#MeToo News, 2021-23


Note: This near-daily summary of #MeToo and related sexual assault news has been divided up to encompass below news stories beginning in 2020. For previous periods extending back to 2018, kindly visit these links:  2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.





March 21


tucker carlson fox horizontal

ny times logoNew York Times, A Fox News producer sued the network, saying she was coerced into giving misleading testimony in the Dominion case, Nicholas Confessore and Katie Robertson, March 21, 2023 (print ed.). The producer, Abby Grossberg, said in a pair of lawsuits that the effort to place blame on her and Maria Bartiromo, the Fox Business host, was rooted in rampant misogyny and discrimination at the company.

A Fox News producer who has worked with the hosts Maria Bartiromo, left, and Tucker Carlson filed lawsuits against the company in New York and Delaware on maria bartiromoMonday, accusing Fox lawyers of coercing her into giving misleading testimony in the continuing legal battle around the network’s coverage of unfounded claims about election fraud.

The producer, Abby Grossberg, said Fox lawyers had tried to position her and Ms. Bartiromo to take the blame for Fox’s repeated airing of conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems and its supposed role in manipulating the results of the 2020 presidential election. Dominion has filed a $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox. Ms. Grossberg said the effort to place blame on her and Ms. Bartiromo was rooted in rampant misogyny and discrimination at the network.

fox news logo SmallThe new lawsuits, coupled with revelations from the Dominion legal fight, shed light on the rivalries and turf battles that raged at Fox News in the wake of the 2020 election, as network executives fought to hold on to viewers furious at the top-rated network for accurately reporting on President Donald J. Trump’s defeat in Arizona, a crucial swing state.

The lawsuits also include details about Ms. Grossberg’s work life at Fox and on Mr. Carlson’s show. Ms. Grossberg says she and other women endured frank and open sexism from co-workers and superiors at the network, which has been dogged for years by lawsuits and allegations about sexual harassment by Fox executives and stars.

The network’s disregard for women, Ms. Grossberg alleged, left her and Ms. Bartiromo understaffed — stretched too thin to properly vet the truthfulness of claims made against Dominion on the air. At times, Ms. Grossberg said, she was the only full-time employee dedicated solely to Ms. Bartiromo’s Sunday-morning show.

dominion voting systemsIn her complaints, Ms. Grossberg accuses lawyers for Fox News of coaching her in “a coercive and intimidating manner” before her September deposition in the Dominion case. The lawyers, she said, gave her the impression that she had to avoid mentioning prominent male executives and on-air talent to protect them from any blame, while putting her own reputation at risk.

On Monday afternoon, Fox filed its own suit against Ms. Grossberg, seeking to enjoin her from filing claims that would shed light on her discussions with the company’s lawyers. A judge has not yet ruled on Fox’s suit. Later on Monday, according to her lawyer, Parisis G. Filippatos, Fox also placed Ms. Grossberg on forced administrative leave.

Ms. Grossberg’s lawsuits were filed in the Southern District of New York and in Superior Court in Delaware, where a pretrial hearing in the Dominion defamation lawsuit is scheduled for Tuesday.

In a statement, a Fox spokeswoman said: “Fox News Media engaged an independent outside counsel to immediately investigate the concerns raised by Ms. Grossberg, which were made following a critical performance review. We will vigorously defend these claims.”

abby grossberg johns hopkinsAccording to the lawsuits filed by Ms. Grossberg (shown in a file photo), Fox superiors called Ms. Bartiromo a “crazy bitch” who was “menopausal” and asked Ms. Grossberg to cut the host out of coverage discussions.

Last year, she began working as a senior booking producer at “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” On her first full day, according to the lawsuit, Ms. Grossberg discovered that the show’s Manhattan work space was decorated with large pictures of Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, then the House speaker, wearing a plunging swimsuit.

The next day, Justin Wells, Mr. Carlson’s top producer, called Ms. Grossberg into his office, she said, to ask whether Ms. Bartiromo was having a sexual relationship with the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy.

Mr. Carlson’s staff joked about Jews and freely deployed a vulgar term for women, according to the complaint.

Later that fall, it said, before an appearance on the show by Tudor Dixon, the Republican candidate for Michigan governor, Mr. Carlson’s staff held a mock debate about whether they would prefer to have sex with Ms. Dixon or her Democratic opponent, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

After Ms. Grossberg complained about harassment from two male producers on the show, she was pulled into a meeting with human resources and told that she was not performing her duties, according to the complaint.

March 20


Jennifer Fox made the film “The Tale” about the summer she was 13 (New York Times Photo by Ingmar Nolting).

Jennifer Fox made the film “The Tale” about the summer she was 13 (New York Times Photo by Ingmar Nolting).

ny times logoNew York Times, For Years She Said a Coach Abused Her. Now She Has Named a Legend, Juliet Macur, March 20, 2023. Jennifer Fox, who has long discussed what happened when she was 13 and her coach was 40, has revealed the final detail: his identity.

In 2018, Jennifer Fox made an Emmy-nominated film called “The Tale” about her pieced-together memories of what she now describes as childhood sexual abuse.

Laura Dern starred in the HBO drama, in which Fox unspooled what she remembered about the relationship she had as a 13-year-old with her 40-year-old coach.

The details were horrific and unsettling, and the lingering pain of the main character, also called Jennifer, was palpable. But the coach was given a pseudonym in the lightly fictionalized film.

ted nash 1972Now, a half century after the relationship ended in 1973, Fox has come forward with the name of the man who she said abused her. She said it was Ted Nash, a two-time Olympic medalist in rowing and nine-time Olympic coach who had mythic status in the sport. Early in his athletic career, Nash, shown in a 1972 photo, also coached girls and women in running.

“He was a very esteemed, very talented manipulator and beloved and looked good and acted right and had all the right credentials,” Fox told The New York Times in a series of interviews, adding that Nash, who died at 88 in 2021, seemed like someone she and her parents could trust. Fox has filed a complaint against Nash with U.S. Rowing, the sport’s national federation.

When told of the accusations, Aldina Nash-Hampe, Nash’s first wife, said they were “kind of a surprise to me.”

“But then,” she added, “he seemed to have affairs with a lot of women, and that’s one of the reasons I left.”

Nash-Hampe, 87, said that she and Nash divorced in 1972, after she found letters from Nash to some of those “many, many women,” and also that Nash had “kind of abandoned” her and their two young sons. She said that she didn’t know anything about the experiences Fox described, and that she was not aware of Nash having been involved with underage girls. But, she said, it was as if Ted Nash had two lives.

“He’s got a big reputation for being a wonderful guy,” she said. “But he does have this history.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Abortion foes seek vows from 2024 GOP hopefuls, Rachel Roubein, March 20, 2023 (print ed.). Activists are planning to pressure presidential candidates to promise a variety of national abortion restrictions.

Leading antiabortion groups, fresh off their historic victory with the demise of Roe v. Wade, are drawing up plans for a new goal in the 2024 presidential election: Ensuring the Republican nominee promises to back nationwide restrictions on abortion.

One of the most influential groups, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, is likely to ask candidates to sign a pledge supporting a federal minimum limit on abortion at no later than 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“If any GOP primary candidate fails to summon the moral courage to endorse a 15-week gestational minimum standard, then they don’t deserve to be the president of the United States,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of SBA Pro-Life America, who was instrumental in extracting antiabortion promises from former president Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, is exploring holding candidate forums or debates, where the issue of abortion would be front and center. And Students for Life Action is developing a survey asking candidates whether they’ll promise to appoint cabinet members who oppose abortion, such as in the justice and health departments; if they’d sign legislation to restrict abortions early in pregnancy; their stances on abortion pills and more.

“Our biggest challenge right now is making sure we get everyone on the record and for them to understand that we expect substantial action to be taken,” said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life Action. She added: “We want to make sure that every candidate knows that they’re going to have to be ready to make their case for life.”

The Supreme Court’s decision last June striking down a constitutional protection for abortion rights means such questions are no longer merely hypothetical. If Republicans win enough House and Senate seats in a future election, they could feasibly pass some kind of federal abortion limit — and activists are determined to nail down presidential candidates on whether and to what extent they’d go along with it.

Exactly where to land on the issue may not be easy for all GOP presidential hopefuls. Former president Donald Trump jumped into the race first, and though he put a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court, he frustrated antiabortion groups for comments blaming GOP losses last November on “the abortion issue,” particularly candidates who opposed exceptions for rape and incest. Trump cheered the Supreme Court decision last summer but didn’t respond to questions about where he stands on national restrictions on abortion.

Abortion rights groups scored major victories during last year’s midterm elections, even in some conservative-leaning states, and are aiming to build on that momentum. Democrats contend the results show the public is on their side, and nearly two-thirds of adults say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan group that surveyed Americans’ attitudes toward abortion last year.

March 18

Associated Press via Politico, Wyoming governor signs measure prohibiting abortion pills, Staff Report, March 18, 2023. The pills are already banned in 13 states with blanket bans on all forms of abortion, and 15 states already have limited access to abortion pills.

mark gordon o wyomingWyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, right, signed a bill Friday night prohibiting abortion pills in the state and also allowed a separate measure restricting abortion to become law without his signature.

politico CustomThe pills are already banned in 13 states with blanket bans on all forms of abortion, and 15 states already have limited access to abortion pills. The Republican governor’s decision comes after the issue of access to abortion pills took center stage this week in a Texas court. A federal judge there raised questions about a Christian group’s effort to overturn the decades-old U.S. approval of a leading abortion drug, mifepristone.

ny times logoNew York Times, Wyoming Becomes First State to Outlaw Abortion Pills, David W. Chen and Pam Belluck, March 18, 2023 (print ed.). Medication abortion providers could serve six months in prison under the law, one of the latest efforts by conservative states to target abortion pills.

Wyoming on Friday became the first state to ban the use of abortion pills, adding momentum to a growing push by conservative states and anti-abortion groups to target medication abortion, the method now used in a majority of pregnancy terminations in the United States.

Wyoming’s new law comes as a preliminary ruling is expected soon by a Texas judge that could order the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to withdraw its approval of mifepristone, the first pill in the two-drug medication abortion regimen. Such a ruling, if it stands, could upend how abortion is provided nationally, affecting states where abortion is legal as well as states with bans and restrictions. 

Legislation to ban or add restrictions on medication abortion has been introduced in several states this year, including a bill in Texas that would not only ban abortion pills but also require internet service providers to take steps to block medication abortion websites so people in Texas could not view them.

In these states, proposals to block or restrict abortion pills have typically been introduced along with other anti-abortion measures, a reflection of the range of obstacles to abortion these states have tried to erect since the Supreme Court overturned the national right to abortion last June.

washington post logoWashington Post, Florida bill would ban young girls from discussing periods in school, Timothy Bella, March 18, 2023 (print ed.). As Florida Republicans are introducing and advancing a wave of bills on gender and diversity that are likely to be signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), one GOP lawmaker acknowledged this week that his proposed sexual health bill would ban girls from talking about their menstrual cycles in school.

During a Florida House Education Quality Subcommittee hearing Wednesday, state Rep. Ashley Gantt (D) questioned her Republican colleague, state Rep. Stan McClain, on his proposed legislation that would restrict certain educational materials used in state schools, which Democrats and critics have likened to banning books. House Bill 1069 would also require that instruction on sexual health, such as health education, sexually transmitted diseases and human sexuality, “only occur in grades 6 through 12,” which prompted Gantt to ask whether the proposed legislation would prohibit young girls from talking about their periods in school when they first start having them.

“So if little girls experience their menstrual cycle in fifth grade or fourth grade, will that prohibit conversations from them since they are in the grade lower than sixth grade?” Gantt asked.

McClain responded, “It would.”

The GOP lawmaker representing Ocala, Fla., later clarified that it “would not be the intent” of the bill to punish girls if they came to teachers with questions or concerns about their menstrual cycle, adding that he’d be “amenable” to amendments if they were to come up. The bill ended up passing, 13-5, on Wednesday in a party-line vote, as GOP legislators make up a supermajority in the chamber.

McClain did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Friday. Gantt decried the bill to The Washington Post as “egregious.”

“I thought it was pretty remarkable that the beginning of a little girl’s menstrual cycle was not contemplated as they drafted this bill,” she said on Friday.

Gantt was echoed by advocates such as Annie Filkowski, the policy and political director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, who told The Post that “young Floridians will suffer if this legislation becomes law.”


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washington post logoWashington Post, Kentucky lawmakers pass ban on youth gender-affirming care, Andrea Salcedo, March 18, 2023. In a matter of hours on Thursday, Republican legislators in Kentucky passed an anti-transgender bill that would allow teachers to misgender their students and bans gender-affirming care for transgender youth in what advocates called the latest among a string of GOP-pushed anti-transgender legislation.

The new bill not only forbids trans youth from receiving gender-affirming care, a practice that professional medical associations have deemed safe and effective for children with gender dysphoria, but takes it a step further by mandating doctors set a timeline to de-transition children already taking puberty blockers or undergoing hormone therapy.

Under the bill, teachers would not be allowed to discuss sexual orientation or gender identity with students of any age. School districts would also be required to craft policies that forbid transgender students from using the restroom tied to their gender identities.

The bill, which appeared all but dead a day earlier, was revived Thursday and both the House and the Senate passed it with some slight modifications.

Andy Beshear KY Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D), right, who is running for reelection this year, now has 10 days to either veto or sign Senate Bill 150 into law. Even if he did veto it, Kentucky’s legislature would be able to override his decision.

When asked Friday about whether the governor would veto the bill, his spokeswoman pointed The Washington Post to his comments at a March 2 news conference.

“I can’t support anything that would cost the life of one of our Kentucky teens,” Beshear said at the time, referencing medical studies that suggest bills like this are linked to an increase in suicide among transgender youths.

Those who oppose the bill, including the ACLU of Kentucky and the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, have called it unconstitutional, dangerous and among the “most extreme anti-trans bills in the nation.”

March 17


Courage Award recipient Sharon Stone arrives Thursday night at “An Unforgettable Evening” in Beverly Hills, benefiting the Women’s Cancer Research Fund (Chris Pizzello photo via Invision and the Associated Press).

Courage Award recipient Sharon Stone arrives Thursday night at “An Unforgettable Evening” in Beverly Hills, benefiting the Women’s Cancer Research Fund (Chris Pizzello photo via Invision and the Associated Press).

huffington post logoHuffPost, Sharon Stone Tearfully Says She Lost A Fortune 'To This Banking Thing,' Marco Margaritoff, March 18, 2023 (print ed.). "I just lost half my money to this banking thing, and that doesn’t mean that I’m not here," Stone said at the Women's Cancer Research Fund gala.

Sharon Stone may have fallen victim to the Silicon Valley Bank scandal.

The actor gave a galvanizing speech on Thursday to encourage donations while accepting the Courage Award at a fundraiser for the Women’s Cancer Research Fund. She grew tearful at a particular point in her speech.

“I’m a technical idiot, but I can write a fucking check,” Stone told the audience, according to “Entertainment Tonight.” “And right now, that’s courage, too, because I know what’s happening. I just lost half my money to this banking thing, and that doesn’t mean that I’m not here.”

It’s not clear exactly what “banking thing” Stone was referring to ― whether it was related to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, the resulting stock market slump or something else entirely. The regional lender collapsed in two days after a classic bank run last week in which swaths of customers withdrew their deposits. (BuzzFeed, HuffPost’s parent company, banked with SVB.)

Former President Donald Trump, who bragged about slashing the landmark regulatory Dodd-Frank bank law, blamed the Silicon Valley Bank collapse on “wokeness.” President Joe Biden, meanwhile, on Friday called for executives to be punished.

Stone, 65, was being honored for raising awareness about breast cancer. She spoke to a crowd in the Beverly Wilshire ballroom in Beverly Hills, California, that included Rebel Wilson, Maria Bello and Lori Laughlin. During her remarks, Stone chronicled her own health scares of the past.

Sharon Stone tearfully encouraged a crowd to donate to the Women’s Cancer Research Fund on Thursday, while describing what she said were her financial losses in "this banking thing."

“Those mammograms are not fun,” said Stone, per “ET.” “And for someone like me who was told that I had breast cancer because I had a tumor that was larger than my breast and they were sure that I couldn’t possibly have a tumor without it being cancer, it wasn’t.”

“But I went to the hospital, saying, ‘If you open me up and it’s cancer, please take both my breasts,’ because I am not a person defined by my breasts,” she continued. “You know, that might seem funny coming from me since you’ve all seem ’em.”

Stone recently revealed she had breast reconstruction surgery in 2001 after doctors discovered “gigantic” tumors, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She urged the crowd never “not to get a mammogram, not get a blood test, not to get surgery.”

The evening reportedly ended with a performance from Maroon 5, whose members donated the proceeds to the night’s cause. Stone, whose brother recently died at 57 years old, concluded her speech in his honor — and with a rallying cry to fight for women’s rights.

“My brother just died, and that doesn’t mean that I’m not here,” she said. “This is not an easy time for any of us ... but I’m telling you what, I’m not having some politician tell me what I can and cannot do.”

March 14

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Abortion Surveillance State Gets Scarier in Texas, Michelle Goldberg, right, March 14, 2023 (print ed.). The month after the Supreme michelle goldberg thumbCourt overturned Roe v. Wade, a mother of two in Texas who had filed for divorce from her husband discovered she was pregnant. Determined not to have another child and worried that her husband would try to use the pregnancy to make her stay with him, she did what many of us would do and turned to two friends for help.

In text messages that are now part of a chilling lawsuit, her friends responded with warmth and solidarity. One told her about Aid Access, an organization based in Vienna that ships abortion pills to people in places where abortion is banned. Then the same friend texted that she had found someone nearby who could supply the medication. She and another friend both offered to let the woman go through the abortion at their homes. “Mistakes happen,” the second friend texted. “You can’t spiral. Hopefully this is the slap in the body that you need to remove yourself from him.”

Now the ex-husband, Marcus Silva, is getting his revenge. Last week, he filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against his ex-wife’s two friends and the woman who allegedly provided the abortion pills his ex-wife took, seeking a million dollars from each of them. (Because the suit seems likely to send abuse their way, I’m not including the women’s names.)

Silva’s case appears to have the backing of the anti-abortion movement, since he’s being represented by Jonathan F. Mitchell, the former Texas solicitor general who devised Texas’ abortion bounty law, which gives private citizens the power to sue others for “conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.” His legal team also includes Briscoe Cain, a prominent abortion opponent in the Texas House, and three members of the Thomas More Society, a right-wing Catholic legal organization. “Assisting a self-managed abortion in Texas,” says the lawsuit, is “an act of murder.”

This case has several harrowing implications. First, it makes particularly vivid the way abortion prohibitions give men control over women. In the text messages reproduced in the lawsuit, Silva’s ex-wife wrote, of her pregnancy, that she knew Silva would “use it against me” and “try to act like he has some right to the decision.” Given that he is now suing her friends, she seems to have understood him well. What she might not have understood is how much political power he’d be able to muster on behalf of his patriarchal prerogatives.


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washington post logoWashington Post, Help Desk Perspective: Snapchat tried to make a safe AI. It offered a supposed 13-year-old advice on sex with someone who was 31, Geoffrey A. Fowler, March 14, 2023. In conversations with our tech columnist, Snapchat’s experimental chatbot offered advice on hiding alcohol and marijuana, defeating parental phone controls and cheating on homework.

Snapchat recently launched an artificial intelligence chatbot that tries to act like a friend. It built in some guardrails to make it safer for teens than other AI bots built on the tech that powers the buzzy ChatGPT.

But in my tests, conversations with Snapchat’s My AI can still turn wildly inappropriate.

After I told My AI I was 15 and wanted to have an epic birthday party, it gave me advice on how to mask the smell of alcohol and pot. When I told it I had an essay due for school, it wrote it for me.

In another conversation with a supposed 13-year-old, My AI even offered advice about having sex for the first time with a partner who is 31. “You could consider setting the mood with candles or music,” it told researchers in a test by the Center for Humane Technology I was able to verify.

For now, any harm from My AI is likely limited: It’s only accessible to users who subscribe to a premium account called Snapchat Plus, which costs $4 per month. But my tests reveal Snapchat is far from mastering when, and why its AI might go off the rails — much less what the long-term impact might be of developing a relationship with it.

And that exposes an even bigger problem in the tech world’s new arms race to stick AI into everything from search engines and Slack to social networks. We the users shouldn’t be treated as guinea pigs for a powerful new technology these companies don’t know how to control. Especially when the guinea pigs are young people.

March 12

ny times logoNew York Times, Judge in Abortion Pill Case Set Hearing but Sought to Delay Telling Public, Katie Benner and Pam Belluck, March 12, 2023. Saying he wanted orderly proceedings, the judge asked lawyers not to disclose the hearing and planned to add it to the public case file the evening before.

The federal judge in a closely watched lawsuit that seeks to overturn federal approval of a widely-used abortion pill has scheduled the first hearing in the case for this week, but he planned to delay making the public aware of it, according to people familiar with the case.

matthew kacsmarykJudge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, right, of the Northern District in Texas, told lawyers in the case on Friday that he was scheduling the hearing for Wednesday morning. However, he asked them not to disclose that information and said he would not enter it into the public court record until late Tuesday evening.

One person familiar with the case, which is being heard in federal court in Amarillo, Texas, said such steps were “very irregular,” especially for a case of intense public interest.

Judge Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee who has written critically about Roe v. Wade and previously worked for a Christian conservative legal organization, told lawyers in a conference call Friday that he did not want the March 15 hearing to be “disrupted,” and that he wanted all parties involved to share their points in an orderly fashion, according to people familiar with the discussion.

The judge also said that court staff had faced security issues, including death threats, and that the measure was intended to keep the court proceedings safe.
More on Abortion Issues in America


Former President Trump faces varied legal and political threats, including an escalating New York criminal investigation into purported campaign finance crimes involving payments in 2016 to hide his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, shown above left on the cover of her memoir

Former President Trump faces varied legal and political threats, including an escalating New York criminal investigation into purported campaign finance crimes involving payments in 2016 to hide his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, shown above left on the cover of her memoir "Full Disclosure."

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump in growing legal and political peril ahead of 2024, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Holly Bailey, March 12, 2023 (print ed.). The Manhattan district attorney has invited former president Donald Trump to testify next week before a grand jury, potentially signaling a significant development in the ongoing investigation into Trump’s business affairs.

An Atlanta-area district attorney investigating whether Trump and his allies broke the law when they sought to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia could announce in coming weeks whether charges will be filed in that case.

And some former allies of Trump, as well as some Trump voters, have expressed a desire for a different 2024 Republican standard-bearer — most specifically, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has privately indicated he plans to seek the White House.

Trump — who stoked an insurrection trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election and is running again in 2024 — finds himself in growing peril, both legal and political. Multiple investigations into him and his actions are entering advanced stages, all while many in the Republican Party — in private conversations and public declarations — are increasingly trying to find an alternative to him.

On Friday, former congressman Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), one of Trump’s earliest backers in 2016, took to Twitter to say that he and Tom Marino, another former Republican representative from Pennsylvania, were urging DeSantis to formally enter the presidential fray.

“More than ever our country needs strong leadership, someone that gets things done & isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right,” Barletta wrote. “So Tom Marino & I are calling on our former colleague @RonDeSantisFL to run for president in 2024. Come on Ron, your country needs you! #NeverBackDown.”

On Thursday, a new pro-DeSantis super PAC, Never Back Down, also disclosed that it will be led by Ken Cuccinelli, a former Trump administration official. In a statement, Cuccinelli touted DeSantis as “a fighter with a winning conservative track record” with the ability to marshal “an unmatched grassroots political army.”

March 10


donald trump ny daily pussy

New disclosures in the E. Jean Carroll rape lawsuit echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Shown Then: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence in the Carroll case.

Politico, Judge okays use of Access Hollywood tape in Trump defamation trial, Erica Orden, March 10, 2023. The Manhattan judge also rejected Trump’s effort to block the columnist, E. Jean Carroll, right, from using the testimony of two other women who previously accused him of sexual assault.

politico CustomThe longtime magazine columnist who accused former President Donald Trump of raping her in the 1990s can use the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape as e jean carroll twitterevidence at trial in her defamation case, a federal judge ruled Friday.

The Manhattan judge also rejected Trump’s effort to block the columnist, E. Jean Carroll, from using the testimony of two other women who previously accused him of sexual assault.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote that “a jury reasonably could find, even from the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape alone, that Mr. Trump admitted in the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape that he in fact has had contact with women’s genitalia in the past without their consent, or that he has attempted to do so.”

In the tape, a recording from 2005 that was widely scrutinized during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump boasts, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” adding: “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Though Carroll’s 2019 lawsuit alleges only defamation, not sexual assault itself, Judge Kaplan found that “in order to prevail on her libel claim, Ms. Carroll must prove that Mr. Trump sexually assaulted her.”

e jean carroll cover new york magazineWithout proving the underlying claim of sexual assault, the judge wrote, “she cannot establish that Mr. Trump’s charge that her story was a lie and a hoax was false.”

In November, Carroll, left, also filed a second lawsuit in New York alleging defamation and battery under a new state law. The 2019 lawsuit is set to go to trial in April. A judge hasn’t ruled whether the two cases will be combined.

Trump has denied defaming or assaulting Carroll. “We maintain the utmost confidence that our client will be vindicated at the upcoming trial,” a lawyer for Trump, Alina Habba, said in a statement Friday.

The judge’s ruling Friday will also permit Carroll to use the testimony of Jessica Leeds and Natasha Stoynoff, two women who alleged Trump assaulted them in the years before he ran for office. Leeds alleged Trump groped her while they flew on an airplane together. Stoynoff alleged he sexually assaulted her while she was reporting a story for People Magazine.

Trump has denied both of their accounts.


Donald Trump, actress Arianne Zucker and actor Billy Bush shown together after Trump exchanged his views with Bush about assaulting women, as shown on the notorius Access Hollywood outtake.

Donald Trump, actress Arianne Zucker and actor Billy Bush shown together after Trump exchanged his views with Bush about assaulting women, as shown on the notorius Access Hollywood outtake disclosed during the 2016 presidential campaign.

  • Washington Post, Trump falsely claimed in deposition that Carroll spoke about enjoying rape, Shayna Jacobs and Isaac Arnsdorfo, Jan. 13, 2023. In sworn questioning, Donald Trump denied raping E. Jean Carroll but also falsely claimed she said she enjoyed sexual assault. At least 17 women have come forward with allegations that Trump physically touched them inappropriately, many of them supported by people they told at the time. Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations.


matt schlapp cpac

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP operative comes forward as accuser in sexual misconduct claim vs. CPAC head, Beth Reinhard and Isaac Arnsdorf, March 10, 2023 (print ed.). The man who has accused Matt Schlapp, shown above in a 2019 photo, the influential leader of the Conservative Political Action Conference, of sexual misconduct came forward publicly Wednesday after a judge said he must use his real name to proceed with a lawsuit.

republican elephant logoCarlton Huffman, 39, a longtime aide to Republican campaigns who lives in Raleigh, N.C., said he plans to amend the previously anonymous lawsuit, which seeks $9.4 million in damages for alleged sexual battery and defamation.

“I’m not backing away,” Huffman said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I’m not going to drop this. Matt Schlapp did what he did and he needs to be held accountable.”

Schlapp, 55, has denied Huffman’s claims that he groped his crotch and invited him to his hotel room during an October trip to Atlanta to campaign for Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker. Schlapp’s lawyer argued Wednesday that by proceeding anonymously, Huffman was trying to avoid scrutiny of his own record — including expressing extremist views on a white-supremacist blog and radio show more than a decade ago.

“I strongly believe we cannot defend this case — and it’s a multimillion-dollar case — without being able to use his name,” said Benjamin Chew, Schlapp’s lawyer.

Alexandria Circuit Court Chief Judge Lisa Bondareff Kemler described “balancing” the request for anonymity with the public’s interest in knowing the accuser’s identity and the ability of Schlapp and his wife, Mercedes, to defend themselves. Mercedes Schlapp is also accused of defamation in the suit.

Kemler noted an absence of specific threats against Schlapp’s accuser.

“The plaintiff has not established I think the heavy burden of establishing both a concrete need for secrecy and identifying the consequences that would likely befall him if forced to proceed in his own name,” she said. The judge said she would issue an order requiring Huffman to add his name to the suit.

By putting his name on the record, Huffman will test anew Schlapp’s support with the board of CPAC’s parent organization, the American Conservative Union, and with other Republican allies at a time when he faces a wide range of challenges, including heavy staff turnover and reduced turnout at CPAC’s flagship conference in the Washington area last week. The Republican power broker and leading booster of former president Donald Trump has declined to respond to questions from The Post about those issues and Huffman’s allegations.



sifredo castillo martinez NYPD

lawcrime logoLaw & Crime, 'Nearly unimaginable': NYC day care owner allegedly filmed sexual abuse of child in his care, possessed thousands of child porn images and videos, Jerry Lambe, March 10, 2023. The 33-year-old owner of a day care in New York City has been arrested and charged with a slew of child sex crimes after he was allegedly caught with “tens of thousands of images of child pornography” and sexually exploited at least one child under his care, authorities announced.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Sifredo Castillo Martinez, above, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein on Friday where he was formally charged with sexual exploitation of a child and production of child pornography, as well as receipt, distribution, and possession of child pornography.

March 9

lawcrime logoLaw & Crime, Oklahoma cheer coach allegedly raped her daughter’s minor ex-boyfriend over 300 times, Jerry Lambe, March 9, 2023. A 45-year-old public school cheerleading coach in Oklahoma has been arrested for allegedly having a long-running sexual relationship with a then-16-year-old student who had previously dated her own teenage daughter. Jennifer Jean Hawkins was fired from her job and arrested this week on one count each of second-degree rape and sexual battery, court documents reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a probable cause affidavit from the Oklahoma City Police Department, detectives on Jan. 27 began investigating reports of a male victim being raped numerous times at a home located on Stepping Stone Lane. The now-adult victim told investigators that he entered into a sexual relationship with Hawkins beginning when he was a sophomore attending Moore Public Schools, where Hawkins was employed as a coach, police said.

The now-21-year-old victim was in a rehabilitation program in California when he wrote a detailed letter to the school district about his alleged relationship with Hawkins, court documents stated. In the letter, he claimed that he went to Hawkins’ home several days a week to have sex and described her as being “very manipulative and controlling,” the affidavit states.

The school then contacted police, who in turn contacted Hawkins for an interview where detectives read her the letter from the alleged victim.

March 8

Al.com, Birmingham lawyer who worked for Ivey gets 8 years in child porn case, Carol Robinson, March 8, 2023. A Birmingham attorney who formerly worked on Gov. Kay Ivey’s staff (Republican of Alabama) has been sentenced to federal prison on child sex charges.

chase tristan espy collageChase Tristian Espy, 37, was sentenced Tuesday to more than eight years in prison after pleading guilty to one of two charges alleged in his 2022 indictment.

U.S. District Court Judge Annemarie Axon also ordered Espy to 20 years of supervised release after his prison term is complete.

Espy was ordered to pay $15,000 in assessments for the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act and $5,000 to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

Assessments collected under the statutes are used to fund and enhance victim services. Espy was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Office.

kay ivey current 2022Espy was charged with attempted coercion and enticement of a minor and possession of child pornography. The charges stem from events that took place between March 2021 and August 2021. At the time of his 2021 arrest, he was a deputy general counsel in the Office of Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican shown at left, but was fired that day.

He pleaded guilty Oct. 18, 2022, to possession of child pornography. As part of his plea, the enticement of a minor charge was dismissed.

Espy was initially arrested on state charges in August of 2021. He was charged with solicitation by computer/electronic solicitation of a child, which is a Class B felony. That case has been bound over to a state grand jury for indictment consideration.

According to his federal plea agreement, Espy on March 25, 2021, began communicating with an undercover investigator that he believed to be a 15-year-old girl. The communication began on an undisclosed social media site.

Documents state that Espy expressed disappointment in his sexual relationship with his wife and told who he thought was the 15-year-old girl what he liked, what he wanted to do to her and what he wanted her to do to him. Those conversations were sexually explicit.

When Espy was arrested, investigators seized his cell phone. On that phone, they found 69 videos and four images of child sexual abuse. Those videos and images included sex involving toddlers, and one that involved a child and bestiality.

March 5

ny times logoNew York Times, Post-Roe Upheaval Has Turned North Carolina Into an Abortion Haven, Kate Kelly, March 5, 2023 (print ed.). The state, surrounded by neighbors with abortion bans and restrictions, has had a 37 percent rise in abortions since the constitutional right to abortion was overturned.

Clinic by clinic, county by county and up to the highest levels of state government, no state embodies the nation’s post-Roe upheaval like North Carolina.

In the eight months since the federal right to abortion was eliminated, leaving states free to make their own abortion laws, North Carolina, where the procedure remains legal up to 20 weeks, has become a top destination for people from states where it is banned or severely restricted. North Carolina experienced a 37 percent jump in abortions, according to WeCount, an abortion-tracking project sponsored by the Society for Family Planning, which supports abortion rights. Providers in the state performed 3,190 abortions in April 2022. That number soared to 4,360 in August, after Roe fell. It was the biggest percentage increase in any state.

The state’s abortion providers are under strain, with women sometimes having to wait a month for an appointment. In Chapel Hill, nurses at the Planned Parenthood clinic say they often pull into the parking lot to find patients sleeping in their cars. The license plates are from Tennessee, Georgia, even Texas.

The large influx of patients has energized local volunteer networks offering rides, money for clinic fees and places to stay. It has also alarmed anti-abortion activists who last June were rejoicing when the court struck down Roe v. Wade, only to later discover a surge of abortions in their state.

The state, surrounded by restrictive neighbors, has had a 37 percent rise in abortions since the constitutional right to the procedure was overturned.

March 4

washington post logoWashington Post, Thousands of Afghan women in peril as Taliban voids their divorces, experts say, Susannah George, March 4, 2023. Taliban law now considers many remarried women to be adulterers, former judges and lawyers say.

After her stepfather sold her into marriage at the age of 13 to support his drug habit, the young Afghan woman fought for years to escape an abusive husband. She eventually fled his home, secured a divorce and remarried, she recalled.

Now, under Taliban rule, she’s suddenly on the run again, at risk of imprisonment for adultery.

Under the previous government, this woman from western Afghanistan could get a divorce by testifying that her first husband was physically abusive, even though he refused to appear before the judge. But under the Taliban’s draconian interpretation of Islamic law, her divorce is invalid and, as a result, so is her second marriage.

Former judges and lawyers estimate that thousands of Afghan women who earlier secured divorces without a husband’s consent are now in danger under Taliban rule, facing potential imprisonment and violent reprisals.

The “one-sided” divorces under the previous government were largely granted to women trying to escape abusive or drug-addicted husbands, according to the former judges and lawyers. Since that government’s collapse in 2021, power has shifted in the favor of the divorced husbands, especially those with Taliban ties.

Changes to the country’s marriage laws are another wrenching example of how the Taliban has stripped women of their rights. Taliban rule also has severely restricted their access to education and employment, banned them from public parks and mandated ultraconservative female dress.

“I was living a new life — I was happy. I thought I was safe from my [first] husband; I didn’t think I would be hiding again,” said the woman from western Afghanistan, speaking on the condition of anonymity, like all the women interviewed for this article, to protect her safety.

March 1

washington post logoWashington Post, Ex-cardinal McCarrick tells Massachusetts court he’s incompetent for trial, Douglas Moser and Michelle Boorstein, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Five years after allegations of child sex abuse against then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick first surfaced and rocked the U.S. Catholic Church, attorneys for McCarrick, 92, said Monday that he’s no longer mentally competent to stand trial and that the charges should be dismissed.

theodore mccarrickMcCarrick, right, was for decades one of the country’s most connected and powerful Catholic leaders. Now, many Catholics view him as an emblem of a rotten old-boy network in which the people at the top never face justice for their role in crimes involving sexual abuse by clergy.

The three counts of indecent assault and battery, based on allegations that McCarrick molested a 16-year-old family friend at a Wellesley College wedding reception in 1974, are the only criminal charges he faces. Fourteen minors and at least five adults — clergy and seminarians — have accused the former D.C. archbishop of sexual misconduct, according to the abuse-tallying site BishopAccountability.org. The first one came in 2018, shocking the church. But because of statutes of limitation for alleged incidents, it was long assumed that McCarrick would never be criminally charged. The Wellesley case was able to be prosecuted because, in accordance with Massachusetts law, the statute of limitations was put on hold after McCarrick left the state decades ago.



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Politico, Almost out of La La Land: Garcetti nom hits a make or break moment, Marianne LeVine and Christopher Cadelago, March 1, 2023. Biden’s nominee for ambassador to India has been in limbo for nearly 600 days. Things are hitting a breaking point.

politico CustomEric Garcetti’s nomination to be ambassador to India has been anything but smooth. But soon, the drama may be over.

Nearly 600 days since the former mayor of Los Angeles was put forward for the critical diplomatic post, his confirmation prospects have hit a critical juncture in the Senate. He is expected to survive another vote in the Foreign Relations Committee. But that’s just step one. His fate on the floor is far more uncertain, with several senators declining to indicate how they’ll vote on his final confirmation.

india flag mapThe Biden administration is operating as if this is the final chance to see the confirmation through. Aides have intensified their push to seat a top diplomat in New Delhi in recent weeks, with the State Department deeply engaged in talks with senators.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was noncommittal when asked Tuesday about Garcetti. But the coming hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee has brought a sudden uptick in confidence among Garcetti allies inside and out of the administration who have spent more than a year trying to build support for him in the chamber.

“I think we have to take a vote, I think he has the votes. I think there will be senators that use all of their rights to delay the nomination but my sense is he’s going to get confirmed,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told POLITICO. “He’s been actively working, the White House and State Department have been working. We just had other priorities.”

Garcetti’s uncertain fate signals the beginning of a rare rough patch between Biden and the Democratic-run Senate chamber. So far, in his presidency, the White House has only seen a handful of nominees withdrawn. But other picks are sparking controversy, with some Democrats concerned over a current Biden circuit court pick due to his handling of a school sexual assault case. And the president’s pick to lead the Federal Aviation Administration is up in the air after Sen. Ted Cruz demanded that the chamber hold off on considering him.

gil garcettiNone of those nominees, however, have been as high profile or gone on as long as Garcetti, right. He once seemed destined for a plum gig in the Biden administration after representing one of the 2020 campaign’s most prominent supporters. Allegations that he was aware of sexual assault and harassment accusations made by some on his staff against his former top political adviser, Rick Jacobs, have complicated that glide path.

While Garcetti has repeatedly denied knowledge of those allegations, some Republicans led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) concluded that he was aware — or should have been aware — of them. Meanwhile, Garcetti has spent considerable sums of money on lobbyists to rally support for his cause and push back against critics of his nomination who have been in touch frequently with senators urging them to reject him.

“Any support in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for this nominee is a bitter pill to swallow for all those who believe that enabling and covering up sexual harassment and abuse should be disqualifying for public office in America,” said Libby Liu, the chief executive of Whistleblower Aid. “The evidence is clear that he is unfit to represent our country anywhere in the world, and especially to the world’s largest democracy with a deeply troubled record on gender-based violence.”



Feb. 26


Falsely accused former Virginia high school teacher Kimberly Winters and defendant Virginia investigator Peter Roque.

Falsely accused former Virginia high school teacher Kimberly Winters and defendant Virginia investigator Peter Roque.

washington post logoWashington Post, Jury awards Va. teacher $5 million over wrongful sex abuse case, Tom Jackman, Feb. 26, 2023. The first clue that Kimberly Winters, a high school English teacher, had that a former student had accused her of sexually abusing him was when Loudoun County sheriff’s deputies in full riot gear burst into her bedroom one morning with their rifles drawn.

“It was very terrifying,” Winters said. “I still have nightmares. Big guns.”

Winters said the deputies yanked her out of bed, handcuffed her, and made her stand in the front yard of her Sterling, Va., home in her pajamas while they patted her down, in full view of the neighborhood.

When she went to the Loudoun jail, Winters said, she was strip-searched, which her lawyer said violated the sheriff’s policies because she wasn’t booked into the jail. But her mug shot was taken and distributed to the news media along with a press release saying she was charged with sexually abusing one of her students when he was 17. Soon, she was fired from her job at Park View High School, after teaching in Loudoun for eight years.

When Loudoun prosecutors looked at the case brought by Detective Peter Roque, they promptly dismissed all charges. Winters sued Roque and Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman (R). And after a five-day trial earlier this month, a Loudoun jury took less than two hours to find the two law enforcement officials liable for Winters’ economic and punitive damages. They awarded her $5 million.

It appeared Roque had not seriously investigated any of the student’s claims, Winters’s lawyer, Thomas K. Plofchan, said. On a sworn search warrant application in November 2018, Roque had written, “Witnesses’ statements are corroborated by phone records,” but there were no records, Plofchan said the evidence showed.

The settlement will be paid by a state fund in which many municipalities pool their moneys to pay for verdicts such as this, and a secondary insurance policy taken out by Loudoun

Feb. 23

 ny times logoNew York Times, R. Kelly Sentenced to 20 Years for Child Sex Crimes, Robert Chiarito and Julia Jacobs, Feb. 23, 2023. The singer will serve most of the sentence in federal prison at the same time as a 30-year term for racketeering and sex trafficking.

r kelly twitterA federal judge on Thursday sentenced R. Kelly, shown on a Twitter portrait, to 20 years in prison for child sex crimes, after a jury found that he had produced three videos of himself sexually abusing his 14-year-old goddaughter.

In a victory for the defense, the judge ruled that all but one year of the prison sentence would be served at the same time as a previous 30-year sentence that Mr. Kelly received after a jury in Brooklyn convicted him of racketeering and sex trafficking charges.

The jury in Chicago convicted Mr. Kelly of six of the 13 charges brought against him in connection with sexual abuse during the 1990s, including counts of coercing three minors into sexual activity and three of producing sex tapes involving a minor. He was acquitted of a charge that he had attempted to obstruct an earlier investigation into his abuse of the goddaughter, and two other counts of enticing minors to have sex.

Federal prosecutors had argued that Mr. Kelly, 56, deserved 25 years in prison on top of his earlier sentence, citing the singer’s “lack of remorse” as a reason he would pose a danger to society if released.

washington post logoWashington Post, Harvey Weinstein gets 16 more years in prison after Calif. rape trial, Helena Andrews-Dyer and Bethonie Butler, Feb. 23, 2023. Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 16 years in prison Thursday after he was found guilty of rape, forced oral copulation and sexual misconduct in Los Angeles last December. Those years will be added on to a 23-year sentence the once-powerful film producer is already serving harvey weinsteinin New York state prison, all but ensuring Weinstein, right, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The Los Angeles case stems from one victim. Referred to in court as Jane Doe 1, the Italian actress accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her at a Beverly Hills hotel after a film festival in 2013. Three other women also accused the now 70-year-old Weinstein of misconduct during the Los Angeles trial. Weinstein was acquitted on one of those charges, and the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on the additional counts involving two other women.

Jane Doe 1 gave a statement in court Wednesday about the trauma she suffered from Weinstein’s attack. “Before that night I was a very happy and confident woman. I valued myself and the relationship I had with God. I was excited about my future.” she told Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench, according to the Associated Press. “Everything changed after the defendant brutally assaulted me. There is no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Sarah Lawrence Sex Cult’s ‘Lieutenant’ Gets Over 4 Years in Prison, Colin Moynihan, Updated Feb. 23, 2023. Isabella Pollok’s lawyers had argued that she should not serve time for helping Lawrence Ray, saying she had become a “broken automaton.” But a judge said she had choices.

lawrence rayFor years, Lawrence V. Ray, right, manipulated and exploited a group of young people who had lived with his daughter in a dormitory at Sarah Lawrence College. He didn’t do it alone, prosecutors say: Among them was an enforcer.

Isabella Pollok became Mr. Ray’s “trusted lieutenant,” prosecutors have said, helping abuse her onetime roommates. Descriptions of how she played a part in keeping Mr. Ray’s followers compliant and terrified emerged last year as former students testified at his trial, which led to a 60-year sentence for extortion, sex trafficking, racketeering conspiracy and other charges.

Ms. Pollok ran the accounts and meted out discipline, prosecutors said, pushing group members to serve and fund Mr. Ray across a decade and several states. One former student testified that Ms. Pollok and Mr. Ray showed up to a hotel room where she had been earning money for them by working as a prostitute. Ms. Pollok taunted her, the former student, Claudia Drury, said, and Mr. Ray assaulted her for as long as eight hours, placing a plastic bag over her head and threatening to kill her.

When Ms. Pollok pleaded guilty, she offered no public explanation of why she had become devoted to Mr. Ray. Her lawyers since had argued that Ms. Pollok was “brainwashed” and that she had been too fully in Mr. Ray’s thrall to act independently.

Among those who seem to have arrived at a similar view was Ms. Drury, who wrote to the court that, although she still puzzled over Ms. Pollok’s behavior, she believed that her former roommate had lacked agency and deserved lenience.

On Wednesday, a judge in Manhattan sentenced Ms. Pollok, who pleaded guilty last fall to a single count of conspiracy to launder money, to four and a half years in prison. That ends a case that began on the campus of an elite college in Westchester County with a progressive intellectual tradition then devolved into squalid scenes of abuse and domination played out in hotel rooms and homes in New York City and beyond.

Feb. 19

washington post logoWashington Post, Her baby has a deadly diagnosis. Her Florida doctors refused an abortion, Frances Stead Sellers, Feb. 19, 2023 (print ed.). Halfway through the pregnancy, a routine ultrasound revealed the fetus had devastating abnormalities, pitching the couple into the uncharted landscape of Florida’s new abortion law.

Deborah Dorbert is devoting the final days before her baby’s birth to planning the details of the infant’s death.

She and her husband will swaddle the newborn in a warm blanket, show their love and weep hello even as they say goodbye. They have decided to have the fragile body cremated and are looking into ways of memorializing their second-born child.

“We want something permanent,” Deborah said. Perhaps a glass figurine infused with ashes. Or an ornament bearing the imprint of a tiny finger. “Not an urn,” she said, cracking one of the rare smiles that break through her relentless tears. “We have a 4-year-old. Things happen.”

Nobody expected things to happen the way they did when halfway through their planned and seemingly healthy pregnancy, a routine ultrasound revealed the fetus had devastating abnormalities, pitching the dazed couple into the uncharted landscape of Florida’s new abortion law.

Deborah and Lee Dorbert say the most painful decision of their lives was not honored by the physicians they trust. Even though medical experts expect their baby to survive only 20 minutes to a couple of hours, the Dorberts say their doctors told them that because of the new legislation, they could not terminate the pregnancy.

“That’s what we wanted,” Deborah said. “The doctors already told me, no matter what, at 24 weeks or full term, the outcome for the baby is going to be the same.”

Florida’s H.B. 5 — Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality — went into effect last July, soon after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a half-century constitutional right to abortion.

The new law bans abortion after 15 weeks with a couple of exceptions, including one that permits a later termination if “two physicians certify in writing that, in reasonable medical judgment, the fetus has a fatal fetal abnormality” and has not reached viability.

It is not clear how the Dorberts’ doctors applied the law in this situation. Their baby has a condition long considered lethal that is now the subject of clinical trials to assess a potential treatment.

Neither Dorbert’s obstetrician nor the maternal fetal medicine specialist she consulted responded to multiple requests for comment.

A spokesman for Lakeland Regional Health, the hospital system the doctors are affiliated with, declined to discuss Dorbert’s case or how it is interpreting the new law. In an emailed statement, Tim Boynton, the spokesman, said, “Lakeland Regional Health complies with all laws in the state of Florida.”

The combination of a narrow exception to the law and harsh penalties for violating it terrifies physicians, according to Autumn Katz, interim director of litigation at the Center for Reproductive Rights, who has been tracking the implementation of abortion bans across the country.

Florida physicians who violate the new law face penalties including the possibility of losing their licenses, steep fines and up to five years in prison. As a result, Katz said, they “are likely to err on the side of questioning whether the conditions are fully met.”

washington post logoWashington Post, AI porn is easy to make now. For women, that’s a nightmare, Tatum Hunter, Feb. 13, 2023. Easy access to AI imaging gives abusers new tools to target women.

QTCinderella built a name for herself by gaming, baking and discussing her life on the video-streaming platform Twitch, drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers at once. She pioneered “The Streamer Awards” to honor other high-performing content creators and recently appeared in a coveted guest spot in an esports champion series.

Nude photos aren’t part of the content she shares, she says. But someone on the internet made some, using QTCinderella’s likeness in computer-generated porn. This month, prominent streamer Brandon Ewing admitted to viewing those images on a website containing thousands of other deepfakes, drawing attention to a growing threat in the AI era: The technology creates a new tool to target women.

“For every person saying it’s not a big deal, you don’t know how it feels to see a picture of yourself doing things you’ve never done being sent to your family,” QTCinderella said in a live-streamed video.

Streamers typically don’t reveal their real names and go by their handles. QTCinderella did not respond to a separate request for comment. She noted in her live stream that addressing the incident has been “exhausting” and shouldn’t be part of her job.

Until recently, making realistic AI porn took computer expertise. Now, thanks in part to new, easy-to-use AI tools, anyone with access to images of a victim’s face can create realistic-looking explicit content with an AI-generated body. Incidents of harassment and extortion are likely to rise, abuse experts say, as bad actors use AI models to humiliate targets ranging from celebrities to ex-girlfriends — even children.

Women have few ways to protect themselves, they say, and victims have little recourse.

Relevant Recent Headlines

Feb. 17


Longtime columnist E. Jean Carroll, plaintiff in civil suits accusing Donald Trump of rape three decades again and defamation more recently, is show at left in a recent file photo along with Trump. jt e jean carroll

Longtime advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, plaintiff in civil suits accusing Donald Trump of rape three decades again and defamation more recently, is show at left in a recent file photo along with Trump and below  right in a photo three decades ago.

donald trump ny daily pussy

Disclosures in the E. Jean Carroll rape lawsuit echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Shown Then: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence in the Carroll case.

Law&Crime, E. Jean Carroll wants ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, testimony from Trump accusers at upcoming defamation trial, Marisa Sarnoff, Feb. 17, lawcrime logo2023. Former President Donald Trump is trying to keep the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape out of evidence at his upcoming defamation trial, despite defending his own words in an October deposition last year.

The revelations came in a series of recent motions filed in the defamation case against Trump by writer E. Jean Carroll, who has long maintained that Trump raped her in the dressing room of a high-end New York department store in the mid-1990s. Carroll sued Trump for defamation in November 2019 after he publicly denied the assault allegations, which she shared in a column for New York magazine earlier that year.

“She’s not my type,” Trump said after the piece was published.

e jean carroll cover new york magazineCarroll, shown at left on a magazine cover when she first made the allegations, also sued Trump in November for rape under New York’s Adult Survivors Act.

A pretrial motion filed by Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan on Thursday argues that testimony from other Trump accusers, including Natasha Stoynoff and Jessica Leeds, should be admitted at trial.

The transcript pages also reveal that Trump took several opportunities to make derogatory comments about not only Carroll — whose allegations he called a “con job” and a “fairy tale” — but also Kaplan herself, continuing to cite a lack of physical attraction to an accuser as a defense against sexual assault allegations.

“Whatever. You wouldn’t be a choice of mine, either, to be honest with you. I hope you’re not insulted. I wouldn’t under any circumstances have any interest in you. I’m honest when I say it.”

“Even if you weren’t suing me, I would have no interest. Okay?” Trump said to Kaplan.

Kaplan’s motion argues that the Trump legal team shouldn’t be allowed to make comments and conduct cross-examination about her representation of Carroll. She also wants to preclude Trump’s lawyers from bringing witness testimony not disclosed in discovery and his comments about his recent offer to provide a DNA sample.

The trial is set to start on April 10.

Feb. 11

ap logoAssociated Press via HuffPost, San Diego Catholic Diocese Faces Bankruptcy Over ‘Staggering’ Abuse Lawsuit Costs, Staff Report, Feb. 11, 2023. Some 400 new lawsuits have been filed after California lifted a statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse claims, Bishop Robert McElroy said. The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said Friday it may declare bankruptcy in the coming months as it faces “staggering” legal costs in dealing with some 400 lawsuits alleging priests and others sexually abused children.

huffington post logoIn a letter that was expected to be shared with parishioners this weekend, Bishop Robert McElroy said the cases were filed after California lifted a statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse claims.

Assembly Bill 218, which was signed into law in 2019, allows alleged victims to sue up until age 40. Also, beginning in 2020, it opened a three-year window for filing lawsuits without age limitations.

Most of the alleged abuse cited in the suits took place 50 to 75 years ago, and the earliest claim dates to 1945, Kevin Eckery, communications director for the diocese, said at a Friday news conference, KNSD-TV reported.

Eckery predicted that it would cost the diocese $550 million to settle the cases, none of which have gone to trial.

washington post logoWashington Post, Toronto mayor John Tory resigns after admitting to affair with staffer, Victoria Bisset, Feb. 11, 2023. The mayor of Canada’s most populous city, Toronto, has resigned after admitting to an affair with a former member of staff.

canadian flagJohn Tory, 68, below, told a news conference late Friday that the relationship, which he described as “a serious error in judgment on my part,” had begun during the pandemic. The unnamed woman left for another job outside of City Hall during the john tory 2018.jpgrelationship, he said, while the affair was ended “by mutual consent” earlier this year.

“It came at a time when Barb, my wife of 40-plus years, and I were enduring many lengthy periods apart while I carried out my responsibilities during the pandemic,” Tory said after news of the relationship was first reported by the Toronto Star newspaper.

“I am deeply sorry and apologize unreservedly to the people of Toronto and to all those hurt by my actions including my staff, my colleagues and the public service,” he continued. “Most of all, I apologize to my wife Barb and my family, whom I have let down more than anyone else.”

Feb. 6

ny times logoNew York Times, Despite Elon Musk’s Vow, Twitter Images of Child Sex Abuse Abound, Michael H. Keller and Kate Conger, Feb. 6, 2023. Over 120,000 views of a video showing a boy being sexually assaulted. A recommendation engine suggesting that a user follow content related to exploited children. Users continually posting abusive material, delays in taking it down when it is detected and friction with organizations that police it.

twitter bird CustomAll since Elon Musk declared that “removing child exploitation is priority #1” in a tweet in late November.

Under Mr. Musk’s ownership, Twitter’s head of safety, Ella Irwin, said she had been moving rapidly to combat child sexual abuse material, which was prevalent on the site — as it is on most tech platforms — under the previous owners. “Twitter 2.0” will be different, the company promised.

But a review by The New York Times found that the imagery, commonly known as child pornography, persisted on the platform, including widely circulated material that the authorities consider the easiest to detect and eliminate.

After Mr. Musk took the reins in late October, Twitter largely eliminated or lost staff experienced with the problem and failed to prevent the spread of abusive images previously identified by the authorities, the review shows. Twitter also stopped paying for some detection software considered key to its efforts.

All the while, people on dark-web forums discuss how Twitter remains a platform where they can easily find the material while avoiding detection, according to transcripts of those forums from an anti-abuse group that monitors them.

“If you let sewer rats in,” said Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s online safety commissioner, “you know that pestilence is going to come.”

Feb. 5


Disgraced Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is shown displaying the Disgraced Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is shown displaying the "White Power" sign with his left hand while voting early in January House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). (Photo by Getty Images Chief News Photographer Win McNamee, winner of a 2022 Pulitizer Prize.)

ny times logoNew York Times, George Santos Is Accused of Sexual Harassment in His Capitol Office, Grace Ashford and Michael Gold, Feb. 5, 2023 (print ed.). A prospective congressional aide has accused Representative George Santos of ethics violations and sexual harassment, according to a letter the man sent to the House Committee on Ethics and posted to Twitter on Friday.

The man, Derek Myers, briefly worked in Mr. Santos’s office before his job offer was rescinded earlier this week, according to the letter.

Mr. Myers said in the letter that he was alone with Mr. Santos in his office on Jan. 25 when the congressman asked him whether he had a profile on Grindr, a popular gay dating app. Then, he said, Mr. Santos invited him to karaoke and touched his groin, assuring him that his husband was out of town.

Mr. Myers’s account could not be corroborated, but a spokeswoman for Representative Susan Wild, ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, acknowledged that his letter had been received by her office.

Mr. Myers said in an interview that he also filed a report with the Capitol Police, speaking to an officer over the phone. On Twitter, he said that he was making his complaint public for the sake of transparency.

“They are serious offenses and the evidence and facts will speak for themselves if the committee takes up the matter,” he wrote.

A day before making his complaint public, Mr. Myers received attention following the release of recordings he had secretly made of Mr. Santos and his chief of staff, Charley Lovett.

Mr. Myers was charged last year with wiretapping in Ohio, after a small newspaper he ran published audio of courtroom testimony that someone else recorded and sent to him. Journalism organizations rallied around him, calling for the charges to be dropped in the name of press freedom.

Mr. Santos told the news start-up Semafor on Thursday that his office had been in the process of hiring Mr. Myers, but had decided against it because of concerns over the wiretapping charges. Mr. Lovett confirmed the same to Talking Points Memo.

Feb. 2

james gordon meek abc logo

washington post logoWashington Post, Former ABC News journalist charged in child porn case, Salvador Rizzo, Feb. 2, 2023 (print ed.). Federal prosecutors in Virginia have charged a former national security journalist for ABC News with a child pornography offense.

James Gordon Meek, shown above and below right in a related story, a producer who covered terrorism and major crimes for the network, was charged with one count of transporting child pornography. The FBI said in a court filing unsealed Tuesday that agents searched Meek’s apartment in Arlington last year and found explicit images and videos of minors on his electronic devices.

Meek’s last report for ABC News was published April 2022, days before the FBI searched his apartment. He resigned the same month, according to the network.

A forensic review of an iPhone found in Meek’s apartment showed that the phone’s user and another person on the messaging application Kik exchanged videos of minors being sexually abused, the FBI said in the filing. An external hard drive found in Meek’s kitchen also contained images of minors being sexually abused, the FBI said.

Feb. 1

Rolling Stone, Feds Charge Former ABC News Producer With Transportation of Child Pornography, Adam Ramsley, Feb. 1, 2023. Federal prosecutors have charged former ABC News producer James Gordon Meek, right, with transportation of child pornography, according to a criminal james gordon meekcomplaint filed in Eastern Virginia on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors say their investigation into Meek first began after the cloud storage company Dropbox tipped off the National Center for rolling stone logoMissing and Exploited Children about the presence of five suspected videos of child sexual exploitation material in a Dropbox account, according to the complaint. A subsequent investigation of the tip allegedly confirmed the videos depicted child pornography and were linked to Meek’s account. That triggered an investigation which allegedly found Meek posing as a minor to solicit pornographic images of children.

After federal agents raided Meek’s home, prosecutors say they found a trove of pornographic images on the producer’s iPhone 8, iPhone 6, an external hard drive, and laptop depicting the abuse of children as young as a toddler.

When FBI agents examined Meek’s iPhone 8, they allegedly found messages he exchanged with another alleged pedophile with whom Meek traded child pornography. In the messages, Meek appeared to confess to having previously abused children. “Have you ever raped a toddler girl? It’s amazing,” he allegedly wrote in one exchange.

Meek was a well-known figure in national security circles, both as an Emmy-winning journalist and a former counterterrorism adviser and investigator for the House Homeland Security Committee. He was coming off of a well-received documentary about special forces skirmish in Niger, and finishing up a book with a former Green Beret on the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. Then he abruptly resigned from ABC News on April 27, the same day as the raid. And his name suddenly disappeared from the promotional materials for the book.

In addition to trading child sexual abuse material with other enthusiasts, Meek allegedly approached children on Snapchat using the handle “hoolijax” in order to solicit pornographic material.



Jan. 30

OpEdNews, Commentary and Advocacy: Consolidate, Strengthen the International Effort to Stop the Use of Rape as a Weapon of War, Robert robert weiner columnistWeiner, right, and Sophia Hosford, Jan. 29-30, 2023. Rape and other forms of sexual abuse have long been used as means of control, humiliation and dominance in wartime situations. These vicious acts have been perpetuated by systems that call for world peace over all else.

Most recently, members of the Russian military in Ukraine have used rape and sexual abuse as "weapons of war." An October press release from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights reported an "array" of war crimes and violations of human rights committed by Russian personnel in Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin and the Russian military leadership have used rape as a tool to force subservience. The UNCHR recommended enhancing the coordination of international and national efforts to protect victims. This ambiguous recommendation holds no water to the Russian government -- apparently it fits in with catastrophic and harmful weapons of war.

The rape and abuse of a nation is dehumanizing and instills an unshakable fear and shame. Rape as a wartime tactic is inhumane.

The U.S. is not immune to this military tactic. Prisoner sex abuse was rampant with 400 alleged cases carried out at Abu Ghraib, a prison complex in Iraq, and six other prisons between 2001 and 2005 according to a 2009 report from Reuters. The photographs obtained from Abu Ghraib show "torture, abuse, rape, and every indecency" as U.S. Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who wrote the report on Abu Ghraib, told the Daily Telegraph May 30, 2009.

Today, the U.S. military is struggling to deal with an increase in rapes and sexual assaults with nearly 1 in 4 women reporting being sexually assaulted while serving, according to The New York Times.

On May 3, 2021, a former cadet at West Point was denied the opportunity to present a lawsuit to the Supreme Court. The cadet alleged rape on campus, pointing to the U.S. Military Academy's "pervasive and well-known culture of sexual violence." In fiscal year 2021 the Department of Defense received 161 reports of sexual assault that involved cadets/midshipmen/prep school students as victims and/or alleged perpetrators, an increase of 32 reports from the previous year. Rape in the military is not just an issue in combat; it starts in the academies.

In 2013, then-Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., proposed the Vanessa Guille'n Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act. The legislation aimed to standardize how the military prosecutes sexual assault and to remove the fear survivors have of reporting the crimes against them. In 2021, a related bill was introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to include an independent prosecutor in cases of rape and murder and received backing from Democratic leaders such as then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, of New York.

Former United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women Dubravka Šimonovi presented the Model Rape Law, an addendum to her report on rape as a human rights violation, to harmonize both national and international standards on rape and sexual violence. Rape can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide when the other elements of the crimes are present.

The Model Rape Law could aid in implementing international standards on rape, thus presenting a stronger stance against rape and sexual abuse in the United States and abroad. One of the objectives of the legislation is to prevent and combat rape as a common and widespread violation of human rights. But this can't be the only action taken by the UNCHR to protect victims of rape and prosecute those responsible.

Sexual abuse is a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions, a set of protocols that dictate humanitarian treatment during wartime and prohibit torture, outrages upon personal dignity, and humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees, among other rules of conduct.

Thirty countries including the United States have imposed a series of sanctions on Russia, resulting in economic disruption -- but that hasn't stopped its government from ordering these attacks and from its soldiers from blindly carrying them out. While the U.N. is the overarching entity that regulates international standards and needs to be enacting laws that do so, Putin must independently be embarrassed by the atrocities he is encouraging and causing. More publicity of these rapes and abuses could help do that. The issue is widespread and international: On Jan. 17, CNN reported that a former London police officer, David Carrick, was dismissed following his admission to 24 counts of rape.

The U.N. and United States need to look internally and enact legislation that presents an explicit stance against rape, an offense considered to be a crime against humanity, but that isn't treated as such.

The U.S. has a duty to protect service members who are victimized and reprimand and discharge those who acted as aggressors. The U.S. and the U.N. must pass the aforementioned legislation and work with other governments to standardize responses to rape and sexual abuse in wartime on the global stage.

Robert Weiner is a former spokesman for the House Government Operations Committee, the Clinton and George W. Bush White Houses, Four-Star Gen. Barry McCaffrey, and senior aide to Cong. Ed Koch, Claude Pepper, John Conyers, Charles Rangel, and Sen. Ted Kennedy. Sophia Hosford is policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change.

Jan. 25


roger ailes and laurie luhn split h 2016Hollywood Reporter, Fox News Employee Laura Luhn Sues Network Over Roger Ailes’ Sexual Harassment and Blackmail, Staff Report, Jan. 25, 2023. The former Fox News employee, shown above right, is suing the network, along with former co-president Bill Shine and hollywood reporter logoparent company 21st Century Fox, under New York's Adult Survivors Act, which temporarily lifts the statute of limitations on certain sexual misconduct claims.

Former Fox News employee Laura Luhn is suing the network over decades of alleged abuse by late CEO Roger Ailes (shown above left) — including an allegation that he blackmailed her with sexually explicit videos. The suit, which also includes claims against former co-president Bill Shine and parent company 21st Century Fox, is being filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which temporarily lifts the statute of limitations on certain sexual misconduct claims.

In a Wednesday filing, Luhn claims Ailes subjected her to sexual abuse, discrimination, manipulation and threats spanning two decades. Ailes in 2016 stepped down from the company he founded after several women, including anchors bill shineGretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly, came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. She’s suing Fox News for unlawful discrimination and negligence, and Shine for aiding and abetting the actions. Shine resigned in 2017 amid allegations that he covered up Ailes’ behavior.

“Roger Ailes used his position as the head of Fox News to trap Laura W. Luhn in a decades-long cycle of sexual abuse,” states the filing, which The Hollywood Reporter obtained through the New York state court portal. “To ensure her compliance and public silence, Ailes photographed and videotaped Luhn in compromising positions — blackmail material that he explicitly described as his ‘insurance policy’ — and made clear to Luhn that any attempt to speak out or stop the abuse would result in severe personal fox news logo Smallhumiliation and career ruin.”

Her complaint, which alleges misconduct from 1991 to 2011, is being filed now because the ASA, which was signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul on May 24, 2022, effectively suspends time constraints on claims involving sex offenses during a one-year lookback window that opened Nov. 24. It includes a provision that allows for claims against employers if the incident involved the workplace.

Luhn says she first met Ailes at President George H.W. Bush’s campaign headquarters in 1988, prior to his election. Years later, he hired her at his then-company Ailes Communications. Luhn says she was forced to give Ailes oral sex regularly, that he referred to her as his “sex slave” and demanded she wear a black garter and stockings, which he called her “uniform,” during a meeting in a hotel room shortly after she started working for him. In that meeting, in which he allegedly referred to her as his “whore” and “spy” and demanded she do whatever he told her no matter when or where, Luhn says he videotaped her and said he was going to “put it in a safe-deposit box just so we understand each other.”

Luhn first went public with her claims against Ailes in a July 2016 New York Magazine story, in which she called him a “predator” and said she felt the experience was “psychological torture.” She told the magazine that he demanded sexual favors and was asked to “lure” young female employees into meeting with Ailes alone. At the time of the story, Ailes’ attorney Susan Estrich denied the allegations and said, “It is disturbing that she is the subject of one reporter’s journalistic exploitation.” Ailes died in 2017 of complications following a fall, during which he’d hit his head.


Dr. Robert Hadden, a former physician long employed by Columbia University (Photos from federal court exhibits).Law & Crime, Former Columbia University OB-GYN, ‘Predator in a White Coat,’ Convicted of Federal Sex Abuse Charges, Adam Klasfeld, Jan. 25, 2023. Former Columbia University ob-gyn, shown above, has been convicted of federal sex crimes. (Photos via DOJ exhibits)

A former Columbia University gynecologist has been found guilty of the serial sexual abuse of patients in his care, including minors and the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

lawcrime logo“Robert Hadden was a predator in a white coat,” declared Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. When announcing the case a little more than two years earlier, the prosecutor’s predecessor, ex-U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, used the same description for the disgraced doctor.

“For years, he cruelly lured women who sought professional medical care to his offices in order to gratify himself,” Williams said. “Hadden’s victims trusted him as a physician, only to instead become victims of his heinous predilection. We thank and commend the brave women who came forward to tell their stories, many of whom testified at trial, to end his years-long cycle of abuse.”

Prosecutors said that the case was decades in the making, claiming the OB-GYN’s crimes took place between 1993 and 2012.

At the time of his arrest in September 2020, Hadden was 62 years old, and the FBI was still searching for all of his victims.

The Southern District of New York’s case focused on seven victims, but authorities say the true number is far higher. In October columbia logo2022, Columbia University Irving Medical Center announced a settlement with 147 past patients of Hadden, which followed a similar resolution with 79 women a year earlier. Yet Hadden avoided prison time for decades, despite pleading guilty in 2016 to sexually assaulting two patients. The settlement created a more than $165 million compensation fund.

That plea deal, entered into with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, allowed him to avoid imprisonment in return for losing his medical license and forfeiting ever getting another one.

The deal did not, however, preempt federal prosecution, and Hadden’s most recent indictment alleged a pattern of predation. Prosecutors said that Hadden touched victims’ breasts, nipples, buttocks, and genitals — “without a valid medical purpose.”

Multiple victims said Hadden would concoct an excuse to examine them, such as full-body “mole checks,” to give himself an opportunity digitally penetrate or even lick their genitals. Text messages entered into evidence corroborated their accounts.

gretchen buselliLaw & Crime, Woman Gets 15 Years For Paying Undercover Fed $5,000 ‘Downpayment’ to Assassinate Husband in Murder-For-Hire Plot, Jerry Lambe, Jan. 24, 2023. A federal judge in Florida handed down the maximum sentence to a 48-year-old Tallahassee woman convicted of trying to have her estranged husband killed in a murder-for-hire plot. U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker on Monday sentenced Gretchen Buselli, above, also known as Gretchen Yarbrough, to serve 15 years behind bars after she paid an undercover federal agent a $5,000 downpayment to assassinate the man, federal prosecutors confirmed in an email to Law&Crime

lawcrime logoAccording to court documents, Buselli used a cellphone to solicit the would-be assassin, communicating with the undercover FBI agent from June 2021 to December 2021.

The investigation into Buselli began when she communicated with an acquaintance – identified in court documents as “CW” – via mail, phone, text message, and encrypted mobile app about her plans to solicit the murder of her estranged husband, prosecutors said. Buselli, who had known CW since the two were teens, was a person she knew had “committed crimes” and had “been to prison,” prosecutors said.

FBI logoAuthorities said Buselli asked CW in June 2021 to kill her ex-husband in exchange for $40,000, claiming that the man was abusing her daughter. After the two communicated more about this on the encrypted messaging app Signal, the conversation shifted to a telephone call that the feds were listening in on.

In July 2021, the suspect “explained to CW how she has been struggling with the child custody situation with her ex-husband, that she has a judge that doesn’t care, and that she believes the system is corrupt and preventing her from getting justice for her daughter,” an affidavit filed in federal court stated. Buselli allegedly reasoned that the only solution was getting rid of her ex-husband.

The affidavit also included a detail of the defendant becoming “very excited” when CW proposed dumping her ex’s body in the ocean.

ny times logoNew York Times, A company that makes abortion pills is challenging state bans on the medication in a lawsuit, Pam Belluck, Jan. 25, 2023. The case, brought by GenBioPro, a company that makes one of two abortion drugs, argues that it is unconstitutional for a state to bar access to a medication approved by the federal government.

A company that makes an abortion pill filed a lawsuit Wednesday morning challenging the constitutionality of a state ban on the medication, one in what is expected to be a wave of cases arguing that the federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the pill takes precedence over such restrictive state laws.

The case was filed in federal court in West Virginia by GenBioPro, one of two American manufacturers of mifepristone, the first pill used in the two-drug medication abortion regimen. A ruling in favor of the company could compel other states that have banned abortion to allow the pills to be prescribed, dispensed and sold, according to legal experts. If the courts reject the company’s arguments, some legal scholars say the decision could open the door for states to ban or restrict other approved drugs, such as Covid vaccines or morning-after pills.

The case is one of a number of lawsuits testing legal arguments in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling last June overturning the federal right to abortion. Also on Wednesday, an obstetrician-gynecologist sued officials in North Carolina, which still allows abortion, challenging the state’s requirements for using mifepristone because they go beyond F.D.A. regulations on the drug. In November, abortion opponents filed a lawsuit challenging the F.D.A.’s approval of mifepristone nearly 23 years ago and asked that the courts order the agency to stop allowing the use of the drug and the second drug, misoprostol, for abortion.

Taken together, the cases underscore how pivotal medication abortion has become in legal and political battles. With pills now being used in more than half of abortions in America, and with recent F.D.A. decisions allowing patients to have pills prescribed by telemedicine and obtained by mail or from retail pharmacies, states that ban or restrict abortion are increasingly targeting the medication method.

Jan. 24

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Abortion rights advocates never got to celebrate Roe's 50th anniversary, Rachel Roubein with research by McKenzie Beard, Jan. 24, 2023 (print ed.). Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling, but abortion rights groups didn’t celebrate it like they might have once expected.

Instead, they’re fighting more than a dozen state-level bans that quickly fell into place after the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to the procedure in June.

Over the weekend, the Women’s March held roughly 200 events in states and cities across the country, including its marquee march this year in Madison, Wis. Planned Parenthood’s political and advocacy affiliates are hosting a week of actions, such as rallies in state capitals and trainings focused on reducing the stigma of abortion. And Vice President Harris pushed for national legislation to protect abortion rights in a speech delivered in Florida, a state that bans most abortions after 15 weeks.

Harris’s speech in Florida has political significance.

The state passed its 15-week ban last year — a prohibition on the procedure that’s more permissive than many other surrounding states in the South. It’s one of the states where further restrictions are expected to be up for debate this year. And it’s the home of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has emerged as the most highly anticipated potential 2024 challenger to former president Donald Trump.

Jan. 22


vicky ward investigatesVicky Ward Investigates, “I don’t think the picture is real. It is a fake," Vicky Ward, Ghislaine Maxwell on THAT photograph and Alan Dershowitz on Prince Andrew's legal U-Turn.

Tomorrow, I am booked to talk to Britain’s Piers Morgan on Talk TV about an exclusive interview with British TV host, Jeremy Kyle, given by Ghislaine Maxwell from jail in Florida as she waits for an appeal.

Prince Andrew, purportedly with Virginia Roberts Guiffre, center and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001.What’s been reported so far about the interview is that she says that the famous photograph of herself with Prince Andrew and his arm around Virginia Roberts Giuffre, then 17, is, as far as she knows, a fake. Prince Andrew, purportedly with Virginia Roberts Guiffre, center and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001.

She told Britain’s Daily Mail:

'I have no memory of them meeting. And I don't think that picture is real.

'It is a fake. I don't believe it is real for a second, in fact I am sure it is not.

'There has never been an original, there is no photograph'

OK. So I explained in my Audible Original podcast, Chasing Ghislaine, that that photograph is arguably more responsible than anything else for putting Epstein and later Maxwell behind bars–and for Prince Andrew’s subsequent disgrace. I also know that the photograph’s authenticity has long been a question mark for Maxwell and her siblings. A source close to the Maxwells told me weeks ahead of her trial at the end of 2021 that no one they knew had glimpsed the original.

The reason that photograph matters: Jeffrey Epstein was not a household name in 2011 when that photograph, allegedly taken at Maxwell’s London home in 2001, was first published in the Mail on Sunday. Nor were Ghislaine Maxwell or Virginia Roberts Giuffre. But Prince Andrew definitely was. It was his celebrity that sparked international interest in Giuffre’s claims–and her subsequent civil lawsuits against Epstein and, later, Maxwell and Prince Andrew. The depositions in the civil suits became critical catalysts for the criminal suits subsequently brought by prosecutors against both Epstein and Maxwell. And those, in turn, were the catalyst for Giuffre’s civil suit against Prince Andrew.

Prince Andrew is now reportedly considering trying to roll-back the settlement he made last March with Giuffre after she sued him for sexual abuse. It was a settlement that resulted in him being stripped of his HRH title, military titles, and Royal patronages.

Jan. 20


Liberty Christian Academy Principal Jason Kennedy and school secretary and home school coordinator Brittney Branham both face charges in the case. (Images: McMinn County Jail).

Liberty Christian Academy Principal Jason Kennedy and school secretary and home school coordinator Brittney Branham both face charges in the case. (Images: McMinn County Jail).

WTVC (ABC TV affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group in Chattanooga, TN), Christian school principal indicted on 11 new child sex charges in McMinn County, Staff Report, Updated Jan. 20, 2023. A McMinn County Grand Jury has indicted the principal of a small Christian school in Athens on several new counts. As first reported last year, 47-year-old Jason Kennedy already faces charges he engaged in improper sexual activity with an underage girl.

District Attorney Stephen Crump confirmed on Friday that the charges Kennedy was just indicted for represent 3 more victims, bringing the total number of victims in this case to 4. Tuesday's grandy jury indictment shows Kennedy faces these new charges:

    • Sexual activity involving a minor; Solicitation of a minor to observe sexual conduct; 6 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure; 2 counts of violation of the Child Protect Act; Aggravated sexual battery.

We asked D.A. Crump whether Liberty Christian School's secretary, 28-year-old Brittney Branham, will also face new charges, but Crump said he could not comment on her case.

Previous report: The principal and secretary of a small Christian school in McMinn County engaged in improper sexual activity in front of an underage teen and former student at the pastor's home, according to 2 arrest reports from the McMinn County Sheriff's Department.

47-year-old Jason Kennedy is principal, teacher and pastor of Liberty Christian School in Riceville. 28-year-old Brittney Branham is the school's secretary and homeschool coordinator.

Affidavits we obtained on Friday say the 19-year-old victim reported the incident to authorities earlier this month. She was underage at the time she says the incidents happened.

The report says in the summer of 2019, she would spend the night at Kennedy's Athens home, where he was living with both his wife and Branham.

The young woman said she would stay in Branham's room. While they were in that room, the victim said Jason Kennedy came into the room and started talking about sex with her and Branham.

During the conversation, the teen said Branham encouraged her to let Kennedy touch her private areas, telling her "it was okay to allow him to do that, it was fun, and not to tell anyone because Brittney and Jason could get into trouble," the report says.

In August 2020, the teen says Branham and Kennedy bought her a "black and white skimpy night gown," according to the report. One night when she was staying at Kennedy's home, she told investigators Jason came into the room with her and Branham, and touched the girl's breast.

In early 2021, the teen told investigators that while she was staying in Branham's room again, Kennedy came into the room and began talking about sex.

During that conversation, the woman said both Kennedy and Branham pleasured themselves, and encouraged her to join them. When they were finished, the teen said they adjusted their clothing and "like nothing had happened, they began talking like normal," the report says.

The report says the girl's father would let her spend the night at Kennedy's house, saying that when she did, "Kennedy would have custodial authority" over her.

washington post logoWashington Post, Former New York college cult leader sentenced to 60 years in prison, Shayna Jacobs, Jan. 20, 2023. Lawrence Ray, right, who was convicted last year of extorting and torturing members of a cult — students he recruited at his daughter’s college dorm —lawrence ray was sentenced Friday to 60 years in prison after several of his victims described a decade of abuse that shattered their lives.

U.S. District Court Judge Lewis J. Liman described Ray’s behavior as manipulation that devastated his victims and their families. Ray operated with “evil genius” that warranted what amounted to a life sentence in prison, the judge said.

“It was sadism, pure and simple,” Liman said in federal court in Manhattan.

Liman said victims showed courage during the trial last year, which included their testimony about their personal struggles. He said their role in exposing the conduct by Ray, who was convicted in April, “speaks volumes about the resilience of the human spirit.”

Two of the victims spoke at the sentencing and another offered a statement read by an attorney.

The statement came from Claudia Drury, who met Ray when she was 19 at Sarah Lawrence College and he moved into his daughter Talia’s dorm. Drury had testified about being forced into a life of prostitution and being physically and mentally tormented over more than eight years under Ray’s control. Sarah Lawrence has said that it did not know at the time about Ray’s presence there.

In the statement, Drury said she still has “nightmares almost every night” and cannot function enough to have a job.

“Putting myself back together is a difficult, extremely painful and slow,” she wrote. “I barely have the energy to exist day to day.”

Santos Rosario who spoke in court on Friday, also was 19 when he met Ray at Sarah Lawrence at a time he said he felt hopeful for the future.

“Then I met Larry Ray, and all of that went up in smoke,” Rosario said. “Instead, the next decade was one of absolute misery.”

Rosario, believing Ray was capable of helping him better himself, brought his sisters into the fold hoping they could benefit from Ray’s counsel too. His older sister Felicia was an Ivy League-educated doctor who quit her residency in California at age 29 to be with Ray, and his sister Yalitza was also in college.

Both sisters suffered because of Ray, their brother said. Santos Rosario said he attempted suicide multiple times. Their desperate and confused parents shelled out thousands 0f dollars to Ray, money their children claimed they owed him, hoping to help save their kids, according to testimony at the trial.

When Ray was given the chance to speak in court on Friday, he did not acknowledge the victims’ torment. He complained about the conditions of his incarceration, detailed his medical problems and sought sympathy for the recent deaths of his father, stepfather and stepmother.

Ray was convicted in April on 15 counts, including racketeering, sex trafficking and forced labor. His crimes began when he moved into his daughter’s on-campus apartment in 2010 and quickly gained the trust of her friends, showering them with attention and advice before manipulating them.

Several of the victims had significant psychiatric issues when they met Ray, which worsened as they fell deeper under his control. They were increasingly isolated from family and friends who were not part of what their leader dubbed “the Ray family.” Ray was a felon who had been released from prison when he started showing up at Sarah Lawrence in Bronxville, N.Y., which is north of New York City.

Jurors at Ray’s trial heard and saw evidence of brainwashing efforts that led well-educated and promising young adults into lives of forced labor, prostitution and physical abuse. The 63-year-old, who was at one point close friends with former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, had a system of emotionally and psychologically breaking down his followers, convincing them they sabotaged him and others and that only he could help them make amends, prosecutors said.

Jan. 19

washington post logoWashington Post, Opposition to Pope Francis spills into view in wake of Benedict’s death, Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli, Jan. 19, 2023. Last year, a high-ranking figure in the Vatican invited a journalist to a confidential meeting and handed him a stapled seven-page memo, a scalding insider critique of Pope Francis’s pontificate. The memorandum, touching on everything from moral to financial issues, ended with an appeal about the kind of pope that should emerge from the next conclave: in short, somebody the opposite of pope francis uncropped 3 13Francis, right.

“The first tasks of the new pope will be to restore normality, restore doctrinal clarity in faith and morals, restore a proper respect for the law,” said the memo, which was signed with the pseudonym “Demos.”

The journalist, Sandro Magister, published the text last March on his Vatican blog, Settimo Cielo.

george pell afp customBut then there was a final twist. After the purported author died last week, Magister felt free to reveal his identity: Cardinal George Pell (shown at left in an AFP photo), a giant of the conservative Catholic world.

“He had wanted it to circulate because he deemed it useful to develop a conversation” about the church, Magister told The Washington Post.

That revelation, coupled with other recent pontifical critiques, have quickly dissolved the notion that the Dec. 31 death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a symbolic leader of the church’s conservative wing, might lessen the opposition to Francis. Some church watchers had expected that this might be a liberating moment for Francis — he’d be, at last, the lone Vatican figure dressing in white. But to the extent there’s been a new phase, it’s been typified by intrigue and acrimony.

Magister’s disclosure came at a time when the Vatican was already buzzing about a book written by Benedict’s trusted personal secretary that highlighted several moments of tension between the ex-pope and current one.

As if that weren’t enough drama, the Spectator, a conservative London-based magazine, posthumously published one more article written by Pell — this one signed — in which he skewered an ongoing multiyear church project, central to Francis’s vision for the church, that involves listening to grass-roots Catholics and accounting for the “richness” of different church perspectives.

“A toxic nightmare,” Pell called this process, which will culminate with a major assembly in October.

Pell’s critiques in particular amount to a clarion call for conservatives, who have long worried that Francis might become bolder now that he doesn’t risk personally offending his predecessor.

Pell had spent more than a year in solitary confinement after being found guilty of assaulting two teenage choirboys in his home country of Australia. But that conviction was overturned by the country’s top court in 2020. When he returned to Rome, he reclaimed his platform among conservatives, who celebrated what they saw as his vindication.


Longtime columnist E. Jean Carroll, plaintiff in civil suits accusing Donald Trump of rape three decades again and defamation more recently, is show at left in a recent file photo along with Trump. jt e jean carroll

Longtime advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, plaintiff in civil suits accusing Donald Trump of rape three decades again and defamation more recently, is show at left in a recent file photo along with Trump and below  right in a photo three decades ago.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump thought photo of accuser was of ex-wife during deposition, Shayna Jacobs, Jan. 19, 2023 (print ed.). Donald Trump mistook his sexual assault accuser E. Jean Carroll for his ex-wife Marla Maples when shown a photograph from the 1990s in a deposition at Mar-a-Lago last year, potentially undermining one of the common defenses he has used to deny an attack.

e jean carroll twitterTrump, who is being sued by Carroll, an author and advice columnist, for defamation and sexual assault stemming from the same alleged encounter, has repeatedly said Carroll is not his “type,” suggesting an assault could not have occurred because he would not have pursued her romantically.

“That’s Marla, yeah. That’s my wife,” Trump said under examination from Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan, in a new selection of excerpts from the deposition that was unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Trump’s blunder in a sworn deposition was quickly corrected by his attorney Alina Habba, who told him it was Carroll, not Maples, an actress and singer who was married to Trump from 1993 to 1999.

The top 10 Republican presidential candidates for 2024, ranked

Maples was Trump’s second of three wives and is the mother of Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany.

Trump’s lawyer did not immediately have a comment.

e jean carroll cover new york magazineThe black-and-white photo at issue has been circulating since Carroll, left, made allegations against then-president Trump in 2019, detailing an account in her memoir of a forced sexual act during an encounter with Trump at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan in the mid-1990s.

Trump (whose notorious front-page treatment in the New York Daily news in 2016 is shown below) has denied having ever known Carroll, and in response to the photo’s existence, he has said in the past that he was often introduced to people at events that he didn’t know. In the deposition, he said the photo appeared to show him on a “receiving line,” possibly at a charity event, where he met and greeted guests. 


donald trump ny daily pussy

New disclosures in the E. Jean Carroll rape lawsuit echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Shown Then: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence in the Carroll case.


matt schlapp cpac

Politico, Matt Schlapp sued by former Herschel Walker aide over sexual assault allegations, Natalie Allison, Jan. 18, 2023 (print ed.). The conservative operative, shown above, denies the charges and hints at a countersuit.

politico CustomMatt Schlapp, a top Republican political operative, and his wife Mercedes Schlapp, a one-time Donald Trump aide, are being sued by a former Herschel Walker campaign staffer over allegations that he sexually assaulted him while on the campaign.

A lawyer for Schlapp on Tuesday said his clients deny the accusations and are considering “counter-lawsuit options.” The suit was filed in Virginia Circuit Court for the city of Alexandria.

republican elephant logoThe former Walker staffer, who filed the lawsuit anonymously, is seeking $9.4 million in damages from the Schlapps, saying not only did Matt Schlapp commit sexual battery, but he and his wife defamed him afterward.

Reached for comment, Schlapp’s attorney Charlie Spies called the complaint “false,” and said the “Schlapp family is suffering unbearable pain and stress” as a result. Schlapp also tweeted the statement from Spies.

“No family should ever go through this and the Schlapps and their legal team are assessing counter-lawsuit options,” said Spies, who is representing the couple.

The lawsuit follows claims earlier this month by the former Walker campaign staffer, who said Schlapp sexually assaulted him in Georgia in October while Schlapp was visiting the state to stump for the Republican Senate candidate.

The male staffer said Schlapp, without consent, “groped” and “fondled” his groin while the staffer was driving Schlapp back to his hotel Oct. 19. Politico previously confirmed the existence of the allegations, which were first reported on Jan. 6 by the Daily Beast. In the lawsuit, Schlapp is said to have placed his hand on the staffer’s leg before he “began aggressively fondling Mr. Doe’s genital area in a sustained fashion” while the staffer was “frozen with fear and panic.” Schlapp then reportedly invited the staffer up to his hotel room, which the man declined.

The pair had gone out for drinks in Atlanta after Schlapp spent the day campaigning with Walker in Perry, Ga., Walker campaign officials told Politico.

ny times logoNew York Times, From the French Resistance to Warhol to the Abortion Pill, Pam Belluck, Jan. 18, 2023 (print ed.). Étienne-Émile Baulieu, the father of the abortion pill, has led an eventful life, including time in the French Resistance and friendships with famous artists.

When the idea struck him, nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Étienne-Émile Baulieu believed it could be revolutionary. Creating a pill that could abort a pregnancy would transform reproductive health care, he thought, allowing women to avoid surgery, act earlier and carry out their decisions in private.

“When science meets women’s cause, it is irresistible,” Dr. Baulieu, 96, a French endocrinologist and biochemist often called the father of the abortion pill, said on a recent Sunday afternoon in his apartment in a century-old building a short walk from the Eiffel Tower.
He had also hoped, as he wrote in a 1990 book, that by the 21st century, “paradoxically, the ‘abortion pill’ might even help eliminate abortion as an issue.”
That prospect seems as distant as ever, especially in the United States. Not only has abortion remained fiercely contentious since the pill Dr. Baulieu spearheaded, mifepristone, was approved in America in 2000, but last year’s Supreme Court decision ending the federal right to abortion has divided the country over the issue as never before.

Jan. 13


donald trump ny daily pussy

New disclosures in the E. Jean Carroll rape lawsuit echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Shown Then: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence in the Carroll case.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump falsely claimed in deposition that Carroll spoke about enjoying rape, Shayna Jacobs and Isaac Arnsdorfo, Jan. 13, 2023. In sworn questioning, Donald Trump denied raping E. Jean Carroll but also falsely claimed she said she enjoyed sexual assault.

Donald Trump used a sworn deposition in a case brought by his sexual assault accuser E. Jean Carroll to continue calling her a liar and to claim she is e jean carrollmentally ill — denying that he sexually assaulted her even as he falsely claimed Carroll, left, said in a CNN interview that she enjoyed being raped.

In rambling and combative testimony at an October session at Mar-a-Lago, Trump reiterated past claims he didn’t know Carroll, shown at left right and below through the years, e jean carroll twitterexcept as an adversary in what he termed “hoax” litigation, and said she was a “nut job" who was fabricating the story altogether.

“I know nothing about her,” he said in response to questions from Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan, according to court documents unsealed Friday. “I think she’s sick. Mentally sick.”

The former president twisted Carroll’s comments from a June 2019 interview with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, in which she said she shied away from calling her alleged encounter with Trump a “rape” because the word “has so many sexual connotations” and is a “fantasy” for many.

“I think most people think of rape as being sexy,” she told Cooper, according to a transcript of the interview, explaining that she instead thinks of her alleged attack as a “fight.”

Trump cited the interview in telling Kaplan that Carroll “loved” sexual assault.

e jean carroll cover new york magazine“She actually indicated that she loved it. Okay?” Trump said in the deposition. “In fact, I think she said it was sexy, didn’t she? She said it was very sexy to be raped.”

Kaplan then asked: “So, sir, I just want to confirm: It’s your testimony that E. Jean Carroll said that she loved being sexually assaulted by you?”

And Trump answered: “Well, based on her interview with Anderson Cooper, I believe that’s what took place.”

Carroll, an author and advice columnist, publicly accused Trump in 2019 of raping her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s. She has a pair of pending lawsuits against him in federal court in Manhattan, the first for defamation over comments by Trump in 2019 trashing her and her account, and the latter over the alleged sexual assault itself.

Trump has denied knowing Carroll at all, even though he was photographed with her and her then-husband at an event decades ago.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected a bid by Trump’s attorneys to dismiss Carroll’s sexual assault lawsuit, which was filed under a New York law that lets sexual assault victims sue years later.

Trump lawyer Alina Habba said she would appeal the judge’s decision not to toss out the newer case. A spokesman for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign declined further comment.

The D.C. Court of Appeals is considering whether the Justice Department can represent Trump as a federal employee, a long-running legal dispute that has been heard by various courts and could effectively put an end to the defamation claims.

Kaplan has scheduled an April trial date for both lawsuits.

Some portions of Carroll’s deposition in the defamation lawsuit were already part of the public docket. Portions of Trump’s deposition were ordered released in a separate decision Friday by Judge Kaplan, who is not related to Carroll’s attorney. That decision followed a bid by Trump’s attorneys to keep the previously donald trump monster abananapeeledcom dcmaredacted section sealed.

The deposition depicts a full display of Trump’s trademark bluster. He complained to Roberta Kaplan, the attorney, about having to “waste a whole day doing these ridiculous questions with you” and said he would sue both Carroll and her attorney “after this is over.”

He also insisted incorrectly that Truth Social, the social media website he launched in response to his disciplinary removal from Twitter, was more successful than mainstream sites like Twitter, TikTok and Instagram. Truth Social, whose audience has reportedly grown since its rocky launch, still has nowhere near the reach as the others apps on the market.

Kaplan asked Trump during the deposition to list times he’s labeled an event a “hoax,” which he has said about Carroll’s allegation. “The Russia Russia Russia hoax ... Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine hoax,” Trump replied, apparent references to federal probes into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and Trump’s alleged meddling in the disbursement of Ukraine military funding during his term. He listed several others and said of the legal proceedings initiated by Carroll: “This is a hoax too.”

When directly asked if he’d ever sexually assaulted or touched a woman’s intimate parts without consent, his lawyer objected and Trump responded.

“Well, I will tell you no, but you may have some people like your client that lie,” Trump said.

At least 17 women have come forward with allegations that Trump physically touched them inappropriately, many of them supported by people they told at the time. Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Jan. 10

washington post logoWashington Post, Former judge arrested, accused of offering judicial favors for sex, Jonathan Edwards, Jan. 10, 2023 (print ed.). Judge Thomas David Carruth made the woman in his office an offer: If she had sex with him, he’d help with her ex-husband’s case, federal prosecutors alleged last week.

She refused, but Carruth allegedly had a counteroffer at the ready: Would she send him pictures of herself wearing nice lingerie?

She refused that, too.

Then, the woman sent a 28-minute recording of their conversation to law enforcement, according to an eight-page indictment.

On Thursday, Carruth, 63, was arrested on accusations that he solicited sex in exchange for judicial favors and then lied about it to the FBI. A federal grand jury in the U.S. District of Eastern Arkansas has indicted him on three counts of honest services wire fraud, three counts of using a facility in interstate commerce in furtherance of unlawful activity, one count of bribery, one count of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice.

His attorney, Robby Golden, said Carruth maintains his innocence.

Carruth resigned his position as judge in August before successfully running for city attorney of Clarendon, a town of about 1,500 in Monroe County, Ark., according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Jan. 7

vicky ward investigates


ghislaine maxwell jeffrey epstein porch

Sex trafficking defendant Ghislaine Maxwell, right, in an undated photo with her onetime lover and boss Jeffrey Epstein (Photo submitted to jury by U.S. Department of Justice).

Vicky Ward Investigates, There Are Some Big Discrepancies in the Epstein-Related Lawsuits, Vicky Ward, Jan. 9, 2023. As the lawsuits pile up, the mysteries are mounting….

I talked last night to Jessica Reed Krauss of House Inhabit (you can find our interview on her Substack) about what the firing of Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George might mean, coming as it did just days after she filed a lawsuit against J.P. Morgan.

In her complaint, George had accused the bank of enabling Epstein’s criminal sexual crimes, saying they banked him out of self-interest, not wanting to lose him or an assortment of high-net-worth individuals he was connected to—individuals whose names were blacked out in the suit. The bank denies these allegations.

As I talked to Jessica, I realized that’s what’s almost as odd as the sudden removal of George as Attorney General is the fact that the names—or some of them, at least—are not blacked out in a separate lawsuit filed against J.P. Morgan just weeks earlier also in the Southern District of New York on behalf of two unnamed Epstein victims. (The victims claim J.P. Morgan enabled Epstein and his friends to abuse them.)

The women’s suit names at least one high-net-worth individual who they claim J.P. Morgan feared would leave the bank if Epstein left: the billionaire Les Wexner. The suit also names Glenn Dubin as a wealthy hedge-fund owner who Epstein introduced to then-head of private banking Jes Staley, resulting in a profitable transaction for J.P. Morgan.

The women’s complaint also gets into detail about the role it claims was played by J.P. Morgan’s Staley and later Mary Erdoes, Staley’s successor as CEO of private banking.

Daily Beast via Yahoo!, QAnon Star Who Said Only ‘Idiots’ Get Vax Dies of COVID, Will Sommer, Jan. 7, 2022. Anti-Vax Radio Host Who Got COVID at QAnon-Friendly Conference Dies.

daily beast logoA leading QAnon promoter who urged both her followers and strangers she passed on the street not to take the COVID vaccine died Thursday of the coronavirus, making her just the latest vaccine opponent killed by the disease.

Cirsten Weldon had amassed tens of thousands of followers across right-wing social media networks by promoting the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy under the screenname “CirstenW.” She was prominent enough to become a sort of QAnon interpreter for comedian conspiracy theorist Roseanne Barr and started recording videos about QAnon with her.

Weldon focused on attacking vaccines and other efforts to fight COVID-19, saying in one video that Dr. Anthony Fauci “needs to be hung from a rope.” She claimed the vaccine killed people and even recorded herself yelling at people standing in line to receive vaccines.

“The vaccines kill, don’t get it!” Weldon warned the waiting vaccine recipients in an undated video posted to one of her online accounts. “This is how gullible these idiots are. They’re all getting vaccine!”

Jan. 6


matt schlapp cpac

Talking Points Memo, CPAC Organizer Matt Schlapp Accused Of Unwanted Sexual Contact, Kaila Philo, Jan. 6, 2023. Republican activist Matt Schlapp, shown above, has been accused of making “sustained and unwanted and unsolicited” sexual advances toward a staffer for Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign, the Daily Beast reported on Wednesday night. According to the staffer, whose identity the Daily Beast withheld, the incident occurred while he was driving Schlapp back to a Hilton Garden Inn from an Atlanta bar on Oct. 19.

“Matt Schlapp of the CPAC grabbed my junk and pummeled it at length, and I’m sitting there thinking what the hell is going on, that this person is literally doing this to me,” the staffer said in a video he recorded that night that was shared with the Daily Beast.

Schlapp has denied the accusation through his attorney Charlie Spies, who said the Daily Beast was trying to “attack” Schlapp. “This appears to be now the twelfth Daily Beast piece with personal attacks on Matt Schlapp and his family,” Spies wrote in a statement. “The attack is false and Mr. Schlapp denies any improper behavior. We are evaluating legal options for response.”

The staffer recalled Schlapp saying he’d wanted to discuss his professional future that night, the Daily Beast reported. Schlapp, who chairs the American Conservative Union and helps organize the Conservative Political Action Conference, allegedly “groped” and “fondled” the staffer’s crotch after talking at a couple of bars.

He also claimed that Schlapp repeatedly intruded on his personal space at the bars. “It was a public space, and I was thinking that he got the hint,” he told the Daily Beast. “I did not want to embarrass him. But it escalated.”

When he drove Schlapp back to his hotel, the conservative leader allegedly groped at his crotch, which the staffer called “scarring” and “humiliating.” Since he was due to drive Schlapp to the airport the next day, he reportedly told his supervisor and a senior campaign official on the Walker campaign about the incident that morning. The official was “immediately horrified” before relieving him of his chauffeuring duties, according to the Daily Beast’s reporting.

The staffer said he then sent Schlapp a text: “I did want to say I was uncomfortable with what happened last night,” he said. “The campaign does have a driver who is available to get you to Macon and back to the airport.” 

Schlapp then requested that the staffer call him, but he declined, per the Daily Beast. Schlapp reportedly called him three times after he sent the text, but the staffer did not answer or return the calls, according to the Daily Beast’s review of the phone records. According to the staffer, they haven’t spoken since.

A senior Walker official confirmed details of the campaign’s involvement to the Daily Beast, and added that the campaign initiated a meeting between the staffer and an attorney. The staffer told the news outlet he was satisfied with how the campaign handled the accusations.

Jan. 4

ny times logoNew York Times, Abortion Pills Can Now Be Offered at Retail Pharmacies, F.D.A. Says, Pam Belluck, Jan. 4, 2023 (print ed.). Mifepristone, the first of two drugs in medication abortions, previously had to be dispensed only by clinics, doctors or a few mail-order pharmacies. Now, if local drugstores or chains like CVS agree to certain rules, they can provide it.

For the first time, retail pharmacies, from corner drugstores to major chains like CVS and Walgreens, will be allowed to offer abortion pills in the United States under a regulatory change made Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration. The action could significantly expand access to abortion through medication.

Until now, mifepristone — the first pill used in the two-drug medication abortion regimen — could be dispensed only by a few mail-order pharmacies or by specially certified doctors or clinics. Under the new F.D.A. rules, patients will still need a prescription from a certified health care provider, but any pharmacy that agrees to accept those prescriptions and abide by certain other criteria can dispense the pills in its stores and by mail order.

The change comes as abortion pills, already used in more than half of pregnancy terminations in the U.S., are becoming even more sought after in the aftermath of last year’s Supreme Court decision overturning the federal right to abortion. With conservative states banning or sharply restricting abortion, the pills have increasingly become the focus of political and legal battles, which may influence a pharmacy’s decision about whether or not to dispense the medication.

The F.D.A. did not issue an announcement but updated its website to reflect the decision and added to a series of questions and answers. The two makers of the pill, Danco Laboratories and GenBioPro, released statements saying the agency had informed them of the action.

ny times logoNew York Times, Benedict Leaves Behind a Conflicted Legacy on Clerical Sexual Abuse, Jason Horowitz and Erika Solomon, Jan. 4, 2023. Joseph Ratzinger was accused of mishandling cases as a bishop, but as Pope Benedict XVI he was credited with forcing the church to face an old scourge.

Before he led the Roman Catholic Church as Benedict XVI, and before he loomed over the church as a powerhouse cardinal and the Vatican’s chief doctrinal watchdog, Joseph Ratzinger, archbishop of Munich, attended a 1980 meeting about a priest in northwestern Germany accused of abusing children.

What exactly transpired during the meeting is unclear — but afterward, the priest was transferred, and over the next dozen years moved around Bavaria to different parishes before he ended up in the tiny village of Garching an der Alz, where he sexually abused Andreas Perr, then 12.

“It feels so heavy,” Mr. Perr said on Tuesday, puffing cigarettes outside the house where he was molested, just a few steps from the white steeple of the village church. He said his abuse had led him down a road marred by drugs and prison while Archbishop Ratzinger had risen up the ranks of the church. Speaking of the retired Pope Benedict XVI, who died on Saturday, he added, “to think of the power that one person could have over your life.”

A report last year commissioned by the Catholic Church in Munich accused Benedict of mishandling cases of sexual abuse by priests. Benedict apologized for any “grievous faults” but denied any wrongdoing.

The scourge of child sexual abuse in the church haunted Benedict, from the beginning of his rise through the hierarchy to his last year as a frail, retired pope, when the Munich investigators added a final complication to a deeply conflicted legacy.

To supporters, he is the leader who first met with victims and — more than anyone before him — forced the church to finally face its demons, change its laws and get rid of hundreds of abusive priests. He raised the age of consent and included vulnerable adults in laws that protected minors. He allowed the statutes of limitations on sexual abuse to be waived.

To critics, he protected the institution over the victims in its flock, failed to hold even a single bishop accountable for shielding abusers and did not back up his words with action. He preferred to keep discipline in house, never requiring cases to be reported to the civil authorities.



Dec. 31



andrew tate graphic

washington post logoWashington Post, Andrew Tate, brother charged in Romania with human trafficking, Sara Sorcher, Amar Nadhir and Kelsey Ables, Dec. 31, 2022 (print ed.). Andrew Tate — the former kickboxing champion, internet personality and self-described misogynist (shown above in a graphic earlier this year) — has been detained in Romania along with his brother, Tristan, and charged with human trafficking and forming an organized crime group.

andrew tate 2021A Romanian anti-organized-crime unit is seeking authorization from a judge to hold Tate, right, his brother and two Romanian suspects for up to 30 days. A warrant on Thursday concerning the four suspects was valid for up to 24 hours. One also was charged with rape, but the spokesperson would not name that person, citing local laws.

The Tate brothers were expected to be physically present at the court in Bucharest. Prosecutors are seeking to send the suspects to trial where, if convicted, they could face years of prison time.

“No matter what the judge decides [on the longer detention], we will take further action in investigating this crime,” Ramona Bolla, a spokeswoman for the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism, or DIICOT, said in a telephone interview.

Romanian prosecutors said in a statement Thursday that they identified six people whom they allege were recruited and then sexually abused in Ilfov county, which includes the capital, Bucharest.

Authorities allege that the victims were coerced into participating in pornography for distribution on social media and that one of the suspects twice raped a victim in March. The statement, which did not name the Tate brothers or specify which suspect was accused of rape, alleges that the victims faced “acts of physical violence and mental coercion.”

Andrew Tate, who was born in the United States and also is a British citizen, has previously said he lives in Romania. Bolla confirmed that the Tates were legally in the country and said the investigation started in April, after the U.S. Embassy called the Romanian authorities with information that a U.S. citizen was being held involuntarily at a house in Ilfov. The embassy in Bucharest did not immediately respond to questions from The Washington Post early Friday.

Dec. 30

ny times logoNew York Times, Woman Accuses Steven Tyler of Sexually Assaulting Her in the 1970s, Dan Bilefsky, Dec. 30, 2022. In a lawsuit filed under California’s Child Victims Act, the woman says she met the Aerosmith frontman when she was 16.

Steven Tyler, the frontman of the rock band Aerosmith, has been accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a woman in the 1970s when she was a teenager and he was in his mid-20s.

In the lawsuit, the woman, Julia Misley, accuses Mr. Tyler of using his status and power as a famous rock star to “groom, manipulate, exploit” and “sexually assault” her over the course of three years. She has previously discussed her relationship with Mr. Tyler, writing online that she met him at an Aerosmith concert in Portland, Ore., in 1973, shortly after her 16th birthday.

The lawsuit, earlier reported by Rolling Stone, was filed this week under the California Child Victims Act, which temporarily lifted the statute of limitations so people who said they were sexually abused as children could file civil cases. The three-year period to file a complaint ends on Saturday.

Dec. 21

washington post logoWashington Post, Taliban bans women from all Afghan universities, Miriam Berger and Susannah George, Dec. 22, 2021 (print ed.). The Taliban banned women from studying in public and private universities in Afghanistan Tuesday — the latest move to roll back women’s rights in the nearly year and a half since the group retook control of the country.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Higher Education announced the suspension, effective immediately and in place until further notice, in a statement released after a Taliban leadership meeting.

The ruling is expected to impact thousands of women across the country, especially in urban areas where most Afghan universities are located.

A 20-year-old psychology student at Kabul University said reaction among her fellow students ranged from anger to hopelessness. “What did we do wrong?” she asked, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

“It feels like the Taliban are making it a crime to be a woman,” she said of Tuesday’s ruling and others in recent months that restrict the role of women in public life, “but if women are eliminated from society, Afghanistan will collapse.”


djt handwave file

Politico, Trump lawyers target Adult Survivors Act in attempt to invalidate rape lawsuit, Erin Durkin, Dec. 21, 2022. Lawyers for the accuser are pushing to release the deposition Trump gave in the case, which is currently sealed. E. Jean Caroll brought a new suit against former President Donald Trump after New York passed the Adult Survivors Act.

politico CustomA lawyer for Donald Trump said Wednesday he will try to dismiss a lawsuit by a woman alleging the former president raped her in the 1990s by arguing New York’s Adult Survivors Act is unconstitutional, but a judge suggested he is not inclined to throw out the case.

e jean carrollLawyers appeared in federal court in Manhattan in a lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, right, a writer who says that Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store decades ago. She brought a new suit against Trump after New York passed the Adult Survivors Act, which gives victims of sexual assault two years to sue over past assaults that would previously have been barred by the statute of limitations.

“There’s a serious question here as to whether the Adult Survivors Act is constitutional,” said Trump’s lawyer, Michael T. Madaio.

When the defense attorney mentioned a motion to get the case dismissed, Judge Lewis Kaplan responded, “I wouldn’t count on that.”

Before the new legislation passed, Carroll was suing Trump for defamation over statements he made in 2019 denying the alleged attack. She filed the new suit over the alleged incident on Thanksgiving, when the Adult Survivors Act took effect. She also added a new defamation claim, over statements Trump made this October about her claims.

The judge asked the Trump attorney why the Adult Survivors Act would be unconstitutional when the Child Victims Act, a previous law allowing victims who were kids at the time to sue years later, held up in court. Madaio said that legislation was different because it dealt with a specific subset of vulnerable people.

Attorneys for Carroll want to bring the case to trial in April, when the original defamation suit was scheduled to be tried. Trump’s lawyers want to push it back to later in the year. Kaplan said he would decide on a schedule later Wednesday.

Dec. 20

washington post logoWashington Post, FBI warns of explosion of ‘sextortion’ cases targeting boys, teens, Perry Stein, Dec. 20, 2022 (print ed.). Law enforcement officials said they have directly linked at least 12 suicides to cases involving online demands for explicit photos.

Justice Department log circularFederal law enforcement officials warned Monday of an explosion of “sextortion” cases targeting teenagers and young boys, saying the online scheme has been linked to at least 12 suicides this year.

Officials issued a public safety alert urging parents and children to remain vigilant online ahead of the holiday break, when many children spend more time at home and online and could be vulnerable to people contacting them, asking for sexually explicit photos and threatening to release the images unless a ransom is paid.

In a news release, the FBI and Justice Department said a large portion of the sextortion crimes originate in Nigeria and the Ivory Coast and are driven by “financial gain,” not sex — a fact that a Justice Department official said makes this trend different from other child exploitation crimes that have historically been motivated by sexual attraction to minors.

The official, and an FBI official, spoke on the condition of anonymity in accordance with ground rules set at a background briefing.

Teen mental health issues are on the rise. Some tips for parents.

In the past year, authorities have received more than 7,000 reports related to sextortion and confirmed around 3,000 minor victims in the country, the Justice Department said. These children are contacted on social media platforms from someone using a fake account and typically posing as a female. They set their location to be somewhere near the victims and ask the boys to send sexually explicit photos, then threaten to release the illicit images unless a ransom is paid.

Most of the boys targeted are between the ages of 14 and 17, though officials say they have identified victims as young as 10. The entire interaction — from the point contact is made to when money is demanded — can unfold in just hours.

“This is a level of harassment we haven’t seen recently in regards to our children,” the FBI official said.

Officials did not disclose how much money has been collected in the sextortion schemes, but described them as “successful,” with one official saying that is “why it is happening on the scale that it is.” Still, they said, in many instances the extortioners release the images even if payments are made.

Prosecution of this type of online fraud is difficult, the Justice Department said, because it’s challenging to track down the identity of the predator. And pursuing the cases can be even more complicated in cases when the suspects live abroad and would need to be extradited to be held accountable. But the issue has been receiving more attention.

In October, the Dr. Phil television show featured parents of a child who was extorted and died by suicide.

Dec. 19

ap logoAssociated Press via Politico, Harvey Weinstein found guilty of rape in Los Angeles trial, Dec. 19, 2022. The movie mogul became a #MeToo lightning rod starting with stories in the New York Times in 2017.

harvey weinsteinHarvey Weinstein was found guilty Monday of rape at a Los Angeles trial in another #MeToo moment of reckoning, five years after he became a magnet for the movement.

After deliberating for nine days spanning more than two weeks, the jury of eight men and four women reached the verdict at the second criminal trial of the 70-year-old onetime powerful movie mogul, who is two years into a 23-year sentence for a rape and sexual assault conviction in New York.

Weinstein was found guilty of rape, forced oral copulation and another sexual misconduct count involving a woman known as Jane Doe 1. The jury was unable to reach a decision on several counts, notably charges involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The jury reported it was unable to reach verdicts in her allegations and the allegations of another woman. A mistrial was declared on those counts.

He was also acquitted of a sexual battery allegation made by another woman.

He faces up to 24 years in prison when he is sentenced. Prosecutors and defense attorneys had no immediate comment on the verdict.

“It is time for the defendant’s reign of terror to end,” Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez said in the prosecution’s closing argument. “It is time for the kingmaker to be brought to justice.”

Lacking any forensic evidence or eyewitness accounts of assaults Weinstein’s accusers said happened from 2005 to 2013, the case hinged heavily on the stories and credibility of the four women at the center of the charges.

The accusers included Newsom, a documentary filmmaker whose husband is California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Her intense and emotional testimony of being raped by Weinstein in a hotel room in 2005 brought the trial its most dramatic moments.

Another was an Italian model and actor who said Weinstein appeared uninvited at her hotel room door during a 2013 film festival and raped her.

Lauren Young, the only accuser who testified at both Weinstein trials, said she was a model aspiring to be an actor and screenwriter who was meeting with Weinstein about a script in 2013 when he trapped her in a hotel bathroom, groped her and masturbated in front of her.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charges involving Young.

A massage therapist testified that Weinstein did the same to her after getting a massage in 2010.

Martinez said in her closing that the women entered Weinstein’s hotel suites or let him into their rooms, with no idea of what awaited them.

“Who would suspect that such an entertainment industry titan would be a degenerate rapist?” she said.

The women’s stories echoed the allegations of dozens of others who have emerged since Weinstein became a #MeToo lightning rod starting with stories in the New York Times in 2017. A movie about that reporting, “She Said,” was released during the trial, and jurors were repeatedly warned not to see it.

It was the defense that made #MeToo an issue during the trial, however, emphasizing that none of the four women went to the authorities until after the movement made Weinstein a target.

Defense lawyers said two of the women were entirely lying about their encounters with Weinstein, and that the other two had “100% consensual” sexual interactions that they later reframed.

“Regret is not the same thing as rape,” Weinstein attorney Alan Jackson said in his closing argument.

He urged jurors to look past the the women’s emotional testimony and focus on the factual evidence.

“‘Believe us because we’re mad, believe us because we cried,’” Jackson said jurors were being asked to do. “Well, fury does not make fact. And tears do not make truth.”

All the women involved in the charges went by Jane Doe in court. The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly or agree to be named through their attorneys, as the women named here did.

Prosecutors called 40 other witnesses in an attempt to give context and corroboration to those stories. Four were other women who were not part of the charges but testified that Weinstein raped or sexually assaulted them. They were brought to the stand to establish a pattern of sexual predation.

Weinstein beat four other felony charges before the trial even ended when prosecutors said a woman he was charged with raping twice and sexually assaulting twice would not appear to testify. They declined to give a reason. Judge Lisa Lench dismissed those charges.

Weinstein’s latest conviction hands a victory to victims of sexual misconduct of famous men in the wake of some legal setbacks, including the dismissal of Bill Cosby’s conviction last year. The rape trial of “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson, held simultaneously and just down the hall from Weinstein’s, ended in a mistrial. And actor Kevin Spacey was victorious at a sexual battery civil trial in New York last month.

Weinstein’s New York conviction survived an initial appeal, but the case is set to be heard by the state’s highest court next year. The California conviction, also likely to be appealed, means he will not walk free even if the East Coast conviction is thrown out.

Dec. 18



The late Mahsa Amini in a photo provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health.

The late Mahsa Amini in a photo provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health. Her death has sparked massive, unprecedented protests across Iran, particularly among young women and men, with brutal repression recently by authorities.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Iran Uses Rape to Enforce Women’s Modesty, Nicholas Kristof, right, Dec. 18, 2022 (print ed.). One gauge of the hypocrisy of the Iranian nicholas kristofregime is that there are credible reports that it is enforcing its supposedly strict moral code by arresting women and girls accused of advocating immodesty, and then sexually assaulting them.

In a searing report about the rape of protesters by security forces, CNN recounted how a 20-year-old woman was arrested for supposedly leading protests and later was brought by the police to a hospital in Karaj, shaking violently, head shaven, her rectum hemorrhaging. The woman is now back in prison.

iran flag mapHuman Rights Watch and Amnesty International have independently documented multiple cases of sexual assault. Hadi Ghaemi of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a watchdog organization in New York, told me of a 14-year-old girl from a poor neighborhood in Tehran who protested by taking off her head scarf at school.

The girl, Masooumeh, was identified by school cameras and detained; soon afterward, she was taken to the hospital to be treated for severe vaginal tears. The girl died and her mother, after initially saying she wanted to go public, has disappeared.

Accounts of sexual violence are difficult to verify because of the victims’ feelings of shame and fear, and CNN reported that the authorities sometimes film assaults to blackmail protesters into silence. What’s absolutely clear is that protesters keep turning up dead.

Consider Nika Shahkarami, a 16-year-old girl who burned her head scarf in public. Security forces closed in on her. Days later, the authorities announced she had died. An autopsy reportedly found that her skull, pelvis, hip, arms and legs had been fractured.

ali khamenei 2022 wSo the uprising across Iran isn’t just about head coverings. It’s about toppling a regime that is incompetent, corrupt, repressive and brutal.

In the northern city of Amol, demonstrators have set fires in the complex of the governorate building, and elsewhere took down portraits of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, and the founding leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

“Should there be a government doing something wrong, the nation should punch it in the mouth,” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared in 1979 after the revolution he led established the Islamic Republic. That’s what Iranians are now trying to do.

I’m surprised and disappointed that today’s grass-roots Iranian revolution hasn’t received more support in America and around the world. I think there are a couple of reasons for this.

Dec. 16


 Tatiana Spottiswoode is shown testifying before Congress. Screenshot from video showing Tatiana Spottiswoode testifying before Congress about alleged sexual assault by Zia Chishti (Photo by House Committee on the Judiciary).

Tatiana Spottiswoode is shown testifying before Congress. Screenshot from video showing Tatiana Spottiswoode testifying before Congress about alleged sexual assault by Zia Chishti (Photo by House Committee on the Judiciary).

Politico, She Testified to Congress About Being Sexually Assaulted. Now She’s Being Sued, Michael Schaffer, Dec. 16, 2022. A case brought by an entrepreneur who lost his job after an ex-employee told a House committee about his allegedly abusive behavior challenges protections for those who testify before Congress.

politico CustomDramatic Capitol Hill hearings, replete with shocking insider testimony, have brought down presidents and demagogues, put would-be Supreme Court justices on the defensive, exposed war profiteers and revealed deep-seated corruption in the federal bureaucracy for more than a century. But an odd defamation lawsuit filed last month in D.C.’s federal court has the potential to disrupt the Washington ritual of Capitol Hill hearing testimony. And even if it doesn’t succeed, it highlights the vulnerability of witnesses who speak out in front of Congress.

Zia Chishti, the entrepreneur who founded the company behind Invisalign dental braces, lost his job atop the multibillion-dollar AI startup Afiniti last year after a former Afiniti employee gave Congressional testimony that described what she characterized as violent sexual abuse by Chishti. Now Chishti, a well-connected Washington business figure who was once listed among People magazine’s top 50 bachelors and had the likes of Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan among the unicorn company’s early investors, is suing the woman over those claims, which were made publicly after she’d been subpoenaed to testify under oath in a House Judiciary Committee hearing last year.

According to Chishti, 51, his relationship with Tatiana Spottiswoode, 29, was consensual, albeit unusual, marked by “the sharing of minor scratch, bite, whip, and slap marks,” as his complaint decorously puts it. “This case is about a consensual love affair between Ms. Tatiana Spottiswoode and me that was successfully weaponized by Ms. Spottiswoode by deliberately lying to and misleading Congress while under oath,” Chishti writes in his court filing.
Zia Chishti in 2017.

Zia Chishti, shown above in 2017, founded the company behind Invisalign dental braces. He lost his job atop the multibillion-dollar AI startup Afiniti last year. | Tasja Keetman

That is, to put it mildly, not the version heard by people who watched the November 2021 hearing, who read news accounts that included troubling photos of wounds Spottiswoode testified about having sustained from a 2017 encounter on a business trip, or who followed the subsequent story of Chishti’s rapid-fire ouster after the resignations of A-listers like former British Prime Minister David Cameron from Afiniti’s advisory board.

Dec. 13

washington post logoWashington Post, Former Catholic priest convicted in 1985 sex assault in Loudoun, Tom Jackman, Dec. 13, 2022. Scott A. Asalone, a rector in Purcellville, was removed from his church in 1993, but not arrested until 2020. The victim went on to become a D.C. councilman.

A former Catholic priest from Loudoun County, who was quietly discharged from his parish after abuse allegations in the 1990s, was convicted Monday in Loudoun circuit court of felony carnal knowledge of a minor for abusing a boy who would go on to become a D.C. councilman.
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Scott A. Asalone, 66, who worked as a stockbroker and consultant in New Jersey for nearly three decades after leaving his parish, was arrested in March 2020, and released on bond during the pandemic. Jury selection for his trial was scheduled to begin Monday when Asalone decided to enter an “Alford” plea, in which a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but admits the prosecution has enough evidence to convict. Loudoun Circuit Court Judge James E. Plowman then found Asalone guilty, and set sentencing for April 13. He faces a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of ten.

Asalone’s victim in the case, former D.C. councilman David Grosso, was present in the courtroom and preparing to testify. After Asalone’s arrest in 2020, Grosso publicly acknowledged that, “The minor he assaulted was me.” Grosso was 14, and Asalone was 29, when the abuse occurred between April and September 1985.

“It felt good for me to be there,” Grosso said Monday, “to see the judge walk him through the charge, and find that he really is guilty of assaulting me … He realized the case was too strong against him.”

Dec. 12

scott stringer campaign resized

ny times logoNew York Times, Former N.Y.C. Comptroller Sues for Defamation Over Sexual Assault Claim, Nicholas Fandos, Dec. 12, 2022. Scott Stringer, above, the former New York City comptroller, said that a woman’s claims of sexual assault were lies and caused “irreparable harm” as he ran for mayor.

Nearly 20 months after allegations of unwanted sexual advances derailed his campaign for New York City mayor, Scott M. Stringer sued one of his accusers for defamation on Monday, arguing that she smeared his reputation with falsehoods and misrepresentations.

In a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Mr. Stringer said that the woman, Jean Kim, had done “irreparable harm to him and his political future” by portraying what he called an “on-and-off” consensual relationship as predatory. He demanded that Ms. Kim retract her accusations and pay damages.

“These defamatory statements have caused Mr. Stringer emotional pain and suffering, as well as injury to his reputation, honor and dignity,” lawyers for Mr. Stringer, a longtime Democratic politician and former New York City comptroller, wrote in the 12-page complaint.

The legal action appears to be a calculated risk for Mr. Stringer, 62. If successful, it could help clear up his public image as he contemplates a political comeback. But it also serves to resurface Ms. Kim’s decades-old claims of misconduct, while posing the risk of an embarrassing legal defeat and reopening scrutiny into an earlier chapter in his life.

Dec. 8


Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes arrive at the Disney Upfront 2022 event in New York City on May 17 (Reuters photo by David Dee Delgado via Associated Press).

Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes arrive at the Disney Upfront 2022 event in New York City on May 17 (Reuters photo by David Dee Delgado via Associated Press).

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: ABC offers a masterclass in how not to handle workplace romance, Helaine Olen, Dec. 8, 2022 (print ed.). All rom-com protagonists need an obstacle to overcome. This week, newly revealed lovebirds T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach, co-anchors of ABC’s “Good Morning America” spinoff show “GMA3,” got a doozy of one, when the corporate suite announced they were taking the couple off the air.

But while network suits might have upped the dramatic tension, they also inadvertently offered up a master class in the wrong way to go about managing a workplace romance. No one needs the c-suite to weigh in on consensual behavior between equals that takes place outside the workplace — no matter how attention-getting it is.

The “GMA3” contretemps began last week, when the Daily Mail got a hold of the exclusive — make that “EXCLUSIVE” — news that the two anchors were an item, despite being married to other people, in a piece studded with private-investigator-style tabloid photos.

abc news logo colorThe New York Post jumped in to confirm they were spotted “canoodling” in a local bar. (Word subsequently went out the couple both separated from their spouses this summer.) TikTok and Twitter went wild. After a few days, ABC decided this midlife romance was an “internal and external distraction,” as the ABC president, Kim Godwin, apparently said during an editorial call, and pulled the twosome from air.

Given the natural human inclination to gossip about celebrities and co-workers, that distraction may be real — and yet it’s unclear precisely how the romantic upgrade in Holmes and Robach’s relationship is otherwise a problem. The couple is not triggering any of the traditional red flags when it comes to workplace romances. They are co-anchors, so there is no issue of hierarchy, unlike when CNN’s head Jeff Zucker lost his position following an investigation into an ongoing relationship with network chief marketing executive Allison Gollust. No one has alleged favoritism or harassment as a result of the affair. In fact, it’s been reported that Godwin told staffers that the relationship is “not a violation of company policy.”

The fact is, workplace romances are incredibly common.

So why not tell co-workers to MYOB and let everyone get back to work? It’s not like there aren’t examples of a functional workplace romance between co-anchors. When Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski began co-hosting Morning Joe, they were married to other people. After they survived tabloid scandal about their affair and four years after they got married, the show goes on.

Dec. 6



stormy daniels djt

ny times logoNew York Times, Michael Avenatti Gets 14-Year Sentence for Stealing Millions From Clients, Eduardo Medina, Dec. 6, 2022 (print ed.). Michael Avenatti, the michael avenatti twitter photobrash lawyer known for representing the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels (shown above) in lawsuits against former President Donald J. Trump, was sentenced on Monday to 14 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from his clients and obstructing the Internal Revenue Service’s efforts to collect taxes from his coffee business, federal prosecutors said.

Mr. Avenatti, who rose to national prominence in 2018 while representing Ms. Daniels, was also ordered to pay nearly $11 million in restitution to the four clients he stole from, including a person who is paraplegic and has mental health issues, and to the I.R.S., the Justice Department said in a news release.

Prosecutors said Mr. Avenatti obstructed I.R.S. efforts to collect more than $3.2 million in unpaid payroll taxes, which includes money that he withheld from the paychecks of employees who worked for his coffee company, Global Baristas US LLC.

His 14-year prison sentence will run consecutively to the five-year prison term he is currently serving for two separate convictions in New York, prosecutors said. He has been in prison since Feb. 7.


samuel rappylee bateman polygamous town arrest 221204 69

washington post logoWashington Post, Polygamist leader claimed 20 ‘wives,’ including minors, FBI says, Marisa Iati, Dec. 6, 2022 (print ed.). The self-proclaimed prophet claimed it was “impressions of Heavenly Father’s will” that spurred him to force his followers, including children, to engage in sexual acts, according to new allegations from the FBI.

samuel rappylee batemanSamuel Rappylee Bateman, right, a leader of an offshoot of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, allegedly counted his own daughter and other juvenile girls among his more than 20 “wives.” Many of them were younger than 15, an FBI agent wrote in a court document filed Friday.

Bateman’s alleged foray into polygamy began in 2019, when he was married to one woman and had a daughter who was roughly 14. While in the car one day, the daughter later told investigators, Bateman said that he felt like she was his wife and that he would make her have a child if his feelings turned out to be right.

When Bateman told his actual wife, she moved out of their home with their daughter and got a restraining order against him, according to the court filing, previously reported by the Salt Lake Tribune. But Bateman allegedly continued to tell his daughter that he wanted to kiss and touch her. From then on, the FBI agent wrote, he accumulated wives.

Bateman, 46, is in federal custody in Arizona on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly asking followers to delete his Signal phone app, which he used to communicate with them and his wives. He has pleaded not guilty to that charge and to state-level child abuse charges.

Bateman has not been charged with sex crimes, although the FBI agent said there is probable cause to believe that he engaged in criminal sexual activity with minors in 2020 and 2021. His attorneys did not respond to a message seeking comment Monday.

The FBI affidavit, filed in the Eastern District of Washington, paints a picture of a long-running setup in which Bateman tried to use God as a defense for repeatedly manipulating his so-called wives and some of his male followers into engaging in sexual acts. The allegations follow the escape — and subsequent discovery — of several girls who had been in state custody after being removed from the rest of Bateman’s roughly 50 followers.

Two people who talked with investigators — a woman who tried to help members of Bateman’s group and her husband, who was filming a documentary — told them that Bateman had driven to their home on the Arizona-Utah border in late 2020. He allegedly arrived in a large SUV filled with women and girls, the youngest of whom was roughly 9, and introduced them all as his wives.

In a separate incident, the FBI agent wrote, a recording captured Bateman saying God had told him to give “his girls’ virtue” to some of his male followers by forcing them to have sex while others watched.

Dec. 5

washington post logoWashington Post, Perspective: The #MeToo movies have finally arrived. Only one captures the truth, Monica Hesse, right, Dec. 5, 2022. “She Said,” “Tár” and monica hesse“Women Talking” exemplify the challenges of dramatizing a moment and a movement we’re still living through.

In an opening scene of the astonishing new movie “Women Talking,” a young mother in Amish-style dress bursts into a farm shed and seizes a scythe, lunging toward a group of men who are penned inside.

Soon we learn the source of her fury: These men have been raping the female members of their conservative religious order, stealing into their bedrooms at night with sedative meant for livestock. Women would awaken the next morning bloodied and sore, unable to identify their attackers or even prove they had been attacked. The young mother, played by Claire Foy, was a victim of something terrible, and so were many of her friends. Now the men have been caught, and it’s time to figure out what to do with them.

The movie is based on true events at a Mennonite colony in the 2000s, but it was filmed in the shadows of #MeToo. It’s a movie that couldn’t exist without the movement.

  • Washington Post, Five years after #MeToo, Black survivors mobilize for themselves

Dec . 2


joel greenberg seminole county tax collector

ny times logoNew York Times, Former Gaetz Confidant Is Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison, Eric Adelson and Michael S. Schmidt, Dec. 2, 2022 (print ed.). Joel Greenberg, above, a tax collector in Florida, had been cooperating with the Justice Department in its investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz.

A Florida tax collector who has been cooperating with the Justice Department in its sex trafficking investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, was sentenced on Thursday by a federal judge to 11 years in prison.

The tax collector, Joel Greenberg, had faced up to nearly three decades in prison for a litany of crimes he had committed, including trafficking a 17-year-old girl, stalking a political rival and stealing $400,000 in taxpayer money to buy cryptocurrencies and sports memorabilia. But in the hope of receiving a lesser sentence, he had cooperated with the government in a series of investigations, including into Mr. Gaetz.

“He has provided substantial cooperation to the government — more than I’ve seen in 22 years,” Judge Gregory A. Presnell said.

But the judge also excoriated Mr. Greenberg’s behavior.

“In 22 years, I’ve never experienced a case like this,” Judge Presnell said, adding, “I have never seen a defendant who has committed so many different types of crimes in such a short period.”

It is not clear what the sentencing means for the Justice Department’s investigation of Mr. Gaetz, who is a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump and has been under investigation for over a year and a half but has not been charged with a crime.

Mr. Greenberg has told federal authorities that he witnessed Mr. Gaetz have sex with the 17-year-old girl and that she was paid. In documents filed in connection with Mr. Greenberg’s sentencing, the Justice Department said he had “provided truthful and timely information” that led to the charging of at least four other people and “provided substantial assistance on other matters” that the government would address only in a sealed filing.

But there are several hurdles to bringing a case against Mr. Gaetz, who has denied any wrongdoing. Among the challenges is that the girl has said she does not believe she was a victim, according to a person briefed on the matter.

Mr. Greenberg’s lawyer, Fritz Scheller, has complained that the Justice Department has not charged those Mr. Greenberg implicated in the sex trafficking. Such a prosecution would have highlighted the benefits of Mr. Greenberg’s cooperation when it came to sentencing him.

In documents filed with the court in the lead-up to Mr. Greenberg’s sentencing, Mr. Scheller said the Justice Department was unwilling to charge those whom Mr. Greenberg implicated despite trying to put Mr. Greenberg behind bars for more than a decade.

“If the government is so concerned with general deterrence, then why hasn’t it prosecuted the other individuals, including public figures, who were also involved in Greenberg’s offenses?” Mr. Scheller said. “Indeed, Greenberg’s plea agreement refers to the involvement of multiple co-conspirators, including individuals involved in his sex offense.” He added that Mr. Greenberg’s account had been corroborated “by other witnesses and records.”

Mr. Greenberg came from a well-to-do Florida family that owned a chain of dentist offices. In court on Thursday, Mr. Scheller said Mr. Greenberg struggled as a child with emotional and attention deficit issues, which he said led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder later in life.

As an adult, Mr. Greenberg tried to make it as a businessman but failed. He struggled with addiction issues but won election in 2016 in Seminole County, Fla., as its tax collector, portraying himself as a local version of Mr. Trump who could root out corruption.

But almost immediately, he started to use taxpayer money to pay for sex as he tried to ingratiate himself with up-and-coming Republicans in Florida state politics, by providing them with drugs and access to women and girls. His behavior continued to spin out of control until he was arrested in June 2020.

Mr. Scheller said Mr. Greenberg’s conduct was “bold, brazen, undeterrable but also manic” and that his behavior cannot be looked at without considering his “long history of mental health” issues.

Roger B. Handberg, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, depicted Mr. Greenberg in court as a hardened criminal who never did the job he was elected to.

ny times logoNew York Times, Greenwich Socialite Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Secret Videos of Minors, McKenna Oxenden, Dec. 2, 2022. A Connecticut socialite whose criminal case continues to be sealed from the public was sentenced on Tuesday to one year in prison for secretly recording videos of three minors in intimate situations.

Hadley Palmer, 54, of Greenwich, did not make any statement during her sentencing hearing, according to The Associated Press. She had already served 90 days in prison earlier this year as part of a plea deal.

Ms. Palmer pleaded guilty in January to three counts of voyeurism and one count of risk of injury to a minor. Under her plea agreement, Ms. Palmer will be required after her release to be on probation for 20 years and to register as a sex offender for a decade.

State records show Ms. Palmer was incarcerated at the York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in Niantic, Conn., as of Tuesday.

The defendant, Hadley Palmer, 54, will be required to serve 20 years of probation after her release from prison and register as a sex offender for a decade.

According to The Associated Press, Paul Ferencek, the Stamford-Norwalk state’s attorney, revealed new details about the crimes, saying that the victims were recorded unclothed on video without their knowledge or consent and the images were used for the sexual pleasure of Ms. Palmer.

Michael Meehan, a lawyer for Ms. Palmer, did not return a request for comment.

Ms. Palmer is the daughter of Jerrold Fine, who in 1976 started Charter Oak Partners Management in Westport, Conn., one of the first hedge funds, according to a profile of him on the website of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She used to appear frequently at charity and society events in Greenwich and New York City.

Details of Ms. Palmer’s case are sparse as it has largely remained sealed under the order of Judge John F. Blawie of Connecticut Superior Court. Judge Blawie sealed the order despite multiple objections from The A.P., which repeatedly appealed for open proceedings and access to court documents over the course of the trial. Judge Blawie said that protecting the victims in the case outweighed keeping the case file open.

washington post logoWashington Post, The Abortion Diaries: Pregnant and desperate in post-Roe America, Caroline Kitchener, Dec. 2, 2022. Three women face unexpected pregnancies in states with abortion bans.

It’s a moment of panic that has played out again and again for people in more than a dozen states since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

Once they find out they’re pregnant, there isn’t much time to act. The closest open abortion clinics that once offered next-day appointments are now often fully booked three, four, even five weeks in advance. Pills purchased online can take up to a month to arrive.

Every day, the fetus gets a little bigger — and the anxiety builds.

In polarized, post-Roe America, the experiences that draw widespread attention are often the most harrowing: a 10-year-old rape victim forced to leave her state to end her pregnancy, or a woman denied an abortion for a fetus without a skull.

Often lost in the discussion are the more routine stories. The mother of two who can’t afford a third child. The teenager who can’t tell her parents she’s pregnant. The 25-year-old who isn’t ready to be a mom.

Over the next decade, if recent trends hold, more than a million people with unwanted pregnancies are likely to run up against an abortion ban. Some will find a way, traveling hundreds of miles or securing illegal pills through the mail. Others will resign themselves to parenthood.

washington post logoWashington Post, Florida Gators QB arrested on charges related to child sexual abuse, Des Bieler, Dec. 2, 2022 (print ed.). Jalen Kitna, a backup quarterback for the Florida Gators, was arrested Wednesday on five charges related to child sexual abuse. He was booked that afternoon into the Alachua County jail and, per reports, is scheduled for an initial hearing Thursday morning.

The university said Kitna, right, jalen kitnaa 19-year-old redshirt freshman, was suspended indefinitely.

According to a news release from the Gainesville Police Department, a search warrant was served at Kitna’s residence by members of the GPD and the federal Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, following a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Police said that Kitna, 19, admitted to a GPD detective that he shared two images on the Discord platform of child sexual abuse material. Kitna was said to have expressed the belief that it was “legal” to have done so because he found the images online, but added he realized that, based on the reaction of the Discord recipient, he should not have shared them.

Actress Amber Heard is shown in a file photo with then-husband, actor Johnny Depp.

Actress Amber Heard is shown in a file photo with then-husband, actor Johnny Depp.

ny times logoNew York Times, Amber Heard Seeks New Defamation Trial After Losing to Johnny Depp, Julia Jacobs, Dec. 2, 2022 (print ed.). Ms. Heard’s lawyers argue in their appeal that the trial was held in the wrong state, and that the judge erred in prohibiting evidence they say supports her claims of domestic abuse.

Months after Johnny Depp prevailed in a defamation case against Amber Heard, who accused him of physical and sexual abuse, he has begun testing the status of his public image, appearing in a fashion show backed by Rihanna and an awards show in which he delivered tongue-in-cheek laugh lines about his derailed career.

But in a Virginia appeals court, the legal battle continues.

Last week, Ms. Heard’s lawyers filed an appeal in hopes of overturning a jury’s verdict that Ms. Heard had defamed Mr. Depp, her former husband, in 2018 by describing herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” in an opinion essay in The Washington Post. Mr. Depp, who was not named in the essay, was awarded more than $10 million in damages.

Dec. 1


todd rokita ap 2020

ny times logoNew York Times, Indiana Attorney General Asks Medical Board to Discipline Abortion Doctor, Ava Sasani and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Dec. 1, 2022 (print ed.). Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an OB-GYN who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim, was at the center of the nation’s abortion debate.

Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rokita (shown above in an AP file photo), asked a state medical board on Wednesday to discipline the doctor who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim this summer.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, treated the girl, who had traveled from Ohio when the state enacted a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

The case became a focus of the national abortion debate after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. It also put a focus on childhood pregnancies and the emerging legal risks to doctors who provide abortions. Mr. Rotika began an investigation into Dr. Bernard; she sued in an effort to stop him from obtaining medical records of her patients as part of that investigation.

Mr. Rokita’s office said in a statement on Wednesday that he was asking the board to discipline Dr. Bernard because she had “failed to uphold legal and Hippocratic responsibilities by exploiting a 10-year-old little girl’s traumatic medical story to the press for her own interests.”



Nov. 30


southern baptist convention logo

washington post logoWashington Post, Pastors say Johnny Hunt, former SBC president accused of abuse, can return to ministry, Bob Smietana, Nov. 30, 2022. Disgraced former Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt plans a return to ministry after completing a restoration process overseen by four pastors, according to a video released last week.

Hunt, a longtime megachurch pastor in Georgia, was named earlier this year in the Guidepost Solutions report on sexual abuse in the SBC, which alleged that Hunt had sexually assaulted another pastor’s wife in 2010. Guidepost, a third-party investigation firm, found the claims credible.

“We believe the greatest days of ministry for Johnny Hunt are the days ahead,” said Rev. Steven Kyle, pastor of Hiland Park Baptist Church in Panama City, Fla., in the video.

Kyle, along with pastors Mark Hoover of NewSpring Church in Wichita; Benny Tate of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Ga.; and Mike Whitson of First Baptist Church in Indian Trail, N.C., said they had worked with Hunt and his wife on an “intentional and an intense season of transparency, reflection and restoration” in recent months.

In that process, Kyle said he and other pastors had observed Hunt’s “genuine brokenness and humility before God” and deemed him fit for ministry in the future.

The allegations against Hunt caught his many admirers by surprise. At the time of the Guidepost report, Hunt was a popular speaker and a vice president at the SBC’s North American Mission Board and was beloved by many SBC leaders.

Nov. 27

washington post logoWashington Post, China sentences Canadian pop star Kris Wu to prison for rape, Joyce Lau and Claire Healy, Nov. 27, 2022 (print ed.). Chinese Canadian pop star Kris Wu was sentenced Friday to 13 years in prison by a Beijing court on charges including rape, in one of China’s more prominent #MeToo cases.

The sentence was welcomed by women’s rights advocates, who have clashed with Beijing’s growing intolerance for dissent and grass-roots activism under President Xi Jinping. Chinese lawyers said that Wu had the right to appeal his conviction. He had previously denied the allegations.

kris wuWu, right, also known as Wu Yifan, rose to fame as part of the South Korean-Chinese boy band Exo and later became a solo performer. He was detained in 2021 after multiple accusations were levied against him, which led to public widespread condemnation. At the time, luxury brands such as French fashion label Louis Vuitton and German automaker Porsche distanced themselves from the pop idol, with China Flagwhom they had commercial deals.

“It’s encouraging news, especially in the context of women’s rights in the country being continuously eroded in the past decade,” Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said of the sentencing. “Now, other victims of sexual assault in China can feel empowered that they, too, can come forward with their stories and seek justice.”

However, Wang cautioned that censorship of women’s rights activists in China continued. She also noted that, in the case against Wu, the prosecution was “shrouded in secrecy” and “some of the criticism of authorities’ handling of his case was scrubbed from the Chinese internet,” she said.

Nov. 23

 herschel walker informal

washington post logoWashington Post, Second woman renews accusation Herschel Walker pressured her to have abortion, Sabrina Rodriguez, Nov. 23, 2022 (print ed.). A second woman who accused Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker of pressuring her to have an abortion on Tuesday criticized the former football player for dismissing her claims and called for him to publicly meet with her ahead of the Dec. 6 runoff election.

The woman, identified as Jane Doe, participated in a news conference with high-profile attorney Gloria Allred, offering more details of what she says was a years-long affair with Walker that resulted in her becoming pregnant in 1993. The woman first came forward in late October after another former girlfriend of republican elephant logoWalker’s accused him of pressuring and paying for her to have an abortion. Walker has denied allegations that he paid for abortions.
Walker accuser challenges him to meet her

The woman said she decided to speak out again and offer more evidence of their relationship after seeing Walker dismiss her allegations and suggest he didn’t know who she could be. Her remarks come two weeks before the Georgia runoff between Walker and Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock.

Allred also read aloud a signed declaration of a friend who the accuser had confided in about being impregnated by Walker.

In the declaration, the friend said the woman had initially said she had a miscarriage. But the friend had suspected it was an abortion because Walker, who was married to his first wife at the time, did not want the woman to continue with the pregnancy. The friend added that, years later, the woman shared that Walker had driven her to a clinic to obtain an abortion.

The Washington Post did not independently confirm these allegations.

The woman did not appear in person at the first news conference in Los Angeles, speaking via Zoom. Days later, she showed her face in an interview with ABC News. On Tuesday, she was present for the news conference in person but continued to go by “Jane Doe,” citing concerns for her safety.

She shared that she first decided to come forward last month after seeing Walker’s handling of the first woman’s allegations that he pressured and paid for her to have an abortion. She said: “I intended to take this to my grave,” but decided to speak up when she saw him say he had never paid for an abortion and knew he was lying.

Asked if she hopes sharing her story will impact the runoff, the woman said, “I think it’s up to the voters of Georgia to decide who they want to represent them and who to believe.”

Nov. 21

armita abbasi

20-yr-old Armita A. has been missing for over 50 days. She was last seen at Imam Ali hospital -- brought in by plainclothes regime agents. CNN spoke with staff at the hospital, who say she was brutally raped. Here she is wearing a Chicago @NHLBlackhawks.

CNN, Investigation: How Iran's security forces use rape to quell protests, Tamara Qiblawi, Barbara Arvanitidis, Nima Elbagir, Alex Platt, Artemis Moshtaghian, Gianluca Mezzofiore, Celine Alkhaldi and Muhammad Jambaz, Nov. 21, 2022. Covert testimonies reveal sexual assaults on male and female activists as a women-led uprising spreads.

CNNA trickle of people passes through a normally busy border crossing in the mountains of northern Iraq. “It’s a big prison over there,” one Iranian woman says, gesturing to the hulking gate that marks the border with Iran’s Islamic Republic, which has been convulsed by protest for over two months.

A portrait of the founder of Iran’s clerical regime, Ruhollah Khomeini, looms against a backdrop of rolling hills studded with streetlights. Snatches of travelers’ muted conversations punctuate an eerie silence.

Fear of indiscriminate arrest has made many reluctant to risk the journey. Some of the few who cross say the noose is tightening: protesters gunned down, curfews in the border villages and nighttime raids on homes.

In hushed tones, they speak of female protesters in particular, and the horrors they say some have endured in Iran’s notorious detention facilities.

Iran’s government has closed the country off to non-accredited foreign journalists, regularly shuts down the internet and suppresses dissidents' voices with mass arrests. An extreme climate of fear prevails in Iran as the crackdown intensifies.

One Kurdish-Iranian woman, whom CNN is calling Hana for her safety, says she both witnessed and suffered sexual violence while detained. “There were girls who were sexually assaulted and then transferred to other cities,” she said. “They are scared to talk about these things.”

Women have played a central role in Iran’s uprising since it ignited two months ago. The slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” reverberates through anti-regime demonstrations in its original Kurdish (Jin, Jiyan, Azadi) and in Persian (Zan, Zendegi, Azadi). It is a nod to the 22-year-old Kurdish woman whose death sparked the protests — Jina (Mahsa) Amini was believed to have been brutally beaten by Iran’s morality police for improper hijab and died days later.

The rights of women have also been at the heart of debate among Iran’s clerical establishment since the protests began. Some clerics and politicians have called for the relaxing of social rules, while others doubled down, conflating the female protesters with what they call “loose women” who were merely pawns in a plot hatched by Western governments.

In recent weeks, social media videos have emerged allegedly showing Iranian security forces sexually assaulting female demonstrators on the streets. Reports of sexual violence against activists in prisons began to surface.

With media access inside Iran severely constrained, CNN went to the region near Iraq’s border with Iran, interviewing eyewitnesses who'd left the country and verifying accounts from survivors and sources both in and outside Iran. CNN corroborated several reports of sexual violence against protesters and heard accounts of many more. At least one of these caused severe injury, and another involved the rape of an underage boy. In some of the cases CNN uncovered, the sexual assault was filmed and used to blackmail the protesters into silence, according to sources who spoke to the victims.

Iranian officials have not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment on the abuses alleged in this report.

Nov. 20

ny times logoNew York Times, Allegation of Supreme Court Breach Prompts Calls for Inquiry and Ethics Code, Jodi Kantor, Nov. 20, 2022. A minister’s claim that a major contraception decision was prematurely disclosed through a secretive influence campaign underscores the court’s lack of transparency and accountability.

Lawmakers are demanding further investigation at the Supreme Court and renewing their calls for binding ethics rules for the justices, after allegations that a landmark 2014 contraception decision was prematurely disclosed through a secretive influence campaign by anti-abortion activists.

“The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, wrote on Twitter. “At SCOTUS, the problems run deep.”

A New York Times report published on Saturday chronicled yearslong efforts by the Rev. Robert L. Schenck, an evangelical minister and former anti-abortion leader, and donors to his nonprofit to reach conservative justices and reinforce anti-abortion views. In 2014, he said, he obtained advance word of the outcome and the author of the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, a major case about contraception and the religious rights of corporations.

samuel alito oThat decision — like the one leaked this spring, overturning the right to abortion — was written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., left. Mr. Schenck said he learned the Hobby Lobby details from a donor who had dined with Justice Alito and his wife. Both the justice and the donor denied sharing the information.

