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Posts tagged ‘Court’

Facebook Loses Teen Sex Trafficking Case, Legal Defeat Puts Social Media Platforms in Crosshairs


Reported by Jack Davis | June 26, 2021

Read more at https://www.westernjournal.com/facebook-loses-teen-sex-trafficking-case-legal-defeat-puts-social-media-platforms-crosshairs/

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled against Facebook as the social media giant tries to use a controversial federal law to dodge liability for its platform being used by human traffickers to recruit victims. The ruling allows three survivors of human trafficking who want to sue Facebook to move forward with their cases, according to Forbes. Facebook had argued it was not responsible for what its users say under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 has become a controversial piece of law, with critics saying it gives social media companies too much power. Forbes reported that in 2018, Congress carved out exceptions to Section 230 so that lawsuits could be brought against companies that violate human trafficking laws. In his opinion, Justice Jimmy Blacklock noted those limits.

“We do not understand section 230 to ‘create a lawless no-man’s-land on the Internet’ in which states are powerless to impose liability on websites that knowingly or intentionally participate in the evil of online human trafficking,” he wrote.

“Holding internet platforms accountable for the words or actions of their users is one thing. … Holding internet platforms accountable for their own misdeeds is quite another thing. This is particularly the case for human trafficking.”

“Section 230, as amended, does not withdraw from the states the authority to protect their citizens from internet companies whose own actions — as opposed to those of their users — amount to knowing or intentional participation in human trafficking,” the ruling said.

The case involved three women who, according to the ruling, “allege they were victims of sex trafficking who became entangled with their abusers through Facebook.” One was 15 years old when she was befriended by a Facebook user who told her he would help her pursue a modeling career.

“Shortly after meeting him, Plaintiff was photographed and her pictures posted to the website Backpage (which has since been shut down due to its role in human trafficking), advertising her for prostitution. As a result, Plaintiff was ‘raped, beaten, and forced into further sex trafficking,’” the ruling said.

YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THIS REPORT AT https://www.westernjournal.com/facebook-loses-teen-sex-trafficking-case-legal-defeat-puts-social-media-platforms-crosshairs/

Judge Rules Against Illinois Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order


Reported By Jack Davis | Published April 28, 2020 at 8:01am

URL of the originating web site: https://www.westernjournal.com/judge-rules-illinois-governors-stay-home-order/

The ruling said the legislator has shown “he will suffer irreparable harm” without the temporary restraining order being issued and has “a reasonable likelihood of succeeding” on the merits of his argument.

Bailey Pritzker Ruling by The Western Journal on Scribd

Bailey had said Pritzker’s order was “in excess of the authority granted him” under Illinois law, according to Fox News. The legislator had argued that although Pritzker had the right to impose restrictions for 30 days, he did not have the legal standing to extend stay-at-home laws past that date.

On Monday, Pritzker loosened the restrictions Bailey had attacked but also extended his overall stay-at-home order through May 30, according to the Chicago Tribune. Bailey encouraged his constituents to follow his lead in challenging the governor’s restrictions.

“This is just me, but anybody can follow suit,” he said, according to WMAG-TV.

“If people want to, if anyone wants to file any kind of similar suit in their home county or in their circuit, they can certainly do that,” Bailey said, according to the Tribune. “What I’m doing is challenging the constitutionality of the governor, of what he’s been doing.”

Bailey said the issue was not whether staying at home would be sound health policy but Pritzker’s use of his power.

“He is going to lose his power. This is the right thing,” the lawmaker said. “This is the law of the land, and I will contend that areas of the state would be better served through local control.”

Bailey said the economic damage from the state’s stay-at-home order might be worse than the disease it was issued to address.

“Our governor has created a second pandemic that I believe is going to be more far-reaching than the COVID-19 situation,” he said.

Bailey, whose district covers southern Illinois, said he gets calls from constituents who are “overwhelmed, scared to death, not of the COVID-19 virus, but of their livelihoods.”

“Still today, we’re getting calls of people that cannot get through to unemployment, and that’s what’s taking a toll in some of these more rural districts,” the legislator said. “That’s what the governor needs to be focused on.”

Pritzker attacked Bailey for his actions.

“People are in danger as a result of this ruling, of the judge’s ruling of the suit that was brought by Darren Bailey,” he said, according to the Tribune.

“We certainly are going to act in a swift fashion to try to have this ruling overturned, certainly put a stay in place,” the governor said. “I mean it’s, frankly, it’s insulting, it’s dangerous, and people’s safety and health has now been put at risk.

“There may be people who contract coronavirus as a result of what Darren Bailey has done now.”

In a statement on his website, Bailey said Pritzker has focused on Chicago at the expense of the rest of the state.

“The message is clear, we are not Chicago and we already distance ourselves just by our rural life styles. Why should we be punished with the loss of jobs and closing our businesses when the coronavirus emergency isn’t the same for us?” he said. “This one-size-fits-all mentality needs to be reviewed and take into account our diversity from urban to rural areas of the state.’

