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  • 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.
  • The Supreme Court is saving one of its biggest cases for last. The justices are hearing arguments Wednesday over President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from several mostly Muslim countries. It's the last case the justices will hear until October. The Trump administration is asking the court to reverse lower court rulings striking down the ban. The policy has been fully in effect since December, but this is the first time the justices are considering whether it violates immigration law or the Constitution. The court will consider whether the president can indefinitely keep people out of the country based on nationality. It will also look at whether the policy is aimed at excluding Muslims from the United States. People have been waiting in line for a seat for days. In another sign of heightened public interest, the court is taking the rare step of making an audio recording of the proceedings available just hours after the arguments end. The last time was the gay marriage arguments in 2015. The travel ban is the first Trump policy to undergo a full-blown Supreme Court review. The justices are looking at the third version of a policy that Trump first rolled out a week after taking office, triggering chaos and protests across the U.S. as travelers were stopped from boarding international flights and detained at airports for hours. The first version was blocked by courts and withdrawn. Its replacement was allowed to take partial effect, but expired in September. The current version is indefinite and now applies to travelers from five countries with overwhelmingly Muslim populations — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also affects two non-Muslim countries: blocking travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families. A sixth majority Muslim country, Chad, was removed from the list this month after improving 'its identity-management and information sharing practices,' Trump said in a proclamation. Trump's campaign pledge to shut down Muslim entry into the U.S., his presidential tweets about the travel ban and last fall's retweets of inflammatory videos that stoked anti-Islam sentiment all could feature in the justices' questioning of Solicitor General Noel Francisco, defending the ban, and Neal Katyal, the former acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama. Katyal is representing the challengers. The administration has argued that courts have no role to play because the president has broad powers over immigration and national security, and foreigners have no right to enter the country. Francisco also has said in written arguments that Trump's September proclamation laying out the current policy comports with immigration law and does not violate the Constitution because it does not single out Muslims. The challengers, backed by a diverse array of supporting legal briefs, have said that Trump is flouting immigration law by trying to keep more than 150 million people, the vast majority of them Muslim, from entering the country. They also argue that it amounts to the Muslim ban that Trump called for as a candidate, violating the Constitution's prohibition against religious bias. A decision in Trump v. Hawaii, 17-965, is expected by late June.
  • Attorneys for a condemned Texas prisoner asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his execution scheduled for Wednesday evening for killing a young girl and her grandmother in a gang-related shooting a decade ago that turned a child's birthday party in Fort Worth into a bloodbath. Erick Davila faced lethal injection for using a laser-sighted semi-automatic rifle to spray bullets at the gathering of about 20 people — more than a dozen of them children — outside an apartment. The gunfire was in apparent retaliation for a previous run-in with one of the people attending the party for a 9-year-old girl. Killed in the April 2008 attack were Annette Stevenson, 48, and her 5-year-old granddaughter, Queshawn Stevenson. Four others were wounded, including the birthday girl. Davila, 31, would be the fifth Texas inmate executed and the ninth nationally. Davila's attorneys argued to the Supreme Court that his execution should be stopped because it was improper for his trial judge, Sharen Wilson, now the Tarrant County district attorney, to request an execution date. They also questioned the role of a lawyer working with Wilson on capital appeals cases who previously represented Davila in an earlier appeal. The appeal also contended prosecutors withheld information that Davila was high on drugs at the time of the shootings and 'likely intoxicated to the degree that it would have rendered him temporarily insane,' lawyer Seth Kretzer told the high court in a filing. He argued that could have influenced jurors to decide on a lesser penalty, and questioned whether the way Texas juries decide death sentences is constitutionally proper. State attorneys said Wilson never represented Davila, and state law and court rulings allow her office to represent the state's interests in the case. Prosecutors also argued Wilson prohibits assistants from participating in cases where they were defense lawyers and that courts have upheld the state's capital sentencing procedure. They also said evidence showed Davila's trial attorneys properly were provided notes from police investigators, that voluntary intoxication is not a defense under Texas law and that the shootings were intentional and deliberate. Katherine Hayes, an assistant Texas attorney general, told the justices that Davila told detectives he went 'to a shoot 'em up,' was trying to 'get the guys on the porch' and never mentioned any intoxication to police. Defense lawyers at Davila's trial tried to show he didn't intend to kill multiple people, a criterion for the capital murder charge. They argued he instead only intended to kill Jerry Stevenson, whose daughter and mother were shot to death. Authorities said Stevenson belonged to a rival gang, which he denied, but whose members Davila blamed for shooting him in 2005. Queshawn Stevenson's sister, then 11, testified she saw a man April 6, 2008, inside a dark car holding a gun with 'a red dot' on it, and a short time later saw him standing next door and shoot. Davila was caught the next day after a brief police chase. He previously was in prison for a 2004 burglary in Tarrant County and was released after about a year. Davila was accused but not tried for another fatal shooting days before the birthday party slayings. While awaiting trial for capital murder, evidence showed he attacked Tarrant County jailers and maintenance workers during an escape attempt. At the time of his trial, testimony showed Davila's father was in prison for a murder conviction. Charges against the getaway driver, Garfield Thompson II, were dropped after he pleaded guilty in unrelated cases. He's serving 20 years in prison.
  • As President Donald Trump's pick to lead Veterans Affairs skids to a halt, senators from both parties are voicing frustration that the White House is skipping crucial vetting of nominees and leaving lawmakers to clean up the mess. That sentiment was evident Tuesday on Capitol Hill after senators delayed hearings for White House physician Ronny Jackson, Trump's surprise pick to head the VA. Jackson is facing questions about improper workplace behavior, and even Trump himself acknowledged that there were concerns about his nominee's experience. 'The White House still seems to be feeling its way on the nomination process,' said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, 'and does not fully appreciate how important it is to do a thorough vetting and FBI background check on nominees.' Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said that while lawmakers want to be 'deferential as much as we can' to the president's preferences for his Cabinet, 'it would be nice to know some of the issues that come up after the fact before the fact.' Trump, who promised to fill his administration with the 'best people,' often gravitates toward advisers he has a personal connection with or who look the part, drawing on the approach he took as a business executive. But as president, the result is a growing list of Cabinet secretaries and other officials who do not appear to undergo the rigorous scrutiny typically expected for White House hires. Andy Puzder, Trump's initial choice to lead the Labor Department, stepped aside before his confirmation hearings, in part over taxes he belatedly paid on a former housekeeper not authorized to work in the United States. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price won confirmation, but ultimately resigned amid disclosures about his expensive travel habits. Others are fighting similar charges, most notably Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt faces multiple allegations of improper housing, expensing and other practices, prompting several lawmakers to call for him to step down. The Senate has increasingly become a partisan battleground for nomination fights, a war that escalated when President Barack Obama was in the White House and Senate Democrats, who had majority control, changed the rules to allow majority vote for confirming most nominees — the so-called nuclear option — to get around GOP filibusters. Republicans returned the favor once Trump was in the White House, and they had the Senate majority, deploying the tactic to seat Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Some GOP senators argue that Democrats are slow-walking even those Trump nominees with a solid track record, including Mike Pompeo, who got votes from 14 Democrats and one aligned independent last year during his confirmation for CIA director. Pompeo is now in line to run the State Department, but has faced stiff opposition from some of the same Democrats who backed him a year ago. The Democratic opponents are going to 'embarrass themselves,' said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Thune called it 'really a new low.' But questions about the White House's vetting standards have no doubt given Democrats fresh ammunition to challenge Trump's Cabinet picks. 'Our Republican colleagues bemoan the pace of the nominations,' said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. But he said because of the administration's 'quick, sloppy vetting process,' the Senate job of vetting nominees 'is more important than ever before.' Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said senators don't have to agree with a nominee's position on the issue, but the Senate has a historic role — to advise and consent — that the president's picks are up to the job. 'We're not going to allow nominees to be jammed through without proper scrutiny and debate,' Murray said. 'Now hopefully, the events of the last 24 hours have made it very clear why this is so important.' Asked about the adequacy of vetting process Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that such questions are better raised with the White House. 'Look,' McConnell said, 'it's up to the administration to do the vetting.' ___ Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor in Washington contributed to this report. ___ Follow Mascaro on Twitter at https://Twitter.com/LisaMascaro
  • His nomination in peril, Veterans Affairs nominee Ronny Jackson fought to convince lawmakers of his leadership abilities as more details of accusations against him emerged, ranging from repeated drunkenness to a toxic work environment as he served as a top White House doctor. President Donald Trump sent mixed signals about his choice to lead the sprawling veterans' agency, suggesting during a White House news conference that Jackson may want to withdraw because of unfair scrutiny. But the president privately urged his nominee to keep fighting to win Senate confirmation, and Jackson showed few signs of backing down. A watchdog report requested in 2012 and reviewed by The Associated Press found that Jackson and a rival physician exhibited 'unprofessional behaviors' as they engaged in a power struggle over the White House medical unit. The six-page report by the Navy's Medical Inspector General found a lack of trust in the leadership and low morale among staff members, who described the working environment as 'being caught between parents going through a bitter divorce.' 'There is a severe and pervasive lack of trust in the leadership that has deteriorated to the point that staff walk on 'eggshells,'' the assessment found. The inspector general report reviewed by The AP included no references to improper prescribing of drugs or the use of alcohol, separate allegations revealed by a Senate committee. Jackson declined to answer reporters' questions about those allegations and gave no indication he would withdraw. The White House disputed that he had improperly administered medication, saying the medical unit passed regular audits by the Controlled Substance Inventory Board. The audit appeared to contradict public statements from Jackson, who denied the existence of any inspector general report detailing troubling behavior. After the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee abruptly postponed his confirmation hearing, which had been set for Wednesday, Jackson visited lawmakers to assure them he was fit to lead the VA. 