Timeline: Wisconsin man accused of financially preying on women he met on dating apps

Racine Police Department

(FRANKLIN, Wisc.) — The arrest of a man accused of financially preying on women he meets through dating apps followed weeks of warnings from Wisconsin police to be on the lookout for the alleged perpetrator.

It also came as the man — 52-year-old Timothy Olson — was being sought for questioning in the recent death of a woman he was with at a South Milwaukee bar when she fell unconscious, dying days later, according to police. She was the third woman to have fallen unconscious while in his presence, according to police. Her death is under investigation and it is not known at this time if any crime has been committed, police said.

Olson was arrested in Franklin, Wisconsin, on Tuesday after allegedly committing three burglaries in the city, including one involving a 79-year-old woman who rebuffed him in a bar. A warrant was also out for his arrest on personal identity theft charges after he allegedly withdrew hundreds of dollars from a date’s bank account in September.

“We’re glad he’s off the street,” Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva told reporters Tuesday. “There’s no doubt this person would continue to do what he did until caught.”

As multiple investigations involving Olson are underway, here’s what we know so far.

Sept. 2

A woman who resides in Mount Pleasant, a village in Racine County, goes on a date with Olson that allegedly ends with him stealing her debit card and withdrawing $800 from her account, according to a criminal complaint. The woman was only identified by her initials in the complaint.

The victim connected with Olson on Match.com, where he reportedly went by the name “Tim Wilson,” according to the complaint. She had met him in person once or twice before this date, during which they visit several establishments in Racine, Zion, Mount Pleasant and Caledonia, according to the complaint. At around 10 p.m. she asks him to drive because she is tired and “she soon blacked out,” according to the complaint. The woman doesn’t remember anything else from that night and believes she might have been drugged, according to the complaint.

When she wakes up, she discovers Olson had taken her car, according to the complaint. When she contacts him about it, he claims he can’t remember anything from the night and suggests she drugged him, according to the complaint. He allegedly tells her he left the car at an Applebee’s and she is able to retrieve it there.

At some point the victim also discovered four unauthorized withdrawals on her debit card totaling $800 from two gas stations, prompting her to contact law enforcement, according to the complaint. She initially thought her card was stolen from a bar that night, though surveillance footage allegedly captured Olson withdrawing the funds from ATMs at both locations — on Sept. 2 at around 10 p.m. and Sept. 3 at around 6 a.m., according to the complaint.

Detectives with the Mount Pleasant Police Department were unable to locate Olson’s Match.com profile and believe he deactivated the account, the complaint stated.

Nov. 9

A warrant is issued for Olson’s arrest in connection with the Sept. 2 incident, court records show. He faces multiple counts of felony personal ID theft for financial gain, according to the criminal complaint. The complaint notes that Olson goes by several aliases, including Timothy Wilson.

The Racine Police Department issues a safety alert regarding Olson to “caution the women in Racine County and get the public’s help in locating a male subject who has met women on dating apps and victimizes them, resulting in financial loss.”

“The Racine Police Department is looking to speak to Olson regarding a similar incident out of our jurisdiction,” the department said. A spokesperson later confirmed to ABC News they are unable to share any further details due to the ongoing investigation.

Nov. 17

Olson is with 55-year-old Kim Mikulance when she loses consciousness at Powers on 10th, a South Milwaukee bar, according to local police. Mikulance suffers an “unknown medical emergency” at the bar and is transported to a local hospital, police said.

Surveillance video shows Olson and Mikulance, a Cudahy resident who was a regular at Powers on 10th, sitting together at the bar before she loses consciousness, police said.

“I saw the look on her face and I saw she was holding a drink and she kind of started leaning back,” Sam Anderson, who was bartending at the time, told ABC Milwaukee affiliate WISN. “She was in here for maybe five minutes until she hit the ground.”

Nov. 21

The Racine Police Department updates its initial safety alert to say that Olson has been linked to “another woman in a bar who fell unconscious while in his presence” on Nov. 17 — the incident at Powers on 10th, a spokesperson for the department confirms.

This marks the third woman Racine police are aware of from other jurisdictions who “ended up unconscious while being in Timothy Olson’s presence,” the department said.

Nov. 22

Mikulance dies at the hospital, according to police. Her death is under investigation by the South Milwaukee Police Department, which is awaiting autopsy results. Olson is a person of interest in the investigation and is being sought for questioning, police say.

“At this time, the investigation is ongoing and it is not known if any crime has occurred, or if this incident is related to any other investigations by other jurisdictions,” the department said.

Nov. 23

Olson allegedly finds his next victim at a bar in Franklin, a city in Milwaukee County. He approaches a 79-year-old woman at an unidentified establishment and offers to buy her a drink, though she declines, according to Oliva. When she leaves, he allegedly approaches her in the parking lot with a gun, forces her into her car and holds her “for a number of hours,” Oliva said. They drive to at least one ATM and he allegedly takes her cards and withdraws cash, according to Oliva.

Nov. 28

Olson is spotted in Franklin at a business on South 27th Street at night, according to local police.

Nov. 29

Officers spot a man believed to be Olson pushing a bicycle on the 7000 block of South 35th Street in Franklin at around 10:15 a.m. local time, according to Oliva. As officers approach, he flees into a nearby condominium complex and after a “brief struggle” is tased and taken into custody, according to Oliva.

He faces charges of kidnapping, burglary and identity theft stemming from the Nov. 23 incident in Franklin, Oliva says. Prior to his arrest, Olson was allegedly involved in at least two burglaries in Franklin, according to Oliva.

While in custody of the Franklin Police Department, Olson is interviewed by detectives from the police departments in Franklin, Racine and South Milwaukee, according to Oliva.

Olson is being held by the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, online records show. It is unclear if he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

Police across the jurisdictions are continuing to work through evidence.

“These are active investigations,” Oliva said. “There’s a lot of evidence to be processed.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Judge declares mistrial in Danny Masterson rape case

Lucy Nicholson – Pool/Getty Images

(LOS ANGELES) — A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the Danny Masterson rape case after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The “That ’70s Show” star had pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony rape following accusations by three different women. The alleged attacks took place between 2001 and 2003.

On count 1, two jurors voted for guilty and 10 voted for not guilty. On count 2, four voted for guilty and eight for not guilty. Five voted for guilty and seven for not guilty on count 3.

The three alleged victims were members of the Church of Scientology, as was Masterson. All three women said they were initially hesitant to speak to law enforcement because they said church teachings discouraged reporting to police. The women eventually left the church.

Masterson, who was arrested in 2020, said each of the encounters was consensual. “That ’70s Show” was still on the air at the time of all three alleged rapes.

The Church of Scientology told ABC News in October that there’s “no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of Scientologists, or of anyone, to law enforcement. … Church policy explicitly demands Scientologists abide by all laws of the land.”

Masterson was facing 45 years to life in prison if convicted on all charges.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said it will now consider its “next steps as it relates to prosecuting this case.”

“While we are disappointed with the outcome in this trial, we thank the jurors for their service,” the office said in a statement. “We also want to give our heartfelt appreciation to the victims for bravely stepping forward and recounting their harrowing experiences.”

Two of the alleged victims are also involved in an ongoing civil case against Masterson and the Church of Scientology over the allegations.

“We are obviously disappointed that, at least for the time being, Daniel Masterson has evaded criminal accountability for his deplorable acts,” they said in a joint statement, adding that they are “collectively resolved to continue our fight for justice, including in civil court.”

Alison Anderson, their attorney in the civil case, said her clients “remain hopeful that Mr. Masterson will experience some criminal consequences for his vile conduct.”

“Our clients showed tremendous courage in testifying about such personal and horrendous acts in a very public forum and despite persistent harassment and intimidation,” Anderson said in a statement.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

FTX crypto collapse: Ex-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried denies ‘improper use’ of customer funds

ABC News

(NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS) — Sam Bankman-Fried, the embattled former CEO of cryptocurrency giant FTX and trading firm Alameda Research, told ABC News he was ultimately responsible for the downfall of both companies, but denied that he knew “that there was any improper use of customer funds.”

“I really, deeply wish that I had taken a lot more responsibility for understanding what the details were of what was going on,” he said. “I should have been on top of this, and I feel really, really bad and regretful that I wasn’t,” he said. “A lot of people got hurt. And that’s on me.”

Bankman-Fried spoke to George Stephanopoulos and ABC News for his first network interview since both companies in his cryptocurrency empire filed for bankruptcy this month. He addressed rumors that have swirled since the collapse and discussed his uncertain path forward. The interview took place in the Bahamas island of Nassau where FTX was headquartered.

Watch George Stephanopoulos’ full interview with Sam Bankman-Fried on “Good Morning America” on Thursday

FTX filed for bankruptcy protection in November after a rival cryptocurrency exchange announced it was backing out of a plan to acquire it. The filing follows reports that FTX used deposits to pay Alameda Research creditors, a claim reportedly made by former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison during a call in early November. Bankman-Fried said he was not aware that was true but said Alameda had a large position open on FTX that was “overcollateralized a year ago.” He also partially blamed a market collapse that “threatened that position quite a bit” as well as mismanagement.

Ellison did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

“I failed to have someone in place who was managing that risk, who was managing that position, managing that account. I failed to have proper oversight” that led to the crash of FTX, Bankman-Fried said.

In the interview, Bankman-Fried also denied he witnessed any illegal drug use by FTX employees, and he said reports that he and Ellison were in a polyamorous relationship are false and his romantic relationship with Ellison lasted only six months. “I lived with a bunch of monogamous couples when I was here, some of whom got married over the course of their time here. I don’t know of any polyamorous relationships within FTX.”

Bankman-Fried, 30, said he currently owns just one ATM card and has $100,000 in his bank account, a drastic reversal from the estimated $20 billion net worth that thrust him into the spotlight. He ultimately blamed the collapse of FTX on his struggle with risk management.

“There is something maybe even deeply wrong there, which was I wasn’t even trying. Like, I wasn’t spending any time or effort trying to manage risk on FTX and that that was obviously a mistake,” he said. “If I had been spending an hour a day thinking about risk management on FTX, I don’t think that would have happened. And I don’t feel good about that.”

Today, Bankman-Fried said his focus is on working through the regulatory and legal processes and “trying to focus on what I can do going forward to be helpful.” In the future he said he hopes he will be able to say he “made it up to everyone who got hurt.”

He added, “At the end of the day, it’s not my call what happens. And the world will judge me as it will.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden announces ‘long overdue’ investments in Indian Country

Pete Marovich/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced “long overdue” commitments to Native American nations.

“On my watch, we’re ushering in a new era and advancing a way for the federal government to work with tribal nations,” Biden said as he spoke at the first in-person White House Tribal Nations Summit in six years, knocking his predecessor for not hosting any such forum.

Biden announced $135 million to help tribal communities impacted by climate change. Eleven “severely impacted tribes” will receive funds, according to the Interior Department, and three are planning on relocating entirely to new areas: the Newtok Village in Alaska, the Native Village of Napakiak in Alaska, and the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington.

“There are tribal communities at risk of being washed away, washed away by superstorms, rising sea levels and wildfires raging,” Biden said Wednesday, calling the damage “devastating.”

Biden also touted the billions of dollars made available to tribal nations through the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Those investments, Biden said, helped Indian Country vaccinate residents, rebuild roads, provide clean drinking water and more.

“Together, my entire administration is advancing the economic agenda and making historic investments in Indian country and, I might add, that are long overdue,” Biden said.

Over 300 tribal representatives are expected to attend the two-day summit held at the Interior Department. Biden began his remarks by thanking Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for her leadership, noting she’s the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary.

Haaland, introducing Biden to the podium, said the investments made by the Biden administration are “already improving the lives of so many.”

“You and I know firsthand that native people have not always had friends in the White House,” she said.

Among the new investments and changes announced by the White House to strengthen tribal nations are a presidential memo standardizing how federal agencies consult with tribes, requiring federal agencies to recognize “Indigenous Knowledge” in research and decision-making, and a draft of a 10-year plan to revitalize native languages. Federal agencies will also buy more electricity and energy products from tribes, and announce a new initiative to build electric vehicle charges on tribal lands.

On Wednesday, Biden also pledged to protect Nevada’s Spirit Mountain and the surrounding wilderness area.

“I’m committed to protecting this sacred place that is central to the creation story of so many tribes that are here today,” Biden said, adding there’s “so much more that we’re going to do to protect the treasured tribal lands.

“Everyone’s entitled to be treated with respect and dignity, the dignity that comes from just being who you are,” Biden said as he closed his remarks. “This is especially true for tribal nations. The United States owes a solemn trust and treaty obligations that we haven’t always lived up to.”

-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Democrats may soon shake up primary calendar: Why it matters and who could replace Iowa

krisanapong detraphiphat/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — The 2024 presidential race is still two years away but a major change to Democrats’ primary process — affecting which candidates run and which states get first crack at voting on their chances — could come any day now.

Some party members are just waiting for their current leader, Joe Biden, to weigh in himself.

For months, members of the Democratic National Committee’s group focused on rules and bylaws have been meeting in an effort to refresh the order of states in the party’s presidential nominating contest. Many Democrats believe the current starting schedule of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and then South Carolina does not accurately represent the makeup of the party’s voters and, as such, shuts out candidates who might ultimately do better nationwide.

These critics cite Biden’s own, deceptively rough nominating experience in 2020 — when poor showings in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada led many observers to predict that voters were rejecting him.

Instead, Biden went on to easily win the Democratic nomination once more states voted. He was then elected to the White House.

“It really does matter which state goes first in the calendar. The state that goes first really shapes the start of the primary: It dictates how candidates spend their resources in the off-year, it can create momentum, it can set the tone,” said Nevada Democratic strategist Rebecca Lambe.

Earlier this year, national Democrats began a formal push to shake up the calendar, putting in jeopardy the first-in-the-nation status for the caucuses in Iowa, which is older and whiter and trending more conservative than many other parts of the country, including states that have been electing Democrats. (The second state on the calendar, New Hampshire, guarantees its spot through a law that could set off a scheduling scramble if any primary is moved before it — more on that below.)

The DNC, made up of state party chairs, politicians and the like, shelved plans to decide on a restructured presidential nominating calendar from July until after the midterms, setting a new deadline for early December.

Biden has not publicly offered his preferences on the calendar and his press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, on Monday referred reporters’ questions to the DNC.

Some committee members say they have found that vexing as they approach making significant changes to the process that will impact what is likely to be the president’s own reelection bid in 2024 — and potentially the campaign cycles beyond.

DNC members said that a lack of input from the White House might be holding up information disseminated to them by the committee about a meeting on Thursday to start settling on the primary calendar, with December’s deadline looming.

“The DNC has gone completely silent, and it’s understood that it is because the White House hasn’t made a decision on what it wants,” said one member of the committee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions.

Another DNC member familiar with decision-making, who likewise requested anonymity, told ABC News that they do not expect Biden to “weigh in heavily” on the calendar but they do expect his staff to make “winks and nods” privately before the group convenes Thursday — which this member would view as a generally encouraging sign that the White House approves of the party’s decision to pursue a different nominating calendar.

This member conceded that many of their colleagues have been “frustrated” by the silence, however.

“We all want guidance. We want to know what the thinking is,” the member said. “We kind of know in this business that if the White House is not weighing super strongly about something, it’s because it’s kind of a wink and a nod that they’re agreeing with the direction that this is going in, at least, the broad strokes. And Democrats, we all agree that this needs to change.”

The White House declined to comment for this story.

Carol Fowler, a member of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) from South Carolina, said she thinks Biden’s decision in this process “absolutely” will impact the way the nominating calendar will be finalized.

“I have always assumed that at some point in this process, we will hear from the White House and know what President Biden’s preference is. There is nobody on that committee — I don’t think — who would want to oppose the president in this,” she said.

It may all seem bureaucratic and confusing to the casual observer, but the stakes of the decision are high, with many Democrats saying the traditional order of their primaries is in desperate need of a change to encourage the kinds of candidates who can ultimately appeal to voters nationwide — the true purpose of the process.

“I would 100% call it an imperative for the national party to figure this out ahead of a competitive primary going forward,” said Rebecca Pearsey, a Democratic strategist who worked on Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 campaign.

Party experts said two key questions hang over the deliberations, which are expected to begin at the meeting on Thursday and stretch into the weekend:

If the DNC swaps Iowa out as the first state, how can Democrats continue to ensure an early focus on the larger Midwest, which is home to multiple battleground states? And what order will that final grouping of early states be in?

