Associated Press

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Self-help guru Keith Raniere was a coward during his arrest last year in Mexico on a U.S. sex-trafficking charge and a bully when dealing with a follower who failed to adhere to his twisted code of ethics, a witness testified Tuesday at Raniere’s New York City trial.

The follower was confined to a bedroom for two years, the witness said, despite passing a note that begged: “Let me out. I’m coming undone.”

The harsh portrait of Raniere was provided by Lauren Salzman, a former member of his inner-circle in a group called NXIVM who’s pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government.

Salzman, 42, was recruited, along with TV actress Allison Mack and others, for a secret society within NXIVM of women who prosecutors say were brainwashed by Raniere’s teachings, branded with his initials and pressured into having sex with him.

Mack, a star of the TV series “Smallville,” has also pleaded guilty, but it’s unclear if she’ll testify.

Defense lawyers have insisted any contact Raniere had with the women was consensual.

Salzman told the jury on Tuesday that Raniere — spooked by mounting news reports that the sorority was under investigation — went to Mexico with Salzman, Mack and others to try to reconstitute the group there. When Mexican authorities broke down his door at a villa in Puerta Vallarta to grab him, Salzman was there and tried to stand up to them while he hid in a closet, she said.

The scene made clear that while she had been programmed to put Raniere first in times of trouble, “Keith would choose Keith,” she said.

The witness also detailed how Raniere groomed as followers a family from Mexico with three daughters. According to prosecutors, he sexually exploited all three — the youngest starting at age 15.

The middle sister, whose full name has been withheld by prosecutors, had a falling out with Raniere around 2010, Salzman said. He assigned Salzman to rehabilitate the victim by ordering her into a bedroom in her family’s Albany-area home — with only a mattress and pen and paper — until she made amends to him in handwritten letters, she said.

What was expected to last no more than 10 days stretched into nearly two years when Raniere refused to forgive the victim and allow her back into the NXIVM community, the witness said. Her family finally returned her to Mexico and cut off support.

“I was unkind,” said Salzman, weeping as recalled her role in the episode. “I think it’s horrendous. Of all the things I did in this case, this was the worst.”

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Final results from the Philippines’ midterm elections last week show the president’s allies won a majority of the 12 Senate seats being decided, while a shutout of the opposition slate heralds a stronger grip on power by a leader accused of massive human rights violations.

Philippine elections officials were to proclaim the winning Senate candidates Wednesday after finishing the official count of the May 13 elections overnight. The tally had been delayed by glitches in automated counting machines.

Eight aspirants to seats in the 24-member Senate were backed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Among the winners is Duterte’s former national police chief, Ronald dela Rosa, who enforced the president’s crackdown on illegal drugs, a campaign that left thousands of suspects dead and drew international condemnation.

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Supporters of an unsuccessful presidential candidate clashed with security forces and set fire to a police dormitory in the Indonesian capital after the release of official election results.

National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said protests turned violent late Tuesday and continued during the night. He said Wednesday that dozens of people were detained.

KompasTV showed protesters throwing rocks, a paramilitary police dormitory on fire, and hundreds of riot police in a central neighborhood of the city.

Indonesia’s Election Commission on Tuesday said President Joko Widodo had won a second term with 55.5% of the vote in the April 17 election. His opponent, former general Prabowo Subianto, has refused to accept the results and declared himself the winner.

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Dangerous storms left a string of more than 30 tornadoes across the central U.S., damaging homes in Oklahoma, demolishing a racetrack grandstand in Missouri and inundating the region with water over a short period.

Two deaths, both in Missouri, were blamed on the severe weather that started in the Southern Plains Monday night and moved to the northeast. Missouri and parts of Illinois and Arkansas were in the crosshairs Tuesday. By Wednesday, the storm will move into Great Lakes region, where it will weaken. But another storm system was gathering steam for later this week, potentially covering an area from Texas to Chicago, according to the National Weather Service.

Patrick Marsh, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center, said eyewitnesses reported 26 tornadoes Monday and six more Tuesday. One, near Tulsa, was a mile (1.61 kilometer) wide with winds in the range of 111 mph (179 kph) to 135 mph (217 kph).

“It certainly isn’t anything to mess with,” Marsh said.

A tornado early Tuesday near Tulsa International Airport injured one person and damaged about a dozen homes. The airport was unscathed, but passengers were moved into shelters for about 30 minutes and several flights were delayed.

Tulsa Area Emergency Management spokeswoman Kim MacLeod said crews rescued a man who was pinned under a tree. In Arkansas, crews were working Tuesday afternoon to free a woman trapped under a tree topped by strong winds. Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Melody Daniel said the woman was alert and talking.

Storms Monday evening flipped campers at Lucas Oil Speedway in Hickory County, Missouri, injuring seven people, four of whom were taken to hospitals. The speedway’s grandstand also was destroyed, forcing cancellation of racing this weekend that was expected to draw about 3,000 campers.

Another twister Tuesday afternoon hit a hit a drive-thru wild animal park in southern Missouri. Webster County Emergency Management Director Tom Simmons said buildings were damaged at the Wild Animal Safari near Strafford, but there were no reports that people or animals were injured. All of the animals were accounted for.

Simmons said about a half-dozen homes were damaged in the county. A tractor-trailer was blown off a highway.

Heavy rain was called a contributing factor in the deaths of two people in a traffic accident Tuesday near Springfield, Missouri. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said an SUV skidded across the center of U.S. 160 and struck a tractor-trailer, killing both people in the SUV, Brandon Beasley, 23, and his 24-year-old wife, Christin, of Willard, Missouri.

Missouri authorities also reported several water rescues from flash flooding. Among them was an 18-year-old woman who was swept off a flooded road near Joplin Monday and stranded overnight until nearby residents heard her yelling. She had only minor injuries.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency, citing worsening flood concerns and soil inundation, as well as forecasts calling severe storms and possible tornadoes into Wednesday morning.

“The very heavy rainfall yesterday and today, combined with saturated soil and very high water levels on many rivers and streams have created dangerous conditions around the state,” Parson, a Republican, said in a statement.

Flooding was also an issue in Oklahoma, where the Oklahoma Department of Transportation shut down Interstate 40 in El Reno, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City, because of high water. The National Weather Service says up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) of rain had fallen since Monday. In El Reno and Stillwater, home to Oklahoma State University about 55 miles (88 kilometers) northeast of Oklahoma City, emergency responders rescued people from their homes.

With a potentially dangerous storm bearing down on St. Louis, baseball’s Cardinals were taking no chances, calling off a Tuesday night game against the cross-state rival Kansas City Royals. Forecasters were warning of potentially strong storms expected to arrive at downtown St. Louis shortly after the game was scheduled to start.

Heavy snow melt from the north and significant spring rains have led to waves of flooding in Missouri, and President Donald Trump on Monday issued a major disaster declaration for 13 counties in the state damaged by March flooding.

The Missouri River is expected to reach major flood stage by the end of the week at Jefferson City, Hermann, St. Charles and elsewhere. The levee near Jefferson City’s airport holds back water up to 30 feet (9.14 meters), Cole County Emergency Manager Bill Farr said, but the National Weather Service expects a crest of 32.3 feet (9.85 meters) Thursday. Sandbagging won’t help because the levee is too long, he said.

“We’re just keeping our fingers crossed,” Farr said.


Miller reported from Oklahoma City. Associated Press writers Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Mo.; Hannah Grabenstein in Little Rock, Ark.; and David A. Lieb in Jefferson City, Mo., contributed to this report.

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The shooting deaths of two transgender women and the stabbing of a third are being investigated to determine whether they are connected, police in Dallas said Tuesday.

No arrests have been made. The most recent killing occurred over the weekend.

“These cases, although not directly related at this time, do have some similarities the public needs to be aware of,” Maj. Vincent Weddington said during a news conference .

He added that Dallas police will work with federal law enforcement officers to determine if any of the attacks should be considered hate crimes.

Muhlaysia Booker, 23, was found shot to death Saturday in northeastern Dallas. Her death came a month after a cellphone video showed her being brutally beaten in a separate incident.

The other killing occurred last October. A transgender woman was found shot to death in a vehicle parked near an elementary school in far southeastern Dallas, police said.

In the stabbing, a transgender woman survived after being cut repeatedly in April.

Weddington, in pointing out the similarities, said two of the victims had gotten into a vehicle with someone prior to their deaths, while the third had allowed someone inside her car to pick up a passenger. He declined to specify which victims did what, citing the investigation.

He added that two of the victims had been near an intersection close to Fair Park, southeast of downtown Dallas, before their deaths.

Weddington appealed to the public for tips. A town hall meeting has been scheduled for Thursday between police and members of the LGBT community.

Police also are trying to solve the case of a transgender woman whose remains were found in a field in July 2017, Weddington said. The cause of her death has not been determined.

Weddington has said that no evidence was found to link Booker’s death to her April 12 beating following a minor traffic accident. According to a police affidavit, the other driver involved in the accident had a gun and refused to let Booker leave until she paid for the damage to his vehicle. A crowd gathered and someone offered a man $200 to beat the woman. Other men also struck her, while one stomped on her head. Booker suffered a concussion, fractured wrist and other injuries, police said.

Video of the attack, which was shared on social media, showed Booker being beaten as the crowd hollered and watched. Edward Thomas, 29, was arrested and jailed on an aggravated assault charge.

Thomas’ attorneys have issued a statement saying Thomas wasn’t involved in Booker’s death and sending condolences to her family.

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Joe Biden would support Congress enshrining abortion rights into federal law “should it become necessary,” his presidential campaign said Tuesday, following several other Democratic candidates in promising to take that step if elected president.

The hot-button issue has shot to the forefront of the Democratic primary following a spate of new Republican-backed state laws curbing access to abortion. With all the two dozen Democratic White House hopefuls supportive of abortion rights, the debate in the party has centered on how aggressive they should be if the Supreme Court were to eventually overturn legalized abortion nationwide.

Biden released a video on Thursday blasting the GOP-backed state laws as “pernicious” and “wrong.” He stopped short in the video of endorsing congressional action and offered no specifics on how he would defend Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that is now potentially threatened with new legal challenges.

Asked by The Associated Press whether Biden believed the high court decision should be codified in law, the campaign initially pointed to the video, then later added that the former vice president would support legislation “should it become necessary.” A campaign aide then clarified that Biden would support action immediately, regardless of whether the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

The campaign’s responses highlight what Biden, a devout Roman Catholic, once called his “middle of the road” approach on abortion. As a young senator, he expressed reservations that the Supreme Court “went too far” in its abortion decision. Since then, he’s joined the mainstream of the Democratic Party in defending Roe, though as a senator he sometimes voted with abortion-rights foes on bills related to late-term terminations.

As a moderate figure in a party whose loudest factions often embrace more doctrinaire positions, Biden is already walking a tightrope in the Democratic Party. And his evolving statements on abortion over his four decades in politics could give an opening to rivals who have seized on the Republican push to overturn Roe as a way to affirm their commitment to abortion rights.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts endorsed new federal laws safeguarding women’s right to a legal abortion after Alabama passed a statute that amounts to an outright abortion ban. Sen. Kamala Harris of California also has supported the codification of Roe on the campaign trail, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont told the AP on Tuesday that he backs federal lawmaking on abortion rights.

Several of the senators visited the steps of the Supreme Court on Tuesday for one of hundreds of nationwide rallies organized by activist groups to protest state-level abortion restrictions. Gillibrand urged an energetic crowd of more than 100 people to “organize, advocate and vote” in order to ensure abortion rights are protected.

Biden did not attend such a rally Tuesday, instead releasing the video as he was in Orlando, Florida, for a campaign fundraiser.

“What this is all about is trying to get an appeal to the Supreme Court in the hope that the conservative justice the president has in fact put on the court will vote to overrule Roe v. Wade, the law of the land,” Biden said. “It’s wrong. It’s pernicious. And we have to stop it.”

Biden has long had to navigate the complicated politics of abortion.

Referencing his faith, he’s noted often that he believes his church’s teachings that abortion is morally wrong but added that shouldn’t dictate public policy.

“I refuse to impose my religious beliefs on other people,” he said in his Tuesday email to supporters.

As a young senator when Roe was first decided, Biden worried that the decision “went too far,” a quote that was resurrected and redistributed on social media earlier this year. He later became a staunch defender of the high court decision.

“I’ve stuck to my middle-of-the-road position on abortion for more than 30 years,” he wrote in his 2007 book “Promises to Keep.” ”I still vote against partial birth abortion and federal funding, and I’d like to make it easier for scared young mothers to choose not to have an abortion, but I will also vote against a constitutional amendment that strips a woman of her right to make her own choice.”

He was referring in part to his decades of support for the Hyde Amendment, which has forbidden government insurance programs from covering abortion. He was captured on video in recent weeks telling an activist he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment.


Barrow reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writer Hunter Woodall contributed to this report from Bedford, N.H.


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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador hasn’t just moved out of the luxurious president’s residence, he’s using it to auction off seized luxury goods to raise money for poor communities.

López Obrador stayed in his middle-class condominium and turned the Los Pinos residence into a museum and cultural venue.

