Note: This year-long daily summary of #MeToo and related sexual assault news has been divided up to encompass below only those news stories beginning in September 2018. For previous months this year, kindly click this link.

2019

June

June 25

Rape Charge Against Trump

 donald trump ny daily pussy

Then and Now: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence.

washington post logoe jean carroll headshotWashington Post, ‘Not my type’: Trump denies allegations of woman who said he assaulted her, John Wagner, June 25, 2019 (print ed.). President Trump’s comments came hours after E. Jean Carroll (shown in a file photo from Twitter) voiced frustration that he has not faced consequences for a string of previous misconduct allegations.

U.S Courts, Crime

jeffrey epstein sex offender

Law & Crime, Federal Prosecutors Say There’s No Legal Basis to Invalidate Jeffrey Epstein’s Sweetheart Deal, Jerry Lambe, June 25, 2019.  The Department of Justice on Monday rejected efforts by the victims of Jeffrey Epstein (above) to get a sweetheart non-prosecution deal thrown out so that Epstein can be prosecuted for alleged abuse of dozens of underage girls.

In a 35-page motion first reported by the Miami Herald, federal prosecutors claimed that Epstein’s victims have no legal basis to invalidate the non-prosecution agreement — the same agreement the judge in the case previously said broke the law. Many of Epstein’s victims were middle school and high school girls between the ages of 13-16 who were recruited from the local south Florida area.

According to prosecutors, despite a judge’s earlier ruling that the plea deal violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), Epstein’s victims cannot demand that the government take any additional action because the CVRA did not enumerate any mandatory criminal penalties at the time of its passing.

In Monday’s DOJ filing by U.S. Attorney Byung Pak, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, the government admits that the victims were treated unfairly but says that prosecutors were within their rights to do so:

In the filing, federal prosecutors did concede that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Florida failed to treat Epstein’s victims — most of whom where 13 to 16 years old when they — fairly, but they said that the law gives prosecutors discretion in deciding how to dispose of a case. Victims have a right to confer with prosecutors, but no rights beyond that.

Pak also warned the judge overseeing the case, Kenneth Marra, against taking action to overrule Acosta’s original decision not to prosecute Epstein.

“Courts are not to interfere with the free exercise of the discretionary powers of the [United States attorneys] in their control over criminal prosecutions,’’ Pak said. “The decision whether to prosecute Epstein lies solely within the executive branch, and any order today, by this court, as to what the government must do in the future would be wholly inappropriate.”

The Herald did note, however, that Pak said Epstein’s victims would be given the chance to meet with prosecutors in private and, if they desired, to be heard at a public hearing. He also said he would agree to give federal prosecutors additional training on dealing with victims of crimes of this nature.

As previously reported by Law&Crime, the controversy surrounding Epstein’s plea deal dates back to 2007, when federal prosecutors in Florida, under the leadership of current U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, who was then the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Acosta’s prosecutors quietly entered into a secretive non-prosecution agreement with the billionaire which ensured that Epstein and his co-conspirators would not be prosecuted federally in exchange for Epstein’s guilty plea to much less serious state prostitution charges. Epstein served only 13 months in a county jail.

June 23

 washington post logoWashington Post, Trump compares himself to Kavanaugh in latest sexual assault allegation, Colby Itkowitz, Beth Reinhard, David Weigel, June 23, 2019 (print ed.). “You can’t do that for the sake of publicity,” the president says of such accusations, in general. resident brett kavanaughTrump compared himself to Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, right, on Saturday morning, following a fresh allegation that Trump sexually assaulted a woman in the mid-1990s.

Trump vehemently denied the accusation and said it was akin to the claims of sexual assault that roiled Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the high court in 2018.

“People have to be careful because they are playing with very dangerous territory,” Trump told reporters outside the White House before departing to Camp David. “When they do that, and it’s happening more and more, when you look at what happened to Justice Kavanaugh and you look at what happened to others, you can’t do that for the sake of publicity.”

e jean carrollE. Jean Carroll, left, a magazine writer and advice columnist, alleges that in 1995 or 1996, she encountered Trump at a high-end department store in Manhattan and agreed to help him shop for a gift for a woman. It was there, she says, that Trump attacked her in a dressing room.

She is telling her story for the first time in a new book, excerpts of which were published in New York magazine.

June 22

Rape Claim Against Trump

Donald Trump

New allegations echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign.

washington post logogeorge conway twitterWashington Post, Opinion: The GOP believed Juanita Broaddrick. This rape allegation against Trump is more credible, George Conway, right, June 22, 2019. Republicans and conservatives rallied to her cause then, and they did so once again in 2016. Democrats and liberals, not so much — although in the wake of the #MeToo movement, some have since acknowledged the credibility of Broaddrick’s claim.

e jean carroll twitterBut today there’s another woman with a similar allegation, against a different powerful man. Her name is E. Jean Carroll (shown left in a file photo). She, too, says that she was raped — by Donald Trump

Trump called Broaddrick “courageous,” and if Broaddrick was courageous, then certainly Carroll is as well. For Carroll’s story is at least as compelling as Broaddrick’s — if not more so.

And that is because Carroll’s claim, for a number of reasons, actually rests upon a significantly stronger foundation than Broaddrick’s.

For one thing, before she went public with her story, Broaddrick had repeatedly denied that Clinton had assaulted her, even under oath: In an affidavit she had submitted in Paula Jones’s sexual harassment case against Clinton, Broaddrick had sworn that the allegations “that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late seventies … are untrue,” that the press had previously sought “corroboration of these tales,” but that she had “repeatedly denied the allegations.” (Disclosure: I provided behind-the-scenes pro bono legal assistance to Jones’s lawyers.)

Republicans or conservatives who promoted Broaddrick’s charges would be hypocritical if they fail to champion Carroll and condemn Trump.

June 21

Another Assault Claim Against Trump

new york magazine logoNew York Magazine, E. Jean Carroll: “Trump attacked me in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman,” Sarah Jones, June 21, 2019 (excerpted). The cover story New York published today details an encounter the writer E. Jean Carroll had over two decades ago with Donald J. Trump, in which the then–real-estate mogul allegedly assaulted her in a dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store in midtown Manhattan. Trump is shown in a graphic by A Banana Peeled.

donald trump monster abananapeeledcom dcmaThe episode is one of six incidents Carroll details in the article of attacks on her by men over the course of her life. Another episode involves the disgraced former CEO of CBS, Les Moonves. The cover story is an excerpt from her newest book, What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, which will be published on July 2 by St. Martin’s Press.

When Carroll meets Donald Trump in Bergdorf Goodman, the encounter starts as a friendly one. Trump recognizes her as “that advice lady”; Carroll recognizes him as “that real-estate tycoon.” Trump tells Carroll that he’s there to buy a gift for “a girl,” and though we don’t learn the identity of this mystery woman, Carroll places the ensuing incident in late 1995 or early 1996, during which time Trump was married to Marla Maples.

When Trump asks Carroll to advise him on what to buy, she agrees, and the two eventually make their way to the lingerie section. Trump suggests a lace bodysuit and encourages Carroll to try it on; she, deflecting, jokingly suggests that he try it on instead. After they reach the dressing rooms, e jean carroll twitterevents turn violent. In Carroll’s account, Trump shoves her against a wall inside a dressing room, pulls down her tights, and, “forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.”

Carroll, 75 (shown in her Twitter photo), is a venerated Elle advice columnist. At the time of the attack, she was well known in her own right. A frequent feature writer for magazines like Playboy and Esquire, she had her own television show on America’s Talking, the precursor to e jean carroll cover new york magazineMSNBC.

Carroll is now at least the 16th woman to accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct and the 14th to accuse Moonves of similar offenses. The incidents, which date from the 1990s, are highly specific and related with dark humor.

Carroll says that she disclosed the Trump incident to two friends at the time. New York has verified that Carroll did disclose the attack to these friends at the time, and has confirmed that Bergdorf Goodman kept no security footage that would prove or disprove Carroll’s story. New York has also sought comment from Moonves and Trump. Through his representative, Moonves told New York that he “emphatically denies” the incident occurred. A senior White House official said in a statement, “This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad.”

The Hill.com, Prosecutors examining whether Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy offered clients access to inauguration: report, John Bowden, June 21, 2019. Federal prosecutors are elliott broidyinvestigating whether Elliott Broidy, the top GOP fundraiser who previously served as the Republican National Committee's (RNC) deputy finance chairman, used his position to improperly offer access to President Trump's inaugural team.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that investigators are looking at whether Broidy,  right, was paid by his clients, including an intelligence firm, for access to inaugural events at his invitation, which would violate campaign finance laws or possibly statutes against money laundering.

According to the Journal, Broidy invited several officials from Angola and Romania to inaugural events, introducing some of them to members of Congress despite not being registered as a lobbyist for foreign countries. Weeks later, his company would be paid $6 million by Angolan officials for his services.

A spokesman for Broidy's company, Cirinicus, told the Journal that the guests were approved by the State Department and did not comment further on the investigation. The Trump inaugural committee reportedly told the Journal that it had responded to a request for information on the case from prosecutors in April.

rnc logoBroidy resigned from the RNC last April after it was revealed that he had paid a woman $1.6 million after she became pregnant with his child. He was also accused late last year of physical abuse by a former Playboy model. He has denied those allegations.

“This person tried to extract money from me by making up false, malicious and disgusting allegations," Broidy said in a statement last year. "I have acknowledged making the mistake of having an affair, and I entered a confidential agreement to protect my family’s privacy.

"I honored my agreement until her lawyer breached it—and then, when I failed to pay her demands, she did what blackmailers do and went public with her lies. I will vigorously defend myself against these false and defamatory allegations, and I will seek all relief available to me under the settlement agreement against her and her attorneys.”

boris johnson tieThe Guardian, Police called to loud altercation at Boris Johnson's home, Jim Waterson, June 21, 2019. Neighbour records shouting and banging at flat potential PM shares with Carrie Symonds. Police were called to the home of Boris Johnson and his partner, Carrie Symonds, in the early hours of Friday morning after neighbours heard a loud altercation involving screaming, shouting and banging.

The argument could be heard outside the property where the potential future prime minister is living with Symonds, a former Conservative party head of press.

A neighbour told the Guardian they heard a woman screaming followed by “slamming and banging”. At one point Symonds could be heard telling Johnson to united kingdom flag“get off me” and “get out of my flat”.

The neighbour said that after becoming concerned they knocked on the door but received no response. “I [was] hoping that someone would answer the door and say ‘We’re okay’. I knocked three times and no one came to the door.”

The neighbour decided to call 999. Two police cars and a van arrived within minutes, shortly after midnight, but left after receiving reassurances from both the individuals in the flat that they were safe.

June 20

U.S. Politics

roy moore 8 accusers Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Roy Moore announces bid for U.S. Senate in Alabama despite GOP opposition to his candidacy, Colby Itkowitz​, June 20, 2019. The former judge fell short in his 2017 race amid allegations of sexual misconduct in the 1970s, losing to Democrat Doug Jones in a solidly Republican state.

Roy Moore, the Alabama judge whose Senate bid fell short over allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls in the 1970s, announced Thursday that he will run again for the seat, ignoring President Trump and top Republicans who argue he can’t win.

“I will run for the U.S. Senate in 2020,” Moore said, kicking off his campaign in Montgomery, Ala. “Can I win? Yes, I can win. They know I can. That’s why there’s so much opposition.”

Moore lost a Senate race in the solidly Republican state to Democrat Doug Jones in a 2017 special election to fill the vacancy created when Trump tapped Jeff Sessions to be attorney general.

About a month before that election, The Washington Post published accounts from four women who said Moore pursued them romantically in the 1970s when they were between the ages of 14 and 18. Moore has acknowledged contact with the women but denied any sexual contact.

Moore lost to Jones by a little more than 1 percent of the vote — becoming the first Democrat in 27 years to win a U.S. Senate seat in the state — and has been eyeing a rematch since.

Abortion / Custody Case History

Legal Schnauzer, Investigative commentary: Missouri GOP lawyer Douglas L. Healy refers to his son as a "bastard child in Poplar Bluff," but he then threatens to take the boy, age 4, from the only parent he's known after failing to pay child support for 3 years, Roger Shuler, June 20, 2019.  A prominent Republican lawyer in Missouri, who has a biological son in Butler County, refers to the boy in an email as a "bastard child," and -- despite making no attempt to see the boy (now 4 years old) and paying zero child support for three years -- has threatened to take the child from his mother.

douglas healyDouglas L. Healy, the proprietor of Healy Law Offices LLC -- which has locations in Springfield and Jefferson City, Missouri, and Little Rock, Arkansas -- even refers to himself as "the unwilling sperm donor . . ., not the dad." Almost in the same breath, Healy threatens to "do whatever it takes to gain sole custody."

In a 2014 email, Healy refers to his "girlfriend and soon to be wife," be we can find no public records that indicate he is married. Did the girlfriend vanish? That's not clear, but she was a major part of Healy's communication with DeAnna Kelley, his son's mother, who refused Healy's request to have an abortion and is raising the child on her own in Poplar Bluff, MO.

What are Healy's feelings toward his own son -- and he has acknowledged in court documents that the child is his? They are somewhat short of loving, downright nasty perhaps. From the 2014 email (which is embedded at the end of this post):

From the email:

You seem to be insisting that I have a relationship with both you and the child. I have been very clear that is not going to happen. I have also been clear that I am not starting a family here, and also maintaining one in Poplar Bluff. You have ignored my advice and wishes, and now seemingly want to guilty me into supporting your bad decisions. Your disrespect and disregard for me is harming my relationship with my girlfriend, and soon to be wife. She reads all of your texts, and is convinced that the only reason you are keeping this pregnancy is in a hope of having a relationship with me; she sees you as a selfish person intent on destroying the happiness we have, and in embarrassing me publicly, and as a threat to her.

Healy seems to have no sense of obligation toward his son or the child's mother -- and his decision to skip out on three years of child-support payments appears to reflect that ; he has been making court-ordered child-support payments for roughly the past year.

With that, Healy's tone turns ugly, threatening, and vindictive:

If you do continue to seek my involvement, in any manner, either by telling other people that I am the father, through the courts, or through attempts to contact me directly, I will do whatever it takes to gain sole custody. I will do whatever it takes to make sure you never see it again, and me and my wife will raise it without it ever knowing it wasn't ours.

June 18

Legal Schnauzer, Local Investigation: Missouri GOP lawyer Douglas L. Healy got a female acquaintance pregnant and repeatedly pushed her to have an abortion, despite his apparent "pro life" stance, roger shuler and murphyRoger Shuler, shown at right, June 18, 2019. A prominent Republican attorney in Missouri got a female acquaintance pregnant and pressured her to have an abortion in 2014, sources tell Legal Schnauzer. The mother refused to terminate the pregnancy and is raising her son (now almost 5 years old) on her own in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, but the attorney has hired multiple private investigators to track her and has threatened court action to seek custody, even though he never has seen the child.

Douglas L. Healy is the proprietor of Healy Law Offices LLC, which has locations in Springfield and Jefferson City, Missouri, and Little Rock, Arkansas. The Healy firm specializes in work with utility companies and regulatory agencies, including the Missouri Public Service Commission. Doug Healy is a member of the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA) and is active with the Greene County Republicans, especially with the county's Young Republicans.

Healy reportedly has political ambitions, and his story surfaces as Missouri recently passed one of the strictest anti-choice abortion laws in the country. His biography suggests he is conservative and strongly "pro life"; his twin brother, David Healy (also a lawyer) serves on the board of directors of the Springfield Pregnancy Care Center (PCC), even though he has been a paying subscriber to the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site.

Which of the Healy brothers is the biggest hypocrite? That appears to be a close call, but we might have to give the "honor" to Doug Healy. He seems to be "pro life" only as long as an unplanned pregnancy doesn't hit close to home for him personally. According to public records, Doug Healy, 42, has never been married.

DeAnna Kelley, 41, of Butler County, Missouri, is the mother of Healy's child. She said he repeatedly encouraged her to have an abortion -- or to give the child up for adoption. This is from an email that Healy wrote on August 18, 2014: (The full email is embedded at the end of this post.)

June 14

ny times logokeith raniere nxivmNew York Times, How a Sex Cult Leader Seduced and Programmed His Followers, Colin Moynihan, June 14, 2019. Former members of the group Nxivm testified that they were brainwashed, branded and assigned to have sex with the group’s leader, Keith Raniere. Their remarks provide a window into how the group indoctrinated people, undermined their beliefs and convinced them to blindly follow Mr. Raniere.

ny times logoNew York Times, A St. Louis Prosecutor Took On the System. She Made Enemies, Richard A. Oppel Jr., June 14, 2019. Kimberly Gardner was one of a wave of prosecutors who promised to challenge the establishment. Now she is being scrutinized in a manner that is virtually unheard-of for an elected prosecutor.

kimberly gardnerKimberly Gardner, right, was elected chief prosecutor by a wide margin in 2016, one of two dozen district attorneys across the country who campaigned to overhaul the criminal justice system.

Like a lot of them, she made quick enemies. She angered the powerful police union in St. Louis, saying repeatedly that she would hold officers more accountable. She indicted the sitting governor, Eric Greitens, shown below at left with Vice President Mike Pence and a rising star in national Republican politics.

Now her adversaries have turned the tables: Ms. Gardner’s professional actions are being scrutinized in a manner that is virtually unheard-of for an elected eric greitens mike penceprosecutor.

In the Greitens case, she has become a focus of a special prosecutor who was appointed to investigate a former F.B.I. agent. The prosecutor has had her office’s email server seized by the police, giving them access, her lawyers say, to active criminal investigations of the department itself. He has been fishing for incriminating information on her administration, according to an affidavit by the agent’s lawyer. Her aides have been called before a grand jury.

The investigation has been conducted in secrecy, with a gag order on the parties involved. But that has not stopped allegations that it is riddled with serious conflicts of interest. Nor has it stifled a sense, among Ms. Gardner’s supporters, that the police and the city’s clubby legal establishment have joined forces in an attempt to embarrass one of the few black officials with truly independent power in St. Louis.

National advocates of remaking the criminal justice system have watched as like-minded prosecutors in places like Boston, Chicago and Dallas won the support of voters but ran headlong into opposition from police unions and other local powers. Though all of them have been criticized, Ms. Gardner’s situation — facing possible criminal charges — is the most extreme.

See related story, St. Louis American, Under attack, Kim Gardner fights back, Rebecca Rivas, March 13, 2019. Police, special prosecutor take, then return, circuit attorney’s server.

June 11

Radar, ‘I Want You’: Arizona Teacher Pleads Guilty To Sexually Molesting 13-Year-Old Boy, Staff report, June 11, 2019. Sixth-grade educator texted teen she wanted to have sex with him 'every day. An Arizona middle school teacher accused of repeatedly sexually molesting a 13-year-old student has pled guilty to the crime, RadarOnline.com has learned. Brittany Zamora, a sixth-grade teacher at Las Brisas Academy in the Phoenix Opens a New Window. suburb, Goodyear, pleaded guilty to sexual conduct with a minor, molestation of a child and public sexual indecency, after the boy’s parents discovered the explicit relationship and contacted authorities.

Records obtained by The Arizona Republic describe how Zamora, 27, and the boy had sex several times in her car and even in her classroom — once with another male student in the room. The two even sexually touched each other during class, while other students watched a video, records showed. Zamora is also accused of sending naked pictures of herself to the student.

According to reports, the boy’s step-mother became suspicious after the teen spent time at home with his door shut. After installing a parental monitoring app Opens a New Window. on his phone, she discovered several inappropriate and sexually graphic texts from the educator. In one exchange, the boy texted Zamora, saying that he wanted to have sex with her. “I know baby!” she responded, according to court records. “I want you every day with no time limit.”

In another exchange, she texted him, “If I could quit my job and [have sex with] you all day long, I would,” according to records. Zamora is set to be sentenced on July 12. The boy’s parents are seeking $2.5 million in damages, according to a civil lawsuit filed in January against Zamora, her husband and the Liberty Elementary School District.

June 10

Rapists' Custody Rights Protected

washington post logoWashington Post, In Alabama — where lawmakers banned abortion for rape victims — rapists’ parental rights are protected, Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, June 10, 2019 (print ed.). Alabama is one of only two states that doesn’t bar rapists from having custody of children conceived by their assaults.

When a young woman came to the Family Services of North Alabama office last year for help with trauma, saying she had been raped by her step-uncle when she was 15, rape crisis advocate Portia Shepherd heard something that “killed me, shocked me.”

The step-uncle, who was getting out of jail after a drug conviction, wanted to be a part of their child’s life. And in Alabama, the alleged rapist could get custody.

“It’s the craziest thing I ever heard in my life,” said Shepherd. “On the state level, people were shocked. How could Alabama even be missing this law?”

Alabama is one of two states with no statute terminating parental rights for a person found to have conceived the child by rape or incest, a fact that has gained fresh relevance since its lawmakers adopted the nation’s strictest abortion ban in May. That statute even outlaws the procedure for victims of sexual assault and jails doctors who perform it, except in cases of serious risk to the woman’s health.

June 7

ny times logoNew York Times, Linda Fairstein Dropped by Her Publisher After TV Series on the Central Park 5, Elizabeth A. Harris and Julia Jacobs, June 7, 2019. A Penguin Random House imprint ended its relationship with the prosecutor-turned-novelist after “When They See Us” drew attention to her role in the case. Ms. Fairstein called her portrayal “grossly and maliciously inaccurate” and threatened legal action.

Linda Fairstein, below at left, a prominent sex-crimes prosecutor who became a successful crime novelist, was dropped by her publisher this week after a Netflix mini-series renewed focus on her role in the wrongful conviction of five teenagers for a brutal rape.

linda fairstein 2009Since the series, “When They See Us,” premiered last week, Ms. Fairstein, 72, has been the target of tremendous public outrage, including online petitions and a #CancelLindaFairstein hashtag. This week, she resigned from a number of prominent boards, including that of Vassar College, her alma mater.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Dutton, the Penguin Random House imprint that published Ms. Fairstein, said that she and Dutton “decided to terminate their relationship.” A person with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details were confidential, said that Dutton was buying out Ms. Fairstein’s contract.

In 1989, a white woman was savagely raped and beaten in Central Park, where she had been out for a jog. Five black and Latino teenagers — Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray and Yusef Salaam, who became known as the “Central Park Five” — were convicted based on confessions that were full of contradictions and lacking in crucial information, and which the boys said were coerced. No forensic evidence connected them to the crime, and DNA evidence that was collected did not match any of the five.

In 2002, a man named Matias Reyes confessed to the crime, an admission confirmed by DNA, and he said that he had acted alone. The convictions against the other men — each of whom had already served several years in prison — were overturned.

Associated Press via Moline Dispatch & Rock Island Argus, 'Free hugs' and margarita machine in office? Navy probing claims against war college leader, Jennifer McDermott and Michelle R. Smith, June ap logo7, 2019. The military is investigating the president of the U.S. Naval War College amid allegations that he spent excessively, abused his hiring authority and otherwise behaved inappropriately, including keeping a margarita machine in his office.

Multiple current and former college employees told the Associated Press they have raised serious concerns for over a year about Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley's conduct at the helm of the elite school that grooms future admirals and generals.

Dozens of emails and other documents obtained by the AP show the college has struggled to make payroll under Harley's leadership and spent about $725,000 annually on raises while facing an annual shortfall of $5 million or more.

Harley has also sent a series of emails to hundreds of students, faculty and staff that raised eyebrows, including offers of "free hugs" and games of Twister in his office. In an interview with the AP last month, Harley blamed the fiscal strain on the Navy not fully funding new missions the college has taken on. And he said the emails merely reflected his lighthearted leadership style.

A small group of longtime college employees filed an anonymous complaint in April 2018 with the Navy's office of the inspector general. The group members said they "hold no ill-will" toward Harley but that "his destructive and ethically challenged leadership style is destroying the college," according to a copy shared with the AP by two of the workers.

Two of them told the AP that they and others were interviewed by investigators in September, but nothing happened. The group contacted the inspector general again in January with additional allegations of Harley flouting Navy rules and norms. "The drinking continues. Morale is at an all-time low," the employees wrote in a January email. "Your biggest concern should be, however, the financial situation at the college."

June 6

ny times logoNew York Times, Linda Fairstein, Once Cheered, Faces Storm After ‘When They See Us,’ Elizabeth A. Harris and Julia Jacobs, June 6, 2019. A Netflix series about the Central Park jogger case has led to intense criticism of the famous prosecutor-turned-novelist who oversaw the investigation. For much of her life, Linda Fairstein was widely viewed as a law enforcement hero.

linda fairstein 2009As one of the first leaders of the Manhattan district attorney’s sex crimes unit, later the inspiration for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” she became one of the best known prosecutors in the country. She went on to a successful career as a crime novelist and celebrity former prosecutor, appearing on high-profile panels and boards.

But since last Friday and the premiere of When They See Us, Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series about the Central Park jogger case, Ms. Fairstein (shown in a 2009 photo) has become synonymous with something else: The story of how the justice system wrongly sent five black and Latino teenagers to prison for a horrific rape.

Ms. Fairstein ran the sex crimes division when, in 1989, a white woman jogging in Central Park was viciously raped, beaten, and left for dead. In the four-part series, Ms. Fairstein’s character is shown as the driving force in the case, urging on a prosecutor who had doubts and finding ways to explain away facts that pointed to the teens’ innocence.

In the last few days, online petitions and a hashtag, #CancelLindaFairstein, have called for a boycott of her books and her removal from prominent board positions. After a barrage of criticism directed at her on Twitter, she took her own account down. And she resigned this week from the boards of several organizations including Safe Horizon and the Joyful Heart Foundation, which aid victims of sexual violence, and Vassar College, her alma mater.
Back in 1993, Glamour named her one of its women of the year. But on Tuesday, it published a letter from the editor saying, “Unequivocally, Glamour would not bestow this honor on her today.”

Ms. Fairstein’s conduct during the case has been a matter of intense debate and criticism since a man named Matias Reyes surfaced in 2002 to confess that he committed the crime. Ms. Fairstein continued to write books and serve on important boards even after the convictions were overturned, as the case faded into memory for many.

But the Netflix series has placed the prosecution back on center stage, where the power of television’s narrative focus, the lightning speed of online reaction and the villainous characterization of Ms. Fairstein have made her a target of public outrage.

June 5

Associated Press via Alabama Public Radio, Former Alabama councilman pleads guilty to sodomy, Staff report, June 5, 2019.  A one-time leader from a southeast Alabama town has pleaded guilty to a sex crime. Former Daleville City Council member Marvin Wise pleaded guilty to second-degree sodomy during a court appearance Tuesday. Other charges including possession of child pornography were dismissed.

Wise was arrested in 2017 after serving a few years on the five-member town council. A judge sentenced him to seven years in prison, but prosecutor Kirke Adams says Wise is asking for probation and remains free on bond. Wise's plea came after prosecutors had asked a judge to revoke the man's bond because he allegedly sent a birthday card to his victim. Daleville is a city of around 5,000 people about 100 miles south of Montgomery

May

May 31

washington post logoWashington Post, Navy launches review after Missouri governor who resigned amid scandal gets new military assignment, Dan Lamothe, May 31, 2019. Adm. John Richardson told The Post he wants to know whether the Navy needs more agility to handle cases of alleged misconduct that fall short of criminal matters. The year was just beginning when eric greitens oa Trump administration official contacted the Navy with a question about former Missouri governor Eric Greitens, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who had resigned from office amid a sex scandal and criminal investigation.

Joseph D. Kernan, a retired admiral and Navy SEAL, knew Greitens, right, from their time in the military. Now the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Kernan wanted to know if there was a way in which Greitens could return to military life, according to documents and emails obtained by The Washington Post.

It was not a simple question for the service. Greitens, 45, admitted to having an extramarital affair, but denied accusations that he coerced the woman involved into a sexual act and threatened to publicize a photo of her partially nude if she ever went public with their relationship.

Idaho State Journal, The former chairman of the Idaho Republican Party was arrested Thursday on suspicion of stalking, Staff report, May 31, 2019. Jonathan Parker, 39, was booked into the Ada County Jail at 10:44 p.m. on suspicion of first-degree stalking, according to the jail’s online roster. The charge is a felony in Idaho and is punishable by up to five years in prison, as well as a $10,000 fine.

jonathan parker former idaho gop chairParker, right, who formerly served as the director of government affairs for the Holland and Hart law firm, was elected chairman of the party in 2017. He resigned in February, according to the Idaho GOP website. In March, his wife, Kelly, filed for divorce, according to the Idaho online courts repository.

According to the criminal complaint prosecutors filed against him Friday, Jonathan Parker went to his wife's apartment complex multiple times between May 16 and May 30. Prosecutors believe he stalked her by "repeatedly hiding in bushes, masturbating, disguising himself with a wig." In doing so, according to the complaint, he violated a protection order in place against him.

During Parker's arraignment Friday afternoon, a prosecutor said Boise police arrested Parker after responding to the apartment complex on reports of a republican elephant logoman staring windows and fondling himself.

An Idaho Press phone call seeking comment from Frank Terraferma, executive director of the Idaho Republican Party was not immediately returned Friday morning.

In his Feb. 18 resignation letter, Parker wrote, “Serving as your Chairman, while maintaining a full-time job and being a fully engaged father has been harder than I imagined, so much so that I have reluctantly decided that I should no longer continue to serve as Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party so that I can focus on the priorities I place above all others.”

Jennifer Locke of Hayden has been serving as the acting state GOP chairwoman since Parker resigned. The party will elect a new chair at its summer meeting in Boise on June 29.

May 30

WYMT (Prestonsburg, KY), Sources: Kentucky man accused of asking minor for sex is a pastor, business owner, Staff report, May 30, 2019. Sources tell WYMT that a man who faces child sexual exploitation charges is a local pastor and business owner,

bobby blackburn mugBobby "BJ" Blackburn, right, is charged with using an electronic device to try to get a minor to engage in sexual activities. Police said he messaged an employee, who was a minor, and asked her to engage in a "threesome" with another minor, among other obscene messages.

Sources confirmed that Blackburn is the pastor of Elevate Church of Prestonsburg. He also owns the Giovanni's. Blackburn turned himself in to police Wednesday but has already bonded out at $5,000.

WYMT interviewed Blackburn in 2016 about his restaurant, which played Christian music and put Bible verses on receipts. Blackburn is scheduled to appear in court June 19. The minors were employees of a business Blackburn manages.

On May 25, police said Blackburn followed a third minor to the station where she tried to give a statement saying she sent the obscene messaged from Blackburn's phone. But when they questioned her further, she took back her statement and admitted that Blackburn told her to say it or she would lose her job. When police officers got an arrest warrant, they tried to collect Blackburn's phone. Family members said the phone was thrown into the river in Pike County.

Miami Herald, Prosecutors demand Cindy Yang records from Mar-a-Lago, Trump campaign, Jay Weaver, Sarah Blaskey, Caitlin Ostroff, and Nicholas Nehamas, miami herald logoMay 29, 2019. Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., this week sent subpoenas to Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, and Trump Victory, a political fundraising committee, demanding they turn over all records relating to Republican Party donor Li “Cindy” Yang and several of her associates and companies, the Miami Herald has learned.

djt li yang super bowlYang, right, shown with Trump, a South Florida massage-parlor entrepreneur, is the target of a public corruption investigation seeking to determine if she funneled money from China to the president’s re-election campaign or otherwise violated campaign-finance laws. She became a GOP donor in the 2016 election cycle and opened a consulting company that promised Chinese businesspeople the chance to attend events at Mar-a-Lago and gain access to Trump and his inner circle. Some of those events were campaign fundraisers that required guests to buy tickets for entry, payments that are considered political contributions. Foreign nationals are prohibited from donating to U.S. political campaigns.

Investigators are seeking evidence from Mar-a-Lago and Trump Victory as they build a potential case against Yang and possibly others close to her. The president’s club and the fundraising committee are not the targets of the investigation. The subpoenas cover records from January 2017 to the present. A spokeswoman for Yang did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One subpoena, issued by a federal grand jury in West Palm Beach, compels Mar-a-Lago to turn over all documents, records and communications relating to Yang, as well as 11 other people, one charity and seven companies affiliated with her, according to a person familiar with the investigation who asked for anonymity to discuss an ongoing probe. The people named in that subpoena include Yang’s family members, former employees at her massage parlors and several donors to Trump Victory. Prosecutors were trying to serve the subpoena to Mar-a-Lago through a South Florida law firm, the source said.

The second subpoena, for Trump Victory, was served to attorneys at a Washington, D.C., law firm. It seeks campaign-finance records relating to Yang and her associates.

Mar-a-Lago is owned by the Trump Organization, the president’s family company. Trump Victory is a joint fundraising committee for the president and the Republican National Committee. It supports his re-election efforts.

The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday. A Trump Victory official said: “Trump Victory makes every effort possible to ensure that all contributions are made in accordance with the law. While we can’t comment on any possible ongoing investigations, of course our committee would comply with any request from law enforcement to ensure all contributions are made legally.”

The Justice Department declined to comment.

The investigation is being handled by the FBI and the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section in Washington. While special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election has ended, the new probe examining Chinese money may add to growing concerns over foreign influence heading into the 2020 election. (In a separate matter, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami have been investigating possible Chinese espionage operations in South Florida targeting Mar-a-Lago.)

May 24

$44 Million Weinstein Civil Deal: Report

ny times logoharvey weinsteinNew York Times, Harvey Weinstein Is Said to Reach $44 Million Deal Over Sexual Misconduct Claims, Brooks Barnes and Jan Ransom, May 24, 2019 (print ed.). Under the proposed terms, about $30 million would go to women who have accused Mr. Weinstein,right,  and to creditors and some former employees. The outcome of the settlement talks will be notable because the lawsuits are one of the main avenues by which he could be held responsible for his alleged actions.

Epstein Victims Seek Acosta Testimony

Miami Herald, Epstein sex abuse victims tell court it’s time for Acosta to explain his actions, Julie K. Brown, May 24, 2019. Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey miami herald logoEpstein is a free man, despite sexually abusing dozens of underage girls according to police and prosecutors. His victims have never had a voice, until now. By Emily Michot | Julie K. Brown

alexander acostaSecretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, left, already under federal investigation for a secret immunity deal he gave to a suspected sex trafficker of underage girls, may have to face some of those victims — who are now adult women — in a federal courtroom.

In a new court filing, two victims, molested as teenagers a decade ago, are asking a federal judge to hold a hearing for all the women who were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein, a multimillionaire financier who received a non-prosecution agreement from Acosta when Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Miami in 2007.

Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University The request for a hearing is one of a litany of possible remedies proffered by the victims, who have been waging a decade-long legal battle to put Epstein in prison for his crimes and to hold prosecutors — mainly Acosta — accountable for violating their rights.

perversion of justice miami herald logoThe controversial agreement negotiated by Acosta allowed Epstein to escape federal sex trafficking charges, even though evidence showed that Epstein had molested more than three dozen girls at his Palm Beach mansion in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The victims were never told about the deal, which Acosta then sealed — thereby making it impossible for anyone, including his victims, to find out what crimes Epstein had committed and whether there were any other victims or accomplices involved.

May 20

washington post logoWashington Post, Va. Democratic Party turns to freshman congresswomen after Richmond scandals, Jenna Portnoy, May 20, 2019 (print ed.). Reps. Jennifer Wexton, Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria are stumping for state legislative candidates in a pivotal election year.

May 19

 kay ivey abortion cartoon donkey hotey whowhatwhy CC BY SA 2.0jpg

"This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. This will become ordinary." — Kay ‘Aunt Lydia’ Ivey (Alabama governor). Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0) See complete attribution in story below.

WhoWhatWhy, Opinion: The Hypocrisy of Anti-Choice Politicians, Klaus Marre and DonkeyHotey, May 19, 2019. It’s one thing for backward-thinking politicians to impose their ideology on a populace that views them as extreme. But they should at least be consistent. A clear-minded look at the abortion debate.

washington post logoWashington Post, Is revenge porn protected by the Constitution? Some states might say yes, Deanna Paul, May 19, 2019. Forty-five states have revenge-porn laws in place, and appeals courts are beginning to take up cases involving the constitutionality of these statutes.

May 17

#MeToo: Ohio State Men

washington post logoWashington Post, Ohio State team doctor sexually abused 177 students over decades, report finds, Rick Maese​, May 17, 2019. A former Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students from 1979-96, according to an investigative report released Friday.

ohio state buckeyes logoThe abuse included athletes from at least 16 school sports teams and also encompassed other students who saw Dr. Richard Strauss at the school's student health center and an off-campus clinic.

According to the report, the school “had knowledge” of sexually abusive treatment from Strauss as early as 1979, “but reports about Strauss' conduct were not elevated beyond the Athletics Department or Student Health until 1996."

Strauss died in 2005. He was employed by the university from 1978-98 but was suspended from his work as a treating physician in January 1996 after a patient accused Strauss of fondling him during a genital examination. Strauss continued in his role as a tenured faculty member, though. The school said it has initiated the process to revoke the faculty emeritus status that was conferred upon Strauss.

• Washington Post, Rep. Jim Jordan says report confirms his denials of knowledge of sexual abuse at Ohio State, May 17, 2019.

 keith raniere nxivm

ny times logoNew York Times, Sex Cult ‘Grandmaster,’ Colin Moynihan, May 17, 2019.  Lauren Salzman, a senior member of the group, described how women would array themselves naked in front of the group’s founder as he sat in a chair and lectured. At the start of the meetings, female members of the so-called sex cult Nxivm — the “slaves” — would offer a tribute to their “master,” Keith Raniere, the group’s leader.

The women would remove their clothes and array themselves on the floor in front of him, while he sat in a chair and spoke to them about philosophy and other topics. If he was not in attendance, they would pose for a group photo and send it to him, making sure that parts of their body that had been branded with a symbol related to the group were visible.

That is how Lauren Salzman, one of the women present at certain meetings, described them in graphic testimony on Friday during the racketeering and sex trafficking trial of Mr. Raniere.

The brief testimony by Ms. Salzman offered insight from a senior member of Nxivm about the ways in which Mr. Raniere, who was known as Vanguard or sometimes Grandmaster, exerted control over the women in the group, including high-ranking ones.

Mr. Raniere, 58, co-founded Nxivm (pronounced Nex-e-um) in the 1990s as a self-help organization based in a suburban town in upstate New York. He is now on trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, facing charges of racketeering conspiracy, identity theft, extortion, forced labor, money laundering, wire fraud and sex trafficking.

Over the last several weeks, five women who were charged as his co-defendants, including Ms. Salzman, pleaded guilty to various charges. Prosecutors have said that while Mr. Raniere purported to be a mentor to troubled people, he was really a “con man” who exploited their desire to improve their lives.

The meetings, according to Ms. Salzman, were for senior members of an ultra-clandestine group within Nxivm called The Vow, or D.O.S., which supposedly stood for a Latin phrase meaning “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions,” and took place in a house near Albany called the Sorority House.

In her testimony, Ms. Salzman explained the pyramid structure of masters and slaves inside the group. She also identified senior members of Nxivm, known as the Inner Circle, and high-ranking members of D.O.S., including Allison Mack, an actress from the TV show “Smallville.”

May 14

Palm Beach Post, Judge sets rapid pace to end fight over Jeffrey Epstein ‘sweetheart’ deal, Jane Musgrave, May 14, 2019. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra, right, set a brisk kenneth marra open jurist croppedschedule for prosecutors and the young women’s attorneys to help him unravel an unprecedented legal mess that was created in 2007.

By August, the federal judge should have the information he needs to decide whether to throw out a controversial agreement that allowed billionaire Jeffrey Epstein to escape federal prosecution for having sex with teens at his Palm Beach mansion. Marra in February ruled that federal prosecutors violated the women’s rights by not conferring with them before deciding to shelve a 52-page federal indictment accusing Epstein, 66, of having sex with minors. However, while finding that prosecutors violated the federal Crime Victims Rights Act, Marra didn’t fashion a remedy.

Attorneys representing two of the politically-connected money manager’s more than three dozen victims have long said they want the non-prosecution agreement to be thrown out. Marra gave them 30 days to file court papers explaining how that could be done and suggesting others ways to compensate the women.

Federal prosecutors will have 30 days to refute or support the request from the victims’ lawyers. Then, the women’s attorneys will have another 15 days to respond to the prosecutors’ arguments, Marra said.

May 10

Pope Issues Abuse Reporting Rules

ny times logoNew York Times, Pope Issues First Rules for Catholic Church Worldwide to Report Sex Abuse, Jason Horowitz, May 10, 2019 (print ed.). Pope Francis on Thursday issued the pope francis W croppedfirst law obligating officials in the Roman Catholic Church worldwide to report cases of clergy sexual abuse — and attempts to cover it up — to their superiors. The decree was Francis’ long-anticipated concrete response to address a crisis that has devastated the church and clouded his legacy.

Vatican officials said the pope was trying to enshrine accountability for bishops into church law. Until now, responses to accusations of sexual abuse have differed widely from country to country, and even from diocese to diocese. In some countries where church officials have denied the existence of abuse, there have often been no procedures at all.

The new law does not universally require church officials to report abuse accusations to the police and prosecutors, a decision that was immediately criticized by abuse survivors and their advocates. Vatican officials have argued that a global requirement to report to civil authorities would, in some places, result in victims being ostracized or priests being persecuted. However, the new rules say that church officials should not interfere with investigations by civil authorities.

May 3

ny times logowoody allen tribeca festival 2009 david shankboneNew York Times, Woody Allen Pitched a Memoir. Publishers Weren’t Interested, Alexandra Alter and Cara Buckley, May 3, 2019 (print ed.). Woody Allen has been largely shunned by Hollywood. Celebrities who once vied for roles in his films now say they regret working with him. Amazon has backed out of a multimovie distribution deal with him.

Now, Allen (shown at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival) appears to be losing stature in another quarter of the entertainment industry: publishing.

In the last year, Allen quietly tried to sell a memoir, according to executives at four major publishing houses, only to be met with indifference or hard passes. Before the #MeToo movement roared to life, Allen’s memoir would probably have set off a bidding war and commanded six or seven figures, given his cultural status. But with his career all but derailed by resurfaced allegations that he molested his daughter Dylan Farrow nearly three decades ago — allegations that Allen denies and that have left Americans unsure whom to believe — the prospect of publishing his memoir seems to hold little appeal.

Executives at multiple publishing houses said that an agent representing Allen approached their companies about the memoir late last year, but that they made no offers, largely because of the negative publicity that working with Allen may have generated.

daily beast logoDaily Beast, Mormon Church Accused of Shielding Itself From Sex-Abuse Claims With Victims Hotline: Report, Staff report, May 3, 2019. Court documents have revealed that calls from the Mormon Church’s 24-hour helpline, used by church officials to report suspected abuse, are being transferred to a law firm that defends the church in abuse-related lawsuits, VICE News reports. Helpline calls are first answered inside the Salt Lake City offices of a Mormon Church-sponsored agency known as LDS Family Services, where staffers are then instructed to transfer callers to the law firm Kirton McConkie.

The law firm is technically independent from the church, but has legally advised and defended them for decades. The Mormon Church is Kirton McConkie’s largest client. Directing abuse-related calls to church lawyers allows the church to classify them as “attorney-client” communications, protecting them from disclosure in lawsuits and other forums, according to legal experts. Mormon leaders have long insisted that the helpline’s sole purpose is to advise church officials about compliance with local abuse-reporting laws; but court documents reviewed by VICE News, suggests that in reality, the system serves to shield the church from potential lawsuits.

May 2

washington post logoWashington Post, Reports of sexual assaults in the military spiked nearly 38 percent last year, Pentagon says, Frances Stead Sellers and Dan Lamothe​, May 2, 2019. The statistics show about 20,500 instances of “unwanted sexual contact,” a category that includes rape, forcible sodomy, groping and other offenses.

washington post logostephen moore twitterWashington Post, Stephen Moore abandons bid for Federal Reserve seat, Trump says, Felicia Sonmez​, May 2, 2019. Moore, right, had faced Republican opposition in the Senate as he faced criticism over writings from the 2000s, in which he made derogatory statements about women.

May 1

keith raniere nxivm

ny times logoNew York Times, Once Idolized, Guru of Nxivm ‘Sex Cult’ to Stand Trial Alone, Barry Meier, May 1, 2019. Keith Raniere, who led a group in which women were branded, is on trial in Brooklyn. Testimony is expected to be prurient, bizarre and nauseating, court filings suggest.

It seems a fitting final act to a strange saga: On Tuesday, Keith Raniere, who once led a cultlike group in which women were branded and taught to idolize him, will face trial alone, abandoned not only by the women he subjugated and abused, but by those who served him loyally for years.

For two decades, Keith Raniere, 58, was referred to as “Vanguard” by his followers in a group called Nxivm (pronounced Nex-e-um).

He ordered women to maintain near-starvation diets to achieve the type of body he found desirable and punished those who disobeyed his edict to have sex only with him, former followers said. In recent years, some women were branded on their pelvis with a symbol containing Mr. Raniere’s initials, an act he described in a text message as a “tribute” to him.

During his trial in Brooklyn federal court, which is expected to last six weeks, jurors will hear testimony that will be prurient, bizarre and nauseating, court filings suggest. Among the graphic details: Prosecutors plan to use pictures of a naked 15-year-old girl in Mr. Raniere’s bed to prove that he exploited underage women.

April

April 30

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘CLOSE THE RAPE ATTIC’: Swarthmore students occupy fraternity after disturbing documents public campus events where alcohol is served, Allyson Chiu, April 30, 2019. “I would sprint up the stairs that lead to the bedroom that’s referred to as the ‘rape attic’ because I knew that there was only one woman up there and a bunch of fraternity brothers,” Henry said.

The alleged reference to a “rape attic” is just one of the troubling details recently revealed about the culture within the selective Pennsylvania college’s fraternities that was made public in internal documents leaked to two campus publications. Redacted versions of the documents, published earlier this month by the Phoenix and Voices, have since sparked fierce protests from students, including an ongoing sit-in that started Saturday on the campus located west of Philadelphia.

Over the weekend, the growing outcry prompted administrators to suspend all fraternity activity pending the results of an investigation.

The 116 pages of documents reportedly came from the “historical archives” of Swarthmore’s chapter of Phi Psi, which is not nationally affiliated, and contains meeting minutes and details of pledge tasks. The documents feature graphic descriptions of members’ sexual encounters, including a reference to a “rape tunnel.” It also describes their conversations about women, minority groups and sexual assault that often contained offensive language, such as homophobic and racial slurs. The documents chronicle activities between 2010 and 2016, the Phoenix reported.

April 29

KHOU-TV (Watertown, NY.), No jail time for school bus driver who admitted to raping 14-year-old girl, Andrew Krietz, April 29, 2019. The 26-year-old will also not be included in online sex offender databases because he is considered a low risk offender. A judge handed down 10 years' probation last week to a former New York school bus driver after he admitted to raping a 14-year-old girl.

Shane Piche, 26, will be registered as a Level 1 sex offender, according to the Waterford Daily Times. The judge reportedly said because he had no prior arrests and there was one victim, the sentence was appropriate. Level 1 is considered the lowest risk level out of three, and Piche will not be included in online sex offender databases.

He pleaded guilty in February to raping a 14-year-old girl who he met through his job as a bus driver with the city's school district, the newspaper reports.

Piche also was charged with unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child after he allegedly gave the girl alcohol. The Times reports Piche is required to pay $375 in court fees and surcharges, plus a $1,000 special sex offender registration fee.

ABA Journal, Fired BigLaw paralegal must pay $35K sanction in dropped suit against law firm, 7th Circuit says, Debra Cassens Weiss, April 29, 2019. On Friday, a federal appeals court upheld a sanction requiring a paralegal who filed a $200 million bias suit against Baker McKenzie to pay the law firm’s attorney fees.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago upheld an order requiring the paralegal, Elena Stephens, to pay about $35,000. In a per curiam opinion, a 7th Circuit panel said Stephens could be sanctioned for dismissing the lawsuit to avoid answering discovery questions on two matters. One matter concerned how Stephens acquired the law firm’s confidential email discussion list of firm employees that she used to email criticism of her supervisors. The other asked Stephens to account for her asserted damages.

Stephens had alleged that she was sexually harassed and mocked because of her Russian heritage and accent during the year she worked at the law firm. Stephens said she was fired in 2017 after she reported the discrimination.

April 26

washington post logoWashington Post, Joe Biden was in charge of the Anita Hill hearing. Even he says it wasn’t fair, Elise Viebeck, April 26, 2019. About 90 minutes into Anita Hill’s estimony on Oct. 11, 1991, Joe Biden had a choice to make.

anita hill clarence thomas time scandalTo cast doubt on her sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee planned to ask her about a former acquaintance named John Doggett, who said in an affidavit that Hill was prone to romantic delusions and had “a problem being rejected by men she was attracted to.”

Doggett had not been vetted by the committee, as the rules of the hearing required, and Biden said it would be best not to air his claims until aides interviewed him. But as Republicans applied pressure, Biden was unsure what to do — changing his mind five times as colleagues, witnesses and a national television audience watched.

Biden’s handling of Hill’s allegations against Thomas and the hearings they incited in 1991 remains one of the most revealing and controversial episodes of his career. In an era when bipartisan support for Supreme Court nominees was more common, the senator from Delaware wanted to run a process that was seen as fair by both sides.

But for decades, Democrats have been angered by Hill’s treatment by the GOP and conflicted about Biden’s performance as chairman. The issue has even more resonance for some Democrats now in the wake of allegations of sexual assault against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh last year, which led to a similar hearing. Both he and Thomas denied wrongdoing.

Interviews with a dozen people with firsthand knowledge and a review of the written record and interviews published with participants over the past three decades reinforce that Biden failed to use the powers afforded to Senate committee chairmen to conduct a judicious and thorough inquiry into Hill’s allegations. He did not give full consideration to witnesses whose allegations seemed to corroborate her testimony or curb the attacks and innuendo leveled at her during the hearing. A former Biden lawyer told The Washington Post this month that the Democrats were outmaneuvered by Republicans, whose purpose was to damage Hill.

Biden called Hill earlier this month to express regrets over her experience, but Hill was unsatisfied with the conversation and did not characterize his comments as an apology, the New York Times reported Thursday. Hill did not respond to calls and emails about their conversation, and Biden’s campaign told the Times it would have no further comment.

The former Biden lawyer, Cynthia Hogan, said in an interview that he approached his role during the Thomas hearings as if he were a neutral arbiter.

“What happened is we got really politically outplayed by the Republicans,” said Hogan, now vice president for public policy for Americas at Apple. “They came with a purpose, and that purpose was to destroy Anita Hill. Democrats did not coordinate and they did not prepare for battle. I think he would say that that’s what should be done differently.”

Keith Henderson, a friend of Hill’s who spent time with her as the hearings unfolded, wondered in an interview this month why Biden had not personally apologized to her.

April 16

New Accuser Of Epstein, Dershowitz

miami herald logoMiami Herald, New Jeffrey Epstein accuser goes public; defamation lawsuit targets Dershowitz, Julie K. Brown, April 16, 2019. A new victim has gone public in the Jeffrey Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University Epstein case, filing a sworn affidavit in federal court in New York Tuesday, saying that she was sexually assaulted and her then-15-year-old sister molested by Epstein and his companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, in 1996.

Maria Farmer, then 26, claims she was employed by Epstein (right), a multimillionaire financier who lived in a vast mansion on New York’s Upper East Side, and that she frequently saw “school-age girls’’ wearing uniforms come into the mansion and go upstairs. She was told that the girls were auditioning for modeling work, according to her affidavit.

perversion of justice miami herald logoThen an art student in New York, Farmer said she reported her assault to New York police and the FBI in 1996. FBI documents released April 1 make a reference to Farmer having been interviewed in 2006 or 2007. However, Farmer, now 49, said the FBI did not take any action against Epstein and Maxwell.

“To my knowledge, I was the first person to report Maxwell and Epstein to the FBI. It took a significant amount of bravery for me to make that call because I knew how incredibly Jeffrey Epstein and Alan Dershowitzpowerful and influential both Epstein and Maxwell were, particularly in the art community,’’ she wrote.

Farmer’s affidavit is one of 15 exhibits attached to a defamation complaint filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, against Alan Dershowitz, one of Epstein’s most vocal and powerful attorneys.

Giuffre claims in the lawsuit, as she has in past court filings, that Dershowitz, 80 (shown with Epstein in a file photo), knew about and participated in a sex-trafficking operation involving underage girls and run by Epstein and Maxwell, and that she was forced to have sex with Dershowitz and other prominent, wealthy men when she was underage.

Dershowitz has railed against the allegations for years, maintaining that he has never met Giuffre. He also says he has documents and other evidence that prove she is lying.

Alternet, Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein has been secretly funneling cash to celebrities and universities, Brad Reed, April 16, 2019. Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein has set up a secret charity foundation that he’s been using to funnel money to assorted celebrities and elite universities. The Daily Beast reports that Epstein has created a private foundation called Gratitude America, Ltd. that has been shelling out cash to nonprofit groups founded by Deepak Chopra, Elton John and even a doctor with connections to President Donald Trump.

Additionally, the Daily Beast’s review of the foundation’s tax filings has found that it helped fund “an all-girls school in Manhattan, a youth tennis program, cancer charities, Harvard’s famous theater troupe, posh New York arts societies at Lincoln Center and the Met, and a nonprofit linked to the wife of a former Harvard president who flew on Epstein’s private jet.”

The foundation does nothing to publicize its existence and the only traces of its activity are found through its tax filings. Epstein launched the organization in 2012, three years after he had served an 18-month prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage prostitute.

Epstein received such a light sentence even though dozens of women have accused him of sexually abusing them when they were teenagers. Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra’s ruled that current Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta broke the law when he crafted a plea deal for Epstein that did not inform his multiple female accusers.

National Enquirer Sold

ny times logoNew York Times, National Enquirer to Be Sold to James Cohen, Heir to Hudson News Founder, Edmund Lee, April 18, 2019. A new buyer for the tabloid swooped in after talks between its publisher, American Media, and the billionaire Ron Burkle fell apart. The National Enquirer, President Trump’s favorite supermarket tabloid, is about to have a new owner: James Cohen, a son of the founder of the Hudson News franchise. American Media Inc., The Enquirer’s publisher, announced the deal Thursday.

The money-losing title was put up for sale several weeks ago, after its principal owner decided it no longer wanted to be associated with the magazine, according to several people familiar with the matter. The publication attracted the scrutiny of federal investigators for its role in the 2016 presidential campaign.

American Media had been in talks with several potential buyers, including the California billionaire Ronald W. Burkle. After those talks fell apart last week, Mr. Cohen, whose father started the chain of Hudson News shops, swooped in to buy the troubled tabloid.

david pecker croppedAs part of the deal, American Media, led by David J. Pecker, left, a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, has also agreed to sell two of its other tabloids: the Globe and the National Examiner. The Washington Post first reported the sale, which it pegged at $100 million.

The principal owner of American Media, the hedge fund Chatham Asset Management, led by Anthony Melchiorre, pushed Mr. Pecker to sell The Enquirer after the publication found itself under federal investigation. Mr. Melchiorre no longer saw an upside in being associated with the tabloid, whose financial losses and falling circulation numbers provided further motivation for a sale.

Mr. Pecker is said to have helped Mr. Trump’s candidacy through a deal American Media struck with Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who said she had an affair with the president. The company acquired her story for $150,000 and never published it, a practice known in the tabloid business as catch-and-kill. Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York gave Mr. Pecker an immunity deal in its investigation of the arrangement.

American Media also signed a non-prosecution deal with federal prosecutors. As part of the agreement, the company affirmed that it had made the payment to Ms. McDougal to “influence the election.” The deal, signed in September, also stipulated that American Media “shall commit no crimes whatsoever” for three years and that, if it did, the company “shall thereafter be subject to prosecution for any federal criminal violation of which this office has knowledge.”

That agreement put American Media in a ticklish position, now that federal prosecutors have started investigating claims by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, that he was threatened by the company. Mr. Bezos was the subject of an 11-page Enquirer investigation headlined “Bezos’ Divorce! The Cheating Photos That Ended His Marriage.” In a lengthy blog post a month after the article appeared, Mr. Bezos accused American Media of extortion.

Hudson News, founded by Mr. Cohen’s father, Robert B. Cohen, was sold to the Swiss retail company Dufry in 2008. Mr. Cohen is no longer involved in the chain of newspaper and magazine shops but sits on the board of the new parent company.

April 16

Above the Law, Dershowitz Wanted A Trial Over Sex Trafficking Accusations — He’s Getting One, Joe Patrice, April 16, 2019. Last month, Harvard Law’s Alan Dershowitz proclaimed, “I hereby accuse my false accusers of committing the felony of perjury and challenge them to sue me for defamation.” As Paragraph 22 of a complaint filed today in the Southern District of New York put it: "Mr. Dershowitz now has what he claims to have been looking for."

For the last several years, Dershowitz has faced allegations that his best buddy and ultimate “Florida Man” Jeffrey Epstein — a billionaire who used his wealth to lure underaged girls into a sex trafficking operation — loaned out his victims to have sex with Dershowitz.

Boies Schiller, in papers signed by Sigrid McCawley, with assistance from Meredith Schultz, has now sued Dershowitz for defamation on behalf of Virginia (Roberts) Guiffre. Dershowitz has publicly called Guiffre a liar and extortionist based on the Epstein victim’s claim that Dershowitz had sex with her as part of Epstein’s scheme.

April 15

Hill.com, Poll: Roy Moore leading Alabama GOP field, Reid Wilson, April 16, 2019. Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (right) leads the field of potential Republicans roy moore cowboy hat no gun Customvying for the chance to challenge Sen. Doug Jones (D, below at left)), a year and a half after Moore lost what was supposed to be an easy election in a deep-red state.

A new poll shows Moore leading a still-evolving field of Alabama Republicans competing for the nomination. He is the top choice of 27 percent of Alabama Republican voters, according to the Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy Inc. survey.

doug jones flag wThe state’s three Republican members of Congress finish well behind Moore: Rep. Mo Brooks would take 18 percent, Rep. Bradley Byrne clocks in at 13 percent and Rep. Gary Palmer would take 11 percent. So far, Byrne is the only Republican candidate among those tested to have formally entered the race.

Moore, who captured the Republican nomination in 2017 by appealing to the state’s most conservative evangelical voters, came undone amid multiple allegations that he harassed or pursued women who were in their teens when he was in his 30s.

Jones, a former U.S. attorney, won the December special election by 1.7 percentage points, or about 22,000 votes. He became the first Democrat in more than a generation — since Sen. Richard Shelby, who has since changed his party affiliation — to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate.

April 11

ny times logoNew York Times, University Discouraged Reporting of Rape Allegation, Woman Says, Marc Tracy, April 11, 2019 (print ed.). A woman who accused three basketball players and sued Michigan State spoke publicly about her case for the first time.

Robin and David Kowalski barely recognized their daughter Bailey when she was visiting home in White Lake, Mich., in the spring of 2015.

Their perennially positive daughter, who was about to finish her freshman year at Michigan State, was sullen. She had suddenly decided to abandon her long-held dream of being a sports journalist, and she refused to tell her mother, in whom she typically confided everything, why.

It was not until October, after months of erratic behavior, that Ms. Kowalski told her parents that she had been raped by three Michigan State basketball players that April. The incident left her depressed and considering harming herself. She dropped out of college for a while and received counseling. She gave up sports journalism for good.

Last year, Ms. Kowalski, 22, who is speaking publicly about her case for the first time, sued Michigan State in federal court for violating her rights under Title IX, the federal law mandating gender equity in higher education, as a Jane Doe. The lawsuit asserts that Michigan State mishandles sexual misconduct complaints against athletes. One woman said two football players raped her in 2009, but she was not advised of her Title IX rights, the lawsuit said, and another woman said three basketball players raped her in 2010, after which the accusations were not reported outside the athletic department.

Manhattan DC Role In Epstein Scandal

New York Post, DA knew Jeffrey Epstein was a dangerous pedophile when arguing for leniency, Susan Edelman and Rebecca Rosenberg, April 11, 2019. The Manhattan DA’s office had graphic and detailed evidence of pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s depravity when a prosecutor inexplicably argued for leniency during his 2011 sex offender registry hearing, The Post has learned.

In advance of the hearing, then-deputy chief of Sex Crimes, Jennifer Gaffney, had been given a confidential state assessment that deemed Epstein to be highly dangerous and likely to keep preying on young girls, the DA’s office admitted in its own appellate brief eight months after the hearing.

Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University The brief has been sealed since 2011, but The Post obtained it Thursday after suing to get it unsealed.

It describes a state assessment’s findings that Epstein (right) should be monitored in New York as a level three offender — reserved for the most dangerous.

In making its assessment, the NY state Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders evaluated the sworn, corroborated accounts of numerous young girls who had been lured into Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., compound in 2005 and 2006.

Girls aged 14 to 17 years old were recruited and paid $200 to $1,000 to give Epstein erotic massages that included sexual contact, intercourse and rape, Palm Beach cops found.

Epstein pleaded guilty in Palm Beach to abusing just one of these young victims, and was required to register as a sex offender in New York since he had an Upper East Side home.

Manhattan prosecutors were aware the state board had assigned Epstein a risk assessment of 130, a number that is “solidly above the 110 qualifying number for level three,” with “absolutely no basis for downward departure,” the brief notes.

U.S. Crime / Courts

washington post logoWashington Post, Michael Avenatti charged with 36 federal crimes, including tax fraud and bank fraud, Lindsey Bever, April 11, 2019. Attorney Michael Avenatti (shown below) faces 36 criminal charges after he was indicted by a grand jury in Southern California.

michael avenatti twitter photoAvenatti, known for representing Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Trump, was arrested last month in New York for allegedly attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike. Separately, he was charged in a case in California for allegedly using a client’s settlement money to pay for his personal expenses.

The grand jury indictment, which was handed down late Wednesday, charges the attorney with wire fraud, bank fraud and tax fraud, among other things.

Specifically, it alleges that Avenatti stole from his clients, including from a paraplegic man, and took payroll taxes from employees at his Seattle-based coffee chain, Tully’s, according to the AP. The AP reported that the attorney is also charged with failing to pay taxes, lying in bankruptcy proceedings and committing bank fraud.

Pope Emeritus Decries Gay 'Cliques'

washington post logoWashington Post, In letter on abuse crisis, Pope Benedict describes seminaries filled with ‘homosexual cliques,’ Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli​, April 11, 2019. The pope emeritus attributed the clerical sex abuse crisis to a breakdown of church and societal moral teaching, a markedly different explanation than that offered by Pope Francis.

April 9

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Kick Kavanaugh off campus’: Students decry George Mason’s decision to hire Supreme Court justice, Isaac Stanley-Becker, April 9, 2019. Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh will beat the Washington heat this summer and head for Runnymede, England, a bucolic borough 20 miles from London along the River Thames. At the site where the Magna Carta was sealed 804 years ago, laying the groundwork for constitutional democracy, the judge will teach a course on the origins of the U.S. Constitution to students at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School — 3,600 miles from the Arlington, Va., campus.

brett kavanaughHe will be joined in the English countryside by Jennifer Mascott, an assistant professor of law at George Mason. One of Kavanaugh’s former clerks on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Mascott came to his defense when his nomination was threatened last year by allegations of sexual misconduct, which he vehemently denied. “He has acted with the utmost character and integrity,” she told “PBS NewsHour.”

Some students at the university’s main campus in Fairfax City see matters differently. After news of his hire surfaced at the end of March in the undergraduate newspaper, the Fourth Estate, survivors of sexual assault mobilized to demand that he be terminated.

The judge (right), who was first nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush and to the nation’s top court by President Trump, used to teach at Harvard Law School. But administrators in Cambridge, Mass., informed students last fall that he had decided not to return this year to teach his course, “The Supreme Court Since 2005.” The announcement followed calls on Harvard, by hundreds of its students and alumni, to revoke his status as a lecturer.

The contest over Kavanaugh’s nomination became a flash point in the #MeToo movement, as well as an illustration of the polarization and distrust poisoning American politics. Now, the dispute at George Mason has become the latest front in the campus culture wars, reflecting broader upheaval over sexual violence, political correctness, free speech and sensitivity.

April 8

keith raniere nxivm

ny times logoNew York Times, Allison Mack of ‘Smallville’ Pleads Guilty in Case of Nxivm ‘Sex Cult’ Where Women Were Branded, Michael Gold and Colin Moynihan, April 8, 2019. Ms. Mack wept as she took responsibility in federal court in Brooklyn for recruiting women into the Nxivm organization.Allison Mack’s Hollywood ties boosted the case’s profile and grabbed headlines.

allison mackAllison Mack (shown in a file photo) tearfully told a judge on Monday that she first joined the cultlike group known as Nxivm to “find purpose.” She was unsatisfied with her acting career, she said, despite her role on the successful television series “Smallville.”

Led by Keith Raniere, the group, based in Albany, billed itself as a self-help organization. It offered workshops and classes that promised participants greater self-fulfillment.

Ms. Mack became so involved, federal prosecutors said, that she began recruiting other women into a secret sect within Nxivm in which women were branded with Mr. Raniere’s initials and were forced to have sex with him.

“I was lost,” Ms. Mack said on Monday, while pleading guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges related to her role in the group.

In a lengthy, tear-filled confession at Federal District Court in Brooklyn, Ms. Mack admitted to luring women into Nxivm (pronounced NEX-ee-um), where they were extorted and coerced into following Mr. Raniere’s orders.

“I must take full responsibility for my conduct,” Ms. Mack, 36, said.

The racketeering counts were among the least lurid ones that Ms. Mack faced. When the actress was arrested last year, she was also charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and forced labor.

Her arrest was part of a larger federal case against high-ranking members of Nxivm, including Mr. Raniere and four others. Federal authorities had begun investigating the organization after The New York Times published an article in late 2017 detailing the inner workings of the secret sorority within Nxivm.

Ms. Mack’s Hollywood ties boosted the case’s profile and grabbed headlines. After prosecutors announced the charges against her, other actresses said that Ms. Mack had tried to get them to join her “women’s group.” Several female journalists also shared that they had received emails from Ms. Mack trying to pitch them on joining a female empowerment organization.

Prosecutors said the secret sect’s purpose within Nxivm was to groom sexual partners for Mr. Raniere, who is 58. It was called D.O.S., an acronym for a Latin phrase that roughly translates to “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions,” court papers said.

In court on Monday, Ms. Mack admitted she recruited women into the group by telling them they were going to become members of a female mentorship program.

Ms. Mack said that to become members of the secret D.O.S. group, women were required to offer up “personally damaging or ruinous” information. The group also collected explicit photos and videos from members as well as rights to their properties, she said.

Prosecutors have said that the women were warned that the damaging or embarrassing information would be made public if they revealed the existence of the group.

Ms. Mack admitted on Monday that she wielded the information to blackmail the women into performing services for her and the group. The organization was set up to make women think “they could suffer serious harm” if they did not follow orders, she said.

The D.O.S. group was organized into circles of women “slaves” that were led by “masters,” prosecutors said. When Ms. Mack was arrested last year, officials said that she had recruited women into the society as “slaves” and had required them to have sex with Mr. Raniere.

Ms. Mack sobbed so much as she gave her statement that Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis interrupted to ask if she was all right. Ms. Mack then apologized to those that she hurt through her “misguided adherence to Keith Raniere’s teachings.”

Others charged in the case include Mr. Raniere and Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram’s liquor fortune.

Ms. Mack faces up to 20 years in prison on each count to which she pleaded guilty. She is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

April 5

ny times logoNew York Times, Sexual misconduct claims against Herman Cain, Mr. Trump’s pick for the Fed’s board, are causing anxiety for the G.O.P., Alan Rappeport and Kenneth P. Vogel, April 5, 2019. Payments to women who complained of sexual harassment.  Accusations of groping. Allegations of a 13-year extramarital affair. As President Trump herman cain wmoves ahead with his plan to nominate Herman Cain, right, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, for a seat on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, Republican lawmakers are being forced to confront a fresh round of uncomfortable allegations of sexual misconduct against women as the 2020 campaign begins.

A day after Mr. Trump made the choice of Mr. Cain official, Senate Republicans expressed quiet anxiety over the prospect of another #MeToo minefield even as the White House exalted the decision.

“President Trump’s statement that Herman Cain is ‘a truly outstanding individual’ is a message that the president of the United States is willing to ignore the gloria allred 2012 Customallegations of a number of women who alleged that Herman Cain either sexually harassed them or had an affair with them,” said Gloria Allred, left, a lawyer who represented two of Mr. Cain’s accusers. “This message is an insult to women and should be condemned by the Republican Party and all those who care about respect and dignity for women.”

The choice of Mr. Cain comes as Mr. Trump’s other pick to fill an open seat on the seven-member Fed board, the conservative economist Stephen Moore, has been under fire for ethical and financial lapses that emerged from his divorce records. In both cases, the White House has publicly backed Mr. Trump’s selections despite criticism that he was installing loyalists with questionable credentials in two of the country’s top economic policy jobs.

bo dresnerSan Marcos Record, Former Hays County GOP official arrested for sexual assault of a child, Robin Blackburn, April 5, 2019. A precinct chair and former sergeant-at-arms for the Hays County Republican Party is in jail on a $250,000 bond after being arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child. Bo Michael Dresner was booked into the Hays County Jail on April 3. There had been reports of sexual abuse involving Dresner (shown in a mugshot) and the same victim going back seven years.

HuffPost, Dahvie Vanity Raped A Child. Police Gave Him A Warning. Now 21 Women Accuse Him Of Sexual Assault, Jesselyn Cook and Sebastian Murdock, April 5, 2019. The Blood on the Dance Floor singer (shown at right in a Twitter photo) is an expert at winning teenage girls’ trust — and their silence.

One Sunday night in June 2007, 14-year-old Dianna Farrell sat alone in her bedroom in the dark, listening to a Christian radio show where teens discussed their troubles on-air. The host, a man named Dawson McAllister, seemed kind: he spoke to callers empathetically and even gave them advice. Farrell picked up the phone and dialed in. When McAllister asked her what was wrong, she took a deep breath, then told him about the man who had sexually assaulted her at her home eight days earlier. A show staffer called the police.

The next evening, a patrol car appeared outside Farrell’s house in Pinellas County, Florida. She was terrified. She hadn’t meant to cause any problems — she just wanted someone to talk to. A shy eighth grader who was bullied throughout middle school, Farrell didn’t have many friends. She spent most of her free time on the computer by herself, creating digital artwork and learning how to edit photos online. Just a few weeks earlier, she’d celebrated her acceptance to a high school with a special visual arts program.

Farrell paced as a police officer asked questions about the man she’d described on the radio. She frantically explained that she didn’t know his real name, or how old he was. He just went by “Dahvie.” She’d met him a while ago on Myspace, where he had a popular page as an Orlando-based hairstylist. Dahvie had told Farrell that he wanted to give her a new look, so he drove across the state to dye her hair at her house. The girl’s mother, a single parent with two nursing jobs, had to leave for an evening shift shortly after Dahvie arrived, several hours late. Farrell performed oral sex on him that night.

As the officer pressed for details about the encounter — Farrell’s first sexual experience — she started to cry. The 14-year-old was confused about what had happened and afraid of getting Dahvie into trouble. They’d started chatting online in the weeks leading up to her hair appointment, and he would often sign off with messages declaring his love for her. They were friends, she reminded herself, and Dahvie cared about her. What would happen to him if she told police that after finishing with her hair, he had forced himself into her mouth?

“Are you going to call him? You can’t!” Farrell pleaded through tears. “It was no big deal,” she insisted. Everything was consensual, she said.
In a police report, 14-year-old Dianna Farrell asked an officer if her sexual abuser would get in trouble.

In a police report, 14-year-old Dianna Farrell asked an officer if her sexual abuser would get in trouble.

After speaking to Farrell and her mother, Captain Kurt Romanosky, a detective from the Crimes Against Children squad of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, called 22-year-old Jesus David Torres, the man known on Myspace as “Dahvie the Elite Hair God.” Romanosky informed Torres that he was aware of the sexual contact with Farrell, and that her mother would not ask cops to arrest Torres if he cut off contact with her daughter. Torres claimed he didn’t know how young Farrell was, said he was sorry and promised not to talk to her again.

Lewd and lascivious battery — sexual penetration of a child between the ages of 12 and 15 by an adult, for which Torres was briefly investigated — is a form of statutory rape and a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Ignorance of the victim’s age is not an admissible defense under Florida law, and 14-year-olds cannot legally consent to sex with 22-year-olds in the state, but police let Torres off anyway.

Torres moved on. Later that year, he started Blood on the Dance Floor (BOTDF), an electro-pop band that quickly took off among kids and teens. Under the stage name Dahvie Vanity, the singer went on to amass close to 2 million online followers while touring all over the country. And in the 12 years since police gave him a warning for assaulting Farrell, Torres has allegedly sexually assaulted nearly two dozen women and underage girls.

  daily beast logoDaily Beast, Porn Stars Find 2020 Democratic Candidates ‘Extremely Depressing,’ Aurora Snow, April 5, 2019. With the presidential election approaching, many constituents in the adult industry are struggling to forgive Democratic candidates’ past voting record. Less than a year ago, most of the 2020 frontrunners voted in favor of two bills: “Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” and “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act” (commonly known as FOSTA/SESTA), legislation that has negatively impacted sex workers more than the sex trafficking it purports to stop. The new legislation pushes responsibility, and thus legal consequences, to the online platforms that “promote or facilitate prostitution” without distinguishing consenting sex work from coerced sex trafficking.

In an attempt to excuse some of the candidates for their uneducated voting faux pas in passing FOSTA/SESTA, porn star Nina Kayy offers a rather empathetic view. “They probably signed it blindly without talking to anyone in the industry or talking to sex-trafficking victims,” she says. “Sure, a lot of sex workers are mad about it but you have to look at the bigger picture: yes, it’s part of the candidate’s job to reach out and educate themselves, but imagine if they didn’t sign a bill against sex trafficking? How would that look to the people that voted for them?”

According to Kayy, all of the congresspeople vying for the 2020 ticket—Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Corey Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, etc.—are guilty of doing what the majority of voters do at the polls: voting for the header. Hence a bill even the DOJ expressed uncertainty over was passed, 97-2 in the Senate and 388-25 in the House.

Independent contractors (i.e. sex workers) use online forums to discuss clients, post reviews and warn fellow co-workers of potential dangers. Those options have now largely been removed, with sites—fearing prosecution for “sex trafficking”—hesitating to allow consenting sex workers a platform to validate the safety of clients or independently advertise and book work. It’s thus driven many consenting sex workers off-line and underground, endangering them.

Politicians frequently conflate consensual sex work and sex trafficking despite their drastic differences, whether to push moral agendas or due to ignorance. As seen in the recent massage parlor sting ensnaring New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, the police have repeatedly referred to it as a “sex trafficking” operation, yet no trafficking charges were filed and even the Palm Beach District Attorney admitted "there’s no allegation that any defendant engaged in human trafficking.” Many have speculated that “trafficking” is a term loosely used by law enforcement to sanction prostitution busts.

From the prosecutor’s office to defense attorney, Judge Herb Dodell has argued both sides and calls the trumped-up Kraft sting ridiculous. Sex work and sex trafficking are separate issues, he argues. “There are criteria that have been established on what represents human trafficking versus something else—even in California. Though you don’t have to show there was a force of coercion, human trafficking is basically where you take people and you make them slaves,” explains Dodell. “Prostitution is very, very different—an example clearly represented within the brothels in Nevada.”

April 3

alexander acosta o cropped Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Acosta confronted by lawmakers over plea deal in Jeffrey Epstein sexual misconduct case, Kimberly Kindy, Felicia Sonmez and Lisa Rein, April 3, 2019. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta (above) was confronted by Democratic lawmakers Wednesday over his decision as a federal prosecutor to sign off on a plea deal in a sex trafficking case involving multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

The exchange at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing marked the first time Acosta has been questioned publicly about the case since a judge ruled in February that the 2008 arrangement he oversaw as a U.S. attorney in South Florida had broken the law because his office failed to properly notify victims.

“You chose wealthy and well-connected people, child rapists, over the victims in this case,” said Rep. Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.), who noted that “the hideous truth has come out” about Acosta’s role in the case.

Clark cited the Epstein case as she questioned Acosta on his department’s decision to propose cutting the budget for one of its divisions tasked with combating human trafficking from $68 million to $18.5 million.

“This isn’t the first time you have ignored human trafficking,” Clark said. “If you as U.S. attorney could not fight for these girls, how, as secretary of labor, can you tell this panel and the American people that you can responsibly oversee this budget [and] the Department of Labor, including human trafficking?”

Acosta responded that human trafficking is “an in­cred­ibly important issue” and said the Justice Department had long defended the plea deal.

“Epstein was incarcerated,” Acosta said. “He registered as a sex offender. The world was put on notice that he was a sex offender, and the victims received restitution.”

jeffrey epstein sex offenderThe 2008 plea deal stemmed from a federal investigation of Epstein (right) focused on alleged sex trafficking and molestation of dozens of underage girls. Before the deal, prosecutors drafted a 53-page federal indictment that included sex trafficking charges, which could have placed Epstein in prison for life.

Epstein’s plea agreement allowed him to instead plead guilty to two state felony solicitation charges, casting the victims as prostitutes. The deal led to a 13-month stay in county jail during which Epstein was allowed to leave custody six days a week, 12 hours a day, for work.

Acosta, 50, has received support from his boss, President Trump, who in February called him a “fantastic labor secretary.” On Wednesday, Acosta argued that Epstein would have faced even lighter punishment had the plea deal not been struck.

“I understand the frustration,” he said. “I think it’s important for people to know he was going to get off with no jail time or restitution. It was the work of our office that resulted in him going to jail. It was the work of our office that resulted in him having to register as a sex offender.”

kenneth marra open jurist croppedThe deal has received renewed media and legal scrutiny in recent months. In February, Judge Kenneth A. Marra (left) of the Federal District Court in West Palm Beach ruled that the failure by Acosta’s office to notify victims in advance of the deal prevented the victims from being able to exercise their legal right to object before the deal took effect. Marra has set a deadline of May 10 for attorneys for two victims, who filed the lawsuit that led to the ruling, and attorneys for Epstein to propose an alternative deal.

The ruling could ultimately nullify the plea deal.

The Justice Department in February opened an investigation into its handling of the Epstein case after a bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), pressed for answers about the plea agreement.

In March, The Washington Post reported that, although Epstein’s alleged victims were as young as 14, the only minor he was convicted of soliciting was 16 when the offenses began. The decision to charge Epstein with a crime involving an older teen has eased his obligations to register as a sex offender. For example, Epstein does not have to register in New Mexico, where he owns a ranch, because his victim was not under 16.

April 2

meredith watson cbs

washington post logoWashington Post, In first TV interview, Meredith Watson details sex assault allegation against Va. Lt. Gov. Fairfax, Fenit Nirappil, April 2, 2019. Meredith Watson (above), one of two women who have accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) of sexual assault, on Tuesday urged the state legislature to hold a public hearing on the allegations during her first televised interview.

“I want action from the Virginia legislature,” Watson told interviewer Gayle King on “CBS This Morning”. “There is no amount of money that could ever compensate what he did to me or what I live with every day. I want the people of Virginia to know the truth and I would like the Virginia legislature to do the right thing.”

Watson says Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2000 when both were undergraduate students at Duke University. Her television appearance comes a day after the CBS program aired an interview with Vanessa Tyson, who accused the lieutenant governor of forcing her to perform oral sex during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

April 1

vanessa tyson meredith watson justin fairfax

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Fairfax accuser Vanessa Tyson details allegations against lieutenant governor in TV interview, Mel Leonor, April 2, 2019 (print ed.). Vanessa Tyson, one of two women who have publicly accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, tearfully described her allegations in an interview with CBS’ Gayle King, which aired Monday. Tyson, a political science professor at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., told King that her encounter with Fairfax in a Boston hotel room in 2004 began as consensual kissing, but quickly turned violent when Fairfax restrained her by the neck.

Using her hand, Tyson mimicked being pushed down by the neck to perform oral sex.

“I couldn’t feel my neck. I couldn’t hold my head up,” Tyson told King.

In a statement, Fairfax again denied the allegations by Tyson and second accuser Meredith Watson. A news release from his office Sunday said Fairfax had submitted to a polygraph with a former FBI expert that showed he was being truthful when he said the encounters were consensual.

Tyson’s first televised interview on the alleged assault comes days before Virginia lawmakers gather in Richmond on Wednesday to consider Gov. Ralph Northam’s vetoes and proposed budget amendments.

The interview could increase pressure on lawmakers to heed Tyson’s calls for a public hearing on the matter.

washington post logojonathan oldaleWashington Post, Md. man sentenced to 20 years after hiding tiny cameras in bathrooms to record nude children, Dan Morse, April 2, 2019. A Maryland man was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Monday after prosecutors said he hid tiny video cameras in his bathrooms, invited neighborhood children to backyard “splash parties” and secretly recorded more than 50 of them when they were nude and changing clothes.

Jonathan Oldale, 55, (right) had been a fixture in the town of Somerset, an affluent enclave of 1,200 just outside Washington. With two children of his own, he also was involved in the lives of other kids in the neighborhood. He led a Cub Scout pack, took photos for the elementary school yearbook and volunteered as a room parent at school.

 

March

March 29

#MeToo Scandal Claims

washington post logoWashington Post, College student accuses former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder of sexual harassment, Jenna Portnoy, March 28, 2019. A student who worked with L. Douglas Wilder at the Virginia Commonwealth University school named for the former governor reported to the university and police that Wilder sexually harassed her by kissing her without consent.

douglas wilder memoir coverThe woman, Sydney Black, 22, said Wilder, shown right on the cover of his memoir, 88, also suggested she could live at his house and offered to take her on foreign trips and pay for her law school in 2017, while she still worked as an office assistant at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

VCU officials cited privacy concerns and declined to answer a series of detailed questions.

“VCU seeks to protect the privacy of students and employees, in accordance with state and federal law,” university spokesman Mike Porter said in a statement. “Likewise, VCU does not disclose information about university investigations including whether or not an investigation is underway.”

But VCU sent Black a letter formally notifying her that the school’s Title IX office intended to investigate.

Associated Press via San Diego Union-Tribune, Oklahoma ex-senator David Boren accused of sexual misconduct, Sean Murphy, March 29, 2019. A former University of Oklahoma ap logostudent alleges he was touched and kissed inappropriately by former university President David Boren on several occasions almost a decade ago when the man worked as a teaching aide for the onetime governor and senator.

The allegations by Jess Eddy, now 29, appear to be at the center of an investigation being conducted for the university by Jones Day, one of the world’s largest law firms, into david borenwhether Boren sexually harassed male subordinates. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has also opened an investigation.

Boren, right, now 77, has denied any inappropriate conduct in statements released by his attorneys, who have confirmed the Jones Day investigation. Boren was a Democratic governor in the 1970s before serving in the U.S. Senate for more than 15 years. He was OU president from 1994 until stepping down last year and has been married to his second wife for more than 40 years. He has denied requests to be interviewed, citing poor health.

Boren’s attorney, Clark Brewster, said Eddy’s newest account of his encounter with Boren, which he detailed in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, contradicts previous statements he gave to Jones Day investigators and to Brewster. In those earlier statements, he said he was not aware of any inappropriate behavior.

Eddy acknowledged the discrepancy with his initial accounts and said he was untruthful in an effort to protect Boren.

joe biden headshotNew York Magazine, Personal Essay: An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden, Lucy Flores, March 29, 2019.In 2014, I was the 35-year-old Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in Nevada. The landscape wasn’t looking good for my party that year. There were no high-profile national races to help boost turnout, and after the top candidate bowed out of the governor’s race, “None of the Above” ended up winning the Democratic primary.

So when my campaign heard from Vice-President Joe Biden’s office that he was looking to help me and other Democrats in the state, I was grateful and flattered. His team offered to bring him to a campaign rally in an effort to help boost voter turnout. We set the date for November 1, just three days before election day.

I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, “I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual fuck? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?” He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused. There is a Spanish saying, “tragame tierra,” it means, “earth, swallow me whole.” I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience.

March 23

ap logoAssociated Press via Newsmax, Barbra Streisand Under Fire for Michael Jackson Remarks, Staff report, March 23, 2019. Barbra Streisand apologized Saturday for her remarks about Michael Jackson (shown in a file photo) and two men who have accused him of sexual abuse, saying that she should have chosen her words more carefully and that she admires the accusers for "speaking their truth."

michael jacksonStreisand had received bitter criticism online after she was quoted in The Times of London as saying that Jackson's accusers were "thrilled to be there" during the alleged abuse, which "didn't kill them."

After an initial statement Saturday to the Associated Press in which she sought to clarify her remarks, the superstar of song, stage and screen posted an apology online that went further.

"I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims," she wrote.

"I didn't mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way," she wrote. "Like all survivors of sexual assault, they will have to carry this for the rest of their lives. I feel deep remorse and I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth."

The apology went far beyond the earlier statement to the AP, in which she elaborated on her published remarks, saying she felt "nothing but sympathy" for the men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accuse the late star of molesting them as children.

She wrote in that earlier statement: "To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone."

The remarks in question came deep into a wide-ranging interview with The Times. Asked about Jackson, Streisand was quoted as saying she "absolutely" believed Robson and Safechuck, who make their allegations in the recent HBO documentary "Leaving Neverland."

Jackson's estate has condemned the HBO documentary. Jackson, who died in 2009, was found not guilty in 2005 of charges he molested a 13-year-old boy.

Streisand was asked about the documentary, which she called "too painful."

She then said that Jackson, when she met him, was "very sweet, very childlike." Asked how she reconciled that man with the one portrayed in the documentary, she replied: "His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has. You can say 'molested,' but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them."

March 21

ny times logoNew York Times, They Sought a Billionaire’s Support. He Made Sexual Requests in Response, They Say, Sharon Otterman and Hannah Dreyfus March 21, 2019. Michael Steinhardt, a leading donor to Jewish nonprofits, was accused of a pattern of sexual harassment. He denied many of the actions attributed to him.

Sheila Katz was a young executive at Hillel International, the Jewish college outreach organization, when she was sent to visit the philanthropist Michael H. Steinhardt, a New York billionaire. He had once been a major donor, and her goal was to persuade him to increase his support. But in their first encounter, he asked her repeatedly if she wanted to have sex with him, she said.

Mr. Steinhardt, 78, a retired hedge fund founder, is among an elite cadre of donors who bankroll some of the country’s most prestigious Jewish nonprofits. His foundations have given at least $127 million to charitable causes since 2003, public filings show.

But for more than two decades, that generosity has come at a price. Six women said in interviews with The New York Times and ProPublica, and one said in a lawsuit, that Mr. Steinhardt asked them to have sex with him, or made sexual requests of them, while they were relying on or seeking his support. He also regularly made comments to women about their bodies and their fertility, according to the seven women and 16 other people who said they were present when Mr. Steinhardt made such comments.

“Institutions in the Jewish world have long known about his behavior, and they have looked the other way,” said Ms. Katz, 35, a vice president at Hillel International. “No one was surprised when I shared that this happened.”

Mr. Steinhardt declined to be interviewed for this article. In a statement, he said he regretted that he had made comments in professional settings through the years “that were boorish, disrespectful, and just plain dumb.” Those comments, he said, were always meant humorously.

March 19

PA Rep. Quits After Scandal Charge

nbc news logoNBC News, Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Ellis resigns after allegations of sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman, Farnoush Amiri, March 19, 2019. A Pennsylvania state representative resigned on Monday, days after a woman made a complaint to the state's Republican caucus alleging that he sexually assaulted her in 2015 when she was blacked out.

"It is with immense gratitude to the sacrifices made by my family, the support of my constituents, and the friendship of my colleagues that I have concluded that it is in the best interest of my family, the residents of the 11th House district, and my own health that I resign from the General Assembly," State Rep. Brian Ellis wrote in his resignation letter submitted on Monday.

Ellis' resignation came after House Republicans in January called on him to step down when the Dauphin County district attorney began to investigate allegations that Ellis had sex with a woman without her consent in October 2015, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"It truly has been a new day for survivors," the woman's lawyer, Christine Wechsler told NBC News on Tuesday. "This is an acknowledgment of the credibility of the allegation."

She added that her client feels "vindicated" after hearing of Ellis' resignation from public office.

The woman said that she had been out "casually drinking" in a Harrisburg bar when she began to have "scant memories." The next thing she remembers is waking up "in pain, injured and naked" in bed with Ellis, according to a formal complaint she addressed to an attorney representing the state's GOP caucus and its members on the Ethics Committee on March 12.

The law firm representing Ellis, Myers, Brier & Kelly LLP, described the accusations as "just plain false," in a statement to NBC News.

March 18

Epstein Cover-Up Scandal

jeffrey epstein sex offender

washington post logoWashington Post, Age of victim in Jeffrey Epstein case eased his obligations to register as a sex offender, Beth Reinhard, Kimberly Kindy and Julie Tate, March 18, 2019 (print ed.). The case has been scrutinized after a judge ruled that the prosecution team led at the time by Alexander Acosta (right), who is now labor secretary, violated the rights of alleged victims.

alexander acosta o cropped CustomA federal investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein (shown above) had flagged scores of potential underage victims, including the 14-year-old girl who first alerted police.

But when he pleaded guilty in state court in 2008, the only minor Epstein was convicted of soliciting was 16 years old at the time the offenses began, according to information obtained by The Washington Post.

The younger girl who initially notified police has long believed that hers was the case referenced in the guilty plea, her attorney said. Some media accounts said as much. Publicly available charging documents contained no name or age, however. Pressed to resolve the ambiguity, state prosecutors in Florida recently provided The Post with the victim’s date of birth.

The decision to charge Epstein with a crime involving an older teen — part of a plea deal that has already been criticized as overly lenient — has eased his obligations to register as a sex offender. In New Mexico, for instance, where Epstein has a 7,600-acre property called Zorro Ranch, he is not required to register because his victim was not under 16, state officials said.

March 16

#MeToo Suit Against Trump

donald trump apprentice color nbc

Donald Trump from a publicity photo for his TV show "The Apprentice" (NBC TV).

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: ‘The President … Is Not Above the Law,’ Editorial Board, March 16, 2019. A New York court rules that the Constitution does not shield President Trump from allegations of misconduct before he took office. The legal travails of President Bill Clinton may soon haunt President Trump. A New York appeals court on Thursday ruled that Mr. Trump, like Mr. Clinton before him, is not protected by the presidency from answering civil charges.

The five-judge panel in Manhattan said that the Constitution’s supremacy clause does not bar state courts from hearing claims over “alleged unofficial misconduct” — that is, claims of improper or illegal action before a president took office.

The decision expands on the precedent set in Clinton v. Jones, in which a unanimous Supreme Court in 1997 ruled that a federal court had jurisdiction over a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones, a former low-level Arkansas state employee, against Mr. Clinton.

Yes, the presidency is important and its occupant may have important duties to attend to other than to produce documents or sit for depositions in a civil suit alleging sexual misconduct and defamation, the court explained, but “the President is still a person, and he is not summer zervosabove the law.”

Two judges dissented, observing that the threat of contempt, should Mr. Trump resist the legal process, would put a state court in “direct control” over the president.

A former contestant on Mr. Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice,” Summer Zervos (shown at right) went public during the 2016 campaign with accusations that Mr. Trump kissed and groped her without her consent. She is suing the president for defaming her shortly after she came forward, calling her charges a “hoax.” She filed her suit days before Mr. Trump took the oath of office.

March 15

Los Angeles Times, Congress requests former Fox News reporter’s notebooks regarding Trump’s hush money, Stacy Perman, March 15, 2019 fox news logo Small(print ed.). Congress requests former Fox News reporter’s notebooks regarding Trump’s hush money.Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, chairman of the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform, on Wednesday requested former Fox News reporter Diana Falzone turn over all documents relating to her reporting on President Trump’s “debts and payments to silence women alleging extramarital affairs with him prior to the 2016 presidential election.”

djt stormy daniels 2006The request comes a week after the New Yorker published an investigation on Fox News that disclosed Falzone had reported an article about Trump making hush payments to porn star Stormy Daniels (shown with Trump) prior to the 2016 presidential election in order to keep her quiet about their alleged affair. According to the New Yorker, Fox killed the story because Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Twenty-First Century Fox, wanted Trump to win the election.

Ken LaCorte, Falzone’s editor at Fox, published a response in Mediate disputing her version of events, saying the piece didn’t meet journalistic standards and was not killed because of any political agenda.

Falzone, who has since left Fox, sued the company for gender and disability discrimination in May 2017. However, as part of her settlement, she signed a nondisclosure agreement and has not been able to rebut LaCorte’s claims or any matter arising out of her time at Fox.

March 14

Miami Herald, Jeffrey Epstein prosecutor was previously rebuked for handling of a child sex case, Julie K. Brown, March 14, 2019. Nine months before cutting a covert plea deal with sex trafficking suspect Jeffrey Epstein, Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta was notified that the lead prosecutor in Epstein’s case had concealed victim information in another underage sex crimes case, the Miami Herald has learned.

perversion of justice miami herald logoThe prosecutor, A. Marie Villafaña, was harshly rebuked by a federal judge in January 2007 for what he called her “intentional and/or serious lapse in judgment’’ when she failed to explicitly inform him that the defendant, a Texas man who traveled to Florida to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, had a prior history of predatory behavior with minors, court records show.

Acosta, her boss at the time, not only knew about Villafaña’s breach — records show that he subsequently defended it. Acosta assigned another prosecutor in his office to write a treatise for the judge in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade him to soften the stinging language in his order.

washington post logoWashington Post, District employee charged with welfare fraud, trading cash and sex for benefits, Clarence Williams, March 14, 2019 (print ed.). A worker at the Department of Human Services allegedly received nearly $400,000 to dispense fraudulent benefits valued at more than $1.4 million, according to court documents.

March 13

St. Louis American, Under attack, Kim Gardner fights back, Rebecca Rivas, March 13, 2019. Police, special prosecutor take, then return, circuit attorney’s server. St. Louis Circuit kimberly gardnerAttorney Kimberly Gardner, right, said last week that a search warrant demanding thousands of records from her office would put countless people’s privacy at risk. On Tuesday, March 12, Circuit Court Judge Michael K. Mullen rejected Gardner’s motion to quash the search warrant, after claiming last week that Gardner’s office was “playing games.”

The warrant relates to a grand jury case reviewing whether Gardner’s investigator William Tisaby lied under oath last spring during then-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ felonious invasion of privacy case.

Gardner’s attorneys appealed within hours of Mullen’s decision. In the short amount of time it took for them to file the appeal, the police and special prosecutor overseeing the grand jury case on Tisaby seized the circuit attorney’s email server – knowing an appeal was underway, according to Gardner. The Court of Appeals ordered a halt to the search warrant that evening.
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“In my decades of work in the criminal justice system, I have never seen a chief prosecutor treated this way by a court or a police department,” said Roy L. Austin Jr., Gardner’s attorney.

He said he believes Special Prosecutor Gerard Carmody, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and even Mullen are trying to “intimidate and humiliate” Gardner and “strip her of the powers granted to her by the people of the City of St. Louis.”

This is the second search warrant that Carmody has issued in the grand jury case. Gardner’s office complied with the first search warrant in January. But the second search warrant, issued on February 21, is so broad that it would require the circuit attorney to hand over “every file in the office,” attorneys representing Gardner told a judge at a hearing on March 5. The warrant asks for all files stored on the office’s server that contain 31 common terms, including “notes,” “tape,” and “recording.”

A spokesman for Carmody’s office said he could not comment because of a gag order that Mullen issued on March 5. However, the appellate court also concluded on March 12 that the Gardner is not party to the Tisaby investigation and therefore not bound by Mullen’s gag order, according to Gardner.

The police and Carmody’s actions on March 12 temporarily interrupted the prosecutor’s entire email system “that is central to its efforts to keep the citizens of our city safe,” Gardner said.

Gardner said no information was retrieved from the server before it was returned. “They were unsuccessful,” her attorney said.

The grand jury case came out of the contentious legal battle to prosecute Greitens for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015 and then allegedly transmitting it so it could be viewed on a computer. Greitens’ felony charge was ultimately dropped.

There are still a lot of “personal feelings” and “water under the bridge” left over from that case, according to comments made between Gardner’s attorneys and Carmody’s team at the March 5 hearing addressing Gardner’s motion.

Gardner hired Tisaby, a former FBI agent, in January 2018 to investigate Greitens because she claimed the police department refused her requests to investigate the governor. The department denied that they were asked.

See related story: New York Times, A St. Louis Prosecutor Took On the System. She Made Enemies, Richard A. Oppel Jr., June 14, 2019. Kimberly Gardner was one of a wave of prosecutors who promised to challenge the establishment. Now she is being scrutinized in a manner that is virtually unheard-of for an elected prosecutor.

Kimberly Gardner was elected chief prosecutor by a wide margin in 2016, one of two dozen district attorneys across the country who campaigned to overhaul the criminal justice system.

Like a lot of them, she made quick enemies. She angered the powerful police union in St. Louis, saying repeatedly that she would hold officers more accountable. She indicted the sitting governor, Eric Greitens, shown below at left with Vice President Mike Pence and a rising star in national Republican politics.

Now her adversaries have turned the tables: Ms. Gardner’s professional actions are being scrutinized in a manner that is virtually unheard-of for an elected eric greitens mike penceprosecutor.

In the Greitens case, she has become a focus of a special prosecutor who was appointed to investigate a former F.B.I. agent. The prosecutor has had her office’s email server seized by the police, giving them access, her lawyers say, to active criminal investigations of the department itself. He has been fishing for incriminating information on her administration, according to an affidavit by the agent’s lawyer. Her aides have been called before a grand jury.

The investigation has been conducted in secrecy, with a gag order on the parties involved. But that has not stopped allegations that it is riddled with serious conflicts of interest. Nor has it stifled a sense, among Ms. Gardner’s supporters, that the police and the city’s clubby legal establishment have joined forces in an attempt to embarrass one of the few black officials with truly independent power in St. Louis.

National advocates of remaking the criminal justice system have watched as like-minded prosecutors in places like Boston, Chicago and Dallas won the support of voters but ran headlong into opposition from police unions and other local powers. Though all of them have been criticized, Ms. Gardner’s situation — facing possible criminal charges — is the most extreme.

March 11

Miami Herald, Federal court moves to unseal documents in Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, Julie K. Brown, March 11, 2019.​ A federal court of appeals in New York on Monday took the first step in unsealing documents that could reveal evidence of an international sex trafficking operation allegedly run by multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein (shown below) and his former partner, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

jeffrey epstein at harvard universityThe three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit gave the parties until March 19 to establish good cause as to why they should remain sealed and, failing to do so, the summary judgment and supporting documents will be made public. The court reserved a ruling on the balance of the documents in the civil case, including discovery materials.

“We’re grateful that the court ruled the summary judgment papers are open and they are moving to expedite having them unsealed,’’ said Sanford Bohrer, the attorney representing the Miami Herald, which filed the motion last year to have the entire case file opened. The Herald’s appeal is supported by 32 other media companies, including the New York Times and Washington Post.

Ghislaine Maxwell was sued for slander after calling Virginia Roberts Giuffre (shown below at right), one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, a liar. Maxwell, a close associate of Epstein, sought to have documents from the court case remain sealed.

virginia robertsThe case, which was settled in 2017, contains more than 1,000 documents, lawyers said during oral arguments in New York on Wednesday. Maxwell is the sole party fighting to keep the case sealed.

Most of the documents, including court orders and motions, were filed under seal or heavily redacted, similar to other cases in New York and Florida involving Epstein, a wealthy, politically connected money manager. Epstein, 66, was not a party to the lawsuit, which was filed against Maxwell in 2015 by Giuffre.

Giuffre claimed in the lawsuit that she was recruited by Maxwell at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, when she was 16 years old. Giuffre had been working at the resort’s spa when Maxwell approached her and asked her whether she perversion of justice miami herald logowanted to become a masseuse for Epstein. Giuffre claimed that the massages were a ruse for Epstein and Maxwell to sexually abuse her and other underage girls, some of whom were trafficked to other influential people, from 1999 to 2002.

During the tense court session, all three judges sounded receptive to the arguments for unsealing, which faced resistance only from Maxwell's attorneys.

alexander acosta labor o

The Epstein saga jumped back into the headlines last month when a federal judge in Florida ruled that federal prosecutors, including then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta, violated the rights of victims by hiding plans to foreclose a federal prosecution of Epstein in exchange for his guilty pleas to prostitution-related offenses in a state court.

Acosta, right, now labor secretary, has defended his handling of the case. See related story below:

Politico, Appeals court moves toward unsealing in Jeffrey Epstein-related underage sex suit, Josh Gerstein, March 11, 2019. A federal appeals court has moved to quickly unseal long-secret court filings related to financier Jeffrey Epstein's sexual contact with underage girls, but one judge is expressing some disagreement with the plan.

March 9

ny times logoNew York Times, On CBS, R. Kelly Was Trapped in the Camera Eye, James Poniewozik, March 9, 2019 (print ed.). Gayle King’s explosive r kelly twitterinterview with the R&B singer (shown on his Twitter feed), accused of preying on women and girls, pitted fire against ice cool, our critic writes.

“Is this camera on me?” R. Kelly’s line, in the midst of his 80-minute interview with CBS’s Gayle King about his charges of sexual abuse, was the opening lyric of one of the most bizarre and unhinged performances of the R&B singer’s career.

He shrieked into the camera: “You’re killing me, man!” He smacked his fist into his palm. He beat his chest. He paced gayle king 2010 time 100 shankbone wand stabbed the air and seemed as if he might lose physical control. (Ms. King (shown in a file photo) later said that she didn’t worry that the singer would harm her, but she thought that “I might get accidentally clobbered.”)

The obvious question, after Mr. Kelly’s Tuesday meltdown replayed for days, finally becoming a CBS prime time special Friday night, was: Why would he agree to this? How could he imagine this might possibly help him?

Earlier this year, the Lifetime docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly,” which laid out an extensive case that Mr. Kelly preyed upon women and underage girls, showed how he used the intimate investment of fandom to escape consequences. (Mr. Kelly has denied all sexual abuse allegations.)

But a network-TV interview while you’re facing criminal charges is not the same as performing a tribute ballad at Whitney Houston’s funeral. (Last month in Chicago Mr. Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse; he has pleaded not guilty.)

The raging, self-pitying R. Kelly on this stage only recalled the threatening, controlling R. Kelly described in “Surviving,” which CBS’s special drew heavily on (including an interview with its producer Dream Hampton).

March 8

Spas, Sports, Massages and Trumps

Daily Mail, Founder of massage parlor where Robert Kraft was arrested is a Trump donor, frequent Mar-a-Lago partygoer and White House djt li yang super bowlguest who was seen watching the Patriots win the Super Bowl with the president, Chris Spargo, March 8, 2019. The Chinese entrepreneur who founded Orchids of Asia Day Spa & Massage was seen rooting for the New England Patriots at Mar-a-Lago alongside President Donald Trump early last month.

Li Yang (at left in photo via Facebook) shared a photo of herself and a friend sitting directly behind President Trump at the event, which took place just two weeks before Patriots owner Robert Kraft would matt gaetz li yangbe charged with two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution for incidents that allegedly transpired at that spa.

She is shown above left with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a "family values" hard-right Trump supporter representing Florida's Panhandle, and below with the President's sons Eric (at left) and Donald Jr. in other photos via Facebook. 

Kraft is accused of visiting the spa on two consecutive days in January, with a worker performing a manual sex act on the billionaire during his first appointment while another worker performed an oral sex act during his second sojourn.

eric trump li yang facebookHe is planning to fight those charges and denies claims he was the recipient of any sexual act at the spa, despite police claiming there is video evidence in the case.

Kraft is one of Trump's closest friends, while Yang is one with deep pockets. Records obtained by DailyMail.com show donald trump jr li yang facebookthat she donated $8,100 to the Trump Victory Fund in 2018, listing her occupation on federal election forms as Chairman of the Women's Charity Foundation

She is also a Trump Republican, having been an inactive voter with no declared political party for the decade before the current president ran for office.

Miami Herald, Trump cheered Patriots to Super Bowl victory with founder of spa where Kraft was busted, Sarah Blaskey, Nicholas Nehamas, miami herald logoand Caitlin Ostroff, March 8, 2019. Li Yang, 45, posed with Donald Trump during the Super Bowl while rooting for the Patriots. Two weeks later, authorities would charge the team owner, Robert Kraft, with soliciting prostitution at a spa in Jupiter that Yang had founded.

Seated at a round table littered with party favors and the paper-cutout footballs that have become tradition at his annual Super Bowl Watch Party, President Donald Trump cheered the New England Patriots and his longtime friend, team owner Robert Kraft (shown in a file photo), to victory robert kraft twitterover the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 3.

Sometime during the party at Trump’s West Palm Beach country club, the president turned in his chair to look over his right shoulder, smiling for a photo with two women at a table behind him.

The woman who snapped the blurry Super Bowl selfie with the president was Li Yang, 45, a self-made entrepreneur from China who started a chain of Asian day spas in South Florida. Over the years, these establishments — many of which operate under the name Tokyo Day Spas — have gained a reputation for offering sexual services.

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: Billionaires’ solicitation of H-B2 visa sex slaves tip of huge EB-5 visa swindle, Wayne Madsen, March 4, 2019 (subscription required, excerpted with permission).

Jupiter, Florida -- Across U.S. Highway 1 from the now-closed Orchids of Asia “Day Spa,” which provided owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft, as well as John Childs, a hedge fund owner and major GOP donor, and John Havens, a former president of Citigroup, with illegal prostitution services, is ground zero for a swindle and scandal involving EB-5 visas to wealthy Chinese investors.

President Donald Trump officialThe EB-5 visa is formally known as an “investment visa.” Foreign citizens who invest a minimum of $500,000 in the United States that create ten U.S. jobs per investor, qualify for an EB-5 visa. The EB-5 is a fast track program for obtaining a “Green Card,” which is permanent residency in the United States.

Shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Securities and Exchange Commission investigators began closely examining the activities of Jared Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, who was touting her brother’s access to President Trump to convince Chinese business people in Beijing to invest $500,000 each in a Kushner-owned residential complex in New Jersey.

Ms. Meyer, who has assumed control of Kushner Companies from her brother Jared, guaranteed the investors a fast-track to permanent residency and probable citizenship through the EB-5 visa investments in the Kushner property at One Journal Square in Jersey City on the Hudson River, just opposite lower Manhattan.

March 7

ny times logoNew York Times, Senator Martha McSally Says Superior Officer in the Air Force Raped Her, Emily Cochrane and Jennifer Steinhauer, March 7, 2019 (print ed.). She paused to maintain her composure as she spoke. She recalled the attacks, and how her reports of them were handled. The despair, she said, almost made her leave the military.

Senator Martha McSally, Republican of Arizona and the first woman in the Air Force to fly in combat, told a hushed Senate hearing room on Wednesday that she had been raped by a superior officer, one of multiple times she was sexually assaulted while she served her country.

martha mcsally o“I thought I was strong, but felt powerless,” Ms. McSally (left) said during a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing on sexual assault in the military. “The perpetrators abused their position of power in profound ways.”

In sharing her experience — pride in her historic military service, betrayal over the assault and determination to help find a solution — the junior senator from Arizona offered one of the most powerful testimonies to date in the growing and heated debate on Capitol Hill over how to adjudicate claims of sexual assault in the military.

Ms. McSally, a former member of the House who lost an Arizona Senate race last year and then was appointed to the seat once held by Senator John McCain, did not offer any details about the assaults or name the senior officer.

A Pentagon report for fiscal year 2017, the most recent available, found that the Defense Department received 6,769 reports of sexual assault involving service members as either victims or subjects of criminal investigation, which was nearly a 10 percent increase over the 6,172 reports made the previous year. But according to figures gathered in 2016, annual rates of sexual assault over the past decade have decreased by half for active-duty women and by two-thirds for active-duty men.

March 6 jeffrey epstein alan dershowitz

Jeffrey Epsein, left, a wealthy Harvard donor and convicted serial sexual abuser of underage girls, speaks with his friend and counsel Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, as shown in a file photo. A hearing is scheduled in New York City Wednesday on whether authorities must release records (File photo by Rick Friedman). 

Daily Beast, Jeffrey Epstein, Alan Dershowitz, and Pals Accused of Sex-Trafficking Ring, Kate Briquelet, March 7, 2019. A lawyer for one of daily beast logoEpstein’s victims claims he was part of sex-trafficking ring with Dershowitz and others—but the Harvard attorney says sealed documents will prove his innocence.

Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz was accused of involvement in billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking ring by an attorney for one of Epstein’s victims, who claimed in federal court on Wednesday that the release of sealed documents will prove it.

Paul Cassell, who represents Virginia Roberts Giuffre, told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that the testimony of other witnesses will show Dershowitz’s involvement in the alleged trafficking of “his close friend Jeffrey Epstein.”

“When all the records come out it will show that Epstein and [Epstein’s alleged madam Ghislaine] Maxwell were trafficking girls to the benefit of his friends, including Mr. Dershowitz,” Cassell said in oral arguments for a case filed by the Miami Herald to unseal a collection of court documents relating to Giuffre’s now settled lawsuit against Maxwell.

The hearing came nearly two weeks after a Florida judge ruled federal prosecutors violated the law when they inked a non-prosecution deal with Epstein in 2007—and concealed that agreement from more than 30 of Epstein’s victims. The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the secret deal, which was handled by Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, who was U.S. Attorney in Miami at the time.

Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, was one member of Epstein’s legal team that helped broker the unusual non-prosecution agreement.

For his part, Dershowitz and his lawyers are also requesting the court release the trove of documents to the public—but they say it’s in order to prove his innocence.

virginia robertsOutside the courtroom, Dershowitz railed against Giuffre (right) and her attorneys, accusing them of fabricating Giuffre’s claims that Epstein forced her to have sex with Dershowitz. He alluded to emails between Giuffre and a friend that he claims will reveal Giuffre made up the claims against Dershowitz at the behest of her lawyers.

“I’ve denied ever meeting her or even knowing who she was,” Dershowitz said.

Moments later, he added of Giuffre, “She is hurting the #MeToo movement terribly. This was all about money and undercuts the many people who are victimized.”

perversion of justice miami herald logoA recent Miami Herald investigation ("Perversion of Justice") identified more than 80 women who claim they were molested by Epstein via a “sex pyramid scheme” from 2001 to 2006, at his Palm Beach mansion and elsewhere, though the number of victims is likely in the hundreds. Indeed, Epstein’s former butler kept a black book containing the names of hundreds of girls and young women that the billionaire recruited for sex and massages, the Herald reported.

March 3

#MeToo / Michael Jackson Film
michael jackson wade robson leaving neverland hbo

The late pop star Michael Jackson with a young fan, Wade Robson, in a scene from the HBO "Leaving Neverland" premiering March 3.

ny times logoNew York Times, HBO Film Revives Lurid Claims, Imperiling Thriving Michael Jackson Estate, Ben Sisario, March 3, 2019. Michael Jackson’s damaged reputation began to recover the day he died. The lurid accusations of child molestation that had dogged him for years fell to the background as fans around the world celebrated the entertainer who had gone from pop prodigy to global superstar over a four-decade career. Flash mobs from Stockholm to the Philippines re-enacted his video scenes, and his music sales again broke chart records.

Now, nearly 10 years after his death, the dark side of Mr. Jackson’s legend has returned through a documentary that rocked the Sundance Film Festival and is being championed by Oprah Winfrey. In addition to delivering a hit to his mended reputation, the film poses a significant risk to the Jackson estate, which has engineered a thriving posthumous career, including a Broadway-bound jukebox musical.

The four-hour documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” to be broadcast on HBO in two parts on Sunday and Monday, focuses on the wrenching testimony of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who say Mr. Jackson abused them for years, starting when they were young boys. While the accusations are not new, their revival in the #MeToo era, with its momentum of accountability for figures like R. Kelly, Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, gives them new meaning.

The estate has already begun its war on “Leaving Neverland.” It issued a series of fiery statements around the time of the film’s Sundance debut in January and has filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court for arbitration, seeking $100 million in damages from HBO.

In Leaving Neverland, Mr. Robson, 36, and Mr. Safechuck, 41, tell parallel stories of being drawn into Mr. Jackson’s inner circle as boys. Mr. Robson met Mr. Jackson on tour in Australia at age 5 and moved to the United States two years later to be near his idol. Mr. Safechuck was 8 when he was cast in a Pepsi commercial and met Mr. Jackson.

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘You Have to Pay With Your Body’: Sexual Violence on the Border, Manny Fernandez, March 3, 2019. One of the most ubiquitous and devastating hazards for migrant women along the southwest border is sexual assault. The Times found more than 100 reports of sexual assault along the border in the past two decades, a number that likely only skims the surface.

It was dark in the stash house where they kept her, the windows covered so no one could see inside. At first, the smugglers had her cook for the other migrants who had recently crossed illegally into the United States. Then they took her to a room upstairs, locked the door and began taking turns with her.

It was the summer of 2014, and Melvin, a 36-year-old mother of three, had just completed the journey from her native Guatemala, crossing the Rio Grande on a raft before being led to the house in the Texas border city of McAllen.

For weeks in that locked room, the men she had paid to get her safely to the United States drugged her with pills and cocaine, refusing to let her out even to bathe. “I think that since they put me in that room, they killed me,” she said. “They raped us so many times they didn’t see us as human beings anymore.”

March 4

Medium, Don’t Stop Talking About the Trump Sex Assault Allegations, Jessica Valenti, March 4, 2019. The President took a verbal lashing last week, but some of his past actions were missing. Last week, Michael Cohen laid bare the president’s many failings in front of Congress. The former lawyer called Donald Trump a racist, claimed that then-businessman would ask Cohen to cheat small-business owners, pay people off, and lie for his benefit.

Missing from Cohen’s testimony, however —  and from the national conversation lately  —  is his well-documented history of treating women poorly.

The president of the United States has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by nearly two dozen women. Jill Harth, for example, claims Trump tried to rape her in 1997. Kristin Anderson says Trump reached under her skirt, out of nowhere, to touch her vagina in the 1990s. Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana, accused him of rape during a divorce deposition. (She later said she wasn’t raped “in the criminal sense,” but that “as a woman, I felt violated.”) And Jessica Leeds says Trump groped her on a plane. Trump responded by claiming Leeds was too unattractive to assault. Just days ago, yet another woman, Alva Johnson, came forward to claim that Trump forcibly kissed her — a story, like so many before it, that has seemingly faded into the ether overnight.

When it comes to women’s issues, and especially sexual assault, cultural memory and outrage wane quickly.

This memory gap tells a very different story about women’s progress than the one we see in mainstream culture. Here we are, in a moment when feminism is more popular than ever, when more women are running for office (and winning) than ever, and women-led and women-created films and television dominate the zeitgeist.

And yet, even if another dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct in the lead up to the 2020 election, I have a hard time believing it will result in anything more than defeated sighs.

In part, it’s a predictable broken line of progress: For however many men have been held accountable by the era of #MeToo, just as many accused men have cruised to lucrative exit deals, continued career success  —  and one even landed on the Supreme Court.

In a perfect world, two dozen women accusing the president of sexual wrongdoing would be a scandal that dominated the front page every day. But as is often the case — especially when there’s a long list of awful political wrongs that command our attention  —  women come last.

I’d like to believe that as much sexism plays a role, so does the fact that many on the left are dealing with an incredible amount of overwhelm. And that we don’t realize just how powerful these women’s stories could be if we talked about them over and over, wrote about them consistently, and didn’t let Trump off so easy with these allegations.

With so many Democratic women running, my hope is that these candidates will give voice to the stories of women who have been brave enough to come forward again and again. That they will point out that a man who says you can “grab ‘em by the pussy” likely has no problem doing just that.

If not for votes or election strategy, simply because this matters. And because it’s too soon to move on.

March 2

Alleged U.S. Sex Traffickers

jeffrey epstein alan dershowitz

Jeffrey Epsein, left, a wealthy Harvard donor and convicted serial sexual abuser of underage girls, speaks with his friend and counsel Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, as shown in a file photo. A hearing is scheduled in New York City Wednesday on whether authorities must release records (File photo by Rick Friedman). 

Miami Herald, Press access may be curbed at hearing on Epstein sex abuse, Julie K. Brown, March 2, 2019 (print ed.). A court hearing on miami herald logowhether to unseal sensitive documents involving the alleged sex trafficking of underage girls by Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein — and the possible involvement of his influential friends — will play out in a New York City courtroom next week.

But it may happen behind closed doors, with the news media and public barred — at least in part.

An attorney for lawyer Alan Dershowitz wrote a letter to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday, asking whether the media should be excluded from the proceeding because his oral arguments on behalf of his client could contain sensitive information that has been under seal.

republican elephant logoThe appeals court had not responded to his concern as of Friday, but if the hearing is closed during his lawyer’s argument, it would represent the latest in a long history of successful efforts to keep details of Epstein’s sex crimes sealed.

Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard, constitutional law expert and criminal defense attorney, represented Epstein, who in 2008 received what many consider an unusually light sentence for sexually abusing dozens of girls at his Palm Beach mansion.

perversion of justice miami herald logoTwo women — one of whom was underage — have said Epstein and his partner, British socialite and environmentalist Ghislaine Maxwell, directed them to have sex with Dershowitz, 80, and other wealthy, powerful men. Dershowitz and Maxwell have denied the claims.

Oral arguments are scheduled Wednesday to hear an appeal by the Miami Herald and other parties seeking to unseal a 2015 court case involving Epstein and Maxwell. The Herald, as part of an ongoing investigation into Epstein’s case, hopes to shed more light on the scope of Epstein’s crimes, who was involved and whether there was any undue influence that tainted the criminal justice process.

A legal brief supporting the Herald’s appeal was filed in December by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 32 other media companies, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Dow Jones, Fox News, Gannett, Politico, Reveal Center for Investigative Reporting and Tribune Publishing Co.

virginia robertsThe case — which was settled in 2017 — involved Virginia Roberts Giuffre (right), who sued Maxwell in federal court in the Southern District of New York in 2015. Giuffre had asserted that Maxwell and Epstein trafficked her and other underage girls, often at sex parties that Epstein hosted at his homes in New York, New Mexico, Palm Beach and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Maxwell called her a liar. Giuffre sued for defamation.

As the case was litigated, the judge allowed a vast trove of documents, including testimony by witnesses, to be sealed. Dershowitz, having been publicly implicated in Epstein’s crimes by Giuffre, tried unsuccessfully to get the judge to unseal a select number of documents that he says will exonerate him. Blogger Michael Cernovich also filed a motion to release a portion of the sealed documents.

The judge denied their motions in 2016, as the case was still ongoing, saying release of the documents could taint a potential jury pool.

After the case was settled, the Herald filed a more extensive motion, arguing that with the case now closed, all the documents should be made public. The motion, filed in April 2018, came as the Herald was working on an investigative series, Perversion of Justice, which detailed how Epstein and his lawyers manipulated federal prosecutors to obtain one of the most lenient sentences for a child sex offender in history.

Justice Integrity Project editor's note: The project has reported extensively on the Roberts and related Epstein cases, with a photo and caption excerpted below:

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Roberts claimed that Epstein farmed her out to other men, including Prince Andrew of the British royal family and French modeling scout Jean Luc Brunel.

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

Roberts alleged that the Ghislaine Maxwell was girlfriend of the never-married Epstein's who helped him both maintain contacts to top levels of society, recruited teenage sex consorts, and sometimes participated in the sex abuse, including of Roberts.

Maxwell, Epstein, Andrew, and Dershowitz are among those who have denied the major allegations by Roberts. Epstein, in his first formal remarks on the revived scandal, condemned the “media frenzy” surrounding the case. He wrote that he and his associates “have been the subject of the most outlandish and offensive attacks, allegations, and plain inventions.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Behind Illicit Massage Parlors Lies a Vast Crime Network, Nicholas Kulish, Frances Robles and Patricia Mazzei, March 2, 2019. It has exploded into a $3 billion-a-year sex industry that ensnares tens of thousands of mostly foreign women in a form of modern indentured servitude. Many women stay on as prostitutes in order to pay debts to smugglers, spa owners and lawyers.

She was 49, a recent immigrant and deeply in debt to a loan shark back home in China when she answered an employment ad three years ago that promised thousands of dollars a month, but offered no job description. She realized too late that she had been tricked into working at a massage parlor in Flushing, Queens, where besides kneading backs, she was expected to sexually service up to a dozen men a day.

In strip malls across the country, neon signs and brightly colored placards promise hot stones, acupuncture and shiatsu with photos of women or couples receiving relaxing shoulder rubs. But a traditionally Asian form of therapeutic relaxation with deep roots in big-city Chinatowns has spun off a different kind of massage parlor that has little to do with traditional remedies. It has exploded into a $3 billion-a-year sex industry that relies on pervasive secrecy, close-knit ownership rings and tens of thousands of mostly foreign women ensnared in a form of modern indentured servitude.

robert kraft twitterThe recent arrest warrant filed against Robert K. Kraft (shown in a file photo), owner of the New England Patriots — and the solicitation charges filed against nearly 300 men in multiple jurisdictions as part of the same case — riveted national attention to a stretch of Highway 1 along Florida’s Treasure Coast dotted with strip malls, gas stations and sapphire ocean views. Across the region, parlors were empty and many frequent clients were phoning their lawyers, wondering if more warrants were going to drop.

Law enforcement officials said there were an estimated 9,000 illicit massage parlors across the country, from Orlando to Los Angeles.

The epicenter of this national underground is the bustling Chinatown in Flushing, in the New York City borough of Queens. Women — typically Chinese, but also Korean, Thai and East European — arrive at Kennedy International Airport, learn the trade and are sent out to places like Virginia, Iowa, Texas and Florida. Women are recruited locally through ads in Chinese-language newspapers or over the social network WeChat.

 

February, 2019

Feb. 28

ny times logoNew York Times, Ryan Adams Tour Is Canceled Weeks After Allegations Emerge, Alex Marshall, March 1, 2019.  Ryan Adams’s planned ryan adams rolling stonetour of Britain and Ireland, due to start March 30 in Dublin, has been canceled, two weeks after allegations of sexual misconduct against the singer-songwriter emerged.

On Friday, SJM Concerts, the tour’s promoter, issued a statement saying the tour had been canceled and that full refunds would be issued to ticket holders by Monday.

On Feb. 13, The New York Times reported allegations that Mr. Adams, right, had repeatedly manipulated and harassed women in the music industry, offering to jump-start their careers only to pursue them sexually and in some cases retaliate if they spurned him.

The F.B.I. began an investigation into one of the allegations: That Mr. Adams exchanged sexually explicit images with an underage teenager.

ny times logoNew York Times, Thousands of Immigrant Children Said They Were Sexually Abused in U.S. Detention Centers, Report Says, Matthew Haag, Feb. 27, 2019. A Justice Department report, released by Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida, said that there were 4,500 complaints in four years about the sexual harassment and abuse of immigrant children in United States custody.

The federal government received more than 4,500 complaints in four years about the sexual abuse of immigrant children who were being held at government-funded detention facilities, including an increase in complaints while the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the border was in place, the Justice Department revealed this week.

The records, which involve children who had entered the country alone or had been separated from their parents, detailed allegations that adult staff members had harassed and assaulted children, including fondling and kissing minors, watching them as they showered, and raping them. They also included cases of suspected abuse of children by other minors.

From October 2014 to July 2018, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a part of the Health and Human Services Department that cares for so-called unaccompanied minors, received a total of 4,556 allegations of sexual abuse or sexual harassment, 1,303 of which were referred to the Justice Department. Of those 1,303 cases deemed the most serious, 178 were accusations that adult staff members had sexually assaulted immigrant children, while the rest were allegations of minors assaulting other minors, the report said.

Feb. 26

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, The Sexual Assault Crisis Facing Native American Women, Elyse Notarianni, Feb. 26, 2019. In the US, one in six women will become a victim of sexual assault in her lifetime. For women in Native American communities, that likelihood doubles.

When she was a senior in high school, Kerry Hawk Lessard invited some friends to her home, like many seniors do. They drank all night. Before everyone left, one of the men unlocked the back door and taped the lock open. Later that night he returned and sexually assaulted her. She was 19 years old.

Axios, Thousands of migrant youth allegedly suffered sexual abuse in U.S. custody, Caitlin Owens, Stef W. Kight, Harry Stevens, Feb. 26, 2019. Thousands of allegations of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors (UAC) in the custody of the U.S. government have been reported over the past 4 years, according to Department of Health and Human Services documents given to Axios by Rep. Ted Deutch's office.

Allegations against staff members reported to the DOJ included everything from rumors of relationships with UACs to showing pornographic videos to minors to forcibly touching minors’ genitals.

ted deutch fl dem oBy the numbers: From October 2014 to July 2018, the HHS' Office of Refugee Resettlement received 4,556 complaints, and the Department of Justice received 1,303 complaints. This includes 178 allegations of sexual abuse by adult staff.

What they're saying: Deutch (D-FL) said these documents were included in HHS' response to a House Judiciary Committee request for information made in January.

"This behavior — it's despicable, it's disgusting, and this is just the start of questions that HHS is going to have to answer about how they handle these and what's happening in these facilities," Deutch told Axios.

CNN, HHS docs show thousands of alleged incidents of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors in custody, Sophie Tatum, Feb. 26, 2019. The Department of Health and Human Services received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors from 2014-2018, according to internal agency documents released Tuesday by Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch.

alex azar o cropped CustomIn addition, 1,303 complaints were reported to the Justice Department during that same time frame, according to the documents. HHS Secretary Alex Azar is shown at left in an official photo. A chart showed that most of the abuses occurred during the Trump Administration.

Deutch addressed the documents during a high-profile House hearing Tuesday on the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that resulted in thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents.

hhs seal CustomHe said that the documents "demonstrate over the past three years, there have been 154 staff on unaccompanied minor, let me repeat that, staff on unaccompanied minor allegations of sexual assault."

"This works out on average to one sexual assault by HHS staff on unaccompanied minor per week," he added. Axios first reported the documents. "I am deeply concerned with documents that have been turned over by HHS that record a high number of sexual assaults on unaccompanied children in the custody of the Office of Refugee and Resettlement," Deutch said. "Together, these documents detail an environment of systemic sexual assaults by staff on unaccompanied children."

Feb. 25

washington post logoWashington Post, Former campaign staffer alleges in lawsuit that Trump kissed her without her consent. The White House denies the charge, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites​, Feb. 25, 2019. In interviews with The Post, and in the lawsuit, Alva Johnson said Donald Trump grabbed her hand and leaned in to kiss her on the lips as he exited an RV outside the rally in Tampa on Aug. 24, 2016. Johnson said she turned her head and the unwanted kiss landed on the side of her mouth, which she called “super-creepy and inappropriate.”

While more than a dozen other women have publicly accused Trump of touching them in some inappropriate way, Johnson is the only accuser to come forward since he took office and the only one to allege unwanted contact during the campaign. Trump faces a defamation lawsuit in New York brought by Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” reality TV contestant, who claims he forcibly kissed and groped her in 2007.

She met Trump at a November 2015 rally in Birmingham, Ala., where Johnson said the candidate looked her up and down. “Oh, beautiful, beautiful, fantastic,” he said, according to the lawsuit.

She said she looked past the comment and, two months later, took a job as the campaign’s director of outreach and coalitions in Alabama. Johnson said she thought she could put her background in human resources and event planning to use on a political campaign.

wayne madsenSex Trafficking Crackdown

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: More VIP heads to roll in Chinese massage parlor sting, Wayne Madsen (right), Feb. 25, 2019 (Subscription required; excerpted with permission).  Is the massage parlor prostitution ring a tale of "Spas and Spies?"

Expect more VIP heads to roll in Florida's statewide crackdown on a chain of "day spas" that provided their male clientele with sexual gratification instead of body massages.

