NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man who spent 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit has reached a $4.75 million wrongful conviction settlement with the state, his attorney said on Tuesday. A U.S. federal judge in 2009 found Fernando Bermudez was wrongly convicted of fatally shooting 16-year-old Raymond Blount during a fight in Manhattan's Greenwich Village neighborhood in 1991. Bermudez later sued the state and city, seeking monetary damages. The case against the city is still pending, according to his lawyer, Michael Lamonsoff. "My family and I are thankful that we have finally reached a settlement," Bermudez, 45, said in a statement released by Lamonsoff. "Of course, the settlement will never erase the injustice that I experienced as an innocent man in prison." The state reached a deal with Bermudez in November, but the terms of the settlement were not made public at that time. Melissa Grace, a spokeswoman for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said Schneiderman "is committed to ensuring that those who are wrongfully convicted are compensated in accordance with the law." Lamonsoff said this was the largest wrongful conviction settlement in the state, exceeding prior settlements of $4.25 million and $3.36 million. Lamonsoff said Bermudez, who has a wife and children, has had a difficult time adjusting to life after prison due to the mental and physical anguish he experienced while incarcerated. Bermudez lectures internationally about death penalty issues for the Innocence Project, a group that works to exonerate wrongfully convicted people. (Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Scott Malone and Will Dunham)
- Yahoo News
Black National Guardsman describes being deployed to protect Biden’s inauguration: 'I just felt this huge sense of pride'
As most of the 25,000 National Guardsmen who were called upon to protect Washington, D.C., during the presidential inauguration began heading home this week, one Black service member agreed to speak to Yahoo News about the experience of protecting the nation’s capital in the wake of a pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill.
- Yahoo News
The Justice Department’s inspector general announced Monday that he had started an investigation into whether current or former officials in the department had engaged in an “improper attempt” to overturn the 2020 presidential election to keep Donald Trump in power.
Word has it the former Second Family is staying at the Indiana governor’s cabin or crashing with kinfolk back in their home state. Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, are reportedly looking for a new home after their free, taxpayer-funded housing officially ended just over a week ago. The story was originally shared by Business Insider but reposted to other outlets: Pence is reportedly staying at a cabin that Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb uses as a retreat, while two other Indiana Republican insiders say that the former second-in-command and ex-Second Lady are staying with family.
President Biden's plan to replace the government’s fleet of 650,000 cars and trucks with electric vehicles assembled in the U.S. by union workers is easier said than done. Why it matters: The populist "Buy American" message sounds good, but the vehicles Biden wants are still several years away and his purchase criteria would require an expensive overhaul of automakers' manufacturing strategies, not to mention a reversal of fortune for labor organizers long stymied by Tesla and other non-union companies.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Reality check: Right now, not a single model fits the president's criteria: battery-powered, made in America, by union workers. * Tesla produces the vast majority of EVs in the U.S., and all of its models contain at least 55% American-made parts, according to federal data. But Tesla doesn't have a union and CEO Elon Musk has run afoul of federal labor laws. * General Motors' Chevrolet Bolt is the only U.S.-built EV made by union labor. But it's made mostly with parts imported from Korea. Just 24% of the content is considered domestic. * The Nissan Leaf, another popular EV, is made in Tennessee. But the factory is non-union and only 35% of the parts are domestic. "Made in America" itself is confusing, because current rules governing "domestic" content include parts made in both the U.S. and Canada. * Under the American Automobile Labeling Act, passed in 1992, every car requires a label disclosing where the car was assembled, the percentage of equipment from the U.S. and Canada combined, and the country where the engine and transmission were built. * The newly passed US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement adds another layer of rules about the origin of parts.Biden wants to change the whole system of determining whether a federal vehicle is "American." * Today, the government requires federal vehicles to have at least 50 percent of their components made in America, but loopholes allow the most valuable parts like engines or steel to be manufactured elsewhere, Biden told reporters Monday. * He wants a higher threshold and tighter rules that would directly benefit American workers. Be smart: It's all doable, but definitely not within Biden's four-year term in office. * "It just doesn't add up," said Joe Langley, a forecasting analyst for IHS Markit. "The product is still a few years away." * And replacing 650,000 federal vehicles with EVs would require an increase in U.S. investment through the whole supply chain, including electric motors, batteries and vehicles — all of which will take time, Langley said. * Union leaders are glad Biden is focused on the industry's future. "He sees new technology as a way to grow our industry and our economy," a spokesperson for the United Auto Workers told Axios.Some of that investment is already happening. GM, for example, is overhauling several factories to produce electric vehicles in Tennessee and Michigan. Ford will make its upcoming e-Transit van in Missouri. * But GM, Ford and Stellantis (the newly merged FiatChrysler and Peugeot) just recently committed to build more EVs at union factories in Canada. * And Ford is ramping up production of its highly anticipated Mustang Mach-E in Mexico. What to watch: There could be some surprise winners from Biden's plan. * A handful of well-funded EV startups such as Lordstown Motors, Rivian and Workhorse are developing plug-in commercial vehicles like vans and trucks — things that are often needed in government fleets. * "This could put wind in the sails of a lot of new startups," said Langley.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Associated Press
A group of U.N experts has criticized Sri Lanka's requirement that those who die of COVID-19 be cremated, even it goes against a family's religious beliefs, and warned that decisions based on “discrimination and aggressive nationalism” could incite hatred and violence. The experts, who are part of the Special Procedures of the U.N Human Rights Council, said in a statement Monday that rule amounts to a human rights violation. “We deplore the implementation of such public health decisions based on discrimination, aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism amounting to persecution of Muslims and other minorities in the country,” the experts said.
- National Review
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and 45 members of his caucus backed an effort to declare the impeachment trial of former President Trump “unconstitutional” on Tuesday. McConnell’s colleague from Kentucky, Senator Rand Paul, introduced a point of order on Tuesday to declare Trump’s impeachment trial unconstitutional on the grounds that a president can’t be impeached once he has left office. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer then moved to table Paul’s point of order, blocking the effort to preemptively invalidate the impeachment trial. McConnell joined all but five Senate Republicans in opposing Schumer, signaling a willingness to entertain the argument that the impending trial is unconstitutional. The point of order resolution effectively forced Republicans to declare on the record whether they consider the impeachment trial constitutional, given that it’s taking place after Trump has left office. The resolution failed after a majority of senators voted in favor of Schumer’s move to table it, meaning the impeachment trial will go ahead as planned. However, only five Republicans voted against the resolution: Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. At the close of the impeachment trial itself, at least 17 Republican senators would need to join Democrats in order to convict Trump. “I think there will be enough support on” the point-of-order resolution “to show there’s no chance they can impeach the president,” Paul told reporters before the vote on Tuesday. “If 34 people support my resolution that this is an unconstitutional proceeding, it shows they don’t have the votes and we’re basically wasting our time.” Senator Collins said following the vote that there would be little chance of an impeachment conviction. “I think it’s pretty obvious from the vote today that it is extraordinary unlikely that the president will be convicted,” Collins told The New York Times. “Just do the math.” McConnell was reportedly pleased with the idea of impeaching Trump, after the former president incited a mob of his supporters to amass at the Capitol on January 6, though the majority leader later said publicly that he hadn’t decided whether to vote to convict. The mob breached the Capitol and forced lawmakers to evacuate, and five people died in the riots including a Capitol police officer. An impeachment conviction could allow the Senate to bar Trump from running for office again, however a number of Republican senators have come out against the impeachment push. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said it would be “arrogant” for the Senate to prevent Trump from running again. “Voters get to decide that,” Rubio told Chis Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?” Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas also voiced skepticism regarding the impeachment trial. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton told the Associated Press on Monday. Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that McConnell voted to declare Trump’s impeachment trial unconstitutional. In fact, the minority leader voted against a motion to table Senator Paul’s point of order, which deems the trial unconstitutional. We regret the error.
- Yahoo News
“By signing this order, President Biden indicates that he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh,” Cruz said.
- FOX News Videos
Biden administration has system in place where reporters will not ask president tough questions: Media critic
Steve Krakauer, editor at Fourth Watch, says 'it shouldn't be contingent' on one reporter to ask Biden tough questions.
Five people were arrested in Sydney in largely peaceful Australia Day protests on Tuesday with thousands defying public health concerns and rallying across the nation against the mistreatment of the Indigenous people. The Jan. 26 public holiday marks the date the British fleet sailed into Sydney Harbour in 1788 to start a penal colony, viewing the land as unoccupied despite encountering settlements. But for many Indigenous Australians, who trace their lineage on the continent back 50,000 years, it is "Invasion Day".
- Associated Press
An 80-year-old writer accused of defaming Thailand's monarchy in 2015 because of comments he made at a public seminar about the constitution was acquitted Tuesday by the Criminal Court. The court ruled that Bundit Aneeya had not violated the lese majeste law because he had not specifically referred to royalty and had not used rude language. The court last week gave a record sentence of 43 1/2 years under the law to a woman arrested six years ago who posted audio clips online deemed critical of the monarchy.
- NBC News
Analysis: Biden had nothing to gain and everything to lose from fighting a quixotic war over the filibuster just days into his presidency.
Pope Francis on Wednesday marked the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by urging people to keep a close watch on ideological extremism, because "these things can happen again". He spoke three weeks after displays of anti-Semitism surfaced at the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and two weeks after one of Montreal's largest synagogues was vandalised and almost set on fire. Speaking at his general audience, held inside the papal library because of coronavirus restrictions, Francis said it was imperative that the world did not forget.
- The Week
Capitol Police chief apologizes for riot 'failings,' acknowledges 'we knew that there was a strong potential for violence'
The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police has offered an apology to lawmakers following the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, acknowledging the department "should have been more prepared." Yogananda Pittman, the acting Capitol Police chief, apologized to Congress during a closed-door briefing on Tuesday for "our failings" during the riot at the Capitol that left five people dead earlier this month, The New York Times reports. "On Jan. 6, in the face of a terrorist attack by tens of thousands of insurrectionists determined to stop the certification of Electoral College votes, the department failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours," Pittman said, according to remarks obtained by the Times. "We fully expect to answer to you and the American people for our failings on Jan. 6. I am here to offer my sincerest apologies on behalf of the department." Supporters of former President Donald Trump breached the Capitol building as lawmakers met to certify President Biden's election win. Pittman told Congress that Capitol Police "should have been more prepared for this attack" and that prior to the riot, "we knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target." "The department prepared in order to meet these challenges, but we did not do enough," Pittman acknowledged, also praising the officers who "performed valiantly" during the attack as "heroes." The apology from Pittman, who the Times notes wasn't serving as acting chief when the Capitol attack occurred, comes as CNN reports that Capitol Police officers are discussing potentially holding a no-confidence vote against department leaders who were working on the day of the pro-Trump riot. A source told CNN, "The rank-and-file of this department has no faith in any of our chiefs, especially the ones in that were here on Jan. 6." More stories from theweek.comTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'Sarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorMitch McConnell is the GOAT
- Associated Press
The Vatican has cleared a retired U.S. bishop of multiple allegations he sexually abused minors and teenagers, rejecting lay experts' determination that a half-dozen claims were credible and instead slapping him on the wrist for what it called “flagrant" imprudent behavior. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith exonerated retired Cheyenne, Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations of abuse and determined that five others couldn’t be proven “with moral certitude.” A 13th allegation wasn’t addressed in the decree.
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is being used by the West to try to destabilise Russia, a prominent hardliner and ally of President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, saying he must be held to account for repeatedly breaking the law. Navalny was remanded in custody for 30 days last week after returning from Germany where he had been recovering from a nerve agent poisoning. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council, called for Navalny to face the full force of the law in comments that offered a glimpse into the mood inside Russia's security establishment after tens of thousands of Navalny's supporters protested against his jailing on Saturday.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Telegraph
Brussels on Wednesday demanded that tens of millions of British-made coronavirus vaccines be diverted from the UK to make up a supply shortfall in the jabs in the EU. The European Commission said it was contractually entitled to doses from two UK plants making the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine as its row with the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant deepened. The British Government said it had a deal with AstraZeneca to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine with agreed delivery schedules. British sources said that, once the UK factories had fulfilled their commitment to Britain, AstraZeneca would be free to supply other countries – something the firm's CEO, Pascal Soriot, confirmed in an interview on Tuesday. But Stella Kyriakides, the EU's health commissioner, said: "We reject the logic of first come, first served. That might work at the neighbourhood butchers, but not on our contracts and not in our advanced purchase agreements." She said there was " no priority clause" in the EU contract between the four production plants in the agreement, two factories in the EU and the two in the UK. "In our contract it is not specified that any country or the UK has priority... This needs to be absolutely clear," Ms Kyriakides said.
- The Week
Did the Proud Boys help plan, lead the Capitol siege? Prosecutors are looking, and the video looks damning.
At least six members of the Proud Boys, a group of right-wing nationalist "Western chauvinists," have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 violent siege of the U.S. Capitol. Among those charged is Joseph Biggs, a Proud Boy leader who led about 100 men from former President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally to the Capitol. Prosecutors and federal investigators are now trying to determine how closely the Proud Boys communicated during the siege and whether they planned the incursion in advance, The New York Times reports. Investigators have recently turned their attention to two Proud Boy organizers on the West Coast, Ethan Nordean of Auburn, Washington, and Eddie Block from Madera, California, the Times reports, citing a federal law enforcement official. Nordean, also called Rufio Panman, has not been charged, and Block, who live-streamed the insurrection, told the Times that federal agents seized his electronic equipment on Friday. Investigator are also scrutinizing the role of Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio, who was not at the riot because he had been banned from Washington, D.C., two days earlier. Still, "despite having launched one of the most sprawling inquiries in American history, investigators have yet to unearth clear-cut evidence suggesting there was a widespread conspiracy to assault the Capitol," the Times reports. The Wall Street Journal made a pretty compelling case Tuesday that the Proud Boys were at least key instigators of the assault, based on a thorough review of video and social media posts. The Proud Boys have publicly downplayed their involvement in the Capitol incursion. Tarrio told the Times a week after the siege that it was misguided and anyone who damaged the Capitol or assaulted police should be prosecuted. The handful of Proud Boys arrested after being filmed breaking into the Capitol, like Dominic Pezzola, "obviously, they didn't help our cause," he added. Federal authorities as of Monday had charged about 150 of the more than 800 people who charged into the Capitol, and "it's likely not everyone will be tracked down and charged with a crime," The Associated Press reports. There were few arrests during the incursion, and "federal prosecutors are focusing on the most critical cases and the most egregious examples of wrongdoing." Some Capitol insurrectionists were turned in to the FBI by friends and family members, AP notes, but in dozens of cases, the rioters themselves "downright flaunted their activity on social media." More stories from theweek.comTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'Sarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorMitch McConnell is the GOAT
- Associated Press
The patter of paws is being heard in the White House again following the arrival of President Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major. Major burst onto the national scene late last year after Biden, then president-elect, broke his right foot while playing with the dog at their home in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association.
- The Independent
Melissa Carone was widely mocked following her court appearance in December 2020