MORNING BRIEF: SF judge refuses to reinstate order to block federal funding for sanctuary cities

Jul 21, 2017 10

In a seeming act of defiance toward the Trump administration, a federal judge in San Francisco has refused to reinstate the president’s sanctuary cities order.  

The bold move to not reinstate President Donald Trump’s executive order — which sought to slash funding to cities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities — comes amid a battle between the State Department and local governments across the country over the edict from Washington.

‘TOO MUCH FIGHTING’

The spokesman for President Trump’s personal legal team resigned Thursday, according to multiple media reports.

Mark Corallo, who had been issuing statements on behalf of Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz, reportedly objected to any public criticism of special counsel Robert Mueller in connection with Mueller’s investigation into alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russia, the Washington Examiner reported.

COMING UP ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks with federal, state and local law enforcement at 11 AM ET about sanctuary cities in Philadelphia. Watch live on Fox News Channel and FoxNews.com

‘OH HE JUST DIED’

Authorities in Florida say that a group of teenagers recorded the drowning of a disabled man last week — and did nothing to help as they made fun of his struggles.

Jamel Dunn, 32, of Cocoa, drowned in a retention pond July 9. His body was recovered July 14, two days after his fiancee reported him missing. Late last week, a friend of Dunn’s family came across the video on social media and forwarded it to authorities in Brevard County.

DEMS LOOK TO 2020

President Donald Trump has been in office for only six months, but that hasn’t prevented political junkies from speculating about which Democrats may try to oppose him in the 2020 presidential race.

An upcoming scheduled appearance in New Hampshire by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California has already sparked talk that she might run, as Fox News reported Thursday.

COMING UP ON FOX BUSINESS

7:30 AM ET:  Kellyanne Conway will be on ‘Mornings with Maria’

8:50 AM ET: Sen. Ted Cruz (R) Texas will be on ‘Mornings with Maria’

8 PM ET: Xavier Rolet, the CEO of the London Stock Exchange will appear on ‘Wall Street Week’

Burundi robotics teens may have 'self-initiated' vanishing

Jul 21, 2017 9

Organizers of an international robotics competition in the U.S. capital believe the disappearance of six teens from Burundi may have been “self-initiated.”

As the competition was wrapping up Tuesday, their chaperone discovered his kids were missing. He looked in the college dorms where the six teens — ages 16 to 18 — had been staying. Their bags were packed and gone. Later two of the teens were spotted crossing into Canada.

Police say they don’t expect any foul play.

A member of the Burundi-American community says he has little doubt the teens are seeking asylum, though he emphasized he had no direct knowledge of the situation.

Former Miss USA contestant busted for smuggling drugs into Ohio jail

Jul 21, 2017 6

A former Miss USA contestant from Kentucky is facing arraignment next week after being accused of sneaking drugs to an inmate inside an Ohio prison.

Kia Hampton, 28, of Louisville, Kentucky, was arrested May 26 in Allen County, Ohio, after she was caught smuggling marijuana into the Allen Correctional Institution for inmate Jeremy Kelly, according to an affidavit detailing the arrest, the Courier-Journal reported.

A grand jury indicted Hampton earlier this month on a third-degree felony charge of bringing drugs onto government facility grounds, which carries a maximum three-year prison sentence upon conviction.

Hampton was served a search warrant upon arriving at the prison May 26 for an inmate visit.

While listening to previously recorded phone calls, officers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol said they obtained enough evidence to obtain a warrant for a cavity search.

As she was questioned by officers, Hampton reached into a pant leg and pushed a white balloon onto the floor, according to the affidavit.

It was later determined that she was carrying nearly 3 grams of marijuana, Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Kenneth Sturgill told the Courier-Journal.

Hampton was indicted July 13 by an Allen County grand jury and faces one count of “illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto the grounds of a specified governmental facility” and is scheduled to be arraigned July 26.

Hampton was crowned Miss Kentucky USA in November 2010 when she was just 21 and was the first black woman chosen to represent the Bluegrass State in the Miss USA pageant.

Former Miss USA contestant busted for smuggling drugs into Ohio prison

Jul 21, 2017 5

A former Miss USA contestant from Kentucky is facing arraignment next week after being accused of sneaking drugs to an inmate inside an Ohio prison.

Kia Hampton, 28, of Louisville, Kentucky, was arrested May 26 in Allen County, Ohio, after she was caught smuggling marijuana into the Allen Correctional Institution for inmate Jeremy Kelly, according to an affidavit detailing the arrest, the Courier-Journal reported.

A grand jury indicted Hampton earlier this month on a third-degree felony charge of bringing drugs onto government facility grounds, which carries a maximum three-year prison sentence upon conviction.

Hampton was served a search warrant upon arriving at the prison May 26 for an inmate visit.

While listening to previously recorded phone calls, officers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol said they obtained enough evidence to obtain a warrant for a cavity search.

As she was questioned by officers, Hampton reached into a pant leg and pushed a white balloon onto the floor, according to the affidavit.

It was later determined that she was carrying nearly 3 grams of marijuana, Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Kenneth Sturgill told the Courier-Journal.

Hampton was indicted July 13 by an Allen County grand jury and faces one count of “illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto the grounds of a specified governmental facility” and is scheduled to be arraigned July 26.

Hampton was crowned Miss Kentucky USA in November 2010 when she was just 21 and was the first black woman chosen to represent the Bluegrass State in the Miss USA pageant.

Statues to Confederacy in its ex-capital spur soul-searching

Jul 21, 2017 10

One after another, cities across the United States are removing Confederate statues and other symbols, dispensing with what some see as offensive artifacts of a shameful past marked by racism and slavery. But Richmond, Virginia, the former Confederate capital that boasts some of the most dramatic displays of such statuary, is taking a go-slow approach.

The city’s young black mayor, Levar Stoney, recently announced he thinks the monuments should stay but appointed a commission to study ways to add historical context or new statues. That plan drew praise from many as a reasonable middle ground but criticism from others.

It also raised a long-running debate about whether Virginia’s capital city is doing enough to recognize darker parts of its past, including its former role as a domestic slave trading hub.

Bag of NASA moon dust sells for $1.8M at auction

Jul 21, 2017 14

A bag of moon dust from NASA’s Apollo 11 mission – which a woman bought for $995 in 2015 — sold for $1.8 million at a Sotheby’s auction this week following an intense court battle.

The bag, filled with moon dust by astronaut Neil Armstrong during the first manned mission to the moon in July 1969, had previously been misidentified and mistakenly sold at an online government auction.

NASA’s attempt to retrieve the bag failed after a federal judge in December ruled it legally belonged to a Chicago-area woman who bought it two years ago.

The buyer in Tuesday’s auction declined to be identified. The pre-sale estimate was $2 million to $4 million.

Details of the 2015 purchase were made public during the court case.

Investigators seized the bag in 2003 after searching a garage of a man later convicted of stealing and selling museum artifacts, including some on loan from NASA.

The bag then went up for bid at a government auction in 2015, where Nancy Carlson, of Inverness, Illinois, paid $995 to acquire the ordinary-looking bag made of white Beta cloth and polyester, with rubberized nylon and a brass zipper.

Carlson, a collector, knew the bag had been used in a space flight, but she didn’t know which one. She sent the bag to NASA for testing, but the government agency tried to keep it after identifying its contents.

The artifact “belongs to the American people,” NASA said then.

But U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten, in Wichita, Kansas, ruled in favor of Carlson, acknowledging that although the item shouldn’t have been sold at auction in the first place, he didn’t have the authority to reverse the sale. He ordered the government to return it to Carlson.

The judge said the importance and desirability of the bag stemmed solely from the efforts of NASA employees whose “amazing technical achievements, skill and courage in landing astronauts on the moon and returning them safely have not been replicated in the almost half a century since the Apollo 11 landing.”

When it comes to moon landings, this week’s auction was far from the final frontier.

