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Tuesday, February 23, 2021 1:10 am

Nation

Justices won't halt Trump tax release

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – In a significant defeat for former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to step in to halt the turnover of his tax records to a New York state prosecutor.

Trump's tax records are not supposed to become public as part of prosecutors' criminal investigation, but the high court's action is a blow to Trump because he has long fought on so many fronts to keep his tax records shielded from view.

In a statement, the Trump said the “Supreme Court never should have let this 'fishing expedition' happen, but they did.” The Republican claimed the investigation is politically motivated and said he would “fight on” and that “We will win!”

Vance has disclosed little about what prompted him to seek more than eight years of Trump's personal and corporate tax records. In one court filing last year, however, prosecutors said they were justified in demanding the records because of public reports of “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.”

Boeing calls for engine grounding

Boeing has recommended that airlines ground all 777s with the type of engine that blew apart after takeoff from Denver this weekend, and most carriers that fly those planes said they would temporarily pull them from service.

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered United Airlines to step up inspections of the aircraft after one of its flights made an emergency landing at Denver International Airport on Saturday as pieces of the casing of the engine, a Pratt & Whitney PW4000, rained down on suburban neighborhoods. The flight landed safely, authorities said.

United – the only U.S. airline with the engine in its fleet, according to the FAA – has grounded its 24 planes with the engine.

Boeing said there were 69 777s with the Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines in service.

Virginia OKs end of death penalty

State lawmakers in Virginia gave final approval Monday to legislation that will end capital punishment, a dramatic turnaround for a state that has executed more people in its long history than any other.

The legislation repealing the death penalty now heads to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who has said he will sign it into law, making Virginia the 23rd state to stop executions.

“There's a realization that it is time to end this outdated practice that tends to bring more harm to victims' family members than providing us any comfort or solace,” said Rachel Sutphin, whose father, Cpl. Eric Sutphin, was fatally shot in 2006 while working for the Montgomery County sheriff's office. William Morva, the man convicted of killing Eric Sutphin, was executed in 2017.

Voting machine firm sues Lindell

Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit Monday against the founder and CEO of MyPillow, saying that Mike Lindell falsely accused the company of rigging the 2020 presidential election.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in the District of Columbia alleges that Lindell ignored repeated warnings from Dominion, a voting technology company that has filed similar lawsuits against Donald Trump lawyers Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell. Dominion accuses Lindell of repeatedly telling what the suit labels the “Big Lie” that the company used its technology to steal the election.

Lindell, known as the “MyPillow Guy” from his TV commercials, told The Associated Press that he welcomed the lawsuit and said the discovery process will prove him right.

Garland vows to battle extremists

Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's attorney general nominee, vowed Monday to prioritize combating extremist violence and said his first focus would be on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as he sought to assure lawmakers that the Justice Department would remain politically independent on his watch.

Garland faced questioning about his plans to handle politically sensitive cases like the federal tax investigation involving Biden's son Hunter Biden, and the special counsel's inquiry started by William Barr while he was attorney general into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Garland said he agreed to the nomination as attorney general because the president had vowed that “decisions about investigations and prosecutions will be left to the Justice Department.”

Police criticized in Black man's death

The results of an investigation into the fatal arrest of Elijah McClain in suburban Denver released Monday criticizes how police handled the incident, faulting officers for quick, aggressive treatment of the 23-year-old Black man and the department for having a weak accountability system that failed to press for the truth on what happened.

The investigation commissioned by the city of Aurora found “two contrasting stories” of what happened to McClain in August 2019 after someone reported him as suspicious. One, based on officers' statements to investigators, where police describe a violent, relentless struggle. And another based on body camera footage in which McClain can be heard crying out, apologizing, explaining himself and pleading with officers as they restrained him, applied “pain compliance” techniques and sat or knelt on him.

El Chapo's wife arrested in US

The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was arrested Monday in the United States and accused of helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar cartel and plot his audacious escape from a Mexican prison in 2015.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, a 31-year-old former beauty queen, was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and is expected to appear in federal court in Washington today. She is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico.

Guzman, whose two dramatic prison escapes in Mexico fed into a legend that he and his family were all but untouchable, was extradited to the United States in 2017 and is serving life in prison.

Limbaugh honor provokes Dems

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' order to fly flags at half-staff after the death of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is running into Democratic resistance.

Republican DeSantis called Limbaugh a “legend.” But Nikki Fried, Florida's agriculture commissioner, said “the governor is bending over backwards to honor a radio host who has consistently made racist, polarizing and conspiracy comments.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, tweeted Monday he would defy the order. “In St. Pete we don't honor hatred, racism, bigotry, homophobia, or anything else he has spewed over the years.


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