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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Officer Charged In Rayshard Brooks Shooting

Officer Charged In Rayshard Brooks Shooting





Protests intensified in Atlanta after a police officer shot 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant.  The encounter was caught on surveillance camera and by a witness. Police approached Brooks after he had fallen asleep in his car. The police questioned Brooks, patted him down and gave him a breathalyzer test.  Witness videos, surveillance footage, bodycam and dashcam footage show the officers engaged Brooks without incident for 41 minutes before the encounter turned fatal.

Atlanta Police Department officer Devin Brosnan arrived at the Wendy’s restaurant to investigate a report of a man asleep in a car which was blocking the drive-through lane.  Brosnan awakened Brooks and told him to move the car to a parking space and take a nap.  Brooks fell asleep again without moving the car prompting Brosnan to again wake Brooks and instruct him to park the car.  Brosnan checked Brooks’s driver’s license and radioed for assistance from an officer certified to conduct driving under the influence investigations.  Officer Garrett Rolfe arrived at 10:56 and, with Brooks’s permission, performed a pat-down search for weapons, a field sobriety test, and a breathalyzer test.  Brooks appeared impaired and said he had consumed one to one-and-a-half drinks and denied driving or being too drunk to drive. The Breathalyzer registered a blood alcohol level of 0.108%, above the legal limit of 0.08%.  Brooks asked to leave his car in the parking lot overnight and walk to his sister’s house a short distance away.

At 11:23, Rolfe told Brooks: “All right, I think you’ve had too much to drink to be driving. Put your hands behind your back for me”; he and Brosnan then moved behind Brooks to handcuff him.  Brooks tried to break free and he and the officers scuffled on the ground. During the struggle Brosnan drew his Taser, but Brooks wrested from him and fired it toward Brosnan before attempting to run away.  Brosnan says the Taser contacted him and he struck his head on the pavement.  Rolfe drew his own Taser and shot Brooks with it.  Brooks fled through the parking lot with Brosnan’s Taser still in hand as Rolfe pursued him and fired again with his own Taser.  While still running, Brooks turned to fire the second shot of Brosnan’s Taser – capable of two shots before being reloaded – over Rolfe’s head.  According to prosecutors, Brooks and Rolfe were 18 feet apart when Rolfe dropped his Taser, drew his handgun and shot Brooks once in the mid-back and once in the buttocks; a third shot struck a nearby vehicle, narrowly missing its three occupants.  According to prosecutors Rolfe then declared, “I got him”.

Within 24 hours of the shooting, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that she did not believe it was justified, leading to Rolfe’s firing, Brosnan being placed on administrative duty and the resignation of the city’s police chief, Erika Shields.  The county medical examiner rule Brooks’ death a homicide and Georgia Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation.  The Fulton County District Attorney said Brooks did not present himself as a threat and appeared almost jovial during the encounter.  He announced 11 charges against Rolfe: felony murder, five counts of aggravated assault, four police oath violations, and damage to property.  He said Rolfe should have been aware that the Taser Brooks had taken posed no danger, as after being fired twice it could not fire again.  He also said that Rolfe and Brosnan did not provide timely medical aid to Brooks and that before they did, Rolfe kicked him and Brosnan stood on his shoulders.  The district attorney said it was a violation of department policy for Rolfe to begin handcuffing Brooks before telling him he was being arrested.



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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Covid 19 Prediction Warns It Hasn’t Gone Away

Covid 19 Prediction Warns It Hasn’t Gone Away




With more than 2.06 million cases, America has the world’s largest COVID-19 confirmed cases to date. It’s also first when it comes to the total number of deaths, with more than 117,000 people having died of COVID-19 complications. Nearly 7.5 million people have had confirmed infections worldwide and over 420,000 people died.  As US states are opening up their economies, Harvard Global Health Institute director Dr. Ashish Jha predicts that the US will cross 200,000 deaths sometime in September.  Jha explained his estimates only take into account the next few months, but COVID-19 will obviously not disappear after that.

“The pandemic won’t be over in September so I’m really worried about where we’re going to be in the weeks and months ahead.  We’re really the only major country in the world that opened back up without really getting our cases as down low as we really needed to,” Jha noted, adding that the US is the only advanced country in the world not to have a proper contact tracing system setup. People should continue to maintain social distancing and wear masks, Jha advised. They should also “put pressure” on the government to advance testing and contact tracing programs.

“But even if we assume that it’s going to be flat all summer, that nothing is going to get worse, we’re going to stay flat all summer — even if we pick that low number, 800 a day — that’s 25,000 a month,” Jha pointed out. “In three and a half months, we’re going to add another 87- 88,000 people, and we will hit 200,000 sometime in September.”  Jha said anyone who still thinks the summer will bring a dramatic decrease in cases is “engaging in wishful thinking.” Coronavirus cases and associated hospitalizations may be falling in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, he said, but cases are surging in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas. The Harvard professor of public health said he is not trying to scare people into staying home by raising concerns about the number of deaths he’s predicting.

In Brazil, the coronavirus death toll has topped 43,000 with the total number of confirmed cases at over 850,000. It now has the second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths and cases in the world behind the United States.  According to the health ministry, the COVID-19 mortality rate in Brazil is five% and nearly 388,500 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Brazil.

China reported its highest number of daily infections in months, raising concern over a second wave of the outbreak. In Beijing, authorities have reimposed lockdown measures after a new cluster of cases emerged last week.  The cluster, the capital’s first locally transmitted cases in nearly two months, raised mainland China’s total number to 83,132. Almost 4,700 people have died in China, where the pandemic originated in December.

The World Health Organization says the pandemic is accelerating in Africa, with the most affected countries being South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan.  In Yemen, medical authorities warn deaths linked to the pandemic could exceed war-related fatalities in the port city of Aden.  The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Learn how COVID-19 spreads and practice these actions to help prevent the spread of this illness.

Covid 19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so the recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the world’s economy reopens are:  Keep 6 feet of social distance between yourself and others; wear a mask or cloth covering when around others-especially when in situations where you can’t maintain the 6 feet of social distancing; clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; avoid close contact with people who are sick; disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly and stay home if you are feeling any symptoms.

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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on Chelsea Manning Released

Chelsea Manning Released


A US judge ordered Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning released from jail after one year behind bars on contempt charges for refusing to cooperate in a federal grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. The order for her immediate release came one day after Manning was hospitalized in Virginia after she reportedly attempted suicide at a federal prison in Alexandria. 

Judge Anthony J. Trenga wrote, “The court finds Ms. Manning’s appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.” Judge Trenga, however, rejected a request to cancel the fines imposed against Manning for refusing to testify. Manning will now have to pay $256,000. 

Manning and her legal team showed that her imprisonment was nothing but punitive, and thus unjustifiable under the legal statutes governing federal grand juries. Yet for nearly a year, Manning has been caged and fined $1,000 per day. Ever since she was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, which is investigating WikiLeaks, Manning has also insisted that there was never any justifiable purpose to asking her to testify.

In 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking documents and video to WikiLeaks showing evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama granted her clemency in 2017.  WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia for violating the Espionage Act, and is accused of helping Manning try to access the Department of Defense computers. Assange is fighting extradition from London.


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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on 24 Dead As Tornadoes Rip Through Nashville

24 Dead As Tornadoes Rip Through Nashville






Powerful tornadoes ripped through Tennessee, killing at least 24 people and injuring at least 85 more in the Nashville area.  Emergency crews in Putnam County, Tennessee, where 18 of the deaths occurred-combed through shattered homes and collapsed buildings, searching for victims more than 36 hours after at least two tornadoes touched down in the middle part of the state.  A state of emergency was declared in Tennessee as a result of the damage. 

Damage was sustained in at least four counties in the path of the storms. Officials said that one long-track tornado produced damage that peaked at EF3 strength along a 50-mile-long corridor from Nashville east to near Gordonsville.  Among the victims in Putnam County are children aged 2 to 13 years old, and several of the deceased are related to each other.  Four families lost multiple people. Besides the victims in Putnam County, a total of four people were killed in Wilson County, two in Davidson County, which is home to Nashville, and one in Benton County.

More than 73,000 homes and businesses were without power in four counties, the state emergency agency said. Nashville Electric said that four substations and 15 primary distribution lines were damaged. Overturned tractor-trailers blocked stretches of Interstate 24 near Antioch and Interstate 40 near Mt. Juliet after the storm.  Dozens of buildings collapsed as the winds reached at least 155 mph — EF-3 tornado level — in Mount Juliet and Donelson.

The damage stretched far beyond Nashville and across several counties. Tornadoes were reported several times along a 145-mile stretch, including in the small city of Camden just after 11 p.m. CT; in Nashville after midnight; and in the Cookeville area in Putnam County shortly before 2 a.m., the National Weather Service said.  The tornado touched down near Highway 70 near Baxter and traveled to just before Willow Avenue in Cookeville, Porter said. The hardest hit areas include Charleton Square, Plunk Whitson, Echo Valley, Prosperity Point, North Mcbroom Chapel, and Double Springs Utility District.  


