DNY59/iStock(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — The grandfather charged with negligent homicide after his 1-year-old granddaughter fatally fell from a cruise ship was quiet and stoic as he appeared in a Puerto Rican courtroom Wednesday.During Salvatore Anello’s preliminary hearing, the prosecution said they have witnesses, both on and off the island, they would call to testify.Chloe Wiegand, an 18-month-old from Indiana, was traveling with her grandparents and parents on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas when she fell to her death in July as the ship was docked in San Juan.Chloe was with her grandfather in the children’s water park play area when her grandfather put her on a wood railing in front of a wall of glass windows, according to attorney Michael Winkleman.Winkleman said the grandfather put Chloe on the railing thinking she’d bang on the glass. However, the window was open and she was “gone,” Winkleman said in July, calling her death a “tragic accident that was preventable.”Prosecutor Laura Hernandez told ABC News that prosecutors are confident in the case and would not have pursued a negligent homicide charge if it was not supported by the evidence.Prosecutors on Wednesday told Judge Gisela Alfonso Fernandez they had discovery evidence to present to the defense. The judge agreed to postpone further proceedings until the discovery evidence was in the hands of the defense.Prosecutors deny that Royal Caribbean had any influence in their decision to charge Anello.Anello’s defense attorney, Jose Ortiz, declined to make a statement after court. Anello is next due in court on Dec. 16.Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
USC fired three prominent members of its athletic department Tuesday — spurred by recent turmoil within the athletic department including the March 2019 college admissions scandal — according to the Los Angeles Times. Lopes had spent 35 years working in USC’s athletic department and was believed to hold plenty of sway in the department’s decision making, according to the Times. He was also considered as a potential replacement for Pat Haden as the University’s next athletic director in 2016. Lynn Swann, who resigned in September 2019, was chosen as athletic director instead, but Lopes’ influence remained. The athletic department’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Steve Lopes, Trojan Athletic Fund senior associate director Ron Orr and associate athletic director Scott Jacobson are the three senior officials let go by the University. The moves are the most recent developments for an athletic department that has long been riddled with scandal and has played a prominent role in the admissions scandal known as Operation Varsity Blues. Donna Heinel, USC’s former senior associate athletic director, was fired the day she was arrested for her involvement with the scandal and was indicted on federal bribery charges last year. Jovan Vavic, the former USC men’s and women’s water polo coach, was also fired for his role in the scheme. Orr had been an All-American swimmer as a student at USC and was promoted to senior associate athletic director in 2010. He worked with Jacobson in development and fundraising. Like Lopes, Orr had also been employed by the department for more than three decades. His role as Trojan Athletic Fund senior associate director involved close watch over the fundraising division of the department, which oversees donations from alumni and other donors. According to court documents, Lopes was also found to have recommended admission for a student with a supposed $1 million donation, Orr had recommended a women’s track and field athlete with a $500,000 donation and Jacobson had written a note for another recommendation that read “100,000 — no ask yet.” Still, none of the three have faced charges as a result of the admissions scandal. The three were mentioned in emails filed by attorneys for defendant Robert Zangrillo in a Boston federal court. The emails revealed correspondence between Orr and Heinel concerning the admission status and bribes for a number of prospective students posing as athletes, including a suggestion from Orr that they guilt a certain family into following through with a proposed donation. Since Swann resigned as athletic director, President Carol Folt has expressed her desire to make integrity within the athletic department a top priority both in searching for a new athletic director — eventually Mike Bohn — and in restructuring the department moving forward. These most recent firings appear to be a significant action geared toward meeting these goals. The University has yet to publicly announce a replacement for any of the three positions. Editor’s note: A previous version of this article classified Orr’s recommended student as providing a bribe, though the contribution appears to have been a legal donation. The article has been updated online. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.