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Wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein arrested for sex trafficking, sources say

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Financier Jeffrey Epstein, a registered sex offender, was arrested on Saturday for alleged sex trafficking of minor girls in Florida and New York, multiple sources tell ABC News.

Epstein’s arrest was first reported by The Daily Beast.

Sources tell ABC News that Epstein was taken into custody Saturday at Teterboro Airport in Bergen County, New Jersey, in an undercover operation.

A team of law enforcement officers from the FBI and the New York Police Department arrested Epstein, who was returning to the United States from France, according to sources. Authorities also raided Epstein’s New York City home Saturday night and into early Sunday.

The precise charges Epstein will face are unclear, but the sources tell ABC News that they are likely to include conspiracy and sex trafficking of minor girls in New York and Florida. At least some of the charges, sources tell ABC News, involve allegations dating back more than a decade.

The indictment against Epstein remains under seal until a hearing in federal court in Manhattan scheduled for Monday, the sources say.

A spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan declined to comment.

Martin Weinberg, an attorney for Epstein, declined to comment when reached by email on Sunday.

Epstein was first investigated beginning in 2005 for alleged sex crimes against minor girls by both local and federal authorities in Florida. The core allegations revolved around an alleged scheme to recruit underage girls to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion for massages that, in many cases, led to sexual contact, according to court records and law enforcement documents.

Federal authorities ultimately identified more than three dozen girls who had been alleged victims of Epstein, but instead of pursuing a prosecution, entered into a once-secret non-prosecution agreement with Epstein in 2007 that ended the federal investigation and spared him a potentially lengthy prison sentence.

The deal with Epstein was negotiated and approved by Alexander Acosta, then the United States attorney in Miami, who now serves in President Donald Trump’s cabinet as the secretary of labor.

Attorney Stan Pottinger, of Edwards Pottinger LLC, said that his law partner, Brad Edwards, who represents several alleged victims of Epstein, learned of the arrest this weekend when one of Edwards’ clients called to say that the FBI had informed her of the developments.

“We have not seen the indictment nor do we know the basis for the arrest,” Pottinger told ABC News late Saturday. “We expect to know more next week after we understand there will be an arraignment.”

As a condition of the deal with federal authorities, Epstein ultimately pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting and procuring a person under age 18 for prostitution, but served just 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a private wing of a county jail. He was also granted liberal work-release privileges that allowed him to spend up to 16 hours a day at his office.

In 2008, two of Epstein’s alleged victims filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Justice, alleging that the deal with Epstein had been reached in violation of the Crimes Victims’ Rights Act, which requires that the government confer with victims and keep them informed of developments in their cases.

Courtney Wild, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, identified as Jane Doe #1 in the long-running lawsuit against the Justice Department, said she was “overwhelmed” by reports of the arrest. Wild has been interviewed by ABC News recently, and has agreed to have her name used publicly.

“Finally!” she said of the arrest. “Knowing he’s off the streets and so many girls who would be in danger are now safe makes me so happy.”

Another one of the Epstein’s alleged victims, Michelle Licata, said it’s “about time someone started picking up on what he has been doing.”

Licata, who also consented to having her name used, accused Epstein of sexually abusing her when she was 16 years old during a massage at his home in 2005.

“I’m so relieved to know that he’s behind bars,” Licata, who spoke to authorities during the initial police investigation, told ABC News. “That’s exactly where he needs to be.”

Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that the government’s deal with Epstein did, in fact, violate the rights of Epstein’s victims. The court is now considering the possible remedies for the violation of the law.

“If today’s report is true, it only proves that the Epstein should have been charged by federal prosecutors twelve years ago in Florida,” Paul Cassell, co-counsel along with Edwards for victims Jane Doe 1 and 2 in the case challenging the DOJ over the non-prosecution agreement with Epstein, said in a statement. “With his money, Epstein was able to buy more than a decade of delay in facing justice – but fortunately he wasn’t able to postpone justice forever.”

“While New York prosecutors are apparently seeking to hold Epstein accountable, the Jane Does’ fight will continue to force federal prosecutors in Florida to do the same thing,” Cassell added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Garth Brooks may be coming soon to a "Dive Bar" near you

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ABC Radio Stadiums aren’t enough for Garth Brooks.  In addition to his ongoing tour of sports venues, this summer, he’ll also launch a seven-city Dive Bar Tour. It kicks off Monday, July 15 in at an unknown dive bar in Chicago, with the exact location to be announced Monday afternoon via country radio.

Country radio will also be the only way you can get tickets to the shows. Garth will also look to country radio to reveal the remaining six dates on the tour, though he says he’d love to play St. Louis and Layla’s in Nashville.

The superstar made the announcement during a special Sunday edition of Inside Studio G on Facebook, which is also National Dive Bar Day. It’s all a tie-in with Garth’s new hit duet with Blake Shelton, which is also called “Dive Bar.”  Garth went on to congratulate Blake on his latest number-one with “God’s Country,” which ascends to the top of the chart this week.

You’ll be able to stream or download Garth and Blake’s collaboration via Amazon Music on Prime Day, which is also July 15, the first day of the Dive Bar Tour.

Garth also let his fans know he’ll be recording live audio and video on Friday, July 19 when Blake joins him for his stadium stop in Boise, Idaho.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

Kentucky River littered with dead fish in wake of Jim Beam warehouse fire

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Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — The Kentucky River was littered with dead fish on Sunday in the wake of a massive fire at a bourbon warehouse.

Officials with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet shared images on its Facebook page to illustrate how the fire at the Jim Beam warehouse near Louisville had devastated wildlife.

Nearly 45,000 barrels of alcohol were destroyed in the fire, which required firefighters from four neighboring counties to assist in putting it out. Firefighters held back from dousing the blaze with too much water — anticipating that bourbon-tainted runoff might contaminate nearby bodies of water.

Even still, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said the fire left a 23-mile-long alcohol plume in the Kentucky River. Beam Suntory, Jim Beam’s parent company, said it sent environmental cleanup crews and consultants to the area after the blaze.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources said it was conducting wildlife assessments in an effort to determine a “fish kill count.” Officials warned residents to beware of “dead and dying fish.”

“We continue to see dead and dying fish. People using the Kentucky River in the area of the plume will likely see and smell dead fish,” Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said in a statement. “We expect the plume to dissipate quickly at it enters the much, much larger body of water but there could be some impact to aquatic life immediately where the two rivers meet.”

The plume is expected to reach the Ohio River sometime very early Monday morning, according to the statement.

Authorities aren’t sure of what may have caused the blaze, but a previously-released statement from Beam Suntory referenced early reports of a lightning strike.

There were no injuries reported.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US wins World Cup over Netherlands on Megan Rapinoe penalty kick, Rose Lavelle goal

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iStock/Pixfly(PARIS) — The United States won the 2019 Women’s World Cup in a 2-0 finish over the Netherlands, thanks to a penalty kick in the 61st minute, scored by captain Megan Rapinoe, and a breakaway goal minutes later by Rose Lavelle.

The Americans defended their title as world champions, having won their third World Cup in 2015, and faced high expectations after taking plenty of criticism — from even their own president — for their confidence.

This is the U.S. women’s fourth World Cup title.

The final was the first match this tournament that the U.S. did not score within the first 15 minutes of play, despite largely maintaining possession of the ball against the Netherlands. The penalty kick by Rapinoe was her sixth goal of the tournament.

“We know that everybody knows that they can compete with us and we can compete with them,” midfielder Lavelle told ABC News on Friday.

The Netherlands secured their spot in the final in a Wednesday match against Sweden. That match went on into extra time, with the first — and only — goal not scored until the 99th minute, by midfielder Jackie Groenen.

On the American side, Lavelle, along with Rapinoe, returned to play Sunday after suffering minor injuries. Rapinoe sat out the semifinal game against England on Tuesday with “just a little minor strain,” while Lavelle had a hamstring injury.

Both, however, said they were ready to play in the final match.

“I mean, it would take a lot for me to not be on the field,” Rapinoe told ABC News Friday.

The U.S. team headed into the match having won each of their last three by scores of 2-1. Rapinoe scored all of those goals except for the last two in the game she didn’t play; those were scored by her replacement, Christen Press, and co-captain Alex Morgan.

Morgan and Rapinoe have likely had a lot to bond over lately, on top of the general World Cup experience. Both faced criticism for the amusing poses they struck after scoring in the last two games.

Both also celebrated birthdays last week — Morgan turned 30 and Rapinoe turned 34.

The criticism over their poses goes to a theme of this World Cup for the Americans. Since their first game, when they beat Thailand 13-0, they have been called everything from “boastful” to “distasteful” for celebrating and being confident.

“Megan should WIN first before she TALKS!” President Donald Trump tweeted in late June after a video was released in which Rapinoe said she wouldn’t go to the White House.

Once they do get back to the States after the tournament, they have a tentative agreement to enter mediation with the U.S. Soccer Federation over a gender discrimination lawsuit they filed this spring. They are calling for equal pay and treatment to the men’s team, which did not qualify for the last men’s World Cup.

Viewership has been a factor thrown around in the gender discrimination lawsuit, and viewership for this World Cup final has some controversial competition. After the Women’s World Cup final date was set, it was announced that the CONCACAF Gold Cup and Copa América — men’s tournaments — will also have their finals on the same day.

CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani told The New York Times it was merely a “clerical error.” Rapinoe called it “ridiculous and disappointing,” according to CBS News.

All told, the American athletes’ battles extend far beyond the pitch, but for 95 minutes on Sunday, what happened on the field was all that mattered.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US airman charged for allegedly helping Ohio woman kill husband

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Clermont Sherrif’s Office(TATE TOWNSHIP, Ohio) — A U.S. airman was arrested and charged over the weekend for allegedly helping an Ohio woman kill her husband, according to police.

Tech Sgt. Michael Clark, 33, was charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated murder on Saturday in the death of 42-year-old Jason Hamrick, who was found dead in a ditch outside of his home last week, according to police.

Hamrick’s wife, Angelina Hamrick, 32, was also arrested on Saturday and charged with one count of aggravated murder, according to the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office.

Jason Hamrick was found dead in a ditch on the couple’s property in Tate Township, Ohio, on June 30. The sheriff’s office did not offer details on how the man may have died, but they said Clark, of Abilene, Texas, was arrested “for his involvement in the homicide.”

The suspects were taken into police custody without incident on Saturday morning. It’s unclear how authorities connected them to the murder, but the sheriff’s office said the U.S. Air Force and the local police department assisted in the investigation.

A spokesperson for the Dyess Air Force Base in Taylor County, Texas, confirmed that is was cooperating with the probe.

“We are fully aware that TSgt Clark was arrested for conspiracy to commit aggravated murder,” a spokesperson told ABC affiliate KTXS in a statement. “It is currently under investigation by Clermont County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio. They are very serious allegations and go against everything we stand for as United States Air Force airmen.”

Clark and Angelina Hamrick are both scheduled for arraignment on Monday. They were being held at the Clermont County Jail as of Sunday evening.

The sheriff’s office said anyone “with information regarding this incident or any suspicious activity” near the couple’s home between Friday, June 28, and Sunday, June 30th, should contact police immediately.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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