Trump live updates: Manhattan grand jury to reconvene as early as Thursday

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(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 23, 5:28 AM EDT
Trump could still be elected president if indicted or convicted, experts say

According to law, former President Donald Trump can be elected president if indicted -- or even convicted -- in any of the state and federal investigations he is currently facing, experts tell ABC News. But there are practical reasons that could make it a challenge, experts say.

Trump said earlier this month at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that he would "absolutely" run for president even if he were to be criminally indicted.

"I wouldn't even think about leaving," Trump told reporters ahead of a speech. "Probably it will enhance my numbers."

Mar 22, 12:51 PM EDT
Manhattan grand jury to reconvene as early as Thursday

The Manhattan grand jury weighing charges against former President Donald Trump in connection to the Stormy Daniels hush payment investigation is not meeting on Wednesday, sources told ABC News. The earliest the grand jury would reconvene is Thursday, sources said.

The grand jurors were called Wednesday morning and told they were not needed during the day as scheduled, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News. The grand jurors were told to be prepared to reconvene on Thursday when it’s possible they will hear from at least one additional witness, the sources said.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing grand jury matters.

-ABC News' John Santucci and Luke Barr

Mar 22, 8:25 AM EDT
With Trump case looming, what is an indictment?

Criminal prosecution proceedings typically start with an arrest and a court appearance, but legal experts say that on many occasions, especially in white collar crimes, suspects aren't hit with charges or a visit from an officer until long after an official investigation is underway.

Typically, if a crime is being investigated, law enforcement agents will make an arrest, file initial charges and bring a suspect to be arraigned in court, Vincent Southerland, an assistant professor of clinical law and the director of the criminal defense and reentry clinic at NYU School of Law, told ABC News.

After this arraignment, prosecutors would impanel a grand jury for a formal criminal indictment. Southerland, who has been practicing law in New York state for 19 years, said this process includes giving the jury evidence, possible testimony and other exhibits before they can officially charge a person with felonies.

A Manhattan grand jury is currently investigating Trump's possible role in the hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The former president has denied any wrongdoing and having an affair with Daniels. His attorneys have framed the funds as a response to an extortion plot.

-ABC News' Ivan Pereira

Mar 21, 6:11 PM EDT
Pence discourages protests if Trump indicted

Former Vice President Mike Pence discouraged any protests should a grand jury indict Donald Trump.

"Every American has the right to let their voice be heard. The Constitution provides the right to peaceably assemble. But I think in this instance, I would discourage Americans from engaging in protests if in fact the former president is indicted," Pence said Tuesday when asked by ABC News if Americans should protest a possible indictment.

Pence said he understood the "frustration" while calling the case "politically motivated."

"But I think letting our voices be heard in other ways, and in not engaging in protests, I think is most prudent at this time," he said.

-ABC News' Libby Cathey

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.

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Student who was patted down each day allegedly shoots two staffers at Denver high school

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(DENVER) -- A student who was under a "certain agreement to be patted down each day" at school allegedly shot and wounded two school administrators at East High School in Denver, authorities said.

The suspect, Austin Lyle, 17, fled the school on Wednesday morning after the shooting, Denver police said. His body was later discovered, officials said.

Police searching for the suspect had located his car in Park County, which is located southwest of Denver, officials said Wednesday evening. A male body was found near the vehicle, Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw later said during a press conference. The scene was being processed and the coroner was en route to the scene, McGraw said.

The Park County Coroner's Office later confirmed that the body was Lyle's.

The handgun used in the shooting has not been recovered as of Wednesday. Police had warned the public to not approach Lyle, calling him armed and dangerous. They said that Lyle, who had been wanted for attempted homicide, may have been be driving a 2005 red Volvo XC90 with Colorado license plate BSCW10.

The faculty members were both hospitalized following the shooting. They have been identified by the school district as Eric Sinclair, who remains in serious condition, and Jerald Mason, who was upgraded from serious to good condition. Mason has since been released from the hospital, Denver Health said.

The suspected shooter was required to be searched at the beginning of each school day, officials said. He allegedly shot the school administrators as they patted him down Wednesday morning in the school's office area, which officials said is away from other students and staff.

The suspect's daily searches were part of a "safety plan" that was a result of "previous behavior," officials said, though they did not elaborate on the previous behavior.

East High School was placed on lockdown in the wake of the shooting. Denver Public Schools later said it received clearance to start releasing students.

Last month, East High School students went to a city council meeting to call for action on school safety and gun violence after a 16-year-old student was fatally shot near the school, according to ABC Denver affiliate KMGH-TV.

The superintendent said Wednesday that the school will be closed for the rest of this week, and that the building will now have two armed officers present through the end of the school year.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock in a statement said removing school resource officers was a "mistake" and said they should be quickly returned.

"We all have to step up as a community and be a part of the solution," he said.

Hancock also called on Congress to pass "common sense" gun legislation.

"Parents are angry and frustrated, and they have a right to be," he said. "Easy access to guns must be addressed in our country -- Denver cannot do this alone."

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday that the administration's "hearts go out to the families of the two school administrators and in Denver today and to the entire school community."

Jean-Pierre noted that President Joe Biden unveiled another executive action aimed at tackling gun violence last week but that "as the president said in the State of the Union, Congress needs to do something."

This shooting comes two years to the day after a mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, that claimed 10 lives.

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Shelter-in-place lifted at Monmouth University after curling iron mistaken for weapon

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(WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.) -- Monmouth University lifted a shelter-in-place order after an investigation into a "possible armed subject" found that a curling iron "was mistaken for a weapon," a university official said.

Police at Monmouth, in West Long Branch, New Jersey, had received a report at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday of a "possible armed subject" on campus, the school said in an alert posted to its website.

Multiple local and county law enforcement agencies searched and secured the campus, the university said.

"Detectives were able to utilize video footage and other technology based on the description provided and identified a person of interest, a currently enrolled student," Patrick F. Leahy, the president, said in a letter posted early Thursday.

He added, "Based on interviews with that person, law enforcement personnel were able to determine that the person was in possession of a curling iron that was mistaken for a weapon."

The university issued an all-clear notification a short time later.

"All clear-the shelter in place on campus has been lifted, the campus is safe, an elevated police presence remains," school officials said on Twitter early Thursday. "Additional information will be sent via email."

All classes before noon on Thursday have been canceled, the school said.

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'Catastrophic level of water': Central California battles farmland flooding

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(NEW YORK) -- The latest atmospheric river storm to batter California has led to evacuations and flooded farmland. As the snowpack on the Sierra Nevada mountains melts, flooding in the Central Valley will remain a concern for weeks and months to come, experts say.

There has been a "catastrophic level of water," Tricia Stever Blattler, executive director of the Tulare County Farm Bureau, which represents more than 1,100 farms and ranches in the San Joaquin Valley county, told ABC News.

Channels that are designed to handle flood waters are "all running very high and very, very fast," with many experiencing "structural breakdowns," she said.

"We're still just experiencing so much more water in these storms than can possibly be held back by these dams," she said, calling this a "50-year event."

"There's a lot of cropland underwater right now," Stever Blattler said. "I can't even begin to tell you the numbers -- north of 50,000 acres. Maybe closer to 75,000, 100,000."

Recent floods have led to an evacuation order for parts of Tulare County, with the west side particularly hard-hit by floodwaters after breaches in waterways. Dairies also had to evacuate their cows due to flooding and some creameries have had to suspend operations, which could further impact dairy operations, Stever Blattler said.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said in a video message earlier this week that there haven't been any fatalities reported, "but what we are seeing is devastating impacts to our agricultural community and farmland."

In neighboring Kings County, the former Tulare Lakebed -- what was once the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi before being drained more than 100 years ago for farming -- has also been filling back up in recent weeks with flows from several rivers and creeks amid the onslaught of rain.

Crops including tomatoes, onion, garlic and cotton are grown in the region, though planting in some parts will likely be delayed due to the floods, Stever Blattler said. Standing water in lower-gradient sections of Tulare County could also damage the area's almond, pistachio and orange trees, she said.

"Crop acreage will be diminished for a while," she said.

As the region recovers from the latest round of flooding rain to hit the state, officials are also preparing for the record historic snowpack on the Sierra Nevada to melt -- bringing with it the threat of additional flooding.

In anticipation of a potentially record Kings River runoff season, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District this week began a "rare flood release" from Pine Flat Dam into the old Tulare Lakebed, the Kings River Conservation District said.

The flood release, which is to make room in the reservoir for additional rain and melting snow, could last until the summer, officials said.

"Everybody's working together around the clock to share data to inform those decisions," Rick Brown, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, told ABC News. "Obviously, we're looking at the Sierra Nevada mountains -- we've got enough snow up there to fill up our reservoirs probably a few times over."

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Feds make largest methamphetamine bust in West Virginia history

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(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) -- The Department of Justice announced Wednesday it made the largest methamphetamine bust in West Virginia history.

The DOJ charged 30 people with allegedly distributing more than 200 pounds of meth, alongside guns and other drugs, over a period of seven months, dubbing the operation "Operation Smoke and Mirrors."

"The takedown of this drug trafficking organization stopped a record amount of methamphetamine, as well as other dangerous drugs, from reaching our communities and causing harm," United States Attorney Will Thompson said in a statement.

According to the DOJ, the individuals were also charged with distributing large amounts of cocaine and fentanyl in Charleston.

Officials seized 28 pounds of cocaine, 20 pounds of fentanyl, 18 guns and $747,000 in cash during the operation, the Justice Department said.

"This investigation demonstrates that we will use all of our resources, including new and innovative investigative techniques, against those who target our communities with this poison," Thompson said.

The announcement comes on the same day that the Department of Homeland Security disclosed it seized 900 pounds of fentanyl in its first week as part of its fentanyl-targeting operation called "Operation Blue Lotus."

According to DHS, the operation has led to 18 seizures, 16 federal arrests, and two state arrests. Those seizures prevented over 900 pounds of fentanyl, 700 pounds of methamphetamine and 100 pounds of cocaine from entering the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meth killed over 32,000 Americans in 2021.

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Amid classified documents probe, Trump's records representative sues Justice Department

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(WASHINGTON) -- One of former President Donald Trump's official representatives to the National Archives -- the agency that sparked the Justice Department's probe of Trump's handling of classified documents -- has now sued the Justice Department and the National Archives, demanding access to documents that the government has said may themselves contain classified information.

At the heart of the lawsuit, filed Tuesday by pro-Trump journalist John Solomon, is what Solomon describes in court records as "a binder of documents" -- "about 10 inches thick" -- that come from the FBI's past probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Solomon once asserted that the documents would offer "big revelations" about the probe, which he's called "one of the dirtiest political tricks in American history."

As ABC News previously reported, Trump tried to make the binder's worth of documents public the night before he left office, issuing a "declassification" memo for much of the material and secretly meeting with Solomon, who was allowed to review the documents and later keep a batch of them.

In closed-door testimony to Congress last year, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said 10 to 15 staffers working for the National Security Council had been tasked with "making copies" of the documents for Solomon and others. At the same time, Trump's then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, also had copies of a different "previous version" of the documents, which weren't redacted the same way, she testified.

After the Justice Department expressed privacy-related concerns about them being released, Meadows returned his documents to the department -- expecting them to be reviewed and then made public. But for more than two years, none of those documents were released.

Solomon and another of Trump's representatives to the National Archives, former Trump administration official Kash Patel, have suggested that politics were at play. But in private emails with Solomon and Patel, which Solomon filed in court to support his lawsuit, National Archives general counsel Gary Stern insisted otherwise.

Stern said his agency never received the "binder" that Meadows returned to the Justice Department. The National Archives did, however, receive a box filled with 2,700 pages of documents, which, according to Solomon, were the copies made "in preparation to be released to the news media on the morning of Jan. 20."

As Stern told Solomon in the emails, the thousands of pages of documents had "varying types of classification and declassification markings," with "no clear organization or delineation." Different copies of the same documents were "redacted differently," while "some documents did not have the required declassification markings," Stern said.

That left "uncertainty with respect to the status of classified information," which under federal law prohibited the National Archives from releasing any of the documents until what was actually declassified could be confirmed, Stern said.

In his lawsuit, however, Solomon argues that the documents are being "wrongfully withheld" from him because, he claims, they are presidential records and he is Trump's official representative -- even if it is "in his capacity as a journalist."

"This is a case about two government agencies apparently colluding to evade the Presidential Records Act," says Solomon's lawsuit, which was filed in Washington, D.C. federal court.

In their emails to the National Archives, Solomon and Patel insisted that -- at the least -- Patel should be able to access the documents because, they both said, Patel had an "active" security clearance. But Stern told Patel that his agency's "personnel security office could not find an active clearance" for Patel in its own systems or through other efforts. It's unclear from the emails whether Patel's clearance was ever confirmed.

Solomon's lawsuit, filed Tuesday, came on the same day ABC News reported that the Justice Department has preliminary evidence that Trump may have deliberately misled his own attorneys about classified materials held at his Mar-a-Lago estate and elsewhere.

When the FBI sought approval from a judge to raid Mar-a-Lago last summer, it noted -- among many other things -- that Patel publicly claimed Trump had already "declassified the materials at issue." Patel blasted the Justice Department for including his name in since-released court documents referencing those public comments, claiming the department was putting his safety in jeopardy.

Last year, citing the Freedom of Information Act, the conservative group Judicial Watch filed its own lawsuit asking a federal judge to force the Justice Department to release the Russia-related documents. According to the Justice Department, it has already provided at least 340 pages of heavily-redacted documents to Judicial Watch, and it has vowed to provide more than 800 pages in total.

Stern did not respond to request for comment from ABC News. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

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Appeals court rules that Trump attorney Evan Corcoran must testify in special counsel's documents probe

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(WASHINGTON) -- An appeals court on Wednesday rejected an effort by former President Donald Trump's attorneys to block Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran from having to testify and hand over records to special counsel Jack Smith's team investigating Trump's handling of classified records after leaving the White House, according to court records.

The three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled extraordinarily swiftly against the request for a stay by Trump's attorneys, who sought to block an order last Friday by the chief judge for the D.C. District Court, who determined the government had made a prima facie case that Corcoran's legal services were likely used by Trump in the furtherance of a crime.

Corcoran was expected to testify as soon as Friday, sources said.

D.C. district judge Beryl Howell ruled that prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith's office had made a "prima facie showing that the former president had committed criminal violations," according to sources who described her Friday order, and that attorney-client privileges invoked by two of his lawyers, Corcoran and Jennifer Little, could therefore be pierced.

Sources familiar with the matter further described to ABC New the six topics that Corcoran was ordered by Judge Howell to testify about, over which he had previously sought to assert attorney-client privilege.

The topics indicate that Smith has zeroed in on Trump's actions surrounding his response to a May 11 DOJ subpoena that sought all remaining classified documents in his possession -- which investigators have described as key to Trump's alleged "scheme" to obstruct the investigation, sources said.

ABC News reported exclusively Tuesday that Smith believes Trump intentionally and deliberately misled his own attorneys about Trump's retention of classified materials after leaving office, according to sources who described the judge's sealed ruling piercing Corcoran's claims of privilege.

According to sources familiar with the filing, Smith wants information from Corcoran on whether Trump or anyone else in his employ was aware of the signed certification that was drafted by Corcoran and signed by Trump attorney Christina Bobb then submitted in response to the May 11 subpoena from the DOJ seeking all remaining documents with classified markings in Trump's possession. That certification was later discovered to be false, prompting the eventual court-authorized search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in which FBI investigators recovered more than 100 classified documents -- including some located in Trump's personal office, according to previously released court documents.

Smith's investigators specifically want to ask Corcoran whether Trump was aware of the statements in the certification, which claimed a "diligent search" of Mar-a-Lago had been conducted, and if Trump approved of it being provided to the government, sources familiar with the filing said.

Corcoran was ordered to detail the steps he took to determine where documents responsive to DOJ's May subpoena may have been located, sources said. He also was ordered to provide testimony on why he believed all documents with classification markings were held in Mar-a-Lago's storage room, as he had allegedly confirmed to a top DOJ official when investigators visited the estate in June of last year.

Investigators have sought to question Corcoran on the people involved in choosing Bobb as the designated custodian of records for documents that Trump took with him after leaving the White House, and any communications he exchanged with Bobb in connection with her selection, per sources familiar with the filing.

Investigators also want Corcoran to tell them what he discussed with Trump in a June 24 phone call on the same day that the Trump Organization received a second grand jury subpoena demanding surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago that would show whether anyone moved boxes in and out of the storage room, which Trump's team had previously barred investigators from searching during their visit to the estate earlier that month, the sources said.

According to sources, Howell's order piercing attorney-client privilege on that topic said that the government had characterized the conversation as furthering "a different stage" of Trump's "ongoing scheme" to prevent the government from retrieving all classified documents from Mar-a-Lago.

"There is no factual or legal basis or substance to any case against President Trump," a Trump spokesperson told ABC News. "The deranged Democrats and their comrades in the mainstream media are corrupting the legal process and weaponizing the justice system in order to manipulate public opinion, because they are clearly losing the political battle. The real story here is that prosecutors only attack lawyers when they have no case whatsoever."

A spokesperson for the special counsel's office declined to comment.

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5 killed, train derailed as 'bomb cyclone' hits California

Alameda County Fire

(NEW YORK) -- A "bomb cyclone" is wreaking havoc across an already soaked California, killing at least five people in the San Francisco Bay Area, including four hit by falling trees or limbs, officials said.

A dramatic drop in atmospheric pressure triggered the so-called bomb cyclone that swept in from the Pacific Ocean and clobbered the San Francisco area. The storm packed heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 90 mph that knocked down trees, blocking major roadways and highways, officials said.

Tens of thousands of utility customers lost power, according to officials.

One person was killed and another was injured in the gated community of Rossmoor, about 25 miles east of San Francisco, when a tree fell on a moving car, according to the California Highway Patrol. Another motorist was killed around 1:30 p.m. local time Tuesday when a toppled tree crushed a work van in San Mateo County, about 30 miles south of San Francisco, according to CHP.

A man was killed at Oakland's Lake Merritt when a tree fell on him, officials said. Two people in San Francisco were killed in storm-related incidents, including a person who was struck by a tree limb, according to San Francisco Mayor London Breed's office.

The gale-force winds knocked down at least 700 trees and limbs across San Francisco on Tuesday alone, city officials said.

On Wednesday morning, the town of Woodside, about 32 miles south of San Francisco, was under a "highly recommended evacuation" after a mudslide shut down a road, impacting about 30 homes, officials said.

"If you live in this area, please pack your 'Go Bag,' with all necessary essentials: insurance policy, pets, medications, a change of clothes, and LEAVE NOW," San Mateo County officials said in a Twitter post Wednesday. "Once the road gives out completely, residents in that area will not have access to emergency services for the foreseeable future."

The mudslide unfolded as the National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for Woodside and nearby San Mateo County communities Wednesday morning after about 3 inches of rain fell in the area over a 24-hour period.

The powerful springtime storm is also being blamed for the derailment of an Amtrak train near Martinez, about 35 miles east of San Francisco. The train was carrying 55 passengers when it struck a downed tree on the tracks, according to Amtrak officials. No injuries were reported.

High wind gusts also caused a tractor-trailer rig to overturn on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, blocking the eastbound lanes and snarling traffic during the evening commute, according to CHP.

The winds were so strong in downtown San Francisco Tuesday that it knocked out windows in high-rise buildings, sending shattered glass to the ground, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.

San Francisco International Airport recorded wind gusts of 64 mph, while gusty winds reached 74 mph in Oakland. Gusts hit nearly 90 mph between San Francisco and Sacramento.

The "bomb cyclone" developed off the coast of San Francisco Tuesday when the atmospheric pressure dropped 24 millibars in 17 hours, producing the strongest March storm ever recorded in the Bay Area.

The same storm system walloped Southern California Tuesday with wind gusts of up to 100 mph in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles. The town of Lytle Creek in the San Gabriel Mountains recorded more than 6 inches of rain, while nearly an inch-and-a-half of rain fell in downtown Los Angeles.

The weather system is expected to weaken Wednesday, but most of California will remain under a flood watch and high-wind alerts are expected to persist into the afternoon.

The storm, the latest in a series of atmospheric river systems that has nearly eliminated the state's multi-year drought, is expected to move southeast, bringing severe weather to parts of Texas, Alabama and Oklahoma. Severe weather on Thursday and Friday could produce large hail and damaging winds from the Dallas-Fort Worth area to San Angelo, more than 250 miles southwest of Dallas.

As the storm moves east on Friday, a possible tornado outbreak could form in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, according to the National Weather Service.

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New fentanyl targeting operation already has stopped 900 pounds from entering US: DHS

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(EL PASO, Texas) -- The Department of Homeland Security says its new fentanyl targeting operation has already seized 900 pounds of the drug in its first week.

"Operation Blue Lotus," a targeted operation that involves more stops and the use of advanced technology along the border, started on March 13. The operation has led to 18 seizures, 16 federal arrests and two state arrests, according to DHS. Those seizures prevented over 900 pounds of fentanyl, 700 pounds of methamphetamines and 100 pounds of cocaine from entering the United States through last Sunday.

"Operation Blue Lotus is a DHS-led, coordinated surge effort to curtail the flow of illicit fentanyl smuggled into the United States from Mexico and bring to justice the dangerous criminal organizations profiting from the illegal production, distribution, and sale of this dangerous substance," DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said after meeting with CBP agents along the border on Tuesday.

As part of the operation, additional Homeland Security Investigations agents were deployed and CBP’s Forward Operating Labs at Points of Entry conduct "real-time analysis of unknown substances."

Fentanyl has killed on average 100,000 Americans each year, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Mayorkas has been in the hot seat from congressional Republicans about how the administration has handled the border, with several lawmakers repeatedly saying they want to impeach him over the issue.

He is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

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'We need justice': Family of slain New Jersey councilwoman demands answers

Sayreville GOP

(PARLIN, N.J.) -- The family of 30-year-old New Jersey councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour, who was shot and killed outside her home in February, spoke out publicly for the first time since her death, calling for justice for her death and that those responsible be apprehended.

Eunice Dwumfour — a Church leader and mother of a 12-year-old girl — was shot and killed in her SUV outside her home on Feb. 1. She sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to officials.

While it has been over a month since her death, family members told reporters that police have not shared details of the investigation with them. Few details have been released regarding Dwumfour's murder and no known arrests have been made in connection.

"We are not happy about that, we need justice," Eunice Dwumfour's father, Prince Dwumfour, said during a press conference Wednesday.

The family said they waited so long before speaking out publicly because they were mourning the death of their daughter.

"Our daughter's death has cost a lot in our life," Prince Dwumfour said.

The family does not know who would want her dead or what motive they could have for killing her, John Wisniewski, the family's lawyer, told reporters.

Wisniewski joined Dwumfour's parents Prince and Mary Dwumfour, husband Peter Akwue and the family's pastor Karl Badu.

"I believe the authorities should do something quickly," Akwue said. "It's painful."

Akwue and Dwumfour met in Nigeria in 2019 and married last November.

Dwumfour had just dropped someone off at her townhome and was heading somewhere else when the assailant approached on foot, sources told ABC News last month.

No words appear to have been exchanged between the two, according to sources.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing more than 10 shots fired, according to sources.

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Veteran allegedly fatally shoots soldier, 3 kids in domestic mass shooting

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(SUMTER, S.C.) -- A military veteran allegedly gunned down three children and an active-duty soldier in a domestic mass shooting in South Carolina, authorities said.

The suspect, 42-year-old Charles Slacks, Jr., allegedly carried out the shootings at his ex-wife's home around 10 p.m. Tuesday in Sumter, which is about 45 miles east of Columbia, police said.

Slacks allegedly shot the soldier, who was sitting in the backyard, and then killed the three children, two of whom were his own, Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark said at a news conference Wednesday.

Slacks then died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Roark said.

Slacks' ex-wife was the only survivor, the chief said.

The children were ages 5, 6 and 11, Roark said.

Police only identified the adult victim as a 38-year-old active-duty Army member, citing the military's need to notify next of kin.

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New twist in death of Stephen Smith after Murdaugh murder investigation

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(BAMBERG, S.C.) -- South Carolina authorities have confirmed they are investigating the death of Stephen Smith as a homicide, nearly eight years after the 19-year-old was found dead in the middle of a rural road from what was ruled to be a hit-and-run.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) opened an investigation into Stephen Smith's death in June 2021 after discovering new evidence during the investigation into the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, a mother and son who were found fatally shot at the prominent legal family's South Carolina hunting estate that month.

Stephen Smith's death was determined to be highway vehicular manslaughter and no suspects were ever apprehended. His mother has long asked for the unsolved case to be re-examined.

Lawyers representing his mother announced that the death is now being considered a homicide Tuesday night, citing a phone call with SLED.

"SLED is publicly supporting us, Sandy Smith, and her efforts to find out what really happened to her son," Ronnie Richter, with the Bland Richter Law Firm, said in a statement.

A SLED spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that the case is being investigated as a homicide.

"It's a day that I have been waiting for. The best news I've heard in eight years," Sandy Smith told ABC News.

"Stephen was an amazing kid and he didn't deserve to die this way," she added. "And I know somebody did it, and whoever did it needs to come forward and bring peace to this family."

SLED said in a statement Wednesday that it opened its investigation into the death in June 2021 after its agents reviewed the South Carolina Highway Patrol's case notes on the incident and found it apparent that that agency "did not believe Mr. Smith's death was a hit and run by a motor."

Lawyers representing Stephen Smith's mother have said they do not believe the evidence maintains that he was hit by a car, but rather may have been killed somewhere else and then placed on the road. His mother has raised more than $80,000 to exhume her son's body to conduct an independent autopsy.

"A fresh set of eyes and a new autopsy may yield a different conclusion that Stephen was not killed on Sandy Run Road in Bamberg County, that maybe he was killed somewhere else," her attorney, Eric Bland, told reporters this week.

The mother's attorneys said they are petitioning a judge to allow them to exhume the body. SLED officials will "be present and participate in any exhumation of Stephen's body to gather more evidence," Bland and Richter said Tuesday.

"SLED officials have revealed that they did not need to exhume Stephen Smith's body to convince them that his death was a homicide," they added.

Stephen Smith was a former classmate of Buster Murdaugh, whose father, Alex Murdaugh, was convicted earlier this month in the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh. The disgraced former attorney was sentenced to life in prison for the 2021 killing of his wife and younger son.

SLED officials reportedly were waiting until the high-profile Murdaugh trial was over before announcing developments in the Stephen Smith case "out of concern that witnesses would not be as forthcoming under the Murdaugh sphere of influence," Bland and Richter said.

"Since the conclusion of the Murdaugh trial, more resources have been devoted and will be devoted to Stephen Smith's case," the law firm added.

SLED said Wednesday that its investigation remains "active and ongoing" and that more agents have been assigned to work the case "in the hopes that those who may know what happened to Mr. Smith are more willing to speak freely now than they may have been in 2015 or 2021."

Buster Murdaugh spoke out this week against what he called "baseless rumors" alleging his involvement in Stephen Smith's death.

"Before, during and since my father's trial, I have been targeted and harassed by the media and followers of this story. This has gone on far too long," he said in a statement on Monday. "These baseless rumors of my involvement with Stephen and his death are false. I unequivocally deny any involvement in his death, and my heart goes out to the Smith family."

ABC News' Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Dominion accuses Fox News of redacting 'embarrassing' materials in defamation case

Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- An attorney for Dominion Voting Systems accused Fox News on Wednesday of improperly redacting internal materials that the network was forced to hand over as part of Dominion's billion-dollar defamation suit against it.

"They're essentially redacting embarrassing information," attorney Davida Brook told the judge hearing the case.

The claim came during a pivotal summary judgment hearing in which each side has asked the judge to rule in their favor before the case is set to head to trial next month.

Dominion's $1.6 billion suit accuses Fox News 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.

In February and March, Dominion filed bombshell findings from the discovery process containing a trove of emails, texts, testimony, and other private communications from some of Fox's biggest stars and executives, privately bashing Trump and his election fraud claims while they continued 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.

An attorney for Fox defended Fox's redactions and pointed to the hundreds of communications that have already been entered into the public record.

"I don't think there any lack of public access here," the attorney, Katharine L. Mowery, said.

Earlier this month, Dominion filed a motion with the judge pushing back on some of Fox's redactions, calling them "not warranted."

"Dominion does not challenge Fox's decision to redact contact information such as phone numbers and emails provided," the filing states. "As for Fox's substantive redactions ... Dominion hereby brings this notice of challenge to the confidential treatment of these redacted briefs, certifications, affidavits, exhibits, declarations, and appendices."

In its own filing, Fox said "almost all" relevant materials had been unsealed "after a careful redaction process consistent with Court rules and Delaware law."

"Throughout three rounds of briefing, Dominion jammed the record with 700 exhibits, many of which were personal text messages between Fox employees with no connection to any of the challenged broadcast or statements," Fox wrote in its filing. "On top of this, Dominion attached other internal Fox communications -- often inflammatory and headline-grabbing, but irrelevant to any issue in dispute."

After the hearing, a Fox spokesperson said in a statement, "Despite the noise and confusion that Dominion has generated by presenting cherry-picked quotes without context, this case is ultimately about the First Amendment protections of the media's absolute need to cover the news. FOX will continue to fiercely advocate for the rights of free speech and a free press."

The judge overseeing the case, Eric Davis, said his ruling on the summary judgment motions would come later in writing.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Florida's so-called 'Don't Say Gay' policy could be expanded into high school

Scott Olson/Getty Images

(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- A proposed Florida Board of Education rule could expand restrictions on classroom instruction related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

"For grades 4 through 12, instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited unless such instruction is either expressly required by state academic standards … or is part of a reproductive health course or health lesson for which a student's parent has the option to have his or her student not attend," according to the proposed rule.

This rule would build up on the Parental Rights in Education law Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in March 2022. The law bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. It states that any instruction on those topics cannot occur "in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards," according to the legislation.

A spokesperson for the governor told ABC News' Rachel Scott in a statement, "There is no reason for instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity to be part of K-12 public education. Full stop."

The law was dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" law by critics, who said it aimed to shun LGBTQ identities from classroom content and discussion. Laura McGinnis of the LGBTQ advocacy group PFLAG told ABC News that "everyone has a sexual orientation and a gender identity. It looks like this rule would make it impossible to do much instruction at all."

This rule, voted on by the seven-member board, coincides with other legislation being considered in the state legislature. HB 1223 would ban classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in pre-kindergarten through grade 8, and would not require any employee or student to refer to a another person using their "preferred personal title or pronouns" if it does not correspond to that person's sex. The proposed legislation would also make it a statewide public school policy that "it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person's sex."

A hearing on the proposed board policy will be held on April 19 at the Florida State Capitol Complex.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

More footage captures Irvo Otieno's moments before in-custody death

Courtesy Otieno Family

(RICHMOND, Va.) -- New video obtained by ABC News shows Irvo Otieno before his March 6 in-custody death being pulled from his Henrico County jail cell and pushed into the back of a police SUV for transport to Virginia’s Central State Hospital, where he died.

One view from the hallway shows seven deputies gathered outside Otieno’s cell, preparing to enter.

As the door is opened, all seven deputies can be seen rushing into the cell, one carrying a pair of pants over his shoulder, the only clothing Otieno appeared to be wearing when he later died.

A second camera view shows deputies appearing to struggle with Otieno inside the cell. One deputy appears to make downward striking motions with his arm in the direction of Otieno, according to the footage. The view, however, is partially obstructed.

Approximately 14 minutes later, Otieno is seen in the footage being dragged from his cell by deputies through the hallway and toward the police van he’ll be transported in as his pants begin to come off while he’s being pulled.

Deputies attempt to cover his mostly naked body with a blanket before his pants are pulled up, footage shows.

Otieno is eventually forced into the back of a police van, with deputies pulling him and others pushing him in.

The police car carrying Otieno exits the jail at 3:10 p.m.

Previously obtained footage later captures Otieno and the moment surrounding his death at the Virginia hospital.

That footage shows sheriff’s deputies and medical staff at the hospital carrying a handcuffed Otieno into a room and placing him on the floor.

The video shows Otieno being held down for nearly 11 minutes until he stops moving.

At some point, an injection was given to Otieno by hospital staff, according to Ann Cabell Baskervill, Dinwiddie County’s Commonwealth attorney, who asserted the injection was likely given after he had died of asphyxia.

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.

The deputies and hospital employees have been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the Commonwealth’s cases.

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

“Public safety is what we stand for as a Sheriff’s Office,” Henrico County Sheriff Alisa A. Gregory said in a statement on the charges. “We will continue to maintain the highest professional standards in how we serve and protect those in our custody, the community at-large and our staff.”

In a court appearance, Cary Bowen, a lawyer representing Deputy Jermaine Lavar Branch, alleged the officer "did not administer any blows to the deceased, or violence towards him, other than simply trying to restrain him."

Bowen told ABC News by phone that Commonwealth Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill is 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."

Those charged are still awaiting a grand jury decision on whether they will be indicted.

In an interview with ABC News, Otieno's mother, Caroline Ouka, wondered why no one stopped the deputies from piling on her son.

“Even in my grief, I look at the whole thing and I wonder, you know, why couldn’t somebody come in and stop what was going on,” Ouka said. “I just cannot wrap my mind around it.”

Leon Ochieng, Otieno’s brother, told ABC News that his brother was going through a mental health crisis and "he cared about his health and he wanted to go to the hospital to get help."

"He didn't want to get in the squad car because he could tell the difference between a squad car and an ambulance," Ochieng said. “All systems failed Irvo Otieno."

He continued, "They need to change the way they approach ... Not 12 of 12 officers showing up with tasers ready to put you down.”

Ouka remembers him as "a loving person," who was "smart" and "bright."

"I miss his hugs. … I miss touching him," she said. "I miss seeing him. I miss talking to him. I miss just being there for all of us. … Our life was perfect. They didn’t have to do this. They didn’t have to take him away from us.”

ABC News' Sabina Ghebremedhin, Nakylah Carter, Jack Date and Abby Cruz contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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