Fox News 2024-02-21 22:33:59


GOP AGs warn Biden admin putting millions of lives at risk with DEI push

FIRST ON FOX: A group of almost a dozen attorneys general across the U.S. have sent a letter to the Biden administration warning that DEI hiring practices within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are putting airline passengers in danger.

“We are troubled by some recent reports regarding your agency’s hiring practices and priorities,” Kansas Republican AG Kris Kobach and 10 other attorneys general wrote to FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker. “It seems that the FAA has placed ‘diversity’ bean counting over safety and expertise, and we worry that such misordered priorities could be catastrophic for American travelers.”

According to the letter, the FAA under the Biden administration “appears to prioritize virtue-signaling ‘diversity’ efforts over aviation expertise” and “this calls into question the agency’s commitment to safety.”

Kobach and the other attorneys general allege that the FAA is no longer focusing on merit when hiring employees and has instead put its focus on diversity and pointed to statements made by the FAA related to a “five year strategic plan” to “diversify its workforce by rethinking its hiring practices and capitalize on opportunities to hire people who will bring new and diverse skills to the agency and reflect the demographics of the U.S. labor force.”

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“These efforts follow on work that reportedly started under the Obama Administration when the agency shockingly sought out applicants with ‘severe intellectual’ and ‘psychiatric’ disabilities to staff the agency responsible for air traffic control, aviation safety, major airports, commercial space regulation, and security and hazardous materials safety,” the letter states.

Fox News Digital has previously reported on the FAA’s recent push to hire workers with ‘severe intellectual’ disabilities, which sparked concern and mockery from many. 

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The letter also pointed to a recent “Year of Inclusion” symposium where employees were subjected to racial sensitivity training and said the agency has been pushing forward with racial trainings despite previously acknowledging that “[t]here is a trade-off between diversity… and predicted job performance/outcomes.”

The letter explains that “failure is not an option” when it comes to protecting the 45,000 fights filled with 2.9 million people that fly across the U.S. each day. 

The letter argues that the FAA “must return to prioritizing safety over diversity and virtue signaling” and “should once again hire based on merit so that only the most qualified aviation experts take care of America’s air travel.”

FORMER FAA SAFETY EXPERT ADDRESSES AIRLINE DEI CONTROVERSY, VIRAL UNITED COMMENTS

“Given the recent FAA failure that delayed thousands of flights last January and the recent spike in near aircraft collisions, I am very worried that the FAA has lost sight of its primary goal — ensuring the safety of American skies,” Kansas Republican Attorney General Kris Kobach told Fox News Digital. 

“American lives depend on the FAA hiring the most qualified aviation experts.”

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In addition to Kobach, the letter was signed by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor, Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary argues with CNN host in battle over Trump’s finances

“Shark Tank” co-host Kevin O’Leary got into a spirited debate with CNN anchor Laura Coates on Monday night over the landmark civil fraud ruling against former President Trump in New York.

New York Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump must pay $355 million in punitive damages in a civil fraud case stemming from a lawsuit alleging the former president inflated his assets and committed fraud. 

Engoron ruled that Trump and his co-defendants were liable for “persistent and repeated fraud,” “falsifying business records,” “issuing false financial statements,” “conspiracy to falsify false financial statements,” “insurance fraud” and “conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.” 

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When pressed on whether investors and developers would actually reconsider doing business in New York after the multimillion-dollar damages against Trump, O’Leary disputed Coates’ framing of the issue.

“[W]ouldn’t there be many companies who would not want to do business or loan money to people like yourself or investors if they know that they can get away with fraud and there’s no recourse to protect them?” Coates asked O’Leary.

“Excuse me. What fraud?” O’Leary asked. “This is not about Trump anymore.” 

“When you get a developer that builds a building and he says it’s worth $400 million, and he wants to borrow $200 million from a bank, which happens every day everywhere on Earth, including every American city, every developer is an entrepreneur,” he told Coates. “They shine the light on their building and they say it’s worth 400 [million]. The bank does its own due diligence, as was done in this case, because they’re very good at it, the banks are very good, and they say, no, it’s worth 300 [million]. We’re only going to loan you $150 million.” 

“That haggling has gone on for decades,” O’Leary continued. “That’s how it works.”

“You really think people want to invest money in New York after this?” he asked. “How about we go somewhere else?”

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“Well, I think there are people who would,” Coates said, disagreeing with O’Leary. “I don’t want to cut you off, but I want to converse with you,” she started, before getting into a back-and-forth with the investor and TV star. 

“I respect you because you’re a lawyer,” O’Leary told Coates. “You’re a lawyer. You understand exactly what I’m talking about.”

“I got to tell you, I’m respectable for a number of reasons, Kevin O’Leary,” Coates said back. “But being a lawyer is one of those issues.”

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Fox News’ Charles Creitz, Brooke Singman, Anders Hagstrom and Maria Paronich contributed to this report.

Kansas angler learns why his fish record was removed — and it’s not good

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has removed a local fisherman’s state record after investigating a citizen’s claim that the fish’s weight may not be accurate.

On April 4, 2023, the KDWP awarded Bobby Parkhurst with a new state record after he reeled in a white crappie weighing 4.07 pounds, the KDWP told Fox News Digital.

Five days after certifying the record, the KDWP received a tip from an eyewitness who made claims against the fisherman and whether his catch was valid.

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The tip stated that the fish had been weighed at separate locations and at one point “weighed only 3.73 pounds,” according to the KDWP.

In an effort to “preserve the integrity” of the department’s state record program, game wardens reached out to Parkhurst for a re-examination.

The angler voluntarily presented the department with his fish, according to the KDWP.

“When staff used a handheld metal detector to scan the fish, the device detected the presence of metal,” Nadia Marji, chief public affairs and engagement officer with the KDWP, shared in a statement with Fox News Digital.

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“Wardens then took the fish to the Topeka Zoo for X-ray examination where it was revealed that two steel ball bearings were inside the crappie,” Marji said.

The findings within the stomach of the fish resulted in the removal of Parkhurst’s record. The KDWP has since made the fish available to return to Parkhurst, Marji added.

The KDWP then reinstated the previous state record set by Frank Miller in 1964 after Miller caught a 4.02 pound, 17.5 inch white crappie.

Fox News Digital reached out to Parkhurst for comment.

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The case has not been tried in a court of law, so the department cannot comment on how the steel balls got inside the fish.

This is not the first time officials have had to investigate a weighted fishing scandal.

Two Ohio fishermen were sentenced to ten days in jail last year and had to forfeit their boat, valued at $100,000, after admitting to stuffing fish with lead weights in an attempt to win prize money during a state fishing tournament, the AP reported.

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The duo pleaded guilty to the finding of lead weight and fillets inside five walleyes, and as a part of their plea, they agreed to a three-year suspension on their fishing licenses, the AP continued.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

Woman goes berserk on puppies in pet shop, leaves customer bloodied in attack

A Texas woman visiting New York City for the first time wound up stunned and bleeding from her nose after a belligerent woman tore through a Manhattan puppy store over the weekend, kicking cages, swatting cellphones and slapping the tourist across the face as staff escorted her out the door.

Adding insult to injury, she appeared to spit at the stunned victim before storming out the exit.

The smack, which reverberated loudly on cellphone and surveillance video, shocked bystanders in the packed store.

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Video shared by Citipups Chelsea shows the raging woman kicking at kennels with puppies inside, swatting at a store manager’s cellphone as he attempts to record the encounter and slapping the random bystander on her way out.

The store has released a clear photo of the suspect, wearing a dark winter coat and a pink purse, in the hope that she is arrested.

WATCH: Video shows NYC woman attack puppies, tourist in pet store

“And they were kind of like, ‘Oh, hell no. In Texas we don’t let people get away with that.’ And I was like ‘Well, welcome to New York.’”

— Emilio Ortiz, store manager

The NYPD said it received a report of an assault at the shop around 3:45 p.m. Saturday.

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The victim, whom store manager Emilio Ortiz told local media is from Texas and was visiting New York for the first time, suffered a bloody nose and facial swelling.

“So she was a tourist, and it’s, like, imagine being your first day in New York, you’re just walking around all of sudden some crazy person just assaults you,” he told the New York Post

“Her friend was there, too, and her friend called her husband, who’s a cop in Texas, and I was kind of like tongue in cheek saying to her even if they arrest this lady, they’re probably going to let her go tomorrow,” he added, taking a swipe at the Big Apple’s lenient bail laws and approach to criminal suspects. “This is the way New York has been operating right now.”

