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    A Los Angeles jury has started deliberating whether a man prosecutors have dubbed 'The Boy Next Door Killer' will get a sentence of death or life in prison for the killings of two women and the attempted murder of a third. Closing arguments ended Wednesday in the penalty phase of the trial of 43-year-old Michael Gargiulo. The jury in August convicted Gargiulo of the killings including the 2001 murder of Ashley Ellerin on a night she was to go out with actor Ashton Kutcher, who testified at the trial. Surviving victim Michelle Murphy testified during the penalty phase that for years she lived in fear after the attack. Gargiulo's 16-year-old son also took the stand during the penalty phase and asked that jurors spare his father's life.
  • Elizabeth Warren is rising to the top of the Democratic pack with ambitious promises to reshape the political and economic system. But as she faces growing scrutiny, the Massachusetts senator is opening herself to criticism that she's just another politician dodging the tough questions. She is in a bind because of her persistent refusal during two straight presidential debates to say whether she would raise taxes on the middle class to pay for the universal health insurance plan known as 'Medicare for All.' By not acknowledging taxes would almost certainly increase for a wide range of income earners, Warren avoids becoming a caricature of a Democrat itching to raise them. But she also threatens to undermine the image she's fostered of a plainspoken former professor ready to tackle any issue in her quest to protect the middle class from the excesses of corporations and the wealthy. Warren's progressive rival, Bernie Sanders, has said middle-class taxes would have to rise to pay for Medicare for All. Other White House hopefuls said Wednesday that Warren should be just as direct. 'Look, I'm not picking on Elizabeth Warren, but this is ridiculous,' said former Vice President Joe Biden, currently Warren's chief competitor for the Democratic nomination. Warren 'is going to have to tell the truth' or face questions about her willingness 'to be candid and honest with the American people.' Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Warren 'needs to come forward and say' how she'd pay for a new health insurance system. 'I'm sure she will eventually,' Klobuchar said. Warren argues pundits are missing the point by focusing on taxes instead of the bottom-line cost that Americans pay for their health care. She insists that eliminating premiums and co-pays under Medicare for All would lower overall costs for all but wealthy Americans. Her top supporters say she should keep pressing that message. 'Democratic voters are actually very appreciative that, on the substance, she wants to bring down health care costs, and, on the politics, she's not taking the bait and giving Republicans and the insurance industry the TV ad moment that they want to deceive voters,' said Adam Green, a liberal activist and close Warren ally. Still, the lack of specificity on paying for Medicare for All is tricky since Warren famously is the candidate who 'has a plan' for everything and proudly sweats even the smallest, wonkiest details. On health care, she says that she's 'with Bernie,' referring to the Vermont senator who authored the Medicare for All legislation in Congress. Warren's campaign says that no one yet knows Medicare for All's final price tag — but that Warren is still 'reviewing the revenue options' previously suggested by Sanders and that she has been very consistent and clear in saying she'll pay for it by adhering to the principles of lowering overall costs for middle-class families and raising them for rich people and major corporations. Democratic presidential candidates traditionally go to great lengths to avoid the idea that their party is tax happy. But being blunt about raising taxes is not necessarily an election loser, as long as their effect is targeted. President Barack Obama was reelected in 2012 following a pledge to raise taxes on top earners and did so by allowing previous tax cuts on the wealthy to expire. And Warren's promises of a 2% wealth tax on households with a net worth of more than $50 million elicits chants of '2 cents!' at her rallies, bolstering her reputation as an economic populist. The generous benefits Warren is promising — surpassing other countries with government-run health care — would require tax increases of a historic magnitude to guarantee cradle-to-grave care for every U.S. resident, however. And that will make it harder to finance the program with surgically targeted tax increases on corporations and the wealthy. A study released Wednesday from the Commonwealth Fund and the Urban Institute estimated the government would need $2.7 trillion in additional revenues if Medicare for All were fully implemented next year. That's more than half the current federal budget, and Washington is already borrowing heavily to meet its obligations. 