Mueller secures ‘firewall’ counsel over evidence in Russia case

WASHINGTON — The U.S. judge overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal case against Russians accused of interfering in the 2016 election agreed to appoint an independent lawyer to review pretrial evidence for possible national security issues before giving it to a Kremlin-linked defendant.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich in Washington on Monday approved a request to appoint a so-called firewall counsel envisioned as part of an earlier ruling on Mueller’s concern about providing evidence to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a longtime associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prigozhin’s firm, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, was also indicted.

Mueller’s team had argued that if Prigozhin gains access to “sensitive” evidence, he could use it to thwart U.S. efforts to “prevent his continuing criminal activity in Russia and elsewhere” outside the U.S. Prigozhin, who provides food services to the Kremlin, is known as Putin’s chef. He and his company are among three firms and 13 people accused of producing propaganda at a Russian troll factory to whip up political strife in the U.S.

The U.S. said last month that the sensitive material includes information describing the government’s investigative techniques, identities of people and companies that are cooperating, and personal identifying information on individuals in the U.S. who were victims of identity theft.

— Bloomberg News

Sporting goods chain sued by couple wounded in Sutherland Springs church shooting

AUSTIN — A Texas couple who survived the Sutherland Springs church massacre last year have sued the sporting goods store that sold the gunman the firearm used in the shooting.

On Friday, Rosanne Solis and Joaquin Ramirez sued Academy Sports + Outdoors for selling Devin Patrick Kelley a Ruger AR-556 with 30-round capacity magazines. While this model is legal in Texas, Kelley was a resident of Colorado, where it’s illegal to sell, possess or manufacture magazines with capacities over 15 rounds.

“A Texas gun dealer (Academy) cannot sell a firearm and deliver that firearm to a citizen of another State if that sale would not be legal in the purchaser’s State of residence,” the lawsuit reads. “The Ruger should have never been placed in Kelley’s hands.”

The couple, who were both shot, accuse Academy of gross negligence and seek damages of more than $1 million each for physical and mental anguish, disfigurement and medical expenses. The suit was filed in Bexar County District Court.

On Nov. 5, Kelley killed 26, including a pregnant woman, who had gathered at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs for Sunday services. In the days after the shooting, Solis and Ramirez said Kelley appeared to target babies and young children during his rampage at the church, and at one point yelled, “Everybody is going to (expletive) die!”

Kelley, who killed himself as he was fleeing police, was an Air Force veteran who was convicted of domestic abuse and discharged for bad conduct years before the shooting. The Air Force should have reported his criminal history to the FBI’s background check system, which would have kept him from purchasing a firearm. Multiple other Sutherland Springs families are suing the federal government for failing to do so, and one other family, who lost three members, filed a lawsuit last year against Academy Sports + Outdoors alleging similar violations.

— The Dallas Morning News

16-year-old dies after being found unresponsive at Lollapalooza

CHICAGO — A Mundelein, Ill., teen died Sunday evening after he was found unresponsive at the Lollapalooza music festival, and his mother suspects he may have suffered a seizure.

Evan Kitzmiller, 16, was transported by private ambulance from the festival in Chicago’s Grant Park to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just before 9 p.m., authorities said.

The cause of the teen’s death has yet to be determined. An autopsy conducted by the Cook County medical examiner’s office was inconclusive Monday and the case was marked pending as the office awaited completion of further studies, a spokeswoman said.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications labeled the incident a “medical emergency” and added in a statement: “We are saddened to learn that an individual transported from the event in critical condition last night due to a medical emergency has since passed away.”

Chicago police have launched a death investigation.

Melissa Kitzmiller, the teen’s mother, said she believes her son had a seizure and that his heart stopped.

An emotional Kitzmiller said Monday morning that her son did not have epilepsy and at that point she didn’t know what caused the seizure.

“He was at Lollapalooza and he had the time of his life,” Melissa Kitzmiller said.

The teen attended all four days of the annual event in Grant Park, earning the money to pay for fest tickets by working “six days a week this summer at the car wash down the street,” Melissa Kitzmiller wrote in a text message.

— Chicago Tribune

Brazilian judge suspends entry of Venezuelans into border state

BRASILIA, Brazil — A federal judge in Brazil has suspended the entry of Venezuelans into the border state of Roraima, as local authorities struggle to cope with an influx of migrants fleeing the economic collapse in the Caribbean country.

Judge Helder Girao Barreto issued the injunction on Sunday, stating that it would only be lifted once the federal government stepped up efforts to relocate the Venezuelans and improved the facilities available to refugees in Roraima. The attorney-general’s office in Brasilia plans to appeal the judge’s decision, according to local media.

An estimated 16,000 Venezuelans poured across the border into Roraima in the first six months of this year, according to the news portal G1, overwhelming public services in the sparsely populated state. With just 10 homeless shelters in the state, catering for around 4,000 people, many of the refugees are now sleeping in the streets. The government has so far relocated just 820 Venezuelans to other parts of Brazil. Reports of criminality and prostitution in Boa Vista, the state capital, are on the rise, leading to increased tensions between migrants and locals.

— Bloomberg News