day one
July 30, 2019

The Swedish assault trial of rapper A$AP Rocky is now underway, and he has just entered a not guilty plea, CBS News reports.

The trial started in Stockholm District Court on Tuesday a month after the rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested following a street brawl last month and charged with assault last week. He has remained in custody since July 3; Sweden does not have a bail system, CNN notes.

Prosecutors say A$AP Rocky "deliberately" attacked Mustafa Jafari, while he says he was acting in self-defense.

The case has gained nationwide attention including from President Trump, who Kim Kardashian urged to get involved. Trump on Thursday tweeted that he was "very disappointed" in the Swedish prime minister "for being unable to act," also writing that "I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers." In another tweet, Trump added, "Give A$AP Rocky his FREEDOM." The Swedish prime minister's press secretary in response said that the "government cannot and will not attempt to influence the legal proceedings," Vox reports.

A verdict is expected to be reached in the case on Friday, ABC News reports. If found guilty, A$AP Rocky faces a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison. Brendan Morrow

February 26, 2019

Michael Cohen's three days of testimony on Capitol Hill began with questions about why he lied to Congress before.

Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, and although it wasn't open to the public, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told CNN that Cohen spent "quite a bit of time explaining what he had told us before that wasn't truthful"

This would presumably include Cohen telling the Senate Intelligence Committee in a 2017 letter that discussions of building a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016. Cohen would later plead guilty to lying to Congress, admitting that the discussions continued for months afterward and that he lied about the timeline in order to fit with Trump's "political messaging." CNN reports Cohen was asked why he lied and whether Trump was involved, although there's no word on what he told them.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told CNN that Cohen was receiving an "extensive grilling" by the committee. She also said the testimony was surprising because "he's a very different guy" now.

Cohen on Wednesday will testify again, but this time in public and before the House Oversight Committee. He will reportedly for the first time publicly accuse Trump of criminal activity while in office, also bringing documents with him and discussing Trump's alleged "lies, racism, and cheating." Republicans have dismissed Cohen's testimony as meaningless since he has lied to Congress in the past. "It's laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word," the White House said Tuesday, "and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies." Brendan Morrow

March 10, 2017

The annual South by Southwest Film Festival kicked off Friday in Austin, Texas, launching a week-long TV and movie screening lineup attended by movie industry insiders and cinephiles. Opening the festival on Friday night is the world premiere of director Terrence Malick's Song to Song, a film shot throughout Austin music festivals that traverses overlapping romances. It stars Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara, and Michael Fassbender.

Director Edgar Wright's crime thriller Baby Driver, starring Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm, will make its world premiere Saturday. Other highly anticipated premieres include David Leitch's Atomic Blonde led by Charlize Theron, Ben Wheatley's Free Fire starring Brie Larson and Armie Hammer, and Daniel Espinosa's Life featuring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal. Spotlighted television shows include author Neil Gaiman's American Gods and the TV adaptation of the film Dear White People.

The film festival is part of a larger South by Southwest conference that also includes a music festival and talks from the likes of former Vice President Joe Biden and pop star Kesha. Becca Stanek

January 19, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump reportedly plans to make a trip down to Langley, Virginia, home of the CIA's headquarters, on Saturday, his first full day in office. A senior official told NBC News that Trump is planning to attend the swearing-in of CIA director nominee Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), an event that hinges upon whether Pompeo's nomination is confirmed by the Senate on Friday.

Trump's visit could also be seen "as a conciliatory gesture," NBC noted. Trump has repeatedly questioned the capabilities of U.S. intelligence, most notably hesitating to accept their reports about Russian cyberattacks ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to confirm Trump's visit, only saying he was sure "at some point, shortly, [Trump] will visit not just the CIA but a lot of the departments." Becca Stanek

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