Jan. 6 committee to hold (possibly) final hearing tomorrow – National & International News – WED 12Oct2022


Jan. 6 committee to hold (possibly) final hearing tomorrow. Jury to decide fate of Parkland school shooter. UN considers Haiti’s request for armed force to quell unrest.



Jan. 6 committee to hold (possibly) final hearing tomorrow

The Jan. 6 Committee will hold its last public hearing before the midterms (and possibly the last ever) tomorrow at 1pm ET/noon CT. The committee members have so far been fairly tight-lipped about what the focus of tomorrow’s hearing will be. It’s expected to be a closing argument of sorts to round off the series of hearings over the summer. Some media reports suggest that the focus will be on former President Trump’s personal role in stoking and orchestrating the violence that occurred.

The committee may draw on some of the 800,000 pages of material it has obtained from the Secret Service. Earlier this summer, it emerged that Secret Service members deleted all the texts from Jan. 5 and 6, blaming it on a system migration. The committee successfully subpoenaed their records and recovered at least some of these deleted texts.

It’s also possible that the committee could highlight recent testimony from Ginny Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas’ interview with the committee was not recorded on video but in transcript form. Texts between Ginny Thomas and Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have revealed that Thomas played a central role in the plot to have former Vice President Mike Pence reject the results of the election.

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Jury to decide fate of Parkland school shooter

On Valentine’s Day 2018, Nikolas Cruz, then 19, murdered 17 people and injured another 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Cruz pleaded guilty last year to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in a Miami courtroom. For the last few months, jurors have been hearing arguments about whether to sentence Cruz to death or life in prison. This included testimony from victim’s families, survivors of the attack and Cruz’s family members, as well as a trip to the high school where the rampage took place. There, the jury were able to see blood stains and bullet holes that are still visible on the building’s walls and floors.

Now, closing arguments in the sentencing trial are concluded and the jury will begin its deliberations. A death sentence on any of the charges requires a unanimous vote from the jury. If the jury votes unanimously on a death sentence, Judge Elizabeth Scherer can follow their recommendation or set it aside in favor of a life sentence.

Courtroom arguments

Prosecutors have argued that Cruz deserves the death penalty due to his carefully planned massacre. Before the killings, Cruz conducted extensive research about previous school shootings and police tactics. In a video, Cruz said before the massacre that it was his goal to kill at least 20 people.

Cruz’s attorneys have not disputed the premeditated nature of the attack and are open about Cruz’s violent fantasies. Instead, they appealed to jurors for leniency in light of Cruz’s hard upbringing. Cruz’s birth mother, a sex worker, used drugs and alcohol heavily while pregnant with him. She told a friend at the time she wasn’t concerned about the effects on the baby since she planned to put it up for adoption.

Since the killings, Cruz has been diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Despite a history of violent outbursts and disturbing behavior, Cruz never received the help he needed as school officials and his adopted family failed to act. This, Cruz’s attorneys say, set him up for failure both in school and his personal life.

While most victims’ family members who have spoken publicly favor the death penalty for Cruz, at least a few support a life sentence instead. Robert Schentrup, whose 16-year-old sister Carmen was killed in the massacre says, “Logically, it doesn’t follow for me that we say, ‘murdering someone is this horrible, heinous, awful, terrible thing, and in order to prove that point, we’re going to do it to someone else”. Schentrup’s parents disagree. His father Philip says “Carmen’s murderer expressed pride and joy in murdering Carmen and 16 other incredible people. We believe under Florida law a death sentence is the appropriate outcome”.

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Haiti requests international armed force to quell unrest; UN considering it

Haiti has experienced rapidly escalating social and political unrest since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last year. Moïse’s support within the country was minimal to begin with, but he had international backing. Even after Prime Minister Ariel Henry took power following the assassination, he’s struggled to establish any political legitimacy.

Armed gangs have taken advantage of the political vacuum to seize control over much of the country. The gangs now have a stranglehold on vital supplies, including fuel. The situation has quickly become dangerous and untenable for ordinary people.

Now in desperation, Henry has called for an armed international “peacekeeping force” into his country to re-establish order. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged member nations to respond individually, apparently preferring a UN peacekeeping force as a “last resort.

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