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Ortiz told Fox News Digital that staff felt bad for the victim, who was bleeding but did not have to go to the hospital.

The suspect escaped on foot and had not been arrested as of Tuesday evening.

Dem Senate candidate doubles down on call for $50 minimum wage

Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee didn’t back down from her call for a $50 minimum wage when pressed about it on the California Senate primary debate stage on Tuesday night.

“Congresswoman Lee, you’re sticking by the $50 minimum wage?,” Lee was asked on the debate stage following the most recent debate where she defended her previous call to raise the minimum wage to $50, around $100,000 per year.

“First of all, we have to look at what it takes to live in California,” Lee responded. “We have a huge affordability crisis. Cost of living is much too high. First, at the federal level, of course we have to raise the minimum wage. We haven’t raised it in a decade. $7.25 to $17 in 2025, OK, great first step.”

“But in California, for example we have $16 an hour now, and believe you me, every single study that you have seen that has been written about the affordability crisis in California, people working 2-3 jobs just to pay rent just to afford childcare we have to think about and talk about a living wage,” Lee continued. “What does that mean? Have a living wage in California. Over $100,000 in many parts of California people are just barely surviving or living on the edge, so we have to think about what it takes to make sure people can afford to live in California. That means a living wage.”

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Lee previously called for the $50 minimum wage, seven times the current federal minimum wage, on the campaign trail sparking criticism from those who argue that raising the minimum wage forces business to close or layoff low wage earners that advocates of the raising the minimum wage are aiming to help.

A Congressional Budget Office report in 2019 showed that while raising the federal minimum wage would raise incomes for some, it would ultimately end up costing many low wage workers their jobs and negatively effect younger workers in the long run.

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A 2021 Harvard Business Review study found that raising the minimum wage actually leads to lower compensation for employees.

“At this point, far left politicians are so unwilling to listen to reason that I think they should actively pursue all the crazy ideas that they allegedly support,” E.J. Antoni, a research fellow in regional economics with the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. 

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“Don’t just stop at a $50 minimum wage, let’s make it $500. The only way that people today can be convinced of the lunacy of these proposals is to let them be implemented, and then allow people to face the ramifications.”

‘Nashville’ star reveals he won his wife’s engagement ring on 1988 game show

Country singer Charles Esten took a gamble with his wife’s engagement ring over 30 years ago.

The “Outer Banks” actor, 58, shared on X – formerly known as Twitter – that when he graduated from college in 1988 and moved to Los Angeles, after three months he was “already out of money.”

“I’d been in L.A. for 3 months and I was already out of money when I found an ad looking for contestants for SALE OF THE CENTURY,” Charles wrote, alongside a video clip of himself on the game show over three decades ago. 

He added, “Long story short: I got on, and 5 days later walked away with $34K in cash and prizes that included the engagement ring that my wife wears on her finger today. None of that happens without this lucky speed round!”

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In the video clip, the “Nashville” star was competing under the name Chip and won the trivia question round and got the final answer right. The young Charles won the game by three points.

“Time is up and Chip has won it by 3. Wow,” the announcer said in the video. “A great comeback for the champion.”

Charles and his now-wife, Patty Hanson, were college sweethearts at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. The couple wed in 1991 and share three children: Taylor, Chase and Addie.


 

 
 

 

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In 2023, Esten told Country Now that he was blown away by Patty’s beauty from the moment he saw her.

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“I knew I had seen her freshman year, just the most gorgeous girl I’d ever seen. She was frequently riding by on a moped,” Charles told the outlet at the time. 

He added, “She had come from Italy, although she’s a blonde and her maiden name Hanson, but her mother was from Naples. She was actually born in Naples and raised in the States, but went back there for high school. So I would hear this moped arriving by, and that would make my head spin.”

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Charles and Patty currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee. Last month, the actor released his debut solo country album, “Love Ain’t Pretty.” 

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When Esten announced his album on Instagram in January, he thanked his wife, “who not only provided inspiration but countless hours of hard work.”

