Feed aggregator

Boston Marathon underway under tight security

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:39am

The 120th Boston Marathon is underway, three years after the double bombings near the finish line left three dead and at least 264 injured.

Leading off this year's race were the mobility impaired runners, which included bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet. A professional ballroom dancer, Haslet lost a leg in the bombing three years ago. She is one of 21 survivors competing in this year's race. It's her first time running the race since the bombing.

In a special moment last year, Haslet's two brothers ran the race, and she joined them at the finish line. On Friday, she threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park before the Red Sox played the Toronto Blue Jays.

Haslet isn't the only survivor to get the honor at Fenway over the weekend. Patrick Downes, who lost his left leg in the 2013 bombings, threw out the first pitch to Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz on Sunday. Additionally, Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs in the bombings, is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch today.

Downes and Haslet both are running to raise money for people with physical disabilities.

In the elite runners' division, the women's and men's champions from last year are back in Caroline Rotich of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia. Both are title contenders. However, there's no clear favorite for either the men's or women's races. It could come down to a final sprint on the homestretch on Boylston Street.

Because it's an Olympic year, the best American marathon runners are focusing on training for Rio in August rather than this race. The U.S. Olympic marathon trials were in February in Los Angeles. Many of the top Americans are in Boston, although you won't see them hitting the pavement. That includes Meb Keflezighi, who was the first American to win the Boston Marathon in 31 years when he did so in 2014, and Shalane Flanagan, a Massachusetts native who has finished twice in the top 10 at the Boston Marathon. Both were at Fenway Park for the ceremonial first pitch on Saturday.

In the wheelchair division, Tatyana McFadden typically dominates this race, winning in 2013, 2014 and 2015. For the men, Marcel Hug of Switzerland is the defending champion.

Around 30,000 people are registered for the race. The 26.2-mile course starts in Hopkinton and passes through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton and Brookline before reaching the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston.

This year, it is estimated that up to a million spectators may line the streets to watch the marathon.

Because of the 2013 bombings, as well as previous terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris in the last six months, security was tight Monday.

For the third consecutive year, a number of government agencies and universities offered comprehensive training for public safety personnel supporting the Boston Marathon. They included the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Massachusetts State Police (MSP), Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS), Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), Boston Police Department, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Bomb Squad Commanders Advisory Board, New Mexico Tech, Texas A&M Engineering (TEEX), and Louisiana State University

More than 500 police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics attended these training courses leading up to the race, and over 1,800 individuals have been trained over the past two years.

7.8-magnitude earthquake hits Ecuador

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:37am

Search efforts continue after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Ecuador Saturday night, leaving rubble in the streets. Hundreds are reported dead and more than 2,500 injured.

Lawsuit: Carnival's Cuba cruise discriminates

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:35am

When Carnival Corp. announced plans for a cruise ship from its Fathom line to sail from Miami to Havana in May, Francisco Marty jumped at the opportunity to surprise his kids with a trip back to their native land.

But Marty, who's cruised so many times that he's a Platinum VIP in the company's rewards program, was shocked when a representative told him he couldn't go on the inaugural trip because of where he was born: Cuba.

Now, as travelers get their bags ready for the first cruise to Cuba in more than 50 years, Marty is part of a new class-action lawsuit claiming that Carnival is discriminating against Cuban-Americans looking to travel to their homeland.

The lawsuit, filed by Marty and fellow traveler Amparo Sanchez, alleges that the company is violating federal civil rights laws and discriminating against Cubans by denying them tickets.

'A Cuba decision'

A spokesperson for Carnival responded to the lawsuit in a statement, writing, "This is not a decision by our Fathom brand, but rather a Cuba decision."

The statement cites a Cold War-era Cuban law that does not allow Cuban-born individuals to enter the country by ships, only via plane.

Carnival said the company requested a change in the regulation and has been working with the Cuban government on the issue for months.

But for Marty, that isn't enough.

Attorney Robert Rodriguez said his client has health issues that keep him from flying to the island.

Marty took part in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and had been hoping to return to the beach he landed on to take "before" and "after" photos for an exhibit at a Miami museum, Rodriguez said.

Then, he was told he wouldn't be allowed on board.

"They said, 'Sorry, you can't go because you're Cuban,'" Rodriguez said. "That's just not the American way. You were given permission to sail to Cuba, not break the laws of the U.S."

Rodriguez said he plans to file an emergency motion early Monday, aiming for an immediate hearing, hoping that a judge will hear the case within the next week.

"I hope that Carnival cooperates, in terms of getting this litigated before the first cruise," Rodriguez said.

The weeklong cruise is set to sail to Havana on May 1, also making stops in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. Tickets start at $1,800 per person, excluding other costs, such as Cuban visas.

Do similar cases set a precedent?

Rodriguez said he's confident the suit will succeed. One reason: the U.S. government has weighed in on similar situations in the past.

Miami-based civil rights attorney John de Leon says there are at least two similar cases in recent history.

According to de Leon, Kuwait Airways had a policy banning Israeli citizens from traveling between JFK and London's Heathrow airport.

"The Department of Transportation came out very strongly. ... They said they would not allow discrimination for anybody who is leaving an American port," said de Leon.

The airline eventually suspended the flight altogether.

In a similar case, Norwegian Cruise Line canceled all port calls into Tunisia after the Tunisian government refused to allow entry to a group of Israeli citizens.

"The cruise ship had to balance its commercial interest versus its interest not to discriminate," said de Leon, who is Cuban-American.

"If they do the right thing, they are going to say, 'We are not going to discriminate against the Cubans in Miami, who have been loyal customers for years and generations.'"

Kerry: 'Carnival needs to not discriminate'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry weighed in on the controversy last week during a visit to Miami-Dade College, telling the Miami Herald: "Carnival needs to not discriminate."

"The United States government will never support, never condone discrimination. And the Cuban government should not have the right to enforce on us a policy of discrimination against people who have the right to travel," Kerry told CNN en Español.

"We should not be in a situation where the Cuban government is forcing its discrimination policy on us. So we call on the government of Cuba to change that policy, and to recognize that if they want full relations and a normal relationship with the United States, they have to live by international laws, not exclusively by Cuban laws," he said.

A spokesman for the State Department later clarified Kerry's remarks, explaining that Kerry "in no way meant to convey that Carnival is supporting policies that are discriminating against Cuban-American travelers."

Trump: If I win, I might oust RNC chairman

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:34am

If Donald Trump clinches the 1,237 delegates required to win the Republican nomination, he said he's not sure he'll keep Reince Priebus as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

"I don't know. I haven't made the determination," the Republican front-runner told The Washington Post in an interview posted Sunday.

The comments come as Trump spent the last few days attacking the Republican Party's nominating rules -- calling the process "rigged" against him -- which has caused top members to fight before their meeting in Florida later this week.

Priebus defended the rules on Sunday, dismissing Trump's comments as "rhetoric" and "hyperbole."

"Since I know what the truth is, I don't really worry about it because I know what is right and I know what is wrong," he told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union."

Priebus said the delegate rules are up to each state, and there's nothing the RNC can do to change them at this point of the election.

"Everyone knows what the rules are," he said. "Everyone knows that the RNC can't change the rules between now and the convention."

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen welcome baby

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:34am

Welcome to the world, Luna Simone Stephens!

Singer John Legend and his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, announced over the weekend that their daughter had arrived. Teigen posted a picture of the baby's weight (6 lbs 11 ounces) on Instagram, along with the caption: "She's here! Luna Simone Stephens, we are so in love with you! And sleepy. Very sleepy."

Proud papa Legend tweeted that Luna was born on April 14 and Teigen tweeted jokingly "that to everyone asking, john is healing perfectly."

The couple, who married in 2013, had been open about their fertility struggles. In 2015, Teigen discussed it on her now defunct talk show with Tyra Banks, "FABLife."

"I would say, honestly, John and I were having trouble," she said on the show. "We would have had kids five, six years ago if it had happened, but my gosh, it's been a process."

Blues recall F Rattie

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:33am

The St. Louis Blues recalled forward Ty Rattie from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League on Monday.

Rattie, 23, has played in 62 games for the Wolves this season, ranking third on the club with 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists). The 6-foot, 189-pounder has made 13 appearances with the Blues, tallying four goals and two assists.

The Calgary, Alberta, native was originally drafted by the Blues in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2011 NHL draft.

Suspected drone strikes plane at Heathrow

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:30am

British police and government aviation investigators have launched inquiries after a passenger jet was struck by what was believed to be a drone as it approached a London airport Sunday.

British Airways Flight BA727 from Geneva, Switzerland, was coming in to land at London's Heathrow Airport when the pilot said he thought a drone had struck the front of the aircraft, London Metropolitan Police said.

The Airbus A320 landed safely, with none of the 132 passengers and five crew members on board injured, British Airways spokesman Michael Johnson said.

The aircraft was then thoroughly examined by engineers who declared it safe to undertake its next flight, he said.

Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch announced Monday that it was also looking into the incident.

It's unclear whose drone may have hit the plane, and no arrests have been made over the incident, police said Monday.

Dodging drones in the sky

While it's unusual for a drone to strike a plane, there have been plenty of close calls -- especially in the United States.

Hundreds of drones have flown dangerously close to manned aircraft in U.S. airspace, forcing pilots to sometimes take evasive action, according to Bard College's Center for the Study of the Drone.

A recent report, based on the center's analysis of Federal Aviation Administration data from August 21, 2015 to January 31, 2016, said there were 519 incidents involving passenger aircraft and unmanned drones in the U.S. within that period.

That was three times as many incidents as in the same period a year earlier.

One in three were classed as "close encounters." These were defined as incidents where a pilot either had to take evasive action, declared a "near mid-air collision," or described a drone as being dangerously close -- or when the drone came within 500 feet (152 meters) of the aircraft.

On 24 occasions within the reporting period, a drone reportedly came within 50 feet (15 meters) of a plane, and on 11 occasions, the pilot was forces to take evasive action.

Three out of five incidents occurred within five miles of an airport, according to the report.

Unmanned aircraft systems are not supposed to fly within five miles of an airport without notifying the control tower. Nor are they allowed to go above 400 feet.

The rate of close encounters between drones and planes is also rising in the United Kingdom, according to the Airprox Board, which tracks airline safety.

There were 23 close encounters from April to October 2015, with 12 classed as presenting a serious risk of collision, the board said.

Drones flying too close to commercial flights pose a serious threat to larger aircraft, and can be sucked into the engine or crash into the cockpit window, injuring or killing a pilot.

NYC to Donald Trump: He's not one of us

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:25am

Donald Trump's presidential campaign is rocking his hometown of New York City as he is poised for a thumping victory in the state's primary on Tuesday.

Trump is dominating the polls with a double-digit lead over his rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich. The billionaire could pick up close to all of the 95 delegates at stake in the state, where he is especially popular among voters in upstate and rural regions.

That makes Trump's unpopularity in this diverse metropolis -- where he has been a fixture in the business, political and social scenes for decades -- all the more striking. His candidacy is widely viewed as distasteful and offensive by many residents.

Delvin James, of Harlem, a New Yorker of 25 years who is originally from Italy, works as a translator in the city. A registered Democrat who will vote for Hillary Clinton, James said Trump was an embarrassment to the city, particularly his comments about immigrants.

"My response is, wow. Every time. I always go, 'Wow,'" said James, 40, who is black. "Any other country, they have a representative here in New York. He's already offended everybody in the whole world except white Americans."

Lianna Remigao, 19, a student at City College, was born to parents from the Dominican Republic. To Remigao, New York City represents the "land of opportunity" and says she personally feels targeted by Trump's campaign platform.

"You can't represent New York City and claim you're a New Yorker if you're so against the diversity and the melting pot that is this country -- New York City, especially," said Remigao, who is a Bernie Sanders supporter. "We have the Statue of Liberty that represents great things, welcoming people into America."

Remigao's boyfriend, Julian Irizarry, chimed in that Trump was making "New York look bad." Irizarry, who grew up in New Jersey's Hudson County, said Trump's proposed temporary ban on Muslim immigration was racist.

"I don't look at him as a New Yorker," said Irizarry, who is of Puerto Rican and Italian descent. "I look at him the way I look at Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian -- someone who's just famous and rich."

Polls show that the majority of city residents are opposed to Trump's campaign, and voters describe his platform as an affront to their values. Trump has kept his distance from the city during the New York primary campaign, focusing his efforts in the state in upstate New York. He will hold a rally later Monday -- on the eve of the primary -- in Buffalo, where his support is strong.

Yet Trump is a ubiquitous presence across the city. Remigao and Irizarry spoke with a reporter on a grassy lawn at the southwest corner of Central Park, within sight of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 52-story structure with a gilded entrance on Central Park West.

Born in Queens, Trump himself has long been a fixture of New York City. For decades, Trump's playboy lifestyle and multiple weddings and divorces were favorite features in the city's tabloids. Trump flirted in the past with running for New York City mayor.

He has garnered the support of at least one prominent local Republican -- former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said he plans to vote for his longtime friend.

But other Republican leaders have steered clear. Former Gov. George Pataki, who briefly ran for president this cycle, endorsed Kasich; Michael Bloomberg, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent former mayor has denounced Trump aggressively and considered running as an independent against him.

His name pops up in real estate developments around New York. Along the Hudson River and parallel to the West Side Highway sit a row of buildings that make up Trump Place -- luxury condominiums that stretch from 59th Street to 72nd Street. The Trump name is featured on numerous other buildings across the city, including Trump Parc, Trump Soho New York and Trump World Tower.

Trump resides in the penthouse of Trump Tower, a skyscraper in Midtown where he announced his 2016 campaign and where his popular reality TV show, "The Apprentice," was based. It has become the headquarters of Trump's White House campaign and the site of frequent press conferences.

His New York roots have been a flashpoint in the Republican race. Earlier this year, Cruz criticized Trump for his "New York values," suggesting Trump was out of touch with the rest of the country. Trump responded by defending the city and citing its response to the Sept, 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.

"New York values were on display for all to see in the aftermath of 9/11 -- a strike at the heart of our city and our nation," Trump said last week at the New York state Republican Party's annual gala. "In our darkest moments, as a city, we showed the world the very, very best in terms of bravery and heart and soul that we have in America."

Trump's rebuke to Cruz won applause even from some Democrats. But for the most part, local political leaders say he has been a disturbing political force, and someone who has frightened and insulted voters in the city.

Elected officials, many of whom represent diverse minority communities, say they have been bombarded with concerns about the prospect of a Trump presidency. His rhetoric about immigration, they say, has been especially alarming to New Yorkers.

"We folks in the city, we all live side by side with each other and Donald Trump has a more segregated type of message rather than a message of integration," said Keith Wright, a Democratic assemblyman from Manhattan who is running for Congress. "People are amazed at how well he is doing. They talk about it all the time."

Ron Kim, a Korean-American Democratic assemblyman from Flushing -- a heavily Asian neighborhood in Queens -- said some of his constituents are "absolutely terrified" by the headway Trump has made in this election.

"We have a lot of pride in embracing the immigrant experience and making sure that we celebrate diversity and he's running on the opposite of that and that's very disappointing for New Yorkers," Kim said. "Is this the beginning of hateful candidates coming up to national platforms? ... I think for a community like mine, they fear that."

Some leaders have taken active steps to distance the city and state from Trump. State Sen. Daniel Squadron has helped lead a campaign to strip Trump's name from the Donald J. Trump State Park, located in Westchester and Putnam counties.

There have been similar petitions for the city to terminate its contracts with Trump on projects like the Trump Golf Links golf course in the Bronx and an ice skating rink in Central Park.

Squadron, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan, said his constituents have pressured him to weigh in on the 2016 election -- specifically, to "stand up to Trump."

"The idea of building a presidential campaign on divisiveness and hate is offensive and New York state shouldn't have a part in honoring a person who does it," Squadron said, explaining the state park campaign.

"There was an enthusiasm on the streets about the Obama candidacy and it was energizing," Squadron said. "There is a similar energy on the street now in my district, but it's driven by a fear of Trump."

SUNY Buffalo sends 5,000 acceptance emails in error

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:23am

Waiting to hear whether you've been accepted into a college is a nerve-wracking time for any prospective student.

For more than 5,000 applicants to the State University of New York at Buffalo, the process became even more stressful.

The university sent out 5,109 acceptance letters in error, it admitted in a statement Friday.

The mistake was made when an incorrect email list was generated from a database of applicants, according to the statement from John DellaContrada, the university's associate vice president for media relations and stakeholder communications.

He said that within three to four hours of the discovery of the mistake, the applicants were emailed an explanation of what had occurred, along with the university's "sincerest apologies."

"We know that this can be a stressful time for prospective students and their families. The University at Buffalo deeply regrets this unfortunate error in communication," read the statement, which added that steps had been taken to ensure the mistake was not repeated.

It said the admissions applications from the group were still under review -- meaning that some of those contacted could still win a place at the university after all.

The incident is far from the first blunder by a university admissions office. Last year, Carnegie Mellon University mistakenly sent out acceptance emails to 800 rejected applicants for its master's program in computer science, one of the top programs in the United States.

In 2014, Johns Hopkins University accidentally told hundreds of early admissions applicants that they'd been accepted, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2012, UCLA incorrectly told 894 applicants on a waiting list that they had been admitted.

Houston largely shut down amid rain, flooding

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:23am

More than a foot of rain in some places flooded low-lying areas across the Houston region on Monday, forcing officials to suspend bus and rail service, close government offices and urge residents to stay home amid what officials said were extremely dangerous conditions.

"This is a life-threatening emergency," the city said on an emergency website. "Houston residents should avoid travel at all costs today."

No injuries or deaths have been reported, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told reporters Monday, but as many as 50,000 people are without power. At least 115 water rescues have been completed in the city of Houston alone, the mayor added.

As of Monday morning, some areas had received as much as 16 inches of rain, according to the flood control district.

Portions of I-10 and numerous roads throughout the metropolitan area were closed, as were many government offices. The city's bus and rail service shut down early Monday amid "severe and ever worsening weather conditions."

Some homes were also reported flooded, according to Texas officials and the National Weather Service.

Flash flood warnings were up in about two dozen Texas counties across in the southern part of the state, including the Houston and Austin metropolitan areas.

The situation is the result of a nearly stationary area of low pressure that has stalled over the western United States, allowing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to flow into Texas over the last few days, according to CNN meteorologist Sean Morris.

Very heavy rainfall is expected to continue through Tuesday before the system begins to move off to the northeast and weaken, he said.

Spurs F Leonard repeats as top defensive player

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:18am

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard has been named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.

Leonard, who helped the Spurs finish with the NBA's top defense this season, is the recipient of the 2015-16 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the league announced Monday.

The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Leonard, 24, becomes the first non-center to earn the honor in back-to-back seasons since Dennis Rodman in 1989-90 and 1990-91.

Leonard received 84 first-place votes and 547 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.

Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green, who tallied 44 first-place votes and 421 points, finished runner-up for the second season in a row, followed by Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside in third with 83 points (two first-place votes).

Leonard, a first-time NBA All-Star this season, contributed to a San Antonio defense that led the NBA in points allowed (92.9 points per game) and defensive rating (96.6 points per 100 possessions). The Spurs, a franchise-record 67-15 this season, were even stingier on defense with Leonard in the game. According to NBA.com/Stats, they had a defensive rating of 94.9 when the five-year veteran was on the court and 99.2 when he wasn't -- a difference of 4.3 points per 100 possessions.

Leonard also averaged 1.78 steals (12th in the NBA), 5.5 defensive rebounds and a career-high 0.99 blocks to go with career highs on offense of 21.2 points and 2.6 assists.

The honor is part of a series of awards called the Kia NBA Performance Awards. The series, currently in its ninth season, is part of a multiyear marketing partnership between Kia Motors and the NBA, and includes five of the league's most prestigious year-end honors: Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man, Most Improved Player and Rookie of the Year.

5 of America's fastest-growing jobs pay less than $25,000

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:10am

It's certainly easier to find work these days than in the depths of the Great Recession. But, a good job is still hard to find.

Among the 10 jobs projected to grow the fastest in coming years, half pay less than $25,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And three-quarters pay less than the typical annual wage of $35,540.

Many of these hot jobs are in health care. As the country ages, more of us will need medical and personal assistance. So personal care aides, home health aides and nursing assistants, which all pay $12 an hour or less for a 40-hour workweek, are on the list, which looks at the occupations that will grow the most (in terms of numbers) between 2014 and 2024.

The only health care job that pays well and that's adding lots of positions is registered nurse, which comes with a median wage of $66,640.

The prevalence of low-paying positions and lack of wage growth are big reasons why so many Americans feel down about the economic recovery.

Earlier this decade, many of the jobs being created were at the low end of the pay scale, while middle-income positions were much scarcer.

Middle class job openings are more plentiful these days as the economy grows stronger. Still, the average hourly pay of jobs added over the past six months remains below the average wage of all jobs, said Paul Ashworth, chief North American economist for Capital Economics. That's because retail hiring has been strong recently, while there have been fewer better-paying mining and manufacturing positions around.

While 41% of Americans say there are plenty of jobs available in their community, only 33% say there are plenty of good jobs to be had, according to a Pew Research Center poll taken in December.

It's not surprising that some of the swiftest-growing jobs are in fast food and retail because these sectors are among the largest employers in the country, experts said. And they don't require college educations or specialized training. Only 34.6% of working age Americans have college degrees.

"The pool of people who can apply to these jobs is much larger," said Dave Terkanian, a branch chief at Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ashworth, however, sees a silver lining in the fact that health care jobs will be in such demand in the future.

"With more competition, (employers) may raise wages," he said.

Freed man 'didn't think this day would come'

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 9:06am

The first thing Jack McCullough did as a free man was order a slice of pizza. For years, he'd practically drool every time a pizza commercial came on the tiny television in his cell at Illinois' Pontiac Correctional Center, where he was serving a life term for a 1957 cold case murder he's always insisted he didn't commit.

On Friday, a judge agreed that his murder trial had been so flawed that McCullough should go free. It took a minute for the news to register. When it did, McCullough sighed with relief and then grinned from ear to ear. He turned toward the muscular, shiny-pated man guarding him and raised his wrists, ready for unshackling. But he'd have to wait a little longer to be processed out of the system.

Two hours later, his stepdaughter, Janey O'Connor, was gunning a white rental car out of the parking lot of the jail across the street from the DeKalb County Courthouse. In the back seat was McCullough and Crystal Harrolle, the investigator from the public defender's office.

Harrolle had also been by McCullough's side in court in September 2012 when people stood and cheered the guilty verdict in what was touted as the oldest cold case to go to trial. Tears flooded his eyes as he recalled being told, afterward, how Harrolle walked out of court and sat in her car and cried. But she never gave up on him, and neither did O'Connor.

And so, heads spinning, they drove around the corner to World Famous Pizza, and McCullough bit into a slice of pepperoni. After years of prison food, including a meal he called "kinda pizza," it was the best thing he'd ever tasted.

"A guy came out of the Harley shop next door and he cranked it. And I said, 'Free-dom!' " McCullough paused and laughed, savoring the memory. "It was a wonderful feeling."

McCullough was still riding the high a couple of hours later when he granted CNN his first, exclusive interview as a free man. He had spoken with the network once before, in prison shortly after his conviction, for the CNN digital series "Taken," which examined his murder trial and raised questions about whether it was fair.

This time, he was elated and a bit overwhelmed but didn't seem angry or bitter. Perhaps that will come later. But not now.

"I'm just perceiving everything. I'm seeing, I'm feeling, I'm talking," he said. "I am glad to be out. I feel compassion for the people who are still there. I just want them to know I didn't escape from anything. I wasn't guilty in the first place."

And so he persisted.

"I just never gave up. I knew I was innocent," he said. "I knew I had proof that I was innocent, and I was going to make them see the proof, one way or the other."

He seems in remarkably good shape for a 76-year-old, much less one who has been locked up since June 20, 2011 -- the day he was arrested in Seattle.

"I didn't think this day would come," he added. "I was beginning to believe I couldn't get justice in Illinois. But here it is."

Justice is still unfolding for McCullough. Although he is free, he technically could stand trial once again. But State's Attorney Richard Schmack, who is convinced McCullough is innocent, says he isn't finished with this case.

Schmack told CNN he will move early next week to dismiss the murder charge with prejudice, meaning nobody can ever again bring McCullough into court and accuse him of murdering his 7-year-old neighbor, Maria Ridulph.

