First Thing: Jury finds Donald Trump sexually abused columnist E Jean Carroll | US news

Good morning.

A New York jury found yesterday that Donald Trump sexually abused the advice columnist E Jean Carroll in a New York department store changing room 27 years ago.

The verdict for the first time legally labels a former US president as a sexual predator. But as it is the result of a civil not criminal case, the only legal sanction Trump will face is financial.

In explaining a finding of sexual abuse to the jury, the judge said it had two elements: that Trump subjected Carroll to sexual contact without consent by use of force, and that it was for the purpose of sexual gratification.

The jury deliberated for less than three hours. It did not find Trump raped Carroll, but did find him liable for sexual abuse. It awarded about $5m in compensatory and punitive damages: about $2m on the sexual abuse count and close to $3m for defamation, for calling her a liar.

  • What did Carroll say after the verdict? As she was escorted to a car, Carroll said: “We’re very happy.”

  • What about Trump? Trump used his Truth Social platform to say: “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. The verdict is a disgrace – a continuation of the greatest witch-hunt of all time.” In his deposition, released to the public last week, Trump mistook a picture of Carroll in his company for a picture of his second wife, Marla Maples.

‘They were little’: photos show children illegally working in US slaughterhouse

Many sides of beef hang in a meat locker at Jones Meat & Food Services in Rigby, Idaho.Pin
The plant, run by the meat producer JBS, is one of the largest beef production plants in the US. Photograph: Natalie Behring/AFP/Getty Images

Harrowing photos released by the US labor department taken at a slaughterhouse plant in Nebraska show the conditions more than 100 children faced while illegally working for Packers Sanitation Services Incorporated (PSSI) before the department cracked down on the company for violating child labor laws.

The pictures show employees covered in protective gear, using chemicals to spray down and sanitize equipment. In some of the pictures, made public on Sunday by the television news show 60 Minutes, some of the employees appear to be young children, wearing protective face glasses and holding buckets.

In February, the labor department fined PSSI $1.5m for employing at least 102 children aged 13 to 17 across 13 meat-packing plants in eight states. The fine amounts to $15,138 for each child, the maximum penalty under federal law. The Wisconsin-based company is one of the largest food sanitation companies in the US and is contracted by meat plants to sanitize facilities. The company says it works with more than 725 partner plants.

The department started its investigation into PSSI in August 2022 after a middle school in Grand Island, Nebraska, notified police that a 14-year-old student came to school with acid burns on her hands and knees. The girl told staff that she was working night shifts at a local slaughterhouse plant. Teachers also noticed that other students were falling asleep in class after reportedly working at the plant at night.

  • What did the investigator say? “It seemed to be known within the community that minors either are or were working overnight shifts. They told us about children that were falling asleep in class, that they had burns, chemical burns. They were concerned for the safety of the kids. They were concerned that they weren’t able to stay awake and do their job, which is learning in school,” Shannon Rebolledo, a labor department investigator, told 60 Minutes.

New York congressman George Santos charged by federal prosecutors

George SantosPin
George Santos has been accused of lying about his mother, his ethnicity and his career. Photograph: Wade Vandervort/AFP/Getty Images

Federal prosecutors in New York have charged the congressman George Santos, the embattled House Republican who has been under scrutiny for months by the justice department over questions surrounding his 2022 campaign and finance activities, according to people familiar with the matter.

The exact nature of the indictment – earlier reported by CNN – is unclear because it remains under seal.

Santos is expected to turn himself in to authorities at the federal court in Brooklyn as soon as Wednesday morning, one of the people said. There, he is likely to make an initial appearance at an arraignment, where the specific charges against him are expected to be released.

The news of the indictment appears to have come as a surprise to Santos, who was informed about the charges on Tuesday hours before they were widely reported, and neither a spokesperson in his congressional office nor his attorney responded to a request for comment.

  • How did the charges come about? For months, the US attorney’s office for the eastern district of New York and the FBI have been pursuing several lines of inquiry over Santos’s federal campaign filings as part of a criminal investigation into whether he unlawfully used funds for non-election-related purposes.

In other news …

Senator Dianne FeinsteinPin
Few details emerged on the senator’s condition during her absence from the Senate. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP
  • The US Senator Dianne Feinstein, 89, will return to Washington on Tuesday after a months-long absence because of illness, her spokesperson said, restoring the Democrats’ 51-49 majority to full strength. She last voted in the Senate in February and her absence has spurred calls for her to resign.

  • President Joe Biden and top lawmakers agreed yesterday to further talks aimed at breaking a deadlock over raising the $31.4tn US debt limit, with just three weeks before the US could be forced into an unprecedented default. Biden, McCarthy and others were expected to meet again on Friday.

