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Latest from Rich Jones

    A pedestrian was hit by a vehicle near the Doctor’s Inlet Bridge in Clay County.  A spokesman for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office tells WOKV News that it does not appear to be life-threatening.  Florida Highway Patrol is working the crash.  This story is developing, refresh for updates. 
  • It’s not as hot, but heavy rain at times is inconvenient.  Action New Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says onshore flow will mean gusty winds and showers streaming off the Atlantic once again.  Temps will stay below average, in the low 80’s.  The weekend is looking nice overall, though Saturday will feature a few showers with winds off the Atlantic diminishing through the day.  Sunday is looking warmer but humidity is not bad.  It warms up more early next week. 
  • Southbound traffic on I-95 through St. Johns County was backed up for ten hours through the overnight Friday, following a crash that involved multiple vehicles. The driver of a Lexus, who lives in Washington, D.C., was cited for driving too fast for conditions according to Florida Highway Patrol.  He was in the left lane of I-95 when his vehicle hydroplaned and struck the inside guardrail.  The vehicle then hit a semi truck, and that truck collided with another semi.  All three drivers had only minor injuries.  Two southbound lanes were blocked from the time of the crash, around 9:30 pm, through early this morning. 
  • One person has serious injuries after being hit by a vehicle in the Springfield area this morning.  Action News Jax Reporter Beth Rousseau was told by police that a child being chased by a dog was hit by the vehicle near N. Davis and W. 13th Street, not far from UF Health Jacksonville.  The child is expected to recover from injuries.  Refresh this story for new information throughout the day. 
  • Local law enforcement is searching for two people believed to be involved in multiple vehicle thefts and at least 24 car burglaries in Northeast Florida. The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says two suspects were arrested on Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon.  Deputies attempted to pull over a Dodge Journey in the Vilano area Tuesday evening. It was quickly discovered this vehicle was reported stolen out of Clay County.  Deputies said the driver refused to pull over and drove across the Vilano Bridge.  Stop sticks forced the vehicle to come to a stop. Deputies said four people jumped out of the SUV and ran. They witnessed one of the occupants throwing a handgun off of the bridge.  Several other firearms were found in the vehicle. One suspect was arrested near the stolen SUV, 18-year-old Aneudy Gutierrez. He was initially held on loitering charges.  On Wednesday afternoon, deputies arrested a second suspect, 18-year-old Josiah Martinez. Both are now charged with 24 counts of armed burglary to a conveyance and two counts of firearm theft.  Within 12 hours of their arrest, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said dispatch received several calls of car burglaries in the Southeast district.  Investigators linked two stolen firearms found in the stolen SUV to this neighborhood.  'I'm pretty surprised,' St. Johns County resident Devona Coch said. 'I guess I'm going to start locking it up a little bit more often.'  Deputies believe the remaining two suspects stole a 2004 Ford Excursion to flee town.  They said the Excursion was last spotted in Duval County.  They are asking the community to remove any valuables from their vehicles, especially firearms.   'Just take extra precaution and lock up,' Coch said. 'Don't trust that it's a good neighborhood because you never know when it's going to happen or where it's going to happen.
  • It’s a welcome change, just two days after tying a record high of 96 degrees, cooler air has arrived.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says we'll be below average today and through the weekend.  “We’re even getting rid of a little bit of that humidity so it allows the temperatures at night, at least inland, to drop in the 60’s. It stays in the 70’s at the beaches because of that wind off water”, said Buresh.  Expect a few showers, not particularly widespread or persistent, closer to the coast today and tonight.  Kickoff forecast for the Jaguars and Titans will be in the 70’s and falling through the night. The weekend is looking really nice with sunshine and mild afternoons in the low to mid 80’s and comfortably cool nights in the 60’s, the coolest stretch of temperatures at night since May. 
