Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

FBI documents point to Trump role in hush money for porn star Daniels

FBI documents unsealed on Thursday suggest that Donald Trump was actively involved in engineering a hush-money payment shortly before the 2016 election to a porn actress who said she had a sexual encounter with him, as his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, campaign team and others scrambled to head off a scandal. The documents, released on the orders of U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan, were used by law enforcement officials to obtain a 2018 search warrant that led to FBI raids on Cohen's home and office.

Financier Epstein to remain jailed until sex trafficking trial

American financier Jeffrey Epstein will remain behind bars while he awaits trial on charges of sex trafficking dozens of underage girls, a U.S. judge ruled on Thursday. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman rejected Epstein's request to pay for armed guards to be under house arrest in his New York mansion valued at $77 million. Epstein has pleaded not guilty.

Illinois jury to decide death or life in prison for man convicted of beheading Chinese student

An Illinois jury of five women and seven men will continue deliberations on Thursday to decide if a man convicted of abducting and beheading a Chinese scholar will face a death sentence or spend the rest of his life behind bars. Jurors deliberated for three hours on Wednesday without deciding the fate of Brendt Christensen, 29, in the U.S. District Court in Peoria, Illinois, about 165 miles (265 miles) southwest of Chicago.

New York mayor says he regrets trusting U.S. Justice Department on Garner chokehold case

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday that he regrets trusting the U.S. Department of Justice after federal prosecutors declined to charge a city policeman who used a fatal chokehold on Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, five years ago. He also said that New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill would decide by August whether to punish or fire Daniel Pantaleo, the white officer who has been on desk duty since he was seen in bystanders' cellphone videos putting Garner in a chokehold for about seven seconds on July 17, 2014.

Fort Lauderdale suffers water shortage after construction mishap

Faucets in the Florida city of Fort Lauderdale began running dry on Thursday after a construction firm damaged a water main, forcing the closure of City Hall and a number of businesses on a hot summer day as officials pledged to solve the problem. Residents of Fort Lauderdale, which is 20 miles (30 km) north of Miami, and surrounding areas risked being without water service until Friday, officials said on the city's website.

More Puerto Rico protests planned as governor resists calls to resign

Massive and at times violent protests in Puerto Rico showed no sign of stopping as labor unions on Thursday organized a Friday march to keep up pressure on the governor to resign, while dozens of guns were stolen in a raid on police firearms center. Thousands of protesters have jammed streets in San Juan since Saturday, calling on Governor Ricardo Rossello to step down after the leak of a raft of controversial and vulgar text messages between him and his closest allies. The scandal comes on the heels of a federal probe into government corruption on the bankrupt island.

Illinois to defy Trump administration's abortion referral 'gag rule'

Illinois will defy enforcement of the Trump administration's rule barring taxpayer-backed family planning clinics from making abortion referrals, the governor said on Thursday, announcing the state plans to step in to fund those clinics. Governor J.B. Pritzker's announcement came a month after a federal appeals court cleared the way for the administration to cut off Title X subsidies of reproductive healthcare and family planning costs for low-income women at clinics that refer patients to abortion providers.

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli to stay behind bars, loses appeal of conviction

A federal appeals court upheld the conviction and seven-year prison term of Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive known as "Pharma Bro," for defrauding investors in his hedge funds and conspiring to manipulate the stock of Retrophin Inc , a biotechnology company he ran. In a 3-0 decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Thursday rejected Shkreli's argument that his trial judge gave incorrect and confusing instruction about securities fraud to the Brooklyn jury that convicted him.

Bullet-riddled U.S. flag that survived D-Day comes home 75 years later

Shot through by German machine gun bullets and tattered by the wind, an American flag that flew on the first U.S. invading ship on D-Day came home on Thursday in a White House ceremony. The flag handover was a main part of the visit to the White House by Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, who held Oval Office talks with President Donald Trump.

U.S. Navy searching for missing sailor in Arabian Sea: statement

The U.S. navy and other ships are conducting search and rescue operations for a missing U.S. sailor in the Arabian Sea, the Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet said. "The Sailor has been listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN) after a reported man overboard incident onboard Abraham Lincoln while operating in the Arabian Sea, July 17," a Fifth Fleet statement said, without giving the sailor's name.