The Rundown for June 3, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of conformed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,831,821 and the death toll stands at 106,181, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday that the U.S. should have 100 million doses of one candidate Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year. Meanwhile, at least 15 West Point cadets who returned to the military academy for President Trump’s upcoming commencement speech have tested positive for COVID-19. The cadets had all been sent home in March during the pandemic, but they returned to campus after President Trump unexpectedly announced in April that he would deliver a commencement speech on June 13. The president’s move was criticized by many officials as a “reckless” political stunt.

ANOTHER DAY OF PROTESTS… Protesters returned to streets across America yesterday for an eighth straight day of demonstrations targeting law-enforcement’s treatment of African-Americans. Earlier in the day, Trump pressed governors to put down the violence and demanded that New York call up the National Guard to stop the “lowlifes and losers.” The state of Minnesota, meanwhile, has launched a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department over the death of George Floyd while he was in custody. Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights said they hope to reach agreement with the city to identify short-term ways to address the police department’s history of racial discrimination. Both sides emphasized that they hope to find long-term solutions for systemic change. Finally, James Miller, who served as the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for policy during the Obama administration, resigned from his role on the Defense Advisory Board due to what he said was Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s visible support for law enforcement officers’ clearing of protesters in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Miller called what he saw as Esper’s support for suppressing the protest a violation of Esper’s oath of office.

TRUMP LOOKS TO MOVE GOP CONVENTION… President Trump announced last night that he wants to move the Republican convention out of Charlotte because North Carolina Roy Cooper could not provide assurances that he could fill the convention hall. In a letter to officials at the Republican National Committee, Cooper said the possibility of the coronavirus lingering in the state or re-emerging left him unable to determine whether he could allow for full attendance at the August 24-27 convention. The RNC had been pressing Cooper for more specific guidance on his plans for the convention.

DEA APPROVED TO SURVEIL PROTESTERS… Buzzfeed News reported yesterday that the Department of Justice has given the Drug Enforcement Administration approval to conduct “covert surveillance” on protesters taking to the streets over Minneapolis Police Department’s killing of George Floyd. The surveillance powers are reportedly being granted on a temporary basis. The DEA has also been given the power to gather intelligence on demonstrators and share it with local and state law enforcement.

PRIMARIES IN 8 STATES… Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King lost his seat yesterday, as he was defeated by Senator Randy Feenstra, who took advantage of King’s provocative and racially-charged statements. In other primaries of interest, Attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez defeated former CIA operative Valerie Plame to win the Democratic nomination in New Mexico’s the 3rd Congressional District. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was projected to win Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Montana and Rhode Island.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTOR COLE SPROUSE ARRESTED AT PROTEST
… Actor Cole Sprouse has provided an account his arrest on Sunday at a Black Lives Matter protest in Santa Monica, California. Sprouse, who stars as Jughead Jones in the CW television series “Riverdale,” says his detention came after he participated in a peaceful demonstration. He claims that he and other demonstrators were given the option to leave the beachside city after a 4 p.m. curfew but were blocked by police officers who detained them with zip ties.

HENLEY SEEKS CHANGE TO COPYRIGHT LAW… Musician/songwriter Don Henley testified virtually before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee yesterday and asked for changes to a 1998 law that protect artists against online pirating. The law allows holders of copyrighted material to formally ask parties they believe have taken their content without permission to remove it. The parties can dispute the claim. If they comply promptly with the request, there are no legal consequences. Otherwise, they may be subject to criminal penalties. Henley said the law must be strengthened to make it more effective.

SPORTS
NBA PLANS TO RESUME SEASON
… NBA owners are hopeful that they can reach agreement with players on a plan that would resume play on July 31 in Orlando. The plan that would include regular-season, play-in and playoff games for the 16 teams currently holding playoff position and six more teams within six games of the eighth seed in each conference. Commissioner Adam Silver will take the proposal to a vote of the NBA’s Board of Governors tomorrow, ESPN reported yesterday. Three-fourths of the league’s 30 teams would have to vote on the plan to pass it.

The Rundown for June 1, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… At least 19,788 new coronavirus cases and 600 virus-related deaths were identified in the U.S. yesterday, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The number of cases reported in the nation stands at 1,790,191 and the death toll is listed at 104,383. Brazil remains a hotspot for the disease as its 514,000 cases are more than any country outside the U.S.

PROTESTS RAGE… Protests targeting the killings of black people at the hands of police flared across the nation again yesterday, as peaceful demonstrations mixed with pockets of violence. President Trump, who reportedly was taken to a bunker as protests neared the White House, expressed anger at the destruction and announced that the U.S. “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization” despite no evidence that the group is behind the violence. Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday declared a state of disaster and ordered thousands of additional troops and more than 1,000 National Guard members to support local law enforcement in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that two police officers have been fired after a video appeared to show them tasing two protesters and dragging them out of a car on Saturday. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney ordered all retail stores to close immediately in order to “fully enforce” an 8 p.m. curfew. Former Vice President and current presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visited the site of Saturday night’s Wilmington, Delaware, protests. “We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us.” he said.

TRUMP WON’T CONTROL NATIONAL GUARD… President Trump will not take the dramatic step for now of seeking control of the National Guard, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien announced yesterday. The National Guard says that it has activated about 5,000 soldiers and airmen in 15 states and the District of Columbia, but that “state and local law enforcement agencies remain responsible for security.” During his appearance on CNN’s “Face the Nation,” O’Brien also attacked the World Health Organization as “corrupt” and vowed that the U.S. could better use its public-health funds.

MINNESOTA AG TAKING OVER GEORGE FLOYD CASE… Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said yesterday that he is turning over the George Floyd case to Attorney General Keith Ellison. The former congressman will assist Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and the two are expected to begin work today. Floyd’s family had previously requested Ellison take over the case from Freeman. Minneapolis City Council on Saturday asked Walz to appoint Ellison as special prosecutor in this case.

SPACEX CAPSULE ARRIVES AT SPACE STATION… SpaceX yesterday delivered two astronauts to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Dragon capsule, carrying test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, pulled up to the station and docked automatically. It was the first time a privately built and owned spacecraft carried astronauts to the space station in its more than 20 years of existence.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTORS CLASH WITH COPS AT PROTESTS
… Actors Kendrick Sampson and John Cusack were among those who had contact with police at George Floyd protests over the weekend. Sampson, who stars in the HBO comedy-drama series “Insecure,” said he went to the emergency room after being struck by seven rubber bullets and police batons at a protest in Los Angeles. Cusack tweeted on Saturday that police approached him as he was filming a burning car and struck his bike.

GUNNA TOPS ALBUM CHART… Gunna’s new release, “Wunna,” sold 111,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 album chart. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” jumped into second place with 65,000 units sold. Last week’s champ, Future’s “High Off Life,” dropped to third place on sales of 61,000 copies. The 1975’s “Notes on a Conditional Form” opened in fourth place on sales of 54,000 units. Polo G’s “The Goat” capped the top five with 52,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
MLB PLAYERS ASSOCIATION OFFERS PROPOSAL
… The Major League Baseball Players Association yesterday delivered a return-to-play proposal to team owners. According to ESPN, the proposal includes a 114-game season, deferred salaries in the event of a canceled postseason and the option for all players to opt out of a potential 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns. Players rejected a previous plan presented by owners. Both sides are hopeful that an agreement could be in place as early as this week.

JR SMITH PUMMELS VANDAL… A video posted online yesterday shows free-agent NBA guard JR Smith beating up a man who allegedly broke the window of Smith’s truck during the protests in Los Angeles over the weekend. The video shows Smith kicking the man when he is on the ground and then punching him when he gets up and runs away. Smith said he was parked in a residential area and not near any stores where looting took place during the protests.

The Rundown for May 21, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,551,668 and the death toll stands at 93,431, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. All 50 states now have taken some steps to reopen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a 60-page document offering guidance for reopening schools, mass transit and nonessential businesses. The plan outlines a “three-phased approach” for reducing social distancing and proposes the use of six “gating” indicators to assess when to move through another phase.

SUPREME COURT BLOCKS MUELLER MATERIAL FROM HOUSE… The Supreme Court yesterday temporarily blocked a lower court order requiring the Justice Department to turn over to the House grand jury material gathered by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators in their probe of President Trump’s Russia dealings. The stay requires the Justice Department to file a formal appeal by June 1. The House Judiciary Committee has sought the documents for more than a year. The lower courts said that grand jury records in the past have been turned over to Congress as part of impeachment investigations. The Trump administration argues that the case presents “serious separation of powers concerns” and should be examined by the High Court.

APPEALS COURT HALTS TEXAS MAIL VOTE… A court ruling that allowed Texas to expand its mail-in voting amid the coronavirus was put on hold yesterday by a U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The three-judge panel sided with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in stopping the expansion from taking effect while it’s under review. The action reverts Texas’ qualifications limiting absentee ballots to voters who are 65 years or older. Texans under 65 can only qualify for a mail-in ballot if they cite a disability or illness, if they’ll be out of the county during the election period, or are confined in jail.

MICHIGAN FLOODING… Rising floodwaters unleashed by two dam failures left parts of the central Michigan town of Midland under five feet of water yesterday and forced the evacuation of about 10,000 residents. Days of heavy rain caused the Tittabawassee River to overflow its banks and breach the Edenville and Sanford dams on Tuesday. Dow Chemical reports that floodwater has mingled with chemical pools at its Midland plant, prompting fears of contamination. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer called the destruction in Midland County “devastating” and asked for federal assistance.

MICHAEL COHEN TO BE RELEASED… President Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen is scheduled for release from prison to home confinement today. The 53-year-old Cohen, who is serving a three-year sentence for lying to Congress and campaign finance fraud, was originally due to be freed in November 2021. Fears of the coronavirus prompted his early release. Cohen admitted lying to Congress about a Trump Tower project in Moscow and committing campaign finance violations for making hush money payments to women who allegedly had affairs with Trump. Cohen also pled guilty to tax and bank fraud charges unrelated to Trump.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTOR DIES IN ATTEMPTED MURDER-SUICIDE
… Actor Hagen Mills, who’s best known for his appearance in the 2016 FX pilot “Baskets,” died in an attempted murder-suicide on Tuesday night in Mayfield, Kentucky, authorities confirmed yesterday. Police found his body after responding to the report of gunfire at a home. Investigators say Mills held his 4-year-old daughter and her grandmother hostage and then opened fire on the baby’s mother upon her arrival. After shooting the mother several times, Mills reportedly turned the gun on himself. The mother survived her wounds and is listed in stable condition at a hospital. The child and grandmother were not harmed. Among his other acting roles, Mills played Buck Barrow in the 2013 television movie “Bonnie & Clyde: Justified.”

LITTLE RICHARD LAID TO REST… Little Richard was laid to rest at a private service in in Huntsville, Alabama, yesterday. The pioneering Rock ‘N Roller was 87 when he died from bone cancer on May 9. Born Richard Penniman, he sold more than 30 million records worldwide and is best remembered for the hit songs ”Tutti Frutti, “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.”

SPORTS
NCAA LIFTS ACTIVITY BAN FOR THREE SPORTS… The NCAA Council yesterday voted to lift its moratorium on athletic-related activities for football and men’s and women’s basketball. The vote allows for voluntary athletic activities for the threes ports to run through June. The moratorium was set to expire on May 31.

The Rundown for May 14, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number or reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,364,061 and the death toll stands at 82,246, according to figures released last night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 yesterday to strike down Governor Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order. Evers issued the order in March and last month extended it to May 26. Republicans asked the Supreme Court to block the extension on the grounds that it required legislative approval.

JUDGE ADDS OBSTACLE TO FLYNN CASE… U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has thrown another obstacle into the Justice Department’s effort to drop the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn despite his earlier guilty plea. Judge Sullivan yesterday appointed former mafia prosecutor and retired Eastern District of New York district court judge John Gleeson to present arguments against the government’s request for dismissal. Sullivan directed Gleeson to recommend whether Flynn should face a criminal contempt charge for perjury. Flynn had admitted under oath at two different court proceedings that he was guilty of lying to the FBI before reversing course in January and denying he had lied.

SENATE BLOCKS INTERNET-PRIVACY AMENDMENT… The Senate yesterday narrowly blocked an amendment that would have prevented law enforcement from collecting information on Americans’ internet habits without a warrant. In the 59-37 vote, the amendment sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines and Democrat Ron Wyden fell just one vote short of the 60 votes it needed for inclusion in legislation to renew three surveillance tools used in national security investigations that expired two months ago. Senators voted 77 to 19 on a separate amendment, sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Lee and Democrat Patrick Leahy, allowing outside legal analysts to serve as independent advisers for the court that oversees surveillance-related warrants.

