Vanessa Bryant trial, Arizona abortion ban in court, Madden NFL 23: 5 things to know Friday

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Vanessa Bryant expected to testify in trial over Kobe crash photos

Vanessa Bryant is expected to take the stand Friday in California in her civil trial against Los Angeles County. Bryant is suing the county for invasion of privacy, accusing county sheriff’s and fire department employees of improperly taking and sharing grisly photos of her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna shortly after they perished in the helicopter crash that killed all nine aboard in January 2020, despite not having a legitimate reason for doing so. She is joined in the trial by fellow plaintiff Chris Chester, who lost his wife and daughter in the same crash and also sued the county for similar reasons. Both are seeking damages to be determined at trial for the emotional distress they say they suffered after learning of the county’s conduct with the photos.

Arizona judge to hear state request to enforce abortion ban

An Arizona judge will hear arguments Friday on the state’s request to allow prosecutors to enforce a near-total ban on abortions under a law that has been blocked for nearly 50 years under a now-overruled U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Abortion-rights advocates are fighting the request from Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich to lift an injunction blocking enforcement of the ban on abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger. That law was first enacted decades before Arizona was granted statehood in 1912 and blocked following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion. Providers across Arizona stopped abortions after the Supreme Court’s June 24 opinion overturning Roe, saying it was too risky to move ahead with the old ban still on the books and with a 2021 law that grants all rights to pre-born children also in play. A federal judge blocked a major part of that law on July 11, but providers have not restarted abortion services.

Last school year brought more gunfire, study finds

No school year in the U.S. in nearly a decade saw as much gunfire as the 2021-2022 academic calendar, a report released Friday shows. The report was published by Everytown For Gun Safety, a non-partisan group advocating against gun violence. It shows the last school year, between Aug. 1 and May 31, saw 193 incidents of gunfire, more than doubling the total of the previous year. For the report, Everytown tracked data going back to the 2013-2014 school year. No other school year had more than 75 incidents of gunfire. The 2021-2022 incidents led to 59 deaths and 138 injuries, Everytown reported. “We don’t have to live this way, our children and educators sure as hell shouldn’t die this way,” said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, which is part of Everytown For Gun Safety.

Cleveland Browns move on after Deshaun Watson suspension

Deshaun Watson’s acceptance of an 11-game suspension and $5 million fine in a settlement with the NFL over alleged sexual misconduct announced Thursday propelled Jacoby Brissett to, temporarily, become the Cleveland Browns’ new starting quarterback. Brissett is expected to get more work in a second joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles Friday before sitting out Sunday’s preseason game between the two teams. For now, Browns general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski appear sold on Brissett. Meanwhile, Watson, who was sued by 24 women alleging sexual misconduct in massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021 during his time in Houston, elected to accept the settlement instead of waiting for former New Jersey attorney general Peter Harvey’s decision on the NFL’s appeal of his initial six-game ban handed down earlier this month.

Attention, football fans: Madden NFL 23 video game is here

Madden NFL 23, the newest version of the best-selling football game series, arrives Friday. If you’re on PlayStation or Xbox, the game became available at midnight in your local time zone. Users playing on PC via Steam will have to wait until 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. Gamemaker Electronic Arts is touting Madden’s all-new FieldSENSE gameplay system, which gives users “more control at every position in every mode.” Perhaps more importantly, players will get to see how all 32 NFL teams stack up in the eyes of the Madden wizards. So who’s No. 1? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers garnered a 92 overall rating, followed by the Buffalo Bills (89), Los Angeles Rams (88) and Green Bay Packers (88).

Contributing: The Associated Press

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