Bloomberg, John Childs Retires From Namesake Firm in Wake of Prostitution Sting, Hema Parmar, Feb. 25, 2019.  John Childs, the buyout veteran who co-founded J.W. Childs Associates, retired just days after being charged with soliciting prostitution. Childs, who started the private-equity firm in 1995, stepped down as chairman, Boston-based J.W. Childs said in a statement Monday. The firm has invested about $3.7 billion of equity capital in more than 50 businesses, according to its website.

john childsChilds (right), 77, isn’t currently active in the management of the firm, according to the statement. The firm will continue to be led by Adam Suttin, managing partner, and partners David Fiorentino, Jeff Teschke and Bill Watts.

Childs was one of 165 people charged by the Vero Beach Police Department in Florida as part of a multijurisdiction criminal investigation into massage parlors in Florida. A probe by the Jupiter Police Department ensnared New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who could face as long as a year in jail, and former Citigroup Inc. executive John Havens.

Childs couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. But in a telephone interview on Friday, he said he was innocent and hadn’t been contacted by the republican elephant logopolice department about the charge. “The accusation of solicitation of prostitution is totally false,” he said. “I have retained a lawyer.”

Childs has owned a home in Vero Beach for more than a decade, according to public records. Related story: Washington Post, Here’s who pays the bills for Ted Cruz’s crusade, Jia Lynn Yang, Oct. 11, 2013. 

ny times logoNew York Times, Robert Kraft Facing First Degree Misdemeanors in Prostitution Case, Ken Belson, Victor Mather and Patricia Mazzei, Feb. 25, 2019. New England Patriots owner Robert K. Kraft has been charged as part of a prostitution sting in Florida. Three weeks and a day after he watched his team win its sixth Super Bowl championship, Robert K. Kraft was formally charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution.

robert kraft twitterMr. Kraft (shown in a file photo), who lives in Massachusetts but has owned property in Palm Beach, Fla., for a number of years, was one of 25 men caught in a sting operation at a spa called Orchids of Asia, a small storefront business in a strip mall in Jupiter, Fla.

On Friday, Jupiter police filed two second-degree charges against Mr. Kraft, but State Attorney Dave Aronberg of Palm Beach County increased the severity of the charges to two first-degree misdemeanors. If convicted, Mr. Kraft could face up to a year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service, Mr. Aronberg said. He added that it was unlikely a first-time offender would spend time in jail.

“Human trafficking is evil in our midst,” Mr. Aronberg said. “It is fueled on the demand side.”

The charges are the latest crisis for the Patriots and Mr. Kraft, who is one of the N.F.L.’s most powerful owners, a trustee emeritus and longtime benefactor of Columbia University and a friend of President Trump’s. Mr. Aronberg made it clear that Mr. Kraft would not receive special treatment because of his prominence.

 Feb. 24

pope francis uncropped 3 13ny times logoNew York Times, Pope Francis Calls for ‘All-Out Battle’ to Fight Scourge of Sexual Abuse, Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias, Feb. 24, 2019. Pope Francis ended a landmark Vatican meeting on clerical sexual abuse with an appeal “for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors,” which he compared to human sacrifice, but his speech did not offer concrete policy remedies demanded by many of the faithful.

In the speech at the end of a Mass in the Apostolic Palace’s frescoed Sala Reggia hall, Francis (shown at right in a file photo) argued that “even a single case of abuse” in the Roman Catholic Church — which he said was the work of the devil — must be met “with the utmost seriousness.” He said that eradicating the scourge required more than legal processes and “disciplinary measures.”

Francis argued that more was required than legal processes and “disciplinary measures” from the Roman Catholic Church.
But his speech ending a landmark meeting offered no policy remedies.

  ny times logoNew York Times, 'The Monsters Are the Men’: Inside a Thriving Sex Trafficking Trade in Florida, Patricia Mazzei, Feb. 24, 2019 (print edition). Beyond the link to Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner charged with soliciting sex, lies the story of women forced to work in alarming conditions. Lured from China by false promises of new lives, they found themselves trapped in the back rooms of strip-mall brothels, investigators said.

Something was amiss at a massage parlor near one of the wealthiest barrier islands in Florida.

First, a health inspector spotted several suitcases. Then she noticed an unusual stash of clothing, food and bedding. A young woman who was supposed to be a massage therapist spoke little English and seemed unusually nervous.

The inspector reported her findings to police. They would eventually learn that her suspicions were right: The women were not just employees: They were living in the day spa, robert kraft twittersleeping on massage tables and cooking meals on hot plates in the back. Some of them had had their passports confiscated.

The inspector’s suspicions prompted a sprawling investigation across four Florida counties and two states — Florida and New York — over nearly eight months, resulting in the disruption of what authorities say was a multimillion-dollar human-trafficking and prostitution operation.

The sweep led to criminal charges last week against several rich, prominent men, including Robert K. Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots (shown in a file photo); John Havens, former president and chief operating officer of Citigroup; and John Childs, founder of the private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates.

Feb. 22

Epstein / Acosta / Trump Scandal

alexander acosta o cropped Custom


President Trump's Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, now under fire for his sweetheart plea deal in 2007 for the billionaire accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Miami Herald, Federal prosecutors broke law in Jeffrey Epstein case, judge rules, Julie K. Brown, Feb. 22, 2019 (print edition). A judge ruled Thursday that federal prosecutors — kenneth marra open jurist croppedamong them, U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta — broke federal law when they signed a plea agreement with a wealthy, politically connected sex trafficker and concealed it from more than 30 of his underage victims.

jeffrey epstein at harvard universityU.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra (right), in a 33-page opinion, said that the evidence he reviewed showed that Jeffrey Epstein (right) had been operating an international sex operation in which he and others recruited underage girls — not only in Florida — but from overseas, in violation of federal law.

“Epstein used paid employees to find and bring minor girls to him.,’’ wrote Marra, who is based in Palm Beach County. “Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minors not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others.’’

Instead of prosecuting Epstein under federal sex trafficking laws, Acosta (right), then the U.S. attorney in Miami, helped negotiate a non-prosecution agreement that gave Epstein and his co-conspirators immunity from federal prosecution. Epstein, who lived in a Palm Beach mansion, was allowed to quietly plead guilty in state court to two prostitution charges and served just 13 months in the county jail. His accomplices, some of whom have never been identified, were never charged.

Justice Integrity Project Editor's Notes: President George W. Bush nominated Marra to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Jan. 23, 2002. Marra was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 82-0. He assumed senior status on Aug. 1, 2017.

The Justice Integrity Project and the Wayne Madsen Report reported extensively on how Acosta's actions helped protect such accused fellow pursuers of underage girls as his friend Donald Trump, who has been accused in withdrawn lawsuits of together raping two underage girls in New York City. Senate and House investigators have threatened to demand answers from Acosta in separate oversight hearings. See extensive coverage on our updated subsite: #MeToo News, which repors on allegations of such abuses and related crimes including blackmail and other threats.

Politico, White House 'looking into' Alexander Acosta's prosecution in billionaire pedophile case, Rebecca Morin, Feb. 22, 2019. The White House is "looking into" a decade-old Florida case in which Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, then a federal prosecutor, potentially violated the law by keeping underage female victims of billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein in the dark about his plea deal to avoid federal prosecution.

alexander acosta"We’re looking into the matter, I’m not aware of any changes on that front," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters when asked whether President Donald Trump's confidence in Acosta (shown at left) has changed. "My understanding is that’s a very complicated case ... but that they made the best possible decision and deal they could have gotten at that time."

In addition, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog for attorney misconduct, the Office of Professional Responsibility, earlier this month announced it had opened an investigation into the government's conduct in the case.

Despite key details of the case being known when Acosta was confirmed as labor secretary, an extensive report by the Miami Herald with new interviews with Epstein's victims brought fresh attention to the case and prompted Democratic lawmakers to demand an investigation.

More On Acosta/Epstein/Trump

The Hill, Dems call on Trump to fire Acosta, Juliegrace Brufke, Feb. 22, 2019. Three House Democrats are collecting signatures for a letter calling on President Trump to demand the resignation of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. The push comes a day after a federal judge ruled that Acosta and other federal prosecutors acted illegally in making a plea deal with accused child sexual abuser and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein before speaking with his victims.

alexander acosta“Despite abundant evidence and multiple witnesses still willing to come forward, then-U.S. Attorney Acosta (left) failed to charge Epstein under federal trafficking laws, which could have put Epstein away for life,” the letter states. “Instead, he pleaded guilty to far lesser prostitution-related charges and served only 13 months in a private wing of a county jail but was able to leave 6 days a week for 12 hours at a time.”

The letter is being organized by Democratic Reps. Jackie Speier (Calif.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) and Lois Frankel (Fla.).

“This despicable unjust plea deal that was arranged by Acosta showed no respect for the suffering of the victims and credible accounts of human trafficking and was a clear abuse of power for political gain,” the lawmakers write.

The letter says Acosta’s mishandling of the situation shows he's unfit to serve in the administration, arguing he “succumbed to the pressure” from Epstein’s legal team while disregarding the law.

washington post logoWashington Post, Va. Republicans plan public hearings into sex assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Laura Vozzella, Feb. 22, 2019. Republicans plan to invite two women who say they were sexually assaulted by Fairfax to publicly testify, despite Democrats’ objections that it would turn into a “political, partisan show.”

cbs news logoCBS News, Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution, Staff report, Feb. 22, 2019. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being charged in Palm Beach County after being caught in a sex sting, according to police. Jupiter police said Friday he's being charged with the solicitation of a prostitute, CBS Miami reported. It stems from a months-long investigation into the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, where two women were arrested earlier this week, according to police. The spa was among 10 shut down in Orlando, Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast after a several-month investigation revealed women there were in "sexual servitude," according to arrest records.

robert kraft djt"We're as equally stunned as anyone else," Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said during a Friday morning news conference. Police also confirmed they have video evidence capturing the sex act.

Kraft's name is on a list of 25 people who will face charges in connection to a crackdown on human trafficking and spa sex acts. He is facing two counts, meaning police have evidence of him inside the spa on two separate occasions, CBS Miami reported.

Police said Kraft (a Mar-a-Lago member shown in a meme with his friend Donald Trump) was driven to the spa by a chauffeur. The average cost per visit for services is $59 or $79 per hour, according to police. He has four sons. His wife Myra died in 2011.

"We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity," a spokesperson for Kraft said Friday in a statement. "Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further." Kraft, 77, has owned the Patriots for 25 years. The Patriots have won six Super Bowls during that time, most recently Super Bowl LIII earlier this month in Atlanta.

 ny times logoNew York Times, R. Kelly Charged With Sexual Abuse in Chicago, Elizabeth A. Harris, Feb. 22, 2019. Chicago prosecutors charged the R&B singer with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, according to local news reports. Mr. Kelly, who has been trailed by accusations of sexual misconduct for two decades, will have his first court date on March 8.

r kelly twitterMr. Kelly (shown on his Twitter feed), who has been trailed by accusations of sexual misconduct for two decades, has been under renewed scrutiny since the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” was broadcast on Lifetime in January.

The celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti said last week that he had obtained a video showing Mr. Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl, and given it to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago. He has said that Mr. Kelly and the girl refer to her age multiple times in the video, which is more than 40 minutes long.

BuzzFeed News, The President Of The Time's Up Movement Resigned Over Allegations Of Sexual Assault Made Against Her Son, Mary Ann Georgantopoulos, Feb. 22, 2019. Lisa Borders served as the organization's first-ever president and CEO. The president of Time's Up, the legal defense fund created more than a year ago to fight systemic sexual harassment in workplaces across the country, has resigned after her son was accused of sexual assault.

Lisa Borders announced she was leaving her post on Monday after four months on the job "to address family concerns that require my singular focus." She did not provide further details at the time.

Feb. 21

Law and Crime, Fmr GOP Candidate to Plead Guilty After Allegedly Spending $1M in Donations on Strip Clubs, ‘Escort Services,’ and More, Ronn Blitzer, Feb. 21, 2019. A former Rhode Island Republican congressional candidate is facing charges of wire fraud and violating federal election law, and is expected to plead guilty. Federal prosecutors said in court documents that they reached a plea agreement with H. Russell Taub, who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016.

Feb. 18

ny times logoNew York Times, The Vatican’s Secret Rules for Priests Who Have Children, Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo, Feb. 18, 2019. Vincent Doyle, a psychotherapist in Ireland, was 28 when he learned from his mother that the Roman Catholic priest he had always known as his godfather was in truth his biological father.

The discovery led him to create a global support group to help other children of priests, like him, suffering from the internalized shame that comes with being born from church scandal. When he pressed bishops to acknowledge these children, some church leaders told him that he was the product of the rarest of transgressions.
But one archbishop finally showed him what he was looking for: a document of Vatican guidelines for how to deal with priests who father children, proof that he was hardly alone.

“Oh my God. This is the answer,” Mr. Doyle recalled having said as he held the document. He asked if he could have a copy, but the archbishop said no — it was secret.

Feb. 17

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘It Is Not a Closet. It Is a Cage.’ Gay Catholic Priests Speak Out, Elizabeth Dias and photographs by Gabriella Demczuk, Feb. 17, 2019. The crisis over sexuality in the Roman Catholic Church goes beyond abuse. It goes to the heart of the priesthood, and creates an impossible contradiction for thousands of men.

For years, church leaders have driven gay congregants away in shame and insisted that “homosexual tendencies” are “disordered.” And yet, thousands of the church’s priests are gay. The stories of gay priests are unspoken, veiled from the outside world, known only to one another, if they are known at all.

Fewer than about 10 priests in the United States have dared to come out publicly. But gay men likely make up at least 30 to 40 percent of the American Catholic clergy, according to dozens of estimates from gay priests themselves and researchers. Some priests say the number is closer to 75 percent.

Two dozen gay priests and seminarians from 13 states shared intimate details of their lives in the Catholic closet with The New York Times over the past two months. They were interviewed in their churches before Mass, from art museums on the weekend, in their apartments decorated with rainbow neon lights, and between classes at seminary. Some agreed to be photographed if their identities were concealed.

Feb. 16

ny times logoNew York Times, Pope Defrocks Theodore McCarrick, Ex-Cardinal Accused of Sexual Abuse, Elizabeth Dias and Jason Horowitz, Feb. 16, 2019. Pope Francis (shown at right in a file photo) expelled Pope FrancisTheodore E. McCarrick (below at left), a former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, from the priesthood, after an expedited canonical process that found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians over decades. It appears to be the first such penalty for a U.S. cardinal or bishop.

theodore mccarrickIt appears to be the first time that a cardinal or bishop in the United States has been defrocked, or laicized, from the Roman Catholic Church, and the first time any cardinal has been laicized for sexual abuse. Laicization, which strips a person of all priestly identity, also revokes church-sponsored resources like housing and financial benefits.

While the Vatican has laicized hundreds of priests for sexual abuse of minors, few of the church’s leaders have faced severe discipline. The move to defrock Mr. McCarrick is “almost revolutionary,” said Kurt Martens, a professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America.

Feb. 15

ny times logoWashington Post, Mel Watt attempted to ‘coerce’ relationship with employee while FHFA director, investigation finds, Renae Merle, Feb. 15, 2019. Former congressman Mel Watt misused his position as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency by attempting to “coerce or induce” a relationship with a female employee seeking a promotion, according to a previously unreleased inspector general’s report.

The inspector general’s investigation was completed in late November and sent to the White House, but President Trump took no action against Watt. He retired at the end of his term in January and Trump has nominated a replacement. The results of the IG investigation, released to The Washington Post after a Freedom of Information Act request, have not been previously disclosed.

Watt implied he could use his position as head of a powerful financial regulator to help Simone Grimes obtain an executive position, the report found. He was also not “candid” with investigators and attempted to explain away his conversations with Grimes, some of which were recorded, as jokes or part of an attempt to mentor her, according to the report.

Feb. 13

VA, NJ Bishops List Accused Pedophiles

washington post logoWashington Post, Catholic bishops in Va. release names of 58 priests they say were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Feb. 13, 2019. Since a new Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded last year, dioceses around the country have released lists. Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses on Wednesday released lists of clergy who officials say were deemed “credibly accused” of sexually abusing youth, the latest in a slew of U.S. dioceses to make public such names amid a national crisis over clerical abuse and coverups.

The Diocese of Arlington, which covers the northeastern corner of Virginia, released a list of 16 names. It said the list was the product of two former FBI agents contracted by the diocese and given access to clergy files and information dating to its founding in 1974. It was not immediately clear whether any of the names of the accused were not previously known to Catholics of the diocese.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said in a letter that he ordered the list be released to help “victims and survivors of clergy abuse to find further healing and consolation.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Roman Catholic bishops in New Jersey named almost 200 priests who were accused of sexually abusing children, Rick Rojas, Feb. 14, 2019.

washington post logoWashington Post, Woman who says Fairfax sexually assaulted her to meet with law enforcement officials, Fenit Nirappil, Jenna Portnoy and Laura Vozzella​, Feb. 13, 2019.  Vanessa Tyson accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of assault during the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The statute of limitations for sexual assault in Massachusetts is 15 years

Feb. 11

ny times logooscar arias sanchez croppedNew York Times, A High-Profile #MeToo Case in Costa Rica Shows the Hurdles to Being Heard, Elisabeth Malkin and Frances Robles, Feb. 10, 2019. A former Miss Costa Rica says Óscar Arias Sánchez, a former president and Nobel laureate, attacked her. Telling her story was hard. Finding a lawyer was harder. The case of Mr. Arias, who faces accusations from at least nine women, is emerging as the most significant of the #MeToo era in Latin America.

Feb. 8

Support For Sex Crime Accuser

ny times logoNew York Times, Vanessa Tyson Draws Support for Assault Allegation Against Justin Fairfax, Stephanie Saul and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Feb. 8, 2019. Last fall, after Vanessa C. Tyson began a prestigious fellowship at Stanford, she told a gathering of colleagues in a behavioral sciences program that she had been sexually assaulted years earlier, citing vanessa tyson scripps college via appersonal experience to illustrate a larger point involving sexual violence.

Vanessa Tyson, right, is an associate professor in politics at Scripps College in California (Photo Credit:Scripps College, via Associated Press)

As several fellows shared lunch on a patio, Dr. Tyson expressed the sense of having been blindsided by her assailant, a man she worked with at the 2004 Democratic National Convention whose political career had since taken off, according to Elizabeth A. Armstrong, a professor of sociology at the University of Michigan who was part of the lunch group.

“What she told us was pretty much exactly what was in the statement that she released but with vastly less detail,” said Dr. Armstrong, a fellow in the Stanford program.

Another fellow, Jennifer J. Freyd, a University of Oregon professor known for her work in sexual violence, also remembers the conversation, relaying how Dr. Tyson described how the incident was “clearly a traumatic experience.”

Bezos Claims Enquirer Extortion

washington post logoWashington Post, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accuses National Enquirer’s parent of ‘extortion’ over ‘intimate’ photos, Paul Farhi​, Feb. 8, 2019 (print edition). Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, said the blackmail threat was made after he began looking into how the Enquirer acquired text messages that revealed his relationship with a former TV anchor.

jeffrey bezos washington postAmazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos (left) said Thursday that he was the target of an extortion attempt by the National Enquirer, which he said threatened to publish embarrassing photos of him if he didn’t halt his investigation into how the tabloid obtained private texts and photos between him and his mistress.

Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, said the Enquirer made the blackmail threat after he began looking into how the tabloid acquired text messages that revealed his relationship with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor.

In a rare and revealing statement posted to the online publishing platform Medium, Bezos said the National Enquirer wanted him to make a false public statement to the news media that he and his security consultant, Gavin de Becker, “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage [of the affair] was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.” (AMI is American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer.)

Background: Daily Beast, Bezos’ Investigators Question the Brother of His Mistress, Lauren Sanchez, in National Enquirer Leak Probe, Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, Jan. 31, 2019. Michael Sanchez is an outspoken Trump supporter with ties to Roger Stone and Carter Page. Jeff Bezos’ top personal security consultant has questioned his mistress’ brother as part of the probe into how the couple’s text messages wound up in the hands of the National Enquirer.

Gavin de Becker, the Amazon chief’s longtime personal security consultant and the point person for the investigation, confirmed to The Daily Beast on Wednesday that his probe has scrutinized Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos mistress Lauren Sanchez and a personal and business associate of Trumpworld figures including Roger Stone, Carter Page, and Scottie Nell Hughes.

On Wednesday, The Daily Beast first reported the existence of that investigation, which is taking place independent of Amazon and being funded by Bezos personally. Three sources familiar with the inquiry said it was increasingly probable that whoever leaked the text messages to the Enquirer, which ran a conspicuously large 12-page spread on Bezos’ affair, harbored political animosity towards Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post.

Michael Sanchez’s name bubbled up on the British celebrity news and gossip website Popbitch last week in the context of the Enquirer story. Stone also mentioned Sanchez in an interview with conspiracy theory site Infowars on Wednesday that sought to preempt The Daily Beast’s reporting by falsely claiming that it would accuse him of conspiring with the Trump administration to hack Bezos’ phone.

More Evidence On Saudi Murder?

ny times logoNew York Times, Year Before Killing, Saudi Prince Told Aide He Would Use ‘a Bullet’ on Jamal Khashoggi, Mark Mazzetti, Feb. 8, 2019 (print edition). Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia told a top aide in a conversation in 2017 that he would use “a bullet” on Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist killed in October, if Mr. Khashoggi did not return to the kingdom and end his criticism of the Saudi government, according to current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of intelligence reports.

jamal khashoggi western suitThe conversation, intercepted by American intelligence agencies, is the most detailed evidence to date that the crown prince considered killing Mr. Khashoggi (right) long before a team of Saudi operatives strangled him inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and dismembered his body using a bone saw. Mr. Khashoggi’s murder prompted weeks of outrage around the world and among both parties in Washington, where senior lawmakers called for an investigation into who was responsible.

mohammad bin salman cropped file smallThe Saudi government has denied that the young crown prince played any role in the killing, and President Trump has publicly shown little interest in trying to get the facts about who was responsible. Prince Mohammed, left, the next in line to the Saudi throne behind his ailing father, King Salman, has become the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and a close ally of the Trump White House — especially Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

The conversation appears to have been recently transcribed and analyzed as part of an effort by intelligence agencies to find proof of who was responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death. The National Security Agency and other American spy agencies are now sifting through years of the crown prince’s voice and text communications that the N.S.A. routinely intercepted and stored, much as the agency has long done for other top foreign officials, including close allies of the United States.

Media: More Scandal Claims

ronan farrowHuffpost, Ronan Farrow Says Jeff Bezos Isn’t The Only One AMI Tried To Blackmail, Liza Hearon, Feb. 8, 2019. Ronan Farrow’s allegation comes after the Amazon CEO accused tabloid publisher American Media Inc. of blackmail and extortion. Journalist Ronan Farrow (shown in a file photo) said tabloid publisher American Media Inc. sent him blackmail threats over his reporting on President Donald Trump and the National Enquirer.

Farrow tweeted about the “stop digging or we’ll ruin you” efforts shortly after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, in a bombshell blog post on Medium, said AMI CEO David Pecker threatened to publish embarrassing photos of him if he didn’t stop investigating the company.

U.S. Politics: Virginia

washington post logoWashington Post, Pressure to oust Virginia governor is easing as scandals engulf other top officials, Gregory S. Schneider, Dan Balz, Laura Vozzella and Paul Kane, Feb. 8, 2019 (print edition). Most Democrats now want Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to stay in office at least until there is clarity on the issues involving Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) and Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D). Related story: How Va.’s top three Democrats dug deeper holes for themselves,

Feb. 7

World's Richest Man Claims Extortion

Medium, Opinion: No thank you, Mr. Pecker, Jeff Bezos, Feb. 7, 2019. Something unusual happened to me yesterday. Actually, for me it wasn’t just unusual — it was a first. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing. Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.

AMI, the owner of the National Enquirer, led by David Pecker, recently entered into an immunity deal with the Department of Justice related to their role in the so-called “Catch and Kill” process on behalf of President Trump and his election campaign. Mr. Pecker and his company have also been investigated for various actions they’ve taken on behalf of the Saudi Government.

And sometimes Mr. Pecker mixes it all together:

“After Mr. Trump became president, he rewarded Mr. Pecker’s loyalty with a White House dinner to which the media executive brought a guest with important ties to the royals in Saudi Arabia. At the time, Mr. Pecker was pursuing business there while also hunting for financing for acquisitions…”

Palmer Report, Opinion: The sheer genius of what Jeff Bezos just did to Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, Feb. 7, 2019. Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos found himself in the ultimate no-win situation. National Enquirer and its boss David Pecker had already exposed his affair and ruined his marriage. Bezos tried to investigate whether his enemy and Pecker’s friend Donald Trump was behind the whole thing.

bill palmer report logo headerSo what did Jeff Bezos do in response to this no-win situation? He screamed as loudly as possible, for all to hear, that the National Enquirer had compromising photos of him.

By going public about the whole thing, Jeff Bezos has ensured that David Pecker will go to prison for a long time because this extortion attempt will blow up his immunity plea deal with the SDNY. Further, Pecker’s lawyers are surely explaining to him right now that if he does sell or publish these pictures, it’ll ensure that Pecker will go to prison for even longer.

Virginia Scandals

ny times logoNew York Times, Woman Accusing Justin Fairfax of Sexual Assault Comes Forward, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Feb. 7, 2019 (print edition). Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, has denied that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2004. The woman who has accused Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax of Virginia of sexual assault came forward on Wednesday, issuing a statement through a law firm that described a 2004 encounter at the Democratic National Convention in Boston that, she said, began with kissing but quickly turned into an episode of forced oral sex.

justin fairfaxMr. Fairfax, who has retained lawyers to assist him, has emphatically denied the allegation and argued that there is no corroborating evidence to support it.

Late Wednesday night, aides to a prominent Democratic Virginia congressman, Bobby Scott, said that the woman told him a year ago that she had made an allegation of sexual assault against Mr. Fairfax.

The woman identified herself on Wednesday as Dr. Vanessa C. Tyson, an associate professor of politics and expert in black history at Scripps College in California. She has also spent years advocating for victims of sexual assault and has spoken openly about being molested by her father when she was a child.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Democrats rallied around Christine Blasey Ford. Will they do the same with Vanessa Tyson? Karen Tumulty, Feb. 7, 2019 (print edition). She has decided we should know her name. It is Vanessa Tyson. And she has decided we should know her story. It is that, according to her, a man who is poised to become the governor of Virginia sexually assaulted her more than 14 years ago.

Now comes a test for the rest of us — one that shows what was learned, if anything, as the country processed hauntingly similar allegations last year against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.

christine blasey ford headshot croppedDemocrats and women’s groups rallied in support of Christine Blasey Ford (shown in a file photo), when she claimed that Kavanaugh had tried to force himself on her during a drunken encounter at a party of high schoolers in the early 1980s.

Will Tyson get the same reception, given that the target of her allegation is Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a rising star in the Democratic Party and the man many hope will replace embattled Gov. Ralph Northam? All of this comes as the entire Democratic leadership in Virginia is engulfed in overlapping scandals.

washington post logoWashington Post, Northam reaches out to Herring and Fairfax as all 3 weather calls for resignation amid scandals, Gregory S. Schneider, Laura Vozzella and Paul Kane​, Feb. 7, 2019. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said the state’s Democratic congressional delegation, which had called for Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign, is withholding judgment on Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D), who is trying firm up support from black leaders.

Meanwhile, for the first time Thursday, unflattering revelations spread to a powerful Republican.

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) was managing editor of the VMI yearbook in 1968 when it featured several photos of people in blackface and included a number of racial slurs, including one use of the n-word.

“The use of blackface is abhorrent in our society and I emphatically condemn it,” Norment said in the statement. “As one of seven working on a 359-page yearbook, I cannot endorse or associate myself with every photo, entry, or word on each page. However, I am not in any of the photos referenced on pages 82 or 122, nor did I take any of the photos in question.”

Epstein Scandal Whitewash

jeffrey epstein sex offender

ny times logoNew York Times, The Justice Department is investigating how President Trump’s labor secretary handled a sexual abuse case in 2007, Liam Stack, Feb. 7, 2019 (print edition). The Justice Department said Wednesday that it had opened an investigation into a 2007 plea deal negotiated by a prosecutor who is now a member of President Trump’s cabinet that kept the financier Jeffrey E. Epstein (above) from facing federal charges related to accusations that he molested dozens of underage girls.

ben sasse o croppedThe inquiry came in response to requests from Senator Ben Sasse (right) of Nebraska, who on Wednesday posted a letter on his website from Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd informing him of the investigation.

alexander acostaThe plea deal, which was negotiated by the labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta (left), when he was the top federal prosecutor in Miami, was the subject of a Miami Herald investigation that was cited by both Senator Sasse and Mr. Boyd.

The letter does not mention Mr. Acosta by name. In the letter, Mr. Boyd said the Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibilities would look “into allegations that Department attorneys may have committed professional misconduct in the manner in which the Epstein criminal matter was resolved.”

Feb. 5

Washington Post, Turmoil surrounds Va. leaders as Northam considers resigning and Fairfax denies assault claim, Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella, Feb. 5, 2019 (print edition). The state Capitol hit a new level of chaos Monday as Gov. Ralph Northam (D) asked staffers to stand by as he decided his fate, while the man who would succeed him, Lt. ralph northam file headshotGov. Justin Fairfax (D), denied a sexual assault allegation that appeared on a conservative website.

Northam (shown in a file photo) gathered Cabinet members and staffers Monday to apologize for the pain caused by a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page and told them he was still weighing options, according to several people who attended.

The governor urged staffers not to quit and promised to decide his fate soon, but how soon was left unsaid, according to three people familiar with what transpired, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to decribe a private meeting. It could take days, according to one person familiar with his thinking.

ny times logoNew York Times, Justin Fairfax, Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, Denies Sexual Assault Allegation, Jonathan Martin, Feb. 5, 2019 (print edition). Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Virginia issued a statement Monday morning denying an unsubstantiated allegation of sexual assault that a right-wing media site published amid extraordinary political turmoil in the state that has raised the possibility of Mr. Fairfax becoming the next governor.

justin fairfaxIn a statement issued at 2:55 a.m., aides to Mr. Fairfax (right) — a Democrat who has drawn national attention as Gov. Ralph Northam considers resigning over past racist behavior — said the allegation was “false” and that Mr. Fairfax had “never assaulted anyone — ever — in any way, shape or form.” The aides said that Mr. Fairfax is considering “appropriate legal action against those attempting to spread this defamatory and false allegation.”

The Times has reached out to intermediaries for the woman who has made the allegation. They did not immediately comment on Monday.

The Fairfax aides said The Washington Post investigated the allegation around the time of the lieutenant governor’s inauguration in January 2018 and chose not to publish a story.

The Post published a story on Monday that partially disputed the Fairfax statement. According to the Post story, the woman contacted the newspaper after Mr. Fairfax won election in November 2017 and alleged that he had sexually assaulted her in 2004 soon after they met in Boston at the Democratic National Convention.

The Post had been unable to corroborate her allegations, which Mr. Fairfax had denied, according to Monday’s story. The Post, however, disputed the Fairfax statement’s assertion that the newspaper had found inconsistencies and red flags in the woman’s allegation; the newspaper labeled those assertions as incorrect.

As Mr. Northam met Monday with advisers in the state capitol complex here to discuss his future, stunned legislators arrived to word of the middle-of-the-night statement by the Fairfax aides after the publication of the story by the right-wing website, Big League Politics.

The allegation threw Virginia’s government into a deeper state of chaos, just two days after Mr. Northam admitted that in 1984 he had used shoe polish to darken his face for a Michael Jackson-themed dance party but denied in the same year that he had appeared in blackface or a Ku Klux Klan robe.

Feb. 4

washington post logoWashington Post, Va. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax denies sex assault allegation from 2004, Theresa Vargas, Feb. 4, 2019. Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax issued a statement early Monday denying a sexual assault allegation that appeared on the same conservative website that posted a racist photograph from Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page.

“Lt. Governor Fairfax has an outstanding and well-earned reputation for treating people with dignity and respect,” read the statement from his chief of staff and communications director. “He has never assaulted anyone — ever — in any way, shape or form.”

The statement came after the online publication Big League Politics ran a story under the headline: “UPDATE: Stanford Fellow Hints At Possible Justin Fairfax Sex Assault.”

The story was based on a private Facebook post from the woman, which the publication said it had obtained from a friend of hers who had permission to share it.

martin baron at 2018 pulitzers wikimedia commonsFairfax and the woman told different versions of what happened in the hotel room with no one else present. The Washington Post could not find anyone who could corroborate either version. The Post did not find “significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations,” as the Fairfax statement incorrectly said.

Martin Baron (shown in a photo at the 2018 Pulitzer Prize awards ceremony distributed via WikiMedia), executive editor of The Post, said the news organization had an obligation to publish.

“Lt. Gov. Fairfax is a public official who may well rise to the position of governor,” Baron said in a statement. “He began the morning by issuing a statement regarding allegations against him, making specific representations about Post reporting that had not resulted in publication. We then had an obligation to clarify the nature of both the allegations and our reporting. “

January

Jan. 30

washington post logoWashington Post, Teachers sexually abused girls decades ago at Md. private school with ‘toxic culture,’ report shows, Justin Wm. Moyer, Jan. 30, 2019 (print edition).Ten adults took advantage of at least 16 students at the Key School in Annapolis, an investigation found.

The Key School in Annapolis launched the investigation after a former student said she was abused by two Key teachers starting when she was 13 and similar accounts were shared on social media. Seven former students interviewed by The Washington Post in an article last year said they were abused while enrolled at the school.

The investigation, which the Key School launched in February 2018, concluded that faculty members, administrators and board members who were aware of the abuse chose not to intervene and failed to protect students. The report does not allege any recent incidents at the school.

Jan. 24

 ny times logoNew York Times, Texas Democrat Leaves Posts Over Lawsuit by Former Aide Who Reported Assault, Nicholas Fandos, Jan. 24, 2019 (print sheila jackson leeedition). Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, right, facing fallout from a lawsuit that claims she fired an aide who said she was sexually assaulted by a supervisor at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, resigned on Wednesday as the foundation’s chairwoman.

democratic donkey logoAt the same time, Ms. Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat in her 13th term, also elected to step aside temporarily from an important House Judiciary subcommittee chairmanship.

The congresswoman made the decision to step aside from both roles as pressure was growing within her own party to account for the claims in a Jan. 11 lawsuit brought by a woman who worked in her congressional office and who said she was sexually assaulted by a Black Caucus Foundation supervisor. Ms. Jackson Lee has adamantly denied that she fired the woman for retribution after the woman indicated she wanted to pursue legal action.

Jan. 21

ernest angley official headshotAkron Beacon Journal, The Rev. Ernest Angley admitted sexual encounter, Bob Dyer, Jan. 20, 2019 (updated). First of two parts. In 1996, internationally known televangelist Ernest Angley (shown in an official photo) admitted to his assistant minister that he had had sexual relations with a man who was employed by their church, Grace Cathedral in Cuyahoga Falls.

The telephone conversation was tape-recorded and made available to the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com last month.

The person who provided the tape did so for a promise of anonymity. That person felt called to action after reading about an exchange of lawsuits between Angley and another former Grace Cathedral pastor, the Rev. Brock Miller. Miller sued Angley in August, claiming that sexual abuse Angley inflicted upon him has caused permanent damage. Angley has countersued for defamation.

The source believed releasing the tape would show that Angley, who has preached vehemently against the “sin” of homosexuality, has a history of sexual abuse involving his employees.

Jan. 17

Congressional Photo Directory

ny times logoNew York Times, Special Section -- Redefining Representation: The Women of the 116th Congress, Staff report, Photographs by Elizab eth D. Herman and Celeste Sloman, Jan. 17, 2019. Just over 100 years ago, the first woman won a seat in the House of Representatives. Now a record 131 women are serving in both chambers of Congress.

For most of recorded American history, political power has looked a certain way. Portraits of power call certain images to mind — those of older, white men, dressed in suits and depicted in formal settings. The 2018 midterm elections ushered in a change in representation; for the first time, more than 100 women serve in the House of Representatives — out of 435 seats — and members of color were elected in more states than ever before.

This portraits series documents the women of the 116th Congress in their totality. Like the work of Kehinde Wiley, who painted Barack Obama’s official presidential portrait, these photographs evoke the imagery we are used to seeing in the halls of power, but place people not previously seen as powerful starkly in the frames.

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): “It gives me pride to be the woman Speaker of the House of this Congress, which marks 100 years since women won the right to vote, and as we serve with more than 100 women.”

Jonie Ernst R-Iowa): “Being a woman in power means knowing it’s O.K. to be fierce.”

Jan. 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Michigan State’s president to resign after he said sexual abuse victims enjoyed the spotlight, Susan Svrluga​, Jan. 16, 2019. John Engler’s resignation makes him the university’s second leader to step down under pressure in the scandal surrounding Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State sports medicine doctor who is serving a prison sentence of at least 40 years.Jan. 9

washington post logotheodore mccarrickWashington Post, The Vatican moves quickly toward punishing ex-cardinal McCarrick for sexual abuse, Michelle Boorstein, Julie Zauzmer and Chico Harlan, Jan. 9, 2019. The former prominent archbishop (right) of Washington now faces the prospect of soon being defrocked — meaning he would no longer be a priest of the Catholic Church and would lose his church housing and financial support.

Jan. 7

washington post logoWashington Post, Opus Dei paid $977,000 to settle sexual misconduct claim against prominent Catholic priest, Michelle Boorstein​, Jan. 7, 2019. The Catholic order Opus Dei in 2005 paid $977,000 to settle a sexual misconduct suit against the Rev. C. John McCloskey, a priest well-known for preparing for conversion big-name conservatives -- Newt Gingrich, Larry Kudlow and Sam Brownback, among others.

john mccloskey priestThe survivor is a devout, D.C.-area Catholic who was among the many who received spiritual direction from McCloskey through the Catholic Information Center, a K Street hub of Catholic life in downtown D.C. She told the Post McCloskey groped her several times while she was going to pastoral counseling with him to discuss marital troubles and serious depression.

The guilt and shame over the interactions sent her into a tailspin and, combined with her existing depression, made it impossible for her to work in her high-level job. She spoke to him about her “misperceived guilt over the interaction” in confession and he absolved her, she said.

I love Opus Dei but I was caught up in this cover-up – I went to confession, thinking I did something to tempt this holy man to cross boundaries,” she said.

The complaint was not made public by the order until Monday but behind the scenes the ministry of the well-known priest had been sharply curtailed. A lot of D.C.-area Catholics have wondered for years what happened to McCloskey, who was the closest thing to a celebrity the Catholic Church had in the area.

One other woman told the order that McCloskey’s touches had made her uncomfortable, an Opus Dei spokesman said Monday night. He said Opus Dei is also investigating a third claim -- so far unsubstantiated -- that spokesman Brian Finnerty called potentially “serious.” He declined to provide details.

McCloskey, who is now in his 60s, recently moved back to the D.C. region, where he has family. The order said Monday that he “suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s. He is largely incapacitated and needs assistance for routine daily tasks. He has not had any pastoral assignments for a number of years and is no longer able to celebrate Mass, even privately.”

Jan. 4

Alex Jones Show Infowars, Opinion: Alex Jones Debates Journalist Promoting Trump Epstein “Connection,” Jan. 4, 2019 (35:10 mins). Wayne Madsen was once a supporter of the Trump candidacy in comparison with other candidates. However, after the election, Madsen believes Trump to be dangerous for America. Alex goes head to head with Wayne unscripted and uncensored!

Alex Jones Show Infowars, Opinion: Roger Stone Responds To Fake Trump-Epstein Connection, Roger Stone, Jan. 4, 2019 (12:42 mins). Roger Stone addresses the false narrative circulating regarding Donald Trump's business relationship with American financier and registered sex offender, Jeffery Epstein.

December

Dec. 31

 washington post logoWashington Post, Fake-porn videos are being weaponized to harass women: ‘Everybody is a potential target,’ Drew Harwell, Dec. 31, 2018. “Deepfake” creators are making disturbingly realistic, computer-generated videos with photos taken from the Web, and ordinary women are suffering the damage.

The video showed the woman in a pink off-the-shoulder top, sitting on a bed, smiling a convincing smile.

It was her face. But it had been seamlessly grafted, without her knowledge or consent, onto someone else’s body: a young pornography actress, just beginning to disrobe for the start of a graphic sex scene. A crowd of unknown users had been passing it around online.

She felt nauseous and mortified: What if her co-workers saw it? Her family, her friends? Would it change how they thought of her? Would they believe it was a fake?

• How fake-porn opponents are fighting back
• Video: How the technology works

U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUSblog, The chief justice’s 2018 year-end report: The federal judiciary and #MeToo, Amy Howe, Dec. 31, 2018. Chief Justice John Roberts released his annual report on the john roberts ofederal judiciary today, focusing on the judiciary’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Roberts had discussed this issue in his 2017 report, after several female law clerks accused Judge Alex Kozinski – then a prominent judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit – of inappropriate sexual conduct.

A working group created to review the safeguards in place to protect law clerks and other employees concluded, Roberts reported, that “inappropriate workplace conduct is not pervasive within the Judiciary, but it is also not limited to a few isolated instances involving law clerks” and “frequently goes unreported.” Roberts endorsed the recommendations made by the group, which included making changes to the codes of conduct for both judges and employees to make clear that both harassment and retaliation against employees who report misconduct are prohibited.

Roberts observed that he was “pleased” that the judiciary has “mobilized to ensure that” it is “the exemplary workplace that we all want,” but he added that “the job is not finished until we have done all that we can to ensure that all of our employees are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.”

Dec. 27

More #MeToo

Miami Herald, An Epstein sex case is settled; Dershowitz denies latest allegation, Julie K. Brown, Dec. 19, 2018, updated Dec. 27. Accused sex traffickers Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell have settled a federal civil lawsuit filed by a woman who says she was ordered under threat of violence to have sex with them and other influential individuals when she was in her early 20s, sources confirmed Wednesday.

Sarah Ransome, who now lives in Barcelona, claimed that she was recruited and trafficked for sex by the pair in 2006 and 2007 — at the same time that Epstein, a wealthy New York hedge fund manager, was under federal investigation for molesting dozens of underage girls at his Palm Beach mansion.

perversion of justice miami herald logoAccording to a recent court transcript, among those people Ransome claims she was directed to have sex with was Epstein’s lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, who helped negotiate a controversial plea deal that gave the eccentric multimillionaire — and co-conspirators employed by Epstein — federal immunity in 2008.

Dershowitz, 80, told the Miami Herald that he has never met Ransome nor has he ever had sex with her. He accused Ransome’s attorney, powerhouse lawyer David Boies, of inventing the story and using her and another woman, Virginia Roberts, to frame him. Roberts asserted in a federal court affidavit in 2015 that Epstein forced her to have sex with Dershowitz when she was 16 years old.
Nowhere in the court case or the transcript does Ransome or anyone else allege that Ransome had sex with Dershowitz — only that she was directed to.

The Ransome settlement, which is confidential, comes two weeks after Epstein settled another lawsuit in Palm Beach, filed by an attorney who represented several women who said they were coerced into sex acts with Epstein when they were underage. As part of the settlement, Epstein, 65, issued an apology to Fort Lauderdale attorney Bradley Edwards, admitting that he leveled false claims in a lawsuit as part of an effort to intimidate Edwards into abandoning his aggressive advocacy for the women, who are now in their late 20s and early 30s.

The developments follow a series of stories published by the Miami Herald in late November that detailed how state and federal prosecutors worked with Epstein’s lawyers to conceal the extent of Epstein’s crimes, and secretly negotiated an unusual plea agreement that allowed him to escape federal sex trafficking charges that could have sent him to prison for life. The agreement, by design, was kept from his victims so that they could not appear at his sentencing.

Last week, more than two dozen lawmakers in Washington demanded a federal investigation into that plea deal, which was negotiated, signed and sealed by former Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, now President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor.

Acosta has not commented on the Herald story or on the calls for a probe into how he handled the Epstein case.
Ransome claimed that, in her early 20s, she was recruited to work as a masseuse for Epstein who, in exchange, promised he would help her get into fashion design in New York, according to her civil lawsuit, filed in January 2017. Epstein and Maxwell then kept her passport and threatened to ruin her life and physically harm her if she didn’t have sex with them and others in 2006 and 2007, Ransome said in the complaint.

The complaint alleges that this all occurred at the same time as Epstein’s lawyers were negotiating with Acosta and other federal prosecutors for a deal to avoid federal sex trafficking charges in connection with a scheme in which he lured underprivileged girls, mostly 13 to 16, to his home in Palm Beach under the pretense that he would pay them $200 to $300 for massages. Instead, police in Palm Beach found that he had been molesting and sexually abusing dozens of girls between 2001 and 2007.

Dershowitz, in interviews with the Herald, and in recent public statements, said he has never met Ransome. He also said she initially tried to interest the New York Post in her story, but a reporter whom he said he spoke with told him Ransome was not credible. He said he has a trove of emails between Ransome and the reporter that prove she is a “lunatic.’’

“There are hundreds of emails in which she claimed to have sex with everybody in the world and also claimed she has video of Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and others having sex with underage girls — but she never ever accused me in these emails,’’ Dershowitz said.

The emails are under seal, he said, and therefore cannot be made public. Dershowitz said he has asked the court to unseal them but his efforts thus far have been unsuccessful.

Dec. 21

Telegraph, Martina Navratilova in 'transphobic' row over comments about women's sport, Anita Singh, Dec. 21, 2018. Martina Navratilova has angered the transgender community by claiming that people who were born male should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports events. The former Wimbledon champion and LGBT campaigner made the statement on social media, and was swiftly accused of being “transphobic.”

Responding to a question from one of her followers about transgender womenin sport, Navratilova said: “Clearly that can’t be right. You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.”

She also said: “For me it’s all about fairness. Which means taking every case individually… there is no cookie cutter way of doing things.”

Her comments were seized upon by Dr Rachel McKinnon, a transgender activist and competitive cyclist who this year controversially won a women’s event at the UCI Masters Track World Championship. McKinnon, a Canadian, was born biologically male but transitioned in her 20s. She told her followers that Navratilova was “transphobic” and called on her to apologize, sending a stream of critical tweets.

She also told Navratilova, who won Wimbledon nine times and is regarded by many as the greatest female tennis player of all time: “You realize I’m a world champion trans woman athlete?”

Initially, Navratilova said: “I am sorry if I said anything anywhere near transphobic - certainly I meant no harm. I will educate myself better on this issue but meantime I will be quiet about it.” She also deleted the original tweet.

However, after receiving a stream of critical messages from McKinnon, Navratilova hit back: “Rachel, you might be an expert on all things trans but you are one nasty human being.”

She added that she did not regret her remark and would not be “bullied” into silence, but would bow out of the conversation “because it seems to be my decades of speaking out against unfairness and inequality just don’t count with you at all”.

An assistant professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, McKinnon told the BBC that she received an estimated 100,000 hate messages on Twitter <https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/46453958>after winning the championship title.

A picture of her on the podium, dwarfing third-placed Jen Wagner-Assali, fueled the debate about transgender women in sport. Wagner-Assali said she thought it was unfair that McKinnon was allowed to compete, but later apologized for her comments.

Navratilova’s friend and former coach is Renee Richards, who was born Richard Raskind and competed in the US Open as a man before having gender reassignment surgery and competing as a woman. Navratilova ‘came out’ as a lesbian in 1981 and campaigns for LGBT rights.

In 2017, she wrote an open letter criticizing Margaret Court, the former world number one, for “demonizing trans kids and trans adults” by claiming that gender dysphoria was the work of the devil. Navratilova is also an avowed feminist, saying in one interview: “Of
course! How can a woman not be?”

Media / Suspected Trafficking

sacha baron cohen as gio monaldo in who is america

Sacha Baron Cohen in character as Gio Monaldo (Showtime)

Newsweek, Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’ deleted scene may have exposed elite, Andrew Whalen, Dec. 20, 2018. In Sacha Baron newsweek logoCohen’s latest series, Who Is America?, the character comedian and provocateur nudged former and current Republican members of Congress into endorsing armed kindergartners, revealed anti-Muslim racism and got Dick Cheney to autograph a waterboarding kit. But there was one scene the Showtime series captured on camera that was too dark and extreme, even for Baron Cohen.

In a new interview with Deadline, Baron Cohen describes how the election of Donald Trump inspired him to get back into costume (“I realized, I have to do something else to deal with this kind of anger and total disgust at what was going on”) and explained the agonizing detail that went into fictional characters like former Mossad agent Erran Morad and far-right conspiracy theorist Billy Wayne Ruddick.

Along the way, Baron Cohen was astounded by the increase in open American racism. “When we were shooting Borat, if somebody said something anti-Semitic or homophobic, we were surprised and we knew that it would make the cut,” Baron Cohen told Deadline. “Now, going out all these years later, you realize that the political dialogue that’s come from the top has made an extremely negative impact on other politicians and to the populace. People are saying things that they never would have dreamed of saying publicly, prior to Trump.”

The interview also gives some new insight into how Baron Cohen gained Cheney’s confidence. “I think he felt happy and almost excited to sit in a room next to my character, because I had done the one thing that he hadn’t actually done. He’d ordered people to be killed but he never actually killed someone with his bare hands,” Baron Cohen said. “It’s a bit like a virgin sitting next to a womanizer and being enamored by them.”

But more than Cheney or the man he convinced to “murder” three people at the Women’s March (the interview subject triggered a fictional bomb), Baron Cohen’s most shocking encounter came when, in character as Italian playboy Gio Monaldo, he convinced a concierge to help him find an underaged boy to molest.

“We wanted to investigate how does someone like Harvey Weinstein gets away with doing what…get away with criminality, essentially. And the network that surrounds him. We decided that Gio would interview a concierge in Las Vegas,” Baron Cohen describes.

During the interview, believing the admission would drive the concierge from the room, Baron Cohen, as Gio, reveals that he’s molested an eight-year-old boy.

“This guy starts advising Gio how to get rid of this issue. We even at one point talk about murdering the boy, and the concierge is just saying, ‘well, listen, I’m really sorry. In this country, we can’t just drown the boy. This is America we don’t do that,’” Baron Cohen describes.

After the concierge offers to put Gio in touch with a lawyer who can help “silence the boy,” Baron Cohen asked for his help securing a date for the night.

“He says, ‘what do you mean, a date?’ I go, you know, like a young man. He says, ‘well, what kind of age?’ I say, lower than Bar Mitzvah but older than eight. And he says, ‘yeah, I can put you in touch with somebody who can get you some boys like that.’”

Rather than airing the segment, Baron Cohen and his production team turned the footage over to the FBI, “because we thought, perhaps alexander acosta labor othere’s a pedophile ring in Las Vegas that’s operating for these very wealthy men. And this concierge had said that he’d worked for politicians and various billionaires.”

While Baron Cohen judged the interview too “dark” and “extreme” to be included in the show, it’s a revealing look at how the powerful can get away with decades-long sexual abuse, including pedophile sexual abuse, such as in the massive cover-up of the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein, orchestrated by President Trump’s Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, right.

New York Post, Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein settles another lawsuit, Kaja Whitehouse and Lia Eustachewich, Dec. 20, 2018. Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein settles one case, avoiding victim testimony. Billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has settled yet another lawsuit — this time with a woman who claimed she was recruited by the renowned pedophile as a sex slave more than a decade ago.

The woman, Sarah Ransome, sued Epstein and alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell in Manhattan federal court last year for forcing her into sex acts in 2006 and 2007, when she was in her 20s.

She more recently claimed they directed her to have sex with Epstein’s powerful friends, including notable lawyer and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, the Miami Herald reported. Ransome, who now lives in Barcelona, withdrew the lawsuit on Thursday due to the settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed.

“We are pleased with the settlement. It provides as much compensation as money can provide for the horrific damage done by sex trafficking,” said her lawyer, David Boies.

Epstein, a wealthy hedge fund manager, is a registered sex offender tied to his 2008 conviction for soliciting an underage girl for prostitution.
Before his conviction and since, he has been accused of sexually abusing dozens of mostly underage girls at his mansion in Palm Beach
https://nypost.com/2016/10/09/the-sex-slave-scandal-that-exposed-pedophile-billionaire-jeffrey-epstein.

Dershowitz represented Epstein in the 2008 plea deal with Florida federal prosecutors that resulted in 13 months in jail. On Thursday, he denied Ransome’s allegations. “Of course she didn’t have sex with me. I never had sex with anyone except my wife,” Dershowitz told The Post. “I’ve never met this woman, I don’t know her, I never heard of her. She just made it up completely.”

Ransome’s lawsuit said Epstein and Maxwell promised her paid tuition to the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan in exchange for her “continued sexual cooperation with Epstein,” the complaint said.

Maxwell had hired Ransome to give Epstein massages at his townhouse in New York and his private island in the US Virgin Islands — and the two threatened the young woman if she didn’t comply, the suit said.

“Each time she was so instructed she was also required to perform a sexual act with Epstein,” court papers said.

Dec. 18

washington post logoWashington Post, Man sentenced to 357 years for 1995 sexual assault on four Va. women, Justin Jouvenal​, Dec. 18, 2018. A Fairfax County jury sentenced a 50-year-old man to 357 years in prison Tuesday for a brutal 1995 sexual assault targeting four roommates in Reston, a prosecutor said. Jude Lovchik, formerly of Springfield, Va., was convicted of 17 counts of abduction, sodomy and other charges on Monday, following a two-week trial that featured harrowing accounts of the women’s ordeal.

The crime went unsolved for over two decades, before Lovchik’s ex-wife went to authorities in 2016 and told them he had confessed to sexually assaulting about 20 women when he was younger. The woman testified Lovchik asked her to re-enact the attacks and she obliged. DNA evidence later tied Lovchik to the Reston case.

Dec. 17

  ny times logoNew York Times, CBS Says Les Moonves Will Not Receive $120 Million Severance, Edmund Lee and Rachel Abrams, Dec. 17, 2018. The CBS Corporation, battered by cbs logoscandal and facing a leadership vacuum, said its former chief executive, Leslie Moonves, misled the company about multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and tried to hide evidence as he made a frenzied attempt to save his legacy and reap a lucrative severance. As a result, the company said Mr. Moonves would not receive his $120 million exit payout.

washington post logoWashington Post, Jesuit order names priests ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing children since the 1950s, Julie Zauzmer​, Dec. 17, 2018.The Maryland Province of Jesuits, a Catholic religious order with priests serving from Pennsylvania to Georgia, named five living Jesuits, three who left the order, and five who have died.

Dec. 16

 james grazioplenewashington post logoWashington Post, A soldier rose to become a general. His daughter says he abused her for years, Dan Lamothe, Dec. 16, 2018. For retired Maj. Gen. James J. Grazioplene, right, getting arrested and photographed in an orange jumpsuit in Northern Virginia this month was the latest humiliation following a lengthy military investigation in which the Army charged him with rape, only to have the case dismissed on a technicality.

For his daughter and military prosecutors, it was something else: a second chance at seeing whether a court will convict Grazioplene of rape.

Jennifer M. Elmore, 47, said in an interview that she first reported to the Army in 2015 that her estranged father had sexually abused her when she was a child. The service investigated for two years before bringing a case against Grazioplene in April 2017.

“Sometimes, it’s just easier to shut your mouth,” said Elmore, a senior vice president with Abbot Downing, a division of Wells Fargo focused on wealthy clients. “But if I stay silent and the next person opts for that, and the next person opts for that, and the next person opts for that, where are we?”

Dec. 15

'Consent' No Excuse

washington post logoWashington Post, Catholic U. fires professor for relationship with subordinate, Nick Anderson, Dec. 15, 2018 (print edition). Catholic University fired a veteran professor this week for having sex with an employee he supervised in 2013. The university in Northeast Washington said it took action against Stephen J. McKenna after getting a tip in 2017 that he had a relationship with an employee who worked for him.

McKenna, a tenured associate professor of media and communication studies, was chair of his department at the time. He acknowledged Friday to The Washington Post that he had an improper relationship for several months during 2013 with a woman whom he hired as an assistant. The university said the woman was 24 at the time and a graduate student in another department. Shortly after she started the job in February 2013, the university said, the two became “sexually involved.” The woman left the position in October 2013.

“I think people would look at the dismissal differently if they knew that this relationship lasted for four years after we were no longer co-workers at the university,” he said. McKenna said the two had talked about getting married before their relationship ended about a year ago.

He said the woman “has repeatedly told the university that the relationship was fully mutual and consensual, and furthermore, that she didn’t want any adverse action taken against me, or any harm to come to me and my family.”

Dec. 14

ny times logoNew York Times, Lists of Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse Are Spilling Out Across the Country, Campbell Robertson, Dec. 14, 2018. Facing aggressive investigations into sex abuse scandals, Catholic dioceses around the country are releasing their own lists of accused priests. Many of the priests named on the lists are dead, but not all. Many had already been known as abusers, but scores of names are new, even to activists who have been closely following the scandals for years.

It was a list Charles L. Bailey Jr. had wanted to see for years: the names of the priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Mr. Bailey, 67, a longtime local advocate for survivors of abuse by priests, had heard excuses for why such a list was impossible to release. The last bishop said naming accused priests would be a violation of the Ten Commandments. The current bishop said he would not disclose the names, citing the request of unnamed victims.

But then on Dec. 3, Mr. Bailey got a call from a local reporter. It was up, on the diocesan website. Fifty-seven priests. None were still in ministry and most were deceased, including, there on Page 4, the priest who had repeatedly raped Mr. Bailey when he was not yet a teenager.

As the Catholic Church faces a wave of federal and state attorney general investigations into its handling of sex abuse, bishops around the country have struggled with how to react. Some have locked down defensively. Others are waiting on guidance from the Vatican, which instructed American bishops last month to wait on taking any collective action until the new year.

Dec. 13

ny times logoNew York Times, Behind CBS’s Secret $9.5 Million Settlement With the Actress Eliza Dushku, Rachel Abrams and John Koblin, Dec. 13, 2018. Ms. Dushku, who was on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” told investigators she was written off “Bull” after enduring sexual harassment on the set. Details of the settlement emerged during an investigation of “cultural issues” at CBS after the network’s former chief, Leslie Moonves, was accused of misconduct.

cbs logoIn March 2017, Eliza Dushku, an actress known for her work on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” signed on to play a major role in three episodes of the CBS prime-time drama “Bull,” and there were plans to make her a full-time cast member.

Her time on the set began promisingly. The show’s star, Michael Weatherly — a mainstay of CBS’s prime-time lineup for 15 years — seemed friendly. And a producer and writer on “Bull,” Glenn Gordon Caron, told Ms. Dushku she would be more than a love interest.

Then came a series of comments that made Ms. Dushku uncomfortable. In front of the cast and crew, Mr. Weatherly remarked on her appearance, and made a rape joke and a comment about a threesome. Shortly after Ms. Dushku confronted the star about his behavior, she was written off the show. She believed her time on “Bull” came to a sudden end as a result of retaliation.

After she went through mediation with CBS, the company agreed to a confidential settlement that would pay her $9.5 million, roughly the equivalent of what Ms. Dushku would have earned if she had stayed on as a cast member for four seasons.

ny times logoNew York Times, Troubled Girls Were Sent to This Town to Heal. Many Were Lured Into the Sex Trade Instead, Nikita Stewart and Benjamin Weiser, Dec. 13, 2018. Nineteen people were charged in a sex-trafficking ring that exploited young women and girls as young as 13 years old, federal prosecutors said.

Tucked inside a neighborhood in a small town just north of New York City, Hawthorne Cedar Knolls was on idyllic, green grounds. It was landscaped to give some peace and stability to the emotionally troubled teenagers who were placed there.

But in recent years, Hawthorne, located in the town of Mount Pleasant, began experiencing unusually high rates of teenagers going missing from its campus. Staff, law enforcement officials and advocates for children said they knew that some of the missing residents had fallen victim to sex traffickers. Many of the girls in the rehabilitation center had been placed there in the first place to rescue them from the sex trade.

On Thursday, the breadth of a pipeline carrying young women out of Hawthorne and into prostitution became clearer. Nineteen people were charged in a sex-trafficking ring that exploited young women and girls as young as 13 years old, federal prosecutors said.

At least 15 victims were in the child welfare system, including nine who were residents of Hawthorne, the prosecutors said.

Dec. 9

Baptist Sex Scandal

McClatchy News / Star-Telegram, Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S., Sarah Smith, Dec. 9, joy evan rider yearbook2018. Joy Evans Ryder (shown in a yearbook photo) was 15 years old when she says her church youth director pinned her to his office floor and raped her.

“It’s OK. It’s OK,” he told her. “You don’t have to be afraid of anything.” He straddled her with his knees, and she looked off into the corner, crying and thinking, “This isn’t how my mom said it was supposed to be.”

The youth director, Dave Hyles, was the son of the charismatic pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, considered at the time the flagship for thousands of loosely affiliated independent fundamental Baptist churches and universities.

At least three other teen girls would accuse Hyles of sexual misconduct, but he never faced charges or even sat for a police interview related to the accusations. When he got in trouble, Hyles was able to simply move on, from one church assignment to the next. Hyles’ flight to safety has become a well-worn path for ministers in the independent fundamental Baptist movement.

For decades, women and children have faced rampant sexual abuse while worshiping at independent fundamental Baptist churches around the country. The network of churches and schools has often covered up the crimes and helped relocate the offenders, an eight-month Star-Telegram investigation has found.

More than 200 people — current or former church members, across generations — shared their stories of rape, assault, humiliation and fear in churches where male leadership cannot be questioned.

“It’s a philosophy — it’s flawed,” said Stacey Shiflett, an independent fundamental Baptist pastor in Dundalk, Maryland. “The philosophy is you don’t air your dirty laundry in front of everyone. Pastors think if they keep it on the down-low, it won’t impact anyone. And then the other philosophy is it’s wrong to say anything bad about another preacher.”

The Star-Telegram discovered at least 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and their affiliated institutions, spanning 40 states and Canada. Twenty-one abuse allegations were uncovered exclusively by the Star-Telegram, and others were documented in criminal cases, lawsuits and news reports. But victims said the number of abused is far greater because few victims ever come forward.

One hundred and sixty-eight church leaders were accused or convicted of committing sexual crimes against children, the investigation found. At least 45 of the alleged abusers continued in ministry after accusations came to the attention of church authorities or law enforcement.

Compounding the problem is the legal statute of limitations. For many alleged offenders, the statutes on the crimes have expired.

Many of the allegations involve men whose misconduct has long been suspected in the independent fundamental Baptist community. But most of their victims have not publicly come forward, on the record, until now. Even pastors have for the first time — in interviews with the Star-Telegram — acknowledged they moved alleged abusers out of their churches rather than call law enforcement.

From Connecticut to California, the stories are tragically similar:

Dec. 6

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: The laughable fraud called "Pizzagate" diverts from actual child trafficking tied to Trump, Wayne Madsen (investigative reporter, author and former Navy intelligence officer), Dec. 6, 2018 (subscription required). Trump and his cronies are involved in covering up an international sex trafficking ring involving underage girls and boys.

Dec. 4

ny times logomichelle goldberg thumbNew York Times, Opinion: Why Does Alex Acosta Still Have a Job? Michelle Goldberg, Dec. 4, 2018 (print edition). The cabinet official’s connection to a shady deal for an alleged child molester. It is the perverse good fortune of Alexander Acosta, left, Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, to be part of an administration so spectacularly corrupt that it’s simply impossible to give all its scandals the attention they deserve.

alexander acosta labor oLast Wednesday, The Miami Herald published a blockbuster multipart exposé about how the justice system failed the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, a rich, politically connected financier who appears to have abused underage girls on a near-industrial scale. The investigation, more than a year in the making, described Epstein as running a sort of child molestation pyramid scheme, in which girls — some in middle school — would be recruited to give Epstein “massages” at his Palm Beach mansion, pressured into sex acts, then coerced into bringing him yet more girls. The Herald reported that Epstein was also suspected of trafficking girls from overseas.

