Dylann Roof (R), the 21-year-old man charged with murdering nine worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston last month, is helped to his chair by chief public defender Ashley Pennington during a hearing at the Judicial Center in Charleston
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Dylann Roof's Mother Suffers Heart Attack During Charleston Massacre Trial

Amelia Cowles was admitted to the hospital after viewing chilling crime scene photos and hearing tearful testimonies from survivors of the shooting. 

The mother of the avowed white supremacist who gunned down nine black parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina was admitted to the hospital Wednesday (Dec. 7) during the first day of the Charleston massacre trial.

NBC News reports Amelia Cowles' heart attack was included in documents sent to U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Thursday (Dec. 8) requesting a mistrial over a witness' testimony. Roof's attorney David Bruck called witness Felicia Sanders' testimony so emotional that "spectators and even court personnel — including members of the prosecution and defense — were crying with her."

Sanders recalled the chilling moment she watched her son, 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders, was shot to death by Roof as he pleaded with him to spare their lives. Sanders also lost her aunt Susie Jackson, 87,  in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015 where Roof was welcomed during a bible study session. “I watched my son come into this world and I watched my son leave this world,” Sanders said. In order for her to stay alive, Sanders moved towards a pool of blood, tricking Roof into thinking she was shot. She also held onto her 11-year-old granddaughter so hard, fearing she would suffocate her.

“He just sat there the whole time, evil, evil, evil as can be,” she said about his demeanor before the shooting. "He said he was going to kill himself. And I was counting on that. He is evil. There is no place on Earth for him except the pit of hell.”

Her "hell" comment was the focus of the defense's motion, claiming Sanders gave a suggestion on the sentencing. Denying the motion, Gerkel deemed it "a religious comment" and said "any decision on guilt or a sentence is up to the jury — not the attorneys or witnesses in the case."

Cowels said "I'm sorry" in court several times during the emotional case before collapsing. Her condition is currently unknown.

Photos of the crime scene were also shown as families of the witness wept. Shell casings, cartridge magazines combined with Bibles, purses and blood were seen in the 360 computer images. Throughout the trial, Roof looked towards the defense table.

On Thursday (Dec. 8), Charleston police Sgt. Dan English testified as the surveillance footage showed Roof entering and leaving the church was aired. Lead prosecutor Jay Richardson added survivor Polly Sheppard, who Roof left alive, to the list of witnesses. BuzzFeed News reports Sheppard said Roof found her praying aloud while hiding. After asking her if she was shot, Roof told her “he would leave her alive to tell his story,” Richardson said.

Roof is charged with 33 counts, including hate crimes resulting in death. The jury consists of 13 women and five men, including 12 whites, five African-Americans and one who identifies as “other.”

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French Montana Sued For Sexual Assault, Battery And Emotional Distress

French Montana is being accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman, according to a lawsuit filed in L.A. Superior Court on Thursday (March 26). The accuser claims that she was sexually assaulted at the rapper's home two years ago.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, is suing for assault and battery, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and more. Montana, his Coke Boys Records imprint, and employee, Mansour Bennounare, are named in the suit, which alleges that on or around March 28, 2018, the woman was invited to a recording studio where Montana and Bennouna were “working.” The documents allege that Montana and Bennouna were “drinking and using drugs” in the studio and offered her drinks, before inviting her back to Montana’s home in Hidden Hills, Calif.

The woman allegedly arrived at the home at around 6 a.m. Thirty minutes later, the woman claims that she stepped outside to phone a friend but was “lucid” and “unable to carry a conversation.” The woman went back inside Montana’s kitchen and although she “wanted to leave” she was urged to “take a shot,” the documents assert.

After being given a drink, the woman says that she blacked out and was therefore unable to give consent to “engage in any sexual activity” but remembers “several men” coming in out of the bedroom. She believes that Montana was one of the men.

The accuser says she woke up on a couch in a room “filled with curtains” at around 1 p.m. She was “confused” and “intoxicated” and felt pain in her pelvic area, vagina, and lower back, the suit states. The lawsuit also alleges that Bennouna was laying behind her in a “spooning manner,” groping her, and rubbing his genitals against her back.

The woman began “crying hysterically” because she believed that she had been drugged and raped. She grabbed her things and left the home. According to the suit, the woman went to a local hospital where a rape kit was administered. She also reported the alleged incident to police, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that the defendants earn money from “promoting drinking, taking drugs and having sex with women,” and use their business as a front to “lure” women to their homes where they provide them with drugs and alcohol to have sex, with or without consent.

“Defendants had a longstanding practice of inviting women to their recording sessions, or choosing women at bars, and inviting them back to the Hidden Hills house which is also a hub of EMPLOYER DEFENDANTS business enterprises,” the lawsuit reads. “There Defendants would supply the women with drinks and drugs, with the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with them, without any regard to whether or not they consented, or were able to consent.”

