Tag Archives: charges

Suspect arrested on hate-crime charges in NYC attack on Filipino American woman

A man was arrested on hate-crime and assault charges after a Filipino American woman was attacked near New York City’s Times Square, police said early Wednesday.

Police said Brandon Elliot, 38, is the man seen on video kicking and stomping the woman on Monday. They said Elliot was living at a hotel that serves as a homeless shelter a few blocks from the scene of the attack.

He was taken into custody at the hotel around midnight. Tips from the public led to his apprehension, police said.

Elliot was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx neighbourhood in 2002, when he was 19. He was released from prison in 2019 and is on lifetime parole. The parole board had previously twice denied his release. His record also included an arrest for robbery in 2000.

“When you’re releasing people from prison and you’re putting them in homeless shelters you’re asking for trouble,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told WPIX-TV. “There’s got to be a safety net and there’s got to be resources for them…. You just shake your head and say, ‘What could possibly go wrong’ and this is what goes wrong. It just never should happen.”

Elliot faces charges of assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, assault and attempted assault in Monday’s attack, police said. It wasn’t immediately known whether he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. He was expected to be arraigned by video Wednesday.


Police said Brandon Elliot, 38, is the man seen on surveillance video attacking the woman outside an apartment building near New York City’s Times Square. (Courtesy of New York Police Department/The Associated Press)

Victim suffered serious injuries

The victim was identified as Vilma Kari, a 65-year-old woman who immigrated from the Philippines, her daughter told the New York Times. The newspaper did not identify Kari’s daughter.

Kari was walking to church in midtown Manhattan when police said a man kicked her in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, stomped on her face, shouted anti-Asian slurs and told her, “You don’t belong here,” before casually walking away.

She was discharged from the hospital Tuesday after being treated for serious injuries, a hospital spokesperson said.

The attack was among the latest in a national spike in anti-Asian hate crimes and happened just weeks after a mass shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian descent.


Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, cries after speaking on Tuesday at a news conference with politicians and community activists outside the building where the attack happened. (Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)

The surge in violence has been linked in part to misplaced blame for the coronavirus pandemic and former president Donald Trump’s use of racially charged terms such as “Chinese virus” and “China virus.”

Bystanders criticized

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Monday’s attack “absolutely disgusting and outrageous.” He said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that witnesses did not intervene.

“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker,” de Blasio said Tuesday.

Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, said the victim “could easily have been my mother.” He, too, criticized the bystanders, saying their inaction was “exactly the opposite of what we need here in New York City.”

WATCH | De Blasio, Yang respond to ‘horrifying’ attack:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and mayoral candidate Andrew Yang react to the violent attack on a 65-year-old Filipino American woman that was caught on a security camera. 1:06

The attack happened late Monday morning outside a luxury apartment building two blocks from Times Square.

Two workers inside the building who appeared to be security guards were seen on surveillance video witnessing the attack but failing to come to the woman’s aid. One of them was seen closing the building door as the woman was on the ground. The attacker was able to casually walk away while onlookers watched, the video showed.

The building’s management company said the workers were suspended pending an investigation. The workers’ union said they called for help immediately.

Residents of the building defended the workers Wednesday in a letter to the management company and the media. They contend that a video clip focusing on the suspect and the assault was “unfortunately cut to inadvertently exclude the compassionate action” taken by staff members, which they said included giving the victim aid and alerting medics.

Philippine government reacts

Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez said the victim is Filipino American.

The country’s foreign secretary, Teodoro Locsin Jr., condemned the attack in a Twitter post, saying: “This is gravely noted and will influence Philippine foreign policy.”

Locsin did not elaborate how the attack could influence Philippine policy toward the United States. The countries are longtime treaty allies, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is a vocal critic of U.S. security policies who has moved to terminate a key agreement that allows large-scale military exercises with American forces in the Philippines.

“I might as well say it, so no one on the other side can say, ‘We didn’t know you took racial brutality against Filipinos at all seriously.’ We do,” Locsin said.

Increase in hate crimes 

This year in New York City, there have been 33 hate crimes with an Asian victim as of Sunday, police said. There were 11 such attacks by the same time last year.

On Friday, in the same neighbourhood as Monday’s attack, a 65-year-old Asian American woman was accosted by a man waving an unknown object and shouting anti-Asian insults. A 48-year-old man was arrested the next day and charged with menacing. He is not suspected in Monday’s attack.


A man looks at two police officers patrolling along a busy section of Main Street in Flushing, a largely Asian American neighborhood, in the Queens borough of New York on Tuesday. Police have stepped up patrols across the city. (Kathy Willens/The Associated Press)

The NYPD last week said it was increasing outreach and patrols in predominantly Asian communities, including the use of undercover officers to prevent and disrupt attacks.

“This is crucial to the equation,” de Blasio said of the new policing efforts. “It’s a very few people but we need to find each and every one of them and stop this.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to Larry Nassar dies by suicide after charges

A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar killed himself Thursday, hours after being charged with turning his Michigan gym into a hub of human trafficking by coercing girls to train and then abusing them, authorities said.

John Geddert was supposed to appear in an Eaton County court, near Lansing, Mich. His body was found at a rest area along Interstate 96, according to state police. No other details were immediately released.

“This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Nessel earlier announced that Geddert was charged with two dozen crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise. The charges were the latest fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor now in prison.

Geddert, 63, was head coach of the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal. He was long associated with Nassar, who was the Olympic team’s doctor and also treated injured gymnasts at Twistars, Geddert’s Lansing-area gym.

Among the charges, Geddert was accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar. But the bulk of the case against him involved his gym in Dimondale and how he treated the young athletes whose families paid to have them train under him.

The charges against Geddert had “very little to do” with Nassar, said Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark.

‘It can happen to anyone, anywhere’

Geddert was charged with using his strong reputation in gymnastics to commit a form of human trafficking by making money through the forced labour of young athletes.

“The victims suffer from disordered eating, including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and attempts at self harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault,” Nessel said.

“Many of these victims still carry these scars from this behaviour to this day.”

The attorney general acknowledged that the case might not fit the common understanding of human trafficking.

“We think of it predominantly as affecting people of colour or those without means to protect themselves … but honestly it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” she said. “Young, impressionable women may at times be vulnerable and open to trafficking crimes, regardless of their stature in the community or the financial well-being of their families.”

Geddert was suspended by Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal. In 2018, he told families he was retiring.

On his LinkedIn page, Geddert described himself as the “most decorated women’s gymnastics coach in Michigan gymnastics history.” He said his Twistars teams won 130 club championships.

But Geddert was often portrayed in unflattering ways when Nassar’s victims spoke during court hearings in 2018.

“What a great best friend John was to Larry for giving him an entire world where he was able to abuse so easily,” said gymnast Lindsey Lemke. “You two sure do have a funny meaning of friendship. You, John Geddert, also deserve to sit behind bars right next to Larry.”

Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual abuse in 2016, said she was proud of the women who stepped forward against Geddert.

“So much pain and grief for everyone,” she said on Twitter after Geddert’s death. “To the survivors, you have been heard and believed, and we stand with you.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

Wife of drug kingpin El Chapo arrested on U.S. drug charges

The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, whom U.S. law enforcement officials accuse of helping plot her husband’s daring escape from a Mexico prison in 2015, was arrested Monday at an airport in Virginia on international drug-trafficking charges, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Mexico, was arrested at Dulles International Airport and is expected to appear in federal court in Washington on Tuesday.

She is charged in a single-count criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the U.S.

The Justice Department also accuses her of helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 and participating in the planning of a second prison escape before Guzman was extradited to the U.S. in January 2017.

Coronel Aispuro remained in custody, and it was not immediately clear if she had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Guzman, Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, escaped through an opening under the shower in his cell leading to a 1.6-kilometre-long lighted tunnel with a motorcycle on rails. The planning for the escape was extensive, prosecutors say, with his wife playing a key role.

