Live Coverage

Today's News: Jan. 10, 2017

Dylann Roof sentenced to death, top intelligence official confirms Russian hacking, and more from the United States and around the world.

Jason Miczek / Reuters

—Dylann Roof, the man who walked into a church and killed nine black parishioners in 2015, will be put to death. More here

—James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the intelligence alleging Russia hacked the U.S. election “comes from a wide range of sources, including human sources, technical collection, and open-source information.” More here

—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).

Updates

This live blog has concluded

No Charges for El Cajon Officer Who Killed Unarmed Black Man

Mike Blake / Reuters

A police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man in a San Diego suburb in September will not face charges, prosecutors announced Tuesday. The officer killed 38-year-old Alfred Olango after he raised and pointed what was later described as an e-cigarette vaping device quickly toward the officer, who felt he was in danger. San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said the officer was forced to make a split-second decision, concluding the officer’s actions were justified. Olango’s death was met with passionate protests across the country, demonstrating against the use of excessive force by police against black men. El Cajon police were originally called to the scene by Olango’s sister, who said he was acting erratically and wanted him transferred to a mental health facility.

Dylann Roof Will Receive the Death Penalty

Jason Miczek / Reuters

Dylann Roof, the man who walked into a church and killed nine black parishioners in 2015, will be put to death. A federal jury in Charleston, South Carolina, on Tuesday decided his punishment for the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church massacre should be the death penalty. Deliberations took three hours. It was a unanimous decision. Earlier in the day, Roof told the federal jury, which last month found Roof guilty on 33 counts, that he “felt like I had to do it, and I still feel like I had to do it.” Roof represented himself in the trial. Despite the court twice ruling that Roof was mentally competent to stand trial, he told the jury Tuesday, “I think that it’s safe to say that no one in their right mind wants to go into a church and kill people.” Roof can appeal the death penalty decision, a process that will last for several years. Only three federal prisoners have been executed since 1988.

Fox News Secretly Settled a Sexual-Harassment Case Against Bill O'Reilly

AP

Shortly after former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes resigned from the network over allegations of sexual harassment, the company secretly settled with another of its top names: network host Bill O’Reilly. The allegations come from Juliet Huddy, a former Fox on-air personality, according to documents obtained by The New York Times and first reported on by LawNewz. Huddy reportedly claimed that O’Reilly tried to pursue a sexual relationship with her, showed up at her hotel-room door in his boxers, and called her repeatedly on the phone while he seemed to be masturbating. She reportedly described his pursuit of her as an “obsession.” In return for her silence and an agreement that she would not sue, the Times reported, Huddy was paid a six-figure sum by Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox. O’Reilly has denied the claims, but this is not the first time he’s faced allegations of sexual harassment. In 2004 a producer on his show, Andrea Mackris, accused O’Reilly of unwanted sexual advances and making lewd phone calls, including some where he seemed to be masturbating. That lawsuit was widely covered, and O’Reilly settled that suit as well, with both parties agreeing to keep the details confidential.

DNI Clapper: Russia Hacking Claim 'Comes From a Wide Range of Sources'

(Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the intelligence alleging Russia hacked the U.S. election “comes from a wide range of sources, including human sources, technical collection, and open-source information.” Russia’s role in the U.S. election has come under scrutiny since the intelligence community revealed last Friday that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and its officials in order to help President-elect Donald Trump in the election. But Clapper reiterated, “We can say we did not see evidence of Russians altering vote tallies.” Trump has been skeptical of the U.S. intelligence community’s view of Russia’s actions. At the same hearing, James Comey, the FBI director, said the Russians also hacked state-level domains of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and some old domains of the RNC, but added there was no evidence either Trump’s or the RNC’s current domains were targeted.

One of the Largest Classified-Ad Sites Closes Its Adult Section

AP

The owners of Backpage.com, a controversial classified ad website that, among many other services, advertises prostitution, have closed the site’s adult section in the face of a congressional investigation. Backpage has been targeted by several lawsuits, including one in California where its founders were charged with money-laundering and pimping. It is also the focus of a current investigation by a Senate subcommittee that on Monday released a report saying Backpage concealed criminal activity by editing and removing words from ads that might have exposed child sex trafficking. The decision to shut down the adult section also came a day before the site’s founders, Michael Lacey and James Larkin—former owners of alternative weekly papers like the Village Voice and Phoenix New Times—and CEO Carl Ferrer, were scheduled to testify before the Senate panel. Lacey and Larkin said the decision to close the adult section came because it grew too costly to fight the many lawsuits. In a statement where the adult section had once been, they called the current investigation an act of “unconstitutional government censorship.” Some politicians were happy to see the site removed, including Senators Rob Portman and Claire McCaskill, who led the investigation. Interestingly, however, shutting down the site was seen as a bad move by some police, and some advocates against child-sex trafficking. That’s because the site had become a widely used investigative tool to go after the pimps and traffickers who forced minors into prostitution.

Human-Rights Court Says Swiss Muslim Girls Must Swim With Boys

Reuters

Switzerland won a controversial religious freedom case in the European Court of Human Rights that will obligate parents to send their kids to mixed-gender swimming classes. The case was brought by two Swiss parents of Turkish origin who refused to let their daughters attend a mandatory school swimming class. The parents, from the northwestern city of Basel, argued that allowing their girls to swim with boys violated their faith. The school said it would only provide a waiver for girls beyond the age of puberty—which they were under—and that it had tried to reach flexible compromises, like allowing the girls to wear burkinis. The court ruled unanimously in favor of Swiss authorities, who fined the parents for their “breach of their parental duty” after refusing to comply. In its unanimous ruling, the court said the children’s “successful social integration according to local customs and mores” held more importance than the wishes of their parents. Laws restricting religious preference have become increasingly fraught in Europe, and especially in Switzerland. Last year Swiss officials suspended the citizenship process for the family of two boys who refused to shake their teacher’s’ hand.  

Dozens Killed in Twin Kabul Blasts That Appear to Target Parliamentary Workers

Updated at 10:02 a.m.

Dozens of people are dead after coordinated explosions targeted a convoy of staff leaving Afghanistan’s parliament in Kabul Tuesday at about 4 p.m. local time. Western news sources put the toll at 21. The Taliban claimed responsibility. Tolo News reported that first a suicide bomber blew himself at the entrance to parliament’s offices; this was followed by a car bomber who detonated his explosives.

This is a developing story and we’ll update it as we learn more.

Senator Sessions Faces Tough Questions at Nomination Hearing

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will question Senator Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be attorney general. Sessions, who was elected the U.S. Senate in 1996, is likely to face tough questions Tuesday from Democrats on the panel on his civil-rights and immigration records. Ultimately, however, he is likely to be confirmed easily because Republicans control the Senate. So far only one Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, has said he’d vote against Sessions’s nomination. We will follow the nominations in a a separate live blog, for which we’ll post a link when it’s available.

Our prior coverage of Sessions:

Will Jeff Sessions Roll Back Civil-Rights Protections?

The Signal Sent by Picking Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

If Jeff Sessions Opposed Lurleen Wallace, Who Did He Support?

Did Jeff Sessions Champion Desegregation?

Jeff Sessions Is Trump's Pick for Attorney General

What Jeff Sessions's Role in Prosecuting the Klan Reveals About His Civil-Rights Record