Fox News 2024-03-02 10:39:22


Judge lays out next steps after hearing over Trump prosecutor Willis and affair allegations

A Georgia state judge heard closing arguments Friday on allegations that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ affair with special prosecutor Nathan Wade benefited her financially and should disqualify her from the case against former President Donald Trump. 

Willis and her office are leading the sweeping racketeering cases against the former president and 18 co-defendants. Several co-defendants, including Michael Roman, earlier this year accused Willis of hiring Wade while they were romantically involved and that she benefited from his government salary through lavish vacations they took together. 

Willis and Wade have both denied the allegations and have claimed their romantic involvement started after Wade was hired in 2021. Willis claimed in court testimony that she would always reimburse Wade for her portion of their shared travels in cash. There are no receipts for those reimbursements, and one witness claimed their relationship started as early as 2019. 

John Merchant, attorney for Roman, argued Friday that Georgia law is clear in that the judge should use the legal standard of an “appearance” of conflict being enough to disqualify Willis, and said that Wade was “part of the scheme she created intentionally in order to give benefits to her boyfriend.”

Attorney Adam Abbate conversely argued that the legal standard for disqualification is an actual conflict. Fani Willis was present in the courtroom for a time during the state’s presentation.

FULTON COUNTY DA FANI WILLIS ACCUSED OF LYING ABOUT TIMING OF AFFAIR WITH TRUMP PROSECUTOR

Abbate argued against the accusation that Willis hired Wade for financial benefit, because she had asked the court for an expedited trial, meaning that the earlier the trial is scheduled for, the less time she has to reap financial benefits. 

He also argued that if Willis had a “scheme” to hire a prosecutor so that she could benefit financially, then it would have to be assumed she was also dating other candidates she considered for the job.

“[Y]ou’d have to believe that she was also dating Roy Barnes, the former governor, and Gabe Banks, in addition to Mr. Wade, if she has this grand plan scheme in order to profit off of the prosecution of this, because that’s what they’re saying,” Abbate said. 

“Or they’re saying that she telepathically or prophetically was able to know that Mr. Barnes and Mr. Banks would turn down the position so she could then hire Mr. Wade. It’s ridiculous,” he added.

Steve Sadow, attorney for Trump, argued that Wills’ remarks in a church earlier this month insinuating the affair allegations were race-based were a “calculated determination” to “prejudice the defendants and their counsel.”

Each side had 90 minutes to present their case to the judge.

At the conclusion of the hearing, McAfee said he would consider all the arguments and issue a decision in the matter in the next two weeks. 

Harry Macdouagled, attorney for co-defendant Jeffrey Clark, stated that the Willis controversy put “an irreparable stain on the case.”

“Think of the message that would be sent if they were not disqualified. If this is tolerated, we’ll get more of it. This office is a global laughingstock because of their conduct. They should be disqualified, and the case should be dismissed,” he said.

Before closing arguments began Friday, Judge Scott McAfee considered whether newly revealed text message data — allegedly showing that Wade visited Willis’ private home at least 35 times before he was hired — should be admissible as evidence. 

Wade testified last month that he did not visit Willis’ condo more than 10 times before being hired in November 2021. Willis and Wade maintain that their relationship began in early 2022.

Cellphone data seems to show that Wade twice traveled to Willis’ apartment late at night without leaving until the next morning. 

Wade and Willis have both testified that they did not sleep together at Willis’ condo in Haperville.

KEY WITNESS IN FANI WILLIS CASE TESTIFIES HE MAY HAVE LIED IN TEXTS ABOUT FRIENDS’ AFFAIR

The defense is trying to prove the existence and extent of any financial benefit to Willis from Wade from their relationship, which is the crux of their argument that Willis should be disqualified. 

Earlier this week, former law firm partner and divorce attorney Terrence Bradley testified under oath regarding what he knew about Willis and Wade’s personal relationship. Bradley took the stand after McAfee determined Bradley could not claim attorney-client privilege.

Bradley, when pressed under oath, said he could not recall several details and timelines about conversations he had with former client Wade about Wade’s romantic relationship with Willis.

Bradley said he could not recall key details or specific information more than two dozen times in the roughly two-hour testimony in Fulton County Superior Court on Tuesday. He also said he had only ever discussed Wade’s relationship with Willis once with Wade.

Earlier this month, Willis’ father, John C. Floyd III, took the stand and confirmed what Willis testified to, that her father taught her to keep large amounts of cash on hand at all times. She said it was from these funds that she reimbursed Wade for luxury trips, which is why she had no record of the payments.

Floyd also said he did not meet Wade until 2023 and that he was unaware his daughter had a romantic relationship with Wade until about seven weeks ago, when allegations of Willis’ impropriety were first made in court filings.

TEXT MESSAGES SHOW TIMELINE OF EVENTS TO DISQUALIFY FANI WILLIS, TRUMP CAMP ASSERTS

Michael Roman, a GOP political operative and co-defendant in the Trump case, first alleged that Willis had a conflict of interest in the case because she benefited financially from hiring her lover. Four co-defendants have made similar accusations.

The defense, led by John Merchant, is also trying to prove Willis and Wade were romantically involved prior to Wade’s employment in the DA’s office.

Robin Yeartie, a former “good friend” of Willis and past employee at the DA’s office, testified she had “no doubt” Willis and Wade’s relationship started in 2019, after the two met at a conference. 

Willis dismissed Yeartie’s testimony and said she no longer considers Yeartie a friend.

The highlight of the two-day proceeding was Willis’ own — and unexpected — testimony, which was described by one expert as “belligerent.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

She verbally sparred with lawyers for hours, at one point prompting the judge to threaten to strike her testimony. She also raised eyebrows by appearing to wear her dress backward. She did not return to the witness stand the following day. 

McAfee said at the start of the proceedings this month that it’s “clear that disqualification can occur if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one.”

Fox News Digital’s Chris Pandolfo and Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.

Woman charged with killing bride on wedding night sprung from jail less than a year later

A South Carolina woman who was charged with killing a bride on her wedding night in a DUI crash last April has been released from jail less than a year later. 

Jamie Komoroski, 26, posted her $150,000 bail on Friday, and was released from the Charleston County jail at 3:16 p.m., jail records showed. 

On April 28, 2023, Samantha Miller, 34, died and her groom, Aric Hutchinson, 36, was seriously injured, when Komoroski allegedly rear-ended their golf cart while she was driving twice the posted speed limit after the blissful newlyweds left their reception in Folly Beach, South Carolina, under a canopy of sparklers.

Komoroski, whose blood-alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit, had previously been held without bail after the wreck. 

VIRGINIA WOMAN BITES OFFICER, GRABS POLICE FIREARM AFTER FLIPPING CAR IN SUSPECTED DUI CRASH: AUTHORITIES

“She didn’t just kill my child,” Lisa Miller, the bride’s mother, told the court last year while arguing that Komoroski didn’t deserve to be released. “She killed all of us.”

Komoroski will be fitted with a SCRAM ankle monitor, jail records showed. The monitor measures the wearer’s alcohol level by sampling their sweat every 30 minutes, according to its website. 

She was also forced to surrender her passport and cannot drive and is not allowed to leave her home except for medical emergencies or court dates, according to the New York Post. 

A judge ruled previously that she could be allowed bond if her trial didn’t start before this March. Her trial date hasn’t been set. 

SC JUDGE DENIES BOND FOR WOMAN IN DWI CRASH THAT KILLED BRIDE AS GRIEVING MOTHER SAYS SHE ‘KILLED ALL OF US’

“I want that to include house arrest, ankle monitoring and not being able to leave the state,” Miller told the Post. “We were all expecting she would have been bonded out first time [last summer] but luckily the judge kept her in, I think that was to do with our impact statements.”