Court papers charge that Coronel Aispuro worked with Guzman’s sons and a witness, who is now co-operating with the U.S. government, to organize the construction of the underground tunnel that Guzman used to escape from the Altiplano prison in Mexico to prevent him from being extradited to the U.S.

The plot included purchasing a piece of land near the prison, firearms and an armoured truck and smuggling him a GPS watch so they could “pinpoint his exact whereabouts so as to construct the tunnel with an entry point accessible to him,” the court papers say.


Coronel Aispuro is accused of helping her husband, Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, escape from prison in 2015. (Henry Romero/Reuters)

Guzman was sentenced to life behind bars in 2019. His Sinaloa cartel was responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the United States under his 25-year leasdership, prosecutors said in recent court papers. They also said his “army of sicarios,” or “hit men,” was under orders to kidnap, torture and kill anyone who got in his way.

Coronel Aispuro, a former teen beauty queen, regularly attended Guzman’s trial, even when testimony cast her in a harsh light. The two, separated in age by more than 30 years, have been together since at least 2007 and have twin daughters, who were born in 2011.

Her father, Ines Coronel Barreras, was arrested in Mexico in 2013 with one of his sons and several other men in a warehouse with hundreds of pounds of marijuana across the border from Douglas, Ariz. Months earlier, the U.S. Treasury had announced financial sanctions against Coronel Barreras for his alleged drug trafficking.

After Guzman was re-arrested following his escape, Coronel Aispuro lobbied the Mexican government to improve her husband’s prison conditions. And after he was convicted in 2019, she moved to launch a clothing line in his name.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

Charges dropped against Buffalo, N.Y., officers seen on video shoving elderly activist to the ground

Criminal charges have been dropped against two police officers seen on video last spring shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground in Buffalo, N.Y., prosecutors said Thursday.

A grand jury declined to indict Buffalo Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski on felony assault charges, ending the matter, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said.

Messages seeking comment were left with lawyers representing the officers. A message was also left for the man who was pushed to the ground, longtime activist Martin Gugino.

John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, told The Buffalo News: “Obviously, we are ecstatic with their decision. These officers have been put through hell and I look forward to seeing them back on the job.”

Flynn, echoing earlier statements, said he didn’t necessarily feel that altercation rose to the level of a felony but that state law required prosecutors to bring such a charge when a victim is at least 65 and the suspected perpetrators are at least 10 years younger.

WATCH | Video of the June 2020 incident in Buffalo, N.Y.:

The man was at a protest that was nearing its end when he was pushed by police and hit his head on the sidewalk. Two police officers have been suspended.   0:35

‘This was not the J.F.K. assassination’

Addressing criticism that he slow-played or “sandbagged” the case, Flynn said prosecutors made a thorough presentation to the grand jury but, citing secrecy rules, said he couldn’t discuss what witnesses were called or what evidence was presented. The grand jury heard the case on a delayed basis because of coronavirus-related court closures, he said.

Flynn said throughout the investigation, video of the shove remained the primary evidence.

“This was not the J.F.K. assassination,” Flynn said. “This was not that complex of a case. The video that was taken speaks for itself.”

A news crew covering protests in downtown Buffalo last June over the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd captured video of the officers shoving longtime activist Martin Gugino to the ground in front of city hall as they cleared demonstrators from the area for an 8 p.m. curfew.

Gugino, pushed backward, started bleeding after hitting his head on the pavement and spent about a month in the hospital with a fractured skull and brain injury.

McCabe and Torgalski were suspended without pay and subsequently arrested. They pleaded not guilty and were released without bail pending further developments in the case.

Flynn said at a news conference Thursday that national attention on the case had no influence on his decision to charge the officers right away.

