(TEUTOPOLIS, Ill.) -- Multiple people are dead and evacuations are in place after a semi-truck carrying a toxic substance overturned in rural Illinois Friday night, authorities said.
The incident occurred around 8:40 p.m. local time on U.S. Highway 40 near the village of Teutopolis, authorities said.
A semi-truck carrying ammonia rolled over, causing a "large plume cloud of anhydrous ammonia on the roadway that caused terribly dangerous air conditions in the northeast area," according to Effingham County Sheriff Paul Kuhns.
Several vehicles were involved in the crash, state police said.
"I am sorry to say that we do have multiple fatalities," Kuhns said during a press briefing Saturday morning. "And I'm sorry to say I don't have that exact number for you."
The accident scene was "large" and "complicated," he said.
"We're still dealing with the crash and the emergency caused by the anhydrous ammonia spill," the sheriff said.
The east side of Teutopolis has been evacuated in the wake of the crash, with the evacuation zone approximately 2 square miles, authorities said. There is no update at this time on when residents will be able to return to their homes.
The ruptured area of the tanker has been patched, which "slowed it down" but did not stop the leak, Teutopolis Fire Protection District Chief Tim McMahon said.
Anhydrous ammonia is a clear, colorless gas that is toxic. Effects of inhalation range from nausea to respiratory tract irritation, depending on the length of exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Drivers are still being kept away from the area amid the cleanup.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation, Acting Lt. Bruce Wagner of the Illinois State Police said.
The NTSB, in coordination with the Illinois State Police and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department, is sending a team to conduct a safety investigation into Friday's rollover crash, the agency said Saturday.
Teutopolis is a small village in Effingham County, located about 92 miles southeast of Springfield, the capital of Illinois.
(NEW YORK) -- The Powerball is approaching a whopping billion-dollar payout.
The jackpot has climbed to an estimated $960 million ahead of Saturday night's drawing. That would be the fourth-largest Powerball jackpot ever and the ninth-largest lottery jackpot when factoring in Mega Millions top prizes.
This is the second-largest Powerball jackpot this year, after a ticket in California won the $1.08 billion jackpot on July 19. The winner has not yet come forward.
Since that drawing, there have been 30 consecutive Powerball drawings without a grand prize winner.
The jackpot has an estimated cash value of $441.4 million. Winners can choose to take the money as an immediate lump sum payment or in 30 payments over 29 years.
The odds of winning a prize are 1 in 24.9, while the jackpot odds are 1 in 292.2 million, according to Powerball.
Powerball tickets are $2 per play. Tickets are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
(NEW YORK) -- Twenty-eight people were rescued in a "historic" storm which brought major flooding in New York City, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Saturday. A state of emergency will remain in effect for the next six days, she said.
No deaths were reported from the storm, she said at a press conference.
Heavy rainfall caused flooding in New York City with 5.86 inches of rain falling in Central Park, 8.67 inches falling at JFK International Airport and 4.87 falling at LaGuardia.
This brings the month's rainfall for New York City to 14.21 inches.
Gov. Hochul commended New Yorkers for staying home through the severe weather and MTA workers for maintaining service for commuters through the day.
"You are our heroes, you are extraordinary, you got the job done," Hochul said.
Hochul continued to pin the cause of the severe weather on climate change. Hochul said everyone should stay vigilant and be prepared for future storms such as the one that hit Friday.
"This is unfortunately what we have to expect is the new normal," Hochul said.
Overall, for a calendar day in any month, Friday was the second wettest day in New York City in the last decade, behind 2021 which saw 7.1 inches in a single day (from Ida's remnants). The Friday storm was the 7th wettest day ever on record for the city, since 1869.
There have been roughly 56,000 days recorded in Central Park, and this is in the top ten wettest out of all of them.
On Saturday, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts saw rain showers, as well as parts of Long Island. Up to 2 inches of rain is possible today in these areas -- with the heaviest rain hitting Long Island, where locally 3 or more inches are possible.
The rain will mostly stay in that area through the morning, but around noon there is a slight chance for few light showers moving through New York City. Any rain or sprinkles in NYC should end mid-afternoon and the system overall will die and move out overnight, leaving sunny skies for Sunday.
