News briefs: U.S. pastor denies terror links, spying in Turkey | News

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ALIAGA, Turkey — An American pastor on Monday denied accusations that he aided terror groups or spied against Turkey, speaking at the beginning of his trial in a case that has strained ties between Turkey and the United States.

Andrew Craig Brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from North Carolina, faces up to 35 years in prison on charges of “committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member” and “espionage.”

Brunson, who denies any wrongdoing, was arrested in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt for alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, as well as a network led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed by Turkey for the coup attempt.

7 inmates killed in South Carolina prison riot

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Inmates armed with homemade knives fought each other for about seven hours over territory and money, leaving seven of them dead in the worst U.S. prison riot in a quarter-century, officials said Monday. An inmate who witnessed the violence told The Associated Press that bodies were “literally stacked on top of each other.”

At least 17 prisoners were seriously injured at Lee Correctional Institution, South Carolina prisons chief Bryan Stirling said. The first fight started in a dorm about 7:15 p.m. Sunday and appeared to be contained before starting in two other dorms. Cellphones helped stir up the trouble, and state officials urged the federal government to change a law and allow them to block signals from prisoners’ phones.

“These folks are fighting over real money and real territory while they’re incarcerated,” Stirling said at a news conference.

Bill Cosby’s accuser denies framing him

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Bill Cosby’s chief accuser on Monday rejected a defense allegation that she manufactured her account of sexual molestation and was backed up by her mother, who said the comedian apologized and called himself a “sick man.”

Andrea Constand withstood a defense cross-examination that sought to expose her as a con artist who set Cosby up, leaving the witness stand at his retrial without having budged off her allegation that he drugged and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

“Did you ever fabricate a scheme to falsely accuse him for money?” Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau asked her on Monday.

“No, sir,” Constand replied.



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