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Statement by NSC Spokesperson Emily Horne on National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s Meeting with Opposition Leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya of Belarus

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National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met today with democratic opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya of Belarus. Mr. Sullivan conveyed American support for the people of Belarus and respect for the courage and determination of the opposition, including Mrs. Tsikhanouskaya, in the struggle for democracy and human rights.

The United States, together with partners and allies, will continue to hold the Lukashenka regime accountable for its actions, including through the imposition of sanctions. Mr. Sullivan reiterated the Biden Administration’s demand that the Lukashenka regime allow a credible international investigation into the events of May 23, immediately release all political prisoners, and enter into a comprehensive and genuine political dialogue with the leaders of the democratic opposition and civil society groups that leads to the conduct of free and fair Presidential elections under OSCE observation.

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Business

Secret Service Recovers $286M in Stolen Pandemic Loans

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FILE - Attorney General Merrick Garland, looks at federal prosecutor Kevin Chambers, right, after appointing him to be the Justice Department's chief pandemic fraud prosecutor, during a meeting of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Fraud Enforcement Task Force at the Justice Department, March 10, 2022 in Washington. The U.S. Secret Service recovered $286 million in fraudulently obtained pandemic funds to the Small Business Administration, Friday, Aug. 26. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Secret Service said Friday that it has recovered $286 million in fraudulently obtained pandemic loans and is returning the money to the Small Business Administration.

The Secret Service said an investigation initiated by its Orlando office found that alleged conspirators submitted Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications by using fake or stolen employment and personal information and used an online bank, Green Dot, to conceal and move their criminal proceeds.

The agency worked with Green Dot to identify roughly 15,000 accounts and seize $286 million connected to the accounts.

“This forfeiture effort and those to come are a direct and necessary response to the unprecedented size and scope of pandemic relief fraud,” said Kevin Chambers, director for COVID-19 fraud enforcement at the Justice Department.

Billions have been fraudulently claimed through various pandemic relief programs — including Paycheck Protection Program loans, unemployment insurance and others that were rolled out in the midst of the worldwide pandemic that shutdown global economies for months.

In March, the Government Accountability Office reported that while agencies were able to distribute COVID-19 relief funds quickly, “the tradeoff was that they did not have systems in place to prevent and identify payment errors and fraud” due in part to “financial management weaknesses.”

As a result, the GAO has recommended several measures for agencies to prevent pandemic program fraud in the future, including better reporting on their fraud risk management efforts.

Since 2020, the Secret Service initiated more than 3,850 pandemic related fraud investigations, seized over $1.4 billion in fraudulently obtained funds and helped to return $2.3 billion to state unemployment insurance programs.

The latest seizure included a collaboration of efforts between Secret Service, the SBA’s Inspector General, DOJ and other offices.

Hannibal “Mike” Ware, the Small Business Administration’s inspector general, said the joint investigations will continue “to ensure that taxpayer dollars obtained through fraudulent means will be returned to taxpayers and fraudsters involved face justice.”

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Black Lives

Former Louisville Cop Pleads Guilty in Breonna Taylor Case

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FILE - This undated file photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was fatally shot by police in her Louisville, Ky., apartment in March 2020. A former Louisville police detective who helped write the warrant that led to the deadly police raid at Taylor's apartment has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge. (Courtesy of Taylor Family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Louisville police detective who helped falsify the warrant that led to the deadly police raid at Breonna Taylor’s apartment has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.

Federal investigators said Kelly Goodlett added a false line to the warrant and later conspired with another detective to create a cover story when Taylor’s March 13, 2020, shooting death by police began gaining national attention.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot to death by officers who knocked down her door while executing a drug search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times.

Goodlett, 35, appeared in a federal courtroom in Louisville on Tuesday afternoon and admitted to conspiring with another Louisville police officer to falsify the warrant. Goodlett briefly answered several questions from federal judge Rebecca Jennings Grady.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, was in the courtroom Tuesday but did not speak after the proceedings.

Three former Louisville officers were indicted on criminal civil rights charges earlier this month by a federal grand jury. Goodlett was not indicted, but charged in a federal information filing, which likely means the former detective is cooperating with investigators.

Goodlett will be sentenced Nov. 22. Grady said there may be “extenuating circumstances” that may move the court to push back the sentencing date. Part of the plea hearing was also kept under seal and was not discussed in open court Tuesday. She faces up to five years in prison for the conviction.

She resigned from the department Aug. 5, a day after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new federal charges in the Taylor case.

Former officers Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany were indicted on charges related to the warrant used to search Taylor’s home. A third former officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with using excessive force when he retreated from Taylor’s door, turned a corner and fired 10 shots into the side of her two-bedroom apartment. He was acquitted by a jury on similar state charges earlier this year. Jaynes, Meany and Hankison have all been fired.

The three former officers face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on the civil rights charges.

Federal prosecutors said in court records that Jaynes, who drew up the Taylor warrant, had claimed to Goodlett days before the warrant was served that he had “verified” from a postal inspector that a suspected drug dealer was receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment. But Goodlett knew this was false and told Jaynes the warrant did not yet have enough information connecting Taylor to criminal activity, prosecutors said. She added a paragraph saying the suspected drug dealer, Jamarcus Glover, was using Taylor’s apartment as his current address, according to the court records.

Two months later, when the Taylor shooting was attracting national headlines, the postal inspector told a media outlet he had not verified packages for Glover were going to Taylor’s apartment. Jaynes and Goodlett then met in Jaynes’ garage to “get on the same page” before Jaynes talked to investigators about the Taylor warrant, court records said.

They decided to say Sgt. John Mattingly, who is identified in the court records as J.M., told them Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s home, according to prosecutors. Mattingly was shot in the leg during the raid at Taylor’s apartment.

Meany, who signed off on the Taylor warrant and was still a Louisville police sergeant when he was indicted on Aug. 4, was fired by Louisville Police Chief Erika Shields on Friday.

Shields said in a statement that Meany has not yet had his case heard by a jury, but “he is facing multiple federal charges after a lengthy investigation by the DOJ” and should not “expect continued employment under such conditions.”

Hankison was the only officer charged who was on the scene the night of the killing.

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Entertainment

Multi-Platinum Country Artist Chase Rice to Perform Saturday Night Infield Concert at Talladega Superspeedway During NASCAR Playoffs Weekend

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Country star Chase Rice. Photo via NASCAR.

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Talladega Superspeedway is proud to announce that multi-Platinum singer-songwriter Chase Rice, who also has NASCAR ties, will be the featured artist for the track’s traditional Saturday Night Infield Concert, Oct. 1, during an exciting NASCAR Playoffs weekend, featuring the YellaWood 500.

 

Rice will take the stage at NASCAR’s “Party Capital” just hours after the conclusion of the Sparks 300 (NASCAR Xfinity Series) and Chevy Silverado 250 (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series) races, and the night before the YellaWood 500 NASCAR Cup Series event (Sunday, Oct. 2). It will mark the second time that Rice has performed at the biggest and baddest race track on the planet (spring of 2015). The best part about the concert is that admission is FREE with the purchase of a Sunday race ticket for the YellaWood 500. Breakout country artist Bailey Zimmerman will open the anticipated night.

 

“We are thrilled to have Chase Rice back with us at Talladega Superspeedway for our popular Saturday Night Infield Concert,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Brian Crichton. “We have amazing fans, and knowing what an incredible entertainer Chase is, everyone in attendance is going to have an incredible time. Chase will continue the tradition in our world-famous infield, and it’s one fans will not want to miss.”

 

With more than 2.3 million albums sold and over 2.3 billion total streams, plus a legion of passionate fans at his high-energy concerts across the globe, Rice has established himself as a powerful force in Nashville and beyond. With a forthcoming album crafted in his rural Tennessee home-turned-studio, his sound continues to evolve to reflect the realities of his life, as evidenced by recent single “If I Were Rock & Roll” and his latest release, “Key West & Colorado.” The new music serves as a follow up to his three-part project, The Album, featuring his latest Platinum-certified No. 1 hit, “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen. (featuring Florida Georgia Line)” and Platinum-certified Top 10 hit “Lonely If You Are.”

 

This is the same gravelly-voiced Chase Rice fans first fell in love with years ago – but better. Freer. Unbeholden and uninhibited, somehow capable of evoking Chris LeDoux and The Chronic, campfire singalongs and stadium anthems, all at once. The new music builds upon the success of his sophomore album, Lambs & Lions, which featured the Triple-Platinum, two-week chart topper “Eyes On You” – Rice’s first No. 1 as an artist and the most-streamed song of his career.

 

In addition to a hugely successful music career, Rice also has an athletic background as a former linebacker at the University of North Carolina, and was a part of the sport of NASCAR, serving as a rear tire carrier for the Hendrick Motorsports team pit crew before moving to Nashville to pursue music full-time.

 

Warner Music Nashville / Elektra Music Group breakout country artist Zimmerman is following an explosive trajectory after an unexpected, whirlwind rise. His undeniable smash “Fall In Love” features Zimmerman’s “blistering…effortlessly gritty, fervent vocal” (Billboard). The song is currently racing up the country radio charts and multiple all-genre Billboard charts, having already charted at No. 1 on Apple Music’s Top Country Songs chart and SiriusXM The Highway’s Top 30 Countdown earlier this year.

A victory by a playoff eligible driver in any of the trio of October events will make it to the next round of their respective NASCAR Playoffs series. The YellaWood 500 will serve as the second race in the Round of 12 and will feature NASCAR’s ’Next Gen’ car. Bubba Wallace is the defending Champion of the YellaWood 500. Brandon Brown won last year’s Xfinity Series race while Tate Fogleman took the top honors in the Camping World Truck Series race.

Guests attending the weekend can be immersed into the sport of NASCAR by being a part of the Talladega Garage Experience, which gives the ability to be up-close to NASCAR’s top drivers and teams via a fan walkway under the same roof as the NASCAR Cup Series garage bays. For all race weekend ticket information, log onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.

Fans are encouraged to keep up with all the happenings at the biggest, baddest race track on the planet by following Talladega Superspeedway on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as the all-new NASCAR Tracks App. for the latest speedway news.

Follow Chase Rice at:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/chasericemusic

Twitter: @chasericemusic

Instagram: @chaserice

TikTok: @chasericemusic

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