Fox News 2024-02-16 00:03:20


EXCLUSIVE: Trump reacts to Fulton County charges during Fani Willis’ explosive testimony

EXCLUSIVE: Former President Trump says the charges against him in Fulton County, Georgia, “have to be dropped,” telling Fox News Digital that the case is a “scam” while District Attorney Fani Willis testified publicly about an allegedly “improper” affair she had with special prosecutor Nathan Wade.

Willis took the stand in Georgia on Thursday to defend her relationship with Wade, whom she hired in 2021 to help prosecute the former president in a sweeping racketeering case related to the 2020 election.

Trump co-defendant Michael Roman alleged in court filings last month that Willis should be disqualified from the case, claiming that she financially benefited from hiring Wade because of their personal relationship. 

Both Willis and Wade confirmed their relationship under oath in court Thursday, but testified that the romantic involvement began in early 2022 after Wade’s contract in the Trump case began.

JUDGE WARNS FANI WILLIS OVER OUTBURSTS IN HEATED TESTIMONY

“There is no case here,” Trump told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview during Willis’ testimony. “It is so badly tainted. There is no case here. There was a perfect phone call. It was perfect. But by going after Trump, she’s able to get her boyfriend more money than they ever dreamed possible.”

Trump blasted Willis as “disgraced.”

“The case will have to be dropped,” he told Fox News Digital. “There’s no way they can have a case. The whole thing was a scam to get money for the boyfriend.”

Trump said the case is another example of “election interference,” pointing to Wade’s trips to the White House.

“This all comes out of the White House. Don’t forget Wade, the lover, he spent hours at the White House,” Trump said. “This is all a weaponization of politics.”

He added: “It’s all about trying to stop somebody who is killing them in the polls, and it is a sad thing to watch for our country.”

Trump said charges brought against him are just “a weaponization of law enforcement.”

“And you’re seeing it now because they got caught,” he said. “The two lovers got caught.”

Trump said the Fulton County case, like the others in separate jurisdictions, are “all the same.”

“This is a total breakdown of law and order and a total breakdown of justice — it is weaponization at a level that nobody’s seen before. Nobody’s seen anything like this,” Trump told Fox News Digital.

Willis charged Trump out of her investigation into his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state. Trump was charged with one count of violation of the Georgia RICO Act, three counts of criminal solicitation, six counts of criminal conspiracy, one count of filing false documents and two counts of making false statements.

He pleaded not guilty to all counts. Fulton County prosecutors have proposed that the trial begin on Aug. 5.

Trump spent Thursday morning in a New York City courtroom for a hearing related to charges regarding alleged hush-money payments brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

New York Judge Juan Merchan denied Trump’s request to dismiss the case altogether, and scheduled the trial to begin on March 25 in New York City.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

Meanwhile, New York Judge Arthur Engoron is expected to hand down his ruling in the trial stemming from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against Trump, his family and his business empire on Friday.

GEORGIA WHISTLEBLOWERS LINING UP TO TESTIFY AGAINST FULTON COUNTY DA FANI WILLIS, STATE LAWMAKER SAYS

James sued Trump, his family and his business empire, claiming he inflated his financial statements and deceived banks. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. The former president has repeatedly said his assets were actually undervalued. Trump has repeatedly said his financial statements had disclaimers, requesting that the numbers be evaluated by the banks.

“Letitia James is worse than this one,” Trump said, referring to Willis. “Letitia James campaigned on ‘I will get Trump’—that’s a bigger scam than this one.”

“We’re definitely gonna sue him, we’re gonna be a real pain in the a–,” James once told a supporter on video.

James also once said Trump was an “existential threat,” and said “the No. 1 issue in this country is defeating Donald Trump.”

“Nothing else matters,” James said.

Trump told Fox News Digital that the judge, Engoron, will “do whatever Letitia James wants.”

“This has nothing to do with the law,” Trump said. “It has to do with politics.”

Trump also pointed to the ruling last month in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case, which requires him to pay Carroll more than $83 million in damages after he denied allegations he raped her in the 1990s. Trump was never charged with rape.

“A woman that I have absolutely no idea — I have never heard of her — and she is getting $90 million?” Trump said. “We were abused in that case by a bully judge — a Democrat. And that’s another one — this is all the same stuff.”

Trump then pointed to “Deranged” Special Counsel Jack Smith, who charged him in two separate cases, in two separate jurisdictions — one related to the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in Washington D.C., and another related to his retention of classified records in Florida.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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“It’s all corrupt stuff. It is all politics — using the law to try to stop a party that is substantially ahead, and a particular person that’s substantially ahead in every poll —including against Biden,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “This is all meant to stop me.”

FBI informant charged with allegedly giving false information about Hunter Biden

Special Counsel David Weiss has charged an FBI informant with giving false information after he alleged that Joe Biden and Hunter Biden were paid millions in exchange for their help firing the Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings, according to court documents unsealed Thursday. 

Alexander Smirnov, 43, is charged with making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record during FBI interviews. 

Prosecutors say Smirnov was arrested at the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada Wednesday after a federal grand jury returned an indictment. He was scheduled to appear in federal court in the District of Nevada later Thursday. 

According to the indictment, Smirnov gave “false derogatory information” to the FBI despite “repeated admonishments that he must provide truthful information and that he must not fabricate evidence.” 

The indictment says Smirnov told an FBI agent in March 2017 that he had a phone call with Burisma’s owner concerning the firm potentially acquiring a U.S. company and making an initial public offering (IPO) on a U.S.-based stock exchange. 

In reporting this conversation to the FBI agent, Smirnov said Hunter Biden was a board member of Burisma, though this was publicly known. 

BIDEN, NOT SPECIAL COUNSEL HUR, BROUGHT UP SON’S DEATH IN QUESTIONING

In June 2020, Smirnov is accused of having told the FBI, for the first time, about two meetings he had four to five years prior, in which executives associated with Burisma supposedly admitted that they hired Hunter Biden to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.” 

During this meeting, the indictment alleges that Smirnov said the executives paid $5 million to each of the Bidens while Joe Biden was still in office. The indictment alleges that Smirnov falsely claimed the Bidens were paid so that Hunter Biden, with his dad’s help, could take care of a criminal investigation being conducted by the then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Viktor Shokin, into Burisma. 

The indictment alleges that this information given by Smirnov in June 2020 was a fabrication. Prosecutors say Smirnov did have contact with Burisma executives in 2017, but when Joe Biden was out of public office and had no ability to influence U.S. policy and after the Ukrainian Prosecutor General had been fired in February 2016. 

The indictment alleges that Smirnov transformed his “routine and unextraordinary” business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later bribery allegations against Joe Biden after expressing bias against him and his presidential candidacy. 

FBI DIRECTOR SAYS CHINESE HACKERS ARE ‘POISED TO ATTACK’ AS INFILTRATIONS REACH ‘FEVER PITCH’

Smirnov is accused of repeating some of his false claims during an interview with FBI agents in September 2023, while changing other bits of information, and promoting a new false narrative after claiming to have met with Russian officials. 

If convicted, Smirnov faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.   

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley were approached by a whistleblower last summer who alleged that the FBI was in possession of a document — an FD-1023 form, dated June 30, 2020 — which explicitly detailed information provided by a confidential human source alleging Biden, while serving as vice president, was involved in a multi-million-dollar scheme with a foreign national in exchange for influence over policy decisions.

The source told Fox News Digital that the confidential human source was used by the FBI for “at least several years” before the FD-1023 form, and was “found to be highly credible” by the FBI. 

Comer said Thursday that FBI Director Christopher Wray refused a request from him and Grassley last summer for the public release of the form because the bureau “claimed it would jeopardize the safety of a confidential human source who they claimed was invaluable to the FBI.” 

Comer said the bureau informed him that the source was “credible and trusted, had worked with the FBI for over a decade, and have been paid six figures.” 

“The FBI’s actions in this matter are very concerning. The FBI had this form for years and it appears they did nothing to verify the troubling claims contained within the record until Congress became aware of and demanded access to them,” Comer said. 

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Comer said the FBI’s FD-1023 form is not being used in an impeachment inquiry against the president. 

The impeachment inquiry, he said, “is based on a large record of evidence, including bank records and witness testimony, revealing that Joe Biden knew of and participated in his family’s business dealings.” 

“Just this week, we had another witness confirm Joe Biden was the brand being sold by the Bidens around the world. President Biden continues to lie to the American people about this matter and the American people demand the truth and accountability for any wrongdoing. We will continue to follow the facts to propose legislation to reform federal ethics laws and to determine whether articles of impeachment are warranted.”