Trump reveals names on VP shortlist — including DeSantis and 2020 Dem candidate

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Former President Trump indicated that at least a half a dozen contenders — including three former rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination — are on his shortlist for running mate.

The commanding frontrunner for the GOP nomination had plenty of praise for one of those potential candidates who joined Trump at Fox News town hall on Tuesday in this upstate South Carolina city.

During the program, which ran on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” Trump was asked about half a dozen potential running mate choices: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, multimillionaire biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democrat turned independent.

“Are they all on your shortlist?” host Laura Ingraham asked the former president.

“They are,” Trump answered. “Honestly, all of those people are good. They’re all good, they’re all solid.”

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Trump has a history of making comments off the cuff, and many in the political world see DeSantis as Trump’s running mate as a stretch, since the two and their camps blasted each other for over a year before the Florida governor suspended his 2024 campaign last month just ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

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DeSantis endorsed Trump at the time but has not joined him on the campaign trail in the ensuing weeks. In fact, DeSantis was also in South Carolina on Tuesday for an official event and did not team up with Trump.

Ramaswamy, who has long been a strong supporter of Trump’s America First agenda, dropped his White House bid last month after the Iowa caucuses and endorsed the former president. He has teamed up with Trump multiple times since then and campaigned on behalf of Trump in South Carolina on Tuesday.

Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, suspended his presidential bid in November and enthusiastically endorsed Trump in New Hampshire last month. He has also joined the former president on the campaign trail in South Carolina the past two weeks.

Scott — as he arrived at the Greenville Convention Center — received a warm welcome from the large crowd of mostly Trump supporters in the audience.

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“A lot of people are talking about that gentleman right over there,” Trump said, as he pointed to Scott, who was sitting in the front row of the audience. 

“He’s been such a great advocate. I have to say this in a very positive way, Tim Scott, he has been much better for me than he was for himself. I watched his campaign, and he doesn’t like talking about himself. But, boy, does he talk about Trump,” the former president said of Scott. “I called him and I said, ‘Tim, you’re better for me than you were for yourself.’”

Of the other three on the list that Trump acknowledged, the conservative Noem is a longtime strong Trump supporter and surrogate, as is Donalds, a Black congressman on the right who is a top Trump ally in the House.

Gabbard, who served in the Iraq War and ran unsuccessfully for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, became increasingly critical of her party after she left Congress. Two years ago, Gabbard became an independent and has become a favorite among conservatives.

The Trump town hall was held four days before Saturday’s Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, where polls indicate Trump maintains a very large double-digit lead over his last remaining major rival — former U.N. ambassador and former Palmetto State Gov. Nikki Haley.

Haley, in a speech in Greenville a couple of hours before Trump landed in the city, said that “some of you — perhaps a few of you in the media — came here today to see if I’m dropping out of the race. Well, I’m not. Far from it.”

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“I refuse to quit. South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president. I’m not going anywhere,” Haley emphasized.

She added that “I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”

When asked about Haley’s comments, Trump said during the Fox News town hall that “you’re not supposed to lose your home state. It shouldn’t happen anyway, and she’s losing it bigly.”

“I don’t think she knows how to get out,” Trump surmised. “She just can’t get herself to get out.”

Trump reiterated that he has ruled out Haley as his running mate.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Mike Tyson urges Biden to free thousands locked up over cannabis

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson sent a letter to President Biden and the White House requesting clemency for all federal marijuana offenders, as he says the “war on marijuana is over.”

Tyson, a cannabis entrepreneur with his Tyson 2.0 brand, called for Biden to uphold his campaign promise to release incarcerated marijuana offenders.

“I write in support of granting clemency to marijuana offenders still incarcerated in federal prison and restoring civil rights to those haunted by a federal marijuana conviction,” the letter from Tyson to Biden and the White House began. 

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“In September 2021, you received a letter from the Weldon Project — signed by dozens of artists, athletes, lawmakers, law enforcement officials, academics, business leaders, policy experts, reform advocates, and other professionals — asking you to issue a general pardon for federal marijuana offenders. Today, I join the Weldon Project, Drake, Killer Mike, T.I., Deion Sanders, Bella Thorne, Jim Brown, and many others in calling upon you to end the madness of federal marijuana prohibition.”

