On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
67°
Sunny
H 69° L 64°
  • cloudy-day
    67°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 69° L 64°
  • clear-day
    78°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 69° L 64°
  • clear-day
    77°
    Evening
    Sunny. H 83° L 65°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Dismissed juror was told by “the Holy Spirit” that former Rep. Corrine Brown was not guilty
Close

Dismissed juror was told by “the Holy Spirit” that former Rep. Corrine Brown was not guilty

Dismissed juror was told by “the Holy Spirit” that former Rep. Corrine Brown was not guilty
Photo Credit: Action News Jax
Now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown at the federal courthouse in Downtown Jacksonville for the first hearing since she was convicted of 18 federal charges.

Dismissed juror was told by “the Holy Spirit” that former Rep. Corrine Brown was not guilty

“The Holy Spirit” told him now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown was not guilty on all charges. 

We’re getting new insight in to the reason one of the initial members of the jury in Brown’s federal fraud trial was removed from the case, a day and a half after deliberations started. WOKV previously reported that a juror expressed concerns about another juror’s comments about “higher beings”, and that ultimately led to the dismissal of the juror who made the comments. The discussion between the Judge and attorneys, as well as juror interviews which supported the excusal, were made during a hearing session that was closed to the public, though, so the exact details weren’t initially available. 

Now, a transcript of that roughly 90 minute proceeding has been unsealed. 

FULL COVERAGE: The federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown

The release of the transcript comes at the request of several media organizations, including Cox Media Group on behalf of WOKV. It was discussed during a Monday hearing that followed Brown’s convictions last week on 18 of the 22 federal charges she had faced. The Judge allowed her conditions of release to remain in effect, meaning Brown will not go to prison pending her sentencing hearing, unless she violates terms put in place by the court.

The transcript

The closed door session began with District Judge Timothy Corrigan reminding Juror 8- who was the one who notified the court of the concern- that she was not being asked to disclose her position in the ongoing deliberations or the opinions of the other jurors. Instead, he focused in specifically on her call to the courtroom deputy. 

Juror 8 told Corrigan she wrote a letter explaining her concern, in case she didn’t get a phone call. 


 

The letter was read by Corrigan and shared with the attorneys. It says Juror 8 was concerned because Juror 13 said “A Higher Being told me Corrine Brown was Not guilty on all charges”. The letter says Juror 13 then went on to say he “trusted the Holy Ghost”. 

Upon further questioning from Corrigan, Juror 8 said the first comment was made right at the start of deliberations. The second part was made within a few hours. Juror 13 had not said anything similar since that time. Juror 8 said the comments were not interfering with the jury’s ability to deliberate, but she was concerned it would interfere with Juror 13’s ability to make a decision as the court instructed- based solely on the evidence and testimony presented at trial and the law they were instructed on as it relates to the case. 

While Juror 8 believed other jurors shared the same concern she had, she told the court that she had come forward on her own, and that the others likely didn’t even know she had. 

After Juror 8 was excused from the hearing room, Assistant US Attorney A. Tysen Duva called the text of her letter “pretty startling”. He said potential jurors are asked during the selection process whether they can set aside religious and philosophical beliefs, and that it appeared Juror 13 may not be able to do that. He asked Corrigan to call in the foreperson to see if she had a similar view of what was taking place. 

“Because if it’s affecting the deliberation overall, we all know what that result could be. And I don’t think anybody wants that. And so I think that has to be the inquiry: Is this viewpoint affecting the jury’s ability to reach a verdict, whatever that verdict might be? Because I think the worst scenario here is to stop at this point and sort of hope for the best. I think—I think with an issue like this that came up so early in the jury deliberations, we might all be headed for trying this case a second time. And I don’t think anybody wants that,” Duva said. 

Defense Attorney James Smith III disagreed, though, saying the information available didn’t indicate that Juror 13 was not fulfilling his duties. In fact, he pointed out that Juror 8 told the court Juror 13 appeared to be participating in deliberations. 

