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July 12, 2018

The Justice Department is reopening the investigation into the death of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy whose brutal murder in 1955 added to the momentum of the Civil Rights movement, The Associated Press reports.

While the case initially closed in 2007, its reopening comes after witness Carolyn Donham admitted in 2008 that she was misleading when she testified that Till whistled at her and made sexual advances in a store in Mississippi. Donham's then-husband and his half brother were accused of murdering Till after the alleged advances — going to his home to abduct him, beat him, shoot him, mutilate his body, and finally dump it in the Tallahatchie River. The men were acquitted, but later confessed to the crime and were not retried; they are both now dead.

The Justice Department cited "new information" as cause for reopening the case, with people close to the investigation suggesting that information might be from a book published last year, The Blood of Emmett Till, which contains Donham's confession. Donham will be 84 this month.

"We're happy … that ultimately or finally someone can be held responsible for his murder," said Paula Johnson, the co-director of Syracuse University's Cold Case Justice Initiative. Jeva Lange

12:10a.m.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you. In a recently unsealed court filing, a U.S. federal prosecutor in Virginia inadvertently disclosed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged with an undisclosed crime, The Washington Post reported Thursday night. Hours earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. prosecutors are increasingly confident about indicting Assange and prosecuting him in U.S. court.

Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador, and he's been living in the country's London embassy since 2012. He has long maintained that leaving the embassy would lead to his arrest and attempted extradition to the U.S. The U.S. government has never said if it has sealed charges against Assange, but former President Barack Obama's Justice Department reportedly decided against pursuing charges on the ground that WikiLeaks is too similar to a news organization.

In the Aug. 22 filing, unsealed in late September and noticed Thursday by a sharp-eyed counterterrorism expert, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer urged a judge to keep charges against a sex trafficking and terrorism suspect, Seitu Sulayman Kokayi, under seal because "due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged." The charges "need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested," Dwyer added later.

It isn't clear what charges have evidently been filed against Assange. "The court filing was made in error," said Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia. "That was not the intended name for this filing." Assange's lawyer Barry Pollack said he has "no idea if he has actually been charge or for what," but "the only thing more irresponsible than charging a person for publishing truthful information would be to put in a public filing information that clearly was not intended for the public and without any notice to Mr. Assange." Peter Weber

12:06a.m.

On the fifth anniversary of Miles Scott, a.k.a. Batkid, saving San Francisco from the Penguin and the Riddler, the Make-a-Wish Foundation gave a wonderful update: Scott is now cancer free.

Scott was 5 years old and battling leukemia when Make-a-Wish teamed up with the San Francisco mayor's office, police and fire departments, and the Giants to turn the city into Gotham, just for him. After he spent the day getting rid of bad guys and rescuing Giants mascot Lou Seal, he received a key to the city, and the San Francisco Chronicle published the Gotham City Chronicle, his face on the cover along with the headline "Batkid Saves City."

On Thursday, Make-a-Wish said Scott is "a happy, healthy fifth grader," and has been in remission since 2013. He plays baseball in Little League, helps on his family farm, and loves science and robotics. When wishes are granted, the foundation said, they have "proven physical and emotional benefits and can produce better health outcomes." Catherine Garcia

November 15, 2018

With his family by his side, Alex Reins has been busy knitting hats and scarves for people who will need them this winter.

The 9-year-old from Lakewood, Colorado, was inspired to give back after hearing about a person who was discharged from the hospital wearing only a hospital gown and socks, and had to wait for the bus in the cold. "His big heart saw that and he thought, 'We just need to do something to help other people,'" his great-aunt, Cherie DeHerrera, told 9News.

Reins, his mother, Bri Reins, and three great-aunts regularly get together to knit for what they call Alex's Warm Hat Project. They've worked diligently, and they've made more than 300 hats and scarves. They drop them off at local food banks and homeless shelters, for distribution to those who are "out in the cold and don't have enough money to get a hat," Alex Reins said. It's not difficult to make the scarves and hats, Bri Reins said, and it makes a huge difference in people's lives: "You can turn a ball of yarn into something beautiful." Catherine Garcia

November 15, 2018

David Hockney's "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" sold on Thursday for $90.3 million, setting a new auction record for a living artist.

Christie's in New York estimated that the 1972 oil painting would fetch $80 million. The bidding lasted nine minutes, with the two most active bidders calling in by telephone. The previous record was held by Jeff Koons, whose "Ballon Dog (Orange)" sold in 2013 for $58.4 million.

Hockney, 81, is considered one of the most influential British artists. Before the sale, Ana Maria Celis, vice president of postwar and contemporary art at Christie's, said auction houses can "rarely say, 'This is the one opportunity to buy the best painting from the artist.' This is it." Catherine Garcia

November 15, 2018

On Thursday, search teams in Northern California discovered seven more bodies in the Camp Fire burn area, bringing the blaze's death toll to 63.

Authorities say there are now 631 people missing, up from 130 on Wednesday evening. The fire, the deadliest in state history, has burned 141,000 acres, destroyed 11,862 structures, and is about 40 percent contained. Most of the deaths occurred in the town of Paradise, which was almost entirely wiped out by the fire. Officials said it could take several weeks to finish searching for victims. Catherine Garcia

November 15, 2018

Another red seat turned blue in Southern California on Thursday, with Democrat Katie Porter defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters in the 45th Congressional District.

With the latest vote count, Porter, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, has a 6,203-vote lead over Walters. Walters is a Trump supporter, while Porter said she was running "to hold Donald Trump and the powerful special interests in Washington accountable."

Orange County has been a Republican stronghold for decades, and in 2016, while Hillary Clinton carried the district by 5 percentage points, Walters was re-elected by 17 points. If Democrat Gil Cisneros defeats Republican Young Kim in the 39th Congressional District — the county's last undecided race — Orange County won't have any Republican representatives in Congress. Cisneros took the lead for the first time on Thursday, in a bad sign for Kim's chances. Catherine Garcia

November 15, 2018

After a year of discussions, Justice Department officials are optimistic they will be able to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into a U.S. courtroom, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

In 2012, Assange received political asylum from Ecuador, and he has been living in the country's London embassy ever since. Prosecutors do not yet know what charges they might file, but it could involve the Espionage Act, the Journal reports. Prosecutors are also reportedly considering publicly indicting Assange so the Ecuadorian government could see evidence against him and would have a reason to remove him from the embassy.

Last month, Assange sued Ecuador over his conditions in the embassy, and after a judge rejected his claims, he said he believes he'll soon be kicked out. In 2010, Chelsea Manning gave WikiLeaks documents related to the Iraq War, and ahead of the 2016 presidential election, WikiLeaks released thousands of emails hacked from Democrats; Special Counsel Robert Mueller says those hacked emails were provided by Russian intelligence officers. Catherine Garcia

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