“All I need is probable cause for an arrest,” Flynn said. “When I go to trial, though, I need beyond a reasonable doubt. At this point right now, it’s 50/50 in my mind as to whether or not it was intentional or reckless. If it’s 50/50, that’s not beyond a reasonable doubt. That analysis factors into my mind, but I can’t articulate to you what was going on in [grand jurors’] minds.”

In the wake of the officers’ suspensions, nearly 60 other members of the department’s crowd control unit said they would no longer serve on the unit, effectively shutting it down.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

Myanmar police file charges against Aung San Suu Kyi after coup

Myanmar police have filed charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi for illegally importing communications equipment and she will be detained until Feb. 15 for the investigations, according to a police document.

The move followed a military coup on Monday and the detention of Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi and other civilian politicians. The takeover cut short Myanmar’s long transition to democracy and drew condemnation from the United States and other Western countries.

A police request to a court detailing the accusations against Suu Kyi, 75, said six walkie-talkie radios had been found in a search of her home in the capital Naypyidaw. The radios were imported illegally and used without permission, it said.

The document reviewed on Wednesday requested Suu Kyi’s detention “in order to question witnesses, request evidence and seek legal counsel after questioning the defendant.”

A separate document showed police filed charges against ousted President Win Myint for violating protocols to stop the spread of coronavirus during last November’s election campaign.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won the election in a landslide but the military claimed it was marred by fraud and justified its seizure of power on those grounds.

Reuters was not immediately able to reach the police, the government or the court for comment.

The chair of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Parliamentarians for Human Rights, Charles Santiago, said the new charges were ludicrous.

“This is an absurd move by the junta to try to legitimize their illegal power grab,” he said in a statement.

The electoral commission had said the vote was fair.

Suu Kyi spent about 15 years under house arrest between 1989 and 2010 as she led the country’s democracy movement, and she remains hugely popular at home despite damage to her international reputation over the plight of Muslim Rohingya refugees in 2017.

The NLD made no immediate comment. A party official said on Tuesday he had learned she was under house arrest in the capital and was in good health.

‘We cannot accept this’

The party said earlier in a statement that its offices had been raided in several regions and it urged authorities to stop what it called unlawful acts after its election victory.

Opposition to the junta headed by army chief General Min Aung Hlaing has begun to emerge in Myanmar.

Staff at scores of government hospitals across the country of 54 million people stopped work or wore red ribbons as part of a civil disobedience campaign.

The newly formed Myanmar Civil Disobedience Movement said doctors at 70 hospitals and medical departments in 30 towns had joined the protest. It accused the army of putting its interests above a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 3,100 people in Myanmar, one of the highest tolls in Southeast Asia.


A medical worker wears a red ribbon during a protest against the coup in Myanmar. (Reuters)

“We really cannot accept this,” said 49-year-old Myo Myo Mon, who was among the doctors who stopped work to protest.

“We will do this in a sustainable way, we will do it in a non-violent way…. This is the route our state counsellor desires,” she said, referring to Suu Kyi by her title.

The latest coup is a massive blow to hopes that Myanmar is on a path to stable democracy. The junta has declared a one-year state of emergency and has promised to hold fair elections, but has not said when.

The military had ruled the former British colony from 1962 until Suu Kyi’s party came to power in 2015 under a constitution that guarantees the generals a major role in government.

Her international standing as a human rights champion was badly damaged over the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in 2017 and her defence of the military against accusations of genocide.

G7 condemns coup

The Group of Seven largest developed economies condemned the coup on Wednesday and said the election result must be respected.

“We call upon the military to immediately end the state of emergency, restore power to the democratically elected government, to release all those unjustly detained and to respect human rights and the rule of law,” the G7 said in a statement.

China has not specifically condemned the coup in its neighbour, but the foreign ministry rejected the suggestion that it supported or gave tacit consent to it.

“We wish that all sides in Myanmar can appropriately resolve their differences and uphold political and social stability,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a briefing.

At the United Nations on Tuesday, its special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, urged the Security Council to “collectively send a clear signal in support of democracy in Myanmar.”

But a diplomat with China’s UN mission said it would be difficult to reach consensus on the draft statement and that any action should avoid escalating tension or complicating the situation.

U.S. President Joe Biden has threatened to reimpose sanctions on the generals who seized power. U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tried but was unable to connect to Myanmar’s military following the coup.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

FIFA president faces criminal charges in Switzerland

A criminal case against FIFA president Gianni Infantino was opened by a Swiss special prosecutor on Thursday, plunging the soccer body into a new scandal and potentially threatening the tenure of the man who was brought in to restore its tarnished reputation.

FIFA said it and Infantino will co-operate with Swiss authorities after prosecuto Stefan Keller — barely a month into the job — concluded there is enough evidence to go to court after investigating the circumstances of a meeting Infantino had with Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber.

The turmoil involving Lauber, who offered his resignation last week, centres on three meetings he had with Infantino in recent years — including one that he hadn’t disclosed and claimed no memory of — just as he was leading a sprawling investigation into soccer corruption.

Keller, a regional court judge, uncovered “elements that make up reprehensible behaviour,” an oversight panel monitoring federal prosecutors said in a statement. He opened a case against Infantino and regional prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold, a childhood friend of the FIFA boss, and sought authorization to open a case against Lauber.

Keller, who was named to the post of special prosecutor on June 29, found possible infractions included abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, “assisting offenders” and “incitement to these acts,” the panel said, adding other criminal acts and proceedings could also be considered.

Under the Swiss criminal code, conviction for abuse of public office can bring penalties of up to five years in prison or other detention, while breach of official secrecy and assisting offenders can incur up to three years each. Each charge can also bring financial penalties.

Suspects in such cases benefit from a presumption of innocence in Switzerland until legal proceedings are completed.

It was unclear whether Keller believes the alleged wrongdoing was the mere fact that Lauber and Infantino had met, or if compromising information was divulged during their conversations.

FIFA said it “acknowledges” Keller’s decision, and vowed it and Infantino “will, as we have always done, co-operate fully with this investigation.” It also highlighted past troubles at soccer’s governing body before Infantino took office, and said meetings with prosecutors were necessary.

“As president of FIFA, it has been my aim from day one, and it remains my aim, to assist the authorities with investigating past wrongdoings at FIFA,” Infantino said. “FIFA officials have met with prosecutors in other jurisdictions across the world for exactly these purposes.”

FIFA also revived a statement from Infantino on June 25, when he said: “To meet with the attorney general of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and it’s perfectly legal. It’s no violation of anything. On the contrary, it is also part of the fiduciary duties of the president of FIFA.”

At the time, Infantino also quipped: “this whole thing is quite absurd.”

In March, Lauber was found to have lied to and obstructed the oversight panel. Its probe began after reports last year said he had an undisclosed meeting with Infantino in a hotel in Bern in June 2017.

Lauber did not take notes at the meeting and both men later claimed not to recall details of their discussion.

It was their third meeting and had stayed secret when Lauber called a November 2018 news conference to acknowledge the previous two, which had been revealed in the “Football Leaks” series publishing confidential documents in the soccer industry.

Lauber and Infantino, in meetings brokered by Arnold, had previously met twice — soon after the FIFA presidential election in February 2016.

On Friday, Lauber offered to resign only minutes before a federal court upheld allegations that he lied about the third meeting — in essence rejecting his appeal of the March ruling.

“On the basis of general life experience, such a case of collective amnesia is an aberration,” the federal court ruling said.

Elected in 2016 

Infantino gained the FIFA presidency in the fallout from the investigations that erupted around the governing body in 2015. FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who had already announced plans to resign in the wake of arrests of dozens of soccer officials, was banned from world football.

Michel Platini, the favourite to succeed Blatter and then serving as UEFA president, was also suspended, which ended his chances of leading FIFA.

In the void, Infantino, who led the UEFA administration as general secretary, saw a route to leading FIFA. The Swiss-Italian was elected in 2016, beating Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman.

