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The Morning Rundown™

Michael Cohen expected to take the stand in Donald Trump’s criminal trial

May 13

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Michael Cohen, the one-time lawyer of Donald Trump, is set to take the stand in the former president’s criminal trial. And graduates protesting the war in Gaza walk out on Jerry Seinfeld during Duke’s commencement ceremony. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Monday, May 13, 2024.

Michael Cohen expected to take the stand in Donald Trump’s criminal trial

In the fifth week of former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York, prosecutors are expected to call on their star witness: Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Trump faces charges related to falsifying business records concerning payments he made to Cohen. The former president has pleaded not guilty to these charges.

On Tuesday, May 7, adult film star Stormy Daniels testified that Cohen paid her $130,000 to prevent her story about an alleged relationship with Trump from becoming public before the 2016 election. Trump has consistently denied the existence of any such relationship.

Cohen will be the 19th witness brought to the stand by the prosecution.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office indicates that it may conclude its case this week. Following closing arguments, the case will then be handed over to the jury.

Jury selection scheduled to begin in Sen. Menendez’s corruption trial

Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 13, in the trial of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.. The Democratic senator is accused of accepting bribes of gold and cash to benefit three New Jersey businessmen and the governments of Egypt and Qatar.

Menendez will stand trial in Manhattan alongside two real estate developers. All three have pleaded not guilty. A third businessman has pleaded guilty and will testify against the other defendants.

Evidence includes gold bars worth over $100,000 and more than $486,000 in cash found during a raid on Menendez’s New Jersey home.

Menendez’s wife has also been charged, but her trial is postponed until at least July for health reasons. 

This is the senator’s second corruption trial in a decade, with the previous one ending in a deadlocked jury in 2017.

Group of students walk out of Duke graduation before Seinfeld’s speech

The unrest at college campuses across the country over the war in Gaza continued this weekend as dozens of students walked out during Duke University’s commencement ceremony.

Roughly 30 students got up from their seats during the May 12 ceremony, some waving Palestinian flags as comedian Jerry Seinfeld was awarded an honorary degree and was set to address the graduating class.

The group of students walking out could be heard chanting, “Free Palestine!” They were met by a mix of boos and cheers with other graduates chanting “Jerry!” in support of the guest speaker.    

The protesting students held an alternate makeshift graduation in another part of the North Carolina campus.

Seinfeld, who has two children attending Duke, has been outspoken about his support for Israel since Hamas’ terror attack in October.

In his speech, he touched upon the concept of privilege while telling students not to be shy about utilizing the fact they attended Duke.  

“Privilege is a word that has taken quite a beating lately,” Seinfeld said. “Privilege today seems to be the worst thing you can have. I would like to take a moment to defend it. Again, a lot of you are thinking, ‘I can’t believe they invited this guy.’ Too late. I say, use your privilege. I grew up a Jewish boy from New York. That is a privilege, if you want to be a comedian.”

Seinfeld has not yet commented on the walkout.

Francis Scott Key Bridge controlled demolition postponed due to weather

A planned demolition at the site of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse has been rescheduled for Monday, May 13, after being delayed throughout the weekend due to poor weather conditions and lightning in the vicinity. 

Engineers are planning to use controlled explosives in the remains of the bridge to remove the stranded container ship from the channel. 

The ship collided with the bridge back in March, killing six people and leading to the closure of the Port of Baltimore. The incident remains under investigation.

First person to receive genetically-modified pig kidney transplant dies

Over the weekend, it was announced that the first human recipient of a genetically-modified pig kidney transplant has died. Rick Slayman received the transplant back in March at Massachusetts General Hospital when he was 62 years old.

Slayman, who was battling end-stage kidney disease, underwent the surgery with the intention of providing hope to others in need of a transplant to survive. Last month, a 54-year-old woman in New Jersey became the second person to undergo the same procedure.

In a statement, the hospital said there is “no indication” that Slayman’s death resulted from the transplant. They added that he will forever be “a beacon of hope to countless transplant patients worldwide.”

Solar storm brings Northern Lights to skies across U.S.

A dazzling light display graced the night sky across America this past weekend, thanks to a rare yet powerful solar storm. The aurora borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights, typically appears only in areas near the North Pole. However, due to increased solar activity, this captivating phenomenon was visible as far south as Florida.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this was the strongest solar storm to hit Earth since 2003. While the agency issued warnings about potential impacts on power grids, communication networks, and navigation systems, no major outages were reported.

