Today in Maryland

Officials probe Baltimore cyberattack, claim of leaked files

BALTIMORE (AP) — The city of Baltimore and federal authorities are investigating whether documents posted online are connected to a ransomware attack that has hobbled the city's computer network.

A mayor's office spokesman, Lester Davis, tells The Baltimore Sun that there's currently no evidence personal data has been was breached in the May attack.

However, a Twitter account claimed to be run by the attackers posted city material and faxes, including a detailed assessment of a woman's medical history. And before Twitter suspended the account on Monday, someone used it to direct message the Sun, threatening to post more financial documents and personal information on the "darknet."

City officials have refused a demand to pay the equivalent of $76,000 in bitcoin in response to the attack, which used a ransomware variant called RobbinHood.

Information from: The Baltimore Sun,

Third US tourist died at same hotel in Dominican Republic

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Authorities in the Dominican Republic say a vacationing Pennsylvania psychotherapist died at the same hotel where a pair of U.S. tourists were found dead five days later.

Officials say 41-one-year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner of Allentown was preparing to dine with her husband when she began to feel ill and died on May 25.

Family spokesman Jay McDonald told WFMZ-TV in Allentown that she collapsed after getting a drink from the minibar.

The country's prosecutor's office said Wednesday that forensics experts have taken samples and is performing toxicological and other tests to determine the cause of death.

Dominican police also are investigating the deaths of a Maryland couple found at the same Bahia Principe hotel in La Romana. Officials say they appeared to have suffered respiratory failure and fluid in the lungs.

Rapper charged with illicit purchases on company credit card

BALTIMORE (AP) — A Maryland rap artist has been indicted on federal charges after prosecutors say he used a company credit card to make $4.1 million in unauthorized purchases.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore announced Tuesday that Chad Arrington, who's known as "Chad Focus," is charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

Prosecutors say in a news release that Arrington worked at a business, referred to only as "Company 1," and was assigned a credit card for business expenses.

Prosecutors say that between January 2015 and August 2018, Arrington and four co-conspirators used the card to promote the Chad Focus brand and to make personal purchases. They say the co-conspirators kicked back hundreds of thousands of dollars to Arrington by funneling cash payments to Arrington and to accounts he controlled.

Judge allows racist FB page as evidence in fatal stabbing

UPPER MARLBORO (AP) — A judge is allowing prosecutors to present evidence that a white man charged with fatally stabbing a black student on the University of Maryland's campus belonged to a racist Facebook group and had racist memes on his cellphone.

Prince George's County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Hill Jr. ruled Wednesday after hearing arguments on defense attorneys' request to not allow the evidence during Sean Urbanski's trial next month.

Urbanski is charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime in the May 2017 killing of Bowie State University student Richard Collins III. Collins was visiting friends at the University of Maryland when he was fatally stabbed.

Urbanski's lawyers say the "Alt-Reich: Nation" Facebook page and racist memes that investigators extracted from Urbanski's cellphone are "particularly offensive," inflammatory, irrelevant and inadmissible at trial.

Maryland settles federal lawsuit by blind inmates for $1.4M

BALTIMORE (AP) — The state of Maryland has settled for $1.4 million a federal lawsuit filed by blind current and former inmates alleging discrimination.

The National Federation of the Blind on Wednesday said the state has also agreed to change prison procedures and provide assistive technology.

The lawsuit filed in 2016 alleged the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services denied blind inmates access to prison jobs, kept them longer behind bars and put them in danger because of their disabilities.

The plaintiffs alleged the conditions forced them to rely on other inmates for various activities, including using the prison library and reading mail.

The state agreed to install computers with text-to-speech technology, ensure access to people who can read and write documents on the inmates' behalf and offer them skills training.

Retired Baltimore police officer pleads guilty to conspiracy

BALTIMORE (AP) — A retired Baltimore police sergeant accused of planting a BB gun at the scene of an arrest and telling another officer to lie about the incident to federal investigators has pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Fifty-one-year-old Keith Allen Gladstone of New Park, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to deprive a man arrested in the incident of his civil rights.

Gladstone faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced in September.

Federal prosecutors accused Gladstone of dropping the BB gun near a pickup truck where an injured man lay after being deliberately hit with a police vehicle driven by Sgt. Wayne Jenkins in 2014.

Jenkins, the former leader of the police department's corrupt Gun Trace Task Force Unit, is serving 25 years in prison for crimes including racketeering and robbery.

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