Since he’s been in office, Biden has granted pardons for simple federal and D.C. possession of marijuana offenses, but there are still at least 3,000 others currently incarcerated serving marijuana-related sentences. 

 “The September letter emphasized that the federal ‘war on drugs’ has crushed many souls and countless futures, while spreading intolerable levels of mistrust and dysfunction between minority communities and those sworn to protect them. I grew up in tough neighborhoods where people lived in fear of drug warriors, and I’ve seen the heavy cost paid by the poor and people of color. It’s past time to reconcile with these communities,” Tyson’s letter continued. 

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“Marijuana should not be a crime. Americans today reject marijuana prohibition in public opinion polls and through legalization efforts across the nation. The U.S. government should no longer use marijuana as a reason to lock people up. The first step is to release the remaining people incarcerated federally under America’s war on marijuana and to wipe the slate clean for those convicted of federal marijuana offenses.”

On Dec. 22, 2023, Biden issued a second proclamation that “expanded the relief” of the original one he made on Oct. 6, 2022, to pardon simple marijuana possession offenses. 

“The December 2023 proclamation adds to the list of pardoned offenses the following: offenses under federal law for attempted possession of marijuana; additional offenses under the D.C. Code for simple marijuana possession; and violations of certain sections of the Code of Federal Regulations involving simple marijuana possession and use,” the Office of the Pardon Attorney wrote at the time. “The December 2023 proclamation also extends the original proclamation by pardoning offenses for simple possession of marijuana in violation of federal law prior to December 22, 2023.”

While a step in the right direction in the eyes of Tyson and others, they want to see more done considering 24 states in the country legalized cannabis. 

Only Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas and South Carolina still have marijuana fully illegal. 

“The war on marijuana is over, Mr. President, as seen in legalization efforts across the nation and in polls showing that most Americans oppose marijuana prohibition. Through a categorical clemency grant, you can declare an end to federal warfare on our own people and mark the beginning of a new era of peace and prosperity,” Tyson’s letter ends. 

Tyson has long been an advocate for cannabis, saying it “saved my life” years before he got into the fast-growing industry. 

“I had thousands of people text me, FaceTime me, or Instagram [message] me where they’re appreciative that I opened up this business,” Tyson told Fox News Digital following his meet-and-greet session at CONBUD in December. “They’re on the verge of suicide — all the horrific things that happen to people on habitual stuff like that. Cocaine or one of those ego-inflaming drugs. 

“It humbles me. It makes me very grateful I’m participating in the cannabis business.”

As of 2022, Cannabis was a $43.72 billion industry. By 2030, it’s expected to be doing $444.34 billion in business.

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The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tyson’s letter to Fox News Digital.

Dem House candidate arrested in prostitution sting — but story doesn’t match police records

FIRST ON FOX: Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels Jr. — a Democrat seeking to represent the Yellowhammer State’s new 2nd Congressional District — was arrested in the late ’90s during a trip to Florida and later convicted on misdemeanor prostitution charges, according to public records.

Police records of the arrest, obtained by Fox News Digital, differ significantly from Daniels’ recollection of the incident some years later. 

In his 2009 book, “To Sweeten Alabama: A Story of a Young Man Defying the Odds,” Daniels described the arrest of him and a cousin but contradicted the police account. He later pleaded “no contest” to the charge, and paid a $180 fine.

The incident took place on Dec. 30, 1999, as the then 17-year-old Daniels and a cousin were driving in Polk County, Florida, according to a Haines City Police Department report.

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The pair drove up to a woman who was posing as a prostitute, according to the police account, and began talking. 

“As she approached the car on the passenger side, the driver then asked her how much for sex. She advised that it’s $20.00 for sex and $10.00 for head [oral sex]. The driver then said he wanted sex and the passenger said that he wanted head,” an officer wrote in the affidavit.

Daniels was later identified by the officer as the driver of the vehicle and his cousin was identified as the passenger.

The cousin at one point began patting the officer’s waistband and “stated that he was looking for a ‘gat,’ referring to a gun,” the officer wrote. After asking the female officer what she had in her front waistband, which was a pair of sunglasses, the two men were approached by police and taken into custody.

