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Man accused of using dog to attack police horses, court documents say

Authorities have accused a Texas man of deliberately releasing his dog to attack Austin police horses, according to an affidavit filed Friday.

Mounted officers in Austin were patrolling Nov. 26 when they noticed a man with a dog that the officers said looked like a “pit bull’ type of dog,” according to the court document. Officers said they saw the man, identified in the affidavit as 23-year-old Makel Rashad Farmer, “patting the underside of the dog as to get the dog agitated (become too aggressive) in the direction of the police mounted horses,” the affidavit said.

The officers told Farmer to get his dog away from the horses but Farmer followed the police and came closer to a horse, “causing a reaction,” the document said. Police noticed that the dog was barking and pulling at its leash as if to get at the horses, according to the court document.

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As police were leaving Sixth Street, an officer felt his horse “act and move as if to strike out with both hind legs,” and he heard another officer telling him to “watch out for the dog,” the affidavit said. The officer looked down and saw Farmer’s dog “aggressively trying to bite the hind legs” of the horse, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Other police officers on foot grabbed the dog until Farmer came to take it from them, the affidavit said. Police were going to give Farmer a citation for the unrestrained dog when the dog freed itself from Farmer. The dog lunged at the horses before being physically restrained, according to the affidavit.

Police were trying to determine whether the dog attack was deliberate, so they reviewed surveillance footage from HALO cameras posted in that area, the affidavit said. The video showed that Farmer followed the mounted police unit with his dog on his shoulder. There, he lowered his dog onto the street, the document said.

The video showed Farmer “holding the dog by the hind legs as if to prepare the dog for an attack and purposely release the dog in the direction of the mounted unit,” the affidavit said. The dog is then seen directly running toward the mounted unit horses until it approaches one horse’s hind leg, according to the affidavit. Farmer is seen walking toward the scene in a casual manner, the document said.

Farmer is being charged with interference with a police service animal, a state jail felony, the Austin American-Statesman reported. He was not in Travis County Jail Friday, records show, but his bail has been set at $4,000.

Brock Turner appeals sexual assault conviction, seeks new trial

Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer who ignited a firestorm of controversy after receiving what many thought was a light sentence for sexual assault, is appealing his conviction.

The appeal, which was filed Friday, claims that Turner was deprived of due process and alleges prosecutorial misconduct as reasons he should receive a new trial, The Mercury News reported.

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Turner was convicted in March 2016 of multiple charges for the January 2015 sexual assault of an unconscious, intoxicated woman outside the Kappa Alpha fraternity on the Stanford University campus. Turner was sentenced in June 2016 to six months incarceration in the Santa Clara County jail, where he served three months before being released. He also received three years of probation and is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. The sentence was widely criticized for being too light, sparking nationwide protests.

Legal experts consider the request for a new trial as risky, citing the intense political scrutiny surrounding the case. If Turner was convicted a second time, there would be calls for him to serve state prison time, The Mercury News reported.

Border patrol confiscates 227 pounds of prohibited Mexican bologna

Border patrol agents in El Paso discovered a meaty surprise under the floorboards of a car Wednesday.

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Officers confiscated 23 rolls of Mexican bologna weighing a total of 227 pounds, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release. The rolls of Chimex Salchicha are prohibited because it contains pork and could potentially introduce foreign animal diseases to the U.S. pork industry, according to the news release.

The driver of the car initially denied having any meat or meat products, then admitting that she had the bologna product in her vehicle. The bologna was removed by agricultural specialists and destroyed. The driver was assessed a $1,000 civil penalty.

Video: Sex offender attacked in courtroom by another inmate

A convicted sex offender was attacked inside a New Hampshire courtroom Thursday as he sat down after being sentenced for sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl.

Christopher M. Elwell’s attacker was not a parent or family member of the girl, however. His attacker was a fellow inmate.

Video shot by WMUR News 9 shows Elwell, 29, sitting down on a bench at the back of the Dover courtroom following his sentencing hearing, during which he was sentenced to 7½ to 15 years in prison. As soon as Elwell sits, a shackled inmate next to him stands and starts head-butting Elwell.

The other inmate, Josiah Davies, was awaiting arraignment and a probation violation hearing, WMUR said

The video shows a deputy grab Davies and shove him away from Elwell, who appears to shake off the attack. 

Assistant Strafford County Attorney Emily Conant told the news station that the two men did not appear to know one another. She said details of Elwell’s case apparently upset Davies.

“They described him showing them videos of sexual acts similar to the ones that (the victim) had done,” Conant said

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Elwell initially denied the allegations against him, which stemmed from an alleged sexual assault that took place in June at a Dover apartment where Elwell sometimes stayed. Investigators said the victim was one of three young children who were at the home when the assault occurred. 

NH1, which obtained a copy of the arrest affidavit in the case, reported that Elwell’s own 9-year-old daughter was among the children and witnessed the assault. 

The New Hampshire Union Leader reported that the children were participating in a sleepover that night. The girl’s mother called police the following morning when her daughter told her what Elwell had done to her during the sleepover. 

The defendant admitted that the accusations were true in court Thursday, WMUR reportedAccording to the Union Leader, Elwell admitted to police the day he was arrested that he watched pornography on his cellphone while in a bedroom with the three children.

He claimed that the 4-year-old wanted to imitate what she saw on the video, the newspaper reported.

He also pleaded guilty Thursday to failing to register as a sex offender prior to the assault. His sex offender status was the result of a similar conviction in 2008.

According to New Hampshire Department of Public Safety records, Elwell was convicted in September 2008 of two counts of felonious sexual assault of a 14-year-old. As of March 2016, he was registered as living at a home in Winchester. 

At the time of his June arrest, he was living in Somersworth, the Union Leader said.

Conant told WMUR that Elwell was living intermittently at the home where the assault took place, but had not changed his registration to reflect the move. 

In court, Conant said that the victim’s mother would have liked to see Elwell receive a longer sentence. His punishment was part of a plea deal designed to save the girl from having to recall the assault in court. 

When Elwell is released from prison, he will not be allowed unsupervised contact with minors, WMUR reported

Police: Father thwarts attempted abduction of 2-year-old son

A Texas man found himself in a struggle over his 2-year-old son Tuesday evening after a stranger tried to grab the boy and run off with him, police said

Haltom City police officers were called just before 6:30 p.m. to the scene of the attempted abduction, where the father, identified by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as Hector Alvarez, met with them. Alvarez said he and his son were walking trash to the curb in front of their home when a man grabbed his son’s arm. 

“The father also grabbed onto his son and started to struggle with the male suspect,” police officials said in a news release. “The father yelled at neighbors to call the police, and the suspect let go of the boy and fled the scene on foot between the houses into a nearby creek.”

Alvarez told the Star-Telegram Thursday that he never saw the man coming as he and his son made several trips to the curb with trash bags.

“I had grabbed (my son’s) hand and we were going back inside the house,” Alvarez said. “Then this young guy comes out of nowhere and grabbed his arm.”

The stranger never said a word as he struggled to gain control of the toddler, Alvarez said. The man only let go and ran when Alvarez began screaming at a neighbor for help.

“I picked (my son) up and ran inside of the house and put him down,” Alvarez told the newspaper. “I ran back outside to see if I could find him, but he was gone.”

Police officers were also unable to find the man, despite setting up a perimeter around the area and searching with a K-9 unit, the department’s news release said.

The man was described as a Hispanic man with a thin build and standing between 5 feet, 5 inches and 5 feet, 7 inches in height. He was wearing a black hat, a white shirt and shorts.

He also had short facial hair, possibly a goatee.

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Residents in Alvarez’s neighborhood reported seeing a red, early 2000s model Dodge pickup truck driving slowly through the area earlier in the day Tuesday, but investigators are unsure if the vehicle was connected to the attempted abduction, the news release said.

Alvarez told the Star-Telegram that his son never realized the danger he was in, because he never cried or struggled to get away from the man. 

“He must have thought (the man) was someone from the neighborhood,” Alvarez said. “He doesn’t understand what happened.”

The father expressed worry that the man could try to grab someone else’s child.

“If he does this one time, he might do it again,” Alvarez said. “I hope another family doesn’t have to go through what we went through.”

Guilty: Michael Flynn admits in court to lying about Russian communication

Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor to President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty Friday morning to lying to FBI investigators probing the Trump presidential campaign’s ties to Russia. 

Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to federal investigators. His plea was entered before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington, D.C.

Flynn entered and left the federal courthouse without speaking to reporters waiting outside.

In a statement he issued in conjunction with his plea agreement, Flynn said he is “working to set things right” by accepting responsibility for his actions. He admitted he is cooperating fully with special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

“After over 33 years of military service to our country, including nearly five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of ‘treason’ and other outrageous acts,” Flynn said in his statement. “Such false accusations are contrary to everything I have ever done and stood for. 

“But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

Flynn is the fourth person -- and the first White House aide -- charged in Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russian connections. Charges were filed last month against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his business associate Rick Gates and former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. 

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to making false statements to federal investigators.

Court documents released Friday accused Flynn of making false statements to FBI investigators in January, just days after Trump was sworn into office. Flynn resigned Feb. 13 amid the allegations that he lied about communications with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

Reports from the Associated Press and ABC News indicate that part of Flynn’s plea deal includes his promise to testify that Trump’s transition team directed him to make contact with Russian officials.

A White House lawyer said in a statement that Flynn’s guilty plea does not implicate anyone other than the retired general.

“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year,” attorney Ty Cobb said. “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”

Cobb described Flynn as a “former Obama administration official” who was “at the White House for 25 days” during Trump’s administration. 

The indictment made public Friday stated that Flynn lied about conversations he had with Kislyak in December, during the Trump administration’s transition and before he officially became Trump’s national security advisor. Investigators state that Flynn lied about asking Kislyak on Dec. 22 to “delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution.”

Read the indictment against Michael Flynn

Flynn also lied about his request to Kislyak on Dec. 29 that the ambassador “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day,” the indictment read. 

“Flynn did not recall the Russian ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request,” the court document said

Flynn is also under fire for a 2015 speaking engagement in Russia. He was paid $45,000 for the event, but it was not clear if he received the required permission from U.S. officials or whether he reported being paid for the speech, as mandated by law. 

Flynn resigned after reports surfaced indicating that he lied to then-Vice President Elect Mike Pence about his communications with Russian officials. His 24-day tenure as national security advisor was the shortest in the office’s history.

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Lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee said in April that Flynn failed to register as a lobbyist while working on Turkey’s behalf. Flynn's consulting firm accepted $530,000 for work with a firm that is associated with Turkey's government, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that Flynn’s lawyer filed paperwork with the Justice Department in February disclosing that he had done lobbying work that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey” between August and November 2016. 

The New York Times reported in August that investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller asked the White House for documents related to Flynn. They also questioned witnesses about whether he was secretly paid by the Turkish government, according to the Times.

Former FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress over the summer that he felt the president tried to pressure him into dropping the investigation into Flynn.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said, according to a memo written by Comey, the New York Times reported. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Trump denied that he asked Comey to drop the investigation.

Debbie Lord and Theresa Seiger contributed to this report.

Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI in Russia probe: Live updates

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty Friday to "willfully and knowingly" lying to the FBI in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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>> More on Robert Mueller’s investigation

Flynn lied to investigators in January about conversations he had in December 2016 with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, according to court documents released Friday.

Read the document released Friday:

Missouri couple accused of putting infant in microwave

An eastern Missouri couple faces child abuse charges for allegedly putting their infant son into a microwave, in addition to other abuses, authorities said.

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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, citing a report from the Park Hills Daily Journal, said Derick Boyce-Slezak and Mikala Boyce-Slezak, both 22 and from Park Hills, were charged Tuesday in circuit court in St. Francois County with felony abuse or neglect of a child.

The injuries were discovered when the infant, a boy who was younger than 4 months, was taken to a hospital in April for a rash on his face that turned out to be second-degree facial burns and head wounds, according to court documents.

A state social worker said at a hearing Monday that the mother blamed the head wounds on the father for dropping the baby while imitating a TV commercial.

The social worker, a member of the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services, said Mikala Boyce-Slezak believes the burn occurred when her husband put the baby in a microwave and briefly turned it on.

At the hospital, the parents claimed the burns were caused by a cleaning agent,

Both parents are being held in the St. Francois County Jail. Bail for each has been set at $500,000.

Lawyer: Man tries to pay ticket with pennies, is choked by court officers

A Michigan man is suing court officers who were caught on video choking him after he was turned away for trying to pay a parking ticket with pennies, his attorney said.

Anthony Sevy went to the 44th District Court in Royal Oak in February to pay a $10 parking ticket, attorney Jonathan Marko told Fox 2 in Detroit. When he was told that a $1.75 surcharge would be charged to his credit card, he became upset and left.

Sevy returned to the courthouse with rolls of pennies to pay the $10 fine, and that’s when the trouble began, Marko said.

“He wasn’t happy about (the surcharge) so, in symbolic protest, he brought back penny rolls to pay for his ticket,” Marko told the news station. “The clerk wasn’t too happy about that, (and) they refused to allow him to pay with penny rolls.”

Sevy again became upset and exchanged words with court officers. Marko said his client was asked to leave. 

“As he was leaving the courthouse with his back to the officer, the court officer began to choke him out, grabbing him, brought him to the ground,” Marko said. “Mr. Sevy passed out and defecated (on) himself.”

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The entire exchange was caught on surveillance video, which Marko shared with Fox 2. In the footage, Sevy can be seen walking toward the courthouse door with a court officer right behind him. As he reaches the door, the officer appears to grab him and take him down to the ground as a second officer comes to assist him in subduing Sevy.

Sevy was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and assaulting or obstructing a police officer, Fox 2 reported. He later pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace, and the assault/obstruction charge was dismissed.

Marko said the video shows that his client was the victim in the situation. 

“I don’t think anyone paying in penny rolls, whether it’s a preferred thing to do for a court clerk, warrants this type of this assaultive behavior and violation of constitutional rights,” Marko told the news station

Good Samaritan shot 5 times trying to stop gas station robbery

A 32-year-old man is recovering after being shot when he said he tried to help a man he saw being robbed at a gas station in Atlanta.

>> Watch the news report here

Atlanta police said a man pulled into the Texaco gas station in the 2000 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive early Wednesday.

The man, who family members only identified by his nickname “Rambo,” was inside at the counter when he said he saw a white four-door sedan pull up, at which point three men jumped out and started to rob a man who was in the parking lot.

Rambo tried to help the 55-year-old victim and ended up getting in a shootout with the robbers, police said.

They said more than 20 bullets were fired in all. The good Samaritan was shot approximately five times, police said.

"That man was trying to be a good citizen, trying to help the other citizen that was being robbed," Cpt. Brian Schiffbauer said.

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The victim was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery Wednesday afternoon. Doctors expect him to recover.

“Someone tried to take my son away from me,” the victim’s father said.

“All these other young fellas been getting their life taken away and God spared him,” the victim’s mother said.

Family members said Rambo is the father of five young girls. They said he has a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone, so when they learned he was trying to protect someone else when he was shot, they were not surprised.

Police released surveillance photos that show the suspected gunman.

Police said the robbers got into the car and left.

They are not sure if any of the robbers were shot. Police are looking for at least two robbers.

Police said the robbery victim also left the area, unharmed.

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