Archives February 2022

Jury adjourns for day without verdict in Ahmaud Arbery case

Three white men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery on a residential street acted out of “pent-up racial anger” and should be convicted of hate crimes, a federal prosecutor told a jury Monday. Defense attorneys argued that the Black man was fatally shot in self-defense and had acted suspiciously during prior trips to the neighborhood.

The jury of eight white people, three Black people and one Hispanic person adjourned without a verdict Monday evening after deliberating about for about three hours following closing legal arguments in U.S. District Court. Verdicts on hate crime charges rest not on whether the pursuit and shooting were justified, but whether they were motivated by racism.

The jury was to resume deliberations Tuesday morning.

In Georgia, prosecutor Christopher Perras argued that Travis McMichael “was just looking for a reason” to hurt a Black person when the 25-year-old Arbery jogged past his home on a Sunday afternoon. Perras cited a slew of racist comments and videos the defendant had posted online.

And when McMichael, his father and a neighbor began chasing Arbery, they had no evidence he had done anything wrong, but they assumed he had because he was Black, Perras said.

When McMichael’s father, Greg McMichael, saw Arbery jogging down the street, “he didn’t grab his phone and call police,” Perras said. “He called his son and grabbed his gun.”

“There’s a big difference between being vigilant and being a vigilante,” said Perras, later adding: “It’s important for you to understand the full depth of the defendants’ racial hatred.”

Defense attorneys insisted past racist statements by their clients offered no proof that they targeted Arbery because of his race. They urged the jury to set aside emotions when deciding the case.

Source: AP News

U.S. Warns That Russia May Target Multiple Cities in Ukraine

The U.S. has told allies that any Russian invasion of Ukraine would potentially see it target multiple cities beyond the capital Kyiv, according to three people familiar with the matter. Cities that could also come under attack include Kharkiv in the northeast and Odessa and Kherson in the south, said the people, all Western officials who asked not to be identified talking about such sensitive matters.

They did not provide details on the intelligence they said underlined these calculations. The U.S. view is shaped in part by granular insight into the types of Russian forces and capabilities currently near Ukraine, as well as how they might be prepared to act from multiple locations, the officials said.

They did not specify what a potential attack might include, or comment on what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ultimate goal might be in taking such action, but one person said U.S. assessments suggest any large scale invasion could be backed up by air support and cyber disruptions.

Source: Bloomberg

‘Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming’ | Launching Friday on Netflix

Madea prepares to welcome her family who have all come into town to celebrate her great-grandson’s graduation from college, when some hidden secrets threaten to destroy the joyous family homecoming. Tyler Perry returns with everyone’s favorite character in “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming,” the newest film in the Madea franchise set to debut on Netflix this Friday February 25th.

Brian Flores Hired As Steelers Assistant Coach Amid NFL Lawsuit

Ex-Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores revealed he was suing the NFL for alleged racist hiring practices. Despite the suit, Flores has taken a job with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Next season, Flores will serve as the senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach for the Pennsylvania team. Lawyers for Flores spoke on the move, saying, “We congratulate Coach Flores on his new position with the Steelers and thank Coach Tomlin and the organization for giving him this great opportunity. While Coach Flores is now focused on his new position, he will continue with his race discrimination class action so that real change can be made in the NFL.” Stay tuned for more updates. 

source: TMZ

Biden: Russian threat to invade Ukraine still ‘very high’

Fears of a new war in Europe resurged Thursday as U.S. President Joe Biden warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days, and violence spiked in a long-running standoff in eastern Ukraine that some worried could provide the spark for wider conflict. World dignitaries raced for solutions, but suspicions between East and West only seemed to grow, as NATO allies rejected Russian assertions it was pulling back troops from exercises that had fueled fears of an attack. Russia is believed to have built up some 150,000 military forces around Ukraine’s borders. Concerns escalated in the West over what exactly Russia is doing with those troops, which included an estimated 60% of Russia’s overall ground forces. The Kremlin insists it has no plans to invade, but it has long considered Ukraine part of its sphere of influence and NATO’s eastward expansion an existential threat.

Source: AP News

Senate sends Biden bill averting federal shutdown

The Senate gave final approval Thursday to legislation averting a weekend government shutdown, sending President Joe Biden a measure designed to give bipartisan bargainers more time to reach an overdue deal financing federal agencies until fall.

Final passage was by a bipartisan 65-27 vote, five more than the 60 votes needed. The House easily approved the legislation last week. Each party had concluded that an election-year shutdown would be politically damaging, especially during a pandemic and a confrontation with Russia over its possible invasion of Ukraine.

Yet as with virtually all must-pass bills, politics hitched a ride. Before passage, conservatives forced votes on amendments including on one of the year’s hot-button issues, COVID-19 vaccine mandates. They were defeated mostly along party lines. One by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and several colleagues would have blocked existing federal vaccine requirements for the military, government employees and contractors and health care workers. Another by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, would have halted federal funds for school districts imposing their own vaccine requirements.

Source: AP News

Trump must testify in New York investigation, judge rules

Former President Donald Trump must answer questions under oath in New York state’s civil investigation into his business practices, a judge ruled Thursday. Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., to comply with subpoenas issued in December by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Trump and his two children must sit for depositions within 21 days, Engoron said following a two-hour hearing with lawyers for the Trumps and James’ office.

“In the final analysis, a State Attorney General commences investigating a business entity, uncovers copious evidence of possible financial fraud, and wants to question, under oath, several of the entities’ principals, including its namesake. She has the clear right to do so.” Engoron wrote in his decision.

Source: AP News

VERZUZ Reaction: Anthony Hamilton vs Musiq Soulchild

After nearly devastating fans with an announcement that Verzuz would no longer be free, Triller reversed course the day of and the Anthony Hamilton vs Musiq Soulchild Verzuz was back on Instagram and YouTube. And as always we’re here to break it down for you. The Verzuz puts two of Soul music’s biggest crooners against each other in am R&B Valentine’s Day special. Anthony Hamilton and Musiq Soulchild.

Diamond K reacts to Anthony Hamilton vs Musiq Soulchild Valentine’s Day VERZUZ Special from The Avalon in LA.

PLAYLIST: Anthony Hamilton vs Musiq Soulchild

New Edition Joins ‘Tamron Hall’ for Hour-Long Interview Tuesday

Iconic R&B group New Edition sits down with Emmy-winning host Tamron Hall for a special hour-long interview on her daily daytime talk show “Tamron Hall” airing Tuesday, February 15th (nationally syndicated, check local listings).

The in-depth conversation with all six members, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant, will focus on their incredible careers spanning decades, from the inception of the original New Edition group back in Boston to their solo careers to their comeback as New Edition once again.

Tamron digs deep with the group as they get candid, discussing their personal and professional trials and tribulations throughout their careers, including stories they’ve never shared.

They also give fans a special performance and sneak peek behind the scenes as they get ready to launch their 30-city “The Culture Tour.

Tamron Hall” is produced by ABC News and is distributed in national syndication by Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.