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  • Philadelphia-born rapper Meek Mill attended an NBA playoff game in his first public appearance since being released from prison while he appeals decade-old gun and drug convictions. Following a five-month campaign by his supporters to get him out, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday directed a Philadelphia judge who had jailed him to immediately issue an order releasing him on unsecured bail. Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was sentenced in November to two to four years behind bars for probation violations. He was taken from the State Correctional Institution in Chester by helicopter to nearby Philadelphia. 'I feel great,' Mill said before entering the Wells Fargo Center, where he rang the ceremonial bell before the start of Game 5 of the Philadelphia 76ers-Miami Heat playoff series. 'Just having someone that looks out for us, all of us here, it would just mean a lot for him to be back in Philly, in the city of Philadelphia with the fans, especially with a game like that tonight,' Sixers guard Ben Simmons said. 'Welcome home Meek Mill,' the game announcer told the rapper, who wore a Joel Embiid jersey and sat courtside next to actor Kevin Hart, Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. Before the game, which Philadelphia won 104-91 to advance to the second round of the playoffs, Mill stopped by the Sixers' locker room to greet the players. A team of lawyers and public relations consultants had waged an all-out battle to get Mill freed, leveling fierce criticism at the judge as a stream of high-powered figures and celebrities visited him in jail just hours before the Supreme Court ruling. Mill issued a statement saying the past months had been 'a nightmare,' and thanked his many supporters and visitors, who included Rubin, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. 'Although I'm blessed to have the resources to fight this unjust situation, I understand that many people of color across the country don't have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues,' Mill said. He said he would now focus his attention on getting his convictions overturned, and that he looks forward to resuming his music career. Earlier this month, in a major victory for Mill, prosecutors said they agreed with his lawyers that he should get a new trial because of questions raised about the arresting officer. The now-retired officer was among a list of police officers the prosecutor's office has sought to keep off the witness stand in cases across the city because of credibility questions. A spokesman for District Attorney Larry Krasner said late Tuesday that the Supreme Court's decision on Meek Mill's release was consistent with the position taken by their office. Mill's attorney, Joe Tacopina, thanked the high court. 'Meek was unjustly convicted and should not have spent a single day in jail,' Tacopina said. In an opinion earlier this month, Judge Genece Brinkley, who sent Mill to prison for the probation violations, strongly defended herself against accusations by the defense she was waging a vendetta against the rapper. She said the court 'has impartially and without prejudice presided over numerous proceedings in this matter since 2008.' The Supreme Court denied a defense request to move the case to another judge, but said the presiding judge could opt to remove herself.
  • Jurors at Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial are poised to start deliberating after a marathon day of closing arguments that portrayed the comedian both as a calculating predator who's finally being brought to justice and the victim of a multimillion-dollar frame-up by a 'pathological liar.' The seven men and five women sequestered at a suburban Philadelphia hotel will start weighing charges on Wednesday in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era. They begged off a late Tuesday start, saying they were exhausted from 5½ hours of arguments. The prosecution and defense gave them lots to think about after a two-week trial pitting Cosby, the 80-year-old comedian once revered as 'America's Dad,' against Andrea Constand, a former Temple University sports administrator who testified that he knocked her out with three pills he called 'your friends' and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in January 2004. 'The time for the defendant to escape justice is over. It's finally time for the defendant to dine on the banquet of his own consequences,' prosecutor Stewart Ryan said, imploring jurors to stand with Constand, look Cosby in the eye and 'tell him the truth about what he did.' Cosby's lawyers argued that the charges were based on 'flimsy, silly, ridiculous evidence.' This time, prosecutors had five other women testify that Cosby drugged and violated them. One accuser asked him through tears, 'You remember, don't you, Mr. Cosby?' Cosby's lawyers, who contend the encounter was consensual, called a woman who said Constand spoke of framing a high-profile person to sue and extract a big settlement. None of that was allowed at Cosby's streamlined first trial, which ended in a hung jury last year after deliberations over six days. Nor were jurors told the amount of Cosby's 2006 civil settlement with Constand: nearly $3.4 million, which defense lawyer Tom Mesereau on Tuesday called 'one of the biggest highway robberies of all time.' 