NATO summit, R. Kelly sentencing, Deshaun Watson hearing: 5 things to know Wednesday

·5 min read

'We're stepping up': At NATO summit, Biden says US will increase military presence in eastern Europe

President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday, as he arrived at the NATO summit in Spain, that the U.S. would step up its military presence in eastern Europe amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Biden announced the U.S. would establish a permanent troop presence in Poland and maintain an additional rotational brigade of 3,000 fighters and 2,000 personnel in Romania. The troops in Poland will be the first permanent U.S. forces on NATO’s eastern flank. Biden said the U.S. would also enhance its rotational deployments in the Baltic region, which is comprised of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. "We're stepping up," Biden said. Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskyy is expected to address the 30 NATO leaders via video link Wednesday, as Russia's invasion stretches into its fifth month. The gathering has already seen a breakthrough agreement between Turkey and Finland and Sweden for the Nordic countries to begin their accession process. They asked to join the alliance after witnessing Russia's brutal attack on its neighbor Ukraine, but Turkey had some misgivings that were overcome Tuesday.

Prefer to listen? Check out the 5 Things podcast:

R. Kelly set for sentence, prosecutors press at least 25-year prison sentence

R. Kelly, the R&B superstar known for his anthem "I Believe I Can Fly," is set to be sentenced on Wednesday. Prosecutors said in a memo that he deserves at least 25 years behind bars for sexually abusing women and girls. A New York City jury found Kelly guilty of racketeering and multiple other counts last year at a sex-trafficking trial that was seen as a signature moment in the #MeToo movement. Prosecutors alleged that the entourage of managers and aides who helped Kelly meet girls — and keep them obedient — amounted to a criminal enterprise. Several accusers testified in lurid detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected his victims to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage. Kelly's lawyers have argued that he deserves only a maximum of about 17 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

Jury deciding Florida school shooter's sentence will be finalized

A jury of seven men and five women was tentatively chosen Tuesday for a penalty trial to decide whether Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz should be sentenced to death or get life in prison for the 2018 attack, capping a nearly three-month winnowing process that began with 1,800 candidates. The prospective jurors were chosen after three rounds of questioning that began on April 4 and dragged on through numerous delays caused by illnesses and other factors. The jury, which will be finalized Wednesday, will decide whether Cruz, 23, receives the death sentence or life in prison without parole for the murders of 14 students and three staff members at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018. Opening statements are now scheduled for July 18. Cruz pleaded guilty in October to those murders and 17 counts of attempted murder, so the jurors will only decide his punishment. They must be unanimous for Cruz to get the death penalty — if at least one votes for life, that will be Cruz's sentence.

Hearing to determine Deshaun Watson's NFL discipline continues

The NFL has insisted on an indefinite suspension for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson while his legal team argued there's no basis for that punishment as both sides presented their cases in front of a retired judge Tuesday, two people in attendance told The Associated Press. The hearing will continue Wednesday and Watson is scheduled to be there, according to one AP source. It's expected to conclude Thursday but it's not known when a ruling will be made. Retired federal judge Sue Robinson is the disciplinary officer jointly selected and compensated by the NFL and the NFL Players Association and will determine whether Watson violated the league's policy. She could decide no violation occurred, or she could decide the quarterback violated the policy and deserves punishment. Watson has been sued by 24 women who accused him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions in 2020 and 2021, when he played for the Houston Texans. Twenty of the 24 lawsuits recently ended with confidential settlements.

Happy anniversary, iPhone: Revolutionary smartphone first went on sale 15 years ago

It’s been 15 years since the iPhone first went on sale and ushered in a new era: the age of the smartphone. Before the evening of June 29, 2007, social media was in its infancy and cellphone cameras were basic. Announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs as a combination of the revolutionary iPod, a mobile phone and internet browser, the smartphone attracted much fanfare, and was named Invention Of the Year by Time magazine, which said "it's not a phone, it's a platform." "iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a January 2007 news release announcing the new phone. "We are all born with the ultimate pointing device — our fingers — and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse."

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NATO summit, R. Kelly sentencing: 5 things to know Wednesday

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting