06 26 2016
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  • ST. LOUIS (AP) — A draft of the Democratic Party's policy positions reflects the influence of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign: endorsing steps to break up large Wall Street banks, advocating a $15 hourly wage, urging an end to the death penalty. Hillary Clinton's supporters turned back efforts by Sanders' allies to promote a Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system and a carbon tax to address climate change, and freeze hydraulic fracking. While the platform does not bind the Democratic nominee to the stated positions, it serves as a guidepost for the party moving forward. Party officials approved the draft early Saturday. The Democratic National Convention's full Platform Committee will discuss the draft at a meeting next month in Orlando, Florida, with a vote at the convention in Philadelphia in late July. Sanders said Friday he would vote for Clinton, the presumptive nominee, in the fall election, but so far has stopped short of fully endorsing the former secretary of state or encouraging his millions of voters to back her candidacy. The Vermont senator has said he wants the platform to reflect his goals — and those representing him at a St. Louis hotel said they had made progress. "We lost some but we won some," said James Zogby, a Sanders supporter on the committee. "We got some great stuff in the platform that has never been in there before." Added Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a Sanders ally: "We've made some substantial moves forward." Deliberating late into Friday, the group considered language on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, an issue that has divided Democrats. The committee defeated an amendment led by Zogby that would have called for providing Palestinians with "an end to occupation and illegal settlements" and urged an international effort to rebuild Gaza. The draft reflects Clinton's views and advocates working toward a "two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict" that guarantees Israel's security with recognized borders "and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity." In many cases, Clinton's side gave ground to Sanders. The document calls for the expansion of Social Security and says Americans should earn at least $15 an hour, referring to the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour as a "starvation wage," a term often used by Sanders. Sanders has pushed for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Clinton has supported efforts to raise the minimum wage to that level but has said states and cities should raise the bar as high as possible. Sanders' allies wanted the draft to specify calls for a $15 per hour minimum wage indexed with inflation. Clinton's side struck down a direct link, noting the document elsewhere included a call to "raise and index the minimum wage." The committee also adopted language that said it supports ways to prevent banks from gambling with taxpayers' bank deposits, "including an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall." Sanders wants to reinstate the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities. Clinton does not, but says her proposed financial changes would cast a wider net by regulating the banking system. Also in the draft is a call for the abolition of the death penalty. Clinton said during a debate this year that capital punishment should only be used in limited cases involving "heinous crimes." Sanders said the government should not use it. Sanders, a vociferous opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was unable to get language into the document opposing the trade deal. As a result, the party avoided an awkward scenario that would have put the platform at odds with President Barack Obama. Clinton and Sanders have opposed the deal. Committee members backed a measure that said "there are a diversity of views in the party" on the pact and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal "must protect workers and the environment." In a setback for Sanders, the panel narrowly rejected amendments that would have imposed a tax on carbon and imposed a national freeze on fracking. The panel deliberated for about nine hours following several late nights and long hours of policy exchanges between the two campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. Sanders, in a statement, said he was "disappointed and dismayed" that the group voted down the measure opposing the TPP. But he was pleased with the proposals on Glass-Steagall and the death penalty — and vowed to fight on. "Our job is to pass the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party," he said.
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(CNN) -- More prosecution witnesses are expected to testify Thursday in a marathon 11-hour session in the rape trial of two Steubenville, Ohio, football players accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

The trial, which is likely to stretch into the weekend, is moving quickly to accommodate the schedule of visiting Judge Thomas Lipps, who is presiding over the trial without a jury. A verdict is expected by Sunday.

Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter opened the trial Wednesday saying the defendants -- Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16 -- treated the girl "like a toy" with a string of degrading acts during a series of end-of-summer parties in August.

The teens are charged with rape. Mays is also charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material. Defense attorneys say the two are innocent.

According to prosecutors, Richmond and Mays each penetrated the victim's vagina with their fingers, an act that constitutes rape under Ohio law.

They are not accused of having intercourse with the girl, although Hemmeter said in opening statements that one photograph appears to show semen on the girl's body and DNA analysis of semen found on a blanket she was lying on was a match for Mays.

Some of the alleged abuse was captured in cellphone images circulated in text messages and on the Internet, raising the profile of the case and bringing national attention to the town.

The case will hinge not on consent, but rather whether Mays and Richmond knew the girl was too impaired to know what was happening the night of the alleged attacks, Hemmeter said in opening statements Wednesday.

The girl, Hemmeter said, was "too impaired to say no, too impaired to say stop."

Six witnesses for the prosecution testified Wednesday, saying she appeared to be drunk -- stumbling, swaying and throwing up.

One witness, a 17-year-old girl who went to a party with the alleged victim, said she and the girl shared a half a bottle of vodka, which they each poured into a flavored crushed ice drink.

The alleged victim also had a beer and seemed to get drunk very quickly, the witness said.

The party broke up about 12:30 a.m. and the girl left with Mays and Richmond, according to the witness -- who said she pleaded with her not go. The witness said she didn't see the girl again until the next day when she picked her up at another home.

She described the girl as a "mess," wearing her stained shirt inside out.

On cross-examination, Richmond's attorney, Walter Madison, asked the witness if her view of what had happened that night had been framed by the tweets and social media posts she had seen about the victim, and if what she had seen in those messages made her angry.

The girl said it had.

Another witness, a 17-year-old friend of Richmond, said on cross-examination that while the girl appeared drunk, he did not believe she was unaware of what she was doing.

The boy also told Mays' attorney, Brian Duncan, that he hadn't seen the girl drinking and had not witnessed Mays involved in any sexual contact with the girl.

Another witness, a 17-year-old girl, told prosecutors that the girl was unable to lift her head when a now-infamous picture was taken of her being held limply by Richmond and Mays, but she said the girl was not unconscious.

On cross-examination, she told Madison that the girl was able to answer questions and could walk on her own.

The case has cast an unwelcome spotlight on Steubenville, a small, down-on-its-luck town along the banks of the Ohio River.

Critics have accused community leaders of trying to paper over rampant misconduct by players of the highly regarded Steubenville High School football team and have suggested that other students took part in the assaults or failed to do enough stop them.

The case has attracted the attention of bloggers and even the loosely organized hacking group Anonymous, which have questioned everything from the behavior of the football team to the integrity of the investigation.

CNN's Poppy Harlow and Brian Vitagliano contributed to this report.

 

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