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David McNew/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Federal prosecutors in New York charged Michael Avenatti with additional financial crimes Wednesday, including allegedly forging the signature of his former client Stormy Daniels and diverting nearly $300,000 owed to her for a book advance into his own account, according to court records filed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said that he then used money he took from Daniels to make monthly payments on his Ferrari, as well as to cover airfare, dry cleaning, hotels and restaurant bills, as well as payroll and insurance costs for his law firm's employees.

The new charges accuse Avenatti of misappropriating money that was supposed to be paid to Daniels when Avenatti was representing the adult film actress in her public battle against President Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen.

"Avenatti used misrepresentations and a fraudulent document purporting to bear his client's name and signature to convince his client's literary agent to divert money owed to Avenatti's client to an account controlled by Avenatti," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. "Avenatti then spent the money principally for his own personal and business purposes."

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan -- who have already accused Avenatti of extortion in a case involving Nike -- also indicted him separately on extortion charges in the Nike case on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Avenatti denied the fraud and identity theft charges to ABC News, saying that “No monies relating to Ms. Daniels were ever misappropriated or mishandled."

"She received millions of dollars worth of legal services and we expended huge sums in expenses," he wrote in a statement to ABC News.

"She directly paid only $100.00 (not a typo) for all that she received."

Not so, said Berman in a statement.

Federal prosecutors charge in court papers that Avenatti forged Daniels signature on a document for the purpose of diverting the funds she was owed into an account of his own, and leaving Daniels with the impression that the publishing house she was contracted with to write a book had not delivered the promised advances. A month after diverting one payment of $148,750 into his own account, Avenatti allegedly used funds received from another source to pay Daniels.

One week after that, according to prosecutors, Avenatti diverted a second payment of $148,750 to Daniels into his own account.

"To conceal his scheme, and despite repeated requests to Avenatti as [Daniels'] lawyer, for assistance in obtaining the book payment that [Daniels] believed was missing, Avenatti led [her] to believe that [her] publisher was refusing to make the payment...," prosecutors claim.

An attorney for Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, did not immediately respond to a request from ABC News for comment.

Avenatti "abused and violated the core duty of an attorney -- the duty to his client," Berman charged in the statement. "As alleged, he used his position of trust to steal an advance on the client's book deal. As alleged, he blatantly lied to and stole from his client to maintain his extravagant lifestyle, including to pay for, among other things, a monthly car payment on a Ferrari. Far from zealously representing his client, Avenatti, as alleged, instead engaged in outright deception and theft, victimizing rather than advocating for his client."

In a subsequent statement to ABC News after the charges were filed, Avenatti again reiterated his innocence and said he was entitled to the money from the book advance.

"I look forward to a jury hearing all of the evidence and passing judgment on my conduct," Avenatti wrote in the statement. "At no time was any money misappropriated or mishandled. I will be fully exonerated once the relevant emails, contracts, text messages, and documents are presented. I was entitled to any monies retained relating to a book per my agreement with the client. It was part of my agreement for representation and compensation.

News of prosecutors’ inquiry into his business dealings with Daniels marks the latest legal blow for Avenatti, coming after federal prosecutors on both coasts unsealed charges against the controversial 48-year-old attorney.

The Daniels investigation is not related to those charges. But it is being run by the same team of federal officials who slapped Avenatti with two counts of extortion for his alleged role in what prosecutors called “an old-fashioned shakedown” of Nike.

He and another celebrity lawyer, Mark Geragos, allegedly threatened to release damaging information about the sportswear giant if it refused to pay the two attorneys millions of dollars. Geragos was not charged with a crime.

In the Central District of California, prosecutors targeted Avenatti with wire- and bank-fraud charges in a scheme that included stealing funds from a client to pay off his own expenses.

Avenatti gained prominence last year when he began representing Daniels in a defamation lawsuit against Trump. A federal judge in California later threw out the suit and ordered Daniels to reimburse Trump for legal fees.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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ftwitty/iStock(HOPKINSVILLE, Ky.) -- A commercial airline pilot was arraigned Wednesday on three counts of murder stemming from the brutal 2015 killings of three of his neighbors, including two whose bodies were found burned beyond recognition in a torched car.

Christian R. "Kit" Martin, 51, a former Army Ranger major and a pilot for the American Airlines subsidiary PSA Airlines, made his first appearance in Christian County Justice Center in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He was arrested on May 11 at the Muhammad Ali International Airport in Louisville and pulled off an airplane full of passengers just before it was set for takeoff.

Martin, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit with the words "Christian County Jail" written on the back, was brought into the courtroom shackled and stood in front of the bench of Judge John L. Atkins to be arraigned in the killings of Calvin and Pamela Phillips and their neighbor, Edward Dansereau.

Martin's attorney, Michael Thompson, entered pleas of not guilty on behalf of Martin and waived a formal reading of the charges.

In addition to the three counts of murder, Martin was arraigned on charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree arson and tampering with physical evidence. If convicted of the charges, he could face the death penalty.

Atkins ordered Martin to return to court on July 10 for a preliminary hearing and to remain in jail without bail.

Relatives of Calvin and Pamela Phillips, including their son, Matt Phillips, attended Wednesday's hearing but did not speak to reporters afterward.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said at a news conference earlier this month that his office took over the investigation after Matt Phillips met with him two years ago and expressed fears the case might never be solved.

At the time of the slayings, Martin lived across the street from the Phillips couple and Dansereau.

Martin allegedly broke into the Phillips' home in Pembroke, Kentucky, on Nov. 18, 2015, and fatally shot Calvin Phillips with a .45 caliber pistol, an indictment filed against him alleges. That same day, he allegedly shot and killed Pamela Phillips and Dansereau with a .22 caliber firearm, according to the indictment.

Martin allegedly put the bodies of Dansereau and Pamela Phillips in a car and drove into a cornfield several miles from their neighborhood, where he set the vehicle on fire with the victims' bodies inside, according to the indictment.

The killings occurred just days before Martin faced a military court-martial on charges of sexual assault, child abuse and conduct unbecoming an officer, according to military records.

Calvin Phillips was expected to testify at Martin's court-martial proceedings, said Martin's former attorney, Tucker Richardson.

Richardson told ABC Nashville affiliate WKRN earlier this month that Phillips was going to be the defense's "star witness" in the court-martial hearing.

"If their motive is he killed Calvin Phillips 'cause he was going to testify in his upcoming court-martial, well that was nothing further than the truth," Richardson told WKRN.

Martin was ultimately found guilty on lesser charges of mishandling classified information and simple assault, according to Richardson. He was dismissed from the military and placed under "confinement for 90 days," according to the records.

Martin's fiancée and daughter also defended him, saying he is innocent.

"He's an honest man," Martin's fiancée, Laura Spencer, said in an interview this month with ABC station WTVD-TV in Durham, North Carolina. "So his family and I believe he is 100% innocent."

Martin's daughter, McKenzie, also expressed support for her father, telling ABC News in a statement, "My dad is an American hero."



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aluxum/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A New Jersey man who threatened to shoot everyone at a pro-Israel rally and said he wanted to “bomb Trump Tower,” was arrested Wednesday on charges of trying to provide support to Hamas.

Jonathan Xie, 20, of Basking Ridge, allegedly had social media accounts loaded with terror propaganda, according to the FBI. The agency said he had also declared support for Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein and North Korea.

In April, Xie allegedly appeared in an Instagram Live video in which he said he was against Zionism and the neo-liberal establishment. In the same video he displayed a Hamas flag, retrieved a handgun and stated “I’m gonna go to the [expletive] pro-Israel march and I’m going to shoot everybody.”

In another Instagram post quoted in court documents, Xie said, “I want to shoot the pro-Israel demonstrators…you can get a gun and shoot your way through or use a vehicle and ram people…all you need is a gun or a vehicle to go on a rampage.”

FBI surveillance observed Xie outside of the Trump Tower building in New York City around April 20 of this year. Shortly thereafter, Xie posted two photos to his Instagram account, according to Instagram records.

One photo had the words “I want to bomb Trump Tower" imposed over the building image, and the other photo had the words “[S]hould I bomb Trump Tower,” a “Yes/No” poll, and an emoji of a bomb imposed over an image of the Trump Tower building.

Xie subsequently posted on Instagram, “Okay, so I went to NYC today and passed by Trump Tower and then I started laughing hysterically...I forgot to visit the Israeli embassy in NYC...i want to bomb this place along with trump tower.”

He was arrested without incident on Wednesday morning, and is due to make an initial appearance in federal court in Newark in the afternoon.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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vmargineanu/iStock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Police officers in California's capital are coming under fire after a video surfaced showing them tackling a 12-year-old black child and placing a "spit mask" over his head before handcuffing and arresting him.

The incident occurred in April near a carnival in Sacramento and resulted in the child being arrested on charges of battery on an officer and resisting arrest, said Sacramento Police Department officials. The boy was later turned over to the custody of his parents.

But community activists and a lawyer for the child called the incident an example of excessive force on a child who weighs less than 80 pounds.

“He’s a little bitty kid. None of this should have come down the way it did," the child's attorney, Mark T. Harris, of the Benjamin Crump law firm, told ABC affiliate KXTV in Sacramento.

The incident comes a little over a year since days of protest broke out in Sacramento over the police shooting of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man who was shot at in his grandmother's backyard.

A video of the April 28 arrest of the juvenile surfaced Tuesday after members of Black Lives Matter Sacramento and Harris posted it on social media.

A Sacramento police spokesman said officials are "looking at the entire incident."

"The facts are that our officers were in the area and they observed a security guard who was chasing someone and our officers were simply trying to help that security guard," Sacramento Police Sgt. Vance Chandler told KXTV. "The juvenile spit in the face of our officer multiple times. And a spit mask was put on the juvenile. It wasn't something else and we want to make sure our entire community knows what a spit mask is."

The mask is a synthetic, mesh bag used by police officers to protect them against bodily fluids.

In the video, a private security guard is seen chasing the child before two police officers join in and detain the boy, whose name has not been released. A struggle ensues and the boy is seen in the video spitting in the officers' face before he is taken to the ground and the spit mask is placed over his head.

"Yeah, I spit on you all," the boy is heard saying in the video as a female officer is seen wiping her cheek.

The arrest occurred around 7:45 p.m. near a carnival and drew the attention of passersby who began filming the incident with cellphones and yelling at police. One man is heard in the video yelling, "Look at that, look at that, police brutality."

“We want to make sure that the greater Sacramento community, the state of California and the world is aware of what happened to this young man, who was doing nothing more than trying to enjoy the benefits of a neighborhood carnival,” Harris said in a video he posted of the incident on social media.

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ABC News(LANGLEY, Va.) — For two decades, it's been one of the best-kept secrets deep within the Central Intelligence Agency.

Each spring, hundreds of CIA officers display their handcrafted works of art for all to see. Well, at least all those with the top secret clearance required to walk the halls at headquarters.

Now, the annual Agency Art Show has had its cover blown. The CIA gave ABC News a first-ever glimpse at the tradition -- a chance for Americans to better understand a clandestine workforce about which they know very little.

"In some cases, our officers have very stressful jobs, and they do pretty amazing things, and it offers an opportunity for them to blow off some steam," said Chuck, a volunteer show curator and active-duty CIA officer whose last name must be kept secret.

The main employee entranceway, where cameras and cellphones are never allowed, is a kaleidoscope of color, multimedia and subject matter in an otherwise drab, nondescript and windowless office.

"It's kind of like this explosion of color on our walls," said recent CIA hire M.R., whose emotionally charged photograph of a friend's infant posing on a wedding dress is a crowd favorite.

There were oil paintings, clay sculptures and photographs. Needlepoint and delicate blown glass were among those awarded best-in-show. Avant-garde furniture pieces and 3D art works are among the more eclectic submissions and conversation starters.

"Being able to see other officers interact with my artwork or others' artwork and see them smile and contemplate, 'What does it mean?' builds camaraderie and personal satisfaction," M.R. said.

Placards next to each piece list only first names and a last initial. Some of the works have had their artists' signature blacked out. Big black holes in the display mark places where some works were removed to protect their creators' identities from ABC News' cameras.

The culture of secrecy at the CIA prevents many employees from openly sharing details about their work outside the office, and, officials said, it also limits the sharing of details about their personal lives on the inside.

"When I first got into the art show it was really about revealing something about ourselves, something personal," Chuck said. "We have these periods of discovery with our colleagues."

While its high-profile missions, including the 1980 plot to free American diplomats from Iran, have become the stuff of blockbuster Hollywood movies, the attention is rarely sought.

CIA officers were the first U.S. forces on the ground in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and it was the CIA that discovered Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan nine years later.

The 9/11 attacks remain a poignant subject of many CIA officers' personal art.

"9/11, for many people, but particularly folks within this building, in the agency, was a marker stone in time. A lot of folks were energized. We had a huge hiring boom," Chuck said.

"It is amazing to see the emotional release along this hallway at times," he added. "It is the burden of 9/11, but it is also the oppressive business, the serious nature of the business and this is a release from these artists these are artists. They do this artwork on their on their own time and the art show is run by all volunteer staff. And so it's really a raw, grassroots effort."

The show runs for six weeks every spring.

This year's display coincided with the CIA's annual memorial ceremony, recognizing officers who made the ultimate sacrifice -- sometimes on classified missions, with their names never being publicly revealed.

"We honor the men and women of this Agency who perished in the line of duty. The cause to which they devoted their lives -- the freedom and safety of Americans -- endures," CIA director Gina Haspel said in a statement on Tuesday.

Fallen officers are honored with stars engraved on the Memorial Wall. This year, the agency added four more stars, raising the total to 133 CIA officers who've died serving since the organization's inception in 1947.

"Coming here, you see how real the people are. They're not shadowy figures, you know. They're people. They have emotions and families, and they're soccer moms and they're football dads, just like everyone else," said CIA officer M.R. "Being able to bring our whole selves to work is a benefit of working here because outside, you know, we can't do that. But inside, we can be everything that we are."



Watch ABC News Live The Briefing Room Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. EDT for an exclusive look inside the CIA.

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wingedwolf/iStock(MCALLEN, Texas) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stopped taking in undocumented migrants at a border processing center in McAllen, Texas, citing a "large number" of people in custody with high fevers and other flu-like symptoms.

The center is one of the busiest spots along the Mexico border and a short drive to a Border Patrol station where a 16-year-old boy died earlier this week.

CBP hasn’t said how many people have grown ill or where new migrants arriving at that part of the border will be sent. The agency said medical staff were on hand to treat people who were ill.

“To avoid the spread of illness, the Rio Grande Valley Sector has temporarily suspended intake operations" at the Central Processing Center in McAllen, the agency said in a statement.

“Individuals apprehended in RGV Sector will be held at other locations until this situation is resolved,” the agency added.

An earlier proposal to fly migrants to U.S. border stations in coastal or northern states, including Florida, in a bid to lessen the burden at sites like McAllen was scrapped last week after the White House intervened and President Donald Trump declared via Twitter that no more undocumented migrants would be allowed past the southern border. The law requires that border authorities process migrants seeking asylum, and a federal judge has limited detention for children.

The latest death of a child in custody was a teen who appears to have been traveling without his parents. CBP said he had been waiting at a U.S. Border Patrol station outside of McAllen, Texas, to get picked up by the Department of Health and Human Services when he was found unresponsive on Monday. He had been in government custody for a week waiting to be transferred to HHS, which overseas care for “unaccompanied” migrant minors.

He was the third migrant minor to have spent time in U.S. custody in the past month, and the fifth child to die in six months.

Acting Homeland Secretary Kevin McAleenan was scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Democrats, who identified the teen as Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, have already called for an investigation.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) --  At least two people are dead -- one in Oklahoma and one in Iowa -- after severe weather hit the Plains this week.

Sixty tornadoes were reported across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska within two days.

The Southern Plains were hit hard over the past two days with 56 reported tornadoes, 230 damaging storm reports and almost 9 inches of rain in Oklahoma.

Flash flood alerts stretch from Montana to Missouri on Wednesday morning with flood warnings mostly in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

The storm system that brought all the severe weather and flooding to the Plains on Tuesday will not move much, so it could bring more severe weather, including tornadoes, from Oklahoma to Missouri.

Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Wichita, Kansas; and Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri, are all at risk Wednesday for damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.

On Thursday, part of the storm system moves into the Northeast and brings a chance for severe weather for New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The biggest threat will be damaging winds, but we can’t rule out a few tornadoes.

At the same time, yet another storm system will move into the Plains from the west with more severe weather from Texas to Missouri, including damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.

More rain is expected in the Plains and parts of the Midwest over the next couple days, with some areas in Kansas and Missouri getting an additional 4 to 6 inches of rain and possible flooding.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A New York man said he was shocked beyond measure when he discovered that his estranged wife, a New York City police officer, allegedly hired a hit man to kill him.

"I can't believe it. I'm still in shock," Isaiah Carvalho told ABC's Good Morning America in an interview airing Wednesday. "I'm still lost over this whole thing and I'm trying to process everything."

"We didn't have like a heated custody battle. We were about to reach an agreement, so I don't see why she would attempt to do this to me, or to my son for that matter," he added.

Carvalho, 32, said five months had passed since he filed for divorce from his wife, New York Police Department officer Valerie Cincinelli, but he never thought the relationship could get as bad as it did.

Federal investigators said Cincinelli, a 12-year-veteran of the force, paid her boyfriend $7,000 to help her hire a hit man to kill Carvalho and the boyfriend's teenage daughter. Instead, her boyfriend reported her to police and agreed to help them gather evidence against her, according to court records.

Authorities broke the news to Carvalho last week, revealing that his wife had allegedly been plotting to kill him since February.

"They told me, 'We don't know how to tell you this, but your wife put a hit out on you.' And my first response was, 'Where's my son?'" Carvalho recalled. "They told me what they told me … and they're like, 'We need your help. We're gonna need you to do something for us in order to further our investigation.'"

"They ended up taking me to an undisclosed location and had me fake my death and took pictures of it," he added.

He said police took gruesome photos of him pretending to be dead -- an act he says took an emotional toll on him.

"It was the craziest thing I've ever had to experience," he said. "They had me sit in my car. They put glass on the floor and all over me, and had me hunch over into the passenger seat."

Authorities used photos of the staged crime scene to convince 34-year-old Cincinelli that her plan had succeeded, court records show.

A Suffolk County detective went to Cincinelli’s Long Island home at around 10 a.m. last Friday -- as a part of an FBI ruse -- to notify her about their investigation into her estranged husband's death.

An undercover FBI agent sent her a text message about an hour later, purportedly from the killer. It included a photo of the supposed murder scene and an instruction to send an additional $3,000 to kill the boyfriend’s daughter.

She immediately began talking about an alibi with her boyfriend, who was cooperating with the FBI, and ordered him to delete their text conversations, according to the records.

That's when authorities moved in to arrest her. She was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and was being held without bail as of early Wednesday.

Cincinelli's family came to her defense earlier this week. Her father said he believes she's being set up by the boyfriend, but he declined to disclose the man's identity.

"I don't know what happened, but I do know my daughter and I knew this was not true when I first heard it," Louis Cincinelli told ABC News. "She was going out with some wacko pathological liar who had her locked up once before, saying that she pulled a gun on him and threatened to kill him, but then he went to court and said in open court, he recanted it and said he had made it up. Now ... she throws this bum out again and two weeks later this happens."

Cincinelli and Carvalho have active restraining orders out against each other -- a matter he declined to discuss.

Carvalho said he doesn't "have anything to say about" about Cincinelli's father's accusations, but does have one question for his estranged wife: "Why?"

"I didn't want to believe it, but apparently it's true," Carvalho said. "I didn't think she would be capable of it, but now I don't put anything past her."

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AWelshLad/iStock(CHICAGO) -- As his family prepared to bury the mother who never got to cradle him, a baby cut from her womb in a heinous Chicago homicide has opened his eyes while in his father's arms, a family spokesman said Tuesday.

In critical condition and on life support, the newborn infant of murdered 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez is defying the long odds doctors initially gave him for survival.

"He has opened his eyes," Julie Contreras, a spokeswoman for Ochoa-Lopez's family, told ABC News on Tuesday. "He seems to be a fighter."

She said the baby, named Giovanni Yadeil Lopez, first opened his eyes on Sunday while receiving a visit from his father, Giovanni Lopez, and his 3-year-old brother, Contreras said.

She said the baby opened his eyes again on Monday as his father cradled him, she said.

"He opened his eyes when his daddy held him and his daddy was cooing him. He was telling him, 'My precious, beautiful, handsome little boy. My handsome little prince. I love you. Your dad loves you,'" said Contreras.

But Contreras said doctors at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn are not ready to say if the baby, who police initially said had zero brain activity, will survive. His family, she says, has not given up hope.

"There's been no talk of disconnecting him from life support," Contreras said.

Police said Ochoa-Lopez, who was nine months pregnant, was killed on April 23 when she was lured to the Chicago home of Clarisa Figueroa, 46, a woman she met on a Facebook page called "Help a Mother Out." Police said Figueroa promised Ochoa-Lopez free baby clothes.

When Ochoa-Lopez arrived at the home, Figueroa allegedly strangled her with a cable while her daughter, Desiree Figueroa, 24, allegedly distracted her with a photo album, authorities said.

The baby was then cut from Ochoa-Lopez's body, prosecutors said.

Following Ochoa-Lopez's murder, Clarisa Figueroa took the baby to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where it was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, prosecutors said. Clarisa Figueroa then allegedly formed a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise money for the baby, who she was passing off as her own.

Both Clarisa and Desiree Figueroa have been charged with murder. Clarisa Figueroa's 40-year-old boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, was arrested and charged with helping to cover up the alleged crime.

Ochoa-Lopez family reported her missing on the day she went to Figueroa's home, but her body wasn't discovered until May 14, when police executed a search warrant at the suspects' residence.

"What Ms. Figueroa is accused of is nothing short of barbarism," Anthony Guglielmi, spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, told ABC News on Tuesday. "She's a coward who preyed on this young woman and certainly took a life and severely impacted the life of someone who wasn't even given a chance."

According to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the hospital contacted the agency on May 9, more than two weeks after Figueroa first checked into the hospital with the newborn, ABC station WSL-TV in Chicago reported Tuesday.

Both Oak Lawn Police and Chicago police said they were never contacted by hospital staff and do not know the hospital's policy on such matters.

Contreras told ABC News that she and Ochoa-Lopez's family met with administrators at Advocate Christ Medical Center on Monday to demand answers on why the hospital didn't contact authorities earlier.

"We did discuss protocols and procedures, wanting to know what those were when it comes to any woman that arrives that has given birth in a home," Contreras told ABC News. "But all those legal questions actually were secondary and will be answered in another meeting and time and place because our focus was baby Giovanni to make sure that he's receiving the utmost proper care."

Hospital officials declined to comment on the delay in notifying the Department of Children and Family Services.

"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Ochoa-Lopez family. Our clinical team is committed to meeting regularly with patients and families to ensure there is open dialogue about treatment paths. Out of respect for the family's privacy, we are unable to comment on the specific content covered during our time together," the hospital said in a statement.

Ochoa-Lopez's funeral is scheduled for Saturday at the Mount Auburn Funeral Home in the Chicago suburb of Stickney.

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recep-bg/iStock(HILLSBOROUGH, N.C.) -- A North Carolina elementary school teacher has been arrested after she allegedly threatened to shoot up the school where she taught.

Kristen Thompson abruptly resigned last Friday from Pathways Elementary School in Hillsborough, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. But it was only after her resignation that fellow teachers said she had previously "made threats to shoot up the school."

Thompson was arrested on Tuesday and charged with communicating a threat of mass violence, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said.

"This situation is being handled by law enforcement with the safety of our students and school staff as our utmost concern," Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in a statement. "Meanwhile, this situation is also being dealt with by school leadership as a personnel issue as well as a safety one. As such, the principal and other administrators are strictly forbidden by law from sharing information about the case."

"A threat of school violence is understandably unsettling for the community. Please know that the school and law enforcement are working together as a team to ensure the last few weeks of the school year are safe and productive for our students," the sheriff added.

Thompson was held on a $1,000 bond and is next due in court on June 14.

It was unclear whether Thompson had yet obtained an attorney.

Orange County Schools spokesman Seth Stephens told The (Raleigh) News & Observer, "Once school administration was made aware about an alleged threat by Kristen Thompson, law enforcement was contacted immediately."

The threat came just weeks after two people were killed and four injured in a shooting at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, about two hours away from Hillsborough.

Thompson's arrest also comes at a time when lawmakers in the state are pushing to arm teachers as a solution to school shootings.

A bill was introduced in March in the North Carolina state legislature that would make teachers who carried a gun eligible for a raise, according to Charlotte ABC station WTVD-TV.

A similar bill failed to gain traction last year in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school massacre.

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4nadia/iStock(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation on Tuesday making the state the first in the country to legalize human composting.

The law would recognize "natural organic reduction," sometimes referred to as liquid cremation, as an alternative to traditional burying or cremation, which releases harmful chemicals into the air.

The process uses wood chips, straw and other substances to turn the human body into soil, giving families an environmentally friendly alternative to burial or cremation.

The new law, which goes into effect on May 1, 2020, would allow loved ones to keep the soil to possibly plant vegetables, flowers or even a tree.

The bill, titled "concerning human remains," passed with bipartisan majorities in both chambers of the state legislature: 80-16 in the House and 38-11 in the Senate.

State lawmakers said the bill was inspired by Katrina Spade, who came up with the idea for human composting as a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She went on to found Recompose, a nonprofit that aims to create the country's first public organic reduction funeral home, according to its website.

"Recomposition allows us to give back to the earth that supports us all our lives," the company said on its website. "In addition to creating a system that will gently return us to the earth, we encourage participation and strive to make the experience transparent and meaningful for everyone."

Inslee, who is currently running for president, has made climate change and environmental concerns the main platform of his campaign.

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YinYang/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- 2020 White House hopefuls opposed to new state abortion bans joined protesters on the steps of the Supreme Court on Tuesday as other abortion rights supporters converged on state capitols, town squares and courthouses nationwide seeking to counter bills sweeping across state legislatures.

Among the 2020 candidates who joined the political battle at the court were Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"I don't think anyone thought we were going to have this debate again but we are right in the middle of this debate because these guys think they're going to take women's health care backward and are we going to let them," Klobuchar shouted into a bullhorn as protesters shouted "No!" in response.

"The legislators in Alabama will not have the last word," Booker said when it was his turn to speak. "Those legislators in Georgia will not have the last word. And just as it was in the Civil Rights Movement, a governor from Alabama will not have the last word on our rights.

Ryan, who was once anti-abortion but flipped his stance as he's moved further left over the years, recalled his change of heart on the issue.

