Fox News 2024-03-19 10:03:35


Unraveling the legal maze of the cases against presumptive presidential GOP nominee

Former President Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee for president, will likely spend days in court defending himself against charges in multiple jurisdictions while also crisscrossing the country on the campaign trail until Election Day.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges in all cases. Many trials have been delayed or put on pause.

Here is where each case stands:

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether Trump is immune from prosecution next month. 

Arguments on presidential immunity are scheduled to begin on April 25. A ruling from the high court is expected by late June. 

Trump and his legal team, in requesting the Supreme Court review the issue of presidential immunity, said that “if the prosecution of a president is upheld, such prosecutions will recur and become increasingly common, ushering in destructive cycles of recrimination.”

“Criminal prosecution, with its greater stigma and more severe penalties, imposes a far greater ‘personal vulnerability’ on the President than any civil penalty,” the request states. “The threat of future criminal prosecution by a politically opposed Administration will overshadow every future president’s official acts — especially the most politically controversial decisions.” 

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR ARGUMENTS IN TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY CASE ON APRIL 25

Special Counsel Jack Smith charged the former president with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. 

Those charges stem from Smith’s months-long investigation into whether Trump was involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and any alleged interference in the 2020 election result.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial was set to begin March 4 but was put on hold pending a resolution on the matter.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s hush-money payments case

The trial stemming from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into Trump’s alleged hush-money payments during the 2016 election was scheduled to begin on March 25.

Last week, though, a judge delayed the trial until mid-April to give Trump’s lawyers additional time to go through 15,000 records of potential evidence the Justice Department shared from a previous federal investigation into the matter.

The U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York said much of the newly produced material is unrelated to the state case against Trump. Federal prosecutors have already produced more than 100,000 pages of records for review. Fox News Digital has learned, though, that at least 74,000 pages of records initially were sent only to Bragg’s office and not to Trump’s legal team. 

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Trump’s lawyers were seeking a 90-day delay or a dismissal of charges against him, arguing there were violations in “the discovery process,” whereby both sides exchange evidence. Defense lawyers said a 30-day delay was “insufficient.”

Trump’s lawyers have said the materials from the federal investigation are critical for his defense in the state case being brought by Bragg.

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

Bragg alleged that Trump “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.”

The charges are related to alleged hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In 2019, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York opted out of charging Trump related to the payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The Federal Election Commission also tossed its investigation into the matter in 2021.

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s classified records case

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon dismissed Trump’s motion to dismiss charges of retaining classified documents on the grounds of “unconstitutional vagueness.”

Cannon has not yet ruled on Trump’s other argument, which is a motion to dismiss based on the Presidential Records Act. 

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Trump was charged out of Smith’s investigation into his retention of classified materials. Trump pleaded not guilty to all 37 felony charges out of Smith’s probe. The charges include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and false statements.

Trump was also charged with an additional three counts as part of a superseding indictment out of the investigation — an additional count of willful retention of national defense information and two additional obstruction counts. 

Trump pleaded not guilty. 

Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis’ election interference case 

A Fulton County judge recently quashed six counts in the Georgia election interference case against Trump and his 18 co-defendants. 

Judge Scott McAfee said in an order Wednesday that the state failed to allege sufficient detail for six counts of “solicitation of violation of oath by public officer.” 

“The Court’s concern is less that the State has failed to allege sufficient conduct of the Defendants – in fact it has alleged an abundance. However, the lack of detail concerning an essential legal element is, in the undersigned opinion, fatal,” McAfee wrote.

FULTON COUNTY PROSECUTOR NATHAN WADE WITHDRAWS FROM TRUMP CASE, ALLOWING DA FANI WILLIS TO CONTINUE

“As written, these six counts contain all the essential elements of the crimes but fail to allege sufficient detail regarding the nature of their commission, i.e., the underlying felony solicited,” the judge continued. 

“They do not give the Defendants enough information to prepare their defenses intelligently, as the Defendants could have violated the Constitutions and thus the statute in dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct ways.”  

Georgia state law prohibits any public officer from willfully and intentionally violating the terms of his or her oath as prescribed by law. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis alleged that Trump and six of his co-defendants illegally attempted to persuade numerous state officials to violate their oaths in an effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

Willis charged Trump with one count of violation of the Georgia RICO Act, three counts of criminal solicitation, six counts of criminal conspiracy, one count of filing false documents and two counts of making false statements.

JUDGE RULES FANI WILLIS MUST STEP ASIDE FROM TRUMP CASE OR FIRE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR NATHAN WADE

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

Meanwhile, Fulton County special prosecutor Nathan Wade has withdrawn from the prosecution after McAfee said either he must go or Willis would be disqualified from prosecuting Trump. Four co-defendants had accused Willis of having an “improper” affair with Wade, who she hired to help prosecute the case.

The defendants alleged that Willis benefited financially by hiring Wade in 2021 because they were in a preexisting romantic relationship and went on several trips together. Michael Roman, a Republican operative who worked on Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, alleged that Wade’s law firm billed taxpayers $650,000 at a rate of $250 an hour since his hiring — and that he used that income to pay for vacations with Willis.

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Both Wade and Willis denied they were in a romantic relationship prior to his hiring. During a two-day evidentiary hearing in February, they each testified that they split the cost of their shared trips. Willis told the court she reimbursed Wade for her share of the trips in cash.

A trial date for Trump has not yet been set.

George W Bush assassination plot involved smuggling assassins via Mexico

An Iraqi citizen living in Ohio plotted to smuggle ISIS sympathizers into the United States “who do not care if they are killed during the mission” to murder former President George W. Bush, court records show.

Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 53, believed the former commander in chief was responsible for killing many Iraqis and destroying the country during “Operation of Iraqi Freedom.”

Shihab pleaded guilty last year to attempting to provide material support to terrorists and was sentenced in February to more than 14 years in prison for the plot, details of which were revealed in court documents.

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Assassination plot

Shihab aided al Qaeda as a gun runner during the war. He brought weapons from Syria into Iraq and smuggled explosive-packed vehicles that were set as traps along known roads Americans traveled, federal court documents say.

Shihab’s plot included two former Iraqi intelligence agents, who were to carry out the actual assassination while he scoped out the former president’s Texas home and coordinated travel logistics, court documents show.

He planned to smuggle the Iraqi nationals across the U.S.-Mexican border for thousands of dollars, but he had no idea he was plotting the assassination with an unnamed informant, identified in court papers as “CS1.”

In recorded conversations with the FBI’s confidential source, Shihab admitted “he wanted to be involved in the actual attack and assassination of former president Bush,” the criminal complaint says, and he would be “proud” to give his life.

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He planned to smuggle at least seven assassins – all Iraqi nationals – across the U.S.-Mexican border for thousands of dollars each. 

In the fall of 2021, he believed he successfully smuggled an ISIS member into the U.S. for $40,0000, but “in reality, the individual was fictitious, and the interaction was coordinated under the direction of the FBI,” federal Ohio prosecutors said in a press release. 

READ THE FULL CRIMINAL COMPLAINT

The court documents don’t say what first put Shihab on federal law enforcement’s radar or tipped them off about the plot.

But the complaint details several recorded meetings between Shihab and “CS1” between April 2021 and May 2022.

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In February 2022, Shihab traveled with “CS1” to Dallas, where he recorded the driveway leading to Bush’s home and “took two passes by the front access gate leading into the neighborhood,” court documents say.

He also recorded Bush’s front access gate and the surrounding area that led into the abutting neighboring, and the George W. Bush Institute, according to the criminal complaint.

The FBI’s informant talked Shihab out of sending the videos to the assassins by saying they could be intercepted by the U.S. government.

The former president was reportedly never worried, despite how close Shihab appeared to be.

IRAQ WAR IN PHOTOS

“President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the U.S. Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities,” Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff, told The Guardian after Shihab’s arrest in May 2022.

He was finally arrested by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in May 2022 and charged in federal court with attempting to provide material support to terrorists.

Shihab pleaded guilty last March and was sentenced in February to 178 months in prison.

He’ll likely be deported after his prison sentence, but he will also be under supervised release for life.

How Shihab entered the country

Shihab entered the country in September 2020 on a visitor visa and worked a number of jobs, including in markets and restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, according to prosecutors.

In March 2021, he filed a claim for asylum with U.S. citizenship, which was pending review when he was arrested.

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Shihab obtained fake divorce papers from his wife in Iraq to set up a sham marriage with a U.S. citizen to gain immigration status. 

Justice Jackson raises eyebrows in SCOTUS over First Amendment comments

In a debate Monday at the Supreme Court challenging the Biden administration’s alleged coordination with Big Tech to censor certain messages, one justice raised eyebrows in her comments about the government’s relationship with the First Amendment. 

The case stems from a lawsuit brought by Republican-led states Missouri and Louisiana that accused high-ranking government officials of working with giant social media companies “under the guise of combating misinformation” that ultimately led to censoring speech on topics that included Hunter Biden’s laptop, COVID-19 origins and the efficacy of face masks — which the states argued was a First Amendment violation. 

In nearly two hours of oral arguments, the justices debated whether the Biden administration crossed the constitutional line, and whether its outreach efforts with private companies amounted to permissible persuasion or encouragement versus illegal coercion or threats of retaliation.

“It’s got these big clubs available to it, and so it’s treating Facebook and these other platforms like their subordinates,” Justice Samuel Alito said. But Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson took a different approach.

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“Your view has the First Amendment hamstringing the federal government in significant ways in the most important time periods,” she told the lawyer representing Louisiana, Missouri and private plaintiffs. 

“The government actually has a duty to take steps to protect the citizens of this country… by encouraging or even pressuring platforms to take down harmful information,” she said.

“Justice Jackson appears to be saying that she believes that the states’ view would prevent the government from explaining its facts or positions to the social media companies when there is some danger or imminent threat,” John Shu, a constitutional attorney who served in both Bush administrations, told Fox News Digital, noting that the “heart” of the case “revolves around where the differentiating line between persuasion and coercion exists.”

“The First Amendment does not prevent government officials from complaining about a particular post or explaining why the post is factually incorrect. In fact, that’s why X has the ‘Community Notes’ function,” he said. 

However, Shu noted that the First Amendment “prevents government officials from coercing, whether explicitly or implicitly, publishers to remove posts or articles because the government disagrees with or doesn’t like that viewpoint, even if it is under the guise of ‘national security’ or ‘public health.’”

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Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey told Fox News Digital in an interview that Justice Jackson was “absolutely right.”

“It is hamstringing, and it’s supposed to. The whole purpose of the Constitution is to protect us from the government, and the government exists to protect our rights. But here, the federal government is ignoring our First Amendment protections and weaponizing the federal government to silence our voices,” Bailey said. 

“And she’s right. It limits what the federal government can and can’t do. And that’s a good thing,” he added. 

The lawsuit from the states alleges 67 federal agencies and officials coerced platforms like Facebook and Twitter/X to censor individual posts, primarily related to COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the past two administrations, as well as the 2020 presidential election results.

Those cited include White House communications staffers, the surgeon general, the FBI and the U.S. cybersecurity agency.

In a July 4 court order last year, U.S. District Court Judge Terry A. Doughty imposed the temporary injunction preventing White House and executive agency officials from meeting with tech companies about moderating content, arguing that such actions in the past were “likely” First Amendment violations.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals extended the scope of the injunction, and said officials could not “coerce or significantly encourage” changes in online content. 

In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department argued that “a central dimension of presidential power is the use of the Office’s bully pulpit to seek to persuade Americans — and American companies — to act in ways that the President believes would advance the public interest.” That includes areas like public health, voting integrity and national security threats.

In Monday’s oral arguments, conservative justices were most vocal against the federal government’s actions, which Alito in October — when the appeal first arrived at the high court — said was “heavy-handed tactics to skew the presentation of views on the medium that increasingly dominates the dissemination of news.”

Justice Clarence Thomas suggested how the federal government might subtly coordinate with tech firms. “You just work together, said: Look, we’re right; they’re wrong. Let’s work together. You know, we’re on the same team. Let’s work together to make sure that this misinformation doesn’t gain sort of any following.”

But several of their conservative colleagues were concerned about hamstringing the federal government too severely. One hypothetical raised in court was how to respond to an epidemic sprouting online, in which young people were being encouraged as a dare or stunt to record themselves jumping from windows to the ground below, at ever-increasing heights.

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“The government is not monolithic either,” said Chief Justice John Roberts, using another hypothetical. “Maybe EPA is trying to coerce a platform about something, and the Army Corps of Engineers is trying to coerce them the other way? I mean, you can’t just sort of pick and choose which part of the government you’re concerned about.”

When the lawyer for the plaintiffs argued the federal government was indirectly engaging in “encouragement” with platforms, Justice Amy Coney Barrett interjected. 

 “Just plain vanilla encouragement, or does it have to be some kind of significant encouragement? Because encouragement would sweep in an awful lot.”

Justice Elena Kagan raised national security concerns. 

“Terrorists engage in things that come under the First Amendment. Let’s say they’re just recruiting people for their organizations” online, she asked. “There’s all kinds of things that can appear on these platforms that do all kinds of different harms, and the inability of government that you’re suggesting to reach out to these platforms and say: ‘We want to give you information that you might not know about on this.’”

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Jenin Younes, counsel for the New Civil Liberties Alliance who represented private individuals in the case said they were “optimistic.” 

“Our clients, who include top doctors and scientists, were censored for social media posts that turned out to be factually accurate, depriving the public of valuable perspectives during a public health crisis,” Younes said.

“We’re optimistic that the majority will look at the record and recognize that this was a sprawling government censorship enterprise without precedent in this country, and that this cannot be permitted to continue if the First Amendment is to survive.”

Fox News’ Bill Mears and David Spunt contributed to this report. 

Cop killer gets another chance at parole and the victim’s family isn’t staying silent

The family of a slain New York City police officer is fighting to keep the cop killer behind bars after he successfully appealed the parole board’s release denial last year. 

Andy Dwyer, whose brother Anthony was killed nearly 35 years ago while serving in the line of duty, joined “Fox & Friends First” to discuss the family’s expectations for the next parole hearing and why they are fighting to keep him locked up. 

“Our expectation, to be honest, though, with the way things are happening, I’m surprised they haven’t let him out yet,” Dwyer said. “It’s pathetic.”

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The killer, Eddie Matos, is currently serving 25 years to life in prison for the 1989 murder. Matos shoved Anthony off a Times Square roof after the pair came face-to-face during an incident in which Matos, alongside three accomplices, rounded up McDonald’s employees at gunpoint, according to the New York Post. 

Matos reportedly chased Anthony to the roof where he pushed him down a 25-foot air shaft. The then-23-year-old was later pronounced dead at the hospital. 

Dwyer said it will be a “smack in the face” to his family if Matos, who was found guilty of second-degree murder, is set free. 

“It’ll be a… smack in the face to our family just to say that, again, his life is worth more than our brother’s life,” Dwyer told Carley Shimkus on Monday. 

“Bring my brother back, and by all means, let him out of jail… If they can do that, then by all means, this guy can come out of jail. Obviously, it’s not happening, so this mutt deserves to stay in jail for the rest of his life, like the sentence that he was given.”

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“Now we have to do this every year and a half. It used to be two years you’d have to go in front of the parole board. Now it’s every year and a half, and this year it’s actually one year because he was able to… argue that they didn’t receive the paperwork on it,” he continued. 

The New York Post reported there was a “technicality” issue with Matos’ parole paperwork last year, giving him another chance to possibly be released, despite his sentence. 

He said the family petitioned to keep Matos behind bars, garnering more than 30,000 signatures in support of the move. 

“Nobody at the parole board is held accountable,” he said. “When he gets out and does whatever he’s going to do, which, let’s face it, he’s not getting out and he’s not going to be a pastor or a volunteer or do whatever he says he’s going to do when it gets out and does it. Nobody’s held accountable. He’ll go back to jail, and [they’ll say] oh, we messed up… It’s okay. It’s our fault… He’s a good person.”

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Dwyer said his brother was an “unbelievable person” who loved his community and helped those around him who needed it most. 

“I know everybody says that, but he volunteered at the church helping… elderly people going to the doctor appointments. He taught religious instruction. He was a volunteer fireman,” he said. 

“At one point there was a friend of his from high school that, was in a car accident and was paralyzed in the hospital, and Anthony actually sat by his bedside when the guy was in a coma, and, helped, I say, bring him back out of his coma. He talked to him every day. He was with them all the time, and, he was just an amazing person… Not a bad thing that could ever be said about him.”

“Anthony’s 23 years of life, he did more… good in his 23 years of life than this mutt could ever do his entire life.”

If Matos is released, he will be the 42nd cop killer released in New York since 2017, according to the New York Post. He has reportedly been denied parole seven times in the last 10 years. 

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Elon Musk speaks out on ketamine use, why he takes the drug

Elon Musk uses ketamine to boost his mental health, the billionaire said in a video interview that was streamed on YouTube on Monday.

When asked about drug use, Musk — the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX — answered, “There are times when I have sort of … a negative chemical state in my brain, like depression, I guess.”

He noted that he uses a “small amount once every other week.” 

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“Ketamine is useful for getting one out of a negative frame of mind,” Musk went on, referring to his depression as “chemical tides” and saying it wasn’t “negative news.”

Musk also implied in the interview with former CNN anchor Don Lemon that his ketamine use is beneficial to his businesses.

He said that “from the standpoint of Wall Street, what matters is execution … From [the] investors’ standpoint, if there is something I’m taking, I should keep taking it.”

The owner of social media platform X added that he has posted about his ketamine use in the hope of helping people.

Musk also said that he obtains the ketamine via prescription from a medical doctor and that he does not abuse the drug.

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“If you use too much ketamine, you can’t really get work done, and I have a lot of work,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Musk has discussed ketamine use. 

In a post on X in June 2023, the entrepreneur stated, “From what I’ve seen with friends, ketamine taken occasionally is a better option.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Musk for further comment about his widely reported interview on Monday.  

What to know about ketamine

Ketamine, a hallucinogenic anesthetic drug, was first approved in 1970 as an anesthetic for use by medical doctors and veterinarians.

Since then, ketamine has been shown to have powerful effects on the brain, particularly for people suffering from depression, according to Dr. William Prueitt, director of the Ketamine Treatment Program at Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut.

“There’s growing evidence that ketamine can be very effective for patients with depression who have not responded to other treatments,” Prueitt told Fox News Digital.

Ketamine is best suited for patients with moderate to severe depression who haven’t responded to other types of treatments or therapy, the doctor said. 

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“These patients have what we call treatment-resistant depression, meaning they’ve tried at least two antidepressants (at sufficient doses and durations) that just haven’t worked,” he said.

Ketamine works differently from traditional antidepressants — it targets different neurotransmitters in the brain, Prueitt noted.

“There’s growing evidence that ketamine can be very effective for patients with depression who have not responded to other treatments.”

“That is one proposed reason why it’s often successful where other medications are not,” he said.

The drug can be administered in multiple ways, but the primary methods are by nasal spray (esketamine) or IV infusions (ketamine). 

“Ketamine provides rapid relief of symptoms, sometimes in as little as a few weeks,” said Prueitt. 

“Patients can experience improved mood, renewed optimism and reduced negative thoughts.”

When administered in an “appropriate treatment setting” with an experienced medical team, ketamine is generally “very safe,” according to Prueitt.

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There can be risks, however, when it’s given in unsupervised circumstances. 

“Patients should not self-medicate and should only receive ketamine treatments after an appropriate psychiatric evaluation and medical screening,” he added.

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Insider on Prince William’s behind-the-scenes response to Kate conspiracy theories

Prince William is said to be deeply upset over how the U.K. press has been treating his wife.

This claim was made by Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” who told Fox News Digital that the Prince of Wales has been “simmering” with anger as Princess Kate Middleton is faced with fierce scrutiny and an onslaught of conspiracy theories surrounding her health.

“William is a very different breed of cat [from that of his father],” Andersen said. “William broods. He simmers. Then, like his father, he blows. … He’s trying to protect his wife’s privacy. He’s always had a grudge against the media, and he is even less likely than his father to feel the need to explain anything. William still blames the press for [his mother’s] death, and for all his outward charm and natural flair for diplomacy, he continues to view reporters as little more than jackals.”

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“He has no interest in feeding them unless he has to, especially when the issue is Kate’s health,” he added.

In January, Kensington Palace announced that the Princess of Wales had unspecified abdominal surgery and would be out of sight for weeks. The news quickly triggered much speculation and gossip about her health. However, an admission from the 42-year-old that she altered an official family photo – one that was supposed to reassure the public that she was doing well – made things worse.

It’s a rare misstep for the princess, who has hardly put a foot wrong in her journey from William’s shy “commoner” girlfriend to the glamorous young mother of three who, more than any royal since Princess Diana, boosted the popularity and appeal of the British monarchy worldwide.

“William is under so much strain, and he is livid about what is being written and said about his ailing wife,” Andersen said. “… The Prince of Wales has had his own clashes with Kensington Palace staffers about how clumsily they’ve handled things. Fists have been slammed on tables and angry emails have been sent. There has been a flurry of finger-pointing, although William is more about solutions than assigning blame.”

“In the midst of all this, William is overwhelmed with having to shoulder such a heavy load while his father battles cancer, and that means little time for self-indulgent tantrums of the sort that the king was famous for,” Andersen said. “Still, William is bound to crack. It’s only a matter of time. Heads will roll; of that I am certain.”

It was also in January that Buckingham Palace announced that the king, 75, had been diagnosed with cancer. The type of cancer has not been revealed. It is not prostate cancer, but the disease was discovered during his recent treatment for an enlarged prostate. He has been seeking treatment.

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“William is under an enormous amount of pressure as he tries to take up much of the slack left by his father and his wife,” Andersen said. “… Charles is clearly in a physically weakened and emotionally fragile state – the outpouring of concern for the king has brought him to tears. But the palace has bungled things badly; the king knows that better than anyone. As far as the monarchy is concerned, this has been nothing less than an epic PR fail. There have been tense moments and raised voices as staffers try to figure out how to restore the public’s trust in the monarchy post-Queen Elizabeth II. But short of the king himself coming clean about his medical condition, as well as Kate’s, the rumor mills will continue to churn furiously.”

Andersen said William’s priority is protecting his wife’s privacy. The princess has rarely been photographed during her recovery.

And unlike his father, William is less likely “to feel the need to explain anything,” Andersen said. He also noted that the 41-year-old holds a grudge against the U.K. press.

His mother, Diana, died in 1997 from injuries she sustained in a Paris car crash. She was 36. At the time, Diana was being chased by paparazzi.

“The king and William have a deeply rooted antipathy toward the press,” Andersen said. “Faced with something personal and as serious as a medical issue, it’s understandable that father and son would be inclined to tell the tabloids to go to hell. Behind the scenes, they argue that it’s none of the press’s business, that such matters are not for public consumption.”

“In the past, the palace could count on the press to back off, in exchange for future access,” Andersen said. “But that arrangement can only go so far. You can’t have the king and the Princess of Wales both hospitalized at the same time only then to vanish for months without any plausible explanation as to why. … The public will be solidly in their corner, but first, they are entitled to know at least the broad outlines of what’s really going on behind palace walls. Instead, this curtain of secrecy we are only allowed to peer behind now and then is creating suspicion, resentment and no small amount of hysteria in the media.”

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Like William, Charles’ alleged temper is well-known within the palace, Andersen said. He chronicled alleged past incidents in his book. At the time of the book’s publication in 2022, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. However, a palace source previously told Fox News Digital that “we don’t comment on such books.”

“King Charles has always had a Vesuvian temper. His tantrums and angry outbursts are legendary,” Andersen said. “He may be in a weakened condition as he undergoes cancer treatment, but remember that in the past he tore the sink off a bathroom wall in a fit of rage – twice. … During an argument with Diana, the then-Prince of Wales hurled a heavy wooden boot jack at her, missing her head by inches. On other occasions, he’s thrown objects at servants. … Once at a friend’s villa, Charles became so frustrated with a stuck bedroom window that he tossed a chair through it to ‘get some fresh air.’”

“… [His wife, Queen] Camilla has always been a calming influence, and since he became king, Charles has mellowed considerably,” Andersen continued. “That doesn’t mean he’s lost his edge entirely, by any means. When he is displeased by something, he lets his staff know it in no uncertain terms. They feel the royal heat.”

Andersen noted that William has “exploded” at his younger brother, Prince Harry, which the Duke of Sussex wrote about in his 2023 memoir, “Spare.”

In the book, Harry alleged that during an argument in 2019, William called his wife, Meghan Markle, “difficult” and “rude” and then grabbed him by the collar and knocked him down. Harry suffered cuts and bruises from landing on a dog bowl. Harry said that Charles implored the brothers to make up. Following the funeral of Charles’ father, Prince Philip, in 2021, the king pleaded, “Please, boys, don’t make my final years a misery.”

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Neither Buckingham Palace, which represents the king, nor William’s Kensington Palace office commented on any of the allegations.

“Maybe the preternaturally even-tempered Kate can hold it together, but I’m not so sure about the Windsor men,” said Andersen. “They are not amused with the way things are going. They have made it clear to their staff in window-rattling terms.”

Kensington Palace previously announced that the Princess of Wales is expected to return to public duties sometime after Easter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Another American brick-and-mortar falls on hard times after 81 years in business

Joann Inc., the Ohio-based fabric and craft retailer, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after 81 years in business.

The company made the announcement Monday, adding it could become privately owned as soon as next month.

Joann Fabrics and Crafts stores and website will remain open and continue operating as normal, according to a press release. 

“There is no other retailer with the same ability to serve sewists, quilters, crocheters, crafters and other creative enthusiasts as we have for the past 80 years, and we take great pride in seeing the passion and engagement of our millions of customers and our Team Members,” Chris DiTullio, chief customer officer and co-lead of the interim office of the CEO, said in the release. 

JOANN FABRICS PIVOTS E-COMMERCE STRATEGY TO MEET NEW CUSTOMER DEMAND

The company was founded in 1943, and operates 829 store locations across 49 states. 

“This agreement is a significant step forward in addressing JOANN’s capital structure needs, and it will provide us with the financial resources and flexibility necessary to continue to deliver best-in-class product assortments and enhance the customer experience wherever they are shopping with us,” Scott Sekella, Joann’s chief financial officer and co-lead of the interim office of the CEO, added. 

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Joann Inc. went private in 2011 before going public a decade later with an initial offering at $12 a share. The stock opened at 25 cents a share on Monday.

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Joann Inc. has received about $132 million in commitments for new financing, and “expects to reduce funded debt on its balance sheet by approximately $505 million,” according to the press release. 

Hundreds of Hollywood stars unite to denounce Oscar winner’s controversial speech

Top Hollywood stars like Debra Messing and Julianna Margulies are among over 450 Jewish individuals in the entertainment industry denouncing “The Zone of Interest” director Jonathan Glazer’s controversial Oscars acceptance speech about the Israel-Hamas war. 

“We refute our Jewishness being hijacked for the purpose of drawing a moral equivalence between a Nazi regime that sought to exterminate a race of people, and an Israeli nation that seeks to avert its own extermination,” an open letter first reported Monday by Variety read. “Every civilian death in Gaza is tragic. But Israel is not targeting civilians. It is targeting Hamas. The moment Hamas releases the hostages and surrenders is the moment this heartbreaking war ends. This has been true since the Hamas attacks of October 7th.”

The signatories continued, “The use of words like ‘occupation’ to describe an indigenous Jewish people defending a homeland that dates back thousands of years, and has been recognized as a state by the United Nations, distorts history.  It gives credence to the modern blood libel that fuels a growing anti-Jewish hatred around the world, in the United States, and in Hollywood. The current climate of growing antisemitism only underscores the need for the Jewish State of Israel, a place which will always take us in, as no state did during the Holocaust depicted in Mr. Glazer’s film.”

JON LOVITZ SAYS ANTISEMITISM HE’S EXPERIENCED IN HOLLYWOOD ‘IS FROM OTHER JEWS’

Alongside Messing and Margulies are actors Michael Rapaport, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tovah Feldshuh, Lisa Edelstein and Brett Gelman, top producer Amy Pascal, and filmmakers Eli Roth and Rod Lurie.

“There was no concern for how Jewish people are going to react to a speech like that, to that applause to those red pins, when not even our hostages are being mentioned, and it’s just incredibly hurtful, incredibly painful,” Gelman told Variety. “It’s truly baffling to me that people were choosing to be silent that night.”

