#MeToo News, 2020


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




March 2021 Update

March 22

robert aaron long cherokee county sheriffs office 641

washington post logoWashington Post, Accused Atlanta gunman’s church expels him, saying his actions display ‘total corruption of mankind, Jonathan Krohn, Drew Harwell and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, March 22, 2021 (print ed.). Crabapple First Baptist Church said Sunday that Robert Aaron Long, shown above, is no longer considered a “regenerate believer in Jesus Christ.”

The conservative Baptist church attended by the accused Atlanta gunman expelled him from its congregation Sunday morning, saying he is no longer considered a “regenerate believer in Jesus Christ.”

Parishioners of Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Ga., voted to remove Robert Aaron Long, 21, from the church’s membership following an hour-long service dedicated to the eight people he is charged with killing at three Atlanta-area spas Tuesday night.

“Our hearts are filled with so many emotions; with grief, with anger, sadness, with emptiness, confusion,” Associate Pastor Luke Folsom said in a prayer before a crowd of more than 100 congregants. “There’s so much confusion. It doesn’t make any sense. But, father, we know this is the result of sin. It displays the total corruption of mankind.”

Long, 21, was charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault. The eight victims included a woman two days shy of her 50th birthday and a newlywed who had just given birth to her second child. Seven of the eight killed were women; six of them were of Asian descent.

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP Rep. Tom Reed apologizes for sexual misconduct, won’t challenge Cuomo in 2022, Beth Reinhard, March 22, 2021 (print ed.). Two days after a former lobbyist accused him of sexual misconduct in a Washington Post report, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) on Sunday publicly apologized, vowed not to seek reelection and abandoned a possible run against New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

tom reed oReed, right, said in a statement that he was “struggling” in early 2017, when the incident occurred, and entered treatment for alcohol abuse that year.

Reed recently has been weighing a bid to unseat Cuomo (D) and had called for the governor to be impeached amid allegations that he sexually harassed multiple women, mostly state employees. Since he was elected to Congress in 2010, Reed has cast himself as a republican elephant logochampion of women’s rights.

In the story that published Friday, Nicolette Davis, a former lobbyist for Aflac insurance, said that Reed rubbed her back and unhooked her bra during a gathering with other lobbyists at a Minneapolis pub in 2017. She was 25 years old at the time and on her first networking trip. He was 45.

“A drunk congressman is rubbing my back,” she texted a friend and co-worker at Aflac that evening, adding later, “HELP HELP.”


leon black jeffrey epstein

Leon Black, left, CEO and co-founder of Apollo Global Management, and the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (file photos).

ny times logoNew York Times, Leon Black to Leave Apollo Sooner Than Expected, Matthew Goldstein, March 22, 2021. The Wall Street billionaire, who was the main client of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein in recent years, decided to leave for health reasons.

Leon Black, the Wall Street billionaire who was the main client of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein for the last decade of his life, is stepping down as chief executive of Apollo Global Management, several months ahead of schedule.

Mr. Black also will give up the chairmanship of the private equity firm, which he helped found roughly three decades ago, the firm said in a statement on Monday. Jay Clayton, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman who recently joined the firm as an independent director, will take his place.

The firm had said in January that he would step down as chief executive before his 70th birthday in July while retaining the chairman role. But Mr. Black said on Monday that he had decided to leave now to focus on his family and his and his wife’s health.

Apollo had previously announced that Marc Rowan, another Apollo co-founder, would succeed Mr. Black as chief executive. News of the succession came after the release of a report by an outside law firm that detailed how Mr. Black had paid Mr. Epstein, the registered sex offender who killed himself in August 2019 while facing federal sex trafficking charges, $158 million in fees and lent him nearly $30 million. The review by the Dechert law firm found no wrongdoing by Mr. Black.

Mr. Black said in a statement that the firm expected its quarterly earnings would exceed expectations and that it was “the ideal moment to step back and focus on my family, my wife Debra’s and my health issues, and my many other interests.”

In a letter to the Apollo board that the company included in a regulatory filing, Mr. Black said the controversy over his ties to Mr. Epstein had taken a toll on him and his family.

“The relentless public attention and media scrutiny concerning my relationship with Jeffrey Epstein — even though the exhaustive Dechert Report concluded there was no evidence of wrongdoing on my part — have taken a toll on my health,” Mr. Black said.

Apollo’s announcement in January that Mr. Black would eventually step down as chief executive, along with a number of corporate governance changes, helped soothe many investors who were nervous about Mr. Black’s association with Mr. Epstein. But some, like the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, had offered only cautious support.

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein’s Mansion to Undergo ‘Complete Makeover,’ Vivian Marino, March 22, 2021. The buyers, Michael D. Daffey, a former Goldman Sachs executive, and his wife, Blake Daffey, paid $51 million for the townhouse, a steep discount from the original asking price.

A longtime Goldman Sachs executive expects to do “a complete makeover — physically and spiritually” before settling into the Upper East Side mansion where Jeffrey Epstein had resided.

Michael D. Daffey, who is retiring as the chairman of the investment bank’s global markets division in London, and his wife, Blake Daffey, paid $51 million for the grand limestone building at 9 East 71st Street, according to city records. The couple, using a bridge loan and cash, according to a spokesman, made the purchase through the limited liability company Back to New York 71.

The widely reported sale went into contract on Feb. 4 and closed March 8. It was recorded in New York City property records on March 19, becoming one of the city’s largest closings for the month.

The mansion had entered the market with an $88 million price tag in July 2020, less than a year after Mr. Epstein’s suicide in a Manhattan jail cell, where he was being held on sex-trafficking charges. With no takers, the asking price was then slashed to $65 million in early January.

The structure was designed in the early 1930s by the architect Horace Trumbauer for Herbert N. Straus, an heir to the Macy’s fortune, but Straus died before it was completed. It later became part of St. Clare Hospital, then housed the private Birch Wathen School.

In 1989, Mr. Epstein’s mentor, Leslie H. Wexner, the founder of L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, bought the building from Birch Wathen for around $13.2 million and converted it into a private residence after extensive renovations. At the time, it was the highest recorded price for a townhouse.

Mr. Wexner never moved in, but Mr. Epstein did. In a 1996 interview, he said, “Les never spent more than two months there.” Public records show that in 2011, a deed to the property was transferred to Mr. Epstein’s Virgin Islands-based company, Maple Inc.

The Telegraph via Yahoo News, Australian government staff 'filmed sexual encounters in parliament and brought in sex workers for MPs, Giovanni Torre, March 22, 2021. Australia’s national parliament has been hit by another scandal, with reports that government staffers filmed sexual encounters in the building and brought in sex workers to see MP clients.

australian flag wavingChannel Ten and The Australian newspaper reportedly obtained videos and images of sexual encounters filmed inside Parliament House, involving four Liberal-National staff members.

In a statement late on Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed one staffer who allegedly committed a lewd act on the desk of a female Liberal MP had been sacked.

scott morrison 2016“The reports aired tonight are disgusting and sickening… It's not good enough and is totally unacceptable,” he said.

The Prime Minister (shown in a 2016 file photo) and his government had already come under fire for their handling of the alleged rape of a ministerial staffer in a minister’s office, by a colleague, in 2019.

Brittany Higgins went public with her allegation last month. She recently said she broke her silence in the hope it would force a change to the treatment of women in politics.

Also in February, it was reportedly publicly for the first time that a woman who had since taken her own life had told New South Wales police she was raped in 1988 by a Government Minister, later revealed to be Attorney-General Christian Porter.

He has strongly denied the claim.

Close friends of the woman have continued to push for an independent inquiry into the alleged historic rape – which the Government has refused to allow.

On Monday, one of the Parliament security guards, who was on duty the night Higgins was allegedly attacked and who found her afterwards, spoke out publicly for the first time on the issue. 

March 19

National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center, XVideos Parent Company Sued for Hosting Child Sexual Abuse, Sex Trafficking Videos in Class Action amazon logo smallLawsuit, Staff Report, March 19, 2021. XVideos Visited More than Netflix, Amazon, and Wikipedia Combined.

A class action lawsuit was filed against XVideos and its parent company, WebGroup Czech Republic (WGCZ), for trafficking Jane Doe, a victim of child sexual abuse material (child pornography) and sex trafficking. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Doe by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center (NCOSE) together with five other survivor-focused and commercial litigation law firms. Jane Doe represents the class of numerous victims who, as children, had their child sexual abuse images published and monetized by this online international pornography company. The case, Jane Doe v. WebGroup Czech Republic et al, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in Los Angeles.

Plaintiff Jane Doe, using a pseudonym in litigation to protect her safety, is a victim and survivor of childhood sex trafficking. Videos of her childhood sexual abuse were sold, published, and distributed on websites owned and operated by XVideos, which commercially monetized the images. This violates the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, among other laws.

“XVideos not only violated the law by hosting Jane Doe’s child sexual abuse material, it profited from her abuse given that each image and video of her was monetized. This cannot be allowed to stand and remain unchallenged. Victims of childhood sexual abuse such as Jane Doe unequivocally deserve justice,” said Dani Pinter, senior legal counsel of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

XVideos boasts that it has 200 million daily visitors and 6 billion daily impressions on its various websites from which it has consolidated production and distribution. As of January 2021, XVideos is the most frequently visited pornography website in the world and the 7th most trafficked website in the world, visited more than Netflix, Amazon, and Wikipedia, with over 3 billion visits a month.

As a child, Jane Doe was trafficked and sold for sex. Many of these sex acts were recorded on video and uploaded to the XVideos website. At least four videos that included Jane Doe being trafficked as a minor have been identified on WGCZ sites. At least one “content partner” and official “channel” on XVideos disseminated these illegal videos of Jane Doe’s rape. This “content partner” continues to be a promoted channel on XVideos.

Neither XVideos, nor any other website, owned or operated by these Defendants undertook any measure to verify Jane Doe’s identity or age. As a result, child sex abuse material depicting Jane Doe was distributed broadly throughout the world on XVideos internet websites. During the time that XVideos distributed and advertised this child sex abuse material, it profited financially through the sale of advertising and by drawing users to its websites to view the videos.

“Jane Doe has courageously stepped out to share her story to help other victims of XVideos. We stand ready to help others who have experienced similar abuse at the hands of XVideos or any other WGCZ entities. It is time to end this pornography company’s abuses and egregious violations of the law,” Pinter added.

washington post logoWashington Post, Former lobbyist accuses Rep. Tom Reed, a potential Cuomo challenger, of sexual misconduct, Beth Reinhard, Nicolette Davis, now a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, told The Post the Republican congressman rubbed her back and unhooked her bra during a gathering at a Minneapolis pub when she was a junior lobbyist in 2017. Reed says her account is “not accurate.”

tom reed oNicolette Davis said she was 25, on her first networking trip as a junior lobbyist for an insurance company, when she felt the 45-year-old congressman’s hand on her back. She and other lobbyists had gathered at an Irish pub in Minneapolis after a day of ice fishing, Davis told The Washington Post, and Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y), right, was seated to her left.

“A drunk congressman is rubbing my back,” she texted a friend and co-worker at Aflac that evening in 2017, adding later, “HELP HELP.”

republican elephant logoReed, his hand outside her blouse, briefly fumbled with her bra before unhooking it by pinching the clasp, Davis told The Post. He moved his hand to her thigh, inching upward, she said.

Frozen in fear, she said, she asked the person sitting to her right for help. He obliged by pulling the congressman away from the table and out of the restaurant, Davis said.

Reed declined to be interviewed for this story. In response to a detailed list of questions, he said in a statement provided by his office: “This account of my actions is not accurate.”

Davis’s account comes at a time when Reed is considering a run against New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D), who is facing calls to resign after multiple women, mostly former state employees, accused him of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior. Reed, who has described combating sexual violence and harassment as one of his priorities in Congress, recently argued that Cuomo should be impeached.

March 17

ny times logoNew York Times, How Cuomo’s Team Tried to Tarnish One of His Accusers, Maggie Haberman and Jesse McKinley, March 17, 2021 (print ed.). People tied to Gov. Andrew Cuomo sought to damage the credibility of Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to accuse Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment.

Days after Lindsey Boylan became the first woman to accuse Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of sexual harassment in a series of Twitter posts in December, people tied to the governor started circulating an open letter that they hoped former staff members would sign.

andrew cuomoThe letter was a full-on attack on Ms. Boylan’s credibility, suggesting that her accusation was premeditated and politically motivated. It disclosed personnel complaints filed against her and attempted to link her to supporters of former President Donald J. Trump.

“Weaponizing a claim of sexual harassment for personal political gain or to achieve notoriety cannot be tolerated,” the letter concluded. “False claims demean the veracity of credible claims.”

The initial idea, according to three people with direct knowledge of the events, was to have former Cuomo aides — especially women — sign their names to the letter and circulate it fairly widely.

Multiple drafts were created, and Mr. Cuomo was involved in creating the letter, one of the people said. Current aides to the governor emailed at least one draft to a group of former advisers. From there, it circulated to current and former top aides to the governor.

It is not clear how many people were asked to sign the letter, but two former officials — speaking on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to anger Mr. Cuomo, New York’s Democratic governor — decided that they did not want their names on it.

The letter, which was reviewed by The New York Times, was never released. Ms. Boylan did not immediately elaborate or follow up on her Twitter posts in December, allowing her accusations to fade, along with the urgency of the effort to discredit her. Still, the letter shows that the Cuomo administration was poised to quickly and aggressively undercut Ms. Boylan, a Democrat who is running for Manhattan borough president.


Donald Trump, Melania Knauss (future Melania Trump), Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at a party at Mar-a-Lago (Getty / Davidoff Studios).

Donald Trump, Melania Knauss (future Melania Trump), Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (left to right) at a party at Mar-a-Lago (Getty / Davidoff Studios).

washington post logoWashington Post, Ghislaine Maxwell’s tawdry fall from grace — and her new PR push, Manuel Roig-Franzia, March 17, 2021. In times gone by, she luxuriated on a yacht named in her honor by her publishing mogul father. She befriended British royalty. She dazzled in three languages at galas. She dated a billionaire.

Ghislaine Maxwell moved in the rarest of rare air. There she is boarding a private jet with former president Bill Clinton, his forearm resting casually on her right shoulder; and another time attending his daughter Chelsea’s wedding. There she is, slender, fashionably coifed, eminently poised — again and again and again — in photos with a future president, Donald Trump.

It all seems so long ago.

Far from gliding into a gilded future that has been her destiny, Maxwell is now firmly fixed in a tabloid rogues’ gallery, as she stands accused of procuring and grooming underage girls to satisfy the boundless sexual appetite of her onetime lover, the billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein.

For the past eight months, Maxwell, 59, has been imprisoned at a federal detention center in Brooklyn, twice denied bail as a flight risk while she awaits a trial scheduled to begin in July on charges of perjury and conspiracy to entice three minors in the 1990s to have sex with Epstein, who committed suicide in jail in 2019. Maxwell’s third attempt to persuade a judge to release her before her trial has set in motion in the past few days an effort by her family to reshape her image, aided by publicists and a family attorney.

Her brother, Ian Maxwell, has appeared on television in the United States and Britain, portraying his sister as a woman of substance and as a victim being used as a substitute for Epstein, who received an extraordinary light sentence after pleading guilty in an underage sex case in Florida in 2005 and died before facing trial in a massive sex trafficking case in New York. If Maxwell succeeds in altering public opinion of his sister — even a little — he’ll have accomplished a monumental public relations feat.

In a video interview with The Washington Post over the weekend from London, Ian Maxwell compared his sister’s situation to that of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has been accused by numerous women of sexual harassment and bullying.

“I see that AOC has come out and said, ‘I believe these women,’ ” Ian Maxwell said, using the shorthand for Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. “Well, how does she know that? Cuomo is entitled to have an investigation of his actions, just as Ghislaine is entitled to have one of hers.”

March 16les wexner mansion jeffrey epstein wmr graphic maria

The photo collage above shows a Manhattan mansion owned by Jeffrey Epstein following a transfer from retail magnate Les Wexner. The graphic by investigative reporter Wayne Madsen, who collaborated on a series about Epstein with the Justice Integrity Project, raises still-unanswered questions about sexual abuse allegations involving the locale and a purported video taping system used by Epstein to record his and others' activities.

ny times logoNew York Times, Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion fetches $51 million after a judge denies a request to freeze the sale, Matthew Goldstein, March 16, 2021. A deed for the sale has yet to be recorded, but one of the estate’s lawyers said that funds from the sale were being transferred to a compensation program for Mr. Epstein’s victims.

Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion has been sold to an unidentified buyer for about $51 million, which will go to a fund providing restitution for the disgraced financier’s sexual abuse victims.

A lawyer for Mr. Epstein’s estate said the seven-story mansion on East 71st Street was sold earlier this week — although for considerably less than the initial $88 million asking price.

The sale was completed after a judge in the U.S. Virgin Islands rejected an attempt by the territory’s attorney general to freeze the sale of any further asset by his estate, which is now worth about $240 million. Once valued at nearly $600 million, the estate has been paying out expenses including taxes and contributions to the restitution fund, which has distributed about $55 million to dozens of Mr. Epstein’s accusers.

The attorney general, Denise George, requested the asset freeze after the estate said a cash crunch was preventing it from providing new money to the restitution fund. The judge overseeing the administration of Mr. Epstein’s estate ruled that Ms. George did not have legal standing to request the asset freeze.

A deed for the sale has yet to be recorded, but Daniel Weiner, one of the estate’s lawyers, said in an email that funds from the sale were being jeffrey epstein sex offendertransferred to the compensation program so that it could “resume issuing new claims determinations.”

Several other major transactions loom, including the sales of Mr. Epstein’s homes in Palm Beach, Fla.; Paris; and New Mexico, and the two private islands he owned in the Virgin Islands. The sale of the islands, however, will not happen anytime soon: Ms. George’s office has placed a lien on them as part of the civil racketeering lawsuit she filed last year against Mr. Epstein’s estate.

Mr. Epstein, right, [allegedly] killed himself while in federal custody in August 2019, a month after his arrest on sex trafficking charges. To date, about 150 women — most of whom claim they were sexually abused by Mr. Epstein as teenagers — have registered with the restitution fund to submit claims.

March 14

taylor lorenz tucker carlson

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Online harassment of female journalists is real, and it’s increasingly hard to endure, Margaret Sullivan, right, March 14, 2021. It can margaret sullivan 2015 photomake you think twice about your next story, or even whether being a journalist remains worth it.

Take the case of Taylor Lorenz (shown above at right), a reporter in her mid-30s who joined the New York Times about a year and a half ago. She has drawn a lot of attention for covering some of the bigger players and cultural trends in the male-dominated tech world, and she herself is active and outspoken on social media.

Last week, she tweeted about “the harassment and smear campaign I’ve had to endure” in a message urging her followers to “consider supporting women” dealing with such attacks. A harmless enough tweet, one might think. Not for Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. The most-watched host in cable news proceeded to lavish significant airtime over two nights bashing the journalist for this sentiment, calling her “a deeply unhappy narcissist” and an example of “the most privileged in our society pretending to be oppressed.”

It’s not what Carlson says about her that’s so bad. It’s that his disproportionate focus on her before his audience of millions has unleashed ever more troll attacks. Lorenz called that “an attempt to mobilize an army of followers to memorize my name and instigate harassment.” And, she wrote, “the scope of attacks has been unimaginable. There’s no escape.”

The digital harassment is pervasive, and it is destructive to the lives and careers of female journalists. Much of it dates back to GamerGate, the Internet culture war that began in 2013, in which armies of misogynistic Internet trolls were sicced on female gamers and journalists. The Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey called it “a proxy war for a greater cultural battle over space and visibility and inclusion, a battle over who belongs to the mainstream.”

Misogyny, often racist misogyny, is at the heart of the more recent attacks on journalists, too. And it’s happening all over the world.

May 13

ny times logoNew York Times, Cuomo Says He Won’t Bow to ‘Cancel Culture’ and Rejects Calls to Resign, Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Jesse McKinley, March 13, 2021 (print ed.). Nearly all of the Democrats in New York’s congressional delegation, including Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, say that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has lost the ability to govern.

andrew cuomo

Dozens of current and former employees of Mr. Cuomo’s executive chamber described the office as chaotic, unprofessional and toxic, especially for young women.

A raft of powerful Democratic members of New York’s congressional delegation, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jerrold Nadler, called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to resign on Friday, saying Mr. Cuomo, right, had lost the capacity to govern amid a series of multiplying scandals.

May 11

ny times logoNew York Times, Latest Accusation Against Cuomo Is Reported to Albany Police, Jesse McKinley and Luis Ferré-Sadurní, March 11, 2021. The police characterized the alleged groping by the governor of a female aide as something that may rise “to the level of a crime.”

andrew cuomoAlbany Police Department officials said on Thursday that they had been notified by the New York State Police and the governor’s office about an alleged incident at the Executive Mansion involving Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a female aide that may have risen “to the level of a crime.”

Steve Smith, a spokesman for the Albany police, said that the department had not received a formal complaint from the woman, who has not been identified, but that it had reached out to a lawyer for her.

This does not mean, Mr. Smith said, that the department has opened a criminal investigation, but it has offered its services to the alleged victim, “as we would do with any other report or incident.”

Albany police officials said they heard from the state police on Wednesday night after the publication of an article in The Times Union of Albany that detailed accusations leveled by an unidentified aide to the governor who accused Mr. Cuomo of groping her at the governor’s mansion, where he lives, late last year.

William Duffy, a spokesman for the State Police, confirmed the contact with the Albany department, saying it was “to facilitate a contact with the executive chamber regarding the alleged incident.”

Mr. Smith said that the deputy chief of police, Edward Donohue, who oversees the department’s criminal investigation unit, then spoke to the governor’s counsel.

The governor’s acting counsel, Beth Garvey, confirmed the conversation, saying that she had initiated the call and reported the allegations, after a lawyer for the female aide told the governor’s office that the aide did not want to file a report.

“As a matter of state policy, when allegations of physical contact are made, the agency informs the complainant that they should contact their local police department,” Ms. Garvey said in a statement. “If they decline, the agency has an obligation to reach out themselves and inform the department of the allegation.”

March 5

ny times logoNew York TImes, Film Criticism: Why My Teenage Self Gave Woody Allen a Pass, Ginia Bellafante, March 5, 2021. The urbane paradise of “Manhattan” looks a lot different through the lens of the new HBO documentary “Allen v. Farrow.” A comedy about a 42-year-old man sleeping with a 17-year-old girl is not a love story.

Between the years 1979, when it opened in theaters, and 1984, I saw “Manhattan” 11 times, after which I stopped keeping count. The early 1980s marked both the period of my adolescent hunger for an urbane, grown-up life in New York and the dawn of VHS, enabling the obsessive consumption of movies, which in my case meant the obsessive consumption of movies by Woody Allen.

In them, I found a vision of the future I wanted, a series of aspirations — to have opinions, to write, to go to book parties but also to make fun of people who approached those things too seriously. The hope was to inhabit the world the way Woody Allen did, as both conspirator and judge.

March 2

ny times logoNew York Times, Sexual Assault Allegations Divide Mexico’s Governing Party, Maria Abi-Habib and Natalie Kitroeff, March 2, 2021. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has backed a candidate accused of sexual assault, testing his promise to create a more egalitarian Mexico.

Basilia Castañeda said she was such a fervent believer in Mexico’s president that she founded the first chapter of his political party in her small town and stumped with the president’s son on the campaign trail.

Then, in December, the man she has accused of raping her when she was just 17 years old was nominated by the president’s party to run for governor of her state, Guerrero.

In statements to prosecutors, Ms. Castañeda and at least one other woman have accused the candidate for governor, Félix Salgado Macedonio, a former senator who is favored to win the election in June, of rape. Local news media have reported that another woman made sexual assault allegations against him in 2007.

One of the criminal investigations is still open, yet Mr. Salgado has enjoyed weeks of public support from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has defended the candidate by calling the accusations politically motivated.

The president’s backing of Mr. Salgado is creating significant cracks inside the governing party, presenting a potential challenge to Mr. López Obrador’s popularity and promised transformation of Mexican society.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Mr. López Obrador once again blamed the political opposition for the outcry over Mr. Salgado, claiming that it is “such a shame that the feminist movement is used for other purposes.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Catholic clergy in France abused more than 10,000 child victims, independent commission estimates, Rick Noack, March 2, 2021. The independent commission, set up two years ago with the approval of French church officials, has so far received more than 6,500 calls from people providing testimony on incidents over the past seven decades.

The head of a commission examining sexual abuse in France’s Catholic Church put the possible number of child victims at more than 10,000 on Tuesday, portending a public reckoning in a country where church officials long stalled efforts to investigate complicity.

The Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church, set up two years ago with the approval of French church officials, has so far received more than 6,500 testimonies from victims and witnesses on incidents alleged to have happened in the past seven decades.

“The big question for us is: How many victims came forward? Is it 25 percent? 10 percent, 5 percent or less?” commission leader Jean-Marc Sauvé told journalists.

March 1

ny times logoNew York Times, Cuomo Accused of Unwanted Advance at a Wedding: ‘Can I Kiss You?’ Matt Flegenheimer and Jesse McKinley, March 1, 2021. A young woman’s account follows two separate accusations that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed two female state employees.

Anna Ruch had never met Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo before encountering him at a crowded New York City wedding reception in September 2019. Her first impression was positive enough.

The governor was working the room after toasting the newlyweds, and when he came upon Ms. Ruch, now 33, she thanked him for his kind words about her friends. But what happened next instantly unsettled her: Mr. Cuomo put his hand on Ms. Ruch’s bare lower back, she said in an interview on Monday.

When she removed his hand with her own, Ms. Ruch recalled, the governor remarked that she seemed “aggressive” and placed his hands on her cheeks. He asked if he could kiss her, loudly enough for a friend standing nearby to hear. Ms. Ruch was bewildered by the entreaty, she said, and pulled away as the governor drew closer.

anna ruch andrew cuomoAnna Ruch, shown at right, said she felt “uncomfortable and embarrassed” when Mr. Cuomo, shown at far right, placed his hands on her face and asked to kiss her (Personal photo).

“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” said Ms. Ruch, whose recollection was corroborated by the friend, contemporaneous text messages and photographs from the event. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.”

Ms. Ruch’s account comes after two former aides accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment in the workplace, plunging his third term into turmoil as the governor’s defenders and Mr. Cuomo himself strain to explain his behavior.

A spokesman for the governor did not directly address Ms. Ruch’s account, referring to a general statement that Mr. Cuomo released on Sunday night in which he acknowledged that some things he has said “have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”

“To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” the statement said.

Ms. Ruch’s example is distinct from those of the former aides: A former member of the Obama administration and the 2020 Biden campaign, Ms. Ruch has never been employed by the governor or the state. But her experience reinforces the escalating concerns and accusations about Mr. Cuomo’s personal conduct — a pattern of words and actions that have, at minimum, made three women who are decades his junior feel deeply uncomfortable, in their collective telling.

Exactly a year after the state’s first confirmed coronavirus case — the dawn of a crisis that eventually propelled Mr. Cuomo to national Democratic stardom — the governor was silent on Monday, even as the fallout continued to shadow his beleaguered administration.

His accusers were not quiet, however: Charlotte Bennett, a former aide who accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment, issued her first public statement since outlining her claims in a New York Times article, saying that the apology and attempted explanation issued by the governor on Sunday night was woefully inadequate.

“These are not the actions of someone who simply feels misunderstood,” Ms. Bennett wrote. “They are the actions of an individual who wields his power to avoid justice.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Why Democrats Aren’t Asking Cuomo to Resign, Michelle Goldberg, right, March 1, 2021. The diminishing power of MeToo. It seems obvious enough that Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York did what his former aide Charlotte Bennett said he did. Bennett, 25, told The New York Times that, michelle goldberg thumbamong other things, Cuomo asked her if she ever had sex with older men, complained about being lonely and wanting a hug, and said he would date someone in her 20s.

“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” she said.

Bennett memorialized her discomfort in texts to friends and family. She met with Cuomo’s chief of staff, after which she accepted a transfer to a job on the other side of the Capitol from the governor’s office. She said she gave a statement to a special counsel to the governor, Judith Mogul, and she showed The Times a text from Mogul alluding to their meeting, if not its content.

And Cuomo hasn’t denied Bennett’s claims. Instead, he’s issued a sort-of apology that seems to confirm some of them: “I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended.” He acknowledged comments that “have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”

The New York attorney general, Letitia James, will oversee an investigation into all these charges, but that will only delay an eventual reckoning. Given what we know of Bennett’s story, it’s hard to imagine how an inquiry could exonerate the governor; it can probably only determine the degree and prevalence of his apparent harassment. So eventually, Cuomo’s fate will tell us whether there’s still power in the #MeToo movement.

My guess is that if this scandal had broken a few years ago, high-profile Democrats would have felt no choice but to call for Cuomo’s resignation. Since then, however, a few things have happened. Most significantly, among many Democrats, there’s tremendous bitterness toward those who pressured Al Franken to leave the Senate in 2018 after he was accused of grabbing several women’s butts.

But eventually the results of the investigation are going to come out, and unless they show that Cuomo is innocent of behavior he himself seemed to admit, Democrats will have to pick a side.

ny times logoNew York Times, Under Siege Over Sex Harassment Claims, Cuomo Offers Apology, Jesse McKinley and Dana Rubinstein, Updated March 1, 2021. Gov. Andrew Cuomo sought to stem the growing political fallout over the allegations, acknowledging that he may have made inappropriate remarks. Here’s what we know so far about the sexual harassment claims.

andrew cuomoGov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday sought to stem the growing political fallout over fresh allegations of sexual harassment, acknowledging that he may have made inappropriate remarks that could “have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation” to a young female aide during private meetings last spring.

Mr. Cuomo, right, 63, said his comments — including those which emerged in an account from the aide, Charlotte Bennett — were an extension of life spent at work, where he sometimes “teased people about their personal lives and relationships.”

“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”

The response from the governor seemed to reflect the gravity of Ms. Bennett’s accusations, and those of another former aide last week, as well as the potential damage that they could cause to Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat.

Mr. Cuomo, who emerged as a national leader during the pandemic, also repeated his calls for an independent investigation of his own behavior, though the decision over who would oversee that inquiry has already proved torturous. His initial choice of a former federal judge to lead the investigation was met with overwhelming criticism, as was his second suggestion that Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, be paired with Janet DiFiore, the chief judge on New York State’s highest court, to jointly pick someone to investigate the matter. Ms. James rejected that proposal.

Finally, late Sunday, Mr. Cuomo relented again, saying in a statement that he would grant subpoena power to whomever Ms. James designated as the outside investigator, as Ms. James had demanded.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Andrew Cuomo’s survival in office looks doubtful, Karen Tumulty, right, March 1, 2021 (print ed.). It is starting to look as if the karen tumulty resize twitterquestion will soon be not if but when New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will be forced to resign.

The New York Times has published a blockbuster story in which a second former aide to the governor has accused him of making unwanted sexual overtures. The account given to the paper by Charlotte Bennett, 25, is devastating and thoroughly corroborated.