Below is a breakdown of the current early states and two potential additions.

Will another Midwest state replace Iowa?

Michigan and Minnesota have been cited by committee members as the Midwestern front-runners jockeying for Iowa’s top spot. Both states applied earlier this year to be the first state on the nominating calendar and both are run by Democratic governments, making it easier to shift primary dates.

Minnesota Democrats, in a June pitch, argued that their high turnout — especially among diverse racial communities — along with strong union membership and robust LGBTQ communities should be a draw. While Michigan is racially more diverse than Minnesota, Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s chairman, Ken Martin, told ABC News that his state wins out as far as voter turnout among those same groups.

Rep. Debbie Dingell, who has long championed Michigan’s inclusion in the early primary window, believes her home state is “very much in the mix” and balked at the insinuation from some other Democrats that the state is simply too large and too expensive for candidates that early in the cycle.

“Our state reflects the diversity of this country. And that’s what you need,” Dingell said. “You need to test these candidates so they are being screened for the question: Can they win in November? And Michigan meets that criteria to a T.”

But some in the party said that one of the biggest limitations for Michigan holding an earlier primary is its size. For example, committee members noted that the state’s large media markets could cost initially lesser-known candidates — like, in 2008, Barack Obama — a real shot at emerging from a crowded field.

Another factor, some members said, would be that Michigan would award so many more delegates than the other traditional early states (like New Hampshire and South Carolina) that it would create an imbalance. Candidates would essentially focus only on one part of the country and that state’s voters would gain outsized influence, repeating the current problem.

The odds are increasingly stacked against Iowa to keep its top spot on Democrats’ nominating calendar Still, Scott Brennan, Iowa’s committee member on the national RBC, told ABC News that he feels confident his state will be competitive in keeping its spot after they restructured their infamously complicated caucus process to “satisfy all the concerns that were ever raised.”

Brennan said it would be a “tremendous win” if the state were to stay in the early window.

In South Carolina — the first Southern state on the calendar and the first state with a sizable bloc of Black voters, who are a crucial Democratic constituency — state Democrats said the optimistic they’ll keep a spot as one of the initial nominating states.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire did not suffer from the crippling logistical issues that hamstrung Democrats’ 2020 Iowa caucuses. But the state, which is about 90% white, still faces criticism that it lacks sufficient diversity to represent the party base as it fights to keep its No. 2 slot.

However, the state Democratic Party insists on its record of holding successful primaries that force candidates to wear out their shoe leather to prove their skill at face-to-face campaigning.

“New Hampshire voters are extremely active. They’re very involved in the process,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesperson Monica Venzke. “Candidates who come to New Hampshire leave stronger candidates.”

State law also mandates that New Hampshire must hold its primary seven days before any other in the country. Neither Democrats or Republicans in state government seem eager to change that rule, which would pose a hurdle to other states looking to leapfrog it on the calendar. If the DNC chooses to have another state primary go first, that could trigger a kind of calendar arms race in which New Hampshire simply moves its primary up as well to abide by its law.

Currently, Iowa can go ahead of it because Iowa holds caucuses, not primaries. The caucus system, which is different than a standard election, is used by fewer and fewer states and territories each cycle. Nevada abandoned it after 2020.

Nevada

Nevada is one of the states making the biggest push to go first in the primary calendar, which ticks many of the DNC’s self-described boxes.

Nevada boasts significant racial diversity and is not expensive or vast enough — in terms of the necessary campaign team — to price out some candidates. It also remains a perennial swing state, so a candidate who wins enough Democratic voters there could make the argument that they are more electable in a tight race.

“Nevada is a state where you can find out who can go the distance,” said Lambe, the strategist.

As for how Nevada could be squeezed ahead of New Hampshire’s state law, though, some in the party said it would be a thorny matter best solved by the national committee.

“It’s really going to be an issue for the DNC to work through on how to enforce the new calendar,” a strategist said, “but it can be dealt with with tough rules and sanctions.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Animal protection groups file emergency court challenge to stop black bear hunt in New Jersey

Nature’s Gifts Captured/Getty Images, FILE

(TRENTON, N.J.) — Animal protection groups are seeking an emergency court challenge to stop a black bear hunt from taking place next Monday in New Jersey. The state’s Fish and Game Council authorized the hunt earlier this month.

