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The Latest National News

    Law enforcement officials said a Florida mother and two children who were abducted at gunpoint in Titusville have been found safe as of 5:50 a.m. Wednesday. >> Read more trending news  Here are the latest updates: Update 7:02 a.m. EST Nov. 13: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement canceled the Amber Alert issued for the children, and the Titusville Police Department confirmed that their mother, Melanie Martin, 30, was also found safe. Original report: An Amber Alert was issued Wednesday morning after police said a Florida woman and her two young children were abducted at gunpoint by the children's father in Titusville. Titusville police said Melanie Martin, 30, and her children Angel Burson, 5, and Lloyd Burson Jr., 3, were kidnapped by Lloyd Burson, 35, around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday in the area of the 1000 block of Third Avenue. Police said Martin and the children were last seen in a blue SUV driven by Burson headed north on I-95 toward Volusia County. Investigators said Burson is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information about this crime is urged to call the Titusville Police Department at 321-264-7800, or they can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward by contacting CrimeLine at 1-800-423-TIPS. – Visit WFTV.com for the latest on this developing story.
  • A Pennsylvania man whose baby boy suffered critical injuries in an October shooting purposely brought the infant along during drug deals to deter others from opening fire, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to the Philadelphia Inquirer and WPVI-TV, police arrested Nafes Monroe, 25, on Saturday, three weeks after his 11-month-old son, Yazeem Jenkins, was shot multiple times in north Philadelphia. Prosecutors said Monroe was trying to use counterfeit money to purchase drugs Oct. 19 when the suspected gunman, 29-year-old Francisco Ortiz, began shooting, the Inquirer reported. Yazeem, who was in a car with Monroe, his girlfriend and a second man, was hit in the chest, head and buttocks, authorities said. Afterward, Monroe took Yazeem to a home, then dropped the baby off at a nearby hospital, according to Anthony Voci of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. The boy's condition is still listed as critical, KYW-TV reported. Voci said Monroe had brought Yazeem with him during other drug purchases, as well, 'with the idea or belief that if someone saw that he had a child in the car, that they would not fire upon him,' the Inquirer reported. 'A 'human shield' is probably the term that I would use,' Voci said, according to the newspaper. Monroe now faces charges of endangering a child's welfare and reckless endangerment, WPVI reported. Ortiz remains jailed on attempted murder, aggravated assault and other charges, the Inquirer reported.
  • Two Alabama residents are behind bars after a 3-year-old overdosed on methamphetamine last weekend, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to WBRC and WEIS, Tony Parris, 54, of Gadsden, and Cynthia Lane, 45, of Leesburg, were arrested Saturday after the child discovered and ate the drug while playing with toys, Leesburg police said. Authorities arrived to find the toddler breathing but unconscious, the outlets reported. The child was rushed to a Gadsden hospital, then taken by helicopter to Birmingham Children's Hospital, the outlets reported. The toddler remains in critical condition, officials said. Parris and Lane face charges of chemical endangerment of a child, as well as illegal possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, the news stations reported. Parris is being held on $71,000 bond and Lane on $73,000 bond, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. Read more here or here.
  • An Illinois farmer and his granddaughter were passing through a field near Seneca one fall day in 1976 when they happened upon a grisly sight -- the body of a black woman, shot in the head and dumped like trash in a ditch. The victim, called Jane Seneca Doe by authorities, had no identification with her, and no one came forward to give her a name. Investigators exhausted all available avenues to identify her, but ultimately, the woman was buried nearly two months later, on Thanksgiving Day, in an unmarked grave at Braceville-Gardner Cemetery, about 17 miles from where her body was found. >> Read more trending news  Now, 43 years later, Grundy County Coroner John Callahan’s office is using the latest technology, including genetic genealogy, in an attempt to bring some closure to the case. “I’ve known about this unidentified female since I started in the coroner’s office in 1994, and it has troubled me that someone’s loved one is buried here and was never identified,” Callahan said in a recent statement about the case. Callahan and his chief deputy coroners, Christina Hintze-Symoniak and Brandon Johnson, went on Oct. 1, the eve of the anniversary of the farmer’s gruesome discovery, to leave flowers near the spot where Jane Seneca Doe was discovered. The woman’s body was found abandoned Oct. 2, 1976, in a ditch along U.S. 6 on the western edge of Grundy County, not far from Interstate 80, case records show. Dead for about a day, she was not believed to be from the area, which is about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Johnson told NBC Chicago in August that the victim, who weighed about 150 pounds and was about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, had been shot once in the head. “She had a multi-colored knit red and white (and) black sweater wrapped around her head, as well as a plastic bag,” Johnson told the news station. “And it appears she was dumped at the site.” In the pocket of the sweater, which may have been a cardigan, was a bottle of TJ Swann wine, case records show. The green plastic bag found near her body was accompanied by black electrical tape. The woman, who wore her hair in an Afro-type style, had a scar or birthmark on her right hip and lower right abdomen. Listen below to a podcast of The Vanished dealing with the Jane Seneca Doe case.  At the time of Jane Seneca Doe’s death, it was not altogether unusual for a person to go unidentified and unclaimed. “That time in the ‘70s, it was a different time,” Johnson told NBC Chicago. “There were a lot of people that just kind of vanished.” Callahan first reopened the case in late 2017, at which point investigators combed through dusty case files and entered the woman’s scant identifying information into databases dedicated to naming the thousands of unidentified dead across the country. Multiple artists’ renderings have also been released to the public over the years in the hopes that someone would recognize the victim. Callahan had the woman’s body exhumed in December 2018. “A forensic odontologist also examined the remains and determined that the victim was between 15 and 27 years of age,” Callahan said in a news release. Through a grant from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) and the U.S. Department of Justice, the woman’s remains were sent in January to the University of North Texas’ Center for Human Identification in Fort Worth. The center, a globally-recognized leader in forensic identification, uses forensic, genetic and anthropological exams to assist in criminal cases and the identification of the missing. The lab also manages NamUs for the Justice Department. “In late April, the lab developed a full female DNA profile and entered it into the (FBI’s) Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, where the national database continues to search for a potential match to any missing persons nationwide,” Callahan said. Johnson, who in June announced that Grundy County officials also entered into a partnership with the volunteer-led DNA Doe Project, said that organization is working hard to give the woman back her identity as well. DNA Doe uses ancestry websites -- including the same sites being used by law enforcement agencies to catch cold case suspects -- to find relatives of the unidentified people listed in its database. The most infamous of the cold cases solved through genetic genealogy is that of the accused Golden State Killer, a now 74-year-old suspected serial killer accused of killing at least 13 people and raping more than 50 women over a 12-year span beginning in 1974. Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick, co-founder of DNA Doe, told NBC Chicago her organization hopes to use the same techniques to find Jane Seneca Doe’s family. “We’ve solved cases based on third cousins, or even more distant,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s sort of a whole network of relatives that you try to piece together and find out how they connect. And then therefore, how they connect to your Jane Doe.” Johnson, who was born 15 years after Jane Seneca Doe died, has made solving her case a mission, the news station reported. He said he hopes her relatives, if found, can shed light on who she was, where she was from and, perhaps most importantly, why she was killed and by whom. “It’s just bothersome that somebody could be dumped like that and buried in an unmarked grave for so many years, not to be missed or have any closure or justice,” Johnson told the NBC affiliate. “I don’t think anybody deserves to be treated that way.” Anyone with information on the woman’s identity or her death is asked to contact the Grundy County Coroner’s Office at 815-941-3359 or via email at bjohnson@grundyco.org.
