What to Know
- Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for tax and bank fraud
- Facebook announced new policies to reduce the visibility of vaccine misinformation on its platform
- An internal investigation has been opened regarding the possibility of information being leaked in the Jussie Smollett case, officials say
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Ex-Trump Campaign Boss Paul Manafort Sentenced to 47 Months
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for tax and bank fraud related to his work advising Ukrainian politicians, much less than what was called for under sentencing guidelines. Manafort, sitting in a wheelchair as he deals with complications from gout, had no visible reaction as he heard the 47-month sentence. While that was the longest sentence to date to come from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, it could have been much worse for Manafort. Sentencing guidelines called for a 20-year-term, effectively a lifetime sentence for the 69-year-old. Manafort still faces the possibility of additional time from his sentencing in a separate case in the District of Columbia, where he pleaded guilty to charges related to illegal lobbying. Before Judge T.S. Ellis III imposed the sentence, Manafort told him that "saying I feel humiliated and ashamed would be a gross understatement." But he offered no explicit apology, something Ellis noted before issuing his sentence.
House Broadly Condemns Hate After Anti-Semitism Dispute
Divided in debate but mostly united in a final vote, the House passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other bigotry, with Democrats trying to push past a dispute that has overwhelmed their agenda and exposed fault lines that could shadow them through next year's elections. The one-sided 407-23 vote belied the emotional infighting over how to respond to freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar's recent comments suggesting House supporters of Israel have dual allegiances. For days, Democrats wrestled with whether or how to punish the lawmaker, arguing over whether Omar, one of two Muslim women in Congress, should be singled out, what other types of bias should be decried in the text and whether the party would tolerate dissenting views on Israel. Republicans generally joined in the favorable vote, though nearly two-dozen opposed the measure, one calling it a "sham." Generational as well as ideological, the argument was fueled in part by young, liberal lawmakers — and voters — who have become a face of the newly empowered Democratic majority in the House.
Facebook Cracks Down on Vaccine Misinformation
Facebook announced new policies to reduce the visibility of vaccine misinformation on its platform, including rejecting advertising and excluding groups and pages from search results that spread “vaccine hoaxes.” The announcement comes after weeks of criticism from public health advocates and lawmakers who have called for action to curtail inaccurate information about vaccines, which have led to a resurgence of childhood diseases that had effectively been eradicated. “We are fully committed to the safety of our community and will continue to expand on this work,” wrote Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of global policy management, in a blog post announcing the change. The anti-vaccination community is united by the unscientific theory that vaccinations are toxic and cause myriad illnesses, including autism, and misguidedly believe a conspiracy helmed by the government and the pharmaceutical industry is keeping the truth about vaccines from the public.
Chicago Police Open Internal Probe Into Jussie Smollett Leaks
An internal investigation at the Chicago Police Department has been opened regarding the possibility of information being leaked in the Jussie Smollett case, officials confirmed. Smollett is charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly making a false police report. His attorneys say he's innocent. His report to police prompted days of intense media scrutiny. No other information was immediately available about the internal investigation. A little more than a week after Chicago police laid out what appeared to be a damaging case against the "Empire" star, a defense strategy began emerging — much of it centered on discrediting the two men who pointed at Smollett as the mastermind. Police say the case against Smollett turned in the final hour of their two-day interrogation of Nigerian brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo. But questions over the brothers' motives and the evidence prosecutors and police said they have against Smollett are rising, defense sources say. Smollett, who is openly gay, said his attackers used homophobic slurs during the incident.
Disney's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Attractions Set to Open
Get ready to buckle up and blast off. Disney’s new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attractions are now set to open ahead of schedule on May 31 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Aug. 29 at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The two attractions were previously slated to open in summer and fall. The news was announced by Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger at his annual shareholders meeting Thursday. He revealed both opening dates for the respective 14-acre, themed destinations set to take Star Wars fans into the world of the popular movie franchise. The sprawling sets on a remote world are based off of the newest "Star Wars" trilogy — so don't expect appearances by Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. But some familiar faces including Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren and fan-favorite Chewbacca will be a part of the adventure as visitors explore the immersive world.