The FBI declined to comment when reached by Fox News Digital.

Basketball phenom Caitlin Clark on verge of shattering record, makes appeal to NCAA

Caitlin Clark has taken the college basketball world by storm. The Iowa basketball superstar is on the cusp of breaking the NCAA all-time women’s scoring record.

Clark finished Sunday’s loss to Nebraska with 31 points. Entering Thursday’s game against Michigan, Clark is seven points shy of tying the record and eight points to become the sole owner of the new scoring title. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder initially intended to call a time-out in order to allow Clark, the team and the fans to savor the moment.

But the standout point guard is not interested in the game stopping briefly: “I hope they don’t stop the game,” Clark told reporters on Wednesday. “We can’t be wasting time-outs on that, come on now.”

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Bluder later said she would talk to Clark about the best way to handle the special moment, but she also acknowledged that “if she doesn’t want it, I don’t think I want to do it.”

NEBRASKA’S JAZ SHELLEY HITS ‘YOU CAN’T SEE ME’ TAUNT AFTER HUGE BUCKET, CAITLIN CLARK INCHES CLOSER TO RECORD

If there is a natural stoppage in play shortly after Clark sets the record, that break in the action could be used to celebrate the achievement.

Las Vegas Aces star Kelsey Plum is the current NCAA Women’s Division I scoring record holder.

Through 25 games, Clark is averaging a career-high 32.1 points per contest. The Hawkeyes, last season’s national championship runners-up, have won 20 of those 22 games.

Clark and fourth-ranked Iowa have become a must-see attraction for fans all across the U.S. Almost every basketball arena the Hawkeyes have traveled to this season has been sold out. Fans who have not been able to secure tickets prior to a sellout have had to resort to the secondary market, where tickets sometimes cost thousands.

According to ticket marketplace Vivid Seats, the five most in-demand NCAA women’s games this year have featured Iowa. The average price of tickets for the Hawkeyes since Clark joined the team in 2020 is up 224%, and the average distance traveled by a fan to watch Iowa play is up 34% from last season.

Fans who want to be able to say they were in the arena on Thursday to watch Clark try to clinch the scoring record will likely have to pay an unprecedented premium.

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Even the person responsible for the spectacle was having trouble accommodating everyone who asked for tickets.

“I’ve had to tell a lot of people no,” said Clark, who was still able to take care of a large group of family and friends for Thursday night’s game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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‘Monty Python’ star still has to work at 80 — and admits group’s finances are a ‘disaster’

“Monty Python” star Eric Idle hasn’t retired from Hollywood just yet.

In a recent exchange on X, formerly known as Twitter, Idle spoke candidly about his financial situation, nearly 50 years after the release of the iconic movie.

“I don’t know why people always assume we’re loaded,” he wrote. “Python is a disaster. ‘Spamalot’ made money twenty years ago. I have to work for my living. Not easy at this age.” 

Idle wrote the screenplay for the 1975 hit, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” with John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, all of whom were members of the comedy troupe Monty Pyton, with Idle, and also starred in the film.

MONTY PYTHON’S ERIC IDLE BLASTS ANTI-WOKE COMEDIANS, SAYS HE LOATHES CONSERVATIVES: ‘I HATE THEM INTENSELY’

The comedy is set in medieval times and follows King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable on their hunt for the Holy Grail. Things go wrong, however, as they get caught up in a modern-day murder investigation, masterfully blending the past and present.

“We own everything we ever made in Python, and I never dreamed that at this age the income streams would tail off so disastrously,” he also wrote on X. “But I guess if you put a Gilliam child in as your manager you should not be so surprised. One Gilliam is bad enough. Two can take out any company.”

In 2004, Idle brought the story of the Holy Grail back to the forefront, writing the musical “Spamalot.” The show initially premiered in Chicago before making its Broadway debut in February 2005. It ran for four years, with its final performance taking place in January 2009 after 1,575 performances.

The musical was a huge success, winning best musical at the 2005 Tony Awards, and received 14 total nominations.

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“I don’t mind not being wealthy. I prefer being funny,” Idle added.