The alleged assault caused the woman to have anxiety, “extreme emotional distress,” flashbacks, depression, and prevented her from continuing to pursue a career in modeling and acting. The suit is asking for a jury trial.

Montana, whose birth name is Karim Kharbouch, hasn’t publicly responded to the allegations.

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Prince’s Siblings Reportedly File Petition To Get Money From His Estate

The heirs to Prince’s fortune want his estate to pay up. According to The Blast, the music legend’s siblings, Norine, Sharon and John, filed legal documents in hopes of green lighting “payment for service and efforts provided to the Estate.”

The trio claims that while “others” have been compensated, they have yet to be paid after putting time and energy into “business matters” related to the estate, which is being run by Comerica Bank.

“As this Court is aware, the Estate has now been on-going for over three years,” the documents reportedly state. “In this time, millions have been paid to the Personal Representatives, their accountants, attorneys, and legal advisors.”

The heirs accused Comerica of making money decisions without notifying them, which the bank has denied. Last year, a Minnesota judge denied the siblings’ request to limit the bank’s power over the estate.

Prince’s brothers and sisters want a judge to force Comerica to compensate them so that they can get out of financial ruin, including paying legal bills.

The Purple One’s estate is worth an estimated $200 million (down from $300 million) since his death in 2016. Prince died without a will but a judge ruled that his estate would be split between his six half-siblings. His brother, Alfred Jackson, who was 1/6 of the estate heirs died in 2019. Last December, Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, sold off a chunk of her percentage of the estate to cover legal bills.

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Here’s How New Orleans Is Being Affected By Coronavirus

New Orleans has twice as many COVID-19 cases per capita than any other county or parish in the country. This time last month, the Big Easy welcomed over a million visitors for Mardi Gras, which likely contributed to the diseases spreading rapidly around the city.

New Orleans registered its first case of COVID-19 on March 9. As of Friday (March 27), the city reported more than 20 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 119. The death tole increased by 19% in one day, according to the Times-Picayune. That said, the number of those who have contracted the disease could vary due to a lack of testing in Louisiana, and around the country. The state reported 441 new cases as of Friday.

Male patients account for 43% of the COVID-19 cases in the state, while women make up 57%. The largest number of cases by age group are adults between the ages of 50-59. Orleans Parish, which is Louisiana’s third most populous parish behind East Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish, reported 57 of the 87 coronavirus-related deaths.

At least 24% percent of New Orleans residents are living below the poverty line, and 1 in 5 households are without a vehicle, further limiting access to testing and treatment, USA Today reports. The poverty stats, compounded with lack of access to proper health care and those with underlying medical conditions, contribute to the spike in cases.

“New Orleans is preparing to mobilize in a way we hope we will never see again in our lifetimes,” New Orleans Homeland Security Director Collin Arnold said, per USA Today. “This disaster will define us for generations.”

The city is running out of hospital beds, and ventilators could be next on the list. Of the more the 773 reported patients hospitalized over COVID-19, 270 of them require ventilators. Louisiana has close to 2,800 ventilators statewide. While the city works to gain access to necessary medical supplies, others are stepping forward to help feed NOLA residents.

Earlier in the week, New Orleans Saints player Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, announced that they are donating $5 million to various charities including Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health, Jimmy Johns, and Waitr, to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana.

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Brittany and I are committing $5,000,000 to the State of Louisiana in 2020. The priority now is helping our communities get through this tough time. After considerable research and conversations with local organizations, we will be mobilizing our partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health Systems, Walk-Ons, Jimmy Johns, Smalls Sliders and Waitr to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana for as long as it takes to children on meal programs, seniors, and families in need. Let’s all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on Mar 26, 2020 at 8:31am PDT

In neighboring Mississippi, there are 570 confirmed COVID-19 cases and eight deaths out of 3,139 tests administered. Mississippi also has more women battling the disease (59%) than men (41%).

According to the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago and other “hot spots” will have a worse week next week than they had this week.

In Milwaukee, the city’s Black community is being hit harder than any other group in the state. All of the eight deaths (five men and three women) in Milwaukee County were Black people, and seven of the eight were Milwaukee residents.

Philadelphia has at least 475 cases of the disease with over 2,200 confirmed cases statewide. On a positive note, more than 21,000 people  have tested negative for coronavirus in Pennsylvania.

With over 42,246 people testing positive for the disease, New York tops the list of coronavirus cases around the country and has been receiving the brunt of nationwide press around the pandemic, while states like Michigan, which falls fifth on the nationwide list, aren't generating the same amount of national headlines. The Midwestern state has been considered an epicenter  for the disease, and cities such as Detroit and Flint, where residents have been without clean water for years, are among the most vulnerable.

As of Thursday (March 28), the U.S. confirmed more cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world. Over 100,000 people tested positive for the disease and while hospitals are still in need of critical supplies and testing kits, there is one small glimmer of hope: the fatality rate in the U.S. remains at less than 10% (1607 confirmed deaths), and over 2,000 people in the country have been reported as recovered from COVID-19.

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