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Lawyer of US pastor says to appeal to top Turkish court for his release

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The lawyer of an American Christian pastor on trial on terrorism charges in Turkey said he will appeal to the constitutional court on Wednesday to seek his client’s release.

The case of Andrew Brunson, whose next regular court hearing is on Oct. 12, has become the most divisive issue in a worsening diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington that has triggered a punishing regime of U.S. sanctions and tariffs against Turkey.

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“We will appeal tomorrow to the Constitutional Court to lift the house arrest,” lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt told Reuters on Tuesday.

The evangelical pastor is charged with links to Kurdish militants and supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the cleric blamed by Turkey for a failed coup attempt in 2016. He has denied the accusation – as has Gulen – and Washington has demanded his immediate release.

On Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was determined to fight, within legal and diplomatic frameworks, “this crooked understanding, which imposes sanctions using the excuse of a pastor who is tried due to his dark links with terror organizations.”

Halavurt said he did not expect the constitutional court to make a ruling before the Oct. 12 hearing, “but we want to have completed our appeal before (then)”.

Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for two decades, has been detained for 21 months on terrorism charges and is currently under house arrest.

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Donald Trump, who counts evangelical Christians among his core supporters, has become a vocal champion of the pastor’s case.

The U.S. president believed he and Erdogan had agreed a deal to release him in July as part of a wider agreement, but Ankara has denied this.

Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Daren Butler and John Stonestreet

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2020 Election

WATCH: Pete Buttigieg surges to first place in ‘gold standard’ poll of Iowa caucuses

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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg surged in a poll of Iowa released Saturday night.

The poll, by Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom, showed major movement in the race.

"Since September, Buttigieg has risen 16 percentage points among Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers, with 25% now saying he is their first choice for president. For the first time in the Register’s Iowa Poll, he bests rivals Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are now clustered in competition for second place and about 10 percentage points behind the South Bend, Indiana, mayor," the newspaper reported.

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‘Our side is WINNING’: Elise Stefanik lashes out after Dem challenger Tedra Cobb’s fundraising surges

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Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) lashed out at critics on Saturday after gaining notoriety for interrupting the House impeachment proceedings.

Saturday morning, prominent Republican attorney George Conway blasted Stefanik as 'lying trash' -- and donated $2,800 to Tedra Cobb, Stefanik's Democratic challenger.

I just gave the legal maximum. If you believe in truth in politics and in the rule of law, you should give what you can as well. https://t.co/KztHswmYoT pic.twitter.com/ukfNr66ipP

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Radio host taken off air mid-show after replaying clip of him discussing Trump and Roy Cohn

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Coverage of the conviction of longtime Donald Trump political advisor Roger Stone resulted in a radio show host being booted in the middle of his show -- that he's hosted for over five years.

"Craig Silverman, a former chief deputy district attorney in Denver and current radio host on the conservative 710 KNUS, was taken off the air midshow Saturday after replaying an old interview clip in which he expressed hesitations about President Donald Trump," The Denver Post reported Saturday.

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