SUPREME COURT-KAVANAUGH-THE LATEST The Latest: Trump calls Kavanaugh’s past ‘squeaky clean’ WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he is a “hundred percent” sure that the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when…
SUPREME COURT-KAVANAUGH-THE LATEST
The Latest: Trump calls Kavanaugh’s past ‘squeaky clean’
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he is a “hundred percent” sure that the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school named the wrong person.
Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate on Saturday by a 50-48 vote. His Supreme Court nomination was roiled for weeks by allegations of sexual misconduct and drunken behavior when Kavanaugh was a high school and college student.
Trump tells reporters on Air Force One that one of the reasons he chose Kavanaugh “is because there’s nobody with a squeaky-clean past” like him.
Trump also says he believes a rally speech in which he mocked Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh proved to be a turning point for the nomination.
The remarks drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
Chicago verdict comes 4 years after Laquan McDonald’s death
CHICAGO (AP) — A jury has convicted white Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald.
Van Dyke was charged with first degree-murder in the October 2014 killing, a charge that requires a finding that the shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable. The judge told jurors the second-degree charge was also available, requiring them to find Van Dyke believed his life was in danger but that the belief was unreasonable.
The jury announced the verdict Friday. It’s the first time in half a century that a Chicago police officer has been convicted of murder for an on-duty death.
McDonald was carrying a knife when Van Dyke fired 16 shots into the 17-year-old as he walked away from police.
Second-degree murder usually carries a sentence of less than 20 years.
BC-SAUDI ARABIA-MISSING WRITER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Post says Turks think writer slain at consulate
ISTANBUL (AP) — Saudi Arabian officials are denying allegations that a prominent Saudi journalist was killed at the country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Saudi government news agency issued a statement Sunday saying an official at the consulate described the allegations as “baseless” and expressed doubt that they came from Turkish officials with knowledge of the case.
He said a security delegation of Saudi investigators arrived in Istanbul Saturday to help look into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.
The Washington Post is reporting that two officials have told it that Turkey believes Khashoggi was killed at the consulate. The newspaper reported that the officials said “a 15-member team came from Saudi Arabia” and that “it was a preplanned murder” of the writer, who also is a contributor to the Post.
One Turkish official also made a similar statement to The Associated Press.
M5.9 quake shakes northern Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 5.9 earthquake has shaken northwestern Haiti. There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The quake was centered about 12 miles (20 kilometers) west-northwest of Ti Port-de-Paix off Haiti’s north coast.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-HOLLYWOOD PROSECUTIONS
Charges rare for Hollywood figures in year since Weinstein
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The #MeToo movement has sent dozens of once-powerful Hollywood players into exile, but few of them have been placed in handcuffs or jail cells. And it’s increasingly apparent that the lack of criminal charges may remain the norm.
Harvey Weinstein has been charged with sexual assault in New York, and Bill Cosby was sent to prison in Pennsylvania in the year since stories on Weinstein in The New York Times and The New Yorker set off waves of revelations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood. But those two central figures are exceptions.
A task force launched last November by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to handle the surge in allegations against entertainment figures has taken up criminal cases involving nearly two dozen entertainment-industry figures. None has been charged.
The lack of prosecutions stems from a clash between the #MeToo ethos, which encourages victims to come forward years or even decades after abuse and harassment that they’ve kept private, and a legal system that demands fast reporting of crimes and hard evidence.
The task force has considered charges against 22 suspects, including Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, director James Toback and former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, all of whom have denied engaging in any sex that was not consensual.
Charges have already been rejected for most. Cases involving six suspects, including Weinstein and Spacey, both of whom have multiple accusers, remain open.
In 14 of the closed cases, charges were declined because the allegations were reported too late and thus outside the statute of limitations. The rest were turned down either for insufficient evidence or because the accuser refused to cooperate with investigators after initially reporting the incidents.
While disappointed in the lack of results, several accusers said they were still glad they talked to police and prosecutors, for a variety of reasons both practical and emotional.
“For me it was not necessarily closure, but one of the healthiest things I’ve ever done for myself,” said Melissa Schuman, whose case dating to 2003 against Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys was rejected over the statute of limitations. “It felt therapeutic to tell the authorities, to be able to take it out of my body and out of my mind and report it.”
Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, which oversees the Time’s Up legal defense fund, said for some “the act of reporting, putting it on the record is critical, even if they’re beyond the limitations.”
When law enforcement agencies welcome women to report their experiences, it can eventually result in more prosecutions, she said.
“In too many cases law enforcement has sent a signal that they won’t treat these issues,” Goss Graves said. “If you’ve created a climate and space that is friendly to people coming forward, more people will come forward.”
Schuman said she found just such a climate. She was well treated by task force investigators and the police in what could have been a much tougher process.
“I really felt supported, and listened to, and cared-for and believed,” Schuman said.
Carter has denied the allegations from the start. He said through his lawyer when charges were declined that he felt confident there would be no basis for charges and was happy to put the matter behind him. A representative did not respond to a request Friday for further comment.
There can be more tangible benefits to reporting. In California, simply filing a police report entitles victims to benefits that can include free psychotherapy. The reports also create additional claims that can help in newer investigations or be brought into court to show a pattern of conduct, as they were for Cosby’s trial.
“It just gives me peace to have it documented and filed,” Schuman said, “and if my abuser does it again, the authorities told me they could use me to help corroborate.”
The sexual assault case that sent Cosby to prison was from 2004 and long pre-dated the #MeToo movement. It was filed just as the statute of limitations was expiring.
California requires that charges be brought within a year for many sexual crimes and within 10 years for many of the most serious crimes, including rape and felony sexual assault.
