in the clear
February 24, 2021

No charges are expected to be brought after Tiger Woods' serious car crash, which was "purely an accident," Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says.

The L.A. sheriff provided this update Wednesday after Woods was injured in a solo car accident in California, explaining that reckless driving charges for the golf legend aren't under consideration.

"We don't contemplate any charges whatsoever in this crash," Villanueva said. "This remains an accident. An accident is not a crime. They do happen, unfortunately."

This update was "critical amid speculation there may have been some sort of impairment," CNN's Omar Jimenez noted. But Villanueva shot down such speculation, saying Woods "was not drunk" and reiterating there was "no evidence of any impairment whatsoever." The sheriff also pointed out that there have been "quite a few accidents over the years" on the stretch of road where Woods' crash occurred.

Woods' car rolled over several times in the accident, and wearing a seatbelt likely helped safe his life, officials previously said. He was brought to a nearby hospital and underwent surgery for "significant orthopedic injuries," and he's "currently awake, responsive, and recovering," a statement posted to his Twitter account said Wednesday. Ultimately, Villanueva told CNN that after he saw the wreckage, it was "nothing short of a miracle" that Woods survived, as "we have seen accidents with far less obvious [damage] that are fatalities." Brendan Morrow

March 26, 2019

Jussie Smollett has just spoken publicly for the first time after having all of the criminal charges against him dropped.

Smollett, the Empire actor who police said staged a fake hate crime against himself, on Tuesday said that he has been "truthful and consistent on every single level since day one" and that he would "not be my mother's son if I was capable of even one drop of what I was accused of."

The actor also said he would "not bring my family, our lives, or the movement through a fire like this." Now that the charges against him have been dropped, Smollett said he would like to "get back to work" and "move on with my life," closing by saying he will "continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere."

Smollett had said in January that he was the victim of a hate crime, saying he was attacked by two men in Chicago who put a noose around his neck and screamed, "This is MAGA country!" Although police said they originally treated this as a hate crime, they later said that Smollett actually staged it himself, accusing him of paying two men to attack him. Police blasted Smollett in a press conference, with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson saying what he did was "shameful." Smollett later pleaded not guilty to 16 felony charges.

But in a stunning turn of events, prosecutors on Tuesday unexpectedly dropped all of the charges against him, clearing his record and sealing the case. Smollett's lawyer, Patricia Brown Holmes, said the police should not "try their cases in the press" and use the media to "convict people before they are tried in a court of law." Chicago police have yet to comment on Tuesday's events. Brendan Morrow

August 30, 2018

Michigan State University said Thursday that the NCAA has determined the school didn't violate any rules in its handling of the Larry Nassar sexual assault crisis, The Associated Press reports.

The school said it had received a letter from the athletic association this week that said "it does not appear there is a need for further inquiry." Nassar, the former longtime sports doctor at the university, as well as a physician for USA Gymnastics, was convicted of sexually assaulting girls and women who were athletes at Michigan State over the past several decades. The university faced intense scrutiny from critics who said officials had bungled their response to reported misconduct.

Michigan State has denied that there was an effort to cover up or ignore complaints against Nassar, reports AP, and the school's athletic director said the university "cooperated fully with the inquiry" into its response. "While we agree with the NCAA that we did not commit a violation, that does not diminish our commitment to ensure the health, safety, and wellness of our student athletes," said the director, Bill Beekman.

The NCAA additionally found that Michigan State hadn't violated any rules in responding to assault allegations against the school's football and basketball players. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza

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