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Week in Review (from 7/29)

By Eric Lanter

Justice Department Nominee Claims Previous Representation of Russian Bank

President Donald Trump nominated Brian Benczkowski, a partner at Kirkland and Ellis, for the position of leading the Department of Justice's criminal division. Benczkowski has disclosed that he previously represented Alfa Bank, a Russian bank whose owners have ties to Russia's president Vladimir Putin. This comes as investigators have found communications between the Trump campaign and a server linked to Alfa Bank, which raised a question of whether it was a back channel to communicating directly with the Russian government during the campaign. While those communications were not found to be relevant for the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, Benczkowski's appointment has raised questions as to whether there are deeper, more latent connections.


Poland's President Vetoes Two Laws Limiting Courts' Independence

Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed two bills that were aimed at placing Polish courts under political control, to the chagrin of his patron Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The laws would have forced the resignation of all Supreme Court justices, empowering the Justice Minister to appoint replacements. Duda and Kaczynski's political party, known as Law and Justice, recently moved Polish politics from a more traditional democracy to a nationalistic and authoritarian flavor of democracy. Prime Minister Beata Szydlo vowed to move forward with overturning the veto or producing fresh legislation. President Duda commented that the judiciary needed reform, but "wise reform", rather than the two bills presented to him.


'Bleak Picture' for Women Trying to Rise at Law Firms

Three former female partners at the law firm of Chadbourne and Parke brought suit against the firm for its gender pay gap. It would not be an anomaly if the women were able to show that a gender pay gap did indeed exist. A recent survey showed that nine out of 300 firms had a female staff totaling 50% or more of the total workforce. Some 20% of equity partners are women, despite the fact that women comprise half of law school graduates.


White House Communications Director Vows to Stop Leaks

Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, when asked how he would stop leaks coming from within the administration vowed to fire everybody. Scaramucci comes into the White House at a time when Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff, and Sean Spicer, outgoing press secretary, fiercely contested his appointment. This is just the latest development in the saga of warring factions and leaks that have plagued the Trump administration in the past six months.


Priebus Takes Turn in the Administration Hot Seat

With the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci in the White House, Reince Priebus, the Chief of Staff, came under fire for potentially being a leaker of information. Priebus also faces the prospect of being relegated to a lowly position or eliminated altogether, given his contentious relationship with Scaramucci. In recent months, Priebus has become increasingly alienated from the administration and has been seen in a humiliating light, even using the rear staircase to board Air Force One.


Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media:


Claims of Theft in Hot Magic Show

Derek DelGaudio curated a one-man show called "In & Of Itself", which is performed at a small theater in Manhattan. Recently, two other magicians have been caught allegedly filming his show, which violates an unofficial code amongst magicians. Magic tricks typically fall outside the realm of intellectual property, absent magicians having copyrighted some portion of their tricks. A few have reported disseminating incorrect information on the internet or elsewhere, to throw other magicians off the scent of how the trick was performed. While the two magicians will not be welcomed back to DelGaudio's show, legal action against those magicians will likely not succeed.



Canada Debates Whether Gift is Tax Dodge

An anonymous person purchased over 2,000 photos by Annie Leibovitz and donated them to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, which allowed the donor to qualify for a tax deduction and recognition as an arts patron. The Canadian government, however, rejected the deduction, as it has not accepted the $20 million valuation of the collection, given that the donor paid $4.75 million for it. The review board spokesman declined to explain how the collection did not meet the standard of "outstanding significance and national importance." A decision is expected in the fall.



Amateur Boxing Federation Votes Against Its President

The amateur boxing federation, known as AIBA, approved a no-confidence motion against its Taiwanese president, accusing him of mismanaging the finances of the organization. One of its largest creditors, an Azerbaijani company, demanded immediate repayment of a $10 million loan that is four years overdue, and several executives that have been fired from AIBA sued the federation and caused more than $1 million in legal fees in just the last year. The organization is expected to hold an "extraordinary congress" in the next three months, where a successor may be chosen for the president.


Spanish Soccer Federation President Suspended

Angel Maria Villar, the head of the Spanish Football Federation for the past three decades, was suspended after his arrest in relation to a corruption investigation. He was accused of corrupting regional federations by offering favors in exchange for votes.


Study Shows That 110 of 111 Former National Football League Football Players Had CTE

A new study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that of 111 NFL players, 110 had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The disease is known to cause memory loss, confusion, depression, and dementia, and is linked to repeated blows to the head. The brains of the 110 players found with CTE covered all positions in the game: quarterbacks, running backs, linebackers, place-kicker, and punter. Dr. McKee, who oversaw the study, concluded, "It is no longer debatable whether or not there is a problem in football -- there is a problem."


Baylor Ordered to Provide Sex Assault Reports

A U.S. District Judge ordered Baylor University to turn over all sexual assault reports since 2003. This order comes in the context of a lawsuit of several women who attended the university, and are suing the school for its failure to properly investigate their cases.



New York Times Asks Fox News for Apology

The New York Times asked Fox News for an apology after its "Fox & Friends" spokeswoman accused the paper of publishing a story in 2015 that prevented the military from attempting to kill a leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Fox News did not issue an apology, but updated an article on its website, adding that the Times article was published more than three weeks after the raid to kill al-Baghdadi and that members of the Pentagon reviewed and had no objections to the publishing of the article.


Ex-Fox News Executive Sues for Sexual Assault

Former Fox News executive Tamara Holder filed suit, claiming that Francisco Cortes, former vice president of Fox News Latino, tried to force her to perform oral sex on him in his office during February 2015. The case settled in March 2017, and Cortes has now accused 21st Century Fox of making him a scapegoat in an effort to battle its public image of rampant sexual misconduct in the organization. The case centers on a confidentiality agreement, which prevented him from defending himself, for fear that his employer would sue him for breach of the contract. Fox News had characterized the allegations as "frivolous and without merit."


Female BBC Reporters Demand Closing of Pay Gap

Following a government mandate, the British Broadcasting Corporation published the salaries of its entertainers and journalists, revealing a pay gap between men and women and creating outrage. Forty-two of the most prominent female employees wrote an open letter to the BBC director general, demanding that the BBC immediately act to eliminate the pay gap. The employees also had the letter published in The Sunday Times of London. In addition, Prime Minister Theresa May called on the BBC to pay men and women equally, pointing out that many of the women are performing the exact same job as the men who are paid much more.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 10, 2017 7:01 PM.

The previous post in this blog was New York Paid Family Leave: What Employers Need to Know Now and for January 2018.

The next post in this blog is Week in Review (from 7/21).

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