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Calif. lawmakers move to change sentencing laws following Brock Turner verdict

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Seizing on a nationwide furor over the six-month jail term handed to a former Stanford University swimmer following his conviction for sexual assault on an unconscious woman, California lawmakers on Monday introduced legislation to close a loophole that allowed the sentence.

The bill, known as AB 2888, marks the latest response to the sentence given to 20-year-old Brock Turner by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky in June, which was widely condemned as too lenient. Prosecutors had asked that Turner be given six years in state prison.

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“Like many people across the nation, I was deeply disturbed by the sentence in the Brock Turner case,” Assemblyman Bill Dodd, one of two California state legislators who introduced the bill, said in a written statement. “Our bill will help ensure that such lax sentencing doesn’t happen again.”

Turner was convicted of assault with intent to commit rape, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person in the January 2015 attack. Under California law, those charges are not considered rape because they did not involve penile penetration.

According to the lawmakers, current California law calls for a mandatory prison term in cases of rape or sexual assault where force is used, but not when the victim is unconscious or severely intoxicated and thus unable to resist.

The new legislation, which was introduced in the state assembly on Monday, would eliminate this discretion of a judge to sentence defendants convicted of such crimes to probation, said Ben Golombek, a spokesman for Assemblyman Evan Low, a co-author of the bill.

Golombek said that the effect of the proposed new law, which must still be approved by both houses of the legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown, is that Turner would have faced a minimum of three years behind bars.

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The uproar over the sentence, fueled in part by the victim’s harrowing letter in which she detailed the assault in graphic terms, comes amid growing outrage over sexual assault on U.S. college campuses. It has also led to efforts to remove Persky from the bench.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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Military base shooter assailed US as ‘nation of evil’

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A Saudi military student reportedly condemned America as a "nation of evil" in an online manifesto prior to opening fire Friday at a US naval base, killing three people before being shot dead by police.

The shooting, which took place in a classroom building at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, left eight others wounded, including two sheriff's deputies who responded to the attack.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the shooter was from Saudi Arabia -- the same nationality as 15 of the 19 men involved in the 9/11 attacks, some of whom attended civilian flight school in Florida.

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Elon Musk cleared of defamation over ‘pedo guy’ tweet

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Tesla co-founder Elon Musk was cleared of defamation on Friday by a jury in Los Angeles over a tweet in which he labeled a British caver "pedo guy."

The jury deliberated less than an hour before ruling in favor of Musk and clearing him of any liability in the high-profile case that pitted him against Vernon Unsworth.

Unsworth had sought $190 million in damages from the tech billionaire, arguing that his reputation had been damaged by the tweet.

Musk hugged his lawyer on hearing the verdict, telling reporters afterwards: "My faith in humanity has been restored."

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Team Trump wants to steal another election — and there’s only one way to beat them back

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When I was growing up at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, back in the early 1960s, my mother drove down to Kansas City one morning to go shopping and have lunch with an old friend of her mother’s. Ladies going out shopping and having lunch in the upscale Country Club Plaza in Kansas City was almost a formal occasion. I remember she put on a summery suit and heels and stockings, and I’m pretty sure she wore a pair of white cotton gloves.

When she returned a few hours later, she wasn’t carrying any bags from the shops, and she was seething. The woman she’d eaten lunch with was married to a man who owned a chain of downtown hotels in major cities around the country. They lived in a big Tudor house in Mission Hills, the Beverly Hills of the Midwest. She drove a Cadillac. She was rich.

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