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More charges could be coming in college admissions scandal



The additional charges, which are said to include bribery, could be filed as early as Tuesday, according to the official.

“Nothing has changed,” attorney Stephen Larson said.

“My clients continue to rely on their constitutional right to a trial and will not be bullied into a plea on the threat of additional charges for exactly the same conduct,” attorney Tracy Miner said.

An attorney for Amy Colburn and Gregory Colburn, two parents both charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud as well as money laundering conspiracy, said they won’t be changing their not guilty plea either.

“Adding new charges at this time seems to be vindictive and intended to discourage our clients and others from exercising their constitutional right to a fair trial,” attorney Patric Hooper said.

The possibility of future charges may explain why three parents who initially pleaded not guilty agreed late last week to plead guilty.

Douglas Hodge, Manuel Henriquez and Michelle Janavs have each agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Massachusetts. All three have plea hearings for Monday.

The threat of future charges reflects prosecutors’ carrot-and-stick approach to this case as they use potential charges to try to get defendants to plead guilty.
“The carrot is, ‘Take a quick plea and get your best shot at a lower sentence,'” CNN legal analyst Elie Honig told CNN in April. “And the stick is, ‘We have additional charges that we’ll bring if you don’t plead by that date.'”
Prosecutors initially charged more than 30 parents with conspiracy fraud in March. Those who fought that charge, including actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, were then charged with a count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in a superseding indictment in April.

At least 50 people involved in the case

Federal prosecutors say at least 50 people were involved in a nationwide fraud to get students into prestigious universities, including wealthy parents, Hollywood actresses, coaches and college prep executives. Ten parents have been sentenced, including actress Felicity Huffman.
Lori Loughlin and her husband appear at hearing in college admissions scam
Hodge, the former CEO of the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), is accused of agreeing to pay $200,000 to facilitate his daughter’s admission to the University of Southern California as a soccer recruit and submitted false soccer credentials on her application. He allegedly paid Rick Singer — the alleged mastermind of the scheme — another $325,000 to help his son get admitted to USC as a purported football recruit, prosecutors said.
Henriquez, the former CEO and founder of Hercules Capital, and his wife Elizabeth are accused of participating in the test-cheating aspect of the scheme four separate times for their two daughters. They also are accused of conspiring to bribe Georgetown’s tennis coach to get their daughter into the university as a tennis recruit. Elizabeth Henriquez is still listed as pleading not guilty, according to the website of the US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.
Janavs, a former food executive whose family’s company invented Hot Pockets, is accused of paying to cheat on her daughter’s ACT and of conspiring to bribe USC to get her daughter admitted as a beach volleyball recruit.

CNN’s Josh Girsky and Elizabeth Joseph contributed to this report.



Italy’s white truffle hunters worry about climate change




Truffle hunter, or “Trifulau”, Carlo Marenda holds a 20 grams white truffle he found with his dog Buk during a search through the “Donna di Langa” forest, in the Langhe-Roero and Monferrato landscapes of Piedmont near Alba, on November 10, 2019.

Miguel Medina | AFP | Getty Images

Rising global temperatures are worrying truffle hunters around the Italian town of Alba, where the most prized specimens can fetch twice the price of gold.

This particularly warm October, eight out of 10 white truffles unearthed by Carlo Olivero with his trusty 3-year-old dog Steel were dark, withered and dried out.

“They are clearly signs of the temperatures,” Olivero said, holding one that he kept in his pocket. The rest he consigned to the soil, allowing the spores to spread and hopefully replenish future production.

Alba, located in the northwestern region of Piedmont, has earned the moniker “white truffle capital of the world” for its particularly fragrant variety of truffle, its truffle fair each fall and its annual charity auction, which pushes prices of the tuber magnatum pico up into the stratosphere.

A truffle weighing 1,005 grams (2 pounds, 3.4 ounces) fetched 120,000 euros ($133,000) — more than twice the price of gold — from a Hong Kong buyer at this year’s auction.

The longer-term impact of rising temperatures on the highly prized white truffles is still being studied, but they, like other fungi, grow best in cool, rainy conditions. Climate change has in effect delayed peak production from October into November.