“The governor’s executive orders to social distance and stay home to work when you are able has had a flattening of the curve for the cities and that’s good.’

“But in our area, the low numbers of cases reinforces the fact that we do not need the heavy hand of government to tell us to use our common sense. It was the actions of people who wouldn’t stay home in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day celebrating that triggered these executive orders, not the actions of teachers or farmers or small business owners in southern Illinois.”

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Trump appointments blitz a ‘shock wave’ to liberal 9th Circuit


Reported by Madison Dibble | February 24, 2020 12:41 PM

President Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate have taken the reliably liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and tilted it to the Right. The 9th Circuit is the largest circuit court, covering many of the West Coast states, including California, Hawaii, and Arizona. The court just received its 10th judge from the Trump administration, effectively changing the court’s liberal makeup into a more ideologically diverse lineup. In just three years, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump joined forces to place more justices to lifetime appointments on the 9th Circuit than President Barack Obama did in his eight years in office.

One judge from the circuit said the rapid influx of Trump appointees had been jarring, telling the Los Angeles Times, “Ten new people at once sends a shock wave through the system.”

Many of Trump’s appointments have been praised by their peers on the 9th Circuit, but others appear to be rattled. For instance, Judge Daniel Collins has been criticized for his “combative” objections to other judges on the circuit.

“Collins has definitely bulldozed his way around here already in a short time,” one judge from the 9th Circuit said. “Either he doesn’t care or doesn’t realize that he has offended half the court already.”

Democratic-appointed judges still hold a slight majority in the circuit, with 16 appointees compared with 13 Republican appointees, but 9th Circuit Judge Milan Smith Jr., an appointee of George W. Bush, said Trump’s judicial picks were about to take over.

“Trump has effectively flipped the circuit,” Smith said. “You will see a sea change in the 9th Circuit on day-to-day decisions.”

Democratic appointees have controlled the 9th Circuit Court since 1978, when federal law changed to add 10 seats to the court, allowing President Jimmy Carter to select every judge to fill the openings. President Ronald Reagan got only three nominations on the circuit, and appointees from President Bill Clinton and Obama built out the rest of the former liberal stronghold.

Because the court was reliably liberal, it was often the go-to court to challenge Trump’s policies, often forcing a review from the Supreme Court. In the early days of Trump’s presidency, the 9th Circuit struck down his “travel ban” from several Muslim-majority countries and deemed many of his immigration policies unconstitutional. The Supreme Court overturned many of the rulings from the 9th Circuit. Still, delays caused by the lower courts can hinder the president’s policies from moving forward when he wants them to begin.

In total, Trump has appointed 51 circuit court judges to lifetime appointments alongside the two justices he landed on the Supreme Court. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has joked that his motto while leading the GOP majority in the Senate is to “leave no vacancy behind.”

Jerome Corsi Files Criminal Complaint Against Mueller Team


Reported By Randy DeSoto | December 3, 2018 at 12:00pm

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournal.com/jerome-corsi-files-criminal-complaint-mueller-team/Jerome Corsi

In this Oct. 7, 2008, file photo, Jerome Corsi, right, arrives at the immigration department in Nairobi, Kenya. (AP Photo)

Conservative author Jerome Corsi filed a “criminal and ethics” complaint against special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday, alleging his team threatened prosecution if Corsi refused to provide false testimony against Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Fox News reported the 78-page complaint, filed with the Department of Justice and the DOJ’s inspector general, stated “Dr. Corsi has been criminally threatened and coerced to tell a lie and call it the truth.”

The filing also calls for the removal of Mueller and his prosecutors for their misconduct.

“Special Counsel Mueller and his prosecutorial staff should respectfully be removed from his office and their practice of the law and a new Special Counsel appointed who respects and will obey common and accepted norms of professional ethics and the law and who will promptly conclude the so-called Russian collusion investigation which had been illegally and criminally spinning out of control,” the document reads.

According to his complaint, Mueller’s team wanted Corsi to testify to acting as a liaison between Trump campaign associate Roger Stone and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange regarding the release of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. The filing reads that Mueller’s office “knowingly and deceitfully threatening to charge Dr. Corsi with an alleged false statement,” unless he gives them “false testimony” against Trump and others.

Corsi announced last week on multiple media outlets that he would not sign Mueller’s agreement calling for him to plead guilty to one count of perjury.

“They can put me in prison the rest of my life. I am not going to sign a lie,” the 72-year-old told CNN.

According to a court filing by Mueller’s team, Corsi wrote in a short email to Stone in July 2016, “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.”

“Time to let more than (Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta) to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC (Hillary Rodham Clinton),” “The Obama Nation” author added. “That appears to be the game hackers are now about.”