“We intend to get to the bottom of these serious allegations,” Mr. Whitehouse and Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia, who respectively lead the Senate and House Judiciary courts subcommittees, wrote in a joint statement.

The revelations underscored the lack of accountability mechanisms at the Supreme Court. Unlike other federal judges, the justices are not bound by a written code of ethics; legislation that would create one is pending in Congress.

“While there are many potential solutions, here’s one that the Court could adopt in one minute: OPERATE UNDER THE SAME ETHICS RULES AS EVERY OTHER FEDERAL JUDGE,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota Democrat and another member of the Judiciary Committee, tweeted in response to the Times report.

The new revelations came amid an investigation by the court’s marshal into the extraordinary leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, as well as uproar over the role of Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, in former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to reverse the 2020 election results.

Nov. 18

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘She Said’ Review: A Quiet Thriller That Speaks Volumes, Alexis Soloski, Nov. 18, 2022 (print ed.). Maria Schrader directs this adaptation of the book about reporters’ efforts to document sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein.

In February 2020, a New York jury found Harvey Weinstein, the producer whose films had won dozens of Oscars, guilty of criminal sexual assault and rape. Now, harvey weinsteintwo and a half years later, he is again on trial, in California, facing 11 further charges. Jurors in this trial received a particular instruction: The judge barred them from watching the trailer for “She Said.”

That’s the film adaptation of the nonfiction book of the same title. In it, the New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey describe — in pragmatic, restrained how-we-got-that-story prose — the reporting that led them to publish a series of articles detailing Weinstein’s behavior. Those articles helped ignite the #MeToo movement, in which thousands, perhaps millions, of women took to social media and other channels to detail their own stories of sexual harassment and assault. Some men have been held accountable. Others have largely eluded consequences. Debate continues about whether the movement has gone too far or not far enough. Already, some Hollywood industry leaders have observed a regression, if not an outright backlash.

This is the contentious climate in which the film arrives. “She Said,” directed by Maria Schrader from a script by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, is built solid and low to the ground, as if designed to withstand these shifts in cultural winds.

Nov. 16

ny times logoNew York Times, Hundreds of Women Set to Sue New York Over Allegations of Prison Sex Abuse, Chelsia Rose Marcius, Nov. 16, 2022. A law that takes effect on Nov. 24 allows people to sue over years-old assaults long past the criminal statute of limitations.

Hundreds of women who have accused prison guards of sexual abuse going back decades plan to sue New York State under new legislation that allows survivors to take legal action no matter how many years have elapsed.

The Adult Survivors Act, passed in May, gives people who say they were sexually abused a one-time opportunity to file civil suits long after the statute of limitations for most criminal cases has expired.

New York lawmakers anticipated that current or former prisoners would sue. Like the Child Victims Act that passed in 2019, which extended the statutes of limitations for those abused as children, the new law allows people to file allegations about mistreatment in state facilities, including prisons.

There is no cap on how much the state can pay out to settle such lawsuits, said Brad Hoylman, the New York State senator who sponsored the legislation. The money would come out of the $220 billion state budget, and possibly from the roughly $500 million reserved for unexpected expenses. California approved similar legislation in September.

Nov. 12

washington post logoWashington Post, Huge Australian health hack exposes abortion patients and others, Frances Vinall, Nov. 12, 2022 (print ed.). The major hack of an Australian health insurer’s patient data, now tied to Russian cybercriminals, escalated in scope Friday as more information identifying individuals who received abortions or treatment for mental health issues, alcoholism and addiction recovery were released on a dark web forum.

In an afternoon news conference, the head of the national police called it a crime with “malicious and far-reaching consequences,” one that has “the potential to impact on millions of Australians and damage a significant Australian business.”

australian flag wavingThose behind for the hack are believed to be in Russia, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said. “Our intelligence points to a group of loosely affiliated cybercriminals who are likely responsible for past significant breaches in countries across the world.”

The insurer, Medibank, had said in a statement that the data included names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and email addresses. Chief Executive David Koczkar said the information’s release — after a demand for ransom money was rejected — was “an attack on the most vulnerable members of our community.”

“The weaponization of people’s private information in an effort to extort payment is malicious,” he said.

Medibank acknowledged on Oct. 13 that it had been hacked. It later said the personal information of 9.7 million customers and 480,000 health claims were accessed.

The insurer announced Monday that it would not pay a ransom to keep the data private. On Wednesday, identifying information of customers who had accessed medical care, including for addiction recovery and mental health care, was released. That was followed on Thursday by information on patients who had sought and undergone abortions. On Friday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported the release of more sensitive data, this time related to alcohol and mental health issues.

Details of medical procedures involving about 500 people were part of the two online file drops, according to the Conversation, a nonprofit news site. The Herald said the third drop — in a file titled “Boozy” — included details on the care of 240 people.

washington post logoWashington Post, Paul Haggis, director of ‘Crash,’ ordered to pay $7.5 million in rape case, Sonia Rao, Nov. 12, 2022 (print ed.). A New York jury found filmmaker Paul Haggis liable in a sexual assault case brought forward by a publicist who alleged he raped her at his Manhattan apartment in 2013, according to the Associated Press.

The jury ordered Haggis, 69, to pay Haleigh Breest, 36, at least $7.5 million in damages, the AP reported, noting that the jury also decided he would be responsible for paying additional punitive damages later on.

Ilann Maazel, an attorney representing Breest, said in a statement, “We are thankful and grateful for the jury’s verdict. Justice was done today. This is a great victory for Haleigh and for the entire #MeToo movement.”

Haggis’s attorney Priya Chaudhry stated that they were “disappointed and shocked by this verdict.” She said they were “not allowed to tell the jury so many critical things,” and that Haggis could not have had a fair trial.

Haggis is known for having written the films “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash,” the latter of which won him two Academy Awards in 2006 for best picture and best original screenplay. He also directed “Crash,” and shares a writing credit on the film with Bobby Moresco.

Breest filed the lawsuit against Haggis in December 2017 under New York City’s Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act. According to the complaint, Breest was working at a New York film premiere in January 2013 and accepted a ride home from Haggis. The document alleges that he pressured her to have a drink with him at his SoHo apartment, instead of at a public bar as she said she suggested.

Nov. 9


The late financier, sex trafficker and philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein, left, and former longtime Harvard Law School Professor and author Alan Dershowitz (file photo).

The late financier, sex trafficker and philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein, left, and former longtime Harvard Law School Professor and author Alan Dershowitz (file photo).

ny times logoNew York Times, Epstein Victim Says She May Have Made a Mistake in Accusing Dershowitz, Katherine Rosman and Jonah E. Bromwich, Nov. 9, 2022 (print ed.). Virginia Giuffre, who was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, had accused Alan Dershowitz of abusing her. Now she says she is no longer certain.

Virginia Giuffre, a victim of Jeffrey E. Epstein who for years maintained that the law professor Alan Dershowitz had sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager, settled a defamation lawsuit against Mr. Dershowitz on Tuesday and said that she might have “made a mistake” in accusing him.

Virginia Roberts 2015 photoIn a joint statement announcing the settlement, Ms. Giuffre, shown at right at age 31, said, “I have long believed that I was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein to Alan Dershowitz. However, I was very young at the time, it was a very stressful and traumatic environment, and Mr. Dershowitz has from the beginning consistently denied these allegations.

“I now recognize I may have made a mistake in identifying Mr. Dershowitz,” her statement said.

The joint statement announced the end of litigation between Ms. Giuffre and Mr. Dershowitz — who had also sued her — as well as of two other lawsuits between Mr. Dershowitz and the lawyer David Boies that stemmed from Ms. Giuffre’s accusation.

Ms. Giuffre had sued Mr. Dershowitz on the grounds that he had made defamatory statements about her after her accusation. Her lawyer would not comment on the statement but confirmed that the settlement had been reached. A document confirming that Ms. Giuffre had agreed to dismiss her case was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon.

“She has suffered much at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein, and I commend her work combating the evil of sex trafficking,” Mr. Dershowitz said of Ms. Giuffre in his own statement.

And Mr. Boies, who has represented Ms. Giuffre, though not in this matter, said that “the time has come to end this litigation” and that Mr. Dershowitz “has suffered greatly from the allegation of sexual abuse made against him — an allegation that he has consistently and vehemently denied.”

The terms of Ms. Giuffre’s deal with Mr. Dershowitz were not immediately clear on Tuesday, though the statement and the court filing said that no payments were made by any of the parties.

The settlement of the defamation lawsuit, which was filed in 2019, and Ms. Giuffre’s accompanying statement represented a remarkable turnabout for Mr. Dershowitz, who has been trying to resuscitate his reputation since Ms. Giuffre first made her claim publicly in 2014. Her accusations against Mr. Epstein have been corroborated.

A longtime friend of Mr. Epstein, Mr. Dershowitz defended the financier after he was first arrested and charged with sex trafficking, attacking his client’s young accusers, and in 2008, helped to win a lenient plea deal for Mr. Epstein. After pleading guilty to two prostitution charges in state court, Mr. Epstein served about a year in a Florida jail, leaving confinement six days a week to work out of his office.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001

Giuffre accused Epstein as treating her as a "sex slave" beginning when she was 15 as part of a massive sex trafficking operation he ran exploiting girls in their mid-teens, below the legal age of consent.

Roberts, now 31, claimed that Epstein farmed her out to other men, including Prince Andrew of the British royal family, Epstein's attorney Dershowitz, and French modeling scout Jean Luc Brunel.

The California native said the photo below left portrays her at center with Prince Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, on a trip to London when she was 17 in 2001. At right was Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite daughter of the corrupt newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, who drowned in 1991 after toppling overboard from his yacht Lady Ghislaine. The death left one of the world's largest media empires with a reported $3 billion in debts.

 ny times logoNew York Times, French Cardinal’s Admission Renews Scrutiny of Church Sexual Abuse, Aurelien Breeden, Nov. 9, 2022 (print ed.). A former archbishop of Bordeaux acknowledged that he had behaved “reprehensibly” with a 14-year-old girl over three decades ago, in the latest revelation to jolt Roman Catholics in France.

A cardinal’s admission that he had behaved “reprehensibly” with a 14-year-old girl over three decades ago was one of several revelations that threw a gathering of French bishops into turmoil this week, renewing scrutiny of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in France a little over a year after a landmark report on the pervasiveness of the issue.

The admission of wrongdoing this week by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, 78, who retired in 2019 after 18 years as the archbishop of Bordeaux, was one of two recent revelations that have stunned the Catholic community in France.

The other involved Michel Santier, 75, the former bishop of Créteil. He stepped down and was disciplined last year after decades-old accusations of sexual abuse against young adults, but the church authorities had not made his case public until the French news media uncovered it. Last month, Catholics angry about that silence protested in front of churches and cathedrals around the country to demand more transparency.

In total, according to Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, the archbishop of Reims and the president of the Bishops’ Conference of France, 11 former or current French bishops had been or still were involved in sexual abuse cases handled by legal or church authorities — most of them directly accused of abuse and others of concealing it.

Nov. 5

ap logoAssociated Press via NBA, Police open investigation into allegations against Joshua Primo, Staff Report, Nov. 5, 2022. Waived by the Spurs on Friday, the former lottery pick has been accused of repeatedly exposing himself to a former team therapist.

Police have begun investigating allegations that former San Antonio Spurs guard Joshua Primo exposed himself on multiple occasions to a former team therapist during counseling sessions.

nba logoDr. Hillary Cauthen filed a lawsuit against the Spurs and Primo, claiming the 19-year-old exposed his genitals to her nine times during multiple sessions.

In addition to the civil complaint that was filed Thursday in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, Cauthen filed a criminal complaint against Primo.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office told The Associated Press it “has made contact with the victim involved in the Joshua Primo incident.” The sheriff’s office called it a “preliminary investigation into the allegations” against Primo.

In her lawsuit, the team’s former performance psychologist said the Spurs did nothing to discipline Primo or address her concerns “despite her numerous complaints about Primo’s improper sexual conduct.”

Cauthen said she had informed and requested a meeting with Spurs general manager Brian Wright after what she described as Primo’s first incident of indecent exposure in December 2021. She said her request for a meeting in January was postponed by Wright until March, during which time Cauthen continued to counsel Primo despite her concerns.

Cauthen said her role with the team was marginalized in the months that followed, culminating in her contract not being renewed in August.

Cauthen said she was angry, confused and sad that Primo had not faced any discipline for his actions until the Spurs released him an hour before their Oct. 28 home game against Chicago. Primo cleared waivers on Monday but has not signed with another team.

In a statement released shortly after Cauthen’s news conference, Spurs CEO R.C. Buford said the franchise disagrees “with the accuracy of facts, details and timeline presented today.”

Nov. 3

 Washington Commanders owners Tanya and Daniel Snyder walk on the field before a game in Dallas last month. (Photo by John McDonnell for The Washington Post).

Washington Commanders owners Tanya and Daniel Snyder walk on the field before a game in Dallas last month. (Photo by John McDonnell for The Washington Post).

washington post logoWashington Post, Daniel Snyder considers ‘potential transactions’ for Washington Commanders, Nicki Jhabvala, Mark Maske and Liz Clarke, Nov. 3, 2022 (print ed.).  Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder has hired an investment bank to “consider potential transactions” related to the franchise, the team announced Wednesday.

The Commanders did not specify whether Snyder and his wife Tanya Snyder, the team’s co-chief executive officer, are considering the sale of the entire franchise or a minority share. The team said in a statement that the Snyders have hired a division of Bank of America.

“Dan and Tanya Snyder and the Washington Commanders announced today that they have hired BofA Securities to consider potential transactions,” the Commanders said in their statement. “The Snyders remain committed to the team, all of its employees and its countless fans to putting the best product on the field and continuing the work to set the gold standard for workplaces in the NFL.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Politicians assumed most Latinos were anti-abortion. They were wrong, Silvia Foster-Frau and Marianna Sotomayor, Nov. 3, 2022. Experts attribute Latinos’ support for abortion rights to the community’s youth and length of time in the U.S.

For decades, Democrats and Republicans trying to attract Latino voters have been guided by widespread assumptions that the generally Democratic Latino electorate is conservative on the issue of abortion. But recent polls have debunked those long-held beliefs, finding most Latinos say abortion should be legal, often on par with White voters though trailing Black voters in support.

“I just don’t think we’re really as conservative as everybody thought,” Madrid said. “Almost everybody knows somebody who had to think about having an abortion.”

Experts credit the growing youth of the Latino population and the length of time they have been living in and adapting to U.S. culture. Those assumptions were also driven by long-held misconceptions of the role that religion, particularly Catholicism, plays in Latinos’ lives, they say.

“It’s very different than White evangelicals who want their religious beliefs coming out of the mouths of their governors. For Latino Catholics, they get their religious sermon on Sunday from the Father, and then they engage with politics separately,” said Matt Barreto, a Democratic pollster advising the White House and campaigns on reaching Latino voters.

Mitchell Republic via Daily Beast, South Dakota Candidate Accused of Molesting Family Member, Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling, Nov. 3, 2022. DISGUSTING. The 44-year-old GOP candidate faces felony child abuse charges.

joel koskinJoel Koskan, right, a local running for South Dakota state Senate in District 26, has been accused of years of child abuse in court documents. Koskan, who ran for the state Senate seat on the Republican ballot on three occasions dating back to 2018, is accused of sexually grooming and raping a family member.

He was charged Thursday with one count of exposing a minor to a foreseeable harm. “The allegation against Joel Koskan is very serious, and the South Dakota Republican Party unequivocally opposes child abuse in all forms,” Dan Lederman, chair of the South Dakota GOP, told Keloland News.

According to a signed probable cause statement, the victim claims that Koskan had been “raping her since she was a young child.” The prospective legislator allegedly instructed her to sit on his lap and kiss him from a young age, eventually installing cameras in her room, touching and raping her. “You promised you’d never do this,” Koskan texted her in May after discovering she had contacted authorities, according to a Division of Criminal Investigation report. “I’m begging you [Victim], you don’t want to do this.”

National Public Radio via Daily Beast, Indiana Abortion Doc Says AG Is Trying to Get 10-Yr-Old Rape Victim’s Medical Records, Asta Hemenway, Nov. 3, 2022. INVASIVE.

Indiana abortion doctor Caitlin Bernard filed a lawsuit Thursday against Attorney General Todd Rokita to keep him from sending subpoenas for patients’ abortion records, especially those relating to a 10-year-old rape victim she cared for. Rokita sent subpoenas for “the entire medical file” of the child, whose story became a national political football when she was forced to cross state lines to terminate a pregnancy caused by rape.

With no evidence, Rokita repeatedly bashed Bernard on Fox News, accusing her of making up the story then of not abiding by state reporting laws.

In her suit, Bernard alleges his office is now issuing sweeping subpoenas to hospitals for records based on complaints from people who aren’t patients and may live out of state. Kelly Stevenson, a representative for Rokita, said their office was following its “statutory obligation” to “investigate thousands of potential licensing, privacy, and other violations a year” and a “majority of the complaints we receive are, in fact, from nonpatients.”


cbs logo

ny times logoNew York Times, Les Moonves and Paramount to Pay $9.75 Million in State Case Tied to Sexual Misconduct, Rebecca Robbins and Benjamin Mullin, Nov. 3, 2022 (print ed.). The New York attorney general’s office found that CBS, whose parent company is now Paramount, concealed allegations about its former chief executive from investors.

les moonvesParamount, the parent company of CBS, and the network’s former chief executive Leslie Moonves, right, agreed to pay $9.75 million after a state investigation found that the network and its senior leadership had concealed accusations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Moonves and, in the case of one executive, engaged in insider trading related to the allegations.

Paramount said it would pay $7.25 million into a settlement fund as part of the deal. Mr. Moonves will pay $2.5 million. Separately, Paramount has agreed to pay $14.75 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit related to the claims.

Paramount confirmed in a statement that it had reached a resolution with the New York attorney general’s office without admitting wrongdoing or liability.

“The matter involved alleged misconduct by CBS’s former C.E.O., who was terminated for cause in 2018, and does not relate in any way to the current company,” the statement read.

Nov. 2

NBC News, Former Miss Argentina and ex-Miss Puerto Rico reveal they are married, Jay Valle, Nov. 2, 2022. They both competed in last year’s Miss Grand International beauty pageant in Thailand.

mariana varela fabiola valentinA former Miss Argentina and an ex-Miss Puerto Rico announced on Instagram over the weekend that they are married.

In a joint post shared to both their accounts, Mariana Varela of Argentina, at left in the adjoining photo, and Fabiola Valentín of Puerto Rico, at right, wrote, “After deciding to keep our relationship private, we now open our doors to a special day.” The message included what appeared to be their wedding date, Oct. 28, along with heart and ring emojis.

Varela, 26, and Valentín, 22, appear to have met last March, when they competed in the Miss Grand International beauty pageant in Thailand. In a joint Instagram post, the newlyweds said: "After deciding to keep our relationship private, we opened the doors to them on a special day 28/10/22."



Oct. 26


herschel walker informal

ny times logoNew York Times, Unnamed Woman Says Walker Pressured and Paid for Her to Have Abortion in ’93, Jonathan Weisman and Maya King, Oct. 26, 2022. The woman delivered her story anonymously in a news conference with Gloria Allred, the celebrity lawyer. The New York Times could not confirm the account.

A woman who did not identify herself said on Wednesday that Herschel Walker pressured her to have an abortion and paid for the procedure nearly three decades ago after a yearslong extramarital relationship. A former football star, Mr. Walker (shown above in a file photo) is running for the Senate in Georgia as an abortion opponent.

The New York Times could not confirm the account, interview the woman or inspect the evidence that Gloria Allred, the celebrity lawyer, asserted was proof that the woman had a relationship with Mr. Walker.

republican elephant logoThe woman told her story at a news conference with Ms. Allred, but did not appear on camera. Neither she nor Ms. Allred offered any evidence to back up the woman’s accusation that Mr. Walker, a Republican, had urged her to end her pregnancy even after she initially left an abortion clinic without going through with the procedure.

The evidence provided included a taped message from a man Ms. Allred said was Mr. Walker calling from the Winter Olympics of 1992, where Mr. Walker competed in bobsled; a number of greeting cards signed “H”; and a blurry photo of a man who Ms. Allred said was Mr. Walker in a hotel room in Mankato, Minn. She also showed what she said was a receipt for that hotel, a Holiday Inn in the city where the Minnesota Vikings, Mr. Walker’s professional football team at the time, practiced.

The woman, speaking remotely into the news conference, said she was so traumatized in 1993 after she had the abortion that she left her home in the Dallas area and did not return for 15 years.

The woman said she was a registered independent who voted for Donald J. Trump, a Republican, in 2016 and 2020. She told her story, she said, to expose hypocrisy in Mr. Walker’s campaign message and because, she said, he lied in denying another woman’s account of his urging her to have an abortion by saying that he never signed cards with just his first initial, “H.”

Shortly before the news conference, Mr. Walker broadly denied the claim at a campaign event in Dillard, Ga., about 100 miles north of Atlanta.

“I’m done with this foolishness. I’ve already told people this is a lie and I’m not going to entertain it,” he said, suggesting that this was a reflection of Democratic jitters following his performance during the Senate debate against the Democratic incumbent, Senator Raphael Warnock, this month. “The Democrats will do and say whatever they can to win this seat.”

Oct. 25

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Female bodybuilders describe widespread sexual exploitation, Desmond Butler, Amy Brittain and Alice Li, Oct. 25, 2022. Leaders of U.S. bodybuilding’s two premier federations oversaw decades of sexual exploitation of female athletes, The Post found.

Oct. 24


 harvey weinstein 10 4 2022 pool etienne laurent

Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on October 4, 2022 in Los Angeles, California (Pool photo by Etienne Laurent).

ny times logoNew York Times, What to Know About Harvey Weinstein’s Los Angeles Trial, Livia Albeck-Ripka and Lauren Herstik, Oct. 24, 2022. The former producer was convicted in New York in 2020 of rape and criminal sexual assault. He faces 11 charges in a Los Angeles trial opening on Monday.

More than two years since his conviction for rape and criminal sexual assault in New York, Harvey Weinstein, the former Hollywood producer whose downfall marked a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement, faces a second sex crimes trial in Los Angeles.

Opening statements are expected on Monday in the trial, which was once seen as largely symbolic because Mr. Weinstein, 70, still has 21 years left to serve in prison following his 2020 conviction. But the stakes of the Los Angeles trial are higher following a recent decision by New York’s highest court to allow Mr. Weinstein to appeal that conviction.

If Mr. Weinstein wins in New York, the Los Angeles trial will determine whether or not he walks free. Mr. Weinstein faces a life sentence in California if convicted.

He has pleaded not guilty.

What are the charges?

Mr. Weinstein, who has been accused by more than 90 women of sexual misconduct, faces 11 charges in his Los Angeles trial, which began with jury selection two weeks ago and which is expected to last six to eight weeks total.

Oct. 22

ap logoAssociated Press via HuffPost, Alaska GOP Candidate For Governor Faces Sexual Harassment Lawsuit, Staff Report, Oct 22, 2022. Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Pierce said he also had no plans to end his campaign just a few weeks before the Nov. 8 election.

A Republican gubernatorial candidate in Alaska faces accusations he sexually harassed a former assistant while he was a borough mayor.

The lawsuit filed Friday accuses Charlie Pierce of “constant unwanted physical touching, sexual remarks, and sexual advances,” the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The case did not show up in an online court records system Saturday. The woman’s Anchorage-based attorney, Caitlin Shortell, said in an email to The Associated Press it was filed in the Kenai Superior Court, and she expected a judge to be assigned Monday.

“When an elected official abuses their power and position to sexually harass public servants, they must be held accountable,” Shortell said.

The AP does not normally identify alleged victims in sexual harassment cases.

Pierce is one of four candidates running for governor in Alaska, and all appeared at a forum Saturday morning in Anchorage. “I have no comments on future litigation,” Pierce told the AP following the debate.

He said he also had no plans to end his campaign just a few weeks before the Nov. 8 election. “I’ll be in the race,” he said.

The lawsuit also names the Kenai Peninsula Borough south of Anchorage as a defendant in the case, claiming the local government failed to protect the woman. She also claims the borough provided no way to report harassment or discrimination without fear of reprisal.

An email seeking comment was sent to the borough’s attorney, Sean Kelley.

According to the lawsuit, the woman was Pierce’s assistant for about 18 months, until June 2022.

Pierce announced in August he would resign in September to focus on his campaign for governor. The borough assembly later released a statement stating Pierce was asked to consider voluntarily resigning after an employee made what were deemed to be credible claims of harassment against him.

In the lawsuit, she claims Pierce touched her breast, made sexual remarks, falsely imprisoned her in his private office, kissed her neck and face, asked questions about her sex life and made unwanted and unsolicited embraces and massages.

The borough has paid two other former employees a combined $267,000 in settlements for separate complaints against Pierce, the Daily News reported.

In one, the borough paid former human resources director Sandra “Stormy” Brown $150,000 in a settlement after she claimed in a lawsuit that Pierce fired her after she told him she had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She claimed gender discrimination, disability discrimination and creating a hostile work environment.

The borough also paid $117,000 to settle a complaint from a subsequent human resources director if the employee agreed he would not make “further allegations of ‘illegal acts’ by Mayor Pierce” and rescind his allegations of bullying, the Anchorage newspaper reported.

Oct. 20


Anthony Rapp, left, and Kevin Spacey. Photo at left by Brendan McDermid of Reuters; Right, by Yuki Iwamura of the Associated Press.

Anthony Rapp, left, and Kevin Spacey. Photo at left by Brendan McDermid of Reuters; Right, by Yuki Iwamura of the Associated Press.

ny times logoNew York Times, Jury Clears Kevin Spacey of Battery Accusation by Anthony Rapp, Julia Jacobs and Nate Schweber, Oct. 20, 2022. Mr. Rapp had sued Mr. Spacey, accusing him of making a sexual advance in 1986, when he was a 14-year-old actor.

A federal jury in Manhattan found Kevin Spacey not liable for battery on Thursday in a civil case brought by the actor Anthony Rapp, who accused Mr. Spacey of climbing on top of him and making a sexual advance more than 30 years ago when Mr. Rapp was 14.

The 11-person jury in the Federal District Court in Manhattan spent less than 90 minutes deliberating over the evidence against Mr. Spacey, who denied the accusation on the stand. Mr. Rapp, who is best known for his originating role in the musical “Rent,” came forward with the accusation in 2017. At the time, Mr. Spacey was a star of the political drama “House of Cards” and a lauded actor who had hosted the Tony Awards months earlier.

The trial hinged on Mr. Rapp’s account of a night in 1986, when, he said, he attended a party at Mr. Spacey’s New York apartment during a Broadway season in which both of them were acting in plays. Mr. Spacey, who was 26 at the time, denied that such an encounter ever occurred.

The jury found that Mr. Spacey did not touch a sexual or intimate part of Mr. Rapp’s, meaning it could not find him liable under the Child Victims Act, a New York State law that allowed Mr. Rapp to bring his claim. The law included a look-back window during which old claims that had already passed the statute of limitations could be revived.

After the verdict was read, Mr. Spacey stood up with tears in his eyes. He hugged his lawyers briefly and shared a longer hug with his assistant. Mr. Rapp was stoic and straight-faced, as he had been through the entire proceeding.

Richard M. Steigman, one of Mr. Rapp’s lawyers, said, “The jury has spoken.”

Mr. Rapp’s claim was one of the most prominent in the early days of the #MeToo movement, as accusers started to come forward with allegations against high-profile men in the entertainment, political and business worlds. Mr. Spacey quickly experienced career blowback and was ultimately removed from “House of Cards.”

The disclosure by Mr. Rapp, which BuzzFeed News published in October 2017, was followed by more than a dozen other sexual misconduct accusations against Mr. Spacey. He has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges in Britain.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump deposed at Mar-a-Lago in case brought by sexual assault accuser, Shayna Jacobs, Oct. 20, 2020 (print ed.). Former president Donald Trump was questioned under oath Wednesday in Florida by attorneys for an author who in 2019 went public with an accusation that he raped her in a department-store dressing room in the mid-1990s.

e jean carrollThe author, E. Jean Carroll, right, has a pending defamation lawsuit against Trump.

Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, confirmed that the deposition happened Wednesday as scheduled. The lawyer declined to comment further.

Trump attorney Alina Habba did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. Trump and his attorneys have adamantly denied his having any encounter with Carroll, who has said she was assaulted by Trump in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room.

Judge clears way for Trump to be deposed in defamation case

When Carroll went public with the sexual assault allegation, Trump, then in office, called Carroll a liar and suggested he would not have been interested in her sexually because she wasn’t his “type.”


Democratic-Republican Campaign logos

Going Deep, Commentary: Do US Voters Care About Sex Scandals Anymore? Russ Baker, right, Oct. 20, 2022. The weird, hamfisted attempt by MAGA maniac russ bakerLauren Boebert to smear her Democratic opponent with a sex-and-blackmail scandal looks doomed to fail, but is nevertheless a moral bellwether.

It might seem strange that I am writing to you during a trip to France about Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), the crude, controversial gun fanatic and MAGA firebrand who purports to be driven by God to “save” America from decline.

While I was meeting with supporters of meaningful journalism — and getting an earful about how wacky and dangerous America seems to be becoming — a particularly illustrative example of our current cultural madness came to light.

This salacious October Surprise, so far promoted mostly by right-wing media and apparently too toxic for mainstream publications to touch, lauren boebertinvolves a secret tryst and supposed blackmail scheme, the sum total of which helps Boebert, left, and damages Adam Frisch, her Democratic opponent in what seems to be a toss-up race.

First, a quick summary of the alleged “facts,” according to far-right organ Breitbart in an October 13 “exclusive.”

Todd Gardner, the owner of a storage facility/taxi dispatch center in Aspen, CO, claims that in May 2017, Frisch and an unnamed woman used a storage container there for extramarital intimate encounters.

In a video declaration shot by Boebert’s campaign and used by Breitbart as their exclusive, Gardner claims that he initially sat on the information for more than a year; but when he feared his taxi business would be hurt by a possible partnership between Lyft and local government, he threatened to release the video if Frisch, then on the Aspen City Council, didn’t vote against it.

That would be blackmail, which is illegal. But here’s Gardner, openly admitting he blackmailed Frisch, who Gardner says changed his vote and kept Lyft out of Aspen.

True or not — that doesn’t really matter at the eleventh hour in a tight race — Boebert’s campaign is clearly hoping that the story, which Frisch told The Aspen Times comes off as a “desperate ploy” from a “cornered animal,” will make the difference.

There are many questions the far-right “media” organizations covering the story don’t seem to have asked, suggesting this is all a cheap hatchet job.

Oct. 19

ny times logoNew York Times, What to Know as Trump Is Deposed in E. Jean Carroll Defamation Suit, Benjamin Weiser, Oct. 19, 2022. The former president on Wednesday will be asked questions under oath in a defamation case brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who says he raped her in a dressing room.

e jean carrollThree years after the writer E. Jean Carroll sued Donald J. Trump for defamation in New York, the former president is scheduled to submit to a sworn deposition on Wednesday. It is expected to take place at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s residence and private club in Florida.

Ms. Carroll, right, in a 2019 book and excerpt in New York magazine, accused Mr. Trump of raping her in the mid-1990s at the department store Bergdorf Goodman. She said that he pushed her against a dressing room wall, pulled down her tights, opened his pants and forced himself upon her.

Mr. Trump said he had never met Ms. Carroll, that she was “totally lying” and that she was not his “type.”

In her suit, Ms. Carroll, a longtime advice columnist for Elle magazine, said Mr. Trump’s statements had harmed her reputation.

Legal Schnauzer, Former Balch & Bingham attorney Chase T. Espy pleads guilty to a charge in child-solicitation probe that produced almost 70 videos of child sexual abuse, Roger Shuler, Oct. 19, 2022. A former attorney at Birmingham's Balch & Bingham law firm has pleaded guilty to charges related to a child-solicitation investigation.

chase espyChase T. Espy, right, will not be sentenced until January, but it appears he is headed to federal prison. Possession of Child Pornography carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. According to a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will seek imprisonment of Espy consistent with the high end of the advisory United States Sentencing Guideline range as calculated by the Court at the time of sentencing.

The guilty plea was announced late yesterday afternoon.

From a report at banbalch.com: The plea agreement filed states the investigation was initiated when Espy engaged in online chats with undercover law enforcement whom Espy believed was a 15-year-old girl. Upon being arrested, Espy’s cell phone was seized, and a search warrant was obtained. From this search, approximately 69 videos and four images of child sexual abuse material were found.

Oct. 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Five years on, what happened to the men of #MeToo? Ashley Fetters Maloy and Paul Farhi, Oct. 13, 2022. A few of the men accused during the #MeToo movement went to prison. Some have disappeared. But many are rebuilding their careers. And some were barely affected.

As the #MeToo movement took on hurricane strength five years ago, Al Franken was one of the first to get swept away. The U.S. senator for Minnesota resigned under pressure from Democratic colleagues in December 2017, after eight women said that he had inappropriately touched or kissed them.

Today, Franken is representative of the movement’s ambiguous and varied outcomes. Franken has said that he regrets resigning. Many of his supporters feel the same way.

And instead of sinking into ignominy, the veteran “Saturday Night Live” comedian and author has rebuilt much of his career. He’s not back in the Senate, but he’s hosting a popular podcast and filling theaters on a busy speaking schedule (marketed, in Franken’s style of humor, as the “Only Former U.S. Senator on Tour Tour”).

Some of the most galvanizing early #MeToo cases suggested that a thorough and eternal discrediting would be the fate of every accused man, such as the now-imprisoned producer Harvey Weinstein or former “Today” show host Matt Lauer, who has barely been seen in public since his 2017 firing. But others have reclaimed some of their careers and public esteem. And outside of a bad news cycle, others haven’t really been affected at all.

Oct. 14


cuba gooding

ny times logoNew York Times, Cuba Gooding Jr. to Serve No Prison Time After Plea in Sex Abuse Case, Colin Moynihan, Oct. 14, 2022 (print ed.). The actor, shown above, pleaded guilty to a harassment charge after three women accused him of unwanted touching. A score of similar stories emerged after his arrest.

The actor Cuba Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty to a single count of harassment on Thursday, ending a criminal case that began when one report of sex abuse prompted additional accusations from women across the country.

Mr. Gooding, 54, who won an Academy Award in 1997 for his portrayal of a brash football player in “Jerry Maguire,” was charged in 2019 with groping or forcibly kissing three women, one of many prominent men whose behavior was exposed by the #MeToo movement. He was sentenced in State Supreme Court in Manhattan to time served.

Prosecutors had sought permission from the court to present trial testimony from 19 women who came forward after Mr. Gooding was initially charged in Manhattan. Although their accounts were not part of the criminal case, the district attorney’s office wanted them to provide evidence that Mr. Gooding’s behavior was part of a pattern.

A judge initially agreed to permit two of the women to testify, but he ultimately reversed that decision, a prosecutor said. And in April, prosecutors said that they had reached an agreement that would let Mr. Gooding plead to the harassment charge as long as he was not arrested again and continued the alcohol and behavior modification treatment that he had begun in 2019. A prosecutor said in court on Thursday that Mr. Gooding had satisfied those conditions.

Before Mr. Gooding was sentenced, the court heard statements by the three women whose accounts provided the basis for the charges against him. Each of them expressed some disappointment with the outcome of the case and described lingering trauma stemming from their encounters with Mr. Gooding.

“I want to go back to the time when I never had nightmares about fighting off an attacker,” one woman, who was not named in court, wrote in a statement that was read on her behalf by a prosecutor, Coleen Balbert.

Another woman, Kelsey Harbert, addressed the court in person, saying that “in many ways” the plea agreement with Mr. Gooding “felt like a betrayal.” Ms. Harbert elaborated further outside the courthouse, saying that Mr. Gooding was leaving as “a free man” after she had waited three years for a trial in which he would be held accountable. She added that she believed he received special treatment because of his status.

A lawyer representing Ms. Harbert, Gloria Allred, also spoke outside the courthouse, saying, “The decision of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to allow Mr. Gooding Jr. to walk away with a deal, which allows him to avoid trial and erases any criminal record, is an insult to many of the accusers.”

Although Mr. Gooding no longer faces criminal charges in Manhattan, two civil suits accusing him of abuse are active, one in State Supreme Court and the other in Federal District Court.

Oct. 13

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge clears way for Trump to be deposed in defamation case, Shayna Jacobs, Oct. 13, 2022 (print ed.). A federal judge has denied a request by former president Donald Trump to pause proceedings in a defamation case brought against him in 2019 by an author who said he raped her in a department store dressing room decades ago.

The decision clears the way for Trump, who denies the claim, to be deposed as scheduled next week.

e jean carrollIn the lawsuit brought against Trump by former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, right, Trump recently won a temporary reprieve from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, which sent the case to the appeals court in D.C. to resolve whether Trump was a federal employee as defined by the law when he publicly rebutted Carroll’s story.

On Trump’s behalf, the Justice Department previously tried to intervene in the case on the grounds that he was technically an employee of the U.S. government when he occupied the White House and had legal protections from civil litigation because he was acting under the scope of his employment when he denied Carroll’s account and made disparaging comments about her.

Oct. 11


herschel walker informal

washington post logoWashington Post, Woman says she had to press Herschel Walker to pay for abortion he wanted, Annie Linskey and Alice Crites, Oct. 11, 2022. The account, echoed by a person she confided in at the time, deepens the questions swirling around the antiabortion Senate GOP candidate (shown above) in Georgia

The mother of one of Herschel Walker’s children had to repeatedly press the former football star and now-Republican Senate nominee in Georgia for funds to pay for a 2009 abortion that she said he wanted her to have, according to the woman and a person she confided in at the time.

“When I talked to him, I said, 'You need to send — I can’t afford to pay for this,” the woman said in one of several interviews with The Washington Post in recent days, adding that she also told him: “We did this, too. Both of us did this. We both know how babies are made.”

The woman, who lived in the Atlanta area at the time, said she became pregnant when she was unemployed and had less than $600 in her bank account. Walker sent a $700 check via FedEx about a week after the procedure, the woman said. The Post reviewed an image of the check that was printed on an ATM slip, with Walker’s name and an address matching where he lived at the time.

A copy of the check and deposit slip reviewed by The Post includes Walker’s signature and name. It was deposited nine days after the woman said she had an abortion. The Post has reviewed a receipt for $575 at a women’s medical center that day. She said she did not know exactly how much an abortion would cost and estimated the amount she told Walker she would need based on online searches.

The extended discussion over payment for the procedure to end the first pregnancy has not been previously reported. The woman and the person she confided in both spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the privacy of themselves and their loved ones.

As previously reported, the same woman also says Walker pressured her to have an abortion again when she became pregnant a second time; she chose to give birth to her son, who is now 10. The woman sued Walker in New York in 2013 for child support after he allegedly refused to provide it, according to a person familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details. Walker, who now says he is a multimillionaire, said in that case that he made about $140,000 per year, the person said.

The new revelations deepen questions about Walker’s treatment of women and his children, as well as the conflict between his public opposition to abortion and his alleged private behavior. Walker and his campaign have denied the woman’s claims that he wanted her to have two abortions, and Walker initially claimed he did not know the woman who was making them.

“I know nothing about any woman having an abortion,” Walker said to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt last week after the Daily Beast first reported the allegation about paying for an abortion. “Had that happened, I would have said it, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of there.”

Walker is running on a platform that opposes abortion in all cases, without exceptions for rape or incest or to protect the life of the mother. He has said he would vote for a national ban of the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy. He has also criticized Black men for being absent parents — a criticism now leveled at him by the woman and by his grown son by another mother, Christian Walker. Herschel Walker has acknowledged having four children with four different women.

 Oct. 10

ny times logoNew York Times, Wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom of California to Testify in Weinstein Trial, Corina Knoll, Oct. 10, 2022. Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and former actor, has accused the once-powerful film mogul, Harvey Weinstein, of sexual assault.

The second sex crimes trial of Harvey Weinstein is underway in Los Angeles and among the witnesses expected to testify is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker, former actress and the wife of California’s governor, Gavin Newsom.

Ms. Siebel Newsom is one of the many women who came forward to describe an encounter with Mr. Weinstein. Her involvement was confirmed on Monday by her lawyer, as jury selection began in a case where the once-powerful film producer faces four counts each of rape and forcible oral copulation.

Ms. Siebel Newsom, who was working as an actor and documentary filmmaker, wrote an essay for HuffPost in 2017 in which she mentioned a meeting with Mr. Weinstein during her earlier years in the industry. The article was published a day after The New York Times broke the news that he had paid off women accusing him of sexual misconduct for decades.

“I believe every word that was written in the New York Times, because very similar things happened to me,” read the headline on the essay.

Ms. Siebel Newsom, 48, described how she had received an invitation to meet with Mr. Weinstein at a hotel about a role in an upcoming film.

“I was naïve, new to the industry, and didn’t know how to deal with his aggressive advances,” she wrote.

“Staff were present and then all of a sudden disappeared like clockwork, leaving me alone with this extremely powerful and intimidating Hollywood legend.”

The experience, Ms. Siebel Newsom wrote, was one of many that inspired her 2011 documentary, “Miss Representation,” about how women are oversexualized in the media.

Oct. 9

ny times logoNew York Times, Columbia University to Pay $165 Million to Victims of Former Doctor, Hurubie Meko, Oct. 9, 2022 (print ed.). Robert A. Hadden, a gynecologist, pleaded guilty in 2016 to abusing 19 women, but got no prison time. He is currently facing federal charges.

Columbia University and its affiliated hospitals on Friday announced a $165 million settlement with 147 patients of a former gynecologist accused of sexual abuse by dozens of women. Among the people who have accused him of abuse was Evelyn Yang, the wife of the former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

columbia logoRobert A. Hadden, who according to the hospitals has not worked as a doctor since 2012, pleaded guilty in 2016 to abusing 19 women, but was spared prison time. Now, Mr. Hadden is awaiting trial on federal charges of enticing and inducing women, including a minor, to travel from outside New York State to his Manhattan offices to engage in illegal sex acts.

The hospitals will establish a compensation fund to distribute the money, according to a news release from the university. The settlement follows a $71.5 million deal reached last year between the hospitals and 79 of his former patients who had been represented by a different lawyer.

“We deeply regret the pain that Robert Hadden’s patients suffered and hope that these resolutions will provide some measure of support for the women he hurt,” Columbia University Irving Medical Center said in the release.

The settlement is “scratching the surface,” said Anthony T. DiPietro, who represented the victims.

“I represent nearly a dozen additional women who Columbia has refused to address,” he said in a call Friday evening.

On Saturday morning, a spokesman for Columbia University Irving Medical Center said the hospitals knew of only two unresolved claims brought by former patients who have been identified and are represented by Mr. DiPietro.

The investigation began in 2012 after a patient told the police that then-Dr. Hadden touched her sexually during an examination. Six women came forward with similar allegations, court records showed. In 2014, he was indicted on charges that included five counts of a criminal sexual act, two counts of forcible touching and two counts of sexual abuse.

But in a deal with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Mr. Hadden pleaded guilty to a single felony count of criminal sexual act in the third degree, and a misdemeanor count of forcible touching. The prosecutor’s office agreed to not seek prison time and promised not to pursue new sexual abuse allegations against him. His sex-offender status was reduced so that it would end after 20 years and his name would not be on an online list of offenders.

That deal received scrutiny amid questions about how Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the former Manhattan district attorney, handled sex crimes — including the revelation that his office had asked for the lowest sex-offender status be given to Jeffrey Epstein in 2011.

Oct. 8

ny times logoNew York Times, Judges in Ohio and Arizona Temporarily Block States’ Abortion Bans, Ava Sasani, Oct. 8, 2022 (print ed.). The decisions offered a window into which legal arguments might be working in the broader strategy to re-establish abortion rights through state courts. Abortion rights supporters won two temporary victories on Friday when judges in Ohio and Arizona suspended state laws banning the procedures.

In Ohio, a county judge indefinitely suspended a state law prohibiting most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. A few hours later, an appeals court in Arizona temporarily blocked its pre-statehood law banning the procedure.

The decisions marked progress for abortion advocates who have been fighting to restore access to the procedure in states that ban it.

The Ohio decision extends an earlier, temporary suspension of the law that was set to expire next week. The ruling means that the state’s abortion ban is suspended while the court case proceeds, providing a bit more certainty for abortion providers and women.

Without the ban in effect, abortion in Ohio is legal up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion this summer, states have been free to regulate the procedure. More than a dozen, including Ohio, have passed laws banning most abortions. Some include narrow exceptions for rape, incest or if a pregnant woman’s life is in danger.

Those in favor of abortion rights have worked to overturn bans and restrictions by suing in state courts.

Attorney General David Yost of Ohio, who supports the six-week ban, could still appeal the case to a higher court.

“We will wait and review the judge’s actual written order and consult with the governor’s administration,” on next steps, said a spokesman for Mr. Yost.

The ruling in Arizona blocks a near-total ban dating back to 1864. The strict law was reinstated last month by a lower court in Arizona. Though Friday’s ruling temporarily restored the injunction on the 158-year-old ban, a law passed this year restricting abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy is in effect.

Read More on Abortion Issues in America

  • Risking Everything: Doctors and midwives in blue states are working to get abortion pills into red states — setting the stage for a historic legal clash.
  • A Proposed Nationwide Ban: Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposal to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy would be much earlier than many state laws. Here's how it compares.
  • In Arizona: A judge ruled that a near-total abortion ban dating back to 1864 must be enforced, throwing abortion access into question one day before the start of a 15-week ban that passed the Legislature this year.
  • Abortion ‘Abolitionists’: Activists pushing to criminalize abortion from conception as homicide are the outer edge of the anti-abortion movement. After the end of Roe, they’re looking to gain followers.


herschel walker informal

washington post logoWashington Post, Ga. Senate candidate Herschel Walker urged second abortion, according to report, Annie Linskey, Oct. 8, 2022 (print ed.). A woman interviewed by the New York Times said the former football star ended their relationship after she refused his request.

The mother of one of Herschel Walker’s children has said that the Georgia Republican Senate candidate ended a relationship with her in 2011 after she refused to have a second abortion as she had done two years earlier, according to an account in the New York Times. Instead, the woman gave birth to the child, according to the report.

The Washington Post has not independently confirmed the account, which builds on a story published earlier this week by the Daily Beast reporting that Walker, who is campaigning on an antiabortion platform, paid for the woman to have an abortion.

Walker denied paying for an abortion and said he did not know what woman was making the allegation.

GOP crisis in Herschel Walker race was nearly two years in the making

“I know nothing about any woman having an abortion,” Walker said Thursday to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

The woman, who has not been publicly identified, has not responded to multiple inquiries from The Post.

georgia mapWalker’s campaign did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the Times’s report.

The revelations threaten to further complicate one of the most competitive Senate campaigns in the country and confirm fears among some Republicans that Walker’s chaotic personal history, including allegations of domestic violence, will continue to attract attention and scrutiny in the final weeks of the campaign.

Also on Friday, Walker’s campaign fired a political director over accusations that he had unauthorized contacts with reporters, according to a person familiar with the events, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal campaign matters.

Republicans have sought to go on offense in Georgia, releasing a new political advertisement that highlights Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock’s history of opposition to abortion and other issues.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Even the most staunch Republicans are rattled’: Concerns were voiced when Walker’s campaign was in talking stages, Isaac Arnsdorf, Ashley Parker, Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey, Oct. 7, 2022. In Georgia, Republicans are stuck with a problematic Senate candidate they saw coming but decided they couldn’t stop.

In early 2021, as football star Herschel Walker (shown above in a file photo) considered running for Senate, he approached some of Georgia’s top Republican operatives about advising his campaign. The operatives were warned about political vulnerabilities in Walker’s past — including allegations of violence against women — that were openly discussed in the state’s political circles, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Walker’s reaction to being confronted with the allegations was also troubling, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. When the consultants would ask the candidate about incidents even in the public record, he would often get simultaneously defensive and aggressive, accusing the questioner of being a Democratic plant or ally of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the minority leader.

Those consultants passed on working with Walker, but he pressed ahead with his campaign. After all, Walker’s overwhelming name recognition in Georgia as a Heisman Trophy-winning football star and backing from former president Donald Trump instantly made him so formidable that state and national Republican leaders didn’t mount a serious challenge in the primary, despite concerns about Walker’s baggage.

Now, less than five weeks before the midterm elections, they’re stuck with him as those liabilities threaten to dominate the news and derail his campaign in a state widely viewed as a must-win for Republicans to retake the Senate.

On Monday, the Daily Beast reported that Walker paid for an abortion in 2009, citing documentation including a receipt, a check image and a get-well card. The Washington Post has not independently verified the allegations. As a candidate, Walker has supported an absolute ban on abortions, with no exception for rape, incest or the health of the mother. Walker’s campaign initially denied the report and promised to sue the next day, but no lawsuit has been filed.

 Oct. 7


The late Mahsa Amini in a photo provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health.

The late Mahsa Amini in a photo provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health.

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: The Brave Women of Iran Deserve More U.S. Support, Editorial Board, Oct. 7, 2022. The hijabs that thousands of Iranian women and girls have been burning in defiance over the past few weeks — since the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police on Sept. 16 — are a symbol of far broader discontent with Iran’s corrupt and incompetent leaders. The protests since Ms. Amini’s death, led by women, have persisted for weeks and have brought Iranians in dozens of cities into the streets to reveal the depth of their anger. Iranians who are sick and tired of living under a tyrannical theocracy deserve the support of the United States and its allies.

ali khamenei 2022 wThe death of Ms. Amini, who was detained by the guidance patrol for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly, is an outrageous sample of the violence the Islamic Republic has visited on women since coming to power in 1979. The religious cabal that has led Iran since then, currently led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, regards enmity with the United States and keeping women in their place as critical to their survival in power.

The threat of a virulently anti-American and anti-Israeli regime obtaining nuclear weapons is real, but the diplomatic efforts to block it must go hand in hand with efforts to help Iranians who are seeking respite and change.

iran flag mapAyatollah Khamenei, right, is 83 and ailing, and he is among the last of the Islamic revolutionaries who overthrew the monarchy. His passing, however, would be no guarantee of a more liberal regime in Tehran. As Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote in a recent essay in the Times, his cohort of true believers have been largely supplanted by opportunists in search of wealth and privilege.

Global isolation may be damaging to the regime, but global integration would be dangerous, as Mr. Sadjadpour wrote. The regime might see its best chance of survival in maintaining repressive rule and “just the right amount of isolation.” Ayatollah Khamenei wants to be “neither North Korea nor Dubai. He wants to be able to sell Iran’s oil on the global market without sanctions, but he doesn’t want Iran to be fully integrated in the global system.”

Since Donald Trump ripped up the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions, the Biden administration and other nations involved have been trying to revive it. That is a worthy effort, but negotiations for the deal, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, are at a standstill over two Iranian conditions in particular that Western negotiators cannot meet: that the International Atomic Energy Agency end investigations into traces of uranium at undeclared sites, and that the United States provide guarantees the deal will not again be killed. It is up to Iran to choose whether to revive the deal, and its decision is not likely to be swayed by American behavior.

Whatever the future of the nuclear deal, its fate should not preclude the United States and its allies from vigorously supporting the desire of Iranian protesters for global integration, through better access to the essential tools of communication, organizing and protest.

The moral case is not solely the outrageous behavior of the clerical regime. It is also the fact that so much of the economic suffering of the Iranian people — rents that have multiplied, goods that have become prohibitively expensive, a currency that has plummeted so low that Iranians need stacks of bills to do everyday shopping — is the result of waves of American sanctions.

The U.S. needs to maintain its efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and this board supports continuing diplomatic efforts that could curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons program and open the door to future agreements. But some of the current sanctions have gone too far, and fallen mostly on the very activists that the United States would like to help. Indeed, the regime has used Iran’s economic isolation to further entrench its power. The United States thus has a major stake in helping Iranians to a better life, ideally one without sanctions, morality police or nuclear weapons.

The U.S. also has the ability to help improve access to one of the major tools of popular resistance — communications. Iranian dissidents have long complained that sanctions on technology hindered their ability to communicate with the outside world and with one another. Immediately after the Iranian government cut off access to the internet for most of its roughly 85 million citizens, the Biden administration did what it should have done long before, issuing a general license allowing technology firms to provide technical means for Iranians to elude government restrictions.

Making the announcement on Sept. 23, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that “we are going to help make sure the Iranian people are not kept isolated and in the dark.” The administration also imposed targeted sanctions on the morality police and senior security officials, whom it holds responsible for violence against protesters and Ms. Amini’s death. The U.S. can go further, and encourage technology companies, including Google, Apple, Amazon and others, to make tools available and expedite applications for technology sales that go beyond the general license.

washington post logoWashington Post, Arizona court halts enforcement of near-total abortion ban, Andrew Jeong, Oct. 7, 2022. An Arizona appellate court halted enforcement of the state’s near-total abortion ban late Friday, staying a lower court’s decision to reinstate an older law that does not allow victims of rape or incest to have the procedure at any time.

The order by the Arizona Court of Appeals came after Planned Parenthood Arizona, a reproductive health organization, appealed the September ruling by Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson. The stay is in place until the appellate court can hear the appeal. The lower court had lifted a decades-long injunction on the total-near restrictions, which have their roots in an 1864 law which only allows arizona mapabortions if they are needed to save the life of a pregnant person.

Abortion is now banned in these states. See where laws have changed.

Judge Peter J. Eckerstrom, writing for the three appellate judges that issued the stay, said the lower court may have erred in resurrecting the Civil War era law, because it conflicts with more recent laws that provide abortion seekers with more leeway. A law that permits abortions for up to 15 weeks took force last month, putting it in conflict with the 1864 near-total ban. Arizona’s GOP Attorney General has previously said he plans to enforce the older law.

“Arizona courts have a responsibility to attempt to harmonize all of this state’s relevant statutes,” Eckerstrom wrote in a one-page order, adding that the “acute need of [health care] providers, prosecuting agencies, and the public for legal clarity” had prompted the order.

Oct. 5


herschel walker hill tv

Daily Beast, Investigation: Herschel Walker’s Abortion Accuser Also Had a Child With Him, Roger Sollenberger, Oct. 5, 2022. MUM'S THE WORD. Herschel Walker has claimed he has no idea who this woman could be. Here's why that's surprising.

Walker then spun the report as an attack from “desperate” Democrats eager to maintain control of the pivotal Senate seat. Instead of being deterred by his now-public hypocrisy, he said he now feels “energized.”

daily beast logo“They see me as a big threat, and I know that and I knew it when I got into this race. But they don’t realize that I think they came for the wrong one. They energized me,” Walker said. “They energized me, because I know how they really want to try to keep this seat.”

The anonymous woman said that defense sounded ridiculous.

georgia map“Sure, I was stunned, but I guess it also doesn’t shock me, that maybe there are just so many of us that he truly doesn’t remember,” she said. “But then again, if he really forgot about it, that says something, too.”

The woman, a registered Democrat whose years-long relationship with Walker continued after the abortion, told The Daily Beast that her chief concern with revealing her name was because she is the mother of one of Walker’s own children and she wanted to protect her family’s privacy as best she could while also coming forward with the truth. (Walker has publicly acknowledged the child as his own, and the woman proved she is the child's mother and provided credible evidence of a long-term relationship with Walker.)

The Walker campaign declined to comment for this story.

But even with the woman remaining anonymous, the story has still rocked Walker’s family in other ways.

republican elephant logoAfter Walker denied the report, one of his three sons, conservative social media influencer Christian Walker, released a series of angry statements and videos condemning his dad as a liar, and alleging that the University of Georgia football hero had threatened to murder him and his mother—Walker’s ex-wife.

“I know my mom and I would really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us,” Christian Walker tweeted after the abortion story broke Monday night. “You’re not a ‘family man’ when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence.”

The anonymous woman said that while she’s been a “good sport” about the campaign, after Walker’s denial, she could no longer keep this information from the public.

“I’ve been very civil thus far. I keep my mouth shut. I don’t cause any trouble. I stay in the background. But I’m also not gonna get run over time and time again,” she said. “That’s crazy.”

Walker and his campaign have put out seemingly conflicting messages to battle the story, denying it on one hand as a “lie” while also appealing to themes of religious redemption and forgiveness on the other. On Wednesday, Walker put out a new ad where he discusses overcoming his struggles with mental health “by the grace of God.”

But if Walker is seeking redemption for the abortion, that would be a recent shift. He lied about his role in abortions just this year—once in a June interview with The Daily Beast, and later to a Democratic activist posing as a Walker supporter, who caught his denials on video.

Asked about the role faith played in Walker’s life, the anonymous woman, who identifies as a Christian herself, said even though Walker often talked about Christianity, he uses it “when it works for him.”

She said Walker frequently talked about being a Christian, but never once expressed any misgivings about abortion generally—or any regret about the one that they had. When she got pregnant again years later, the woman says she made a different choice, even though Walker said it still wasn’t “a convenient time” for him.

“He didn’t express any regret. He said, ‘relax and recover,’” the woman recalled, alluding to the message on the “get well” card Walker sent her along with the abortion payment.

“He seemed pretty pro-choice to me. He was pro-choice, obviously,” she said.

“I don’t think there’s anywhere in the Bible where it says ‘have four kids with four different women while you’re with another woman.’ Or where it praises not being a present parent. Or that an abortion is an OK thing to do when it’s not the right time for you, but a terrible thing for anyone else to do when you are running for Senate. He picks and chooses where it’s convenient for him to use that religious crutch,” she said.

The campaign has used the woman’s desire to remain anonymous to raise money, saying in its first fundraising email after the news broke that “Now, they’re using an anonymous source to further slander me.”

Asked how she felt about the campaign’s boast that Walker saw record-setting contributions in the hours after he called her a liar, the woman said she hoped they would give the money away.

“It would be really nice if when he loses they would turn that money over to someone who needs it,” she said. “Maybe to a mental health organization. It would be really nice of them, instead of taking that and putting it in some other politician’s pockets, they used it to help someone else.”

Walker finds his campaign in crisis as election day is a month away. The outcome of the race could tip the balance of the Senate, and polls are tight. Recent surveys taken before the abortion news broke show Walker narrowly trailing his Democratic opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock.

But the woman’s allegation has reframed the race and sent Republicans scrambling.

According to The Daily Beast’s reporting, after Walker and the woman first conceived a child in 2009, he urged her to have an abortion and then reimbursed her for it. The woman provided a receipt from the clinic showing the date of the procedure, along with a signed personal check Walker had mailed her inside a “get well” card five days later.


Herschel Walker supporters pray with him

washington post logoWashington Post, Herschel Walker denies report that he paid for girlfriend’s abortion, Annie Linskey and Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Oct. 5, 2022 (print ed.). Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia, on Monday denied a claim that he paid for a girlfriend’s abortion in 2009, saying in a televised interview on Fox News Channel that the account published in the Daily Beast is a “flat-out lie.” He is shown above at right with supporters praying with him after the allegation.

Walker’s denial came after the Daily Beast published a detailed description from an unnamed former girlfriend who said that Walker encouraged her to have an abortion after she became pregnant while they were dating, wrote her a $700 check to pay for the procedure and then sent her a subsequent “get well” card.

When asked by Fox News’s Sean Hannity about the reported $700 check, Walker, who has voiced opposition to abortion rights, said he frequently gives money to others. “I send money to a lot of people,” Walker said. “I believe in being generous.”

Walker is challenging Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock in one of the most closely watched Senate contests of the year. The outcome of the race, which polls show is competitive, is expected to help determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years.

As he runs for the Senate, Walker has campaigned as a strict opponent of abortion rights. He has said he opposes abortion without any exceptions and has voiced support for a proposed national ban on the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Christian Walker turns his online influence against his father, Philip Bump, Oct. 5, 2022 (print ed.).  When Herschel Walker announced his candidacy in August 2021, Christian Walker was the only child he was generally known to have had; it has since been revealed that he has three others.

christian walkerChristian Walker, right, was onboard with his father’s candidacy at the outset, sharing Donald Trump’s endorsement of his father soon after the announcement and posting a video of him embracing Herschel Walker during a campaign event at Mar-a-Lago in December.

What changed, the younger Walker says, is that his father wasn’t forthright about his past. In a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday morning, Christian Walker explained the shift.

“I did one event last year when we were told he was going to get ahead of his past and hold himself accountable,” the son said. “None of that happened. Everything’s been a lie.”

Twitter, Messages from Christian Walker, Oct. 4, 2022.


I know my mom and I would really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us.

You’re not a “family man” when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence.

I don’t care about someone who has a bad past and takes accountability. But how DARE YOU LIE and act as though you’re some “moral, Christian, upright man.” You’ve lived a life of DESTROYING other peoples lives. How dare you.

Politico, Walker’s team knew of an abortion allegation months before it surfaced, Meridith McGraw, Natalie Allison and Sam Stein, Oct. 5, 2022 (print ed.). His team was aware and had time to prepare. They just hoped it wouldn’t come out before the election.

politico CustomLiz Mair, a longtime Republican opposition researcher and consultant with corporate clients in Georgia, said she had heard the claim as far back as 2021. She is not involved in the campaign.

“I remember hearing about this very early and thinking it was like a classic oppo hit,” she recalled. “This abortion thing I heard. Having more kids than he was copping to I heard. And all of this was before we got to the point of him being [the Republican candidate]. I had heard about the alleged liabilities. And abortion was top of the list.”


paul lepage maine governor

washington post logoWashington Post, Maine GOP gubernatorial hopeful Paul LePage struggles to answer abortion questions in debate, Amy B Wang, Oct. 5, 2022. During his two terms as Maine governor, Republican Paul LePage, shown above in a file photo, attended antiabortion rallies, argued that “we should not have abortion” and said in 2018 that if the Supreme Court were to make a case for overturning Roe v. Wade, “let’s do it.”

But on a gubernatorial debate stage Tuesday night, LePage was much more circumspect about his views on reproductive rights, struggling to respond directly when asked what he would do if the Maine legislature introduced additional restrictions to abortion in the state. Multiple times, he avoided answering questions directly, protesting that it was a hypothetical issue or that he did not understand the question.

LePage’s awkward performance Tuesday highlights the position many antiabortion Republicans are in, four months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that for nearly a half-century guaranteed the right to an abortion in the United States. The decision has galvanized Democratic voters — and put some GOP candidates on the defensive — in a midterm election cycle that would typically favor the party not in power.

On Tuesday night, a moderator first asked whether Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) would support removing the “viability” restriction in Maine’s current abortion law, which allows abortion until the point “when the life of the fetus may be continued indefinitely outside the womb by natural or artificial life support.” After that, an abortion may be performed only when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

Mills, who has served as Maine’s governor since 2019, said she had no plans to change the state law, which she said reflected Roe v. Wade.

“I believe a woman’s right to choose is just that: It’s a woman’s right, not a politician’s and most certainly not Mr. LePage’s or anybody sitting in public office,” Mills said. “As long as I’m governor, the right to reproductive health care will never be considered dispensable. My veto pen will stand in the way of any effort to undermine, roll back or outright eliminate the right to safe and legal abortion in Maine.”

“I have never wavered in that position, never equivocated, never flip-flopped,” she added pointedly.

As the moderator began asking LePage the same question, he jumped in on his own.

“I served eight years as the governor of Maine. Never once did I attempt, ever, to do — even talk about the abortion bill, because I believe in — the bill that’s in place right now is a good bill,” said LePage, who was governor of Maine from 2011 to 2019. “I believe in protecting the mother’s life for rape … and incest. I also believe in the viability.”

The moderator pointed out that the question had actually been different. What would he do as governor if the state legislature were to bring a bill to him that added additional restrictions, such as reducing the viability period to 15 weeks or requiring parental consent before a minor could receive an abortion?

“I support the current law as it is,” LePage said.

“And if they brought those bills to you, you would not sign them?” the moderator asked.

“That is correct,” LePage said.

Mills interrupted: “Well, would you let it go into law without your signature?” she asked.

“I don’t know …” Le Page started.

“That’s the alternative,” Mills said. “You know that. You were governor. You know what the options are. Would you allow it to go into law without your signature?”

A visibly flustered LePage dropped his pen on the ground and then leaned over to pick it up as he shot back at Mills: “Would you allow a baby to take a breath? Would you allow the baby to take a breath …”

Mills paused and repeated her questions more slowly. “Would you let a restrictive law go into effect without your signature? Would you block a restriction on abortion?”

“Would I block? Or would-?” LePage said. “This is what I would do. The law that’s in place right now, I have the same exact place you have. And I would honor the law as it is. You’re talking about a hypothetical.”

“Oh, we’re not,” Mills replied, smiling and shaking her head.

“If you’re saying, we’re gonna take the restriction away, making it illegal for the viability?” LePage continued. “No, I would not sign that. I would veto that. The viability is in law now.”

After a brief pause, the moderator pointed out that LePage still had not answered the question. Would he veto additional restrictions that came to him? LePage asked for examples. The moderator provided them once again.

“If you’re talking about would I veto a bill that would change the viability, I would go to the medical professionals to tell me,” LePage said, shrugging. “I don’t know what you mean by 15 weeks or 28 weeks. Because I don’t know. I mean, I’m not sure I understand the question.”

There was another pause.

“I understand the question,” Mills said flatly. “I would not let such law become effective. My veto can and will stand in the way of any restrictions on the right to abortion.”

“When you say restriction — I’m, I’m trying to understand the question,” LePage said.

A different moderator asked the question one last time.

“So, Governor LePage, if the legislature came to you and said we want to change Maine’s law, and instead of viability which currently stands at 28 weeks, now Maine’s law is going to say no abortions after 15 weeks — would you veto that?” she asked.

“Yes,” LePage said at last.


amber heard johnny depp

ny times logoNew York Times, How Do You Measure the Impact of #MeToo? Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (reporters and co-authors of the book She Said, Oct. 4-5, 2022 (Interactive). Five years after the movement took off — five years of accusations, verdicts and consequences — what does success look like?

jodi kantor megan twohey she said coverLast spring, the fate of an entire global movement was decided in a single Virginia courtroom. Or so the story went.

The actors and ex-spouses Amber Heard and Johnny Depp (shown above in a file photo) were dueling over defamation charges. An online mob swarmed Ms. Heard. Many observers feared that other women would be intimidated from airing abuse allegations. Even before a jury decided the case mostly in Mr. Depp’s favor, obituaries for #Metoo began to appear, including in this newspaper.

“This is basically the end of MeToo,” a psychologist told Rolling Stone after the verdict. “It’s the death of the whole movement.”

The #MeToo mourners came to that conclusion even though the actors’ trial layered allegations of sexual and domestic violence with other elements — thermonuclear divorce, celebrity spectacle.

Few commenters cited another story from that week: a bombshell report from the Southern Baptist Convention admitting that high-ranking church leaders had suppressed and mishandled allegations of abuse of women and children within its ranks over two decades. The group soon revealed a file more than 200 pages long, describing hundreds of accused ministers and other church workers. The reckoning, across the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, was a broader, deeper #MeToo event than the celebrity courtroom battle, and a sign of the movement’s durability.

Five years after the #MeToo movement exploded into a global phenomenon, its success is inherently hard to measure.

The conventional way to score it follows whatever prominent accused man is falling or prevailing at the time. Harvey Weinstein, right,  is harvey weinsteinsent to prison; Bill Cosby walks free. Andrew M. Cuomo resigns; R. Kelly is convicted.

“It’s up and down and up and down all the time,” said Tarana Burke, who founded the #MeToo movement in 2006, to seek healing for Black women who suffered sexual abuse.

After The New York Times and The New Yorker revealed the allegations against Mr. Weinstein in October 2017, the phrase #MeToo didn’t just go viral — it also expanded. Ms. Burke watched as the term she had coined was used in ways that went far beyond her organization and mission. People used it to describe not only rape and workplace sexual harassment, but also domestic violence, gender bias and verbal abuse.

However, the malleability that has given #MeToo power and influence also makes it a challenge even for supporters to define clear objectives or tabulate gains and losses.

Take two episodes from this year. In April, Louis C.K. won a Grammy, provoking cringes from many fellow comedians, fans and others, especially as his accusers — female comedians with nowhere near his clout — continued to struggle. But his is also arguably one of the most settled #MeToo stories, because he admitted that the allegations against him were true. The lingering controversy is less about the facts than about whether he has been adequately punished.

After claims of sexual misconduct against the N.F.L. quarterback Deshaun Watson mounted in 2021, the Cleveland Browns signed him to a $230 million fully guaranteed contract, prompting complaints that the league wasn’t taking the allegations seriously and didn’t care about women. But this past summer, after a league investigation found that Mr. Watson had committed multiple violations of its personal conduct policy, the quarterback was suspended for 11 games and fined a record $5 million. While some saw the penalties as a slap on the wrist, they were among the most severe in league history.

These stories are shape shifters, evidence of #MeToo’s endurance or its waning influence.

washington post logoWashington Post, Sheryl Sandberg’s next chapter: Pledging millions to fight abortion bans, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Naomi Nix, Oct. 5, 2022 (print ed.). The longtime Facebook chief officer stepped down last week. Three days later, she announced one of the biggest donations for abortion rights in ACLU history.

sheryl sandberg world economic forum 2013Less than three days after she left her position as the No. 2 corporate officer at Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg (shown at the World Economic Forum in 2013) is already remaking herself as one of the foremost philanthropists fighting the curtailment of abortion rights across the United States.

On Tuesday, Sandberg and the American Civil Liberties Union announced that Facebook’s former chief operating office was donating $3 million to fight abortion bans — money the ACLU said would be used “to protect reproductive health care in courts, legislatures, and at the ballot box over the next three years.”

The donation, one of the largest supporting abortion rights to the ACLU, marks a new chapter for Sandberg — among the most prominent female business executives in America. During her fourteen-year tenure at Facebook, she shied away from politically controversial moves.

facebook logoSandberg has long been a women’s rights advocate, championing her signature brand of corporate feminism in her best-selling book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” and her Lean In foundation. She is a major donor to Planned Parenthood and was known for promoting women to leadership positions during her 14-year tenure at the social network.

But she was also criticized during the Trump years for political timidity. She did not publicly comment when former president Donald Trump, as a candidate, made disparaging remarks about women, including bragging on tape that he would grope them against their will. She was called out for not publicly supporting or attending the Women’s March, a global gathering of millions of people in protest of Trump’s stance on women, in 2017. Facebook then spent years making extensive efforts to curry favor with the Trump administration, even going so far as to rewrite and interpret its policies to avoid conflict with the president and his followers.`

 ny times logoNew York Times, In an Uphill Battle to Hold the House, Democrats Bet on Abortion Rights, Catie Edmondson, Oct. 4, 2022 (print ed.). Vulnerable Democrats in competitive districts have leaned into abortion rights as a closing argument for their campaigns, following internal polling.

Oct. 4


herschel walker hill tv

Daily Beast, Investigation: 'Pro-Life' Herschel Walker Paid for Girlfriend's Abortion, Roger Sollenberger, Oct. 3, 2022. Not For Thee. The woman has receipts-and a "get well" card she says the football star, now a Senate candidate (shown above in a screen shot), sent her.

Herschel Walker, the football legend now running for Senate in Georgia, says he wants to completely ban abortion, likening it to murder and claiming there should be "no exception" for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

daily beast logoBut the Republican candidate has supported at least one exception-for himself.

A woman who asked not to be identified out of privacy concerns told The Daily Beast that, after she and Walker conceived a child while they were dating in 2009, he urged her to get an abortion. The woman said she had the procedure and that Walker reimbursed her for it.

She supported these claims with a $575 receipt from the abortion clinic, a "get well" card from Walker, and a bank deposit receipt that included an image of a signed $700 personal check from Walker.

The woman said there was a $125 difference because she "ball-parked" the cost of an abortion after Googling the procedure and added on expenses such as travel and recovery costs.

Additionally, The Daily Beast independently corroborated details of the woman's claims with a close friend she told at the time and who, according to the woman and the friend, took care of her in the days after the procedure.

The woman said Walker, who was not married at the time, told her it would be more convenient to terminate the pregnancy, saying it was "not the right time" for him to have a child. It was a feeling she shared, but what she didn't know was that Walker had an out-of-wedlock child with another woman earlier that same year.

Asked if Walker ever expressed regret for the decision, the woman said Walker never had. Asked why she came forward, the woman pointed to Walker's hardline anti-abortion position.

"I just can't with the hypocrisy anymore," she said. "We all deserve better."

After The Daily Beast reached out to the Walker campaign for comment, Robert Ingram, a lawyer representing both the campaign and Walker in his personal capacity, responded. "This is a false story," Ingram said in a phone call, adding that he based that conclusion on anonymous sources.

After the story published, Walker released a statement in which he called the story a "flat-out lie" and said he denied it in the "strongest possible terms."

"I'm not taking this anymore. I planning [sic] to sue the Daily Beast for this defamatory lie. It will be filed tomorrow morning," he said.

Meanwhile, Herschel's adult son, Christian Walker, lashed out on Twitter-in defense of The Daily Beast and against his father.

"Every family member of Herschel Walker asked him not to run for office, because we all knew (some of) his past. Every single one," Walker tweeted.

"He decided to give us the middle finger and air out all of his dirty laundry in public, while simultaneously lying about it.

"I'm done."

According to the $575 receipt, the abortion took place on Sept. 12, 2009.

And according to the Bank of America deposit receipt, Walker wrote the woman a check for $700 on Sept. 17, 2009. The check was deposited two days later.

The woman, who also provided proof of her romantic relationship with Walker, told The Daily Beast that he mailed her the check inside the "get well"

The front of that card features a drawing of a steaming cup of tea and reads, "Rest, Relax." The message continues on the inside of the card: "Recover."

The card is signed, "Pray you are feeling better," with an "H" in Walker's distinctive autograph flourish.

The woman, a registered Democrat who still communicates with Walker, said he did not tell her about his plan to run for the Senate before his announcement in August 2021. Since then, however, one of Walker's top surrogates has asked her repeatedly if she would be willing to vouch for his character, reaching out as recently as this August.

Following the Supreme Court's repeal of Roe v. Wade in July, abortion rights have become a pivotal campaign issue across the country. The ruling fueled spikes in voter registration and turnout in contests nationwide, especially among women. A recent CBS/YouGov survey found that likely Georgia voters who said the abortion issue is "very important" were more than twice as likely to support Warnock, 67 percent to Walker's 32 percent.

washington post logoWashington Post, Herschel Walker denies report that he paid for girlfriend’s abortion, Annie Linskey and Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Oct. 4, 2022. Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia, on Monday denied a claim that he paid for a girlfriend’s abortion in 2009, saying in a televised interview on Fox News Channel that the account published in the Daily Beast is a “flat-out lie.”

Walker’s denial came after the Daily Beast published a detailed description from an unnamed former girlfriend who said that Walker encouraged her to have an abortion after she became pregnant while they were dating, wrote her a $700 check to pay for the procedure and then sent her a subsequent “get well” card.

When asked by Fox News’s Sean Hannity about the reported $700 check, Walker, who has voiced opposition to abortion rights, said he frequently gives money to others. “I send money to a lot of people,” Walker said. “I believe in being generous.”

Walker is challenging Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock in one of the most closely watched Senate contests of the year. The outcome of the race, which polls show is competitive, is expected to help determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years.

As he runs for the Senate, Walker has campaigned as a strict opponent of abortion rights. He has said he opposes abortion without any exceptions and has voiced support for a proposed national ban on the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Christian Walker turns his online influence against his father, Philip Bump, Oct. 4, 2022. When Herschel Walker announced his candidacy in August 2021, Christian Walker was the only child he was generally known to have had; it has since been revealed that he has three others.

christian walkerChristian Walker, right, was onboard with his father’s candidacy at the outset, sharing Donald Trump’s endorsement of his father soon after the announcement and posting a video of him embracing Herschel Walker during a campaign event at Mar-a-Lago in December.

What changed, the younger Walker says, is that his father wasn’t forthright about his past. In a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday morning, Christian Walker explained the shift.

“I did one event last year when we were told he was going to get ahead of his past and hold himself accountable,” the son said. “None of that happened. Everything’s been a lie.”

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. Soccer ‘failed’ women players, report finds, as new abuse claims emerge, Rick Maese, Oct. 4, 2022 (print ed.). Abuse and misconduct were both pervasive and systemic at the highest tiers of women’s professional soccer, and the sport’s governing us soccer logobodies and team executives repeatedly failed to heed warnings or punish coaches who abused players, according to an investigative report released Monday by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

sally yates twitterThe year-long probe by Sally Q. Yates, left, the former acting attorney general, found that some of the game’s top coaches were the subjects of numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, including some that have not been previously made public. The coaches also leaned on vicious coaching tactics, Yates found, including “relentless, degrading tirades; manipulation that was about power, not improving performance; and retaliation against those who attempted to come forward."

“Players described a pattern of sexually charged comments, unwanted sexual advances and sexual touching, and coercive sexual intercourse,” Yates wrote in the executive summary of her report.


The late Mahsa Amini in a photo provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health.

The late Mahsa Amini in a photo provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health.

ny times logoNew York Times, What Video Footage Reveals About the Protests in Iran, Nilo Tabrizy and Haley Willis, Oct. 4, 2022 (Cinemagraph). The New York Times analyzed dozens of videos circulating online for insights about what is propelling the demonstrations, and how women are leading the movement.

Protests erupted in more than 80 cities across Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, known by her first Kurdish surname Jina, iran flag mapafter her detention by the morality police under the so-called hijab law. Footage of the demonstrations posted to social media has become one of the primary windows into what is happening on the ground and revealed what is different about this latest show of resistance inside Iran.

Now in their third week, protests have continued even as dozens of people have been killed. Many of the videos appeared on ali khamenei 2022 wsocial media during the first week of the protests, before Iran’s government began limiting internet access in an effort to silence dissent.

Multiple videos show a consistent theme of protesters attacking structures and symbols that represent Iran’s government, in some cases setting fire to municipal structures. In the northern city of Amol, demonstrators set fires in the complex of the governorate building, and elsewhere took down portraits of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, and the founding leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Iran’s security forces have a history of using violence and brutality to suppress dissent. In many instances, authorities have shot protesters on the streets. Amnesty International has said that at least 52 people have been killed since the start of the protests, noting that the death toll is likely much higher. Videos capture men in military fatigues using Kalashnikov-type assault rifles in protest areas, as well as the sound of sustained bursts of automatic rifle fire breaking up crowds.


maggie haberman confidence man

The Guardian, ‘She say anything about me?’ Martin Pengelly, Oct. 4, 2022. Trump raised Ghislaine Maxwell link with aides Subject: ‘She say anything about me?’ Trump raised Ghislaine Maxwell link with aides. Then-president voiced concern after socialite’s sex trafficking arrest, according to book by New York Times’s Maggie Haberman.

At an Oval Office meeting in July 2020, Donald Trump asked aides if Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of the financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein who had been arrested on sex trafficking charges, had named him among influential contacts she might count upon to protect her.

According to a new book by Maggie Haberman of the New York Times, Trump asked “campaign advisers … ‘You see that article in the [New York] Post today that mentioned me?’

“He kept going, to silence. ‘She say anything about me?’”

Epstein was convicted and sentenced in Florida in 2008, on state prostitution charges. He was arrested again in July 2019, on sex-trafficking charges. He killed himself in prison in New York a month later.

Links between Epstein, Maxwell and prominent associates including Trump and Prince Andrew have stoked press speculation ever since.

Maxwell, the daughter of the British press baron Robert Maxwell, was arrested in New Hampshire on 2 July 2020.

The story which seemed to worry Trump, according to Haberman, appeared in the celebrity-focused Page Six section of the New York tabloid on 4 July 2020.

It quoted Steve Hoffenberg, an Epstein associate, as saying: “Ghislaine thought she was untouchable – that she’d be protected by the intelligence communities she and Jeffrey helped with information: the Israeli intelligence services, and Les Wexner, who has given millions to Israel; by Prince Andrew, President Clinton and even by President Trump, who was well-known to be an acquaintance of her and Epstein’s.”

Maxwell was ultimately convicted in New York in December 2021, on five of six charges relating to the sex-trafficking of minors. In July 2022, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In February this year, Prince Andrew settled a civil case brought by an Epstein victim who alleged she was forced to have sex with the royal. Andrew vehemently denies wrongdoing but has suffered a collapse of his standing in public and private.

Oct. 3

ny times logoNew York Times, Silicon Valley County Battles With Uber Over Reporting of Sexual Assault, Cade Metz, Oct. 3, 2022. Uber does not inform the police of such incidents, citing advocacy group guidelines. But officials in Santa Clara County argue that it should.

uber logoIn February, Terry Harman, an assistant district attorney for Santa Clara County in California, wrote a memo detailing her concerns about sexual assaults on Uber rides.

The memo she sent to her boss, District Attorney Jeff Rosen, said that although their office prosecuted several hundred sexual assault cases each year, only one had involved an Uber driver.

Based on data released by Uber, she estimated that riders in Santa Clara County had reported as many as 60 sexual assault incidents to the company in 2017 and 2018 alone.

ny times logoNew York Times, Settlement Reached in U.S. Court on Chinese #MeToo Case, Amy Qin and Chang Che, Oct. 3, 2022. The case, involving a billionaire entrepreneur, riveted observers in China, where women alleging sexual wrongdoing by powerful men are often pilloried, silenced or both.

The Chinese billionaire entrepreneur Richard Liu has reached a settlement with Liu Jingyao, a former University of Minnesota student who accused him of rape in a Minneapolis apartment after a night out in 2018, in a case that has riveted China and been held up as a richard liulandmark episode in China’s struggling #MeToo movement.

China FlagThe agreement, which was announced in a joint statement late Saturday, came just two days before a civil trial was to begin in a Minneapolis courtroom. Lawyers from both parties said Mr. Liu, right, and Ms. Liu, who are not related, had agreed to “set aside their differences” in order to avoid further pain and suffering. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed.

“The incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota in 2018 resulted in a misunderstanding that has consumed substantial public attention and brought profound suffering to the parties and their families,” the joint statement read.

The settlement marks the end of a prolonged legal battle for Ms. Liu, who was a 21-year-old undergraduate student at the time of the alleged assault. After her accusations against Mr. Liu first surfaced in 2018, she quickly became one of the most public — and divisive — faces of China’s nascent #MeToo movement.



Sept. 29


corey lewandowski testimony proofPolitico, Corey Lewandowski cuts deal on charge stemming from alleged unwanted sexual advances, Alex Isenstadt, Sept. 29, 2022 (print ed.). Corey Lewandowski (shown above in a file photo), who was Donald Trump's first campaign manager, allegedly touched a woman repeatedly at a Las Vegas charity dinner in 2021.

politico CustomFormer senior Donald Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski has cut a deal with Las Vegas prosecutors after he was charged with misdemeanor battery, stemming from allegations of unwanted sexual advances toward a woman during a charity dinner in Sept. 2021.

The charge came nearly a year after Trashelle Odom accused Lewandowski of repeatedly touching her, including on her leg and buttocks, and speaking to her in sexually graphic terms. POLITICO reported that Odom, the wife of Idaho construction executive and major GOP donor John Odom, also alleged that Lewandowski “stalked” her throughout the hotel where the event took place, told her she had a “nice ass,” and threw a drink at her.

The charge was filed earlier this month in Clark County, Nev., according to court records. The records show that Lewandowski agreed to a deal that will see him undergo eight hours of impulse control counseling, serve 50 hours of community service and stay out of trouble for a year. He also paid a $1,000 fine.

republican elephant logoUnder the agreement, Lewandowski did not have to admit guilt, and once the conditions are met, the charges will be dismissed.

Lewandowski was Trump’s first campaign manager and remained a key informal adviser during Trump’s time in the White House, and he remained part of Trump’s inner circle of political advisers after the former president lost reelection. But Lewandowski was quickly fired from his position running Trump’s super PAC, and he was also let go from consulting roles with other corey lewandowski kristi noemRepublican politicians, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (shown with him at right in file photos) and then-Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster.

Trump’s spokesperson said at the time that Lewandowski “will no longer be associated with Trump world,” while Noem’s spokesperson said Lewandowski “will not be advising the governor in regard to the campaign or official office.”

But Lewandowski soon worked his way back into Republican politics in 2022. Lewandowski was seen with Noem at a Republican Governors Association event in May, POLITICO reported, and he signed on to consult for GOP hopefuls this year including Ohio Senate candidate Jane Timken and Massachusetts gubernatorial hopeful Geoff Diehl. Lewandowski also attended the Mar-a-Lago premiere of a film espousing election conspiracy theories in April.

Odom was one of about two dozen major Republican donors who attended a September 2021 charity dinner at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino’s Benihana restaurant. Odom, who was seated next to Lewandowski during the dinner, alleged that Lewandowski spoke about his genitalia and sexual performance, and showed her his hotel room key. Odom’s husband was not present at the time.

Odom said that Lewandowski touched her around 10 times, and that she repeatedly rebuffed him. After leaving the dinner, she said that Lewandowski followed her, threw a drink at her and called her “stupid.” She also said that Lewandowski tried to intimidate her, saying he was “very powerful” and could “destroy anyone.”

At an after-party, witnesses said they observed Lewandowski following Odom around a bar area, while some people present tried to shield her from him. One person recalled seeing Odom in tears. Those who were present for the dinner described Lewandowski as appearing intoxicated.

Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano speaks to supporters following his victory in the state's primary to become Republican nominee for governor this year (Associated Press photo by Carolyn Kaster via MSNBC).er ap primary night via msnbcPennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano speaks to supporters following his victory in the state's primary to become Republican nominee for governor this year (Associated Press photo by Carolyn Kaster via MSNBC).

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP governor nominee once urged murder charges for women getting abortions, Mariana Alfaro and Annabelle Timsit, Sept. 29, 2022 (print ed.). Doug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator who is the GOP nominee for governor, once said that women who violated his proposed abortion ban should be charged with murder.

pennsylvania map major citiesMastriano — who was endorsed by former president Donald Trump in May — has appealed to hard-right voters, including by supporting strict abortion restrictions, calling the separation of church and state a “myth” and promoting the false claim that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Christian nationalism is shaping a Pa. primary — and a GOP shift

Mastriano has walked a fine line on abortion since he won the gubernatorial primary and the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, making the issue one of the most relevant ahead of the November election. While he has attempted to paint his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, as “extreme” on the issue, he has also downplayed his past stances on abortion, saying the issue is up to the state’s voters.

In a 2019 interview with Pennsylvania radio station WITF, which was first resurfaced Tuesday by NBC News, Mastriano spoke about a bill he sponsored in the state legislature that would have outlawed abortion as soon as cardiac activity is detected, around six weeks of pregnancy.

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 912 — which was never passed — would have significantly altered existing legislation in the state, which allows abortions up to 24 weeks and beyond in cases in which the mother’s life and health would be demonstrably endangered otherwise.

The interviewer asked Mastriano to clarify whether he was arguing that a woman who underwent an abortion at 10 weeks gestation should be charged with murder. “Yes, I am,” Mastriano replied, insisting that the fetus deserves “equal protection under the law.”

He also suggested in the interview that physicians who perform abortions after cardiac activity is detected should face the same charge. “It goes back down to the courts,” he said. “If it’s ruled that that little person is a baby, a human being, then that’s murder, and it has to go through the legal procedures.” The Washington Post could not immediately reach Mastriano for comment early Wednesday.

ny times logoNew York Times, In the House fight for the New York City suburbs, will abortion turn the tide for Democrats? Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Sept. 29, 2022 (print ed.). Several competitive House races on Long Island have become fertile ground for candidates to test out common Republican and Democratic campaign themes.

U.S. House logoA year ago, Republicans staged an uprising in the Long Island suburbs, winning a slew of races by zeroing in on public safety and suggesting that Democrats had allowed violent crime to fester.

Now, with the midterms approaching, Democratic leaders are hoping that their own singular message, focused on abortion, might have a similar effect.

“Young ladies, your rights are on the line,” Laura Gillen, a Democrat running for Congress in Nassau County, said to two young women commuting toward the city on a recent weekday morning. “Please vote!”

Long Island has emerged as an unlikely battleground in the bitter fight for control of the House of Representatives, with both Democrats and Republicans gearing up to pour large sums of money into the contests here.

Sept. 28

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Sex Assault Trial Is a Rare Moment for the Chinese #MeToo Movement, Amy Qin, Sept. 28, 2022. Richard Liu, also known as Liu Qiangdong, will be one of the few high-profile Chinese figures to face an American courtroom over sexual assault allegations.

richard liuLiu Jingyao, right, is not the first young woman to accuse a powerful Chinese businessman of rape. She is not the only Chinese woman to confront a man and seek legal charges against him.

China FlagBut she is one of the first to pursue her case in an American courtroom.

That could make all of the difference for Ms. Liu — and for the nascent #MeToo movement in China.

Jury selection begins Thursday in Minneapolis in the civil trial against one of the world’s most prominent tech billionaires, known as Richard Liu in the English-speaking world and as Liu Qiangdong in China. He is the founder of JD.com, an e-commerce giant in China that draws comparisons there to Amazon.

Ms. Liu, who is unrelated to Mr. Liu, says that the businessman followed her back to her Minneapolis apartment and raped her after an alcohol-soaked 2018 dinner for Chinese executives that she attended as a University of Minnesota volunteer, according to court filings. He has denied the allegations, insisting that the sex was consensual.

Sept. 27


The headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC

The headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump nominee is voted out as head of Inter-American Development Bank, Azi Paybarah, Sept. 27, 2022 (print ed.). Mauricio Claver-Carone’s term as IDB president was set to expire in 2025.

mauricio claver carone 2020The Inter-American Development Bank, the hemisphere’s premier international lending institution, voted Monday to fire its president. Mauricio Claver-Carone, right, was terminated following a unanimous recommendation by the 14-member executive board, the organization said.

The termination was first reported by Reuters.

In a statement, the IDB said Claver-Carone, whose term was set to expire in 2025, “will cease to hold the office of President of the Bank” effective Monday.

The statement did not refer to a well-publicized investigation into him. Two people familiar with the probe said it was the results of that investigation that led to the vote. The individuals spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the inner workings of IDB or the results of the investigator’s report, which has not been made public.

One of the individuals said investigators found evidence to conclude Claver-Carone had a relationship with a staff member who reported directly to him, and to whom he gave raises totaling more than 45 percent of base pay in less than one year. Claver-Carone’s leadership of the organization also resulted in employees fearing retaliation from him, the person said.

Vice President Reina Irene Mejía Chacón will lead the organization until a new president is elected, the statement said.

The Biden administration appeared to welcome Claver-Carone’s ouster.

A spokesperson for the Treasury Department said the United States “supports the dismissal of the IDB President.” The department said Claver-Carone’s “refusal to fully cooperate with the investigation, and his creation of a climate of fear of retaliation among staff and borrowing countries, has forfeited the confidence of the Bank’s staff and shareholders and necessitates a change in leadership.”

Politico, Federal appeals court punts on writer's suit against Trump over rape denial, Josh Gerstein, Sept. 27, 2022. A federal appeals court handed Donald Trump an incremental win Tuesday in a libel suit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll over the former president’s denial of her claim that he raped her in a New York department store dressing room in the 1990s.

politico CustomA divided panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court judge erred when he concluded that Trump, as president, was not covered by a federal law that can be used to shield federal employees from liability over incidents related to their work.

e jean carrollUnder Trump, the Justice Department belatedly invoked that law — known as the Westfall Act — in a bid to shut down the defamation case Carroll, right, filed in 2019 stemming from statements Trump issued denying that he raped Carroll, including a declaration that “She’s not my type.” Last year, under President Joe Biden, the Justice Department stirred controversy by reaffirming the department’s earlier stance that Trump was essentially immune from suit because he was acting within the scope of his duties when fielding media questions about the alleged rape at the Bergdorf Goodman in 1995 or 1996.

In Tuesday’s ruling, the majority on the three-judge federal appeals court panel asked a local court in Washington, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, to weigh in on whether Trump’s statements are the sort of actions that employers can be held liable for under D.C. law. If not, Trump could be personally responsible for any damages awarded in the case.

Carroll’s libel suit may wind up being of secondary concern to Trump, since she has signaled she plans to file a new suit in November that directly accuses Trump of rape and seeks damages for the alleged attack itself. A New York state law set to take effect in November allows plaintiffs such as Carroll to pursue civil cases over sex crimes that would otherwise be subject to a 20-year statute of limitations.

Sept. 25


The late Mahsa Amini in a photo provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health.

The late Mahsa Amini in a photo provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health.

ny times logoNew York Times, Protests Surge in Iran as Crackdown Escalates, Vivian Yee and Farnaz Fassihi, Sept. 25, 2022 (print ed.). Dozens have reportedly been killed by security forces as demonstrations continue to spread across Iran. Protests began after Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the morality police

iran flag mapThe 22-year-old woman emerged from the Tehran subway, her dark hair covered with a black head scarf and the lines of her body obscured by loose clothing, when the capital city’s Guidance Patrol spotted her. They were members of Iran’s notorious morality police, enforcers of the conservative Islamic dress and behavior rules that have governed daily life for Iranians since the 1979 revolution, and newly energized under a hard-line president who took office last year.

By their standards, Mahsa Amini was improperly dressed, which could mean something as simple as a wisp of hair protruding from her head scarf. They put her in a van and drove her away to a detention center, where she was to undergo re-education. Three days later, on Sept. 16, she was dead.

Now, over eight days of rage, exhilaration and street battles, the most significant outpouring of anger with the ruling system in more than a decade, her name is everywhere. Iranian protesters in dozens of cities have chanted “women, life and freedom” and “death to the dictator,” rejecting the Iranian Republic’s theocratic rule by targeting one of its most fundamental and divisive symbols — the ailing supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In several of the videos of the uprising that have torn across social media, women rip off their head scarves and burn them in street bonfires, including in deeply religious cities such as Qum and Mashhad. In one, a young woman atop a utility cabinet cuts off her hair in front of a crowd of roaring demonstrators. In another, young women dare to dance bareheaded in front of the riot police.

“Death to the dictator,” protesters at Tehran University chanted on Saturday. “Death to the head scarf! Until when must we tolerate such humiliation?”
Previous protests — over fraudulent elections in 2009, economic mismanagement in 2017 and fuel price hikes in 2019 — have been ruthlessly suppressed by Iran’s security forces, and this time may be no different. Yet, for the first time since the founding of the Iranian Republic, the current uprising has united rich Iranians descending from high-rise apartments in northern Tehran with struggling bazaar vendors in its working-class south, and Kurds, Turks and other ethnic minorities with members of the Fars majority.

The sheer diversity of the protesters reflects the breadth of Iranians’ grievances, analysts say, from a sickly economy and in-your-face corruption, to political repression and social restrictions — frustrations Iran’s government has repeatedly tried, and failed, to quash.

“The anger isn’t over just Mahsa’s death, but that she should have never been arrested in the first place,” said Shadi Sadr, a prominent human rights lawyer who has campaigned for Iranian women’s rights for two decades.

Sept. 23

CelticsBlog, Brad Stevens and Wyc Grousbeck address Ime Udoka’s suspension, Andrew Doxy, Sept. 23, 2022. In a tight-lipped but still revealing conference, Celtics leadership spoke on the recent news.

nba logoAn emotional Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics co-owner and CEO, Wyc Grousbeck, held a press conference today to discuss the news that Ime Udoka will be suspended for the 2022-23 NBA season just days ahead of Media Day and training camp.

Early in the conference, Wyc Grousbeck stated that they wouldn’t dive into details for the sake of privacy for all those involved, but there were still details that could be ascertained through some of the responses that followed as questions were allowed. Before questions came into the equation, Grousbeck revealed that an independent law firm was brought in to thoroughly and impartially investigate the case as soon as the team was made aware in July.

On the suspension front, no other members of the Celtics organization are facing any penalties of any sort. Grousbeck offered that he will be meeting with female staffers to make sure that they feel supported.

At this point, the organization has made its stance clear on support for Joe Mazzulla’s character and growth over the last 13 years. What’s left is for Mazzulla himself to speak to it as he’s asked questions about it on Monday afternoon’s Media Day.

Naturally, this led to questions about Joe Mazzulla’s domestic battery case from 2009. In response, Brad Stevens spoke to confidence in Mazzulla’s character, stating that he thoroughly investigated the matter when Mazzulla was hired to the staff in 2019.

At this point, the organization has made its stance clear on support for Joe Mazzulla’s character and growth over the last 13 years. What’s left is for Mazzulla himself to speak to it as he’s asked questions about it on Monday afternoon’s Media Day.

Sept. 21


The late Mahsa Amini in a photo provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health.

The late Mahsa Amini in a photo provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health.

ny times logoNew York Times, Protests Intensify in Iran Over Woman Who Died in Custody, Cora Engelbrecht and Farnaz Fassihi, Sept. 21, 2022. Unrest has spread to dozens of cities, with at least seven people killed, according to witnesses, rights groups and video posted on social media.

Antigovernment protests in Iran over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody are intensifying, and dozens of cities are embroiled in unrest that has been met with a crackdown by the authorities, according to witnesses, videos posted on social media and human rights groups.

iran flag mapThe protests appear to be one of the largest displays of defiance of the Islamic Republic’s rule in years and come as President Ebrahim Raisi is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. They erupted last weekend after the woman, Mahsa Amini, died following her arrest by Tehran’s morality police on an accusation of violating the law on head scarves.

At least seven protesters had been killed as of Wednesday, according to human rights groups. Protesters have been calling for an end to the Islamic Republic, chanting things like “Mullahs get lost,” “We don’t want an Islamic republic,” and “Death to the supreme leader.” Women have also burned hijabs in protest against the law, which requires all women above the age of puberty to wear a head covering and loose clothing.


donald trump ny daily pussy

New allegations continue to echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Then and Now: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence in the allegations below.

ny times logoNew York Times, Writer Who Says Trump Raped Her Plans to Use New Law to Prove It, Benjamin Weiser, Sept. 21, 2022 (print ed.). E. Jean e jean carroll twitterCarroll, a former advice columnist for Elle shown at left and at right in a 1990s photo, had already sued the former president for defamation after he branded her a liar.

e jean carrollIn May, New York passed a law giving adult sexual assault victims a one-time opportunity to file civil lawsuits, even if the statutes of limitations have long expired.

Now, a writer who says former President Donald J. Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s plans to use the law to sue Mr. Trump, according to court papers made public on Tuesday.

The writer, E. Jean Carroll, had already sued Mr. Trump in 2019 for defamation, claiming that he had harmed her reputation when he branded her a liar and denied having attacked her.

She plans to file her new case against Mr. Trump on Nov. 24, the start of a one-year window in which the law allows such suits to be filed, Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan, wrote in a letter to the federal judge overseeing the defamation lawsuit.

Sept. 20

washington post logoWashington Post, Prosecutor suspended over claim he pressured defendant for nude photos, Jonathan Edwards, Sept. 20, 2022. Ronnie Goldy Jr. provided a defendant with legal favors for years in exchange for her nude photos, court officials allege.

Elected prosecutor Ronnie Goldy Jr. had spent about three years helping a defendant out of legal jams in exchange for nude photos of her, but on June 15, 2018, he asked for something more, court officials said.

“When do I get to see a video?” Goldy, the top prosecutor for several rural counties east of Lexington, Ky., allegedly asked her in a Facebook message.

“When am I not gonna have a warrant hahaha,” the woman countered, according to a court report.

“Lol. Good point,” Goldy allegedly replied before sending another message: “Incentives never hurt.”

Twelve days later, Goldy followed up, telling the woman she owed him “big time,” according to a report filed last week with the Kentucky Supreme Court. When the woman asked why, Goldy allegedly responded that the “Judge is about to withdraw some warrants.”

On Friday, the state Supreme Court temporarily suspended Goldy from practicing law for allegedly engaging in a quid pro quo relationship. For seven years, he did legal favors for the female defendant, demanding nude images and “sexual favors” in return, according to a report written by Jean Chenault Logue, a state judge who served as a special commissioner overseeing Goldy’s case.

Under Kentucky law, a commonwealth’s attorney like Goldy can’t be removed from office except by impeachment.

Sept. 18


Anti-Trump Womens March on Washington, Jan. 21 2017 (Photo by Jim Fry via Twitter and the Voice of America).

Anti-Trump Womens March on Washington, Jan. 21 2017 (Photo by Jim Fry via Twitter and the Voice of America).

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: How Russian Trolls Helped Keep the Women’s March Out of Lock Step, Ellen Barry, Sept. 18, 2022. As American feminists came together in 2017 to protest Donald Trump, Russia’s disinformation machine set about deepening the divides among them.

Linda Sarsour awoke on Jan. 23, 2017, logged onto the internet, and felt sick.

The weekend before, she had stood in Washington at the head of the Women’s March, a mobilization against President Donald J. Trump that surpassed all expectations. Crowds had begun forming before dawn, and by the time she climbed up onto the stage, they extended farther than the eye could see.

More than four million people around the United States had taken part, experts later estimated, placing it among the largest single-day protests in the nation’s history.

But then something shifted, seemingly overnight. What she saw on Twitter that Monday was a torrent of focused grievance that targeted her. In 15 years as an activist, largely advocating for the rights of Muslims, she had faced pushback, but this was of a different magnitude. A question began to form in her mind: Do they really hate me that much?

That morning, there were things going on that Ms. Sarsour could not imagine.

More than 4,000 miles away, organizations linked to the Russian government had assigned teams to the Women’s March. At desks in bland offices in St. Petersburg, using models derived from advertising and public relations, copywriters were testing out social media messages critical of the Women’s March movement, adopting the personas of fictional Americans.

They posted as Black women critical of white feminism, conservative women who felt excluded, and men who mocked participants as hairy-legged whiners. But one message performed better with audiences than any other.

It singled out an element of the Women’s March that might, at first, have seemed like a detail: Among its four co-chairs was Ms. Sarsour, a Palestinian American activist whose hijab marked her as an observant Muslim.

Over the 18 months that followed, Russia’s troll factories and its military intelligence service put a sustained effort into discrediting the movement by circulating damning, often fabricated narratives around Ms. Sarsour, whose activism made her a lightning rod for Mr. Trump’s base and also for some of his most ardent opposition.

One hundred and fifty-two different Russian accounts produced material about her. Public archives of Twitter accounts known to be Russian contain 2,642 tweets about Ms. Sarsour, many of which found large audiences, according to an analysis by Advance Democracy Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts public-interest research and investigations.


chris doworth left matt gaetz joel greenberg resized facebook

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL, at center, former Florida State Rep. Chris Dorworth, left, then of the Ballard Partners lobbying firm, and former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, at right, posed for the photograph above outside the White House in June of 2019.

Palmer Report, Opinion: The real reason Matt Gaetz hasn’t been indicted (yet), Bill Palmer, right, Sept. 18, 2022. Why hasn’t Matt Gaetz been indicted bill palmeryet? We keep hearing pundit chatter about how it’s due to the “60 day rule” about not indicting a candidate close to election day – but that’s not what’s going on here. The DOJ has reportedly had three cooperating witnesses against him for several months. This means he could have been indicted months ago.

bill palmer report logo headerWe’re currently 52 days from the election, which means the “60 day rule” didn’t even kick in until last week. All you have to do is look at a calendar to see that it’s not the reason Gaetz hasn’t been indicted. And if the DOJ had dropped the Gaetz case, it would have told him by now, and he’d be bragging about it nonstop. So the only reason for the DOJ to have sat on a ready-to-go Gaetz indictment for months is that it’s part of an ongoing probe involving bigger fish than Gaetz.

So who’s the bigger fish? Another Florida politician involved in the sex trafficking scandal? Or is it a bigger fish in a different aspect of the Gaetz probe? He’s being investigated for alleged misuse of campaign funds as well, along with other things. Gaetz is also likely a material witness to various crimes that Donald Trump committed, which is probably what the holdup is really about.

Keep in mind, Gaetz being indicted is not the ideal outcome here. The ideal outcome is Gaetz cutting a cooperation deal against Trump. The Feds are known to keep digging up criminal dirt on smaller fish to ratchet up the pressure for them to flip on bigger fish.

If Gaetz isn’t yet inclined to flip on Trump, and the DOJ indicts Gaetz anyway, then he’ll just double down and go to trial, which will take a couple years, and he’ll never be of any value in the case against Trump, because the Trump case will have long played out by the time Gaetz is convicted and realizes he should have flipped.

Sept. 14


r kelly denied bail

ny times logoNew York Times, R. Kelly Is Found Guilty of Sex Crimes With Minors, Robert Chiarito and Julia Jacobs, Sept. 14, 2022. The musician, 55, had already been sentenced to 30 years in prison. The new conviction in Chicago could add years to that prison sentence.

R. Kelly, the fallen R&B star (shown above in a court appearance) who was once revered as a product of Chicago’s South Side, was found guilty on Wednesday of sex crimes, including producing child sexual abuse imagery and coercing minors into sex acts.

Mr. Kelly, 55, had already been sentenced to 30 years in prison after a jury in Brooklyn convicted him of racketeering and sex trafficking charges last year — the first time Mr. Kelly had been held criminally responsible for allegations related to sexual abuse despite accusations dating back more than three decades. The conviction in Chicago could add years to that prison sentence.

On Wednesday, the 12-person jury in the trial convicted Mr. Kelly of six out of the 13 charges brought against him. He was found guilty of coercing three minors into criminal sexual activity and producing three child sexual abuse videos, all of which prosecutors said involved the same 14-year-old girl.

Mr. Kelly was acquitted of attempting to obstruct an earlier investigation into his abuse. The jury also found him not guilty of receiving child sexual abuse imagery and conspiring to receive such imagery as part of an alleged scheme to recover missing videotapes.

Two of Mr. Kelly’s former employees, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, were tried alongside the singer and were acquitted on all charges against them. Mr. McDavid, Mr. Kelly’s former business manager, was acquitted of arranging payments to people while attempting to recover the missing tapes. And Mr. Brown was found not guilty of conspiring to recover child sexual abuse imagery as part of an effort to protect Mr. Kelly.

The federal trial in Chicago carried echoes of a state trial in 2008, in which a jury acquitted Mr. Kelly on charges of producing child sexual abuse imagery. That trial focused on one videotape, which prosecutors said showed Mr. Kelly sexually abusing and urinating on a girl when she was 14. After finding him not guilty, some jurors told reporters after that trial that the lack of testimony from the young woman — who had denied to a grand jury that she appears in the video — had been a significant barrier to convicting Mr. Kelly.

ny times logoNew York Times, Ken Starr, Independent Counsel in Clinton Investigation, Dies at 76, Peter Baker, Sept. 14, 2022 (print ed.). Mr. Starr’s investigation into President Clinton’s affair with a former intern propelled issues of sex and morality to the center of American life.

Ken Starr, the independent counsel whose investigation uncovered a White House sex scandal that riveted the nation and led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment for lying under oath and obstructing justice, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Houston. He was 76.

ken starr baylorHis wife, Alice Starr, said he had spent the last 17 weeks at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center fighting an undisclosed illness and died of complications of surgery, but gave no further details.

For a time, Mr. Starr (shown in a filephoto at Baylor University) was a household name and his investigation into Mr. Clinton’s affair with a former White House intern, Monica S. Lewinsky, propelled issues of sex, morality, accountability and ideology to the center of American life for more than a year.

He became a Rorschach test for the post-Cold War generation, a hero to his admirers for taking on an indecent president who despoiled the Oval Office and a villain to his detractors who saw him as a sex-obsessed Inspector Javert driven by partisanship. His investigation tested the boundaries of the Constitution when it prompted the first impeachment of a president in 130 years and scarred both Mr. Clinton’s legacy and his own.

He returned to the public stage in 2020 as a lawyer for President Donald J. Trump during his first Senate trial, this time denouncing what he called “the Age of Impeachment” as a weapon in partisan wars. “Like war, impeachment is hell,” he told the Senate during the proceeding that, like Mr. Clinton’s 21 years earlier, ended in acquittal. “Or at least presidential impeachment is hell.”

No one knew that better than Mr. Starr, whose steady climb through the ranks of the conservative legal world was upended by his unexpected journey into a presidential saga of sex, lies and audiotapes. Mr. Starr served as a widely respected appeals court judge and solicitor general projected as a future Supreme Court justice before becoming a lightning rod during the Clinton investigation.

He went on to serve as dean of the Pepperdine University’s law school and as president of Baylor University, but was demoted and later resigned from Baylor after an investigation found that the university mishandled accusations of sexual assault against members of the football team. The investigators rebuked the university leadership, saying that it had “created a perception that football was above the rules.”

Sept. 13


lindsey graham npr

ny times logoNew York Times, Republicans Struggle to Unite Party Around National Abortion Restrictions, Lisa Lerer and Elizabeth Dias, Sept. 13, 2022. For weeks, anti-abortion activists and their Republican allies have been quietly seeking to rally their party around a single platform on abortion, hoping to settle divisions and blunt political damage from an issue with growing potency in the midterm elections.

But when Senator Lindsey Graham, above, came ahead on Tuesday with a proposed 15-week national abortion ban intended to unite his party, the result was only more division.

Mr. Graham’s Senate allies swiftly distanced themselves from the plan, reflecting a lack of consensus in the party, as well as deep resistance to being drawn into any debates over abortion while economic issues hold more sway with swing voters.

The rapid rejection of Mr. Graham’s gambit was the latest misfire in the party’s struggle to unite behind a clear strategy on an issue that has reshaped campaigns across the country. Despite decades of Republican efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, when the Supreme Court ultimately took that step in June, the G.O.P. was caught flat-footed, with no unified national abortion strategy ready to put into place.

While Democrats have been energized in the months since, vowing to fight for access and firing up their voters in the process, Republicans have offered a wide range of proposals and battled in state legislatures to enact them.

“The Republican response has been disastrous,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, who pushed for Mr. Graham’s bill. But now, she said, “They are finding their voice.”

Ms. Dannenfelser is now urging Senate candidates to endorse Mr. Graham’s federal ban, which includes exceptions for rape, incest and the life or physical health of the mother. While the policy is more restrictive than previous Senate proposals, it falls well short of the six-week national ban some social conservatives have wanted. A 15-week limit could allow the vast majority of abortions to continue. (In 2019, 93 percent of abortions happened before 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Politico, Graham's abortion ban stuns Senate GOP, Burgess Everett, Marianne LeVine and Sarah Ferris, Sept. 13, 2022. His past, less conservative pitch won him some Democratic votes. But most Republicans stiff-armed him Tuesday as they face abortion-rights backers ascendant after Roe's reversal.

politico CustomLindsey Graham’s anti-abortion legislation once unified the Republican Party. The 15-week abortion ban he pitched Tuesday had the exact opposite effect.

The South Carolina senator chose a uniquely tense moment to unveil his party’s first bill limiting abortion access since this summer’s watershed reversal of Roe v. Wade. It was designed as a nod to anti-abortion activists who have never felt more emboldened. Yet Graham’s bill also attempted to skate past a Republican Party that’s divided over whether Congress should even be legislating on abortion after the Supreme Court struck down a nationwide right to terminate pregnancies.

And some fellow Republicans said they were highly perplexed at Graham’s decision to introduce a new abortion ban — more conservative than his previous proposals — at a precarious moment for the party.

republican elephant logo“I don’t think there’s an appetite for a national platform here. My state, today, is working on this. I’m not sure what he’s thinking here. But I don’t think there will be a rallying around that concept,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). “I don’t think there’s much of an appetite to go that direction.”

Graham’s past pitches for a 20-week abortion ban attracted most Republicans’ support and even the votes of some Senate Democrats. His latest effort would leave in place state laws that are even more restrictive while also imposing new limits in blue states that currently have none. Coming less than 60 days before the midterms, it’s riled some Republicans, who are watching their once-dominant polling advantage shrink since the Roe reversal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that questions about the bill should be directed to Graham and that most Republican senators “prefer this be handled at the state level.” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) suggested Graham had gone a bit rogue with his latest legislation: “That wasn’t a conference decision. It was an individual senator’s decision.”

“There’s obviously a split of opinion in terms of whether abortion law should be decided by the states … and those who want to set some sort of minimum standard,” Cornyn said of the 50-member Senate GOP conference. “I would keep an open mind on this but my preference would be for those decisions to be made on a state-by-state basis.”

Graham’s bill bans the procedure nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a priority of many prominent anti-abortion activists who have been demanding a far more aggressive response from the GOP. It includes exceptions for rape, incest and pregnancies that threaten maternal health.

While public polling shows majority opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision in June, it also shows support for some limits on abortion. Republicans have often parried questions about their positions by turning the spotlight onto Democrats, who generally support no legislative limits on terminating pregnancy.


Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury, has been suspended for one year after an investigation found that he had mistreated employees (Photo by Ross D. Franklin for the Associated Press).Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury, has been suspended for one year after an investigation found that he had mistreated employees (Photo by Ross D. Franklin for the Associated Press).

ny times logoNew York Times, N.B.A. Fines and Suspends Phoenix Suns Owner for Misconduct, Scott Cacciola and Tania Ganguli, Sept. 13, 2022. An investigation found that the owner, Robert Sarver, had used racial slurs and treated female employees inequitably. The N.B.A. fined Sarver $10 million.

The N.B.A. is suspending Robert Sarver, the majority owner of the Phoenix Suns, for one year and fining him $10 million after an investigation determined that he had engaged in misconduct, including using racial slurs, yelling at employees and treating female employees unfairly.

nba logo“The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing,” Adam Silver, the commissioner of the N.B.A., said in a statement.

He added: “Regardless of position, power or intent, we all need to recognize the corrosive and hurtful impact of racially insensitive and demeaning language and behavior. On behalf of the entire N.B.A. I apologize to all of those impacted by the misconduct outlined in the investigators’ report. We must do better.”

Sarver also owns the W.N.B.A.’s Phoenix Mercury.

Sarver said in a statement that he accepted the consequences of the N.B.A.’s decision.

“While I disagree with some of the particulars of the N.B.A.’s report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our employees,” he said. “I take full responsibility for what I have done. I am sorry for causing this pain, and these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or my values.”

The N.B.A. began the investigation in response to a November 2021 article by ESPN about accusations of mistreatment against Sarver. After the article was published, the league retained the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to conduct an independent investigation.

On Tuesday, the firm and the N.B.A. released a 43-page report that found that Sarver “had engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards,” which included inappropriate comments about female employees’ appearance and bullying. He also engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees on four occasions, according to the report.

More than 100 individuals who were interviewed by investigators said they witnessed behavior that “violated applicable standards.” There was a general sense among employees that Sarver felt that workplace rules did not apply to him, according to the report.

Sarver also made crude jokes, cursed at employees and told a pregnant employee that she would be unable to do her job upon becoming a mother, according to the report.

Witnesses recalled Sarver saying that the employee would be busy “breastfeeding” and that a “baby needs their mom, not their father.” The employee cried in response to Sarver’s comments, according to the report. Sarver later asked why women “cry so much.”

Sept. 10

kirk shipley washington post

washington post logoWashington Post, Former Whitman High rowing coach sentenced to three years for sex abuse, Lizzie Johnson, Sept. 10, 2022 (print ed.). Kirk Shipley, shown above, a three-time All-Met coach, had pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two rowers at the Bethesda, Md., high school.

Former Walt Whitman High rowing coach Kirk Shipley was sentenced Friday to three years in prison for sexually abusing two former students — an outcome that appeared to stun the former Montgomery County teacher and his attorney.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan imposed 36 months for first-degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student and 24 months for possession of a sexual performance by a minor. She suspended two of the five years.

Shipley pleaded guilty to the felonies in June as part of a plea deal. He will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Shipley and his attorney had argued he should be given probation for his crimes. Speaking publicly for the first time since his arrest last year, the three-time All-Met Coach of the Year apologized to the victims, calling his actions “very, very wrong.” Shipley also expressed remorse about the impact on hundreds of his former students and athletes at the high-achieving school in Bethesda, Md., saying that he hoped that “those memories will be happy again” someday.

They trusted a coach with their girls and Ivy League ambitions. Now he’s accused of sex abuse.

Then in a rambling statement that lasted several minutes, Shipley, 48, veered from contrition to self-pity. He’d lost his two vocations of teaching and coaching. After Washington Post coverage of his case, he said, he’d lost jobs delivering food for Grubhub and repairing fiberglass boats at a friend’s company. Without employment, he’d resorted to buying and repairing furniture. He complained that he’d lost his savings — and his reputation.

“I have been portrayed as a predator,” Shipley said. “That is not who I am. ... I have not held a job before now that didn’t involve service to others ... I am a good person.”

Raffinan seemed flummoxed by Shipley’s statement.

“I think the fairest characterization is that he has wavered with regard to his acceptance of responsibility for these offenses,” she said. “... Certainly his statements ... do not demonstrate a full acceptance of his actions toward these two victims.”

The victims — one 18 and who graduated in 2018 and the other 17 and graduated in 2013 — were not in the courtroom.

“The most disturbing aspect of his conduct is the position that Mr. Shipley held in relation to these students, and his unfathomable persistence and continuous abuse of this position of authority,” Raffinan said. “He was their teacher. He was their coach. These women looked up to him for support and guidance, and he took advantage of them.”

After delivering her sentence, she ordered that Shipley be incarcerated immediately.

Sept. 8

washington post logoWashington Post, Pregnant women were jailed over drug use to protect fetuses, county says, Marisa Iati, Sept. 8, 2022. It was Ashley Banks’s alleged use of marijuana while pregnant that landed her in an Alabama jail in May. And it was a drug program’s determination that she was ineligible for treatment that kept her there.

Banks, 23, was charged with chemical endangerment of a child after police allegedly found marijuana on her during a traffic stop, her lawyers wrote in court filings. She admitted that she had smoked marijuana on the day she learned she was pregnant — two days earlier — but says in court records that it was before she confirmed her pregnancy.

Banks’s statement to police, however, subjected her to what her lawyers say is a policy in northeast Alabama’s Etowah County: Almost all pregnant or postpartum women who are charged with endangering their fetus via drugs have to remain in jail until they complete a drug-treatment program, without an assessment of whether that condition is appropriate for them.

The policy, previously reported by AL.com, kept Banks in the Etowah County Detention Center for three months while she endured severe vaginal bleeding and two emergency room visits that left her fearful for her high-risk pregnancy. A court-contracted substance abuse agency twice told her that she didn’t qualify for treatment because she wasn’t addicted to drugs, leaving her in limbo until a judge granted her release Aug. 25 on conditions that did not include drug treatment.

The Etowah County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to an interview request but said in a similar case that the county’s request for drug treatment as a bail condition is meant to protect the fetuses.

“The goal of the state and the courts in this jurisdiction has been to try to — to try to see to it that children are born [safely]; that the mothers who are — who test positive during pregnancy have opportunities to get treatment so that we can have a healthy relationship subsequent to that,” Deputy District Attorney Carol Griffith said in a hearing last month, according to a transcript.

Prosecutors across the country regularly criminally charge pregnant women accused of taking drugs, arguing that such cases encourage them to get help and protect their fetuses. But the nonprofit legal organization National Advocates for Pregnant Women calls Etowah County the country’s “ground zero of pregnancy criminalization” for its number of prosecutions — more than 150 in the past decade — and their increasing frequency in recent years. The prosecutions also reflect how fights to restrict abortion, recently resulting in the fall of Roe v. Wade, have emboldened the fetal rights movement to seek criminal charges against pregnant women who use drugs.

Alabama’s “chemical endangerment of a child” statute was passed in 2006 to target people who turned their homes into methamphetamine labs, putting their children at risk. Prosecutors soon began applying the law to women who exposed their fetuses to drugs, particularly after the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the practice in 2013.

“The prosecution’s alleged justification for this is that this is needed to protect the women’s ‘unborn’ and born children,” said Emma Roth, a staff attorney at National Advocates for Pregnant Women. “When the reality is: This puts the health and well-being of these women at risk, and their pregnancies and their children at risk.”

Jails can be dangerous environments for pregnant women, Carolyn Sufrin, director of the Advocacy and Research on Reproductive Wellness of Incarcerated People program at Johns Hopkins University, wrote in a court filing supporting Banks. Poor dietary options, unsanitary spaces and lack of access to medical care, she said, can endanger the physical and mental health of women and their fetuses. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes criminalizing women for behavior that allegedly harms their pregnancies.

Sept. 7

ny times logoNew York Times, Sex-Cult Leader’s ‘Trusted Lieutenant’ Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy, Colin Moynihan, Sept. 7, 2022. Isabella Pollok, one of the Sarah Lawrence students who fell under the influence of Lawrence V. Ray, pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money. Isabella Pollok met Lawrence V. Ray in 2010 when he got out of prison in New Jersey and went straight to Sarah Lawrence College, where his daughter, Talia, was enrolled and Ms. Pollok was also a student.

Over the next decade, she was among a group of Talia’s friends and roommates who fell under the influence of Mr. Ray, who was 50 when he first came to Sarah Lawrence, a small liberal arts school in Westchester County. The authorities said that he used cult-leader tactics while threatening and assaulting the young people and demanding they provide him with payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Bit by bit, Ms. Pollok emerged as, in prosecutors’ words, Mr. Ray’s “trusted lieutenant,” helping him sexually and psychologically manipulate her friends and roommates, first as he gained their trust and then as he exploited them.

One of those former roommates said that Ms. Pollok held onto video recordings that Mr. Ray created to falsely incriminate the younger people he commanded. Another said that Ms. Pollok routinely picked up money from her after Mr. Ray had steered her into prostitution, prosecutors said.

Mr. Ray was convicted in April on more than a dozen offenses, including extortion, sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy. Ms. Pollok, 31, whose case had been severed from his but who faced some of the same charges, was out on bail and had been expected to stand trial soon in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

But on Wednesday she switched her plea from not guilty to guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to launder money, telling Judge Lewis J. Liman that she had agreed to take part in financial transactions involving money that had been extorted and adding: “I knew what I was doing was wrong and against the law.”

A prosecutor, Mollie Bracewell, told the judge that Ms. Pollok was not being asked to plead guilty to any sex crime but that the money laundering conspiracy she was admitting to took place in the context of extortion and sex trafficking.

The story, first reported by New York magazine, of how Mr. Ray controlled the lives of young people is filled with perplexing questions, including how he managed to abuse several students while seeming to turn one of their friends into a participant in that abuse.

Sept. 6

washington post logoWashington Post, China vastly expands use of house arrests under Xi, report finds, Christian Shepherd and Alicia Chen, Sept. 6, 2022 (print ed.). Soon after Shi Minglei’s husband, Cheng Yuan, an activist against workplace discrimination, was arrested in July 2019 on subversion charges, Chinese security agents informed her that she too would be placed under “residential surveillance” on suspicion of similar offenses.

China FlagUnlike her husband, Shi had never worked for a nongovernmental organization, and she couldn’t understand the charges, she said in an interview. But the officers maintained she was being investigated and instructed her to hand over her ID card, passport, driver’s license, social insurance card, cellphone, computer and bank cards.

Shi, who remained under house arrest for 180 days, was terrified primarily about the implications for her 3-year-old daughter. “As a mother, if you cannot protect your child and give her freedom from fear — it scares me to death,” she said. Her husband was handed a five-year prison sentence in July 2021.

China sentences tycoon Xiao Jianhua to 13 years in prison

Chinese law enforcement’s use of house arrests or “residential surveillance” has risen sharply under President Xi Jinping, according to research by Safeguard Defenders, a nonprofit focused on rule of law in China, released on Tuesday. The group’s estimates suggest over a quarter of a million officially approved instances of house arrest take place each year, up from fewer than 10,000 in 2013.

Sept. 2



aaron von ehlinger

ny times logoNew York Times, Former Idaho Lawmaker Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Raping Intern, McKenna Oxenden, Sept. 2, 2022 (print ed.). Aaron von Ehlinger, 40, a Republican shown above, will have to serve eight years before being eligible for parole and register as a sex offender once he is released from prison.

A former Idaho state representative continued to claim his innocence in a courtroom on Wednesday but was ultimately sentenced to 20 years in prison after a jury convicted him of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern after a dinner last year.

idaho map localAaron von Ehlinger, 40, who resigned as a state representative last year, will serve eight years before being eligible for parole, Judge Michael Reardon of Ada County District Court said, according to a video of the proceeding from a local TV station, KTVB. Mr. von Ehlinger will also be required to register as a sex offender after being released from prison and is ordered not to have contact with the victim, who is known as Jane Doe, until 2055.

idaho mapJudge Reardon said that despite 26 letters that praised Mr. von Ehlinger’s character, the judge believed that the former Republican lawmaker “demonstrated a lack of empathy” and “blamed” the victim.

“You see yourself as a victim, and you see yourself as a hero,” Judge Reardon said. “And frankly, I don’t see you as either one of those. You created your own circumstances that put you here today.”

The woman, who testified before Idaho’s House Ethics and Policy Committee in April 2021, told the House assistant sergeant-at-arms on March 11 that Mr. von Ehlinger had sexually assaulted her after they had dinner at a Boise restaurant two days earlier, according to one of her lawyers. Instead of taking her back to her car, the lawyer said, Mr. von Ehlinger drove her back to his apartment and raped her.

The case also spurred the censure of another Republican Idaho lawmaker, Priscilla Giddings, from White Bird, who shared the personal information of the victim online after she had accused Mr. von Ehlinger. Ms. Giddings was also stripped of a committee assignment.

The Ada County prosecutor, Jan M. Bennetts, thanked the victim for having courage throughout the case and applauded the work of the authorities.

“I appreciate the tireless work done by the Boise Police detectives on this case, which allowed my team to ensure justice was served,” Ms. Bennetts said in a statement.

Jon Cox, a lawyer for Mr. von Ehlinger, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Before Judge Reardon rendered his sentence, Mr. von Ehlinger told the courtroom that he had taken a pilgrimage to Israel, Jordan and Egypt before his trial in April. Before he could be baptized in the Jordan River, Mr. von Ehlinger said, he had to confess his sins, according to NBC News.

“I confessed a lot of sins, your Honor — I am not a perfect man — but rape was not a sin that I could confess to,” he said. “It would be sin to confess to something that I did not commit.”

Mr. von Ehlinger had been awaiting sentencing after a four-day trial in the spring in which a jury found him guilty of rape but not guilty of a second charge, forcible penetration by use of a foreign object. The conviction came exactly one year after he had resigned from his position amid a criminal investigation and an ethics committee’s recommendation that he be suspended.



Aug. 28

ny times logoNew York Times, Buffalo Bills Cut Matt Araiza Amid Rape Lawsuit, Ken Belson and Jenny Vrentas, Aug. 28, 2022 (print ed.). The team said it had released the rookie punter after he was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl with two San Diego State teammates.

The Buffalo Bills cut Matt Araiza on Saturday, two days after the rookie punter was accused in a lawsuit of raping a 17-year-old girl last October with two of his teammates at San Diego State.

“We don’t know all the facts, and that’s what makes it hard, but at this time we think it is the best move for everyone to move on from Matt and let him take care of this situation,” Brandon Beane, the team’s general manager, said in a news conference on Saturday night after a team practice.

Beane said that the team learned about the accusations in late July, about three months after Araiza was drafted. “We tried to be thorough and thoughtful and not rush to judgment,” he said. “It’s not easy.”

“We just decided that the most important thing is this is not about football, it’s about letting Matt go handle this,” Beane added.

Araiza traveled with the team on Friday to Charlotte for the team’s last preseason game but was not in uniform. He was not at the team’s practice on Saturday.

Araiza denied the accusations in a statement released through his agent on Friday night. “The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press,” he said, adding that he looked forward to “quickly setting the record straight.”

In the lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court on Thursday, the teen said that she was “observably intoxicated” at a house party last October in San Diego and that Araiza, who was 21 at the time, knew that she was in high school. She said that Araiza led her to a side yard, where he raped her orally and vaginally. According to the civil complaint, Araiza then took her to a bedroom inside the house, where a group of men, including the two San Diego State teammates named in her lawsuit, “took turns having sex with her” while she went in and out of consciousness.

The San Diego police began an investigation last year, and a public affairs officer for the San Diego County district attorney’s office confirmed on Friday that it was reviewing the police investigation to consider criminal charges.

Aug. 26



djt melania epstein maxwell headshot

From left: American real estate developer Donald Trump and his girlfriend (and future wife), former model Melania Knauss, financier (and future convicted sex offender) Jeffrey Epstein, and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pose together at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000. Getty Images.

ny times logoNew York Times, Ghislaine Maxwell’s Own Lawyers Are Now Suing Her, Colin Moynihan, Aug. 26, 2022 (print ed.). The law firm Haddon, Morgan and Foreman has accused Ms. Maxwell and her brother of failing to pay nearly $900,000 in legal fees related to her sex abuse defense.

As Ghislaine Maxwell’s conspiracy and sex trafficking trial drew to a close last year, one of her lawyers rose to provide what would be the defense’s final word.

“Ghislaine Maxwell is an innocent woman wrongfully accused of crimes she did not commit,” the lawyer, Laura Menninger, told jurors.

Ms. Menninger’s Colorado law firm is now suing Ms. Maxwell and her brother, Kevin Maxwell, for nearly $900,000 in legal fees. The firm, Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, is also suing a man named Scott Borgerson, whom it describes as having married Ms. Maxwell, saying that he has attempted to shelter her assets from creditors.

In a lawsuit filed in Denver, the firm said that it had concerns long before Ms. Maxwell’s criminal trial began in Federal District Court in Manhattan about her “willingness and ability to meet her financial obligations.” The suit said the firm was persuaded to stick with the case and Mr. Maxwell personally guaranteed payment.

But, the firm added, he had failed to make payments despite repeated promises, even as its lawyers continued to “devote all necessary resources to Ms. Maxwell’s defense.”

On Nov. 29, the day that Ms. Maxwell’s trial opened, the suit said, Mr. Maxwell guaranteed one of the firm’s shareholders that he would pay outstanding fees and provide a trial retainer.

“In reality,” the suit said, “Mr. Maxwell had no present intention of doing so.”

In a statement, Ian Maxwell, a brother of Ghislaine and Kevin Maxwell, said: “Given this matter is now the subject of civil proceedings neither Kevin nor Ghislaine Maxwell nor any other member of the Maxwell family will be commenting on it.”

huffington post logoHuffPost, Former Jeffrey Epstein Associate Steven Hoffenberg Found Dead In His Home, Marco Margaritoff, Aug 26, 2022. Hoffenberg and Epstein ran a Ponzi scheme together and tried to take over Pan Am Airlines. Hoffenberg was convicted, while Epstein never faced charges.

Convicted in 1997 of a Ponzi scheme he accused Jeffrey Epstein of participating in, Steven Hoffenberg was found dead Tuesday in his Derby, Connecticut, home, according to Rolling Stone. The cause and manner of death remain unknown, as Hoffenberg’s body was badly decomposed. He was 77 years old.

The Derby Police Department told Rolling Stone in a statement that officers responded to a welfare check around 8 p.m. Tuesday when they found “the body of a white male… in a state where a visual identification could not be made.”

An initial autopsy yielded no signs of trauma.

The welfare check was requested by an artist named Maria Farmer, who claimed she was sexually abused by Epstein decades ago. She told Rolling Stone she was in daily contact with Hoffenberg and reached out to the police when her repeated calls to Hoffenberg weren’t returned.

Hoffenberg hired Epstein as a consultant for his debt-collection agency Towers Financial in 1983, according to The New York Times. He allegedly paid Epstein $25,000 monthly for Epstein’s business connections, which the pair used to lure investors in an unsuccessful 1987 attempt to take over Pan Am Airlines.

Towers Financial reportedly sold more than $460 million in fraudulent bonds and notes and used that money to pay interest owed to previous investors. Hoffenberg was arrested in 1994.

Prosecutors at the time said it was one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history.
Hoffenberg, who called Epstein the "architect" of their Ponzi scheme, spent 18 years in prison.
Hoffenberg, who called Epstein the "architect" of their Ponzi scheme, spent 18 years in prison.via Associated Press

Hoffenberg pleaded guilty to mail fraud, tax evasion and obstruction of justice and admitted having moved money between companies to fool investors that they were making a profit. He exposed Epstein as the “architect” of the scheme, only for the multimillionaire financier’s name to mysteriously vanish from the record.

“I thought Jeffrey was the best hustler on two feet,” Hoffenberg told The Washington Post in 2019. “Talent, charisma, genius, a criminal mastermind. We had a thing that could make a lot of money. We called it Ponzi.”

Hoffenberg, who owned a private jet, limousine, yacht, Long Island mansion and New York City apartment, pleaded guilty to the charges. He was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Epstein freely groomed, raped and trafficked girls and young women in the meantime, only to be arrested in 2019. He was found dead in his New York City jail cell in August 2019. His accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested by the FBI in 2020. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison in June.

Hoffenberg, who briefly served as the court-appointed manager of the New York Post in 1993, apparently spent much of his later years helping victims of sex abuse. Farmer told Rolling Stone she wanted “people to know how kind this gentleman was to survivors while asking for nothing.”

Aug. 25


luke bowen texas right to life


luke bowen right to life panel

Crooks & Liars from Current Revolt, Commentary: Texas Right To Life Political Director Arrested for Solicitation of a Minor, Conover Kennard, Aug. 25, 2022. Luke Bowen is the Political Director for Texas Right to Life. (Shown above, center, and in promo for Pro-Life panel not associated with charges.)

Lucas (Luke) Dane Bowen, right, Political Director of Texas Right to Life, was arrested on 8/3/2022 for alleged solitication of a minor. According to TransparencyUSA.org, Bowen was actively working with/for Texas right to life this year. Update: Texas Right to Life has informed Current Revolt that Luke Bowen’s employment with the non-profit was terminated on August 3rd.

luke bowen mugshotWhen Republicans claim that Democrats are doing something evil, it's just a matter of projection. I'm sure QAnon will be all over this, right? According to Current Revolt, Texas Right to Life told the outlet that Luke Bowen's employment with the non-profit was terminated on August 3rd -- the very day he was arrested for alleged solicitation of a minor.

Again, again, again, right to life people aren't taking away women's rights to help children. It's never been about children. It's about control. They will force 10-year-olds to give birth. They are forcing a woman to give birth to a headless baby. Women's lives mean nothing to them. Children's lives are irrelevant to these "pro-life" soul-sucking conservatives. Don't forget to vote.

ny times logoNew York Times, Judge Halts Part of Idaho’s Abortion Ban, Saying It Violates Health Law, Glenn Thrush, Aug. 25, 2022 (print ed.). The Justice Department sued Idaho this month, but its ability to influence policies in Republican states with so-called trigger laws is limited.

A federal judge in Idaho blocked part of the state’s strict abortion ban on Wednesday, delivering a limited but significant victory to the Biden administration, which has tried to use its limited power to protect reproductive rights since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

This month, the Justice Department sued Idaho, one of the most conservative states in the country, arguing that the law would prevent emergency room doctors from performing abortions necessary to stabilize the health of women facing medical emergencies.

Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the Federal District Court in Idaho wrote that doctors in the state could not be punished for acting to protect the health of endangered mothers, in a preliminary injunction issued a day before the ban was to be enacted.

New York State civil inquiry. Letitia James, the New York attorney general, has been conducting a civil investigation into Mr. Trump and his family business. The case is focused on whether Mr. Trump’s statements about the value of his assets were part of a pattern of fraud or were simply Trumpian showmanship.

Manhattan criminal case. Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, has been investigating whether Mr. Trump or his family business intentionally submitted false property values to potential lenders. But the inquiry faded from view after signs emerged suggesting that Mr. Trump was unlikely to be indicted.

The memo to Mr. Barr never mentioned the word “pardon,” instead characterizing that and similar episodes as Mr. Trump merely praising or condemning witnesses based on whether they cooperated with investigators. The memo argues that this could be interpreted as Mr. Trump merely not wanting the witnesses to lie and make up false claims against him.

To back up its assessments, the memo repeatedly stresses that Mr. Mueller’s investigation did not find sufficient evidence to charge any Trump campaign associate in a conspiracy with Russia.

“Once again, this conclusion is buttressed by the absence of any clear evidence that these witnesses had information that would prove the president had committed a crime,” Mr. Engel and Mr. O’Callaghan wrote.

Ryan Goodman, a New York University law professor, called the memo a “get out of jail free” card, adding: “It’s hard to stomach a memo that amounts to saying someone is not guilty of obstruction for deliberately trying to induce witnesses not to cooperate with law enforcement in a major criminal investigation.”

Aug. 24

washington post logoWashington Post, After Roe, teens are teaching themselves sex ed, because the adults won’t, Hannah Natanson, Aug. 24, 2022 (print ed.). They say it's crucial to learn about more than abstinence, especially if abortion is unavailable.

Sweating in the sun, two dozen teenagers spread themselves across picnic blankets in a grassy park and prepared to discuss the facts of life they never learned in school.

Behind them on a folding table, bouquets of pamphlets offered information teachers at school would never share — on the difference between medical and surgical abortions, and how to get them. Beside the pamphlets sat items adults at school would never give: pregnancy tests and six-packs of My Way Emergency Contraceptive.

Emma Rose Smith, 17, rose from the blankets, tucked her pale-blonde hair behind her ears and turned off the music on a small, black speaker. She faced the assembled high-schoolers, all members of her newfound group, Teens for Reproductive Rights, and began talking about the nonprofit Abortion Care Tennessee. Her words hitched at first, then tumbled in a rush.

“A little bit about them,” Emma Rose said, “is they’re an organization that funds people’s abortions if they can’t afford it. Also, by the way, there’s another organization that we can also talk about later, when we give you guys, like, resources, that actually does free mail-in abortion pills.”

Twelve days after the teens’ picnic, abortion would become illegal in Tennessee, a measure made possible by the Supreme Court’s June decision, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade. The students wouldn’t hear anything about it in school: State law does not require sex education, and it holds that schools in areas with high pregnancy rates must offer “family life education” focused on abstinence.

Aug. 23

ny times logoNew York Times, Is a Fetus a Person? An Anti-Abortion Strategy Says Yes, Kate Zernike, Aug. 23, 2022 (print ed.). So-called fetal personhood laws would make abortion murder, ruling out all or most of the exceptions for abortion allowed in states that already ban it.

Even as roughly half the states have moved to enact near-total bans on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, anti-abortion activists are pushing for a  long-held and more absolute goal: laws that grant fetuses the same legal rights and protections as any person.

So-called fetal personhood laws would make abortion murder, ruling out all or most of the exceptions for abortion allowed in states that already ban it. So long as Roe established a constitutional right to abortion, such laws remained symbolic in the few states that managed to pass them. Now they are starting to have practical effect. Already in Georgia, a fetus now qualifies for tax credits and child support, and is to be included in population counts and redistricting.

The laws also open up questions well beyond abortion, about immigration and who is entitled to public benefits.

They have the potential to criminalize common health care procedures and limit the rights of a pregnant woman in making health care decisions.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision returning the regulation of abortion to the states has opened new interest in the laws, and a new legal path for them.

In Indiana, where this month the Republican-controlled legislature banned abortion starting at conception — one of the strictest laws in the nation — some conservative lawmakers objected that the law included exceptions for rape and incest. “This bill justifies the wicked, those murdering babies, and punishes the righteous, the preborn human being,” one lawmaker said, pushing instead for a fetal personhood law with no exceptions.

In Georgia, a law granting fetal personhood to fetuses after around six weeks of pregnancy took effect after the overturning of Roe. But Georgia Right to Life and other conservative groups are petitioning Governor Brian Kemp to call a special legislative session to pass a fetal personhood amendment to the state constitution. It would eliminate any exceptions for abortion allowed in the law, by declaring a “paramount right to life of all human beings as persons at any stage of development from fertilization to natural death.”

Daily Mail, Gary Busey, 78, is seen sitting in a public park in California with his pants down smoking a cigar the day after being charged with groping three women at horror movie convention, Andrea Cavallier, Updated Aug. 23, 2022. Actor Gary Busey was caught in shocking photos with his pants down in the middle of the day at a public California park as he appeared to perform a lewd act and then lit up a cigar a day after being charged with groping three woman at a New Jersey horror movie convention.

The actor was charged Friday with four counts of sexual contact and harassment following multiple alleged incidents at the convention last weekend — as cops say they expect more victims to come forward.

Busey didn't seem bothered about the charges the next day as shocking images showed him getting out of his car wearing a shirt that referenced the 1991 film 'Point Break,' in which he had a supporting role, and making his way to a bench at the lookout point, where he sat down, pulled out his phone and then pulled down his pants.

Busey, who lives in Malibu, faces two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, one count of attempted criminal sexual contact and one count of harassment, following the allegations made in New Jersey.

Busey is widely known as a character actor, largely in supporting roles, though he came to attention and was nominated for an Oscar for best actor for playing the title role in the 1978 film 'The Buddy Holly Story.'

Aug. 18

washington post logoWashington Post, Outrage in India as men convicted of rape, murder walk free, Niha Masih, Aug. 18, 2022. Bilkis Bano was five-months pregnant when she was attacked by a Hindu mob in 2002 as anti-Muslim violence gripped the western Indian state of Gujarat.

Bano, then 21, was gang-raped by sword-wielding men from her neighborhood. Fourteen of her family members were killed, including her 3-year-old daughter, who was snatched from her arms and bashed against a rock.
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This week, 11 men serving a life sentence for the crimes were released from prison on remission by the Gujarat state government, sparking widespread outrage and an emotional appeal for justice from Bano.

In a statement issued Wednesday through her lawyer, Bano said the news left had her “numb” and “bereft.”

“I trusted the system, and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma,” she said, adding that the release had shaken her faith in the justice system. “No one enquired about my safety and well-being before taking such a big and unjust decision.”

The development comes as a shock to the country that has struggled to address widespread sexual violence against women. In recent years, authorities have made laws stricter and instituted harsher punishments, but conviction rates for rape remain low.

An 8-year-old girl’s gang rape and murder trigger new outrage over India’s rape culture

Women’s rights groups said that the release of the perpetrators on Aug. 15, an anniversary of the country’s 75 years of independence, was a blow to every rape victim.

“It shames us that the day we should celebrate our freedoms and be proud of our independence, the women of India instead saw gang-rapists and mass murderers freed as an act of State largesse,” the groups said in a statement.

It was also a setback for survivors of the Gujarat riots, who have fought long and hard for justice. The riots erupted in 2002 after a train fire blamed on Muslims killed a group of Hindu pilgrims. More than 1,000 people were killed in days of vigilante violence that followed, most of them Muslims. Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat at the time, is now India’s prime minister. Under his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, hate speech and violence against Muslims has risen sharply.

The men released this week have received a hero’s welcome. In one video from outside the prison, they are given sweets. Local media said the men were later honored with garlands by members of Hindu nationalist groups affiliated with the BJP.
Sujal Mayatra, the official who led the panel in Gujarat that recommended the men’s release, said the decision was based on various factors.

“They had completed 14 years of tenure. We enquired about their conduct and parole time,” he said. “The nature of crime and victim’s safety was also taken into consideration.”

In India, life sentences are meant to last until death, but convicts are eligible to seek early release after 14 years. While the latest remission policy says those convicted of rape and murder cannot be released prematurely, the policy at the time of the Bano case did not make that distinction.

In a 2017 BBC interview, Bano said she was fleeing the violence in a group of 17 that included her mother and young siblings in March 2002 when a mob accosted them.

As India marks its first 75 years, Gandhi is downplayed, even derided

Besides raping Bano and killing her daughter, the men gang-raped her cousin before murdering her and her 2-day-old baby. Bano was one of only three people from the group to survive the massacre.

Human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover, who has been part of efforts to reform legislation on violence against women, described the government’s decision as “grossly arbitrary and discriminatory.”

“The mask of the government being concerned about sexual violence against women has slipped. This is a majoritarian state signaling impunity for hate crimes,” she said.

Aug. 17

washington post logoWashington Post, Prominent Catholic leader in Canada accused of sexual assault, Amanda Coletta and Chico Harlan, Aug. 17, 2022. Cardinal Marc Ouellet is a key figure inside the Vatican bureaucracy, leading the department that vets and manages bishops. He has been mentioned as a candidate for pope.

— Cardinal Marc Ouellet, one of the most prominent Catholic leaders in Canada, was accused of sexual assault in legal documents filed Tuesday in a Quebec court.

canadian flagOuellet, considered a candidate for pope in recent conclaves, is one of scores of church clergy, employees and volunteers accused of sexual misconduct in a class-action lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Quebec.

In the lawsuit, a woman identified only as “F.” accuses Ouellet of inappropriate touching and comments when he was archbishop of Quebec and she was a pastoral intern. She said the alleged abuse left her feeling “troubled” and gave her a sense of “deep unease,” and eventually prompted her to complain to Pope Francis last year.

The Archdiocese of Quebec said Tuesday that it “took note” of the allegations and “will not have any comment.” A Vatican spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Ouellet, 78, is one of the most important figures inside the Vatican bureaucracy, leading the department that vets and manages bishops. He has a reputation in the ideologically divided Church as being middle-of-the-road.

He was named cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2003, served as a lieutenant to Pope Benedict XVI and now holds near-weekly meetings with Pope Francis, who has allowed Ouellet to stay in his role far beyond the normal five-year term.

Aug. 16

ny times logoNew York Times, Pain Doctor Who Sexually Assaulted Patients Found Dead at Rikers Jail, Jonah E. Bromwich and Jan Ransom, Aug. 16, 2022 (print ed.). Ricardo Cruciani was found dead just weeks after his conviction. His lawyer had called for him to be put on suicide watch minutes after he was convicted.

A doctor found guilty last month of sexually assaulting patients was found dead at the Rikers Island jail complex Monday even though his lawyer had called for him to be put on suicide watch just minutes after he was convicted.

The doctor, Ricardo Cruciani, a 68-year-old neurologist, was found early Monday morning sitting in a shower area of the jail with a sheet around his neck, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. Shortly afterward, medical staff arrived to attend to him. He died about an hour after he was discovered, the documents show.

Mr. Cruciani is the 12th person to have died this year either while being held in the city’s jails or shortly after being released. His death came about two weeks after a jury found him guilty on 12 counts of predatory sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape and other crimes, stemming from his treatment of six patients that he saw around 2012.

In a statement, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, Louis A. Molina, said he was “deeply saddened to learn of the passing of this person in custody.”

“We will conduct a preliminary internal review to determine the circumstances surrounding his death,” he said in the statement, which did not identify Mr. Cruciani. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”

Aug. 14

washington post logoWashington Post, Most abortions are done at home. Antiabortion groups are taking aim, Kimberly Kindy, Aug. 14, 2022. Two top antiabortion groups have crafted and successfully lobbied for state legislation to ban or further restrict the predominant way pregnancies are ended in the United States — via drugs taken at home, often facilitated by a network of abortion rights groups.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, 14 states now ban or partially ban the use of those drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, which are used in more than half of all abortions.

But the drugs remain widely available, with multiple groups working to help provide them even to women in states with abortion bans. Students for Life of America and National Right to Life Committee, which have played leading roles in crafting antiabortion laws, hope to change that with new legislation.

The groups are pursuing a variety of tactics, from bills that would ban the abortion-inducing drugs altogether to others that would allow family members to sue medication providers or attempt to shut down the nonprofit groups that help women obtain and safely use the drugs.

Their strategy reflects the reality that abortion access today looks vastly different from that of the pre-Roe world, one without easy access to abortion medications from out-of-state or overseas pharmacies.

“We knew we couldn’t just go back to pre-Roe laws,” said James Bopp Jr., attorney for National Right to Life. “We knew new approaches were needed.”

Both organizations have long opposed medication abortions, but Students for Life’s legislative efforts did not gain traction until 2021, when seven states passed bills modeled after legislation crafted by the group to create legal barriers to the medications. In some cases the laws also banned them from college health clinics. A new wave of these proposals are expected to be introduced — or reintroduced — in statehouses across the country when most legislatures reconvene in January.

ny times logoNew York Times, Will Abortion Issue Sway Voters’ Choices? N.Y. House Race Poses Test, Grace Ashford, Aug. 14, 2022 (print ed.). An Aug. 23 special election to replace a Democrat, Antonio Delgado, could help answer one of the biggest questions of the midterms.

In New York’s Hudson Valley, ubiquitous lawn signs underscore how an upcoming special election for an open House seat has taken on outsize implications.

“Choice Is on the Ballot,” one sign says, the white lettering cast over a background of pink and blue, and a smaller line beneath it for the Democratic candidate, Pat Ryan.

The Aug. 23 contest for the seesaw district, which routinely wavers between Democratic and Republican control, had initially been cast as a potential bellwether of President Biden’s stature among swing voters.

But the race — among the first House special elections in a swing district since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — has quickly morphed into a closely watched test case of how important abortion rights may be in a tossup general election.

Mr. Ryan, a combat veteran who serves as executive of Ulster County, is in favor of protecting abortion access nationwide. Marc Molinaro, the Republican executive of Dutchess County, is not.



Former Miss America Cara Mund, now a congressional candidate in North Dakota, poses at the state capital, Bismarck (Associated Press photo by James MacPherson).Former Miss America Cara Mund, now a congressional candidate in North Dakota, poses at the state capital, Bismarck (Associated Press photo by James MacPherson).

ap logoAssociated Press, Ex-Miss America Mund: Abortion ruling prompted US House run, James MacPherson, Aug. 14, 2022. Former Miss America Cara Mund said Wednesday that her concern about the erosion of abortion rights prompted her independent bid for the U.S. House in her home state of North Dakota.

Mund, who is running against the odds in deeply conservative North Dakota, told The Associated Press that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the constitutional right to abortion was “just a moment where I knew we need more women in office.”

The 28-year-old recent Harvard Law School graduate announced her candidacy Saturday, just weeks before early voting begins in the state where Republicans hold every statewide office.

Her run comes as North Dakota’s only abortion clinic is Fargo prepares to relocate across the border to Minnesota to avoid recrimination if courts allow a law banning all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the pregnant woman to be enforced.

Having the government “make women have to travel across state lines is going to impact women, and women of lower social economic status,” she said.

Acting as her own campaign manager and without any fundraising machinery, the Bismarck native has begun gathering the 1,000 signatures she needs to get on the ballot. If she makes it, in November she will face Republican U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, who has held the state’s lone House seat since 2019, and Democrat Mark Haugen of Bismarck, a University of Mary graduate adviser who has long worked as a paramedic.

Aug. 13

southern baptist convention logo

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Dept. investigating Southern Baptist Convention handling of sex abuse, Michelle Boorstein, Aug. 13, 2022 (print ed.). The Southern Baptist Convention, the second-largest faith group in the country, said Friday that the Justice Department is investigating multiple arms of the denomination following an internal report that showed mishandling of sexual abuse cases.

The investigation is related to a recent bombshell third-party report commissioned by the SBC, a spokesman said late Friday. The report concluded that sex abuse survivors were often ignored, minimized and “even vilified” by top clergy in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Southern Baptist leaders covered up sex abuse, kept secret database, report says

“The SBC Executive Committee recently became aware that the Department of Justice has initiated an investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention, and that the investigation will include multiple SBC entities,” the statement issued Friday by 14 SBC leaders from multiple top entities said. “Individually and collectively each SBC entity is resolved to fully and completely cooperate with the investigation.”

The third-party report, which involved an examination of the period from 2000 to 2021, focused on actions by the executive committee, which handles financial and administrative duties. Southern Baptist churches operate independently from one another, but the Nashville-based Executive Committee distributes more than $190 million through its cooperative program in its annual budget that funds its missions, seminaries and ministries.

The 300-page report, the first of its kind in a massive Protestant denomination like the SBC, showed how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform. Evidence in the report suggests leaders also told Southern Baptists they could not maintain a database of offenders to prevent more abuse while secretly keeping such a list for years.

Anger over the report in June led the SBC’s huge annual meeting to pass a recommendation to create a database to track sex abusers and a formal group to handle sex abuse accusations going forward.

Aug. 10

 nebraska map

ap logoAssociated Press Politico, Nebraska woman charged with helping daughter have abortion, Staff Report, Aug. 10, 2022 (print ed.). Investigators uncovered Facebook messages in which the two allegedly discussed using medication to induce an abortion. The prosecutor handling the case said it’s the first time he has charged anyone for illegally performing an abortion after 20 weeks, a restriction that was passed in 2010.

politico CustomA Nebraska woman has been charged with helping her teenage daughter end her pregnancy at about 24 weeks after investigators uncovered Facebook messages in which the two discussed using medication to induce an abortion and plans to burn the fetus afterward.

The prosecutor handling the case said it’s the first time he has charged anyone for illegally performing an abortion after 20 weeks, a restriction that was passed in 2010. Before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, states weren’t allowed to enforce abortion bans until the point at which a fetus is considered viable outside the womb, at roughly 24 weeks.

In one of the Facebook messages, Jessica Burgess, 41, tells her then 17-year-old daughter that she has obtained abortion pills for her and gives her instructions on how to take them to end the pregnancy.

The daughter, meanwhile, “talks about how she can’t wait to get the ‘thing’ out of her body,” a detective wrote in court documents. “I will finally be able to wear jeans,” she says in one of the messages. Law enforcement authorities obtained the messages with a search warrant, and detailed some of them in court documents.

In early June, the mother and daughter were only charged with a single felony for removing, concealing or abandoning a body, and two misdemeanors: concealing the death of another person and false reporting. It wasn’t until about a month later, after investigators reviewed the private Facebook messages, that they added the felony abortion-related charges against the mother. The daughter, who is now 18, is being charged as an adult at prosecutors’ request.

When first interviewed, the two told investigators that the teen had unexpectedly given birth to a stillborn baby in the shower in the early morning hours of April 22. They said they put the fetus in a bag, placed it in a box in the back of their van, and later drove several miles north of town, where they buried the body with the help of a 22-year-old man.

The man, whom The Associated Press is not identifying because he has only been charged with a misdemeanor, has pleaded no contest to helping bury the fetus on rural land his parents own north of Norfolk in northeast Nebraska. He’s set to be sentenced later this month.

In court documents, the detective said the fetus showed signs of “thermal wounds” and that the man told investigators the mother and daughter did burn it. He also wrote that the daughter confirmed in the Facebook exchange with her mother that the two would “burn the evidence afterward.” Based on medical records, the fetus was more than 23 weeks old, the detective wrote.

The group National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which supports abortion rights, found 1,331 arrests or detentions of women for crimes related to their pregnancy from 2006 to 2020.

In addition to its current 20-week abortion ban, Nebraska tried — but failed — earlier this year to pass a so-called trigger law that would have banned all abortions when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

A Facebook spokesman declined to talk about the details of this case, but the company has said that officials at the social media giant “always scrutinize every government request we receive to make sure it is legally valid.”

Facebook says it will fight back against requests that it thinks are invalid or too broad, but the company said it gave investigators information in about 88% of the 59,996 times when the government requested data in the second half of last year.

He and the police cautioned that details remained sparse, and Mr. Assed noted that at least one of the victims was Sunni.

lawcrime logoLaw&Crime, Hawaii Man Charged in 1982 Cold Case Kidnapping, Rape and Murder of 15-Year-Old California Girl Found Stabbed 59 Times, Colin Kalmbacher, Aug. 10, 2022. Karen Stitt was only 15 years old when she was raped and repeatedly stabbed to death as summer waned on a night in 1982.

Now, nearly 40 years later, law enforcement in various jurisdictions have finally charged and arrested the man they say is responsible.

Gary Ramirez, 75, stands accused of kidnapping, rape, and murder in the first degree over the death of the girl from Palo Alto, Calif.

Aug. 7

ny times logoNew York Times, Major Indiana Employers Criticize State’s New Abortion Law, Lora Kelley, Aug. 7, 2022 (print ed.). The drug company Eli Lilly said it “will be forced” to look outside the state for employment growth. The engine maker Cummins said the law will “impede our ability to attract and retain top talent.”

On Friday, the governor of Indiana signed into law a near-total abortion ban, making the state the first to approve sweeping new restrictions since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

On Saturday morning, one of Indiana’s biggest employers, the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, issued a strong objection to the new restrictions. “Given this new law,” it said in a statement, “we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.”

The company, which employs more than 10,000 people in Indiana, began by saying that “abortion is a divisive and deeply personal issue with no clear consensus among the citizens of Indiana.” It noted that Eli Lilly has expanded its employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services. But, it added, “that may not be enough for some current and potential employees.”

It was among the first major employers in the state to weigh in on the new law.

Shortly after, Jon Mills, a spokesman for Cummins, an engine company that employs about 10,000 people in the state, said: “The right to make decisions regarding reproductive health ensures that women have the same opportunity as others to participate fully in our work force and that our work force is diverse. There are provisions in the bill that conflict with this, impact our people and impede our ability to attract and retain top talent.” He added that Cummins’s health care benefits cover elective reproductive health procedures, including medical travel benefits.

Mr. Mills also said that, “prior to, and during the legislative process, we shared our concerns about this legislation with legislative leadership.”

After the Supreme Court’s decision, few companies weighed in directly on the ruling. Far more did say they would expand their employer health care coverage to cover travel and other expenses for employees who may need to seek reproductive health care out of state.

Some companies with a large presence in Indiana have previously stated that they will cover travel for employees.

ny times logoNew York Times, Some Women ‘Self-Manage’ Abortions as Access Recedes in the U.S., Roni Caryn Rabin, Aug. 7, 2022. The information and medications needed to end a pregnancy are increasingly available outside the health care system.

In states that have banned abortion, some women with unwanted pregnancies are pursuing an unconventional workaround: They are “self-managing” their abortions, seeking out the necessary know-how online and obtaining the medications without the supervision of a clinic or a doctor.

At first glance, the practice may recall the days before Roe v. Wade, when women too often were forced to take risky measures to end an unwanted pregnancy. But the advent of medication abortion — accomplished with drugs, rather than in-office procedures — has transformed reproductive care, posing a significant challenge to anti-abortion legislation.

Even before the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, medication abortions accounted for more than half of abortions in the United States. Federal regulators made access to the pills even easier during the pandemic by dropping the requirement for an in-person visit and allowing the drugs to be mailed to patients after a virtual appointment.

ny times logoNew York Times, Can Biden, an Uneasy Champion on Abortion, Lead the Post-Roe Fight? Michael D. Shear, Aug. 7, 2022. A practicing Catholic, President Biden has long sought a middle ground on abortion. Activists think Democrats have tiptoed too carefully around the issue.

The Supreme Court’s decision to end the constitutional right to an abortion in the United States after nearly 50 years has set in motion a generational struggle over Republican efforts to ban the procedure in states across the country.

But inside the West Wing, President Biden has made it clear that he is uncomfortable even using the word abortion, according to current and former advisers. In speeches and public statements, he prefers to use the word sparingly, focusing instead on broader phrases, like “reproductive health” and “the right to choose,” that might resonate more widely with the public.

Mr. Biden, a practicing Catholic who has drawn on his faith to shape his political identity, is now being called on to lead a fight he spent decades sidestepping — and many abortion rights advocates worry that he may not be the right messenger for the moment.

Aug. 6


indiana map

ny times logoNew York Times, Indiana Lawmakers Pass Near-Total Abortion Ban, the First Post-Roe, Mitch Smith and Julie Bosman, Aug. 6, 2022 (print ed.). The bill divided Republicans. Some of them said the measure was too restrictive; others objected to the limited exceptions for rape and incest.

Indiana lawmakers passed a near-total ban on abortion on Friday, overcoming division among Republicans and protests from Democrats to become the first state to draw up and approve sweeping new limits on the procedure since Roe v. Wade was struck down in June.

The bill’s passage came just three days after voters in Kansas, another conservative Midwestern state, overwhelmingly rejected an amendment that would have stripped abortion rights protections from their State Constitution, a result seen nationally as a sign of unease with abortion bans. And it came despite some Indiana Republicans opposing the bill for going too far, and others voting no because of its exceptions.

republican elephant logoThe end of Roe was the culmination of decades of work by conservatives, opening the door for states to severely restrict abortion or ban it entirely. Some states prepared in advance with abortion bans that were triggered by the fall of Roe. Lawmakers in other conservative states said they would consider more restrictions.

But, at least in the first weeks since that decision, Republicans have moved slowly and have struggled to speak with a unified voice on what comes next. Lawmakers in South Carolina and West Virginia have weighed but taken no final action on proposed bans. Officials in Iowa, Florida, Nebraska and other conservative states have so far not taken legislative action. And especially in the last few weeks, some Republican politicians have recalibrated their messaging on the issue.

“West Virginia tried it, and they stepped back from the ledge. Kansas tried it, and the voters resoundingly rejected it,” State Representative Justin Moed, a Democrat from Indianapolis, said on the House floor before voting against the bill. “Why is that? Because up until now it has just been a theory. It was easy for people to say they were pro-life. It was easy to see things so black and white. But now, that theory has become reality, and the consequences of the views are more real.”

The Indiana bill — which bans abortion from conception except in some cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormality or when the pregnant woman faces risk of death or certain severe health risks — now goes to Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican who encouraged legislators to consider new abortion limits during a special session that he called. Beyond those limited exceptions, the bill would end legal abortion in Indiana next month if it is signed by the governor. The procedure is currently allowed at up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

“If this isn’t a government issue — protecting life — I don’t know what is,” said Representative John Young, a Republican who supported the bill. He added: “I know the exceptions are not enough for some and too much for others, but it’s a good balance.”

The bill’s passage came after two weeks of emotional testimony and bitter debates in the Statehouse. Even though Republicans hold commanding majorities in both chambers, the bill’s fate did not always seem secure. When a Senate committee considered an initial version of the bill last week, no one showed up to testify in support of it: The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana called it a “cruel, dangerous bill,” Indiana Right to Life described it as “weak and troubling,” and a parade of residents with differing views on abortion all urged lawmakers to reject it.

Aug. 5

ny times logoNew York Times, DeSantis Suspends Tampa Prosecutor Who Vowed Not to Criminalize Abortion, Patricia Mazzei, Aug. 5, 2022 (print ed.). Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida suspended the top prosecutor in Tampa on Thursday, accusing him of incompetence and neglect of duty for vowing not to prosecute those who seek or provide abortions.

ron desantis oMr. DeSantis, right, a Republican, suspended Andrew H. Warren, the elected state attorney of Hillsborough County. In June, Mr. Warren, a Democrat, joined 83 elected prosecutors across the country who vowed not to prosecute those who seek or provide abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Florida imposed a 15-week abortion ban in April.

Mr. DeSantis said that the statement and other actions by Mr. Warren — including a policy of not prosecuting crimes that begin with an encounter between police officers and someone riding a bicycle or on foot and engaging in a noncriminal violation — amounted to “incompetence and willful defiance of his duties,” and that the prosecutor’s approach to the job left him with no choice but to suspend him.

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida accused the prosecutor of incompetence and neglect of duty for vowing not to prosecute those who seek or provide abortions.

Mr. DeSantis appeared at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, where he was flanked by a gaggle of uniformed sheriffs and police officials. The law enforcement officials expressed frustration with Mr. Warren for not prosecuting certain crimes. “Andrew Warren is a fraud,” said Brian Dugan, a former chief of the Tampa Police Department.

Other Recent Headlines

Aug. 3


Gretchen Van Winkle tears up while discussing her case in the living room of her home in White River Junction, VT (Cheryl Senter for the Washington Post).

Gretchen Van Winkle tears up while discussing her case in the living room of her home in White River Junction, VT (Cheryl Senter for the Washington Post).

washington post logoWashington Post, Police accused her of making up her rape, then destroyed the evidence, Justin Jouvenal, Aug. 3, 2022 (print ed.). Gretchen Van Winkle was transfixed as the hit Netflix series “Unbelievable” played across her TV screen in 2019. The dramatized version of a true story of one woman’s rape and betrayal by police was so similar it could have been hers.

Just like the protagonist, Van Winkle was sexually assaulted in her apartment by a knife-wielding intruder, who bound and gagged her. Van Winkle remembered the same kinds of searing questions lobbed at her, as detectives accused the woman on screen of making up her assault.

“Unbelievable” ends with a measure of justice: A partial DNA match helps identify the victim’s rapist and proves she was telling the truth all along. That moment had eluded Van Winkle for more than two decades.

Van Winkle had already asked Virginia authorities to take a fresh look at her 1995 assault case, and now she pressed for new DNA testing. But any hope of an “Unbelievable”-style ending was soon dashed by a stunning series of calls and texts from a Fairfax County police cold-case detective.

Van Winkle’s rape kit had been destroyed, in what police officials later concluded was a violation of department policy. So had the knife, her bloody bedsheets and the clothes she wore when she was attacked. In fact, police said detectives scoured the property room and found every bit of physical evidence in her case was gone.

What Van Winkle worked to uncover was worse than she had imagined — an accounting by Fairfax County police found the same detective who probed her case had marked evidence for destruction in dozens of unsolved felony sexual assault cases. Victims remain unaware.

Why it happened, whether the evidence was improperly destroyed and the impact on cases is still not fully known.

Aug. 1


victor pena WBZ

 lawcrime logoLaw&Crime, Boston Man Who Kidnapped Woman and Raped Her for Three Days Will Spend Decades Behind Bars, Marisa Sarnoff, Aug. 1, 2022. A Massachusetts man convicted of kidnapping and raping a woman repeatedly while keeping her inside his home for days will spend up to nearly 40 years behind bars.

Victor Pena, 42 (shown above in a courtroom photo via WBZ-TV), was convicted on July 26 on 10 aggravated rape charges and one kidnapping charge stemming from a 2019 incident in which he held Olivia Ambrose, 23, for three days inside his home in Boston.

Local news website MassLive had reported that Pena had abducted Ambrose after she left a bar on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. According to the story, Ambrose appeared highly intoxicated at the time. Prosecutors said that after leaving the bar with a man, who then left with his friends, the victim was walking “alone in the snow.”

The victim reportedly remembered waking up on a bare mattress in a dirty apartment, MassLive reported. She tried to get her things and leave, but according to prosecutors, Peña threatened her and took her phone. He then spent the next three days raping and sexually assaulting the woman, prosecutors say. He also made her drink alcohol, demanded that she read the Bible out loud in Spanish and forced her to take photos with him.

According to WCVB, a digital forensic expert said that more than 300 photos and six explicit videos of the victim were found on Pena’s phone.

Ambrose’s family filed a missing person report on Sunday evening. Using surveillance video, police were able to track Ambrose to Pena’s apartment: the two were seen on camera boarding public transportation and then heading toward the housing development where Pena lived.

Until he took the stand, Pena had stayed out of the courtroom during testimony, WCVB reported. He had apparently had multiple disruptive outbursts, including an incident during jury selection when he appeared naked on a monitor in the courtroom, appearing to be engaging in a lewd act. That jury pool was excused, WCVB reported.

Pena had previously faced charges of indecent assault of two teenagers in New York City, according to MassLive. He was also reportedly subject to three restraining orders from Boston women in the last 15 years.


peter strickland

lawcrime logoLaw&Crime, Florida Man Preyed on Minor Girls at Group Home, Traded 'Items of Value' to Sexually Abuse Victims as Young as 13: Sheriff, Jerry Lambe, Aug. 1, 2022.  A 32-year-old public utilities worker in Florida is behind bars this week after he allegedly admitted to filming himself sexually abusing multiple children as young as 13 from a local a group home in exchange for “items of value,” authorities say. Peter James Strickland was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with one count of unlawful sexual activity with certain minors, a second-degree felony, according to a press release from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation into Strickland began on July 6, 2022, when the sheriff’s office received a delayed sex offense complaint involving multiple minor victims all of whom resided at a group home in Palm Coast. Investigators quickly uncovered evidence that the case involved human trafficking.

Strickland allegedly confessed to “having sexual relations” with the minor victims approximately 15 times over a two-year period. He allegedly said that the victims ranged in age from 13 to 17 years old.

Law&Crime, 3 Girls Found Dead in Pond Near Where They Lived, Texas Authorities Say, Alberto Luperon, Aug 1, 2022. Three young girls — reportedly sisters — were found dead in a pond early Saturday after going missing. Authorities in Texas are now investigating how the lives of Zi’ariel Oliver, 9, Amiyah Hughes, 8, and Temari Oliver, 5, were tragically cut short.

Investigators in Cass County said that the children were reported missing at around 10 p.m. on Friday, according to KSLA. Agencies including Texas Parks and Wildlife, Cass County Sheriff’s Office, and volunteer firefighters responded.

Investigators made the tragic discovery several hours later on a private pond near Highway 77.

“We located items of clothing around a pond and in a pond,” Texas Game Warden Shawn Hervey reportedly said. “So, we centered the search around that small body of water, and with the use of divers we were able to recover three victims at approximately 2 a.m. this morning.”

“A pair of shoes was found at the edge of the pond, leading investigators to search the water,” Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe said, according to The Texarkana Gazette.

Politico, Opinion: More Republican Women Than You Think Have Had Abortions. Here’s How I Know, Samantha Zaleski, Aug. 1, 2022 (print ed.). Sam Zaleski had an abortion in the last few weeks of her senior year at a Catholic school in southeast Michigan. "It took my own pregnancy for me to accept that I was in a controlling relationship," she writes.

politico CustomWe pretend my story is rare among conservatives. It's not, and Republicans should stop acting like it.

In the last few weeks of the school year during my senior year at a respected Catholic school in southeast Michigan, our religion teacher had our class watch “Juno.” In my Catholic community, “Juno” was seen as a pro-life story: The main character learns she is pregnant at 16 and ultimately chooses adoption.

It was during that class, watching “Juno,” that I first experienced the nausea. In the next few weeks, that nausea turned into vomiting, and then into dehydration. I was hospitalized, and soon learned the reason for these vomiting spells. I was pregnant.

I ultimately had an abortion, and I don’t regret the decision. It made me a firm believer in the importance of abortion rights — for economic mobility, for autonomy, for mental health. I did choose life when I chose to have an abortion — my own life.

That decision ended up setting me on a path where I’d spend the better part of my career committed to helping Republicans win elections as a pollster, data analyst and strategist. As a result, I know numbers, and I know politics. And I know that statistically, I can’t be that rare; many women who have supported Republicans have had abortions. Many women who agree with various conservative policies, too, have had abortions. There are men and women in the party, too, who might not have personal experience with abortion, but still have complicated feelings about the procedure.

Sam Zaleski has a decade of experience working in political campaigns and advocacy with expertise in media, research, and analytics. In 2018, she was named a rising star by Campaigns & Elections magazine.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Indiana’s cruel abortion bill is a warning of post-Roe reality, Ruth Marcus, right, Aug. 1, 2022 (print ed.). On ruth marcusSaturday, the Indiana Senate voted to make abortion illegal in the state. The measure passed with the bare minimum number of votes — not because lawmakers flinched at outlawing abortion but because so many of them believed the bill, with its exceptions for rape and incest, wasn’t strict enough.

Welcome to the new abortion debate, in which no restriction short of an absolute, unyielding ban will satisfy some abortion opponents. So much for the gauzy vision of a European-style consensus in which states would make abortion freely available up to a certain point in pregnancy, say 15 weeks, the limit imposed by the Mississippi law that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority used in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as a vehicle for eliminating abortion rights. The legislative landscape is still unfolding, but the new reality is that abortion is likely to be prohibited or unavailable after the first few weeks of pregnancy in almost half the states.

Abortion is now banned in these states. See where the laws have changed.

Indiana is one of the first to consider abortion legislation in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, so the fate of the measure that passed Saturday is instructive. Republicans enjoy a comfortable supermajority in the state legislature, with 39 of 50 Senate seats. But Indiana Republicans were a party divided — 18 voted to eliminate the exceptions for rape and incest — and ultimately just 26 voted for final passage. Now the measure heads to the Republican-dominated House, which has a chance to make it even worse.

To some extent, antiabortion forces are like the dog that caught the car — after all these years of cost-free railing against Roe, they are in the uncomfortable position of having to make real-world, and politically dicey, choices about what restrictions to impose in its absence.

washington post logoWashington Post, States may revive abortion laws from a time when women couldn’t vote, Gillian Brockell, Aug. 1, 2022 (print ed.). When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, it invalidated antiabortion laws in many states. Now that the Supreme Court has struck it down, these states face questions about whether and how the old laws will take effect again.

Some states avoided this confusion by taking preemptive action. In the half-century that the Supreme Court guaranteed the right to abortion, a number of states passed trigger laws automatically restricting abortion if Roe were ever overturned; now those laws are going into effect. Other states passed laws codifying abortion rights in the event Roe was reversed.

But a few states did nothing at all, and now confusion reigns about whether the old laws are kicking in again.

In Arizona, a 15-week abortion ban will go into effect this fall, but the Republican state attorney general is trying to enforce a stricter 1901 law immediately.

In West Virginia, a law from 1849 — before West Virginia was even a state — which makes providing an abortion a felony, is enforceable, according to the Republican state attorney general.

And in Wisconsin, the Democratic attorney general is fighting enforcement of a law, also from 1849, making it a felony to provide an abortion unless it is needed to save the life of the mother. The Democratic governor has said he’ll grant clemency to anyone charged under it.

For many women, it’s jarring to contemplate resurrecting laws from a bygone era when women’s rights were drastically curtailed.

In 1849, West Virginia was still part of Virginia. (The Trans-Allegheny region didn’t break off until the Civil War.) Women of any race or class had difficult lives and few rights.

In 1850, there were about 10,000 enslaved Black women in the counties that became West Virginia. These women had no control over their financial, professional, political or sexual lives. They could not legally marry, and there was no legal protection against sexual assault. Many enslaved women, particularly in Virginia, were subjected to rape and forced breeding. They had no right to travel, so they could not have crossed state lines for an abortion. Some enslaved people brought recipes for abortion-inducing drinks with them from Africa, but access to these would have been inconsistent at best.

washington post logoWashington Post, Some Republicans fear party is too extreme on abortion and gay rights, Hannah Knowles, Aug. 1, 2022 (print ed.). West Virginia legislature inches toward abortion ban with few exceptions. Following the end of Roe v. Wade, many in the GOP have embraced uncompromising positions and loaded rhetoric out of step with mainstream public opinion.

Republicans in Congress this month blocked a bill protecting the ability to cross state lines for an abortion, despite strong public support for such a measure.

The Texas attorney general said he would be willing to defend the state’s defunct anti-sodomy law, while a GOP Senate candidate in Arizona has called for a nationwide abortion ban — two positions also out of step with public opinion.

And some of the party’s most vocal members traffic in extreme and inflammatory rhetoric — from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) claiming that heterosexual people will disappear while denouncing “trans terrorist” educators, to Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) calling abortion rights protesters ugly, “Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.”

Uncompromising positions and loaded rhetoric on key social issues are escalating concerns within GOP circles that the party is moving too far out of sync with popular opinion, projecting new hostility to gay people and potentially alienating women voters in high-stakes races. The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade and ending a nationwide right to abortion last month has spawned strict new bans and stirred fears that gay rights and access to contraception could be next — shifting the focus from other culture-war battles where Republicans felt they had a winning message.

ny times logoNew York Times, A New Yorker’s Opposition to Abortion Clouds Her House Re-Election Bid, Jesse McKinley, Aug. 1, 2022 (print ed.). As the lone Republican in the New York City congressional delegation, Representative Nicole Malliotakis has adopted certain stances that would make her an understandable outlier in a deeply Democratic city.

Just days after taking office in early 2021, she voted to discard the legitimate 2020 election results, voting for a debunked conspiracy theory that claimed President Donald J. Trump actually won the election. She followed up by voting against Mr. Trump’s second impeachment as a result of the deadly Capitol riots of Jan. 6, 2021.

nicole malliotakis oBut as she seeks re-election in November, Ms. Malliotakis, right, has tried to tread a finer line around guns and abortion, two polarizing social issues that have taken on added prominence in light of recent Supreme Court decisions. (In June, the court overturned the federal right to abortion, as well as a New York law governing concealed weapons.)

On guns, for example, Ms. Malliotakis has voiced some support for new regulations, even voting for several Democratic gun control bills proffered in the wake of the massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas. She later, however, voted against the omnibus bill package, contending that it was “constitutionally suspect” and “represented a partisan overreach.”

Ms. Malliotakis opposes abortion rights, favoring restrictions on using taxpayer funding for the procedure and on late-term abortions. But she has said that she believes that abortion should be allowed under certain circumstances, such as when the life of the mother is at risk.

But Ms. Malliotakis has also tried to maintain some distance from the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, saying in a recent interview that she “didn’t weigh in on it.” Yet earlier this month, the congresswoman voted against a pair of bills that would have banned states from restricting abortions and prohibited them from blocking access to out-of-state abortion services.

Republicans, who are expected to fare well in November’s midterm elections, have long fought to overturn Roe. Yet some of the party’s candidates have not rushed to embrace the Dobbs ruling, wary of alienating voters who, according to polls, may be swayed by social issues in ways that help Democrats.

Ms. Malliotakis is a prime example. Her district encompasses Staten Island and a swath of southwest Brooklyn, some of the city’s most conservative areas. Yet New York remains an overwhelmingly Democratic city, and the recent Supreme Court rulings were profoundly unpopular here.

max rose nicole malliotakisMs. Malliotakis is expected to easily win her Republican primary next month against John Matland, a badly underfunded rival, setting her up for a likely rematch against Max Rose, the former Democratic congressman whom she unseated in 2020.

Mr. Rose, (shown in 2018 photos with Ms. Malliotakis) a combat veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan and awarded the Bronze Star, has sought to tie Ms. Malliotakis to the extreme elements of the Republican Party, including Mr. Trump, and to the Capitol riot by the president’s supporters, saying he is running to protect “the soul of America.”

“Everything that our country was built upon wasn’t just spit at: They tried to destroy it,” he said during a campaign walkabout on July 11 in Bay Ridge. “And even after — even after — Nicole, and everyone else in Congress who were almost killed, they still voted to decertify.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Kansas Abortion Vote Tests Political Energy in Post-Roe America, Katie Glueck, Aug. 1, 2022 (print ed.). On Tuesday, Kansans will decide whether to pass a constitutional amendment that could lead to far-reaching abortion restrictions or an outright ban on the procedure.

In the final days before Kansans decide whether to remove abortion rights protections from their State Constitution, the politically competitive Kansas City suburbs have become hotbeds of activism.

kansas map in usIn neighborhoods where yard signs often tout high school sports teams, dueling abortion-related messages now also dot front lawns. A cafe known for its chocolates and cheese pie has become a haven for abortion rights advocates and a source of ire for opponents. Signs have been stolen, a Catholic church was vandalized earlier this month and tension is palpable on the cusp of the first major vote on the abortion issue since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June.

“I’m really sad that that happened,” said Leslie Schmitz, 54, of Olathe, speaking of the abortion access landscape. “And mad. Sad and mad.”



July 31

washington post logoWashington Post, States may revive abortion laws from a time when women couldn’t vote, Gillian Brockell, July 31, 2022. When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, it invalidated antiabortion laws in many states. Now that the Supreme Court has struck it down, these states face questions about whether and how the old laws will take effect again.

Some states avoided this confusion by taking preemptive action. In the half-century that the Supreme Court guaranteed the right to abortion, a number of states passed trigger laws automatically restricting abortion if Roe were ever overturned; now those laws are going into effect. Other states passed laws codifying abortion rights in the event Roe was reversed.

But a few states did nothing at all, and now confusion reigns about whether the old laws are kicking in again.

In Arizona, a 15-week abortion ban will go into effect this fall, but the Republican state attorney general is trying to enforce a stricter 1901 law immediately.

In West Virginia, a law from 1849 — before West Virginia was even a state — which makes providing an abortion a felony, is enforceable, according to the Republican state attorney general.

And in Wisconsin, the Democratic attorney general is fighting enforcement of a law, also from 1849, making it a felony to provide an abortion unless it is needed to save the life of the mother. The Democratic governor has said he’ll grant clemency to anyone charged under it.

For many women, it’s jarring to contemplate resurrecting laws from a bygone era when women’s rights were drastically curtailed.

In 1849, West Virginia was still part of Virginia. (The Trans-Allegheny region didn’t break off until the Civil War.) Women of any race or class had difficult lives and few rights.

In 1850, there were about 10,000 enslaved Black women in the counties that became West Virginia. These women had no control over their financial, professional, political or sexual lives. They could not legally marry, and there was no legal protection against sexual assault. Many enslaved women, particularly in Virginia, were subjected to rape and forced breeding. They had no right to travel, so they could not have crossed state lines for an abortion. Some enslaved people brought recipes for abortion-inducing drinks with them from Africa, but access to these would have been inconsistent at best.

washington post logoWashington Post, Some Republicans fear party is too extreme on abortion and gay rights, Hannah Knowles, July 31, 2022 (print ed.). West Virginia legislature inches toward abortion ban with few exceptions. Following the end of Roe v. Wade, many in the GOP have embraced uncompromising positions and loaded rhetoric out of step with mainstream public opinion.

Republicans in Congress this month blocked a bill protecting the ability to cross state lines for an abortion, despite strong public support for such a measure.

The Texas attorney general said he would be willing to defend the state’s defunct anti-sodomy law, while a GOP Senate candidate in Arizona has called for a nationwide abortion ban — two positions also out of step with public opinion.

And some of the party’s most vocal members traffic in extreme and inflammatory rhetoric — from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) claiming that heterosexual people will disappear while denouncing “trans terrorist” educators, to Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) calling abortion rights protesters ugly, “Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.”

Uncompromising positions and loaded rhetoric on key social issues are escalating concerns within GOP circles that the party is moving too far out of sync with popular opinion, projecting new hostility to gay people and potentially alienating women voters in high-stakes races. The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade and ending a nationwide right to abortion last month has spawned strict new bans and stirred fears that gay rights and access to contraception could be next — shifting the focus from other culture-war battles where Republicans felt they had a winning message.

ny times logoNew York Times, A New Yorker’s Opposition to Abortion Clouds Her House Re-Election Bid, Jesse McKinley, July 31, 2022. As the lone Republican in the New York City congressional delegation, Representative Nicole Malliotakis has adopted certain stances that would make her an understandable outlier in a deeply Democratic city.

Just days after taking office in early 2021, she voted to discard the legitimate 2020 election results, voting for a debunked conspiracy theory that claimed President Donald J. Trump actually won the election. She followed up by voting against Mr. Trump’s second impeachment as a result of the deadly Capitol riots of Jan. 6, 2021.

nicole malliotakis oBut as she seeks re-election in November, Ms. Malliotakis, right, has tried to tread a finer line around guns and abortion, two polarizing social issues that have taken on added prominence in light of recent Supreme Court decisions. (In June, the court overturned the federal right to abortion, as well as a New York law governing concealed weapons.)

On guns, for example, Ms. Malliotakis has voiced some support for new regulations, even voting for several Democratic gun control bills proffered in the wake of the massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas. She later, however, voted against the omnibus bill package, contending that it was “constitutionally suspect” and “represented a partisan overreach.”

Ms. Malliotakis opposes abortion rights, favoring restrictions on using taxpayer funding for the procedure and on late-term abortions. But she has said that she believes that abortion should be allowed under certain circumstances, such as when the life of the mother is at risk.

But Ms. Malliotakis has also tried to maintain some distance from the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, saying in a recent interview that she “didn’t weigh in on it.” Yet earlier this month, the congresswoman voted against a pair of bills that would have banned states from restricting abortions and prohibited them from blocking access to out-of-state abortion services.

Republicans, who are expected to fare well in November’s midterm elections, have long fought to overturn Roe. Yet some of the party’s candidates have not rushed to embrace the Dobbs ruling, wary of alienating voters who, according to polls, may be swayed by social issues in ways that help Democrats.

Ms. Malliotakis is a prime example. Her district encompasses Staten Island and a swath of southwest Brooklyn, some of the city’s most conservative areas. Yet New York remains an overwhelmingly Democratic city, and the recent Supreme Court rulings were profoundly unpopular here.

max rose nicole malliotakisMs. Malliotakis is expected to easily win her Republican primary next month against John Matland, a badly underfunded rival, setting her up for a likely rematch against Max Rose, the former Democratic congressman whom she unseated in 2020.

Mr. Rose, (shown in 2018 photos with Ms. Malliotakis) a combat veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan and awarded the Bronze Star, has sought to tie Ms. Malliotakis to the extreme elements of the Republican Party, including Mr. Trump, and to the Capitol riot by the president’s supporters, saying he is running to protect “the soul of America.”

“Everything that our country was built upon wasn’t just spit at: They tried to destroy it,” he said during a campaign walkabout on July 11 in Bay Ridge. “And even after — even after — Nicole, and everyone else in Congress who were almost killed, they still voted to decertify.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Kansas Abortion Vote Tests Political Energy in Post-Roe America, Katie Glueck, July 31, 2022. On Tuesday, Kansans will decide whether to pass a constitutional amendment that could lead to far-reaching abortion restrictions or an outright ban on the procedure.

— In the final days before Kansans decide whether to remove abortion rights protections from their State Constitution, the politically competitive Kansas City suburbs have become hotbeds of activism.

In neighborhoods where yard signs often tout high school sports teams, dueling abortion-related messages now also dot front lawns. A cafe known for its chocolates and cheese pie has become a haven for abortion rights advocates and a source of ire for opponents. Signs have been stolen, a Catholic church was vandalized earlier this month and tension is palpable on the cusp of the first major vote on the abortion issue since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June.

“I’m really sad that that happened,” said Leslie Schmitz, 54, of Olathe, speaking of the abortion access landscape. “And mad. Sad and mad.”

July 29

ny times logoNew York Times, Pain Doctor Is Found Guilty of Sexually Assaulting Patients, Troy Closson, July 29, 2022. Manhattan prosecutors said Ricardo Cruciani took advantage of his patients’ pain. A jury found him guilty on 12 counts of sexual assault and other crimes.

For more than a decade, Ricardo Cruciani built a reputation as a gifted and esteemed physician who could relieve chronic pain when other doctors could not.

But then a string of alarming claims began to surface: Dozens of patients accused him of sexually abusing them during exams after he offered sometimes dangerously high amounts of medication to maintain control over them, prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office said during a trial this month. When they resisted, he would withhold their prescriptions.

On Friday, a jury found Mr. Cruciani guilty on 12 counts of predatory sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape and other crimes, after about three days of deliberations. Mr. Cruciani’s monthlong trial centered on the stories of six women he treated around 2012 at Beth Israel Medical Center, now known as Mount Sinai Beth Israel, in Union Square and in New Jersey and Pennsylvania facilities.

The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, said in a statement Friday that Mr. Cruciani, 68, had violated the public’s trust in medical workers by abusing his power over patients and intentionally taking advantage of their pain.

“Dr. Cruciani left in his wake six survivors who continue to suffer from debilitating diseases, and now, years of trauma,” Mr. Bragg said. “Although we can never undo his horrific actions, I hope this conviction serves as a measure of justice.”

Fred Sosinsky, a lawyer for Mr. Cruciani, said in a statement Friday that he believed the trial court committed “a good number of legal errors,” and that he planned to appeal the verdict.

July 28

washington post logoWashington Post, Girl, 12, challenges W.Va. lawmakers on abortion: ‘What about my life?’ Timothy Bella, July 28, 2022. Addison Gardner, 12, spoke out on Wednesday against the abortion law proposed by West Virginia lawmakers that would restrict abortion in almost all cases.

Despite the impassioned plea from Gardner and other abortions rights supporters in and outside of the chamber, the West Virginia House overwhelmingly passed the bill by a vote of 69 to 23.

samuel alitohuffington post logoHuffPost, Justice Alito Mocks World Leaders Who Criticized Court's Abortion Ruling, Sara Boboltz, July 28, 2022. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito used part of the keynote speech on religious liberty he gave last week to joke about the criticisms he received from world leaders for overturning abortion rights in the United States.

Speaking from Rome at an event hosted by Notre Dame Law School, Alito, rigth, said the abortion rights case prompted “a few second thoughts” on his belief that American judges have no business critiquing other countries’ court rulings.

Politico, Court may pare back secrecy in campus sexual misconduct suits, Josh Gerstein, July 28, 2022 (print ed.). At issue is a lower-court judge’s denial of a former MIT student’s request that he and his accuser, another student, be identified by pseudonyms in court filings.

politico CustomA federal appeals court in Boston heard arguments on Wednesday in a case that could make it harder for students to maintain their anonymity when suing colleges over the handling of complaints related to sexual misconduct.

Lawyers for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former computer engineering student at the prestigious school squared off over a lower-court judge’s denial of the former student’s request that he be allowed to proceed as “John Doe” in the case and that the fellow student who accused him of misconduct also be identified by a pseudonym in court filings.

Attorney Philip Byler told the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Richard Stearns requiring that the plaintiff either file under his true name or dismiss the suit was unfair and contrary to the custom in such cases. “This is the standard practice in the field,” Byler told the three-judge panel. “I think we’re all flabbergasted by what the district judge wrote here.”

A ruling declining to disturb Stearns’ decision stripping secrecy from the case could discourage some suits against colleges and universities over their campus discipline processes, particularly in cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual assault.

The suit that led to Wednesday’s arguments was filed last year after MIT kicked out a male student accused of having sexual intercourse with a former girlfriend while she was asleep. The school also found the male student engaged in sexual harassment of the same woman, but the breach-of-contract suit alleges that the investigation and the process were severely biased.

Byler said the tradition of allowing parties to proceed by pseudonyms in litigation involving intimate matters goes back decades.

“Roe v Wade has been in the news,” he observed. “That is a case where pseudonymity was recognized.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Daniel Snyder faces House committee questions under oath, Mark Maske, Liz Clarke and Nicki Jhabvala, July 28, 2022. Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder will participate remotely in a sworn deposition Thursday with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, after he and the committee agreed on the terms of the interview following weeks of deliberations.

The committee announced the agreement early Thursday morning after negotiations involving attorneys on both sides continued late Wednesday night. Snyder is scheduled to give a voluntary deposition under oath on issues related to the team’s workplace at 8 a.m. Thursday without accepting service of a subpoena.

“The Committee’s deposition of Mr. Snyder will go forward today,” a committee spokesperson said in a written statement. “Mr. Snyder has committed to providing full and complete testimony, and to answer the Committee’s questions about his knowledge of and contributions to the Commanders’ toxic work environment, as well as his efforts to interfere with the NFL’s internal investigation, without hiding behind nondisclosure or other confidentiality agreements. Should Mr. Snyder fail to honor his commitments, the Committee is prepared to compel his testimony on any unanswered questions upon his return to the United States.”

Thursday’s deposition will not be public. The proceedings will be transcribed. It is not clear whether the transcript will be released publicly at any point; that is at the committee’s discretion. The deposition will be conducted by committee staffers, most of them lawyers, and is expected to last longer than the 2½-hour public hearing last month at which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was questioned by lawmakers rather than by lawyers.

 washington post logoWashington Post, 19-year-old turns Gaetz insult into $115,000 abortion rights fundraiser, Andrew Jeong, July 28, 2022 (print ed.). Days after being publicly insulted by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Twitter, Olivia Julianna, a 19-year-old abortion rights advocate, wrote him a tongue-in-cheek thank-you note on the platform.

“Dear Matt, Although your intentions were hateful, your public shaming of my appearance has done nothing but benefit me,” she wrote after his tweet about her spurred a load of harassment — as well as a flood of donations to her reproductive rights advocacy organization.

In just about a day, she’s helped raise approximately $115,000 for the nonprofit Gen Z for Change.

At a rally last weekend in Tampa, Gaetz had mocked abortion rights activists, calling them “disgusting” and overweight. Olivia Julianna, who uses her first name and middle name publicly because of privacy concerns, criticized the remarks on Twitter, noting the sex-trafficking allegations against Gaetz. In apparent retaliation, Gaetz then tweeted an image of her next to a news story that mentioned his comments from the rally.

Gaetz is an ally of former president Donald Trump and was first elected to Congress in 2016, representing a district in the Florida Panhandle, an area that has voted heavily Republican in recent decades. He has expressed opposition to abortion and abortion rights advocates, and this month voted against two bills aimed at ensuring access to abortion. In May, Gaetz drew criticism for saying that those protesting the overturning of Roe v. Wade are “overeducated, under-loved millennials.”

July 26

lawcrime logoLaw&Crime, ‘Go Die’: 7-Year-Old Girl Has Choice Words for Ohio Man Sentenced to Decades in Prison for Rape and Kidnapping, Colin Kalmbacher, July 26, 2022. An Ohio man will spend at least 45 years in prison after kidnapping, raping, and trying to kill a 7-year-old girl last year.

Charles Castle, 57, knew the victim well.

While the defense and the prosecution went back and forth about the strength of DNA evidence tying the defendant to the 16 crimes of which he was accused, the girl’s testimony was said to be dispositive.

“The point is the girl is steadfast and when her interview she looked him right in the eye and she pointed at him right down there,” Hardin County Prosecutor Bradford Bailey told jurors. “That is not based on some fleeting moment, some guy comes to her house one time. That’s on the guy that’s been for over 60 days consistently over six and a half, seven years of her lifetime. She knows who Charles Castle is.”

Earlier this month, the defendant was found guilty of every single extant charge against him by the 12-person jury.

Those charges include seven counts of kidnapping, one count of rape, one count of attempted murder, one count of felonious assault, one count of breaking and entering, one count of endangering children, one count of burglary, and three counts of tampering with evidence.

According to Columbus, Ohio-based NBC affiliate WCMH, Castle was initially indicted on 17 charges in late 2021. Prosecutors dropped one count of possession of criminal tools just before deliberations.

The victim, who hails from Kenton, Ohio, was taken away from her home in November 2021. She was found almost two days later in an abandoned building in a rural part of Hardin County.

After being recovered, the girl was examined at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. There, a child abuse pediatrician who testified made note of numerous injuries to the victim including a purple ligature mark across her neck, several spots from burst blood vessels on her face, and bruising and scratching across her body.

lawcrime logoLaw&Crime, Texas Man Will Serve Three Life Sentences for Two Brutal Cold Case Murders and Arson Intended to Destroy Evidence, Colin Kalmbacher, July 26, 2022. A Texas man took a plea deal that will likely see him spend the rest of his life in prison over two brutal cold case murders.

Jose “Joe” Baldomero Flores III, 41, was facing the prospect of the death penalty and jury selection was set to begin on Monday, July 25 when he pleaded guilty to killing two women in 2005 and 2011.

Heather Willms was 21 years old when she was raped and killed inside the bedroom of her own apartment in the San Antonio-surrounded enclave of Leon Valley, Texas. Her hands had been severed and, according to neighbors, an argument and struggle with a man had preceded the violence, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

In comments to MySanAntonio.com, then-Leon Valley police chief Joseph Salvaggio said the neighbors described “shuffling sounds then silence,” that occurred at around 5:00 in the morning on that fateful early February day. The woman’s clothes had been burned in an apparent effort to conceal evidence. Friends reported their concerns to law enforcement after being unable to contact her the next day.

“The friends entered her apartment through a sliding glass door and everyone’s worst fears were realized, as they found Heather’s body in her bedroom,” Salvaggio said. “Mr. Flores was a purported friend of Heather’s, having gone to high school with her and staying in touch with her afterwards. [He] was one of the last to see her alive.”

Flores was questioned at the time because of his relational proximity to the first victim, but law enforcement did not arrest him.

Years later, he raped and killed 30-year-old Esmeralda Herrera in the bedroom of her own apartment on the Southwest Side neighborhood of San Antonio proper. Her body was found tied to her bed in early March. She had been bludgeoned and strangled to death. Another fire had been set to conceal evidence, this time set in multiple places and large enough that firefighters arrived to put down the blaze.

lawcrime logoLaw&Crime, Dozens of Inmates Raped, Assaulted, and Harassed After Jailer Sold Male Prisoner a Key to Women's Wing, Federal Lawsuit Claims, Colin Kalmbacher, July 26, 2022. At least 28 women have filed federal civil rights lawsuits alleging they were attacked, harassed, and sexually assaulted in a southern Indiana jail after an officer sold access to the woman’s wing of the lockup facility. Several additional plaintiffs are said to be on the way.

One complaint alleges that “multiple female inmates of the Clark County Jail” were assaulted by male inmates on the night of Oct. 24, 2021 and names Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel as the lead defendant. Also named is the since-fired employee who allegedly provided access by way of selling a key for $1,000. Several currently unidentified members of the sheriff’s department are also in the lawsuit’s crosshairs.

“The males threatened, assaulted, and raped the females over the course of multiple hours,” the first lawsuit filed last month on behalf of 20 women says. “The male inmates gained access to the females pods through use of a key provided by corrections officer David Lowe. As a direct and proximate cause of the actions of Defendants, [the female inmates] suffered horrific physical and psychological injuries.”

The newer lawsuit, filed Monday, says the incident began on the night of October 23, 2021 and carried on into the early morning hours of the next day — “resulting in significant physical and emotional injuries.”

“Amazingly, even though there were surveillance cameras positioned in locations that showed the male detainees accessing the woman’s Pods, and even though the incident involved multiple male detainees and dozens of victims over an extended period of time, not a single jail officer on duty that night came to the of Plaintiffs and the other victims,” the newer lawsuit alleges.

lawcrime logoLaw&Crime, R. Kelly's Former Manager and Adviser Pleads Guilty to Stalking One of the Singer's Victims and Her Mother, Adam Klasfeld, July 26, 2022. R. Kelly’s manager and adviser pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a years-long campaign to stalk one of the disgraced singer’s victims and her mother.

Donnell Russell, 47, faces up to five years in prison for his admission to making interstate threats in a case tried in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. That is in addition to another possible five-year sentence on his recent conviction by a jury in another interstate threats case in the Southern District of New York on July 22.

July 25


Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan, via Getty Images)

Guardian, Ghislaine Maxwell moved to low-security prison in Florida, Emine Sinmaz, July 25, 2022. Disgraced socialite serving 20-year sentence for procuring teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein to abuse.

Ghislaine Maxwell has been sent to a low-security prison to serve her 20-year prison sentence for procuring teenage girls to be abused by the financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The 60-year-old has been moved to FCI Tallahassee in Florida, according to the Bureau of Prisons. She will be eligible for release on 17 July 2037.

Maxwell, the daughter of the publishing baron Robert Maxwell, had been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, New York, since her arrest in July 2020 on charges that she lured girls as young as 14 into Epstein’s abusive orbit.

Her lawyers repeatedly complained that conditions at the Brooklyn jail were “reprehensible”. They claimed Maxwell was subjected to such invasive surveillance that it “rivals scenes of Dr Hannibal Lecter’s incarceration” from the film The Silence of the Lambs.

They also alleged that Maxwell was deprived of water and fed food infested with maggots. They claimed that raw sewage permeated her cell, which was plagued by rats, and that guards prevented her from sleeping by shining torches into her eyes every 15 minutes.

Her lawyers requested that she serve her sentence at FCI Danbury in Connecticut, a minimum security prison that was the inspiration for the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Experts have previously described the jail as being “like Disneyland” compared with the Brooklyn institution.

Alison Nathan, who oversaw Maxwell’s trial, had recommended that Maxwell be moved to FCI Danbury following the request, but the Bureau of Prisons ultimately made the decision.

FCI Tallahassee opened in 1938 and houses women only.

Prosecutors argued in June that Maxwell should be imprisoned for at least 30 years. But in submissions before her sentencing hearing, her lawyers said she should face no more than four to five years, arguing it would be “a travesty of justice for her to face a sentence that would have been appropriate for Epstein”.

In their bid for leniency, Maxwell’s lawyers contended that her jail conditions were harrowing, alleging: “An inmate in Ms Maxwell’s unit threatened to kill her, claiming that an additional 20 years’ incarceration would be worth the money she’d receive for murdering Ms Maxwell.”

They also argued that an emotionally abusive childhood at the hands of her father primed her for Epstein’s influence.

Epstein was arrested by federal authorities in July 2019 on sex-trafficking counts. He killed himself while awaiting trial in a New York City federal jail.

The judge handed down a 20-year sentence, saying Maxwell “repeatedly, and over the course of many years participated in a horrific scheme to traffic young girls, some the age of 14”.

Nathan said it was important that although “Epstein was central to this scheme” she was not being sentenced “as a proxy” for him. She said: “The defendant’s conduct … was heinous and predatory.”

July 24


The late fashion designer Jean Luc Brunel, right, and the late fellow underage sex traffickers Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, their recently convicted accomplice are shown in a file photo (U.S. Justice Department evidentiary photo).

The late fashion designer Jean Luc Brunel, right, and his fellow underage sex traffickers Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell are shown in a file photo displaying a scene from one of their trips (U.S. Justice Department evidentiary photo).

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: I survived Epstein and Maxwell’s sex ring. Then the gaslighting began, Sarah Ransome, below left, July 24, 2022 (print ed.). Sarah Ransome is the author of “Silenced No More” about her ordeal in Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking operation.

When I heard the eerie clink of shackles as Ghislaine Maxwell entered her sentencing hearing in a New York courtroom last month, I thought: “I will never doubt myself again.”

sarah ransomeMaxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for helping financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls, and she continues to insist that she is being punished for his crimes, even after the jury’s guilty verdict. I read a statement at the sentencing to make clear that Maxwell is guilty of her own crimes, and to speak up for all victims — both underage and those, like me, who were “of age” when trafficked.

News coverage of Epstein and Maxwell’s sex crimes has mostly focused on the young girls recruited near Epstein’s Florida mansion and the rich and powerful men who visited his Caribbean island.

I struggled with this because the trafficking operation snared not only underage girls, who were coerced into nude massages, masturbation, oral sex and intercourse. There was also a large group of women like me who were trafficked and raped for more than three decades. I was 22. And when you’re a legal adult, you face a barrage of “you should have known better” victim-blaming and “you deserved it” gaslighting. Since coming forward in 2016, I have been called a “gold digger,” a “whore” and a “prostitute." Even my own father said, “You made your bed, you can lie in it.”

I didn’t know the FBI began investigating Epstein in 2005. I wish I had. I was recruited in 2006 by a woman I thought was my friend. She told me Epstein and Maxwell could help get me into fashion. I didn’t know I’d have my passport and phone taken away when I boarded Epstein’s private plane to his island. He wasn’t some old geezer in a bar saying, “Come to my island.” It was a carefully scripted, well-oiled machine. This was a professional sex trafficking ring. Epstein and Maxwell taught girls to recruit girls, women to recruit women. They knew what they were looking for.

I was born into a generationally dysfunctional family. Alcoholism runs in my family. I was first sexually abused when I was 11 by a man my mother brought home. At 14, I was raped by another student. All I’ve ever known is rape, abuse, trauma. Being a child like that, you don’t know what’s normal and what’s not. Your boundaries are broken down.

I was the perfect target. But even if you were from a “good family” you could be snared. Several women over 17 or 18 who were abused by Epstein and Maxwell have stated that they were offered work as Victoria’s Secret models through a scouting agency run by Epstein’s associate, Jean-Luc Brunel. Both men were jailed on sex crime charges they denied and hanged themselves in prison while in custody awaiting trial.

July 18

ny times logoNew York Times, The Unraveling of an Award-Winning Documentary, Jane Arraf, July 18, 2022. In a pivotal scene of the 2021 documentary “Sabaya,” two men rescue a young woman named Leila from a Syrian detention camp for the families of ISIS fighters, bundling her into a car and driving her to safety as shots are fired behind them.

In interviews with BBC Radio and others, the film’s Iraqi-Swedish director, Hogir Hirori, recounted the tension of the rescue and the terror of the ride as they raced from Al Hol detention camp with the young woman, one of thousands of women and girls from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority who had been sexually enslaved by ISIS.

The dramatic scene helped the Swedish-government-funded film garner glowing reviews and awards, including best director for a foreign documentary at the Sundance Film Festival last year.

But following an investigation by a Swedish magazine, Kvartal, Hirori has admitted that he was not there when Leila was freed, that he substituted another woman instead and that he lied to a BBC interviewer.

The admissions follow findings by The New York Times last year that many of the traumatized women either did not initially consent to be in the film or refused but were included anyway. The director’s admissions have also renewed accusations that the documentary played down the coerced separation of mothers from their young children, born during enslavement by ISIS — and turned the very men responsible for that separation into heroes for rescuing them.

While Yazidi women sexually enslaved by ISIS were welcomed back by their communities after ISIS was defeated, the children were not. Some women did not want the children, but for most, the forced separations have had serious repercussions, including suicide attempts.

In a statement issued after the Kvartal investigation, Hirori acknowledged that he had depicted Leila’s escape “using a rescue scene of another woman which I participated in.” He said the woman who was presented as Leila, the main character, did not want to be filmed after the rescue and so he did not mention her in the documentary.

Speaking in Swedish through an interpreter, he told BBC Radio last year, “It was important for me to film it as it was happening because that was the reality.” In the interview, one of several in which he expressed the same sentiment, he also spoke of the Yazidi women: “They aren’t just numbers, they are people just like you and me.”

The BBC has removed the lengthy interview from its website after press queries. A BBC spokesperson said it was being reviewed. Hirori said in his statement that he regretted not telling the BBC the truth about the rescue scene.

A timeline by Kvartal also showed that in three scenes that included news reports about the battle against ISIS and a Turkish invasion, audio was inserted from events that had occurred several months earlier or weeks later. In at least one of the scenes, the film’s hero reacts to news from the car radio that he could not have been hearing.

The issue of forced separations is the single most contentious one among Yazidis. While the Yazidi Home Center featured in “Sabaya” was responsible for finding and caring for hundreds of Iraqi Yazidis freed from ISIS captivity, the organization, acting on instructions from Yazidi elders in Iraq, also arranged for the children to be taken from their mothers. Most were sent to an orphanage in northeastern Syria that the women were not allowed to visit once they returned to Iraq.

The director of “Sabaya,” about Yazidi women who had been sexually enslaved by ISIS, says that he wasn’t present for a key scene and substituted footage.

July 17

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Republicans’ hasty attacks on women show they were never pro-life, Jennifer Rubin, right, July 17, 2022. Just when jennifer rubin new headshotit seemed that forced-birth advocates could not be any more cruel or disdainful of women’s lives, Texas’s Ken Paxton stepped up to confirm this crowd is anything but pro-life.

The Post reports that the Republican state attorney general “sued the Biden administration over federal rules that require abortions be provided in medical emergencies to save the life of the mother, even in states with near-total bans.”

Texas Republicans are apparently outraged by the administration’s recent reminder that under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, emergency rooms must screen, stabilize and treat patients at risk of death before transferring them to another facility. In the case of pregnancy complications (e.g., preeclampsia, premature rupture of the membranes), an emergency abortion may be recommended to prevent serious permanent injury or death. How could any public official who claims to be “pro-life” seek to impede such a lifesaving intervention?

As White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday, “This is yet another example of an extreme and radical Republican elected official. It is unthinkable that this public official would sue to block women from receiving life-saving care in emergency rooms, a right protected under U.S. law.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Book Review: What made Harvey Weinstein a monster? Does it matter? Caetlin Benson-Allott, July 17, 2022 (print ed.). Ken Auletta widens the lens on the sordid tale and inadvertently humanizes its villain.

Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence

By Ken Auletta

Penguin Press. 466 pp. $30

In horror movies, the monster (almost) always rises from the dead for one final scare. One could be forgiven for feeling the same way harvey weinsteinregarding books and articles about Harvey Weinstein, right. What is to be gained, one wonders, from reading another thousand or hundred thousand words about the studio executive-slash-sexual predator who raped or otherwise assaulted more than 100 women between the 1970s and 2010s?

His crimes have been well covered in newspaper and magazine stories and in books by the journalists behind those exposés, not to mention multiple podcasts and documentaries. Inasmuch as each new commentary extends Weinstein’s notoriety and postpones his obsolescence, it arguably serves his core desires: fame and influence.

A similar point has been made many times about true crime and serial killers; as Teen Vogue’s Sandra Song put it, “When we focus so much on the murderer — their neuroses, their troubled pasts — we ignore the fact that the victims of these crimes were also people.”

ken aulettaKen Auletta, left, certainly does not ignore the victims in Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence, his new biography of the former film producer, now serving 23 years in prison. But in hunting for Weinstein’s “Rosebud,” Auletta both aggrandizes the monstrous mogul (by analogizing his megalomania to “Citizen Kane”) and extends the cultural conversation around the perpetrator and what makes him tick.

As a biography, Hollywood Ending focuses more on Weinstein himself than the issues of sexual misconduct and professional intimidation featured in Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement” and Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. In those books, the journalists who broke the story of Weinstein’s serial sexual abuse in 2017 explain how their reporting for the New York Times and the New Yorker, respectively, finally exposed Weinstein and led to his arrest, conviction and imprisonment. Kantor, Twohey and Farrow concentrate on the assault survivors and their bravery in exposing a predator. Notably, these authors also contextualize Weinstein’s downfall within the #MeToo movement.

By contrast, Auletta zooms out from the 2017 revelations about Weinstein to identify the producer’s other victims: the employees he bullied, the business partners he exploited and the brother he belittled.

Auletta also plumbs Weinstein’s childhood and early adult years to uncover factors that might have contributed to the mogul’s criminal behavior. Was it his angry and overbearing mother? Was it, as Weinstein himself puts it, growing up “poor, ugly, Jewish,” always the outsider and the underdog (positions, it should be clear, that Weinstein also embraced)?

Who cares? As anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie knows, ex post facto explanations of the monster’s pathology are beside the point. The revelations about Norman Bates’s terrible childhood at the end of Psycho do nothing to help Marion Crane, the victim of Bates’s murderous “shower scene” attack. Nor do such revelations prevent future Normans from assaulting future Marions or teach women how to avoid Normans altogether.

Like all of Auletta’s work, Hollywood Ending is thoroughly researched and eminently readable. Auletta is a highly skilled journalist whose ability to assemble compelling narratives from scores of sources helps him craft well-rounded characters and juicy prose. A prime example is his description of Weinstein’s “unhinged, Shakespeare-worthy relationship with his younger brother, Bob Weinstein, which gyrated from an impregnable partnership to screaming matches, stony estrangements, and, at least once, bloody blows.” Bob co-founded Miramax and the Weinstein Company with Harvey and initially shared Harvey’s mercurial temper and verbally abusive tendencies. Yet over the course of Hollywood Ending” Bob Weinstein emerges as an emblem of redemption. Whereas Bob too once berated staff and even paid the settlements to some of Harvey’s victims (ostensibly without realizing that their claims involved assault), he entered treatment for alcoholism in 2004 and later tried to guide his brother toward addiction recovery as well. What Bob knew and how much he enabled Harvey remains unclear, but in Auletta’s hands his character demonstrates that rehabilitation is possible, that Harvey could have changed but didn’t.

By exploring Harvey’s relationship with his brother and other men, Auletta humanizes the monster, which makes his approach feel fundamentally misguided. As Auletta himself is the first to admit, he failed to expose Weinstein’s sexual predations in a 2002 profile for the New Yorker. Auletta admirably addresses that shortcoming in his book and praises Kantor, Twohey and Farrow for eventually breaking the story he couldn’t. Yet Hollywood Ending persists in emphasizing the same bullying behavior Auletta uncovered in 2002: temper tantrums, verbal abuse of staff and colleagues, and profligate eating, smoking and spending. Perhaps this is the Harvey that Auletta knows best, or perhaps Auletta is quietly reasserting the significance of his 2002 profile and the revelations it contained.

Either way, I found myself wondering why I should care about Weinstein’s corporate power struggles, such as whether he was insubordinate to Michael Eisner after Disney bought Miramax in 1993. Maybe Miramax didn’t make as much money for Disney as the Weinstein brothers claimed, and maybe Harvey did refuse to acknowledge Eisner as his boss. But broken budgets and tyrannical arrogance are less grievous offenses than rape and sexual assault, and “Hollywood Ending” implicitly conflates them. For instance, in a 28-page chapter on “The Culture of Silence,” which protected Weinstein in the mid-1990s, Auletta devotes only eight pages to criminal sexual behavior. The other 20 inventory Miramax’s successes with “Pulp Fiction,” “Sling Blade,” “The Piano” and “Scream.” Auletta proposes that those successes are the reason Weinstein’s contemporaries protected him, but in devoting more pages to Weinstein’s business dealings than his victims, the author perpetuates a value system that prizes art over the people hurt by its maker. Certainly Weinstein should not have yelled at colleagues, started a whisper campaign to diminish the Oscar chances of “Saving Private Ryan,” or forcibly kissed, stripped and molested actresses and his employees. These offenses are not commensurate, however, and in his rush to document all of Weinstein’s inappropriate behavior, Auletta, however inadvertently, suggests that they are.

Hollywood Ending is a finely crafted biography of an ignominious sexual predator. It is not a prurient book, yet I could never stop questioning its approach to its subject. Like most true-crime reporting, it exists because women suffered.

Yet its main topic is neither those survivors nor the noble reporters and prosecutors who ended a monster’s reign of terror. It is, still, the monster himself. I am not convinced that knowing Weinstein better will help women “gain some sort of power over culturally endemic narratives in which girls and women are brutalized” — a common rationale for the genre that Tanya Horeck references in her book Justice on Demand: True Crime in the Digital Streaming Era. So read Hollywood Ending if you’re interested in how power is amassed and exploited in the U.S. film industry, but don’t read it expecting answers about sexual violence or how to stop it. The monster has nothing to teach you.

Caetlin Benson-Allott is a professor of English, film and media studies at Georgetown University and the author of “The Stuff of Spectatorship: Material Cultures of Film and Television.”

Reuters, Judge in Twitter v. Musk made rare ruling: ordering a deal to close, Tom Hals and Hyunjoo Jin, July 15, 2022. The judge overseeing elon musk 2015Twitter Inc's (TWTR.N) $44 billion lawsuit against Elon Musk, right, has a no-nonsense reputation as well as the distinction of being one of the few jurists who has ever ordered a reluctant buyer to close a U.S. corporate merger.

reuters logoKathaleen McCormick took over the role of chancellor or chief judge of the Court of Chancery last year, the first woman in that role. On Wednesday, she was assigned the Twitter lawsuit which seeks to force Musk to complete his deal for the social media platform, which promises to be one of the biggest legal showdowns in years.

"She already has a track record of not putting up with some of the worst behavior that we see in these areas when people want to get out of deals," said Adam Badawi, a law professor who specializes in corporate governance at the University of California Berkeley. "She is a serious, no-nonsense judge."

twitter bird CustomIn contrast to Musk's brash and volatile behavior, she is known as soft-spoken, approachable and amiable -- but a person who also stands her ground. She advocates respect among litigants and integrity at legal conferences.

"We've always had each other's backs, we've always gone out for drinks after arguments and maintained this level civility," she told a gathering at the University of Delaware this year.

After weeks of confrontational tweets suggesting Twitter was hiding the true number of fake accounts, Musk said on Friday he was terminating the $54.20-per-Twitter share acquisition, worth $44 billion. On Tuesday, the social media platform sued.

Judges have ordered reluctant buyers to close corporate acquisitions only a handful of times, according to legal experts and court records. One of those was McCormick.

Last year, McCormick got the attention of Wall Street dealmakers by ordering an affiliate of private equity firm Kohlberg & Co LLC to close its $550 million purchase of DecoPac Holding Inc, which makes cake decorating products.

She described her ruling as "chalking up a victory for deal certainty" and rejected Kohlberg's arguments that it could walk away because of a lack of financing.

The case has many parallels to the Twitter deal. Like Musk, Kohlberg said it was walking away because DecoPac violated the merger agreement. Like Musk, Kohlberg argued in part that DecoPac failed to maintain ordinary operations.

There are also differences. Musk's deal is magnitudes bigger, involves a publicly traded target company in Twitter and might have implications for Tesla Inc , the electric vehicle maker that is the source of much of Musk's fortune.

In other cases, she has come down on the side of shareholders when they clashed with management.

Last year, she prevented energy company The Williams Cos Inc from adopting a so-called poison pill anti-takeover measure, saying it breached their fiduciary duty to shareholders.

A graduate of Notre Dame Law School, McCormick started her career with the Delaware branch of the Legal Aid Society, which helps low-income people navigate the court system.

She went into private practice "mainly for financial reasons," she told the Delaware Senate during her confirmation hearing, joining Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, one of the state's main firms for business litigation.

She joined the Court of Chancery in 2018 as a vice chancellor and became the first woman to lead the Court of Chancery last year.

July 16


washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: What a rape allegation in Congo says about Vatican efforts to fight abuse, Chico Harlan and Alain Uaykani, July 17, 2022 (print ed.). The 14-year-old girl returned on the back of a motorbike to the convent where she lived and studied in congo flagthe Democratic Republic of Congo

Sobbing and in pain, she pulled aside a nun.

The girl said she’d just been raped by the priest who dropped her off.

The nun, Henriette Okitanunga, tried to comfort the girl. She said she then followed the new rule laid out by Pope Francis for handling such a report: She alerted her superior to a possible crime.

“Your Excellency,” the nun recalled texting to Nicolas Djomo, the local bishop.

After clerical abuse scandals that have rocked much of the Catholic world — generally in nations with the resources to pressure and expose the church — attention is turning to regions where the scale of abuse remains both a mystery and a cause for trepidation. The Vatican’s hope is that bishops in the developing world, trained in new guidelines, can avoid the mistakes that have so badly damaged the Roman Catholic Church elsewhere.

The text Okitanunga said she sent to Djomo’s phone in March 2020 raises a defining question for the church’s future: In places where Catholic leaders have fewer checks on their power, how are they responding?

Djomo’s response, unfolding over the past two years, provides one answer — and it shows the potential for the public crisis to proliferate in new parts of the world. For all the pope’s attempts at reform, a bishop such as Djomo still has significant authority in his diocese — and there remains little recourse for those who disagree with his handling of a claim.

A Washington Post investigation into the case — based on interviews and on a review of letters and emails sent to Djomo and other church officials — shows that the bishop failed to follow the Vatican’s guidelines. The nuns, priests and the alleged victim who pressed Djomo about the accusations say he orchestrated a coverup that upended the life of the victim, kept his own reputation intact and absolved the alleged abuser within the church’s own system.

Some of those involved say Djomo demanded they stay quiet. Those include the nun who first informed him and, later, the alleged victim, who says he beseeched her in a one-on-one meeting to forgive the priest, an encounter that made her feel “sick.”

The girl’s uncle alleges that after the family pressed ahead with a court case, Djomo offered him $15,000 — an enormous sum in a nation where most people live on less than $2 a day — to persuade his relatives to resolve the matter. The uncle, a priest who worked for Djomo, said the bishop eliminated his job after he refused.

Separately, when the nuns supported the girl, their founder says, Djomo retaliated by disbanding their association.

After the girl’s family took the case to police, Djomo did take at least one disciplinary measure, barring the accused priest, the Rev. André Olongo, from ministry and from having unsupervised contact with minors. But that sanction, implemented eight months after the alleged rape, proved to be short-lived. This year, Djomo sent his findings on the case to the Vatican, after a diocese-run investigation that did not include an interview with the alleged victim. The Vatican weeks ago determined there were insufficient grounds to show wrongdoing, Djomo said.

“He has been acquitted. It was absolutely false,” Djomo said in a brief interview.

Djomo cut short an initial conversation with The Post, saying he had to prepare for Mass, and declined further questions, referring them to the Vatican. He did not respond to a list of questions about his handling of the rape accusation.

The Vatican said its Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith had “been able to deal with this case based on the evidence that was provided to it” and had determined it could not “proceed any further.”

“Should further, certain evidence be supplied by civil authorities, by the accusers, or by other witnesses, it would unfailingly be taken into due consideration,” the Vatican’s statement said.

Olongo, the priest who was accused, declined to speak with Post reporters. Faustin Abedi, a lawyer who has helped to represent Olongo during the case, said the priest says he is innocent.

The Post does not publish the names of alleged victims of sexual violence. The girl, now 17, is an aspiring nun still living with the disbanded association — the Sisters Servants of Mary, Comforter of the Afflicted — whose remaining members have fled rural Tshumbe and Djomo’s diocese for Kinshasa, Congo’s capital, where they pray and study in a small concrete building in a slum near the airport.

July 14

Daily Beast, Jesse Watters Pats Himself on the Back After Suggesting Child Rape Story Was Hoax, William Vaillancourt, Updated July 14, 2022. Indiana’s Republican attorney general, meanwhile, is pledging to look into whether the doctor who performed the 10-year-old’s abortion could face criminal charges.

daily beast logoFox News host Jesse Watters on Wednesday tried to take credit for putting “pressure” on the investigation into the rape of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who then had to travel out-of-state for an abortion, despite suggesting two days ago that the story was a “hoax” and a piece of “politically timed disinformation.” Earlier on Wednesday, authorities arrested the girl’s alleged rapist.

“Primetime covered this story heavily on Monday, put on the pressure, and now we’re glad that justice is being served,” Watters claimed before showing several clips from that day’s show. The final clip cuts off before the Fox host says that if “the mainstream media and president of the United States [are] seizing on another hoax, then this is absolutely shameful, and fits a pretty dangerous pattern of politically timed disinformation.”

Watters then turned his attention to Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the Indiana obstetrician-gynecologist who performed the abortion, and suggested that she may be subject to a “criminal charge” over how she handled the case.

Watters raised this question with Indiana’s Republican attorney general, Todd Rokita, who proceeded to label Bernard an “abortion activist acting as a doctor” and claimed she has a “history of failing to report” child abuse cases.

“This is a horrible, horrible scene caused by Marxists and socialists and those in the White House who want lawlessness at the border,” Rokita claimed. The suspected rapist, a 27-year-old Guatemalan national named Gerson Fuentes, is in the country illegally, The Daily Beast learned Wednesday. “This girl was politicized—politicized for the gain of killing more babies. That was the goal, and this abortion activist is out there front and center.”

Rokita also attacked “fake news,” which to him includes the Indianapolis Star, which first reported on the rape and subsequent abortion, which occurred after Roe v. Wade was overturned and Ohio’s trigger law went into effect. “They were right there jumping in on all of this, thinking that it was going to be great for their abortionist movement when this girl has been so brutalized.”

July 13

Law&Crime, Arizona Man Sentenced for Brutal Murder of Kindergarten Teacher Who Offered House as Collateral to Bail Him Out of Jail, lawcrime logoJerry Lambe, July 13, 2022. A 32-year-old Arizona man will spend the rest of his life behind bars. He admitted that he brutally killed an elementary school teacher after she put up her house as collateral to bail him out of jail five years ago.

Charlie Malzahn was ordered to serve a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for the 2017 murder of 44-year-old Cathryn arizona mapGorospe, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

Malzahn, whose stepfather is the chief of police in Williams, Arizona, in June reached a deal with prosecutors and agreed to plead guilty to one count each of first-degree murder and abandonment of a human body. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors reportedly agreed not to pursue a death sentence.

Ray Gorospe, Cathryn’s father, read an emotional victim impact statement prior to the sentencing.

“I didn’t know it was possible to feel so much pain without being physically injured,” he said while sobbing, according to the Arizona Daily Sun. “People talk of closure. To me, there will be never be closure, only the terrible pain of losing my daughter.”

Law&Crime, Chiropractor Sexually Assaulted Seven Female Patients, and There May Be More Victims: Prosecutors, Alberto Luperon, July lawcrime logo13, 2022. A chiropractor sexually assaulted seven female patients at a California clinic, prosecutors say. Authorities expressed concern that he might have hurt more women elsewhere in the state and even across the country.

Lincoln Esguerra Carillo, 60, faces seven felony counts of felony sexual penetration by means of fraudulent representation of a professional purpose, four counts of sexual battery by fraudulent representation of a professional purpose, and 12 misdemeanor counts of touching an intimate part of another person.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced charges on Wednesday.

Carillo worked at Twins Chiropractic in the city of Irvine for approximately four years, prosecutors said.

“During the course of his employment, Carillo treated a female patient multiple times for chronic neck pain between April and May 2021,” authorities said. “During seven of the visits, Carillo is accused of sexually assaulting the woman. The woman reported the sexual assaults to the Irvine Police Department in May 2021.”

Irvine cops learned of six more sexual assault survivors treated by Carillo at Twins Chiropractic between January and August of 2021, prosecutors said. This included a woman who needed care after getting hurt in a car accident.

Twins Chiropractic did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.

Authorities said Carillo might have even more victims. They described him as having links to chiropractic offices in sprawling locations: Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and even on the East Coast, in Virginia. More specifically, authorities pointed out the offices were in in Artesia, Los Angeles, Fountain Valley, Seal Beach, Long Beach, Irvine, Orange, Upland, Cerritos, Costa Mesa, Placentia, Garden Grove, Riverside and Herndon, Virginia.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: The administration clarifies emergency room laws around abortion, Rachel Roubein, July 13, 2022 (print ed.). The Biden administration is reminding doctors that they must terminate a pregnancy if doing so is necessary to stabilize a patient in an emergency medical situation.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued updated guidance yesterday — an attempt to clarify when providers can perform an abortion in states with bans on the procedure.

Did the memo contain new policy? No, it didn’t. The federal health department was pretty clear on that point. “This memorandum is being issued to remind hospitals of their existing obligation to comply with EMTALA and does not contain new policy,” a note at the top of the document states.

Instead, the guidance sought to cut through the confusion and arm physicians with a defense if they get sued by their state. Federal law trumps state abortion bans and protects clinicians’ judgment when administering treatment, regardless of the state they’re practicing in, HHS said.

Some providers welcomed the assurances, although it's unlikely to subdue Democratic activists’ calls for the White House to push the limits of what it can do to respond to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade’s decades-old protections. President Biden signed an executive order last week aimed at directing cabinet secretaries to take a number of steps to bolster abortion rights, which including shoring up emergency care.

Rolling Stone, Conservatives Called an Ohio Rape Case Fake News. Now an Arrest Has Been Made, Nikki McCann Ramirez, July 13, 2022. Right-wing commentators and politicians cast doubt on a report that a 10-year-old girl who traveled to get an abortion was raped. Law enforcement says the alleged perpetrator has confessed

rolling stone logoAn arrest has been made in the case of a 10-year-old girl who sought an abortion in Indiana after services were allegedly denied to her in Ohio. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Gershon Fuentes, age 27, was arrested on Tuesday. Law enforcement officials say Fuentes confessed to raping the child — whose identity has not been released to preserve her privacy — on at least two occasions, and has been charged with rape.

In the weeks leading up to the arrest, prominent right-wing pundits and government officials attempted to discredit the story as a liberal pro-abortion fantasy. The narrative exploded after a July 5 viral Twitter thread by Megan Fox, a writer at right-wing outfit PJ Media, claiming the “TIMING of this horrific story is too on the nose,” and questioning why sources were unwilling to publicly disclose sensitive information regarding the rape of a child.

The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler also criticized the widespread coverage the story received and questioned if the Indianapolis Star had done appropriate diligence in confirming the existence of the girl. “An abortion by a 10-year-old is pretty rare,” Kessler wrote in his fact-check of the story.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem tweeted last Friday that the story “was fake to begin with. Literal #FakeNews from the liberal media,” after being questioned about it by CNN’s Dana Bash. Rolling Stone reached out to Governor Noem’s office, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Why Overturning Roe Will Unleash a Legal Storm for the Supreme Court, Harry Litman (below right, a former U.S. harry litman msnbc screenshotattorney and deputy assistant attorney general), July 13, 2022 (print ed.). While laying waste to 50 years of abortion jurisprudence, the Supreme Court — or at least four of the five members of the new hard-right majority — took pains to reassure the country that it had executed an isolated hit on an “egregiously wrong” precedent that would not reverberate in other areas of constitutional law.

But the court will not fully control whether and when it will have to confront demands for similarly breathtaking changes. In fact, the justices’ agenda will be driven primarily by the political ferment in red states that are racing to capitalize on one of the most conservative blocs of five justices in at least 100 years.

And that in turn means that overturning Roe v. Wade will not take the issue of abortion out of the courts but rather intensify the battle there. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will let loose a whirlwind of red-state lawmaking that will blow to the court’s door in the coming years, as will other constitutional cases of the sort the court tried to bracket off in Dobbs.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: The Senate returns, post-Roe, with few options, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Theodoric Meyer, July 13, 2022 (print ed.). The Senate is back in town for the first time since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — with no clear legislative path to respond.

Unlike House Democrats, their Senate counterparts don't plan to move any abortion-related bills over the next four weeks they're in session, mostly because they lack the support of 10 Republicans needed to overcome a filibuster.

July 11

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Biden has put the forced-birth crusaders on notice, Jennifer Rubin, right, July 10, 2022. If there was any lingering jennifer rubin new headshotdoubts about President Biden’s commitment to abortion rights, he squashed them on Friday.

Biden slammed the Supreme Court, declaring that its decision to overturn abortion rights wasn’t "a constitutional judgment”; instead, he argued, it was "an exercise in raw political power.” And he brought the legal and historical receipts, accurately dinging the court for “playing fast and loose with the facts.” As he noted, “Even 150 years ago, the common law and many state laws did not criminalize abortion early in pregnancy, which is very similar to the viability line drawn by Roe.”

Biden was on target when he declared that "the court has made clear it will not protect the rights of women, period.” He added that the ruling "practically dares the women of America to go to the ballot box and restore the very rights they’ve just taken away.”

While Democrats and other defenders of women’s rights have been irate over Biden’s rhetorical reticence until now, there should be no argument that the immediate solution at the federal level is to produce Democratic majorities in the midterms that will codify Roe v. Wade and, in the Senate, carve out an exception for the filibuster to restore women’s fundamental rights. Biden has issued multiple executive orders on the issue, such as protecting interstate travel and access to FDA-approved abortion medication, but critics are off base in imagining there is some storehouse of executive powers that can override the Supreme Court and state law.

Politico, How Abortion Is Sundering Amy Coney Barrett’s Hometown, Adam Wren, July 11, 2022 (print ed.). South Bend, Indiana, is a blue city home to a conservative Catholic University. And both sides are taking their former neighbor’s vote on Dobbs very personally.

politico CustomLike in many American towns, protestors and celebrants poured into the streets and city plazas of this northern Indiana city in the hours and days after the Supreme Court reversed abortion rights.

On Friday evening after the Dobbs decision came down, in the John Hunt Plaza in front of the Morris Civic Auditorium, the protesters began hoisting the now-familiar signs: HANDS OFF MY UTERUS. ABORTION IS HEALTHCARE. OUR BODIES OUR CHOICE. KEEP IT LEGAL. KEEP IT SAFE.

Unlike in a lot of towns, though, the jeerers and the cheerers happened to have a onetime neighbor and fellow South Bender as a justice on the court: Amy Coney Barrett, who still keeps a presence in the town, having only relatively recently sold her 3,800-square-foot brick home in the leafy and pristine Harter Heights neighborhood near her former employer, the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Politico, Biden’s abortion response curbed by fears of another Supreme Court showdown, Adam Cancryn, July 11, 2022. The potential impact of the high court has left the White House feeling restricted by what post-Roe actions it can take.

politico CustomLast month, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Now, that same body is scaring the Biden administration from responding with bolder steps.

As President Joe Biden faces calls for more drastic action on abortion, the legal team vetting his options has found itself preoccupied by a single pressing concern: That any action they could take would simply be struck down by the very court that put them in this place.

Those fears have complicated and slowed the White House’s post-Roe actions, with officials worried a more aggressive response from Biden could backfire, further entrench anti-abortion restrictions and open the door to even more severe limits on his executive power.

The administration already has rejected ideas pushed by the left — like a health emergency declaration and opening abortion clinics on federal land — over concerns about the legal implications. But the concern over litigation is so significant that the White House has also closely guarded the options under discussion to prevent GOP attorneys general and anti-abortion groups from preparing lawsuits ahead of time, a person with knowledge of the discussions said.

Nearly everything the White House tries or has considered is at risk of drawing a court challenge, administration officials and legal experts said. The end result: More than two weeks after the Supreme Court abolished federal abortion rights, Biden advisers are still trying to determine what in their arsenal has the best shot of survival in a court system that appears stacked against them.
Biden announces executive order to protect abortion access

“I know it’s frustrating and it made a lot of people very angry,” Biden said in a Friday speech. “But the truth is, and it’s not just me saying it … when you read the decision, the court has made clear it will not protect the rights of women.”

The administration’s cautious approach has disheartened Democrats who note the White House had months to prepare for this very scenario. It’s also prompted questions in some corners of the party about whether Biden is capable of meeting a crisis moment for reproductive rights and Americans’ broader faith in the courts.

washington post logoWashington Post, Buttigieg says officials like Kavanaugh ‘should expect’ public protest, María Luisa Paúl, July 11, 2022. The transportation secretary was asked about protesters gathering at a Morton’s steakhouse where the Supreme Court justice was dining. Two days after Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh fled abortion rights protesters at a Morton’s steakhouse in D.C., Chasten Buttigieg — husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg — tweeted his assessment of the incident.

“Sounds like he just wanted some privacy to make his own dining decisions,” Chasten Buttigieg wrote, alluding to Kavanaugh’s recent vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that had guaranteed abortion access on the basis of Americans’ right to privacy.

The tweet drew criticism from some conservatives, including former Trump adviser Stephen Miller, who decried what he called an endorsement of “the use of mob intimidation tactics” as “wildly irresponsible.” But Pete Buttigieg defended his husband’s remarks during a Sunday interview with Fox News’s Mike Emanuel.

July 9

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘I Felt Trapped’: Investigating Sexual Abuse of Teens in the Military’s J.R.O.T.C. Program, Mike Baker, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Ilana Marcus, Photographs by Mary F. Calvert, July 9, 2022. Former students say military veterans who led J.R.O.T.C. classes in U.S. high schools fashioned themselves as mentors, then used their power to manipulate and abuse.

With the rifle skills she honed in the Mississippi backwoods, Victoria Bauer had a path to escape the trap of drugs and dead-end jobs she saw most everywhere around her. Her future was in the Marines, she decided, and she had an idea about how to get there.

Across the way from her freshman algebra class, Ms. Bauer approached Steve Hardin, the retired Navy intelligence officer who guided the high school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, a leadership program sponsored by the U.S. military at high schools across the country. He welcomed her into the fold, she said, and seemed interested in how her family, which traced roots back to the Four Winds Cherokee of Louisiana, had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Soon, her 45-year-old J.R.O.T.C. instructor was messaging her on Snapchat late into the night, telling her that it would “drive the guys crazy” if she wore a “small bikini” during the trip to their next out-of-state shooting competition. Then one night in 2015 as he drove her home from rifle practice, she told investigators, Mr. Hardin pushed his hand into her pants and penetrated her with his fingers — the start of what she said was months of sexual assaults. Ms. Bauer, who was 15 at the time, feared that resisting him would jeopardize her shot at advancement through the J.R.O.T.C. ranks or a military career.

“I gave all the body-language signals that I didn’t want it,” Ms. Bauer said in an interview. “I didn’t feel like I had a choice.”

For more than a century, the J.R.O.T.C. program has sought to instill U.S. military values in American teenagers, with classes in thousands of public high schools that provide training in marksmanship, life skills, hierarchical discipline and military history. School officials endorse the classes, typically offered as electives during the regular school day, as a way to galvanize students who are struggling with direction and motivation.

But a New York Times investigation — which included an examination of thousands of court documents, investigative files and other records obtained through more than 150 public disclosure requests — has found that the program has repeatedly become a place where retired military officers prey on their teenage students.

In the past five years, The Times found, at least 33 J.R.O.T.C. instructors have been criminally charged with sexual misconduct involving students, far higher than the rate of civilian high school teachers in jurisdictions examined by The Times. Many others have been accused of misconduct but never charged.

The senior military veterans who make up the J.R.O.T.C. ranks are certified by the military but deploy to high school classrooms with little oversight and scant training for the actual work of being a teacher. Many states do not require J.R.O.T.C. instructors to have a college degree or a teaching certificate. Schools are expected to monitor the instructors and investigate complaints, but they have struggled to adequately oversee a program that largely operates on the fringes of their campuses.

Victims have reported sexual assaults in classrooms and supply closets, during field trips or on late-night rides home, sometimes committed after instructors plied students with alcohol or drugs. One former student said her instructor told her that sexual submission was expected of women in the military. A recent cadet in Tennessee said her J.R.O.T.C. instructor warned that he had the skills to kill her without a trace if she told anyone about their sexual encounters. In Missouri, a student said she was forced to kneel at her instructor’s bedside, blindfolded, with a gun to her head.

The Times interviewed 13 victims, many of whom had strikingly similar stories: They were teenagers who came from disadvantaged backgrounds or who otherwise saw the military as a pathway to a promising future, then found that the instructors who fashioned themselves as mentors exploited their positions to manipulate and abuse.

J.R.O.T.C. leaders declined requests for interviews but pointed to research indicating that the program had a positive effect on school attendance and graduation rates. The U.S. Army Cadet Command, which sponsors the largest J.R.O.T.C. program, said in a statement that its instructors went through a “strenuous” vetting process and that any allegations of misconduct were investigated, typically by the school districts that hired the J.R.O.T.C. instructors as civilian employees.

July 7

ny times logoNew York Times, Jerry Harris Sentenced to 12 Years for Sex Crimes Involving Minors, Sarah Bahr, July 7, 2022 (print ed.). Mr. Harris, a star of Netflix’s “Cheer,” pleaded guilty to charges related to soliciting child sexual abuse imagery and illegal sexual conduct with a minor.

A judge in Chicago sentenced Jerry Harris, the Navarro College cheerleader who became a breakout star of the Netflix documentary series “Cheer,” to 12 years in prison on Wednesday on guilty pleas to two of seven federal charges related to sex crimes involving minors in February.

Mr. Harris, 22, had reached a plea deal in February in which prosecutors agreed that after sentencing on the two counts — the charges that he persuaded a 17-year-old to send him sexually explicit photos for money and traveled to Florida “for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct” with a 15-year-old — they would ask that the remaining charges be dropped. He had initially pleaded not guilty to all seven charges in December 2020.

Mr. Harris’s plea agreement noted that sentencing guidelines “may recommend 50 years in prison” for the offenses, though Judge Manish S. Shah had noted that he might decide differently. Judge Shah also ordered Mr. Harris to serve eight years of court-supervised release following his prison term.

A lawyer for Mr. Harris, Todd Pugh, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

In a memo filed before the hearing, prosecutors had asked Judge Shah to sentence Mr. Harris to 15 years in prison, arguing that Mr. Harris took advantage of “his status as a competitive cheerleader, his social media persona, and eventually his celebrity and money, to persuade and entice his young victims to engage in sexually explicit conduct for him or with him.”

Mr. Harris’s lawyers had requested a six-year prison term, to be followed by eight years of supervised release, arguing that Mr. Harris had himself been sexually abused as a child in the world of competitive cheerleading and therefore had a “skewed version of what he understood to be appropriate relationships.”

The sentencing caps a case that began nearly two years ago in September 2020, when Mr. Harris was arrested and charged with production of child pornography, months after the release of “Cheer,” which follows a national champion cheerleading team from a small-town Texas community college.

Around the same time, he was sued by teenage twin brothers who said he had sent sexually explicit messages to them, requested nude photos and solicited sex from them. (Mr. Harris befriended the boys when they were 13 and he was 19, USA Today reported.)

July 5

ny times logoNew York Times, Solveig Gold Is Proud to Be the Wife of a ‘Canceled’ Princeton Professor, Anemona Hartocollis, Updated July 5, 2022. But she also wants to be known as more. At dinner with the aspiring public intellectual and her “cabal.”

Solveig Lucia Gold was setting the table in her backyard, next door to the house once occupied by Albert Einstein. Her yard is a sweeping field of emerald green grass leading down to the 18th-century blacksmith’s cottage with stone floors that houses her home study.

princeton resized logoMs. Gold, 27, was preparing for an intimate dinner with some of the few people — “our little cabal,” she said — who publicly admit to being on friendly terms with her and her husband, the recently fired (she prefers “canceled”) former Princeton classics professor Joshua Katz.

Most of the guests were much older than Ms. Gold. This included Dr. Katz, who is 52 and was once her professor. They married last July, four years after she finished Princeton with a summa cum laude degree in classics, and one year after Dr. Katz began his public fight with the campus left.

July 3



Norma McCorvey, left at center, the anonymous plaintiff named

Norma McCorvey, left at center, the anonymous plaintiff named "Roe" in historic abortion litigation before the Suprem Court, celebrates with lawyer Gloria Allred, dressed in blue, as shown in a J. Scott Applewhite photo for the Associated Press used in an FX documentary, as in many other places.

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: Norma McCorvey, the woman at the center of Roe v. Wade, led a conflicted life, as seen in her personal papers, Joshua Prager, July 3, 2022 (print ed.). Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe at the center of Roe v. Wade, was an imperfect plaintiff.

When she undertook Roe as a young single woman in Dallas, she gave no thought to the fight for reproductive rights. She was barely getting by as a waitress, had twice given birth to children placed for adoption, and simply wanted an abortion. She later lied about how she got pregnant, saying that she had been raped. When, more than a decade later, she came clean and wished to join in earnest the movement she had come to represent, its leaders denied her a meaningful part in their protests and rallies.

“I think they’re embarrassed,” McCorvey told Texas Monthly in 1993. “They would like for me to be college-educated, with poise and little white gloves.”

Still, Roe remained central to McCorvey’s life, bound to her by those same two crosscurrents that would frame the abortion debate in the United States — religion and sex.

norma mccorvey jane roe 1989McCorvey, shown in a 1989 photo, had hundreds of partners, nearly all of them women, she said. She also worked for a time as a prostitute in Dallas. But she had been raised a Jehovah’s Witness and saw sex as sinful. That her plaintiffship had made abortion legal left her fearing for her soul. That was part of the reason she became born again in 1995, she said — the better to join the fight against Roe.

Still, despite her public reversal, McCorvey — like a majority of Americans now — felt that abortion ought to be legal through the first trimester. She shared this in the first interview she ever gave, days after Roe, and she shared it again in her last, speaking with me from a hospital bed at the end of her life. (During my decade of research for “The Family Roe,” a book on Roe and its plaintiff, I spent hundreds of hours interviewing McCorvey.)

Her private papers — which I found in the garage of her former partner, just before the house was lost to foreclosure — offer a firsthand insight into McCorvey as she really was: a woman whose torments and ambivalences about abortion mirror those that divide the country, and who continues to be relevant in the new, post-Roe world.

McCorvey was 13 in October 1960 when she checked into a motel room with a female friend who then accused McCorvey of trying “inappropriate things” with her. The Juvenile Court of Dallas declared McCorvey “a delinquent child,” as this document attests.

McCorvey was sent to a Catholic boarding school, and later, at 16, to a state boarding school for “delinquent girls.” She enjoyed being away from her family, and had a run of girlfriends. But her mother, Mary Sandefur, beat her for being gay, Sandefur said in an interview, and McCorvey came to see sex and her sexuality as sinful and illicit. Years after she got pregnant for the third time, and sought an abortion, she told people that she been raped, presenting herself as not a sinner but a victim.

McCorvey was the third consecutive generation in her family to get pregnant out of wedlock, according to documents and interviews with members of her family. Her grandmother quickly married, while her mother was made to leave town, give birth in secret and surrender her child to her parents.

In January 1972, McCorvey’s brother Jimmy visited her in Dallas. The 20-something siblings were poor, and Jimmy noted his every expense in his daily planner.

McCorvey worked many jobs to get by — waitress and drug dealer, prostitute and painter, respiratory therapist and bond-runner. Money was a constant struggle. And when, in 1969, she got pregnant and found an unlicensed doctor who would perform an abortion, she could neither afford his $500 fee nor the cost of flying to California, where abortion was legal.

southern baptist convention logoA few days after the Roe ruling, in January 1973, The Baptist Press, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke with McCorvey. It was her first-ever interview. She said she believed it wrong to have an abortion at any point after the first trimester.

In time, McCorvey turned her plaintiffship into a career, and changed her public stance repeatedly, depending on her audience. But her private opinion on abortion did not change: On the day after her Christian rebirth, as well as at the end of her life, she repeated what she had first told The Baptist Press in 1973: that abortion should be legal through the first trimester.



June 29

washington post logoWashington Post, You scheduled an abortion. Planned Parenthood’s website could tell Facebook, Tatum Hunter, June 29, 2022. The organization left marketing trackers running on its scheduling pages.

The Supreme Court’s decision last week overturning the nationwide right to an abortion in the United States may have sent worried people flooding to Planned Parenthood’s website to learn about nearby clinics or schedule services.

facebook logoBut if they used the organization’s online scheduling tool, it appears Planned Parenthood could share people’s location — and, in some cases, even the method of abortion they selected — with big tech companies.

An investigation by Lockdown Privacy, the maker of an app that blocks online tracking, found that Planned Parenthood’s web scheduler can share information with a variety of third parties, including Google, Facebook, TikTok and Hotjar, a tracking tool tiktok logo square Customthat says it helps companies understand how customers behave. These outside companies receive data including IP addresses, approximate Zip codes and service selections, which privacy experts worry could be valuable to state governments looking to prosecute abortions.

Big Tech silent on data collection as workers call for post-Roe action

In a video shared with The Washington Post, Lockdown founder Johnny Lin visited the Planned Parenthood website, opened the scheduling tool, input a Zip code and selected “surgical abortion” as a service. As he clicked around, a development tool let him see how data such as his IP address was being shared with Google, Facebook and many other third-party companies. Only the companies would know for sure how they use our data, but any data sitting on servers is vulnerable to potential cyberattacks or government subpoenas. In a criminal abortion case, an IP address would be pertinent because with the help of internet service providers, law enforcement can trace IP addresses back to individuals.


Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan, via Getty Images)

washington post logoWashington Post, Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years in prison, Shayna Jacobs, June 29, 2022 (print ed.). Maxwell, 60, groomed and peddled girls and young women to financier Jeffrey Epstein for at least a decade.

Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for trafficking young sexual abuse victims to financier Jeffrey Epstein, a recognition of her extensive role in recruiting the girls and young women and facilitating their encounters.

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan had calculated the federal sentencing guidelines to suggest a 15-to-19-year prison term for Maxwell, 60, who as Epstein’s longtime girlfriend managed an evolving roster of victims to give him daily sexualized massages.

But after hearing from several victims who said they are still affected by the abuse they suffered, and from Maxwell herself, Nathan imposed a two-decade sentence. She said it was “important to note [Maxwell’s] lack of acceptance of responsibility” for the abuse, which occurred between 1994 and 2004.

ny times logoNew York Times, For Many Women, Roe Was About More Than Abortion. It Was About Freedom, Julie Bosman, June 29, 2022. After the reversal of Roe v. Wade, some women are reconsidering their plans, including where they live, and wondering how best to channel their anger.

Countless women wept. Some spent the weekend burning white-hot with rage, commiserating with friends and mothers and sisters. Many were fearful, recognizing the feeling of a freedom being taken away and thinking to themselves: This could only get worse.

Millions of American women spent the past five days absorbing the news that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, erasing the constitutional right to a legal abortion that had held for nearly a half-century.

The decision instantly reordered the lives of women across the country.

Some women, especially conservative Christians, reveled in the decision as a moral and legal victory. But a poll released on Sunday revealed that a sizable majority of women in the United States — 67 percent — opposed the court’s ruling to overturn Roe, and 52 percent of Americans said it was a step backward for the nation.

ny times logoNew York Times, Illinois Abortion Clinics Prepare for a Rush of Patients After Roe, Allison McCann, June 29, 2022. The 67 clinics operating in neighboring states could stop offering abortions or close altogether, sending thousands more patients to Illinois.

illinois mapIllinois is quickly emerging as an island of abortion access for people in the Midwest and the South, as neighboring states move to ban the procedure after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion. Providers in the state had been preparing for a surge of people seeking abortion services, but many said this week that they were still overwhelmed by patients’ reactions to the decision.

There were roughly 50,000 abortions performed in Illinois in 2020, and around one in five was for a patient traveling from out of state. There are currently 29 abortion providers in Illinois, but as clinics in surrounding states stop providing abortions or close altogether, these providers say they may not be able to meet the demand.

Four of Illinois’s neighbors immediately banned abortion after the court’s decision on Friday, and two others — Ohio and Tennessee — now restrict the procedure to six weeks into a pregnancy. A ban in Michigan is temporarily blocked by a court there, and lawmakers in Indiana and Iowa are expected to consider abortion bans in the coming months.

ny times logoNew York Times, After Rapes by Russian Soldiers, a Difficult Quest for Justice, Valerie Hopkins, June 29, 2022. Women who were attacked in a village near Kyiv face daunting challenges in getting such crimes prosecuted. “I want them to be punished,” said one victim.

Every day, Viktoriya has to walk past the house where she was raped by a Russian soldier the same age as her teenage son.

Russian troops arrived in her two-street village, near the Kyiv suburb of Borodianka, in early March. Soon afterward, she said, two of them raped her and a neighbor, killed two men, including her neighbor’s husband, and destroyed several homes.

“If you do not think about it all, you can live,” Viktoriya said in an interview in the village on a recent rainy day. “But it is certainly not forgotten.”

June 24

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The five most radical right Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are shown above, with the sixth Republican, Chief Justice John Roberts, omitted in this view.

The five most radical right Republican justices on the Supreme Court are shown above, with the sixth Republican, Chief Justice John Roberts, omitted in this photo array.

 ny times logoNew York Times, SUPREME COURT OVERTURNS ROE V. WADE, Adam Liptak, June 24, 2022. Ends Constitutional Right to Abortion; Draft Opinion Had Leaked.

The Supreme Court on Friday overruled Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years in a decision that will transform American life, reshape the nation’s politics and lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states.

The ruling will test the legitimacy of the court and vindicate a decades-long Republican project of installing conservative justices prepared to reject the precedent, which had been repeatedly reaffirmed by earlier courts. It will also be one of the signal legacies of President Donald J. Trump, who vowed to name justices who would overrule Roe. All three of his appointees were in the majority in the 6-to-3 ruling.

The decision, which echoed a leaked draft opinion published by Politico in early May, will result in a starkly divided country in which abortion is severely restricted or forbidden in many red states but remains freely available in most blue ones.

john roberts oChief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., right, voted with the majority but said he would have taken “a more measured course,” stopping short of overruling Roe outright. The court’s three liberal members dissented.

The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392, concerned a law enacted in 2018 by the Republican-dominated Mississippi Legislature that banned abortions if “the probable gestational age of the unborn human” was determined to be more than 15 weeks. The statute, a calculated challenge to Roe, included narrow exceptions for medical emergencies or “a severe fetal abnormality.”

Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic sued, saying the law ran afoul of Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that affirmed Roe’s core holding.

Lower courts ruled for the clinic, saying the law was plainly unconstitutional under Roe, which prohibited states from banning abortions before fetal viability — the point at which fetuses can sustain life outside the womb, currently about 23 weeks.

Judge Carlton W. Reeves of Federal District Court in Jackson, Miss., blocked the law in 2018, saying the legal issue was straightforward and questioning the state lawmakers’ motives.

“The state chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decades-long campaign, fueled by national interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Judge Reeves wrote. “This court follows the commands of the Supreme Court and the dictates of the United States Constitution, rather than the disingenuous calculations of the Mississippi Legislature.”

The decision, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years, will lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states.

It will also be one of the signal legacies of former President Trump: All three of his appointees were in the majority ruling.

washington post logoWashington Post, Abortion will soon be banned in 13 states. Here’s which could be next, Caroline Kitchener, Kevin Schaul, N. Kirkpatrick, Daniela Santamariña and Lauren Tierney, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court released a decision on Friday overturning Roe v. Wade, touching off a cascade of antiabortion laws that probably will take effect across roughly half the country.

Without the landmark precedent in place, the national abortion landscape will change quickly. First, 13 states with “trigger bans,” designed to take effect as soon as Roe is overturned, will ban abortion within 30 days. Several other states where recent antiabortion legislation has been blocked by the courts are expected to act next, with lawmakers moving to activate their dormant legislation. A handful of states also have pre-Roe abortion bans that could be brought back to life.

ny times logoNew York Times, Thomas’s concurring opinion raises questions about what rights might be next, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, June 24, 2022. Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, laid out a vision that elicited fears about what other rights could disappear: The same rationale that the Supreme Court used to declare there was no right to abortion, he said, should also be used to overturn cases establishing rights to contraception, same-sex consensual relations and same-sex marriage.

samuel alito oIn the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel A. Alito, left, the court said that nothing in its decision “should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Justice Thomas said he agreed with that.

However, he noted that in its rationale, the court’s majority found that a right to abortion was not a form of “liberty” protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Then, he took aim at three other landmark cases that relied on that same legal reasoning: Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 decision that declared married couples had a right to contraception; Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case invalidating clarence thomas HRsodomy laws and making same-sex sexual activity legal across the country; and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case establishing the right of gay couples to marry.

Justice Thomas, right, wrote that the court “should reconsider” all three decisions, saying it had a duty to “correct the error” established in those precedents. Then, he said, after “overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions” protected the rights they established.

This kind of language is just what advocates for reproductive rights and for L.G.B.T.Q. rights have been fearing. Defenders of the right to abortion have repeatedly warned that if Roe fell, the right to contraception and same-sex marriage would be next.

Abortion opponents, who fought hard to overturn Roe, have insisted they have no interest in trying to undo the right to contraception.

But already, states like Missouri are trying to restrict access to contraception by banning public funding for certain methods: intrauterine devices and the so-called morning after pill. And some Republicans, notably Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, have said that the Griswold case was wrongly decided. Earlier this year, Ms. Blackburn called Griswold “constitutionally unsound.”


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washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: Biden says restoring abortion rights is up to voters, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, June 24, 2022. Newsom, West Coast governors pledge ‘sanctuary’ for abortion rights; Dick’s Sporting Goods to reimburse travel expenses for employees who seek abortion; Dispatch from Jackson, Miss: Vow to keep seeing patients.

President Biden called the Supreme Court’s decision a “tragic error” and implored voters to elect candidates in November who will support abortion rights and broader rights to privacy.


The U.S. Supreme Court, protected from protesters by fencing (Photo by Douglas Rissing).

The U.S. Supreme Court, protected from protesters by fencing (Photo by Douglas Rissing).

Steady, Commentary: A day at the Supreme Court that shakes America to its core, Dan Rather (right, author and former CBS Evening News dan rather 2011anchor and managing editor), June 24, 2022.

What to say that hasn’t been said but needs to be said again, and again, and again:

dan rather steady logoThis is not a court of humble jurists who are bound in any way by fidelity to precedent, the law, or common sense. There is nothing “conservative” about these damaging decisions, or the men and woman who have imposed their extreme views upon the American populace.

Right-wing politicians decry “elitism,” but what is more elitist than unelected and unaccountable activists using the language of legal argumentation as a fig leaf for their naked exercise of power?

There is no way that these decisions would pass a vote of the American public. Indeed, a majority of the justices were installed by presidents who lost the popular vote. And the polling on the issues these rulings tear asunder suggests that what these justices are doing is unpopular — in many cases, very unpopular.

But they sneer from their echo chamber of extremism. They are emboldened by a system that has been fixed, with the complicity of Mitch McConnell and others, to advantage minority viewpoints by leveraging a branch of government not designed to be a political actors' stage in order to circumvent the legislative and executive branches.

Where to begin, and where will it end?The Supreme Court has further cemented its role as a reactionary force in American life.

Today it was abortion, on top of recent decisions on gun regulations, public funding for religious schools, and Miranda rights. Soon they will likely gut environmental regulations, and we can guess at what comes next — gay marriage? Contraception?

We can’t let this moment pass without recognizing what a horrific decision today's is, and how it will relegate women to second-class status in decision-making over their own bodies. This will lead to a host of suffering and likely death. It will imprison women where control will be imposed by the state. It is the opposite of freedom. It is a right that existed — and still should.

The Supreme Court depends on its legitimacy, and today that is as tattered as the constitutional rights on which it has trampled. The Roberts court will be marked as a cabal of intemperance that made America far less safe and far less free. It will be noted for its zealotry and its cynical embrace of the ends justifying the means.

But as with all chapters of history, how our present is ultimately viewed depends on what comes next. Will these rulings lead to outrage-fueled activism that upends the political system, or apathy and defeatism? Will the majority mobilize? Will there be reforms? Will there be a recalibration of the current balance of power?

I leave you today with the words of Sherrilyn Ifill, civil rights lawyer and president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She has experienced the fight from the trenches of justice, and her perspective mirrors my own. I could not have expressed it better.

Remember that we have never seen the America we’ve been fighting for. So no need to be nostalgic. Right on the other side of this unraveling is opportunity. If we keep fighting no matter what, take care of ourselves & each other, stay strategic & principled, & use all our power.

washington post logoWashington Post, With Roe’s demise, abortion will soon be banned across much of red America, Caroline Kitchener, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the landmark precedent will prompt immediate changes to the country’s abortion landscape. The tremors from Friday’s sweeping Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe v. Wade will ripple across the country almost immediately, with roughly half of all states poised to ban or drastically restrict abortion.

Thirteen states will outlaw abortion within 30 days with “trigger bans” that were designed to take effect as soon as Roe was overturned. These laws make an exception for cases where the mother’s life is in danger, but most do not include exceptions for rape or incest.

In many states, trigger bans will activate as soon as a designated state official certifies the decision, which Republican lawmakers expect to happen within minutes.

“They just need to acknowledge, ‘Yes, this has occurred,’ ” said Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert (R), who has championed much of his state’s antiabortion legislation, including its trigger ban. “I’ll be happy to see the butcher mill in Little Rock, Arkansas, shut down for good.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The Supreme Court eviscerates abortion rights and its own legitimacy, Jennifer Rubin, right, June 24, 2022. While we jennifer rubin new headshotknew from the leak of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s majority opinion that Roe v. Wade and nearly 50 years of constitutional precedent were hanging by a thread, and yet when the opinion came down Friday morning — a virtual copy of the leaked draft — many Americans no doubt felt a wave of disbelief, anger, dread and fear.

The court’s decision is so emphatic, and so contemptuous of the principle of stare decisis, that one wonders whether the unvarnished radicalism of the decision will finally rouse millions of Americans to the threat posed by a court untethered to law, precedent or reason.

 As the dissent (by Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor) made clear, the majority opinion is as radical as any in its history: “It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs. An abortion restriction, the majority holds, is permissible whenever rational, the lowest level of scrutiny known to the law. And because, as the Court has often stated, protecting fetal life is rational, States will feel free to enact all manner of restrictions.”

National Public Radio (NPR), All Things Considered Interview: Former governor whose bill was at the center of Roe ruling reacts to SCOTUS' npr logodecision, Mary Louise Kelly, June 24, 2024. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with Phil Bryant, the former governor of Mississippi, who signed a bill that bans abortions after 15 weeks.


Well, let's turn now to the state that brought us to this moment, Mississippi.

KELLY: Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only abortion provider in the state and the defendant in the case that the Supreme Court decided today. It concerned a state law enacted in 2018. The governor who signed that bill into law was then-Governor Republican Phil Bryant, and he joins me now. Governor Bryant, welcome.

PHIL BRYANT: I'm glad to be with you. It's a glorious day for those of us that are very pro-life.

KELLY: Well, I think people will have already gathered that this is the ruling you were hoping for. Can I ask your first thought when you heard the news?

BRYANT: Well, I was prayerful. To God be the glory, as - which I told everyone. There'll be a lot of politicians, and rightfully so, people who've helped that would try to take credit for this. That will be those that are campaigning for office that would say, that's exactly what I would have done. But when we had the opportunity in 2018 to protect innocent lives starting at 15 weeks, and of course, we then - we passed a more stringent anti-abortion bill after that. But we just believe that it's murder. We believe that it's a tearing apart of the human body in the womb. And so we were very happy, I was, and I know many of us that heard that ruling today.

KELLY: Walk me through what exactly changes now in Mississippi. You have a trigger law that kicks in.

BRYANT: We do.

KELLY: Mississippi, as we mentioned, only has one clinic providing abortions. What do these next days look like in your state?

BRYANT: Well, I think people will start thinking about something called individual responsibility. I think they're going to have to take into consideration that I might not be able to get an abortion on demand. I might not be able to do that just for my convenience. And so I think - I hope and I believe that there will be adults who will be more responsible and not bring about a life that they do not want.

This is not the most complicated thing in the world. Any seventh and eighth grader probably begins to realize where babies come from. And so for an adult female to say, well, you know, I just don't - I don't think this is what I want to do right now, I hope they will see more clearly through that process. And I know things happen. Look. I'm just saying that the life of that unborn child was where we were thinking and what we were doing when all of this began and even into today.

KELLY: In your years in office, you, of course, were governor for everybody in Mississippi, whatever their politics.

BRYANT: Correct.

KELLY: What do you say to Mississippians, like some of the ones we heard in that tape from outside the clinic today, who believe it is the right of women to decide what happens inside their own bodies and who are devastated...


KELLY: ...At today's decision?

BRYANT: I would say first you need to kneel and pray to God, who is the God of everyone, that in your heart, you can understand that that is a living human being. And so try as you might to find God in this. Try to pray and have him open your eyes and come into your heart and realize this is your child. This is a human being who has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And you're about to take all that away for your convenience. Pray. That's what I would tell them. Pray hard.

KELLY: When you say women are choosing an abortion because it is for their convenience, I just want to push you on that, because there are a lot of women who would say, this is not about my convenience. This is not a choice anyone wants to make. This is about my right to control my body.

BRYANT: And I would tell men and women that you have a responsibility. We all did, and all of us are - fall short of the grace of God. But please consider your responsibilities. And, men, take the responsibility of being the father. So we don't want to wish - we're not hardhearted. We understand these difficult situations. It's why we work so hard here to make adoption easier for families who can't have children and families who want desperately to have a child. So look. I'm not mad at anyone. I'm not judging anyone. I am just saying that the Supreme Court upheld a law today that said that the states have the right to regulate abortions and that we will continue to do that within the confines of the Constitution of the United States laws.

KELLY: Phil Bryant. He was the governor of Mississippi from 2012 to 2020. Governor Bryant, thank you.

BRYANT: Thank you.

KELLY: One of many voices we are hearing from today as we cover this landmark ruling by the Supreme Court.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Overturning Roe could threaten rights conservatives hold dear, Julia Bowes, June 24, 2022. Parental rights stem from the same liberty that the Supreme Court just began rolling back.

Recent Headlines

June 23 


dan snyder jacket

washington post logoWashington Post, Washington NFL owner conducted ‘shadow investigation’ of accusers, House panel finds, Mark Maske, Liz Clarke and Nicki Jhabvala, June 23, 2022 (print ed.). Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and members of his legal team conducted a “shadow investigation” and compiled a “dossier” targeting former team employees, their attorneys and journalists in an attempt to discredit carolyn maloney ohis accusers and shift blame following allegations of widespread misconduct in the team’s workplace, according to the findings of the investigation conducted by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Moreover, Snyder (shown above in a Washington Post file photo) hired private investigators and lawyers to unearth inappropriate emails and evidence aimed at convincing the NFL and Beth Wilkinson, who was conducting a league-sponsored investigation into sexual harassment in the organization, that Snyder’s longtime team president Bruce Allen was primarily responsible for any workplace issues.

The preliminary findings were detailed in a 29-page memo from Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), right, the committee’s chairwoman, to fellow committee members ahead of Wednesday’s Capitol Hill hearing on the Commanders’ workplace at which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to testify under oath. Snyder has declined to take part, objecting to the date and the terms.


ghislaine maxwell jeffrey epstein smiling young trial

Sex trafficking defendant Ghislaine Maxwell, left, in an undated photo with her onetime lover and boss Jeffrey Epstein (Photo submitted to jury by U.S. Department of Justice).

ny times logoNew York Times, Prosecutors Seek at Least 30 Years of Prison for Ghislaine Maxwell, Benjamin Weiser June 23, 2022. Ms. Maxwell, who will be sentenced next week, showed an “utter lack of remorse” for helping Jeffrey Epstein recruit and abuse girls, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan, writing that Ghislaine Maxwell had made the choice to conspire with Jeffrey Epstein for years, “working as partners in crime and causing devastating harm to vulnerable victims,” asked a judge on Wednesday night to sentence her to at least 30 years in prison.

Ms. Maxwell, 60, is to be sentenced on Tuesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan. If the judge follows the government’s recommendation, she could spend much of the rest of her life in prison.

Ms. Maxwell was convicted on Dec. 29 on five of the six counts she faced, including sex trafficking, after a monthlong trial in which witnesses testified that she helped Mr. Epstein recruit, groom and abuse underage girls.

Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers, in a brief last week, asked the judge, Alison J. Nathan, to impose a sentence below the 20 years recommended by the court’s probation department. The lawyers suggested that the government had decided to prosecute Ms. Maxwell after Mr. Epstein’s jailhouse suicide in 2019 to appease his victims and “repair the tarnished reputations” of the Justice Department and the Bureau of Prisons, in whose custody the disgraced financier died.

The defense also suggested that blame for Ms. Maxwell’s conduct lay with Mr. Epstein and her father, the late British media magnate Robert Maxwell, who they said was a cruel and intimidating parent.

The government, in its letter on Wednesday to Judge Nathan, dismissed those claims, asserting that if anything stood out from Ms. Maxwell’s sentencing submission, it was her failure to address her criminal conduct and her “utter lack of remorse.”

“Instead of showing even a hint of acceptance of responsibility,” the office of Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, wrote, “the defendant makes a desperate attempt to cast blame wherever else she can.”

The prosecutors said Ms. Maxwell’s attempt “to cast aspersions on the government for prosecuting her, and her claim that she is being held responsible for Epstein’s crimes, are both absurd and offensive.”

ny times logoNew York Times, What’s the Plan for the Tampon Shortage? Anna Grace Lee, June 23, 2022 (print ed.). As some consider switching to reusable menstrual products, factors like cost, accessibility and long-held personal preferences could be barriers.

The tampon shortage is the latest supply chain issue to affect daily life for women, just weeks after a shortage of baby formula left many families scrambling.

June 21

washington post logoWashington Post, Document reveals details of 2009 sexual assault allegation against Daniel Snyder, Will Hobson, June 21, 2022. An employee for Washington’s NFL team accused Snyder of sexually harassing and assaulting her on a team plane, according to legal correspondence obtained by The Washington Post. The allegations, which Snyder has denied, led to a $1.6 million settlement previously reported by The Post.

An employee of Washington’s NFL team accused owner Daniel Snyder of sexually harassing and assaulting her in April 2009, three months before the team agreed to pay the woman $1.6 million as part of a confidential settlement, according to legal correspondence obtained by The Washington Post.

The woman accused Snyder of asking her for sex, groping her and attempting to remove her clothes, according to a letter sent by an attorney for the team to the woman’s lawyer in 2009. The woman alleged the assault occurred in a private, partitioned area at the back of one of the team’s private planes during a return flight from a work trip to Las Vegas.

Snyder denied the woman’s allegations, the letter states, and a team investigation accused her of fabricating her claims as part of an extortion attempt. But Snyder and the team eventually agreed to pay her a seven-figure sum as part of a settlement in which she agreed not to sue or publicly disclose her allegations.

  • Washington Post, What to expect when Roger Goodell testifies in House probe of Commanders

washington post logoWashington Post, Entertainer Bill Cosby sexually abused teen in 1975, jury in civil trial finds, Reis Thebault and Praveena Somasundaram, June 21, 2022. A California jury on Tuesday found that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 1975.

The decision in the civil case is the latest defeat in a long legal saga for the 84-year-old comedian, who was once one of America’s most beloved entertainers but has faced dozens of assault allegations over the past two decades. Cosby was freed from prison nearly a year ago, after his 2018 sexual assault conviction was thrown out, overturning the results of a high-profile #MeToo-era case. Cosby’s spokesperson said Tuesday he plans to appeal the latest decision.

Outside the Santa Monica courthouse, Judy Huth, now 64, celebrated the culmination of her years-long legal battle.

“I was elated,” Huth told reporters, describing her reaction to the verdict. “Seriously, it’s been so many years, so many tears, just a long time coming.”

Jurors awarded Huth $500,000 in damages and found that Cosby intentionally caused harmful sexual contact with Huth, who was then a minor. One of Huth’s attorneys, the prominent feminist lawyer Gloria Allred, said in a statement that her client “won real change” by showing that Cosby “should be held accountable for what he did to her.”

While not a criminal ruling, the successful civil case “shows there is another avenue of justice,” Allred said in a brief post-trial appearance.

Cosby did not attend the proceedings, and he has denied Huth’s allegations. Cosby’s attorneys did not respond to a request for comment on the outcome.

Huth filed her lawsuit in 2014. She first met Cosby in April of 1975, when he was filming a movie in San Marino, Calif., court documents say.

Earlier this month, Huth testified that Cosby molested her after he gave her and her friend Donna Samuelson a tour of the Playboy Mansion and game room, the Associated Press reported. Samuelson, who was 17 at the time, took photos that evening and was a witness in the trial.

washington post logoWashington Post, Top executives quit Pornhub’s parent company amid more controversy, Lateshia Beachum, June 21, 2022. Two top executives at MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, have resigned amid allegations that the site does not immediately or sufficiently remove content involving nonconsensual and underage sex.

MindGeek confirmed the departures of CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo in a statement Tuesday.

“Antoon and Tassillo leave MindGeek’s day-to-day operations after more than a decade in leadership positions with the company,” the company told The Washington Post. “MindGeek’s executive leadership team will run day-to-day operations on an interim basis, with a search underway for replacements.”

News of the departures come about a week after a New Yorker article detailed people’s attempts to get Porhhub to remove sexually explicit content that involved underage and nonconsensual participants. Announcement of the departures is not related to the piece, MindGeek told The Post.

washington post logoWashington Post, Deshaun Watson agrees to settle 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits against him, Mark Maske and Nicki Jhabvala, June 21, 2022. The NFL said the civil settlements will have no bearing on the league's disciplinary process.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached settlement agreements in 20 of the 24 active civil lawsuits filed against him by women who accused him of sexual misconduct, the attorney for the women announced Tuesday.

Lawyer Tony Buzbee called the settlement terms confidential and said he expects the remaining four lawsuits to be resolved in court.

“Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled,” Buzbee said in a statement. “We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won’t comment further on the settlements or those cases.”

June 20

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Feminism Made a Faustian Bargain With Celebrity Culture. Now It’s Paying the Price, Susan Faludi (a journalist and the author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women, among other books), June 20, 2022. One month almost to the day after Americans learned of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion that would eviscerate the constitutional right of women to control their bodies and so their lives, millions sat glued to their screens to witness the verdict in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial, in which the jury awarded more than $10 million to Mr. Depp.

In a statement afterward, Ms. Heard said she was “disappointed with what this verdict means for women.” “It sets back the clock,” she said, “to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated.”

The ruination of Roe and the humiliation of Ms. Heard have been cast as cosmic convergence, evidence of a larger forced retreat on women’s progress. “Johnny Depp’s legal victory and the death of Roe v. Wade are part of the same toxic cultural movement,” a Vox article asserted. “These examples may seem disparate, but there’s an important through line,” a USA Today reporter wrote, citing academics who linked the Alito draft opinion, the Depphead mobbing and, for good measure, the “public consumption” of cleavage at the Met Gala (held the same night the Supreme Court draft leaked): “This is backlash.”

Backlash it may be. Even so, putting the pillorying of Ms. Heard in the same backlash-deplorables basket as the death rattle of Roe is a mistake. Lost in the frenzy of amalgamation lies a crucial distinction. There’s a through line, all right. Both are verdicts on the recent fraught course of feminism. But one tells the story of how we got here; the other where we’re headed. How did modern feminism lose Roe v. Wade? An answer lies in Depp v. Heard.

June 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Abortions in U.S. rose in 2020, ending decades-long decline, report says, Lenny Bernstein and Ariana Eunjung Cha, June 16, 2022 (print ed.). A survey by a group supporting abortion rights showed an 8 percent increase over 2017. The number of abortions in the United States rose in 2020, ending a 30-year decline, according to a new report from a research and advocacy group that favors abortion rights.

The Guttmacher Institute, which surveys abortion providers every three years, said the number of abortions increased 8 percent in 2020 from 2017, to an estimated total of 930,160. It concluded that about 1 in 5 pregnancies ended in abortion in 2020.

The report was released as a deeply divided public awaits a ruling from the Supreme Court that could overturn the 50-year-old legal right to abortion established by its decision in Roe v. Wade. A draft of the court’s impending ruling that leaked last month appeared to show that a majority of the nine justices favor upending Roe.

A number of states already have passed, or are considering, highly restrictive abortion laws in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling, which could come as soon as this month.

June 15

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Democrats push legislation to protect abortion access for military women, Rachel Roubein, with research by McKenzie Beard, June 15, 2022. There’s a new abortion fight brewing among congressional spending bills.

This time, we’re not referring to the Hyde amendment, the long-standing policy rider barring the use of federal funds for most abortions. We’re talking about a policy House Democrats, for the first time, tucked into their 140-page draft bill to fund the Department of Defense released yesterday.

The new provision is aimed at banning military commanders from denying service members and civilian employees leave to get an abortion or to a significant other who requests time off to help their partner seek an abortion. Specifically, the language says none of the funds available may be used for such denials. (A spokesperson didn’t return a request for comment on how the policy would work in practice.)

It’s exceedingly unlikely that any such measure makes it into a final spending package, since it’d need the support of 10 Senate Republicans. But it aligns with a broader Democratic push to shore up abortion access for military personnel — particularly women stationed in red states — in the face of a potential Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. cadets suing shipping company, alleging rape and harassment at sea, Michael Laris, June 15, 2022 (print ed.). One woman’s anonymous online account of assault last year raised concerns on Capitol Hill, prompting a temporary pause in the program. Before graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy this Saturday, Hope Hicks said she had a piece of unfinished business as a cadet: Suing Maersk, the shipping giant she says failed to protect her from being raped.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Nassau County (N.Y.) Supreme Court, Hicks alleged Maersk Line, Limited, a U.S. subsidiary, put her in danger while she was stationed aboard a company ship as part of her education. Hicks’ anonymous online account last year of assault raised concerns on Capitol Hill, prompting the on-the-job “Sea Year” training to be temporarily paused — a move that echoed a 2016 halt that was intended to bring change.

Hicks said she decided to go public with her name now to signal to fellow cadets that they can take similar actions to defend themselves.

Hicks said she was raped by a supervisor on the M/V Alliance Fairfax in 2019 when she was 19. Hicks’ lawyers also submitted a second suit, on behalf of a woman who said she faced sexual harassment and unwanted touching as a cadet aboard the same vessel two years later. She would lock herself in the bathroom and sleep on the floor at night while holding a pocketknife for protection, her lawyers wrote.

ny times logoNew York Times, Brutal Beating of Women in China Highlights Risk of Saying ‘No,’ Vivian Wang, June 15, 2022. Graphic footage of an attack fueled online debate about the growing awareness of women’s rights and how divisive feminism still remains.

China FlagThe man walked into a barbecue restaurant in northern China and approached a table of three women. He put his hand on the back of one, who shook him off. In response, he slapped her — then, with several other men, savagely beat her and the other women, hitting them with chairs, kicking them and dragging them outdoors.

The security camera footage of the brutal attack, which took place in the city of Tangshan on Friday and left two women hospitalized, spread rapidly online and has continued to dominate public conversation in recent days. Women flooded social media with their outrage and terror at the threat of sexual violence that looms over everyday life. Just three of many related hashtags on the Twitter-like platform Weibo have been viewed more than 4.8 billion times.

The intensity of the public response made clear the growing attention to sexual harassment and gender-based violence in China, where conversations about equality are increasingly common.

But almost simultaneously, other narratives that played down the gender angle emerged. Some legal scholars said the incident was about public safety writ large, not just for women. State media outlets focused on the possibility of gang violence. Weibo deleted hundreds of accounts, accusing their users of seeking to stoke enmity between genders.

The conflicting interpretations underscored how divisive feminism remains, both for the general public and for a government that sees any independent activism as a potential challenge to its control.

washington post logoWashington Post, A school made girls wear skirts. A court ruled it unconstitutional, María Luisa Paúl, June 15, 2022. At a North Carolina charter school, all students follow the same curriculum. But their gender-specific uniform requirements — pants for boys, and skirts, skorts or jumpers for girls — separate them in a way a federal court on Tuesday deemed unconstitutional.

The dress code at Charter Day School in Leland, N.C., no longer can be enforced, Senior Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan wrote in a majority opinion. The school founder’s claim that the uniform rules promote chivalry “based on the view that girls are ‘fragile vessels’ deserving of ‘gentle’ treatment by boys” was determined to be discriminating against female students in the 10-to-6 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

“By implementing the skirts requirement based on blatant gender stereotypes about the ‘proper place’ for girls and women in society, [the school] has acted in clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause,” Keenan wrote in the opinion.

The decision followed a seven-year effort to end the school’s skirt requirement for female students.

In 2015, Keely Burks, then a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Charter Day School, launched a petition with her friends to change the uniform policy. They ultimately collected over 100 signatures, she wrote in 2016, but the document “was taken from us by a teacher and we never got it back.”

June 14

washington post logoWashington Post, In Japan, abortion is legal — but most women need their husbands’ consent, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Julia Mio Inuma, June 14, Japan2022. Japan’s male-dominated society has been slow to grant women the reproductive rights taken for granted in many other developed countries.

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to overturn a 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, there is a global spotlight on reproductive care — including in Japan, which has some of the tightest restrictions on abortion among wealthy nations.

June 13

 ny times logoNew York Times, Poland Illustrates Risks for Women When Abortion Is Banned, Katrin Bennhold and Monika Pronczuk, June 13, 2022 (print ed.). One unintended consequence of Poland’s ban is that doctors are sometimes afraid to remove fetuses or administer cancer treatment to save women’s lives.

It was shortly before 11 p.m. when Izabela Sajbor realized the doctors were prepared to let her die.

polish flag wavingHer doctor had already told her that her fetus had severe abnormalities and would almost certainly die in the womb. If it made it to term, life expectancy was a year, at most. At 22 weeks pregnant, Ms. Sajbor had been admitted to a hospital after her water broke prematurely.

She knew that there was a short window to induce birth or surgically remove the fetus to avert infection and potentially fatal sepsis. But even as she developed a fever, vomited and convulsed on the floor, it seemed to be the baby’s heartbeat that the doctors were most concerned about.

“My life is in danger,” she wrote in a string of distressed text messages to her mother and husband that was shared with The New York Times by her family’s lawyer.

“They cannot help as long as the fetus is alive thanks to the anti-abortion law,” she wrote only hours before she died. “A woman is like an incubator.”

June 11



kay jewelers

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Owner of Kay, Jared jewelers settles gender-discrimination lawsuit for $175 million, Drew Harwell, June 11, 2022 (print ed.). The class-action case representing 68,000 women alleged unfair pay and promotion practices and became a hallmark of #MeToo activism

Sterling Jewelers, the American diamond empire that owns Jared and Kay Jewelers, has agreed to pay $175 million to settle a long-fought class-action lawsuit alleging that the company had for years discriminated against tens of thousands of women in their pay and promotion practices.

The case, filed in 2008, became a hallmark of #MeToo activism after some of the women revealed to The Washington Post in 2017 that they had been pressured to cater to their bosses’ sexual demands to get promoted or stay employed.

The class was composed of about 68,000 women who had worked, mostly as sales associates, in the jewelry stores between 2004 and 2018. Their lawyers argued that the company’s rules on pay rates adversely affected women and that women got promotions far less often than they deserved.

A trial in private arbitration was scheduled for September, said the women’s lawyers, who announced the settlement Thursday. The lawsuit has faced so many years of delays that one of the case’s 15 named claimants passed away before it was resolved.

Sterling runs some of the country’s biggest retail jewelry chains and has for years been famous for its shopping-mall boutiques and TV ads, including “Every kiss begins with Kay.”

The suit’s claims were limited to sexual discrimination in pay and promotion, not sexual harassment or assault. But as part of the case, women filed sworn statements saying they had been regularly groped, harassed and coaxed into providing sexual favors, including at boozy corporate retreats.

“If you didn’t do what he wanted with him,” one former associate said in a 2012 statement, “you wouldn’t get your [preferred] store or raise.”

June 10

ny times logoNew York Times, For Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson Is a $230 Million Question Mark, Emmanuel Morgan and Remy Tumin, June 10, 2022 (print ed.). Revelations about Watson, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, have drawn silence from the Browns and left some of the team’s fans in anguish.

Toward the end of the introductory news conference in March for his team’s new quarterback, the Cleveland Browns’ general manager, Andrew Berry, sat near a microphone with his arms crossed and publicly supported Deshaun Watson with carefully chosen words and without completely defending him.

The Browns had just traded three first-round draft picks and two other selections to the Houston Texans for Watson, betting the team’s immediate future on the quarterback. They had signed him to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract, the largest of its kind in N.F.L. history, even though more than 22 women were suing him, alleging sexual harassment or assault.

When asked if he thought Watson did anything wrong, Berry said, “We feel very confident in Deshaun the person, and we have a lot of faith in him.”

That faith is being tested as the Browns consider new revelations from accusers and new questions from fans about Watson’s conduct.

washington post logoWashington Post, Lifestyle Perspective: Behind the visible queerness in women’s sports — and why it matters, Frankie de la Cretaz, June 10, 2022. It’s a dynamic that is exclusive to women’s sports culture, sometimes making team dynamics complicated. But it’s not just gossip that makes these romances of interest — this kind of insular, interconnected relationship web is very common in lesbian and lesbian-adjacent culture at large.

June 8

 From left, the U.S. gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols testifying on Capitol Hill on Sept. 15, 2021 (Pool photo by Saul Lloeb of Agence France-Presse).

From left, the U.S. gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols testifying on Capitol Hill on Sept. 15, 2021 (Pool photo by Saul Loeb of Agence France-Presse).

ny times logoNew York Times, Nassar Victims Suing F.B.I. for Early Failures in Sexual Abuse Investigation, Katie Benner, June 8, 2022. The plaintiffs say Larry Nassar abused them after the F.B.I. failed to act. The suits come after the Justice Department declined to prosecute two former agents.

More than 90 women who say they were sexually assaulted by Lawrence G. Nassar, the former doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics who was convicted on state sexual abuse charges, were planning to file lawsuits on Wednesday against the F.B.I. for its failure to investigate him when it received credible information about his crimes.

The lawsuits come two weeks after the Justice Department decided not to prosecute two former F.B.I. agents accused of bungling the bureau’s 2015 investigation into Mr. Nassar, allowing him to assault girls for more than a year before Michigan authorities arrested him. The agents were accused by the Justice Department’s own watchdog of making false statements about the matter.

The plaintiffs include the Olympic gymnastics gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney and the national gymnastics medalist Maggie Nichols, as well as the former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy and the former gymnast Kaylee Lorincz, who now works as an advocate for sexual assault victims.

“My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every institution that was supposed to protect us — the U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S.A. Gymnastics, the F.B.I. and now the Department of Justice,” Ms. Maroney said in a statement. “It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process,” she added.

June 7


felicia somnez dave weigel

Media Confidential, WaPo Reporter Dave Weigel Suspended Following Retweet, Edited by Tom Benson, June 7, 2022. Washington Post politics reporter Dave Weigel (above at right) has been suspended following uproar over a sexist joke he retweeted, reports The NY Post.

The newspaper suspended Weigel Monday without pay, CNN reported, after he reposted a tweet from Youtuber Cam Harless that stated, “Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.”

Colleague Felicia Sonmez (above left), who also covers national politics, then blasted Weigel for sharing the off-putting joke, tweeting, “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!” with a screenshot of Weigel’s retweet.

Later that day Weigel removed the tweet.

“I just removed a retweet of an offensive joke,” Weigel said. “I apologize and did not mean to cause any harm.”

It’s unclear how long the suspension will last, but an email to Weigel seeking comment led to automatic reply that said he was out of the office and returning July 5.

Weigel’s retweet led to weekend-long turmoil at the Jeff Bezos-owned newspaper. Another Washington Post reporter, Jose Del Real, admonished Sonmez for calling out Weigel publicly. That led to a back-and-forth between the two.

Sonmez was briefly suspended by the newspaper in January 2020 after she mentioned a rape allegation against NBA legend Kobe Bryant after he, his daughter and seven others died in a helicopter crash. She was reinstated after colleagues rallied to her defense.

She also sued the news organization last year claiming she was the victim of discrimination after the newspaper barred her from covering high-profile cases involving sexual misconduct, though a judge threw the case out in March. In 2018, Sonmez, who at the time was at the Wall Street Journal, alleged that a then-Los Angeles Times reporter, Jonathan Kaiman, 31, groped her and sexually assaulted her in Beijing.

The Washington Post barred Sonmez from covering sexual assault cases because the newspaper felt there was a conflict of interest.

June 3


Amber Heard and Johnny Depp during their marriage.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp during their marriage.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Amber Heard Verdict Was a Travesty. Others Will Follow, Michelle Goldberg, right, June 3, 2022 (print michelle goldberg thumbed.). The verdict in Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard is difficult to explain logically.

The confounding part isn’t that the jury sided with him over her; this is the country that elected Donald Trump, where the convicted domestic abuser Chris Brown is still a major pop star, and where a man in Indiana recently won a local Republican primary while in jail awaiting trial on charges of murdering his wife.

The explosion of defiant, desperate feminist energy that was #MeToo has now been smothered by an even fiercer reaction. #MeToo was a movement of women telling their stories. Now that Heard has been destroyed for identifying as a survivor, other women will think twice.

What’s baffling is that the jury ruled the way it did even though, in at least one instance, it appeared to believe Heard.

Yet that same jury ruled that Heard had defamed Depp when she described herself, in a Washington Post opinion essay, as a “public figure representing domestic abuse,” and awarded Depp more than $10 million.

Perhaps this contradictory verdict was a result of jury-room horse-trading; the finding for Heard could have been a sop to convince a few holdouts to get on board with a unanimous decision. But its meaning is clear: It might be impossible to dismiss all the evidence against Depp, but he’s still the more sympathetic figure.

The repercussions of this case will reach far beyond Heard. All victims of domestic or sexual abuse must now contend with the possibility that, should they decide to tell their story publicly, they could end up bankrupted by their abusers. Depp’s friend Marilyn Manson is already suing the actress Evan Rachel Wood, one of a number of women who have alleged sadistic abuse at his hands. He won’t be the last.

As the Daily Beast noted, few of the Hollywood figures who spoke up during the height of the #MeToo movement are showing any solidarity with Heard, a stance that would require a modicum of courage given the power of the #MeToo backlash and Depp’s evident popularity. She may well be ruined for good. One of the statements in her Washington Post essay that was deemed defamatory was, “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.” The trial that she lost proved her point.



May 31

washington post logoWashington Post, Sexual misconduct report on Canadian military slams ‘deficient’ culture, Amanda Coletta, May 31, 2022 (print ed.). Sexual misconduct allegations in the Canadian military should be exclusively investigated and prosecuted by civilian authorities, a blistering report from a former Supreme Court justice concluded Monday.

canadian flagThe government-commissioned report from Louise Arbour, who also served as the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, came during a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against top military leaders that have rocked the armed forces and eroded public trust.

“The exposure of sexual misconduct in the [Canadian Armed Forces] has shed light on a deeply deficient culture fostered by a rigid and outdated structure that did little to modernize it,” Arbour wrote in the report.

A danger of the military’s operating model, she wrote, is a “high likelihood that some of its members are more at risk of harm, on a day-to-day basis, from their comrades than from the enemy.” She said the crisis “has caused as much damage as defeat in combat would have to demoralize the troops and shock Canadians.”

Among the report’s 48 recommendations were calls for sexual harassment complaints to be turned over to the Canadian Human Rights Commission and for officials to explore whether there should be an alternative to military colleges, which Arbour wrote “appear as institutions from a different era.”

May 29

ny times logoNew York Times, The Fall of the ‘Sun King’ of French TV, and the Myth of Seduction, Norimitsu Onishi, May 29, 2022 (print ed.). Patrick Poivre d’Arvor has been accused by more than 20 women of rape, sexual assault and harassment in France’s belated #MeToo reckoning.

France’s most trusted anchorman for decades, he used to draw millions in an evening news program that some likened to a religious communion. In an earlier time, he embodied an ideal of the French male — at ease with himself, a TV journalist and man of letters, a husband and a father who was also, unabashedly, a great seducer of women.

Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, nicknamed the Sun King of French TV, seemed so confident of his reputation that last month he sued for defamation 16 women who had accused him of rape, sexual assault and harassment, saying that they were simply “jilted” and “bitter.”

Angered, nearly 20 women appeared together this month in a TV studio for Mediapart, France’s leading investigative news site, with some recounting rapes or assaults that lasted minutes, carried out with barely a few words.

May 27

Pro Publica, Alaska Charges Former Acting Attorney General With Sexual Abuse of a Minor, Kyle Hopkins (Anchorage Daily News), May 27, 2022. Ed Sniffen faces three counts of sexual abuse of a minor for having sex with a 17-year-old girl he coached in high school in 1991.

pro publica logoThis article was produced for ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network in partnership with the Anchorage Daily News. Sign up for Dispatches to get stories like this one as soon as they are published.

A special prosecutor has charged Alaska’s former acting attorney general with three counts of sexual abuse of a minor for having sex with a 17-year-old girl he coached on a high school mock trial team in May 1991.

The charges were filed Friday in Alaska state court in Anchorage against Clyde “Ed” Sniffen, who served as acting attorney general from August 2020 to January 2021. Gov. Mike Dunleavy asked the Department of Law to appoint an independent investigator to review the case after the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica first reported in January 2021 that a woman had accused Sniffen of sexual misconduct.

Fact-based, independent journalism is needed now more than ever.

Sniffen resigned as the newsrooms were preparing the article. In his resignation letter, Sniffen wrote that he had decided to step aside “after discussions with family, and for personal reasons.” Sniffen’s attorney declined comment and said he would not make his client available for an interview.

Dunleavy had appointed Sniffen as his permanent attorney general, subject to confirmation by the Legislature, days before his resignation. At that time, the governor said Sniffen “has a long and proven record of leadership within the Department of Law and I am proud to appoint him to serve as our state’s next Attorney General.”

Sniffen replaced former Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, who resigned after the Daily News and ProPublica reported he had sent hundreds of questionable texts to a female colleague. In his resignation letter, Clarkson wrote, “I regret that my actions and errors in judgment in interacting with a state employee have become a distraction to the good work and good people working in the state’s and your service.”

Nikki Dougherty White, now 48, told the news organizations that Sniffen first had sex with her during a mock trial team competition in New Orleans and continued their sexual relationship upon returning to Anchorage. Those allegations form the basis for the felony charges filed Friday.

White had come forward publicly for the first time after learning that Sniffen had been appointed attorney general.A Republican Tried to Introduce a Commonsense Gun Law. Then the Gun Lobby Got Involved.

May 26

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Dept. won’t charge FBI agents accused of botching Larry Nassar case, Devlin Barrett, May 26, 2022. Two former FBI agents accused of mishandling sex-abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar (shown below in court with an attorney) will not be charged with a crime, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

larry nassar gymnastics plea

In a statement, officials said that after a “careful re-review of evidence,” the department “is adhering to its prior decision not to bring federal criminal charges,” adding: “This does not in any way reflect a view that the investigation of Nassar was handled as it should have been, nor in any way reflects approval or disregard of the conduct of the former agents.”

FBI logoJohn Manly, a lawyer for many of Nassar’s alleged victims, called the decision “incomprehensible” and said the FBI agents “violated their oaths of office and colluded in the cover up of the worst sexual assault scandal in the history of sports.” He said the timing of the announcement — shortly before a holiday weekend, and during coverage of a school shooting — “is one more cynical attempt by the [Justice Department] to cover up FBI complicity” in the Nassar scandal.

The decision marks the third time that federal prosecutors examined whether a senior FBI official and a case agent should be charged with lying about their work on the Nassar case. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco opened the review after several world-famous gymnasts in September gave tearful testimony to Congress, describing in horrifying detail the abuse they endured and their incredulity over the FBI’s decision not to further investigate Nassar after the allegations against him first surfaced.

Monaco, in announcing the review, said officials would look again at the issue because new evidence had surfaced. Though she did not specify what that evidence was, lawmakers have sharply criticized the Justice Department for not pursuing charges after the agency’s inspector general concluded a supervisory agent and his boss lied to internal investigators in a bid to cover up their failures.

It is rare for the Justice Department even to consider reopening a case that was closed without charges. One of the Nassar agents retired years ago and the other was fired last summer in the wake of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s scathing report, which found major missteps in the FBI’s handling of allegations against Nassar in 2015 that allowed him to victimize more patients before he was arrested by state authorities the following year.

In its statement, the Justice Department said it will “continue to learn from what occurred in this matter, and undertake efforts to keep victims at the center of our work and to ensure that they are heard, respected, and treated fairly throughout the process, as they deserve,” and said it wanted to work with Congress to address unspecified gaps in the law to “help prevent events like this from taking place in the future and hold perpetrators accountable.”

richard blumenthal portraitSens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), left, and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) called the decision “infuriating.” In a joint statement, they said: "FBI agents who knew of Larry Nassar’s abuse, did nothing, and then lied about it will face no legal consequences for their actions. Dozens of athletes would have been spared unimaginable abuse if these agents had just done their jobs. Their actions demand accountability.”

Simone Biles, below left, and three other high-profile gymnasts (Mykala Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols, shown below left to right in a pool photo by Saul Loeb of AFP on Sept. 15, 2021) gave emotional testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last year about Nassar’s abuse and the FBI’s failure to act.

simone biles mykala maroney aly raisman maggie nichols saul loeb afp pool 9 15 21

More than 330 girls and women have come forward to say they were victimized by Nassar under the guise of medical treatments. He was ultimately convicted of state sex abuse and federal child-pornography charges, and is serving an effective life sentence in prison.

Northwest Florida Daily News, Gaetz family extortion attempt: Stephen Alford’s sentencing gets postponed for fifth time, Tom McLaughlin, May 26, 2022. Sentencing for Stephen Alford, an oft-convicted felon facing up to 20 years in federal prison for attempting to extort millions from the politically powerful family of Congressman Matt Gaetz, has been pushed back to Aug. 22.

Alford was arrested in August 2021 and charged with wire fraud and attempting to prevent seizure of an electronic device. He pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud on Nov. 21 of last year.

He was originally scheduled for sentencing Feb. 16. The date has been pushed back five times, most recently from June 1 to July 13 and then again to the August date.

Charging documents state Alford "falsely reported" to Don Gaetz, a former Florida Senate president and father of Matt Gaetz, that he could arrange a presidential pardon for the congressman in exchange for $25 million that he would use to free a former CIA agent held hostage by the Iranian government.

Alford pleads guilty:Man accused of attempting to extort millions from Gaetz family pleads guilty to wire fraud

Latest on the congressman:Gaetz called abortion rights protestors 'over-educated, under-loved.' His opponents responded.

"He would get that pardon" the congressman might need to avoid being federally indicted on sex trafficking charges, charging documents said.

matt gaetz officialMatt Gaetz, right, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, has been under federal investigation for more than a year based on allegations he had sex with a 17-year-old girl. Gaetz is also reportedly being looked at for obstruction of justice and having dealings with other women who received drugs and/or money in violation of prostitution and sex trafficking laws.

Joel Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector and Gaetz associate, has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking in the case and is said to be cooperating with prosecutors in the Gaetz investigation.

No charges have been filed against Gaetz, and he points to Alford's attempt to extort money from his family as evidence the allegations against him are baseless.

ny times logoNew York Times, Kevin Spacey Faces Sexual Assault Charges in Britain, Alex Marshall and Julia Jacobs, May 26, 2022. Mr. Spacey, 62, faces four counts of sexual assault against three men. He cannot be formally charged unless he enters England or Wales.

kevin spaceyThe British authorities are bringing criminal charges against Kevin Spacey, right, on four counts of sexual assault against three men, the country’s Crown Prosecution Service announced in a news release on Thursday.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the service’s special crime division, said in the release that Mr. Spacey, 62, had “also been charged with causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.”

The authorization of charges followed a review of the evidence collected by London’s police force. Mr. Spacey cannot be formally charged unless he enters England or Wales, a spokesman for the service said in a telephone interview. The spokesman declined to comment on whether the service would pursue extradition proceedings if that did not occur.

The news release said the charges concerned three complainants. The incidents dated from March 2005, August 2008 and April 2013, it added — a time when Mr. Spacey was artistic director of the Old Vic theater in London. All the incidents occurred in London, except one from 2013, which occurred in Gloucestershire, England.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: ‘How to Murder Your Husband’ Writer Is Convicted of Murdering Husband, Mike Baker, May 26, 2022 (print ed.). Nancy Brophy, a 71-year-old romance novelist, was accused in the shooting death of her husband. She said prosecutors had sketched a flawed plotline.

A romance novelist who wrote about “How to Murder Your Husband” was convicted in her husband’s killing on Wednesday following a contentious trial in which prosecutors leaned on a “puzzle” of circumstantial evidence to portray the author as a duplicitous spouse who spent months quietly plotting the perfect crime.

Nancy Brophy, 71, stood quietly, a pandemic mask covering her nose and mouth, as the verdict was handed down, seven weeks after the trial began in Portland, Ore.

Prosecutors had built their case with evidence showing that Ms. Brophy had acquired gun pieces in the months before the killing of her husband, Daniel Brophy, including one extra component that prosecutors said could ensure that the bullets used in the shooting would not be traced back to her gun. Prosecutors contended that Ms. Brophy shot her husband in his workplace, where there would be no cameras or witnesses, then moved to collect on lucrative life insurance policies in the days that followed.

“She had the plan in place,” Shawn Overstreet, a deputy district attorney, said in closing arguments this week. “She had the opportunity to carry out this murder. She was the only person who had the motive.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Josh Duggar Sentenced to 12 Years for Downloading Images of Child Sex Abuse, Alyssa Lukpat, May 26, 2022 (print ed.). Josh Duggar, a onetime star of the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” about a large family guided by conservative Christian values, was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison on Wednesday for downloading child sexual abuse imagery.

The sentencing, in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, Ark., concluded Mr. Duggar’s downfall from the eldest sibling on one of the most popular cable reality shows to a convicted criminal, capping a reversal that began with his arrest in April 2021.

Prosecutors said that, in May 2019, Mr. Duggar installed a password-protected partition on the hard drive of his desktop computer at his used-car lot in Springdale, Ark., to avoid software that detects explicit images of children.

Mr. Duggar, 34, who is married with seven children, downloaded around 600 photographs and seven videos of violent child sexual abuse, according to a sentencing memorandum filed this month by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas.

He was caught after a Little Rock police detective found an I.P. address that had been sharing child sexual abuse material, according to a memorandum opinion filed by Judge Timothy L. Brooks in August 2021. The detective sent the information to an agent from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who later tracked the I.P. address to Mr. Duggar, Judge Brooks wrote.

From 2008 to 2015, Mr. Duggar and his siblings starred with their parents in “19 Kids and Counting,” a reality show following the family’s life in Arkansas. TLC canceled the show after In Touch Weekly reported on a 2006 police report that said Mr. Duggar had molested several girls when he was a teenager.

Representatives for Discovery, the company that owns TLC, did not immediately return emails or phone calls on Wednesday.

Mr. Duggar was not charged in connection with those earlier allegations, for which the statute of limitations had passed. Mr. Duggar’s parents told Fox News in 2015 that four of the five girls he molested were his sisters.


amber heard 5 5 2022 trial

ny times logoNew York Times, Amber Heard Describes Impact of Online Attacks: ‘I’m a Human Being,’ Julia Jacobs, May 26, 2022. Ms. Heard, who is being sued by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, for defamation, said the mockery of her previous testimony on social media had been “agonizing.”

One day before the jury is expected to start deliberating on the defamation case between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, Ms. Heard took the stand on Thursday to address what she described as the persistent harassment and mockery of her abuse accusations against Mr. Depp, her ex-husband.

“I am harassed, humiliated, threatened every single day,” Ms. Heard said. “People want to kill me and they tell me so every day.”

Ms. Heard, 36, and Mr. Depp, 58, have filed dueling defamation lawsuits claiming that false statements about their relationship have ruined their reputations and hindered their careers. Ms. Heard spoke about harassment in the aftermath of statements calling her accusations a hoax, made by a lawyer representing Mr. Depp at the time, which are at the center of her legal claim.

She also spoke about harassment she has experienced during the trial itself — which has been televised and livestreamed — calling the online ridicule of her testimony “agonizing” and saying she had gotten thousands of death threats since the trial began.

ny times logoNew York Times, Her Tennis Coach Abused Her. Could the Sport Have Prevented It? Matthew Futterman, May 26, 2022 (print ed.). Adrienne Jensen does not know Pam Shriver, the 22-time Grand Slam doubles champion, but both say tennis needs to change its approach toward predatory coaches.

The grooming of Adrienne Jensen began with an invitation to train with a top junior tennis coach at a well-regarded tennis academy in suburban Kansas City in 2009.

To Jensen, then a promising teenage player from Iowa City who had struggled to find elite training, the offer felt like the ultimate good fortune, even if accepting it meant upending her family’s life.

Early on that fall, Jensen’s gamble seemed to be paying off as she trained with the coach, Rex Haultain, and played deeper into increasingly competitive tournaments.

“I felt like he was my ticket,” Jensen, now 27 and about to begin a career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, said in a recent interview.

May 25


southern baptist convention logo

washington post logoWashington Post, Key takeaways from the bombshell sex abuse report by Southern Baptists, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, May 25, 2022 (print ed.). Southern Baptist leaders for decades both ignored and covered up sex abuse allegations while claiming to have little power to address them, a shocking third-party investigation released Sunday found.

The nearly 300-page report included confidential emails and memos between longtime lawyers for the 13-million member denomination and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention’s administrative arm. The product of an eight-month probe requested by Southern Baptists at their annual meeting in Nashville in 2021, it includes several key takeaways.

Southern Baptist leaders covered up sex abuse, kept secret database, report says

1. Top leaders repeatedly tried to bury sex abuse claims and lied about what they could do

The report describes how key Southern Baptist leaders engaged in a pattern of ignoring, stonewalling and even “vilifying” sex abuse survivors. The report details multiple instances when Southern Baptist leaders shot down requests by survivors and other concerned members to maintain a database of abusers. Publicly, the leaders said they couldn’t because of “church polity,” or the denomination’s decentralized structure. But the report found that their attorneys had advised them that they could keep such a list and that the leaders did so in secret.

The most recent list of sex abusers prepared by a staff member contained the names of 703 alleged abusers, with 409 believed to be SBC affiliated at some point, according to the report. Guidepost, the firm that conducted the investigation, found that nine people who were accused are still in ministry, two of whom are still associated with an SBC church. Despite collecting these reports for more than 10 years, the report said, “there is no indication leaders took any action to ensure that the accused ministers were no longer in positions of power at SBC churches.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Southern Baptists to Release List of Ministers Accused of Sexual Abuse, Ruth Graham, May 25, 2022 (print ed.). The existence of the secretly maintained list was revealed in a bombshell report on the denomination’s handling of sexual abuse over the past two decades.

southern baptist convention logo 2One of the report’s most shocking revelations was the existence of an internal list of 703 people suspected of abuse, compiled by an employee of the denomination’s executive committee, its national leadership body.

According to the report, an executive committee staff member compiled and maintained the list over the course of a decade and shared it with D. August Boto, the committee’s former vice president and general counsel. Mr. Boto and the staff member both retired in 2019. Mr. Boto could not be reached immediately for comment.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Abortion Questions for Justice Alito and His Supreme Court Allies, Linda Greenhouse (shown at right on the cover of her memoir), May 25, 2022. Ms. linda greenhouse cover just a journalistGreenhouse, the winner of a 1998 Pulitzer Prize, reported on the Supreme Court for The Times from 1978 to 2008 and was a contributing Opinion writer from 2009 to 2021.

Now that the Oklahoma State Legislature has voted to ban abortion from the moment of conception, I have a few questions for Justice Samuel Alito and any others who would join him in overturning Roe v. Wade:

What is your reaction to the news from Oklahoma? The State Legislature gave final approval last Thursday to a bill that would prohibit nearly all abortions, starting at fertilization. It now awaits the signature of the governor, who has pledged to make Oklahoma “the most pro-life state in the country.”

I suppose we’ll be able to infer the answers to my questions once Justice Alito’s leaked draft opinion in the Mississippi abortion case is tidied up and properly released.

If Justice Alito and his allies care to look, they will see a future in which American women, traveling to states where abortions are still readily available, are pursued by vigilantes seeking bounties.

Justice Alito likes to invoke history — although many of the historical references in his draft opinion were misleading or downright bizarre. Has he ever heard, for instance, of the Fugitive Slave Act?

I hope my law school friends and colleagues will forgive me, but I am tired of talking about the right to abortion in terms of constitutional doctrine. I have spent years, as they have, in urgent conversation about due process and undue burdens, extrapolating from the opacities of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that against all odds reaffirmed the essence of Roe v. Wade, thanks to three Republican-appointed justices who were supposed to do the opposite.

It hasn’t worked. The current Supreme Court majority will do what it will do, which is to say what it was put there to do.

The message of the Alito draft is that the age of constitutional argument is over. There’s a case to be made that it died a long time ago, but in any event, here is my final question to the justices: What, other than raw power, will take its place?

May 24

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The report on Southern Baptist abuses is a portrait of misogynist evil, Michael Gerson, right, syndicated columnist and former chief speechwriter for GOP President George W. Bush, May 24, 2022 (print ed.). michael gerson file photoIn nearly 300 pages, a third-party investigator has produced the Warren Commission report, the 9/11 Commission report, of Southern Baptist Christianity. And the scale of malfeasance is truly shocking.

Southern Baptist leaders covered up sex abuse, kept secret database, report says

At issue is sexual predation by Southern Baptist pastors and the further abuse of victims by indifferent and hostile church officials. According to the “Report of the Independent Investigation,” credible accusations of sexual abuse that came to Southern Baptist leaders were routinely ignored to avoid legal liability or were referred back to unprepared local congregations.

southern baptist convention logo 2Survivors’ calls and emails, the report asserts, were “met, time and time again, with resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility.” When victims organized to draw attention to their suffering, some church officials treated them as instruments of Satan, intent on distracting the church from its real mission of evangelism.

The main responses of the SBC, described in the report, have been to minimize allegations and undermine victims. Some Executive Committee members have referred to survivors as “Potiphar’s wife” — a biblical character who makes a false accusation of rape.

This is not Christianity. It is a culture of brutal chauvinism that has grown up for generations around Christianity. When it comes to protecting abusers, the largest American Protestant denomination is in the same vile category as the Catholic Church. An utter failure to prioritize abused women and children is the largest crisis of institutional religion in the United States.

The Southern Baptist Convention must have realized it was dealing with highly explosive information. For years, it denied keeping a list of abusers. That turned out to be a lie. By August 2018, staff at the Executive Committee had a file of 585 possible abusers. But the purpose of that internal list was institutional self-protection from lawsuits.

There is a warning here for any organization — what might be called the irony of institutional identity. When the primary mission of an institution is to defend itself, it is at grave risk of losing itself. Self-serving moral compromises come easier and easier. The Nixon White House believed that saving the United States required saving its administration through increasingly bold criminality. The Catholic Church believed that its holy mission required the burial of grave crimes against the innocent.


amber heard 5 5 2022 trial

washington post logoWashington Post, Depp-Heard trial returns to the much-discussed severed finger, Emily Yahr, May 24, 2022. Defense testimony continues as the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, shown above in a pool photo, enters its sixth week.

May 22

southern baptist convention logo

washington post logoWashington Post, Southern Baptist leaders covered up sex abuse, lied about secret database, report says, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, May 22, 2022. The findings shine a light on how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform. Among the findings was a previously unknown case of a pastor who was credibly accused of assaulting a woman a month after leaving the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention on Sunday released a major third-party investigation that found that sex abuse survivors were often ignored, minimized and “even vilified” by top clergy in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

The findings of nearly 300 pages include shocking new details about specific abuse cases and shine a light on how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform. They also lied to Southern Baptists over whether they could maintain a database of offenders to prevent more abuse when top leaders were secretly keeping a private list for years.

The report — the first investigation of its kind in a massive Protestant denomination like the SBC — is expected to send shock waves into a conservative Christian community that has had intense internal battles over how to handle sex abuse. The 13 million-member denomination, along with other religious institutions in the United States, has struggled with declining membership for the past 15 years. Its leaders have long resisted comparisons between its sexual abuse crisis and that of the Catholic Church, saying the total number of abuse cases among Southern Bapitists was small.

The investigation finds that for almost two decades, survivors of abuse and other concerned Southern Baptists have been contacting the Southern Baptist Convention’s administrative arm to report child molesters and other abusers who were in the pulpit or employed as church staff members.

The report, compiled by an organization called Guidepost Solutions at the request of Southern Baptists, states that abuse survivors’ calls and emails were “only to be met, time and time again, with resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility” by leaders who were concerned more with protecting the institution from liability than from protecting Southern Baptists from further abuse.

May 21

 amber heard leaves stand

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Humiliation of Amber Heard Is Both Modern and Medieval, Jessica Bennett (professor of journalism at New York University), May 22, 2022 (print ed.). There was a moment in a Virginia courtroom this month when the actress Amber Heard (shown above) paused mid-sniffle on the stand. She was testifying about abuse she says she suffered at the hands of her movie star ex-husband, Johnny Depp, when she wiped her nose with a tissue — then seemed to freeze as her face was illuminated by a flash, as if she were instinctively posing for a photo.

It was a split second that probably would have gone unnoticed under normal circumstances, except that nothing about this trial is normal, starting with the fact that it is being broadcast live online like a spectator sport. So whether this was a glitch in the livestream or an actual pose, or just a thing that looked to be something it wasn’t, it didn’t really matter, because the moment was isolated and freeze-framed and shared, which meant that it was internet-real.

“Had to make the fake crying seem more believable,” a commenter said on Instagram.

“This woman should be in jail,” said another.

That seems to be the public consensus as it pertains to Ms. Heard, at least on social media — that everything she does is scripted, conniving, manipulative. Mr. Depp, meanwhile, seems to have so far successfully played the part of quirky, misunderstood romantic who is wrongfully accused.

While much of the circus surrounding the Depp-Heard trial feels entirely of this moment — a livestream that regularly draws half a million viewers, the rhetoric around “believing women,” the sheer power of Mr. Depp’s fans to shape the narrative —in many ways what we are witnessing is a story as old as time.

Whatever you think of Ms. Heard’s actions, or whether you choose to believe her, this is a good old-fashioned public pillorying — only memes have replaced the stones.

Legally speaking, the case between Ms. Heard, 36, and Mr. Depp, 58, that has been playing out in a courtroom for five weeks is a defamation case. In 2018, during the height of the #MeToo movement, Ms. Heard — then nearly two years divorced from Mr. Depp — wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in which she called herself a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” That article did not name Mr. Depp, but his lawyers say the implication was clear — and that their client lost lucrative acting roles, including in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Mr. Depp is seeking $50 million in damages. Ms. Heard is countersuing him for double that amount, also claiming defamation, because his lawyer called her allegations a “hoax.”

There’s something almost pornographic about the voyeurism involved, with a kink for every predilection: fame, beauty, drugs, extreme wealth, a private island, five penthouse apartments, fecal matter left on a marital bed, bloody messages written on walls, even an appearance by the moment’s most controversial man, the billionaire Elon Musk, whom Ms. Heard dated briefly.

All of this, of course, is taking place against the backdrop of the very particular cultural moment we are living through, in which a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion on abortion invokes a 17th-century British jurist, Sir Matthew Hale, who presided over actual witch trials, and some of the most prominent #MeToo cases are in various states of disarray.

May 18

 amber heard leaves stand

washington post logoWashington Post, Depp attorney tries to discredit Heard as cross-examination concludes, Travis M. Andrews, May 18, 2022 (print ed.). Cross-examination of Amber Heard, above, by one of Johnny Depp’s attorneys concluded Tuesday afternoon in Fairfax County in the bitter defamation trial between the film celebrities. Depp attorney Camille Vasquez’s rapid-fire questions sought to discredit Heard’s testimony and continuously categorized her as abusive toward her ex-husband during their tumultuous relationship and marriage.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she published in The Washington Post, which alleged domestic abuse from an unnamed person. He claims the piece has ruined his reputation and his career and contends that he never physically or sexually abused Heard. She countersued him for $100 million after his lawyers said her allegations were false. (The Post is not a defendant in the lawsuit.)

Vasquez presented the jury with a knife Heard gave Depp for his birthday engraved with the phrase “till death” in Spanish. “This is the knife you gave to the man who would get drunk and violent with you,” Vasquez said.

“I wasn’t worried he was going to stab me with it,” Heard said.

As she would throughout her cross-examination questions Tuesday, Vasquez then quickly pivoted, bringing up another, unrelated incident. She questioned Heard’s testimony concerning a particularly brutal incident she alleged took place in Australia, in which she claims she was sexually assaulted with a liquor bottle and the tip of Depp’s finger was severed. Depp alleges Heard cut his finger by throwing a vodka bottle at him, while the defense suggests Depp injured himself.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Amber Heard and the Death of #MeToo, Michelle Goldberg, right, May 18, 2022. There are ambiguities in the sordid conflict michelle goldberg thumbbetween the divorced actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, but some things are clear.

Depp texted a friend that he wanted to kill Heard and then have sex with “her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she is dead.” There is a video of Depp smashing kitchen cabinets while Heard tries to calm him, saying, at one point, “All I did was say ‘sorry’!” In an audio recording, she tells him to go put his “cigarettes out on someone else,” and he responded, “Shut up, fat ass.”

In 2018, The Sun, a British newspaper, called Depp a “wife beater,” and he sued for libel. Proving libel is much easier in Britain than in the United States, because there the burden of proof rests with the defendant. Depp lost his case. A judge, evaluating 14 incidents of Depp’s alleged abuse of Heard, found that 12 of them had occurred and concluded that The Sun’s words were “substantially true.”

Now Depp is suing Heard in Virginia for $50 million, saying that she defamed him when she described herself, in a Washington Post opinion essay that didn’t mention Depp, as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His case seems absurd, since even if he were entirely innocent, the British verdict was well known, and Heard was referring to what she symbolized, not what she allegedly endured. (She is countersuing for $100 million.)

May 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Women settle lawsuit against Liberty University, Tara Bahrampour, May 16, 2022 (print ed.). Twelve women had accused Liberty University of fostering an unsafe environment and mishandling sexual assault and harassment cases.

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed in federal court last summer against Liberty University by 12 women who accused the Christian institution of fostering an unsafe environment and mishandling sexual assault and harassment cases.

liberty university sealA notice of dismissal filed Wednesday by a lawyer for the plaintiffs and a statement by Liberty on Thursday said the case had been settled but did not provide details of the terms.

The women, former students and employees at the university in Lynchburg, Va., filed suit anonymously and were identified as Jane Doe 1-12. Their allegations, which spanned more than two decades, included descriptions of being raped or sexually harassed and having their cases mishandled or effectively ignored. One woman alleged pregnancy discrimination.

The evangelical university’s statement outlined recent changes it has undertaken to improve campus security and review its response to incidents of sexual harassment or violence. Liberty is facing other lawsuits with similar allegations. It recently acknowledged that the U.S. Education Department is reviewing its compliance with the federal Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to maintain and disclose crime statistics and security information.

May 12

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: WMR, It was the Republicans who "groomed" underage teens for sex and WMR exposed it, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallWayne Madsen, left, author of 21 books, syndicated columnist and former Navy intelligence officer and special temporary FBI agent investigating sex trafficking in the military, May 12-13, 2022. Grooming Old Pederasts has been a thing in the Republican Party for over four decades.

wayne madesen report logoRepublicans across the country have been making spurious charges that Democrats are "grooming" students for LGBTQ lifestyles as part of public school curricula, selection of library book reading lists, or what teachers say in passing remarks to their students.

Such unfounded grooming charges have resulted in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis enacting a "Don't Say Gay" law, the result of which has resulted in sanctions by Florida against Disney World, which opposes the new law. Similar laws are being considered in other states, including Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, and Ohio.

It is not Democrats who have groomed underage teens for sex. That distinction belongs to top Republican members of Congress. It was Republicans who invented equine terms like grooming and stabling for sexually preying on underage teens.

As WMR reported in 2006, it was a network of Republicans in the U.S. Congress who groomed male staffers by "stabling" them in Republican Senate offices for later assignment as pages for Republican members of the House. Such House Republicans included the then-Speaker, Dennis Hastert, who was later convicted on federal charges of making structured bank withdrawals to pay hush money to a high school student he molested.

As Speaker, Hastert was aware for eleven months that Representative Mark Foley (R-FL) was sending inappropriate messages regarding masturbation and erections to underage male pages for 11 months but refrained from taking any action.


First-term Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorne, who represents Western North Carolina and professes an ultra-conservative family-values brand of politics, is shown above wearing women's undergarments in one of several recently disclosed unflattering if not scandalous news accounts afflicting him after he complained publicly about alleged drug and sex orgies involving unnamed older political colleagues. He has described the above photos as a harmless prank on a cruise.

First-term Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorne, who represents Western North Carolina and professes an ultra-conservative family-values brand of politics, is shown above wearing women's undergarments in one of several recently disclosed unflattering if not scandalous news accounts afflicting him after he complained publicly about alleged drug and sex orgies involving unnamed older political colleagues. He has described the above photos as a harmless prank undertaken while on a cruise. Also released have been sex-oriented tapes, one with graphic nudity, each involving another man, including one of his House staffers

washington post logoWashington Post, Inside the Republican campaign to take down Madison Cawthorn, Isaac Arnsdorf, May 11, 2022 (print ed.). The freshman congressman picked a fight with top GOP leaders in his state. They gave it to him.

Last November, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) texted his state’s junior senator, Thom Tillis, about a tweet from the senator’s wife. Cawthorn had just announced that he was planning to switch districts, and Susan Tillis took to Twitter to criticize the move.

“Why is your wife attacking me on Twitter?” the House freshman demanded in his text exchange obtained by The Washington Post.

The senator replied that he hadn’t seen his wife’s tweet, but suggested Cawthorn didn’t need to look far for a possible reason.

“Just spit ballin here,” Tillis wrote, “but maybe because you’ve attacked her husband?”

“I don’t feel like I’ve attacked you that much,” Cawthorn replied. “I think I’ve said I don’t think your conservative enough, did not realize that made us enemies.”

In fact, Tillis isn’t the only powerful enemy Cawthorn has made in his own party. The 26-year-old congressman has, in his few years in politics, sparked public outrage with his support for former president Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, inflammatory speeches, repeated driving and gun infractions, and even a nude video. But his falling-out with top Republicans in North Carolina and Washington also arose from more humdrum blunders such as neglecting constituent services and insulting party elders, according to GOP officials and operatives in the state.

Now, those Republican enemies are openly lining up to take him down.

May 11

washington post logoWashington Post, Celebrity chef Mario Batali found not guilty of sexual assault in Boston trial, Tim Carman, May 11, 2022 (print ed.). Mario Batali was found not guilty on Tuesday of charges of indecent sexual assault and battery following a two-day trial in which the celebrity chef never took the witness stand in his own defense.

mario batali book simple mealsThe case against Batali, 61, was a #MeToo landmark: the first time a chef accused of sexual misconduct faced criminal charges in court. On Monday, the first day of the trial, Batali, shown at left on the cover of one of his cookbooks, waived his right to a jury trial, opting to leave his fate in the hands of Judge James Stanton, who on Tuesday said that evidence showed the accuser was motivated by financial gain.

Mario Batali’s accuser details alleged assault as his trial begins

The case hinged almost exclusively on the testimony of Natali Tene and the selfie photos she took with Batali on April 1, 2017, at a restaurant in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, not far from Eataly, an Italian marketplace that counted Batali among its owners.

“It’s an understatement to say that Mr. Batali did not cover himself in glory on the night in question,” Stanton said in announcing his ruling. “His conduct, his appearance and his demeanor were not befitting a public person of his stature at that time.”

But Stanton said it is the court’s job to determine how much weight to give to the testimony of witnesses. “The complaining witness has significant credibility issues,” he said. “The issues were highlighted in her testimony.”

On Monday, Tene testified that, while dining at Towne Stove and Spirits, she was caught trying to take a furtive photo of the chef who, before the #MeToo era, was a multimedia star. He wrote cookbooks, appeared on daytime television, was a regular on “Iron Chef America,” had his own cookware and was known virtually everywhere he went for his iconic footwear: orange Crocs.

After Batali motioned her over to his bar stool, Tene testified, she was prepared to apologize for snapping his picture without permission and even ready to delete it. But Batali, she said, encouraged her to take selfies with him. Off and on, over the course of three minutes or so, she testified, she snapped photos and short videos with Batali, who remained seated while she stood next to him.

May 9

ny times logoNew York Times, Mario Batali Goes on Trial in Sexual Misconduct Case, Kim Severson, May 9, 2022. Proceedings began Monday in Boston for the celebrity chef on charges that he groped a young woman in a bar.

Mario Batali, once considered the best-known celebrity chef in the United States, went on trial Monday in Boston on charges of indecent battery and assault connected to what began as a selfie session in a Boston bar in 2017.

Several prominent chefs and restaurateurs have been accused of sexual harassment and abuse since the #MeToo movement spread into the world of restaurants and hospitality in the fall of 2017, but Mr. Batali is the only one who has faced criminal charges.

If convicted, he could face up to two and a half years in the Suffolk County House of Correction and be required to register as a sex offender.

Jury selection had been scheduled to begin on Monday, but in the morning Mr. Batali told Judge James Stanton that he would waive his right to a jury trial and instead leave the verdict to the judge, The Boston Globe reported. Testimony was underway by midmorning.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Pamela Anderson, Amber Heard and the Limits of the Feminist Redemption Plot, Jessica Bennett, May 9, 2022. To look the part of Pamela Anderson in “Pam & Tommy,” the Hulu series, the actress Lily James sat through four hours of makeup each day and reportedly went through 50 pairs of 34DD prosthetic breasts, which had to be switched out repeatedly during filming and were at times so sweaty, they almost fell off.

The series recounts the whirlwind marriage of Ms. Anderson and her ex, the Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, and centers on the honeymoon sex tape that was stolen from their home and distributed to the masses. But this retelling of their story, created without their involvement, purports to be the empowering version of events — an attempt to depict Ms. Anderson’s struggle in the aftermath and “provoke a conversation about how we treat women,” as Ms. James has put it.

So if the camera seems a little too interested in lingering on those prosthetic breasts? Don’t worry — this is feminist art.

And it’s the kind of art that seems to be everywhere in Hollywood these days, part of a slate of projects that aim to “reclaim,” “redeem,” “reframe” and “reconsider” famous, beautiful, usually white and always misunderstood women from our semirecent pasts, who were at one point vilified, usually over something sexual in nature. As the logic (and marketing language) tends to go, by retelling (and consuming!) these women’s hardships through the more enlightened lens of today, we are helping women reclaim their power.

“Pam & Tommy” is not the most recent example of this genre, though it is perhaps the most controversial — in part because Ms. Anderson wanted nothing to do with it. But by the time it was announced, in 2018, there was a whole host of other successful projects like it: a biopic and documentary about Anita Hill, recounting her treatment in her sexual harassment claim against Clarence Thomas; “I, Tonya,” about the figure skater Tonya Harding, now treated as more complex than just a low-class villain; and “Lorena,” about Lorena Bobbitt, who today goes by Lorena Gallo and who we now see was not merely the woman who chopped off her husband’s penis but also a victim of domestic abuse.

monica lewinskyWe owe some of this redemption framework to Monica Lewinsky, right, of course, whose affair with the president was the backdrop to my teen years and whose return to the public eye I arguably helped facilitate once I was old enough to recognize its complexity. I wrote about Ms. Lewinsky in 2015, shortly before she delivered a TED Talk on public humiliation, and then again last year, when she became the subject of the FX series “Impeachment.”

So I am not immune to the appeal of this redemption arc. And yet …

At what point does the fictional depiction of that spectacle, and our viewing of it, become just as bad as watching it in the first place?

There are enough tales of wronged women in history that we could keep telling these stories forever. But are we really any better off today for having heard so many of them?

May 5

andrew wilhoite nikki wilhoiteMediaite, Republican Candidate Charged with Murdering Cancer-Stricken Wife Wins Primary from Jail, Michael Luciano, May 5, 2022. Andrew Wilhoite won a Republican primary in Indiana on Tuesday night after being arrested in the murder of his wife Nikki Wilhoite, who had just finished her last round of chemotherapy. They are shown above.

In March, police said the couple had a heated argument that ended with Andrew hitting Nikki in the head “with a blunt object” before dumping her in a creek. Her body was discovered in the early hours of March 26, partially submerged.

“She just finished chemo and stuff,” a neighbor told WXIN of the late 41-year-old. “She was trying to get well and for him to do something like that to her it’s not right.”

Andrew Wilhoite, 40, received 60 votes and will appear on November ballot for the Clinton Township Board. There were two other winners in the primary to fill the three available seats. He will remain in jail until his trial – at the very least. A trial date has not been set.

“There is no legal reason he can’t be a candidate,” an Indiana election official told the Tribune Star. “Under our system you are innocent until you are proven guilty. If a person is convicted of a felony, then they are no longer eligible to be a candidate and are ineligible to hold office.”

WXIN reported that Nikki had filed for divorce a day before her last chemotherapy treatment.

Andrew said that Nikki attacked him during their argument and that he swung at her face “with a gallon-sized concrete flower pot.”


amber heard 5 5 2022 trial

ny times logoNew York Times, Amber Heard Testifies About a ‘Pattern’ of Violence by Johnny Depp, Julia Jacobs, May 5, 2022 (print ed.). Ms. Heard, shown above, took the stand for the first time in the defamation case filed against her by her ex-husband, who says he was damaged by an op-ed she wrote.

Amber Heard, an actress defending herself against a defamation lawsuit filed by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, took the stand on Wednesday, recalling how a whirlwind romance that started on a movie set descended into a “pattern” of violence perpetrated against her by the actor.

The couple first got to know each other in 2009 on the set of “The Rum Diary,” a movie that Mr. Depp produced and starred in, and they fell in love on the movie’s press tour, Ms. Heard testified. But by 2012, she said, Mr. Depp was repeatedly accusing her of infidelity and his anger would often escalate to physical attacks, despite her denials.

“He would explode,” Ms. Heard said, recounting how Mr. Depp would punch walls next to her head, shove her to the ground and slap her repetitively.

Ms. Heard often grew emotional during her testimony as she explained the physical confrontations in graphic terms, at times appearing chagrined as she gave reasons for staying in the relationship despite her misgivings.

May 4

washington post logoWashington Post, Education Department probes Liberty University amid assault claims, Susan Svrluga, May 4, 2022. The private university has faced complaints about its handling of sexual assault reports.

Federal officials are looking into Liberty University, school officials acknowledged recently, in the wake of complaints about how the school handles reports of sexual assault.

“Liberty University welcomes the U.S. Department of Education’s review of our Clery Act compliance program,” a spokesperson wrote in an email. “We have pledged our full cooperation and look forward to the opportunity to strengthen and enhance our program through this assessment process. We have also committed to work collaboratively with the Department to address any potential compliance gaps identified through the review.”

liberty university sealThe federal law is intended to provide timely information about campus safety, mandating that colleges participating in federal financial aid programs disclose crime statistics and other information about security on campus.

The inquiry was first reported by ProPublica.

A spokesman for the Education Department said the agency “does not comment on institutional oversight activities, program reviews, or investigations — including the acknowledgment that they exist — until the outcome officially has been communicated to the institution.”

The university has faced complaints in recent months over its handling of sexual assault allegations. Last summer, 12 women filed suit against Liberty, claiming the school failed to help them after they reported sexual assaults or sexual misconduct.

A ProPublica story in October about women’s experiences at the private university in Virginia amplified concerns.

Last week, a former student sued the university, alleging that the university failed to investigate her claim of rape and retaliated against her for reporting it — and that the university’s student code of conduct leads victims of sexual assault to worry that they will get in trouble for breaking campus rules if they report an attack. The lawsuit claims the university violated federal Title IX law prohibiting discrimination based on sex at schools that receive federal funding.

May 1


madison cawthorn resized hunting amazon

ny times logoNew York Times, Pressure Mounts on Madison Cawthorn as Scandals Pile Up, Jonathan Weisman and Annie Karni, May 1, 2022 (print ed.). The North Carolina representative, once a young star in the conservative firmament, finds himself besieged by accusations.

Besieged by multiplying scandals and salacious accusations, Representative Madison Cawthorn, Republican of North Carolina, is under mounting pressure from both parties to end his short career in Congress.

In rapid succession, Mr. Cawthorn, who entered Congress as a rising star of the party’s far right, has been accused of falsely suggesting that his Republican colleagues routinely throw cocaine-fueled orgies, insider trading and an inappropriate relationship with a male aide. This week, he was detained at an airport, where police said he tried to bring a loaded handgun onto an airplane, the second time he has attempted that.

That came just days after pictures surfaced of him wearing women’s lingerie as part of a cruise ship game, imagery that might not go over well in the conservative stretches of his Western North Carolina district. And last month he was charged with driving with a revoked license for the second time since 2017.

The deluge of revelations and charges have left him on an island even within his own party. A political group supporting Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, has been pouring money into an ad campaign accusing Mr. Cawthorn of being a fame-seeking liar. The group is supporting the campaign of a more mainstream Republican, State Senator Chuck Edwards, who is running against Mr. Cawthorn. And the far-right, anti-establishment wing of the party now views the first-term congressman with similar skepticism, as someone who is falsely selling himself as a gatekeeper in his state to former President Donald J. Trump.



April 30

ny times logoNew York Times, How ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ Took On Murder and the Mormon Church, Austin Considine, April 30, 2022 (print ed.). A new FX mini-series adapts the investigative book by Jon Krakauer. He and the creator, Dustin Lance Black, talked about their efforts to get at the truth.

Dustin Lance Black still gets emotional when he talks about the time he left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, around three decades ago. It was hard, he said, because he loved the church. But his Mormon father had run off to marry his own first cousin, leaving behind a wife and three children. And when his stepfather became physically violent, local church leaders circled the wagons and told his mother, who was paralyzed from polio, to leave the police out of it.

So he had questions. And eventually, doubts.

He also still recalls when he first read Under the Banner of Heaven (2003), a book of investigative journalism by Jon Krakauer that is now the basis of an FX mini-series on Hulu, which Black created. Black had come out as gay by then and was trying to make it as a young screenwriter. “Banner” shined a clarifying light into corners of church practice and history that had always been hidden to him.

“It felt so true to me and then had all of these layers that I hadn’t yet examined about my childhood faith — my family’s faith still — and how I had grown up in it,” Black, 47, said in a three-way video call earlier this month. “It was formative for me.”

Krakauer, who was also on the call, had just seen the first several episodes of Black’s series, which debuts on Thursday. His knowledge of Black’s script was minimal; he had no official role in the series. He could tell, he said, that the show’s depictions of how church leaders encouraged women to stay in abusive relationships was rooted in experience.

April 29

ap logoAssociated Press via The Hill, Former Idaho lawmaker found guilty of raping intern, Rebecca Boone, April 29, 2022. A former Idaho lawmaker was convicted Friday of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern after a dramatic trial in which the young woman fled the witness stand during testimony, saying “I can’t do this.”

The intern told a Statehouse supervisor that Aaron von Ehlinger raped her at his apartment after the two had dinner at a Boise restaurant in March 2021. Von Ehlinger said the sex was consensual.

republican elephant logoAt the time, the Lewiston Republican was serving as a state representative, but he later resigned.

Von Ehlinger, 39, was found guilty Friday of rape. He was found not guilty of sexual penetration with a foreign object.

Von Ehlinger sat calmly as the verdict was read, as he has throughout the trial.

Afterward, 4th District Judge Michael Reardon told the jury: “This has been an unusual case attended by many unexpected circumstances, but I appreciate your attention … and hard work.”

A felony rape conviction carries a minimum sentence of one year in prison in Idaho. The maximum penalty can be as high as life in prison, at the judge’s discretion. Sentencing has been scheduled for July 28.

As von Ehlinger was remanded into custody and handcuffed, he talked quietly with his attorney who removed items from von Ehlinger’s pockets.

The prosecution remained stoic as they left the courtroom, but once they reached a lower floor they stopped to briefly to congratulate each other on the verdict.

Von Ehlinger’s attorney, Jon Cox, could not be immediately reached for comment after the trial.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted, and has referred to the woman in this case as “Jane Doe” at her request.

In a press conference, Ada County Prosecuting Attorney Jan Bennetts thanked the jury, investigators and the prosecutors who handled the case.

“Last but not least, it took an incredible amount of courage for the victim in this case, Jane Doe, to come forward,” Bennetts said. “I want to acknowledge the courage that she took in coming forward.”

Doe testified on the second day of the trial. She haltingly described the moments the alleged assault began, before abruptly leaving the witness stand.

“He tried to put his fingers between my legs and I closed my knees,” Doe said.

At that, she stood up.

“I can’t do this,” she said, quickly walking out of the courtroom.

The judge gave the prosecuting attorneys 10 minutes to find her to determine if she would return and resume her testimony.

When she did not, the judge told the jurors they had to “strike (Doe’s testimony) from your minds as if it never happened,” because the defense could not cross-examine her.

During the press conference, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Katelyn Farley said the moment Doe left the trial was “heart-wrenching,” but said she and deputy prosecutor Whitney Welsh had prepared for trial knowing that Doe may not be able to testify.

“I think it’s important that she decided to walk in the room, and she also decided to walk out — those were her choices,” Welsh said.

During his testimony Thursday, von Ehlinger often spoke in a clear, loud voice directly to jurors, saying he and Doe decided to return to his apartment to “hang out” after eating at a fancy Boise restaurant. Then they began making out on the couch, he said.

“Things were going well, and I asked (Doe) if she would like to move to the bedroom,” von Ehlinger said. “She said ‘Sure.’ We got up, held hands and walked into the bedroom.”

Deliberations stretched for seven hours until nearly 8 p.m. Thursday before the jury decided to break for the evening. At one point, the judge summoned the attorneys to his chambers because the jury asked a question. No details were made public about the jury’s inquiry.

When the allegations became public — largely because of the legislative ethics investigation — Doe faced unrelenting harassment from some of von Ehlinger’s supporters. Her name, photo and personal details about her life were repeatedly publicized in “doxxing” incidents. One of the people who frequently harassed her was in the courthouse to attend the trial, but law enforcement banned the man from the floor where the case was being heard.

During closing arguments, Farley told jurors that the case was about “power in the wrong hands” used to the “great devastation” of Doe. Von Ehlinger had social, political and physical power over the petite intern, Farley said.

“He used that power to rape and forcibly penetrate her,” Farley said, pointing at von Ehlinger. Doe resisted in several ways, she said, highlighting the testimony of law enforcement investigators and a nurse sexual assault examiner who interviewed Doe after the alleged assault.

ny times logoNew York Times, Officials are rushing resources to Ukraine to help prosecute sex crimes that have occurred during the war, Lara Jakes, April 29, 2022. The rape happened in the hours after midnight on March 14, in a classroom of a school outside Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine. Two days later, Yulia Gorbunova interviewed the victim and helped persuade her to report the attack, which could ultimately be prosecuted as a war crime committed by invading Russian forces.

Ms. Gorbunova, an investigator with Human Rights Watch, spoke with the victim several more times by phone and later in person to document her trauma and obtain photos of bruises and cuts that the woman said had been inflicted by a Russian soldier who had raped her repeatedly. The victim — mother to a 5-year-old daughter — submitted at least some of the evidence to local authorities in Kharkiv.

But this week, Ms. Gorbunova also brought the attack to the attention of Ukrainian war crimes prosecutors in Kyiv, the capital.

“They were very interested, because they said that it has been difficult to get survivors of sexual violence to come forward,” Ms. Gorbunova said in a telephone interview from Kyiv on Wednesday. She has been documenting human rights abuses in Ukraine since 2014, when Russia began supporting separatists in the eastern part of the country, and was alerted to the rape near Kharkiv by local activists.

She added: “I am not aware of any successful prosecution of cases of rape in the context of armed conflict, specifically in Ukraine.”

In the first two weeks of April, about 400 cases of sexual violence by Russian soldiers were reported to Ukraine’s ombudswoman for human rights, Lyudmyla Denisova. A U.N. mission has received at least 75 allegations of sexual violence against Ukrainians, including children, by Russian troops in Kyiv alone since Feb. 24, the start of Moscow’s invasion.

ny times logoNew York Times, Ukraine’s top human rights official is determined to track war crimes and make sure Russians are held to account, Carlotta Gall, April 29, 2022. When Lyudmyla Denisova became Ukraine’s human rights commissioner four years ago, a job that she thought would round out a career in public service, it rekindled a youthful ambition. “I really wanted to become a prosecutor,” she said.

With no idea of the horrors to come, she could hardly have imagined how well life had prepared her to meet this moment, with a lawyer’s mind, a prosecutor’s zeal, a politician’s skill at communicating and organizing, and personal insight into the workings of Russia.

She has been working in overdrive since Russian troops invaded in February, identifying, documenting and bearing witness to human rights violations. In parallel to the police and prosecutors, she interviews prisoners and traces missing persons, while also mobilizing teams countrywide to coordinate assistance to victims of the war.

“I myself was in Bucha and saw everything with my own eyes,” she said of the suburb of Kyiv where she said 360 unlawful killings had already been recorded. “I saw all these graves myself. It’s scary when you find a size 33 sneaker there” — a child’s size in Ukraine.

On a conference table she spread the papers of her daily report and read out some of the cases that had come to her office in the last 24 hours. They included separate cases of a 45-year-old man and an 11-year-old girl, both suicidal after being sexually assaulted on the street by Russian soldiers and blaming themselves for what happened, she said.

“Even if a person died in the bombing, this is also a war crime,” she said in one of two recent interviews. “The very fact that the Russian Federation invaded and began bombing is already a war crime of aggression.”

She is also tracing reports of sexual violence and gang rape by Russian soldiers, as well as the fate of 400 Ukrainians, including children, who she says were taken against their will to a camp in Penza in central Russia. And she is pushing to bring charges of genocide against Russia’s leaders.


kathleen kane fileap logoAssociated Press via KYW-FM (Philadelphia), Former state AG Kathleen Kane back in jail for alleged probation violation, Jim Melwert, April 29, 2022. She turned herself in after, according to an affidavit, she had been drinking before a crash in March

A former Pennsylvania attorney general who served jail time for leaking grand jury material and lying about it was taken into custody Friday on an alleged probation violation, more than a month after she was charged with drunken driving, officials said.

Kathleen Kane, 55, is behind bars at Montgomery County Correctional Facility outside Philadelphia, said Kelly Cofrancisco, a county spokesperson. Additional details were not immediately available.

A message was left for her attorney in the drunken driving case.

Once a rising star in Pennsylvania politics, Kane became the first Democrat and the first woman elected as state attorney general.

She resigned as attorney general after being convicted in 2016 of perjury, obstruction and other counts for leaking secret investigative files to embarrass a rival prosecutor.

Kane was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail, serving her time at Montgomery County Correctional Facility in the Philadelphia suburbs. She was released in 2019.

She was still on probation when police in Scranton were called to the scene of a two-car crash on March 12 and said they found Kane behind the wheel of an Audi.

Kane told responding officers she was a designated driver, but surveillance video showed Kane herself had been drinking alcohol at a Scranton restaurant shortly before the crash, according to an affidavit.

Kane had watery, bloodshot eyes and slurred her words — police said she had trouble saying the word “designated” — and failed a field sobriety test, the documents said.

Sources tell KYW Newsradio that Kane checked herself into rehabilitation for 30 days. She turned herself in on Friday and was charged with drunken driving and careless driving. A Montgomery County judge subsequently issued a bench warrant for her arrest.

  • Editor's Note: The Wayne Madsen Report has published on-the-ground reporting that Kane was systematically targeted by colleagues in unusual fashion as retribution for her seeking to prosecute sexual criminals who held high positions.

April 23


andrew tate graphic

Daily Beast, Police Raid MAGA ‘King of Toxic Masculinity’ in Human-Trafficking Investigation, Will Sommer, April 23, 2022. The raid was prompted by reports that an American woman had been abducted.

Romanian police raided the home of prominent pro-Trump online personality Andrew Tate this month as part of a human-trafficking investigation, bringing new attention to Tate’s ties to leading figures in the American MAGA movement.

daily beast logoBefore the April 11 raid, Tate was best known as a kickboxer and vocal Trump supporter in the online far right. On social media, Tate portrayed himself as a wealthy cigar-smoking playboy, prompting one admirer to dub him the “king of toxic masculinity.”

But Tate’s treatment of women had an ugly side. In 2016, he was booted off the British version of Big Brother over a video of him hitting a woman with a belt. This March, Britain’s Daily Mirror tabloid profiled him and his brother Tristan Tate and their Romania-based business which used webcam models to trick men into sending the brothers tens of thousands of dollars. In one video on his YouTube channel, Andrew Tate said “40 percent” of the reason he moved to Romania was because Romanian police were less likely to pursue sexual assault allegations.

Tate’s unsavory activities didn’t stop him from building links with the stars of the Trumpian right. In 2019, Tate palled around Washington, D.C. with prominent online Trump activists and conspiracy theorists. He shared a meal with far-right cable news commentator Jack Posobiec and Infowars host Paul Joseph Watkins, and appeared multiple times on Infowars shows.

In Trump’s Washington hotel, Tate posed for a picture with Brexit advocate Nigel Farage, and sat in a group in the Trump hotel lobby with the likes of Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich and future Jan. 6 protest organizer Ali Alexander. Cernovich visited the Tate brothers in Romania later that year, describing them as his “friends” in the description of his podcast.

While Cernovich built his name online by making false human-trafficking claims about a Washington pizzeria, the Tates may soon be accused of genuine human trafficking. In a statement provided to The Daily Beast, Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism said the raid on the Tates’ house was part of an investigation that began after a woman was reported to be held at the house against her will.

As the probe continued, it escalated to include “crimes of human trafficking and rape.”

Video from the raid show police officers armed with rifles milling among the Tates’ sports cars, with a neon “TATE” logo on a wall in the background. Another video showed Tate and his brother being shoved into vans by police officers before being driven away from their homes.

A Romanian newspaper reported that the raid was sparked over reports that an American woman was being held captive at the Tate house. Police found both the American and a Romanian woman in the building during the raid, according to the report. In a statement on the raid to The Daily Beast, a U.S. State Department spokesperson alluded to a reported abduction of an American citizen but declined to comment further.

“We are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen held against their will in Romania,” the spokesperson said. “Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment."

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Tristan Tate disputed the Romanian media report that police found women in house who were there against their will.

“No girls were found in my house, and nobody was arrested,” Tate said.

Andrew Tate’s pro-Trump colleagues—Cernovich, Watkins, Posobiec, and Alexander—also didn’t respond to emails from The Daily Beast.

Andrew Tate appeared to address his arrest in an Instagram picture posted after his arrest, featuring him smoking a cigar in a staged interrogation room as faux-police officers loomed over him. Tate added a caption: “Officer...l think we can all agree that bitches love to lie.”

The raid on the Tates’ villa isn’t the first time that the “manosphere,” the far-right men’s online community that Tate belongs to, has been tied to serious criminal activity. In December, a prominent manosphere personality went on a killing spree in Denver, murdering five people before being fatally shot by a police officer.

Associated Press via Politico, Split verdict in first-ever Air Force general military trial, Staff Report, April 23, 2022. Officials said the verdict marks the first court-martial trial and conviction of a general officer in the Air Force’s 75-year history. An Air Force major general in Ohio has been convicted by a military judge of one of three specifications of abusive sexual contact in the first-ever military trial of an Air Force general.

The charge faced by Maj. Gen. William Cooley during the weeklong court-martial at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio had three specifications, one alleging a forcible kiss and two alleging forcible touching in 2018. Cooley was convicted Saturday of the forcible kissing specification but acquitted of the other two.

Officials said the verdict marks the first court-martial trial and conviction of a general officer in the Air Force’s 75-year history.

A former commander of Air Force Research Laboratory, Cooley was charged with abusive sexual contact in an encounter with a woman who gave him a ride after a backyard barbecue in New Mexico nearly four years ago. Officials said the woman is a civilian who is not a Department of Defense employee.

Cooley was to be sentenced Monday morning and could face as much as seven years in jail as well as loss of rank, pay and benefits.

Cooley had the option of a trial by court member jurors or by military judge, and chose to have the case heard by the judge.

“Today marks the first time an Air Force general officer has been held responsible for his heinous actions,” the woman’s attorney Ryan Guilds, said in a statement, the Dayton Daily News reported. “... Hopefully, this will not be as difficult for the next survivor.”

Cooley was fired from his research laboratory position in January 2020 after an Air Force investigation and has worked in an administrative job since then. A message seeking comment was left for his attorney Saturday.

“This case clearly demonstrates the commitment of Air Force leaders to fully investigate the facts and hold Airmen of any rank accountable for their actions when they fail to uphold Air Force standards,” Col. Eric Mejia, staff judge advocate for Air Force Materiel Command, said in a statement.

April 20

ny times logoNew York Times, New Jersey Diocese Agrees to Settle Sex Abuse Claims for $87.5 Million, Ed Shanahan, April 20, 2022 (print ed.). The settlement involved hundreds who accused clergy members of sexual abuse, and is among the largest such agreements with the Catholic Church in the U.S.

The Diocese of Camden, N.J., said on Tuesday that it had agreed to pay $87.5 million to settle claims made by hundreds of people who accused clergy members of sexually abusing them, one of the largest such settlements involving the Catholic Church in the United States.

In what may be a first for such litigation, the ultimate payout to the plaintiffs could be substantially higher, lawyers representing them said, because the settlement allows for further litigation against insurance companies for the diocese and related entities like parishes and schools.

“This is a triumph of courage, with all credit to the survivors for staying unified and strong,” Jeff Anderson, a lawyer for about a quarter of the roughly 300 plaintiffs, said.

In a statement announcing the settlement, Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan, the leader of the diocese, said, “I want to express my sincere apology to all those who have been affected by sexual abuse in our diocese.”

April 19


Legal Schnauzer, Investigative Commentary: In the wake of Birmingham attorney's shocking suicide, attention turns to possible obstruction of justice, criminal roger shuler and murphyconcealment, and civil RICO cases, Roger Shuler, right, April 19, 2022. The suicide last week of Balch & Bingham attorney William "Bo" Lineberry, shown above, was a stunning and perhaps telling event in the years-long effort to unwind apparent scandal in the Alabama corporate, legal, judicial, and law-enforcement worlds.

Where does attention turn next? Ban Balch Publisher K.B. Forbes provides clues, under the headline "After Suicide, National Media and Feds Zero in on Alleged Obstruction and “Criminal Concealment;” RICOs Coming?" The sub-headline -- "Suicide. Resignations. Internal turmoil. Corporate strife" -- provides insight into the unrest that seems to be roiling elite circles in Birmingham and beyond. Writes Forbes:

Since November, Birmingham is seeing what appears to be the collapse of the house of marked cards allegedly propped up by the deep resources of Alabama Power. The Three Stooges (Balch & Bingham, Drummond, and Alabama Power) have seen their dominance stumble.

High-level sources told us in late October that Mark A. Crosswhite, the Chairman and CEO of Alabama Power and a former partner at embattled law abdul kallonfirm Balch & Bingham, was an alleged target of an obstruction investigation.

Federal Judge Abdul K. Kallon, left, resigned along allegedly with two Assistant U.S. Attorneys earlier this month, while Balch partner Bo Lineberry committed suicide last week.

What enormous pressure and worry caused Lineberry to end his life? Was he facing unbearable consequences? Was there an offer on the table that was too brutal for Lineberry to accept?

Seasoned law enforcement authorities tell us the Lineberry suicide spoke volumes about the depth and seriousness of the alleged federal probe.

Attention appears to be spreading beyond Alabama. Writes Forbes:

Now national media are focused on the alleged unsavory and criminal misconduct and alleged abuse of power surrounding the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. once run by disgraced ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, who resigned in 2020.

Concurrently, federal investigators are allegedly looking at obstruction of justice and accusations of “criminal concealment.”

In what looked like sheer panic with the rebirth of the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal, the illustrious Mark White, Mark Crosswhite’s go-to criminal attorney, fumbled the ball and showed how concealment appears to be part and parcel of the work product and a standard operating procedure of the Three Stooges and their hired guns.

As we reported about the “Tale of Two Marks” in January of 2021:

alabama power logo[Alabama Power’s] team of attorneys at White, Arnold, & Dowd, led by white-collar criminal attorney Mark White, filed an avalanche of court pleadings in December [2020] at the courthouse office, over the counter as if it were 1950 not 2020. (We wonder if Mark White still uses a rotary phone, stencil duplicator, and Royal typewriter.)

The delay and “hiding the goods” tactic failed. The paper court pleadings were [immediately] scanned and uploaded by the clerk to Alacourt where we, the CDLU, were able to download them.

Concealment might be an unfamiliar legal term to the general public, but it seems to be central to the unfolding Birmingham story:

Concealment has been a consistent element.

Concealment was discovered in January when Alabama Power’s multi-million-dollar secret contracts (no invoicing required) with obscure political consulting firm Matrix and its founder “Sloppy Joe” Perkins were exposed.

Attorneys for “Sloppy Joe” attempted to call the secret contracts “trade secrets” and sent worthless demand letters to an environmental group and blog that published the concealed million-dollar agreements.

Allegations of non-disclosure and concealed indemnity agreements tied to Alabama Power and Balch have swirled since 2017.

Absolute concealment was achieved when ex-Drummond executive David Roberson’s $75-million civil lawsuit was sealed in its entirety in the Winter of 2021 in an attempt to hide alleged criminal misconduct. The secretive Star Chamber does not allow anyone to follow or read proceedings in the case.

The conservative Alabama Supreme Court reinstated Balch as a defendant in Roberson’s civil case this past February. Bloomberg reported that Balch must face fraud claims due to “misrepresention and concealment.”

chase espyBalch terminated an alleged pedophile months before he was arrested for soliciting a child online. Ex-Balch attorney Chase T. Espy, left,  had worked at the embattled firm for eight years [Emphasis added]. He then went on to work briefly for Alabama Governor Kay Ivey when he was kay ivey current 2022arrested and immediately fired last August. What caused Balch to fire Espy? What did Balch conceal from the public and the governor, right, regarding Espy?

The biggest concealment appears to be Alabama Power’s alleged secret deal during the North Birmingham Bribery Trial in which the company was “unmentionable” during the trial and criminal defense attorneys allegedly had to clear any mention of Alabama Power with Mark White.

The federal statute of limitations for obstruction of justice is five years. The timing of the alleged federal investigation makes sense. The trial happened in July of 2018. The statute would expire in the summer of 2023.

Those aren't the only worries likely knocking around Birmingham board rooms. Writes Forbes:

Now Alabama Power and their sister-wife Balch & Bingham appear to have even bigger issues coming.

If obstruction of justice indictments are handed down and/or alleged criminal information is disclosed related to the alleged federal probe and the Matrix Meltdown, expect a federal civil RICO lawsuit or two against Balch, Alabama Power, and others.

The first civil RICO lawsuit will be based on the Newsome Conspiracy Case, a travesty of justice in which an innocent man, Burt Newsome, was allegedly targeted, falsely arrested, and defamed by Balch in an attempt to steal his law practice providing legal services to banks.

Newsome was arrested by a cop who was the son of a now-retired Alabama Power executive. Ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town allegedly blocked four investigations related to the Newsome Conspiracy Case.

Another, separate civil RICO lawsuit could be filed on behalf of “fall guy”and ex-Drummond executive David Roberson.

Either way, the Three Stooges and their defenders are exposed in the open no matter how many concealed deals, secret smear campaigns, or Star Chambers they create.

April 15


charles herbster facebook

ny times logoNew York Times, Nebraska State Senator Says Candidate for Governor Groped Her, Azi Paybarah, April 15, 2022 (print ed.). A Republican state senator in Nebraska said on Thursday that she had been groped three years ago by a fellow Republican who is now a leading candidate in the party’s primary election for governor next month.

The candidate, Charles Herbster, above, denied the allegations from the state senator, Julie Slama, calling them “100 percent false.”

Ms. Slama issued her statement after The Nebraska Examiner published an article about the alleged incident, which she said had occurred at a Douglas County Republican Party dinner in April 2019.

republican elephant logo“Today’s Nebraska Examiner report about Charles Herbster sexually assaulting me in 2019, when I was 22 years old, is true,” Ms. Slama said, adding that she had “prayed I would never have to relive this trauma.”

She said that when the news outlet asked her about what had happened, “I was not going to deny the truth.” In February, she referred to the alleged assault during a speech on the floor of the Legislature, though she did not name Mr. Herbster at the time.

pete ricketts CustomMr. Herbster, who owns a large agricultural company and was endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump ahead of the May 10 primary election, said in a statement that the allegations were “a ridiculous, unfounded dirty political trick” being carried out by his political opponents in the state, including Gov. Pete Ricketts, right, also a Republican.

“For over 30 years, I’ve employed hundreds of people,” Mr. Herbster said. “I’ve respected and empowered women to run my company, my farm and now my campaign. Not once has my integrity EVER been challenged in this manner.” Later, he told a local radio station: “They did it with Brett Kavanaugh. They certainly did it with Donald J. Trump and now they’re trying to do it with Charles W. Herbster.”

Mr. Herbster’s campaign manager, Ellen Keast, issued a separate statement that “unequivocally” denied the allegations and accused Mr. Ricketts at greater length of being behind the story. Ms. Keast noted that Mr. Ricketts and Ms. Slama had political ties; she worked as press secretary on his 2018 campaign for governor before he appointed her to the Legislature the next year.

Asked to respond, Mr. Ricketts said in an interview: “Well, I would read the article. I have rarely seen an article on this topic that is so extensively corroborated by witnesses.” Referring to Ms. Slama’s decision to speak publicly about the alleged incident, he said, “It’s probably one of the most courageous things I’ve ever seen.”

washington post logoNew York Times, As G.O.P. Candidates Face Accusations, Rivals Tread Carefully, Jonathan Weisman, April 15, 2022.  In several states, Republican candidates are contending with allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault. Few of their primary rivals want to talk about it.

When fresh allegations of domestic violence were lodged against former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, left, last month, one of his Republican rivals for the state’s open Senate seat, Representative Vicky Hartzler, stepped up and called for him to end his campaign.

eric greitens oThen she moved on to an issue perhaps more resonant with Republican primary voters: transgender women in sports.

“Eric Greitens is a toxic candidate unfit to hold office,” Michael Hafner, a spokesman for Ms. Hartzler’s Senate campaign, said, before declaring the central message of her campaign: “Missouri family values, freedom, and taking back our country.”

In Missouri, Georgia, Ohio and now Nebraska, Republican men running for high office face significant allegations of domestic violence, stalking, even sexual assault — accusations that once would have derailed any run for office. But in an era of Republican politics when Donald J. Trump could survive and thrive amid accusations of sexual assault, opposing candidates are finding little traction in dwelling on the issues.

Political scientists who have studied Republican voting since the rise of Trumpism are not surprised that accused candidates have soldiered on — and that their primary rivals have approached the accusations tepidly. In this fiercely partisan moment, concerns about personal behavior are dwarfed by the struggle between Republicans and Democrats, which Republican men and women see as life-or-death. Increasingly, Republicans cast accusations of sexual misconduct as an attempt by liberals to silence conservatives.

The candidates who do speak of their opponents’ domestic violence and assault allegations often raise them not as disqualifications in looming Republican primaries, but as matters ripe for exploitation by Democrats in the fall.

“It’s a horrible problem; he’ll never be elected, and that’s the educational process we’re going through right now,” Gary Black, Georgia’s agriculture commissioner, said of domestic violence and assault allegations leveled at Herschel Walker, his Trump-backed Republican rival to take on Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in November. “There’s a great desire for Republicans to get their seat back. Electability is going to be the issue over the next six weeks.”

Democrats, including President Biden and Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota, have weathered their own accusations of misconduct in the past — and where such charges have proven difficult to discount, the party has shown itself more willing to jettison its candidates.

April 14


Inna Makarenko, 44, Oleh Makarenko, 21, and Yevhen Makarenko, 43, are charged with attempted murder under Florida’s “hate crime” enhancement law. - Broward Sheriff's OfficeInna Makarenko, 44 (left to right), Oleh Makarenko, 21, and Yevhen Makarenko, 43, are charged with attempted murder under Florida’s “hate crime” enhancement law (Photos via Broward Sheriff's Office).Inna Makarenko, 44 (left to right), Oleh Makarenko, 21, and Yevhen Makarenko, 43, are charged with attempted murder under Florida’s “hate crime” enhancement law (Photos via Broward Sheriff's Office).

Miami Herald, Three Family Members Blind Gay Man in Brutal Hate Crime, Authorities Say, David Ovalle, Updated April 13, 2022. Three family members have been charged with a hate crime after kidnapping and beating a gay man so severely that he was permanently blinded, Broward prosecutors said Tuesday.

Two parents and their son were formally charged Tuesday on counts of first-degree attempted murder, burglary with battery and kidnapping “with prejudice” — all charges enhanced under Florida’s “hate crime” law. That means they all face up to life in prison on each count.

Charged so far are Inna Makarenko, 44, Yevhen Makarenko, 43, and Oleh Makarenko, 21, all of Pompano Beach. They have been in jail since last month, records show. They’ve already pleaded not guilty, according to court records. The family’s defense attorney did not initially respond to a request for comment. TOP VIDEOS × Another son, Vladyslav Makarenko, 25, was jailed in Alabama, transferred to Broward County on Monday and is awaiting a decision from prosecutors on whether he’ll also be charged under the hate crime statute.


charles herbster facebookNebraska Examiner, GOP state senator, seven other women say Charles Herbster groped them; he denies allegations, Aaron Sanderford, April 14, 2022. Charles Herbster, above, a Nebraska Republican gubernatorial candidate, speaks to a crowd Wednesday at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in North Platte. Donald Trump Jr. was his guest at the event. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

Time after time, Charles Herbster worked the crowds as he attended events, either as a candidate for Nebraska governor, a significant Republican donor or a beauty pageant judge.

He would go up to a group and introduce himself. Often wearing his signature cowboy hat and suit, he would extend a handshake to the men. But when young women reached out for a handshake, as well, on at least several occasions he pulled them into an embrace instead.

Herbster, the CEO of Conklin Co. and now a frontrunner in the 2022 GOP primary race, sometimes went further, according to eight women who spoke with the Nebraska Examiner.

During an event in 2019, for example, Republican State Sen. Julie Slama confirmed that as she walked by Herbster, he reached up her skirt, without her consent, and touched her inappropriately. The incident happened in the middle of a crowded ballroom at the Douglas County Republican Party’s annual Elephant Remembers dinner.

At the time, Slama had been recently appointed to the District 1 legislative seat representing southeast Nebraska. Herbster owns a farm and a house in the district.

Another person attending the 2019 event saw Herbster reach up Slama’s skirt and had told the Examiner about it. That witness and two others said they saw Herbster grope another young woman on her buttocks at the same event.

When the Examiner asked Slama on Monday if the two incidents at the event had been described accurately, and whether Herbster had touched her under her skirt, Slama said: “Yes, confirmed,” but declined to discuss the incidents further.

Six women, including the woman Slama saw being groped at the Elephant Remembers dinner, told the Nebraska Examiner that Herbster touched them inappropriately when they were saying hello or goodbye to him, or when they were posing for a photograph by his side.

The women said Herbster groped them on their buttocks, outside of their clothes, during political events or beauty pageants. Each woman said she was grabbed, not inadvertently grazed, by Herbster.

A seventh woman said Herbster once cornered her privately and kissed her forcibly.

All the incidents occurred between 2017 and this year, according to those involved. The women ranged in age from their late teens to mid-20s at the time of the incidents.

Herbster’s campaign manager, Ellen Keast, in a statement issued Wednesday evening, said Herbster denied the women’s allegations “unequivocally.” Keast said that “this is a political hit-piece built on 100% false and baseless claims.” Keast blamed the “political establishment” for “smearing and trying to destroy him with lies.”

“Charles W. Herbster has a lifetime record of empowering women to lead,” Keast said in her statement. “His company, farm, and campaign are all run by women. Despite leading hundreds of employees, not once has his reputation been attacked in this disgusting manner.”

Keast, who said her family has known Herbster for nearly a decade, said she had never experienced anything like the women described. “Never,” she said. “He’s an honest, respectful man.”

All of the women except Slama spoke to the Examiner on the condition that their names be withheld. The Nebraska Examiner grants anonymity to those alleging sexual assault, unless they consent to be named.

Several of the women said they feared Herbster’s wealth and power. Three said they were concerned about their careers if they reported the behavior. Three worried about the reaction of their parents and churches.


cuba gooding

ny times logoNew York Times, Cuba Gooding Jr. Pleads Guilty to Forcible Touching, Benjamin Weiser and Colin Moynihan, April 14, 2022 (print ed.). The actor, above, must complete six more months of treatment with no new arrests under his plea deal.

The actor Cuba Gooding Jr., who had been accused by more than 20 women of groping or forcibly kissing them in encounters that dated back more than two decades, pleaded guilty in Manhattan on Wednesday to one count of forcible touching.

The count, a misdemeanor, charged that he had forcibly kissed a woman at a nightclub in Manhattan in 2018.

Under terms of the plea, Mr. Gooding must continue for six more months in alcohol and behavior modification treatment that he has been undergoing since 2019, and he must have no new arrests, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said.

If he fulfills the terms of the plea, he can then withdraw the plea and plead to a lesser charge of harassment, a violation, with a sentence of time served, the office said. Also, the record of the plea will not be sealed, the office said.

Mr. Gooding had faced a criminal trial on charges of unwanted sexual touching of three women in Manhattan restaurants and nightclubs in 2018 and 2019. The Manhattan district attorney’s office had asked a judge to admit as witnesses 19 other women who it said had come forward to accuse Mr. Gooding of such conduct.

Mr. Gooding’s “prior acts demonstrate that his contacts with their intimate parts are intentional, not accidental, and that he is not mistaken about their lack of consent,” the district attorney’s office wrote in a court filing in October 2019.

In court, Mr. Gooding’s lawyer, Frank Rothman, said his client was also prepared to apologize to the women in the two other incidents.

One of those accusers — the woman in the incident at the hotel in 2019 — addressed the court on Wednesday. “I won’t lie,” the woman, who identified herself as Kelsey Harbert, said. “I’m very disappointed that we are here today discussing a plea deal.”

Ms. Harbert said that she wanted to talk about what had happened to her and also to explore some broader issues, which drew an objection from Mr. Rothman, who said she should not be “making a statement for the rest of society.”

Ms. Harbert, saying she would limit her comments to her own experience, told the court that she had been “super excited” to see Mr. Gooding and then encounter him while she was out one night with friends. Her excitement turned to dismay, however, when she felt his hand on her breast, she said.

“I was mortified,” she said. “My body was being placed under the dominion of someone else without my consent.”

Ms. Harbert said it was “very devastating” to her that Mr. Gooding would have the chance to “move on” after six months, while she has experienced continuing feelings of trauma and violation as a result of her contact with him.

After Ms. Harbert completed her statement, the defense lawyer, Mr. Rothman, spoke again, saying he had watched a video recording depicting the events at the hotel. “What she said happened here for the last 20 minutes is a product of her imagination in large part,” Mr. Rothman said.

After court, Mr. Rothman said in a phone interview, “This case should have been resolved years ago.” He said that he had met with the new district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, after he took office in January, who “took a harder and more in-depth look at the pros and cons of the prosecution.”

“We reached an agreement that all sides could live with,” Mr. Rothman said. “It’s fair and appropriate under all of the circumstances.”

Mr. Gooding, a Bronx native, had his first major success playing the lead role in the 1991 film “Boyz n the Hood,” and he won an Academy Award in 1997 for his supporting role in “Jerry Maguire.” He played O.J. Simpson in the 2016 television series “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

April 12


Britney Spears and her father and former conservator, James Spears (Associated Press file photos).

Britney Spears and her father and former conservator, James Spears (Associated Press file photos).

ny times logoNew York Times, Britney Spears, Out of Conservatorship, Says ‘I Am Having a Baby,’ Julia Jacobs, April 12, 2022 (print ed.). During her successful effort to end her conservatorship, the performer had complained that the team appointed to supervise her had blocked her from having additional children.

Months after Britney Spears was released from the conservatorship that she said was restricting her from having a third child, the pop star announced Monday in an Instagram post that she is pregnant.

In explosive testimony last year, Ms. Spears called the conservatorship that had governed her life for 13 years “abusive,” saying the people who managed it had refused to let her get her IUD removed so she could try to have another child.

“I want to be able to get married and have a baby,” Ms. Spears said last June. “I was told right now in the conservatorship I am not able to get married or have a baby.”

The singer’s assertion about her birth control device was among the most stunning in her speech, during which she said she had been drugged and compelled to work against her will. Reproductive rights advocates condemned the situation as a violation of her rights.

April 8

The Hill, Ex-GOP Senate staffer sentenced to more than 12 years in child porn case, Dominick Mastrangelo, April 8, 2022. A former GOP Senate staffer has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison after pleading guilty in a case involving child pornography.

ruben verastigui headshotA federal judge sentenced Ruben Verastigui, 29, right, of Washington, D.C., on Thursday to 151 months in prison on a federal charge of ruben verastigui white housereceipt of child pornography, the Department of Justice announced.

Verastigui, shown below visiting the Trump White House during Christmas seas, was arrested in February last year and pleaded guilty the following July.

Federal prosecutors say Verastigui, formerly a digital strategist with the Senate Republican Conference, was active in an online group devoted to trading child pornography and discussing child sexual abuse.

The Senate Republican Conference has previously said Verastigui “has not worked at SRC since July 2, 2020.”

From April 2020 through February 2021, Verastigui shared child pornography videos with another member of an online group and made numerous comments about sexually abusing children, prosecutors said.

Verastigui became a subject in a Homeland Security Department investigation during a larger probe of more than a dozen other people who, police believe, exchanged messages about trading child pornography.

After completing his prison term, Verastigui will be placed on five years of supervised release, a federal judge ruled. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for at least 15 years.

Related Story: Warning: The details of the story below are graphic and disturbing.

Law& Crime, Pro-Life Ex-GOP Aide Who Worked on Trump Ads Sentenced to More Than a Decade in Prison Because ‘He Enjoyed Seeing Children Getting Raped,’ Adam Klasfeld, April 8, 2022. An ex-GOP staffer who helped design social media ads for Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for receiving hundreds of child sexual abuse materials, including videos of babies being raped.

An ex-GOP staffer who helped design social media ads for Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for receiving hundreds of child sexual abuse materials, including videos of babies being raped.

Ruben Verastigui, 29, reportedly posted a photograph of himself at the White House just two months before his arrest on child pornography offenses. According to his now-deleted LinkedIn account, Verastigui previously worked as a senior digital strategist for the Senate Republican Conference and the Republican National Committee. Verastigui also acted as the digital media coordinator for the anti-abortion group Students for Life of America. He left the Republican Conference in July of 2020 to become the communications manager for the nonprofit group Citizens For Responsible Energy Solutions, his profile said.

When Verastigui spoke at the National March for Life in 2013, he said: “I truly believe that we are the chosen generation, and we will abolish abortion and change history.”

Several years later, Verastigui discussed “in great detail how much he enjoyed seeing children getting raped and killed,” prosecutors said.

Verastigui was arrested following an 11-month investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Youth and Family Services Division, the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, the Northern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and Homeland Security Investigations.

After Homeland Security took over the case, federal agents said they found Verastigui engaging in disturbing chats with a group of 17 people, where several members boasted about “actively producing” child sexual abuse materials and sharing them with other members. Verastigui had the user name “Landon” and the handle @somethingtaken.

On April 13, 2020, Verastigui told a member of the group that videos of babies were his “absolute favorite.”

A six-page affidavit which detailed the Homeland Security investigation quotes Verstigui in the following conversation with another group member:

S-1: How dark are you? What are u into?

Verastigui: Well like I said babies are some of my biggest turn-ons and beast


Verastigui: I have been wanting to see videos of guys hardcore rapping [sic] a baby...when a baby screams it’s my favorite.

April 7

ny times logoNew York Times, Iowa Man Who Faked His Death to Avoid Trial Is Arrested, Johnny Diaz,April 7, 2022 (print ed.). Jacob Greer, 28, had been on the run since 2016, fleeing trial on child sexual abuse imagery charges.

After nearly six years on the run, an Iowa man who slipped out of an ankle monitor and faked his own death has been arrested 1,700 miles from his grandmother’s home, where he had been awaiting trial on child sexual abuse imagery charges, the authorities said.

The man, Jacob Channce Greer of Des Moines, was found on Monday and arrested in Spanaway, Wash.

Mr. Greer, 28, was described by the authorities as a survivalist.

 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested him on charges of receipt and possession of child sexual abuse imagery, the Marshals Service said. He was released on bond and went to live with his grandmother in Des Moines. Under the terms of his pretrial supervision, he was required to wear an ankle monitor.

But on May 31, 2016, his probation officer received an alert that Mr. Greer’s ankle device had been removed, the authorities said.

April 6

ny times logoNew York Times, Sarah Lawrence Cult Leader Convicted of Trafficking and Extortion, Colin Moynihan, April 6, 2022. In 2010, Lawrence Ray moved into his daughter’s dormitory, gathered a circle of young followers around himself and began years of domination. For a decade, Lawrence V. Ray exerted near-total control over a group of young people he met after moving into a dormitory at Sarah Lawrence College, prosecutors said. He presented himself as a mentor, isolating students from their parents, pressuring them into degrading acts and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from them.

lawrence raySome remained loyal, even after a story in New York magazine in 2019 detailed a host of abuses ascribed to Mr. Ray, right. But during a nearly monthlong trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, four former followers provided detailed testimony about how he indoctrinated and exploited them.

On Wednesday, three of those witnesses watched from the gallery as the jury forewoman announced that Mr. Ray had been found guilty of all 15 federal counts, including extortion, sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy.

Mr. Ray, 62, wearing a blue shirt and dark-colored dress pants, was impassive as the verdict was announced. Afterward, defense lawyers declined to comment.

Mr. Ray is scheduled to be sentenced in September. The sex-trafficking charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of life.

The verdict, which came after about four hours of deliberation, brings some resolution to a bizarre series of events that began in 2010, when Mr. Ray emerged from a New Jersey prison where he had served time on charges related to a child-custody dispute. Prosecutors said he then moved into the dormitory where his daughter, Talia Ray, lived on the campus of Sarah Lawrence, in Westchester County, just north of New York City.

Soon, Mr. Ray was cooking meals and leading conversations about the importance of honesty and morality, former students said. In summer 2011, several students began sleeping at an apartment where Mr. Ray was living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, witnesses said, taking part in “therapy” sessions that Mr. Ray said were meant to improve their lives.


Julie K. Brown rachel maddow

Florida Bulldog, Private eye slams ruling worth over $350K to Miami author Julie K. Brown who wrote book about Jeffrey Epstein drama, Noreen Marcus, April 6, 2022. A case about who did what to produce a sensational book rehashing the story of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein entered a new phase in a new forum, Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

jeffrey epstein hands handsAn arbitrator rejected private detective Mike Fisten’s $350,000 claim for his work on Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story, Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown’s book about the rich serial pedophile.

Jailed in New York for sex trafficking, Epstein, right, apparently committed suicide by hanging himself in August 2019.

Brown and Fisten, a former Miami-Dade County police detective, contracted to split a $1 million publisher’s advance 50-50. Instead, she gave him $150,000 and kept $850,000.

Arbitrator David Lichter agreed with Brown, shown above during an interview on MSNBC, that Fisten breached their contract by failing to perform investigative perversion of justice miami herald logotasks that were supposed to generate material for the book. Published last year, it expands upon and updates Brown’s award-winning 2018 newspaper series, also called “Perversion of Justice.”

Lichter wrote in his Dec. 30 ruling that Fisten contributed no more than a “negligible” 4.3 per cent of the book’s contents. He criticized as “improper messaging” Fisten’s list of completed tasks and disputed many of them.

After a hearing, Lichter found Brown more credible, though “some of her actions were less than laudatory.” He didn’t elaborate, but he referenced the confidential testimony of lawyer Bradley Edwards, who represents many Epstein victims and was a source for Brown.

Still, Fisten’s “credibility was damaged far more substantially [than Brown’s] and in far more significant ways,” Lichter concluded in his 34-page ruling.

Later he ordered Fisten to pay $58,570 in attorney fees as punishment for discovery violations and for breaching a confidentiality clause by speaking out publicly about the case.

Brown’s lawyer, Steven Peretz, sent Florida Bulldog a statement that says the arbitration award “represents a complete vindication for Ms. Brown.” He noted that Lichter “also awarded substantial attorney fees to Ms. Brown as a sanction against Mr. Fisten for his conduct during the case.”

“We will be moving forward to have the award confirmed in court and we expect the court will readily do so given the arbitrator’s comprehensive and detailed ruling,” Peretz wrote.

Fisten called the ruling “biased and negligent.” He wrote in an email that Brown “made numerous misstatements” in her testimony. “It is for these and many other reasons that we feel we will prevail in our appeal.”

Peretz, when asked about Lichter’s assertion that some of his client’s actions were “less than laudatory,” wrote this: “The arbitrator was unclear about what actions he was referring to … so I cannot comment on that point.”

Florida Bulldog asked Edwards to share his testimony about Brown, the testimony Lichter cited in his ruling.

“Other than being called as a witness and asked questions by both parties, I don’t know enough about the dispute to comment,” he wrote. Edwards said he hasn’t read the arbitration ruling and hasn’t worked with Fisten, once his valued lead investigator, for a decade.

On March 31 Fisten filed a motion in Miami-Dade Circuit Court to vacate the Dec. 30 arbitration award, which both parties had treated as confidential. Lichter’s ruling is an exhibit attached to the motion, making it a public record.

In the motion, Fisten’s lawyer, Andrew Kassier, previews his upcoming appeal. It will be based on Lichter’s “evident partiality” toward Brown and his “misconduct” directed at Fisten. Also, Lichter “refused to hear evidence material to the controversy.” Kassier provides no details.

Fisten has tried to focus public attention on Brown.

Chiefly, she takes credit for single-handedly identifying more than 60 Epstein victims and persuading four of them to do on-camera interviews for the Miami Herald series. But Fisten insists he tracked down almost all the victims, who later became plaintiffs and witnesses, while working as Edwards’s investigator.

In Edwards’s own book, Relentless Pursuit / My Fight for the Victims of Jeffrey Epstein, published in 2020, he writes about meeting Brown in 2017 after she approached him asking for help. At that point he’d already spoken to more than 50 victims, he wrote.

“I had accumulated all of the evidence in these cases and done all of the work,” Edwards wrote. “Unable to imagine the scope of that decade-long task or how voluminous the materials were and how complicated piecing it together was, Julie, like other reporters, wanted to start with my just spoon-feeding her everything and making it simple.”

He wouldn’t do that because he wanted her to appreciate the complexities, Edwards wrote. Instead, he made a list of documents for her to review –- and she persevered. “She followed the road map and stayed on course.”

Edwards praises Brown in his acknowledgements: “Thank you for having the courage to finally publish what other major publications would not. You made the public listen when all other journalists were scared.”

But he’s more fulsome in his praise of Fisten: “No good investigation can be done alone. While I had numerous investigators along the way, you were in the trenches with me during crucial times.

“In addition to game-planning with me, tracking down witnesses, and coordinating surveillance on Epstein, you also guarded my house and my family when things got hairy, for which I am forever grateful,” Edwards wrote.

Fisten isn’t the only one to raise questions and concerns about how Brown pursued and told the Epstein story.

Two victims are suing her for defamation in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. Haley Robson alleges that Brown threatened her when she declined to be interviewed for the Epstein book, then made good on the threat by falsely portraying her as a member of Epstein’s inner circle.

courtney wildThe other plaintiff, Courtney Wild, left, claims Brown falsely stated in her book that after Epstein raped Wild when she was underage, she had sex with him.

Wild’s lawyer, Jeffrey Gutchess, wrote that she suffered abuse by Epstein but never had sex with him. The lawsuit seeks significant money damages and a public apology from Brown.

Wild has been a leader among the Epstein victims, battling for years to undo his shady 2008 plea deal and make him answer to sex-trafficking charges. Wild also pushed for a victims’ compensation fund.

“Brown has sought to take credit away from the victims,” her lawsuit states. “Knowing Ms. Wild had spearheaded each of these major achievements, and not Ms. Brown as she claimed in her book, Ms. Brown sought to debase and defame Ms. Wild,” Gutchess wrote.

April 5

washington post logoWashington Post, Sarah Lawrence College sex cult trial shows devastated young lives, Shayna Jacobs, April 5, 2022. Lawrence Ray is accused of manipulating and abusing his daughter’s college friends and others he brought into his circle.

An Ivy League-educated doctor exchanged a promising career for years of physical and psychological torment, allegedly at the hands of Lawrence “Larry” lawrence rayRay, a man decades her senior. Another woman worked as a prostitute, giving Ray $2.5 million of her earnings even as he allegedly told her — falsely — that she owed him more. The younger brother of the aspiring doctor dropped out of Sarah Lawrence College after being brainwashed by Ray, who allegedly beat him with a hammer and held a blade to his neck.

Ray, right, now 62, is accused of corrupting the lives of these and other promising young adults — three of them siblings — between 2010 and 2020, dragging them into a life of servitude and maniacal rituals. His trial on racketeering, sex trafficking, money laundering and other charges is expected to wrap up on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, with jury deliberations beginning after that.

Prosecutors say Ray amassed blackmail material on his victims — often by getting them to admit to shameful conduct that they had not actually carried out. He stored recordings of their confessions to use against them if they thought about disobeying him or leaving the cultlike group that he had organized and that he referred to as a “family.”

The case is reminiscent of the 2019 prosecution in Brooklyn federal court of Keith Raniere, who led the Albany, N.Y.-based self-improvement network NXIVM. He was convicted on racketeering and sex trafficking charges involving a group of women he called his “slaves,” but he is appealing the guilty verdict and his 120-year sentence.

Like Raniere, Ray was seen as a source of experience and knowledge who guided his emotionally vulnerable followers through life’s difficulties. “In addition to violence, Ray used classic techniques of coercion to manipulate his victims, such as isolating people from their friends and family, using means of financial control, taking away basic human agency like food and sleep,” said Moira Penza, a former federal prosecutor who tried the case against Raniere.

St. Louis Public Radio, Sheena Greitens says she has photos, records to document abuse by former Missouri governor, Rudi Keller of the Missouri Independent, April 5, 2022. sheena greitensFormer Missouri First Lady Sheena Greitens, right, says in a new court filing that she has photos and other evidence to back up her claims that former Gov. Eric Greitens physically abused her and their children as his political career unraveled.

In a statement embedded in a court filing Thursday in Boone County Circuit Court as part of her ongoing child custody battle with the former governor, Sheena Greitens said she tried to resolve differences without a public fight. But she said that Eric Greitens’s attacks on her character, push for records to be sealed and demands that the case be sent to mediation show he cares more about his campaign for U.S. Senate than his sons.

Her attorney, Helen Wade, wrote in the latest filing that Sheena Greitens asked for mediation on eight previous occasions and her ex-husband refused.

The abuse claims, made in an affidavit filed March 21, stated that as he faced criminal charges and possible impeachment in 2018, Eric Greitens repeatedly threatened to commit suicide unless she showed “specific public political support” for him. In one incident of child abuse, that she swore in the affidavit occurred in November 2019, one of their sons came home from a visit his father with a swollen face, bleeding gums and loose tooth and said his father had hit him.

Eric Greitens, both publicly and in court filings, has challenged those statements, noting that prior to their divorce in 2020, Sheena Greitens signed a document stating there were no undisclosed material facts and agreeing to a parenting plan of joint custody. In his first statement issued after the filing, Eric Greitens called his ex-wife “a deranged individual” and said she had “a documented history of mental illness and emotionally-abusive behavior.”

But in last week’s filing, Sheena Greitens said she did report and document the abuse. She only agreed to the parenting plan as the best option to move with their two boys to Texas.

“In fact, they were reported to multiple lawyers, therapists, and our mediator, in 2018 and afterward,” Sheena Greitens said. “I will provide contemporaneous documentation of the relevant communications, as well as photographic evidence of my child’s 2019 injuries, to the court at an appropriate time.”

She also challenged his characterizations of her mental health. The “documented history” is therapy she sought from January 2018 to April 2020, first in an attempt to save their marriage and later to cope with her ex-husband’s behavior.

eric greitens oIn the filing, Wade wrote that Eric Greitens, left, “has launched an all-out, calculated, and purposely public attack on (Sheena Greitens) – outside the confines of the courtroom, off the witness stand and notably without being under oath.”

Sheena Greitens is trying to move court control of the child custody case from Missouri to Texas, where she works as an associate professor at the University of Texas. At the time of their divorce, she was employed at the University of Missouri.

The allegations of domestic violence come as Eric Greitens is attempting a political comeback as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in a crowded Republican primary.

Prior to the allegations becoming public, Greitens was leading in polls. Since then, he has slipped into a statistical dead heat with his leading rivals, U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler and Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

The affidavit overshadowed another event, a guilty plea from former FBI agent William Tisaby admitting evidence tampering in the 2018 investigation, that Greitens had hoped would boost his image as a man wronged by political enemies.

Greitens has used right wing media to tie the two events together, accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former presidential advisor Karl Rove as masterminding the affidavit.

In her latest filing, Sheena Greitens denied she had consulted with any of her former husband’s political enemies prior to filing her abuse claims.

April 2


ghislaine maxwell jeffrey epstein porch

Sex trafficking defendant Ghislaine Maxwell, right, in an undated photo with her onetime lover and boss Jeffrey Epstein (Photo submitted to jury by U.S. Department of Justice).

washington post logoWashington Post, Ghislaine Maxwell denied new trial despite juror with childhood history of sexual abuse, Shayna Jacobs, April 2, 2022 (print ed.). Ghislaine Maxwell will not get a new trial after it was revealed that a juror in the sex trafficking case involving minor victims had a childhood history of sexual abuse that he did not disclose during jury selection, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled on Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan held a hearing March 8 at which Juror No. 50 was questioned about the content of news interviews he did after the verdict in which he detailed a history of sexual abuse, information he did not disclose when he was explicitly asked about it in a 30-page questionnaire all juror prospects completed.

In denying Maxwell a new trial, Nathan said that the juror, a 35-year-old who works in the finance industry, was truthful when he took the witness stand and admitted he was distracted and rushed through the written survey, which was issued to juror candidates under oath.

Maxwell juror omitted history of sexual abuse during trial screen

“He appeared to testify frankly and honestly, even when the answers he gave were the cause of personal embarrassment and regret,” Nathan wrote in her 40-page decision. “His incentive at the hearing was to testify truthfully or face criminal perjury charges.”

Nathan also noted the juror would not have been automatically eliminated from the pool for cause based on his history. He testified under an immunity agreement for the incorrect responses on the jury form but was open to liability for perjury if he lied at the proceeding.

The judge noted that in past trials, rape victims have served on sexual assault cases and family members of murder victims have been empaneled for homicide trials.

Lawyers for Maxwell argued that Juror No. 50′s place on the panel poisoned its integrity and deprived her of a fair trial. Dozens of jurors were dismissed outright without further questioning based on answers they gave on the same questionnaire. Attorneys for Maxwell and the juror did not respond to requests for comment. An attorney for the juror did not respond to a request for comment.

Jeffrey Pagliuca, one of Maxwell’s attorneys, said in a statement: “Ms. Maxwell’s lawyers were not allowed to examine Juror No. 50 and many critical questions remain unanswered. The quality, bias, and reliability of any examination dictates the quality, bias and reliability of any result.”

Juror No. 50, speaking in front of a courtroom packed with journalists last month, called his carelessness in the process “one of the biggest mistakes of my life.” Despite his history, which involved being sexually abused by a relative as a boy, he said it did not affect his judgment. He testified that he was not aiming to get picked on the case by tailoring his responses.


March 2022 Update

March 30

vicky ward investigatesVicky Ward Investigates, A Small-Town Polish Mayor and the Head of an Anti-Trafficking NGO on the Horrific Human Trafficking at Ukraine’s Borders, Vicky Ward, March 29, 2022. Yesterday, I was privileged to be on a zoom call with Wojciech Bakun, the mayor of Przemyśl (pronounced “Shemesh”), which is a provincial town of 60,000 people on the border between Poland and Ukraine. In the past four weeks, Przemyśl has become base camp for 1,200 volunteers from all over the world who have received and cared for over 800,000 refugees— many of them arriving on foot and in danger of freezing to death.

Mayor Bakun recently made headlines because he publicly shamed Matteo Salvini, the Italian right-wing leader, as a “friend” of Putin during Salvini’s public visit to Przemyśl to see the thousands of refugees streaming in to the town.

Bakun has scarcely slept these past few weeks. Much of what he had to say about his experiences was both horrifying (at one point, he said he just didn’t have the words to describe the scenes of inhumanity) and yet also uplifting, given the extraordinary efforts Poland has gone to in order to welcome an influx of what is now said to be nearly four million Ukrainian refugees.

I was particularly interested to hear what he had to say about human trafficking at the border because that is one of the more recent horror stories to be reported out of the war—one that is emerging to shockingly enormous in scale. Here’s a short part of what he said on the call. (I have edited his language for clarity.)

BAKUN: Trafficking was one of the biggest problems we saw from the very first day. We saw a lot of people coming here to the train station [and elsewhere]. They had boards offering free transport to Germany or France or somewhere else. So we were worried. And we talked with the police, we talked with the border guards and they checked a lot of these people out. But about two to three thousand cars come here every day with people looking for people—which creates a tough situation.

I saw one woman going off with a man, and I’d heard that they didn’t know each other. So I asked [her], “Do you know this man? Is he or family or something like that?”

She said, “No.”

I said, “But you’ve met him before?”

And she said, “No, we just met on Instagram. I am talking to him about transportation.”

I said , “It's not safe to take transportation with someone unknown.”

But she told me that it was none of my business.

And that's the truth. The people coming through the border are free people. They move [into] Poland, and they are free. They can do whatever they want—they can take a bus, they can take a train or go with someone unknown by car. So that that's a problem for us. We now have a system for hopefully preventing it by having every refugee coming to a center to be registered, as well as every [volunteer and] driver, so that if a car takes two, three, four, five people, we have a record of that. We keep that data for long time in case something bad should happen. And also we try to follow up with people by phone and ask, “Are you safe?” Obviously, we can’t do it for everyone. But I think the system is helpful. It’s very important for us that people reach their destination safely.

This was a visceral insight into a topic I’d been thinking about since last week when the first reports of human trafficking at the border emerged and I happened to meet Deb O’Hara-Rusckowski, the President of the NGO Global Strategic Operatives, who told me about the challenges her organization is facing on the Ukrainian border.

Below is my conversation with O’Hara-Rusckowski, edited and condensed for clarity.

March 28


madison cawthorn cropped oRaw Story, Madison Cawthorn draws questions after allegations of GOP sex and drugs parties in Washington, Sarah Burris, March 27, 2022. "The sexual perversion that goes in Washington, I mean it being kind of a young guy in Washington with the average age of probably 60 or 70," said U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), above.

raw story logo square"And I look at all these people, a lot of them that I, you know, I've looked up to through my life. I've always paid attention to politics guys that, you know, then all of the sudden you get invited to like, well, hey, we're going to have kind of a sexual get together at one of our homes. You should come there, like... What, what did you just ask me to come to? And then you realize they're asking you to come to an orgy. Or the fact that, you know, there's some of the people that are leading on the movement to try and remove addiction in our country and then you watch them doing, you know, a key bump of cocaine right in front of you and it's like wow this is wild."

As one observer noted, Cawthorn doesn't generally "hang out" with Democrats. He hangs out with other Republicans, so his observations are coming from those he's observed.

Republican strategist and Bulwark columnist Tim Miller revealed that he had contacted Cawthorn's office to ask if Cawthorn intends to reveal the person who invited him to the orgy.

March 18

washington post logoWashington Post, Former judiciary workers urge Congress to protect court employees from discrimination and harassment, Ann E. Marimow, March 18, 2022 (print ed.). Former law clerks and other federal judiciary employees shared highly personal stories of workplace harassment and discrimination Thursday, urging Congress to pass legislation that would better protect such workers and ensure an impartial system for reporting misconduct.

Lawmakers from both parties said that, despite efforts by the U.S. courts to overhaul their system, problems persist because the judiciary’s more than 30,000 employees still lack the same legal rights as other government and private-sector workers.

“Judicial branch employees continue to be harassed and discriminated against with little recourse,” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said during the House Judiciary Committee hearing. “Time and time again, representatives of the judiciary have told us that there isn’t a problem, that we should let them handle it themselves.”

Three former federal judiciary employees — a law clerk, public defender and high-level administrative official — told the committee about a workplace culture that has discouraged reporting, describing harassment they had endured and what they said are shortcomings in the process for resolving misconduct claims.

Last year, lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation to extend to judiciary employees the same anti-discrimination rights afforded to other government employees and to protect whistleblowers. The proposal would create an independent special counsel to investigate workplace complaints and report its findings to Congress and an oversight commission made up of people with experience enforcing civil rights laws.

Roberts says federal judiciary has some issues but doesn’t need congressional intervention

Leaders of the federal judiciary acknowledged their work is not done, but said Thursday that sweeping legislation is unnecessary and inappropriate. The court system, said U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson, has already made “significant strides and improvements and has done so expeditiously” by creating new paths for reporting, providing confidential guidance for employees and expanding protections against abusive conduct.

“Some changes don’t occur overnight. This is a continuing effort, and we expect some changes will need time to take root,” said Robinson, a member of an advisory group, which has recommended a long list of changes in judiciary policies.

Robinson and Judge M. Margaret McKeown echoed concerns of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. about Congress interfering with the inner workings of a separate, equal branch of government.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he understands the separation-of-powers concerns and the imperative for the judiciary to retain independence.

“Self-rule by a separate branch” of government is “acceptable, but it has to be comparable, accountable and transparent,” he said, adding “we have to hold everyone accountable.”

Laura C. Minor, who worked for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for more than two decades, told lawmakers that the judiciary has long struggled to deal with misconduct. The judiciary’s proposed changes are insufficient, she said, and many complaints are still not reported because people fear retaliation.

“From what I can see today and what we all have heard, the judiciary’s insistence on self-policing only serves its interest in self-protection,” said Minor, who was the equal employment opportunity officer for the court’s administrative office and former secretary of the Judicial Conference, the policymaking body for the federal courts.

March 15

ny times logoNew York Times, Guest Essay: The Case That Killed #MeToo in Sweden, Jenny Nordberg (a Swedish journalist and author based in New York), March 15, 2022. In 2017, Cissi Wallin, a Swedish journalist, posted a now infamous mirror selfie to her tens of thousands of followers on Instagram.“The powerful media man who drugged and raped me in 2006 is named Fredrik Virtanen.” She would soon learn how much trouble naming the man would cause. cissi wallinThe post led to a maelstrom on social media and in the news. Cissi Wallin convicted of gross libel.

As Flight SK946 rounded the southern tip of Greenland, with her husband and 2-year-old son quietly sleeping next to her, Cissi Wallin felt her resolve begin to harden. Two generations of silence was enough.

Her mother and her grandmother, too, told her they had mostly kept quiet when they’d been mistreated by men. It’s what women did back then, they’d said.

But as the plane carried Ms. Wallin, a Swedish writer and actor, from Chicago back to Stockholm that night in October 2017, her thoughts were on what was happening in America. Harvey Weinstein had just been exposed and was fired within days. Something seemed to be gathering momentum. Within a few weeks, women across the country and the world would be saying it out loud: Me Too.

sweden flagA week after the flight, after working out, skipping her shower and drinking several mugs of strong coffee at a cafe near her house, Ms. Wallin posted a mirror selfie to her tens of thousands of followers on Instagram. “The powerful media man who drugged and raped me in 2006 is named Fredrik Virtanen,” the caption began.

Today — more than four years later — Mr. Virtanen has never been charged with any crime in connection to his encounter with Ms. Wallin. (He has denied her allegations.) She, meanwhile, is a convicted criminal, at risk of prison time.

In 2019 she was charged with and convicted of defamation, after Mr. Virtanen reported her to the police. Other Swedish men have pursued similar tactics: At least 12 criminal convictions have followed of women who had told their own stories since the #MeToo movement began.

And now, in what might be a low point in Ms. Wallin’s quest for the right to speak about what she says happened to her, she’s about to be prosecuted again — after self-publishing a memoir about her experience. Although the book doesn’t name the man, if she’s convicted, the government will seek to have all unsold hard copies of her book destroyed.

Even today, in the post-Stieg Larsson era, Sweden retains its reputation as the feminist capital of the world. Much of that reputation is deserved: In Sweden, 480 days of parental leave is standard; fathers can be spotted pushing strollers around on any given day in the capital’s parks; sexual encounters are — in theory, at least— governed by a consent law; the government even officially proclaims itself “feminist.”

And still, the outpouring of testimonials at the height of #MeToo was striking. More than 60,000 Swedish women signed appeals, many of which detailed personal stories ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault at workplaces and beyond.

But what marked the Swedish version of #MeToo as unusual is that this outpouring of testimonials took place almost completely anonymously: few women were willing to come forward to be identified as the victims, and only a handful of the accused men were named.

March 13

ny times logoNew York Times, Trinity Church’s Conductor Put on Leave Amid Investigation, Javier C. Hernández, March 13, 2022. Julian Wachner has been accused of sexually assaulting a Juilliard School employee during a music festival in 2014. He denies the accusation.

Trinity Wall Street, one of New York’s wealthiest and most powerful churches, said on Saturday that it was placing its high-profile director of music on leave as it investigates an allegation of sexual misconduct against him.

The director, Julian Wachner, a highly-regarded conductor, composer and keyboardist who has been a fixture at the church for more than a decade, has been accused by a former Juilliard employee, Mary Poole, of sexual assault. Ms. Poole said in an interview with The New York Times that during a music festival in 2014, Mr. Wachner pushed her against a wall, groped her and kissed her, and that he ignored her demands that he stop. Mr. Wachner denies the accusations.

March 12


donald trump ny daily pussy

New allegations echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Then and Now: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence.

washington post logoWashington Post, N.Y. judge rejects Trump’s attempt to countersue E. Jean Carroll, Shayna Jacobs, March 12, 2022 (print ed.). A New York judge has rejected a bid by Donald Trump to sue author and columnist E. Jean Carroll, right, on the grounds that her defamation case against him in 2019 was baseless — a ruling that accused the former president of causing repeated delays to keep a sensitive matter from moving closer to trial.

e jean carroll twitterCarroll’s lawsuit has also been held up by the Justice Department’s bid to intervene as counsel on Trump’s behalf, an effort based on the argument that he was acting in his official capacity as a federal employee when he made comments disparaging e jean carrollCarroll, shown at right in a file photo and below left in one more recent.

Trump’s remarks were in response to Carroll’s allegation that he had raped her in Manhattan decades prior — an accusation Trump denies.

Allowing Trump’s counterclaim against Carroll to proceed “would make a regrettable situation worse by opening new avenues for significant further delay,” U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote in a ruling that was docketed Friday.

Carroll’s sole claim of defamation “could have been tried and decided — one way or the other — long ago,” the ruling said.

e jean carroll cover new york magazineTrump’s obstructive actions in the Carroll proceeding, which began in a New York state court three years ago, “have had a dilatory effect and, indeed, strongly suggest that he is acting out of a strong desire to delay any opportunity [Carroll] may have to present her case against him,” donald trump monster abananapeeledcom dcmaKaplan added.

Trump’s allegedly damaging comments — calling Carroll a liar and insisting that he had never even met her — were made in response to allegations in her 2018 memoir What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal,” excerpted in the New York Magazine cover story at left

Carroll wrote that Trump, as shown in a graphic, right, then a well-known real estate tycoon, raped her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in the 1990s after a chance encounter.

March 6

ny times logoNew York Times, Accused Leader in Sarah Lawrence Cult Case Is Set to Stand Trial, Colin Moynihan, March 6, 2022. For about 10 years, Lawrence V. Ray abused and extorted a group of his daughter’s classmates at the college, prosecutors say.

In 2010, Lawrence V. Ray walked out of a New Jersey prison and into the lives of a group of students at Sarah Lawrence College, a small school just north of New York City.

Many of those students would never be the same.

Mr. Ray, who was then 50, moved into the dormitory of his daughter, Talia Ray, telling her friends stories of his wild life and manipulating them with what prosecutors would later describe as bogus “therapy” sessions, where he pretended to solve their psychological problems.

Over the next 10 years, prosecutors said, he subjected the students and others in his circle to abuse: He extorted money from them, compelled some to have sex with strangers, and forced a young woman into prostitution — on one occasion, inside a Midtown Manhattan hotel, Mr. Ray placed a plastic bag over her head, restricting her breathing.

Now, nearly three years after an article in New York magazine, “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence,” revealed Mr. Ray’s cult-leader tactics, he will stand trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Mr. Ray, indicted in 2020, will be tried on 17 counts, including sex trafficking, extortion, racketeering conspiracy and violent crime in aid of racketeering. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday.

geoffrey berman sdny“For nearly a decade, Lawrence Ray exploited and abused young women and men emotionally, physically, and sexually for his own financial gain,” Geoffrey S. Berman, left, then the United States Attorney in Manhattan, said after Mr. Ray was arrested.

The trial could shed new light on the bizarre saga of an ex-convict who became a Pied Piper figure on a leafy liberal arts campus in Bronxville, an affluent New York City suburb. Prosecutors said in court filings that they planned to introduce statements by Mr. Ray’s accused co-conspirators, including Isabella Pollok, a former Sarah Lawrence student who prosecutors said became Mr. Ray’s “trusted lieutenant,” as well as Mr. Ray’s daughter.

Ms. Pollok, who has been charged with conspiracy related to sex trafficking, extortion and racketeering, has pleaded not guilty and will be tried separately.

Mr. Ray’s daughter, who has not been charged, was first described as a co-conspirator in a recent court filing. Prosecutors wrote that she had profited from and supported Mr. Ray’s misdeeds and cited an email they said she sent him in 2013 that said: “What you have done with my friends is the most amazing and beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

Actions described by prosecutors show that Mr. Ray used methods of control similar to those employed by cult leaders like Keith Raniere of Nxivm. Both men were said to have led others to believe they were broken, then isolated them from their families while indoctrinating them. While under Mr. Ray’s influence, several of the students were said to have stopped communicating with their parents.

March 4


brian beck mugshotLaw & Crime, Judge Allows Former Deputy Accused of Raping 14-Year-Old Girl to Avoid Prison and Sex Offender Status, Chris Spargo, March 4, 2022. Brian Beck will not serve time after a plea deal in his rape case (mugshot above from 2018 via Germantown Police).

Brian Beck, shown above, will not serve time after a plea deal in his rape case (mugshot above from 2018 via Germantown Police).

pro publica logoAfter striking a plea deal with prosecutors, a onetime Tennessee sheriff’s deputy who was accused of repeatedly raping a 14-year-old girl over a period of 20 months will serve no time in prison and does not have to register as a sex offender.

Brian O. Beck, 47, pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated assault on Monday, according to court records filed in Shelby County Court. That plea was part of a deal between Beck and prosecutors, a member of the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office confirmed to Law&Crime.

The judge in the case suspended Beck’s nominal four-year prison sentence and said the defendant would instead serve three years probation, a sentencing order provided to Law&Crime by the prosecutor’s office indicates. If Beck fails to live up to the terms of his probation, he could be incarcerated for the aforementioned four-year term, according to the probation order itself and a statement from the prosecutor’s office to a local television station. The order also requires Beck to serve 150 hours of community service, submit to random drug screening, and have no contact with the victim.

The judge’s order, in essence a perfunctory form document with boxes to check and a few blank lines to fill, offers but a glimpse into the reasoning behind the moves.

The document says “the defendant is not likely again to engage in a criminal course of conduct” — at least “to the satisfaction of the Court” — and that “the ends of justice and the welfare of society do not require that the Defendant shall presently suffer the penalty imposed by law by incarceration.”

Judge Lee Coffee signed off on the document.

Beck will also not have to register as a sex offender, according to the order.

  • Law & Crime, Tennessee Couple Murdered Infant Girl Who Died from ‘Acute Methamphetamine Toxicity’: Authorities

denny doyleLaw & Crime, Former Oregon Mayor, Once Honored as ‘Citizen of the Year’ by Boy Scouts, Possessed Child Pornography of Minor Under the Age of 12: DOJ, Chris Spargo, March 4, 2022. The former mayor of an Oregon city has been hit with a federal child pornography charge, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Oregon hit 73-year-old Dennis “Denny“ Doyle (D) with the charge of possession of child pornography.

pro publica logoThe details of the case are currently under seal, but Law&Crime obtained a copy of the information sheet filed by prosecutors on Thursday.

The filing, submitted to the court by U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug and Assistant U.S. Attorney Natalie K. Wight, claims that the incident in question occurred “[b]etween on or about November 2014, and continuing until on or about December 2015.”

It is during that time that Doyle “knowingly and unlawfully possessed material containing child pornography,” according to the information sheet.

Prosecutors claim that the child pornography Doyle is accused of possessing “included a depiction of a prepubescent minor or a minor who had not attained twelve years of age.” The DOJ press release said that the illicit material included “images depicting minors under twelve.”

The forfeiture notice included in the information sheet requested that Doyle surrender “one purple 64GB Lexar USB thumb drive.”

Doyle served three terms as the mayor of Beaverton and was in office at the time of this alleged offense. His bid for a fourth term failed when he lost in a run-off back in 2020, according to Portland NBC affiliate KGW.

In 2008, then-Beaverton City Councilor Doyle was honored by the Boy Scouts of America as “Citizen of the Year.” The Oregonian published a small item about Doyle getting that honor. It read:

Doyle was recognized during an Oct. 22 ceremony for his longtime community service and work with youth sports. He founded Westside Metros Soccer Club, served on the Westside Recreational Soccer Club Board, and has been a board member of the Beaverton Baseball and Softball Association.

The Westside Metros Soccer Club is a “premier competitive and community oriented soccer club, providing exceptional soccer programs for Male and Female players 6-18.”

These charges are a result of Project Safe Childhood, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Doyle now faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. His first court appearance was scheduled for Friday.

March 1

washington post logoWashington Post, Art Briles steps down as Grambling’s offensive coordinator days after being hired, Des Bieler, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). Just days after being hired to be Grambling’s offensive coordinator, Art Briles stepped down from the position. The former Baylor head coach, who was fired from the school in 2016 amid criticism of his handling of sexual assault allegations against a number of his players, said in a statement Monday that he didn’t want to be a distraction for Grambling’s program.


February Update

Feb. 21

vicky ward investigates

Jean-Luc Brunel (right) with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (Photo via U.S. Department of Justice).

The late model agency owner Jean-Luc Brunel (right) with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, also shown below right during a separate meeting (Photos via U.S. Department of Justice).

Vicky Ward Investigates, Jean-Luc Brunel’s Suicide Shuts One of the Main Doors to Unraveling the Mysteries of Jeffrey Epstein, Vicky Ward, Feb. 20-21, 2022. With the apparent prison suicide of Jean-Luc Brunel—the owner of the model agency MC2 and a business associate of Jeffrey Epstein—early jean luc brunel ghislaine maxwell rompSaturday, one of the main doors to unraveling the mysteries that still surround Epstein, two and half years after Epstein’s own controversial suicide, just closed.

“Brunel knew everything—he knew everybody’s secrets,” one businessman who knew both men and partied with them in the 1980s told me over the weekend. “He was more integral to the sex-trafficking ring than Epstein was. He was there first.”
Jean-Luc Brunel (right) with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell // DOJ

(Brunel’s lawyers maintained his innocence, even after his death. "Jean-Luc Brunel has never stopped claiming his innocence. He has multiplied his efforts to prove it. A judge had released him a few months ago, and then he was re-incarcerated in undignified conditions," his lawyers said in a statement released after his death.)

But during the reporting of “Chasing Ghislaine,” my podcast and documentary series which focused on the mystery of the powerful men who propped up Epstein’s enterprise, Brunel’s name came up again and again—as not just a critical part of Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking operation, but as the originator.

Kira Dikhtyar, the Russian gymnast-turned-supermodel who recently claimed that, at just 15, she was raped by the late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky and who is now lobbying the UN for a universal age of consent, told me that it was Brunel who first introduced her to Epstein soon after she arrived in America—in a way that was certainly not straightforward.

kira dikhtyar vicki ward bucketeer public imagesVicky Ward, right, with Kira Dikhtyar during the taping of “Chasing Ghislaine.”

Here is some of our conversation, edited for clarity:

WARD: You worked for MC2?

DIKHTYAR: I was recruited by Jean-Luc. I was in Miami for [a] Cosmopolitan shoot and I had lunch with Jean-Luc. And he says, "I'm gonna hook you up with somebody from Victoria's Secret." [Victoria’s Secret was owned by the retail billionaire, Leslie Wexner, who was one of Epstein’s business clients. Wexner has not been accused of any wrongdoing].

Every day, I used to get a call sheet, which was typical in the modeling industry. And I was living in the building that a lot of the models from MC2 lived in.

Well, one day my cast sheet from Jean-Luc said “Jeffrey Epstein” and an address on 51st Street. There was no explanation for this. So I thought maybe Epstein might be [a] photographer because the agency was trying to introduce us to as many photographers as possible for castings.

WARD: But you knew he might have to do with Victoria's Secret?

DIKHTYAR: I kind of put it together after, but I didn't really understand. It was written “on the request of Jean-Luc” on this paper.

WARD: Right. So what happened when you went to that big house in New York?

Feb. 20

NBC News, Modeling agent linked to Jeffrey Epstein found dead in prison cell, Nancy Ing and Rhoda Kwan and Diana Dasrath, Feb. 20, 2022. A French modeling agent linked to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his prison cell on Saturday, the Paris prosecutor's office told NBC News.

It appeared that Jean-Luc Brunel, 75, “died by suicide because he was discovered dead from hanging himself with his sheets,” they said in a telephone call.

A police investigation has been opened to determine the exact cause of death as would be the case in all deaths in prison, they added.

Brunel, who headed several modelling agencies including the famous Karin Models Agency, was charged with sexual harassment and the rape of at least one minor over the age of 15 in December 2020. Earlier that month he was detained at Charles de Gaulle Airport as he was preparing to take a flight to Senegal.

Feb. 19

Daily Mail Online, Jeffrey Epstein's pimp Jean-Luc Brunel dies in prison 'suicide,' Peter Allen and Emer Scull, Feb. 19, 2022. Frenchman who procured 'a thousand women' for pedophile financier and slept with Virginia Roberts 'hangs himself' -- a week after Prince Andrew settlement.

jean luc brunelJeffrey Epstein's French modelling agent friend Jean-Luc Brunel, right, who allegedly procured more than a thousand women and girls for the paedophile financier to sleep with, died today in an alleged prison suicide.

It comes days after Prince Andrew, 62, agreed to settle Virginia Roberts's lawsuit accusing him of sex abuse after they met allegedly through Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

Roberts accused Brunel, 76, of procuring more than a thousand women and girls for Epstein to sleep with and he was awaiting trial in France for raping minors.

jean luc brunel matrix picturesHis death in an alleged hanging will fuel conspiracy theories around the Epstein affair after the financier also died in prison while awaiting trial in what authorities concluded was a hanging.

Controversy over Epstein's death has been fueled by the fact that prison video cameras at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correction Center were not running at the time Epstein died in the cell he shared with another inmate.

Prosecutors in Paris confirmed Brunel, who is not believed to have been on suicide watch, was found hanging in his cell in La Santé, in the south of the capital city, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Brunel, shown at left in younger years in a photo via Matrix Pictures with some of the models he represented, is thought to have been alone at the time of his death and there were no cameras to record his final hours, according to an investigating source at La Santé – one of the toughest jails in France.

'A night patrol found his lifeless body at about 1am,' said an investigating source. 'A judicial enquiry has been launched, and early evidence points to suicide.'

Following the news of his death, Virginia Roberts said she was 'disappointed' that she was not able to face Brunel at a 'final trial to hold him accountable' and added that his alleged suicide 'ends another chapter.'

Taking to Twitter following the news of his death on Saturday, she wrote: 'The suicide of Jean-Luc Brunel, who abused me and countless girls and young women, ends another chapter.

'I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to face him in a final trial to hold him accountable, but gratified that I was able to testify in person last year to keep him in prison.'

It was in December 2020 that Brunel was indicted after two days of interviews by an examining magistrate and specialist police from an anti-paedophilia unit.

He was arrested at the city's Charles de Gaulle airport on while trying to board a plane to Dakar, Senegal, telling detectives 'I'm going on holiday.'

While CCTV is commonplace in the corridors and gateways of French prisons, the vast majority of cells are not under video surveillance. This is ensure a degree of privacy, and to make sure that European human rights legislation is not violated.

Inmates are sometimes known to record events using devices including mobile phones, but Brunel is thought to have been in a single occupancy cell, said the source.

'There is an investigation going on to confirm all this, but at the moment it looks like he killed himself alone, and it was a routine patrol that found his body hanging,' he said.

The source added: 'There were no obvious fears for the prisoner's health, and he was not on a suicide watch, having already been in prison for many months.'

The official enquiry into Brunel's sudden death was on Saturday being carried out by offices from the 3rd Judicial Police district in Paris. An autopsy was set to be carried out, to establish the exact cause of death.

Forensic officers were meanwhile examining the cell where Brunel died. La Santé, which was built in the 19th Century, has housed some of the most dangerous prisoners in recent French history.

There is a so-called 'VIP section' where inmates include 'super terrorist' and mass killer Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramírez Sánchez.

Brunel was originally indicted and placed in pre-trial detention in December 2020 for the 'rape of a minor over 15 years old' and harassing two other women.

He was also suspected of being a 'pimp' for Epstein, after becoming a close friend of the billionaire financier.

Brunel had been placed under the intermediate status of assisted witness for acts of 'human trafficking' and 'exploiting minors for the sexual purposes.'

Brunel committed suicide because he was 'crushed' by the allegations against him, his defence lawyers said in a joint statement.

'His distress was that of a 75-year-old man crushed by a media-judicial system which it should be time to question,' said Mathias Chichportich, Marianne Abgrall and Christophe Ingrain.

'Jean-Luc Brunel has continued to proclaim his innocence. He multiplied his efforts to prove it. His decision [to end his life] was not driven by guilt, but by a deep sense of injustice.'

ghislaine maxwell trump melania other womanOthers involved in the ring include Epstein's ex-girlfriend, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, who is currently in prison in the USA after being found guilty of sex trafficking. She is shown at left with future U.S. President Trump and his wife, Melania.

A Dutch model, Thysia Huisman, who was 18 when she first stayed with Brunel, said she was raped by him in 1991.

She is now one of at least four alleged victims represented by Anne-Claire Le Jeune, a Paris barrister, who said Brunel being in custody was a huge relief, because their complaints now 'take on meaning,' she said.

After news of Brunel's death broke Ms Huidman said she felt disappointed by the 'completely different ending without any real justice for his victims.

Brunel was suspected of having been part of a global underage sex ring organised by the late American multi-billionaire Epstein.

A French judicial enquiry into Brunel's conduct was opened in August 2019, when prosecutors heard allegations that Brunel and the Queen's second son Prince Andrew shared a lover.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an American, has told lawyers she was employed as a 'sex slave' when she was forced to sleep with the Duke of York after being trafficked to him at least three times when she was 17.

Almost all of the accusations leveled against Brunel were from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, meaning they fell outside the 20-year limit for prosecuting sex crimes in France.

This meant that Brunel was considered 'untouchable' by police who nicknamed him 'The Ghost' as he carried on living and working in the French capital, while frequently traveling abroad on scouting assignments and holidays.

But in November 2020, Giuffre responded to an online English language appeal by French magistrates for alleged victims to come forward.

Giuffre said she had 'sexual relations with Brunel on several occasions', between the ages of 16 and 19, according to legal papers filed in America and France.

The rape of a minor is punishable by up to 15 years in prison in France, while aggravated sexual harassment comes with a three-year prison sentence and a fine equivalent to around £40,000.

Giuffre said Epstein told her he had slept with 'over a thousand women that Brunel brought in,' in an NBC Dateline special that aired in 2019.

Brunel, who denied any wrongdoing, was being held in custody until a criminal trial on a date to be fixed. In 2015, Brunel denied involvement 'directly or indirectly' in any of Epstein's offences in a statement issued in 2015. It said: 'I strongly deny having committed any illicit act or any wrongdoing in the course of my work.'

Brunel was also suspected of using his contacts in the fashion industry to provide victims to Epstein and his friends. He is said to have flown three 12-year-olds from a Paris housing estate to America so they could be abused by Epstein as 'a birthday present.'

Feb. 16


jeff zucker cnn

ny times logoNew York Times, How a Secret Assault Allegation Against an Anchor Upended CNN and Jeff Zucker, Emily Steel, Jodi Kantor, Michael M. Grynbaum, James B. Stewart and John Koblin, Updated Feb. 16, 2022. The network’s top-rated host and its president were forced out following ethical lapses, an office romance and a letter from a lawyer for “Jane Doe.”

Late in the day on Nov. 30, Jeff Zucker, above, the president of CNN Worldwide, summoned his star anchor and friend, Chris Cuomo, to a meeting in the network’s skyscraper overlooking the Hudson River.

CNNMr. Zucker was joined by the network’s chief marketing officer — and his secret romantic partner — Allison Gollust. They had to deliver a delicate message.

chris cuomo cnnMr. Zucker told Mr. Cuomo that CNN was suspending him because of his unethical interactions with his brother, New York’s governor.

Mr. Cuomo, right, was shocked and offered to resign. Mr. Zucker countered that the anchor might be able to return at some point, according to people with knowledge of the conversation. Mr. Cuomo felt reassured. He and Mr. Zucker were confidants, their fortunes entwined. Mr. Cuomo didn’t bother to consult a lawyer.

Barely 24 hours later, a letter arrived at CNN. It was from a lawyer representing a woman who had worked with Mr. Cuomo years earlier at ABC News. She said he had sexually assaulted her and that, in the heat of the #MeToo movement, Mr. Cuomo had tried to keep her quiet by arranging a flattering CNN segment about her employer at the time. The letter described it as an “abuse of power at CNN to attempt to silence my client.”

While a spokesman for Mr. Cuomo denied the allegations in the letter, it set in motion a chain of events that would quickly upend one of the world’s most powerful news networks.

By week’s end, Mr. Zucker had fired Mr. Cuomo, telling him that a drumbeat of scandals had become “too much for us.”

Two months later, Mr. Zucker was forced to resign. On Tuesday, CNN announced that Ms. Gollust, too, was leaving the network.

Publicly, Mr. Zucker blamed the failure to disclose his relationship with Ms. Gollust. But other forces had set the stage for his downfall.

CNN had skidded into third place in cable news ratings. A key investor had criticized the network’s opinionated, personality-driven programming. Mr. Zucker had clashed with a top executive at CNN’s parent company. And he had made powerful enemies out of Mr. Cuomo and his brother, the former New York governor.

By the time of Mr. Cuomo’s ouster, the law firm that had been hired to investigate his behavior had turned its attention to Mr. Zucker and his management of a network where his intimacy with sources and employees had been both his calling card and Achilles’ heel. Mr. Zucker’s abrupt departure has thrown the future of CNN into chaos, just as it was poised to introduce a highly anticipated streaming service and to come under new corporate ownership.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Prince Andrew Settles Sexual Abuse Lawsuit With Virginia Giuffre, Benjamin Weiser, Feb. 16, 2022 (print ed.). Virginia Giuffre accused Prince Andrew of raping her when she was a victim of the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Terms of the settlement were not revealed.

Prince Andrew, the disgraced second son of Queen Elizabeth II, has settled a lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre, a woman who had accused him of raping her when she was a teenage victim of Andrew’s friend, the notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to a new court filing in Manhattan on Tuesday.

The amount that Andrew, 61, will pay Ms. Giuffre is confidential, the parties said in a joint statement attached to the filing.

Andrew also “intends to make a substantial donation” to a charity “in support of victims’ rights,” the statement says.

The deal comes just weeks before Andrew was scheduled to sit for a deposition, in which he would have been questioned under oath by Ms. Giuffre’s lawyers. Andrew did not admit to any of Ms. Giuffre’s accusations against him in the statement announcing the settlement.


vicky ward investigatesVicky Ward Investigates, Prince Andrew Settles to Keep Giuffre Case Out of the Courts, Vicky Ward, Feb. 16, 2022. As I wrote last week, I have bounced a lot of the legal activity around the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell off of former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida-turned-litigator David S. Weinstein, who has been a wise sounding board.

I asked him about today’s news that Prince Andrew has settled with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who had accused him of sexual abuse when she was a minor. In just weeks, Andrew was scheduled to give a deposition.

Here’s my conversation with Weinstein, condensed for clarity.

WARD: You said you foresaw this settlement. Why?

WEINSTEIN: Because of the high stakes that were involved. The stakes were very high for Prince Andrew in this, and you saw how he was prince andrew virginia roberts ghislaine maxwell 2001trying to avoid any litigation whatsoever because of the fact that he filed his motions to dismiss—he was doing whatever he could to keep this case out of the courts. When that didn't work, he had to answer the complaint, and they were getting ready for the deposition. He certainly didn't want to sit down under oath and answer any questions. So he was faced with a difficult choice: He could reach a settlement and pay Virginia Giuffre or he could pay his lawyers to keep fighting this. But then it would keep staying in the public view.

Above, right: A photograph appearing to show Prince Andrew with a then-17-year-old Virginia Roberts Giuffre and, in the background, Ghislaine Maxwell.

Feb. 15


melissa blair

WATE-TV, McMinn County woman indicted on 18 child rape charges, Gregory Raucoules, Feb. 15, 2022. An Englewood woman, shown above, has been indicted on more than 20 sex charges after investigators say she traded items for sexual encounters with male students who attend McMinn Central High School.

Melissa Blair, 38, is charged with 18 counts of aggravated statutory rape, four counts of human trafficking by patronizing prostitution and one count of solicitation. She turned herself in Tuesday and was booked into the McMinn County Jail on a $100,000 bond. She is not, nor has she ever been, a school employee.

McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said in a Tuesday press conference that Blair traded items for sexual encounters from spring 2020 through late 2021. Guy said the encounters began through communication on social media.

McMinn County Director of Schools Lee Parkison said the investigation began after an anonymous letter was left in his office. “Without them this could still be going on,” Parkison said, thanking whomever wrote the letter.

Parkinson said Blair was not employed by the school but was involved with school clubs, “… like other parents are.”
No change to ‘Maus’ ban at McMinn County Schools despite backlash

“But most importantly we want to offer support and resources to the victim and their parents as we move forward.”
McMinn county sheriff joe guy

Officials said seven of the nine victims are juveniles while two are now legal adults.

“We suspect there may be additional juvenile victims and we encourage them or their parents to contact us. There may possibly be other victims who are now adults, and we also encourage them to contact us,” Sheriff Guy said. “This type of case is difficult and shocking even to us seasoned detectives, and I want to commend our staff for the many hours of identifying, locating, and interviewing victims and their families, as well as the many days of putting together the search warrant subsequent case file. But most importantly we want to offer support and resources to the victim and their parents as we move forward.”

Feb. 11

 vicky ward investigates

Vicky Ward Investigates, The Last Word on the New Yorker and Isaac Chotiner, Vicky Ward, Feb. 11, 2022. This is the last time, I hope, I refer to the misleading article that Isaac Chotiner wrote in the New Yorker about my reporting on Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell over the last twenty years.

What I want to point out is that, strangely, if you bother to read Chotiner’s article closely, it shows that—amid a whole lot of opinionated, fact-less nonsense about my integrity—the answer to the central question of who buried Maria and Annie Farmer’s allegations of Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse back in 2002, and then again in 2011, is…drumroll…Graydon Carter. Further, it shows that when Carter was asked about this, his answers were disproven by the time-stamped emails and transcripts I sent to Chotiner and New Yorker fact-checkers.

So how and why then does the article, on an initial reading, make it appear that I am a liar, an unreliable journalist, while Carter is just brushing off a poor memory?

I’m going to give you the facts about what happened during the reporting of this because I am entitled to defend myself and my reputation when it’s under attack. First, why did Chotiner even write this piece? I’ve had many puzzled phone calls with people asking, What is the point of this piece? The news value? The public interest? It’s a head-scratcher.



vicky ward epstein vanity fair 2003 cover mansion


Vicky Ward: My 2003 Vanity Fair article, “The Talented Mr. Epstein”

The first thing I should say is that it is just completely false for Chotiner to say that “many of the things that she told me—and had told her podcast listeners—turned out to be untrue.” There was one notable mistake I made—about the use of the word “peccadilloes” in my blog. I actually pointed that out to Chotiner, not vice-versa. I told him I found it in the original draft; I don’t know how it got through vetting. It’s a bad mistake, but I owned it and I immediately informed Audible about it as well.

Does he mention my transparency—as compared with the cover-up by Carter? No.

What Chotiner is trying to milk here is that, during the reporting of his piece, he called me often— catching me on the fly at 10pm, or in transit—and so, when he asked me did I remember X from 20 years ago—or things from even one year ago—I was honest that I couldn’t recall off the top of my head. On the spot, I couldn’t remember every precise date and time and fact from the last 20 years. Could you? Once I was back at my computer with the records of the scripts of my podcast and two decades of emails and transcripts in front of me, I corrected what I had made my best guess at on the fly. But he decided to nitpick and say that I “chang[ed] my story from year to year and at times from day to day.”

No. What happened is he’d talk to me when I was without my computer. I’d then go and look at my computer and phone him back with what the documents supported.

And what those documents showed was that I had the Farmers on the record in early drafts of my 2003 article (contrary to what Carter claimed—he said I was late); that those allegations were supported by others (contrary to what Carter claimed); that I was right to believe the Farmers over Epstein (Carter believed Epstein over the Farmers); that editors at Vanity Fair did email that Carter needed to see the 2011 blog prior to publication (he said he never read it); and that changes were made to the blog—with the critical changes of the deletion of the Farmers’ allegations and the insertion of the word “I” by someone other than myself.

I sent all this to Chotiner, most of it after he spoke to Carter who had made his assertion the Farmers were not in my first draft. Chotiner told me he believed he had gotten his story wrong, because an email I showed his fact-checker conflicted with that. Chotiner then castigated me for not previously sending over all my numerous emails from 2002. How was I supposed to know, in advance, what Carter would claim about my reporting? I was bewildered, and I knew Chotiner could not possibly have the right facts. Chotiner then asked me to send over all the records that I had.

So I spent an entire weekend and several nights going through old email records and transcripts, trying to piece together from hundreds of old records exactly what the facts said.

As I was undertaking that journey, I occasionally wondered aloud to Chotiner, via email and phone, if there was Possibility A or B in some cases. I was trying, openly, to get to the actual facts for him—a really time-consuming effort for me, but one I thought was important—and yet he turned around and completely mischaracterized that effort as me being inconsistent. I think that is dishonest.


nfl logo cropped

washington post logoWashington Post, NFL tells Congress that Commanders are blocking access to documents from workplace probe, Mark Maske and Nicki Jhabvala, Feb. 11, 2022 (print ed.). The NFL told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a letter that the Washington Commanders, not the league, are impeding the committee’s access to many documents related to the investigation of the team’s workplace, another sign of increasing tension between the team and league over the handling of the probe.

carolyn maloney oThe letter — dated Wednesday and sent to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), right, the committee’s chairwoman, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) — reiterates the league’s assertion that “[d]ecisions related to the findings of the investigation have been made by the NFL, not the team.” The NFL also defended its decision to have attorney Beth Wilkinson, who beth wilkinsonconducted the investigation, submit only oral findings to the league rather than a written report.

The NFL said that it entered into a “common interest agreement” with the team to avoid having to restart the investigation after taking over the probe from the team. And as the committee now seeks information related to Wilkinson’s investigation, the league wrote that the team is responsible for blocking access to more than 100,000 documents.

In sharp rebuke, NFL plans independent probe of sexual misconduct allegations against Daniel Snyder

The NFL sought approximately 109,000 team documents related to the investigation that were previously shared with Wilkinson’s firm, Wilkinson Stekloff, and are in the possession of a third-party vendor, the league’s attorneys wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.

“That vendor refused to provide the NFL or even Wilkinson Stekloff with access to the documents unless the team consented because of its concern that it could be sued by the team or its owner," the attorneys wrote. "The NFL promptly directed the team to provide its consent to the vendor, but the team repeatedly has refused to do so.”

The team denied the allegation.

Feb. 9


vicky ward investigates

Vicky Ward Investigates, What the New Yorker Got Wrong, Vicky Ward, Feb. 9, 2022. Around New Years, following the verdict in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, New Yorker staff writer Isaac Chotiner reached out to me. He asked if I would do an interview with him about my coverage over twenty years of Maxwell and Jeffery Epstein, starting with my 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein.

I paused.

On the one hand, I became a journalist because I believe in truth-telling.

On the other hand, I was concerned that Conde Nast—the parent company of the New Yorker—is also the owner of Vanity Fair. The same lawyers who were responsible for vetting my 2003 Vanity Fair article are still at Conde Nast. Is this the right venue to explore what really happened back then with Graydon Carter, one of the most influential—and highly paid—editors in the firm’s history?

It turns out, I was right to be doubtful. The piece has landed and it quickly abandons any attempt at exploring how Vanity Fair buried my 2003 reporting on Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of the Farmer sisters in favor of smearing my reputation as a journalist.

The backstory is that, in 2002, I was assigned by Vanity Fair what I thought would be a straightforward story—to find out where Jeffrey Epstein’s money came from. But very quickly, things started to get complicated. I had been the first journalist to talk with two women—sisters Maria and Annie Farmer—who had on-the-record sexual abuse allegations against Epstein. I put those allegations into the story. They were ultimately removed shortly before the piece went to press. In 2015, I wrote an article in the Daily Beast in which, with cooperation from Annie Farmer, I finally got the Farmer sisters’ allegations published.



vicky ward epstein vanity fair 2003 cover mansion


My 2003 Vanity Fair article, “The Talented Mr. Epstein”

The events of what happened leading up to the removal of the Farmers’ allegations from the Vanity Fair story are a large part of what the New Yorker story gets wrong.

Carter’s and Vanity Fair’s explanations for what happened have changed over time. At the time of the original 2003 piece, Carter told me he believed Epstein (Carter said, on tape, that he was a “trusting person” because he was Canadian) and that Epstein was clearly “very sensitive” about the women. My line editor at the time told me they felt the piece read better as a business piece. In more recent years, Carter has claimed that I didn’t have the reporting to back up the Farmers’ allegations and that my reporting didn’t meet the “legal threshold” for Vanity Fair. (I disagree. I had Maria and Annie Farmer and their mother all on the record, using their names. I had artist Eric Fischl on the record, too, and businessman David Schafer. Maria had spoken to them all contemporaneously, and then Annie had confided in her mother and sister. They were terrified that Epstein—with his money and power and connections—would rip into their credibility. And, sure enough, that’s exactly what he did.) Carter’s response to my 2015 allegations was that “Epstein denied the charges at the time and since the claims were unsubstantiated and no criminal investigation had been initiated, we decided not to include them in what was a financial story.” He’s gone on now to tell the New Yorker, “My staff, to a person, did not trust her.” (And yet I worked for Vanity Fair for a decade after this. That—and the rest of my record—speaks for itself.) Carter also, according to Chotiner, has suddenly “suggested that he had not been involved in decision-making about the article.”

At no point in the process did anyone at Vanity Fair say to me that I didn’t have the reporting. If anyone had ever said that to me, I would have asked them what they needed in order to meet that standard and then I would’ve gone out and gotten it. (A point I made to Chotiner that, apparently, he felt was moot).

What I do know is that, after I’d filed a draft, Epstein went into Carter’s Vanity Fair office and had a meeting—the content of which was never discussed with me. (If he asked Carter about that, Chotiner didn’t bother to put Carter’s response in the piece. I guess what happens in the offices of senior male executives at Conde Nast is off-limits to a New Yorker staff writer.) But a few weeks following that—a period of time during which my records show that Epstein and Carter continued to communicate—the Farmers and their allegations were cut out of the article.

Given Carter’s shifting story, that mysterious meeting, and the New Yorker piece’s inaccuracies and mischaracterizations, I’ve decided to share lengthy excerpts from the transcripts of my conversations with Jeffrey Epstein and with Graydon Carter himself so that you can read them for yourself and judge what you think actually happened at Vanity Fair back then.

To be clear: I supplied Chotiner with these time-stamped transcripts of conversations I had of conversations with Epstein, and of conversations with Carter. I also supplied Chotiner with emails that have their time and date clearly marked. But I began to suspect during the fact-checking process that Chotiner didn’t appreciate my transparency about the fallibility of memories from 20 years ago. I may not have immediately recalled things he asked me (especially when phoning me up at 10pm, as he did during reporting), but I have all the “receipts” supporting my story. I have kept my transcripts and emails for years, and I was able to go back and painstakingly reconstruct the timeline—to the point that, when Chotiner shared said timeline with Carter, Carter realized he had gotten his own story wrong and is quoted in the piece as saying, “Well, this is my mistake, then. Remember, this was almost 20 years ago.”

That’s precisely why the actual documentation is so important.

Feb. 3

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Lawsuit alleges D.C. police leaders flagged FOIA requests from journalists and activists, Radley radley balko catoBalko, right, author of Rise of the Warrior Cop, shown below, Feb. 3, 2022. In March 2019, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department held a public hearing for officer Sean Lojocano, who was accused of performing unneeded and unnecessarily invasive genital searches of city residents.

Among the attendees was Amy Phillips, an MPD critic and public defender in the District. Three days later, Phillips filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for a transcript of the hearing. Within less than 90 minutes, the department denied her request, arguing that releasing the transcript would “constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

That seemed odd to Phillips. The hearing was public, so the transcript should have been public, too. She appealed the denial to the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel, which directed the department to produce the transcript, but allowed some redactions. Almost three years after the public hearing, the department still hasn’t provided an unredacted transcript.

radley balko warrior coverIn the police department’s actions, Phillips had noticed a pattern: The police had stonewalled or denied her other FOIA requests, too — and the denials were usually quick. In 2020, she learned why, courtesy of a whistleblower: Vendette Parker, the department’s head FOIA officer from October 2017 until her retirement in January 2020.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in D.C. federal district court, Phillips — citing a sworn declaration from Parker — alleges that then-D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham instructed the department’s FOIA compliance officers to inform him of all incoming requests, and to flag any requests that could embarrass Newsham or the department. The chief and other senior officials would then meet with the FOIA officers to discuss strategies on how to delay, deny or otherwise frustrate those requests. (Disclosure: Phillips is a friend. She also says her lawsuit is not related to her job with the D.C. Public Defender Service.)

According to her declaration, Parker says that on her first day as a FOIA officer, she was told to flag any requests from reporters who had written or aired negative stories about the police department, any people or groups engaged in litigation against the department, any requests for the personal emails of Newsham or D.C. Police Chief Operating Officer Leeann Turner, and any other requests that could reflect poorly on the department or its leadership.

Parker’s declaration provides examples of people and groups whose requests received added scrutiny, including Phillips, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Anti-Defamation League, and reporters with the city’s CBS and Fox affiliates. Parker alleges she was also told to flag any requests for information related to stop-and-frisk policies, disciplinary hearings and the city’s controversial Gun Recovery Unit.

According to Parker, Turner told her not only to flag such requests, but to also write up possible responses that would justify the department denying or obstructing those requests. In other instances, she was asked to just delay potentially damaging requests until D.C. police officials could formulate a response. She claims she was also told to bring her proposed responses in hard copy form so there would be no record of them.

“While we haven’t been formally served with the suit, MPD will not discuss specific allegations due to the pending litigation,” said Officer Hugh Carew, a police spokesman. “We do acknowledge the serious nature of the claims. Transparency with our community partners is necessary to maintaining trust and agency accountability. A thorough review of the assertions will be completed and appropriately acted upon.”


The late Jeffrey Epstein and Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown (Photos via CNN).The late Jeffrey Epstein and Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown (Photos via CNN).

Florida Bulldog, Two victims of sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein sue reporter and author Julie K. Brown for defamation thru false statements, alleged threat, Bob Norman, Feb. 3, 2022. Miami Herald journalist and author Julie K. Brown has been widely lauded for her reporting on billionaire sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, which created a media frenzy and led to a million dollar book contract.

But now Brown is being sued for defamation by two Epstein victims that she has been credited for championing.

Courtney Wild and Haley Robson, who were both underaged victims of Epstein’s abuse and who played prominent roles in the case, allege Brown defamed them in her recently published book, Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story. Contained in the lawsuit are allegations that Brown falsely wrote that Wild was raped by Epstein and had sex with him afterward and that Brown had threatened Robson when she refused to participate in her book.

“Brown falsely stated that Ms. Wild was raped by Epstein and then had sex with Epstein multiple times after the rape. Neither is true,” wrote Miami attorney Jeffrey Guchess, who filed the complaint on behalf of Wild and Robson. “More egregiously, when Robson refused to sit for an interview for the book, Brown threatened her, saying her refusal would be the ‘biggest mistake of your life.’”

The eight-page lawsuit alleges that Brown “fulfilled her threat” against Robson in the book, portraying her “not as the teenage victim she was, no different than dozens of other victims, but rather as a mini-Ghislaine Maxwell and a member of Epstein’s inner circle, despite knowing that to be a false narrative.

“Brown’s libelous attacks on these two victims will have lasting effects as both have children and family members who will suffer regular attacks by those in the community who read or hear of these defamatory statements.”

Brown, who received a million-dollar advance from Harper Collins for the book, texted the Bulldog Thursday that she was traveling and had not seen the lawsuit yet.

“I’ve put in a call to my lawyer & will have to get back to you,” Brown texted.

The lawsuit alleges Brown mischaracterized Robson in the book as punishment for her refusal to participate in it.

Haley Robson, left, and Courtney Wild (shown at right).Haley Robson, left, and Courtney Wild

“With the publication of Perversion of Justice, Ms. Brown carried out her threat by characterizing Ms. Robson not as a victim but rather as an eager participate and co-conspirator in Epstein’s crimes,” Guchess writes. “She wrote repeatedly that Robson was ‘working’ for Epstein, that Robson viewed Epstein as her ‘boss’ and was a member of Epstein’s inner circle of associates who was ‘giddy with excitement’ to participate in his scheme.”

The portrayal “constitutes a gross misrepresentation of the sexual and mental abuse and manipulation suffered by Robson as one of Epstein’s victims,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit alleges that Brown sought to “debase” Wild in a bid to take credit for the latter’s extensive efforts to bring Epstein to justice before he hung himself in jail in 2019. Wild was a key participant in Brown’s Miami Herald newspaper series in November 2018 that led to a media frenzy about the case.

Wild spent years trying to expose the highly criticized federal plea agreement between Epstein and the federal government, according to the lawsuit, urging authorities to again charge Epstein, provide compensation for his victims and assist them in obtaining settlements.

“Knowing Ms. Wild had spearheaded each of these major achievements, and not Ms. Brown as she claimed in her book, Ms. Brown sought to debase and defame Ms. Wild,” Guchess wrote in the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges Brown mischaracterized the sexual abuse Wild suffered at Epstein’s hands. In the book, she wrote that Wild “told the FBI the times that she had sex with him when she was underage” and that Epstein had “raped” her and that ultimately she “didn’t have to do the sex anymore,” the lawsuit quotes.

“In fact, Ms. Wild never had sexual intercourse with Epstein and was never raped by Epstein,” Guchess wrote.

The lawsuit alleges that Brown knew her characterizations of Wild and Robson were false based on previous interviews with both and her own research and that Brown’s “primary intention” was “harming Ms. Wild and Ms. Robson for vindictive and other malicious reasons.”

“Because of these statements, Ms. Wild and Ms. Robson’s mental anguish and suffering were exacerbated, and their mental health was affected as a result of being re-victimized by Defendant after years of trauma due to Epstein’s abuse and collusion with the government that ultimately failed to bring him to justice,” the lawsuit alleges.

Wild and Robson are seeking a public apology from Brown and unspecified financial damages.

Al.com, Roy Moore trial: Both sides claim victory after jury says neither party defamed the other, Paul Gattis, Feb. 3, 2022 (print ed.). A jury on Wednesday morning found that neither Roy Moore or Leigh Corfman defamed the other person over claims that Moore had sexually abused Corfman when she was a teen and he was an assistant prosecutor in Etowah County.

The jury issued the ruling after an eight-day trial over a defamation lawsuit filed by Corfman in 2018 and a countersuit filed by Moore.

Roy Moore ScreenshotThe jury found that Corfman did not defame Moore, right, with her allegations of sexual abuse and that Moore did not defame Corfman in his public denials of the abuse. The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning the verdict.

Immediately after the verdict, Moore claimed “a huge victory” and a “complete vindication.”

One of Corfman’s lawyers, Neil Roman, said he did not see how Moore could claim this as a vindication.

“To be clear, this is not a victory for Roy Moore,” Roman said. “It’s not a vindication of him. Although we are disappointed that the jury did not find that Mr. Moore statements rose to the level of defamation, we are gratified that the jury necessarily found that Leigh was telling the truth about her experience with Mr. Moore in 1979.”

The jury could have found in favor of Corfman in that she was defamed by Moore’s denials. Or the jury could have found in favor of Moore in that he was defamed by her allegations made against him. Instead, the jury determined no defamation from either side took place.

“We’re very happy with the outcome,” Moore said.

“It’s a great big victory,” Moore attorney Julian McPhillips said. “There’s no other way to interpret this.”

Corfman said it was significant that the jury found she did not defame Moore. Asked if there was something good to be taken out of the finding, Roman said, “Sure, the jury believed Leigh.” Corfman added, “And that’s important.”

Roman said the fact that Circuit Judge John Rochester determined months before the trial that Corfman was a limited-purpose public figure made it more difficult for the jury to find she had been defamed. Such a legal designation raises the bar to prove defamation.

“If what Ms. Corfman said was false, there is no way what she said about him was not defamatory,” Roman said. “She accused him of abusing her as a 14-year-old girl. If that’s false, that’s defamatory. The jury did not find that.”


Feb. 2


jeff zucker cnn

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeff Zucker Exits CNN After Relationship With Senior Executive, Michael M. Grynbaum, Feb. 2, 2022. The relationship came up during the network’s investigation into the former anchor Chris Cuomo. “I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t,” Mr. Zucker wrote in a memo to colleagues.

Jeff Zucker resigned on Wednesday as the president of CNN and the chairman of WarnerMedia’s news and sports division, writing in a memo that he had failed to disclose to the company a romantic relationship with another senior executive at CNN.

CNNMr. Zucker, 56, is among the most powerful leaders in the American media and television industries. The abrupt end of his nine-year tenure immediately throws into flux the direction of CNN and its parent company, WarnerMedia, which is expected to be acquired later this year by Discovery Inc. in one of the nation’s largest media mergers.

In a memo to colleagues that was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Zucker wrote that his relationship came up during a network investigation into the conduct of Chris Cuomo, the CNN anchor who was fired in December over his involvement in the political affairs of his brother, former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York.

“As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years,” Mr. Zucker wrote. “I acknowledged the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn’t. I was wrong.”

“As a result, I am resigning today,” he wrote.

Mr. Zucker was referring to Allison Gollust, CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer and one of the highest-ranking leaders of the network, who is closely involved in major business and communications decisions.
Daily business updates The latest coverage of business, markets and the economy, sent by email each weekday. Get it sent to your inbox.

Ms. Gollust said in a statement on Wednesday that she was remaining in her role at CNN.

“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years,” she wrote. “Recently, our relationship changed during Covid. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time. I’m incredibly proud of my time at CNN and look forward to continuing the great work we do everyday.”

Both Mr. Zucker and Ms. Gollust are divorced.

In a memo to WarnerMedia employees, Jason Kilar, the company’s chief executive, acknowledged that he had accepted Mr. Zucker’s resignation, adding, “We will be announcing an interim leadership plan shortly.”


January Update

Jan. 31

ny times logoNew York Times, Cyprus Overturns Conviction of Woman Who Accused Israelis of Rape, Jenny Gross, Jan. 31, 2022. More than two years after a British woman was convicted of fabricating claims, Cyprus’s top court reversed the decision and said that she had not received a fair trial.

The Supreme Court of Cyprus on Monday overturned the conviction of a British woman accused of fabricating claims that a group of Israeli tourists raped her in a hotel room in Cyprus.

In 2019, less than two weeks after the woman told the Cypriot police that as many as a dozen Israeli tourists had raped her, she was arrested on charges of making a false accusation. Her case drew widespread attention in the British and Israeli news media, and she was convicted and given a four-month suspended sentence.

Lewis Powell, the woman’s lawyer, said in an interview on Monday that the decision was a watershed moment for victims of sexual assault and that his client had received the justice she deserved. The Supreme Court had ruled that faults in the woman’s trial were sufficient reason to overturn her conviction, he said.

He said the woman, who was 18 when she first went to the police, and her family were “absolutely delighted” and relieved by the decision.

ny times logoNew York Times, Australian Megachurch Leader Steps Down After Charge Over Father’s Sexual Abuse, Yan Zhuang, Updated Jan. 31, 2022. Brian Houston, who was the leader of Hillsong, is accused of concealing past abuse by his father, who later died and was never charged.

The leader of Hillsong, the Australian megachurch that has attracted throngs of young people and celebrities worldwide, has stepped down as he prepares to fight a criminal charge of concealing historical child sexual abuse by his father.

The church’s leader, Brian Houston, said in a statement published on Hillsong’s website on Sunday that he had agreed to give up “all ministry responsibilities” until the end of 2022 to focus on his legal battle following the advice of Hillsong’s legal advisers.

The Australian police charged Mr. Houston in August 2021 with one count of concealing a serious indictable offense by his father, Frank Houston. The police alleged that the younger Mr. Houston, now 67, “knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police.”

Mr. Houston has vigorously denied the accusation and reiterated in his statement on Sunday that “these allegations came as a shock to me, and it is my intention to vigorously defend them.”

Jan. 28