After pleading guilty in May to a federal civil rights offense in the death of Walter Scott, former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder and obstruction of justice, The Post and Courier reports. In April 2015, Slager fatally shot the unarmed Scott as he fled a routine traffic stop.
Three days after the shooting, a witness posted a video online of Slager shooting Scott multiple times in the back as Scott ran away. The footage of Scott's death sparked protests and demonstrations in South Carolina and across the country, and Slager was arrested on a murder charge shortly after the clip went viral.
Scott's youngest son had asked U.S. District Judge David Norton to sentence Slager to life in prison, but Norton instead opted to sentence Slager on charges of second-degree murder, which holds a possible sentence of 19 to 24 years, instead of life in prison for voluntary manslaughter. Norton issued the final sentence of 20 years behind bars.
Last December, a state murder trial for Slager ended in a mistrial; those charges were later dropped after Slager pleaded guilty to the federal charge of violating Scott's civil rights. Anthony Scott, the older brother of the deceased Scott, told reporters that he had accepted Norton's decision. "At the end of the day, there's another judge [Slager] has to face." Kelly O'Meara Morales
On Monday, right after Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, arrived in Sydney for a 16-day visit to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, Kensington Palace announced that the couple is expecting their first child in the spring. The prince and the former Meghan Markle "appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public,” the palace said.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 15, 2018
The couple will also visit Fiji and Tonga, and their trip will include watching the Invictus Games, an international sporting competition for injured veterans that Prince Harry helped launch. Peter Weber
John Oliver suggests 'Trump's intense bromance' with the Saudi crown prince allowed journalist Khashoggi's murder
On Oct. 2, U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished, and Turkey said it has conclusive proof that a Saudi death squad killed and dismembered Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. This "incredibly grim" story is "absolutely horrific, and the Saudis denied it happened — although let us all agree on this: A bone saw in any context is an immediate red flag," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight.
Khashoggi was a "thoughtful and by no means radical critic of the Saudi royal family," Oliver said. "And this is all worrying, because the only reason to kill a journalist in your own consulate with 15 people and a bone saw you flew in that day is because you wanted to send a message, and you were sure you could get away with it." He had a pretty good idea why the Saudis would think they'd face no consequences.
America has a "long and morally compromised history" with Saudi Arabia, and while many "U.S. presidents have, to varying degrees, been willing to pander to Saudi Arabia," turning "a blind eye to a lot of things," Oliver said, President Trump has really embraced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, an overhyped reformer whose every positive achievement has "a much grimmer truth underneath" it. "Trump's intense bromance with MBS is bad news," Oliver said, but it makes sense because the Saudi royal family has "the two qualities he admires most in the world: Having a lot of money, and giving it to him. He basically said as much on the campaign trail."
Trump says Saudi Arabia faces "severe punishment" if it's proven they murdered Khashoggi, but "does anyone really believe that that something he is honestly committed to?" Oliver asked. In more honest remarks, Trump "openly demonstrated to the entire world, and to Saudi Arabia specifically, that arms deal, much more important than butchered journalist." There's NSFW language. Watch below. Peter Weber
"Republicans have begun to concede defeat in the evolving fight to preserve the House majority," The Associated Press reports. "And as they initiate a painful and strategic triage, the early Republican-on-Republican blame game has begun as well."
Republican incumbents being abandoned by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) compalin that national House Republicans are not living up to their promise to spend $62 million, as outlined in a September memo declaring that "the cavalry is coming." The NRCC, which is taking out what AP describes as a "sizable loan," says it has to "hone in on what are the races we can actually win," as House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) fundraising chief Spencer Zwick phrased it. And Ryan's allied super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, grouses it has had to step in to boost weak fundraising by GOP incumbents. In more than 30 toss-up races, the CLF notes, it is the only GOP group spending any money in 14.
Overall, according to filings submitted Friday, Democratic candidates have outspent their GOP rivals $116 million to $66 million in almost 80 competitive House districts since July, AP reports. The CLF has spent another $93 million in the same period, thanks largely to the deep pockets of GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. "This is going to be a devastating election for Republicans across the ballot," says GOP strategist Terry Sullivan. "Republican donors are smart folks," he added. "They're not going to give money to a losing cause."
The good news for Republicans, says Nate Silver at FiveThityEight, is that "Democratic prospects in the Senate are increasingly dire, having fallen to about 1 in 5. Indeed, it’s been hard to find any good news for Democrats in Senate polling lately. In the House, by contrast ... Democrats' chance of taking the House has ticked back upward to about 4 in 5."
Team USA clinched a spot in the 2019 Women's World Cup in France on Sunday with a lopsided 6-0 win over Jamaica in Frisco, Texas. The U.S. women's national soccer team won the 2015 World Cup and is ranked No. 1 in the world. (The U.S. men's national team did not qualify for the 2016 World's Cup.) Canada, ranked No. 5 in the world, also secure a spot in the 2019 World's Cup on Sunday, notching a 7-0 win over Panama in the qualifying tournament in Frisco. The third slot in the regional delegation to France will be determined in a game on Wednesday, and the loser of that match will face Argentina for one last shot at playing in the World Cup.
Team USA took an early lead against Jamaica, ranked 64th in the world, with a goal by Tobin Heath in the second minute. Her second goal in the first half came off a pass from Lindsay Horan.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) October 15, 2018
Alex Morgan also scored two goals, and Megan Rapinoe Julie Ertz kicked in one each. Along with its 2015 victory, Team USA won the inaugural Women's World Cup in 1991 and won again in 1999. Peter Weber
Georgia GOP Sen. David Perdue grabbed a Georgia Tech student's phone mid-question. Theft or aborted selfie?
A student at Georgia Tech tried to confront Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) about his support for the gubernatorial bid of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) on Saturday, and specifically Kemp's controversial voter-registration policies, but he did not past "Hey, so how can you endorse a candidate ..."
The video, posted by the Young Democratic Socialists of America at Georgia Tech, shows Perdue telling the unidentified student, "No, I'm not doing that. I'm not doing that," then grabbing the phone. After the student asked for his phone back several times, it was returned. "The senator clearly thought he was being asked to take a picture, and he went to take a selfie as he often does," Perdue spokeswoman Casey Black said. "When he realized they didn't actually want to take a picture, he gave the phone back."
The student and his group obviously saw things differently. "Perdue walked into Georgia Tech's backyard, and students aren't allowed to ask him a simple question?" YDSAGT asked in a statement. "Perdue would have been within his legal rights to simply walk away or decline the question. But instead, he forcibly, suddenly, and violently took their phone without justification or provocation." If the student had "snatched a sitting U.S. senator's phone," for a selfie or whatever, the group noted, he "would likely have been arrested on the spot." The video "cuts briefly for a few seconds when Perdue accidentally stopped and restarted the recording, during which time Perdue hid the phone behind his back while the student demanded their phone be returned," YDSAGT added.
Perdue is not up for re-election this year, but Kemp is in a tight race with Democrat Stacey Abrams and Perude has been campaigning for him and other Republicans before the midterm elections. Peter Weber
This isn't a desert mirage — Benny the yellow lab from Las Vegas really does ice skate and fetch hockey sticks.
The 5-year-old dog was rescued from a Las Vegas shelter right before he was to be euthanized. His new family realized that he learned things quickly, and they had custom ice skates made for Benny's front paws so he could practice skating. He picked it up almost immediately, and now he goes around the rink with an American flag on his vest and a stick in his mouth.
Benny's dedication has paid off, and he's branched out from skating in front of his family during weekly practices — he's also entertained fans ahead of Las Vegas Knights and University of Nevada, Las Vegas hockey games. Catherine Garcia
If you live in Savannah, recently shopped at Michaels, and saw someone acting suspicious in the googly eye aisle, police in Georgia may want to hear from you.
Last week, a crafty culprit defaced a statue of Nathanael Greene in Johnson Square, adding googly eyes to the monument. "It may look funny, but harming our historic monuments and public property is no laughing matter, in fact, it's a crime," the city wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. "We are hoping to find the person responsible!"
Greene was a Revolutionary War general, and his remains were placed under the monument in 1902, the Georgia Historical Society told USA Today. Affixing googly eyes to a statue is considered criminal trespass, which is a misdemeanor offense, unless the damage is more than $500, and then it becomes criminal damage to property. Catherine Garcia