'It's a huge tax increase,' said Urban Institute health economist John Holahan. 'If you just lay it on a small group of people, how do you get those numbers?' Targeting income brackets also means necessarily picking winners and losers — and a person's health status at any given time could determine what side of the ledger they wind up on. 'The success or failure of major health reform plans always hinges on who would win and who would lose, and we don't have the detail for the Medicare for All plans to judge that,' said Larry Levitt, a senior health policy expert with the Kaiser Family Foundation. Support for Medicare for All has fallen slightly since the beginning of the year, even as Warren and Sanders have championed it. An October poll by the Kaiser Foundation found 51% of Americans favor the plan, while 73% said they support a public option that would compete with private health insurance. Among Democrats, support for a public option has outpaced support for Medicare for All, 85% to 71%. A public option is backed by more moderate Democratic hopefuls, including Biden and Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Traditionally, the U.S. has paid for social insurance programs with broad-based taxes. Medicare's financing includes a payroll tax, money from the Treasury's general fund and premiums paid by seniors. Sanders has laid out some options for Medicare for All, including a payroll tax on employers, a 'premium' tax on households making more than $29,000 for a family of four and higher taxes on the wealthy — which is further than Warren has gone in explaining where the funding will come from. Releasing a more detailed health care proposal of her own could at least start to address these issues for Warren. But her advisers have long maintained that, while she may eventually do so, it isn't imperative. 'What resonates is not an academic version of her plan — it's her personal story of struggle connecting with the real-world impact of her plan on everyday families,' Green said. 'Medicare for All is about the principles, not the micro-mechanisms for putting it altogether.' ___ Associated Press Writers Emily Swanson in Washington, Hunter Woodall in Keene New Hampshire and Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio contributed to this report.
  • The Latest on two deaths at the home of 'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely (all times local): 3:05 p.m. Authorities say 'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely's wife was stabbed to death in their Southern California home by the couple's son, who police subsequently shot to death. A Santa Barbara County sheriff's statement Wednesday said deputies found 62-year-old Valerie Lundeen Ely dead with multiple stab wounds inside the house on Tuesday night. The statement says deputies identified the suspect as the couple's son, 30-year-old Cameron Ely, who was found outside the house after a search. Authorities say after an unspecified threat, four deputies fired on Cameron Ely and he was killed. There was no report of the 81-year-old Ron Ely being injured. An earlier sheriff's statements said an elderly man from the home was taken to a hospital for evaluation. Ron Ely starred in a 'Tarzan' TV series on NBC from 1966 to 1968. ___ 12 p.m. Authorities in Southern California say a woman was killed at the home of former 'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely and sheriff's deputies fatally shot a suspect. A Santa Barbara County sheriff's office statement does not identify any of those involved but notes that a disabled elderly man living at the home was taken to a hospital for evaluation. The deaths occurred Tuesday night in Hope Ranch, a suburb of luxury homes outside Santa Barbara. Authorities say a 911 call after 8 p.m. reported a family disturbance and deputies found a woman who was the victim of an apparent homicide. The statement says deputies located a suspect on the property and fired in response to an unspecified threat. The 81-year-old Ely starred in a 1960s TV version of the Tarzan story.
  • Prosecutors say a man facing murder charges for allegedly killing four relatives in Northern California took their lives over a week in two counties. Placer County prosecutors say in a complaint filed Wednesday that 53-year-old Shankar Hangud killed two relatives Oct. 7 and a third one the next day in Roseville. They say the fourth killing happened Sunday in Siskiyou County, where Hangun drove Monday to the Mount Shasta police station with the body of an adult man in his car. Prosecutors say he confessed to the killings and was arrested. About 260 miles (420 kilometers) south of Mount Shasta, Roseville police found the bodies of two children and an adult in the apartment of the data specialist. The Placer County District Attorney's office said Hangud's arraignment Wednesday was continued to Oct. 25.
