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. 

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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. 

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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.”

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No winner in Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot; prize skyrockets to $493 million

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 2:53 AM

There were no winners in the Mega Millions drawing on Friday, July 24. The jackpot is now at least $493 million for Tuesday's drawing.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
There were no winners in the Mega Millions drawing on Friday, July 24. The jackpot is now at least $493 million for Tuesday's drawing.(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

No winners in Friday’s Mega Millions means the jackpot keeps rising -- Tuesday’s drawing has topped $493 million.

It’s possible that the prize could surge over the half-billion mark based on ticket sales, lottery officials state.

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Tuesday’s jackpot of $493 million will be the fifth-largest in Mega Millions history.

If there is a winner and they choose the cash payout, they will take home $296 million.

Friday’s winning numbers were 44-14-30-62-1, with a Mega Ball of 1.

While no one took home the big prize, there were two $1 million ticket winners, in Illinois and Pennsylvania.

There were over 1.8 million winning tickets in Friday’s drawing at all levels, with 47 ticket winners of $10,000.

Tuesday night’s drawing will take place July 24 at 11 p.m. ET.

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Transgender woman says CVS pharmacist refused to fill hormone prescriptions

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 4:19 AM

Transgender woman Hilde Hall said a pharmacist at a CVS store in Phoenix, Arizona, refused to fill her hormone prescriptions. CVS said that employee has since been fired.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Transgender woman Hilde Hall said a pharmacist at a CVS store in Phoenix, Arizona, refused to fill her hormone prescriptions. CVS said that employee has since been fired.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A transgender woman in Phoenix has filed a formal complaint against CVS with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy, after she said a pharmacist refused to fill her hormone prescriptions and humiliated her in front of other customers.

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In a blog on the ACLU of Arizona website, Hilde Hall said it was the first time she filled the prescription for hormone therapy.

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“I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I’ve always known myself to be,” Hall said.

Hall said the pharmacist loudly questioned her need for the medication and wouldn’t give her a clear reason why he wouldn’t fill the prescription, KSAZ reports.

“I nearly started crying in the middle of the store. I didn’t want to answer why I had been prescribed this hormone therapy combination by my doctor,” Hall wrote. “I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers. I just froze and worked on holding back the tears.”

Hall also said the pharmacist refused to give her back the doctor’s note so that she could go to another pharmacy. 

Hall said she called the CVS customer service complaint line twice, and when she didn’t hear back, she filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.

CVS said in a statement to CNN the pharmacist violated company policy and has been fired.

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White House figures show Trump on pace to equal Obama deficits

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 4:18 AM

Despite clear signs of expanded economic growth, the latest White House budget estimates predict that President Donald Trump is on the verge of overseeing an expansion of federal deficits which will rival that of President Barack Obama’s two terms in office, as the Trump Administration now forecasts a deficit next year that will be over $1 trillion, with no signs of a balanced budget on the horizon.

The latest figures issued by the Office of Management and Budget now predict a deficit this year of $890 billion – and deficits of over $1 trillion per year in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

When you take the $665 billion deficit from Fiscal Year 2017 – Mr. Trump’s first year in office – and then add the projected deficits from the White House budget office for seven more years – you get $7.3 trillion in debt for what would equal two terms of a Trump Administration.

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That would be almost identical to the $7.28 trillion in deficits run up under the eight years of the Obama Administration.

The deficit for 2018 is already running at $607 billion, not far from the 2017 total of $665 billion; one reason for the increase this year is fairly straightforward according to figures from the Treasury Department – revenues coming in to Uncle Sam are down since the implementation of the tax cut plan earlier this year, and overall government spending is up.

The update in budget deficit estimates earlier this month by the White House drew almost no attention on Capitol Hill, where GOP demands for budget restraint have for the most part, gone silent.

The last time the budget was close to being balanced was 2007, when the deficit dropped to $161 billion. But in 2008, the Wall Street Collapse led to an extended recession, as deficits jumped to $458 billion in 2008, and $1.41 trillion in 2009.

A few weeks ago, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow boldly pronounced in a television interview that the federal deficit was coming down, because of a jump in revenues spurred by economic growth under the Trump tax cuts.

But figures clearly show, that just is not the case, as the budget estimates for the White House show flat revenues in 2018, when compared to a year earlier.

“The White House is living in an alternate economic universe,” says Maya MacGuiness, the head of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

But few in Washington seem to be listening to warnings from budget watchdog groups like the CFRB, as the deficit just keeps going up, generating little consternation among GOP lawmakers in Congress who once badgered the Obama Administration about its deficit spending.

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911 call released in high school football player's death: ‘I just shot my friend’

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 3:37 AM

Jermarion Worthy, 17, is facing murder charges for shooting his friend inside his Charlotte, North Carolina home.
WSOCTV.com
Jermarion Worthy, 17, is facing murder charges for shooting his friend inside his Charlotte, North Carolina home.(WSOCTV.com)

Police have released the heartbreaking 911 call a Charlotte teenager made after authorities said he shot and killed his friend, WSOC reports

“I just, I just shot my friend,” Jermarion Worthy can be heard telling the dispatcher. “Somebody just shot through the house.”

“Is anyone injured?” the dispatcher asked.

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“He's shot in the head. Someone shot through the house,” Worthy replied.

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Police said Worthy shot his friend Jamie Bright on Sunday inside Bright's home on Clanton Road.

Worthy now faces murder charges in Bright’s death.

Family members said Bright, 18, was a football player for Harding University High School.

He was also a member of the Y-Achiever and Level Up program at the Stratford Richardson YMCA. 

“Jamie was a great young man,” said YMCA executive director Victor Nicholson. “Very respectful young man. Full of energy. Laughing and joking.”

Investigators have not released a motive but said Worthy, 17, stayed on the scene after the shooting and was arrested.

Worthy told police he and Bright were best friends.

Investigators have not said much about what led up to the shooting but confirmed the two teenagers knew each other. 

Bright’s sisters said they were close.

“My brother wanted to go to prom with me last year for my senior year and I went by myself,” sister Tynisha Bright said. “If I knew my brother was never going to go to prom, I would've took my brother with me.”

Friends and family attended a visitation Friday for Bright at Boston's Mortuary on Statesville Road.

Bright’s sister wore a shirt Friday with his picture on it. She and other family members are trying to forgive Worthy for what happened.

“I definitely can forgive him because my family is all about forgiving,” said his sister, Mardesha Bright.

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