(NEW YORK) -- Declining species in rainforests around the world may have a second chance of survival due to artificial intelligence technology, experts told ABC News.
Researchers from environment nonprofit Rainforest Connection and Google.org, the tech company's philanthropy branch, said they have found a way to use AI to monitor and conserve species in threatened ecosystems as rainforests bear the brunt of impacts from hazards like global warming, deforestation and development.
"Now, with the use of AI, we're able to analyze hundreds of thousands of recordings," Bourhan Yassin, CEO of Rainforest Connection, told ABC News.. "A process that used to take four and a half months for a single scientist to analyze one species, we can do that in seconds."
The conservationists chose rainforests in Puerto Rico as the first case study for using the open-source AI platform Arbimom, which is designed for biodiversity monitoring through acoustics. It collected more than 7.7 million recordings from over 900 sites to improve the knowledge of the locations of at-risk species such as the Elfin-woods warbler and Mountain Colqui, a tree frog, Yassin said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enlisted Rainforest Connection to help find the most suitable areas to release Puerto Rican parrots, an endangered species with less than 700 individuals left, which have been under rehabilitation for the past decade, Yassin said.
Last year, the USFW released dozens of rehabilitated Puerto Rican parrots into the Maricao State Forest and El Yunque National Forest. The program was established after Hurricane Maria in 2017 left the forests, the parrots' main habitat, decimated.
The project, the result of an AI for innovation grant Google bestowed on the nonprofit, utilizes a type of science called bioacoustics by placing recorders created by the researchers called "guardians" on top of tree canopies. The recorders, which are equipped with long-range capture technology, capture the soundscape of the forest 24 hours a day and connect to a satellite network and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network that allows for the broadcast of the sounds in real-time, Yassin said.
Another set of inexpensive, basic recorders is strategically placed beneath the tree canopy to gather "in-between data," Yassin said. The massive amount of data is then plugged into Arbimom, which analyzes it to determine insights about the behavior of the species.
In addition to endemic species, the recorders allow the researchers to monitor for indicators and invasive species as well. The technology can also use the tools to monitor for illegal activity, such as unauthorized logging, Yassin said.
"Puerto Rico is becoming drier under the current climate change conditions," Yassin said. "We're seeing how the distribution of species is directly correlated to like rainfall and forest cover."
Although bioacoustics is not a new methodology, this scale of research would not have been possible without the emergence of AI, Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, director of product impact for Google.org, told ABC News.
Prior to modern technology, biologists would essentially go into the field and make themselves scarce -- hiding behind bushes with large, sharp mics to record -- and painstakingly spend 10 to 15 minutes to analyze just 30 seconds of recording, Yassin said.
The study found that climate change is causing many species in Puerto Rico's rainforests to migrate to higher elevations and that Puerto Rico will become drier under current climate conditions.
In addition, current protected areas and remaining suitable bird habitats are not large enough to support birds due to climate change, demonstrating the need for larger, more connected protected areas and buffer zones, Rainforest Connection said.
"Being able to look at that and adapt to that, I think, is one of the most important findings that we were able to bring down to the ground and let the right people know about it," Yassin said.
The results and recommendations from Google.org and Rainforest Connection's findings are being used by local NGOs, like Para la Naturaleza, to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales de Puerto Rico to create new protection zones focused on species requiring protection, the organizations said.
Rainforests across the world offer a wealth of benefits to the environment, including holding more than half of the world's vertebrate species and the ability of its trees and plants to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. But rainforests are declining at alarming rates -- losing an area the size of Israel in just 2020, according to a report by nonprofit Amazon Conservation. In 2022, the world lost 10% more tropical forests than in the previous year, an analysis by the World Resource Institute found.
"We're losing species that are very vital to the health of the forest," Yassin said.
Climate scientists are increasingly finding more evidence that protecting biodiversity is one of the most essential tools to mitigating climate change.