And so, everybody returns to court on Friday. After that, McCullough may finally be free to return home to Seattle, where his wife, Sue, has been waiting for him.

"I've got another week to go to sort out whatever legal matters are pending, and then I can go home to my wife and start my life over and do as much good in life as I've got left," he said. "The next 10 years of my life are gonna be at 100 miles an hour because I've got a hell of a lot to do."

When CNN spoke with McCullough in prison, in March 2013, he was moved to tears just once, when he recalled his combat experience in Vietnam.

Now he gets misty-eyed often, usually while talking about the people who have helped him or stood by him. He is embarrassed by his tears, but powerless to stop them as he processes his newfound freedom.

A prosecution that 'went off the rails'

Jack McCullough's freedom didn't come as the result of legal razzle-dazzle, although at the end he was represented by a trio of lawyers from a top Chicago law firm.

McCullough calls them his "rock-star lawyers." But they were brought in late in the game to spiff up his own jailhouse lawyering.

He had exhausted all his appeals and didn't have a lawyer when he filed a handwritten petition prepared by another inmate with paralegal training.

That was in June, and a judge in Sycamore tossed his petition out of court, calling it "frivolous" and "without merit."

But it caught the attention of Harrolle and her boss, DeKalb Public Defender Tom McCulloch, who had represented McCullough at trial and believed he had been wrongfully convicted. Schmack, who knew he could eventually be tasked with defending the conviction, decided he'd better dig into the 4,500-page discovery file. It included old FBI, Illinois State Police and local and sheriff's investigative reports from 1957 and 1958.

Schmack took them home and started looking through them in his spare time.

He'd attended the trial in 2012; he was in private practice and running against State's Attorney Clay Campbell, who was personally prosecuting the case in court. Schmack told CNN he was troubled by how thin the evidence was.

McCullough, meanwhile, was undaunted. He filed a second handwritten petition on December 11. This time his former public defender joined in, saying that while the crafting of the do-it-yourself petition was "inartful," some of the issues raised had "constitutional merit." He asked the court to appoint a lawyer to help McCullough with his appeal. He even volunteered to do it himself.

The judge asked Schmack for a response to the petition. Schmack stunned everyone by filing a lengthy, heavily footnoted report that he said demonstrated "clear and convincing evidence" McCullough was innocent.

He attached exhibits supporting his footnotes -- grand jury transcripts and some of the FBI reports that had been barred from McCullough's trial.

As the appeal moved forward at the courthouse in Sycamore, it presented an ironic reverse scenario: An inmate's handwritten petition had resulted in a prosecutor admitting to nearly three dozen facts and allegations raised by the defendant.

"I was ordered to file an answer, and I could not file an answer that denied his claim of actual innocence when I actually believe he is not guilty of the crime he was convicted of," Schmack explained.

"The only question was whether I filed something very brief and cryptic or something more extensive. So my feeling was the public has the right to know why I was doing what I was doing, and why I was not answering this in the conventional way."

Chicago attorneys Gabe Fuentes and Shaun Van Horn, who work for a large, prestigious firm that seeks exoneration for wrongfully convicted defendants, agreed to represent McCullough through the rest of his appeal.

In court Friday, Fuentes -- a former federal prosecutor -- told Judge William Brady in no uncertain terms: "This was a prosecution that went off the rails. There are deep, deep problems with this case, which is why Mr. Schmack has come before this court with his report on those errors."

He went further by stating that the trial court and the appeals court were misled about the evidence against McCullough. At the trial, only a vague time frame was offered for when the little girl was abducted from a Sycamore street corner near her home. And, he said, evidence clearly establishing McCullough's whereabouts that evening was kept out of the trial.

That evidence supported the alibi McCullough had claimed all along.

Schmack cited an ethical code that became law in January. It lays on prosecutors a duty to undo wrongful convictions when they find them.

"Most people who are innocent and get exonerated in this country don't get exonerated on appeal," Schmack said Friday in court. "They get exonerated at proceedings like this. If the standard were that we can't look beyond the rulings that were made on appeal, they'd never be exonerated."

Brady, the judge, relied on three key items of evidence in throwing out McCullough's conviction. Two were discovered after the trial, and the other had been barred by a faulty evidentiary ruling at the trial.

Freshly subpoenaed phone records place the pay phone used for a 6:57 p.m. collect call to McCullough's parents at the post office in Rockford -- just where he said he was at the time the girl was snatched on December 3, 1957. The records support McCullough's alibi, which he was unable to present at his murder trial.

If McCullough was indeed 40 miles away from the crime scene, Brady said, it casts doubt on the testimony of Kathy Chapman, Maria's playmate. She picked McCullough out of a photo lineup some 50 years after the fact, saying he was the man who called himself "Johnny" and offered the girls piggyback rides minutes before Maria was last seen.

Brady also found that the trial and appeals courts did not yet know about an inmate's allegations that prosecutors offered him favorable treatment with his own case if he testified against McCullough.

"Those are matters that go to the heart of this prosecution," Brady said. Each, by itself, may not have affected the outcome of the trial, he added, but when viewed "collectively" make it unlikely that McCullough would have been convicted.

There was no one in court Friday to speak for the people who investigated and prosecuted the case against McCullough.

Campbell, the former state's attorney, and the Illinois State Police have declined repeated requests for comment.

The judge took pains to say on the record that he personally knows both Campbell and Schmack and doesn't view the controversy over the case as politically motivated.

Life behind bars

McCullough said nearly five years behind bars has led him to believe that at least 5% of his fellow inmates are not guilty.

But many of his fellow prisoners considered him guilty -- and for the worst of crimes. Making things even more dangerous for him in prison: his own law enforcement background.

"I'm a former policeman and a convicted child killer, and by extension they would think child molester, whatever," he said. "In prison, that's a death sentence."

A man must take precautions to stay safe. McCullough kept a low profile and worked at not offending anyone.

"I have spent all of my time in prison in protective custody with guards protecting me from the inmates. I refrained from going outside a lot, because outside is where you are with everybody and anybody can hand you something steely and unpleasant. So I stayed in my cell a lot -- not because I was afraid but because it was the smartest thing to do."

He was attacked by a cellmate during his first year in prison. The man stabbed him in the eye with the sharpened handle of a toothbrush. The next day, every toothbrush in the prison was confiscated.

He said he believes he was deliberately placed with a man who guards knew would attack him. But the inmate was a "small" guy and "he wasn't a threat to me if I'm awake," McCullough said. "But I'm asleep and he has a sharp object and he's stabbing me in the face and head and eye. I took two stitches to the back of my eye. I was a bloody mess, and the blood behind my eye pushed my eye out. I pushed my eye back in and blood squirted across the room. And I was just covered in blood.

"And what for? " he asked. "He wanted to blind me. He knew I loved to read." He praised the medical care he received, saying he eventually recovered his vision.

He showed off a semicircular scar on the meaty part of his hand.

"Those are teeth marks," he said. "When I snatched the toothbrush out of his hand, he grabbed my hand and bit me." McCullough tried to throw the toothbrush out of the cell, but it kept bouncing off the door. "So I kept kicking him until the guards came. Nobody was going to say a word. They usually just let fights go. But as soon as I said, 'He's stabbing me,' everybody showed up."

Prison is a cacophony of unpleasant sights and sounds, and the aroma of hundreds of men kept in close quarters can be overwhelming, McCullough says. He did what he could to preserve his own humanity. He snipped the wires off a pair of ear buds and used them to dull the sounds of men screaming. It didn't completely silence them, but at least he could no longer make out what they were saying.

And he sought solace in the prison library, where he says he could at least find some "intelligent people." He studied languages, including Mandarin and Japanese.

"When I first arrived in prison, everybody said, 'Go hit the law books.' Well, I'm not a lawyer. I don't want to be a lawyer, and I'm not going to get myself out of prison," he said. Instead, he befriended an inmate who had trained as a paralegal.

McCullough teared up as he described how the man helped him frame his appeals, even writing them out by hand in tidy block letters because there were no typewriters in the prison.

"He helped me, and he started to file motions for me, and the next thing I knew I was getting results," McCullough said. "And I'm tickled pink."

His attorneys have advised him not to talk to the media or discuss anything related to his court cases. But he places prosecutor Schmack in a different category. He was among the people who assisted him even though the prosecutor technically holds the power to put him back behind bars.

"People have to realize, it's not about winning. It's about justice. And this brave man -- I probably shouldn't talk about him at all -- but he put his career on the line for me," McCullough said. He thought a moment and carefully chose the words that followed:

"It isn't about winning a case, it's about justice. And God bless the man who stood up for justice. He's probably going to pay a penalty for that because to everyone else it's about winning. But it's not about winning. It's about doing the right thing."

What happened after Basketball Cop showed up

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 8:51am

It all started as a noise complaint: Kids on a residential street in Gainesville, Florida, were playing basketball in the afternoon too "loudly," a neighbor told the police dispatcher.

Officer Bobby White of the Gainesville Police Department took the call. What he did next has since gone viral online and inspired a foundation that's raised thousands of dollars from donors across the country.

"Can you believe someone's calling to complain about kids playing basketball in the streets?" White says to the group of teens, before grabbing the ball and stepping back for a two-pointer, as captured on his police car's dashcam video.

It's the kind of call that White told CNN he looks forward to -- one where he can interact with the kids in his community and help push back against what he calls a "damaged relationship" between law enforcement and the nation's youths.

"If I would have went out there like RoboCop and started citing statutes and telling them that they're breaking the law, it would have just reinforced that perception they already have and probably made it worse," White said of the January stop.

#HoopsNotCrime

Instead, White balled along for minutes, dribbling and pumping, passing, even going in for a dunk. His new nickname -- to the neighborhood kids and the more than 17 million Facebook users who have watched the video of the interaction online -- is the "Basketball Cop."

When White rematched the kids the following week, bringing with him backup in the hulking form of former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, the moniker became local legend.

It's also now the name of the new foundation he created in February, which has already raised nearly $10,000 on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.

The aim of the charity is to promote #HoopsNotCrime, a hashtag and philosophy that the Police Department's savvy social media manager and spokesman, Officer Ben Tobias, thought up and tagged at the end of the viral video when he posted it on the department's Facebook page days after the interaction.

"We've had a huge problem nationwide with juvenile crime and kids having nothing to do, so they just get out and start committing crime," he said.

Gainesville, a city of about 127,000 in North Central Florida, has two full-time gang investigators who work to crack down on youth gangs that "plague all over the city," Tobias said.

The kids in the "Basketball Cop" video were "doing something good," Tobias said. "Let's promote that. Let's have kids do something good, play basketball -- hoops -- instead of being out there committing crimes."

Part of that promotion came with the rematch that Tobias helped organize. Working with a media outlet that had connections to Shaq, Tobias planned a visit where the former Orlando Magic player would surprise the kids from White's first stop in a rematch with other GPD officers.

Captured in another video gone viral, Shaq spreads the "Basketball Cop" philosophy, telling the kids "I grew up just like this. Only you can change this, and you can change it through basketball and showing respect to your peers like you did."

Donations roll in

Donations have rolled into the collection site from more than a hundred users, along with messages of support: "What a great way to build relationships with the communities you protect and serve"; "I pray this movement continues. It's wonderful."

With the funds raised and the help of local vendors, White's foundation has begun work on plans to build permanent, compact courts by two apartment complexes in Gainesville.

The first will go up in a building where three of the kids from the noise complaint call live.

The second is planned on a church property next door to the largest public housing development in the city. The complex is home to more than 120 kids and doesn't have a basketball court, White said.

"What if I can put a basketball court in an apartment complex?" White asked himself when he launched the project.

He thought, "That can affect all the kids that live there, the kids in the surrounding neighborhood, for years and years and years and years and generations of kids."

The courts in his city will become a model, White hopes, to challenge police departments around the country to try a similar approach.

"Go find me a project in your city like this, at a church, at an apartment complex, somewhere where you can make a huge impact on a lot of kids for years to come, and I'll fund it," White said.

They are ambitious plans for the viral video star. But he's already found success by starting small.

In February, White used donations from a local concrete vendor and the sporting goods company Lifetime to build a backyard basketball court for Tyree Thomas, the teen who first tossed the "Basketball Cop" the ball in the original video.

Thomas plays on the new court with his friends every day. His neighbor no longer calls police to complain about the noise.

"It's pretty awesome to practice at your house so you won't get in trouble and all," said Thomas, 16.

Officer White's style of policing has flipped his opinion about cops, Thomas said, and he'd like to see the Basketball Cop Foundation go far.

"Yeah, because then people will stop doing drugs and stealing and just play sports," Thomas said. "Trying to get an education, just get out of trouble."

Heads Up: Update or download the new KSPR News App to receive the latest news and weather

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 8:45am

KSPR News will introduce a new look to the news app in the Droid and Apple stores Monday morning.

The app will still provide you with breaking news, weather and sports and entertainment you have been accustomed to over the years.  It will also feature live broadcasts of KSPR News.  The update will go live sometime after 10:00 a.m.

Android users must update their apps to continue to receive the latest posts.

Apple users must download the app to receive the latest posts.  

Prepare for the new KY3 News App Monday morning

KY3 Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 8:45am

KY3 News will introduce a new look to the news app in the Droid and Apple stores Monday morning.

The app will still provide you with breaking news, weather and sports and entertainment you have been accustomed to over the years.  It will also feature live broadcasts of KY3 News.  The update will go live sometime after 10:00 a.m.

Android users must update their apps to continue to receive the latest posts.

Apple users must download the app to receive the latest posts.  

What is Beyoncé's 'Lemonade'?

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 8:22am

Beyoncé fans have been sipping on her "Lemonade" all weekend.

And by sipping we mean being super hyped over her postings about an HBO "world premiere event" titled "Lemonade," which is coming April 23. But what exactly is it?

Here's what we do know: Over the weekend, Beyoncé posted two videos on her Instagram account. The first one was a clip of a cornrowed Beyoncé resting her head on the hood of a car saying, "What am I gonna do love, what am I going to do?"

The second was a trailer for "Lemonade," containing random scenes and voiceovers of Beyoncé saying things like, "The past and the present merge to meet us here," "What are you hiding?" "Why can't you see me?" and "You're the love of my life." Both the first clip and the trailer were also posted on YouTube.

Members of the Beyhive know that for months there has been chatter about "Project Lemonade," which was said to coincide with her highly anticipated sixth album.

In February, the Twitter account "The Beyhive Team" tweeted "EXCLUSIVE: Album movie, alternate "Formation" video edit, and an album that will overwhelm you just listening to it! Just wait on it!"

There has also been lots of reading of the (lemon) tea leaves of Beyoncé's social media, which has included several pictures with lemons.

Naturally, the Internet had tons of questions and theories, including whether "Lemonade" is a single or a movement.

HOW long this rain will last

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 8:18am

Today, we're talking all the rain. In fact, by Wednesday some areas will get up to 2 to 2.5 inches. At least it's not all at once.

You can see the cold front to the west. It really doesn't move much from now until the end of the week. Just getting through Missouri by Friday. Yeesch. This means multiple rounds on and off folks.

The severe weather threat will be low due to a lack of good energy. The severe stuff is in Texas along the coast.

Here's Tuesday...not much change, right?

Finally, the front moves through by late Wednesday, taking much of the rain with it.

One more look.

Again, severe threat includes minor flooding and lightning.

Guess what?!

Want to track storms yourself? We gotcha covered:

Our KSPR Weather App Radar feature is great on the go: io7: LINK  &  Droid: LINK

OR if you are on your desktop - our Interactive Radar is great for tracking!

KSPR Meteorologist Lindsey Slater

I'm on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

GOP rules fight caps weekend in politics

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 8:11am

In an undecided Republican nominating contest, every single rule and procedure looks to be hotly contested -- a reality that came into clearer view over the weekend.

After Ted Cruz picked up all 14 delegates at Wyoming's Republican convention, Donald Trump amped up his complaints about a process he's called rigged. Meanwhile, Republican National Committee members' behind-the-scenes fight over a rules change that could make it harder for a "white knight" to ride in at the last minute erupted Sunday.

But immediately before all the candidates is the looming -- and likely very consequential -- showdown in New York.

For Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both playing the home state card. Sanders capped his Empire State campaigning with a Prospect Park rally and a record crowd, while Clinton -- who leads in the polls -- spent time in Washington Heights alongside New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and grooving to Latin beats with state lawmakers.

On the Republican side, Trump hopes to quash the competition and secure as many of the 95 delegates as he can to continue his march to the nomination.

Here are the highlights of the weekend in politics:

GOP rules fight erupts

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Sunday pushed back against Trump's assertion that the nominating process is rigged to block him.

Priebus dismissed Trump's comments as rhetoric and hyperbole in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union." He said: "Since I know what the truth is, I don't really worry about it because I know what is right and I know what is wrong."

Priebus has been playing defense for more than a week, beating back charges from Donald Trump that the party has rigged the nominating fight against him. Trump was at it again Sunday, tweeting: "Lyin' Ted Cruz can't get votes (I am millions ahead of him) so he has to get his delegates from the Republican bosses. It won't work!"

As the Trump-Priebus fight played out in public, top Republican National Committee members were fighting behind the scenes shortly before their critical meeting in Florida later this week.

It's all over the rules that will govern the GOP's July convention in Cleveland and when they'll be set. Priebus wants to delay any rules changes for now.

But RNC Rules Chairman Bruce Ash, who is part of a group of conservatives who want to openly debate rules changes when they meet in a few days, on Saturday accused the party's top lawyer, John Ryder, of attempting to stifle that debate and a "breach of trust" in an email obtained by CNN.

Ryder, who is supporting Priebus' efforts, replied that it had been a misunderstanding. He cautioned in a reply email that "it is important that the RNC not take action that can be interpreted as attempting to favor one candidate or another ... Major changes now are dangerous and not a good idea, in my humble opinion."

At the center of the fight is a push by conservatives on the Republican National Committee to have Robert's Rules of Order govern the convention instead of the rules of the U.S. House. It sounds arcane, but conservative RNC members argue the change is needed to prevent party establishment figures from pushing through someone like House Speaker Paul Ryan in the convention.

New York showdown

In New York's hotly contested primary, Trump -- who polls have shown topping 50% support in the state -- has a chance to put weeks of struggles over delegate losses, self-made controversies and staffing behind him with a big win.

He's deployed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's own words against him, repeatedly highlighting Cruz's smackdown of "New York values," giving the Texas senator little room to grow in the state.

The Democratic race, though, is much more competitive. Both Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and the former secretary of state were duking it out in an increasingly negative contest.

New York's contest is a pivotal one, because it's Sanders' chance to show he can win in big, coastal states with heavy minority populations -- something he's yet to do.

The two candidates were trading barbs over the weekend on guns. Clinton, a former senator from New York, hit Sanders hard Saturday.

"No matter how often he is asked by family members of those who have been murdered, he sticks to his talking points," she said.

Sanders, meanwhile, worked guns into his stump speech in front of 28,000 people on Sunday night.

"We have kids who are unemployed and have no hope of getting a job. Unfortunately they do have hope and success getting guns. Our job is to get kids jobs, not guns," he said.

Much of the weekend's action was focused on California, as Clinton visited the state (which holds a crucial June 7 contest) and Sanders returned from a trip to meet Pope Francis and attend a conference at the Vatican.

But Sanders' best chance to truly shake up the Democratic contest comes Tuesday, when New York -- the state where he was born and Clinton's adopted home -- casts its votes. A week later, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island are up.

Sanders tries to sway Clooney

Bernie Sanders says actor George Clooney, who called the amount of money he'd raised for Hillary Clinton obscene, is backing the wrong candidate in the 2016 presidential race.

Asked by Bash on "State of the Union" if Clooney is backing the wrong horse, Sanders said, "Well, I think he is." Sanders said: "He is honest enough to say that there is something wrong when few people -- in this case, wealthy individuals, but in other instances for the secretary, it is Wall Street and powerful special interests -- who are able to contribute unbelievably large sums of money. That is not what democracy is about. That's a movement toward oligarchy."

Sanders' comments came after Clooney told Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he wasn't fond of raising huge gobs of money -- more than $300,000 per person to join him and Clinton at the head table at a Friday night event in San Francisco -- for candidates.

"I think it's an obscene amount of money. I think that, you know, we had some protesters (Friday) night when we pulled up in San Francisco and they're right to protest. They're absolutely right. It is an obscene amount of money. The Sanders campaign when they talk about it is absolutely right. It's ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics. I agree completely," Clooney said.

But here's the caveat, he said: The money is largely "going to the congressmen and senators to try to take back Congress. And the reason that's important and the reason it's important to me is because we need -- I'm a Democrat so if you're a Republican, you're going to disagree, but -- we need to take the Senate back. Because we need to confirm the Supreme Court justice because that fifth vote on the Supreme Court can overturn Citizens United and get this obscene, ridiculous amount of money out so I never have to do a fundraiser again. And that's why I'm doing it."

Kasich lumbers on

With one win under his belt, Ohio Gov. John Kasich isn't in the mood to hear Trump's complaints about the delegate selection process.

He dismissed Trump's accusations that the GOP nomination process is rigged, calling on the Republican front-runner to "act like you're a professional" in an interview with Bash on CNN's "State of the Union."

Kasich said: "You've got to have a certain number of delegates to be nominated. It's like saying I made an 83 on my math test so I should get an A just because I think it's rigged that you have to make a 90 to get an A."

"I mean, come on. Act like you're a professional. Be a pro," Kasich said.

The Ohio governor also had to explain some comments he made Friday. Kasich, the father of two teenage girls, advised a young female college student to avoid parties with alcohol to prevent being sexual assaulted.

Democrats pounced on the remark, accusing him of blaming the victims of sexual assault.

"I don't care if they're at a party with alcohol. I'm just saying be careful," Kasich told Bash. "That's what I would tell my daughters: Be careful."

He said when alcohol is involved "it becomes more difficult for justice to be rendered for a whole variety of reasons."

"I just don't want justice to be denied because something comes up that a prosecutor looks at it and says, 'Well, I can't figure this out,'" he said.

Fields won't rule out lawsuit

Michelle Fields, the former Breitbart News reporter who said Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbed her arm and yanked her backward in an incident caught on video at a campaign event, told CNN's Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" that she hasn't ruled out suing Trump's campaign or Lewandowski himself for defamation.

"I'm not going to rule it out. Do I think that they defamed me? Absolutely," she said.

Fields explained: "Corey said (on Twitter) that he hadn't met me, he had never touched me. We know that that's a lie. Donald Trump, after this happened, he said that the Secret Service told him nothing happened. Weeks later, Donald Trump says that the Secret Service said that I was grabbing at him."

Lewandowski dodged a question on "Fox News Sunday" about whether he'd apologize to Fields.

"To apologize to someone I've never spoken to ... is a little unrealistic right now," he said.

Major Japanese companies shut factories after earthquakes

KSPR Local News - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 8:00am

Major Japanese companies are suffering from the fallout from the deadly earthquakes that have hit the country in recent days.

Toyota, the world's largest automaker by sales, is one of the hardest hit among the big corporations. The company said it's experiencing a parts shortage as a result of the quakes and is suspending production on a number of its vehicle assembly lines across Japan this week.

Toyota shares tumbled 4.8% on Monday, helping drag down the benchmark Nikkei by 3.4%.

A series of earthquakes shook the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, a major auto manufacturing hub. The two strongest quakes hit on Thursday and Saturday, killing dozens of people and damaging thousands of buildings.

Other large automakers also reported problems in the aftermath of the disasters.

Honda has halted operations at a motorcycle factory in Kumamoto, the city where the most powerful earthquake struck. The plant, which usually churns out 750 bikes a day, will remain shuttered until at least Friday, when the company says it will make a decision on whether to reopen it.

Two Nissan factories also sustained some damage. The company said that the plants have reopened, but that it's too early to say when they will return to full capacity.

Beyond the auto industry, the technology company Sony said it stopped operations at a manufacturing facility in Kumamoto that makes semiconductors and image sensors.

The company is still surveying the damage to determine when the plant can resume normal operations, but aftershocks in the area continue. Some production at two other Sony facilities was temporarily halted and then restarted on Sunday.

Despite the disruption, analysts say the effects of the quakes on Japanese industry are unlikely to be protracted.

"The scale of damage does not appear huge, and production shutdowns by major manufacturers should be reversed before long," Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics wrote in a research note.

--Rebecca Wright and Andrew Stevens contributed to this report.