The groups allege that the council bypassed required procedures for a hunt by misusing an emergency rule-making loophole. Plaintiffs are asking the court to allow them to file an emergency motion.

The Fish and Game Council approved emergency regulations on Nov. 15 to “control the black bear population and reduce the threat of dangerous encounters between bears and humans through regulated hunting and non-lethal management measures,” according to the council’s website.

The council claimed the hunt was authorized due to increasing public safety concerns associated with the growing bear population. The hunting season is set to run from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10. Hunting is allowed a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset.

Hunters will not be allowed to take or kill a black bear weighing less than 75 pounds or if the bear is in the presence of cubs, according to the council.

The hunt does not limit the total number of bears that can be killed, according to animal protection groups.

The council will hand out 11,000 black bear hunting permits. Each hunter can get up to two permits for different hunting zones but is only allowed to kill one bear during the whole season.

Animal protection groups say black bears are “extremely slow to reproduce” and dispute the council’s assertion that the state’s bear population will grow by 33% in two years.

Opponents also claim officials do not know the accurate number of bears in the state.

“Scientific studies show only a weak correlation between the population of bears and bear attacks. Bear-human interaction is more closely connected with specific human behaviors that drive encounters. Some states with large black bear populations have fewer conflicts than states with much smaller bear numbers,” the Humane Society of the United States said in a statement.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Accused Colorado Springs shooter praised by online extremists calling for copycat attacks: DHS

Scott Olson/Getty Images

(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — The suspect accused of opening fire inside an LGBTQ bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been praised by online extremists who have called for copycat attacks, according to a Department of Homeland Security bulletin made public Wednesday.

“Following the late November shooting at an LGBTQI+ bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado — which remains under investigation — we have observed actors on forums known to post racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist content praising the alleged attacker, the latest National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin (NTAS), dated Nov. 30 says. “Similarly, some domestic violent extremists in the United States praised an October 2022 shooting at a LGBTQI+ bar in Slovakia and encouraged additional violence. The attacker in Slovakia posted a manifesto online espousing white supremacist beliefs and his admiration for prior attackers, including some within the United States.”

The NTAS bulletin, brought back by the current Homeland Security secretary, is the seventh after the current one expired on Wednesday.

“Threat actors have recently mobilized to violence, citing factors such as reactions to current events and adherence to violent extremist ideologies. In the coming months, threat actors could exploit several upcoming events to justify or commit acts of violence, including certifications related to the midterm elections, the holiday season and associated large gatherings, the marking of two years since the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and potential sociopolitical developments connected to ideological beliefs or personal hostility,” the bulletin said. “Targets of potential violence include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.”

Senior DHS officials reiterated on a conference call with reporters the threat environment in the United States remains “heightened.”

The bulletin also mentions threats to the Jewish community, and perceptions of government overreach. The official added the Jewish community “seems particularly targeted” in recent days.

“Some domestic violent extremists have express grievances based on perceptions that the government is overstepping its Constitutional authorities or failing to perform its duties,” the bulletin says. “Historically, issues related to immigration and abortion have been cited by prior attackers as inspiration for violence. Potential changes in border security enforcement policy, an increase in noncitizens attempting to enter the U.S., or other immigration-related developments may heighten these calls for violence.”

John Cohen, the former acting head of intelligence at DHS said the bulletin serves as a reminder of the threats that the country faces.

“This most recent DHS NTAS reflects dangerous nature of the current threat environment which includes mass casualty attacks by lone offenders motivated by a combination of ideological beliefs and personal grievance cultivated through the consumption of online content,” Cohen, now an ABC News contributor said. “This bulletin is important in that it informs the public regarding the threat facing the United States. That said – while informing the public is critical, I remain concerned that enough isn’t being done to adjust our investigative and threat mitigation efforts to actually prevent the attacks that continue to impact far too many communities and families across America.”

Officials on the call cited a man who appeared at Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house looking for him, and well as the recent attack against the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, in which the suspect allegedly was looking for Pelosi herself.

