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Crime-and-courts
breaking
UPDATE: Human remains found in Jerome County by construction worker

BURLEY — Law enforcement officials are releasing few details on human bones discovered in Jerome County.

Jerome County Sheriff Doug McFall said the remains were found within the past few days by a worker preparing an excavation site who walked ahead of the machine to make sure it wouldn’t get stuck.

“We are talking about bones,” he said.

McFall said he doesn’t know whether the remains are male or female. He declined to say exactly when or where the bones were found.

“We’re afraid if we pinpoint it we’ll have people heading out there who will contaminate the scene,” McFall said.

Cassia County Undersheriff George Warrell said the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office is jointly investigating the case with Jerome County Sheriff’s Office.

“This investigation is continuing and we are trying to positively identify the remains,” Warrell said.

McFall said they are working with the Jerome County coroner, authorities in Ada County and at Boise State University to identify the remains.

“Part of that process of making a positive identification is looking at people who are unaccounted for,” he said. “We try to confirm or eliminate those persons.”

The sheriff’s departments ask anyone with information to call the Cassia County Sheriff dispatch at 208-878-2251 or Jerome County Sheriff’s Office at 208-595-3311.


DREW NASH, TIMES-NEWS  

Minico’s Colter May carries the American flag as the Spartans take the field against Skyline during the 4A state championship game Friday night at Holt Arena in Pocatello.


Crime-and-courts
Someone is hacking ATMs in Utah and Idaho and taking all the cash inside. Now it's happened in Burley

BURLEY — Someone cleaned out an ATM at a D.L. Evans Bank the night of Nov. 15 after overriding its computer, police say.

Police haven’t identified a suspect, but Cassia County Undersheriff George Warrell said a similar case is under investigation in Twin Falls.

“It appears to be the same people,” Warrell said.

The Burley theft happened about 8:30 p.m.

“After they overrode the system the ATM gave them money,” Warrell said.

There was also a report Wednesday night of ATM tampering at Mountain America Credit Union on Blue Lakes Boulevard North, said Twin Falls Police Sgt. Luke Allen.

No money was taken from the ATM, he said.

Allen said he heard about the Cassia County incident, and said Twin Falls will work with Cassia County law enforcement.

Police in Utah and the FBI are also investigating.

No account holder information was compromised, Warrell said.


Washington
AP
Moscow meeting in June 2017 under scrutiny in Trump probe

WASHINGTON — Earlier this year, a Russian-American lobbyist and another businessman discussed over coffee in Moscow an extraordinary meeting they had attended 12 months earlier: a gathering at Trump Tower with President Donald Trump’s son, his son-in-law and his then-campaign chairman.

The Moscow meeting in June, which has not been previously disclosed, is now under scrutiny by investigators who want to know why the two men met in the first place and whether there was some effort to get their stories straight about the Trump Tower meeting just weeks before it would become public, The Associated Press has learned.

Congressional investigators have questioned both men — lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer and former Trump business partner — and obtained their text message communications, people familiar with the investigation told the AP.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team also has been investigating the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, which occurred weeks after Trump had clinched the Republican presidential nomination and which his son attended with the expectation of receiving damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton. A grand jury has already heard testimony about the meeting, which in addition to Donald Trump Jr., also included Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and his then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The focus of the congressional investigators was confirmed by three people familiar with their probe, including two who demanded anonymity to discuss the sensitive inquiry.

One of those people said Akhmetshin told congressional investigators that he asked for the Moscow meeting with Kaveladze to argue that they should go public with the details of the Trump Tower meeting before they were caught up in a media maelstrom. Akhmetshin also told the investigators that Kaveladze said people in Trump’s orbit were asking about Akhmetshin’s background, the person said.

Akhmetshin’s lawyer, Michael Tremonte, declined to comment.

Scott Balber, a lawyer for Kaveladze, confirmed that his client and Akhmetshin met over coffee and that the Trump Tower meeting a year earlier was “obviously discussed.” But Balber denied his client had been contacted by associates of Trump before he took the meeting with Akhmetshin, or had been aware of plans to disclose the Trump Tower gathering to the U.S. government.

Balber said the men did not discuss strategy or how to line up their stories, and did not meet in anticipation of the Trump Tower meeting becoming public and attracting a barrage of news media attention.

He said Akhmetshin did convey during coffee the possibility that his name could come out in connection with the Trump Tower meeting and cause additional, unwanted scrutiny given that he had been linked in earlier news reports to Russian military intelligence, coverage that Akhmetshin considered unfair. Akhmetshin has denied ongoing ties with Russian intelligence, but acknowledged that he served in the Soviet military in the late 1980s as part of a counterintelligence unit.

“That was the impetus,” Balber said of the men’s get-together. “It had absolutely nothing to do with anticipation of the meeting coming out in the press.”

The meeting in Moscow occurred during a tumultuous time for the administration. Mueller had been appointed as special counsel weeks earlier following the firing in May of FBI Director James Comey, and associates of Trump were under pressure to disclose any contacts they had with Russians during the campaign.

The June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower first became public on July 8 in a report in The New York Times.

The White House initially said the meeting, which also involved a Russian lawyer who for years has advocated against U.S. sanctions of Russia, was primarily about an adoption program, but days after the story was published, Trump Jr. released emails showing he took the meeting after being told he would receive damaging information on Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to aide his father’s candidacy.

Mueller’s investigation has included scrutiny of the White House’s drafting of the initial incomplete statement.

As part of their inquiry, congressional investigators are reviewing copies of the text messages between the two men that were turned over, Balber said. He declined to say what the text messages showed. One person familiar with the messages said they reflect the logistics of the meeting during a trip by Akhmetshin to Moscow.


If you do one thing

If you do one thing: The College of Southern Idaho Cowboy Fall Ball, “Dancing in the Dirt,” will be held from 8 p.m. to midnight at the CSI Eldon Evans Expo Center on North College Road in Twin Falls. Tickets are $10 at the door.


DREW NASH, TIMES-NEWS FILE PHOTO  

Carey’s Carson Simpson picks up the fumble forced by teammate Hayden Wayment against Mackay quarterback Dallin Green during their game Thursday night, Oct. 26, 2017, at Carey High School.


Washington
AP
As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

WASHINGTON — “You can do anything,” Donald Trump once boasted, speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women.

Maybe he could, but not everyone can.

The candidate who openly bragged about grabbing women’s private parts — but denied he really did so — was elected president months before the cascading sexual harassment allegations that have been toppling the careers of powerful men in Hollywood, business, the media and politics. He won even though more than a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct, and roughly half of all voters said they were bothered by his treatment of women, according to exit polls.

Now, as one prominent figure after another takes a dive, the question remains: Why not Trump?

“A lot of people who voted for him recognized that he was what he was, but wanted a change and so they were willing to go along,” theorizes Jessica Leeds, one of the first women to step forward and accuse Trump of groping her, decades ago on an airplane.

The charges leveled against him emerged in the supercharged thick of the 2016 campaign, when there was so much noise and chaos that they were just another episode for gobsmacked voters to try to absorb — or tune out. “When you have a Mount Everest of allegations, any particular allegation is very hard to get traction on,” says political psychologist Stanley Renshon.

And Trump’s unconventional candidacy created an entirely different set of rules.

“Trump is immune to the laws of political physics because it’s not his job to be a politician, it’s his job to burn down the system,” says Eric Dezenhall, a crisis management expert in Washington.

Now Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused of assaulting teenage girls when he was in his 30s, is waving that same alternative rulebook.

Long a bane to establishment Republicans, Moore is thumbing his nose at calls by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP members of Congress to drop out of the campaign, and accusing them of trying to “steal” the race from his loyal insurgents.

As for Trump, the president who rarely sits out a feeding frenzy is selectively aiming his Twitter guns at those under scrutiny.

He quickly unloaded on Democrat Al Franken after the Minnesota senator was accused Thursday of forcibly kissing and groping a Fox TV sports correspondent, now a Los Angeles radio anchor, during a 2006 USO tour.

Yet Trump has been largely mum as Washington Republicans try to figure out what to do about Moore. McConnell and company have zero interest in welcoming an accused child molester to their ranks nor in seeing their slim 52-48 Senate majority grow even thinner should Moore lose to Democrat Doug Jones in a special election Dec. 12.

Trump did support moves by the national Republican Party to cut off money for Moore. But he hasn’t said whether he still backs Moore’s candidacy.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, pressed repeatedly on the matter this week, would say only that Trump “thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be.”

As for the allegations against Moore, Sanders said Trump finds them “very troubling.”

As for Franken, presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that Trump had merely “weighed in as he does on the news of the day” when jabbing at the senator.

But Trump’s broadsides at Franken served as an open invitation for critics to revisit his own history of alleged sexual misconduct.

Leeds, for her part, called the president “the walking definition of hypocrisy.”

Look no further than the bipartisan howl that greeted Ivanka Trump’s statement this week about Moore for a demonstration of the perilous crosscurrents around Trump on the issue.

“There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children,” Trump’s daughter told the AP, adding that she had “no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.” She did not call for Moore to leave the race.

Liberals and conservatives both pounced. Those on the left noted she had waited a week to chime in and had never given similar credence to the claims of her father’s accusers. Some on the right faulted her for buying into unproven accusations.

Liberal movie director Rob Reiner tweeted: “Ivanka believes Roy Moore’s accusers. But the more than 12 women who accuse her father of sexual abuse are all liars. The difference is? ...”

The sexual assault drama is playing out as a painful sequel for Leeds and other women who came forward during the 2016 presidential campaign to accuse Trump of harassment and more — only to see him elected president anyway.

“My pain is everyday,” Jill Harth, a former business associate who claimed Trump put his hands under her dress during a business dinner in 1992, tweeted in October. “No one gets it unless it happens to them. NO one!”

It’s the same for those who accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct, their charges once written off as “bimbo eruptions.”

“I am now 73....it never goes away,” nurse Juanita Broaddrick, who accused Clinton of raping her in 1978, tweeted Friday.

Even in the current charged environment, when every new allegation can produce screaming headlines, Trump may well be able to go his own way — and take a hands-off approach to Moore.

“Trump’s base likes him when he’s gratuitously ornery: Insulting war heroes, Gold Star families and the disabled have all been good for him, so what does he gain by strongly opining on Moore?” asks Dezenhall. “Nothing that I can see, so as a guideline, he doesn’t need to do all that much.”