The task force has been looking at allegations of incidents that are sometimes decades old. One rejected case against Spacey dates to 1992. The allegations against Moonves date to the late 1980s. One case for Toback dates to 1978.
In documents released by the task force explaining why charges were not brought, some officials simply declare the effort pointless and say little else. In other cases, prosecutors provide long and sometimes detailed descriptions of acts and the laws they may have violated, only to reluctantly conclude that too much time has passed.
Page after page of the documents end with the same phrase, “prosecution is declined.”
Aside from confirming which cases it is considering and has declined, the district attorney’s office declined comment for this story.
California has already altered its laws to help victims, eliminating the statute of limitations for rape and other forms of felony sex abuse. But courts have ruled that statutes of limitations cannot be altered to include suspects who are already past them, so the new laws only apply to crimes from 2017 onward, meaning the practical effects likely won’t be felt for years.
Many of the old cases taken under consideration would probably never have reached prosecutors before the Weinstein story broke and cultural attitudes began to change.
Even beyond the time-limit problem, “It would be next to impossible for an investigative agency to find witnesses to corroborate and gather evidence,” said Alan Jackson, a former prosecutor in the district attorney’s office who ran against Lacey in 2012 and now works as a defense attorney.
Many accusers whose cases were considered by the task force have filed civil lawsuits that may have more staying power.
Goss Graves said it’s desirable to leave open as many options as possible.
“What accountability and ultimately healing looks like for survivors is going to vary,” she said. “In many ways, we’re not in the middle of this process. We’re in the beginning.”
Follow Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton .
CHICAGO POLICE-LAQUAN MCDONALD-BLM
Chicago verdict raises hope of police being held accountable
A rare scene in the American justice system unfolded in a Chicago courthouse: A white officer stood before a mostly white jury and was convicted of killing a black teenager.
Jason Van Dyke was convicted Friday of second-degree murder and multiple counts of aggravated battery for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times.
The conviction in the 2014 shooting came two months after a Texas officer was convicted in the killing of a 15-year-old unarmed black boy.
The pair of guilty verdicts could signal a shift in momentum after years of delayed arrests, non-indictments and acquittals.
Activists and advocates say their efforts, along with the ubiquity of cellphone camera evidence, could be changing the power balance between police and black communities.
Gonzalez, Bregman lift Astros over Indians for 2-0 ALDS lead
HOUSTON (AP) — Marwin Gonzalez hit a go-ahead, two-run double, Alex Bregman homered for the second straight day and the Houston Astros beat the Cleveland Indians 3-1 Saturday to take a 2-0 AL Division Series lead.
Francisco Lindor put Cleveland ahead with a third-inning homer off winner Gerrit Cole, but Gonzalez gave the Astros the lead in the sixth with the third of his four hits, an opposite-field double to right off usually reliable reliever Andrew Miller.
Bregman homered against Trevor Bauer in the seventh, and the World Series champions moved within a win of a second straight trip to the AL Championship Series.
Dallas Keuchel starts for the Astros when the series resumes Monday in Cleveland. Mike Clevinger is scheduled to pitch for the Indians.
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Melania Trump puts on happier face during Africa tour
CAIRO (AP) — It took Melania Trump’s first solo international trip for her to show a different side of herself. The happier one.
The U.S. first lady hopscotched across Africa this week without President Donald Trump, commanding a spotlight that belonged only to her. In doing her own thing, the very private first lady essentially peeled back the curtain ever so slightly and showed her happier side — one that contrasts with the serious face she wears around Washington.
She also did some new things, like wave to journalists watching as she boarded a U.S. government aircraft for the grueling five-day, four-country tour across multiple time zones. With big smiles on her face — sometimes paired with the unfamiliar sound of her laughter — she cuddled babies and fed elephants.
And she danced.
Ethnic Russians seen as having weight in Latvian election
HELSINKI (AP) — Polls have opened in Latvia, where a party catering to the Baltic nation’s large ethnic-Russian minority is expected to place first in a parliamentary election.
Voters are choosing from a field of more than 1,400 candidates and 16 parties Saturday to fill Latvia’s 100-seat parliament, or Saeima.
Latvian public broadcaster LSM’s latest poll had the left-leaning Harmony party favored by ethnic-Russians securing the greatest share of the vote, 17.2 percent.
Members of the minority account for about 25 percent of Latvia’s 2 million people, a legacy of nearly 50 years of Soviet occupation that ended in 1991. The country now is a NATO member.
The poll had Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis’ centrist Union of Greens and Farmers in second place, with 9.4 percent.
Portugal PM defends Ronaldo amid rape accusation
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has spoken out in defense of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been embroiled in a rape accusation.
Speaking to television on the Spanish island of Lanzarote on Saturday, Costa made an appeal to the presumption of innocence, as well as Ronaldo’s successful career.
“People need to understand one and for all that there’s one thing that is presumption of innocence,” Costa said. “It is not enough for someone to be accused of something to be guilty of it.”
Costa added: “If there’s something we have proof of is that he is an extraordinary professional, an extraordinary sportsman, an extraordinary footballer, and someone who has honored and given prestige to Portugal, and certainly what we all wish for is that nothing can ever stain that record of Ronaldo.”
Last week, Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. saying she was raped by Ronaldo in Las Vegas in 2009. Police have re-opened an investigation.
Ronaldo has denied the accusation.
Ronaldo’s Italian club Juventus sent a statement of support and called him a “great champion,” but his sponsors Nike and video game maker EA Sports have expressed concern about the allegation.
Ronaldo is Europe’s all-time leading scorer in international matches. He helped Portugal win the European Championship in 2016.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports