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Trump's day in court as criminal defendant: What to know NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in history, a former U.S. president has appeared in court as a criminal defendant.

Trump's day in court as criminal defendant: What to know

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in history, a former U.S. president has appeared in court as a criminal defendant.

Donald Trump surrendered to authorities Tuesday after being indicted by a New York grand jury on charges related to hush-money payments at the height of the 2016 presidential election.

Trump, a 2024 presidential candidate, pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges in a Manhattan courtroom. He then flew home to Florida and spoke to a crowd of supporters at his home.

Here’s what to know about Trump’s day in court:



Violence in Jerusalem at mosque raises fear of more fighting

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police stormed into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City early Wednesday, firing stun grenades at Palestinian youths who hurled firecrackers at them in a burst of violence during a sensitive holiday season. Palestinian militants in Gaza responded with rocket fire on southern Israel, prompting repeated Israeli airstrikes.

The fighting, coming as Muslims mark the holiday month of Ramadan and Jews prepare to begin the Passover festival on Wednesday evening, raised fears of a wider conflagration. Similar clashes two years ago erupted into a bloody 11-day war between Israel and the ruling Hamas militant group in Gaza. The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said that dozens of worshippers who were spending the night praying were injured in the police raid. The Israeli military said one soldier was shot in a separate incident in the occupied West Bank.

The mosque sits on a sensitive hilltop compound holy to both Jews and Muslims. Al-Aqsa is the third-holiest site in Islam and is typically packed with worshippers during Ramadan. Overnight, the scene of festive holiday-makers picnicking and praying at the holy site transformed into one of violence, as Israeli police stormed into the mosque, firing tear gas and stun grenades that shattered stained-glass windows and fiercely beating worshippers with clubs and rifle butts, witnesses said.

The spot, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is also the holiest site in Judaism, revered as the location of the biblical Jewish temples. The conflicting claims fuel constant tensions that have spilled over to violence numerous times in the past.

Since Ramadan began March 22, scores of Muslim worshippers have been trying to stay overnight in the mosque, a practice that is typically permitted only during the last 10 days of the monthlong holiday. Israeli police have entered nightly to evict the worshippers, stirring tensions with young Palestinians who demand to pray at the holy site until dawn.


Zelenskyy visits Poland to thank ally and meet Ukrainians

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife were welcomed with military honors in Poland Wednesday at the start of a state visit that is meant as a gesture of thanks to the neighboring nation for its crucial support in Ukraine's defense against Russia's invasion.

The visit is a rare foray for Zelenskyy out of Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022. While it follows visits to the United States, Britain, France and Belgium, it stands out from the others because it was announced in advance without the secrecy of past trips.

It is also unusual that the president is joined by the first lady, Olena Zelenska. Marcin Przydacz, the head of Polish President Andrzej Duda’s foreign policy office, described it as Zelenskyy's first visit of this kind since the war began.

At a welcome ceremony in the courtyard of the royal palace, while Duda and the two countries’ first ladies were dressed in formal attire, Zelensky wore his signature dark sweatshirt and khaki trousers as a show of support for Ukraine’s fight.

While Zelenskyy’s trips last February to London, Paris and Brussels were part of his push for warplanes and for Ukraine’s European Union and NATO membership, and his visit to Washington last December was to shore up U.S. political support, the journey to Warsaw was intended primarily to thank a country that has been an international cheerleader for Ukraine.


Takeaways from AP's report on elite Russian defector

LONDON (AP) — In October, an officer in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s elite personal security service defected while on a business trip in Kazakhstan.

Now a wanted man in Russia, Gleb Karakulov spoke out for the first time in a series of interviews with the Dossier Center, an investigative group in London funded by Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The AP took steps to review and verify the material.

“Our president has become a war criminal,” said the 35-year-old engineer. “It is time to end this war and stop being silent.”

Karakulov is one of few Russians to flee and go public who have rank, as well as knowledge of intimate details of Putin’s life. Karakulov was a captain in Russia’s secretive Federal Protective Service. or FSO, tasked with setting up secure communications for the Russian president and prime minister.

Here’s what he had to say about Putin and the war in Ukraine.


Johnson elected Chicago mayor in victory for progressives

CHICAGO (AP) — Brandon Johnson, a union organizer and former teacher, was elected as Chicago's next mayor Tuesday in a major victory for the Democratic Party’s progressive wing as the heavily blue city grapples with high crime and financial challenges.

Johnson, a Cook County commissioner endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union, won a close race over former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas, who was backed by the police union. Johnson, 47, will succeed Lori Lightfoot, the first Black woman and first openly gay person to be the city’s mayor.

Lightfoot became the first Chicago mayor in 40 years to lose her reelection bid when she finished third in a crowded February contest.

Johnson’s victory in the nation's third-largest city capped a remarkable trajectory for a candidate who was little known when he entered the race last year. He climbed to the top of the field with organizing and financial help from the politically influential Chicago Teachers Union and high-profile endorsements from progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Sanders appeared at a rally for Johnson in the final days of the race.

Taking the stage Tuesday night for his victory speech, a jubilant Johnson thanked his supporters for helping usher in “a new chapter in the history of our city.” He promised that under his administration, the city would look out for everyone, regardless of how much money they have, whom they love or where they come from.


Democrats' choice wins key Wisconsin Supreme Court race

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Democratic-backed Milwaukee judge won the high stakes Wisconsin Supreme Court race Tuesday, ensuring liberals will take over majority control of the court for the first time in 15 years with the fate of the state’s abortion ban on the line.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz, 60, defeated former Justice Dan Kelly, who previously worked for Republicans and had support from the state’s leading anti-abortion groups.

The victory speaks to the importance of abortion as an issue for Democrats in a key swing state, with turnout the highest ever for a Wisconsin Supreme Court race that didn't share the ballot with a presidential primary.

In a jubilant scene at her victory party, the other three liberal justices on the court joined Protasiewicz on the stage and raised their arms in celebration.

Protasiewicz tried to downplay the importance of abortion as an issue in her victory, even though she and her allies, including an array of abortion rights groups including Planned Parenthood, made it the focus of much of her advertising and messaging to voters.


For McCarthy and Taiwan's leader, visit marks historic first

WASHINGTON (AP) — The moment will be historic — a U.S. House speaker meeting with the president of Taiwan for a rare visit on American soil, a high-profile encounter designed to boost support for the island government but already drawing blowback from an enraged China.

For Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen the meeting Wednesday with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California is the most sensitive stop on her transit through the U.S. and Central America, a whirlwind diplomatic mission that is delicate, secretive and politically fraught.

But for the newly elected House speaker it is the start of his foray into foreign affairs. The Republican leader has focused more on domestic politics at home than international concerns abroad. Outspoken, even bellicose, against China, McCarthy sends a potentially provocative nod of support to Taiwan with the meeting.

“It’s a very good debut,” said Newt Gingrich, the Republican former speaker who led a delegation to Taiwan decades ago and advises McCarthy.

“I think it’s a useful thing to communicate to a country — that’s under enormous pressure — that they have real allies,” Gingrich said. The Taiwanese, he said, will “see it as a morale boost.”


Report: Husband of ex-Scottish leader arrested

LONDON (AP) — The husband of former Scottish first minister and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has been arrested in a party finance probe, British media reported Wednesday.

Police in Scotland did not identify Peter Murrell as the 58-year old man arrested Wednesday “in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party." However, Britain’s Press Association, the BBC and others reported it was Murrell.

“Clearly it would not be appropriate to comment on any live police investigation but the SNP have been cooperating fully with this investigation and will continue to do so," the party said in a statement released after the arrest.

Sturgeon, 52, announced her resignation in February after eight years as party leader and first minster of Scotland’s semi-autonomous government. Sturgeon said at that time that serving well was knowing when to make way for someone else.

“In my head and in my heart I know that time is now,” she said. “That it’s right for me, for my party and my country.”


Risk of severe storms persists from Texas to Great Lakes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Severe thunderstorms were expected to bring hail, strong winds — and the threat of tornadoes — to parts of the Midwest and South that are reeling from a weekend of deadly weather.

Officials warned residents to have shelter ready Tuesday night before going to sleep.

At least two tornadoes were confirmed Tuesday in Illinois as storms targeted the state and eastern Iowa and southwest Wisconsin before nightfall. Areas of southern Missouri, Arkansas, southwestern Oklahoma and northeastern Texas were most at risk overnight.

“This could be a night to just set up down in the basement to be safe,” Tom Philip, a meteorologist in Davenport, Iowa, said Tuesday.

The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings in Iowa and Illinois on Tuesday evening and said a confirmed twister was spotted southwest of Chicago near Bryant, Illinois. Officials said another tornado touched down Tuesday morning in the western Illinois community of Colona. Local news reports showed wind damage to some businesses there.


Robotaxis aim to take San Francisco on ride into the future

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two trailblazing ride-hailing services are heading toward uncharted territory as they seek regulatory approval to transport passengers around the clock throughout one of the most densely populated U.S. cities in vehicles that will have no one sitting in the driver’s seat.

If Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, and Waymo, a spinoff from Google, reach their goal before year's end, San Francisco would become the first U.S. city with two totally driverless services competing against Uber, Lyft and traditional taxis — all of which depend on people to control the automobiles.

But Cruise and Waymo still must navigate around potential roadblocks, including complaints about their vehicles making unexpected, traffic-clogging stops that threaten to inconvenience other travelers and imperil public safety.

Cruise already has been charging people for driverless rides in less congested parts of San Francisco during night-time hours since last June. Waymo has been giving free driverless rides in a broader swath of the city while awaiting clearance to begin charging passengers in robotic vehicles that Google secretly began working on 14 years ago.

The effort to unleash dueling driverless services throughout San Francisco is shaping up to be just the first step in a far more ambitious expansion centered in California — a state where more than 35 million vehicles driven by humans are currently registered.

The Associated Press