“I can understand why there might be a threshold concern with this as initially reported to the court, but I think, given the answers that we’ve received now from the juror, that it’s not affecting her deliberations. Absent any information to show that this juror is refusing to follow the court’s instructions, I don’t believe that anything additional needs to be done, frankly, at this point,” Smith said. 

Corrigan agreed that he didn’t need to make further inquiry with other jurors, siding instead with speaking straight to the juror in question, Juror 13. 

“It really is a fine line, because, obviously, people pray for guidance and so forth, and I—you know, that’s certainly to be respected. On the other hand, if this juror is, in effect, raising some religious view that would prevent him from ever determining that a defendant was guilty on charges or that Ms. Brown was guilty on charges, that is problematic,” Corrigan said. 

Corrigan went on to question whether Smith would feel the same if the juror had indicated a higher being told him Brown was guilty, rather than innocent. 

Corrigan decided to interview Juror 13, but used a different elevator to usher Juror 8 out and bring in Juror 13, so that the movement of those involved were not visible to the press. 

The questioning of Juror 13 started broadly, seeing if the juror remembered the questioning on this line from the selection process. Juror 13 said he did remember, and that he was not having any religious or moral beliefs that were interfering with his ability to decide the case as instructed. He did confirm to Corrigan that he had expressed a religious sentiment to other jurors. 

“I told them that in all of this, in listening to all the information, taking it all down, I listen for the truth, and I know the truth when the truth is spoken. So I expressed that to them, and how I came to that conclusion,” said Juror 13. 

Juror 13 said he had prayed about the matter and had received information on what to do from “My Father in Heaven”. Despite that, Juror 13 maintained that he was basing his decision on the evidence presented at trial and the law as instructed. 

When Juror 13 was excused so the court could further discuss the matter, Duva immediately expressed his concern about some “very damaging things” said by Juror 13. 

“This is a juror who is guided by what he believes a deity told him to do, and is apparently implementing that, and not by the court’s instructions on the law. There is nowhere in the court’s instructions on the law where it says that it’s permissible to receive information from a god or higher power and implement that and impose that on the deliberative process,” Duva said. 

Again, Smith disagreed, noting that the juror believed he was still following the court’s instructions. 

“I think a fair reading here—what may have happened is that, as a person of deep faith, and perhaps like many people with deep faith, has prayed for clarity, the ability to be fair, the ability to be calm, but I did not hear this juror say, I came in with a view given to me by god, and I’m going to go with that, I’m going to follow God no matter what,” Smith said. 

Smith said he had concerns this juror would be removed “simply because he is a man of faith”. 

To distinguish between the comments relayed by Juror 8- which could amount to a “religious intrusion” in the deliberations- and Juror 13’s sincere religious beliefs- which could include praying for guidance- Corrigan called Juror 13 back in to directly ask him if he made the comments that had been reported to the court. 


Juror 13 confirmed that, at the start of deliberations, he said “the Holy Spirit” told him Brown was not guilty on all charges. 

Duva then moved to remove Juror 13 from the panel and seat the first alternate, noting specifically that making that comment at the start of deliberations shows that he wasn’t following the court’s order. Smith said because the juror maintained that he was considering evidence, there was no valid basis for removal. 

Ultimately, Corrigan cited some case law which said a juror should be excused only when “no substantial possibility exists” that a decision is being based solely on evidence in his decision to remove Juror 13. He added that “sincerely held religious beliefs” and praying for guidance are not in themselves grounds to dismiss, but Juror 13’s statements and the timing of the statements show inconsistencies with the law as instructed. 

“Because, by definition, it’s not that the person is praying for guidance so that the person can be enlightened, it’s that the higher being—or the Holy Spirit is directing or telling the person what disposition of the charges should be made,” Corrigan said. 

Four alternates were seated for the trial and all of them sat through the proceedings without knowing they were alternates. They were then kept in the courthouse once deliberations began, although they were not in the deliberation room. Once Corrigan excused Juror 13, the conversation moved to whether to seat an alternate or proceed with 11 jurors. 

