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FDA advisors endorse new RSV antibody drug for babies

RSV is a seasonal virus that lands tens of thousands of young children in the hospital every year. On Thursday, advisors to the FDA voted in favor of approving a long-acting antibody that protects infants from RSV.

Christoph Soeder/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Christoph Soeder/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration have recommended that the agency approve a new antibody drug to protect infants from serious lung illnesses caused by respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV.

On Thursday, the panel voted in favor of FDA approval for the injectable antibody medication – called nirsevimab – after hours of testimony from the drugmaker AstraZeneca, FDA scientists and the public.

The question before the panel was whether the benefits of the treatment outweigh the risks. The drug, if approved, would afford babies protection from the virus in their first RSV seasons with a single shot.

There was unanimous support on the 21-person committee for approving the drug’s use in infants ahead of or during their first RSV season. And, in a separate vote, all but two members of the panel supported giving the drug to infants with medical risks through their second RSV season.

RSV is a viral infection that puts between 58,000 to 80,000 young children in the hospital each year, making it the leading cause of hospitalization among infants in the U.S.

While the FDA isn’t required to follow recommendations, it usually does. The agency is expected to decide in the third quarter of 2023.

If it’s approved in that timeframe, the companies say they’re ready to launch the preventive shot in the U.S. ahead of the 2023-2024 RSV season. The antibody was approved last fall by authorities in the EU, and is currently being considered for use in several Asian countries.

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Supreme Court rules in favor of Black Alabama voters in unexpected defense of Voting Rights Act

FILE – The Supreme Court is seen on April 21, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
FILE – The Supreme Court is seen on April 21, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

By MARK SHERMAN (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a surprising 5-4 ruling in favor of Black voters in a congressional redistricting case from Alabama, with two conservative justices joining liberals in rejecting a Republican-led effort to weaken a landmark voting rights law.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh aligned with the court’s liberals in affirming a lower-court ruling that found a likely violation of the Voting Rights Act in an Alabama congressional map with one majority Black seat out of seven districts in a state where more than one in four residents is Black. The state now will have to draw a new map for next year’s elections.

The decision was keenly anticipated for its potential effect on control of the closely divided U.S. House of Representatives. Because of the ruling, new maps are likely in Alabama and Louisiana that could allow Democratic-leaning Black voters to elect their preferred candidates in two more congressional districts.

The outcome was unexpected in that the court had allowed the challenged Alabama map to be used for the 2022 elections, and in arguments last October the justices appeared willing to make it harder to challenge redistricting plans as racially discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The chief justice himself suggested last year that he was open to changes in the way courts weigh discrimination claims under the part of the law known as section 2. But on Thursday, Roberts wrote that the court was declining “to recast our section 2 case law as Alabama requests.”

Roberts also was part of conservative high-court majorities in earlier cases that made it harder for racial minorities to use the Voting Rights Act in ideologically divided rulings in 2013 and 2021.

The other four conservative justices dissented Thursday. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the decision forces “Alabama to intentionally redraw its longstanding congressional districts so that black voters can control a number of seats roughly proportional to the black share of the State’s population. Section 2 demands no such thing, and, if it did, the Constitution would not permit it.”

The Biden administration sided with the Black voters in Alabama.

Attorney General Merrick Garland applauded the ruling: “Today’s decision rejects efforts to further erode fundamental voting rights protections, and preserves the principle that in the United States, all eligible voters must be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote free from discrimination based on their race.”

Evan Milligan, a Black voter and the lead plaintiff in the case, said the ruling was a victory for democracy and people of color.

“We are grateful that the Supreme Court upheld what we knew to be true: that everyone deserves to have their vote matter and their voice heard. Today is a win for democracy and freedom not just in Alabama but across the United States,” Milligan said.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl said in a statement that state lawmakers would comply with the ruling. “Regardless of our disagreement with the Court’s decision, we are confident the Alabama Legislature will redraw district lines that ensure the people of Alabama are represented by members who share their beliefs, while following the requirements of applicable law,” Wahl said.

But Steve Marshall, the state’s Republican attorney general, said he expects to continue defending the challenged map in federal court, including at a full trial. “Although the majority’s decision is disappointing, this case is not over,” Marshall said in a statement.

Deuel Ross, a civil rights lawyer who argued the case at the Supreme Court, said the justices have validated the lower court’s view in this case. A full trial “doesn’t seem a good use of Alabama’s time, resources or the money of the people to continue to litigate their case.”

The case stems from challenges to Alabama’s seven-district congressional map, which included one district in which Black voters form a large enough majority that they have the power to elect their preferred candidate. The challengers said that one district is not enough, pointing out that overall, Alabama’s population is more than 25% Black.

A three-judge court, with two appointees of former President Donald Trump, had little trouble concluding that the plan likely violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting the votes of Black Alabamians. That “likely” violation was the standard under which the preliminary injunction was issued by the three-judge panel, which ordered a new map drawn.

But the state quickly appealed to the Supreme Court, where five conservative justices prevented the lower-court ruling from going forward. At the same time, the court decided to hear the Alabama case.

Louisiana’s congressional map had separately been identified as probably discriminatory by a lower court. That map, too, remained in effect last year and now will have to be redrawn.

The National Redistricting Foundation said in a statement that its pending lawsuits over congressional districts in Georgia and Texas also could be affected.

Separately, the Supreme Court in the fall will hear South Carolina’s appeal of a lower-court ruling that found Republican lawmakers stripped Black voters from a district to make it safer for a Republican candidate. That case also could lead to a redrawn map in South Carolina, where six U.S. House members are Republicans and one is a Democrat.

Partisan politics also underlies the Alabama case. Republicans who dominate elective office in Alabama have been resistant to creating a second district with a Democratic-leaning Black majority, or close to one, that could send another Democrat to Congress.

The judges found that Alabama concentrated Black voters in one district, while spreading them out among the others to make it much more difficult to elect more than one candidate of their choice.

Alabama’s Black population is large enough and geographically compact enough to create a second district, the judges found.

Denying discrimination, Alabama argued that the lower court ruling would have forced it to sort voters by race and insisted it was taking a “race neutral” approach to redistricting.

At arguments in October, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson scoffed at the idea that race could not be part of the equation. Jackson, the court’s first Black woman, said that constitutional amendments passed after the Civil War and the Voting Rights Act a century later were intended to do the same thing, make Black Americans “equal to white citizens.”


Associated Press writer Kim Chandler contributed to this report from Montgomery, Alabama.

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Why the Charter School Movement Is Pushing Back on a Religious Charter

A Catholic school, newly approved in Oklahoma, is testing the bounds of what it means to be a charter — uncomfortably so for some leaders.

When Ember Reichgott Junge, a Democratic state senator from Minnesota, sponsored the country’s first charter school law in 1991, she envisioned a new kind of public school.

Parents, she said, were clamoring for more school choice, not unlike today. Republicans tended to be for school vouchers, which help families pay for private school, including religious education. Fellow Democrats often wanted more funding for traditional public schools.

Charter schools gained support as an alternative: Paid for with taxpayer dollars, but run independently, the schools would offer families new options, but set firmly in the sphere of public education.

“It was always public — always,” Ms. Reichgott Junge, now 69, said in an interview.

Now, three decades later, the very idea that charters are public schools is being challenged in Oklahoma, which just approved the first religious charter school in the nation.

This latest step, amid an ascendant parents’ rights movement, seems to push charters into new territory and gives ammunition to a frequent criticism — that charter schools funnel money away from traditional public schools.

Leaders from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City met the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board in February. The board voted on Monday to approve the St. Isidore school.Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman, via USA Today Network

In a highly contested move, an Oklahoma state board on Monday approved St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School as a charter school. The online school, aimed at rural students, would be funded by taxpayers, but include Catholic instruction.

The school’s supporters say that excluding religious groups amounts to discrimination: Why can other private organizations run charter schools, but not a church or a synagogue?

It follows a case out of North Carolina, in which a charter school argued it could require girls to wear skirts — a violation of the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause, according to plaintiffs — because the school was less like a public school and more like a private school fulfilling a contract with the state.

Both examples test the notion of charters as strictly public schools, a shift that is facing blowback from within the charter school movement itself.

“They are violating the legislative intent, completely,” said Ms. Reichgott Junge, who helped found the National Charter Schools Founders Library, where she is collecting oral histories from early pioneers in the charter school movement, including key Republicans.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, a leading voice for charters, also sees the latest effort as antithetical to the spirit of public schools. While public schools cannot discriminate, religious schools have discretion to act according to their beliefs, which can include hiring staff members of a certain faith, or discriminating against L.G.B.T.Q. students and employees.

“We did not create the charter school movement, and make all of this progress, to become more private,” said Nina Rees, the alliance’s chief executive.

Charter schools have always occupied an ambiguous, cross-political space in education, with opposition — and support — coming from both Democrats and Republicans.

Charter schools are like district schools in many ways: Their money comes from the government, their students take the same state accountability tests and they are tuition free.

But unlike district schools, they are not zoned. Students can attend regardless of their ZIP code, fulfilling a goal of the school choice movement to empower families with options.

Their teachers are also typically not unionized, which supporters say allows for more flexibility. For example, administrators can extend the school day — a benefit for student learning — or offer pay incentives for teachers, without negotiating with a union.

But today, the boundaries between public and private schools have grown more complicated as private schools increasingly receive funding from the government, part of a push led by conservatives who support parental choice in education, including religious education.

At least 19 states allow parents to pay for private school with the help of government vouchers or scholarship accounts.

“The question is, what’s the difference?” said Nicole Stelle Garnett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame who helped advise St. Isidore’s organizers and is a prominent voice making the case for religious charter schools.

She pointed to a nearby Catholic school in South Bend, Ind., where she said many, if not all, families were most likely eligible to pay for tuition through vouchers. “Are charter schools more like St. Adalbert’s?” she asked. “Or is it more like the public school across the street?”

An answer may ultimately come from the U.S. Supreme Court, whose conservative majority has signaled support for directing taxpayer money to private religious schools. The court is now weighing whether to take up the North Carolina case. (The Oklahoma school is also expected to be legally challenged.)

Any ruling would very likely center on whether charter schools are “state actors,” akin to government representatives, or “private actors,” more like government contractors.

Great Hearts, a charter school network, filed an amicus brief in support of the charter school in North Carolina. Craig Harris/The Arizona Republic, via USA Today Network

Despite opposition at the national level, at least some within the charter school movement believe they are more like private actors.

Great Hearts, a charter school network with more than 40 schools in Arizona and Texas, filed an amicus brief in support of the charter school in North Carolina. Great Hearts, which focuses on classical education, argued that being free from government bureaucracy allows it to experiment and offer a true alternative to district schools, a key purpose of the charter movement.

Defining charter schools as private aligns with the interests of today’s conservatives. Back in 1991, Ms. Reichgott Junge recalled, it was the teachers’ unions and the political left who sought to frame charter schools as “quasi private schools.”

But from the very beginning, she said, charter schools were conceived as a public alternative to the government sending money to private, religious schools.

“It seems like 32 years later,” she said, “we are back at the same conversation.”

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Jimmy Butler’s defense was the difference for Heat in Game 2 win

DENVER, COLORADO – JUNE 04: Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles against Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat during the fourth quarter in Game Two of the 2023 NBA Finals at Ball Arena on June 04, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) (Matthew Stockman, Getty Images)

Jimmy Butler can guard Jamal Murray after all – and Erik Spoelstra had the guts to call the shot.

There were all the reasons in the world to leave Butler guarding anyone but Murray after the Denver Nuggets lead guard torched the Heat for 26 points on 50% shooting in Game 1 of the NBA Finals: Murray was ostensibly too quick, too talented, too much of an offensive threat for the senescent Butler to keep in check.

It was untrue: After Murray picked apart Gabe Vincent in Game 1, Spoelstra sicced Butler on the Nuggets guard. It was an immediate game-changer: Murray shot just 7-of-15 from the field for 18 points on the night, with much of that production coming in a furious attempt by Denver to steal the game at the death. It wasn’t enough.

Despite a 41-point night from two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, it was the Heat who came away with a 111-108 victory and stole home-court advantage in the Mile-High City in Game 2.

And with Butler shooting sub-40 percent (13-of-33 from the field) through the first two games, it’s clear scoring isn’t the biggest impact the Heat All-Star can have on a game.

