July 19 News Briefs

Friday, July 19, 2019

Video shows Trump, Epstein at 1992 Mar-a-Lago party

WASHINGTON (AP) — Video footage unearthed by NBC News shows Donald Trump and wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein chatting at a party at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in 1992. NBC said the video posted Wednesday was recorded as part of a profile of Trump, who was newly divorced at the time. It shows the future president surrounded by young women, whom NBC identifies as cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills.

Later in the video, Epstein arrives at Trump's Florida estate, and the two men are seen talking and gesturing at the women on the dance floor.

Epstein is currently in jail, facing federal charges in New York of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls in the early 2000s. His indictment, unsealed last week, shows conspiracy and sex trafficking charges that could result in up to 45 years in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty.

Trump has acknowledged that he knew Epstein but said he "wasn't a fan." "I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him," Trump said earlier this month. "He was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don't think I've spoken to him for 15 years."

Trump's Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta stepped down last week amid the tumult over his handling of a 2008 secret plea deal with Epstein.

Acosta was the U.S. attorney in Miami when he oversaw a 2008 non-prosecution agreement that allowed Epstein to avoid federal trial but plead guilty to state charges and serve 13 months in jail. The deal ended a federal sex abuse investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls that could have landed Epstein behind bars for life.

Environmental head announces $2M program for Great Lakes

CLEVELAND (AP) — The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $2 million grant program to clean up the shorelines and waters of the Great Lakes.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an appearance Friday in Cleveland says the grants will be available to state and local governments, nonprofit groups and universities for cleanup programs. Wheeler says removing trash from U.S. waterways is an EPA priority.

The program is part of the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It will fund up to a dozen projects, with the largest amount set at $500,000. The EPA is seeking projects that will address trash on beaches, shorelines, harbors and rivers. It will also fund litter prevention and education programs.

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