In response, one of his fans wrote, “If the universe were in true alignment, you would be among the wealthiest, Eric.” While another wrote, “That is a crying shame. A scandal. You are one of the greatest comic artists of the age and deserve so much better.”

“Monty Python is the second greatest contribution of Albion to human civilization (after Will o’Stratford),” another fan tweeted. “It will never be a disaster.”

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In recent years, Idle wrote another play, “What About Dick?” starring Tim Curry, Jane Leeves and others, performed the song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremonies, adapted “Spamalot” into a screenplay for a feature film and competed on season eight of “The Masked Singer” in 2022.

IRS delivers bad news for American taxpayers about refunds

Tax refunds so far this year are noticeably smaller than they were at the same time last year, according to early data published by the IRS.

The average refund check so far this year is worth $1,395 as of Feb. 2, about 29% lower compared to the $1,963 average recorded last year. That is based on nearly 2.6 million tax refunds collectively worth about $3.65 billion.

However, the IRS has cautioned taxpayers the average refund amount will likely change in the coming months as more returns are processed. 

Americans who expect to receive the earned income tax credit, a tax break for low- to moderate-income workers, or the child tax credit cannot legally receive their refund before mid-February, which could also be distorting the picture. 

SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS COULD BE HIT WITH A SURPRISE TAX BILL THIS YEAR

The decrease in refund size can be concerning to millions of Americans who depend on the influx of money from Uncle Sam to make major purchases, save for retirement or pay off debt. On top of that, millions of taxpayers are still struggling with high inflation, which has sent the cost of staples like food and rent soaring higher.

Taxpayers typically receive a refund if they had too much money withheld and overpaid their taxes the previous year. For many families, the money can be substantial. Nearly three-quarters of filers received a tax refund in 2023, with an average payment worth about $3,176, down about 3% from the previous year. 

Some tax experts say refunds could end up being much bigger in 2024, with some people receiving up to 10% more than they did last year. That would amount to a roughly $300 to $400 increase.

REMOTE WORKERS FACE A DOUBLE TAXATION THREAT

“For anybody whose income did not outpace inflation, they should do better,” Mark Steber, chief tax information officer at Jackson Hewitt, told FOX Business. “It’s not even voodoo or marketing spin, it’s pretty much just science.”

The bigger refunds are a silver lining of the inflation crisis that ravaged millions of households’ finances last year.

That’s because the IRS annually adjusts the federal income tax bracket and standard deduction. In times of painfully high inflation, the increases are more significant and impactful for taxpayers. In 2023, the tax brackets shifted higher by about 7.1%, a historic increase that is also higher than the 5.5% earnings increase received by the median worker last year.

Most taxpayers will have until Monday, April 15, to submit their returns or request an extension.

The IRS expects to receive more than 128.7 million individual tax returns by this year’s deadline.

To receive a refund within 21 days of filing, the IRS has cautioned filers they must submit returns electronically, ensure that they are accurate and complete and request to receive the refund via direct deposit.

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However, the tax collection agency warned some returns may require “additional review” and take longer to process if their systems identify any errors, if there are mistakes on the return or if it suspects theft or fraud.

“Once you’re relatively certain that you have all of your tax documents, file as soon as you can so that you can start investing your money,” Eric Bronnenkant, head of tax at online financial adviser Betterment, previously told FOX Business. “Because, in general, the IRS doesn’t pay you interest on your refunds. So, getting that money in your hands sooner is better, for sure.”

White House shares details about the ‘serious national threat’ congressman hinted at

White House national security communications adviser John Kirby on Thursday told reporters that a national security threat brought forward by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, is related to an anti-satellite capability Russia is developing, though he dodged many questions regarding the classified information.

Fox News later learned that the intelligence related to Russian nuclear capabilities in space which could threaten satellites, including potentially knocking out U.S. military communications and reconnaissance.

On Wednesday, Turner released a statement saying that “the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has made available to all Members of Congress information concerning a serious national threat.”

In the letter, Turner requested President Biden declassify all information relating to the threat so that Congress, the administration and U.S. allies can openly discuss the actions needed to respond to the threat.

HOUSE INTEL CHAIR TURNER WARNS OF ‘SERIOUS NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT,’ URGES BIDEN TO DECLASSIFY

Kirby addressed the threat during a White House press briefing Thursday, saying the anti-satellite capability Russia is developing is not active and has not been deployed.

While Russia’s pursuit of the capability is “troubling,” he said, there is no threat to anyone’s safety.

“We are not talking about a weapon that can be used to attack human beings or cause physical destruction here on Earth,” Kirby told reporters. “That said, we’ve been closely monitoring this Russian activity and will continue to take it very seriously.”

BIDEN’S MEMORY STRUGGLES COULD IMPERIL NATIONAL SECURITY, DEFENSE EXPERTS WARN: ‘NOT ONLY WEAK BUT CONFUSED’

Biden has reportedly been fully informed of the situation by his national security team and has directed a series of actions, including briefings for congressional leaders, and direct diplomatic engagement with Russia, U.S. allies, partners and other countries that have interests at stake.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan was expected to meet with House leadership and committee chairs to brief them on the latest analysis of the Russian pursuit. Kirby also said the Senate will be briefed on the matter when they are back in session on Feb. 25.

“We make decisions about how and when to publicly disclose intelligence in a careful, deliberate and strategic way, in a way that we choose,” he said. “We’re not going to be knocked off that process regardless of what, in this particular case, has found its way into the public domain. I can assure you that we will continue to keep members of Congress, as well as our international partners and all of you and the American people, as fully informed as possible.”

US LAUNCHES MISSILE-DETECTING SATELLITES INTO ORBIT AS CONCERNS ABOUT RUSSIA IN SPACE GROW

As to the type of technology, Kirby said intelligence officials are analyzing the information available and could not speak specifically to it, only to say it is not an active capability and has not yet been deployed.

He was pushed on whether the information was approved by the Biden administration, as an hour before the press briefing the Intelligence Committee put out a notice saying the language had been approved by the administration.

“If there’s a presumption here that somehow the administration gave a green light for this information to get public yesterday…that is false. That did not happen,” Kirby said. “We were eventually going to get to a point where we were going to be able to share it with the American people, and we still will as appropriate. As I said in my opening statement, we’ll keep you informed as we can.”

Kirby told reporters any anti-satellite capability should be of concern because there are private and public satellites circling Earth every day, assisting with communications, transportation and more.

He explained that any potential possibility to take out a satellite that provides services to the people of Earth should be of concern to anyone.

Kirby also pointed out that astronauts in low orbits could be at risk from anti-satellite capability, putting human lives at risk.

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On Thursday, the U.S. launched multiple satellites capable of detecting global missile launches into orbit, less than a day after Turner raised concerns of Russia’s space-based weapons capability.

The launch, overseen by billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX, includes six satellites in total. Two belong to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and four others are with the Space Development Agency (SDA).

Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Health care worker diagnosed with brain cancer recites all 50 states during surgery

Remembering all 50 states and reciting them quickly in alphabetical order is not a simple task for most people under ordinary circumstances — but one 24-year-old made it appear so during the most extraordinary of circumstances.

Jayden Zientara, a health care partner at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, recently underwent brain surgery.

In an interview, she shared her brain surgery journey with Fox News Digital — including her shocking path to a diagnosis and its aftermath. 

BRAIN TUMOR PATIENT PLAYS GUITAR DURING SURGERY: ‘THIS IS WILD’

The 24-year-old said it all started with a bad migraine in late Nov. 2023.

“I never get migraines or headaches, so like any other person, I took Ibuprofen and Tylenol, hoping my headache would go away,” she said. 

After another miserable 24 hours, Zientara decided to go to urgent care and see if the doctors there could help address her pain. 

“I was prescribed … sleep meds and headache meds … and was told that if my migraine didn’t go away in the next 24 hours, that I needed to go get a CT scan,” she recalled. 

Two days later, Zientara said the pain had not subsided — so she went to get a scan.

TEXAS DOCTOR RETIRES AFTER 40 YEARS, SKATES THROUGH HOSPITAL HALLS TO CELEBRATE HIS RETIREMENT

“After I received the CT, they told me I had a brain mass and needed to get transferred to Vanderbilt for an MRI,” she said.

The MRI showed that Zientara had a brain tumor roughly the size of a baseball — and that she would need surgery to remove it. 

Within a few days, Zientara was in surgery

Doctors removed and biopsied her tumor — and confirmed that it was brain cancer. 

“My specific brain tumor is called an astrocytoma, and it’s commonly found in men over 40 and children under two,” she said.