But on Sunday, the sprawling compound will host the first of several auctions of seized luxury goods, including a 2007 Lamborghini Murcielago, with an estimated worth about $73,000. If that’s too expensive, there is a 2014 Mercedes Benz ML63 at about $20,000. Proceeds will go to Mexico’s two poorest townships, in Oaxaca state.

López Obrador’s new Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People will continue with auctions of real estate and jewelry, most confiscated from criminals or in tax cases.

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The U.N. envoy for Iraq is calling for “wide-based international support” to prevent Islamic State extremists from regaining a foothold in the country.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert also told the Security Council on Tuesday that if the issue of thousands of returning Islamic State fighters and their families from Syria to Iraq isn’t managed properly, “we risk creating a new breeding ground for the next generation of terrorists.”

She stressed that this “is not just an Iraqi problem” because there are non-Iraqi fighters as well. She implicitly criticized some unnamed countries that are maintaining a “strategic distance” from their own nationals.

More broadly, Hennis-Plasschaert also criticized Iraqi political infighting that has blocked key ministerial appointments a year after national elections and corruption that she said is “pervasive at all levels in Iraq.”

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The Latest on a San Francisco reporter whose home and office were raided by police (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

San Francisco police say they searched the home and office of a freelance reporter as part of an investigation into whether he was part of a criminal conspiracy to steal a confidential report about the death of the city’s former elected public defender.

Police have come under scrutiny from First Amendment advocates and media organizations for raiding Bryan Carmody’s home and business on May 10 as part of their investigation.

Chief William Scott said Tuesday that he fully respects journalists’ rights.

But he says the raid and seizure of Carmody’s equipment was part of a broader investigation into the theft and unauthorized release of a death report that focuses on San Francisco police employees. Officials also believe Carmody participated in criminal acts.

Carmody’ attorney, Thomas Burke, declined to comment on the police claims.


2:40 p.m.

A press advocate says he’s not surprised that police raided the home and office of a freelancer even in politically liberal San Francisco.

Jim Wheaton, founder of the First Amendment Project, said people who want to crack down on journalists come in all political stripes.

Wheaton says police raided the home and office of journalist Bryan Carmody precisely because he is an independent freelancer without the protections of larger media outlets.

Carmody obtained from a source a preliminary police report concerning the sudden death of the city’s Public Defender Jeff Adachi in February. Police want to know who that source was.

Police said Tuesday they would return seized equipment to Carmody, but a legal fight over the actions will proceed.


10:15 a.m.

A San Francisco police attorney said that a reporter whose office and work equipment was seized in a police raid can collect his property although the legal issues surrounding the case were not resolved Tuesday.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng set future dates to hear separate motions to quash search warrants used to raid the home of freelance journalist Bryan Carmody and to unseal those warrants. A third motion by Carmody’s attorney asked the judge order the immediate return of cameras, computers and cell phones seized by police May 10.

Ronnie Wagner, an attorney for San Francisco police, said she planned to challenge the motions.

Carmody’s attorney, Thomas Burke, said police have “essentially acknowledged” that they had no right to his client’s equipment.

Media organizations and First Amendment advocates are outraged that police raided a freelance reporter’s home and office in search of a leaked police document concerning the death of the city public defender.


12:01 a.m.

A San Francisco reporter is demanding his property be returned after police raided his home to find the source of a leaked report into the death of the city’s public defender.

An attorney for freelancer Bryan Carmody is expected to make the request Tuesday in San Francisco County Superior Court.

Police have defended the raids of Carmody’s work and home, which were authorized by search warrants signed by two judges. But First Amendment advocates and news organizations say the raids violate the state’s shield law that protects journalists.

Carmody was handcuffed for six hours May 10 while police armed with a sledgehammer searched for evidence related to a police report obtained from a confidential source.

The report contained details of the February death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

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Authorities say a man was shot outside of a South Dakota jail after he charged at officers with a knife.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead says authorities responded to gunshots just after 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Milstead says a deputy fired two shots, and at least one hit the 44-year-old suspect.

Jail Warden Jeff Gromer says a man holding a glass bottle approached the jail lobby and was hitting the bottle against the lobby window when security asked for police help.

Gromer says the men threw either a rock or the bottle through the jail door, injuring one officer with broken glass. Gromer says the man charged officers with a knife and was shot.

The man was taken to a hospital. The Argus Leader reports the courthouse and the jail were put on lockdown.

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