The expanding availability of AI is also allowing scientists to embark in more efficient ways to respond to the impacts of climate change, such as detecting melting permafrost in the Arctic, ensuring the world's food supplies and preserving the health of the oceans.
Conservationists will be able to scale up this methodology across multiple soundscapes across multiple places in the world, Yassin said.
"It's just such a great example of what we can do to unlock the potential of AI in a bold and responsible way," Gosselink said.
(BOSTON) -- A former Staples executive was sentenced on Friday for his role in the college admissions cheating scheme known as Varsity Blues, marking the end of a years-long case that has resulted in dozens of convictions.
John Wilson, 64, of Lynnfield, Massachusetts, was sentenced in federal court in Boston to one year of probation -- with the first six months to be served in home detention -- and 250 hours of community service, federal prosecutors said. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $75,000 and restitution in the amount of $88,546.
Wilson, a private equity investor, was found guilty in 2021 in the first trial stemming from the scheme. He was initially sentenced last year to 15 months in prison but appealed and most of the charges he was convicted of were subsequently dropped.
He was resentenced on Friday on the charge of filing a false tax return. Prosecutors said he falsely claimed payments he made to secure his son's admission to the University of Southern California were deductible as a business expense and a charitable contribution.
According to prosecutors, Wilson agreed to pay scheme mastermind William "Rick" Singer $220,000 in 2013 to secure his son's admission as a "purported water polo recruit." Wilson's attorneys argued the payment was a legitimate donation and that his case was "fundamentally different" from others in the Varsity Blues scandal. They also disputed prosecutors' claims that Wilson's son was an "alleged athlete," calling it "categorically false," while noting that his son played on USC's water polo team during his freshman year.
"It was a terrible injustice to tarnish the Wilson family with the Varsity Blues accusations, and it is finally over," Wilson's attorney, Michael Kendall of White & Case LLP, said in a statement on Friday. "John Wilson did not commit fraud, he did not bribe any universities, and he did not partake in a grand conspiracy. His children were highly successful students who were qualified on their own merits."
The sentencing decision "shows the tax count was more of a technical charge than anything else," the statement continued.
Wilson expressed relief at the sentencing.
"After almost five years of being falsely accused and then wrongly convicted, my family and I are relieved to see our nightmare end," Wilson said in a statement. "I have spent years defending my innocence and the reputations of my children. Today, it's clear to all that I was telling the truth, I did not violate any laws or school policies."
The sentencing marks the end of a years-long case brought by federal prosecutors in Boston that resulted in 51 convictions.
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among those who served prison time. They have since been released.
Singer was sentenced to 42 months in prison by a federal judge in January after pleading guilty.
(ATLANTA, Ga.) -- One of former President Donald Trump's co-defendants charged in the Georgia election interference case is taking a plea deal in which he will agree to testify against others in the case.
Scott Hall appeared Friday in court for what Judge Scott McAfee said was a "negotiated resolution."
The arrangement marks the first plea deal in the case.
As part of the deal, Hall pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties.
He will get probation and has agreed to testify moving forward, including at the trial of other co-defendants.
Asked if he understands this is a "negotiated plea," Hall said, "I do."
Hall, a Georgia bail bondsman, was charged in relation to the alleged breach of voting machine equipment in the wake of the 2020 election in Coffee County, Georgia.
During the hearing, the allegations surrounding the voting breach were laid out. It was said that Hall and several of his co-defendants "entered into a conspiracy to intentionally interfere" with the 2020 election results and that their goal was to "unlawfully" access voting machines in Coffee County in order to obtain data.
"The conspiracy also included obtaining images of ballots," they said in court.
At the top of the hearing, Judge McAfee said this "was not a matter that had been scheduled today," but that he was "informed by both parties that they would like to have an impromptu court hearing."
Trump and 18 others pleaded not guilty to all charges in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia.
The former president says his actions were not illegal and that the investigation is politically motivated.
(LAS VEGAS) -- Duane Keith Davis has been indicted on a murder charge in connection with the shooting of Tupac Shakur, who was killed during a drive-by in Las Vegas in 1996.
