MIAMI — The judge overseeing the class-action lawsuit for the Surfside condo collapse said Tuesday he would increase the payout for condo owners whose homes were destroyed last summer. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman gave preliminary approval to pay the 136 unit owners a total of $96 million, which he said was the appraised value of their homes prior to the June 24 collapse. The owners previously agreed to an $83 million allocation, but about 50 of them signed a letter last week asking that Hanzman reconsider the payment after a nearly $1 billion settlement was announced for the wrong...
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Florida is once again in the national news after Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's bombshell testimony on Tuesday implicated Roger Stone in his third presidential scandal in the Sunshine State since 1996.
"The joke among journalists in South Florida is that there is always a Florida angle to any significant national story — and in this week’s explosive testimony at the Jan. 6 committee hearings by a former White House aide, the local connection was her mention of Roger Stone, a Fort Lauderdale-based political operative and Donald Trump minion," The Miami Herald editorial board wrote on Thursday. "According to Cassie Hutchinson, a former aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in the crucial hours where he hoped to wrest back the presidency he had lost in November, Trump turned to Stone for help. 'Get me Stone!' Can’t you just hear the enraged Trump?"
"Get Me Roger Stone" was the title of a 2017 Netflix documentary that featured commentary from Trump.
"Ms. Hutchinson, is it your understanding that President Trump asked Mark Meadows to speak with Roger Stone and General [Michael] Flynn on January 5?" Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) asked.
"That's correct. That is my understanding," she replied. "I'm under the impression that Mr. Meadows did complete both a call to Mr. Stone and General Flynn the evening of the 5th."
Attorney Katie Phang, who teaches at the University of Miami School of Law, wondered, "Why did Trump want Meadows to talk to Roger Stone & Michael Flynn?"
\u201cThe day before the Capitol attack, on 1/5, why did Mark Meadows want to go to the War Room at the Willard Hotel where Giuliani, Bannon, Eastman, et al. were located?\n\nWhy did Trump want Meadows to talk to Roger Stone & Michael Flynn? \ud83e\udd14\u201d— Katie S. Phang (@Katie S. Phang) 1656531914
The Herald noted Stone was reportedly, "in contact with leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, which also have Miami and Florida ties."
And this wasn't Stone's third Florida scandal involving a presidential campaign.
In 2008, Jeffrey Toobin was taken to the Miami Velvet swinger's club by Stone while writing a New Yorker profile published under the headline, "The Dirty Trickster."
"Stone served as a senior consultant to Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign for President, but that assignment ended in a characteristic conflagration. The National Enquirer, in a story headlined 'Top Dole Aide Caught in Group-Sex Ring,' reported that the Stones had apparently run personal ads in a [Florida] magazine called Local Swing Fever and on a Web site that had been set up with Nydia’s credit card. 'Hot, insatiable lady and her handsome body builder husband, experienced swingers, seek similar couples or exceptional muscular . . . single men,' the ad on the Web site stated. The ads sought athletes and military men, while discouraging overweight candidates, and included photographs of the Stones," Toobin reported. "At the time, Stone claimed that he had been set up by a 'very sick individual,' but he was forced to resign from Dole’s campaign. Stone acknowledged to me that the ads were authentic."
For years later, Stone was yet again involved in the Brooks Brothers riot during the 2000 Florida recount, which he told Toobin he directed from a Winnebago.
“I set up my command center there. I had walkie-talkies and cell phones, and I was in touch with our people in the building. Our whole idea was to shut the recount down. That was why we were there. We had the frequency to the Democrats’ walkie-talkies and were listening to their communications, but they were so disorganized that we didn’t learn much that was useful," Stone said.
Watch the trailer for "Get Me Roger Stone":
Get Me Roger Stone | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix www.youtube.com
Women from 'trigger law' states banned from medical abortions at Planned Parenthood of Montana: report
Planned Parenthood of Montana will no longer be providing medication abortions to patients in South Dakota and three other states with “trigger laws,” according to an all-staff email sent by organization President and CEO Martha Fuller Thursday.
South Dakota, along with Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, have total bans on abortion care that went into effect via “trigger laws” that went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade — the case which had guaranteed some form of federal protection for the medical procedure.
In Fuller’s email she said that PPMT has seen a “significant number of patients” seeking care from South Dakota.
Every state bordering Montana has “trigger laws” in place, with South Dakota’s already in effect and Wyoming and North Dakota to follow within a month. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit with Idaho’s Supreme Court earlier this week to block its trigger law banning nearly all abortions, the Idaho Capital Sun reported.
Fuller said in the email to comply with the change, all medication abortion patients would be required to provide proof of residency.
“The risks around cross-state provision of services are currently less than clear, with potential for both civil and criminal action for providing abortions in states with bans,” Fuller said in the email.
Fuller did not go into detail in the email as to what documents would be acceptable to prove residency, but did say the organization would be providing guidance to clinical staff, adding that they may not be able to identify all acceptable forms of proof immediately.
“We do not enter this lightly, and recognize that this change disproportionately impacts Indigenous patients,” Fuller said.
Fuller’s email was sent to Planned Parenthood of Montana staff Thursday afternoon and was made public on Twitter not long after.
In a statement, Fuller addressed that Planned Parenthood will continue to serve patients from out of state who are seeking abortion.
“Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe, we must make decisions around the provision of abortion care in consideration of the rapidly changing landscape for abortion access across the country and amid the cruel intention of anti-abortion politicians to sow chaos and confusion,” Fuller’s statement read. “No matter what, Planned Parenthood of Montana will do whatever we can to protect patients, providers, and health center staff. Access to abortion in Montana remains constitutionally protected and is available.”
Patients from states with abortion bans that take effect after six weeks, like Texas and Ohio, would not be able to attain medication abortion care after that time from PPMT. There will be no change to surgical abortion care provided by the Montana non-profit.
Wyoming and North Dakota also have “trigger laws” that will likely go into effect in the next 30 days.
As reported by the Montana Free Press, abortion providers in Montana have been preparing for a surge in out-of-state patients in the run-up to the expected fall of Roe v. Wade after a draft opinion from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico in May.
Abortion in Montana is currently protected under the 1999 state Supreme Court decision in Armstrong v. State, which extended constitutional privacy rights to medical procedures.
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At an emotional City Council meeting Thursday, families of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims demanded the mayor release details from the investigation. Mayor Don McLaughlin told them he didn’t have any new information and the city can’t share anything with the public because of the ongoing investigation.
“Nobody’s giving us any answers, it’s been over a month, you have no idea how frustrating that is. We’re sitting here, just listening to empty words,” said the sister of Irma Garcia, one of two teachers who was killed in the May 24 massacre along with 19 students. She didn’t identify herself by name when she addressed the City Council.
Tina Quintanilla-Taylor, whose daughter survived the shooting, also made a plea to state leaders who have details of the investigation and haven’t shared them with the community: “Show your face. Answer our questions, now,” she said, facing TV news cameras.
Some family members also demanded to know why Pete Arredondo, a City Council member and school district police chief whose actions during the shooting have brought withering criticism, failed to show up to his second consecutive City Council meeting. According to the city charter, the City Council could vacate the seat if Arredondo misses a third consecutive meeting.
McLaughlin told family members that if city officials released details about the shooting investigation, they could be prosecuted, citing letters from the Texas Department of Public Safety and Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee requesting that no information be released until the investigation is complete.
The shooting is being investigated by the Texas Rangers, who are part of DPS, and the FBI.
In the letter dated June 8, Busbee does not mention prosecuting anyone, but says that “Any release of records to that incident at this time would interfere with said ongoing investigation and would impede a thorough and complete investigation.”
Busbee didn’t return a phone message from The Texas Tribune seeking comment Thursday.
The shooting by an 18-year-old Uvalde man — who was killed by law enforcement after they waited more than an hour to confront the shooter — is the worst K-12 school shooting in the country since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.
The aftermath has brought anguished questions from parents and residents who are demanding answers, as well as finger-pointing between state and local officials over what most law enforcement experts agree was a botched response by police as children were being slain inside the school.
During the council meeting, family members discussed the idea of starting an effort to recall Busbee. McLaughlin also offered to resign if Uvalde residents felt he wasn’t doing his job
“I’m not a quitter. But if this community feels like I haven’t done a good job as mayor and they want me to resign, I’d be happy to,” he said.
The meeting came as a state House committee held its second straight day of private interviews as part of an investigation of the shooting. The committee, which is chaired by state Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, heard testimony from the mayor, teachers and Uvalde police and state police officers.
Burrows has said he believes witnesses would give more candid testimony away from the public eye.