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(NEW YORK) — Keith Raniere returns to Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday to learn his sentence for running NXIVM, a self-help organization prosecutors labeled a "criminal enterprise" exploited by Raniere for power, profit and sex.

To followers, he was known as Vanguard, but prosecutors cast Raniere as a con artist who did "immeasurable damage" to victims over 15 years of crime and exploitation. They have asked he receive a life sentence.

"Raniere and his co-conspirators maintained control over the Enterprise by, among other means, obtaining sensitive information about members and associates of the Enterprise; inducing shame and guilt in order to influence and control members and associates of the Enterprise; isolating associates and others from friends and family and making them dependent on the Enterprise for their financial well-being and legal status within the United States; and encouraging associates and others to take expensive NXIVM courses, and incur debt to do so," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.

Raniere has been jailed since his June 2019 conviction on charges including sexual exploitation, forced labor and sex trafficking.

"Members of the Enterprise recruited and groomed sexual partners for Raniere ... and many were themselves in sexual relationships with Raniere that involved pledges of loyalty, penances for ethical breaches and collateral," the memo said.

Unapologetic, Raniere asserts his "complete innocence," defense attorneys said.

"Simply put, he remains proud of his life's work. He also remains determined to fight this case, which he views as a terrible injustice and, respectfully, an affront to what should be one of the great systems of justice to ever exist," his attorneys said in their sentencing memo.

The judge rejected Raniere's latest bid for a new trial on Friday.

"This complex situation of personal motives, individual regrets and life choices has no place in a federal courtroom. Yet, the government seeks a life sentence for Keith Raniere in a case that has no guns, no knives and no force. No one was shot, stabbed, punched, kicked, slapped or even yelled at," the defense memo said.

At trial, Raniere was accused of forming a group within NXIVM composed of female "slaves" who were branded with his initials and coerced into having sex with him after giving him nude photographs or revealing embarrassing secrets.

"Every single person making the decision to get branded or not get branded ... or to make any one of a thousand other decisions was a free-thinking adult," the defense said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Boston Police DepartmentBY: JULIA JACOBO, ABC NEWS

(BOSTON) — Boston police have arrested a man suspected of lighting a ballot box on fire with more than 120 votes inside.

Smoke was seen coming from an early voting ballot box on Boylston Street in Copley Square on Sunday around 4 a.m., according to the Boston Police Department. Firefighters extinguished the fire by filling the ballot box with water, police said.

Of the 122 ballots inside the box, 87 were legible and able to be processed, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin said in a statement. Officials are asking voters who placed their ballots in that box to check the status of their vote.

The suspect, 39-year-old Boston resident Worldy Armand, was arrested late Sunday and charged with willful and malicious burning, according to police. It is unclear if he has a lawyer.

He was spotted just before 11 p.m. near Copley Square by the department's Drug Control Unit, which was on patrol in the area, police said.

After the officers approached him, they discovered an active warrant for his arrest for receiving stolen property, police said.

Voters who who used the Copley Square drop box between 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and 4 a.m. on Sunday and are not able to confirm their ballot status are urged to contact the Boston Elections Department immediately. The City of Boston will mail a replacement ballot to affected voters, who will have the option of casting that replacement ballot or voting in person until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If any affected voter does not submit a new ballot, their original ballot will be counted by hand to the extent possible, Galvin said.

Galvin contacted the office of U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling to request the FBI investigate "what appears to be deliberate attack." He has also directed all local election officials to increase security of drop boxes by employing guards, installing video surveillance and emptying drop boxes frequently.

"What happened in the early hours of this morning to the ballot drop box in Copley Square is a disgrace to democracy, a disrespect to the voters fulfilling their civic duty, and a crime," according to a joint statement from Galvin and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. "Our first and foremost priority is maintaining the integrity of our elections process and ensuring transparency and trust with our voters, and any effort to undermine or tamper with that process must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Armand is expected to be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court at an unknown date.

ABC News' Joshua Hoyos and Ben Stein contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Google Maps/Street ViewBY: KARMA ALLEN, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) — Health officials said they temporarily shut down a North Carolina church after it was connected to massive coronavirus outbreak that resulted in at least three deaths and more than 100 infections.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department ordered United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte to close for two weeks, halting in-person gatherings. The church's week-long convocation led to an estimated 121 COVID-19 infections across three counties, according to a department statement.

County health officials said the church has not cooperated with efforts to stem the virus's spread and accused it of eschewing social distancing guidelines. United House of Prayer for All People held its convocation earlier this month in Charlotte, North Carolina.

County leaders said it was the largest outbreak stemming from an event since the pandemic began. At least 14 residents at the Madison Saints Paradise South Senior Living were infected in connection to the outbreak, health officials said.

Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg County's public health director, said the department issued an "abatement of imminent hazard” to the church over the weekend to formally notify leaders of the order. The county defines an "imminent hazard" as a situation that could cause an "immediate threat to human life, an immediate threat of serious physical injury, an immediate threat of serious adverse health effects or a serious rick of irreparable damage to the environment if no immediate action is taken," according to its website.

The order came shorty after the church announced plans to carry on with large events, including its “Worldwind Revival” which was scheduled to take place from Oct. 25 through Oct. 31.

“We have taken this action out of an abundance of caution to prevent the COVID-19 virus from further spreading in our community," Harris said in a statement Saturday. “This type of order is rare, but sometimes necessary.”

“The opportunity for it to continue to spread exists in this environment and is of grave concern to us,” Harris added.

Last week, Mecklenburg County officials said they contacted local health departments in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey and New York to warn of possible cases tied to the United House of Prayer for All People outbreak.

Church leaders said they were also working to contact people who may have came in contact with attendees of the event.

“We are aware that there were convocation activities throughout the week. Following initial case investigations, it was determined that the early cases were most likely connected to the larger events held on Saturday and Sunday," they said in a statement last week. "As the case count has grown, we are aware of additional cases likely connected to smaller events that occurred during the week."

Church leaders said they urged members and attendees of the event to "closely monitor" for symptoms.

"We are currently attempting to trace contacts for all cases who participated in any of the activities," the statement said. "Out of an abundance of caution, we recommend anyone who participated in any of these events to closely monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested as soon as possible.”

ABC News' Jon Haworth contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Myriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide.

Over 43 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The criteria for diagnosis -- through clinical means or a lab test -- has varied from country to country. Still, the actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the virus has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica.

The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 8.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 225,230 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 906,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 892,000 cases and over 778,000 cases, respectively.

Nearly 200 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.

Here's how the news is developing Monday. All times Eastern:

Latest headlines:

  • 'Blatant disrespect' for scientists led to COVID-19 confusion, deaths: WHO
  • Dow down 720 points as COVID cases rise and stimulus hopes evaporate
  • New York’s micro-cluster strategy is working: Cuomo
  • World 'should learn from Senegal,' WHO epidemiologist says
  • China testing entire city after a single asymptomatic case
  • El Paso County imposes nighttime curfew as hospitals and ICUs fill up
  • US reports some 60,000 new cases after record-breaking surge

Here's how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.

Oct 26, 2:00 pm

'Blatant disrespect' for scientists led to COVID-19 confusion, deaths: WHO

Countries in the northern hemisphere, particularly in Europe and North America, are seeing a concerning rise in infections and hospitalizations, as well as dwindling ICU beds, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said during a news conference in Geneva.

"Last week saw the highest number of COVID-19 cases reported so far," Tedros said.

When leaders act quickly, the virus can be suppressed, he noted. On the other hand, Tedros added, "Where there has been political division at the national level, where there has been blatant disrespect for science and health professionals, confusion has spread and cases and deaths have mounted."

ABC News' Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

Oct 26, 1:14 pm

Dow down 720 points as COVID cases rise and stimulus hopes evaporate

The Dow was down 720 points today, or 2.5%, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rose nationwide. At the same time, Americans' hope for a second round of stimulus checks evaporated.

"It looks like the clock’s run out" on a stimulus deal before the election, according to market research firm Fundstrat, and investors have turned pessimistic again.

Among the only stock market winners today is Zoom, up 2.5%, as the company continues to benefits from Americans working from home, while most other industries, including airlines and restaurant chains, struggle. Even tech giants Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet (Google), which have been relatively insulated from the pandemic, are slightly down today.

ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis contributed to this report.

Oct 26, 12:37 pm

New York’s micro-cluster strategy is working: Cuomo

COVID-19 testing positivity has fallen to 3.25% in New York's red zones, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday news conference. The state's overall testing positivity rate is 1.18%, among the lowest in the nation during a time when daily cases, hospitalizations and testing positivity rates are rising around the country.

"The easiest way to control with the maximum benefit is to wear the mask," Cuomo said. Despite the fact that New York's micro-cluster approach to stemming the virus' spread appears to be working, the governor said he's concerned about the upcoming holiday season.

"We have one of the lowest rates in the country," Cuomo said. "I’m concerned about everybody else.”

Oct 26, 10:08 am
Pence tests negative, after close aides infected

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife both tested negative for COVID-19 again Monday morning, according to a spokesperson.

The negative results come after at least five people within Pence's orbit were found to be infected as of Saturday night.

Multiple sources familiar with the matter told ABC News that four of Pence's staff members tested positive for COVID-19, including his chief of staff Marc Short as well as the vice president's "body man," a position that often represents an individual who is the closest aide to the office holder.

Pence's "body man" and two additional staffers who tested positive have been quarantining since last week, the sources said.

ABC News' Katherine Faulders and John Santucci contributed to this report.

Oct 26, 9:13 am

Trump's chief of staff admits US is 'not going to control the pandemic'

As COVID-19 infections surge across the nation, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows admitted Sunday that the United States is "not going to control the pandemic."

"We're not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations," Meadows said in an interview on CNN's State of the Union.

When pressed on why the Trump administration wasn't going to get control of the pandemic, Meadows said: "Because it is a contagious virus."

Oct 26, 8:15 am
France may actually have 100,000 new cases per day, government advisor says

France's public health agency said Sunday that it had confirmed another 52,010 cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase the country has seen since the start of the pandemic.

However, Dr. Jean-Francois Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the French government on the pandemic, told France's RTL radio on Monday morning that, in reality, the country may have an estimated 100,000 new cases per day due to undiagnosed cases and asymptomatic infections.

Delfraissy said that France is in a "very difficult, even critical, situation."

As of Sunday afternoon, France's public health agency had confirmed a total of 1,138,507 cases with 34,761 deaths. More than 12,000 patients remained hospitalized with COVID-19, including at least 1,816 in intensive care.

The European nation has the fifth-highest tally of diagnosed cases, after the United States, India, Brazil and Russia, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Oct 26, 7:45 am
World 'should learn from Senegal,' WHO epidemiologist says

As the novel coronavirus spreads rapidly across the United States, a top infectious disease epidemiologist is praising the successful testing and diagnosis strategy of a West African nation.

"We can & should learn from Senegal," Maria Van Kerkhove said on her official Twitter account Sunday.

And we should learn from 🇹🇭 🇻🇳 🇱🇦 🇰🇭 🇦🇺 🇳🇿 🇩🇪 🇰🇷 🇯🇵 🇷🇼 🇺🇾 🇨🇳 🇸🇬 ... ... ...

— Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove) October 25, 2020

Van Kerkhove's tweet included a post from the WHO's Regional Office for Africa about the challenges Senegal faced at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and how the country has taken steps to strengthen its testing through digitization, decentralization and fast results.

In another tweet, Van Kerkhove said the world should also learn from Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Rwanda, Uruguay, China and Singapore.

Oct 26, 7:17 am
China testing entire city after a single asymptomatic case

All 4.7 million residents of a city in China's northwest Xinjiang region are being tested for COVID-19 after a single asymptomatic case was detected there, officials said.

Local authorities launched the mass testing program in Kashgar, after a 17-year-old girl who didn't have any symptoms tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday during a routine screening at the garment factory where she works.

By Sunday afternoon, another 137 asymptomatic cases were identified in Kashgar -- all linked to another factory where the girl's parents work, according to a statement from Xinjiang's regional health commission. It's the highest number of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases reported in a day in China in more than six months.

Testing of the entire city is expected to be completed by Tuesday. At least 2.8 million people have been tested so far, according to Xinjiang's regional health commission.

Meanwhile, lockdown measures have been imposed and all schools in the region are closed until Friday.

Oct 26, 5:57 am
El Paso County imposes nighttime curfew as hospitals and ICUs fill up

A nightly curfew has been issued for El Paso County in Texas, where COVID-19 infections have exploded in recent weeks.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego ordered all residents to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., starting Sunday night, for the next two weeks to help prevent further spread of infection. The curfew is not applicable for those traveling for work or essential services. Only one person per household is allowed to access essential services at a time.

A fine of $250 will be handed down to those who aren't wearing a mask and $500 for any other violations of the order, Samaniego said.

El Paso County has seen a 160% increase in COVID-19 positivity rates since Oct. 1, as well as a 300% jump in hospitalizations. As of Saturday night, all hospitals and intensive care units in the area had reached 100% capacity, according to Samaniego.

"The purpose of the curfew is to limit mobility in the community," Samaniego said during a press conference Sunday night. "Currently, our hospitals are stretched to capacity."

Oct 26, 5:06 am
Russia's daily case count hits new record high

Russia confirmed 17,347 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, setting a new national record, according to the country's coronavirus response headquarters.

The country's previous record of 17,340 new cases was set on Thursday.

An additional 219 deaths from COVID-19 were also registered in the last 24 hours, down from Wednesday's peak of 317, according to Russia's coronavirus response headquarters.

Moscow remains the epicenter of the country's outbreak and recent surge. More than 30% of the new cases -- 5,224 -- and over 28% of the new deaths -- 62 -- were reported in the capital.

The nationwide, cumulative total now stands at 1,531,224 cases with 26,269 deaths, according to Russia's coronavirus response headquarters.

The Eastern European country of 145 million people has the fourth-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind only the United States, India and Brazil, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Oct 26, 4:36 am
US reports some 60,000 new cases after record-breaking surge

There were 60,789 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Sunday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest daily tally is nearly 23,000 less than the previous day and falls under the national record of 83,757 new cases set on Friday.

An additional 914 fatalities from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide Sunday, down by from a peak of 2,666 new deaths in mid-April.

A total of 8,636,168 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 225,230 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 80,000 for the first time on Oct. 23.

Over the weekend, the country reported more than 83,000 new cases two days in a row.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


amphotora/iStockBy BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News

(WAUKEGAN, Ill.) -- Body camera video purportedly showing a Waukegan, Illinois, police officer opening fire on a car, leaving an unarmed Black man dead and the mother of his child wounded, is expected to be released this week, the mayor said at a vigil held near the scene of the shooting.

Marcellis Stinnette, 19, was killed in the police encounter last week. His 20-year-old girlfriend, Tafarra Willams, remains in a hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. Protesters have taken to the streets of Waukegan to demand justice.

During the vigil Sunday, Mayor Sam Cunningham said he intends for the city to release police video from the shooting over the next few days after the families of Stinnette and Williams first get a chance to view the footage. He has repeatedly requested that protesters remain calm and allow the independent investigation by the Illinois State Police to unfold.

Cunningham, the first Black mayor of Waukegan, who is a personal friend of both Stinnette's and Williams' families, said he wants to see the body camera video released before Thursday, the deadline of a Freedom of Information Act request filed to make all footage of the shooting public.

On Friday, the police officer who unleashed the deadly gunfire on the car Williams was driving was terminated from the Waukegan Police Department for allegedly violating multiple department policies and procedures, Police Chief Wayne Walles said in a statement.

The former officer's name has not been released.

Relatives of Stinnette also spoke at Sunday's vigil, asking the community to refrain from violence.

"You know the officer’s been terminated. It hasn’t even been seven days," Stinnette's cousin, Satrese Stallworth, said. "Don’t tear up, don’t get undignified, don’t burn down, don’t destroy because guess what? They’re being held accountable and they’re already making progress in our favor."

Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, who was at the vigil, would only say the State Police investigation of the shooting is progressing but cautioned that it could take several weeks before he reviews the evidence and decides whether to file criminal charges. Nerheim on Friday requested that the FBI join the State Police probe.

The shooting unfolded around 11:55 p.m. on Tuesday when an officer went to investigate a "suspicious" car that was parked in a residential neighborhood, Waukegan Police Cmdr. Edgar Navarro said at a news conference last week. When the officer approached, the car fled, Navarro said.

He said a second officer spotted the vehicle and pulled it over. As that officer walked toward the car, it went into reverse, prompting the officer to open fire, Navarro said.

Stinnette was sitting in the passenger seat of the car and Williams was behind the wheel, Navarro said.

Stinnette was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Navarro said. Williams remains in a hospital being treated for wounds to her stomach and hand, her mother, Clifftina "Tina" Johnson, told reporters.

Police said no weapons were found in the car.

Johnson said her daughter told her she and Stinnette were shot "for nothing."

"My daughter said she put her hand up, and if she didn't put her hand up, she said, 'Mama, I would be dead,'" Johnson said last week.

The officer involved in the shooting and the one who initiated the suspicious vehicle investigation were immediately placed on administrative leave.

Police said the now-former officer who shot the couple is Hispanic and had been with the police force for five years. The other officer, officials said, is white and also a five-year veteran of the police department.

Civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio M. Romanucci, who are representing Williams, said in a joint statement released last week that they are conducting their own investigation "because we do not trust the police narrative in this case."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesBy MEGAN STONE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Felicity Huffman has cleared the last hurdle of her punishment stemming from last year's college admissions scandal.

A rep for the Desperate Housewives alum confirmed to Good Morning America she wrapped up her year of supervised release on Sunday, fulfilling the last stipulation of her sentence after pleading guilty of arranging for her daughter's SAT score to be manipulated.

Prior to entering the final phase of her punishment, Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison, as well as ordered to pay a $30,000 fine and serve 250 hours of community service.

Huffman fulfilled her two-week prison sentence in October 2019.

The Oscar-nominated actress is expected to have her passport returned to her in the coming days, having relinquished it to the probation department at the start of her sentence.

Huffman, 57, and more than 30 other wealthy parents were caught in the largest college cheating scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice, which was dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues."

The American Crime alum was accused of making payments to William "Rick" Singer, a college-entrance tutor guru whom prosecutors identified as the ringleader of the nationwide scam, to help her daughter, Sophia, cheat on the SAT.

Huffman pleaded guilty and admitted she paid Singer $15,000 to falsify her daughter's score by arranging for a college-entrance exam proctor to correct the answers. The payment also arranged for Sophia to have more time to take the test.

With Huffman finishing her sentence, another high-profile name involved in the scandal, fellow actress Lori Loughlin, is due to report to prison on Nov. 19. The Full House alum has been sentenced to serve a two-month jail sentence, pay a $150,000 fine and complete 150 hours of community service.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


CasPhotography/istockBy JULIA JACOBO, ABC News

(EL PASO, Texas) -- A recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in El Paso, Texas, has caused city officials to order a curfew for residents.

The curfew has been imposed for 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to limit mobility in the community, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said at a press conference Sunday. For the next two weeks, citizens are required to stay home unless they are traveling to and from work or accessing essential services.

Only one person is permitted to access essential services at a time, and trick-or-treat activities on Halloween are not allowed, Samaniego said. Violators will be fined $250 for failing to wear a face mask and $500 for any other violations of the order.

El Paso County has had the fifth-highest number of positive cases in the state at more than 39,000, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Since Oct. 1, the county has seen a 160% increase in COVID-19 positivity rates and a 300% jump in hospitalizations.

Intensive care units at all area hospitals reached 100% capacity as of Saturday, Samaniego said. An overflow of ICU patients are being airlifted to other cities.

The county is working to find more morgue space, and funeral homes are prepping for an influx of bodies, Samaniego said.

The El Paso Convention And Performing Art Center is being turned into a hospital with 100 beds, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. The University Medical Center of El Paso is setting up tents outside to treat patients.

More than 862,000 cases and 17,500 fatalities have been reported in the state of Texas, according to the state health department. On Sunday, the daily count of new cases had hit nearly 3,800 and 48 fatalities.

Forty-two states and territories in the U.S. are experiencing an upward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases, according to an internal memo by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services obtained by ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Extreme and rare fire danger is being issued for California early Monday and throughout the day.

The worst of the winds in the San Francisco Bay area were overnight and Monday morning, with gusts reported up to near 90 mph with Oakland Airport gusting near 60 mph.

The relative humidity is down to 6 to 7% in some areas now so the combination of this along with the winds is what is making these conditions so dangerous for wildfire spread.

A Red Flag Warning continues through Monday morning for wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph.

In Southern California, winds have been gusty even in San Diego County where winds are as high as 68 mph.

But the real danger begins Monday morning and into the afternoon with winds expected to gust near 80 mph in Los Angeles County, and low humidity of less than 10% will make conditions prime for rapid fire spread.

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Southern California through Monday and the forecasted wind gusts in Burbank around noon Monday could be near 80 mph.

The extreme wind conditions in California are caused by the record cold blast in the Rockies and the central U.S.

The actual temperature in Montana fell to a record breaking 29 degrees below zero, the lowest temperature measured at an official climate station anywhere in the lower 48 states so early in the season in any year.

Monday morning’s wind chills are in the 20s all the way to Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle.

In addition to the cold, record breaking snowfall was reported from Montana to Colorado and east to Minnesota over the weekend where some areas got up to 25 inches of snow.

The snow and ice now shifts into the southern Rockies and southern Plains where a Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Oklahoma City and a Winter Storm Warning for Abilene, Texas, where freezing rain, sleet and snow could be an issue Monday night for the area.

A Winter Storm Warning for New Mexico has also been issued and some areas could see more than a foot of snow in the next 24 hours.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


tillsonburg/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A New York City police officer was suspended without pay Sunday for promoting President Donald Trump's reelection campaign from a loudspeaker while on patrol over the weekend.

Talia Jane, a Brooklyn-based freelance reporter, tweeted that a squad car was blaring "Trump 2020" from the officer's vehicle in Flatbush Saturday night. Jane said she was sent a video of the officers in the vehicle also shouting the chant.

“They stopped when someone started filming but couldn’t resist one more,” she tweeted.

Jane retweeted a second video from another Twitter user that showed the police vehicle promoting Trump from the loudspeaker.

According to the New York Police Department patrol guide, members on duty or in uniform are prohibited from "endorsing political candidates or publicly expressing personal views and opinions concerning the merits of: any political party or candidate for public office; any public policy matter or legislation pending before any government body; or any matter to be decided by a pubic election, except with the permission of the police commissioner."

The NYPD said Sunday it was aware of the video and investigating. Hours later, the department tweeted that the unidentified officer in question was disciplined.

"Suspended without pay; The police officer who is under investigation for using a department vehicle’s loudspeaker for political purposes has been suspended, effective immediately," the tweet said.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea condemned the actions seen in the video, calling it "unacceptable."

"Law Enforcement must remain apolitical, it is essential in our role to serve ALL New Yorkers regardless of any political beliefs," he tweeted Sunday. "It is essential for New Yorkers to trust their Police."

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke out on the incident, promising New Yorkers "we will act fast."

"Let me be clear: ANY NYPD Officer pushing ANY political agenda while on duty will face consequences," he tweeted.

Over the summer, Pat Lynch, the president of Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents NYPD patrol officers, endorsed Trump. De Blasio was asked about the PBA endorsement during a press conference last week. He reiterated that the union president does not speak for all officers.

"I also think we've seen overwhelmingly officers leave their politics at home and they go and do what has to be done to keep people safe and to respect peaceful protest, and any officer who can't or won't do that we have to discipline," de Blasio said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- A 20-year-old Indiana college student was struck and killed by a stray bullet on a trip to New York City, a place he had dreamed of visiting since seeing Spider-Man as a child, his parents said.

Ethan Williams, a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, died early Saturday morning when he was hit by the errant bullet while sitting on a stoop of a home he and his traveling companions had rented, police said.

"He has a massive massive heart, he loved people a lot. There's [an] irony to me that that was the life that was taken. You know, the life of someone that wanted to give his life back to helping people," his father, Jason Williams, told ABC station WABC-TV in New York.

The shooting unfolded about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday as Ethan Williams was sitting on the front stoop of the Airbnb rental home in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, police said. Witnesses told police they heard at least seven shots and Jason Williams said his son was hit once in the chest.

Ethan Williams was taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

New York Police Department officials said they do not believe Williams was the intended target.

“He was pretty much killed instantly from the stray bullet that went down the street," Jason Williams said.

Police said Sunday that no one has been arrested in the killing and that investigators are interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance video in an effort to identify the person responsible.

“They need to understand that their actions have consequences beyond the moment," Susan Williams told WABC of the person who killed her son. "Turn yourself in, do what’s right. Let our family have peace."

Ethan Williams was a sophomore at Indiana University and was studying to become a filmmaker, his parents said. They said he was in New York to work on on a short documentary with a film crew.

The Williams said it was their son's first trip to New York City and that he had worked over the summer and saved up money to pay for the trip.

“When Ethan was a little guy, 3 or 4 years old, he saw Spider-Man and he fell in love with New York,” Jason Williams said.

Susan Williams added, "His hope was always to go to graduate school in New York. That was the dream."

The parents said their son graduated from high school with four honors diplomas and traveled to Africa to do missionary work.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said Ethan Williams was also a charter member of the Mayor's Youth Council of Indianapolis, a group of students that explore critical issues such as homelessness, hunger and gun violence.

"The news that Ethan was killed ... in New York City is a tragic reminder that the scourge of gun violence is a national crisis, cutting short the promising future of far too many of our young people," Hogsett said in a statement. "These are issues that Ethan was passionate about, and we owe it to him to continue these important conversations. My thoughts are with his family and friends during this heartbreaking time.''

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Mc3 Ty C. Connors/U.S. NavyBy MATT SEYLER, ABC News

(FOLEY, Ala.) -- A Navy flying instructor and Coast Guard student were identified by officials on Sunday as the service members killed in a military plane crash in Alabama on Friday.

Navy instructor pilot Lt. Rhiannon Ross, 30, was on a routine training flight out of Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Florida, with her student, Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett, 24, when their Navy T-6B Texan II trainer aircraft crashed in a residential area of Foley, Alabama, according to Navy officials.

Ross was from Wixom, Michigan. Garrett was from Weddington, North Carolina.

"Their spirit, friendship, and devotion to their country will not be forgotten," the Navy statement said.

While Navy and local police officials confirmed there were no civilians injured, the accident caused serious damage to a house and several vehicles, Foley Fire Chief Joey Darby told Birmingham ABC affiliate WBMA-TV.

"This is something we don't see every day," he said.

The Navy T-6B Texan II aircraft can be controlled from either of its two seats, both of which are capable of ejecting in emergencies. Officials have not confirmed the cause of Friday's crash, but say the incident is being investigated.

"Local and Navy emergency personnel responded to the scene to secure the area and ensure the safety of the local community," the Navy said in a statement Sunday, adding that it is working with local authorities in the investigation.

Prior to Friday's crash, it had been more than a year since the Navy's last deadly aircraft incident, Naval Air Forces spokesman Cmdr. Zach Harrell told ABC News.

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(BOSTON) -- Five people have died from an outbreak of COVID-19 at a nursing home in Massachusetts, according to officials.

A total of 30 people were infected at the Sunny Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Chelmsford, according to statistics released weekly by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The outbreak comes after 15 weeks of no positive cases at the nursing home, Sunny Acres administrator Jeff Schwartz wrote on its website. Many of the residents began testing positive in late September.

"Unfortunately, it has proved impossible to keep this rapidly spreading and highly contagious virus out of this center," Schwartz said.

Several residents have moved past their 14-day isolation period and are now recovering, Schwartz said. The facility has been receiving support from infection control specialists and has been following state and federal COVID-19 guidance.

Meanwhile, one church in North Carolina has been barred from holding services after a week-long convocation drew more than 1,000 people, leading to three deaths.

The convocation held by the United House of Prayer for All People led to a COVID-19 cluster tied to 121 cases in three counties, ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC reported. Those numbers do not include an additional 127 people who were tested in drive-by facilities on Friday.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department issued an "Abatement of Imminent Hazard" on the church due to the cluster.

"We have taken this action out of an abundance of caution to prevent the COVID-19 virus from further spreading in our community," Mecklenburg County public health director Gibbie Harris said in a statement. "This type of order is rare, but sometimes necessary. It prevents the church from opening or allowing any further gathering, making sure we stop this outbreak from going any further."

The order was issued after church leaders announced they still planned to hold large events scheduled for Oct. 25 through Oct. 31, according to WSOC.

All in-person gatherings at United House of Prayer facilities are now canceled until at least Nov. 6, and the church is required to clean and disinfect indoor surfaces.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- Russian election interference, Iranian emails, falsities trumpeted by government officials and the explosion in popularity of online conspiracy theories have combined into a deluge of misinformation that's left many American voters swimming upstream. Some advocates are working together to build a bigger boat.

Before many had even heard of Russian troll farms, back in 2014, Shafiqah Hudson and I'Nasah Crockett, two Black Twitter users with no technical or law enforcement background, helped curb disinformation by using an inventive hashtag.

Hudson spotted a number of Twitter accounts purporting to be Black feminists that appeared to be purposely sowing division, calling for an end to Father's Day and using the hashtag #endfathersday.

"A lot of tweets featured really terrible approximations of African American Vernacular English, or AAVE," Hudson told ABC News. "And you can't fake AAVE."

An online friend of Hudson's, Crockett did some digging and discovered a few of these bad actors discussing tactics and boasting of their success on the website 4chan, a fringe social media platform that became a forum for right-wing hate speech and from which QAnon emerged.

Hudson began outing the fake accounts with the hashtag #yourslipisshowing -- the hashtag stemming from a southern saying for something that's supposed to be concealed but suddenly is on full display.

"It was our way of saying, 'Hey, this thing that you think you're hiding, everyone sees it,'" Hudson added.

The hashtag did have some success in curbing the disinformation -- some of the accounts were taken down and some just stopped posting when tagged with the #yourslipisshowing -- but many persisted for a long time.

A few years later, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, the Mueller Report revealed that minority communities -- Black communities especially -- had been targeted by Russian trolls.

Both Hudson and Crockett are again seeing this kind of content circulating. They believe working together as a community can help counter it.

"I think they've learned," Crockett said. "There's a little less attempt to try and directly talk to a person and use AAVE, which could be incorrect, and more just an attempt to muddy the waters by just dumping information, overwhelming people, so you don't even take the time to look up the source."

The "More than a Vote" campaign is raising awareness and has the backing of celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Patrick Mahomes and LeBron James, who tweeted a video aimed at countering misinformation and voter depression. Disinformation experts from First Draft define voter depression as efforts to discourage voters from attempting to vote, whereas voter suppression is action taken to prevent people from being able to cast their votes.

Recognizing this would be a problem in 2020, and beyond, Amalia Deloney of the Media Democracy Fund helped establish the Disinformation Defense League. The DDL, now composed of more than 200 grassroots organizations across the U.S., is helping to mobilize minority communities to counter disinformation campaigns.

"The idea is to be a real research resource, a sharing network designed specifically to disrupt the voter suppression campaigns that are using radicalized disinformation tactics to deliberately depress Black, Afro-Latinx and Latinx community votes," said Deloney, the DDL's director.

The organization has purposely avoided the spotlight, partly to not attract more trolls but also because they want to spread their message not through traditional media sources or even public social media but in closed direct messaging areas such as Facebook Groups or WhatsApp groups. Much of the group's messaging is via SMS. Deloney said that post-election there will be less of a need to operate below the radar and the DDL will take on more of a public stance.

Rather than trying to grow an online user base, the DDL seeks to leverage trust among its members and their communities to more effectively combat misinformation. Much of the disinformation is being circulated in closed groups, like private Facebook Groups, and private messaging groups on WhatsApp or WeChat, and the only way to counter that disinformation is through members of the public who already are in these private spaces online.

Deloney said the organization is not unlike "The Justice League," a popular comic book series.

"We wanted to create a space where you could sit at the table with other superheroes and together you could do more than what was possible on your own," Deloney added.

The basic premise is that by educating people about disinformation tactics and teaching them how to spot it, that helps inoculate the electorate against it.

Next week, two member organizations, MediaJustice and United We Dream, are organizing a full week of events that will include training sessions and a Twitter town hall. The DDL also offers training and resources in Spanish and works with many Latinx groups, including Mijente.

Claire Wardle, director of First Draft, one of the expert disinformation organizations that advises the DDL, said that communicating directly with minority communities is key in battling falsehoods.

"We've learned in 2020 that, as institutional trust in things like the CDC or the news media or academia has dropped, people are turning to one another for information," Wardle told ABC News. "When it comes to fighting disinformation, there are real opportunities there for communities who trust one another to say, 'Let's help one another figure out what's true or false and which bits of information are designed to divide us.'"

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


carlballou/iStockBY: JON HARWORTH, ABC NEWS

(PORTER, TX) -- A 3-year-old boy has died at his birthday celebration after finding a family member’s gun and accidentally shooting himself in the chest.

The incident occurred at approximately 4:15 p.m. at a family residence in Porter, Texas, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, when authorities were called to the home and found a 3-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to his chest.

“Family and friends had gathered earlier to celebrate the birthday of the three-year-old, and while playing cards, heard a gunshot,” the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement released to social media. “The child was located with a gunshot wound to the chest.”

According to authorities, it was learned during the investigation that the child had allegedly found the pistol after it fell out of a family member's pocket.

The unnamed 3-year-old boy was subsequently rushed to a nearby fire station where he succumbed to his injuries.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this tragic accident,” said the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

The circumstances surrounding how the family member lost their firearm at the party was not disclosed and authorities did not say whether the gun owner acted in an improper or irresponsible manner when it came to safely securing the firearm.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- It is going to be a turbulent and dangerous week of weather across nearly the entire U.S. with extremely critical fire conditions in California, a tropical system approaching the Gulf coast by mid-week, and a major storm traveling across the country that will bring snow and ice across the central U.S.

In Colorado, the East Troublesome fire is now at least 188,000 acres and is still only 4% contained. The good news is that snow is beginning to move into Colorado this morning and should help put an end to the weather conditions that have been fueling the record breaking fires there.

Unfortunately, much of Colorado is in an extreme to exceptional drought and that will not be resolved by one snowstorm.

Attention also turns to California where extremely critical fire conditions are expected to arrive beginning later Sunday and last into early Tuesday.

A significant offshore wind even will develop in parts of southern Oregon and into nearly all of California today.

Winds could gust well over 70 mph in areas and humidity could be as low as 5% which could result in easy fire starts, rapid spread and erratic fire behavior.

This could be a very significant fire weather set up, especially for the Bay Area and into parts of Northern California.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento is highlighting that this setup is similar to fire weather events in late October 2019 and early November 2018.

The most damaging winds are expected late Sunday and early Monday across parts of the Bay Area and Sacramento Valley.

In addition to the potential for fires, there is potential for downed trees and power lines as well.

The Los Angeles area also is going to see dangerous fire conditions beginning tonight and into Monday.

Winds in the Southern California mountains could gust as high as 80 mph and fires that develop in Los Angeles and Ventura County could also become quite erratic and rapidly spread.

East of the fire threat region, a big push of very cold air, as well as a snowstorm, is surging into the Rockies and Plains.

The storm already has brought up to 20 inches of snow in parts of Montana and, this morning, snow is moving through parts of Wyoming and Colorado, as well as parts of Nebraska and South Dakota.

The storm is expected to continue to push southward through the next 24 to 48 hours and snow will move into parts of Kansas, western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico.

Additionally, precipitation is going to be mixed from Midland to Kansas City on Monday going into Monday Night which could result in some Ice Accumulation in the Southern Plains.

Locally, over a foot of snow will be possible in the Rocky Mountains and into some parts of the southern High plains where there could be a wide area of 3 to 6 inches of snow from Western Texas to Western Nebraska.

The cold air moving in behind is significant as widespread record low temperatures are possible today across the Northwest.

By tomorrow, we could have record lows across a huge section of the country from California to Wisconsin.

Wind chills tomorrow morning could be in the negative teens across the northern plains and northern Rockies with cities like Denver expecting a wind chill of -6 expected tomorrow and Minneapolis expecting a wind chill of 6 – incredibly cold by October Standards.

It is possible that by Tuesday we will see over 100 daily temperature records across the region.

Unfortunately, the turbulent weather doesn’t end there.

Tropical Storm Zeta, the 27th named storm of the season is meandering over the Caribbean this morning.

The storm is located 295 miles Southeast of Cozumel Mexico and is barely moving north at 1 mph.

Tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued for parts of Mexico and Cuba as heavy rain and gusty winds are expected in the coming days.

Zeta is the 27th named storm of 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season and is the earliest 27th named storm on record.

Zeta is expected to continue to organize and move towards the Yucatan peninsula by late Monday into early Tuesday.

When Zeta emerges into the Gulf of Mexico, there will be a brief window for strengthening and the current forecast has Zeta reaching hurricane strength by Tuesday.

The current forecast is showing Zeta likely reaching the Gulf Coast as a Tropical Storm by the middle of the week.

Unfortunately, computer guidance wants to take Zeta towards Louisiana, which has already been hit by Laura, Delta, Cristobal, and Marco.

All of the ingredients, including a punch of cold air, a storm system and tropical moisture will likely bring some form of impactful weather to the northeast U.S. by the end of the week.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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