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National News

New York

A federal judge ruled New York City prosecutors can see President Donald Trump’s tax returns for an investigation into matters including the payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels and a Playboy centerfold, Associated Press reported.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero emphatically rejected Trump’s attempt to keep his financial records under wraps, calling the president’s claims of immunity from all criminal proceedings “extraordinary” and “an overreach of executive power” at odds with the U.S. Constitution, according to AP.

The president’s lawyers appealed the judge’s ruling to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which put the matter on hold while it considers the case on an expedited basis. Trump has steadfastly refused to make his tax returns public, breaking a tradition set by presidents and White House candidates decades ago. He also has gone to court to fight congressional subpoenas issued to his bank for various personal financial records, including his tax returns, AP reported.

Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump intensified his fight with Congress this week concerning the Democrats’ impeachment investigation, as the administration blocked a U.S. diplomat from testifying behind closed doors about the president’s dealings with Ukraine, Associated Press reported.

U.S. House of Representatives committee chairmen said they would subpoena the envoy to force him to appear, according to AP.

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. European Union ambassador, was barred from appearing in a closed-door session with three house panels investigating Trump’s entreaties to Ukraine. Text messages released last week revealed conversations between Sondland and two other U.S. diplomats who were acting as intermediaries as the president urged Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden’s family and the 2016 U.S. election, according to AP.


A witness in the murder trial of a white Dallas police officer who fatally shot her black neighbor has been killed in a shooting, Associated Press reported.

Joshua Brown lived in the same apartment complex as Amber Guyger and Botham Jean. Brown was shot and killed Friday in Dallas. Brown, 28, testified in Guyger’s trial about the night Jean was killed, saying he was in a hallway on the fourth floor, where he and Jean lived. He said he heard what sounded like “two people meeting by surprise” and then two gunshots, AP reported.

The suspects are Jacquerious Mitchell, 20; Michael Mitchell, 32; and Thaddeous Green, 22, all from Alexandria, Louisiana. Investigators believe they were in Dallas to buy drugs from Brown, according to AP.

Rio Rancho, New Mexico

A New Mexico man is facing charges after authorities say he bit a police dog following an alleged ax attack, Associated Press reported.

Chris Gavaldon was arrested last week after Rio Rancho, New Mexico, police were called to a mobile home concerning reports of a fight between a man and a woman, according to AP.

Rio Rancho Police Capt. Andrew Rodriguez said Gavaldon used an ax to batter the woman, causing “significant injury” to her hand. He said police sent in their canine Diesel after Gavaldon barricaded himself inside his home. This is when police said Gavaldon bit the dog, AP reported.

Washington, D.C.

Two Florida businessmen tied to President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the Ukraine investigation were charged this week with federal campaign finance violations, relating to a $325,000 donation to a group supporting Trump’s reelection, Associated Press reported.

“Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested this week trying to board an international flight with one-way tickets at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. No destination was disclosed, AP reported.

Parnas and Fruman were arrested on a four-count indictment which includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter, according to AP.

Records show Parnas and Fruman used wire transfers from a corporate entity to make the $325,000 donation to the America First Action committee in 2018. However wire transfer records, which became public through a lawsuit, show the corporate entity reported as making the transactions was not the source of the money, AP reported.


A federal appeals court this weekdenied two efforts which could have kept the first federal trial on the opioids crisis from starting as scheduled this month in Cleveland, Associated Press reported.

The rulings clear the way for the trial to start October 21 involving just two of the more than 2,000 local governments and other entities who have sued companies which make, distribute and sell prescriptions opioids, according to AP.

A three-judge panel from the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit Court of Appeals noted the trial preparations have been made already and Ohio did not object when counties in the state began making claims against the drug industry, AP reported.


The number of vaping-related illnesses in the U.S. continues to rise, now reaching about 1,300 cases and at least 26 deaths, Associated Press reported.

Forty-nine states and one U.S. territory have reported illnesses — only Alaska has not seen a case, according to AP.

The centers for Disease and Prevention this week said 219 cases were reported in the past week. The count had risen by 275 each of the previous two weeks, AP reported.

The outbreak appears to have started in March. Symptoms include severe shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain. Most who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, the marijuana ingredients which causes a high, but about 1-in-8 said they vaped only nicotine, AP reported.

Until a cause is pinpointed, the CDC is advising Americans to refrain from using any vaping products, AP reported.

Fripp Island, South Carolina

A family visiting South Carolina fished a big package from the ocean, took it to their rental home and opened it, finding about 44 pounds of cocaine, Associated Press reported.

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Maj. Bob Bromage told news outlets this week the family was walking along Fripp Island, South Carolina, when they spotted the trash bag-wrapped package floating in the water. They dragged it onto the beach and lugged it to their rental in a golf cart, later slicing it open to discover bricks of white powder. At that point, they figured they better call police, according to AP.

Authorities assessed the cocaine’s value at more than $600,000. Officials are working to determine the origin, AP repoted.


Lego is testing a way for customers to ship their unwanted bricks back and get them into the hands of other kids, Associated Press reported.

It said Tuesday customers in the United States can print out a mailing label on its site, dump their used Lego bricks in a box and ship them off for free. Lego said the pieces will be cleaned put in a box and given to Teach for America, a nonprofit which will donate them to classrooms across the U.S. Some bricks also will be sent to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston for their after-school progrms, according to AP.

Lego said if the test is successful, it may expand the program beyond the U.S. next year, according to AP.

It also is working to find other materials for its colorful brick, but finding one as durable as plastic has been a challenge. Last year, however, it began making Lego trees and bushes out of sugar cane, AP reported.

Springfield, Missouri

Officials in a Southwest Missouri city are planting small flags in piles of abandoned dog poop as part of a campaign to get residents to clean up after their pets downtown, Associated Press reported.

The flags contain messages such as “Is this your turd? ‘Cuz that’s absurd” and “This is a nudge to pick up the fudge,” according to AP.

The flags are made of bamboo and recycled paper, according to AP.

The city said it picks up nearly 25 pounds of poop a week from downtown parks and parking lots, costing $7,500 annually, AP repoted.