  • The Supreme Court said Tuesday that the families of victims killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can sue the maker of the rifle used in the attack, which killed 20 children and six educators. >> Read more trending news  The justices rejected an appeal from Remington Arms that argued it should be shielded by a 2005 federal law preventing most lawsuits against firearms manufacturers when their products are used in crimes. In the lawsuit at the center of the case, which was filed in 2014 by families related to the shooting victims, attorneys for the families argued Remington violated Connecticut's Unfair Trade Practices Act in its marketing of the rifle used in the attack to 'disturbed young men,' The New York Times reported. Among other examples, the families pointed to advertising pitches such as 'consider your man card reissued' and product placement in violent video games, according to the Times. Officials with the Newtown Action Alliance, a group founded by Newtown advocates and activists after the 2012 shooting, welcomed the news on social media. 'We thank the Supreme Court for refusing to block the Sandy Hook families' lawsuit against Remington - the manufacturer of the AR15 that was used to kill 20 children & 6 educators,' the group said in a Twitter post. The decision could prompt other victims of gun violence to file suit against manufacturers for damages, CNN reported. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Clark Atlanta University student Alexis Crawford was strangled to death and her remains were placed in a plastic bin and dumped in a park, according to Fulton County Superior Court documents released Tuesday. >> Read more trending news  Within hours of a late night run for alcohol, Crawford and her roommate, Jordyn Jones, got into a physical fight inside their off-campus apartment, court documents state. Jones’ boyfriend, Barron Brantley, got involved in the fight, documents say. “As a result of the physical altercation, Barron Brantley choked the victim until she was deceased,” an Atlanta Police Department report says. “Afterwards Jones and Brantley placed Alexis Crawford in a plastic bin and transported her body to Exchange Park in Decatur, GA, where they placed her body in the woods.” The following day, Crawford’s family reported her missing to Atlanta police, who began the second investigation involving the college senior in less than a week. On Oct. 27, Crawford had reported to police that Brantley had sexually assaulted her in the apartment, according to an incident report. After Crawford was reported missing, Jones told police she didn’t know her roommate’s whereabouts. But on Friday, following a weeklong search for Crawford, Brantley admitted to investigators he had choked and killed her, according to court documents. Crawford’s body was found Friday, Atlanta police said. Brantley, 21, was arrested late Friday and charged with felony murder. Jones, also 21, was arrested Saturday morning and also charged with felony murder. Both were being held without bond Tuesday morning at the Fulton jail. Crawford’s death shocked the Clark Atlanta community, which hosted a candlelight vigil in her honor Sunday night. A Saturday funeral is planned in her Athens hometown, according to the Rev. Markel Hutchins, who has served as a family spokesman.
  • A Texas man is behind bars after a 15-year-old Houston girl said he kidnapped, sexually assaulted and held her captive for 11 weeks, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to KHOU-TV and the Houston Chronicle, Trevion Shields, 20, was arrested Friday on an aggravated kidnapping charge. He was jailed on $100,000 bond. In a Facebook post Monday, the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office said Shields kidnapped the girl outside a Westheimer Road business on Jan. 28.  'A witness saw Shields grab the girl by the arm and force her to leave with him,' the post read. The teen said Shields, whom constables referred to as her 'ex-boyfriend,' took her to his apartment and refused to let her leave, even though she attempted to flee 'several times,' according to the post.  'In each instance, the victim says Shields will physically block her exit and threaten to kill her and attack or even murder her family,' the Constable's Office said. The girl also alleged that Shields 'had sex with her repeatedly' and gave 'her drugs and alcohol to 'numb' her,' the post said. Weeks later, the girl used 'Shields' phone when he wasn't looking' to 'call authorities for help,' according to the Constable's Office. She is now receiving counseling and support, authorities said. According to court documents, the girl had been wearing an ankle monitor the day of her disappearance because her mom 'wanted to keep track [of her daughter] at all times' following harassment from Shields, KHOU reported. Shields removed the teen's monitor at a nearby Target store, the girl reportedly told authorities. In an interview with KHOU, Erica White, the suspect's mother, denied the allegations against her son, saying the teen had willingly stayed with Shields and wanted to avoid her family. The girl also lied about her age, White claimed. White told the TV station that Shields has been 'falsely and wrongly accused of something he did not do.' 'I want to clear his name so the threats can stop, and her mom can pay for what they're doing for slandering my son,' she told KHOU. Read more here or here.
  • A Georgia sheriff's deputy is facing a murder charge after a deadly shooting in Athens, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to Athens-Clarke County police, Madison County sheriff's Deputy Winford 'Trey' Terrell Adams III was arrested early Monday after 26-year-old Benjamin Lloyd Cloer was found with multiple gunshot wounds Sunday evening in the 6000 block of Old Jefferson Road. Cloer was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died. Police did not say how Adams and Cloer knew each other. An investigation is ongoing. Adams, 32, 'was off-duty and in plain clothes at the time of the incident,' police said in a news release. The shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute, according to the release. In a statement posted on Facebook, officials with the Madison County Sheriff's Office confirmed Adams's arrest. 'It's a sad day for all Law Enforcement officers,' deputies said in the statement. 'Please, please, say a prayer for the MCSO family and the family of the victim.' Adams joined the Madison County Sheriff's Office in August 2018, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Records. He previously worked for a few days at the Royston Police Department and for four years before that at the Statesboro Police Department, according to the Journal-Constitution. Records obtained by the newspaper showed he voluntarily resigned from both those positions. Adams was being held Monday morning in Clarke County Jail, according to the Journal-Constitution. The newspaper reported his bond was not immediately determined.
  • Graphic body camera footage, along with the audio of a desperate 911 call placed by a 6-year-old Nevada boy, show how the fatal police shooting of the boy’s mother unfolded last month. Henderson police officers were called just after noon Oct. 21 to the Equestrian on Eastern Apartments, where the boy, who had called for help, was found bleeding from multiple stab wounds. In a video statement released Thursday, authorities said the boy was stabbed 25 times. Images of a blood-soaked green Minecraft T-shirt he wore during the attack were released, arrow stickers showing each spot where the knife blade entered the boy’s body. His mother, Claudia Nadia Rodriguez, 37, was fatally shot by police at the scene. The Clark County coroner said Rodriguez died of a gunshot wound to the head. Her son was taken to University Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery. He is expected to recover, police said. The boy’s father, Willie Brandon Jr., told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the day after the stabbing that his son was doing well. He declined to comment further on the attack.  “The City of Henderson Police Department recognizes that this tragedy will have lasting effects on everyone involved,” the police statement released Thursday said. “We would also like to remind everyone that this is an ongoing investigation and the facts and circumstances as we now know them may change as information becomes available.” ‘My mom is trying to kill me’  The audio of the 911 call, which was released Thursday by Henderson police officials, begins with the Rodriguez giving a dispatcher a garbled address. Her son can be heard crying in the background. As the dispatcher attempts to ask what the nature of the emergency is, the boy speaks up. “My mom is trying to kill me,” the weeping boy says. Rodriguez also speaks. “Yes, they’re trying to kill each other. They’re making us do it,” she says. >> Read more trending news  Rodriguez gives the woman her apartment number, but not an accurate street address. As the dispatcher attempts to get a proper location from her, Rodriguez makes another chilling statement. “We got to kill each other,” she says. “Going out.” The dispatcher eventually gets the name of the apartment complex -- Equestrian -- out of Rodriguez, and when she asks the caller’s name, it appears that she responds, “Nadia.” Meanwhile, Rodriguez’s young son begs for help. “911, help me, she’s trying to …,” the boy says. As his words trail off, he begins screaming in terror. “Please don’t hurt me! Please! Don’t hurt me! Don’t hurt me! Please,” he pleads. Listen to 911 audio and watch body camera footage from the Henderson Police Department below. Warning: The footage includes graphic language and images that may be disturbing to some readers.  