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Two children dead, one hospitalized after falling into pool at San Jose day care: Police

Kali9/Getty Images

(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- Two children died and a third was hospitalized after they fell into a pool while at a day care in San Jose Monday, investigators said.

Police and fire department officials responded to the day care on Fleetwood Drive for a welfare check around 9:05 a.m., according to the San Jose Police Department (SJPD).

The police were told that "several juveniles had fallen into a pool," the SJPD said.

Three children were rushed to hospitals in critical condition, the police said. Two of the victims were pronounced dead at the hospital while the condition of the third child was upgraded to "non-life threatening," according to police.

Police remained at the scene of the day care for the remainder of the day.

"Per county protocol for all child deaths, the SJPD Homicide Unit in conjunction with Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office will be conducting a joint investigation into the circumstances of the incident," the police said in a statement.

No arrests were made as of 2 p.m. local time, police said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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NYPD police commissioner talks about honor of being 1st Latino leader of force

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Edward Caban made history in July when he was named the first Latino police commissioner for the NYPD.

The 32-year police veteran and Bronx native has talked about his heritage throughout his career and has been open about his plans to keep New York City safe.

He spoke with "GMA 3" on Monday about the honor he feels with his new position and agenda.

GMA 3: Your father was a detective. So this must mean a lot to you to be the first Latino police commissioner.

NYPD POLICE COMMISSIONER EDWARD CABAN: Yes, it is. I remember my swearing-in ceremony. You're out there and looking and in your mind, you're thinking -- you go from being a regular beat cop to the top cop. And I was very cognizant of the fact that I was walking down the stairs to look at him, break down. He was a trailblazer in my life. He was one of the officers who fought for Hispanics to get better assignments, [and] to get more promotions. So, for me, it was the honor --the highest.

GMA 3: Definitely filling some big shoes there. And we know that you've got a lot of work to do. There's a migrant crisis facing the city. [About] 118,000 migrants have come to New York City since the spring of 2022. The mayor has said that this could affect every facet of life. How is the police department going to tackle this issue?

CABAN: So I tell you, from a police perspective, the New York City Police Department is going to enforce the laws. It doesn't matter if you came into our city three hours ago or you came into our city three generations ago. We're going to make sure we enforce the laws in every community.

GMA 3: Mayor [Eric] Adams has signaled, though, that this may slash overtime for police officers. Are you worried that this could affect policing in some way?

CABAN: It's not going to affect policing. In the last couple of years, we have had diminished officers coming in on our job. But look at the work they're doing. Since the administration began, officers on our job have taken over 12,000 illegal firearms off our streets. They've taken over 23,000 ATVs off our streets. Our cops are going to continue to work and make sure that New Yorkers are safe each and every day.

GMA 3: Commissioner, you call New York the safest big city in the nation. In fact, according to the NYPD, murders are down over 11%, shooting incidents are down over 26% and robberies are down over 5% compared to this same time last year. What do you say to those who disagree with you and say this is not the safest big city in the country?

CABAN: So first and foremost, I want to thank the men and women of the New York City Police Department for the work they do. They're not called New York's Finest for no reason. So, when the administration, came into focus in January 2022, crime was up historic levels both on our streets and our subways. So, that was part of our mandate to make sure we're safe, both from violence and from subway crime. We want to make sure people are safe, not only that they are safe, but that they feel safe too. So, we deployed over 1,000 officers in our subway systems, and today we're down over 5% in subway crimes.

Look at our streets from when we began. Crime in New York City was up over 40%. Now we're down in every kind of crime category that we track, at least five out of our seven. As you mentioned, shootings are down, murders are down. That's the great work the men and women New York City Police Department are doing and they're going to continue to do.

GMA 3: Certainly a good trend. Not to pre-pandemic levels quite yet, but we know that in 2020 there was a racial reckoning and a lot of police departments across the country had to recalibrate their strategies. A recent report showed that the NYPD is still using controversial practices like stop and frisk. What do you say to those who may feel like police reforms haven't gone far enough?

CABAN: I look back at my time growing up as a kid in the Bronx where myself and my brothers were stopped, questioned and frisked, and I didn't like how that felt. So, I'm going to make sure that we have a police department that polices constitutionally.

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FBI joins search for possibly abducted 9-year-old girl Charlotte Sena at New York state park

New York State Police

(SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y.) -- The FBI has joined the search for a 9-year-old girl who may have been kidnapped over the weekend while on a bike ride at an upstate New York park, authorities said.

As the search for Charlotte E. Sena stretched into its third day Monday, the girl's family made a desperate plea for any clues about her whereabouts.

"We just want her returned safely like any parent would," the girl's family said in a statement. "No tip is too small, please call if you know anything at all."

Charlotte was last seen at the Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County, New York, at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, according to New York State Police. An Amber Alert was issued for her and remains in effect.

The child may have been abducted from the park, according to a post by state police.

"The day turned into every parent's nightmare," New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said during a news conference on Sunday.

An FBI spokesperson confirmed to ABC News on Monday that its agents are "assisting our partners at the NYS Police with any technological and investigative needs."

About 400 certified search-and-rescue personnel from multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as of Monday afternoon and 34 volunteer fire departments as well as private search-and-rescue groups were combing the 6,250-acre Moreau Lake State Park for any signs of the missing child, officials said. Drones, bloodhounds and an airboat are being deployed in the search

The investigation remains classified as a missing child case, according to the New York State Police.

Moreau Lake State Park remains closed indefinitely to the public. People are being asked to avoid the area as the search continues.

The search being led by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers has expanded over 46 linear miles, officials said Monday.

A temporary flight restriction has been issued by the Federal Aviation Administration over the park "to ensure the safety of our aircraft operations," according to the New York State Police.

Charlotte, of Greenfield, New York, disappeared while on a bike ride at the campground where she was staying with family and friends, Hochul said at the news conference.

Hochul said Charlotte was out around dinnertime on Sunday riding her bike in the campground with friends she considers cousins. She said the fourth-grade girl was doing one last lap around the park alone when she went missing.

The girl's family and other campers went looking for her and her mother found her bike around 6:45 p.m. Saturday and called 911, police said.

Charlotte was on Loop A at the park when she disappeared, according to police.

Authorities believe it is "quite possible" an abduction took place because investigators have already completed an "exhausted search" of the state park, New York State Police Lt. Col. Richard Mazzone told reporters.

A New York State Police command post has been established at the state park, Hochul said.

Patrick Kane, a friend of Charlotte's father, joined the search at the park on Monday.

"Hug your children first of all. Say a prayer that this resolves itself in a safe manner," Kane told ABC News Albany affiliate station WTEN. "I think we just want to be on guard, ready to do whatever needs to be done. Every little bit helps whether you saw something or you think of something. This little girl needs you."


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Rasheem Carter's mother speaks out one year after his disappearance

Courtesy of Rasheem Carter's family

(TAYLORSVILLE, Miss.) -- The mother of Rasheem Carter, a Black man from Mississippi who went missing a year ago and whose partial remains were later found, is still seeking answers about what happened to her son.

Rasheem Carter, 25, went missing on Oct. 2, 2022, just days after telling his mother and the police that white men in his community were targeting him. Around a month later, Rasheem Carter's remains were found in a wooded area south of Taylorsville, Mississippi. His head was severed from his body, according to an independent autopsy.

The medical examiner has ruled that the cause and manner of death were undetermined. Officials investigating the case haven't updated Rasheem Carter's family on new developments for several months, according to Tiffany Carter, Rasheem Carter's mother.

"If you [official investigators] have done everything you can," Tiffany Carter told ABC News. "Why I still don't have an answer to what happened to my son?"

The Mississippi Crime Lab notified the family that additional remains found on Feb. 23 matched Rasheem Carter's DNA, according to a statement released by his family and their attorney, Ben Crump, in April.

"He told me on the phone that it was three trucks of white men trying to kill him," Tiffany Carter said. "As any citizen of this world, you're going to try to get to a place of safety. And I thought telling him to go to a place of safety was the right thing to do as a mother because I wasn't close enough to get him, myself."

Rasheem Carter notified police that he was concerned for his safety and visited the Taylorsville Police Department on two separate occasions leading up to his disappearance, according to Tommy Cox, chief of the Laurel Police Department, which filed the initial missing persons' case after the family came to them for help.

Taylorsville police did not immediately return ABC News' request for a statement.

In addition to Rasheem Carter's head being severed, his spinal cord was recovered in a separate area from his head, according to Crump.

"I know this, something horrific was done to my son," Tiffany Carter said. "God knows and God will deal with everyone accordingly to what they have done."

Tiffany Carter told ABC News that she and her family reached out to the Mississippi Medical Examiner's Office, which has taken over the autopsy of the remains, multiple times and has not received a response. The medical examiner's office did not immediately return ABC News' request for a statement.

Tiffany Carter said the family has not received Rasheem Carter's remains to this day. The Smith County Police Department originally ruled out foul play in the case. According to Crump, officials recanted their statement.

Smith County Sheriff Joel Houston told ABC News in March that earlier evidence of the case "didn't suggest" any foul play, stressing that "nothing is being swept under the rug."

Rasheem Carter's family and attorneys have called for a federal probe from the U.S. Department of Justice into his death.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the incident. The MBI did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Tiffany Carter told ABC News that she is especially worried for Rasheem Carter's 7-year-old daughter, who has become more withdrawn since the death of her father. She still reaches out to his old cell phone, Tiffany Carter said.

"She texts that number, 'Daddy, I love you. I love you,' all the time," Tiffany Carter said. "She listens to the videos and stuff that he sent her all the time. When I get her, my heart crushes every time cause she look just like him."

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Trump fraud trial live updates: AG's case sets 'dangerous precedent,' defense says

ftwitty/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York in a $250 million lawsuit that could alter the personal fortune and real estate empire that helped propel Trump to the White House.

Trump is in the courtroom for the first day of the trial, in which he, his sons Eric and Don Jr., and Trump Organization executives are accused by New York Attorney General Letitia James of engaging in a decade-long scheme in which they used "numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation" to inflate Trump's net worth while lowering his tax burden.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing and his attorneys have described him as a "master of finding value where others do not," arguing that Trump's alleged inflated valuations were a product of his business skill.

Top headlines:
-AG's case sets 'dangerous precedent,' defense says
-Defendants were 'lying year after year,' prosecutors say
-Trump calls trial 'political witch hunt'
-Judge has already found that Trump overvalued his assets

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

Oct 02, 3:50 PM EDT
Ex-accountant says statements were 'Trump Org's responsibility'

Prosecutors have called their first witness to the stand: Donald Bender, a former accountant at Mazars USA, the firm that for years handled Trump's taxes.

Bender testified at length about his involvement in compiling Trump's statements of financial condition between 2011 and 2020, which he described as "balance [sheets] of Mr. Trump's assets and liabilities."

Bender said the standards and inputs for the statements were largely decided by Trump Organization executives.

"That was the Trump Organization's responsibility," Bender said about the accounting standard used in the statements.

As Bender answered the state's questions, Trump was seen taking notes at the defense table.

Bender described spending roughly half his time on Trump's business and personal financial matters toward the end of his career at Mazars.

The firm severed its business relationship with Trump last year after learning of the attorney general's findings during the AG's probe.

Oct 02, 1:19 PM EDT
Trump attorney says sons made no misrepresentations

An attorney for Donald Trump's adult sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., added a brief opening statement of his own, defending his clients from accusations of wrongdoing.

"There was never a material misrepresentation made by Eric Trump or Donald Trump Jr.," said Clifford Robert, the attorney for Trump's adult sons, who help run the Trump Organization.

Robert said he disagrees "with just about everything" the state's prosecutor said in his opening remarks, and took aim at the state's star witness.

"Their major linchpin is Michael Cohen, a guy who lies to everyone," Robert said of the former Trump attorney.

Lucien Bruggeman

Oct 02, 1:10 PM EDT
AG's case sets 'dangerous precedent,' defense says

Attorney General Letitia James "is setting a very dangerous precedent for any business in the state of New York," warned Trump attorney Alina Habba in her opening statement.

Habba told the court she hadn't planned to make opening remarks, but that she felt moved to speak after hearing the state present its own opening statement. Habba accused the attorney general of targeting Trump before taking office, claiming the investigation and lawsuit were personal in nature.

"We are attacking a sitting president and two of his children and his employees for a statement of financial condition which is frankly worth less than what they are worth," Habba said.

Habba reiterated many of the points made earlier by co-counsel Christopher Kise, highlighting the fact that "these lenders made money," and arguing that "real estate is malleable -- the values change."

After Habba concluded her remarks, Judge Engeron engaged her in a series of follow-up questions, asking about her claim that the property appraisals at issue were "undervalued" by prosecutors.

Habba replied that "the Trump brand is worth something."

Oct 02, 12:03 PM EDT
'The attorney general has no case,' defense counsel says

Former President Trump's defense counsel will present a "very different picture of the evidence" than the prosecution alleges, and will demonstrate that "there are many ways to value assets," according to opening remarks from Christopher Kise, Trump's lead attorney.

"We think the evidence is going to establish … President Trump has made billions of dollars building one of the most successful real estate empires in the world," Kise said, reiterating sentiments he conveyed in pretrial motions.

Kise offered a glimpse into the former president's defense, including plans to present testimony from a New York University professor who will explain that "there is no one generally accepted procedure to determine the estimated current value" of a property.

Other defense witnesses, including four Deutsche Bank officers who were involved in approving Trump's loans, will explain how they were able to craft their own independent risk analyses meant to mitigate the claims of fraud that are core to the state's case.

"Anyone committing fraud does not tell the other side, 'Please do your own analysis,'" Kise said regarding Trump's instructions to lenders.

Kise also previewed plans to undermine the state's key witness, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who Kise said has "lied to everyone and anyone he has come in contact with."

Kise reiterated the defense's claim that Trump did not commit fraud and that there were no victims of his alleged conduct.

"The attorney general has no case," Kise said.

Oct 02, 11:28 AM EDT
Defendants were 'lying year after year,' prosecutors say

Prosecutors intend to prove in the coming months that "each defendant engaged in repeated, persistent, illegal acts in conduct of business," according to the opening statement from Kevin Wallace of the attorney general's office.

Referring to Judge Engoron's partial summary judgment last week, Wallace said that "the people have already proven" that former President Trump used "false, misleading" statements that were "repeatedly [and] persistently used in the conduct of business."

But prosecutors will further demonstrate that Trump and his co-defendants knew those statements were false and continued to peddle them anyway in furtherance of their alleged scheme, Wallace told the judge.

"The defendants were lying year after year," he said.

Wallace played clips of video depositions to punctuate his remarks, including testimony from Trump himself, as well as Eric Trump and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen -- whose congressional testimony years ago precipitated the state's investigation and some of the key allegations underpinning their case.

"The goal was to use each of [Trump's] assets and increase its value in order to get to the end result number," Cohen said during his taped deposition. "It was essentially backing in numbers to each of the asset classes in order to attain the number that President Trump wanted."

Trump and his co-defendants "knew that a high net worth was necessary to get and maintain certain financial benefits," Wallace said, pointing to basic principles of accounting and finance.

Throughout Wallace's remarks, the attorney general's office flashed graphics on television screens inside the courtroom showing some of the alleged inflated values of Trump's properties alongside the amounts the properties were appraised at.

Seated in his chair with his arms crossed, Trump visibly shook his head at times during the prosecutor's opening statement. At one point he seemed to mutter something under his breath.

The former president whispered with his attorneys throughout.

Oct 02, 10:45 AM EDT
Opening statements underway

Opening statements are underway in former President Trump's $250 million fraud trial.

Trump is seated between his attorneys Clifford Robert, Alina Habba and Christopher Kise.

Trump and his co-defendants face a bench trial, meaning that the sole arbiter of the case is Judge Arthur Engoron instead of a jury.

Oct 02, 10:19 AM EDT
Trump seated in courtroom

Former President Trump has taken a seat in the courtroom for the start of the trial.

"The crime is against me," he told reporters outside the courtroom before he made his way inside.

He denounced the case in now-familiar terms, criticizing state Attorney General Letitia James as she sat inside the courtroom.

Trump also accused Judge Arthur Engoron of failing to account for the full value of his real estate portfolio, asserting his Mar-a-Lago estate is worth "50 to 100 times more" than the judge's decision for partial summary judgment said last week.

"We have other properties, the same thing. So he devalued everything," Trump said. "We have among the greatest properties in the world. and I have to go through this for political reasons."

Engoron decided Trump's statements of financial condition were fraudulent, but Trump said, "We have a clause in the contract that says, essentially, buyer beware."

Oct 02, 10:09 AM EDT
Trump calls trial 'political witch hunt'

Former President Trump, speaking to reporters on his arrival at the lower Manhattan courthouse, said the trial is a witch hunt resulting from his standing in the presidential polls.

"This is a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt of all time," he told reporters outside the courtroom.

Trump said he is innocent of the accusations and that his portfolio has a much higher value than what the attorney general alleges.

Oct 02, 9:59 AM EDT
Trump attorneys call trial 'election interference'

Members of Donald Trump's legal team, speaking to reporters outside the courthouse prior to the start of the trial, called the fraud allegations against the former president "election interference."

Trump's attorneys said that Democrats were using the case to fight Trump's efforts to retake the White House in 2024.

Oct 02, 9:43 AM EDT
Attorney general arrives at courthouse

New York Attorney General Letitia James has arrived at the courthouse in lower Manhattan.

"No matter how powerful you are, no matter how much money you think you may have, no one is above the law," James said to the cameras before entering the courthouse.

"Today we will prove our case in court," she said. "Justice will prevail."

Demonstrators across the street from the courthouse cheered and applauded as the AG arrived.

Oct 02, 8:19 AM EDT
NY attorney general releases statement on 1st day of trial

New York Attorney General Letitia James released a statement on Monday just hours before the first day of trial in her fraud case against former President Donald Trump.

"For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system," James said. "We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud. In this country, there are consequences for this type of persistent fraud, and we look forward to demonstrating the full extent of his fraud and illegality during trial."

"No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country," she added. "The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does."

Oct 02, 8:14 AM EDT
Trial scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET

The People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump, et al, is scheduled to get underway in lower Manhattan at 10 a.m. with opening statements.

If opening statements are completed before the end of the day, the New York attorney general plans to begin her case by calling Trump's former Mazars USA accountant Donald Bender to the stand.

Mazars severed its business relationship with the former president last year after learning of the attorney general's findings during the AG's probe.

Oct 02, 7:10 AM EDT
Judge has already found that Trump overvalued his assets

Though Trump has denied all wrongdoing alleged by the attorney general, Judge Arthur Engoron has already decided the central allegation against Trump and his co-defendants, ruling in a pretrial hearing last week that the AG had provided "conclusive evidence" that Trump overvalued his assets between $812 million and $2.2 billion.

The judge then canceled the Trump Organization's business certificates in New York, severely restricting Trump's ability to conduct business in the state moving forward -- a move that Trump attorney Alina Habba called "nonsensical" and "outrageously overreaching."

"In defendants' world: rent regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air," Engoron wrote, citing multiple arguments made by defense to justify the allegedly inflated valuations of Trump's assets. "That is a fantasy world, not the real world."

Among the issues still to be determined at trial: What additional penalties Trump might face, and what might happen with the multiple causes of action included in the attorney general's suit.

Oct 02, 6:43 AM EDT
Trump blasts judge ahead of trial

Former President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on the judge overseeing and deciding his case, writing on Truth Social overnight that Justice Arthur Engoron should resign and be sanctioned for "abuse of power."

Similar to his earlier post, Trump focused on the alleged inflated value of Mar-a-Lago, in addition to an appellate decision that his lawyers unsuccessfully tried to use to limit the timeframe of the case.

Oct 02, 6:39 AM EDT
Trump says he will attend trial's opening

Former President Trump posted on his Truth Social platform Sunday night that he intends to attend the opening of the trial.

"See you in court -- Monday morning," he wrote in a post.

Earlier Sunday, multiple sources familiar with the decision told ABC News that Trump was expecting to attend.

Trump will have no speaking role in court on Monday, but it is anticipated that he'll return to the courthouse toward the end of the state's case when court records show he will be called as a witness.

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Who is Arthur Engoron, the New York judge deciding the fate of Trump's business empire?

Seth Wenig-Pool/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- As attorneys for the New York attorney general present their case in the $250 million dollar civil fraud case levied against former president Donald Trump and his adult sons, they are largely delivering their arguments to an audience of one.

Justice Arthur Engoron is not only overseeing the trial, but will determine the outcome and penalties -- giving him outsized influence over Trump's fate compared to the judges overseeing his criminal trials or his recent civil defamation trial, which was decided by a jury.

Engoron has already decided some key elements of the fraud case, finding last week that the documents provided by the New York attorney general's office sufficiently prove that Trump and his co-defendants persistently and repeatedly used fraudulent financial records to conduct business. Trump's attorneys have vowed to appeal that ruling, and the remaining elements of the state's case, including the size of the penalty he faces, will be decided during trial.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing in the case, and his attorneys have described him as a "master of finding value where others do not," arguing that Trump's alleged inflated valuations were a product of his business skill.

Last week's ruling prompted ire from Trump, who described Engoron on social media as a "highly partisan Democrat 'Judge.'" And Trump's criticism is likely to continue, as Engoron oversees what is likely to be a weeks-long examination of Trump's business dealings and namesake properties.

On Monday, the first day of the trial, Trump spoke with reporters outside the courtroom, where he attacked Engoron as a "rogue judge" who failed to account for the full value of his real estate portfolio. The former president has also been fundraising off his claims that the case is politically motivated.

Engoron has served as a judge in New York County for the last 20 years, first on the city's civil court and later on the state supreme court. Described by colleagues as "even-keeled," "dedicated," and "bright," Engoron has developed a reputation as a reliable albeit unusual judge, according to past and former associates who spoke with ABC News.

Unlike many judges who follow a relatively predictable trajectory to the court -- law school followed by clerking, then years in private practice or in government service -- Engoron's path to the bench includes a seven-year detour as a professional musician and teacher.

"He did not follow in a straightforward or cookie-cutter path," said Donald Zakarin, a law partner at Pryor Cashman who worked with Engoron in the early 1980s.

Born in Queens, New York, and raised in nearby Nassau County, Engoron attended The Wheatley School before getting his bachelor's degree at Columbia University, during which time he drove a taxicab -- a fact that he revealed while hearing arguments in 2012 about a new class of New York City cabs.

"I loved the freedom, the instant cash, getting to meet people, learning how to drive like a maniac without being caught," Engoron said in court, according to New York Post reporting from the time.

After Columbia, Engoron spent the next four years attempting to build a career as a drummer before enrolling at New York University School of Law, according to a court employee familiar with Engoron's curriculum vitae.

"Afterwards I was, in order, a Park Avenue litigator; a piano and drum teacher; a moderately successful bar-band keyboard player; a law clerk to a judge; and, now, an elected New York State Supreme Court Justice," Engoron described in a blog for his high school's alumni association, to which he regularly posts.

Engoron began his legal career at the now-defunct firm Olwine, Connelly, Chase, O'Donnell & Weyher before working for Pryor Cashman between 1981 and 1983.

James Janowitz, a Pryor Cashman partner who worked with Engoron, described the then-associate as "bright and extremely dedicated," and recalled pulling an all-nighter with him. Engoron left the firm after two years to pursue a musical career.

"I have had a lot of lawyers who got to another firm, but he's the only one who told me he was leaving to pursue music," Janowitz said.

Engoron spent seven years teaching piano and playing the drums, according to the court employee. He eventually returned to the law in 1991 to begin clerking for New York Supreme Court Justice Martin Schoenfield, according to his court biography. When asked to comment about his transition to music and return to the law, Engoron declined to comment for this story.

During the time Engoron clerked for Schoenfield, the supreme court justice heard arguments related to then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's investigation of Merrill Lynch, as well as the high-profile divorce and custody battle of "Footloose" star Lori Singer, according to New York Post reporting from the time. Schoenfield declined to comment to ABC News.

Engoron became a judge in 2003 after winning an election to join the New York City Civil Court.

"As a new judge, there's so much to absorb, so much coming at you," Engoron said in a 2003 article in the New York State Court System's internal newsletter.

Engoron won reelection in 2012 and was designated an acting justice for the New York Supreme Court in 2013, before he was elected to the court in 2016. Like most judges in New York, Engoron has run unopposed in his races within the Democratic Party, which uses a delegate primary convention system controlled by party leadership to nominate judges for generally unopposed elections.

During his time on the bench, Engoron took a hard line against the administration of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ordering the mayor to release a report about the city's $2.3 billion 911 call system in 2012. In a sharply-worded ruling, Engoron compared Bloomberg's attempt to suppress the report to former President Richard Nixon's maneuvering during the Watergate scandal, ABC News reported at the time.

"He was not going to be cowed by authority," Zakarin said of Engoron, with whom he has worked and had cases before. "He cared about the truth, honesty, and doing the right thing."

Engoron has faced a wave of criticism and online attacks since he began overseeing Trump's case last year, with the former president calling Engoron "vicious, biased, and mean." The attack prompted the Brehon Society of New York, an Irish legal society of which Engoron is a member, to defend the judge.

"These attacks are reprehensible," the group's president, Domhnall O'Cathain, wrote in a statement in 2022 following Trump's criticism. "As a bar association with a large membership of trial attorneys, we know the excellence and integrity of Judge Engoron."

The attacks against Engoron appeared to increase following his ruling last week, with a notable increase of hateful, anti-Semitic, and violent language targeted at Engoron on far-right social media sites.

In spite of the outsized attention on the case, Engoron's colleagues maintained they fully expect the judge to oversee the case professionally and responsibly.

"Judges are usually levelheaded, and he certainly fits that mold," a colleague of the judge told ABC News.

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Barking dog leads good Samaritan to woman shot, crying for help

Oliver Helbig/Getty Images

(DALLAS) -- When Mario Gordon heard his dog, Dutch, incessantly barking outside his Dallas home on Saturday morning, he went to check on the commotion – and made a discovery that has now prompted police to search for a killer.

Just steps away from his door, Gordon heard a woman crying for help, blood pouring from gunshot wounds to her head and chest, he said.

"The only thing she kept saying was, 'Help me, help me and help me.' She was like, 'I've been shot, I've been shot.' I was like, 'Oh Lord,'" Gordon told Dallas ABC affiliate station WFAA.

Gordon, who recently moved to Dallas' Woodland Canyon neighborhood, said he called 911 and immediately started rendering aid to the wounded woman.

"I stayed with her until the ambulance came," said Gordon, who moved this year from Mississippi to the south Dallas neighborhood he described as normally nice and quiet.

While the woman Gordon helped is expected to survive, police said her discovery led them to a grisly scene at a nearby home.

Dallas police officers summoned to the scene learned from neighbors that gunshots rang out from a house around 11 a.m. Saturday.

When officers went to the house to check on the occupants, they found two people tied up, with one of them dead from a gunshot wound, according to police.

One of the bound people, a man, was yelling for help, police said.

The woman found fatally shot inside the home was identified as 30-year-old Deleon Williams, according to police.

No arrests have yet been announced in the incident and a motive remains under investigation.

Gordon said he hopes whoever committed the crime is caught soon. He added that he is left with more questions than answers.

"I really don't know what happened or who did what or anything," Gordon said.

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Five killed in Illinois tanker truck crash apparently died from ammonia exposure: Coroner

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(NEW YORK) -- Exposure to anhydrous ammonia apparently caused the deaths of five people, including two children, when a tanker truck loaded with the hazardous material overturned on a highway Friday night in a rural Illinois community, according to preliminary findings from the local coroner's office.

At least seven other people from six different states were also treated at hospitals after being overcome by what authorities described as a "large plume cloud" that was released when the tanker truck spilled its load on a highway east of Teutopolis, Illinois, Effingham County Coroner Kim Rhodes said in a statement Sunday evening.

Autopsies are scheduled to be performed Monday morning on the victims to confirm the preliminary findings, Rhodes said.

"Preliminary investigation indicates five individuals died from exposure to anhydrous ammonia at the crash site," according to Rhodes' statement.

Three of the people killed were from the same family.

Those killed were identified by the coroner's office as 34-year-old Kenneth Bryan of Teutopolis and his two children, 7-year-old Rosie Bryan and 10-year-old Walker Bryan, both of Beecher City, Illinois.

Danny J. Smith, 67, of New Haven, Missouri, and Vasile Crivovan, 31, of Twinsburg, Ohio, also apparently succumbed to exposure to the anhydrous ammonia, according to the coroner's preliminary investigation.

The deadly highway wreck unfolded around 8:40 p.m. local time Friday when the semi-truck rolled over on U.S. Route 40 and spilled about 4,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia on the roadway, causing "terribly dangerous air conditions," Effingham County Sheriff Paul Kuhns told reporters on Saturday.

Anhydrous ammonia is a clear, colorless gas that is toxic. Effects of inhalation range from nausea to respiratory tract irritation, depending on the length of exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The chemical is primarily used in farming as a nitrogen fertilizer.

Rhodes said the victims were exposed to the ammonia "due to traveling through the scene of the crash site."

Seven people, including four teenagers, were treated at area hospitals for exposure to the anhydrous ammonia, including two who were admitted to hospitals, according to the coroner's statement.

About 500 residents living within roughly 2 square miles of the crash site were initially evacuated, authorities said. They were allowed to return to their homes on Saturday after the danger from the ammonia spill dissipated, Teutopolis Assistant Fire Chief Joe Holomy said in a statement.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in coordination with the Illinois State Police and the Effingham County Sheriff's Department, sent a 15-person team to conduct a safety investigation into the rollover crash, the agency said Saturday.

Representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also responded to the scene.

Teutopolis is a small village in Effingham County, located about 92 miles southeast of Springfield, the capital of Illinois.


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School culture wars push students to form banned book clubs, anti-censorship groups

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(NEW YORK) -- Across the country, a generation of young readers is standing up against efforts to ban or restrict certain books in schools and libraries.

Student-led banned book clubs and anti-censorship groups have been popping up in states where a conservative-led movement to remove certain books or lessons has led to boisterous board meetings, protests, and more.

The students behind these groups say they have long been left out of the conversation, despite being the most impacted by such restrictions.

"I thought it would be perfect to do a banned book club -- one: as just a way to read beautiful literature that's important and should be read and then two: kind of as an act of resistance," said 16-year-old Iris Mogul who recently started a banned book club in Miami, Florida.

Between January 1 and August 31 of this year, 695 attempts to censor library materials and services and documented challenges to 1,915 unique titles were tracked by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom.

But these students have a long fight ahead, as book bans surge "at a record pace with numbers we never seen," according to Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The students behind the movement

Iris held the first meeting of her banned book club on a rainy day in late August. She said a small, intimate group of students showed up and voted to start off their reading list with "Their Eyes Were Watching God," by Zora Neale Hurston, a book that touches on slavery, race, gender, and more.

In Florida, there were 22 attempts targeting 194 titles in the first eight months of the year, according to the ALA.

Books that touch on subjects like race and the LGBTQ community have made up the majority of book banning attempts. In many cases, these books also touch on discrimination and oppression.

These issues have also been at the center of legislation restricting classroom curriculum about race or LGBTQ identities in some states.

"Trying to hide the kind of unpleasant truth from us, that doesn't do any good," said Iris. "In fact, that's harmful."

In Austin, Texas, high school senior Ella Scott began leading a banned book club as a freshman when she first learned about attempts to challenge and censor certain stories.

Since then, book ban attempts have risen in the state -- and so has participation in her club, which grew from three people in its initial meeting to 30 current participants.

In Texas alone, there were 30 attempts targeting 1,120 titles in the first eight months of the year, according to the ALA.

"It's happening in our classroom, but students don't have a voice," said Scott.

Ella, 17, says students want an inclusive world, and books help students learn about different perspectives.

Ella believes the adults behind the book bans need "to understand that times are changing," arguing that the backlash to her club has come mostly from online strangers and a minority of parents at school board meetings.

As she prepares for graduation, she'll hand the responsibility on to her successors -- but she said doesn't plan on leaving her activism behind when she goes to college.

Euless, Texas, high school student Da'Taeveyon Daniels said his school did not have many materials to begin with, arguing that lacking reading resources is a form of censorship.

It spurred the 16-year-old to join the National Coalition Against Censorship as a student leader, calling for increased access to a wide array of titles.

"If we don't have access to those materials, and those opinions and perspectives ... we won't be able to understand where another person comes from, in order to feel for them and empathize with them and understand their own life stories and opinions," said Da'Taeveyon.

Another Texas student Cameron Samuels, who is nonbinary, got their start in the fight against censorship in high school. At a school board meeting in the 2021-2022 school year at the Katy Independent School District, Cameron spoke out against restrictions to certain websites via the school internet. The school restricted access to sites geared toward the LGBTQ community, including the website of the Trevor Project, which is an LGBTQ suicide prevention group.

Samuels, who graduated later that year, said they were the only student in the room at the time "and therefore the only one whose future was directly affected by the district's policy."

