Couple in homeless vet’s $400k GoFundMe campaign will plead Fifth, lawyer says

PHILADELPHIA — A judge on Wednesday ordered a Burlington County couple to testify under oath next week about what happened to the $400,000 they raised in a GoFundMe campaign to help a homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt — money their lawyer says is gone and that Bobbitt says they squandered.

Burlington County Superior Court Judge Paula T. Dow directed Bobbitt’s team of pro bono lawyers to request financial statements from the pair before the court closes Wednesday.

At the hearing, the couple’s lawyer told the judge they wanted to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

At issue is whether the couple misappropriated money donated by more than 14,000 people in a campaign to help Bobbitt, who made national headlines when he spent his last $20 to help a stranger, Kate McClure, when she ran out of gas on the I-95 ramp in Kensington. In gratitude, McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, started the GoFundMe campaign in November to help Bobbitt get off the street. But that effort dissolved into discord as Bobbitt accused the couple of spending the money for their personal gain.

In court Wednesday, the judge ordered McClure and D’Amico to meet with Bobbitt and his lawyers Monday to give depositions about their stewardship of the GoFundMe money. The meeting will take place at a residential detoxification facility in New Jersey where Bobbitt is seeking drug treatment.

— The Philadelphia Inquirer

Law firm involved in Cosby’s defense sues comedian for delinquent bill payments

PHILADELPHIA—A Philadelphia law firm involved in Bill Cosby’s defense is suing the 81-year-old comedian for failing to pay his legal bills.

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis claimed in a filing Tuesday in Montgomery County Court that the convicted entertainer owed more than $50,000 in unpaid legal fees. Although the firm has not yet filed a formal civil complaint — which would require it to name a more specific amount of money owed — court papers indicated an intent to do so if the matter is not resolved out of court in the next few weeks.

Schnader lawyer Samuel Silver — who also has represented former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and former Pennsylvania State University president Graham B. Spanier — briefly represented Cosby in his criminal sexual-assault case after his first trial ended with a hung jury in June 2017.

Silver withdrew from the case before Cosby’s second trial. The entertainer was represented in that proceeding by attorneys Tom Mesereau, Kathleen Bliss, and Becky James, all of whom parted ways with him after his conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in April.

Silver and other Schnader lawyers also have represented Cosby in various civil matters tied to the collapse of his career in a flood of allegations from more than 50 women accusing him of sexual misconduct dating back decades.

— Philadelphia Inquirer

Pickup slams into Dallas TV station building; driver reportedly ranted about ‘treason’

DALLAS — A 34-year-old man was arrested Wednesday morning after repeatedly crashing his pickup truck into the corner of the Fox 4 News building in downtown Dallas, police said.

The man got out of the truck after hitting the building several times, shattering the floor-to-ceiling windows, and began ranting, according to reports. Witnesses told Fort Worth Star-Telegram media partner WFAA that the man was screaming about “high treason.” It happened at around 6 a.m.

But police spokeswoman Debra Webb said hours later that the man appeared to be trying to draw attention to an officer-involved shooting. Similar verbiage was on papers strewn across the street.

“It doesn’t appear he was targeting the media,” she said.

Police identified the man as Michael Chadwick Fry, a Bartonville resident, according to Denton County jail records. He was charged with criminal mischief, a second-degree felony.

When Fry got out of his truck he pulled out a bag, which prompted police to summon a bomb squad. They used a police dog and robot to search for explosives and didn’t find any, Webb said.

Hundreds of papers littered the street in front of the building after the crash. Hours later, police could be seen picking up the sheets and putting them in boxes. The parking lot surrounding the building was blocked off with yellow police tape.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Trump says Iran’s survival as a country is in doubt

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Iran’s future as a country is in doubt amid public discontent with the Islamic Republic.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday that Iran is in “total turmoil” and “now they are just worrying about their own survival as a country.”

The president spoke during a meeting with Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, echoing comments in a Bloomberg interview last week saying the Iranian regime may collapse because of his administration’s policies.

“When I came into here, it was a question of when would they take over the Middle East,” Trump said Thursday of Iran in the Bloomberg interview. “Now it’s a question of will they survive. It’s a big difference in one and a half years.”

Trump — encouraged by Iran’s regional foes — pulled the U.S. from the 2015 international nuclear accord in May, accusing the Islamic Republic of threatening Middle East security as it expands its regional influence. He reimposed sanctions on Iran in August, with Iran’s vital oil industry due to face penalties beginning in November.

Inflation in Iran has surged and its currency weakened, placing added pressure on President Hassan Rouhani as he tries to navigate through the crisis.

— Bloomberg News

Pompeo tries to shore up a rocky relationship in brief visit to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo used face-to-face meetings with Pakistani leaders on Wednesday to renew demands that they do more to stamp out Islamist militants and support a fledgling U.S. peace effort with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In a six-hour visit to Islamabad, Pompeo and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tried to shore up a troubled relationship that has been further strained with the Trump administration’s suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance.

Pompeo met with Pakistan’s new prime minister, Imran Khan — a longtime critic of U.S. military policy in the region who recently said he would seek a “mutually beneficial” relationship — as well as the foreign minister and army chief.

“I’m hopeful that the foundation that we laid today will set the conditions for continued success as we start to move forward,” Pompeo told reporters after the meeting.

But the meetings were brief — less than half an hour at Khan’s prime ministerial residence and an additional 40 minutes at the foreign ministry — and appeared to have achieved little of substance.

Asked whether Pakistani leaders had made any firm promises that would allow for the resumption of security assistance, Pompeo said, “We’ve still got a long way to go, lots more discussion to be had.”

— Los Angeles Times