March 2022 Archives

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN Reporter, Crime and Justice

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(CNN)A federal judge said Monday (full text) that former President Donald Trump and right-wing attorney John Eastman may have been planning a crime as they sought to disrupt the January 6 congressional certification of the presidential election.

"Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021," Judge David Carter wrote Monday.
Carter, a federal judge in California, ordered Eastman to turn over 101 emails from around January 6, 2021, that he has tried to keep secret from the House select committee investigating the US Capitol attack.
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Former US President Donald J. Trump Thursday sued Hilary R. Clinton, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and others for conspiring "to vilify Donald J. Trump" through nefarious "political stratagems," claiming damages in excess of $24,000,000.

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Several of the country's most respected legal scholars say that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas must immediately recuse himself from any cases relating to the 2020 election and its aftermath, now that it has been revealed that his wife, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas, colluded extensively with a top White House adviser about overturning Joe Biden's victory over then President Donald Trump. On March 24th, the Washington Post and CBS News revealed that they had obtained copies of twenty-nine text messages between Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows, the Trump White House chief of staff, in which she militated relentlessly for invalidating the results of the Presidential election, which she described as an "obvious fraud." It was necessary, she told Meadows, to "release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down." Ginni Thomas's texts to Meadows also refer to conversations that she'd had with "Jared"--possibly Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who also served as a senior adviser to the Administration. ("Just forwarded to yr gmail an email I sent Jared this am.")

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The Daily Beast reported three weeks ago the Dunne and Pomerantz left resignation letters explaining that they were leaving because Bragg had torpedoed their case, and that the letters were so detailed and damning that the DA's office refused to release them under New York's Freedom of Information Law. But the Times got its hands on Pomerantz's letter to Bragg, and it's every bit as bad as described.

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BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

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A Rhode Island lawyer who mistakenly thought he was successful in electronically filing a slip-and-fall lawsuit was granted a reprieve last week when the state's top court reinstated the complaint.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled for Cranston lawyer Christopher Petrarca in a March 16 order. The Providence Journal has coverage, noted by How Appealing.

The court said Petrarca "was confronted with a series of logistical and computer-related issues" at a time when the "pandemic was raging," resulting in a missed filing deadline.

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Ferreira v City of Binghamton (2022 NY Slip Op 01953)

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has inquired whether New York's " 'special duty' requirement" applies "to claims of injury inflicted through municipal negligence" or if it applies only to claims premised upon a municipality's negligent "failure to protect the plaintiff from an injury inflicted other than by a municipal employee" (975 F3d 255, 291 [2d Cir 2020]). Consistent with our precedent and the purpose of the special duty rule, we reiterate that plaintiffs must establish that a municipality owed them a special duty when they assert a negligence claim based on actions taken by a municipality acting in a governmental capacity. We further clarify that plaintiffs may establish a special duty when a municipality, acting through its police force, plans and executes a no-knock search warrant at a person's home, and that such a duty runs to the individuals within the targeted premises at the time the warrant is executed.

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Ex-prosecutor: Trump 'guilty of numerous felony violations--Yahoo! News

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MICHAEL R. SISAK

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NEW YORK (AP) -- A prosecutor who had been leading a criminal investigation into Donald Trump before quitting last month said in his resignation letter that he believes the former president is "guilty of numerous felony violations" and he disagreed with the Manhattan district attorney's decision not to seek an indictment.

In the letter, published Wednesday by The New York Times, Mark Pomerantz told District Attorney Alvin Bragg there was "evidence sufficient to establish Mr. Trump's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt" of allegations he falsified financial statements to secure loans and burnish his image as a wealthy businessman.

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Cristina Cabrera

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"I feel safe in Belarus. I'm calm, I like it in the country," the refugee reportedly said, per BELTA. "Today I have mixed feelings. I'm glad because Belarus took care of me. I'm upset because I found myself in such a situation that problems arose in my native country."

