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5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Michael Cohen pleads guilty to 8 felony charges

  • Paul Manafort found guilty on 8 felony charges of financial fraud

  • Facebook removes 652 disinformation accounts from Iran and Russia

  • GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter and wife indicted for campaign finance violations

  • Hurricane Lane heads toward Hawaii as a Category 5 storm

President Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight counts of financial crimes. New York-based federal prosecutors had been investigating Cohen for tax and bank fraud, and on Tuesday he admitted to violating campaign finance laws. The charges include five counts of tax evasion and one count of making an "excessive campaign contribution." Two of the charges relate to payments Cohen made to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump, in exchange for their silence. Cohen, detailing the crimes he was pleading to, said he'd made the payments "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" for the "purpose of influencing the election." He faces up to five years in prison.

Source: Daily News, The Week

President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight counts of financial fraud Tuesday. The judge declared a mistrial on 10 of the counts in the bank and tax fraud trial, as jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on those charges. NBC News reports that Manafort was found guilty on one count of failing to file a foreign bank account, two counts of bank fraud, and five counts of tax evasion. Manafort, 69, faces 240 years in prison for the felony charges, reports CNN, most of which stem from work Manafort did abroad before joining Trump's campaign. The remaining 10 counts can be retried at a later date.

Source: CNN, NBC News

Facebook has removed 652 pages, groups, and accounts that originated in Iran and Russia and sought to covertly spread political content to users in the United States, United Kingdom, Latin America, and the Middle East, the company announced Tuesday. They were in violation of Facebook's terms of service due to "coordinated inauthentic behavior." These campaigns were separate and Facebook has not been able to find any connection between them, but they used "similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing," Facebook said in a blog post. Cybersecurity experts were able to determine that some of the pages were linked to Iranian state media, and others to Russian military intelligence services.

Source: Facebook

On Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and his wife and former campaign manager, Margaret, were indicted on charges of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations, and conspiracy. The Department of Justice has spent more than a year investigating the Hunters. It's alleged that they misused $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses and filed false campaign finance records. Several charges on a campaign credit card have come under scrutiny, including dental work and airline fare for his family's pet rabbit. He has maintained his innocence, and said any charges were accidental. The Hunters are set to be arraigned Thursday morning in San Diego.

Source: CNN

The National Weather Service announced Tuesday night that Hurricane Lane, an erratic storm currently about 500 miles southeast of Honolulu, has strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour. Hawaii's Big Island is under a hurricane warning and most of the other Hawaiian islands are under hurricane watch. "On the forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday," potentially bringing devastating winds and life-threatening flash floods, the weather service said, thought the storm's path is unclear. Schools will be closed on the Big Island and in Maui County starting Wednesday. Hawaii hasn't seen a Category 5 hurricane since 1994, the National Weather Service says.

Source: National Weather Service, The Associated Press
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