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Actress Felicity Huffman Pleads Guilty In College Admissions Scheme

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BOSTON (AP) — “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman has pleaded guilty to participating in the college admissions cheating scheme.


The 56-year-old actress entered the plea Monday to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Huffman stood with her hands clasped in front of her and responded, “Yes, your honor,” when asked whether she understood the charges. Her brother watched from the front row. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, didn’t attend.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 13. Prosecutors said they would recommend four months in prison.

She was arrested in March along with dozens of other prominent parents, athletic coaches and others implicated in the scandal. She was charged with paying $15,000 to have a proctor boost her older daughter’s SAT score.

She has apologized and says she will accept the consequences.

Murder Trial

Parents of Caliyah McNabb Found Guilty, Sentenced In 14-Day-Old Daughter’s Murder

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The parents of a 14-day-old Georgia baby were found guilty on Tuesday in connection with the little girl’s death. Caliyah McNabb suffered horrific injuries after her father beat her in the head and hid her tiny body in the woods, around 900 feet from her home.

“She was a little angel,” District Attorney Layla Zon said during her closing arguments inside a Newton County courtroom Tuesday afternoon. “She was a gift to Cortney Bell and Christopher McNabb.”

Christopher McNabb, the baby’s father, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on charges of malice murder, aggravated assault, and other related charges. Cortney Bell, the baby’s mother, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with the possibility of parole in 15 years, on charges of second-degree murder, child deprivation, and child cruelty.

McNabb grew angry after the guilty verdict, which only took the jury around an hour to decide. Judge John Ott ordered him out of the courtroom. When he returned for sentencing, McNabb claimed he was innocent and planned to appeal.

“The whole thing was a set-up,” McNabb hissed, clearly upset with the verdict. “I was beat as a child and I don’t agree with this at all. I don’t agree with this at all. I would never do this.”

Ott asked McNabb what type of sentence he would give the person responsible for Caliyah’s death. McNabb replied that the guilty party should be thrown “under the jail.” With that, Ott sentenced McNabb to life without parole.

Bell shed tears during sentencing as she also claimed innocence. Ott told Bell that she allowed a “rattlesnake into her home” by putting McNabb before her children and allowing violence and drugs into her children’s lives.

“You chose meth and McNabb over a baby,” Ott said. “Like most criminals, you have a version of what a good mama is that is so far from the norm.”

Baby Caliyah’s Short Life

As CrimeOnline previously reported, in October 2017, the Newton County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that Caliyah died from blunt force trauma to the head. The injuries were gruesome. The infant was beaten in so badly that her baby teeth, which had not yet developed, stuck out through her gums.

The baby also suffered a blow so severe to her head that her skull was “seriously disfigured and damaged beyond repair.” McNabb caused the injuries, then in a panic, wrapped the baby in a blanket and one of his t-shirts, and put her into a Nike drawstring bag. He then took Caliyah into the woods behind his trailer home in Covington and buried her in a depressed area under a log.

It’s unclear exactly what caused the horrific beating, but according to testimony by Bell’s cousin, Gerald Weatherford, both Bell and McNabb smoked meth with him on October 7, 2017, the night before Caliyah disappeared.

“Cortney Bell was too busy smoking methamphetamine to protect her child,” Assistant District Attorney Alex Stone said.

During testimony last week, Bell’s cousin, Megan Sorrells, said Bell was being abused at home during the time Caliyah vanished. She also testified that McNabb and Bell were constantly fighting. Sorrells said Bell never told her about the abuse, but as a domestic abuse victim herself, she could already tell.

“She always had bruises on her,” Sorrells said of Bell. “I didn’t really have to ask many questions. I could tell.”

Court testimony also indicated that little Caliyah wasn’t around her parents much in the mere 14 days she was alive. After spending four days in the hospital after birth, McNabb and Bell passed the baby off to family members multiple times. Caliyah stayed several days with her grandfather, Tim Bell.

Tim testified that he returned the child home with milk and clean diapers in early October, and told his daughter, Bell, to clean up her filthy trailer home. The following day, Caliyah was dead.

Although Bell wasn’t accused of physically harming the baby, by allowing Caliyah to live in a dangerous environment while doing nothing to protect her, makes her culpable of murder. Ott explained to Bell that her second-degree murder charge meant that irrespective of malice, while she was in the commission of neglecting her baby, she helped caused her death.

Zon added that Caliyah’s best days were the days she stayed in the hospital after birth, and that the baby was “doomed” as soon as she was taken home.

“That child was doomed the moment they left that hospital. They took pure innocence and brought that child into a life of hell.”

(Reporting by CrimeOnline)

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Crime

‘Anna Delvey,’ Fake Heiress Who Swindled N.Y.’s Elite, Is Sentenced to 4 to 12 Years in Prison

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Anna Sorokin, who pretended to be a German heiress, bilked Manhattan hotels, banks and a private jet operator.

Anna Sorokin, the fake German heiress who swindled her way into Manhattan’s elite party circles, was sentenced on Thursday to four to 12 years in prison for bilking hotels, banks and a private jet operator out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The sentencing capped a case of a young grifter who spun her tale with brazen flair. Ms. Sorokin wore designer clothes, lived in boutique hotels, dined in expensive restaurants and lured investors for a $40 million private club — all without a penny to her name.

She has been held on Rikers Island since October 2017. Ms. Sorokin, 28, was convicted last month of most of the charges against her.

Her lawyer, Todd Spodek, said during that trial that Ms. Sorokin was simply an enterprising business-minded woman eager to make it in the big city.

But jurors agreed with prosecutors that her gilt-edged life was an elaborate ruse financed by lies.

In addition to the prison sentence, Ms. Sorokin was fined $24,000 and ordered to pay restitution of about $199,000.

“I apologize for the mistakes I made,” she said at the sentencing.

Ms. Sorokin stiffed hotels, persuaded a bank employee to give her a $100,000 line of credit, swayed a private jet company to let her fly on credit, and tried to secure a $25 million loan from a hedge fund. In all, she stole about $213,000 worth of money and services.

Still, the jury found her not guilty of the most serious offense — faking records in an attempt to obtain a $22 million loan. She was also acquitted of stealing from a friend who said Ms. Sorokin duped her into covering the cost of a $60,000 vacation to Morocco.

To many friends, there was every reason to believe that Ms. Sorokin was a wealthy German heiress named Anna Delvey with so much money that she frequently doled out $100 tips and flew on a private jet to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual investment conference.

But Kaegan Mays-Williams, a prosecutor, said during the trial that Ms. Sorokin’s only goal was to “put herself in the best position to take money” from the wealthy so that she could “live the fantasy of an extravagant lifestyle.”

Mr. Spodek said people believed what they wanted about Ms. Sorokin. She was enabled, he said, by a system “seduced by glamour and glitz.” She intended to pay back her creditors, he said.

“Through her sheer ingenuity, she created the life that she wanted for herself,” he said. “Anna was not content with being a spectator, but wanted to be a participant.”

(Reporting by New York Times)


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Murder Trial

Jurors Visit Crime Scene Of Caliyah McNabb, After Chilling Testimony From Medical Examiner On Caliyah’s Death

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Watch the trial, from gavel-to-gavel live, courtesy of Court TV above.

WARNING: Graphic content will be discussed in the video above, and in the article below.

She was wearing a purple onesie that read, “Stay away boys, my daddy works out,” and a men’s tank top had been placed over the head of little Caliyah McNabb. But even before conducting the autopsy, a GBI doctor could tell how the 2-week-old Newton County baby had been injured, she testified Wednesday. 


“The head was enlarged visually,” Lora Darrisaw, a forensic pathologist, told the court. “By feeling the head, it was very soft and by feeling it you could tell there were already broken bones.”

The autopsy revealed Caliyah had multiple skull fractures, and some bones in her head were held together by only soft tissue, Darrisaw said. The newborn’s injuries were caused by “very, very significant force” from either being crushed or from multiple impacts, she said. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and the manner was homicide, according to Darrisaw. 

While pictures from the autopsy were shown in court, Caliyah’s parents held their heads down and wept. Christopher McNabb and Cortney Bell, the baby’s parents, are both accused in her death. Wednesday was the third day of the couple’s trial. 


A Newton County, Georgia, jury took a 6-mile trip with deputies on Wednesday, on the third day of the murder trial against the parents of a newborn, who are accused of killing the infant and hiding her body. The jury, according to AJC, traveled to the Eagle Pointe mobile home park in Covington, where 15-day-old Caliyah lived with her parents, Christopher McNabb and Courtney Bell. Both parents are currently on trial for the baby’s murder.

Jurors also saw the secluded, wooded area where Caliyah was ultimately buried. In October 2017, a day after Bell reported Caliyah missing, a volunteer search team found the baby around 900 yards from her family home. Caliyah, just five pounds, was wrapped inside a Nike drawstring bag that prosecutors said belonged to McNabb.

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As CrimeOnline previously reported, Caliyah McNabb disappeared in October 2017. Bell contacted police and said she woke up to find Caliyah missing and her toddler daughter crying. The woman claimed she had no idea what happened to Caliyah.

When police arrived to Bell’s residence, they rummaged through piled up clothes and boxes in a tiny trailer home, searching for signs of Caliyah. The baby’s father, Christopher McNabb, told police he searched throughout the wooded area surrounding their home but had no luck finding her.

A video shown in court Tuesday offered a more detailed glimpse into what happened the morning Caliyah was reported missing.

During testimony on Tuesday, Bell’s cousin, Megan Sorrells, said Bell was being abused at home during the time Caliyah vanished. She also testified that McNabb and Bell were constantly fighting. Sorrells said Bell never told her about the abuse, but as a domestic abuse victim herself, she could already tell.

“She always had bruises on her,” Sorrells said of Bell. “I didn’t really have to ask many questions. I could tell.”

According to court testimony, baby Caliyah stayed several days with her grandfather, Tim, after her birth. Tim testified that he returned the child home with milk and clean diapers in early October, and told his daughter, Bell, to clean up her filthy trailer home.

The next day, on October 6, Cortney Bell called 911 and reported the baby missing.

The warrant against McNabb states that baby Caliyah suffered a blow so severe to her head that her skull was “seriously disfigured and damaged beyond repair.”

After causing fatal injuries to the infant, McNabb wrapped her in a blanket and one of his t-shirts, then put her into his duffel bag, according to the warrant. He then reportedly took Caliyah into the woods and buried her in a depressed area under a log.

Captain Crum with the Newton County Police Department said that along with evidence found at the crime scene, McNabb made incriminating statements when first interviewed on October 6.

“I think we know and can prove in a court what happened and that’s the next step,” Crum said in 2018. “He had made a couple of initial statements then he indicated to investigators he did not wish to talk anymore.”

Detectives working the case said last year that the crime was planned. They indicated there would be evidence to prove that McNabb “planned her murder,” before hiding the baby in the woods.

Cortney Bell and Christopher McNabb [Police Handout]

McNabb, who has a long history of non-violent crimes, jumped out of a car on October 7 when he heard that Caliyah’s remains had been found. He ran to a nearby convenience store and started shouting to store clerk Julie Hannah, who had no idea who he was. He kept repeating that he didn’t kill his child, according to court documents.

A family friend who spoke exclusively to CrimeOnline in October 2018, said she was in the process of driving McNabb, Bell, and Bell’s mother to an interview with a local station, when they caught wind that searchers located a baby. According to the friend, McNabb immediately jumped out of her car at a red light and fled to a nearby store.

“He started hollering and talking about, ‘They are going to get me. They are going to get me. I’ve been running all day. I have been in the woods all day,’” Hannah said last year.

Police arrested McNabb around four hours later. He was soaking wet after hiding out in pouring rain.

“I didn’t do it. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t the baby’s mama, y’all going to look crazy when you figure this out,” McNabb reportedly said to Hannah, according to FOX 5.

McNabb is facing charges of aggravated battery, felony murder, malice murder, and concealing the death of another. The Newton County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that the baby died from blunt force trauma.

In January 2018, after months of investigation, authorities arrested Bell in connection with Caliyah’s death. She’s facing charges of murder in the second degree, cruelty to children, and the deprivation of a minor.

The trial continues. Check back with CrimeOnline for updates.

(Reporting By CrimeOnline and AJC)

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