Crime and punishment
March 18, 2014

Years of peddling the secrets to instant weight loss and finding free money have caught up to Kevin Trudeau. The well-known late-night television pitchman will have to sell his schlock in a federal prison for the next 10 years, as he was found yesterday in criminal contempt for violating a 2004 court order that barred him from making false infomercials.

"Since the age of 25, (Trudeau) has attempted to cheat others for his own personal gain," U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman said yesterday, adding that Trudeau is an "unrepentant, untiring, and uncontrollable huckster who has defrauded the unsuspecting for 30 years." Since the 2004 court order, Trudeau's ads aired more than 32,000 times and garnered him more than $40 million in revenue.

Trudeau, who has been in custody since his federal conviction last November, is planning to appeal the ruling.

Coming Soon
1:36 p.m. ET

With less than two months left until the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel has unveiled one ominous final look at the superhero drama:

The final trailer echoes many of the beats from previous trailers — including a creepy version of Pinocchio's "I've Got No Strings" — while focusing on the dire situation faced by the Avengers. "We have no place in the world," frets Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as the villainous Ultron unleashes his attack.

Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1.

1:22 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments over the Affordable Care Act. In King vs. Burwell, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. is defending the law, while Michael Carvin challenges one of its provisions.

The New York Times reports that the Supreme Court's four left-leaning justices supported Verilli Jr.'s arguments. But in order to rule in Verilli Jr.'s favor, either Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. or Justice Anthony Kennedy would also need to side with the solicitor general. The Times notes that during the arguments, Roberts "said almost nothing." Kennedy, meanwhile, expressed concern with both sides' reading of the statute.

"There's some serious constitutional problems if we adopt your argument," Kennedy said to Carvin. The lawsuit's key question is whether the Affordable Care Act prohibits subsidies established by the federal government rather than in exchanges "established by the state." The case focuses on the exchanges run through

The court's decision is expected by late June. If the justices rule in Carvin's favor, it could end subsidies for about seven million people across three dozen states to purchase health insurance.

12:48 p.m. ET

Archaeologists in Paris have made an incredible discovery. Beneath the Monoprix supermarket in central Paris, they found a mass grave that held the remains of more than 200 people.

The supermarket called the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research to inspect the ground beneath the supermarket so they could extend its basement. They knew the Monoprix store was built on the former site of a medieval hospital, but they weren't expecting to find so many bodies.

"We had expected to find a few human remains as we knew it was a former hospital cemetery, but nothing like as many as we have found," Solene Bonleu, a spokesperson for the institute, told The Guardian. "We've come across hospital cemeteries before, notably in Marseilles and Troyes, bu tit’s the first discovery of its kind in Paris."

The site included eight mass grave sections. Seven of the sections contain five to 20 bodies each, while the eighth section held more than 150 skeletons. The bodies were likely buried in the grave after a "major mortality crisis," such as an epidemic, Isabelle Abadie, who led the dig, told France24. The archaeologists believe the remains date to somewhere between the 14th and 17th centuries, and they are carbon dating the remains to determine their age. After that, the bodies will be reburied in a new location.

This just in
12:38 p.m. ET
St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced it would not charge Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of a black teenager, Michael Brown.

"There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson's stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety," a DOJ report concluded. However, in a separate report the Justice Department determined Ferguson police and officials routinely violated the constitutional rights of blacks.

Wilson, who is white, killed the unarmed Brown last August, sparking widespread protests and a nationwide conversation on race and law enforcement.

Coming Soon
11:47 a.m. ET

Between Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., and Jonny Lee Miller, popular culture already has plenty of Sherlock Holmeses — but if you can stand one more take on the popular detective, it's hard to imagine a better actor for the job than Ian McKellen:

Mr. Holmes is based on Mitch Cullin's 2005 novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, which imagines an elderly Sherlock Holmes as he tackles one final case. "After a lifetime of detective work, there's one mystery left to solve," teases the trailer. "His own."

Mr. Holmes will hit U.K. theaters in June, with a U.S. release to follow.

Freedom of the press
11:29 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A new report from the Columbia Journalism Review suggests that relations between the White House and journalists are more guarded and unproductive than ever.

"An exhaustive study of every official exchange Obama had with the press corps in 2014, supplemented by a review of daily press briefings and interviews with more than a dozen current and former correspondents and White House press secretaries," CJR summarizes, "reveals a White House determined to conceal its workings from the press, and by extension, the public."

When press do get direct access to the president, these increasingly rare encounters are often more focused on provoking a reaction over a controversial topic than "addressing long-term accountability issues." Meanwhile, new technological resources like social media have allowed the White House, in turn, to bypass the press corps entirely and present a crafted message directly to the public without the hassle of questions from reporters.

Going to Pot
11:23 a.m. ET
Steve Jennings/Getty Images for POPSUGAR

You have to admire Pineapple Express star Seth Rogen's commitment to method acting. As she transitions to her new role, Sony executive Amy Pascal is moving into the office recently occupied by Rogen — but according to The Hollywood Reporter, her transition has been postponed until the smell of marijuana can be eliminated.

Sources offer conflicting thoughts over the intensity of the lingering marijuana smell Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg left behind. One says that the odor caused no "permanent damage" to the office; another says it "seeped into the flooring." In any case, Pascal will move into a temporary office while the new office is repainted and deep-cleaned.

Pascal was at the center of the whirlwind over last year's Sony hack, which was widely interpreted as a response to the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview. Rogen once tweeted that he planned to smoke pot in the White House.

Crime and punishment
11:16 a.m. ET
FBI via Getty Images

The trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev began Wednesday with prosecutors arguing that the accused believed he was "a soldier in a holy war against Americans."

In opening arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb described the attack's carnage in graphic detail, saying Tsarnaev hoped the bombing would help him reach "paradise."

The 21-year-old Tsarnaev faces 30 charges and a potential death sentence in the 2013 terror attack that killed three and wounded more than 260 others. The defense did not deny Tsarnaev's guilt in its opening statement, but rather argued his brother and alleged accomplice, Tamerlan, manipulated him into carrying out the attack.

11:13 a.m. ET
Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

Following the news that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's persistent use of a personal email account while in office may have violated federal transparency rules, Gawker reports that at least two of Clinton's top staffers used personal accounts for official business as well.

This revelation casts doubt on a previous statement from the Clinton camp that, "Like Secretaries of State before her, [Clinton] used her own email account when engaging with any Department officials. For government business, she emailed them on their Department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained."

The two staffers named — who may be among a bigger group of rule-skirting aides — are Huma Abedin, who served as deputy chief of staff, and Philippe Reines, who was deputy assistant secretary of state.

10:59 a.m. ET

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, better known to you as the guys who created Ben & Jerry's ice cream, sat down with HuffPost Live to talk about ice cream  — and marijuana. A commenter suggested that the company should create a "cannabis edibles flavor," to which Cohen declared, "Makes sense to me. Combine your pleasures!"

Unfortunately for residents of states where weed is legal, Cohen's co-founder was a little more hesitant, noting that while the men have "had previous experiences with substances," and that "legalizing marijuana is a wonderful thing," Ben and Jerry actually have no control over Ben & Jerry's new flavor creations.

"We have wiser heads at the company that figure those things out," Greenfield said. "We actually don't run anything. Ben always says, 'We're just pretty faces,' and even that's a little bit of a stretch."

Watch the fast friends talk weed and ice cream in the video, below. —Sarah Eberspacher

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