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Verdict due in trial of Baltimore policeman over Freddie Gray death

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A Maryland judge is scheduled to hand down a verdict on Monday in the manslaughter trial of the highest-ranking Baltimore police officer charged in the death of black detainee Freddie Gray.

Lieutenant Brian Rice, 42, is the fourth of six officers to be tried for Gray’s death in April 2015 from a broken neck suffered in a police van. Prosecutors have yet to secure a conviction in the high-profile case.

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Gray’s death triggered protests and rioting in the mainly black city and stoked a national debate about how police treat minorities. That debate flared anew this month with the deaths of African-American men at the hands of police in Minnesota and Louisiana.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams has said he will announce his verdict at 10 a.m. EDT. He is hearing the case in a bench trial after Rice waived his right to a jury trial.

Rice, who is white, ordered two bicycle officers to chase Gray, 25, when he fled unprovoked in a high-crime area. The officer helped put Gray, who was shackled and handcuffed, into the police wagon face down on its floor.

Prosecutors said Rice was negligent in shackling Gray’s legs and not securing him in a seat belt, as required by department protocol.

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But defense lawyers have said Rice was allowed leeway on whether to get inside a van to secure a prisoner. The officer made a correct decision in a few seconds while Gray was being combative and a hostile crowd was looking on, they said.

Rice is charged with involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. He could face at least 15 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Williams has acquitted Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson Jr., the van’s driver. A third officer, William Porter, faces a retrial after a jury deadlocked.

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(Writing by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Alistair Bell and Lisa Von Ahn)


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Trump announces toughest sanctions ‘ever’ on Iran

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President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on Iran's central bank, calling the measures the toughest ever imposed on another country by the United States.

"We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

"These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country," he said.

The Trump administration has vowed a response after US officials blamed Iran for weekend blasts on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which caused a sharp hike in global crude prices.

The United States already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran including on its central bank, with anyone who deals with it subject to prosecution.

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Trump uncorks bizarre rant on ‘clean coal’ in Oval Office: ‘When you talk minerals, it’s about digging’

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President Donald Trump on Friday uncorked a strange and nonsensical rant about the virtues of so-called "clean coal" during an Oval Office conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

When asked about the importance of Australia's mineral industry, the president praised the country for doing so much to extract resources in what he described in an environmentally friendly way.

"Coal, as an example, you're the leader of safety in coal digging and we've actually studied it," the president said. "We're doing a lot of coal. You have very little -- you have almost no -- used to have a thing, black lung disease, and in Australia you almost don't have it anymore, you've got all of the dust down."

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The View explodes in confusion after Meghan McCain makes Trump’s Ukraine debacle all about herself

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Meghan McCain managed to place herself at the center of a debate about a whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump.

"The View" grappled with reports that Trump dangled U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for damaging information against Joe Biden, and co-host Abby Huntsman agreed that was an impeachable offense -- but expressed doubts about the accuracy.

"This is a blown-up story and we have no facts, there's no gray area," Huntsman said. "It's black and white, and that would give Trump all the more ammunition if this isn't even true to say, this is what the media does."

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