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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on Bronx Woman Charged With Murder in ATM Attack

Bronx Woman Charged With Murder in ATM Attack





A Bronx woman is charged with murder and robbery in an attack on another woman at an ATM in the Bronx that lead to the victim’s death 10 days later.  Police say 21-year-old Reign Harvey and at least one other person turned themselves in Thursday after authorities released images of three women involved in the attack.  Police are still searching for the third woman involved.

So far, Harvey is the only person being charged in the murder of 43-year-old Tamara Sinclair, who was found dead inside her apartment on February 21.  On February 11, police say Sinclair was attacked by three women as she tried to use the ATM at the Bank of America near the corner of Pelham Parkway and White Plains Road.  

Sinclair was in a TD Bank vestibule on White Plains Road near Pelham Parkway South on when Harney banged on the glass door, demanding Sinclair let her in.  The women claimed to have lost a debit card inside but Sinclair said to the woman, ‘I don’t know you” and refused to let them in.  

Rattled, she left and crossed the street to a Bank of America to use that ATM instead.  The women followed her to the second bank and they argued before Harney threw Sinclair to the ground and punched her repeatedly in the face.  One of the women still at large, snatched Sinclair’s cell phone, pushed her to the ground and kicked her when she tried to fight back, prosecutors said. Another of the assailants took Sinclair’s wallet, gave it to Harney to rifle through and kicked the victim down the bank vestibule steps. 

When police arrived, they found Sinclair on the ground and complaining of pain to her leg, but she declined medical attention.  On February 17, Sinclair went into the NYPD’s 47th Precinct to report the assault to detectives. On February 20, she went to Montefiore Medical Center complaining of head and chest pains. Doctors believed she had a fractured ankle, but she left the hospital without further testing.  

According to her sister, a doctor had warned Sinclair that she had blood clots from the beating that could kill her, but she feared a big hospital bill so she went home.  The next day, she was found dead in her apartment after she did end up developing a blood clot from the fractured ankle. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.


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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on Jennifer Dulos Disappearance Draws Attention to Domestic Violence & the Family Court System

Jennifer Dulos Disappearance Draws Attention to Domestic Violence & the Family Court System





In Connecticut and around the country, advocates say the case of Jennifer Dulos has helped bring attention to and highlighted questions about how to improve the family court system.  Long before she disappeared, the mother of 5 told the courts that her husband was verbally abusive and that she feared for her life. In filings in the divorce case, Jennifer Dulos said she was worried for her safety and that of the couple’s children. Jennifer wrote in a 2017 affidavit “I am afraid of my husband. I know that filing for divorce and filing this motion will enrage him. I know he will retaliate by trying to harm me in some way.”  Fotis Dulos, 52, denied the claims and argued Jennifer Dulos was unfit to have sole custody of the children. They were involved in a contentious divorce and custody battle when she disappeared in May of 2019, almost 2 years after filing for divorce.  

Though her body has not been found, authorities believe she was killed in a violent attack at her home in New Canaan.  They suspect that Fotis Dulos had been lying in wait for Jennifer and attacked her when she arrived home after dropping her children off at school. Police allege that Fotis Dulos and his girlfriend Michelle Troconis went to Hartford, Connecticut, to dispose of 36 garbage bags containing items with Jennifer Dulos’ blood on them on the night that Jennifer disappeared.  The two were charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution in connection with the disappearance but both later made bail.

On January 7th, 2020, Fotis Dulos was arrested at his home and charged with capital murder, murder, and kidnapping in relation to the disappearance of Jennifer. His former girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Fotis Dulos’s friend and former attorney, Kent Douglas Mawhinney was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder.  Prosecutors believe both Mawhinney and Troconis worked with Dulos on his alibi for the day of Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance. Fotis Dulos committed suicide on January 28 2020. His former girlfriend, Michelle Toconis and friend, Kent Douglas Mawhinney both still face their charges in the disappearance. Mawhinney also faces charges of spousal rape.

Karen Jarmoc, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said warning signs in the case may have gone unheeded.  Jennifer Dulos’ concerns “really didn’t seem to be viewed as a red flag in the court by the judge,” Jarmoc said. The couple also had filed 300 motions in their divorce and child custody cases before Jennifer Dulos disappeared.  State and national advocates say that reflects a need for judges to better recognize and address so-called “litigation abuse,” long stretches of drawn-out court motions and appearances they say can be their own form of abuse or become a possible warning sign for possible violence.  “We find that abusers often file multiple things in order to drag their ex-partner into court, to do that to harass them, to be near them, to cause them financial hardship and stress,” said Karen Jarmoc, whose group is exploring legislative proposals that could lead to criminal penalties for unnecessary filings in family court.


Nationally, more than half of killings of girls and women are related to intimate partner violence, according to a 2017 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  State Sen. Alex Bergstein, a Democrat from Greenwich, planned to call for new legislation Friday that would require family court judges to give more weight to claims of domestic violence when handling child custody cases.  “Unfortunately, the loss of her life has brought attention, increased attention to this issue. But this is an issue that is real and present, every day, in all parts of our state and in every community, and we need to address it head on.”


Danielle Pollack, an ambassador specializing in family court reform with Child USA, a Philadelphia-based organization, said abuse “gets lost, it gets discredited” when courts look simultaneously at other factors when granting custody, especially claims of alienation.  We’re helping states build their custody statutes in a way that puts the safety of the children first,” said Pollack, whose group helped to pass legislation in Louisiana and is currently working on a similar bill in Pennsylvania. “Kids are still getting in these very dangerous situations.”


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5 months ago · by · Comments Off on Former CEO Sentenced In College Admissions Scandal

Former CEO Sentenced In College Admissions Scandal







The former CEO of an investment firm was sentenced to nine months in prison for bribing his children’s way into elite universities.  It is the longest sentence yet of any parent involved in the college admissions scandal known as “Operation Varsity Blues.” Prosecutors say Douglas Hodge, ex-CEO of Pacific Investment Management Co., or PIMCO, paid $850,000 in bribes to get four of his children into USC and Georgetown University as fake athletic recruits.  Prosecutors had recommended sending Hodge, 62, to prison for two years

A federal judge branded the former head of bond giant Pimco a “common thief” and sentenced him to nine months in prison for his role in the sweeping college admissions cheating scandal.  Douglas Hodge, who had earlier admitted paying $850,000 in bribes to get four of his seven children admitted to elite colleges, also had his request to serve out part of his sentence at home turned down by the judge.

 “I have in my heart the deepest remorse for my actions,” a teary-eyed Hodge told Judge Nathaniel Groton in Boston. “I do not believe that ego or desire for high social standing drove my decision-making. Rather, I was driven by my own transformative educational experiences and my deep parental love.”  In his statement, Hodge also absolved his children, saying they “did nothing to deserve the consequences they have suffered as a result of my actions.” 

Groton was unmoved.  “Mr. Hodge, your conduct in this whole sordid affair is appalling and mind-boggling,” Groton said. “There is no term in the English language that describes your conduct as well as the Yiddish term chutzpah.”  Groton then imposed on Hodge, a Dartmouth and Harvard graduate, charged with money laundering and wire and mail fraud charges, the stiffest punishment among 14 parents who have been sentenced thus far. Groton also denied Hodge’s request to split his sentence with home confinement int the palatial Pacific Coast mansion in Laguna Beach, California.  He also ordered him to pay $750,000 in fines, and perform 500 hours of community service.

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5 months ago · by · Comments Off on Trial for Ex CIA Engineer Begins

Trial for Ex CIA Engineer Begins






The trial has begun for a former CIA software engineer that allegedly leaked a massive trove of the agency’s secret hacking tools to take revenge on his former colleagues and bosses.  Joshua Schulte, 31, is charged with disclosing classified information to WikiLeaks after allegedly stealing it from a secretive CIA unit where he worked. In more than 8,000 pages of material published in 2017 — known as the Vault 7 leaks — WikiLeaks showed how the CIA breaks into smartphones and Internet-connected devices, including televisions.

The disclosure “was the single biggest leak of classified national defense information in the history of the CIA,” Assistant U.S. Attorney David Denton told jurors. Denton said that as a result of the disclosure, CIA operations had “come to a halt,” U.S. intelligence officers serving overseas had been exposed and American adversaries were able to turn cyber weapons developed by the CIA against the United States.

Schulte’s lawyers have described the government’s charges as vague and overreaching. They also complained that prosecutors have been slow to share information about their case with the defense and placed burdensome rules on the handling of classified information.  Sabrina Shroff, Schulte’s lead defense attorney, accused the government of prosecuting Schulte out of embarrassment over losing such a huge volume of sensitive information, and because he was “an easy target.”

Shroff said that the government had no conclusive evidence that tied the leaks to Schulte, and that the network from which the hacking tools allegedly were stolen was open to “hundreds” of people.  Schulte himself has said previously that he was targeted for speaking out against what he described as incompetent CIA management. From 2010 to 2016, Schulte worked in the CIA’s Engineering Development Group, which produced the computer code published by WikiLeaks.

Schulte claimed that he reported “incompetent management and bureaucracy” at the CIA to the agency’s inspector general and to a congressional oversight committee. He asserted that when he left the CIA, he immediately became a suspect in the leak as “the only one to have recently departed the engineering group on poor terms.”

