National News

Trump live updates: Grand jury to reconvene on Wednesday

Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- A grand jury is continuing to weigh charges against former President Donald Trump in connection with the Manhattan district attorney's probe into the 2016 hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

No current or former president has ever been indicted for criminal conduct.

Here is how the news is developing. All times Eastern. Check back for updates:

Mar 21, 11:00 AM EDT
McCarthy grows frustrated as Trump questions persist at House GOP retreat

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy again ripped into Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg when asked about the potential charges against former President Donald Trump at a Tuesday press conference at the House GOP retreat in Orlando.

When McCarthy was asked directly if had concerns about Trump's alleged conduct regarding the alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, he didn't answer the question and instead pivoted to talking about Hillary Clinton and Bragg.

"What we see before us is a political game being played by a local. Look, this isn't New York City, this is just a Manhattan," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said he hasn’t spoken to Trump in three weeks.

When asked if Trump is still the leader of the Republican Party, McCarthy took a jab at the press: "In the press room, for all of you, he is."

-ABC News' Katherine Faulders and Will Steakin

Mar 21, 10:14 AM EDT
Grand jury to reconvene on Wednesday

A grand jury will reconvene on Wednesday to continue to weigh charges against former President Donald Trump in connection with the Manhattan district attorney's probe into the 2016 hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, paid $130,000 to Daniels in the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign to allegedly keep her from talking about an affair she claimed to have had with Trump.

Trump has denied the affair and his attorneys have framed the funds as an extortion payment.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is mulling whether to charge Trump with falsifying business records, after the Trump Organization allegedly reimbursed Cohen for the payment then logged the reimbursement as a legal expense, sources have told ABC News. Trump has called the payment "a private contract between two parties" and has denied all wrongdoing.

Trump this weekend wrote on his Truth Social platform that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday.

The U.S. Secret Service is coordinating security plans with the NYPD in the event of an indictment and arraignment in an open courtroom in Manhattan, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News. The two agencies had a call Monday to discuss logistics, including court security and how Trump would potentially surrender for booking and processing, according to sources briefed on the discussions. White collar criminal defendants in New York are typically allowed to negotiate a surrender.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Major storm to bring more rain, damaging winds and heavy snow to California

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The state of California can't catch a break from the heavy moisture coming in from the coast.

A major storm is moving into the West Coast on Wednesday, bringing flooding rain, damaging winds and heavy snow to the mountains, forecasts show.

Heavy rain is expected to move into the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Another round of heavy rain will move into Los Angeles Tuesday evening around the evening rush hour.

Showers will continue on and off into Wednesday. Flood watches have been issued for California, Nevada and Arizona.

One to 3 inches of rain are forecast but some areas could get between 3 inches and 6 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

The region is already soaked after weeks of moisture from atmospheric rivers pummeling the coast. Flooding, mudslides and rockslides are forecast as a result.

In addition to the moisture, strong winds between 50 mph and 75 mph are expected, which could cause trees to uproot and fall on power lines.

Up to 5 feet of snow is possible in higher elevations.

The storm will then move east on Wednesday night, bringing heavy snow to the Rocky Mountains and 3 to 4 feet of snow to southern Colorado.

At least 30 million residents in 16 states are under alert due to winter weather.

The same storm system will bring severe weather across the south by Thursday and Friday. States from Texas to Alabama are expected to experience damaging winds, large hail and some tornadoes.

Cities in the path of the storm include Dallas, Alexandria, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Nashville and Birmingham, Alabama.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Dominion, Fox News attorneys to each seek summary judgment ahead of trial

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(NEW YORK) -- With less than one month until a trial is set to begin in the defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News, attorneys from both sides are expected to seek a summary judgment during a pretrial hearing Tuesday.

The Delaware judge overseeing the case will hear arguments from both Fox and Dominion attorneys on their respective motions for summary judgments, during which both parties will essentially ask the judge to rule on the case before it heads to trial.

Dominion filed its $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News in March 2021, accusing the network of knowingly pushing false conspiracy theories about the voting machine company in the wake of the 2020 election, in order to combat "concerns" over ratings and viewer retention.

Dan Abrams, ABC News' chief legal analyst, said it would be a long shot for either side to win its motions at this phase, given the overwhelming amount of evidence.

"A motion for summary judgment is a difficult motion to win. It's basically asking a judge to intervene and say, 'There's no need to take this case to a jury,'" Abrams said. "I wouldn't expect that either party is going to win this case in summary judgment."

The trial is set to being on April 17.

In its filings, Dominion wrote that "Fox knew. From the top down, Fox knew 'the Dominion stuff' was 'total BS.'"

"Yet despite knowing the truth -- or at minimum, recklessly disregarding that truth -- Fox spread and endorsed these 'outlandish voter fraud claims' about Dominion even as it internally recognized the lies as 'crazy,' 'absurd,' and 'shockingly reckless,'" the filing said.

"Fox duped its audience. And Dominion paid the price," Dominion wrote, while acknowledging the "heavy burden" it faces in proving its claims.

Ahead of the hearing, Dominion has submitted bombshell filings containing hundreds of emails, texts, testimony and other private communications from some of Fox's biggest stars and executives privately bashing former President Donald Trump and his election fraud claims while continuing to broadcast them on air.

"I did not believe it for one second," said Sean Hannity in regard to one of Trump's attorney's claims, according to one of Dominion's filings.

In response, Fox has slammed Dominion's lawsuit as an "an assault on the First Amendment and the free press," and has defended its airing of Trump's "undeniably newsworthy" voter fraud allegations and election challenges.

"As long as the press makes clear that the allegations are just allegations and not demonstrable facts, both constitutional and common-law principles protect the right of the press to allow the President's lawyers to explain their factual allegations and legal theories, as well as the right of the press to express opinions about those claims," Fox wrote in its own motion for summary judgment.

A Fox News attorney told ABC News that their plan Tuesday was to make the broad first amendment argument that there is no defamation -- but that they would also go through many of the individual programs on Fox News, one by one, in hopes of showing that they were not making false statements of fact.

The judge, the Fox attorney said, has the ability to narrow the scope of what proceeds to trial.

At a hearing earlier this month, Judge Eric M. Davis appeared to be readying for trial. He indicated preparations for a jury were already underway, saying that 1,800 jury notices were sent out informing potential jurors that it would be a six-week trial.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Inmates caught after allegedly tunneling through cell wall, escaping from jail

Via Sheriff's Office of City of Newport News

(NEWPORT NEWS, Va.) -- Two Virginia inmates are back in custody after they allegedly escaped from jail by tunneling through a cell wall, authorities said.

The men, John Garza and Arley Nemo, escaped from the Newport News Jail Annex on Monday afternoon, the Newport News Sheriff's Office said.

The men allegedly tunneled through a cell wall that led to the outside of the building and then climbed the security wall, according to the sheriff's office. It was not immediately clear what tools were used in the jail break.

Authorities said they learned Garza, 37, and Nemo, 43, were missing during routine head count on Monday evening.

The sheriff's office said early Tuesday that the two men had been arrested in Hampton, just outside of Newport News.

Nemo has been in custody since October on charges including credit card fraud, credit card larceny, forgery, possession of burglary tools, grand larceny, contempt of court and probation violation, according to the sheriff's office. Garza has been in custody since December on charges including contempt of court, probation violations and failure to appear.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Man’s attempt to kidnap child from school bus stop thwarted by group of kids: Police

Montgomery County Police Department

(GAITHERSBURG, Md.) -- An attempted kidnapping at a school bus stop went wrong for one 30-year-old man whose attempt was thwarted by a group of children who came to the defense of one of their classmates.

The incident occurred early Monday morning in Gaithersburg, Maryland -- approximately 20 miles north of Washington, D.C. -- when several students were standing at a bus stop waiting to be picked up by their school bus when 30-year-old Jamaal Germany allegedly attempted to kidnap one of the students.

“The victim stated that they were standing at the bus stop in the 17600 block of Towne Crest Dr., at approximately 7:20 a.m., when the suspect allegedly grabbed the child and pulled them toward an apartment building,” read a statement from the Montgomery County Police Department following the incident. “Several students who were standing at the bus stop attempted to intervene and the victim was able to break free.”

The suspect’s motives regarding the attempted kidnapping are currently unclear as authorities continue to investigate the incident.

Authorities say that when the school bus arrived, all the students were accounted for and boarded the bus before the incident was reported to school staff. A community engagement officer also responded to the children’s school approximately 30 minutes after the attempted kidnapping incident was reported.

“Through the course of the investigation, detectives identified Germany as the suspect,” said the Montgomery County Police department. “He was arrested and transported to the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit. Bond information is not available at this time.”

Detectives from the Special Victims Investigation Division are asking for anyone who believes that they may have been a victim of Germany to call 240-773-5400.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Man looking for deer antlers discovers human skeleton instead

Sheila Paras/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- A man made a grisly discovery over the weekend when he discovered a human skeleton while looking for shed deer antlers.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and the Allen County Sheriff’s Office are conducting a death investigation after a man who was looking for antlers shed by dear near Humboldt, Kansas -- approximately 110 miles east of Wichita -- reported the discovery of human remains on his search through the area.

“On Saturday, March 18, at around 5:50 p.m., the Allen County Sheriff’s Office requested KBI assistance with the investigation. KBI agents and the Crime Scene Response Team responded to the scene,” according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. “Upon arrival they found human skeletal remains.”

The person whose remains were discovered has not yet been identified and authorities did not say how long they thought the body could have been there for, though they did confirm that identifying the individual would take longer than normal due to the condition it was discovered in.

“Positive identification is expected to take longer than typical cases due to the condition of the remains,” said the KBI. “Death investigations may be determined to be the result of homicide, suicide, natural causes, or an accident. No threat to the public exists related to this incident.”

An autopsy is scheduled to take place though police did not confirm when. Authorities say the investigation is ongoing and made no mention of any possible connected missing persons reports that could be linked to the case.

The KBI is requesting help from the public and anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME or the Allen County Sheriff’s Office at (620) 365-1400.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Amid extreme climate and natural disasters, is California still a desirable place to live and vacation? Experts weigh in.

Howard Kingsnorth/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Earthquakes, snow, wildfires, flooding, smog, fog, heat, drought -- these are just some of the extreme natural disasters and climate conditions experienced in the Golden State in any given year.

California is notoriously the "land of extremes," Kristina Dahl, senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told ABC News. Snowpack from the winter could quickly melt into flooding come spring. Heat waves in the summer pave the way for wildfires in the fall. Now, intense moisture from atmospheric rivers is walloping the West Coast with an inundation of precipitation -- oftentimes too much at once. A pervasive megadrought has been plaguing the region for decades and to top it off, tectonic shifts could cause an earthquake at almost any given moment.

Despite the constant risk and rotation of natural disasters, California remains a desirable place to live and vacation, experts told ABC News.

High cost of living could indicate high desirability, experts said

California has experienced a population boom in the past decade, despite the plethora of extreme weather in recent years, according to experts.

The high cost of living in California is indicative of the desirability of living there, Michael Lens, an associate professor of urban planning and public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, told ABC News.

"That's certainly part of why the cost of living is so high -- we like living there," said Lens, who lives in Los Angeles.

The high cost of living, which has "accelerated beyond of a lot of people's needs," may be driving some Californians to relocate to adjacent states like Oregon or Arizona, or even Texas, Lens said. But it is not detracting a vast majority of people from remaining or moving to the state.

This is especially truly in the desirable coastal cities, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, but also further inland, where it's almost impossible to buy a starter home for less than $500,000, even $1 million in some markets, Lens said.

It's easy to look around and question whether continuing to live in California is the best idea as the extreme weather events are occurring, Lens said. But once the sky clears, so do those fleeting moments of uncertainty.

"When California shines it really shines," Dahl said.

The data shows that housing remains as in-demand as ever in the wake of a disaster.

In the aftermath of the Tubbs Fire in 2017, one of the most devastating fires that burned through more than 36,000 acres and destroyed thousands of structures in Napa, California, home prices rose 21% in fire-ravaged areas and 33% for homes outside fire zones, according to a study conducted by real estate company Redfin in 2021.

California is not the only place in the world experiencing an increase in extreme weather, Dahl said, adding that people will need to weigh what sorts of risk they are willing to live in.

"Almost anywhere you go in the United States going forward, you’re going to be contending with some form of climate change" -- things like increased wildfires, increased smoke from wildfires, extreme flooding, or longer, intense seasons of extreme heat, Dahl said. "There’s no corner of the country that will be untouched by climate change. It's a matter of picking your poison."

Dahl, who lives in San Francisco, has learned to expect air quality to diminish every fall when the wildfires begin.

"It's also a land of incredible opportunity and incredible beauty," she said. "In many ways, as a climate scientist living in these extreme climate impacts, it helps to motivate my work...It's why I'm working so hard to advocate for climate action."

Tourism activity is almost back to pre-pandemic levels

The extreme weather in California may be exacerbated by climate change, but the state, and its tourism industry, are "as wonderful as it's ever been," Mechelle Best, chair of the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management at California State University, Northridge, told ABC News.

"Extreme weather is happening all over the planet, but California, I think, remains attractive," Best said.

California, like the rest of the U.S., has been impacted by climate-driven extreme weather, Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta said in a statement to ABC News via email. But although the state may experience some isolated disruptions in the mountains and central coast due to recent winter storms, the heavy snow pack will prove beneficial for ski resorts along the Sierra Nevada mountain range and will likely alleviate dwindling water levels in reservoirs throughout the state, Betata said.

Recent bouts of wildfire, snowstorms and atmospheric rivers have not stopped people from traveling to California in the past year, the experts said. People are confident that, even after weeks of inclement weather, the state will eventually get "back to normal," and therefore any disruptions in travelers will only be temporary, Best said.

Even recurring events, such as wildfire season or the wet season, aren't enough to deter visitors from flocking to the state, Best said.

"The reasons for people moving to California and visiting California will remain the same," Best said. "Our weather will still be great. The entertainment will still be wonderful. The range of activities and opportunities that are available across the state just continue to expand every day. And then, of course, there's the allure of Hollywood, of film, that will still attract people to the state in pretty large numbers."

In addition, California covers such a large swath of land that even if one region in the state is experiencing inclement weather, there are likely plenty of other places available to exhibit hospitable conditions for recreating, Best said.

Tourists traveling to California have been steadily increasing since 2020, according to Visit California. People are more eager to travel now that it's been three years since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Best said.

Last year saw a 35% increase in visitor spending over 2021 -- to $135 billion, according to Visit California.

Visitor spending is expected to exceed the pre-pandemic peak sometime in 2023, and numbers of international travelers, particularly from the Pacific Rim, will likely rebound as well this year, Betata said. Domestic travelers in California are already back to pre-pandemic levels, according to Visit California.

"Visit California research continues to show a strong desire among travel consumers to enjoy the Golden State’s multitude of tourism experiences, its diversity and welcoming, free-spirited ethos," Beteta said.

California also remains a top destination for both domestic and international tourists.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mountain lion attacks man from behind while he and his wife relaxed in hot tub

Mark Newman/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- A man was attacked from behind by a mountain lion and suffered wounds to his head while he and his wife were relaxing in an in-ground hot tub.

The incident occurred at approximately 10 p.m. on Saturday when the couple alerted Colorado Parks and Wildlife that the man had just been attacked by a mountain lion while the pair were soaking in a hot tub at a rental home in a heavily wooded area about five miles west of Nathrop, Colorado, along Chalk Creek in Chaffee County.

“The victim had four superficial scratches on top of his head and near his right ear,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a statement following the incident. “By the time CPW was alerted and responded, the victim had cleaned the wounds and declined any medical assistance. The officers determined the injuries were consistent with the claw of a mountain lion.”

The victim told the officers that he and his wife were sitting in the hot tub a short distance from the home they were renting when, at about 8 p.m., he felt something grab his head.

“He and his wife began screaming and splashing water at the animal,” CPW said. "The victim’s wife grabbed a flashlight and shined it on the animal, which they then identified as a mountain lion. The light and commotion caused the mountain lion to retreat about 20 feet from the couple in the hot tub. They continued to scream at the mountain lion and after a short time it moved up to the top of a hill near some rocks where it crouched down and continued to watch the couple.”

The couple were eventually able to make it safely into the home where they cleaned the man’s wounds and reported the incident.

CPW officials subsequently arrived on scene and attempted to search for the mountain lion but could not find any mountain lion tracks due to the freezing temperatures and frozen snow on the ground.

“We think it's likely the mountain lion saw the man’s head move in the darkness at ground-level but didn’t recognize the people in the hot tub,” said Sean Shepherd, Area Wildlife Manager based in Salida. “The couple did the right thing by making noise and shining a light on the lion. Although this victim had only minor injuries, we take this incident seriously. We have alerted neighbors and posted signs warning of lion activity. And we will continue to track the lion and lion activity.”

This is the first reported mountain lion attack of a human in Colorado in more than a year and the 24th known attack of a mountain lion causing injury to a person in Colorado since 1990. Three other attacks in Colorado since 1990 have resulted in human deaths, CPW said.

“Though mountain lion attacks are relatively rare, it is important to know how to avoid or manage potential encounters,” officials said. “CPW encourages residents to keep reporting mountain lion sightings or activity near their homes; they can do so by calling CPW’s Salida office at 719-530-5520 or calling Colorado State Patrol at 719-544-2424 after business hours.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Miami Beach votes against new curfew restriction after weekend of violence

Aaron Leibowitz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

(MIAMI BEACH, Fla.) -- The Miami Beach city commission voted against extending curfew restrictions, a day after the city imposed an overnight curfew for South Beach following multiple fatal shootings.

During a special committee meeting on Monday, the council discussed the curfew for more than an hour, but ultimately decided against extending the city manager's full state of emergency, which would be from Thursday to Sunday.

"These are very challenging moments," Mayor Dan Gelber said at the start of the meeting. "Very few cities have to deal with these issues the way that we have to deal with them."

Two people were fatally shot between Friday and Sunday morning in the area, according to the Miami Beach Police Department.

Police responded to emergency calls on Friday night, discovering two men who were shot near 7 Street and Ocean Drive, officials said.

According to Miami Beach Police, one person had been detained and three guns were found at the scene.

On Sunday, police responded to a shooting where they found a wounded man near the 1000 block of Ocean Drive.

The unidentified man was sent to an area hospital, where he later died from his injuries, Miami Beach Police said on Twitter.

The shootings prompted Miami Beach officials to implement a curfew for South Beach starting 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Sunday's restriction was the third year in a row that city officials implemented a curfew.

Miami Beach issued a curfew last year after multiple people were injured following a series of violent incidents in the area.

"We have been through this scene for several years in a row," Vice Mayor Steven Meiner said at Monday's meeting. "It is never gonna be OK for me to see a dead person on our street."

ABC News' Matt Foster contributed to this report.

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Student dies after shooting outside Texas high school

Oliver Helbig/Getty Images

(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- One student was fatally shot and another injured outside a Texas high school on Monday, according to the Arlington Police Department.

The suspect was arrested and charged with capital murder, Arlington Police Chief Al Jones said at a press conference.

The suspect may also be facing additional charges, police said. He is being held at a juvenile detention center, according to Arlington police.

All the students involved in the incident attend Lamar High School and are all minors.

The female student was hit by gunfire and transported to the hospital by an adult near the incident after suffering non-life-threatening injuries, according to Arlington police.

Police responded within minutes to calls of a shooting outside the high school Monday morning.

The motive behind the shooting is unknown and an investigation is ongoing, according to Jones.

Police did not reveal where the suspect got the firearm and did not reveal the type of gun the suspect used in the shooting, citing the investigation.

At the press conference, Arlington ISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos said he was heartbroken over the shooting, and for the victims, school staff and the entire Lamar High school community.

"Schools deserve to be a safe space for students to learn and to grow every day," Cavazos said. "We will continue to work with the Arlington Police Department as they conduct their investigation."

Classes are canceled for Lamar High School students on Tuesday, with counseling services available on Wednesday, according to Cavazos.

Jones said that authorities would work together with the school district to make sure schools are safe for students.

He also called for the community to come together to tackle gun violence.

"We need our community's help to ensure that guns do not end up on school campuses," Jones told reporters. "We need gun owners to step up and be responsible and to ensure that they properly are securing their firearms, so kids don't have access to them."

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Bob Costello, attorney who advised Michael Cohen, testifies for defense in Trump grand jury probe

Mint Images/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Bob Costello, an attorney who previously advised former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, told reporters his former client has a "lie, cheat, steal" mindset after Costello testified for the defense Monday before the Manhattan grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump's role in the hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Costello, a longtime Trump ally, appeared before the grand jury as an exculpatory witness after Trump's legal team asked the DA to allow him to testify, according to a letter to prosecutors obtained by ABC News.

Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, paid $130,000 to Daniels in the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign to allegedly keep her quiet about an affair she claimed to have had with Trump. The former president has denied the affair and his attorneys have framed the funds as an extortion payment.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is mulling whether to charge Trump with falsifying business records, after the Trump Organization allegedly reimbursed Cohen for the payment then logged the reimbursement as a legal expense, sources have told ABC News. Trump has called the payment "a private contract between two parties" and has denied all wrongdoing.

Speaking to reporters after his grand jury appearance, Costello painted Cohen as an unreliable witness on which to base an indictment of the former president.

"I'm trying to tell the truth to the grand jury," Costello said. "If they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence, then so be it. Michael Cohen is not solid evidence."

Costello testified for about two and a half hours, during which he said he described an initial meeting with Cohen during which Cohen was "talking to us while pacing like a wild tiger" and vowing "to do whatever the f--- it takes" to avoid prison.

"He went to jail," Costello said of Cohen, who served prison time after pleading guilty to federal charges related to the hush payment. "Now he's on the revenge tour."

Cohen has said previously that "this is not about revenge," but about telling the truth.

Cohen was present Monday at the district attorney's office to be available as a rebuttal witness, but he did not testify.

Trump wrote on social media Saturday that he was expecting to be arrested Tuesday, and called on followers to protest.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Monday that the city is prepared for any protests related to a potential indictment.

"We are monitoring comments on social media, and the NYPD is doing their normal role of making sure there is no inappropriate actions in the city," Adams said.

ABC News' Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

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Supreme Court divided over Navajo Nation water rights claim involving Colorado River

xRyan McGinnis/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday appeared narrowly divided over whether to allow the Navajo Nation to sue the federal government for help expanding their reservation's access to water at a time when the precious resource has been in tight supply across the drying American West.

After oral arguments that stretched almost two hours, there appeared to be at least five justices supportive of allowing the tribe to purse a claim, but there was no clear consensus from the bench on the scope of the government's duty to provide water the Navajo seek.

The tribe's reservation – spanning 16 million-acres across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah – is the nation's largest. One in three households lacks running water, the Nation says.

At issue is an 1868 treaty in which the U.S. agreed to provide the Navajo, who had been forced off native lands, with a new "permanent home."

The tribe claims the agreement implicitly requires the government to assess the Navajo's water needs and develop a plan to meet them for farming and living; the government disputes that it ever agreed to explicitly provide the reservation with a certain amount of water.

The vital but increasingly strained Colorado River, is at the center of the debate along with a labyrinth of agreements carefully apportioning its water to serve nearly 40 million Americans across the West.

A federal district court sided with the government, denying the Navajo Nation's claim, saying it had failed to identify a "specific, applicable, trust-creating statute or regulation that the government violated." A federal appeals court reversed, reasoning that the reservation could not exist without adequate water and therefore an obligation to supply it was implied.

Justices Neil Gorsuch, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor all seemed sympathetic to the tribe's case.

"Clearly, there is a duty to provide some water to this tribe under the treaty, right?" Gorsuch asked Biden administration Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General Frederick Liu. "Could I bring a good breach-of-contract claim for someone who promised me a permanent home, the right to conduct agriculture and raise animals if it turns out it's the Sahara Desert?"

"I don't think you would be able to bring a breach of contract claim," Liu replied. Gorsuch reacted with disbelief.

"The Navajo could still ... lose later on in the litigation, right?" Jackson underscored, implying she is inclined to at least allow the suit to go forward. "The decision that we're making right now is not on the merits of whether or not the Navajo is correct about the United States having breached its duty."

Attorney Shay Dvoretzky, representing the tribe, insisted the government has an "affirmative duty to ensure access to water" and that it had broken that promise for generations.

"The states say we're here to take their water behind their back. No, the Nation is here for its fair share, through a fair process," he said.

The Biden administration's Liu said the government remained morally committed to helping the Navajo -- and has allocated billions of dollars for infrastructure improvements on reservations -- but that the treaty "did not impose on the United States a duty to construct pipelines, pumps, or wells to deliver water."

An attorney for three states in the case – Arizona, Colorado and Nevada – argued the Navajo Nation should never have been able to bring the claim in the first place, since the Supreme Court has asserted exclusive jurisdiction over disputes involving the Colorado River in a series of decisions and decrees over decades.

They also argue that allowing the tribe to claim expanded water rights over the Colorado would upset pre-existing agreements and ultimately mean less water available to those communities that have come to rely on it.

Justice Samuel Alito appeared most concerned about the potential "real-world impacts" of the case on preexisting water allocation agreements.

"Do you think that you have the right to take out from that water source whatever quantity of water is necessary to meet the standard of a livable, permanent homeland regardless of the needs of others who are drawing water from the same water source?" Alito asked.

"The Nation had water rights first. We do have priority rights to the water," Dvoretsky responded.

Justice Clarence Thomas suggested any tribal water rights could be limited to pre-existing water, or groundwater, on the reservation -- not from an alternate source hundreds of miles away. Justice Brett Kavanaugh openly wondered if this debate isn't something that Congress should resolve.

"It shouldn't be left to the Congress now because the Congress then [in 1868] agreed to these treaties," Dvoretsky said.

A coalition of Western water associations and consumer groups in a friend-of-the-court filing called the case "critically important," warning the justices about its potential to upend "stability and predictability" of the process to determine water rights.

Allowing the tribe to bring a claim, the groups say, "threatens to undermine the certainty of water rights not only in the Colorado River Basin, but also throughout other water-scarce regions of the United States more broadly."

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose questions focused on the tribe's ability to defend its water rights in court, could be a swing vote.

While Barrett's questions signaled some potential unease with the scope of the tribe's claim -- i.e. whether the government could be on the line for billions in expensive infrastructure expenses on the reservation -- they also indicated belief that the tribe should be allowed a chance to fight for water in court.

"Seems to me that the strongest arguments made on behalf of the Navajo in the Navajo's brief are in the nature of you breached the treaty, it was broken promises, you promised us a permanent home and you're not [providing it]," Barrett said.

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NYPD, Secret Service discuss security plans should Trump be indicted

Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Secret Service is coordinating security plans with the New York Police Department in the event that former President Donald Trump is indicted and arraigned in an open courtroom in Manhattan, according to sources.

The two agencies had a call Monday to discuss logistics, including court security and how Trump would potentially surrender for booking and processing, according to sources briefed on the discussions.

White collar criminal defendants in New York are typically allowed to negotiate a surrender.

Earlier Monday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he was "confident" the city is prepared for any protests related to a potential indictment of the former president.

"We are monitoring comments on social media, and the NYPD is doing their normal role of making sure there is no inappropriate actions in the city," Adams said Monday at an unrelated press conference. "We are confident we're going to be able to do that."

Writing on his Truth Social platform Saturday, Trump called for protests against what he said was his expected arrest Tuesday, in connection with the Manhattan district attorney's probe into the 2016 hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, paid $130,000 to Daniels in the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign to allegedly keep her quiet about an affair she claimed to have had with Trump. The former president has denied the affair and his attorneys have framed the funds as an extortion payment.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is mulling whether to charge Trump with falsifying business records, after the Trump Organization allegedly reimbursed Cohen for the payment then logged the reimbursement as a legal expense, sources have told ABC News. Trump has called the payment "a private contract between two parties" and has denied all wrongdoing.

Adams said city officials have heard "a lot of reports" about a potential indictment, but told reporters he has not met with Bragg nor discussed the matter with him.

Online posts indicate there appear to be a handful of small protests being organized by different grassroots groups. But Ali Alexander, the conservative activist behind the "Stop the Steal" movement, publicly said that his group will not organize any protests.

In Palm Beach County, Florida, sources confirmed to ABC News that authorities were preparing for protests near Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate should the former president be indicted.

On Sunday a small group of pro-Trump demonstrators gathered on the bridge connecting Palm Beach to the mainland. They said they would return with more people on Tuesday or sooner if Trump were to be indicted, according to reports.

An intelligence bulletin issued Sunday by the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency in Washington, D.C., and obtained by ABC News, says that some extremists consider the possible indictment of Trump a "line in the sand."

"Potential criminal justice actions taken toward a former US president -- or actions perceived to be taken toward the former president -- remain a 'line in the sand' for Domestic Violent Extremists (DVE) communities and thus have the potential to manifest in violence toward government targets or political officials," said the bulletin from the DC Fusion Center, a threat intelligence group within the agency.

The bulletin notes that the Trump's social media post in which he called for protests "was met with an immediate increase in violent online rhetoric and expressed threats toward government and law enforcement targets perceived as participating in a political persecution of the former president, as well as calls for 'Civil War' more generally. Of the concerning posts observed by the DC Fusion Center, many described the potential arrest of the former president as a 'red line' or 'line in the sand,' after which violent action was the only possible outcome."

"This uptick in rhetoric associated with an alleged indictment against the former president represents the most significant 24-hour traction observed by the Fusion Center since the August 2022 search warrant service at Mar-a-Lago," the bulletin said.

The FBI is warning local and state police agencies around the country about concerns related to a possible indictment of Trump, but the bureau says it doesn't have any additional information.

"The FBI continues to closely monitor a potential Indictment of the former President which open source reporting has indicated may occur in the coming week," the FBI said in a warning obtained by ABC News.

"At the present time there is no information to confirm this indictment nor is there any information to indicate violence or criminal activity is planned," said the FBI, adding there's no sign that anything "other than First Amendment protected action is being planned."

The U.S. Capitol Police also issued their own assessment regarding potential violence, saying that they have seen "no current indication of threats directed at the US Capitol or Members of Congress" as it relates to Trump.

The organization "has not yet seen any indication of large-scale organized protests and/or violence, as (it) did leading up to January 6, 2021,” the assessment, which was obtained by ABC News, said.

No current or former U.S. president has ever been indicted for criminal conduct.

ABC News' Jay O'Brien contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Video connected to Irvo Otieno's in-custody death to be released

Courtesy of Ben Crump Law

(DINWIDDIE, Va.) -- Video of the March 6 chain of events that ended with the in-custody death of Irvo Otieno will be released on Tuesday, according to Virginia prosecutor Ann Cabell Baskervill.

Cabell Baskervill, Dinwiddie County’s Commonwealth Attorney, said the incident began in the Henrico County Jail, where Otieno was allegedly punched by officers in his side and torso. She alleged at one point Otieno was pepper-sprayed while he sat in his cell alone.

Otieno was later transported to Central State Hospital, a state-run inpatient psychiatric facility, to be admitted as a patient.

"State Police investigators were told he had become combative during the admission process" at Central State, according to Cabell Baskervill.

Cabell Baskervill pushed back against officers' claims that Otieno was combative, saying video footage shows that Otieno "was not agitated and combative," saying he was fidgety, stressed and anxious.

Cabell Baskervill alleges that seven Virginia sheriff's deputies then held 28-year-old Otieno down for 12 minutes and suffocated him.

He died of asphyxiation by smothering, according to Cabell Baskervill, who described the incident as “cruel and a demonstration of power that is unlawful… it killed him.”

Cabell Baskervill said Otieno's death was not reported for three and a half hours, and 911 was not alerted.

Between Otieno's death and the call made to state police, Otieno's body was moved, handcuffs were removed and washed and a funeral home had been called instead of the medical examiner's office, the commonwealth's attorney said in court.

At some point, an injection was given to Otieno by hospital staff, however Cabell Baskervill asserts that the injection was likely given after he had died of asphyxia.

Cabell Baskervill alleged that none of the seven deputies "made truthful statements to the State Police either that night or yesterday upon arrest."

Seven Henrico County Sheriff’s deputies and three Central State Hospital employees have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Additional charges and arrests are pending, according to the commonwealth's attorney.

Footage from Central State and Henrico County Jail captured the incidents. ABC News has not viewed the video.

The Henrico County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an independent review of Otieno's death alongside an investigation by Virginia State Police.

The FBI is now in touch with state and local investigators.

“FBI Richmond has been in contact with authorities investigating the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Mr. Irvo Otieno. We have no further comments to share at this time," read a statement shared with ABC News from an FBI spokesperson.

The seven arrested deputies were identified as Randy Joseph Boyer, 57; Dwayne Alan Bramble, 37; Jermaine Lavar Branch, 45; Bradley Thomas Disse, 43; Tabitha Renee Levere, 50; Brandon Edwards Rodgers, 48; and Kaiyell Dajour Sanders, 30.

Lawyers for Disse said that the officer was asked by a supervisor to drive to Central State Hospital because of issues officers were having with the inmate and because they were told he could not be controlled with just three officers.

In court, a lawyer for Branch alleged the officer "did not administer any blows to the deceased, or violence towards him, other than simply trying to restrain him."

Branch's lawyer, Cary Bowen, told ABC News by phone that Cabell Baskervill was trying to fashion the case as something that is "malicious."

"There was no weapon used. There was no pummeling or anything like that. I think everybody agrees," Bowen said. "And the way she was casting it was that they ended up suffocating. He couldn't breathe. And she's acting like the guy didn't resist and he wasn't manic or bipolar or whatever. Just a nice guy who they're picking on."

The seven deputies have been placed on administrative leave.

Henrico County Sheriff Alisa A. Gregory released a statement the week after Otieno's death, extending her "deepest sympathies and condolences" to Otieno's family and friends.

"The events of March 6, at their core, represent a tragedy because Mr. Otieno's life was lost. This loss is felt by not only those close to him, but our entire community," Gregory said in the statement.

Otieno's family saw the footage before the video was set to be released to the public.

"My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog. I saw it with my own eyes on the video," said Otieno's mother, Caroline Ouko, in a Thursday press conference.

The Sheriff's Department and local union Henrico Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4 have yet to return ABC News' request for comment.

ABC News' Nadine El-Bawab, Beatrice Peterson, Nakylah Carter and Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Firefighter helps deliver granddaughter at his own fire station

Courtesy of April Langston

(AUSTELL, Ga.) -- A Georgia firefighter helped deliver his first grandchild while on duty at his own fire station last month, and the veteran first responder said although it was unexpected, his family is "over the moon" after welcoming the baby girl, named Adalynn.

"I've been in the fire service for a little over 28 years and I have delivered multiple children -- probably my best guess would be between 10 and 12 -- and so just natural instincts kind of took over to make sure that we had the right stuff," Bret Langston told "Good Morning America."

On the morning of Feb. 10, Bret Langston's daughter Hannah Langston said she woke up in the early hours with what she thought were contractions but tried to lay back down and "ignore" them for a while, because others had told her the laboring process would take multiple hours.

"I was like, we have plenty of time. Like, it's not that big of a deal," the 18-year-old recounted.

Later that morning, Langston, along with her mother April Langston and boyfriend Christopher Williams, decided they would start heading to the birthing center. Along the way, Langston said her mom suggested they stop at her dad's fire station so she could take a bathroom break.

"We stopped and as soon as I got out of the car, I was like, 'I'm not getting back in' and they were like, 'No, you're fine.' I was like, 'No, like, she's coming right now,'" Langston recalled.

Bret Langston was on one of his 24-hour shifts at Austell Fire Station No. 2 in Austell, Georgia, at the time. He also thought Hannah would have plenty of time, but it quickly became clear their initial plan was going to change, so he led his daughter to his personal bunk room at the fire station and the other firefighters started pitching in to help, locating the station's obstetrical kit and warming up towels.

"I cleared the bed ... [and] put plastic trash bags down on the bed. I [replaced] my sheets on there so Hannah would at least be comfortable, and we got started on that," Bret Langston said. "My wife called Hannah's doula and fortunately, she was only about five or six minutes away, and I think about 10 minutes after we got Hannah settled in, Adalynn came."

Hannah Langston said Adalynn's quick arrival was "shocking," but the baby girl came out healthy and without any complications and both mom and baby were able to go home shortly after the baby's birth.

"They put her on my chest and at first, I was just shocked … I looked at her and just looked around the room and I was like, 'Oh my God,'" Hannah Langston said. "It was just like unreal."

Bret Langston said he is looking forward to showing his granddaughter around the fire station as she grows up and said they share a remarkable bond now.

"It is definitely something I'll remember forever," Bret Langston added. "It became a little emotional for me because while this is my daughter and my granddaughter, and you know, she picked a peculiar place to enter the world, but it was very sweet and it's something that I will never forget."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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