Komoroski’s lawyer told the Post: “She now looks forward to demonstrating her continued commitment to rehabilitation upon her pretrial release from detention,” adding that she isn’t a flight risk or danger to the community. 

Komoroski has been charged with three counts of felony DUI resulting in death and one count of reckless homicide. 

Earlier on the night of the fatal crash, Komoroski drank “copious amounts of alcohol” while barhopping with friends, the groom alleged in a civil wrongful death lawsuit.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

According to an affidavit obtained by Fox News Digital, Komoroski refused to take a sobriety test at the scene and appeared “very unsteady on her feet and almost fell down.”

Moments before Komoroski allegedly plowed into the couple in her Toyota Camry, Miller told her new husband she wanted the “night to last forever.”

Hutchinson suffered brain bleeding, broken bones and facial fractures that have required numerous surgeries.

Fox News Digital’s Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report. 

Biden admin ignites backlash with one word as illegal migrant crisis surges to record levels

Congressional representatives and conservative commentators mocked the Biden administration for referring to those illegally crossing the border as “newcomers,” arguing it is the latest of many euphemisms for illegal immigrants.

In a fact sheet distributed by the White House press office to advocate for the bipartisan border agreement President Biden has endorsed, officials pointed out that the bill includes $1.4 billion “for cities and states who are providing critical services to newcomers.”

This was scorched by the official House Republicans account on X, writing, the “Biden White House is now referring to illegal immigrants as ‘newcomers.’ Joe Biden is not serious about stopping the illegal immigration into the United States. This is a catastrophe by design.”

This post went viral on social media, and multiple public figures roasted the Biden administration’s rhetoric. 

“We’re witnessing the planned and controlled destruction of our nation at the hands of our own leaders,” former NCAA swimmer and women’s sports activist Riley Gaines wrote.

“From illegal immigrants to migrants to ‘newcomers.’ It is all an attempt to normalize this invasion,” media personality and radio host Lisa Boothe wrote.

“Biden Admin calls illegal immigrants ‘newcomers.’ California Gov. and politicians call homeless ‘the unhoused,’ and ‘clients,’” Katy Grimes, the Editor in Chief of the California Globe wrote. “What do they call US citizens – the people paying for their subversion?”

WHITE HOUSE CALLS FOR SANCTUARY CITIES TO COOPERATE WITH ICE AMID FUROR OVER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT CRIMES

Many congressional representatives and political figures slammed White House leadership as well.

‘ILLEGAL’ – Forbidden by law. ‘ALIEN’ – Terminology in Title 8 of U.S. Code to describe a person who is not a citizen or national of the United States,” Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., wrote. “If a noncitizen enters the United States unlawfully & without U.S. authorization, they are by definition, an ‘ILLEGAL ALIEN.’”

“How many more ‘newcomers’ will you welcome in to murder Americans?” Rep. Keith Self, R-Texas., asked.

“Wholly unserious,” the press office for Rep. Cammack, R-Fla., wrote.

“Newcomers? The flood of illegals coming across our southern border are breaking the laws of the United States and many have been found to be known terrorists,” Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., wrote. “Let’s close the borders and enforce the laws of the land. Biden isn’t serious about the crisis at the border.”

“These are not serious people,” Former acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf wrote. “The American people want solutions, not the aggressive use of a thesaurus.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Just a reminder that the illegal ‘newcomers’ that ‘qualify’ include individuals who entered our country ILLEGALY and evaded detection for 14 days,” Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., wrote. “It also provides MORE taxpayer dollars for cities who have already received and spent BILLIONS aiding illegal immigrants.”

Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.

Study finds specific 5-day diet could reduce your ‘biological age’ by over 2 years

Could adopting a fasting-like diet help slow down aging?

That’s the claim of researchers from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology in Los Angeles, who led a study on the benefits of a “fasting-mimicking diet” (FMD).

In addition to reducing biological age and immune system aging, the diet was linked to reductions in insulin resistance and liver fat, according to a press release from the university.

TIME-RESTRICTED EATING NO MORE BENEFICIAL THAN CALORIC RESTRICTION IN OBESE PATIENTS, STUDY SAYS

The findings, published in Nature Communications on Feb. 20, were based on clinical trials that included 100 men and women between 18 and 70 years old.

Half of the group was randomly assigned to the FMD, adhering to the diet for five days followed by 25 days of normal eating for three or four cycles.

The control group ate either a normal diet or a Mediterranean-style diet.

The people in the FMD group showed decreased abdominal and liver fat, as well as reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

HIDDEN BELLY FAT COULD SIGNAL ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE RISK 15 YEARS BEFORE SYMPTOMS SHOW UP, STUDY FINDS

Those on the experimental diet also showed signs of a more youthful immune system.

Overall, the FMD adopters’ biological age was reduced by an average of 2.5 years based on the functioning of their cells and tissues, the researchers found.

“I think it is surprising that three cycles of the FMD done for only five days a month (15 days total) — which allow people to have modified/low calorie but regular meals and without changing the normal diet of the participants for the rest of the month — can have such an effect on biological age, body fat and a range of disease risk factors,” senior author Valter Longo, USC Leonard Davis School Professor, told Fox News Digital.

FASTING COULD REDUCE SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, STUDIES SUGGEST: ‘PROFOUND EFFECTS’

If the cycles were continued for three cycles a year for 20 years, Longo projected that the FMD could reduce biological age by 11 years and reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes by 10% to 30%. 

“However, these are only simulations — and additional studies are necessary to confirm this potential of the FMD cycles,” he added.

Prior studies in mice have identified additional benefits of the FMD, including reduced risk of age-related diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, Vongo pointed out.

The diet has been previously to reduced chemo side effects, greater stem cell regeneration and reduced signs of dementia, the release stated.

What is the fasting-mimicking diet?

Originally developed by Longo, the FMD is a five-day diet that is low in overall calories, protein and carbohydrates and high in unsaturated fat.

The eating plan is designed to mimic a pure fast while still allowing consumption of essential nutrients.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET COULD HELP REDUCE BELLY FAT AND MUSCLE LOSS CAUSED BY AGING, STUDY FINDS

“The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD), also known as the ProLon Diet, has been around for approximately seven years and has been studied in multiple clinical trials,” Erin Palinski-Wade, a New Jersey-based registered dietitian, told Fox News Digital.

“By following a structured, very low-calorie nutrition plan for five days, the goal is to provide the benefits of a prolonged fast while still allowing individuals to eat,” said Palinski-Wade, who was not involved in the USC study.

“The diet is designed to transition the body into a fasting state while nourishing it with specific nutrients to avoid activating food-sensing pathways.”

In the USC study, the fasting-mimicking diet included energy bars, plant-based soups, chip snacks, energy drinks and tea, according to the release. 

The FMD group also received a supplement with “high levels of minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids.”

The specific diet that was tested in the two trials is commercially available, but Longo said that university rules prevent him from sharing the name of the product.

“In an era obsessed with superficial youth and quick fixes, the fasting-mimicking diet offers a tangible method to systematically reverse aging and enhance metabolic health.”

“I think it is important to begin to consider the plant-based FMD intervention described here for two to three times a year as a way to prevent and treat some diseases, together with the right type of drugs,” Longo said. 

This could aid in “returning to full health and living longer and healthier, rather than continuing to take progressively more drugs as we age,” he added.

For people aiming to prevent or treat diseases through the use of an FMD, Longo said people should first talk to a doctor.

Other experts weigh in on the diet

Melanie Avalon, an Atlanta-based health influencer who hosts “The Intermittent Fasting Podcast,” was not involved in the study, but noted that the research provides “solid data” on how dietary and lifestyle changes affect the aging process.

“Our society’s fascination with youth and longevity is well-known; however, measuring progress and biological improvements is often subjective,” she told Fox News Digital. 

“The concept of ‘chronological age’ can mislead when assessing the body’s aging rate and predicting lifespan,” Avalon went on. 

“For the first time, this study reveals that a fasting-mimicking diet can reduce one’s biological age.”

While traditional fasting can be daunting for some, FMD can be a more feasible alternative.

“It allows for physical, biological and epigenetic benefits without the need for prolonged water-only fasts,” she said. 

AVOID THESE FAD DIETS IN 2024; TRY THESE HEALTHY METHODS OF EATING INSTEAD

While fasting is often pursued for its visible weight loss benefits, Avalon noted that this study highlights FMD’s extended benefits for metabolic health.

“In an era obsessed with superficial youth and quick fixes, the fasting-mimicking diet offers a tangible method to systematically reverse aging and enhance metabolic health,” she said.

“Unlike the costly and extreme measures of ‘biohacking,’ the FMD provides an accessible and practical solution to reduce biological age.”

Potential risks and limitations

Tanya Freirich, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Charlotte, North Carolina, who practices as The Lupus Dietitian, cautioned that she would not recommend the fasting-mimicking diet to any person who has struggled with an eating disorder in the past or who has trouble controlling their blood sugar.

“Restricting and changing eating patterns may have negative effects,” she said. 

Palinski-Wade agreed that those with underlying health conditions should speak to their physician before considering a restrictive diet plan. 

“A very low-calorie diet may not be appropriate for those with uncontrolled diabetes, a history of hypoglycemia, a history of disordered eating, or those who are pregnant or nursing,” she said.

Before making any dietary changes, Freirich stressed the need for “extensive education” to be provided.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

“While changing the timing and amount of our food intake is an approach worth examining, it is also important to remember to choose health-promoting foods daily,” the dietitian continued. 

“The food choices we make daily have a large impact on our weight, blood sugars, heart health, immune system and more. If fasting doesn’t feel like the right choice for you, speaking with a registered dietitian about the dietary changes for your health is always recommended.”

The study had some limitations, both dietitians noted.

“It was a small sample size of healthy young-ish individuals,” Freirich said. “The results may be helpful and useful for other people after more research is completed in a larger age range and including people with other medical concerns.”  

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Palinski-Wade reiterated that the studies on FMD have included smaller sample sizes of generally healthy adults, which means the results cannot be generalized to all populations.

“FMD may offer promising benefits and may be an excellent tool to consider for those looking to improve long-term health and reduce future disease risk, but more research is needed on larger and more diverse populations to fully understand the benefits it may offer,” she added.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

Haley has her best chance of winning first primary against Trump this weekend

Republican voters in Washington D.C. will be the next to decide on whom the party wants at the top of this year’s presidential ticket, with the nation’s capital presenting former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley her best chace at a primary victory yet.

Washington D.C.’s primary will take place over three days this weekend, with polls opening on Friday and not closing until Sunday evening. The City’s 19 delegates will be up for grabs in the contest, with all 19 being awarded to the candidate who secures over 50% of the vote or being awarded proportionally if no candidate crosses the 50% threshold. Candidates with less than 15% of the vote will be ineligible to receive delegates.

The nation’s capital, which is one of the most heavily Democratic cities in the entire country, represents a challenge for former President Donald Trump in his bid to remain undefeated in the GOP primary. 

TRUMP WINS THE MICHIGAN GOP PRIMARY, BRINGING HIM ONE STEP CLOSER TO SECURING REPUBLICAN NOMINATION

The former president won the district in 2020 in an uncontested race, according to the Associated Press, but came in a distant third behind Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich during the 2016 primary.

Reached for comment by Fox News Digital, the Trump campaign downplayed the importance of the upcoming primary contests.

“Republican voters have delivered resounding wins for President Trump in every single primary contest and this race is over,” a spokesperson for the campaign said. “Our focus is now on Joe Biden and the general election.”

Trump has so far steamrolled his way to obvious frontrunner status in the primary season, coming out on top in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, the Virgin Islands, South Carolina and Michigan. Haley, meanwhile, remains the only contender in the GOP field to challenge the former president, vowing to stay in the race despite the recent loss in her home state of South Carolina.

MICHIGAN PRIMARY PUTS MAJOR BATTLEGROUND STATE IN PLAY FOR 2024

The nation’s capital holds one of the more unique primaries on the calendar, with voting opening Friday morning and not closing until Sunday at 7 p.m. Early voting and absentee voting are not allowed, while results are not released live and instead announced by the district’s party officials roughly an hour after the polls close, according to the Associated Press.

The primary comes just days before Super Tuesday, when 15 states will hold GOP contests and put 865 delegates up for grabs. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Trump currently holds a commanding lead in the GOP primary, while President Biden holds an equally strong grip on the Democratic side, making it all but assured the two candidates square off for a rematch of the 2020 campaign.

‘The View’ co-host Sunny Hostin spars with medical expert over miscarriages

“The View” co-host Sunny Hostin sparred with ABC News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton on Friday over the sensitive topics of pregnancy and miscarriages, and what constitutes a baby in the eyes of some mothers versus the scientific community.

Hostin argued that she and many women feel that having a miscarriage is losing a baby, while Dr. Ashton appealed to science to insist that miscarriages early in pregnancy were “definitely not a baby” and at a certain point not even a “fetus.” 

The conversation happened during a discussion on Alabama’s Supreme Court recent ruling that human embryos are children under the law regarding wrongful death suits. 

FOLLOWING IVF RULING, BIDEN TO SEND HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY TO VISIT ALABAMA

Disputing the court’s ruling during the episode of the daytime talk show, Ashton described the embryo transferred to the mother’s uterus during IVF as a “ball of about 200 cells,” adamant that it’s not yet a baby.

She said, “If you look at science, however, science and medicine, what is transferred during that IVF procedure is called a blastocyst. That’s a big word for a ball of about 200 cells.”

“When it is transferred into the uterus, there is no guarantee that those cells will continue to divide. There is no guarantee that that cell ball will attach to the wall of the uterus. There is no guarantee that it will implant, and there is no guarantee that a heartbeat will develop.”

Hostin, who often reminds viewers she personally pro-life and said she felt the embryos she used in her own IVF treatment were her children, began to dispute Ashton.

Following up on the doctor’s last point, she said, “Does not equate to a live birth, but an embryo is not necessarily gonna become a puppy, right? An embryo’s going to be–” 

ALABAMA PROVIDERS SUSPEND IVF TREATMENTS AFTER STATE COURT’S RULING AS FERTILITY EXPERTS WEIGH IN

The medical correspondent cut her off, saying, “No, not going to be. That’s the point.”

Hostin persisted, adding, “No, no, if it’s implanted and if it continues to grow…”

“Nope, but that’s a lot of ifs. There are many steps,” the doctor continued.

Hostin continued, asking, “Does it become a child?” to which the Ahston replied, “If, if, if, if, if, if.” 

“And there are many, many steps along that process… Every person is absolutely within their right to say, ‘When I first conceive of having a child mentally in my mind,’ that’s the moment — I respect that. That’s their opinion,” Ashton said.

She added, “But in medicine and science, that ball of cells is not guaranteed for any of the steps that follow.”

Not done, Hostin brought up another scenario, saying, “But the other thing is, let’s say you have a miscarriage at two months. Have you miscarried just a bunch of cells or a baby?” 

Ashton said, “It’s definitely not a baby. That’s an incorrect term and it’s also not a fetus. “

“But some women feel that way,” Hostin said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“That’s where we have to distinguish between medicine and facts and science and what you or you or any patient, any woman, any couple believes. And we can’t try to make them the same thing,” Ashton replied. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, or 13 weeks, of pregnancy, and about 10-to-20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, although that number could be even higher. Many miscarriages occur before women even know they’re pregnant.

Former employee pulls back curtain on Google’s ‘echo chamber’ after woke AI disaster

A former Google software engineer sounded off against the tech giant and its company culture following the launch of its new Gemini AI that has garnered harsh criticism over its large language model.

Speaking exclusively to FOX Business, Mike Wacker, who worked at Google from 2014 to 2019, says the flaws at Google run much deeper than the algorithm, which led its Gemini AI chatbot to generate historically “woke” and inaccurate images.

“The AI is more humanlike. But, on the flip side, it is more susceptible to the biases of the humans who are training these systems,” said Wacker “The echo chamber problem has always been there for a long time, but the introduction of AI has really amplified it.”

GOOGLE CEO’S 2016 PLEDGE TO COMBAT MISINFORMATION WITH AI UNDER SCRUTINY FOLLOWING GEMINI CONTROVERSY

Wacker was fired from Google, in his opinion, for being outspoken about politics and his conservative views. He ran a Republican newsletter that became the target of several HR complaints during his time at the company. 

Wacker described a hostile workplace environment where progressive views were reinforced and conservative points of view were punished. This environment bled into Google products.

“If you are a conservative or you’re Christian, you must very carefully measure your words. If you went into the wrong topic, maybe it’s just better not to speak at all,” said Wacker. “That definitely has an impact when they’re getting feedback internally — which voices do you hear, and which voices don’t you hear?”

GOOGLE GEMINI PUSHES RESTRICTIONS ON POLITICAL, ‘ELECTION-RELATED QUERIES’ OUT OF ‘AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION’

Google posted a blog addressing the controversy surrounding Gemini, writing the AI image generator “missed the mark” and has suspended the service upon further review. In a company-wide memo, CEO Sundar Pichai called the AI blunder “unacceptable.”

WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)?

Alphabet Inc.

Wacker also recalls a specific incident at Google where the company’s team in charge of search manually manipulated the results for abortion.

“There was a list of search query terms. An alternative algorithm would be used for those search terms. I found the exact change which added abortion and abortions to the special list,” Wacker claims. 

“This happened weeks after Pichai told Congress in sworn testimony, ‘We don’t manually intervene in any particular search result.'”

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

Google is the most frequently used search engine worldwide, dominating more than 80% of the global search engine marketplace, according to Statista. The company is fighting an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice. The DOJ is accusing Google of being a search engine monopoly.

University of Florida fires all DEI employees and reallocates millions of dollars in savings

The University of Florida is firing all employees in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) positions and administrative appointments, according to a memo sent on Friday.

“To comply with the Florida Board of Governors’ regulation 9.016 on prohibited expenditures, the University of Florida has closed the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, eliminated DEI positions and administrative appointments, and halted DEI-focused contracts with outside vendors,” the memo states.

“Under the direction of UF Human Resources, university employees whose positions were eliminated will receive UF’s standard twelve weeks of pay. These colleagues are allowed and encouraged to apply, between now and Friday, April 19, for expedited consideration for different positions currently posted with the university. UF HR will work to fast-track the interview process and provide an answer on all applications within the twelve-week window.”

The Independent Florida Alligator, a campus newspaper, said 13 full-time diversity, equity and inclusion positions were dismissed and 15 administrative appointments were eliminated.

COLLEGE DEI CRACKDOWN PASSES ALABAMA SENATE

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has made halting DEI a cornerstone of his efforts to overhaul education in the state, wrote on X, “Florida is where DEI goes to die.”

“DEI is toxic and has no place in our public universities. I’m glad that Florida was the first state to eliminate DEI and I hope more states follow suit,” DeSantis added.

The Florida Board of Governors passed the regulation in January limiting public funding for DEI, defining them as “any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification.”

DEI campus proponents argue they help correct systemic inequities and address increasingly diverse student populations, while its foes like DeSantis have said they are a form of leftist discrimination. 

Conservative activist Christopher Rufo also celebrated the decision, writing on X, “The conservative counter-revolution has begun.”

“Higher education must return to its essential foundations of academic integrity and the pursuit of knowledge instead of being corrupted by destructive ideologies,” Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. said last month. “These actions today ensure that we will not spend taxpayers’ money supporting DEI and radical indoctrination that promotes division in our society.”

FLORIDA GOV RON DESANTIS SIGNS LAW WITH BIG POTENTIAL IMPACT ON EPSTEIN CASE

The University of Florida memo added that the Office of the Chief Financial Officer would reallocate the approximately $5 million in funds previously reported to Tallahassee for DEI expenses into a faculty recruitment fund. 

The memo added a defiant statement at the end.

“Finally, the University of Florida is – and will always be – unwavering in our commitment to universal human dignity. As we educate students by thoughtfully engaging a wide range of ideas and views, we will continue to foster a community of trust and respect for every member of the Gator Nation. The University of Florida is an elite institution because of our incredible faculty who are committed to teaching, discovering, and serving,” the memo states.

The president of the University of Florida is former Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, who took over the post last year. It’s one of the largest universities in the United States with more than 61,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Fox News’ Jeffrey Clark and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Search for missing teenager ends in tragedy shortly after mom’s boyfriend arrested

The body of 13-year-old Madeline Soto was found Friday in a wooded area of Florida’s Osceola County days after she went missing, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to Fox News Digital. 

Her body was located by search teams from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office at around 4:30 p.m. local time.

No other information is being released at this time, the department said. 

Earlier Friday, authorities said in a press conference they were “confident” that Madeline was dead less than a week after she went missing.

MADELINE SOTO DISAPPEARANCE: BOYFRIEND OF MISSING FLORIDA TEEN’S MOM ARRESTED, NAMED ‘PRIME SUSPECT’

Detectives with the Kissimmee Police Department told Madeline’s mother the “very devastating news” Thursday night that “although we have not found Madeline, we are confident she is dead,” Sheriff John Mina said. 

Mina said the case has transitioned into a homicide investigation following her disappearance on Monday when she didn’t arrive at school. 

He said Madeline never made it to school on Feb. 26, “Instead we believe she was already dead at the time and that Stephan Sterns moved her body in the early morning hours on that day.” 

Sterns was the boyfriend of Madeline’s mother, Jenn Soto, and he is now the main suspect in the case. Sterns was arrested on Wednesday for unrelated capital sexual battery charges, Kissimmee Police Chief Betty Holland said. 

He is being held at the Osceola County jail. 

“Right now our top priority is recovering Madeline,” Holland said. “We are still appealing to our community for their help in this case.”

Mina said investigators have video evidence of Sterns throwing items in a dumpster in an apartment complex in Kissimmee around 7:30 a.m. that morning before Madeline’s laptop and backpack were found by detectives in the dumpster. 

TENNESSEE WOMAN DISAPPEARS IN NASHVILLE AS SHE MISSES START OF NEW JOB, SERVICE DOG LEFT HOME ALONE: REPORT

He said they have evidence of Sterns returning to the apartment complex after 8 a.m. that morning “and Madeline was visible in that vehicle. We believe that she was already dead at that time.” 

She noted that there is still “a lot of information” that they cannot yet release.

Madeline’s mother is not a suspect in the case. 

Holland said Sterns was seen driving a silver 2010 Lincoln MKZ with Florida tag IYLL82 on Monday near Kissimmee and may have had a flat tire.

Mina said that while the investigation started in Orange County, the Kissimmee Police Department is taking over as the lead agency. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Vazquez said in a statement Friday that she is “heartbroken” over the news. 

“I am heartbroken to hear from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office of the tragic death of our precious student, Madeline Soto,” she said, according to FOX 5. “My thoughts and prayers go out to Maddie’s family and her school community. To lose a child so suddenly and tragically is extremely difficult especially for family and friends. Counselors continue to be available for any student or staff member dealing with the news. I ask that you keep the entire Hunter’s Creek Middle School community in your prayers as they grieve the loss of one of their own.”