What’s shocking is not just the lurid details and human devastation of his alleged crimes, but the way he was able to use his money to escape serious consequences, thanks in part to Acosta, then Miami’s top federal prosecutor. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Acosta took extraordinary measures to let Epstein — and, crucially, other unnamed people — off the hook.

The labor secretary, whose purview includes combating human trafficking, has done nothing so far to rebut The Herald’s reporting. (A spokesman for his department has referred reporters to his previous statements about the case.) It should end his career. The story might have been overshadowed by last week’s cascading revelations in the Trump-Russia scandal, or the news that acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker knew of numerous fraud complaints against a company he advised, to take just two examples of administration lawlessness. But while Acosta’s record covering up for a depraved plutocrat makes him a good fit for the Trump administration, it should disqualify him from public service.

ny times logourban meyer 2017New York Times, For Urban Meyer and Ohio State, a Parting Months in the Making, Marc Tracy, Dec. 4, 2018. From the moment the university suspended the coach, shown at right, in August for three games, a special relationship was irrevocably severed.

Dec. 2

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Trump Labor Secretary cited in pedophile sweetheart deal, Dec. 2, 2018. The rumored nomination of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, right, as Attorney General in the wake of Jeff Sessions's firing is apparently what spurred the Miami Herald to publish a detailed three-part series look at the sweetheart plea agreement worked out by Acosta with convicted child molester and Donald Trump's close friend Jeffrey Epstein.

alexander acosta labor oThe Miami Herald story resulted in a public rebuke for the story's reporter, Julie Brown, from former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, who appears to have taken over as Trump's "muscle" to attack journalists who investigate Trump and those tied to him.

November

Nov. 30

National Review, Hollywood Is a Sex-Grooming Gang, Kyle Smith, Nov. 30, 2018. Where the ‘price of admission’ is stripping on camera, or worse. If you’re tempted to turn away from the torrent of squalid news that continues to flow out of Hollywood, resist the temptation. The more of these revolting exposes you read, the more clearly you will see the underlying monstrosity in Hollywood, as clearly as the hero of John Carpenter’s They Live sees aliens disguised as everyday people when he puts on the sunglasses.

Former CBS chief Les Moonves’s career had already ended in disgrace for repeated instances of alleged sexual harassment and assault uncovered last summer by The New Yorker. Yet until this week the board that fired him for preying on women was planning to beg His Majesty’s forgiveness for decoupling him from his kingdom, pressing into his hands a $120 million payoff.

Maybe not anymore.

The New York Times, with the cooperation of a washed-up talent manager who, at 75, decided to open his mouth about Moonves, reported on how the triangular sex trade works in Hollywood. Innocent young sweet pea from some place like South Carolina hits town, desperate for a break. Managers and agents and suchlike human succubi latch on to her with an eye toward turning her out. Knowing very well what will happen, they send her in to “take a meeting,” alone, behind closed doors, with some old lech in a designer suit. After two minutes of pleasantries, the expensive pants are suddenly down around the ankles. The young thing has just about two seconds to grow up. She has to decide on the spot whether to react with the expected sangfroid, and advance to the next step in the game of Hollywood, or, do what Bobbie Phillips did and react adversely. She contemplated picking up a baseball bat and going all Al Capone on her attacker, but instead merely “ankled,” as the trades would put it.

Phillips says Les Moonves, then the head of Warner Bros. television just as its shows Friends and ER were becoming blockbusters, grabbed her and forced her to perform oral sex when she met with him to seek an appointment with a casting director. She fled the office. Then she had to decide whether to say something, which would brand her a “troublemaker.” If so, nothing good would happen. She’d be ushered out to pursue the career opportunities at Denny’s, and another young honey would take her place.

Phillips’s life was pretty much ruined. Going to audition meetings made her queasy. Once she vomited in an alley at the prospect of running into Moonves. No one cared. She was another expendable female body. Twenty-three years later, Moonves was suddenly interested in casting her again. Texts between Moonves and Phillips’s manager, as reported by the Times, are frankly transactional: The manager needed to get back in the game, Moonves needed the manager to keep schtum with the Times reporters who kept calling him, Phillips would be expected to remain silent in exchange for a lousy $1,500 one-day gig. “A central teaching in my life is forgiveness,” Phillips told the Times. But this was insulting. And she was upset that Moonves was still denying, even in private, what she says he did. Moonves says “I strongly believe” the encounter was consensual. Which is a bit different from saying, “It was consensual.”

“Nobody knows anything” was the Hollywood mantra popularized by the late screenwriter William Goldman.

Yet in a town that does nothing more assiduously than it does gossip, we’re expected to believe nobody knew anything about what was happening in Les Moonves’s office, and in Harvey Weinstein’s, and in Bryan Singer’s? It beggars belief. They knew. They all knew. The men knew. The women knew.

Nov. 29

The Hill, Miami Herald reporter hits back at Scaramucci over criticism of Epstein story, John Bowden, Nov. 29, 2018. Miami Herald rejected accusations from former White House Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University communications director Anthony Scaramucci that her newspaper “planted” a story linking Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, right.

Julie Brown, an investigative reporter for the Herald, fired back at Scaramucci on Thursday afternoon after the former Trump aide wrote that the Herald tried to “do a number” on Acosta because of his success in the Trump administration.

“1. I'm not in D.C. and have very few D.C. connections 2. 'Planted' ? Hmm. I don't even know what that means,” Brown wrote on Twitter.

“3. This was honest to god, shoe leather reporting & digging through dense court documents for a year,” she added. “No one contacted me to do this story. No one. It was totally my idea.”

miami herald logoAcosta did not respond to requests to comment from the Herald on the story, which detailed his work as a U.S. attorney to secure a lighter punishment for Epstein via a plea agreement despite evidence that the billionaire was involved in bringing underaged girls to the U.S. for prostitution.

Despite his conviction, Epstein was allowed under the agreement to leave jail during his 13-month sentence for 12-hour periods six days a week to commute to his private office for work. The agreement was kept secret from his accusers.

ny times logoNew York Times, Years After Plea Deal in Sex Case, Jeffrey Epstein’s Accusers Will Get Their Day in Court, Patricia Mazzei, Nov. 29, 2018.  The sordid case against Jeffrey E. Epstein, who was accused of paying dozens of underage girls for sexual massages in Florida, appeared to end a decade ago. The wealthy New York financier struck a deal to avoid any federal criminal charges, enraging some of his victims who got no say in the agreement, which they deemed far too lenient.

But the victims and their lawyers have continued to fight in civil court, long after Mr. Epstein, who pleaded guilty to lesser state charges of soliciting prostitution, completed his sentence in a county lockup, registered as a sex offender and became a free man.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin next week in a West Palm Beach, Fla., courtroom for a civil trial that — for the first time — could give Mr. Epstein’s victims, who are now adults, a chance to publicly testify about their attempts to win justice after the sexual abuse they endured as children.

Mr. Epstein’s accusers could take the witness stand just days after a local investigative report published new details on how Mr. Epstein preyed on young teenage girls — and how prosecutors appeared to buckle to pressure from Mr. Epstein’s high-powered defense lawyers to keep him from ever doing serious time in prison.

The report published Wednesday by The Miami Herald reached all the way to the nation’s capital: The former chief federal prosecutor in Miami who signed off on Mr. Epstein’s plea deal, then-United States Attorney R. Alexander Acosta, is now President Trump’s labor secretary. Mr. Acosta had recently been mentioned as a long-shot candidate to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Mr. Acosta’s critical role in accepting the 2007 nonprosecution agreement that protected Mr. Epstein from any federal charges was documented before Mr. Acosta’s Senate confirmation hearing last year. But The Herald report, which quoted victims and police investigators who had never spoken publicly before, brought fresh scrutiny in the #MeToo era to the government’s actions 11 years earlier.

On Thursday, a Labor Department spokesman pointed to Mr. Acosta’s past remarks on the Epstein case, including during his confirmation hearing in March 2017, and directed new questions to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, which did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Acosta said at his confirmation hearing that the plea deal was the result of a “broadly held” consensus among prosecutors. “At the end of the day, based on the evidence, professionals within a prosecutor’s office decide that a plea that guarantees that someone goes to jail, that guarantees that someone register generally, and that guarantees other outcomes is a good thing,” he said.

In Florida, though, there was fresh outrage over the new interviews, in which young women described how Mr. Epstein had solicited girls as young as 14 and 15 for nude massages, which sometimes ended in masturbation, oral sex or, in at least one case, forcible rape.

washington post logoWashington Post, Stormy Daniels says Michael Avenatti filed defamation suit against her wishes, Felicia Sonmez, Nov. 29, 2018 (print edition). In a statement, the adult-film actress said she is debating whether to part ways with the attorney, whom she also accused of launching a crowdfunding campaign without her permission.

stormy daniels 2010 83 w“I haven’t decided yet what to do about legal representation moving forward,” Daniels said in a statement. “Michael has been a great advocate in many ways. I’m tremendously grateful to him for aggressively representing me in my fight to regain my voice. But in other ways Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client.”

In a statement Wednesday, Avenatti defended his work on behalf of Daniels and said he had “always been an open book” with her, although he did not specifically address Daniels’s allegation that he had filed the defamation suit against her wishes.

He said that the agreement Daniels signed in February stipulated that she would pay him $100 and that “any and all other moneys raised via a legal fund would go toward my legal fees and costs.”

“Instead, the vast majority of the money raised has gone toward her security expenses and similar other expenses,” Avenatti said. “The most recent campaign was simply a refresh of the prior campaign, designed to help defray some of Stormy’s expenses.”

Daniels had said in a CNN interview last month that she and Avenatti were in contact “every single day,” sometimes “three or four times” a day.

Nov. 28

#MeToo Scandals In Prosecution

JIP Editor's Note: The Miami Herald published a multi-part investigative project — "Perversion of Justice" — on Nov. 28 reporting how top officials gave a sweetheart deal to billionairre perversion of justice miami herald logomiami herald logopervert Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of future President Trump and past president Clinton, along with a promise not to investigate Epstein's friends and accomplices in a ring allegedly involving hundreds sex victims, many of them high school and junior high schoolers.

The Justice Integrity Project also has extensively covered this case, Jeffrey Epstein (shown below at right), and his enablers, who include prominent prosecutors and other lawyers, including President Trump's Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.

Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University But this Miami Herald series goes far beyond all previous news reports, which now number in the hundreds. The Herald credited reporter Julie K. Brown and visual producer Emily Michot with the series. The Herald obtained thousands of FBI and court records, lawsuits, and witness depositions, and went to federal court in New York to access sealed documents in the reporting of "Perversion of Justice." The Herald also tracked down more than 60 women who said they were victims, some of whom had never spoken of the abuse before.. 

Miami Herald, Perversion of Justice: A decade before #MeToo, a multimillionaire sex offender from Florida got the ultimate break, Investigative project, Nov. 28, 2018.

  • Part One: How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime
  • Part Two: Cops worked to put serial sex abuser in prison. Prosecutors worked to cut him a break
  • Part Three: Even from jail, sex abuser manipulated the system. His victims were kept in the dark
  • Interactive: Sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein was surrounded by powerful people. Here’s a sampling
  • Timeline: For years, Jeffrey Epstein abused teen girls, police say. A timeline of his case
  • Overview: How Miami Herald journalists investigated Jeffrey Epstein

miami herald logoMiami Herald, Epstein's Connections: They were little girls. Their stories were almost identical. The evidence was substantial, Julie K. Brown and Aaron Albright, Nov. 28, 2018.

Jeffrey Epstein had a little black book filled with the names and personal phone numbers of some of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people, from Bill Clinton and Donald Trump to actors, actresses, scientists and business tycoons. A money manager for the super-rich, Epstein had two private jets, the largest single residence in Manhattan, an island in the Caribbean, a ranch in New Mexico and a waterfront estate in Florida.

But Epstein also had an obsession.

For years, Epstein lured an endless stream of teenage girls to his Palm Beach mansion, offering to pay them for massages. Instead, police say, for years he coerced middle and high school girls into engaging in sex acts with him and others.

As evidence emerged that there were victims and witnesses outside of Palm Beach, the FBI began an investigation in 2006 into whether Epstein and others employed by him were involved in underage sex trafficking.

But in 2007, despite substantial evidence that corroborated the girls’ stories of abuse by Epstein, the U.S. attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, signed off on a secret deal for the multimillionaire, one that ensured he would never spend a day in prison.

Acosta, now President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, agreed to seal the agreement so that no one — not even Epstein’s victims — would know the full extent of his crimes or who was involved.

This is the story of that deal — and how his victims, more than a decade later, are still fighting a criminal justice system that has stubbornly failed to hold wealthy, powerful men accountable for sexual abuse.

miami herald logoMiami Herald, Cops worked to put serial sex abuser in prison. Prosecutors worked to cut him a break (Part 1), Julie K. Brown, Nov. 28, 2018. A decade before #MeToo, a multimillionaire sex offender from Florida got the ultimate break.

Palm Beach, Florida / November 2004

Jane Doe No. 2

Michelle Licata climbed a narrow, winding staircase, past walls covered with photographs of naked girls. At the top of the stairwell was a vast master bed and bath, with cream-colored shag carpeting and a hot pink and mint green sofa.

perversion of justice miami herald logoThe room was dimly lit and very cold.

There was a vanity, a massage table and a timer.

A silver-haired man wearing nothing but a white towel came into the room. He lay facedown on a massage table, and while talking on a phone, directed Licata to rub his back, legs and feet.

Michelle Licata says she was 16 when she first visited Jeffrey Epstein’s home on El Brillo Way to give him a massage. She says he tried to penetrate her with his fingers.

After he hung up, the man turned over and dropped his towel, exposing himself. He told Licata to get comfortable and then, in a firm voice, told her to take off her clothes.

At 16, Licata had never before been fully naked in front of anyone. Shaking and panicked, she mechanically pulled off her jeans and stripped down to her underwear. He set the timer for 30 minutes and then reached over and unsnapped her bra. He then began touching her with one hand and masturbating himself with the other.

“I kept looking at the timer because I didn’t want to have this mental image of what he was doing,’’ she remembered of the massage. “He kept trying to put his fingers inside me and told me to pinch his nipples. He was mostly saying ‘just do that, harder, harder and do this. …’ ”

After he ejaculated, he stood up and walked to the shower, dismissing her as if she had been in history class.

It wasn’t long before a lot of Licata’s fellow students at Royal Palm Beach High School had heard about “a creepy old guy” named Jeffrey who lived in a pink waterfront mansion and was paying girls $200 to $300 to give him massages that quickly turned sexual.

Eventually, the Palm Beach police, and then the FBI, came knocking on Licata’s door. In the police report, Licata was referred to as a Jane Doe 2 in order to protect her identity as a minor.

miami herald logoMiami Herald, A decade before #MeToo, a multimillionaire sex offender from Florida got the ultimate break (Part 2), Julie K. Brown, Nov. 28, 2018.

Palm Beach County Courthouse / June 30, 2008

perversion of justice miami herald logoJeffrey Edward Epstein appeared at his sentencing dressed comfortably in a blue blazer, blue shirt, jeans and gray sneakers. His attorney, Jack Goldberger, was at his side.

At the end of the 68-minute hearing, the 55-year-old silver-haired financier — accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls — was fingerprinted and handcuffed, just like any other criminal sentenced in Florida.

But inmate No. W35755 would not be treated like other convicted sex offenders in the state of Florida, which has some of the strictest sex offender laws in the nation.

Ten years before the #MeToo movement raised awareness about the kid-glove handling of powerful men accused of sexual abuse, Epstein’s lenient sentence and his extraordinary treatment while in custody are still the source of consternation for the victims he was accused of molesting when they were minors.

Beginning as far back as 2001, Epstein lured a steady stream of underage girls to his Palm Beach mansion to engage in nude massages, masturbation, oral sex and intercourse, court and police records show. The girls — mostly from disadvantaged, troubled families — were recruited from middle and high schools around Palm Beach County. Epstein would pay the girls for massages and offer them further money to bring him new girls every time he was at his home in Palm Beach, according to police reports.

The girls, now in their late 20s and early 30s, allege in a series of federal civil lawsuits filed over the past decade that Epstein sexually abused hundreds of girls, not only in Palm Beach, but at his homes in Manhattan, New Mexico and in the Caribbean.

alex acosta swearing in mike pence c spanIn 2007, the FBI had prepared a 53-page federal indictment charging Epstein with sex crimes that could have put him in federal prison for life. But then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta (shown with his being sworn by Vice President Pence as Labor Secretary last year) signed off on a non-prosecution agreement, which was negotiated, signed and sealed so that no one would know the full scope of Epstein’s crimes. The indictment was shelved, never to be seen again.

Epstein instead pleaded guilty to lesser charges in state court, and was required to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to 18 months incarceration.

But Epstein — who had a long list of powerful, politically connected friends — didn’t go to state prison like most sex offenders in Florida. Instead, the multimillionaire was assigned to a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade, where he was able to hire his own security detail. Even then, he didn’t spend much time in a cell. He was allowed to go to his downtown West Palm Beach office for work release, up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, records show.

miami herald logoMiami Herald, How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime, Julie K. Brown, Nov. 28, 2018. A decade before #MeToo, a multimillionaire sex offender from Florida got the ultimate break.

perversion of justice miami herald logoOn a muggy October morning in 2007, Miami’s top federal prosecutor, Alexander Acosta, had a breakfast appointment with a former colleague, Washington, D.C., attorney Jay Lefkowitz.

It was an unusual meeting for the then-38-year-old prosecutor, a rising Republican star who had served in several White House posts before being named U.S. attorney in Miami by President George W. Bush.

Instead of meeting at the prosecutor’s Miami headquarters, the two men — both with professional roots in the prestigious Washington law firm of Kirkland & Ellis — convened at the Marriott in West Palm Beach, about 70 miles away. For Lefkowitz, 44, a U.S. special envoy to North Korea and corporate lawyer, the meeting was critical.

Nov. 25

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Even as the Catholic Church claims to come clean, something is not right, Elizabeth Bruenig, Nov. 25, 2018 (print edition).  A list of accused predatory priests in the Washington archdiocese arouses suspicion that senior clergy are still holding back.

Nov. 23

washington post logotom jackmanWashington Post, Explosive report on clergy sex abuse spawns wave of inquiries as Catholic church stalls, Tom Jackman, right, Michelle Boorstein and Julie Zauzmer, Nov. 23, 2018 (print edition). A Pennsylvania grand jury report in August set off an unprecedented wave of investigations over the last several months, with attorneys general in 14 states and the District of Columbia announcing probes and demanding documents from Catholic officials.

The swift and sweeping response by civil authorities contrasts sharply with the Vatican’s comparatively glacial pace. While some U.S. dioceses have published lists of priests they say have been credibly accused of sexual abuse and two cardinals have been ousted, the Vatican this month put on hold a vote by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on measures to hold bishops more accountable until after a global synod in early 2019. In the meantime, Rome has done little to address the crisis.

washington post logotheodore mccarrickWashington Post, Four months after McCarrick’s resignation, silence from the Vatican on his fate, Julie Zauzmer, Nov. 23, 2018. The ex-cardinal, right, whose conduct scandalized the church is living in Kansas and has not faced a trial.

Nov. 19

TheWrap, Jacob Wohl Files Police Report After Michael Avenatti Tweets: ‘I Am Coming for You,’ Jon Levine, Nov. 19, 2018. Police spoke to Wohl but have taken no other action. Right-wing provocateur Jacob Wohl escalated a fight with Michael Avenatti, right, by filing an incident report with police after Avenatti said he was “coming after” Wohl.

The incident report came after Avenatti suggested in a tweet Friday that Wohl played a part in Avenatti’s arrest on domestic violence charges. Avenatti, best known for representing Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Trump, suggested that Wohl was also behind baseless accusations against special counsel Robert Mueller.

“First Mueller and now me. When we are fully exonerated I am coming for you Jacob Wohl aka Surefire,” Avenatti wrote, referring to Wohl’s opposition research company.

Avenatti has continued tweeting about Wohl, a 20-year-old blogger who says he lives in Irvine. “I have located someone more dishonest with less of a moral compass and lower standards than Donald Trump. His name is Jacob Wohl. And I am going to make it part of my life’s work to bring him to justice,” Avenatti tweeted on Sunday.

In a statement to TheWrap, Wohl denied any involvement in Avenatti’s arrest and said he looked forward to attending the attorney’s court appearance in December.

“I had nothing to do with Avenatti’s arrest. I’ve not been served with any papers. He would be well advised to stop threatening me. He is attempting to deflect blame away from the very serious charge he is facing,” Wohl told TheWrap. On Monday, actress Mareli Miniutti filed for a domestic violence restraining order against Avenatti. Avenatti tweeted Monday evening: “I look forward to a full clearing of my name and disclosure of all of the facts. I have NEVER abused a woman or committed domestic violence against anyone. Any claim to the contrary is completely bogus and fabricated. I am a target. And I will be exonerated.”

Wohl — a former Gateway Pundit writer — received public attention recently when he and lobbyist Jack Burkman attempted to snare Robert Mueller in a #MeToo scandal. The plot swiftly unraveled after media scrutiny and bizarre press conference the pair held in Washington D.C. on Nov. 1.

Nov. 16

Roll Call, Ruben Kihuen Harassed Women, Ethics Committee Finds, Katherine Tully-McManus, Nov. 16, 2018. Rep. Ruben Kihuen harassed women who worked with him and violated the House’s official code of conduct, according to a House Ethics Committee report released Thursday.

“Kihuen made persistent and unwanted advances towards women who were required to interact with him as part of their professional responsibilities,” the report says. The advances included kissing, grabbing and comments about underwear.

The release comes after a nine-month inquiry by an investigative subcommittee empaneled in December, 2017. The Nevada Democrat refused to resign following allegations of harassment by women who worked for and with him, even after top Democrats called on him to step down. But Kihuen decided not to seek re-election, making the announcement a day after the Ethics Committee launched its investigation.

Nov. 15

ny times logoNew York Times, 7 Women Accuse Dartmouth Professors of Sexual Abuse in Lawsuit, Anemona Hartocollis, Nov. 15, 2018. A lawsuit has accused three professors at Dartmouth College of turning the human behavior research department “into a 21st-century Animal House.”

For over a decade, the professors — Todd Heatherton, William Kelley and Paul Whalen — “leered at, groped, sexted, intoxicated and even raped female students,” according to the court papers, which were filed Thursday in federal court in New Hampshire.

The lawsuit, which seeks $70 million in damages, says this behavior went back as far as 2002, and accuses the college administration of looking the other way for more than 16 years.

Dartmouth, an Ivy League university in Hanover, N.H., announced in October 2017 that it was conducting a sexual misconduct investigation of the men, who were tenured professors in the school’s psychology and brain sciences department. That inquiry concluded that the professors should be stripped of their tenure and lose their jobs. All three were allowed to either resign or retire.

Nov. 14

#MeToo, Sexual Assault, Universities

ny times logoNew York Times, For University of Minnesota, Chinese Tycoon’s Arrest Shines Light, Again, on Sexual Assault, Tiffany Hsu, Raymond Zhong and Carolyn Zhang, Nov. 14, 2018 (print edition). When the Chinese billionaire Richard Liu was arrested two months ago in Minneapolis on suspicion of rape, he wasn’t in town for business. Mr. Liu, a 45-year-old internet tycoon, was a student at the University of Minnesota, taking in lectures by day and enjoying dinner parties by night.

As prosecutors weigh whether to charge Mr. Liu, the case represents a setback for a university that has made progress on how it handles sexual misconduct. In recent years, the university has dealt with a series of sexual assault and harassment episodes involving students and faculty members, which have prompted a state audit and new campus policies. Now, the university is once again in the national conversation, and the focus this time is on a relatively new and lucrative academic program.

Mr. Liu, who has denied wrongdoing, was in Minnesota for a global business program, aimed at Asian executives, that is on track to generate over $10 million for the school in tuition since starting last year. His accuser, who has not been publicly identified, is a young Chinese student at the university who volunteered for the program.

The case “puts the university administration in an impossible situation” as it tries to simultaneously protect its students and its reputation, said Kristen Houlton Shaw, the executive director of the nonprofit Sexual Violence Center in Minneapolis.

Nov. 12

ny times logoNew York Times, They Were Stopped at the Texas Border. Their Nightmare Had Only Just Begun, Manny Fernandez with photographs and video by Caitlin O’Hara, Nov. 12, 2018. After crossing the Rio Grande, three immigrant women were picked up by a Border Patrol agent. Their relief soon turned to terror.

Nov. 10

The Afro via Black Press USA, Commentary: Let us say #SheToo for women who can’t, E. Faye Williams, Nov. 10, 2018. Since the World Bank is exempt from US laws and courts, women in the World Bank can be sexually harassed and assaulted without any legal recourse. Bank report (The Stern Report) attributed sexual harassment in the World Bank to “cultures with different standards for male-female relationships.” Women who challenge the status quo risk getting fired and losing their World Bank sponsored visa. This entails uprooting their family and leaving the US within 60 days.

In 1999, a US Congressional report found the Bank’s internal justice system that is supposed to protect women from sexual harassment unfit to adjudicate sexual harassment claims. The World Bank pushed back, stating that “The report fails to capture the unique challenges of a large inter-governmental organization composed of 181 member countries.” Chief among the challenges was the Bank’s obligation to “take into account the institution’s multicultural needs.”

A 2001 World Bank report gave further explanation. “While unwelcome behaviors are seen from the perspective of the person on the receiving end, the standard for judging whether a behavior is inappropriate is not purely subjective.” Situations which initially may appear to constitute sexual harassment may not rise to the level of legal offense when “the particular sensitivities required in the World Bank multicultural environment” are factored in.

What “cultural sensitivities” are factored in? In 2016, a comprehensive World Bank study of 173 countries found that over 100 of them have three or more discriminatory laws against women. For example, take Iran where, according to the Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran, Article 209 of their constitution stipulates that “a woman’s life is valued only half as much as a man’s life.

In Nigeria, the penal codes dictate that “unlawful assault of any male person is a felony.” By contrast, “Unlawful assault of a woman or girl is a misdemeanor!” In March 2016, the Nigerian Senate rejected a bill introduced to grant women equality under law. Sound familiar?

When such “cultural sensitivities” are factored, coercive sexual harassment is merely regarded as a manifestation of the Bank’s multicultural environment.

This is disclosed in the Stern Report that identifies a rampant culture of “General sexual harassment,” including “unwelcome touches, repeated requests for dates, and posters and jokes demeaning women.”

Of those who were interviewed for the Stern Report, 325 revealed they were subjected to “unwelcome sexual advances” and 75 said they were victims of “coercive sexual harassment.” The Report concluded that its findings “may seem laughable, but they are a reality to many women at the World Bank.”

The Report stated: “Women generally are not willing to complain about such behavior for fear of retribution. Most simply try to escape their situations as soon as possible. The lack of attention to the issue, the absence of secure and supportive channels to discuss problems, and the uncertainty that remedial action will be taken are seen as official tolerance of such behavior.”

Little has changed since the Stern Report was released in 1992. In 2016, in DN v. World Bank, the Bank’s Administrative Tribunal reviewed a case involving a male staff member who was terminated for placing his iPhone “under the skirt of a female staff member to take inappropriate photographs and/or record a video of her, without her consent.” The Tribunal established that “the Applicant’s misconduct has been established” with sufficient evidence; yet, it ordered the World Bank to reinstate him because “the disciplinary sanction of termination was significantly disproportionate” to the offense he committed or the peculiar culture he manifested!

The only protection his victim has is coming to the office wearing pants! I call upon you to say #SheToo for every woman everywhere when she can’t. The World Bank is one of those places.

Nov. 9

wsj logoWall Street Journal, Donald Trump Played Central Role in Hush Payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, Joe Palazzolo, Nicole Hong, Michael Rothfeld, Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Rebecca Ballhaus, Nov. 9, 2018. Federal prosecutors have gathered evidence of president’s participation in transactions that violated campaign-finance laws.

david pecker croppedAs a presidential candidate in August 2015, Donald Trump huddled with a longtime friend, media executive David Pecker, in his cluttered 26th floor Trump Tower office and made a request.

What can you do to help my campaign? he asked, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Mr. Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., offered to use his National Enquirer tabloid to buy the silence of women if they tried to publicize alleged sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.

djt Karen McDougal Donald Trump youtubeLess than a year later, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Pecker to quash the story of a former Playboy model who said they’d had an affair. Mr. Pecker’s company soon paid $150,000 to the model, Karen McDougal (shown with Trump at left), to keep her from speaking publicly about it. Mr. Trump later thanked Mr. Pecker for the assistance.

The Trump Tower meeting and its aftermath are among several previously unreported instances in which Mr. Trump intervened directly to suppress stories about his alleged sexual encounters with women, according to interviews with three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them, as well as court papers, corporate records and other documents.

 ny times logofacebook logoNew York Times, Facebook to Drop Forced Arbitration in Harassment Cases, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Nov. 9, 2018. Facebook said on Friday that it would no longer force employees to settle sexual harassment claims in private arbitration, making it the latest technology company to do away with a practice that critics say has stacked the deck against victims of harassment.

Facebook acted one day after Google announced similar plans. Last week, 20,000 Google employees staged a walkout from the company’s offices around the world to demand that it change the way it handled sexual harassment incidents. Microsoft changed its arbitration policy about a year ago, as did the ride-hailing company Uber six months ago.

Nov. 8

ny times logoeric schneiderman oNew York Times, Schneiderman Will Not Face Criminal Charges in Abuse Complaints, Alan Feuer, Nov. 8, 2018. After a six-month investigation, prosecutors said Thursday that they would not pursue criminal charges against Eric T. Schneiderman, right, the former New York State attorney general who resigned in May after four women accused him of assaulting them.

The decision not to file charges was announced in a statement issued by Madeline Singas, the Nassau County district attorney, who was asked by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to investigate the case shortly after Mr. Schneiderman left his post.

Ms. Singas said the women who accused Mr. Schneiderman of abuse were credible, but there were legal hurdles to bringing charges. She did not elaborate on those obstacles, except to say that some of the accusations were too old to pursue under state law.

rudy giuliani recentNew York Observer, Rudy Giuliani Has Spent $286,000 on His Mistress in Six Months, According to his Wife, Davis Richardson, Nov. 8, 2018. According to his third wife, Judith Nathan, Rudy Giuliani, right, has two very expensive habits: Cigars and mistresses.

Court filings from the pair’s divorce proceedings in Manhattan claim Giuliani dolled out $286,536 to his mistress, Maria Rosa Ryan, over the last six months. The two began an affair earlier this year, prompting Nathan to file for divorce. Like Giuliani, Ryan is also married.

When President Trump’s attorney wasn’t bankrolling his affair, he was reportedly spending $447,938 on activities “for his own enjoyment” and $165,165 on travel, per NBC. Nathan also alleges Giuliani spent $12,012 on cigars and $7,131 on pens. All expenses are said to have occurred since April.

Nov. 7

keith ellison o smallMinneapolis Star-Tribune, Keith Ellison defeats Doug Wardlow in Minnesota attorney general race, Stephen Montemayor, Nov. 7, 2018. Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison will be Minnesota’s next attorney general, defeating Republican Doug Wardlow after a bitter campaign marked by allegations of domestic abuse and an intense spotlight on both candidates’ pasts.

Ellison, right, helped deliver the DFL Party a sweep of the statewide elected offices and was met by a raucous room of supporters chanting his name at the party’s election night celebration in St. Paul. Ellison acknowledged the difficulty of the race but said his campaign persevered thanks to his supporters.

Ellison, who is also deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has risen to national political prominence since becoming the nation’s first Muslim congressman in 2006. In June, he surprised supporters by announcing that he would give up a safe Democratic House seat to pursue the Attorney General’s Office after Lori Swanson filed to run for governor. Ellison won the DFL Party’s primary just days after ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan alleged that he emotionally and physically abused her.

Ellison, 55, of Minneapolis, has denied Monahan’s claim, and an investigation commissioned by the DFL Party concluded that it could not substantiate the allegations. Republicans dismissed the investigation because the attorney who led the probe works for a law firm that has represented DFL Party interests.

The election promises to usher in a new era for an office led by Swanson since 2006. Ellison has said that he would approach the office as a tool to challenge certain Trump administration policies in court as other state attorneys general have since Donald Trump’s election.

Ellison said recently he would make as his “first legislative priority” safeguarding staff attorneys from being fired based on their politics — a proposal that was in direct response to a recording of Wardlow pledging to a group of Republican donors that he would purge the office of 42 DFL attorneys.

Before launching his campaign, Wardlow also worked for the national Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian nonprofit legal group behind numerous court challenges to same-sex marriage and transgender rights.

Nov. 2

gary hart donna rice monkey business

Model Donna Rice and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, a Colorado senator taking a cruise on a yacht named Monkey Business.The photo, allegedly a political dirty trick set up against Hart, was taken during the campaign by Rice's friend Lynn Armandt and provided to the news media

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump and the Hart-less Presidency, Maureen Dowd, Nov. 2, 2018. After 30 years, Gary Hart still wonders what might have been.

While the rest of us obsess on what happened in 2016 and what will happen on Tuesday, Gary Hart is bedeviled by what happened in 1987, and whether the tabloid mania sparked by his liaison with Donna Rice led down a rattlesnake-filled path straight to our tabloid president.

gary hart the front runner jason reitman directorHart, and a new Jason Reitman movie about the Rice imbroglio, The Front Runner, both pose the question: Is there a direct connection between Hart’s fall and Trump’s rise?

If reporters had not hidden in the bushes, would there have been any Bushes?

“I bear a very heavy burden of responsibility,” Hart says, picking at a “game plate” of elk, buffalo and quail at The Fort restaurant outside of Denver. “If all that stuff had not happened and if I had been elected, there would have been no gulf war. H.W. wouldn’t have been president. W. wouldn’t have been president. Everything would have changed. I don’t say that to aggrandize myself. It’s just, history changed.

“And that has haunted me for thirty years. I had only one talent and it wasn’t traditional politics — I could see farther ahead than anybody.’’

Hart maintained that “there was no relationship” with Rice. Rice — who became an evangelical and supports Trump — told People this week, “I’m just not discussing it.” But a married candidate can’t have a gorgeous young model fly up to D.C. from Miami for the weekend to visit his house — “the infamous townhouse,’’ as Hart’s son dryly calls it — and not attract questions if they are seen.

A recent piece by James Fallows in The Atlantic reported that Lee Atwater, the Republican dirty trickster and Poppy Bush party chief, confessed before his death that he had set up Hart for his weekend of doom on “Monkey Business.”

“That’s the only way that 48-hour period makes any sense,’’ Hart told me.

See also for background:

  • miami herald logoMiami Herald, The Gary Hart Story: How It Happened, by Jim McGee, Tom Fiedler and James Savage, May 10, 1987. This article was prepared by Jim McGee, Tom Fiedler and James Savage. It was first published in the Miami Herald on May 10, 1987. It is reprinted with permission of The Miami Herald. Note: This article is from  the University of North Carolina “AFS” site, which is being close on Nov. 13, 2018.
  • The Atlantic, Was Gary Hart Set Up? James Fallows, Oct. 16, 2018. November 2018 issue, What are we to make of the deathbed confession of the political operative Lee Atwater, newly revealed, that he staged the events that brought down the Democratic candidate in 1987?

October

Oct. 31

washington post logopakistan flag wavingWashington Post, Pakistan’s highest court spares the life of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, Shaiq Hussain, Meagan Flynn and Pamela Constable, Oct. 31, 2018 (print edition). Pakistan’s highest court has spared the life of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in a long-awaited ruling Wednesday, prompting celebration among human rights activists and countrywide protest by religious parties. Asia Bibi, a mother and farmer, had spent eight years seeking mercy from appeals courts while imprisoned on death row.

The supreme court acquitted Bibi on charges of making “derogatory remarks” about the Muslim prophet Muhammad, ruling that the evidence against her appeared fabricated and insufficient.

If she had been found guilty and not received presidential clemency, Bibi would have been the first person hanged under Pakistan’s strict anti-blasphemy law, which carries a mandatory penalty of death.

“It is ironical that in the Arabic language the appellant’s name Asia means ‘sinful’ but in the circumstances of the present case she appears to be a person, in the words of Shakespeare’s King [Lear], ‘more sinned against than sinning,’” Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa wrote in a concurring opinion.

Looking Back: Dirty Tricks or Scandal?

gary hart donna rice monkey business

Model Donna Rice and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart, a Colorado senator taking a cruise on a yacht named Monkey Business.The photo, allegedly a political dirty trick set up against Hart, was taken during the campaign by Rice's friend Lynn Armandt and provided to the news media

People, 31 Years After Gary Hart Sex Scandal, Donna Rice Hughes Can Feel PTSD from Old Media Firestorm, Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, Oct. 31, 2018. At first, she hoped she could remain anonymous.

When The Miami Herald‘s bombshell front-page headline — “Miami woman is linked to Hart; Candidate denies any impropriety” — hit newsstands on May 3, 1987, the 29-year-old woman in question thought her name could be kept out of what quickly spun into the first big political scandal of its kind. Hart, of course, was Gary Hart, the married U.S. senator from Colorado who, at the time, seemed to be coasting toward the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.

The woman, spied by Herald reporters who staked out Hart’s Washington, D.C., home to investigate his reputation for womanizing, was Donna Rice, then a pharmaceutical sales rep and model-actress living in Miami.

miami herald logoKnown today by her married name, Donna Rice Hughes spoke exclusively to PEOPLE for the new issue on newsstands Friday, ahead of the Nov. 21 nationwide opening of The Front Runner, director Jason Reitman’s big-screen retelling of the 1987 sex scandal that shut down Hart’s campaign and tarred Hughes, in her words, as a “bimbo, homewrecker, sleaze.”

“The Miami Herald didn’t know my identity. Somebody in the Hart campaign released my name to the media and so within the day the story broke, my name and other things were released,” Hughes, now 60, recalls in an interview at the kitchen table of the D.C.-area home she shares with her husband, Jack, a tech-industry businessman.

See also: The Atlantic, Was Gary Hart Set Up? James Fallows, Oct. 16, 2018. November 2018 issue, What are we to make of the deathbed confession of the political operative Lee Atwater, newly revealed, that he staged the events that brought down the Democratic candidate in 1987?

Oct. 26

washington post logoWashington Post, Personal Commentary: Homeless women are the sexual assault survivors no one talks about. Here’s my story, Lori Yearwood, Oct. 26, 2018.Within months, the writer lost her house, her family and business, and wound up, traumatized, on the streets of Salt Lake City. She spent two years enduring brutality as a homeless woman before she found the strength to pull herself out.

Oct. 26

ny times logoNew York Times, Google Shielded Executives Accused of Misconduct. One Got $90 Million Exit Deal, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Katie Benner, Oct. 25, 2018. Google gave Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, a hero’s farewell when he left the company in October 2014.

“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Larry Page, Google’s chief executive then, said in a public statement. “With Android he created something truly remarkable — with a billion-plus happy users.”

google logo customWhat Google did not make public was that an employee had accused Mr. Rubin of sexual misconduct. The woman, with whom Mr. Rubin had been having an extramarital relationship, said he coerced her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013, according to two company executives with knowledge of the episode. Google investigated and concluded her claim was credible, said the people, who spoke on the condition that they not be named, citing confidentiality agreements. Mr. Rubin was notified, they said, and Mr. Page asked for his resignation.

Google could have fired Mr. Rubin and paid him little to nothing on the way out. Instead, the company handed him a $90 million exit package, paid in installments of about $2 million a month for four years, said two people with knowledge of the terms. The last payment is scheduled for next month.

Mr. Rubin was one of three executives that Google protected over the past decade after they were accused of sexual misconduct. In two instances, it ousted senior executives, but softened the blow by paying them millions of dollars as they departed, even though it had no legal obligation to do so. In a third, the executive remained in a highly compensated post at the company. Each time Google stayed silent about the accusations against the men.

The New York Times obtained corporate and court documents and spoke to more than three dozen current and former Google executives and employees about the episodes, including some people directly involved in handling them. Most asked to remain anonymous because they were bound by confidentiality agreements or feared retribution for speaking out.

washington post logoWashington Post, While Stormy Daniels publicly battles Trump, Summer Zervos’s defamation suit against him quietly advances, Elise Viebeck, Oct. 25, 2018. Three days after adult-film star Stormy Daniels’s libel case against President Trump was dismissed in federal court, the lawyer for another woman suing Trump for defamation argued to a panel of New York appellate judges why they should allow her case to proceed.

summer zervos“The president does not stand above the law,” Mariann Wang, an attorney for former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos (shown in a file photo), said last week during a little-noticed hearing in Manhattan.

“He is also a human being who engaged in unofficial conduct and acts that hurt my client very seriously. We have — she has — the right to bring this action.”

Amid the focus on Daniels’s conspicuous and ugly battle with Trump, Zervos’s case has quietly advanced as a possibly more serious legal threat.

Trump’s lawyers are attempting to block her suit by arguing that the president is immune from such lawsuits in state court, a constitutional law dispute that could produce new precedent if it rises to the Supreme Court.

So far, Zervos’s case has overcome multiple efforts by Trump’s attorneys to kill or stall it in New York state. Lawyers for Zervos have started gathering pretrial evidence — including written answers from Trump — and may get the chance to depose him in the coming months.

Oct. 24

#MeToo Priest Probe

washington post logoWashington Post, Virginia attorney general launches investigation into Catholic clergy sex abuse, Michelle Boorstein and Laura Vozzella​, Oct. 24, 2018. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced Wednesday that his office is running an “ongoing investigation” into the state’s two Catholic dioceses and whether there has been any sexual abuse and coverup. The announcement comes a day after D.C.'s top prosecutor made a similar announcement.

In a late morning news conference, Herring said the probe was launched in response to a massive Pennsylvania grand jury report released this summer, and not with specific knowledge of unreported abuse or a coverup in Virginia. However, he told reporters, after reading the report: “Like so many Americans … I felt sick.”

Wife Accuses Nationalist In #MeToo Claim

washington post logoWashington Post, White nationalist Richard Spencer accused of physically abusing wife throughout their marriage, Eli Rosenberg, Oct. 24, 2018. White nationalist Richard Spencer’s wife, Nina Koupriianova, accused him of physically, emotionally and verbally abusing her over the course of their eight-year marriage, according to documents and exhibits filed in court as part of their divorce proceedings.

richard spencer CustomKoupriianova said the abuse, which she documented in the form of transcribed conversations, emails, photographs and even a chat with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, continued throughout the course of their eight-year marriage and included incidents that occurred while she was pregnant.

Spencer, right, is perhaps the most prominent white nationalist from the crop of racially motivated extremists who came into public view during the 2016 election and events such as the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Often quick to return a reporter’s phone call or email, Spencer has been readily covered by the media as the public face of the loose collection of political ideologies revolving around racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and racial purity that make up the so-called alt-right.

Oct. 23

washington post logokarl racineWashington Post, D.C. attorney general launches investigation of clergy sex abuse in Washington archdiocese, Peter Jamison and Michelle Boorstein, Oct. 23, 2018.  D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine, right, said Tuesday that his office has begun an investigation of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in the archdiocese of Washington, the latest in a string of state-level law enforcement officials now looking into the Catholic Church’s handling of abuse complaints.

The investigation, announced by Racine at a regularly scheduled breakfast among the District’s elected officials, will bring scrutiny to Catholic leaders who have cardinal donald wuerl portrait fullcome under intense criticism in recent months.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, left, resigned this month as Washington’s archbishop amid an uproar over a Pennsylvania grand jury report that depicted systemic abuse across the state’s Catholic Church, including in Pittsburgh, where Wuerl had been a bishop. Wuerl’s D.C. predecessor, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was removed from ministry in June following allegations that he had sexually abused a teenager decades ago while serving as a priest in New York.

Racine has limited power to prosecute crimes in the District, where felony cases are handled by the U.S. attorney’s office. However, he is opening the investigation under his authority to enforce D.C. law governing nonprofit organizations, as well as District law regarding the mandated reporting of sexual abuse.

ny times logoNew York Times, #MeToo Brought Down 201 Powerful Men. Women Are Nearly Half of Their Replacements, Audrey Carlsen, Maya Salam, Claire Cain Miller, Denise Lu, Ash Ngu, Jugal K. Patel And Zach Wichter, Oct. 23, 2018. A New York Times analysis shows that the #MeToo movement shook, and is still shaking, power structures in society’s most visible sectors. In the year preceding the Weinstein report, fewer than 30 high-profile people made the news for resigning or being fired after public accusations of sexual misconduct.

P#MeToo / Press Freedom / Libel Law

ny times logomichelle goldberg thumbNew York Times, Opinion: Revenge of the Right-Wing Snowflakes, Michelle Goldberg, Oct. 22, 2018. Angry men go to court to silence their critics.One minor sordid subplot of the Trump era has been the ugly custody battle between Jason Miller, senior communications adviser on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and A.J. Delgado, a former Trump campaign surrogate.

jason miller aj delgadoMiller and Delgado (shown at left) started an affair during the presidential race; Delgado became pregnant while Miller’s wife was pregnant as well. Now Miller and Delgado are involved in a vicious custody battle over their son, which Delgado chronicles on her Twitter feed.

For all its squalor, this is a story of public interest. It’s reportedly the reason Miller didn’t become White House communications director, instead signing on to defend Trump as a CNN contributor.

So it was news when Delgado claimed, in a court filing, that Miller had made a previous girlfriend pregnant and then put abortion-inducing medication in her smoothie. In September the website Splinter, part of Gizmodo Media, reported on the filing, noting that Miller denied the allegations.

In response, Miller made an aggressive legal move that’s becoming more common on the right, suing the report’s author, Katherine Krueger, and Gizmodo Media for $100 million. When Krueger’s boyfriend, a co-host of the cult left-wing podcast Chapo Trap House, called Miller a “rat-faced baby killer” in a tweet, Miller added him to the suit.

There is an air of dark absurdity about this saga. Miller is unlikely to prevail, because there are broad protections for journalists to report on claims made in legal filings, whether or not they are true. But it’s still worth taking seriously, because it’s part of a mounting conservative assault on free speech.

Oct. 12

washington post logoWashington Post, Pope accepts Wuerl’s resignation amid criticism of handling of abuse claims, Michelle Boorstein, Oct. 12, 2018. Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation cardinal donald wuerl portrait fullof Washington’s archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl (shown at right), a trusted papal ally who became a symbol among many Catholics for what they regard as the church’s defensive and weak response to clerical sex abuse.

But even as Wuerl becomes one of the highest-profile prelates to step down in a year of prominent abuse scandals, Pope Francis offered the cardinal a gentle landing, praising him in a letter and allowing him to stay on as “apostolic administrator” in the Washington archdiocese until a successor was found.

In his letter, Francis suggested he had accepted Wuerl’s resignation reluctantly, and said he saw in the cardinal’s request the “heart of a shepherd.” Francis did not criticize Wuerl’s handling of abuse cases, and wrote that Wuerl had “sufficient elements” to defend his actions.

Oct. 11

Oct. 11

Justice Integrity Project, Courts Continue Voter Suppression As Trump Celebrates With His Justice In Partisan White House Gala, Hatefest

By Andrew Kreig

The U.S. Supreme Court helped launch the Brett Kavanaugh era on Oct. 10 by curtailing the voting of Native Americans in North Dakota, where a tight Senate race threatens a Democrat who voted against Kavanaugh's recent confirmation.

brett kavanaugh white house promoThe court enabled a new state rule barring voters who use for election purposes Post Office boxes instead of street addresses. Many Native Americans living on reservations use only PO Boxes and have heavily supported Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, below, the incumbent Democrat who is now an underdog in her race.

heidi heitkamp oThe court's refusal to intervene follows its recent practice of avoiding review for the most part of voter suppression and gerrymandering efforts by Republican state officials who have taken major steps recently to reduce voter registrations and polling place en masse in ways that heavily disadvantage Democrats in November.

In the North Dakota case, five votes were needed from the nine justices. Kavanaugh, shown in a White House-promoted political-type photo of a kind unusual for a sitting justice, did not participate for unexplained reasons, presumably because of his busy schedule getting installed onto the court.

Several columns this week describe a looming legal crisis regarding election-rigging in next month's elections and beyond.

Update: Trump Administration Seeks to Stifle Protests Near White House and on National Mall.

Investigative reporter Greg Palast, who documented for the BBC in 2001 how Republicans had stolen the 2000 presidential election by eliminating the names of more than 100,000 suspected Democrats from voter rolls (and not by the few ballots with hanging "chads" described by the American media), published several investigations regarding secret cutbacks in 2018 voter rolls by Republican secretaries of state seeking to tilt next month's elections.

For example, he wrote for Truthout in GOP’s Brian Kemp Purged 1 in 10 Georgia Voters: I’ve Got the Names:

"My lawyer had to threaten Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp with a federal lawsuit to force him to turn over the names of over half a million voters whose citizenship rights he quietly extinguished," Palast began. "This past week, I released the name of every one of these Georgia voters Kemp flushed from voter rolls in 2017."

Yet all such legal actions and reporting is based on the increasingly quaint theory that federal courts will honestly address the election issues and not just endorse Republican vote suppression by 5-4 party line votes by justices installed like Kavanaugh after long involvement in extreme partisan politics, including dirty tricks at election time.

brett kavanaugh election fraud wmr graphicTaking another broad view, investigative reporter Wayne Madsen linked Kavanaugh with presidential election rigging in the United States with Karl Rove and in the Ukraine with Paul Manafort in 2004, as portrayed at right and as described in his column Exclusive Investigative Commentary: Bush backed Kavanaugh to keep election thefts of 2000 and 2004 a secret.

The column, based on Madsen's years of covering election frauds, linked Kavanaugh and Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee to the Bush dynasty and its election-rigging operation headquartered in Chattanooga, TN,  where Corker was mayor before his 2006 election to the senate.

Madsen thereby explained the all-out Bush team pressure that kept such supposed "moderates" as Corker and former Bush appointee Susan Collins as strong Kavanaugh supporters despite their supposed willingness to weigh evidence fairly about  allegations against the nominee. Collins is married to Thomas Daffron, a lobbyist with deep ties to the Bush administration and powerful corporations.

Also, Ohio-based investigative reporters/authors Robert Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman published Will the Trump GOP Strip and Flip America's 2018 Election While the Democrats Fail to Protect the Vote?

djt brett kavanaugh anthony kennedy oct 8 2018 white houseEarlier this week, President Trump invited the newest justice and his family to the White House to reenact the official weekend swearing-in ceremony.

With Trump front and center and denouncing Democrats, the White House ceremony became a highly partisan attack by the president on "mobs" of protesters against the nominee.

Democrats and other protesters must be defeated at the polls in next month's elections to maintain law and order, the president urged as the new justice looked on during the celebration — thereby horrifying both Democrats and others who think presidents and judges should at least pretend to be non-partisan on formal occasions.

The spectacle was an especially flagrant disregard of norms for a non-partisan judiciary independent of party or president. That's because Kavanaugh, doubtless now deeply indebted to Trump, has argued that a president should not have to undergo civil or criminal litigation.

Oct. 9

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Seeks to Make Furor a Campaign Asset, Not a Liability, Peter Baker, Oct. 9, 2018 (print edition). As he prepared to hold a ceremonial swearing-in of Justice Kavanaugh, President Trump dismissed sexual misconduct accusations as “fabricated.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump stokes tensions over Kavanaugh confirmation battle, Ashley Parker and John Wagner, Oct. 9, 2018 (print edition). At a White House ceremony, President Trump apologized to Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and his family for the “terrible pain and suffering” they endured after his confirmation was marred by accusations of sexual misconduct.

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Christine Ford’s Corroborating Evidence, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Oct. 9, 2018. Throughout the controversy over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, some people were saying that Christine Blasey Ford did not produce “corroborating evidence” to support her accusation that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. Therefore, since Kavanaugh was denying that he committed the assault, the argument went, he should be given the benefit of the doubt in what seemed to be a “he-said, she-said” controversy.

But actually Ford did provide corroborating evidence to support the accusation she leveled at Kavanaugh, very powerful corroborating evidence, evidence that was largely ignored by the Senate Judiciary Committee, especially in the haste by Republican committee members to get the controversy over with by rushing to a quick confirmation vote.

Part of the problem, of course, lies in how some people perceive the term “corroborating evidence.” For many who aren’t lawyers, the term means eyewitnesses to the incident in question. What such people fail to realize, however, is that the law provides that there can be corroborative evidence that does not consist of eyewitness testimony.

One thing is for sure though: Contrary to popular opinion, Christine Blasey Ford did provide corroborating evidence to the U.S. Senate that buttressed her accusation against Brett Kavanaugh — powerful corroborating evidence in the form of prior consistent statements that were previously made to several different people and all of which statements were made long before Kavanaugh was even nominated.

brett kavanaugh protest sign veronica monet dcma

Anti-Kavanaugh protester in front of the U.S. Capitol (Veronica Monet photo via DCMA)

OpEdNews, Opinion: The Cultural Conflict of the Century: Conservative Politics and the #MeToo Backlash, Veronica Monet, Oct. 9, 2018. Many of us were horrified to witness how the Republican controlled Senate dealt with Dr. Ford's claims of sexual assault during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Some of us were shocked by the "boys will be boys" and "it's in the past so why talk about it now" assertions from those conservatives who unapologetically stood by their man, Brett Kavanaugh.

As important as Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court was, could it be that we are in the midst of a cultural war that transcends the Supreme Court confirmation hearings in its scope and implications? Might his confirmation be seen as a backlash against the #MeToo movement? Might we be in the midst of an epic conflict between old cultural belief systems and a newly emerging cultural paradigm?

Kavanaugh played by the rules of the conservative culture he ascribes to. According to those rules, male emotions other than anger and self-righteous indignation are a liability and even a self-centered indulgence. There is little empathy for the suffering of self or of others and a lot of disdain for anyone who "breaks the rules."

ny times logopaul krugmanNew York Times, Opinion: The Paranoid Style in G.O.P. Politics, Paul Krugman, right, Oct. 9, 2018 (print edition). Republicans are an authoritarian regime in waiting.

Many people are worried, rightly, about what the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh means for America in the long term. He’s a naked partisan who clearly lied under oath about many aspects of his personal history; that’s as important as, and related to, the question of what he did to Christine Blasey Ford, a question that remains unresolved because the supposed investigation was such a transparent sham. Putting such a man on the Supreme Court has, at a stroke, destroyed the court’s moral authority for the foreseeable future.

But such long-term worries should be a secondary concern right now. The more immediate threat comes from what we saw on the Republican side during and after the hearing: not just contempt for the truth, but also a rush to demonize any and all criticism. In particular, the readiness with which senior Republicans embraced crazy conspiracy theories about the opposition to Kavanaugh is a deeply scary warning about what might happen to America, not in the long run, but just a few weeks from now.

Oct. 8

Supreme Court Swearing-in

djt brett kavanaugh anthony kennedy oct 8 2018 white house

Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, right, ceremonially swears-in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as President Donald Trump looks on, in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 8, 2018. Susan Walsh / AP

abc news logoABC News, Trump apologizes 'on behalf of the nation' to Kavanaugh during swearing-in, claims he was 'proven innocent,' Adam Kelsey and Meridith McGraw, Oct. 8, 2018. President Donald Trump apologized to incoming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh Monday evening "for the terrible pain and suffering" that he and his family endured during his confirmation process, going so far as to claim that Kavanaugh was "proven innocent" of the sexual assault allegations made against him.

Trump's comments, which he acknowledged as outside of the norm just prior to making them, came at a ceremonial swearing-in event for Kavanaugh in the East Room of the White House, two days after Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate and formally sworn-in as a member of the court by Chief Justice John Roberts.

"On behalf of the nation, I'd like to apologize to Brad and the entire a Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you've been forced to endure," Trump said. "Those who stepped forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation. Not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception."

Trump addressed the controversy head-on characterizing the heated political debate over sexual assault allegations leveled against Kavanaugh by California professor Christine Blasey Ford and several other women as "violat[ing] every notion of fairness, decency and due process."

"[In] our country, a man or a woman must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty," the president continued. "And with that, I must state that you, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent."

nbc news logoNBC News, Hillary Clinton calls Kavanaugh's ceremonial swearing-in a 'political rally,' Adam Edelman, Oct. 9, 2018. Trump's remarks at the White House event "further undermined the image and integrity of the court," the former secretary of state said.

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday ripped President Donald Trump’s unusual handling of the ceremonial swearing-in for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, calling the display a "political rally" that "further undermined the image and integrity of the court."

hillary clinton gage skidmore peoria azIn an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, parts of which aired Tuesday morning on the network, Clinton (shown in a file photo by Gage Skidmore) said that the way Trump carried out the event "troubles me greatly."

"What was done last night in the White House was a political rally. It further undermined the image and integrity of the court," Clinton said, "and that troubles me greatly. It saddens me because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government."

"So I don't know how people are going to react to it. I think given our divides it will pretty much fall predictably between those who are for and those who are against," she added, calling Trump “true to form.”

"He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign. Really for many years leading up to the campaign — and he's continued to do that inside the White House," Clinton said.

Trump responded on Tuesday to Clinton's comments, saying, "I guess that's why she lost. She never got it."

GOP Election Scandals

brett kavanaugh election fraud wmr graphic

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Exclusive Investigative Commentary: Bush backed Kavanaugh to keep election thefts of 2000 and 2004 a secret, Wayne Madsen, Oct. 8, 2018 (Subscription required, $30 annually; excerpted with permission.)

karl rove HR"Bush White House aides Brett Kavanaugh and Karl Rove, left, closely coordinated their election fraud operations with two experienced Washington campaign advisers for Republican candidates, Rick Davis, and Davis's partner, Paul Manafort."

wayne madsen trumps bananas coverNote: Former Navy intelligence officer, NSA analyst and defense contractor computer scientist Wayne Madsen for many years has exposed techniques to rig U.S. and international elections, electronically and by other methods. He is the author of 16 books, including the just-published "Trump's Bananas Republic," which portrays administration scandals through the lens of iconic Hollywood movies.

Climate Change

washington post logoWashington Post, World has just over a decade to get control of climate change, U.N. scientists say, Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis. Oct. 8, 2018 (print edition). “There is no documented historic precedent" for the scale of changes required, the body found.

The report warns of dire consequences if nations do not cut their carbon emissions by more than 1 billion tons per year, a figure that is larger than the annual emissions of nearly every country on the planet.

Supreme Court Battle

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: We need to stay angry about Kavanaugh, E.J. Dionne Jr., Oct. 8, 2018 (print edition). But even more, we need to vote, organize and think boldly after this travesty.

Republicans rushed through Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to avoid the possible consequences of an election. They aborted a full investigation because they feared what it might find. They made themselves complicit in a presidential attack on Christine Blasey Ford, a brave woman who asked only that her case against Kavanaugh be taken seriously.

After all these outrages, there will be calls for a renewal of civility, as if the problem is that people said nasty things about one other. But the answer to this power grab cannot be passive acceptance in the name of being polite. The causes and consequences of what just happened must be acknowledged frankly.

brett kavanaugh.judgeLThe conservative struggle for the court began in the 1960s, but it hit its stride in the Bush v. Gore decision after after the 2000 election. Five conservative justices violated the principles they claimed to uphold on states’ rights and the use of equal-protection doctrine to stop a recount of votes in Florida requested by Al Gore, the Democratic nominee. They thus made George W. Bush president.

The pro-Bush justices made abundantly clear that they were grasping at any arguments available to achieve a certain outcome by declaring, “our consideration is limited to the present circumstances.” Translation: Once Bush is in, please forget what we said here.

washington post logoWashington Post, Justices move to repair Supreme Court’s image after fight over Kavanaugh, Robert Barnes, Oct. 8, 2018 (print edition). As Brett M. Kavanaugh prepared for his debut on the high court, his colleagues already had moved quickly to paper over the damage from the bitter and tumultuous confirmation battle.

Oct. 7

 

brett kavanaugh swear in oct 6 2018 ashley

Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as his wife Ashley and two daughters look on, is sworn onto the court by Chief Justice John Roberts, whom Kavanaugh recommended for the court as Bush Administration White House Staff secretary (Supreme Court photo, Oct. 6, 2018). A political precedent used during the Republican installation of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas was to rush the swear-in in order to limit the impact of new scandal and protest for the lifetime appointment.

ny times logorepublican elephant logoNew York Times, Kavanaugh Is Sworn In After Close Confirmation Vote in Senate, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Oct. 7, 2018 (print edition). Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday by one of the slimmest margins in American history, locking in a solid conservative majority on the court and capping a rancorous battle that began as a debate over judicial ideology and concluded with a national reckoning over sexual misconduct.

He was promptly sworn in by both Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy — the court’s longtime swing vote, whom he will replace — in a private ceremony.

brett kavanaugh zina bash c span sept 2018

washington post logoWashington Post, Divided Senate confirms Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, Oct. 7, 2018 (print edition). The Senate voted to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as the Supreme Court’s 114th justice on Saturday by one of the narrowest margins in the institution’s history, as police stood guard and protesters’ shouts of “shame, shame” echoed through the Senate chamber.

The 50-to-48 vote capped a brutal confirmation fight that underscored how deeply polarized the nation has become under President Trump, who has now successfully placed two justices on the nation’s highest court, cementing a conservative majority.

With Vice President Pence presiding, senators sat in their chairs and rose to cast their votes, repeatedly interrupted by protesters in the visitors’ gallery who yelled out and were removed by Capitol Police. The Supreme Court announced Kavanaugh would be sworn in later Saturday.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Rock bottom’: Supreme Court fight reveals a country on the brink, Michael Scherer and Robert Costa​, Oct. 7, 2018 (print edition). In the battle over Brett M. Kavanaugh, few of the players emerged from the process unchanged or unblemished, underscoring the uncharted territory of deepening distrust and polarization that now defines the American system.

Oct. 6

GOP Wins Court Battle republican elephant logo

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Ultimate fighter’: How Trump helped shift momentum in favor of Kavanaugh, Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Sean Sullivan and Seung Min Kim, Oct. 6, 2018 (print edition). Relying on a hardball approach that left Democrats shaken and defeated, Republican leaders plowed through the chaos of the last few weeks to bring the Supreme Court nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the cusp of confirmation.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The High Court Brought Low, The Editorial Board, Oct. 6, 2018 (print edition). Don’t let Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh have the last word about American justice.

The task of plugging the holes and patching the rents in the court’s legitimacy now falls to the justices themselves, mainly to Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. (shown at left) He john roberts omust know that every decision of political significance rendered by a 5-to-4 majority that includes a Justice Kavanaugh will, at the very least, appear to be the product of bias and vengeance. If he cares about the integrity of the court as much as he claims to, the chief will do everything in his power to steer the court away from cases, and rulings, that could deepen the nation’s political divide.

There’s work the rest of us can do as well.

We can, for one thing, find ways in our own workplaces and communities to assure victims of sexual assault that they will be respected if they come forward, even if so many national political figures are dismissive of them.

And if we disapprove of the direction of the courts, we can put the lessons Mitch McConnell taught us to work — and vote.

It’s worth noting that, of the five justices picked by Republicans, including Judge Kavanaugh, four were nominated by presidents who first took office after losing the popular vote. And the slim majority of senators who said they would vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh on Saturday represent tens of millions fewer Americans than the minority of senators who voted to reject him. The nation’s founders were wise to design the court as a counter-majoritarian institution, but they couldn’t have been picturing this.

Most Americans are not where this Senate majority is. They do not support President Trump. They do not approve of relentless partisanship and disregard for the integrity of democratic institutions. And they have the power to call their government to account.

chuck grassley screams at patrick leahy confidential records screenshot

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) screams at his longtime Democratic colleague Pat Leahy of Vermont during the Kavanaugh hearing, in which Leahy and other Democrats have accused the nominee of perjuring himself by denying use of stolen Democratic Senate documents (screenshot).

washington post logoWashington Post, Grassley suggests absence of GOP women on Judiciary Committee is due to its heavy workload, Paul Kane, Oct. 6, 2018 (print edition). Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s inability to attract Republican women might be caused by its heavy workload, a remark the panel’s chairman tried to retract a few minutes later.

