Fox News 2024-03-25 16:03:59


AOC triggered by Carville’s knock on ‘preachy females’ dominating Democratic Party

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., took a shot at Democratic strategist James Carville on social media Sunday after he went viral for saying that his party’s problem was with a predominance of messaging from “preachy females.” 

“A suspicion of mine is that there are too many preachy females,” Carville said in an interview with a New York Times columnist on self-defeating messaging that he claimed was prevalent in his party. “’Don’t drink beer. Don’t watch football. Don’t eat hamburgers. This is not good for you.’”

He continued: “The message is too feminine: ‘Everything you’re doing is destroying the planet. You’ve got to eat your peas.’”

JAMES CARVILLE’S COMMENT ABOUT ‘PREACHY FEMALES’ REFLECTS HOW DEMOCRATIC PARTY DOESN’T STAND FOR ‘MASCULINITY’

“Maybe he should start a podcast about it,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a post on X. “I hear men are really underrepresented in that space.” 

The far-left congresswoman is often not shy to criticize other Democrats she perceives as insufficiently progressive.

The moment underscored the tensions in the party, as the Democrats’ hard-left flank is often accused by figures like Carville of favoring ideological purity over pragmatism and results. Carville rose to fame as Bill Clinton’s chief campaign strategist in 1992.

Carville also slammed elites in the party and the media for ignoring male Democratic voters, stating, “If you listen to Democratic elites – NPR is my go-to place for that – the whole talk is about how women, and women of color, are going to decide this election.”

Rebuking this stance, he told Times columnist Maureen Dowd, “I’m like: ‘Well, 48 percent of the people that vote are males. Do you mind if they have some consideration?’”

Carville criticized the Democratic Party’s concern with woke politics, calling it a “giant, stupid argument” that will hurt the party at the polls and in elections. 

JAMES CARVILLE SLAMS WOKENESS PUSHED BY DEMOCRATS AS A ‘GIANT, STUPID ARGUMENT,’ BLAMES ‘PREACHY FEMALES’

Carville, who Dowd described as “blithely un-P.C,” claimed that “no one” wants to live according to woke principles and that they’re a fast track to conservative political victories.

Dowd described Carville’s general attitude to far-left identity politics, writing, “He complained that ‘woke stuff is killing us,’ that the left was talking in a language that ordinary Americans did not understand, using terms like ‘Latinx’ and ‘communities of color,’ and with a tone many Americans found sneering.”

Noting how this wokeness provides more of an ego trip for its proponents rather than political results, Carville told Dowd, “There are a lot of people on the left that would rather lose and be pure because it makes them feel good, it makes them feel superior.”

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Fox News’ Gabriel Hays contributed to this report. 

Legal guru breaks down how Trump’s suit against ABC host will likely play out

ABC has no choice but to stand by George Stephanopoulos after the “This Week” anchor was accused of defamation by presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, according to legal guru Danny Karon. 

During a heated interview earlier this month with Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., Stephanopoulos said several times on ABC’s “This Week” that the former president was “found liable for rape.” However, a federal jury in New York decided that Trump was not liable for rape and was liable for sexual abuse and defamation in the 2023 civil trial of advice columnist E. Jean Carroll vs. Trump. 

“Stephanopoulos was a little bit free and loose in what he said,” Karon told Fox News Digital

The case went unaddressed on the latest episode of “This Week” on Sunday, according to a transcript. Jonathan Karl substituted for Stephanopoulos as host.

TRUMP SUES ABC NEWS, GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS FOR DEFAMATION

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Florida, noted that Trump representatives contacted ABC seeking a retraction following the interview, but the Disney-owned news outlet did not apologize or correct the record. ABC stood by Stephanopoulos following the interview and has declined comment since the lawsuit was filed. 

Karon, an attorney and law professor who specializes in litigation, doesn’t expect Stephanopoulos to apologize or issue clarification anytime soon.

“If you think about it, that stands to reason, doesn’t it? Because even if any of the defendants had apologized or retracted the statement, it does not undo what was said. All it does is to validate it by way of an admission, an admission that they said it and that it was wrong, which is why they retracted it. So, now you’ve got a lawsuit with an admission, which would look even worse,” Karon said. 

“It’s the same dynamic that happens in, say, medical malpractice cases when the doctor leaves a sponge inside, and she doesn’t want to apologize. Because you know what? That’s just going to be used against her in court. You can’t do it,” he continued. “That’s a sad testimonial to what we’ve come to by way of litigiousness, and it’s presented here in living color.” 

TRUMP’S DEFAMATION SUIT AGAINST ABC NEWS, GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS COULD BE ANYTHING FROM ‘SLAM DUNK’ TO ‘DUD’

After the federal jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse, but not rape, Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in a later ruling that just because Carroll failed to prove rape “within the meaning of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr. Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape.’”

While some might see this as gray area, Karon feels that if someone whispered in Stephanopoulos’ earpiece, “Don’t say rape. Switch to sexual assault,” it would have neutralized the whole issue. 

Instead, Stephanopoulos repeated the term “liable for rape” 10 times during the interview.

“The network is standing behind it because they have to, because they can’t admit to anything, because it’s an admission, it’s admissible in court and trial and federal rules of evidence. And it makes things even worse,” Karon said. “The system is, in part, to blame for what we’re seeing here.” 

ABC NEWS’ GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS INACCURATELY SAID TRUMP WAS FOUND ‘LIABLE FOR RAPE’ 10 TIMES, LEGAL GURUS SAY

This doesn’t mean Trump has a slam-dunk case, as Karon isn’t sure the former president can prove the $75,000 in damages required for action in a federal defamation case. “I’ll be you anything the defendants move to dismiss on that basis,” he said. 

Karon feels it will also be difficult to prove that Stephanopoulos made his comments with “actual malice,” the standard public figures must prove to win such cases. 

“I think the defendants are going to be left with trying to show that the elements of the claim aren’t satisfied. And if they are, there’s no damages,” Karon said. 

Trump and his campaign have filed a series of defamation lawsuits against news organizations in recent years, with suits against The New York Times, CNN and Washington Post being dismissed after judges said essential elements of defamation were not met. 

In 2020, Trump’s reelection campaign settled a defamation suit against an NBC affiliate in Wisconsin after it ran a political ad containing a doctored video that made it seem like Trump had called the coronavirus a “hoax.”

ABC previously has stood by Stephanopoulos. 

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“George did his job by asking meaningful questions that are relevant to our viewers,” an ABC News spokesperson told Fox News Digital about the Mace interview prior to the lawsuit being filed.

Billionaire’s wife buying up real estate sparks concern in Minnesota community

The wife of James Cargill II, a billionaire in America’s fourth-wealthiest family, bashed a “small-minded community” in Minnesota for their concerns about her buying up available homes in their neighborhood.

Kathy Cargill began attracting attention last year after scooping up 10 homes in the 7-mile-long neighborhood of Park Point along a Lake Superior sandbar in Duluth valued at $2 million.

Cargill then doubled up on her property shopping spree, purchasing an additional 10 homes.

LUXURY REAL ESTATE COMPANY CEO FLOATS POSSIBILITY THAT TRUMP COULD SELL MAR-A-LAGO TO HELP PAY BOND

The 20 homes now belonging to Cargill worried the community’s neighbors about her plans for such a large portion of local property. 

According to The New York Post, she called her neighbors from the city of Duluth “ingrates,” proclaimed the homes to be “pieces of crap” and canceled her plans to improve the neighborhood.

As rumors swirled, local Mayor Roger Reinert was looped in, who eventually wrote a letter to Cargill inquiring about her plans for the houses.

EXCLUSIVE: ALLEGED NYC SQUATTER ‘IN BED’ WITH ‘VICTIM’ FAMILY AS PART OF REAL ESTATE DEAL, LAWYER REVEALS

The Cargill Inc. heiress expressed her discontent with the mayor’s involvement, telling The Wall Street Journal, “I think an expression that we all know—don’t pee in your Cheerios—well, he kind of peed in his Cheerios right there, and definitely I’m not going to do anything to benefit that community.”

She continued, “The good plans that I have down there for beautifying, updating and fixing up Park Point park or putting up that sports court, forget it. There’s another community out there with more welcoming people than that small-minded community.”

Park Point locals had mixed feelings about Cargill’s large purchase of surrounding properties.

Brooks Anderson, a 90-year-old retired minister said, “This is my piece of crap, and I love it. I hope she regrets saying that.”

“We’re Minnesotans, like, ‘I’ve got brandy, I’ve got some vodka, come on over, we’re gonna have something to eat together. We don’t understand this thing where people are like, it’s all a secret,” 59-year-old local resident Deb Strange said.

Dan O’Neill, a 71-year-old Park Point native and retired union organizer, told the Journal he sold his house to Cargill last year for $825,000. “I think Kathy Cargill is a well-meaning lady. I have faith that they are going to do the right thing. They’re all very pleasant and I really believe that they want to blend it into the Park Point environment. No way it’s going to be some McMansion.”

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Cargill, who told the paper she’s getting calls from people who wish to sell their homes, revealed, “We’re going to make it even more private than it is, and we’re still going to go enjoy it. Those people aren’t running me out. They can posture themselves all they want, but I’m not going anywhere.”

Harris pressed on why Biden campaign uses TikTok despite national security concerns

Vice President Harris dodged questions on Sunday about whether her campaign should be actively using TikTok as the vice president and President Biden have expressed national security concerns over the Chinese-owned app. 

“You have expressed national security concerns over TikTok. So has the president. Why does your campaign then have a TikTok account when you’re encouraging Americans to follow it?” ABC’s Rachel Scott asked the vice president. 

“So, let’s start with this: We do not intend to ban TikTok,” Harris said. 

She added that they had national security concerns about the “owner of TikTok,” but that the app served as an income generator for people and is a great way to share information with people. 

HARRIS’ SHAMEFUL WARNING FOR ISRAEL CRASHES AND BURNS ONLINE: ‘KICK ROCKS, KAMALA’

“We have concerns about the national security implications of the owner of TikTok, and that has been our position in terms of what I think we need to do to address those concerns,” she continued. 

Scott asked Harris directly if her campaign should remain on the social media platform, considering the national security implications. 

“Well, we’ll address that when we come to it, but right now we are concerned about the owner of TikTok, and the national security implications. We do not intend to ban TikTok, and we understand its purpose and its utility, and the enjoyment that it gives a lot of folks,” Harris responded. 

Harris and Biden have appeared in several TikTok videos, despite their national security concerns. The president has said he would sign the bipartisan bill, which passed in the House, if it reaches his desk. 

GOP LAWMAKERS PRESS TIKTOK CEO ON ‘DELUGE OF PRO-HAMAS CONTENT’ ON PLATFORM

During the interview, Scott also asked the vice president whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned invasion was considered a “red line” for the administration.

“We have been clear in multiple conversations and in every way that any major military operation in Rafah would be a huge mistake,” Harris answered. “Let me tell you something: I have studied the maps. There’s nowhere for those folks to go.”

“We’re going to take it one step at a time, but we’ve been very clear in terms of our perspective on whether or not [an invasion] should happen,” Harris said, responding to a question about if there would be consequences if Netanyahu moved forward. 

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“Are you ruling out that there would be consequences from the United States?” Scott pressed again.

“I am ruling out nothing,” Harris said.

Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.

MLB star plays victim as gambling probe targets player and interpreter

Shohei Ohtani will speak with reporters regarding ex-interpreter Ippei Mizuhara allegedly stealing $4.5 million from him to cover gambling debts on Monday. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers superstar told reporters on Sunday before the team’s exhibition game against the Los Angeles Angels, his former squad, that he would address the situation on Monday. The Dodgers later confirmed to The Times that would be the plan. 

Ohtani is wrapped up in the league’s biggest scandal prior to Opening Day later this week, as his attorneys redacted Mizuhara’s initial statement to ESPN, in which he said Ohtani was covering the debts as a friend, and instead called the two-way star a victim of a “massive theft.”

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Ohtani’s manager, Dave Roberts, agrees with the decision to speak on the matter. 

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Roberts said, via The Times. “I’m happy he’s going to speak, speak to what he knows and give his thoughts on the whole situation. I think it’ll give us a little bit more clarity.”

There are many questions for Ohtani to answer on the matter – how did he not notice $4.5 million being stolen until now? – and there is speculation to debunk, including some opining that he was involved somehow in the situation. 

SHOHEI OHTANI’S EX-INTERPRETER’S PAST COMES INTO QUESTION AS RED SOX, UNIVERSITY REFUTE CONNECTION: REPORTS

The reason for the speculation stems from one of Ohtani’s spokespeople setting ESPN up with a Mizuhara interview this past Tuesday, in which he spoke for 90 minutes about the situation, claiming that Ohtani was paying off his debts for him knowingly. Ohtani’s spokeperson initially confirmed that was the case, but then it was recanted by them and Mizuhara alike, saying Ohtani was a victim instead. 

Mizuhara admitted in the interview that he gambled on international soccer, the NBA and the NFL, though he never bet on MLB games

Mystery surrounds Mizuhara, as multiple outlets have dug deep into his past and found discrepancies, including his Angels’ bio (he worked with Ohtani from 2018-23 with the team) saying he attended the University of California-Riverside in 2007 and worked with the Boston Red Sox as Hideki Okajima’s interpreter in 2010. 

UC Riverside told The Athletic that there is no record of him in their system whatsoever, and the Red Sox released a statement to multiple outlets saying that Mizuhara had never worked as Okajima’s interpreter with them. 

The Dodgers released a statement following the report of the matter, saying they were “gathering information” and confirming that Mizuhara no longer worked for the team. 

Ohtani remains on the Dodgers’ roster heading into Opening Day, while MLB and the IRS are set to open investigations into the matter. 

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The Dodgers’ 2024 season is scheduled to kick off Thursday at home against the St. Louis Cardinals. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Brutally violent Mexican cartel draining Americans’ life savings without a trace of vitality

A Mexican drug cartel known for gruesome public slaughtering drained $40 million from Americans, and stole many elderly victims’ life savings without a drop of blood in 2022, according to FBI stats.

It’s part of a rapidly evolving timeshare scam run by the Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG) that is becoming more intricate, and is now estimated to be stealing hundreds of millions from Americans each year.

It started as a small operation in the Puerto Vallarta area and expanded to popular tourist spots like Cancun, according to the U.S. Treasury, which issued sanctions against seven fugitives and 19 Mexican companies connected to the scam last April. 

“CJNG uses extreme violence and intimidation to control the timeshare network, which often targets elder U.S. citizens and can defraud victims of their life savings,” Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said in November. “The Treasury remains committed to the Administration’s whole-of-government effort, in coordination with our partners in Mexico, to disrupt CJNG’s revenue sources and ability to traffic deadly drugs like fentanyl.”   

TROPICAL RESORTS POPULAR WITH AMERICANS NO LONG ‘OFF LIMITS’ FOR CARTEL KILLERS: ‘THE RULES HAVE CHANGED’

The Courier Journal followed a decade-long journey through the cartel’s layered scheme that cost one man just shy of $1.8 million. 

The initial lure was a healthy profit from his timeshare. After years of being scammed, the cartel came back with promises of reimbursement from a seemingly legitimate Mexican lawyer filing a class action lawsuit that kept the man hooked. 

KIDNAPPING IN MEXICO USED TO BE A BUSINESS. NOW THERE’S ‘NO CODE’ CURBING RUTHLESSNESS: EXPERT

The callers, whom the news report noted spoke perfect, accent-free English, continued their ceaseless pursuit for decades, with years-long stretches of silence. 

By the end of the situation involving just this one victim, there were 99 wire transfers, more than 150 people involved and at least 12 Mexican bank accounts, according to the Courier Journal.

“It’s almost like an addiction,” said Stephen, who asked the Louisville newspaper to only identify him by his first name because he didn’t want his employer to know. “I kept thinking the next person was going to help me get out of it.”

The cartel scams hit FBI’s radar

The FBI said in a March 2023 warning that owners of timeshares in Mexico are being targeted at an alarming rate. 

In 2022, the bureau received over 600 complaints with losses of about $39.6 million in 2022 from victims contacted by scammers in Mexico. 

The FBI did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment and updated information.

AMERICAN KIDNAPPED IN MEXICO, LEFT TO DIE IN JUNGLE WITH EYES, WRISTS TAPED

“The sales representatives often use high-pressure sales tactics to add a sense of urgency to the deal,” the FBI said. “Timeshare owners who agree to sell are told they must pay an upfront fee to cover anything from listing and advertising fees to closing costs. 

“Once the fee is paid, timeshare owners report the company becomes evasive – calls go unanswered, numbers are disconnected, and websites are inaccessible, or the company creates additional fees that victims are required to pay before the real estate transaction becomes final.”

Years go by, and some victims – like in Stephen’s case, which was detailed in the Courier Journal’s report – the scammers act like they are from bogus recovery companies or lawyers dangling promises of restitution. 

Mexican Army dismantles small operation after US Treasury sanctions, Mexican workers slaughtered

A month after the FBI’s warning – on April 27, 2023 – the U.S. Treasury levied its first of three sanctions in a seven-month span as part of a federal crackdown on the cartel’s scam. 

Last November, the treasury hit the cartel’s fraud network for the third time, with a fresh set of sanctions against three Mexican criminals and 13 Mexican companies, bringing the total to 40.

SINALOA CARTEL MEMBERS SEND PICS OF DEAD MEXICAN POLICE AND WITNESSES: ‘THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO SCUM/SNITCHES’

The sanctions froze assets that are in the U.S. and banned American citizens and businesses from dealing with any of the listed companies and fugitives. 

Many of the sanctions’ targets are located in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, which is one of CJNG’s strategic strongholds for drug trafficking

“The CJNG cartel, a leading trafficker of narcotics like illicit fentanyl into the United States, generates substantial revenue for its multi-faceted criminal enterprise through its timeshare fraud network,” Yellen said in a November 2023 statement.

WATCH: VIDEO OF SHOOTOUT BETWEEN CARTELS AND MEXICAN AUTHORITIES

The cartel’s lucrative criminal enterprise that rivals the drug trade doesn’t come without bloodshed to Mexican citizens. 

Hacked-up body parts of at least eight Mexican workers, who were all under 30 and tried to quit jobs at an illegal call center, were found in plastic bags in June 2023, The Associated Press reported. 

MEXICAN OFFICIALS SAY 45 BAGS OF HUMAN REMAINS RESEMBLE MISSING CALL CENTER

“Best guess is these kids had decided they wanted out of the business,” a U.S. official told AP under the condition of anonymity, adding the cartel was “sending a message to other defectors.”

“It appears this has happened before,” the official added.

On Dec. 29, 2023, Mexican law enforcement and the Mexican Army dismantled illegal internet antennas in Buenavista, according to the attorney general of the Mexican state of Michoacán. 

“Illegal internet antennas were disabled, used by a criminal cell for commercial purposes, under threats and excessive costs to the population,” the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said in a translated Facebook post

“During the incident, a person allegedly connected to the crimes was arrested.”

But that’s virtually nothing to the far-reaching operation that’s grown in size, complexity and intricacy since 2010. 

That’s a raindrop in the ocean

The Courier Journal reporter, Scott Fisher, talked about the cartel scams during a March 13 podcast called “The Excerpt.”

“According to U.S. government officials that I spoke to, we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars every single year,” Fisher said. 

US WARNING ON MEXICO SPRING BREAK TRAVEL, TOP THREATS FACING AMERICANS

He gave a brief history of the scam, which he said started as a new criminal business venture in 2010, when someone connected to the cartel pitched this idea. 

“Being a cartel that is very agile, (the cartel) said, ‘Absolutely.’ And they took over call center after call center, forcing these individuals to work for them. And not only do that, but teach them how to do this and how to do it better and better,” Fisher said. 

The scheme itself is “shockingly sophisticated,” according to the reporter, who’s part of the USA Today Network. 

“I mean, we’re talking about individuals, they hire people who speak perfect English in these call centers and they provide what appear to be very legitimate documents,” he said on the podcast. “And these scams can develop incredible ways. 

“First, as I mentioned, it can start out with these fees that are required by say the Mexican government, capital gains fees. All of this is in the tens of thousands often, and it just keeps going, but you can have your money as soon as you pay. And that is what keeps them on the hook.”

MEXICAN AUTHORITIES ARREST 6 IN CONNECTION TO GRISLY MACHETE MURDERS IN CANCUN

And they stay off Mexican and U.S. law enforcement’s radar by constantly dropping and creating new shell companies, he said. 

Then there’s the stigma of even reporting the scam and admitting to being duped, according to Fisher, which likely means the reported number of cases is just a fraction of the whole operation. 

The U.S. government – as outlined by the FBI bulletin and the sanctions imposed by the federal Treasury – are aware of the scam, which Fisher said mostly targets older Americans, and are “following the money.”

But the cartel seems to always be a step ahead. 

In Mexico, “little seems to be done,” Fisher said. “I was told that Mexican banks could do much more to flag these suspect payments that are made to these accounts, to these fraudulent shell companies. 

“And in Mexico, there seems to be little motivation to put significant resources toward stopping this scamming of American citizens.”

What Fisher described is in line with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his administration’s policy to either deny or downplay cartel violence and criminal activity.

He omitted any reference to drugs, crime or the cartels during his September 2023 State of the Union address. 

Then he went after a New York Times reporter after publishing a story in February about an investigation into alleged connections with the cartels. He went as far as revealing the reporter’s contact details, including her telephone number. 

MEXICAN PRESIDENT CLAIMS FENTANYL IS US PROBLEM, SLAMS CALLS FOR US MILITARY ACTION AGAINST DRUG CARTELS

In April 2023, Obrador ripped the U.S. for an investigation into the Sinaloa Cartel, calling it “abusive, arrogant interference that should not be accepted under any circumstances,” according to a report by the America First Policy Institute (AFPI).

He also said last March that his government was “not going to permit any foreign government to intervene in our territory, much less that a government’s armed forces intervene,” Al Jazeera reported.

Obrador’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

FBI’s tips and where to report if you’ve been victimized

In the FBI’s March 2023 bulletin, the bureau released four safety tips to protect yourself and then what to do if you’ve been victimized: 

  • Be cautious of uninvited telephone calls, texts or emails from anyone interested in your timeshare.
  • Research all entities you are in contact with, contact offices independently to confirm if you are speaking to a representative of their company, and enlist the help of a real estate agent or lawyer you trust.
  • Scammers will use tactics such as pressure and time-sensitive offers.
  • Know that when opportunities appear “too good to be true,” they often are.

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If you or anyone you know has fallen victim to a timeshare related scam, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. Be sure to include any available information including:

  • Emails, phone numbers, domains, company names.
  • Transaction information even if no funds were lost.
  • Details regarding the interaction with the scammers.

Fox News Digital’s Emmett Jones and Mitch Picasso contributed to this report. 

Menendez brothers’ case reignites as compelling new evidence emerges

The Menendez brothers’ killings of their parents dominated headlines in the early ’90s — but did the media get the story wrong?

As new evidence comes to light, attorney Mark Geragos believes so.

Join Now

“Everything you think you know about the Menendez case, you really don’t,” Geragos said in the new Fox Nation special, “Menendez Brothers: Victims or Villains.”

The four-part docuseries, brought to you by the production company behind Fox Nation’s “Jussie Smollett: Anatomy of a Hoax,” re-examines the twisted tale of brothers, Lyle and Erik Menendez, who have been behind bars for more than three decades after they were convicted of killing their parents, Jose and Kitty, in August of 1989. 

The brothers were convicted in 1993 after CourtTV broadcast their trial, during which other media mentions – like Saturday Night Live mocking the brothers for crying as they recounted the sexual abuse they allegedly suffered at the hands of their father – painted the pair as “greedy rich kids” and, more pointedly, callous killers.

In re-examining the influence of various institutions, “Victims or Villains” includes testimony from prosecutor Pam Bozanich, juror Hazel Thornton, sexual abuse survivors and actors Rosie O’Donnell and Corey Feldman, post-conviction attorney Cliff Gardner, Geragos and more.

Geragos spoke with Fox News Digital, explaining his role in the case as the pair’s post-conviction attorney and why he believes the media is one of the institutions that didn’t do the story justice.

“If they [the brothers] were ‘the sisters,’ they wouldn’t have done that,” Geragos said of the media’s mockery, pointing to the famed SNL skit that the attorney called “cringe-inducing.” In delineating between the media in the ‘90s from present, Geragos said “they would never do that today.”

“What about evidence of abuse?” Gardner, another of the brothers’ attorneys, posits in the Fox Nation special. “People have strong opinions, and yet they’re not based on the actual facts. They’re based on their recollections of the press, and the narrative that was run, which was ‘rich Beverly Hills kids kill their parents for money.’”

“It’s ludicrous,” Geragos echoed, in speaking with Fox News Digital. “They were already living in the lap of luxury. It wasn’t like luxury or wealth was aspirational, because they were already wealthy. You don’t get wealthier than Beverly Hills.”

Both attorneys believe the brothers should have been convicted of manslaughter rather than first-degree murder in light of their alleged abuse, which would have carried lighter sentences that the brothers would have finished years ago. 

To date, the brothers have served over 30 years and counting in prison, which is three times the maximum sentence that a voluntary manslaughter charge would have carried.

CONVICTIONS IN MENENDEZ FAMILY MURDERS IN JEOPARDY AFTER NEW LETTER, ABUSE CLAIM BOLSTER BROTHERS’ DEFENSE

In their initial 1993 trial, which became a national sensation, the brothers claimed that their father threatened to kill them if they spoke out about the abuse they were experiencing. Two relatives, including the brothers’ cousin, Andy Cano, claimed that Erik confided in them about the abuse long before Jose and Kitty were killed on Aug. 20, 1989.

The brothers were initially tried separately; prosecutor Pam Bozanich, who appears in the Fox Nation special, had, at the time, argued that “men could not be raped because they lack the necessary equipment to be raped,” according to Yahoo News. Geragos corroborated this, explaining that, in the second trial, the prosecution “mocked” the brothers and said “the abuse didn’t happen.”

“I think people are going to be shocked.”

— Attorney Mark Geragos, in an interview with Fox News Digital

But Geragos believes abuse at the hands of Jose Menendez did, in fact, happen, and that his wife, Kitty, was “an enabler.”

“Kitty had a rule that if Jose was with one of the boys in the bedroom, you couldn’t go down the hall,” the attorney revealed, painting a far different picture than the media had at the time.

Immediately after the killings, the brothers told police that an intruder had killed their parents. In the following months, prosecutors said they began to spend extravagantly on travel, businesses and luxury items.

Erik confessed the killings to his psychologist, Jerome Oziel, who told his then-mistress Judalon Smyth. When Oziel ended the relationship, Smyth told police about the brothers’ involvement in the murders, the Los Angeles Times reported. The brothers were arrested in 1990. 

Both brothers’ trials ended in mistrial when neither jury could decide whether the men were guilty of manslaughter or murder.

In their second trial, Judge Stanley Weisberg limited testimony about the sexual abuse claims and did not allow jurors to vote on manslaughter charges instead of murder charges.

But a letter that Gardner said was written by Erik Menendez to his cousin, Cano, about eight months before the crime in 1988, which was recently unearthed from a storage unit by Cano’s mother, supports the men’s abuse claims.

“I’ve been trying to avoid dad. It’s still happening, Andy, but it’s worse for me now,” reads the letter, in part. “Every night I stay up thinking he might come in. … I’m afraid… He’s crazy. He’s warned me a hundred times about telling anyone, especially Lyle.”

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Roy Rossello, a former member of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, has made claims that also support the brothers’ story. Rossello, now 54, said Jose Menendez, an executive at RCA records at the time, abused him when he was between 14 and 15 years old.

In a sworn affidavit filed in 2023, he said that he went to the Menendez home in the fall of 1983 or 1984. He felt like he had “no control” over his body after drinking a “glass of wine.” Then, Rossello claims, the elder Menendez took him to a room and raped him. The former performer said that the elder Menendez abused him two other times, before and after a performance at Radio City Music Hall.

Gardner, who, alongside Geragos, filed a writ of habeas corpus petition in May 2023, cited both the letter and the affidavit in asserting that the brothers’ convictions should be vacated.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has until April 11 to respond to the petition. 

If the brothers’ convictions are vacated, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will need to decide whether to retry their cases. 

Geragos said he is confident Gascon’s office will respond by the April 11 deadline. He told Fox News Digital that he is, additionally, exploring filing a re-sentencing petition to “time served” for the brothers.

“It’s entirely possible that you see a request [for re-sentencing] prior to April,” Geragos said.

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But the attorney’s efforts aren’t just motivated by wanting to correct a compromised criminal justice system; it’s as much as about spotlighting other failing institutions, like politics and what Geragos calls the “media muck.”

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“The media was mocking the jurors who actually heard the arguments in the first trial, who overwhelmingly voted for manslaughter. Not murder,” Geragos said.

The new Fox Nation series hears directly from one of those jurors.

“For a long time, I didn’t do any interviews. I didn’t talk about the case for 20 years,” Hazel Thornton, a juror in the Menendez brothers’ trial, told Fox Nation. “The people putting together documentaries were, by and large, either prosecution-biased or they were dredging their information up from the internet. I felt like I was on the defensive all the time because of what I experienced in the ’90s from the media.”

When asked if the case had challenged her faith in the American criminal justice system, Thornton answered, “In hindsight, I have my doubts about the justice system, but I have even more doubts about the media in certain circumstances.”

Thornton pointed to the prevailing narrative – what she calls a “common misperception” – surrounding what Jose and Kitty were doing in their final moments. Several sources have promoted and perpetuated the story that the Menendezes were sitting in front of the television eating strawberries and ice cream when their sons burst in and, unprovoked, shot them to death.

Yet, as the Fox Nation special explores, a detective testified at trial that the parents were not eating anything at the time of their deaths, and that no food had been found in the room.

As “Villains and Victims” explores across its four episodes, it might just be one misconception of many.

“I think people are going to be shocked [watching],” Geragos told Fox News Digital.

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To learn more about the case that swept the country and its lasting impact on our culture, stream “Menendez Brothers: Villains or Victims” on Fox Nation today.

To hear more from Mark Geragos, Fox Nation subscribers can also stream “The Menendez Brothers: Monsters or Misunderstood?,” a two-part special consisting of Geragos, Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro, and more.

Fox Nation programs are viewable on-demand and from your mobile device app, but only for Fox Nation subscribers. Go to Fox Nation to start a free trial and watch the extensive library from your favorite Fox Nation personalities.

Fox News’ Christina Coulter contributed to this report.

Urgent warning to weed smokers as habit increases risk of silent killer

As marijuana legalization heats up the competition among vendors nationwide, some experts are warning about the sneaky side effects of smoking it.

Daily weed smoking could cause complications for heart health, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) analyzed CDC data from 434,104 respondents to examine how cannabis use was associated with cardiovascular events.

MARIJUANA USE LINKED TO INCREASED ASTHMA RISK IN YOUTH, STUDY SAYS: ‘WORRISOME’ HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

The impact of cannabis on the risks of having coronary heart disease, acute myocardial infarction and stroke were compared between those in the general adult population and those who had never smoked tobacco.

Of those surveyed, about 4% were daily cannabis smokers, 7.1% were non-daily users and 88.9% had not used any marijuana in the past 30 days.

Daily cannabis users had a 25% increased risk of heart attack and a 42% increased risk of stroke, the study found.

Cannabis use was associated with “adverse cardiovascular outcomes, with heavier use (more days per month) associated with higher odds of adverse outcomes,” the researchers stated.

MARIJUANA USE AMONG AMERICA’S SENIOR CITIZENS RISES AS INTEREST IN THE DRUG IS ‘REIGNITED’ TODAY

Study co-author Dr. Abra Jeffers of Massachusetts General Hospital shared her reaction to the study findings with Fox News Digital.

“People think marijuana is harmless. It is not,” she said. “We found that using marijuana (mostly by smoking) is as bad as smoking tobacco cigarettes.”

“While we reported the results for daily use, any use increases risk — with more days of use per month associated with higher risk.”

Recreational cannabis use is currently permitted in 24 states, according to a UCSF press release.

As of 2019, nearly 4% of Americans reported using cannabis daily, while 18% said they use it annually. 

HEART HEALTH RISK FACTORS FOR WOMEN OVER AGE 50: ‘DON’T IGNORE NEW SYMPTOMS,’ EXPERTS WARN

Senior study author Salomeh Keyhani, M.D., professor of medicine at UCSF, wrote in the same press release that “cannabis use is increasing in both prevalence and frequency, while conventional tobacco smoking is declining.”

She added, “Cannabis use by itself might, over time, become the more important risk factor.”

University of Colorado School of Medicine professor Dr. Robert Page serves as the American Heart Association chair for the statement on these findings.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Page said the study is “unique” in that it looked at cannabis smokers separately from tobacco users.

“Cannabis is not an innocent bystander when it comes to cardiovascular health,” he said.

NEW JERSEY TWINS RECEIVE MATCHING HEART SURGERIES AFTER MARFAN SYNDROME DIAGNOSIS

He emphasized the importance of the “safety signals” that have emerged from the study.

This includes the need for patients to be “more transparent” about their cannabis use with their health care providers, while providers should be “nonjudgmental.”

He added, “There needs to be shared decision-making between the patient and the provider with regard to cannabis use. Patient-centered, non-judgmental conversations are what is really needed.”

This is especially important if a patient has an underlying heart condition or has experienced a cardiovascular event while using cannabis without disclosing it.

What was “scary” about this study, Page said, is that most respondents were “fairly healthy.”

The largest segment of daily weed smokers ranged from ages 18 to 34.

“Cannabis is not an innocent bystander when it comes to cardiovascular health.”

“Those are the individuals who typically don’t go to their primary care doctor because they’re young and they think they’re invincible,” he said. “And that’s what alarms me.”

Many of Page’s patients, who have the ability to smoke weed freely in the state of Colorado, assume that because it’s a natural substance, it “has to be safe,” he said.

DR. DREW WARNS OVER MARIJUANA STUDIES REVEALING ‘EXTREMELY WORRISOME’ DATA’

“That is the farthest from the truth,” he told Fox News Digital. “Cannabinoids have what we call psychotropic effects that affect your perception … and mental status. And like prescription medications that are psychotropic, they carry side effects.”

Page added, “We do need to get out to the public the fact that there is a potential for these types of cardiovascular events and people need to make an informed decision.”

The doctor said he’s concerned that smoking weed will repeat the history of smoking cigarettes — the dangers of which took a “really long time to cement into public health.”

Other cannabis consumption methods, such as edibles, were not a focus in this study, Page noted, adding that there is “not a lot of data” on the safety of those products.

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For people who use medical marijuana under the supervision of a physician, Page reiterated the importance of weighing the risks and benefits with the medical provider.

“Adult consumers in states with modern cannabis laws have the option to legally choose the safer substance.”

In a statement sent to Fox News Digital, the National Cannabis Industry Association pointed out that another study published by the American Heart Association in January 2024 found “no significant correlation between cannabis use and cardiovascular disease-related deaths over the last two decades, while alcohol was linked to 65% of deaths.”

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The organization said, “This report, along with many others, shows that while cannabis use is not entirely benign, it is clearly safer than alcohol.”

It added, “Adult consumers in states with modern cannabis laws have the option to legally choose the safer substance, and it’s time for federal law to catch up to those state laws.”

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Woman rejects ‘worst name ever’ for child, pleads with others for ‘sanity’ check

In a post that’s gone viral — with over 6,300 reactions and nearly 4,000 comments in a matter of hours on Sunday — a woman on Reddit asked other people for their help in solving a personal dilemma.

She titled her post, “AITA for rejecting the worst name ever for our offspring?”

“So, my husband (38M) and I (36F) are expecting our first child, a bouncing baby girl due in a few months,” she wrote this weekend on Reddit’s “AITA” page (“Am I the a–hole”). 

THESE SPRING-INSPIRED BABY NAMES ARE RISING IN POPULARITY, FROM LILY TO MAGNOLA AND BEYOND

“We were both over the moon when we found out the gender, but now things have gotten … complicated, to say the least,” she said.

She said that when “we first started talking about names, the ‘boy name’ was immediately decided: Stuart Jr., after my husband. No problem there — it’s a classic name and carries family meaning. But, for a girl, things got murky.”

She added, “My husband suggested Stuarta.”

The user named “Beginning_Date1924” went on, “Apparently, his logic is that since Stuart ends in ‘t,’ we can just add an ‘a’ to make it feminine.”

THE SURPRISING BABY NAMES THAT MAY BE GOING EXTINCT IN 2024

The mom-to-be continued, “I tried explaining why that doesn’t quite work, how it sounds more like a furniture brand than a human name, how she’d be endlessly correcting people and explaining its origin.”

 “It sounds more like a furniture brand than a human name.”

But she said her husband is adamant, however — insisting the name would “honor” him “while giving our daughter a unique name.”

LOS ANGELES-BASED BABY NAME CONSULTANT GOES VIRAL FOR SHOWING PARENTS HOW TO MODERNIZE ‘OLD-LADY’ NAMES

The Reddit poster said she’s already tried suggesting some alternatives.

She said she’s tried including “feminine names that maybe share a similar sound or meaning to Stuart, names he’s mentioned liking in the past, [or] even just going back to the drawing board entirely.”

Still no luck. 

“He’s fixated,” she wrote, about the name he likes. 

“Is there any compromise I haven’t considered? Help a soon-to-be mama out!”

The woman added in her post, “I love my husband dearly, and I understand wanting to honor family. But I can’t imagine subjecting our daughter to a lifetime of awkward stares and endless questions about her ‘unusual’ name.”

TRENDIEST BABY NAMES OF 2023 REVEALED AS LIAM IS KNOCKED OFF NO. 1 SPOT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS

She said as well, “I also worry about potential bullying and the impact it could have on her self-esteem.”

She asked others on the platform, “Am I the jerk for refusing to budge on Stuarta? Is there any compromise I haven’t considered? Help a soon-to-be mama out!”

She added in a summary for others, “Husband wants to name our daughter after himself in a really, really bad way. I think it’s terrible and will set up [our daughter] for a lifetime of awkwardness.”

She also said she was “looking forward” to other people’s thoughts — and hoping for “some sanity checks” as well.

BABY NAMES THAT RULED THE MILLENNIUM: KNOW ANY JACOBS OR EMILYS?

Fox News Digital reached out to a psychologist for thoughts on the couple’s challenge.

Said Dr. Kathy Nickerson, a licensed clinical psychologist based in California, “[The woman’s] feelings are valid and [the husband’s] feelings are valid. She is completely entitled to not want to name her daughter Stuarta and he is entitled to feel like that would be a lovely name that honors him.”

“This is a name that they will all have to live with for a long time.”

Nickerson added, “The critical thing in situations like this is to honor the other person’s feelings by validating what you hear that makes sense and offer some type of compromise.”

She also said in emailed comments to Fox News Digital, “Perhaps they could name the baby Arta and the inside family story could be that this is a derivation of Stuart. They could also bring in Stuart as the middle name.”

OLD HOLLYWOOD-INSPIRED BABY NAMES MAY BE RISING IN POPULARITY: ‘NOSTALGIC TREND’

Either way, she said, “I’d encourage both of them to compromise without agreeing to something they feel strongly against. This is a name that they will all have to live with for a long time and it’s important for the relationship, as well as for the baby, that is a name that doesn’t rub either one of them the wrong way.”

Comments, meanwhile, continued to come in from others on the online site.

The mom-to-be is not wrong for the way she feels, wrote “pollythepony1993” in the top-upvoted post on the site.

“Naming a child is a ‘two yes’ and ‘one no’ situation,” this poster wrote. “Means you need two times yes for a name to be it and one no to make sure that name is not the name you choose. Works both ways, if you ask me.”

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Added this individual, “Also, I am not a fan of naming the first name of a child after a parent. Because then the child will always be compared to their parents and need to fight harder to be their own person.”

The user also said, “I have less problems with the middle name being connected to someone else (parents, grandparents) because that is only a formal name and not used in everyday business.”

“Whose last name will the baby get? His as well?”

The user further asked, “Why is he dead set on Stuarta? I mean, there are so many beautiful names but he only wants to name his daughter after him? Why not after the mother? … It is a bit misogynistic to only want to name the baby after the father. Whose last name will the baby get? His as well?”

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Said this same person, “Maybe you could find a way, like name the baby with the same first letter as your husband (Stella, Sally, etc). Make sure the baby has a middle name (if she shares the same last name as her father). Because it will be annoying for simple things like mail and stuff.”

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