Threats against the midterm elections were “isolated” according to the bulletin.

“While violence surrounding the November midterm elections was isolated, we remain vigilant that heightened political tensions in the country could contribute to individuals mobilizing to violence based on personalized grievances,” the bulletin says. “Over the past few months we observed general calls for violence targeting elected officials, candidates, and ballot drop box locations.”

Once speech crosses the line, the department becomes alerted to it, senior officials on the call said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Prince William, Kate kick off their US trip: Latest updates

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

(BOSTON, Mass.) — Prince William thanked the “people of Boston” as he and his wife Kate arrived in the city to kick off their first U.S. tour in nearly a decade.

Their whirlwind tour ends with an awards ceremony for the Earthshot Prize, an initiative William launched in 2019 to create solutions for environmental problems.

This is William and Kate’s first visit to the United States since they visited New York City in 2014. It is also their first overseas trip since the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September and their first overseas trip since taking on the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales.

“[William and Kate] are both excited for their first international trip since taking on their new roles,” a Kensington Palace spokesperson told ABC News. “Both appreciate the history associated to the titles but understandably want to look to the future and pave their own paths.”

Check back for updates throughout their trip.

William and Kate light Boston green

William and Kate’s first stop on their Boston trip was Boston City Hall.

They were greeted by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, the first woman and first person of color to be elected as mayor in the city last year, and U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy.

In honor of the Earthshot Prize, which was inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot Initiative, the couple helped light Boston buildings and landmarks green.

In his address to Mayor Wu and the crowd at Boston City Hall, Prince William thanked Wu and Reverend White-Hammond for their support for the Earthshot Prize. He also noted why Boston was the “obvious choice for the Earthshot Prize in its second year” and said he was inspired by President Kennedy’s moonshot speech to launch the Earthshot Prize.

“Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy’s ‘moonshot’ speech laid down a challenge to American innovation and ingenuity,” Prince William began. “‘We chose to go to the moon,’ he said, ‘not because it is easy, but because it is hard.'”

“Where better to hold this year’s awards ceremony than in President Kennedy’s hometown, in partnership with his daughter and the foundation that continues in his name,” he added. “Boston was also the obvious choice because our universities, research centres and vibrant start-up scene make you a global leader in science, innovation and boundless ambition. Mayor Wu, you have also been a leader in putting climate policies at the heart of your administration. Thank you.”

“Like President Kennedy, Catherine and I firmly believe that we all have it in ourselves to achieve great things, and that human beings have the ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve,” William said. “We cannot wait to celebrate the Earthshot Prize later this week, and we are both looking forward to spending the next few days learning about the innovative ways the people of Massachusetts are tackling climate change.”

President Biden to greet Prince William and Kate in Boston on Friday

Earlier on Wednesday during a White House press briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden “intends to greet the prince and princess of Wales” on Friday when he is in Boston. The White House previously announced that Biden would be in Boston this week for a fundraiser.

William and Kate arrive in Boston

Upon their arrival in Boston Wednesday morning, William said he and Kate are “delighted to be back in the United States.” He also used the moment to reflect about his grandmother, who celebrated her 1976 bicentennial in the U.S.

“On this, our first visit since the death of my grandmother, I would like to thank the people of Massachusetts and particularly of Boston for their many tributes to the late queen. She remembered her 1976 bicentennial visit with great fondness,” William said in a statement.

“My grandmother was one of life’s optimists. And so am I,” he added. “To the people of Boston, thank you. I’m so grateful to you for allowing us to host the second year of the Earthshot Prize in your great city. Catherine and I can’t wait to meet many of you in the days ahead.”

Spokesperson for William addresses racism accusations surrounding godmother

As William and Kate were making their way to Boston, a controversy erupted in the U.K. involving William’s godmother, Lady Susan Hussey.

Hussey, a longtime lady-in-waiting to the late queen, was accused of making racist remarks to an attendee at a reception hosted by Queen Escort Camilla on Tuesday at Buckingham Palace.

On Wednesday, Buckingham Palace said it had launched an investigation into the allegation and said Hussey had “stepped aside from her honorary role.”

A spokesperson for William commented on the incident while briefing reporters ahead of William and Kate’s arrival in Boston.

“This is a matter for Buckingham Palace but as the Prince of Wales’ spokesperson, I appreciate you’re all here and understand you’ll want to ask about it. So let me address it head on,” the spokesperson said. “I was really disappointed to hear about the guest’s experience at Buckingham Palace last night.”

He continued, “Obviously, I wasn’t there, but racism has no place in our society. The comments were unacceptable and it is right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

CDC expands polio wastewater testing to Michigan and Pennsylvania

Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday it will expand wastewater testing for polio to select communities across the U.S. after a person tested positive for the disease in New York this summer.

The initiative will start in two communities: Oakland County, Michigan, and a yet-to-be named county in the Philadelphia area.

Wastewater testing will extend to counties with low rates of polio vaccination or to counties connected to communities in New York where polio has been detected in wastewater, according to the CDC, including Rockland County, where a single case of vaccine-derived polio was detected.

On July 21, the New York State Department of Health revealed a patient in Rockland County had contracted a case of vaccine-derived polio, the first case in the United States in nearly a decade.

Since then, officials said the patient was a previously healthy 20-year-old man. He was diagnosed after he went to the hospital when he developed paralysis in his legs.

Vaccine-derived polio occurs when someone takes the oral polio vaccine, containing a weakened version of the virus.

In rare cases, oral vaccine patients can shed the virus in their stool, which can then spread through sewage and affect those who are unvaccinated.

As of Oct. 28, 89 positive wastewater samples have been collected in New York with 82 samples genetically linked to the Rockland County patient, health department data shows.

Although wastewater testing cannot provide data on how many people are infected with polio, it can tell scientists where polio is spreading and where vaccination campaigns may be needed.

“Wastewater testing can be an important tool to help us understand if poliovirus may be circulating in communities in certain circumstances,” Dr. José Romero, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a statement.

“Vaccination remains the best way to prevent another case of paralytic polio, and it is critically important that people get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and their communities against this devastating disease,” the statement continued.

Officials have stressed the importance of getting vaccinated against or staying up to date with the immunization schedule. Among unvaccinated people, polio can lead to permanent paralysis in the arms and/or legs and even death.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Garland celebrates ‘significant’ Jan. 6 convictions, talks Trump special counsel

Pete Marovich/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Attorney General Merrick Garland took something of a victory lap on Wednesday, a day after the Department of Justice secured convictions in one of the Jan. 6 investigation’s highest profile prosecutions.

Stewart Rhodes, a Yale Law School graduate-turned-militiaman, was found guilty Tuesday of his most serious charge, seditious conspiracy, following a sprawling two-month trial in federal court in Washington and three days of jury deliberations.

An associate, Kelly Meggs, was also found guilty of seditious conspiracy in the first such convictions by a jury since 1995.

They could both face a maximum of 20 years in prison for that charge alone. Rhodes’ attorney said they will appeal.

“Our work yesterday marked significant successes,” Garland said on Wednesday.

Meggs and Rhodes, along with three others connected to the Oath Keepers, who were all tried together, were each convicted on some but notably not all of their charges — indicating jurors rejected some of the prosecutions’ arguments.

Three of the five were acquitted of seditious conspiracy.

“These convictions were the result of tireless work by Justice Department agents, attorneys, analysts and support staff beginning in January 2021 with a methodical collection of evidence and continuing through the presentation of that evidence during the seven-week trial that began in October of 2022,” Garland told reporters at the Justice Department.

“Their skill and dedication are in the very best tradition of the Justice Department. And we are all extremely grateful to them,” he said.

The seditious conspiracy convictions, Garland said, made clear that DOJ will hold accountable anyone responsible for the Jan. 6 attack.

Garland has named longtime federal prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee the major Jan. 6 cases as well as the investigation into sensitive documents with classified markings that were taken from the White House by Donald Trump after his presidency ended.

The attorney general said Wednesday that he met with Smith in choosing him as special counsel and said the investigation is not being slowed down by the change in prosecutors overseeing the cases.

He also said the Justice Department would like transcripts from interviews conducted by the House Jan. 6 committee but did not say whether or not he was satisfied with how long the process was taking.

ABC News’ Alexander Mallin contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.