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Happening Today: Manafort Trial, Wildfires, FDA Recall, Robert Redford, NASCAR, Demi Lovato

What to Know

  • Rick Gates returns to the witness stand as the government's star witness in the financial fraud trial of Trump's former campaign chairman
  • The FDA has expanded its voluntary recall of several medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure over cancer concerns
  • In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, 81-year-old actor Robert Redford confirmed he is retiring from acting

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Star Witness Against Manafort Admits Embezzlement, Returns to Stand

One day after coming face-to-face in federal court with his longtime boss, Rick Gates returns to the witness stand as the government's star witness in the financial fraud trial of President Trump's former campaign chairman. Gates, in hours of hugely anticipated testimony, calmly acknowledged having embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Paul Manafort and said the two had committed crimes together by stashing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents. Prosecutors summoned Gates, described by witnesses as Manafort's "right-hand man," to give jurors the direct account of a co-conspirator they say carried out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and fraud scheme on behalf of his boss. Manafort and Gates were the first two people indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. But Gates pleaded guilty months later and agreed to cooperate in Mueller's investigation of Manafort, the only American charged by the special counsel to opt for trial instead of a guilty plea.

Northern California Blazes Now Largest in State History

Twin Northern California blazes fueled by dry vegetation and hot, windy weather grew to become the largest wildfire in state history, becoming the norm as climate change makes the fire season longer and more severe. The two fires burning a few miles apart and known as the Mendocino Complex are being treated as one incident. It has scorched 283,800 acres, fire officials said. The fires, north of San Francisco, have burned 75 homes and is only 30 percent contained. The size of the fires surpasses a blaze last December in Southern California that burned 281,893 acres. It killed two people, including a firefighter, and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings before being fully contained on Jan. 12. More than 14,000 firefighters are battling over a dozen major blazes throughout California.

FDA Expands Recalls of Blood Pressure, Heart Drugs Over Cancer Concerns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expanded its voluntary recall of several medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure over concerns that an active ingredient in the drugs could be contaminated with a cancer-causing agent. The agency reported traces of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a "probable human carcinogen," was found in the active ingredient valsartan in the recalled products. The FDA noted not all products containing valsartan are contaminated and being recalled. A third-party supplied the valsartan contained in the recall. Patients are urged to look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottle to determine whether a specific product has been recalled. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine to find out the company name.

Robert Redford Announces Retirement After Nearly 60 Years

Robert Redford is hanging up his hat. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the 81-year-old actor confirmed he is retiring from acting. Redford first announced his plans to stop working two years ago, but only after he finished the last two films he had in production: "Our Souls at Night," released in 2017, and "The Old Man & The Gun," premiering Sept. 28. "I'm getting tired of acting. I'm an impatient person, so it's hard for me to sit around and do take after take after take," he said in a Walker Art Center interview. "At this point in my life, age 80, it'd give me more satisfaction because I'm not dependent on anybody. It's just me, just the way it used to be, and so going back to sketching--that's sort of where my head is right now. So, I'm thinking of moving in that direction and not acting so much." In an interview to promote his final film as an actor, Redford admitted he will "never say never," to performing, "but I pretty well concluded that this would be it for me in terms of acting, and [I'll] move towards retirement after this, 'cause I've been doing it since I was 21. I thought, 'Well, that's enough.' And why not go out with something that's very upbeat and positive?" As for whether he'll continue to direct feature films, Redford said, "We'll see about that."

NASCAR CEO Busted for DWI, Also Allegedly Had Drugs, Officials Say

The CEO of NASCAR is facing charges for allegedly driving while intoxicated on Long Island, and for having illegal drugs in his possession, officials said. Sag Harbor Village Police Department arrested Brian Z. France after officers allegedly observed him driving a 2017 Lexus northbound on Main Street and failing to stop at a stop sign. According to authorities, upon a traffic stop, officers determined France was allegedly driving drunk. They also say he was in possession of oxycodone pills. France is charged with aggravated DWI and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. He was arraigned in Sag Harbor and was released on his own recognizance. NASCAR says it takes France's arrest "as a serious matter and will issue a statement after we have all of the facts." He apologized and has taken a leave of absence.

Demi Lovato Leaves Hospital Almost 2 Weeks After Apparent Overdose

Demi Lovato has been released from a Los Angeles hospital almost two weeks after her apparent overdose. E! News has learned Lovato was discharged from hospital and flew to a rehab facility where she will stay for an extended period of time. A source previously told E! News that the 25-year-old pop star will "head straight to rehab" upon her release from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where her family members and ex-boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama have been by her side amid her recovery. Lovato was found unconscious at her Los Angeles home on Tuesday, July 24. Paramedics administered Narcan, used to reverse opioid overdoses, and transported her to a hospital. Her publicist said later in the day that Lovato was awake and with her family. The substance or substances that caused the apparent overdose have not been disclosed.

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