It’s hard enough making the painful decision to take a loved one off of life support, but Shirell Powell is facing the unimaginable reality of having taken a stranger off of it.
The case of mistaken identity led to her thinking it was her brother, who she didn’t know was actually in a New York City jail, NBC News reports. A man named Freddy Clarence Williams, 40, was admitted to St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx on July 15 after a drug overdose, his brain irreversibly damaged.
Per its records, the hospital discovered it had treated a Frederick Williams before and called his sister, Powell—but, unbeknownst to the hospital and Powell, they’d called the family of the wrong Fred Williams. Hospital staff, meanwhile, told Powell that her “brother,” also 40, was brain dead.
“It was a horrible feeling,” she tells the New York Post. Due to all the patient’s medical equipment and his swollen appearance, Powell believed it was her brother (even though her sister had initially been skeptical), and she gave the OK on July 29 to take the man off life support; it took nearly three weeks for the medical examiner to discover the mistake, right as they were getting ready to bury the wrong Fred.
As for her real brother, still in jail, Powell says when she told him what had happened, he said, “You were going to kill me?”
Her lawyer says the hospital, which she’s now suing for unspecified damages for severe emotional harm, won’t give her info on the deceased Fred Williams.
A hospital rep says, “We don’t feel there is any merit to this claim.” Powell notes, “On the one hand, I’m thankful … it wasn’t [my brother]. On the other hand, I killed somebody [who] was a dad or a brother.”
Justin Bieber and Chris Brown. Shareif ZiyaShareif Ziyadat/Getty Imagesdat/Getty Images; Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Radio.com
On his side. Justin Bieber publicly showed his support for Chris Brown, who was recently accused of rape.
Hollywood Sexual Misconduct Scandals The “What Do You Mean?” singer, 24, praised Brown, 29, on social media after the “Loyal” crooner posted a video on Tuesday, January 22, of himself working on some new choreography and captioned it, “We Working,” along with a flexing arm emoji. Bieber took to the comments and wrote, “No one can touch you ur the GOAT,” which is an acronym for “greatest of all time.”
Courtesy Justin Bieber/Instagram
Nick Cannon also backed Brown by commenting, “Stay Focused King!”
Us Weekly confirmed on Monday, January 21, that the “With You” singer was detained in Paris after a women filed a rape complaint against him. The accuser claimed that she met Brown and his friends at a club on January 15 and later went to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where the alleged rape took place.
Celebrity Mugshots The Associated PressOpens a New Window. reported that the musician faced charges of aggravated rape and drug infractions. He was eventually released, but French authorities told TMZOpens a New Window. that “the investigations, which are not closed at this stage, will continue under the authority of the Paris prosecutor’s office.”
Brown later denied the allegations in a since-deleted Instagram post. “I WANNA MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR. THIS IS FALSE AND A WHOLE LOT OF CAP [sic],” he wrote on Tuesday. “NNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEERRRRRR!!!!!! FOR MY DAUGHTER AND MY FAMILY THIS IS SO DISPRESPECTFUL [sic] AND IS AGAINST MY CHARACTER AND MORALS!!!!!!
The Grammy winner got in trouble with the law multiple times in 2018 as well. In May, Us Weekly obtained court documents that showed that Brown was sued for hosting a party at his Los Angeles home where a woman claimed she was repeatedly raped by two of his friends. Brown’s lawyer denied the allegations at the time.
Chris Brown and Rihanna's Ups and Downs Brown was previously found guilty of assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. Almost a decade later, his ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran claimed he threatened to kill her and she was granted a five-year restraining order against him.
Paul Manafort faces sealed Feb. 4 hearing on Mueller probe allegations he lied after pleading guilty
© Andrew Harnik/AP In a Nov. 2, 2017, photo, Paul Manafort leaves the federal courthouse in Washington.
A federal judge asked for a hearing behind closed doors before she decides whether Paul Manafort lied repeatedly to prosecutors in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, setting a hearing for Feb. 4, just days before the former Trump campaign chairman faces sentencing in Virginia.
