ORLANDO, Fla. — Jason Pirozzolo, a politically-connected Orlando hand surgeon who used to serve on the board of the agency that oversees Orlando International Airport, was named in a Wednesday night report by CBS News as a figure in the sex trafficking investigation targeting U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and former Seminole tax collector Joel Greenberg. Citing unnamed sources, CBS News reported that Pirozzolo paid for travel, accommodations and female escorts on a trip to the Bahamas with Gaetz in late 2018 or early 2019. “Investigators are trying to determine if the escorts were illegally trafficked ...
Ron DeSantis' state 'army' isn't about protecting Florida — here's his 'disgusting' real plan: analysis
On Friday, writing for the Daily Beast, columnist Michael Daly outlined the real, "disgusting" purpose behind the effort by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to revive an old state "army" independent of the National Guard, which will answer only to him and cannot be mobilized by the federal government.
"Back at the start of World War II, the federal government authorized the states to form military units to fill in for the national guard, which had been incorporated into the U.S military to fight in Europe and the Pacific," wrote Daly. "The Florida Guard was formed in 1941. Its motto, 'Let Us Alone,' invoked fealty to Florida, not to America, even though this was a time that called for national unity against a common enemy. Those same three words had appeared on a flag that Florida’ first governor, William Moseley, flew at his inauguration in 1841. But, perhaps because Florida’s leading business people were actively engaged in trade with folks from beyond its borders, the state senate took exception to the words and never officially approved the flag."
Ultimately, wrote Daly, DeSantis has no public safety motivation to revive this army — particularly given his catastrophic response to the COVID-19 pandemic — and wants it instead for political power. The hint, he said, was the use of the "Let Us Alone" slogan on the podium at a speech on Thursday.
"DeSantis clearly did not decide to revive the state guard in response to a new variant that complicates a continuing national emergency that has left 786,000 Americans dead and hundreds of thousands more disabled," wrote Daly. "All that raises the question of what DeSantis intends to do with something so small as Ron’s Army ... The real mission of Ron’s Army is to appeal to that state-before-nation sentiment, along with the individual-before-feds feelings that fill the MAGA base. Ron’s Army sure looks like part of a long-term DeSantis plan to become the commander-in-chief of the whole country."
You can read more here.
WATCH: Panic erupts at Michigan school shooting vigil after someone faints — sparking fears of violence
Panic erupted Friday night at a large memorial in Oxford, Michigan, for the victims of a deadly school shooting this week.
Hundreds of people had gathered in downtown Oxford for the memorial when someone fainted, according to Jason Colthorp of Detroit's Channel 4.
"Terrifying moments at the Oxford Vigil when apparently someone fainted and it sparked fear as people started yelling for help— and then everyone ran," Colthorp wrote on Twitter above video from the incident. "Police who immediately knew this was a medical emergency were trying to calm people down but it took several minutes before the vigil resumed and many people just went home and many of them in tears."
The video shows the crowd screaming and running as people try to figure out what's going on.
At one point, two law enforcement officers armed with rifles pass in front of the camera.
"I can't do this," one sobbing woman can be heard yelling as she is escorted away from the area.
"Jesus, that scared the hell out of me," a man can be heard saying. "I was standing over there and everybody started running."
Police who immediately knew this was a medical emergency were trying to calm people down but it took several minutes before the vigil resumed and many people just went home and many of them in tears. #Local4pic.twitter.com/giGNE1loWd— Jason Colthorp (@Jason Colthorp) 1638579146
The "bags and bags" of money found stashed in a bathroom wall at televangelist Joel Osteen's megachurch have been linked to a 2014 theft from a safe at the Houston facility.
The cash, checks and money orders were discovered on Nov. 10 by a plumber who removed tile and insulation from the wall while fixing a loose toilet. The plumber's discovery came seven years Lakewood Church reported that $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks had been stolen from the safe.
“Evidence from the recovered checks suggests this November case is connected to a March 9, 2014 theft report of undisclosed amounts of money at the church,” the Houston Police Department said in a statement posted to Twitter on Friday afternoon, adding that the investigation is continuing.
The New York Times reports that after the 2014 theft, which reportedly was discovered by an employee, the church said in a statement that the missing “funds were fully insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the stolen funds to the church." According to KPRC Channel 2, the church also said the stolen money represented funds that were contributed during one weekend of services. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the church housed in former stadium that was home to the Houston Rockets drew roughly 42,000 people to services every week.
The plumber who found the money identified himself only as Justin when he told his story Thursday morning on the “The Morning Bullpen with George Mo and Erik.”
"During the call, the plumber noted that there was a $25,000 reward offered, saying with a laugh, 'I need some compensation.' He said he never thought about pocketing any of the envelopes," the NYT reports.
“I’m an honest man,” Justin said.
A Crime Stoppers Houston official told the NYT that $20,000 of the $25,000 reward had been donated by Lakewood Church. Crime Stoppers still has a $5,000 reward for the case, but only for information that leads to an arrest, meaning that the plumber wouldn't qualify simply for finding the loot.
George Lindsey, a host of "The Morning Bullpen," said he believes Justin was frustrated that he hadn't heard anything from the church or police since finding the stash.
“Nobody said thank you,” Lindsey said. “Nobody has said a word to this guy. He has solved a case that has been on the books for seven years.”