He again appears to beg the dispatcher for help before turning his attention back to his mother. “Mommy, don’t!” he cries. Rodriguez calmly tells the dispatcher someone is “making (her) kill each other” before the line goes dead. The dispatcher attempts to redial Rodriguez’s number, but no one picks up the phone. The body camera footage released by Henderson police officials begins with the camera worn by the first responding officer. As he knocks on the family’s apartment door, a second officer is seen at the bottom of the stairs leading to the apartment. The young boy, shirtless and covered in blood, answers the door. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, oh (expletive),” the officer says as he grabs the boy by the arm and pulls him away from the apartment door. “Get medical,” he calls to his partner at the foot of the stairs. He then pulls his handgun and calls into the apartment: “What’s going on?” The woman begins screaming at the officer, who appears to holster his weapon before a struggle with Rodriguez begins. Rodriguez, who appears to be naked, keeps arguing and screaming. “You got to kill me,” she tells the officer, who is struggling to hold onto Rodriguez’s legs as she appears to lie on the floor, flailing at him. As the officer continues to struggle with Rodriguez, a gun suddenly appears in her left hand. “She’s got my gun! She’s got my gun!” the officer yells to his partner. He struggles with Rodriguez for his weapon as the second officer enters the apartment. A few seconds later, several gunshots are heard. According to Henderson police officials, one of those shots came from the first officer’s service weapon, which was fired by Rodriguez. The other two came from the second officer’s handgun. The second officer’s body camera shows the scene from a different angle. After Rodriguez’s 6-year-old son is pulled from the apartment, he can be seen wandering down the breezeway of the apartment complex. After the second officer hurries upstairs to help his partner, the boy returns to the doorway. The second officer has the boy sit on the ground due to his injuries. It is at this point in the confrontation that the first officer loses his weapon to Rodriguez. The second officer hurries into the apartment to back up his partner, at which point his body camera footage gets fuzzy. Multiple shots are heard before the officer puts in a call on his police radio. “Shots fired. Shots fired,” the man says. The exact sequence of shots, as well as the moment Rodriguez was fatally wounded, could not be seen on the footage, which briefly becomes pixelated and full of static. Her young son was apparently sitting directly outside the apartment door when his mother was shot. She died a short time later at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, according to the Review-Journal. Two days after the shooting, Henderson police officials identified the officers as Edward Little and Patrick McCarrick. Little is an 11-year veteran of the force, while McCarrick joined the force in January 2016. It was not clear which of the officers shot and killed Rodriguez. Both officers, who are assigned to the department’s Field Operations Bureau, were placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation into Rodriguez’s death. A history of domestic violence  Clark County District Court records show Rodriguez and Brandon were involved in a contentious custody battle in 2017 over their son. A Department of Family Services report obtained by the Review-Journal shows that Rodriguez had been on their radar for the past two years. The department received seven referrals about Rodriguez’s and Brandon’s son since June 2017. The most recent claim, made on May 14 of this year, alleged abuse of the boy, but the allegation could not be substantiated, the Review-Journal reported. In Brandon’s February 2017 petition seeking primary custody of their son, he alleged that Rodriguez had a history of domestic violence and that she had abused, both physically and mentally, her two older children from a prior relationship, court documents obtained by the newspaper show. Rodriguez told the court Brandon was making up allegations to take the boy away from her, the Review-Journal said. As of December 2017, the parents had joint custody of the boy. Rodriguez had been arrested four times since 2015 on domestic battery charges, Henderson city court records show. She was convicted in January 2017 of a misdemeanor charge, the newspaper reported.