'I'm looking forward to getting it rescheduled and answering everybody's questions,' he said in video captured by MSNBC, referring to his hearing. During a White House news conference, Trump insisted he would stand behind Jackson, calling the White House doctor 'one of the finest people that I have met.' But he questioned why Jackson would want to put himself through the confirmation fight, which he characterized as unfair. 'I wouldn't do it,' Trump said in the East Room, standing next to French President Emmanuel Macron. 'What does he need it for? What do you need this for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians that aren't thinking nicely about our country?' Trump asked. Trump said Jackson, who has been a White House physician since 2006, would make a decision soon. Jackson met privately with Trump Tuesday afternoon in the Oval Office and the president urged him to keep fighting to win confirmation, according to a White House official briefed on the meeting. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions, said Jackson denied the allegations. Digging in, the White House released handwritten reports from Trump and former President Barack Obama praising Jackson's leadership and medical care, and recommending him for promotion. Obama wrote in one report, 'Promote to Rear Admiral now.' Trump wrote last year that Jackson is 'A GREAT DOCTOR + LEADER - '2 STAR MATERIAL.'' A doomed VA nomination would be a political blow to the White House, which has faced criticism for sloppy vetting of Cabinet nominees and tough confirmation battles in a Senate where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority. Prior to Jackson's nomination, Trump had told aides and outside advisers that he was fond of Jackson personally and was said to be particularly impressed with Jackson's performance at the White House press room podium in January, when he offered a glowing report on the president's physical and mental well-being. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the American people were the losers in a shaky nomination effort. The Trump Cabinet, he said, 'is turning into a sad game of musical chairs.' Trump tapped Jackson last month after firing former Obama administration official David Shulkin following an ethics scandal and mounting rebellion within the agency. But Jackson has faced numerous questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as veterans groups, about whether he has the experience to manage the massive department of 360,000 employees serving 9 million veterans. Allegations began surfacing late last week involving Jackson's workplace practices, including claims of inappropriate behavior and over-prescribing prescription drugs, according to two aides granted anonymity to discuss the situation. The complaints the White House heard include that he oversaw a poor work environment and that he had drunk alcohol on the job, according to an administration official who demanded anonymity to speak on a sensitive personnel matter. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee said it would postpone indefinitely Jackson's hearing to give it more time to sort through the allegations. Detailing the allegations to NPR, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, the committee's top Democrat, said more than 20 current and retired military personnel had made complaints to the committee about Jackson. They included claims that Jackson was 'repeatedly drunk' while on travel with Obama and that on overseas trips he excessively handed out prescription drugs to help travelers sleep and wake up. Tester later told CNN that Jackson was known inside the White House as 'the candy man,' because he would hand out prescription drugs 'like candy.' Jackson is also accused of creating a 'toxic work environment,' Tester said on NPR. 'He is the physician for the president, and in the previous administration we were told the stories he was repeatedly drunk while on duty, where his main job was to take care of the most powerful man in the world. That's not acceptable,' Tester said. Asked if Jackson's nomination is still viable, the committee chairman, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., responded, 'We'll see.' The two lawmakers sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday requesting additional information about Jackson. It demands any communication between the Pentagon and the White House for the last 12 years regarding 'allegations or incidents' involving him. The 2012 assessment reviewed by the AP suggested the White House consider replacing Jackson or Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman — or both. Kuhlman was the physician to Obama at the time, and had previously held the role occupied by Jackson: director of the White House medical unit. According to the report, Jackson admitted he had failed to shield the White House medical unit from the leadership drama. He is quoted saying he was willing to do what was necessary to straighten out the command, even if it 'meant finding a new position in Navy Medicine.' The report stated that the 'vast majority' of those interviewed said Kuhlman had 'irrevocably damaged his ability to effectively lead.' It added that 'many also believe that CAPT Jackson has exhibited poor leadership,' but attributed those failures to the relationship with Kuhlman. The report quoted unnamed members of the White House medical unit who, while participating in a focus group, used phrases like 'Worst command ever,' ''No one trusts anyone' and 'The leaders are child-like.' Jackson was named physician to the President in 2013, after Kuhlman left the unit entirely. Still, a follow-up assessment was done in 2013, and found that the climate in the office had improved a great deal, according to an official familiar with the report. At that point, Jackson was still in the office, but Kuhlman had left. ___ Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro, Catherine Lucey, Lolita Baldor, Alan Fram and Matthew Daly contributed to this report.