Feb. 28

ny times logoNew York Times, Lawyer Seeks Criminal Investigation of T.I. and Tiny on Behalf of Multiple Women, Melena Ryzik and Joe Coscarelli, Feb. 28, 2021. The Atlanta superstar rapper and his wife have denied allegations that they drugged and sexually assaulted women, and their lawyer called it a “shakedown.”

Weeks after accusations of sexual abuse and assault against the rapper T.I. and his wife, Tameka Harris, started circulating on social media, a lawyer has approached law enforcement authorities in two states seeking criminal inquiries, on behalf of 11 people who said they were victimized by the couple or members of their entourage.

Four women have accused the celebrity pair of drugging and sexually assaulting them, including two instances of rape that were said to have occurred in Georgia and California, according to the letters sent on Feb. 19 by the lawyer, Tyrone A. Blackburn, to state and federal prosecutors in both states. Similar letters were sent to the attorneys general in those states.

Mr. Blackburn, a New York-based lawyer, said that the “eerily similar” experiences spanned more than a decade, beginning in 2005; the most recent allegation of sexual abuse occurred in 2017 or 2018, he said. None of the women involved know one another, but described “sexual abuse, forced ingestion of illegal narcotics, kidnapping, terroristic threats and false imprisonment” at the behest of T.I., Ms. Harris and their associates or employees, Mr. Blackburn wrote. His letters also included instances of nonsexual intimidation, assault and harassment.

A lawyer for T.I. and Ms. Harris said that the couple “deny in the strongest possible terms these baseless and unjustified allegations.”

“We fully expect that if these claims are thoroughly and fairly investigated, no charges will be forthcoming,” the lawyer, Steve Sadow, said in a statement on Friday. “These allegations are nothing more than the continuation of a sordid shakedown campaign that began on social media and now attempts to manipulate the press and misuse the justice system.”

Mr. Blackburn’s letters called on the officials to investigate the behavior of T.I., an Atlanta superstar born Clifford J. Harris Jr., and Ms. Harris, also known as Tiny, a member of the R&B group Xscape, in order “to tackle and end the stream of depravity being committed.” Most of his clients were referred to anonymously in the letters, Mr. Blackburn wrote, because they were “in fear for their lives and safety,” citing T.I.’s reputation as a powerful man who has been convicted in the past of federal weapons charges.

However, the lawyer added: “My clients and their witnesses are prepared to speak with investigators and prosecutors from your office.”

Feb. 27

ny times logoNew York Times, Cuomo Is Accused of Sexual Harassment by a 2nd Former Aide, Roni Caryn Rabin, Feb. 27, 2021. Charlotte Bennett, the aide, told The Times that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had harassed her last spring. He denied any impropriety and called for an outside review. Ms. Bennett, 25, said he had asked her questions about her sex life, whether she was monogamous in relationships and if she had been with older men.

andrew cuomoA second former aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is accusing him of sexual harassment, saying that he asked her questions about her sex life, whether she was monogamous in her relationships and if she had ever had sex with older men.

The aide, Charlotte Bennett, who was an executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration until she left in November, told The New York Times that the governor had harassed her late last spring, during the height of the state’s fight against the coronavirus.

Ms. Bennett, 25, said the most unsettling episode occurred on June 5, when she was alone with Mr. Cuomo, right, in his State Capitol office. In a series of interviews this week, she said the governor had asked her numerous questions about her personal life, including whether she thought age made a difference in romantic relationships, and had said that he was open to relationships with women in their 20s — comments she interpreted as clear overtures to a sexual relationship.

Mr. Cuomo said in a statement to The Times on Saturday that he believed he had been acting as a mentor and had “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.” He said he had requested an independent review of the matter and asked that New Yorkers await the findings “before making any judgments.”

Ms. Bennett said that during the June encounter, the governor, 63, also complained to her about being lonely during the pandemic, mentioning that he “can’t even hug anyone,” before turning the focus to Ms. Bennett. She said that Mr. Cuomo asked her, “Who did I last hug?”

Ms. Bennett said she had tried to dodge the question by responding that she missed hugging her parents. “And he was, like, ‘No, I mean like really hugged somebody?’” she said.

Mr. Cuomo never tried to touch her, Ms. Bennett said, but the message of the entire episode was unmistakable to her.

“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Ms. Bennett said. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”

Ms. Bennett said she had disclosed the interaction with Mr. Cuomo to his chief of staff, Jill DesRosiers, less than a week later and was transferred to another job, as a health policy adviser, with an office on the opposite side of the Capitol, soon after that. Ms. Bennett said she had also given a lengthy statement to a special counsel to the governor, Judith Mogul, toward the end of June.

Ms. Bennett said she ultimately decided not to insist on an investigation because she was happy in her new job and “wanted to move on.” No action was taken against the governor.

In his statement, Mr. Cuomo called Ms. Bennett a “hard-working and valued member” of his staff with “every right to speak out.” He said that Ms. Bennett had spoken to him about being a sexual assault survivor — an experience about which she had been open in the past — and he had tried to be supportive and helpful. “The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported,” the governor said.

Feb. 24

washington post logoWashington Post, Ex-aide says Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed her, kissed her and left her ‘nauseous’ at work, Hannah Knowles and Reis Thebault, Feb. 24, 2021. A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made detailed allegations Wednesday that the politician sexually harassed her, describing an unwanted kiss in Cuomo’s office and a pattern of behavior that she says left her “nauseous” going to work.

andrew cuomoLindsey Boylan, who eventually resigned from the Democratic governor’s team, described deep discomfort with Cuomo, right, starting in 2016, when she says her boss told her the governor had a “crush” on her. Boylan said in an online post that Cuomo “would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs,” and shared images of text messages and emails that she said supported her story, an expansion on public allegations she made last year.

“He is a sexist pig and you should avoid being alone with him!” Boylan’s mother texted her at one point about Cuomo, according to pictures of the exchange.

A spokeswoman for the governor, Caitlin Girouard, said Wednesday that Boylan’s “claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false.” She focused on the former’s aide’s opening anecdote about the governor allegedly suggesting they “play strip poker” while seated close together on Cuomo’s jet in October 2017.

Four people listed as taking flights with Cuomo and Boylan that month issued a statement through the governor’s office that the conversation Boylan described “did not happen.” Girouard did not comment on other specifics of Boylan’s account.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Ted Cruz has a whole new scandal, Bill Palmer, right, Feb. 24, 2021. Even if Ted Cruz’s Cancun scandal doesn’t end up fully setting his Senate career on fire, it’s finally bill palmerplaced a national spotlight on corruption, derangement, and unfitness for office. That kind of spotlight tends to quickly bring a politician’s other scandals to light as well.

bill palmer report logo headerWe’re already seeing this with Ted Cruz. Salon has uncovered a scheme in which Cruz has apparently been using a PAC to buy a ton of his own books, which just so happens to funnel PAC money into his own pocket through the book royalties. There aren’t nearly enough rules when it comes to PACs, but funneling PAC money into your own pocket is one of the few things you can’t do.

The thing about far right anti-government politicians like Ted Cruz, who spend all their time yelling around about the inherent corruption of the government, is that they nearly always turn out to be financially corrupt themselves. We’ll see how deep this corruption rabbit hole goes for Ted Cruz.

Feb. 21

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘Allen v. Farrow’ Episode 1 Recap: ‘Inappropriately Intense’ Behavior, Julia Jacobs, Feb. 21, 2021. The new HBO documentary series takes another look at Dylan Farrow’s sexual abuse allegations against her adoptive father, Woody Allen.

The first episode of the four-part HBO docuseries “Allen v. Farrow” debuted on Sunday night, providing a fresh examination of Dylan Farrow’s decades-old sexual abuse allegations against the filmmaker Woody Allen, her adoptive father.

When Ms. Farrow was 7 years old, she accused Mr. Allen of sexually assaulting her at the family’s Connecticut country house on Aug. 4, 1992. Mr. Allen has long denied the allegations, which were front and center in a bitter custody battle between Mr. Allen and Mia Farrow, the Hollywood power couple who made 13 films together.

Mr. Allen’s relationship with Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, is also central to the series. About seven months before the day that Dylan Farrow says her father assaulted her, Mia Farrow discovered nude photographs of Ms. Previn, then a first-year college student, in Mr. Allen’s apartment.

Feb. 16

ny times logoNew York Times, Kathleen Ham, Who Met Her Rapist Twice in Court, Dies at 73, Katharine Q. Seelye, Feb. 15, 2021. “He’s been out there for 32 years,” she said in a voice turned gravelly by years of chain-smoking. “And I’ve been in my own private jail.”

She saw something moving on her fire escape. In the next instant, a man smashed through her window and raped her at knifepoint. A neighbor heard her screams and called the police, who caught the assailant near her apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. At his trial in 1974, the jury deliberated for eight days without reaching a verdict, and he was let go.

More than three decades later, in 2005, the man was retried; the woman testified again, and this time, he was found guilty and sent to jail.

In the interim, the criminal justice system and society had undergone major changes regarding rape. One was improved DNA technology. Another was that the victim was no longer ashamed to be identified in public.

Her name was Kathleen Ham. At the time of the crime she was 26, a young professional who had come to New York from California to make her mark in the publishing industry.

Instead, she made legal history. After the man’s conviction, the notoriety of her case — backed by the lobbying muscle of the Manhattan district attorney, Robert Morgenthau, and the National Organization for Women — helped persuade New York State to drop its five-year statute of limitations for first-degree rape, making it easier to prosecute old cases. (Hers could be prosecuted a second time so many years later because the first prosecution fell within the five years.)

Ms. Ham died on Jan. 20 at her home in Santa Monica.

Feb. 14

Denver Post, Investigation: Judicial discipline largely handled in “darkness” in Colorado, with most states offering greater transparency, Noelle Phillips, Feb. 14, 2021. Confidentiality in judicial discipline proceedings is embedded in Colorado’s Constitution.

The three-minute video posted on the Florida Supreme Court’s website shows the moment a judge, dressed in her black robes, put her hands on the shoulders of a courthouse employee and briefly shook him.

The video, along with 62 documents that outline the judicial misconduct case against Circuit Judge Vegina T. Hawkins, became public record in July 2019 once the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission began formal disciplinary proceedings against the judge. Hawkins lost her re-election bid in 2020, and the disciplinary case was dismissed. But as the case wound through the state’s formal disciplinary process, the public could follow along.

Florida is one of 26 states where confidentiality for a judge accused of misconduct ends once formal charges are filed by a disciplinary commission. Other states with similar practices include California, Kansas and Washington. Another seven states make the cases public once the accused has a chance to respond to the allegations, and two more states allow the public to watch hearings but don’t reveal any details until then, according to the Center for Judicial Discipline at the National Center for State Courts.

But Colorado is one of 15 states where disciplinary cases against judges are secret until a recommendation for a public punishment is ordered. In most cases, however, Colorado judges are disciplined through informal proceedings that end with a private disciplinary decision.

“There’s no other state that is as dark as Colorado,” said Chris Forsyth, executive director of The Judicial Integrity Project, which pushes for judicial disciplinary reform in Colorado.

The state’s judicial disciplinary proceedings came under scrutiny last week after the Colorado Supreme Court released a previously secret memo that cited multiple examples of sexual misconduct and harassment by judges, allegations that reached the highest levels of the Colorado Judicial Department. The memo was released after a series of articles in The Denver Post about allegations a former human resources administrator threatened to tell everything she knew in exchange for a $2.5 million contract. The contract has been dissolved.

In Colorado, complaints against judges remain confidential until the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline recommends public discipline. Twelve other states have similar laws, including New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Only three states — Delaware, Hawaii and North Carolina — keep discipline a secret until a court orders it to become public, according to the National Center for State Courts Center for Judicial Discipline.

Forsyth has pushed for years for change, saying judges are public servants, and their misdeeds deserve public scrutiny.

“There’s no other reason for this darkness other than to undermine the trust and confidence of judges in Colorado,” he said.

Transparency varies from state to state. Some commissions such as Florida’s post documents as cases move through proceedings, some issue news releases about decisions and some issue orders along with board member’s opinions on why they determined discipline was warranted. Nowhere in the United States can the public see a list of formal complaints against judges, said Cynthia Gray, director of the Center for Judicial Ethics at the National Center for State Courts.

“That would be true in every state,” Gray said. “You just can’t go in and look at them.”

But many states offer more information to the public than in Colorado.

In Arkansas, for example, the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission published a news release in May announcing a judge had resigned and was barred from serving again after he was caught receiving sexual photographs — and asking for more — from a woman facing charges in his courtroom. In Colorado, if a judge resigned before a disciplinary decision, it’s likely the allegation never would become public.

In Minnesota, a judge in March was publicly reprimanded for failing to appropriately supervise a law clerk, approving inaccurate time cards and sending inappropriate email messages about attorneys arguing in her courtroom. Judicial reprimands in Colorado remain confidential.

The Colorado Supreme Court memo released last week listed specific examples of judicial misconduct, but it’s impossible to know if disciplinary action was instigated or whether anyone was at least reprimanded or censured.

A few of the instances discussed in the memo include:

  • A judge sent a pornographic email over judicial email and still was promoted to a chief judge position
  • A law clerk was given a release agreement to protect a court of appeals judge from harassment accusations during the Supreme Court selection process
  • Another judge took off his shirt and rubbed his chest hair on a female employee and no action was taken.

None of those instances are available for review on the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline’s website. That could mean those judges were considered for discipline and none was given. Or they were privately admonished, reprimanded or censured. Or the commission may never have received those cases for review.

William Campbell, executive director of the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline, said it would “verge on breaching confidentiality” if he confirmed whether any of those incidents came before the commission. However, in a Friday news release, the commission said it had “reviewed its records spanning the last five years and has not been able to identify a referral from the State Court Administrator’s Office or the Office of the Chief Justice that appears to match the limited details reported publicly.”

The commission only investigates the cases it knows about and if no one complains to the commission, no case is considered. And no changes in law can fix a culture where formal complaints of misbehavior are not made.

Feb. 12

ny times logoNew York Times, Lincoln Project Co-Founder Resigns From Board Amid a Deepening Crisis, Danny Hakim and Maggie Astor, Feb. 12, 2021. Steve Schmidt said he was stepping down from the board but remaining with the organization, and eight former workers said they wanted to share information about the handling of harassment allegations against another co-founder.

The crisis engulfing the anti-Trump group the Lincoln Project deepened on Friday when Steve Schmidt, a co-founder, resigned abruptly from the board and former employees renewed demands to be released from nondisclosure agreements in order to provide more information about the organization’s handling of harassment allegations against another co-founder, John Weaver.

Mr. Schmidt will remain with the organization in an executive capacity after he takes a temporary leave. He stepped down from the board to quell a growing furor around the Lincoln Project, but had only joined the board after the November election.

In an extraordinary statement Friday evening, Mr. Schmidt described being sexually assaulted as a teenager, evoking his own experience as he sought to explain his widely criticized response to the allegations against Mr. Weaver.

“I am incandescently angry about it,” he said of Mr. Weaver’s actions, which involved unwanted sexual messages to numerous young men. He added, referring to the man he said assaulted him, “I am angry because I know the damage that he caused to me, and I know the journey that lies ahead for every young man that trusted, feared and was abused by John Weaver.”

Mr. Schmidt reiterated his claim that he had not known of Mr. Weaver’s behavior until last month. However, a former Lincoln Project employee told The New York Times that Mr. Schmidt had known by October 2020 at the latest. The former employee described being in the room when Mr. Schmidt spoke about it.

Mr. Schmidt issued his statement Friday night after a lawyer for a third co-founder, Jennifer Horn, sent the Lincoln Project a notice instructing it to preserve documents in anticipation of a lawsuit, according to a person familiar with the communication.

The turmoil this week has been deeply damaging to the Lincoln Project, which emerged over the last year as the leading group of Republicans opposed to the presidency of Donald J. Trump. It skewered Mr. Trump with mocking ads and drew a large following on the left.

But the group’s leadership has fractured since the election. Two board members, Ron Steslow and Mike Madrid, left in December. George T. Conway III, another key figure, has also departed. Ms. Horn recently resigned, issuing a scathing statement, and on Thursday, the group tweeted her private Twitter messages with a reporter.

Those tweets were subsequently deleted, and Mr. Schmidt said in his statement: “That direct message should never have been made public. It is my job as the senior leader to accept responsibility for the tremendous misjudgment to release it.” He apologized to Ms. Horn, calling her “an important and valuable member of our team.”

Also on Friday, the host of a program on the group’s media arm resigned after less than one week. And a top international affairs expert, the prominent anti-Trump conservative Tom Nichols, said he was stepping down as an unpaid adviser to the group.

The backlash against the Lincoln Project began with the revelation last month that Mr. Weaver had repeatedly harassed young men and at least one minor. It intensified on Thursday with published reports that leaders had known about the harassment last year and failed to act, the demand by former workers to be released from their N.D.A.s, and the unauthorized posting of Ms. Horn’s Twitter messages.

Top Lincoln Project officials said on Thursday night that they were hiring an outside investigator to review Mr. Weaver’s tenure, promising transparency and saying that Mr. Weaver’s conduct “must be reckoned with.”

Ms. Horn, who resigned from the Lincoln Project last week, said in a statement Thursday that she had recently learned that other leaders of the group had ignored warnings about Mr. Weaver’s conduct. In addition to the former employee who said Mr. Schmidt had known by October, several other people who worked for the group have said leaders knew even earlier.

The young men Ms. Horn spoke with were “hurt that their experiences were being denied, angry that they had been used and lied to, and fearful that they would be targeted again,” she wrote in her statement. “When I spoke to one of the founders to raise my objections and concerns, I was yelled at, demeaned and lied to.”

More disclosures could be imminent. Eight former employees and associates — six on Thursday night, and two more on Friday — have now signed the letter asking for release from their N.D.A.s. The signers have not yet spoken publicly, but they provided a copy of the letter to The New York Times, and their identities are known to The Times.

They said they were not comfortable contacting the organization directly to be released from their N.D.A.s, as Lincoln Project leaders suggested in a statement.

“Expecting victims and those close to victims to contact and engage the people and organization accused of protecting the very predator at issue is absurd, unreasonable and insensitive,” they wrote.
In a letter, former Lincoln Project employees have requested a release from nondisclosure agreements they signed with the group.
In a letter, former Lincoln Project employees have requested a release from nondisclosure agreements they signed with the group.

Further controversy erupted late Thursday night when the Lincoln Project posted screenshots from Ms. Horn’s Twitter account, revealing her direct messages with a reporter, and then quickly took them down. Unauthorized access of a social media account can be illegal, depending on the circumstances.

Those posts were the last straw for Mr. Nichols, an international affairs expert at the U.S. Naval War College, who announced on Friday that he was ending his ties to the organization.

“I have been thinking about whether to continue my association for a while,” Mr. Nichols said in an email to The Times. “I was upset by John Weaver’s despicable behavior and concerned about the ongoing public conflict among the principals, but I made my final decision yesterday when Jennifer Horn’s personal messages were published. I’m glad they’re bringing in an outside adviser to help them sort through everything, and I hope there is accountability for what happened with Weaver.”

Mr. Nichols said that as a volunteer, he had no insight into the group’s internal governance.
ImageJohn Weaver said last month that he would not return to the Lincoln Project from a medical leave.
John Weaver said last month that he would not return to the Lincoln Project from a medical leave.Credit...Open Mind/CUNY-TV, via YouTube

Mr. Weaver, 61, is a longtime Republican presidential campaign adviser who gained prominence during John McCain’s runs in 2000 and 2008 and also worked for John Kasich in 2016. The Times reported last month, based on interviews with 21 young men, that Mr. Weaver had for years sent unsolicited and sexually provocative messages online.

The youngest person The Times interviewed was 14 when Mr. Weaver first contacted him; the messages became overtly sexual after he turned 18.

On Thursday, The Associated Press and New York magazine, citing unidentified former employees, reported that Lincoln Project leaders knew about Mr. Weaver’s behavior last summer, which Mr. Schmidt has continued to deny. Mr. Weaver took a medical leave from the group in August and announced last month that he would not return.

In its statement on Thursday, the Lincoln Project said that Mr. Weaver had “betrayed all of us” and that it was bringing in “a best-in-class outside professional” to “establish both accountability and best practices going forward.”

At the same time, the group’s leaders have repeatedly dismissed reporting about when they learned of Mr. Weaver’s behavior, and about Ms. Horn’s resignation, as hit jobs from supporters of former President Donald J. Trump.

The eight former employees and associates expressed anger at that in their open letter. To insinuate that their efforts constituted a right-wing attack, they wrote, “is not in keeping with the values we signed up to uphold, and resembles the tactics and behavior we joined the Lincoln Project to defeat.”

Feb. 11

ravi zacharias

washington post logoWashington Post, Evangelist Ravi Zacharias engaged in rape, financial misconduct and spiritual abuse, report says, Michelle Boorstein, Feb. 11, 2021. Zacharias, whose followers included Mike Pence and Tim Tebow, had aggressively denied the misconduct allegations for years. He died in May of cancer at age 74.

Ravi Zacharias, a towering Indian American evangelist who helped legions worldwide believe in Christianity through a ministry focused on open questioning and truth-seeking, led a double life that included extorting dozens of massage therapists for sexual attention — including multiple women who accused him of sexual aggression and one who accused him of rape, according to an independent report released Thursday.

The report, commissioned by the global Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, is a shameful coda to the career of the late minister, whose books and radio programs have been a staple of evangelical Christian media for decades. Zacharias died in May of cancer at age 74, after spending several years aggressively denying sexual misconduct allegations made in 2017 by Lori Anne Thompson, a former follower, and her husband, Brad, and portraying them as extortionists.

The RZIM board, which is accountable for a ministry operating in 15 countries and with nearly 300 staffers, issued a four-page response to the report that was dramatically contrite. The board apologized to staff who had questioned Zacharias and were rebuffed or punished, and to the Thompsons for the years that “they were slandered ... and their suffering was greatly prolonged and intensified.” As recently as the fall, the board had issued statements minimizing new allegations.

The ministry, which has employed Zacharias’s wife and his three children and is now led by his daughter, said through the board statement that it has hired prominent victim advocate Rachael Denhollander and an independent firm to help it completely investigate its structures, look for other possible victims and consider how to make restitution.

Feb. 8

djt michael cohen

Palmer Report, Opinion: Michael Cohen draws the line on Trump and the SDNY, Bill Palmer, Feb. 8, 2021. Earlier this week the AP reported that the Feds at the SDNY currently have no plans to pursue criminal charges against Donald Trump for his felony campaign finance fraud scandal involving Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, right.

bill palmer report logo headerAs Palmer Report explained at the time, this case has been picked up by the Manhattan District Attorney. But now Michael Cohen is stormy daniels 2010 83 wspeaking out on MSNBC, and he’s drawing the line when it comes to the SDNY’s unwillingness to run with federal charges in the scandal.

Michael Cohen, who participated in the scandal and has since become a cooperating witness, knows better than anyone the strength of the criminal case against Trump. Cohen is also calling for a DOJ investigation into why the SDNY abandoned the case and left New York State prosecutors to pick up the slack. Given Cohen’s intimate knowledge of this case, we’re inclined to back him 100% on this.

 wayne madesen report logo

  Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Another child porn bust; another GOP congressional staffer, Wayne Madsen, left, Feb. 8, 2021. wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallThe February 5 arrest by Washington Metropolitan Police of former Senate Republican Conference "senior digital strategist" and Donald Trump re-election campaign aide Ruben Verstigui, right, for distribution of child pornography is not the first time a GOP Senate staffer has been busted in ruben verastigui headshota law enforcement sting of on-line pedophiles.

On December 11, 2013, Ryan Loskarn, who was a senior staffer for the Senate Republican Conference, was busted for possession of "hundreds of videos depicting underage boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct." After being released from jail to home confinement at his parents' Maryland home, Loskarn's body was found hanging in his parents' basement. Police ruled the death a suicide.

ruben verastigui white houseLoskarn had worked for Tennessee Republicans Senator Lamar Alexander and then-Representative (now Senator) Marsha Blackburn. Loskarn was arrested as part of the multinational Project SPADE task force, which saw the arrest in November 2013 of several hundred people around the world for possession of child pornography.

Verstigui's resume includes stints with the Republican National Committee, Trump Make America Great Again Committee, and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. from 2017 to 2018. He also was employed by a number of anti-ab ortion groups, including March for Life and Students for Life America. Verstigui posted a number of photos of himself at the Trump White House [as shown at right in a Christmas photo taken at the White House late last year].

What is noteworthy about the Verstigui case is that he was under investigation while he worked for the Senate Republican Conference from March 2019 until July 2020. Homeland Security was investigating Verstigui and a group of 18 people involved in trading child pornography. Court documents state that Verstigui "distributed, received, and possessed images of child pornography” between March 2020 and February 2021.

Daily Beast, Former Trump and GOP Aide Charged With Distributing Child Porn, Alaina Demopoulos, Feb. 6, 2021. Court documents allege that, while working daily beast logofor Republican senators, Ruben Verastigui distributed, received, and possessed images of child pornography.

A former digital strategist for the Senate Republican Conference, who also worked for pro-life groups and designed social media ads for Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, has been charged with distributing child pornography.

D.C. Metropolitan Police arrested Ruben A. Verastigui on Friday after an investigation revealed he allegedly “distributed, received, and possessed images of child pornography” between March 2020 and February 2021. Jared Holt, resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, first reported ruben verastigui white houseVerastigui’s arrest on Twitter.

Verastigui, left, who posted a photo of himself at the White House just two months ago, worked for the Senate Republican Conference until July 2020, according to his LinkedIn. The investigation into his alleged offenses took place while he was still working for the GOP.

He had been working as a communications manager for a non-profit called Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions until Saturday. A spokesperson for the non-profit said: “The details of the allegations against Mr. Verastigui are tragic and shocking. He is no longer employed by the organization and we are prepared to fully cooperate with law enforcement requests in this matter to any extent needed.”

ruben verastigui headshotThe Daily Beast was unable to reach Verastigui, right, and a family member didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Court documents obtained by The Daily Beast say that Homeland Security special agents came across Verastigui while looking into a group of at least 18 people who were trading child porn on a website that remains unnamed “to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation.”

In a group chat on the site, Verastigui went by the username “Landon” and the handle @somethingtaken, according to investigators.

The court documents detail a very disturbing chat on the site in which Verastigui told another user that “babies” were his “absolute favorite.”

“Well like I said babies are some of my biggest turn-ons and beast,” Verastigui wrote in the direct message, per court documents. “Young rape… Fuck I love all that.”

Verastigui sent further messages about wanting to view “hardcore” videos however The Daily Beast has withheld them due to their graphic nature.

When he was sent a video file showing an adult sexually penetrating a child, he replied “FUCK YES!!!”

Feb. 2

ny times logoNew York Times, Jack Palladino, 76, Hard-Charging Private Investigator, Dies After ‘Brutal Attack,’ Michael Levenson and Alan Yuhas, Updated Feb. 2, 2021. Jack Palladino, a private investigator who had worked for Bill Clinton and other famous clients, died four days after he sustained a severe head injury in an attempted robbery, the authorities said. Mr. Palladino was placed on life support after sustaining a severe head injury on Jan. 28 in what the San Francisco district attorney, Chesa Boudin, called “a brutal attack” in the city’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.

Two people were arrested in the attack and booked at the San Francisco County Jail on charges that include attempted robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse.

Mr. Palladino was known for making surreptitious recordings, deploying attractive women or posing as a journalist to extract information and discredit accusers.

During the 1992 presidential campaign, he was hired by the Clinton campaign after Gennifer Flowers released tapes of phone calls with Mr. Clinton to back up her claim that they had had an affair.

Mr. Palladino embarked on a mission, as he put it in a memo, to impugn Ms. Flowers’s “character and veracity until she is destroyed beyond all recognition.”

“Every acquaintance, employer and past lover should be located and interviewed,” Mr. Palladino wrote. “She is now a shining icon — telling lies that so far have proved all benefit and no cost — for any other opportunist who may be considering making Clinton a target.”

Mr. Weinstein, the once-powerful movie mogul who was sentenced last March to 23 years in prison for sex crimes, had hired Mr. Palladino’s firm to defend him against accusations of sexual assault, the journalist Ronan Farrow reported in The New Yorker in 2019.

As a part of its work for Weinstein, Mr. Palladino’s firm “created dossiers on both journalists and accusers,” Mr. Farrow reported.
The Morning: Make sense of the day’s news and ideas. David Leonhardt and Times journalists guide you through what’s happening — and why it matters.

According to The New Yorker, Mr. Palladino also worked for the singer R. Kelly, who was arrested in 2019 on federal child pornography and obstruction charges.


Jan. 28

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan,via Getty Images)

daily beast logoDaily Beast, Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell Forced Young Girls Into an Orgy: Court Records, Katie Baker and Allison Quinn, Jan. 28, 2021. A witness “watched Maxwell direct a room full of underage girls to kiss, dance, and touch one another in a sexual way for [her] and Epstein to watch,” newly unsealed documents say.

Jeffrey Epstein’s accused madam Ghislaine Maxwell forced young girls into an orgy while she and Epstein watched, according to newly unsealed documents that detail how the British socialite allegedly recruited underage girls to provide sexual favors for the pedophile financier.

A witness to the depraved activity “testified that he watched Maxwell direct a room full of underage girls to kiss, dance, and touch one another in a sexual way for [her] and Epstein to watch,” the records state. The same unnamed man “was in tears as he recounted [Maxwell] bringing a 15-year-old girl to his employer’s home who, in utmost distress, told him that [Maxwell] stole the young girl’s passport and tried to make her have sex with Epstein and then threatened her.”

The disturbing allegations emerged in thousands of court documents that were unsealed in a lawsuit against Maxwell by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who says the duo loaned her out for sex with powerful men, including Britain’s Prince Andrew. (Maxwell and Andrew have denied her claims. Epstein killed himself in jail in 2019 after being charged with crimes related to the sex trafficking of minors.) The lawsuit was settled in 2017, and a court has since ordered the release of many of the documents under seal, despite Maxwell’s protestations.

The British heiress was nabbed by the FBI in July 2020 while laying low at a swanky New Hampshire hidey-hole and is awaiting trial for having allegedly facilitated Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring.

The unsealed documents paint a portrait of Maxwell at the center of Epstein’s web of abuse.

Jan. 27

leon black jeffrey epstein

Leon Black, left, CEO and co-founder of Apollo Global Management, and the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (file photos).

ny times logoNew York Times, Amid Epstein Revelations, Leon Black Remains Chairman of MoMA, Robin Pogrebin, Jan. 27, 2021. After the disclosure that Mr. Black had paid Jeffrey Epstein $158 million, some have called for his removal.

ny times logoNew York Times, Harvey Weinstein Accusers Agree to $17 Million Settlement, Melena Ryzik and Cara Buckley, Jan. 27, 2021. Some 40 women will harvey weinsteinparticipate in the bankruptcy court agreement, though others who have sued Mr. Weinstein, right, and accused him of sexual abuse have objected to the terms and are considering an appeal.

