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Published: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 1:52 PM
Updated: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 1:52 PM
DETROIT — U.S. prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for a Volkswagen senior manager who pleaded guilty in the automaker's diesel emissions scandal.
Oliver Schmidt will be sentenced Wednesday in Detroit federal court. In a court filing this week, the Justice Department said he followed a "script of deception" while VW was using sophisticated software to cheat emissions rules on nearly 600,000 vehicles.
Schmidt led VW's engineering and environmental office in Michigan from 2012 to early 2015. Defense lawyers are recommending that his sentence not exceed 40 months in prison, the punishment that was given to VW engineer James Liang.
The government, however, said there's a key distinction: Liang cooperated with investigators while Schmidt did not.
The diesel vehicles were programmed to turn on pollution controls during testing and off while on the road. In 2015, according to the government, Schmidt talked with California regulators and concealed the software tricks while offering "bogus technical explanations" of any differences in emissions.
Prosecutors said Schmidt obstructed justice by getting rid of documents that were relevant to the U.S. investigation and giving false information to agents.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Sean Cox, Schmidt said he regrets not telling the truth to California regulators. He said he feels "misused by my own company in the Diesel scandal or 'Dieselgate.'"
"I just want to repeat how sorry I am for violating the law in the United States and putting myself in this situation," Schmidt, 48, said.
He returned to VW in Germany in 2015 but was arrested last January while on vacation in Miami. Schmidt has been in custody without bail for 11 months.
Other VW employees have been charged, but they are in Germany and out of reach of U.S. authorities.
VW pleaded guilty as a corporation in March and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties on top of billions more to buy back cars.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:08 PM
— Those ready for spring weather likely won’t like this forecast.
A clipper-type system looks to spread snow into the region this weekend, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.
The storm system looks to arrive late Friday night or into Saturday morning. The current forecast track would bring snow across much of the Miami Valley during the day Saturday.
“Snow accumulation, perhaps heavy, would be likely along and north of the Ohio River should the current forecast track hold,” Elwell said, “but a lot can still change.”
If the system adjusts north, then the threat will be for more of a mix or perhaps even more rain than snow, Elwell said.
However, the system could escape to the south with little to no local affect.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 3:56 PM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Family, friends and the Sacramento community are demanding answers in the death of an unarmed black man killed by police in his own backyard Sunday night, holding nothing but a cellphone in his hand.
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told Fox40 that officers fired on Stephon Alonzo “Zoe” Clark a total of 20 times. Clark, 23, died at the scene, leaving behind two young sons.
Hahn was on hand Tuesday night at a City Council meeting, where several residents of the community protested the officer-involved shooting.
“To hell with Sac PD,” resident Rebecca Person said, according to the news station. “I’m sick of them always murdering black youth.”
“What is the police’s job to do? To shoot people that are unarmed in their own backyard?” another resident, Robert Copeland, asked.
Fox40 reported that the Sacramento Police Department is under fire for its morphing story of what Clark was carrying.
“They put one story out that he may have been armed. They put out another that he had a toolbar, whatever that is,” Tanya Faison, a member of the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter, told the news station. “Then they put out that he had a wrench and then they put out that he just had a cellphone.
“They need to get it together.”
The two officers involved in the shooting are being criticized for waiting five minutes, until additional officers came to the scene, to handcuff Clark and begin rendering first aid.
Department officials are also facing criticism for not promptly informing Clark’s family, including the grandparents and siblings he lived with, that he was the one gunned down in their yard.
Fox40 reported that Clark’s family called 911 for help after hearing gunshots right outside their window.
Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother, told the Sacramento Bee that she was sitting in her dining room when she heard the shots.
“The only thing that I heard was, ‘pow, pow, pow, pow,’ and I got to the ground,” Thompson told the newspaper.
Thompson described crawling to where her 7-year-old granddaughter slept on a couch in an adjacent den, where she got the girl onto the floor. She then made her way to her husband, who uses a wheelchair, and he dialed 911.
Thompson said neither she nor her husband heard officers issue any commands prior to firing the fatal gunshots.
The grieving grandmother told the Bee that investigators interviewed her for hours about what she heard, but never told her it was her grandson who had been killed. She finally looked out a window and saw his body.
“I opened that curtain and he was dead. I started screaming,” Thompson said.