  • The teenager accused of killing his grandmother and burying her body in a shallow grave at his father’s Neptune Beach home has pleaded guilty to second degree murder.  Logan Mott was charged with 2nd Degree Murder and Grand Theft Auto in November of 2017. His grandmother, Kristina French, was found buried in a shallow grave.  In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors have dropped the Grand Theft Auto charge.   Prosecutors said Mott, who was 15 at the time, stabbed and shot French.  He was arrested in Buffalo, New York, while attempting to cross in to Canada.  Mott’s father and girlfriend returned home from a vacation on Nov. 22 and were not picked up at the airport by French as previously discussed. They took an Uber to the teen’s father's Neptune Beach home and found it was ransacked and guns were taken from the gun safe.
  • It's been a long legal road to this morning in the federal fraud case involving two former Democratic Jacksonville City Council Members.  Jury selection is set to begin today in the case against Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown.  They are not related, despite sharing a last name. As WOKV first reported in May of 2018, the two were named in a 38-count indictment dealing with money laundering, various fraud charges and more.  Prosecutors say they conspired to submit fake invoices, in order to receive payments from a federally-backed loan for Katrina Brown’s family BBQ sauce business. The US Attorney’s Office said an unnamed relative of Katrina Brown obtained a $2.652 million loan through the Small Business Administration in 2011 for two businesses- Cowealth, LLC and Basic Products, LLC. They also were approved for a $380,000 loan and more than $210,000 grant from the City of Jacksonville, to establish a facility on Commonwealth Avenue to manufacture, bottle, and sell barbecue sauce. The business was already in operation, but sought to expand, including creating 56 full time jobs.   In late 2013, which is before Katrina Brown joined the City Council in mid-2015, she began to operate as the primary principal for those businesses.  The BBQ sauce business struggled, and was not meeting financial projections by late 2013. The indictment says, instead of notifying the lender and City and lender of the business’ state of affairs, Katrina Brown approached Reggie Brown- who was a sitting Council member at the time- about incorporating two businesses, A Plus Training and Consultants, LLC and RB Packaging, LLC.  Katrina Brown allegedly submitted fake invoices, saying those two businesses provided goods or services that were never actually delivered, in order to continue getting payments from the loan. Some of the examples in the indictment include fraudulent invoices to buy heavy machinery, labels, and other supplies, but prosecutors say the transactions didn’t actually take place. In one case, prosecutors say Katrina Brown falsified a quote for heavy machinery, to make it appear as though it was from one of the alleged shell companies  Reggie Brown was a principal in those allegedly fake businesses, and prosecutors say he managed the bank accounts. The indictment says the money drawn from these fake invoices was used for personal expenses for Reggie Brown and Katrina Brown, with some also going to the business, but under the false pretenses. The indictment further alleges Katrina Brown arranged for at least two other people to get money through the SBA loan for services or goods that were not actually provided. Some of that funding was then given by the third party to Katrina Brown, according to prosecutors. After the indictments, their attorneys said all of the SBA loan money and hundreds of thousands of dollars from Katrina Brown’s family went to the business. Reggie Brown said he formed the companies for the “worthy goal of getting the businesses up and running”, according to the statement.
  • Jerry has strengthened to a category one hurricane as it moves through the central Atlantic.  It is the tenth named storm in the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. The First Alert Weather Team says Jerry will be pulled north this weekend and stay several hundred miles east of Jacksonville. INDEPTH:  Talking the Tropics with Mike Buresh  Jerry will have to battle some shear by late week so the tropical cyclone may become mostly steady state into the weekend. Though uncomfortably close by Friday and into the weekend to Puerto Rico, present indications are that Jerry will be north of the Greater Antilles. 
  • Two days after a Florida man went missing in the St. Augustine Beach area, a body was located along the shoreline in Matanzas Beach.  WOKV first reported that Jacob Turner, from the Tampa-area, got caught up in a rip current late on Sunday while at the beach with friend.s.  The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office says no identity has been confirmed at this time, but it is possible that the discovery is Jacob Turner.   The Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy to confim the identity and cause of death.  Dangerous rip currents from Hurricane Humberto led to at least 13 rescues on Sunday by St. Johns County Fire and Rescue.  Rip currents are expected to remain strong throughout the week. 
