Woman describes frequent abuse by R. Kelly; Browns QB Deshaun Watson suspended for 11 games | Hot off the Wire podcast

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A woman who has been central to R. Kelly’s legal troubles for more than two decades has testified that the R&B singer sexually abused her “hundreds” of times before she turned 18 years old, starting when she was just 15.

Jane — the pseudonym for the 37-year-old woman at Kelly’s trial on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges — told jurors Thursday that in the late 1990s when she was 13, she asked Kelly to be her godfather because she saw him as an inspiration and mentor. She said within weeks, Kelly would call her and say sexual things. She said he first touched her touched her breasts when she was 14 and that they first had sex when she was 15.

Deshaun Watson has reached a settlement with the NFL and will serve an 11-game unpaid suspension and pay a $5 million fine rather than risk missing his first season as quarterback of the Cleveland Browns following accusations of sexual misconduct.

A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to put forward proposed redactions as he committed to making public at least part of the affidavit supporting the search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart on Thursday gave prosecutors a week to submit a copy of the affidavit with proposed redactions for the information it wants to keep secret.

A top executive at former President Donald Trump’s family business has pleaded guilty to evading taxes. The deal could potentially make him a star witness against the company at a trial this fall. Longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg admitted at a court hearing Thursday that he dodged taxes on lavish fringe benefits he got from the company.

A judge has refused to grant bail to the man accused of trying to kill Salman Rushdie as the acclaimed author prepared to give a talk in western New York. Hadi Matar appeared in a western New York courtroom after a grand jury indicted him on charges that he rushed the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and stabbed Rushdie multiple times.

An anti-abortion coalition in Michigan filed a challenge on Thursday to keep an abortion rights question off of the November ballot due to what it said are 60 errors in the text of a proposed constitutional amendment.

Firefighters are putting out the remnants of two wildfires on a Sicilian island that forced fashion designer Giorgio Armani and dozens more to flee vacation villas overnight. The head of the region’s civil protection agency said Thursday that arson was suspected in the wildfires that forced some 30 people to seek refuge in boats or on safer parts of the island of Pantelleria.

Officials in the northern German city of Bremen say an iconic lighthouse at the city’s port has tilted sideways and could soon topple over entirely.

Slightly fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market continues to be the strongest segment of the U.S. economy. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending August 13 fell by 2,000 to 250,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The housing market’s comedown from its high-flying days early this year is deepening, with home sales in July falling for the sixth straight month. Sharply higher mortgage rates, surging inflation and prices that remain near all-time highs are making homes less affordable. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales fell 20.2% from July last year.

The trend of rising U.S. traffic deaths that began two years ago is continuing into 2022. Roadway deaths rose 7% during the first three months of the year to an estimated 9,560 people. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that’s the highest number for a first quarter in two decades. 

A Saudi court has sentenced a doctoral student and women’s rights advocate to 34 years in prison for spreading “rumors” on Twitter and retweeting dissidents. The decision has drawn growing global condemnation. Court documents obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday show the unusually harsh ruling, so far unacknowledged by Saudi Arabia.