The Bahraini is senior vice-president of FIFA so would be in line to replace Infantino temporarily if he was suspended due to the criminal case.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Soccer News

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell arrested on charges related to Epstein investigation

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested Thursday in the United States on charges she helped recruit three girls — one as young as 14 — to be sexually abused by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died last year.

Maxwell, who lived for years with Epstein, was taken into custody around 8:30 a.m. local time in New Hampshire, said FBI spokesperson Marty Feely.

An indictment made public Thursday alleges that Maxwell “assisted, facilitated and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse” girls under age 18.

Epstein, 66, died by suicide in a federal detention centre in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. In 2008, he pleaded guilty in Florida for soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution.

The indictment included counts of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury.

It focused on Epstein’s alleged abuse of three specific girls at his Manhattan mansion and other residences in Palm Beach, Fla., Santa Fe, N.M., and London. Their names were not disclosed in court filings.

WATCH | Ghislaine Maxwell facing multiple criminal charges:

The CBC’s Steven D’Souza details the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell who is accused of procuring young girls for Jeffrey Epstein. 4:29

“More recently, we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago,” William Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York office, said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

At a brief hearing Thursday, a magistrate judge ordered Maxwell to remain in custody while she is transferred to New York for a detention hearing.

Maxwell, 58, was accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured into sex. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges.

Messages were sent Thursday to several of Maxwell’s attorneys seeking comment. She has previously repeatedly denied wrongdoing and called some of the claims against her “absolute rubbish.”


Read the full indictment here:


“Maxwell lied because the truth, as alleged, was almost unspeakable,” Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said at the press conference.

Jennifer Araoz, a woman who says Epstein raped her in his New York mansion in 2002 when she was 15, said she feared the financier’s ring of conspirators for years.

“Now that the ring has been taken down, I know that I can’t be hurt anymore,” Araoz, now 33, said in a statement.

“Day after day, I have waited for the news that Maxwell would be arrested and held accountable for her actions. Her arrest is a step in that direction, and it truly means that the justice system didn’t forget about us.” 

Among the most sensational accusations was a claim by one Epstein victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, that Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with Prince Andrew at her London townhouse. Giuffre bolstered her allegations with a picture of her, Andrew and Maxwell that she said was taken at the time.

Prince Andrew denied her story. Maxwell said in a deposition that Giuffre was “totally lying.”

Strauss said she would “welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us,” but did not answer further questions pertaining to these charges and Andrew. 

‘Entice and groom’

The indictment mirrored many of the claims previously made in civil lawsuits against Maxwell.

It said that as early as 1994, Maxwell would “entice and groom” minor girls by asking them about their lives, their schools and their families.

“Through this process, Maxwell and Epstein enticed victims to engage in sexual activity with Epstein. In some instances, Maxwell was present for and participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims,” the indictment said.

Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, it said.

At the time the alleged crimes occurred, Maxwell was in an intimate relationship with Epstein and also was paid by him to manage his various properties, according to the indictment, which included a photograph of Epstein with his arm around Maxwell and his head nuzzling hers.

Epstein was initially investigated in Florida and pleaded guilty to state charges in 2008 that allowed him to avoid a lengthy prison sentence. He was free a little after a year in prison.

At the time, a federal prosecutor in Florida signed off on an agreement, initially filed in secret, that barred the federal government from charging “any potential co-conspirators of Epstein.”

Geoffrey Berman, the former U.S. attorney in Manhattan, argued that federal prosecutors in New York were not bound by that agreement and brought a sweeping indictment against Epstein. Berman vowed to continue seeking justice for Epstein’s victims even after the financier’s death, but was abruptly fired last month.

Maxwell was described in a lawsuit by another Epstein victim, Sarah Ransome, as the “highest-ranking employee” of Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking enterprise. She oversaw and trained recruiters, developed recruiting plans and helped conceal the activity from law enforcement, the lawsuit alleged.

Brad Edwards, an attorney representing Giuffre and several other Epstein victims said his clients were relieved by the charges.

“Today is a very good day,” he said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

No charges in NASCAR noose incident involving Black driver Bubba Wallace

The noose found hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway had been there since at least last October, federal authorities said Tuesday in announcing there will be no charges filed in an incident that rocked NASCAR and its only full-time Black driver.

U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. said an investigation determined “although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week.”

A crew member for Richard Petty Motorsports discovered the noose Sunday at the Alabama race track. NASCAR was alerted and contacted the FBI, which sent 15 agents to the track to investigate. They determined no federal crime was committed.

The statement said the garage stall was assigned to Wallace last week in advance of the race scheduled for Sunday but held Monday because of rain. Through video confirmed by NASCAR it was discovered the noose “was in that garage as early as October 2019.”

The agencies said the evidence did not support federal charges.

WATCH | Noose found in Wallace’s garage stall:

After successfully pushing to ban the Confederate flag from NASCAR races, Bubba Wallace’s team discovered a noose in his garage. As a federal investigation now commences, the circuit has rallied behind it’s only full-time Black driver. 2:32

Wallace successfully pushed the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its venues less than two weeks ago. There has been criticism of the ban by some longtime fans and security had been stepped up for Wallace, a 26-year-old Alabama native who has worn in the last month a shirt over his firesuit that read “I Can’t Breathe.” His paint scheme for a race in Virginia was Black Lives Matter.

NASCAR said in a statement that “the FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment.”

NASCAR said a check of every other stall in the garage showed the one for Wallace’s car was the only one in which the pull down rope had been fashioned into a noose.

‘A great conclusion for us’

NASCAR President Steve Phelps said the series is continuing its own investigation to determine why a noose had been in that garage stall at all. He added the finding that it wasn’t directed at Wallace was “a great conclusion for us” but was adamant NASCAR would have conducted its investigation the same way even now knowing it wasn’t a hate crime.

“We would have done the same investigation. It was important for us to do,” he said, stressing that Wallace’s race team had nothing to do with the incident.

“The evidence was very clear that the noose that was in the garage was in there previously. The last race we had in October, that noose was present. The evidence we had, it was clear we needed to look into this.”

WATCH | NASCAR shows solidarity with Bubba Wallace after noose incident:

The NASCAR circuit has rallied around Bubba Wallace, the only full-time Black driver who fought to ban the Confederate flag from races, after a noose was found in his garage. 2:11

The Wood Brothers Racing team said one of its employees informed the team he recalled “seeing a tied handle in the garage pull down rope from last fall,” when NASCAR raced at Talladega in October. The team said it immediately alerted NASCAR and assisted the investigation.

The discovery of the noose stunned the stock car series as it takes an active position in a push for inclusion while distancing itself from its rocky racial history. The series first tried to ban the Confederate flag five years ago but did nothing to enforce the order.

Wallace two weeks ago renewed the call for a ban and NASCAR answered, but it has yet to detail how it will stop the display. Talladega marked the first race since the coronavirus pandemic that fans were permitted — 5,000 were allowed to purchase tickets — and some upset with the flag ban paraded past the main entrance with the Southern symbol. A banner flew over the speedway Sunday of a Confederate flag that read “Defund NASCAR.”

WATCH Bubba Wallace displays #BlackLivesMatter paint scheme:

Bubba Wallace, the only African American in the NASCAR Cup Series, competes at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway with Black Lives Matter paint scheme on his vehicle.  1:08

NASCAR announced late Sunday the noose had been discovered and the industry rallied around Wallace. All 39 of his rival drivers and their crews helped push Wallace’s car to the front of pit road before the national anthem and stood behind him in solidarity.

Wallace was joined by his team owner, Hall of Famer Richard Petty, who gently placed a hand on Wallace’s shoulder as he sobbed. Wallace after the race went to the fencing along the grandstands and greeted supporters. Many were Black and wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts.

“It’s just been hectic, you know, carrying this weight,” he said. “I’m proud to stand where I’m at and carry a new face. Look at [these fans]. Is this the first time you’re here? From Atlanta? That is so cool! The sport is changing.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Sports News

China charges 2 Canadians with spying in Huawei-linked case

Chinese prosecutors charged two detained Canadians with spying Friday in an apparent bid to step up pressure on Canada to drop a U.S. extradition request for a Huawei executive under house arrest in Vancouver.

Michael Kovrig was charged by Beijing on suspicion of spying for state secrets and intelligence. Michael Spavor was charged in Dandong, a city near the North Korean border, on suspicion of spying for a foreign entity and illegally providing state secrets.

The charges were announced by China’s highest prosecutor’s office in brief social media posts.

Both men have been held for 18 months. They were detained shortly after the December 2018 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei. The daughter of Huawei’s founder was arrested at the request of U.S. authorities who want her on fraud charges related to trade with Iran.

China has repeatedly called for the release of Meng, and has warned Canada that it could face consequences for aiding the U.S. in Meng’s case.

Fates linked to Meng

China has denied any link between her case and the lengthy detention of the two Canadian men, but outside experts see them as linked. Meng has been released on bail while her extradition case proceeds in court.

Meng is accused of lying to an HSBC executive in Hong Kong in August 2013 about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom, a company prosecutors claim was violating U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.


Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou leaves B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on May 27. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The U.S. claims Skycom was actually a subsidiary of Huawei and that HSBC and other banks placed themselves at risk of prosecution and financial loss by continuing to provide financing to Huawei based on Meng’s reassurances.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s billionaire founder, has denied the allegations.

Meng was released on $ 10 million bail and has been living for the past year and a half under a form of house arrest in one of two homes she owns on Vancouver’s west side.

In China, Kovrig and Spavor remain in solitary confinement. Neither man has been seen by Canadian consular officials since January.

Last month, a B.C. judge ruled the U.S. extradition case against Meng could proceed to the next stage. 

WATCH | Meng Wanzhou leaves B.C. Supreme Court after losing bid to stop her extradition:

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou lost a major court battle on May 27, 2020, as a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled extradition proceedings against her should move ahead. 0:57

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes dealt Meng’s defence a significant blow by ruling that the proceedings should continue as the case met the bar for so-called “double criminality” and that Meng’s alleged offence would be considered a crime had it happened in Canada.

Kovrig is a former Canadian diplomat who has worked as a senior adviser for International Crisis Group. ICG has previously said the accusations against Kovrig are “vague and unsubstantiated.”

Spavor, 44, is a businessmen, originally from Calgary, who helped to arrange travel into North Korea.

Denied access to lawyers

China has also sentenced two other Canadians to death and suspended imports of Canadian canola, while saying those moves were also unrelated to Meng’s case.

Relations between Canada and China are at their lowest point since the Chinese military’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centred on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.


Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home for the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver May 27. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

David Malley, Kovrig’s former boss at International Crisis Group, said in an interview last December that his former employee was holding up in prison, basing his assessment on what he’s heard from Canadian officials who have visited him. 

At the time, the two Canadians had been allowed about one consular visit per month by Canadian diplomats.  But they have been denied access to lawyers and all others.

Bell and Telus shun Huawei

The tensions appear to be causing further harm to Huawei’s reputation in the Americas, with two of Canada’s three major telecommunication companies announcing earlier this month that they’ve decided not to use the Chinese tech giant for their next-generation 5G wireless network.

Bell Canada announced that Sweden-based Ericsson will be its supplier and Telus Corp. later announced that it had also selected Ericsson and Nokia.

Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies, but has long been seen as a front for spying by China’s military and its highly skilled security services.

The U.S. has urged Canada to exclude Huawei equipment from their next-generation wireless networks, saying Huawei is legally beholden to the Chinese regime. The United States and Australia have banned Huawei, citing concerns it is an organ of Chinese military intelligence — a charge the company denies.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News