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State Department confirms more than 30 Americans evacuated from Haiti on US government-chartered flight

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The U.S. State Department confirmed Sunday that more than 30 American citizens landed safely in Miami, Florida, after being evacuated from Haiti amid ongoing gang violence in the country.

The passengers were flown on a government-chartered flight, which arrived at the Miami International Airport on Sunday afternoon after the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince urged U.S. citizens earlier this month to leave Haiti “as soon as possible” as chaos continues to unfold.

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While the State Department said more than 30 American citizens were evacuated on the charter flight, a U.S. official told Fox News earlier on Sunday the more precise number was 47.

“On Sunday, March 17, the Department of State facilitated the safe departure from Cap-Haïtien, Haiti of over 30 U.S. citizens on a U.S. government charter flight,” the State Department said in a statement. “These passengers are now safely in Miami, Florida, where U.S. government officials are assisting with next steps. We will continue to assist U.S. citizens as long as commercial options remain unavailable and the security environment permits us to do so.”

HAITI RESCUE CHARTER FLIGHT CARRYING AMERICANS LANDS IN MIAMI AS GANG VIOLENCE ESCALATES

A man enters the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

The flight took off from the city of Cap-Haïtien, about a five-and-a-half-hour drive north from the capital of Port-au-Prince, which is largely under the control of gangs.

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Haiti’s main airport in Port-au-Prince remains closed following gang attacks that have escalated in recent weeks, pushing many people to the brink of famine. Government and aid agencies reported looting of aid supplies as the situation worsened.

The State Department announced Saturday it would offer limited charter flights for U.S. citizens from the less chaotic northern city of Cap-Haïtien. Officials said they could not provide ground transportation to Cap-Haïtien and U.S. citizens should consider the charter flights only if they think they can safely reach the Cap-Haïtien airport.

Americans taking the flights must sign a promissory bill agreeing to reimburse the government.

SENATE VOTES TO CONFIRM US AMBASSADOR TO HAITI AMID GANG ATTEMPT TO SEIZE POWER IN CARIBBEAN COUNTRY

“We encourage U.S. citizens still in Haiti who seek to depart to contact the Department of State using the crisis intake form on our website if they have not already done so,” the department said in its statement on Sunday. “We remain in contact with U.S. citizens in need of assistance in Haiti. We are examining options for departures out of Port-au-Prince and will inform U.S. citizens about them as soon as we are able to safely and securely arrange them.”

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Haiti violence street photo

An armed member of the G9 and Family gang rolls a tire to burn at a roadblock in the Delmas 6 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

The State Department said it is aware of at least several hundred more U.S. citizens who remain stuck in Haiti.

Sunday’s rescue flight comes days after the State Department said there were no immediate plans to evacuate U.S. citizens, citing the many warnings cautioning against travel to Haiti over the last four years. 

The U.S. military last week flew in additional forces to bolster security and evacuate non-essential personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, which is located in a neighborhood largely controlled by gangs.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Bryan Llenas and Gillian Turner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Southeast

Medical director of Virginia hospital goes on trial for alleged sexual abuse of former patients

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The former longtime medical director of a Virginia hospital that serves vulnerable children used physical examinations as a “ruse” to sexually abuse two teenage patients, a prosecutor said Monday, while the physician’s attorney “adamantly” denied any inappropriate conduct.

The trial of Daniel N. Davidow of Richmond, who for decades served as the medical director of the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents, opened Monday morning in New Kent County, where a judge will weigh the charges against him.

Davidow, along with the hospital and its parent company, faces a separate civil proceeding in which dozens of former patients have accused him of inappropriate touching, allegations he also has denied. He was criminally charged in December 2022 with four felony counts in connection with allegations made by two of those former patients.

HUNDREDS ACCUSE MASSACHUSETTS DOCTOR OF SEXUAL ABUSE, INAPPROPRIATE EXAMINATIONS

The young women, who were teenagers when they were admitted to Cumberland, both testified Monday, saying Davidow groped their breasts and genitals during a physical examination as part of the admissions process.

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“I teared up. I was in shock,” one woman told the court.

One woman said the abuse continued in subsequent exams, and the other said she had additional encounters in which Davidow touched her inappropriately or made her uncomfortable.

Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents is seen on Sept. 20, 2022, in New Kent, Virginia, where Daniel N. Davidow was the medical director. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

T. Scott Renick, the top prosecutor in New Kent County east of Richmond, where the hospital is located, said in his opening statement that the girls were in extremely vulnerable conditions, living without their parents or other caregivers at the residential facility that specializes in complex cases and sometimes takes patients from other states under court order.

“The truth is that the so-called exams were a ruse” to touch the two girls inappropriately, Renick said, adding that as the medical director for the facility, Davidow “had complete control over them.”

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Defense attorney Craig Cooley said Davidow “adamantly” denies the allegations. He said other clinicians who had been in the room with Davidow during exams as a chaperone will testify that they never saw any inappropriate touching of either former patient, and he described Davidow as a dedicated physician committed to helping even the most difficult or medically complex children.

Cooley also raised concerns about the former patients’ motivations, noting that they are each seeking many millions of dollars in the pending civil matter.

“They have an interest in the outcome of this case,” he said.

One of the former patients told Cooley during a pointed exchange that she was unfamiliar with the legal system and never set out to win compensation. She engaged with the attorneys representing her in the civil case because she thought they could help her “by getting justice,” she testified.

The Associated Press is not naming either woman because it generally does not identify those who say they have been sexually assaulted.

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Near the end of Monday’s hearing, after the prosecution rested its case, Cooley — a well-known Virginia defense attorney — made an unsuccessful motion to strike the charges, raising concerns about the women’s credibility and discrepancies between various accounts they had given about the alleged misconduct.

“We have these accusations, but they change,” he said.

Renick responded that Cooley was trying to “get us all off in the woods” by noting what he characterized as minor differences in accounts they’d given. Inconsistencies or additions to the testimonies of victims are normal, he said.

“When kids come forward and they disclose in these situations it’s not always all at once,” he said.

Davidow, 71, pleaded not guilty to two counts of a felony indecent liberties charge and two counts of object sexual penetration, also a felony.

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Cumberland, located about a half-hour’s drive, east of Richmond, treats children and young adults with complex medical needs, including chronic illnesses, brain injuries and neurobehavioral disorders. Cooley described it as unique in the country for the type of cases it takes on, accepting patient referrals from around the world, he said.

Cooley, who listed nearly three dozen witnesses who may be called, was expected to begin presenting his defense Tuesday.

He declined to comment after Monday’s hearing, as did attorneys representing the former patients in the civil case.

Virginia State Police began investigating staff at the hospital in October 2017, a spokeswoman has said, and Davidow is at least the third former Cumberland staffer to be charged with a crime in connection with a patient.

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One, a psychotherapist, was charged with sexually abusing a patient and died by suicide the same day he was due in court for a plea hearing. The other, a behavioral technician, was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading no contest to an allegation that she intentionally burned a disabled child with scalding water.

Five plaintiffs in the civil case, which has survived an attempt by the defendants to have it dismissed and another attempt to have its claims pared back under the state’s medical malpractice law, are set for trial in September.

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Southeast

Some of 49 migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard by the state of Florida are now able to legally work in US

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Some of the illegal migrants sent from Florida to Massachusetts may be given the right to work and live in the U.S. as “victims” of “criminal activity.”

Forty-nine migrants were flown to Martha’s Vineyard in September 2022 by Gov. Ron DeSantis’s government in protest of blue states’ disregard for mass illegal immigration’s effects on southern states.

Some of these illegal migrants were from the state of Florida, and some of them were from Texas. The latter are now being given “U visas” that will allow them legal status and working capacity in the U.S. as victims of potential crimes, their attorney announced.

FLORIDA GOV. RON DESANTIS SAYS ‘NEXT STOP’ FOR HAITIANS WHO LAND IN FLORIDA KEYS MAY BE MARTHA’S VINEYARD

Venezuelan migrants gather at the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal in Martha’s Vineyard after arriving on a flight. (Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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Sheriff Javier Salazar of Bexar County, Texas, certified that those illegal migrants formerly within his jurisdiction that were flown to Massachusetts are qualified for the visas after an investigation by the county’s Organized Crime Division.

Salazar has previously recommended that the Bexar County district attorney bring charges for crimes related to deceptive tactics of transporting the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

“The Governor of Florida orchestrated the abduction of 49 human beings. The actions of all those involved in this scheme were criminal,” attorney Rachel Self accused in a statement following the U visa eligibility announcement. “The Bexar County DA’s inaction in this matter is concerning and cannot be understated.”

MIGRANTS FLOWN TO MARTHA’S VINEYARD ON FLIGHTS COORDINATED BY DESANTIS CAN SUE AVIATION COMPANY

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to Iowa voters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has expressed intentions to continue flying illegal migrants from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard despite outcry from the Massachusetts town. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

DeSantis had the migrants flown to the Massachusetts island to highlight the Biden administration’s border policies, which have been heavily criticized by Republicans amid record-numbers of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. 

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His initiative has run parallel to similar red state to blue state migrant flights in Texas.

Residents on Martha’s Vineyard were caught off guard and scrambled to provide resources for them upon their arrival. The National Guard was eventually activated in response. 

 

Migrants border

Migrants attempt to cross into the U.S. from Mexico at the border in Jacumba Hot Springs, California. (Nick Ut/Getty Images)

Earlier this year, the governor’s office told Fox News Digital that the flights were “conducted lawfully and authorized by the Florida Legislature.”

“We look forward to Florida’s next illegal immigrant relocation flight, and we are glad to bring national attention to the crisis at the southern border,” said DeSantis Deputy Press Secretary Julia Friedland.

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Fox News Digital’s Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

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Southeast

Woman beaten to death in Miami Beach: report

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A woman was fatally beaten early Tuesday outside the Miami City Ballet in the tourist hotspot of Miami Beach, according to a local report. 

The Miami Beach Police Department told Fox News Digital in a statement that it is “currently conducting a death investigation in the area of 22 Street and Liberty Avenue.” 

“The investigation is in its preliminary stages, and our team is working to gather all relevant information,” a spokesperson added, urging anyone with information to contact the department’s detectives. 

Sources told WSVN that the victim was a woman who was fatally beaten. The station reports that what appeared to be a blood-soaked blanket was also found at the scene. 

MIAMI BEACH SPRING BREAK RESTRICTIONS PROVED TO BE ‘HUGE SUCCESS’ FOR RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES 

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A body was found early Tuesday outside the Miami City Ballet building in Miami Beach, Florida, according to WSVN. (Google Maps)

The body has since been taken away from the area, but the woman has not been publicly identified, it added. 

SEAN ‘DIDDY’ COMBS BIKES AROUND MIAMI BEACH, APPEARING CAREFREE AFTER FEDERAL RAIDS 

Miami Beach Police Department vehicle

The Miami Beach Police Department says the investigation “is in its preliminary stages.” (Miami Beach Police Department)

Further details were not immediately available. 

Miami Beach Police Department headquarters

The Miami Beach Police Department headquarters in Miami Beach, Florida. (Google Maps)

 

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Miami Beach has been a popular destination for spring breakers, although the city has instituted a curfew. 

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