Corsi explained to Fox News host Tucker Carlson last week that he had fully cooperated with Mueller’s investigators, turning over his computer and cellphone, but he initially forgot about the email, until it was brought to his attention. He amended his statement to Mueller’s team in September, which they accepted without complaint, but prosecutors changed their tune after they determined, he “could not give them what they wanted,” according to Corsi.

“They do this what I call a perjury trap,” Corsi told Carlson. “They ask you a question. They have material they won’t show you. You’ve forgotten about. They say, ‘You’ve just lied,’ because this email you’ve forgotten about 2016 proves your current memory is wrong. It’s a memory test.”

In a statement on Monday, his attorney Larry Klayman charged Mueller with “effectively seeking to overthrow a duly elected president” through coercing false testimony.

“This rogue government tyranny perpetrated by a Special Counsel and his prosecutorial staff, which is designed to effectively overthrow a duly elected president by coercing and extorting false testimony from Dr. Corsi and others, cannot be permitted in a civilized society,” he said.

Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz argued last week that Mueller’s probe is creating crimes rather than uncovering past ones, and that the “devastating” report against Trump he will write will be based on people “who have lied.”

“Virtually all of his indictments and pleas come from people who he got to lie in front of investigators by setting perjury traps for them,” Dershowitz told Fox News host Sean Hannity. He added, “(A)nd the other ones have to do with financial dealings unrelated to the president. Where’s the beef? Where’s the crime?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Randy DeSoto is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book “We Hold These Truths” and screenwriter of the political documentary “I Want Your Money.”

Ford Polygraph Results Released. Did They Just Blow a Huge Hole in Her Story?



Reported By Benjamin Arie | September 26, 2018 at

3:37pm

The narrative that liberals have hung their hopes on to stop Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is falling apart. There are now so many holes in the story, it’s incredible Democrats are still running with it.

Christine Blasey Ford is the woman who accused Kavanaugh of drunkenly groping her at a party way back when he was 17 years old, but she has been largely unable to produce solid evidence or witnesses to back up her serious claims.

One of the only points in her favor was that she took a “lie detector” polygraph test, which was widely reported by the media as supporting her story by showing that she wasn’t lying.

That is, until now. On Wednesday, the actual details from that polygraph were released to the public — and they make her already-flimsy story seem downright unbelievable.

The biggest problem with the so-called “lie detector” results are that the examiner never actually asked questions about Kavanaugh during the polygraph test.

Bizarrely, the person conducting the polygraph — who was a third-party examiner and not a law enforcement official — had Ford scribble down her nearly 40-year-old memory of the drunken party, and then asked her two vague questions.

Those two questions were: “Is any part of your statement false?” and “Did you make up any part of your statement?”

This is absolutely important to understand: Again, the polygraph test didn’t actually ask the main accuser any questions about Kavanaugh. His name was never brought up by the interviewer. Instead, Ford was simply asked if she believed her own hand-written statement.

It gets even more strange, as nowhere in that written statement does the name “Kavanaugh” appear, either.

And, to make matters worse, the statement from Ford that she was then asked about by the polygraph examiner directly contradicts different versions of the alleged event that the accuser has also given.

“Ford’s polygraph letter contradicts letter she sent to Feinstein,” pointed out Charles C. W. Cooke, the editor of The National Review.

“Polygraph letter says ‘4 boys and a couple of girls’ were at party. Letter to Feinstein says ‘me and four others,’” he continued. “No way to reconcile the two — irrespective of whether she’s counting herself in polygraph letter.”

It’s important to remember that fundamental facts such as how many people witnessed the alleged incident and what their genders were have been up in the air already. Even journalists from the left-leaning Washington Post are seemingly unable to keep the details straight.

“July 30 (to Dianne Feinstein): It was me and four other people. August 7 (to polygraph examiner): There were four boys and a couple of girls. September 16 (to Washington Post reporter): There were three boys and one girl,” The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis posted to Twitter, summarizing the inconsistencies.

Here’s another huge point: The fact that Ford “passed” the polygraph based on a statement that she later herself contradicted while telling the story to other people shows how unreliable this “evidence” truly is.

Contrary to how it’s shown in the movies, a polygraph can’t actually determine if a person is lying or not. All it can do is indicate how calm or stressed somebody is compared to a baseline. It can be used to indicate deception, but a completely delusional person can also “pass” a polygraph.

In other words, Ford may believe that something happened at a party four decades ago, and she may be confident that some version of her story is true, but the vagueness and unscientific nature of this process proves absolutely nothing. The problems with this accuser’s story don’t stop there. Buried in the release of the weak polygraph results was the fact that Ford was in Maryland — on the other side of the country from her home in California — to take that test.

But the supposed reason she couldn’t appear to testify in front of the Senate and answer questions about her accusations was that she’s afraid of confined spaces, which means she won’t travel by plane.