“It’s a lot of work — maybe they don’t want to do it,” Grassley told the Wall Street Journal, NBC News and other outlets, as he headed toward the Senate floor for a speech by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

The committee, which has turned into a partisan hotbed in the past five years, has never had a Republican woman serve on it, even as the Senate’s ranks have doubled from three to six female GOP senators in recent years.

That omission drew more scrutiny during the second round of hearings for Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, during which committee Republicans hired a female prosecutor from Arizona to question Christine Blasey Ford about her allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago.

washington post logomitch mcconnell2Washington Post, The politicians and players whose legacies will be shaped by the Kavanaugh fight, Amber Phillips, Oct. 6, 2018 (print edition). How they navigated the emotionally fraught Supreme Court nomination battle could define their careers. This was a Supreme Court nomination that will go down in the history books. If confirmed, Kavanaugh will have overcome accusations of sexual misconduct and assault, questions about his judicial temperament and surprise delays to his confirmation.

Roll Call, Brett Kavanaugh to Be Rare Beneficiary of Senate Paired Voting, Niels Lesniewski, Oct. 6, 2018. Votes of Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Steve Daines will be offset [With 50-48 confirmation margin projected and no GOP "no" votes].

When the Senate votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, two senators will engage in a practice that’s all but died out. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the only member of the Republican Conference opposed to elevating the current D.C. Circuit Court judge to the Supreme Court, announced Friday that ordinarily she would vote “no.” Instead, Murkowski intends to vote “present” in order to offset the absence of Republican Sen. Steve Daines, who will be in Montana to attend to his daughter’s wedding.

The vote on confirmation is expected late afternoon on Saturday.

lisa murkowski oMurkowski said in her floor speech that she hoped after the bitter debate over Kavanaugh that the Senate could take a few steps back toward a more respectful tone.

“While I voted no on cloture today, and I will be a no tomorrow,” she said Friday evening, “I will, in the final tally, be asked to be recorded as present, and I do this because a friend, a colleague of ours, is in Montana this evening and tomorrow at just about the same hour that we’re going to be voting; he’s going to be walking his daughter down the aisle and he won’t be present to vote, and so I have extended this as a courtesy to my friend.”

“It will not change the outcome of the vote, but I do hope that it reminds us that we can take very small, very small, steps to be gracious with one another and maybe those small, gracious steps can lead to more,” Murkowski said.

Oct. 5

Nobel Peace Prize

denis mukwege nadia murad nobel

washington post logoWashington Post, Nobel Peace Prize awarded to two figures bringing attention to sexual violence in conflicts, Chico Harlan and Max Bearak, Oct. 5, 2018. Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi who was kidnapped and raped by Islamic State militants, has become an outspoken activist on sexual slavery and human trafficking. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, has treated thousands of victims of gang rape at his hospital.

#MeToo Goes Global?

washington post logoWashington Post, A year after it began, has #MeToo become a global movement? Karla Adam and William Booth, Oct. 5, 2018. In some countries, the conversation about sexual harassment — and worse — has toppled powerful men. In others, the movement has all but fizzled out — or never took off to begin with.

Supreme Court Battle

Roll Call, Kavanaugh Nomination Clears Key Hurdle, Final Vote Teed Up, John T. Bennett, Oct. 5, 2018. Embattled federal judge Brett Kavanaugh moved one step closer to becoming the ninth Supreme Court justice and providing a decisive fifth conservative vote Friday when the Senate voted to tee up a final up-or-down vote.

lisa murkowski oIn a vote that broke mostly along party lines after several deeply partisan weeks that culminated with a FBI investigation into sexual misconduct charges against Kavanaugh dating to his high school days, the chamber voted to end debate on his nomination, 51-49.

There were a couple of party defections. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, right, voted against cutting off debate, while Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., voted “yes” to cut off debate. The result means the Senate is poised to decide his fate in a high-stakes Saturday vote.

Roll Call, Susan Collins Will Vote ‘Yes’ on Kavanaugh Nomination, Staff report, Oct. 5, 2018. Maine Republican had kept her position on the Supreme Court nomination under wraps. Sen. Susan Collins will vote “yes” on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, one of the last remaining hurdles to the high court susan collins ofor President Donald Trump’s nominee.

Earlier on Friday, the Maine Republican, left, voted to cut off debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination, helping her leadership clear a key hurdle and setting up a final confirmation vote on Saturday. Collins is one of only two Republicans senators serving who voted to confirm Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both of whom were nominated by former President Barack Obama. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is the other one.

Roll Call, Joe Manchin a Yes on Kavanaugh Nomination and Might Be Only Democrat, Staff report, Oct. 5, 2018. Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to joe manchin othe Supreme Court, and might end up the only Democrat to do so.

“I have reservations about this vote given the serious accusations against Judge Kavanaugh and the temperament he displayed in the hearing. And my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any type of sexual assault in their life. However, based on all of the information I have available to me, including the recently democratic donkey logocompleted FBI report, I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him. I do hope that Judge Kavanaugh will not allow the partisan nature this process took to follow him onto the court,” Manchin said in a statement.

Manchin announced his decision moments after Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, virtually guaranteeing the federal circuit court judge’s ascent to the high court.

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Exclusive: Kavanaugh Father-Son Cancer Powder Keg, Doug Vaughan, Oct. 5, 2018. If Justice Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate, sooner or later he may be asked to weigh some damning evidence — that his own father advocated for a product that he knew was carcinogenic to both mothers and fetuses. Unless he recuses himself.

The ironies are piquant: While the son attended private, single-sex religious schools and adopted the traditional Catholic opposition to abortion, and even birth control, on the grounds the government should regulate women’s use of their own bodies and reproduction, the father made millions from the industry that marketed and sold female personal hygiene products — while keeping the government from guarding the consumers’ health and safety.

It’s no exaggeration that, if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, stuff like baby powder will have smoothed his slide into a seat on the highest court in the land.

More than 10,000 active claims in US courts, mostly by women, allege that they got cancer from regular use of talcum products like baby powder. In one case last summer, a jury in Missouri awarded $4.7 billion to a group of 20 such women who sued the biggest manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson — for promoting its products while hiding evidence of the risks to women, their reproductive organs, and their babies.

Sooner or later, one of these cases is likely to come to the Supreme Court. If he’s confirmed by the Senate, and if he fails to recuse himself, Justice Brett Kavanaugh will be asked to consider evidence that his father, Ed, helped J&J market such products — even though they knew they were carcinogenic. Kavanaugh Sr.’s former employer is one of the named defendants in some of the biggest class-action cases filed so far.

ny times logoNew York Times, Senate Moves Toward Showdown Vote on Kavanaugh Confirmation, Nicholas Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Oct. 5, 2018. Republican leaders were increasingly confident that the Senate would narrowly vote to cut off debate on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination and move to a final confirmation on Saturday. But with four senators, including three Republicans, still undecided, Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation was still not assured.

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, The Looming Degradation of the Supreme Court, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Oct. 5, 2018. With Republican senators dutifully lining up to support President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court, it is increasingly likely that conservative lawyer and judge Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. At the same time, in its determination to “win,” the Republican Party will have brought not only shame to itself but also a degradation in prestige to the highest court of the land.

A couple of days ago, more than 500 law professors from more than 160 law schools across the nation had signed a public letter opposing Kavanaugh’s appointment. As a trial lawyer for 12 years before I joined the libertarian movement and who still is authorized to practice law in my home state of Texas, I was absolutely stunned. In all my life, I had never seen that happen. Sure, law professors have their own political philosophies and affiliations but I had never seen so many of them come together to take a public stand against a particular Supreme Court nominee, especially one who sits as a judge on the federal court of appeals.

Imagine my shock when that number increased a couple of days later to 2,400 law professors opposing the Kavanaugh nomination! The term used by the New York Times expressed my reaction: “Incomprehensible!”

That was on top of the withdrawal of support for Kavanaugh’s nomination immediately after he testified by the American Bar Association, which has 400,000 members, and the dean of the Yale Law School, where Kavanaugh got his law degree. What was phenomenal about this was that both the ABA and the Yale law school dean had previously supported Kavanaugh’s appointment.

Then, in what I believe is also an unprecedented act, a retired Supreme Court justice, John Paul Stevens, came out and declared that Kavanaugh lacks the required temperament to be a Supreme Court justice, which is what those 2,400 law professors are also saying.

Contrary to what conservative supporters of Kavanaugh have maintained, the primary issue in the Kavanaugh controversy does not revolve around the issue of whether a lawyer’s actions as a teenager should disqualify him from later serving on the Supreme Court. That, of course, is a interesting issue, but it isn’t the issue at hand. If Kavanaugh had confessed to sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford as a 17-year-old, expressed remorse for it, apologized, and sought forgiveness, then the Senate would be faced with that issue: Should what he did 36 years ago disqualify him from serving on the highest court in the land?

christine blasey ford high schoolInstead, there are three primary issues in this controversy: (1) Did Kavanaugh commit the sexual assault on Christine Blasey Ford (shown as a schoolgirl) and, if so, should that make a difference with respect to his appointment to the Supreme Court? (2) Did he commit perjury with his denial of having committed the offense and, equally important, with respect to other matters in his sworn testimony and, if so, should that make a difference to his appointment to the Supreme Court? and (3) Does Kavanaugh have the necessary temperament to serve as an associate justice on the Supreme Court?

As the controversy has unfolded, it has become painfully clear that perjury just isn’t important to conservatives, at least to conservatives who aren’t lawyers. Time and time again, in addressing the controversy, they ether have glossed over the possibility that Kavanaugh committed perjury or made it clear that it just doesn’t matter to them. It’s no big deal. Let’s just have a quick, 3-day, cursory, sham investigation, confirm the guy, and then “move on.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: If Kavanaugh is confirmed, impeachment could follow. Here’s how, Deanna Paul, Oct. 5, 2018 (print edition). Whether Kavanaugh returns to the D.C. Circuit or, as appears increasingly likely, is confirmed to the Supreme Court, impeachment proceedings could follow. They would be contingent on Democrats regaining control of the House, the only body that can bring an article of impeachment.

brett kavanaugh“Much of Washington has spent the week focusing on whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court,” Lisa Graves wrote in a Slate column on Sept. 7, more than a week before the New Yorker published the then-anonymous sexual assault claims of Christine Blasey Ford. “After the revelations of his confirmation hearings, the better question is whether he should be impeached from the federal judiciary. I do not raise that question lightly, but I am certain it must be raised.”

Graves wrote that Kavanaugh, right, had misled the Judiciary Committee about the stolen documents that Graves had written as chief counsel for nominations for Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) when he was the chairman of the committee. Kavanaugh, she wrote, “lied. Under oath. And he did so repeatedly.” Therefore, she concluded, “he should not be confirmed. In fact, by his own standard, he should clearly be impeached.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Kavanaugh: I said things I ‘should not have said’ at hearing, Eli Rosenberg, Oct. 5, 2018 (print edition). In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, the judge tacitly acknowledges the questions being raised about his conduct and emotions. john paul stevens scotus photo portrait

washington post logoWashington Post, Retired Justice Stevens calls Kavanaugh’s hearing performance disqualifying, Robert Barnes, Oct. 5, 2018 (print edition). Retired Justice John Paul Stevens said Thursday that he no longer believes Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court, citing Kavanaugh’s heated performance during a Senate hearing last week.

Stevens, 98 (shown in a file photo), made the comments in Boca Raton, Fla., before a group of retirees, according to the Palm Beach Post and the journalist who interviewed Stevens at the event.

washington post logoWashington Post, The rise and the reckoning: Inside Brett Kavanaugh’s circles of influence, Marc Fisher, Ann E. Marimow and Michael Kranish, Oct. 5, 2018 (print edition). The story of President Trump’s embattled choice for the Supreme Court is a classic Washington tale of a young man who grew up surrounded by people in high places, keenly aware of protecting his image. He told a friend in college that he didn’t plan to buy stocks as an adult because he had to avoid conflicts if he wanted to follow in his mother’s footsteps as a judge.

brett kavanaugh 1983 yearbookKavanaugh’s story is also one of the power and insularity of wealth. He grew up in an idyll of country clubs and beach retreats, private schools and public prominence. The only child of a lobbyist and a judge, he had parents who pushed him hard, teachers who assured him that he faced no limits, and friends whose families knew the art of making problems go away quietly.

That Kavanaugh (shown in a prep school yearbook photo) would achieve greatness seemed certain. Some of his classmates called him “The Genius.” They liked him because he was smart and fun. Women found him thoughtful and empathetic. Men said he was a guy’s guy — a walking encyclopedia of sports, a good pal, always up for a beer.

More On Susan Collins Vote

george hw bush and son

ryan grim CustomThe Intercept: Analysis: Sen. Susan Collins and Brett Kavanaugh Are Both in the Bush Family Inner Circle. That Helps Explain Her Vote, Ryan Grim, right, and Akela Lacy, Oct., 5, 2018. The announcement Friday by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that she would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was about family. Namely, the Bush family.

George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush [shown above in a file photo] have both been welcomed into the ranks of the resistance to President Donald Trump, but their most consequential action since his election has been to help lift Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court.

susan collins oCollins, left, is an honorary member of the Bush family. She got her start in politics as a congressional aide to Rep.-turned-Sen. William Cohen. The Maine Republican was close to George H.W. Bush, who has long maintained a presence in the state. At the end of the first Bush administration, Collins was appointed New England regional director of the Small Business Administration. In 1996, she was elected to the Senate to replace her mentor, Cohen.

Kavanaugh, too, has longstanding ties to the Bush family. He served as an attorney for George W. Bush’s campaign, playing a major role in the legal battle between Bush and Al Gore. He then served as staff secretary in the Bush White House, a position of intimate influence — the staff secretary attends most Oval Office meetings and is a trusted sounding board for the president.

In the weeks after Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault during his high school and college years, Bush personally called wavering senators, lobbying on the nominee’s behalf. Collins, who had said she would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade, was one of those wavering senators. In August, HuffPost reported, citing a source close to Collins’s staff, that Collins had assured the White House that she would support Kavanaugh if he were nominated. (She has denied that.)

Collins has since said that the decision was a difficult one, though there was no hint of that agonizing in her Senate floor speech Friday, which was a full-throated defense of Kavanaugh and a prosecution of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations.

In the end, Collins suggested that she hoped Kavanaugh’s nomination would restore the faith of Americans in the Supreme Court, easing partisan tensions and decreasing the number of 5-4 decisions the court handed down. It’s difficult to rationalize the idea that a nomination as contentious as this would usher a return to a more harmonious era of bipartisan collaboration.

Palmer Report, Opinion: The sheer insanity of what Susan Collins just did, Bill Palmer, Oct. 5, 2018. Why? It’s the only question left to ask after GOP Senator Susan Collins not only voted for screaming liar and alleged serial sex offender Brett Kavanaugh, but made a point of doing it in the most jarring and self defeating manner possible. It raises uncomfortable and scary questions about what might really be going on here.

susan collins official SmallSusan Collins has never been a party loyalist. In the past two years alone, she’s cast multiple deciding votes against the GOP on major issues, including the attempted Obamacare repeal, and the original Senate Intelligence Committee decision to investigate the Trump-Russia scandal. So no matter how many social media posts might claim that “Collins voted this way because she always votes the party line,” that’s a factually false statement. No, this has to be about something else.

If Susan Collins had decided that she needed to cast a very unpopular “yes” vote on Kavanaugh for the sake of her reelection prospects (translation: billionaire conservative donors), she could have quietly cast her vote and hoped people might forget by 2020. Instead, she took outlandish steps to make sure people never forget what she did today. There are simply not enough pro-Trump extremists in Maine to give her even a remote chance at reelection.

One of the meekest people in the Senate knowingly ended her career today with both proverbial middle fingers in the air. It was one of the ugliest things that American politics has ever seen, and it simply made no sense. Is she being blackmailed, or did she just snap today?

Time, 'Such a Slap in the Face.' Sexual Assault Survivors Who Met With Susan Collins Feel Betrayed She'll Vote for Kavanaugh, Charlotte Alter, Oct. 5, 2018. Last Thursday night, time logo ogAmanda O’Brien sat on a bus for 10 hours to get from Maine to Washington D.C. to meet with Sen. Susan Collins and share her opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The bus was full of sexual assault survivors, who shared their stories with their seat mates as they crawled toward the Capitol.

O’Brien, who wore black like the rest of the survivors, tried to prepare herself. When she and a handful of other survivors got to the Senator’s office on Friday, she told Senator Collins that she had been sexually assaulted for years as a young child. She told her because of the impact of the assault, she later became the victim of domestic violence. She told her Senator things she has rarely told anyone, things she would still rather not repeat.

But on Friday afternoon, Collins announced her intention to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh, all but ensuring that Trump’s pick will sit on the Supreme Court, despite Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony that he pinned her to a bed and tried to rape her when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh denies Ford’s allegation.

Oct. 4

ny times logoNew York Times, Two Key Republicans Signal Satisfaction With F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry, Nicholas Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Oct. 4, 2018. Two key undecided senators signaled Thursday that they are satisfied with the F.B.I.’s investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Senate Republican leaders were increasingly confident that he would be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

jeff flake oSenators Jeff Flake of Arizona, right, and Susan Collins of Maine did not say that they will vote for Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee.

But after a closed-door briefing in which Republicans were told that no witnesses corroborated the accounts of Judge Kavanaugh’s main accusers, both made positive remarks. A yes vote from both would secure Judge Kavanaugh’s seat on the highest court in the land.

Roll Call, Amy Schumer, Emily Ratajkowski Among Hundreds Arrested Protesting Kavanaugh, Griffin Connolly, Oct. 4, 2018. Demonstrators flocked to Hart Senate Office Building after USCP cordons off East Front. The U.S. Capitol Police arrested hundreds of people protesting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s pending confirmation in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday.

Protesters initially planned to hold their rally on the East Front of the Capitol, but USCP cordoned off the area Thursday morning. So the thousands of demonstrators streamed into the Hart building, chanting and singing against Kavanaugh, whom multiple women have accused of sexual assault.

Roll Call, Heidi Heitkamp Will Vote No on Kavanaugh Nomination, Niels Lesniewski, Oct. 4, 2018. North Dakota Democrat is in a tight re-election campaign. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, the Democrat leading Roll Call’s list of most vulnerable senators on the ballot this fall, announced Thursday that she’ll vote against confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the heidi heitkamp oSupreme Court. “The process has been bad, but at the end of the day you have to make a decision, and I’ve made that decision,” the North Dakota Democrat told WDAY, the ABC affiliate in Fargo, N.D. “I will be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh.”

Heitkamp explained her decision to opposed Kavanaugh in light of her decision last year to support President Donald Trump's first nominee to the high court, Neil neil gorsuch headshotGorsuch, left.

“I voted for Justice Gorsuch because I felt his legal ability and temperament qualified him to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh is different. When considering a lifetime appointment to Supreme Court, we must evaluate the totality of the circumstances and record before us. In addition to the concerns about his past conduct, last Thursday’s hearing called into question Judge Kavanaugh’s current temperament, honesty, and impartiality. These are critical traits for any nominee to serve on the highest court in our country,” she said.

Heitkamp’s decision to oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court means that Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia is the only member of the Democratic caucus potentially favoring the confirmation of Kavanaugh.

ny times logoNew York Times, White House Sends F.B.I. Interviews on Kavanaugh to Senate, Peter Baker, Nicholas Fandos, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael S. Schmidt, Oct. 4, 2018 (print edition). The White House sent summaries of the interviews, expressing confidence that they would not stop Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The material was conveyed in the middle of the night, just hours after Senate Republicans set the stage for a pair of votes later in the week.

FBI logoSenior White House officials, after reviewing summaries of interviews conducted by the F.B.I., are increasingly confident that the information collected would ease the path for senators to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a person briefed on the findings said Thursday morning.

The material was conveyed to Capitol Hill in the middle of the night, just hours after Senate Republicans set the stage for a pair of votes later in the week to move to approve Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation. A statement issued by the White House around 2:30 a.m. said the F.B.I. had completed its work and that it represented an unprecedented look at a nominee.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Trump and G.O.P. Lash Out at Kavanaugh’s Accuser. But at What Risk? Peter Baker, Oct. 4, 2018 (print edition). For more than two weeks he held christine blasey ford sept 27 2018back. Against all his instincts, President Trump for the most part resisted directly attacking the woman whose sexual assault allegation has jeopardized his Supreme Court nomination. The accuser was to be treated with kid gloves, like “a Fabergé egg,” as one adviser put it.

But Mr. Trump could resist only so long and told aides it was time to turn up the heat. So when he revved up a political rally this week by mocking Christine Blasey Ford, right, he indulged his desire to fight back and galvanized his conservative base even at the risk of alienating the very moderate Republicans he needs to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Senate Should Not Confirm Kavanaugh. Signed, 1,200+ Law Professors (and Counting), Oct. 4, 2018. We have differing views about Kavanaugh’s qualifications. But we are united in believing he does not have the right judicial temperament.

The following letter will be presented to the United States Senate on Oct. 4. It will be updated as more signatures are received. Judicial temperament is one of the most important qualities of a judge. As the Congressional Research Service explains, a judge requires “a personality that is even-handed, unbiased, impartial, courteous yet firm, and dedicated to a process, not a result.”

ben sasse o croppedOmaha World-Herald, In emotional speech, Ben Sasse says he told Trump to nominate a woman to Supreme Court, Joseph Morton, Oct. 4, 2018. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., right, delivered an emotional floor speech Wednesday night rejecting suggestions that the vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is about whether lawmakers care about women.

“A Supreme Court confirmation vote isn’t a grand choice about whether we love our daughters or whether we trust our sons,” Sasse said. “That is not the choice before us. This is a consent decision about one person for one seat.”

Sasse, a member of the Judiciary Committee, revealed that before the nominee had been announced he urged President Donald Trump to nominate a woman to the seat.

Part of his argument at the time, Sasse said, was that the Senate is poorly prepared to handle potential allegations of sexual harassment and assault that might come forward. Sasse choked up at times during the speech that lasted a little less than 20 minutes. He decried the circus surrounding the process, cable news and die-hard partisans seeking to use the nomination for cynical political aims.

He also had harsh words for Trump, particularly the president’s mocking of Ford during a Tuesday night political rally and his previous statements questioning why Ford did not report the incident at the time.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Here’s a list of people the FBI did NOT interview, Greg Sargent, Oct. 4, 2018. Okay with this, Flake and Collins? You’ll be shocked to hear that the White House has already pronounced the FBI report entirely exonerating for Kavanaugh, claiming that it is now “fully confident” Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

FBI logoBut a lot of new reporting has now emerged that starkly illustrates just how much about the new allegations was not investigated by the FBI. It’s important to note that this probably was not a failing on the FBI’s part but rather was the result of restrictions the White House placed on the probe, a process that itself remains shrouded in disingenuous rhetorical games.

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Trump-Kavanaugh Look-Alike Theory, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Oct. 4, 2018. In deciding to go on the attack in the Kavanaugh confirmation debate by openly and publicly mocking Christine Blasey Ford at a political rally for purported “inconsistencies” in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, President Trump might not realize that he has created an enormous inconsistency in his own position.

Actually, “contradiction” would be a better word to use. Moreover, Trump might not realize that he has left his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, hanging out on a limb all by himself.

washington post logoWashington Post, Celebrating kegs and insulting girls: Inside Mark Judge’s 1980s Georgetown Prep underground paper, Ian Shapira, Oct. 4, 2018. The Unknown Hoya, co-founded by Judge, featured heavy drinking, a stripper-fueled bachelor party and slurs about Holton-Arms girls.

News Media / Propaganda Tools?

washington post logoWashington Post, That Facebook group you joined years ago? It might now be supporting Brett Kavanaugh, Tony Romm, Oct. 4, 2018. Many of the Facebook groups that seem to facebook logoadvocate for Brett M. Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court -- and some of those defending Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexual assault in the 1980s -- actually amassed their followers months or years before Washington’s most politically charged controversy unfolded, according to Facebook’s records, offering yet another sign that public outcry on social media isn’t exactly what it appears to be.

Oct. 3

washington post logoFBI logoWashington Post, White House prepares to send new FBI report on Kavanaugh to Senate, Seung Min Kim, John Wagner and Josh Dawsey, Oct 3, 2018. The latest FBI probe updating the Supreme Court nominee’s background check was set to arrive Wednesday night on Capitol Hill, according to two people familiar with its release. White House officials have been briefed on the findings, they said. The developments came as Senate Democrats suggested that past FBI background checks of Brett M. Kavanaugh include evidence of inappropriate behavior.

washington post logoWashington Post, As FBI check nears its end, probe appears to have been highly curtailed, Matt Zapotosky, Robert O'Harrow Jr., Tom Hamburger and Devlin Barrett, Oct 3, 2018.  The FBI has interviewed six witnesses and has not been allowed to probe the nominee's youthful drinking, opening it up to criticism over what some will view as a lackluster investigation.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion; 650 law professors: The Senate Should Not Confirm Kavanaugh, staff report, Oct. 3, 2018. The following letter will be presented to the United States Senate on Oct. 4. It will be updated as more signatures are received.

Judicial temperament is one of the most important qualities of a judge. As the Congressional Research Service explains, a judge requires “a personality that is even-handed, unbiased, impartial, courteous yet firm, and dedicated to a process, not a result.” The concern for judicial temperament dates back to our founding; in Federalist 78, titled “Judges as Guardians of the Constitution,” Alexander Hamilton expressed the need for “the integrity and moderation of the judiciary.”

We are law professors who teach, research and write about the judicial institutions of this country. Many of us appear in state and federal court, and our work means that we will continue to do so, including before the United States Supreme Court. We regret that we feel compelled to write to you, our Senators, to provide our views that at the Senate hearings on Sept. 27, Judge Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land.

The question at issue was of course painful for anyone. But Judge Kavanaugh exhibited a lack of commitment to judicious inquiry. Instead of being open to the necessary search for accuracy, Judge Kavanaugh was repeatedly aggressive with questioners. Even in his prepared remarks, Judge Kavanaugh described the hearing as partisan, referring to it as “a calculated and orchestrated political hit,” rather than acknowledging the need for the Senate, faced with new information, to try to understand what had transpired. Instead of trying to sort out with reason and care the allegations that were raised, Judge Kavanaugh responded in an intemperate, inflammatory and partial manner, as he interrupted and, at times, was discourteous to senators.

As you know, under two statutes governing bias and recusal, judges must step aside if they are at risk of being perceived as or of being unfair. As Congress has previously put it, a judge or justice “shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” These statutes are part of a myriad of legal commitments to the impartiality of the judiciary, which is the cornerstone of the courts.

We have differing views about the other qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh. But we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that he did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land.

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: One of Brett Kavanaugh’s key GOP Senate defenders suddenly sounds nervous about holding a vote, Bill Palmer, right, Oct. 3, 2018. We all witnessed Republican Senator John Cornyn use his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee last week to try to help a mentally unstable Brett Kavanaugh through his testimony. There is no doubt that Cornyn, who is as corrupt as they come, is a “yes” vote. But now congressional reporter Chad Pergram says that Cornyn suddenly doesn’t want to rush the Kavanaugh vote, and wants to “do it one step at a time” instead. So what’s going on here?

So does John Cornyn know something that Mitch McConnell doesn’t? Or are they simply unable to agree on how to play their increasingly weak hand? McConnell has been trying to bully the likes of Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins into voting “yes” even though they’re clearly not “yes” votes, but last night Murkowski all but laughed at McConnell’s tactics. We still don’t know how this vote is going to turn out, but it doesn’t appear the GOP does, either.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Trump and McConnell sink to desperate new lengths to protect Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Palmer, Oct. 3, 2018. Just how dirty is Brett Kavanaugh? All you have to do is take a look at the desperate lengths Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are going to in the name of not only protecting Kavanaugh from the FBI investigation, but keeping the final FBI report hush-hush.

christine blasey ford sept 27 2018Dianne Feinstein has confirmed that, as expected, the FBI will not be allowed to interview Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (right) – but that’s just the half of it.

It’s fairly clear why the FBI isn’t allowed to interview Ford. It’s not to prevent her from telling her story, which she’s already done before the Senate; the FBI has full access to her congressional testimony. Instead, by blocking the FBI from speaking with Ford, Trump and McConnell are also blocking the FBI from speaking with Kavanaugh – which is the entire point. Kavanaugh has already revealed himself to be a pathological liar, and if he lies to the FBI, he’ll go to prison. But the real panic move here is with the report itself.

USA Today and others are now reporting that there will only be one copy of the FBI report on Brett Kavanaugh, and that Senators will each have to take turns reading it. Senate Democrats will still be able to quickly leak the ugliest parts of the report to the public. But the goal here is, obviously, to prevent the public from seeing the full text.

This confirms that, even with the limitations placed on the FBI investigation by Trump and McConnell, they still expect that the FBI report will paint Brett Kavanaugh in a terrible light. This means that Trump and McConnell are playing with an even weaker hand here than we thought.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Taunts Christine Blasey Ford at Rally, At an event in Mississippi, Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker, Oct. 3, 2018 (print edition). President Trump mocked the woman who accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault. He imitated her, exaggerating her responses at last week’s hearing. The crowd cheered.

washington post logojeff flake oWashington Post, ‘Just plain wrong’: Flake, Collins criticize Trump’s attack on Ford, John Wagner and Seung Min Kim​, Oct. 3, 2018. Republican Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), right and Susan Collins (Maine) are considered crucial to the confirmation prospects of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.

washington post logoWashington Post, Breaking: Senate Democrats suggest past FBI background checks on Kavanaugh include evidence of inappropriate behavior, John Wagner and Seung Min Kim, Oct. 3, 2018. Senate Democrats suggested in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman on Wednesday that past FBI background checks on Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh include evidence of inappropriate behavior, contrary to Republican claims.

In the letter, eight of the 10 Democrats on the Judiciary panel challenged the accuracy of a tweet from the majority Republicans on Tuesday that said: “Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which the committee has reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of ANY issue — at all — related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.”

The Democrats said the information in the tweet is “not accurate,” and urged the GOP to correct them. Aides to the committee chairman, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), did not return an immediate request for comment.

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion: Senators, if you think you are ‘appalled’ now, just wait, Jennifer Rubin, right, Oct. 3, 2018. Appearing on the “Today” show, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) reacted to President Trump’s mocking of Christine Blasey Ford at a political rally Tuesday night. “There’s no time and no place for remarks like that. But to discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right … It’s kind of appalling.”

susan collins oThis echoes the reaction of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) when Trump first attacked Ford by tweet, saying if the attack was “that bad,” the teen Ford would have gone to the police. Collins, left, said: “I was appalled by the president’s tweet.”

There is plenty to appall:

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s baseless allegation that he was the victim of a smear stemming from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss; Kavanaugh’s obnoxious retorts to Democratic senators, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.); Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) calling for Klobuchar to apologize; Republicans’ objections to any investigation of Ford’s claims; Republicans’ repeated, false assertion that there is no corroboration for Ford’s accusation (ignoring her polygraph, her prior remarks, Kavanaugh’s calendar entry for July 1); Republicans’ decision to hide behind a female “assistant” (as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell referred to prosecutor Rachel Mitchell) and then discard her in favor of hysterical rants; apparent efforts to curtail the FBI investigation; Ed Whelan’s defamatory accusation aimed at a classmate of Kavanaugh’s; and Kavanaugh’s seeming mischaracterization of his drinking habits and high school references to sex and drinking.

Oct. 2

Oct. 2

Justice Integrity Project, Pomp, Piety, MIAs Mark Annual DC Red Mass On Justice

By Andrew Kreig

Prominent members of the scandal-stricken Roman Catholic legal leadership in the District of Columbia convened on Sunday for the annual Red Mass that provides a spiritual kick-off to the new Supreme Court term and the legal community's public aspirations for justice.

The ceremony was majestic as usual but unfolded before a slightly smaller audience than normal and under the shadow of unfolding scandal involving the local Catholic-reared Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

cardinal donald wuerl portrait fullCardinal Donald Wuerl, left, was absent from the mass, which he has normally led for most of his 12-year tenure in Washington. Instead, he has recently been awaiting possible sanction from the Vatican for his alleged role in covering-up sexual offenses by priests in Pittsburgh, one of the cardinal's previous postings.

As usual, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts led a delegation from the court to the ceremonies at the historic Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle and a subsequent brunch.

But Roberts was accompanied by only two of the associate judges, Republican Catholic Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer, a Democrat of the Jewish faith.

This editor has attended the Red Mass and brunch a number of times previously and so is in position to comment on its history, inspiring ceremonial and spiritual aspects, as well as some of the embarrassing but largely unspoken undercurrents.

red mass 2018 straight cover MediumThe event first launched in 1928 at the St. Andrews Church in New York City, in 1953 at St. Matthews in the District of Columbia and in a number of other metro areas around the United States.

The event in the nation's capital has attracted the U.S. presidential attendance and more commonly during recent years a majority of the Supreme Court Justices, sometimes including multiple non-Catholics.

The Court in recent years has included six justices reared as Roman Catholics and three Jewish members. Kavanaugh, schooled at the Jesuit school Georgetown Prep, would be another Catholic if confirmed.

But his status is in peril following numerous claims of sexual assault and lying under oath that are surfacing. Kavanaugh has denied wrongdoing (as we and others have reported extensively elswhere, including here) and was not reported as present at the mass on Sunday.

Publically, the mass unfolded as a spiritual and civic occasion framed by the magnificant cathedral and stirring Biblical readings, sacred music and other religious trappings.

washington post logoWashington Post, FBI gets longer leash on Kavanaugh probe as McConnell signals vote is imminent, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, Seung Min Kim and Matt Zapotosky, Oct. 2, 2018 (print edition). The inquiry will include sexual misconduct allegations from a third woman against Brett M. Kavanaugh. But the FBI won’t conduct an unfettered review of his youthful drinking.

FBI logony times logoNew York Times, The People the F.B.I. Has Interviewed in the Kavanaugh Investigation (and Those It Hasn’t), Karen Yourish and Troy Griggs, Oct. 2, 2018 (print edition). Republicans offered the bureau four witnesses; Democrats have called for more than a dozen additional people to be interviewed.

People who were on the Republicans’ list and have been interviewed:

-- Deborah Ramirez, Yale classmate, The second woman to accuse Judge Kavanaugh of engaging in sexual misconduct; she said he exposed himself to her at a dorm room party.

-- Mark Judge, Judge Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmate, Named by Dr. Blasey and a third accuser as being a key witness to the alleged sexual misconduct by Judge Kavanaugh. “I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes,” he said.

-- P.J. Smyth, Georgetown Prep classmate; Dr. Blasey said he was at the house party, “I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct.”

-- Leland Keyser, Dr. Blasey’s high school friend, Said she does not remember being at the party during the summer of 1982 but believes Dr. Blasey.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘The trauma for a man’: Male fury and fear rises in GOP in defense of Kavanaugh, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, Oct. 2, 2018 (print edition). Trump slams Democrats for 'trying to destroy' Kavanaugh (shown below in a file photo of his testimony).

brett kavanaugh screen grab 9 5 2018 at 3 56 pmThe sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh have sparked a wave of unbridled anger and anxiety from many Republican men, who say they are in danger of being swept up by false accusers who are biased against them.

From President Trump to his namesake son to Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), the howls of outrage crystallize a strong current of grievance within a party whose leadership is almost entirely white and overwhelmingly male — and which does not make a secret of its fear that demographic shifts and cultural convulsions could jeopardize its grip on power.

This eruption of male resentment now seems likely to play a defining role in the midterm elections just five weeks away, contrasting with a burst of enthusiasm among women propelling Democratic campaigns and inspired by the national #MeToo reckoning over sexual assault and gender roles.

Legal Schnauzer, In anonymous letter to Sen. Kamala Harris, woman says Kavanaugh groped her, slapped her, forced her to perform oral sex, and raped her in backseat of car, Roger Shuler, Oct. 2, 2018. A woman states in an anonymous letter that Brett Kavanaugh forcibly kissed her, groped her, digitally penetrated her, slapped her, forced her to perform oral sex, and raped her multiple times in the backseat of a car, according to a Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) transcript released yesterday.

The transcript, which is embedded at the end of this post, is from an interview SJC staff members conducted with Kavanaugh on Sept. 26. Kavanaugh apparently had an unnamed attorney present on his end of the line during the interview.

When Kavanaugh is asked for a response to the letter, he replies: "Nothing -- the whole thing is ridiculous. Nothing ever -- anything like that, nothing. I mean, that's -- the whole thing is just a crock, farce, wrong, didn't happen, not anything close."

Oct. 1

washington post logoFBI logoWashington Post, Confusion over limits of FBI inquiry sparks new round of combat over Kavanaugh, Mike DeBonis and Josh Dawsey, Oct. 1, 2018 (print edition). The investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh will focus on two accusers, but the White House says it opposes a “fishing expedition” that could take a broader look at his credibility and behavior.

Palmer Report, Senate transcript reveals Brett Kavanaugh allegedly raped a woman in the back of a car, Bill Palmer, right, Oct. 1, 2018. With the FBI having finally received bill palmerthe green light a few hours ago to conduct an unrestricted investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, we’re now learning that he’s been accused brett kavanaugh 1983 yearbookof having raped a woman in the back of a car.

The Senate Judiciary Committee took this accusation seriously enough that it questioned Kavanaugh (shown at left in a prep school yearbook photo) about it during private hearings – and the transcript just surfaced publicly.

The woman in question, whose identity is not known, sent a letter to Senator Kamala Harris, spelling out her accusations. The Senate Judiciary Committee read the letter to Brett Kavanaugh, asking him to respond to it. Here’s the key passage from the woman’s letter. Fair warning, this is sexually explicit and disturbing:

Kavanaugh and a friend offered me a ride home. I don’t know the other boy’s name. I was in his car to go home. His friend was behind me in the backseat. Kavanaugh kissed me forcefully. I told him I only wanted a ride home. Kavanaugh continued to grope me over my clothes, forcing his kisses on me and putting his hand under my sweater. ‘No,’ I yelled at him.

The boy in the backseat reached around, putting his hand over my mouth and holding my arm to keep me in the car. I screamed into his hand. Kavanaugh continued his forcing himself on me. He pulled up my sweater and bra exposing my breasts, and reached into my panties, inserting his fingers into my vagina. My screams were silenced by the boy in the backseat covering my mouth and groping me as well.

Kavanaugh slapped me and told me to be quiet and forced me to perform oral sex on him. He climaxed in my mouth. They forced me to go into the backseat and took turns raping me several times each. They dropped me off two blocks from my home. ‘No one will believe if you tell. Be a good girl,’ he told me.

Brett Kavanaugh’s response, according to the transcript: “Nothing — the whole thing is ridiculous. Nothing ever — anything like that, nothing. I mean, that’s — the whole thing is just a crock, farce, wrong, didn’t happen, not anything close.”

This interview took place six days ago, and the transcript was just released today. You can read the entire exchange starting on page thirteen.

us senate logoU.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Transcript of staff interview with Judge Brett Kavanaugh on allegations of sexual misconduct, Alderson Court Reporting, released on Oct. 1, 2018, dated Sept. 26, 2018 (19 pages with four-page index). 

Roll Call, Mitch McConnell: Brett Kavanaugh Floor Vote This Week, Lex Samuels, Oct 1, 2018.  Majority leader again decries Democrats for delay and obstruction. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is insisting the vote on confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court will take place before week’s end.

mitch mcconnell2The Kentucky Republican, speaking on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, said the Democrats chose to hold the allegations against Kavanaugh “in reserve” in order to derail the nomination.

He spoke about how the Democrats who first received the allegations handled them. He specifically mentioned a law firm with “politically connected lawyers” that McConnell says Democrats advised Kavanaugh’s accuser to hire. Those lawyers are set to hold a fundraiser for Democrats this week, McConnell said.

McConnell continued by expressing doubt that Democrats would be happy with the one-week investigation and that he expects “soon enough the goal-posts will be on the move once again.”

He compared the Democrat’s handling of the allegations to McCarthyism saying, “that they just want to delay this matter past the election.”

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Elite colleges and a culture of rape, Wayne Madsen, Oct. 1, 2018 (Subscription required; excerpted with permission). The sexual assault allegations brought against Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, opens a window into the world of elite schools that do not bear the words "State," "A&M," "Community," or "Prep" in their names. This is a world of privilege, where money and family legacy matter the most.

Kavanaugh testified about his admittance to Yale, "I have no connections there," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee, adding, "I got there by busting my tail." Not exactly. The john kelly 1Yale undergraduate yearbook from 1928 shows that Everett Edward Kavanaugh, Judge Kavanaugh's grandfather, was a Yale graduate.

And sexual assaults of underage girls, like Christine Blasey Ford, were not some "fad" of the 1980s. Our colleague, John Kelly, left, a veteran of NBC News, where he worked with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, and CBS News, where he reported on Watergate for Walter Cronkite, brought to our attention his New York Post reports from 1960.

Future of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Trump’s Sham FBI “Investigation” of Kavanaugh, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, Oct. 1, 2018. On the eve of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote on whether to send President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the full Senate for a vote on confirmation, Republican senators agreed to do so on the condition that the FBI conduct a further background investigation of Kavanaugh.

jacob hornberger headshotWhat’s wrong with Trump’s severe limitation on the FBI’s further background investigation of Brett Kavanaugh? It doesn’t permit the FBI to investigate the possibility that Kavanaugh has committed a brand new offense — the offense of perjury, which is a federal felony offense.

Kavanaugh supporters emphasize that he has been the subject of several FBI background checks already. They miss two critically important points:

One, those background checks were conducted before the FBI had any information regarding the sex assault that Ford has accused him of. Two, those background checks were conducted before Kavanaugh’s testimony last Thursday. Why is that important? Because there is the possibility that Kavanaugh committed perjury during his testimony at that hearing.

For some laymen (i.e., non-lawyers) perjury might seem like no big deal and certainly not enough to keep a lawyer or a judge from becoming a Supreme Court justice. As I explain in my article, “Summon Mark Judge to Testify in Kavanaugh Hearing,” to every member of the legal profession perjury is an extremely grave offense, especially for a lawyer or a judge, and a clear justification for disqualifying any lawyer or judge who has committed perjury from serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In fact, as I state in my article, in my opinion that is precisely the reason why the American Bar Association, which has 400,000 members, and the dean of the Yale Law School, where Kavanaugh got his law degree, immediately withdrew their support for his nomination after Ford and Kavanaugh testified until an additional background investigation was conducted.

oenearthlogoOpEdNews, Opinion: Sex, Lies, and Hypocrisy: Kavanaugh's Glass House, Carl Petersen, Oct. 1, 2018. Much like Dr. Christine Ford, Monica Lewinsky's life was turned upside down by the glare of someone else's spotlight.

While Brett Kavanaugh asserted that engaging in sexual relations with Bill Clinton turned "her life into a shambles," from Lewinsky's point of view it was his boss, Kenneth Starr, "who turned [her] 24-year-old life into a living hell."

Looking back on the 1990s with the experience of the #MeToo era, there are questions that should have been asked about the most powerful man in the world having sexual relations with an employee.

monica lewinsky may 1967Lewinsky, left, has always maintained that the relationship was consensual, but "power imbalances -- and the ability to abuse them -- do exist even when the sex has been consensual." As a society, have we established where the lines are?

Unfortunately, Kavanaugh (shown below right during his snarling Senate confirmation testimony Thursday)did not seem interested in this line of questioning. Instead, he was infatuated with the most unimportant part of the story - the details of the sex acts.

brett kavanaugh nbc cropped sept 27 2018Given this history, one has to wonder what Lindsey Graham was thinking as he bloviated that if Kavanaugh was looking "for a fair process, [then] he came to the wrong town at the wrong time." When does he think that this poisoned, political atmosphere began?

bill clinton wIf the nominee thinks that the "confirmation process has become a national disgrace," how does he feel today about what he put Lewinsky through and what it did to her and her family? If "the idea of going easy on [Clinton, left] at the questioning [was] abhorrent to [him]," his current outrage should be directed at the Republican majority in the Senate.

By not investigating all of the accusations, they are the ones who are avoiding the responsibility of providing informed consent to his lifetime nomination to the highest court in the land.

Of course, this ignores the important distinction between Kavanaugh's apparent obsession with Clinton's sex life and the charges that may derail his assertion to the Supreme Court; if Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth, then Kavanaugh acted without consent. This alleged attempted rape represents "callous and disgusting behavior that has somehow gotten lost in the shuffle."

washington post logoWashington Post, In memo, outside prosecutor argues why she would not bring criminal charges against Kavanaugh, Seung Min Kim, Oct. 1, 2018 (print edition). The outside prosecutor Senate Republicans hired to lead the questioning in last week’s hearing about the sexual assault allegations against Brett M. Kavanaugh is arguing in a new memo why she would not bring criminal charges against the Supreme Court nominee.

rachel mitchell 2011 screenshotIn the five-page memo, obtained by the Washington Post, Rachel Mitchell (shown in a file photo) outlines more than half a dozen reasons why she thinks the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford — who has accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a house in suburban Maryland when they were teenagers in the early 1980s — has some key inconsistencies.

“A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that,” Mitchell writes in the memo, sent Sunday night to all Senate Republicans. “Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them.”

Mitchell continued: “For the reasons discussed below, I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the [Senate Judiciary] Committee. Nor do I believe that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.”

The memo is likely to prompt significant pushback from Democratic senators, who have argued that Ford is not on trial and that Kavanaugh is merely interviewing for a job. But the memo is clearly aimed at assuaging the concerns of a handful of GOP senators who are on the fence about whether to vote to confirm Kavanaugh and are considering whose story — Ford’s or Kavanaugh’s — to believe. The FBI is now investigating Ford’s accusations, as well as those of a second woman, Deborah Ramirez.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Prosecutor says Kavanaugh report is what ‘reasonable prosecutor’ would say. It’s not, Deanna Paul, Oct. 1, 2018. Rachel Mitchell said no “reasonable prosecutor” would bring the case. She’s wrong. A fair prosecutor would investigate every lead before reaching that conclusion.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Vatican’s handling of sexual misconduct complaints about ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick reveals a lot about the Catholic Church, Michelle Boorstein​, Oct. 1, 2018. The story behind the four complaints to Rome about the former archbishop of Washington helps explain why the allegations against him remained hidden for so long.

 

U.S. Politics

Public Broadcasting System (PBS), Dark Money, Director/Producer Kimberly Reed, Oct. 1, 2018 (premiere, 85 mins.). Check local listings. Synopsis: Dark Money, a political thriller, examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials.

The film takes viewers to Montana — a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide — to follow an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Through this gripping story, Dark Money uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold. Official Selection, 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

kimberly reed dark money producer claire jonesDirector/Producer Kimberly Reed (shown at right) has had featured work on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, NPR, The Moth and in Details magazine. One of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film," she directed and produced Prodigal Sons, which landed on many best of the year lists, screened at more than 100 film festivals and garnered 14 audience and jury awards, including a FIPRESCI Prize. Reed was recognized as one of Out magazine's "OUT100" and was number one on Towleroad's "Best LGBT Characters of the Film Year" list. She also produced, edited and wrote Paul Goodman Changed My Life and produced The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. Reed is a fourth-generation Montanan.

September

Sept. 30

ny times logoNew York Times, Details of F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry Show Its Restricted Range, Michael D. Shear, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt
Sept. 30, 2018 (print edition). The F.B.I. will interview four witnesses about sexual assault claims against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as part of a background check, not a full-fledged criminal investigation. The White House will decide the breadth of the inquiry and can order further investigation based on the findings from the four interviews.

washington post logoWashington Post, Amid fight over Kavanaugh, annual Red Mass for Supreme Court skips the politics, Julie Zauzmer, Sept. 30, 2018. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has touted his Catholic faith throughout his nomination hearings, was not spotted at the annual service.

As the nation focuses on the bitter fight over Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, Washington’s Catholic cathedral held its annual Red Mass honoring Supreme Court justices and the judiciary on Sunday — with nary a word about the debate over whether to confirm President Trump’s pick.

Kavanaugh has touted his Catholic faith throughout his nomination hearings, including on Thursday when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to an allegation that he sexually assaulted a high school classmate in the early 1980s. But Kavanaugh, who was invited to the Mass as a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was not spotted in the pews.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, another figure of controversy at the moment, was also absent from the special Mass that he would typically lead.

Instead, Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville celebrated the Mass in the ornate St. Matthew’s Cathedral, and Monsignor Peter Vaghi preached a homily that focused on the Holy Spirit and on the Declaration of Independence.

“Could there not be a better time, both in our church and our nation, to benefit from the healing power of the Holy Spirit?” Vaghi said in his only nod to current controversies. “It is a power that treats the anger and divisions that so need the healing touch of our God if we are to continue our respective missions with love, genuine love for each other, and effectiveness.”

Each year, the cathedral hosts the Red Mass, named for the red garments that clergy wear in attendance at the start of the Supreme Court’s fall term. Supreme Court justices, local judges, and members of Congress and the Cabinet regularly attend. At this year’s Mass, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen G. Breyer attended, along with Anthony M. Kennedy, whose retirement from the court created the vacancy that Trump nominated Kavanaugh to fill.

bill palmerPalmer Report, Analysis: Jeff Flake just said something on 60 Minutes that’s really bad news for Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Palmer, right, Sept. 30, 2018. The FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh only exists thanks to GOP Senator Jeff Flake and the heroes who pushed him into calling for it. Flake warned everyone up front that he’s still planning to support Kavanaugh in the full Senate vote unless the FBI probe turns up something disqualifying.

jeff flake oNow he’s defining the parameters of what would be disqualifying – and it’s really bad news for Kavanaugh.

Jeff Flake, left, made a point of putting himself in front of the cameras tonight when he appeared on 60 Minutes with his friend, Democratic Senator Chris Coons.

During the interview, Flake was asked this question: “If Judge Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the Committee, nomination’s over?” Flake could have tried to hedge his bets or be vague about it, in the hope of giving himself wiggle room. Instead his answer consisted of only two words: “Oh yes.”

Palmer Report, Analysis: Deborah Ramirez has already dropped the FBI hammer on Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Palmer, Sept. 30, 2018. Even as controversy and chaos swirl around the scope of the FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the FBI is moving forward very quickly.

deborah ramirez benjamin rasmussen new yorkerDeborah Ramirez, right, was interviewed by the FBI earlier today, according to a CNN report this evening. Not only that, she provided the FBI with a list of witnesses who can corroborate her sexual assault accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

This is crucial in legal terms, and in the court of public opinion, because it prevents this from being a “he said, she said” situation. With witnesses saying that they saw Kavanaugh assault Ramirez, it makes it far harder for swing voters like Flake, Collins, and Murkowski to adopt a “we’ll never know what happened” stance.

washington post logoWashington Post, Kellyanne Conway: ‘I’m a victim of sexual assault,’ Alex Horton​, During an appearance on CNN, Sept. 30, 2018. The White House adviser suggested conservatives have become targets for political score settling.

Sept. 29

Sept. 29, 2018

Justice Integrity Project, Senators Reach Deal For Kavanaugh Sex Claim Probe

By Andrew Kreig, Sept. 29, 2018. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by a party line 11-10 vote on Sept. 28 but agreed also to let a key member jeff flake onegotiate for up to a week's delay for an FBI investigation before the nomination goes to the full Senate.

In a dramatic reversal Friday, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, right, announced that he sought an FBI probe of sexual misconduct investigations before a vote by the full Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-49 majority.

Two other undecided senators, Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, announced that they would join Flake's position. That would put Kavanaugh's final approval in doubt if other senators vote as expected nearly along party lines.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Thank You, Jeff Flake. Maybe America Can Now Learn the Truth. Editorial Board, Sept. 29, 2018 (print edition). An attack of conscience by one Republican senator, Jeff Flake of Arizona, quickly reinforced by some wavering colleagues, compelled the Senate leadership and the White House to accede to common sense by commissioning an F.B.I. inquiry into the allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

washington post logoWashington Post, FBI reaches out to 2nd woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, Shane Harris, Matt Zapotosky, Tom Hamburger and Seung Min Kim​, Sept. 29, 2018. The FBI has begun contacting people as part of an additional background investigation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, including a second woman who alleges that the Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her, according to people familiar with the unfolding investigation.

deborah ramirez benjamin rasmussen new yorkerThe bureau has reached out to Deborah Ramirez, a Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh’s who alleges that he shoved his genitals in her face at a party where she had been drinking and become disoriented. It was not clear that agents had yet interviewed Ramirez (shown at right in a photo by Benjamin Rasmusseen The New Yorker).

But the FBI is moving quickly to contact people as part of the new background investigation, which President Trump ordered on Friday under pressure from key members of his party.

Palmer Report, Analysis: Donald Trump begins backing down after he’s caught trying to rig FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Palmer, Sept. 29, 2018. Earlier this evening, multiple major news outlets reported that Donald Trump had been caught trying to secretly place severe and absurd restrictions on the FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, including forbidding the FBI from investigating the claims made by Julie Swetnick. Trump could only have gotten away with this if no one found out until it was too late to matter. Now that he’s been caught, predictably, he’s already begun backing down.

After the news broke, Trump’s Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah released a statement insisting that the FBI was free to investigate any and all aspects of the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. Because Trump and his White House have publicly staked themselves to this, Trump is not going to be able to keep the investigation limited.

In fact, because one of Trump’s official spokespeople just publicly told the FBI that it’s free to interview Swetnick, for all we know, the FBI may have taken this as an excuse to call Swetnick right now.

nbc news logoNBC News, White House limits scope of the FBI's investigation into the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, Ken Dilanian, Geoff Bennett, Kristen Welker, Frank Thorp V, Hallie Jackson and Leigh Ann Caldwell, Sept. 29, 2018. The FBI has not been permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, a White House official confirmed to NBC News. The White House is limiting the scope of the FBI’s investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, multiple people briefed on the matter told NBC News.

While the FBI will examine the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, the bureau has not been permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of engaging in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s, those people familiar with the investigation told NBC News. A White House official confirmed that Swetnick's claims will not be pursued as part of the reopened background investigation into Kavanaugh.

julie swetnickFord said in Senate testimony Thursday that she was "100 percent" certain that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. Ramirez alleged that he exposed himself to her when there were students at Yale. Kavanaugh has staunchly denied allegations from Ford, Ramirez, below left, and Swetnick, right.

deborah ramirez yale croppedInstead of investigating Swetnick's claims, the White House counsel’s office has given the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview, according to several people who discussed the parameters on the condition of anonymity.

They characterized the White House instructions as a significant constraint on the FBI investigation and caution that such a limited scope, while not unusual in normal circumstances, may make it difficult to pursue additional leads in a case in which a Supreme Court nominee has been accused of sexual assault.

President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the FBI has "free reign" in the investigation. "They’re going to do whatever they have to do," he said. "Whatever it is they do, they’ll be doing — things that we never even thought of. And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine."

Breaking News: Trump orders limits on FBI probe of Kavanaugh. Accuser Julie Swetnick's attorney responds:

"If true, this is outrageous," wrote Avenatti. "Why are Trump and his cronies in the Senate trying to prevent the American people from learning the truth? Why do they insist on muzzling women with information submitted under penalty of perjury? Why Ramirez but not my client?"

bill palmerPalmer Report, Analysis: FBI is already ripping into Brett Kavanaugh’s life tonight, Bill Palmer, right, Sept. 29, 2018. How much can the FBI accomplish in the week it’s been given to investigate the accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh? Let’s just say that the bureau is hitting the ground running, with a vengeance. Not only is the FBI investigating multiple sexual assault accusations, it’s been seeking to conduct key interviews as soon as tonight.

This is important for two reasons. First, it confirms what Mitch McConnell’s office stated earlier this evening, which is that the FBI has been given the authority to investigate all the accusations, and not just those made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Second, it demonstrates just how quickly the FBI is working on this. The sooner it can interview Kavanaugh’s various accusers, the sooner it can use their responses to zero in on which other potential witnesses and physical evidence to pursue. The FBI already has a leg-up even before these interviews, because Ford just finished giving detailed public testimony, while Ramirez and Swetnick have also gone public in detail.

All of this can be – and surely already is being – used to help guide the investigation even before the accuser interviews can be conducted.

ap logoAssociated Press via Yahoo, Trump cites Kavanaugh to rally voters, staff report, Sept. 29, 2018. President Donald Trump is turning his embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh into a rallying cry for Republicans to vote in November. He said at a West Virginia rally that they can help reject the "ruthless and outrageous tactics" he says Democrats used against the judge.

Trump won the state in 2016 by 42 percentage points and remains popular there.

Kavanaugh, the federal appeals judge Trump nominated to the nation's highest court, appeared headed for confirmation until California professor Christine Blasey (blah-zee) Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers in Maryland in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denied her accusations and those of two other women since have accused him of sexual misconduct.

During his rally, President Donald Trump also poked fun at Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, considered a possible challenger to Trump in 2020. Booker is a former mayor of Newark, the state's largest city. Trump told the crowd that Booker "ran Newark, New Jersey into the ground" and asked: "now he wants to be president?"

washington post logoWashington Post, Partisan politics, Kavanaugh’s defiant words put Supreme Court in unwelcome spotlight, Robert Barnes and Carol D. Leonnig​, Sept. 29, 2018. The Senate’s partisan warfare over Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination and Kavanaugh’s own denunciations of his political enemies have drawn scrutiny.

The political underpinnings of the court — conservative justices nominated by Republican presidents, liberal ones named by Democrats — are never far from the surface. But justices on both sides strive to stress that ideological rather than partisan concerns account for their disagreements.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Kavanaugh is lying. His upbringing explains why, The elite learn early that they’re special — and that they won’t face consequences, Shamus Khan, Sept. 29, 2018.  Shamus Khan, the chair of the sociology department at Columbia University, is the author of “Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School.”

Brett Kavanaugh is not telling the whole truth. When President George W. Bush nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2006, he told senators that he’d had nothing to do with the war on terror’s detention policies; that was not true. Kavanaugh also claimed under oath, that year and again this month, that he didn’t know that Democratic Party memos a GOP staffer showed him in 2003 were illegally obtained; his emails from that period reveal that these statements were probably false.

How could a man who appears to value honor and the integrity of the legal system explain this apparent mendacity? How could a man brought up in some of our nation’s most storied institutions — Georgetown Prep, Yale College, Yale Law School — dissemble with such ease? The answer lies in the privilege such institutions instill in their members, a privilege that suggests the rules that govern American society are for the common man, not the exceptional one.

washington post logoWashington Post, New Kavanaugh inquiry draws FBI into partisan tug of war, Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 29, 2018 (print edition). The FBI has grown accustomed to its work being viewed through sharply partisan lenses. But President Trump’s order for a “supplemental investigation” of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh presents challenges.

washington post logoWashington Post, Details in Kavanaugh’s 1982 calendar entry could be scrutinized in FBI probe, Michael Kranish, Joe Heim and Emma Brown, Sept. 29, 2018 (print edition).  Democrats have seized on the scrawled notes as possible evidence that could support Christine Blasey Ford’s charge that the Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her.

washington post logobrett kavanaugh flagWashington Post, American Bar Association had concerns in 2006 about Kavanaugh, Avi Selk, Sept. 29, 2018 (print edition). The ABA flagged concerns of possible bias just before the Senate made Brett M. Kavanaugh a federal judge.

washington post logoWashington Post, An elevator confrontation, a meeting in a phone booth: Sen. Flake’s Friday drama, Elise Viebeck, Sean Sullivan and Paul Kane, The deal to delay a vote on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee was made behind closed doors — by two senators crammed into an old-fashioned phone booth built for one.

The deal to delay a final vote on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee was made behind closed doors Friday — by two senators crammed into a battered, old-fashioned phone booth built for one. 

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘I was demanding a connection’: Ana Maria Archila reflects on confronting Jeff Flake over Kavanaugh nomination, Elise Viebeck, Sept. 29, 2018 (print edition).  Ana Maria Archila had never told her father that she was sexually abused as a child. But after she confronted a U.S. senator about President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the video started going viral, she thought it was time to share her story.

“I always carried the fear that my parents would feel that they had failed in taking care of me if I told them,” Archila (co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy in New York) said Friday night in a phone interview with The Washington Post.

The encounter on Friday morning between Archila, a second woman and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has already become an iconic moment in the debate over Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. With a CNN camera behind them broadcasting live, Archila and Maria Gallagher blocked the doors of an elevator for about five minutes in an effort to confront Flake about his just-announced support for Kavanaugh, who is facing several allegations of sexual misconduct.

Catholic Priests, Dean

washington post logocardinal donald wuerl portrait fullWashington Post, Abuse settlement from 2005 with Cardinal Wuerl’s name raises questions, Michelle Boorstein and Julie Zauzmer, Sept. 29, 2018 (print edition). Cardinal Donald Wuerl, shown at right, who has said that he didn’t know about sexual misconduct complaints involving Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was named in a 2005 settlement agreement that included allegations against McCarrick, according to the accuser and documents obtained by The Post.

washington post logoWashington Post, Catholic U. dean suspended after comment about woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Susan Svrluga, Will Rainford, dean of the National Catholic School of Social Service, apologized after he made a Twitter post that suggested one of the Supreme Court nominee's accusers "was not the victim of sexual assault.”

“Swetnick is 55 y/o,” Rainford posted Wednesday on his @NCSSSDean Twitter account. “Kavanaugh is 52 y/o. Since when do senior girls hang with freshmen boys? If it happened when Kavanaugh was a senior, Swetnick was an adult drinking with&by her admission, having sex with underage boys. In another universe, he would be victim & she the perp!”

Teresa Crenshaw, a social worker who graduated from the master’s degree program at the school in 2017, said she was “really alarmed that he had the audacity to say those things because as social workers, we know we work one-on-one with survivors every day. . . . I’m appalled by what he has said.”

Sept. 28

Supreme Court Battle

 

Sept. 28, 2018

Justice Integrity Project, Lying Bullyboy Kavanaugh Goes Full Trump, Reverses Disaster

By Andrew Kreig

brett kavanaugh nbc cropped sept 27 2018Brett Kavanaugh gave his endangered Supreme Court nomination new life on Sept. 27 with apparently perjured testimony and by playing the victim during a hearing on sexual assault charges that was rigged by his Republican backers.

Kavanaugh's emotional mixture of self-pitying tears, obvious lies and belligerence towards Democratic senators followed President Trump's rhetorical model of "deny, deny, deny" and vicious political partisanship.

Trump, formally accused by 19 women of sexual assault or other sexual misconduct, portrayed himself as a victim in a rambling, 80-minute press conference on Sept. 26 in which he complained about mistreatment of Kavanaugh.

The nominee, shown in an NBC News photo at left Thursday snarling his comments at Democrats, delivered a hoked-up temper tantrum that appeared to salvage his hopes for his confirmation following three major accusations of sexual misconduct and Kavanaugh's robotic performance on Monday night during a Fox television interview.christine blasey ford sept 27 2018

It came after Fox News commentators Mike Wallace and Brit Hume had described the nominee's accuser Christine Brasey Ford as highly credible in her earlier sworn testimony. 

The majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a vote on the nomination for 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 28.

Dr. Brasey, right, told the committee that she was "100 percent" certain that Kavanaugh had been  the drunken teenager who had tried to rape her at a party when she was 15, thereby inflicting lifelong emotional trauma.

Several former prosecutors now serving as cable television commentators, including Cynthia Aksne and Daniel Goldman on MSNBC, described the witness's mixture of first-person experience and expertise as a psychologist as the most effective witness that they had ever seen.

jeff flake oRoll Call, After Last-Second Talks to Delay, Judiciary Committee Advances Kavanaugh Nomination, John T. Bennett, Sept. 28, 2018. Flake joins other Republicans to set up floor vote despite call for delay. The Senate Judiciary Committee, after a gut-wrenching spectacle of a hearing Thursday and last-second negotiations among Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., right, and panel Democrats to delay a floor vote, voted to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to the chamber floor despite multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him.

The Friday vote was along party lines, 11-10, with all Democrats voting against him after siding with Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the panel for four hours Thursday about her contention that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and intended to rape her in the early 1980s. She told the panel she came forward because she does not believe he should be a high court justice with a lifetime appointment.

“I think it would proper to delay the floor vote for up to but more than one week in order to let the FBI to do an investigation limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there,” Flake said before the roll was called.

bill palmerPalmer Report, Analysis: Confirmed: FBI is now allowed to criminally pursue Brett Kavanaugh for lying to the Senate, Bill Palmer, right, Sept. 28, 2018. We’re already learning that the FBI is now allowed to pursue criminal charges against Kavanaugh if it’s determined that he lied under oath to the Senate.

Halfway through a lengthy new exposé from the Washington Post, we find this sentence regarding the the FBI investigation in question: “If investigators uncover evidence that Kavanaugh lied to lawmakers during hearings or on his background-check forms, that could spark a criminal investigation in which law enforcement could use the full extent of its legal powers.”

brett kavanaugh prison bar graphic palmer reportThis confirms Palmer Report’s earlier premise that once the FBI begins an investigation like this, there really are no limits to the FBI’s ability to follow the evidence to any and all federal crimes. By our count, Kavanaugh [shown in a Palmer Report graphic] appeared to commit at least four separate provable instances of perjury during his televised Senate testimony, even before the sexual assault accusations surfaced. He lied extensively about the circumstances under which he received and forwarded stolen emails, and among other issues.

This may help explain why Senate Democrats uniformly pushed so hard for an FBI investigation. Even if the FBI can’t prove within the next seven days that Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, it can quickly and easily prove that he committed felony perjury.

ny times logoadam liptakNew York Times, A Bitter Nominee, Questions of Neutrality, and a Damaged Supreme Court, Adam Liptak, right, Sept. 28, 2018. In the first round of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings early this month, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh kept his cool under hostile questioning, stressed his independence, and exhibited the calm judicial demeanor that characterized his dozen years on a prestigious appeals court bench.

“The Supreme Court,” he said, “must never be viewed as a partisan institution.”

His performance on Thursday, responding to accusations of sexual misconduct at a hearing of the same Senate committee, sent a different message. Judge Kavanaugh was angry and emotional, embracing the language of slashing partisanship. His demeanor raised questions about his neutrality and temperament, and threatened the already fragile reputation of the Supreme Court as an institution devoted to law rather than politics.

“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit,” he said, “fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”

In a sharp break with decorum, Judge Kavanaugh responded to questions about his drinking from two Democratic senators — Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island — with questions of his own about theirs. He later apologized to Ms. Klobuchar.

brett kavanaugh nbc sept 27 2018 cropped reuters jim berg

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27, 2018 (Reuters photo by Jim Berg via NBC News)

washington post logoWashington Post, Kavanaugh hearing turns partisan as GOP senators lash out at treatment of nominee, Seung Min Kim, Ann E. Marimow, Mike DeBonis and Elise Viebeck, Sept. 28, 2018 (print edition). Sen. Graham rejects allegations, rips Democrats in a furious speech.

“To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I’ve seen in my time in politics,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.

Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh called his confirmation process a “national disgrace” and denied sexual assault allegations, which Christine Blasey Ford detailed in testimony earlier.

Deadspin via YouTube, Humor/Advocacy: Here’s Brett Kavanaugh Mentioning Beer During His Senate Hearing (34 mins.), Staff report, Sept. 28, 2018.

washington post logochristine blasey ford sept 27 2018Washington Post, 3 takeaways from the Kavanaugh hearing so far, Amber Phillips​, Sept. 28, 2018 (print edition). Republicans struggled to show they are taking it seriously. Meanwhile, Christine Blasey Ford, shown at right, cut a sympathetic, down-to-earth figure.

1. This isn’t going well for Republicans

2. Meanwhile, Ford came across as credible, emotional and sympathetic

3. Republicans' decision to hand their questions over to a female prosecutor is seeming questionable.

ny times logoNew York Times, Kavanaugh Denies Sexual Assault Charges and Attacks Democrats in Scathing Testimony, Staff report, Sept. 28, 2018 (print edition). At an extraordinary hearing, Brett M. Kavanaugh denied that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school. In an angry statement to the Senate Judicial Committee he said the Supreme Court confirmation process had become “a national disgrace.”

The Sun, 'Hard To Believe';  Who is Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, how old is Brett Kavanaugh’s wife and when did they get married? Nicola Stow, Sept. 28, 2018. Ashley Kavanaugh has defended her husband amid allegations of misconduct made against him.

Ashley Kavanaugh, 42, is a US public official and former political aide. She served as Personal Secretary to President George W. Bush, shown at right, from the start of his Presidency to 2004. Prior to that, she served as an assistant to Bush during his tenure as Governor of Texas and also during his presidential campaign.

George W. Bush HRAshley is currently town manager of Chevy Chase Section Five, Maryland. She graduated from Abilene Cooper High School in 1993 and attended the University of Texas.

Kavanaugh -- a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia -- married Ashley Estes in 2004 and they have two children, Liza and Margaret. She met her husband while working in the Bush White House in 2001, when she served as the president’s personal secretary.

Ashley was quick to appear on television to defend her husband amid the accusations made against him. In a Fox News interview, Ashley said the claims were "hard to believe." She told the network: "I know Brett. I've known him for 17 years," she said. "He's decent, he's kind, he's good. I know his heart. This is not consistent with Brett."

The Hill, Jesuit magazine calls for Kavanaugh nomination to be withdrawn, Tal Axelrod, Sept. 27, 2018. The editors of America Magazine, a Jesuit publication, called on President Trump to withdraw Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.

The piece was published after Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who accused Kavanaugh of trying to rape her in 1982 at a house party, testified before of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the allegations.

The editors wrote a piece in July praising Trump's nomination of Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy and Kavanaugh’s pro-life stance.

“Judge Kavanaugh is a textualist who is suspicious of the kind of judicial innovation that led to the court’s ruling in Roe. That decision removed a matter of grave moral concern—about which there was and remains no public moral consensus—from the democratic process,” they wrote at the time.

Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Preparatory School, a Jesuit high school.

The magazine’s reversal reflects the tumult into which sexual misconduct allegations have thrown Kavanaugh’s confirmation process.

JIP Editor's Note: We excerpt the column below to debunk the right-wing propaganda smearing sexual assault victim Christine Brasey Ford. We do not endorse the obviously false claims that are being made against her.

christine blasey ford sept 27 2018Media Matters, Right-wing conspiracy theorists now claim Christine Blasey Ford is “deeply tied to the CIA,” Sarah Wasko, Sept. 28, 2018. Conservative radio host and conspiracy theorist Michael Savage is promoting a rapidly spreading conspiracy theory that professor Christine Blasey Ford, right, who says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school, has “deep” connections to the Central Intelligence Agency.

Savage has pushed incredibly bizarre conspiracy theories and hateful rhetoric, and he has been closely connected to President Donald Trump and the White House. He pushed the latest conspiracy theory on Twitter and his website:

IS DR. FORD DEEPLY TIED TO THE CIA? — Michael Savage (@ASavageNation) 2:59 PM - Sep 27, 2018 Savage’s conspiracy theory makes three claims about Ford’s connections to the CIA, all of which are false or baseless:

1. The post claims that Ford “happens to head up the CIA undergraduate internship program at Stanford University.” This claim seems to originate from a conspiracy theory website, brassballs.blog, that drew this conclusion because Stanford does have an undergraduate CIA internship program, and Ford, who is a psychology professor at nearby Palo Alto University, is also listed as an “affiliate” in the “psychiatry and behavioral sciences” department at Stanford. The blog post argues that it is suspicious that Ford’s contact information has been deleted from her Stanford profile page, although the more likely explanation is that it has been removed due to the threats and harassment that Ford has received since coming forward.

2. The theory draws another connection between Ford and the CIA via her brother’s previous work for law firm BakerHostetler. A previous Ford-related conspiracy theory connected her brother’s work at BakerHostetler to Fusion GPS, a research firm involved in the ongoing Russian collusion investigation. However, Ford’s brother left BakerHostetler six years before Fusion GPS was ever founded. Savage’s conspiracy theory repeats this false claim and goes even further, claiming that three CIA-controlled businesses are located in the same building as BakerHostetler. There is no evidence these businesses are connected to the CIA -- in fact, one, Red Coats, Inc., is a janitorial company that does not even share office space with BakerHostetler.

3. Savage’s post also claims that Ford is the granddaughter of Nicholas Deak, who worked with the CIA during the Cold War. According to his 1985 Washington Post obituary, Deak only had one child, a son named R. Leslie Deak. But as the conspiracy theory’s second claim also notes, Ford’s father is actually Ralph Blasey Jr.Savage’s false claim is rapidly spreading, and was promoted during Alex Jones’ September 28 broadcast. The conspiracy theory is also indicative of how search platforms like Google amplify such clear falsehoods. A Google search for “Christine Ford CIA” done in a private browsing window aggregated YouTube videos pushing the conspiracy theory and Savage’s website as the top results:

washington post logoWashington Post, Several Democrats walk out of Kavanaugh meeting in protest, Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, Sept. 28, 2018. Senate committee decides along party lines to vote on nomination this afternoon. Red-state Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly said he would vote against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. The Republicans had been courting him as well as Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Look at me when I’m talk­ing to you!’: Crying protester confronts Sen. Flake after he says he'll vote for nominee, Lindsey Bever​, Sept. 28, 2018. Two women tearfully and loudly confronted the Arizona Republican in an el­e­va­tor, tell­ing Sen. Jeff Flake that he was dis­miss­ing the pain of sex­ual as­sault survivors.

After Sen. Jeff Flake’s announcement that he would, in fact, vote to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, the emotional debate over the confirmation spilled into the halls of Congress, on live television, as two women tearfully and loudly confronted the Arizona Republican in an el­e­va­tor, tell­ing Flake that he was dis­miss­ing the pain of sex­ual as­sault survivors.

“What you are doing is allowing some­one who ac­tu­al­ly vio­lat­ed a woman to sit in the Su­preme Court,” one woman shout­ed during a live CNN broadcast as Flake was making his way to a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. “This is hor­rible. You have chil­dren in your fam­i­ly. Think a­bout them.”

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s pal Alan Dershowitz shockingly tries to put the brakes on Brett Kavanaugh nomination, Bill Palmer, right, Sept. 28, 2018. After Dr. Christine Blasey Ford gave credible and compelling testimony yesterday alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her, and Kavanaugh responded by having a mental breakdown during his own subsequent testimony, various entities called for a halt to the nomination so an FBI investigation could be conducted.

Not surprisingly, the American Bar Association was among them. Shockingly, so was Donald Trump’s pal Alan Dershowitz.

Not long before midnight eastern time, it was widely reported that the ABA had sent a letter to Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, arguing that the FBI must step in and help determine whether Kavanaugh or Ford is telling the truth. This is a major development, but perhaps not surprising.

On the one hand, with the Brett Kavanaugh nomination now rapidly shaping up as a stain on American history, it’s possible that Alan Dershowitz may simply be trying to avoid taking one more reputational hit as he continues to turn into more of a Trump shill.

On the other hand, maybe Dershowitz really is trying to talk Trump into moving on from Kavanaugh, for fear that pushing any further forward could backfire.

Democrats Threatened With Senate Reprisals

lindsey grahamRoll Call, Lindsey Graham to Democrats: ‘I’ll Remember This,’John T. Bennett, Sept. 28, 2018. South Carolina senator could be Judiciary chairman next year if GOP holds Senate.

Lindsey Graham, right, who could become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman next year, warned his Democratic colleagues Friday that he will remember how they handled the Brett Kavanaugh saga.

“If I am chairman, next year, I’m going to remember this,” the South Carolina Republican said before a planned vote on the Supreme Court nominee.

“There’s the process before Kavanaugh and the process after Kavanaugh. If you want to vet the nominee, you can. If you want to delay things until after the election, you cannot. If you try to destroy somebody, you will not get away with it.”

CNN, Democrats seize on circumstantial July 1 theory for Kavanaugh and Ford, Zach Wolf, Sept. 28, 2018. CNN Sen. Jeff Flake demanded a potentially week-long pause on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh Friday so the FBI could do a limited investigation in to the sexual assault allegation levied against him by Christine Blasey Ford in searing testimony Thursday.

Vox, Every time Ford and Kavanaugh dodged a question, in one chart, Alvin Chang, Sept. 28, 2018. There was a striking difference in style — and substance. There were several noticeable differences between the Senate testimony of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.

The most obvious was the tone each took. Ford was polite and quiet in recounting her accusation against Kavanaugh; he was angry and loud in his denials of the allegations against him.

Beyond the style of their testimonies, there was a striking difference in the content of their words. Both Ford and Kavanaugh fielded questions from senators and the prosecutor hired by Republicans, Rachel Mitchell.

washington post logoWashington Post, Here’s where Kavanaugh’s sworn testimony was misleading or wrong, Philip Bump, Sept. 28, 2018. From obvious falsehoods about his drinking to misrepresentations of exonerating evidence.

The Intercept, Kavanaugh’s High School, Georgetown Prep, Warned Parents in 1990 of “Sexual or Violent Behavior” at Parties, Jon Schwarz and Camille Baker, Sept. 28, 2018. According to a 1990 article in the Washington Post, the headmasters from seven prestigious Washington, D.C.-area private schools sent a joint letter that year to parents, warning them that their children had developed a party culture that included heavy drinking leading to “sexual or violent behavior.”

One of the schools was Georgetown Prep, from which Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh graduated in 1983. Christine Blasey Ford, who during congressional testimony on Thursday described being sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh in 1982, attended another of the schools, Holton-Arms.

The Post article also reported that before the letter was sent, Georgetown Prep had individually “held a conference with parents to discuss the problem of unsupervised parties.”

Malcolm Coates, then the headmaster of the Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, is quoted as saying that the schools decided to write the letter jointly “to give it more impact. … The fact that seven schools decided it was enough of a problem to address it is significant.”

Other Scandal Claims

Seattle Times, Seattle woman says state Sen. Joe Fain raped her in 2007; Fain denies allegation, Heidi Groover, Mike Baker and Joseph O’Sullivan, Sept. 28, 2018. A Seattle woman said Thursday that prominent Washington state Sen. Joe Fain raped her after her college graduation in 2007. Fain denied the accusation and called for an investigation into the alleged incident.

The woman, Candace Faber, tweeted about Fain on Thursday afternoon and later issued a statement saying “we cannot heal without accountability.” The tweet came after hours of televised testimony on sexual-assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Faber said in her tweet that the assault occurred the night she graduated from Georgetown University. She had previously written a post about being assaulted by someone serving in the Washington state Legislature, but did not include a name.

In that earlier account, posted online in June, she described how she and the lawmaker met “at the Capitol” and spent a night out drinking and kissing. She wrote that she helped the drunken man return to his hotel room. In the room, she wrote, he pulled down her dress “so hard the straps tore.”

She wrote that she pushed him away and said “stop, stop, stop” before eventually relenting. She later asked him for a kiss goodbye, she wrote, and wondered whether she should go to the hospital.

Fain, a Republican from Auburn, denied Faber’s account in a text message to The Seattle Times. “I absolutely deny what Ms. Faber is accusing me of,” Fain said. “Any allegation of this serious nature deserves to be heard and investigated for all parties involved. I invite and will cooperate with any inquiry. I ask everyone to show respect to Ms. Faber and to the process.”

Sept. 27

Supreme Court Battle

brett kavanaugh nbc sept 27 2018 cropped reuters jim berg

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27, 2018 (Reuters photo by Jim Berg via NBC News)

Roll Call, Jeff Flake Straddling the Fence on Kavanaugh Ahead of Friday Vote, Niels Lesniewski, Sept. 27, 2018. Arizona Republican isn’t committing to supporting Supreme Court nominee.

Sen. Jeff Flake, seen as a key swing vote who could either put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court or kill his chances, is not committing to voting for the nominee at a Friday morning Judiciary Committee markup.

The Arizona Republican sounded very conflicted Thursday evening following a meeting of the Senate Republican Conference after the Judiciary panel spent nearly nine hours Thursday hearing from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her at a party decades ago when they were both in high school.

New York Magazine, Opinion: Why Brett Kavanaugh’s Hearings Convinced Me That He’s Guilty, Jonathan Chait, Sept. 27, 2018. I think Brett Kavanaugh is probably lying about having sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford, and many other things, and has decided from the beginning to say what he has to in order to fulfill his career ambition.

There is, however, at least some, small chance that he is telling the truth when he professes his innocence. And that small chance gives me some sympathetic human reaction to his emotional testimonial. If he is somehow innocent, as he claims, he has been subject to a horrifying and humiliating ordeal.

That, however, does not justify confirming Kavanaugh to a lifelong position on the Supreme Court. He has, for one thing, all but abandoned the posture of impartiality demanded of a judge. A ranting Kavanaugh launched angry, evidence-free charges against Senate Democrats. Why they took this revenge against Kavanaugh, rather than the first justice who was appointed after the 2016 elections, when Democrats’ anger over both the election and the treatment of Merrick Garland ran hotter, he did not say. Kavanaugh does not seem able to imagine even the possibility that Democrats actually believe the women accusing him of sexual assault. He is consumed with paranoid, partisan rage.

The method Republicans have used to defend Kavanaugh has consisted of suppressing most of the evidence that could be brought to bear in the hearing, and then complaining about the lack of evidence. “Unless something new comes forward, you have just an emotional accusation and an emotional denial without corroboration,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. Conservative columnist Kimberly Strassel argued, “The standard here isn’t where you ‘look’ or ‘sound’ ‘credible.’ It is whether you provide evidence.”

washington post logochristine blasey ford sept 27 2018Washington Post, 3 takeaways from the Kavanaugh hearing so far, Amber Phillips​, Sept. 27, 2018. Republicans struggled to show they are taking it seriously. Meanwhile, Christine Blasey Ford, shown at right, cut a sympathetic, down-to-earth figure.

1. This isn’t going well for Republicans2. Meanwhile, Ford came across as credible, emotional and sympathetic3. Republicans' decision to hand their questions over to a female prosecutor is seeming questionable.

ny times logoNew York Times, Kavanaugh Denies Sexual Assault Charges and Attacks Democrats in Scathing Testimony, Staff report, Sept. 27, 2018. At an extraordinary hearing, Brett M. Kavanaugh denied that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school. In an angry statement to the Senate Judicial Committee he said the Supreme Court confirmation process had become “a national disgrace.”

Roll Call, Kavanaugh Comes Out of Gate Angry, Says Confirmation Process Is ‘National Disgrace,’ John T. Bennett, Sept. 27, 2018. An angry Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, facing sexual assault allegations, opened up his testimony Thursday by calling the situation a “national disgrace.”

He lamented that his name and that of his family have been “totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false … accusations.”

Three women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. Christine Blasey Ford, his first accuser who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier Thursday, has accused the nominee of sexually assaulting her at a party in the 1980s when the two were in high school.
Supreme Court nominee aggressively foists blame on Democrats, accuses them of character assassination.

washington post logoWashington Post, Chuck Grassley’s heavy-handed stewardship of a very delicate hearing, Aaron Blake​, Sept. 27, 2018. Republicans have taken pains to prevent their 11 white, male committee members from talking. Grassley, though, has no choice.

HuffPost via Yahoo, Man Who Pushed To Ask Bill Clinton Sexually Explicit Questions Bemoans Dirty Politics, Amanda Terkel, Sept. 27, 2018. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh came out swinging on Thursday, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that his confirmation process had become a “national disgrace” and bemoaning the partisan politics around it.

“The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy,” he said angrily in his opening remarks. “Since my nomination in July, there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation.”

The dirty politics Kavanaugh is alleging should be no surprise to him, since he spent part of his career in that world.

Kavanaugh cut his teeth in Washington working for what Democrats consider to be the most brazen and partisan crusade in modern politics: Ken Starr’s investigations into President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. He spent more than three years working for the independent counsel, who was looking into various scandals surrounding Clinton and his wife, Hillary.

Kavanaugh personally urged Starr to expand the Whitewater investigation to include looking at the death of White House staffer Vince Foster, a controversy that was a partisan attempt to use a man’s death to go after the Clintons.

Foster died by suicide in 1993, a conclusion reached by U.S. Park Police (his body was found in a park) and the FBI. In fact, multiple investigations concurred that it was a suicide.

Yet in March 1995, after those reviews, Kavanaugh called for a “full-fledged investigation” into Foster’s death. That inquiry helped validate right-wing conspiracy theorists who believed that the Clintons killed Foster, and the matter outraged Foster’s family.

During the Monica Lewinsky inquiry, Kavanaugh pressed Starr to ask Clinton sexually graphic questions about his relationship with the White House intern.

washington post logoorrin hatch oWashington Post, Ford finishes her testimony, Kavanaugh to testify, Seung Min Kim, Ann E. Marimow, Mike DeBonis and Elise Viebeck​, Sept. 27, 2018. Sen. Hatch, right, calls Christine Blasey Ford an ‘attractive’ witness.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the longest-serving member of the Senate, was asked whether Ford was “credible” in her testimony. “I don’t think she’s un-credible." he said. "I think she’s an attractive, good witness."

ny times logoNew York Times, Nomination in the Balance as Kavanaugh and His Accuser Testify, Catie Edmondson, Sept. 27, 2018. Christine Blasey Ford, shown in a file photo, is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about her accusation that Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. Since Dr. Blasey came forward, two christine blasey ford headshot croppedmore women have accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at parties in high school and in college. 

An hour before the hearing, Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, held a news conference in support of Dr. Blasey, flanked by trauma experts who spoke of the difficult and often hostile cultural attitudes faced by survivors of sexual abuse.

patty murray oMs. Murray, left, was one of a number of female senators who was emboldened to run for office after watching Anita F. Hill testify in 1991, and she referenced that experience directly, calling on her colleagues to learn from their past mistakes.

“In 1991, I and millions of women across the country watched as Anita Hill was interrogated and attacked and the Senate failed this crucial test,” Ms. Murray said. holton arms school logo“Twenty-seven years later, in 2018, we need to do better and we certainly should not do worse.”

As Ms. Murray delivered her remarks, dozens of protesters supporting Dr. Blasey poured into the Hart Senate Office Building, chanting “we won’t go back” and wearing shirts that said “Believe Women.” Four young women, wearing their Holton-Arms uniforms, walked through the Hart office buildings hallways, arms linked together.

senate gop judiciary

Republican U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Members

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans

  • chuck grassley officialChuck Grassley, Iowa, Chairman, right.
  • Orrin Hatch, Utah.
  • Lindsey Graham, South Carolina.
  • John Cornyn, Texas.
  • Mike Lee, Utah.
  • Ted Cruz, Texas.
  • Ben Sasse, Nebraska.
  • Jeff Flake, Arizona.

washington post logoWashington Post, Who is Julie Swetnick, the third accuser? Michael E. Miller, Steve Hendrix, Jessica Contrera and Ian Shapira, July 27, 2018. The 55-year-old is an experienced web developer in the Washington area and has held multiple security clearances for her work on government-related networks.

julie swetnickJulie Swetnick, right, who Wednesday became the third woman to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, is an experienced Web developer in the Washington area who has held multiple security clearances for her work on government-related networks.

The child of two government bureaucrats — her father worked on the lunar orbiter for NASA and her mother was a geologist at the Atomic Energy Commission — has spent most of her life around Washington. Now 55, she grew up in Maryland and graduated in 1980 from Gaithersburg High School, located in a far less affluent section of the same county where Kavanaugh lived and attended an exclusive prep school.

Swetnick’s father, 95, said Wednesday he was shocked to learn from a Washington Post reporter that his daughter had made the explosive allegations.

ny times logoNew York Times, What We Know About Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona Prosecutor Set to Question Kavanaugh’s First Accuser, Matt Stevens, Sept. 27, 2018 (print edition). The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican leadership said Tuesday that it had retained Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona prosecutor specializing in sex crimes, to help question Christine Blasey Ford, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s first accuser. Rachel Mitchell, right, is shown during a TV interview in 2011 (Screenshot from ABC 15.)rachel mitchell 2011 screenshot

The move allows Republicans to avoid having the 11 men who are part of the committee and in their party grill Dr. Blasey on Thursday about the alleged sexual assault in high school that she says a young Judge Kavanaugh carried out.

Trump Psyche

Donald Trump (Defense Department photo by Dominique Pineiro)

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump laments #MeToo as ‘very dangerous’ for powerful men, Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker, Sept. 27, 2018 (print edition). President Trump, shown in a file photo, cast doubt on the credibility of three women who have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct and other women who have claimed sexual abuse by prominent men.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Give it to me’: Trump lets loose with 81 minutes of bluster, falsehoods and insults, Ashley Parker, Sept. 27, 2018 (print edition). What was perhaps most remarkable was just how transparent and revealing the 45th president of the United States continues to be.

Media News

kirsten powers michael caputo cnn sept.26 2018

CNN guest commentators Kirsten Powers and Michael Caputo, right, squared off on the show of Anderson Cooper, left.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘I called out his victim blaming and he lost it,’ says Kirsten Powers after Michael Caputo’s CNN meltdown, Allyson Chiu, Sept. 27, 2018. Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign aide turned political strategist and conservative pundit, was thrust into the spotlight after having what many are calling a “meltdown” during a heated panel discussion about the controversial allegations against Kavanaugh on Anderson Cooper’s “AC360” Wednesday night.

Sept. 26


Sept. 26

brett kavanaugh 5 ways to thwart gop court fraud

Justice Integrity Project, Kavanaugh Rape Charge: 1 of 5 Ways To Thwart GOP Court Fraud

By Andrew Kreig,

A new accuser has named Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Sept. 26 as being present during her long ago gang rape at a party.

But justice seekers need much tougher tactics to counter the ruthless senators and their puppet masters who are now ramming the nominee through to confirmation without an honest investigation.

This column argues that reformers need to implement five strategies beginning today before the sham Senate hearing that is scheduled Thursday for new accusations against Kavanaugh. [The column has been updated after being published early on Wednesday, Sept. 26, which was before attorney Michael Avenatti announced the identity of his client who would make explosive charges against Kavanaugh.]

Later that morning, Avenatti released via Twitter a sworn statement by a longtime federal employee, Julie Swetnick, identifying Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge as being present for a “gang rape” that Swetnick said victimized her at one one of about of about 10 house parties she says that she attended with them in the Washington, DC area in the early 1980s. She is shown at left in a photo released by her attorney.julie swetnick full photo via michael avenatti

“I also witnessed,"  the statement said, "efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys ... These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh ... In approximately 1982, I became the victim of one of these ‘gang’ or ‘train’ rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present,” she added.

Avenatti wrote also, "Here is a picture of my client Julie Swetnick. She is courageous, brave and honest. We ask that her privacy and that of her family be respected."

Kavanaugh responded by reiterating his denial of wrongdoing. In a rambling 80-minute press conference filled vague if not misleading comments, President Trump restated his support for Kavanaugh, his denunciations of Avenatti and left open the possibility that he might change his mind after hearing from Kavanaugh's accusers in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday.

Trump seemed unaware for most of the conference until near the end that Senate Republicans have not permitted Swetnick and another accuser, Deborah Ramirez, either to speak to the committee or to the FBI in a renewed investigation. Trump said also that his own experience in being accused of sexual misconduct had made him especially sympathetic to Kavanaugh.

The Hill, Avenatti releases client’s identity, allegations against Kavanaugh, Tal Axelrod, Sept. 26, 2018. Avenatti claims client has 'credible information' on Kavanaugh, ex-classmate. Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her suit against President Trump released the identity of his client accusing Brett Kavanaugh of being present for a “gang rape” of which she was a victim.

michael avenatti sketchAvenatti tweeted out a sworn testimony from Julie Swetnick, shown above, in which she declares she met Kavanaugh in “approximately 1980-1981” and attended several house parties for which Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were also present.

Her affidavit states:

“I witnessed Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh drink excessively and engage in highly inappropriate conduct, including being overly aggressive with girls and not taking ‘No’ for an answer. This conduct included the fondling and grabbing of girls without their consent,” Swetnick writes.

“I also witnessed efforts by Mark Judge [shown at right], Brett Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys ... These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh ... In approximately 1982, I became the victim of mark judge twitterone of these ‘gang’ or ‘train’ rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present,” she added.

Avenatti wrote: "Here is a picture of my client Julie Swetnick. She is courageous, brave and honest. We ask that her privacy and that of her family be respected."

Avenatti, who has not ruled out a bid for the White House in 2020, said, “Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation.”

Below is my correspondence to Mr. Davis of moments ago, together with a sworn declaration from my client. We demand an immediate FBI investigation into the allegations. Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation.

— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) 10:42 AM - Sep 26, 2018.

washington post logoWashington Post, Kavanaugh nomination: Judge says he is victim of ‘character assassination’ as third woman comes forward, John Wagner, Sept. 26, 2018. Uncertainty looms over Kavanaugh and the GOP after new misconduct allegation.

brett kavanaugh zina bash c span sept 2018Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh [shown in a screenshot from the confirmation hearing] is scheduled to appear Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a high-stakes hearing. The committee will hear from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who says President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers.

Lawmakers from both parties and lawyers for Kavanaugh and Ford maneuvered for advantage on the eve of the hearing, and President Trump weighed in on the fate of his nominee.

12:50 p.m.: Trump attacks Avenatti as ‘a total low-life!’

President Trump on Wednesday lashed out at Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing a new accuser of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.

“Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump said in a tweet. “He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships - a total low-life!”

Avenatti also represents Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who was paid by a personal attorney for Trump to remain quiet about an alleged decade-old affair with Trump.

On Wednesday, Avenatti revealed that he is representing Julie Swetnick, who said Kavanaugh was physically abusive toward girls in high school and present at a house party in 1982 where she says she was the victim of a “gang” rape.

12:45 p.m.: Grassley says new accuser won’t affect Thursday’s hearing

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said the emergence of a third accuser would not affect the hearing scheduled Thursday at which the panel will hear from Christine Blasey Ford about her allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Speaking to reporters, Grassley cited Ford’s welfare. “I feel we shouldn’t disadvantage Dr. Ford any more than she’s already been disadvantaged,” he said.

12:30: Kavanaugh says third accuser’s allegations are ‘from the Twilight Zone’

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Wednesday dismissed the allegations of a third accuser as “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone.” Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh is scheduled to appear Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a high-stakes hearing. The committee will hear from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who says President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers.

Lawmakers from both parties and lawyers for Kavanaugh and Ford maneuvered for advantage on the eve of the hearing, and President Trump weighed in on the fate of his nominee.

washington post logosupreme court graphicWashington Post, Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell emerges as GOP choice to question Kavanaugh and accuser at hearing, Sean Sullivan, Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman, Sept. 26, 2018 (print edition). Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell has emerged as Senate Republicans’ choice to question Brett M. Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, according to two people familiar with the decision.

Mitchell, the sex crimes bureau chief for the Maricopa County Attorney’s office in Phoenix, is the leading candidate to query the two at Thursday’s highly anticipated hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to the individuals.

They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it on the record. A registered Republican, Mitchell has worked for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for 26 years.

washington post logoWashington Post, Brett Kavanaugh has no good choices anymore, Deanna Paul, Sept. 26, 2018. Allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct resurfaced days before Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was all but set to sail through his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kavanaugh categorically denied each claim of misconduct in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee and in an interview with Fox News on Monday, vowing to fight the accusations and defend himself.

The controversial nominee is faced with two unattractive options: withdraw or testify at a second hearing Thursday. He has pledged to do the latter, though either leaves his name tarnished.

“It’s difficult to imagine an exit strategy that’s not personally and professionally devastating for Kavanaugh,” Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University Law School professor, told The Washington Post on Tuesday. Those encouraging the federal judge to withdraw are telling him to cut his losses, Turley said. But the losses are quite considerable.

ny times logoNew York Times, Kavanaugh’s Calendar Portrays Party-Filled Summer for Supreme Court Nominee, Nicholas Fandos, Sept. 26, 2018. The Senate Judiciary Committee released the handwritten calendar pages kept by a teenage Brett Kavanaugh from the summer of 1982. Further clouding Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, a third woman has come forward to accuse him of misconduct during high school.

brett kavanaugh 1982 calendars released judiciary committeeThe Senate Judiciary Committee released calendar pages [one is shown] from the summer of 1982 on Wednesday that paint an image of a party-hopping Brett M. Kavanaugh in high school, complicating his self-drawn portrait of a diligent student obsessed mainly with sports and reaching the top of his class

At the same time, lawyers for the woman who has accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her that summer, Christine Blasey Ford, gave the committee four affidavits — one from Dr. Blasey’s husband and three from friends — stating that she had told them in recent years that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee had assaulted her in high school.

Released as both sides prepare for an extraordinary public hearing before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, neither disclosure proves or disproves the cases that Dr. Blasey or Judge Kavanaugh have sought to advance, but Democratic senators are likely to use the calendars to question how truthful Judge Kavanaugh has been about his younger days. And although the affidavits suggest that Dr. Blasey’s story has been consistent, Republicans are more likely to focus on the lack of contemporaneous evidence that could corroborate her story.

ny times logoNew York Times, What We Know About Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona Prosecutor Set to Question Kavanaugh’s First Accuser, Matt Stevens, Sept. 26, 2018. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican leadership said Tuesday that it had retained Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona prosecutor specializing in sex crimes, to help question Christine Blasey Ford, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s first accuser.

The move allows Republicans to avoid having the 11 men who are part of the committee and in their party grill Dr. Blasey on Thursday about the alleged sexual assault in high school that she says a young Judge Kavanaugh carried out.

dianne feinsteinPolitico, Feinstein: Kavanaugh misled about grand jury secrecy in Vince Foster probe, Josh Gerstein, Sept. 26, 2018. The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee is accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of misleading the Senate about his handling of grand jury secrets while working for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr two decades ago.

Kavanaugh's nomination has run into trouble in the last two weeks over allegations of sexual assault by two women, but Democrats have also complained that he misled them during his Senate testimony on a number of issues, including his handling of warrantless wiretapping and detainee policy in the George W. Bush administration.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, right, told Politico that she has now identified another area in which she believes Kavanaugh was not truthful in communications with senators. She said that by directing officials to speak to reporters during the investigation of President Bill Clinton, Kavanaugh may have violated grand jury secrecy laws -- even though he told her and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) he never broke those rules.

"According to a memo from the National Archives, Brett Kavanaugh instructed Hickman Ewing, a colleague and deputy counsel in the Starr investigation, to ‘call [Chris] Ruddy’ about matters before a grand jury, which would be illegal to disclose," Feinstein said in a statement to POLITICO. "I asked Judge Kavanaugh in questions for the record whether he had shared ‘information learned through grand jury proceedings.’ His answer, which says that he acted ‘consistent with the law,’ conflicts with the official memo from Mr. Ewing. Disclosing grand jury information is against the law and would be troubling for any lawyer, especially one applying for a promotion to the highest court in the country.”

Sept. 25

Cosby, 'America's Dad,' Sentenced

washington post logobill cosbyWashington Post, Bill Cosby sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison in the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, Staff report, Sept. 25, 2018. Cosby's sentencing follows an April conviction on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a Temple University basketball official he was mentoring.

Dozens of women have publicly accused Cosby, right, of sexual assault in incidents dating from the 1960s and through the 2000s. The prosecution had requested a 5- to 10-year sentence for the 81-year-old entertainer. Cosby has vowed to appeal.

Rushed Vote Set Friday On Kavanaugh

Vox, The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh even though his accuser hasn’t testified, Li Zhouli, Sept. 25, 2018. The vote’s just one day after a hearing scrutinizing sexual misconduct allegations.

chuck grassley oSenate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA), right, has rescheduled a committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for this upcoming Friday. That’s just one day after a hearing that will take place on Thursday, which is set to scrutinize sexual misconduct and assault allegations that have been brought against Kavanaugh.

Grassley’s announcement of the committee vote is the latest signal that Republicans are ready to barrel ahead with Kavanaugh’s confirmation, in spite of the recent accusations that have been levied by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. Ford — who has said that Kavanaugh tried to force himself on her while both of them were in high school — is set to testify, along with Kavanaugh, on Thursday. Kavanaugh has unequivocally denied all of the allegations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday emphasized that he was eager to hear from Ford — while simultaneously casting doubt on the legitimacy of her allegations.

washington post logoWashington Post, Three Yale Law School classmates who endorsed Kavanaugh call for investigation into sexual misconduct claims, Elise Viebeck, Sept. 25, 2018. Three former Yale Law School classmates who endorsed Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh called Tuesday for an investigation into allegations by two women that he engaged in sexual misconduct in the 1980s.

akhil amar colorKent Sinclair, Douglas Rutzen and Mark Osler were among roughly two dozen of Kavanaugh’s law school classmates who lauded Kavanaugh’s qualifications in an Aug. 27 letter to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Their support for an investigation came as Yale Law professor Akhil Amar, right — who taught Kavanaugh and testified on his behalf before the committee this month — also called for a probe into what he described as “serious accusations” from the women.

More On Kavanaugh

lisa murkowski ony times logoNew York Times, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska and a key swing vote, delivered a message: Take the Kavanaugh accusations seriously, Nicholas Fandos, Sept. 25, 2018. Republican Party leaders may be insisting that they will install Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, but Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is offering a blunt warning of her own: Do not prejudge sexual assault allegations against the nominee that will be aired at an extraordinary public hearing on Thursday.

"We are now in a place where it's not about whether or not Judge Kavanaugh is qualified," Ms. Murkowski, right, a key swing Republican vote, said in an extended interview in the Capitol Monday night. "It is about whether or not a woman who has been a victim at some point in her life is to be believed."

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Accuses Democrats of Running 'Con Game' Against Kavanaugh, Mark Landler and Peter Baker, Sept. 25, 2018. Speaking in New York, President Trump disparaged a woman who accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her, saying she was "messed up" and "drunk" at the time.

President Trump accused Democrats of orchestrating "a con game" against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in hopes of blocking his ascension to the Supreme Court and said that one of two women who have accused the nominee of misconduct as a student was "messed up" and "drunk" at the time.

washington post logogerman flagWashington Post, German report documents more than 3,600 abuse cases within the Catholic Church, Luisa Beck and Chico Harlan​, Sept. 25, 2018. A report to be released Tuesday documents the sexual abuse of more than 3,600 people by 1,670 clergy members within Germany's Catholic Church over a period of 68 years — and even those numbers probably underestimate the scale of the problem, the authors say.

Abuse of that magnitude constitutes one of the largest Catholic Church scandals in Europe. But at the same time, it is not altogether surprising to many church watchers. Evidence of widespread abuse and its coverup has been found in every jurisdiction that has launched an investigation. Australia, Chile and several U.S. states are part of the growing list.

Famed Model Speaks Out

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: I Was Raped at 16 and I Kept Silent, Padma Lakshmi, Sept. 25, 2018. Ms. Lakshmi (shown below in her Twitter photo) is an A.C.L.U. ambassador for immigration and women's rights. I understand why a woman would wait years to disclose a sexual assault.

padma lakshmi twitterWhen I was 16 years old, I started dating a guy I met at the Puente Hills Mall in a Los Angeles suburb. I worked there after school at the accessories counter at Robinsons-May. He worked at a high-end men's store. He would come in wearing a gray silk suit and flirt with me. He was in college, and I thought he was charming and handsome. He was 23.

When we went out, he would park the car and come in and sit on our couch and talk to my mother. He never brought me home late on a school night. We were intimate to a point, but he knew that I was a virgin and that I was unsure of when I would be ready to have sex.

On New Year's Eve, just a few months after we first started dating, he raped me.

Sept. 24

republican elephant logo

Roll Call, Mitch McConnell Reaffirms Vow for Senate to Vote on Kavanaugh, Niels Lesniewski, Sept. 24, 2018. Nothing, it seems, could keep the majority leader from giving the Supreme Court nominee a floor vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not heard anything that should slow confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, pledging to push ahead.

mitch mcconnell2"Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed," McConnell, left, said on the Senate floor. He was echoing comments he made Friday, before revelations of additional accusations of sexual assault were leveled at Kavanaugh on Sunday.

The Kentucky Republican started with a fiery opening speech blasting the handling of allegations against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee as a "smear campaign" Monday — just a prelude to Thursday's main event, the hearing where the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from both Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford.

Palmer Report, Opinion: What did they know about Brett Kavanaugh and when did they know it? Bill Palmer, Sept. 24, 2018. This evening we learned, thanks to Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, that unnamed "Senior Republican staffers" became aware last week that their Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had a second accuser named Deborah Ramirez. We also know that in response, the GOP decided to push harder to advance the confirmation process even more quickly, in the hope of confirming him before Ramirez's accusations could become public.

It leads to a crucial question: which Republican Senators knew about this, and when did they know it?

Over the past several days we've all seen Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, as well as committee members Orrin Hatch and Lindsey Graham, publicly try to push Dr. Christine Blasey Ford into testifying as soon as humanly possible. They were demanding she testify on Monday. When she said she couldn't make it there before Thursday, they then demanded that she testify on Wednesday.

While this was going on, Palmer Report pointed out that the Republicans were so afraid of the Kavanaugh nomination imminently slipping away, they were literally afraid to give Ford one more day; we just didn't know specifically why. Now we do. Certain Republican Senators knew about Ramirez, and they knew she could go public at any minute, and susan collins lisa murkowski 150x150they were racing against time.

So here's the question. Did the entire GOP Senate know about Ramirez, or were certain GOP Senators like Grassley and Hatch trying to keep this information from potential "no" votes in their own party, such as Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski? (The two are shown on the adjoining photos, with Collins at right.)

ny times logoNew York Times, Brett Kavanaugh, Facing New Allegations, Vows He Will Not Withdraw, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sept. 24, 2018. Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, facing mounting allegations of sexual impropriety and growing doubts over his confirmation to the Supreme Court, vowed on Monday to fight the "smears," saying he will not withdraw his nomination.

"These are smears, pure and simple. And they debase our public discourse," he wrote in a letter to the senior Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "But they are also a threat to any man or woman who wishes to serve our country. Such grotesque and obvious character assassination — if allowed to succeed — will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service."

"I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process," he continued. "The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed."

[Read Judge Kavanaugh's letter.]

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump calls sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh 'totally political,' vows to back him 'all the way,' John Wagner​, Sept. 24, 2018. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also weighed in, citing a "vast left-wing conspiracy" against the Supreme Court nominee.

President Trump on Monday dismissed sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as "totally political" and pledged to support his Supreme Court nominee "all the way."

Trump's comments, made as he entered United Nations headquarters in New York, were his first since a report Sunday night on a second allegation of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh, who Trump said is "a man with an unblemished past."

"There's a chance that this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen for a candidate for anything," Trump told reporters. "For people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and never mention it, all of a sudden it happens. In my opinion, it's totally political."

Protesters against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and police gather in the Russell Senate Office Building on Sept. 24, 2018 (ABC News photo by Brad Fulton via Twitter)

Protesters against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and police gather in the Russell Senate Office Building on Sept. 24, 2018 (ABC News photo by Brad Fulton via Twitter)

washington post logoWashington Post, 128 arrested after anti-Kavanaugh protest on Capitol Hill, Justin Wm. Moyer, Sept. 24, 2018. Protests Monday against the confirmation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill ended with 128 arrests, authorities said.

Winnie Wong, a liberal activist and senior adviser to the Women's March, said one protest began on the steps of the Supreme Court around 8:30 a.m. before moving to the office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who some believe can be persuaded to vote against Kavanaugh.

After some demonstrators shared stories of sexual assault, about two dozen were arrested outside Collins's office, Wong said, before protesters moved on to the office of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a critic of President Trump who is retiring and is seen by some as another possible "no" vote on the nominee.

The protest eventually moved to the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building. Women in Yale University sweatshirts — Kavanaugh attended law school there — shouted, "We believe the women."

"This is a group effort led by seasoned activists and organizers," Wong said. "We are close to victory."

Ady Barkan, an activist who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and was among those arrested, said protests would continue until Kavanaugh withdrew. "The fact that we are going to win and that Kavanaugh will not be confirmed is proof of how important it is to always fight even when people say there is no chance of winning," he said.

Vanity Fair, "The Strategy Was to Try and Do Something Really Big": Trump Wanted to Nuke Rosenstein to Save Kavanaugh's Bacon, Gabriel Sherman, Sept. 24, 2018. At the beginning of one of the most consequential weeks of Donald Trump's presidency, an enormous smoke bomb was detonated in the news cycle when Axios, deeply wired in Trump's West Wing, reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had resigned.

Quickly, a head-spinning array of conflicting accounts were put forth: had he been fired? Was he heading to the White House to be fired—or was he going to a regularly scheduled meeting? Finally, Sarah Huckabee Sanders brought a measure of clarity by tweeting that whatever was going to happen to Rosenstein would happen on Thursday, when the president returned from New York.

For all the morning's madness, there may have been an underlying logic. Over the weekend, as Brett Kavanaugh's prospects appeared increasingly imperiled, Trump faced two tactical options, both of them fraught. One was to cut Kavanaugh loose. But he was also looking for ways to dramatically shift the news cycle away from his embattled Supreme Court nominee. According to a source briefed on Trump's thinking, Trump decided that firing Rosenstein would knock Kavanaugh out of the news, potentially saving his nomination and Republicans' chances for keeping the Senate. "The strategy was to try and do something really big," the source said. The leak about Rosenstein's resignation could have been the result, and it certainly had the desired effect of driving Kavanaugh out of the news for a few hours.

The confusion surrounding Rosenstein's tenure may not give Kavanaugh a reprieve. In public, Trump continues to voice support for his embattled Supreme Court nominee, telling reporters at the United Nations earlier this morning that he stands with Kavanaugh "all the way." But in private, Trump is growing increasingly frustrated by being mired in a deteriorating political situation beyond his control. On Monday morning, a Republican briefed on Trump's thinking said the president has been considering pulling Kavanaugh's nomination.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump is considering pulling the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, Bill Palmer, Sept. 24, 2018. Over the past sixteen hours, multiple additional women have come forward to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of everything from sexual assault to serial gang rape. Even as the accusations continue to become more ugly, and the number of accusers continued to grow, Kavanaugh has released a statement this afternoon insisting that he will not withdraw from the nomination process. But behind the scenes, Donald Trump is saying something rather different.

Earlier today, Palmer Report explained how Trump and his White House managed to manipulate the media cycle by floating a phony story about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein having resigned or having been fired. This was clearly aimed at distracting the media from the worsening Kavanaugh accusations. After the whole thing rather quickly unraveled, the White House admitted in an official statement that Rosenstein still had his job. Now Vanity Fair is echoing our premise that the phony Rosenstein narrative was indeed a last ditch effort at saving the Kavanaugh nomination – but they have an additional tidbit to go with it.

Here's the key passage from the Vanity Fair expose: "On Monday morning, a Republican briefed on Trump's thinking said the president has been considering pulling Kavanaugh's nomination." Keep in mind that we wouldn't be reading a sentence like this unless Trump and/or the Republican in question wanted this out there. So either Trump is already trying to hedge his bets by floating the fact that he's considering yanking Kavanaugh, or the GOP is trying to nudge Trump into yanking Kavanaugh by revealing that Trump is already considering it.

In any case, if Brett Kavanaugh does end up withdrawing, he'll continue to publicly insist he's sticking with the nomination right up until the minute he withdraws. So his denial doesn't tell us anything, beyond the fact that things have gotten so ugly for him, he felt compelled to issue a denial today.

Sept. 23

Roll Call, Kavanaugh Has Bumpy Week Ahead as Two More Women Come Forward, Todd Ruger, Sen. Dianne Feinstein calls for stop to the confirmation process. Sept. 23, 2018.

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who rose to fame by aggressively taking on President Donald Trump on behalf of his client Stormy Daniels, tweeted that he had another woman with an allegation who will be demanding that Kavanaugh's nomination be withdrawn:

"We are aware of significant evidence of multiple house parties in the Washington, D.C., area during the 1980s" during which Kavanaugh and others "would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol/drugs in order to allow a 'train' of men to subsequently gang rape them," Avenatti wrote. Avenatti said he would provide additional evidence in the coming days.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee's top Democrat, wrote a letter to Grassley on Sunday asking to stop the confirmation process."

I also ask that the newest allegations of sexual misconduct be referred to the FBI for investigation, and that you join our request for the White House to direct the FBI to investigate the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford as well as these new claims," Feinstein said.

Details below.

ny times logoNew York Times, Christine Blasey Ford Reaches Deal to Testify at Kavanaugh Hearing, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sept. 23, 2018. The woman who has accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers has committed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, her lawyers said on Sunday. The lawyers said some details — including whether an outside lawyer will question her — still needed to be resolved, but that those issues would not impede holding a hearing.

christine blasey ford headshot croppedThe agreement, reached after an hourlong negotiating session Sunday morning between the lawyers and committee aides, is the latest step in a halting process toward a potentially explosive hearing that will pit the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, against Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump's second nominee to the Supreme Court. On Saturday, the two sides reached a tentative agreement for Dr. Ford, shown right in a file photo, to appear on Thursday.

The on-again, off-again talks — with an appointment to the nation's highest court in the balance — have consumed official Washington, and thrown confirmation proceedings for Judge Kavanaugh, who has vigorously denied Dr. Ford's allegations, into turmoil. Until last week, Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation seemed all but assured; that is no longer the case.

A few sticking points between the two sides remain, according to people familiar with the talks. One is who will testify first, Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh. Republicans have rejected the idea that the judge would appear first. But perhaps the biggest sticking point is whether senators on the Judiciary Committee will question Dr. Ford themselves, or use an outside lawyer or a committee aide, most likely a woman.

ronan farrowThe New Yorker, Senate Democrats Investigate a New Sexual-Misconduct Allegation Against Brett Kavanaugh, Ronan Farrow (shown at right) and Jane Mayer (shown below at left), Sept. 23, 2018. Deborah Ramirez, a Yale new yorker logoclassmate of the Supreme Court nominee, has described a dormitory party gone awry and a drunken incident that she wants the F.B.I. to investigate.

As Senate Republicans press for a swift vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. The claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University.

jane mayer 2008The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh's nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote. The Democratic Senate offices reviewing the allegations believe that they merit further investigation.

The woman at the center of the story, Deborah Ramirez, who is fifty-three, attended Yale with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. Later, she spent years working for an organization that supports victims of domestic violence.

The New Yorker contacted Ramirez after learning of her possible involvement in an incident involving Kavanaugh. For Ramirez, the sudden attention has been unwelcome, and prompted difficult choices.

After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh's role in the incident. "I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted," she said.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Deborah Ramirez accuses Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct – and a third accuser is on the way, Bill Palmer, Sept. 23, 2018. Deborah Ramirez is accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct toward her when they were students at Yale, in a new expose published tonight by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer in the New Yorker.

This comes shortly after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford formally agreed to testify before the Senate about her attempted rape accusation against Kavanaugh. And in a sign that the floodgates are open, a third woman is now also seeking to testify to the Senate about Kavanaugh.

michael avenatti sketchYesterday, Michael Avenatti, shown at right, hinted that additional accusers were about to come forward against Kavanaugh. This evening he tweeted that he had retained an unnamed woman as a client, and that she wanted to testify to the Senate about Kavanaugh. When the New Yorker story broke tonight, many observers mistakenly assumed that this was what Avenatti was talking about. But then Avenatti tweeted that his client is not Ramirez.

This means we're talking about three different women coming forward against Brett Kavanaugh – and the night is still young. Does anyone still believe Mitch McConnell's claim that he has the votes to confirm this guy?

brett kavanaugh fox poll sept 22 2018

fox news logo SmallFox News, Fox News Poll: Record number of voters oppose Kavanaugh nomination, Dana Blanton, Sept. 23, 2018. Voter support for Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court is down in the wake of Christine Ford's assault allegations, as more believe her than him.

Currently, 40 percent of voters would confirm Kavanaugh, while 50 percent oppose him, according to a Fox News poll. Last month, views split 45-46 percent (August 19-21).

washington post logoWashington Post, 'Incredibly frustrated': Inside the GOP effort to help Kavanaugh survive allegation, Seung Min Kim and Josh Dawsey, Sept. 23, 2018.  In mock questioning sessions, Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh refused to answer some questions that he saw as too personal. The tense preparations underscore the monumental stakes of public testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault. As hearing looms, senators seem unwilling to budge on Kavanaugh.

Just as he did several weeks ago to prepare for his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, Brett M. Kavanaugh was back inside a room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — again facing questioners readying him for a high-stakes appearance in the Senate.

This time, the questions were much different. An array of White House aides, playing the role of various senators on the Judiciary Committee, quizzed Kavanaugh last week about his sex life and other personal matters in an attempt to prepare him for a hearing that would inevitably be uncomfortable.

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion: If Republicans don't get answers, Democrats will in 2019, Jennifer Rubin, right, Sept. 23, 2018. Whether or not Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh gets confirmed to the Supreme Court, there will be plenty of serious questions about the confirmation process that require answers. Assuming Kavanaugh appears at a hearing this week, Democrats can interrogate him. Moreover, all of this could be reviewed next year if Democrats win the majority in either house of Congress (and claim the subpoena power).

Democrats may be keen to focus on the apparent skullduggery that transpired. If the inquiry takes place next year, conservative lawyer Ed Whelan, Mark Judge and any other witnesses who should have participated in the process may be called. There is plenty to look into.

• Who came up with the mistaken-identity scheme?• Who was aware of it?• Did someone in the White House approve it?

If this sounds far-fetched, it is because Republicans took the unbelievable step of pressing forward with a nominee against whom there was a credible claim of sexual assault and decided not to conduct a thorough investigation. What is truly far-fetched is putting Kavanaugh on the court with witnesses out there who haven't been interviewed and potential avenues to investigate. T

here is a reason why we should only put on the court individuals about whom there is no ethical questions whatsoever. The way you insure there are no ethical questions is by completing a thorough investigation. This is a recipe for chaos.

Findings of wrongdoing in the confirmation process itself, if serious enough, are grist for impeachment or professional sanctions. (Only one other Supreme Court justice was impeached, Samuel Chase. He escaped removal in 1805.) There may be other crimes (e.g., witness intimidation, obstruction of justice) committed by third parties or Republicans inside the confirmation process. There may be Senate or White House staff whose conduct warrants their termination.

ny times logoNew York Times, Kavanaugh Was Supposed to Be a Midterm Boon for G.O.P. Not Anymore, Jonathan Martin, Sept. 23, 2018. No Republican Senate candidate has been as aggressive in using the Supreme Court nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh as a political weapon as Josh Hawley, the Missouri attorney general who is in an intensely tight race against Senator Claire McCaskill.

josh hawley missouriA former Supreme Court clerk, Mr. Hawley, right, made his first campaign commercial about control of the court, and he assailed Ms. McCaskill for refusing to say if she would support Judge Kavanaugh. And after the accusation of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh last week, Mr. Hawley denounced Democrats for staging an "ambush."

Yet in Missouri and other politically competitive battleground states, leaders in both parties are increasingly doubtful that Mr. Hawley and other Republicans can wield the Kavanaugh nomination as a cudgel without risking unpredictable repercussions in the midterm elections.

washington post logoWashington Post, The party of men: Kavanaugh fight risks worsening the GOP's gender problem, Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker and Robert Costa, Sept. 23, 2018. The moment shows the gulf that has emerged between the parties as they navigate America's cultural reckoning on sexual assault

The Republican Party's fight to save President Trump's embattled Supreme Court nominee amid allegations of sexual assault has surfaced deep anxieties over the hypermasculine mind-set that has come to define the GOP in the nation's roiling gender debate.

Sept. 22

High Court Battle

chuck grassley screams at patrick leahy confidential records screenshot

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) screams at his longtime Democratic colleague Pat Leahy of Vermont during the Kavanaugh hearing, in which Leahy and other Democrats have accused the nominee of perjuring himself by denying use of stolen Democratic Senate documents (screenshot).

washington post logoWashington Post, Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford say she has accepted Senate Judiciary Committee request to testify against Kavanaugh, christine blasey ford headshot croppedWashington Post Staff, Sept. 22, 2018. The Senate Judiciary Committee and lawyers for Ford have been in negotiations for days about whether she would appear before the panel. Ford, shown at right in a file photo, has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s when both were teenagers.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, had given Ford until 2:30 p.m. to respond to a revised offer to testify at a Wednesday hearing. Her lawyers asked the committee for a call later Saturday to work out other specifics.This is a developing story. It will be updated.

Newsweek, Former Trump Aide Jason Miller Accused of Secretly Administering Abortion Pill, Alexandra Hutzler, Sept. 22, 2018. Jason Miller is now engaged in a custody battle with A.J. Delgado. In new court filings, Delgado accuses Miller of secretly giving another woman with whom he newsweek logohad an affair an "abortion pill" after she got pregnant.

Former Donald Trump aide Jason Miller has been accused of secretly administering an "abortion pill" to a woman he got pregnant during an affair, new court documents show.

jason millerThe court filing, obtained and reported on by Splinter, alleges that Miller, shown in a file photo below at right, had an affair with a woman he met at a strip club in Orlando, Florida in 2012. As a result of the affair the woman got pregnant, at which point Miller is accused of giving her with an abortion pill without her knowledge or consent. The woman claims that the pill caused her to lose the baby and nearly cost her her life.

The documents allege that the affair happened when Miller was working for a Republican advertising firm Jamestown Associates. He would often bring clients to Rachel's Gentleman's Club in Orlando, where he allegedly met the woman he would later get pregnant. She is only identified in the court filing as "Jane Doe."

The filing goes on to claim that Miller showed up at Jane Doe's apartment with a smoothie in hand.

"Unbeknownst to Jane Doe, the Smoothie contained an abortion pill. The pill induced an abortion, and Jane Doe wound up in a hospital emergency room, bleeding heavily and nearly went into a coma," the document reads.

As a result of the pill the child died and Jane Doe herself was "hospitalized for two days, the abortion pill possibly reacting with potential street drugs in her system at the time she drank the Smoothie."

Miller's attorney denied these allegations, telling Splinter in a statement: "To be clear, there is no validity to the false accusations made in Ms. Delgado's filing."

jason miller aj delgadoThese allegations were made in court filings made by the legal team of A.J. Delgado, Miller's ex-lover who is suing for custody of their son. Delgado, shown with Miller in file photos, began her affair with Miller in October 2016, after he told her he had separated from his wife. But Miller had never separated from his wife and was, in fact, expecting a child with her when Delgado found out that she was pregnant from their affair. Now, Delgado and Miller are locked in a custody battle.

Miller was Trump's spokesman during his 2016 campaign and a member of the president's transition team. When his affair with Delgado was made public, Miller was essentially forced to turn down a job as the White House communications director. Delgado was also a former Trump campaign staffer.

In previous court filings, Delgado has also accused Miller of sexual and physical abuse, which Miller has also denied.

washington post logoWashington Post, Senate panel to give Kavanaugh accuser more time to decide whether to testify, Sean Sullivan, Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, Sept. 22, 2018 (print edition). Earlier Friday, Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) set a deadline of 10 p.m. for Christine Blasey Ford to decide whether to testify about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. But after the deadline passed, Grassley said on Twitter that he "granted another extension" to Ford: "I want to hear her."

washington post logoWashington Post, '100 Kegs or Bust': Kavanaugh friend, Mark Judge, has spent years writing about high school debauchery, Marc Fisher and Perry Stein, Sept. 22, 2018 (print edition). The high-court nominee's accuser says Mark Judge was there and should have to testify. Judge says he does not remember the party and never saw his buddy behave like that.

As Christine Blasey Ford tells it, only one person can offer eyewitness confirmation of her account of a sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh: Mark Judge, Kavanaugh's friend and classmate at Georgetown Prep.

mark judge twitterFord says Judge, shown at right, watched Kavanaugh attack her at a high school party in the early 1980s and then literally piled on, leaping on top of her and Kavanaugh. Judge says he does not remember the party and never saw his buddy behave like that. Ford's legal team has asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to compel Judge to testify.

A review of books, articles and blog posts by Judge — a freelance writer who has shifted among jobs at a record store, substitute teaching, housesitting and most recently at a liquor store — describes an '80s private-school party scene in which heavy drinking and sexual encounters were standard fare.

Twitter @ChuckGrassley, Grassley Tweets Kavanaugh on extension to accuser, Chuck Grassley (Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and Republican from Iowa), Sept. 21, 2018.). "Judge Kavanaugh I just granted another extension to Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w the statement she made last week to testify to the senate She shld decide so we can move on I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It's not my normal approach to b indecisive 11:42 PM - 21 Sep 2018."

NBC News, Spokesman for GOP on Kavanaugh nomination resigns; has been accused of harassment in the past, Heidi Przybyla, Sept. 22, 2018. An adviser for nbc news logothe Senate Judiciary Committee has resigned amid questions from NBC News about a previous sexual harassment complaint.

A press adviser helping lead the Senate Judiciary Committee's response to a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has stepped down amid evidence he was fired from a previous political job in part because of a sexual harassment allegation against him.

Garrett Ventry, 29, who served as a communications aide to the committee chaired by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, had been helping coordinate the majority party's messaging in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford's claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a high school party. In a response to NBC News, Ventry denied any past "allegations of misconduct."

After NBC News raised questions about Ventry's employment history and the sexual harassment allegation against him, Judiciary Committee Spokesman Taylor Foy replied in a statement: "While (Ventry) strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee." Ventry also resigned Saturday from the public relations company where he had been on a temporary leave of absence to work for the Judiciary Committee, a company spokesman told NBC News.

Republicans familiar with the situation had been concerned that Ventry, because of his history, could not lead an effective communications response. Ventry worked as a social media adviser in 2017 in the office of North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell, who fired Ventry after several months. Sources familiar with the situation said Ventry was let go from Bell's office after parts of his résumé were found to have been embellished, and because he faced an accusation of sexual harassment from a female employee of the North Carolina General Assembly's Republican staff.

NBC News, Spokesman for GOP on Kavanaugh nomination resigns; has been accused of harassment in the past, Heidi Przybyla, Sept. 22, 2018. An adviser for nbc news logothe Senate Judiciary Committee has resigned amid questions from NBC News about a previous sexual harassment complaint.

A press adviser helping lead the Senate Judiciary Committee's response to a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has stepped down amid evidence he was fired from a previous political job in part because of a sexual harassment allegation against him.

Garrett Ventry, 29, who served as a communications aide to the committee chaired by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, had been helping coordinate the majority party's messaging in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford's claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a high school party. In a response to NBC News, Ventry denied any past "allegations of misconduct."

garrett ventry croppedAfter NBC News raised questions about Ventry's employment history and the sexual harassment allegation against him, Judiciary Committee Spokesman Taylor Foy replied in a statement: "While (Ventry) strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee."

Ventry, shown in his Twitter photo, also resigned Saturday from the public relations company where he had been on a temporary leave of absence to work for the Judiciary Committee, a company spokesman told NBC News.

Republicans familiar with the situation had been concerned that Ventry, because of his history, could not lead an effective communications response. Ventry worked as a social media adviser in 2017 in the office of North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell, who fired Ventry after several months. Sources familiar with the situation said Ventry was let go from Bell's office after parts of his résumé were found to have been embellished, and because he faced an accusation of sexual harassment from a female employee of the North Carolina General Assembly's Republican staff.

Sept. 21

washington post logochristine blasey ford high schoolWashington Post, Trump, in overt attack on Kavanaugh accuser, questions her credibility, John Wagner and Seung Min Kim​, Sept. 21, 2018. President Trump contended that Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, would have reported the attack to law enforcement if it "was as bad as she says."

Trump's tweets came as lawyers for Ford (shown in a high school photo) continued negotiations about conditions under which she might testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

senate gop judiciary

Republican U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Members

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans

  • chuck grassley officialChuck Grassley, Iowa, Chairman, right.
  • Orrin Hatch, Utah.
  • Lindsey Graham, South Carolina.
  • John Cornyn, Texas.
  • Mike Lee, Utah.
  • Ted Cruz, Texas.
  • Ben Sasse, Nebraska.
  • Jeff Flake, Arizona.

ENews.com, Lili Reinhart and More Celebrities Join #WhyIDidn'tReport Movement, Cydney Contreras, Sept. 21, 2018. Celebrities are sharing their own experiences with sexual harassment or assault as part of the #WhyIDidn'tReport movement.

On Friday, actresses like Lili Reinhart and Ashley Judd took to Twitter to reveal why they chose not to go to the authorities after suffering from sexual harassment or assault. These women were inspired by Alyssa Milano after she protested the treatment of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

In Ford's defense, the actress tweeted, "Hey, @realDonaldTrump, Listen the f--k up. I was sexually assaulted twice. Once when I was a teenager. I never filed a police report and it took me 30 years to tell my parents." She then encouraged women to share their own stories with #WhyIDidn'tReport.

Her statements came after President Donald Trump tweeted, "I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!"

Celebrities are sharing their own experiences with sexual harassment or assault as part of the #WhyIDidn'tReport movement. Soon after, the hashtag began trending on Twitter and celebrities spoke out about the trauma they endured.

Lili Reinhart, who rose to fame because of her role as Betty in Riverdale, tweeted she was to afraid to come forward with her claims, "Because I didn't want to lose my job or make people think I was a drama queen."

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi also revealed her experiences from over the years. "I was 7 the first time I was sexually assaulted. He was a relative of my mom's second husband. I told my folks and they sent me away," the TV personality shared. She continued, "The second time I was 16 years old and a virgin. He was my boyfriend. 'Date rape' wasn't discussed in the 80's. I was horrified and ashamed."

Padma's experiences and sentiments were echoed by Ashley Judd, who also endured sexual abuse from a young age. "The first time it happened, I was 7. I told the first adults I came upon. They said 'Oh, he's a nice old man, that's not what he meant,'" Judd revealed. "So when I was raped at 15, I only told my diary. When an adult read it, she accused me of having sex with an adult man."

Similarly, Daryl Hannah went through a similar experience, even after reporting the incident. "I did, it didn't matter, I was dismissed, disparaged, & I still get blamed," the actress said.

Other celebrities showed solidarity for the thousands of people who came forward with their stories by highlighting their braveness.

"If you want to see who the leaders are of #MeToo look no further than the thousands of people sharing their #WhyIDidntReport stories. This movement will not be derailed by anyone. It is decentralized collective power which is why it has limitless strength," Patricia Arquette said.

Roll Call, Senate Judiciary Committee Postpones Monday Kavanaugh Hearing, Todd Ruger, Sept. 21, 2018. The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed its hearing, set for Monday, that would have featured Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused him of sexually attacking her decades ago.

republican elephant logoAnd in a sign that Senate Republicans are playing hardball to get Ford to agree to their terms to testify, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination in the event there is no deal with Ford.

The notice included no reschedule date and came out amid reports that the panel and Ford's attorneys did not meet a panel-set 5 p.m. deadline to agree to terms.

ed whelan croppedPolitico, PR firm helped Whelan stoke half-baked Kavanaugh alibi, Eliana Johnson, Sept. 21, 2018. CRC Public Relations, a powerhouse conservative firm, guided Ed Whelan, right, on a bad Twitter adventure.

It turns out that the Keystone Cops detective work by conservative legal activist Ed Whelan — which set Washington abuzz with the promise of exonerating Brett Kavanaugh, only to be met by mockery and then partially retracted — was not his handiwork alone.

CRC Public Relations, the prominent Alexandria, Virginia-based P.R. firm, guided Whelan through his roller-coaster week of Twitter pronouncements that ended in embarrassment and a potential setback for Kavanaugh's hopes of landing on the high court, according to three sources familiar with their dealings.

republican elephant logoAfter suggesting on Twitter on Tuesday that he had obtained information that would exculpate Kavanaugh from the sexual assault allegation made by Christine Blasey Ford, Whelan worked over the next 48 hours with CRC and its president, Greg Mueller, to stoke the anticipation.

A longtime friend of Kavanaugh's, Whelan teased his reveal — even as he refused to discuss it with other colleagues and close friends, a half dozen of them said. At the same time, he told them he was absolutely confident the information he had obtained would exculpate the judge.

The hype ping-ponged from Republicans on Capitol Hill to Kavanaugh's team in the White House, evidence of an extraordinarily successful public relations campaign that ultimately backfired when Whelan's theory — complete with architectural drawings and an alleged Kavanaugh doppelgänger — landed with a thud on Twitter Thursday evening.

Media News: Sinclair Promos For Kavanaugh?

djt boris epshteyn sinclair kavanaugh sept 21 2018 Custom 2

President Trump sat down for an interview with Sinclair's chief political analyst, Boris Epshteyn, who has never disagreed with the president in his commentary (screenshot).

Media Matters, Opinion: In an interview with Sinclair, Trump touts Kavanaugh's "unblemished record" and says he thinks he will be confirmed, Pam Vogel, Sept. 21, 2018. Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner and operator of local TV stations in the country, regularly broadcasts pro-Trump propaganda segments created by an ex-Trump staffer into the homes of millions of Americans. And now those segments include an interview with President Donald Trump himself, in which he was given a friendly platform to discuss his continued support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh despite a report that he committed sexual assault.

The media company's chief political analyst, Boris Epshteyn, has been producing regular commentary segments, called "Bottom Line With Boris," for Sinclair for more than a year. Epshteyn had previously worked in the Trump White House on the communications team, after doing stints on the Trump inaugural committee and on the Trump campaign. Epshteyn also served as a Trump media surrogate throughout the campaign and first days of the Trump presidency. Epshteyn is personal friends with the president's sons Eric and Donald Jr., and he has been spotted at Trump International Hotel multiple times, including with Don Jr. in June. He also may or may not have signed a nondisparagement agreement while he was working on the campaign, which could legally prevent him from criticizing Trump.

For a chief political analyst, Epshteyn offers takes that are notably unoriginal. At best, he regurgitates Trump talking points or touts some vague, imaginary bipartisan ideals that involve being nicer to Trump. At worst, he defends the most upsetting, racist things Trump does. In fact, in a recent interview on a National Review podcast, Epshteyn could not think of a single issue about which he had disagreed with the Trump administration in any of his commentary segments. What's more: These segments ultimately air on an estimated 100 TV news stations under Sinclair's control, exploiting the trust people have in their local news.

Given the president's penchant for granting interviews to sycophants, it was only a matter of time before Trump himself made an appearance on "Bottom Line with Boris."

On September 21, Epshteyn shared the first of what will likely be several must-run segments featuring excerpts from his sit-down with the president. This one is focused on Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court and professor Christine Blasey Ford's account of sexual assault by Kavanaugh when they were both in high school. In the segment, Trump largely repeats broad White House talking points about making sure Ford is heard, and then pivots to touting Kavanaugh's "unblemished record." Trump also says he believes Kavanaugh will ultimately still be confirmed.

BORIS EPSHTEYN: The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is facing last-minute turmoil over allegations that he committed sexual assault decades ago. I spoke with President Trump about this in a one-on-one, exclusive interview. Here's what he shared.

[INTERVIEW CLIP BEGINS]

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think they've been very respectful of Dr. Ford, extremely respectful. I think they're doing the right thing. They want to give her a voice, if she wants to take it. They're talking now about timing. It's already been delayed a week. That's a long time. This is the U.S. Senate we're talking about.

EPSHTEYN: Right.

TRUMP: I can only say this: Let her speak. But Brett Kavanaugh is one of the finest people you'll ever meet. I think it's been extremely hard on him and his family. When I look at what's happening -- here's a man with an unblemished record, and to be going through this all of a sudden. So I won't say anything now. All I'm saying is that -- let it play out. Let her have open voice. And let's see what happens.

This year, Epshteyn has aired interviews with seven other members of the Trump administration, eight Republican congressmen, and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The appearances include: then-Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Council of Economic Advisers Chair Kevin Hassett, and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI). DeSantis, McCarthy, Rooney, and Duffy are all on ballots this year.

washington post logoWashington Post, Kavanaugh accuser open to testifying later next week, dismisses theory of a different attacker, Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey and Emma Brown, Sept. 21, 2018 (print edition). A lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford said she "wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety." Brett M. Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination was roiled further by tweets from a friend who named another classmate as Ford's possible attacker.

djt brett kavanaugh family 7 9 18 Small

President Trump introduces U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, shown with family, as his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court on July 9, 2018 (White House photo)

Center for American Progress, Opinion: Kavanaugh's Credibility Chasm, Jake Faleschini and Jesse Lee, Sept. 21, 2018. Amid a crisis in Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination process, new reports suggest that President Trump's nominee may have been personally involved in a public relations effort to shift blame for sexual assault allegations made against him onto another specific individual with unsubstantiated speculation from an ally.

This alone would demonstrate a deep breach of integrity and credibility and would be disqualifying in itself for a position on the highest court in the land. Unfortunately, it also aligns with an entire career using dishonest tactics and statements to advance his personal ambition.

In Judge Brett Kavanaugh's first words on the national stage as a Supreme Court nominee, he made two plainly false statements in quick succession. In a vacuum, they might be dismissed as overly effusive pleasantries; in fact, they were part of a decades-long pattern of defaulting toward deception whenever useful.

"Mr. President, thank you. Throughout this process, I've witnessed firsthand your appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary," Kavanaugh stated. This immediately stood as a refutation of Trump's previous nominee Neil Gorsuch, who had in fact condemned Trump's well-known, ruthless attacks on the judiciary, reportedly leaving Trump outraged. Kavanaugh was making clear there that he would offer no such dissent. In fact, Kavanaugh later refused to echo Gorsuch's criticism of Trump in his own hearing.

Later in his initial statement, Kavanaugh said, "No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination." Again, this claim is ridiculous on its face and is reminiscent of early Trump Cabinet meetings where attendees would heap superlative praise upon Trump. But it also spoke to a deeper deception: In fact, Trump had explicitly promised to choose his nominee off of a pre-approved list from conservative advocacy groups, a list to which Kavanaugh's name had mysteriously been added just months before.

More generally, though, Kavanaugh's statement shows he opts to say what is best in the moment in order to advance his career. This is even if those statements were objectively — even obviously — misleading. However, this is no new tactic for Kavanaugh. As shown below, this has been a hallmark of his entire career.

  • Leaking information for Ken Starr
  • Accessing stolen documents
  • Warrantless wiretapping
  • Judicial Nominations
  • Sexual harassment allegations against Judge Alex Kozinski
  • Roe v. Wade
  • Presidential Power

Kavanaugh began his career as a political operative willing to use whatever deceptive means necessary — from leaking in the special counsel's office to dealing with stolen documents in court fights while in the White House. Worse than that, though, when he attempted to transition into a career in the judicial branch, he neither changed his ways nor owned up to his past behavior. Instead, he repeatedly misled the Senate about his prior deceptions, from one confirmation hearing to the next.

Kavanaugh may have rightly believed that, with the Senate controlled by other partisan Republicans, lying and misconstruing facts regarding his record would have no consequence. Indeed, Senate Republicans have blocked any review of the vast majority of his record, so this list of false and misleading statements represents only a small portion of the total.

But, as his Supreme Court confirmation process comes to a head — hinging precisely on whether his denials of credible accusations against him should be believed — Kavanaugh's record of almost casual deception has caught up with him. The American people simply have no reason to believe him.

Another GOP Pervert Scandal?

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), MN Rep. Jim Knoblach ends campaign ahead of MPR abuse allegations story, Nina Moini and Briana Bierschbach, Sept. 21, jim knoblach2018. Republican state Rep. Jim Knoblach, right, abruptly ended his re-election campaign Friday as MPR News prepared to publish detailed accusations from his daughter of inappropriate behavior toward her since childhood.

The announcement came hours after an attorney for Knoblach denied the allegations in an interview.

Knoblach, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, declined to be interviewed after being approached more than a week ago.

In a written statement, Knoblach called the allegations "indescribably hurtful" and said he would work toward healing his family.

republican elephant logo"I love my children more than anything, and would never do anything to hurt them. Her allegations are false," Knoblach wrote. "I and other family members have made repeated attempts to reconcile with her in recent years, but she has refused."

The timing of his exit could make his St. Cloud-area seat, already a top target for Democrats, impossible for Republicans to hold, barring some kind of court intervention or a write-in campaign by a substitute candidate. Knoblach was seeking a ninth term and was being challenged by Democratic candidate Dan Wolgamott, also of St. Cloud. Knoblach plans to serve out his term.

More #MeToo News

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: I was sexually assaulted. Here's why I don't remember many of the details, Patti Davis, Sept. 21, 2018. Patti Davis, the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, describes an attack from 40 years ago at a prominent music executive's office. She says she never told anyone for decades. And it doesn't surprise her, she writes, that for more than 30 years, Christine Blasey Ford didn't talk about the assault she accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of committing.

It doesn't surprise me one bit that for more than 30 years, Christine Blasey Ford didn't talk about the assault she remembers, the one she accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of committing.

It's important to understand how memory works in a traumatic event. Ford has been criticized for the things she doesn't remember, like the address where she says the assault happened, or the time of year, or whose house it was. But her memory of the attack itself is vivid and detailed. His hand over her mouth, another young man piling on, her fear that maybe she'd die there, unable to breathe. That's what happens: Your memory snaps photos of the details that will haunt you forever, that will change your life and live under your skin. It blacks out other parts of the story that really don't matter much.

ABC News, Female sailors at highest risk of sexual assault, Defense Department finds, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Sept. 21, 2018. Newly released data from the Department of Defense shows female sailors are at the highest risk of sexual assault, compared to women serving in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The risk is highest on U.S. Navy ships, including on a majority of the nation's aircraft carriers, the data shows.

Military installations in the Washington, D.C., region were typically associated with the lowest risk of sexual assault for men and women.

The findings were published on Friday in a RAND Corporation study, commissioned by the Pentagon, that used data collected in 2014 through more than 170,000 surveys of active duty service members. The study identified the 15 lowest-risk and highest-risk installations for men and women in each service.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Assault survivors speak out, Multiple letter writers, self-identified as sexual assault victims, Sept. 21, 2018. In Kathleen Parker's Sept. 16 op-ed, "Last-minute accusations won't doom Kavanaugh," Ms. Parker wrote: "So here we are debating an adolescent boy's qualifications to become a Supreme Court justice. What's next, his potty training?"

Given that Ms. Parker's opinion piece was written before Christine Blasey Ford's public statements about Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, I'm hoping she reconsiders this flip statement.

At 16, I was sexually assaulted. Sexual assault never leaves you — it alters every next step you take for life. Running on a path alone? No, thank you. Parking garages at night? Opening the door when alone? No.

— Susan Scott, Arlington

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP congressman jokes about Ruth Bader Ginsburg being groped — by Abraham Lincoln, Reis Thebault, Sept. 21, 2018. A South Carolina congressman kicked off an election debate Thursday with a joke — which got a few laughs inside the room, but drew condemnation from observers across the state and country who didn't find it funny at all.

ralph norman south carolina"Did y'all hear this latest late-breaking news on the Kavanaugh hearings?" Rep. Ralph Norman (R), right, asked the audience at a Kiwanis Club in Rock Hill, S.C., referring to the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out saying she was groped by Abraham Lincoln."

At 85, Ginsburg is the oldest Supreme Court justice and its preeminent liberal dissenter.

The comment from Norman, who is running for reelection in November, comes at the height of the controversy surrounding sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, who has denied the accusations. Elsewhere, Republicans have taken a cautious approach to commenting on the allegations, wary of the potential political fallout if their party is seen as dismissive of Kavanaugh's accuser.

Norman's off-color attempt at humor drew swift criticism, and many felt the congressman was making light of women who come forward to talk about their experience with sexual violence.

washington post logoWashington Post via Philly.com, In 1992, Cory Booker admitted to groping a high school classmate and issued a call for sexual respect, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Sept. 21, 2018. When he was in high school, Cory Booker, the New Jersey Democrat and possible White House contender, groped his classmate as they kissed. He reached for her breast, and when she swatted his hand away, he made another attempt.

cory booker official profileThe incident resurfaced this week as Booker joined calls for an FBI investigation into the allegation of high-school-era sexual assault leveled by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court.

But the skeleton in Booker's closet seized on by outlets such as Fox News and the Daily Caller wasn't really in his closet. The senator himself chose years ago to air the issue, marking a notable contrast with instances in which accusations of impropriety burst forth as a result of media investigation or opposition research.

In 1992, Booker, then a student at Stanford University, wrote a column for his college newspaper in which he recounted the groping and used his own behavior to underscore, in starkly personal terms, how his views had shifted on gender and sexual respect. He credited his work as a peer counselor with the transformation.

"After having my hand pushed away once, I reached my 'mark,'" he wrote. "Our groping ended soon and while no 'relationship' ensued, a friendship did. You see, the next week in school she told me that she was drunk that night and didn't really know what she was doing."

"Senator Booker's Stanford Daily column has been the focus of disingenuous right-wing attacks that have circulated online and in partisan outlets for the past five years," a spokeswoman for Booker said in an email. "These attacks ring hollow to anyone who reads the entirety of the column, which is in fact a direct criticism of a culture that encourages young men to take advantage of women – written at a time when so candidly discussing these issues was rare – and speaks to the impact Senator Booker's experience working to help rape and sexual assault survivors as a college peer counselor had on him."

Sept. 20

aj delgado jason miller

Philly.com, Ex-Trump staffer Jason Miller out at CNN after abortion allegation, Rob Tornoe, Sept. 21, 2018. Jason Miller, a former Trump staffer who parlayed his time on the president's campaign to land a paid contributor job at CNN, announced on Saturday night he was leaving the network following explosive allegations he impregnated a woman and drugged her with an "abortion pill."

The claims were made in court documents filed on Sept. 14 by A.J. Delgado, also a former Trump staffer, whom Miller impregnated during an extramarital affair that took place during the 2016 presidential campaign. Delgado claims prior to their affair, Miller also impregnated a different woman after meeting her at an Orlando, Fla., strip club in 2012.

According to Delgado, when the woman found out she was pregnant, Miller gave her a smoothie dosed with an abortion pill without her knowledge, leading to the pregnancy's termination. The court documents, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, were first obtained by Splinter.

Miller, who is married with two young daughters, said in a statement posted on Twitter the allegations made by Delgado are "false and defamatory," and said, "none of this is in any way true."

Miller and Delgado have been locked in a legal battle over custody of their son, William. In an August 2017 profile published in the Atlantic, Delgado claims that Miller asked on two separate occasions if "there was any chance I'd terminate the pregnancy." Miller denied that claim.

Miller isn't the only pro-Trump contributor who has run into an issue while working for CNN. Back in August, Paris Dennard was suspended after the Washington Post reported he had been fired from a previous job for alleged sexual harassment. Pennsylvania native and former Reagan White House staffer Jeffrey Lord was fired in August 2017 after using a Nazi reference in a tweet directed at the president of the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters.

These pro-Trump commentators, most of whom signed non-disclosure agreements during their time with the Trump campaign (Miller admitted to signing an NDA), were once described by CNN CEO Jeffrey Zucker as "characters in a drama," with the intention of hitting a viral nerve or making a memorable appearance that can be debated over and over again throughout the day.

JIP Editor's Pick: Top Commentaries

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion: Republicans, be forewarned: Kavanaugh's accuser has options, Jennifer Rubin, right, Sept. 20, 2018. Trump, whom a flock of women has accused of harassment and assault, and the all-male Republican contingent on the Senate Judiciary Committee might think they have Ford cornered. The reality is that she has many options, some of which are far more dangerous to Republicans than what she has demanded, namely an FBI investigation.

Ford might choose to appear on Monday, and make a powerful opening statement accusing Republicans of running a sham investigation. Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), shown screaming at a Democrat during the hearing, has figured out it would be a good idea to interview her in advance of Monday's hearings, but the staffers conducting the interview would be unlikely to have the ability or the will to follow up on investigative leads.

Ford can use the hearing to put the senators, who have behaved shabbily, on defense.

republican elephant logoFord has another option: Hold a news conference with her own experts and make the case directly to the American people. She can sit down for an interview with a respected TV journalist. She can say whatever she wants, make certain that experts are heard and even recount the much more extensive investigative efforts undertaken when Hill stepped forward. To make her case to the American people and convince them that she is sincere, honest and credible, Ford doesn't need the Senate.

Ford also might have the ability to go to local police to investigate if the White House refuses to activate the FBI. The Hill reports: "Can Brett Kavanaugh be investigated for an attempted rape he allegedly committed over three decades ago? In Maryland, it's entirely possible under the law, according to some experts.

washington post logoWashington Post, 'These are the stories of our lives': Prep school alumni hear echoes in assault claim, Joe Heim, Sept. 20, 2018 (print edition). Lettina Lanyi remembers. It was 1986, and she was in eighth grade.

christine blasey ford high schoolLanyi has thought about that night often since Sunday, when Christine Blasey Ford (shown at right in a high school photo) publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when she was a 15-year-old student at Holton-Arms School and he was a 17-year-old student at Georgetown Prep. She has thought about stories of male entitlement and drunken sexual assault she heard from classmates while she was a student at Prep's Bethesda neighbor, Stone Ridge of the Sacred Heart, and the many more stories she has heard in the years since their graduation.

There was a lot of shame and stigma then if a girl was raped, so girls tried to hide it. They didn't tell anyone," Lanyi said. "The term 'date rape' wasn't something that even existed then. So if it happened, it was always kind of the girl's fault."

Lanyi's recollection of a private school culture suffused by alcohol and drugs — and frequent if unreported sexual assault or misbehavior — is widely shared by students who attended those schools in the 1980s. It was, they recalled, an era marked by excess and illegality that went widely unchecked by parents and school leaders who were unaware or uninterested in cracking down on the behavior.

On Tuesday, Lanyi helped launch an online letter of support for Ford from women and men who grew up in the upper Northwest Washington neighborhoods and Maryland suburbs that fed into the exclusive private schools and country clubs during the same era that Ford and Kavanaugh attended their schools.

The letter's message to Ford is unambiguous: "We believe you. Each one of us heard your story and not one of us was surprised. These are the stories of our lives and our friends' lives." More than 300 people signed the letter, including graduates of Stone Ridge, Georgetown Prep, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Gonzaga and many others.

A similar letter of support for Ford from Holton-Arms graduates bore 925 signatures Wednesday, including from actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Class of 1979. The letters came in response to a missive Friday signed by 65 women supporting Kavanaugh after the assault allegations emerged but before Ford came forward.

"We are women who have known Brett Kavanaugh for more than 35 years and knew him while he attended high school between 1979 and 1983. For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect," read the letter, from women who attended schools including Visitation, Stone Ridge and Holton-Arms. This story is based on interviews with two dozen former students, many of whom asked not to be identified because of how tightly knit and powerful the alumni from those schools are, and because they fear retribution or harassment for speaking out on the allegations engulfing Kavanaugh's nomination.

Roll Call, Judiciary Staffer's Tweets Fuel Fight Over Kavanaugh Accuser, Todd Ruger, Sept. 20, 2018. 'Unfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh,' committee's chief staffer says.

Amid a pitched partisan battle over how the Senate handles an allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman decades ago as a teenager, liberal groups on Thursday seized on comments from a Judiciary Committee staffer to paint the process as a sham.

Mike Davis, the committee's chief staffer for nominations, tweeted twice overnight about his key role in the committee's review of Christine Blasey Ford's allegation, as well as criticism of Ford's attorneys and his desired outcome of the process.

"Unfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh. #ConfirmKavanaugh #SCOTUS," Davis tweeted at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

wayne madsen new headshotWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Kavanaugh and Georgetown Prep: Pedophilia acceptance, Wayne Madsen, Sept. 20, 2018 (subscription required, with excerpt below by permission). Investigative reporter and author Wayne Madsen, right, is a former Navy intelligence officer who was appointed to be a temporary FBI special agent during a period in the 1980s to help convict his Navy commanding officer on pedophilia charges.

Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's dubious nominee for the Supreme Court, not only faces questions about his views on a woman's right to choose her own health decisions and his own questionable past treatment of women, but his elite high school.

Georgetown Preparatory High School in North Bethesda, Maryland has been a hotbed for Roman Catholic sex abuse of minors. As a member of the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh would become the court's fifth Catholic judge. His decisions on cases involving the cover-up of child sex abuse by religious organizations and politically powerful individuals could dictate for decades to come how the nation deals with the issue of sex abuse of minors.

More on Kavanaugh

Esquire, Opinion: We Learned Something New About Brett Kavanaugh's College Days. Spoiler: It's Not Great! Charles P. Pierce, Sept. 20, 2018. Plus, there's apparently a "certain look" he requires of his clerks.

What's new with our future Supreme Court justice? One thing we have learned as things have spun out of control completely is that Brett Kavanaugh, in his own prep-school, Ivy League, highly credentialed way, is one strange dude.

Sept. 19

'This Incident Did Happen'

christine blasey ford high schoolThe New Civil Rights Movement, 'This Incident Did Happen': Woman Says She Knew Kavanaugh and 'Many of Us Heard About It in School,' David Badash, Sept. 19, 2018. Christine Blasey Ford's high school who have signed on to a letter supporting her has come forward to say Brett Kavanaugh did sexually assault Christine Blasey in high school. Dr. Ford is shown at right in high school. She says she was 15 at the time she was attacked.

In postings to Facebook and Twitter, which she says she has since deleted because the media is contacting her and she is unsure of how to move forward, Christina King writes that at the time, 'many of us heard about it in school and Christine's recollection should be more than enough for us to truly, deeply know the accusation is true.'

King, who has also been identified as Christina King Miranda, says drinking in those days at these private Catholic prep schools was 'out of control.'

See also, OpEdNews, 'This Incident Did Happen': Woman Says She Knew Kavanaugh and 'Many of Us Heard About It in School, Rob Kall (Founder and publisher of prominent progressive site OpEdNews that has extensive social media capabilities), Sept. 19, 2018. Quick Link: 'This Incident Did Happen.'

Raw Story, Former Georgetown Prep classmate calls Kavanaugh accusations 'story I know was repeated dozens of times,' Sarah K. Burris, Sept. 19, 2018. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault while in a room with friend Mark Judge. Judge has since come to Kavanaugh's defense with emphatic declarations about their lives at Georgetown Prep. But one fellow classmate is calling Judge out for his history of victim-shaming.

According to a Facebook post by Eric Ruyak, Judge went on the attack after Ruyak alleged a priest from Georgetown Prep molested him.

"For those of you who don't know, I went to Georgetown Prep, where both Kavanaugh and Gorsuch went as well," wrote Ruyak. "When I came forward with allegations regarding Gary Orr, a former priest, sexually assaulting me…Mark Judge (Kavanaugh's friend in this who despicable story of sexual assault) reached out to alums saying that Gary Orr was a great priest and that I had obviously been corrupted by liberalism into a homosexual and therefore was most definitely lying."

Years later, Orr admitted to raping many children and Georgetown Prep confessed to the incident in a letter to parents and students. "There are inevitable feelings of sadness, disbelief and anger, which are the same emotions I have been struggling with," Rev. William L. George, president of Georgetown Prep. said in a letter.

Palmer Report, Classmate corroborates Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Palmer, Sept. 19, 2018. After Senate Republicans blinked by agreeing to delay the committee confirmation vote for Brett Kavanaugh until his accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford could testify, she decided to up the ante by demanding that the FBI criminally investigate the matter before she testifies. Now a former classmate of Ford is corroborating her accusations, raising the stakes even further.

Cristina King Miranda made a lengthy post on social media, in which she stated that "This incident did happen. Many of us heard about it in school." In legal terms this is a big deal. Miranda didn't personally witness the incident in question. But because people were talking about the incident shortly after it happened, it means one of two things. Either Ford was telling people about the incident back then, or someone else at the party witnessed it and was aware of it back then. At the least, this proves that this is not some story that Ford has fabricated in adulthood.

Miranda has since deleted her original post, before tweeting this explanation: "Hi all, deleted this because it served its purpose and I am now dealing with a slew of requests for interviews from The Wash Post, CNN, CBS News. Organizing how I want to proceed. Was not ready for that, not sure I am interested in pursuing. Thanks for reading." She then added "To all media, I will not be doing anymore interviews. No more circus. To clarify my post: I do not have first hand knowledge of the incident that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford mentions, and I stand by my support for Christine. That's it. I don't have more to say on the subject."

Congressman Ted Lieu, a former JAG prosector, retweeted Miranda's letter and added this: "Additional evidence below that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth about having been sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh." In other words, this is indeed an important legal development. If Dr. Ford is successful in leveraging her testimony into an FBI investigation, Miranda is precisely the kind of witness the FBI would want to speak with. It's also a reminder that if the FBI does start investigating Brett Kavanaugh, the odds are that he will end up in prison – particularly when you throw in his recent felony perjury – and he's familiar enough with the federal criminal justice system to know that his freedom would be at stake.

Grassley Threat

chuck grassley oRoll Call, Grassley Says Monday Hearing Not Likely Without Kavanaugh Accuser, John T. Bennett, Sept. 19, 2018. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, right, said Wednesday a planned Monday hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would likely not go on without accuser Christine Blasey Ford.

Asked about Ford saying she wouldn't appear on Monday, the chairman indicated it would not go on without the accuser present because the nominee would not know the full scope of allegations against him. Any decision to cancel that session, Grassley said, will be made at the "last" possible minute.

Other Notable #MeToo Claims

ny times logoNew York Times, Mavericks and Mark Cuban Sanctioned by N.B.A. Over Handling of Sexual Harassment, Scott Cacciola, Sept. 19, 2018. An investigation determined Cuban could have done more to address misconduct among team officials. The owner agreed to donate $10 million to charities in lieu of a fine.

mark cuban mavsMark Cuban (shown in a file photo), the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, will pay $10 million to women's leadership and domestic-violence organizations under an agreement with the N.B.A. announced Wednesday to address sexual harassment and other improper conduct among employees in the team's front office.

The payment, and other reporting, staffing and leadership changes, are a result of a monthslong investigation into accusations against several employees, including the former team president and chief executive, Terdema Ussery.

Cuban did not face accusations of misconduct, but the investigation found his supervision severely lacking, and he agreed to the payment, avoiding a fine. Still, the payment by far exceeds the amount of any fine the league has imposed on a team or owner.

ny times logoNew York Times, New York Review of Books Editor Is Out Amid Uproar Over #MeToo Essay, Cara Buckley, Sept. 19, 2018.  Ian Buruma, the editor of The New York Review of Books, left his position on Wednesday amid an uproar over the magazine's publication of an essay by a disgraced Canadian radio broadcaster who had been accused of sexually assaulting women.

"Ian Buruma is no longer the editor of The New York Review of Books," Nicholas During, a publicist for the magazine, wrote in an email.

The essay's author, Jian Ghomeshi, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges in 2016, lamented his status as a pariah, "constantly competing with a villainous version of myself online."

It caused immediate furor, with some criticizing what they saw as a self-pitying tone, and soft pedaling of the accusations, which included slapping and choking, and had come from more than 20 women, rather than "several," as Mr. Ghomeshi wrote. Mr. Buruma drew further censure by giving an interview that many interpreted as showing a lack of interest in the accusations against Mr. Ghomeshi.

Sept. 18.senate gop judiciary

Republican U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Members

Yahoo News, Analysis: Republican men — and not a single GOP woman — will be Christine Blasey Ford's interrogators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Alexander Nazaryan, Sept. 18, 2018. Next week, Christine Blasey Ford will likely face intense questioning from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee about the truthfulness of her accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, who she says attempted to rape her during a party in the 1980s. Her turn on Capitol Hill could decide Kavanaugh's suddenly uncertain fate, as well as the Supreme Court's direction for a generation.

republican elephant logoFord will face questions from the 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Ford will face questions from the 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, all of them men, with an average age of 62. (The chairman, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the second-oldest sitting senator, is 85.) In the committee's 202-year history, it has not had a single Republican woman. Four of the 10 Democrats are women, including ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who is a few months older than Grassley. The committee has never been chaired by a woman.

The spectacle of Ford, 51, being interrogated about her sexual history by older men could present an uncomfortable sight that the White House may take great pains to avoid. The outrage over that discrepancy, however, is already building. "In the year 2018, a group of white men has essentially complete control over lifetime nominations to an entire branch of government," tweeted Robert Reich, the former Labor secretary and current Berkeley professor. The message was retweeted more than 2,000 times

In the last 40 years, use of the judiciary to advance ideological goals has rendered the process of nominating judges highly political, with nominees evaluated on a narrow range of cultural issues, notably abortion, gun control and, until recently, gay marriage. That has tended to turn the Senate Judiciary into a hotbed of assertive ideologues, including, recently, Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz. GOP women have made their contributions elsewhere, effectively ceding judicial nominations to their male counterparts.

cnn logoCNN, Ford wants FBI investigation before testifying, Sophie Tatum, Sept. 18, 2018. The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault says the FBI should investigate the incident before senators hold a hearing on the allegations.

In a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and obtained by CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Christine Blasey Ford's attorneys argue that "a full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions."

The letter from Ford's lawyers notes that despite receiving a "stunning amount of support from her community," Ford has also "been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats" and has been forced to leave her home.

"We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you and Ranking Member Feinstein to discuss reasonable steps as to how Dr. Ford can cooperate while also taking care of her own health and security," the letter from Ford's lawyers said.

"What we're saying is there should be an investigation because that's the right thing to do," Ford's attorney Lisa Banks told Cooper.

"She is prepared to cooperate with the committee and with any law enforcement investigation," she added.

The letter comes after a day of uncertainty about whether the hearing scheduled for Monday would even take place, as Republicans continued to emphasize their repeated efforts to reach out to Ford.

Democrats have pushed back on the hearing. All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter on Tuesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and White House counsel Don McGahn arguing that the FBI should conduct an investigation prior to a hearing.

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats protest plan to limit witnesses at new Kavanaugh hearing, John Wagner, Seung Min Kim and Robert Costa, Sept. 18, 2018. No. 2 Senate Republican sharply questions credibility of Kavanaugh accuser·​The No. 2 Republican in the Senate on Tuesday sharply questioned the credibility of the woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, as GOP leaders indicated they will limit witnesses at next week's hearing to just the Supreme Court nominee and his accuser.

john cornyn o SmallSpeaking to reporters, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), right, said he was concerned by "gaps" in the account of Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor in California, who told The Washington Post in an interview published Sunday that Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned her to a bed on her back, groped her and put his hand over her mouth at a house party in the early 1980s when the two were in high school.

"The problem is, Dr. Ford can't remember when it was, where it was, or how it came to be," Cornyn told reporters at the Capitol late Tuesday morning.

When asked whether he was questioning the accuser's account — which Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied — Cornyn said, "There are some gaps there that need to be filled."

His comments came shortly after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) outlined a plan to limit testimony at Monday's planned hearing to that provided by Kavanaugh and Ford — which brought cries of protest from Democrats.

They insisted that other witnesses also be called, including Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford said witnessed the assault. "What about other witnesses like Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge?" ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California said in a statement. "What about individuals who were previously told about this incident? What about experts who can speak to the effects of this kind of trauma on a victim? This is another attempt by Republicans to rush this nomination and not fully vet Judge Kavanaugh."

Speaking to reporters later, Grassley defended his plan. "We've had two people that want to tell their story and that's what we're gonna do," he said. Pressed about the precedent of the Hill hearing, Grassley said: "You're talking about history. We're not looking back. We're looking forward."

Kavanaugh was at the White House on Tuesday for a second day in a row, but Trump said he has not spoken to him.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Is there a Kavanaugh doppelganger? Kathleen Parker, Sept. 18, 2018. In one of Brett M. Kavanaugh's responses to allegations that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl when he was in high school, a charge he has denied "categorically and unequivocally," he suggested that, perhaps, this was a case of mistaken identity.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), a member of the Judiciary Committee, reiterated this notion, saying that perhaps the accuser was "mixed up." And on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal's editorial board also floated the possibility of mistaken identity.

As crazy as that sounds, it wouldn't be unheard of. And, given the high regard in which Kavanaugh has been held throughout his life, including during high school, it would make the most sense. Could there be a Kavanaugh doppelganger?

JIP Editor's note: This column prompted 1.9 thousand reader comments as of Sept. 23, many if not most of them highly critical. Many of the recent ones alleged that the column may have been the first attempt by right-wing think tank president and longtime GOP operative Ed Whelan, a friend of Kavanaugh's, Whelan's public relations company CRC Public Relations and / or the Trump White House to help Kavanaugh by accusing an innocent classmate (whom Whelan and CRC later named) as having attacked Ford at the party. Thus, the first reader comment listed as of Sept. 23 was: "Did Ms. Parker collude with Ed Whelan or CRC Public Relations in writing this article? The reading public wants to know the truth."

ny times logoNew York Times, Kavanaugh and His Accuser Will Both Testify Monday, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Sept. 18, 2018 (print edition). The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, under mounting pressure from senators of his own party, will call President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, and the woman who has accused him of sexual assault before the committee on Monday for extraordinary public hearings just weeks before the midterm elections.

chuck grassley oSenator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, told reporters Monday afternoon that the chairman, Senator Charles E. Grassley, right, Republican of Iowa, told senators there would be an "opportunity" for senators to hear from Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, in a public setting where senators would be able to ask questions. Both have said they are willing to testify. A Senate Republican aide confirmed that it would be on Monday, effectively delaying a planned committee vote on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination, which had been scheduled for this Thursday.

The hearings will set up a potentially explosive public showdown, one that carries unmistakable echoes of the 1991 testimony of Anita Hill, who accused the future Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in an episode that riveted the nation and ushered a slew of women into public office. They will play out against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, which has energized Democratic women across the nation.

anita hill 2013 documentary poster

Brandeis University professor Anita Hill, as portrayed in the 2013 documentary "Anita" based on her experiences testifying against future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: How to Get the Kavanaugh Hearings Right, Anita Hill, Sept. 18, 2018. The Senate Judiciary Committee has a chance to do better by the country than it anita hill clarence thomas time scandaldid nearly three decades ago.

Select a neutral investigative body with experience in sexual misconduct cases that will investigate the incident in question and present its findings to the committee. Outcomes in such investigations are more reliable and less likely to be perceived as tainted by partisanship. Senators must then rely on the investigators' conclusions, along with advice from experts, to frame the questions they ask Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey. Again, the senators' fact-finding roles must guide their behavior. The investigators' report should frame the hearing, not politics or myths about sexual assault.

Do not rush these hearings. Doing so would not only signal that sexual assault accusations are not important — hastily appraising this situation would very likely lead to facts being overlooked that are necessary for the Senate and the public to evaluate. That the committee plans to hold a hearing this coming Monday is discouraging. Simply put, a week's preparation is not enough time for meaningful inquiry into very serious charges.

WUSA (Washington, DC), Brett Kavanaugh high school yearbook raises new questions about Supreme Court nominee, Staff report, Sept. 18, 2018. Brett Kavanaugh's high school yearbook has pages dedicated to each graduating high school senior. Kavanaugh's page includes references to the "Keg City Club" and "100 kegs or bust."

Amid accusations of sexual assault against a woman while in high school, the high school yearbook of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has prompted more questions about his character.

brett kavanaugh flagKavanaugh, shown in a file photo, graduated from Bethesda's Georgetown Prep high school in 1983.

Washington, D.C.-area attorney Seth Berenzweig received the yearbook from a woman who did not want her name revealed. Berenzweig says she brought it forward after seeing Judge Kavanaugh's repeated denial of engaging in inappropriate behavior with a then 15-year-old girl at a high school party.

"The question of integrity and character and fitness," said Berenzweig. "There's information here that appears to potentially be inconsistent with what the judge said earlier this morning."

The yearbook has pages dedicated to each graduating high school senior. Kavanaugh's page includes references to the "Keg City Club" and "100 kegs or bust."

"[He's] someone who apparently may have had a reputation for some heavy drinking," said Berenzweig. Kavanaugh's page also includes a reference to the 'Devil's Triangle', one possible interpretation of which is slang for a sexual situation involving two men and a woman.

The allegations against Kavanaugh are that he attempted to sexually assault a woman at a high school party during his junior year. Published reports and the alleged victim's recollection is that another Georgetown Prep student, and friend of Kavanaugh's, named Mark Judge was also present in the room during the alleged assault. Lawyer says excerpts from Brett Kavanaugh's high school yearbook raises questions. Judge's yearbook page includes this quote, "Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs." His page also references "100 kegs or bust" and "Alcoholics Unanimous [Founder]."

mark judge twitterRoll Call, Mark Judge, Possible Witness to Alleged Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault, Does Not Want to Testify, Niels Lesniewski, Sept. 18, 2018. The third person identified by Christine Blasey Ford as having been present in the room during what she alleged was a sexual assault by Judge Brett Kavanaugh wants no part of the Judiciary Committee proceedings. Mark Judge is shown at right.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Susan Collins just threw a big monkey wrench into the GOP's Brett Kavanaugh plot, Bill Palmer, Sept. 18, 2018. Even after the Republican leadership announced last night that it was agreeing to delay the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, it was clear the GOP was still playing games. This was set up as a rush job in which Kavanaugh and his accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford would each quickly testify on Monday before any real investigating could be done. Now Republican Senator Susan Collins has thrown a big monkey wrench into that plan.

susan collins oHere's what Susan Collins, right, tweeted this afternoon: "I'm writing to the Chairman & RM of Judiciary Cmte respectfully recommending that at Monday's hearing, counsel for Prof. Ford be allocated time to question Judge Kavanaugh & counsel for the Judge be granted equal time to question Prof. Ford, followed by questions from Senators. Such an approach would provide more continuity, elicit the most information & allow an in-depth examination of the allegations." Wait, so what is she up to?

She has clearly decided that she wants Monday's testimony to be something of substance, where Kavanaugh can be grilled by a legal professional in front of the cameras. Collins has to know that Kavanaugh, who has already proven himself to be an inept and self-contradictory witness on various matters, would fare poorly in such a scenario.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump says he feels 'badly' for Kavanaugh: 'This is not a man who deserves this,' Seung Min Kim, Robert Costa and John Wagner, Sept. 18, 2018.  President Trump said during a news conference at the White House that he supports the congressional hearing on an allegation that Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman in high school, because there shouldn't be any doubt about his innocence. Trump also blamed Democrats for not bringing the allegation forward sooner.

Sept. 17

washington post logoWashington Post, Kavanaugh accuser willing to testify, her lawyer says, John Wagner, Sept. 17, 2018. A lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who said Judge Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when the two were in high school, said Monday that Ford is willing to testify about the allegations before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"She is. She's willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth," lawyer Debra Katz said on NBC's "Today" show when asked if her client would speak publicly about President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, which have roiled his confirmation process. The White House indicated Monday that it is continuing to stand by Kavanaugh but expects Ford will offer testimony to the Judiciary Committee.

Roll Call, Kavanaugh Would Testify Against Sexual Assault Allegation, John T. Bennett, Sept. 17, 2018. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said Monday he would testify to give his side of the story of an alleged 1982 incident when a California professor says he sexually assaulted her.

"This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone," Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House.

"Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity."

The Hill, Alumnae of Kavanaugh accuser's high school express support for her, Justin Wise, Sept. 17, 2018. Alumnae of Christine Blasey Ford's high school are circulating a letter to show their support for her, after Ford came forward with sexual misconduct accusations against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

"We believe Dr. Blasey Ford and are grateful that she came forward to tell her story," a draft letter from alumnae of Holton-Arms, a private girls school in Bethesda, Md., reads, as first reported by HuffPost. "It demands a thorough and independent investigation before the Senate can reasonably vote on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to a lifetime seat on the nation's highest court."

The letter, which says it's from more than 200 alumnae from classes 1967 through 2018, added that Ford's allegations about Kavanaugh are "all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton."

"Many of us are survivors ourselves," it said. HuffPost reported that the letter had received three dozen additional signatures as of Monday morning.The report comes just a day after Ford detailed her allegations against Kavanaugh for the first time to The Washington Post.

Sept. 16

Kavanaugh Accuser Speaks Out

washington post logoWashington Post, Writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault, Emma Brown​, Sept. 16, 2018. Christine Blasey Ford alleges that Kavanaugh attacked her more than three decades ago when they were each in high school, an allegation the Supreme Court nominee has flatly denied.

brett kavanaughEarlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. Since Wednesday, she has watched as that bare-bones version of her story became public without her name or her consent, drawing a blanket denial from Kavanaugh and roiling a nomination that just days ago seemed all but certain to succeed.

Now, Ford has decided that if her story is going to be told, she wants to be the one to tell it.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both "stumbling drunk," Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.

While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.

"I thought he might inadvertently kill me," said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. "He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing."

Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh's friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.

Ford said she told no one of the incident in any detail until 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband. The therapist's notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh's name but say she reported that she was attacked by students "from an elitist boys' school" who went on to become "highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington." The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist's part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.

Reached by email Sunday, Judge declined to comment. In an interview Friday with The Weekly Standard, before Ford's name was known, he denied that any such incident occurred. "It's just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way," Judge said. He told the New York Times that Kavanaugh was a "brilliant student" who loved sports and was not "into anything crazy or illegal."

On Sunday, the White House sent The Post a statement Kavanaugh issued last week, when the outlines of Ford's account first became public: "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time."

For weeks, Ford declined to speak to The Post on the record as she grappled with concerns about what going public would mean for her and her family — and what she said was her duty as a citizen to tell the story.

Axios Sneak Peek, What's next: The politics of Kavanaugh's crisis, Jonathan Swan, Sept. 16, 2018. What was previously an allegation of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh by an unidentified person — without a lot of details or evidence — is now backed by a name, a specific allegation and therapist's notes. A senior Republican official involved in Kavanaugh's confirmation privately admitted to me that they felt queasy when they read The Washington Post story.

And there was one sign tonight that these allegations could actually derail Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court — which was previously a sure thing. jeff flake oJeff Flake [the Arizona Republican at right] told the WashPost's Sean Sullivan that the Senate Judiciary Committee should wait to hear more from Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford: "For me, we can't vote until we hear more."

Why it matters: Doug Jones' special election victory late last year gave Democrats an extra seat on Senate Judiciary — there are now 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats — meaning that Flake's defection could stall Kavanaugh's confirmation process.

Since the story broke, I've spoken to four sources close to the Kavanaugh confirmation process. All were defiant and sought to raise doubts about the accuser's credibility and the holes in her story — though none were willing to do so on the record. They signaled potential lines of attack: the accuser's Democratic political background, lapses in her memory and the accounts of the 65 women who've known Kavanaugh since high school who've vouched for his character.

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion: Kavanaugh's accuser steps forward, Jennifer Rubin, right, Sept. 16, 2018. If Kavanaugh did what he was accused of and then has lied about it, he cannot be confirmed for the Supreme Court. It is noteworthy he has not denied the allegation under oath. The Senate therefore must bring him back as well as Ford to tell their accounts in public and under oath.

If the allegation is true — and at this point, none of us is in a position to assess credibility — he dare not lie under oath, putting at risk his current seat on the bench. (A far more difficult matter presents itself if Kavanaugh issues less than an absolute denial under oath but argues that this episode was decades old and therefore should not be disqualifying. I find it difficult to believe, however, that he'll deviate from his initial, complete denial.)

susan collins oThe nomination fortunately does not hang on whether the White House or the vast majority of Senate Republicans behave responsibly, for surely they will not. Here, the two pro-choice Republican senators, Susan Collins, left, of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, once more are in the driver's seat. If they indicate they will not vote to confirm unless and until the matter is investigated, then the nomination stops in its tracks.

To Republicans and the judge himself who may think this is terribly unfair, I have two responses. First, the entire confirmation process has been rushed, incomplete and hampered by the partisan, limited release of relevant documents. Second, it may well be unfair to hear a last-minute allegation, but it would be much more unfair to allow someone who has lied to the American people about an alleged sexual assault to reach the highest court.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans

chuck grassley officialChuck Grassley, Iowa, Chairman, right.

Orrin Hatch, Utah.

Lindsey Graham, South Carolina.

John Cornyn, Texas.

Mike Lee, Utah.

Ted Cruz, Texas.

Ben Sasse, Nebraska.

Jeff Flake, Arizona.

Roll Call, Three Ways Kavanaugh Nomination Could Play Out After Accuser Speaks, John T. Bennett, Sept. 16, 2018. Female GOP senators could have big say in what happens nextPosted What was an anonymous letter with serious allegations against Supreme Court nominee are now vivid words from an accuser, putting a name and face on the charges and raising new questions about the nomination.

A California professor contends she instantly thought a "stumbling drunk" Kavanaugh might "inadvertently kill" her during a party in the early 1980s while they were in high school, breaking her public silence and handing Republican leaders and the White House tough decisions about what to do next.

"I thought he might inadvertently kill me," Christine Blasey Ford told the Washington Post in an article that published Sunday afternoon. "He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing." She also claims Kavanaugh and a friend trapped her in a bedroom during the party, with the high court nominee pinning her on a bed while his friend watched and groping her over her one-piece bathing suit. Ford says she was able to escape without injury.

The 51-year-old Ford first voiced her concerns to California Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Judiciary ranking member Dianne Feinstein, who last week cryptically announced she had referred a letter containing information about Kavanaugh to the FBI. Ford also contacted a Post tip line, but the interview marked the first time she had spoken publicly about the alleged incident.

Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, last week teed up a committee vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation for Thursday as he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — and the White House — aim to hold floor votes and have Kavanaugh join the other eight Supreme Court justices by Oct.1.

But Ford's public allegations could alter those plans. Here are three ways the nomination could play out after the accuser's first public remarks.Kavanaugh drops out/White House pulls nomination.

Sept. 15

ny times logoNew York Times, New Kavanaugh Disclosure Shows Little Sign of Impeding His Nomination, Carl Hulse, Sept. 15, 2018. Sudden new revelations in Supreme Court confirmation fights are not new. Anita Hill's accusations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas surfaced after his initial hearings had concluded. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump's first nominee to the court, faced claims that he had plagiarized parts of his book just as his nomination headed toward a Senate floor vote.

Sept. 15

ny times logoNew York Times, Border Patrol Agent Arrested in Connection With Murders of 4 Women, Simon Romero and Manny Fernandez, Sept. 15, 2018.  A United States Border Patrol agent was arrested in South Texas on Saturday in connection to a calculated killing spree that left four people dead in recent weeks around the city of Laredo, the authorities said.

ice dhs logoWebb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar said police officers arrested the agent, Juan David Ortiz, early on Saturday morning after a woman who claimed she had been abducted by Mr. Ortiz escaped half-clothed and sought help at a gas station in Laredo.

"We consider this man to be a serial killer who was preying on one victim after another," Sheriff Cuellar said. "Fortunately, he's now been apprehended."

The case is the latest in a series of recent gruesome episodes involving Border Patrol agents, and comes at a time when protesters and some Democratic lawmakers are seeking to curb the actions of immigration officials. Some are calling for an end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which was created in 2003. Customs and Border Protection, another agency in the Department of Homeland Security, has also come under fierce criticism.

Another female victim remained unidentified and was referred to as Jane Doe, Mr. Alaniz said. The fourth appeared to be a transgender woman, but authorities referred to her as John Doe. Mr. Alaniz said he believed that all of the victims worked as prostitutes in the Laredo area.

District Attorney Isidro Alaniz of Webb County said the authorities were prepared to also charge Mr. Ortiz with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated kidnapping. "At this time we believe the suspect was acting alone," Mr. Alaniz said, describing Mr. Ortiz as a supervisory agent who had worked as a Border Patrol agent for a decade.

Sept. 14

new yorker logoNew Yorker, A Sexual-Misconduct Allegation Against the Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Stirs Tension Among Democrats in Congress, Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer, Sept. 14, 2018. On Thursday, Senate Democrats disclosed that they had referred a complaint regarding President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the F.B.I. for investigation. The complaint came from a woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were both in high school, more than thirty years ago.

The woman, who has asked not to be identified, first approached Democratic lawmakers in July, shortly after Trump nominated Kavanaugh.

The allegation dates back to the early nineteen-eighties, when Kavanaugh was a high-school student at Georgetown Preparatory School, in Bethesda, Maryland, and the woman attended a nearby high school. In the letter, the woman alleged that, during an encounter at a party, Kavanaugh held her down, and that he attempted to force himself on her.

She claimed in the letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate of his, both of whom had been drinking, turned up music that was playing in the room to conceal the sound of her protests, and that Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand.

She was able to free herself. Although the alleged incident took place decades ago and the three individuals involved were minors, the woman said that the memory had been a source of ongoing distress for her, and that she had sought psychological treatment as a result.

In a statement, Kavanaugh said, "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time."

ny times logodianne feinsteinNew York Times, Dianne Feinstein Refers a Kavanaugh Matter to Federal Investigators, Nicholas Fandos and Catie Edmondson, Sept. 14, 2018 (print edition). The senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee referred information involving Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, to federal investigators on Thursday, but the senator declined to make public what the matter involved.

Two officials familiar with the matter say the incident involved possible sexual misconduct between Judge Kavanaugh and a woman when they were both in high school. They spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

The statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California came a week before the Judiciary Committee is to vote on his nomination. "I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court," Ms. Feinstein said in a statement. "That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities."

The information came in July in a letter, which was first sent to the office of Representative Anna Eshoo, Democrat of California, and accuses the judge of sexual misconduct toward the letter's author, a person familiar with the letter confirmed.

washington post logoWashington Post, Bitter Senate fight to confirm Kavanaugh plunges deeper into chaos over letter, Seung Min Kim and Elise Viebeck, Sept. 14, 2018. The letter describes an alleged episode of sexual misconduct involving the Supreme Court nominee when he was in high school, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Politico, Sexual assault allegation roils Kavanaugh confirmation fight, Elana Schor, Burgess Everett and Eliana Johnson, Sept. 14, 2018. Republicans rushed to defend the Supreme Court nominee with a letter from women who've known him since high school.

Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans on Friday released a letter from 65 women who knew Brett Kavanaugh during his high school years calling him "a good person" — escalating their defense of the Supreme Court nominee as a decades-old sexual misconduct allegation surfaced.

Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) office circulated the pro-Kavanaugh letter less than 48 hours after the committee's top Democrat, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, referred the allegation against the nominee to the FBI. Feinstein, who declined to say when she first became aware of the accusation, said she had "honored [a] decision" by the woman making the charges to maintain confidentiality. But the senator's handling of the matter has stoked already-fierce partisan tensions over a confirmation the GOP is still pushing to wind up by the end of this month.

The woman leveling the charge against Kavanaugh attended a nearby high school at the same time as the nominee. She, Kavanaugh, and another high-school male were alone in a room together when the alleged misconduct took place, according to two sources. The New Yorker reported Friday that the woman alleged Kavanaugh had attempted to force himself on her while physically restraining her.

The flaring controversy has not shaken Republican plans to bring Kavanaugh's nomination to the Senate floor before the Supreme Court's new term begins in the first week of October. The Judiciary panel is still scheduled to vote on the nomination on Thursday, Grassley's office said.

The Senate has received an updated FBI background report on Kavanaugh that includes the letter, which means that senators will have access to the letter if they want to view it.

With Republicans holding a 51-49 advantage, Kavanaugh's prospects for approval are still on track despite his lack of 50 public "yes" votes — heightening the importance of the letter's effect on the Senate GOP's two female swing votes, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Neither Collins nor Murkowski has expressed skepticism about the nominee.

Collins and Kavanaugh had an hour-long phone call on Friday, a spokeswoman said, though the contents of the call were not divulged. A spokeswoman for Murkowski did not respond to a request for comment.

In the letter that the GOP circulated, Kavanaugh's female contemporaries countered the damning portrayal of the nominee that has surfaced the past 24 hours. "Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity. In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect," the women wrote. "That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day."

Democrats have remained notably mum about the situation since Thursday, even as liberal groups off the Hill call for a pointed push to withdraw Kavanaugh's nomination.

"That's now in the hands of the FBI. That's all I'm going to say about it," Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who pressed Kavanaugh on the #MeToo movement during his confirmation hearing, told POLITICO's Off Message podcast in an interview set to run Tuesday.

Brian Fallon, a former senior aide to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) who now helms the left-leaning group Demand Justice, nudged Democats for a more pointed response. "The message needs to be clear: withdraw," he said.

Undecided red-state Democrats were similarly tight-lipped following the report on the letter's content. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Doug Jones of Alabama and Jon Tester of Montana had no immediate comment. Tester is still trying to schedule an initial meeting with Kavanaugh and Manchin is seeking a second meeting.

ronan farrowThe White House first heard vague rumors about the allegation against Kavanaugh late last week, but the specifics of the alleged high-school sexual assault landed on White House Counsel Don McGahn's desk on Thursday, hours after Feinstein referred the matter to the FBI.

Kavanaugh's denial may do little to stanch the damaging trickle of revelations. The co-author of the New Yorker's story, Ronan Farrow, right, has traveled to California in an attempt to persuade the woman behind the allegations to share her story, according to a source familiar with his reporting. The woman's letter was channeled to Feinstein as well as to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) through a Stanford Law School professor.

Sept. 13

german flagny times logoNew York Times, Catholic Clergy in Germany Abused 3,600 Children, Study Says, Katrin Bennhold and Melissa Eddy, Sept. 13, 2018 (print edition). "It is depressing and shameful," a Catholic bishop said after a report found that thousands of children had been assaulted over decades. The study, which was commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church bishops' conference in Germany, found that at least 1,670 church workers had been involved in the abuse of 3,677 children. That is 4.4 percent of the clergy.

washington post logoWashington Post, Pope Francis orders investigation of W.Va. bishop on sexual harassment charges, William Branigin, Sept. 13, 2018. The pope instructed the archbishop of Baltimore to conduct a probe into allegations that Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, 75, of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va., sexually harassed adults. Bransfield is a former rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

elliott broidy

Elliott Broidy Briody, above, was finance chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) fromFrom 2005 to 2008. In 2017, he was named a deputy finance chairman of the RNC. rnc logoBroidy resigned from his RNC role in April 2018 after the Wall Street Journal reported that he had been a party to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard, paying $1.6 million for her silence about a sexual affair between them.

Mediaite, Opinion: Here’s How and Why People like Me Jumped to the Wrong Conclusion About the Broidy/Bechard Scandal, John Ziegler, Sept. 13, 2018. Of all the many loathsome elements of President Donald Trump’s personality, the one that infuriates people like me the most is his abject disregard for the truth. He lies constantly and, even when it is proven that he has lied, he never even takes any responsibility for it, all while insisting that reporters, who make what are usually honest mistakes, be held to full account even after they have admitted having gotten something wrong.

shera bechard 2010In that context, it is paramount that I proactively admit that I was one of those who made a speculative allegation against Trump which now, given more evidence, appears to have been false. I am referring to the theory, first outlined by law professor Paul Campos in New York Magazine, that Trump impregnated former Playboy playmate Shera Bechard while president, and then arranged for former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy to take the fall for that and the ensuing abortion, all while using Trump’s then personal attorney Michael Cohen to pay her $1.6 million.

I interviewed Campos for my podcast and was immediately convinced that there was a very good chance his view of what really happened was accurate, or, at the very least, that the narrative we were being told didn’t make any sense. At one point, it even appeared to me, Campos, and celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti, that the whole story was finally about to blow up into a massive bombshell.

But then, almost immediately, it started to become clear that there was a problem. When Bechard’s lawsuit was finally unsealed last Friday, however, it became obvious that the details she provided made it nearly impossible for Broidy (who comes across as perhaps a worse person than even Trump) not to have been the man to impregnate her after a lengthy affair.

Sept. 12

washington post logoPope FrancisWashington Post, Pope summons bishops for summit on preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children, Chico Harlan and William Branigin​, Sept. 12, 2018. The February summit at the Vatican — believed to be the first of its kind — was announced a day before Pope Francis, right, is set to meet with leaders of the U.S. Catholic Church to discuss some of the latest sex scandals.

ny times logoNew York Times, '60 Minutes' Producer Jeff Fager Is Ousted at CBS, John Koblin and Michael M. Grynbaum, Sept. 12, 2018. Jeff Fager, the longtime executive producer of "60 Minutes" on CBS, was fired on Wednesday for sending a bullying text message to one of the network's reporters, just days after Leslie Moonves stepped down as the company's chief executive following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

In recent articles in The New Yorker and The Washington Post, Mr. Fager had been accused of touching women at company parties in ways that made them feel uncomfortable and fostering a culture of harassment at "60 Minutes."

Mr. Fager has previously denied any wrongdoing, and CBS has enlisted two law firms to investigate the allegations and the workplace culture at CBS.

David Rhodes, the president of CBS News, told staff in an email that Mr. Fager's departure was "not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently." It would be hard to overstate Mr. Fager's power inside CBS's news division or the significance of his departure to a network already reeling from the exit of its longtime leader.

Mr. Fager is only the second executive producer in the half-century history of "60 Minutes," a show that despite dwindling audiences for news programs has remained among the highest-rated series on network television. Although Mr. Fager was not the titular head of CBS News, he was given carte blanche to run his fief as he saw fit.

Sept. 10

les moonvesCNBC, Leslie Moonves will get 'zip' from CBS exit package, veteran media analyst predicts, Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Sept. 10, 2018. Departing CBS CEO Leslie Moonves could walk away from the media empire empty-handed, veteran media analyst Porter Bibb predicted Monday. Bibb, a tech and media analyst with more than 40 years of experience on Wall Street, said Moonves will not receive the $100 million exit package the board is considering if allegations reported by journalist Ronan Farrow in Sunday's New Yorker article and another in July turn out to be true.

The second New Yorker article on Sunday contained allegations by six more women. Moonves denied the accusations and characterized his relationships with some of the women as consensual. "He's denying [the allegations] strongly, and I think he's going to end up getting zip," the managing partner at Mediatech Capital Partners said in an interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Sept. 9

cbs logo

New Yorker, As Leslie Moonves Negotiates His Exit from CBS, Six Women Raise New Assault and Harassment Claims, Ronan Farrow (below right), Sept. 9, 2018. Members of the board of the CBS new yorker logoCorporation are negotiating with the company's chairman and C.E.O., Leslie Moonves, about his departure. Sources familiar with the board's activities said the discussions about Moonves stepping down began several weeks ago, after an article published in the The New Yorker detailed allegations by six women that the media executive had sexually harassed them, and revealed complaints by dozens of others that the culture in some parts of the company tolerated sexual misconduct. Since then, the board has selected outside counsel to lead an investigation into the claims.

ronan farrowAs the negotiations continue and shareholders and advocacy groups accuse the board of failing to hold Moonves accountable, new allegations are emerging.

Six additional women are now accusing Moonves of sexual harassment or assault in incidents that took place between the nineteen-eighties and the early two-thousands. They include claims that Moonves forced them to perform oral sex on him, that he exposed himself to them without their consent, and that he used physical violence and intimidation against them. A number of the women also said that Moonves retaliated after they rebuffed him, damaging their careers. Similar frustrations about perceived inaction have prompted another woman to raise a claim of misconduct against Jeff Fager, the executive producer of "60 Minutes," who previously reported to Moonves as the chairman of CBS News.

Update: Three hours after the publication of this story, CNN reported that Moonves would step down from his position at CBS. Later the same day, CBS announced that Moonves had left the company and would not receive any of his exit compensation, pending the results of the independent investigation into the allegations. The company named six new members of its board of directors and said it would donate $20 million to organizations that support the #MeToo movement and workplace equality for women. The donation will be deducted from any severance payments that may be due to Moonves.

les moonvesAdweek, Embattled CBS CEO Les Moonves Is Officially Departing the Company After 23 Years, Jason Lynch, Sept. 9, 2018. He'll leave immediately; COO Joseph Ianniello will step in as interim CEO. What does CBS look like without its über-confident longtime leader Les Moonves? We're about to find out.

washington post logoWashington Post, Leslie Moonves out as head of CBS as sexual misconduct claims multiply, Steven Zeitchik, Alex Horton and Sarah Ellison​, Sept. 9, 2018. Moonves, right, once regarded as one of the country's most respected media titans, fell from his perch after a dozen women alleged sexual misconduct, harassment and retaliation.

Moonves had seemed bulletproof as of just six weeks ago, regarded as one of the entertainment world's most sterling executives. But sexual-misconduct allegations by six women in The New Yorker in July led to the board hiring outside lawyers to conduct an investigation into Moonves and activists to call for his removal. On the magazine's website Sunday, an additional six women alleged behavior that includes sexual misconduct, harassment and retaliation.

As part of the agreement, CBS and Shari Redstone's controlling shareholder National Amusements will end their lawsuit as Redstone agrees not to merge the broadcaster with Viacom for at least two years. That move gives Moonves a victory in that arena; he sought to keep CBS operating as a separate concern.The allegations posted by The New Yorker Sunday include forced oral sex, Moonves exposing himself without consent and the use of physical violence and intimidation to silence the women. The women in Sunday's report echoed descriptions of a culture of downplaying accusations and promoting men even after the company settled allegations against them.

The allegations posted by The New Yorker Sunday include forced oral sex, Moonves exposing himself without consent and the use of physical violence and intimidation to silence the women. The women in Sunday's report echoed descriptions of a culture of downplaying accusations and promoting men even after the company settled allegations against them.

#MeTo Clergy Protest

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump to provide written answers under oath in Summer Zervos defamation lawsuit, Elise Viebeck, Sept. 9, 2018. The former contestant on summer zervos"The Apprentice," shown at right in a file photo, says President Trump groped her in 2007. Court rules require the statements to be sworn, meaning that false answers could open Trump to charges of perjury. #MeTo Clergy Protest

washington post logoWashington Post, Catholic clergyman calls on Wuerl to resign, says he'll refuse to participate in Mass with him, Julie Zauzmer​, Sept. 9, 2018. "I cannot, in good conscience, continue to assist you personally," a prominent member of Washington's Catholic clergy wrote to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who faces calls to resign because of his handling of sexual abuse allegations while he was bishop of Pittsburgh.

cardinal donald wuerl portrait fullA highly visible member of Washington's Catholic clergy has made a dramatic declaration calling on Cardinal Donald Wuerl, shown at right, to resign, the latest blow to Washington's embattled archbishop.

Deacon James Garcia, in his role as the master of ceremony at St. Matthew's Cathedral in the District, typically stands beside Wuerl during almost every major liturgy of the year. But Garcia wrote in a letter to Wuerl, which the deacon published online Saturday, that he refuses to assist in any Mass led by Wuerl again. Since deacons vow obedience to their bishop, it is a bold gesture.

Sept. 8

washington post logoWashington Post, Stormy Daniels says she fears for her safety as she pursues lawsuits against Trump, Elise Viebeck, Sept. 8, 2018 (print edition). The adult-film star spoke candidly in a television interview broadcast in the Netherlands about how sudden political celebrity changed her life.

Adult-film star Stormy Daniels said her safety has been threatened this year as her public profile grows and described feeling scared of "some pissed-off Trump supporter or fan coming after me, doing something stupid" as she pursues two lawsuits against President Trump.

stormy daniels 60 minutes cbsIn a rare television interview broadcast Thursday in the Netherlands, Daniels described how her role in the legal and political drama that has ensnared the White House dealt a fatal blow to her marriage and has prompted "hurtful" criticism on social media about her parenting.

Daniels, who also goes by the name Stephanie Clifford, only occasionally speaks to the media, making her wide-ranging, 40-minute conversation with the Dutch program "RTL Late Night with Twan Huys" unusual. She is shown at left in a screengrab from her major previous interview, that with CBS 60 Minutes earlier this year.

Related story: Michael Cohen firm seeks to void nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels.

Sept. 7

elliott broidy

Elliott Broidy Briody, above, was finance chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) fromFrom 2005 to 2008. In 2017, he was named a deputy finance chairman of the RNC. Broidy resigned from his RNC role in April 2018 after the Wall Street Journal reported that he had been a party to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard, paying $1.6 million for her silence about a sexual affair between them.

The Hill, Ex-Playboy model accuses GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy of physical abuse: reports, Justin Wise, Sept. 7, 2018. Former Playboy model shera bechard 2010Shera Bechard has reportedly accused top GOP fundraiser , a former Republican National Committee (RNC) official, of subjecting her to physical abuse.

HuffPost reported on Friday that Bechard made the allegations in a complaint that remains sealed under court order. The complaint is part of a lawsuit from Bechard that claims Broidy stopped making payments on a $1.6 million nondisclosure agreement.

Bechard has said the agreement and payment required her to remain silent about an extramarital affair and subsequent pregnancy. The deal was negotiated by President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty last month to several federal charges, including campaign finance violations.

The model says Broidy began hurting her during their sexual relationship and pushed her to excessive drinking so she "would be more compliant toward his physical abuse," according to Bloomberg.

rnc logoIn addition to accusing the GOP fundraiser of physical abuse, Bechard alleges that the former RNC official also exposed her to herpes and emotionally abused her.

She reportedly says he told her she couldn't date or be seen with other men and that he also sought for her to depend on him financially.

Bechard also alleges that Broidy told her he admired President Trump because of his "uncanny ability to sexually abuse women and get away with it," according to the complaint.

California Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White issued a ruling Friday that allowed for Bechard's claims to be made public, Bloomberg reported.

Attorneys for Broidy told the court that the allegations should be struck from the complaint, arguing that they aren't tied to the lawsuit. "This person tried to extract money from me by making up false, malicious and disgusting allegations," Broidy said in a statement reported by multiple outlets. "I have acknowledged making the mistake of having an affair, and I entered a confidential agreement to protect my family's privacy.

ny times logoNew York Times, First person opinion: I Was Sexually Assaulted by Another Marine. The Corps Didn't Believe Me, Justin Rose, Sept. 7, 2018. I would never have guessed that closure would come to me in a small courtroom in Manhattan, Kan. A year and a half ago, on my 34th birthday, I sat on a witness stand and recounted how I was sexually assaulted on New Year's Day 2006 by a fellow Marine — someone I had considered a friend while we were deployed to the Horn of Africa.

Long after the attack itself is over, you're left dealing with all the toxic doubts and self-blame that come with being sexually assaulted. I fought with the idea that I somehow invited this upon myself, that I deserved it or was somehow to blame for the assault.

It stripped away my confidence and degraded the trust I had in my fellow Marines. I questioned the values that I first bought into when I became a Marine: the belief in honor, courage and commitment that was instilled by our drill instructors.

I didn't immediately confront my attacker face to face — so where was my courage or honor? How would I react to real combat? Where was the commitment from my fellow Marines, when I needed support in the aftermath of the attack? Would they be there for me if I needed their help on the battlefield one day?

Sept. 6

ny times logoNew York Times, Modeling in the #TimesUp Era, Vanessa Friedman, Sept. 6, 2018. There are new measures to safeguard young women from predatory behavior, but a wholesale change in the industry remains elusive.

In January, ahead of the first New York Fashion Week after the #TimesUp social revolution began, the Council of Fashion Designers of America sent out its regular preshow missive. For the first time it encouraged fashion houses to, among other things, create private changing areas, the better to guard against models being effectively naked in front of the many makeup artists, hairstylists, photographers, journalists and other random people who work behind the scenes of a show, where the making-of aspect has become as public as the event itself.

Most designers tried to comply. Nevertheless, at one show, as at many other shows over the following month in the other fashion cities, the private changing area was more of an ideal than a reality. "There was a male photographer there taking pictures while girls were getting undressed!" said Edie Campbell, a model.

In February, a model from Minneapolis who met with a photographer to work on her portfolio reported him to the police after she said he forcibly touched her near her breasts and genitals. Four other models' accounts were also described, on Facebook, involving coerced nude photo shoots and suggestive personal commentary with the same man.

Sept. 2

washington post logopope benedict XVI 2010 10 17 4Washington Post, Pope Benedict, in seclusion, looms in the opposition to Pope Francis, Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli, Sept. 2, 2018. Although many hoped to hear from Pope Benedict XVI, 91, and (shown at right in a 2010 photo before his 2013 resignation) amid new allegations that a coverup of sexual misconduct reached the highest levels of the Catholic Church, he has maintained silence on church matters.

Try as he might to stay out of the fray, he has been used as a symbol of resistance for a segment of traditionalists who oppose elements of Francis's reformist papacy.

August

Aug. 31

ny times logoronan farrowNew York Times, NBC Impeded Weinstein Reporting, Ex-Producer Says, John Koblin, Aug. 31, 2018 (print edition). Ronan Farrow, right, spent months investigating sexual misconduct accusations against Harvey Weinstein while he was at NBC News, but his articles published later in The New Yorker. A producer who worked closely with Mr. Farrow said "the very highest levels of NBC" tried to halt the work. The network disagrees.

Aug. 30

ny times logoNew York Times, A Broken Relationship and Accusations of Emotional Abuse: The Case of Keith Ellison, Julie Turkewitz and Farah Stockman, Aug. 30, 2018. Mr. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, is running for attorney general in Minnesota. His former girlfriend accused him of emotional abuse. It could open a potentially new chapter of the #MeToo movement.

Aug. 28

washington post logoWashington Post, Orthodox Jewish organizations reach $14.25 million settlement with victims of voyeur-rabbi, Michelle Boorstein and Tara Bahrampour, Aug. 28, 2018. Victims of Barry Freundel, who spied for years on women in a ritual bath in Washington, had sought $100 million in the case that rocked U.S. Orthodox Judaism.

Papal Challenge

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Pope Francis is shown on a 2014 visit to South Korea (file photo via Wikimedia)

washington post logoWashington Post, With call for pope to resign, divisions within the Catholic Church explode into view, Chico Harlan, Aug. 28, 2018 (print edition). Some traditionalists blame homosexuality within the church for the sexual abuse crisis. Pope Francis has used more inclusive messages about gays at a time when the religion is losing its hold across the Western world.

#MeToo Rabbinical Scandal

washington post logoWashington Post, Orthodox Jewish organizations reach $14.25 million settlement with victims of voyeur-rabbi, Michelle Boorstein and Tara Bahrampour, Aug. 28, 2018. Victims of Barry Freundel, who spied for years on women in a ritual bath in Washington, had sought $100 million in the case that rocked U.S. Orthodox Judaism.

Many More Puerto Rican Deaths Reported

ny times logoNew York Times, A new analysis found that nearly 3,000 more deaths than expected occurred in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.​ Sheri Fink, Aug. 28, 2018. Along-awaited report on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico has found that nearly 3,000 more deaths than expected occurred in the months after the storm, the first official outside evaluation of the toll in a disaster whose damage in some cases took months to unfold.

The report, made public on Tuesday by researchers at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health, was commissioned by the governor of Puerto Rico after The New York Times and other media outlets and researchers last year estimated that the death count far exceeded the government's official toll of 64.

Aug. 27

Alleged Vatican Cover-up

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President Obama greets Vatican Ambassador to the United States Carlo Maria Vigano in 2011 (White House photo)

washington post logoWashington Post, Former Vatican ambassador says Popes Francis, Benedict knew of sexual misconduct allegations against pope benedict XVI 2010 10 17 4McCarrick for years, Chico Harlan, Stefano Pitrelli and Michelle Boorstein, Aug. 27, 2018 (print edition).

A former Vatican ambassador to the United States has alleged in an 11-page letter that Pope Benedict XVI, 91, and (shown at right in a 2010 photo before his 2013 resignation) and Pope Francis — among other top Catholic Church officials — had been aware of sexual misconduct allegations against former D.C. archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCar­rick, shown below at left, years before he resigned this summer.

theodore mccarrickThe letter from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, 77, who was recalled from his D.C. post in 2016 amid allegations that he'd become embroiled in the conservative American fight against same-sex marriage, was first reported by the National Catholic Register and LifeSite News, two conservative Catholic sites.

The accusations sent a shock wave across the reeling Roman Catholic Church, but the letter offered no proof of its claims, and Viganò on Sunday told The Washington Post that he wouldn't comment further, beyond confirming that he was the letter's author.

Aug. 26

washington post logoWashington Post, Former Vatican ambassador says Popes Francis, Benedict knew of sexual misconduct allegations against McCarrick for years, Chico Harlan, Stefano Pitrelli and Michelle Boorstein, Aug. 26, 2018.  In an 11-page letter, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano said that former D.C. archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had been privately sanctioned under Pope Benedict XVI for his alleged sexual misconduct.

Aug. 24

ny times logoNew York Times, Singer Accuses David Daniels, Leading Opera Star, of Rape, Michael Cooper, Aug. 22, 2018. The opera star David Daniels, one of the world's best-known countertenors, took a leave of absence from his job as a music professor at the University of Michigan on Wednesday after a young singer accused him of drugging and raping him after a performance in Houston in 2010.

The singer, Samuel Schultz, a 32-year-old baritone, said in an interview on Wednesday that he had been drugged and raped by Mr. Daniels and Mr. Daniels's partner, Scott Walters, who is now his husband, when Mr. Daniels was appearing at Houston Grand Opera. Mr. Schultz's accusation was first reported by The Daily News, which quoted two people who said that Mr. Schultz had told them of the attack at the time.

Aug. 23

washington post logourban meyer 2017Washington Post, Ohio State suspends Urban Meyer for three games over handling of domestic abuse claims, Will Hobson and Chuck Culpepper, Aug. 23, 2018 (print edition). The football coach (shown in a 2017 file photo) has been on administrative leave since Aug. 1, pending an investigation into what he knew about allegations of domestic abuse concerning a former assistant. Ohio State football Coach Urban Meyer will be suspended without pay for the first three games of the upcoming season because of concerns over his handling of domestic violence allegations lodged against a longtime assistant and family friend, the school announced Wednesday night.

ohio state buckeyes logoA university investigation found that Meyer and Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith failed to inform the school's compliance department about accusations made against former assistant coach Zach Smith in 2015 and instead awaited the conclusion of a law enforcement investigation that ultimately produced no criminal charges. The university also suspended Gene Smith for two weeks.

The school's investigation — led by Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney and former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission — also concluded that while Meyer didn't cover up wrongdoing by his assistant, he didn't act forcefully enough in the face of repeated signs of misconduct by the former receivers coach, which included a 2014 incident in which he took high school coaches to a strip club in Miami while on a recruiting trip representing the school.

paris dennard

Paris Dennard, frequent CNN commentator and columnist for The Hill backing conservative views (screen shot)

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump called this White House defender 'wonderful.' He was fired from his previous job for alleged sexual harassment, Aaron C. Davis, Aug. 23, 2018 (print edition). A conservative commentator who was lauded by President Trump this week as "wonderful" and who has argued that past sexual indiscretions should have no bearing on Trump's presidency was fired from Arizona State University four years ago for making sexually explicit comments and gestures toward women, according to documents and a university official.

An internal investigation by the university concluded that Paris Dennard, a surrogate during the campaign and now a member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships, told a recent college graduate who worked for him that he wanted to have sex with her. He "pretended to unzip his pants in her presence, tried to get her to sit on his lap, and made masturbatory gestures," according to a university report obtained by The Washington Post.

According to the 2014 report, Dennard did not dispute those claims but said he committed the acts jokingly. The investigation began after the woman and a second female employee told superiors Dennard's actions went too far and had made them uncomfortable.

Daily Beast, CNN Suspends Trump-Defending Pundit Paris Dennard After Sexual Harassment Claims, Matt Wilstein, Aug. 22, 2018.  Less than two hours after The Washington Post published its damning exposé about Paris Dennard, a prominent cable news defender of President Donald Trump, CNN announced that it was suspending the pundit "effective immediately."

"We are aware of reports of accusations against Paris Dennard," a spokesperson for CNN said Wednesday evening. "We are suspending Paris, effective immediately, while we look into the allegations."

Aug. 21

washington post logocardinal donald wuerl portrait fullWashington Post, Cardinal Wuerl the target of rising anger after grand jury report on abuse by priests in Pa., Michelle Boorstein, Aug. 21, 2018 (print edition). The District's archbishop, right, who presided for years in Pittsburgh where numerous priests were identified as alleged abusers, has become the face of a ballooning crisis in the Catholic Church.

Aug. 20

washington post logoWashington Post, Pope says 'no effort must be spared' to fight sexual abuse in Catholic Church, Chico Harlan​, Aug. 20, 2018. In a letter, Pope Francis, right, said Pope Francisthe Catholic Church has not dealt properly with "crimes" against children and needs to prevent sexual abuses from being "covered up and perpetuated."

The letter came after a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed alleged abuses by more than 300 priests against 1,000 children over decades.

#MeToo Pioneer Argento Accused

asia argento anthony bourdain beach twitter Small

Actress and director Asia Argento is shown with her lover, the late culinary reporter Anthony Bourdain, who supported her in her #MeToo accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. Her Twitter feed is illustrated by the 'No Shame' graphic below left)

ny times logoNew York Times, Asia Argento, a #MeToo Leader, Made a Deal With Her Own Accuser, Kim Severson, Aug. 20, 2018 (print edition). The Italian actress and director Asia Argento was among the first women in the movie business to publicly accuse the producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.

She became a leading figure in the #MeToo movement . Her boyfriend, the culinary television star Anthony Bourdain, right, eagerly joined the fight.

anthony bourdain 2014asia argento no shame fist twitterBut in the months that followed her revelations about Mr. Weinstein last October, Ms. Argento quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser: Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier, when he was only two months past his 17th birthday. She was 37. The age of consent in California is 18.

That claim and the subsequent arrangement for payments are laid out in documents between lawyers for Ms. Argento and Mr. Bennett, a former child actor who once played her son in a movie.

Aug. 19

kevin spacey house

washington post logoWashington Post, After #MeToo, Kevin Spacey movie 'Billionaire Boys Club' earns $126 on opening day, Cleve R. Wootson Jr.​, Aug. 19, 2018. The movie was made two-and-a-half years ago, well before Spacey's accusers came forward. In some theaters, only one person had opted to see it all weekend. Spacey is shown above in a promotional photo for House of Cards, a series in which he formerly starred.

Aug. 16

ny times logoNew York Times, Vatican Calls Details of Abuse in Report 'Reprehensible,' Sharon Otterman and Elisabetta Povoledo, Aug. 16, 2018. "Victims should know that the Pope is on their side," the Vatican said, responding to a grand jury report on pervasive sex abuse committed by clergy and covered up by Catholic Church leaders in Pennsylvania.

Aug. 14

#MeToo: Deputy DNC Chair Accused

ny times logokeith ellison o smallNew York Times, Representative Keith Ellison Denies Domestic Abuse Allegations, Matthew Haag, Aug. 14, 2018 (print edition). Ahead of Minnesota's primaries on Tuesday, Representative Keith Ellison, right, has denied allegations that he emotionally and physically abused a former girlfriend, including once trying to pull her off a bed while yelling obscenities at her.

The allegations surfaced on Saturday night in a Facebook post published by the son of the ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan. The post referred to a two-minute video that the son, Austin Monahan, claimed showed Mr. Ellison "dragging my mama off the bed by her feet."

democratic donkey logoThe denial on Sunday by Mr. Ellison, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for state attorney general, was forceful. "Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being," he said in a statement. "This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false."

In an email to The New York Times on Sunday night, Ms. Monahan, an organizer at the Minnesota chapter of the Sierra Club, said that she survived what she described as "narcissist abuse" after a multiyear relationship with Mr. Ellison, the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

ny times logoNew York Times, What Happens to #MeToo When a Feminist Is Accused? Zoe Greenberg, Aug. 14, 2018 (print edition). Avital Ronell, a superstar professor, was found by N.Y.U. to have sexually harassed a male grad student. But his charges have met with disbelief from some feminist scholars.

Nimrod Reitman accused his former N.Y.U. graduate school adviser, Avital Ronell, of sexually harassing him, and the university found her responsible. But some leading feminist scholars have supported her in ways that echo the defenses of male harassers.CreditCaitlin Ochs for The New York Times

The case seems like a familiar story turned on its head: Avital Ronell, a world-renowned female professor of German and Comparative Literature at New York University, was found responsible for sexually harassing a male former graduate student, Nimrod Reitman.

An 11-month Title IX investigation found Professor Ronell, described by a colleague as "one of the very few philosopher-stars of this world," responsible for sexual harassment, both physical and verbal, to the extent that her behavior was "sufficiently pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of Mr. Reitman's learning environment." The university has suspended Professor Ronell for the coming academic year.

washington post logoWashington Post, Hundreds of accused priests listed in Pennsylvania report on Catholic Church sex abuse, Michelle Boorstein, Aug. 14, 2018. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday released a sweeping grand jury report on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, listing hundreds of accused clergy and detailing 70 years of misconduct and church response across the state.

The release is the culmination of an 18-month probe, led by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, on six of the state's eight dioceses — Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg — and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses.

Some details and names that might reveal the 300 clergy listed have been redacted from the report. Legal challenges by clergy delayed the report's release, after some said it is a violation of their constitutional rights. Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled last month that the report must be released but with some redaction.

The report's release begins an information war, with prosecutors and many victims saying it's the start of holding church leaders at the top accountable for the first time, while church lawyers and other advocates for the institution say the report depicts an era of another century, unfairly smearing today's Catholicism in Pennsylvania.

The report has helped renew a crisis many in the church thought and hoped had ended nearly 20 years ago after the scandal erupted in Boston. But recent abuse-related scandals, from Chile to Australia, have reopened wounding questions about accountability and whether church officials are still covering up crimes at the highest levels.

theodore mccarrickThe new wave of allegations has called Pope Francis's handling of abuse into question as many Catholics look to him to help the church regain its credibility. The pope's track record has been mixed, something some outsiders attribute to his learning curve or shortcomings and others chalk up to resistance from a notoriously change-averse institution.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report follows the resignation last month of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, right, a towering figure in the U.S. church and former D.C. archbishop who was accused of sexually abusing minors and adults for decades. Both have further polarized the church on homosexuality, celibacy and whether laypeople should have more power. It has also triggered debate about whether statutes of limitations should be expanded.

Aug. 13

washington post logoPope FrancisWashington Post, New sex scandals roiling the Vatican, presenting a crisis for Pope Francis, Chico Harlan​, Aug. 13, 2018 (print edition). Analysts who have studied the Roman Catholic Church's response to sexual abuse, and several people who have advised the pope, say the Vatican has been unable to take the dramatic steps that can help an organization get out from under scandals — and avoid their repetition.

Aug. 6

bill hybels file hand folded

The Rev. Bill Hybels, longtime pastor of the Willow Creek Community Church

ny times logoNew York Times, Willow Creek Church Says It Will Investigate Its Powerful Pastor, Bill Hybels, Laurie Goodstein, Aug. 7, 2018 (print edition).
Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago announced on Monday that it plans to launch a new independent investigation into allegations that the Rev. Bill Hybels, the church's influential founding pastor, sexually harassed female co-workers and a congregant over many years.

The announcement came one day after The New York Times reported on accusations from Pat Baranowski, Mr. Hybels's former executive assistant. She said that Mr. Hybels had sexually and emotionally abused her while she worked at the church and lived with him and his family in the 1980s.

Heather Larson, one of two top pastors at Willow Creek, said in a statement: "It was heartbreaking yesterday to read about the new allegation against Bill Hybels in The New York Times. We have deep sadness for Ms. Baranowski. The behavior that she has described is reprehensible."

The church's other top pastor, the Rev. Steve Carter, resigned on Sunday. He said he could no longer work at Willow Creek in good conscience.

Aug. 5

bill hybels file hand folded

ny times logoNew York Times, He's a Superstar Pastor. She Worked for Him and Says He Groped Her Repeatedly. Laurie Goodstein, Aug. 5, 2018. Bill Hybels, shown at right, built an iconic evangelical church outside Chicago. A former assistant says that in the 1980s, he sexually harassed her.

After the pain of watching her marriage fall apart, Pat Baranowski felt that God was suddenly showering her with blessings. She had a new job at her Chicago-area megachurch, led by a dynamic young pastor named the Rev. Bill Hybels, who in the 1980s was becoming one of the most influential evangelical leaders in the country.

The pay at Willow Creek Community Church was much lower than at her old job, but Ms. Baranowski, then 32, admired Mr. Hybels and the church's mission so much that it seemed worth it. She felt even more blessed when in 1985 Mr. Hybels and his wife invited her to move into their home, where she shared family dinners and vacations.

Once, while Mr. Hybels's wife, Lynne, and their children were away, the pastor took Ms. Baranowski out for dinner. When they got home, Mr. Hybels offered her a back rub in front of the fireplace and told her to lie face down.

"I really did not want to hurt the church," said Ms. Baranowski, who is now 65, speaking publicly for the first time. "I felt like if this was exposed, this fantastic place would blow up, and I loved the church. I loved the people there. I loved the family. I didn't want to hurt anybody. And I was ashamed."

Mr. Hybels denied her allegations about her time working and living with him. "I never had an inappropriate physical or emotional relationship with her before that time, during that time or after that time," he said in an email.

Since the #MeToo movement emerged last year, evangelical churches have been grappling with allegations of sexual abuse by their pastors. A wave of accusations has begun to hit evangelical institutions, bringing down figures like the Rev. Andy Savage, at Highpoint Church in Memphis, and the Rev. Harry L. Thomas, the founder of the Creation Festival, a Christian music event.

Ms. Baranowski is not the first to accuse Mr. Hybels of wrongdoing, though her charges are more serious than what has been reported before.

In March, The Chicago Tribune and Christianity Today reported that Mr. Hybels had been accused by several other women, including co-workers and a congregant, of inappropriate behavior that dated back decades. The allegations included lingering hugs, invitations to hotel rooms, comments about looks and an unwanted kiss.

Aug. 4

john conyers

washington post logoWashington Post, House race simmers with fury over treatment of a liberal icon and of Detroit, David Weigel​, Aug. 4, 2018 (print edition). Forced out last year by sexual harassment allegations, John Conyers Jr. (shown above) looms over the contest for his replacement.

washington post logoohio state buckeyes logoWashington Post, Urban Meyer admits knowing about domestic abuse allegations against former assistant coach, Jesse Dougherty and Jeremy Gottlieb​, Aug. 4, 2018 (print edition). The Ohio State coach released a statement saying he knew of allegations brought against Zach Smith in 2015 despite claiming otherwise last week.

Aug. 2

urban meyer 2017Columbus Dispatch, Urban Meyer and Ohio State: What we know so far, Summer Cartwright, Aug. 2, 2018 (print edition). Ohio State University announced Wednesday that head football coach Urban Meyer (shown in a 2017 file photo) would be placed on paid leave while the school investigates what he knew about allegations of domestic violence involving a former assistant coach.

In a report published online by a former ESPN staffer Brett McMurphy, Courtney Smith detailed the allegations involving her husband Zach Smith. The report came a little more than a week after Courtney Smith filed a civil protection order against Zach Smith. He was fired July 23, three days after the protection order was filed.

The only details released about the investigation are its focus: "supporting our players and on getting the truth as expeditiously as possible."

During the investigation, Meyer will receive paid leave, an action that he said he agreed upon with Athletic Director Gene Smith, saying in a statement that the time away will allow the team "to conduct training camp with minimal distraction."

Aug. 1

jim jordan cuomo cnn

nbc logoNBC News via KVOA News (Tucson, AZ), Former Ohio State wrestling coach urged Rep. Jim Jordan's accusers to recant, texts show, Staff report, Aug. 1, 2018. Retired Ohio State wrestling coach Russ Hellickson reached out to two ex-team members and asked them to support their former assistant coach, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio (shown above), a day after they accused the powerful congressman of turning a blind eye to alleged sexual abuse by the team doctor, according to the wrestlers and text messages they shared with NBC News.

The former wrestlers said their ex-coach made it clear to them he was under pressure from Jordan to get statements of support from members of the team.

Hellickson's appeal to help Jordan came after the congressman repeatedly said that he had no idea that team doctor Richard Strauss was allegedly molesting the athletes — contradicting three wrestlers who told NBC News that Jordan must have known since the abuse was frequently discussed in the locker room.

ohio state buckeyes logo"I'm sorry you got caught up in the media train," Hellickson wrote in a July 4 text to Dunyasha Yetts that the former wrestler shared with NBC News. "If you think the story got told wrong about Jim, you could probably write a statement for release that tells your story and corrects what you feel bad about. I can put you in contact with someone who would release it."

An NBC article published a day earlier, Yetts recounted how Strauss had tried to pull his shorts down when he went to see him for a thumb injury. Yetts said he told Jordan and Hellickson about what happened and insisted they intervene — an account that was later corroborated by another former Ohio State wrestler who said he had witnessed the conversation.

Yetts said Hellickson also called him later on July 4 and said he was under pressure from Jordan, who was an assistant wrestling coach at the university from 1986 to 1994, and from Jordan's supporters to make "a bold statement to defend Jimmy."

"He said, 'I will defend Jimmy until I have to put my hand on a Bible and be asked to tell the truth, then Jimmy will be on his own,'" Yetts said in an interview this week, recalling his conversation with Hellickson. "I told him, 'I'm going to contradict you, coach, because I'm telling the truth.'"

Mike DiSabato, the former Ohio State wrestler whose whistleblowing spurred the university's investigation into the alleged abuse by Strauss, also shared a text message defending Jordan that he got from Hellickson. Out of loyalty to his old coach, he asked that NBC News not quote directly from it.

"He called me after the story broke, too," DiSabato said of Hellickson. "He said Jimmy was telling him he had to make a statement supporting him and he called to tell me why he was going to make it. "

Yetts, DiSabato and three other former Ohio State wrestlers interviewed recently by NBC News all expressed deep respect for Hellickson but said they believe he has been boxed in by Jordan's denials and is now caught between wanting to support his former protégé and the wrestlers who have called the congressman a liar.

Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State: Urban Meyer placed on administrative leave, Bill Rabinowitz, Aug. 1, 2018. The ex-wife of Zach Smith said she informed Urban Meyer's wife, Shelley, in 2015 that the former Ohio State assistant football coach had abused her and believes that the Buckeyes coach knew about it at the time. Courtney Smith acknowledged in an interview, however, that Shelley Meyer did not say she told Urban Meyer about the abuse.

Thirty-two years ago, Earle Bruce gave Urban Meyer his start in college football as a graduate assistant coach at Ohio State. Now, Meyer's handling of domestic abuse allegations involving Bruce's grandson has put his stellar career in peril.

urban meyer 2017Ohio State placed Meyer (shown at right) on paid administrative leave as head football coach on Wednesday after reports surfaced that appeared to contradict his contention he did not know in 2015 that receivers coach Zach Smith — Bruce's grandson — had been accused by his now ex-wife of abuse.

Meyer, 54, has a 73-8 record at Ohio State, including the inaugural 2014 College Football Playoff championship. He has not had more than two losses in any season.

Meyer's overall record as head coach, which also includes stops at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, is 177-31, including two national titles at Florida. His winning percentage of .851 ranks behind only Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy among Division I coaches who coached for at least 10 years.

ohio state buckeyes logoMeyer said at the Big Ten football media gathering last week in Chicago that he was aware of a 2009 incident when both were at Florida in which Zach Smith was charged with aggravated domestic battery. Meyer said last week that he and his wife, Shelley, worked with the couple and encouraged counseling.

Meyer added, however, that he had no knowledge of an October 2015 incident in which Powell police were called to Courtney Smith's home one day after an alleged assault by Zach Smith. No charges were filed, and two weeks later Courtney Smith filed for divorce, which was finalized in 2016.

"I can't say it didn't happen because I wasn't there," Meyer said on July 24 of the 2015 incident. "I was never told about anything. Never anything came to light. I never had a conversation about it. So I know nothing about that. The first I heard about it was last night. I asked people back at the office to call and see what happened, and they came back and said they know nothing about it."

Aug. 1

HuffPost, Kirsten Gillibrand Pays The Price For Speaking Out Against Al Franken, Amanda Terkel, Aug. 1, 2018. But she's hitting back, saying if Democratic donor George Soros is truly mad at her, "that's on him."

kirsten gillibrand oNo one in Congress is more associated with the Me Too movement than Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Long before Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer became infamous creeps, Gillibrand was focusing her attention on sexual assault and harassment in the military, on college campuses and in the workplace.

But the two-term senator cemented her prominence in the movement last year when she called out members of her own party. In November, she said that Bill Clinton should have resigned the presidency over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. And then the following month, she became the first Democratic senator to publicly call on then-Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to go after multiple women accused him of engaging in sexual misconduct.

Franken announced his resignation the following day.

Speaking out has consequences. Women who come forward about the abuse they've faced are often barred from further job opportunities. And even someone in power like Gillibrand who tries to be an advocate for victims can find themselves facing a negative response from a previously friendly community.

July

July 30

washington post logofema logo Custom 2Washington Post, Top FEMA official allegedly harassed women for years, agency chief says, Lisa Rein, July 30, 2018. An internal investigation found that the senior executive hired women so he and his friends could target them for sexual relationships, agency officials said, calling it a "systemic problem going on for years."

Some of the claims about the agency's former personnel chief are detailed in a written executive summary of the investigation provided to The Washington Post. FEMA officials gave other details and confirmed that the individual under investigation, whose name was redacted from the report, is Corey Coleman, who led the personnel department from 2011 until his resignation in June.

Online records show Coleman was a senior executive who was paid an annual salary of $177,150.

In an interview, Long described a "toxic" environment in the human resources department under Coleman at FEMA headquarters. Starting in 2015, investigators said, Coleman hired many men who were friends and college fraternity brothers and women he met at bars and on online dating sites. He then promoted some of them to roles throughout the agency without going through proper federal hiring channels.

July 28

washington post logoWashington Post, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick resigns after reports of sexual abuse, Julie Zauzmer, July 28, 2018. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington and longtime globe-trotting diplomat of the Catholic Church, resigned his position as a cardinal, the Vatican announced Saturday.

theodore mccarrickMcCarrick, 88 (shown at right), was found by the church in June to be credibly accused of sexually abusing a teenager nearly 50 years ago. Since then, additional reports of sexual abuse and harassment by the cardinal, over a span of decades, have been reported. The victims include one then-minor and three adults, who were young priests or seminarians when McCarrick allegedly abused them.

Pope Francis ordered McCarrick to remain in seclusion, and in prayer, until a church trial considers further sanctions against him. McCarrick is the highest ranked U.S. Catholic clergy member to ever be removed from ministry due to sexual abuse allegations.

July 27

ap logoAssociated Press, 10 more ex-students sue Ohio State over sex abuse by doctor, Kantele Franko, July 27, 2018. Ten more former students have sued Ohio State University over alleged sexual misconduct by a now-dead team doctor, accusing school officials of facilitating abuse by ignoring complaints and requiring some athletes to get physicals from him to maintain their sports participation and scholarships.

richard strauss osu lantern screenshotThe case filed Thursday is the third federal lawsuit brought by men alleging sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss (right), who worked at Ohio State from 1978 until he retired in 1998.

"Beginning his very first year of employment at OSU — and spanning his entire two-decade tenure — Dr. Strauss preyed on male students, fondling, groping, sexually assaulting, and harassing them. He did so with OSU's knowledge and support," the lawsuit said, adding that many of the students didn't speak up then because they were embarrassed or unsure whether it was abuse.

The lawsuit accuses the university of having "a culture of institutional indifference" about students' safety and rights and failing to appropriately address Strauss' behavior in violation of federal Title IX law, which bars sex discrimination in education.

An independent investigation is ongoing at Ohio State, which says it's committed to learning the truth.

The allegations that people at Ohio State didn't respond appropriately at the time "are troubling and are a critical focus of the current investigation," university spokesman Benjamin Johnson said.

All three lawsuits seek unspecified monetary damages, but unlike the first two, the newest case doesn't propose to represent all Ohio State students mistreated by Strauss.

The plaintiffs include Steve Snyder-Hill, who lodged a complaint in 1995 about being inappropriately touched by Strauss during an exam at the student health center and recalls being told that Strauss denied it. Ohio State has a record of that complaint and the response sent by the health center's director, who said it was the first such complaint he'd received about Strauss.

Another of the new plaintiffs, former wrestling team captain David Mulvin, said he was fondled by Strauss during an exam and complained back in the late 1970s to another Ohio State doctor, but nothing came of it.

The lawsuit describes the other plaintiffs — most of whom aren't named — as members of the tennis, soccer, basketball and track and field teams during the 1980s who repeatedly experienced sexual misconduct by Strauss. In some cases, it says they complained to their coaches or trainers about his behavior.

Fox News Exit

donald trump jr kimberly guilfoyle and donald trump

Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle and President Trump (file photo)

huff post logoHuffPost, Exclusive / Investigation: Kimberly Guilfoyle Left Fox News After Investigation Into Misconduct Allegations, Sources Say, Yashar Ali, July 27, 2018. Sources tell HuffPost that Guilfoyle, who is dating Donald Trump Jr., engaged in emotionally abusive behavior and showed colleagues personal photos of male genitalia.

When it was revealed last week that longtime Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle would be leaving the network, some Fox News and White House insiders were surprised that she was choosing to move on from the cable news channel and head to a pro-Donald Trump super PAC. For nearly two years — even once rumors eventually kicked up that she might join the Trump administration — Guilfoyle said that, as a single mother, she had to think of her son's financial future and couldn't afford to leave the high-paying gig, multiple sources told HuffPost.

fox news logo SmallGuilfoyle's departure was initially billed as her decision. However, as HuffPost first reported last week, multiple sources said she did not leave the network voluntarily. They said Guilfoyle was informed her time at Fox News was up following a human resources investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior including sexual misconduct, and that her lawyers had been involved since the spring.

Sources also said that despite being told she would have to leave by July, Guilfoyle repeatedly attempted to delay her exit and tried to have her allies appeal to Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, to let her stay at the network.

This story is based on interviews conducted over the past year with 21 sources inside and outside Fox News and 21st Century Fox. All sources spoke to HuffPost on the condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to speak to the press, did not want to raise Guilfoyle's ire or have signed nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from speaking to others about their experiences.

In response to an email with a list of 19 detailed questions, Guilfoyle's attorney John Singer wrote the following statement:  

"Any accusations of Kimberly engaging in inappropriate work-place conduct are unequivocally baseless and have been viciously made by disgruntled and self-interested employees. During her lengthy and decorated tenure with the company, Kimberly was beloved, well-respected, and supportive of anyone she ever met. It's utterly preposterous that there are those who are nefariously and greedily twisting innocent conversations amongst close friends into much more than what it actually was for financial gain. Kimberly has happily moved onto the next chapter of her life and hopes others will do the same."

gavin newsom oFox News was a hotbed of sexual harassment and retaliation under Ailes, but executives at Fox News have worked over the past two years to improve the workplace culture and institute major changes in large part due to potential legal liabilities and regulatory concerns in the U.S. and U.K. Guilfoyle, according to several sources, failed to adapt to the new culture and still operated as if she were working under Ailes.

Guilfoyle, a former San Francisco County prosecutor, started at the network in 2006 as a legal analyst and worked her way up to become co-host of "The Five." She also served as a fill-in host for top-rated Fox News stars like Hannity. While living in the city, Guilfoyle was married for several years to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, shown at right. (Newsom is now lieutenant governor of California and the front-runner in the current gubernatorial campaign). This reporter worked for Newsom for several years but has no relationship with Guilfoyle and has never spoken to her.

July 26

New Yorker, Les Moonves and CBS Face Allegations of Sexual Misconduct, Ronan Farrow (shown at right), July 27, 2018 (August 6 & 13, 2018 print new yorker logoedition). Six women accuse the C.E.O. of harassment and intimidation, and dozens more describe abuse at his company. For more than twenty years, Leslie Moonves has been one of the most powerful media executives in America. As the chairman and C.E.O. of CBS Corporation, he oversees shows ranging from "60 Minutes" to "The Big Bang Theory."

His portfolio includes the premium cable channel Showtime, the publishing house Simon & Schuster, and a streaming service, CBS All Access. Moonves, who is sixty-eight, has a reputation for canny hiring and project selection. The Wall Street Journal recently called him a "TV programming wizard"; the Hollywood Reporter dubbed him a "Wall Street Hero." In the tumultuous field of network television, he has enjoyed rare longevity as a leader. Last year, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he earned nearly seventy million dollars, making him one of the highest-paid corporate executives in the world.

In recent months, Moonves (shown in a file photo below) has become a prominent voice in Hollywood's #MeToo movement. In December, he helped found the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, which is chaired by Anita Hill. "It's a watershed moment," Moonves said at a conference in November. "I think it's important that a company's culture will not allow for this. And that's the thing that's far-reaching. There's a lot we're learning. There's a lot we didn't know."

les moonvesBut Moonves's private actions belie his public statements. Six women who had professional dealings with him told me that, between the nineteen-eighties and the late aughts, Moonves sexually harassed them.

Four described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, in what they said appeared to be a practiced routine. Two told me that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result.

Thirty current and former employees of CBS told me that such behavior extended from Moonves to important parts of the corporation, including CBS News and "60 Minutes," one of the network's most esteemed programs. It isn't clear whether Moonves himself knew of the allegations, but he has a reputation for being closely involved in management decisions across the network.

The Atlantic, The 24 Candidates for 2018 Sunk by #MeToo Allegations, Elaine Godfrey, Lena Felton, Taylor Hosking, July 26, 2018. This election cycle, claims of sexual harassment or misconduct have ended the bids of 11 Republicans and 13 Democrats. But many others facing accusations remain in office.

In the 10 months since allegations of sexual misconduct were first leveled against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, America has seen the reputational demise of dozens of public figures. But arguably the most significant repercussions have been in the world of politics, affecting those with the power or potential to shape the country's laws and represent communities across the nation.

The #MeToo movement is already having profound effects on the current election cycle, and not just at the national level: According to an analysis by The Atlantic, at least 24 candidates for office in 2018 have ended their campaigns or bids for reelection after allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct.

July 24

alex kozinski c span nov 2014 Custom

Shown above is a C-SPAN screenshot from a 2014 lecture at the National Press Club by then federal appeals court judge Alex Kozinski

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge who quit over harassment allegations reemerges, dismaying those who accused him, July 24, 2018. Some former clerks to Alex Kozinski and other women said they feared the retired federal appeals court judge was being allowed to reenter the legal community without a complete reckoning.

Alex Kozinski had largely retreated from public life since allegations of sexual misconduct prompted him to retire as a federal appeals court judge last year. Even as his case sparked changes in how the judiciary handles harassment, the outspoken jurist remained silent — never addressing specific accusations that he showed clerks explicit images in his chambers or touched women inappropriately.

But earlier this month, Kozinski tiptoed back into public view, sitting for an hour-long interview with a public radio station in California and writing a tribute in a legal-industry publication to retired Supreme Court justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Then President Trump nominated Brett M. Kavanaugh, one of Kozinski's former clerks and professional friends, to a seat on the high court.

Kozinski was suddenly back in the spotlight, and the legal and political worlds were left to wrestle with the aftershocks of his fall from grace.

rachel crooks cnnNational Press Club, Progressive Women Candidates, Survivors of Sexual Assault and Harassment, Bring the #MeToo Movement to the Ballot Box, Press relations contacts: Kawana Lloyd and Inaru Melendez, July 24, 2018. On July 24 at the National Press Club, young progressive female candidates from battleground states — including survivors of sexual assault and harassment —- will join People For the American Way's Next Up Victory Fund for a panel discussion about the impact of the #MeToo movement on candidates, races and the future of politics under a president with a record of discrediting women.

Rachel Crooks (shown in a file photo), one of the first of at least nineteen women who have accused President Trump of sexual assault, now candidate for Ohio State Legislator, is a featured speaker. Additional panelists will also share their personal stories and discuss how the #MeToo movement influenced their decisions to run for public office and continue to impact their candidacy, their campaigns, and the overall political environment.

• Rachel Crooks, candidate for Ohio State House, District 88.
• Anna Eskamani, candidate for Florida State House, District 47
• Katie Muth, candidate for Pennsylvania State Senate, District 44
• Myya Jones, candidate for Michigan State House District 4

People For the American Way, Progressive Women Candidates Join Next Up Victory Fund Panel to Call for Change, Kawana Lloyd and Inaru Melendez, July 24, 2018 (See the Livestream of the event here). Discuss Impact of #MeToo Movement on the Midterms.

Young progressive women running for office in battleground states joined People For the American Way's Next Up Victory Fund today for a National Press Club discussion about the impact of the #MeToo movement on the 2018 midterms and the future of politics under a president with a record of harming women.

"We have a sexual predator in the White House, and that is not OK," said Rachel Crooks, who spoke about being assaulted by rump when she was a 22-year old employee of Trump Tower. "For too long, I was silent and ashamed about what happened. But as I heard more women speak up, I realized I wasn't alone. Watching powerful men like Trump not being held accountable, it made me realize women need to run and win to change this culture. "

The panelists shared personal stories about their experience with sexual harassment and sexual assault, and about how those experiences, in addition to the #MeToo movement and the 2017 Women's March, influenced their decisions to run for office. They also discussed more recent sexist comments like Katie Muth's opponent calling her "that girl," of Anna Eskamani's opponents calling her "immature," of people giving Rachel Crooks unsolicited advice on her clothing and of donors and establishment men touching women without asking.

"Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Generations of survivors have been forced to adapt, but not anymore," said Anna Eskamani. "I can remember far too many occurrences where donors and elected officials have touched me inappropriately. This doesn't just influence my campaign, it influences the way I would legislate in Florida when I win. It's time for change."

"Even before Trump was elected, I knew as a survivor that we needed more women, and especially women of color, running for office," said Myya Jones. "I have long spoken out about the intertwined issues of racial violence and sexual assault -- of the tragedy of black and brown people being murdered, and about the rampant sexual assault problem we have in America. But with Trump in the White House, it's even more important for black women to step up and run for office and for people to support us."

"A lot of people told me that I shouldn't talk about being a rape survivor while running for office," said Katie Muth. "For too long, we survivors have been shamed into silence. But Donald Trump's campaign brought up all of this trauma we had tried to suppress, and we realized we need to speak out instead of being silent."

"In the past couple of years we have witnessed a wave of young progressive women becoming candidates and transforming our politics -- in much the same way that the #MeToo movement has transformed public conversations about sexual harassment and assault and the kinds of barriers that they, and a culture that tolerates them, create for women. That is real change, and we're counting on more of it from the candidates who are here today and the dozens more our Next Up Victory Fund is supporting this year," said People For the American Way President Michael Keegan.

Heiress Indicted In Alleged Sex Trafficking Cult

nxivm executive success programs abc

Nxivm corporate logo from office park signage adjoining its corporate headquarters in New York (file photo)

ny times logoNew York Times, Seagram's Liquor Heiress Charged in Nxivm Sex-Trafficking Case, Sean Piccoli, July 24, 2018. Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram's liquor fortune, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn after her arrest on conspiracy and racketeering charges in connection with her role at Nxivm, a self-help group that prosecutors call a pyramid scheme and former members say is a cult.

Ms. Bronfman was released on a $100 million bond — roughly half of her net worth, according to her lawyer, Susan Necheles  — and, after a sometimes contentious hourlong bail hearing, was ordered placed under house arrest by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.

Ms. Bronfman will have to wear an ankle monitor at her New York apartment under the terms of her release and must return to court on Friday with assets totaling $50 million to put up as security for her bail.

clare bronfman croppedMs. Bronfman was one of four people arrested in New York State on Tuesday after the unsealing of an updated seven-count indictment against Keith Raniere, leader of the now defunct-group, and five others in his "inner circle," federal prosecutors said in the indictment.Mr. Raniere, 57, was arrested earlier this year in Mexico and brought to New York to face federal sex-trafficking charges.

Prosecutors said he and one of his followers, Allison Mack, 35, an actress known for her work in "Smallville," coerced female members to have unwanted sex with him and branded them with a symbol containing his initials. Mr. Raniere is being held without bail in Brooklyn to await trial.

clare bronfman keith did good abc

Heiress Clare Bronfman, shown above, quoted on an ABC 20/20 report as describing NXIVM founder Keith Raniere

Related coverage: Albany Times Union, Faces of NXIVM: An alleged cult's inner circle and beyond, Keith Raniere has surrounded himself with rich, famous, Joyce Bassett, April 24, 2018.  NXIVM, an upstate New York self-help group, is accused of branding some of its female followers and forcing them into unwanted sex.

Keith Raniere has courted the rich and famous for years through his leadership of NXIVM, the secretive Colonie-based "executive success program" that critics have described as a cult. Now, he has everyone's attention.

NXIVM is making news worldwide after Raniere was arrested on March 25 on multiple federal counts of sex trafficking and forced labor. On Friday, Raniere and actress Allison Mack both were indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn.

Raniere, the group's founder — who is referred to within NXIVM as "Vanguard" — was arrested at a $10,000-a-week villa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he fled last November as the federal investigation took shape. Video of that arrest is shown below.

The U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York is leading the grand jury investigation of Raniere and NXIVM. Numerous people involved with NXIVM have been subpoenaed to testify in Brooklyn.

Background:

NXIVM website: "NXIVM is a company whose mission is to raise human awareness, foster an ethical humanitarian civilization, and celebrate what it means to be human."

Important Message to our Members: It is with deep sadness that we inform you we are suspending all NXIVM/ESP enrollment, curriculum and events until further notice.  We will be in touch with more information for anyone currently enrolled in upcoming events/programs. While we are disappointed by the interruption of our operations, we believe it is warranted by the extraordinary circumstances facing the company at this time. We continue to believe in the value and importance of our work and look forward to resuming our efforts when these allegations are resolved." 

ABC News, Former NXIVM member says she was branded when invited to secret sorority: Part I Dec. 15, 2017 (11:19 mins. video). Sarah Edmondson said she thought she was getting a tattoo when she willingly participated in strange initiation ritual for a sorority that she says is associated with NXIVM. ABC News 20/20, Inside the troubled past of NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, Part II, April 27, 2018 (7:06 mins. video).

Vanity Fair, The Heiresses and the Cult, Suzanna Andrews, Oct. 13, 2010. To family friends, Seagram heiresses Sara and Clare Bronfman are victims of a frightening, secretive "cult" called nxivm, which has swallowed as much as $150 million of their fortune. But the organization's leader, Keith Raniere,

July 23

theodore mccarrick

washington post logoWashington Post, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is the target of new allegations of sexual misconduct, Michelle Boorstein and Julie Zauzmer, July 23, 2018 (print ed.). Since he was suspended a month ago for alleged child sexual abuse, four other allegations of abuse and misconduct against the former D.C. archbishop (shown at right) have surfaced.

Think Progress, The Beltway news cycle is burying the horrifying details of the Ohio, Lindsay Gibbs, July 23, 2018. State sex abuse scandal: This is not actually a story about partisan politics, or Jim Jordan.

It's been 20 days since reports first surfaced about Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) ignoring allegations of sexual abuse when he was an assistant coach for the Ohio State wrestling team. Because of the trumped-up nature of these modern times, most reporters who are tied to the political news cycle have moved on, resigned to the fact that Jordan, shown below at left in a file photo, will remain in his prominent leadership position within the Republican Party.

jim jordan 07 26 2011 fileWith each new revelation about Dr. Richard Strauss's decades of abuse during his time as a team doctor at Ohio State, the story is framed in one of two ways: Either as "bad news for Jordan," by those inclined to believe survivors, or as the work of the "deep state" by those on the far right.

But this is not a story about politics. And it is absolutely not a story that should be viewed through the distortion of a partisan lens.

Yes, Jordan should be held accountable for any abuse his silence helped enable. But if we don't look at this story systematically, we're missing the entire point.

This is on behalf of my friend Laser Haas of Los Angeles, a dedicated whistleblower who instantly saw the justice of your appeal and dropped his own important work to help out.

July 21

#MeToo Alabama Pedophile Claim Against Sheriff

Think Progress, Alabama sheriff who supported Roy Moore accused of sex with underage girls, Frank Dale, July 21, 2018. Todd Entrekin is alleged of sexual misconduct at "drug-fueled parties he hosted for fellow law enforcement officers."

roy moore gunFailed Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore (shown at right with a gun at a campaign rally) was endorsed by Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin despite numerous accusations of Moore's inappropriate sexual behavior with minors. Now Entrekin has also been accused of having sex with underage girls.

AL.com, the publication that broke much of the news regarding Moore's alleged sexual misconduct, reports Entrekin is under investigation after being accused of sexual misconduct at "drug-fueled parties he hosted for fellow law enforcement officers and other adult men in the early nineties."

AL.com detailed the timeline of the accusations:

A 41-year-old woman first detailed the claims during several hours of in-person interviews with AL.com in May, during which she alleged that Entrekin had sex with her four times in the late summer of 1992, when he was 29 and she was 15 years old. In Alabama, the age of consent is 16.

Entrekin, who previously made headlines for pocketing $750,000 that was intended to feed inmates and buying a $740,000 beach house, denied the report on Friday:

"I've never had sex with any 15-year-old girl or had drugs around or anything. I have never done drugs in my life. That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard of. Never, ever has anything like that happened before."

July 20

donald trump beauty contests

A new BBC documentary that aired shortly before Donald Trump's visit to the United Kingdom this month was entitled "Trump: Is the president a sex pest?" Above is a graphic by Democratic Underground compiling previous commentaries. Below is a story about it.

The Cut, New BBC Documentary Alleges Trump Pursued Models As Young As 17, Amanda Arnold, July 20, 2018. (video). Just days before the U.S. president's visit to England in early July, the BBC figured it was a good time to revisit a very worthwhile question: Donald Trump, the sex scandal–plagued world leader who has been accused of sexual misconduct by numerous woman, and who once bragged about grabbing women by the pussy — could he be a sex pest?

bbc news logo2The BBC first ran a 30-minute report dedicated to this notable query on Monday, July 9 – three days before Trump's visit to England. Titled "Trump: Is the president a sex pest?" it focused on Trump's relations with women in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, for those of us stateside who would like an answer of our own, the documentary is scheduled to premiere in the US and Canada on Saturday, July 21, at 10:30am EST, with another airing on Sunday afternoon.

The report was not initially available for streaming outside of Europe, but outlets such as VICE News and the Mirror gained access when it first aired, and the BBC put out a press release today detailing some of the allegations from the documentary.

The half-hour show features two women and a man who say they witnessed Trump's behavior at parties in the '80s and '90s. One woman, Barbara Pilling — who has never spoken publicly before about Trump — said she met the president at a New York party in the late 1980s, where he questioned her over her age. When she responded 17, the president allegedly responded, "Oh, great. So you're not too old and not too young. That's just great."

"I felt like I was in the presence of a shark getting ready to roll his eyes back in his head and bite me," Pillings told BBC. She also spoke of Trump's predatory behavior toward other women at the party. According to Pillings, when a waitress offered Trump a drink, "He didn't take the drink and slapped her on the bottom. She was a blonde. He gave her butt a slap and it was very loud. He was like, 'Don't worry, that's not your tip.'"

Pillings also describes going to the restroom and discussing Trump with other models; one said the president was "trying to grab [her] ass" as she walked by.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, claims he attended many of the same parties as the future president, where there was "a lot of cocaine around," and wealthy men solicited sex from younger women. "It was kind of like a feeding frenzy. The girls were there as consumables." ("There's no evidence that Donald Trump had sex with underage girls," the BBC notes, "but the program has been told he did pursue models in their teens.")

Kimberly Guilfoyle screenshot by The Blaze

Kimberly Guilfoyle became a former co-host at Fox News on Friday after the cable news network confirmed that they had parted ways with the popular news pundit. (Image Source: YouTube screenshot by The Blaze)

The Blaze, Fox News confirms Kimberly Guilfoyle departure in a surprising statement, Carlos Garcia, July 20, 2018. Fox News confirmed a report Friday that their popular host Kimberly Guilfoyle had left the cable news network in a statement that is being described as "terse."

The statement released Friday was perfunctory and brief: "Fox News has parted ways with Kimberly Guilfoyle," the statement read.

Guilfoyle had been a longtime co-host of "The Five," but reports that she was dating the recently divorced Donald Trump Jr. have been followed by new career opportunities. The 49-year-old will reportedly join the pro-Trump non-profit organization, America First Politics, according to CNN. The report appeared to be confirmed through a tweet by a Trump Jr. spokesperson. "Having [Kim Guilfoyle] on the trail campaigning with [Donald Trump Jr.] for Republicans this fall is a win for the entire GOP," Surabian tweeted.\Trump Jr., who is 40 years old, has been a prolific fundraiser and defender of his father's agenda and legacy. Guilfoyle recently praised Trump Jr. as "the number one up-and-coming political figure for sure, on the right."

"He has a compelling political voice; he is incredibly bright," Guilfoyle added. "I have seen him at these different rallies, and I went to Montana with him. I've known him for over a decade."

July 19

Surveillance photo of Georgia waitress fighting back against customer who groped her

People, Georgia Waitress, 21, Who Body-Slammed Man After He Groped Her in Pizzeria Speaks Out, Char Adams, July 19, 2018.  Emelia Holden, 21, didn't hesitate to take matters into her own hands when a man groped her during her shift at Vinnie Van Go-Go's in Savannah, Georgia on June 30.

In surveillance footage of the incident, 31-year-old Ryan Cherwinski is shown grabbing Holden's backside as he walks behind her. Holden immediately turns around and grabs him by his collar and slams him into a counter. "I looked at him and I said, 'You don't touch me, motherf—–!' " Holden tells People. "I didn't even think, I just reacted. I don't know how I reacted the way I did. I've never done that before."

Holden says she had just finished taking an order when the man assaulted her. At first, she says, she couldn't fathom that a stranger would grab her in such a way.

ny times logoNew York Times, Federal Prosecutors Questioned Trump's Top Communicator, Elizabeth Williamson and Emily Steel, July 19, 2018. Bill Shine, the president's new aide, brought baggage as well as long experience at Fox News to the White House. He has denied any wrongdoing amid a sexual harassment scandal at the network.

bill shineBill Shine, a former co-president of Fox News hired this month as President Trump's communications chief, brought conservative credentials and heavy baggage with him into the White House. President Trump embraced the former and ignored the latter.

Mr. Shine (shown at left in a file photo), now struggling to limit the damage from Mr. Trump's performance on Monday with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, was ousted from Fox News last year in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal at the network.

Mr. Shine was never publicly accused of harassment, but he was accused in multiple civil lawsuits of covering up misconduct by Roger E. Ailes, the founding chairman of Fox News, and dismissing concerns from colleagues who complained.

roger ailes wMr. Shine's appointment to the White House job has drawn criticism from some women who worked for him at Fox News, and has brought new scrutiny of his record there.

In one previously undisclosed action, Mr. Shine was subpoenaed last year by a federal grand jury in New York as part of a criminal investigation into Fox News's handling of sexual harassment complaints, according to a document viewed by The New York Times. Mr. Shine was never charged.

Mr. Ailes (shown at right) died in May 2017, and the federal investigation recently/ appeared to have gone dormant, according to people familiar with the case. Mr. Shine has denied any wrongdoing.

July 18

ap logoAssociated Press via Talking Points Memo, Jim Jordan Interviewed By Law Firm Probing Ex-OSU Doctor Abuse Claims, Kantele Franko, July 18, 2018.  Former Ohio State University wrestling coach and current U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan was interviewed by the law firm investigating allegations that a now-dead team doctor sexually abused male athletes there decades ago, his spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

jim jordan headshot CustomThe Ohio Republican (shown right) spoke Monday morning with the firm looking into allegations against Dr. Richard Strauss and how the school responded to any complaints about Strauss, said spokesman Ian Fury, who declined to discuss details of the conversation.

"He told them the same things he's told everybody in the press," Fury said. "You know, the story stays the same because the truth doesn't change."

Jordan has publicly said he was never aware of abuse when he was an assistant coach from 1987 to 1995, and he has repeatedly denied some former wrestlers' claims that he knew they were inappropriately groped by Strauss.

A watchdog group and a former special counsel to President Barack Obama have soughtan ethics review of the congressman, who is a founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus and potential contender for House speaker.

July 17

ny times logoNew York Times, The Baby's Coming. But the Hospital Is 100 Miles Away, Jack Healy, July 17, 2018 (print edition). After years of cost-cutting and closures, fewer than half of rural counties in the United States now have a hospital that offers any obstetric care, researchers say.

A few hours after the only hospital in town shut its doors forever, Kela Abernathy bolted awake at 4:30 a.m., screaming in pain. Oh God, she remembered thinking, it's the twins. They were not due for another two months. But the contractions seizing Ms. Abernathy's lower back early that June morning told her that her son and daughter were coming. Now.

Ms. Abernathy, 21, staggered out of bed and yelled for her mother, Lynn, who had been lying awake on the living-room couch. They grabbed a few bags, scooped up Ms. Abernathy's 2-year-old son and were soon hurtling across this poor patch of southeast Missouri in their Pontiac Bonneville, racing for help. The old hospital used to be around the corner. Now, her new doctor and hospital were nearly 100 miles away.

Medical help is growing dangerously distant for women in rural America. At least 85 rural hospitals — about 5 percent of the country's total — have closed since 2010, and obstetric care has faced even starker cutbacks as rural hospitals calculate the hard math of survival, weighing the cost of providing 24/7 delivery services against dwindling birthrates, doctor and nursing shortages and falling revenues.

Today, researchers estimate that fewer than half of the country's rural counties still have a hospital that offers obstetric care, an absence that adds to the obstacles rural women face in getting health care. Specialists are increasingly clustered in bigger cities. Clinics that provide abortions, long-term birth control and other reproductive services have been forced to close in many smaller towns.

"It's scary," said Katie Penn, who said she was rejected by eight doctors before finding an obstetrician in Jonesboro, Ark., about an hour from Kennett. "You never know what can happen."

ny times logoNew York Times, 'I Just Simply Did What He Wanted,' Emily Kassie, July 17, 2018 (print edition) (9:30 min. video). Immigrant detention has been expanding, increasing the risk of sexual assault. Two women told us their stories of being sexually abused by guards while in U.S. immigration custody.

ap logoAssociated Press via New York Times, Lawsuit Alleges USA Diving Ignored Sex Abuse of Divers, July 16, 2018. Two former divers are suing USA Diving, accusing the national governing body of ignoring or obstructing inquiries into allegations that a coach sexually abused them when they were young athletes dreaming of Olympic glory.

The federal lawsuit, filed last week, names Indianapolis-based USA Diving, Inc., the Ohio State University Diving Club and Will Bohonyi. The suit alleges that Bohonyi, who had coached at the Ohio State University Diving Club and was fired in 2014, coerced and forced the divers into frequent sex, telling them, "You owe me this," The Indianapolis Star reported.

July 16

ny times logotheodore mccarrickNew York Times, Ousted U.S. Cardinal Left a Trail of Abused Recruits, Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman, July 16, 2018. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, right, was removed from ministry last month for sexually abusing an altar boy. But for decades, the church overlooked his harassment of adult seminarians.

As a young man studying to be a priest in the 1980s, Robert Ciolek was flattered when his brilliant, charismatic bishop in Metuchen, N.J., Theodore E. McCarrick, told him he was a shining star, cut out to study in Rome and rise high in the church.

Bishop McCarrick began inviting him on overnight trips, sometimes alone and sometimes with other young men training to be priests. There, the bishop would often assign Mr. Ciolek to share his room, which had only one bed. The two men would sometimes say night prayers together, before Bishop McCarrick would make a request — "come over here and rub my shoulders a little"— that extended into unwanted touching in bed.

ABA Journal, How 2 nights of sexting and anger over the repercussions led to the ouster of Latham's leader, Debra Cassens Weiss, July 16, 2018. The scandal that led to the forced resignation of Latham & Watkins chairman William Voge began in November with two nights of sexting.

It ended in March after Voge's legal threats against a suburban Chicago woman led Latham & Watkins to ask for his resignation. The Wall Street Journal viewed emails and texts exchanged between Voge and the woman, Andrea Vassell of Naperville, Illinois, and spoke with both of them.

Voge was in Chicago for November meetings when he swapped emails and then texts with Vassell, a woman who had accused an official with a Christian group of paying to have sex with her in the mid-1990s. Vassell said she was previously a sex-trafficking victim, and she alleged that the New Canaan Society official was the first customer. The official had turned for help to Voge, a friend and a board member of the society. Voge encouraged a Christian mediation.

Voge sent messages about the dispute to Vassell from his hotel room in Chicago. But "the talk turned flirtatious, then sexual" and continued for about an hour, the Wall Street Journal says. More sexts followed later in the week. Voge and Vassell briefly spoke on the phone, but they never met in person.

Voge's lawyer, Terry Ekl, sent a letter to Vassell threatening legal action if she didn't stop contacting people about the incident. Vassell emailed the letter to Latham and didn't stop there. She emailed New Canaan Society members, Latham partners, another law firm, a few journalists and Voge's wife. She also emailed Voge, sending more than 90 emails in all.

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.

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