A group called For All Moonkind Inc. mentioned the moon bag this week while campaigning for “measures to preserve and protect the six Apollo lunar landing sites.” It plans to take up the issue next month at the Starship Congress 2017 in California.

Also getting out-of-this-world interest at the auction was the Flown Apollo 13 Flight Plan, with handwritten notations by all three crew members. It sold to an online bidder for $275,000, well above its pre-sale estimate high of $40,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ohio veteran can keep ducks to relieve PTSD, depression

Jul 21, 2017 12

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio veteran who sought to defy local law and keep pet ducks, that he says help relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, can now keep them.

The Coshocton Tribune reports the West Lafayette Village Council this week granted Darin Welker a variance to an ordinance prohibiting farm animals in the village, about 80 miles (128 kilometers) east of Columbus.

Welker was convicted in 2014 of a misdemeanor for violating the ban on farm animals. A state appeals court later upheld his conviction and the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal.

Welker argued his six ducks have been therapeutic. He served in Iraq with the Army and was medically discharged from the Ohio National Guard. His doctor says the ducks have helped.

Welker declined to comment on the decision.

Hugh Freeze resigns as Ole Miss football coach after caught calling escort service on work phone

Jul 20, 2017 14

University of Mississippi head football coach Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday night after reports that he had used his school-issued phone to call an escort service.

Freeze, who had coached Ole Miss for five years and led the program to a 2016 Sugar Bowl victory, was forced to leave after university officials discovered a “pattern of personal misconduct inconsistent to the standards we expect from the leader of our football team,” Chancellor Jeff Vitter said, according to the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson.

Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork told the newspaper that the university would have enacted the “moral turpitude” termination clause in his contract if Freeze didn’t resign.

The call was placed to a female escort service in January 2016 and reportedly lasted about one minute. At a news conference Thursday, Bjork said the number appeared to have been dialed only once from Freeze’s phone, but upon further inspection of his call logs, university officials found what Bjork described as a “concerning pattern.”

“We did a quick assessment and determined this was the only time that that particular number was ever called from coach Freeze’s phone since he started working here at Ole Miss,” Bjork said. “Because the call lasted less than one minute … we initially attributed this call to a (accidental dial of the) number.”

The Rebels had a quick rise under Freeze, recruiting at a high level and reaching an apex with a Sugar Bowl victory over Oklahoma State following the 2015 season.

But an NCAA investigation — alleging 21 charges of academic, booster, and recruiting misconduct — has overshadowed much of that success, especially over the past year. The school has already self-imposed several penalties, including a one-year postseason ban for the upcoming season.

Freeze — who was being paid more than $5 million per year — had a 39-25 record over five seasons, including a 19-21 mark in the Southeastern Conference.

The 47-year-old Freeze’s shocking exit — just a few weeks before preseason camp begins — completes a stunning fall for a coach once considered one of the profession’s rising stars.

Freeze took over after Houston Nutt was fired during a miserable 2011 season that ended with a 2-10 record. Ole Miss immediately improved under Freeze, finishing 7-6 in 2012 and winning the Birmingham Bowl.

The Rebels continued to surge on the field and in recruiting over the next several seasons. They signed some of the nation’s top recruits in 2013, including defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, receiver Laquon Treadwell and offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil. They helped push the program to eight wins in 2013, nine in `14 and a 10-3 record in `15.

But Ole Miss’ newfound ability to recruit at a high level drew the attention of the NCAA, which was already investigating the school for a handful of violations that occurred during Nutt’s tenure.

The school has received two Notice of Allegations letters from the NCAA over the past two years. The first alleged 13 rules violations, including nine that were classified as Level I, which the governing body deems the most serious.

Though the NCAA didn’t appear to find much from that particular exchange, the governing body reopened its investigation, sending a second NOA earlier this year that expanded the case to 21 allegations, including 17 that are Level I.

Freeze, a north Mississippi native, had an unlikely rise to major college coaching, spending about a decade as a successful high school coach in Memphis before landing a job at Ole Miss in the mid-2000s under Ed Orgeron. After Orgeron was fired in 2007, Freeze became the head coach at Lambuth, a tiny NAIA school in western Tennessee.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.

2 dead, over 100 injured following devastating earthquake near Greece, Turkey

Jul 20, 2017 17

A 6.7 magnitude earthquake rattled Turkey’s Aegean coast and several Greek islands, killing two and injuring over 100 others early Friday morning.

Officials say the deaths happened on the Greek island of Kos, where the island’s mayor Giorgos Kyritsis said that buildings sustained structural damage.

Greece earthquake 7.21.17

A man walks near a damaged building after an earthquake on the Greek island of Kos early Friday, July 21, 2017. A powerful earthquake struck Greek islands and Turkey’s Aegean coast early Friday morning, damaging buildings and a port and killing people, authorities said. (Kalymnos-news.gr via AP)

Other officials said an old building on the island collapsed, injuring people below.

The quake struck at about 1:30 a.m. local time. USGS measured the earthquake at 6.7 magnitude, but Greece officials measured it at 6.5 magnitude. The earthquake was very shallow as it originated only 10 km (6.2 miles) below the earth’s surface. As of early Friday morning, aftershocks are ongoing.

Kos and several of the nearby towns, including Turkey’s Bodrum and Datc, are all major tourist destinations.

The chairman of Turkey’s disaster and emergency management presidency said that there were no major injuries or damage reported in the country. However, the European earthquake agency EMSC reported a small tsunami along the Turkish coast.

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Minnesota police shooting: Justine Damond's family, friends join march

Jul 20, 2017 16

The family of Justine Damond, the Australian woman shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer responding to her 911 call, and hundreds of demonstrators gathered Thursday evening near the late meditation teacher’s home for a march against police killings.

Chanting “Justice for Justine” and carrying signs calling for police reforms, the demonstrators marched from the steps of Damond’s home in southwest Minneapolis to nearby park.

While her family made no public announcement, they waved to marchers passing by and her fiancé, Don Damond, shed tears while greeting well-wishers.

“I just hope this March can do something positive,” Barb Kattner, a local resident who came to the March, told Fox News. “We need something that can really unite us.”

Along with Damond’s friends and neighbor, the March for Healing and Justice was joined by local faith leaders, a contingent from Women’s March MN and members from the Twin Cities chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Chauntyll Allen, an organizer with Black Lives Matter, told Fox News that Damond’s killing rises above the issue of race and shows that police violence has become an endemic problem.

911 CALL: DAMOND REPORTED POSSIBLE SEXUAL ASSAULT

“This transcends it,” she said. “It shows issues on a couple different layers, first and foremost the militarized police state that shoots first and asks questions later.”

Damond, a spiritual healer and life coach who was due to be married in August, called 911 twice on Saturday night to report an alleged sexual assault in the alley behind her home. When Minneapolis police officers Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity arrived on scene, they heard a loud bang before Damond approached the driver’s side of the police car.

Noor, who sitting in the passenger seat, fired his gun and hit Damond in the abdomen. In a statement, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Damond’s death a homicide and said she died Saturday at 11:51 p.m. in the alleyway.

NEIGHBORHOOD REELS AFTER POLICE SHOOTING

The killing of Damond has once again dredged up resentment toward a police department that has been embroiled in controversy in recent years over the actions of its officers.

Last year, 32-year-old Philando Castile was killed by an officer during a traffic stop in a nearby suburb after he told the officer he was armed. The officer was acquitted in June of manslaughter and other charges.

In November 2015, a Minneapolis police officer shot and killed Jamar Clark during a struggle in which the officer said Clark grabbed his partner’s weapon.

Members of Castile’s were also present at the march and the organizers notes on the march’s Facebook page that the event was intended to “seek healing, Justice for Justine, and justice for ALL others that died at the hands of the police.”

Despite the march being partly organized by Damond’s family and friends, some people who gathered before the event began said they believe Damond would not have wanted a demonstration like this.

“This is not what she would have wanted,” Laurie Savren, a Minneapolis resident and fellow spiritual healer, told Fox News.