Some of those "problems" are the 14 criminal counts Neumann's been indicted on, which include assaulting police officers and engaging in violence with a deadly or dangerous weapon, after he and the rest of the pro-Trump mob ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 last year.


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By RENE EBERSOLE


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He Teaches Police "Witching" To Find Corpses. Experts Are Alarmed.

At the National Forensic Academy, crime scene investigators learn to dowse for the dead, though it's not backed by science.

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He says the metal rods can detect "piezoelectricity," an electric charge that builds in certain solid materials such as crystals (it's the reason quartz watches work). Bones under mechanical stress can also produce these charges, which is why, Vass says, some people can find them with dowsing rods. But not everyone, he told me, because "if people don't have the right voltage, it's not going to work." (No peer-reviewed published research has illustrated that piezoelectricity can be used to detect buried remains.) 

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BY 

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But interviews with participants and witnesses at the demonstration, as well as multiple videos, reveal that this account distorts reality. The students made their point at the very start of the event and walked out before the conversation began. Their exercise in free speech, however rowdy or distasteful, did not prevent the panelists from expressing their views. And their demonstration did not--contrary to the Free Beacon's reporting--require administrators to summon the police.

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 BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

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The rarely enforced Neutrality Act could pose risks for Americans who decide to join the fight against Russia in Ukraine.

The law bars people who are in the United States from joining foreign armies or launching their own wars against nations that are at peace with the United States, Just Security reports in an article by Dakota S. Rudesill, a professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law.

"The United States today is not in an armed conflict with Russia," Rudesill wrote. "The risk remains that well-intentioned Americans could blunder into committing a crime."


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The US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled Tuesday that Major League Baseball (MLB) violated Arizona and Florida state minimum wage laws when not paying minor leaguers during spring training, instructional leagues, or extended spring training. Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero found that the MLB is liable for $1,882,650 in penalties to plaintiffs. 

The suit originally was filed by first baseman/outfielder Aaron Senne, a 10th-round pick of the Florida Marlins in 2009 who retired in 2013, and two other retired players who had been lower-round selections: Kansas City infielder Michael Liberto and San Francisco pitcher Oliver Odle. Through their attorney, Senne, Liberto, and Odle argued that the MLB violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state minimum wage and overtime requirements for a workweek they estimated to be 50 to 60 hours. 


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Apple Mac Studio review: Unleash your superpowers--Pocket-Lint

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Stuart Miles

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For most people the Mac Studio is going to be overkill. It's the most powerful Mac we've ever tested. However, if you are dealing with big files - and we mean seriously big files - day in day out then this is going to service those needs... and then some.

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By 

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North Carolina authorities launched an investigation into former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Thursday, following a report earlier this month that revealed a questionable address Meadows registered under to vote in the 2020 election.

Nazneen Ahmed, spokeswoman for North Carolina attorney general Josh Stein's office, confirmed to The News & Observer newspaper that the State Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations of voter fraud against Meadows.

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Christine Charnosky

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Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern tweeted Thursday that U.S. Court of Appeals Senior Judge Laurence Silberman of the D.C. Circuit had sent an email to the listservs for all Article III judges in the U.S., which read: "The latest events at Yale Law School in which students attempted to shout down speakers participating in a panel discussion on free speech prompts me to suggest that students who are identified as those willing to disrupt any such panel discussion should be noted. All federal judges--and all federal judges are presumably committed to free speech--should carefully consider whether any student so identified should be disqualified for potential clerkships."

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Silberman was referring to protesters at a March 10 Federalist Society event that hosted Waggoner, who is general counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a hate group.

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German citizens told to uninstall Kaspersky antivirus • The Register

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Germany's BSI federal cybersecurity agency has warned the country's citizens not to install Russian-owned Kaspersky antivirus, saying it has "doubts about the reliability of the manufacturer."


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n America's case, however, an NSA hacker's carelessness proved to be Kaspersky's undoing. Nghia Hoang Pho, who worked in the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit, was in the habit of taking his work home with him. When he uploaded an exploit onto his home laptop in 2015, his Kaspersky antivirus functioned exactly as intended: it recognized the malware and uploaded a copy to Kaspersky's servers.

Enraged, the US said Kaspersky had handed the exploit to Russia's FSB spy agency, jailed Pho, and banned the use of Kaspersky across its entire government.

Days after the Pho story first broke, however, rumors (started by the New York Times newspaper) began swirling that Israeli spies had hacked Kaspersky only to discover (so the story went) the infosec firm was working hand-in-glove with Russian spy agencies. This explosive allegation served its evident purpose: Kaspersky was, as far as the US government was concerned, kaput, and its denials of espionage collusion fell on deaf ears.

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At the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City, at least 91 people had been waiting for March 1 to roll around. On that date, most aspects of New York state's new parole reform law went into full effect, and those who had been held on warrants issued by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), which runs the state's parole system, were expecting a shot at freedom.

Among other provisions, the new law, known as the Less Is More Act, makes it significantly more difficult for DOCCS to jail people after they commit certain parole violations, and it mandates a hearing within 24 hours to give people whom the parole agency has ordered jailed a chance to argue for their release.

But March 1 came and went, and the 91 people--as well as dozens or hundreds more across the state--remain in jail. According to DOCCS, because they were jailed on alleged parole violations before that date, they aren't grandfathered into Less Is More's protections, so the department didn't go about releasing them.

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Judges weighing in on this debate have come to varied conclusions. In one decision in December, a Bronx judge characterized DOCCS's interpretation as "no more than an adherence to a scrivener's numerical error," and thus ordered the person who brought the lawsuit, who was jailed on a technical violation, released. But the following month, a judge in Binghamton wrote that he "disagrees with that analysis," and concluded that, if the legislature wanted "sweeping, substantive changes" to parole law to take effect immediately, it would have asserted it more clearly than by a perplexing reference to one subparagraph.

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Read more...extensive article...


Summer Concepcion 

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A Texas judge on Friday night temporarily blocked Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) order to investigate gender-affirming care for transgender youth as "child abuse," following a ruling earlier this month that barred the state from investigating the parents of a transgender teen.

On Friday night, Judge Amy Clark Meachum in Travis County ruled that Abbott's order is "beyond the scope of his authority and unconstitutional." In the order, Meachum said the statewide injunction will remain in effect until "this court, and potentially the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of Texas" hear the case.

Meachum also ruled that Abbott's order had the effect of a new law or agency rule "despite no new legislation, regulation or even stated agency policy."

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Read Meachum's latest ruling below:

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Can New York's Tangled Court System Be Fixed? - Law360

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By Marco Poggio

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Last week, Judge DiFiore brought attention back to her proposal, which would fold the state's Court of Claims, County Court, Family Court and Surrogate Court into the Supreme Court, the state's court of general jurisdiction. A single Municipal Court would bring together city and district courts of lower jurisdiction. Town and village courts, known collectively as Justice Courts, would remain untouched.

"While unintentional, the state's obsolete trial court structure has created barriers to justice that disparately impact our most vulnerable New Yorkers," Judge DiFiore said in her speech. "We must modernize our outdated trial court structure in remedying these inequities and transforming our court system into a model of efficiency."

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OAN Sues DirecTV After Being Dropped From Lineup

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Kipp Jones

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Far-right One America News is suing DirecTV and its parent company AT&T for breach of contract, after the TV provider announced it would drop the channel from its lineup.

Herring Networks, which owns OAN, filed a 36-page lawsuit in the Superior Court of California in San Diego this week.

The lawsuit targets DirecTV, AT&T and company board chair William Kennard.


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Virtual Animal Law Symposium: Wildlife --Animal Legal Defense Fund

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April 29 - 30, 2022

This two-day online symposium will feature panels on legal protections for wild animals, community advocacy, international wildlife treaties, aquatic life, and more.

This event is free and open to the public.

Attorneys will be eligible for CLE credits, pending approval from the Oregon State Bar Association. Most states will accept credits from other mandatory CLE states such as Oregon, but please check with your local bar association to confirm.

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Register...


By: Brittany R. Frank

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On March 1, 2022, the EEOC updated its guidance on religious accommodations to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. While the guidance states that job applicants and employees have a right to request a religious accommodation from an employer's COVID-19 vaccination requirement under Title VII, the new guidance answers many questions specific to COVID-19 vaccination requirements and specifically addresses how employers should evaluate an employee's religious objection to the vaccine.

The full updated guidance is available here.


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BY AMANDA ROBERT

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As Russia began its attack on Ukraine in late February, the Ukrainian Bar Association also leaped into action, issuing statements condemning the violence, calling on international leaders to impose sanctions on the Russian government, and mobilizing its members to assist refugees fleeing to nearby countries.

UBA President Anna Ogrenchuk and CEO Inna Liniova, who first spoke with ABA President Reginald Turner ahead of the invasion about how the two organizations could work together, also began sharing what was happening on the ground in Ukraine with other bar associations and their members.


Ogrenchuk and Liniova talked about recent developments and their ongoing efforts with the ABA Journal this week. They responded to these questions, which were provided by email, Friday. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.


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The UBA leaders shared an open letter that they wrote Thursday to the U.S. government and European governments, which outlines the measures they think are necessary to restore the rule of law. They are also asking their colleagues around the world to sign a petition seeking the establishment of a dedicated tribunal for high-level officials of Russia and Belarus.


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A dual Russian-American citizen has been charged with acting as a spy in the US, according to court filings that say she ran organizations that "sought to spread Russian propaganda." 

Elena Branson was charged Tuesday with acting and conspiring to act in the US illegally as an agent of the Russian government, willfully failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, conspiring to commit visa fraud and making false statements to the FBI, according to a criminal complaint. 
The complaint alleges that Branson fled to Russia in 2020.
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Elon Musk's Starlink Is Helping Ukraine Stay Connected - CleanTechnica

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Starlink is helping Ukraine stay online and Russia isn't too happy about this. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has shared an important warning on Twitter pointing out that Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system that is still working in some parts of Ukraine. The probability of being targeted, he added, is high. Elon advised users to use it with caution.

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Ben ProtessWilliam K. Rashbaum and 

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The criminal investigation into the former president crashed amid a disagreement about the merits of bringing a case. The debate pitted a new district attorney against two veteran prosecutors who had pursued a case against Mr. Trump for years.

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Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances - Wikipedia

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The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances comprises three identical political agreements signed at the OSCE conference in BudapestHungaryon 5 December 1994 to provide security assurances by its signatories relating to the accession of BelarusKazakhstan and Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The memorandum was originally signed by three nuclear powers: the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United StatesChina and France gave somewhat weaker individual assurances in separate documents.[1]

The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. As a result of other agreements and the memorandum, between 1993 and 1996, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons.[2]

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Trilateral Statement


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WASHINGTON -- The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said on Wednesday that there was enough evidence to conclude that former President Donald J. Trump and some of his allies might have conspired to commit fraud and obstruction by misleading Americans about the outcome of the 2020 election and attempting to overturn the result.

In a court filing in a civil case in California, the committee's lawyers for the first time laid out their theory of a potential criminal case against the former president. They said they had accumulated evidence demonstrating that Mr. Trump, the conservative lawyer John Eastman and other allies could potentially be charged with criminal violations including obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the American people.

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 WGRZ Staff

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The governor has proposed adding $2 million to the SLA budget to include the hiring of more than 30 full-time employees to help reduce the 20 to 26 week wait businesses face when applying for permits.

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