Michael Cohen-Prison

Michael Cohen

Judge orders Cohen to be released from prison

NEW YORK | A judge on Thursday ordered the release of President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer from prison, saying the government retaliated against him for planning to release a book critical of Trump before November’s election.

Michael Cohen’s First Amendment rights were violated when he was ordered back to prison on July 9 after probation authorities said he refused to sign a form banning him from publishing the book or communicating publicly in other manners, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said during a telephone conference.

Hellerstein ordered Michael Cohen released from prison to home confinement by 2 p.m. on Friday.

China launches attempt to land rover on Mars

BEIJING |China launched its most ambitious Mars mission yet on Thursday in a bold attempt to join the United States in successfully landing a spacecraft on the red planet.

Engines blazing orange, a Long March-5 rocket took off under clear skies from Hainan Island, south of China’s mainland, as space enthusiasts gathered on a beach across the bay from the launch site.

China’s tandem spacecraft — with both an orbiter and a rover — will take seven months to reach Mars.

Islamic State group says it killed 5 aid workers

DAKAR, Senegal | Militants from an Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility Thursday for killing five aid workers who were kidnapped last month in northeastern Nigeria.

The Islamic State West Africa Province, which broke away from Boko Haram several years ago, warned in June that it would target Nigerians working for international aid agencies along with those who helped the military. Nigeria’s president already had blamed the extremists for the slayings.

The group issued its claim online in its digital weekly newspaper, al-Naba, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist groups.

The aid workers were killed on Sunday, and a video of their deaths was later released on social media, SITE reported.

Man given time served for threatening Hawley

ST. LOUIS | An eastern Missouri man was sentenced to time served and probation after pleading guilty Thursday to sending several death threats to U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri last year.

Jeremy Cawthon, 38, of St. Charles, was sentenced to 16 months of jail time already served and a year of supervised probation, federal prosecutors said in a news release.

Cawthon admitted that he sent several threats to Hawley via Facebook in March and April of last year.

— From AP reports