His ability to neutralize an opponent reigns supreme, and for yet another playoff series, Butler has proven capable of doing so.

Fifteen shots from Murray in Game 2 tied the fewest number of shots he’s attempted in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. It’s a clear deviation from the norm for a player who has averaged close to 22 attempted field goals per game through this playoff run.

And it’s a clear indication that Butler, as expected, had the impact on the Nuggets star the Heat had hoped after Murray’s explosive Game 1 gave Denver a 1-0 series lead.

Murray made three of the six shot attempts that were defended by Butler, but missed the step-back three that could have sent the game to overtime with the Heat star smothering him on the game’s final possession.

As Butler goes, the rest of his team follows: The Heat ratcheted up the physicality and took away the two-time MVP’s help. Jokic, known most for his gifted playmaking abilities, recorded just four assists on the night, the fewest number of dimes he’s dished in the playoffs this season.

The Nuggets shot 11-of-28 from downtown – a respectable 39% three-point clip – but Murray shot just two-of-five, Michael Porter Jr. shot just one-of-six and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made just one of three attempts from deep.

And now it’s the Nuggets who must find some confidence on the road after ceding momentum to a rolling Heat team. Working in their favor: Jokic has won each of the last four times he’s traveled to South Beach.

The Heat, however, have found something – a similar revelation they made in both the first round against the No. 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.

It doesn’t matter how many talking heads call this Miami team an underdog, or how many stars the other team has compared to the one in South Beach.

This team is going to walk onto your own home court and attempt to rip your heart out. The Heat did it in Game 2. Now, they go home to attempt to swing the series in their favor in Game 3.


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Trump Turns to a Familiar Playbook in Effort to Undermine Documents Inquiry

The former president is stepping up efforts to delegitimize the investigation into his handling of classified material after leaving office, a tactic he has used throughout his career in business and politics.

As prosecutors entered what seemed to be the final stages of their investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of classified documents, Mr. Trump launched a pre-emptive strike against a possible indictment, posting a pair of messages on his social media platform early Thursday morning that sought to delegitimize the inquiry.

Mr. Trump accused a top federal prosecutor in the documents investigation of seeking to “bribe & intimidate” a lawyer representing one of the witnesses in the case. He claimed that the prosecutor had offered the lawyer an “important ‘judgeship’ in the Biden administration” if his client “‘flips’ on President Trump.”

The attacks by Mr. Trump on Truth Social were drawn from a playbook that he has used time and again to undermine inquiries into his conduct. His efforts to tar both investigations and investigators started well before he was president and continued throughout his term in office, perhaps most prominently during the inquiry into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russian officials in 2016.

The posts from Mr. Trump on Thursday had their roots in an effort by his legal team to gather allegations about potential misconduct by prosecutors in the documents case.

Some weeks ago, as Mr. Trump’s aides and lawyers became increasingly worried that an indictment might be looming, they began assembling a list of complaints about alleged misconduct by prosecutors in the office of the special counsel Jack Smith, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The list of grievances was then placed in the draft of a letter written to Attorney General Merrick B. Garland intended to alert Mr. Garland to the lawyers’ concerns about how Mr. Smith’s team has handled the documents case, the people said.

An abbreviated version of the letter, which also requested a formal meeting with Mr. Garland, was sent to the Justice Department late last month. It resulted in a meeting this week between three of Mr. Trump’s lawyers and Mr. Smith and other prosecutors, not including the attorney general.

Mr. Trump’s accusations about the offer of a judgeship resembled an allegation that was discovered as his lawyers were collecting complaints about the prosecution team, the people familiar with the matter said.

They said that allegation was that during a meeting with a defense lawyer representing a potential witness against Mr. Trump, a top prosecutor in the documents case brought up — in an unusual and perhaps inappropriate manner — an application that the lawyer had submitted to become a municipal judge in Washington.

Mr. Trump’s legal team believed the prosecutor’s comment may have been a veiled threat designed to pressure the lawyer into getting his client to become a cooperating witness, the people said.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mr. Smith, declined to comment.

Throughout his life, Mr. Trump has treated every challenge to him like an ongoing negotiation. His impulse is to go directly to the person he considers the top official of an organization to lodge his complaints. That was the case when the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III was appointed in 2017; Mr. Trump’s advisers had to stop him from trying to reach out directly to Mr. Mueller to argue his case.

By broadcasting his complaints on social media rather than making them in court papers to a judge, Mr. Trump avoided the normal method of lodging accusations about prosecutorial misconduct — a method that, of course, also puts a burden of veracity and accuracy on the accuser.

Should an indictment be filed, he could choose to include his complaints in a motion to dismiss the case. In theory, he could also file a motion before any charges are filed using the complaints to attack the process of investigating him with the grand jury.

Since his days as a New York real estate developer decades ago, Mr. Trump has sought to undermine people examining his or his company’s behavior. His company was sued in 1973 by the Justice Department, alleging racially discriminatory housing practices. Mr. Trump’s lawyer, the brutal fixer Roy M. Cohn, claimed in court filings in a countersuit that the government had engaged in “Gestapo-like tactics” and called investigators “storm troopers.”

A few years later, Mr. Trump was investigated by the federal prosecutor in Brooklyn for a possible fraud charge connected to his acquisition of a parcel of land. Mr. Trump met with investigators without a lawyer present. The case was eventually dropped, but Mr. Trump went on to complain to people about what he went through.

Decades later, when Eric Schneiderman, then the New York attorney general, investigated Mr. Trump’s for-profit university, Trump University, Mr. Trump filed a complaint with state ethics officials claiming that Mr. Schneiderman had sought to raise money from him previously and claimed the investigation was retribution for not doing more to contribute.

Even before Mr. Trump was indicted in a Manhattan state court earlier this year, he had already spent months denigrating the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, as a puppet of Mr. Trump’s political enemies. He repeatedly referred to Mr. Bragg, Manhattan’s first Black prosecutor, as “racist.” And he is currently seeking to have the judge in the case, acting Justice Juan M. Merchan, recused, claiming the judge has conflicts because a relative of his has worked with Democrats.

After Mr. Trump took office as president, he and his allies turned their ire several times on law enforcement officials involved in investigations that came close to him.

In 2018, for example, after federal agents searched the office of Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, for evidence of campaign finance violations, Rudolph W. Giuliani, another lawyer close to Mr. Trump, opened an attack against the F.B.I.

Mr. Giuliani declared the F.B.I.’s office in New York — with which he had once worked closely as the U.S. attorney in Manhattan — had behaved like “storm troopers” in conducting the raid, the same language Mr. Cohn had used years earlier.

But how Mr. Trump approaches the special counsel Jack Smith’s investigations is likely to track most closely with how he sought to combat the Mueller investigation.

Mr. Trump repeatedly attacked the F.B.I. and prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller, calling the Russia investigation a witch hunt. Mr. Trump and his allies tried to destroy the legitimacy of the inquiry by conflating problems that internal Justice Department investigators later uncovered and distorting facts used by John Durham, another special prosecutor who scrutinized the Russia investigation, in his own inquiry.

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Those Were Two Great Days To Root For The Reds

Calling up a vaunted prospect is reason alone to celebrate, if you’re stuck with the Reds as your favorite baseball team, at the mercy of an(other) cheap, antagonistic owner, amid almost three decades without a playoff series win. But Elly De La Cruz making his Major League debut was only the beginning of an extremely fun couple of days to watch baseball in Cincinnati.

De La Cruz played a huge role throughout as he lived up to sky-high expectations. The imposing 6-foot-5, 21-year-old infielder climbed to the top of minor-league rankings since his 2018 signing with a captivating combination of speed and power. Across single- and double-A last season, De La Cruz hit 28 homers and stole 47 bases in 121 games, and though a hamstring strain messed him up in spring training, he recovered enough to post a 1.031 OPS in AAA Louisville in his first 38 appearances this year.

Batting fourth in the lineup against the Dodgers on Tuesday, De La Cruz’s first plate appearance was a mere walk, one of two he’d draw in the game. But in the third inning, he wowed everyone in baseball by absolutely booming a double on a pitch that should have been way too high to boom.