  • The conservative supreme court justice Clarence Thomas must resign, an ethics watchdog said yesterday, citing revelations about Thomas’s failure to declare lavish gifts and financial support from a Republican mega-donor, Harlan Crow. Thomas has said he did not declare gifts from Crow, including luxury travel and resort stays, because he was advised not to do so, but will do so in future.

  • The gunman who killed eight people and wounded seven others at a suburban Dallas shopping mall had no prior criminal record but had “neo-Nazi ideation”, authorities said yesterday. Investigators are trying to determine why Mauricio Garcia opened fire on Saturday.

Stat of the day: Fox reports $54m loss for first three months of 2023

Fox News headquarters in New York City on 12 April 2023.Pin
Fox News headquarters in New York City on 12 April 2023. Photograph: Yuki Iwamura/AP

The US TV company Fox Corporation reported a $54m loss for the first three months of 2023, after the company agreed to settle a lawsuit over claims that its Fox News division defamed electronic voting systems supplier Dominion in the aftermath of the contentious 2020 US presidential election. The company said the loss was mostly “due to charges associated with legal settlement costs at Fox News Media”. On an earnings call with analysts on Tuesday, the Fox Corp chief executive, Lachlan Murdoch, said the $787.5m settlement was a “business decision to resolve the dispute to avoid the acrimony of this trial and a multi-year appeal process”.

Fox News is still facing a $2.7bn lawsuit from a second voting machine manufacturer, Smartmatic, which Murdoch said was “fundamentally different” from the Dominion case. He predicted that the case, filed in New York, would not go to trial until 2025.

Don’t miss this: ‘Oh my God, Obama’s stopping by for pasta’: can New York’s Carbone survive its own success?

In the middle of busy dinner rush Chef William Cox, center, checks a pasta dish at Carbone in Manhattan, September 2015.Pin
In the middle of busy dinner rush a chef, William Cox, center, checks a pasta dish at Carbone in Manhattan. Photograph: The Washington Post/Getty Images

It was a decade ago this spring that the Italian-American restaurant Carbone opened its doors and since then, the New York City eatery has become one of the toughest reservations in the world. “The list of people I’ve gotten a chance to cook for has been pretty remarkable,” says Carbone’s business partner, chef Rich Torrisi, with wide-eyed enthusiasm. “But when President Obama was still president and he came to Carbone, that was like: ‘Oh my God, the leader of the free world is stopping by for pasta.’” (The 44th president sat at table 45 and ordered a dirty martini.)

Snagging a seat at Carbone’s flagship New York location has become a power move that not even the A-listers Justin and Hailey Bieber can always finagle. As was breathlessly reported by the tabloids at the time, they were (gasp!) turned away last summer after arriving without a reservation. (They eventually scored a seat in January when the pop star sold his $200m music catalog.)

Climate check: Republicans take aim at Biden’s climate plan in debt ceiling fight

Joe Biden and Kevin McCartyPin
Joe Biden will meet the House speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday to discuss the debt ceiling. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

Amid warnings about looming fiscal catastrophe, the GOP is attempting to use Biden’s climate agenda as a bargaining chip over raising the debt ceiling – even if it could hurt Republican voters. Late last month, House Republicans narrowly passed the speaker, Kevin McCarthy’s, proposal to raise the government’s debt ceiling in exchange for sweeping cuts to federal spending.

Known as the Limit, Save, Grow Act, the proposal – which is unlikely to progress through the Democrat-majority Senate and which the president says he would veto – would repeal most of the new renewable energy tax incentives codified in the Inflation Reduction Act. The act dedicated $369bn to climate and renewable energy policies, constituting the largest downpayment on climate policy in US history. But the GOP proposal would gut most of those provisions.

Last Thing: US man leaves job interview, rescues baby in runaway stroller, then lands job

Ron Nessman stops a baby stroller that was rolling into the path of traffic after being blown by wind in California.Pin
Ron Nessman stops a baby stroller that was rolling into the path of traffic after being blown by wind in California. Photograph: A1 Hand Car Wash surveillance video

Having experienced homelessness and unemployment for years, Ron Nessman was leaving a job interview at an Applebee’s restaurant in California when a baby in a stroller rolling into the path of several cars captured his attention. Nessman sprinted into the street, stopped the stroller, saved the child from harm – and landed his first job in years to cap off a story that has interrupted a US news cycle dominated by headlines about mass killings and bitter partisan politics. The video of Nessman’s leaping into life-saving action circulated widely on social media. Nessman told the California news station KNSD that relatives as far away as Florida and Missouri had seen the footage.

“I didn’t even have time to think about it,” Nessman told the local news station KOVR-TV when reflecting on his actions, which many have hailed as heroic. “You just react.”

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