspect who posed a potential threat to law enforcement was on the loose. Ricke was captured without incident just before midnight and taken into custody in Brown County, Minnesota, about 100 miles north of Algona. Ricke was charged with first-degree murder, Mortvedt said, and was being held in Minnesota pending extradition.

Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens said at a news conference: “Tragic, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching pain and agony, but we will bow our backs, we will be strong, and we will continue to do our jobs.” 

Editorial credit: Joseph Sohm /

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Federal judge denies Mark Meadows motion to stay in Georgia election case

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones denied former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ request for an emergency stay in the Georgia election interference case.  Meadows had pushed for Jones to hold back on his previous decision to deny his motion to move the case to federal court; however, the judge wrote in his ruling that Meadows did not show he is entitled an emergency stay.

Meadows filed the motion to stay Jones’ decision on Monday, citing factors including “irreparable harm, balance of equities and public interest.” Jones determined that Meadows failed to demonstrate anything more than a “possibility of irreparable harm in absence of a stay.” and rejected Meadows’ argument of “prejudice to the state,” saying that the state has a strong interest in the criminal prosecution being free from federal interference. Jones also ruled that Meadows should not be offered protection under the Supremacy Clause because he was not acting “in the scope of his federal office” when he was involved in the acts alleged in the charges against him, including arranging the infamous call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump was recorded asking Raffensperger to “find” votes that would change the result of the state’s election in Trump’s favor.

Meadows is charged with soliciting an official to violate their oath of office and violating the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits officials from using their government status to influence an election. He is among 19 defendants in the case related to the 2020 presidential election, including former President Donald Trump.

Trump’s attorneys were granted an Oct. 23, start date for their trial in the case, and Jones acknowledged that there is no guarantee that Meadows will go on trial in October. Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has been hesitant to rule that all 19 defendants will go on trial at that time.

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Escaped Pennsylvania killer captured after intense two-week manhunt

Danelo Cavalcante, the convicted murderer who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison late last month, has been captured after a two-week search. Cavalcante escaped from the Chester County Prison in on Aug. 31 in Chester County, Pa. The 34-year-old was convicted of first-degree murder for stabbing his girlfriend to death in July, and is also wanted on a homicide accusation in Brazil, authorities previously said.

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police confirmed at a news conference that Cavalcante was apprehended just after 8 a.m. on Wednesday by members of a tactical team leading the manhunt;  no shots were fired. Bivens said authorities started getting closer to Cavalcante shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, when a burglar alarm sounded in a residence that was within the parameters of their search. The investigation did not find anything, but it brought the team closer to the area. Subsequently, authorities were able to monitor Cavalcante’s movements using an overhead aircraft which identified a “heat source” on the ground, Bivens said. Cavalcante tried to escape by crawling “through thick underbrush,” Bivens continued, “taking his rifle with him when he went.” He said Cavalcante was subdued by a police dog and “forcibly taken into custody” after resisting officers as they attempted to arrest him. Cavalcante sustained “a minor bite wound,” according to Bivens, but there were no other injuries. The escapee was transported to a police station in Avondale for questioning, and will ultimately be moved to a state prison.

Chester County Prison’s acting warden Howard Holland said that Cavalcante escaped from the exercise yard by climbing up a wall to the roof area. Surveillance footage from the prison grounds, which authorities released about a week into their search, showed Cavalcante hoisting himself up from the ground by balancing between a fence and a brick wall, and climbing upward until he disappeared fro

Cavalcante, a Brazilian national, was convicted last month of first-degree murder and sentenced to serve life in prison without parole for killing his former girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, in April 2021. He allegedly stabbed her to death, and the woman’s young children witnessed the crime. Cavalcante is also wanted in connection with a homicide in Brazil, according to the U.S. Marshal Service, and he was repeatedly described as “extremely dangerous” by law enforcement throughout the manhunt involving hundreds of local, state and federal officers.m the camera’s view. His escape is under investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

Editorial credit: George Sheldon /