Crime and punishment
May 20, 2014
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Longtime conservative author and activist Dinesh D'Souza pled guilty Tuesday to charges that he illegally used "straw donors" — the practice of soliciting others to make donations to a political candidate, and then reimbursing them, in order to evade personal contribution limits.

D'Souza's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 23, USA Today reports.

The charges involved D'Souza having funneled $20,000 to the unsuccessful Senate campaign of Wendy Long, an old friend of his, who in 2012 was the Republican nominee in New York against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. For her part, Long told investigators that D'Souza lied to her about the source of the money.

The actual Senate race in question was never seriously contested by the national parties during the 2012 campaign cycle. Gillibrand won the election with 72 percent of the vote, against Long's 26 percent.

D'Souza has made a name for himself in recent years by charging that President Obama is carrying out an "anti-colonial" agenda, inspired by his late Kenyan father, to tear down America's economic and military power in the world. Eric Kleefeld

This just in
3:32 p.m. ET
Yannick Pitou/AFP/Getty Images

Officials are investigating plane debris that washed ashore on Réunion Island, in the Indian Ocean, for any possibility that the piece might be linked to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing sixteen months ago en route from Kuala Lampur to Beijing.

"It is not possible at this time to ascertain whether the part is from a [Boeing 777] or from MH370," a French accident investigation agency said, although officials have confirmed that the piece, which appears to be from a wing, is not from a "small plane."

The debris could not be linked to other aviation accidents in the region, either, The Wall Street Journal reports, and while Réunion lies outside of the search zone for the missing flight, aviation consultants believe it's possible that debris from the missing plane could have washed up there. Jeva Lange

Mirror mirror on the wall
2:29 p.m. ET
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Because everyone was just clamoring to know who's hot and who's not on Capitol Hill, D.C. publication The Hill did us all a favor with its annual release of "The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful" list. Both Michelle and Barack Obama made the list — with Michelle beating Barack — alongside a slew of press assistants, political journalists, congressmen, and lobbyists.

According to The Hill, this year there was a "record-breaking number of nominations," meaning those who got nominated — or nominated themselves — truly must be the fairest of them all. Below, the 10 most groan-worthy moments and quotes from the profiles of The Hill's Most Beautiful Class of 2015. Becca Stanek

10. "Pulling out six lipsticks from her clutch bag, Sophia Anwar proudly proclaims herself to be an 'assertive girly girl' and boasts that she can do her makeup during her commute."

9. "He switches between a pair of brown or black boots almost every day on Capitol Hill."

8. "Gindlesperger is passionate about style, accessorizing his outfits with tiny details such as vintage lapel pins, eyewear, and sneakers from his collection of more than 50 pairs."

7. "She likes Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's clothing line, but considers them 'impractical' for Capitol Hill, opting for fashion brand Zara instead."

6. "'It's like driving down an open road really fast with your arm out the window,' Bolden said of skydiving."

5. "You can't tell, but the dress Chris Jansing is wearing is reversible."

4. "When he's not producing Washington Watch with Tony Perkins for the Family Research Council, Jennings likes to golf, read American history, and help out at Triumph D.C., a church in the city's Southeast."

3. "A self-described news junkie who 'loves words,' Sacks once adapted John Milton's Paradise Lost into a screenplay. 'I love rock 'n' roll, reading and the Supreme Court.'"

2. "He's served four tours in Iraq, hosted a TV show, and earned degrees from Harvard, but Seth Moulton insists he's a 'boat shoes, no socks' kind of guy."

1. "Mike Sacks is just your average National Law Journal congressional correspondent who digs air guitar competitions, epic poems, and yoga pose attempts."

This just in
2:02 p.m. ET
AP Photo/John Minchillo

A white University of Cincinnati police officer has been indicted on murder charges for allegedly fatally shooting Samuel DuBose in the head during a traffic stop near campus on July 19. Officer Ray Tensing "purposely killed" DuBose, 43, who was black, after "losing his temper," according to county prosecutor Joe Deters. DuBose, who was a father of 10, had been driving without a front license plate when he was pulled over.

"[Tensing] never should have been a police officer," Deters said, adding that after seeing the body camera video footage of the shooting, "I realize[d] what this was going to mean to our community, and it really broke my heart because it's just so bad." Tensing could face life in prison if convicted. Jeva Lange

love in 2015
1:35 p.m. ET
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Throwing themselves into the running for the title of "Most Hipster Couple of All Time" are actress Michelle Williams and author Jonathan Safran Foer, who are, apparently, dating now. Williams — who had a child with former beau Heath Ledger, and then dated David Foster Wallace-lookalike Jason Segel — appears to be "finally at peace and genuinely happy" with Foer, according to a source that spilled the beans to Us Weekly.

