Day: June 22, 2017


Calif. AG seeks to reinstate charges against pro-life activists over secret tapes

California’s attorney general is vowing to have the felony criminal charges reinstated that he filed against two pro-life activists who secretly videotaped Planned Parenthood officials discussing what they charge for body parts of aborted babies.

The attorney general’s promise came after a San Francisco court Wednesday dismissed 14 of the 15 charges he filed in what the defendants’ lawyers hailed as a big win for pro-life activism, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

David Daleiden, leader of the antiabortion Center for Medical Progress, and Sandra Merritt, an employee of the group, posed as fetal researchers and made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood. California prosecutors charged the pair with 15 felonies, saying they invaded the privacy of medical providers by filming without consent.

Having the charges dismissed marks a significant victory for pro-life forces, one attorney said.

“This is a huge victory to have 14 criminal counts dismissed,” Mat Staver, a pro-life attorney representing Merritt told LifeNews in a statement.

Prosecutors say Daleiden and Merritt filmed 14 people without permission between October 2013 and July 2015 in Los Angeles, San Francisco and El Dorado counties. One felony count was filed for each person. The 15th charge, which was not dismissed, was for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a longtime Congressional Democrat who took over the investigation in January from now-Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said in March that the state “will not tolerate the criminal recording of conversations.” Daleiden, meanwhile, told The Associated Press the “bogus” charges were coming from “Planned Parenthood’s political cronies.” He and Merritt claimed they were acting as investigative journalists to expose alleged plots by abortion providers to sell fetal parts.

“We will now turn our attention to dismissing the final count. Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong. The complaint by the California Attorney General is unprecedented and frankly will threaten every journalist who provides valuable information to the public. This final count will also fall,” Staver said.

The recorded conversations included officials from Planned Parenthood and StemExpress, a California company that provides blood, tissue and other biological material for medical research and had received fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.

In one of the pair’s videos, Daleiden poses as “Robert Sarkis” of the phony Biomax Procurement Services and is shown discussing liver tissue with the chief executive of StemExpress at a Northern California restaurant.

Abortion opponents said the recordings showed Planned Parenthood was illegally harvesting and selling the organs. Planned Parenthood said the videos were deceptively edited to support extremists’ false claims.

Daleiden and Merritt had previously been indicted in Texas on similar charges in January 2016, but seven months later all of the charges were dropped as prosecutors said a grand jury had overstepped its authority.

The case against against Daleiden took an interesting legal twist last month when Daleiden and his attorneys defied court orders by posting more videos of abortion providers and identifying 14 of the people participating in the state criminal complaint — names that were previously under a court seal.

The lawyers for the defendant are now facing a federal contempt-of-court charge because they allegedly violated a federal judge’s order to pull the videos off the internet. Daleiden’s legal team has now engaged attorneys from the Thomas More Society to represent them in the contempt-of-court matter. Those attorneys have filed a request that the federal judge overseeing this case be pulled off because of his own pro-choice activism.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Eboni Williams: Democrats are 'delusional' if they stick with Pelosi

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Following Democrat Jon Ossoff’s defeat in Georgia’s special election, many Democrat lawmakers are placing the blame on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, however, is insisting that she’s “worth the trouble” as the party’s leader in the House.

“I’m a master legislator. I am a strategic, politically astute leader,” Pelosi said at a press conference on Thursday. “My leadership is recognized by many around the country, and that is why I’m able to attract the support that I do.”

She’s also attracting “support” from a very unlikely source, President Donald Trump:

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On “The Fox News Specialists,” Eric Bolling echoed the president’s sentiments, pointing out that Democrats have lost more than 60 House seats with Pelosi as House majority and then minority leader.

“I agree with Trump and I’m all for Pelosi,” Bolling said.

Eboni Williams said that Democrats are “delusional” and “living in an echo chamber” if they want to stick with Pelosi in the face of mounting losses.

“When you have the president of the United States – who is a Republican – saying please let [Pelosi] stay, I don’t know how much clearer it can be that you are on the wrong side of this,” Williams said.

She said it’s easy for some Democrats to criticize her in the media, but it’s much harder to actually push for change in DNC leadership meetings.

She said they had an opportunity to put in some new leadership after the disastrous 2016 election.

“Instead, they doubled down on the stale, old baggage leadership that has gotten them nowhere,” Williams said.

Watch more above.

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Woman finds mom after watching 'Fox & Friends'

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A woman found her long-lost mother on Mother’s Day after watching a “Fox & Friends” segment showcasing the website

Susan Colton ordered a DNA kit from My Heritage and the company found 41 DNA matches for her. She emailed some of these family members, and within an hour and a half of receiving her results she was talking to her mother on the phone.

Colton is 64, searched for her mother for decades, and before their reunion had started to doubt whether her 86-year-old mother was still alive. 

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“She thought it was hopeless … She tried bribing people. She called every name in the phone book,” said Yvette Corporon of My Heritage.

“When I sat down and spoke to Sue she cried the entire time,” Corporon said.

Colton and her mother were reunited in upstate New York at her mother’s nursing home.

“Except for the days my children were born, this Mother’s Day was the happiest day of my life,” Colton wrote.

Watch the emotional reunion of mother and daughter above. You can visit the site and use the coupon code “FOX” to receive a special discount.

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Swarm of bees attack sisters, kill family dog

A huge swarm of Africanized bees attacked two North County girls and killed their family dog.

The attack happened Sunday evening in Vista.

Madeline Marko-Martinez, 20, and her 19-year-old step-sister, Quinn Rodgers, returned home with a friend after a trip. As they got out of the car, they noticed bees flying around. All of a sudden, the bees started swarming and attacking the girls.

“I tried to move away but more followed me. I started running. We each had our own swarm around us. Everyone was running and screaming — I’m sure it looked wild,” said Rodgers.


The girls screamed and ran inside the house. They called their parents, who were out of town, but the parents called an exterminator company. When the exterminators arrived, they were amazed by what they found.

“They told us that they were Africanized bees, that they were some of the most aggressive they had ever seen,” Marko-Martinez said.

The hive was on the side of the home underneath the eaves of the roof. The exterminators said it was the biggest bee hive they had ever encountered.

Click here for more from Fox 5. 

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Ohio State fan mows message for Michigan-loving neighbor

College football is just around the corner, but one man’s Ohio State fandom is already in mid-season form.

A viral video showing a Buckeyes fan mowing the word “OHIO” on the lawn of his neighbor, who supports the rival Michigan Wolverines, has racked up more than 1.5 million views on Facebook.

“My neighbor is a big *ichigan fan. He is out of town this week and asked me to watch over his place. I thought I’d spruce it up a bit! #GOBUCKS (It’s better with audio),” wrote Ty Higgins, of Powell, Ohio.


The video is set to a Buckeyes fight song. Both teams have been locked in a fierce rivalry for decades.


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Blogger's exercise addiction

Exercising regularly is good for your health, but pushing yourself too far can have very real consequences.

Fitness blogger Erin of Queen City Sweat is all too familiar with the dangers of becoming addicted to exercise, which is why she shared a message on Instagram about the importance of staying balanced and not falling into an unhealthy trap.

“I was not eating close to what I should’ve been eating and ended up with a severe case of anemia causing a lack of energy to the point where I could barely get out of bed. Yet, I still forced myself to go to the gym although I felt like a zombie,” she wrote in her post Wednesday.

Erin’s addictive behavior is a real concern. Researchers from Nottingham Trent University defined addicted exercisers as those who “view exercise as the central part of their lives, and experience disturbing deprivation sensations when they are unable to exercise.”

She explains in her post how the constant stream of fit people on Instagram can lead to lower body confidence, so it’s important to focus on your overall health rather than obsessing over weight.


“It becomes so easy to start comparing yourself to others on here, which led me to developing a mindset of – ‘how skinny can I get?’ rather than ‘how healthy can I be?’ A number on a scale does not and should not dictate happiness,” the blogger wrote.

She also shared some of the dangerous habits she’d taken up when she was obsessing over her body, and what she’s doing differently now.

“I finally understand the term balance – my old idea of balance was cutting cals during the week, binging on the weekends, and then forcing myself to run miles on miles to make up for it. What is balance for me now? Listening to the cues my body gives me, eating intuitively (no more macros or calorie counting), nourishing my body with whole foods, taking rest days when my body needs them, and most importantly: prioritizing time with people I love,” she wrote.


Her advice to keep yourself from going down a similarly unhealthy path?

“… don’t fall into the Instagram trap. Not everything on here is picture perfect. Stop comparing yourself to others and start loving the body you have been given,” Erin wrote. 

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'Pizzagate' gunman sentenced to 4 years in prison

The man who walked into Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C., pizza shop, armed with an AR-15 assault weapon and a revolver to investigate internet rumors has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Edgar Maddison Welch was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Washington.

U.S. District Judge Kentanji B. Jackson said that while no one was injured when Welch fired his weapon, his actions “literally left psychological wreckage.”

In a court document filed ahead of the hearing, his attorney asked that he be sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison. Prosecutors have asked for 4 1/2 years.

Welch acknowledged as part of a guilty plea in March that he entered the Comet Ping Pong restaurant Dec. 4 with an AR-15 assault weapon and a revolver.

He said he drove to the restaurant from North Carolina to investigate a conspiracy theory about Democrats harboring child sex slaves there.

Welch fired his gun multiple times when he came upon a locked storage closet.

After finding no children held against their will, Welch surrendered to police. He said “that he had read online that the Comet restaurant was harboring child sex slaves and that he wanted to see for himself if they were there,” according to the arrest affidavit.

“[Welch] stated that he was armed to help rescue them,” it said.

Jackson said Welch”forged ahead” with an “ill-conceived plot” even though others urged him to abandon it. If Welch believed children were being harmed, he should have notified law enforcement, the judge said.

Welch spoke briefly to apologize, saying he realized that his words “cannot undo or change what already happened.”

His mother, father, sister and fiancΘe were in the courtroom.

Two Comet Ping Pong workers and owner James Alefantis spoke before sentencing. Alefantis called “pizzagate” a “viscous web of lies” and said many people had suffered because of Welch’s actions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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Otto Warmbier laid to rest after tragic homecoming

A crowd of roughly 2,000 people filled a high school auditorium to capacity Friday in Otto Warmbier’s hometown to celebrate the life of the student who died earlier this week after being detained for a nearly a year and a half in North Korea, sharing stories about his affinity for hugs, thrift-store clothes-shopping and little-known rap music.

“It doesn’t really feel real yet. He’s so young, and he’s been gone for so long,” said Grady Beerck, 22, a former soccer teammate, told The Associated Press. “The impact he made is always going to last with people.”

Around 2,000 mourners arrived at the morning memorial service for Warmbier held in the auditorium of his alma mater, Wyoming High School. The memorial is open to the public, but not the media. Around 100 people were turned away, The Associated Press reported.

More mourners lined the street, with some holding signs of support and pressing the tips of their thumbs together to form a “W,” as a hearse carried away the casket after service.


It was his life that held mourners’ attention Thursday as they fondly remembered a spirited student-athlete who was socially magnetic and had a positive impact on the people around him, whether it was in class, at a swim club or in his travels.

“Didn’t matter what time of day or what he was doing, he’d drop everything to help his friends,” Beerck said. “He was a goofy kid. He always just lived life to the fullest.”

They heard stories about his life, rap music he listened to and his habit of shopping for sweaters at thrift stores. A bagpiper played as the casket was carried to a hearse.

Cynthia Meis, his college admissions counselor from high school, said she admires the strength displayed by Warmbier’s parents in the face of such loss and the glare of international media attention.

“The world stage is secondary to the fact that they’ve lost their child,” she said, “and I think we can all certainly appreciate that.”


His former soccer coach, Steve Thomas, said Warmbier came from a religious family and was involved in mission trips and a birthright trip to Israel. “He had a deep desire to know God in a personal way,” Thomas said. “He wasn’t big on doing things because he was supposed to do it. He did things because he wanted to do them.”

A handout for the funeral featured a photo of Warmbier posing next to his mother and included a quote from his salutatorian speech in 2013: “This is our season finale. This is the end of one great show, but just the beginning to hundreds of new spin-offs.”

The attendees included Ambassador Joseph Yun, the U.S. special envoy who traveled to Pyongyang to bring Warmbier back, and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from the Cincinnati area.

“This process has been an example of evil and love and good,” Portman told reporters outside the service, Fox 19 reported. “This community and country have come together who are holding this family up in prayer.”

He added: “We have also seen evil. He should’ve never been detained. The North Koreans need to be held accountable for that. They have demonstrated that they have no respect for the rule of law and they showed a lack of respect for basic human dignity and rights. The fact that they didn’t tell his parents after he became ill is atrocious. Today is not a day to only focus on that.”

At a candlelight vigil Tuesday on the University of Virginia campus, Warmbier’s girlfriend at the time of his detention described the loss of a soul mate. Alex Vagonis said she drew some peace from knowing Warmbier got home to Ohio before his death.

Warmbier’s family objected to an autopsy, so the Hamilton County coroner’s office conducted only an external examination of his body. Medical records have been reviewed, and his condition was discussed extensively by treating physicians at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was hospitalized after his June 13 return.

Warmbier’s parents cited “awful, torturous mistreatment” by North Korea. Doctors last week said he suffered a “severe neurological injury” of unknown cause.

He was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor. His family said it was told he had been in a coma since soon after his sentencing.

He is the first American to die after being released from North Korean custody in half a century.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow the story at Fox 19.

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Huge seal battles octopus in incredible fight to the death

A kayaking guide and a group of tourists witnessed an incredible life-and-death fight between a massive fur seal and a massive octopus in New Zealand earlier this week.

The epic confrontation took place at South Bay, on New Zealand’s South Island on June 20, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Conner Stapley, a guide with Kaikoura Kayaks, saw thrashing on the surface of the water and soon realized that the large male seal was attacking the octopus. Stapley and the three tourists he was accompanying got front row seats to the gruesome battle, which was won by the hungry seal.


The seal may have dragged the octopus up from the ocean floor, according to the New Zealand Herald, which notes that the giant mollusk ended up as the seal’s lunch.

Other groups from Kaikoura Kayaks have witnessed reportedly seen similar scraps, which can last up to 20 minutes.

Stapley recorded Tuesday’s grisly tussle on his iPhone, according to the Mirror. The 265 lb. seal ripped the octopus apart leg by leg.


“This octopus had no chance really. Seals love eating them and will eat up to 7kg of octopus a day, around here it is a staple part of their diet,” Stapley said.

The footage has generated plenty of buzz.

The Mirror reports that this is not the first time that a battle between a seal and an octopus has been caught on camera. In 2015, a harbor seal and a giant Pacific octopus were filmed fighting off Ogden Point in Canada. That battle was also won by the seal.


Incredible footage from other animals has also been captured. Last year, for example, stunning drone footage from a whale watch in California revealed a group of offshore killer whales eating a still-living shark.

Earlier this year, an “unprecedented” orca hunting frenzy was also caught on film.

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'Ghostbusters II' twin actor who played baby Oscar commits suicide

A twin who played Sigourney Weaver’s toddler son in “Ghostbusters II” committed suicide near San Diego, officials said Wednesday.

Henry ‘Hank’ Deutschendorf, who played the 1989 role with his twin brother William, killed himself last week at his home in Escondido, Calif., a rep for the San Diego County Medical Examiner said.

Deutschendorf, 28, was named after his famous folk singing uncle John Denver – whose real name was Henry John Deutschendorf Jr., TMZ reported.

Hank and William, who together played baby Oscar in the famed remake, ran a martial arts school.

Hank had long struggled against schizoaffective disorder, which is a combination of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, William told TMZ.

“(Hank) fought for his life every day,” said William, adding that his brother regularly experienced hallucinations, delusions, depression, and mania.

This article originally appeared on Page Six.

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