National Headlines

Kali9/iStock(MILWAUKEE) -- An ex-employee killed five people when he opened fire at the MillerCoors building in Milwaukee, law enforcement officials told ABC News. The suspect then took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot, Police Chief Alfonso Morales said at a press conference.

Five people, all employees of the company, were found dead in the building, police said. No one else was injured.

The suspect is a 51-year-old man from Milwaukee, according to officials.

"This is a tragic day for our city, a tragic day for our state," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said at a press conference Wednesday night. "Five families, six families actually, are grieving. ... This is a time for us to think about these families."

Officials said they would not identify the victims until families were notified.

"We are still learning more details about what happened at Molson Coors earlier today," Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. "What we do know, though, is that more lives were lost in a mass shooting in Wisconsin."

"Our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives were senselessly taken, all of the folks and workers at Molson Coors, and the Milwaukee community as we grapple with yet another act of gun violence that will have long-lasting consequences for this community and our state," he added.

"There is an active situation at our Milwaukee facility and we are working closely with the Milwaukee Police Department," Molson Coors Beverage Company, the parent company of MillerCoors, said in a statement. "Our top priority is our employees and we’ll provide updates in conjunction with the police as we are able."

Police in Milwaukee said they responded to an active shooting situation Wednesday afternoon near the area of the 4000 block of West State Street.

An employee told Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN that she was at her desk when she received an email about the active shooting, telling her to shelter in place. She was not in the building where the shooting took place, she said.

They were later evacuated from one building and into another before they were sent to a reunification center, the employee said.

The FBI and ATF responded to the scene to assist with local law enforcement.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



ABC News(KAUAI, Hawaii) -- The husband of Lori Vallow, an Idaho mother facing charges amid her children's monthslong disappearance, spoke out for the first time in the case, thanking his supporters but refusing to say if the kids are ok.

Chad Daybell, Vallow's fifth husband, told ABC News' National Correspondent Marcus Moore that he couldn't comment on the whereabouts or well-being of 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, who were last seen in September 2019. He is not the biological father of either child.

"Are the kids ok?" Moore asked Daybell at a gas station in Kauai, Hawaii, where he and Vallow had been living for about a month, on Monday.

"I just can't comment," he replied. "I just can't comment."

When asked by Moore if there was anything he wanted to say to people who are concerned about the children, himself and Vallow, Daybell responded with, "Just grateful for any support. We just have to wait for the legal process to work through."

Pressed once more about whether or not JJ and Tylee are ok, Daybell said, "I have to go. No comment."

Vallow is currently behind bars and awaiting possible extradition to Rexburg, Idaho, where she and the children lived before they disappeared.

She will be in court Wednesday afternoon local time. Vallow was arrested last week by police in Kauai on an arrest warrant issued from authorities in Madison County, Idaho. Daybell was not arrested.

Vallow is facing multiple charges, including two felony counts of desertion and non-support of dependent children, according to police.

She is being held at Kauai Community Corrections Center on $5 million bond. Her request to have her bail lowered was denied, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

JJ and Tylee have been missing since September, with JJ last seen in Rexburg and Tylee last seen in Yellowstone National Park in California, according to authorities.

Her arrest comes about four weeks after she failed to comply with a court order to produce them in Madison County on Jan. 30.

During the investigation, numerous details led authorities to believe that she'd deserted her children. Authorities said JJ's prescription to manage his autism had not been filled since Vallow moved to Idaho in September 2019, that she hired a babysitter for JJ only to tell her days later her services were no longer needed, and that Vallow has been living in Hawaii since December without the children.

An affidavit states that police have found "no evidence or verification of anyone providing for the housing, food, clothing, education, or medical care" for the children since September.

The mysterious case goes beyond just the missing children and also includes the deaths of Vallow and Daybell's former spouses, as well as rumors of a cult.

Vallow's brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed her fourth husband in her Chandler, Arizona, home on July 11, 2019, police said. Police said Charles Vallow's death is being looked at as self-defense.

About six months after that shooting, on Dec. 11, 2019, Cox was found unresponsive in his Gilbert, Arizona, home and was later pronounced dead, according to Brenda Carrasco, a public information officer for Gilbert police. Autopsy results from Cox's death have not yet been made public.

In between Charles Vallow and Cox's death, Chad Daybell's wife also died under circumstances that are now believed to be suspicious. Tamara "Tammy" Daybell's death on Oct. 19, 2019, was initially thought to be natural. However, her remains were exhumed in late December and authorities were looking into whether or not she was poisoned, police said.

Authorities later learned through their investigation that Daybell collected at least $430,000 in life insurance after his wife died, according to a probable cause statement.

Both Vallow and Daybell have also been accused of being members of a cult. Vallow's niece, Melani Boudreaux, is also accused of being in the same cult, according to documents from a custody battle between her and her former husband Brandon.

The documents, released last Friday and obtained by ABC News, allege that Boudreaux is "involved in a cult where numerous members, adults and children alike, have been being killed off like flies." It also claims that Boudreaux knows where Vallow's two missing children and her "unwillingness" to help authorities find them is "daunting."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Sullivan County Sheriff's Office(NEW YORK) -- Authorities in Tennessee have arrested the teenage mother of a missing 15-month-old girl on a false reporting charge.

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office said its deputies took 18-year-old Megan "Maggie" Boswell into custody on Tuesday night and charged her with one count of false reports, after she allegedly gave investigators inaccurate information amid the desperate search for her young daughter, Evelyn Mae Boswell, who was declared missing last week but was reportedly last seen by family members in December.

The mother, who has full custody of Evelyn, was cooperating with authorities but had provided detectives with "a number of conflicting statements" during the course of the investigation, according to a statement from the sheriff's office. A further inquiry revealed that some of the information she gave was "false," the sheriff's office said.

"Every time we talk to her, her story changes," Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy told reporters in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. "And I'm serious when I say that. Every single time."

The false statements have delayed and impeded the investigation, Cassidy added.

The young woman is being held in the Sullivan County Jail on a $25,000 bond, according to the sheriff's office. It's unclear whether she has obtained a lawyer.

Evelyn's father, Ethan Perry, who is on active duty in the U.S. military, stationed in another state, has been cooperating with police.

The sheriff's office continues to work alongside the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI to find Evelyn, who became the subject of a statewide Amber Alert issued on Feb. 19. Investigators have received more than 500 tips, but none have produced any credible sightings regarding the toddler's whereabouts so far.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Dec. 26 is listed as the date Evelyn was last seen; however, her mother, along with others connected to the little girl, have allegedly given conflicting dates. Cassidy said he is considering the date Evelyn was last seen to be based on when a babysitter last saw her, which was Dec. 10 or 11.

It's unknown why it took so long to report the child missing.

Authorities have followed up on more than 500 tips and are currently treating the investigation as if Evelyn is still alive, Cassidy said.

Last Friday, authorities located a vehicle in North Carolina's Wilkes County that they were searching for and two individuals inside whom they wanted to speak with about the case. Angela Boswell, 42, and her 33-year-old boyfriend, William McCloud, who are both Tennessee residents, were questioned as part of the ongoing investigation and are currently being held on charges unrelated to Evelyn's disappearance, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Angela Boswell is Evelyn's grandmother, according to Johnson City, Tennessee, ABC affiliate WJHL.

The couple were arrested and charged with possession of stolen property, as the vehicle they were traveling in had been reported stolen, according to the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office. It's unclear whether either have obtained legal representation.

Evelyn, who is white and has blonde hair and blue eyes, was last seen wearing a pink tracksuit with pink shoes and a pink bow in her hair. She is about two feet tall and weighs 28 pounds, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Anyone with information regarding Evelyn's whereabouts is urged to contact the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office at 423-279-7330 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND.


Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Orange County Sheriff's Office(WINTER PARK, Fla.) -- A woman in Florida has been arrested in the death of her boyfriend after she allegedly zipped him into a suitcase and left him there for hours, authorities said.

Sarah Boone, 42, called authorities Monday afternoon to report that her boyfriend, 42-year-old Jorge Torres Jr., was dead at her Winter Park home, according to the arrest affidavit. Boone said they were playing hide-and-seek when the couple "jokingly thought it would be funny if Jorge got in the suitcase," and Boone zipped him inside.

Boone said they had been drinking alcohol that night, the affidavit said. She said she then "went upstairs and passed out in her bed."

Boone said she woke up around 11 a.m. when her phone rang multiple times, the affidavit said.

When Boone went downstairs and didn't see her boyfriend anywhere, she "realized that he was possibly still inside the suitcase," the affidavit said. Boone unzipped the suitcase and found Torres unresponsive and not breathing.

When deputies responded to her 911 call, Torres was found lying by the front door near a blue suitcase, the affidavit said. He had a small laceration on his lip and apparent bruising around his eye. Torres was declared dead around 1 p.m.

As authorities investigated, they recovered video from Boone's phone in which Torres was repeatedly yelling out Boone's name, the affidavit said.

Torres was seen on the video pushing on the suitcase, trying to escape, according to the affidavit.

In the video, according to the affidavit, Boone said to Torres, "For everything you've done to me," then laughed and said, "F--- you. Stupid."

Torres repeatedly called out his girlfriend's name, and told her, 'I can't f------ breathe, seriously," the video showed, according to the affidavit. When Torres repeatedly told Boone he couldn't breathe, Boone replied, "That's what I feel like when you cheat on me ... You should probably shut the f--- up."

Arrested: Sarah Boone, 42, for Second Degree Murder in the death of 42-year-old Jorge Torres Jr., who died after Boone zipped him into a suitcase, and didn’t return for hours. pic.twitter.com/JCHWG7WNkp

— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) February 26, 2020

Bonne was booked on Wednesday for second-degree murder. She does not yet have an attorney or a court date.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A new proposal on the docket in Boston on Wednesday could determine how much residents pay for parking tickets.

The Boston City Council will meet at noon today to discuss new legislation which will include a hearing order for potential income-adjusted fines on parking violations.

Recently elected city councilor at-large Julia Mejia filed the hearing order on Monday and has been vocal about the idea on Twitter.

"I am introducing legislation on income-adjusting parking tickets so low-income families don’t have to decide between paying a parking ticket or putting food on their table," she wrote.

The hearing order cited that in 2018, the city of Boston issued "over 1.38 million parking tickets, collecting over $61.3 million."

It also stated that in the same year, changes were made to the pricing structure for a number of parking violations such as the fine for "overstaying the meter" which increased from $25 to $40.

Mejia's hearing order noted a study from the Greater Boston Food Bank, which found that "food insecure individuals in Eastern Massachusetts now face an average weekly budget shortfall of $21.21 per person."

The legislation also stated that "30% of Bostonians in the lowest income bracket are in 'car dependent neighborhoods'" in an attempt to highlight the intersection of transportation and economic empowerment.

Currently, parking tickets in Boston range from $15 to $120 and can increase due to fines if a violation is paid late, according to ABC News Boston affiliate WCVB.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



ABC News(NEW YORK) -- As a winter storm moves across the country, more than 2 feet of snow fell in western South Dakota, and more than a foot in central Kansas.

Just a few inches so far have accumulated in Detroit and up to 1 inch fell in Chicago, but more is on the way as the storm moves into the Northeast.

From Missouri to Maine, 13 states are on alert for heavy snow Wednesday.

Wednesday morning, the center of the winter storm is moving through the Ohio Valley and eastern Great Lakes with snow on the western and northern side from the Plains to New England.

The storm system will move into the Northeast Wednesday evening with heavy rain moving up the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C. to New York City and Boston by Thursday morning.

On the cold side of this storm, snow will continue all day Wednesday in Michigan, including Detroit, and also in parts of Indiana and Ohio.

There could even be a few snowflakes mixed in with rain as far south as Tennessee and also in North Carolina.

By Thursday morning, the storm slowly moves through the Northeast, bringing very heavy rain to eastern New England with snow further inland from western New York into Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Also, gusty winds are forecast behind the storm from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia and New York City Thursday. Those cities could see some delays at the major hubs due to gusty winds.

Snowfall totals will be the greatest from Michigan to western New York and into northern New England, where 6 to 12 inches of snow is possible.

In western New York, behind the storm, as the cold wind moves over the unfrozen Great Lakes, lake effect snow could produce additional 1 to 2 feet of snow.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Hamilton County Sheriff's Office(NEW YORK) -- A man was arrested this week in the double slaying of an 85-year-old woman and her son -- and authorities say they found the suspect through DNA and genealogy databases.

Patricia Wilson, 85, and her son Robert Wilson, 64, were found dead in their home in Sycamore, Illinois, in August 2016, according to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office.

The Wilsons were killed from blunt force trauma in a "horrific and unprovoked act of violence," DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Andy Sullivan said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The arrested suspect, 51-year-old Jonathan Hurst, had no known connection the Wilsons or the Sycamore area, Sullivan said.

Authorities believe Hurst acted alone to commit the "random act of violence," Sullivan said.

When authorities began to investigate and search for a suspect, they discovered "a significant amount of physical evidence," Sullivan said.

A DNA profile was obtained from the crime scene, which helped eliminate several persons of interest, Sullivan said.

Then Sullivan said investigators turned to Parabon NanoLabs, a company that's cracked dozens of cold cases by using genetic genealogy.

Through genetic genealogy, an unknown killer's DNA from a crime scene can be identified through his or her family members, who voluntarily submit their DNA to a genealogy database. This allows police to create a much larger family tree than using law enforcement databases like the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

To crack the Wilson case, investigators and Parabon analysts took the DNA from the crime scene and entered it to public genealogy databases to try to narrow down possible suspects. The analysts built a family tree based on that DNA, which led to Hurst, Sullivan said.

Cellphone records and other evidence confirmed Hurst was near the victims' home on the day of the crime, Sullivan said.

A car was stolen from the victims' home and later recovered in Chicago, near where Hurst lived, Sullivan said.

Hurst, who formerly lived in Chicago and now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, was arrested at his home on Monday, Sullivan said. Hurst is awaiting extradition to Illinois to face two counts of first-degree murder, Sullivan said.

If convicted on both counts, Hurst faces a mandatory life sentence, DeKalb County State's Attorney Rick Amato said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



MattGush/iStock(CARSON, Calif.) -- A major refinery fire in Carson, California, temporarily shut down the 405 Freeway in both directions late Tuesday night.

The thick smoke and flames could be seen from miles away as the plumes of smoke were hundreds of feet into the air.

The fire started after an explosion around 11 p.m. local time in a cooling tower at the Marathon Refinery, according to the Los Angels County Fire Department.

Authorities said Marathon personnel are "keeping flames in check" while they work to depressurize the system.

Flames shut down the freeway for less than an hour before officials reopened the interstate.

No injuries have been reported.

Fire and refinery officials said on-site monitors had not reported any harmful products in the air "emanating" from the facility as a result of the fire.

The Marathon Refinery, according to ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV, is believed to be the largest refinery on the West coast. It processes around 360,000 barrels per day, the station reported.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Family Photo via Atty Michael Winkleman(NEW YORK) -- The grandfather accused of dropping his granddaughter from an 11th floor window of a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico last year is accepting a plea deal.

Salvatore Anello had lifted his 18-month-old granddaughter Chloe Wiegand onto a wood railing on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas when the toddler fell to her death.

Defense attorney Jose Perez told ABC News last week that Anello didn't want a plea deal, saying, "He is firm that he is innocent."

Anello, however, agreed to change his plea to guilty to put the matter to rest, attorney Michael Winkleman said.

"This decision was an incredibly difficult one for Sam and the family, but because the plea agreement includes no jail time and no admission of facts, it was decided the plea deal is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter and turn their focus to mourning Chloe and fighting for cruise passenger safety," Winkleman said.

Chloe, who was traveling with her parents from their home in Indiana, was with her grandfather in the children's water park play area when her grandfather placed her on the wood railing, which was in front of a wall of glass windows, according to Winkleman.

Winkleman said the grandfather put Chloe on the railing thinking she'd bang on the glass. However, the window was open and she was "gone," Winkleman said in July, calling Chloe's death a "tragic accident that was preventable."

The family wants to raise awareness of the need for all common carriers to adhere to window fall prevention laws to prevent similar falls, Winkleman said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



tracielouise/iStock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Two cheetah cubs have been born via in vitro fertilization to a surrogate mother for the first time ever at the Columbus Zoo.

The cubs, one male and one female, and their surrogate mother, Izzy, are doing well after the birth on Feb. 19, the zoo's vice president of animal health, Dr. Randy Junge, and president and CEO, Tom Stalf, told ABC News.

Izzy, a first-time mother, is providing "great care" to the cubs, according to the zoo. They are being monitored closely through a remote camera 24 hours a day, Stalf said.

While the cubs' biological mother is 9-year-old Kibibi, they were born via surrogate because cheetahs' ability to reproduce after the age of 8 declines significantly.

"The assumption was, as an older female, she would be less likely to carry a pregnancy to completion," Junge said.

Kibibi was chosen as their biological mother because her bloodline is "already well represented in the genetic registry, according to the zoo."

The cubs are "doing great" and continuing to gain weight, Stalf said.

Currently, the male cub weighs 480 grams, roughly 1 pound, and the female weighs 350 grams, according to the zoo. They have not yet been named.

Their eyes, ears, mouth and heartbeat were checked during a brief exam on Monday, Junge said, adding that "everything looks good."

It will be a few months before they will be displayed at the zoo's cheetah exhibit.

The cubs' birth was a result of careful planning between the Columbus Zoo, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas.

The IVF procedure began in November when Kibibi and her sister, Bella, first began receiving hormone injections to stimulate follicle development. Once the eggs were extracted, they were fertilized using thawed semen from the cubs' father, a 3-year-old named Slash from Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, and an ultrasound in December revealed that Izzy was pregnant with two fetuses.

The procedure had been attempted twice before but was not successful until the third try, Junge said.

Izzy and Kibibi are two of the zoo's "ambassador cheetahs" and have formed "extremely close bonds" with their caretakers, allowing them to perform ultrasounds, x-rays and other medical procedures when needed, according to the zoo.

Cheetahs are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. There are only about 7,000 cheetahs left in the world.

Jason Ahistus, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center Carnivore Curator, described the accomplishment as a "big win for the cheetah."

"It really opens the door to many new opportunities that can help the global cheetah population," Ahistus said in a statement.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Courtesy of Brad Kane(NEW YORK) -- The race is on to find a rare duck who was spotted in Central Park with a piece of plastic stuck between its beak.

Veteran bird watcher Brad Kane took a picture of the female Common Merganser, which is not common to the park, swimming in the park's lake and posted it on Twitter Saturday. Kane noticed what appeared to be either a rubber band or a piece of plastic that was stuck between its beak and neck.

Kane told ABC News this is extremely dangerous for the bird because the plastic prevents it from eating and diving for food.

"It’s almost like a bridle and preventing it from closing its mouth. It’s a fish-eating bird so if it can’t dive it can’t eat," he said. "It's awful. It means it's going through a long and painful suffering."

After Kane's photo went viral, park rangers searched the pond Monday and Tuesday for the duck, but as of Tuesday evening they had found no sign of it.

In the duck's current condition it's still able to fly and swim, according to Megan Moriarty, a spokeswoman for the New York City Parks Department.

"The goal is to rescue the bird, remove the plastic, and transport the animal to the Wild Bird Fund so they can assess its overall health," she said in a statement.

The Parks Department is urging anyone who spots the bird to call park rangers at 212-360-2774.

This weekend, New York state will institute a ban on plastic bags at all grocery stores in an attempt to curb the amount of plastic in the environment. Kane said the ban is beneficial for the city's wildlife and would prevent incidents like this.

"No one likes to see nature suffer, and that is indeed what’s happening to this bird," he said. "It brings home the message of how dangerous plastic is to wildlife."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Danny Martindale/WireImage/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Welsh singer/songwriter Duffy, best known her 2008 hit, "Mercy," largely disappeared from the spotlight for the past decade, and in a candid Instagram post Tuesday she explained why.

Duffy, whose full name is Aimee Anne Duffy, shared that she was "raped and drugged and held captive over some days," but is "ok and safe now."

She did not share when or where the alleged incidents took place, but said she'd be answering questions in a "spoken interview" in the coming weeks.

A representative for her label did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The recovery took time. There’s no light way to say it. But I can tell you in the last decade, the thousands and thousands of days I committed to wanting to feel the sunshine in my heart again, the sun does now shine," Duffy wrote. "You wonder why I did not choose to use my voice to express my pain? I did not want to show the world the sadness in my eyes. I asked myself, how can I sing from the heart if it is broken? And slowly it unbroke."

Duffy, 35, last released a studio album, "Endlessly," in 2010. She shared that she decided to go public with her story after finding it "amazing" to discuss it with a journalist who'd reached out.

"You can only imagine the amount of times I thought about writing this. The way I would write it, how I would feel thereafter," she shared. "Well, not entirely sure why now is the right time, and what it is that feels exciting and liberating for me to talk."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



iStock/ThinkstockThe FBI and the NYPD raided the Times Square headquarters of Peter Nygard's fashion company as part of a sex trafficking investigation, the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan said.

The searches were conducted Tuesday morning, Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, confirmed to ABC News. He declined to elaborate.

Word of the searches first was reported by The New York Times.

Nygard, 78, has been under investigation after a number of women accused him of sexually assaulting them at his Bahamas estate when they were young teens. Nygard's Bahamas estate has been featured on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."

A spokesman for the FBI's New York field office declined to comment.

Searches usually indicate the investigation is in the early stages and not an immediate precursor to criminal charges.

The accusations were detailed in a lawsuit filed earlier this month.

"When Nygard became aware of the investigation into his sex trafficking ring, he resorted to tactics of violence, intimidation, bribery and payoffs to attempt to silence the victims and to continue his scheme," according to the lawsuit.

Nygard, who has denied the allegations, has also been accused of abusive labor practices and tax evasion.

Ken Frydman, a spokesperson for Peter Nygard, told ABC News in a statement, "Nygard welcomes the federal investigation and expects his name to be cleared. He has not been charged, is not in custody and is cooperating with the investigation."

Greg Gutzler and Lisa Haba, attorneys for victims in the ongoing civil lawsuit, said in a statement to ABC News:

"Given Mr. Nygard's pattern of alleged horrific sexual abuse spanning decades and across the world, it is not surprising that he now finds himself under the scrutiny of the FBI. Our focus remains squarely on pursuing justice for the countless victims who have been so viciously harmed by Mr. Nygard and his enablers."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Miriam "Mimi" Haley, who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, said she felt "relief" at the outcome of the trial, which found the disgraced movie mogul guilty of criminal sexual assault and rape in the third degree.

Haley (formerly Haleyi, but she said on the stand she changed her last name), a former production assistant who had worked on Weinstein productions, testified in a New York court that he assaulted her at his apartment in 2006, and the jury found that Weinstein forced a sex act on Haley.

Haley appeared on "Good Morning America" with her attorney, Gloria Allred, Tuesday, discussing what it was like to hear that Weinstein received the two guilty verdicts.

"I just sat down and I started crying," Haley told "GMA," noting she was in a coffee shop when she learned the news. "It was just a huge sense of relief, just a relief that the jury got it, that they believed me and that I was heard. ... I was just grateful that they got it."

Weinstein, 67, was found not guilty of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and of rape in the first degree. The charge of rape in the third degree he was found guilty of came from Jessica Mann and came with sentencing guidelines of probation up to four years.

Weinstein pleaded not guilty to all charges and has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

Haley had taken the stand during the trial and was cross-examined.

"It was terrifying, but after a lot of thought, I just felt that it was the right thing to do and something that I wanted to follow through with, so that's why I did it," she said.

I also thank all the women that came forward before me that created this environment where I felt safe to speak out.

Haley told "The View" the process has been "really draining and, frankly, terrifying," especially as "it's been dragging on."

"I also thank all the women that came forward before me that created this environment where I felt safe to speak out," she said.

The outcome in the Weinstein case is seen as a landmark moment for other accusers and #MeToo -- a movement against sexual harassment and assault that gained viral attention after allegations against Weinstein were first reported in October 2017 by The New York Times and The New Yorker.

"It gives me hope that we're making progress [with] this verdict," Haley said. "I just feel like we're being educated about the reality of sexual assault and sexual assault victims."

This education includes, she said, the fact that many sexual assault victims "do know their attacker" and "have some sort of relation to that person."

"That brings with it a whole other layer of emotional confusion that you need to process through," she said, adding, "I think we are getting rid of a lot of outdated ideas about these kind of assaults."

While Haley noted the progress the #MeToo movement has made has been "really amazing," she said, "I don't think that we should be telling people, for example like Harvey Weinstein's attorney, 'Don't put yourself in that position.'"

Weinstein's attorney Donna Rotunno said in an interview with The New York Times earlier this month that she has never been a victim of sexual assault, "because I would never put myself in that position."

"I think we should be focusing on, like, 'don't rape people,'" Haley said. "If they come to your house, don't rape them. If they come to your hotel, don't rape them."

She said the focus needs to shift "from constantly victim-blaming" to "the actual person who committed the crime, taking responsibility for their choices."

"The story of Harvey Weinstein is in so many respects the story of a long and unsuccessful fight for any kind of accountability for someone so powerful," Ronan Farrow, one of the journalists who reported on the extensive allegations against Weinstein, told "GMA" Tuesday.

"A lot of the stories have been not just about the allegations but about the tactics used to dodge accountability including in the criminal justice system," he continued.

Weinstein faces up to 29 years behind bars. He is expected to be sentenced next month.

Haley's attorney, Allred, praised her client on "GMA" Tuesday morning, calling her "brave" and "courageous."

"Mimi had to face very intense cross-examination on the stand and she had to take the oath and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God, and then hours and hours of cross-examination," Allred said, adding that she was also proud of her clients Lauren Marie Young and Annabella Sciorra, who both also testified at the trial.

Sciorra accused Weinstein of raping her in the 1990s as part of prosecutor's attempt to prove a pattern of predation. He was ultimately found not guilty of two charges of predatory sexual assault.

"It's a very high burden of proof, guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and she told her truth," Allred said of Sciorra. "She stood in her truth. She refused to be intimidated and she was very authentic and many people said she was an exceptional witness in this courtroom so she did what she had to do and that's what's important."

Allred went on, "This is about the empowerment of women, about women refusing to stand silent when they have been the victims of gender violence and he could face a sentence because of Mimi's courage of 10 to 25 years in prison and then he has to face the L.A. charges so he may never come out of prison."

Haley said she will take the opportunity to speak at Weinstein's sentencing.

"I do intend to do that," she said. "I'll figure out what I'm going to say."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Plymouth Fire Department(PLYMOUTH, Mass.) -- Another landmark in the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, was vandalized, making it the eighth site in less than a week to be tampered with, officials said.

This time it was the 9/11 memorial, which was found "desecrated by vandals" on Sunday, according to the town's fire department.

The memorial -- a 6-feet-tall granite pillar with the names of those killed in the attacks engraved on it and statutes of a firefighter and police officer standing beside it -- was erected in 2004.

Photos showed the police officer statue at the memorial was knocked over, with his head separated from his body. The statue of the firefighter at the memorial did not appear to be touched.

"They can knock us down, but we will always get back up even stronger," the fire department tweeted, noting that more than 25 firefighters came out to help restore the memorial.

Town manager Melissa Arrighi wrote on Twitter that all signs of vandalism had been erased as of Monday.

Less than a week before it was vandalized, seven other iconic sites in Plymouth, including Plymouth Rock, were defaced.

The rock, Pilgrim Maiden Statue and the National Monument to the Forefathers were all tagged with red paint, officials said. That vandalism has also been removed.

Plymouth police told ABC News at the time they were looking into the incident, but had not yet made any arrests.

ABC News has reached out to Plymouth police for more details, and whether or not police believe the instances are connected.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Keep Informed
Local News

WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 26, 2020

A long-duration, Lake Effect snow event is on the horizon for Western New York as a Lake Effect Snow Warning goes into effect tonight through Saturday evening.  National Weather Service Meteorolo...

Read More


Join Us Facebook