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Pennsylvania grand jury to report on fraternity hazing death

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A long-awaited grand jury report about fraternity hazing at Pennsylvania State University was set to be unveiled on Friday, 10 months after the death of Timothy Piazza, 19, during an alcohol-fueled initiation ritual.

The grand jury at Centre County Court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania investigated safety issues at Penn State after the Feb. 4 death of Piazza, a college sophomore from Lebanon, New Jersey.

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Piazza was served at least 18 drinks within 82 minutes at a pledge party at Beta Theta Pi house, said Stacy Parks Miller, Centre County’s district attorney.

The report is the result of a 10-month investigation into hazing and alcohol use within Penn State’s fraternity system.

Piazza seriously injured himself after becoming intoxicated at the party, tumbling twice down flights of stairs. He died two days later.

Twenty-six fraternity members are accused in Piazza’s death. Charges include involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, hazing and furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor under the age of 21.

Surveillance-camera video of the alcohol-fueled initiation rite that turned deadly showed games involving the rapid consumption of wine, beer and vodka in the fraternity house’s basement during a party for newly accepted members.

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The video footage, recovered by the FBI, had been deleted after the fraternity learned police were planning to seize the video from the frat house in the town of State College.

Braxton Becker, one of the fraternity members, is accused of deleting the video footage while State College police were in the room to seize the recording equipment. He faces separate charges of evidence tampering and obstruction of justice.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Bernadette Baum)

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GOP lawmakers will turn on Trump the moment the public leans a few more points towards impeachment: conservative

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According to Bulwark columnist Philip Rotner, GOP lawmakers for the moment are parroting Donald Trump's insistence that he is innocent of any wrongdoing with regard to withholding aid to Ukraine's president unless he was given political dirt on his political opponent, but that could quickly come to an end if certain key witnesses are allowed to testify.

As the conservative columnist noted, he previously said that the president would base his defense on the simple phrase "I didn't do it," and -- now that the impeachment hearings have started -- it appears the GOP is running with the president's spin.

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Ousted US envoy Marie Yovanovitch testifies at Trump impeachment hearing

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An ousted US envoy to Ukraine who said she felt threatened by Donald Trump testified Friday on Day Two of impeachment hearings looking into whether the president abused his office for personal political gain.

Earlier witnesses in the inquiry said ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was removed after a smear campaign involving Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, accused of helping to coordinate the president's effort to pressure Kiev into investigating his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Yovanovitch, a highly regarded career diplomat who was pulled from her post in May, will now tell her side of the story in an open, nationally televised setting, as Democratic lawmakers sharpen their case against the president.

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Vowing to take on the ‘greedy, corrupt donor class,’ Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur announces congressional bid

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"I'm going to fight to get money out of politics, and I'm going to call it like it is. You know what campaign donations are from big corporations and lobbyists? Bribes."

Cenk Uygur, host and founder of the online progressive news show The Young Turksannounced late Thursday that he is running for the California congressional seat left vacant by the recent resignation of Rep. Katie Hill.

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