Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 14, 2019

Tim O'Donnell
Purdue Pharma headquarters
Drew Angerer/Getty Images


New York discovers $1 billion in Sackler wire transfers

The New York attorney general's office in a court filing Friday said it uncovered about $1 billion in wire transfers by the Sackler family, the owners of pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma. The discovery comes after thousands of municipal governments and 23 states tentatively reached a settlement with the Sacklers and Purdue, which manufactures OxyContin, over the company's alleged role in the opioid crisis plaguing the United States. The transfers have raised speculation that the Sacklers could have been trying to hide assets while facing litigation. The attorney general's office only presented initial findings, but the filing said they identified "previously unknown shell companies" that Mortimer Sackler used to move Purdue money through international accounts before concealing it in real estate investments. A spokesman for Mortimer Sackler said there was nothing newsworthy about the "decade-old" transfers. [The New York Times, NBC News]


Bahamas, Florida on alert as new tropical storm brews

Tropical Storm Humberto is threatening Grand Bahama Island, which is still recovering after Hurricane Dorian swept through the island. The storm was about 30 miles east-northeast of Great Abaco Island on Saturday morning sporting maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. The worst squalls and winds, however, are reportedly expected to occur away from the islands. Officials in Florida are also carefully monitoring the storm, but the latest projected path has Humberto straying well off its coast. Rain totals for Florida have been adjusted downward, but there are still warnings in place for enhanced swells and rip currents along the state's Atlantic beaches. [The Orlando Sentinel, CBS News]


Houthis launch drone strike on Saudi oil sites

Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for drone attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and another major oilfield operated by Saudi Aramco in the country on Saturday. The strike started major fires; Saudi Arabia said it had brought the blazes under control, though it was unclear if there were injuries related to the attacks. Smoke from the fires following the attack were reportedly visible from space. Houthi military spokesman said the rebels launched 10 drones in a coordinated attack and warned more strikes could come if the Yemeni civil war, in which Saudi Arabia backs a coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthis, does not stop soon. [The Associated Press, Reuters]


Trump can be sued over possible profits from foreign governments, court rules

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Friday overruled a lower court's 2017 dismissal of two lawsuits against President Trump, making him vulnerable to an emoluments violation once again. In July, a federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit against Trump claiming he illegally profited from foreign visitors at his luxury hotel in Washington. But the appeals court overrode that ruling, in which the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Trump's business rivals alleged he broke the law when profiting from foreign officials' stays at his hotels. The judge in that case said only Congress could decide whether Trump violated the federal emoluments clause that bans gifts and profits from foreign governments while in office. [Politico]


Rival protesters clash as Hong Kong demonstrations continue for 15th weekend

Anti-government, pro-democracy protests are under way for the 15th consecutive weekend in Hong Kong on Saturday. Pro-Beijing groups clashed with the demonstrators at a mall in Kowloon Bay. The two sides reportedly threw punches and hit each other with umbrellas before police separated them. The dueling protesters also reportedly grappled near a "Lennon Wall," a mural of protest art set up the anti-Beijing demonstrators. Earlier in the day, a Lennon Wall was reportedly torn down which also caused fights to break out. Meanwhile, more than 100 secondary school students gathered in central Hong Kong, where they planned to construct a Lady Liberty statue and sang "Glory to Hong Kong," which has reportedly become the anthem of the protests. [The South China Morning Post, The Guardian]


Felicity Huffman sentenced to 14 days in prison in college admissions scandal

Felicity Huffman, the first parent to be sentenced in the college admissions scandal, received a 14-day prison sentence on Friday. The former Desperate Housewives star pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She also received a $30,000 fine and will need to perform 250 hours of community service with a year of supervised release. Huffman was one of more than 30 parents charged earlier this year in what prosecutors described as the largest college admissions scam to be prosecuted by the Department of Justice, and she admitted paying $15,000 to have her daughter's SAT corrected. Prosecutors recommended Huffman serve a month in jail, while her lawyers asked for one year of probation. "I am deeply ashamed of what I've done," Huffman said. [BuzzFeed News, ABC News]


Bob Iger resigns from Apple's board of directors

Disney CEO Bob Iger resigned from Apple's board of directors where he has served for the past eight years, the company said Friday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Iger reportedly stepped down Tuesday, the same day Apple announced its forthcoming streaming service, Apple TV+ would cost two dollars less per month than Disney's streaming service, Disney+. It has become clear that the two services will come into conflict as they compete for original content. Iger, who was friends with Apple co-founder, the late Steve Jobs, spoke highly of the company and said it was "an extraordinary privilege" to serve on the board. Apple, likewise, was complimentary of Iger, calling him an "exemplary board member." [CNBC, CNN]


MoviePass to shutter after struggling to 'recapitalize'

MoviePass, the troubled film subscription service that offered customers the ability to see movies in theaters for a monthly fee, announced plans to shut down Saturday. The company said its "efforts to recapitalize" have "not been successful" and that after shuttering, it's "unable to predict if or when the MoviePass service will continue." Officially launched in 2011, MoviePass received a flood of new subscribers in 2017 after dropping its monthly subscription fee to $9.95. The company's business model reportedly led to a tumultuous period in which service interruptions were frequent as executives scrambled to save money. MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said Friday, "we hope to find a path that will enable us to continue the service in the future." [Variety, CNN]


Hustlers set to top weekend box office after booming debut

Hustlers, the star-studded crime flick about New York City strip club employees who plot to embezzle money from their clients, is set to be a hit at the box office over the weekend. The movie, which was co-produced by co-star Jennifer Lopez, is expected to rake in $28 million in its debut weekend, after receiving rave reviews. The lineup also includes Lizzo, Cardi B, Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, and Lili Reinhart. It opened with a strong $2.5 million Thursday night, and will likely be an opening weekend record for Lopez, and even outpace Wu's Crazy Rich Asians debut. The only film expected to outearn Hustlers is IT Chapter Two, which debuted last weekend. [Deadline]


Singer Eddie Money dies at age 70

Singer-songwriter Eddie Money died on Friday at age 70, his family confirmed. Money, known for 1980s hits like "Two Tickets to Paradise," "Take Me Home Tonight," and "Baby Hold On," had revealed last year that he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. "The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning," said his family in a statement. "We are grateful that he will live on forever through his music." Money is survived by his wife and five children. [Variety]