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Bodycam video released in fatal shooting of Florida airman and what to know about the Eurovision finals: Morning Rundown

Plus, a Virginia school board voted to restore the names of Confederate leaders to two schools after they were changed in 2020.
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A resignation letter from Miss USA criticizes the leader of the pageant organization. Donald Trump is ruled against twice in his hush money trial. And after stripping Confederate leaders' names from two schools in the wake of protests in 2020, a Virginia school board votes to restore them.

Here’s what to know today.

Miss USA bashes pageant’s CEO in resignation letter

UmaSofia Srivastava and Noelia Voigt,
UmaSofia Srivastava and Noelia Voigt on Feb. 10, 2024 in New York City.Craig Barritt / Getty Images file

Scrutiny of the Miss USA organization is mounting with the release of a scathing resignation letter from Noelia Voigt, who gave up her crown and title as Miss USA this week. In the letter, obtained by NBC News, she accuses the pageant’s CEO of failing to address a sexual harassment claim and creating a toxic workplace, among other things. 

Voigt, 24, detailed the alleged incident of sexual harassment at an event in Florida. According to her, when she made Miss USA CEO and President Laylah Rose aware of the situation, Rose dismissed the concerns and told Voigt that “it is, unfortunately, part of the role you’re in as a public figure.” In the letter, Voigt also accused Rose of badmouthing her to others in the organization. Eagle-eyed fans also noticed that the first letter in every sentence of Voigt’s online statement spelled out “I am silenced.”

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Voigt’s sudden resignation Monday was followed two days later by the resignation of Miss Teen USA, 17-year-old UmaSofia Srivastava. In her statement, Srivastava said her “personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.”

Several former members of the Miss USA industry have spoken out in recent days, including Claudia Michelle, who stepped down as Miss USA social media manager a few days before Voigt resigned. Michelle said that she observed Voigt’s mental health decline and that she saw Srivastava and her family being disrespected.

Read the full story here.

Stormy Daniels spars with Trump defense and an ex-White House assistant returns to the stand

Image: court profile stormy daniels hush money trial
Charly Triballeau / AFP - Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial picks back up with more testimony from his former executive assistant in the White House — a far friendlier witness for his defense than the day’s star attraction, adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Trump attorney Susan Necheles continued her attempt to discredit Daniels’ account of her sexual encounter with Trump. Trump lawyer paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about the allegation during the 2016 presidential election. Necheles suggested Daniels fabricated the story in order to extort money at a sensitive time for Trump and questioned her about promoting trial-related merchandise online, including a $40 “Stormy Saint of Indictments” candle. 

At the end of court yesterday, Judge Juan Merchan denied a mistrial demand from Trump’s team, which argued that Daniels’ testimony was unfair and prejudicial. Merchan also dismissed the Trump legal team’s request to loosen the rules on his gag order. Here’s what else happened on Day 14.

Madeleine Westerhout, Trump’s former executive assistant in the White House, was one of three new witnesses to take the stand after Daniels’ testimony wrapped. She detailed Trump’s micromanagement of his financial affairs and described the former president as a “very good boss” who had a loving relationship with his wife, Melania Trump. Her testimony resumes today with more about what she saw working at the Trump White House.

Names of Confederate leaders restored to 2 Virginia schools

A school board in Shenandoah County, Virginia, voted overnight to approve a proposal that will restore the names of Confederate military leaders to two public schools. The measure passed 5-1 and reversed a previous board’s 2020 decision to change the names of schools that had been linked to three Confederate leaders. Mountain View High School will go back to the name Stonewall Jackson High School, and Honey Run Elementary School will go back to the name Ashby-Lee Elementary School, named for Robert E. Lee and Turner Ashby.

Current board members said the 2020 board’s decision was made hastily and without appropriate community input. About 80 people spoke at last night’s meeting before the board’s vote, most of them against restoring the old names. Read the full story here.

Netanyahu vows Israel can fight alone — and ‘with fingernails’ — after U.S. weapons threat

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defiantly vowed his country would “stand alone” if its closest ally followed through on threats to suspend arms shipments over a full-scale invasion of Rafah, where more than 1 million people have taken refuge.

Speaking after President Joe Biden’s warning sparked fury and infighting among his senior figures, Netanyahu said Israel would “fight with our fingernails” in order to pursue its proclaimed goal of eliminating Hamas — with or without the backing of the U.S., which until recent months had been in little doubt.

The rupture between the two allies comes as talks stalled in a U.S. push for a cease-fire that would head off a ground assault on Rafah. Israeli and Hamas delegations left Cairo without a deal to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip and secure the release of hostages still held in the enclave.

Biden’s threat triggered new criticism from Democratic lawmakers and voters in battleground states critical to his re-election efforts. Trump also responded, attacking Biden and Jewish Democrats.

Bodycam video released in fatal shooting of Florida airman

A Florida sheriff’s office released body camera video showing one of its deputies fatally shooting a 23-year-old Air Force airman at his off-base apartment last week. The release of the video from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department comes after attorneys for the family of Senior Airman Roger Fortson alleged that the deputy burst into the wrong apartment and shot Fortson when he saw him with a gun. Fortson’s family has also said he was on a FaceTime call with his girlfriend during the encounter.

The video, which lasts just more than four minutes, begins as the deputy arrives at Fortson’s apartment complex and ends after Fortson has been shot and the deputy calls for medical assistance. At a news conference yesterday, authorities said that the deputy had not entered the wrong apartment or forced his way in, and that he twice identified himself. Here’s what else we know.

What to know before the Eurovision finals

A new Eurovision champion will be named tomorrow night after 26 countries battle it out for the annual singing competition’s top prize. Here to explain the finalists, the fanfare and more is NBC News senior desk editor Andrew Jones, who is in Malmö, Sweden, the site of this year’s contest:

If you’re a fan of glitter, pyrotechnics and quite a few shirtless backup dancers, you’ll likely already know that it’s time for Eurovision, the world’s biggest music event. Lithuanian contestant Silvester Belt may have put it best when he told us, “It’s the funniest and most awkward, cringiest and fun event in the world. I don’t think there’s anything like [it].”

Eurovision sees artists from countries across Europe (and as far away as Australia) submit original pop songs, which then get voted on by the public and juries of music experts. The favorites to win this year include Croatia (with a high-energy song about leaving the countryside for city life), Switzerland (with an anthem about the singer finding their nonbinary identity), and Ireland (with a Goth-inflected song that alternates between frantic growling and screaming and laid-back singing).

This year’s contest isn’t without some controversy. Some groups are calling for a boycott of the competition over Israel’s participation in the event amid its war in Gaza.

The Eurovision Grand Final is tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET. We’ll be live-blogging the whole thing at NBCNews.com. Until then, here’s what else to know, including how to vote for a winner.

Politics in Brief

‘Junk fees’ crackdown: Federal regulators are considering whether new rules are needed around credit card rewards amid allegations from the Biden administration officials that card holders might be paying more in fees and interest than their rewards and other perks are worth.  

Hunter Biden: A federal appeals court rejected Hunter Biden’s efforts to dismiss his gun case in Delaware.

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Staff Pick: The fight for the right to fertility treatments

Jacquelyne Nichols.
Jacquelyne Nichols.Megan Flanagan

After flying aircraft for the Marines, Jacquelyne Nichols left active-duty service and tried to start a family. But she struggled to conceive and she found it hard to get help with fertility treatments from the military. “It’s basically a full-time job to make sure that I’m getting what I need,” she said.

Veterans and service members may experience rates of infertility three times higher than the general population, according to one survey. The VA and the Defense Department have long covered the high cost of IVF, but veterans and service members still must prove that their infertility is related to their service, which is hard to do. NBC News’ investigative reporters explored the push to expand fertility care within the military.

Mark Schone, managing editor, NBC News Investigative Unit

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