April 17, 2017

Infowars' Alex Jones is attempting to distance himself from his inflammatory online "persona" as he goes to court with his ex-wife, Kelly Jones, in a renewed custody battle over their 14-year-old son and 9- and 12-year-old daughters, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Kelly Jones is accusing Alex Jones of not being "a stable person." Jones is famous for promoting conspiracy theories, including that Hillary Clinton is a literal sulfuric demon and that the government perpetrated 9/11 and the Sandy Hook massacre. His show is broadcast on 150 stations and Infowars.com gets millions of unique visitors every month and is ranked 387th of all U.S. websites, not far after MLB.com and PBS.org.

"He's not a stable person," Kelly Jones argued. "He says he wants to break Alec Baldwin's neck. He wants J-Lo to get raped. I'm concerned that he is engaged in felonious behavior, threatening a member of Congress … He broadcasts from home. The children are there, watching him broadcast."

But Alex Jones' lawyer argued that "[evaluating] Alex Jones as a father would be like judging Jack Nicholson in a custody dispute based on his performance as the Joker in Batman," the Austin American-Statesman writes.

"He's playing a character," attorney Randall Wilhite argued at a pretrial hearing. "He is a performance artist."

The Jones' children have lived with Alex Jones since the couple divorced in 2015. In a July 2015 broadcast, Jones brought his then 12-year-old son onto the show: "He is undoubtedly cut out for this, and I intend for him to eclipse what I've done," Jones said at the time. "He's a way greater person than I was at 12. I love you so much, and I didn't mean to get you up here, sweetheart, and tell people how much I love you, but you're so handsome, and you're a good little knight who's going to grow up, I know, to be a great fighter against the enemy." Jeva Lange

11:29 p.m.

In a segment Sunday on Ghislaine Maxwell's arrest, Fox News showed this photo of Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein, and future first lady Melania Trump from February 2000. They cropped out Donald Trump. That was a mistake, a Fox News spokeswoman said Monday.

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“On Sunday, July 5, a report on Ghislaine Maxwell during Fox News Channel’s America’s News HQ mistakenly eliminated President Donald Trump from a photo alongside then Melania Knauss, Jeffrey Epstein, and Maxwell," the spokeswoman said in a statement. "We regret the error.” Peter Weber

10:46 p.m.

The United States is "knee-deep in the first wave" of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday, but he is hopeful that "by the end of this year, or the beginning of 2021, we will at least have an answer whether the vaccine or vaccines — plural — are safe and effective."

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there are multiple vaccine candidates being studied, "and if things go the way it looks like they're going," one will enter the final phase of clinical trials at the end of the month, with others soon following.

Fauci made his comments during a Facebook Live discussion with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. Although companies are working as fast as possible to develop a vaccine, Fauci stressed that "there will be no compromising on the principles of safety and efficacy. Whatever we come up with in a few months is going to be just as rigorously tested as any vaccine ever has been."

The trials will take place in areas where there are high levels of transmission, and Fauci said he is ensuring they "are quite well represented by the individuals who are most susceptible, not only to infection because of certain circumstances in their life, but also the fact that they are more prone to complications because of underlying comorbidities." Catherine Garcia

9:18 p.m.

Amy Cooper, the white woman who called 911 while in New York City's Central Park and claimed an "African-American man" was threatening her life, was charged on Monday with filing a false report.

The incident took place on Memorial Day after Christian Cooper, a Black man who was birdwatching, asked Amy Cooper to leash her dog. She refused to do so, instead telling Christian Cooper she would call the police and tell them "there's an African-American man threatening my life." Christian Cooper, a board member of the New York City Audubon Society, filmed the encounter, which has been viewed 40 million times online and sparked a national discussion.

Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, said on Monday that his office is "strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable." Amy Cooper was charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, a misdemeanor; if found guilty, she could face up to a year in jail. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 14.

After the incident, Amy Cooper was fired from her job. In a statement, her lawyer, Robert Barnes, said his client will be found not guilty, adding, "She lost her job, her home, and her public life. Now some demand her freedom? How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?" When asked for comment, Christian Cooper told The New York Times he had "zero involvement" in the district attorney's case. Catherine Garcia

7:57 p.m.

Mary Trump's tell-all book about her family is hitting bookstores sooner than expected.

Simon & Schuster announced on Monday that Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man will be published on July 14, two weeks earlier than scheduled, due to "high demand and extraordinary interest."

Mary Trump, the daughter of President Trump's eldest brother, Fred Trump Jr., is a clinical psychologist. Too Much and Never Enough paints her uncle as a "damaged man" with "lethal flaws," Simon & Schuster said, and is already the No. 1 best-selling book on Amazon, CNN reports.

The president's younger brother, Robert Trump, sought a restraining order in an attempt to block the book's release. Last week, he won an injunction against Mary Trump and Simon & Schuster, but a New York state appeals court lifted the temporary restraining order against the publisher, saying the company is not bound by a nondisclosure agreement Mary Trump signed in 2001.

Mary Trump's spokesperson, Chris Bastardi, said on Monday that Trump's attempt to "muzzle a private citizen is just the latest in a series of disturbing behaviors which have already destabilized a fractured nation in the face of a global pandemic. If Mary cannot comment, one can only help buy wonder: What is Donald Trump so afraid of?" Catherine Garcia

7:00 p.m.

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has won the state's Republican gubernatorial primary, defeating former Gov. Jon Huntsman.

The primary was held last Tuesday, and the race was called on Monday afternoon by The Associated Press. Cox has 36 percent of the vote, followed by Huntsman with 35 percent. In third place is former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, with 21 percent.

Huntsman was elected governor of Utah in 2004 and 2008, and later served as U.S. ambassador to China during the Obama administration. Most recently, he was President Trump's ambassador to Russia.

Cox, who has been lieutenant governor since 2013, received the endorsement of outgoing Gov. Gary Herbert (R). In November, Cox will face off against Democratic nominee Chris Peterson, an attorney and consumer advocate. Catherine Garcia

6:30 p.m.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Monday afternoon revealed that she has tested positive for COVID-19.

On Twitter, Bottoms said that COVID-19 has "literally hit home. I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive." Later, she appeared on MSNBC, and told anchor Joy Reid that her husband has also tested positive for the virus, and she has "no idea when and where we were exposed."

Bottoms said her family has taken "all of the precautions you could possibly take," including wearing masks and frequently washing their hands. This was her third coronavirus test, with Bottoms telling Reid she has been routinely tested because of her public job. Catherine Garcia

5:50 p.m.

The United Nations is calling for enhanced global environmental protections efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic in the hopes of avoiding a repeat of the event in the future.

A report conducted by the U.N.'s Environment Program and the International Livestock Research Institute warned that without such measures zoonotic viruses — that is, pathogens that jump from animals to humans like the most recent coronavirus — will occur with greater and greater frequency. "The science is clear that if we keep exploiting wildlife and destroying our ecosystems, then we can expect a steady stream of these diseases jumping from animals to humans in the years ahead," said Inger Andersen, under-secretary general and executive director of the UNEP.

Many of the viruses that have caused pandemics and epidemics throughout history have been zoonotic, including Ebola, West Nile, and SARS, and more recently, a new swine flu was discovered that scientists say has the potential to make the jump to humans, while a herdsman in China's Inner Mongolia region recently tested positive for bubonic plague. Read more about the U.N.'s report here. Tim O'Donnell

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