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Appeals court overturns conviction of ‘Making a Murderer’ inmate

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A federal appeals court on Thursday affirmed a decision to overturn the murder conviction of Brendan Dassey, a Wisconsin man serving a life sentence whose case was chronicled in the popular Netflix television documentary “Making a Murderer.”

A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled 2-1 to uphold a federal judge’s ruling last year that overturned Dassey’s conviction for a 2005 murder. [nL1N1AU06I]

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Magistrate Judge William Duffin had ruled in August that the conviction was based on a coerced confession that Dassey, now 27, gave as a 16-year-old with a learning disability. Duffin ordered Dassey freed in November, but his release was halted while Wisconsin authorities appealed the decision. [nL1N1DH2HF][nL1N1DI1PO]

“THIS JUST IN,” Dassey’s attorney Steven Drizin tweeted on Thursday. “7th Circuit AFFIRMS Judge Duffin in 2-1 decision. This round goes to Brendan Dassey 2-1.”

The judges’ three-sentence judgment ordered Dassey freed unless Wisconsin elected to retry him within 90 days or appealed the ruling.

Johnny Koremenos, a spokesman for Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, said his office was evaluating the decision.

“We anticipate seeking review by the entire 7th Circuit or the United States Supreme Court and hope that today’s erroneous decision will be reversed,” he said in an email.

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Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery, were convicted in separate trials of killing freelance photographer Teresa Halbach at Avery’s home and scrap yard. Her charred remains were found in an incineration barrel and a burn pit on Avery’s property, about 80 miles (130 km) north of Milwaukee.

A jury in 2007 found Dassey guilty of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault and mutilation of a corpse. Avery was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide and unlawful possession of a firearm as a felon. Both were sentenced to life in prison.

The case was the subject of the 10-part documentary “Making a Murderer,” which questioned the handling of the investigation and the motives of Manitowoc County law enforcement officials.

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The documentary recounted how Avery was convicted of an earlier, unrelated rape and sent to prison in 1985, serving 18 years before DNA evidence exonerated him and he was released.

He filed a $36 million federal lawsuit against the county, its former sheriff and district attorney in 2004. A year later, he and Dassey were accused of killing Halbach.

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The Emmy-winning documentary suggested that authorities planted evidence against both defendants, a claim rejected by the current sheriff.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)


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A closer look at Trump COVID contractors reveals inexperience, fraud accusations and a weapons dealer operating out of someone’s house

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A firm set up by a former telemarketer who once settled federal fraud charges for $2.7 million. A vodka distributor accused in a pending lawsuit of overstating its projected sales. An aspiring weapons dealer operating out of a single-family home.

These three privately held companies are part of the new medical supply chain, offered a total of almost $74 million by the federal government to find and rapidly deliver vital protective equipment and COVID-19 testing supplies across the U.S. While there’s no evidence that they obtained their deals through political connections, none of the three had to bid against competing firms. One has already lost its contract for lack of performance; it’s unclear if the other two can fulfill their orders on time, or at all.

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CNN’s John King astonished Trump keeps tweeting things that would get anyone else ‘fired in a snap’

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CNN's John King on Wednesday expressed shock that no one has been able to convince President Donald Trump to stop tweeting unfounded conspiracy theories about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough murdering a staffer 20 years ago.

During an interview with David Gergen, King said it was particularly jarring to see Trump, in the middle of a pandemic that has killed 100,000 Americans, to be tweeting things that "if I tweeted them, we would be fired in a snap."

Gergen then looked back at how past presidents have handled tragedies, and he said Trump pales in comparison to all of them.

"This should be a week of national mourning, to have 100,000 deaths, the number we'll reach in the next two or three days, and the country is saddened by that," he said. "Traditionally, presidents bring us together for occasions like this. They brought comfort, they met privately with the families of the victims and cheered people up... and here now, we have completely the opposite. It's very, very sad."

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The View’s Meghan McCain calls for cops to be charged for ‘blatant murder’ of George Floyd

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"The View" co-host Meghan McCain called for charges against the Minneapolis police officers over the fatal arrest of George Floyd.

The four officers lost their jobs over the death, which prompted widespread protests that were met with tear gas and other violent tactics from police.

"There was huge amounts of protesters that took to the streets last night, and I think people are sitting in their homes and seeing what is blatantly a murder of a man on camera, and George Floyd, I watched the entire video," McCain said. "I know we didn't want to show the entire thing, but it's very graphic. It's very violent."

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