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LONOKE, Ark. (AP) — A former Arkansas sheriff’s deputy charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a white teenager whose death has drawn the attention of civil rights activists was released Monday on $15,000 bond.

Michael Davis, a former sergeant with the Lonoke County sheriff’s office, is set to appear again in court on Nov. 15, Little Rock television station KTHV reported.

Davis was charged Friday with felony manslaughter in the death of 17-year-old Hunter Brittain.

Davis, who is white, shot Brittain during a June 23 traffic stop. Davis was fired by Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley in July after Staley said the former deputy did not turn on his body camera until after the shooting.

Investigators have said Brittain was holding a container at the time of the shooting and that they did not find any firearms in or around the teen’s truck.

Davis’ attorney has said the former deputy plans to plead not guilty.

Brittain was eulogized by the Rev. Al Sharpton and two attorneys who represented George Floyd’s family. They said the teen’s death highlighted the need for interracial support for changes in policing. Brittain’s family and friends have regularly demonstrated outside the Lonoke County sheriff’s office, demanding more details on the shooting.

Floyd died in May last year when a white Minneapolis police officer used his knee to pin the handcuffed Black man’s neck to the ground. His death sparked nationwide protests over policing and racial inequality.


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THREE RIVERS, Calif. (AP) — Four famous giant sequoias were not harmed by a wildfire that reached the edge of Giant Forest in California’s Sequoia National Park, authorities said.

The Four Guardsmen, a group of trees that form a natural entryway on the road to the forest, were successfully protected from the KNP Complex fire by the removal of nearby vegetation and by wrapping fire-resistant material around the bases of the trees, the firefighting management team said in a statement Sunday.

The KNP Complex began as two lightning-sparked fires that eventually merged and has scorched more than 37 square miles (96 square kilometers) in the heart of sequoia country on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.

There was no immediate word, however, on the extent of damage in several other sequoia groves reached by a separate blaze, the Windy Fire, in the Giant Sequoia National Monument area of Sequoia National Forest and the Tule River Indian Reservation.

The Windy Fire has burned through the Peyrone and Red Hill groves, as well as a portion of the Long Meadow Grove along the Trail of 100 Giants.

“Generally fires can be destructive however low-intensity fires can be beneficial to giant sequoia trees. A damage assessment will be done in these groves when it is safe to do so,” a Sequoia National Forest statement said Sunday.

The Windy Fire has scorched more than 37 square miles (95 square kilometers).

The KNP Complex forced the evacuation of Sequoia National Park last week, and on Sunday much of adjacent Kings Canyon National Park was closed. Visitors to areas that were still open were warned of hazardous air quality due to smoke.

A large area of Northern California was under a red flag warning for extreme fire danger Monday due to dry offshore winds that can raise fire danger.

The warning did not extend into Southern California, but forecasters said there would be weak Santa Ana winds and significant warming — elevating the risk of wildfires.

Historic drought tied to climate change is making wildfires harder to fight. It has killed millions of trees in California alone. Scientists say climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

More than 7,000 wildfires in California this year have damaged or destroyed more than 3,000 homes and other buildings and torched well over 3,000 square miles (7,770 square kilometers) of land, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.


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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer for Donald Trump’s indicted corporate finance chief told a judge Monday he has “strong reason to believe” more indictments are coming in an ongoing New York investigation into the former president’s real estate empire.

Lawyer Bryan Scarlatos made the remark during Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg’s first court appearance since his July 1 arraignment on tax fraud charges. Scarlatos did not say what led him to believe more people would be charged in the closely watched case.

In recent weeks, a pair of Trump Organization executives have testified before a grand jury, which is continuing to meet behind closed doors to hear testimony and review evidence in the case.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined comment.

“Mr. Weisselberg is separate from the Trump Organization. He is the only individual here whose liberty is at stake,” Scarlatos said. “What I am concerned about is that he will become collateral damage in a larger fight between the Trump Organization and the DA’s office.”

Scarlatos raised the issue of more possible indictments while arguing for adequate time to review up to 6 million pages of documents that he said prosecutors are turning over as evidence, calling it “a herculean task” and saying new indictments would create a ”moving target.”

Prosecutors said Weisselberg is “no stranger” to many of the documents because they include Trump Organization business records that the executive likely produced or reviewed as part of his job.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan gave both sides until next spring to file motions and responses. He said he’d decide on motions at a July 12, 2022, hearing, the next time Weisselberg is due in court.

Merchan said he expected to set a trial date at that time and would likely schedule it for the end of August or beginning of September next year.

“The reason I mention it now is that it’s on everybody’s radar,” Merchan said. “I don’t have an exact date yet.”

Weisselberg has pleaded not guilty to charges he collected more than $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation, including apartment rent, car payments and school tuition.

Trump’s company is also charged in the case, which prosecutors have described as a “sweeping and audacious” tax fraud scheme.

Weisselberg sat quietly next to his lawyers at Monday’s brief hearing and didn’t speak to reporters on his way to and from court. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone wore masks and the courtroom had clear plastic partitions between various parties.

Trump himself has not been charged with any wrongdoing. He has condemned the case, the first to arise from New York authorities’ two-year investigation into the former president’s business dealings, as a “political Witch Hunt.”

Trump has said his company’s actions were standard practice in the business and in no way a crime.

According to the indictment, from 2005 through this year, the Trump Organization and Weisselberg cheated tax authorities by conspiring to pay senior executives off the books by way of lucrative fringe benefits and other means.

Weisselberg alone was accused of defrauding the federal government, state and city out of more than $900,000 in unpaid taxes and undeserved tax refunds.

The most serious charge against Weisselberg, grand larceny, carries five to 15 years in prison. The tax fraud charges against the company are punishable by a fine of double the amount of unpaid taxes, or $250,000, whichever is larger.

Weisselberg’s lawyers, Skarlatos and Mary Mulligan, said in a statement after Monday’s hearing that the indictment is “full of unsupported and flawed factual and legal assertions.”

“We look forward to challenging those assertions in court,” the lawyers said.

The 74-year-old Weisselberg has intimate knowledge of the Trump Organization’s financial dealings from nearly five decades at the company. The charges against him could enable prosecutors to pressure him to cooperate with the investigation and tell them what he knows, but so far there have been no signs of that.

The case is being led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats.

The Trump Organization is the entity through which the former president manages his many ventures, including his investments in office towers, hotels and golf courses, his many marketing deals and his TV pursuits.

Trump turned over day-to-day operations of the company to his sons Donald Jr. and Eric after he was elected president.

According to the indictment, Weisselberg paid rent on his Manhattan apartment with company checks and directed the company to pay for his utility bills and parking, too.

The company also paid for private school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren with checks bearing Trump’s signature, as well as for Mercedes cars driven by Weisselberg and his wife, and gave him cash to hand out tips around Christmas.

Such perks were listed on internal Trump company documents as being part of Weisselberg’s compensation but were not included on his W-2 forms or otherwise reported, and the company did not withhold taxes on their value, prosecutors said.

Trump’s company also issued checks, at Weisselberg’s request, to pay for personal expenses and upgrades to his homes and an apartment used by one of his sons, such as new beds, flat-screen TVs, carpeting and furniture, prosecutors said.

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Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak


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