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News Brief: Week of March 24-30


Trump threatens to close U.S.-Mexico border

President Donald Trump on Friday, March 29, threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border if Mexican authorities did not immediately stop caravans of Central American migrants from traveling north to the U.S.

Speaking to reporters in Florida on Friday, Trump said there is a “very good chance” he closes the border by the end of next week, despite the potential economic consequences.

In addition to threatening a border shutdown, Trump on Friday also directed the State Department to cut off all foreign aid to the Central American nations of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

It remains unclear if a potential border closure would impact individuals looking to travel between the two nations or simply trucks and cargo ships transporting goods for international trade.

Jussie Smollett charges dropped

Weeks after indicting him on 16 felony counts, including falsifying a police report, Chicago prosecutors on Tuesday, March 26, dropped all criminal charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 29, Smollett was allegedly attacked outside his apartment by two masked assailants. According to Smollett, those who assaulted him shouted racial and homophobic slurs, while also chanting “this is MAGA country.”

After identifying the two assailants as “Empire” crew members, Chicago police suspected Smollett falsified the attack in an attempt to gain publicity and increase his salary. On Feb. 20, he was charged with felony counts of disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.

According to Chicago Police Department Commander Ed Wodnicki, the Cook County District Attorney’s office did not consult with police before deciding to drop charges.

Chicago city officials on Thursday, March 27, ordered Smollett to pay $130,000 to cover the cost of the investigation. More than two dozen detectives worked overtime on the Smollett case over two weeks, according to the letter.

Full Mueller report to be released

A full, redacted version of the Mueller report will be available to the public by mid-April.

On Sunday, March 24, a four-page summary of the report was released by Attorney General William Barr. While the investigation did not establish Trump colluded with the Russian government in the 2016 presidential election, it offered no determination as to whether the president obstructed the investigation.

The nearly 400-page report contains grand jury evidence, as well as other information which must be redacted in order to ensure national security, according to Barr.


Racist graffiti found at state Democratic office

In the early morning hours of Thursday, March 28, the Oklahoma Democratic Party office was defaced with graffiti of swastikas and racial slurs.

Both the Oklahoma Democratic and Republican parties condemned the act, which is currently being investigated as a hate crime by the Oklahoma City Police Department, as hate-filled and unacceptable.

Dozens of volunteers spent Thursday scrubbing the graffiti out of the building and adjacent parking lot. A power washer was required to remove some of the spray paint.

Security camera footage captured a grainy image of a woman wanted for questioning by Oklahoma City Police Department. The public may report crime tips by calling 405-235-7300.

David Boren under investigation

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating former University of Oklahoma president and U.S. Senator David Boren over an allegation of sexual battery.

On Tuesday, March 26, the website NonDoc published an article describing how Boren made unwelcome sexual advances toward a male student assistant, Jess Eddy, from 2010 to 2012. According to Eddy, Boren bribed him with money and alcohol while pursuing a sexual relationship.

Boren’s lawyer, Tulsa attorney Clark Brewster, said the allegations are false. Speaking to NewsOK, he also said Eddy demanded money from Boren prior to going to Norman police in March.


Pre-enrollment begins this week

Pre-enrollment for fall 2019 courses begins today for graduate students and students planning to graduate in the fall.

Pre-enrollment will continue throughout this week, with those who have accumulated more credit hours allowed to enroll earlier in the week.

The fall 2019 semester begins Aug. 25.

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