Law enforcement officials are seeking answers to explain why a Connecticut woman on Thursday tried to drive through barricades at the White House and then led police on a car chase around Capitol Hill, during which the House and Senate briefly suspended business.
Officials identified the driver of the black, two-door Infiniti as Miriam Carey of Stamford, Conn. Officers shot and killed Ms. Carey a block northeast of the Capitol building, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. One Secret Service member and a Capitol Police officer suffered wounds that were described as not life threatening during the chase. When the incident ended, Carey’s 1-year-old daughter was found uninjured in the car and whisked from the scene by police.
The attempted breach of security involving two of the most heavily guarded sites in Washington came just 2-1/2 weeks after a gunman killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard. Thursday’s events appeared not to have any link to terrorism. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine told reporters the chase was an “isolated, singular matter.” There was no sign Carey was armed, police said, according to The Washington Post.
In an interview with ABC News, the mother of the Connecticut woman, Idella Carey, said her daughter had suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter and had been hospitalized. She had “no history of violence,” the elder Carey said. ABC said that the younger Carey, who was in her 30s, worked as a dental hygienist and quoted her former employer, Dr. Steven Oken, as saying she was “always happy.”
Investigators from the Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Connecticut State Police searched Carey’s apartment in Stamford. The search, involving more than 100 officials, began with police sending a robot into the apartment in case a bomb or other hazardous materials were present, the Post reported. The paper quoted Stamford Police Chief Jonathan Fontneau as saying the residence was a “typical” two-bedroom apartment with “nothing out of the ordinary.”
CNN quoted law enforcement sources on Friday saying that investigators did find two medications in Carey's apartment. One is used to treat schizophrenia and symptoms of bipolar disorder; the other is an antidepressant.
On Friday morning, the apartment complex was declared safe, and residents who had been evacuated were allowed to return.
Law enforcement officials face a tough challenge in preventing incidents like this since, as Chief Fontneau said, until Thursday Carey was “nothing out of the ordinary that would draw attention to herself.”
The car chase on the streets outside the Capitol, with speeds up to 80 miles an hour, occurred as the US government has been shut down in a dispute over funding and the fate of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, Capitol Police officers who responded to the brief crisis are not currently being paid.
Once legislative business resumed after the car chase, the House gave the Capitol Police a standing ovation, with House minority whip Steny Hoyer (D) of Maryland saying he joined with the Republican majority in expressing gratitude for their work.
• Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Silk Road, a notorious website for drug trafficking and other criminal activities, has been shut down after its alleged operator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced. Federal prosecutors have charged Mr. Ulbricht with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking, money laundering, and the solicitation of a murder-for-hire.
How did this black market work, and how did it escape law enforcement for a time? Here are the basics about this so-called eBay of illegal drugs.
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What was Silk Road?
Silk Road was an online marketplace that allowed buyers and sellers to conduct all their transactions anonymously. In addition to the cost of goods or services purchased, the site charged a small fee, akin to a shipping cost, to deliver the purchases. While the site’s interface looked benign, the vast majority of transactions involved narcotics, and hit men, firearms, and pornography could also be purchased, according to authorities.
The site was started around June 18, 2011, according to authorities.
Who ran the site?
The site’s most recent operator, according to the FBI, was Mr. Ulbricht, who worked under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts,” or “DPR” for short. (Dread Pirate Roberts is a character in the film "The Princess Bride.")
Ulbricht, a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, moved to San Francisco in the fall of 2012 and was in transition from a career in physics to work as an investment adviser and entrepreneur, according to his LinkedIn page.
Ulbricht, who is in his late 20s, assumed control of Silk Road in early 2012, according to the criminal complaint.
So what exactly did DPR do on Silk Road?
In an interview with Forbes before Silk Road was shut down, DPR said that the site was a collaborative effort, but that he was in charge of all the “important Silk Road assets,” which included access to private forums and funds.
Did DPR make a profit from the site?
Silk Road generated sales of roughly $1.2 billion, according to the complaint, and with Ulbricht’s arrest, authorities seized $3.6 million. It is unclear how much of Silk Road’s revenue DPR might have used.
How did users pay for items?
With Bitcoins: Users had to acquire this electronic currency before they could purchase anything on Silk Road. Transactions on Silk Road accounted for about 5 percent of all exchange transactions carried out with Bitcoins, according to Nicolas Christin, a cybersecurity researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
The Bitcoin currency is not tied to any government or bank, but rather is controlled through computer software, which means that the value of Bitcoins can fluctuate violently. After Silk Road was closed, the Bitcoin value dropped from more than $140 to $129 in one day.
How was the site accessed?
Silk Road was accessible only via a special computer network known as Tor.
To use Tor, users download the Tor browser much as they would Chrome or Firefox. The Tor browser can make anonymous a user's Internet activity by masking his or her Internet protocol (IP) address, which contains information about a computer's location.
Tor also has a "hidden services" feature that lets users publish a website anonymously by hiding the location of the website's servers. The URL for these Tor-based websites ends in ".onion." (The Tor browser's symbol is an onion.)
Silk Road's most recent URL was silkroadvb5piz3r.onion and could be found in online forums, according to the complaint.
To log into Silk Road, users had to give a username, password, and the country where they were located. After logging in, users were then able to browse the site as they would any other online store. The vast majority of the goods for sale were illegal drugs, according to reports.
How does Tor make online activity anonymous?
Any Web browsing, including e-mail correspondence that is conducted through Tor, is wrapped in layers of encryption, making the information virtually impossible for an outside party to discern. Encryption works by jumbling data into a series of numbers that unscramble only when one has the correct "key" to "unlock" or reorder them.
If Tor really works, what led the FBI to Ulbricht?
Ulbricht left a trail of comments on online forums that seemed suspicious to the FBI agent investigating Silk Road. According to court documents, Ulbricht did not properly disguise his identity in these forums, ultimately allowing the FBI to identify Ulbricht.
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But two films are moving ahead about the early favorite among potential Democratic presidential candidates, which means Mrs. Clinton could very well be on the silver screen before the 2016 presidential election.
Citizens United, a conservative advocacy group, plans to release a film about her tenure as secretary of State, and in Hollywood, a screenplay of her young days as a lawyer on the Watergate case is slowly moving forward, according to reports by The Hollywood Reporter.
On the eve of the 2008 presidential primaries, Citizens United released "Hillary: The Movie," an unflattering portrayal of the then-presidential candidate. The Federal Election Commission placed restrictions on the film, which Citizens United wanted pay-per-view cable TV to air, on the grounds that it violated the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act. Citizens United then sued the FEC.
The US Supreme Court ended up deciding the case in favor of Citizens United in a landmark decision that significantly broadened corporations' ability to spend corporate money during election season.
“This is why I went to the Supreme Court,” Mr. Bossie told The Hollywood Reporter. “Now that I won that case, I can do whatever I want with this new movie. I can advertise it on radio and TV, show it on TV whenever I want to – all the things they stopped us from doing with 'Hillary: The Movie.' ”
The second Clinton film of interest, the biographical screenplay entitled "Rodham," is to be based on a script by Young Il Kim and is set to be directed by James Ponsoldt, according to The New York Times. Mr. Kim’s script was floated around Hollywood last year, making it into the industry’s “Black List” of best unproduced screenplays. The latest version of the script – which is said to eliminate some of the racier scenes between young Bill and Hillary – is expected soon, the Times reported.
While “Rodham” lacks both cast and financier, the film could fare better than the recently canceled productions about Clinton: The Hollywood film, unaffiliated with a news outlet, would not face the same kinds of conflicts that stymied production on the two television projects.
Up until Monday, CNN was planning a documentary about Clinton, and NBC was working on a fictional miniseries about the Clinton family, with Diane Lane cast as Mrs. Clinton. But after the networks announced those projects in July, the Republican National Committee voted to ban CNN and NBC from hosting or sponsoring Republican primary debates, if either network proceeded with their Clinton programs.
At NBC, tensions within the network helped bring about the project’s demise, according to Associated Press reports. There was concern that the network’s news division would receive backlash about the planned miniseries. NBC’s chief foreign-affairs correspondent said the show was a “really bad idea given the timing,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
As for CNN's Clinton project, Charles Ferguson, who was supposed to direct the documentary, expressed his frustrations in a blog entry for The Huffington Post Monday. A shroud of secrecy, he said, surrounds the Clinton family, and he placed blame on the Clintons, rather than the RNC, for the demise of his documentary.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill, asked for a comment on Mr. Ferguson’s decision, said, “Lights, camera, no reaction,” according to AP.
NBC made the announcement that the miniseries would not air several hours after CNN’s announcement.
Google is celebrating Yosemite’s 123rd anniversary – on everyone else’s behalf.
The government shutdown comes at an ironic moment for Yosemite: today is the park’s birthday, and it won’t be open for its own party.
“Yosemite” entered the American lexicon in 1851 when Lafayette Bunnell, a doctor with a California state battalion hunting Native Americans in the US west, named a swath of Californian land “Yosemite.” That, he wrongly believed, was the name of the local Native American tribe.
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In fact, the tribe’s name was the Ahwahneechees, and the land was called Ahwahnee. “Yosemite” was actually how the tribe referred to the white intruders, as “killers.”
In the following decades, tourists poured into the sublime valley now called Yosemite and various parties tussled over who owned the region and what it meant to own it. The high-octane debate came to a close in 1890, when President Benjamin Harrison signed into law a bill that designated some 1,500 square miles of California as Yosemite National Park.
The US now has 401 national parks encompassing some 84 million acres.
The closure of the parks will unfold in two stages, according to the National Park Service Contingency Plan. In Phase 1, to take place over the first day and a half, all "day visitors" will be instructed to immediately leave the park. Overnight visitors (campers, RVers, and hikers) will be told to leave the park as part of Phase 2 and all commercial services will cease. The total process will take four days.
At the end of Phase 2, park operations will be kept at “minimum levels.”
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The Republican National Committee voted unanimously in August to ban CNN and NBC from hosting or sponsoring Republican primary debates if either network proceeded with plans to air programs about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the early favorite among potential Democratic candidates for president in 2016.
CNN was planning a documentary about Mrs. Clinton, and NBC had a fictional miniseries about the Clintons in the works.
On Monday CNN Films canceled its plans after the documentary film's Academy-Award-winning director, Charles Ferguson, said he would no longer continue with the project, CNN Worldwide spokeswoman Allison Gollust told Politico.
In a tweet from the RNC’s account, Republicans claimed CNN’s cancellation a victory of “grassroots efforts.”
But, writes Mr. Ferguson in a blog entry for the Huffington Post, it was the virtual omerta around the Clinton family rather than threats of an RNC boycott that ultimately led to the film’s cancellation.
“When I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film,” Ferguson explains with a palpable tone of frustration. “Not Democrats, not Republicans – and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons, or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration.”
According to Ferguson’s article, he signed a contract with CNN to make the documentary late last year and was then contacted by Nick Merrill, Hillary Clinton’s press secretary a day later. The Clinton camp continued to dig for information about Ferguson’s documentary, the director writes, pushing Ferguson to “clear the air” about rumors of the film.
In late July 2013, CNN formally announced it was producing the documentary, several days after NBC said the network was planning a four-hour miniseries based on the life of Hillary Clinton. (The miniseries will feature Diane Lane as Hillary Clinton. Neither Bill nor Chelsea has been cast yet, according to reports.)
Both networks drew immediate ire from the RNC. The chairman, Reince Priebus, called both projects thinly veiled attempts to put a “thumb on the scale” for the 2016 election, and issued his ultimatum to CNN and NBC: drop the Clinton-shows, or the RNC would not allow the two networks to host, or sponsor Republican primary debates. Mr. Priebus’s statements, and the RNC’s subsequent endorsement of his threat, did not deter either network.
From across the aisle, David Brock, a Clinton-supporter and chief of the left-leaning Media Matters for America, also voiced opposition to Ferguson’s planned documentary in an open letter.
“My concern was that there would be potentially an anti-Clinton animus to this film and what [Ferguson] wrote in The Huffington Post today shows that I was right,” Mr. Brock told the New York Times on Monday.
Mr. Ferguson contributed more than $30,000 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008, which helped finance Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, according to the Times.
The film’s cancelation is “a victory for the Clintons, and for the money machines that both political parties have become,” wrote Ferguson, who said in his Huffington Post blog that he had planned in the documentary to explore how the Clintons had built up the personal wealth and attracted powerful donors to the Clinton Foundation.
This is not the first time a documentary about Hillary Clinton has come under scrutiny. In 2008, the conservative advocacy group, Citizens United, made “Hillary: The Movie,” featuring a cast of right-wing commentators that wade through a myriad of alleged Clinton scandals.
The Federal Election Commission placed restrictions on the film’s advertisements during the 2008 election season on the grounds that it violated the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act. The FEC said the film was effectively a 90-minute campaign advertisement against Clinton.
Citizens United then went on to sue the FEC in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The Supreme Court’s subsequent landmark decision allows unrestricted federal political campaign funding.
NBC, meanwhile, has not yet announced the date that its series would air; the project has not yet been ordered into production.
Wendy Davis, the Texas Democrat who gained overnight celebrity in June when she – shod in pink sneakers – filibustered an abortion bill in the Texas Legislature for 13 hours, reportedly will run for governor of the heavily Republican state in 2014.
According to the Associated Press, two Democrats with knowledge of her decision but who requested anonymity said the Fort Worth-area state senator had made her decision. On Twitter Ms. Davis said she would make a big announcement on Oct. 3.
Though the abortion bill eventually passed in a special legislative session ordered by Republican Gov. Rick Perry, the filibuster put Davis in the national spotlight and raised the hopes of Texas Democrats, who haven’t occupied the governor’s mansion since incumbent Ann Richards lost to George W. Bush in 1994.
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Governor Perry, the longest serving Texas governor, announced in July that he wouldn't seek reelection. The former – and possibly future – Republican presidential candidate succeeded Mr. Bush in 2000.
While Ms. Davis would be the most high-profile gubernatorial candidate the Texas Democrats have fielded in a long time, she has a long, hard road ahead: Texas Republicans have won every statewide office from the mid-90s to the present, and they have near 2-to-1 majorities in both the Texas House and Senate.
The uphill climb for Texas Democrats has made drumming up financial support, or even enough manpower to run a competitive campaign, very difficult, says Cal Jillison, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
In 2010, Perry easily defeated Democrat Bill White, with 55.1 percent of the vote to Mr. White’s 42.4 percent.
Davis will likely face off against GOP favorite and conservative stalwart Attorney General Gregg Abbott, who has already raised more than $20 million for his campaign.
While Davis has been moving around the country since her filibuster in a fundraising effort, her best efforts might not add up. Democrats outside the state are unlikely to invest in Texas elections, Professor Jillison says.
Though Jillison estimates that Davis will raise $20 million – this could become pocket change in comparison to what Republicans will likely offer Abbot's campaign. If it becomes apparent that Davis is a real threat to the GOP nominee, a host of Republican donors will be on stand-by to write more checks to bolster Abbott's campaign, he says.
And in a state where there are no limits to campaign contributions, the race for the governor’s seat could very well hinge on who has enough funding to get their message out.
While Davis's pro-choice campaign won her celebrity nationally, among more conservative voters in Texas, it won her notoriety.
"The Republicans will certainly try and tie that abortion filibuster around her neck," says Jillison, adding that it is essential that Davis becomes seen as an advocate for other issues that will be more palatable to the Texas electorate.
Despite the challenges Davis faces, an aggressive campaign against Abbott could have huge national implications, Jillison argues.
While demographic shifts are expected to push the state from the red to blue columns politically in the next 20 years, he says, the Democratic Party could be persuaded to invest in Texas elections sooner if Davis runs a truly competitive campaign.
Second in population only to California, Texas has 38 electoral votes.
“If Texas ever became competitive, let alone turned blue, Republicans would have no path to the White House,” he says.
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The two candidates emerging from Boston’s preliminary mayoral election on Tuesday now face the task of bolstering their support before the final election Nov. 5.
State Rep. Martin Walsh came in first Tuesday with 18.5 percent of the vote, while City Councilor John Connolly came in a close second with 17.2 percent. The two finalists beat out 10 other candidates.
The key now is for the candidates to differentiate themselves and win over the voters they didn’t get the first time around, says Erin O’Brien, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. (Professor O’Brien has done policy work for Mr. Walsh, though was not a member of his political team.)
The November election will be the first "open" one for Boston mayor in two decades. Boston does not impose term limits on mayors, and incumbents are rarely defeated.
“This election is a new start button. We haven’t done this in 20 years, and the city has changed dramatically in terms of demography,” O’Brien says.
Mayor Thomas Menino shook up the city’s political scene in March when he announced that he would not seek a sixth term as mayor.
“What makes this election so big and so important is that after two decades of Mayor Thomas Menino, his trusted leadership, we are stepping into a new era,” Walsh told supporters late Tuesday night, according to an Associated Press report. “We recognize the next 20 years will be different from the last – new problems, new opportunities, and new challenges.”
Walsh’s campaign gained a large amount of momentum from the labor community. The candidate comes from a family of union members, and Walsh served as a labor official before he was elected to the Massachusetts House in 1997. During his campaign, Walsh has also mentioned his battle with cancer as a young child and his struggles with alcoholism as a young adult.
By Sept. 15, almost $2 million had been spent on behalf of Walsh – a figure that exceeded what any other candidate had spent, according to The Boston Globe. The $2 million included $1.3 million from Walsh’s campaign, which received $385,000 in direct contributions from labor unions and political committees. Firefighters unions alone contributed $46,500, and outside groups that are associated with organized labor spent an additional $700,000.
In contrast to Walsh’s blue-collar background is that of his opponent, Mr. Connolly, who is the son of former Massachusetts Secretary of State Michael Connolly. In his speech Tuesday night, the younger Connolly acknowledged that his privileged background was not reflective of most people's experiences growing up in Boston.
"I received the best this city had to offer, but I was always mindful that so many in our generation did not," he said. The candidate said he grew up in a very different Boston that was "deeply and bitterly divided along class and race lines," a reference to the aftermath of court-ordered school desegregation in the 1970s.
Connolly built his campaign on promises to fix Boston’s schools, a cause that helped him to mobilize frustrated parents of schoolchildren.
He was notably the only candidate to launch his campaign before Mr. Menino announced he would not seek reelection, which gave him an early advantage in fundraising. By the end of the preliminary election, his campaign ranked third in spending.
Connolly's campaign used almost $1.2 million, and an education reform group spent $64,000 more on his behalf. Connolly has asked that education reform group, as well as all other outside groups, not to spend money on his behalf, though he still accepts their endorsements.
The pool of 12 mayoral hopefuls in Tuesday’s election reflected an increasingly diverse fabric of the city: Five of the candidates were African-American, and one was Latino. Boston has never had a nonwhite mayor.
However, there was some disappointment that the final two candidates are not representative of the city’s demographic shifts.
“There wasn’t one minority [candidate] that folks coalesced around,” says O’Brien of the University of Massachusetts. The third-place finisher, Charlotte Golar Richie, is an African-American woman, but she announced her candidacy at a later date and had a hard time playing catch-up.
Walsh and Connolly are both of Irish-American descent, and the election of either will return the city to a tradition of Irish-American mayors dating back to the early 20th century. Menino was Boston’s first non-Irish mayor to be elected since 1930.
Ms. Golar Richie, the third-place finisher and the only woman in the race, received 13.8 percent of the vote. Suffolk County district attorney Daniel Conley came in fourth, with 11.3 percent.
Four candidates – City Councilor Felix Arroyo, political newcomer John Barros, City Councilor Robert Consalvo, and City Councilor Michael Ross – were tightly bunched, with between 7.2 and 8.8 percent of the vote, according to The Boston Globe.
The only Republican mayoral candidate, former schoolteacher David Wyatt, received approximately 334 votes. Boston has not had a Republican mayor since 1926.
Turnout in the election was low: Only 113,222 ballots were cast, representing 31 percent of Boston’s registered voters, according to the Globe.
One key to success in the Nov. 5 election may be persuading voters to go to the polls.
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His ticket to the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history is worth up to $399.4 million, depending on whether he collects it as a lump sum or a 30-year annuity. Much like other lottery players in 44 participating states and the District of Columbia, this winner bought 10 $2 tickets from a gas station near Columbia, S.C. The gas station will receive a $50,000 bonus for having made the sale, and the state will receive $15 million in tax revenue.
As news outlets waited for the winner to come forward, NBC published advice for big lottery winners: Lawyer up, take the lump sum, take a deep breath – and stay anonymous if you can.
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But South Carolina is one of only six states, according to Huffington Post, which allow winners to remain anonymous: Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, and Ohio are the other five.
Some states, such as Colorado, Connecticut, and Vermont, allow lottery winners to keep their names private if they claim winnings through a trust or a limited liability company.
A January Associated Press story describes why other states' lotteries have resisted similar policies:
Lotteries object, arguing that publicizing the winners' names drives sales and that having their names released ensures that people know there isn't something fishy afoot, like a game rigged so a lottery insider wins. When players see that an actual person won, "it has a much greater impact than when they might read that the lottery paid a big prize to an anonymous player," said Andi Brancato, director of public relations for the Michigan state lottery.
Lawmakers in both Michigan and New Jersey have unsuccessfully proposed laws to protect the privacy of winners who, they argue, are "prone to falling victim to scams, shady businesses, greedy distant family members and violent criminals looking to shake them down," the AP story said.
New York state Sen. George Maziarz introduced legislation earlier this year to give lottery winners anonymity. Similarly, Senator Maziarz argued that "public disclosure of a lottery winner's identifying information ... can make the winner a target of criminal activity. This can include burglary, kidnapping, harassment, fraudulent lawsuits, etc." That bill is before the New York Senate Racing, Gaming & Wagering Committee, and a companion bill has been introduced in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.
"When you become the rich person, who other people look to, it can actually erode the social bond that you have with people because it changes your relationship from friendship into almost like a transaction."
CNN lists several painful and even deadly stories about the fallout from lottery winnings. Earlier this year, a Chicago man allegedly died of cyanide poisoning the day after collecting $425,000, and no arrests have been made. Jack Whittaker, a West Virginia man, suffered a string of widely publicized personal calamities after publicly winning a $314 million Powerball jackpot in 2002.
The National Endowment for Financial Education cautions those who receive a financial windfall – whether from lottery winnings, divorce settlements, cashed-out stock options, or family inheritances – to plan for their psychological needs as well as their financial strategies. The Denver-based nonprofit estimates that as many as 70 percent of people who land sudden windfalls lose that money within several years.
Most participating states use their cut of the Powerball lottery to fund public education, and some argue that these jackpots must be subject to open-records law, just like any other public funds. "If we don't let people know people are winning, then that raises questions," Katy Smith, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Lottery, told USA Today.
Powerball is a nationwide game sold by participating state lotteries and organized by the nonprofit Multi-State Lottery Association.
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The lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in court without their client Monday and asked for more time to prepare a case against the potential use of the death penalty.
Defense attorney Judy Clarke said the prosecution had not presented the defense with all of the evidence it plans to use in the case, making it difficult for the defense to create a solid argument against the death penalty.
Assistant US Attorney William Weinreb countered, saying “six months is a reasonable time” to make a case.
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Prosecutors plan to make a recommendation about whether or not to seek the death penalty to the US attorney general by Oct. 31. After the prosecution files its recommendation, Attorney General Eric Holder will have 90 days to make a final decision.
The death penalty is not allowed in Massachusetts, but because the trial is taking place in federal court, the death penalty is an option.
US District Judge George O’Toole said he will review requests that some documents in the case be filed under seal, which would make them inaccessible to the public. Initial charges against Tsarnaev were filed under seal, and other documents, such as medical records could be kept under seal if Judge O'Toole allows it.
Mr. Tsarnaev is accused of exploding a homemade pressure cooker bomb with his brother, Tamerlan, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three, and injuring over 260 people. He is also charged with killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, Sean Collier, when he and his brother were trying to get the officer’s gun. Tamerlan was later killed amid a gun battle with police.
Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen, was eventually found, seriously wounded, in a boat in which he scrawled a note accusing the US government of "killing our innocent civilians," according to prosecutors. Authorities also say he wrote: "We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all," according to a report by the AP.
Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to all charges during his arraignment on July 10.
The government expects to call 80 to 100 witnesses, according to the arraignment transcript.
Three of Tsarnaev’s friends appeared in court on Sept. 13, and pleaded not guilty to charges of impeding the federal investigation into the bombings.
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Thirteen people, including a 3-year-old boy, were wounded during a late-night attack in a south side Chicago park on Thursday in what police say was a gang-related shooting.
Two gunmen opened fire on a group gathered on a basketball court in the Back of Yards neighborhood about 10:15 p.m., according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Three victims are in critical condition, including the 3-year-old, Deonta Howard, according to an AP report.
The boy’s uncle, Julian Harris, said dreadlocked gunmen in a gray sedan fired at him on the corner of Wood and 51st before shooting up the nearby Cornell Square Park.
“They hit the light pole next to me, but I ducked down and ran into the house,” Mr. Harris said to the Sun Times. "They’ve been coming ‘round here looking for people to shoot every night – just gang-banging stuff. It’s what they do.”
Police have not discussed the details of the shooting, though they have said the violence was gang-related, according to the Sun Times.
A police department spokesman said no arrests have been made in the shooting, and victims were being interviewed to try to determine the circumstances of the attack.
About 60 police officers were on the scene at the peak of activity.
This attack is part of a recent spike in gun violence in Chicago originating from hundreds of gang factions established in block-by-block territories on the south and west sides of the city. An outpouring of gun-related violence over Labor Day weekend resulted in eight deaths and more than 20 injuries.
Chicago police have lately been flooding crime "hot spots" with extra patrols and manpower, in a bid to curb the rampant street violence. The number of homicides in Chicago topped 500 last year, making 2012 the deadliest year in the city since 2008. A recent FBI crime report shows that the Windy City's murder rate is disproportionately high compared with many other cities. New York City, where the population is three times that of Chicago, recorded 419 murders in 2012.
Francis John, who has lived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood since 1983, told the Sun Times she was surprised by the Thursday shootings. The neighborhood has gone from good, to bad, to better during her time living there, she said.
Ms. John was upstairs in her apartment near the park when she heard gunfire. “It was a lot of boom, boom, boom.” John then went outside to see what had happened. “A lot of youngsters were running scared,” she said.
“People are watching the community,” John said, referencing new police watch efforts at Chicago crime hot spots. “I thought [the shootings] were over. But despite this incident, it’s not as bad as it used to be.”
By 12:30 a.m. Friday, police investigators had finished combing the crime scene. About two hours after the shooting, Chicago firefighters began cleaning blood from the basketball court at the park.