Davis was indicted on Thursday by a Clark County grand jury on one count of open murder with use of a deadly weapon with a gang enhancement, according to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson. The suspect is expected to appear in court in the coming days.
The celebrated hip-hop artist was shot on Sept. 7, 1996, in Las Vegas and died in the hospital six days later from his injuries at the age of 25.
"For 27 years the family of Tupac Shakur has been waiting for justice," Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Kevin McMahill said during a press briefing on Friday, adding that detectives spent "countless hours" on the homicide investigation.
Davis claims to be one of two living witnesses, along with former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight, to the Vegas shooting that killed the rapper, according to a search warrant released by police.
A brawl that broke out between members and affiliates of two feuding Compton, California, gangs -- Mob Piru and the South Side Compton Crips -- just hours before the deadly drive-by led to the "retaliatory shooting" that killed Tupac, according to Lt. Jason Johansson.
Tupac, Knight and members of the Mob Piru gang had attended a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand that was also attended by members of the South Side Compton Crips -- including Davis, the gang's "shot caller," and his nephew Orlando Anderson -- Johansson said. While leaving the fight, a brawl captured on hotel security footage broke out near the elevator bank, with Anderson kicked and punched.
"Duane Davis devised a plan to obtain a firearm and retaliate against Suge Knight and Tupac for what happened to Anderson," Johansson said.
As Tupac was headed to an after-party in a black BMW driven by Knight, a white Cadillac pulled up alongside the car near the Strip and "immediately began shooting," Johansson said. Davis, Anderson and two others -- Terrence Brown and Deandre Smith- -- were in the Cadillac, according to Johansson.
Investigators knew the incident involved out-of-town victims and suspects, but never had enough evidence to bring forward a criminal charge, Johansson said.
The case remained cold for decades until "reinvigorated" in 2018 when new information came to light -- "specifically, Duane Davis' own admissions to his involvement in this homicide investigation that he provided to numerous different media outlets," Johansson said.
Police more recently conducted a nighttime search of Davis' Las Vegas-area home in July in connection with the Tupac murder investigation.
Davis was taken into custody without incident early Friday morning while on a walk near his home where the search occurred, the official said.
Magazine articles about Tupac and his death were among the items seized by police from the Henderson home during the search, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told ABC News. The search warrant listed a "copy of 'Vibe magazine' on Tupac" among the items seized.
Nearly 13 hours of body camera footage in the search were released in response to a public records request by ABC News. The video has been redacted -- it goes black and silent -- when SWAT team members are on private property, but otherwise shows the raid taking place and Davis -- known as Keffe D or Keefy D -- talking to police outside of his home.
Davis is the only living suspect in the homicide, according to Johansson, who noted that the charge of murder does not have a statute of limitations.
Anderson was shot and killed in a gang-related shooting in Los Angeles County in 1998.
(NEW YORK) -- A sea lion escaped from its pool at the Central Park Zoo on Friday amid the severe flooding that's pounding New York City, officials said.
"Zoo staff monitored the sea lion as she explored the area before returning to the familiar surroundings of the pool and the company of the other two sea lions," Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo and executive vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoos and Aquarium, said in a statement.
The sea lion never beached the zoo's secondary perimeter, Breheny said.
The water has since receded and the animals are safe in their exhibit, he said.
The zoo is closed on Friday due to the severe weather.
Flash flood warnings were issued across all five New York City boroughs on Friday as heavy rain hit the region.
Over 5.6 inches of rain was recorded in Central Park by Friday afternoon.
"If you are home, stay home," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference. "We could possibly see 8 inches of rain before the day is over."
The rain is expected to lighten up Friday night, but it won't stop until Saturday.
(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- The Baton Rouge Police Department announced charges against four police officers in the Street Crimes Unit that stemmed from a separate incident other than the allegations levied against officers in the unit last week.
"Today, you're going to hear about accountability," Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said on Friday. He encouraged citizens to go the FBI with any complaints about the unit.
The officers, including one high ranking deputy, were all booked Thursday night, stemming from an incident that occurred in September 2020.
The police chief said a male subject had been under arrest and officers on the unit allegedly attempted to strip search the individual in the bathroom. In order to subdue the suspect, officers had to deploy a taser which triggered the body cameras of the officers.
"The officers didn't realize that the body camera was on until after the incident. An officer was then directed by his supervisor to show them what was recorded on the body camera," according to Paul. "According to our investigation, we learned that a supervisor believed that the contents of that video were violations of our policy and excessive use of force and then directed an officer to get rid of the body camera so that the evidence could not be downloaded in the docking station."
A plan was then allegedly devised by the officers to get rid of the footage, the chief said.
Deputy Chief Troy Lawrence Sr, Jesse Barcelona, Todd Thomas, and Doug Chutz, all former officers and members of the department, were charged.
The Street Crimes Unit has faced scrutiny in recent weeks after allegations of mistreatment of detainees, including at a now-shuttered police warehouse that officers allegedly called the "Brave Cave," according to complaints made against the department.
The charges against the four officers, however, are not related to the "Brave Cave" case.
The FBI announced over the weekend they are investigating the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) following allegations that some officers "abused their authority."
The New Orleans FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana have opened the probe, with investigators "reviewing the matter for potential federal violations," the FBI New Orleans said in a statement, while urging anyone with information on the case to contact them.
The department's police chief reported the allegations about the warehouse to the FBI, a source familiar with the investigation said Tuesday.
At a tense Baton Rouge City Council meeting on Wednesday, Paul said that in past incidents he has looked to hold police officers who don't follow the law accountable.
The chief also apologized to the community for a passionate speech at the city council meeting Wednesday night.
"I do understand that my delivery yesterday during the City Council meeting may not have represented to some my role as a leader, but I do not apologize for standing up for what is right," the police chief said. "Although my passion may have offended some. That was not my intention. Please understand that my passion comes from my connection to the city and wanting to see it win."
The chief said he couldn't get into any more details about the charges he announced today or the "Brave Cave" allegations, because of the ongoing nature of the investigations.
"I have concern that this investigation required some federal independent oversight based on some of the things I learned early on," he said.
The mayor also offered a full-throated defense of the police chief and highlighted how he has improved the department and drove down homicide rates all while doing it in a challenging political environment.
"We have been effective in holding criminals accountable in this city because of our strategies and Chief Paul's leadership." Mayor Sharon Broome said. "We have made significant investments in the Baton Rouge Police Department, which have resulted in a higher pay for our officers and now nearly two straight years of double-digit reduction in homicides and nonfatal shootings."
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- More than 500,000 fast-food workers in California will soon earn at least $20 an hour as a result of a new bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Newsom joined labor leaders, legislators and fast-food workers in Los Angeles on Thursday, hailing the achievement as a result of the group effort to increase the state's minimum wage for fast-food employees.
"California is home to more than 500,000 fast-food workers who for decades have been fighting for higher wages and better working conditions," Newsom said. "Today, we take one step closer to fairer wages, safer and healthier working conditions, and better training by giving hardworking fast-food workers a stronger voice and seat at the table."
The legislation, AB 1228, "authorized the Fast Food Council to set fast-food restaurant standards for minimum wage, and develop proposals for other working conditions, including health and safety standards and training," a press release from Newsom's office said.
The newly established Fast Food Council is comprised of a nine-person group that has two representatives from the fast-food industry, two franchisee or restaurant owners, two employee representatives, two employee advocates and one member of the public. The council was created to ensure that workers have a stronger say in setting minimum wages and working conditions, including health and safety standards.
"Today’s victory is just the beginning," Ingrid Vilorio, a California fast-food worker and leader in the Fight for $15, said. "From day one of our movement, we have demanded a seat at the table so we could improve our pay and working conditions. This moment was built by every fast-food worker, both here in California and across the country, who has bravely gone on strike, exposed the issues in our industry and made bold demands of corporations that we knew could do better by their frontline workers. We now have the power to win transformational changes for every fast-food cook, cashier and barista in our state. We hope that what we win here shows workers in other industries and other states that when we fight, we win!"
Starting April 1, 2024, the minimum wage for the state's 500,000 fast-food workers will increase to $20 per hour. The average hourly wage in 2022 was $16.21.
The new law allows the council to increase the minimum wage annually from 2025 through 2029, but it cannot exceed a 3.5% increase or the annual change in the Consumer Price Index, a measurement set by the Bureau of Labor statistics on average prices of goods and urban wage earners.
It will also "allow the council to develop and propose other labor, health or safety standards for rule-making by the appropriate body," the release from Newsom's office said.
(NEW YORK) -- A 3-year-old boy has been shot and killed while in the car with his mother and brother in Cleveland, authorities said.
An adult man -- who was not in the car -- was also shot in the Thursday afternoon incident, Cleveland police said. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.
Several persons of interest have been detained, police said Friday, noting that the investigation is ongoing.
The 3-year-old's "heartbreaking" killing "is another reminder that we must come together as a city, state and nation to address this violence and its root causes," Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb said in a statement.
Last year, at least 6,152 children were killed or injured in shootings in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive.
"No words can adequately express the pain and the sorrow of this tragedy. In the face of this loss, I ask the community to come together to support this family and to reaffirm our commitment to a safer city," Bibb said. "We will not rest until those responsible are held accountable and brought to justice."
(NEW YORK) -- Fatal shooting deaths among children and teens continue to climb this year amid a series of recent gun violence incidents involving youths.
So far this year, 229 children under the age of 11 and 1,082 teenagers have been killed by gun violence, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The tally of injured includes 515 children and 3,025 teens.
A 3-year-old boy was shot and killed while in the car with his mother and brother in Cleveland, Ohio, authorities said.
An adult man who was not in the car was also shot in the Thursday afternoon incident and he suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Cleveland police said.
Several persons of interest have been detained, police said Friday. The investigation is ongoing, police said.
Three teens who were killed in a Sept. 24 shooting in Columbia, South Carolina, have been identified as 16-year-old Jakobe Fanning, 17-year-old Dre’Von Riley and 16-year-old Caleb Wise, the sheriff's office said.
Two 17-year-old boys and a 14-year-old boy have been arrested for three counts of murder, attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and possession of handgun under the age of 18, according to local officials.
A 2-year-old girl was killed in a drive-by shooting in Dallas, Texas, on Sept. 24 alongside an older woman who is not related to the child, according to ABC affiliate WFAA. Both the toddler and the woman were taken to the hospital, where the toddler was pronounced dead.
“My grandbaby ain't your target. So why does she have to die? Like, why would you shoot a 2-year-old," Zyah’s maternal step-grandmother, Deborah Harper Smith, told the local news outlet.
Five victims were transported to local hospitals for their injuries following a mass shooting on Sept. 23, according to a press release from police in Chesapeake, Virginia.
A 14-year-old is dead after succumbing to his injuries from the shooting. Four others were also injured, according to police. The other victims were identified as two male juveniles and two adult males.
ABC News' Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.
(NEW YORK) -- Tens of thousands of striking employees at the Big 3 automakers are receiving $500 a week in substitute pay from the United Auto Workers -- roughly half of their previous income.
Some workers will need to draw on savings or support from family members within weeks while cutting back on expenses like dental work and streaming services, according to interviews with two UAW members employed by Ford.
The financial pain endured by striking autoworkers comes alongside business losses incurred by diminished production at the Big 3 -- General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, which owns Jeep and Chrysler.
A 10-day strike among the 143,000 autoworkers represented by the UAW was expected to cost the companies a total of nearly $1 billion and to deny workers about $860 million in lost wages, according to a report released last month by the Anderson Economic Group.
As of Friday, the work stoppage had stretched for more than two weeks, though it had so far touched only a fraction of the workers and company facilities.
"The strike is the nuclear option," Art Wheaton, a labor professor at the Worker Institute at Cornell University, told ABC News. "This is mutually assured destruction."
"The workers want to withstand the strike one day longer than the companies so that they'll make a deal," Wheaton added.
Autoworkers have walked off the job at one assembly plant associated with each of the Big 3, as well as 38 parts distribution locations run by GM and Stellantis.
In all, roughly 18,300 autoworkers have walked out on strike, encompassing a fraction of the nearly 150,000 workers represented by the UAW in the contract dispute. UAW President Shawn Fain has said the strike will expand to include more workers if negotiations stall at the bargaining table.
In a statement on Thursday, a Ford spokesperson said the company remains engaged in talks with the UAW.
"Negotiations continue. Our focus remains on working diligently with the UAW to reach a deal that rewards our workforce and enables Ford to invest in a vibrant and growing future," the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for General Motors criticized the union's decision to expand the strike, saying the company has put forward a series of "historic" contract proposals.
"The strike escalation last week by the UAW's top leadership was unnecessary," the spokesperson said. "We have said repeatedly that nobody wins in a strike and that effects go well beyond our employees on the plant floor and negatively impact our customers, suppliers and the communities where we do business."
Stellantis declined to respond to ABC News' request for comment. On Thursday, a spokesperson for Stellantis said in a statement: "We continue to approach these negotiations responsibly and bargain in good faith."
The UAW did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
Mack Hall, a striking Ford employee at an assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, said he prepared financially in recent months by stashing away some of each paycheck and avoiding major expenses such as a vacation or new vehicle.
"I'm willing to make that sacrifice," Hall said, saying that he stands to bring in roughly half of his previous weekly income.
The experience reminds him of the pay cut that he and other autoworkers took as carmakers struggled during the Great Recession. "We've been sacrificing since 2012," he said.
In addition to the weekly $500 payment, the union's strike fund will provide reimbursement for health care costs. Since vision and dental costs will not be covered, Hall went in for a teeth cleaning and crown before the work stoppage began, he said.
"That's the last thing I did," he said, adding that his savings will last him four months before he goes into debt.
The targeted strike strategy allows the UAW to "create chaos" for the automakers, since they don't know where the strike will take hold next, Wheaton said. But the move also helps the union preserve its strike fund, he noted.
The union held $825 million in its strike fund before workers joined the picket line, allowing it to carry out a work stoppage among all of the workers that it represents at the Big 3 automakers for about 12 weeks, according to analysts at Evercore ISI. By narrowing the strike, the union can draw down the fund over a longer period of time.
The union has demanded a 40% pay increase combined over the four-year duration of a new contract, as well as a 32-hour workweek at 40-hour pay, among other terms.
The Big 3 automakers have offered a 20% raise and have appeared to reject the stipulation on the length of the workweek.
Marisa Beck, a Ford employee whose plant remains in operation, said she worries about the financial blow if the union were to call her out on strike. A single parent of a 10-year old child, Beck said the union stipend would cut her pay by nearly half.
"It's pretty stressful, particularly being the only income in the house, to think that you're going to be on strike and make way less," Beck said.
To prepare, Beck has cut expenses like some video streaming subscriptions and the regular purchase of a 5-gallon water cooler. "My daughter wanted the water cooler back," Beck said. "There's nothing wrong with tap water."
Still, Beck lacks enough savings to withstand the potential cut in pay, saying she would immediately need to rely on support from family members. Even so, Beck wouldn't hesitate if the union called her out on strike, she added.
"We've got buttons that say, 'I don't want to strike but I will,'" Beck said. "You really couldn't sum it up any better."
(NEW YORK) -- One year ago, on Sept. 21, 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office had filed a $250 million lawsuit against Donald Trump, accusing the former president of fraudulent business practices.
Turning the title of Trump's bestselling business book on its head, James told reporters at a New York City press conference, "Claiming you have money you do not have does not amount to the Art of the Deal. It's the Art of the Steal."
Though Trump has denied all wrongdoing, a New York judge on Tuesday effectively decided the central allegation against Trump, ruling just days before the scheduled start of the trial that the former president committed fraud by repeatedly inflating the value of some of his signature properties. Trump attorney Alina Habba immediately said that Trump planned to appeal the decision.
The judge also canceled the Trump Organization's business certificates in New York, severely restricting Trump's ability to conduct business in the state moving forward -- a move that Habba called "nonsensical" and "outrageously overreaching."
Yet the ruling still left multiple matters unresolved -- including what additional penalties Trump might face and what might happen with the multiple causes of action included in the attorney general's suit -- which are due to be argued at the civil trial that starts on Monday.
"Don't take this the wrong way, but what in the court's mind does this trial now look like?" Trump attorney Chris Kise asked Judge Arthur Engoron during a pretrial conference on Wednesday, regarding the uncertainties that lie ahead.
Here are five takeaways as the parties prepare for Monday's scheduled trial.
Trump's lawyers could face an uphill battle
Trump and his co-defendants face a bench trial, meaning that the sole arbiter of the case is Engoron instead of a jury. In his scathing order Tuesday, Engoron sharply criticized Trump's business practices as belonging in a "fantasy world."
"In defendants' world: rent regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party's lies..." Engoron wrote, citing multiple arguments made by defense to justify the allegedly inflated valuations of Trump's assets. "That is a fantasy world, not the real world."
Engoron also appeared unconvinced by the depositions Trump has given in the case. The judge seemed to use the former president's words against him, citing transcribed comments Trump made about the inclusion of so-called "worthless clause" disclaimers included in his financial statements, which the defense has argued insulate the defendants from liability.
"However, defendants' reliance on these 'worthless' disclaimers is worthless," Engoron wrote.
Engoron similarly disagreed with the defense's argument that Trump's property values were "subjective" and therefore could not be fraudulent.
"The defenses Donald Trump attempts to articulate in his sworn deposition are wholly without basis in law or fact," Engoron wrote, adding that the documents presented to the court "clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business."
Tuesday's ruling could hurt Trump's reputation as businessman
While Trump's public comments indicate he's been unfazed by the four criminal cases and additional civil lawsuits he faces, Tuesday's ruling appears to strike at the core of Trump's identity as a successful negotiator who propelled himself to the presidency on the strength of his business record.
In previous arguments, Kise described Trump as a "master of finding value where others do not" while arguing that Trump's alleged inflated valuations were a product of his business skill.
"This is why billionaires are billionaires," Kise said about Trump's business acumen.
However, Engoron's ruling methodically tore into Trump's business transactions, saying that the only way to explain the allegedly inflated valuations was fraud. Finding that Trump inflated the value of his triplex at Trump Tower by between $114 and $207 million, Engoron called out Trump for describing the property as three times its actual size to support his valuation.
"A discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud," Engoron said in his order.
"This has significant consequences for the business of Donald Trump here in New York," said ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams. "If this holds up on appeal, this could mean he loses buildings, it means he loses properties."
Trump might appear in court
While Trump is not required to attend the trial, the attorney general plans to call the former president as a fact witness, according to a witness list provided to the court.
When Trump was initially deposed by the attorney general's office in August 2022, before the case was brought, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination over 400 times -- but he took a more talkative approach during an April 2023 deposition, providing lengthy responses to questions posed by the government.
It remains unclear which approach Trump would adopt if he is called to the stand during the trial.
With so many witnesses, the trial could run for months
Before Tuesday's surprise ruling, Engoron estimated that the trial could take three months and end by Dec. 22. While his ruling is likely to limit the amount of evidence and testimony, the trial will still include lengthy direct and cross examination of dozens of witnesses.
The government's witness list, which was updated after Engoron's ruling, includes 27 people who would appear in the courtroom in person.
While the defense is unlikely to call all their witnesses, their list includes 127 people, in addition to anyone on the government's witness list.
The outcome could be expensive for Trump
The New York attorney general is seeking a $250 million ruling against Trump and his co-defendants -- and that penalty might only be the start of Trump's financial woes stemming from the trial.
James has also asked the court to bar Trump from entering into commercial real estate transactions in New York, to prevent him from applying for loans, and to disqualify him from serving as an officer of a New York corporation.
With his order to cancel Trump's New York business licenses, Engoron has directed Trump to begin the process of dissolving the companies held in his name, which could imperil the future of the Trump Organization and similar entities.
"This, you could argue, is more immediately perilous to some degree than some of the criminal cases to Donald Trump," Abrams said about the risk to Trump's checkbook.