The game itself was equally thrilling. The Reds chipped away at an 8–3 deficit with small ball in the fifth, sixth, and seventh, until they entered the bottom of the ninth down two. Dodgers reliever Caleb Ferguson’s internal GPS malfunctioned as he delivered three walks and a hit-by-pitch in addition to a single. And his replacement, Shelby Miller, had no chance to get comfortable before Matt McLain put on his cape and got heroic.

The win put the Reds at 28-33 and would have been enough to spiritually sustain their fans though a whole series with an opponent as imposing as L.A. But De La Cruz and his teammates one-upped themselves on Wednesday night. Playing shortstop this time instead of third, De La Cruz capitalized on Noah Syndergaard’s troubled season in his first two times at the plate. He opened with an explosive dinger on another pitch that looked unusually high to crush.

Then in the third, his legs got a lot of love for a no-doubter triple.

A bunch of other hitters got in on the act, too. After five combined home runs across just the first three innings, the exhausted scoreboard read 6–6. And though the bullpens eventually calmed the storm, Will Benson, when he came up in the ninth, decided this moment was a good time to hit the first dong of his career. The flight of the ball to the right-field seats was impressive, but I like this angle more:

Look at how much fun that is! The Reds may have turned off the gas in a 6-0 loss to Clayton Kershaw on Thursday afternoon, but that setback is of little consequence compared to the emotional highs already reached this week. With some talented young hitters and some extremely iffy pitching, Cincinnati projects to be a shaky team the rest of the way. But after a 2022 season that was basically nothing but downs, the height of the ups this year should be something to cheer for.

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Trump requests reduced damages or new trial in E Jean Carroll case

Donald Trump on Thursday asked a federal court in New York to slash the penalty awarded against him in the sexual assault and defamation civil case won by writer E Jean Carroll from $5m down to $1m – or grant him a new trial.

A jury last month found the former US president liable for sexually abusing and defaming the writer and awarded her $5m in damages.

In a filing in Manhattan federal court, Trump’s lawyers said the jury’s $2m award for the sexual abuse portion of the verdict was “excessive” because the jury had found that Carroll was not raped, and that the conduct Carroll alleged did not cause any diagnosed mental injury.

They also said the $2.7m award for the defamation claim was “based upon pure speculation”.

Carroll’s lawsuit, filed in 2022, said Trump raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York in the mid-1990s, and defamed her by denying it happened.

The legal tussles between Trump and Carroll have grown complex.

On 9 May, a jury found Trump had sexually abused Carroll. But just a day after the decision, Trump made disparaging remarks about her during a televised CNN town hall.

Those comments eventually prompted Carroll to go back to court to demand “very substantial” additional damages from Trump. An amended lawsuit seeking an additional $10m in compensatory damages – and more in punitive damages – was then filed in Manhattan by lawyers for Carroll.

Trump’s lawyers on Thursday noted in a written submission that the Manhattan federal court jury rejected the rape claim made by Carroll, concluding instead that she had been sexually abused in spring 1996 in the store’s dressing room.

“Such abuse could have included groping of plaintiff’s breasts through clothing, or similar conduct, which is a far cry from rape,” the lawyers wrote.

Following the verdict, a revised award should consist of no more than $400,000 for sex abuse, no more than $100,000 for defamation and $368,000 or less for the cost of a campaign to repair Carroll’s reputation, the lawyers wrote.

If a judge does not grant the suggested reduction in the award, then he should permit a new trial on damages, they said.

Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, said in an emailed statement that the arguments by Trump’s lawyers were frivolous.

She said the unanimous jury had concluded that Trump sexually assaulted Carroll and then defamed her “by lying about her with hatred, ill-will, or spite”.

“This time, Trump will not be able to escape the consequences of his actions,” Kaplan said.

Trump may still face a second defamation trial resulting from another lawsuit Carroll filed against him.

That case has been delayed with appeals as the US justice department sought to substitute the United States as the defendant in place of Trump. Government lawyers say Trump cannot be held liable for the comments he made as president.

Reuters contributed to this report

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4,500 sailors and Marines return to San Diego after seven-month deployment to Indo-Pacific

More than 4,500 sailors and Marines returned to San Diego aboard three warships Thursday, wrapping up a seven-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific, the site of growing tensions with China.