INVESTIGATORS SEIZE SENATOR BURR’S CELL PHONE… Federal agents used a warrant to seize Richard Burr’s cellphone as part of an investigation into his stock sales, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. Burr, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, has already complied with an associated warrant for his cellphone records as investigators try to determine whether his actions constitute insider trading. The senator, along with his brother-in-law, dumped millions in stock after a closed-door Senate briefing on the coronavirus in February. Though he told the public the virus would not cause much harm, he warned private audiences that the effects would be disastrous. The sales saved him millions of dollars in potential losses.

REPUBLICANS RECLAIM CALIFORNIA HOUSE SEAT… Republican Mike Garcia has defeated Democrat Christy Smith in the special election for the California Congressional District 25 House seat left vacant when former California Democratic Representative Katie Hill resigned amid controversy last year. Garcia will finish out Hill’s term before a rematch with Smith in November’s general election. He ran on a platform of promises to lower taxes, “defeat socialism” and “build the wall,” while casting Smith as a liberal career politician.

ENTERTAINMENT
WITHERSPOON TO STAR IN NETFLIX FILMS… Netflix announced yesterday that Reese Witherspoon will star in the romantic comedy films ”Your Place or Mine” and “The Cactus.” Witherspoon will reportedly produce the films through her Hello Sunshine banner. She will co-produce “Your Place or Mine” with Aggregate Films’ Jason Bateman and Michael Costigan and “The Cactus” with Lauren Neustadter.

MELISSA ETHERIDGE’S SON DIES… The 21-year-old son of Melissa Etheridge died yesterday. Etheridge released a statement blaming opioid addiction for the death of Beckett Cypher. He was one of two children the 58-year-old singer had with former partner Julie Cypher, both conceived with sperm from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer David Crosby.

SPORTS
NCAA EXTENDS NBA DRAFT DECLARATION DEADLINE… The NCAA announced yesterday that it is “indefinitely” extending the deadline for college basketball prospects to decide whether they want to keep their names in consideration for the NBA Draft. Previously, college players who entered their names for draft consideration faced a June 3 deadline to withdraw from the draft if they wished to return to college. NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt says a decision on the new withdrawal date for college players will be made once the NBA has determined a timeline for the pre-draft process.

The Rundown for May 13, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,342,594 and the death toll stands at 80,820, according to figures released last night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force testified remotely before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned governments not to “jump over” various checkpoints and “prematurely open.”

TRUMP LAWYER TRIES TO PROTECT FINANCIAL RECORDS… President Trump’s personal lawyer argued before the Supreme Court yesterday that the president should not be subject to the same laws as ordinary citizens. Attorney Jay Sekulow, who is trying to prevent three financial institutions from complying with subpoenas for the president’s financial records, claimed that the president is a branch of government and is immune to subpoenas. Three House committees and the New York City district attorney have subpoenaed two banks and an accounting firm for Trump’s financial records.

JUDGE IN FLYNN’S CASE GRANTS TIME FOR CHALLENGES… The judge in Michael Flynn’s court case is delaying an immediate decision on the Justice Department’s request to withdraw the case and will allow time for outside parties to file amicus briefs in challenging the government’s position. Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak but sentencing was delayed when he sought to change his guilty plea. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan yesterday said he would set a schedule for parties to submit their challenges at a later date.

HOUSE DEMS UNVEIL $3T RELIEF PACKAGE… House Democrats yesterday unveiled a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes another round of direct payments to Americans. A vote on the measure is scheduled for Friday. It is expected to carry a party-line vote, meaning it faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled Senate if it’s passed in the Democratic-led House. Republicans claim they don’t see an imminent need for another emergency relief package.

BIDEN WINS NEBRASKA PRIMARY… Joe Biden moved a step closer toward his bid to become the Democratic presidential nominee yesterday by winning the Nebraska primary. He was projected to pick up at least another 20 delegates out of the 33 up for grabs, giving him 1,444 of the 1,991 needed to clinch the nomination. President Trump won the Republican primary, and Senator Ben Sasse won the Republican primary for his seat. In-person voting was conducted, although voters were encouraged to vote early by mail.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTOR NICK CORDERO AWAKE AND CONSCIOUS… Actor Nick Cordero is awake and conscious after about three weeks in a medically-induced coma due to complications from coronavirus, his wife announced on social media yesterday. Cordero had entered the hospital on March 30 for and was intubated on April 1. One of his legs had to be amputated as the result of a blood clot. Cordero made his Broadway debut in 2012’s musical hit “Rock of Ages” before earning a Tony nomination in 2014 for “Bullets Over Broadway.” He appeared in the 2017 comedy remake “Going in Style” and his TV appearances included “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

