Rep. Matt Gaetz probe, Bidens infrastructure plan, Derek Chauvin trial: 5 things to know Wednesday
Shockwaves being felt after Gaetz confirms he is under investigation
In what is likely to be a much-discussed topic in the media and beyond Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., confirmed Tuesday he is under investigation for his sexual conduct after a New York Times report that the Department of Justice is looking into whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. The alleged encounter under investigation occurred about two years ago, the Times reported, and a DOJ investigation began near the end of the Trump administration late in 2020. It should be noted that charges have not been filed against the Florida congressman and he said in a statement that he believes the investigation is related to an effort to extort him. According to Times sources, the investigation into Gaetz is part of a broader probe into Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector and an acquaintance of Gaetz. Greenberg is facing charges that include child sex trafficking and pleaded not guilty.
Biden to roll out infrastructure plan
President Joe Biden reveals his infrastructure package on Wednesday, potentially facing the same obstacle as his predecessor: How to pay for it. Biden will roll out the proposal at a Pittsburgh event. “He’s going to have a plan to pay for it,” press secretary Jen Psaki said. “He also believes that we have an opportunity to rebalance, to address our tax code that is out of date, and some could pay more in our country that are not currently.” Putting aside whether increases in income or corporate taxes could get through the narrowly divided Senate, it would be a further shift away from a “user pays” model for highways that started in the 1950s.
Derek Chauvin’s murder trial continues after emotional testimonies
Derek Chauvin’s murder trial continues on Wednesday and Genevieve Hansen, a Minneapolis firefighter who voiced frustration at being prevented from using her EMT training to help George Floyd, will be back on the stand following an emotional day in court on Tuesday. A series of witnesses took the stand and several broke down in tears, including Hansen, as they recounted their memory of the day Floyd died. Through tears, Darnella Frazier, who recorded the infamous video showing Floyd’s death, was one of five who testified in the murder trial of the former police officer. “It seemed like he knew. It seemed like he knew it was over for him,” she said. Other witnesses Tuesday included:
- Frazier’s cousin, a 9-year-old girl who wore a shirt with the word “love” on it the day George Floyd died, said she felt “sad and kind of mad” about what she saw that day.
- High school student Alyssa Nicole Funari, 18, recorded three videos of the incident with her friend’s phone. “I was upset because there was nothing we could do except watch them take a life in front of our eyes,” Funari said.
- Donald Williams, a mixed martial arts fighter, told the court he asked officers to stop the “blood choke,” which is a form of chokehold that renders someone unconscious.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 death of Floyd, a Black man.
NCAA has its day in court regarding athlete compensation
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that is tied to the NCAA’s ability to limit benefits. The hearing comes after nearly 12 years of non-stop antitrust challenges to the NCAA’s athlete-compensation rules. The NCAA says that compensation rules are necessary for the preservation of a version of sports that is different from the pros and, thus, those rules are allowed under antitrust law. However, the lawyer for the group opposing the NCAA says, “there is absolutely no reason why they (NCAA) should be immune from the same antitrust rules that apply to everyone because of the premise that competition is always in the public interest.” As this case has progressed, six states have passed laws to enhance college athletes’ ability to make money from their name, image and likeness (NIL). Two bills pending in the House and/or Senate also would help athletes capitalize on their NIL.
More rain and possible flooding in the South
After historic rains drenched the South over the weekend, forecasters from Arkansas to Tennessee expect more to come Wednesday. At least six people have died and many others had to be rescued in floods that first surged in parts of Tennessee, including Nashville. Once the storms leave the state, they will head toward the Southeast and mid-Atlantic late Wednesday. Farther north, temperatures will drop and lead to a few inches of wet snow Thursday morning in New York, forecasters say.
Contributing: The Associated Press