Nightly Brief

Your Thursday night briefing from the staff of Courthouse News

Top CNS stories for today including federal prosecutors giving immunity to the publisher of the National Enquirer in the ongoing probe related to payments made by Michael Cohen on behalf of then-candidate Donald Trump; the lawyer for accused Russian operative Mariia Butina receives a warning that his public statements on the case flout a court order; Rep. Duncan Hunter makes his first court appearance after being indicted this week for campaign finance violations; the 11th Circuit affirms Alabama cannot enforce its law that prohibits and criminalize second-trimester abortions unless the fetus is dead before it is extracted; a federal judge sentences Reality Winner to just over five years in prison for leaking top-secret records on Russia’s efforts to get Donald Trump elected president in 2016; refugees describe brutality by Balkans border police, and more.

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National

David Pecker, chairman and CEO of American Media, addresses those attending the Shape & Men’s Fitness Super Bowl Party in New York on Jan. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Marion Curtis)

1.) Thrusting President Donald Trump’s long history of favorable National Enquirer coverage into the spotlight, several news outlets reported Thursday that federal prosecutors have given immunity to the CEO of tabloid’s publisher.

Alleged Russian Agent Marina Butina. (Photo courtesy William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center)

2.) The lawyer for accused Russian operative Mariia Butina received a warning Thursday that his public statements on the case flout a court order.

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter pulls on his coat as he arrives for an arraignment hearing Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

3.) Protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in San Diego Thursday where Rep. Duncan Hunter made his first appearance after being indicted this week for campaign finance violations.

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4.) The U.S. government may have ignored scientific evidence that the rat poison used to protect illegal marijuana farms is killing the weasel-like Pacific fisher when it decided not to designate the animal for legal protection, a federal judge suggested Wednesday.

Vice President Mike Spence addresses a crowd of supporters at a public campaign event in Fargo, North Dakota on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 (Levi Lass/Courthouse News Service)

5.) A United States Space Force will be a reality by 2020, Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday, doubling-down on the administration’s goal of establishing a sixth branch of the armed forces.

Regional

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Atlanta.

6.) The 11th Circuit affirmed Wednesday that Alabama cannot enforce its law that prohibits and criminalize second-trimester abortions unless the fetus is dead before it is extracted.

Reality Winner arrives with a beaming smile at the federal courthouse in Augusta, Ga., on Aug. 23, 2018, for her sentencing after pleading guilty in June to leaking a classified document taken while she was working as a NSA contractor at Fort Gordon, Ga. (MICHAEL HOLAHAN/The Augusta Chronicle via AP)

7.) Following the government’s recommendation, a federal judge sentenced Reality Winner on Thursday to just over five years in prison for leaking top-secret records on Russia’s efforts to get Donald Trump elected president in 2016.

In this July 24, 2004, pool photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, right, of Austin, Texas, follows compatriot and teammate Floyd Landis, left, in the ascent of the La Croix Fry pass during the 17th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Bourg-d’Oisans and Le Grand Bornand, French Alps. (Bernard Papon/Pool Photo via AP, File)

8.) Drawing an eight-year legal battle to a close, a federal judge ordered the manager of Tailwind Sports to forfeit $1.2 million for his role in concealing Lance Armstrong’s career-long doping habit.

Science

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9.) As the Permian Basin region in Texas and New Mexico continues to experience a historic oil boom, a new study has found that water usage for hydraulic fracturing has increased nearly ninefold in the semi-arid region over a five-year period.

International

Omar Dyab, left, and Simon Murat, Syrian refugees, talk outside the Sarajevo train station about abuse they say they suffered at the hands of Croatian police during an attempt to enter Europe.  (CAIN BURDEAU, Courthouse News Service)

10.) Omar Dyab, a 33-year-old Syrian war refugee, shook his head. “Police in Croatia, Mafia,” he said with distaste. Dusk was settling over Sarajevo, the war-scarred capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina ringed by mountains, and shadows grew around the bleak central train station where Dyab and fellow Syrians seeking entry into Europe camped on the pavement.

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