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NATION ROUNDUP: Army veteran’s plan to bomb Nazi rally stopped

LOS ANGELES — An Army veteran who converted to Islam and discussed launching various terror attacks throughout Southern California was arrested as he plotted to bomb a white supremacist rally as retribution for the New Zealand mosque attacks, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Mark Domingo, an infantryman who served a combat stint in Afghanistan, was arrested Friday after visiting a park in Long Beach where investigators say he planned to plant home-made explosive devices made with nail-filled pressure cookers in advance of a Nazi rally scheduled Sunday.

Domingo, 26, was arrested on a charge of providing material support to terrorists. A criminal complaint said he had been planning since March to “manufacture and use a weapon of mass destruction in order to commit mass murder.”

 

Experts: Human error may be cause of Seattle crane collapse

SEATTLE — Human error may have caused a crane collapse that killed four people and injured four others in Seattle over the weekend, experts said Monday.

Based on videos of the collapse, they said it appears workers who were disassembling the construction crane had prematurely removed pins securing the sections of the crane’s mast to each other, and that could explain why the crane toppled in relatively minor wind gusts.

“The reason this tower fell over is ironworkers and the people working on it did not follow the manufacturer’s instructions for disassembling the crane,” said South Carolina crane accident investigator Tom Barth. “If the pins had been in, that crane would not have fallen over.”

The crane’s mast fell over on Saturday afternoon as workers were taking it apart. Sections landed on top of the new Google building it had been working on and on traffic below, striking six vehicles. Two ironworkers on the crane were killed as were two people in cars. Four others were injured.

 

Rod Rosenstein submits letter of resignation to Trump

WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation Monday, ending a nearly two-year run defined by his appointment of a special counsel to investigate connections between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. His last day will be May 11.

Rosenstein’s departure had been expected since the confirmation of William Barr as attorney general. The White House nominated a replacement for the department’s No. 2 slot weeks ago.

Rosenstein intended to leave around mid-March but stayed on for the completion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Mueller last month submitted his report to the Justice Department, and Rosenstein was part of a small group of department officials who reviewed the document and helped shape its public release. After Mueller didn’t reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed the investigation, Barr and Rosenstein stepped in and determined the evidence wasn’t enough to support such an allegation.

 

Man accused of newspaper attack takes up an insanity defense

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The man accused of killing five people at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, changed his plea Monday to not guilty by reason of insanity.

Lawyers for Jarrod Ramos said in a court filing that the 39-year-old Ramos was not criminally responsible “because of a mental disorder.” Monday’s filing in the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court also said he lacked the “capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct.”

Five people were fatally shot in June 2018 in the Capital Gazette newsroom. Ramos was indicted on 23 charges in the attack, including first-degree murder. Ramos had initially pleaded not guilty, and the change of plea filed Monday maintains the not guilty plea.

If Ramos were ultimately found not criminally responsible, he could be confined to a mental health prison facility. A November trial has been scheduled.