On March 13, 2017, less than a week after the original WikiLeaks publication, FBI agents searched Schulte’s apartment in New York, where he had moved to take a new job after leaving the agency, and found a computer server and several external drives, as well as notebooks and handwritten notes, court filings show. Schulte was not arrested and denied to FBI agents that he had leaked the CIA materials.  In August, Schulte was arrested after investigators searching his computer found evidence of child pornography, including more than 10,000 photos and videos, prosecutors alleged. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges, which will be tried separately.



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5 months ago · by · Comments Off on CDC Prepares For Coronavirus Outbreak in US

CDC Prepares For Coronavirus Outbreak in US






The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is preparing for the new coronavirus, which has killed at least 1,115 and sickened more than 45,000 worldwide, to “take a foothold in the U.S.”  Health officials have confirmed 13 U.S. cases of the virus, now named COVID-19, short for Corona Virus Disease. They are awaiting test results of 61 additional test subjects. A total of 420 people in the US have been investigated for possible infection with 347 testing negative.  

Since mid January, the CDC has monitored more than 30,000 travelers coming to the U.S. from China. They have not detected any cases from returning travelers. Health officials are asking the travelers to monitor their own symptoms and limit their outdoor activities.  A mistake at a lab led U.S. health officials to release an infected coronavirus patient from a San Diego hospital. The patient had been evacuated from Wuhan. The CDC said there are new measures in place to make sure it does not happen again.

World Health Organization officials have said they are worried about the virus mutating.  The coronavirus produces mild cold symptoms in about 80% of patients. About 15% of the people who contract the virus have ended up with pneumonia, with 3% to 5% of all patients needing intensive care.  

The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak originated, has ordered residents to report their body temperature daily, and the large port city of Tianjin said it would restrict residents’ movement, part of steps across the country to stop the coronavirus outbreak from spreading. The city is conducting door-to-door inspections as well, and will send someone to check on people displaying a fever, according to a notice posted by the provincial government. People with symptoms will be sent to a community health center for evaluation.

In Beijing, the Chinese government voiced anger as countries placed more restrictions on travelers.  More than 50 countries or territories have imposed travel restrictions and tightened visa requirements to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to the International Air Transport Association.  The U.S. government has continued to charter evacuation flights for US Nationals departing Wuhan, China.  All evacuees spend a mandatory two weeks under quarantine while they’re monitored for symptoms of the flu-like virus. 

A cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, is still under quarantine after a former passenger, who disembarked in Hong Kong last month, tested positive for the virus.  The ship, which is currently off Japan’s coast, now has 174 confirmed cases of coronavirus as the virus spreads. There are more than 3,700 passengers and crew on the ship under quarantine.  




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6 months ago · by · Comments Off on Chicago Police Ordered To Release Misconduct Records

Chicago Police Ordered To Release Misconduct Records




A Cook County judge has ordered Chicago police to release police misconduct investigation files from 1967 to 2015, by the end of the year.  A judge set a timeline for the release of all of the files by December 31, 2020, after the city failed to comply with a previous court-ordered deadline to turn over 4 years of the files.

At the center of the case is Charles Green,  who was 16 years old when he was arrested in 1985 for a quadruple murder on the city’s west side. He was accused of accepting $25 to knock on the door of a drug dealer’s apartment so rivals could go in and kill the people inside. He says his confession was coerced.  Green said he gave in eventually and just said what they wanted me to say.

Green walked out of prison in 2009 after a judge reduced his sentence and he’s been fighting to clear his name. In 2015, his attorney sent an open records request asking for police misconduct investigation files for the entire department dating back to 1967 to preserve evidence not only in Green’s case, but for others who may be wrongfully convicted.  Green’s attorney, Jared Kosoglad said the order threatens to expose decades of police corruption and other skeletons out of CPD’s closet.

Activists have argued for the release of complaint files, but most have remained hidden.  Legal experts say police could have argued Green’s request was overly burdensome. But the department didn’t respond, in violation of state law, and Green filed a lawsuit.

A spokesman for the city Department of Law says the Lightfoot Administration is asking the judge to reconsider the decision to order the release of the files.  The department released a statement that said: “The City of Chicago is committed to the highest level of transparency and responds to tens of thousands of Freedom of Information Act requests every year, including requests regarding allegations against Chicago Police officers. This request is different, however, as it seeks every Complaint Register file created since 1967 – approximately 175,000 files, each of which contain dozens to hundreds of pages.  The City is currently involved in litigation regarding this request, and the matter is still pending before the court. Complying with this request would present numerous challenges, including millions of dollars in costs and expended public resources.”

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