“The GOP has been told that Ford does not want to fly from her California home to Washington … which means she may need to drive across the country,” reported Politico just five days ago. “Ford has reportedly told friends she is uncomfortable in confined spaces, indicating a physical difficulty in making the trip by plane.”

Yet the letter from Ford to Senator Feinstein made no mention of this difficulty, and casually mentioned that she planned to be back in California from the East Coast in less than three day’s time. It takes at least 42 hours of nonstop driving to go from Maryland, where the polygraph was administered, to Palo Alto, California, where Ford lives and teaches at a university.

This borders on being humanly impossible: Anybody who has done long road trips knows that a realistic daily limit is about ten hours of driving a day before exhaustion sets in. USA Today has recommended that people set aside between four and six days to do this arduous drive.

When none of the details add up or pass even the most basic sniff test, something is wrong.

This entire ordeal looks increasingly like a slimy and desperate effort to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation at any cost. But the truth always has a way of coming out, and it doesn’t even need a polygraph.

HERE IS THE POLYGRAPH REPORT:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Benjamin Arie has been a political junkie since the hotly contested 2000 election. Ben settled on journalism after realizing he could get paid to rant. He cut his teeth on car accidents and house fires as a small-town reporter in Michigan before becoming a full-time political writer.


Army Col. Awarded $8.4 Million After Woman’s Sex Assault Allegations Blown Apart


Reported By Jack Davis | September 24, 2018 at

6:01pm

As official Washington is captivated by the drama surrounding decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a former soldier whose career was cut short by similar allegations is trying to get out a message that accusations are not the same as the truth.

Back in 2013, Wil Riggins was an Army colonel who had been nominated for general, when Susan Shannon wrote on her blog that Riggins raped her at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point back in 1986, according to the Daily Mail.

Four years later, after Riggins had been denied his promotion based on the claim, a jury heard Riggins’ suit against Shannon and awarded him $8.4 million in damages, according to The Washington Post.

With that as the background, Riggins has been using his Twitter account to remind those rushing to judgment in the Kavanaugh case that regardless of what an accuser says, the truth may be very different.

Most of his posts are retweets of others who cite his case as a cautionary tale against believing any accuser at face value.

Riggins said that even though he was exonerated, he still suffered irreparable damage from the false claim.

This journey we’ve been on the last four years,” Riggins said, “it’s been a nightmare. … The large dollar amount is meaningless. All I was looking for was the opportunity to be vindicated, to set the record straight, to take every action to get my reputation back to where it was before the 15th of July, when she published that false accusation.”

Shannon entered West Point in 1983 and resigned in 1986. She never mentioned being raped until 2013. In a blog post, she named Riggins as her rapist and said she was drunk at the time. Despite Riggins’s denials, she has maintained that she told the truth in her blog post.

“Frankly the day I started saying his name was the day I started blaming him instead of myself,” Shannon told WJLA.

Riggins admitted he and Shannon had a sexual encounter in 1983, but had no relationship after that time. Shannon called that “a compete fabrication”  and said Riggins “smugly admitted he did indeed rape” her.

However, after the verdict she did take down the posts she made about Riggins.

Stephen Horvath, Riggins’s lawyer said Riggins was able to win because,  “Everything in that blog post was provably false and could not have happened.”

Riggins said that his effort to fight back was aimed at sending a message to those who make false accusations.

“This will discourage other false accusations but would not discourage legitimate accusations of sexual assault,” he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jack Davis is a free-lance writer. Writing as “Rusty” Davis, he is a Spur Award-nominated writer whose first two novels, “Wyoming Showdown” and “Black Wind Pass” were published by Five Star Publishing.

Fed-Up AZ Supreme Court Hits Dreamers with Costly Bad News in Blowout Ruling


Reported By Ben Marquis | April 10, 2018 at 12:39pm

URL of the original posting site: https://conservativetribune.com/az-supreme-court-hits-dreamers/

Former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created something of a legal limbo for a select class of illegal immigrants, shielding them from deportation without granting them legal status. Now, some of the program’s enrollees could quite literally be paying for that uncertainty.

According to The Washington Times, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that DACA recipients, also known as “dreamers,” are not eligible for the in-state tuition rates that some state colleges and universities were offering them, and instead will have to pay out-of-state rates.

That 7-0 decision upheld an earlier 3-0 state court of appeals ruling against the Maricopa Community Colleges, who had decided on their own volition to extend in-state tuition rates to DACA recipients. The ruling applies to all state colleges and public universities in Arizona.

The appeals court had ruled that both federal and state law granted that sort of decision-making power to the state’s political branches, and not the colleges or universities. At the heart of the decision was a 2006 law passed by voters known as Proposition 300, which declared that illegal immigrants were not eligible to receive state benefits, including in-state tuition rates.

“While people can disagree what the law should be, I hope we all can agree that the attorney general must enforce the law as it is, not as we want it to be,” stated Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. 

The Arizona Republic reported that an estimated 2,000 DACA recipients are currently enrolled in community colleges or state universities at in-state tuition rates, and could now find themselves being compelled to pay nearly three times as much for out-of-state rates if they wish to remain in school.

As might be expected, advocates for DACA recipients are incensed by the court’s ruling. They have claimed the decision essentially blocks access to education for dreamers by making it “impossible” for them to afford, especially when considering these particular illegal immigrants aren’t eligible for any sort of state or federal financial assistance because of their lack of legal status.

But based on a clear reading of the 2006 law, those dreamers should never have received the lower in-state tuition rates from colleges in the first place.

As Brnovich stated, “It’s about time someone held (the colleges) accountable, and that’s my job. My role as AG is to make sure you’re following the law.”

Though Brnovich did express some sympathy for the plight of the dreamers, he nevertheless pointed out that the law is the law. “What makes this country unique and great … is because the rule of law means something,” the attorney general said.

However, the Arizona Daily Sun reported that some college-aged dreamers may not ultimately find themselves having to pay the substantially higher out-of-state tuition rates thanks to something of a middle-ground solution worked out by the state university system’s Board of Regents.

That policy, put in place years ago by Regent Jay Heiler, “sets charges at 150 percent of the in-state rate for any student who graduated from an Arizona high school after attending school” in the state for at least three years, the Sun reported.

While that policy could very well be challenged through litigation, Heiler and others believe it will survive because the special rate would actually cover the costs of tuition, meaning state taxpayers would not be subsidizing or offering a “benefit” to illegal immigrants.

The Republic noted that the Arizona supreme court has only released a three-page order at this point, and won’t make the full opinion explaining the ruling public until May 14.

Whatever one may think about the state law or this court ruling, one thing that’s patently obvious is that the hap-hazard manner by which Obama devised and implemented the DACA program has once again hurt those individuals it purported to help by leaving them in a legal limbo.

The only way to truly solve the problems created by DACA is for Congress to finally agree on a permanent solution to the legal status question for DACA recipients, as President Donald Trump has repeatedly called on legislators to do.

With Indictments of Russians, the Groundwork Is in Place to Criminally Charge Hillary


Authored By Erin Coates | February 20, 2018 at 3:42pm

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournal.com/indictments-russians-groundwork-place-criminally-charge-hillary/

The indictments of Russian nationals for meddling with the election could “make the Clinton Campaign a potential target,” according to a California lawyer.

In an opinion piece for Law & Crime, Robert Barnes said that Robert Mueller indicted of 13 Russians and three Russian companies because they did not register as foreign agents or record financial expenditures to the Federal Elections Commissions.

They were foreign citizens; they tried to influence an election; and they neither registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act nor reported their funding to the Federal Elections Commission,” he wrote. 

Under this claim, there are three things that “make the Clinton Campaign a potential target,” according to Barnes.

The first one is that they knew Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Russia-Trump dossier, was a foreign citizen.

According to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s press conference on the indictments, the Russians “used stolen or fictitious American identities, fraudulent bank accounts and false identification documents” to hide their activities.

The next potentially criminating thing is that the Clinton campaign “knew, and paid, Steele to influence an election.” 

Similarly, the indictments showed that twelve defendants worked for a company called Internet Research Agency, LLC, based in St. Petersburg. It reportedly operated through Russian shell companies.

“It employed hundreds of people in its online operations, ranging from creators of fictitious personas, to technical and administrative support personnel, with an annual budget of millions of dollars,” Rosenstein said.

Lastly, the Clinton campaign “knew, and facilitated, Steele” not registering as a foreign agent or reporting that he was being funded by the Clinton campaign to the Federal Election Commissions. He instead disguised the payments as a “legal expense.”

Steele himself, based on Mueller’s theory, is a criminal under the same guidelines as the Russian indictments. He is a foreign citizen, was paid to influence an election, and never registered as a foreign agent or listed his expenditures. 

The Clinton campaign is not the only potential target under Mueller’s theory. The DNC, Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS could also be targeted for indictment, according to Barnes. However, Barnes said not to expect an indictment of any of these people or organizations.

“Mueller chose his targets because he knows they will never appear in court, never contest the charges, and cannot be arrested or extradited as Russian citizens,” he wrote. 

Barnes is a California-based trial attorney who focuses on Constitutional, criminal and civil rights law.

New York Dem Arrested for Stealing from Hurricane Sandy Victims


 

Reported By Joe Setyon | January 11, 2018 at 10:46am

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/new-york-democrat-arrested-for-stealing-from-victims-of-hurricane-sandy/

New York State Democrat Assemblywoman Pamela Harris was arrested Tuesday for allegedly defrauding the federal and state governments out of $60,000, including $25,000 in FEMA funds that were allocated for residents left homeless in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

But officials say Harris — who represents parts of Brooklyn in the state assembly — was not among the homeless. Instead, her Coney Island residence was still intact following the devastating 2012 storm, according to the New York Daily News.