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group conducted joint exercises with partners and allies, including large-scale training in Indonesia.

The group was comprised of the amphibious assault ship Makin Island and the amphibious transport docks John P. Murtha and Anchorage. The ships carried troops from Camp Pendleton’s 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

“Our goal was to achieve interoperability with our allies and partners and promote a free and open Indo-China,” Capt. Andria Slough, commanding officer of the Makin Island, said in a statement.

“We accomplished that mission and brought every single Sailor and Marine home safely.”

The political and military climate in the Indo-Pacific has grown more edgy in recent months because China has continued to threaten to invade Taiwan. The Chinese also have been building bases in the South China Sea that could be used to interfere with international trade in that part of the world, according to defenses analysts.

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Rosario Dawson, Sam Adegoke Join Cast of Talia Lugacy’s ‘Dark Days & the Dawn’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Rosario Dawson and Sam Adegoke have joined the cast of “Dark Days & the Dawn,” the latest film from “This Is Not a War Story” director Talia Lugacy.

“Dark Days & the Dawn” unfolds over the course of one night and into daybreak, as Maria Del Sol (Dawson) and Samuel (Adegoke), a couple who have been together for four hundred and sixty years, hit their breaking point. Lugacy and Kamau Ware collaborated on the genre bending script for “Dark Days & the Dawn,” penning characters written specifically for Dawson and Adegoke to portray.

Lugacy produces under her Acoustic Pictures banner, alongside Noah Lang for Witchcraft Motion Picture Company, and Ware for Kamau Studios. Cassian Elwes and Tom Culliver executive produce for Elevated Films. The film will shoot in Savanah, Georgia later this year.

Dawson’s credits include “Death Proof,” “Top Five” and the upcoming Star Wars series, “Ahsoka,” for Disney+. Adegoke is best known for playing Jeff Colby in the reboot of “Dynasty” for the CW.

Lugacy, Dawson, Adegoke, and Lang reunite, having previously collaborated on “This Is Not a War Story,” which was acquired by HBO Max and nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards. Lugacy and Dawson also previously collaborated on “Descent,” which was a New York Times “Critic’s Pick” and premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Festival.

“Talia and I have been collaborators and friends for nearly two decades at this point. ‘Dark Days & the Dawn’ in many ways has been a long time coming,” Dawson said in a statement. “It’s a meditation on this fractured moment, that is anchored by performance and visual style. I can’t wait to get started.”

Adds Adegoke, “I count ‘This Is Not a War Story’ as one of the most impactful experiences of my life both as an actor and on a personal level. When Talia told me she wanted to work hand-in-hand developing this film together, I didn’t hesitate for even a second. Our mutual trust is unwavering and I believe this is just a second step in a long road of collaboration together.”

“I have to create from a personal place and make work with something to say and an urgent need to say it,” Lugacy said. “‘Dark Days & the Dawn’ is a fever dream of performance, visual language and hallucinatory atmosphere with a beating heart never more relevant than right now. Co-writing with Kamau has been among the most gratifying experiences of my life and knowing what we intend to accomplish by making this film fills me with determination and the best kind of impatience.”

The project was previously a recipient of a grant from WarnerMedia’s OneFifty, who partnered with the filmmakers on the distribution of “This Is Not a War Story.”

Dawson is represented by CAA and Untitled, Adegoke by A3 and Untitled, and Lugacy by Untitled.

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Pat Robertson, Anti-Gaming Crusader And Horse Racing Enthusiast, Is Dead

Pat Robertson, who died this morning at his home in Virginia Beach, was a phony bastard. I learned this some decades ago at the racetrack.

I covered Maryland horse racing for the Washington Post for several years. I was the low man on the paper’s turf coverage totem pole and got paid just $75 a week. But any job that lets you hang out at a racetrack—let alone one where there was a betting window in the press box—is a great job. My main duty was writing up the featured race of the week on non-Preakness weeks. So there I was in the winner’s circle at Laurel Park in July 1999 after a $50,000 race, the Walter Haight Handicap, trying to find connections to Tappat, the four-year-old gelding who’d swept past rival (and similarly gelded) Praise Heaven down the stretch to take the stake. 

