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Three Big Things
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Trump’s personal lawyer to take the Fifth in Stormy Daniels case

Trump’s personal lawyer to take the Fifth in Stormy Daniels case

Over two weeks after being the subject of an FBI raid, President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer filed notice in a California federal court on Wednesday that he would exercise his right against self-incrimination, and refuse to answer questions about a lawsuit linked to a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who has claimed she had a past affair with Mr. Trump. “Based upon the advice of counsel, I will assert my 5th amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York,” Cohen said in a court declaration. The legal battle centers on the $130,000 payment – which Daniels said amounted to ‘hush money’ – to keep her quiet before the 2016 election, money which Cohen has publicly acknowledged that he paid. In his court filing on Wednesday, Cohen made clear “the FBI seized various electronic devices and documents in my possession, which contain information relating to the $130,000 payment.” Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, immediately seized upon the decision by Cohen, labeling it a ‘stunning development.’ This is a stunning development. Never before in our nation’s history has the attorney for the sitting President invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the President. It is esp. stunning seeing as MC served as the “fixer” for Mr. Trump for over 10 yrs. #basta — Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 25, 2018 Meanwhile, the President seemed to be ready to personally get involved in Cohen’s legal battle over the evidence seized in the FBI raids, which involved information and electronic devices in his home, office and hotel room in New York. In a letter sent to Federal Judge Kimba Wood in New York, lawyers for Mr. Trump wrote, “our client will make himself available, as needed, to aid in our privilege review on his behalf.” It’s not clear what documents the government has seized from Cohen which would involve the President, what subjects they might cover, and how it is related to any investigation of Cohen. Judge Wood set a Thursday midday hearing to get an update from the FBI on what exactly was seized in the April 9 raids, and what has been duplicated and shared with Cohen and his lawyers. For now, those documents are in the hands of a special FBI team, which is not linked to the investigation of Cohen; the judge has suggested she might appoint a “special master” to oversee the handling of that evidence.

NFL Draft first-round party for Jags fans Thursday night

NFL Draft first-round party for Jags fans Thursday night

It’s a big day for Jaguars fans with Thursday’s kick-off of the NFL Draft from Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium. The Jags enter the draft with seven picks, including the 29th overall selection. A big first-round party will be held in Jacksonville for fans who want to celebrate any new additions to the team. In what the team is calling the largest draft party on the First Coast, fans will be flocking to Daily’s Place and the Dream Finder’s Home Flex Field Thursday night from 6:30 to 11:30 pm. Fans will be able to celebrate with team members beginning at 6:30, with fans’ first chance to see the team’s new uniforms up close to follow at 7:15. TV coverage of the first round of the NFL Draft will appear on video boards in both the amphitheater bowl and flex field. The free event will feature player autograph opportunities and special draft day merchandise and concessions for all guests.  Registration is required. Parking will be free on a first-come, first-served basis in Lots C, E, G, M, W, Y, Maxwell House and Tailgaters. You’ll be able to get in at Gates 1 and 4. Keep in mind there will be multiple events in Downtown Jacksonville on Thursday night, so Gator Bowl Blvd. will be closed between A. Phillip Randolph and Talleyrand Ave beginning at 4:30 pm.

Illicit affair prompted ‘calculated, planned’ murder-suicide that left 2 women dead, police say

Illicit affair prompted ‘calculated, planned’ murder-suicide that left 2 women dead, police say

Two women are dead, including a 2016 candidate for a Delaware State Senate seat, in a Pennsylvania murder-suicide that investigators said was sparked by one woman’s affair with the other’s husband.  Radnor Township police officials reported Tuesday that Jennair Gerardot, 47, of Wilmington, Delaware, broke into the rental home of 33-year-old Meredith Sullivan Chapman on Monday and waited for Chapman to return home from work at Villanova University, where she was recently named an assistant vice president.  According to the Villanovan, the university’s newspaper, Chapman started her new job a week before she was killed. She lived in the house where she died about the same length of time.  “Couldn’t be more excited...,” she wrote online Monday, about two hours before she was killed. “Just a week on the job and I’m already feeling the love from #NovaNation.” When Chapman arrived home Monday evening, Gerardot shot her once in the head before turning the gun on herself. Gerardot also died of a single gunshot wound to the head, Radnor Township Deputy Chief Christopher Flanagan said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.  >> Read more trending news A Taurus Tracker .357 Magnum revolver was found at the crime scene, with two of its seven rounds missing.  Investigators believe Gerardot took a train from Delaware to Chapman’s home – while wearing a wig and clothing later found discarded in a bag at the scene -- and broke in through the front door, cleaning up the glass so her target would not notice anything wrong when she came home.  “It’s not a love triangle. You had a man who was married that was having an affair with this other woman,” Radnor Township Police Superintendent William Colarulo said during the news conference.  “The wife knew about it. And this was a calculated, planned attack,” Colarulo said. “She broke into the house. She was lying in wait, and she shot her as soon as she walked in, and then she shot herself.  “There were emails and text messages indicating what she planned to do. Detectives are still sorting that out.” Flanagan said Tuesday that officers were called to Chapman’s home just after 7 p.m. Monday after receiving a 911 call reporting two people down and blood inside the residence. They were met in the driveway by Gerardot’s husband, Mark Gerardot, who said he believed his wife might be inside the house.  The officers went inside the home and found both women dead in the kitchen. Flanagan said that Mark Gerardot, 49, told police officers that he and his wife were having domestic problems that also involved Chapman. Investigators said he had been led to believe that Chapman would be meeting him nearby for dinner.  The Courier-Express in DuBois, Pennsylvania, reported that Mark Gerardot was waiting for Chapman to show up when he began receiving disturbing text messages from his wife. He went to Chapman’s home because of those messages and found the bodies.  See the entire Radnor Township police news conference, streamed live Tuesday by the News Journal in Wilmington, below.  Chapman’s neighbor, Melissa DeJoseph, told the Inquirer she saw the victim drive up between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. and, with a bag over her shoulder, walk toward the door. A few seconds later, she heard sharp noises from inside the house. “In my head, I was, like, ‘Is that a gunshot? No, it can’t be a gunshot,’” DeJoseph told the Inquirer.  Other neighbors also reported hearing the gunshots.  Chapman was married to Luke Chapman, a former Newark city councilman, but they were no longer living together, the Inquirer reported. Luke Chapman announced earlier this year that he would not run for a fourth term in office.  Prior to her position at Villanova, Meredith Chapman served as senior director of marketing for the University of Delaware, where she also got her college degree. She also taught at the university as an adjunct professor.  She worked on several political campaigns, as well as on Capitol Hill, where she collaborated with former Vice President Joe Biden when he was a Delaware state senator, according to her Facebook page. She served as communications manager for then-U.S. Rep. Mike Castle in 2007 and 2008, the News Journal reported.  Chapman ran unsuccessfully for a Delaware State Senate seat in 2016, losing the election to opponent Dave Sokola. Sokola expressed shock at the news of Chapman’s slaying. “Kathy and I are stunned by the news about Meredith and I’m deeply, deeply saddened to learn that such a promising young woman’s life has been cut so short,” Sokola wrote on Facebook. “I’ve always respected my opponents and Meredith was certainly no exception. She was sharp, hard-working and motivated by a sincere desire to serve her community. She was bound for great things and it’s tragic for that light to go out so soon. “I’ve also had the privilege to work with her husband, Luke, over the years, and he especially is in our hearts today. We wish him strength, peace, and privacy in what we know is an incredibly difficult and painful time.' Like Sokola, Chapman’s friends expressed shock on social media.  “I’m absolutely floored,” Richard Wisk wrote. “Meredith, RIP, you will be missed tremendously.” Colleen Auer-Smith described Chapman as a bright light and a “ray of sunshine.” “Why of all people? I don’t understand,” Auer-Smith wrote.  A family spokesperson described Chapman as a “beacon of light” to all who knew her in a statement obtained by the News Journal. “She loved her family fiercely, was a compassionate friend and among the most talented and innovative professionals in her field,” the statement read. “Her death was sudden and tragic, but will not define who she was to the thousands of people who loved her. Her family is devastated, heartbroken and requests privacy and respect as they grieve.” Mark Gerardot worked as a creative director at the University of Delaware until earlier this month, when he left that position. Before her move to Villanova University, Chapman was his supervisor, the News Journal reported.  He and his wife also previously ran their own marketing and design company, the Inquirer reported.  Jennair Gerardot also spent five years as marketing manager for a South Carolina-based marketing company, Circor Instrumentation, before leaving that job in December.  According to a post she wrote on the NextDoor neighborhood app in February, she left her position at Circor because of her husband’s new job at the University of Delaware.  The Inquirer, which tracked down Gerardot’s post, reported that she went on NextDoor pleading for help with her marriage. “I just transferred to Delaware in December for my husband’s new job, and he’s telling me he wants a divorce,” she wrote, according to the newspaper. “I don’t know anyone and am completely clueless to the area.” She asked for a recommendation for a reputable, successful and driven divorce lawyer.  Gerardot returned to NextDoor in March.  “Please recommend an EXCELLENT marriage counselor for couple on the brink of divorce,” she wrote.  The Inquirer reported that the posts did not make clear whether the couple ever sought counseling. 

A Jacksonville ordinance putting restrictions on flying flags has now been suspended in part by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, in response to a recent issue involving a business flying military flags. A letter sent to some city officials suspends enforcement as it relates to the flying of the U.S. flag, the State of Florida flag, and official flags of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Coast Guard and the POW-MIA flag. The action follows a flag flap from earlier this month involving a City employee serving a warning at Jaguar Power Sports, for its placement of military flags atop the business. Surveillance footage from the business showed the City employee wagging her finger at a veteran. In response, that employee and a supervisor were placed on leave, while the City investigates the incident. Curry’s new directive suspending the portion of the ordinance for US, Florida, and military flags is in effect until he issues further notice.
A Jacksonville ordinance putting restrictions on flying flags has now been suspended in part by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, in response to a recent issue involving a business flying military flags. A letter sent to some city officials suspends enforcement as it relates to the flying of the U.S. flag, the State of Florida flag, and official flags of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Coast Guard and the POW-MIA flag. The action follows a flag flap from earlier this month involving a City employee serving a warning at Jaguar Power Sports, for its placement of military flags atop the business. Surveillance footage from the business showed the City employee wagging her finger at a veteran. In response, that employee and a supervisor were placed on leave, while the City investigates the incident. Curry’s new directive suspending the portion of the ordinance for US, Florida, and military flags is in effect until he issues further notice.
A Jacksonville ordinance putting restrictions on flying flags has now been suspended in part by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, in response to a recent issue involving a business flying military flags. A letter sent to some city officials suspends enforcement as it relates to the flying of the U.S. flag, the State of Florida flag, and official flags of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Coast Guard and the POW-MIA flag. The action follows a flag flap from earlier this month involving a City employee serving a warning at Jaguar Power Sports, for its placement of military flags atop the business. Surveillance footage from the business showed the City employee wagging her finger at a veteran. In response, that employee and a supervisor were placed on leave, while the City investigates the incident. Curry’s new directive suspending the portion of the ordinance for US, Florida, and military flags is in effect until he issues further notice.
A Jacksonville ordinance putting restrictions on flying flags has now been suspended in part by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, in response to a recent issue involving a business flying military flags. A letter sent to some city officials suspends enforcement as it relates to the flying of the U.S. flag, the State of Florida flag, and official flags of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Coast Guard and the POW-MIA flag. The action follows a flag flap from earlier this month involving a City employee serving a warning at Jaguar Power Sports, for its placement of military flags atop the business. Surveillance footage from the business showed the City employee wagging her finger at a veteran. In response, that employee and a supervisor were placed on leave, while the City investigates the incident. Curry’s new directive suspending the portion of the ordinance for US, Florida, and military flags is in effect until he issues further notice.
Without mentioning Awan, House panel takes first steps to respond to IT case

With few answers yet as to why a group of IT aides were fired by House Democratic lawmakers in 2017, a U.S. House panel on Wednesday approved a series of plans designed to tighten internal procedures for internet technology workers who have ‘privileged access’ to the House computer network, focusing on those who work for multiple members of Congress.

“It’s important that we actually get this right,” said Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who led a task force that looked at how to more closely monitor part-time workers known on Capitol Hill “shared employees.”

Under the plan, House officials would get 30 days [More]