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Lawyers for Oklahoma death row inmate accuse prosecutors of intimidating witnesses

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Attorneys for an Oklahoma death row inmate say prosecutors have arrested a key witness who has new evidence and filed a request on Wednesday asking the courts to order the state to stop intimidating witnesses.

The defense team for 52-year-old Richard Glossip, who was convicted of arranging the 1997 murder of the owner of an Oklahoma City motel he was managing, filed the request in a state appeals court.

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The attorneys said Michael Scott, who signed an affidavit saying he heard convicted murderer Justin Sneed brag about setting Glossip up for the crime, was arrested on Tuesday on a warrant for a $200 unpaid fine and failure to complete community service connected to a recent drunk driving arrest.

Scott was arrested in Rogers County, but was interrogated by Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who serves the county where the murder took place around 100 miles to the southwest, according to the filing.

“Prater specifically told Mr. Scott that he ordered this action so that Scott would be forced to talk with Prater and his investigator,” the filing said.

Prater’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Glossip’s lawyers have argued that no physical evidence tied their client to the murder of Barry Van Treese. They added that he was convicted largely on the testimony of Sneed, then 19, and the motel’s maintenance man, who confessed to carrying out the killing after Glossip hired him to do it.

Sneed avoided the death penalty by testifying against Glossip and is serving a life sentence.

An appeals court threw out a previous conviction, saying evidence against Glossip was “extremely weak.” The case went back to a jury in 2004, which found him guilty and upheld the death sentence

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Glossip was set to be executed last Wednesday for the murder of motel owner Barry Van Treese, until a last minute stay from the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals stayed the execution and reset the date to Sept. 30.

Glossip’s execution would be the first in Oklahoma since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June the use of midazolam, a sedative in the lethal injection procedure, did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

(Reporting by Heide Brandes; Editing by Curtis Skinner and Michael Perry)

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Trump goes off script at UN religious freedom event to praise evangelical bigot Franklin Graham

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President Donald Trump on Monday praised evangelical preacher Franklin Graham, who is known for his views against Muslims and LGBT people, at a UN event for religious freedom.

While speaking at the international gathering, the U.S. president went off script with his acknowledgement of Graham.

"I also want to thank Franklin Graham because he has been so instrumental in everything we are doing, such an incredible job in so many ways," Trump said. "Floods and hurricanes and every time I go I see him and he’s always there before me."

"I’m going to beat him one day but he is always at these places of really disaster areas. He is right there, incredible large staff of volunteers that are just amazing," he added. "Thank you very much."

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Trump says ‘not at all’ worried about impeachment

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President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed the threat of impeachment over allegations that he tried to pressure Ukraine's leader into investigating his 2020 election rival Joe Biden.

Asked if he was taking the threat from some Democrats seriously, Trump answered: "Not at all seriously."

US media reports revealed that an intelligence community whistleblower had filed a report after becoming alarmed at Trump's alleged attempt to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call.

Trump has confirmed that he discussed what he says was corruption by Biden's family during the call but denies applying pressure on Zelensky.

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House Dems are nearing a ‘tipping point’ on impeachment because they’re sick of looking ‘weak’: CNN reporter

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House Democrats may have finally reached their breaking point when it comes to impeaching President Donald Trump, CNN's Manu Raju reported on Monday.

After days of digesting news that Trump repeatedly pressured the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into potential Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Raju reports, many once-cautious Democrats now believe that impeachment is the only option they have left to thwart the president's lawlessness.

"House Democrats are telling me this morning that they believe that the caucus is nearing a tipping point on impeachment because of this growing controversy, and because they believe that this will be a triggering event and that the public will get behind," he explained.

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