CALIFORNIA TEENAGER SINGS AGAIN AFTER HER RARE, COMPLEX AIRWAY SURGERY: ‘IT WAS LIFE-CHANGING’

The rare tumor took doctors about 12 hours to remove, she said.

However, Zientara needed to be awake for part of it so that her brain would be stimulated during surgery. 

Prior to the procedure, Zientara said doctors asked her what they could engage her on during the procedure to stimulate her brain. 

Zientara said the Boston Celtics and her little brother were topics she “could talk about for hours.”

“I also told them I could list all 50 states in alphabetic order,” she said.

And so, when the health staff asked her about the 50 states during surgery, Zientara began to sing a song while doctors were removing her brain tumor. 

“It’s a song I’ve known since I was young,” she told Fox News Digital. 

She added, “I learned it in elementary school, and I’ve never forgotten it.”

Although Zientara said she does not remember being awake during the surgery, she loved seeing the video of herself singing and naming all 50 states. 

The patient’s mom, Jamie Zientara, said she was shocked to see her daughter recite such a thing while undergoing surgery. 

“I knew that there would be some type of video recorded,” she said. 

“The exposure and outpouring of support she has received has been nothing short of amazing.”

“However, I was not expecting that.”

She added, “The exposure and outpouring of support she has received has been nothing short of amazing.”

Since then, Jayden Zientara has been home with her family in Illinois ahead of her upcoming chemotherapy and radiation treatments. 

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Jayden Zientara said each of her treatments will last for six weeks, but she’s not afraid of the process. 

“After my first brain surgery, I guess you could say I’m a pro,” she joked. 

The care worker said her mother has been a huge support to her during this time and she’s grateful for that. 

Zientara also has a GoFundMe page set up to help with medical costs.

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Fox News Digital reached out to Zientara’s doctors for further comment.

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Minnesota city votes to disband police force as staffing and budgeting shortfalls take toll

The government of Moose Lake, Minnesota, has voted to disband its entire police force after the City Council voted to contract with the county for law enforcement, per a report out Thursday. 

Mayor Ted Shaw told the Star Tribune that he was “disappointed” by the decision. 

Moose Lake will form a contract with the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office. 

ST. LOUIS POLICE FORCE HITS ALL-TIME LOW FOLLOWING ‘DEFUND POLICE’ MOVEMENT: ‘IT’S OUT OF CONTROL’

The vote was partially motivated by budget concerns. Last fall, the City Council reduced the size of a “5-person police force” in order to fund the entire department,” the outlet reported. Then, in January, two more officers resigned, which only left one officer on the force. 

“Public safety would have made up a major portion of Moose Lake’s $2.8 million 2024 budget — about $900,000 for a five-person force and part-time administrative support, said Ellissa Owens, its city administrator,” the report revealed. 

The vote to dissolve yet another police department in Minnesota comes just months after Goodhue, a small city in the southeastern part of the state, lost its entire police force after the chief and other members of the department handed in their resignations in August. 

“I think we’re all a little bit blindsided by it, but we’re resilient, and we’re going to move forward,” Goodhue Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck told Fox 9 at the time. 

“I want to reiterate that we will have police coverage in the city of Goodhue,” Buck said. “That is not an issue.”

AUSTIN POLICE STAFFING CRISIS CONTINUES TO STRETCH DEPARTMENT THIN, LEAVING SOME CALLS ON HOLD FOR HOURS

Moose Lake houses “prisoners of the Minnesota Correctional Facility and residents of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program,” per the Star Tribune. “Together, they make up about half of the city’s population.”

“That tells you there is a real problem with inflation and budget and state supports,” Shaw said in response to the number of closed departments in the state. “Something isn’t right.”

Mayor Shaw and the Moose Lake Police Department did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital. 

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SEE PICS: Tom Cruise steps out with bombshell Russian socialite 25 years his junior

Tom Cruise is sparking new romance rumors.

The “Top Gun” star, 61, and Russian socialite Elsina Khayrova, 36, attended London’s Air Ambulance Charity together Feb. 7. Prince William was the guest of honor during the gala, and Cruise has longtime ties to the royal family.

According to the Daily Mail, Cruise and Khayrova, who is 25 years younger, have made their romance official. 

“It’s well known within Elsina’s circle that she and Tom are now an item,” a source recently told the outlet. “They’ve grown very close over the past few weeks but take a lot of care not to be photographed together because they want to maintain their privacy.” 

TOM CRUISE’S RED-CARPET DIARY: THE CELEBRITY INTERESTS OF HOLLYWOOD’S LEADING MAN

“Tom has been staying the night at Elsina’s apartment, which as you can imagine, is a very beautiful place. They enjoy hanging out together and, despite their wealth, do a lot of the things that normal couples do.”

Prior to Khayrova, photographers snapped photos of Cruise hugging his “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning” co-star Hayley Atwell, 41, last year during a cocktail party at the hotel De Russie in Rome before the world premiere of the film.

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There had been rumors Cruise was dating Atwell, a relationship that reportedly began in 2020 during filming of the latest installment in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.

However, the actors never commented on their rumored romance, and Atwell announced she was engaged to boyfriend Ned Wolfgang Kelly in April 2023.

On the red carpet for the same film the following day, Cruise also appeared affectionate with his other co-star, Rebecca Ferguson, 40. He gave her a kiss on the cheek, and she seemed to whisper in his ear. They held onto each other for several photos.

Despite the cozy appearance, Ferguson is married to businessman Rory St. Clair Gainer, with whom she has one child.

Cruise has a history of sparking romance rumors with past co-stars.

During the press tour for 2017’s “The Mummy,” the actor was rumored to be dating co-star Sofia Boutella, 41. At a stop in Sydney, Cruise gave her a kiss on the cheek, and she had her arm around him at one point.

Rumors flew across the internet that the two were an item, but it amounted to nothing more than speculation.

In May, at Miami’s Formula One Grand Prix race, Cruise was photographed walking with Shakira below the thousands of attendees in the stands. 

The rumor mill quickly began grinding out headlines, but the recently-divorced Shakira, 47, shut down the story shortly after the photo was taken.

In a report by Us Weekly, a source told the outlet, “Shakira had a great time hanging out with Tom at F1, but she has no interest in dating him. He was really nice, and she enjoyed his company, but she isn’t focused on dating him or anybody else at the moment. She has a lot on her plate and is focused on her kids and career for now.”

With all of Cruise’s rumored romances, he has also had official relationships with A-list stars over the years.

His first marriage to actress Mimi Rogers lasted from 1987 to 1990. In a Rolling Stone interview, Cruise revealed how they met.

“I met her at a dinner party about a year ago when I was developing ‘Top Gun.’ “She was dating a friend, and, uh, I thought she was extremely bright.”

After his split with Rogers, Cruise married Nicole Kidman. The couple starred in three movies together — “Days of Thunder,” “Far and Away” and “Eyes Wide Shut,” — and were a staple on the red carpet throughout the ’90s. 

NICOLE KIDMAN SAYS HER MARRIAGE TO TOM CRUISE KEPT HER FROM BEING SEXUALLY HARASSED

In a 1994 Vanity Fair interview, Cruise said of the relationship, “It was that special connection when you recognize your soulmate. She is a person who understands. It was as if a whole new life had started for me.”

The couple, who share two adopted children, divorced in 2001 after 11 years of marriage.

Not long after his divorce from Kidman, Cruise began dating his “Vanilla Sky” co-star Penelope Cruz.

Cruise’s spokesperson, Pat Kingsley, confirmed they were an official couple, telling reporters in 2001, “Tom Cruise invited Penelope Cruz to his 39th birthday party on July 6, and they’ve had a few dates since.”

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The actor also opened up about the relationship in Marie Claire, telling the magazine in 2003, “I surprise Penelope with different things. She’ll come home, and I’ll have her favorite kind of food made, have a bath drawn. I like doing stuff like that. She likes my food, so I cook for her. It’s always the little things I like in a relationship.”

After nearly three years of dating, Cruise and Cruz split.

Cruise and his third wife, Katie Holmes, began dating in 2005. The couple later welcomed their daughter, Suri Cruise, in 2006 before marrying in Italy that same year. 

In 2005, they arrived at a “War of the Worlds” fan event on a motorcycle together, making a grand entry to their relationship.

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The relationship eventually ended, and Cruise and Holmes divorced in 2012.

Fox News Digital’s Elizabeth Stanton contributed to this report.