Hahn said he and his investigators initially had no idea Clark was related to the homeowners.
“We found out they were related because the family told us so,” the chief told Fox40.
Hahn said in a news release Monday that officers were called to the family’s neighborhood around 9:15 p.m. Sunday on a report of a man breaking several car windows. The suspect was described as a thin man, just over 6 feet in height and wearing a black hoodie and dark pants. The caller said the man was hiding in a backyard.
Dispatchers sent officers to the scene, where the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department also had a helicopter searching for the suspect from the air, the news release said. About 12 minutes after the 911 call was made, the crew in the helicopter told officers on the ground they saw the alleged suspect in a backyard, where he picked up what looked like a toolbar and broke the sliding glass door of the home before running south toward the front of the house.
That house was next door to the Thompsons’ home.
The officers on the ground, directed to his location by the helicopter crew, confronted Clark as he came up along the side of his grandparents’ home, the news release said. When they ordered him to show his hands, he fled to the backyard, officials said.
“Officers pursued the suspect and located him in the backyard of the residence,” the news release said. “The suspect turned and advanced towards the officers while holding an object which was extended in front of him.”
Believing the object was a gun, the officers opened fire, the news release said. Clark was struck multiple times, though the exact number of gunshot wounds was not immediately known.
A follow-up news release issued later Monday stated that no weapon was found near Clark’s body.
“After an exhaustive search, scene investigators did not locate any firearms,” the news release stated. “The only item found near the suspect was a cellphone.”
Homicide investigators and crime scene technicians said they found three vehicles with damage they believe Clark caused, as well as the shattered sliding glass door that the helicopter crew said they witnessed him break, the news release said.
The only items investigators found that could have been the toolbar described by the helicopter crew included a cinder block and a piece of aluminum that may have come from a gutter. Both were found near the broken sliding glass door, the Bee reported.
Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, the newspaper said. One of the officers has eight years of law enforcement experience, half of it with the Sacramento department.
The other officer has six years total experience, two of those in Sacramento.
Sacramento city policy requires any body-camera footage of an officer-involved shooting to be made public within 30 days, the Bee reported.
Hahn said he plans to release the officers’ body camera footage, as well as footage from a camera aboard the helicopter, after it has been shared with Clark’s family, Fox40 reported. He anticipated having the footage released by week’s end.
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, the city attorney’s office and the city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability are investigating the shooting, as is the department’s homicide and internal affairs units.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 4:49 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 7:00 PM
— The morning commute was snow-filled across the region with snowfall between 2 and 7 inches across the region. There were dozens of slide-offs but no life-threatening injury accidents.
Check out the timelapse of our Breaking News Team Storm Tracker vehicle’s trek to work this morning from Englewood to Dayton.
HOW MUCH SNOW DID YOU GET?
Here are the latest snow totals received by this news organization from NWS trained spotters:
Oxford: 4 inches
Fairfield: 1.9 inches
Hamilton: 2 inches
St. Paris: 5 inches
Bethel: 2 inches
Enon: 2.2 inches
Springfield: 1.2 inches
Arcanum: 3.5 inches
Greenville: 5 inches
Bradford: 3.4 inches
Clifton: 2.8 inches
Bellbrook: 2.5 inches
Fairborn: 2.5 inches
Bellefontaine: 3.3 inches
Celina: 3 inches
Troy: 5.5 inches
Piqua: 1.5 inches
Brookville: 3.8 inches
Centerville: 2.5 inches
Dayton International Airport: 1.7 inches
Kettering: 2.2 inches
Miamisburg: 2.5 inches
West Alexandria: 4.5 inches
Sidney: 7 inches
Botkins: 3.3 inches
Lebanon: 2 inches
Maineville: 2.9 inches
WAYNE COUNTY, INDIANA:
Richmond: 2 inches
ADDITIONAL WEATHER CONTENT:
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:02 PM
"I love New York, and today I'm announcing my candidacy for governor," she revealed on Twitter.
According to her campaign press release, Nixon will be spending the coming weeks traveling across the state to hear from voters.
She will challenge 60-year-old Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a two-term incumbent, in New York’s Democratic primary in September.
She was born and bred in New York.
Nixon, 51, was born on April 9, 1966 and raised in the Upper West Side with her mother. In her campaign video, Nixon said she grew up “in a one-bedroom fifth floor walk-up.”
She later attended Hunter College High School and Barnard College before breaking out into her Broadway career primarily to save money to support herself through college, she told the New York Times in 2012.
Nixon, who identified herself as bisexual in 2012, was in a relationship with David Mozes from 1988 to 2003. The couple have two children together.
In 2004, Nixon began dating activist Christine Marinoni and they eventually married in 2012. They have one child together.
Nixon is a Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winner.
For her role as lawyer Miranda Hobbes on “Sex and the City,” Nixon was awarded an Emmy Award in 2004 for outstanding supporting actress, and a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2002 and 2004 for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series.
Nixon made her Broadway debut in 1980 in the revival of “The Philadelphia Story” and later earned Tony Awards for her foles in “Rabbit Hole” (2006) and “The Little Foxes” (2017).
She was awarded a Grammy in 2009 for her “An Inconvenient Truth” spoken word album.
She’s a survivor of breast cancer.
In 2006, Nixon was diagnosed with breast cancer and admitted to Good Morning America in 2008 that she initially wanted to keep the news to herself but later became the official spokeswoman for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
"I want them [women] most to hear me saying that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. So the only thing to really be afraid of is if you don't go get your mammograms, because there's some part of you that doesn't want to know, and that's the thing that's going to trip you up. That's the thing that could have a really bad endgame," she said.
Nixon’s cancer was caught at an early stage and required a lumpectomy and radiation, but no chemotherapy.
She’s a longtime activist.
Nixon first made political headlines during the 2011 campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. During that campaign, she lobbied state lawmakers in Albany and was later honored by GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign with its Visibility Award for her work advocating for marriage equality.
In January, Nixon was also among a group of celebrity activists that came together for "the People's State of the Union,” an alternative event to President Donald Trump's first State of the Union speech.
She has in the past been very vocal about women’s health care and on education issues, serving on de Blasio's advisory board for the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.
As a spokesperson for the Alliance for Quality Education, Nixon recently spoke out against Gov. Cuomo’s proposed education budget.
“Governor Cuomo had a chance today to put the next generation of New Yorkers first,” she said in a January 2018 AQE statement. “Instead, he proposed yet another budget that will keep New York at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to educational equity and justice. Governor Cuomo claims he has provided record increases in education funding, but in reality, he has created a record spending gap between the wealthiest and poorest school districts.”
If elected, she would make history.
Nixon would become the first female governor and first openly gay governor in New York history.
About her platform
“We are now the most unequal state in the entire country, with both incredible wealth and extreme poverty,” Nixon said in a video posted on Twitter announcing her candidacy.
According to her campaign website, Nixon’s state platform focuses on income inequality, renewable energy, access to health care, concerns about mass incarceration, passing the DREAM Act and “fixing our broken subway.”
She also emphasizes strengthening and renewing expiring rent laws to avoid “raising rents, and forcing people out of their homes.”
“Andrew Cuomo has given massive tax breaks to corporations and the super rich while starving the state and its cities of the most basic services and decimating our infrastructure,” Nixon wrote on her campaign site. “His inhumane budgets have been passed on the backs of our children, our working and middle class, and our elderly.”
“Together,” she added, “we could show the entire country and the world that in the era of Donald Trump, New Yorkers will come together and lead our nation forward.”
Chances against Cuomo
“Her campaign may test the appetite of New Yorkers for a celebrity leader in the age of President Trump, a deeply unpopular figure here among Democrats,” the New York Times reported.
But Nixon has her work cut out for her. A Siena College poll released Monday showed Cuomo leading her 66 percent to 19 percent among registered Democrats, and by a similar margin among self-identified liberals, AP reported. The poll of 772 registered voters was conducted March 11-16. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Cuomo, whose approval ratings have dropped below 50 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University Pollreleased in February, recently mocked the celebrity status the Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner could bring to the race.
"Normally name recognition is relevant when it has some connection to the endeavor," Cuomo said earlier this month. "If it was just about name recognition, then I'm hoping that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Billy Joel don't get into the race."
Jefrey Pollock, pollster and political adviser to Cuomo and other prominent Democrats, told AP that celebrity isn't likely to trump governing experience in the voting booth.
"Over and over in our research, Democratic primary voters say they're not looking for an outsider because they look to Washington, D.C., and see what the outsider has meant to this country," Pollock said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.