Fox News 2024-03-29 16:03:34


Appeals court makes major ruling on mail-in ballots ahead of 2024 presidential election

A Pennsylvania federal appeals court has ruled that mail-in ballots received without accurate handwritten dates on the outside of envelopes are not valid, a ruling that will have a significant impact on this year’s elections in the key battleground state. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled 2-1 on Wednesday, overturning a lower court’s November decision.

The lower court had ruled that even without the proper dates, mail-in ballots should be counted if received on time. The court said that “trivial paperwork” errors disenfranchised voters and violated the Materiality Provision of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that immaterial errors or omissions should not be used to prevent voting.

KEY ISSUES AHEAD OF PENNSYLVANIA’S GOP PRIMARY INCLUDE ELECTION INTEGRITY, MAIL-IN VOTING LAW

But in Wednesday’s federal appeals court’s opinion, Judge Thomas Ambro wrote that under a state legislature passed law, mail-in voters must write the date on their envelopes in order to make their vote effective.

“The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania unanimously held this ballot-casting rule is mandatory; thus, failure to comply renders a ballot invalid under Pennsylvania law,” Ambro wrote.

The Materiality Provision “only applies when the State is determining who may vote,” Ambro wrote.

Under a state law passed in 2019, Pennsylvania voters must “fill out, date and sign the declaration printed on [the] envelope” before returning their ballot.

Proponents of mail-in ballots argue it makes voting more convenient, as well as being easier for senior citizens and people with disabilities to vote. However, some Republicans say that the process raises serious election integrity issues, while former President Donald Trump has blasted the system as “totally corrupt” and blames it, in part, for his 2020 election loss. 

In Pennsylvania, Democrats have been far more likely to vote by mail than Republicans.

AHEAD OF 2024 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, SWING STATE PENNSYLVANIA SETS UP ELECTION SECURITY TASK FORCE

“This is a crucial victory for election integrity and voter confidence in the Keystone State and nationwide,” Michael Whatley, the chair of the Republican National Committee said in a statement.

“Pennsylvanians deserve to feel confident in the security of their mail ballots, and this Third Circuit ruling roundly rejects unlawful left-wing attempts to count undated or incorrectly dated mail ballots.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which helped represent groups and voters who challenged the date mandate, said that voters will lose as a result of the ruling.

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“If this ruling stands, thousands of Pennsylvania voters could lose their vote over a meaningless paperwork error,” said Mike Lee, the executive director of the ACLU in Pennsylvania.

“The ballots in question in this case come from voters who are eligible and who met the submission deadline. In passing the Civil Rights Act, Congress put a guardrail in place to be sure that states don’t erect unnecessary barriers that disenfranchise voters. It’s unfortunate that the court failed to recognize that principle.”

In the 2022 midterms, more than 7,600 mailed ballots in 12 counties were tossed because their outer envelopes lacked dates or had incorrect dates, according to the decision.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

ESPN star rips Democrats for trying to cripple Trump with court cases

During an interview with entrepreneur and podcast host Patrick Bet-David, ESPN host Stephen A. Smith admitted he is “ashamed” of the Democratic Party and complained about the “lawfare” they’re waging against former President Trump.

“What’s all the lawfare about?” he asked on the “PBD Podcast” on Wednesday, complaining that Democrats can’t just beat Trump in a traditional election. 

“One charge after another, you got Letitia James … You’ve got the folks in Georgia with Fani Willis and others. You’ve got, you know, the Mar-A-Lago situation. You got … I mean, we’re really, really, really going to have a trial about hush money to a former porn star? That’s what we’re doing? That’s what we’re doing now?” he asked.

JONATHAN DILLER SHOOTING: NYPD SERGEANTS’ UNION TELLS ANTI-POLICE DEMOCRATS TO STAY AWAY FROM FUNERAL

Smith, a Democrat voter and vocal critic of the former president, slammed his party for not being able to take a chunk out of Trump, who is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, despite everything his political opponents have thrown at him since his first run for office.

Marveling at that fact, he stated, “I’m like, are you kidding me? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that anybody should be above the law at any time. What I am saying is he’s the President of the United States, the former President of the United States. You talk to us about Russian collusion, you talk to us about a bevy of things over the years. Man is still running.”

“Four indictments, 91 counts and the man gets more campaign dollars, climbing in the polls, okay?” he continued, adding, “And last time I checked, he still ain’t been in cuffs, he still ain’t been put behind bars. And he’s the presumptive GOP nominee.”

“You can’t stop him. You cannot stop him,” he declared to his co-hosts. 

SEAN HANNITY: RFK JR. IS NOW PEELING OFF A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF SUPPORT FROM BIDEN

The rebukes for Democrats kept coming from Smith, who said, “And so for me, I find myself ashamed of the Democratic Party for their lack of a competitive fervor.”

“You had since 2016 to come up with somebody else, and you still can’t do it? That is pathetic. It is pathetic,” he said. “And there is no excuse for it whatsoever.”

Grilling the party even harder, he exclaimed, “It is 2024. In eight years, you should have been able to find somebody that could compete with this man other than a soon 82-year-old incumbent.”

After Smith finished his rebuke of the party, Bet-David asked him if he still wants Democrats to win in 2024. Smith replied it was a “fair” question, and admitted it’s “hard to figure out.”

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Tish Cyrus admits there are ‘issues’ in her new marriage amid family drama

Tish Cyrus is working through “issues” with husband Dominic Purcell, admitting at times that their personalities clash. 

“The growth I truly have had with him is crazy,” the music manager said on her “Sorry We’re Stoned” podcast with daughter Brandi, 36. “I had to really grow, because I am so easily offended.”

Tish revealed that the “Prison Break” alum, whom she married last year following her divorce from country star Billy Ray Cyrus, “is just very blunt, like there is no warm and fuzzy – unless I’m upset or sad or something, of course, he’s going to coddle me for a second.” 

She said, as an adopted only child, “I was coddled a lot, so I kind of have needed that, but that’s just not who he is.” 

MILEY CYRUS’ FAMILY SCANDAL AFTER MOM TISH MARRIED DAUGHTER NOAH’S FORMER FLING: WHO’S WHO

She added, “This is where I’ve grown. I feel like instead now of me getting so offended – because I respect and love him – that we have conversations, and instead of like getting so offended about it and taking it personally, just letting him have an opinion, I’ve never been good at that.” 

She continued, “These are definitely issues, but also because I love him, that I’m dealing with.” 

Tish and Purcell began dating in 2022 and tied the knot last August. 

She told spiritual teacher Jill Wintersteen, who was a guest on their Thursday episode, “It is crazy because I’m a Taurus, and he is an Aquarius, and every single thing that I read said it was like don’t even do it. It is the absolute worst pairing.” 

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She admitted, “I was so scared when I first met Dom, my husband, which was not that long ago,” as Wintersteen explained that “anybody can get along with anybody as long as they’re reaching for the higher energies.”

The couple’s relationship timeline has been under scrutiny recently after a source revealed to Fox News Digital that Purcell first dated Tish’s 24-year-old daughter, Noah. 

As the source explained, Noah and Purcell saw each other on and off, but they had cut ties completely by the time Tish started seeing him. She was aware of his previous relationship with Noah when she decided to pursue her own romance with him.

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Tish seemed to address the gossip on an earlier episode of the podcast while they were discussing rumors with guest Wiz Khalifa. 

Cyrus acknowledged that there was chatter going around about her, “but we’re not going to talk about it.”

A source also told Fox News Digital that Tish had hired security to keep Noah away from their wedding, which was held at daughter Miley Cyrus’ Malibu home. 

Billy Ray also married his much-younger wife, singer Firerose, last September in a small ceremony.

Tish and Billy Ray married in 1993, and she filed for divorce in 2022. 

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Their divorce has also seemingly caused a rift between Billy Ray and Miley, with whom he costarred on “Hannah Montana” when she was younger, notably when she snubbed him during her recent Grammy win. 

Former Obama adviser admits Biden doesn’t look great raising millions amid cop funeral

David Axelrod suggested on Thursday that the money President Biden raised from his swanky Radio City fundraiser will likely mean more in the long run than the negative optics of his event contrasted with former President Trump attending the funeral of a slain New York police officer.

In a post on X, “Defending Democracy Together,” founding director Bill Kristol labeled Thursday as an “unfortunate day politically for the Democrats.”

“Biden does a fancy NYC fundraiser in the midst of chaotic left-wing street protests–looks like limousine liberalism plus the breakdown of law and order. And Trump attends the wake of a slain NYPD police officer on Long Island,” Kristol wrote.

Axelrod, a former senior advisor to former President Barack Obama, admitted that Kristol’s perspective was “not wrong” but went on to defend Biden.

BIDEN MINGLES WITH OBAMA, CLINTON AT RITZY NYC FUNDRAISER ON SAME DAY FALLEN COP IS MOURNED JUST 40 MILES AWAY

“But in the big scheme of things, the $25 million will probably mean more than the look,” Axelrod replied.

The star-studded fundraiser hosted by Biden in New York City was interrupted multiple times by protesters inside and outside the event, who clashed with NYPD officers.

The fundraiser reportedly raised $25 million and included an armchair discussion with Biden, former President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton. The Q&A was moderated by left-wing CBS comedian Stephen Colbert.

Musical guests included Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo and Lea Michele.

Meanwhile, Trump attended a wake for New York City Police Officer Jonathan Diller at a Massapequa Park, Long Island funeral home, some 40 miles from Manhattan.

SUSPECTS IN SHOOTING DEATH OF NYPD OFFICER JONATHAN DILLER IDENTIFIED, HAVE LENGTHY RECORDS

“Such a sad, sad event. Such a horrible thing. And it’s happening all too often and we’re just not going to let it happen,” Trump said. “We need law and order.”

Diller, 31, a father to a one-year-old boy, was killed Monday after Guy Rivera, 34, allegedly opened fire and killed him during a routine traffic stop in Far Rockaway, Queens.

During a press gaggle on Air Force One en route to New York, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre didn’t address why Biden missed the wake but said the president “grieves for them (the NYPD) and honors their sacrifice.”

Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Andrea Vacchiano and Sarah Rumpf-Whitten contributed to this report.

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

Democrats want to tax your home, your retirement, your everything

The Democrats are telegraphing their next financial move: they want to tax your wealth. From provisions of President Joe Biden’s budget proposal to Massachusetts Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren’s re-proposal of a wealth tax only for the wealthiest, it’s clear that we need to remain vigilant against this nefarious obsession. 

Last fiscal year, the U.S. took in as “revenue” (primarily in taxes) north of $4.4 trillion. This is a staggering amount that is hard to get your head wrapped around, so let me provide some context. This amount is more than the entire GDP of every single country on earth other than the U.S. and China.   

With $4.4 trillion in revenue, if the government had kept their spending levels equal to FY 2019 spending, the U.S.’s yearly financial position would be about break even; FY 2018 spending levels would put us in a surplus.  

IRS SAYS 940,000 PEOPLE HAVE NOT CLAIMED EXPIRING 2020 TAX REFUNDS TOTALING OVER $1B

The reality is that the government does not need any more money. It does, however, need to be severely restructured and downsized.  

Despite that, the government keeps spending trillions of dollars in excess of the trillions they take in each year and are looking for more ways to pay for their spending wish list. 

When entities get bigger, there should be some economies of scale — in layman’s terms, getting more bang for your buck. With our government, as it gets larger, we use more buck for very little bang. While their spending has created an unsustainable fiscal path and a severely fractured financial foundation, you and your family are not made better off by this spending.  

As spending has increased, the safety of our country has been threatened by a porous border, which has let more than 7 million illegals into the U.S. under Biden’s administration alone. Dangerous drugs are also making their way into the country, accounting for more and more deaths. Our infrastructure remains in disrepair. 

Financially, the policies enacted by the government and the Fed have continued to destroy your purchasing power, with Americans suffering through the effects of inflation that reached a 40+-year high in the last couple of years and continues to run above the targeted level. 

All the while, the government continues to rack up debt, and it was estimated late last year by the Heritage Foundation that 40% of personal income taxes are being consumed just by interest payments on that debt.  

Today, we don’t have a financial cushion for any emergencies. And as the government continues to spend irresponsibly, they will continue to erode the value of what you earn. 

In any business around the world, management outcomes like this would not only get the individuals fired, but they would likely be so ridiculed they wouldn’t be able to find another job in their industry. 

Yet, the same people keep getting put into government positions.  

With the U.S. financial situation being precarious and the politicians’ desire to gain more power at your expense increasing, the money needs to come from somewhere. So, Biden, Warren, Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, et al., are trying to float the wealth tax again to see if they can trick people by saying it is targeted at the wealthy. 

It’s reminiscent of when the government wanted to monitor and report $600 Venmo and Etsy transactions “for the billionaires.” 

The reality is that the middle class has trillions of dollars in hard-earned wealth tied up in 401(k)s, pensions, homes, businesses and other assets. That’s money that politicians see and are salivating over to expand their government directives. 

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They hope that they can pass off lies like the White House’s assertion that the wealthiest pay single-digit tax rates (based on their own misleading study of unrealized wealth estimates, not income). And they want to ignore that, per recent data, the wealthiest 1% paid almost 46% of all federal income taxes paid and the top 10% paid nearly 76%. Their class warfare propaganda trumps basic financial literacy and common sense. 

In any business around the world, management outcomes like this would not only get the individuals fired, but they would likely be so ridiculed they wouldn’t be able to find another job in their industry. Yet, the same people keep getting put into government positions.  

If they can get the population to agree to tax wealth for the billionaires, it will soon spread to the middle class, much like the way the income tax was only supposed to be a temporary tax aimed at the wealthiest Americans. How did that work out? 

Not to mention that if those who own businesses are forced to sell their ownership stakes to pay the government, the entire stock market could collapse. But, as we noted, finance and economics are not their strong suits. 

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Don’t concede your property rights, which are your natural rights and what the prosperity of individuals in America is based upon. 

Creating wealth is an infinite opportunity. Redistributing wealth is a finite exercise.  

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Speaker Johnson calls out Biden’s ‘gross abuse of power’ after meeting with Gov. Abbott

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., met with Texas Governor Greg Abbott on the latter’s home turf on Thursday, where they discussed the ongoing border crisis and the House GOP’s response to it.

The meeting came hours after Johnson revealed that the House of Representatives would send articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate on April 10. 

“By opening the border to criminals, traffickers, and cartels, the Biden administration is actively endangering the American people, our families, ranchers, and law enforcement. When the federal government fails to perform its constitutional duty to protect our borders, states have no choice but to fill that role,” Johnson said in a statement after the meeting.

CALIFORNIA BORDER OFFICERS FIND THOUSANDS OF POUNDS OF METH IN SHIPMENT OF CARROTS

“Right now, we’re witnessing a gross abuse of power as Biden’s Department of Justice uses the judicial system to go after the state of Texas for attempting to safeguard its citizens. Texans, and all Americans, deserve better.”

Johnson expressed support for Abbott’s efforts to secure the border between Texas and Mexico, the speaker’s office said, and that the two discussed ways to “hold the Biden administration accountable.”

The Louisiana Republican also briefed Abbott on the House readying to transmit the impeachment articles to the Senate, Johnson’s office said.

Abbott, in turn, urged Johnson to “pass border security legislation that will help stop illegal crossings between ports of entry along the southern border,” the governor’s office said.

ICE ARRESTS 216 ILLEGAL MIGRANTS WITH COCAINE, FENTANYL AND HEROIN CONVICTIONS

“The Governor also implored Speaker Johnson to support the state’s ongoing fight against President Biden’s attacks on Texas’ historic border mission and his refusal to secure the border,” Abbott’s office said.

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House for comment on the meeting.

Abbott has been in a standoff with President Biden for months over differing views on how to handle the migrant crisis at the border.

The White House has criticized Abbott and Texas officials for actions carried out under Operation Lone Star, which has included putting up razor wire at the border and transporting migrants to Democrat-run cities like New York and Chicago. Texas officials have accused the White House, however, of not doing enough to stop the migrant crisis on the federal level.

MEXICAN PRESIDENT SAYS THE ‘FLOW OF MIGRANTS WILL CONTINUE’ UNLESS THE US MEETS HIS DEMANDS 

House Republicans have similarly pressured Biden over the border crisis, repeatedly hammering him and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for failing to take up a strict border security bill, H.R.2, which Democrats have dismissed as a nonstarter.

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Johnson sent a letter to Schumer on Thursday informing him that House impeachment managers would send the impeachment articles to his chamber on April 10 and urged him to hold a trial “expeditiously.”

“As Speaker and impeachment managers of the U.S. House of Representatives, we write to inform you that we will present to you upon the Senate’s return, on April 10, 2024, the duly passed articles of impeachment regarding Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. We urge you to schedule a trial of the matter expeditiously,” Johnson wrote alongside the 11 Republicans selected as impeachment managers.

World Series champ’s new project honors his late Marine son in a special way

On June 8, 2022, five U.S. Marines who were part of Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, died in a military aircraft accident in California that involved malfunctioning engines.

Capt. John J. Sax, USMC, was one of those aviators. In his honor, in 2023, the Sax family established the Captain John J. Sax Family Foundation.

“My son was just the greatest person I ever knew,” Stephen Sax, a former MLB player and coach, told Fox News Digital. “My son has always been my hero. He always wanted to be an aviator, and my son really had to struggle through different parts to become that aviator.”

While aspiring to become a jet fighter in the Navy, John blew out his elbow. Following his recovery, he was hit with another roadblock that resulted in treatment for an astigmatism. Again, John filed back in line for the Marine Corps. In 2020, John received his Marine “Wings of Gold.”

MARINES KILLED IN MILITARY AIRCRAFT CRASH IN CALIFORNIA HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED

“The essence of the foundation, or the mission of the foundation, is to help other aviators, people that have a quest to become an aviator, a love for flight, to accomplish that goal,” Sax said. “We’re going to help those same people that face obstacles in their quest to become a great aviator.”

The foundation funds grants and scholarships to students and schools upholding the foundation’s mission of supporting and producing successful aviators.

In an effort to raise money for the cause, Sax partnered with MLB to digitize a painting, “Babe and the Kids,” by award-winning sports artist Opie Otterstad. The painting depicts Babe Ruth on a barnstorming tour in 1922. In it, he is tightly surrounded by smiling young children.

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The youngsgters in the painting are 58 former Major League Baseball players, 56 of whom are Hall of Fame inductees.

“He supplanted, or changed out the faces and painted in Hall of Famers when they were little boys,” Sax said.

In the lower right-hand corner, observers will find Nolan Ryan, a former MLB pitcher and 1999 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.

Sax, with lots of help, worked for two years to unveil the digitized Otterstad art and mint it on the blockchain as an NFT. An NFT is permanently and immutably minted onto a blockchain.

“It can never be altered,” Sax said. “There’s never going to be an addition to more than there is now.”

The Sax foundation has 200 NFTs available. However, only 150 of them are for sale.

The 53rd NFT is to be given to Don Drysdale’s daughter Drew. Drysdale, “Big D,” was a former pitcher for the Dodgers. In 1984, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and, that same year, his No. 53 was retired by the LA team.

The Dodgers will receive the 42nd NFT by Sax and the foundation in honor of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in the MLB.

In the rendering, users can click on Ryan, Drysdale, Robinson or any of the other children and tune into a few minutes of highlights from their time as MLB stars.

JACKIE ROBINSON’S 100TH BIRTHDAY – HIS FAITH IN GOD WAS THE SECRET INGREDIENT TO HIS SUCCESS

“If somebody says ‘Well, tell me real quick about it,’ I can’t tell you real quick about it,” Sax said. “There’s too much to it; there’s so much history.”

Otterstad spent eight years completing the piece. He visited local courthouses and athlete’s families to retrieve the necessary permissions to paint the men.

Through his journey to narrate this piece of history, Otterstad was unable to locate a childhood photograph of Juan Marichal, a former MLB pitcher from the Dominican Republic and a 1983 Hall of Fame inductee. Instead of replacing him, he used a childhood photograph of his daughter, who Sax says was a “dead ringer” for her dad.

“They did the same thing with Roy Campanella,” Sax said of the former MLB catcher. “They painted a picture of his little boy, who was again a dead ringer for his dad when he was that age.”

The NFT of former all-stars can be seen on a screen as meager as an Apple Watch or as wide-reaching as the SoFi Stadium jumbotron that spans 129 yards and will still conserve its clarity.

“The reason that the NFT makes it so valuable is because it keeps the exclusivity and rarity intact,” Sax said. “If there was 10,000 of these prints that were out there, and they were just everywhere, anybody could say, ‘You know, we could get that printed whenever we wanted.’”

Minted NFTs are often compared to valuable trading cards. In terms of high grade baseball cards that command equal value, Sax believes this NFT compares to former Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge or megastar Shohei Ohtani.

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The cost of each NFT is $15,000 or crypto and is accompanied by decision-making rights and exclusive invitations to foundation events.

“Anyone that buys one of these is going to be teammates with us,” Sax said.

Seventy-five percent of proceeds will go directly to the cause.

“We want to carry his legacy and love for flight forward and, through this project, we’re going to be able to do that,” Sax said.

More than 400K popular SUVs are at risk of rolling away while in park

Kia is recalling more than 427,000 vehicles in the U.S. that have the potential to move while they are in park. 

The warning, posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, covers all Telluride vehicles manufactured between 2020 and 2023 as well as some 2024 models. 

NHTSA warned that the intermediate shaft and right front driveshaft on the vehicles “may not be fully engaged due to suspected improper assembly by the supplier.” 

MORE THAN 3.7M CARS ON THE ROAD HAVE ‘PARK OUTSIDE’ RECALLS, CARFAX SAYS

Over time, the “partial engagement can cause damage to the intermediate shaft splines” which could “result in unintended vehicle movement while in park if the parking brake is not engaged,” according to NHTSA.  

GM RECALLING 820,000 PICKUP TRUCKS OVER TAILGATE ISSUE

The recall was initiated following a “review of vehicle and supplier production records,” according to regulators. 

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Customers who are looking for information about their specific vehicle will be referred to Kia’s Customer Care Center or a Kia dealer. 

This marks the latest in a growing list of recalls across the auto industry. It comes shortly after Kia America recalled 48,232 vehicles, alongside Hyundai, for damaged charging units.  

FOX Business reached out to Kia for comment on the latest recall.

Former MLB catcher says Ohtani’s gambling controversy isn’t ‘adding up’

Shohei Ohtani was adamant that he never bet on baseball, or sports in general, nor did he ever willingly pay a bookie, but not everyone is buying that story.

Ohtani claims that his now-former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, stole money from his bank accounts in order to gamble, but that came after Mizuhara said that Ohtani had openly helped him pay off gambling debts.

Mizuhara has since admitted he lied in his original interview to ESPN, and Ohtani continues to say that Mizuahara was “stealing money and telling lies.”

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But former MLB catcher A.J. Pierzynski says the story stinks of suspiciousness.

“First of all, I want to give the benefit of the doubt to Shohei, because he’s an incredible talent. But . . . I just don’t know how you can have multiple large deposits taken out of your account,” Pierzynsky told Outkick’s Dan Dakich. “I know Shohei probably wasn’t watching it every day, but he’s got people that watch that stuff. You don’t think there was an accountant that would’ve noticed, ‘Hey, by the way, you’ve had nine $500,000 deposits go out? Nine of them?’ One, maybe you’re like, ‘OK, we missed something.’ But nine of them for $4.5 million? That’s where it gets a little weird to me. . . . “

Ohtani is not necessarily in a rare category, the two-time All-Star says: “I know plenty of guys that have gotten money taken from them, because they give access to things they shouldn’t give access to.” 

But that usually comes from someone who actually works with money, “like a financial guy or an agent that has access to their finances and changes some numbers,” Pierzynski says.

“But for me, with Shohei, an interpreter who was his best friend. And then, the other thing that is weird is the day this all comes out, he’s in the dugout like ‘Hey buddy, we’re pals. Let’s go out to dinner.’ And then all of a sudden, right after the game, they tell you ‘No, this guy stole $4.5 million from you without you knowing?’ The circumstances don’t add up.”

Ohtani said he had not learned of Mizuhara’s gambling until the team’s series in Seoul, yet Mizuhara “has been telling everybody around that he has been communicating with me on this account to my representatives, to the team, and that has not been true,” Ohtani said.

“When we went back to the hotel one to one, that was when I found out he had a massive debt,” Ohtani said in his statement earlier this week. “It was revealed to me during that meeting that Ippei admitted he was sending money using my account to the bookmaker. At that moment, obviously it was an absurd thing that was happening, and I contacted my representatives at that point.

“When I was finally able to talk to my representatives, that’s when my representatives found out Ippei has been lying the whole time, and that’s when I started contacting the Dodgers and my lawyers. The Dodgers and the lawyers at that moment found out also as well they had been lied to. My lawyers recommended that, since this is theft and fraud, we have the proper authorities handle this matter.”

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Major League Baseball is investigating the matter. Mizuhara had been Ohtani’s personal translator since breaking into MLB in 2018 with the Los Angeles Angels. They were inseparable, as Mizuhara would even catch Ohtani’s bullpen sessions and play catch with him in the outfield before games.

Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.

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