The Gilgo Beach killings suspect's wife unknowingly helped in his arrest. She's now filed for divorce


In her more than 27 years of marriage to Rex Heuermann, Asa Ellerup likely did not know about the gruesome double life her husband is accused of living, Suffolk County’s top cop says.

“If you ask me, I don’t believe, that they knew about this double life that Mr. Heuermann was living,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said of the suspect’s family.

But authorities were not ruling anything out yet and were continuing to collect information “to see if the family might have known exactly what Mr. Heuermann was up to,” Harrison told CNN’s Erica Hill in a July 2023 interview.

That month, Heuermann was arrested and charged with murder in connection to the killings of three of the “Gilgo Four,” a group of four women whose remains were found along a short stretch of Long Island’s Gilgo Beach in 2010. He also was identified as the prime suspect in the disappearance and killing of the fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who was 25 years old when she was last seen. He was charged with her murder in January and pleaded not guilty.

Heuermann, 60, was indicted on two new murder charges Thursday: second-degree murder in the 2003 death of Jessica Taylor and the 1993 death of Sandra Costilla, according to a bail application.

Taylor’s remains were discovered in Manorville in 2003 and then additional remains along Ocean Parkway on Gilgo Beach in 2011. Costilla’s remains were found in North Sea in 1993 by two hunters who were in the woods, according to the bail application.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Less than a week after her husband’s arrest, Ellerup filed for divorce, her attorney Robert Macedonio told CNN. He did not comment further on the matter.

She was shocked to hear what her husband is accused of, Harrison said.

But she unknowingly played a key role in her husband’s arrest: it was her DNA, among other evidence, that authorities say helped tie Heuermann to the crimes.

Here’s what we know about his wife, their life together and the unexpected role she played in the case.

Heuermann and Ellerup were married in April 1996, the suspect said in a 2018 deposition. Since then, they lived in Heuermann’s red and green childhood home in the Long Island suburb of Massapequa Park with their daughter and Heuermann’s stepson.

But despite their long stint in the neighborhood – and though Heuermann’s life was long rooted in the same community, neighbors knew little detail about the family.

Neighbors described the home as creepy and the family as distant, according to the Long Island Press, a monthly magazine serving Long Island.

“The family is very to themselves, quiet,” neighbor Frankie Musto told the publication. “We never saw anything suspicious.”

In his 2018 deposition, Heuermann said he had been married once before. That marriage, he said, lasted three years and they had no children.

Authorities search Heuermann's home on July 18, 2023, in Massapequa Park, New York.

When the victims were first discovered, there were pieces of degraded hair recovered by authorities – but DNA testing at the time could not provide the answers investigators hoped for.

Technological improvements soon helped yield results.

Hair that is now believed to belong to Ellerup – which presumably had been unintentionally carried by the suspect on his clothes – was found on or near the three victims, prosecutors alleged in the bail application, citing DNA testing.

That DNA came from 11 bottles inside a garbage can outside the Heuermann home, the court document says. Authorities had been surveilling Heuermann and his family for months after they identified him as a suspect in early 2022, and during that time collected DNA samples from items the family threw away.

Though her hair was found with the victims, Ellerup and their daughter were both traveling when the killings were committed and Heuermann was “alone in the tri-state area,” Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said at a news conference last summer.

“It’s very significant in as much as it then limits it down to him,” criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson told CNN’s Jake Tapper about the finding. “If the suspect’s wife is out of town, then why would her hair be there if he’s in town?”

Suffolk County authorities say DNA evidence also linked Heuermann to a male hair found on the burlap sack where one victim’s remains were found.

Harrison told CNN last summer he was informed that once authorities told Ellerup and her daughter about the crimes Heuermann is accused of, the two were “shocked, they were disgusted, they were embarrassed.”

Their reaction, he said, is why he believes they were not aware of what he was doing.

“But, time will tell,” he added. “And once again, there are still a lot more questions that need to be done to the family and friends.”

CNN has made multiple attempts to contact Heuermann’s wife and daughter.

The attorneys representing Ellerup said last July she and her family “are going through a devastating time in their lives” and are asking for privacy.

“The sensitive nature of her husband’s arrest is taking an emotional toll on the immediate and extended family, especially their elderly family members,” said a statement from the Macedonio & Duncan law firm. “Ms. Ellerup does not wish to comment further and has requested the public and press to please respect the family’s privacy at this time.”

Following his arrest, Heuermann was remanded without bail. He entered a not guilty plea through his attorney.


May 30, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz seen on March 5, 2024, at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C.
Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz seen on March 5, 2024, at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Israel’s National Unity party, led by war cabinet member Benny Gantz, has proposed a bill to dissolve the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and trigger new elections in the fall. 

“This is a continuation of the initiative led by the chairman of the State Camp, Minister Benny Gantz, to hold elections with broad consensus by October, one year after the massacre,” Gantz’s press office said in a statement. 

Knesset member Pnina Tamano-Shata submitted the bill on Thursday. 

“October 7th is a disaster that requires us to regain the people’s trust and establish a broad and stable unity government that can lead us safely through the enormous challenges in security, the economy, and above all, in Israeli society. Submitting the bill now will allow us to advance it further in the current session,” Tamano-Shata said in a statement. 

By proposing the bill, the National Unity Party members will now have the opportunity to table it during the Knesset’s summer session in which they will hold a vote to decide whether to dissolve parliament in September and hold fresh elections in October. 

Some context: Currently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a 64-member governing coalition that gives him a majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

While Gantz had performed well in polls from earlier this year, recently his favorability has dropped, according to CNN global affairs analyst Barak Ravid. 

Gantz has repeatedly criticized Netanyahu’s leadership throughout the conflict in Gaza.  Earlier this month, Gantz threatened to withdraw from the government if the war cabinet did not lay out a plan by June 8 to free the hostages and eliminate Hamas.


Biden announces executive action on immigration

House Speaker Mike Johnson takes a question from a reporter during a weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on June 4, in Washington, DC. 

Republicans came out swinging against President Joe Biden’s newest executive action on the border, despite the fact that it plans to impose stricter measures on immigration.

Some criticized Biden about not implementing the executive actions sooner, while others said the executive action does not go far enough, touting the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“It’s window dressing,” said Speaker Mike Johnson in a news conference Tuesday. “And we don’t know what’s in this. The devil will definitely be in the details here.”

A joint statement from Republican leadership – signed by Reps. Tom Emmer, Mike Johnson, Steve Scalise, and Elise Stefanik – stated, “Over a year ago, House Republicans passed the Secure the Border Act, which would actually fix the problem, but Joe Biden and Senate Democrats continue to drag their feet on taking meaningful action, sacrificing the safety and security of our communities.”

While House Democrats did vote against a border bill sponsored by Republicans last year, Senate Republicans doomed multiple border-related bills negotiated with Democrats, showing that in an election year, neither party wants to give the other a win on immigration.

Rep. Richard Hudson, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, called Biden’s executive action “too little, too late.”

“After 64 open border executive actions, zero House Democratic votes for the Secure the Border Act, and two million illegal crossings per year – Joe Biden has finally woken up to the fact he has a political problem at the border,” Hudson said in a release Tuesday.

A statement from the American Action Network, a conservative advocacy group, criticized Biden on revoking the signature Trump-era immigration policy.

“If the President was serious about stopping the crisis at the southern border, why isn’t he reinstating Remain in Mexico?” said AAN communications director Courtney Parella.


Dare to bare: 24 of the world's best nude beaches


2024 is already shaping up to be another banner year for nudity around the world with a nude cruise and nude beach weddings on the horizon.

Earlier this year, tour and travel company Bare Necessities announced an 11-day voyage from Miami to the Caribbean in collaboration with Norwegian Cruise Line. It’s due to set sail in February 2025.

With stopovers in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico, “The Big Nude Boat” is billed as a “once in a lifetime experience” with amenities designed to “fit everyone’s style of bare cruising.”

And couples will soon be able to tie the knot sans clothes at Is Benas Beach in Sardinia, which has a naturist-designated area.

The news was confirmed in May by Luigi Tedeschi, mayor of San Vero Milis, the closest town to the beach.

“Nudity has nothing to do with sex. For [naturists], it’s a philosophy of life, and is linked to nature,” Tedeschi said. “It should be respected – so why not?”

Meanwhile, there are more places than ever to sun, swim or build sandcastles au naturel at clothing-optional beaches around the world.

Nude Beach Thumb 3

Nudist explains what you should definitely not do at a nude beach

From rocky coastlines to talcum-powder fine sands and big city bays to secluded shores, there are now hundreds of beaches where it’s perfectly legal (or at least de facto legal) to frolic beside the sea in nothing more than your birthday suit.

“Soft, smooth sand, warm ocean breeze, gentle ocean waves and lots of other naturists makes for a great clothing-optional beach,” says Nicky Hoffman of The Naturist Society, who’s also the managing editor of Nude & Natural magazine and co-author of “The World’s Best Nude Beaches & Resorts.”

While clothing-optional beach destinations may seem like a modern invention, it’s actually quite an old idea, a product of the otherwise prudish Victorian era.

During the 1880s, American poet Walt Whitman extolled the virtues of the “Adamic air bath” – his nude walkabouts and swims along Timber Creek in New Jersey, writing of “the free exhilarating ecstasy of nakedness in Nature.”

Channeling that same vibe, the naturist movement took off in Europe and North America during the first half of the 20th century, with city parks, camp grounds and eventually beaches established for those who wanted to experience nature nude in their most natural state.

One of the spin-offs of the socially and sexually liberal 1960s was a “free beach” movement that saw a proliferation of nude beaches around the world.

And their popularity continues today, with more and more popping up each year. Here are 24 of the best nude beaches you can visit around the world in 2024:

Located about a 30-minute drive from Punta del Este, Uruguay’s best-known nude beach overlooks Portezuelo Bay on the Atlantic coast.

Photogenic dunes and water temperatures that reach 25 Celsius (77 F) and higher even in the Southern Hemisphere winter add to the strand’s allure.

After decades as an unofficial naked getaway, Chihuahua finally achieved legal status in 2000.

Since then, amenities have expanded to include the Hotel El Refugio Nudista Naturista clothing-optional resort.

Playa Naturista Chihuahua, Avenida Las Amarras, 20003 Chihuahua, Uruguay

The chilly Baltic Sea may not seem like the most obvious place to skinny dip. But this gorgeous strand on the long, sandy Curonian Spit offers one of Europe’s most picturesque spots to take it all off.

With its wildflower-covered dunes (among the highest in Europe) and shoreline forest, the beach was the focus of a 19th-century artists’ colony that attracted many of the leading painters, poets and writers of the time.

Walk far enough south along the strand and you eventually come to a fence that marks the Lithuania-Russia border.

Nida Nude Beach, Nidos-Smiltynės pl., Nida, Lithuania

Sweden may be home to many beaches where nudity is accepted, but Agesta Beach, located roughly 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of Stockholm, is its only official nude beach.

Based in the southern end of the lake Magelungen, Agesta Beach’s sandy shores are popular with locals as well as visitors looking for an escape from the bustling capital city.

Open from May to September, this beach is very well looked after, with picnic tables, BBQ areas, public bathrooms and play areas for children available.

Agesta Beach, Huddinge, Sweden

Little Palm Beach, Waiheke, New Zealand

Little Palm Beach is situated on Waiheke Island in New Zealand.

Although it’s technically legal to go naked on any beach in personal-liberty-loving New Zealand, the nation’s naturists tend to congregate at well-known clothing-optional spots like Little Palm Beach on Waiheke Island.

Reaching the secluded strand entails a 40-to-60-minute ferry ride from Auckland, a taxi or rideshare to the island’s north shore, and then a short downhill hike.

You can top or tail your beach adventure at Waiheke’s many wineries, restaurants, and art galleries.

Little Palm Beach, Miro Road, Waiheke Island 1081, New Zealand

Flanked by sheer cliffs and shades by pine trees, this remote beach on the mainland opposite Brač island is reached via a narrow path that seems ready made for goats rather than people seeking an apparel-free escape on the Adriatic.

Be sure to bring a thick towel or even a beach chair — like many Croatian beaches the surface is pebbles rather than sand.

Nugal is about a half-an-hour walk from the nearest town, although it can also be reached by boat or sea kayak from Makarska or Tučepi.

Nugal Beach, 21300 Makarska, Croatia

Moshup Beach can be found on the west side of Martha's Vineyard.

Perched at the island’s western extreme, Moshup is a long curving strand that wraps around a headline crowned by the historic Gay Head Lighthouse (built in 1799).

Located right below the ancient light, the clothing optional portion lies beneath rust-colored sandstone cliffs that were declared a National Natural Monument in 1966.

Moshup is open free of charge to anyone who wants to take their clothes off, as opposed to Lucy Vincent, the island’s private nude beach.

Moshup Beach, 71 Moshup Trail, Aquinnah, MA 02535

Set beneath the high cliffs of Torrey Pines, Blacks has been the Golden State’s favorite place for all-over tans for more than 50 years and was once the only legal nude beach in the entire United States.

Long, wide and blessed with great surf, the beach is reached via the zig-zag Ho Chi Minh Trail from La Jolla Farms Road or the Citizens Trail from Torrey Pines Gliderport near the University of California, San Diego.

Black’s Beach, Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, San Diego, CA 92037

Lady Bay Beach was first granted legal status in 1976.

Although it sometimes seems like just about any beach in Australia is clothing optional, there are a number of official nude beaches here such as Lady Bay. (also known as Lady Jane Beach.)

Perched just inside the South Head of Sydney Harbour, it’s small and narrow, but incredibly secluded for such a big city location.

The rocky ledges around South Head are also used for nude sunbathing.

Lady Bay Beach, Watson’s Bay, Sydney, Australia

“Grin and bare it” might well be the motto for nudists on this North Sea island, where the average water temperature in summer is a chilly 17 C (63 F).

Technically all of the beaches on Sylt are clothing optional, but Buhne 16 was the first and is still the foremost location for nude sunbathing along the German shore.

It’s a place where beachgoers can chill in the famous blue and white striped wicker beach chairs or let it all hang out at summer beach parties.

Buhne 16, Listlandstr 133b, 25980 Kampen (Sylt), German

Billed as one of the world’s longest nude beaches at 7.8 kilometers (4.9 miles) long, Wreck Beach is actually a series of sandy strands, pebble flats and rocky outcrops wrapped around the end of Point Grey.

With the University of British Columbia just across the street, a steady stream of students and teachers have shed their clothes on this beach since the early 1970s, when it first became popular.

Evergreen trees along the shore and snowcapped peaks across the water complement the Canadian ambiance.

Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia; Canada

This secluded shore on the south side of Crete is a hotspot for nude sunbathing in Greece.

Named after its ocher-colored sand and cliffs, Red Beach (or Kokkini Ammos) is reached via a 20-minute hike from Matala or a very short boat ride from the village waterfront.

Pioneered by Euro hippies during the 1960s, the beach offers chair and umbrella rentals and is home to a funky little bar called Yianni’s that’s renowned for its mojitos.

Note: the mysterious rock carvings at the end of the beach are a modern creation and definitely not ancient Minoan relics.

Red Beach, Matala, Crete 702 00, Greece

Callantsoog Beach, Netherlands

Callantsoog is the oldest nudist beach in the Netherlands, having been officially recognized as a nudist beach since 1973.

Situated 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Amsterdam, near the coastal town of Callantsoog, this beautiful stretch of sand enjoys Blue Flag status and is a great place to spot seals.

Its designated nudist section is marked between two poles.

Those keen to get even closer to nature can pay a visit to the nearby Zwanenwater, a protected nature reserve and home to the largest natural dune lakes in Europe.

Callantsoog Beach, Strandslag Dorpsplein, 1759 Callantsoog, Netherlands

Anse de Grande Saline, St. Barts

While the Caribbean may be full of wonderful, chilled out beaches, this wild, white sand strand on the rear side of St. Barts is one of the few places on the islands where public nudity is tolerated (although sunbathing naked is technically prohibited in St. Barts.)

Anse de Grande Saline (or Saline Beach) is another self-catering beach. Visitors will need to bring along everything they need for a day at the shore, especially sunscreen, as there is no shade to speak of.

L’Esprit, an excellent French restaurant, is within walking distance of Grand Saline and well worth a visit. Just make sure to put your clothes back on before heading over.

Anse de Grande Saline, St. Barthélemy

Set between the deep blue Mediterranean and multicolored salt pans near Ibiza’s southernmost point, official nudist beach Es Cavallet is separated into various different sections, including a beach club party section, a gay scene and a more secluded, middle section where the clothing-free crowd hang out.

However nude sunbathers aren’t the only beings who frequent this area. Those bright pink things you’ll see pacing in the background aren’t sunburned tourists, but rather flamingos that like to gather in the shallow salines.

Platja des Cavallet, 07818, Balearic Islands, Spain

Little Beach -- a clothing-optional beach in Maui's Makena State Park.

Flanked by ancient lava flows and backed by a volcanic cinder cone, Little Beach would be super-cool even if you couldn’t take your clothes off.

Part of Makena State Park on the island’s southeast coast, it overlooks a national marine sanctuary renowned for its sea turtles, dolphins, whales and tropical fish.

Gnarled trees behind the sand provide a modicum of shade and the cove is well protected for swimming.

Additionally, a drum circle and fire dancers entertain the crowd during Sunday sunsets.

Little Beach, Makena State Park, Makena Rd, Kihei, HI 96753, USA

Cap d'Agde -- an iconic nudist resort town in Southern France.

Sometimes called the “Naked City,” Cap d’Agde Naturist Village is the world’s largest clothing-optional beach resort, attracting as many as 40,000 guests on any given day during high season.

Visitors are free to be naked wherever they want – restaurants and stores, post offices or banks, sailing their boat or lounging on the long public beach (where nudity is obligatory, even for those not staying at the resort).

Non residents can stay overnight at the naturist hotel, camp ground or rental units.

Cap d’Agde Naturist Village, Rond-Point du Bagnas, 34300 Agde, France

Situated along Sardinia’s west coast close to the town of San Vero Milis, Is Benas is known for its remoteness and pristine environment.

The idyllic beach has had a partially hidden naturist-designated area for the past two years.

Mayor Luigi Tedeschi of nearby San Vero Milis recently confirmed that local authorities had given the go ahead for couples to say their vows there au naturel at Is Benas in the future.

“We have this beach, a place that lends itself brilliantly to naturism,” Tedeschi told CNN. “And then we thought, let’s make a beach for weddings. If people want to marry nude, they can.”

The beach is right next to the more famous Is Arenas Beach, while the ruins of Tharros, a Roman city dominating a thin peninsula, can also be found nearby.

Is Benas Beach, Province of Oristano, Sardinia, Italy

Mpenjati Beach was awarded official nudist beach status in 2014.

South Africa’s only official nude beach – and perhaps the only legal clothing-not-obligatory strand on the entire African continent – is located in the Mpenjati Nature Reserve south of Durban.

Its legal status was achieved in 2014, but this came with a list of prohibitions including no staring, no photography, no suggestive behavior, etc.

Local clergy and others continue to mount protests (legal and otherwise) against the naked designation.

Mpenjati Nature Reserve, Palm Beach, Port Edward, South Africa

Zipolite Beach in Mexican is tolerant of nude sunbathing.

Live your “Y Tu Mamá También” fantasies at the beach where so many of the scenes from the sensuous 2001 Mexican movie starring Gael García Bernal were shot on location.

Pioneered by Mexican and American hippies during the 1960s, the strand stretches about two kilometers with rocky bluffs at either end, and is famed as a clothing-optional beach (although it isn’t legal here.)

While the main beach here is backed by budget hotels and cafes, a tiny sliver of sand at the eastern end called Playa del Amor offers far more privacy.

Playa Zipolite, San Pedro Pochutla, Oaxaca, Mexico

Float nude in the warm, ultra-buoyant salty water and smear your entire naked body with soothing, mineral-infused black mud at this rocky beach on the western shore of the Dead Sea.

Perhaps the only place in the Middle East where any kind of public nudity is tolerated, Metsoke Dragot is located about an hour’s drive from Jerusalem and requires a short but rough drive along an unpaved road to reach the shoreline.

Primitive camping is aloud along the shore. The only nearby hotel and bar is the cliff top Metzoke Dragot Travelers Village.

Metsoke Dragot, Highway 90, Dead Sea, Israel

Praia Massarandupió, Bahia, Brazil

Naturist beach Praia Massarandupió in Bahia.

The string bikinis on Copacabana may expose an awful lot of Brazilian flesh, but not nearly as much as this naturist beach along the Bahia coast.

A two-hour drive north of Salvador, the nude beach is about a one-kilometer walk from the parking lot along the shoreline flanked by coconut palms, rolling dunes and very surfable waves.

Praia Massarandupió, Bahia, Brazil

Spiaggia de Guvano has been popular with nude bathers since the 1960s.

Located on the gorgeous Cinque Terre, this primo Italian nude beach looks like something out of a movie (think “Swept Away ” – the 1974 version directed by Lina Wertmüller.)

Adding to the beach’s mystique is the fact that it can only be reached via kayak or motorboat or hiking down a steep and somewhat treacherous trail that involves scrambling over rocks.

Guvano is totally primitive, with no facilities of any kind, so bear this in mind when planning your visit.

The beach is also pebble rather than sand, but the water is clear, clean and gorgeous.

Spiaggia di Guvano, 19018 Vernazza, SP, Italy

Edged with pine trees, this Latvian beach is as calming as it is beautiful.

Based close to the capital city of Riga and a relatively short walk from Vecaki train station, it’s known for its shimmering waters, stunning sunsets and of course, its nudist section.

The zone, which happens to be the biggest nudist beach area in the country, includes a beach volleyball area that’s a big hit with local residents.

Vecaki Beach, Selgas iela 20, Riga 1030, Latvia

The most popular public nude beach in the United States, Haulover attracts more than 1.3 million bare bottomed people to its white sands and warm water each year.

The clothing-optional portion, marked at either end by picket fences, offers rental beach chairs and umbrellas, as well as lifeguards.

Given the stellar weather in south Florida, there’s usually someone in the buff on any given day.

But the biggest crowds gather during National Nude Recreation Week in July and whenever Haulover is trying to set a new Guinness World Record for skinny dipping.

Haulover Beach Park, 10800 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33154

Editor’s note: This story was updated and republished in May 2024.


Hunter Biden gun trial opening statements

Under cross-examination, a key government witness conceded that Hunter Biden might not have been using drugs continuously from 2015 to 2019, which covers when he bought the gun in 2018.  

This is notable because, earlier in the day, prosecutors highlighted how Hunter Biden said in his memoir that he was an “active” addict during that 5-year period.   

“I didn’t get the sense it was the entire period,” FBI agent Erika Jensen said, adding that there were some periods of time in that 5-year window when Biden did not appear to be abusing crack cocaine.

Hunter lawyer Abbe Lowell is also trying to point out discrepancies between what his client wrote in his 2021 memoir and what actually happened. For example, in one case, Biden went on a flight that he claimed he missed or skipped.

Lowell is likely doing this because prosecutors are relying on the book as key evidence to support their case.  


Hunter Biden's trial on federal gun charges

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, on Monday, June 3.
President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, on Monday, June 3. Alex Brandon/AP

The trial against President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden will “absolutely not” interfere with the president’s ability to do his job, the White House said Monday.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden is “the President of the United States and he always puts the American people first and is capable of doing his job.”

Jean-Pierre said she had “nothing to share” when asked how the president was monitoring the proceedings and if he spoke to his son after the court concluded on Monday.

Earlier Monday, Biden released a statement in support of his son, writing in part: “I am the president, but I am also a dad.”

Jean-Pierre read the statement in full and said that outside of the statement, she didn’t “have anything else to share.”


First day of jury deliberations in Trump New York hush money trial

Former President Donald Trump falsely claimed Wednesday that Judge Juan Merchan “is not requiring a unanimous decision on the fake charges against me.”

Trump made the claim in a social media post in which he described Merchan’s supposed position as “RIDICULOUS, UNCONSTITUTIONAL, AND UNAMERICAN.” He was echoing assertions that had been circulating among conservatives after Fox News anchor John Roberts wrote on social media earlier on Wednesday that “Judge Merchan just told the jury that they do not need unanimity to convict.” 

Facts FirstTrump’s claim inaccurately depicts what Merchan said.

Merchan told the jury in his instructions on Wednesday that their verdict “must be unanimous” on each of the 34 counts that Trump faces and that, to convict Trump of felony falsification of business records, they would have to unanimously agree that he falsified business records with the intent to commit, aid or conceal another crime — that other crime being a violation of a New York election law. But Merchan explained that while this New York election law prohibits people from conspiring to use “unlawful means” to promote a candidate’s election, jurors don’t have to unanimously agree on which particular “unlawful means” Trump may have used; they can find him guilty as long as they unanimously agree that Trump used some unlawful means.  

Prosecutors provided three theories of what unlawful means Trump used. Merchan told the jury: “Although you must conclude unanimously that the defendant conspired to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means, you need not be unanimous as to what those unlawful means were. In determining whether the defendant conspired to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means, you may consider the following: (1) violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act otherwise known as FECA; (2) the falsification of other business records; or (3) violation of tax laws.”


Donald Trump found guilty of all 34 charges in hush money trial

Former President Donald Trump leaves the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York after a jury found him guilty of all 34 felony counts in his hush money trial on Thursday, May 30. 
Former President Donald Trump leaves the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York after a jury found him guilty of all 34 felony counts in his hush money trial on Thursday, May 30.  Justin Lane/Pool/Reuters

A New York jury convicting Donald Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records brought the former president’s weekslong trial to a close but ushered in a new phase of the historic case.

Now in the unique position of being the first former US president convicted of a felony, Trump faces the possibility of a prison sentence or probation for his crimes stemming from a hush money payment scheme he helped facilitate ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Trump – who is known for mounting lengthy appeals of court rulings against him – has said he will appeal the conviction, which can be done after he is sentenced.

Here’s what to know about the case following Trump’s conviction:

When will Trump be sentenced?

Judge Juan Merchan has set Trump’s sentencing for 10 a.m. ET on July 11. For now, the former president will remain out of prison as he awaits his sentencing. Prosecutors did not ask for Trump to post any bond.

Can Trump appeal his conviction?

Shortly after Trump was convicted, his attorney Todd Blanche asked Merchan for an acquittal of the charges notwithstanding the guilty verdict. The judge rejected the pro forma request.

Can Trump still be elected president?

Nothing in the US Constitution bars a convicted criminal from running for the nation’s highest office, University of California, Los Angeles law professor Richard L. Hasen has consistently said.

“The Constitution contains only limited qualifications for running for office (being at least 35 years old, a natural born citizen, and at least 14 years a resident of the U.S.),” Hasen continued.

Will the conviction cost Trump his right to vote?

Trump is a Florida resident. When it comes to the Manhattan guilty verdict just rendered, Trump’s right to vote in Florida in November’s election will depend on whether he is sentenced to a term in prison and if he has finished serving that prison sentence by the time of the election.

Florida’s felon voting prohibitions apply to people with out-of-state convictions. However, if a Floridian’s conviction is out of state, Florida defers to that state’s laws for how felon can regain their voting rights.

Read more on the aftermath of Trump’s guilty verdict.

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect when Trump is allowed to file an appeal.


University presidents testify as US colleges see more protests

From left: Michael Schill, president of Northwestern University, Jonathan Holloway, president of Rutgers University, Frederick M. Lawrence, secretary and CEO, The Phi Beta Kappa Society, and Gene Block, chancellor of the UCLA, during a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses, on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 23.
From left: Michael Schill, president of Northwestern University, Jonathan Holloway, president of Rutgers University, Frederick M. Lawrence, secretary and CEO, The Phi Beta Kappa Society, and Gene Block, chancellor of the UCLA, during a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses, on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 23. Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Reuters

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s hearing on campus antisemitism Thursday came with no shortage of fiery exchanges between lawmakers and the heads of Northwestern University, Rutgers University, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

This was the committee’s first hearing since the formation of pro-Palestinian protest encampments at schools nationwide. Demonstrators calling for an end to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and divestment from Israel-linked entities seriously disrupted campus life at all three of the schools. Lawmakers used the hearing to scrutinize the administrations’ response.

Here’s what happened on Capitol Hill:

University heads can’t win: Northwestern President Michael Schill and Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway negotiated with protesters rather than authorizing police to disband encampments, which UCLA Chancellor Gene Block ultimately did.

Both approaches received considerable rebuke from lawmakers on the Republican-led committee, though some Democratic lawmakers commended the negotiations.

But Block was also criticized by some lawmakers for not authorizing police to step in sooner, and he faced particular rebuke from Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who focused on an April 30 incident in which a group of people attacked the school’s pro-Palestinian encampment for hours without intervention by law enforcement. Omar referenced a CNN report on the attackers, many of whom expressed pro-Israel sentiments.

Limited consequences so far: In one of the hearing’s tensest exchanges, Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik slammed Schill for not taking action over allegations that a person told a Jewish student at the school to “go back to Germany and get gassed.”

Schill said he heard about that happening and “it is being investigated.” So far, no students who are being investigated for various alleged acts of antisemitism have been expelled or suspended, he said.

Rutgers’ Holloway and UCLA’s Block similarly said the universities have many active investigations underway. Holloway said his school has suspended four people and 19 others have received additional disciplinary actions.

A bounty of lawyerly responses: If you tuned in to Thursday’s hearing and thought the responses university heads gave were pre-rehearsed, it’s because they likely were.

The three university heads at the hearing had the advantage of learning from the prior campus hearings. They leaned into giving lawyerly responses, especially in tense lines of questioning, to avoid being cornered into taking a stance on divisive issues.

Schill also declined multiple times to discuss specific staff members or students raised by committee members.