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Hundreds of strangers queue for El Paso shooting victim’s funeral after husband feared no one would show up

Hundreds of strangers queue for El Paso shooting victim’s funeral after husband feared no one would show upJust about every morning for the past two weeks, Antonio Basco has risen before dawn to buy as many floral bouquets as he can fit in his car and carried them to a makeshift memorial for the victims of the mass shooting in El Paso.He places the flowers one by one around the white wooden cross for Margie Reckard, his wife. This is his solemn ritual, born of grief and unmooring: tending her garden.“She loved any kind of flowers. I could walk down the street and find flowers that had been run over a thousand times, and she would think it looked like a million dollars,” Mr Basco said on Friday morning.Soon after, the La Paz Faith Memorial and Spiritual Centre in El Paso would be spilling over with bouquets, as hundreds of strangers came to pay their respects to Ms Reckard at her visitation and prayer service.Mr Basco had invited the public to the service this week, worried that he would have to bury his partner of 22 years alone.Ms Reckard, one of the 22 people killed in the attack on 3 August, has children, but Mr Basco has no direct relatives.When Perches Funeral Homes, which was handling Ms Reckard’s arrangements, learned of Mr Basco’s intentions, it extended an open invitation to the service on its Facebook page.The response was unimaginable. The funeral home received about 10,000 messages and tributes, and more than 900 floral arrangements.Perches Funeral commented that the funeral was to be relocated to a larger venue "due to the overwhelming response of the community". They sat along the front of the chapel, below the stained-glass windows, on every table in the foyer, in the fellowship hall and on the staircase. They were sent from across America. New Hampshire. Oregon. Kentucky.Some came from Dayton, Ohio, the site of a mass shooting less than a day after the attack in El Paso.And crowds filled the centre to capacity. Hundreds stood in a line snaking around the church and on the blocks beyond.“This is amazing,” Mr Basco said as he walked down the centre aisle, surveying the unfamiliar faces.“You took a stranger off the street,” he added, and showed him love.Victor and Mary Perales from El Paso said they had come to support Mr Basco because they knew something about sudden loss: their oldest son died unexpectedly two years ago.Mr Perales wrote a letter to give to Mr Basco offering his condolences but also offering friendship.“We know how hard it was for us, and we were surrounded by family. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to go through this alone,” said Victor Perales, a retired truck driver. “I said we are going to this funeral to give him a hug and let him know we can be his family.”The moment Alicia Solomon Click heard about Mr Basco, she knew she was taking a road trip. The professional singer drove six hours from Sante Fe, New Mexico, and had stood for two hours in the visitation line.“I am here to tell Mr Basco for every crazy nut there are thousands of us that love him,” said Ms Solomon Click.For part of the service, a mariachi band played as Mr Basco and Ms Reckard’s relatives greeted and hugged guests.Mr Basco met some of his wife’s relatives for the first time. When a performer began singing “Amor Eterno”, or Love Eternal, much of the church sang along.“This was an assault on all of us,” Fred Valle said of the shooting. “You don’t have to know him to feel for him.”Before bishop Harrison Johnson delivered the eulogy, he looked out into the standing-room-only sanctuary and turned to Mr Basco. “Look at all the friends you have now,” the bishop said, to thunderous applause.He preached from Matthew 14:22. Faith will get you through anything, he assured the crowd, even something as evil as the Walmart massacre. He talked about a united El Paso that was not defined or divided by colour — a direct answer to a racist attack.“Whatever you do, do not stop walking through the storm,” he said. “Don’t stop because you will walk out of the storm.”Ms Reckard’s children and grandchildren also attended the service. Her oldest son, Dean, described her as loving and kind.“She would have been overwhelmed to see all the love El Paso showed her,” he said.Mr Basco and Ms Reckard met more than two decades ago at a bar in Nebraska. He was immediately smitten.“I took one look at her eyes, and it was over with,” Mr Basco said before the service Friday, tears welling.They settled in El Paso about nine years ago, although their hobby was visiting places by train.Ms Reckard, who was a grocery store cashier in Nebraska, had several health issues, including Parkinson’s disease.Mr Basco worked at a rodeo at one point but now runs a car wash business. He was outside fixing his truck when Ms Reckard left for Walmart that Saturday morning.“She was a lady,” he said, “and she was the love of my life.”Mr Basco said that when he wants to feel closest to his wife, he heads to the makeshift memorial and talks to her. Sometimes he returns at night and sleeps next to the cross, hardly visible among the piles of flowers and mementos.The New York Times



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2 victims in Dayton hit by police bullets; shooter had drugs in system

2 victims in Dayton hit by police bullets; shooter had drugs in systemThe Dayton shooter had cocaine, alcohol, and Xanax in his system, according to Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger.



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Florida Prosecutors Who Misled Epstein Victims Now Worried About His Accomplices’ Rights

Florida Prosecutors Who Misled Epstein Victims Now Worried About His Accomplices’ RightsFederal prosecutors in Florida who broke the law by keeping Jeffrey Epstein’s victims in the dark when they cut a sweetheart plea deal with him are now fighting to make sure his alleged accomplices are kept in the loop.In a court filing on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida wrote that co-conspirators should be given notice of any decisions that might affect them “so that they have a full and fair opportunity to litigate the claims affecting them.” They should, the prosecutors wrote, be afforded the “deep-rooted historic tradition that everyone should have his own day in court.”The concern is tinged with irony given that the prosecutors’ filing is part of a lawsuit brought by Epstein accusers to invalidate the 2008 plea deal that let Epstein plead to a relatively minor charge and serve just 13 months in jail, much of it on work release.The two Jane Does who filed the federal suit said it violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act because they were never notified the feds were about to hand the politically connected Epstein the deal of a lifetime.A federal judge agreed that the prosecutors, led by future Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, broke the law and tried to “mislead the victims to believe that federal prosecution was still a possibility.”Acosta Resigns Over Epstein Plea Deal, Says It Isn’t ‘Fair’ to Be ‘the Focus’The non-prosecution agreement didn’t just keep Epstein out of federal prison; in unusually broad language it also guaranteed his unnamed co-conspirators would not be prosecuted.Once Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell last week—while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges brought by a different set of federal prosecutors—the Jane Does filed paperwork seeking once again to have the old plea agreement invalidated.Among their suggestions: The judge should, at the very least, toss out the part of the agreement that covered accomplices.Prosecutors filed their response to that on Wednesday, asking the judge to deny the victims’ request, arguing that there is no reason to rescind a plea agreement that is now moot because the defendant is dead.Earlier this week, Attorney General William Barr struck a more aggressive tone when discussing Epstein’s cronies.“Let me assure you that case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein,” Barr said at the National Fraternal Order of Police’s biennial conference in New Orleans. “Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. Victims deserve justice and will get it.”AG William Barr to Jeffrey Epstein’s Possible Co-Conspirators: We’re Still Coming for YouRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Lawyers say Epstein victims to sue financier's estate this week

Lawyers say Epstein victims to sue financier's estate this weekLawyers for several women who say they were sexually abused by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein plan to file lawsuits this week against his estate following his apparent suicide in a New York jail cell. Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents two women, told Reuters “we intend to promptly file those civil claims” having held off suing while federal prosecutors pursued sex trafficking charges against Epstein. New York lawyer Roberta Kaplan said she hopes to file on Wednesday on behalf of a client to take advantage of a new New York State law which makes it possible to pursue decades-old claims of abuse.



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Jeffrey Epstein's death may cheat his victims out of millions in restitution

Jeffrey Epstein's death may cheat his victims out of millions in restitutionThe apparent suicide of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein at the weekend may have denied his victims millions of dollars in compensationEpstein, 66, was facing new sex trafficking and conspiracy charges that, if he was convicted, could have resulted in a 45-year prison sentence and the criminal forfeiture of his $ 77m (£63.7m) mansion in New York City, along with other possible assets.Those assets could have been used to provide his alleged victims with a special fund through the Justice Department; a standard consideration and procedure for cases involving victims, particularly when one reaches the prominence and magnitude of the Epstein scandal. There may still be hope for the dozen or so women who have come forward of securing some level of accountability from his estate, according to officials – although success is by no means certain. A federal judge can still order Epstein’s properties and other assets confiscated within a civil forfeiture case. But prosecutors must successfully argue those assets were involved in his crimes.“It’s going to be complicated,” Jeff Marcus, a former federal prosecutor, told the Miami Herald. Previous high-profile civil forfeiture cases have resulted in financial restitution for victims, including the 2007 case involving Enron Coporation CEO Kenneth Lay — who died of a heart attack during the case. But those cases come with their own challenges, former prosecutor Joe DeMaria told the publication. “It took seven years for that civil forfeiture case to be settled and the government recovered less than 25 percent of what it sought,” he said.The Miami Herald reported prosecutors would be required to link Epstein’s properties to criminal activity using a lower standard than that used in criminal cases. Epstein would not be found guilty if his assets were found to be implicated in a crime during the civil case, however. > Predator Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. On behalf of the victims I represent, we would have preferred he lived to face justice. > Our civil cases can still proceed against his estate. Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started.> > — Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) > > August 10, 2019Lisa Bloom, an attorney representing several of Epstein’s alleged victims, wrote in a tweet on Saturday that “victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused”.“On behalf of the victims I represent, we would have preferred he lived to face justice,” she said, describing Epstein as a “predator”. “We’re just getting started,” she added.The FBI and Justice Department have both launched investigations into Epstein's death in federal custody.The complete results of his autopsy were still pending as of Monday morning. The New York Medical Examiner's office did not respond to requests for comment.



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Epstein’s Victims Will Pursue Civil Cases Against His Estate