Duva and Smith conferred, and agreed an alternate should be seated. Juror 5 was the first alternate in the selection process and was installed on the panel. 

Corrigan did note that his ruling could potentially be an issue raised on appeal. 

The newly reformed jury was instructed to start their deliberations over. About a day and a half later, they returned with unanimous verdicts convicting Brown on 18 of the 22 federal charges she faced, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, filing false tax returns, and more. She was found not guilty on two counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. 

The charges all stem from Brown’s role in a sham charity called One Door For Education. She, her Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons, and One Door President Carla Wiley raised more than $800,000 in donations to the charity, but used the money for personal expenses instead, according to prosecutors. 

Despite the convictions, Brown is maintaining her innocence. Shortly after the verdicts, Smith said he intends to file a motion for a new trial and take other measures. The defense has said Brown did not closely manage her finances and office, relying instead on Simmons, who betrayed her trust. They said any wrongdoing was a mistake, and not criminal. 

Simmons and Wiley both pleaded guilty and testified in the trial. 

Other juror contact

During a Monday hearing, Smith told the court that he had been contacted by one of the jurors about an issue the juror believed would help his appeal. Corrigan told Smith to file a motion if he wanted to contact the juror, and Smith said he would. Duva indicated he would want any such interview to be conducted in the presence of a court report. 

Corrigan further said another juror had reached out to a court officer to express concern about how some of Juror 13’s comments were being characterized in the media. The juror claimed statements that Juror 13 was voting not guilty because what he was told by the Holy Spirit was “not true in the partial vote we had taken prior to removal”. It’s unclear whether the “not true” was referring to how the comment was being characterized or how the voting was taking place, but Corrigan noted that jurors should not be contacting the court to talk about deliberations. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: All of the direct quotes in this article are attributable to the court transcript, not to WOKV’s independent confirmation of what was said. 