People across the U.S. and around the world had the opportunity to capture photos and witness this extraordinary event in the night sky.

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[KARAH RUCKER]

MICHAEL COHEN — THE ONE-TIME LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP — IS SET TO TAKE THE STAND IN THE FORMER PRESIDENT’S CRIMINAL TRIAL

AND — GRADUATES PROTESTING THE WAR IN GAZA WALK OUT ON JERRY SEINFELD DURING DUKE’S COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS MONDAY, MAY 13TH

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

TODAY — PROSECUTORS ARE EXPECTED TO CALL ON THEIR STAR WITNESS– DONALD TRUMP’S FORMER LAWYER MICHAEL COHEN – AS THE FORMER PRESIDENT’S CRIMINAL TRIAL ENTERS ITS FIFTH WEEK IN NEW YORK.

TRUMP IS CHARGED WITH FALSIFYING BUSINESS RECORDS RELATED TO PAYMENTS HE MADE TO COHEN. THE FORMER PRESIDENT HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO THOSE CHARGES.

LAST WEEK – ADULT FILM STAR STORMY DANIELS TESTIFIED COHEN PAID HER 130 THOUSAND DOLLARS TO PREVENT HER STORY ABOUT AN ALLEGED RELATIONSHIP WITH TRUMP FROM GOING PUBLIC BEFORE THE 2016 ELECTION. TRUMP HAS DENIED THE RELATIONSHIP EVER HAPPENED.

COHEN WILL BE THE 19TH WITNESS BROUGHT TO THE STAND BY THE PROSECUTION.

THE MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE SAYS IT MAY CONCLUDE ITS CASE THIS WEEK.  THEN TRUMP’S TEAM WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO CALL THEIR WITNESSES.

FOLLOWING CLOSING ARGUMENTS – THE CASE WILL THEN GO INTO THE HANDS OF THE JURY.

JURY SELECTION IS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN TODAY IN THE TRIAL OF SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ.

THE DEMOCRATIC SENATOR IS ACCUSED OF ACCEPTING BRIBES OF GOLD AND CASH TO BENEFIT THREE NEW JERSEY BUSINESSMEN AND THE GOVERNMENTS OF EGYPT AND QATAR.

MENENDEZ WILL STAND TRIAL IN MANHATTAN ALONGSIDE TWO REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS. ALL THREE HAVE PLEADED NOT GUILTY.

A THIRD BUSINESSMAN HAS PLEADED GUILTY AND WILL TESTIFY AGAINST THE OTHER DEFENDANTS.

EVIDENCE INCLUDES GOLD BARS WORTH OVER $100,000 AND MORE THAN $486,000 IN CASH FOUND DURING A RAID ON MENENDEZ’S NEW JERSEY HOME.

MENENDEZ’S WIFE HAS ALSO BEEN CHARGED, BUT HER TRIAL IS POSTPONED UNTIL AT LEAST JULY FOR HEALTH REASONS.

THIS IS THE SENATOR’S SECOND CORRUPTION TRIAL THIS DECADE — WITH THE PREVIOUS ONE ENDING IN A DEADLOCKED JURY IN 2017.

THE UNREST AT COLLEGE CAMPUSES ACROSS THE COUNTRY OVER THE WAR IN GAZA CONTINUED THIS WEEKEND – AS DOZENS OF STUDENTS WALKED OUT DURING DUKE’S COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY.

ROUGHLY 30 STUDENTS GOT UP FROM THEIR SEATS DURING SUNDAY’S CEREMONY — SOME WAVING PALESTINIAN FLAGS — AS COMEDIAN “JERRY SEINFELD” WAS AWARDED AN HONORARY DEGREE – AND WAS SET TO ADDRESS THE GRADUATING CLASS.

THE GROUP OF STUDENTS WALKING OUT COULD BE HEARD CHANTING “FREE PALESTINE.” THEY WERE MET BY A MIX OF BOOS AND CHEERS WITH OTHER GRADUATES CHANTING “JERRY” IN SUPPORT OF THE GUEST SPEAKER.