  • Postmaster General Megan Brennan, who became the first woman to hold the position, is retiring early next year after working to stabilize the organization's mounting financial woes. Brennan took the job in 2015. The Postal Service says she will step down Jan. 31. The announcement comes as the service has grappled with 12 years of net losses, due in part to declining first-class mail volume. Brennan earlier this year warned that the Postal Service would run out of money in 2024 unless Congress acted. The agency also has met pressure from President Donald Trump, who insists it should charge higher shipping rates for online retailers such as Amazon, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post. The Postal Service says it will conduct a nationwide search for a successor.
  • Community leaders on Wednesday called on the Trump administration to open a civil rights investigation into the Fort Worth Police Department in the wake of a white officer's fatal shooting of a black woman in her home, saying the goal should be a far-reaching police reform plan enforced by a federal judge. But it's unclear if that objective is realistic given the disfavor, even hostility, the Department of Justice under President Donald Trump has shown toward such court-supervised plans, called consent decrees, which agency policymakers say too often ties the hands of officers while imposing burdensome costs. Pastor Kyev Tatum, among those who gathered at a news conference in Fort Worth to make the request, said attempts to get the city to end the kind of abuses that contributed to the killing of Atatiana Jefferson Saturday hadn't worked. No mechanism exists to hold city officials accountable, he said. 'It's time for somebody else to take control,' he said. Tatum and others sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to determine whether there has been 'a continued pattern and practice of using excessive force' against minorities in Fort Worth. Officer Aaron Dean, 34, resigned and was arrested Monday for firing a single bullet through a windowpane while investigating a neighbor's report about the front door being open at Jefferson's home. 'The only alternative to prevent future unlawful killings,' the coalition letter said, 'is to place the city under a federal consent decree.' The Department of Justice conducted civil rights investigations of nearly 70 police departments between 1994, when Congress authorized them, and the end of President Barack Obama's administration. But the agency's current policy, established by then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, pulled back on previous administrations' embrace of long-lasting, in-depth federal investigations of police followed by reform plans supervised by federal judges. Hours before he resigned as attorney general in November 2018, Sessions signed a memo guidance to staff that portrayed consent decrees as having been too sweeping, too open-ended and too much of a strain on city budgets. The guidance doesn't explicitly rule out consent decrees but sharply limits situations in which the Justice Department would pursue them. 'The Justice Department have done very, very few investigations (under Trump),' said Jonathan Smith, a former Justice Department attorney. 'I can't say for sure it won't open an investigation against Fort Worth — but it seems unlikely.' Communities bent on overhauling their police forces through court-monitored plans don't necessarily have to involve the Justice Department. Chicago, which has had a long reputation for police brutality against minorities, is a case in point. After more than a yearlong investigation, a damning report released in the waning days of the Obama administration in January 2017 found that deep-rooted civil rights abuses permeated Chicago's more than 13,000-member force. Over several months, then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration negotiated a draft plan with Trump's Department of Justice that foresaw no court role. Community groups and civil rights leaders called the plan toothless. Amid that criticism, then-Illinois Attorney Lisa Madigan — with Emanuel's agreement — sued the city in 2017 to ensure a judge would have oversight. The move cut the Justice Department out of the process. That didn't stop the Trump administration from seeking to scuttle the deal. The Justice Department filed a court document opposing the plan, saying it would deprive officers of flexibility to do their jobs right. A judge nonetheless approved the agreement. That option may not be politically viable for Fort Worth, said Smith. Illinois' attorney general, a Democrat, was sympathetic to the idea of a consent decree, but the GOP attorney general in Texas most likely would not be, he said. Community groups could attempt to sue with the aim of getting the city into federal court. But they would have a harder time establishing they have legal standing to sue a city, Smith said. ___ AP Legal Affairs Writer Tarm reported from Chicago.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump and Syria (all times local): 5:30 p.m. President Donald Trump described former Defense Secretary James Mattis as 'the world's most overrated general' during a meeting with Congressional leaders Wednesday to discuss Turkey's incursion into Syria. That's according to a Democrat familiar with the meeting who offered a readout of the contentious meeting on condition of anonymity. Trump, according to the person, was presented at one point with a quote from Mattis warning of an Islamic State group resurgence if the U.S. does not continue to apply pressure. But Trump responded with the insult, criticizing Mattis for not being 'tough enough.' Trump also said during the meeting that 100 Islamic State prisoners had escaped following the U.S. withdrawal from the region, but insisted they were the 'least dangerous' ones. Asked whether that was true, current Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he didn't know. __ 5:20 p.m. A few days after President Donald Trump ordered U.S. troops out of northern Syria, he wrote Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan telling him that if he invaded Syria he would be remembered as a 'devil.' Trump started his brief letter on Oct. 9 suggesting that they 'work out a good deal.' The president told Erdogan he did not want to be responsible for 'slaughtering thousands of people.' And Trump said he didn't want to impose sanctions that would cripple Turkey's economy if Ankara invaded Syria to battle Kurdish forces. Trump told Erdogan that history would look favorably on him if he proceeded humanely. Trump wrote: 'It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen. Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!' __ 5:10 p.m. House Republicans are blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for walking out of a briefing with President Donald Trump. They are calling her actions 'unbecoming.' Trump met Wednesday at the White House with members of Congress to discuss Turkey and Syria. Democrats say Trump insulted Pelosi, calling her a 'third-rate politician.' Democratic leaders left shortly thereafter. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is trying to pin the blame on Pelosi, saying she stormed out of the meeting. He is calling it a pattern of behavior on Pelosi's part, disregarding that it was actually Trump who walked out of a meeting with Democratic leaders on the issue of infrastructure spending last May. McCarthy says the meeting was very productive for the lawmakers from both parties who remained. __ 4:35 p.m. Democratic congressional leaders say they walked out of a briefing with President Donald Trump on Turkey after hearing little but insults from Trump. The Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, says Trump insulted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by calling her a 'third-rate politician.' Schumer says the meeting 'was not a dialogue. This was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts.' Pelosi tells reporters outside the White House that 'what we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown.' Pelosi claims Trump appeared visibly 'shaken up' after House passage of a bipartisan condemnation of his decision to order the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria. Pelosi says Democrats 'couldn't continue in the meeting because he was just not relating to the reality of it.' ___ 4:15 p.m. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the White House has canceled a classified briefing about Syria for House members. The California Democrat says scrapping the meeting prevents Congress from learning about 'the dangerous situation' caused by President Donald Trump's withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria. Turkey has invaded the region. Pelosi says she's 'deeply concerned' because lawmakers have a right to be informed about such decisions. A Democratic congressional aide says the White House said it couldn't provide administration officials to conduct Thursday's planned briefing. Two Senate aides say a classified briefing for senators was also canceled. One aide says it's because key administration officials were traveling to Turkey. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly. —Associated Press writer Alan Fram ___ 3:45 p.m. Senate Republicans are sticking up for the U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds after President Donald Trump defended his pullout of American troops, which cleared the way for the Turkish assault on the Kurds. GOP Leader Mitch McConnell calls the partnership 'a terrific alliance' that set the Islamic State group back and says he is 'sorry we are where we are.' Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan 'has not been a reliable ally. The Kurds have been a reliable ally.' Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa adds, 'We really have left behind and abandoned a strategic partner, the Kurds, who stood by our men and women in uniform in the fight' to defeat IS. At the White House, Trump defended his decision, saying the Kurds were 'no angels.' __ 2:45 p.m. The House has overwhelmingly voted its bipartisan condemnation of President Donald Trump's withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria. Despite stark divisions over Democrats' Trump impeachment inquiry, Democrats and Republicans banded together Wednesday and approved a nonbinding resolution by 354-60 vote. The resolution states Congress' opposition to the troop pullback and says Turkey should cease its military action in Syria. And the measure says the White House should present a plan for an 'enduring defeat' of the Islamic State group. Many worry that IS may revive itself as Turkish forces attack Syrian Kurds holding the extremists. The House debate was extraordinary for the intensity of lawmakers' opinions. Republicans called the troop withdrawal 'disastrous' and a 'catastrophe.' Democrats criticized Trump directly, with Rep. Seth Moulton saying Trump 'has taken the side of dictators and butchers.' ___ 1:55 p.m. President Donald Trump says members of the Islamic State group who were being held in prisons by Kurdish fighters in Syria have been deliberately released in an effort to make him look bad. But senior U.S. officials are casting doubt on those claims. Those officials say some Syrian Kurdish forces have moved north to fight Turkish troops who launched an attack across the border against the Kurds. The U.S. officials say other Kurds have stayed to guard the detention centers that hold thousands of IS militants. The officials say the U.S. doesn't have good on-the-ground information about what's going on in some of the detention centers as American forces pull back from the border region. The officials say they believe only a small number of detainees have escaped. These officials aren't authorized to public discuss ongoing operations in Syria and are speaking on condition of anonymity. —Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor. ___ 1:35 p.m. President Donald Trump says things are 'very nicely under control' in northern Syria where Turkish forces are fighting Syrian Kurds who were aligned with the U.S. against the Islamic State group. Trump tells reporters at the White House that Syrian Kurdish fighters that Turkey considers terrorists are more dangerous than IS. Turkey believes the Syrian Kurds who fought alongside the U.S. are linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK, which it considers terrorists. Trump is defending his decision to pull U.S. forces out of the Syrian border region where brutal fighting continues. At a news conference with Trump, Italy's president says Italy is deeply concerned about the Turkish offensive in Syria and says it will 'offer new space' to IS. ___ 12:40 p.m. President Donald Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, essentially abandoning the Syria Kurd fighters who fought alongside U.S. against the Islamic State group, is drawing criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump's closest allies, says Trump's decision will allow IS to remerge. The South Carolina Republican says Trump will 'be held accountable.' Graham says Trump's decision 'is against all sound military advice.' Graham says he hopes Trump 'will reconsider, stop the bloodshed and reset the table before it's too late.' Graham says that if Trump continues along those lines, 'then our foreign policy is in a very bad spot in the Middle East and to those who think the Mideast doesn't matter to America, remember 9/11 we had that same attitude on 9/10 2001.' Another Republican senator, Florida's Marco Rubio, tells reporters that he doesn't know what can be done to undo the harm that's resulted from the withdrawal. Rubio says 'there are some mistakes that are not easy to reverse. And there are some that are irreversible.' ___ 10:45 a.m. President Donald Trump says U.S. troops are 'largely out' of a region of Syria where Turkish forces are attacking Kurdish fighters. Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters allied with the U.S. after Trump pulled troops from the region this month. As he met Wednesday with Italy's president, Trump said: 'If Syria wants to fight to take back their land, that's up to them and Turkey.' Trump adds: 'There's a lot of sand that they can play with.' But as Trump defends removing troops from northeastern Syria, he's talking up his recent decision to send more troops to Saudi Arabia to help the kingdom defend against Iran. Trump says the U.S. is sending missiles and 'great power' to the Saudis, and adds: 'They're paying for that.
  • A 'dark day.' A 'betrayal.' The 'biggest mistake of this presidency,' and 'really delusional.' And that was President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans. Trump's decision to pull American troops out of northern Syria — triggering a deadly Turkish invasion targeting the U.S.'s erstwhile Syrian Kurdish allies — has unmuzzled GOP lawmakers in a manner seldom seen since Trump entered the White House. In a time when the threat of a caustic Trump tweet is enough to stifle open internal dissent, the extent and strong language Republicans are using to assail his policy is Syria has been striking. A statistical measurement of the party's disgruntlement was on eye-catching display in in the House, which voted Wednesday by an overwhelming 354-60 to voice its opposition to Trump's troop pullback. Remarkably, Republicans voted 129-60 for the nonbinding measure, delivering a stinging repudiation of Trump. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and the chamber's two other top GOP leaders joined in lawmakers' lopsided slap at Trump's decision. Making Republican defections all the more noteworthy: They came as the two parties are at each other's throats over the Democratic impeachment inquiry of the president. While virtually all Republicans have rallied behind Trump in the impeachment fight, this is a moment — barely a year from the 2020 elections — when the White House and GOP lawmakers can ill afford to show divisions. No one was suggesting the GOP's schism with Trump over Syria would soften the party's opposition to tossing him out of office. 'That's a completely different issue,' said No. 3 House GOP leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana. No Republicans attacked Trump personally, instead carefully focusing their criticism on the policy. Still, the unfettered way in which Republicans openly belittled his troop withdrawal was noteworthy, both for its sweep and for the freedom that GOP lawmakers seemed to feel in opposing him. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called it a 'dark day' that would have been 'much darker' if the two parties hadn't united in voicing their opposition to the troop pullback. No. 3 House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming said Syrian Kurds are 'facing what looks like a betrayal' by the U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's been a staunch Trump defender since he entered the White House but a critic of his troop withdrawal, said Trump was making 'the biggest mistake of this presidency.' While Trump had said the Kurds would be fine because 'they know how to fight,' Graham told reporters, 'To suggest the Kurds are safer is really delusional.' And Graham all but said Trump would be to blame if there's a new terrorist attack by Islamic State militants. Many fear that group will be revived as Turkey batters the very Kurdish fighters who've been helping the U.S. neutralize them. 'It's going to be to the president's detriment if there's any attacks on our country, inspired attacks, not directly attacks, then he'll own it,' Graham said. Also wading in was Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, who's not seeking reelection and has clashed with Trump over immigration and other issues. Hurd called Trump's withdrawal a 'disastrous decision' because the U.S. is abandoning an ally and ceding influence in the region to adversaries like Russia and Iran. He recalled his pre-Congress experience as an undercover CIA counter-terrorism officer. 'One of the things I learned when I was in the CIA was to be nice with nice guys and tough with tough guys, not the other way around,' he said pointedly. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has repeatedly called the move 'a mistake' and expressed a determination to do something to correct it, though the answer is unclear. A former senator and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who had frequent clashes with Trump and retired last year, has made few public statements since leaving Congress but weighed in on Wednesday. Asked in an interview why the GOP pushback has been so strong, Corker said, 'It was such an irresponsible, precipitous decision where thousands of people are going to die. It's at a whole new level.' Democrats, of course, showed no hesitance in using even stronger language against Trump. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., labeled the withdrawal a 'dangerous and stupid decision.' And Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a former Marine and Iraq War veteran, said Trump 'has never put his life on the line for his country' like U.S. soldiers in Syria have done. 'Perhaps if he had not dodged the draft by lying about his feet, sending another American in his place to Vietnam,' he'd know that 'nothing is more evil than betrayal,' Moulton said. That was a reference to a deferment that allowed Trump to not serve in the Vietnam War due to bone spurs. Critics have accused him of draft dodging because Trump hasn't been able to recall which foot had the problem.
  • A prosecutor has filed an assault charge against the brother of boxer Claressa Shields in connection with an attack on the trainer for Ivana Habazin before the weigh-in for their fight. Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton issued a statement Wednesday saying 28-year-old Artis J. Mack of Flint has been charged with one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder in the Oct. 4 attack on 68-year-old James Ali Bashir. Bashir was hospitalized after getting punched, falling and striking his head on the floor before the weigh-in. The Oct. 5 fight was cancelled. Mack's attorney, Frank Manley, issued a statement saying 'a video shows inflammatory rhetoric leading up to the incident that may provide context to the alleged assault.' Shields said in a Facebook post after the altercation that 'despite the videos that are out, the actions that took place against Coach Ali was not right. I do not stand for that and do not in any way justify what happened no matter what he said!