'I have never seen or heard of a retrial that was as different as this was from the first trial,' said lawyer Dennis McAndrews, who's been in court following the retrial and is not associated with either side. 'The prosecution now had multiple victims and the defense had the issue of money, which were powerful weapons for both sides.' Cosby faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each carrying up to 10 years in prison. His wife of 54 years, Camille, looked on from the gallery as his lawyers pleaded with the jury to clear him, the first time she has attended the trial. She also sat in for the defense's closing argument at his first trial. Camille Cosby, 74, had stayed away as the prosecution built its case that her husband maintained a sordid double life, plying women with drugs and preying on them sexually. Before the jury came in, she put her arm around Cosby, who is legally blind. They smiled and chatted, and he gave her a peck on the cheek. When it was the prosecution's turn to argue, she left the courtroom, and Constand entered. 'You're dealing with a pathological liar, members of the jury,' said Mesereau, who won an acquittal in Michael Jackson's 2005 child molestation case. 'You are.' Prosecutor Kristen Feden called Cosby the true con artist — wresting that label from Cosby's lawyers, who had applied it to Constand throughout the trial. 'Yes, you did hear about a con,' Feden said, her voice rising as she moved toward Cosby and pointed at him. 'The perpetrator of that con is this man, sitting right here.' She warned that the man trusted for his role as genial, sweater-wearing Dr. Cliff Huxtable on 'The Cosby Show' is 'nothing like the image that he played on TV.' The defense highlighted more than a dozen inconsistencies in what Constand has said over the years and painstakingly reviewed phone and travel records, saying they prove the alleged assault couldn't have happened when she says it did. They argued that he was charged after the 12-year statute of limitations for prosecuting him had run out. The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done. ___ Follow Mike Sisak at https://twitter.com/mikesisak ___ For more coverage visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial
  • An Atlanta rapper, accused of running a cross-country drug operation, was denied bond Tuesday, according to WSB-TV.  >> Read more trending news     Terrell Davis, known by his stage name “Ralo,” faces a federal charge of possession with intent to distribute. Authorities allege Davis sold drugs from several apartment units he rents in Atlanta dubbed “Ralo’s Hood,” WSB reported. Davis and eight of his associates, believed to be part of his purported gang Famerica, are named in an 11-page criminal complaint.  The complaint states Davis and his acquaintances traveled to California twice to retrieve 964 pounds of marijuana — worth nearly $2 million — with the intention of selling it in Atlanta. Davis was arrested April 15 at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport after he initially refused to leave the aircraft, authorities said.  >> Related: Feds: Famous rapper Terrell “Ralo” Davis caught flying into Atlanta with nearly $1M worth of pot Following Davis’ arrest, federal authorities raided three separate locations in southwest Atlanta allegedly connected to the case.  According to the affidavit, Davis and roughly 10 people boarded a Dec. 18 chartered jet from the Fulton County Airport to Sacramento, Calif. Four days later, the group returned to the Fulton airport, where federal and local surveillance teams saw Davis and the other passengers transfer 37 packages wrapped in white holiday paper from the jet to an Econoline van, which was registered to Davis’ southwest Atlanta address.  An employee with the charter company offered to help unload, but the passengers declined, the affidavit said.  Shortly after the van was loaded, the Georgia State Patrol arrested three men wearing “RaloFamgoon” attire inside the vehicle, which was spotted driving in the dark without lights on, according to the complaint. Authorities said they found 520 pounds of marijuana worth $1 million in the van.  >> Related: Federal raid at Atlanta apartment tied to rapper’s arrest, officials say A day after those arrests, Davis posted a picture of himself by a swimming pool with the caption: “I’ve lost more than a man have gained in a lifetime ... have you ever lost a million dollars at one time???” A week after the post, authorities said they received a passenger list from the flight and connected Davis to the men.  Four months after the shipment, federal officials were notified Davis and eight others traveled to Northern California again. This time they allegedly transported 17 packages containing marijuana weighing 444 pounds back to DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, according to the affidavit.  The packages, worth $880,000, were loaded onto a Chrysler 300. Not long after the car left the airport, the GSP stopped it and federal authorities took eight people into custody.  Davis, who remained on the plane, initially refused to comply with authorities’ commands. He later exited the aircraft, which allegedly smelled of marijuana, when police dogs were brought in to assist.  >> Related: Rapper Meek Mill released from prison after 5 months One of Davis’ supporters, Kalya Freeman, told WSB that despite the allegations, Davis often gave back to the community: “He’s a good person. He supports what we do. He supports everybody.”
  • Warner Bros. Pictures brought out the big names for its CinemaCon presentation Tuesday, from stars like Sandra Bullock to movies like 'Wonder Woman 2,' but it was Bradley Cooper's 'A Star is Born' that stole the show. Cooper showed the emotional first trailer for the film to conference attendees in Las Vegas to some hearty, and rare, applause from the crowd of theater owners and exhibitors. It's the directorial debut for Cooper, who also stars in the film alongside Lady Gaga, who plays the aspiring singer. This marks the third remake of 'A Star is Born,' which has classic versions with Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand in the role of the ingénue Lady Gaga is playing. 'It's a big swing this movie, I totally get that,' Cooper said. 'But you can't control what moves you. And I always wanted to tell a love story.' He added that Lady Gaga is 'kind of a revelation in this movie.' The film is three years in the making, and features live-singing on real stages at festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella. It hits theaters on Oct. 5. Warner Bros. teased a massive slate of films Tuesday, stressing the diversity of their lineup, of 'event films, DC tent-poles, animation, first class dramas, elevated horrors and comedies.' 'We love making all times of movies for all types of audiences,' said Warner Bros. Pictures Group chair Toby Emmerich. Actor Will Arnett moderated the lively presentation, riffing with 'Aquaman' star Jason Momoa about whether or not the famously ripped star will 'ever do a movie with his shirt on' and other stars like the women of 'Ocean's 8' and the cast of 'Crazy Rich Asians.' The studio showed new, and unfinished footage from James Wan's 'Aquaman' and also teased new details about a few anticipated sequels in video segments featuring 'Wonder Woman' director Patty Jenkins, who says the sequel will be set in the 1980s and shows Wonder Woman struggling with the 'temptations of our world,' and 'It' director Andy Muschietti, who says 'Chapter 2' will be scarier and 'more intense.' 'So bring your adult diapers to the theater,' Muschietti said. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr
  • Pop star Madonna has lost her battle to prevent an auction of her personal items, including a love letter from her ex-boyfriend, the late rapper Tupac Shakur, a pair of worn panties and a hairbrush containing her hair. Last year, a judge ordered Gotta Have It! Collectibles to pull the items from its impending rock 'n' roll-themed auction after the Material Girl sought an emergency court order. In a decision revealed Monday, the judge dismissed the case on grounds the statute of limitations to recover the items had passed. The auction house told The New York Times it had done due diligence on the items and was confident Madonna had no claim. The company says the auction will be in July. Starting bid for the Tupac letter is $100,000. ___ Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com

News

  • Jurors in the Tex McIver murder trial told Channel 2 Action News it took a lot of compromise to reach a verdict. The 12-person panel deliberated for four days before finally reaching a verdict Monday afternoon. They found the Atlanta attorney guilty of murdering his wife, Diane, as they rode in their SUV in September 2016. They also found him guilty of trying to influence a witness, Dani Jo Carter, who was driving the SUV at the time of the shooting. Earlier Monday it appeared that a verdict might never come when jurors told the judge they were deadlocked and couldn’t come to a unanimous decision on four of the five counts. The judge sent them back, telling them they needed to keep deliberating and continue to try for a verdict. RELATED STORIES: 5 things to know about Diane McIver Juror breakdown for the Tex McIver murder trial Tex McIver found guilty of murdering his wife A breakdown of the verdict in the Tex McIver trial After the trial ended, Channel 2 Action News spoke with some of the jurors outside the courthouse.  'It definitely took a lot of compromise on both sides of where we were with our deliberations,' juror Aubrey Gray said. 'There was definitely a point where we did not think we were going to get to guilt or innocence.” He said after the judge read them the Allen charge Monday afternoon, telling them they needed to keep deliberating and try to reach a verdict, they re-examined their positions and were able to come to a unanimous decision. “(We were able to) specifically look at the evidence, take away any emotion that we had, and that’s how we came up with our guilty verdict on four of the five counts,” Gray said. Gray said he was back and forth for much of deliberations. “I was in both camps for a while, flip-flopping sides, trying to come to a rational decision,” he said. Gray said there were several “gun experts” on the jury, who helped them talk through many of the questions. [SPECIAL SECTION: Tex McIver Trial] “That was one of our contingents the entire time, why was his hand, particularly his finger, on the trigger. And one of the key things for us, we had to look back at his statements to police when he said the gun just went off, and we finally decided that a gun just doesn’t go off,” Gray said. “It was not an accident. His hand was on the trigger. Guns just don’t go off.” Another juror, Lakeisha Boyd, said the deciding factor for her was also the finger on the trigger, and holding the gun inside the car. “We went back down to the vehicle. We were able to take the firearm to the vehicle and were able to test it out ourselves,” she said. Boyd said, at the end of the day, they did their job. “Justice was served,” she said.
  • The Latest on the White House visit of French President Emmanuel Macron (all times local): 1:20 p.m. President Donald Trump says U.S. troops will come home from Syria, but he wants to leave a 'strong and lasting footprint' in the region. Trump's comment signaled a softening in tone. Trump was insisting just a few weeks ago that he wanted to pull out U.S. troops and leave the job of rebuilding Syria to others in the region. Asked about his timeline for bringing the troops home, Trump reiterated his desire to exit Syria. But he also said that he and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed that neither of them wants to give Iran more of an opening in the region. Trump said 'we'll see what happens but we're going to be coming home relatively soon.' He commented during a White House news conference Tuesday with Macron, who is on a state visit to the U.S. ___ 1:15 p.m. French President Emmanuel Macron says he's confident about the future of his country's trading relationship with the U.S. He says it's good when allies work together. Macron says in a joint news conference with President Donald Trump that trade is balanced between the two countries and he's suggesting all nations follow the rules of the World Trade Organization. The French president has been critical of Trump's protectionist moves on trade in recent weeks and has called upon the U.S. to exempt European nations from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. ___ 1 p.m. President Donald Trump is thanking French President Emmanuel Macron for his partnership on the recent missile strikes against chemical weapons in Syria and the fight against terrorism. Trump says at a joint White House news conference that he will soon be meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He says the U.S. won't 'repeat the mistakes of past administrations' and will pressure the North Korean regime. Macron is pointing to the need for the Iran nuclear deal. He says he wants to work on a new deal in the weeks and months ahead. Macron says any new agreement would need to block any nuclear activity in Iran through 2025, cease any uranium activity and put an end to the country's ballistic missiles program. ___ 12:16 p.m. A pair of designers is responsible for Melania Trump's white skirt suit and matching hat. The first lady's office says Michael Kors designed the two-piece suit that Mrs. Trump wore for Tuesday's White House arrival ceremony for President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte. Mrs. Trump also wore the suit on an outing to the National Gallery of Art in Washington with Mrs. Macron. The first lady topped her outfit with a broad-brimmed white hat designed by Herve Pierre. Pierre designed the first lady's inaugural ball gown. The white hat quickly became the talk of the town, as well as on Twitter. Mrs. Trump typically doesn't wear hats. Still to come is Tuesday night's piece de resistance: the first lady's state dinner gown. ___ 10:40 a.m. President Donald Trump is warning that if Iran restarts its nuclear program it 'will have bigger problems than they have ever had before.' Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron will be discussing the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday during their meetings at the White House. Macron wants Trump to maintain the deal. Trump is undecided but has called it 'a terrible deal.' Though Trump has warmly welcomed Macron to Washington, the two have disagreements to sort through, including Trump's decision to leave the multinational Paris climate change agreement. While with Macron, Trump refused to answer a reporter's question as to whether he is considering a pardon for his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, whose office was raided by the FBI. Trump called it 'a stupid question.' Cohen has not been charged. ___ 9:54 a.m. French President Emmanuel Macron is highlighting the close ties between his nation and the United States during his visit to the White House. Macron, standing alongside President Donald Trump Tuesday, said 'America represents endless possibilities for my country.' He also told Trump that 'France shares with your country an ideal of freedom and peace.' Macron touted how the French fought alongside George Washington during the American Revolution, which laid the blueprint for cooperation between the nations. The French president, who enjoys a closer relationship with Trump than many of his European peers, said that France works alongside the U.S. on challenges like terrorism, North Korea and Iran. He is expected to lobby Trump to maintain the Iran nuclear deal and reconsider the decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. ___ 9:30 a.m. President Donald Trump is sending prayers to the Bush family and wishing former President George H.W. Bush a 'speedy recovery.' Trump is recognizing the former president as he greets French President Emmanuel Macron on the South Lawn of the White House. Bush has been hospitalized in Houston with an infection, just days after attending the funeral of his wife, Barbara Bush. Trump is also sending the nation's sympathies to the Canadian people following the 'horrendous tragedy' in Toronto. A driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk in Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring 15 others. Trump says the nation's hearts are with the grieving families in Canada. ___ 9:25 a.m. President Donald Trump says the 'wonderful friendship' he has developed with French President Emmanuel Macron is a testament to two nations' enduring alliance. Trump is thanking Macron for his 'steadfast partnership' in responding to the recent chemical attack in Syria. The president is speaking at an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. Trump and Macron are meeting Tuesday on a number of issues, including the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the crisis in Syria. The two leaders are holding a joint news conference later in the morning and then Macron will be honored with Trump's first state dinner. ___ 9 a.m. President Donald Trump is welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House in a formal arrival ceremony. The president and first lady are greeting Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, on rolled-out red carpet on the South Lawn. The arrival is heavy on pomp, with nearly 500 U.S. service-members from all five military branches participating in the ceremonial welcome, which includes a 'Review of the Troops.' Vice President Mike Pence and several members of Trump's Cabinet, lawmakers, and military families are in attendance. The audience includes students from the Maya Angelou French Immersion School in Temple Hills, Maryland. The two leaders are spending the morning in meetings and then will hold a joint news conference. On Tuesday night, Macron will be feted at Trump's first state dinner. ___ 12:50 a.m. A sit-down between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron followed by a joint news conference highlight the business portion of the French leader's second day in Washington. The pageantry of Macron's official state visit, the first of the Trump presidency, comes Tuesday night with a lavish state dinner at the White House. About 150 guests are expected to dine on rack of lamb and nectarine tart and enjoy an after-dinner performance by the Washington National Opera. Monday night was more relaxed, featuring a helicopter tour of Washington landmarks and a trip to the Potomac River home of George Washington for dinner. Pomp and ceremony aside, Trump and Macron disagree on some fundamental issues. A prime dividing point is the multinational Iran nuclear deal, which Trump wants to abandon.
  • To the Trump administration, the recovered missile fragments were incontrovertible proof that Iran was illicitly arming Yemen's Houthi rebels. Yet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif brushed it off Tuesday as little more than cheese puffs. During a visit to New York, the Iranian diplomat accused U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley of displaying fabricated evidence that missiles lobbed by the Houthis at civilian areas in Saudi Arabia originated in Iran. Though Tehran supports the Shiite rebel group, it firmly denies giving them missiles. But Haley has invited journalists and U.N. Security Council diplomats to inspect missile parts recovered after strikes on Saudi Arabia, bearing what U.S. military officials said were Iranian markings and characteristics. Zarif, in an Associated Press interview, said that one such logo was from the Standard Institute of Iran, which he said regulates consumer goods — not weapons. 'It's a sign of quality,' Zarif said. 'When people want to buy it, they look at whether it's been tested by the Standard Institute of Iran that your cheese puffs are good, your cheese puffs will not give you a stomach ache.' He laughed and added, 'I mean, nobody will put the logo of the Standard Institute of Iran on a piece of missile.' Zarif also pointed to a truck-size section of a missile that the U.S. said was recovered in Saudi Arabia and was transferred to a military base near Washington, where it was on display behind Haley for a photo-op. Zarif noted that the missile had been supposedly shot down in mid-air. 'I'm not saying Ambassador Haley is fabricating, but somebody is fabricating the evidence she is showing,' Zarif said. Some of the fragments Haley presented, if authentic, would seem to implicate Iran's military industry more directly, including some with the logo of Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group, an Iranian defense entity under U.S. sanctions. Haley said others had clear 'Iranian missile fingerprints,' such as short-range ballistic missiles that lacked large stabilizers — a feature she said only Iran's Qiam missiles have. 'Just imagine if this missile had been launched at Dulles Airport or JFK, or the airports in Paris, London or Berlin,' Haley told reporters late last year. 'That's what we're talking about here.' Tehran's denials aside, there's broad agreement among the United Nations, Western countries and the Persian Gulf's Arab leaders that Iran has armed the Houthis with ballistic missiles, even though U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit it. With U.S. support, a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen's civil war has been bombing the Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa and much of northern Yemen. Yet Iran's opponents have struggled to provide foolproof evidence to back up their claims, creating an opening for Iran to deny. After Haley's presentations at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, some national security experts raised questions, even drawing parallels to Secretary of State Colin Powell's 2003 speech to the U.N. making the case for the Iraq War. The fragments Haley presented were turned over to the U.S. by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — two of Iran's fiercest critics — and U.S. military officials had trouble tracing the fragments' chain of custody. Nor could they say when the weapons were transferred to the Houthis or in some cases precisely when they were launched.
  • A woman with multiple sclerosis says Delta Air Lines employees tied her to her wheelchair because she can’t sit up on her own and they didn’t have the chair she needed. >> Watch the news report here Maria Saliagas travels to Europe with her husband every year. When she was diagnosed with MS five years ago, she didn’t want to break her tradition of traveling with her husband. >> Southwest Airlines cancels dozens of flights amid inspections after deadly engine failure She said Delta normally accommodates her by making sure staff members have a proper wheelchair that has straps to help her sit up straight. When she flew out of Atlanta on April 1 and arrived in Amsterdam, Delta didn’t have a chair with straps, so employees tied her to a regular wheelchair with someone else’s blanket, said her son, Nathan Saliagas. >> Memorial service held for woman killed during Southwest Airlines flight “They took a dirty blanket and tied her forcefully with it, and she has bruise marks on part of her arm because it was so tight and she started crying. That’s when that picture was taken,” Saliagas said. A Delta representative sent WSB-TV a statement about the incident, saying:  “We regret the perception our service has left on these customers. We have reached out to them, not only to resolve their concerns, but also ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations.” >> Read more trending news  The family returns to Atlanta on April 30. When the family complained to Delta, they said the airline offered them 20,000 free SkyMiles, but they said that's not enough.  They want to see a policy change regarding how Delta handles passengers with disabilities.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday wades into one of the more controversial policy matters of the Trump Administration, as the Justices will hear arguments on the merits of the revised effort by President Donald Trump to block certain foreign nationals from traveling to the United States, what critics often deride as his “Muslim ban.” Before the Court is the third version of the Trump travel order, which began just a week into his Presidency, as an effort to stop travel to the U.S. by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries. After the first two versions were blocked by the courts – this third one would limit visits to the United States by people from Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iran, and Somalia, and slow down the number of refugees accepted into the U.S. “As President, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” Mr. Trump said as he issued the third version of the travel order in September of 2017. Lower courts have ruled against the Trump plan. The travel order is being challenged by the state of Hawaii, which has tried to use the President’s past statements and tweets about the threat of Islamic terrorism against the travel order, which the Supreme Court allowed to take effect while the case was being litigated. “The arguments against the travel ban come from every corner of our country,” says Neal Katyal, who will carry Hawaii’s case before the Justices. “It comes down to who we are as a nation,” Katyal wrote. THREAD 1. The backgrounds and perspectives of those articulating arguments against the travel ban in #TrumpvHawaii are remarkable in their breadth and diversity. Their chorus is deafening: the ban is unconstitutional, unprecedented, unnecessary and un-American. — Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) April 24, 2018 Interest in the case has been strong, as the line for public seats began forming on Monday outside the U.S. Supreme Court. The arguments on the Trump travel order come as lower courts are still duking it out over efforts by the President to terminate the DACA program from the Obama Administration – that question is expected to reach the Justices in coming months. On Tuesday evening, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. became the third to block the President’s effort to end DACA, the program which allows younger illegal immigrant “Dreamers” to temporarily stay in the U.S. and avoid deportation proceedings. “DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious because the Department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful,” wrote Judge John Bates, though he gave the feds 90 days to better explain the decision. Judge Bates (DDC) finds DACA rescission unlawful (but note the different remedy than in prior cases; Judge Bates vacates the rescission, but stays it for 90 days to allow admin to offer a justification that might support the policy): https://t.co/ZfPkiBciYr — Leah Litman (@LeahLitman) April 24, 2018 As with the Trump travel order, the President’s effort on DACA could be on the docket next term for the Justices.
  • It took a big money push from the Republican Party, tweets by the president and the support of the state's current and former governors, but the GOP held onto an Arizona U.S. House seat they would have never considered endangered in any other year. Tuesday's narrow victory by Republican Debbie Lesko over a Democratic political newcomer sends a big message to Republicans nationwide: Even the reddest of districts in a red state can be in play this year. Early returns show Lesko winning by about 5 percentage points in Arizona's 8th Congressional District where Donald Trump won by 21 percentage points. The former state senator defeated Hiral Tipirneni, a former emergency room physician who had hoped to replicate surprising Democratic wins in Pennsylvania, Alabama and other states in a year where opposition to President Trump's policies have boosted the party's chances in Republican strongholds. Republican political consultant Chuck Coughlin called Tuesday's special election margin 'not good' for national Republicans looking at their chances in November. 'They should clean house in this election,' said Coughlin, longtime adviser to former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. 'There's a drag on the midterms for Republican candidates that's being created by the national narrative. And it would be very hard to buck that trend if you're in swing districts, much less close districts, if you can't change that narrative between now and November.' Lesko replaces former Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican who resigned in December amid sexual misconduct allegations. A former aide told The Associated Press that he pressed her to carry his child as a surrogate and offered her $5 million. The district sprawls across western Phoenix suburbs, covering some of the most conservative areas of the red state, including the retirement community of Sun City. At a victory party in her Glendale neighborhood, Lesko greeted supporters and looked back in wonder. 'I've really come a long way and this is really quite overwhelming, it's very surreal,' she said. 'Twenty-five years ago I left an abusive husband and I sure as heck never would have dreamt in a million years that I would be running for Congress to be a congresswoman.' Brewer, who backed Lesko and was at her victory party, also warned that Republicans need to make changes if they want to hold the district and other seats in November elections. 'I think all Republicans need to wake up and listen to what the public wants,' she said. 'Before November, we're going to have to work very hard. We're going to have to listen to our constituents.' Tipirneni worked the district hard, making inroads rarely seen in an area that hadn't elected a Democrat since the early 1980s. She was seen as a fresh Democratic face with relatively moderate views that could get support in the district. Making a push for older voters, she had said Lesko would vote to go after entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid to pay for tax cuts that mainly benefit the wealthy. She's pushed a plan to allow some people to buy into Medicare. Tipirneni said she plans to run in November's general election and told supporters not to give up the cause. She said that despite the big Republican advantage in the district, the results show people were ready for a change. 'We have a very short amount of time, and clearly Ms. Lesko she had the registration numbers a little bit in her favor and she also had the name recognition,' Tipirneni said. 'But given more time I know we can get more folks on our side.' The Associated Press called the race for Lesko after state officials released tallies of more than 155,000 mail-in ballots, which represent about 75 percent of the votes expected. National Republican groups spent big to back Lesko, pouring in more than $500,000 in the suburban Phoenix district for television and mail ads and phone calls to voters. On Election Day, Trump and current Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey urged Republicans to go to the polls and vote for Lesko. National Democratic groups, meanwhile, didn't commit money to the race, a sign they didn't believe the seat was in play. Several Republican voters who spoke with AP said they backed Lesko primarily because she supported Trump's border security plans. David Hunt, a 64-year-old retired construction and warehouse worker from Glendale, said he cast his vote Tuesday for Lesko because he believed that immigrants in the country illegally are creating unfair competition for jobs for recent high school students in Arizona. 'She's the best candidate to deal with the porous border,' Hunt said. His views were echoed by Larry Bettis, a retiree from Glendale. 'Immigration - the fence,' Bettis said. 'That's all I really care about.' Democrats said they wanted to send a message to Trump and supported Democratic health care plans. 'I don't like the president and felt it was time to take a stand,' said Nikole Allen, a 45-year-old medical assistant from New York now living in Glendale. 'It's time for us to vote the Republicans out.