The 57-year-old remained in her home after the storm but allegedly filed fake paperwork to prove she was paying rent for a residence in Staten Island. FEMA then compensated her with money that was set aside for “temporary housing assistance,” officials said.

In an effort to cover up what she had done, Harris is accused of telling witnesses they should lie to the FBI.

“Harris was busy brewing a storm of her own — one that resulted in her receiving significant payouts by the very federal agency charged with helping those truly in need,” said William Sweeney Jr., the head of the bureau field office in New York.

Prior to her 2015 election to the state assembly, Harris ran a non-profit training and mentoring organization. But she allegedly pocketed $34,000 that the city council had given to her group to pay for rent. Officials believe Harris used $10,000 to pay for vacations — including one on a cruise ship. She also allegedly used stolen money to shop for lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, as well as pay off bills she had accumulated from Kohls and the mortgage on her Coney Island home.

For her alleged crimes — which authorities say took place between 2012 and 2016 — Harris was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, making false statements, bankruptcy fraud, witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to the Daily News. Harris pleaded not guilty and was released on $150,000 bond.

“Ms. Harris has been an invaluable community organizer and a well-regarded legislator,” her attorneys said in a statement. “Especially given her background, we are disappointed that Ms. Harris was indicted.”

“She has pleaded not guilty, and we look forward to her day in court and an opportunity there to present the full facts.”

The Democrat assemblywoman’s arrest came the same week New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a lawsuit against the five largest oil companies in the nation, claiming Sandy’s destruction was amplified due to the climate change those companies contributed to. The storm struck the city in October 2012, leaving more than 40 New Yorkers dead and causing tens of billions of dollars in damage.

“After Sandy, it became clear that climate change was an active threat to our lives. It may have happened five years ago, but we are still dealing every day with the destruction it caused,” de Blasio tweeted Wednesday.

“It’s time for Big Oil to pay for that damage.” 

De Blasio also noted that New York is “the first major American city to take this action against fossil fuel companies.”

New York’s road to recovery has been a long one, with multiple resiliency projects being carried out in order to prevent future natural disasters from affecting the city in a similar manner, according to Politico.

“The city seeks to shift the costs of protecting the city from climate change impacts back onto the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat,” the lawsuit reads, as reported by the New York Post.

Moreover, de Blasio wants the city’s pensions to divest from oil companies. But according to the National Association of Manufacturers — an industry trade group — this move will come with a high price tag, as it could cost city employees $2.8 billion over 20 years.

“Divestment won’t do anything to cut greenhouse gas emissions. All it does is pass stocks from one shareholder to another,” NAM Vice President Chris Netram said Wednesday.

Just In: Judge Issues A Decision In The Bundy Ranch Case


Reported By Randy DeSoto | December 20, 2017 at 3:36pm

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/judge-issues-a-decision-in-the-bundy-ranch-case/

A federal judge declared a mistrial on Wednesday in the case against Cliven Bundy and his co-defendants, stemming from their 2014 standoff in Nevada with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing rights.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ruled that federal prosecutors unlawfully withheld information they were required to turn over to the defense including surveillance video, maps and FBI interview information, the Las Vegas Journal Review reported. The judge stated prosecutors knew or should have known of the existence of this evidence that may have been helpful to Cliven, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and co-defendant Ryan Payne.

“Considered collectively, she said, the evidence that was withheld was favorable to the defendants and its untimely disclosure was prejudicial in that it ‘undermined the confidence of the outcome of the trial,’” Navarro found, according to the Journal Review.

The men are accused of conspiring to block federal agents from enforcing a court order to confiscate the Bundys’ cattle, which was grazing on public lands.

“Cliven Bundy had failed to pay grazing fees and fines for years,” according to The Associated Press. “The men are also charged with firearms crimes, threatening a federal law enforcement officer, obstruction of justice and extortion in a trial that began (on Nov. 14) in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas.”

Bundy contended the federal government lacks the constitutional authority to own vast tracks of western lands, stating it instead belongs to the states and the people. He and the others present were protesting what they contended was unlawful conduct by the federal government in seizing his cattle.

As previously reported by The Western Journal, a federal whistleblower sent a memo to the Department of Justice last month alleging malfeasance in the handling of the investigation in the Bundy Ranch standoff.

Special agent Larry Wooten, who worked on the investigation (until being removed in February), wrote in the 18-page memo, “I routinely observed, and the investigation revealed a widespread pattern of bad judgment, lack of discipline, incredible bias, unprofessionalism and misconduct, as well as likely policy, ethical, and legal violations among senior and supervisory staff.”

He added their actions, “adversely affected our agency’s mission and likely the trial regarding Cliven Bundy and his alleged co-conspirators and ignored the letter and the intent of the law.”

Wooten chronicled in his memo that those overseeing the investigation showed clear prejudice against the Bundys, their supporters and the Mormon faith, which the ranchers profess.

BLM agents prominently displayed booking photos with “X’s” drawn over the faces of the Bundys, according to Wooten.

The agent recounted that when he reported what he was seeing to the agent-in-charge of the investigation, Dan Love, he came to realize the supervisor was “aware of the issues, participated in, or instigated the misconduct himself.”

Wooten accused Love, who was in charge of the cattle roundup at the Bundy ranch, of intentionally ignoring direction from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and his superiors “in order to command the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale and militaristic trespass cattle impound possible.”

Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, spoke out forcefully to the media last week after seeing Wooten’s memo, stating in an interview with Redoubt News, “a sniper rifle is not due process.”

“The government in the trial was saying, or at least implying that there were no snipers on site, and then this document details that there were in fact snipers on site,” Shea told The Western Journal. “These were being pointed at Americans who were protesting lawfully.”

The representative has been a longtime advocate for significant portions of federal lands held in the west being turned over to the states. Shea said the clear bias shown by the investigators is exculpatory and can be used to impeach the government witnesses at the Bundy trial. He noted that Navarro cited the Wooten memo in her Wednesday ruling.

According to ABC affiliate KTNV, a new trial in the Bundy case will likely begin in February. Based on what he has seen, Shea does not believe a mistrial is an adequate remedy.

“The withheld evidence doesn’t just give reason for a mistrial,” he said. “It looks like there needs to be a dismissal.” 

Shea added: “I don’t think this stops with a mistrial and a dismissal, I think this continues with an investigation,” into the BLM.

Fox News reported that “jurors acquitted (Ammon and Ryan Bundy) of taking over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon for more than a month in early 2016 and amid calls for the U.S. government to turn over public land to local control.”

Liberals Launch Program to Increase No. of Illegals Allowed to Stay by 1,100%


Reported By Ben Marquis | November 13, 2017 at 2:17pm

URL of the original posting Site: https://conservativetribune.com/liberals-program-illegals-allowed/?

Since President Donald Trump took office, there has been a marked difference in the manner in which the federal government deals with illegal immigration, both on the border and within the country.

Deportations are reportedly rising, but liberals are intent on reversing that trend and allowing as many illegals to remain lawfully in the country as long as possible, and they appear to now be using taxpayer funds to do so.

The liberal New York City-based Vera Institute of Justice just announced via a press release the formation of a new program known as the Safety and Fairness for Everyone Cities Network.

The SAFE Cities Network provides publicly-funded legal representation to both legal immigrants and illegals involved in deportation and detainment hearings at no cost to the immigrants themselves. Some localities have begun similar programs on their own already.

The program is based on a study by the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project that was conducted in one particular New York City immigration court, the results of which the Vera Institute now intends to attempt to duplicate nationwide.

That study found that immigrants facing deportation hearings had only a 4 percent success rate of avoiding deportation when representing themselves, but that their success rate was about 48 percent when they were provided with legal representation — an estimated increase of 1,100 percent.

The organization touted, “Network members come from 11 politically, economically, and ethnically diverse jurisdictions that are united in their commitment to the belief that … a crucial way to keep our communities safe is to ensure legal representation for those whose future depends on it.”

Except that the 11 Network members aren’t exactly as “politically” diverse as the Vera Institute would have the public believe. Just check out the list of participating jurisdictions and see if you can spot the one thing they all have in common.

The 11 Network members are: Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dane County, WI; Oakland/Alameda County, CA; Prince George’s County, MD; Sacramento, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Santa Ana, CA.

If you noticed that all of those cities and/or counties are liberal-dominated and Democrat-controlled, even if they are in a “red” state, then you would be correct.

The Vera Institute proudly proclaimed that under their initiative, “[Eleven] jurisdictions are providing funding for trained legal service providers to represent immigrants facing deportation proceedings supplemented by a catalyst grant administered by Vera.”

What that means is that Vera provided some private funding up front to start the program, but that participant jurisdictions will continue the program with taxpayer dollars.

Were this initiative to be completely funded by private dollars, we would have no qualms with it whatsoever, as it would be nothing more than liberals putting their money where their mouths are and funding a venture to protect illegals by themselves. But this program will utilize taxpayer money, funds that will inevitably come from individuals vehemently opposed to the program who will nevertheless be paying for it. That is not right.

Furthermore, can we expect liberal organizations like the Vera Institute to formulate similar programs using taxpayer funding to provide for the “free” legal defense of American citizens facing hearings for violations of gun or tax laws or other government regulations? After all, wouldn’t that be “fair” to everyone?

We highly doubt it.

H/T LawNewz

Trump Gets Key Win From 8th Circuit


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: http://www.westernjournalism.com/trump-gets-key-win-from-8th-circuit/

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a state has the right to defund Planned Parenthood. The 2-1 ruling specifically provided that while plaintiff Medicaid recipients who brought the suit are entitled to care, they cannot dictate that care includes Planned Parenthood facilities.