  • The Los Angeles Rams fully understand the risks they took in acquiring volatile cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The defending NFC champions believe the potential rewards are well worth it. 'You want guys with some swag, some personality,' coach Sean McVay said Wednesday while he awaited the star cornerback's arrival at their training complex. 'As long as those guys love football, they love competing every single day, I think this is a building that will suit him well.' Ramsey flew to the West Coast on Wednesday, a day after Los Angeles traded two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder for an elite defender whose tumultuous tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars didn't last four full seasons. On his Uninterrupted podcast on SiriusXM's app, Ramsey pronounced himself 'overjoyed' to be with the Rams, and eager to 'show them that they got the best corner in the whole NFL for years and years to come.' The Rams are sold on Ramsey's talent — and convinced of their own ability to channel it into a big role on a winning team. General manager Les Snead said he has already spoken to Ramsey's representatives about his future beyond his current contract, which ends in 2020, and that both sides were encouraged by the conversation. 'We actually did talk to his representatives and give our long-term view, and (get) his,' Snead said. 'We did put a little bit of a timeline in place. I don't want to give too many details on that, but we're just meeting Jalen today. He has earned a chance to probably get a nice contract for the job he does and the position he plays.' Ramsey agrees, as he demonstrated in July when he showed up to training camp with the Jaguars in an armored bank truck. The Rams have time to figure out a number that works for both — but they have less time to turn around a season that has stalled. McVay is hopeful Ramsey will play Sunday at Atlanta when the Rams (3-3) attempt to end their first three-game losing streak since 2016, although the corner will need a medical exam first. Ramsey missed the Jaguars' last three games with a back injury but returned to practice recently. 'You know the caliber of player that he is — the competitiveness, the toughness,' McVay said. 'Really all the traits that you look for in a corner. Looking forward to getting to know the player and figuring out how he's going to help this football team.' Although Ramsey won't be rushed, the Rams need reinforcements in their secondary. Along with starting cornerback Marcus Peters' departure in a trade to Baltimore on Tuesday, the Rams put two starters in their secondary — cornerback Aqib Talib and safety John Johnson — on injured reserve this week. Even in their depleted state, the Rams felt Ramsey was too good to pass up. Peters and Talib will be unrestricted free agents after this season, and the Rams were more interested in getting Ramsey than in retaining Peters. 'There's only a handful of players like that, and he happens to be one of them,' Snead said of Ramsey. 'Not saying that there's not a lot of good corners out there, but since he's been in the league, he's shown the ability to get out on an island.' Snead and the Rams have a reputation for rewarding their elite players: In the past two years, they've handed out the largest contracts in NFL history for a defensive tackle (Aaron Donald), a running back (Todd Gurley) and a quarterback (Jared Goff), and they gave a huge extension to receiver Brandin Woods before he played his first game for Los Angeles last year. Snead is aware of Ramsey's contentious reputation after he repeatedly clashed with coaches, the front office and opponents during his tenure in Jacksonville. Los Angeles hasn't hesitated to acquire players with similar reputations — like Peters and Talib, for instance — but has had no public problems with them in McVay's system. 'When you do research on it, the first thing I want to know is, do they love football?' Snead said. 'Is this the chapter they're focused on? And do they love winning? Ultimately, we're all going to go through some situations (and) you're going to have some outbursts, but a lot of times, with the research, it was maybe because of a loss or a bad play or things like that. These are young kids, so they don't have the emotional intelligence that I've acquired, but probably didn't have at Jalen's age.' Quarterback Blake Bortles and pass rusher Dante Fowler, two fellow top-five picks by the Jaguars now playing for the Rams, both spoke highly of Ramsey's work ethic and professionalism, McVay said. Ramsey's arrival was just part of a tumultuous week for the Rams, who traded Peters to the Ravens in part to clear the salary cap room necessary to acquire Ramsey. Snead was conflicted by the move, calling Peters 'one of the most authentic human beings I've ever met.' Peters drove more than 50 miles from downtown Los Angeles to Thousand Oaks to say farewell to the coaches and front-office personnel after getting news of the trade Tuesday. NOTES: S Marqui Christian is likely to replace Johnson alongside Eric Weddle in the starting lineup, while Troy Hill and Darious Williams will be the Rams' starting cornerbacks at Atlanta if Ramsey doesn't play. ... David Edwards, a rookie fifth-round pick from Wisconsin who hasn't taken an offensive snap this season, is expected to start at left guard Sunday in place of Joe Noteboom, who has a season-ending knee injury. Jamil Demby was Noteboom's backup, but hasn't impressed this season. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL