AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Trump tries to move past his guilty verdict by attacking the criminal justice system

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump sought to move past his historic criminal conviction on Friday and build momentum for his bid to return to the White House with fierce attacks on the judge who oversaw the case, the prosecution’s star witness and the criminal justice system as a whole.

Speaking from his namesake tower in Manhattan in a symbolic return to the campaign trail, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee delivered a message aimed squarely at his most loyal supporters. Defiant as ever, he insisted without evidence that the verdict was “rigged” and driven by politics.

“We’re going to fight," Trump said from the atrium of Trump Tower, where he descended a golden escalator to announce his 2016 campaign nine years ago next month. The machinations during the final, dramatic weeks of that campaign ultimately led to the charges that made Trump the first former president and presumptive presidential nominee of a major party to be convicted of a crime, exposing him to potential prison time.

While the guilty verdict has energized Trump’s base, fueling millions of dollars in new campaign contributions, it’s unclear how the conviction and his rambling response will resonate with the kinds of voters who are likely to decide what is expected to be an extremely close November election. They include suburban women, independents, and voters turned off by both candidates.

Speaking before dozens of reporters and cameras that carried his remarks live, Trump cast himself as a martyr, suggesting that if this could happen to him, “They can do this to anyone.”


Donald Trump’s attorney says he was 'shocked' the former president took the verdict with 'solemness'

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump's lawyer told The Associated Press he was surprised at Trump’s stoic demeanor as he listened to the verdict that made him the first former U.S. president convicted of a crime. Todd Blanche was sitting to Trump’s left in the Manhattan courtroom as the verdict was read — the jury foreman repeating the word “guilty” 34 times.

"I was shocked at how he took the verdict," Blanche said. "He just stood there and just kind of took it. And I think had a lot of appropriate solemnness for the moment that made me very proud to be sitting next to him when it, when it was happening," said Blanche, adding that he thought Trump was still handling himself well on Friday, the day after the verdict, even as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee railed that the trial was unfair.

“He’s not happy about it, but there’s no defendant in the history of our justice system who’s happy about a conviction the day after. But I think he knows there’s a lot of fight left and there’s a lot of opportunity to fix this and that’s what we’re going to try to do,” said Blanche, Trump’s lead attorney in the New York case and his classified documents federal criminal case in Florida.

A jury of a dozen New Yorkers convicted Trump on all counts of falsifying business records, a felony punishable by either incarceration, probation or a fine. As the foreman read the verdict, Trump shook his head slightly, but didn't vent his frustration until he left the courtroom. Trump has vowed to appeal.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Trump portrayed himself as a victim of a “rigged” trial, which he claimed was orchestrated by Democrats to stop his presidential campaign. Afterward, President Joe Biden said it was “reckless,” “dangerous” and “irresponsible for anyone to say this is rigged just because they don’t like the verdict.”


Answers to your questions about Donald Trump's historic hush money trial conviction

NEW YORK (AP) — Will Donald Trump go to prison? Could he pardon himself? What about the election? The first criminal conviction of a former American president raises a host of legal and political questions.

Trump was convicted by a Manhattan jury Thursday of 34 felony counts related to a scheme during his 2016 presidential campaign to pay off a porn actor who said the two had sex. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee denies having sex with Stormy Daniels, has said he did nothing wrong and slammed the jury's verdict.

Here are answers to some of the biggest questions surrounding Trump's conviction:

Trump remains free on his own recognizance. He will have to be back in the Manhattan courtroom on July 11, when he is set to be sentenced. That is just days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where GOP leaders — who remain steadfast in their support of Trump — are expected to formally make him their nominee for the November election.

Before sentencing, Trump will be interviewed for a presentence report that Judge Juan M. Merchan will use to help decide his punishment. The report is typically prepared by a probation officer, a social worker or a psychologist working for the probation department who interviews the defendant and possibly that person's family and friends, as well as people affected by the crime. Presentence reports include a defendant’s personal history, criminal record and recommendations for sentencing. Trump has no prior convictions.


Trump carries the stain of conviction like a crown. Will the verdict matter to voters?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The bravado behind Donald Trump' s boastful hypothesis in 2016 — “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters" — is headed for a real-world reckoning.

Until now, at least, he's been uncannily right. Through his two impeachments, his desperate agitations to stay in power after losing the last election and the far-ranging series of criminal charges against him from Florida to Georgia to Washington to New York, Trump has held sway with his acolytes and the bulk of the Republican Party.

But now he's the first president in history to carry the stain of felony conviction. Will it matter in the November election?

After the damning verdict, everyone seemed to rush for the partisan ramparts. But this is untraveled territory for Americans — this finding of criminal behavior signed, sealed and delivered by unanimous jurors against the only man who has been the subject both of a presidential portrait and a mug shot.

Even some firm anti-Trumpers aren't counting on the convictions making a difference. “Get ready for a felonious president," said Joan Marks, a 58-year-old Democrat who offered her glum prediction of a Trump victory while standing outside Manuel’s Tavern, a popular liberal hangout near Jimmy Carter’s presidential library in Atlanta.


Biden details a 3-phase hostage deal aimed at winding down the Israel-Hamas war

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Friday detailed a three-phase deal proposed by Israel to Hamas militants that he says would lead to the release of the remaining hostages in Gaza and could end the grinding, nearly 8-month-old Mideast war.

Biden added that Hamas is “no longer capable” of carrying out another large-scale attack on Israel as he urged Israelis and Hamas to come to a deal to release the remaining hostages for an extended cease-fire.

The Democratic president in remarks from the White House called the proposal “a road map to an enduring cease-fire and the release of all hostages.”

Biden said the first phase of the proposed deal would would last for six weeks and would include a “full and complete cease-fire,” a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all densely populated areas of Gaza and the release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

American hostages would be released at this stage, and remains of hostages who have been killed would be returned to their families. Humanitarian assistance would surge during the first phase, with 600 trucks being allowed into Gaza each day.


Israel confirms its forces are in central Rafah in expanding offensive in the southern Gaza city

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military confirmed Friday that its forces are operating in central parts of Rafah in its expanding offensive in the southern Gaza city.

Israel launched its ground assault into the city on May 6, triggering an exodus of around 1 million Palestinians out of the city and throwing U.N. humanitarian operations based in the area into turmoil. Still, it has yet to amount to a “major operation” in the eyes of U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, according to the State Department.

Biden said Friday that Hamas is “no longer capable” of carrying out another large-scale attack on Israel and urged the Israelis and Hamas to come to a deal to release remaining hostages for an extended cease-fire. He said Israeli officials have offered a three-phase deal to Hamas, adding, “Israel has made their proposal. Hamas says it wants a cease-fire. This deal is an opportunity to prove whether they really mean it.”

Cease-fire talks ground to a halt at the beginning of the month after a major push by the U.S. and other mediators to secure a deal, in hopes of averting a full Israeli invasion of Rafah.

Friday's statement by the Israeli military suggested its forces have been operating in most parts of the city. For its first weeks, the Israeli assault focused on Rafah's eastern districts and in areas close to the border with Egypt. Israeli troops seized the Rafah crossing into Egypt on the first day of the offensive and have since claimed control over the Philadelphi Corridor, a road running the length of the Gaza-Egypt border on the Gazan side.


Florida sheriff's office fires deputy who fatally shot airman at home

A Florida Panhandle sheriff on Friday fired a deputy who fatally shot an airman at his home while holding a handgun pointed to the ground, saying the deputy's life was never in danger and he should not have fired his weapon.

Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden fired Deputy Eddie Duran, who fatally shot Senior Airman Roger Fortson on May 3 after responding to a domestic violence call and being directed to Fortson's apartment.

Duran shot Fortson, 23, multiple times two seconds after he opened his door. Fortson was holding his legally owned gun in his right hand, body camera video shows. It was pointed directly at the ground. Fortson was Black. Duran, 39, listed himself as Hispanic on his voter registration.