"There was no one there supporting me," they said. "I felt isolated and alone."

After rallying students, and getting the backing of the ACLU to file a complaint on their behalf, Samuels got the internet filter for LGBTQ websites unblocked. The district told local news station KHOU that the content was filtered through a third-party vendor.

"The District routinely assesses filtering practices, as well as responds to requests from individuals and organizations to review sites. At times, sites that may have been previously inaccessible due to Children's Internet Protection Act concerns," the district told KHOU.

Now, Da'Taeveyon and Samuels are part of Students Engaged in Advancing Texas, a local anti-censorship group led by students. They've distributed hundreds of banned books and continue advocating for more books on shelves.

"Banning is most definitely targeting books that challenge the status quo, which leave queer students and students of color out of the picture," said Samuels. "We are such a diverse generation and policies made by adults do not reflect our needs."

Supporters of book bans say some of the material is inappropriate or contains references to sex. Some argue that it's their right as a parent to restrict access to such books.

Those against book bans argue book bans restrict the ability of other students and their families to choose what they are able to read.

In the past, most challenges to library resources only sought to remove or restrict a single book.

So far this year, 92% of attempts sought to censor multiple titles, according to the ALA. At least 11 states saw some cases that involved challenges of 100 or more books.

Caldwell-Stone says this highlights the impact of pro-book banning activist groups that aim to restrict certain topics in schools.

"We're no longer seeing numbers that would indicate that a parent is raising a concern about a book they see their student reading, and taking that concern to a librarian or an educator," said Caldwell-Stone. "Now what we're seeing is the demand to remove 25, 50, 100 books all at once from one person bringing the challenge to the school or the library."

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Hollywood writers begin voting to approve contract, end dispute

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(LOS ANGELES) -- Hollywood writers began voting on Monday to ratify a tentative contract with the major TV and movie studios.

The agreement last week ended a nearly 150-day strike after top union brass gave writers the go-ahead to return to work before finalizing the contract.

Late-night talk shows, such as ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," are set to return to air on Monday.

Meanwhile, roughly 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America have until Oct. 9 to cast their vote either for or against the deal.

The contract will only take effect if it gains majority support from the union members. If the members vote to reject the contract, the two sides will have to return to the bargaining table.

The deal is set to shape employment in the industry on issues ranging from increases in pay to the use of artificial intelligence to the sharing of viewership data.

The negotiating committee for the writers' unionlauded the tentative contract as "exceptional," promising "meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership."

The tentative agreement was confirmed by The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, the group negotiating on behalf of the studios. Disney, one of the studios represented by AMPTP, is the parent company of ABC News.

The contract dispute followed a decade-long shift to streaming that has dramatically changed the way audiences watch TV and movies.

In turn, writers sought not only pay increases for their immediate work but also alterations to residual payments, which is the compensation writers receive when their shows or movies are re-aired or gain popularity.

Under the tentative contract, minimum weekly pay for writers will increase more than 12% over the three-year duration of the deal, according to a summary of the tentative agreement made public by the WGA.

Moreover, various projects will see a major boost in residual payments. A feature-length project made for streaming with a significant budget will receive a 26% increase in the residual base made available to writers.

Alongside these pay increases comes a first-of-its-kind agreement forcing the studios to share the audience data for original streaming programs, which will allow the writers to understand how much their shows are being watched.

Because a non-disclosure agreement governs this stipulation, however, the data may not be made available to the public.

Another key focus for writers throughout negotiations centered on the potential use of artificial intelligence as a substitute for their work.

Under the terms of the tentative deal, AI cannot write or rewrite scripts, the WGA summary said. Meanwhile, a writer can choose to use AI if a studio approves of its use, but a writer cannot be required to do so.

The agreement does not prohibit studios from training AI on writers' work.

Even if the writers ratify the contract, Hollywood would largely remain at a standstill.

The majority of output from Hollywood is made up of TV shows and movies that require actors. Since July, a union representing roughly 160,000 actors has been out on strike as they seek a new contract of their own, bringing Tinsel town to a halt.

The end of the writers' strike could hasten a resolution for the actors, since both sets of workers share similar issues of concern over artificial intelligence and residual payments.

But the two professions also hold different demands in some key areas. The actors, for instance, have faced strong opposition from the studios over a demand that they receive 2% of the total revenue generated by streaming shows.

In the meantime, a prolonged work stoppage among the actors could delay the return to work for some writers.


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Wildfire smoke map: Where poor air quality is expected in US this week

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A large portion of the Northeast will experience poor air quality in the coming days due to wildfires burning in Canada, forecasts show.

Plumes of smoke from wildfires burning south of James Bay in Canada will push into the Northeast beginning Sunday night and will linger into Tuesday, hazing the sky and decreasing air quality.

Late Sunday evening, heavy smoke is expected to cross the border and filter into Burlington, Vermont, and surrounding areas.

Heavy will smoke will have reached Albany, New York, by 7 a.m. Monday.

New York City will begin to see medium to heavy smoke by 6 p.m. on Monday.

Some of the smoke may linger into Tuesday.

The smoke event is not expected to be as severe as the event in June that darkened the New York City skyline with an ominous orange haze and caused the number of emergency room visits to skyrocket.

Canada has experienced a record-breaking wildfire season, causing several instances in which the smoke decreased air quality in the U.S.

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Multiple fatalities, evacuation order after semi-truck carrying ammonia overturns on Illinois highway

Illinois State Police

Two children among five killed when semi-truck carrying ammonia overturns on Illinois highway

Meredith Deliso and Bill Hutchinson, ABC News

(TEUTOPOLIS, Ill.) -- Two children under the age of 12 were among five people killed when a semi-truck loaded with a toxic substance overturned in their rural Illinois community. The crash forced hundreds of nearby residents to evacuate their homes over the weekend, officials said.

The deadly highway wreck happened Friday night near the village of Teutopolis, authorities said. The semitruck was carrying several thousand gallons of anhydrous ammonia and caused a "large plume cloud" of the noxious gas to rise over the area, according to authorities.

Evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes Saturday evening after the crash was cleared from U.S. Highway 40 and testing "indicated the danger from the anhydrous ammonia has dissipated," Teutopolis Assistant Fire Chief Joe Holomy said in a statement.

Effingham County Coroner Kim Rhodes confirmed two of the five deceased victims are under the age of 12.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Illinois State Police.

"We offer our deepest sympathies to all those affected by the accident and chemical spill. First responders and emergency managers train for this and many other kinds of emergencies with the goal of minimizing impact to people and property," Clayton Kuetemeyer, deputy director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland, said in a statement.

The incident unfolded around 8:40 p.m. local time when the semi-truck rolled over on the highway and spilled anhydrous ammonia on the roadway, causing "terribly dangerous air conditions in the northeast area," Effingham County Sheriff Paul Kuhns told reporters during a Saturday press briefing.

In addition to the five fatalities, "multiple injuries" were reported, according to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Several vehicles were involved in the crash, state police said.

The semitruck was carrying 7,500 gallons of anhydrous ammonia, according to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. An estimated 4,000 gallons of the substance spilled from the tanker, officials said.

The accident scene was "large" and "complicated," Kuhns said.

About 500 people were evacuated when an evacuation zone of approximately 2 square miles was established on the east side of Teutopolis, authorities said.

The ruptured area of the tanker was patched, which "slowed it down" but did not immediately stop the leak, Teutopolis Fire Protection District Chief Tim McMahon said.

Anhydrous ammonia is a clear, colorless gas that is toxic. Effects of inhalation range from nausea to respiratory tract irritation, depending on the length of exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in coordination with the Illinois State Police and the Effingham County Sheriff's Department, sent a 15-person team to conduct a safety investigation into the rollover crash, the agency said Saturday.

Representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also responded to the scene.

Teutopolis is a small village in Effingham County, located about 92 miles southeast of Springfield, the capital of Illinois.

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Crews search for possible shark attack victim in Marin County, California

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(MARIN COUNTY, Calif.) -- Emergency responders were searching late Sunday for swimmer who may have been attacked by a shark at Wildcat Beach in Northern California, officials said.

The Coast Guard received a report at around 10:40 a.m. that a person appeared to have been attacked by a shark at Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County.

The person may have been pulled under the water, officials said.

"The search continues for a missing person last seen in the water at Wildcat Beach this morning," the Point Reyes division of the National Park Service said on social media in the evening.

Crews from the park service were joined in their search by Marin County and Stinson Beach fire staff, which had brought fire engines and all-terrain vehicles, officials said. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and cutter were also on the scene.

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Powerball jackpot approaches $1 billion ahead of next drawing


(NEW YORK) -- The Powerball is approaching a whopping billion-dollar payout.

The jackpot has climbed to an estimated $960 million ahead of Saturday night's drawing. That would be the fourth-largest Powerball jackpot ever and the ninth-largest lottery jackpot when factoring in Mega Millions top prizes.

This is the second-largest Powerball jackpot this year, after a ticket in California won the $1.08 billion jackpot on July 19. The winner has not yet come forward.

Since that drawing, there have been 30 consecutive Powerball drawings without a grand prize winner.

The jackpot has an estimated cash value of $441.4 million. Winners can choose to take the money as an immediate lump sum payment or in 30 payments over 29 years.

The odds of winning a prize are 1 in 24.9, while the jackpot odds are 1 in 292.2 million, according to Powerball.

Powerball tickets are $2 per play. Tickets are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The next drawing is on Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET.

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28 rescued in 'historic' New York storm, state of emergency to remain: Gov. Hochul

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(NEW YORK) -- Twenty-eight people were rescued in a "historic" storm which brought major flooding in New York City, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Saturday. A state of emergency will remain in effect for the next six days, she said.

No deaths were reported from the storm, she said at a press conference.

Heavy rainfall caused flooding in New York City with 5.86 inches of rain falling in Central Park, 8.67 inches falling at JFK International Airport and 4.87 falling at LaGuardia.

This brings the month's rainfall for New York City to 14.21 inches.

Gov. Hochul commended New Yorkers for staying home through the severe weather and MTA workers for maintaining service for commuters through the day.

"You are our heroes, you are extraordinary, you got the job done," Hochul said.

Hochul continued to pin the cause of the severe weather on climate change. Hochul said everyone should stay vigilant and be prepared for future storms such as the one that hit Friday.

"This is unfortunately what we have to expect is the new normal," Hochul said.

Overall, for a calendar day in any month, Friday was the second wettest day in New York City in the last decade, behind 2021 which saw 7.1 inches in a single day (from Ida's remnants). The Friday storm was the 7th wettest day ever on record for the city, since 1869.

There have been roughly 56,000 days recorded in Central Park, and this is in the top ten wettest out of all of them.

On Saturday, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts saw rain showers, as well as parts of Long Island. Up to 2 inches of rain is possible today in these areas -- with the heaviest rain hitting Long Island, where locally 3 or more inches are possible.

The rain will mostly stay in that area through the morning, but around noon there is a slight chance for few light showers moving through New York City. Any rain or sprinkles in NYC should end mid-afternoon and the system overall will die and move out overnight, leaving sunny skies for Sunday.

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