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • More than 1.2 million people worldwide – including more than 312,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Saturday, April 5, continue below:  Florida congressman, first to test positive, now rid of virus Update 9:46 p.m. EDT April 5: A U.S. congressman from Florida who was the first representative to test positive, has recovered from the coronavirus. Rep. Mario Daiz-Balart said Sunday he was virus-free. “Today, after being deemed #COVID19 free by my doctor, I was able to reunite with my family in Miami,” Diaz-Balart said on social media. 'Though still a bit weak, I feel well, & I applied to participate in the (Red Cross) plasma donation to help those with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections.” He later stressed the importance of social distancing. “I want to reiterate the seriousness of this sickness, and I encourage everyone to continue to follow the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines,” he said. Italy sees lowest death rate in weeks Update 8:56 p.m. EDT April 5: Health officials believe the curve is flattening in Italy where the country recorded its lowest death rate in nearly two weeks. Italy’s Civil Protection Service said Sunday 525 people died in a 24-hour period, the lowest since March 19 when 427 people died, The Associated Press reported. “The curve, which had been plateauing for days, is starting to descend,' health officials Silvio Brusaferro said Sunday. More than 15,800 people have died from the virus in Italy, according to Johns Hopkins virus tracking site. There are more than 128,000 confirmed cases. The country recorded more than 4,300 new cases Sunday. However, that number is a decrease from earlier in the outbreak when daily cases topped 6,000.The country has been on lockdown for nearly four weeks. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Washington sending 400 ventilators from national stockpile to New York Update 7:56 p.m. EDT April 5: Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sunday that Washington will be returning more than 400 ventilators from the federal government to help the state of New York, which is experiencing a higher number of coronavirus cases. 'I’ve said many times over the last few weeks, we are in this together. This should guide all of our actions at an individual and state level in the coming days and weeks,' Inslee said. The ventilators were sent from the Strategic National Stockpile, KIRO-TV reported. Washington recently purchased more than 750 of its own ventilators that will arrive over the next several weeks. “Thanks to the mitigation efforts the governor has put in place and the cooperation of Washingtonians, we have seen fewer infections in our communities than anticipated. Our current status allows us to help others who have a more immediate need,' said Raquel Bono, a former vice admiral and director of Washington state’s COVID-19 Health System Response Management. There are more than 7,400 confirmed cases and 319 deaths in Washington state, according to The New York Times. In New York state, there are more than 122,500 confirmed cases and 4,159 deaths. Boris Johnson admitted to hospital with virus Update 6:06 p.m. EDT April 5: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital Sunday because of the coronavirus. He went to the hospital because he still has symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus, The Associated Press reported. Officials said the move is a “precautionary step,” the BBC reported. Johnson is expected to stay overnight. Johnson, 55, has been quarantined since testing positive March 26. Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive for virus  Update 4:56 p.m. EDT April 5: A tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the coronavirus. It is believed the big cat was exposed to the virus by an employee at the zoo, accoridng to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Several lions and tigers were showing symptoms of the virus March 27, but only the one tested positive. All of the big cats are expected to recover. The zoo has been closed to the public since about mid-March. Other animals in the zoo are not showing signs of the virus. Death Valley National Park temporarily closes Update 3:26 p.m. EDT April 5: Death Valley National Park has been temporarily closed, effective Saturday due to public health concerns surrounding the spread of the coronavirus, the National Park Service said on its website. The National Park Service said Daylight Pass and California highway 190 will remain open at the park, which is located in California and Nevada. The order means all park facilities, restrooms, viewpoints, trails, roads, and campgrounds are closed until further notice, according to the website. Fauci says coronavirus could become seasonal Update 3:11 p.m. EDT April 5: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. said there is a very good chance the new coronavirus “will assume a seasonal nature” because it is unlikely the disease will be under control globally. “Unless we get this globally under control, there’s a very good chance that it will assume a seasonal nature,” Fauci, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,' said Sunday. “We need to be prepared, that since it unlikely would be completely eradicated from the planet, that as we get into (the) next (flu) season, we may see the beginning of a resurgence.” Trump approves disaster declarations for Delaware, South Dakota Update 2:06 p.m. EDT April 5: President Donald Trump approved disaster declarations for Delaware and South Dakota, according to CNN. The president has now approved disaster declarations for 42 states, the U.S. Virgin islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. Navy captain relieved of aircraft carrier command tests positive Update 12:46 p.m. EDT April 5: Brett E. Crozier, the Navy captain removed from command of the coronavirus-stricken U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, has tested positive for COVID-19, The New York Times reported, citing who was removed from command of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, The New York Times reported, citing two Naval Academy classmates of Crozier’s who are close to him and his family. A Navy spokesman declined comment on the captain’s status, the newspaper reported. Crozier was removed from the warship Thursday. He was fired after the San Francisco Chronicle reported Crozier emailed a letter to Navy leaders that listed failures in providing necessary resources to disinfect the ship as the virus spread through it, the Times reported. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” there were 155 confirmed coronavirus cases among sailors aboard the aircraft carrier. “There is an investigation ongoing,” Esper said on “State of the Union.” “All the services at times relieve commanders without the benefit of an investigation up front because they’ve lost confidence in them. It’s certainly not unique to the Navy.” NJ governor says state has secured 500 ventilators Update 12:14 p.m. EDT April 5: In a tweet Sunday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said his state has secured about 500 additional ventilators after having “multiple” conversations with the White House. “Ventilators are our No. 1 need right now,” Murphy tweeted. “I won’t stop fighting to get us the equipment we need to save every life we can.” Queen Elizabeth II: 'History will remember your actions’ Update 10:44 a.m. EDT April 5: Queen Elizabeth II, making a rare address to the nation, is expected to urge citizens in the United Kingdom to exercise discipline and resolve during the coronavirus crisis. Normally the queen, now 93, makes one speech annually, but this will be the second in two months, the BBC reported. 'I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time,” she said, according to excerpts obtained by The Associated Press. “A time of disruption in the life of our country; a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.” The queen has given an address like this on only three other occasions, according to the AP: After the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, before the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997, and during first Gulf War in 1991. “I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” the queen said in remarks that will be broadcast Sunday night. “Those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.” ‘Hardest and saddest’ week ahead, surgeon general says Update 10:26 a.m. EDT April 5: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the upcoming week will be the “hardest and the saddest” for Americans. Adams, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” characterized the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic as a “Pearl Harbor moment” and a “9/11 moment.” “I want Americans to understand that as hard as this week is going to be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Adams said on the news program. DC, Maryland, Virginia see increase in cases Update 10:10 a.m. EDT April 5: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise in the area around Washington, D.C. Sunday morning, there were 6.422 cases in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, The Washington Post reported. There were 3,126 cases in Maryland, 2,410 in Virginia and 906 in the District of Columbia, the newspaper reported. The total of virus-related deaths stood at 126 -- 52 in Virginia, 53 in Maryland and 21 in D.C. Pastor at Falwell’s church tests positive Update 8:59 a.m. EDT April 5: Charles Billingsley, worship leader of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, tested positive for the coronavirus, Pastor Jonathan Falwell told WDBJ. Falwell posted the announcement on his Facebook page Saturday. He says Billingsley’s symptoms are mild and he is getting better each day. Legendary NFL kicker Tom Dempsey dies from complications Update 8:42 a.m. EDT April 5: Former NFL placekicker Tom Dempsey, who set an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal in 1970, died Saturday from complications from the coronavirus, his family said. He was 73. Dempsey contracted COVID-19 in March during an outbreak at a New Orleans retirement home, NOLA.com reported. He is one of 15 residents at the home to die from the virus. Dempsey was born without fingers on his right hand and wore a small, flat shoe on his kicking foot, the website reported. His record-setting field goal, on the last play of the game against the Detroit Lions on Nov. 8, 1970, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, helped the Saints rally to a 19-17 victory. His field goal beat the previous mark by seven yards. NBA, Knicks, Nets work with Chinese official to donate 1M surgical masks to New York Update 7:50 a.m. EDT April 5: The NBA and two professional basketball teams are working with a Chinese official to provide 1 million surgical masks to “essential workers” in New York. According to Reuters, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the donation – a collaborative effort involving the league, the New York Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets and Chinese Consul General Huang Ping – Saturday on social media. “New York thanks you,” Cuomo tweeted Saturday afternoon. “We are beyond grateful for this gift of critically needed PPE.” >> See the tweet here As of Sunday morning, New York had reported at least 114,174 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 3,565 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday Mass without public Update 6:52 a.m. EDT April 5: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis took a different approach to his Palm Sunday Mass, typically celebrated outside in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City with tens of thousands of people looking on. According to The Associated Press, the pope celebrated the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. Only a few prelates, nuns and guests were invited to attend, the AP reported. As of Sunday morning, Italy had reported 124,632 COVID-19 cases – the third-highest in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Italy also had logged at least 15,362 deaths, more than any other country. Oprah Winfrey donating $10 million to relief efforts Update 5:45 a.m. EDT April 5: Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is donating $10 million amid the coronavirus pandemic, she said last week. In an Instagram post Thursday, Winfrey praised America’s Food Fund, a donation drive started by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, Apple and the Ford Foundation. According to the initiative’s GoFundMe page, it is currently benefiting two food charities: Feeding America and World Central Kitchen, founded by celebrity chef José Andrés. “I was struck by the work these organizations are doing, and while everyone’s priority right now is to stay safer at home, I know there are many of us looking for ways to help,” Winfrey wrote. “I believe that America’s Food Fund will be a powerful way to make a difference for our neighbors in need and am committing $1 million to this fund to support those facing food insecurity.” She added that she is “donating $10 million overall to help Americans during this pandemic in cities across the country and in areas where I grew up.” >> See the post here As of Sunday morning, America’s Food Fund’s crowdfunding campaign had raised more than $13 million toward its $15 million goal. Tokyo to report 143 new cases, breaking city’s single-day record Update 4:43 a.m. EDT April 5: Tokyo on Sunday will report 143 new coronavirus cases, topping the city’s single-day record, the Japan Times is reporting. Japan’s capital city has reported more than 1,000 cases of the virus, according to the newspaper. On Sunday morning, Johns Hopkins University reported 3,139 confirmed coronavirus cases and 77 deaths in Japan. BBB warns of fake coronavirus stimulus check, other scams Update 3:40 a.m. EDT April 5: Scammers across the United States continue to trick people in an attempt to steal their money or information, WHBQ-TV is reporting. The Better Business Bureau said that most of the recent scams reported involves the stimulus checks that the government will be sending out to citizens. Here are some of the scams reported to the BBB this week: A phone call saying that student loans qualify you for immediate COVID-19 relief. The woman who reported this scam said she doesn’t have any student loans. Two Facebook messages from someone posing as a government official that that says you qualify for an immediate COVID-19 grant. Both targets were offered grants of $50,000 to $300,000 if they paid an upfront fee by gift cards or wire. One victim said the person communicating with her was posing as William Barr, U.S. Attorney General. A Facebook message from a “friend” that asks you to call a specified number and give your Social Security Number so you can find out when you’ll get your government relief check. The woman who reported this scam said several of her church members had told her about it thinking it was real. A text message asking for your Social Security Number to see if you qualified for $50,000 from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The money was for seniors affected by coronavirus. A text message stating that if you confirmed your bank account information and paid $50, you could get your stimulus check immediately. The FBI has warned of a text message scam that appears to be from Costco offering you $100 to spend there. The FBI says if you click on the link, malware will be downloaded to your device. The Better Business Bureau said to remember: The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get the stimulus money. No fees. No charges. No nothing. The government does not need you to provide your personal information in order to receive your payment. They will deposit money into the account you gave on your tax return last year or send you a check. Anyone asking for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number is a scammer. The checks are not in the mail … yet. Anyone who tells you they can expedite your check for a fee is a scammer. Never give your bank account information to someone you don’t know. Scammers will call and pressure you to divulge your bank account information so they can steal the money in the account. Look-alikes and sound-alikes aren’t the real thing. Just because the a caller claims to be with the government doesn’t mean he is. Scammers make up official-sounding names to fool you. Phone numbers can deceive. Con artists “spoof” their phone numbers to change what you see in caller ID. They could be calling from anywhere. If you spot a scam, please report it to the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org/scamtracker. HIV drug showing signs of successfully treating coronavirus patients Update 1:44 a.m. EDT April 5: A drug used to treat HIV and cancer patients has shown success in treating some of the most severe coronavirus patients and was just cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start a phase two clinical trial. Much of the work behind the drug is happening in Washington state. The drug was developed by a company called CytoDyn in Vancouver, Washington. It is manufactured by a company in Bothell, Washington, AGC Biologics, which makes a special molecule that is the key ingredient in the drug, KIRO-TV reported. Scientists at CytoDyn figured out it could work to treat COVID-19, and the first severely sick patients who’ve tried it have shown improvement. The drug is called leronlimab, comes in a vial and is a two-shot-per-week dose over two weeks. It is being tried on 10 of the most critically ill COVID-19 patients at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The patients are on ventilators, and some are barely conscious. “The first four patients who were intubated, two were extubated. One of them self-extubated and became alert,” said Nader Pourhassan, the CEO of CytoDyn. Now the two patients are out of the intensive care unit. Pourhassan said when he heard the results, he had to stop what he was doing. “And cried for about five minutes. It was very, very emotional,” Pourhassan said. He said studies show that in the U.S., 85% of COVID-19 patients who end up needing ventilators will die. But the patients who’ve gotten shots of this drug have shown strong results. “All eight patients we’ve analyzed so far – the first eight patients – saw immunological benefits. The FDA immediately allowed us to have a phase two randomized trial. We are initiating that today,” Pourhassan said Friday. He said the results were even seen in COVID patients who only got the shots three days, though it takes two weeks for the drugs to take full effect. Read more here. U.S. cases soar past 312,000, including nearly 8,500 deaths Update 12:53 a.m. EDT April 5: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 312,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands early Sunday. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 312,146 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 8,496 deaths. Worldwide, there are 1,203,099 confirmed cases and 64,774 deaths from the virus. U.S. cases outnumber those in any other nation, including the 126,168 reported in Spain and the 124,632 confirmed in Italy. Of the confirmed deaths in the U.S., 3,565 have occurred in New York, 846 in New Jersey, 540 in Michigan and 409 in Louisiana. In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit with at least 114,174 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 34,124, Michigan with 14,225 and California with 13,878. Five other states have each confirmed at least 10,000 novel coronavirus cases, including: • Louisiana: 12,496, including 409 deaths • Massachusetts: 11,736, including 216 deaths • Florida: 11,545, including 195 deaths • Pennsylvania: 10,444, including 139 deaths • Illinois: 10,359, including 244 deaths Meanwhile, Washington state has confirmed at least 7,500 novel coronavirus infections, while Texas and Georgia have confirmed at least 6,000 cases each. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Seminole County deputies said they found trafficking amounts of heroin and cocaine after detectives found a stolen car Thursday morning at a Florida home. Deputies said cash and several handguns were also seized at the home in unincorporated Lake Mary. A baby alligator was also being kept illegally in the home, deputies said. Four suspects are facing several felony charges. “Make no mistake, any criminals thinking they can use our coronavirus emergency to take advantage know that our dedicated men and women are keeping our neighborhoods safe,” said Sheriff Dennis Lemma.
  • Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sunday that Washington will be returning more than 400 ventilators from the federal government to help the state of New York, which is experiencing a higher number of coronavirus cases. “I’ve said many times over the last few weeks, we are in this together. This should guide all of our actions at an individual and state level in the coming days and weeks,” Inslee said. The ventilators were sent from the Strategic National Stockpile. Washington recently purchased more than 750 of its own ventilators that will arrive over the next several weeks. “Thanks to the mitigation efforts the governor has put in place and the cooperation of Washingtonians, we have seen fewer infections in our communities than anticipated. Our current status allows us to help others who have a more immediate need,' said Raquel Bono, a former vice admiral and director of Washington state’s COVID-19 Health System Response Management. There are more than 7,400 confirmed cases and 319 deaths in Washington state, according to The New York Times. In New York state, there are more than 122,500 confirmed cases and 4,159 deaths.
  • Police in a Louisiana city blared a siren signaling the start of curfew -- unknowing that it sounded similar to the alarm in the horror movie “The Purge.” Crowley police sounded the siren Friday night, prompting complaints from residents familiar with the horror franchise, KATC reported. Chief Jimmy Broussard said he was not familiar with the movies. The department will no longer use any type of siren to note curfew hours, KATC reported. The siren sounded eerily similar to the alarm in the movie “The Purge,” where it signaled all crimes, including murder, were legal for a 12-hour period. The Acadia Parish sheriff distanced his department from the noise. “Last night a ‘Purge Siren’ was utilized by the Crowley Police Department as part of their starting curfew,” K.P. Gibson said in a statement. “We have received numerous complaints with the belief that our agency was involved in this process. We were not involved in the use of the ’Purge Siren’ and will not utilize any type of siren for this purpose.”
  • A tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the coronavirus. This is the first known infection in an animal or a tiger anywhere, The Associated Press reported. It is believed Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, was exposed to the virus by an employee at the zoo, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Several lions and tigers were showing symptoms of the virus March 27, but only the one tested positive. All of the big cats are expected to recover. The zoo has been closed to the public since about mid-March. Other animals in the zoo are not showing signs of the virus. The zoo on Tuesday shared video on social media of the tigers enjoying a swim. Agriculture officials are warning people infected with the coronavirus to avoid their pets, like they would other people. “Anyone sick with COVID-19 should restrict contact with animals, out of an abundance of caution including pets, during their illness, just as they would with other people,” agriculture officials said in a statement. “Although there have not been reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Latest News Videos