A sheriff's internal affairs investigation released Friday concluded that, “Mr. Fortson did not make any hostile, attacking movements, and therefore, the former deputy’s use of deadly force was not objectively reasonable.” Outside law enforcement experts have also said that an officer cannot shoot simply because a possible suspect is simply holding a gun if there is no threat.

“This tragic incident should have never occurred,” Aden said in the statement. “The objective facts do not support the use of deadly force as an appropriate response to Mr. Fortson’s actions. Mr. Fortson did not commit any crime. By all accounts, he was an exceptional airman and individual.”


Mexico's drug cartels and gangs appear to be playing a wider role in Sunday's elections than before

COTIJA, Mexico (AP) — Mexico’s drug cartels and gangs appear to be playing a wider role than before in Sunday’s elections that will determine the presidency, nine governorships and about 19,000 mayorships and other local posts.

The country’s powerful drug cartels have long staged targeted assassinations of mayoral and other local candidates who threaten their control. Gangs in Mexico depend on controlling local police chiefs, and taking a share of municipal budgets; national politics appear to interest them less.

But in the runup to Sunday’s vote, gangs have increasingly taken to spraying whole campaign rallies with gunfire, burning ballots or preventing the setting up of polling stations, and even putting up banners seeking to influence voters.

Security analyst David Saucedo says it's likely some drug gangs will try to force voters to cast ballots for their favored candidates.

“It it is reasonable to assume that the cartels will mobilize their support bases during Sunday's elections,” Saucedo said. “They have loyal voters who they have won over through the distribution of food packages, cash, medicine and infrastructure projects. They will use them to support narco-candidates.”


Berlin lets Ukraine use German weapons against targets in Russia after the US also eases its stance

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Germany joined the United States on Friday in authorizing Ukraine to hit some targets on Russian soil with the long-range weapons they are supplying — a significant policy change that comes as depleted Ukrainian troops are losing ground in the war.

Ukrainian officials have expressed frustration over restrictions on the use of Western weapons — especially as the border region of Kharkiv has endured a Russian onslaught this month that has stretched Kyiv's outgunned and outmanned forces.

Both Germany and the U.S. specifically authorized the use of weapons to defend Kharkiv, whose capital city of the same name lies only 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Russia. Russian ballistic missiles slammed into an apartment building in the city overnight, Ukrainian officials said, killing at least six people.

Beyond offering Ukraine a chance of better protecting Kharkiv by targeting Russian capabilities in the region, it’s not clear what effect the easing of restrictions might have on the direction of the conflict in what is proving to be a critical period. But it drew a furious response from Moscow and warnings it could draw Russia into war with NATO.

The German government said Ukraine can use weapons it supplies against positions just over the border, from where Russia launches its attacks on Kharkiv. A day earlier, U.S. President Joe Biden gave Kyiv a green light to strike back with American weapons at Russian military assets targeting the region, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.


Marian Robinson, mother of Michelle Obama, dies at 86

WASHINGTON (AP) — Marian Shields Robinson, the mother of Michelle Obama who moved with the first family to the White House when son-in-law Barack Obama was elected president, has died. She was 86.

Mrs. Robinson's death was announced by Michelle Obama and other family members in a statement that said “there was and will be only one Marian Robinson. In our sadness, we are lifted up by the extraordinary gift of her life.”

She was a widow and lifelong Chicago resident when she moved to the executive mansion in 2009 to help care for granddaughters Malia and Sasha. In her early 70s, Mrs. Robinson initially resisted the idea of starting over in Washington, and Michelle Obama had to enlist her brother, Craig, to help persuade their mother to move.

“There were many good and valid reasons that Michelle raised with me, not the least of which was the opportunity to continue spending time with my granddaughters, Malia and Sasha, and to assist in giving them a sense of normalcy that is a priority for both of their parents, as has been from the time Barack began his political career,” Mrs. Robinson wrote in the foreword to “A Game of Character,” a memoir by her son, formerly the head men’s basketball coach at Oregon State University.

“My feeling, however, was that I could visit periodically without actually moving in and still be there for the girls,” she said.

The Associated Press