Epstein’s Victims Will Pursue Civil Cases Against His Estate(Bloomberg) — Jeffrey Epstein is dead in an apparent suicide, but the women who say he sexually abused them plan to seek justice by suing his estate and helping any prosecutions of his enablers, according to lawyers and one of the women.Epstein, a financier accused of sex trafficking and conspiracy, was found dead Saturday morning in his jail cell in lower Manhattan. He was accused last month of trafficking underage girls from 2002 to 2005, but authorities may have expanded the case after dozens of potential victims contacted the FBI.Prosecutors acknowledged that Epstein’s death posed “yet another hurdle” for victims but signaled that others may be charged with aiding him. “Our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment – which included a conspiracy count – remains ongoing,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.Last month, Jennifer Araoz said he had raped her when she was a 15-year-old New York City high school student. On Saturday, she was angry that Epstein won’t have to face the survivors of his abuse in court.“We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed,” or the “pain and trauma he caused so many people,” Araoz said in a statement. “Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served.”Dozens of women claim that Epstein lured them to his Palm Beach, Florida, mansion, where he coerced them into sex, paid them, and asked them to bring him other girls. At least one other woman claims that Epstein trafficked her to his rich and powerful friends.The abuse allegedly took place as well at his Manhattan mansion, his Virgin Islands island and his New Mexico ranch property.Epstein will now carry to his grave the secrets of his sordid conduct, the escapades of his wealthy friends, and the mysteries of his financial dealings.Cheated Once Again“Jeffrey Epstein’s victims have once again been cheated out of an opportunity for justice,” said Jack Scarola, a Florida attorney who represented five women and litigated with him for 12 years. “I’m sure that none of them regret his death. All of them regret the loss of information that died with him.”Lawyers said that victims may pursue civil lawsuits against the estate of Epstein, a process that could take years and run up against laws barring claims that are too old. A decade ago, more than two dozen women reached confidential settlements with Epstein in Florida. The size of Epstein’s estate is unknown, although prosecutors say that after his arrest, he claimed a net worth of $ 559 million.Many questions have arisen since then about his wealth and business practices.Araoz’s lawyer said she planned to sue under a New York law that takes effect on Aug. 14, giving victims of child sexual abuse one year to sue over older claims. In Florida, sexual abuse victims have four years to file claims, with some exceptions for children, said Scarola.Emotional DayEmotions ran high for lawyers and victims on Saturday.“It’s possible that other people who conspired to protect Epstein, destroy evidence, pay off witnesses, or otherwise facilitate his sexual trafficking and predatory pedophilia may be charged,” said attorney Josh Schiller of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in Manhattan, whose firm represents nine victims. “They may also be sued individually as they are identified.”One person at potential risk is Ghislaine Maxwell, a friend of Epstein’s who at least one victim has accused of procuring underage girls for him. She settled an earlier case but could be named in other lawsuits.Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents three women, said the estate should preserve assets for his victims.“I am calling today for the administrators of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate to freeze all his assets and hold them for his victims who are filing civil cases,” Bloom said in a tweet. “Their lives have been shattered by his sexual assaults, their careers derailed. They deserve full and fair compensation NOW.”Epstein entered a controversial non-prosecution agreement more than a decade ago with U.S. prosecutors, which barred federal charges in the Southern District of Florida against him and four named conspirators. Instead, he admitted to two state prostitution charges and served 13 months in jail.Federal prosecutors in New York, who filed sex trafficking charges against Epstein last month, said they weren’t bound by the non-prosecution agreement in Florida.“I hope and expect that the investigation into his co-conspirators is ongoing and will continue,” Scarola said. “It’s hard to imagine that there is not an ongoing investigation into the involvement of others in Epstein’s criminal activities.”A federal judge ruled in February that the Justice Department broke the law by making that deal without consulting the accusers. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who was the lead federal prosecutor in Florida, resigned last month because of renewed public fury over the case. The judge in Florida is considering how to proceed in that case, in which Epstein was a party.Constitutional RightIn his civil lawsuits a decade ago, Epstein repeatedly invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination before settling cases.“The civil cases against Jeffrey Epstein were prosecuted in the absence of Epstein, who was asserting his Fifth Amendment right throughout,” Scarola said. “He might as well have been dead. The claims were progressing in the absence of Epstein being a source of information.”Epstein’s death came a day after a federal appeals court unsealed hundreds of pages of documents in a case that revealed new details about how he allegedly lured his victims and who enabled his sexual crimes.Read more: Epstein Pal Maxwell Loses Last-Ditch Attempt to Seal PapersThe filings revealed new allegations of sexual abuse by powerful men who associates with Epstein, including former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, and asset manager Glenn Dubin, chairman of Castleton Commodities International LLC. All three men deny the claims.(Adds prosecutors' statement in third paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: David Voreacos in New York at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net;Patricia Hurtado in Federal Court in Manhattan at pathurtado@bloomberg.net;Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Heather Smith at hsmith26@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Ian FisherFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Trump uses Dayton and El Paso visits to attack critics and boast mass shooting victims showed him ‘love and respect’

Trump uses Dayton and El Paso visits to attack critics and boast mass shooting victims showed him ‘love and respect’Donald Trump used his flight time between visiting the cities of two mass shootings to attack his critics and boast on Twitter about how victims had shown him “love, respect & enthusiasm”.The US president visited El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday – cities reeling from two massacres which left 31 people dead and dozens more wounded last weekend.Mr Trump was greeted by protesters as he visited the hospitals where victims were treated, who accused him of stoking tensions with his anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric.As he flew between Ohio and Texas on Air Force One, Mr Trump lashed out at Joe Biden, the former vice president, who had given a speech denouncing the president for “fuelling a literal carnage” in the US.Mr Trump tweeted to say the speech was “Sooo Boring!” and warned “The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks” if Mr Biden became the next US president.At least 200 protesters gathered outside Dayton’s Miami Valley Hospital, blaming Mr Trump’s incendiary rhetoric for inflaming political and racial tensions in the US and demanding action on gun control.Mr Trump also received mixed praise from local Democratic politicians.Democratic senator Sherrod Brown said: “He was comforting. He did the right things and Melania did the right things. It’s his job to comfort people.” But he went on to say he was “very concerned about a president that divides in his rhetoric and plays to race in his rhetoric”.“I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the president of the United States came to Dayton,” added Mayor Nan Whaley. However, she said she was glad Mr Trump had not stopped at the site of the shooting: ”A lot of the time his talk can be very divisive, and that’s the last thing we need in Dayton.”Mr Trump, responding from aboard Air Force One, described his visit as “warm & wonderful” with “tremendous enthusiasm & even love”, but went on to criticise the two Democrats for their comments.“Then I saw failed Presidential Candidate (0%) Sherrod Brown & Mayor Whaley totally misrepresenting what took place inside of the hospital,” he tweeted.“Their news conference after I left for El Paso was a fraud. It bore no resemblance to what took place with those incredible people that I was so lucky to meet and spend time with. They were all amazing!”Mr Trump also took time out from posting about his visits and his political opponents to deride the media and promote the right-wing One America News Network, tweeting: “Watching Fake News CNN is better than watching Shepard Smith, the lowest rated show on @FoxNews. Actually, whenever possible, I turn to @OANN!”The US president then tweeted photos and a video of himself and Melania Trump, the first lady, visiting wounded patients at a hospital in Dayton.He posed with medical staff and law enforcement officials, in which he could be seen giving the “thumbs up” gesture, and tweeted: “The people I met in Dayton are the finest anywhere!”In El Paso, Mr Trump’s motorcade passed protesters holding “Racist Go Home” signs.Beto O’Rourke, a potential Democratic 2020 presidential rival and El Paso native who has denounced Mr Trump as a racist instigator, said Mr Trump had “helped create the hatred that made Saturday’s tragedy possible” and thus “has no place here”.Later, on the flight home from El Paso, Mr Trump sent out a tweet targeting Joaquin Castro, the Democrat brother of presidential hopeful Julian Castro, who had shared a list of 44 names in his district of Texas who had donated the maximum amount to Mr Trump’s campaign this year.“I don’t know who Joaquin Castro is other than the lesser brother of a failed presidential candidate (1%) who makes a fool of himself every time he opens his mouth,” he tweeted.“Joaquin is not the man that his brother is, but his brother, according to most, is not much. Keep fighting Joaquin!”He sent out a second tweet blasting the media: “The Fake News worked overtime trying to disparage me and the two trips, but it just didn’t work.“The love, respect & enthusiasm were there for all to see. They have been through so much. Sad!”He followed that with another post attacking his political opponents: “The Dems new weapon is actually their old weapon, one which they never cease to use when they are down, or run out of facts, RACISM! They are truly disgusting!”Mr Trump said he would be “putting out a list of all people who have been so (ridiculously) accused!”Democrats have argued Mr Trump’s anti-immigrant and racially charged language at rallies and on Twitter has fanned white nationalist sentiments across the US.The massacre in the predominantly Hispanic city of El Paso is being investigated as a hate crime and act of domestic terrorism, and the FBI has said the Dayton attacker also explored violent ideologies.



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Trump is sowing division in El Paso before he has even arrived to honor the victims of Saturday's mass shooting

Trump is sowing division in El Paso before he has even arrived to honor the victims of Saturday's mass shootingPresident Donald Trump has over the past few days insulted some of the city's politicians, including 2020 candidate and El Paso native Beto O'Rourke.



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Trump insulted Ohio Democrats after visiting Dayton shooting victims, and mistakenly thought one had run for president

Trump insulted Ohio Democrats after visiting Dayton shooting victims, and mistakenly thought one had run for presidentTrump falsely accused Sen. Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley of "totally misrepresenting" his trip to a Dayton hospital to visit victims.



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At least 9 dead, 27 injured. Victims identified. What we know about the Dayton, Ohio shooting

At least 9 dead, 27 injured. Victims identified. What we know about the Dayton, Ohio shootingNine people were killed and at least 27 were injured when a gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio. Here's what we know.



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