"I met women for the first time in my life that had an abortion," he began. "I met women who had to deal with very difficult, complicated circumstances in their pregnancies. And overtime, because of the courage of the women who came into my office and who wanted to help craft legislation, I changed my position. And I came to realize that it is stories of the women, it is the courage of these women, especially in the last couple of weeks, who have stood up bravely and told their stories and told your stories."

Gillibrand took direct aim at President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who, she said, "has emboldened state legislatures across the country to do the unthinkable -- to do an all-out attack on women's reproductive freedom -- to not just overturn Roe v. Wade but literally turn back the clock decades -- decades -- on women's basic civil rights."

"This is the beginning of a long march," Gillibrand said. "This is the beginning of President Trump's war on women. If he wants this war, he will have this war and he will lose."

Moulton echoed those sentiments when he spoke, asserting, "Women still are under assault for the basic right to choose and that is wrong... We're here today because of Brett Kavanaugh. That is why we're here. Let's get him out."

But Buttigieg, who did not appear on stage, reinforced his support for reproductive rights during an interview with ABC News at the protest.

"I'm here to stand with the majority of Americans who believe in women's reproductive freedom," he said. "Look I'm a Democrat who lives and governs in Indiana so I understand that people come at this issue differently. Some of my supporters view it differently than I do but most Americans believe that these decisions ought to be left to the woman who is faced with these sometimes unthinkable medical situations."

"When you see the roll back of rights that is happening from Alabama, to Missouri, and I'm sure there's more where that came from, it's a reminder of how important it's been that for as long as I've been alive, the Roe vs. Wade framework established here at the Supreme Court has protected that autonomy and those rights," he added.

Although he did not stand at the podium during the protest, Sanders told ABC News that he believes the best way to push back against the controversial laws is to "educate, organize and bring millions of people together to demand that women in this country on the right to control their own body. That's what this issue is."

Abortion-rights advocates sought to "fight back against this unconstitutional attempt to gut Roe and punish women," according to the #StopTheBans website. The slew of protests were triggered by GOP-led efforts to pass restrictive anti-abortion measures aimed at fomenting a larger battle over Roe v. Wade in the nation's highest court.

Several states are seeking to mount legal challenges to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Those states, include including Missouri, which on Friday passed the most recent ban -- state lawmakers charged ahead with an eight-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest or survivors of human trafficking. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign the restrictive bill into law in the coming days.

Missouri followed a wave of conservative states passing restrictive abortion bans, including Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia. Lawmakers in those states approved "heartbeat" bills, which ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected -- as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Alabama's ban, signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey last week, imposes the harshest limitations of any state in the country -- a near-full ban on the procedure, not providing for any window of a pregnancy when abortion is legal.

"Across the country, we are seeing a new wave of extreme bans on abortion, stripping away reproductive freedom and representing an all-out assault on abortion access," states the event's website, which hosted by groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, All* Above All Action Fund, the ACLU and the Women's March. "This is Trump's anti-choice movement … and it's terrifying, particularly for women of color and low-income women who are most affected by these bans. ... Politicians shouldn't be making decisions best left to women, their families and their doctors."

Amid the toutrage from abortion-rights groups, many among the field of 2020 Democratic hopefuls vying for the White House immediately condemned the anti-abortion efforts last week.

"Access to safe, legal abortion is a constitutional RIGHT. Full stop," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said on Twitter.

"The Alabama legislature is ignoring science, criminalizing abortion, and punishing women," Buttigieg tweeted. "Instead, the government's role should be to make sure all women have access to comprehensive affordable care, and that includes safe and legal abortion."

Despite not being in Washington for the rally, former Vice President Joe Biden released a Twitter video condemning the new laws restricting abortion access in Georgia, Alabama and Missouri.

"It’s wrong, it’s pernicious, and we have to stop it," he said. "It’s important that we know and everybody else knows what these guys are about, what they’re trying to do and a woman actually signed one of these piece of legislation. It’s wrong it must be stopped. This is a choice under Roe between a woman and her doctor, and it lays out the circumstances. We must protect that right.”

On Tuesday, as he stood across the street from Capitol Hill, Buttigieg struck a more optimistic tone about his ability to bridge the divide over this issue, signaling his willingness to work across the aisle.

"There are a lot of pro-choice Republicans, and even people who maybe view themselves as more conservative, who are pretty shocked by for example, the law passed in Alabama...reasonable Republicans are as shocked by some of these extremist actions as Democrats who have been concerned about protecting choice all along. And it's one more opportunity to build on the American majority that we have for progressive causes, ranging from women's reproductive rights to raising wages in this country."

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Fedorovekb/iStock(PHILADELPHIA) -- A man has been arrested for allegedly gunning down a transgender activist in Philadelphia, though police say the killing is not being investigated as a hate crime.

Michelle Washington, 40, was shot in the head and torso on Sunday morning and pronounced dead at a hospital, according to the Philadelphia police.

The fact that Washington was transgender was not a factor in the crime, Philadelphia police homicide Capt. Jason Smith said at a news conference on Tuesday.

He added, "She did not deserve to die in this manner."

Troy Bailey, 28, was arrested Monday night for murder and gun-related charges, police said.

It's believed Bailey knew the victim, Smith said.

Bailey gave a statement to police, admitting to shooting Washington, Smith said.

"The truth as to why Mr. Bailey murdered Ms. Washington may never be fully known," Smith said. "According to Mr. Bailey, it was over a dispute that the two had pertaining to the sale of a firearm from Mr. Bailey to Ms. Washington."

"We don't necessarily believe that's the case," Smith added.

Bailey had gone to police on his own, saying he was a witness to the murder, Smith said. Police later zeroed in on him as a suspect.

Washington was "a brilliant and outgoing member of Philadelphia's transgender community, known for her advocacy and mentorship," Amber Hikes, executive director of Philadelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs, told ABC Philadelphia station WPVI-TV. "She will be profoundly missed."

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Penn State(PITTSBURGH) -- A Penn State professor with a side job as a Pittsburgh Uber driver who was arrested this month for allegedly kidnapping two women is now accused of kidnapping a third woman that same night.

The third woman spoke with police on May 16, saying that on May 11, she was outside at a nightclub when she saw a car with an Uber decal and jumped in the front passenger seat, according to a criminal complaint filed on Monday.

She hadn't used the Uber app but gave her address and $10 cash to the driver, later identified as 36-year-old Richard Lomotey, according to the criminal complaint.

As he drove, the woman said Lomotey kept asking about her relationship status. She said she replied that "she was engaged and did not want to participate in any sexual activities with him," but claimed Lomotey held and grabbed her wrist during the ride, according to court documents.

The passenger said every time she unlocked the car doors, Lomotey would lock them, the documents said.

"They began tussling because she wanted to leave the vehicle," the documents said, and "during the tussle her shirt and bra were ripped."

She told police "she was so afraid she opened the door and jumped from the moving vehicle at an unknown location" and the car sped off.

Lomotey was first arrested on May 11 in a similar incident.

According to the criminal complaint, two women told police that, early that morning, they were getting an Uber ride home when their driver, Lomotey, ignored his GPS, instead driving an indirect route.

Lomotey allegedly asked the passengers if they were single and complimented their appearances. At one point he allegedly pulled over, locked the car and told the victims, "you're not going anywhere," according to the criminal complaint.

The victims leapt from the car, later showing police a photo of the suspect and his license plate from the Uber app, the criminal complaint said.

Lomotey is an assistant professor of information science and technology at Penn State University, according to the school website.

Lisa Powers, a spokeswoman at Penn State, told ABC News, "These allegations are deeply troubling and while we gather more information, he has been put on leave and will not be in the classroom. This is a criminal matter and we cannot comment further."

Lomotey, who faces charges including kidnapping and false imprisonment, posted bail on Monday. He is next due in court for a preliminary hearing on May 23.

It was not immediately clear if he has retained a defense attorney. Lomotey could not immediately be reached for comment.

A spokesperson for Uber told ABC News via email: "What's been described is unacceptable. The driver's access to the app has been removed and we stand ready to cooperate with law enforcement to support their investigation."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Across Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas on Monday there were 18 reported tornadoes among 124 damaging storm reports that also included grapefruit-sized hail in Texas.

Wind gusts exceeded 90 mph north of Oklahoma City as damage from strong storms was reported in western Oklahoma and southwestern Missouri.

A flash flood emergency was issued early Tuesday morning north of Tulsa when as much as 8 inches of rain fell. Flood alerts Tuesday morning stretch across seven states, from Texas to North Dakota.

On the back end of the system, snow is falling, including in areas south of Denver that saw 9 inches this morning. Parts of Interstate 70 were closed because of multiple accidents due to snow on Monday.

The massive storm that's ravaged the Plains is moving east Tuesday, with additional flash flooding and tornadoes possible in the mid-Mississippi Valley, from Little Rock into St. Louis. Large hail and damaging winds will be possible.

Over the next 24 to 48 hours, an additional half foot of rain is possible for parts of Missouri and Illinois.

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