EILISH GRANTED RESTRAINING ORDER… A judge in Los Angeles has granted Billie Eilish a temporary restraining order against a man who trespassed on her parents’ property on several occasions. The 18-year-old pop star sought the protection in papers filed on Monday. The man, identified as 24-year-old Prenell Rousseau, has been to stay 200 yards away from Billie and her family members. He allegedly turned up at the house seven times last week and on one occasion tried to gain entrance through a door. A hearing is scheduled for June 1.

SPORTS
NBA PRIORITIZES SAFETY IN PLANS TO RETURN… ESPN reported last night that a virtual meeting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver left participants in a Board of Governors call feeling positive about the league’s momentum toward a resumption of play this season. Owners and executives praised the league’s progress toward minimizing health risk upon a return and willingness to communicate with the players union. In a discussion centered on safety concerns, the league established a goal of getting team officials and players comfortable with the idea that a positive test for the coronavirus upon a return would not force another shutdown.

The Rundown for May 8, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. reached 1,219,066 yesterday and the number of dead has risen to 73,297, according to figures released last night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The governors of Oregon, California and Michigan have announced plans for phased re-openings as jobless claims have topped 33.5 million. Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that next Friday she will begin loosening statewide restrictions on retail stores, youth programs, and daycares on. Rural counties that have lower rates of the virus can reopen beauty salons, gyms, bars, and restaurants with certain limitations. California Governor Gavin Newsom issued guidelines permitting manufacturers to reopen as early as today. His order also allows warehouse and logistics facilities to return to work, and for retail businesses to offer curbside service. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is allowing manufacturers in her state to restart on Monday but extended her stay-at-home order for two more weeks. Finally, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna Therapeutics for a second phase of clinical trials. Moderna, which is based in Massachusetts, was given $483 million in federal funding last month to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

DOJ DROPS CHARGES AGAINST FLYNN… The Justice Department announced yesterday that it is dropping the criminal case against President Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn. The stunning announcement was a stunning reversal for prosecutors following Flynn’s earlier guilty plea and admission to lying to the FBI in what he conceded was a non-coerced January 2017 interview. The filing under the watch of Attorney General William Barr prompted widespread outrage and prompted lead prosecutor Brandon Van Grack to withdraw from the prosecution without explanation. President Trump, who said on December 2, 2017, that he had to fire Flynn for lying to the FBI and Vice President Mike Pence, lauded yesterday’s decision and has recently claimed he would welcome him back into the administration. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says he will schedule a hearing with Barr as quickly as possible.

RUSSIA-INTERFERENCE PROBE TRANSCRIPTS RELEASED… The House intelligence committee yesterday released 57 transcripts from its investigation Russia’s campaign to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The transcripts span more than 6,000 pages and include interviews conducted between 2017 and 2018 as part of the investigation to determine whether President Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia to influence the results of the election. Upon the conclusion of the investigation in 2018, former special counsel Robert Mueller found that Russia did interfere in the election but was unable to conclude whether Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government or whether Trump obstructed the investigation. In releasing the transcripts, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said they show “ample evidence” of corrupt interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia.

SENATE FAILS TO OVERRIDE WAR POWERS MEASURE VETO… The Senate yesterday failed to override President Trump’s veto of a resolution that would have limited presidential war-making authority against Iran. The 49-44 was short of the two-thirds majority required to override the veto issued by Trump on Wednesday Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, along with Republican senators Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, had sponsored the measure, which carried bipartisan support in both chambers.

ARRESTS IN KILLING OF JOGGER… Two men have been arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault for the February fatal shooting of a 25-year-old African-American jogger in Brunswick, Georgia. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, were booked into the Glynn County Jail. Cellphone video capturing their killing of Ahmaud Arbery was posted on social media earlier this week and immediately prompted national outrage. Arbery would have turned 26 today.

FIRE SCORCHES FLORIDA PANHANDLE… Some 1,600 residents have been evacuated from their neighborhoods in the Florida Panhandle, where fire crews have been battling an erratic fire that has consumed 2,000 acres. A stretch of Interstate 10 remained closed in both directions near Pensacola because of smoke. 13 homes in Santa Rosa County were destroyed and multiple structures were lost in neighboring Walton County, authorities say.

ENTERTAINMENT
APPEAL COURT SIDES WITH JERRY SEINFELD… An appeals court sided with Jerry Seinfeld yesterday in response to a copyright claim that Seinfeld stole the idea for his “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” series from a former collaborator. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled against writer Christian Charles in supporting a lower court’s decision. Charles said he pitched the concept for “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” to Seinfeld in November 2001 but Seinfeld rejected it. The online streaming program was distributed by Sony Pictures Television through Crackle before being sold to Netflix in 2017.

HISTORY CHANNEL CUTS… A&E Networks announced yesterday that it will not renew the History channel shows “Project Blue Book” and “Knightfall” for third seasons. “Project Blue Book was based on the real-life experiences of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a college professor called upon by the U.S. Air Force to investigate unexplained mysteries, including aliens from other planets. “Knightfall” was a drama about the Knights Templar, set in the 14th Century.

SPORTS
NCAA CONTINUES TO HAMMER KANSAS… The University of Kansas’ men’s basketball program committed “egregious” and “severe” rules violations that “significantly undermine and threaten the NCAA Collegiate Model,” the NCAA’s enforcement staff said yesterday in a reply to the university. Head coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend “embraced, welcomed and encouraged” Adidas employees and consultants to influence high-profile recruits to sign with Kansas, according to the NCAA. The university is charged with five Level I rules violations, including lack of institutional control. Kansas is also charged with two Level II violations and one Level III violation related to the football program under former coach David Beaty.

The Rundown for April 14, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has risen to 581,918 and the death toll stands at 23,608, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. President Trump declared during a press conference that he has the authority over state and local governments in deciding when to lift social-distancing guidelines and reopen the economy. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called Trump’s “total” authority claim untrue. Cuomo also announced that his state is partnering with New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island in a regional task force to help coordinate re-openings in the northeast. A similar alliance formed on the West Coast, where the governors of Washington, Oregon and California reached a working agreement.

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CASES REMOTELY… The Supreme Court announced yesterday that justices will hear oral arguments in several cases over a six-day period next month via telephone conference. President Donald Trump’s financial documents, religious freedom and the Electoral College will be among the cases argued. The Supreme Court has closed its doors in adherence to the federal social-distancing guidelines.

SANDERS ENDORSES BIDEN… Just five days after dropping out of the presidential race, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders yesterday endorsed former rival Joe Biden. “We need you in the White House,” Sanders told Biden on a live stream that Biden hosted. Biden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to challenge President Trump.

UPSET IN WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT RACE… Judge Jill Karofsky pulled off an upset of incumbent state supreme court justice Daniel Kelly, according to Wisconsin election results released yesterday. The liberal challenger’s victory comes as the state supreme court is expected to rule in numerous voting rights cases leading up to November’s presidential election, including a case in which 200,000 voters could be purged from voter rolls. Results also confirmed Joe Biden won the Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary.

33 DEAD AFTER EASTER STORMS… The death toll from severe storms that struck the Southeast on Sunday rose to at least 33 people yesterday. At least 11 deaths were reported in Mississippi and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced that nine people died in his state. Eight deaths were reported in Georgia. States of emergency have been declared in Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama.

ENTERTAINMENT
STEPHANOPOULOS TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS… “Good Morning America’ anchor revealed on yesterday morning’s show that he has tested positive for coronavirus. Stephanopoulos said the diagnosis came across as “no surprise” since his wife, the actress and author Ali Wentworth, tested positive two weeks ago. Stephanopoulos said he has yet to experience symptoms.

‘AMAZING RACE’ GETS MAY 20 PREMIERE DATE… CBS announced yesterday that Season 32 of “The Amazing Race” will premiere with a two-hour episode on May 20. The new season will feature returning host Phil Keoghan and kicks off in Los Angeles. The 11 teams of contestants will visit Trinidad and Tobago, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Brazil and other countries during the season.

SPORTS
KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS’ MOTHER LOSES BATTLE WITH CORONAVIRUS… The mother of Minnesota Timberwolves two-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns has died due to complications from the coronavirus, family members announced yesterday. Jacqueline Cruz-Towns was 58. Towns revealed on March 25 that she was in a medically induced coma and had been placed on a ventilator. Towns’ father was hospitalized for treatment of the virus and expected to survive.