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Revelations that a key prosecution witness may have been manipulated into changing his story and cooperating with prosecutors has jolted a Vatican trial over a money-losing investment in a London property. The information was contained in text messages that a prosecutor entered into evidence last week. Defense lawyers called for the trial to be suspended, but the judge rejected their motions. The prosecutor has opened a separate investigation into possible false testimony and other potential crimes. Regardless of how it turns out, the developments confirmed that a trial meant to showcase Pope Francis' financial reforms has revealed vendettas and scheming in the Holy See.
Prosecutors have resumed their closing argument in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial, promising to share previously unrevealed details about Donald Trump’s knowledge of a tax dodge scheme hatched by one of his top executives. Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Joshua Steinglass continued his summary of the case on Friday after telling jurors Thursday that “Donald Trump knew exactly what was going on with his top executives." The tax fraud case is the only trial to arise from the three-year investigation of Trump and his business practices by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The company has denied wrongdoing, with its lawyers arguing Weisselberg was only out to benefit himself. Trump himself is not on trial.
FILE - Infowars founder Alex Jones appears in court to testify during the Sandy Hook defamation damages trial at Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury, Conn., Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. Jones has filed for personal bankruptcy protection in Texas as he faces nearly $1.5 billion in court judgments over conspiracy theories he spread about the Sandy Hook school massacre. Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in bankruptcy court in Houston on Friday, Dec. 2. (Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool, File)
An attorney for Harvey Weinstein at his Los Angeles sexual assault trial told jurors that the prosecution's case relies entirely on asking them to trust accusers who have proved they were untrustworthy. Lawyer Alan Jackson made the closing argument for the defense on Thursday. He told jurors to look past the emotional testimony of the four women Weinstein is charged with assaulting and look at the facts. Jackson says “tears do not make truth.” The 70-year-old former movie mogul Weinstein is charged with raping and sexually assaulting two women and committing sexual battery against two others. He has pleaded not guilty.
A Hong Kong court has postponed a pro-democracy newspaper publisher's trial. Jimmy Lai faces a possible life sentence if convicted under a National Security Law imposed by Beijing. Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee asked Beijing to decide whether foreign lawyers who don't normally practice in Hong Kong can be rejected for national security cases. The objection came after judges on Monday approved Lai’s plan to hire British human rights lawyer Timothy Owen. The trial is being delayed until Beijing makes a decision. If Beijing intervenes, that would mark the sixth time the Communist-ruled government has stepped into the city’s legal affairs.
Judge declares mistrial at rape trial of 'That ‘70s Show' actor Danny Masterson after jury says it's deadlocked.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to return to office, from where he could try to make his yearslong legal troubles disappear through new legislation advanced by his far-right and ultra-Orthodox allies. Critics say such a legal crusade is an assault on Israel’s democracy. Netanyahu is on trial for corruption. He is poised to return to power with a comfortable governing majority that could grant him a lifeline from conviction. Defenders of the justice system say the proposed changes would allow legislators to abuse their authority and disrupt the tenuous balance of powers that keeps them in check. The 73-year-old Netanyahu denies wrongdoing and views the charges as part of a witch hunt against him.
A Louisiana jury has convicted a career criminal of raping a police informant who had been sent into a drug house in a sting that went unmonitored and unprotected by law enforcement. Antonio D. Jones was found guilty Thursday of two counts of third-degree rape and could face up to 50 years in prison. The conviction came two months after the attack on the woman was reported in an AP investigation that exposed the perils such informants can face seeking to “work off” criminal charges in often loosely regulated, secretive arrangements. Jones' attorney says he intends to appeal.
Prosecutors in Los Angeles have rested their case in the trial of Harvey Weinstein. The move came Thursday after nearly four weeks of testimony involving 44 witnesses. Weinstein is charged with the rape of two women who testified at the trial and the sexual assault of two others. The accusers included a documentary filmmaker who is married to California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Missing from the prosecution's case without explanation was actor Mel Gibson, who had been on the witness list to talk about a friend who is among Weinstein's accusers. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denied engaging in any non-consensual sex.
Donald Trump’s longtime finance chief choked up on the witness stand Thursday, saying he betrayed the Trump family’s trust by scheming to dodge taxes on $1.7 million in company-paid perks, including a Manhattan apartment and luxury cars. Allen Weisselberg, a senior adviser and ex-chief financial officer at the former president’s Trump Organization, said he conspired with a subordinate to hide more than a decade’s worth of extras from his taxable income, but that neither Trump nor his family were involved in the scheme. The Trump Organization is on trial, accused of helping Weisselberg and others avoid paying income taxes on compensation in addition to their salaries. Prosecutors argue the company is liable because Weisselberg was entrusted to act on its behalf.