On Monday, a bankruptcy court judge in Delaware confirmed the settlement deal, clearing the way for dozens of women who say they were sexually assaulted or harassed by Mr. Weinstein to receive a portion of the $17 million victims fund, largely by ending their civil claims against him.

“Eighty-three percent of the victims have expressed very loudly that they want closure through acceptance of this plan,” the bankruptcy judge, Mary F. Walrath, said in a hearing. Nearly 40 women voted last month to accept the terms of the settlement, which would allow their claims to be evaluated and paid out using a point system, potentially putting an end to a lengthy and anguishing process to determine how the numerous women who accused Mr. Weinstein of misconduct might find restitution.

Mr. Weinstein, 68, was sentenced last March to 23 years in prison after being convicted of rape and another felony sex crime in a criminal trial in New York.

Jan. 26

leon black jeffrey epstein

Leon Black, left, CEO and co-founder of Apollo Global Management, and the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (file photos).

ny times logoNew York Times, What Jeffrey Epstein Did to Earn $158 Million From Leon Black, Matthew Goldstein and Steve Eder, Jan. 26, 2021. Mr. Epstein specialized in aggressively pitching ways to minimize paying taxes. And not just to Mr. Black, the private equity chief executive who was his main benefactor in his later years.

He styled himself as a math whiz and “financial doctor” to the rich — even though he was a college dropout who had only a brief tenure at a traditional Wall Street firm. It was said his services were available only to billionaires, whose affairs he handled mostly from a tropical island hideaway.

So what did Jeffrey Epstein do to earn hundreds of millions of dollars from a handful of wealthy clients like the private equity billionaire Leon Black?

The answer: help rich people pay less in taxes.

In the case of Mr. Black, the chief executive of Apollo Global Management, his advice could have been worth as much as $2 billion in savings, according to a law firm’s review of Mr. Black’s business dealings with Mr. Epstein. On Monday, Mr. Black announced that he would step down as Apollo’s chief executive this year after the review found he had paid Mr. Epstein $158 million over five years for his services.

Mr. Epstein’s specialty was suggesting ways for wealthy clients to use sophisticated trusts and other investment vehicles to reduce their tax liability while passing on assets to their children, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times and interviews with 11 people familiar with his work. In the process, he collected hefty fees — usually based on a cut of the anticipated tax savings.

In the years after 2008, when Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to prostitution charges involving a teenage girl, he often advised clients on the use of grantor retained annuity trusts, or GRATs, according to three people familiar with his work.

GRATs are a form of sophisticated trust that broke into the mainstream after a high-profile court fight involving a Walmart heir, and have been used by wealthy people including the father of former President Donald J. Trump, according to published reports. These trusts permit a person to keep collecting income from assets of all kinds — including stocks, real estate and art — and then hand them off to family members without paying the large gift or estate taxes normally associated with such transfers.

One person who did business for Mr. Epstein over the past decade said the disgraced financier’s “biggest thing was GRATs.” The person, who stopped working with Mr. Epstein in 2018 but spoke on the condition of anonymity because he continues to advise wealthy clients, said Mr. Epstein had bragged about using GRATs to save money for a small group of clients, including Mr. Black.

In Mr. Black’s case, according to the review by the law firm Dechert, the savings were enormous: about $1 billion for a single GRAT. Mr. Epstein’s detection of a problem in a trust set up in 2006 and his proposed solution were “the most valuable piece of work” that he performed, the report said.

“Outside legal counsel described the solution as a ‘grand slam,’” according to the Dechert report, which was commissioned at Mr. Black’s request after The Times reported in October that he had paid Mr. Epstein at least $75 million in fees.

The Dechert report — 22 double-spaced pages delivered to Apollo’s board — cleared Mr. Black of any wrongdoing, but he said he would step down as chief executive by the time he turned 70 in July. Another Apollo founder, Marc Rowan, will take over that role, and Mr. Black will remain the company’s chairman. Apollo’s shares were up 7 percent on Tuesday.

Mr. Epstein was compensated for the resolution of the GRAT problem as part of a $23.5 million agreement with Mr. Black in 2013, according to the report. After that, they entered a series of agreements that netted Mr. Epstein more than $100 million more before the two men parted ways in 2018.

Jack Blum, a Washington lawyer who has led corruption investigations for several Senate committees, said he was surprised by the size of the fees Mr. Epstein’s work commanded. “You could be the best lawyer in Manhattan working on the most complicated trusts and estates and it would never come anywhere close to that kind of money,” he said.

ny times logoNew York Times, Deborah Rhode, Who Transformed the Field of Legal Ethics, Dies at 68, Clay Risen, Jan. 26, 2021 (print ed.). A Stanford professor, she pushed the legal profession to confront the ways it failed clients and to be more inclusive of women.

deborah l rhode resizedDeborah L. Rhode, right, a law professor who transformed the field of legal ethics from little more than a crib sheet for passing the bar exam into an empirically rich, morally rigorous investigation into how lawyers should serve the public, died on Jan. 8 at her home in Stanford, Calif. She was 68.

Her husband, Ralph Cavanagh, confirmed her death but said the cause had not yet been determined.

With 30 books and some 200 law review articles to her name, Professor Rhode, who spent over four decades teaching at Stanford, was by far the most-cited scholar in legal ethics, with a work ethic that astounded even her hard-charging colleagues.

“She was done with all her chapters before I started mine,” said David J. Luban, a law professor at Georgetown and one of her co-authors on Legal Ethics, a casebook now in its eighth edition.

To Professor Rhode, the core issues in legal ethics were not about bar association rules, but the politics and interests behind those rules, especially those that limited who could practice law and how lawyers should go about providing services to people who could not afford them.

“In her view, it wasn’t enough to memorize rules or espouse airy principles," said Nora Freeman Engstrom, a fellow law professor at Stanford. “Legal ethics — and legal ethics scholars — would have to refocus on what matters: access to justice, integrity, accountability, and equality.”

Professor Rhode was a relentless critic of the American Bar Association, which she believed was too focused on barriers to entry that undermined innovation and kept legal fees high. Such was her intellectual standing that in 2014 the association nevertheless gave her its Outstanding Scholar Award.

She was equally concerned with issues of gender in the legal profession, a subject she knew well from deep personal experience. As one of a handful of women at Yale Law School in the mid-1970s, and later as only the second woman to receive tenure at Stanford Law School, she found herself constantly harassed, demeaned and excluded by colleagues.

When she arrived at Stanford in 1979, she had wanted to teach gender and the law, but the dean refused, telling her to pick a “real subject,” as she recalled. She agreed to teach contracts instead, but changed her mind two years later when the dean retired and several alumni threw him a party — and invited a stripper.

“I said to hell with contracts,” she later wrote.

But progress on gender-equity issues brought its own complications. As women made their way into law firms and legal faculties, among other professions, during the 1980s and ’90s, it became easy to conclude that sex discrimination had disappeared, or was fast on its way to disappearing — what Professor Rhode referred to as the “no-problem problem.”

One of Professor Rhode’s best known books grew out of an Op-Ed for The New York Times about her distaste for high heels and the social mores that demand women wear them.

Through law review articles and countless opinion pieces in publications like The New York Times, The New Republic and Slate, she documented the barriers that women still faced, among them unconscious bias, unequal pay, lack of mentors, stereotypes and inflexible workplace structures.

Jan. 25

 leon black jeffrey epstein

Leon Black, left, CEO and co-founder of Apollo Global Management, and the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (file photos).

ny times logoNew York Times, Apollo C.E.O. to Step Down After Firm Finds More Payments to Jeffrey Epstein, Matthew Goldstein and Katherine Rosman, Jan. 25, 2021. An inquiry’s finding that Leon Black, the billionaire boss of Apollo Global Management, paid the convicted sex offender $158 million touched off an attempt to remove him.

The founders of Apollo Global Management, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, engaged in a brief power struggle this weekend over control of the firm, a rift that opened up after an inquiry revealed that one founder — Apollo’s chief executive and chairman, Leon Black — had paid more than $150 million jeffrey epstein sex offenderto the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, right.

On Monday, Mr. Black announced his plan to step down as chief executive this year. “I have advised the Apollo board that I will retire as C.E.O. on or before my 70th birthday in July and remain as chairman,” he said in a statement.

The review — ordered by the firm’s board at Mr. Black’s behest in October, after The New York Times detailed at least $75 million in payments — found that Mr. Black had paid Mr. Epstein $158 million in a five-year period ending in 2017. He had also lent Mr. Epstein more than $30 million, only $10 million of which was paid back, the report found.

Mr. Black’s payments effectively bankrolled the lifestyle of Mr. Epstein — whom Mr. Black viewed as a “confirmed bachelor with eclectic tastes,” according to the report — in the years after his 2008 guilty plea in Florida to a prostitution charge involving a teenage girl.

leon black black and whiteAlso, Mr. Black, shown at left in a company photo, believed that Mr. Epstein had “served his time” for that case and deserved a second chance, the report said. It found there was no evidence that Mr. Black had participated in any of Mr. Epstein’s criminal activities, or that Mr. Epstein had ever introduced Mr. Black to any underage girl.

The details of their financial dealings — Mr. Epstein’s advice was worth perhaps $2 billion in tax savings to Mr. Black, according to the report — created friction between Mr. Black and one of Apollo’s other founders, Joshua Harris, according to three people briefed on the discussions. In recent months, Apollo investors had begun openly questioning the financial ties between Mr. Black and Mr. Epstein, who died in 2019.

joshua harris1One of the people said Mr. Harris, right, believed that Mr. Black showed poor judgment in consorting with Mr. Epstein, and that the new findings would further hurt Apollo’s reputation.

Apollo’s board held a videoconference on Sunday to approve the findings of the review, according to two people briefed on the discussions. At the meeting, Mr. Black also announced his plans to step down this year and hand over the chief executive job to Marc Rowan, Apollo’s third founder. Mr. Black intends to remain chairman of the New York firm, which manages $455 billion for institutional investors, including pension plans and sovereign wealth funds.

During a series of meetings on Sunday evening, including with individual board members, Mr. Harris raised objections to Mr. Black’s timeline for stepping down, believing that the reputational threat was so serious that Mr. Black should relinquish the chief executive role without delay, the people said. Mr. Harris also made his case to his co-founders that night in discussions with Apollo’s executive committee — which consists of the three of them.

Mr. Rowan, who built Apollo’s insurance business but had largely stepped away from the firm’s day-to-day operations in recent years, will take over when Mr. Black steps down.

Mr. Black informed Apollo’s clients of the succession plan and the findings of the review in a letter on Monday evening.

Mr. Harris will continue in his current role as a senior managing director, focused on the firm’s financial performance and working closely with Mr. Rowan, according to the letter, the contents of which were reviewed by The Times. The letter also informed clients of other proposed governance changes, including adding four more independent directors. It also laid out Mr. Black’s plan to donate $200 million to charities that support gender equality and fight sex trafficking.

Jan. 19

washington post logoWashington Post, Mets fire GM Jared Porter after ESPN details lewd, harassing texts to female reporter, Dave Sheinin and Cindy Boren, Jan. 19, 2021. Mets owner Steven Cohen said "there should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior" in announcing the firing. Porter admitting to sending a sexually explicit image among the texts.

major league baseball mlb logoThe New York Mets moved swiftly Tuesday morning to fire their new general manager, Jared Porter, less than 12 hours after ESPN reported he had sent inappropriate text messages and pictures, including one of an erect penis, to a female reporter in 2016.

Mets owner Steve Cohen announced the firing himself in a tweet. Cohen became the Mets’ majority owner in November — promising accountability and integrity for an organization that had often lacked both — while Porter, 41, was hired as GM in December.

“In my initial press conference I spoke about the importance of integrity and I meant it,” Cohen wrote on Twitter. “There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”

Major League Baseball plans to open an investigation into Porter’s actions, a person familiar with those plans confirmed Tuesday. That investigation, first reported by USA Today, could result in a leaguewide suspension for Porter that would require him to petition for reinstatement if he hoped to work in baseball again.

Jan. 18

washington post logoWashington Post, Attorney Roberta Kaplan is about to make Trump’s life extremely difficult, Karen Heller, Jan. 18, 2021. On the other side of Donald Trump’s turbulent presidency, the lawyers are waiting.

Leaving aside his Senate impeachment trial, mounting government investigations include a civil probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James, right, a criminal letitia james o headshotprobe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., and a federal probe by acting U.S. Attorney for D.C. Michael Sherwin that may include Trump’s role in the catastrophic storming of the U.S. Capitol this month.

But already pending for the soon-to-be South Florida retiree is a trio of lawsuits that allege defamation, fraud and more fraud — all of which are helmed by one attorney.

Roberta Kaplan’s clients include writer E. Jean Carroll, left, who filed a defamation case after Trump claimed she was “totally lying” about her e jean carrollallegation that he raped her a quarter-century ago in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, and niece Mary L. Trump, who claims that Trump and two of his siblings deprived her of an inheritance worth millions.

“I became the go-to person to sue the president,” says Kaplan, 54, with considerable relish.

She is in many ways the ideal legal adversary to take on Trump. Kaplan is a brash and original strategist, with neither a gift for patience nor silence, a crusader for underdogs who has won almost every legal accolade imaginable. Kaplan, says New York Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in an email, “has been indispensable in the fight against the cancer of hate and division that Trump spent four years exacerbating.”

Before the presidency, Trump was often as engaged in legal tussles as he was in real estate, suing and threatening to sue his way out of financial trouble. With a return to private life, “his terror is that he will no longer be protected by the office and will have to deal with these lawsuits,” says his niece. Trump faces the prospect of spending considerable time in the role of defendant. Kaplan says she will seek to depose him in all three cases. Trump’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comment on the cases in this story.

Jan. 12

ny times logoNew York Times, Supreme Court Revives Abortion-Pill Restriction, Adam Liptak, Jan. 12, 2021. In the Supreme Court’s first ruling on abortion since the arrival of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the court on Tuesday reinstated a federal requirement that women seeking to end their pregnancies using medications pick up a pill in person from a hospital or medical office.

supreme court graphicThe court’s brief order was unsigned, and the three more liberal justices dissented. The only member of the majority to offer an explanation was Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who said the ruling was a limited one that deferred to the views of experts.

The question, he wrote, was not whether the requirement imposed “an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion as a general matter.” Instead, he wrote, it was whether a federal judge should have second-guessed the Food and Drug Administration’s determination “because of the court’s own evaluation of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Here as in related contexts concerning government responses to the pandemic,” the chief justice wrote, quoting an earlier opinion, “my view is that courts owe significant deference to the politically accountable entities with the ‘background, competence and expertise to assess public health.’”

In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Elena Kagan, said the majority was grievously wrong.

“This country’s laws have long singled out abortions for more onerous treatment than other medical procedures that carry similar or greater risks,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “Like many of those laws, maintaining the F.D.A.’s in-person requirements” for picking up the drug “during the pandemic not only treats abortion exceptionally, it imposes an unnecessary, irrational and unjustifiable undue burden on women seeking to exercise their right to choose.”

She suggested that the next administration should revisit the issue.

“One can only hope that the government will reconsider and exhibit greater care and empathy for women seeking some measure of control over their health and reproductive lives in these unsettling times,” Justice Sotomayor wrote.

Judge Theodore D. Chuang, of the Federal District Court in Maryland, had blocked the requirement in light of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that a needless trip to a medical facility during a health crisis very likely imposed an undue burden on the constitutional right to abortion.

The case concerned a restriction on medication abortions, which are permitted in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. About 60 percent of abortions performed in those weeks use two drugs rather than surgery.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other groups, all represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued to suspend the requirement that women make a trip to obtain the first drug in light of the pandemic. There was no good reason, the groups said, to require a visit when the drug could be delivered or mailed.

ny times logoNew York Times, Columbia Settles a Complicated Sexual Assault Case, Anemona Hartocollis, Jan. 12, 2021. The university restored the diploma of the accused man, but stands by its initial findings against him.

It began as a night of drinking and flirtation between two Columbia University classmates four years ago. It turned into a federal lawsuit with unusually detailed documentation.

And now it has ended in a settlement that underscores the contentiousness of the national debate over campus sexual misconduct cases, a debate that the incoming Biden administration is expected to join soon as it considers whether to overhaul federal sexual assault policies.

Under the settlement filed on Dec. 23, Columbia has restored the diploma of Ben Feibleman, whom a three-member university panel had found responsible for sexually assaulting a female classmate. It has also agreed to pay him an undisclosed cash award and to send a statement to prospective employers describing him as an alumnus in good standing, Mr. Feibleman’s lawyer and a spokesman for the university said.

The case is unusual because Mr. Feibleman willingly sued under his own name, rather than a pseudonym, and because he had made a 30-minute audiotape of the sexual encounter. That recording became a centerpiece of his defense.

In a statement, Columbia said that it had not withdrawn its findings against Mr. Feibleman even though it had settled with him. And the accuser, who has not been identified in court papers, continues to say that an assault took place. But Mr. Feibleman’s lawyer, Kimberly Lau, said: “We consider this a victory.”

The case spanned two presidential administrations and now may have implications for a third. It paints a picture of a campus culture in which students have become hyper-aware of the rules of academic sexual misconduct and worry about how every intimate encounter is going to look down the road.

The complaint against Mr. Feibleman was filed in the fall of 2016 during the Obama administration, whose campus sexual assault policies broadly favored believing the accusers, who are usually women. Those policies were in effect through the adjudication of the case by Columbia.

In the background was the presidential campaign, during which a tape surfaced of Donald J. Trump, the Republican candidate for president, boasting about forcing himself on women. Columbia had also in the recent past received widespread media attention from the case of Emma Sulkowicz, who carried a mattress around the campus as a piece of performance art to protest what she said had been her rape by a fellow student, whom Columbia cleared.
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Columbia issued its verdict against Mr. Feibleman in June 2017, declining to give him his diploma. He filed a federal suit against the university in May 2019. That suit was settled after the Trump administration had adopted a regulation to give more due process protections to the accused, generally men, effective in August.

Now, the incoming administration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to consider whether to try to dismantle the Trump administration’s rules.



Dec. 19

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial:, Fire Robert Wilkie, Editorial Board, Dec. 19, 2020 (print ed.). The Department of Veterans Affairs secretary no longer has the trust of those who served. All major American veterans’ organizations have called for the ouster of Robert Wilkie, right, as secretary of veterans affairs over the robert wilkie vashameless treatment by him and his senior staff of a veteran who says she was sexually assaulted. When men and women who served in uniform speak almost with one voice, it is not politics, as Mr. Wilkie would have it, but the will of the people he is meant to serve.

The case is straightforward. In September 2019, Andrea Goldstein, a Navy veteran, Reserve intelligence officer and staff member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, reported to the police that while in the main lobby of the V.A. Medical Center in Washington, a man “bumped his entire body against mine and told me I looked like I needed a smile and a good time.”

The response from Mr. Wilkie and his senior staff was to start trying to smear Ms. Goldstein, even though the man who assaulted her was a contractor with a criminal record and there had been persistent problems of harassment reported by women at the medical center.

ny times logoNew York Times, Epstein Associate Is Charged With Rape of Minors in France, Constant Méheut, Dec. 19, 2020. A former French modeling agent who jean luc brunelwas a close associate of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein has been charged with rape of minors over the age of 15 and sexual harassment, the Paris prosecutor said on Saturday.

The associate, Jean-Luc Brunel, 74, right, is also under investigation on suspicion of human trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation, according to the Paris prosecutor, Rémi Heitz. “He is suspected of having committed rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment on various victims, both minors and adults, and in particular of having organized the transportation and lodging for girls and young women on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein,” the prosecutor said.

The indictment of Mr. Brunel, who has been placed in pretrial detention, is a significant development in a broader inquiry that Paris prosecutors opened in August 2019 to uncover potential offenses committed either in France or against French victims abroad in connection with the Epstein scandal.

Dec. 17

 virginia roberts giuffres st tropaz naomi cambpell

Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, recruited by Mar-a-Lago member Jeffrey Epstein's operation from her work as a towel girl at poolside at the Trump-owned club in Florida, is shown in her travels at a party in St. Tropez in bygone days with such society figures as model Naomi Campbell, top right, and Epstein's friend, sex partner and alleged recruiter, Ghislaine Maxwell, back to camer at upper right. Maxwell is seeking release from pre-trial custody for the holidays pending trial on sex trafficking charges next summer.

New York Post, Jeffrey Epstein’s modeling agent pal Jean-Luc Brunel detained in Paris, Rebecca Rosenberg, Dec. 17, 2020. Jean-Luc Brunel, model-scout pal of late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, has been taken into custody in France for questioning on suspicion of raping and trafficking minors, Paris prosecutors said.

jean luc brunelBrunel, who was being investigated as part of a French probe into the sexual abuse of women and girls by Epstein and his friends, was picked up Wednesday at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, officials said. He was about to board a flight to Dakar, Senegal, the Guardian reported.

Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre alleges that Brunel, 74, had once “gifted” the late financier three 12-year-old French girls from poor families for his birthday.

She alleged that Brunel bought them in Paris from their parents, promising to promote their modeling careers, then shipped them to New York to be sexually abused by Epstein. They were allegedly returned to France the following day.

Giuffre, who has claimed she was coerced into being Epstein’s “sex slave,” made the disturbing disclosure in court papers.

Brunel’s lawyer has previously said he denies the allegations. He has been dogged by sexual abuse claims for decades. Ghislaine Maxwell introduced Brunel to Epstein in the 1980s, according to the Guardian. Maxwell was arrested in July on charges she recruited girls and women to be abused by her and Epstein. She has pleaded not guilty.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump can delay providing DNA sample if he turns over other evidence, accuser tells court, Shayna Jacobs, Dec. 17, 2020. Lawyers for author E. Jean Carroll, below at left, who accused President Trump of raping her years ago and now is suing him for defamation, told a federal court Thursday that she is willing to delay her effort to collect his testimony and DNA in exchange for faster access to other records that relate to her case.

e jean carrollThe surprise concession comes as the Justice Department continues its fight to represent the president, even though Trump’s days in office are rapidly drawing to a close. The department’s civil division is appealing a ruling by U.S. District Judge A. Lewis Kaplan that excluded its controversial intervention in the case.

Kaplan rejected the theory that Trump should be treated as a regular federal employee covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act, and that disparaging Carroll was conduct within the scope of his employment.

Carroll’s legal team in a filing Thursday proposed proceeding with discovery while the Justice Department appeals Kaplan’s ruling, but said it would consent to waiting until the appeal is decided to depose the outgoing president and to collect a DNA sample from him. Trump’s side has proposed halting all proceedings until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit delivers its finding — a process that could take months.

Carroll says she has the dress she wore when she was allegedly assaulted by Trump in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan in the 1990s and her team expects to compare DNA found on the dress to Trump’s genetic sample. Trump has adamantly denied the encounter.

Dec. 15

Reuters, Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard indicted in U.S. on sex trafficking charges, Rod Nickel and Jonathan Stempel, Dec. 15, 2020. The Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard was charged on Tuesday with sex trafficking, racketeering and other crimes targeting dozens of women and underage girls over a quarter century in three countries, U.S. authorities said.

peter nygard 2016Canadian police arrested Nygard, shown in a 2016 file photo, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Monday at the U.S. government’s request under the countries’ extradition treaty.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan said Nygard, 79, had since 1995 used his influence and businesses to “recruit and maintain” victims in the United States, Canada and the Bahamas to sexually gratify himself and his associates.

“Mr. Nygard vehemently denies all the allegations and expects to be vindicated in court,” his lawyer Jay Prober said.

Nygard wore a white face mask, a gray sweatshirt and sweatpants, with his long white hair pulled back in a bun, at an initial appearance in a Winnipeg courtroom.

He was led away while wearing handcuffs and leg chains. Nygard plans to seek bail, and his next scheduled hearing is on Jan. 13, 2021.

Nygard also faces class-action civil litigation in Manhattan by 57 unnamed women accusing him of sexual misconduct. He has denied wrongdoing.

Born in Finland, Nygard grew up in Manitoba, eventually running his own namesake clothing companies and becoming one of Canada’s wealthiest people.

Authorities said that victims were assaulted by Nygard or his associates, with some drugged to ensure they met his sexual demands, and that Nygard often targeted victims who came from disadvantaged backgrounds or had suffered abuse.

Dec. 10

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: ‘Take off your mask’: Boorish customers have found a way to make sexual harassment even more of a hazard, Monica Hesse, Dec. 10, 2020. The upside to wearing a mask at work was that at least it would curtail the harassment. As a server, Sandy Tran was used to unwanted comments on her appearance, but the coronavirus precautions enforced by her Dallas restaurant now required full-time face coverage — a literal barrier between Tran and creepy customers.

Then she heard the first iteration of what would become a refrain:

“Take off your mask,” the diner instructed her while she took his order one afternoon. “I want to see your beautiful smile.”

“If I do it, it makes me seem like I have no respect for myself,” Tran thought, weighing her options. “But if I don’t, he’s going to leave me a bad tip.” Before the pandemic, Tran could make $200 a night. Now she often went hours into her shift without seating a single customer, and her base pay was $2.13 an hour. She needed the money. So from a six-foot distance, she pulled down her mask. She felt “like a circus animal,” standing there while the customer pressed her to tell him her ethnicity, saying she was a “beautiful mix.”

Dec. 8

Attorney Mark Anderl, his wife, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and their son, Daniel Anderl

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: My Son Was Killed Because I’m a Federal Judge, Esther Salas (shown above with her son and husband, a United States District Court judge for the District of New Jersey who sits in Newark), Dec. 8, 2020. Protecting judges is essential to our families, and our democracy.

“Let’s keep talking; I love talking to you, Mom.” Those were the last words spoken to me by my only child, Daniel, as we cleaned up the basement from his birthday festivities. He was still glowing from a glorious weekend at home with his parents and friends.

Then the doorbell rang. Daniel raced up the stairs. Seconds later, as I stood alone in our basement, my beloved son was shot to death. Mark Anderl, my husband of 25 years was shot three times and critically injured.

This tragedy, every mother’s worst nightmare, happened for a reason wholly unrelated to either my husband or my son, but because of my job: I am a United States District Court judge. A lawyer who had appeared before me was angered by the pace of a lawsuit he had filed in my court. He came to my home seeking revenge.

My attacker sought to hurt me but his ire, and his focus, were not unique. Federal judges are at risk from other would-be attackers.

The threat to judges is intensifying. Security incidents targeting judges and other personnel who play integral roles in federal court cases rose to 4,449 threats and inappropriate communications in 2019, from 926 such incidents in 2015, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

roy den hollander esther salasIn my case, Roy Den Hollander [shown at right with the judge in file photos), a New York lawyer who had filed a suit against the male-only military draft, harbored deadly grudges.

On July 11, 2020, he killed a lawyer in California. Eight days later, he came to our door and killed Daniel. Too late, I learned that he had often described himself as “anti-feminist.” In a self-published memoir, he described me as “a lazy and incompetent Latina judge appointed by Obama.”

For judges and their families, better security is a matter of life and death. But its importance goes beyond our well-being alone. For our nation’s sake, judicial security is essential. Federal judges must be free to make their decisions, no matter how unpopular, without fear of harm. The federal government has a responsibility to protect all federal judges because our safety is foundational to our great democracy.


Dec. 7

washington post logoWashington Post, The NFL probe of D.C’s football team has uncovered a years-old confidential settlement. A former team lawyer wants it kept secret, Beth Reinhard, Liz Clarke and Will Hobson, Dec. 7, 2020. An emergency motion filed Monday said Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder plans to intervene in a legal dispute over which details surrounding the settlement, from a decade ago, can become public.

The NFL’s investigation into allegations of workplace sexual harassment at the Washington Football Team uncovered a confidential settlement from a decade ago, court records show, and an emergency motion filed Monday said team owner Daniel Snyder plans to intervene in a legal dispute over which beth wilkinsondetails surrounding the settlement can become public.

nfl logoThe name of the complainant in the settlement, that person’s job and the nature of the allegations have not been made public, but the available records show lawyer Beth Wilkinson, left, who is leading the league’s probe into the team’s workplace, encountering resistance from the team’s former lawyer.

David P. Donovan, who served as the team’s general counsel from 2005 to 2011, sued Wilkinson last month in federal court in Virginia to stop her from disclosing information pertaining to a 2009 confidential agreement to which Donovan is a party. In the suit filed Nov. 9, Donovan sought to keep private all court records, including any public notice of the lawsuit itself, arguing that making the proceedings public would “undermine public confidence in the enforceability of confidential agreements between private parties.” That request was denied Nov. 17.

Dec. 4

  donald trump ny daily pussy

New allegations echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Then and Now: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: E. Jean Carroll should get to make her case against Trump, Colbert I. King, Dec. 4, 2020. The full list of Trump administration actions that President-elect Joe Biden plans to undo is not publicly known. But one item ripe for reversal is the free pass that Trump’s Justice Department concocted to get the president out of a most undesirable situation.

e jean carrollFirst, the situation, as described in the Oct. 26 opinion of U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in the case of E. Jean Carroll v. Donald J. Trump in Trump’s personal capacity.

It’s worth quoting Kaplan at length here: “According to the complaint, Mr. Trump, then a private citizen, encountered Ms. Carroll (shown above left and below right) at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan some time between the e jean carroll headshotfall of 1995 and the spring of 1996.....She claims that she pushed Mr. Trump away and laughed at him, and that he then pressed her against the wall once more, pulled down her tights, and forcibly raped her for several minutes until she managed to push him off and flee the store.”

This allegation was described in Carroll’s 2019 book, What Do We Need Men For? It first came to light when an excerpt of the book was published in New York magazine that June.

e jean carroll cover new york magazineWhen the account was published, Trump — president at that time, of course — told the media that Carroll had made up the story in order to sell books. Trump said he had never met her.

Carroll, in turn, contended that Trump had falsely accused her of lying. She said that his words injured her reputation, entitling her to damages. Carroll sued him for defamation in a New York State Court.

Thus we had a routine lawsuit between two people in conflict — Trump being defended as a private individual and represented by his personal lawyers — with our sturdy system of civil litigation well equipped to adjudicate the dispute.

Did those possibilities serve to concentrate Trump’s mind? We can’t know how things played out behind the scenes, but in September, Attorney General William P. Barr’s Justice Department took the unusual step of intervening in the case.


Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan,via Getty Images)

Law & Crime, Ghislaine Maxwell Wants to Be Home for the Holidays in Renewed Bail Application, Adam Klasfeld, Dec. 4., 2020. Four days before Christmas, Ghislaine Maxwell wants to appear in federal court for another chance to seek bail before trial, amid a coronavirus scare in her pre-trial federal lockup. She lost her initial bid to post bail earlier this year.

“The defense respectfully requests that the hearing take place before the holidays and the government is amenable to that schedule,” her lawyer Christian R. Everdell wrote in a two page letter, requesting that a renewed bail hearing be held on Dec. 21.

Late last month, Maxwell was placed under quarantine by officials inside Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center after a staffer in her area of the jail contracted COVID-19.

“Specifically, on November 18, 2020, the defendant was tested for COVID-19 using a rapid test, which was negative,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey disclosed five days after the incident. “That same day, the defendant was placed in quarantine.”

Maxwell’s attorney Bobbi Sternheim complained shortly after that their client is being treated worse than a terrorist.

“Ms. Maxwell is a non-violent,exemplary pretrial detainee with no criminal history, no history of violence, no history of mental health issues or suicidal ideation,” Sternheim wrote. “She is overmanaged under conditions more restrictive than inmates housed in 10South, the most restrictive unit in the MCC; or individuals convicted of terrorism and capital murder and incarcerated at FCI Florence ADMAX, the most restrictive facility operated by the BOP.”

Maxwell’s legal team asked for another chance to let their client out on bail, having lost a similar effort back in July.

Back then, prosecutors depicted Maxwell as living a life on the lam, traveling frequently with three passports, owning more than a dozen bank accounts, traveling under assumed alter egos, and entering into a secret marriage that she would not disclose to prosecutors.

Citing Maxwell risk of flight, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan balked at release with the warning: “The risks are simply too great,” following a hearing where the British socialite pleaded not guilty to six charges of grooming and abusing Epstein’s victims and lying about it under oath.

 Dec. 3

washington post logoWashington Post, Robert Kraft dodged charges from prostitution sting. The Orchids of Asia employees did not, Matt Bonesteel, Dec. 3, 2020.  Robert Kraft still could be punished by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

robert kraft twitterIn September, prosecutors in Florida dropped misdemeanor prostitution charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft after a state appeals court ruled that footage of Kraft (shown on his Twitter photo) from a police-installed video camera inside the nfl logoOrchids of Asia spa had been obtained using unconstitutional methods and would be inadmissible at trial.

The case didn’t end there, however. Three Orchids of Asia employees, including two women Kraft was accused of patronizing, have pleaded guilty to prostitution-related charges. They must pay thousands of dollars in fines, court fees and cash forfeitures and face months of probation. One other employee already had pleaded guilty in February and was sentenced to the 60 days she had spent in custody awaiting an outcome of her case.



Nov. 30

ny times logoNew York Times, TV Review: Which Nxivm Show Is Better? An Expert Investigates, Barry Meier, Nov. 30, 20200 (print ed.). The reporter who broke the story of the cult for The New York Times thought he was done with Nxivm. But he couldn’t resist seeing how “The Vow” and “Seduced” compared with his own experiences.

“The Vow” on HBO and “Seduced” on Starz have a combined running time of 13 hours. I make cameos in both shows as the reporter for The New York Times who in 2017 broke the story about Nxivm (pronounced Nex-e-um), and had fast forwarded through them to check out how good I looked. (Quite good, it turns out.)

The Nxivm story was bizarre and sickening. The group, which was based near Albany, N.Y., offered “self-improvement” courses, claiming they would help participants overcome fears and realize their potential. But Nxivm was a misogynistic, mind-control cult whose adherents referred to its leader, Keith Raniere, as “Vanguard,” and where women who joined a secret sorority were branded with a symbol containing his initials. Over the past two years, several Nxivm officials have pleaded guilty to federal charges and Raniere, following his conviction for sex trafficking and other crimes, was recently sentenced to 120 years in prison.

I’d had my fill of Nxivm. But the documentaries have become pandemic TV hits and, given my role in them, plenty of people have offered me their opinions of the shows. They have included friends and acquaintances I wouldn’t have expected to spend evenings absorbed by a sex cult. Then, my interest was further piqued when Apatow tweeted, “I may need to do a 300 hour podcast to explain why The Vow goes so much easier on the NXIVM cult than Seduced.”

I decided to watch the documentaries more closely to see how their depictions of Nxivm jibed with my impressions. They struck me as starkly different from each other. “The Vow” resembles a crime show that follows several Nxivm defectors and the actress Catherine Oxenberg, whose daughter India became a member of the cult, in real time as they try to alert law enforcement authorities to its horrors. “Seduced,” in which the Oxenbergs are the central characters, is a study of the coercive techniques used by cults and delves deeply into the abuse that Nxivm visited on its female members.

I watched “The Vow” first because I played a part in its story. I learned about Nxivm from the two filmmakers, Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, who would go on to direct the show. The couple had previously made “The Square,” a well-received documentary about the Arab Spring, and we met in 2016 when they approached me about making a documentary based on a book I had written about a former FBI agent, Robert A. Levinson, who disappeared in Iran.

Nov. 26

washington post logoWashington Post, Sex crime ringleader who blackmailed dozens of women is jailed for 40 years in South Korea, Min Joo Kim, Nov. 26, 2020. Over nine months starting in spring 2019, Cho Ju-bin lured his victims — whom he called "slaves" — with calculated precision.

From his home in Seoul’s suburbs, the 25-year-old orchestrated one of South Korea’s most infamous sex crimes. Under an online alias as the “Doctor,” he blackmailed at least 74 young women, including minors, into sharing sexually explicit videos of themselves, then sold the footage online through a chat group on the encrypted app Telegram.

On Thursday, a court convicted Cho of organizing a crime ring and violating child protection laws, and jailed him for 40 years.

The case fueled a national outcry in South Korea over what has emerged as a major societal problem: men secretly recording sexually explicit footage of women, or blackmailing their victims into doing so, and then selling the material online.

It’s a crisis fueled by a lack of respect for women in Korean society and a culture of impunity, exemplified by weak laws against digital sex crimes and often low penalties for sex offenders.

Nov. 20

washington post logoWashington Post, Boy Scouts must settle 95,000 abuse claims by next summer — or risk running out of cash, Samantha Schmidt, Nov. 20, 2020 (print ed.). The staggering volume of claims exceeded expectations of the victims’ lawyers and complicates the Boy Scouts’ struggle to emerge from bankruptcy amid a pandemic.

Nov. 14

Miami Herald, Investigation: FBI wanted to arrest Epstein while he was judging a beauty pageant. The plan was overruled, Ben Wieder and Kevin G. Hall, Nov. 14, miami herald logo2020. A Justice Department look-back report into its abortive 2008 prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein found that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had planned to arrest Jeffrey Epstein in May 2007, but pulled back after the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, led by former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, frowned on the plan.

The report also concludes that Epstein wasn’t assisting the federal government in prosecuting Wall Street traders behind the collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns or serving as an “intelligence asset,” long rumored to be reasons for his notoriously lenient treatment.

That determination raises questions about an FBI document that seems to identify Epstein as providing information to the bureau.

Buried in a 350-page report by the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) — obtained by McClatchy and the Miami Herald — are references to a story that said Epstein was given a lighter sentence and avoided federal prosecution because he cooperated with authorities on other matters.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderThat was an “urban myth” federal prosecutor Ann Marie Villafaña told her superiors at the time, according to the new DOJ report, which said it found no evidence that he was a government witness.

It would seem at odds with a declassified FBI document, dated Sept. 18, 2008, in which the agency was closing out a forfeiture proceeding as part of a deal that allowed Epstein to be prosecuted on the state level and avoid more severe punishment by federal prosecutors.

“Epstein has also provided information to the FBI as agreed upon. Case agent advised that no federal prosecution will occur in this matter as long as Epstein continues to uphold his agreement with the State of Florida,” reads the declassified document. The document cited Epstein and child prostitution.

The document has led to the view that Epstein served as an informant. The OPR report, whose executive summary was made public Thursday, does not rule out that possibility but said it found no evidence of that status in relation to the Florida prosecution.

The report found that Acosta exercised poor judgment in reaching a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein, an agreement that allowed a more lenient state prosecution instead. It also faulted Acosta for failing to ensure that Epstein’s victims would be notified of developments in the case. Epstein would go on to plead guilty in June 2008 to two solicitation counts, one involving a minor, in Florida state court and serve 13 months in the private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade, allowed to leave and work from his West Palm Beach office up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

perversion of justice miami herald logoThe report shows that Villafaña, a federal prosecutor in the West Palm Beach office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Southern Florida, submitted an 82-page prosecution memorandum on May 1, 2007, for her superiors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Acosta, proposing a 60-count indictment against Epstein for sex crimes against minors.

In a statement to the Herald on Thursday, she hinted at how she was thwarted and expressed disappointment the Justice Department didn’t publicly release the full document.

The Herald and McClatchy later obtained the full report, and it shows she planned to file charges by May 15, 2007, and the FBI had been hoping to arrest Epstein soon after at a beauty pageant in the Virgin Islands, where Epstein was serving as a judge, a fact first published by NBC News.

But Villafaña’s superiors in the Southern District of Florida, notably Jeffrey Sloman, Acosta’s top deputy, and Matthew Menchel, the chief of the office’s criminal division, pushed back on her efforts to file charges, arguing that they needed more time to evaluate her sentencing memorandum and wondering why she was in a “rush.” Sloman could not immediately be reached by the Herald.

Villafaña told the report’s authors that her reasons for wanting to rush were to prevent Epstein from abusing more girls.

Background: 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

New York Post, Epstein’s attorney dated the prosecutor in trial where he got sweetheart deal: report, Paula Froelich, Nov. 14, 2020.  It was a sweetheart deal that has baffled the world — how, in 2008, Jeffrey Epstein was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser felony prostitution charge, register as a sex offender and serve just 13 months in a county jail where he could come and go during the day, despite several underage victims testifying he raped them.

It’s now been revealed that one of Epstein’s defense attorneys previously dated one of the top prosecutors on the deal.

Lilly Ann Sanchez “was a member of Epstein’s defense team in 2008 when he was facing a potential federal indictment and life imprisonment for sexually abusing dozens of girls between 1999 and 2007,” according to the Daily Mail.

Sanchez had also dated Matthew Menchel, one of the prosecutors who worked on the plea deal.

The romance came to light after the Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) issued a report this week slamming the Florida prosecutors for “poor judgement” in the pedo-perv’s deal.

Sanchez and Manchel dated in 2003 when they were both employed at the Southern District of Florida’s US Attorney’s Office. They later broke up but never disclosed the relationship while both worked on the Epstein deal.

The report says Menchel had left the office before the Epstein case was resolved. Menchel told Justice Department investigators during the probe that his relationship with Sanchez had no impact on his handling of the case.

“Letting a well-connected billionaire get away with child rape and international sex trafficking isn’t ‘poor judgment — it is a disgusting failure,” Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said in a statement released on Thursday. “Americans ought to be enraged … Epstein should be rotting behind bars today, but the Justice Department failed Epstein’s victims at every turn.”

Epstein was found hanging in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan last August while awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges. Epstein’s right hand woman, Ghislaine Maxwell, is currently in jail until her sex trafficking trial next summer.

Nov. 10

washington post logoWashington Post, Vatican says John Paul II knew of allegations against ex-cardinal McCarrick years before his removal, Chico Harlan, Nov. 10, 2020. Read the full Vatican report on former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. A Vatican report examining the career of Theodore McCarrick says that Pope John Paul II had been informed that the then-bishop shared a bed with young men but decided nonetheless to appoint McCarrick to new and powerful positions within the church.

theodore mccarrickProviding unprecedented detail into a major abuse case, the report shows how the church again and again received clues about McCarrick’s misconduct with young adults, but either dismissed them as unsubstantiated or chose to listen to McCarrick’s own defense.

McCarrick, left, who was defrocked last year after the abuse of minors also came to light, wrote a letter to John Paul II’s personal secretary in 2000 in which he said he had never had sexual relations with any person. Months later, the pontiff appointed McCarrick as archbishop of Washington.

In its fact-finding prior to that appointment, the Vatican was also misled by several U.S. bishops who did not come clean with what they knew about McCarrick. They said McCarrick had shared a bed with young men, but they did not indicate with certainty that McCarrick had engaged in sexual misconduct.

Nov. 9

ny times logoNew York Times, Kansas Democrat Who Admitted to Revenge Porn Wins State House Seat, Christina Morales, Nov. 8, 2020. Now, state party leaders are looking to replace the representative-elect, Aaron Coleman.

Aaron Coleman’s election to the Kansas House of Representatives would have been remarkable for a young candidate trying to unseat an incumbent. But it has instead left state Democratic leaders saying that they will take “every necessary step” to ensure that Mr. Coleman is not seated in the State Legislature.

aaron coleman twitterMr. Coleman’s campaign over the summer was overshadowed by his admissions that he had sent revenge porn and bullied girls online in middle school.

In August, Mr. Coleman, right, 20, won a Democratic primary against a seven-term incumbent, Stan Frownfelter, by 14 votes. Mr. Coleman initially planned to withdraw as his party’s nominee but then ran in the general election. Mr. Frownfelter ran as a write-in candidate in the general election and lost, The Kansas City Star reported.

“I want to let my policy viewpoints to be what people know me for,” Mr. Coleman said in an email on Saturday.

Nov. 4

ny times logoNew York Times, Madison Cawthorn Wins in North Carolina, Becoming Youngest Republican Elected to House, Maggie Astor, Updated Nov. 4, 2020. The 25-year-old kept the solidly conservative seat in G.O.P. hands after his race had become unexpectedly competitive when he was accused of sexual misconduct and racism.

Madison Cawthorn won North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District on Tuesday, defeating the former Air Force colonel Moe Davis and keeping the conservative seat in Republican hands after a race that became unexpectedly competitive when Mr. Cawthorn was accused of racism and sexual misconduct.

Mr. Cawthorn, whose victory was called by The Associated Press, is the youngest Republican ever elected to Congress, and the youngest person of any party elected to it in more than 50 years. He turned 25, the minimum age to serve in the House, in August.

When he won the Republican primary in June — upsetting the candidate endorsed by the Republican establishment and by former Representative Mark Meadows, who had vacated the seat to become President Trump’s chief of staff — Mr. Cawthorn was considered all but a lock to win in November. The district, after all, is solidly conservative, and his personal story was compelling: He was partly paralyzed in a car crash when he was 18, and he presented himself as a fresh face who could bring a new generational perspective to the Republican Party.

But news reports soon uncovered a misrepresentation in how he cast his story: He had said that his dreams of attending the United States Naval Academy had been derailed by his car crash, but the academy had actually rejected him before the crash.

Other reports noted social media posts he had made, in which he referred to Hitler as “the Fuhrer” and said that visiting Hitler’s vacation home in Germany had been on his “bucket list,” and that it “did not disappoint.” Multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. And last month, he created a website attacking a journalist for working “for nonwhite males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.”

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion:The world has seen this nightmare before, Wayne Madsen, left, Nov. 4, 2020. Voter suppression and intimidation resulted in what all the "predictions" had augured, an outright electoral victory was declared for a far-right and nationalist bloc. At two o'clock in the morning, with 90 percent of the vote counted, the far-right and nationalist bloc was declared wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallthe victor. Out of 648 seats in the national legislature, the far-right and nationalist bloc received a total of 341 or 52 percent.

The leader of the rightist bloc claimed immediate victory. Just as Donald Trump is trying to manipulate himself into a second term as U.S. president after a concerted campaign of voter suppression, mail-in ballot interference, and intimidation of voters, Adolf Hitler capped off his campaign victory by declaring that he had a popular mandate to scrap Germany's democracy in favor of authoritarian rule. Of course, Hitler's victory, after acts of violence committed by his followers on peaceful citizens, was a morally shallow one.

Make no mistake about it. What occurred in the morning of March 6, 1933 in Berlin was not much different than Trump, the son of a Nazi intelligence plant in New York City and other locations in the 1930s and 40s, declaring in the early morning hours of November 4, 2020 a premature victory in an election that had millions of ballots remaining to be counted.

djt smiling fileBy March 12, Hitler had added the Steel Helmets and Nazi Storm Troopers to the ranks of the police. Across the United States, police and pro-Trump militias and white nationalist provocateurs have been witnessed as comrades-in-arms.

The Nazi government also set out to purge the German Civil Service of all those who entered government service after 1918 and were not Nazi loyalists. Mr. Trump had ordered a similar purge of the U.S. Civil Service of non-Trump loyalists a few weeks prior to the November 3 election.

Today, there is no FDR to help guide the nation through economic and political turmoil. There is only a menacing Donald Trump, who has vowed to remain in power at all costs and with, perhaps, thousands of vigilantes, police, and armed militia gangs to enforce his every dictate.



Oct. 27

ny times logoNew York Times, Judge Rejects Bid to Shield Trump From Carroll Lawsuit, Alan Feuer and Benjamin Weiser, Oct. 27, 2020. A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that President Trump can be personally sued for defamation in connection with his denial while in office of a decades-old rape allegation.

The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court in Manhattan, rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to step into the case and defend the president, and his ruling means that, for the moment, a lawsuit by the writer E. Jean Carroll can move forward against Mr. Trump, in his capacity as a private citizen.

e jean carrollMs. Carroll (shown at left and in a file photo below right) has accused Mr. Trump of raping her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s. Her lawsuit claims he harmed her reputation when he denied the attack last year and branded her a liar.

Last month, the Justice Department abruptly intervened on Mr. Trump’s behalf in the suit, which had been filed in state court in New York, citing a law designed to protect federal employees against litigation stemming from the performance of their duties.

e jean carroll twitterUnder that law, the Federal Tort Claims Act, the department sought to move Ms. Carroll’s suit to federal court and to substitute the United States for Mr. Trump as the defendant — a move that would have likely led to the dismissal of the charges.

While the Justice Department has used the law to shield members of Congress from being sued for defamation over things they have said, the department has rarely, if ever, used it to grant immunity to a president.

Judge Kaplan, however, ruled against the department’s maneuver, saying Mr. Trump was not acting in his official capacity when he denied the accusation. “His comments concerned an alleged sexual assault that took place several decades before he took office, and the allegations have no relationship to the official business of the United States,” the judge wrote.


keith raniere hbo

ny times logoNew York Times, Leader of Nxivm Sex Cult Is Sentenced to 120 Years in Prison, Nicole Hong and Sean Piccoli, Oct. 27, 2020. In the courtroom, more than a dozen victims gave wrenching testimony about how the group’s leader, Keith Raniere, shown above in an HBO documentary, manipulated and sexually abused them.

Keith Raniere promised a path to happiness, seducing wealthy people who felt they lacked a higher purpose in life. His company, Nxivm, offered self-improvement workshops that became popular in Hollywood and business circles.

But beneath the surface, Mr. Raniere was a puppet master controlling a cultlike criminal enterprise, prosecutors revealed at his trial. Some women in Nxivm were sexually abused by Mr. Raniere, and even branded with his initials in a secret ceremony.

On Tuesday, Mr. Raniere, 60, was sentenced to 120 years in prison for sex trafficking and other crimes, effectively a life sentence. The judge also ordered him to pay a $1.75 million fine.

The sentencing capped a remarkable downfall for a man who was once idolized by his followers, but has since been exposed as a fraudster who exploited Nxivm’s adherents for money, sex and power.

Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn determined the punishment after hearing hours of wrenching testimony from 15 victims, many of whom described how Mr. Raniere had left them traumatized and brainwashed from his pseudoscientific teachings.

Mr. Raniere’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, said he would appeal the sentence. “I salute the people who came in and spoke,” he said.

The first to speak was a woman identified only as Camila, who in a trembling voice recalled that Mr. Raniere started sexually abusing her when she was 15 and he was 45. She had previously declined to cooperate with prosecutors on the advice of a lawyer who was recommended to her by Mr. Raniere’s counsel.

During their 12-year relationship, Camila said, Mr. Raniere expected her to be available for sex at all hours. He ordered her to weigh less than 100 pounds and directed her to get an abortion. She said she attempted suicide once.

“I want to move on, but he has damaged me in so many ways,” Camila said.

When he wanted to replace Camila, prosecutors have said, he directed his inner circle to find another “young virgin successor” for him.

Camila’s mother, brother and a sister also spoke on Tuesday, telling the judge that Mr. Raniere destroyed their once close-knit family. The father and oldest daughter in the family — who had a child with Mr. Raniere — are still supporters of him. Mr. Raniere had a sexual relationship with all three sisters in the family.

In a speech before the court, Mr. Raniere, wearing blue prisoner clothes, maintained his innocence and said some of the victims were lying. He said he was “deeply sorry,” arguing that he did not mean to cause so much pain and anger.

“Where I am is caused by me,” Mr. Raniere said. “This is all my doing.”

As Mr. Raniere waffled between apologizing and blaming the women, one of his victims and ex-girlfriends, Toni Natalie, buried her head in her hands.

After the victims’ statements, Mr. Raniere’s lawyer, Mr. Agnifilo, argued that his client never intended to hurt any women, saying he was in love with them and simply had trouble dealing with breakups. In a stunning moment, Judge Garaufis interrupted Mr. Agnifilo in the middle of his speech, yelling, “No!”

During a back-and-forth in which the two men shouted through face masks, Judge Garaufis spoke forcefully about how intent did not matter when a 45-year-old man sexually abuses a child.

“It’s an insult to the intelligence of anyone who listens,” the judge said.

Mr. Agnifilo did seem to acknowledge tensions with his client, saying that he had refused to file a motion claiming evidence tampering by the government even though Mr. Raniere asked him to. In recent months, Mr. Raniere has spearheaded a campaign to overturn his conviction, directing his supporters to create a podcast about his case and set up a contest to find errors in his prosecution in exchange for a $25,000 cash prize.

Another victim, India Oxenberg, told the court that Mr. Raniere tried to poison her relationship with her mother, the actress Catherine Oxenberg, whose efforts to extricate her daughter from the organization were part of a recent HBO documentary series about Nxivm called “The Vow.”

India Oxenberg said Mr. Raniere expected her to wait naked for him, like a piece of meat. She became so thin under his manipulation that she stopped getting her period, she said.

“You are a sexual predator, and you raped me,” India Oxenberg said. “When you touched me, I recoiled.”

Former Nxivm (pronounced NEX-ee-um) members said Mr. Raniere preyed on insecure people who hoped that immersing themselves in expensive self-help classes would unlock the key to fulfillment. Even highly educated people became trapped inside Mr. Raniere’s system, which he sold as the only way to overcome their fears, shaming anyone who tried to quit.

At Mr. Raniere’s trial, a primary focus was a secretive women-only group inside Nxivm. During a videotaped initiation ceremony, the women lay naked on a table, saying, “Master, please brand me,” as a cauterizing pen seared their skin without anesthesia.

Some of those women testified that they thought they were joining a women’s mentorship group, only to discover that they were directed to have sex with Mr. Raniere.

The women, referred to as “slaves,” were regularly required to hand over collateral like sexually explicit videos, which they constantly feared would be released. Prosecutors called it extortion.

Daily Beast, U.S. Embassy Staffer Drugged & Molested Women on Video: Feds, Justin Rohrlich, Updated Oct. 27, 2020. Investigators found hundreds of photos and daily beast logovideos of unconscious women on Brian Jeffrey Raymond’s devices. Warning: This story contains descriptions of sexual assault.

A “naked, hysterical woman desperately screaming for help” from the balcony of an apartment leased by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has led to allegations that an embassy staffer is a serial molester who drugged and sexually assaulted at least 23 victims over the past decade.

Investigators uncovered sickening photos and footage of unconscious women in Brian Jeffrey Raymond’s bed. In some, a man holds open their eyelids, waves their limp arms and legs, or puts his fingers in their mouth to show they are unconscious, prosecutors said. Raymond can be seen nude and aroused in some of the images, they said.

Prosecutors allege that Raymond continued using dating apps to meet women—one of whom who says she has only hazy memories of having sex with him—even after he knew he was under investigation.

The 44-year-old was arrested Oct. 9 in La Mesa, California, where he had been staying with his parents after abruptly quitting his job. Ten days later, a federal judge deemed Raymond a flight risk as well as a danger to the community and ordered him detained pending trial.

Court documents do not specify Raymond’s position at the Mexico City embassy, where he had been posted since 2018, and there are few traces of him on the internet. Prosecutors note that he speaks both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese and worked in at least six different countries over more than two decades of federal service that Raymond’s defense lawyer described as “exemplary.” At least nine of the alleged attacks took place in Raymond’s official residence, according to authorities.

There are photographs and videos of three unconscious women in his bed, two in late-March 2020 and one on May 30, 2020, at the height of the COVID crisis.
— Prosecution memo

The Department of State declined to comment or provide further details, referring The Daily Beast to the Department of Justice, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At the moment, the 44-year-old globe-trotter is charged with with one count of coercion and enticement, but the feds are certain there are more victims out there, having unearthed “numerous” chats between the suspect and various women who appear to be apologizing for blacking out, asking Raymond if they had sex, or saying they had no memory of the previous evening. Prosecutors anticipate bringing additional charges, they said in a motion to deny Raymond bail.

Since 2011, Raymond has “exerted power and control over unconscious women,” says the motion. Yet, everyone who knew him seemed completely unaware of his behavior, which authorities describe as “evidence of his unique ability to portray a very different public face.”

The first domino for Raymond fell this past May, when Mexico City police responded to reports of the naked woman in distress on the balcony of Raymond’s apartment, according to the detention memo filed by prosecutors. She appeared to be extremely intoxicated, couldn’t walk on her own, and was taken by ambulance to the hospital, it says.

There, doctors found “injuries consistent with vaginal and anal penetration,” including lacerations to the woman’s rectum that were consistent with “the introduction of a hard object with blunt edges.” She also had bruises to her forearm, elbow, and knee, and a laceration on the inside of her cheek.

The woman had no recollection of any physical contact with Raymond, and couldn’t remember calling for help. She did, however, remember how she ended up in his apartment.

They met on Tinder, the woman explained, and had gotten together at an outdoor shopping center. Raymond brought a bottle of wine, which they drank out of coffee mugs, and eventually decided to continue their conversation at Raymond’s apartment. There, after some light snacks and another glass of wine, she suddenly blacked out.

Raymond, who claimed the encounter was consensual, was detained by Mexican police. He returned to the U.S. the next day, presumably avoiding local charges due to diplomatic immunity. After quarantining for two weeks in Northern Virginia, Raymond agreed to be interviewed by federal investigators and again insisted the sex in Mexico City had been consensual.

The agents seized his personal and work phones and what they found landed him behind bars. A forensic search of Raymond’s phones, laptop, and iCloud account turned up hundreds of photos and videos of naked, unconscious women being abused in both Mexico City and the Washington, D.C., metro area. Some of the women were snoring audibly. The “vast majority” of the images, which dated back to 2011, were linked to Raymond by metadata as well as bedding and furniture seen in them that matched his own.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Lopez denied Raymond bail, handing the “experienced sexual predator” over to the U.S. Marshals Service. He is now being held at a federal lockup in San Diego. Raymond’s parents and Kirby did not respond to requests for comment.

Oct. 26

keith raniere nxivm

ny times logoNew York Times, Sex Cult Leader, Facing Life Sentence, Regrets Nothing, Nicole Hong, Oct. 26, 2020. Several victims are expected to testify when Keith Raniere, the founder of Nxivm, is sentenced this week for sex trafficking, extortion and other crimes.

Keith Raniere, the leader of a self-help organization called Nxivm, had been revered by throngs of loyal followers who promoted him as the smartest man in the world. They called him “Vanguard,” believing that his teachings would bring about peace and even influence elections.

Mr. Raniere, 60, is now sitting in jail, convicted at trial as a con man who was exploiting Nxivm to enrich himself financially and recruit sexual partners, leading to its current reputation as a “sex cult.”

He will return to court on Tuesday for his sentencing, facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison. His sentencing is expected to include hours of statements from victims.

Still, Mr. Raniere carries no remorse and will not be seeking forgiveness, his lawyers said. He has accused the judge of corruption and demanded a new trial.
“He is not sorry for his conduct or his choices,” his lawyers wrote in a court filing last month, adding that he “intends to fight this case with all of his might, confident that he will one day be vindicated.”

Mr. Raniere’s sentencing in federal court in Brooklyn will be the culmination of a legal saga that brought down an organization whose expensive self-empowerment courses were taken by Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes and top business school graduates. Many people joined Nxivm (pronounced NEX-ee-um) hoping it would help them overcome their insecurities and give them a sense of purpose.

But Mr. Raniere also created a secret women-only group within the company in 2015. Those women, who were called “slaves,” were branded with his initials near their pelvises and assigned to have sex with him. They adhered to strict diets, restricted to as low as 500 calories a day. They were required to hand over collateral, including photos of their genitals that they feared would be released if they disobeyed orders.

A wave of Nxivm members fled the organization after learning about the branding ceremony, leading to a criminal investigation and the arrests of Nxivm’s top leaders.

A jury convicted Mr. Raniere last summer after a six-week trial. Prosecutors charged him with racketeering, applying a statute that had been used to dismantle the major Mafia families in New York. The jury found him guilty of crimes that included child pornography, forced labor, sex trafficking, identity theft and obstruction of justice.

Oct. 25

WhoWhatWhy, Investigation: Watch Porn? You Might Think Twice After Reading This, Laura Arman,Oct. 25, 2020. The world’s most popular X-rated site, Pornhub, averages 70 million daily visits, ranking 11th in global traffic ranking, according to Traffic Junky. Two other porn “tube” sites are close behind: Redtube at #85 and YouPorn at #120.

Of the tens of millions of free porn videos available online (Pornhub alone claims to have more than 13 million selections), most feature lawful activity between consenting adults. But critics say it’s not unusual on Pornhub and other sites to find clips of minors, rapes (real or simulated), or videos posted without consent of the participants.

Pornhub “is blatantly enabling and profiting from the rape, trafficking, assault and abuse of women and children,” said Laila Mickelwait, founder of Traffickinghub. The organization wants to shut down X-rated sites like Pornhub, saying they encourage sex trafficking and fail to remove illegal videos.

“There was recently a case of a 15-year-old girl in Florida who was missing for a year and she was located in 58 videos on Pornhub being exploited and raped for profit,” Mickelwait told WhoWhatWhy.

“She was part of a program … where Pornhub earns 35 percent of the revenue from video sales.” According to a published report, the girl’s mother found almost 60 porn videos of her on Pornhub, Periscope, Modelhub, Snapchat, and other video sharing sites.

On September 15, an Alabama man, Michael Williams, was arrested after an 18-year-old told police about a 2018 video on Pornhub that showed her performing sexual acts with the suspect when she was 16. Williams had an account, apparently verified through the site’s ModelHub program, which allowed Pornhub to earn 35 percent of each sale, according to Michael Dinsmore of the anti-trafficking campaign Exodus Cry.

“Any commercial sex act involving a minor is by definition sex trafficking according to the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act,” Dinsmore said. “The monetized child pornography video was up for two years with over 2,000 views.”

Earlier this year, “the BBC reported that 14-year-old Rose Kalemba was taken at knifepoint, raped for 12 hours and the videos of her torture were uploaded to Pornhub,” Mickelwait said. The horrific event took place in the summer of 2009 in a small town in Ohio.

A spokesman for Pornhub, who refused to be identified, told WhoWhatWhy that he was familiar with Kalemba’s claims, but said there was no evidence that her videos had been posted on the site: “We have a very detailed record of videos that have existed on Pornhub dating back to its inception, and Rose has said what the titles of videos were, and there are no videos that matched those titles or anything close to it that ever appeared on Pornhub.”

He acknowledged that prohibited videos are sometimes uploaded to Pornhub, but said the problem is far greater on other non-porn websites, especially social media. Twitter, for example, said it had banned 244,188 unique users for child sexual abuse material during the first six months of 2019.

He accused critics of trying to disguise their true goal: banning pornography entirely. “Just because Traffickinghub says these things, doesn’t make them true,” he said.

Oct. 23


rudy giuliani borat bedroom Rudy Giuliani was caught in compromising position (shown above) in new 'Borat' film; The prank is one of the notable moments in the Sacha Baron Cohen sequel out Friday. Details: NBC News, Rudy Giuliani caught in compromising position in new 'Borat' film.

ny times logoNew York Times, Rudy Giuliani Denies He Did Anything Wrong in New ‘Borat’ Movie, Glenn Thrush and Neil Vigdor, Updated Oct. 23, 2020. President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has become caught up in Sacha Baron Cohen’s new “Borat” satire, shown in an edited scene following an actress impersonating a reporter into a bedroom and at one point reclining on the bed and putting his hands in his pants in what he later said was an attempt to adjust his clothing.

rudy giuliani recentStill photos and descriptions of the scene from Mr. Cohen’s new Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, released on Friday, were posted on social media early Wednesday after The Guardian reported that the movie contained “a compromising scene” featuring Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor.

Late Wednesday, Mr. Giuliani called into WABC radio in New York to say that he had been tucking in his shirt after removing microphone wires. He chalked the scene’s early release up to a scheme to discredit his recent attempts to push corruption accusations against Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son Hunter Biden.

“The Borat video is a complete fabrication,” Mr. Giuliani, 76, tweeted after he got off the air. “At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar.”

A clip that surfaced on social media, heavily edited to fit the actor’s signature mockumentary format, begins with Mr. Giuliani seated on a couch, answering questions. Soon after, the actress, who speaks with a heavy Eastern European accent, asks the former mayor if they can continue their discussion in the bedroom. Mr. Giuliani agrees, and is then shown sitting on a bed, as she appears to take his microphone off and he appears to pat her.

President Trump’s personal lawyer has become caught up in Sacha Baron Cohen’s new satire.

The scene ends with Mr. Cohen, dressed in an outlandish pink costume, bursting into the room and shouting that the woman, played by the actor Maria Bakalova, was 15 years old (she is 24, according to IMDb).

Oct. 22

djt knauss epstein ghislaine maxwell mar a lago getty full davidoff studios

Donald Trump, Melania Knauss [Trump], Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein's friend Ghislaine Maxwell, (left to right at Mar-A-Lago.
Davidoff Studios Photography / Getty Images

ny times logoNew York Times, Deposition of Ghislaine Maxwell, Charged in Epstein Case, Is Revealed, Benjamin Weiser, Amy Julia Harris and Alan Feuer, Oct. 22, 2020.  Ms. Maxwell, who fought to keep the deposition secret, repeatedly denied that she helped Jeffrey Epstein recruit, groom and sexually abuse teenage girls.

For years, Ghislaine Maxwell has been a central but silent figure in a scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein’s long history of abusing teenage girls.

On Thursday, however, Ms. Maxwell’s voice was heard for the first time as a four-year-old deposition was released containing her response to the swirl of claims surrounding Mr. Epstein: a series of evasions and denials.

Stubborn and elusive by turns, Ms. Maxwell rejected almost every allegation of wrongdoing in the 465-page document, denying that she helped Mr. Epstein recruit, groom and ultimately sexually mistreat dozens of young women and teenage girls. At one point, she was asked 10 times in a row if she believed Mr. Epstein had abused any children — and each time ducked the question.

Oct. 21

Guardian, Revealed: ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Oct, 21, 2020. People of Praise hire lawyers to investigate historical sexual abuse allegations as former members speak of ‘emotional torment.’ 

Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the supreme court has prompted former members of her secretive faith group, the People of Praise, to come forward and share stories about emotional trauma and – in at least one case – sexual abuse they claim to have suffered at the hands of members of the Christian group.
'It instilled such problems': ex-member of Amy Coney Barrett's faith group speaks out.

In the wake of the allegations, the Guardian has learned that the charismatic Christian organization, which is based in Indiana, has hired the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan to conduct an “independent investigation” into sexual abuse claims on behalf of People of Praise.

The historic sexual abuse allegations and claims of emotional trauma do not pertain specifically to Barrett, who has been a lifelong member of the charismatic group, or her family.

But some former members who spoke to the Guardian said they were deeply concerned that too little was understood about the “community” of People of Praise ahead of Barrett’s expected confirmation by the Senate next week, after which she will hold the seat formerly held by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Two people familiar with the matter say that more than two dozen former members of the faith group, many of whom say they felt “triggered” by Barrett’s nomination, are participating in a support group to discuss how the faith group affected their lives.

“The basic premise of everything at the People of Praise was that the devil controlled everything outside of the community, and you were ‘walking out from under the umbrella of protection’ if you ever left,” said one former member who called herself Esther, who had to join the group as a child but then left the organization. “I was OK with it being in a tiny little corner of Indiana, because a lot of weird stuff happens in tiny little corners in this country. But it’s just unfathomable to me – I can’t even explain just how unfathomable it is – that you would have a supreme court justice who is a card-carrying member of this community.”

Barrett was not asked about her involvement in People of Praise during her confirmation hearings last week, and has never included her involvement with the group in Senate disclosure forms, but has in the past emphasized that her religious faith as a devout Catholic would not interfere with her impartiality.

People of Praise is rooted in the rise of charismatic Christian communities in the late 1960s and 1970s, which blended Pentecostal traditions like speaking in tongues and prophecy with Catholicism. It is an ecumenical group – meaning it accepts members of different Christian churches – though its members are mostly Catholic. Proponents say charismatic Christians are bound together by members’ shared personal presence of Christ, and “empowerment through the Holy Spirit.”

Its handbook emphasizes an insular view of the world, stressing obedience and devotion to other members, and communal living.

Barrett’s father has served as a leader in the community. Barrett was also listed as a “handmaid” in a 2010 directory, or female leader, served as a trustee at a school associated with the group, and has been featured in People of Praise magazines that were removed from the group’s website following her appointment as an appeals court judge in 2017.

The Guardian has confirmed that Barrett lived in a household led by one of the founders of the People of Praise, Kevin Ranaghan, while she was a law student at Notre Dame, and lived with another People of Praise family – Barbette and William Brophy – in Virginia after she graduated.

Proponents of the faith community have said in other press reports that they are misunderstood, and that it is a close-knit community that seeks to support other members “financially and materially and spiritually”.

But former members paint a different picture. Allegations and concerns center on claims of the intense subjugation of women by the community leaders; control of members’ lives and decisions, including marriage, living arrangements, and child rearing; and in one case, the mishandling of allegations of sexual abuse. Members who admit to having gay sex are expelled from the group, which staunchly opposes same-sex marriage.

For Sarah (Mitchell) Kuehl, a 48-year-old former member who grew up in the community, discussions about Barrett’s possible nomination prompted her – after years of trying to figure out how to address it – to send an email on 23 September to Craig Lent, the current head of People of Praise who also works as a professor at Notre Dame. In it, Kuehl claimed she had been sexually abused decades earlier by a “household member”, a male member of “the community” who had lived with the Mitchell family as part of the group’s communal living practices. Single people were expected to be celibate and live in family households which were expected to provide an example of married life, former members say.

After her alleged abuser – who along with her family was technically a member of a precursor group called Servants of the Light/Lord that merged in 1984 with People of Praise – admitted to her father that he had been molesting Kuehl, he was moved to another household and eventually had a marriage “arranged” for him, she said. She was four years old when the abuse began and it lasted for two years. At the time, her family also lived with other single men and women.

“I have struggled for years on whether to hold PoP accountable for what they knew, when they knew it and their attempt to hide and cover up. Like the Catholic church, who covered up and moved priests around, PoP has had a history of these same behaviors,” Kuehl alleged in her email to Lent.

Letters provided to the Guardian by Kuehl dating back to the late 1980s and early 1990s substantiate claims of abuse and attempts by her parents to address the issue with senior leaders of People of Praise. The documents include references to a psychological evaluation of the alleged abuser and confirmation that he did abuse Kuehl. The documents also revealed there were additional victims and that other minors were at risk.

Years later, when Kuehl sought to discuss the issue with her “handmaid” – a female guide and senior member of the organization, when she was at college – she said she was discouraged from talking about it.

“She told me NOT to talk about it with anyone because it could ‘hurt the reputation of the community’,” Kuehl wrote in her letter to Lent.

Weeks later, on 5 October, Lent responded to Kuehl’s email. He wrote: “I am just reaching out to you to let you know that we take this matter very seriously.”

He added: “We very much want to look into this. To that end we have contracted with Diane Doolittle of Quinn Emanuel, who specializes in exactly this sort of investigation. (This took some time to arrange.) I want to stress that, although she is a lawyer, her role is not to defend PoP, but rather she is very much in the role of an independent investigator. We thought that better than trying to investigate it directly ourselves. We want to know the truth of the matter. She will be talking to other people as well.”

Doolittle’s online bio states that she is a Silicon Valley-based trial lawyer who is involved in “high-stakes complex commercial, intellectual property and white collar cases”. She is also listed as having been engaged in “sensitive #MeToo cases, including by conducting corporate internal investigations”.

But People of Praise’s choice is also noteworthy because of Quinn Emanuel’s ties to the White House. William Burck, who serves as Quinn Emanuel’s co-managing partner in Washington DC, has counted Steve Bannon as a client, among others, and was a friend and associate of supreme court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. During Kavanaugh’s controversial confirmation hearings, it was Burck – a “Washington super-lawyer” – who was charged with culling Kavanaugh’s documents for review before the Senate hearing.

There is no evidence that Burck has been personally engaged in the People of Praise investigation.

Oct. 19 Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Ghislaine Maxwell, background right, is photographed also with Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew. Giuffre claims Maxwell told her to have sex with the prince, an allegation both Andrew and Maxwell have denied. Giuffre was a teen at the time. Courtesy of Virginia Giuffre

Miami Herald, Ghislaine Maxwell loses fight to keep her Jeffrey Epstein testimony sealed, Kevin G. Hall and Ben Wieder, Oct. miami herald logo19, 2020.  A federal appeals court dealt Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged madam to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, twin blows late Monday by declining to consolidate her appeals in numerous overlapping cases and striking down her effort to thwart release of a controversial deposition she gave in a now-settled civil lawsuit.

The three-judge Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held more than two hours of oral arguments last week, and issued a succinct Monday afternoon order holding that a lower court judge did not err in order the release of a 418-page deposition from April 2016 that could shed new light on the Epstein empire.

perversion of justice miami herald logo“We have reviewed all of the arguments raised by Defendant-Appellant Maxwell on appeal and find them to be without merit,” the judges wrote, also turning away a request for consolidation with Maxwell’s criminal case in the Southern District of New York. “We DENY the motion to consolidate this appeal with the pending appeal in United States v. Maxwell.”

The ruling affirmed a decision over the summer by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska to release hundreds of documents from a 2015 civil suit involving Maxwell and Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

ny times logoNew York Times, Justice Dept. Says Trump’s Denial of Rape Accusation Was an Official Act, Benjamin Weiser and Alan Feuer, Oct. 19, 2020. The government lawyers were defending the decision to intervene in a defamation lawsuit filed against President Trump by E. Jean Carroll, below left.

e jean carrollThe Justice Department said on Monday that President Trump should not be sued personally for having denied a rape allegation because he made the statement while acting in his official capacity as president.

Lawyers for the government made the argument as they defended Attorney General William P. Barr’s decision to intervene in a defamation lawsuit filed in a New York court against President Trump by E. Jean Carroll, the writer.

Ms. Carroll has said that Mr. Trump raped her in a department store two decades ago and then falsely denied the attack, branding her a liar and harming her reputation.

But Justice Department lawyers say that even though the allegation concerns an incident that occurred decades before Mr. Trump became president, his denial was still an official act because he “addressed matters relating to his fitness for office as part of an official White House response to press inquiries.”


Oct. 17

washington post logoWashington Post, Ex-Washington cheerleaders shaken by lewd videos: ‘I don’t think they viewed us as people,’ Beth Reinhard, Liz Clarke, Alice Crites and Will Hobson, Oct 17, 2020 (print ed.). The contracts for the Washington Football Team’s cheerleaders held them to a strict moral code. “Inappropriate” conduct or online content, including nude or seminude appearances in “tasteless” films, videos or photographs, could trigger immediate dismissal.

“Each cheerleader must at all times conduct herself with due regard to public conventions and morals,” read two contracts obtained by The Washington Post, covering 2008 and 2010.

Such provisions are not unusual in the NFL, according to lawyers familiar with such contracts, and ex-Washington cheerleaders say that, while they took the policy seriously, it didn’t bother them — until recently.

In August, The Post reported that the team had produced lewd videos out of outtakes from the cheerleaders’ 2008 and 2010 swimsuit calendar shoots that include partial nudity. Now in their 30s and 40s, with careers and children, the dozens of ex-cheerleaders who appear in the videos are terrified the footage will appear online and are coping with a painful reckoning about their seasons with the NFL franchise.

“I would have hoped the team, because they held us to these high standards, would treat us with respect and uphold the same standards. Instead they violated our trust with what sounds like a soft porn video,” said Chastity Evans, who appears in the unofficial 2008 video and, like other cheerleaders, was afraid of getting fired just for being photographed with a drink in hand or being in the same restaurant as a player.

A love of dance drew them to the cheerleading squad, and the bonds forged with teammates they still consider sisters kept them coming back. But the meager pay, demands that they socialize with male suite holders and sponsors, and other indignities — what they then viewed as a reasonable exchange for the chance of a lifetime — loom larger knowing what they know now.

“I didn’t see it when I was younger, because I loved what I did,” said Evans, now 40, who cheered for five seasons. “I don’t think they viewed us as people. They viewed us as replaceable objects.”

Oct. 13

washington post logoWashington Post, Anchorage mayor apologizes for ‘inappropriate messaging relationship’ with news anchor, Katie Shepherd, Oct. 13, 2020. On Friday afternoon, veteran Anchorage news anchor Maureen “Maria” Athens published a video on Facebook leveling unsubstantiated allegations that the city’s married mayor had posted inappropriate photos online. Hours later, Athens posted a nude photo, allegedly of the mayor, to bolster her case.

The saga soon turned even stranger. The mayor quickly denied the allegations, calling Athens “hostile and unwell,” and the news station she worked for also rejected her claims. By the end of the day, Athens was arrested for allegedly assaulting the station’s manager.

But on Monday afternoon, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz (D) issued a public apology and admitted to engaging in an “inappropriate messaging relationship” with Athens, 41.

“I apologize to the people of Anchorage for a major lapse in judgment I made several years ago when I had a consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship with reporter Maria Athens,” Berkowitz, 58, said in a statement shared with The Washington Post on Monday. “I’m embarrassed and ashamed for the hurt I’ve caused my family and our community. I take responsibility for my actions.”

The backstory of the scandal, which has transfixed Anchorage, remains murky, with Berkowitz continuing to deny Athens’s claims and noting that law enforcement also investigated and found he’d done nothing wrong. Athens, meanwhile, didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Post, and it is not clear if she is being represented by an attorney.

The Democrat became mayor of Alaska’s most populous city in 2015. Before that, Berkowitz served as a state representative from 1997 to 2007, when he unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor. He is in his last term as mayor and not up for reelection this year.

Athens has worked as an anchor and reporter for Your Alaska Link, which consists of the KTBY and KYUR stations.

The video Athens posted on Facebook appears to have been shot inside the news studio with a cellphone held by another person. In the video, Athens accuses the mayor, without evidence or sourcing, of posting inappropriate photos on an “underage girls website.” She pledged to reveal more details on her news broadcast later that night. Thousands of people shared, commented and reacted to the post, which is still live on Athens’s Facebook page.

In the hours after the post, Berkowitz emphatically denied the allegation.

“The slanderous allegations from Your Alaska Link reporter Maria Athens are categorically false and appear to be the product of someone who is hostile and unwell,” the mayor’s office said in a statement on Friday. “We spoke with Ms. Athens’ employer, general manager Scott Centers, who emphatically disavowed his employee’s comments.”

Later that night, Athens was arrested at the Your Alaska Link station after getting into a physical altercation with Centers, the station’s general manager. Court records noted that Centers was also in a romantic relationship with the reporter, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Winston-Salem Journal / The Star (Shelby, N.C.), Man kept girl as sex slave for over five years, Kings Mountain police say, Joyce Orlando, Oct 13, 2020. A North Carolina man accused of keeping a child in sexual servitude since 2015 appeared in court Monday.

Anthony Nealy, 31, of Third Street in Kings Mountain, made his first appearance in Cleveland County District Court after being arrested Friday by Kings Mountain Police.

Nealy is accused of keeping a girl under the age of 12 as a sex slave, taking her to different locations and of raping the child. According to warrants, this began in January 2015.

Court documents also indicate that the two knew each other. In court, Nealy appeared via video. During the hearing, he began to ask Cleveland County District Court Judge Meredith Shuford for a bond reduction. She interrupted him before he could finish his sentence.

"I'm not going to modify your bond today," Shuford said. The primary purpose of a first appearance hearing is to make sure defendants are assigned attorneys.

Nealy is charged with sexual servitude with a child victim, child abuse including a sexual act, rape of a child by an adult, statutory sex offense with child by an adult and human trafficking with a child victim. He is in Cleveland County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

Oct. 6

washington post logoe jean carroll headshotWashington Post, Lawyers for E. Jean Carroll fight Justice Dept. intervention in Trump defamation case, Shayna Jacobs, Oct. 6, 2020. The former magazine columnist, right, sued the president in New York state court, but the case was moved to federal court after the U.S. government stepped in.

Washington Post, Amy Coney Barrett served as a ‘handmaid’ in Christian group People of Praise, Emma Brown, Jon Swaine and Michelle Boorstein, Oct. 6, 2020.


Oct. 3

washington post logoWashington Post, Media Criticisim Opinion: The new details on Kimberly Guilfoyle’s time at Fox News are horrific, Erik Wemple, Oct. 3, 2020. At the media-mobbed presidential debate at Hofstra University in 2016, the Erik Wemple Blog spotted then-Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle. This was just a few months after Guilfoyle, shown below in a file photo, helped to spearhead a campaign to stick up for Roger Ailes, the Fox News chief who’d been accused of sexual harassment by Gretchen Carlson and, eventually, several others.

kimberly guilfoyle smile wThose allegations bore out, and Ailes found himself out of a job. So we asked Guilfoyle if she’d apologized to Carlson. Her face dropped and she turned around faster than a nuclear centrifuge. No answer.

New reporting may help explain Guilfoyle’s reticence.

In November 2018, a female colleague of Guilfoyle’s sent a draft complaint to Fox News executives regarding the treatment she said she received from the cable news star, who bantered with her fellow roundtable chatterboxes on the popular Fox News program “The Five.” The allegations are so bizarre as to defy categorization — sexual harassment, sexual abuse, psychological torture?

Have a look:

among other things, she said that she was frequently required to work at Guilfoyle’s New York apartment while the Fox host displayed herself naked, and was shown photographs of the genitalia of men with whom Guilfoyle had had sexual relations. The draft complaint also alleged that Guilfoyle spoke incessantly and luridly about her sex life, and on one occasion demanded a massage of her bare thighs; other times, she said, Guilfoyle told her to submit to a Fox employee’s demands for sexual favors, encouraged her to sleep with wealthy and powerful men, asked her to critique her naked body, demanded that she share a room with her on business trips, required her to sleep over at her apartment, and exposed herself to her, making her feel deeply uncomfortable.

The complaint runs 42 pages. It was never filed in a court, and Fox News paid more than $4 million to the employee, who left the network.

Those revelations come from a report by Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, a journalist who has documented the close ties between the No. 1 cable news network and Trump world (New Yorker, Investigation: The Secret History of Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Departure from Fox).

They build on the work of Yashar Ali, who in 2018 nailed down many of the particulars regarding Guilfoyle’s exit, which was initially presented as a voluntary thing, though Mayer reports that she was forced out in July 2018. [HuffPost, Exclusive / Investigation: Kimberly Guilfoyle Left Fox News After Investigation Into Misconduct Allegations, Sources Say, Yashar Ali, July 27, 2018, excerpted below]. She moved on to work at a pro-Trump super PAC. In January, the Trump campaign announced she would head up joint fundraising between the campaign and the Republican National Committee. Guilfoyle is dating Donald Trump Jr., with whom she makes frequent appearances for the president.

The Trump campaign referred an inquiry to Guilfoyle’s employment attorney, John Singer. He noted that he has no connection to the campaign and referred this blog to his 2018 statement, which read, in part, “Any accusations of Kimberly engaging in inappropriate work-place conduct are unequivocally baseless and have been viciously made by disgruntled and self-interested employees.”

Guilfoyle issued this statement to the New Yorker: “In my 30-year career working for the SF District Attorney’s Office, the LA District Attorney’s Office, in media and in politics, I have never engaged in any workplace misconduct of any kind. During my career, I have served as a mentor to countless women, with many of whom I remain exceptionally close to this day.”

roger ailes wWhat does all of this say about Fox News? Well, the same things that we’ve known about Fox News for some time. First is the cruelty. The allegations in the draft complaint recall workplace brutality of the sort that arose in the reporting on Ailes, a paranoid and abusive network head. Over 20 years, Ailes subjected a Fox News booker to a regime of psychological torture and sexual coercion, the details of which don’t belong in a family newspaper. At one point, Ailes allegedly took a videotape of the woman dancing for him in a black garter and stockings, and kept the videotape in a safe-deposit box, just in case the woman decided to blow the whistle.

Second is the bullying approach to stifling allegations. As Mayer reports, the colleague who alleged the harassment by Guilfoyle joined Fox News out of college in 2015.

The employee declined the money, triggering another level of mistreatment, Mayer reported. If the employee was too revelatory with Paul, Weiss, Guilfoyle suggested that some aspects of her personal life could be outed. Associates of Guilfoyle contacted Mayer during her work on the story with details on the woman, “evidently in hopes of damaging her credibility and leading me not to publish this report.”

None of that worked. But Guilfoyle, a lawyer and former prosecutor in San Francisco, surely had some evidence that it could have been successful.

There are a lot of moving pieces to the cultural backdrop here. One is that Ailes built Fox News to objectify the female “talent” on air, so it’s no wonder that the mind-set has outlived him. Another is money — there’s way too much of it sloshing around in the bank.


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.

washington post logoWashington Post, D.C. Superior Court judge stepped down after questions about sexual assault allegation, Amy Brittain, Oct. 3, 2020. A prominent D.C. Superior Court judge acclaimed as a criminal justice reformer during his 40 years on the bench retired earlier this year, days after receiving questions from The Washington Post about an allegation that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl when he was in his early 30s.

Judge Truman A. Morrison III, shown in a Washington Post file photo by Jennifer Frey, Judge Truman A. Morrison III, shown in a Washington Post file photo by Jennifer Frey, admitted “sexual touching” of the teenager that was “totally inappropriate” and “wrongheaded” but said: “I certainly did not think that I ever forced myself on her.”

A seven-part Post investigative podcast launched Thursday chronicles how the allegation came to light. The catalyst was the publication of a Post story in January 2019 that focused on a young woman’s quest for justice after she was sexually assaulted by a stranger while jogging in her Northwest Washington neighborhood. The man — a local chef — later admitted to attacking her and five other women. Morrison sentenced him to 10 days in jail, served in two-day weekend stints.

Weeks after that story was published, a woman in Birmingham, Ala., wrote to a Post reporter that she had sensitive information pertinent to the previously published article. Eventually, the woman, Carole Griffin, put her account on the record.

Morrison, 76, stepped down from his senior status role at D.C. Superior Court in March, three days after receiving The Post’s inquiry about the allegations against him. At the time, he was the court’s second-longest-serving judge.

The court’s chief judge, Robert E. Morin, declined to comment through a spokeswoman. Both the court and the D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure declined to provide Morrison’s retirement letter.

The Post’s new podcast — “Canary: The Washington Post Investigates” — documents Griffin’s decision to come forward with her allegations and follows the reporting process to corroborate her account.

Griffin, now 60, owns a popular bakery and adjoining French cafe in Birmingham, managing 50 employees. Her parents, longtime therapist, ex-husband, son and current partner, among other friends and confidants, gave interviews corroborating that she told them years ago that Morrison had sexually assaulted her. All of them said that Griffin gave specific details. All provided Morrison’s name but one, who described him as a judge.

Griffin said she met Morrison when she was 13 years old and he was an attorney at the D.C. Public Defender Service. Her parents were close friends with Morrison, and their families vacationed together.

Griffin alleged that Morrison sexually assaulted her in 1976 when she was 16 years old and staying at a rural property near Marion, Va., owned by Morrison’s family. She said she fell asleep on a deck with her mother and others sleeping nearby and later awoke to find Morrison — then 32 — penetrating her vagina with his fingers.

Oct. 1

kimberly guilfoyle rnc 1

jane mayer cspanNew Yorker, Investigation: The Secret History of Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Departure from Fox, Jane Mayer, right, Oct. 1, 2020. A former assistant at Fox accused Kimberly Guilfoyle (shown at this summer's Republican National Convention), who is now one of the Trump campaign’s top fund-raising officials, of sexual harassment—and of attempting to buy her silence.

As President Donald Trump heads into the 2020 elections, he faces a daunting gender gap: according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, he trails Joe Biden by thirty percentage points among female voters. As part of his campaign, Trump has been doing all he can to showcase female stars in the Republican Party, from nominating Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court to naming Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former Fox News host and legal analyst, his campaign’s finance chair.

Guilfoyle, however, may not be an ideal emissary. In November, 2018, a young woman who had been one of Guilfoyle’s assistants at Fox News sent company executives a confidential, forty-two-page draft complaint that accused Guilfoyle of repeated sexual harassment, and demanded monetary relief. The document, which resulted in a multimillion-dollar out-of-court settlement, raises serious questions about Guilfoyle’s fitness as a character witness for Trump, let alone as a top campaign official.

new yorker logoIn the 2020 campaign, Trump has spotlighted no woman more brightly than Guilfoyle. She was given an opening-night speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. And this fall Guilfoyle, who is Donald Trump, Jr.,’s girlfriend, has been crisscrossing the country as a Trump surrogate, on what is billed as the “Four More Tour.” At a recent “Women for Trump” rally in Pennsylvania, Guilfoyle claimed that the President was creating “eighteen hundred new female-owned businesses in the United States a day,” and praised Trump for promoting school choice, which, she said, was supported by “single mothers like myself.”

Guilfoyle has maintained that her decision to move from television news to a political campaign was entirely voluntary. In fact, Fox News forced her out in July, 2018 — several years before her contract’s expiration date. At the time, she was a co-host of the political chat show “The Five.” Media reports fox news logo Smallsuggested that she had been accused of workplace impropriety, including displaying lewd pictures of male genitalia to colleagues, but few additional details of misbehavior emerged. Guilfoyle publicly denied any wrongdoing, and last year a lawyer representing her told The New Yorker that “any suggestion” she had “engaged in misconduct at Fox is patently false.” But, as I reported at the time, shortly after Guilfoyle left her job, Fox secretly paid an undisclosed sum to the assistant, who no longer works at the company. Recently, two well-informed sources told me that Fox, in order to avoid going to trial, had agreed to pay the woman upward of four million dollars.

Until now, the specific accusations against Guilfoyle have remained largely hidden. The draft complaint, which was never filed in court, is covered by a nondisclosure agreement. The former assistant has not been publicly identified, and, out of respect for the rights of alleged victims of sexual harassment, The New Yorker is honoring her confidentiality. Reached for comment, she said, “I wish you well. But I have nothing to say.”

The woman was hired in 2015, just out of college, to work as an assistant for Guilfoyle and another former Fox host, Eric Bolling.

According to a dozen well-informed sources familiar with her complaints, the assistant alleged that Guilfoyle, her direct supervisor, subjected her frequently to degrading, abusive, and sexually inappropriate behavior; among other things, she said that she was frequently required to work at Guilfoyle’s New York apartment while the Fox host displayed herself naked, and was shown photographs of the genitalia of men with whom Guilfoyle had had sexual relations.

The draft complaint also alleged that Guilfoyle spoke incessantly and luridly about her sex life, and on one occasion demanded a massage of her bare thighs; other times, she said, Guilfoyle told her to submit to a Fox employee’s demands for sexual favors, encouraged her to sleep with wealthy and powerful men, asked her to critique her naked body, demanded that she share a room with her on business trips, required her to sleep over at her apartment, and exposed herself to her, making her feel deeply uncomfortable.

As serious as the draft complaint’s sexual-harassment allegations were, equally disturbing was what the assistant described as a coverup attempt by Guilfoyle, whose conduct was about to come under investigation by a team of outside lawyers.

In July, 2016, the network had hired the New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss to investigate sexual misconduct at the company, which, under the leadership of Roger Ailes, had a long history of flagrant harassment and gender discrimination. According to those familiar with the assistant’s draft complaint, during a phone call on August 6, 2017, she alleged that Guilfoyle tried to buy her silence, offering to arrange a payment to her if she agreed to lie to the Paul, Weiss lawyers about her experiences. The alleged offering of hush money brings to mind Trump’s payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels, in order to cover up his sexual impropriety.

By 2017, the Paul, Weiss lawyers had begun investigating accusations of workplace sexual misconduct involving Eric Bolling, with whom Guilfoyle shared kimberly guilfoyle smile wthe assistant. Guilfoyle,  shown at left in a file photo, and Bolling were close, and it was all but inevitable that if the assistant accused Bolling of sexual harassment — as in fact she did — Guilfoyle’s conduct would come under scrutiny next. (Bolling, whose employment Fox ended in September, 2017, declined to comment; he has denied any wrongdoing, and is now a host at Sinclair Broadcast Group.)

According to the assistant, as the investigation into Bolling gained momentum, Guilfoyle told her that she needed to know what the assistant would say if she were asked about sexual harassment, and warned her that she could cause great damage if she said the wrong thing. Guilfoyle, she said, told her that, in exchange for demonstrating what Guilfoyle called loyalty, she would work out a payment to take care of her — possibly, she said, with funds from Bolling. The assistant alleged that Guilfoyle mentioned sums as large as a million dollars, and also other inducements, including a private-plane ride to Rome, a percentage of Guilfoyle’s future speaking fees, and an on-air reporting opportunity.

People close to Guilfoyle called the assistant’s allegation untrue, and said they were shocked that she would fabricate such a false claim. But a well-informed source independently confirmed to me that Guilfoyle had discussed the topic of raising hush money.

When the assistant declined the offer of money, Guilfoyle warned — in a manner that the assistant regarded as threatening — that, if she spoke candidly to the lawyers, some aspects of the assistant’s private life that Guilfoyle knew about might be exposed. In fact, as I reported on this story, associates of Guilfoyle’s contacted me, offering personal details about the assistant, evidently in hopes of damaging her credibility and leading me not to publish this report.

Guilfoyle declined to be interviewed for this story but issued a statement: “In my 30-year career working for the SF District Attorney’s Office, the LA District Attorney’s Office, in media and in politics, I have never engaged in any workplace misconduct of any kind. During my career, I have served as a mentor to countless women, with many of whom I remain exceptionally close to this day.”

keith raniere nxivm

Associated Press via Washington Post, Seagram’s heir sentenced to prison in branded sex slave case, Tom Hays, Oct. 1, 2020 (print ed.). An heir to ap logothe Seagram’s liquor fortune was sentenced Wednesday to an 81-month prison term and immediately thrown behind bars for her role as an unwavering benefactor of Keith Raniere, the disgraced self-improvement guru convicted of turning women into sex slaves who were branded with his initials.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis gave Clare Bronfman the harsh sentence at a hearing lasting more than three hours and featuring emotional statements from several victims gathered in a courtroom under strict coronavirus safety protocols. The judge repeatedly scolded Clare Bronfman for standing by Raniere and his upstate New York organization, even after the evidence made clear she eventually became aware of his sex-trafficking scheme.

With that knowledge, she “could have distanced herself from him,” the judge said, his bench fitted with a sheet of plexiglass. “Instead, she chose to double down on her support of Raniere.”

Before hearing the sentence, the 41 year-old Bronfman had told the judge in a soft voice that she was thankful for the prayers of her supporters.

“It doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes because I have made mistakes,” said Bronfman without mentioning Raniere.

The sentence far exceeded the three years probation sought by the defense and even the five years the government wanted for Bronfman, who had been under home confinement. She also was fined $500,000.

At trial where Rainere was found guilty last year, prosecutors told jurors his organization, NXIVM — pronounced NEHK-see-uhm — operated like a cult whose members called him “Vanguard.” To honor him, the group formed a secret sorority comprised of brainwashed female “slaves” who were branded with his initials and forced to have sex with him, the prosecutors said.



Sept. 28

ny times logoNew York Times, Former Fashion Models Accuse Top Agent of Rape and Sexual Assault, Elizabeth Paton, Vanessa Friedman and Constant Méheut, Sept. 28, 2020. The former head of one of the world’s biggest modeling agencies is facing a legal investigation in France, after four women reported claims of rape and sexual assault dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.

Gérald Marie, 70, was president for 25 years of the European division of Elite Model Management, an agency that at its peak represented the likes of Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford. Now, in a complaint submitted on Sept. 21 to the Judicial Tribunal in Paris, two models have accused him of raping them, with another model and a journalist making allegations of sexual assault, in episodes that took place more than two decades ago.

Carré Sutton, 51, and Jill Dodd, 60, accused Mr. Marie of raping them when they were 17 and 20, respectively. A third woman, Ebba Karlsson, 51, alleges that Mr. Marie sexually assaulted her when she was 20 during a meeting in his office at Elite in Paris in the 1990s. A fourth woman, Lisa Brinkworth, 53, says she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Marie while posing as a model and working as a journalist on a BBC modeling industry exposé in 1998.

The events described by the four women currently fall outside the French statute of limitations for rape and sexual assault, and some of the accusations have been public for years. But the women and their lawyer hope that Ms. Brinkworth can circumvent the time limit based on evidence that recently came to light. The other three women’s accounts were included with her complaint to bolster it.

U.S. Elections, Politics

paul manafort rick gates nbcnews Custom 2

Trump 2016 Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, above left, is shown with Deputy Campaign Manager and Transition Director Rick Gates, a longtime lobbying colleague of Manafort's, in NBC News photos during federal prosecutions for their convictions (via jury for Manafort and plea bargain for Gates) in money laundering, income tax and bank fraud charges involving tens of millions of dollars from pro-Russian oligarchs in plots primarily orchestrated by Manafort, a Republican political operative for many years and former business partner of Trump advisor Roger Stone.

djt ivanka hands onTrump's daughter, Ivanka, is shown at right on stage at a 2016 Trump Campaign rally and below left in her younger years in a photo apparently designed and publicized to illustrate her devotion to her father.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump suggested naming daughter Ivanka as running mate in 2016, according to new book by Rick Gates, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, Sept. 28, 2020. As Donald Trump’s top campaign aides began a discussion in June 2016 about who the presumptive Republican presidential nominee should select as his running mate, the candidate piped up with an idea.

“I think it should be Ivanka. What about Ivanka as my VP?” Trump asked the assembled group, according to a new book by his former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates set to be published Oct. 13.

donald trump ivanka bed kissTrump added: “She’s bright, she’s smart, she’s beautiful, and the people would love her!”

In Gates’s telling, Trump’s suggestion of naming to the ticket his then-34-year-old daughter — a fashion and real estate executive who had never held elected office — was no passing fancy. Instead, he brought up the idea repeatedly over the following weeks, trying to sell his campaign staff on the idea, insisting she would be embraced by the Republican base, Gates writes.


Sept. 25

ny times logoNew York Times, Karen McDougal’s defamation suit against Fox News is dismissed, Michael M. Grynbaum and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Updated Sept. 25, 2020.tucker carlson Fox News won a legal victory on Thursday after a federal judge dismissed a defamation suit brought against its host Tucker Carlson, right, by a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Donald J. Trump before he was president.

The suit, filed last year, stemmed from a 2018 episode of Mr. Carlson’s show in which he accused the model, Karen McDougal, of djt karen mcdougal blue dressextorting Mr. Trump. She sold the rights to her story of an affair to The National Enquirer in 2016, which did not publish the story, a transaction that involved Mr. Trump’s former longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen.

fox news logo SmallMs. McDougal, shown at left, said Mr. Carlson’s remarks harmed her reputation, but Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, of United States District Court in Manhattan, said the host’s comments were protected by the First Amendment.

“The statements are rhetorical hyperbole and opinion commentary intended to frame a political debate, and, as such, are not actionable as defamation,” she wrote.

ny times logoNew York Times, Alphabet Settles Shareholder Suits Over Sexual Harassment Claims, Daisuke Wakabayashi, Sept. 25, 2020. Google’s parent company was hit with a wave of lawsuits after The New York Times reported that an accused executive had received a $90 million exit package.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has settled a series of shareholder lawsuits over its handling of sexual harassment claims, agreeing to greater oversight by its board of directors in future cases of sexual misconduct and committing to spend $310 million over the next decade on corporate diversity programs.

The settlement, filed on Friday in California Superior Court, also said employees would no longer be forced to settle disputes with Alphabet in private arbitration. Workers had demanded that change after details of sexual harassment cases at the company became public two years ago.

In addition, Alphabet said it would limit confidentiality restrictions when settling harassment and discrimination cases and ban workplace romances between managers and subordinates.

The Silicon Valley company was hit by a wave of shareholder lawsuits after The New York Times reported in 2018 that the board of directors had approved a $90 million exit package for a star executive, Andy Rubin, even after an investigation deemed a sexual harassment claim against him credible. Mr. Rubin has denied the claim and others against him.

Sept. 23

NorthJersey.com, Former Bergen County Judge Andrew Napolitano faces second sexual assault claim, Svetlana Shkolnikova, Sept. 24, 2020. A second man has accused former Bergen County Judge and Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano of sexual assault, announcing in a court filing Wednesday that he intends to sue.

andrew napolitano by gage skidmore wJames Kruzelnick did not detail the alleged assault in a brief sworn declaration but said he had many interactions with Napolitano while working as a waiter at two restaurants in Sussex County in recent years. He claims Napolitano (shown in a photo by Gage Skidmore) would often request that Kruzelnick serve as his waiter.

“I too was sexually assaulted by Napolitano,” Kruzelnicks' declaration reads. “In the near future, I intend to file a lawsuit against Napolitano based on what he did to me.”

The new allegation was included in court documents filed by attorneys for Charles Corbishley, a South Carolina resident who sued Napolitano this month for allegedly forcing Corbishley to perform oral sex on him in Hackensack in the late 1980s. Corbishley stood in Napolitano’s court on arson and burglary charges at the time of the alleged assault and is seeking $10 million in damages.

Tom Clare, Napolitano’s attorney, denied Kruzelnick's claim. "The gratuitous inclusion of this copycat nonsense in a routine procedural filing is nothing more than a sad attempt to prop up Mr. Corbishley’s doomed lawsuit and the latest attempt by Mr. Corbishley and his lawyers to smear Judge Napolitano," Clare said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Another woman says the president assaulted her. Is anyone listening? Monica Hesse, Sept. 23, 2020 (print ed.). The number of President Trump’s accusers has grown since 2016. The attention paid to them has waned.

News articles from last week can tell you precisely where Amy Dorris was 23 years ago, on the day she claims Donald Trump forcibly kissed her and grabbed her breasts and buttocks. What she was wearing, even: There are photos of the former model in her casual top and belted jeans.

The articles can ascertain that she was indeed with the future president: He’s in the photographs, too, sitting next to her at the tennis tournament she attended with her boyfriend, putting his arm around her in a VIP box.

The articles include the kind of corroboration we’ve come to require of credible accusers: Dorris told her mother and friends about the incident years ago, before such an allegation would have had political consequences.

Does it have political consequences now?

Because it seems like the answer is no.

Sept. 21

ny times logoNew York Times, James Levine Was Fired Over Sexual Misconduct, Then Was Paid $3.5 Million, James B. Stewart and Michael Cooper, Updated Sept. 21, 2020. The terms of a settlement last summer between the Metropolitan Opera and the renowned conductor had not been previously disclosed.

Last summer, Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, convened the executive committee of the company’s board to announce the end of one of the highest-profile, messiest feuds in the Met’s nearly 140-year history. A bitter court battle had concluded between the company and the james levine 40 years coverconductor James Levine, right, who had shaped the Met’s artistic identity for more than four decades before his career was engulfed by allegations of sexual improprieties.

Mr. Gelb told the committee that the resolution was advantageous to the Met. But the settlement, whose terms have not been publicly disclosed until now, called for the company and its insurer to pay Mr. Levine $3.5 million, according to two people familiar with its terms.

The Met had fired Mr. Levine in 2018 after an internal investigation uncovered what the company called credible evidence of “sexually abusive and harassing conduct toward vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers.” Rather than going quietly, Mr. Levine sued the company for breach of contract and defamation, seeking at least $5.8 million. The Met countersued, revealing lurid details of its investigation and claiming that Mr. Levine’s misconduct had violated his duties. It sought roughly the same amount.

Sept. 20

The Sun, Anti-pedophile subreddit used by QAnon fans is banned after moderator 'admits addiction to child porn & pre-teen girls,' Nicole Darfrah, Sept. 20, 2020. An anti-pedophile message board has been banned after one of its moderators confessed to being obsessed with child pornography.

The Reddit page called “PedoGate” – used by QAnon followers – was banned from the platform this week after a moderator called Benjamin posted his confession online.

Sept. 19

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washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87, Robert Barnes and Michael A. Fletcher, Sept. 19, 2020. Second woman to serve on the high court was a role model for female lawyers; Leading the Supreme Court’s liberal bloc, Ginsburg was a legal pioneer who backed affirmative action and defended abortion rights.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, right, the second woman to serve on the high court and a legal pioneer for gender equality whose fierce ruth bader ginsburg scotusopinions as a justice made her a hero to the left, died Sept. 18 at her home in Washington. She was 87.

The death was announced in a statement by the U.S. Supreme Court. She had recently been treated for pancreatic cancer.

Born in Depression-era Brooklyn, Justice Ginsburg excelled academically and went to the top of her law school class at a time when women were still called upon to justify taking a man’s place. She earned a reputation as the legal embodiment of the women’s liberation movement and as a widely admired role model for generations of female lawyers.

Working in the 1970s with the American Civil Liberties Union, Justice Ginsburg successfully argued a series of cases before the high court that strategically chipped away at the legal wall of gender discrimination, eventually causing it to topple. Later, as a member of the court’s liberal bloc, she was a reliable vote to enhance the rights of women, protect affirmative action and minority voting rights and defend a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

The Justice Integrity Project joins in mourning her passing and celebrating her achievements.

washington post logoWashington Post, McConnell vows Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will get a Senate vote, Seung Min Kim, Sept. 19, 2020. The Senate leader, who blocked former president Barack Obama’s nominee for much of 2016, is pressing ahead within weeks of the Nov. 3 election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has made judicial confirmations a hallmark of his legacy, is now confronting an extremely fraught Supreme Court fight that will challenge his pledge to leave no vacancy behind amid charges of hypocrisy and as his party’s control of the Senate hangs in the balance.

mitch mcconnellMcConnell (R-Ky.), left, who blocked President Barack Obama’s final nominee to the Supreme Court for the near entirety of 2016, said Friday that President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court will get a vote on the floor of the Senate, although he did not say when that vote would be held.

“Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary,” McConnell said in a statement Friday following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He added: “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

In early 2016, McConnell said he would not give Merrick Garland, right, then chief judge of the federal appellate court based in Washington, D.C., his confirmation proceedings because, he argued, voters should get to decide through the merrick garlandpresidential election. He has repeatedly reversed his own standard and said he would fill a vacancy under Trump, even in an election year.

His intent to move ahead came despite Ginsburg’s dying wish. In a posthumous statement released to NPR, Ginsburg said: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

McConnell has rationalized his decision by saying the standards were different because the White House and the Senate were controlled by different parties in 2016, which is not the case this year.

But at least two GOP senators indicated in interviews before Ginsburg’s death that they would not support filling a Supreme Court vacancy so close to Election Day, pledging to uphold the standard crafted by McConnell that most Senate Republicans adhered to in 2016.

And in Arizona, where Democrat Mark Kelly has consistently been favored over incumbent GOP Sen. Martha McSally, the winner may be sworn into his or her term during the lame-duck session, altering the current 53-47 Republican control of the Senate if Kelly does prevail on Nov. 3.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: A conservative replacement for Ginsburg could shift court to the right for generations, Robert Barnes, Sept. 19, 2020. For now, the Supreme Court has only eight members to confront potentially history-shaping issues resulting from one of the nation’s most contentious presidential elections.

Sept. 18

Breaking News: Washington Post, Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87; McConnell says Trump’s court pick will get Senate vote despite Ginsburg’s dying wish, Derek Hawkins, Darren Sands and Meryl Kornfield, Sept. 18, 2020. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the second woman on the high court in 1993 and legal pioneer for gender equality.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who refused to consider President Obama’s choice months before the 2016 election, said in a statement Friday hours after Ginsburg’s death: “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

ruth bader ginsburg scotusThe death of Ginsburg, left, sent shock waves through the country Friday, igniting debate about the future of the high court and President Trump’s role in choosing a successor to the 87-year-old jurist.

Ginsburg died in her home in Washington, where she was surrounded by family, the Supreme Court said in a statement announcing her death. The cause was complications of metastatic pancreas cancer, according to the court.

A trailblazer for gender equality, Ginsburg was the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court and served there for more than 27 years.

She rose to the top of her class at Columbia Law School in the 1950s, helped battle gender discrimination as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and, in 1993, became the second woman on the high court. Her fierce opinions as a justice made her a hero to the left.

On the court, she became an iconic figure to a new wave of young feminists, and her regal image as the “Notorious RBG” graced T-shirts and coffee mugs. She also was the subject of a popular film documentary, RBG, in 2018.

Her death sets up what is all but certain to be a fierce political fight over whether Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate will decide her replacement.

The Justice Integrity Project joins in mourning her passing and celebrating her achievements.

Other Sept. 18 News: Giancarlo Granda (Reuters photo)

Giancarlo Granda (Reuters photo)

washington post logoWashington Post, The Falwells, the pool attendant and the double life that brought them all down, Michael E. Miller and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Sept. 18, 2020.  Giancarlo Granda says Becki and Jerry Falwell preyed on him sexually. The evangelical couple says their young business partner tried to extort money from them.

For 2½ years, Giancarlo Granda had been telling his family about the generosity of his business partners. The wealthy couple from out of town had taken him under their wing, he said, rewarding the Miami pool attendant’s ambition with a stake in a multimillion-dollar real estate project. Now he wanted them to meet.

In a trendy Italian restaurant inside the South Beach property where he’d become a part owner, Granda introduced his parents and sister to his unlikely benefactors: Jerry and Becki Falwell.

Over wine and pasta, the president of Liberty University and his wife (shown below left) praised the square-jawed 22-year-old, saying he was like an adopted son, Granda and his sister recalled.

jerry falwell jr becki falwell“Oh my God. They’re so nice,” Granda’s mother said of the Falwells afterward. “They’re so charming.”

“You see?” Granda recalled replying. “They just want to help me out.”

But the dinner in 2014 was about more than making an introduction, Granda now claims, and he was far more than the Falwells’ friend.

Instead, Granda alleges he was in the middle of a years-long relationship with the Falwells in which he would have sex with Becki while Jerry watched and sometimes recorded. Becki acknowledges the affair with Granda, but she and Jerry both deny he was involved in any way.

“I never participated in this affair as he now falsely claims,” Jerry Falwell said in a statement. “Obviously, it was a very painful period of our lives, but we liberty university sealreconciled and love each other.”

Granda maintains that the intimate dinner — a photo of which Granda posted on Instagram on Nov. 14, 2014 — was part of an attempt to provide a cover story, as people began questioning the ties between the middle-aged evangelical couple and the handsome young college student.

Granda’s claims about the affair, which were first reported in detail by Reuters, were made the same day Falwell stepped down last month as president of Liberty, the prominent Christian university his televangelist father founded a half-century ago in Lynchburg, Va.

djt jerry falwell jr becki falwellAnd the relationship may have played a role in the political fortunes of President Trump. Falwell endorsed Trump in 2016, not long after his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, said he helped the Falwells cover up compromising photos.

In interviews with The Washington Post, Falwell said his wife had a one- or two-year affair with Granda, who then tried to blackmail them.

“He is a liar and he’s an extortionist,” Falwell, 58, said of Granda.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Becki, 53, said.

But Granda, now 29, says the relationship went on for nearly seven years. Photos, emails, text messages and other documents he provided to The Post support that timeline. In a 2019 recording, Granda and the Falwells can be heard discussing a weekend they shared at a resort seven years earlier, and their fears that the getaway would become public. And screen grabs of a FaceTime conversation in early 2019 appear to show Becki topless and drinking wine while Jerry watched her talk to Granda.

Falwell’s statement Sunday to the Examiner said nothing about Granda’s account alleging that the evangelical leader had his own role in the affair, and Falwell didn’t address questions from Reuters about it. In the statement quoted by the Examiner, Falwell said that “Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved.”

News of the entanglement could pose a fresh threat to the influence of Jerry Falwell, a towering figure in the U.S. evangelical political movement. His 2016 endorsement of Donald Trump helped the twice-divorced New Yorker win the Republican nomination for president.

Falwell, 58, took an indefinite leave of absence earlier this month from Liberty University, the Christian school he has run since 2007. The leave, announced in a terse statement from the school’s board of trustees, came days after Falwell posted, then deleted, an Instagram photo of himself with his pants unzipped, standing with his arm around a young woman whose pants were also partly undone. Falwell later told a local radio station that the picture was meant as a good-natured joke.

Becki Falwell, 53, is a political figure in her own right. She served on the advisory board of the group Women for Trump, which advocates for the president’s reelection campaign. She also spoke as part of a panel with her husband and Donald Trump Jr. at last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, the signature annual gathering of conservatives. Jerry Falwell and others refer to her as “the first lady of Liberty University.”

The university, based in Lynchburg, Virginia, was founded in 1971 by Falwell’s televangelist father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell. The younger Falwell took over in 2007. Today, the university boasts an online and on-campus enrollment that exceeds 100,000 students and holds those who attend to an exacting honor code. “Sexual relations outside of a biblically ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman are not permissible at Liberty University,” the code reads.

Related stories:


Sept. 17

The Guardian, Donald Trump accused of sexual assault by former model Amy Dorris, Lucy Osborne, Sept. 17, 2020. Amy Dorris alleges Trump forced his tongue down her throat and groped her at 1997 US Open.

A former model has come forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her at the US Open tennis tournament more djt handwave filethan two decades ago, in an alleged incident that left her feeling “sick” and “violated.”

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Amy Dorris alleged that Trump accosted her outside the bathroom in his VIP box at the tournament in New York on 5 September 1997. Dorris, who was 24 at the time, accuses Trump of forcing his tongue down her throat, assaulting her all over her body and holding her in a grip she was unable to escape from.

“He just shoved his tongue down my throat and I was pushing him off. And then that’s when his grip became tighter and his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything. I was in his grip, and I couldn’t get out of it,” she said, adding: “I don’t know what you call that when you’re sticking your tongue just down someone’s throat. But I pushed it out with my teeth. I was pushing it. And I think I might have hurt his tongue.”

Via his lawyers, Trump denied in the strongest possible terms having ever harassed, abused or behaved improperly toward Dorris. Dorris, who lives in Florida, provided the Guardian with evidence to support her account of her encounters with Trump, including her ticket to the US Open and six photos showing her with the real estate magnate over several days in New York. Trump was 51 at the time and married to his second wife, Marla Maples.

Sept. 16

Daily Beast, Epstein’s Former Chef Is Cooperating With Feds on Sex Ring Investigation, Kate Briquelet, Sept. 16, 2020. Lawyers for celebrity chef Adam Perry daily beast logoLang, who once served as Epstein’s personal chef, confirmed to The Daily Beast that he is cooperating with the investigation.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre clutched the letter as she traversed a California highway overlooking the Pacific Ocean. That February morning, she was en route to a Manhattan Beach home she hoped belonged to a celebrity chef she once knew.

A survivor of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex ring, Giuffre was on a cross-country mission to doorknock the financier’s former employees after his death. She hoped these acquaintances could be witnesses now, without fear of retribution from Epstein, and lend support to her court battle with Epstein’s onetime lawyer Alan Dershowitz, whom she accused of sexual abuse. (Dershowitz adamantly denies Giuffre’s claims.)

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Virginia Roberts, center, a onetime pool girl at Mar-a-Lago who was 17 at the time and now uses her married name of Giuffre, is shown in a photo at left with the U.K. royal Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell, a former Epstein girlfriend who is being held without bond pending trial on sex trafficking charges. 

On this particular day, Giuffre was looking for Adam Perry Lang, the chef and barbecue expert behind eponymous Hollywood steakhouse APL. Lang’s hot spot is backed by one of his besties, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, and Community actor Joel McHale. His résumé includes appearances on Kimmel’s show, nods from Oprah Winfrey, and a spot on the New York Times bestseller list for his book Serious Barbecue.

But to Giuffre, Lang was Epstein’s personal chef and someone she considered a friend. Lang sneaked pizza to her after Epstein — who controlled the diets of women he abused to keep them prepubescent-thin — fell asleep upstairs.

“Justice comes in many forms. In my case, justice is holding the various perpetrators that participated, enabled or looked the other way accountable,” said Giuffre’s letter to Lang, which she read aloud during a road trip with investigative reporter Tara Palmeri.

The moment is captured in Season Two of the podcast Broken: Seeking Justice, wherein Palmeri and Giuffre track down Epstein’s household staff who’ve long kept silent about the hedge funder’s activities in New York, Florida, New Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “I’m not here to ruin your life,” Giuffre read. “You have so much knowledge of the various people on the planes and his homes and anywhere you would have been with him. You truly can’t say you didn’t know or you can’t remember.”

“Adam, please don’t be an enabler,” she concluded. “Be a hero. Be a hero to me, Epstein’s victims, and the millions of children who are trafficked every day. I believe you are a good man. At least the Adam I know was. Prove me right.”

Lang’s attorney, Lawrence Lustberg, said the chef is cooperating with the New York prosecutors investigating Epstein’s sex ring. Lustberg also said he contacted Giuffre’s attorney in early March and offered Lang’s assistance, but a conversation has yet to be scheduled.

Sept. 13

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The Justice Department says defaming women is part of Trump’s job. Literally, Leah Litman (assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School and host of the podcast "Strict Scrutiny," about the Supreme Court), Sept. 13, 2020. The argument is absurd. But it could delay a potentially damaging lawsuit.

e jean carrollTheodore Roosevelt called the presidency a “bully pulpit” — but President Trump takes the concept to a new level, using his office to ridicule and insult his critics and opponents.

e jean carroll headshotOn Tuesday, the Justice Department effectively said it would become his partner in this project, arguing that the president was acting within the scope of his official duties when he denied a sexual assault accusation in 2019 about an alleged incident in the mid-1990s. Trump implied the woman who accused him, E. Jean Carroll, above left and at right in an earlier photo, was too unattractive for that to be plausible. “Number one, she’s not my type,” he told a reporter in June 2019. “Number two, it never happened.”

Sept. 8

ny times logoNew York Times, Justice Dept. Intervenes to Help Trump in E. Jean Carroll Lawsuit, Alan Feuer, Sept. 8, 2020. Government lawyers sought to take over President Trump’s defense in a defamation suit from Ms. Carroll, who said he raped her in the 1990s.

e jean carrollE. Jean Carroll, a writer shown at left and below left in a file photo from earlier in her career, sued President Trump last November, claiming that he lied by publicly denying he had ever met her. The Justice Department moved on Tuesday to replace President Trump’s private legal team with government lawyers to defend him against a defamation lawsuit by the author E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s.

In a highly unusual legal move, lawyers for the Justice Department said in court papers that Mr. Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he denied ever knowing Ms. Carroll and thus could be defended by government lawyers — in effect underwritten by taxpayer money.

e jean carroll twitterThough the law gives employees of the federal government immunity from most defamation lawsuits, legal experts said it has rarely, if ever, been used before to protect a president, especially for actions taken before he entered office.

“The question is,” said Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor, “is it really within the scope of the law for government lawyers to defend someone accused of lying about a rape when he wasn’t even president yet?” Related story below.

The motion also effectively protects Mr. Trump from any embarrassing disclosures in the middle of his campaign for re-election. A state judge issued a ruling last month that potentially opened the door to Mr. Trump being deposed in the case before the election in November, and Ms. Carroll’s lawyers have also requested that he provide a DNA sample to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress that Ms. Carroll said she was wearing at the time of the encounter.

Ms. Carroll’s lawyer said in a statement issued Tuesday evening that the Justice Department’s move to intervene in the case was a “shocking” attempt to bring the resources of the United States government to bear on a private legal matter.

  donald trump ny daily pussy

New allegations echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Then and Now: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence.

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Dept. moves to take over defamation case against Trump, Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 8, 2020. Justice Dept. moves to take over defamation case against Trump, Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 8, 2020. The Justice Department sought to move the matter to federal court and signaled it wants to make the U.S. government — rather than President Trump himself — the defendant in the case brought by E. Jean Carroll, right, who has accused Trump of raping her.

e jean carroll headshotThe Justice Department on Tuesday intervened in the defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says President Trump raped her years ago, moving the matter to federal court and signaling it wants to make the U.S. government — rather than Trump himself — the defendant in the case.

In filings in federal court in Manhattan, the Justice Department asserted that Trump was “acting within the scope of his office as President of the United States” when he denied during interviews in 2019 that he had raped journalist E. Jean Carroll more than two decades ago in a New York City department store. Carroll sued Trump over that denial in November.

The maneuver removes the case — at least for now — from state court in New York, where a judge last month had rejected Trump’s bid for a delay and put e jean carroll cover new york magazineCarroll’s team back on course to seek a DNA sample and an under-oath interview from the president. It also means that Justice Department lawyers will be essentially aiding Trump’s defense, and taxpayers could be on the hook for any potential damages, if the U.S. government is allowed to stand in for Trump. Winning damages against the government, though, would be more unlikely than in donald trump monster abananapeeledcom dcmaa suit against Trump, as the notion of “sovereign immunity” gives the government and its employees broad protection from lawsuits.

In a statement, Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s lawyer, blasted the department’s filing. She noted that because a New York state court had rejected Trump’s bid for a delay, he was “soon going to be required to produce documents, provide a DNA sample, and sit for a deposition.”

“Realizing that there was no valid basis to appeal that decision in the New York courts, on the very day that he would have been required to appeal, Trump instead enlisted the U.S. Department of Justice to replace his private lawyers and argue that when he lied about sexually assaulting our client, explaining that she ‘wasn’t his type,’ he was acting in his official capacity as President of the United States,” Kaplan said.

Carroll said in a statement that the Justice Department’s actions “demonstrate that Trump will do everything possible, including using the full powers of the federal government, to block discovery from going forward in my case before the upcoming election to try to prevent a jury from ever deciding which one of us is lying.”

“But Trump underestimates me, and he also has underestimated the American people,” Carroll said.

Sept. 7

paris hilton 2009Today.com, Paris Hilton says she was abused at boarding school as a teen in new documentary, Erin Clements, Sept. 7, 2020. In a revealing new documentary (that premiers Sept. 14 on her YouTube channel), Paris Hilton opens up about a trauma she’s never publicly discussed.

“I feel like the whole world thinks they know me because I’ve been playing this character for so long,” Hilton, right, says in the film, This Is Paris, which then cuts to a clip of her 2000s reality show The Simple Life.

“That’s not me,” Hilton, now 39, continues. “No one really knows who I am. Something happened in my childhood that I’ve never talked about with anyone. I still have nightmares about it. I wish I could bring a camera into my dreams and show you what it’s like. It’s terrifying. And I relive that every night.”

In 1996, Hilton’s family moved from Los Angeles to New York. Hilton says she struggled with bullying at her new school and her parents’ expectations for her and younger sister Nicky Hilton to attend etiquette classes and follow their strict rules. She rebelled by sneaking out to nightclubs, where she felt “accepted.”

It was then, she says, that parents Kathy and Rick Hilton sent her to a series of “emotional growth schools.”

Hilton says her parents were still in New York and she didn’t notify them of what was happening for fear of being punished. She alleges that the school’s staff told her, “We’re just going to tell your parents you’re a liar and they’re not going to believe you.”

According to Hilton, the effects of her treatment at the school have included insomnia, recurring nightmares and difficulty forming healthy relationships.



Aug. 30

washington post logoWashington Post, Post-Falwells, Liberty faces questions about faith, power, accountability, Susan Svrluga, Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Aug. 29, 2020. Jerry Fallwell Jr.'s departure leaves Liberty University at a turning point: Will the school continue its success as measured by liberty university sealassets and political clout? Or return to the religious priority of Jerry Falwell Sr.?

Liberty University students watched their first all-school convocation of the semester one day after their high-profile president, Jerry Falwell Jr., resigned amid personal scandals.

Falwell has been “an inspiration,” said Jerry Prevo, a powerful, fundamentalist pastor from Alaska serving as acting president. He told students that Liberty’s leaders are committed to the spiritual mission of the university. He also said Falwell had been the “builder of this great campus, which all of us can be proud of.”

jerry falwell jr becki falwellThen Jonathan Falwell, pastor of the Liberty-affiliated Thomas Road Baptist Church, spoke. He did not mention his brother by name. But he told his audience, in Lynchburg, Va., and around the globe: “So many times we see Christians that are more focused on building their own brand than they are about building the kingdom of God.”

