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Can the President Pardon Himself? Good Question


The Constitution grants an absolute, unilateral pardon power to the president for federal offenses and courts have upheld pardons of people even before charges had been filed, NBC News reported.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that President Donald Trump asked advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia. NBC has not confirmed the report.

Trump's lawyer, John Dowd, called the story "nonsense." "The president’s lawyers are cooperating with Mueller on behalf of the president," Dowd said.

But could the president even pardon himself? There isn't court precedent on the question, NBC News reported. The Department of Justice has in the past provided legal guidance stating that the president cannot be indicted in office, but can be indicted when he leaves office.

Federal precedent suggests a government official cannot sit in judgment of himself, but the issue is not legally settled.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Muslims, Police Clash in Protests Over Jerusalem Holy Site


Palestinians in Jerusalem are protesting new security measures imposed by Israeli authorities at one of the city's holiest sites in what some are calling a "day of rage."

Demonstrations were initially triggered by the installation of two metal detectors outside the complex, which is known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

In response to expected protests, Israeli police banned men under the age of 50 from entering the complex -- which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque -- on Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims.

But this move has spurred tensions, as a Muslim leader called on his community to pray outside the site and Israeli border guards threw stun grenades at Palestinians pushing toward a police roadblock.

Photo Credit: Adel Hana/AP Photo

Police Investigating Home Invasion in Ledyard


Police are investigating a home invasion in the Gales Ferry section of Ledyard and they are looking for the people who stole several handguns, as well as other items from the house.

Police said they received a 911 call at 10:48 a.m. reporting a home invasion and robbery and the suspects are reported to be two tall, thin males between 5-feet-6 and 5-feet-8 who were wearing dark clothing. Their faces were covered, police said.

The men held the two occupants at gunpoint and took several handguns, electronic devices, phones and the victim's truck, which Ledyard Police recovered in Gales Ferry.

A female voice was also heard in the home.

Police said they are pursuing several leads, have recovered evidence in this investigation. They believe this is an isolated incident and the residence was targeted.

Anyone with information should call Officer First Class Jason Pudvah or Detective Chris Cadro at LPD (860) 464-6400.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Homeowners Want Feds to Investigate Crumbling Foundations


Several Connecticut homeowners whose homes have been damaged because the foundations are crumbling plan to file a formal complaint today in hopes of launching a federal investigation.

Many of the homeowners who live in northeastern Connecticut plan to gather today at the federal building in Hartford and file a formal complaint with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, asking for a federal investigation into the crumbling foundation crisis.

State officials estimate around 30,000 homeowners affected by the problem.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters broke the story about the crumbling foundation crisis two years ago and thousands of homeowners have come forward since.

The matter also garnered the attention of state lawmakers.

The state Senate took up a bill that would have created an assistance fund to help affected homeowners, but it made it no further than a committee.

A study determined that a mineral called pyrrhotite in the concrete causes foundations to crack and crumble years after being poured and a bill in the state House of Representatives would have required concrete companies to test for pyrrhotite. That bill never made it to a vote on the house floor.

Several homeowners are suing around two dozen insurance companies because they were told the damage won’t be covered unless their homes collapse.

Homeowners said they’re getting frustrated because they’re not getting much help from the state and hope the federal government can assist them.

They also want answers about who knew about the problem and why nothing was done.

The last statement from the attorney for JJ Mottes is that the company is now out of business. 

The last full statement released to NBC Connecticut in August 2016 read:

“In the 15 years since we took over the management of the Joseph J. Mottes Company, we have adhered to rigorous standards set forth by the American Concrete Institute and the state of Connecticut. We continue to cooperate with the ongoing state investigation so that homeowners can get the answers and real solutions they deserve. One thing that is clear to us is the extensive media and governmental scrutiny has led to another issue arising – in addition to homes affected by damage, there are now large numbers of homeowners and potential home buyers who do not have problems but are being told they will. 

“Certainly, those homes with damage need to be remedied, but a comprehensive solution is called for - one that helps those who are not financially capable of helping themselves, guards against predators of all kinds and eases the burden placed on the real estate market. We believe that effective lower cost preventive remedial actions exist, that appropriate independent authorities can and should identify these techniques, and this information needs to be widely shared and adopted.” – John Patton, spokesman, The Joseph J. Mottes Company.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Man Admitted to Stealing Car from South Windsor Gym: Police


A 22-year-old Hartford man is accused of stealing a Lexus from a South Windsor gym and taking it for a joyride. 

Police said they identified 22-year-old David Booth, of Hartford, as a suspect in two cases through DNA after recovering the stolen vehicles. 

Booth is accused of stealing a Lexus sedan from LA Fitness on Buckland Road in 2015. Police said he admitted that he went through unlocked lockers until he found a key fob, then went to the parking lot and pressed the unlock button until finding the car, then took it for a “joy ride.” 

Police said Booth also admitted to taking part in the theft of a Hyundai sedan. 

Detectives later obtained two arrest warrants for Booth, who has been charged larceny in the second degree and conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

Man Accused of Taking Part in Robbery and Assault


A South Windsor man has been arrested, accused of taking part in a robbery and assault. 

The victim contacted police on Jan. 22 and said he’d met two men at a Manchester bar and they eventually drove to Vibert Road, where one of the men took his handgun, cell phone, wallet and jacket, assaulted him and left. 

Detectives reviewed video and eventually identified 26-year-old Austin Harris, of South Windsor, and another man as the suspects and arrest warrants were obtained for both men, police said. 

Harris was arrested on Thursday and he was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery in the third degree, conspiracy to commit assault in the third degree, conspiracy to commit kidnapping in the second degree and conspiracy to commit theft of a firearm. 

He was later released on a $250,000 surety bond and is scheduled to appear at Manchester Superior Court on Aug. 3.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

What Happens If John McCain Leaves the Senate?


After Sen. John McCain's brain cancer diagnosis, the six-term Arizona senator declared he would "be back soon" to attend to his duties in the legislative branch — but the political ramifications of his exit could be substantial, NBC News reported.

According to Arizona law, the state governor would appoint a member of the same party to fill a Senate vacancy until the next regularly scheduled general election, which would be in November 2018. 

If McCain left the Senate seat vacant before the midterm elections, Arizona would have two Senate elections in 2018 — an extremely rare event.

Elections would be contentious between Democrats and Republicans in a state where voter demographics are rapidly changing — raising the stakes for both parties.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

12-Year-Old in Critical Condition After He Was Hit by Car


A 12-year-old boy is in critical condition after a car struck him as he was riding his bike in Shelton last night. 

Police said the boy was hit at Maltby and Gilbert streets around 6:30 p.m. and the driver, a 34-year-old Oxford woman, remained at the scene and is cooperating with investigators. 

The boy was treated at the scene and transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital. He has serious injuries and is in critical condition. 

Police said the child was not wearing a helmet. 

The Shelton Police Department Accident Reconstruction Team was called to investigate because the child sustained serious injuries.

Witnesses are asked to call Shelton police at 203-924-1544.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Another Truck Stuck Under Bridge on Campbell Avenue in West Haven

Guns N’ Roses Tour Is Coming to Hartford


Hartford will be one of the stops rock band Guns n’ Roses will make during the 2017 Not in This Lifetime tour.  

The legendary band will be at the XL Center on Monday, Oct. 23. Tickets will go on sale for the general public on Friday, July 28 at 10 a.m.  

The tour comes on the 30th anniversary of Guns n’ Roses’ debut album “Appetite for Destruction,” which Billboard Magazine called the biggest-selling debut in U.S. history.  

Citi card members will have access to the presale, which begins on Monday, July 24 at 10 a.m. local time through Citi’s Private Pass, according to Live Nation.  

Presale for AT&T customers will begin on Thursday, July 27 at 10 p.m. local time. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Woman Faints Waiting in DMV Line in Derby


A woman was taken to the hospital after she fainted while waiting in line at the DMV office in Derby. 

Today is the last day the Derby DMV will be open before closing indefinitely and officials from the DMV said the woman, who is elderly, fainted around 10 a.m. and sustained cuts on her face. 

Staff from the Derby DMV passed out water bottles to people waiting in line.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

No Duty for Teens to Rescue Drowning Man, Legal Experts Say


It may be reprehensible and morally outrageous, but legal experts say a group of Florida teens had no obligation to rescue a drowning disabled man who they instead mocked, laughed at and recorded on a video that was later posted online.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in a 2012 legal argument, summarized that across the U.S. there's no general duty to render aid to someone in distress.

"You don't have the duty to rescue someone if that person is in danger. The blind man is walking in front of a car and you do not have a duty to stop him absent some relation between you," Kennedy said in arguments on the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare."

Kennedy added that there are "some severe moral criticisms of that rule, but that's generally the rule."

The case in central Florida's Brevard County involves the July 9 drowning of Jamel Dunn, 31, in a retention pond. Police in the city of Cocoa discovered later that five teenagers, ages 14 to 16, had made a video of the drowning, which was published Friday by Florida Today . The teens can be heard laughing at Dunn, telling him he's going die and that they weren't going to help him as he struggled and screamed.

Police identified and interviewed the five teens involved. The office of State Attorney Phil Archer determined there was no immediate indication that a crime was committed because state law does not require people give or call for help when someone is in distress. Archer's office said Friday prosecutors will review the entire police file to see if any other criminal violations might apply.

"We're doing to give a thorough review to all the evidence," spokesman Todd Brown said.

Many countries, including Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and Russia, do have laws requiring people to render aid, even if it means only summoning authorities. And violations in some countries can result in prison time.

But Florida's law is hardly unique across the U.S., legal experts said.

"Generally, throughout the U.S., there is no duty to rescue," said David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice. Still, he added: "It seems like common sense that those kids should have tried to help the guy instead of filming it."

There are some differences in various states, but Weinstein said exceptions typically include required assistance in car crashes; for people in special relationships with others such as police officers, firefighters, teachers, married couples, common carriers such as bus drivers and employers; and if you yourself put the other person in danger in the first place.

Some states, such as Nebraska, require most people — especially professionals — to report suspected child abuse or face possible misdemeanor charges, said attorney Jeffrey Lapin in Lincoln, Nebraska. He agreed the Florida teenagers committed no crime.

"While it is morally and ethically wrong, it is not illegal to not render aid or make extremely despicable comments," Lapin said in an email Friday.

Lapin pointed that in the final episode of the sitcom "Seinfeld," the four main characters are convicted of violating a purported city ordinance by failing to assist an overweight man who is getting carjacked — instead joking about the man's large size and doing nothing. The judge character said the four had "callous indifference and utter disregard" for a positive society.

Most U.S. states have no such laws.

There are situations in which U.S. law does require assistance to be rendered. One of those is on the high seas, where federal law requires the "master" of any vessel under U.S. jurisdiction to help anyone "found at sea in danger of being lost," according to the statute. A 1989 international treaty extends that obligation to mariners around the world.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia also have "Good Samaritan" laws aimed at protecting people from being sued for anything they did while rendering aid or attempting to rescue someone in danger. There are exceptions to those laws as well.

Man Charged in Tolland Road Rage Incident


A 23-year-old Tolland man has been arrested after he was accused of pointing a gun at someone during a road rage incident on Thursday night.

When police responded to a gas station on Route 195 in Tolland just before 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the victim said a man in a black Nissan was following closely behind him, so he yelled for the man to back away, police said.

That’s when the driver of the Nissan pulled up next to the victim, pulled out a gun, chambered a round and pointed the barrel of a gun at him, police said.

Police identified William Bogner, 23, of Tolland, as the suspect.

When police spoke with him, he denied being involved, but police said the description from the victim “substantially matched Bogner’s appearance.”

They also said they saw a gun on the kitchen table and it was registered to Bogner.

He was charged with first-degree threatening, reckless endangerment and breach of peace and is due in court on Aug. 1.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Warm Weather Continues into Saturday


The warm weather continues with temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s throughout the state. The warmer temperatures will continue into the first half of the weekend. 

We're forecasting temperatures to reach the low 90s in the Hartford area today. That will bring it to day four of the heat wave. A heat wave is when there are three or more consecutive days with temperatures at or above 90 degrees.

Saturday's weather features mostly cloudy skies. Temperatures will be warm with a light wind out of the northwest. We're forecasting high temperatures in the middle to upper 80s statewide. 

The chance for rain showers increase as we head into Sunday and especially by Sunday evening. 

A low pressure system will track to the south of Connecticut Sunday afternoon. This could usher in some scattered rain shower or an isolated thunderstorm Sunday afternoon into Sunday evening.  

Rain and thunderstorms become more widespread as we head into Monday. 

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Vandals Topple Headstones at Jewish Cemetery in Hartford


Vandals struck at a Jewish cemetery in the North End of Hartford and caused several thousand dollars worth of damage. 

According to Hartford police, 60 headstones were knocked over at the Ateres Knesseth Israel Cemeteryat FD Oates Avenue and Garden Street at some point between Monday and Friday.

The president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford said the damage ranges from $5,000 to $10,000. 

Police are investigating.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police

Girls Head to Camp to Learn Firefighter Skills


A summer camp designed to teach teenage girls the basic skills of becoming a firefighter or paramedic, kicked off Friday in East Granby.

National and state certified instructors, many of them female, will teach the teens CPR for children and adults.

On Friday, each teen was given a rope and learned how to tie eight different knots that firefighters use on the job for everything from securing cars at a crash to rescuing someone in a river.

As the weeks go on, they will learn about dispatching and they will become familiar with the tools and techniques firefighters use such as hoses, ladders and extinguishers.

It is a four-week camp held every Friday, designed to inspire young teenage girls to consider jobs in public service.

“The sky is the limit for these young ladies. They’re going to learn some major life skills and it’s real important for me to make sure they understand they are so capable and no one can tell them no,” said Lt. Shelly Carter, with the Hartford Fire Department.

Back-Slapping Hedge Fund Magnate Scaramucci Reaches WH


Anthony Scaramucci, the back-slapping Wall Street hedge fund magnate, is a long-time Republican donor and fundraiser who once criticized Donald J. Trump, the presidential candidate, CNBC reported.

But he eventually became one of Trump's biggest defenders, and after months of delays he is finally getting what he has worked for behind the scenes since last year: a position in the Trump White House.

He was originally going to be a White House adviser and liaison to the business community. That didn't happen. Then he was offered the post of U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That didn't happen. In June, he was named chief strategy officer of the Export-Import Bank.

Now, he is White House communications director.

Photo Credit: AP

15 Gallons of Fuel Spills at Gas Station in Colchester


About 15 gallons of fuel spilled at a gas station in Colchester on Friday. 

Colchester Fire Department said crews responded to the scene for a fuel spill from a vehicle at the Volero gas station on Old Hartford Road at 3:43 p.m. 

Firefighters were able to mitigate the hazards with foam, Colchester Fire Department Captain Georg Papp said.

The cause of the spill is still under investigation.

Papp said there is no risk to the public. 

The gas station remains closed.

DEEP has been contacted. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Man Used Babies to Steal Sunglasses: Cops


Police in Bucks County were on the lookout Friday for a man caught on camera using two babies to steal sunglasses. 

Officials said the man walked into the Design for Vision store in Newtown Township on Wednesday carrying two babies in car seats and tried on sunglasses for about a half hour.

The cameras show the man putting sunglasses on the babies before slipping the eyewear behind the babies into the carriers and then walking out of the store.

Officials said he made off with several pairs of the glasses worth about $1,000.

Anyone with information about the man is asked to submit a tip to the Newtown Township Police.

Photo Credit: Newtown Township Police Dept.

Man Swept Off Sandbar in Milford Presumed Dead


A28-year-old Stratford man who went missing after a wave swept him off a sandbar and into Long Island Sound in Milford is presumed dead.

The victim was not found and all search teams have been called off for the rest of Friday night. 

Two men rode their bikes to the beach from Stratford and were on a sandbar at Silver Sands when a wave pulled them into the Sound, police said.

The incident happenedaround 12:45 p.m. on Friday. The U.S. Coast Guard and a helicopter were called in to assist in searching the water. 

People in a private boat rescued one man but the other went under. Crews were looking to recover the second man's body during the day but were unsuccessful. 

Milford Fire Marine units were searching for the missing man, who was wearing a backpack, according to police.

Officials from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said the incident took place outside the designated swimming areas so there would have been no life guards around.

It was posted that there were no life guards around these areas, DEEP said.

In addition, DEEP said there were no life guards on duty today even at the designated swimming areas because the department has been having issues recruiting enough guards. While they have the money to hire, they can't find people who are correctly certified. 

(Correction 2:43 p.m.: Fire officials initially said the rescued man was wearing a life jacket.  Police later said that was not the case.)

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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