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Jury finds rally organizers responsible for Charlottesville violence
Jurors on Tuesday found the main organizers of the deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 liable under state law for injuries to counterprotesters, awarding more than $25 million in damages. But the jury deadlocked on two federal conspiracy charges. Still, the verdict was a clear rebuke of the defendants — a mix of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Confederate sympathizers. They were found under Virginia law to have engaged in a conspiracy that led to injuries during the rally. The “Unite the Right” march led to the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer, 32, when she was struck by a car driven by one of the defendants.
CVS, Walgreens and Walmart perpetuated opioid crisis, jury finds
A federal jury in Cleveland on Tuesday found that CVS Health, Walmart and Walgreens substantially contributed to the crisis of opioid overdoses and deaths in two Ohio counties, the first time the retail segment of the drug industry has been held accountable in the epidemic. After hearings in the spring, the trial judge will determine how much each company should pay the counties. The verdict was encouraging to plaintiffs in thousands of lawsuits because they are all relying on the legal strategy that pharmaceutical companies contributed to a “public nuisance,” a claim that plaintiffs contend covers the public health crisis created by opioids.
Jury begins deliberations in Arbery killing
A jury Tuesday began deliberating on the fate of the three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery after hearing the final, impassioned argument of the lead prosecutor, Linda Dunikoski, who pushed back against the defense’s contention that the men had the legal right to pursue Arbery, and that defendant Travis McMichael was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot him. The defendants in the case — McMichael, 35; his father, Gregory McMichael, 65; and their neighbor William Bryan, 52 — have pleaded not guilty to charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
House panel investigating Capitol attack subpoenas Proud Boys, Oath Keepers
The House committee investigating the Capitol attack issued subpoenas Tuesday to three militia or paramilitary groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, that investigators believe have information about the deadly siege Jan. 6. The subpoenas were issued to the Proud Boys International LLC, and its chair Henry “Enrique” Tarrio; the Oath Keepers and its president Elmer Stewart Rhodes; and the 1st Amendment Praetorian and its chair Robert Patrick Lewis. They came a day after the panel subpoenaed political operative Roger Stone, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and three others. The panel said members of Proud Boys International called for violence before Jan. 6.
Contending with the pandemic, wealthy nations wage global battle for migrants
As the global economy heats up and tries to put the pandemic aside, a battle for the young and able has begun. With fast-track visas and promises of permanent residency, many of the wealthy nations driving the recovery are sending a message to skilled immigrants all over the world: Help wanted. Now. In Germany, a new Immigration Act offers accelerated work visas and six months to visit and find a job. Canada plans to give residency to 1.2 million new immigrants by 2023. The global drive to attract foreigners with skills, especially those that fall somewhere between physical labor and a physics Ph.D., aims to smooth out a bumpy emergence from the pandemic.
Italy frees convicted killer of UK student
An Italian judge Tuesday released the only person definitively convicted of the 2007 murder of 21-year-old British student Meredith Kercher, a polarizing case that is still hotly debated both inside and outside the country. Rudy Guede was freed after completing 13 years of his 16-year sentence with time off for good behavior, according to his attorney, Fabrizio Ballarini, and court documents. He has always maintained his innocence, the attorney said. Guede began a work-release program in September 2019, and a year later, he was placed on probation, living on his own and working during the day, his attorney said. Through his attorney, Guede declined to comment.
Bulgaria bus crash kills at least 45
At least 45 people died when a bus caught fire and crashed on a highway in western Bulgaria on Tuesday, officials said. The bus had been carrying 52 people, including 12 children, when it swerved through the guardrail on a highway near the village of Bosnek, in western Bulgaria, according to the Bulgarian Interior Ministry. The vehicle had Macedonian plates and had been making a return weekend trip with three other buses from Istanbul to Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, the ministry said. Some people jumped through the vehicle’s windows to escape the flames, local news outlets reported. Victims included the driver and a number of young children.
Child is 6th death in Waukesha parade crash; suspect charged
An 8-year-old boy became the sixth person to die Tuesday as a result of a man driving his SUV into a suburban Milwaukee Christmas parade, with a criminal complaint alleging that the suspect in the case steered side-to-side with the intent of striking marchers and spectators. Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted. He rocked back and forth in his seat and cried throughout his court hearing on Tuesday, his attorney’s arm on his back, as the charges against him were detailed. His bail was set at $5 million, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Jan. 14.
By wire sources
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