Representatives for Glazer did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital‘s requests for comment. 

MICHAEL RAPAPORT BLASTS GOLDEN GLOBE ATTENDEES FOR NOT MENTIONING ISRAELI HOSTAGES: ‘WE SHOULD BE ASHAMED’

“The Zone of Interest” took home two Academy Awards earlier this month, including for Best International Film, during which Glazer gave his controversial speech. 

“Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst,” Glazer said. “Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation, which has led to conflict for so many innocent people – whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza – all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?”

Glazer’s words were repudiated by one of his film’s executive producers, Danny Cohen, who said last week, “I just fundamentally disagree with Jonathan.”

“It’s really important to recognize it’s upset a lot of people and a lot of people feel upset and angry about it. And I understand that anger frankly,” Cohen said on the Unholy podcast. “The war and the continuation of the war is the responsibility of Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization which continues to hold and abuse the hostages, which doesn’t use its tunnels to protect the innocent civilians of Gaza but uses it to hide themselves and allow Palestinians to die. I think the war is tragic and awful and the loss of civilian life is awful, but I blame Hamas for that.”

HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS’ FOUNDATION CONDEMNS OSCAR WINNER EQUATING ISRAEL WITH HAMAS: ‘MORALLY INDEFENSIBLE’

The speech was also condemned in an open letter by The Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation. 

“I watched in anguish Sunday night when I heard you use the platform of the Oscars ceremony to equate Hamas’s maniacal brutality against innocent Israelis with Israel’s difficult but necessary self-defense in the face of Hamas’s ongoing barbarity. Your comments were factually inaccurate and morally indefensible,” Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation USA president and 94-year-old Holocaust survivor David Schaecter wrote to Glazer. 

“The ‘occupation’ of which you speak has nothing to do with the Holocaust. The Jewish people’s existence and right to live in the land of Israel predates the Holocaust by hundreds of years. Today’s political and geographic landscape is the direct result of wars started by past Arab leaders who refused to accept Jewish people as their neighbors in our historic homeland. Now that several Arab countries are making peace with Israel because security and prosperity are better for all people, Iran and its terrorist proxies started another war, abetted by too many, who, through naïveté or malice, blame ‘the occupation.’”

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“Worse is that you chose to use the Holocaust to validate your personal opinion. You made a Holocaust movie and won an Oscar. And you are Jewish. Good for you. But it is disgraceful for you to presume to speak for the six million Jews, including one and half million children, who were murdered solely because of their Jewish identity,” Schaecter continued. “And it is disgraceful for you to presume to speak for those of us who personally saw the world stand silent as our mothers, father, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were murdered. We actually had nowhere to go – no possible place for refuge. No country would accept us even though world leaders knew full well that thousands of Jews were being murdered every day. There was no Jewish nation to which we could flee. You should be ashamed of yourself for using Auschwitz to criticize Israel.”

“The Zone of Interest” offers a harrowing depiction of a Nazi commander’s family living next to the atrocities of the Auschwitz concentration camps. The film earned five Oscar nominations including Best Picture, and Glazer himself was nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. 

Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.

HUGH HEWITT: What ‘Masters of the Air’ teaches about Israel’s war

If you watch the nine-part series “Masters of the Air” on Apple+ you may not notice that it does not spend much time on the civilian casualties brought about by the unrelenting air war waged by the Allies against the Axis in World War II.

The series was produced by Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg and you will be satisfied at the conclusion of the episodes which are based on the bestseller of the same name by Donald L. Miller. The first few episodes are not for the faint of heart, but neither were any Army Air Corps bombing missions over Europe in World War II.

There are some moments in the course of the series when the viewer glimpses the utter devastation of the bombing of first France and then Germany. The Wehrmacht troops and German civilians are seen repeatedly referring to downed American airmen as “terror bombers” and no doubt the German civilians of 1943-1945 thought of the Army Air Corps and the Royal Air Force in just those terms because precision munitions had not been invented and the dumping of “dumb bombs” was effective only in part, even with technology advances in our bombers sights.

The people of the United States, though, did not worry about hardships visited upon “innocent Germans.” Had Joseph Goebbels put out newsreels featuring Herman Goering complaining about the devastation of civilian neighborhoods in Berlin brought about by Allied bombers, such propaganda would have elicited first enormous scorn and then calls for doubling down on the tonnage of bombs dropped. Millions of Germans were killed or injured because of the war begun by Hitler, and the same is true of Japanese civilians killed by the Allied bombings of the Japanese home islands: the rulers of Imperial Japan brought that upon themselves.

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When the United States joined in the international effort to destroy ISIS which culminated in the battle of Mosul which took nine months, from October of 2016 through July of 2017, thousands of innocent Iraqis were killed in that battle which included American air strikes. Again, that terror group had to be destroyed. The inevitable byproduct of war in any urban setting is the death and wounding of civilians. And as with the German, Italian and Japanese aggressors of World War II, ISIS began the war which ended in the destruction of much of Mosul.

Now that the battlefield is the Gaza Strip and specifically the city of Rafah, however, intense pressure is being brought to bear on the Israel Defense Forces (“IDF”) to limit or even vault their offensive as a result of “reports” of casualties in Gaza put out by Hamas. Neither Israel nor any third party has anything like an exact figure of civilians killed or wounded in the war in Gaza. We cannot believe the Hamas numbers. What we do know is that Israel has no choice but to prosecute the war in Gaza until Hamas is destroyed, it’s senior leadership dead or fled, and a semblance of security returned to the people of Israel.

‘MASTERS OF THE AIR’ COMPANION DOC DIRECTOR PRAISES WWII SERIES

The mask came off Hamas on 10/7. For 17 years, Israel pursued a policy of co-existence with the terror organization that controlled everything in the Gaza Strip, with Israeli government after government counting on the evolution of Hamas into a governing authoritarian regime but not one devoted to massacring Jews. Now we know that Hamas, whatever else it says or does, is a death cult. If allowed to remain in Gaza in any significant size and with its underground fortress intact, it will be a matter of time until Hamas unleashes another wave of horrific barbarism. This is why Monday’s statement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warning Israel against a major ground operation in Rafah makes no sense. Sullivan spoke of alternatives to such an operation but did not detail those alternatives. We have to suspect that Sullivan knows there is no alternative to the brutal tunnel battles ahead unless Sinwar and his fellow Hamas leaders arrange for their evacuation to their paymasters’ home in Iran.

The reliable estimates of Hamas terrorists who are cornered in Rafah and in the warrens of tunnels built over a decade and a half is 10,000 or more. Israel must absolutely enter and subdue all of Rafah, must absolutely map and destroy the underground fortress, and must re-take the “Philadelphi Corridor” between Gaza and Egypt to prevent the reconstruction of tunnels used to smuggle the mind-boggling amount of weaponry that Hamas amassed in Gaza since Israel withdrew from the Strip in 2005.

There is no alternative for Israel unless it wants to wait for another massacre. Enormous majorities of Israelis want the war in Gaza prosecuted until the defeat of Hamas is complete.  When first President Joe Biden in his State of the Union and then Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the floor of the Senate attacked Israel over the past two weeks, they did so for their own selfish domestic political reasons. The president’s abysmal approval ratings and Schumer’s desire to remain the leader of Senate Democrats both required at least rhetorical blasts at Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in order to satisfy the left edge of the Democratic coalition.

These rhetorical attacks were gifts to Hamas terrorists hiding in their tunnels and hoping that somehow the world—read “the United States”—forces Israel to stop its drive to destroy Hamas. Instead of urging Israel to move quickly to end the war via victory, Biden and Schumer instead appear to want the IDF to camp outside Rafah and…wait? For what?

There is no grand strategy in the criticisms of Israel from Biden, Schumer and the even harder left members of the Democratic Party. But the blowback —from Israel, from the American Jewish community, and from Americans who stand with Israel as a reliable ally and a democratic state—directed at both men has been intense. It is hard to fall off the “favorability floor” that Biden has hit but he is doing his best to test the depths those numbers can reach.

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After the Second World War the Allies did what they needed to do to rehabilitate Germany and Japan, and both countries are now solidly within the Western alliance. It is possible that a Gaza without Hamas could reach the potential of any major metropolitan region on the Mediterranean coast. But only if the future leadership of the Strip want economic growth and human flourishing there, which Hamas does not seek.

The IDF does not welcome civilian casualties in Gaza anymore than American pilots and crews wanted their bombs to hit other than the intended targets. Certainly Israel is not approving anything approaching the Tokyo firebombing of March 1945 where 100,000 civilians are believed to have perished.

The war in Gaza must, however, be won by Israel and the only reason there is a war at all is because of Hamas. Only the end of Hamas in Gaza —which means a ground operation in Rafah—will bring peace to that devastated region. What President Biden and Senator Schumer should be doing is standing resolutely behind our ally. Every day, all day. 

Hugh Hewitt is one of the country’s leading journalists of the center-right. A son of Ohio and a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, Hewitt has been a Professor of Law at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law since 1996, where he teaches Constitutional Law. Hewitt launched his eponymous radio show from Los Angeles in 1990, and it is today syndicated to hundreds of stations and outlets across the country every Monday through Friday morning. Hewitt has frequently appeared on every major national news television network, hosted television shows for PBS and MSNBC, written for every major American paper, authored a dozen books and moderated a score of Republican candidate debates, most recently the November 2023 Republican presidential debate in Miami and four Republican presidential debates in the 2015-16 cycle. Hewitt focuses his radio show and this column on the Constitution, national security, American politics and the Cleveland Browns and Guardians. Hewitt has interviewed tens of thousands of guests from Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump over his 40 years in broadcast, and this column previews the lead story that will drive his radio show today.

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