  • Authorities believe a Texas mom was driving drunk when she got into a wrong-way crash that killed her toddler son, multiple news outlets are reporting. >> Read more trending news  According to KHOU-TV, Cristal Gonzalez, 26, is facing murder and intoxication assault charges in the Houston wreck, which occurred just before 6 a.m. Saturday on Mykawa Road. Police said Gonzalez's two sons, ages 3 and 8, were in the car when she drove the wrong way and struck a barrier, the news station reported. The younger boy died in the crash, which broke his brother's leg, officials said. Gonzalez, who suffered critical injuries, vomited pills before she was taken to a nearby hospital, police told KHOU. There, doctors found that her 'blood-alcohol level was about three times the legal limit,' KTRK reported. She is currently recovering from surgery, officials said. The Harris County District Attorney's Office said more charges may be filed in the incident, according to KTRK. Read more here or here.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Spc. Nicholas C. Panipinto, 20, of Bradenton, Florida, died from injuries after an armored vehicle overturned in South Korea. The Army said in a statement, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle overturned at Camp Humphreys on Nov. 6 injuring Panipinto and two other soldiers. Panitpinto died the following day.  An investigation into the incident is still underway. Panipinto was deployed to South Korea in July as an infantryman with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. He joined the Army in January 2018.  The brigade will hold a memorial on Friday. 
  • Break out the sweaters and possibly the scarves, cool windy conditions have moved into Central Florida and showers are possible all morning. WFTV Meterologist Brian Shields says this is our “Florida Fall and many of us won’t get out of the 60s!” Here is the basic information Brian says you need to know:  A cold front moves over Central Florirda and low temperatures will mark into the upper 50s Wednesday morning. Isolated showers are possible through the morning hours, and then mainly along the coast on Wednesday afternoon. Cool Wednesday: The high temperatures on Wednesday won’t make it out of the 70s. Temperatures will feel colder because of the strong wind from the north. Pleasant rest of the week: Temperatures are set to stay in the 70s and 60s to close out the week only low chances of rain until Friday when another front is set to blow through.
  • Law enforcement officials said a Florida mother and two children who were abducted at gunpoint in Titusville have been found safe as of 5:50 a.m. Wednesday. >> Read more trending news  Here are the latest updates: Update 7:02 a.m. EST Nov. 13: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement canceled the Amber Alert issued for the children, and the Titusville Police Department confirmed that their mother, Melanie Martin, 30, was also found safe. Original report: An Amber Alert was issued Wednesday morning after police said a Florida woman and her two young children were abducted at gunpoint by the children's father in Titusville. Titusville police said Melanie Martin, 30, and her children Angel Burson, 5, and Lloyd Burson Jr., 3, were kidnapped by Lloyd Burson, 35, around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday in the area of the 1000 block of Third Avenue. Police said Martin and the children were last seen in a blue SUV driven by Burson headed north on I-95 toward Volusia County. Investigators said Burson is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information about this crime is urged to call the Titusville Police Department at 321-264-7800, or they can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward by contacting CrimeLine at 1-800-423-TIPS. – Visit WFTV.com for the latest on this developing story.
  • Officials with the Orlando Fire Department announced late Tuesday evening that they arrested John Huff for arson in connection to the fire early that same morning at the Beefy King Restaurant. Huff was transported to the Orange County Jail. Investigators suspected arson when the saw the fire started outside the building near the back of the building rather than inside.  Additionally, surveillance footage from a nearby business shows a car in the parking lot of Beefy King at the time the fire started. In the meantime, firefighters said the damage to the building on Bumby Avenue is “fixable” and the owner of the iconic establishment known for its sandwiches says the will re-open as soon as possible.  The good news is there was minimal damage and no one was hurt. 
  • A Pennsylvania man whose baby boy suffered critical injuries in an October shooting purposely brought the infant along during drug deals to deter others from opening fire, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to the Philadelphia Inquirer and WPVI-TV, police arrested Nafes Monroe, 25, on Saturday, three weeks after his 11-month-old son, Yazeem Jenkins, was shot multiple times in north Philadelphia. Prosecutors said Monroe was trying to use counterfeit money to purchase drugs Oct. 19 when the suspected gunman, 29-year-old Francisco Ortiz, began shooting, the Inquirer reported. Yazeem, who was in a car with Monroe, his girlfriend and a second man, was hit in the chest, head and buttocks, authorities said. Afterward, Monroe took Yazeem to a home, then dropped the baby off at a nearby hospital, according to Anthony Voci of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. The boy's condition is still listed as critical, KYW-TV reported. Voci said Monroe had brought Yazeem with him during other drug purchases, as well, 'with the idea or belief that if someone saw that he had a child in the car, that they would not fire upon him,' the Inquirer reported. 'A 'human shield' is probably the term that I would use,' Voci said, according to the newspaper. Monroe now faces charges of endangering a child's welfare and reckless endangerment, WPVI reported. Ortiz remains jailed on attempted murder, aggravated assault and other charges, the Inquirer reported.

Washington Insider

  • The first day of impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump will feature two State Department witnesses who raised questions about actions in Ukraine by the President's personal lawyer, with one alarmed by Rudy Giuliani's efforts to undermine the former U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine, and another who saw Giuliani leading an effort to press for investigations desired by Mr. Trump. 'Mr. Giuliani was almost unmissable starting in mid-March,' Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent testified, saying Giuliani conducted a 'campaign of slander' against former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. 'I worried about what I had heard concerning the role of Rudolph Giuliani,' said William Taylor, now the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who said he was worried about entering a 'snake pit' involving Giuliani. Here is some of what we might expect from these two witnesses in the first day of impeachment hearings. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE KENT - After working at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, Kent returned to the State Department in the second half of 2018, taking on a post where he was responsible for Ukraine and five other eastern European nations often targeted by Russia. It was in that position where Kent said he witnessed the media attack which unfolded, spurred by Giuliani and conservative news media organs. In his impeachment deposition, Kent said an article by conservative journalist John Solomon spurred a sudden attack on Ambassador Yovanovitch and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine in general, which was then amplified by Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Kent said much of what was alleged, that Yovanovitch was bad mouthing President Trump, that she was working against Ukraine prosecutors, was simply false. 'It was, if not entirely made up in full cloth,' Kent testified, 'it was primarily non-truths and non-sequiturs.' Kent described how U.S. diplomats were blindsided by what was clearly a concerted campaign against the U.S. Ambassador and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, spread over four days in March of 2019. It started first with arrows aimed at Ambassador Yovanovitch, but then spread to accusations against former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter, along with other charges mentioning conservative bogeyman George Soros - all of it given a push by President Trump, his son, conservative websites, and Fox News. The attacks on Yovanovitch came two weeks after she had been asked by the State Department to stay on in Ukraine until 2020 - but her extension would not survive the conservative media attacks against her. 'I was then abruptly told in late April to come back to Washington from Ukraine 'on the next plane,'' Yovanovitch told Congressional investigators. She will testify on Friday. + WILLIAM TAYLOR, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires IN UKRAINE. With the recall of Ambassador Yovanovitch, Taylor is the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Ukraine - basically the acting Ambassador. Several months after Yovanovitch had been ousted, Taylor described how the work of Giuliani had seemingly led to a situation where U.S. military aid for Ukraine was being withheld - in an effort to gain a quid pro quo - where the government of Ukraine would launch investigations sought by President Trump. 'By mid-Ju1y, it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian influence in the 2016 elections,' Taylor said, referring to a focus on the Bidens, and the debunked theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - was behind the hacks of Democrats in 2016. Taylor said the impetus for the situation was obvious. 'It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani,' Taylor said in his closed door deposition. Mr. Taylor said he had determined that link in 'mid-July' - it was on July 25 that President Trump spoke with the leader of Ukraine, and spelled out the need for Ukraine to launch investigations into the Bidens, and the Ukraine-2016 elections theory, which included the evidence-free allegation that the hacked computer server from the Democratic National Committee was being hidden in Ukraine. Some Republicans have mocked the choice of Taylor as an opening witness, saying he has no firsthand knowledge of why the President would want investigations conducted related to the Bidens or the 2016 elections. 'No, I've never talked to the President,' Taylor said in his deposition. Look for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) to bring this up during the first day of questioning with Taylor. Three hearings have also been set for next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with eight different witnesses.