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Top eight today

Top eight stories for today including a criminal trial in Paris is reopening the still-healing wounds of a horrific Islamic State terrorist attack; A woman who co-founded the cult-like self-help organization NXIVM was sentenced to three and a half years in prison; A Florida judge said public schools can now require students and staff to wear masks, and more.

Your Wednesday night briefing from the staff of Courthouse News

National

1.) The former president of NXIVM will spend three and a half years in prison after more than two decades at the top of of the Albany area cult-like self-help organization that she co-founded with Keith Raniere. 

In the sex-trafficking trial of NXIVM leader Keith Raniere, prosecutors introduced this photo showing the “first-line masters” of DOS, a secretive sex cult within the group. Raniere, their “master," is pictured at center, with Lauren Salzman in the top-left corner. The government redacted the image of Camila as she is a sex-crime victim. (Image courtesy of U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York via Courthouse News)

2.) A Pennsylvania man who chartered buses to bring 200 people to former President Donald Trump’s Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6 pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor offense in the Capitol riot. 

Frank Scavo poses in front of a painting at the U.S. Capitol during a riot that sought to overthrow the government on Jan. 6, 2021. (Image via Courthouse News)

3.) Announcing nine appointments to the federal bench, the White House touted President Joe Biden on Wednesday for continuing to a judicial-nominating commitment that recognizes diverse professional and racial backgrounds.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh laughs at a 2016 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee after an emotional introduction to her family and supporters in the gallery. (Image via Courthouse News)

Regional

4.) Attorneys for Elizabeth Holmes acknowledged the disgraced former CEO of the blood-testing company Theranos made mistakes in her role as the leader of the Silicon Valley company but did not commit fraud as accused by the federal government.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes speaks at the Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco on Nov. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

5.) The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struggled Wednesday to figure out whether police can use trickery to conduct unlimited surveillance of social media accounts even if they have no reason to think that anyone did anything wrong.

Justice Scott Kafker voiced discomfort at oral arguments Wednesday about police secretly using social media to indiscriminately catch criminals. “It’s concerning that they can just go through people’s social media and go hunting."

6.) A Florida judge said on Wednesday that public schools in the Sunshine State can now require students and staff to wear masks to prevent Covid-19 transmission.

A student wearing a face mask to protect against Covid-19 raises his hand in class at Miami’s iPrep Academy on Aug. 23, 2021, the first day of school. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

7.) Virginia Governor Ralph Northam wasted no time removing a 130-year-old statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a prominent Richmond street Wednesday morning. 

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is removed by workers in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday. (Brad Kutner/Courthouse News Service)

International

8.) The largest criminal trial in modern French history began on Wednesday when prosecutors opened their case against 20 men who were allegedly involved in the Islamic State's horrific November 2015 terrorist attacks in central Paris.

Security forces guard an entrance to the Palace of Justice in Paris on Wednesday. France is putting on trial 20 men accused in the Islamic State group's 2015 attacks on Paris that left 130 people dead and hundreds injured. (Francois Mori/AP)

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