“It has been a few years that we have been worrying about truffle production,” said Antonio Degiacomi, president of Italy’s national center for truffle studies. “We have had over the last three seasons one terrible year, one excellent season and one that is decent.”

To stave off the longer-term climate change impact on the production of the highly prized white truffle, experts have launched initiatives to better preserve the territory where they grow. The goal is to safeguard the symbiosis between the truffle and the host plant by encouraging symbiosis between the truffle hunter and the land owner — whose interests often conflict.

Olivero recalled a maker of the region’s famed Barolo red wine who wanted to cut down two oaks — trees that are perfect hosts for truffles — that were shading his vines.

“I told him, ‘The day you take all the oaks, only you will drink your wine,'” Olivero said. “Because the truffle and the Barolo are two formidable components. It is a system that works on the table, but needs to go together first in nature.”

Unlike the more common black truffle, delicate white truffles cannot so far be cultivated, which makes preservation of their environment critical.

Incentives include a program paying 24 euros ($26) a year to property owners to maintain host trees they might otherwise remove. Truffle associations also strike agreements with absentee landowners to keep their wooded property cleared in a way that promotes truffle growth.

This year’s charity auction white truffle price — 12,000 euros for 100 grams ($13,200 for 3.5 ounces) — compared with a high price at this year’s fair of about 380 euros per 100 grams ($400 for 3.5 ounces). The fair price can increase to as much as 750 euros ($850) per 100 grams in years of scarce production.

After an unusually hot and long summer, this November’s damp, foggy weather has proved perfect for truffle hunting around Alba.

“In these days, the quality is especially high,” said truffle judge Stefano Cometti. “The low temperatures augment the organic characteristics of the truffle and force it to retain the aroma.”

That included a 730-gram (1 pound, 9.75 ounce) white truffle unearthed by Davide Curzietti on Saturday, the largest of the annual truffle fair to date. Judges certified the provenance of the behemoth tuber, which Curzietti sold immediately to a restaurant in Osaka for 3,800 euros ($4,200).

Even after more than four decades on the truffle hunt, Olivero still gets emotional when Steel stops his energetic sniffing of the damp ground.

Steel’s nose is faultless. Through a carpet of wet autumn leaves and muddy earth, the dog picks up the sweet, distinctive aroma of a white truffle and signals his find by rapidly digging on the surface.

“I call it the magic moment, because it means that there is something under there that we were looking for. We still don’t know the dimensions, how big it will be, but the heartbeat speeds up because in that moment, we know there is something,” Olivero said.


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Pence speaks to NASA employees, addresses CA shooting



Pence delivers remarks to NASA employees. NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA.

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Denver Radio Host Fired in Mid-Show After Criticizing Trump




He said that angered the station’s managers, who warned him last week that if he continued to speak on competing shows, his job would be jeopardy.

“I canceled going on, and then I met with them on Thursday,” Mr. Silverman said. “I explained that under my contract, I have a right to go on other media. And they said, well, we don’t want you to do it.”

In addition to dropping Mr. Silverman from the air, KNUS has also apparently removed all of his content from its website, including more than five years’ worth of podcasts.

Elizabeth Skewes, a professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder who teaches media law and ethics, said that while “to some degree, Craig Silverman was doing what he was hired to do, express his opinion,” the station was well within its rights to dismiss him if it no longer wanted to put those opinions on the air. The First Amendment protects free speech only from government censorship, she said, not from private business decisions.

Even so, she said, she saw it as part of a problematic trend.

“We’ve become less tolerant of alternative viewpoints as media has become more polarized,” Professor Skewes said. “The more narrow it gets, the worse off we are as a democracy.”

Others working in broadcasting have seen their careers abruptly deflected over whether they were supportive of Mr. Trump. When Jerry Bader, a conservative radio host in Green Bay, Wis., was fired in 2018 after 18 years at the station, he said it was over his criticism of the president. In October, the Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who had frequently aired reports critical of Mr. Trump, abruptly resigned after publicly clashing with a staunchly pro-Trump host on the network, Tucker Carlson.

And James Bunner, a reporter for KTTC-TV, an NBC affiliate in Rochester, Minn., was fired in October for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat while covering a Trump rally.


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