If U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington were to decide he lied and broke his plea agreement, it could spell as much as 10 years more in prison for Manafort when his sentencing finally is set. Manafort faces a likely seven- to 10-year sentence in his related Virginia federal case, according to several legal experts.
Jackson’s decision to hold the hearing came at an hour-long hearing Friday in which prosecutors refused to rule out bringing further charges against Manafort over their accusations he lied, while saying they had no current intention or plans to do so.
“I’m not in any way saying it’s our current intention, it’s a plan, it will happen, but want to preserve that ability,” prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said.
Manafort could “hypothetically” be charged with lying to the FBI, with perjury in front of the grand jury, or with any of the charges prosecutors dropped in exchange for his plea and cooperation, Weissmann said.
The Friday hearing left for another day the merits of the government’s allegation Manafort “intentionally provided false information” to investigators since pleading guilty in federal court in September.
Manafort, 69, who entered court in Washington in a black suit with a red tie, leaning heavily on a cane, did not visibly react to Jackson during the hearing, which Jackson called to “nail down” what the “consequences are or will be, that will flow from the special counsel’s determination” that Manafort breached his plea deal.
Jackson told a courtroom packed with news reporters that she knew the decision to hold the February hearing behind closed doors would be unpopular but said prosecutors needed to discuss sensitive matters regarding ongoing investigations and uncharged individuals, and that she did not see how the parties could address such topics in open court without making mistakes.
Jackson said the court would “get as much of the transcript released as possible, as soon as possible.”
“I have not made any decisions yet,” Jackson said, saying she found aspects of each side’s arguments compelling, while finding fault with others.
Some of prosecutors’ allegations are “confusing or lack context,” she said, while at times the defense rebuttals were “conclusory and short on specifics.”
She said Manafort’s arguments that criminal defendants often misstate the facts in debriefings and correct them later on “have some force.” While “investigators shouldn’t have to pull teeth” to get the truth, the judge said, “not all the issues rise to the level of actual false statements.” But, Jackson added, there are other instances where Manafort “affirmatively advanced a version of events” that prosecutors say was false. In those cases, she said, “he may have lied, pure and simple."
Manafort pleaded guilty Sept. 14, on the eve of trial jury selection in Washington, to conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice, admitting to years of financial crimes related to his undisclosed lobbying work for a pro-Russian political party and politician in Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.
He also was convicted by a jury in August in a separate federal case in Virginia for bank and tax-fraud crimes.
Suggestions of the collapse of Manafort’s cooperation deal have revealed that prosecutors knew far more about his activity since his October 2017 indictment than he realized.
Since late November, when Mueller’s office accused Manafort of lying, the special counsel’s office has filed 800 pages of heavily redacted exhibits to provide evidence for their claims that, among other things, Manafort gave contradictory statements last August in a separate Justice Department criminal investigation outside of Washington; falsely denied having ongoing contact with Trump administration officials since they took office in January 2017; and sought to deceive investigators about his interactions with a longtime Russian aide and co-defendant, Konstantin Kilimnik, including by sharing campaign polling data with him in 2016.
Manafort’s attorneys deny he lied, saying he made honest errors and tried to correct them. “Failure of memory is not akin to a false statement,” attorneys Kevin M. Downing, Thomas E. Zehnle and Richard W. Westling wrote in filings to the court.
Jackson of the District of Columbia, had directed both sides to be ready to argue whether Manafort lied as alleged in a 31-page FBI affidavit. Under Manafort’s plea deal, prosecutors have only to show that their determination he breached the deal was made in “good faith,” with any effect on sentencing to be determined later by a judge.
Manafort’s team has argued that “a fair reading” of much of the government’s evidence about the alleged lies “merely demonstrates a lack of consistency in Mr. Manafort’s recollection of certain facts and events,” many of which occurred years ago or during a high-pressure presidential campaign from which he was fired, they noted.
The consequences of breaching the deal would cost Manafort sentencing credits for acceptance of responsibility.
Manafort has been jailed in Alexandria since June, after the witness tampering charge against him and Kilimnik was filed.
The FBI has assessed that Kilimnik, a Russian employee of Manafort’s consulting business, has links to Russian intelligence, prosecutors said in court papers.
In 2017, Kilimnik denied to The Washington Post having connections to Russian intelligence. He is believed to be in Moscow.
Manafort had asked not to have to be present in court Friday, but Jackson declined and said she wanted him there because of the significance of the issues being heard and to be certain he and his defense team were on the same page about their positions.
She agreed to Manafort’s request to appear in a business suit, not a prison jumpsuit.
Manafort’s defense team inadvertently revealed some of the contested statements about his cooperation agreement in a recent filing when a document formatting error made it possible to view material that was supposed be redacted and blacked out.
The document showed that Mueller accused Manafort of lying about his talks with Kilimnik about a Ukrainian peace plan during the 2016 campaign; a meeting between the men while they were in Madrid; and Kilimnik’s alleged role in the witness tampering effort to which Manafort pleaded guilty.
In addition, prosecutors alleged that Manafort lied when he denied having contact with Trump officials after they joined the administration, citing among other details files in Manafort’s computer that showed last March that he was in communication with a senior administration official and another authorized person via text message to speak with a White House official May 26.
Manafort said prosecutors misread text messages and notes, and that his statements were consistent.
In a final allegation, prosecutors have said Manafort lied about the terms of a $125,000 payment toward an apparent debt he incurred to a company he employed in 2017.
Manafort said he “explained it to the best of his recollection,” and made no attempt to conceal the payment or its source on his income tax return, reporting it as income in “the most tax disadvantageous manner in which it could have been handle
© Getty Migrant children illegally held in unlicensed facilities, attorney says
The Trump administration has been illegally holding unaccompanied migrant children in unlicensed facilities in violation of a federal agreement designed to protect them, attorneys say.
Peter Schey, one of the lead attorneys representing detained children, told The Hill he sent the Justice Department a letter outlining a series of violations, including about ten or 12 facilities that failed to produce licenses when inspected.
Among them was the largest facility for unaccompanied children in the country, located in Homestead, Florida.
The letter was first reported by CBS News, and confirmed to The Hill by Schey, who described its contents.
Schey said he is preparing to file a motion in the coming days, alleging numerous violations of the Flores agreement from the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.
"I don't think they're ignorant of this, they know they're violating federal law," Schey said of the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees the facilities for detained migrant children.
The Flores agreement has governed the detention of migrant children since 1997. The agreement mandates that children must be held in the "least restrictive" facility that meets state regulations.
The government must also provide reasonable accommodations for private visitation and contact with families.
Detaining children for more than 20 days is illegal, but the current "influx" situation means only that the children must be released to a sponsor as "expeditiously as possible."
Most administrations interpreted that to mean children were released within 10 days, Schey said, but that hasn't been the case under the Trump administration.
Migrant children's time in government custody has grown longer, in part due to the new policies that make sponsors afraid to come forward because of immigration enforcement.
Schey said the administration has interfered in the children's release by engaging in "extreme vetting" of potential sponsors by running their fingerprints through FBI databases, and then turning those sponsors over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement if they are undocumented.
"People are seriously discouraged to come forward and get their children out of custody," Schey said. "They used the process to apprehend parents. We don't want children held as bait to force their parents to come get arrested and deported."
An HHS spokesperson said they agency is reviewing the letter, but would not comment "on an ongoing legal matter."
HHS operates a network of just over 100 facilities for unaccompanied migrant children across the country, and each one is supposed to be licensed by the state where it is located. According to Schey, unlicensed facilities are not able to access key databases, including state child abuse and neglect background check system.
The Flores agreement allows Schey's team to inspect any ORR facility across the country with as little as one weeks notice.
Under current law, migrant children who illegally cross into the U.S. must be sent to a government shelter where they stay until they can be united with relatives or other sponsors while awaiting immigration court hearings.
The administration is working on new regulations that it says would terminate and replace the Flores agreement.
The proposal would allow immigration officials to keep children and their parents detained together for the entire length of their court proceedings, which could take months.
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