Daniels was arrested on the spot, according to the officer’s testimony, and Christian was set free due to a miscommunication between officers. Christian was later picked up by police and arrested also, the officer noted at the time.

Despite the officer’s statement that Daniels had mentioned wanting sex from the undercover officer, the Alabama lawmaker later recalled a different version of events. Daniels wrote in his book that the woman attempted to flag him down multiple times as he traveled to and from the gym during his trip to the Sunshine State.

“She was standing on the opposite side of the street waving both her arms in the air,” Daniels wrote at the time. 

While returning to the gym to retrieve a jacket, Daniels and his cousin saw the woman “waving vigorously” while they were stopped at a red light. Daniels told his cousin about seeing the woman earlier, and they approached the woman to ask her “what she wanted.”

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Daniels wrote that he told the undercover officer, who he recalled wearing loose jeans and a collared shirt, the reason he and his cousin stopped was because she had been attempting to flag him down.

“She completely ignored me and initiated a conversation with my cousin,” Daniels wrote. “He said, ‘Let me talk to her for a second. Watch this.'”

Daniels said in his book that he became “uneasy about [the] woman and the entire situation” and was “overcome by nervousness and discomfort” during the encounter. As his cousin ignored him and continued to joke around with the woman, Daniels wrote that he was “was thinking of ways to lure him away from her.”

“Jokingly, I said, ‘This is an undercover police officer. Look at the shades hanging out of her pockets.’ He asked her, ‘You aren’t an undercover cop are you? Let me see.’ As he was asking the question, he began to grab for the glasses hanging out of her pocket. I could tell that this was definitely beginning to be a bad situation to be in,” Daniels wrote.

“‘I’m about to go!’ I exclaimed. As I started to back up the truck, police cars completely surrounded us,” Daniels wrote in his book. “After the police had me blocked in, I turned to my cousin and shouted, ‘You stupid f—! What did you do to this woman?’ Exploding in laughter he said, ‘I was just joking with her, I was only playing around.'”

Daniels wrote he was later approached by an officer and told to step out of the vehicle with his hands up before being searched and placed into the back of a police car.

Daniels alleged in the book that he overheard officers “mention that my cousin had made a lewd comment by asking, ‘How much is it for some head?’”

“To this day I don’t recall such a comment. I highly doubt my cousin would have seriously asked that, especially since neither one of us had any money,” he wrote.

Daniels did not address in his book the police officers’ assertion that he had said he wanted sex from the undercover cop.

Daniels noted in the book that officers eventually picked up his cousin. They were both taken to a holding cell for two hours and later released.

Following their arrests, Daniels wrote that his mother didn’t believe his side of the story. He also noted in his writing that his parents “decided not to invest in an attorney” after they were allegedly told the charges would be dropped.

“I was innocent!” Daniels wrote.

Daniels and his cousin entered a plea of no contest and were found guilty by the court in the summer of 2000, according to records from the Polk County Clerk of Courts. Both Daniels and his cousin pleaded no contest to charges of misdemeanor “prostitution/lewd: involving the use of a motor vehicle” and each paid a $180 fine. Daniels’ cousin also pleaded no contest to a battery charge.

In a statement to Fox News Digital about the incident, Daniels said: “My recollection of the events from that day are clear. I never solicited sex. I was a teenager in the wrong place at the wrong time and any report that suggests otherwise is false. I’ve spoken about this incident many times over the years – including in my book written 15 years ago – to encourage young people to be mindful of their surroundings and the company they keep because when you don’t the consequences can be far greater than what I experienced.”

He continued, “It’s a shame my opponents are misrepresenting an incident from my childhood in an attempt to score cheap political points. Alabama deserves better.”

“From eliminating the state income tax on overtime pay so working families keep more of their hard earned money to ensuring Mobile got its fair share to recover from the BP oil spill, I’ve always stood up for Alabama,” he added. “These attacks cannot diminish the fact that I am the best prepared candidate to serve this community in Congress.”

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Daniels — a former educator who has represented Alabama House District 53 since 2014 — announced last November that he would run to represent Alabama’s newly redrawn 2nd Congressional District seat, which is largely comprised of Black voters.

According to his campaign’s website, Daniels “grew up in Midway, Alabama, and graduated from Bullock County High School before earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education from Alabama A&M University.”