Foer, who is known for his novels Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated, has two children with his ex-wife, the bestselling author Nicole Krauss, to whom he was married for 10 years. Foer once told The Guardian that the best kiss of his life was "the first date with my wife, beneath a costume shop awning, in the rain." It will remain to be seen if he and Williams can top that level of twee. Jeva Lange

truth in advertising
1:15 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The billboards in New York City's Times Square might be iconic, but they also might not be legal. Dan Lewis of Now I Know pointed out this week that, under the constraints of the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 and its most recent update in May 2012, Times Square's bright lights and mile-high billboards aren't kosher.

The law aims to keep advertisements from inundating roads and becoming too large or distracting. The point, as the law's name so aptly puts it, is to keep America beautiful. Under the law, billboard sizes are limited to 1,200 square feet, which, The Smithsonian notes, is "smaller than many of the signs that cluster about the sidewalks in Times Square."

While Times Square might be crowded, it certainly isn't a highway. So how exactly does a Highway Beautification Act apply? Well, the U.S. government passed a law in May 2012 that included "urban principal arterial routes" under the law.

The billboards bring in millions for the city of New York annually. Times Square's biggest billboard — a megascreen that's eight stories tall and spans an entire city block — costs advertisers more than $2.5 million to use for four weeks, which, according to The New York Times, makes it one of the most "expensive pieces of outdoor ad real estate on the market." That's why city officials are fighting to keep the ads — and the ads' revenue — in place. Becca Stanek

the worst
1:05 p.m. ET
Andy Loveridge/AP

Walter J. Palmer, the dentist who killed Zimbabwe's famous lion, Cecil, apologized for the "inconvenience" that his newfound infamy has caused to patients of his clinic in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Palmer wrote in a letter obtained by Minneapolis' Fox 9 that he hadn't 'intended' to kill the lion, despite having paid $55,000 to men who helped him to lure it out of a wildlife park to be shot.

"The media interest in this matter — along with a substantial number of comments and calls from people who are angered by this situation and by the practice of hunting in general — has disrupted our business and our ability to see our patients. For that disruption, I apologize profoundly for this inconvenience and promise you that we will do our best to resume normal operations as soon as possible," Palmer said. Jeva Lange

paper-thin questions
12:05 p.m. ET

Being a movie star isn't all flashy premieres and high-profile interviews, as model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne is learning. The Brit, who stars opposite Nat Wolff in the big screen adaptation of John Green's YA novel Paper Towns, sat through what was surely one of the most cringe-inducing interviews ever this week with morning show Good Day Sacramento.

While it's fair to say that Delevingne gave back as much sass as she was given, the anchors' questions to the actress were downright embarrassing. In fact, the whole thing seemed designed to irritate anyone who has endured an exhausting press tour. It got us thinking: There's definitely a formula at work here.

How to have a disastrously awkward interview with Cara Delevingne, in 7 easy steps:

1. Call her "Carla" on first introduction.

2. Ask her if she read the book the movie was based on. "No, I never read the book or the script," Delevingne deadpanned. At least she's acting like a teenager — she does play one in the movie, after all!

3. Ask her the most unoriginal question you can think of. "What do you like about [your character] Margo? Do you have anything in common with her?" one of the anchors asked. Delevigne has surely been asked this question hundreds of times, so she was having none of it. "I actually hate her," she said, before pivoting to actually answer the question seriously.

4. Call her out for not being super excited about your interview. One of the male anchors noted that Delevingne seemed more excited in previous interviews she had done for Paper Towns. "You seemed a lot more excited about it [in those interviews] than you do right now. Are you just exhausted?" he asked. Delevingne assured him she is still pumped for the movie.

5. Call her attitude out again. "You do seem a bit irritated. Perhaps it's just us," the anchors continued. "I think it's just you," Delevingne replied. A beautiful double entendre.

6. Condescendingly cut the interview off. "We'll let you go then, take a little nap, maybe get a Red Bull, how about that?" Kids these days. Always tired.

7. Talk about her immediately after the interview. Proving that the anchor desk has much in common with a high-school cafeteria table, Good Day Sacramento anchors wasted no time in trashing Delevingne's attitude on the air immediately after her interview ended. "She was in a mood, jeez!" one of the anchors actually exclaimed. Can't say we blame her!

Watch the full interview below. Samantha Rollins

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