Fox News 2024-02-22 22:33:41


Judge rejects Trump’s request to delay paying $355 million fraud penalty

A New York judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud case has denied his legal team’s request to avoid paying a $355 million penalty in the case. 

Trump lawyers had asked Judge Arthur Engoron to delay enforcement of the payment by 30 days to allow time for an “orderly post-judgement process.”

In an email to the defendants posted Thursday to the court docket, Engoron said they had “failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay.”

“I am confident that the Appellate Division will protect your appellate rights,” he wrote. 

Last week, Trump was barred from operating his business in New York for three years and was found liable for $355 million in damages in the civil fraud case brought against him, his family, and the Trump Organization by New York Attorney General Letitia James. 

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James said Monday she was prepared to seize former President Donald Trump’s assets if he is unable to pay the massive judgment handed down in his civil fraud case.

Donald Trump could be at risk of losing some of his prized properties if he can’t pay his staggering New York civil fraud penalty. With interest, he owes the state nearly $454 million — and the amount is going up $87,502 each day until he pays.

Engoron concluded that Trump lied for years about his wealth as he built the real estate empire that vaulted him to stardom and the White House. Trump denies wrongdoing and has vowed to appeal.

Trump’s ability to pay his mounting legal debts is increasingly murky after back-to-back courtroom losses. In January, a jury ordered him to pay $83.3 million for defaming writer E. Jean Carroll.

Trump claimed last year that he has about $400 million in cash — reserves that would get eaten up by his court penalties. The rest of his net worth, which he says is several billion dollars, is tied up in golf courses, skyscrapers, and other properties, along with investments and other holdings.

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Trump’s promised appeal is likely to halt collection of his penalty while the process plays out.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Biden-appointed judge delivers blow to climate lawsuit targeting gas stoves

A federal judge has largely tossed a class-action lawsuit filed by a California resident who alleged that a major appliance manufacturer committed fraud by characterizing his gas-powered stovetop as safe despite its emissions.

Judge Araceli Martínez-Olguín of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California — who was nominated by President Biden and received Senate confirmation last year — last week dismissed with prejudice the majority of claims made by Charles Drake, the plaintiff in the case. The only count not completely dismissed is Drake’s allegation that the defendant, GE Appliances’ parent company, Haier Appliances, violated an implied warranty of merchantability.

“Drake does not allege the necessary elements of fraud by omission under California law,” Martínez-Olguín wrote in her decision. “Most glaringly, Drake fails to plead the second and fourth elements of fraud by omission: that Haier held a duty to disclose the fact of the emissions to him, or that Drake justifiably relied on Haier’s concealment of the dangerous emissions from his gas stove.”

“Drake alleges no connection between Haier and the studies he cites, appearing to conclude merely that Haier ‘should have known.’ This does not meet the specificity required for claims sounding in fraud,” she added. “Therefore, the claims sounding in fraud must also be dismissed on this basis.”

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The case dates back to early March 2023 when the California-based law firm Dovel & Luner filed the class-action suit on behalf of Drake. The complaint stated that gas stoves produce “health-harming pollutants,” such as nitrogen oxide, and points to a Consumer Reports article titled “Is Your Gas Range a Health Risk?” as evidence of said harms.

Drake’s complaint further pointed to a 2022 study funded by the Rocky Mountain Institute, a climate think tank which has advocated for a broad economy-wide green energy transition. That same study was cited by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission member Richard Trumka Jr. when he floated a ban on gas stoves last year, sparking outrage among consumer advocates and lawmakers.

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And the complaint argued that Haier Appliances should be aware of such research and, therefore, the potential harms posed by gas stoves. Such harms would constitute a product “defect” and, since Haier still sells the products, would mean the company is committing consumer fraud, according to Drake. 

“Like other makers of gas stoves, Defendant monitors and keeps track of research on the health effects of its products,” the complaint stated. “This is diligence that large companies like Defendant routinely do when selling a consumer product. Defendant is aware of the fact that its Products emit harmful pollutants. It is further aware that use of gas stoves increases the rates of respiratory illness in adults and children.”

But Martínez-Olguín noted in her ruling that plaintiffs are typically required to allege “how the defendant obtained knowledge of the specific defect prior the plaintiff’s purchase of the defective product in order to sufficiently allege the manufacturer’s awareness of a defect.” By broadly stating Haier “keeps track of research,” Drake failed to overcome that hurdle, she ruled.

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The judge ultimately gave Drake until March 14 to file an amended complaint, meaning the case is technically ongoing.

GE Appliances declined to comment, citing its policy “not to comment on pending litigation.” Dovel & Luner didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, the ruling is the latest setback for environmentalists who have sought nationwide crackdowns on gas stoves over their climate impact. In January, a federal appeals court delivered a fatal blow to a natural gas ban proposed by the city of Berkeley, California, and, weeks later, the Biden administration watered down regulations targeting gas stoves in a win for the appliance industry.

‘Top Gun’ actor suing over unauthorized appearance in movie sequel

Barry Tubb appeared in the 1986 blockbuster “Top Gun,” but he didn’t act in the 2022 sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Now, Tubb is suing Paramount Pictures, the production company behind both films, for using a behind-the-scenes image of him from the first film in the later release. According to court documents obtained by Fox News Digital, Tubb is seeking unspecified damages for the unauthorized use of his likeness.

In the case, filed Wednesday, Tubb’s lawyers said that when the actor played the role of Lt. j.g. Henry “Wolfman” Ruth in “Top Gun,” he signed a contract agreeing for his likeness to be used only in the original film.

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At the time, “movie sequels were virtually nonexistent,” so the possibility of expanding the contract to include the use of his image in any future projects wasn’t discussed. Despite that fact, the documents state Paramount used the image “without seeking his permission and without compensation.”

The image in question is a photo of the fictional Top Gun Class of 1986, along with U.S. Navy pilots who acted as consultants during filming. It was altered to be used in the movie.

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In the scene in “Top Gun: Maverick,” the camera zooms in on the photo to show Tubb with Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards, the other principal members of the cast. According to Tubb’s case, his likeness used in that scene “is essential in a way that is not incidental.”

The argument is that Paramount used Tubb’s image for commercial gain – the documents note that “Top Gun: Maverick” was massively successful at the box office – without asking him or offering him compensation. His legal team also argues that his right to privacy was violated.

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The court documents claim that a third party doesn’t own the copyright to the photo used in the film, but that Tubb does own his own image. Still, Paramount used it “for purely selfserving commercial purposes and their own business interests.” The documents also call the company “an unapologetic, chronic, and habitual infringer.”

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It’s also suggested that Paramount “upon information and belief” reached out to other actors for permission for “similar appearances” in the movie.

Tubb wants the amount for the damages to be determined in court, but his lawyers state that the amount shouldn’t be anything less than $75,000.

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Paramount Pictures didn’t immediately return Fox News Digital’s request for comment. Tubb’s lawyers shared that the actor isn’t interested in making a public statement, but, “He believes the lawsuit and the exhibits speak for him. He’s disappointed that it had to come to this, but trusts that the legal process will produce a just result.”

Grisly surprise for fisherman who thought he hooked ‘biggest catfish ever’

A fisherman hooked and reeled in a man’s body while fishing on the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia on Tuesday evening, according to Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan.

Around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, a group of men were fishing on the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia, when they made the gruesome discovery.

“In 12 years, this is the first time that I’ve had a fisherman hook a body and bring it to shore,” Bryan said. “This guy probably thought he had caught the biggest catfish ever.” 

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in determining the man’s identity.

“In 12 years, this is the first time that I’ve had a fisherman hook a body and bring it to shore”

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“Somebody’s got to know this guy, they’ve got to know him,” Bryan said. 

Authorities believe the body is of a likely homeless man who reportedly jumped into the river on Feb. 7.

“Officers got called out to this area, which is notorious for people drowning. This guy was having some issue, was probably high on meth or something from the way he was acting. He was also naked,” Bryan said.  

Bryan added that the Columbus police officers who were at the scene nearly two weeks ago confirmed the body was the same man. 

“We were able to identify him as a Caucasian male probably in his mid and late 50s. We were able to roll him over and identify him as the guy from two weeks ago because of his cross tattoo on his shoulder blade. It’s about 3 inches tall and 3 inches wide,” said Bryan.

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Bryan says they are ruling this an accidental drowning.

“It was not suicide, this was an accidental death. He drowned, and I don’t think it was on purpose either,” Bryan said. 

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Bryan added that the body will not be sent to a crime lab, but will instead go to the county morgue. If not identified within 3 days, Bryan said by law he can bury him in a pauper’s grave, which is why he is urging someone to come forward if they know this man.

“It’s an item of interest to citizens of Columbus and I feel like they need to know what’s going on in their city,” said Bryan. “13 days ago they knew someone jumped into the river, now they know that body was brought up. I’m sure there’s been a lot of people praying for this man and for the family, even though we don’t know who they are.”

Former Democratic senator demands end to media fact-checks of Biden

MSNBC analyst Claire McCaskill on Thursday angrily demanded that media outlets stop fact-checking President Biden until they fact-check former President Donald Trump “every morning on the front page.”

“Can I make a suggestion? I move that every newspaper in America quits doing any fact-checks on Joe Biden until they fact-check Donald Trump every morning on the front page. It is ridiculous that The New York Times fact-checked Joe Biden on something. I mean, he vomits lies, Trump vomits lies. Every day, over and over and over again,” McCaskill said. 

“And it’s just ridiculous that The New York Times is doing a fact-check on Biden, while they let Trump, like they’re numb to the torrent of lies coming out of Trump’s mouth,” the former Missouri senator angrily declared. 

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MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski said she didn’t have a problem with a fact-check on the Biden White House, but demanded news organizations do the same for Trump. 

The New York Times published a fact-check on Wednesday focused on the president’s recent economic talking points. 

The outlet scrutinized Biden’s claims related to investments in private companies through the CHIPS and Science Act, the average tax rate for billionaires and more. They determined some of his statements were either misleading, false or needed context.

The Washington Post’s fact-checker also published an analysis on Thursday related to Biden’s criticism of Trump’s vaccine rollout and his recent citing of the total COVID death toll. 

Trump has been fact-checked thousands of times by different news organizations since he entered politics, far more often than other candidates. PolitiFact has published more than 1,000 on him alone; the same site has published 289 fact-checks on Biden.

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McCaskill has defended Biden throughout his presidency and claimed in July that Republicans were trying to indict Biden over “loving” his son, Hunter. 

“Well, they’re going to keep doing what they have been doing. They are going to try to indict a father for loving his son, who has been addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, without evidence of the father doing anything other than loving that son,” McCaskill said. “And that, I think, doesn’t fly with most of the American people.”

She has also said that Trump was more dangerous than Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler. 

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“A lot of people have tried to draw similarities between Mussolini and Hitler and the use of the terminology like ‘vermin’ and the drive that those men had towards autocracy and dictatorship,” McCaskill said. “The difference, though, I think makes Donald Trump even more dangerous, and that is he has no philosophy he believes in. He is not trying to expand the boundaries of the United States of America.”

Dolly Parton, 78, says only one thing could make her retire from country music

Dolly Parton has been a fixture in the country music world for decades, and even though she’s getting older, she doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.

The “Jolene” singer recently confirmed that she wants to keep working indefinitely, telling USA Today, “I would only retire if I was ill or if my husband was ill and needed me. That’d be the only thing that would make me pull back.”

Parton married her husband, retired businessman Carl Thomas Dean, in 1966. Even as they approach their 60th wedding anniversary, she seems to be as devoted as ever.

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“Work is everything to me,” she told the outlet. “That’s all I know. It’s what I do. It’s how all these things have come to pass.” She believes that songwriting is her “gift” but said, “I love to sing, too, and I love to perform. So, it’s just all one thing to me.”

“I was silly enough to believe it could be done, and I didn’t know it couldn’t be done, until I did it, as they say,” Parton explained of her impressive career. “I’d worked in the fields, being a country girl, and I’ve done all that menial labor because that was just the chores and stuff we had to do back home. But I hated every minute of it. I didn’t like school either.”

She famously moved to Nashville to pursue a music career the day after she graduated from high school, saying now, “I thought, ‘Well, what’s the worst that can happen? I can always go back home, study to be a beautician and still get cheap makeup and bleach and all the stuff that I was going to always do, no matter what.'”

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Parton has always been open about her appreciation for “cheap makeup and bleach,” and even though, these days, she has more than enough money for high-end makeup and has said she has several wigs, she still maintains the same aesthetic.

WATCH: DOLLY PARTON EXPLAINS HER SIGNATURE LOOK AND THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT

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“There’s a lot of maintenance,” she said about her appearance. “My joke of ‘It costs a lot of money to look this cheap,’ that’s so true because I like to look a certain way. I can’t just put on a little bit of makeup and think I look good because I don’t look good with a little bit of makeup. I like to wear a lot of makeup. It fits my personality. Even if somebody says, ‘Oh God, she was so over-made.’ Well, if it fits me, then I’m going to make everybody around me happy because I’m going to feel good myself.”

One thing that did make her nervous was dressing up as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader at the NFL team’s Thanksgiving game last year.

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“But I thought, ‘Well, at my age, if I can pull it off, it’s going to be good. And if I don’t, I can just pass it off as an old woman doing a stupid-a– thing,'” Parton said. “I’ve always said my desire to do something is greater than my fear of it.”

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Audrii Cunningham’s cause of death revealed after body found in river

Audrii Cunningham, the 11-year-old Texas girl who missed her school bus last week and was found dead in a river on Tuesday, died from blunt force trauma.

The Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office said the death was described as “homicidal violence” and her manner of death has been ruled a homicide following an autopsy, according to Fox 26 Houston.

Fox News Digital has reached out to the agency. 

An Amber Alert was issued for Cunningham after she failed to board the school bus on Feb. 15 and did not attend school.

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She was found dead in a river on Tuesday and had a “large rock” tied to her body, authorities said. Officials have charged Don Steven McDougal, 42, with capital murder of a person between the ages of 10 and 15.

“The rope used was consistent with rope that was observed in [suspect Don] McDougal’s vehicle on a traffic stop two days prior,” charging documents state.

McDougal, a family friend who lived in a trailer behind Cunningham’s residence in Livingston, was initially taken into custody on Feb. 16 on an unrelated charge of aggravated assault.

He was tied to three locations of interest through cellphone data, investigators said. Cunningham was tied to two of those locations, including the Trinity River near the US Highway 59 bridge in Livingston, where she was found dead.

McDougal has a criminal history dating back to the early 2000s, when he was accused of dozens of crimes, and was convicted on two child enticement charges in 2008.

“He was probably taking her to… the bus stop, and we do feel that he was the last person to see Audrii,” Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons said of McDougal during a Monday press conference, adding that there were “some occasions” when McDougal would take Cunningham to the bus stop or even to school if she missed the bus.

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Lyons said McDougal admitted to leaving with Cunningham on Thursday morning but didn’t confirm if she boarded the bus to school. 

Fox News Digital’s Audrey Conklin contributed to this report. 

ESPN analyst doubles down on Caitlin Clark hot take over championships

Former Duke men’s basketball star Jay Williams reiterated his hot take that Iowa Hawkeyes sharpshooter Caitlin Clark isn’t “great” just yet because she hasn’t won an NCAA championship.

Williams doubled down on Wednesday as he called the LSU-Kentucky game on ESPN. The college basketball analyst had a segment with LSU women’s basketball star Angel Reese and was given a second chance to clarify what he said about Clark last week.

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“We were talking about ‘greatest’ and in my interview we talked about GOATs,” Williams said. “For me, I’m like, you wanna be a GOAT? Fine. There’s levels of greatness. You gotta win championships to be GOATs. 

“So when people want to don her as the greatest of (all time), I’m like, ‘Let’s slow down.’ I’ve seen Diana Taurasi. I’ve seen Breanna Stewart. And you can sit there and tell me all day long, ‘Well, she’s played with other great players.’ OK, great. Championships – that’s how we measure greatness overall.”

Williams maintained that he still believes Clark is a “prolific” scorer and has some of the best range the game has seen.

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Clark’s resume speaks for itself – she was the AP Player of the Year last year, won the John Wooden Award, and is well on her way to becoming a three-time First-Team All-American.

Not only has she become the all-time leading scorer in Division 1 women’s basketball history, she could potentially pass LSU legend Pete Maravich as the all-time of Division 1 basketball.

Clark led Iowa to a national championship appearance only to fall to Reese’s Tigers. For what it’s worth, Kelsey Plum, Kelsey Mitchell and Jackie Stiles, who are Nos. 2-4 behind Clark, never won a title or made a national championship appearance.

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Brittney Griner, who is fifth on the scoring list, won a national title with Baylor.

Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report.

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Oscar-winning actress explains why she thinks anxiety is a ‘selfish condition’

Anxiety is a “selfish condition,” actress Emma Stone noted while talking about her character in the Oscar-nominated film “Poor Things.”

Stone, 35, portrayed Bella Baxter in the film – who seems to have no shame regarding anyone’s opinion of her.

“I think that’s why I was so crazy about her,” Stone told Variety. “It’s the idea of not living with that self-judgment or shame, as you say, or the social contracts that you make as a child growing up.”

“And part of the nature of anxiety is that you’re always watching yourself,” she continued. “In some ways – this is horrible to say – it’s a very selfish condition to have. Not to insult other people with anxiety – I still have it – but it’s because you’re thinking about yourself a lot. You’re thinking about, ‘What’s going to happen to me? What have I said? What have I done?'”

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“Whereas Bella’s way of approaching the world, it’s just about experience. It’s just about how she feels about things.”

“Poor Things” premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September and hit U.S. theaters on Dec. 8. Stone explained the character was nothing like she’d ever played before, while accepting one of the top awards at the Golden Globes.

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“I think it was removing life experiences more than tapping into life experiences,” Stone said in the press room about drawing inspiration from her own life.

“She was a character unlike anything I’d ever played or read or seen before,” she continued. “It was about unlearning things more than tapping into things from my past, which was really beautiful and very freeing.”

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“Poor Things” received 11 Oscars nominations – including Stone for best actress in a leading role. The film is also nominated for best picture and best adapted screenplay, among others.

“Eleven nominations for ‘Poor Things’ feels like a surreal dream,” Stone said via ABC. “I am beyond grateful to the Academy for including me as both an actress and producer among this group of exceptional nominees and for recognizing our film in so many categories.”

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