THE PROTESTING STUDENTS HELD AN ALTERNATE MAKESHIFT GRADUATION IN ANOTHER PART OF THE NORTH CAROLINA CAMPUS.

SEINFELD – who is jewish and HAS TWO CHILDREN ATTENDING DUKE – HAS BEEN OUTSPOKEN ABOUT HIS SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL SINCE HAMAS’ TERROR ATTACK IN OCTOBER.

IN HIS SPEECH – HE TOUCHED UPON THE CONCEPT OF PRIVILEGE WHILE TELLING STUDENTS NOT TO BE SHY ABOUT UTILIZING THE FACT THEY ATTENDED DUKE.

JERRY SEINFELD | ACTOR AND COMEDIAN

“Privilege is a word that has taken quite a beating lately. Privilege today seems to be the worst thing you can have. I would like to take a moment to defend it. Again, a lot of you are thinking, I can’t believe they invited this guy. Too late. I say, use your privilege. I grew up a Jewish boy from New York. That is a privilege, if you want to be a comedian.”

[KARAH RUCKER]

Seinfeld has not yet commented on the walkout.

A PLANNED DEMOLITION AT THE SITE OF BALTIMORE’S FRANCIS SCOTT KEY BRIDGE COLLAPSE HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR LATER TODAY — AFTER BEING DELAYED THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND DUE TO POOR WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LIGHTNING IN THE VICINITY.

ENGINEERS ARE PLANNING TO USE CONTROLLED EXPLOSIVES IN THE REMAINS OF THE BRIDGE IN ORDER TO REMOVE THE STRANDED CONTAINER SHIP FROM THE CHANNEL.

THE SHIP COLLIDED WITH THE BRIDGE BACK IN MARCH — KILLING SIX PEOPLE AND LEADING TO THE CLOSURE OF THE PORT OF BALTIMORE. THE INCIDENT REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

OVER THE WEEKEND IT WAS ANNOUNCED THE FIRST HUMAN RECIPIENT OF A GENETICALLY-MODIFIED PIG KIDNEY TRANSPLANT HAS PASSED AWAY.

RICK SLAYMAN RECEIVED THE TRANSPLANT BACK IN MARCH AT MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL AT THE AGE OF 62.

SLAYMAN WAS BATTLING END-STAGE KIDNEY DISEASE – HIS FAMILY SAYING HE UNDERWENT THE SURGERY TO GIVE HOPE TO OTHERS NEEDING A TRANSPLANT TO SURVIVE.

LAST MONTH – A 54-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IN NEW JERSEY BECAME THE SECOND PERSON TO UNDERGO THE SAME PROCEDURE.

IN A STATEMENT — THE HOSPITAL SAID THERE IS “NO INDICATION” THAT SLAYMAN’S DEATH WAS THE RESULT OF THE TRANSPLANT – ADDING HE WILL FOREVER BE “A BEACON OF HOPE TO COUNTLESS TRANSPLANT PATIENTS WORLDWIDE.”

FINALLY THIS MORNING – WE LEAVE YOU WITH SOME VIEWS OF A COLORFUL NIGHT SKY BEAMING ACROSS AMERICA FROM OVER THE WEEKEND.

AND IT WAS ALL THANKS TO A RARE YET POWERFUL SOLAR STORM.

THE AURORA BOREALIS (BORE-EE-ALICE) OR NORTHERN LIGHTS CAN USUALLY BE SEEN ONLY IN AREAS NEAR THE NORTH POLE. BUT DUE TO INCREASED SOLAR ACTIVITY — A DAZZLING LIGHT DISPLAY WAS WITNESSED IN THE U-S AS FAR SOUTH AS FLORIDA.

THIS WAS THE STRONGEST SOLAR STORM TO HIT EARTH SINCE 2003, ACCORDING TO THE “U.S. NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION.”

THE AGENCY ISSUED A WARNING THAT THE STORM COULD AFFECT POWER GRIDS, COMMUNICATION NETWORKS, AND NAVIGATION SYSTEMS.

BUT NO MAJOR OUTAGES WERE REPORTED–

GIVING PEOPLE ACROSS THE US AND THE WORLD A CHANCE TO SNAP A FEW PHOTOS AND TAKE IN THE RARE EVENT ABOVE.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS MONDAY.

WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.

UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER. HAVE A GREAT DAY!