Alex Jones ordered to pay Sandy Hook parents more than $4M
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre over Jones' repeated public claims that the attack was a hoax. The jury’s decision Thursday marks the first time the Infowars host has been held financially liable for falsely claiming that the attack that killed 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, was staged. It might not be the last such judgment against him, as a judge in Connecticut has already ruled against him in a similar lawsuit. The Texas jury must still decide how much to award in punitive damages.
Typically bombastic Alex Jones makes for complicated court
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones bulled through the first trial that could decimate his personal fortune and media empire in his usual way: Loud, aggressive and talking about conspiracies both in and out the courtroom. It’s business as usual for the gravelly voiced, barrel-chested Jones. But by courtroom standards, his erratic and, at times, disrespectful behavior is unusual — and potentially complicated for the legal process. Jones and his media company, Free Speech Systems, were ordered to pay $4.11 million in compensatory damages by the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, who was killed with 19 other first graders and six educators in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. And punitive damages could be more.
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Trump ally Kari Lake wins GOP primary for Arizona governor
PHOENIX (AP) — Former television news anchor Kari Lake has won the Republican primary for Arizona governor. Lake walked away from her journalism career and was embraced by Donald Trump and his staunch supporters. Her victory Thursday is a blow to the GOP establishment, which lined up behind lawyer and businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson. Lake said she would not have certified President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory and put false claims of election fraud at the center of her campaign. Former Vice President Mike Pence, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and others tried to push the GOP to move on from the Trump era of election conspiracies and lies.
Pelosi: China cannot stop US officials from visiting Taiwan
TOKYO (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that China will not isolate Taiwan by preventing U.S. officials from traveling there. She made the remarks in Tokyo on the final leg of an Asia tour highlighted by a visit to Taiwan that infuriated China. Pelosi, the first House speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, said Wednesday in Taipei that the U.S. commitment to democracy in the self-governing island and elsewhere “remains ironclad.” Pelosi and five other members of Congress arrived in Tokyo late Thursday after visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.
US declares public health emergency over monkeypox outbreak
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has declared a public health emergency to bolster the federal response to the outbreak of monkeypox that already has infected more than 7,100 Americans. The announcement Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services frees up federal funding and resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body. Xavier Becerra is the head of HHS. He says the agency is ready to take the U.S. response “to the next level.”
US to issue ID to migrants awaiting deportation proceedings
U.S. immigration authorities are planning to issue photo ID cards to immigrants in deportation proceedings. Official say the proposal by Immigration and Customs Enforcement is still being developed as a pilot program, but the idea is to slash paper use and help people stay up-to-date on required meetings and court hearings. The cards would be issued for use by the Department of Homeland Security and not as an official federal ID. Critics say they're concerned about the security of the cards and whether they could be used for other purposes. The Biden administration is seeking $10 million for the so-called ICE Secure Docket Card in a budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
Republicans to announce site of 2024 national convention
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republicans are to announce whether the 2024 national convention where the party’s presidential nominee will be officially named will be held in Milwaukee or Nashville. The Republican National Committee is to announce its decision on Friday, the final day of its summer meeting in Chicago. Milwaukee is the odds-on favorite to get the event given Nashville’s refusal to adopt an agreement for hosting the convention. There was broad bipartisan support for the event in Milwaukee, a city that was selected to host the 2020 Democratic convention that had to be moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
EXPLAINER: What will it take to get Brittney Griner home?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Now that WNBA star Brittney Griner has been convicted of drug possession and sentenced to nine years in prison, attention turns to the prospect of a prisoner swap between the United States and Russia that could get her home. Secretary of State Antony Blinken went public with that possibility last week, revealing in an unusual announcement that the U.S. had made a “substantial proposal” aimed at securing the release of Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan. With her court case concluded and her sentence pronounced, such a deal is Griner’s best chance of being freed early. A look at what's at stake.
Democrats say they've reached agreement on economic package
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats say they have reached an accord on changes to their marquee economic legislation, clearing the major hurdle to pushing one of President Joe Biden’s leading election-year priorities through the chamber in coming days. Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a centrist who was seen as the pivotal vote, says she is ready to “move forward” on the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York says lawmakers have achieved a compromise that will receive the support of all Democrats in the chamber. His party needs unanimity and Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote to move the measure through the Senate over certain solid opposition from Republicans.
Ogles wins House race; Tennessee Dem gov bid still too early
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles has won Tennessee’s bruising nine-candidate Republican primary for an open congressional seat in Nashville. The longtime Democratic incumbent, Rep. Jim Cooper, retired after GOP state lawmakers carved the city into three districts, favoring their party in each seat. The Democratic race for governor, meanwhile, remained too early to call Thursday between Nashville physician Jason Martin and Memphis City Councilman JB Smiley Jr. Smiley would be the state’s first Black Democratic nominee for governor if he wins the primary. Republican Gov. Bill Lee will have a strong advantage in November in the state, which has not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 2006.