Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 p.m. EST

EMPIRE CAST MEMBER-ATTACK-THE LATEST

The Latest: Smollett’s lawyers vow ‘aggressive defense’

CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for Jussie Smollett say they will mount an “aggressive defense” of the “Empire” actor after he was charged with making a false report that he was attacked in Chicago last month.

Attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson say in a statement: “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence… “

It did not say where Smollett is and when he might turn himself in to police.

Smollett is charged with disorderly conduct for falsely reporting an attack on Jan. 29. The charge is a Class 4 felony that carries a possible prison sentence of 1-3 years, but he could also receive probation.

TRUMP-BORDER SECURITY

House Dems readying bill to block Trump’s border emergency

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats plan to file a resolution as soon as Friday that’s aimed at blocking President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the Southwest border.

That could set up a vote by the full House by mid-March. The clash is over a declaration that Trump is using to try spending billions of dollars beyond what Congress has authorized to start building border barriers.

Passage by the Democratic-run House seems likely. The measure would then move to the Republican-controlled Senate, where there may be enough GOP defections for approval.

Trump has promised a veto, which would be difficult for Congress to override.

The plan was described by officials at three progressive groups who heard of them from congressional aides but were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly.

COAST GUARD LIEUTENANT-HIT LIST

Feds: Coast Guard lieutenant compiled hit list of lawmakers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prosecutors say a Coast Guard lieutenant is a “domestic terrorist” who wrote about biological attacks and had a hit list that included prominent Democrats and media figures.

Christopher Paul Hasson is due in court on Thursday in Maryland. He was arrested on gun and drug charges last week.

Prosecutors say Hasson espoused extremist views for years. Court papers detail a June 2017 draft email in which Hasson described an “interesting idea” that included “biological attacks followed by attack on food supply.”

Federal agents found 15 firearms and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition when Hasson was arrested. Prosecutors say he also had compiled a list of prominent congressional Democrats, activists, journalists and media commentators.

Hasson’s attorney declined to comment on Wednesday. His arrest was first noted by researchers from George Washington University.

ISLAMIC STATE BRIDE-THE LATEST

The Latest: Lawyer says woman who joined IS a US citizen

WASHINGTON (AP) — The lawyer for an Alabama woman denied return to the U.S. after joining the Islamic State group in Syria says he has evidence she’s an American citizen.

U.S. officials contend that Hoda Muthana isn’t a citizen and has no legal basis to travel to the U.S.

President Donald Trump says he decided to deny her return and that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agrees with that decision. Pompeo says Muthana isn’t a citizen and doesn’t have a valid passport.

Her lawyer, Hassan Shibly, released a copy of her birth certificate and a letter from a U.S. official indicating her father was no longer a diplomat when she was born in 1994. Shibly says Muthana had a valid U.S. passport before she joined the militant group in 2014.

BANGLADESH-FIRE

Fire in old part of Bangladesh’s capital kills at least 45

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A devastating fire has raced through at least five buildings in an old part of Bangladesh’s capital and killed at least 45 people.

About 50 other people have been injured and the fire in Dhaka is not yet under control.

The fire department’s Director General Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed said early Thursday the blaze broke out in the Chawkbazar area Wednesday night in one building but quickly spread.

Ali said by early Thursday rescuers recovered at least 45 bodies as they were trying to get the blaze under control.

Some floors of the destroyed buildings had chemicals and plastic in storage.

TRUMP-CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change doubter is leading effort to advise Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is exploring the idea of forming a special committee to look at climate change and security risks, with the effort coordinated by a 79-year-old physicist who rejects mainstream climate science.

A “discussion paper” obtained by The Associated Press asks federal officials from various government agencies to weigh in on a proposed executive order that President Donald Trump would sign establishing the “Presidential Committee on Climate Security.”

A memo to those federal officials asks them to direct any questions to William Happer, a member of Trump’s National Security Council and a well-known denier of mainstream climate science findings.

Trump once tweeted that climate change was a “Chinese hoax.” More recently, he used a cold snap that hit much of the nation last month to again cast his doubts.

HOUSTON OFFICERS SHOT

Officials announce Houston officer’s case review, FBI probe

HOUSTON (AP) — Prosecutors say they will review more than 1,400 criminal cases that involved a Houston officer who the police chief says lied in an affidavit justifying a drug raid on a home in which officers shot and killed two residents.

Authorities also have announced that the FBI is opening an investigation to determine whether any civil rights were violated as a result of the raid and shooting.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Wednesday that the review will look at cases that involved Officer Gerald Goines spanning decades. Twenty-seven of those cases are active.

Goines has been suspended in the wake of the Jan. 28 raid in which a 59-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman were killed. Four officers, including Goines, were shot as they tried to enter the home.

EL CHAPO-PROSECUTION

El Chapo’s lawyers concerned by juror misconduct allegations

NEW YORK (AP) — El Chapo’s lawyers are raising concerns of potential juror misconduct after a member of the jury told a news website that several jurors viewed media coverage of the Mexican drug lord’s trial against a judge’s orders.

VICE News published an interview Wednesday with a juror who said at least five other members at Joaquin Guzman’s trial had followed news coverage of the proceedings, including potentially prejudicial material made public before deliberations.

Defense attorney Eduardo Balarezo said the issues raised in the article “are deeply concerning and distressing” and, if true, “make it clear that Joaquin did not get a fair trial.”

Balarezo’s statement didn’t make clear whether Guzman’s lawyers would seek a new trial.

Guzman was convicted Feb. 12 on charges that could put him behind bars for decades.

Prosecutors declined comment.

SAMSUNG-NEW PHONES

Samsung poised to unveil new phones in bid to revive sales

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Samsung is expected to show off its latest smartphones Wednesday, the latest effort by a phone maker to come up with new features compelling enough to end a sales slump.

The new models expected in San Francisco will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Samsung’s first smartphone.

Samsung is also expected to provide a glimpse at a highly anticipated smartphone with a foldable screen.

Apple touted the iPhone’s 10th-anniversary edition as a breakthrough when it was released in late 2017. But the iPhone X didn’t sell as well as analysts hoped, partly because it carried a $1,000 price tag.

Smartphones made in recent years also haven’t made dramatic improvements from earlier models. The lull in innovation has given consumers little incentive to dump their current devices and buy something new.

PEOPLE-KHLOE KARDASHIAN

Khloe Kardashian bestie Malika Haqq fierce on cheating front

NEW YORK (AP) — Who’s the best wing woman on the planet? That would be Malika Haqq.

The Khloe Kardashian bestie has taken to social media amid rumors that Tristan Thompson has cheated again, this time reportedly making out at a Los Angeles house party last weekend with Jordyn Woods.

The 21-year-old Woods is Kardashian sister Kylie Jenner’s oldest and dearest friend who may or may not still live in Jenner’s mansion after Tuesday’s bombshell reports by the celebrity sites TMZ and Hollywood Unlocked, among others.

On Instagram, Haqq commented “STRONG FACTS” after the house-party session broke. Kardashian herself, or at least Kardashian’s verified Instagram account, posted a string of eight gossipy speaking head emojis soon after on the same thread, but actual Khloe has yet to comment.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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