#MeToo, Violence, Sex & Blackmail Scandals

 

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Below are recent, notable claims of sexual harassment, domestic violence or assault and/or sex-related blackmail and extortion. The reports are listed in reverse chronological order beginning in January. They come primarily from U.S.-based claims of scandal within high-level government and business circles, including the media.

A brief video introduces our review:

tarana burkeThe #MeToo movement, a major topic in this catalog, became widely known in the fall of 2017. The movement had been founded by Tarana Burke (shown in a file photo at left) a little more than a decade previously. She was honored with the 2018 Ridenhour Prize for courage in a ceremony attended by this editor at the National Press Club.

-- Andrew Kreig / Justice Integrity Project

2018

July

July 15

peter strozk lisa page

FBI counter-intelligence supervisor Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, above, were interrogated by a GOP-led House investigation, including 10 hours of public hearings on July 13 for Strzok and a long private session grilling Page the following day.

washington post logodana milbank CustomWashington Post, Opinion: It’s clear why Republicans interrogated Peter Strzok, Dana Milbank (right), July 15, 2018 (print edition). But by all means let’s hear more about the affair.

They stuck with Donald Trump when he was heard, on video, boasting about sexually assaulting women. They stuck with him still when he acknowledged paying hush money to a porn actress who alleged an affair.

republican elephant logoBut this week, congressional Republicans, determined to discredit the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, hauled in FBI agent Peter Strzok and sought to humiliate him over anti-Trump texts he exchanged with his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

“I can’t help wonder,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), “when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eye and lie to her about Lisa Page?”

The purpose of interrogating Strzok for 10 hours Thursday (after 11 hours in a private session) was clear: ritual humiliation.

In fairness, the vast majority condemned Strzok over his texts to his lover without invoking the affair. But then there was Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.), picking up where Gohmert left off. “Engaging in the kind of behavior that you have been engaging in, especially with the extramarital affair, it opens up an agent to exploitation and even blackmail,” she proclaimed.

scott desJarlais oIf Republicans really want to go there, they’ll need to investigate the vulnerabilities of some of Strzok’s inquisitors on their glass-house committee:

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), who needled Strzok about “text messages with your friend.” DesJarlais (right), according to divorce filings, had multiple extramarital affairs and encouraged his ex-wife and a patient with whom he had an affair to get abortions.

mark meadows small customRep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who has been under investigation by the House Ethics Committee over payments to a former staffer accused of sexual harassment. Other members of the panel are Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), who was sentenced last year to community service and anger-management classes for assaulting a reporter, and Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), whose infidelity as governor of South Carolina made national headlines.

blake farenthold with bunny customJudging Strzok also would have been Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), but he recently resigned after revelation of a taxpayer-funded sexual harassment settlement. (Farenthold is shown in a photo taken at the "Abyss" nightclub.)

And there’s Gohmert himself, who defended Jordan against the wrestlers’ allegations and who remained on Trump’s leadership team through the “Access Hollywood” scandal.

July 13

wayne madsen screen shot

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: The FBI's "inquisitors" -- a parade of the depraved, Wayne Madsen (shown above in a cable news screenshot), July 13, 2018 (subscription required). Investigative reporter and author of 15 books Wayne Madsen is a former Navy intelligence officer and frequent broadcast commentator.

U.S. House logoOn July 12, former deputy assistant director of the FBI Peter Strzok testified before 70 members of a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees on his actions as the chief of the bureau's counter-intelligence division during the 2016 presidential election.

bob goodlatte cropped oStrzok's text messages, in which he criticized Trump, were fodder for the Republicans who used the occasion to push their various unfounded conspiracy theories.

The Republicans who took shots at Strzok represent a cavalcade of miscreants, misfits, perverts, and criminals, starting with House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), right, who is retiring at the end of the current term.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Devin Nunes tied to underage sex worker scandal, Tim Faulkner, July 13, 2018. Things just keep getting worse for Congressman Devin Nunes (a California Republican representing the state's Central Valley). On Wednesday, two separate organizations issued letters to the Office of Congressional Ethics requesting an investigation into his personal business investments.

devin nunes grimacingA complaint filed by the Campaign for Accountability alleges that Nunes (shown at left) possibly violated federal laws by omitting information from his financial disclosure forms when he failed to include information on his affiliation with three California companies. He left off information as to whether he had investments or received any financial gifts from the companies’ owners. Alpha Omega, a Napa County winery, was listed as one of Nunes’s primary assets, which he reported that he purchased in 2006 for between $50,001 and $100,000 but he claims to receive little income from it each year, “despite [its] apparent success.”

While this omission would clearly violate federal law, things get even worse for Nunes.

Another complaint, this one from the Swamp Accountability Project, was also filed Wednesday with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). This complaint focuses on a sexual harassment lawsuit that was settled in 2015, alleging “the company hosted a fundraiser on a yacht with top investors using cocaine and hiring sex workers — some who appeared too young to consent.” With the recent jim jordan headshot Customallegations against fellow Republican Congressman Jim Jordan (rigght) of protecting an Ohio State team doctor from molestation complaints, this is not a good time for Nunes to face such allegations.

So far, Devin Nunes has not answered any inquiries about his involvement or knowledge of this incident. “For this reason, OCE should prioritize a review of Rep. Nunes’ investment and involvement in the Alpha Omega Winery, and the facts reported by The Fresno Bee. Such review should be undertaken as swiftly as possible,” the complaint from the Swamp Accountability Project stated.

washington post logoWashington Post, She found her father's child porn images of herself, then killed him — and kept it secret for 12 years, Samantha Schmidt, July 13, barbara coombes2018. Barbara Coombes, 51 (shown at right), had just been gardening in her father’s backyard, on a street of red-brick terrace homes in their suburb near Manchester, England, when she went inside and spotted a box on the dining room table.

Sifting through the box, she was repulsed by what she saw: A trove of pornographic photos — of children. Among them were explicit photographs of herself as a child, according to a court hearing reported by the Manchester Evening News.

The images were painful reminders of her childhood, of the decades of abuse at the hands of a father who allegedly used her as a “sex slave” and raped her hundreds of times, the Guardian reported, citing the Manchester crown court hearing.

“I could feel a black cloud appearing over me,” Coombes said in court this week, according to the Evening News. “In a haze of disgust and disbelief, I picked up a shovel I had been gardening with."

mark aderholt southern baptist leader mug

Mark Aderholt, above is former associate executive director and chief strategist of the South Carolina Baptist Convention

HuffPost, Former Southern Baptist Leader Charged With Sexual Assault, Carol Kuruvilla, July 13, 2018. Mark Aderholt’s accuser claims a church mission board has known about the abuse for over a decade.

HuffPost, Inhuman Resources: A Whistleblower's Tale, David Dayen, July 12, 2018. Mike Picarella wanted to protect a co-worker from humiliating sexual harassment. He didn't expect his own life to be destroyed in the process,

The banking industry is hardly known for its moral rectitude. But if you look beyond the executive suites and venture into compliance departments and operations back offices, you’ll find a handful of sticklers and self-appointed heroes who have made it their mission to save Wall Street from its excesses. Mike is one of them.

July 11

ny times logoNew York Times, First Person: Surviving the Long-Term Trauma of Sexual Violence, Photographs and text by Kate Ryan, July 11, 2018. After she was raped, a photographer asked 29 other survivors about their stories.

The trauma of sexual violence is not something we fix. It is something we manage daily. It takes work. And that work is as messy and complicated as the individuals who live it.

I aimed to get at that complexity with “Signed, X,” a collection of photographs and interviews with long-term survivors of sexual assault. This project began as a series of questions: What triggers you years after sexual violence? How do you ground yourself in those moments? Where do you carry stress? Where do you find hope? These are the questions I began asking survivors last October.

July 9

Predator #MeToo Cover-up Scandal?

The Hill, Former White House ethics chief requests probe into whether Jordan knew of alleged sexual abuse, Avery Anapol, July 9, 2018.  Former White House ethics chief Norm Eisen on Monday said that he has filed a formal ethics complaint against GOP Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) amid accusations that the lawmaker ignored sexual abuse allegations while serving as an assistant coach for the Ohio State University wrestling program.

Eisen, who served as former President Obama's ethics chief, said that he and Fred Wertheimer of the nonprofit watchdog group Democracy 21 filed the complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).

jim jordan 07 26 2011 fileJordan, shown in a file photo, has denied the allegations, saying that if he had known about the alleged abuse, he would have acted to stop it.

Seven former wrestlers have contradicted Jordan's claims, saying that the former assistant coach knew about alleged sexual abuse by athletic doctor Richard Strauss. Strauss killed himself in 2005.

Eisen and Wertheimer's complaint seeks an OCE investigation into whether Jordan is lying about his knowledge of alleged abuse. Eisen and Wertheimer argue that if Jordan is “publicly lying about his knowledge of the matter,” he is violating House Rules and should be held accountable.

July 7

jim jordan ohio fourth district map Small

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, represents the heavily gerrymandered Fourth District shown above to encompass heavily white, GOP voters

The Hill, Seventh former Ohio State wrestler claims Jordan knew of alleged sexual abuse, Jacqueline Thomsen, July 7, 2018.  A seventh former Ohio State jim jordan headshot CustomUniversity wrestler came forward Saturday with claims that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) knew about alleged sexual abuse taking place on the wrestling team while he was an assistant coach.

David Range told The Washington Post that Jordan (shown at right) must have know about the alleged sexual abuse by athletic doctor Richard Strauss because it happened regularly and was often discussed.

“Jordan definitely knew that these things were happening — yes, most definitely,” Range told the newspaper. “It was there. He knew about it because it was an everyday occurrence.”

July 6

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump has horrible response to Jim Jordan sexual abuse scandal, Bill Palmer, July 6, 2018. Four former members of the Ohio State University wrestling team have now come forward to assert they informed their coach Jim Jordan that the team doctor was sexually abusing them. Ohio State’s own lawyers say they emailed Jordan informing him of the abuse, and asking him to come in for an interview, which he ignored. The evidence is stacking up against Jordan, who is now a Republican Congressman and a close ally of Donald Trump.

Here’s what Trump told the pool of reporters: “I don’t believe them at all. I believe him.” To be clear, Trump is accusing four Ohio State wrestling team members of all falsely claiming that they warned Jim Jordan about what was going on. Trump is also accusing the Ohio State legal department of falsely claiming that it informed Jordan, even though there are email records involved that can prove what the real story was.

July 5

jim jordan 07 26 2011 file

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, shown in a 2011 file photo. The House Freedom Caucus leader announced a race to become GOP Speaker and was promptly accused in a sex scandal of years ago involving young men. He has denied knowledge or wrongdoing.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation / Opinion: GOP House Caucus: a "Pleasure Palace" for pederasts and pedophiles, July 5, 2018 (subscription required for access to full story and site at $7 monthly or $32 for full year). Jim Jordan is merely another in a long parade of Republican perverts in the U.S. Congress.

U.S. House Speaker wannabe Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) has good reason to be concerned about allegations that he covered up incidents of sexual abuse of Ohio State University athletes while he was an assistant wrestling coach on the campus from 1986 to 1995. Jordan is in a typical Republican "full-nelson denial" about his involvement in covering up sexual assaults of male athletes by the OSU's Athletics Team Physician, Dr. Richard Strauss.

WMR Editor Wayne Madsen, shown at left, is a syndicated columnist, author of 15 books and a former Navy Intelligence officer who was deputized by the FBI in the 1980s to help gather evidence used to convict and imprison his Navy commanding officer on pedophilia charges. In 2006, Madsen published a three-part series exposing then-GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert as a gay pedophile, beginning during Hastert's career as a high school wrestling coach. A decade later Hastert was indicted for financial crimes related to victim payoffs and later imprisoned.

Wall Street Journal, Former Ohio State Wrestlers Say Rep. Jim Jordan Knew of Team Doctor’s Alleged Misconduct, Ben Kesling and Kristina Peterson, July 5, 2018. Lawmaker denies knowledge of alleged sexual abuse that occurred in the 1990s, when he was assistant coach.

Five former wrestlers, including former UFC world champion Mark Coleman, said this week that Rep. Jim Jordan was aware of, but didn’t respond to, allegations of sexual misconduct by an Ohio State University team doctor when the lawmaker was an assistant wrestling coach there in the 1990s.

“There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State,” Mr. Coleman, the mixed martial arts champion, said of Mr. Jordan in an interview Wednesday.

nbc news logoNBC News, Fourth Ohio State wrestler says Rep. Jim Jordan knew about sexual abuse, Corky Siemaszko, July 5, 2018. A fourth former Ohio State University wrestler came forward Thursday to contradict Rep. Jim Jordan’s claim that he had no idea the wrestling team doctor was molesting athletes.

The wrestler, Shawn Dailey, said he was groped half a dozen times by Dr. Richard Strauss in the mid-1990s, when Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach. Dailey said he was too embarrassed to report the abuse directly to Jordan at the time, but he said Jordan took part in conversations where Strauss' abuse of many other team members came up.

"I participated with Jimmy and the other wrestlers in locker-room talk about Strauss. We all did," Dailey, 43, told NBC News, referring to Jordan. "It was very common knowledge in the locker room that if you went to Dr. Strauss for anything, you would have to pull your pants down.”

Dailey spoke out two days after NBC News reported that three former wrestlers who were coached by Jordan more than two decades ago accused the GOP congressman of turning a blind eye to Strauss' alleged abuse and then lying about it. Jordan denied knowing anything about the abuse and continues to do so.
Dailey corroborated the account of one of those wrestlers, Dunyasha Yetts, who told NBC News that Yetts had protested to Jordan and head coach Russ Hellickson after Strauss tried to pull down his wrestling shorts when Yetts went to see him for a thumb injury.

"Dunyasha comes back and tells Jimmy, ‘Seriously, why do I have to pull down my pants for a thumb injury?’" Dailey recalled. "Jimmy said something to the extent of, ‘If he tried that with me, I would kill him.'"

Calling Jordan “a close friend,” Dailey said he is a Republican and that he contributed to the powerful Ohio congressman’s first political campaign for state representative in 1994.

“What happened drove me out of the sport,” said Dailey, a married father of two who works as a fundraiser for an Ohio college. “So I was surprised to hear Jim say that he knew nothing about it."

“Jimmy’s a good guy,” Dailey added. “But to say that he had no knowledge of it, I would say that’s kind of hurtful.”

mike disabato screen shot 2018 07 04 cnn

Former Ohio State wrestler Mike DiSabato, right, claims harassment as a student to CNN host John Berman

Daily Caller, Opinion: Jim Jordan’s Accusers Have A Sketchy History, Raising Questions About Their ‘Authenticity,’ Chuck Ross, July 5, 2018. Two former Ohio State University wrestlers accusing Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan of ignoring sexual misconduct by a university physician more than two decades ago have a history of failed business dealings, lawsuits, harassment allegations, and in the case of one accuser, an 18 month prison sentence for fraud.

One of the former wrestlers, Mike DiSabato, is also being accused by the widow of a Marine who was killed in combat in Iraq of intimidating and bullying her over a memorial fund set up in her husband’s name.

“I question the intent, the authenticity, the verity, that Mike DiSabato shares in any of his words or actions,” Karen Mendoza, the wife of Ray Mendoza — a former teammate of DiSabato’s who was killed in 2005 — said in a statement.

The initial reports based on DiSabato and Yetts’ claims regarding Jordan ignores a large body of evidence that raises questions about the two former wrestlers’ motives.

NBC did note that Yetts served time in prison for a $1.8 million fraud scheme.

Yetts’ biggest victim was former NFL star Antoine Winfield, who was bilked out of $1.3 million. Yetts convinced Winfield to invest his NFL signing bonus with Yetts’ firm, World Wide Sports. As part of the scam, Yetts provided Winfield with false documents claiming to show his investments. Yetts was instead spending money on country club memberships, cars, student loans, and credit card payments.

Daily Caller, Former OSU Wrestler: ‘I Know Jim Knew About … Deviant Sexual Atmosphere,’ Virginia Kruta, July 4, 2018. Former Ohio State University wrestler Mike DiSabato told CNN on Wednesday that he was absolutely certain that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan — who was a young assistant wrestling coach at the time — was aware of the “deviant sexual atmosphere” that DiSabato and others are alleging was fostered by Dr. Richard Strauss at the university.

washington post logoWashington Post, Former Fox News executive Bill Shine joins Trump White House as deputy chief of staff for communications, Paul Farhi and Felicia Sonmez, July 5, 2018. With Thursday’s announcement, Shine becomes the fifth communications chief since Trump took office nearly 18 months ago. Before Hope Hicks, Anthony Scaramucci served 10 days in the role. He was preceded by Mike Dubke and Sean Spicer.

The move will bolster the White House’s messaging operation ahead of what is shaping up to be a fierce partisan battle over Trump’s choice for a successor to retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, set to be unveiled on Monday.

Yet the appointment is also likely to open the White House up to attacks regarding Shine’s record at Fox, as well as the Trump administration’s response to sexual misconduct allegations against officials within its own ranks. During his time at Fox, Shine helped to build the network into the media juggernaut it is today. But much like his mentor and patron, Ailes, Shine’s long tenure was clouded by unsavory allegations and associations with darker chapters in the network’s history. Ailes died in May 2017.

Trump himself has been accused of sexual harassment and improper behavior by more than a dozen women, accusations which he denies. And earlier this year, White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned amid reports that he had physically and emotionally abused his two ex-wives.

The presidential appointment reunites Trump with Shine, who gave the then-businessman and reality TV star copious airtime on Fox to opine on a range of subjects. Among them was a regular slot on “Fox & Friends,” on which Trump often promoted his false claim that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. The weekly appear­ances helped burnish Trump’s political credentials, at least with more than a million viewers of the morning program.

gretchen carlsonShine has spent the past 14 months off the public grid after his ouster from Fox last May. He briefly succeeded Ailes as the network’s top executive after Ailes was driven out by sexual harassment allegations, including a lawsuit by former host Gretchen Carlson (shown at left), which Fox’s parent company settled in mid-2016 for $20 million.

Shine himself was never directly accused of harassment at Fox. But his latter years at the network were pockmarked by his association with Ailes, especially accusations that he helped facilitate Ailes’s predatory behavior. Shine has consistently denied wrongdoing.

He also was part of Fox’s senior management during the period in which the network was paying millions of dollars in settlements to former employees who had accused Ailes and host Bill O’Reilly of harassment.

He was named in suits filed by Carlson and former network contributors Julie Roginsky and Andrea Tantaros for his role in allegedly discouraging women at the network from taking their harassment claims to court. Roginsky, who said Ailes sexually harassed her, accused Shine of retaliating against her for her refusal to join “Team Roger,” a cadre of women who supported Ailes in his battle with Carlson. Shine denied those allegations.

laurie luhn cropped squareHe also allegedly played a role in covering up Ailes’s relationship with Laurie Luhn, a former Fox booker who claimed she had a long, abusive affair with Ailes that eventually led to her mental breakdown. Luhn received $3.1 million from Fox in 2011 to settle her allegations of abuse and mistreatment by Ailes.

Shine’s appointment by Trump on Thursday brought swift rebuke from attorney Nancy Erika Smith, who represented Carlson and Roginsky in their suits against Ailes. “Roger Ailes’s enabler and confidant is well qualified to speak on behalf of a president who brags about assaulting women and preying on teenage beauty pageant contestants, and pays adult film actresses to be quiet about his adultery,” Smith said. “Being from Fox News, Shine is also well qualified to speak for a president who lies every single day.”

July 4

Palmer Report, Opinion: Jim Jordan has deranged response to his worsening sexual abuse scandal, Bill Palmer, July 4, 2018. Republican Congressman Jim Jordan’s sexual abuse scandal continues to grow worse for him. He’s accused of having known that the team doctor was sexually abusing the athletes on the Ohio State University wrestling team he coached, and of having done nothing to try to stop it.

jim jordan cuomo cnnJordan (shown during a CNN appearance in his role as a rightist Freedom Caucus leader), claims he didn’t know about it, but Ohio State’s lawyers say they have evidence that they did inform him about it. As the pressure mounts on him to resign, Jordan is now responding to one of the victims in a manner that can only be described as deranged.

Mike DiSabato is one of the alleged sexual abuse victims. He and other members of the team have told the media that they informed Jim Jordan directly about the abuse, and that Jordan refused to do anything. Now, two different reports today paint a disturbing picture of Jim Jordan’s recent behavior toward DiSabato, as the scandal has spilled out into the open.

republican elephant logoThe Daily Beast reports that after DiSabato wrote a series of emails to Jim Jordan, he called the police and asked them to investigate DiSabato. These emails are being described as “vaguely threatening” but we’re not buying it. If the emails contained actual threats, Jordan would have made them public in order to make his case that he’s the real victim. Instead it seems more likely that DiSabato was merely threatening to go public, and Jordan is trying to falsely spin this into an actual threat against him. Jordan has already been caught lying about not having known about the accusations, so he has zero credibility in this. It gets worse.

If you’re not quite sure what to make of Jim Jordan calling the cops on Mike DiSabato, there’s another report today that should spell out just how viciously and derangedly Jordan is handling this. According to Brooke Baldwin of CNN, Jordan has his cousin going around to local media outlets and asking them to “look into” DiSabato. So this scandal is no longer merely about Jordan refusing to put a stop to the sexual abuse of the kids on the team he coached. It’s now about Jordan trying to punish one of the victims for having come forward.

July 3

nbc news logoNBC News, Powerful GOP Rep. Jim Jordan accused of turning blind eye to sexual abuse as Ohio State wrestling coach, Corky Siemaszko, July 3, 2018. At the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on," a former Ohio State wrestler said.

jim jordan headshot CustomRep. Jim Jordan, the powerful Republican congressman from Ohio, is being accused by former wrestlers he coached more than two decades ago at Ohio State University of failing to stop the team doctor from molesting them and other students. The university announced in April that it was investigating accusations that Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, abused team members when he was the team doctor from the mid-1970s to late 1990s.

Jordan (shown at right), who was assistant wrestling coach at the university from 1986 to 1994, has repeatedly said he knew nothing of the abuse until former students began speaking out this spring. His denials, however, have been met with skepticism and anger from some former members of the wrestling team.

richard strauss osu lantern screenshot

Richard Strauss, a former wrestling team physician and an assistant professor of medicine, is being investigated by Ohio State on allegations of sexual misconduct. Credit: Lantern file photo

The Lantern (Ohio State University), Rep. Jim Jordan accused by former wrestlers of knowing about Strauss’ alleged assaults, Colin Gay, July 3, 2018. Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican congressman from Ohio’s fourth congressional district and former assistant coach for the Ohio State wrestling team, has been accused of knowing about the sexual assaults made by former team doctor Richard Strauss, according to a report.

Columbus Dispatch, Lawyers for Ohio State contradict Jim Jordan’s claim he’s not been contacted, Jennifer Smola, July 3, 2018. Congressman Jim Jordan denied hearing about Dr. Richard Strauss’ alleged sexual abuse while Jordan (at right) was assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan never witnessed abuse by the Ohio State University wrestling team’s doctor and he hasn’t been contacted by anyone investigating possible incidents that occurred while he was an assistant coach two decades ago, the Urbana Republican’s spokesman said Tuesday.

However, lawyers hired by OSU to probe the allegations said Jordan was contacted — both by phone and email — to request an interview, but he never responded.

republican elephant logoAnd three members of the wrestling team under Jordan insist that he knew about the abuse but looked the other way.

Ian Fury, a spokesman for Jordan, said in a written statement that Jordan “never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State. He has not been contacted by investigators about the matter but will assist them in any way they ask, because if what is alleged is true, the victims deserve a full investigation and justice.”

Fury also denied that Jordan had been contacted about the case. “Despite claims to the contrary, Congressman Jordan’s office has not received a request for interview from the investigative team. We have demanded that they send us the supposed communication and remain willing to assist in any way that we can.”

A written statement from Porter Wright Morris & Arthur attorney Kathleen Trafford, provided by the university, said investigators had previously contacted Jordan’s office by email and phone to request an interview.

“To date, Rep. Jordan has not responded to those requests, but we understand from public statements issued on his behalf today that Rep. Jordan is willing to talk to the investigative team,” Trafford said.

Jordan, who has represented a swath of west-central Ohio since 2007, is considered one of the more-powerful conservatives in Congress and is widely credited as being a driver in former House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation. Earlier this year, Jordan said he was considering running for House speaker if Republicans keep control of the chamber in November.

washington post logoharvey weinsteinWashington Post, Harvey Weinstein indicted on new sexual assault charges, could face life in prison, Elahe Izadi, July 3, 2018 (print edition).  Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (shown at right) faces additional counts of sexual assault that could carry a potential life sentence if he is convicted, prosecutors announced Monday.

A Manhattan grand jury voted to charge Weinstein with two counts of predatory assault, which carry a minimum 10-year sentence, and an additional count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, stemming from what prosecutors said was a forcible sexual act against a woman in 2006.

June

June 29

ny times logoNew York Times, Francisco J. Ayala, Famed Biologist, Resigns After Sexual Harassment Inquiry, Cornelia Dean, June 29, 2018. Administrators at the University of California, Irvine, said they would remove Dr. Ayala’s name from campus buildings and academic posts.

Francisco J. Ayala, one of the world’s most eminent evolutionary biologists and a major benefactor of the University of California, Irvine, has resigned his position there after a monthslong investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. In a sharp rebuke, the university said it would remove his name from its School of Biological Sciences and its science library, as well as from graduate fellowships, endowed chairs and other programs, many of them started or nurtured with his funds.

In a letter sent Thursday to university employees, Howard Gillman, the chancellor, said Dr. Ayala, leaves the university as of this Sunday without “emeritus” status and that he “will abstain from future campus activities.”

June 28

ny times logoNew York Times, How Saying #MeToo Changed Their Lives, Melena Ryzik, June 28, 2018. Months after accusing powerful men of sexual abuse and harassment, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and 18 others reveal what happened afterward.  stories.

We know what became of the men, the alleged perpetrators, swept aside in the wake of accusations against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017. But what happened to the courageous people whose harrowing accounts prompted the global #MeToo movement?

Here, 20 women and men speak, in their own words, about what came after they revealed their long-secret stories in The New York Times. There was emotional fallout; careers were on the line. Yet there were few regrets. Instead, many were emboldened: At last, their voices matter.

June 27

ny times logoNew York Times, Kathy Shaw, Watchdog on Clergy Sexual Abuse, Dies at 72, Sam Roberts, June 27, 2018 (print edition). Kathy Shaw, a journalist who doggedly investigated allegations of sexual abuse by clergymen and compiled a national register of misconduct accusations so that the public could grasp the dimensions of the crisis, died on Sunday in a hospital in Worcester, Mass. She was 72.

By surveying thousands of cases and posting them on a blog called Abuse Tracker, Ms. Shaw played a meaningful if largely unheralded role in helping fellow journalists and victims of abuse.

“She connected people who were suffering in isolation and blaming themselves and assuming they were the only ones,” David Clohessy, former national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said in a telephone interview. “She helped them understand that, in fact, they were part of a system of corruption that could only really be addressed with a personal response like disclosure, therapy and calling the police, and a collective response like pushing for broad change.”

As a religion reporter for The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Ms. Shaw was credited in 2003 with bringing into view a confidential 1962 Vatican document that mandated complete secrecy by church leaders in dealing with cases of sexual abuse by priests and bishops.

June 26

washington post logomaxine waters cnnWashington Post, Feud over civility in politics escalates amid Trump insults, Felicia Sonmez and Robert Costa​, June 26, 2018 (print edition). Rep. Maxine Waters’s call to “push back” against administration officials prompted the president to respond on Twitter by calling Waters (shown in a file photo) “an extraordinarily low IQ person” and saying “Be careful what you wish for Max!”

The message stood in sharp contrast to a call for civility by the White House press secretary, who was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant.

ny times logomichelle goldberg thumbNew York Times, Opinion: We Have a Crisis of Democracy, Not Manners, Michelle Goldberg, June 26, 2018 (print edition). Michelle Goldberg, right, became an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times in 2017 and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues.

Whether or not you think public shaming should be happening, it’s important to understand why it’s happening. It’s less a result of a breakdown in civility than a breakdown of democracy.

Though it’s tiresome to repeat it, Donald Trump eked out his minority victory with help from a hostile foreign power. He has ruled exclusively for his vengeful supporters, who love the way he terrifies, outrages and humiliates their fellow citizens. Trump installed the right-wing Neil Gorsuch in the Supreme Court seat that Republicans stole from Barack Obama. Gorsuch, in turn, has been the fifth vote in decisions on voter roll purges and, on Monday, racial gerrymandering that will further entrench minority rule.

All over the country, Republican members of Congress have consistently refused to so much as meet with many of the scared, furious citizens they ostensibly represent. A great many of these citizens are working tirelessly to take at least one house of Congress in the midterms — which will require substantially more than 50 percent of total votes, given structural Republican advantages — so that the country’s anti-Trump majority will have some voice in the federal government.

But unless and until that happens, millions and millions of Americans watch helplessly as the president cages children, dehumanizes immigrants, spurns other democracies, guts health care protections, uses his office to enrich himself and turns public life into a deranged phantasmagoria with his incontinent flood of lies.

June 25

ny times logoharvey weinsteinNew York Times, Key Issue in Weinstein Case: Can Other Accusers Testify? James C. McKinley Jr., June 25, 2018. Prosecutors want women to testify about sexual encounters with Harvey Weinstein (right) beyond the two covered in the Manhattan indictment. A judge must decide if that is fair.

Lawyers call them “prior bad acts,” and one of the most important decisions facing the judge presiding over Harvey Weinstein’s trial will be whether to allow them into evidence. Dozens of women have accused the movie producer of sexual misconduct from unwanted touching to sexual assault over the last three decades, and some of those accusations could have been the basis of a criminal case in New York had they been reported earlier, before the time limit expired under the state’s statute of limitations, law enforcement officials say.

Mr. Weinstein has been indicted in connection with only two of those accusations: He faces charges of forcing one woman to give him oral sex in 2004 and of raping a second woman in 2013. But the Manhattan district attorney’s office would like to put some of those other accusers on the witness stand, to establish a pattern of behavior for a person prosecutors describe as a sexual predator.

Source / Reporter Romance?

james wolf ali watkins

Former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe and New York Times reporter Ali Watkins (file photos)

ny times logoNew York Times, How Reporter’s Affair With a Senate Aide Rattled the Media, Michael M. Grynbaum, Scott Shane and Emily Flitter, June 25, 2018 (print edition). The seizure of email records from a Times reporter alarmed First Amendment groups. Her relationship with an intelligence aide set off an ethical debate.

The pearl bracelet arrived in May 2014, in the spring of Ali Watkins’s senior year in college, a graduation gift from a man many years her senior. It was the sort of bauble that might imply something more deeply felt than friendship — but then again, might not.

Ms. Watkins, then a 22-year-old intern in the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers, was not entirely surprised. She had met James Wolfe, a 50-something senior aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee, while hunting for scoops on Capitol Hill. He had become a helpful source, but there were times when he seemed interested in other pursuits — like when he presented her with a Valentine’s Day card.

djt epstein mar a lago

Accused repeat pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, left, with Donald Trump in a 1990s photo at Mar-a-Lago held up last weekend by a protester (Getty images)

sam spadino djt epsteinRaw Story, Protester targeted by Trump for his 'long hair' calls him out again for palling around with a pedophile, Noor Al-Sibair, June 25, 2018. The man-bunned protester singled out by Donald Trump for his hairstyle at a rally in Minnesota on June 20 has spoken out against the president once again for his known ties to billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

“Sorry for interrupting your little rally in Duluth,” activist and comedian Sam Spadino (shown in a screenshot from the rally) wrote in an open letter to Trump for the Minneapolis – St. Paul alternative weekly City Pages. “My friend and I just wanted to ask you a question, and figured in person was the best way to do it since you’re a busy guy, and no ‘fake news’ reporters have brought it up lately.”

“My question, in case you missed it on the sign, is ‘Who is Jeffrey Epstein?'” he continued. “You answered the question once in the October 28, 2002 issue of NY Magazine, saying: ‘I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it: Jeffrey enjoys his social life.'”

“When you said that ‘he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side,’ did you mean younger than 16?” Spadino continued. “Did you know that at least one of his victims was 14 years old?”

He went on to detail Epstein’s insidious resume: a billionaire who, as The Daily Beast pointed out after the Duluth, MN rally, has been accused of “a pedophile ring of dozens of underage girls, whom he groomed and then loaned out to powerful friends.” He was charged in Florida and spent 13 months in prison there for “Procuring Any Person Under Age Of 16 For Prostitution,” and is considered a Level Three sex offender in the state due to his likelihood for re-offending.

Though Epstein has also been connected to other famous men (and alleged abusers and assaulters) including Kevin Spacey, Woody Allen and Bill Clinton, Spadino noted that “none of them were named in a lawsuit together, like [Trump was], in Jane Doe v. Donald J. Trump and Jeffrey E. Epstein, filed in New York in June 2016.”

“That lawsuit goes into great detail about what you and your buddy were allegedly up to with two female children ‘on the younger side,'” he wrote of the suit detailing the two powerful mens’ alleged assault of a girl who was 13 years old at the time.

“Every time Jeffrey comes up I have more questions, but the only response you gave me was in the form an insult,” Spadino wrote. “I know seeing a picture of yourself next to a convicted pedophile is probably not a great look for someone who has recently been putting immigrant kids in cages, but I expected a better comeback from you than a ‘cut your hair, hippie’ knockoff. Weak.”

“I am glad you mentioned my “man-bun” however,” he wrote, because “this story would have gotten no press if you had just held your tongue.”

June 21

djt Karen McDougal Donald Trump youtube

The New Yorker reports that Karen McDougal, shown in a photo drawn from YouTube with President Trump, was paid $150,000 by American Media, Inc., for her story about an affair with the married future president Trump in 2006

ny times logomichael cohen ap file croppedNew York Times, National Enquirer Executives Said to Be Subpoenaed in Cohen Investigation, Jim Rutenberg, June 21, 2018 (print edition). The investigation into President Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael D. Cohen (right) has ensnared the publisher of The National Enquirer, further thrusting the media company into a federal inquiry involving a onetime top lieutenant to a sitting president.

Prosecutors with the Southern District of New York subpoenaed executives at the publisher, American Media, this spring, according to people who have been briefed about the move but agreed to share the details about it only on the condition of anonymity.

david pecker croppedThe prosecutors had already asked for communications between Mr. Cohen and American Media’s chairman, David J. Pecker (left), and its chief content officer, Dylan Howard. That request was part of a search warrant they secured for Mr. Cohen’s home, office, hotel room and electronic devices in April. The people familiar with the investigation said prosecutors sought similar communications from Mr. Howard and Mr. Pecker.

karen mcdougal playboyDuring the presidential campaign, American Media had arranged to effectively silence Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump years earlier, with a $150,000 payout.

The payment caught the attention of investigators conducting a broad investigation into Mr. Cohen’s efforts on behalf of Mr. Trump during the campaign, as well as his own business dealings. It is also the subject of a complaint at the Federal Election Commission.

washington post logoWashington Post, Intel CEO resigns over past consensual relationship with an employee that violated company rules, Miranda Moore, June 21, 2018. Intel's chief executive Brian Krzanich resigned after an investigation found that he had violated the company's non-fraternization rules that apply "to all managers,” the company said in a statement Thursday. Intel’s chief financial officer, Robert Swan, will be the interim chief executive.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: Trump's trafficking of young migrant girls taking place blocks north of where child sex slaves were housed in 1994, Wayne Madsen, June 21, 2018 (subscription required). Wayne Madsen is an investigative reporter, syndicated columnist, author and former Navy intelligence officer.

June 20

ap logotheodore mccarrickAssociated Press via MSN, Cardinal McCarrick, ex-archbishop, hit with abuse claim, Staff report, June 20, 2018. The retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., has been removed from public ministry over allegations he sexually abused a teenager in New York more than 40 years ago. The Roman Catholic church said Wednesday that the allegations against 87-year-old Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (shown at right) were found to be "credible" and that Pope Francis ordered his removal.

McCarrick said in a statement released through the church that he accepted the decision but is innocent and has no recollection of abusing anyone. He was archbishop in Washington from 2000 to 2006 and a priest in New York from 1958 to 1981.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation / Commentary: Trump is a serial child abuser; efforts to force him to stop are ineffective, Wayne Madsen (shown at left), June wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Small20, 2018 (subscription required). Wayne Madsen is an investigative reporter, syndicated columnist, author and former Navy intelligence officer once temporarily deputized by the FBI to help investigate pedophilia by a fellow Navy officer.

Court filings and witness accounts show that Donald Trump is nothing more than a serial child abuser. This antipathy toward children has taken on many forms over the decades and it includes mental, physical, and, in some cases, sexual abuse.

June 18

summer zervos

washington post logoWashington Post, It was a Trump favorite. Now lawyers want the famously discreet Beverly Hills Hotel to share its secrets, Frances Stead Sellers, June 18, 2018. Records of Donald Trump’s stays at the hotel's exclusive bungalows have been subpoenaed in a defamation lawsuit brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos (shown above in a show screenshot) — the first legal action to open the president’s private life to discovery.

Details of Trump’s hotel stays have been a closely held secret among employees known for impeccable service and discretion in handling billionaires, visiting royalty and superstars. But now, the records of his visits could become critical evidence in what is evolving into a serious legal threat, brought by a woman accusing him of improper sexual advances. The New York case is being closely followed by constitutional lawyers because of the role it could play in determining whether state lawsuits may proceed against a sitting president.

June 15

ny times logoNew York Times, Ex-Girlfriend Sues Florida College Student and Fraternity in Revenge Porn Case, Daniel Victor, June 14, 2018. A student at the University of Central Florida shared videos of sexual encounters he had with his girlfriend in a secret Facebook group for his fraternity brothers without her permission, the woman alleges in a lawsuit filed on Thursday.

Kathryn Novak, a student in Arizona, said she learned in March that her intimate photos and videos had been shared in a secret Facebook group when she saw someone’s text message to her long-distance boyfriend that mentioned a sexual video. Her boyfriend, Brandon Simpson, did not deny sharing the video in the Facebook group named “Dog Pound” in October, according to the lawsuit.

michael avenatti sketchMs. Novak’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti (shown at right) — who is best known for representing Stephanie Clifford, the porn actress professionally known as Stormy Daniels, in her lawsuit against President Trump — said in an interview on Thursday that the sharing of Ms. Novak’s images had been “devastating to her.”

“The fact that you had a basically frat-boy atmosphere, both literally and figuratively, that was centered on the exploitation of women without their knowledge or consent is outrageous,” he said.

June 14

summer zervos

ABC News, Appeals Court denies Trump bid to get Summer Zervos defamation suit tossed, Aaron Katersky and James Hill, June 14, 2018. New York State’s highest court on Thursday rejected an appeal from President Trump in a defamation case brought by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who alleges that Trump groped and kissed her without her consent in 2007. This is the third time Trump’s attempt to halt discovery in the case and a possible deposition of the president has failed.

In a brief order, the New York Court of Appeals, on procedural grounds, rejected the president’s attempt to dismiss the case or delay it until after he leaves office. The court ruled that Trump’s appeal is premature because there has not been a final determination of his motions in the lower courts.

But the president’s legal team was undaunted. “The Court of Appeals did not address the merits of the issue at stake here (an issue first raised by the U.S. Supreme Court in Clinton v. Jones) —- namely, that, under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, state courts do not have jurisdiction over a sitting President," a spokesperson for the president’s attorney, Marc Kasowitz, said in a statement.

Kasowitz has claimed that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution bars a state court lawsuit against a sitting president and has said “this issue will likely reach the Supreme Court of the United States.” The president has denied he sexually assaulted or harassed women, including Zervos, before he took office.

June 13

Daily Kos, Rudy Giuliani's soon-to-be third ex-wife says he was cheating ... again. And where is Rudy? Jen Hayden, June 13, 2018. Rudy Giuliani, the current personal attorney of Donald J. Trump, is making news again, perhaps not in the way he’d hoped. It was just last week that Giuliani said Trump’s former mistress wasn’t to be believed because, “just look at her.” rudy giuliani recentHe pissed off women nationwide with his misogynistic comments, possibly including his soon-to-be ex-wife.His third ex-wife.

New York gossip website, Page Six, is reporting their impending divorce is the result of Rudy's cheating ways:

As The Post exclusively reported Tuesday, Giuliani has been cheating on wife Judith Nathan with married New Hampshire hospital administrator Maria Rosa Ryan, according to sources.

Giuliani denied the affair to The Post, although he added that the dinner and movie he shared with Ryan at a posh spa March 29 — five days before Nathan filed for divorce — occurred when he “was in effect separated.”

Nathan shot back in a statement, “My husband’s denial of the affair with the married Mrs. Ryan is as false as his claim that we were separated when he took up with her.”

Of course, Rudy Giuliani has a history of being an unfaithful ass to women. He began publicly flaunting his relationship with Judith Nathan in 2000, while he was married to Donna Hanover. And if you think breaking up with someone by text is bad, recall that Donna Hanover found out her marriage was over when Rudy held a press conference announcing he was divorcing her. It was ugly:

Then, on May 10, he held a press conference announcing that he and Hanover were separating — without informing her first. Hanover, after learning the news of her dissolved marriage along with everyone else, then held her own press conference a few hours later, accusing Giuliani of starting their troubles by carrying on a different affair with former staffer. Giuliani officially filed divorce papers in October of that year, and it continued to get uglier. Hanover even successfully obtained a temporary restraining order barring Nathan from visiting Gracie Mansion.

June 12

washington post logopope francis uncropped 3 13Washington Post, Pope Francis at last opens his eyes on clergy sex abuse, Editorial Board, June 12, 2018. The world has heard it again and again — heartfelt, ringing pledges by Pope Francis (shown in a file photo) and his predecessors that the Vatican, at long last, has gotten the message on the global epidemic of clerical sex abuse. These often have been followed by half-measures, equivocations, inertia and even outright contempt for accusers, who in most cases were victimized as children.

Now, five years into his papacy, there are signs, at last, that Pope Francis is starting to get it.

In an extraordinary move, he summoned all 34 of Chile’s bishops to the Vatican last month for an emergency summit and dressing-down, accusing them of collective responsibility for systematically ignoring and covering up for pedophile priests over decades. The pontiff included himself in the problem — “me first of all,” he wrote to the bishops — having in January summarily dismissed as “slander” credible accusations that a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, whom he appointed in 2015 despite warnings by other prelates, was complicit in misdeeds by a notorious abusive priest.

June 8

eric greitens oSt. Louis Post-Dispatch, No further charges against ex-Gov. Greitens, prosecutor says, Kurt Erickson, June 8, 2018. A special prosecutor will not file charges against former Gov. Eric Greitens (shown at right). In a sometimes emotional news conference Friday, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said her office did not have sufficient evidence to consider filing new charges against the former governor, who left office under a cloud of scandal last week.

Baker said her team exhausted potential leads in examining evidence. She also employed the Missouri Highway Patrol to investigate issues in the case. And she suggested that Greitens’ defense team may have erased a key piece of evidence from a phone that they examined.

As of Friday, with a statute of limitations set to expire this weekend, Baker said corroborating evidence for an invasion of privacy case stemming from an extramarital affair with his hairdresser was still missing.

“We have exhausted every potential lead we could follow,” Baker said. The Republican governor resigned effective June 1. He was indicted by a St. Louis grand jury for allegedly taking an unauthorized photo of the partially nude woman in the basement of his former home in St. Louis. Prosecutors dropped the charge last month and Baker was appointed to consider whether it should be refiled.

In exchange for Greitens’ resignation, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dropped a second felony charge that accused him of using a charity donor list to raise money for his political campaign.

In comments to reporters, Baker left no doubt she believes the woman at the heart of the case but said without further evidence, the entire case would rest on the woman’s testimony. “She would get beat up again,” Baker said. “She did not wish to go it alone. She alone would carry the burden of these charges.

“I find this victim extremely credible. I believe her statements about there being photographs are true,” Baker said.

May

May 31

nfl logo

ny times logoNew York Times, N.F.L.’s Alternate ‘Cheerleaders’ Don’t Cheer or Dance, Juliet Macur, May 31, 2018. Several N.F.L. teams determined cheerleading programs had a scarcity problem on game days. If cheerleaders were on the sideline dancing, none were available to serve as scantily clad hostesses who could mingle with fans high up in the cheap seats or in the luxury suites, where teams catered to big-money customers.

To address that shortcoming, some teams created a different kind of cheerleading team — one whose members did not do any cheering or require any dance training. They were hired mainly for their appearance. Their visits with male fans, the teams believed, produced a better game-day experience, akin to the approach of the Hooters restaurant chain.

In interviews with a dozen women who have worked for N.F.L. teams as noncheering cheerleaders and six others who had direct knowledge of the noncheering squads, they described minimum-wage jobs in which harassment and groping were common, particularly because the women were required to be on the front lines of partying fans. The fans had no reason to believe these women were not actual cheerleaders because the women often dressed exactly like the cheerleaders dancing on the field or nearly the same.

“It’s a really big secret, and now you know about it,” said Jackie Chambers, 33, a model with more than a decade of experience who worked as a Houston Texans noncheering cheerleader last season. “But teams don’t want fans to know about it. All of the cheerleaders are supposed to blend in with each other.”

huff post logonathan larson va house candidateHuffPost, Congressional Candidate In Virginia Admits He’s A Pedophile, Jesselyn Cook and Andy Campbell, May 31, 2018. Nathan Larson (right) also ran online forums for pedophiles and misogynists. Nathan Larson, a 37-year-old accountant from Charlottesville, Virginia, is running for Congress as an independent candidate in his native state. He is also a pedophile, as he admitted to HuffPost on Thursday, who has bragged in website posts about raping his late ex-wife.

In a phone call, Larson confirmed that he created the now-defunct websites suiped.org and incelocalypse.today ― chat rooms that served as gathering places for pedophiles and violence-minded misogynists like himself. HuffPost contacted Larson after confirming that his campaign website shared an IP address with these forums, among others. His sites were terminated by their domain host on Tuesday.

On the phone, he was open about his pedophilia and seemingly unfazed about his long odds of attaining government office.

huff post logoHuffPost, Samantha Bee Apologizes For Her Ivanka Trump Comments After Widespread Backlash, Jenna Amatulli, May 31, 2018. Samantha Bee has apologized for calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless c**t” on her show “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” on Wednesday night.

Ivanka TrumpIn a statement to HuffPost, Bee said: “I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line, and I deeply regret it.” The apology comes after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders singled Bee out for criticism and called the host’s language “vile and vicious.”

May 30

washington post logoWashington Post, Missouri governor says he will resign amid misconduct allegations, Sean Sullivan, May 30, 2018 (print edition). Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced Tuesday that he will resign amid explosive personal and political scandals that marred his once-promising career in public office and threatened to drag down the Republican Party in the midterm elections.

eric greitens oIn a brief and defiant statement at the governor’s office, Greitens (shown at right) said his resignation would be effective on Friday at 5 p.m. “I am not perfect, but I have not broken any laws,” he said.

Under state law, Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, also a Republican, will take over as governor and serve out the remainder of the term. He would face voters in 2020 if he decided to seek a full term.

Missouri Republicans looked to quickly turn the page on an embarrassing saga that loomed over their campaign efforts ahead of the November midterms. The U.S. Senate race in Missouri is a key contest in the fight for the Senate majority.

Democrats have been seeking to use Greitens’s troubles to undermine the Republican front-runner for Senate, state Attorney General Josh Hawley. They signaled Tuesday that they would not let up, even after Greitens steps aside.

ny times logoNew York Times Sunday Magazine, The ‘Sex Cult’ That Preached Empowerment, Vanessa Grigoriadis, May 30, 2018. Why did female members of Nxivm follow a guru named Keith Raniere, who now stands accused of sex trafficking? He made them feel like they were in control.

One winter morning in a conventional suburb outside Albany, N.Y., Nancy Salzman, the 63-year-old president of a self-improvement company named Nxivm, sat on a mahogany-colored stool in her kitchen. Her tasteful home was surrounded by other Nxivm members’ modest townhouses or capacious stone mansions that seemed to spring up out of nowhere, like mushrooms, on the suburban streets. In Salzman’s den, a photo of her with her two adult daughters hung on a wall, the three of them wearing smiles as wide as ancient Greek masks of comedy; the same happy photo served as the wallpaper on Salzman’s laptop. A hairless Sphynx cat prowled the lovely buffet of croissants and fruit on her kitchen island.

Salzman, an extremely fit woman wearing the type of thin athleisure sweatshirt that’s all the rage with the middle-aged bourgeoisie these days, turned her attention to a woman sitting at the island: Jacqueline, a 27-year-old with long dark hair, who was a psychology student in college, told me that she hadn’t experienced anything as effective as Nxivm (pronounced “nexium,” like the heartburn medication). Like Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard, whose 1950 handbook “Dianetics” was billed as the “modern science of mental health” and whose pseudoscientific methods were, in his view, world-changing, Keith Raniere, Nxivm’s 57-year-old founder, believed his organization could heal individuals and transform the world. The way Nxivm did this was through techniques, or “technology,” meant to rewire your emotional self.

The scene in Salzman’s home was intense but mostly cheery. Yet last October, The New York Times published an article reporting alarming practices by Nxivm. The article explained that some female members of the group, who called themselves “masters,” had initiated other women, calling themselves “slaves,” into a ritual of sisterhood at homes in and around Clifton Park, near Albany.

First, they stripped naked. One by one, they lay on a massage table while a female osteopath, also a Nxivm member, used a cauterizing pen to brand the flesh near their pelvic bone.

Hundreds of members fled Nxivm after they learned about the branding, but much of the inner circle remained. Citing the fact that Raniere had a cast of girlfriends, the media declared that Nxivm was not a self-improvement company at all but rather a “sex-slave cult.” A federal investigation was opened, culminating in Mexican police officers plucking Raniere from a pricey villa; he is now in a federal jail on the Brooklyn waterfront after being denied bail as a flight risk.

The group found itself under a microscope, its secrets exposed. Some members came from the highest reaches of society, forming a kind of heiress Illuminati.

May 29

ny times logoNew York Times, Equestrian Coach Minted Olympians, and Left a Trail of Child Molestation, Sarah Maslin Nir, May 29, 2018. For decades, Jimmy A. Williams cultivated the best horses and Olympic champion riders. Now the sport is finally reckoning with his past.

There’s no trace of Jimmy A. Williams, the Show Jumping Hall of Fame trainer, at the equestrian club where he was an instructor for nearly four decades, cultivating young riders, some of whom went on to Olympic fame.

The pictures and paintings of Mr. Williams, who died in 1993, and the sterling trophies he won all vanished without a word recently from the clubhouse where he had spent many afternoons tipping back Champagne with some of Los Angeles County’s biggest and richest names: the parents of his young charges. Last month, the club removed his name from the grand show jumping stadium at the heart of the sprawling property at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, once the Jimmy A. Williams Oval. Today it is just Ring 1.

But his former riders cannot forget Mr. Williams. Across the country, in her New Jersey barn adorned with her Olympic medals, Anne Kursinski, one of the country’s most decorated show jumpers, remembered her former coach.

How he tasted of alcohol whenever he pinned her in a horse stall and crammed his tongue into her mouth. And far more. “He penetrated me when I was 11,” Ms. Kursinski said, revealing publicly for the first time the details of what she said became six years of continual rape and molestation. “I was a little kid,” she said. “And he was God.”

May 27

djt shera bechard

Playboy model Shera Bechard, who received hush money from a 'David Dennison,' and Donald Trump

New Daily (Australia), The Playboy model and a hushed-up abortion: Is this Trump’s biggest secret? Larry Hackett, May 27, 2018. Let’s face it: it’s tough keeping track of the stream of sleaze surging around the Trump White House.

The sheer volume — the plea deals and co-operating witnesses, the raids on lawyers’ offices, the porn stars, Russians, the new faces and names emerging weekly — has become numbing and exhausting.

We may delight in the revelations, but many of us just don’t have the time for the details and slow drip of legal manoeuvres. Wake us when it’s over, whenever that is.

Which might explain why the story of fundraiser, the child pornographer and the Playboy playmate has failed to catch on.

Got your attention now?

Elliott Broidy is a well-connected Republican fundraiser and influence peddler around Washington. Like all lobbyists, his value is in his relationships (real or perceived) and access to power – in this case, to the new president.

During the inauguration festivities, Broidy met George Nader, a Lebanese-born lobbyist working on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. The pair struck up a friendship, and Nader began pressing Broidy to reach out to Mr Trump on behalf of the UAE in their efforts to isolate and punish fellow gulf state Qatar and, by extension, Iran. 

Nader (who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography in 1991) pressed Broidy hard to do the UAE’s bidding, and for good reason: the two stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts from the UAE, whose princes were eager to influence Trump.

Broidy, according to an exhaustive report by The Associated Press, launched all manner of anti-Qatar activities – congressional bills, think-tank forums and donations to members of Congress. Despite Broidy and Nader’s denials, the AP suggests all these efforts were paid for by the UAE, which would violate US law.

(Broidy, no stranger to the dark arts of achieving influence, was convicted in 2009 of bribing New York State officials relating to a pension fund).

By the end of 2017, Broidy and Nader were on the verge of a US $600 million contract from the UAE. It was at precisely that moment that two things occurred: Broidy met Mr Trump at the White House, and he began making a series of secret transfers to bank accounts associated with Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s attorney/fixer.

May 25

washington post logoWashington Post, Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein charged in N.Y. sex assault cases, Abby Ohlheiser and Elahe Izadi​, May 25, 2018.  Weinstein surrendered to authorities and was charged with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for cases involving two women, according to the New York Police Department.

harvey weinsteinLaw enforcement officials did not immediately identify the two women who Weinstein (shown in a file photo) is charged with attacking. Lucia Evans, a onetime aspiring actress who has said Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2004 at his Manhattan office, told the New Yorker on Thursday that she was pressing charges against Weinstein, saying: “At a certain point, you have to think about the greater good of humanity, of womankind.”

In November, New York police officials said the accusations made by actress Paz de la Huerta, including that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010, were “credible.”

ny times logomorgan freeman kathleen tracy bio coverNew York Times, Morgan Freeman Is Accused of Sexual Harassment by Several Women, Sopan Deb and Brooks Barnes, May 25, 2018 (print edition). Morgan Freeman, one of the most celebrated actors in the film industry, has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, according to a report by CNN on Thursday. The accusations ranged from unwanted touching to sexually suggestive comments — on movie sets, in office environments and during meetings with the news media.

One production assistant told CNN that she had endured several months of harassment while working on the set of “Going in Style,” a film released last year starring Mr. Freeman, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine. She said that on one occasion Mr. Freeman (shown on the cover of a biography) “kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear,” until Mr. Arkin told Mr. Freeman to stop. There were also suggestive comments and unwanted touching, such as putting his hand on her back.

A woman described as a senior member of the production staff of “Now You See Me,” a 2013 movie, said Mr. Freeman would routinely comment on her physical appearance and that of her assistant.

Associated Press via Trib Live, Former state AG Kane loses appeal of criminal conviction, May 25, 2018. A Pennsylvania appeals court on Friday upheld the kathleen kane fileconviction of former state attorney general Kathleen Kane for leaking secret grand jury information and lying about it, saying among other things she wasn't entitled to use evidence of a pornographic email scandal in her defense.

A three-judge Superior Court panel rejected arguments made by Kane (shown in a file photo), who has remained out on $75,000 bail since her October 2016 sentencing to 10 to 23 months in jail.

The court turned down claims that all Montgomery County judges should have been prevented from handing her case, evidence against her was illegally obtained, she was the victim of selective and vindictive prosecution and jurors should have been given certain information about grand jury secrecy rules.

The judges also denied her argument she should have been able to use evidence about a pornographic email scandal that involved the office she ran, or the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case that her former office prosecuted. Kane may still appeal the conviction to the state Supreme Court.

Kane, 51, who had been the first woman and first Democrat elected attorney general in Pennsylvania, resigned in 2016 after being convicted of two counts of felony perjury and seven misdemeanor counts, including obstruction and conspiracy.

Her criticism of how the office had handled the Sandusky investigation at Penn State before she took office created resentment among some of the lawyers who had worked on it. After secret grand jury information about another case was leaked to The Philadelphia Inquirer, two former attorney general's office prosecutors contacted a Montgomery County judge, leading him to appoint a special prosecutor.

The appeals court decision concluded Kane cited “a plethora of specious reasons” in arguing she should have been able to evidence of the pornographic emails, a scandal that rocked the state's judicial community and the state prosecutor's office in particular and led to the resignation of two Supreme Court justices, or the investigation and prosecution of Sandusky, who is appealing a 45-count conviction for child sexual abuse.

May 24

ny times logoNew York Times, woody allen tribeca festival 2009 david shankboneMia, Ronan and Dylan Farrow Dismiss a Son’s Defense of Woody Allen, Laura M. Holson, May 24, 2018. Moses Farrow, the adopted son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, posted a 4,600-word essay on Wednesday defending his father against sexual molestation allegations and claiming his mother was abusive. In the blog post, titled “A Son Speaks Out,” Mr. Farrow, 40, described repeated spankings by his mother and other abuse, and what he called “a deep and persistent darkness within the Farrow family.”

He recalled, too, his version of the events on Aug. 4, 1992, when his sister, Dylan Farrow, then 7, claimed Mr. Allen (shown in a file photo at a film festival), one of the most prolific directors in modern cinema, sexually molested her at their home in Bridgewater, Conn. Moses was 14.

On Thursday night, Mia Farrow said that her estranged son’s claims were “completely made up.” And Dylan Farrow, now 32, responded to the essay in a tweet, writing that her brother sought to “impugn my mother who has only ever been supportive of me and my siblings.” The journalist Ronan Farrow, 30, also defended his mother and dismissed his older brother’s essay, saying Thursday on Twitter, “I believe my sister.”

washington post logoharvey weinsteinWashington Post, Harvey Weinstein expected to turn himself in to face criminal charges in NYC, reports say, Elahe Izadi​, May 24, 2018.  The exact charges against the disgraced movie mogul (right) are still unclear, but multiple reports say they will relate to accusations from at least one woman who said Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004, as detailed in an October story in the New Yorker.

May 23

washington post logopaige patterson sw baptist theological seminary CustomWashington Post, Prominent Southern Baptist leader is ousted after remarks about abused women, Bobby Ross Jr., Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Michelle Boorstein​, May 23, 2018. Prominent Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson was removed from his job as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary amid an evangelical #MeToo moment: a massive backlash from women upset over comments he made in the past that are being newly perceived as sexist and demeaning.

Seminary leaders were unspecific about why they made the dramatic move, issuing a statement that didn’t mention the controversial comments and saying they were moving “in the direction of new leadership” due to challenges related to “enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity.”

The brief statement released early Wednesday said Patterson (shown at right in a file photo) will be president emeritus, “for the benefit of the future mission of the Seminary.” He will receive compensation and may live on campus as “theologian-in-residence” at a brand new Baptist Heritage Center, the statement said.

A quorum of about 30 male trustees and three female trustees of the 1,200-student Texas seminary were present for a meeting that began Tuesday afternoon to discuss the fate of Patterson, a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention who has been revered as a giant for standing guard for decades against liberalizing changes.

In recent weeks, Patterson, 75, has come under fire for taped comments he made between 2000 and 2014 about women, including those remarking on a teenage girl’s figure and saying female seminarians need to work harder to look attractive. He also said women who are abused almost always should stay with their husbands.

Daily Beast, Mystery Heiress Behind NXIVM Sex Cult Exposed in Graphic Court Docs, Amy Zimmerman, May 23, 2018. Sex slaves. Branding. Blackmail. A new cache of court documents has shed considerable light on the celebrity-riddled Upstate New York cult NXIVM.

allison mackNew legal docs in the NXIVM case appear to shed further light on the cult’s alleged sex-trafficking techniques—and the continued involvement of Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman. Following the arrests of leader Keith Raniere and his alleged top lieutenant, former Smallville actress Allison Mack (shown at right), Clare Bronfman is now rumored to be calling the shots.

In April, Vice wrote that, “Heiress to Canadian liquor fortune Clare Bronfman is now in charge of an estimated dozen or more ‘slaves’ spread between New York and Toronto,” citing former NXIVM publicist-turned-whistleblower Frank Parlato. Parlato also claimed that Bronfman might be attempting to intimidate ex-NXIVM members, telling Vice, “They bought up a number of domain names to attack some of the witnesses… If Jane Doe 1 or 2 decided not to testify, that would certainly hurt the case against Raniere… I think she would do whatever it takes to see that those witnesses don’t testify.”

Parlato’s theory is in keeping with legal docs filed on the subject of Allison Mack’s bail, in which the government spoke of “evidence” that, “after its investigation was reported in the press, high-ranking members of DOS undertook efforts to undermine potential witness, including by registering domain names such as [Witness Name]exposed.com, with the intention of publishing damaging information regarding those witnesses.”

Ex “slaves” would be particularly susceptible to these sorts of threats, since a main instrument of control and retention within DOS, a secret sorority within NXIVM, was demanding “collateral” from victims.

In a Wednesday filing, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue argued that two Halfmoon, New York, properties are liable to condemnation and forfeiture to the government, detailing the sex trafficking that allegedly took place on the NXIVM compound outside of Albany.

May 20

washington post logoWashington Post, D.C. doctor laced his ex-girlfriend’s tea with abortion pills and got three years in prison, Kristine Phillips, May 20, 2018 (print edition). A D.C.-area doctor was sentenced to three years in prison for slipping an abortion pill into his pregnant ex-girlfriend’s drink, causing her to miscarry.

Sikander Imran, a former doctor at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, was sentenced Friday after his former girlfriend, Brook Fiske, asked a judge for a more lenient punishment, ABC affiliate WJLA reported.

Imran was charged last June with premeditated killing of a fetus of another and illegally causing abortion or miscarriage. Online records show he was also charged in November with assault and altering food, drink and drugs. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to fetal homicide.

washington post logosaudi arabia flagWashington Post, In harsh Saudi crackdown, famous feminists are branded as ‘traitors,’ Kareem Fahim and Loveday Morris, May 20, 2018 (print edition). Friday’s detentions of women’s rights adovcates came just weeks before the ban on female drivers is set to be lifted.

May 17

washington post logoWashington Post, Settlement with Larry Nassar victims will have impact on Michigan State, Will Hobson and Susan Svrluga, May 17, 2018 (print edition). Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million to settle lawsuits filed by 332 alleged victims of disgraced former sports physician Larry Nassar on Wednesday, ending the university’s involvement in litigation over the former Olympic gymnastics doctor’s rampant sexual abuse of girls and women under the guise of medical treatment.

The settlement will pay $425 million to the 332 girls and women who have come forward to date, averaging about $1.28 million per victim. Michigan State will set aside an additional $75 million in a trust fund for any victims who come forward in the future.

“This historic settlement came about through the bravery of more than 300 women and girls who had the courage to stand up and refuse to be silenced,” said John Manly, one of several attorneys representing victims, in a statement. “It is the sincere hope of all of the survivors that the legacy of this settlement will be far reaching institutional reform that will end the threat of sexual assault in sports, schools and throughout our society.”

larry nassar gymnastics pleaNassar (shown at left in a court hearing with his attorney, 54, is serving an effective life sentence in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting nine girls and women in Michigan, as well as to federal child pornography crimes. At his sentencing hearing in January, the emotional testimony of more than 150 girls, women and parents triggered national outrage about the case, prompting fallout that continues for the organizations through which Nassar accessed his victims.

The impact of the scandal on the university, which has about 39,000 undergraduate students, has been substantial, including the resignations of president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis in January, and may extend beyond the financial. The settlement surpasses the more than $109 million paid by Penn State University to settle claims by at least 35 people who accused assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse.

The money will have to come from some combination of insurance, state funding and student tuition revenue, said Thomas L. Harnisch, director of state relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

washington post logofox news logo SmallWashington Post, Fox News names female CEO, but critics say she helped try to thwart harassment claims under Roger Ailes, Paul Farhi, May 17, 2018. Suzanne Scott — who has been with Fox since its inception in 1996 and most recently served as president of programming — becomes the only woman atop a major TV news organization, but her role in past harassment cases is triggering criticism.

washington post logoWashington Post, Appeals court denies Trump request to stay Summer Zervos defamation case, Mark Berman and Frances Stead Sellers​, May 17, 2018.  The ruling is a legal setback for President Trump and could open him to discovery in the case.

A New York appeals court on Thursday rejected a request from President Trump to stay proceedings in a defamation suit filed by a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who has claimed that he sexually harassed her.

The ruling on Thursday is a legal setback for Trump, who is facing multiple lawsuits focused on allegations women have made against him as well as his public comments about those women. It could open him up to discovery in the case, although he could also file further appeals to try to delay proceedings.

summer zervosTrump’s attorneys sought a temporary halt in the case filed by Summer Zervos (shown at left) — who has accused him of groping and forcibly kissing her — while they awaited word on their appeal of a judge’s ruling this year that Zervos’s defamation lawsuit could proceed. Zervos sued Trump for defamation after he denied her accusations, along with those of other women who accused him of unwanted sexual contact before he was elected president. He called them all “liars.”

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘The Grossest Thing’: Women Recall Exams by U.S.C. Doctor, Jennifer Medina, May 17, 2018. Dozens of women have called a university hotline amid allegations of misconduct against a campus gynecologist, George Tyndall, that date to the 1990s.

He quipped about the looseness of a woman’s vagina. He remarked on the smoothness of another woman’s skin. He surprised one patient by suddenly removing her tampon and dangling it in front of her.

Former students at the University of Southern California are coming forward by the dozens, re-examining years-old interactions with Dr. George Tyndall, the longtime gynecologist at the student health center who is now at the center of a growing scandal. What they considered inappropriate and humiliating at the time, they are now reporting to a special university hotline as signs of the doctor’s trail of abuse.

May 15

New York Times, Gov. Eric Greitens’s Charge Is Dropped, for Now, in Missouri, Alvin A. Reid, Mitch Smith and Julie Bosman, May 15, 2018 (print edition). Jury selection had been underway for three days in the case against the Missouri governor. The abrupt decision left Mr. Greitens’s legal and political fate uncertain.

eric greitens oThe trial was to be a major test for Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri, a former Navy SEAL once lauded as a rising star in the Republican Party and, perhaps someday, a contender for president.

Prosecutors said that, in 2015, Mr. Greitens (shown at right) had taken an explicit photo of a woman with whom he was having an affair, without her consent. For months, the accusation had dogged his young governorship and upended politics across Missouri.

Then on Monday, with a trial set to begin this week and jury selection already well underway, Mr. Greitens watched from a St. Louis courtroom as the case suddenly collapsed. Prosecutors abruptly announced that they were dropping their felony invasion-of-privacy charge against him.

For Mr. Greitens, who has for weeks proclaimed his innocence and fought off demands that he resign, the announcement was a significant win. “This is a great victory, and it has been a long time coming,” Mr. Greitens, 44, said outside the courthouse, where he spoke briefly but did not answer questions. “This experience has been humbling, and I have emerged from it a changed man.”

Still, Mr. Greitens, only a year and a half into his first term in office, remains entangled in a legal and political thicket, and his future remains very much in doubt. A second felony charge, of tampering with computer data, awaits; prosecutors contend that he illegally obtained a donor list from a veterans’ charity he founded and used it for his 2016 campaign. And he faces a looming threat to his governorship from the Missouri General Assembly, which has scheduled a special session on Friday that could lead to a vote on impeachment.

In dropping the invasion-of-privacy charge, prosecutors cited the defense team’s decision to call the St. Louis circuit attorney, Kimberly Gardner, as a witness in the case. The lawyers for Mr. Greitens had accused Ms. Gardner of condoning misconduct and lying by an investigator on the case, and apparently intended to question her on those issues.

Ms. Gardner, a Democrat, filed the felony charge in February, accusing Mr. Greitens, who is married, of taking the explicit photo of his former hairdresser, with whom he has acknowledged having an affair. The woman, who has not been identified, was captured on a secretly recorded tape telling her then-husband that Mr. Greitens had blindfolded her, torn off her shirt and pants and taken a photo without her consent. Her ex-husband released the audio recording of the conversation to the news media over her objections.

May 14

HuffPost, Opinion: Not An Onion Story: Blake Farenthold Gets A New Job Lobbying Congress, Jennifer Bendery, May 14, 2018. It’s only been a month since he quit his House seat amid an ethics committee probe into sexual harassment allegations. Please pay back the $84,000 you owe taxpayers so I can stop writing about you, Mr. Farenthold.

blake farenthold oA month after abruptly resigning from Congress in an apparent effort to avoid more fallout from sexual harassment allegations, former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas, shown at right) already has a new job: lobbying his former colleagues on port issues.

Farenthold announced Monday on a Corpus Christi radio show that he landed a new gig at the Calhoun Port Authority in Port Lavaca, Texas, as reported by Caller Times. He is now the port’s full-time legislative liaison, and his job responsibilities include increasing the port’s visibility with federal lawmakers and the Trump administration. Port Lavaca sits on the Texas coast some 70 miles northeast of Corpus Christi.

“I’m starting a new job today that has an hour-and-a-half commute,” Farenthold said on 1360 KKTX-AM’s “Lago in the Morning.” “You’re going to have me listening and calling in a whole lot now.”

It is generally illegal for a former member of Congress to immediately become a lobbyist, but there are exceptions for those lobbying for state or local government agencies.

Caller Times reports that Farenthold’s annual salary will be $160,000. That’s roughly double the amount he spent in taxpayer money to settle a 2014 sexual harassment lawsuit brought against him by his former aide Lauren Greene.

Greene alleged in legal documents that the Texas congressman had told another aide that Greene could “show her nipples whenever she wanted to” and that he had “wet dreams” about her. She described Farenthold as often being drunk and flirtatious at work, complaining of a sexless marriage, and telling her a story about a female lobbyist who propositioned him for “a threesome.”

Farenthold spent $84,000 in taxpayer funds to quietly settle that lawsuit. When the news broke this past December, he vowed to quickly pay the money back but never did. By April, with the House Ethics Committee close to wrapping up a probe into more office misconduct, he quit Congress.

The good news for the ex-lawmaker is that he can now repay taxpayers for the settlement and still have $76,000 left of his salary. Not bad!*

Randy Boyd, the chairman of the six-member board that oversees the Calhoun Port Authority, did not return a request for comment on why Farenthold was a good hire. Charles Hausmann, the director of the Calhoun Port Authority, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

harveysilverglate 136WGBH News (Boston), Opinion: The Human Face Behind The Stan Rosenberg Tragedy, Harvey Silverglate (right), May 14, 2018. Former Mass. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat, was elected by his colleagues to serve in the powerful position of president of the Massachusetts Senate.

Over the course of a half-century as a criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer, I have witnessed myriad human tragedies, many rooted in the soil of the human condition. Few, however, lay bare the stuff of life as dramatically as the saga of former Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.

stan rosenberg massachusettsOnce one of the most powerful men in the state, Rosenberg (shown at left) resigned his seat last week. He ultimately was felled by his loyalty to his palpably mentally-ill companion and (later) husband Bryon Hefner.

Of the long list of dramatis personae in this legal, political, and human drama, I have concluded that Rosenberg emerges as the lone sympathetic actor. The rest all appear to have deviated from the roles that they should have limited themselves to, rather than over-stepping in a veritable orgy of unseemly piety and, all too often, schadenfreude.

The outlines of the saga are well-known. The Boston Globe reported in a November 30, 2017 investigative story that Hefner sexually assaulted four men, hinting to his victims that he could be useful to them in accomplishing their legislative or lobbying agendas on Beacon Hill if they gave in to Hefner’s sexual advances.

The Globe story clearly disclosed criminal conduct on Hefner’s part, although a fair reading of the disclosures surely should have led all of the then and future actors in the saga to ask themselves whether it was not obvious that Hefner’s conduct was occasioned not by a true extortionate intent, but rather by a serious and persistent mental illness. Despite this obvious fact, the Suffolk County District Attorney and Attorney General Maura Healey secured, and then announced in April, Hefner’s indictment by a state-wide grand jury.

May 10

ny times logoNew York Times, Schneiderman Falls. Trump Allies Gloat. Democrats Seethe, Alexander Burns, May 10, 2018 (print edition). The White House’s exultation over liberal men who resign, like Eric Schneiderman, over sexual misconduct has grated politicians in both parties, who view President Trump as a poor messenger on women’s rights.

May 9

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Lawyer Got $500,000 From Firm Tied to Russia Mogul, Mike McIntire, Ben Protess and Jim Rutenberg, May 9, 2018 (print edition). A firm tied to a Russian oligarch gave money to a company that Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s lawyer, previously used to pay Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress. The shell company also received funds from several corporations with business before the Trump administration, according to records reviewed by The Times.

michael cohen ap file croppedA shell company that Michael D. Cohen (shown at right) used to pay hush money to a pornographic film actress received payments totaling more than $1 million from an American company linked to a Russian oligarch and several corporations with business before the Trump administration, according to documents and interviews.

Financial records reviewed by The New York Times show that Mr. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer and longtime fixer, used the shell company, Essential Consultants L.L.C., for an array of business activities that went far beyond what was publicly known. Transactions adding up to at least $4.4 million flowed through Essential Consultants starting shortly before Mr. Trump was elected president and continuing to this January, the records show.

vicktor vekselberg headshotAmong the previously unreported transactions were payments last year of about $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York whose biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch [and chairman of Renova Group, shown at left in a file photo]. A lawyer for Columbus Nova, in a statement on Tuesday, described the money as a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Mr. Vekselberg.

Other transactions described in the financial records include hundreds of thousands of dollars Mr. Cohen received from Fortune 500 companies with business before the Trump administration, as well as smaller amounts he paid for luxury expenses like a Mercedes-Benz and private club dues.

michael avenatti ccn 3 23 18 CustomReferences to the transactions first appeared in a document posted to Twitter on Tuesday by Michael Avenatti (shown at right), the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star who was paid $130,000 by Essential Consultants to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Mr. Trump.

The lawyer’s seven-page document, titled “Preliminary Report of Findings,” does not explain the source of his information but describes in detail dates, dollar amounts and parties involved in various dealings by Mr. Cohen and his company. Most of the transactions involved two banks: First Republic Bank and City National Bank.

Related documents, stories:

michael avenatti sketchAvenatti & Associates Project Sunlight, Preliminary Report of Findings [On Michael Cohen activities, funders and evidence], Michael Avenatti (shown at right, is an attorney representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in a defamation suit against President Trump), May 8, 2018. Avenatti editor's note: This information is true and correct as of the date of this Preliminary Report of Findings (May 8, 2018) to the best of our knowledge. Additional information is being obtained on a neardaily basis. The below information and findings [which can be read in a seven-page report here], therefore, are subject to change.

Michael Dean Cohen (“Mr. Cohen”) is an attorney licensed in the State of New York. He is a graduate of Cooley Law School and a resident of Manhattan, New York City, New York. Mr. Cohen served at the right hand of Mr. Donald J. Trump (“Mr. Trump”) as Mr. Trump’s attorney beginning in approximately 2007 and continuing until at least April of this year. During this same approximate time period, Mr. Cohen also occupied a senior position with the Trump Organization (although it is unclear as to when he formally left the company). Importantly, at all relevant times, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump have consistently referred to Mr. Cohen as Mr. Trump’s attorney. In fact, in answering reporters’ questions on Air Force One on April 5, 2018, Mr. Trump, referring to Mr. Cohen, stated “Michael is my attorney” (present tense).

Essential Consultants, LLC. On or about October 17, 2016, Michael D. Cohen established a limited liability company named Essential Consultants, LLC (“Essential”) by filing the requisite paperwork with the Secretary of State in Delaware. At all material times, Essential has been exclusively owned and controlled by Mr. Cohen.

May 8

washington post logoeric schneidermanWashington Post, ‘Gotcha,’ tweets Kellyanne Conway as Trump supporters revel in Schneiderman resignation, Samantha Schmidt, May 8, 2018. It took three hours for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (shown at right) to step down Monday night after he was accused by four women of physical abuse in a New Yorker article.

Equally swift was the response from allies of President Trump, a longtime nemesis of the attorney general. Conservative commentators and vocal Trump supporters gleefully pointed out social media posts in which Schneiderman advocated for victims of sexual abuse or accusers of disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein — tweets they described as hypocritical.

kellyanne conway gage skidmoreKellyanne Conway (shown in a Gage Skidmore portrait), counselor to the president, and one of the president’s sons, Donald Trump Jr., both shared a tweet posted by Schneiderman in October of last year. “No one is above the law, and I’ll continue to remind President Trump and his administration of that fact everyday,” Schneiderman wrote in the tweet.

Meanwhile, critics of Trump fired back at those who were quick to condemn Schneiderman while defending a president accused by more than a dozen women of improper conduct or sexual assault. While Trump has chided Democrats accused of misconduct, such as former senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), he has given a pass to accused Republicans and allies, including former Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

New York Magazine, Opinion: Here’s a Theory About That $1.6 Million Payout From a GOP Official to a Playboy Model, Paul Campos, May 8, 2018. On May 2, Rudy Giuliani (shown at right) revealed that the Trump administration has been lying for months about the fact that Donald Trump reimbursed his personal attorney Michael Cohen (shown below left) for the $130,000 he fronted to buy porn star Stormy Daniels’s silence about her affair with Trump.

michael cohen ap file croppedUntil then, Trump had been claiming that he didn’t know about any settlement, and that he hadn’t had a sexual liaison with Daniels. (The official White House line continues to be that Daniels is lying about having sex with Trump, but almost no one believes this.) Giuliani has claimed that Trump gave him the okay last week to contradict several months’ worth of denials, by revealing Trump’s payments to Cohen.

In journalism this is known as getting out in front of a story. After federal law-enforcement officials raided Cohen’s office on April 9, they surely had documentary evidence of these financial transactions, which meant it was inevitable the truth would eventually come out.

We should consider the strong possibility that the same tactic — i.e., shameless, baldfaced lying — may have played a role in the exposure of yet another Trump-related sex scandal. The Wall Street Journal published a story on April 13 revealing the existence of another nondisclosure agreement involving an affair between an adult entertainer and a client of Cohen’s. The NDA employed the pseudonyms David Dennison and Peggy Peterson — the same names used in the Stormy Daniels NDA — and was otherwise very similar to the Trump-Daniels agreement.

According to this newly revealed NDA, Dennison agreed to pay Peterson $1.6 million, in exchange for Peterson’s promise not to reveal the affair or her claim that Dennison had impregnated her. This NDA, like the Trump-Daniels document, was negotiated by attorneys Keith Davidson, on behalf of Peterson, and Michael Cohen, on behalf of Dennison. Payments were also delivered through Essential Consultants LLC, the same LLC created by Cohen to facilitate payments in the Stormy Daniels deal.

shera bechard 2010Whatever source revealed the existence of this NDA to the Journal also disclosed that, according to another document in Cohen’s office, the Dennison in this agreement was not Donald Trump but rather Elliott Broidy, a top Republican fundraiser, while Peterson was Shera Bechard, Playboy’s Miss November 2010 (shown at right in a photo via Wikipedia).

Apparently, Bechard had been Broidy’s mistress until he got her pregnant, at which point she hired Davidson, who contacted Cohen to demand the payment of hush money.

By a stroke of good fortune, Cohen already had a sex-scandal-with-an-adult-entertainer-hush-money-NDA template in his hard drive, since he had recently drafted at least one for Donald Trump. Indeed, Cohen didn’t even bother to change the pseudonyms. (That economical use of attorney resources explained away what otherwise could have been a very awkward detail in the narrative.)

This is the story that was leaked to the Journal — and to the New York Times, and CNN, which the Journal beat to the punch by publishing it first. It has since been repeated as fact by just about every major media outlet in the country. But there are good reasons to consider whether it might not be yet another audacious lie from Trumpworld.

elliott broidyLet me offer an alternative explanation of the affair and the payoff. It is still just a hypothesis, but, I would argue, it fits more comfortably with what we know about the various players than the reported version of events: Donald Trump, not Elliott Broidy (shown at left), had an affair with Shera Bechard.

Bechard hired Keith Davidson, who had negotiated both Playboy playmate Karen McDougal’s deal with the National Enquirer rnc logoand Stormy Daniels’s NDA with Trump. Davidson called Cohen, and the two of them negotiated a $1.6 million payment to Bechard.

Both Cohen and Briody have held high-ranking positions with the Republican National Committee during the Trump administration, illustrating how scandal penetrates politics and not just the private sector.

May 7

eric schneiderman

new yorker logoNew Yorker, Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney General of Physical Abuse, Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, May 7, 2018. Eric Schneiderman (shown above in a file photo) has raised his profile as a voice against sexual misconduct. Now, after suing Harvey Weinstein, he faces a #MeToo reckoning of his own.

A third former romantic partner of Schneiderman’s told Manning Barish and Selvaratnam that he also repeatedly subjected her to nonconsensual physical violence, but she told them that she is too frightened of him to come forward. (The New Yorker has independently vetted the accounts that they gave of her allegations.) A fourth woman, an attorney who has held prominent positions in the New York legal community, says that Schneiderman made an advance toward her; when she rebuffed him, he slapped her across the face with such force that it left a mark that lingered the next da

Update: Three hours after the publication of this story, Schneiderman resigned from his position. “While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time,” he said in a statement. “I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, has long been a liberal Democratic champion of women’s rights, and recently he has become an outspoken figure in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. As New York State’s highest-ranking law-enforcement officer, Schneiderman, who is sixty-three, has used his authority to take legal action against the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and to demand greater compensation for the victims of Weinstein’s alleged sexual crimes. Last month, when the Times and this magazine were awarded a joint Pulitzer Prize for coverage of sexual harassment, Schneiderman issued a congratulatory tweet, praising “the brave women and men who spoke up about the sexual harassment they had endured at the hands of powerful men.” Without these women, he noted, “there would not be the critical national reckoning under way.”

Now Schneiderman is facing a reckoning of his own. As his prominence as a voice against sexual misconduct has risen, so, too, has the distress of four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters. They accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence. All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal. But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women.

They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Manning Barish and Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as “assault.” They did not report their allegations to the police at the time, but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked. Selvaratnam says that Schneiderman warned her he could have her followed and her phones tapped, and both say that he threatened to kill them if they broke up with him. (Schneiderman’s spokesperson said that he “never made any of these threats.”)

In a statement, Schneiderman said, “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”

washington post logoWashington Post, New York attorney general resigns after four women accuse him of physical abuse, Marwa Eltagouri and Mark Berman, May 7, 2018. Within hours of publication of a New Yorker article  reporting the accusations, Eric Schneiderman faced calls to resign, most notably from the state’s Democratic governor. Schneiderman said he contests the allegations.

washington post logopaige patterson sw baptist theological seminary CustomWashington Post, ‘We are shocked’: Thousands of Southern Baptist women denounce leader’s ‘objectifying’ comments, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, May 7, 2018. The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination and a major force in conservative Christianity, is encountering its own #MeToo moment: a wave of anger over repeated comments by a prominent church leader seen as demeaning to women.

In sermons he gave between 2000 and 2014 that have been made public, Paige Patterson, seminary president and former denominational president (shown at right), has encouraged women who are abused by their husbands not to divorce but to pray instead. He also commented in the sermons on female bodies, including that of a teenage girl, and women’s appearances. Now, thousands of people are calling for his removal just weeks before he is scheduled to deliver a key sermon at the huge denomination’s annual convention.

May 5

nancy pelosiRoll Call, Pelosi Seeks Ethics Investigation of Cárdenas Over Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Lindsey McPherson, May 5, 2018. Minority leader said she spoke with fellow California Democrat about accusations.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is asking the House Ethics Committee to investigate allegations of child sex abuse against California Rep. Tony Cárdenas (shown at right). A civil lawsuit has been filed against Cárdenas in Los Angeles County alleging that in 2007, when he was a member of the city council, he groped a 16-year-old girl. tony cárdenasCárdenas, who holds a junior position in Democratic leadership, denies the allegations.

washington post logoWashington Post, Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz accused of sexual misconduct, misogynistic behavior, Kristine Phillips, May 5, 2018. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz has withdrawn from a writers festival amid allegations that he had forcefully kissed a woman and showed aggressive behavior toward others.

Writer Zinzi Clemmons said the incident happened when she was a 26-year-old graduate student. She had invited Diaz to speak at a workshop, but Diaz “used it as an opportunity to corner and forcibly kiss me,” Clemmons wrote on Twitter. Other female writers have since come forward, accusing Diaz of mistreatment and misogynistic verbal abuse. Diaz won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

May 4

washington post logocharlie rose 2014Washington Post, Three women file suit against Charlie Rose and CBS News over sexual harassment allegations, Amy Brittain​, May 4, 2018. The suit follows two Washington Post reports about the TV host’s alleged inappropriate behavior toward many female colleagues. Rose is shown in a file photo at right.

washington post logoWashington Post, How the music industry turned a blind eye to decades of allegations that R. Kelly abused young women, Story by Geoff r kelly twitterEdgers, Video by Sarah Hashemi and Whitney Leaming May 4, 2018. Record executives, low-paid assistants and other players in the music industry allowed R. Kelly (at right in his Twitter photo) to thrive even as allegations of abuse began to grow, a Washington Post investigation found.

Six women once connected with Kelly spoke to The Post about what they say were abusive relationships. Two, who reached settlements with Kelly, have never publicly spoken about him.

washington post logoWashington Post, Southern Baptist leader’s advice to abused women sends leaders scrambling to respond, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, May 4, 2018 (print edition). Southern Baptist leader who advised abused women not to divorce doubles down, says he has nothing wrong. Controversial comments about women, abuse and divorce made by a highly respected leader in the Southern Baptist Convention have put many of its leaders in a deeply uncomfortable position as some scramble to respond under pressure from Southern Baptists and other evangelicals.

paige patterson sw baptist theological seminary CustomAn audio recording recently surfaced on which Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson (shown at right) says that abused women should focus on praying and “be submissive in every way that you can” and not seek divorce. Those comments, which were made 18 years ago, have set off a wave of criticism within Southern Baptist circles over the message it could send to women.

The backlash has some wondering whether Patterson, who is not known for backing down from controversies about women, will resign from his presidency at Fort Worth-based Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The firestorm comes weeks before the SBC, which has thrived on giving churches autonomy while still claiming a strong network of 15 million members, will have its annual meeting in Dallas. Patterson, who is 75 and once served as president of the convention, is scheduled to give the one sermon at that meeting, which is considered an important honor.

May 1

tom brokaw msnbc

washington post logoWashington Post, Megyn Kelly warns Brokaw defenders: ‘You don’t know what you don’t know,’ Kyle Swenson, May 1, 2018.  In her rocky passage from Fox News to the lighter touch of NBC’s “Today” show, Megyn Kelly has been at her best channeling her own experiences. Some of her most compelling recent television has tackled the “Me Too” movement.

megyn kelly fox newsOn Monday, the host (shown in a file photo) dove headfirst into the controversy swamping her current network when Kelly addressed the allegations aimed at former NBC “Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw. The subject — the intersection between network insider politics and personalities — is one Kelly knows well.

“I just came from Fox where we just went through this,” she said on Monday. As reported in The Washington Post and Variety, a former NBC correspondent named Linda Vester has come forward to allege Brokaw sexually harassed her on two occasions in the 1990s. The former news anchor has since vigorously denied the allegations, saying Vester was a “character assassin.”

nbc logoSitting with NBC correspondents Stephanie Gosk and Kate Snow, Kelly discussed the network’s response to the allegations. The panel also noted that a petition is circulating among dozens of current and former female co-workers pledging their support for the anchor, whom they described as “a man of tremendous decency and integrity.” Among those signing were Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell and Maria Shriver.

Kelly, however, offered such a letter is “basically a character reference” but can also be “dicey.”

“I understand that because when you love the person under attack you want to say, ‘This has been my experience,’ ” Kelly said. “I will say that the same thing did happen at Fox. And the truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s not in any way to impugn Tom, who I love and who has been so good to me. I’m just saying, you don’t know what you don’t know.”

April

April 28

ny times logobill cosbyNew York Times, Why She Testified Against Cosby: ‘I Had the Strength,’ Cara Buckley, April 28, 2018. Lise-Lotte Lublin was one of several women who spoke in court about their experiences with Bill Cosby (shown at right), helping prosecutors convict him of sexual assault.

ny times logoNew York Times, Cosby Verdict, Hailed as Breakthrough, Was Also an Anomaly, Timothy Williams, April 28, 2018 (print edition).  #MeToo flooded the world with reports of sexual assault. But it did not wash away the legal hurdles to proving it.

April 27

More #MeToo At NBC

tom brokaw msnbc
washington post logonbc logoWashington Post, Amid allegations against Lauer and Brokaw, NBC faces doubts on harassment reforms, Sarah Ellison, April 27, 2018 (print edition).  Matt Lauer is not the only prominent anchor accused of seeking inappropriate relationships with younger women. One former NBC correspondent told The Post that legendary anchor Tom Brokaw made unwanted advances toward her in the 1990s.

matt lauer todayMatt Lauer (shown at left on the Today Show set) is not the only prominent anchor at NBC who allegedly sought inappropriate relationships with younger women. Linda Vester, a former NBC correspondent, told The Post that legendary anchor Tom Brokaw made unwanted advances toward her on two occasions in the 1990s, including a forcible attempt to kiss her. Vester was in her 20s and did not file a complaint.

Brokaw denied anything untoward happened with Vester. “I met with Linda Vester on two occasions, both at her request, 23 years ago, because she wanted advice with respect to her career at NBC,” he said in a statement issued by NBC. “The meetings were brief, cordial and appropriate, and despite Linda’s allegations, I made no romantic overtures towards her, at that time or any other.”

Another woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also told The Post that Brokaw acted inappropriately toward her in the ’90s, when she was a young production assistant and he was an anchor. He said no such incident happened.

April 26

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: What Do We Do With These Men? Katie J. M. Baker, April 27, 2018. Ms. Baker is an investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News who has covered institutional responses to sexual violence and harassment.

The bad men are plotting their comebacks. In recent days, Page Six reported that the former CBS anchor Charlie Rose, accused by employees of acts ranging from groping to walking around naked in their presence, is shopping a return to television. His new project? Interviewing other men felled by #MeToo.

Mr. Rose isn’t alone: In the past few weeks, men from Tom Ashbrook to Matt Lauer to Mario Batali to Louis C.K. have reportedly been testing the waters.

I get it. For the first time in history, it seems, an unprecedented number of powerful men are facing significant consequences for predatory behavior. For a minority — such as Bill Cosby, who was found guilty this week in the first post-#MeToo celebrity sex crimes trial — the road to justice seems obvious. But for the vast majority, it isn’t. 

That’s especially true of men who aren’t famous enough to make headlines, and whose career moves aren’t subjected to constant scrutiny. And so if we want the #MeToo movement to be about more than just which celebrity will be the next to fall, or whose comeback must be stopped — if we want it to lead to real, lasting and widespread cultural change — we need to talk. About what we do with the bad men.

washington post logobill cosbyWashington Post, Bill Cosby convicted on three counts of sexual assault, Manuel Roig-Franzia, April 26, 2018. Iconic entertainer Bill Cosby was convicted on three counts of sexual assault, a decision that punctuates one of the most thundering falls from grace in American cultural history. Cosby (shown in a file photo) faces a maximum of 10 years for each count of assault. No sentencing date has been set. The conviction comes in a retrial of a 2017 case in which a mistrial was declared.

As the foreperson of the jury, a slender woman with long graying hair and glasses, said those three words — guilty, guilty, guilty — the courtroom rocked with emotion. Two women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault but did not testify at the trial, burst out in loud sobs from their seats in one of the back rows of the cramped and tension-filed courtroom.

They were escorted from the courtroom by security officials. But their tears — tears of joy, sadness and exhaustion after a frustrating years-long struggle — still filtered into the courtroom through the heavy closed wooden doors. Their tears became the soundtrack for the next few moments of courtroom drama, an off-stage symphony of relief, release and pain.

ny times logoNew York Times, Did the #MeToo Movement Affect the Cosby Verdict? Timothy Williams, April 26, 2018. Between Mr. Cosby’s trials came the revelations about Harvey Weinstein and a cascade of other powerful men.

The trial of Bill Cosby provides what social scientists might call a natural experiment. In the spring of 2017, a jury could not agree on whether Mr. Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, setting the stage for a retrial.

But between that trial and this one came the revelations over Harvey Weinstein and a cascade of other powerful men that invigorated the #MeToo movement. The big question: would it make any difference? It well may have. The jury deliberated not even two days — compared with six days the first time around — before finding Mr. Cosby guilty on all counts.

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President Trump and Porn Star Stormy Daniels (File photos)

washington post logomichael cohen ap file croppedWashington Post, Trump says for first time that Cohen represented him in Stormy Daniels case, Philip Rucker​, April 26, 2018. The president has previously denied knowledge of a $130,000 payment to the adult film star that was arranged by his personal attorney Michael Cohen (shown at right) and is the subject of a federal investigation.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Did Trump just make a ‘hugely damning admission’ in the Stormy Daniels case? Aaron Blake, April 26, 2018. President Trump made a rare public comment about the Michael Cohen-Stormy Daniels case Thursday morning, playing down the lawyer's work for him and insisting that he didn't know about Cohen's business activities.

But Trump also said something that would seem ... less than ideal. While describing Cohen's allegedly limited work for him — a “tiny fraction” of his legal work, Trump assured — Trump confirmed to “Fox and Friends” that Cohen “represented” him in the Daniels case.“Michael would represent me, and represent me on some things,” Trump said. “He represents me — like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me.”Daniels's attorney, Michael Avenatti, said shortly after Trump's interview that this constitutes a “hugely damning admission.” But does it?Experts generally agree that Trump faces an impossible choice. He can either disown Cohen’s actions -- which would undermine both his claims to attorney-client privilege and the non-disclosure agreement that Daniels signed -- or he can own them and potentially implicate himself in Cohen’s actions.

washington post logoWashington Post, Md. gymnastics and cheerleading instructor charged with secretly filming people in bathroom at facility, Dana Hedgpeth​, April 26, 2018.Cristian Gill, 21, put video surveillance equipment in the bathroom at Shockwave Allstars in Rockville. Police found 49 pictures on his tablet after searching his home.

kirsten gillibrand 2006 oWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation:  Al Franken's chief inquisitor, Kirsten Gillibrand, linked to New York sex slave cult, April 26, 2018 (subscription required).  Known as the "#MeToo" senator, who was the first Democratic senator to call for the resignation of her Democratic colleague from Minnesota Al Franken over a series of dubious sexual harassment allegations, Kirsten Gillibrand is now mentioned as a potential 2020 presidential candidate to take on Donald Trump.

April 20

ny times logoNew York Times, Allison Mack of ‘Smallville’ Is Charged With Sex Trafficking, Christopher Mele, April 20, 2018. An actress from the television series “Smallville” was charged on Friday with sex trafficking for her involvement in an organization promoting itself as a self-help group for women that forced its members to have sex with its leader, federal prosecutors said.

allison mackThe actress, Allison Mack, 35 (shown at right, helped gain recruits for what was purported to be a mentorship group but instead exploited its followers, who were branded with a symbol containing the initials of the organization’s leader, said Richard P. Donoghue, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a statement.

Ms. Mack participated in a group know as Nxivm (pronounced Nex-e-um), the authorities said. The organization, near Albany, was led by Keith Raniere, 57, who was arrested in March by federal officials in Mexico on sex-trafficking charges. Its followers were forced to have sex with him because they feared that if they did not do so, compromising material that they had provided about themselves would be released publicly, according to a complaint.

The group has denied it was a cult, but former members have said that Mr. Raniere demanded obedience from his followers, who referred to him as “Vanguard.” Ms. Mack played Chloe Sullivan in “Smallville,” which told the story of the upbringing of Clark Kent in Smallville, Kan., before he became known as Superman. In the series, which lasted for 10 seasons starting in 2001, Ms. Mack’s character was one of his best friends. Ms. Mack is also known for her roles in the movies “The Ant Bully” (2006) and “Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves!” (1997).

April 19

washington post logoWashington Post, An 8-year-old girl’s gang rape and murder trigger new outrage over India’s rape culture, Annie Gowen, April 19, 2018. In India, the January attack on Asifa Bano attracted little attention until last week, when police charged seven men and one juvenile, including four officers, in her death.

india flag wavingThe young girl was Muslim. Her alleged assailants are Hindu, a circumstance ripe for conflict in an area where religious tensions and nationalism are rising under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Texas Observer, Blake Farenthold and the Consequences of Extreme Gerrymandering, Michael Barajas, April 19, 2018. How the Corpus Christi Republican, who abruptly resigned from Congress this week, benefited from a discriminatory redistricting plan that’s now before the Supreme Court.

blake farenthold with bunny customBlake Farenthold’s frat bro image started with a photo from an adult pajama party that surfaced a month before his unlikely rise to Congress in 2010. Thanks to Farenthold, the image of a portly, rosy-cheeked man stuffed into a duck-pattern onesie posing next to a young lingerie-clad waitress is now forever burned into the collective memory of Texas politics.

A lawsuit lodged against the Corpus Christi Republican, filed not long after BuzzFeed revealed that Farenthold’s computer consulting business bought up domains like “blow-me.org,” further fueled the congressman’s party boy reputation. The complaint, by former communications director Lauren Greene, alleged that Farenthold’s excessive drinking and office sex-talk had created a toxic work environment where he’d dish to staffers about his “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams”

By late 2017, however, Farenthold’s political career, one filled with more gaffes than legislative accomplishments, took an even sharper nosedive when news broke that he’d settled Greene’s sexual harassment lawsuit with $84,000 of taxpayer money. While Farenthold has denied any wrongdoing and insisted he’s a misunderstood shy guy, he nevertheless abruptly resigned from Congress last week upon learning that a House Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior would not end well, as first reported by the Huffington Post.

How did Farenthold hold on to his seat for so long? Maybe he was simply a shining example of a statesman truly in touch with the people. The more likely answer: He was the beneficiary of extreme gerrymandering.

April 17

ny times logoharvey weinsteinNew York Times, Times, New Yorker Win Pulitzers for Harassment Coverage, Michael M. Grynbaum, April 17, 2018. The Pulitzer board recognized The New York Times and The New Yorker for reporting on sexual harassment in the workplace — including the predations of the film mogul Harvey Weinstein (shown at right).

Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on Monday to the news organizations that drove two of the biggest stories of the year: the high-stakes investigation into President Trump’s relationship with Russia and the consequential reckoning about the treatment of women by powerful men.

The prize for public service, considered the most prestigious of the Pulitzers, went to The New York Times and the New Yorker magazine for their revelations of sexual harassment and abuse that had gone on, unheeded and unpunished, in the spheres of Hollywood, politics, the media and Silicon Valley.

djt Karen McDougal Donald Trump youtube

 Donald Trump and Karen McDougal

washington post logoWashington Post, Ex-Playboy model settles with tabloid publisher, ending lawsuit over story of her alleged Trump affair, Staff report, April 18, 2018. The National Enquirer’s parent company had bought — but never published — Karen McDougal’s story for $150,000.

April 13

New Playboy Scandal On Abortion Hits Republicans

Wall Street Journal, Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Negotiated $1.6 Million Settlement for Top Republican Fundraiser, Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld, April 13, 2018. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer negotiated a deal in late 2017 to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who said she was impregnated by a top Republican fundraiser, according to people familiar with the matter.

ny times logoNew York Times, R.N.C. Official Quits Over $1.6 Million Payment to Model, Rebecca R. Ruiz, and Jim Rutenberg, April 13, 2018. Elliott Broidy resigned as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee after the revelation of a $1.6 million payout to a Playboy model arranged by President Trump’s lawyer.

A major donor with close ties to the White House resigned on Friday as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee after the revelation that he had agreed to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who became pregnant during an affair.

The deal was arranged by President Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen.

Justice Department log circularUnder the terms of the deal, the Republican donor, Elliott Broidy, would pay the woman in installments over the course of two years, and in return, she would agree to stay silent about their relationship, two people with knowledge of the arrangement told The New York Times. The deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The lawyer for the woman, Keith M. Davidson, also represented two women who were paid during the presidential campaign for their silence about alleged affairs with Mr. Trump — a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, who sold the rights to her story to American Media Inc., and Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic actress known as Stormy Daniels, who received a payment of $130,000 that Mr. Cohen said came out of his own pocket.

#MeToo Scandal Hits Nobel Prize Leader

ny times logosweden flagNew York Times, In Nobel Scandal, a Man Is Accused of Sexual Misconduct. A Woman Takes the Fall, Christina Anderson, April 13, 2018 (print edition). The first woman to lead the body that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature was forced out on Thursday, a stunning casualty in a sexual abuse and harassment scandal that has threatened to sully one of the world’s most acclaimed cultural honors.

Since 2015, Sara Danius, a literary scholar and the first woman to lead the body, had been the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, which was created in 1786 and has awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature since 1901. She was ousted on Thursday from her role as permanent secretary — the de facto public face of the literature prize — as part of a feud that has bitterly divided the academy’s board.

“It has already affected the Nobel Prize quite severely, and that is a big problem,” an emotional Ms. Danius told reporters Thursday evening, accompanied by an ally, the author Sara Stridsberg, who has also threatened to quit. The scandal has reached the highest levels of the government. “It’s up to the academy to restore faith and respect,” the prime minister, Stefan Lofven, told reporters on Thursday. “It’s a very important issue for Sweden, and therefore it is important that this institution works.”

April 12

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)

ny times logoNew York Times, Report on Missouri Governor Gives Vivid Details of Sex Claim, John Eligon, April 12, 2018 (print edition). The report details allegations of unwanted sexual advances by Eric Greitens and has led to bipartisan calls for him to step down. Mr. Greitens says he is the victim of a witch hunt.

He blindfolded and bound a woman to exercise equipment, spanked her, and tried to kiss her without her consent.

eric greitens oThose are among the scandalous allegations against Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri (shown at right) that were released in a legislative report on Wednesday that has put the first-term Republican governor’s political future in deep trouble.

The report, the result of a House committee’s weekslong investigation into an extramarital affair that the governor admitted he had before he took office, has led to intense, bipartisan calls for him to step down. Mr. Greitens, however, insisted that he would not resign.

Among those calling for Mr. Greitens to step aside was Josh Hawley, the Republican state attorney general who is challenging longtime incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, in November. (Ms. McCaskill also called for his resignation.)

“The conduct the report details is certainly impeachable, in my judgment,” Mr. Hawley said in a statement.

Labeling the report “tabloid trash, gossip,” Mr. Greitens, who took office in January 2017, said that the relationship was consensual and that any claim of violence or sexual assault was false.

“I want to say again what I’ve said from the beginning: This is a political witch hunt,” he said from the State Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo.

He added: “I will continue to serve the people of Missouri as their governor and to work for you every day. And they know, they need to know, that fake charges and falsehoods aren’t going to stop us.”

He is scheduled to go on trial in St. Louis next month on felony charges that he took a picture of the woman without her consent and threatened to release it if she told anyone about their affair.

The report made no recommendations on the governor’s political future. The investigative committee will continue its work and will probably not make any recommendations on how to proceed until after the regular session ends next month, the speaker of the House, Todd Richardson, said. Republicans solidly control both the House and the Senate.

April 11

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump signs ‘FOSTA’  bill targeting online sex trafficking, enables states and victims to pursue websites, Tom Jackman, April 11, 2018. President Trump signed a bill Wednesday that gives federal and state prosecutors greater power to pursue websites which host sex trafficking ads, and enables the victims and state attorneys general to file civil lawsuits against those sites. Addressing the victims and family members in attendance, the president said, “I’m signing this bill in your honor…You have endured what no person on earth should have to endure.”

Standing next to Trump as he signed the legislation was Yvonne Ambrose of Chicago, whose 16-year-old daughter, Desiree Robinson, was slain after being prostituted on Backpage in 2016. “It means so much to our family,” Ambrose said of the bill. “Hopefully there won’t be many more people who have to endure that pain.”

April 9

 

alicia machado clinton ad

Newsweek, Trump Tried to Have Sex With Teenage Beauty Queen Alicia Machado While He Fat-Shamed Her, Former Miss Universe Claims, Cristina Maza, April 9, 2018. As executive producer of the Miss Universe beauty pageant, Donald Trump made it his mission to publicly shame Alicia Machado, a Venezuelan national who won the 1996 Miss Universe competition, for her weight.

But at the same time as he was making Machado’s life miserable by allegedly calling her "Miss Piggy" and forcing her to exercise in front of television cameras, the man who is now President of the United States was repeatedly trying to have sex with the then-teenage beauty queen, Machado (shown above in a 2016 campaign ad on behalf of Hillary Clinton) claimed for the first time last week.

In an exclusive interview with the Spanish-language channel Telemundo, Machado explained that she had a preexisting contract with Miss Universe before Trump purchased the Miss Universe Organization in 1996. The purchase meant that Trump was now her boss, although he didn’t have the power to alter the terms of her employment, Machado said. Nevertheless, she noted that Trump disrespected her continuously throughout their time working together, and he also tried to sleep with her.

“I know Trump very well. I know him as a person,” Machado said during the interview, adding that she never had sexual relations with Trump.

“Did he try?” the Telemundo anchorman asked Machado. Machado has previously claimed that she developed an eating disorder and suffered psychological trauma due to Trump’s actions. The events were used by then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election when she accused Trump of sexism over his treatment of Machado. The former Miss Universe is now a successful actress in Latin America, and has started speaking out against Trump since he rose to political prominence.

washington post logomichael cohen 7 14 2015 cnn customWashington Post, FBI seizes records related to payment of adult-film star in raid of Trump attorney’s office, Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, April 9, 2018. Among what federal agents seized in Michael D. Cohen’s offices were records related to a 2016 payment Cohen (shown at right) made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who says she had a sexual encounter with President Trump. The raid came as part of an investigation referred by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to federal prosecutors in New York, an attorney for Cohen said.

April 7

backpage.com doj seizure

ny times logoNew York Times, Backpage.com, Accused of Enabling Prostitution, Is Seized, Charlie Savage and Timothy Williams, April 7, 2018. The federal authorities took down the site, which had been under pressure in recent years, partly because it featured ads that included what child advocates said were code words for underage girls.

Federal authorities have taken down Backpage.com, a major classified advertising website that has been repeatedly accused of enabling prostitution and sex trafficking of minors. “Backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized,” a notice on the website says.

Backpage has been under increasing pressure in recent years, in part because it featured ads that included what child advocates said were code words for underage girls, including “Amber Alert.”

In January 2017, the site shuttered its “adult services listings” section under mounting criticism from law enforcement groups and senators. But many of the adult listings were simply rerouted to sections of the site dedicated to dating. Revenue at Backpage increased to $135 million in 2014 from $5.3 michael lacey backpage founder mugmillion in 2008, according to a Senate report last year. More than 90 percent of the earnings came from adult ads, the California Department of Justice found.

The federal seizure notice appeared on the website Friday afternoon. Earlier that day, according to news reports in Arizona, the F.B.I. had raided the Sedona home of Michael Lacey (shown at right in a mug shot), a founder of Backpage. An F.B.I. spokesman in Phoenix confirmed that there was “law enforcement activity” there and referred further questions to the Justice Department.

April 6

GOP Harasser, Slush-Fund Cheat Resigns From House

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U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold at the Abyss Club in Texas before his first race

ny times logoNew York Times, Congressman Resigns After Settling Suit With Taxpayer Funds, Emily Cochrane, April 6, 2018. Blake Farenthold, the Texas Republican who used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment case with his former communications director, abruptly resigned from Congress on Friday afternoon.

blake farenthold oIn December, Mr. Farenthold, who represented the 27th District of Texas, said that he would not run for re-election amid scrutiny over the payment and accusations from other aides that he set the tone for a hostile work environment in his office. At the time, he was one of several lawmakers to announce his eventual departure from Congress after being accused of sexual harassment and discrimination.

“While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” Mr. Farenthold said in a statement on Friday, thanking his staff, his family and the voters who elected him.

It was known for several years that Mr. Farenthold, already notorious for a heavily circulated photograph of him in duck pajamas, had been accused of sexual harassment by Lauren Greene, his former communications director. She sued him in 2014, claiming that he had illegally fired her after she complained about mistreatment.

Roll Call, Hundreds of Former Staffers Urge Senate to Act on Sexual Harassment, Alex Gangitano, April 6, 2018. Senate leadership to receive letter following recess.

mitch mcconnell2Over 600 former staffers have signed a letter urging Senate leadership to consider legislation that would address sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. That number continued to grow Friday morning. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (right), Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Rules Committee Chairman Richard Shelby and ranking member Amy Klobuchar will receive the letter early next week, coinciding with the Senate’s return.

“Part of our goal is to make sure that this issue stays in the forefront and senators are hearing from hundreds and hundreds of former staff who care about the institution and want to make sure that the folks who are there now are being protected and supported,” said Kristin Nicholson, former chief of staff to Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I.

Nicholson worked on the Hill for 20 years and left in January 2017. She has been a leading voice for Congress Too, the group behind the letter. “It’s been certainly a bipartisan effort in the House, our letter is completely bipartisan, the measures that are pending in the Senate are largely bipartisan and so we would hope that it would make it pretty easy for the momentum to continue,” she said.

The group said it was discouraged when the omnibus spending package did not include the House-passed harassment measure and feels the clock is ticking as midterms approach. “We wanted to make sure that we stayed energized and tried to get something done before everyone tunes out for the election,” Nicholson said.

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ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Says He Didn’t Know About Payment to Porn Actress, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, April 6, 2018 (print edition). In his first public remarks, Mr. Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he knew nothing about $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels (shown above along with a file photo of the president). President Trump denied on Thursday knowing of a $130,000 payment his lawyer made to a pornographic film actress who claims to have had a sexual encounter with him, referring questions about the transaction to his personal lawyer.

Mr. Trump made his first public remarks about the matter on Air Force One as he returned to Washington from White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where he had held a round table on tax cuts. Asked by a reporter whether he knew about the payment to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, known in her films as Stormy Daniels, he said, “No.”

Asked why Michael D. Cohen, his personal lawyer, had made the payment, Mr. Trump said, “You’ll have to ask Michael.” The president said he did not know where the money had come from.

Ms. Clifford has said that she was paid $130,000 before the 2016 election to buy her silence. She is now suing Mr. Trump to abrogate a nondisclosure agreement that was supposed to prevent her from discussing her relationship. She claims the agreement is null and void because Mr. Trump never signed it.

Ms. Clifford’s pugnacious lawyer, Michael Avenatti, quickly responded to the president on Twitter, pressing to use legal discovery to expose the back-and-forth around the $130,000 payment. He accused Mr. Trump of a “feigned lack of knowledge” about the payment. And he repeated his desire to depose Mr. Trump in a legal proceeding. “As history teaches us, it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath,” Mr. Avenatti wrote.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Michael Cohen’s view from under the bus: Trump denies knowing about Stormy Daniels payment, Jennifer Rubin (shown right), jennifer rubin twitterApril 6, 2018. The president’s denial and refusal to comment on whether there is a hush-money slush fund raises a raft of questions and complications for both Trump and Cohen.

First, if Trump is telling the truth and really did not know about the payment — made days before the election and designed to stave off more controversy over Trump sexual conduct — Cohen may have made an illegal campaign donation.

The Hill, Air Force officer charged over solicitation of graphic photos, Josh Delk, April 6, 2018. An Air Force Officer once assigned to the president's security detail has been charged after allegedly encouraging a group of active military officers to send him graphic photos from different "cool" places around the world, according to The Associated Press.

Second Lt. Travis Burch could face a court martial in Texas on charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman after being arrested at an Air Force base there earlier in April as part of a case that investigators have been following for over a year, according to the AP.

us air force logoThe secret club known by the code name “Whiskey Delta Tango" consisted of 84 people, including 58 active military, who would reportedly take explicit photos of their genitals in different locations, and send them to him for a chance to win commemorative items.

Upon searching Burch's quarters, investigators found the hard-drive used to store the photos in a hollowed-out book, and items such as T-shirts and tokens emblazoned with a rooster given as rewards to club members who completed certain challenges. Burch reportedly served on the presidential detail from 2014 to 2016 while stationed at the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, and took his most recent explicit photo outside the vice president's residence in Washington before being charged.

The defense lawyer for Burch has stated that his client and Burch's compatriots committed no crimes, though the lieutenant could face a court martial on any of three counts including that he solicited military members to commit indecent conduct.

April 5

cresent hardy nv4Roll Call, Hardy Campaign Adviser Fired After He Made Ex-Fiancee His ‘Slave,’ Griffin Connolly, April 5, 2018. Benjamin Sparks was fired from consultant’s job working on Rep. Cresent Hardy’s campaign.

Benjamin Sparks, a political strategist who has worked on several high-profile Republican campaigns over the last decade, was fired in March from his position working on former Rep. Cresent Hardy’s campaign after police responded to a domestic dispute between Sparks and his then-fiancee. Hardy, shown at right, is seeking re-election this spring for a seat he lost in 2016.

It turns out Sparks and his fiancée had signed a contract in November making the woman his “slave in training,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, citing text messages, emails and a copy of the contract the ex-fiancee shared with the publication. The contract, signed a day after the two began dating, stated that she would be Sparks’ “slave and property.” She was forced to kneel and look down when she entered his presence, be nude at all times, have sex with him whenever he wanted and wear a collar when they were in private, the Review-Journal reported.

“He was very demanding and did not take no for an answer,” Sparks’ ex-fiancée said. “Over the last month it escalated into very rough sex where he’d actually hurt me. He back-handed me … and forced himself on me.”

Sparks, 36, was political affairs director for RedRock Strategies, a political consulting firm in Washington, D.C., with an office in Las Vegas. Before he was fired last week, he had been working on Hardy’s campaign to win back Nevada’s 4th District, which the former congressman represented from 2015 to 2017.

He had also been working for Republican Yvette Herrell, who is campaigning for New Mexico’s 2nd District seat. Both RedRock Strategies and Hardy did not return multiple calls for comment, the Review-Journal reported. Herrell declined to comment on the story. Sparks previously worked as a top communications aide and spokesman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Incumbent Ruben Kihuen (D) announced that he would not seek re-election on December 16, 2017, following reports that he had solicited sexual favors from a female staffer.

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ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Says He Didn’t Know About Payment to Porn Actress, Julia Hirschfeld Davis, April 5, 2018. In his first public remarks, Mr. Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he knew nothing about $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels (shown above along with a file photo of the president). President Trump denied on Thursday knowing of a $130,000 payment his lawyer made to a pornographic film actress who claims to have had a sexual encounter with him, referring questions about the transaction to his personal lawyer.

Mr. Trump made his first public remarks about the matter on Air Force One as he returned to Washington from White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where he had held a round table on tax cuts. Asked by a reporter whether he knew about the payment to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, known in her films as Stormy Daniels, he said, “No.”

Asked why Michael D. Cohen, his personal lawyer, had made the payment, Mr. Trump said, “You’ll have to ask Michael.” The president said he did not know where the money had come from.

Ms. Clifford has said that she was paid $130,000 before the 2016 election to buy her silence. She is now suing Mr. Trump to abrogate a nondisclosure agreement that was supposed to prevent her from discussing her relationship. She claims the agreement is null and void because Mr. Trump never signed it.

Ms. Clifford’s pugnacious lawyer, Michael Avenatti, quickly responded to the president on Twitter, pressing to use legal discovery to expose the back-and-forth around the $130,000 payment. He accused Mr. Trump of a “feigned lack of knowledge” about the payment. And he repeated his desire to depose Mr. Trump in a legal proceeding. “As history teaches us, it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath,” Mr. Avenatti wrote.

April 4

washington post logoWashington Post, Fired over an Instagram post and a rumor, Saints cheerleader could force NFL to address double standard, Adam Kilgore, April 4, 2018. . For three years as a member of the New Orleans Saints cheerleading team, the Saintsations, Bailey Davis complied with the eight-page booklet of team rules. Sometimes they made her angry, but she loved performing and had worked her entire life to make it to an NFL sideline, so she accepted what was asked of her.

The form of social interaction most scrutinized was contact with players. It was forbidden in any form. If an NFL player liked her social media post, it was incumbent on her to block the player. She could not be in the same section of a club, or party, or restaurant as a player, regardless of who arrived there first.

Despite her efforts to follow rules, Davis was fired in January after a rumored encounter with a player at a party and a picture the Saints considered racy posted to her Instagram account. Davis subsequently filed a gender discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the Saints and the NFL, claiming female cheerleaders and male players unfairly faced different standards.

The rules that led to Davis’s firing and complaint filing, first uncovered last week by the New York Times, typify attitudes and treatment toward NFL cheerleaders. After a flurry of movements nationwide meant to empower women and increase equality between genders, rules that have been overlooked or accepted for years in the NFL may no longer be compatible with the cultural moment.

April 2

djt Karen McDougal Donald Trump youtube

washington post logoWashington Post, Publisher seeks to dismiss lawsuit brought by ex-Playboy model who claims affair with Trump, Beth Reinhard and Emma Brown​, April 2, 2018. The publisher of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., argued that the deal it struck with Karen McDougal for the rights to her story is protected under the First Amendment.

The publisher of the National Enquirer asked a California court Monday to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former Playboy centerfold (shown above) who claims she had an affair with Donald Trump, arguing that the deal it struck with Karen McDougal is protected under the First Amendment.

The 199-page response by American Media Inc. comes less than two weeks after McDougal sued in Los Angeles Superior Court to get out of the deal in which she sold the rights to her story for $150,000. McDougal argued that the National Enquirer violated campaign finance law when it bought her story not to publish it but to bury it, sparing Trump from an embarrassing revelation in the run-up to the 2016 election.

McDougal alleges that AMI colluded with the Trump campaign to hide the story of her affair, citing as evidence company chief executive David Pecker’s friendship with Trump.

In its response, AMI said McDougal was attempting to run roughshod over freedom of the press, suing over an ordinary editorial decision. Media organizations “have a First Amendment right not to publish, and cannot be punished for exercising that right,” the company said in its court filing.In a tweet, McDougal’s attorney, Peter Stris, said: “As we have learned through brave truth-tellers like Ms. McDougal, the tabloid went to great lengths to silence her and others, and they are now attempting to silence her again with the absurd claim that their own free speech was violated.”

March

March 31

washington post logogloria allred 2012 CustomWashington Post, Lawyer Gloria Allred withdraws from Summer Zervos’s defamation suit against Trump, Frances Stead Sellers, March 31, 2018 (print edition). Gloria Allred (shown at right in a file photo), the prominent women’s rights attorney who represented former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos in her high-profile defamation suit against President Trump, is withdrawing from the case.

summer zervosThe shake-up is the latest twist in a saga that Zervos said began in 2007, when she alleges Trump groped her at the Beverly Hills Hotel. In a statement Friday, Zervos (shown at left in a file photo) said it was her decision to end the legal relationship. “I decided to part ways with Gloria Allred purely for personal reasons,” she said, “having nothing to do with her work as my attorney.” Mariann Meier Wang, Allred’s New York-based co-counsel, will continue to represent Zervos.

March 30

donald trump ny daily pussy

Then and Now: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition presents a counterpoint to President Trump's new war sexual abuse

The Hill, Trump declares April sexual assault prevention month, Josh Delk, March 30, 2018. President Trump on Friday issued an official proclamation observing April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. In a statement, Trump encouraged the nation to "remain steadfast" in working to prevent sexual crimes and reaffirmed his administration's commitment to empowering individuals to speak out in their communities and workplaces against perpetrators.

"Sexual assault crimes remain tragically common in our society, and offenders too often evade accountability. These heinous crimes are committed indiscriminately: in intimate relationships, in public spaces, and in the workplace," Trump said.

The longstanding observation of the month, which often sees outreach by public health organizations and community crisis centers nationwide, comes this year following a wave of newly-empowered women leveling allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against high-profile men in media, entertainment and politics in recent months.

The proclamation also hits home for the Trump administration, which was embroiled in controversy earlier this year over allegations of past domestic abuse against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter from his two ex-wives.

The president himself has also faced accusations of misconduct by multiple women dating back to his days as a real estate mogul and reality television star, and has faced controversy for making lewd comments about his relationships with women in the past.

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Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald and Melania Trump are in for a very ugly weekend, Bill Palmer, March 30, 2018. Just as the Stormy Daniels interview was airing on 60 Minutes on Sunday evening, Melania Trump was remaining behind at Mar-a-Lago while Donald Trump was heading back to Washington DC alone. Her people floated the excuse that she was spending the week in Florida due to Barron’s spring break.

If there was any doubt that this was an intentional snub on Melania’s part, that was erased when she had her friends feed a story to Us Magazine about how badly she wants to divorce Donald. Now it’s about to get uglier.

We already know from the Us Magazine profile that Melania Trump is keen on causing public humiliation for Donald Trump right now. You don’t have your friends plant quotes about you in the media like “She is very, very unhappy with her life” and “If she could, she would get away from Donald” unless you’re trying to make your husband’s life a living hell.

March 29

washington post logoWashington Post, Conn. congresswoman kept aide on staff for 3 months after she learned of threat allegation, Elise Viebeck, March 29, 2018. The threat from Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s chief of staff arrived in a voice mail. “You better f-----g reply to me or I will f-----g kill you,” Tony Baker said in the May 5, 2016, recording left for Anna Kain, a former Esty aide Baker had once dated.

elizabeth esty oKain, who provided a copy of the recording to The Washington Post, alerted the police, filed a report for felony threats and obtained a 12-month restraining order against Baker. According to emails obtained by The Post, Esty found out about the episode within a week. At that point, the Connecticut Democrat (shown at right) took matters into her own hands.

Rather than firing or suspending Baker, the congresswoman consulted her personal attorneys and advisers, she said. Baker did not leave for three months. By his last day on Aug. 12, according to documents Esty provided to The Post, he and Esty had co-written a positive recommendation letter he could use in a job search and signed a legal document preventing her from disparaging him or discussing why he left.

Baker went on to work for Sandy Hook Promise, the gun-control group created after the 2012 shooting in Esty’s district. He was dismissed from the group this week after The Post contacted him.

March 28

ny times logoNew York Times, Star Broker, Accused of Abuse, Still Works at Morgan Stanley, Emily Flitter, March 28, 2018. Douglas E. Greenberg, a top Morgan Stanley broker, was repeatedly accused of violence against ex-wives and girlfriends. Bank managers were told. But he kept his job.

March 25

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ny times logoNew York Times, Stormy Daniels Says She Stayed Silent on Trump Out of Fear, Jim Rutenberg, March 25, 2018. The porn actress told “60 Minutes” that in 2011 a man threatened her to stop talking about her affair with Donald J. Trump. “He leaned round and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl, it would be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ ”

Editor's Note: She said her affair was consensual and thus not a "#MeToo" situation. For purposes of this archive, however, he claim that she and her daughter were threatened places this squarely within the topics of this archives of recent scandals.

March 22

ny times logoNew York Times, Sex Trafficking Bill Passes, Despite Tech Firms’ Concerns, Cecilia Kang and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, March 22, 2018 (print edition). The Senate gave final passage to a bill over opposition from many Silicon Valley companies, which said the legislation could chill internet content and harm free speech.

 

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cnn logoCNN, Karen McDougal tells CNN Trump once tried to pay her after sex, Eli Watkins, March 22, 2018. McDougal: Trump tried to pay me after intimacy. Donald Trump once tried to offer Karen McDougal money after they had been intimate, the former Playboy model told Anderson Cooper Thursday in an exclusive interview on CNN.

"After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me, and I actually didn't know how to take that," she said of their first alleged sexual encounter. hen Cooper asked if Trump tried to hand her money, McDougal said, "He did."

"I don't even know how to describe the look on my face," she said. "It must have been so sad."

McDougal appeared on CNN to tell her story of an alleged affair she had with now-President Donald Trump over a decade ago and its emotional fallout, as well as to air her grievances with the company she's suing over the story.

As for Trump's wife, Melania, who Trump was married to during the alleged affair, McDougal expressed remorse and apologized.

"What can you say except I'm sorry?" she said. "I'm sorry. I wouldn't want it done to me."

A spokeswoman for the first lady did not respond to a request for comment.

Thursday's sitdown is McDougal's first televised interview since she filed a lawsuit earlier this week against American Media Inc., the company that owns The National Enquirer, to be released from an agreement with the company.

In response to Trump's offer of money after the first time she said they had sex, McDougal said she told Trump, "That's not me. I'm not that kind of girl."

"And he said, 'Oh,' and he said, 'You're really special,'" she said, adding that "it hurt me that he saw me in that light."The White House has said Trump denies the alleged affair.

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘He Tried to Pay Me,’ Model Says, Alleging Affair With Trump, Jim Rutenberg, March 22, 2018. In a lengthy television interview, Karen McDougal said she was hurt when the president offered her money after sex, but added that they ended up in love.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s new female accusers may put him in greater danger, Greg Sargent, On Thursday night, Karen McDougal (shown below right), a former Playboy model who claims she had a 10-month affair with Donald Trump, will have an interview aired on CNN Thursday night. This Sunday, CBS will air an interview with former porn star Stormy Daniels, who also says she had an affair with Trump.

djt Karen McDougal Donald Trump youtubeWhich raises two key points about our politics right now: First, is it possible that the deep alienation from President Trump that has set in among female voters could continue to get even worse — particularly among the suburban and college-educated white women who are driving the Democratic resurgence. Second, that dynamic could matter in this fall’s elections — potentially increasing Democratic chances of taking back the House, which would effectively check Trump’s agenda and bring real accountability that is now basically nonexistent.

CNN’s Stephen Collinson has a good article this morning explaining how the new round of female accusers Trump faces are putting him in greater peril. While we all obsess over the threat posted to Trump by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe, it’s possible these new cases could also leave Trump very exposed. The evidence is mounting on many fronts that the energy, organizing and engagement among female voters — manifested in everything from the initial Women’s March through the #MeToo movement through recent Democratic electoral wins — constitute the cardinal factor in our politics right now. And it seems clear that female alienation from Trump is at the center of it.

bill oreilly 2010

The Hill, Former Fox News anchor Dhue files defamation suit against O'Reilly, Joe Concha, March 22, 2018. Former Fox News anchor Laurie Dhue has filed a defamation lawsuit against former network star Bill O'Reilly (shown at right), accusing the 68-year-old host of mounting a "smear campaign" against her.

Dhue (shown below in a publicity photo for her work at the Blaze Channel) claims that O'Reilly made false allegations about her following a New York Times bombshell report nearly one year ago saying she had received a $1 million settlement over sexual harassment allegations against him and then-CEO and chairman Roger Ailes.

laurie dhueDhue, who worked for Fox News as an anchor from 2000 to 2008, also appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" on a weekly basis for several years as a guest. "O'Reilly published false statements about Dhue — as well as the other women — calling her a liar, swearing that her allegations were fabricated in an effort to obtain a settlement, falsely asserting that her purported claims against O'Reilly were politically motivated, and lying by saying that he only paid settlements to avoid having his family go through litigation, not because he had engaged in the claimed sexual misconduct," according to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court.

The New York Times reported in April that O'Reilly paid five women, including Dhue, $13 million over allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. "O'Reilly ensured that these statements were distributed widely, attempting to sacrifice the character reputation of Dhue and the other women mentioned,” the suit says.

March 21

summer zervos

washington post logoWashington Post, With at least three women now hoping to break their silence on Trump, his challenges grow, Beth Reinhard, Emma Brown, Frances Stead Sellers and Mark Berman​, March 21, 2018 (print edition). On the same day a former Playboy playmate sued for the right to speak out about an alleged affair, a judge ruled that the defamation lawsuit of a former “Apprentice” contestant can proceed against President Trump,  potentially allowing her lawyers to begin collecting evidence to support her claim that he forcibly kissed and groped her years ago.

The decision in the case brought by Summer Zervos (shown above in a photo from the show) came on the same day a former Playboy playmate, Karen McDougal, sued the publisher of the National Enquirer for the right to break her silence about the 10-month affair she says she had with Trump more than a decade ago.

The nearly simultaneous developments added to the political and legal challenges for the president, who has faced weeks of reports about his alleged affair with another woman, porn star Stormy Daniels, and his attorney’s effort to buy her silence.

All three women are now seeking to tell their stories on their own terms. McDougal is scheduled to give an interview Thursday to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, while “60 Minutes” is scheduled to air an interview with Daniels on Sunday.

As she rejected Trump’s effort to block Zervos’s lawsuit from proceeding, New York Supreme Court Justice Jennifer G. Schecter cited precedent from the Paula Jones case against President Bill Clinton, which led to his impeachment in 1998.

Quinebaug Valley Community College, Jane Doe No More: April 23 Discussion on Sexual Assault, Staff report, March 21, 2018. QVCC to Host Discussion on Sexual Assault with Strong Survivors Fighting for Change On April 23 at 6 pm, On Cue: Culture and Conversations at QV will present “JANE DOE NO MORE: Sexual Assault Survivors Fighting for Change,” an exploration of the challenges faced by sexual assault survivors who speak up about their experiences.

The event will feature Dylan Farrow, with assault survivors Donna Palumbo and Susan Campbell. Investigative journalist Andy Thibault will moderate. The event will be held in the Robert E. Miller Auditorium at the Quinebaug Valley Community College main campus in Danielson. Seating is limited, so attendees are urged to arrive before the event, which is free and open to the public. Audience members should be aware of the potential for emotionally difficult content.

Panelists will include Farrow, who renewed allegations of a sexual assault she suffered as a 7-year-old with a column in the Los Angeles Times and an interview on CBS This Morning. Director Woody Allen, Farrow’s adoptive father, has denied the allegations.

Joining Farrow are rape and assault survivors Donna Palomba and Susan Campbell. Palomba is founder of Jane Doe No More, Inc. a CT based non-profit organization that honored Farrow last year with the Dr. Henry C. Lee Award. Farrow is a member of The Jane Doe No More Survivors Speak Outreach Team. Campbell, a well-known journalist and author, teaches at the University of New Haven and appears regularly on WNPR wnpr.org/people/susan-campbell.

In an interview with Gayle King on CBS, Dylan Farrow commented on her motivation to make her story public “With so much silence being broken by so many brave people against so many high profile people, I felt it was important to add my story to theirs because it’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time ….It was very momentous for me to see this conversation finally carried into a public setting.”

Veteran investigative journalist Andy Thibault will serve as moderator. Thibault’s 1997 Connecticut Magazine article about the criminal case against Allen has been cited by news outlets including Vanity Fair, Huffington Post and Bustle.

March 20

djt Karen McDougal Donald Trump youtube

ny times logoNew York Times, Ex-Playboy Model Sues to Break Silence on Trump, Jim Rutenberg, March 20, 2018. Karen McDougal, shown above, is the second woman this month to challenge Trump associates’ efforts to bury stories of extramarital affairs. A former Playboy model who claimed she had an affair with Donald J. Trump sued on Tuesday to be released from a 2016 legal agreement requiring her silence, becoming the second woman this month to challenge Trump allies’ efforts during the presidential campaign to bury stories about extramarital relationships.

The model, Karen McDougal, is suing the company that owns The National Enquirer, American Media Inc., which paid her $150,000 and whose chief executive is a friend of President Trump’s. The other woman, the adult entertainment star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, was paid $130,000 to stay quiet by the president’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen. She filed a lawsuit earlier this month.

Both women, who argue that their contracts are invalid, are trying to get around clauses requiring them to resolve disputes in secretive arbitration proceedings rather than in open court. Mr. Trump has denied the affairs, which both women have described as consensual.

karen mcdougal playboyMs. McDougal, in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that Mr. Cohen was secretly involved in her talks with A.M.I., and that the media company and her lawyer at the time misled her about the deal. She also asserts that after she spoke with The New Yorker last month after it obtained notes she kept on Mr. Trump, A.M.I. warned that “any further disclosures would breach Karen’s contract” and “cause considerable monetary damages.”

March 19

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Tronc Chairman Michael W. Ferro, Jr. Resigns (File photo)

ny times logotronc text logoNew York Times, Michael Ferro Steps Down as Tronc’s Chairman; Accused of Unwanted Advances, Syney Ember, March 19, 2018. Michael W. Ferro Jr., a Chicago entrepreneur and the biggest shareholder in the newspaper publisher Tronc, has stepped down as the company's chairman, Tronc announced on Monday, hours before the publication of a report in which two women accused him of inappropriate sexual advances.

March 16

Porn Star Lawyer Claims Threat

nbc news logoNBC News, Stormy Daniels' lawyer says she was threatened with physical harm, Adam Edelman, Mar ch 16, 2018. Stormy Daniels' lawyer says she was threatened with physical harm. Michael Avenatti, the attorney for the adult film star, wouldn't say who threatened her.

Adult film star Stormy Daniels — who has said in a lawsuit that she had an "intimate" relationship with Donald Trump a decade before he became president — was physically threatened in relation to her attempts go public with her story, her attorney said Friday.

djt stormy daniels 2006In an interview with MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," Michael Avenatti, an attorney for Daniels, repeatedly said that his client had been threatened, but wouldn’t say by who. He also declined to give details on the nature of the threats. Attorney says Stormy Daniels (shown with Trump in a 2006 photo) was threatened physically.

"There’s the act and then there’s the cover-up, and the American people are going to learn about both," Avenatti said, referring to a secrecy agreement facilitated by Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, that Clifford signed in exchange for $130,000 before the 2016 election.

"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski then asked whether Clifford was "threatened in any way."

March 15

Fox Pushes Reverse #MeToo, Targeting Women

ny times logoNew York Times, At the Fox News Site, a Sudden Focus on Women as Sex Offenders, Jonathan Galinsky, March 15, 2018 (print edition). In November, there was the story of a 22-year-old science teacher arrested in Oklahoma for her “sex romp” with a male student. In September, an article told of a 38-year-old teacher who kissed a student and let him “touch her breasts behind Culver’s,” a burger joint in Kerrville, Tex. And in July there was a report on a 54-year-old music teacher in Georgia who, a headline announced, “blames male student, 17, for tricking her into having sex ‘like a used-car salesman.’”

fox news logo SmallInstances of female teachers sexually abusing male students are rare. But stories on the subject have lately taken up a lot of space at FoxNews.com.

Through the first half of 2017, the site posted fewer than 20 stories on women accused of sex offenses. The new focus started on June 30, when FoxNews.com published an article on “the apparently increasing frequency of female teachers having sex with their young male students.” Over the next six months the site posted some 98 articles on instances of sexual abuse allegedly committed by women, most of them teachers.

Tales of the unusual suit the tabloid aesthetic of much of the site’s content. What was noteworthy was the spike in coverage of the subject, which began a few weeks after Noah Kotch, a former producer at NBC’s “Today” show, became the site’s editor in chief. It also came in the aftermath of numerous sexual harassment scandals at Fox News.

March 13

ny times logoNew York Times, Celebrated Architect Is Accused of Sexual Harassment, Robin Pogregin, March 13, 2018.  Five women say that Richard Meier sexually harassed them, The Times has learned. In response, he announced a six-month leave as founder and managing partner of his firm.

Richard Meier, the celebrated architect and Pritzker Prize winner who designed the Getty Center in Los Angeles, established a graduate scholarship in January at his alma mater, Cornell University’s architecture school. Intended to honor the 55th anniversary of his practice, the scholarship was designed to “recruit and retain the most talented women applicants.”

But four women who have worked for Mr. Meier — and another who met him when he was working on the Getty — have described encounters when the architect, now 83, was, in fact, not good to women.

Two of the women have described incidents over the past 10 years in which they were sent to Mr. Meier’s New York apartment, where he exposed himself, according to interviews with one of the women and several former employees of the firm.

A third woman said in an interview that Mr. Meier grabbed her underwear through her dress at a firm holiday party, and a fourth said he asked her to undress at his apartment so she could be photographed.

Disputed #MeToo Claim On Video

Washington Post, Security video shows encounter that prompted Md. lawmaker’s complaint against lobbyist, Ovetta Wiggins, March 13, 2018. A Maryland state senator and a lobbyist she has accused of harassment both released security camera video Tuesday of their recent encounter in an Annapolis pub, with each declaring the footage proves their version of events.

The video shows lobbyist Gil Genn approaching Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Montgomery) near a crowded bar at Castlebay Irish Pub, putting his hand on Kagan’s back and moving it around. The physical contact is brief, and it is hard to tell exactly when Genn — who previously denied touching Kagan at all — removes his hand. (The two are shown at the lower right of the video, with the incident at the beginning)

At a hastily called news conference, Kagan held up her laptop to play the 86-second video, saying it showed how Genn put his hand on her back and slid “it down my body.” “Most women who are harassed or sexually assaulted will not have access to such undeniable proof,” she said in an interview.

Genn, meanwhile, demanded an apology from Kagan, saying in a statement that the video shows “beyond dispute that I did not grab or grope her.”

March 12

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James Levine: 40 Years at the Metropolitan Opera

New York Daily News, Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after sexual abuse allegations, Kate Feldman, March 12, 2018. Three months after multiple men accused James Levine of sexual assault, the Metropolitan Opera officially fired the conductor. “The investigation uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met,” the opera said in a statement Monday.

“The investigation also uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority.” Four men accused Levine of assault, including Ashok Pai, who told the Daily News that the conductor “basically sexually assaulted me hundreds of times.”

ny times logoNew York Times, James Levine’s Final Act at the Met Ends in Disgrace, Michael Cooper, March 12, 2018. The Metropolitan Opera fired Mr. Levine, one of the greatest American conductors and one who defined the company for more than four decades, after finding evidence of “sexually abusive” conduct.

The Metropolitan Opera fired the conductor James Levine on Monday evening, ending its association with a man who defined the company for more than four decades after an investigation found what the Met called credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in “sexually abusive and harassing conduct.”

james levine 12 2 2017 nypost front page CustomThe investigation, which the Met opened in December after a report in The New York Times, found evidence of abuse and harassment “both before and during the period” when Mr. Levine worked at the Met, the company said in a statement. It was an extraordinary fall from grace for a legendary maestro, whom many consider the greatest American conductor since Leonard Bernstein.

A front-page story from a December 2017 edition of the New York Post shows how the scandal coverage progressed.

March 9

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Stormy Daniels Scandal Gets Serious, Michelle Goldberg, March 9, 2018. In January we learned, thanks to The Wall Street Journal, that Michael Cohen, a lawyer for Donald Trump, arranged a $130,000 hush money payment to the pornographic film star known as Stormy Daniels in the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign. The payment was to stop Daniels from speaking out about an alleged affair she’d had with Trump shortly after Melania Trump, his third wife, gave birth to their son, Barron.

As this drama unfolds, it’s becoming clear that, for all its sordid details, it isn’t really a sex scandal. It’s a campaign finance scandal, a transparency scandal and potentially part of an ongoing national security scandal. It’s salacious and absurd, but we should take it seriously. Trump’s team certainly seems to; Cohen recently obtained a temporary restraining order to silence Daniels.

Let’s start with the campaign finance piece. On Jan. 22, the nonpartisan government watchdog group Common Cause filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice claiming that the $130,000 payment to Daniels constituted an in-kind contribution to Trump’s presidential campaign, in violation of federal campaign law.In response, Cohen claimed that the payment was a private transaction that he was able to “facilitate” with his own personal funds. (It was made through a limited liability company Cohen created called Essential Consultants.) “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen said in a statement to The Times.

Paul Seamus Ryan, vice president for policy and litigation at Common Cause, told me that even if Cohen didn’t tell Trump what he did, Trump was still responsible, since “the actions of agents are attributable to their principals.” But the release of the NDA makes clear that Trump himself was a party to the agreement. If Trump authorized the $130,000 payment, it’s harder to explain away his campaign’s failure to disclose it, as required by law. The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, all but confirmed Trump’s involvement on Wednesday, when she said that a recent arbitration proceeding — the one that resulted in the temporary restraining order — was “won in the president’s favor.”

Norman Eisen, the chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Barack Obama’s former ethics czar, points out another potential violation on Trump’s part. He calls it the “Al Capone problem.” The Daniels NDA refers repeatedly to “property” that she agreed to turn over to Trump, including video images, still images, emails and text messages. Eisen argues that Trump was required to report ownership of this property, as well as any obligations he might have had to reimburse Cohen for the $130,000, in his federal financial disclosure forms.

“The asset here is this incredibly valuable agreement with Stormy,” Eisen told me. “Imagine what she could get if she has texts or images. Imagine the millions she could command! So there’s this incredibly valuable agreement, and the L.L.C., Essential Consultants, which Trump now appears to be a beneficiary of. That’s an asset.” But it’s an asset Trump didn’t reveal.

March 8

ny times logoNew York Times, Yale Student Is Found Not Guilty of Rape, Vivian Wang and Cheryl P. Weinstock, March 8, 2018 (print edition). Defense lawyers worked relentlessly to discredit the accuser’s account, resulting in a verdict that showed the divides in a national reckoning around sexual consent and assault.

A Yale student who had been suspended by the university was found not guilty on Wednesday of sexually assaulting a fellow student, in a rare college rape accusation to be tried in the courts. The verdict laid bare seemingly gaping divides in the national reckoning around sexual consent and assault.

Over several grueling days on the witness stand in a New Haven courtroom, the woman described what she said was her rape by the accused student, Saifullah Khan, 25, on Halloween night 2015. The testimony, in open court, offered a glimpse into the kinds of encounters that are more often described behind closed doors, to university panels or among friends.

Mr. Khan’s lawyers worked relentlessly to discredit the account of the woman, who was not identified by name in the arrest warrant application. They asked repeatedly how much she had to drink, and how she could claim not to remember certain details, such as how she arrived back at her dorm room, but remembered others, such as the alleged assault itself. They parsed her text messages with Mr. Khan, asking if she had not been flirting with him in the days before the incident. They showed off her Halloween costume, a black cat outfit, and asked her why she had not chosen a more modest one, such as “Cinderella in a long flowing gown.”

Laura Palumbo, a spokeswoman for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, called the defense’s line of questioning “all victims’ worst fears in coming forward.”

washington post logodjt stormy daniels 2006Washington Post, Opinion: Stormy Daniels beat Trump at his own game, Eugene Robinson, March 8, 2008. The president who boasted of treating women like sex objects is being outplayed at his own tabloid-warfare game by a porn star. Maybe there’s justice in the world after all.

You might have missed it in the ceaseless fusillade of news, but on Wednesday the White House all but confirmed the story that actress and director Stormy Daniels is dying to tell: Shortly before the election she was paid $130,000 in hush money to keep quiet about an “intimate relationship” she had with Donald Trump in 2006, soon after Melania Trump gave birth to the couple’s son, Barron. They are shown together in a file photo.

ny times logoNew York Times, Stormy Daniels Suit Opens Door to More Trouble for Trump, Jim Rutenberg and Mike McIntire, March 8, 2008. The actress’s case, seeking to break an agreement to keep silent about an alleged affair with the president, could lead to his having to testify in a deposition.

The Intercept, George Nader, Cooperating Witness in Mueller Probe, Was Arrested for Child Pornography in the 1980s,George Nader, reportedly a cooperating witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, was arrested in 1985 on child pornography charges.

A frequent visitor to the Trump White House in 2017, Nader is the latest enigmatic character to saunter onto the stage as part of Mueller’s inquiry. A New York Times story last weekend said that Mueller was looking into whether Nader, a Lebanese-American with access to Persian Gulf elites, had helped funnel foreign money toward Trump’s campaign. On Tuesday, the paper said that Nader was cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.

The 1985 criminal case against Nader on child pornography charges was eventually dismissed, according to court documents obtained by The Intercept. The existence of the charges was first reported by The Atlantic.

“The court found that Mr. Nader’s constitutional rights had been flagrantly violated, and the case was thrown out in its entirety before trial,” a representative for Nader told The Intercept. “Mr. Nader vigorously denies the allegations now, as he did then.”

The 1985 criminal case against Nader on child pornography charges was eventually dismissed.

According to prosecutors, as relayed in the U.S. District Court judge’s ruling on a motion to suppress evidence in the case, Nader received a package that included both a film of young boys engaged in sexual acts and pictures depicting nude boys. Authorities conducted a search based on a warrant, and similar material was found in a room that Nader rented in a Washington home, according to the court documents. The evidence discovered in the home was ruled inadmissible when the warrant was challenged, but the material delivered in the original package was not ruled inadmissible at the time.

March 7

djt melania liberty ball inauguration 2017Pornographic actress Stormy Daniels alleges she had an affair with President Donald Trump during the months after first lady Melania Trump gave birth to their son, Barron Trump. The Trumps are shown in a White House photo during the Inaugural in 2017.

Roll Call, Stormy Daniels Lawsuit Raises Election Law Questions for Trump, Griffin Connolly, March 7, 2018. Democratic lawmakers have asked FBI to investigate payments from president’s lawyer to porn actress. As Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller continues to probe members of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for possible collusion with Russia, some lawmakers have raised ethical concerns over the president’s alleged preemptive coverup of an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Reps. Kathleen Rice of New York and Ted Lieu of California, both former prosecutors, have asked the FBI to investigate payments from Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, to Daniels, who filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the president in Los Angeles Superior Court. NBC News first reported the lawsuit.

Lieu and Rice believe the alleged “hush” agreement — which involved a $130,000 payment from Cohen to Daniels — violates federal election laws. “[The] hush agreement & side letter attached to Stormy Daniels’ filing essentially shows coordination between @realDonaldTrump, Cohen & Daniels,” Lieu tweeted Tuesday night. “That means the $130k payment from Cohen to Daniels to silence her during the campaign violated federal election law.” The penalty, he added, is a five-year felony sentencing.

In the lawsuit complaint filed Tuesday, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, states that her nondisclosure agreement regarding her alleged 2006 affair with Trump is invalid because Trump never actually signed the document — only Cohen and Daniels did. According to the lawsuit, Daniels’ affair with Trump lasted “well into 2007.”

The suit alleges that Cohen has tried to intimidate Daniels into silence on the matter as recently as Feb. 27. “To be clear, the attempts to intimidate Ms. Clifford into silence and ‘shut her up’ in order to ‘protect Mr. Trump’ continue unabated,” the suit claims. “On or about February 27, 2018, Mr. Trump’s attorney Mr. Cohen surreptitiously initiated a bogus arbitration proceeding against Ms. Clifford in Los Angeles.” The suit also alleges Trump must be aware of Cohen’s attempts to silence Daniels since New York bar rules require Cohen to keep his client informed at all times.

The president has not publicly commented on the alleged affair, which is said to have occurred in the months after his third wife, Melania Trump, gave birth to their son Barron. White House spokesman Raj Shah told members of the press he had never asked the president about the alleged relationship, NBC reported. Cohen has acknowledged the payment, but has not publicly said what the payment was for. He has also said he paid out of his own pocket and was never reimbursed.

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President Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels (separate screengrab file photos)

washington post logoWashington Post, Porn actress Stormy Daniels sues Trump, says hush agreement is null because he didn’t sign it, Beth Reinhard, Frances Stead Sellers and Emma Brown​, March 7, 2018 (print edition). The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles alleges that President Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, never approved a $130,000 settlement arranged by his personal attorney, making it invalid.

Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she was paid to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Donald Trump, sued the president Tuesday, asking the court to declare that her nondisclosure agreement before the 2016 election is void because Trump did not sign it.

In the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — said she had wanted to go public with the story of her alleged decade-old affair with Trump in the weeks leading up to the election. The lawsuit was first reported by NBC News.

Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, and Daniels’s attorney at the time, Keith Davidson, negotiated what the lawsuit calls a “hush agreement” in which she would be paid $130,000. After delays and even a cancellation of the contract by Daniels on Oct. 17, the payment arrived on Oct. 27, 12 days before the election, according to e-mails reviewed by The Washington Post. Cohen said recently that he had used his own money to “facilitate” the payment.

ny times logodjt stormy daniels 2006New York Times, Trump’s Lawyer Got Restraining Order to Silence Porn Star, Jim Rutenberg and Peter Baker, March 7, 2018. The order was obtained last week to keep the porn star quiet about her alleged affair with Mr. Trump. President Trump’s lawyer secretly obtained a temporary restraining order last week to prevent a pornographic film star from speaking out about her alleged affair with Mr. Trump (shown with her twelve years or so ago), according to legal documents and interviews.

The order, issued by an arbitrator in California and reviewed by The New York Times, pertained to the actress Stephanie Clifford, who had been paid $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election in what she calls a “hush agreement.” In recent weeks, she had prepared to speak publicly about Mr. Trump, claiming his lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, had broken the agreement.

The details of the order emerged on Wednesday after the White House’s spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that Mr. Trump’s lawyer had won an arbitration proceeding against Ms. Clifford, who goes by the name of Stormy Daniels.

Ms. Sanders’s statement put the White House in the middle of a story that Mr. Trump and his lawyer had been trying to keep quiet for well over a year. The turn of events created the spectacle of a sitting president using legal maneuvers to avoid further scrutiny of salacious accusations of an affair and a payoff involving the porn star.

djt stormy daniels nydaily 1 13 18 Customwashington post logoWashington Post, David Dennison’ and other interesting details from Stormy Daniels’s lawsuit against Trump, Aaron Blake, March 7, 2018. The lawsuit filed by the porn star, who says she had an affair with President Trump, represents the latest development in an increasingly troubling situation for the White House. It also serves as confirmation of key details surrounding the alleged relationship [which has been creating news for nearly two months, as indicated by the New York Daily News front page from Jan. 13].

Exactly how likely Daniels's lawsuit is to succeed is a major question. If she does prevail, it could free her up to talk about the (alleged) affair. But if nothing else, the lawsuit itself serves as confirmation of key details. The full lawsuit is 28 pages and includes the alleged nondisclosure agreement. Below, I've isolated the key parts. (Note that the lawsuit refers to Daniels by her real name, Stephanie Clifford.)

"2. Defendant Donald J. Trump a.k.a. David Dennison ('Mr. Trump'), an individual, is a resident of the District of Columbia (among other places). ...Ms. Clifford began an intimate relationship with Mr. Trump in the Summer of 2006 in Lake Tahoe and continued her relationship with Mr. Trump well into the year 2007. This relationship included, among other things, at least one 'meeting' with Mr. Trump in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel located within Los Angeles County.”

In some ways, this lawsuit seems to be a way for Daniels to put her side of the story into the public record without directly telling it. Here, she confirms details about the alleged affair that she previously shared with InTouch magazine in a 2011 interview that wasn't published until recently.

This also confirms previously reported details. But it's the first time Daniels has confirmed that she was shopping her story before the election. She has publicly been coy about the whole thing, apparently because of the nondisclosure agreement.

"16. After discovering Ms. Clifford's plans, Mr. Trump, with the assistance of his attorney Mr. [Michael] Cohen, aggressively sought to silence Ms. Clifford as part of an effort to avoid her telling the truth, thus helping to ensure he won the Presidential Election. Mr. Cohen subsequently prepared a draft nondisclosure agreement and presented it to Ms. Clifford and her attorney (the 'Hush Agreement').”

Two points here: First, this is Daniels alleging that Trump was personally involved — something the White House and Cohen have declined to confirm or deny (despite the Journal's reporting). And second, she alleges that the effort was geared toward aiding Trump's election. That may seem like a given, because it happened just before Election Day, but as The Washington Post's Philip Bump has reported, the payment is more legally problematic if it was clearly for this purpose.

Whether Trump needed to sign this agreement is the major legal question here.

Legal Schnauzer, Analysis: Three Republicans deal with legal fallout of sex scandals in one 24-hour news cycle, giving new meaning to the term GOP (Gross Old Perverts), Roger Shuler, March 7, 2018. Republicans put on quite a display of their "family values" recently, according to an article at the Wayne Madsen Report (WMR). In one 24-hour news cycle, three Republicans were hit with legal issues connected to sexual misconduct. And that did not include another GOPer's use of public funds to help pay for trysts with a prostitute -- in one of our most conservative states. That missed the list only because it came just before the infamous news cycle.

nicholas kettle oGee, imagine how bad it would be if conservatives weren't so virtuous. Madsen dubbed them the GOP (Gross Old Perverts), and the phrase seems to fit. From the article at WMR:

"Within a 24-hour news cycle, three top Republican officials in three states were mired in legal trouble stemming from sex scandals. One, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, was arrested. Rhode Island State Senator Nicholas Kettle (shown at right) resigned as he faced certain expulsion from the body. In Louisiana, Secretary of State Tom Schedler was accused of sexual harassment and stalking."

jon stanardAs for the Gross Old Pervert who fell outside the news cycle, that would be Utah Rep. Jon Stanard (shown at left), who resigned his position on Feb. 6. From a Salt Lake City Tribune article (Utah Rep. Jon Stanard, accused of meeting call girl for sex, used public money for hotel rooms) on Feb. 8:

"A British newspaper reported Thursday that Rep. Jon Stanard, R-St. George, resigned abruptly Tuesday after he met a Salt Lake City call girl twice for sex, and it released racy texts that it says he sent to her."

March 6

eric greitens mike pence

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a first-term Republican, is shown meeting Vice President Mike Pence in a file photo

Legal Schnauzer, Already under indictment for felony charges related to a sex scandal, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens now faces questions about campaign-finance irregularities, Roger Shuler, March 6, 2018.  Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, already under felony indictment for invasion of privacy related to an extramarital affair, now faces allegations of possible campaign-finance violations. Federal law prohibits use of nonprofits in political campaigns, but it appears Greitens might have violated that ban.

On top of that, St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner has procured the services of Harvard law professor Ronald S. Sullivan to assist with the Greitens prosecution, and former FBI agent Anthony Box has been hired as chief investigator.

eric greitens oReports in recent weeks indicate investigators are looking at more than just the Greitens sex scandal. A recent Associated Press report shows the probe extends to campaign-finance issues. From AP: Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (shown at right) used an email address for a veterans charity he founded to arrange political meetings as he prepared to launch his first bid for public office, despite a federal ban on nonprofits participating in political campaigns, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

Greitens, who was on the board of directors of The Mission Continues at the time, sent meeting invitations from the charity's email address to three political consultants. He asked them to join him for a series of meetings over two days in January 2015 with more than a dozen state lawmakers, a lobbyist and an anti-abortion activist, according to copies of the emails obtained by the AP.

jorge dominguezny times logoNew York Times, Harvard Professor Resigns Amid Allegations of Sexual Harassment, Stephanie Saul, March 6, 2018. A prominent government professor at Harvard who has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by as many as 18 women over several decades resigned on Tuesday following a decision by the university to place him on leave.

The professor, Jorge I. Domínguez, 72, was the subject of a Feb. 27 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education that reported that at least 10 women had accused him of sexual harassment. A subsequent article, published on Sunday, reported that additional women — including Harvard professors, students and staff members — had come forward alleging inappropriate behavior by Dr. Domínguez, bringing the total to 18.

The reaction to disclosures about Dr. Domínguez — many just now coming to light despite occurring years ago — reflects a marked shift in the type of behavior tolerated in the workplace since the reports last year regarding inappropriate sexual behavior by high-profile men like Bill O’Reilly and Harvey Weinstein.

March 3

washington post logoWashington Post, Days before the election, Stormy Daniels threatened to cancel deal to keep alleged affair with Trump secret, Beth Reinhard, Frances Stead Sellers and Emma Brown, March 3, 2018 (print edition). The account of how the agreement came together — and how it briefly fell apart — adds a dimension of brinkmanship to the public understanding of the transaction.

washington post logohope hicks tux japan 2017 CustomWashington Post, ‘I don’t envy them’: Hope Hicks and other White House women struggle to defend Trump in the #MeToo era, David Nakamura, March 3, 2018 (print edition). President Trump’s team of White House defenders is a nearly all-female lineup that to a degree has helped inoculate him by their gender from criticism amid the national conversation over the #MeToo movement.

While the public reckoning over sexual harassment and assault swiftly knocked out captains of industry, media stars, Hollywood moguls and politicians, Trump has survived. Now one of those defenders is leaving — communications director Hope Hicks, the loyal, mostly silent one (shown in a screenshot of a formal affair in Japan last year).

Among those left are his daughter Ivanka Trump, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Women in such those rightly or wrongly can defuse the criticism aimed at Trump, who has been accused by 19 women of sexual misconduct.

March 1

alex jones headshotNew York Daily News, Infowars’ Alex Jones accused of sexual harassment, racism and anti-Semitism: report, Jessica Chia, March 1, 2018,  Two former employees filed complaints against Infowars founder Alex Jones alleging he made racist and anti-Semitic comments, groomed them for sex and groped a female staffer.

Rob Jacobson, who worked as a video editor for Infowars for 13 years, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming Jones (shown above right) frequently singled out his Jewish background and referred to him as a “beefcake” over the course of four years, according to documents obtained by the Daily Mail.

Jacobson, who said the term referred to male porn stars, wrote, “I felt like this was intimidating and harassing and a form of sexual harassment in that he was grooming me for homosexual sex.”

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Associated Press via Chron, House GOP leaders urge member accused of sex abuse to resign, Mark Scolforo, March 1, 2018. A state representative (shown above in a screenshot from TV) was urged Thursday by House Republican leaders to resign amid allegations he forced a woman to have sex after they broke up and threatened to kill another while driving at a high speed and brandishing a gun. The chamber's seven highest-ranking GOP leaders released a statement that said the claims should be properly investigated by police but Republican Rep. Nick Miccarelli of Delaware County should step down in the meantime.

"What we have in front of the House right now is about the integrity of the institution, the safety of its staff and members, and the best paths forward for the individuals involved — the accusers and accused, as well as their respective families," the statement read. "With that in mind, it would be in the best interest of all involved if Rep. Miccarelli would resign." In a Facebook post Wednesday evening, Miccarelli denied the allegations entirely, calling them "complete fabrications.

washington post logoWashington Post, In a prestigious high school math and science program, alumni say #MeToo, Donna St. George, March 1, 2018. Years after they left one of the nation’s premier high school programs in math and science, hundreds of alumni have come forward to support allegations that a celebrated Maryland teacher sexually harassed and demeaned female students. Many have described sexual comments, suggestive humor and sexist put-downs they said went unchecked for years as Eric Walstein became one of the pillars of a selective magnet program in a suburb outside Washington.

They accuse the nationally recognized teacher at Montgomery Blair High School of giving back rubs, leering at girls, calling them sexy, stroking their hands, and remarking on their bodies and sex lives — one account after another in what has become a #MeToo moment focused on experiences in high school.

ed murray wyomingWyoming Tribune Eagle, Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations, Joel Funk, March 1, 2018. Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray resigned Friday following two separate allegations of prior sexual misconduct within two months. Murray made the unexpected announcement through a statement emailed to the media just before the close of business. He said no one asked him to resign.

“After deep and profound contemplation, I am announcing my resignation as secretary of state, effective today,” the statement said. “I step aside with peace and serenity in order that I may fully focus on what is most important in my life: my marriage, my family and my health.” In December, Tatiana Maxwell, a Colorado resident, made allegations on Facebook that Murray assaulted her more than 30 years ago when they worked together at a Cheyenne law firm.

A second accuser, Theresa Sullivan Twiford, the daughter of former Democratic Wyoming Gov. Mike Sullivan, said in a January statement to the Casper Star-Tribune that Murray forcibly kissed her in 1988. Twiford now lives in Virginia. Both women were 18 at the time the alleged incidents took place.

Murray forcefully denied the first allegation and said he could not recall the second alleged incident. It all follows speculation last fall about whether Murray would enter the race to become Wyoming’s next governor. Before the allegations, Murray told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle he was considering a run for governor, but planned to seek re-election as secretary of state should he not pursue higher office.

February

Feb. 26

ivanka trump twitter portrait

Ivanka Trump, the president’s elder daughter (shown in a Twitter photo), was asked in an interview there about the sexual misconduct allegations against her father. She said, “I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Ivanka Trump Calls Question About Father’s Sexual Misconduct ‘Inappropriate,’ Niraj Chokshi, Feb. 26, 2018. Should the women who have accused the president of sexual misconduct be believed? That’s a question that his elder daughter and White House senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, believes she should not be asked.

“I think it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he’s affirmatively stated that there’s no truth to it,” Ms. Trump told the NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander in an interview that aired on NBC’s “Today” on Monday.

Ms. Trump had been in South Korea since Friday, leading the United States delegation at the Winter Olympics. In a wide-ranging interview there on Sunday, Mr. Alexander asked her, “Do you believe your father’s accusers?”

“I don’t think that’s a question you would ask many other daughters,” she said. “I believe my father. I know my father. So, I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father.”

Feb. 23

wayne madsen new observerWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: The GOP (Gross Old Perverts) hit with three sex scandals in 24-hour period, Wayne Madsen (shown at left), Feb. 23, 2018. Within a 24-hour news cycle, three top Republican officials in three states were mired in legal trouble stemming from sex scandals. One, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, was arrested.

Feb. 22

eric greitens mike pence

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a first-term Republican, is shown meeting Vice President Mike Pence in a file photo

washington post logo

Washington Post, Missouri governor indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge after blackmail allegation, Marwa Eltagouri, Feb. 22, 2018. Republican Eric Greitens was taken into custody on charges stemming from a 2015 affair. Greitens previously said he won’t resign, despite calls from numerous Republican and Democratic state lawmakers to do so.

eric greitens oMissouri Gov. Eric Greitens (shown at right) was indicted Thursday afternoon by a St. Louis grand jury on felony invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a nude photo of a woman he had an extramarital affair with in 2015, according to city officials.

Greitens had allegedly threatened to blackmail the woman by saying he would distribute the photo of her if she exposed the relationship. The accusations stem from a secret recording by the woman’s ex-husband published by KMOV in St. Louis, in which the woman is heard describing how Greitens invited her to his home in 2015 and, with her consent, taped her hands to exercise rings, blindfolded her and took photos of her naked.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner launched an investigation in January, after Greitens admitted he had been unfaithful to his wife before he was elected governor in 2016. His lawyer has denied the blackmail accusations.

Despite calls from numerous Republican and Democratic state lawmakers to resign, Greitens has said he has no plans to do so. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo).

Washington Post, Missouri governor indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge after blackmail allegation, Marwa Eltagouri, Feb. 22, 2018. Republican Eric Greitens was taken into custody on charges stemming from a 2015 affair. Greitens previously said he won’t resign, despite calls from numerous Republican and Democratic state lawmakers to do so.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted Thursday afternoon by a St. Louis grand jury on felony invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a nude photo of a woman he had an extramarital affair with in 2015, according to city officials.

Greitens had allegedly threatened to blackmail the woman by saying he would distribute the photo of her if she exposed the relationship. The accusations stem from a secret recording by the woman’s ex-husband published by KMOV in St. Louis, in which the woman is heard describing how Greitens invited her to his home in 2015 and, with her consent, taped her hands to exercise rings, blindfolded her and took photos of her naked.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner launched an investigation in January, after Greitens admitted he had been unfaithful to his wife before he was elected governor in 2016. His lawyer has denied the blackmail accusations. Despite calls from numerous Republican and Democratic state lawmakers to resign, Greitens has said he has no plans to do so.

tom schedler o duties Custom 2

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, a Republican in charge of the state's elections and accused of sexual harassment, is shown above

The Advocate (Baton Rouge New Orleans Acadiana), Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler says he had consensual sex in past with harassment accuser, Joe Gyan Jr., Feb. 22, 2018. Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler is accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed Thursday that claims he repeatedly propositioned an employee over a decade and retaliated against her after she rejected his advances.

The suit says Schedler would send the woman Valentine's Day cards addressed to "My Dearest Sunshine," roses, bottles of wine, clothing and sex tapes, despite her telling him she was not interested in a sexual relationship.

Through a spokeswoman, Schedler said he had a "consensual sexual relationship" with the woman in the past. Jill Craft, the woman's attorney, said that relationship did not happen.

Schedler kept watch over her home after buying a townhouse directly across from her and had her monitored by Secretary of State security personnel, the lawsuit alleges. Schedler obtained her boyfriend's license plate number and had it run, putting the printout on his desk for her to see, along with her boyfriend's business address, according to the suit.

"When she arrived at work, he inquired about why she was engaging in certain activities at her residence, such as planting, engaging in crafts, and painting, and why she had certain visitors at her residence, particularly male visitors," the suit states.

Schedler said in a written statement that his office takes any allegation of sexual harassment "very seriously."

"I have not seen the suit or the specific details but as the father of three grown daughters and three granddaughters I can assure the public that I believe in a safe workplace, free from harassment, and will continue my record of transparency with my constituents," he said.

Schedler added that he and his wife have been living apart for a long time, and that "our friends and family have known of our personal status and have lovingly supported our decision."

Craft said Schedler acknowledged in a communication with the woman that she sent him an email telling him to leave her alone.

"In spite of what he acknowledged as very clear directives from my client …, Mr. Schedler persisted and not only refused to take 'no' for an answer, but punished her for saying 'no,'" Craft said.

nicholas kettle oWPRI-TV 12 (Providence), Facing expulsion, Kettle resigns from Senate, Ted Nesi, Feb. 22, 2018. State Sen. Nicholas Kettle resigned his seat Thursday, forestalling an effort by Senate leaders to expel him from office following his indictment last week. Kettle, the former Republican minority whip, is shown in an official photo at right.

Kettle, R-Coventry, made the announcement in a letter to senators released by one of his attorneys, Priscilla Facha DiMaio, that also criticized Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Senate Republican Leader Dennis Algiere for moving to expel him. DiMaio formally delivered the letter to the State House at 2 p.m. DiMaio and Senate aides were seen clearing out Kettle’s office, and his name was scraped off the door by a custodian shortly thereafter.

See related story: Providence Journal, R.I. senator charged with 2 counts of extorting sex from former State House page, Patrick Anderson and Tom Mooney, Feb. 19, 2018. A grand jury indictment unsealed Monday accuses state Sen. Nicholas Kettle, a 27-year-old Coventry Republican, of twice coercing a Senate student page to have sex with him in 2011, Kettle’s first year in the General Assembly. The indictment accused Kettle of threatening to injure the page or harm his reputation if he did not comply.

The alleged victim was a legislative page in 2011 and 2012, when he was 16 or 17 years old. Legislative pages range in age from 15 to college-age, and run errands for the lawmakers in the State House, including shuttling paperwork and bringing water.

nicholas kettle mug CustomKettle (GOP minority whip and shown in a mug shot) was arrested Friday afternoon at his job in Richmond on a charge of video voyeurism that state police say was a result of him sharing pornographic images of his now ex-girlfriend.

State police also seized more than a dozen mobile phones, computers and hard drives from Kettle’s home and office.Regarding the voyeurism charge, court documents allege that Kettle was exchanging naked pictures of his former girlfriend with a New Hampshire friend. His former girlfriend told investigators she thought the two had known each other for a long time and had initially met in the Boy Scouts. (Kettle is an Eagle Scout.)

The documents allege Kettle’s friend also exchanged with Kettle pictures of his wife. The men talked about swapping partners and videotaping sex acts. Kettle suggested his friend should have sex with him and his girlfriend, the documents allege. The documents also allege that Kettle and his friend exchanged pictures of their genitalia.

usda logo horizontal Custom

Politico, How a black history event at USDA became a ‘Me Too’ moment, Catherine Boudreau, Feb. 22, 2018. Rosetta Davis said she had not planned on publicly sharing what she alleges are the most intimate and painful details of her 16 years working for the Agriculture Department.

But after hearing department officials praise the work environment at USDA during a Black History Month event last week, she said she felt compelled to speak.

“I sat there and I listened, and I became emotional, and I bowed my head and I prayed, and before I knew it, I was on the stage,” a visibly shaken Davis told Politico during an interview Wednesday at her lawyer’s office in Washington.

Before an audience of USDA employees in Jefferson Auditorium at USDA headquarters, Davis said she was fed up by what she described as years of sexual harassment and retaliation by senior management in civil rights offices. She said she had had consensual sex with D. Leon King, a director in the Office of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, in exchange for a promised promotion. Davis also named Brian Garner, director of the Farm Service Agency’s Office of Civil Rights, and several other top officials as contributing to a hostile work environment.

“Don't hide your faces now!” Davis told the audience, adding, “Don't try to stop me from speaking. Why won't anyone do something about this? Can someone please help me?”

Davis, 54, told Politico that the worst abuse occurred after 2008, when she ended consensual relationship she alleged in her civil complaint having with King. She claims she became the target of sexual harassment and retaliation, never received a promotion despite taking on duties performed by employees with a higher pay grade, and was shuffled to different posts within USDA civil rights offices, most recently at the department’s Farm Service Agency. The USDA has filed a motion asking the court to dismiss Davis' lawsuit, and that motion is pending.

A USDA spokesperson said in an email to Politico that the department was “looking into these matters and will address them as appropriate, based on federal personnel and civil rights laws and regulations.” The spokesperson declined to make any of the officials named in the suit available for an interview.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Charter Schools Co-Founder Is Fired Over Abuse Claims, Anemona Hartocollis, Feb. 22, 2018. Michael Feinberg was accused of sexually abusing a female student in the late 1990s. An investigation found the claim credible, though he has denied it.

KIPP, one of the country’s largest and most successful charter school chains, dismissed its co-founder on Thursday after an investigation found credible a claim that he had sexually abused a student some two decades ago, according to a letter sent to the school community.

The co-founder, Michael Feinberg, was accused last spring of sexually abusing a minor female student in Houston in the late 1990s, according to someone with close knowledge of the case who was not authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. An outside investigation found her claim credible after interviewing the student and her mother, who both gave the same sequence of events.

Mr. Feinberg denies the accusation, his lawyer, Christopher L. Tritico, said.

Investigators also uncovered evidence that Mr. Feinberg had sexually harassed two KIPP employees. One case, in 2004, led to a financial settlement, the letter said; the other could not be corroborated because the woman involved would not cooperate, but the letter found it to be credible.

Feb. 20

clarence thomas w new officialABA [American Bar Association] Journal, Woman denies harassment by Justice Thomas amid new #MeToo reporting; he decries victim culture, Debra Cassens Weiss, Feb. 20, 2018. The spotlight is once again on allegations of sexual harassment by Justice Clarence Thomas (shown in an official photo) before he joined the U.S. Supreme Court.

New York magazine has a report on the women who were not called to testify against Thomas during his confirmation hearings, while one of those women calls for Thomas’ impeachment in an opinion piece for the Huffington Post. The National Law Journal summarizes the Feb. 18 New York magazine report and calls attention to another woman who alleged in 2016 that Thomas groped her at a dinner party in 1999.

New York magazine also tells of reported allegations by a then-reporter at the Bureau of National Affairs to a friend that Thomas had made sexual comments to her. New York magazine said that the now-retired reporter, Nancy Montwieler, didn’t deny the allegations prior to the story’s publication. But she did after the fact in emails to both New York magazine and the National Law Journal.

“I knew Clarence Thomas in a professional capacity and never experienced any type of inappropriate behavior from him,” she wrote in an email to the National Law Journal. “Moreover, despite allegations in the article, I do not recall any conversations with Justice Thomas regarding inappropriate or nonprofessional subjects.”

Thomas, through a spokesperson, declined to comment to New York magazine and the National Law Journal; and a Supreme Court spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the National Law Journal.

anita hillThe most famous allegations against Thomas were made during the confirmation hearings by Anita Hill (shown in a file photo), who said Thomas had made sexual comments to her when she worked with him at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thomas denied the allegations and complained that the confirmation hearing was “a high-tech lynching.”

The Huffington Post article is by Angela Wright-Shannon, described by New York magazine as an accuser who would have been the most devastating witness against Thomas. Then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden told Teen Vogue in December that he regrets not being able to “tone down the attacks” on Hill, and said he wasn’t able to persuade three women to testify against Thomas after they changed their minds about appearing at the last minute.

New York magazine reports that the women wanted to testify, or would have testified if subpoenaed.

In the Huffington Post article, Wright-Shannon says that, after learning she was willing to testify, some members of the Senate Judiciary Committee went on the attack, characterizing her as “as a revengeful, foul-mouthed incompetent seizing an opportunity to strike back at the boss who had fired her.” Wright-Shannon had worked as director of public affairs at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before becoming a metro editor at the Charlotte Observer, and she noted that Thomas had provided a recommendation for her for that newspaper job.

“It’s highly unlikely that Thomas will be impeached, but we can hope,” Wright-Shannon wrote. The New York magazine article also asserted that it’s time to consider impeachment.

“Not because he watched porn on his own time, of course,” says the article written by Jill Abramson, who wrote a book on the Thomas confirmation hearings. “Not because he talked about it with a female colleague—although our understanding of the real workplace harm that kind of sexual harassment does to women has evolved dramatically in the years since, thanks in no small part to those very hearings. Nor is it even because he routinely violated the norms of good workplace behavior, in a way that seemed especially at odds with the elevated office he was seeking. It’s because of the lies he told, repeatedly and under oath, saying he had never talked to Hill about porn or to other women who worked with him about risqué subject matter.”

usda logo horizontal Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, USDA staffer shocks agency with public admission about sex for promotion, Joe Davidson, Feb. 20, 2018. The event at the Agriculture Department’s headquarters started like many others honoring Black History Month, but no one imagined how it would end. Rosetta Davis was among the employees listening to the program on Thursday, but she wasn’t like the others. She couldn’t take the talk about USDA being a good place to work. The emotional toll of sexual harassment and feeling her agency didn’t care could no longer be contained.

At one point during the program, which employees said was televised to department facilities across the country, Davis unexpectedly took the stage and alleged to her colleagues in emotional and specific terms how she was sexually harassed on the job. She described how a supervisor, whom she named, offered to give her a promotion to grade GS-13 in exchange for sex.

usda headquarters CustomThe supervisor and others are named in a lawsuit she filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Davis alleges USDA managers retaliated against her because of her equal employment complaints against the agency and her involvement in an investigation of whistleblower complaints involving the department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. (The Department's headquarters is shown at left in a file photo.)

Davis acknowledged she submitted to the supervisor’s advances in hopes of getting promoted. “I agreed to the sex,” she said in an interview.

Shortly after the program, she received a letter placing her on paid administrative leave. She was told not to use any agency facilities, not even voice mail. Furthermore, the letter added, “you and your family or close associates are prohibited from contacting any USDA employees at work or at home, to discuss any matters associated with your employment with USDA.”

Curiously, the letter indicates Davis was not placed on leave because of what she did but, apparently, because of what she might do.

sonny perdue“This action is not a disciplinary action, rather is taken as a precautionary measure pending further review of occurrences in the workplace on February 15, 2018,” said the letter from Thomas A. Mulhern, USDA’s director of human resources.

The notion that the leave is not a disciplinary action is “a joke,” contended Yaida Ford, Davis’s lawyer with Ford Law Pros in the District. “It’s clearly punitive in nature, and it’s retaliatory in nature.” The current Secretary of Agriculture is Sonny Purdue, a former Georgia governor named by President Trump lat year and shown at right.

Feb. 19

washington post logorachel crooks cnnWashington Post, Trump accuser keeps telling her story, hoping someone will finally listen, Carolyn Van Houten, Feb. 19, 2018. She believed her best chance to be heard was through sheer repetition, so Rachel Crooks took her seat at the dining table and prepared to tell the story again. She was used to difficult audiences, to skeptics and Internet trolls who flooded her Facebook page with threats, but this was a generous crowd: a dozen women, all friends of her aunt, gathered for a casual dinner party on a Friday night. The hostess turned off the music, clanked a fork against her wineglass and gestured to Crooks. “Would you mind telling us about the famous incident?” she asked. “Not the sound-bite version, but the real version.”

“The real version,” Crooks said, nodding back. She took a sip of water and folded a napkin onto her lap.

“It all happened at Trump Tower,” she said. “I had just moved to New York, and I was working as a secretary for another company in the building. That’s where he forced himself on me.”

Crooks, 35, had been publicly reliving this story for much of the past two years, ever since she first described it in an email to the New York Times several months before the 2016 election. “I don’t know if people will really care about this or if this will matter at all,” she had written then, and after Donald Trump’s election she had repeated her story at the Women’s March, on the “Today” show and at a news conference organized by women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred. Crooks had spoken to people dressed in #MeToo sweatshirts and to her rural neighbors whose yards were decorated with Trump signs. In early February, she launched a campaign to become a Democratic state representative in Ohio, in part so she could share her story more widely with voters across the state. And yet, after dozens of retellings, she still wasn’t sure: Did people really care? Did it matter at all?

Despite her story, and the similar stories of more than a dozen other women, nothing had changed. Trump, who had denied all of the accusations, was still president of the United States, and Crooks was still circling back to the same moments on Jan. 11, 2006, that had come to define so much about her life.

Providence Journal, R.I. senator charged with 2 counts of extorting sex from former State House page, Patrick Anderson and Tom Mooney, Feb. 19, nicholas kettle mug Custom2018. A grand jury indictment unsealed Monday accuses state Sen. Nicholas Kettle, a 27-year-old Coventry Republican, of twice coercing a Senate student page to have sex with him in 2011, Kettle’s first year in the General Assembly. The indictment accused Kettle (the GOP minority whip, shown in a mug shot)of threatening to injure the page or harm his reputation if he did not comply.

The alleged victim was a legislative page in 2011 and 2012, when he was 16 or 17 years old. Legislative pages range in age from 15 to college-age, and run errands for the lawmakers in the State House, including shuttling paperwork and bringing water. (Editor's note: This story is excerpted more fully on Feb. 22 in a report on the senator's resignation.)

Feb. 18

clarence thomas w new officialNew York Magazine, Do You Believe Her Now? Jill Abramson, Feb. 18, 2018. It’s time to reexamine the evidence that Clarence Thomas (shown at right) lied to get onto the Supreme Court — and to talk seriously about impeachment.

In the same fall night in 2016 that the infamous Access Hollywood tape featuring Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault was made public by the Washington Post and dominated the news, an Alaska attorney, Moira Smith, wrote on Facebook about her own experiences as a victim of sexual misconduct in 1999.

“At the age of 24, I found out I’d be attending a dinner at my boss’s house with Justice Clarence Thomas,” she began her post, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court justice who was famously accused of sexually harassing Anita Hill, a woman who had worked for him at two federal agencies, including the EEOC, the federal sexual-harassment watchdog.

“I was so incredibly excited to meet him, rough confirmation hearings notwithstanding,” Smith continued. “He was charming in many ways — giant, booming laugh, charismatic, approachable. But to my complete shock, he groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should ‘sit right next to him.’ When I feebly explained I’d been assigned to the other table, he groped again … ‘Are you sure?’ I said I was and proceeded to keep my distance.” Smith had been silent for 17 years but, infuriated by the “Grab ’em by the pussy” utterings of a presidential candidate, could keep quiet no more.

Tipped to the post by a Maryland legal source who knew Smith, Marcia Coyle, a highly regarded and scrupulously nonideological Supreme Court reporter for The National Law Journal, wrote a detailed story about Smith’s allegation of butt-squeezing, which included corroboration from Smith’s roommates at the time of the dinner and from her former husband. Coyle’s story, which Thomas denied, was published October 27, 2016. If you missed it, that’s because this news was immediately buried by a much bigger story — the James Comey letter reopening the Hillary Clinton email probe.

Smith, who has since resumed her life as a lawyer and isn’t doing any further interviews about Thomas, was on the early edge of #MeToo. Too early, perhaps: In the crescendo of recent sexual-harassment revelations, Thomas’s name has been surprisingly muted.

Perhaps that is a reflection of the conservative movement’s reluctance, going back decades, to inspect the rot in its power structure, even as its pundits and leaders have faced allegations of sexual misconduct. (Liberals of the present era — possibly in contrast to those of, say, the Bill Clinton era — have been much more ready to cast out from power alleged offenders, like Al Franken.)

clarence thomasBut that relative quiet about Justice Thomas (shown at left early in his career on the bench) was striking to me. After all, the Hill-Thomas conflagration was the first moment in American history when we collectively, truly grappled with sexual harassment....

But it’s well worth inspecting, in part as a case study, in how women’s voices were silenced at the time by both Republicans and Democrats and as an illustration of what’s changed — and hasn’t — in the past 27 years (or even the last year)....

But, most of all, because Thomas, as a crucial vote on the Supreme Court, holds incredible power over women’s rights, workplace, reproductive, and otherwise. His worldview, with its consistent objectification of women, is the one that’s shaping the contours of what’s possible for women in America today, more than that of just about any man alive, save for his fellow justices.

And given the evidence that’s come out in the years since, it’s also time to raise the possibility of impeachment. Not because he watched porn on his own time, of course....It’s because of the lies he told, repeatedly and under oath, saying he had never talked to Hill about porn or to other women who worked with him about risqué subject matter.

Lying is, for lawyers, a cardinal sin. State disciplinary committees regularly institute proceedings against lawyers for knowingly lying in court, with punishments that can include disbarment. Since 1989, three federal judges have been impeached and forced from office for charges that include lying. The idea of someone so flagrantly telling untruths to ascend to the highest legal position in the U.S. remains shocking, in addition to its being illegal. (Thomas, through a spokesperson, declined to comment on a detailed list of queries.)

Thomas’s lies not only undermined Hill but also isolated her. It was her word versus his — when it could have been her word, plus several other women’s, which would have made for a different media narrative and a different calculation for senators. As the present moment has taught us, women who come forward alongside other women are more likely to be believed (unfair as that might be). There were four women who wanted to testify, or would have if subpoenaed, to corroborate aspects of Hill’s story. My new reporting shows that there is at least one more who didn’t come forward. Their “Me Too” voices were silenced.

New York Times, The Toll Since Sandy Hook: More than 400 People Short, In Over 200 School Shootings, Jugal K. Patel, Feb. 16, 2018. When a gunman killed 20 first graders and six adults with an assault rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, it rattled Newtown, Conn., and reverberated across the world.

Feb. 16

new yorker logoThe New Yorker, Donald Trump, a Playboy Model, and a System for Concealing Infidelity, Ronan Farrow, Feb. 16, 2018. One woman’s account of clandestine meetings, financial transactions, and legal pacts designed to hide an extramarital affair,

In June, 2006, Donald Trump taped an episode of his reality-television show, “The Apprentice,” at the Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles. Hugh Hefner, Playboy’s publisher, threw a pool party for the show’s contestants with dozens of current and former Playmates, including Karen McDougal, a slim brunette who had been named Playmate of the Year, eight years earlier. In 2001, the magazine’s readers voted her runner-up for “Playmate of the ’90s,” behind Pamela Anderson. At the time of the party, Trump had been married to the Slovenian model Melania Knauss for less than two years; their son, Barron, was a few months old. Trump seemed uninhibited by his new family obligations. McDougal later wrote that Trump “immediately took a liking to me, kept talking to me - telling me how beautiful I was, etc. It was so obvious that a Playmate Promotions exec said, ‘Wow, he was all over you - I think you could be his next wife.’ ”

karen mcdougal playboyTrump and McDougal began an affair, which McDougal later memorialized in an eight-page, handwritten document provided to The New Yorker by John Crawford, a friend of McDougal’s. When I showed McDougal the document, she expressed surprise that I had obtained it but confirmed that the handwriting was her own.

The interactions that McDougal outlines in the document share striking similarities with the stories of other women who claim to have had sexual relationships with Trump, or who have accused him of propositioning them for sex or sexually harassing them. McDougal describes their affair as entirely consensual. But her account provides a detailed look at how Trump and his allies used clandestine hotel-room meetings, payoffs, and complex legal agreements to keep affairs — sometimes multiple affairs he carried out simultaneously — out of the press.

On November 4, 2016, four days before the election, the Wall Street Journal reported that American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, had paid a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for exclusive rights to McDougal’s story, which it never ran. Purchasing a story in order to bury it is a practice that many in the tabloid industry call “catch and kill.” This is a favorite tactic of the C.E.O. and chairman of A.M.I., David Pecker, who describes the President as “a personal friend.” As part of the agreement, A.M.I. consented to publish a regular aging-and-fitness column by McDougal. After Trump won the Presidency, however, A.M.I.’s promises largely went unfulfilled, according to McDougal.

McDougal, in her first on-the-record comments about A.M.I.’s handling of her story, declined to discuss the details of her relationship with Trump, for fear of violating the agreement she reached with the company. She did say, however, that she regretted signing the contract. “It took my rights away,” McDougal told me. “At this point I feel I can’t talk about anything without getting into trouble, because I don’t know what I’m allowed to talk about. I’m afraid to even mention his name.”

djt Karen McDougal Donald Trump youtube

The New Yorker reports that Karen McDougal, shown in a photo drawn from YouTube with President Trump, was paid $150,000 by American Media, Inc., for her story about an affair with the married future president Trump in 2006

washington post logoWashington Post, Salacious new claims surface about a Trump affair and alleged coverup, Beth Reinhard, Frances Stead Sellers and Alice Crites, Feb. 16, 2018. President Trump’s alleged extramarital affairs attracted fresh attention Friday amid new claims about a nine-month relationship with a former Playboy centerfold who was reportedly paid $150,000 by a tabloid publisher who never ran her story.

karen mcdougal playboyThe alleged liaison with 1998 “Playmate of the Year” Karen McDougal was described in an article in the New Yorker. It is said to have included a July 2006 sexual encounter during a Lake Tahoe celebrity golf tournament where two adult film stars also claim Trump made sexual advances.

The Wall Street Journal had previously reported that McDougal was paid by American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, for the exclusive rights to her story. The New Yorker article contained new details about the alleged affair, as well as what it said were months-long negotiations with AMI during the 2016 campaign.

The White House declined to comment. Keith Davidson, the attorney who the magazine said orchestrated the payment during the 2016 campaign, also represents Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, one of the porn stars who also claims to have been with Trump at the golf tournament.

Feb. 15

Justice Integrity Project, New information emerges in "Maria" Trump story, Wayne Madsen and Andrew Kreig, Feb. 15, 2018.New information has emerged in the joint Wayne Madsen Report / Justice Integrity Project investigation of the "Maria" case: Maria was temporarily held for ransom in 1993, according to witnesses speaking to police.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Shifting Stories on Porter Prolong Crisis for White House, Peter Baker, Feb. 15, 2018. The rule of thumb for crisis communications is to get the facts out quickly. But President Trump’s White House has thrown out the rule book in its handling of the resignation of Rob Porter, the staff secretary who was accused of abuse.

ny times logoNew York Times, Riding an Untamed Horse: Priebus Opens Up on Serving Trump, Peter Baker, Feb. 15, 2018. Reince Priebus, the president’s first White House chief of staff, said his tenure was even more arduous than outsiders knew. “Take everything you’ve heard and multiply it by 50,” he writes in a new book.

washington post logochristopher wray officialWashington Post, White House reslsts as FBI director rebuts Porter timeline, Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey, Feb. 15, 2018 (print edition). FBI Director Christopher A. Wray’s direct contradiction of the White House’s official version of how it handled domestic violence allegations against senior aide Rob Porter plunged the West Wing into a deeper bout of infighting and heightened the uncertainty about Chief of Staff John Kelly’s future in the administration.

Wray is shown at right above in his official photo and below at left in a Justice Department photo at his swearing in ceremony on Aug. 2, 2017. With him was his wife, Holly Howell, and Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions.

christopher wray helen howell aug 2 2017 doj photo cropped

trey gowdy SmallRoll Call, Gowdy Launches Oversight Investigation Into Rob Porter Scandal, Griffin Connolly, Feb 15, 2018 (print edition). ‘How in the Hell was he still employed?’ House Oversight Committee chairman asks. The House Committee on Oversight and Government reform has launched an investigation into the White House’s handling of senior aide Rob Porter, who was not issued a permanent security clearance due to allegations of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives.

“Who knew what, when, and to what extent? Those are the questions that I think ought to be asked,” the committee’s chairman, GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina(shown above right) said Wednesday on CNN.

Shown below is a catalog of recent news stories reporting on allegations of harassment, domestic violence or sexual assault and/or sex-related blackmail and extortion. The reports are listed in reverse chronological order, and are drawn primarily from U.S.-based claims of scandal within high-level government and business circles, including the media and entertainment.

The Justice Integrity Project has initiated this project in part because of the prevalence of such problems and their harms, and in part because the scandals (particularly in the case of government officials who rely on public images of "family values") create strong incentives for blackmail and extortion secretly affecting a full range of government actions. These government decisions potentially affect almost everyone, including those living outside of the United States.

washington post logojennifer rubin twitterWashington Post, Trump and Pence made peculiar statements on Wednesday. You should listen closely, Jennifer Rubin (shown at right), Feb. 15, 2018 (video). Over a week after the Rob Porter scandal broke, President Trump felt obliged to issue a statement.

What came out was the most grudging, nonspecific utterance you could imagine. Indeed, he sounded resentful in having to address the issue at all. “I’m totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that. And it almost wouldn’t even have to be said. So, now you hear it, but you all know.” Everyone knows that. But, until now, we had not heard the president say it. What was more revealing was that he did not say any of the following:

  • I won’t tolerate any abuser in my administration.
  • We must encourage women to come forward and believe them when they do.
  • I believe Rob Porter’s ex-wives.
  • We should not have people with a history of spousal abuse in high government positions.

Nope, he didn’t express any of these sentiments, which in any other administration would never be questioned. Trump, however, has a troubling past.

Feb. 13

djt rob porter famous mormons Custom

On June 1, White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, 40, assists President Trump with Vice President Pence (r) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

ny times logochristopher wray cropped SmallNew York Times, F.B.I. Contradicts White House on Porter Timeline, Michael D. Shear, Feb. 13, 2018. Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, contradicted on Tuesday the White House timeline about the domestic abuse scandal involving Rob Porter, the president’s former staff secretary. Mr. Wray (shown in a file photo) said that the bureau delivered to the White House a partial report on problems in Mr. Porter’s background in March, months earlier than the White House has admitted receiving the information.

Mr. Porter, one of President Trump’s top aides, was forced to resign last week after allegations of abuse by his two ex-wives were made public, sparking a week of shifting explanations by White House officials about who knew about Mr. Porter’s past and when they knew it.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Wray did not disclose the contents of the bureau’s inquiry. But he said that after the partial report in March, the F.B.I. gave the White House “a completed background investigation” in late July. He said the bureau received a request for a “follow-up inquiry” and provided more information about Mr. Porter’s background to the White House in November.

Related story: washington post logofbi logoWashington Post, FBI followed protocol in security clearance for ex-White House aide, director says, Ellen Nakashima and Shane Harris​, Feb. 13, 2018.​ Bureau Director Christopher A. Wray's testimony before a Senate panel comes as the White House tries to deflect criticism over its handling of a security clearance for senior aide, Rob Porter, who stepped down last week after being accused of spousal abuse.

At the same hearing, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats testified that he expects Russia will continue to use propaganda, false personas and other tactics to undermine this year’s midterm elections.

colbie holderness rob porter Custom

Images of Colbie Holderness after an alleged incident with her then-husband Rob Porter in the early 2000s. (Courtesy of Colbie Holderness)

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Rob Porter is my ex-husband. Here’s what you should know about abuse, Colbie Holderness, Feb. 13, 2018 (print edition). .Colbie Holderness was the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that she has no reason not to believe statements that Jennifer Willoughby and I have made about our ex-husband, former White House aide Rob Porter. I actually appreciated her saying that she at least did not not believe us.

rob porter fileBut I was dismayed when Conway, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” went on to say that she does not fear for White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who has reportedly been dating Porter (shown at right). “I’ve rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts.”

Borrowing Conway’s words, I have no reason not to believe her when she says that Hicks is a strong woman. But her statement implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong. I beg to differ.

Recognizing and surviving in an abusive relationship take strength. The abuse can be terrifying, life-threatening and almost constant. Or it can ebb and flow, with no violence for long periods. It’s often the subtler forms of abuse that inflict serious, persistent damage while making it hard for the victim to see the situation clearly.

For me, living in constant fear of Rob’s anger and being subjected to his degrading tirades for years chipped away at my independence and sense of self-worth. I walked away from that relationship a shell of the person I was when I went into it, but it took me a long time to realize the toll that his behavior was taking on me. (Rob has denied the abuse, but Willoughby and I know what happened.)

Telling others about the abuse takes strength. Talking to family, friends, clergy, counselors and, later, the FBI, I would often find myself struggling to find the words to convey an adequate picture of the situation. When Rob’s now ex-girlfriend reached out to both Willoughby and me, she described her relationship in terms we each found familiar, immediately following up her description with “Am I crazy?” Boy, I could identify with that question.

Then there is the just-as-serious issue of being believed and supported by those you choose to tell. Sometimes people don’t believe you. Sometimes they have difficulty truly understanding what you are trying to tell them. Both Willoughby and I raised our cases with clergy. Both of us had a hard time getting them to fully address the abuse taking place. It wasn’t until I spoke to a professional counselor that I was met with understanding.

washington post logojennifer rubin twitterWashington Post, Opinion: Kelly needs to come clean, Jennifer Rubin (shown at right), Feb. 13, 2018.​ Now it appears that for days Chief of Staff John F. Kelly (below left) and his subordinates misled the American people, and perhaps the president, in making it appear that john kelly o dhsRob Porter still had the potential to be granted a final clearance.

This is false, raising the question as to why, knowing that he could not qualify for such a clearance, Porter would be kept on and given continued access (we presume) to top classified material.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Sarah Huckabee Sanders is at her worst at a strange time — when she’s talking about respect for women, Margaret Sullivan, Feb. 13, 2018.​  A briefing on Monday showed the press secretary's trademark disrespect for reporters and represented a new rock bottom from the podium at the Trump White House. And that is really saying something.

sarah huckabee sanders screenshotAnd that is really saying something, given the lying-from-day-one reign of Sean Spicer, along with Sanders’s own fulsome history of dissembling, and the 10-day flameout of Anthony Scaramucci last summer.

With her dismissive gestures, her curled-lip sneers, her ready insults and guilt-free lies, Sanders is a conduit — a tool — for Trump’s own abusive relationship with journalists. Does it really make sense to keep coming back for more?

Law, Politics Around the Nation: A Young Siegelman Runs In Alabama

Feb. 12

jennie willoughby nbc today tease

Jennifer Willoughby, shown above right, in an NBC News interview

washington post logojennifer rubin twitterWashington Post, Opinion: Trump has chosen the wrong women to demean, Jennifer Rubin (shown at right), Feb. 12, 2018. Jennie Willoughby, an ex-wife of disgraced former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, has had quite enough of Trump’s routine. In response to his Saturday tweet whining that men’s lives are being “shattered” when their abusers step forward (“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false.....There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”), Willoughby writes:

The words “mere allegation” and “falsely accused” meant to imply that I am a liar. That Colbie Holderness is a liar. That the work Rob was doing in the White House was of higher value than our mental, emotional or physical wellbeing. That his professional contributions are worth more than the truth. That abuse is something to be questioned and doubted. . . .

I think the issue here is deeper than whether Trump, or General John Kelly, or Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or Senator Orrin Hatch, or Hope Hicks, or whether anyone else believes me or defends Rob. Society as a whole has a fear of addressing our worst secrets. (Just ask any African-American citizen). It’s as if we have a societal blind spot that creates an obstacle to understanding. Society as a whole doesn’t acknowledge the reality of abuse.

Columnist Rubin, continued: Trump and his defenders make a grave error in making this a battle between Trump, who a large majority of Americans think is dishonest, and victimized women. His devoted cult may take his side, although judging from my interactions with Republican women loyalists, some are becoming more and more agitated and frustrated that their spinning isn’t working and that they are being placed in the position of defending the indefensible. (Tip: You put yourselves there. Stop doing it.) What Trump is doing is summoning once again an army of women and fighting against a cultural tide, far deeper and wider than a political “issue.”

KFOR via Yahoo! Former Oklahoma Police Officer Accused Of Raping 13-Year-Old Girl, Staff report, Feb. 12, 2018. A former Oklahoma police officer is accused of raping a teenage girl numerous times and even threatening the girl and her family if she told anyone about the crime.

Feb. 11

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Appears to Doubt #MeToo Movement in Tweet, Mark Landler, Feb. 11, 2018 (print edition). After the resignations of two aides facing claims of domestic violence, Mr. Trump said that “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.” President Trump thrust himself into the national debate over sexual misconduct on Saturday, asserting that “a mere allegation” could destroy the lives of those accused, as his own White House was engulfed by charges of abusive behavior.

Mr. Trump, in an early morning Twitter post, appeared to be defending two of his aides who resigned this past week after facing claims of domestic violence.

“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” he wrote. “Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

The statement echoed Mr. Trump’s dismissive response to allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse made over decades against male friends, colleagues and, above all, himself.

kellyanne conway fox aug.28 2016HuffPost, Conway Defends Trump Response To Abuse Allegations Against Ex-Aide, Kate Sheppard, Feb. 11, 2018. The president, she says, believes “you have to consider all sides.”

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway (shown in a file screenshot) said she has “no reason not to believe the women” who accused staff secretary Rob Porter of domestic violence ― but then defended President Donald Trump, who has suggested that the allegations might not be true.

“This Week” host George Stephanopoulos asked Conway about a tweet from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) arguing that congressional hearings should be held for the women who have accused Trump of assault or abuse.

“Those accusers have had their day on your network and elsewhere for a long time,” Conway said. “I don’t need a lecture from Kirsten Gillibrand.”

Feb. 10

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On Feb. 10, 2018, the New York Daily News published a cover story showing Colbie Holderness, a beaten wife of future Trump Staff Secretary Rob Porter

ny times logoNew York Times, G.O.P. Squirms as Trump Veers Off Script With Abuse Remarks, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, Feb. 10, 2018. Tax cuts and economic growth appear to be improving the party’s political position, but President Trump can’t stop antagonizing voters, especially women. He appeared to ignore victims of sexual abuse and express doubts about the #MeToo movement, saying, “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”

djt official portraitSaturday was a case in point. In a Twitter post, Mr. Trump appeared to raise doubts about the entire #MeToo movement, a day after he had offered sympathy for a former aide accused of spousal abuse.

“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” the president wrote on Twitter, adding: “There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

On Friday, the president had jumped into the controversy over the former aide, Rob Porter, who is accused by two former wives of physical and emotional abuse, defending him and offering no denunciation even for the idea of assaulting women. Mr. Trump, who himself has been accused of exual misconduct, focused instead on Mr. Porter, saying that he was enduring a “tough time.”

The president’s seeming indifference to claims of abuse infuriated Republicans, who were already confronting a surge of activism from Democratic women driven to protest, raise money and run for office because of their fervent opposition to Mr. Trump.

tim nolan mugNew York Daily News, Trump-backing former judge pleads guilty to human trafficking charges, Jessica Schladebeck, Feb. 10, 2018 (print edition). A Trump-supporting Kentucky man who previously served as a district judge pleaded guilty to a slew of crimes on Friday, including human trafficking.

Tim Nolan (shown in his mug shot), the self-proclaimed chair of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in Campbell County, could face up to 20 years behind bars for felony charges that also include promoting human trafficking of minors and unlawful transaction with minors, according to a press release from the Kentucky attorney general’s office.

The 70-year-old former judge was arrested in April and was later indicted on 28 felony counts and a pair of misdemeanor charges. As part of a plea agreement, Nolan pleaded guilty to 21 of those charges, which involved 19 victims. He’s also required to pay a $110,000 fine — the bulk of which will be donated to the Human Trafficking Victims fund established by state Lawmakers in 2013.

Nolan’s indictment rattled his small Kentucky community, where he worked as a district judge until 1985. He was well-known in Campbell County as an outspoken member of the Tea Party and enthusiastic Trump backer.

Sunday Guardian (Sri Lanka), Larry Nassar and The Unbelievable National Security Problem, Lori Handrahan, Feb. 10, 2018. Dr. Lori Handrahan has worked on gender discrimination and sexual exploitation as a university professor and humanitarian for over twenty years. Her most recent book is "Epidemic: America’s Trade in Child Rape."

Feb. 9

ny times logoNew York Times, Kelly Is Now Center of the Storm He Was Hired to Tame, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Feb. 9, 2018. President Trump is calling the chief of staff he pushed out, Reince Priebus, to complain about John Kelly (shown at right), the chief of staff who took Mr. Priebus’s place.

See also, washington post logoWashington Post, Kelly offers account of Porter exit that some White House aides consider untrue, Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey, Feb. 9, 2018. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Friday morning instructed senior staff to communicate a version of events about the departure of staff secretary Rob Porter that contradicts the Trump administration’s previous accounts, according to two senior officials.

During a staff meeting, Kelly told those in attendance to say he took action to remove Porter within 40 minutes of learning abuse allegations from two ex-wives were credible, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because discussions in such meetings are supposed to be confidential.

“He told the staff he took immediate and direct action,” one of the officials said, adding that people after the meeting expressed disbelief with one another and felt his latest account was not true.

That version of events contradicts both the public record and accounts from numerous other White House officials in recent days as the Porter drama unfolded. Kelly — who first learned of the domestic violence allegations against Porter months ago — issued a glowing statement of support for Porter’s personal character after the allegations first surfaced publicly Tuesday and privately urged him to remain on the job until the next day when his resignation was announced.

nbc news logoNBC Today, Rob Porter’s ex-wife Jennifer Willoughby: He was ‘verbally and emotionally abusive,’ Staff report, Feb. 9, 2018. (6:18 min. video). Joining TODAY live, Jennifer Willoughby, an ex-wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, describes him pulling her out of the shower during an argument as well as “attacks on my character and intelligence.” She says that “of course” she believes the allegations of physical abuse by Porter made by his first wife, Colbie Holderness, and says there was no coordination between her and Holderness.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Praises Top Adviser Accused of Abusing Ex-Wives, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, Feb. 9, 2018. “We wish him well,” President Trump said, as a nearly all-male top White House staff appears to have looked the other way about allegations against the disgraced adviser, Rob Porter.

President Trump on Friday praised Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary who resigned on Wednesday amid spousal abuse allegations, saying it was a “tough time” for the disgraced former aide and noting that Mr. Porter had denied the accusations.

“We wish him well,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Porter, who was accused of physical and emotional abuse by two ex-wives. The president added, “As you probably know, he says he is innocent.”

“He worked very hard,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. He said he had only “recently” learned of the allegations against Mr. Porter and was surprised.

“He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and he will have a great career ahead of him,” Mr. Trump said. “But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now.”

The glowing praise of a staff member accused of serial violence against women was in line with the president’s own denials of sexual impropriety despite accusations from more than a dozen women and his habit of accepting claims of innocence from men facing similar allegations. Among them was Roy Moore, the former Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, who is accused of molesting teenage girls.Continue reading the main story

Mr. Trump’s comments came as a new timeline emerged indicating that top officials knew much earlier than previously disclosed that Mr. Porter faced accusations of violence against women.

david sorensen

washington post logoWashington Post, Second White House official departs amid abuse allegations, which he denies, Elise Viebeck​, Feb. 9, 2018. The abrupt departure of speechwriter David Sorensen (shown above at the White House) comes after his former wife claimed that he was violent and emotionally abusive during their turbulent two-and-a-half-year marriage — allegations that he vehemently denied.

A White House speechwriter resigned Friday after his former wife claimed that he was violent and emotionally abusive during their turbulent 2½ -year marriage — allegations that he vehemently denied, saying she was the one who victimized him.

The abrupt departure of David Sorensen, a speechwriter who worked under senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, came as The Washington Post was reporting on a story about abuse claims by his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett. Corbett told The Post that she described his behavior to the FBI last fall as the bureau was conducting a background check of Sorensen.

White House officials said they learned of the accusations by Sorensen’s wife Thursday night, before The Post contacted the White House for comment.

Corbett first contacted The Post a week before Porter’s case became public. She said that during her marriage to Sorensen, he ran a car over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat in remote waters off Maine’s coast, an incident she said left her fearing for her life. During part of their marriage, he was a top policy adviser to Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage.

She said she did not report her abuse allegations to police because of Sorensen’s connections to law enforcement officials.

Corbett said several of the incidents involved alcohol and acknowledged that she slapped Sorensen a number of times after he called her a vulgar term.

washington post logoWashington Post, Breaking with tradition, Trump skips president’s written intelligence report and relies on oral briefings, Carol D. Leonnig, Shane Harris and Greg Jaffe, Feb. 9, 2018. For much of the past year, President Trump has declined to participate in a practice followed by the past seven of his predecessors: He rarely if ever reads the President’s Daily Brief, a document that lays out the most pressing information collected by U.S. intelligence agencies from hot spots around the world.

cia logoTrump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings. Reading the traditionally dense intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The arrangement underscores Trump’s impatience with exhaustive classified documents that go to the commander in chief — material that he has said he prefers condensed as much as possible. But by not reading the daily briefing, the president could hamper his ability to respond to crises in the most effective manner, intelligence experts warned.

Feb. 8

Rob Porter's ex-wife Jennie Willoughby told The Post in an interview that the White House aide was abusive during their marriage. (Dalton Bennett/The Washington Post)

washington post logojohn kelly o dhsWashington Post, The White House’s Rob Porter debacle is a sign of incompetence or hubris — or both, Aaron Blake, Feb. 8, 2018 (6:15 min. video). “Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor, and I can't say enough good things about him,” White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly said in an initial statement Tuesday about allegations that the top White House aide had abused an ex-wife.

By Wednesday afternoon, Porter resigned amid allegations that he had abused another ex-wife, who produced photographs of her black eye. And Kelly was suddenly “shocked.”

“I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter. There is no place for domestic violence in our society,” Kelly said. But, he added: “I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming chief of staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation.”

Kelly was the man brought in to restore order to a White House in chaos. The Porter controversy has displayed once again how rudderless the West Wing remains.

It would be one thing for the White House to keep its powder dry as Porter faced allegations — to say what Kelly said at the end of his Wednesday statement: That “every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation.” The RNC recently has said it would let an investigation play out before returning money raised by its now-resigned former finance chair, Steve Wynn, who faces multiple sexual assault allegations.

Feb. 7

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On June 1, White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, 40, assists President Trump with Vice President Pence (r) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

Daily Mail Online, Hope Hicks' new boyfriend Rob Porter RESIGNS from White House after BOTH ex-wives accuse him of abuse -- including one who told DailyMail.com that he CHOKED and PUNCHED her, Feb. 7, 2018. Rob Porter has resigned from his role as White House staff secretary after a series of DailyMail.com revelations about violence towards his ex-wives.

Rob Porter has resigned from his role as White House staff secretary after his first ex-wife told DailyMail.com that he choked and punched her during their marriage.

Colbie Holderness, 37, who is a senior analyst for the U.S. government, spoke on the record to DailyMail.com about her five-year marriage to Porter, detailing physical and mental abuse.

She said he broke down her confidence so badly with his verbal and emotional abuse that she took an extended leave of absence from grad school.

Holderness's revelations follow DailyMail.com's exclusive interview on Tuesday evening with Porter's second wife, Jennifer Willoughby.

She told how Porter, 40, once dragged her wet and naked out of the shower and was verbally abusive, calling her a f***ing b***h' on their honeymoon.

The White House initially gave Porter its full support. But just hours after the second set of revelations, Porter resigned while still protesting his innocence.

'These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,' Porter said in a statement Wednesday. 'I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.

'My commitment to public service speaks for itself. I have always put duty to country first and treated others with respect. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Trump Administration and will seek to ensure a smooth transition when I leave the White House.'

Colbie Holderness married Porter in June 2003 at New College Chapel in Oxford, England where Porter was attending as a Rhodes scholar. Holderness, 37, who is a senior analyst for the U.S. government, spoke on the record to DailyMail.com about her five-year marriage following the on-the-record allegations by Rob Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby.

hope hicks strategic communications directorPorter, 40, has been described as one of the most important players in Trump's daily Oval Office orbit, and helped him write last week's State of the Union Address. Hope Hicks, 29, was seen leaving her D.C. apartment with White House Staff Secretary Porter 10 days ago.

On Wednesday, it was alleged that Hicks (shown in a file photo) was involved in crafting the response to DailyMail.com from the White House for Porter following Willoughby's on-the-record allegations of domestic abuse.

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Images of Colbie Holderness after an alleged incident with her then-husband, Rob Porter, in the early 2000s. (Courtesy of Colbie Holderness)

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Look at the picture, Ruth Marcus, Feb. 7, 2018. The woman’s eye socket is the sickly green-yellow of a healing bruise. Around the eyelid, and in a sickening swoosh underneath, there is the deep plum of blood pooling around broken capillaries.

The picture, if you haven’t seen it, shows Colbie Holderness, one of two ex-wives who have accused senior White House aide Rob Porter of physically abusing them. Porter, in the statement announcing his resignation Wednesday, declared that “these outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described.”

Explain how White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, who reportedly knew of the FBI reports, could assert, in a statement circulated before and after the abuse photos emerged, “Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional.”

Consider Porter, the seeming golden boy. Harvard University. Rhodes scholar. Republican bona fides (his father, Roger Porter, worked for President George H.W. Bush; Rob Porter served as chief of staff to Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch) to match what the Deseret News called his “strong Latter-day Saint pedigree.” A man like that wouldn’t abuse his wife, would he?

Feb. 6

john perkinsJohnPerkins.org, Opinion: Sex Crimes, Government Transparency, and You, John Perkins, Feb. 6, 2018. John Perkins, shown at left, is a best-selling author and motivational speaker. Previously, he was whistleblower against the global banking industry for which he served as an influential economist or, as he described it, "economic hit man."

harvey weinsteinThe Harvard Business Review recently reported that, since the October allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein (shown at right), nearly 100 other powerful people – “names you probably recognize” – have been accused of sexual harassment, rape, and other misconduct.

cia logoThese revelations follow the avalanche of accusations against Catholic priests and their superiors that have been sweeping the press for years. The stories of crimes involving sex accompany revelations about police brutality across the United States, a slew of leaked documents concerning covert and illegal CIA and NSA activities from WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, exposures of illegal financial dealings of some of the world’s richest and most powerful people in the Panama Papers, and numerous other exposes by whistleblowers who have revealed criminal activities in politics, healthcare, technology, media, education, banking, pharmaceuticals, hospitality, and entertainment.

Let us learn from those who tolerated the mass-murdering dictators, the sex criminals, and the corporate robber barons that we cannot tolerate our own inclinations to remain silent. It is up to each and every one of us to speak out and to take action.

Feb. 5

Daily Beast, She Was Assaulted by the Head of the National Archives. Then the Bush White House Helped Cover It Up, Anthony Clark, Feb. 5, 2018. Allen Weinstein was allowed to resign from his post without punishment or public notice. He then went on to sexually assault again.Feb. 3

ny times logoNew York Times, Commentary: This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry, Maureen Dowd, Feb. 3, 2018. The actress is finally ready to talk about Harvey Weinstein.Yes, Uma Thurman is mad.She has been raped. She has been sexually assaulted. She has been mangled in hot steel. She has been betrayed and gaslighted by those she trusted.

harvey weinstein pulp fiction posterAnd we’re not talking about her role as the blood-spattered bride in “.” We’re talking about a world that is just as cutthroat, amoral, vindictive and misogynistic as any Quentin Tarantino hellscape.

harvey weinsteinWe’re talking about Hollywood, where even an avenging angel has a hard time getting respect, much less bloody satisfaction.

Playing foxy Mia Wallace in 1994’s Pulp Fiction and ferocious Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill, Volumes 1 (2003) and 2 (2004), Thurman was the lissome goddess in the creation myth of Harvey Weinstein (right) and Quentin Tarantino. The Miramax troika was the ultimate in indie cool. A spellbound Tarantino often described his auteur-muse relationship with Thurman.

Feb. 2

ny times logoNew York Times, Humane Society C.E.O. Announces Resignation Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations, Julie Bosman, Matt Stevens and Jonah Engel Bromwich, Feb. 2, 2018. The chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States resigned on Friday after sexual harassment allegations prompted an uprising from staff and donors over his conduct.

The executive, Wayne Pacelle, had held onto support from the majority of the organization’s board, which voted on Thursday to immediately end an investigation into his behavior.

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Washington Post, Humane Society keeps CEO after sexual harassment complaints, prompting seven board members to resign, Danielle Paquette, Feb. 2, 2018 (print edition). The move to keep Wayne Pacelle at the helm of the animal charity defied demands by major donors to cut ties with him — or risk losing their support.

Feb. 1

Harvard Business Review, Now What? Joan C. Williams and Suzanne Lebsock, Feb. 1, 2018. Social media has created a remarkable moment for women, but is this really the end of the harassment culture?

January

Jan. 31

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taylor swift david mueller leaked photo tmzWashington Post, Taylor Swift groper hired as DJ by station manager who doesn’t believe he did it, Travis M. Andrews, Jan. 31, 2018 (print edition). Disc jockey David Mueller was fired from his job at Denver radio station KYGO in June 2013 after Swift said he slipped his hand underneath her dress and grabbed her bare buttocks while they posed together for a photograph (shown at right, via TMZ).

Mueller denied the accusations, sued Swift for $3 million and lost. She countersued for a single dollar, signaling that the suit wasn’t about money to her. She won.

Still, Larry Fuss, the chief executive of Delta Radio, believes him and not her. He hired Mueller as a DJ on country music station KIX in Greenwood, Miss., where on Monday Mueller began co-hosting a morning show called “Jackson & Jonbob,” according to the New York Daily News and Inside Radio.

Jan. 30

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Washington Post, Governors association to cut ties with Steve Wynn, underscoring scope of allegations’ fallout, Amber Phillips, Jan. 30, 2018 (print edition). The Republican Governors Association announced Monday it was basically cutting all ties with Steve Wynn (shown below), the ousted finance chairman of the Republican National Committee who was accused of sexual misconduct by employees at his flagship Las Vegas casino.

steve wynn headshotThe RGA becomes the first major Republican campaign committee to return Wynn money. It announced it would return $100,000 that the organization received this election cycle from Wynn Resorts. In addition, the RGA said it would cancel a planned 2020 conference at Wynn's Las Vegas casino and would not accept any future contributions from Wynn Resorts or Wynn himself.

“These are serious allegations,” RGA spokesman Jon Thompson said in a statement.

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canadian flagNew York Times, In Canada, a ‘Perfect Storm’ for a #MeToo Reckoning, Ian Austen and Catherine Porter, Jan. 30, 2018 (print edition).  Canada’s House of Commons debated workplace law changes to define sexual harassment and protect political staff members. The debate came, coincidentally, as Canada is reeling from a maelstrom of accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior against men in positions of power, and their swift removal.

Just last week, two provincial Conservative Party leaders and a federal cabinet minister resigned. Outside of politics, one of the most prominent members of Toronto’s theater community quit the company he founded, accused in a lawsuit of sexual harassment. And last fall, two of Quebec’s most well-known celebrities disappeared from stages and television screens amid accusations of sexual impropriety.

ap logoAssociated Press via Washington Post, Lawsuit: Teen prisoner raped by inmate, infected with HIV, Michael Kunzelman, Jan. 30, 2018.  A 17-year-old inmate who was incarcerated with adults was raped by a prisoner who infected the teenager with HIV, according to a federal lawsuit that accuses the Louisiana jail of negligence. The teen, who was awaiting trial for a burglary case, was 5-foot-10, weighed 125 pounds and is “mildly mentally handicapped” from fetal alcohol syndrome. His age, size and “mental makeup” left him at high risk of being sexually assaulted in the jail, according to the suit.

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french flagWashington Post, Rape charge against budget minister roils French government amid debate on sexual assault, James McAuley, Jan. 30, 2018 (print edition). A rape accusation against France's budget minister is roiling the government of President Emmanuel Macron. The minister, Gérald Darmanin, stands accused in an incident dating to 2009.

Jan. 29

Poynter Institute, To tell the stories of sexual assault victims, it's time for a new look at anonymity policies, Kelly McBride, Jan. 29, 2018. Poynter Institute Vice President Kelly McBride is a leading expert on covering sexual assault, suicide and mental health issues, plagiarism, and the connection between an ethical press and a strong democracy. This column (excerpted below) is part of the Institute's ongoing instructional program for journalists.

I’ve encouraged innovative storytelling around the issue of rape and sexual assault as long as I’ve worked at Poynter. And I found the technique stunning. For too long, we’ve failed as journalists to listen to victims of sexual assault and let them tell their stories. This moment presents an opportunity to change our approach.

First, we should acknowledge where we are and where we’ve been. Here’s an abbreviated history of how the media has covered sexual assault:

1990. Under the leadership of executive editor Geneva Overholser, the Des Moines Register publishes a five-part narrative series documenting the story of Nancy Ziegenmeyer, who was raped by a stranger during a home invasion. The series wins the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Overholser went on to argue that until we routinely named victims of sexual assault, we would never change the stigma associated with the crime.

Mid 2000s. After a series of kidnappings in which the names and photos of victims were widely published in hopes of rescuing them, the media must wrestle with the question of whether they should stop naming a victim if it is later discovered she was raped. (Yes, you should, most news outlets decide.)

2011. The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, begins publishing stories about an investigation into Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. He is indicted later that year for assaulting young boys, and the newspaper wins a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. For the most part, the victims remained anonymous in news stories.

2014. Dozens of women accuse actor Bill Cosby of sexual assault and agree to be named in various news outlets, including the cover of New York Magazine.

2017. Dozens of women accuse Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and in some cases sexual assault. Many agree to be named.

2017. The #MeToo movement takes root, and workplaces across the country investigate a plague of sexual harassment that sometimes includes sexual assault.

2018. More than 150 victims, most of them accomplished gymnasts, testify at the sentencing of Nassar, who worked for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. Most of them agree to be named. Some of them are famous Olympic athletes.

Current-day practice at most newsrooms doesn’t match the guidance in most written policies.

Those policies — and I know because I’ve written and consulted on many of them — often look like they did back in 1975: Because of the stigma associated with sexual assault, we do not publish the names of victims. Some of the more enlightened policies add: against their will. And the best policies include encouragement for journalists to seek out the voices of sexual assault victims in order to tell their stories.

I’m not suggesting we in journalism should start naming victims of sexual assault without their permission. But we should rewrite our policies to encourage journalists to tell more complete stories about sexual assault.

Today’s policies presume that our journalistic motive for telling a sexual assault story is rooted in our urge to improve public safety. But sexual assault isn’t really a public safety problem; it’s a public health problem.

Rewrite your policies about naming victims of sexual assault. Include these points:

  • Because sexual assault is a public health threat, we have an obligation to cover it thoroughly.
  • Because children are commonly victims of sexual assault, we should hold our schools and medical facilities and law enforcement systems accountable for their protection.
  • We should give victims of sexual assault a chance to tell their stories, treating them with respect and dignity.
  • We should ensure that our journalistic values of fairness and accuracy are extended to those accused of sexual assault.

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New York Times, Finance Firms Find Way to Cash In on #MeToo Movement, Matthew Goldstein nad Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Jan. 29, 2018 (print edition). Small financial firms, backed by hedge funds, are angling for business from sexual harassment victims. The industry has a checkered history.

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chuck close printsNew York Times, Accusations of Artist Misconduct Put Museums in a Bind, Robin Pogrebin and Jennifer Schuessler, Jan. 29, 2018 (print edition). Sexual harassment accusations have scuttled a Chuck Close exhibition at the National Gallery of Art. Museums are wrestling with the implications — not just for Mr. Close, but for centuries of artists. [He is shown on a book cover of collecting his work.]

See related story: The National Gallery of Art Cancels a Chuck Close Show After Misconduct Accusations, Colin Moynihan and Robin Pogregin, Jan. 26, 2018.

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woody allen tribeca festival 2009 david shankboneNew York Times, Is the #MeToo Movement Catching Up to Woody Allen? Melena Ryzik and Brooks Barnes, Jan. 29, 2018 (print edition). Can Woody Allen Work In Hollywood Again?

dylan farrow adultHis film distributor, Amazon, the presenters of his musical “Bullets Over Broadway,” and colleagues are now grappling with renewed scrutiny of allegations that Mr. Allen (shown at a 2009 film festival) molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow (shown as an adult) in 1992 when she was a child.

Culture / Religion

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Washington Post, In the wake of porn-star allegations, most evangelicals stand by Trump, John Wagner and Michelle Boorstein​, Jan. 29, 2018. A year into the Trump presidency, white evangelicals are rewarding him with some of his strongest support, even amid continuing salacious headlines about his personal foibles.

When news broke this month about President Trump’s alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, it seemed the kind of story that would devastate a group of voters once known as the “Moral Majority.”

But this is the Trump era, and for white evangelicals, the days since the Daniels report have offered proof that the president remains righteous to them in ways that matter far more.

Trump stood among antiabortion activists in the Rose Garden, where he praised the mission of March for Life participants on the Mall. His administration opened an office to protect health-care workers who refuse to provide services that run counter to their religious convictions. And the White House announced that it would fast-track the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

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Washington Post, Humane Society CEO is subject of sexual harassment complaints from three women, according to internal investigation, Danielle Paquette, Jan. 29, 2018. An internal investigation by a law firm hired by the Humane Society of the United States has identified three complaints of sexual harassment by chief executive Wayne Pacelle and found that senior female leaders said their warnings about his conduct went unheeded, according to two people familiar with the matter and a Humane Society memo describing the investigation.

The investigation also found the nonprofit agency, one of the country’s biggest animal charities, had offered settlements to three other workers who said they were demoted or dismissed after reporting Pacelle’s alleged behavior, according to the Humane Society memo. The memo said that several women who were former leaders of the group had warned Pacelle, who has led the organization since 2004, that his sexual relationships with subordinates, donors and volunteers could hurt the charity.

Fashion / Modeling Sector

HuffPost, Modeling Agencies Enabled Sexual Predators For Years, Former Agent Says, Angelina Chapin, Jan. 29, 2018. In the 1980s and ‘90s, Carolyn Kramer said she and her colleagues knew about allegedly predatory photographers, and sent their models to them anyway.

In October 2017, Carolyn Kramer received a disturbing phone call. The former modeling agent listened intently as a model she used to represent told her that a famous French photographer, who still shoots for top publications, raped her when she was 16. Shortly after meeting the man at a restaurant in 1983, the model said she blacked out after drinking one glass of champagne, then woke up in his bed the next morning with a sore and bruised vagina.

The woman, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed this story with HuffPost, but did not want to name the photographer for fear of legal repercussions.

“He was one of the photographers that agents and clients and young girls basically knew was lecherous,” Kramer said, claiming that she and other agents sent their models to him in the ’80s anyway. “[But] what I didn’t realize [at the time] is that he was raping girls.”

Kramer said she broke down crying after the woman relayed her story of assault. “In that moment I felt that I let down the models who I represented over the course of 20 years,” she said. “It made me feel like, here it is in front of my face now and I didn’t do anything to change [it.]”

It’s been 14 years since Kramer left the fashion business. But throughout the two decades she spent working as a modeling agent in New York City in the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s, Kramer said she knew about rampant sexual misconduct in her industry ― and didn’t protect her models from the egregious behavior.

Now, amid the domino-like fall of so many high-profile alleged sexual offenders, the 58-year-old can’t stop thinking about how she and other agents sent girls, some as young as 13, to modeling gigs with photographers who were rumored to be sexual predators. So in October, the former agent decided to speak out.

See related story from 2017:

W Magazine, The Man Who Invented Supermodels Also Took Advantage of Them, Horacio Silva, Jan. 2, 2017. From the time he launched Elite New York (successor company Elite Model Management) in 1977, John Casablancas's aggressive poaching of the world’s biggest models made lifelong enemies of rival agents like Eileen Ford (she famously and repeatedly called him “sleazy”) and led to protracted legal drama dubbed “the Model Wars” by the tabloids, and Casablancas to receive his gruesome nickname "the Body Snatcher."

His inflating of model salaries (and egos) arguably led to the emergence of the supermodel—and the entitlement and bad behavior that these beautiful women, and the men who loved them, came to embody.

In 1983, the incorrigible Latin "loffer," who was born to Spanish parents in New York (“I have a Catalan soul, a French mind and an American nationality,” he says in the film), really became the bête noir of the fashion industry when he had an affair with one of his models, Stephanie Seymour. She was 16 and he was 41. It ended his second marriage, to Jeanette Christjansen, a former Miss Denmark, and did little to remedy his dissolute image or that of the modeling industry that he had helped to redefine. (In addition to agencies in all the fashion capitals, Elite also owned the Look of the Year talent search, and Casablancas ran over 100 successful modeling schools around the world with his brother Fernando.)

A continental playboy emeritus descended from the likes of Peter Beard, his reputation as an amoral lech was further enhanced in 1999 when an undercover BBC reporter, Donal MacIntyre, released a scathing documentary that painted the heads of Elite as nothing short of drug-pushing pimps to their underage models. Casablancas was not personally implicated but the stench of the fallout followed him around like a cheap '80s perfume.

Jan. 28

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Washington Post, Lunches, hugs, and break-room banter: Where are the new boundaries at work? Steve Hendrix, Ellie Silverman and Marc Fisher, Jan. 28, 2018. As a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against prominent men crested in recent months, relationships between men and women in workplaces across the country have shifted — sometimes toward more honest discussions of what’s not okay at work, but also toward silence and exclusion, a quiet backlash against the righteous pride of the #MeToo movement.

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Washington Post, Rubio fires chief of staff after allegations of ‘improper conduct,’ Sean Sullivan, Jan. 28, 2018. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he had “sufficient evidence to conclude” that Clint Reed “had violated office policies regarding proper relations between a supervisor and their subordinates.”

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Washington Post, Analysis:In male prisons, women employees face harassment: ‘Why is this acceptable?’ Michael Alison Chandler, Jan. 28, 2018 (print edition). Taronica White of Laurel was a lead plaintiff in a $20 million class-action lawsuit at the nation’s largest federal prison complex in Florida. The case highlighted the conditions that female corrections officials face at the hands of co-workers and inmates.

Jan. 27

steve wynn headshotPolitico, RNC finance chair Steve Wynn resigns after sexual harassment allegations, Alex Isenstadt, Jan. 27, 2018. Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn on Saturday stepped down as Republican National Committee finance chairman, according to three senior Republicans briefed on the decision. The decision followed a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal alleging that Wynn engaged in sexual harassment.

Wynn, 76, was President Donald Trump's handpicked choice for the finance position. It has not yet been determined who will replace him.

"Today I accepted Steve Wynn’s resignation as Republican National Committee finance chair," said RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, who spoke about the Wynn situation with the president on Saturday morning, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation. Trump returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday evening.

mar a lago aerial CustomWynn has had a long relationship with the president, himself a former casino owner. After the 2016 election, Trump tapped the Las Vegas Republican to oversee the RNC's fundraising heading into a perilous midterm election for the party. Last Saturday, Wynn headlined a fundraiser for the president's reelection campaign and the RNC at Trump's posh Mar-a-Lago resort (shown in an aerial view). During recent fundraising events — including one recent one in New York City — Wynn has praised Trump as a history-changing president in the mold of Lincoln and Reagan.

But the sexual misconduct allegations against Wynn put Republicans in an untenable situation after the RNC and other GOP officials had ripped the Democratic Party last fall for its connections to Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul who raised and contributed large amounts of money for Democrats.'

In a statement emailed to Politico Friday, Wynn said the allegations are “the continued work of my ex-wife Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement.”

“The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous,” Wynn added. “We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits.”

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New York Times, Remaining Members of U.S.A. Gymnastics Board to Resign, Matt Stevens, Jan. 27, 2018 (print edition).  The organization said that it would comply with the demands of the U.S. Olympic Committee for the entire board to step down after a sexual abuse scandal involving the national team doctor, Lawrence G. Nassar.

Jan. 26

 cnn logojoan biskupic pbsCNN, What happens when judges judge themselves? Sexual misconduct by judges kept under wraps, Joan Biskupic, Jan. 26, 2018 (with video). Joan Biskupic (shown at right) is a CNN legal analyst and Supreme Court biographer. Statistics compiled by Aaron Kessler.One morning in 1998, U.S. District Court Judge Walter Smith called a deputy clerk into his chambers in the Waco, Texas, courthouse and closed the door behind her.

"He basically came over to me and put his arms around me and kissed me, and I just froze. I couldn't move," the woman said in a deposition. "And he said, 'Let me make love to you.' And I just freaked out. ... And then he pulled me to him again, and he kissed me again and stuck his tongue down my throat, and he pressed himself against me. ... And then he started to try touch my breasts, and I kind of pushed away and said ... 'I need to go.'"

The next day, Smith sent her a dozen yellow roses.

In recent months, powerful men in Hollywood, the media, Congress and other spheres have been accused of sexual harassment. A common theme has been men abusing their positions in settings where women feel they have no recourse.The abuse women have suffered in the nation's courthouses has been a largely untold story. And its system for complaints -- where judges police fellow judges -- is a world so closely controlled and cloaked in secrecy that it defies public scrutiny.

alex kozinski informal wRarely do sexual misconduct allegations against federal judges become public, even belatedly, as in the Waco episode or as they did in late 2017, with myriad complaints against California-based U.S. Appeals Court Judge Alex Kozinski (shown at right) that drew national attention in the current #MeToo moment, forcing his resignation.

The federal judiciary occupies a distinct place in American life that makes what happens there potentially more striking than in other spheres. The nearly 900 federal judges who sit on trial and appellate courts are appointed for life. They have the authority to interpret the law on sex-based offenses. Their attitudes about harassment could reverberate in legal disputes that arise in other realms.

But the judiciary itself is hiding the depth of the problem of misconduct by judges.

CNN compiled and reviewed nearly 5,000 judicial orders related to misconduct complaints and available online over the past 10 years. The documents, covering an array of misbehavior beyond sexual misconduct, are remarkably short on details.

The CNN analysis found that:

  • Very few cases against judges are deeply investigated, and very few judges are disciplined in any way. In many years, not a single judge is sanctioned.   
  • None of the actual complaints (more than 1,000 are filed annually) are made public.
  • In the public judicial orders, claims are sparingly summarized, and accused judges' names rarely appear. Some orders refer to "corrective action" by a judge without saying what happened.
  • Judicial orders are dumped onto circuit court websites as a series of numbered files with no indication of the allegations, person complaining or outcome.

The practice makes it even more difficult to identify the most serious misconduct cases hidden among the opaque lists of documents because each order must be opened and individually read to gain even minimal information about the nature of the complaint.

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New York Times, Will Testifying Help Nassar’s Sexual Abuse Victims Heal? Benedict Carey, Jan. 26, 2018. The psychological effects of disclosing a traumatic secret — of telling your story — depend on the audience, the nature of the trauma and other factors.

 The spectacle of more than 150 young women telling their stories of sexual abuse before a court, the world, and the perpetrator himself seemed straight from the movies, a cathartic ending to a dark, yearslong drama that had been all too real.

larry nassar gymnastics pleaIt is rare, perhaps unprecedented, for so many victims to stand in court and, with the encouragement of a judge, to describe aloud for days the abuse they endured. Therapists said that the chance to testify at the sentencing hearing of Dr. Lawrence B. Nassar (shown with a defense lawyer) was worth taking for those who felt ready to do so.

The women were taken at their word; they were part of group, bonded by shared experience; and they saw justice done before their eyes

“I can’t think of a better scenario,” said Elaine Ducharme, a psychologist in Glastonbury, Conn., who specializes in treating trauma from sexual abuse and other violations. “To have the judge hear them, to allow their stories to influence her decisions, and all without putting them through the trauma of an actual trial. Most of them are likely to have felt tremendous relief.”

Yet such scenarios are rare, as many less prominent victims know. Disclosing a traumatic secret — telling your story in all its awful detail — is a dicey proposition that may or may not bring relief, depending on who’s listening and the nature of the trauma itself, Dr. Ducharme and other experts said.

“The assumption that telling the story will automatically be healing is optimistic,” said Nadine Wathen, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario’s Center for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children. “All women have different experiences of abuse — all people dealing with trauma do.”

In a 2009 study, a research team including Dr. Wathen tested the impact of giving women who visit emergency rooms and other health clinics a domestic violence questionnaire — a brief, confidential checklist. Providers got the results of the questionnaire before seeing the women, and advised them based on the added information; the study tracked them over 18 months.

djt melania liberty ball inauguration 2017Daily Mail, Melania 'staying in hotel' after Stormy Daniels scandal, Ryan Parry, Jan. 26, 2018. Melania Trump has spent a number of nights at a posh D.C. hotel away from President Trump following allegations of a fling with porn star Stormy Daniels, White House sources told DailyMail.com. The first lady (shown at an inaugural ball a year ago) opted for time away from her husband since news of a possible $130,000 payoff from the President's lawyer to Daniels to cover up an alleged tryst was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Then, last week, to add insult to injury, a celebrity magazine published a cringe-worthy 2011 interview with Daniels in which she talked about the alleged 2006 sexual encounter with the future president in a hotel room at a casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada following a celebrity charity golf tournament. 'It's been upsetting and humiliating; her relationship with President Trump has become strained,' a White House source told DailyMail.com.

djt stormy daniels 2006Over two hours after DailyMail.com posted this story, Melania's  spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, tweeted: The laundry list of salacious & flat-out false reporting about Mrs. Trump by tabloid publications & TV shows has seeped into "main stream media" reporting.'

She did not say specifically what, if  any, part of the DailyMail.com was 'false.' Grisham did not respond to several requests for comment from DailyMail.com regarding Melania's hotel stays, although given several days notice prior to publication.

Wall Street Journal, Dozens of People Recount Pattern of Sexual Misconduct by Las Vegas Mogul Steve Wynn, Alexandra Berzon, Chris Kirkham, Elizabeth Bernstein and Kate O’Keeffe, Jan. 26, 2018. Wynn Resorts employees and others described a CEO who sexualized his workplace and pressured workers to perform sex acts. Mr. Wynn responded: ‘The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous.’ 

Not long after the billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn opened his flagship Wynn Las Vegas in 2005, a manicurist who worked there arrived at the on-site salon visibly distressed following an appointment in Mr. Wynn’s office. Sobbing, she told a colleague Mr. Wynn had forced her to have sex, and she repeated that to others later.

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Washington Post, Casino mogul and RNC finance chairman Steve Wynn faces allegations of sexual misconduct, Ed O'Keefe​, Jan. 26, steve wynn headshot2018. A new Wall Street Journal report included interviews with dozens of people who have worked at Wynn’s casinos or been told of his behavior, including allegations that he pressured some employees to perform sex acts.

Casino mogul Steve Wynn (shown in a file photo) has no immediate plans to relinquish his role as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee in the wake of reports detailing decades of alleged sexual misconduct, according to a company spokesman. A report by the Wall Street Journal published Friday included interviews with dozens of people who have worked at Wynn’s casinos or been told of his alleged behavior, including allegations that he pressured some employees to perform sex acts.

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New York Times, Hillary Clinton Chose to Shield a Top Adviser Accused of Harassment in 2008, Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick, Jan. 26, 2018. A senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young subordinate was kept on the campaign at Mrs. Clinton’s request, according to four people familiar with what took place.

burns striderMrs. Clinton’s campaign manager at the time recommended that she fire the adviser, Burns Strider (shown at right). But Mrs. Clinton did not. Instead, Mr. Strider was docked several weeks of pay and ordered to undergo counseling, and the young woman was moved to a new job.

Mr. Strider, who was Mrs. Clinton’s faith adviser, a co-founder of the American Values Network, and sent the candidate scripture readings every morning for months during the campaign, was hired five years later to lead an independent group that supported Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 candidacy, Correct the Record, which was created by a close Clinton ally, David Brock.

He was fired after several months for workplace issues, including allegations that he harassed a young female aide, according to three people close to Correct the Record’s management.

Mr. Strider did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Hillary Clinton

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton (who is shown at right in a file photo) provided a statement from Utrecht, Kleinfeld, Fiori, Partners, the law firm that had represented the campaign in 2008 and has been involved on sexual harassment issues.

“To ensure a safe working environment, the campaign had a process to address complaints of misconduct or harassment. When matters arose, they were reviewed in accordance with these policies, and appropriate action was taken,” the statement said. “This complaint was no exception.”

The woman’s experience and the reaction to it have not been previously reported. Until now, former Clinton associates were unwilling to discuss the events for publication. But that changed in the wake of the #MeToo movement, in which dozens of men across the country and across different industries, have been fired or suspended for sexual misconduct.

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chuck close printsNew York Times, The National Gallery of Art Cancels a Chuck Close Show After Misconduct Accusations, Colin Moynihan and Robin Pogregin, Jan. 26, 2018. The National Gallery of Art in Washington has canceled a Chuck Close exhibition, planned for May, because of accusations of sexual misconduct that have engulfed the artist in controversy. In December, The New York Times published a report that Mr. Close had asked women who visited his studio to undress and made unwelcome explicit comments.

Pedophile Claims, Probes

Top Secret Writers, CIA Agent Says Agency Supplies Pedophiles With Children, Gabrielle Pickard, Jan. 26, 2018. In what has to be one of the most damning revelations of misconduct by the CIA, a veteran CIA agent has exposed the Central Intelligence Agency for running a child trafficking network, which involves providing children to elite pedophiles around the world.

john kiriakou welcome home partyJohn Kiriakou (shown in a 2015 photo upon his release from prison) had been an agent for the CIA for 14 years and left the Agency in 2004. He is also associated with Hollywood, having worked as an advisor in the movie industry.

Speaking at a recent World Beyond War event (Sept. 23 to 25, 2017 in Washington, DC), the former CIA agent blew the whistle on how the Intelligence Agency provides child sex slaves to powerful oligarchs in the showbiz industry, in Washington D.C., and further afield.Kiriakou continued that the CIA would provide these rich and powerful “sources” with a constant stream of “child prostitutes” in exchange for information. The children are usually raped and killed, and likely to be never seen again, continued Kiriakou.

The CIA veteran described how he would meet up with an elite source in a hotel. In return for information, the source would demand a child.

cia logoKiriakou explained how he would think of the elite oligarchs as being “scumbags”, but that he would be forced to “give them what they wanted”.

In this clip of Kiriakou’s revelations about the American intelligence agency on YouTube, the CIA agent asks the audience who would meet a rich oligarch’s demands for a prostitute? When few people raise their hands, Kiriakou then asks:

“But what if he asks for a child prostitute?”

The CIA agent then proceeds to tell the audience: “Your job as a CIA agent is to break the laws of the country you are serving. That’s your job: Your job is to commit espionage, which in most countries is a death penalty crime.”

He continued: “Your job is to convince people to commit treason for you because they like you so much or they like the money that you’re giving them so much. So, because it’s the nature of your job to break the law they’re the rules that are written for you to carry out that job.”

Courthouse News, Fourth Circuit Declines to Toss Evidence FBI Gathered Via Malware, Brad Kutner, Jan/ 26, 2018. The Fourth Circuit declined Friday to suppress evidence the FBI collected using malware placed in a server used by a worldwide child porn ring. The case, argued before a three-judge panel last fall, involves the discovery of a server containing thousands of child porn images at the residence of a Florida man. The sever hosted a website called Playpen which ran on the Tor network, a part of the dark web that is harder to access, monitor, or track.

Through the Playpen, website users were able to anonymously share and view child pornography. After a tipster lead the FBI to the server, they took it into custody and brought it to Virginia.

According the opinion, the FBI then asked a federal judge for a warrant allowing them to install government-developed malware on the server that would allow them to circumvent the Tor network’s protections for users and collect the personal data of anyone who accessed the site.

The FBI ran the malware for a month and then shared the collected user data with authorities across the country and around the world. Over 800 people were arrested as a result of the sting.

Among them was the plaintiff in the case before the Fourth Circuit, Robert McLamb. After the FBI confirmed his identity, a warrant was issued for his arrest and the search of his Virginia Beach home. Investigators found a hard drive in the house that contained child porn.

McLamb is challenging the lawfulness of the initial warrant that allowed for the malware-based investigation. Judges ordinarily authorize warrants for the jurisdictions in which they preside. In this case, however, McLamb says, the warrant listed “activating computers … of any user or administrator who logs into the [Playpen] by entering a username and password… wherever it may be located.”

Jan. 24

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New York Times, Dr. Larry Nassar Sentenced to 40 to 175 Years for Sexual Abuse, Scott Cacciolo and Victor Mather, Jan. 24, 2018. After an extraordinary seven-day hearing that drew more than 150 young women to speak out publicly about sexual abuse they said was committed by Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, the former team doctor for the American gymnastics team, a judge sentenced him on Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison.

larry nassar gymnastics plea [Dr. Nassar, shown at left in a court hearing with his attorney, has been sentenced to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges.]

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who had opened her courtroom to all the young women who wanted to address Dr. Nassar directly, and forced him to listen when he pleaded to make it stop, handed down the sentence, saying to him, “You’ve done nothing to deserve to walk outside a prison again.”

He had faced a minimum term of 25 to 40 years.

Just before sentencing Dr. Nassar, the judge read parts of a letter he submitted to the court last week. In the letter, he complained about his treatment in a separate federal child pornography case and wrote that his accusers in this case were seeking news media attention and money. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” he wrote in the letter. There were audible gasps from the gallery when the judge read the line.

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rosemarie aquilinaNew York Times, Gymnastics Abuse Victims Find Advocate in Judge, Scott Cacciola, Jan. 24, 20178 (print edition). Clearing her docket, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina let more than 100 young athletes make statements about Larry Nassar, the former U.S.A. Gymnastics doctor convicted of sexual abuse. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina listened on Monday morning as yet another gymnast, one of scores coming forward in her courtroom, took her turn excoriating Lawrence G. Nassar, a prominent doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics who has pleaded guilty to multiple sex crimes.

The young woman finished, and Judge Aquilina, who has now allowed nearly 140 girls and women, including several prominent Olympic gymnasts, to give statements against Dr. Nassar, leaned forward from the bench. She smiled at the gymnast, Bailey Lorencen, and delivered her own heartfelt statement in a manner and tone befitting a therapist.

“The military has not yet come up with fiber as strong as you,” Judge Aquilina told Ms. Lorencen, calling her a “heroine” and a “superhero.” She added: “Mattel ought to make toys so that little girls can look at you and say, ‘I want to be her.’ Thank you so much for being here, and for your strength.”

Belying the stone-faced image of dispassionate jurists, Judge Aquilina has emerged as an unusually fierce victims’ advocate in a sentencing hearing that has drawn national attention for the scope of Dr. Nassar’s abuse and for the role that institutions like U.S.A. Gymnastics and Michigan State University played in employing him for decades.

Judge Aquilina’s vow to let every victim speak has also unexpectedly turned the hearing into a cathartic forum that has emboldened dozens of women who had remained silent to come forward with accounts of abuse by Dr. Nassar. Court officials initially had expected 88 young women to speak when the hearing began last week, but the number is expected to top 150 by the time these proceedings conclude, likely Wednesday morning.

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New York Times, Sentencing Larry Nassar Is Only a Start, Editorial Board, Jan. 24, 2018. Others must also be held accountable for full justice to be served.

garrison keillor reader cover

Garrison Keillor, shown on the cover of his book "The Keillor Reader"

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New York Times, Garrison Keillor’s Accuser Described ‘Dozens’ of Offenses Over ‘Period of Years,’ Maya Salam, Jan. 24, 2018. In a letter to listeners, Minnesota Public Radio pushed back on Mr. Keillor’s account that all he’d done was touch a woman’s back. The network cut ties with him last year.

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lou anna simonNew York Times, Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon Resigns Amid Nassar Fallout, Matthrew Hag and Marc Tracy, Jan. 24, 2018. Lou Anna Simon, who has come under fire because of the university’s ties to Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, has worked at the school for more than four decades.

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New York Times, Afghan Pedophiles Get Free Pass From U.S. Military, Report Says, Rod Nordland, Jan. 24, 20178 (print edition). A special inspector says the American military uses loopholes to exempt Afghan security forces from punishment for enslaving and raping children, and other gross human rights violations.

defense department combatting trafficking logoOn 5,753 occasions from 2010 to 2016, the United States military reported accusations of “gross human rights abuses” by the Afghan military, including many examples of child sexual abuse. If true, American law required military aid to be cut off to the offending unit.

Not once did that happen.

That was among the findings in an investigation into child sexual abuse by the Afghan security forces and the supposed indifference of the American military to the problem, according to a report released on Monday by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, known as Sigar.

The report, commissioned under the Obama administration, was considered so explosive that it was originally marked “Secret/ No Foreign,” with the recommendation that it remain classified until June 9, 2042. The report was finished in June 2017, but it appears to have included data only through 2016, before the Trump administration took office.

The report released on Monday was heavily redacted, and at least in the public portions it did little to answer questions about how prevalent child sexual abuse was in the Afghan military and police, and how commonly the American military looked the other way at the widespread practice of bacha bazi, or “boy play,” in which some Afghan commanders keep underage boys as sex slaves.

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china flagNew York Times, ‘Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say. Not So Fast, Censors Reply, Javier C. Hernandez and Zoe Mou, Jan. 24, 20178 (print edition). Demands for better treatment are clashing with a male-dominated culture and an authoritarian system that tightly controls free speech.

Congressman Claims Defense

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patrick meehan oNew York Times, Congressman Says Accuser ‘Invited’ His Romantic Overtures, Kenneth P. Vogel and Katie Rogers, Jan. 24, 20178 (print edition). Representative Patrick Meehan, Republican of Pennsylvania (and shown at right), denied any impropriety and said that he was emotionally wounded when a former aide filed a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Presidential Blackmail?

wayne madsen new observerWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Trump’s multiple sex scandals endanger U.S. national security, Andrew Kreig and Wayne Madsen (shown at left), Jan. 24, 2018. Recent claims that Donald Trump paid hush money before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up a 2006 affair underscore far more sinister events. Such a payoff would show not simply Trump’s low morals and high arrogance —but also his propensity for outright crime.

Undercover At Posh UK Club

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Washington Post, Female journalist goes undercover at posh ‘men only’ London fundraiser, reports widespread groping, Fred Barbash, Jan. 24, 2018. Watch a reporter go undercover at scandalous ‘men only’ fundraiser.’ Financial Times reporter Madison Marriage went undercover to report on The President’s Club Charitable Trust’s annual fundraising dinner. Men only, except for 130 “hostesses” hired to cater to the needs of the roughly 360 attendees.

huff post logoHuffPost, Prestigious Men-Only Charity In London To Close Amid Sexual Harassment Claims, Antonia Blumberg, Jan. 24, 2018. A prominent, decades-old U.K. charity known for its annual, men-only fundraising dinners announced that it will close following reports that some of its guests groped and sexually harassed hostesses hired for an event last week.

#MeToo In Arts, Entertainment

gordon edelstein

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New York Times, Long Wharf Theater’s Artistic Director Fired Over Sexual Misconduct Accusations, Michael Paulson, Jan. 24, 20178 (print edition). The board of trustees of Long Wharf Theater on Tuesday evening fired the longtime artistic director Gordon Edelstein over accusations of sexual misconduct.

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New York Times, The #MeToo Movement Hits the Circus: ‘Grandma’ the Clown Resigns, Andy Newman, Jan. 24, 20178 (print edition). One of America’s most revered circus performers, Grandma the clown, has resigned from the world-renowned Big Apple Circus after it was revealed that he pressured a 16-year-old aerialist into posing for pornographic photos in 2004.

Barry Lubin, 65, who played Grandma (shown at right) in a wig, pearls and a lumpy red dress to audiences of millions, offered his resignation on Friday shortly after the former aerialist contacted the circus to accuse him, said the circus’s chairman, Neil Kahanovitz, on Tuesday.

barry lubin grandmaMr. Lubin, through his lawyer, released a statement Tuesday night acknowledging and apologizing for his conduct. “The allegations,” the statement said, “are true. What I did was wrong, and I take full responsibility for my actions.”

Dr. Kahanovitz had told the accuser, Zoey Dunne, after receiving her letter, “We found the allegations put forth in your correspondence very disturbing.”

The circus just finished its annual three-month run at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, and will now open in Alpharetta, Ga., on Friday without its longtime star. Mr. Lubin, who spent decades at the pinnacle of his profession, becomes the latest antagonist in the string of sexual-misconduct scandals involving men who have taken advantage of less powerful people.

Jan. 23

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gordon edelsteinNew York Times, Long Wharf Theater Leader Is Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Michael Paulson, Jan. 23, 2018 (print edition). The groping began about two months after Kim Rubinstein began working at [New Haven's] Long Wharf Theater in 2003, she said.

She was having dinner at a restaurant with her new boss: Gordon Edelstein (shown at right), the artistic director, a college friend with whom she had had a one-night fling decades earlier, before he got married. Toward the end of the meal, after returning from the bathroom, he suddenly kissed her, with his tongue.

Ms. Rubinstein is one of four women who spoke on the record, describing unwanted sexual contact by Mr. Edelstein since his arrival in 2002 at Long Wharf, a respected nonprofit theater in New Haven that has had several productions mounted on Broadway. Six other former employees, women and men, described frequent sexually explicit remarks in the workplace by Mr. Edelstein, a prominent figure in American theater circles.

Long Wharf officials, after receiving questions from the New York Times, said Monday that Mr. Edelstein had been put on administrative leave, effective immediately. The staff was summoned to a meeting Monday and the board to a meeting on Tuesday.

Jan. 22

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pope francis 2013 SmallNew York Times, Pope Apologizes to Abuse Victims but Again Doubts Them, Jason Horowitz, Jan. 22, 2018. The pope’s doubting of sexual abuse victims, most recently in Latin America, has prompted concerns that he will not hold the church hierarchy fully accountable.

Politico, Alleged payment to porn star was illegal donation to Trump campaign, watchdog says, Josh Gerstein, Jan. 22, 2018. The call from Common Cause for criminal prosecution echoes charges against John Edwards.

A watchdog group filed a pair of complaints on Monday alleging that a $130,000 payment reportedly made to a pornographic film actress who claims to have had an affair with Donald Trump violated campaign finance laws.

In submissions to the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission, Common Cause said the alleged payment to Stephanie Clifford — who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels — amounted to an in-kind donation to Trump's presidential campaign that should have been publicly disclosed in its official reports.

An attorney for Common Cause, Paul Ryan, said the payment appeared to be hush money. He compared the situation to the series of events that resulted in the prosecution of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) over nearly $1 million in payments allegedly made to cover up an affair he had with videographer Rielle Hunter during his 2008 presidential bid.

“The purpose is the heart of all this,” Ryan said. “It’s pretty obvious this payment to Ms. Clifford was intended to keep her quiet just weeks before the election so she would not damage the candidate’s effort to win the election.”

john edwards wEditor's Note (drawn from Wikipedia): During the Obama administration and its Democrat-led Justice Department, a federal grand jury in North Carolina indicted the Democrat Edwards (shown at right) in 2011 on six felony charges of violating multiple federal campaign contribution laws to cover up an extramarital affair to which he admitted, following his 2008 presidential campaign. Edwards was found not guilty on one count, and the judge declared a mistrial on the remaining five charges, as the jury was unable to come to an agreement.

Daily Beast, Texas Politician Accused of ‘Grooming’ Grieving Mother for Sex and a Ponzi Scheme, Olivia Messer, Jan. 22, 2018. Prosecutors say state Sen. Carlos Uresti allegedly romanced a grief-stricken mother, then convinced her to invest in a reckless Ponzi scheme.

carlos urestiTexas state Sen. Carlos Uresti “groomed” nearly $900,000 out of a former client and grieving mother by cultivating a sexual relationship with her, according to prosecutors in court on Monday.

The 54-year-old Uresti (shown at right), who has also been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment during his time as a legislator, is on trial for 11 felony charges — including money laundering, wire fraud, and securities fraud — over his alleged part in a Ponzi scheme involving frac sand company FourWinds Logistics‍. Uresti, who served as legal counsel for the now-defunct company, has repeatedly denied all of the charges.

Uresti’s alleged behavior towards Cantu comes on the heels of allegations, first reported in The Daily Beast in December, in which multiple women accused the San Antonio Democrat of making lewd comments, of repeatedly ogling them, and of sending inappropriate messages. One young female reporter even claimed that Uresti put his hands on her thigh and then “put his tongue down my throat.”

Jan. 21

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New York Times, Congressman Combating Harassment Settled His Own Misconduct Case, Katie Rogers and Kenneth P. Vogel, Jan. 21, 2018 (printed edition). Rep. Patrick Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican who has taken a leading role in fighting sexual harassment in Congress, used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own misconduct complaint after a former aide accused him last year of making unwanted romantic overtures to her, according to several people familiar with the settlement.

patrick meehan oA married father of three, Mr. Meehan, 62, had long expressed interest in the personal life of the aide, who was decades younger and had regarded the congressman as a father figure, according to three people who worked with the office and four others with whom she discussed her tenure there.

As a member of the Ethics Committee, Mr. Meehan was tasked with being a part of the solution. The panel has initiated investigations into sexual misconduct claims against at least four congressmen in recent months. Two have resigned: Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, and John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan. The other two, Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas, and Ruben Kihuen, a freshman Democrat from Nevada, remain in office but have said they will not seek re-election.

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Washington Post, What should scare us about Trump’s porn star scandal, Molly Roberts, Jan. 21, 2018 (print edition). It’s not the sex, it’s the secrecy. The Wall Street Journal reported last Friday that a lawyer for Donald Trump paid an adult-film actress $130,000 one month before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with the then-candidate 10 years earlier.

Adult performer Jessica Drake accused Trump of offering her $10,000 for sex the same year he allegedly slept with Daniels, and she claims she can’t say more because of a nondisclosure agreement. And, according to a separate Journal story from just four days before the election, the company that owns the Trump-friendly National Enquirer awarded a former Playboy centerfold model $150,000 for the rights to her story of an affair with Trump in, yes, 2006 again. Then, the tabloid quashed it.

The problem here isn’t Trump’s repeated ethical lapses alone, although they do induce a certain squeamishness. The problem is the possibility of blackmail against a presidential team willing to pay big to cover up misbehavior.

Jan. 20

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stormy daniels djt insight 1 19 2018 CustomWashington Post, The case for taking the Trump-Stormy Daniels saga seriously, Aaron Blake​, Jan. 20, 2018 (print edition). It's salacious, yes. But the story seems to have gone beyond tabloid fluff and it’s worth asking some very serious questions.

By Friday, the magazine InTouch published what it said was a previously unpublished 2011 interview with Daniels (shown with Trump in a publicity photo) in which she describes having sex with Trump in 2006, when he was newly married to Melania Trump, who is now first lady.

What's perhaps most notable about the interview is how many of the details deal with things that weren't and aren't widely known about Trump.

New York Times, Congressman Combating Harassment Settled His Own Misconduct Case, Katie Rogers and Kenneth P. Vogel, Jan. 20, 2018. Rep. Patrick Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican who has taken a leading role in fighting sexual harassment in Congress, used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own misconduct complaint after a former aide accused him last year of making unwanted romantic overtures to her, according to several people familiar with the settlement.

A married father of three, Mr. Meehan, 62, had long expressed interest in the personal life of the aide, who was decades younger and had regarded the congressman as a father figure, according to three people who worked with the office and four others with whom she discussed her tenure there.

But after the woman became involved in a serious relationship with someone outside the office last year, Mr. Meehan professed his romantic desires for her — first in person, and then in a handwritten letter — and he grew hostile when she did not reciprocate, the people familiar with her time in the office said.

Life in the office became untenable, so she initiated the complaint process, started working from home and ultimately left the job. She later reached a confidential agreement with Mr. Meehan’s office that included a settlement for an undisclosed amount to be paid from Mr. Meehan’s congressional office fund.

On Saturday, John Elizandro, Mr. Meehan’s communications director, issued a statement saying that the congressman “denies these allegations” and “has always treated his colleagues, male and female, with the utmost respect and professionalism.”

After this article was published online, AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, said that Mr. Meehan was being removed immediately from the House Ethics Committee, where he has helped investigate sexual misconduct claims, and that the panel would investigate the allegations against him. In addition, Mr. Ryan told Mr. Meehan that he should repay the taxpayer funds, Ms. Strong said.

As a member of the Ethics Committee, Mr. Meehan was tasked with being a part of the solution. The panel has initiated investigations into sexual misconduct claims against at least four congressmen in recent months. Two have resigned: Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, and John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan. The other two, Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas, and Ruben Kihuen, a freshman Democrat from Nevada, remain in office but have said they will not seek re-election.

The exact amount of the settlement could not be determined, partly because Mr. Meehan’s office paid it from a congressional office fund that allows such payments to be disguised as salary and reported months after they were made.

Mr. Meehan’s accuser paid her own lawyers’ fees, and the settlement she reached was not enough to cover her legal and living expenses while she was out of work, according to a person with whom she discussed her finances. 

The congressman has been regarded as a target for Democrats because his district, which is considered among the nation’s most gerrymandered, was carried narrowly by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Vanity Fair, Michael Wolff Is “Absolutely Sure” Trump Is Currently Having an Affair, Emma Stefansky, Jan. 20, 2018. But the controversial author also says that he left that allegation out of "Fire and Fury" because he doesn’t have proof.

Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff exposed a lot of purported White House secrets in his new book, from tales of CIA miscommunications to stories of womanizing to Steve Bannon calling Don Jr. “treasonous.” The book has been criticized in some circles for being a confusing mishmash of what might be fact and what might be fiction, though Wolff has said that he possesses recordings of most of the interviews he conducted for it. But there was one potentially juicy bit of information that Wolff had to leave out of the text, simply because he didn’t have enough proof to back it up. During an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday, Wolff said that he’s “absolutely sure” Donald Trump is currently having an extramarital affair with someone inside the White House.

When Maher asked Wolff to tell him “something that the other people have not noticed in this book,” Wolff said, “There is something in the book that I was absolutely sure of, but it was so incendiary that I just didn’t have the ultimate proof.” He then elaborated: “Well, I didn’t have the blue dress.”

Maher asked if Wolff was talking about somebody Trump is “f---ing now,” and Wolff nodded. “It is,” he said. “You just have to read between the lines. It’s toward the end of the book. . .You’ll know it. Now that I’ve told you, when you hit that paragraph, you’re gonna say, ‘Bingo.’”

Jan. 19

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Washington Post, In this #MeToo, moment, let’s not forget abused children, Adam Rosenberg and Joyce Lombardi, Jan. 19, 2018. In this #MeToo and #TimesUp moment, just as we’ve been shocked by the abuse, we are also disturbed by the enablers, the seemingly good people who either knew or strongly suspected that something foul was afoot but chose not to act.

It is utterly human for otherwise good people to look away and to give themselves a dozen reasons (such as disbelief and self-interest) for doing so. This is especially true — and damaging — in cases of child abuse. Unfortunately, predators do not stop until they have to. And that is precisely why every state requires adults, especially front-line workers such as teachers and nurses, to report suspected child abuse.

Even when they don’t want to.

Adam Rosenberg is executive director of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center. Joyce Lombardi is director of government relations and legal services at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

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Washington Post, Los Angeles Times CEO and publisher investigated for inappropriate, ‘frat-house’ behavior, Samantha Schmidt, Jan. 19, 2018.  The Los Angeles Times chief executive and publisher is the latest media executive under investigation for inappropriate behavior, following an extensive NPR report.

Tronc, the parent company of the Los Angeles Times, began investigating Ross Levinsohn on Thursday after NPR reported he had been named a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits as an executive at two different companies, Alta Vista and News Corp, before joining the Times. Levinsohn’s former colleagues and employees described him as a party-loving executive who created a fraternity-like environment, often making women feel uncomfortable.

“The portrait that repeatedly emerges is one of a frat-boy executive, catapulting ever higher, even as he creates corporate climates that alienated some of the people who worked for and with him,” wrote NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik. His report was based on a review of court documents, financial filings and interviews with 26 former colleagues and associates. Tronc learned of the allegations of inappropriate behavior this week, Tronc chief executive Justin Dearborn said in a note to employees, according to the Los Angeles Times, which featured a story about the investigation prominently on its website’s home page.

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djt melania liberty ball inauguration 2017Washington Post, ‘I’ll give her a week’ to lose the baby weight, Trump said of Melania, months before alleged tryst with porn star, Callum Borchers, Jan. 19, 2018. Seven months before an alleged tryst with porn star Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump told radio host Howard Stern that he would give his pregnant wife, Melania (shown at a 2017 Inaugural ball), a couple of days — or maybe a week — to regain her model figure after giving birth.

“You know, Howard, she’s got the kind of a body and makeup where, about one day after the baby, it’s going to be the same as it was before,” Trump said during an appearance on Stern’s show on Dec. 7, 2005.

“You’re giving her one day?” Stern asked.

“One or two,” Trump replied.

djt stormy daniels screengrabVox, Stormy Daniels: Donald Trump’s alleged porn star affair and hush money scandal explained, Dylan Matthews, Jan. 19, 2018. In July 2006, Donald Trump allegedly had a “sexual encounter” with adult film star Stormy Daniels (shown with Trump in file photos) following a celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, and, the month before the 2016 presidential election, reportedly sent her a $130,000 payment through his lawyer as hush money to keep the matter private.

john edwards senate wThat claim, first reported on January 12, 2018, by the Wall Street Journal, is explosive enough to conceivably topple just about any other politician. Infidelity, and attempts to cover up infidelity, ended the careers or forced the resignations of former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards (left), former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Republican Sen. John Ensign, and Republican Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama(below right)robert bentley, just to name a few from the past decade.

But this is Donald Trump we’re talking about. When the Journal blockbuster landed, it was competing for space with Trump’s labeling of Haiti, El Salvador, and seemingly all countries of Africa as “shithole” countries, ongoing congressional negotiations around the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, and the Journal’s own bizarre interview with Trump and his subsequent claims that the Journal mis-transcribed his statements about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

If anyone is capable of somehow making an affair with a porn star into a non-story, it’s Donald Trump.

By the following week, Trump’s physical health exam and attempts to evade a government shutdown were dominating political news.

stormy daniels djt insight 1 19 2018 CustomThe Stormy Daniels scandal, however, continues to mount. On Wednesday, the celebrity news magazine In Touch published an interview with Daniels conducted in 2011 in which she says she had an affair with Trump, including sex after that golf event. Subsequent reporting by the Wall Street Journal revealed that Trump attorney Michael Cohen set up shell companies through which to make the $130,000 payment to Daniels.

Other reports have suggested that multiple news outlets, including Fox News and Slate, had the story before the 2016 election and didn’t report or publish it. And Daniels might not be the only woman Trump silenced with a nondisclosure agreement.

Jan. 18

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Washington Post, Why are we only now hearing of a porn star’s tale about Trump? Paul Farhi, Jan. 18, 2018 (print edition). Journalists said they held back on a story that Stormy Daniels had allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006 because they couldn’t independently corroborate key elements of the account, including in one instance from Daniels herself. Several journalists surely knew who Stormy Daniels was in 2016, and it probably wasn’t because they’d seen her in one of the many porn films she’d made.

djt ivanka stormy daniels nydaily news The adult-film actress (shown in a New York Daily News cover with a reported quotation from Trump referencing his daughter) was on the radar of a number of mainstream news outlets in the waning days of the presidential campaign. Reporters from ABC, Fox News, the Daily Beast and Slate.com were pursuing a potentially explosive story: that Daniels had allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, only months after Trump’s wife, Melania, had given birth to their son, Barron.

Yet no one went with the story.

huff post logoHuffPost, Dylan Farrow: Woody Allen Sexually Abused Me While I Played With Toys, Hayley Miller, Jan. 18, 2018. The filmmaker’s adopted daughter leveled molestation allegations in her first TV interview. Dylan Farrow is opening up about what she says was sexual abuse by her adoptive father, filmmaker Woody Allen, when she was 7 years old.

In her first TV interview, Farrow, 32, alleged Allen sexually assaulted her in the Connecticut home of actress Mia Farrow, her adoptive mother.

“I was taken to a small attic crawl space,” Farrow said in an interview with “CBS This Morning” that aired Thursday. “He instructed me to lay down on my stomach and play with my brother’s toy train that was set up, and he sat behind me in the doorway. And, as I played with the toy train, I was sexually assaulted.”

She continued: “As 7-year-old, I would say he touched my private parts. As a 32-year-old, he touched my labia and my vulva with his finger.” Allen has denied the allegation.

djt stormy daniels screengrabMediaite, Stormy Daniels Reportedly Spanked Trump With A Copy of Forbes Magazine, Rachel Dicker, Jan. 18, 2018. In the wake of a Wall Street Journal article that alleges Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid off porn star Stormy Daniels (shown with Trump in a screengrab) to keep quiet about a 2006 sexual encounter with now-president Donald Trump, several other stories about Daniels’ rendezvous with Trump have surfaced – including one account that she spanked Trump with a copy of Forbes.

Mother Jones reports that during a May 2009 “listening tour” of Louisiana when considering a run for Senate, Daniels compiled a list of potential campaign contributors, all of whom came from contacts in her cell phone, and one of whom was Donald Trump.

Upon receiving this list, one consultant expressed surprise that Trump’s number was in Daniels’ cell phone. Another consultant named Andrea Dubé, who confirmed the veracity of this exchange to Mother Jones, replied: “She says one time he made her sit with him for three hours watching ‘shark week.’ Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine.”

Jan. 17

djt official portraitNew Republic, The Triumph of Porn Over Social Conservatism, Jeet Heer, Jan. 17, 2018. Why Trump's alleged affairs with erotic stars aren't hurting him on the right. Trump’s ascendency over the Republican Party marks a little noticed, but real shift in American politics: Social conservatives, who once led the crusade against smut, have made their peace with a porn-saturated culture. 

Pornography was a political hot button topic from the 1960s until the 1990s, when changes in censorship law and new technologies like video recording made erotic imagery much more pervasive. Along with opposing abortion and gay rights, being anti-porn was one of the key organizing principles of the religious right.

djt stormy daniels nydaily 1 13 18 CustomIn 1997, Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell spoke for many social conservatives when he told CNN, “pornography hurts anyone who reads it, garbage in, garbage out. I think when you feed that stuff into your mind, it definitely affects your relationship with your spouse, your attitude towards life, morality.” But today, Jerry Falwell’s son, Jerry Falwell Jr., is one of Donald Trump’s biggest supporters. (In 2016, he was photographed at Trump’s office in front of a framed copy of a Playboy cover featuring Trump.)

It’s easy for liberals to decry the hypocrisy of Republicans, the putative party of family values, embracing Trump as its avatar.

But there is no real hypocrisy here. The core value is patriarchy, which can take different forms. There is an older patriarchy which wears the mask of chivalry, and offers women protection in exchange for submissiveness.

But the age of chivalry is no more. We now have raw patriarchy, which asserts its rights through naked displays of power. And the president, with his porn star mistresses, his boasting of sexual assaults, and even his phallic tweets about the size of his nuclear button, is the perfect leader for conservatives’ post-chivalric world.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)

Legal Schnauzer, As more audiotapes become known, Missouri GOP governor Eric Greitens faces evidence that he used state resources to help cover up a personal sex scandal, Roger Shuler, Jan. 17, 2018. The sex scandal swirling around Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has officially entered cover-up mode, with revelations that Greitens used a state-paid attorney to try to keep the story from hitting the press. If Missouri history is an indicator, that could be a sign that Greitens, considered a possible future GOP presidential candidate, is headed down a slippery slope that ends with a forced resignation.

As if the news could not get much more treacherous for the embattled former Navy SEAL, reports broke last night that the ex husband of Greitens' mistress has more audiotapes than had originally been made known to the public -- and he has turned them over to the FBI and state law-enforcement officials. On top of that, five GOP lawmakers in Jefferson City called on Greitens to resign. The angle of Greitens using a state-paid attorney in an attempt at damage control could prove to be his undoing.  

You don't have to go too far back in Missouri history to find another politician who paid dearly for using public resources for personal gain. Like Greitens, William Webster was considered possible presidential timber. But in the early 1990s, Webster became ensnared in a federal investigation.

The Hill, Adult film star: Trump cheated with me, Rebecca Savransky, Jan. 17, 2018. A former adult film star in the past claimed that President Trump had sex with her in 2006, when he was married to first lady Melania Trump.

In Touch published excerpts from an interview Wednesday it conducted in 2011 with Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford. In the excerpts, Daniels talks about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump in 2006.

donald trump apprentice black and white“[The sex] was textbook generic,” Daniels said. “I actually don’t even know why I did it, but I do remember while we were having sex, I was like, ‘Please, don’t try to pay me.’ ” Daniels told the publication in 2011 that after the encounter, Trump (shown in an Apprentice publicity photo) kept saying: “ ‘I’m gonna call you, I’m gonna call you. I have to see you again. You’re amazing. We have to get you on The Apprentice.’”

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Trump arranged a six-figure payment to Daniels to keep her from discussing a sexual encounter with Trump. A White House official declined to comment to the Journal about the payment, but said that the allegations of the interaction between Trump and Daniels were “old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election.”

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Washington Post, Opinion: Staffers at The Hill press management about the work of John Solomon, Erik Wemple  A group of newsroom staffers at The Hill have complained to management about stories written by John Solomon, the publication’s executive vice president of digital video. The complaints were launched in December when Solomon and reporter Alison Spann broke a story under this headline: “Exclusive: Prominent lawyer sought donor cash for two Trump accusers.”

The gist of Solomon and Spann’s story: Prominent California lawyer Lisa Bloom worked to secure payments for women who “made or considered making sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump during the final months of the 2016 presidential race.” The story cited “documents and interviews,” plus the on-the-record explanations by Bloom herself.

The story impressed the conservative media world. Fox News host Sean Hannity called it a “bombshell report,” while conservative websites aggregated away.

A New York Times story two weeks later noted that accuser-financing arrangements weren’t invented for the Trump era: Paula Jones’s harassment lawsuit against Bill Clinton received funding from the Rutherford Institute.

Huffington Post, Climate Denial Group Protected Former Executive Charged With Stalking Colleague, Ex-Staffers Say, Alexander C. Kaufman, Jan. 17, 2018. A former Heartland Institute director faced charges for violating a female subordinate’s restraining order. An official at the think tank came to his defense.

Eugene Koprowski’s temper earned him a reputation around the office pretty quickly. Former colleagues say Koprowski enjoyed protected status in the office because of his friendship with Joseph Morris, a conservative Chicago lawyer who is also a major fundraiser for Heartland and a close ally to its chief executive, Joseph Bast.

Heartland, they said, fostered a culture that allowed Koprowski, 52, to relentlessly harass a female subordinate half his age ― to the point where she took out a restraining order against him in October 2015. And though Koprowski was apparently fired sometime after the woman complained to human resources, her former colleagues say his termination came in response to other misbehavior ― not his repeated, undesired romantic pursuit of the woman who reported to him.  

The previously-unreported case of alleged stalking comes to light just as Heartland has become more powerful than ever. The think tank transformed itself over the past two decades from a defender of the tobacco industry ― under the banner of “smokers rights” ― to a leading proponent of climate change denial and champion of fossil fuels.

Since the Trump administration came to power, Heartland has enjoyed unprecedented influence at the Environmental Protection Agency, and works closely with hard-line science skeptics in Congress such as Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt joined the members of Congress in November to speak at Heartland’s America First Energy Conference in Houston.

Jan. 16

Huffington Post, Opinion: On Aziz Ansari And Sex That Feels Violating Even When It’s Not Criminal, Emma Gray, Jan. 16, 2018.  If the #MeToo movement is going to last, we need to renegotiate the sexual narratives we’ve long accepted.

American Freedom Radio, Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump, interview Justice Integrity Project Editor Andrew Kreig and Wayne Madsen Report Editor Wayne Madsenby Pearse Redmond, host of Porkins Policy Review and an expert on the Epstein pedophia case, Jan. 16, 2018 (120 mins.).

Jan. 15

simone biles usa team

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Washington Post, Olympian Simone Biles says she was abused by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, Bryan Flaherty, Jan. 15, 2018. Simone Biles (shown in a file photo), a four-time Olympic gold medalist, said in a statement that she, too, was sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, adding her name to the list of more than 140 women, including fellow Team USA members Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney, who have accused Nassar of abuse during his time with the sport’s governing body and while at Michigan State.

“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” Biles, 20, wrote. “Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault.

“It is not normal to receive any type of treatment from a trusted team physician and refer to it horrifyingly as the ‘special’ treatment. This behavior is completely unacceptable, disgusting, and abusive, especially coming from someone whom I was TOLD to trust.”

larry nassar gymnastics pleaNassar, shown at left in a court hearing with his attorney, has been sentenced to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges. He also has pleaded guilty to seven sexual assault charges in Michigan and faces sentencing beginning Tuesday.

As part of his plea agreement, the minimum sentence range for the charges involving a victim who was younger than 13 will be set between 25 and 40 years; he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison on those charges. The Michigan attorney general’s office is seeking a sentence of 40 to 125 years.

Jan. 14

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alcee hastings oWashington Post, A congressional harassment claim led to a secret $220,000 payment. Both sides see a broken system, Kimberly Kindy and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Jan. 14, 2018. The payment to Winsome Packer, a former aide to Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla., shown at right), was one of the largest known settlements paid out in recent years by a fund for claims made against members of Congress. But with lawmakers working on legislation that would alter the process for handling accusations, both sides say their dispute reveals a flawed law that is unfair and abusive to the accuser and the accused.

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New York Times, Porn Star Was Reportedly Paid to Stay Quiet About Trump, Megan Twohey and Jim Rutenberg, Jan. 13, 2018 (print edition). A lawyer for President Trump orchestrated a $130,000 payment to a pornographic-film actress in October 2016 to prevent her from going public with claims of a consensual sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The reported payment came shortly before the presidential election and as the actress, Stephanie Clifford, 38, was discussing sharing her account with ABC’s “Good Morning America” and the online magazine Slate, according to interviews, notes and text messages reviewed by The New York Times.

Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, said on Friday that in a series of interviews with Ms. Clifford in August and October 2016, she told him she had an affair with Mr. Trump after meeting him at a 2006 celebrity golf tournament.

michael cohen 7 14 2015 cnnShe told him that Michael D. Cohen, a lawyer for Mr. Trump (and shown in a screen grab), had agreed during the presidential campaign to pay her the $130,000 if she kept the relationship secret, Mr. Weisberg said, adding that Ms. Clifford had told him she was tempted to go public because the lawyer was late in making the payment and she feared he might back out of their agreement.

Daily Beast, Trump Accuser Jessica Drake Has an NDA Preventing Her from Talking About Donald Trump, Marlow Stern and Aurora Snow, Jan. 13, 2018. The porn star came forward to accuse then-candidate Trump of sexual misconduct in October 2016.

djt jessica drakeThe Daily Beast was informed late Friday that porn star Jessica Drake (shown with Trump in a previous publicity photo published by The Daily Beast) is not allowed to discuss President Donald J. Trump on account of a non-disclosure agreement she signed barring her from any such talk. NDAs are often deployed as part of settlements to silence accusers.

“Jessica’s NDA blankets any and every mention of Trump, so she’s legally unable to comment,” her publicist informed The Daily Beast. “Jessica signed a non-disclosure agreement after her allegations of misconduct, and she can’t do as much as peep his name publicly.”

The White House has not yet responded to requests for comment.

In late October 2016, Drake became the 14th woman to accuse then-candidate Trump of sexual misconduct. At a public press conference, Drake, flanked by her attorney Gloria Allred, claimed that after she met Trump in July 2006 at Nevada’s American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, where she was working a promotional booth on behalf of the adult film company Wicked Pictures, he made a pass at her. Trump’s wife, Melania, had recently given birth to their son Barron at the time.

She alleged that Trump later called her and asked, “'What do you want? How much?” and then offered her $10,000 for sex. “This is not acceptable behavior for anyone, much less a presidential candidate,” Drake said at the presser.

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New York Times, Male Models Claim Sexual Exploitation, Jacob Bernstein, Matthrew Schneier and Vanessa Friedman, Jan. 13, 2018. Models and assistants said Mario Testino and Bruce Weber, two prominent fashion photographers, used their authority to engage in unwanted sexual behavior. Representatives for both said they were dismayed and surprised by the allegations.

Jan. 12

djt stormy daniels nydaily 1 13 18 CustomPalmer Report, Analysis: Donald Trump propositioned three different porn actresses for extramarital sex in the same weekend, Bill Palmer, Jan. 12, 2018. Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal reported that Donald Trump had consensual sex with porn actress Stormy Daniels (shown in a New York Daily News front page story on Jan. 13) at a Lake Tahoe event in 2006, and that he later paid her during the election to keep it quiet. Another porn actress, Jessica Drake, previously accused Trump of inappropriately touching her and unsuccessfully offering her $10,000 for sex during that same event. Now a third porn actress says Trump propositioned her for sex during that same weekend.

Alana Evans is confirming to the Daily Beast that Trump and Daniels had sex during that lake Tahoe event. How does she know? She was also at the event, and they called her on the phone and asked her to join them for a threesome (link). Evans declined the offer. She says that she spoke with Daniels the next day, and Daniels confirmed that sexual activity did take place between them. This stands in direct contrast to the statement produced by Trump’s attorney today, supposedly written and signed by Daniels, which disputes that any of it occurred.

Daily Beast, Porn Star: Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels Invited Me to Their Hotel Room, Marlow Stern and Aurora Snow, Jan. 12, 2018. ‘I ended up with Donald in his hotel room. Picture him chasing me around his hotel room in his tighty-whities,’ Stormy Daniels told fellow porn star.

The Daily Beast had also been in protracted talks with Daniels about arranging an interview after three sources — including fellow porn star Alana Evans — told The Daily Beast that Daniels and Trump were involved. She ultimately backed out on Nov. 3, just five days before the 2016 election.

Cohen on Friday did not address the alleged payout to Daniels but provided the following statement to The Daily Beast: “These rumors have circulated time and again since 2011. President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels.” The attorney also provided a letter dated Jan. 10, 2018, allegedly signed by Daniels, that denied any “sexual and/or romantic affair” with Trump or the receipt of any “hush money” from Trump.

Wall Street Journal, Trump Lawyer Arranged $130,000 Payment for Adult-Film Star’s Silence, Michael Rothfeld and Joe Palazzolo, Jan. 12, 2018. Agreement just before election required woman to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, people familiar with the matter say.

michael cohen iowa politics.com via flickr preston kempA lawyer for President Donald Trump arranged a $130,000 payment to a former adult-film star a month before the 2016 election as part of an agreement that precluded her from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

Michael Cohen (right), who spent nearly a decade as a top attorney for the Trump Organization, arranged payment to the woman, Stephanie Clifford, in October, 2016 after her lawyer negotiated the nondisclosure agreement with Mr. Cohen, these people said.

steve bannon heritage foundationBusiness Insider, Steve Bannon suggests Trump's lawyer 'took care' of 'a hundred' women during the presidential campaign, Eliza Relman, Jan. 12, 2018. Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump's former top strategist, alleged in journalist Michael Wolff's tell-all book (Fire and Fury) about the Trump White House that the president's longtime attorney, Marc Kasowitz, "took care" of 100 women during the presidential campaign.

marc kasowitz color portrait"Look, Kasowitz has known [Trump] for twenty-five years. Kasowitz has gotten him out of all kinds of jams," Bannon reportedly said. "Kasowitz on the campaign - what did we have, a hundred women? Kasowitz [shown below at left] took care of all of them."

This apparently off-hand remark may take on new significance after The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that another lawyer for the president, Michael Cohen, sent $130,000 to a porn star just weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep her silent about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump.

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Washington Post, Fox drops Patty Hearst biopic after she blasts the Jeffrey Toobin book it was based on, Travis M. Andrews, Jan. 12, 2018. Twentieth Century Fox said Thursday that it’s canceling an upcoming biopic of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, a film based on a book by Jeffrey Toobin that chronicles Hearst’s 1974 kidnapping and eventual conviction for bank robbery.

jeffrey toobinAlthough the studio did not explain why the film had been pulled, the announcement came just hours after Hearst released a lengthy statement criticizing Toobin’s book, American Heiress, as factually incorrect and for “romanticizing my rape and torture.” Hearst, now 63, also said she was “saddened and appalled” that Fox “agreed to finance and produce a movie based on Toobin’s book.”

Toobin (shown in a file photo, a New Yorker magazine staff writer who also serves as the senior legal analyst for CNN, has not responded to Hearst’s statements. A CNN documentary, also based on Toobin’s book, is set to air on Feb. 11.

patty hearst mugHearst, the granddaughter of media mogul William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped by a radical group that called itself the Symbionese Liberation Army when she was 19 years old. The group publicly claimed that it radicalized her and she was later photographed participating in a bank robbery while carrying an assault rifle. Shown at left in a mugshot, she served nearly two years of a seven-year prison sentence before President Jimmy Carter commuted the sentence. President Bill Clinton eventually granted her a full pardon.

In releasing her statement critical of Toobin to Deadline on Thursday, she said she was inspired to speak out after hearing the “incredibly moving testimony” of women at Sunday’s Golden Globes, echoing the #MeToo movement.

“It’s no secret that I was abducted, raped, and tortured at 19,” she said. “What followed was a series of events that were the direct result of a child having been destroyed both inside and out.” She pointed out that she’s given many interviews over the years “to discuss my ordeal” but that “each time I do, it puts me back in the nightmare which, as you might imagine, is deeply painful. This is why for the last several years, I have declined to answer any more questions.”

“It was offensive to me that a man would have the audacity to tell a woman that he would have the last word on her trauma,” said Hearst, who described her kidnapping experience in a 1981 memoir, which she expanded in 1988. “This project is attempting to rewrite history and directly flies in the face of the present #MeToo movement where so much progress is being made in regard to listening, and providing a voice, to those who have suffered abuse,” she said in her statement.

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New York Times, Wall St. Executive’s Downfall Was Years in the Making, Kate Kelly and Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jan. 12, 2018 (print edition). A female reporter accused Harold E. Ford Jr., a former congressman, of inappropriate behavior. Morgan Stanley found no proof but fired him. Why? It depends on whom you ask.

harold ford jr oLate last year, Morgan Stanley got a tip: Reporters were asking about allegations that a high-profile executive, the former congressman Ford (shown while representing a Memphis-areaa district in Tennessee as a Democrat), had harassed a female journalist.

Morgan Stanley conducted a quick investigation, interviewing the accuser and Mr. Ford, who denied the allegations. According to Morgan Stanley officials briefed on the internal process, the Wall Street bank concluded that it was a he-said, she-said situation and didn’t find proof of harassment.

Then Morgan Stanley fired Mr. Ford. Why?

Jan. 11

national human trafficking awareness day jan 11 Custom

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is observed annually on January 11. Beginning in 2010, by Presidential Proclamation, each January has been designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Following the start of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, with the help of non-government organizations, National Human Trafficking Day began and is observed annually on January 11.

defense department combatting trafficking logoU.S. Department of Defense, Human Trafficking Has No Place in DoD, Pentagon Official Says, Terri Moon Cronk, Jan. 11, 2018. Combating human trafficking is a responsibility the Defense Department takes very seriously, Anthony M. Kurta, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, said today. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, he added. “It not only destroys the lives of those victimized, but also destroys countless families and poses a direct threat to the security and well-being of the entire world.”

Kurta spoke at the Pentagon Force Protection Agency’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day seminar in the Pentagon. Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Those who engage in human trafficking exploit the weak and the vulnerable and capitalize on those who patronize the sex-trade industry and those involved in forced labor, Kurta said. For those reasons, DoD is committed to continuing its aggressive stance against human trafficking, he said, and will further training its personnel to expand awareness. 

Down With Tyranny, Welcome To Waterbury: The City That Holds Secrets That Could Bring Down Trump, Guest Post by Andrew Kreig and Wayne Madsen, Jan. 11, 2018 (republished).

eric greitens mike pence

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a first-term Republican, is shown meeting Vice President Mike Pence in a file photo

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Washington Post,  Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens admits extramarital affair but denies reports he blackmailed woman with nude photo, Fred Barbash, Jan. 11, 2018.Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), responding to media reports, acknowledged Wednesday night that he was unfaithful to his wife “a few years ago” before being elected. But his lawyer denied sensational allegations aired by a local TV station that Greitens threatened to distribute naked photos he took of the woman with whom he was having a relationship if she ever said anything about it.

The woman, who has not been named publicly, was Greitens’s hair stylist, according to media reports confirmed by The Washington Post with a source familiar with the situation.

A joint statement posted Wednesday night by Greitens and his wife, Sheena, said in part that “a few years ago . . . there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage. This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately.”

Greitens, 44, is a relatively new star in the Republican Party who boasts an extraordinary résumé: Former Navy SEAL and Lt. Commander, attended Duke University on scholarship; Rhodes scholar at Oxford; PhD, author and White House Fellow during the administration of President George W. Bush. He is the author of “Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life” and, according to a profile in St. Louis Magazine, has had presidential aspirations since he was a young man. His wife, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for East Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens at 2017 Inaugural Ball (Missouri National Guard Photo)

Legal Schnauzer, Eric Greitens, Missouri's "Navy Seal" Republican governor, admits to an extramarital affair, as blackmail allegation hangs over his national political aspirations, Roger Shuler, Jan. 11, 2018. How bad could this get for Eric Greitens, who rose to high office mainly because his bio includes a stint as a Navy Seal? Well, the admitted affair likely will stick a fork in any "pro family" credentials he might have had. And the affair story includes allegations of blackmail that could prove especially troubling for Greitens.

Is the blackmail claim false? There seems to be quite a bit of doubt about that. From stltoday.com:

eric greitens oWhen questioned by News 4 (Blackmail alleged as Governor Greitens admits to extramarital affair,), Greitens (shown in an official photo) did not address the issue of the photograph but the Governor and his wife did release the following statement:

"A few years ago, before Eric was elected Governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage. This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately. While we never would have wished for this pain in our marriage, or the pain that this has caused others, with God’s mercy Sheena has forgiven and we have emerged stronger. We understand that there will be some people who cannot forgive – but for those who can find it in your heart, Eric asks for your forgiveness, and we are grateful for your love, your compassion, and your prayers."

James Franco (screenshot from CBS appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jan. 10, 2018)

James Franco (appearance on CBS The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jan. 10, 2018)

Los Angeles Times, Five women accuse actor James Franco of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior, Daniel Miller and Amy Kaufman, Jan. 11, 2018. It should have been a pure moment of triumph for James Franco. He collected one of Hollywood’s top prizes at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, validating an untraditional career in which he’s been a bankable leading man, Ivy League academic and eccentric auteur.

But as he stood on the ballroom stage, some were paying more attention to the Time’s Up pin on his lapel than the gold statue he picked up for his turn in “The Disaster Artist.”

It “was like a slap in my face,” said Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former acting student at the film school Franco founded who went on to appear in several of his productions.

Tither-Kaplan is one of five women who, in interviews with The Times, accused Franco, 39, of behavior they found to be inappropriate or sexually exploitative. Four were his students, and another said he was her mentor.

In some cases, they said they believed Franco could offer them career advancement, and acquiesced to his wishes even when they were uncomfortable.

“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” said Tither-Kaplan, who was one of many women who took to Twitter on Sunday night to vent anger over Franco’s win.

She told The Times that in a nude orgy scene she filmed with Franco and several women three years ago, he removed protective plastic guards covering other actresses’ vaginas while simulating oral sex on them.

Two other student actresses also recounted negative on-set experiences. Both said Franco became angry when no women, while at the shoot, would agree to be topless.

Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, disputed all of the women’s allegations and directed The Times to Franco’s comments Tuesday night on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”

“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” he told Colbert. “I have to do that to maintain my well being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”

“If I have done something wrong,” he added, “I will fix it — I have to.”

The Hill, Washington Post suspends reporter for 'inappropriate workplace conduct,' John Bowden, Jan. 11, 2018. Washington Post reporter Joel Achenbach has been suspended for 90 days over "inappropriate workplace conduct," according to a Post report. In his statement to the Post reporter, Achenbach, a science and politics reporter, admitted to the misconduct but did not specify the nature of the claims made against him, only confirming that "women" were the victims.

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New York Times, Storm Grows Over ‘Media Men’ List as Creator Outs Herself, Jacyln Peiser, Jan. 11, 2018 (print edition).  Harper’s found itself under heavy pressure to conceal the identity of the creator of a list of men in the media industry accused of sexual harassment. Then the creator herself came forward.

Fortune, Elon Musk Says He Accidentally Attended a Silicon Valley 'Sex Party.' But He Didn't See Any Sex, Abigail Abrams, Jan. 11, 2018. Even tech superstars sometimes get confused. It turns out Elon Musk unwittingly attended a now-infamous sex party held last summer at a venture capitalist’s Silicon Valley home. The event in question was mentioned in a Vanity Fair excerpt from journalist Emily Chang’s upcoming book Brotopia about the lavish and intense culture of Silicon Valley. The June 2017 party allegedly featured open drug use and public sexual behavior, according to the excerpt. 

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Washington Post, Two face life in prison for sex trafficking teenage girls, Rachel Weiner, Jan. 11, 2018. Ivan Williams and Dennis Davis used the proceeds from prostitution to start rap careers, prosecutors said.Two men face up to life in prison when they are sentenced in April for trafficking teenage prostitutes across the D.C. area.

Ivan Williams, 28, and Dennis Davis, 26, were found guilty by a jury in Alexandria federal court Wednesday evening. Prosecutors said the men used the proceeds from prostitution to fund their dreams of rap stardom.

Several former prostitutes testified against the two men, including two women who pleaded guilty to helping traffic minors. One, Davis’s ex-girlfriend, had worked for him as a prostitute when she was underage. When he went to prison for that crime, she had his name tattooed on her hip. She testified against him in this case, she said, because he had attacked her younger brother.

Jan. 10

eric greitens oKMOV-TV (St. Louis), Blackmail alleged as Governor Greitens admits to extramarital affair, Laura Trager and John O'Sullivan, Jan. 10, 2018. Governor Eric Greitens (shown at right) on Wednesday night confirmed to News 4 he had an extramarital affair, an admission a months-long News 4 investigation prompted.

In a recording obtained by News 4, a woman says she had a sexual encounter with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and that he tried to blackmail her to keep the encounter quiet.

The details were provided to News 4 by the woman’s ex-husband, claiming the sexual relationship happened between his now ex-wife and Greitens in March 2015. News 4 is not naming the woman and she has not made an on-the-record comment about the story.

According to the ex-husband, the recording was made just days after Greitens’ and the woman’s first sexual encounter. And also that Greitens took a photograph during the encounter to use as “blackmail” according to the ex-husband.

Her now ex-husband said that statement upset him.

“He took a picture of my wife naked as blackmail. There is no worse person,” the ex-husband told News 4. And that is still what upsets him. He told News 4, “I think it's as bad as it gets, It’s as bad as it gets when someone takes advantage of something.”

In the recorded phone conversation, the woman takes on some of the blame and says that Greitens apologized after the encounter -- and told her he had deleted the picture.

During his campaign and while serving in his first year in office as Missouri’s Governor, Eric Greitens has billed himself a family man. During his campaign announcement, he stated: “I'm Eric Greitens, I'm a Navy SEAL, native Missourian and most importantly, a proud husband and father."

The Hill, Dems to invite sexual assault survivors as guests to Trump's State of the Union: report, Brandon Carter, Jan. 10, 2018. Some House Democrats are planning to invite sexual assault survivors as their guests to President Trump’s first State of the Union address, according to a new report.

An aide to Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) told NBC News that some Democrats are planning the invitations to bring awareness to the issue. "Some members will be bringing survivors of sexual assault and advocates as their guests," the aide told NBC News.

jackie speier abcThe report comes on the heels of Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), shown at right, saying Tuesday that she and other female House members are inviting lawmakers to weak black to Trump’s State of the Union in solidarity with the anti-sexual harassment “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements.

"This is a culture change that is sweeping the country and Congress is embracing it," Speier told The Hill in a statement. Speier said the Democratic Women’s Working Group, which includes all of the female House members, was encouraging lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to wear black to the event, and that support is very high.

More than a dozen women came forward to publicly accuse Trump of sexual harassment during the 2016 presidential campaign. Last month, three of the women banded together for the first time to call for a congressional investigation into Trump.

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Washington Post, A pastor admitted a past ‘sexual incident’ with a teen. His congregation gave him a standing ovation, Kyle Swenson, Jan. 10, 2018. During a Jan. 7 church service, pastor Andy Savage admitted to and apologized for a “sexual incident” that occurred between him and a teenage woman in 1998.

On Dec. 1, as headlines across the country blared with news about Matt Lauer’s surprise firing from the “Today” show for sexual misconduct, a woman named Jules Woodson tapped out a short email. It ran only about 80 words but was nearly 20 years in the making. “Do you remember?” the subject line read.

When Savage failed to respond to Woodson’s December email, she took her allegations public on Jan. 5, posting a detailed account of the alleged sexual assault on a blog for abuse survivors. Evangelical circles started spinning with reports of a then-college student forcing a sexual encounter with a student. She closed with three words and a hashtag. “Well I REMEMBER,” the email said. “#me-too.”

The message landed in the inbox of Andy Savage, a pastor at Highpoint Church, an evangelical Memphis mega-congregation that draws more than 2,000 Sunday worshipers.

Jan. 9

Huffington Post, Dylan Farrow: Woody Allen Sexually Abused Me While I Played With Toys, Hayley Miller, Jan. 18, 2018. The filmmaker’s adopted daughter leveled molestation allegations in her first TV interview. Dylan Farrow is opening up about what she says was sexual abuse by her adoptive father, filmmaker Woody Allen, when she was 7 years old.

woody allen tribeca festival 2009 david shankboneIn her first TV interview, Farrow, 32, alleged Allen (shown in a 2009 photo by David Shankbone at a film festival) sexually assaulted her in the Connecticut home of actress Mia Farrow, her adoptive mother.

“I was taken to a small attic crawl space,” Farrow said in an interview with “CBS This Morning” that aired Thursday. “He instructed me to lay down on my stomach and play with my brother’s toy train that was set up, and he sat behind me in the doorway. And, as I played with the toy train, I was sexually assaulted.”

She continued: “As 7-year-old, I would say he touched my private parts. As a 32-year-old, he touched my labia and my vulva with his finger.” Allen has denied the allegation.

ap logoAssociated Press, Ex-Idaho lawmaker facing sex-abuse inquiry kills himself, Kimberlee Kruesi, Jan. 9, 2018. A former Republican state lawmaker from Idaho who was facing a sexual abuse investigation has shot and killed himself, authorities said Tuesday. Brandon Hixon was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in his home early Tuesday, Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris said. A family member discovered his body. Officials have released no details about the criminal investigation into Hixon, 36, except that it was related to possible sexual abuse.

Daily Mail, Marvel creator Stan Lee, 95, is accused of groping nurses and demanding oral sex in the shower at his $20m Los Angeles home -- but says he is victim of a 'shake down,'  Ryan Parry, Jan. 9, 2018. Comic book legend Stan Lee has been hit with several allegations of sexual assault and harassment by nurses caring for him at his Hollywood Hills home.

The Marvel creator, 95, is alleged to have repeatedly groped and harassed a string of young female nurses employed to care for him. He is said to have asked for oral sex in the shower, walked around naked and wanted to be 'pleasured' in the bedroom.

The nursing company which employs the women and caters for celebrities and high-end clients is now in a legal dispute with icon Lee. But as yet no police complaint has been made and no lawsuits filed.

A lawyer representing Lee told DailyMail.com that Lee 'categorically denies' the 'false and despicable' allegations and fully intends to clear his 'stellar good name' and suggested the allegations could be part of a shakedown. Lee, 95, is the former president and chairman of Marvel and co-created Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the X-Men, Hulk among many other beloved comic book heroes.

Jan. 4

nbc news logoNBC News, Future of Miss America, beauty pageants in question in the wake of #MeToo, Daniella Silva, Jan. 7, 2017. "Potentially big changes" are coming to the Miss America pageant, according to its new chairwoman Gretchen Carlson. The former Fox News anchor, who was crowned Miss America in 1989, has been a high-profile voice against workplace sexual harassment and her appointment comes after leaked sexist emails led to a shakeup of the organization's leadership.

Associated Press via Time Magazine, Roy Moore Accuser Leigh Corfman Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Him, Staff report, Jan. 4, 2018. A woman who says failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore molested her when she was 14 has filed a defamation lawsuit Moore and his campaign. Leigh Corfman filed the lawsuit Thursday. The suit says Moore and his campaign defamed her and made false statements as they denied the accusations in the midst of the U.S. Senate race in Alabama.

Corfman says Moore sexually abused her when she was 14 and then “called me a liar and immoral when I publicly disclosed his misconduct.”

Corfman says she was 14 when Moore, then a prosecutor in his 30s, touched her during an encounter. Moore has denied the allegations. Corfman was one of several women who said Moore pursued them when they were teenagers. The lawsuit asks Moore to publicly apologize.

Newsweek via Raw Story, Ivanka Trump unfollowed Steve Bannon on Twitter, Summer Meza, Jan. 4, 2018. Ivanka Trump no longer follows former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon on Twitter, as of Thursday afternoon. She either unfollowed or blocked Bannon, according to the bot account @TrumpsAlert, which tracks changes to the Trump family’s Twitter accounts. The change comes one day after dozens of salacious details disparaging the Trumps were revealed in excerpts from journalist Michael Wolff’s upcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

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Washington Post, Lawyer claims donations fall far short of high costs of defamation suit against Trump, Frances Stead Sellers, Jan. 3, 2018. Facing questions about how a defamation suit against President Trump is being funded, a lawyer for plaintiff Summer R. Zervos has issued a statement saying that the Internet fundraising appeal she has hosted on her website has brought in only a fraction of what it will take to pursue the case.

gloria allred 2012 Custom“To date the fund has received donations of just under $30,000,” wrote prominent women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred in a statement published Sunday on her Facebook page. (She is shown at right in a file photo from 2012.)

“We anticipate that the costs alone in this case will be hundreds of thousands of dollars,” wrote Allred, who said that she is not charging any fees for her own legal work, that neither of the two law firms involved in the case has been paid fees, and that “the donated funds have not and will not be used to personally benefit Ms. Zervos in any way.”

The statement comes as the #metoo movement continues to roil the spheres of show business, media and politics, and in the immediate wake of an article published in the Hill alleging that Allred’s daughter, Lisa Bloom, “sought to arrange compensation from donors and tabloid media outlets for women who made or considered making sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump.”

Groopspeak.com, Trump’s Young Staffer Abruptly Storms Off After Sexual Comment, Wire reports, Jan. 3, 2018. Explosive allegations in a new book by Michael Wolff roiled the White House today, as President Trump is again under fire for his treatment of women due to a revealed run-in WH Communications Director Hope Hicks.

According to Wolff, the author of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Trump referred to Hicks as a “piece of tail” in a moment that sent her fleeing from the room in humiliation. She is shown in a file photo with Corey Lewandowski, at one point the Trump campaign manager.

hope hicks cory lewandowski“Hicks sat in Trump Tower with Trump and his sons, worried about Lewandowski’s treatment in the press and wondering aloud how she might help him,” the book reads. “Trump, who otherwise seemed to treat Hicks in a protective and even paternal way, looked up and said, ‘Why? You’ve already done enough for him. you’re the best piece of tail he’ll ever have’ sending Hicks running from the room.”

It is not known whether Lewandowski (with Hicks in photo below) was privy to Trump’s treatment of Hicks, but it is known that the pair dated for an undisclosed length of time.

Bannon plays a large part in Fire and Fury, and accuses Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. of “treasonous” behavior for their meeting in New York with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have opposition research on Hillary Clinton.

The populist Breitbart big-shot rails against Don Jr. in numerous excerpts, and told Wolff that Robert Mueller is going to crack the First Son “like an egg.”

Wolff (shown in a file photo) also claims in the book that Trump didn’t actually want to win, that his campaign in 2015-16 was a plot to fail on-purpose and still make money. In other words, a political version of The Producers.

Trump, the book clams, was shocked and crestfallen when he heard the news of his unlikely electoral win.

rupert murdoch newBut in the #MeToo era, the story of 45 calling a well-respected and accomplished woman – or any woman – a “piece of tail” in the White House will reverberate farther than any historical horse-race intrigue.

The POTUS should be grateful that he wasn’t photographed with Hicks too often, but this one just had its “creep” factor intensified for many viewers:

The book also alleges that Trump called Rupert Murdoch (shown above) a “f***ing idiot” and Sally Yates a “c***.”

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Washington Post, Lawyer claims donations fall far short of high costs of defamation suit against Trump, Frances Stead Sellers, Jan. 3, 2018. Facing questions about how a defamation suit against President Trump is being funded, a lawyer for plaintiff Summer R. Zervos has issued a statement saying that the Internet fundraising appeal she has hosted on her website has brought in only a fraction of what it will take to pursue the case.

gloria allred 2012 Custom“To date the fund has received donations of just under $30,000,” wrote prominent women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred in a statement published Sunday on her Facebook page. (She is shown at right in a file photo from 2012.)

“We anticipate that the costs alone in this case will be hundreds of thousands of dollars,” wrote Allred, who said that she is not charging any fees for her own legal work, that neither of the two law firms involved in the case has been paid fees, and that “the donated funds have not and will not be used to personally benefit Ms. Zervos in any way.”

The statement comes as the #metoo movement continues to roil the spheres of show business, media and politics, and in the immediate wake of an article published in the Hill alleging that Allred’s daughter, Lisa Bloom, “sought to arrange compensation from donors and tabloid media outlets for women who made or considered making sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump.”

Jan. 2

matt gaetz dui

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Pensacola) is shown above in a billboard ad one Interstate 10 in his Florida district mocking his DUI (Driving while under the influence) arrests. The billboard ad GoFundMe ad campaign by activist Claude Taylor against Gaetz derives from the report below by Wayne Madsen.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: Mueller's "grand inquisitor" in Congress has a record of DWIs and a suspicious death, Wayne Madsen, Dec. 19, 2017.  (Excerpted from the subscription-only website WMR and released on Jan. 2 with permission.).

matt gaetz o CustomThe chief congressional enemy of Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a long record of drunk driving charges and one suspicious death, according to senior GOP sources in Tallahassee, the Florida capital.

fbi logoFirst-term U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz (in his official photo at left and also in a mug shot below) has led the charge against Mueller and his investigation of Donald Trump and his administration. Gaetz insists that Mueller, a Republican, is leading a politically-tainted witch hunt against Trump, his family members, and members of his campaign and administration. However, Gaetz has offered little, except for right-wing talking points, to disparage Mueller and his team of seasoned federal prosecutors.

matt gaetz mug CustomGaetz's record includes at least seven arrests for drunk driving and a closeted gay life style. Gaetz proclaims himself as an anti-gay rights social conservative. Gaetz's politically powerful father Don Gaetz, a former health care CEO who was sued by the U.S. Justice Department for Medicare fraud, is a powerful member of the Florida Senate. Senator Gaetz has used his position to propel his son into national politics. The Gaetz father-and-son team hails from a prominent North Dakota GOP political family.

Editor's note: The Justice Integrity Project will be ramping up the frequency of its investigative reporting in 2018, including by citations to the work of others, as here.

Jan. 1

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New York Times, Activists Exploit Effort to Expose Sex Harassment, Kenneth P. Vogel, Jan. 1, 2018 (print edition). The earthquake of sexual misconduct allegations has taken down powerful men without regard to politics, but as it shakes Washington, accusations are taking on a partisan tint.

djt official SmallAs the #MeToo movement to expose sexual harassment roils the nation’s capital, political partisans are exploiting the moment, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support accusers who come forward with charges against President Trump and members of Congress, even amid questions about their motivation.

As accusations take on a partisan tint, activists and lawyers fear that such an evolution could damage a movement that has shaken Hollywood, Silicon Valley, media suites in New York and the hallways of Congress — and has taken down both a Democratic fund-raiser, Harvey Weinstein, and a conservative stalwart, Bill O’Reilly.

“There is a danger in this environment that unsophisticated individuals who have been abused by powerful people could be exploited by groups seeking partisan advantage, or by lawyers seeking a moment in the limelight,” said Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer who has brought sexual harassment cases against politicians from both parties.The lawyers and operatives behind the most politically charged cases brush off those concerns.

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New York Times, Powerful Hollywood Women Unveil Anti-Harassment Plan, Cara Buckley, Jan. 1, 2018 (print edition). Shonda Rhimes and Reese Witherspoon are among the 300 actresses and insiders behind Time’s Up, an initiative for legal protections for workers nationwide.

Jan. 1

Al.com, Anniston Star's ex-publisher spanked female employees in the 1970s, reports say, Leada Gore, Jan. 1, 2017. Brandt Ayers, former publisher and now chairman of the company that publishes The Anniston Star, spanked female employees in the 1970s, several former staffers claim.

The allegations come from female employees who said they were targeted and sexually abused by Ayers, now 82, while working in the paper's newsroom. One of the women, Veronica Pike Kennedy, told the Alabama Political Reporter she was working at the newspaper early one Saturday when Ayers approached her about an editorial he had written and then told her she was being a "bad girl" and he would "have to spank" her.

Kennedy said Ayers pulled her out of her chair, bent her over a desk and spanked her 18 times with a metal ruler. The incident was witnessed by another Star reporter who allegedly confirmed the account. Kennedy was 22 at the time of the alleged incident; Ayers was in his early 40s. Several other female Star staffers reported similar contact with Ayers.

Ayers issued a statement through a Jan. 1 story published in The Star. "As a very young man with more authority than judgment, I did some things I regret," Ayers said. "At my advanced age I wish I could relive those days again, knowing the seriousness of my position and with the accumulated judgment that goes with age."

The allegations against Ayers were first detailed in an article in the Alabama Political Reporter by Eddie Burkhalter, a former Star reporter who left the newspaper in November after allegedly being prevented from reporting on the story. The Star's current staff began looking into the story when Joey Kennedy, Veronica Kennedy's husband, mentioned the incident -- both not the publisher or the newspaper involved -- in November, The Star said.

Ayers, the son of the newspaper's founder Harry Ayers, took over as publisher of the The Star in 1969, remaining in the position until 2016. He now serves as chairman of the board of Consolidated Publishing, publisher of The Star, The Daily Home and several weekly newspapers, and writes a column for the newspapers. Among his recent subjects was Roy Moore, the failed Republican Senate candidate who has been accused of having improper sexual contact with teenage girls in the 1970s.

 

 

 Major Justice Integrity Project Columns in 2018:

 

 Jan. 9, 2018maria wmr jip waterbury graphic 1 8 18 Custom

By Wayne Madsen and Andrew Kreig

A woman whom Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein allegedly sodomized and raped at the age of 12 along with at least one other underage girl at a midtown Manhattan townhouse in 1994 is alive and trying to maintain obscurity from alt-right operatives who have identified her and her current residence.

The Wayne Madsen Report (WMR) and Justice Integrity Project (JIP) are revealing here for the first time the story of “Maria,” who was identified as such in two 2016 federal civil lawsuits brought against Trump and Epstein by another underage victim of the pair, Katie Johnson (aka, "Jane Doe"). The product of a month-long investigation that took us to the site of the girl’s kidnapping in Waterbury, Connecticut, this information comes from confidential sources in multiple states.

jeffrey epstein at harvard universityThey have been pursuing the “Maria” story since the 1994 incident was first referenced in Johnson’s lawsuits. Johnson dropped the suit after she became the victim of physical threats by individuals who claimed to be Trump supporters, according to her account in court records.

The original tip came to WMR, which can report exclusively that a Waterbury girl, “Maria,” was the 12-year old alleged to have been a child rape victim of Donald Trump and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, shown at left. The crimes allegedly occurred at a midtown Manhattan mansion then owned by Epstein’s friend Les Wexner, a billionaire retailing mogul.

Maria was kidnapped on March 19, 1993, when she was 11-years old from the front of Nash’s Pizza in Waterbury. The girl's kidnappers were involved in a child trafficking ring that provided abductees to wealthy individuals like Trump and Epstein in Manhattan, according to our information.

To read full story, click here.

 

Jan. 24, 2018

Trump’s multiple sex scandals endanger U.S. national security

By Andrew Kreig and Wayne Madsen

Recent claims that Donald Trump paid hush money before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up a 2006 affair underscore far more sinister events.

Such a payoff would show not simply Trump’s low morals and high arrogance — but also his propensity for outright crime in ways potentially damaging to the United States and many of its residents.

These grim possibilities are especially relevant to our recent exposé “Welcome to Waterbury,” which drew on 2016 lawsuit allegations that Trump and his billionaire friend Jeffrey Epstein in 1994 raped “Maria,” age 12, and “Jane Doe,” age 13, also known as Katie Johnson, in a New York City luxury townhouse then being used by Epstein. Details are here in the Wayne Madsen Report and the Justice Integrity Project (JIP).

stormy daniels djt insight 1 19 2018 Custom

Today, we compare those claims by underage girls with the ones by Stormy Daniels, as reported by, among other places, In Touch magazine in column last week.

The In Touch cover story, illustated at left, was based on her blunt recollections of sleeping with Trump and otherwise socializing with him shortly after his wife Melania gave birth to son Barron in March 2006, according to the Daniels account years ago. In Touch did not publish it at the time but did so this month to follow up the Wall Street Journal’s report on Jan. 12 that Daniels received $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election from Trump attorney Michael Cohen via a company temporarily created to make the payment, thus obscuring its origin and purpose.

Cohen and Daniels (born Stephanie Clifford) later denied an affair or hush money. More generally, Trump and his representatives have issued blanket denials against all of those nearly 20 women who have alleged sexual harassment or assault. The many news reports of such accusations and denials include Donald Trump says women who accuse him of sexual assault are lying and The 19 Women Who Accused President Trump of Sexual Misconduct

Donald Trump, Arianne Zucker, Billy Bush in screenshot from Access Hollywood tape

To explore this further, we examine more closely the Daniels and Maria/Jane Doe stories. An extensive appendix below illustrates both Trump-related news coverage of these points, as well the emerging #MeToo movement protesting rape, harassment and cover-up by powerful men victimizing women and, in some cases, underage children of both sexes.

To buttress Trump's denials, he allegedly used his celebrity status (much like he described in the Access Hollywood tape that surfaced during the presidential campaign, as illustrated by the screenshot with Arianne Zucker and Billy Bush) to do what he wanted. The stories demonstrate that Trump has an established system whereby his minions can threaten and/or bribe his targets to cover up crimes or infidelity.

But the true danger is not the superficial embarassment that Trump might experience. Instead, the threat to the nation is what blackmailers, global and national, might extort from Trump and his administration to keep his secrets.

To read full story, click here.

 

Feb. 15, 2018

New information emerges in "Maria" Trump story 

By Wayne Madsen and Andrew Kreig

New information has emerged in the joint Wayne Madsen Report/Justice Integrity Project investigation of the "Maria" case. Maria was temporarily held for ransom in 1993, according to witnesses speaking to police.

les wexner mansion jeffrey epstein wmr graphic mariaAs we previously reported, Katie Johnson alleged in federal lawsuits that Donald Trump and his friend, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, raped her when she was 13  in New York City in 1994. Johnson's alleged also that the two men raped a 12-year old — only identified as "Maria." Our investigation discovered that Maria had been abducted from Waterbury, Connecticut in March 1993 when she was 11.

Eventually, Maria ended up at "parties" at a midtown Manhattan townhouse owned by Epstein's billionaire friend Les Wexner where underage girls were allegedly sexually assaulted by Trump and Epstein.

We previously reported (including via the graphic at right showing the mansion and file photos of Trump and Epstein) that Maria's kidnappers were involved in a child trafficking ring that provided abductees to wealthy individuals like Trump and Epstein. Lawyers for Trump and Epstein have sought to deny or otherwise downplay the claims.

Our new information is that Maria was reported missing by her late mother to the Waterbury Police on March 20, 1993, at 11:30 pm. However, Maria was actually abducted the previous day, March 19, authorities said, creating a gap betweenthe kidnap and the mother's report of it to authorities.

Update: The New Yorker, Donald Trump, a Playboy Model, and a System for Concealing Infidelity, Ronan Farrow, Feb. 16, 2018. One woman’s account of clandestine meetings, financial transactions, and legal pacts designed to hide an extramarital affair.

Maria was last seen on March 19 by a young girl in the predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood. The girl said she saw Maria talking to a man who turned out to be a Colombian national known by the nickname of "Papito," which means "little daddy" in English. Later, the man claimed that he once lived in Maria's neighborhood but he was not in Waterbury at the time of the alleged conversation with Maria but was in New York "with his family."

The Waterbury Police Department missing person report states that Maria was last seen outside of Nash's Pizza, a corner eatery located in the neighborhood where she lived with her mother and step-father.

To read full story, click here.

 

Contact this site's editor Andrew Kreig