  • Rich Jones

    Host of Jacksonville's Morning News

    Rich Jones has been News Director of WOKV AM/FM since October 2006. Since joining the team, WOKV News has been recognized by the Associated Press as the most awarded radio news team in the state of Florida including awards for Best Newscast, Best Reporting, Best Public Affairs Coverage, and Best News Series, among others.

    Rich has been involved in many organizations and causes on the First Coast. He has twice been captain of WOKV's team at the Heart Walk, and has raised funds for the American Heart Association. 

    Rich is “the face” of WOKV in the community and is the Master of Ceremonies for many philanthropic causes such as the Annual WOKV Careathon, a day-long benefit for the Child Cancer Fund of NE Florida, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

    Rich enjoys spending his time away from the studio with his wife, daughters and son as well as watching sports and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • As the city prepares to demolish the Jacksonville Landing, a team is working to salvage some of the items inside. The biggest item Annie Murphy and her team at Eco Relics have salvaged so far from the building is the bar top from Hooters. It's for sale at their shop on Stockton Street.  'We're all about keeping stuff out of landfills, that's our mission,' Murphy said.  They expect to salvage up to 160 items from the iconic landmark before it is torn down, from doors and windows to artwork and lighting.  'It is really cool to see people recognizing certain things, longtime Jacksonville residents,' Murphy said.  She said they were able to salvage some items inside the buildings along the river earlier this month. They can't access the rest of the building until the last tenant moves out in October.  A city spokesperson said over the next couple of weeks, the contractor will be stripping out items not attached to the building structure and then heavy equipment will begin the demolition.  It's expected to be complete by June 2020.  Murphy said the pieces of Jacksonville history her team pulls from the building will be for sale as they're salvaged.
  • A North Carolina sheriff stands accused of urging the murder of a former deputy who had a recording of him using racially offensive language, authorities say. Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was indicted Monday on two counts of felony obstruction of justice, according to court records. Wilkins is accused of trying to get another man to kill former Deputy Joshua Freeman, who he believed was going to expose his racist talk. >> Read more trending news  Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, who is prosecuting the case, said Wilkins' Aug. 12, 2014, phone conversation with the 'well-known' man who threatened Joshua Freeman's life was caught on tape, according to The News & Observer in Raleigh. Lorrin Freeman and Joshua Freeman are not related. Joshua Freeman worked for the Sheriff's Office from November 2011 to August 2014 but was let go in the days leading up to Wilkins' alleged crimes, WRAL in Raleigh reported. Wilkins, who was reelected in 2018 for a third four-year term, is accused of advising the unnamed man to kill Joshua Freeman, 'whom the defendant knew to have expressed his intention to soon publicly reveal a purported audio recording of the sheriff using racially offensive language to authorities in Raleigh,' the indictment states. The court records do not detail what Wilkins is alleged to have said, or what ultimately happened to the recording of his words. The indictment against the sheriff alleges Wilkins encouraged the man to 'take care of it' and said, 'The only way you gonna stop him is kill him.' According to the indictment, Wilkins counseled the would-be gunman on how to kill Joshua Freeman in a way to avoid getting caught. He offered two tips, according to the document: Get rid of the murder weapon and keep quiet. 'You ain't got the weapon, you ain't got nothing to go on,' Wilkins allegedly told the man, the court records allege. 'The only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can't tell nobody nothin', not a thing.' Wilkins and the individual discussed a time in which to kill Joshua Freeman and a location that would ensure it would be Wilkins' own Granville County Sheriff's Office investigators who would get the case, the indictment says. Wilkins assured the man he would not tell investigators of his prior knowledge of the crime. The indictment accuses Wilkins of failing to prevent harm to Joshua Freeman or warn him of the 'credible threat' to his life. It alleges the sheriff also failed to seize the gun the other man planned to use, despite the person showing him the weapon at one point. 'The defendant failed to properly execute his duties because of his personal animosity towards Joshua Freeman,' the indictment states. Joshua Freeman was never harmed, though the indictment offers no indication why the alleged plot failed. Wilkins went before a magistrate Monday and was released on $20,000 unsecured bond. Court records show he was ordered to have no contact with anyone named in the indictment. He was also ordered to surrender his passport, if he has one. Read the indictment against Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins below.  Brindell Wilkins Indictment by National Content Desk on Scribd 'No one is above the law,' Lorrin Freeman said Monday, according to WRAL. 