breaking news


Judge denies bond for accused NSA leaker

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 11:33 PM

June 8, 2017 Augusta - Reality Leigh Winner leaves Federal Justice Center after her bond hearing on Thursday, June 8, 2017. U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps denied her release on bond Thursday. He said the nature of the crime, the weight of the evidence, the defendants history and the potential danger to the community weighed against her release. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 8, 2017 Augusta - Reality Leigh Winner leaves Federal Justice Center after her bond hearing on Thursday, June 8, 2017. U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps denied her release on bond Thursday. He said the nature of the crime, the weight of the evidence, the defendants history and the potential danger to the community weighed against her release. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A federal judge in Augusta, Georgia, on Thursday denied Reality Winner’s request to be released from jail pending her March 19 trial in the National Security Agency leak investigation. 

>> Read more trending news

Winner, 25, the first accused leaker to be prosecuted by the Trump administration, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of leaking an NSA report about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to The Intercept, an online news publication. 

In his eight-page order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps said it’s possible the former Air Force linguist could flee the country and harm national security if she were freed. He said her own writings show she hates the United States and has plotted against the government, adding she admires former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. 

“By her own words and actions, defendant has painted a disturbing self-portrait of an American with years of national service and access to classified information who hates the United States and desires to damage national security on the same scale as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden,” Epps wrote. “The nature and seriousness of the danger she poses to our nation is high.” 

>> RELATED: Feds: NSA leak suspect wrote of wanting to ‘burn the White House down’

Epps also appeared to tip his hand when he wrote the evidence against Winner in the case is “strong.” 

“During her initial interview with law enforcement, defendant admitted she leaked classified information to a news outlet,” Epps wrote. “Defendant also made damning admissions regarding the same in recorded jail phone conversations with her mother and sister. The circumstantial evidence corroborates defendant’s admissions.” 

Last month, Winner’s attorneys argued she should be released from jail pending her trial because new information had surfaced that weakens the government’s case for keeping her behind bars. They said in their court filing that her detention “is manifestly unjust, contrary to law, and not in accordance with the presumption of liberty.”
>> RELATED: Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner seeks release from jail

“We’re obviously disappointed by the ruling,” Titus Nichols, one of Winner’s attorneys, said. “However, this will not stop us from continuing to fight for Reality as we move forward.”

Winner’s parents objected to the judge’s ruling in statements they issued through the Stand With Reality support group late Thursday evening.

“I am truly heartbroken and crushed,” said her mother, Billie Winner-Davis. “I am disappointed in the court’s decision and believe it is unfair. Her service to the country, and every community she has ever lived in, should have been weighed.”

Family given house after losing their home in fire

Published: Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 3:27 AM

File photo.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Scott Barbour/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)(Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

A family whose house burned, during which the father also suffered burns while saving his son and sister from the flames, were gifted a new house Saturday.

>> Read more trending news

Ronald Warren Williamson III suffered third-degree burns in the November fire, according to WTVG

The family received enough votes through a real estate company contest which gave a house to the winner.

"We're just very fortunate for everybody in the community for the way they've all come together," mother Stacey Kennedy told WTVG. "It's just amazing."

WWE's Vince McMahon to give football another shot, may bring back XFL

Published: Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 1:26 AM

12 Jul 2000: Vince McMahon talks during the XFL Press Conference at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Tom Hauck  / Allsport via Getty Images)
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
12 Jul 2000: Vince McMahon talks during the XFL Press Conference at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Tom Hauck / Allsport via Getty Images)(Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

Vince McMahon, owner and creative head of World Wrestling Entertainment, is preparing a new professional football league.

>> Read more trending news

McMahon started the XFL in 2001, splitting ownership with NBC. The league debuted to massive ratings and hype, with commercials promising a harder hitting brand of football and sexier cheerleaders. But the quality of play suffered greatly from the lack of preparation time for players, as well as the lack of big-name players from the NFL or college, and led to the league lasting only one season.

The story was first told by writer Brad Shepard on Twitter. Wrestling writer David Bixenspan later contacted WWE, which confirmed McMahon has established a new corporation called Alpha Entertainment. 

Bixenspan also reported McMahon had reacquired trademarks for the XFL shortly after ESPN aired a documentary on the league earlier in 2017. Whether McMahon’s league would be called the XFL is unknown.

The Washington Post wrote McMahon’s interest in a return to football was fueled by his participation in the ESPN documentary. Despite the league costing NBC and WWE $35 million in 2001, McMahon tried to find another channel for the league after NBC canceled it and only shut the league down after he was unable to find a television deal.

The XFL branded itself as a harder hitting and sexier version of pro football, and the NFL had become less physical. The marketing campaign behind the league’s debut was one of the most hyped in history and included professional wrestlers from the WWE. 

The timing of McMahon opening a new league could be due to the NFL’s ratings struggles and complaints about the league’s style of play after new rules have restricted how players tackle. National Anthem protests by players in the NFL have been controversial. Media outlets have differed on whether the protests have affected ratings. 

Players and owners were also targeted by President Donald Trump while he was campaigning during the Alabama Senate race. Vince McMahon’s wife Linda, a former WWE president, is a member of President Trump’s cabinet and head of the Small Business Administration. 

Bazooka turned in during San Francisco gun buyback 

Published: Sunday, December 17, 2017 @ 12:54 AM

A bazooka was one of the weapons turned in during a gun buyback event Saturday in San Francisco. (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)
A bazooka was one of the weapons turned in during a gun buyback event Saturday in San Francisco. (Photo: San Francisco Police Department)

Police took 271 guns off the street during a gun buyback event Saturday that netted an arsenal including a bazooka, cannon ball and assault rifles.

>> Read more trending news

“We got everything that you can name that could destroy a whole universe, and we get rid of them within hours," said Rudy Corpuz Jr. with United Playaz, a community group that helped organize the buyback with police.

There were no questions asked. People were given $100 for a handgun and $200 for assault weapons, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

The weapons will be destroyed.

Cruise ship with more than 300 sick passengers returns to Florida port

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 11:38 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Andrew Burton/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)(Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned to Port Everglades today after more than 300 people became ill with a stomach virus.

>> Read more trending news

Cruise officials said there were 332 cases of the gastrointestinal illness, just under 6 percent of the more than 5,000 guests and crew aboard the Independence of the Seas, according to a CNN report.

The cruise left South Florida on Monday, and the illness began to spread by Wednesday, WSVN in Miami reported. Passengers were given over-the-counter medication, and staff quickly cleaned and disinfected the entire ship, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said.

But passengers reported a not-so-memorable cruise.

"Imagine being in a waiting room and sitting next to five or six people all throwing up at the same time," passenger Cheryl Roberts told WSVN.

Roberts said all of the sick passengers she spoke to had lunch on the ship.

"We all didn’t eat off of the ship, and now we’re all either throwing up or we have horrible diarrhea," she said.

A Royal Caribbean statement said the cruise line is "taking steps like intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues."