Whose job is it to prevent Armageddon?

NASA is preparing to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid at 16,000 miles per hour, in a pioneering attempt to nudge it off course.

But the yearlong mission scheduled to begin on Nov. 24 is raising an existential question for scientists and security experts: whose job is it to defend the planet against a possibly life-ending space rock if one was headed our way?

The answer right now is no one.

NASA maintains the likelihood of a large asteroid striking Earth is a “once a millennium type of event.” But the space agency is also using new telescopes and other star-gazing techniques to locate thousands of previously undiscovered“near-Earth objects” each year with orbits that will eventually take them into our galactic neighborhood.

More than 27,000 have been located so far and more than 2,700 this year alone, including one the size of the Pyramid of Giza that was discovered in September and whizzed by just 2 million miles from Earth. (That’s considered a near miss; for reference, the moon is about 240,000 miles away).

But no agency or international body is in charge of deflecting an asteroid that might be on a path of destruction, either by pushing it ever-so-slightly off course to change its orbit, or blasting it with a barrage of missiles.

“No one is tasked with mitigation,” said former Air Force space strategist Peter Garretson who studies planetary defense. “Congress did put in law that the White House identify who should be responsible, but fully four subsequent administrations so far have blown off their request.”

NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office is overseeing the upcoming launch of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, its first-ever planetary defense test.

The mission will attempt to change by a fraction the trajectory of Dimorphos, an asteroid orbiting the larger Didymos, which poses no danger to Earth; its orbit will bring it to within 4 million miles, about a century from now.

But the upcoming test has prompted calls for more international research and coordination in the event countries around the world need to band together to act far more quickly than the 11 years it took NASA to prepare the asteroid test, which goes by the acronym DART.

“There are three million asteroids and we have not a freaking clue where they are and they are flying around us,” said Danica Remy, president of the B612 Foundation, which is building a database to track near-Earth objects. “We’ve barely made a dent.”

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), a member of the Armed Services and Commerce committees, is also a leading advocate for greater preparations for a possible asteroid strike, which he says he considers among the “unique threats to national security.”

He told POLITICO the potential of such a cataclysmic event demands that the U.S. government do more “to bolster federal planetary defense efforts.”

The National Space Council headed by Vice President Kamala Harris will hold its first meeting on Dec. 1. But officials declined to outline the agenda and whether planetary defense will be among the body’s policy priorities.

The role of the military

Amid the lack of agreement about which agency should ultimately be in charge, there is also a brewing debate over how much of a role military forces should play.

While some such as Garretson support giving the Pentagon greater responsibility, others are adamant it would be a mistake to further militarize space with a mission that by definition is not about sovereign borders but defending all of humanity.

“It is not a space race,” said Thomas Jones, a planetary scientist and former astronaut. “We can put together an international response. That’s the way to do this.”

Otherwise, he warned, there will be “disinformation and rivalries and wasted resources.”

Yet some military powers are already going their own way. For example, Japan tried to blast the surface of an asteroidin 2019 with little effect. And the United States in 2014 revealed to congressional investigators it’s retaining some excess nuclear warheads in the event they are needed “in planetary defense against earthbound asteroids.”

The debate over the military role has grown since China’s National Space Administration adopted planetary defense as one of its core missions in April. Chinese government scientists published a paper this month proposing an “assembled kinetic impactor” delivered by missile to defend against what they call a “major threat to all life on Earth.”

“With this approach, China is moving from planetary defense to planetary offense,” warned Namrata Goswami, who studies the Chinese space program and is an author of “Scramble for the Skies,” about the new space race.

She fears the Chinese plan amounts to “planning ahead to deflect an asteroid with a rocket that can be utilized for other offensive purposes as well, like targeting a cluster of adversary satellites.”

“If China jumps ahead of the U.S. in regard to planetary defense,” she added, “it will be a game-changer.”

The U.S. military is also paying more attention. The Space Force signed a memorandum of understanding with NASA last year in which they agreed to work more closely on “space domain awareness,” including tracking near-Earth objects.

“However, unlike China, the U.S. has not stated that planetary defense is of strategic priority,” Goswami said.

‘A policy priority’?

Congress in recent years has steadily taken more action to require the government to study the threat and encourage federal agencies to make planetary defense a greater policy focus.

And the Trump administration ordered federal agencies to step up their efforts. In 2018, the National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan called on NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Air Force to “identify opportunities in existing and planned telescope programs to improve detection and tracking by enhancing the volume and quality of current data streams, including from optical, infrared, and radar facilities.”

It also increased NASA’s budget for planetary defense three-fold to $150 million a year, including to finance the DART mission.

But Goswami believes that “for planetary defense to be effective,” the National Space Council should make it a “policy priority” and direct NASA and the Space Force to develop “deflection capabilities.”

U.S. Space Command, which is responsible for military space operations, says it’s reconsidering its role in planetary defense. “Planning efforts at USSPACECOM for Planetary Defense are pre-decisional,” the command told POLITICO in a statement, asserting that for now it is following NASA’s lead.

One of the top military proponents over the years for giving the threat more serious attention is now a three-star Space Force general serving as deputy head of Space Command.

“Whose job should it be to divert the threat, and how?” Lt. Gen. John Shaw asked in a paper he co-wrote as a major in 2002. “It is our view that an organization the people have placed their lives in the hands of for the past several centuries — the US military — is best suited to provide protection from either natural or man-made threats.”

“Little capability against such a natural threat exists today,” the paper added, “but it is a mission that should attract increased attention as we expand our ability to control space.”

Shaw declined an interview request through a spokesperson.

“Who is going to be in the lead? We don’t know yet,” said Nahum Melamed, a senior engineer at the Aerospace Corporation, a government-funded think tank. “It is a discussion that is ongoing. There is no clear-cut answer as to who is in charge here.”

‘We need to find them faster’

Jones, the former astronaut, said he believes there’s still sufficient time for the global community to come up with a more comprehensive strategy that relies on many nations.

He predicted there will be ample notice to act before a large asteroid is identified heading for Earth. A more imminent threat, he said, is likely to come from a smaller asteroid — like one that struck Russia in 2013 — or a comet that would require evacuating the predicted area of impact but not pose the kind of existential threat that scientists say killed off the dinosaurs.

“We will get warning and have enough time,” Jones said.

But not everyone agrees. “The likelihood of being hit by a significant sized asteroid is very low, but the consequences are so severe,” said Melamed. “The problem is a lot of these objects have very short lead time. Sometimes they are being discovered after their close approach…. We are going to be faced with very short warning or no warning at all.”

The Asteroid Discovery Analysis and Mapping program, a venture between the B612 Foundation, Google and Analytical Graphics Inc., is constructing a “Google Maps for space” to track near-Earth asteroids.

With “the data that we have from the tools we are building right now … there will probably be a couple of near-Earth asteroids [discovered] every week,” Remy said. “On average we are finding 2,000 near-Earth asteroids a year. That is going to change radically when [the mapping program] goes live.”

NASA also acknowledges that the current picture of space is too incomplete to fully assess the potential threat. “While no known asteroid larger than 140 meters in size has a significant chance to hit Earth for the next 100 years,” the agency says, “only about 40 percent of those asteroids have been found as of October 2021.”

That means “we need to find them faster,” Remy added. “There is a lot more we can do to put plans in place. I hope we get there before there is one that has our number. It could be in 100 years. It could be tomorrow.”

Remy pointed out that NASA’s DART mission has a number of international partners, but they are not fully coordinated.

For example, NASA is relying on an Italian satellite designed for imaging asteroids, but the European Space Agency’s HERA mission that will study DART’s impact on the target asteroid follows two years later.

“The fact that these two missions are not going at the same time was a timing issue for budget approvals,” Remy said. “Imagine if we had an asteroid coming our way and half the mission was held up in the funding by critical allies? We will likely need several nation-states to participate in a future deflection mission and the government moves slowly.”

“While DART can go it alone with this technology demonstration mission,” she added, “what will happen if we need to act together for something urgent?”

More planetary scientists are also sounding the alarm. “Would there be something on the plate if someone said, ‘five weeks from now we are going to get hit by Apophis,’ which is going to come around on Friday the 13th in April of 2029?” asked Philip Lubin, a professor of physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara and a leading asteroid researcher. “There is nothing on the table. Nothing.”

But a major challenge for policymakers will be how to overcome the deep level of distrust here on Earth to put a planetary defense plan in place.

Rusty Schweickart, a former Apollo astronaut who co-founded the B612 Foundation and has advocated for a greater role for the United Nations, recently outlined how “the political aspects of the whole issue of planetary defense are very serious.”

“I think our experience over the last year with Covid and the whole incredible anti-vax and disinformation in social media — all of that is going to pale in comparison, it seems to me, with the level of disinformation and distrust of experts that’s going to arrive … if the asteroid world says, ‘Oh, we’re going to predict the impact of this guy on such and such a date and such and such a time.’”

“I mean the level of distrust in institutions and scientists and experts is going to be fierce,” he added.

Original Article: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/11/20/global-planetary-defense-earth-asteroids-523072

Why was serial killer Karla Homolka’s prison term so short?

You’ll never hear a discussion about Canadian serial killers without the name Karla Homolka coming up. The Ontario-born Homolka raped and killed three teen girls, one of which was her own sister, with her husband in the early ’90s.

It all began in 1990. A 17-year-old Homolka and her 23-year-old fiancé. Paul Bernardo, were spending the Christmas season at her family home. Enjoying time with them was her younger sister Tammy, who was 15.

The soon-to-be husband and wife pair then did the unthinkable, when they drugged, raped, and videotaped themselves assaulting the unconscious teen. During the assault, Tammy awoke and vomited. It led to her choking on her own vomit, which caused her death, per UPI.

The couple quickly tried to conceal their involvement in what led to Tammy’s death and health officials ruled it accidental.

But more victims were to come. The couple would commit the same crime to 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy just six months later. The teen vanished from her home in June 1991 and her body was discarded and dumped with concrete blocks in a lake.

Just two weeks later, Homolka and Bernardo finally wed. The same day of their wedding, police discovered Mahaffy’s remains (via The Star). In 1992, the couple chose another victim. Bernardo abducted 15-year-old Kristen French from her school in April of that year and killed her. French’s body was discovered a few weeks later, per The Montreal Gazette

Authorities finally caught up with the couple in 1993, when Bernardo was charged for the two murders, and Homolka charged with manslaughter.

Karla Holmolka’s brief stint

A DNA test would also reveal Bernardo to be a serial rapist police called the Scarborough Rapist (Brock Press). He was sentenced to life, and Homolka only got 12 years. But why was her sentence so short?

Homolka was released from prison in 2005 after serving her full sentence (Canadian Encyclopedia). Her relatively brief punishment was the result of a plea deal she took in 1993. As a result of the deal, she testified against Bernardo and explained that her involvement was purely under his orders.

She also insisted that she, too, was a victim. Holmolka claimed that Bernardo physically and mentally abused her, and forced her to sexually assault her own sister (via UPI).

But her punishment deal in exchange for testimony became extremely controversial. Video evidence of the couple’s recordings of their crimes turned up after her agreement, and it did not fully support what she said on the stand.

It turned out that Homolka was a lot more involved than what she initially told investigators and the court, as the videotapes demonstrated her role in the crimes. This led to public scrutiny and some 300,000 people would sign a petition demanding for her case to be reviewed (via Buffalo News).

But nothing came out of the additional review into her deal, and the ruling stood (via another UPI link). Homolka would serve her 12 years and change her name upon her release. The mother of three has since remarried and was last known to live in the province of Quebec.

Original Article: https://www.grunge.com/665868/why-was-serial-killer-karla-homolkas-prison-term-so-short/

Venus and Serena Williams’ dad put broken glass on tennis court as they trained

Venus and Serena Williams didn’t become two of the best tennis players in the world, with 30 Grand Slam titles between them, without a lot of hard work.

The sisters spent their entire childhoods in intense coaching sessions, cheered on and pushed by their dedicated father, Richard Williams, known as King Richard.

Richard is the topic of a new biopic released on Friday, starring Oscar-nominated actor Will Smith.

The film depicts the gruelling and sometimes shocking lengths Richard took to ensure his daughters succeeded.

It also tells the inspiring story of the racism, violence and hardship the Williams family overcame as the sisters attempted to break into a sport that was traditionally dominated by wealthy white people.

Richard’s impoverished Louisiana upbringing was an incredibly tough one, which he detailed in his autobiography, Black and White: The Way I See It.

Living in a “three-room shack”, Richard hunted and stole in order to put food on the table.

He even recalled a young boy in his community whose body was found hanging from a tree after a horrific Klu Klux Klan hate crime.

Richard moved to Chicago and later California, where he met Venus and Serena’s mother, Oracene Price. The couple welcomed Venus in 1980 and Serena the following year.

When his daughters were still tiny, security guard Richard watched the French Open on television and he was enticed by the prize winnings, deciding there and then that he would raise them to be world champions.

But it wasn’t easy for the girls to get on the courts.

Richard wrote in his memoir that he once had to fight gang members in a bid to get Venus and Serena time on the court, and he was beaten so badly his ribs were broken and he had ten teeth knocked out.

“To this day, I wear my ‘toothlessness’ as a badge of courage,” he wrote.

It took two years of fighting the gang and its feared leader before they eventually retreated, leaving the court available for Richard and his daughters.

The battle wasn’t over, as Richard also had to contend with social services, who were worried about the youngsters playing on a potholed court, and that they were missing out on their education – though the truth was they were also achieving top grades.

But Richard refused to let anything get in the way of his daughters’ tennis training – and he went to brutal lengths to ensure they played at their best.

Their former youth coach Rick Macci explained Richard risked “millions” of dollars of his money, including to fund an enormous house for the family so they could live near the tennis coaching camp in Florida, hoping it would one day pay off.

Rick, who coached Venus and Serena for six hours a day, five days a week, and four hours on Saturday, even revealed Richard would put broken glass on the court to stop them from stepping back too far while playing.

“There were a few times Richard put broken glass on the court. The glass was behind the baseline, back by the fence, so they wouldn’t back up and take the ball early.”

He also recalled Richard’s utter certainty in his daughters’ talents.

“In the beginning I didn’t think they were that good, but when we started competing they blew me away,” said Rick.

“I said to Richard, ‘You’ve got the next female Michael Jordan on your hands,’ and he put his arm around me and said, ‘No, brother, I’ve got the next two.'”

In King Richard, the patriarch is portrayed by Will Smith, but the 79-year-old is unable to say what he thinks about the film as he suffered two strokes in the last five years. He also suffers from a neurological condition that inhibits his speech, and so he is now cared for by one of his sons from his first marriage.

But Venus and Serena, who are played by Saniyya Sidney, 15, and Demi Singleton, 14, in the film, have given it their full support.

And Richard even knew the film would be created, as Rick revealed Richard once told him: “Someday they are going to make a movie about me.”

“Oh, I think I cried the whole time,” Serena said after watching the film.

“My dad is such a – I always say, he’s before his time,” she continued.

“Down to this marketing, and even just to put us in a sport that was completely a white sport, and then to say that we were going to be the best at it, it was something that no one had ever done before.”

Original Article: https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/venus-serena-williams-dad-put-25498550

Feds Probe Lindell Associate Douglas Frank’s Link to Lake County, Ohio, Election-Data Breach

The attempted breach in Ohio occurred on May 4 inside the county office of John Hamercheck (R), chairman of the Lake County Board of Commissioners.

State and county officials said no sensitive data were obtained, but they determined that a private laptop was plugged into the county network in Hamercheck’s office, and that the routine network traffic captured by the computer was circulated at the same Lindell conference as the data from the Colorado breach.

Together, the incidents in Ohio and Colorado point to an escalation in attacks on the nation’s voting systems by those who have embraced Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud.

Now, some Trump loyalists pushing for legal challenges and partisan audits are also targeting local officials in a bid to gain access to election systems — moves that themselves could undermine election security.

An FBI spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that the bureau is investigating the incident in Lake County but declined to comment further. Investigators are trying to determine whether someone on the fifth floor of the Lake County government building improperly accessed the computer network and whether any laws were violated.

Investigators with the office of Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) believe a government official appears to have facilitated the attempted breach of the election network in Lake County, a spokesman for LaRose said.

Asked in a telephone interview whether he knew of the attempted breach or participated in it, Hamercheck said he was advised not to discuss the investigation. “I’m aware of no criminal activity,” Hamercheck said, and added: “I have absolute confidence in our board of elections and our IT people.”

Ahead of the incidents in Ohio and Colorado, county officials in both places — including Hamercheck — discussed claims of election fraud with Douglas Frank, an Ohio-based scientist who has done work for Lindell, according to people familiar with Frank’s role, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

Frank, who has claimed to have discovered secret algorithms used to rig the 2020 election, has been traveling the country trying to convince election officials that the vote was riddled with fraud — and that they should join the effort to uncover it, he told The Washington Post in a series of interviews.

Frank has told The Post in recent months that he has visited “over 30 states” and has met with about 100 election administrators. He would not say how many local election administrators he has persuaded to join his cause. “I deliberately protect my clerks. I don’t want anybody to know who they are,” Frank said.

In an interview Friday with The Post, Lindell said that although he has hired Frank for some projects, he does not fund Frank’s speaking engagements across the country and knew nothing about what happened in the election offices in Mesa County or Lake County. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said.

In April, Frank traveled to Grand Junction, Colo., where he made his pitch during a public talk and also privately to Tina Peters, the clerk in Mesa County, and several of her colleagues. He told The Post that his presentation persuaded Peters of the need to examine whether fraud occurred, and that he subsequently connected her with someone in Lindell’s circle who he believed could help.

Colorado election officials have since accused Peters of sneaking an outsider into Mesa County election offices to copy the hard drives of machines manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems, a company cited in conspiracy theories by Trump and his supporters.

In October, a state judge prohibited Peters from supervising the upcoming local elections, citing her efforts to copy the hard drives. On Wednesday, FBI agents searched her home and that of several of her associates as part of an investigation into possible wire fraud and computer crimes.

Peters has previously claimed that she has been targeted by powerful forces trying to block her from finding the truth. In a statement to The Post this week, a spokesperson for Peters’s legal defense fund said the searches constituted “a level of weaponization of the Justice Department we haven’t seen since the McCarthy era.”

Frank also took part in a discussion earlier this year with Hamercheck, the Lake County, Ohio, commissioner, according to an individual familiar with the incident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing inquiries.

In an interview with The Post on Thursday, Frank said he did not remember speaking to Hamercheck or have any record of the call. He said he has met so many people in the past six months that he cannot recall them all. But Frank said the version of events described in Lake County sounded “plausible” because it was “exactly the model that we did with Tina.”

“Do I remember that call? No,” he said of the Hamercheck conversation. “Does it sound like me? Yes.”

County records obtained by The Post through a public-records request show that Hamercheck, an engineer and retired police officer, used his security badge to swipe into the fifth floor offices multiple times during the roughly six-hour period when, according to the leaked data, the laptop was intermittently connected to the county network on May 4, the date of Ohio’s spring primaries.

Ohio election officials said they first learned of the attempted Lake County breach after Lindell’s August symposium, where he promised to unveil evidence of widespread fraud across the country.

Copies of the Mesa County hard drive were presented publicly there, and cyber experts in attendance said they also received copies of network data obtained from Lake, Mesa and Clark County, Nev. Lindell told The Post on Friday that the network data were distributed by a rogue attendee without his knowledge or permission.

Officials in all three states, as well as independent cyber experts interviewed by The Post, determined that the network data — known as packet captures, or PCAPs — contained no sensitive information from a protected network.

The data from Clark County — home of Las Vegas — was captured via the county’s guest wireless network, according to county officials. Rob Graham, a cybersecurity expert who attended the Lindell symposium and examined the data, said it was recorded on Dec. 1, 2020, with a laptop that was set up to capture only its own actions, not county network traffic.

Ohio state officials said the attempted breach in Lake County also yielded limited data, a possible sign that the person or people responsible may not have had technical expertise.

Ohio officials examined the data captured in Lake County and quickly determined that multiple layers of security prevented the compromise of election information or equipment. The network cable in Hamercheck’s office is connected to the county government network, but the county’s Board of Elections operates a separate network behind its own firewall that recognizes only authorized devices.

“We are thrilled that our infrastructure stayed strong,” said Ross McDonald, director of the Lake County Board of Elections, who added that the county is awaiting the results of the state and federal investigations.

After his office assessed the attempted breach, LaRose, who oversees election administration across Ohio’s 88 counties, referred the matter to federal, state and local investigators.

“It’s concerning that somebody would — especially somebody in a government office, somebody who is an elected official, or somebody who’s part of county government — would not realize all of those safeguards exist and would try to engage in some sort of a vigilante investigation,” LaRose said in an interview with The Post. “The good news is that our system of cyber security in Ohio is among the best in the nation.”

Officials with the Lake County prosecuting attorney and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation did not respond to requests for comment.

Much like in Lake County, the Mesa County network data were captured in multiple sessions over the course of about four hours in May, nearly three weeks after the attempted breach in Ohio and on the same day a Mesa County voting machine hard drive was copied.

Local, state and federal authorities began investigating the alleged breach in Mesa shortly after Lindell’s symposium in August, when copies of hard drives from county voting machines were presented.

That same month, officials obtained search warrants to examine Peters’s cellphone data, take DNA swabs from election machines, remove Dominion equipment from Mesa County’s offices and obtain records to determine who obtained access to the secure tabulation room following Frank’s visit in April, as The Post previously reported.

This week, the FBI searched the homes of Peters and several of her associates, including Sherronna Bishop, a conservative activist and former campaign manager for Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) who introduced Frank at his public talk in Grand Junction.

Lindell described the searches during an interview Tuesday on “War Room,” the podcast of former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon. In a statement to The Post, Bishop accused the FBI of using “brute force” in executing the search warrant at her home, including using a battering ram to open her door and handcuffing her in front of her children. She said she had been “available and transparent to any organization that wanted to speak with me” and accused the Justice Department of “terrorizing parents.”

In a statement, the Colorado attorney general’s office disputed those descriptions, saying that “this judicially authorized search was executed in a professional and lawful manner.” A spokeswoman for the FBI confirmed that the bureau “conducted authorized law enforcement actions . . . in support of an ongoing investigation” and declined to comment further.

The search warrants left at Bishop’s home indicate that the FBI is investigating potential crimes including intentional damage to a protected computer, wire fraud, conspiracy to cause intentional damage to a protected computer and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to details she shared in an interview with right-wing media personality Brannon Howse.

Frank argues that the 2020 election was tainted by an elaborate conspiracy involving inflated voter rolls, fraudulent ballots and a “sixth-order polynomial” — claims that have been repeatedly debunked.

One associate of Frank and Lindell is Conan James Hayes, a former pro surfer whom Frank described in an interview with The Post as a “white hat hacker” who has done projects for Lindell and has been responsible for obtaining and analyzing cyber evidence of fraud. Lindell told The Post that he has hired Hayes for several “piecework” jobs this year related to investigating election fraud, but none involved helping local officials obtain data from their networks or machines.

Asked whether he knew if Hayes was involved in gathering data from Lake and Mesa counties, Frank said: “I should probably not say. That’s just me being, I think, prudent.”

Hayes’s name also came up at the Lindell symposium, where Ron Watkins, the former administrator of the 8kun message board, where the QAnon conspiracy theory has been promoted, announced that Hayes may have stolen the hard drives from Mesa County.

A few moments later, Watkins said Hayes “did have permission to take the hard drive, but did not have permission to upload it.”

Watkins’s lawyer told the news outlet Vice that Hayes was Watkins’s source for the hard drives — but declined to discuss the matter in an interview with The Post.

Hayes could not be reached by phone and did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Metadata from the copied Mesa County hard drives show that the copies were made by someone using the identifier “cjh,” according to Graham and Harri Hursti, cybersecurity specialists who attended the Lindell symposium and reviewed the hard-drive copies. Those initials match those of Hayes.

Similarly, the Clark County data was captured by a computer called “cjh’s MacBook Pro (2),” according to Graham.

In both Lake and Mesa counties, the data were captured by the same type of gaming laptop, using the same software and same Windows operating system, metadata shows.

Hayes was one of seven people named in court documents who copied Dominion hard drives as part of a lawsuit filed by a local real estate agent who claimed election fraud in rural Antrim County, Mich., last fall. The hard drives, copied with permission of the court, allegedly showed that Dominion machines were rigged, according to a report submitted by the plaintiff in that case last December.

That central claim of the report was immediately debunked by experts, including by the Department of Homeland Security, but it was cited by Trump and his allies as they sought to overturn President Biden’s legitimate victory. A state judge dismissed the suit in May.

Original Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/attempted-breach-ohio-election/2021/11/19/12417a4c-488c-11ec-b8d9-232f4afe4d9b_story.html

NYC Pastor Kills Wife with Machete in Front of Grandkids

A former pastor in New York City this week admitted to killing his wife in a horrifically gruesome fashion in front of their young grandchildren. He ran over the victim multiple times before hacking her to death using a machete.

Victor Mateo, 65, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of first-degree manslaughter for brutally killing 58-year-old Noelia Mateo in front of her home, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office announced.

According to District Attorney Darcel D. Clark, Victor Mateo, a Yonkers resident, parked outside of Noelia Mateo’s house located on Ellsworth Avenue in Throgs Neck on the morning of Oct. 3, 2019 and waited for her to come outside. The couple had reportedly been estranged for about a month.

Noelia reportedly left the house a little before 7 a.m. to drive her grandchildren, ages nine and 11, to school. When the three reached Noelia’s vehicle, Victor hit the gas and “struck her with his vehicle,” the DA’s office said. In an effort to avoid Victor, Noelia reportedly hid underneath her own car. Mateo reportedly got out of his car and got into Noelia’s, then he ran over her several times.

Still not finished, Victor Mateo reportedly got out of Noelia’s car, retrieved a machete from his car, then “hacked” her multiple times as their grandchildren watched the entire ordeal in horror, the DA’s office said.

The defendant, who was previously a pastor at the Christian Congregation The Redeemer Church in the Bronx, reportedly fled the scene in Noelia’s car.

Additional details about what transpired were provided by David Colon, a neighbor who said he witnessed the latter part of the attack.

“I heard a loud bang, I actually thought it was a gunshot,” Colon reportedly told New York ABC affiliate WABC-TV. “I looked out my window and I saw a car struck another vehicle. I saw a man moving his car back and forth, and he got out. Then I heard a lady screaming, ‘Help her, help her, he’s is going to kill her.’…It turns out he was hitting her with a machete, and I saw him take off.”

Colon told the station that after he saw the horror unfolding outside he rushed to help Noelia, but he couldn’t get there in time to help.

“By the time I got down, she was in pretty bad shape and the cops ended up coming,” he reportedly said. “My heart dropped. Wish I could have done something. I did the best I could do. I called the cops.”

Following a joint investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police, the NYPD, and the U.S. Marshals Service, authorities apprehended their suspect a week later in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. He was initially charged with second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon, and endangering the welfare of a child in addition to the first-degree manslaughter charge.

Under the terms of the plea agreement reached with prosecutors, Victor will be sentenced to 23 years in prison and five years of post-release probation. He is currently scheduled to appear in January 2022 before Judge Margaret Clancy in Bronx Supreme Court, where he will be formally sentenced.

“The defendant and the victim, his wife, had been estranged for approximately a month when he mercilessly killed her in front of her two young grandchildren and bystanders in broad daylight,” DA Clark said in a statement. “The victim’s grandchildren not only had to deal with the loss of their grandmother, but also with immense trauma after witnessing such cruel events. He pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in January 2022 to 23 years prison.”

Original Article: https://lawandcrime.com/crime/nyc-pastor-who-ran-over-wife-multiple-times-and-then-hacked-her-to-death-with-machete-in-front-of-grandkids-pleads-guilty/

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