'It is always painful when someone who has the public trust faces these types of allegations for voters who put them in that place. 'Any time you have someone who is sworn to uphold the public trust, to protect their community, to investigate and report crimes, allegedly engage in this type of conduct, it is something that needs to be brought to justice, and so we will continue to follow the evidence in this case.' Several followers of Wilkins' public Facebook page offered support in the wake of the indictment. 'You will always have our support,' one woman wrote. 'Praying for you and your family.' 'Our friendship goes back 30 years or more and you have always been a great friend to me,' another woman wrote. 'You were there for me many times. I believe in you and you have my support, always.' Lorrin Freeman said Wake County is handling the case because Mike Waters, her counterpart in Granville County, could potentially become an important witness at trial. Waters, who addressed the case in a statement on his office's Facebook page, wrote to Lorrin Freeman in November to ask her to look into the case. Watch Wake County DA Lorrin Freeman discuss the case below, courtesy of the News & Observer. WRAL reported that Joshua Freeman, who Waters represented in 2014 while in private practice, gave the future prosecutor the tape recording of Wilkins' conversation with the man who talked of killing the former deputy. It was not clear Friday how Freeman obtained the recording. Waters said he immediately turned the tape over to the FBI. The Washington Post reported that Waters met with North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agents about the recording in January 2017, but nothing happened. 'Quite frankly, it did not get to the top of their investigative list,' Lorrin Freeman told WRAL about SBI agents. Waters gave the recording to a different SBI agent in October 2018, but still, no investigation was initiated, the Post reported. That is when Waters turned to Lorrin Freeman to initiate a probe into the sheriff. She agreed. 'I have reviewed this recording,' Lorrin Freeman wrote to SBI agents, according to the Post. 'It contains a conversation between two individuals, one of whom appears to be the Granville County sheriff, about a former deputy sheriff and culminates in a discussion about committing a homicide.' In his Facebook statement, Waters expressed frustration at the amount of time it took to get an investigation going. 'At all times since (turning over the recording), I have provided assistance to investigators, and once Ms. Freeman opened a criminal investigation, have urged that this matter be given investigative priority,' Waters wrote. 'I understand it is a matter of great importance to the people of Granville County, and it has been a point of frustration that the investigative process has not been more expeditious.' He wrote that any allegations of wrongdoing by law enforcement are troubling, particularly when they involve a sheriff elected by the community. 'Over the next few months, my office will continue to lend assistance to the ongoing investigation as requested, while we continue to do our daily work of protecting victims, prosecuting those who violate the law and seeing that justice is administered,' Waters said. WRAL reported Lorrin Freeman said she worked to obtain obstruction charges against Wilkins because obstruction would be easier to prove in the five-year old case than solicitation of murder or conspiracy. The Granville County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss the indictment, but County Attorney Jim Wrenn said the board has no authority to remove Wilkins, an elected official, from office as his criminal case winds its way through the court system, WRAL reported. Lorrin Freeman confirmed that fact to the News & Observer. 'Technically, he can continue to serve if he chooses, until convicted,' Freeman told the newspaper. Spectrum News' Charlotte bureau reported that Wilkins has indicated he will not step down. Wrenn said he is considering trying to get Wilkins out of office through the courts but wants to hear the recording himself before making that decision. Gerry Cohen, former special counsel to the North Carolina General Assembly, said state law has a provision allowing a judge to suspend a sheriff and allow a county commission to appoint a temporary replacement pending the outcome of a criminal case. 'The statute is there to allow removal of sheriff,' Cohen told Spectrum News. 'One of six causes is, in fact, conviction of felony. Others are some of the things in his indictment, like willful misconduct, corruption, willful neglect or refusal to perform duties of his office. Some of them match the charges in his indictment.' The News & Observer reported that the probe into Wilkins' alleged actions against Joshua Freeman has led to investigations of the Granville County Sheriff's Office's accounting practices, as well as the operations of its drug unit. Freeman was a member of the drug unit when he was with the agency. 'Part of this investigation has centered on why this sort of conversation would have occurred, what the underlying motivation would have been,' Lorrin Freeman said Tuesday, according to the newspaper. 'Additional information has come to light regarding operations and accounting practices of the Granville County narcotics interdiction team.' Those investigations remain ongoing.
