While You Were Out: July 8, 2019

One day of a full work week down, four more to go, CivMix crew. Here are some headlines you might have missed while attending to other matters…

As a battle over the president’s tax returns heats up in Washington, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the “Trust Act” into law, authorizing state tax authorities to release the documents, provided they are requested by a congressional committee for a “legitimate legislative purpose.”

The bill signing comes after the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal, filed a lawsuit last week in order to obtain Trump’s federal tax returns from 2013 to 2018. However, Neal has indicated that he may not seek Trump’s New York state returns.

“Make no mistake this is aimed directly at the president of the United States,” state GOP Chair Nick Langworthy said during a stop at the Capitol. “There was no clamoring to get other peoples’ records. It’s an attempt to settle political scores.”

Federal prosecutors have charged multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein with sex trafficking of minors and paying victims to recruit other underage girls, accusing Epstein of creating a network that allowed him to sexually abuse dozens of young victims.

This morning, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York announced two counts against Epstein: one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking, according to the indictment.

Investigators seized nude photographs of underage girls from Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse as part of a new investigation into allegations he exploited dozens of minors for sex, prosecutors revealed.

Epstein appeared in court this afternoon and pleaded not guilty. He has been ordered jailed at least until a bail hearing Thursday.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic contender, took in $19.1 million in April, May and June — more than three times what her campaign raised during the first quarter of 2019. That’s about $1 million more than Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders raised, and about $7 million more than California Sen. Kamala Harris’ second-quarter total.

California Rep. Eric Swalwell announced he is dropping out of the 2020 race for president, concluding a short-lived bid for the Democratic nomination that failed to gain any traction.

Attorney General William Barr said that he sees a legal path to adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that blocked its inclusion, at least temporarily.

A bill that would ban PFAS in suppressant foams used to fight fires is heading to Cuomo’s desk. It is meant to address the use of the chemical, which has been found in federal military installations, including Stewart Air National Guard Base in the Hudson Valley.

Troy police are asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects in a June assault. A video of the attack shared by police shows two men attacking another man on the sidewalk outside a restaurant police identify as Biergarten Restaurant.

Chef and hospitality veteran David B. Britton, 59, hasn’t faced the mania of a Saratoga meet for a decade. Two days ago, he accepted a job as executive chef at Siro’s, the venerable track-season restaurant, with the infamous racing and gala season kickoff – the Siro’s Cup – looming Wednesday night.

White supremacist stickers have been plastered around downtown Troy. One said, “They hate you for being white.” Another read, “Multiculturalism kills.” One more declared, “We shall prosper,” below a photo of an Aryan-looking man and woman reminiscent of Nazi-era propaganda.

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden’s office says the offensive signs will be taken down if they’re on city property.

The 29-year-old woman found dead in an Albany bedroom on Friday was strangled and stabbed in the neck, according to court papers. A complaint filed against Paul Barbaritano, 52, provides few other details on the circumstances around Nicole Jennings’ death.

The man convicted of trying to kill his estranged girlfriend and two of her children last year in Schenectady will spend the rest of his life in prison. Judge Kathleen Hogan imposed a total term on the Dushawn Howard of 75 years to life in state custody, a sentence length that means the 48-year-old will never come up for parole.

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas got a plea offer he couldn’t refuse, avoiding a felony conviction, prison time or probation and keeping the prospect of holding public office again in the future. He must vacate his post by Sept. 30 after pleading guilty to a pair of misdemeanors related to his misuse of campaign funds in the 2015 election.

Nonprofit news organization ProPublica announced it will fund a reporter to cover Youngstown, Ohio, after the city’s sole daily newspaper announced it will close.

Breitbart’s former White House correspondent is expected to join the Trump administration. Michelle Moons, the correspondent, is slated to take a job in the office of the National Economic Council, which is run by Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

NYRA will pay tribute to National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and legendary New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera by naming a race in his honor at Saratoga Race Course on Friday, July 12.

In response to reports by The Washington Post and New York Times, the Vermont governor’s office says the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles stopped sharing facial recognition information with federal immigration authorities more than two years ago.

The City of Schenectady welcomed five new police recruits today. They will enter the Zone 5 Law Enforcement Training Academy on Tuesday, July 9 for six months of basic training, followed by 12 weeks of department supervised field training.

According to a report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s 2018 annual “Hot Spots” report, Watertown, Glens Falls, Kingston, Ithaca, and Elmira are among the 20 regions in the nation with the lowest percentage of car thefts. The DMV says New York is among the safest states in the nation to own a car.

Photo credit: Steve Smith.

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