But no owner was around. I was told by the horse’s trainer, a nice chap named Thomas Greene, that the winning stable, listed in the racing program as Tega Farm, was simply “a Virginia Beach outfit.” I always figured the winner’s circle photo op was the main reason some folks with money lying around spend it on a horse, and something about the Tappat owner’s no-show struck me, to the point where I included Greene’s vague description in my race write-up.

Some months later, I was at the same track and heard up in the press box that Pat Robertson was spotted in the paddock. I went down to the barns and couldn’t find him, but I saw another Tega Farm horse among the entries in the program that day. I had a hunch that Robertson was behind the Virginia Beach outfit who also owned Tappat. But there was no mention of his dabbling in horse racing on his personal Web site or that for the “700 Club,” his television show. And nobody with Tega Farm was willing to talk on the record about the mega preacher having a racing operation. 

“I signed a disclosure form saying I wouldn’t talk about the owners of Tega,” a trainer for the stable named Earl “Abraham” Ola told me in 2001.

When I called Tega Farm, I couldn’t even find out how many horses were in the stable. “I’m not at liberty to discuss that,” Karon Locher, listed as the business manager, told me. 

But horse racing is a very regulated amusement. And when I contacted the track’s racing office, I learned that Robertson was indeed Tega Farm’s proprietor. Upon the delivery of this revelation, I remember thinking something along the lines of, “I’ll be damned!” 

Robertson was among the most outspoken and influential and obnoxious moralists in American history, and he was at the height of his powers at the time. He outlived his cultural relevance by a couple decades, so it might be hard for folks who didn’t witness the 1990s to understand how shocking and great it was to learn then that a guy who seemingly never got off his high horse was secretly worming his way into a pastime as stereotypically sinful as the sport of kings.

Another Virginia Beach outfit Robertson founded and controlled, the Christian Coalition, actively lobbied against all forms of legalized gambling during the early days of the internet. Robertson had initially formed the group to help his run for the presidency in 1988, but rather than dissolve it when the campaign for office flopped, he turned the Christian Coalition into a bully pulpit to tell all Americans how to live. 

Just as I was finding out about his ownership of a racing stable, for example, the Christian Coalition website featured anti-gambling screeds and pushed for Congress to pass federal bans on gaming. Legalized gambling, according to the coalition’s paperwork, victimized ”our nation’s poor, our youth, and those who are gambling addicts.” (A helluva lot of racetrack patrons fit those demographics.) He lobbied for passage of legislation called the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act and the Amateur Sports Integrity Act, the latter of which “would ban gambling on amateur athletic events.” 

But Robertson was hardly the first man of god with a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do outlook. Robertson had pockets as deep as anybody in racing, but his undoing came because he wasn’t good at using the donated millions to pick winners. His worst bet came at the esteemed Keeneland auction in 2001, where he spent $520,000 to acquire an unraced two-year-old colt that he called Mr. Pat. Robertson showed he was indeed going for racing’s top tier by immediately shipping his pricey young horse to Belmont Park and registering him to be eligible for the 2002 Triple Crown series. 

But when the Kentucky Derby went off in May 2002, Mr. Pat hadn’t even entered his first race. Breathing problems caused by a throat disorder known as recurrent laryngeal neuropathy and other assorted injuries kept him in the barn. Robertson had vets perform throat surgery on Mr. Pat, which finally got him on the track, but the horse never lived up to his price tag. 

Yet because of his flashy Keeneland bid, word about Robertson’s parimutuel pursuits began trickling out, and the blatant hypocrisy peeved some segment of the Christian right. Protests from his flock, combined with Mr. Pat’s flopping, led Robertson to publicly promise to get out of the racing game.

“I am sorry that my fondness for the performance of equine athletes has caused you an offense,” he wrote in a whiny post for his website in the spring of 2002. “Therefore, for your sake and the sake of others like you, I have set in motion the necessary plans to dispose of all of my thoroughbred racing and breeding stock between now and the breeding sale in Kentucky in November.”

Robertson was slow to deliver on his pledge. But by the end of 2003, Robertson had pawned Mr. Pat off on a small Pennsylvania racing farm for an undisclosed but surely tiny sum. He was out of the racing game. 

And now he’s dead. RIP, you phony bastard.

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