  • President Donald Trump called reports that a U.S. intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint against him last month 'a ridiculous story' while speaking Friday to reporters in the Oval Office. >> Read more trending news  According to the Washington Post, the president made an unspecified 'promise' to an unidentified foreign leader that concerned the intelligence official. The official filed a complaint Aug. 12, two anonymous former U.S. officials told the newspaper, though lawmakers said Thursday they had yet to see the complaint. The intelligence community's inspector general, Michael Atkinson, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Thursday but declined, under administration orders, to reveal the substance of the complaint. Update 7:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 20: Former Vice President Joe Biden has released a statement on the whistleblower's complaint against President Trump. In it, Biden describes Trump's alleged behavior as 'abhorrent' and calls on him to release a full transcript of the call 'so that the American people can be judged for themselves.' The entire statement reads: Update 4:40 p.m. EDT Sept 20: The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The Journal reported Trump asked Zelensky to work with Rudy Giuliani to determine whether Biden 'worked to shield from investigation a Ukrainian gas company with ties to his son, Hunter Biden.'  Trump made the request about eight times during a phone call in July, according to the Journal. Trump was asked Friday if be brought up Biden in the call with Zelenskiy, and he answered, 'It doesn't matter what I discussed.' But then he used the moment to urge the media 'to look into' Biden's background with Ukraine. Trump and Zelenskiy are to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations next week. Update 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 20: President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that the person behind the complaint filed against him was a 'partisan whistleblower' who 'shouldn't even have information,' though he added that he did not know the person's identity. 'I don't even know exactly who you're talking about,' Trump said. 'I don't know the identity of the whistleblower. I just hear it's a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party.' Trump said Friday that he's spoken with several world leaders and that his conversations with them were 'always appropriate.' Details surrounding the complaint remained unclear Friday afternoon, though The Washington Post and The New York Times reported at least some of the allegations centered on Ukraine. Both newspapers cited unidentified sources. Asked if he knew if the whistleblower's complaint centered on a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the president responded 'I really don't know' but continued to insist any phone call he made with a head of state was 'perfectly fine and respectful.' Update 9:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 19: The whistleblower complaint against Donald Trump centers around Ukraine, two anonymous sources confirmed to The Washington Post Thursday evening. The New York Times and ABC News are also citing anonymous sources, saying the complaint involves Ukraine. It's not clear exactly how Ukraine fits into the allegations. However, Trump spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, the Post reported. That call was already under investigation by House Democrats, who are looking into whether Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, tried to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping with Trump's re-election campaign, according to The Post. Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 19:  The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee suggested Thursday that lawmakers could ask a judge to compel White House officials to share with Congress a whistleblower complaint allegedly filed last month against Trump. The complaint was filed Aug. 12 and involved an undisclosed 'promise' made by the president to an unidentified foreign leader, CNN reported Atkinson declined to share details of the complaint during a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, citing a lack of authorization. 'We do know that the Department of Justice has been involved in the decision to withhold that information from Congress,' Schiff told reporters Thursday. 'We do not know -- because we cannot get an answer to the question -- about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress.' He said lawmakers had yet to see the complaint by Thursday afternoon. 'We do not know whether press reports are accurate or inaccurate about the contents of the complaint,' he said. Earlier Thursday, the president denied having done anything inappropriate. Update 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 19: Trump on Thursday denied any wrongdoing after reports claimed a whistleblower had come forward with a complaint about the president making an unspecified promise to a foreign leader. 