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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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‘Marriage Story’ tops Golden Globes nominations with six

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"Marriage Story," Netflix's heart-wrenching divorce saga, topped the Golden Globe nominations Monday with six nods including best drama, kicking off the race for the Oscars.

"The Irishman," Martin Scorsese's three-and-a-half-hour gangster epic, and "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," Quentin Tarantino's nostalgic love letter to 1960s Tinseltown, were hot on its heels with five each.

The nominations traditionally see the stars and movies destined for awards success start to break away from the competition -- the Globes are seen as a key bellwether for February's Academy Awards.

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Devin Nunes claims he was ‘stalked’ after reporter asks questions about his role in Trump’s Ukraine scheme

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Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, claimed Sunday that he was "stalked" at a $15,000-per-plate GOP fundraiser at the luxury Lotte New York Palace Hotel in Manhattan.

In reality, Nunes was approached at the GOP event Saturday by The Intercept's Lee Fang, who asked basic questions about the California Republican's role in President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter.

"Hey, Congressman Nunes. I just wanted to ask you really quickly: What were your calls with Lev Parnas about?" Fang said, referring to an indicted associate of Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. "Were you asking about the effort to investigate Hunter Biden?"

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We’ll ‘come out stronger’: Michelle Obama weighs in on Trump’s ‘surreal’ impeachment

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Former first lady Michelle Obama went on NBC's "Today" on Monday to talk about the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

During her NBC interview, Obama described the Trump impeachment as "surreal" and predicted that the United States would come back stronger afterward.

"I don't think people know what to make of it," she said. "But do I think we can come back from it? Oh yeah."

Obama then put Trump's impeachment in historical perspective.

"We've seen tough times in this country," she said. "You know we've gone through depressions and wars and bombings and terrorist attacks, and we've gone through Jim Crow, and we've always come out stronger. And that's what we have to continue to believe because what's our choice? To ball up in a corner and call it a day? Well that's not fair to this next generation that's coming before us that are counting on us to get this right."

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