“The plaintiffs are asserting a right — the absolute right to a particular provider of their choosing — that (the law) does not grant them,” Judge Steven Colloton wrote in the majority opinion.

Several states, including Arkansas, the defendant in the suit, voted to defund Planned Parenthood after the release of a series of undercover videos that allegedly showed executives from the top abortion provider in the country discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts.

In April, Congress voted and President Donald Trump signed into law legislation guaranteeing states the right to defund Planned Parenthood, overriding an Obama administration Department of Health and Human Services regulation that had gone into effect two days before Trump took office. The regulation mandated that “states and localities could not withhold money from a provider for any reason other than an inability to provide family planning services,” The New York Times reported.

In a statement, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson described the 8th Circuit Court’s ruling as “a substantial legal victory for the right of the state to determine whether Medicaid providers are acting in accordance with best practices, and affirms the prerogative of the state to make reasoned judgments on the Medicaid program.”

The 8th Circuit’s jurisdiction includes Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota.

Planned Parenthood noted that it had won federal suits against other states that sought to defund the organization.

“To date, seven other states (Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas) have sought to bar Planned Parenthood from Medicaid, and all have been blocked by federal courts,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement.

Louisiana has asked the 5th Circuit to rehear the case en banc, meaning all of the justices (rather than just three) would preside. The differing rulings between the eighth and other circuit courts make it more likely the Supreme Court will take up the matter.

“This is not over,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America chief medical officer Raegan McDonald-Mosley. “We will do everything in our power to protect our patients’ access to birth control, cancer screenings and other lifesaving care. Extreme politicians are trying to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood — and this is not what Americans want.”

Jerry Cox, the executive director of the Family Council, an Arkansas-based conservative group, told public radio station KUAR, “The videos aside, the question is should the state of Arkansas do business with an organization that aborts babies, when they don’t need to.”

Arrested Dem IT staffer’s attorney is MAJOR Clinton ally. Chris Gowen worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.


Posted July 26, 2017 09:32 AM by Jordan Schachtel

URL of the original posting site: https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/arrested-dem-it-staffers-attorney-is-major-clinton-ally

 

Bill and Hillary Clinton | USMC Lance Cpl. Cristian L. Ricardo | WikimediaCommons 

The attorney for a prominent Democratic congressional employee at the center of a major criminal investigation has deep ties to the Clinton machine in Washington.

Attorney Chris Gowen is serving as the lawyer for Imran Awan, a Pakistani-American IT professional who was apprehended at Dulles Airport this week as he reportedly attempted to leave the country for Pakistan.

Awan has been charged with bank fraud (which the Daily Caller reports as a potentialplaceholdercharge for much more serious coming charges), and the FBI has been deeply involved in the process, leading some to suspect that there may be a foreign espionage component to the investigation. As an IT staffer, Awan secured highly sensitive information from several members of Congress, including representatives in the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees. Imran Awan is just one of the individuals in a criminal probe. Other suspects in the investigation reportedly fled to Pakistan.

After Awan’s arrest, Gowen immediately jumped into the fray, alleging that Awan was a victim of Islamophobia. He labeled Awan’s arrest as part of “a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim.”

His statement displays a remarkably similar tone to the one often promulgated by his former boss, Hillary Clinton, who often spoke of a vast right-wing conspiracy” to undermine her family and her leftist ideals.

Gowen’s past includes several stints in the Clinton machine’s orbit. He began his legal life as a public defender but left that job for the Bill Clinton White House. At the time, he also worked for then-Senator Hillary Clinton. Years later, he jumped on board Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, directing advance operations there, according to his biography from his law firm, Gowen Rhoades Winograd & Silva, PLLC. In another bio page, Gowen states he has consulted with former Democratic presidential contenders John Kerry and John Edwards.

Another biography, from American University, says Gowen worked with several controversial Clinton projects, including The Clinton Global Initiative, The Clinton Foundation, and The Clinton Health Access Initiative.

In 2012, Gowen went to bat for Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, whose family is deeply connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. After GOP reps explored Abedin’s nefarious ties, Gowen pledged to “stand with Huma.”

Along with his private practice, the longtime Clinton aide is also an adjunct professor at American University Washington College of Law, where he teaches courses in legal ethics and law practice management.

Gowen’s Clinton connections are intriguing on another level, given that Awan’s employer in the House, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, remains a close Clinton confidant. The former Democratic National Committee chair resigned from her position after emails surfaced alleging she attempted to tip the scales of the Democratic primary in Clinton’s favor. Wasserman Schultz was also the 2008 campaign co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s first failed run for president.

It remains unclear at this time how Imran Awan managed to link up with Gowen and retain his services.

A preliminary hearing for Mr. Awan is scheduled for August 21.

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