'Another Fake News story out there - it never ends!' Trump wrote Thursday in a tweet. 'Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. 'Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially 'heavily populated' call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!' Original report: The promise occurred during a phone conversation with the leader, one source told the Post. Details about the alleged pledge and the leader's identity was not immediately available. Although Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, believed that the whistleblower complaint warranted 'urgent concern,' acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire so far has declined to provide information about the communication to the House Intelligence Committee, the Post reported. A closed hearing with Atkinson is slated for Thursday, the committee said. Maguire is expected to testify publicly Sept. 26, according to the committee's chairman, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A Massachusetts man in his 70s has died after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, state health officials said Friday. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said the man was a resident of Freetown, a town about 50 miles south of Boston, according to WFXT. 'Our most sincere sympathy, thoughts and prayers go out to the victim, to their family and their loved ones,' town officials said in a news release. The man was identified as having the 10th confirmed human case of EEE in the state. Officials said eight other cases of EEE have been confirmed in animals, including seven horses and a goat. The man's death was the second reported in the state from EEE. At least two other EEE-related deaths have been reported in recent weeks in Rhode Island and Michigan. 'We continue to emphasize the need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites,' Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said Friday in a news release. “The unusually warm weather expected this weekend will increase outdoor activity among people and mosquitoes. It is absolutely essential that people take steps to avoid being bitten by a mosquito.” Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said several cases of EEE are reported each year, most often in states along the Gulf Coast. The mosquito-borne virus is rare, but serious, and can affect people of all ages, Massachusetts health officials said. Boston25News.com contributed to this report.
  • Here is a look at what impeachment is and why it doesn’t necessarily mean removal from office. How does impeachment work? Impeachment was established by the framers of the Constitution as a way to accuse a president of a crime and to hold a trial to determine if he is guilty of that crime. The Constitution lays out two specific actions, treason and bribery, that could lead to impeachment and removal of a president from office. The system also allows for a broader category to accuse a president of crime, although that category is more vague. A president can also be charged with and found guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” What exactly constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors is not defined in the Constitution, making impeachment on that basis more difficult. By design, it is not easy to get rid of a president. Here are the steps in the process for impeaching a president: First, an impeachment resolution must be introduced by a member of the House of Representatives. The speaker of the House must then direct the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary (or a special committee) to hold a hearing on the resolution to decide whether to put the measure to a vote by the full chamber and when to hold such a vote. A simple majority of the Judiciary Committee must approve the resolution. If the Judiciary Committee approves the resolution, it moves to a full vote on the House floor. If a simple majority of the those present and voting in the House approve an article of impeachment, then the president is impeached. The procedure then moves to the Senate where a “trial” is held to determine if the president committed a crime. There is no set procedure for the trial. How it is conducted would be set by the Senate leadership. Members of the House serve as “managers” in the Senate trial. Managers serve a similar role as prosecutors do in a criminal trial, they present evidence during the procedure. The president would have counsel to represent him at the Senate process. The chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court presides over the trial. Senators listen to the evidence presented, including closing arguments from each side and retire to deliberate. Senators then reconvene and vote on whether the president is guilty or not guilty of the crimes he is accused of. It takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict. If the president is found guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president is sworn-in as president. The hearing in the Senate, along with a charge in the House that the president has committed a crime is not a legal one. No penalty, other than removal from office, is brought against a president in an impeachment hearing. Impeachment trials have been held twice in the country’s history -- for President Andrew Johnson and for President Bill Clinton -- and both ended in acquittals: meaning the presidents were impeached by the House, but not convicted and removed from office by the Senate. One vote kept Johnson from being convicted of firing the secretary of war in 1868, which went against a tenure act. In 1999, the Senate was 22 votes shy of convicting Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Paula Jones.

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