21 Savage released from ICE detention


Hip-hop star 21 Savage has been released from ICE detention nine days after he was taken into custody.


The British-born rapper — real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph — was arrested Feb. 3 for allegedly being in the United States after his visa expired.


“Today, 21 Savage was granted a release on bond,” his attorneys said in a statement Tuesday. “He won his freedom.”


The statement from lawyers Charles H. Kuck, Dina LaPolt and Alex Spiro continues, “He will not forget this ordeal or any of the other fathers, sons, family members, and faceless people, he was locked up with or that remain unjustly incarcerated across the country. And he asks for your hearts and minds to be with them.”


Savage, 26, is accused by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of being an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” who entered the United States in July 2005 on a one-year visa and remained after it ran out.


Following his release on bail, the artist is still facing a deportation hearing, TMZ reported.


A day after Savage’s arrest, his legal team asserted the rapper “never hid his immigration status” and slammed his detainment as a “civil law violation.”


“ICE has not charged Mr. Abraham-Joseph with any crime,” Kuck said in a Feb. 4 statement. “As a minor, his family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, was left without legal status through no fault of his own.”


Many rallied around the rapper’s cause in the days since his arrest, with fellow hip hop star JAY-Z’s company Roc Nation enlisting Spiro to aid the legal fight.


“The arrest and detention of 21 Savage is an absolute travesty,” Jay-Z said in a statement shared on his Facebook page last week.


Savage’s attorney contends that Savage has a pending application for a U Visa, which he applied for in 2017.


— New York Daily News

McConnell will make Democratic senators vote on the Green New Deal


WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he intends to call up the Green New Deal for a vote in the Senate.


The Kentucky Republican’s maneuver is likely an effort to both get the many Democratic senators running for president on the record on the resolution, as well as to demonstrate that there are senators on both sides of the aisle opposed to the outline.


“I’ve noted with great interest the Green New Deal. And we’re going to be voting on that in the Senate,” McConnell said, saying it will “give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal.”


Each of the five Democratic senators who have announced White House bids are already signed on as co-sponsors to the Senate version of the resolution, which Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward J. Markey is leading in the chamber.


Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York led the unveiling of a resolution laying the groundwork for aggressive policy proposals designed to combat climate change, which critics argue could be too costly to the economy or simply unfeasible.


McConnell, who is running for re-election in 2020, also seems sure to run next year on his opposition to the proposal. His last Senate campaign featured his efforts to stop environmental actions by President Barack Obama’s administration, something he repeatedly referred to as the “war on coal.”


— CQ-Roll Call

Florida man indicted in killings of parents, brother


ORLANDO, Fla. — A Seminole County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Grant Amato, the Chuluota man accused of killing his parents and brother last month, on three counts of first-degree murder.


The indictment comes nearly three weeks after Chad Amato, 59, Margaret Ann Amato, 61, and Cody Amato, 31, were found shot to death in their home Jan. 25.


Grant Amato, 29, was located at an Orlando hotel the next day. He admitted getting into an argument with his parents centering on his communication with a Bulgarian woman he met on an adult website. Amato’s surviving brother told deputies Amato had stolen more than $200,000 from their family to send to the woman.


Prosecutors are still deciding whether to pursue the death penalty against Amato, said Todd Brown, a spokesman for the Seminole-Brevard State Attorney’s Office.


“The option to pursue capital punishment in this case is still under review,” Brown said in a statement.


Amato is being held in the Seminole County Jail without bond, but his lawyers are asking a judge grant him pretrial release, saying no forensic evidence ties him to the killings.


A hearing will be held March 21 to determine whether Amato is eligible for bond.


— Orlando Sentinel

Harrisburg diocese launches compensation program for victims of sex abuse by clergy


HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Harrisburg diocese on Tuesday announced the launch of its victims compensation program, one of several created across the state in the wake of a damning grand jury report on child sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergy members.


“While we understand that financial compensation will not repair or erase the heartache and damage done by the abuse these survivors have suffered, we hope and pray this support can help to improve their lives,” Bishop Ronald Gainer said in a statement.


Such funds have proven controversial. While some victims say they provide money for essential services like counseling, others believe they allow the church to avoid public accountability and larger payouts for people sexually abused as children. To receive money through the program, victims must sign a release agreeing not to sue.


Harrisburg’s fund, called the Survivor Compensation Program, will be overseen by the Massachusetts-based Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation Inc., which also worked on settlements in the Archdiocese of Boston, among other places.


Only people who reported their abuse to the diocese by Feb. 11 will be eligible to receive payments, though others “will be considered for future participation,” according to a statement from the diocese.


The program will cover people abused by diocesan priests, deacons and seminarians, as well as religious order priests. Funding will come from a loan from a priests’ retirement fund, “other existing diocesan assets and hopefully from insurance proceeds,” the diocese said.


Many of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses announced plans for compensation funds late last year.


— Philadelphia Inquirer