The nation in brief: FEMA says it OK'd $5.6M in aid for Maui

A search and rescue team member from FEMA works Friday in a residential area consumed by a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii.
(AP/Jae C. Hong)
A search and rescue team member from FEMA works Friday in a residential area consumed by a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP/Jae C. Hong)

FEMA says it OK'd $5.6M in aid for Maui

NEW YORK -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday it has approved more than $5.6 million in assistance to nearly 2,000 households in Maui so far, as the federal government tries to help survivors of the devastating wildfires.

The White House and FEMA approved a one-time payment of $700 per household for needs like clothing, food or transportation. The agency will also pay to put survivors up in hotels and motels and says it has paid out $1.6 million in rental assistance as of Friday.

Survivors need to register with FEMA to be eligible for the payout and other assistance. Roughly 4,400 Hawaii fire survivors have applied for so-called, critical need assistance as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Jeremy Edwards, press secretary for FEMA.

Longer-term aid that could amount to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars will likely come with documentation requirements.

The Small Business Administration, an independent agency of the U.S. government that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses, is urging businesses and nonprofits affected by the wildfires in Maui to apply for low-interest, federal disaster loans.

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations in that region can borrow up to $2 million to repair or to replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

In addition, disaster loans up to $500,000 are available to homeowners to repair or to replace damaged or destroyed real estate. And homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $100,000 to repair or to replace damaged or destroyed personal property, including personal vehicles.

Interest rates can be as low as 4% for businesses, 2.375% for private nonprofit organizations and 2.5% for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years.

Proud Boys member a no-show for court

WASHINGTON -- Authorities are searching for a member of the Proud Boys extremist group who disappeared days before his sentencing in a U.S. Capitol riot case, where prosecutors are seeking more than a decade in prison, according to a warrant made public Friday.

Christopher Worrell, 52, of Naples, Fla., was supposed to be sentenced Friday after being found guilty of spraying pepper spray gel on police officers, as part of the mob rioting at the Capitol as Congress was certifying Joe Biden's presidential victory on Jan. 6, 2021. Prosecutors had asked a judge to sentence him to 14 years.

The sentencing was canceled and a bench warrant for his arrest issued under seal Tuesday, according to court records.

Worrell had been on house arrest in Florida since his release from jail in Washington in November 2021. His attorney William Shipley declined to comment.

Judge talks Trump's delays in Carroll suit

NEW YORK -- A New York federal judge expressed growing impatience Friday with what he calls ex-President Donald Trump's "repeated efforts to delay" a defamation lawsuit against him, saying he will not stop a January trial to await the outcome of a "frivolous" appeal of one of his rulings.

"This case was largely stalled for years due in large part to Mr. Trump's repeated efforts to delay," Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote. "Mr. Trump's latest motion to stay -- his fourth such request -- is yet another such attempt to delay unduly the resolution of this matter."

Writer E. Jean Carroll now seeks another $10 million in compensatory damages and "substantially more" in punitive damages for remarks he made while president and after the jury verdict.

Carroll's lawyers are planning for the January trial to consist solely of a damages phase, relying on the May jury's verdict regarding sexual abuse.

Lawyers for Trump did not immediately return email messages seeking comment.

3 ask for separate trials in Nichols' death

MEMPHIS -- A Tennessee judge Friday set a Sept. 15 court hearing to discuss requests by three of five former Memphis police officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols to face separate trials.

Lawyers for Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills and Justin Smith have filed motions asking Judge James Jones Jr. to grant them separate trials on second-degree murder and other charges in the violent beating and death of Nichols in January.

The three officers, plus former colleagues Demetrius Haley and Emmitt Martin, have pleaded innocent to charges connected with Nichols' beating.

If the judge grants all the severance requests, there could be four trials for the officers.

Mills' motion for a separate trial notes that while the officers are all charged with the same crimes, Mills was not at the scene of the traffic stop.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Hagerman said prosecutors want to try all five defendants together, and they are opposing the requests for separate trials.

Jones also said he would issue an order at a later date on a media coalition's push to have more video and records released in the case.

  photo  Community organizer Tiare Lawrence (second from right) is comforted Friday by Archie Kalepa as they sing a song during a news conference with Lahaina, Hawaii, residents affected by a deadly wildfire. (AP/Jae C. Hong)

Upcoming Events