There are a lot of universities out there, Jonathan Falwell said, but Liberty is different: It was built to change the world with the gospel. He urged students to be faithful, trust God and avoid temptation.

Some students who heard the two men said the convocation highlighted a key tension at their school. They felt that Prevo was elevating the former president because of his transformation of the university and that Jonathan Falwell was elevating the Christian values they shared.

“I thought Jonathan Falwell, without being too explicit about it … he definitely kind of took Jerry to task,” said Eli Best, a junior from Alexandria. “But he did it in a way that took us all to task. It was very relevant.”

Aug. 28

washington post logoWashington Post, During his own bachelor party, teacher sent nude photo of himself to eighth-grader, police say, Dan Morse, Aug. 28, 2020. Middle school teacher Maxwell Bero offered big plans last year when announcing his candidacy for U.S. Congress.

“I’m frustrated at the lack of action from my representation on issues that I care deeply about,” the 29-year-old Maryland teacher told the Baltimore Sun. “Specifically, addressing climate change, working towards single-payer health care, and ISP regulation.”

Lurking in his background — at least according to allegations filed by police in Montgomery County District Court this week — was that Bero had sexually abused an eighth-grade girl from 2014 to 2015 when she was his history student at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School in Silver Spring. One of the most stunning allegations: Bero sent the 14-year-old a nude picture of himself from his own bachelor party, according to court records.

Bero was arrested and placed in jail Wednesday on one count of sex abuse of a minor and six counts of third-degree sex offense. Police alleged he fondled the student on numerous occasions when they were alone in his classroom at the end of the school day.

Bero, who is now 30 and whose bid for Congress wasn’t successful, was released from jail Thursday on a $10,000 bond after making a brief court appearance. The woman told police that she stopped communicating with Bero by the end of her freshman year in high school.

As for his congressional bid, Bero tried to knock off Rep. David Trone in the Democratic primary for Maryland’s 6th District, which stretches from Montgomery County to the western border of the state. Bero collected 25,037 votes compared to Trone’s 65,655 votes.

“Though it didn’t work out the way we wanted, we showed that there is a clear appetite in Western Maryland for real, progressive ideas,” Bero wrote on his website, adding that he was looking to the future. “It’s on to 2022!”

washington post logoWashington Post, Perspective: Farewell to Kellyanne Conway, the ultimate Woman for Trump, Monica Hesse, Aug. 28, 2020 (print ed.). Kellyanne Conway had a two-word weapon that she deployed with shrewd skill during her almost-four-year stint at the White House, and it left her targets defenseless.

kellyanne conway talkingFor Kellyanne Conway, right, “Excuse me” really meant “Excuse you.” It was a shaming. It implied that the other party was in the wrong for not permitting her bulldozing, browbeating and bloviating. It relied, successfully, on the assumption that nobody wanted to be seen interrupting a tiny blond woman on live television. And so it excused her.

She is brilliant. She is terrifying.

She is also gone, theoretically. Earlier this week, Conway announced she would be resigning from her role as senior adviser to the president. Her Wednesday speech at the Republican National Convention was a farewell of sorts, the last time we can expect to see her behaving as an official mouthpiece for Trump before she retreats to her new “less drama, more mama” lifestyle.

She used her very presence to bat away charges of sexism against Trump. Again and again she reminded us — as she did again Wednesday — Trump had named her the first female campaign manager of a winning presidential ticket. How could he possibly be sexist?

Ever since the dawn of the #MeToo movement, affronted male readers have occasionally written me to say they are tired of reading about toxic masculinity all the time and wondering whether there was a female corollary: toxic femininity. If there is, I can’t help but think it looks like Kellyanne Conway: someone who takes the stereotypical gentle niceties we once sent girls to charm school to learn — and uses them to sow information chaos.

Excuse me, she would say, needling a news anchor to permit her to barge into the conversation and take it in a more alternative-factsy direction.

Excuse me, she would say to fellow guests who tried, unsuccessfully, to join in with their own opinions. It was a filibuster of false manners, a prim reminder that she would not be yielding the floor.

Aug. 27

Falwell Scandal: A #MeTooTale?

Politico: ‘She was the aggressor’: Former Liberty student alleges sexual encounter with Becki Falwell, Brandon Ambrosino, Aug. 27, 2020. A former student at the evangelical university opens up about a 2008 incident with the wife of the school’s president.

jerry falwell jr becki falwellA former Liberty University student says Becki Falwell, shown at right, the wife of the university’s then-President Jerry Falwell Jr., also shown at right, jumped into bed with him and performed oral sex on him while he stayed over at the Falwell home after a band practice with her eldest son in 2008.

The student was 22 at the time of the encounter, near the start of Liberty’s fall semester. He said she initiated the act, and he went along with it. But despite his rejection of further advances, he said, Falwell continued pursuing him, offering him gifts and engaging in banter through Facebook messages.

The messages, screenshots of which were provided by the former student to Politico, suggest a flirtatious relationship that went beyond what might be expected of a mother communicating with her son’s bandmate.

One referenced a mutual friend who “said that she wants you to cut [your] bangs when you get your hair cut. I think that you are beautiful just like you are,” Becki Falwell wrote in a message sent in September 2008. “You don’t want to cover up those killer eyes of yours and you know the bandana drives me wild … ?”

liberty university sealIn another, sent in December 2008, after the student says he made clear he did not want any romantic involvement with Falwell, she wrote: “Maybe time will heal whatever wounds that I have caused and your Christian heart will allow you to forgive me.”

In a statement, Jerry and Becki Falwell said of the former student’s allegations, “It is unfortunate that the coverage of our departure has turned into a frenzy of false and fantastic claims about us. These false and mean spirited lies have hurt us and our family greatly and we will respond fully with the truth at an appropriate time. At this time, however, we think it is best to move on and help the Liberty community focus on its very bright future…”

Another member of the former student’s band, who spoke to Politico on the condition of anonymity, said the student told him of the oral-sex encounter with Becki Falwell within a month of it occurring. Two former Liberty University employees, also speaking under a condition of anonymity, recalled that the band members practiced at the Falwell Farm in 2008, but did not know of the alleged encounter between Falwell and the former student.

The allegation by the former student casts light on the behavior of Jerry and Becki Falwell, who have been under intense scrutiny for inappropriate relationships and misuse of their positions at the university. On Sunday, Jerry Falwell Jr. acknowledged that Becki had had an affair with Giancarlo Granda, a pool attendant at the Fountainbleau Hotel in Miami Beach with whom they entered a real estate deal. Granda told POLITICO and other outlets that the affair began when he was 20 and continued for seven more years, during which time her husband sometimes watched him and Becki have sex.

Earlier this summer, the couple was vacationing with friends and family aboard a yacht owned by a Liberty University supporter when Jerry posted and quickly deleted a photo of himself with his pants unzipped and arm around Becki’s assistant.

jerry falwell jr wJerry Falwell Jr., left, resigned as Liberty president on Tuesday, in exchange for a severance package worth $10.5 million, two days after his acknowledgment of Becki’s affair with Granda.

Granda, however, was not a student. At Liberty University, students aren’t allowed to have sex outside of marriage. Those who violate the rule risk punishment, up to and including expulsion, according to “The Liberty Way,” the school’s honor code for students. The university, like many Christian institutions, regards premarital sex as sinful, a corruption of a Christian’s bodily “temple.”

Politico first contacted the former student in 2019, after hearing of his alleged sexual encounter with Falwell from former classmates. He confirmed the encounter but didn’t want to go public with it until recent weeks, when the Falwells’ behavior came under scrutiny. POLITICO granted the former student anonymity to describe what he considered inappropriate advances from a woman who was herself a university employee and wife of the university president.

He said he did not feel comfortable discussing the encounter earlier because he suffered from feelings of guilt and depression, feared exposure, and didn’t want to cause harm to the Falwell family.

He said he grew up in a North Carolina home where the Falwell name loomed large. His mother admired Liberty’s founder, the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., and was a true believer in the conservative Christian values that Liberty developed a reputation for cultivating in young people. For the then-student, the incident with Becki Falwell incited a long struggle with both his faith and mental health. He said he did not tell family members of the cause of his distress, and only confided in a few close friends.

“It made [him] feel bad. It was a depressing thing; he struggled with depression [afterwards],” the former bandmate told POLITICO.

“I don’t want to be a homewrecker,” the former student said. “That took a toll on the soul.”

The former student, who is now 34, said he had not heard from Becki Falwell in more than eight years until this week, during which her relationship with Granda came to light. He said she texted him to say hello, and commiserate over the controversy that an engulfed her family. “This is a nightmare. It just keeps getting worse,” Falwell texted him on Monday night, shortly before Jerry Falwell Jr. officially resigned as president.

The former student said he responded the following day by texting that he was praying for her. 

While the former student said he considered coming forward with his story in the past, he was worried about damaging the reputation of the school that Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. founded. “I respect Jerry Sr. and what he did for the school, for the kids, and I believe the Lord had a mission on his life to do that,” he said. Several times, he expressed his desire to maintain anonymity, saying that he did not want to be treated like former White House intern Monica Lewinsky — his name reduced to a salacious punchline.

In the end, he decided to come forward with his story because of what he now sees as an abuse of power on the part of Becki Falwell. He believes now that that day in the driveway when she asked if he had told his friends that “I think you’re hot,” she was testing him.

“Usually I think about a middle-aged man grooming someone,” the former student said. “It’s funny how it happened with the whole, ‘Me Too’ [movement]. I’m on the other end of the spectrum [from] men harassing women. I found [that] a lot of the traits that these guys had, [Falwell] had as well.”

The former student also believes that Falwell trusted him to keep their secret because “she knew that I cared about her school and the soul-winning aspect. I did not want to corrupt that by any means,” the former student said. “I don’t want that on my back, that I took down the school.”

Aug. 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Lewd videos, new harassment allegations paint disturbing picture of Washington NFL team, Will Hobson, Beth Reinhard, Liz Clarke and Dalton Bennett, Aug. 26, 2020. Outtake videos from cheerleaders' photo shoots and interviews with more than 100 current and former employees show that owner Daniel Snyder has presided over an organization in which women have felt discriminated against and exploited.

In “Beauties on the Beach,” the official video chronicling the making of the Washington NFL team’s 2008 cheerleader swimsuit calendar, the women frolic in the sand, rave about their custom bikinis and praise a photographer for putting them at ease in settings where sometimes only a strategically placed prop or tightly framed shot shielded otherwise bare breasts.

nfl logoWhat the cheerleaders didn’t know was that another video, intended strictly for private use, would be produced using footage from that same shoot. Set to classic rock, the 10-minute unofficial video featured moments when nipples were inadvertently exposed as the women shifted positions or adjusted props.

The lewd outtakes were what Larry Michael, then the team’s lead broadcaster and a senior vice president, referred to as “the good bits” or “the good parts,” according to Brad Baker, a former member of Michael’s staff. Baker said in an interview that he was present when Michael told staffers to make the video for team owner Daniel Snyder.

Snyder and the team provided no comment after they were given repeated opportunities to respond to this and other allegations in this story. Michael adamantly denied the allegation.

“Larry said something to the effect of, ‘We have a special project that we need to get done for the owner today: He needs us to get the good bits of the behind-the-scenes video from the cheerleader shoot onto a DVD for him,’” said Baker, who was a producer in the team’s broadcast department from 2007 to 2009.

The Washington Post obtained a copy of the 2008 video from another former employee, along with a similar outtakes video from the squad’s swimsuit calendar shoot in the Dominican Republic in 2010 that included a close-up of one cheerleader’s pubic area, obscured only by gold body paint.

In addition, a former broadcasting producer for the team told The Post that Michael ordered that the 2010 video be burned to a DVD titled “For Executive Meeting.” The former producer did not recall Michael mentioning Snyder. Both former employees spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation. Michael denied knowledge of any such videos.

On Aug. 18, The Post emailed the team’s public relations representative a summary of its reporting and detailed questions. The team, through its public relations firm and lawyer, requested additional days to respond and did not accept repeated offers from The Post to show team officials these videos. Ultimately, the team provided no comment, and Snyder did not agree to an interview.

In response to a Post report last month detailing allegations of widespread sexual harassment in his team’s front office, including by Michael, Snyder publicly stated that such behavior “has no place in our franchise” and hired a law firm to “set new employee standards for the future.”

Perspective: Daniel Snyder has now embarrassed — and exposed — the entire NFL

But interviews with more than 100 current and former employees and a review of internal company documents and other records show that, in his 21 years of ownership, Snyder has presided over an organization in which women say they have been marginalized, discriminated against and exploited. The employees also described an atmosphere in which bullying and demeaning behavior by management created a climate of fear that allowed abusive behavior to continue unchecked.

Twenty-five women — most of them speaking on the condition of anonymity because of nondisclosure agreements or fear of reprisal — told The Post that they experienced sexual harassment while working for the team. They described male bosses, colleagues and players commenting on their bodies and clothing, incorporating sexual innuendos into workplace conversation and making unwanted advances in person or via emails, text messages and social media. Many said they were motivated to speak out because they were angered by Snyder’s comments after The Post report last month that detailed allegations from another 17 women, which they read as an attempt to distance himself from the workplace culture described.

One of the women interviewed for this story accused Snyder of directly humiliating her, the first such claim made to The Post. Former cheerleader Tiffany Bacon Scourby said Snyder approached her at a 2004 charity event at which the cheerleaders were performing and suggested she join his close friend in a hotel room so they “could get to know each other better.” Scourby’s account was supported by three friends she spoke to shortly afterward about the alleged incident, including the team’s former cheerleader director.

The new allegations come at a perilous time for Snyder, 55, who recently dropped the team’s name under pressure from sponsors and critics who said it was racist. He also faces the possible exodus of his three co-owners, who are trying to sell their collective 40 percent stake in the franchise.

Snyder has gone to court twice in recent weeks to defend his reputation. He sued an online media company for publishing what he said were defamatory stories about him.

washington post logoWashington Post, Jerry Falwell Jr. resigns as head of Liberty University, will get $10.5 million in compensation, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Susan Svrluga and Michelle Boorstein, Aug. 26, 2020 (print ed.). Jerry Falwell Jr. has resigned as president of Liberty University after a series of personal scandals, ending back-to-back Falwell leadership eras at an evangelical institution that is a major power center for conservative Christians and politicians.

His contract entitles him to a $10.5 million severance package, Falwell, 58, told The Washington Post late Tuesday — in part because he is departing from the university without being formally accused of or admitting to wrongdoing.

jerry falwell jr becki falwellFalwell (shown with his wife, Rebecca) said he will receive $2.5 million over 24 months, equivalent to two years’ salary. He agreed not to work for a competing university during that time. After two years, he will receive around $8 million in retirement. Falwell said he signed a 20-page contract in July 2019 that outlined the terms.

“The board was gracious not to challenge that,” Falwell said of his decision to step down in good standing.

“There wasn’t any cause," he said. “I haven’t done anything.”

Falwell has generated headlines in recent years for remarks and actions that were considered racist or anti-Muslim, and he has been criticized for attempting to silence dissent on the university’s campus in Lynchburg, Va. He was suspended with pay early this month after posting a provocative photo on social media. Pressure for him to resign ramped up after news reports this week alleged extramarital conduct involving him and his wife, "Becki."

Jerry Falwell told The Post on Tuesday that he had not been involved in an affair, but his wife had; Becki Falwell, in the same interview, confirmed that account. Falwell said he was leaving Liberty in part because he did not want his wife’s conduct to embarrass the school. But he also said he had been bored and wanted to move on.

His resignation stands out because Falwell had seemed untouchable within the evangelical community, due both to his family’s prominence and his close friendship and alliance with President Trump, who is strongly supported by White evangelicals.

Since 2007, Falwell had been at the helm of the Virginia university co-founded by his father, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., a colorful televangelist who helped shape the religious right. Liberty’s board said it will form a search committee to hire a new leader. Former board chair Jerry Prevo, who became acting president after Falwell was placed on leave Aug. 7, remains in that position.

Aug. 25

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Congressman’s old social media posts about sex with 15-year-old girls, rape surface in South Florida re-election fight, Skyler Swisher, Aug. 25, 2020. South Florida Congressman Brian Mast joked about rape and referenced sex with 15-year-old girls in old Facebook comments to a friend who is now his campaign manager.

The messages were posted years ago, but they’ve surfaced in Mast’s tough re-election fight against Democratic challenger Pam Keith.

brian mast headshotMast, left, a 40-year-old Republican, represents one of South Florida’s most competitive swing districts. He apologized for the remarks on Tuesday.

Two years later, LeDonni asked in a May 20, 2011, post: “Anyone have any good pick up lines for this weekend considering according to the crazy christian radio guy the world may end on sunday?”

“How about don’t turn this rape into a murder,” Mast responded.

In a statement Tuesday, Mast apologized for the posts.

“A decade ago when I was in the Army, and following my injury, I made disgusting and inappropriate jokes that I am embarrassed to have associated with my name today,” he said. “I am sorry about that part of who I was, and I strive every day to be a better example for my kids.”

Mast is a decorated war veteran. He lost his legs and a finger when a bomb exploded under him in September 2010 in Afghanistan.

After the explosion, Mast was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center into 2012, where he underwent numerous surgeries, learned to walk again and was often heavily medicated.

LeDonni has been a senior campaign advisor and political consultant for Mast since he first was elected in 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Pam KeithThe posts were public on LeDonni’s Facebook page, but they were removed from view after Mast’s campaign was contacted by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Keith, right, a former Navy JAG officer, condemned the posts in a statement.

“This is disgusting, unacceptable and dishonorable behavior for any man, let alone a sitting member of Congress,” Keith said. “Rape, violence and intimidation of women and children are not Brian Mast’s punchline — his words are an insult and betrayal to the women he claims to represent.”

Keith hasn’t held back on social media. In March 2020, Keith responded to a comment that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden might have raped someone.

“That means he still has LOTS of rape to do to catch up to Trump. Also .... I highly doubt that’s true,” she wrote.iological study in what happens when the midwest migrates to an area that was once part of Georgia.

Falwell Scandals

Donald Trump receives support from evangelical leaders in the White House Oval Office (Washington Post Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu).

Donald Trump receives support from evangelical leaders in the White House Oval Office (Washington Post Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu).

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Why the Jerry Falwell scandal won’t weaken Trump’s evangelical support, Paul Waldman, Aug. 25, 2020. As Republicans hold a convention that portrays President Trump as all but a living god, one of his most important supporters from the religious right is experiencing a precipitous fall from grace. Like a scene from a satire attacking the hypocrisy of organized religion, Jerry Falwell Jr. is being brought down in a sex scandal.

Falwell — the son of the man who helped turn White evangelical Christians into a potent political force, and one of Trump’s most fervent advocates on the Christian right — has now resigned as the president of Liberty University after a social media post showing him with his pants half unzipped and his arm around a young woman went viral.

Falwell says they were all just kidding around. But now, the salacious “pool boy” story — in which Falwell and his wife, for no discernible reason, gave an enormous amount of money to a 20-something pool boy for the purchase of a youth hostel — has gotten even more lurid. The young man, Giancarlo Granda, now says he “was involved in a long-term sexual relationship with Falwell’s wife, Becki,” in which Falwell “sometimes participated by looking on,” as Politico put it.

When this story first emerged a year and a half ago, it turned out that Trump and Falwell had some complicated connections. Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen had helped the Falwells put the lid on some “racy photos” they were worried could become public, and Cohen used an IT expert from Liberty University to rig online polls for Trump in 2015. Just a bunch of upstanding citizens helping each other out.

liberty university sealSo is this an embarrassment to Trump, that one of his closest allies on the religious right is being so publicly shamed? Don’t bet on it. The truth is, while White evangelical leaders may still gather around to lay hands on Trump, he doesn’t really need them. He has their followers in a grip that won’t ever be loosened.

I spoke Tuesday to Sarah Posner, the author of Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump, who told me that when Falwell endorsed Trump in 2016 — an endorsement that came when Trump was working to win socially conservative voters in the GOP primaries — it wasn’t as important as many in the media believed.

Though Falwell was the first high-profile religious right leader to endorse Trump, the hesitancy of the leadership over Trump’s encompassing moral depravity was not shared by the grass roots. “The base didn’t like Trump because Jerry Falwell endorsed him. They already liked Trump,” Posner told me. The leaders were just following the followers.

And while that relationship is sometimes described as a bargain, in which the evangelicals put aside their moral beliefs in order to obtain tangible benefits, that’s not really what it is. Their support of Trump isn’t grudging; it couldn’t be more enthusiastic. They see Trump as their champion.

Whether Trump cheated on all of his many wives is irrelevant. What matters is that he hates who they hate and will fight crudely and viciously on their behalf. As Posner writes in her book, they “have chosen to see him not as a sinner but as a strongman, not as a con man but as a king who is courageously unshackling them from what they portray as liberal oppression.”

And they could not be happier with what he has given them. They’ve gotten far-right judges committed to undermining abortion rights and expanding “religious liberty” if it benefits conservative Christians. The Trump administration is well stocked with religious right activists. Trump has given them both substance and symbolism; for example, while other Republican presidents would send a taped message to the March for Life, the annual antiabortion demonstration in Washington, Trump went there in person.

While Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes tried on occasion to be subtle about their close ties to the religious right, Trump is unashamed. Just as in so many areas, he favors the bullhorn over the dog whistle. As Posner says, he “has made them central to the ceremonial, public-facing aspects of his administration, but also policy.”

Another interesting aspect of the relationship is that while Trump is not himself religious, he’s only too happy to bring groups of evangelical pastors to the Oval Office. “They’re the people he wants to have around him,” Posner told me, “because they tell him how great he is, how God’s hand is on him, and how he was chosen by God to save the country.” What more would Trump want to hear?

At the first night of the Republican convention, there were plenty of mentions of God, as well as descriptions of Trump as a near-deity himself. Tuesday night’s convention will feature a speech from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, delivered from Jerusalem. Given this and the fact that Pompeo is an evangelical who has said, “I am confident that the Lord is at work” in Trump administration foreign policy, it could be the most explicit statement of the convention that Trump is God’s instrument.

But as Posner argues, White evangelicals probably aren’t watching to confirm that they’re getting the proper attention from the president and the GOP. They don’t need to be convinced that their contributions are appreciated or that Trump truly cares about them. They already know, and the relationship couldn’t be any stronger — no matter what happens to Falwell or any of a dozen Trump-supporting evangelical

ny times logoNew York Times, Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Leadership at Liberty Appears Near End, Ruth Graham, Elizabeth Dias and Frances Robles, Aug. 24, 2020. One of President Trump’s most prominent evangelical supporters, Mr. Falwell denied reports he had resigned from the university.

jerry falwell jr wThe leadership of Jerry Falwell Jr., left, one of the most prominent evangelical supporters of President Trump, appeared to be nearing an end at Liberty University after a report emerged Monday of sexual indiscretions involving Mr. Falwell, his wife and a pool attendant.

Top officials at Liberty, which Mr. Falwell helped build into a hugely influential, $1.6 billion center of evangelical power, were seeking to finalize the terms of Mr. Falwell’s departure as the university’s president and chancellor.

The situation was confusing on Monday night, with a school spokesman telling news organizations that Mr. Falwell had resigned, Mr. Falwell denying that report, and an official with knowledge of the behind-the-scenes drama asserting that the terms were still being negotiated.

“Falwell has not yet resigned but he’s in negotiations with the school over his future,” said a person who was in touch with key players in liberty university sealthe negotiations on Monday but was not authorized to speak on the record.

On Monday evening Mr. Falwell told Virginia Business, a local monthly magazine, that reports of his resignation were “completely false” and that he did not plan to step down.

It was clear that Mr. Falwell’s support had eroded. A Liberty University spokesman, Scott Lamb, said the leadership of the school’s board had been in discussion with Mr. Falwell and expected to make a statement on Tuesday.

Mr. Falwell has been on a leave of absence since Aug. 7, after an uproar over a photograph he posted to Instagram that depicted him with his pants partially unzipped and his arm around a woman he later said was his wife’s assistant.

jerry falwell jr becki falwellOn Monday, a business associate named Giancarlo Granda alleged in an interview with Reuters that he had regular sexual liaisons with Mr. Falwell’s wife, Becki, shown at right, as Mr. Falwell (also shown at right) looked on, after meeting the couple as a young pool attendant at a luxury hotel in Miami in 2012.

In a statement released Sunday evening that appeared to anticipate the revelations, Mr. Falwell conceded that his wife had engaged in an “inappropriate personal relationship” with Mr. Granda, but said that he “was not involved.” He added that Mr. Granda tried to extort the couple to keep the affair a secret, an ordeal so upsetting that it had caused him to seek mental health treatment.

The end of Mr. Falwell’s tenure would mark the fall of a pugnacious leader who took over leadership of Liberty, one of the largest Christian colleges in the nation, one day after his father’s death in 2007.

Liberty has had a Falwell at its helm since Mr. Falwell’s father, a pastor with a taste for conservative politics, founded the school as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971. Jerry Falwell Sr. aimed to turn the college into a national institution and football powerhouse, with the slogan “Champions for Christ.”

The younger Mr. Falwell appeared to fulfill his mission. The school now plays in the top division of college football, and won its first bowl game last year. Liberty reports an enrollment of more than 120,000 students, including 15,000 who attend classes on its expanding campus in Lynchburg, Va.

Mr. Falwell’s own national profile has risen dramatically since he endorsed Donald J. Trump’s presidential bid in early 2016, before the Iowa caucus and significantly before most conservative evangelicals had warmed to him. He became one of the president’s most vocal evangelical supporters, speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention and becoming a regular presence on Fox News.

His loyalty in turn has turned Liberty into a kind of institutional headquarters of Trumpism. President Trump delivered the commencement address at Liberty in 2017.

Earlier story, disputed by Times coverage above: HuffPost, Jerry Falwell Jr. agrees to resign as Liberty University president after claiming he was being extorted over his wife’s affair, Sanjana Karanth, Aug. 24, 2020. Jerry Falwell Jr. has permanently left his position as president of the evangelical Liberty University after reports about his sex life led him to take an indefinite leave of absence.

The move on Monday, the first day of the new semester’s classes at Liberty, comes as the evangelical leader claims he’s being extorted by a business partner over his wife’s alleged affair.

Background from 2019

Benjamin Crosswhite and Rebecca

Crooks & Liars, Another 'Pool Guy'? Falwell Jr's Personal Trainer Scored $2M From Liberty U To Buy A Gym, Karoli Kuns, Aug. 27, 2019.  Another 'Pool Guy'? Jerry Falwell, Jr seems to be fond of setting young men up in business. Below right, Vice President Michael Pence, his wife Karen Pence, Rebecca Falwell and her husband, Jerry Falwell Jr., left to right, shown in a 2019 Jonathan Drake of Reuters.

Oh hey, look at Jerry Falwell, Jr. helping another twenty-something guy out with his startup after taking a ride on his private jet.

liberty university sealReuters reports that Benjamin Crosswhite served as a personal trainer to Jerry Falwell and his wife before receiving some major help from Liberty University to purchase a fitness center from the trustees.

The transaction is interesting for its generosity but also for the funding source: Liberty University, a non-profit educational foundation.

Vice President Michael Pence, his wife Karen Pence, Rebecca Falwell and her husband, Jerry Falwell Jr.,, left to right, shown in a 2019 Jonathan Drake of Reuters.Around 2011, Falwell, president of Liberty University in Virginia, and his wife, Rebecca (shown above with Crosswhite in an Instagram photo), began personal fitness training sessions with Benjamin Crosswhite, then a 23-year-old recent Liberty graduate. Now, after a series of university real estate transactions signed by Falwell, Crosswhite owns a sprawling 18-acre racquet sports and fitness facility on former Liberty property. Last year, a local bank approved a line of credit allowing Crosswhite’s business to borrow as much as $2 million against the property.

Oh! Kind of like the other 20-something pool attendant in Florida who bought the flophouse to turn into a youth hostel?

This one is worse, though.

One difference: When Falwell helped Crosswhite, he used the assets of Liberty, the tax-exempt university he has led since 2008. Among the largest Christian universities in the world, Liberty depends on hundreds of millions of dollars its students receive in federally backed student loans and Pell grants.

So here's the deal: In 2016, Falwell signed a real estate deal transferring the sports facility, complete with tennis courts and a fitness center owned by Liberty, to Crosswhite. Under the terms, Crosswhite wasn’t required to put any of his own money down toward the purchase price, a confidential sales contract obtained by Reuters shows.

jerry falwell jr wLiberty committed nearly $650,000 up front to lease back tennis courts from Crosswhite at the site for nine years. The school also offered Crosswhite financing, at a low 3% interest rate, to cover the rest of the $1.2 million transaction, the contract shows.

Falwell, Jr. was so impressed with Crosswhite that he gave the property to him below market, with a guaranteed lease, and a below-market interest rate on the loan to pay the place off. Sweet deal if you can get it. I wonder what he had to do to score that kind of deal.

That year, [2011] Falwell urged other Liberty personnel in an email to cut Crosswhite a “sweet deal” allowing him to offer private gym training at the Lynchburg fitness facility, then known as the Sports Racket, which Liberty had recently acquired through the trustee’s donation.

“Becki and I wouldn’t mind working out over there with Ben as a trainer because it is more private,” he wrote in the email, which was reviewed by Reuters. Falwell and his wife, who goes by Becki, each work out with Crosswhite twice a week, the university said. Falwell has become a vocal advocate of the trainer’s skills, as have other university executives and clients who work with Crosswhite.

The Falwells brought the trainer along on Liberty’s private jet during a 2012 trip to Miami. Later, Falwell sent an email directing Liberty to lease its gym space to Crosswhite’s fitness business, which began a five year lease in 2013. The cost, according to a lease document: $2,300 per month.

Perhaps it is as simple as sucking up to the guy with the money. 

ny times logoNew York Times, The Evangelical, the ‘Pool Boy,’ the Comedian and Michael Cohen, Frances Robles and Jim Rutenberg, June 18, 2019. Jerry Falwell Jr. defied expectations when he supported Donald J. Trump in 2016. Now details are emerging about behind-the-scenes maneuvering before the endorsement.

Senator Ted Cruz was running neck and neck with Donald J. Trump in Iowa just before the caucuses in 2016, but his campaign was expecting a last-minute boost from a powerful endorser, Jerry Falwell Jr.

Mr. Falwell was chancellor of one of the nation’s largest Christian colleges, Liberty University, and a son of the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., the televangelist and co-founder of the modern religious right.

Months earlier, Mr. Falwell had provided Liberty’s basketball arena for Mr. Cruz’s formal presidential announcement and required that the student body attend, giving the Texas Republican a guaranteed audience of thousands of cheering young religious conservatives.

With the caucuses now fast approaching, the senator’s father, Rafael Cruz, an evangelical pastor who had taken the lead in wooing Mr. Falwell, alerted the campaign that Mr. Falwell had pledged to endorse his son.

But when the time came for an announcement, Mr. Falwell rocked the Cruz campaign and grabbed the attention of the entire political world. He endorsed Mr. Trump instead, becoming one of the first major evangelical leaders to get behind the thrice-married, insult-hurling real estate mogul’s long-odds presidential bid.

Mr. Falwell — who is not a minister and spent years as a lawyer and real estate developer — said his endorsement was based on Mr. Trump’s business experience and leadership qualities. A person close to Mr. Falwell said he made his decision after “consultation with other individuals whose opinions he respects.” But a far more complicated narrative is emerging about the behind-the-scenes maneuvering in the months before that important endorsement.

That backstory, in true Trump-tabloid fashion, features the friendship between Mr. Falwell, his wife and a former pool attendant at the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach; the family’s investment in a gay-friendly youth hostel; purported sexually revealing photographs involving the Falwells; and an attempted hush-money arrangement engineered by the president’s former fixer, Michael Cohen.

The revelations have arisen from a lawsuit filed against the Falwells in Florida; the investigation into Mr. Cohen by federal prosecutors in New York; and the gonzo-style tactics of the comedian and actor Tom Arnold.

Over the last two years, Mr. Arnold has fashioned himself an anti-Trump sleuth and crusader, working to dig up evidence of past malfeasance on television and in social media. In that role, Mr. Arnold befriended Mr. Cohen — who had lately become a vivid, if not entirely reliable, narrator of the Trump phenomenon — and then surreptitiously recorded him describing his effort to buy and bury embarrassing photographs involving the Falwells.

That attempt, Mr. Cohen says on the recording, came months before he brought Mr. Falwell “to the table” for Mr. Trump. Until then, he adds, “none of the evangelicals wanted to support Trump.”

There is no evidence that Mr. Falwell’s endorsement was part of a quid pro quo arranged by Mr. Cohen. Indeed, the relationship, if any, between the endorsement and the photo episode remains unclear. But the new details — some of which have been reported by news outlets including BuzzFeed and Reuters over the last year — show how deeply Mr. Falwell was enmeshed in Mr. Cohen’s and Mr. Trump’s world.

And they add another layer to one of the enduring curiosities of the Trump era: the support the president has received from evangelical Christians, who have traditionally demanded that their political leaders exhibit “family values” and moral “character.” Mr. Falwell’s father forged those words into weapons against the Democrats after he co-founded the Moral Majority political movement, which propelled Ronald Reagan into the White House and made religious conservatives a vital constituency for any Republican who would be president.

By the time Republicans cast their first votes in 2016, Mr. Trump was starting to show surprising strength among some white evangelicals. But with Mr. Falwell serving as the torchbearer of his father’s legacy, his endorsement became a permission slip for deeply religious conservatives who were attracted by Mr. Trump’s promises to make America great again but wary of his well-known history of infidelity, his previous support of abortion rights and his admission that he had never asked for God’s forgiveness.

Aug. 24

giancarlo granda reuters

Reuters, Exclusive investigation: Falwell steered Liberty University land deal benefiting his personal trainer, Aram Roston, Aug. 24, 2020. Giancarlo Granda (shown above in a recent Reuters photo in Washington, DC) says he was 20 when he met Jerry and Becki Falwell while working as a pool attendant at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in March 2012. Starting that month and continuing into 2018, Granda told Reuters that the relationship involved him having sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell looked on.

Granda showed Reuters emails, text messages and other evidence that he says demonstrate the sexual nature of his relationship with the couple, who have been married since 1987.

“Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda said in an interview. Now 29, he described the liaisons as frequent – “multiple times per year” – and said the encounters took place at hotels in Miami and New York, and at the Falwells’ home in Virginia.

His friendship with the Falwells eventually soured, Granda told Reuters, in part because he wanted to dissolve his ties with the couple and liberty university sealfell into a business dispute with them.

Granda first emerged as a figure in the Falwells’ circle two years ago, when BuzzFeed News reported that the couple had befriended Granda and gone into business with him, buying a Miami Beach youth hostel in 2013. At the time of the BuzzFeed article, a representative of the Falwell family said Granda was “offered a share” in Alton Hostel LLC because Granda lived in Miami and would act as a manager of the youth hostel. Corporate records show that Granda currently has a stake in that venture.

Becki Falwell did not respond to emails or phone and text messages from Reuters. After Reuters presented its initial reporting early last week to the Falwells, a lawyer for Jerry Falwell, Michael Bowe, said the evangelical leader “categorically denies everything you indicated you intend to publish about him.”

On Sunday night, however, as Reuters was preparing to publish this article, Jerry Falwell issued a statement to the Washington Examiner in which he said that his wife had had an affair with Granda and that Granda had been trying to extort money from the couple over the matter. Granda denies any such intent, saying he was seeking to negotiate a buyout from a business arrangement he says he had with the couple.

In this recording from a 2018 phone call that Giancarlo Granda provided to Reuters, Granda said he and the Falwells discussed Becki Falwell’s jealousy about Granda dating other women.

Falwell’s statement Sunday to the Examiner said nothing about Granda’s account alleging that the evangelical leader had his own role in the affair, and Falwell didn’t address questions from Reuters about it. In the statement quoted by the Examiner, Falwell said that “Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved.”

djt jerry falwell jr becki falwellNews of the entanglement could pose a fresh threat to the influence of Jerry Falwell, a towering figure in the U.S. evangelical political movement. His 2016 endorsement of Donald Trump helped the twice-divorced New Yorker win the Republican nomination for president.

The Falwells have supported Donald Trump.

Falwell, 58, took an indefinite leave of absence earlier this month from Liberty University, the Christian school he has run since 2007. The leave, announced in a terse statement from the school’s board of trustees, came days after Falwell posted, then deleted, an Instagram photo of himself with his pants unzipped, standing with his arm around a young woman whose pants were also partly undone. Falwell later told a local radio station that the picture was meant as a good-natured joke.

Becki Falwell, 53, is a political figure in her own right. She served on the advisory board of the group Women for Trump, which advocates for the president’s reelection campaign. She also spoke as part of a panel with her husband and Donald Trump Jr. at last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, the signature annual gathering of conservatives. Jerry Falwell and others refer to her as “the first lady of Liberty University.”

The university, based in Lynchburg, Virginia, was founded in 1971 by Falwell’s televangelist father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell. The younger Falwell took over in 2007. Today, the university boasts an online and on-campus enrollment that exceeds 100,000 students and holds those who attend to an exacting honor code. “Sexual relations outside of a biblically ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman are not permissible at Liberty University,” the code reads.leaders.

Yahoo News, Jerry Falwell Jr. says his wife had an affair with the Florida 'pool boy,' claims they were being blackmailed, Peter Weber, Aug. 23, 2020. Suspended Liberty University leader Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed to Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard late Sunday that his wife, Becki Falwell, had an affair with a young man they befriended and went into business with in Florida eight years ago. In a long statement, Falwell said he and his wife "forgave each other" — he suggested he had also "important smaller things" to atone for, quoting a Bible verse about visual adultery — and had decided to come forward because his wife's former lover had been extorting them for "huge amounts of monies" to stay quiet. "I'm just tired of it," Falwell told Bedard.

Falwell said the young man — Giancarlo Granda — had created a "'fatal attraction' type situation," referring to a famous 1987 movie in which a jilted extramarital lover boiled a pet rabbit, among other acts of retaliatory intimidation. Granda, 21 at the time of the affair, told the Examiner in an email that "any allegation of extortion" is false, "defamatory, and belied by clear documentary evidence," adding that the attempt by the Falwells "to sandbag me" with this "last-minute story" just "reeks of desperation," and "the WHOLE truth will come out."

The salacious nature of the relationship between the Falwells and Granda emerged when Michael Cohen, the former fixer and lawyer for President Trump, told comedian Tom Arnold in a secretly taped conversation that he had destroyed risqué "personal" photographs involving the "pool boy" on behalf of Falwell weeks before Falwell unexpectedly endorsed Trump for president.

Falwell said Sunday he "was not involved" in his wife's "inappropriate personal relationship" with Granda, and mentioned "fantastic" and "prurient, untrue aspects" of the relationship "based on the individual's misrepresentations."

Liberty University, a conservative evangelical Christian college founded by Jerry Falwell Sr., confirmed Friday that Falwell has been placed on indefinite paid suspension while the university investigates "various rumors and claims" about him and decides if he will be fired. He makes about $1 million a year as president of Liberty University, The News & Advance reports.

Falwell, 58, has been on leave since apologizing for posting (then deleting) a photo of himself (shown below) with his arm around a woman, both their pants partially unzipped, at a "Trailer Park Boys" costume party on a 164-foot, six-bedroom yacht owned by NASCAR mogul Rick Hendrick. Falwell's family has reportedly been taking family vacations on the yacht since Liberty University signed a multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal with Hendrick Motorsports.

 Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. was put on a leave of absence after he posted this vacation photo showing him and his wife's assistant with their pants unbutton on his yacht and then tried to explain it on a radio show interview.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., one of the most prominent of the evangelical Christian leaders supporting Donald Trump, was put on a leave of absence after he posted this vacation photo showing him and his wife's assistant with their pants unbutton on his yacht and then tried to explain it on a WLNI local radio show

in which he said, "She was pregnant and she couldn't get her pants up....I'm going to try to be a good boy from here on out.")

Anchorage Daily News, Attorney general resigns after disclosure of text messages, Kyle Hopkins, Aug. 25, 2020. Alaska Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson resigned Tuesday following the publication of an Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica investigation showing he sent hundreds of “uncomfortable” texts to a younger state employee.

kevin clarkson federalist societyRecords obtained by the newsrooms found Clarkson, a Republican shown at right in a presentation to the conservative Federalist Society, sent 558 text messages between March 5 and March 31 to a woman whose job required she sometimes interact with the attorney general. In at least 18 messages he invited the woman to come to his home.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in an email Tuesday morning he had accepted Clarkson’s resignation.

“This administration has and always will expect the highest level of professional conduct in the workplace,” a statement from Dunleavy said. “There is nothing more important than the protection of our state employees, and that includes feeling safe when an employee is at work.

“Kevin Clarkson has admitted to conduct in the workplace that did not live up to our high expectations, and this is deeply disappointing. This morning he took responsibility for the unintentional consequences of his actions and tendered his resignation to me. I have accepted it.

“State law provides guidelines and protections for all state employees including confidentiality on personnel matters. The Governor’s office is bound by and conforms to those laws. My administration will continue to insist upon professional conduct from all our employees, regardless of their position in state government.”

The newsrooms learned of Clarkson’s behavior in June and first requested copies of the messages from the Department of Law -- which Clarkson oversees -- on June 4. In a June 19 response the Law Department said the state “has no records.” The governor’s office has declined to answer questions about when the governor learned of the behavior and what actions were taken between the discovery of the messages and Clarkson’s leave of absence, which began Aug. 1.

Earlier this month Dunleavy spokesman Jeff Turner said Clarkson was expected to return to work Sept. 1 and declined to say if the attorney general was on paid or unpaid leave, citing personnel rules. On Friday the Department of Law, responding to another records request, clarified that Clarkson was on leave without pay.

Clarkson has not responded to repeated interview requests. Within two hours of the publication of the investigation on Tuesday, Dunleavy announced the attorney general had resigned.

In his resignation letter, provided by the governor’s office, Clarkson said there was “nothing remotely salacious” about his texts. “I believed we had a positive friendship borne of mutual respect and interests,” he said of the woman. “What I failed to recognize is the impact that these interactions had on this person, due to the disparity in our workplace rank.”

Aug. 23

washington post logoWashington Post, Court orders Trump to pay Stormy Daniels $44,100 for legal fees, Jeanne Whalen, Aug. 23, 2020 (print ed.). The dispute involved hush-money payments Daniels received from the Trump Organization over an alleged affair.

stormy daniels djt insight 1 19 2018 CustomA California court ordered President Trump to pay Stephanie Clifford, right, the adult-film actress known as Stormy Daniels, $44,100 to cover her legal fees stemming from a dispute over a nondisclosure agreement.

The Superior Court of California in Los Angeles ruled that Clifford was the prevailing party in the dispute and therefore won the right to have her legal fees paid by Trump, according to a copy of the ruling, dated Aug. 17, posted by the court and by Clifford’s lawyer.

“Yup. Another win!” the Stormy Daniels Twitter account tweeted on Friday. White House officials and lawyers for Trump didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The dispute involved a nondisclosure agreement Clifford signed in 2016 in exchange for a $130,000 payment from Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen. The agreement prevented Clifford from speaking about an affair she says she and Trump had from 2006 to 2007. Trump has denied having the affair.

ny times logoNew York Times, Alex Morse Was Accused, Condemned and Then Vindicated. Will His Experience Change Anything? Jeremy W. Peters, Aug. 23, 2020. Vague allegations against the Massachusetts congressional candidate offer a case study in how progressives navigate issues of sex and power in politics when judgment is often swift and unforgiving. Alex Morse, the 31-year-old, gay mayor of Holyoke, Mass., says the allegations have only helped his campaign to unseat a Democratic incumbent in Congress.

Political careers usually don’t survive allegations like these. And for about a week, it seemed as if Alex Morse’s might not either.

On Aug. 7, the student newspaper at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst reported that the state chapter of the College Democrats had disinvited Mr. Morse, a congressional candidate and former guest lecturer at the university, from its future events, claiming “numerous incidents” of unwanted and inappropriate advances toward students.

alex morse wikimediaMr. Morse, left, is a 31-year-old, gay, small-city mayor and a rising star in national progressive politics. It wasn’t just his job on the line, but also the hopes of an entire movement: His primary challenge against one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress is being closely watched as an indicator of the strength of the Democratic Party’s insurgent left wing.

/He quickly apologized to anyone he made uncomfortable with his behavior, while also acknowledging some consensual sexual relationships with college students over the years. He said none were with anyone he taught or supervised.

Nevertheless, within hours after the story broke, Mr. Morse went from role model to pariah. Progressive groups said they would stop campaigning for him. The university called the news “deeply concerning” and opened an investigation.

Mr. Morse said he even considered dropping out, despite his suspicions about the motives of his accusers and the vagueness of the richard neal headshotcharges. “This was no accident that it was happening three weeks before the primary,” he said in an interview.

But then the story flipped, with a cascade of head-spinning revelations. Messages between some of the students that were published by The Intercept showed they had discussed how they might damage Mr. Morse’s campaign, with one suggesting it might help his career prospects with Mr. Morse’s opponent, Representative Richard E. Neal, right, the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

democratic donkey logoThere was more. The Massachusetts Democratic Party acknowledged that it had provided legal advice to the College Democrats about the letter, leading Mr. Morse to accuse Mr. Neal and his allies in the state’s Democratic leadership of having a hand in a homophobic plot to smear him. Mr. Neal has denied any involvement.

Today, Mr. Morse is still in the race and says the allegations have only helped his campaign. Since the initial story appeared, he has raised more than $410,000, and 800 volunteers have reached out offering to help.

Though the university is still investigating, the activists who distanced themselves from him at first are now back on board. The students involved in writing the letter have mostly gone underground, and the state Democratic Party has opened an independent investigation to determine if anyone acted improperly.

Behind the drama and plot twists — imagine scenes from “Veep” spliced into an episode of “House of Cards” — is a case study of how first impressions can be misleading when someone is accused of having improper sexual relationships, and what happens when those charges are leveled against a popular progressive politician in the social media-turbocharged culture of swift retribution.

Aug. 21

Western Journal, Opinion: Joe Biden Gets Horrible News from His Sex Assault Accuser, Tara Reade, During Democrat Convention, C. Douglas Golden, Aug. 21, 2020. Could Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s sexual assault accuser be speaking at the GOP convention next week?

In an appearance on Fox News on Thursday — the same day Biden gave his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention — Tara Reade said she would “absolutely” speak at the Republican convention, adding that she would be “more than happy to do so.”

tara reade joe biden Custom“I think survivors need a voice, and I would be humbled and honored to help raise and lift that voice if that’s possible,” Reade said.

In the interview, the self-described “lifelong Dem” said sexual assault should be a “nonpartisan issue.”

“What I find really astounding has been the hypocrisy around the sexual assault and sexual harassment that I brought forth,” Reade said.

“When there were Republicans being accused of that, the media and the reaction from the Democratic Party was quite different and quite aggressive and quite hostile to the perpetrator, potential perpetrator, before it was even investigated,” she said. “In my case, the hostility was directed right towards me, and I was basically silenced and erased by using classism and so on.”

“I lost everything coming forward. I lost my work, housing, money, everything because I spoke out against one of the most powerful members of the Democratic Party,” Reade said.

She criticized the speaker lineup chosen by the Democratic National Committee for the convention — particularly former President Bill Clinton, who’s been credibly accused of sexual assault.

“I’m a sexual assault survivor, so to me, what the speaker lineup showed is kind of a thumb in all of our faces. It was … really disappointing,” Reade said.

“Rape culture in the United States is thriving under the Democratic Party,” she said. “I feel that they are not only enabling but they are allowing that behavior to continue just by virtue of who they lined up as speakers who have credible sexual assault and harassment allegations against them, and I feel like there’s an abandonment of the voices that were trying to be heard that really wanted systemic change about issues like sexual harassment in the workplace and sexual assault.”

She also said in the interview that the Democratic Party had “gaslighted” survivors of sexual assault by claiming to be their protectors.

“I’ve communicated with other people who are watching this who had very visceral reactions to what’s happening and how sexual assault survivors. … We’re being gaslighted, right, collectively,” Reade said.

Aug. 19

ny times logoNew York Times, Kansas Democrat, 19, Who Admitted to Revenge Porn, Ekes Out Primary Win, Maria Cramer, Aug. 19, 2020. Aaron Coleman defeated a seven-term incumbent for a state House seat by 14 votes, alarming Democrats who worry he will hurt other candidates in the general election.

Aaron Coleman admitted that he harassed girls online when he was in middle school. He called one sixth-grade girl fat and told her she should kill herself.

Seven years ago, he told another girl, who was 13 at the time, that he would circulate a naked photo of her if she didn’t send him more nude images. When she refused, she said, he followed through on his threat.

“They’re accurate,” Mr. Coleman, 19, said of the women’s claims.

On Monday, Mr. Coleman, a dishwasher and community college student, was declared the winner of a Democratic primary for a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives, defeating the incumbent, Stan Frownfelter, by 14 votes. The final count was 823 to 809.

What would have been a story about a young upstart taking down a seven-term incumbent during a period of nationwide youth activism has instead alarmed Democratic state leaders, who said they were worried that Mr. Coleman’s acknowledgment of his troubled past and other comments he made during the campaign would hurt their party's chances in competitive races.
Democrats had been making inroads in Kansas, a state long dominated by Republicans, and hoped to capture enough seats in the Legislature to break the Republicans’ super majority. Mr. Coleman is not facing a Republican opponent but Democratic leaders, including Gov. Laura Kelly, have said they are supporting Mr. Frownfelter, who announced on Tuesday that he would run as a write-in candidate in the general election against Mr. Coleman.

“Aaron Coleman is not fit to serve in the Legislature,” said Lauren Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for Ms. Kelly.

Tom Sawyer, the Democratic House minority leader, said he did not believe most voters in the 37th district, in Wyandotte County, knew about Mr. Coleman’s past. The party plans to campaign hard on behalf of Mr. Frownfelter, he said.

“I hope he can pull it out so I don’t have to deal with this kid,” Mr. Sawyer said.

Mr. Coleman, who has apologized for the way he treated the women, said the party should accept the will of primary voters, who supported his platform of a single-payer health care system, fighting climate change and legalizing cannabis.

“We need and we deserve someone who will stand up for those policies and I’m the only one in the race who will do it, and that’s why I’m the only one on the ballot,” he said in an interview. “When you pay so little attention to your district that you lose to a 19-year-old with no political connections, it probably means you should retire.”

Mr. Coleman ran for governor as an independent when he was 17, before a law was passed setting an age requirement for candidates seeking that office. Candidates running for governor must now be at least 25.

Mr. Coleman declined to comment on the claims of the women and referred to statements he gave to The Associated Press and The Kansas City Star, which detailed the women’s accounts. The women could not be reached for comment on Mr. Coleman’s behavior or his primary win.

One of the women, who is now 18, said on Facebook that she attempted suicide after Mr. Coleman repeatedly attacked her over her physical appearance when she was in the sixth grade.

Another woman said she was furious when he followed through on a threat to circulate a naked photograph of her after she refused to give him any more nude pictures of herself.

The woman, Kati Hampton, now 20, of Kansas City, Kan., said in an interview that she did not know Mr. Coleman at the time and believed he found her through Snapchat.

“I just don’t think he needs to be in a powerful position considering what he’s done to girls,” Ms. Hampton said.

She added, “It’s good that he admitted to what he did.”

A third woman said on Facebook that Mr. Coleman harassed her and would relentlessly call her at home until she picked up the phone.

Aug. 17

Law & Crime, Lawsuit: Jeffrey Epstein Raped a 13-Year-Old Girl in 1978, 3 Years After Working at the Dalton School, Colin Kalmbacher, Aug. 17, 2020. Nine women are suing the estate of Jeffrey Epstein based on decades-old abuse allegations dating as far back as 1978.

“In or about 1978, and continuing for a period of time thereafter, when Plaintiff Jane Doe XIV was approximately thirteen years old, Epstein sexually assaulted, abused, battered and raped her multiple times,” the lawsuit alleges. “As a result of the aforementioned sexual abuse, Plaintiff Jane Doe XIV suffered, and continues to suffer from severe and serious injuries including, but not limited to, severe emotional distress and physical manifestations thereof.”

This appears to be the oldest known allegation of sexual abuse against Epstein. The 1978 claim is three years after Epstein taught teens at the Dalton School, an elite institution that was helmed by Attorney General William Barr’s father Donald Barr.

Another Jane Doe plaintiff alleges that Epstein began sexually abusing her even before she was a teenager.

“In or about 1993, when Plaintiff Jane Doe XIII was approximately eleven years old, Epstein sexually assaulted, abused, battered and digitally penetrated her on three, separate occasions,” the lawsuit continues. “Epstein also forced Plaintiff to perform oral sex on him.”

Three of the other plaintiffs claim to have been sexually abused by Epstein as part of his “massive sex trafficking network” while they were minors; four women say they were sexually assaulted by Epstein when they were adults. According to the lawsuit, the sexual abuse against some of the plaintiffs continued until 2004.

Aug. 12

ny times logoNew York Times, QAnon Followers Are Hijacking #SaveTheChildren, Kevin Roose, Aug. 12, 2020. Fans of the pro-Trump conspiracy theory are clogging anti-trafficking hotlines and raising false fears about child exploitation, our columnist writes.

QAnon first surfaced in 2017 with a series of anonymous posts on the internet forum 4chan claiming to reveal high-level government intelligence about crimes by top Democrats. It has since spawned one of the most disturbing and consequential conspiracy theory communities in modern history.

Its followers have committed serious crimes, and its online vigilantes have made a sport of harassing and doxxing their perceived enemies. The F.B.I. has cited QAnon as a potential domestic terror threat, and social networks have begun trying to pull QAnon groups off their platforms. Dozens of QAnon-affiliated candidates are running for office this year. One of them, Marjorie Taylor Greene, won a primary runoff Tuesday for a House seat in Georgia, drawing a congratulatory tweet from Mr. Trump.

Aug. 11

Hartford Courant, Republican candidate for Congress in Connecticut’s 2nd District abruptly drops out following his domestic violence arrest late Monday; arrest warrant details alleged assault of ex-girlfriend, Daniela Altimari and David Owens, Aug. 11, 2020. A Republican running for Congress in Connecticut’s 2nd District abruptly dropped his bid on the day of the primary followin his arrest on domestic violence charges.

thomas gilmer resizedThomas Gilmer, 29, right, of Madison was arrested by Wethersfield police late Monday and posted $5,000 bail. He was arraigned Tuesday in Superior Court in New Britain on charges of first-degree unlawful restraint and second-degree strangulation.

It is unclear what will happen if Gilmer, the party-endorsed canddiate, wins the primary. Thousands of absentee ballots have already been cast and results were still being tabulated Tuesday night — a process that is expected to stretch into Friday given a two-day extension for late-arriving ballots sent by mail.

The charges stem from a violent altercation with Gilmer’s former girlfriend that occurred in 2017, according to the warrant for his arrest. A portion of the assault was captured on video and, according to the warrant, shows Gilmer “punch the victim in the face and jump on top of her as she falls to the ground. Gilmer then attempts to choke the victim followed by multiple closed-fist punches to the victim’s face. Gilmer then takes off his t-shirt in the middle of the assault, and places the victim into a rear choke hold.”

The investigating officer notes in the warrant that it appears that the victim is “struggling for her life” and is kicking and flailing to try to escape the choke hold.

“Gilmer then performs a martial arts move and wraps his legs around the victim, subduing her arms and legs from flailing around,” the warrant reads. At that point the 30-second video clip ends.

ny times logoNew York Times, How Did Scott Borgerson Get Mixed Up With Ghislaine Maxwell? Jacob Bernstein. Aug. 11, 2020. A maritime expert surfaces in the proceedings against the longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein.

By the time Ghislaine Maxwell, right, was fighting allegations that she had procured underage women to provide sexual services for her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, there was a new man in her life.

His name was Scott Borgerson. Ms. Maxwell, according to her friend Christopher Mason, described him sometime around 2015 as a “Navy SEAL,” though he was actually a former Coast Guard officer.

ghislaine maxwell resized croppedIt didn’t exactly surprise Mr. Mason (or others she described Mr. Borgerson to in the same way) when this fact came to light. Ms. Maxwell had always been known among her friends as a person with a singular ability to mythologize her own reality.

In an effort to rebrand herself from jet-setting cosmopolitan to oceanic conservationist, Ms. Maxwell had in 2012 founded and appointed herself C.E.O. of the TerraMar Project, an opaque organization that had no offices and gave no grants to other organizations. It was disbanded in 2019.

Its biggest accomplishment was helping Ms. Maxwell maintain social capital. Associating herself with Mr. Borgerson — the founder of a maritime investments company called CargoMetrics and a former fellow in residence at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he wrote about oceanic issues — added to her credibility.

Mr. Borgerson was called a director at the TerraMar Project, although he never had a job there. Ms. Maxwell supplied him and CargoMetrics with introductions to people on her contacts list.

When Mr. Epstein died from an apparent suicide while in jail in 2019, Ms. Maxwell became a subject of intense public interest: Why, given the volume of accusations leveled against her by women who said they had been abused by Mr. Epstein as minors, had she been able to avoid charges? Where was she hiding? How did a self-possessed woman of immense privilege come to be involved in the sex trafficking of teenage girls?

A year later, on July 2, Ms. Maxwell, 58, was arrested in New Hampshire by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and charged with conspiring with Mr. Epstein to sexually abuse minors. At a bail hearing shortly afterward, Ms. Maxwell pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors in the case also dropped a bombshell: Ms. Maxwell said to them that she was married but would not divulge the identity of her spouse.

Speculation immediately turned to Mr. Borgerson, 44, although no record has been found of any marriage. Mr. Borgerson (who did not respond to two interview requests) has denied dating Ms. Maxwell, saying repeatedly that they were “friends” and that he didn’t know where she was.

But according to two friends of Ms. Maxwell who asked to remain anonymous because of the furor surrounding the allegations around her, Mr. Borgerson and Ms. Maxwell began sharing a 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., after Ms. Maxwell sold her 7,000-square-foot townhouse on the Upper East Side for about $15 million in 2016. (That was the same year she struck confidential settlements in civil court with two women who said she participated in Mr. Epstein’s sexual exploitation of them.)

In December 2019, prosecutors say, she used an anonymous L.L.C. called Granite Realty to buy a mansion in Bedford, N.H., in a $1.07 million all-cash deal, about an hour away from the home she shared with Mr. Borgerson.

Aug. 10

washington post logoWashington Post, McDonald’s sues fired CEO to recoup severance, says he lied about affairs with workers, Hannah Denham, Aug. 10, 2020. The fast-food giant claims Steve Easterbrook, whose severance package is said to be worth $42 million, destroyed a paper trail of his 'inappropriate personal behavior.’

mcdonalds logoThe fast food giant made the announcement in a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Steve Easterbrook was terminated on Nov. 3, 2019, after the company’s board found he violated policy with “a consensual relationship with an employee,” McDonald’s said. His compensation, benefits and stock were potentially worth nearly $42 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Easterbook denied the relationship was physical, the company said, as well as having any other relationships with employees.

But the board launched in inquiry after receiving more information about his conduct through an employee report, the company said. It concluded that Easterbrook had lied to the company and the board, and had destroyed a paper trail detailing his “inappropriate personal behavior” with sexual relationships with three other employees before he was terminated.

washington post logoWashington Post, Amid college inquiry, Mass. congressional challenger says he had ‘consensual’ relationships with students, Teo Armus, Aug. 10, 2020. As other left-richard neal headshotwing congressional candidates racked up wins around the country, Alex Morse, 31, seemed like he could become the next liberal challenger to oust a long-term incumbent.

alex morse wikimediaMorse, left, the country’s youngest openly gay mayor, spoke eloquently about growing up in working-class in Holyoke, Mass. and losing his brother to a heroin addiction earlier this year. Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), above right, had been in office for three decades, the mayor said, but failed in recent years to make himself visible in his rural and industrial swath of the state.

democratic donkey logoBut as allegations emerged that Morse had used his position to make advances on men a decade his junior, he offered an admission on Sunday: He had in fact engaged in relationships with local college students.

In an apology Sunday night, Morse, who also taught college courses for a time, refused to drop out of the race. His sexual orientation had unfairly heightened the focus on his personal life, he said, while denying any accusations of nonconsensual relationships.

Aug. 8

katie hill screenshot

ny times logoNew York Times, The Nudes Aren’t Going Away. Katie Hill’s OK With That, Jessica Bennett, Aug. 8, 2020. Nine months after stepping down from Congress, she is trying to move forward. If Katie Hill were a different person, she might have gone away and found religion. Perhaps she would have tearfully apologized, a dutiful husband by her side, and vowed to do better. Maybe she would have checked herself into sex rehab, hiked the Appalachian Trail or flat-out denied anything untoward had occurred.

But Ms. Hill, the former Congresswoman from California whose polyamorous affair with a campaign staff member was exposed after nude photos of her (taken without her consent, she said) began circulating online, did none of those things. She resigned, less than two weeks after the photos became public and less than a year into her term.

Once considered a rising Democratic star (a favorite of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi), Ms. Hill (shown above in a file photo) made headlines in 2018 when she flipped a Republican district blue. Vice proclaimed she had run the “most millennial campaign ever” and documented her race as part of a surging wave of female candidates. She was one of very few openly bisexual elected officials.

democratic donkey logoBut her term ended almost as quickly as it started, after photos of her naked — in one, she was holding a bong; in another, she was brushing a woman’s hair — were published by the conservative website RedState and later by The Daily Mail.

Ms. Hill believes the photos were leaked by her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, who she said was abusive and had threatened to “ruin her” if she left him, which she had, five months before the leak. Through a lawyer, Erin McKinley, Mr. Heslep declined to comment for this article. He has denied releasing the photos, saying his computer was hacked.

But the source of the leak was for a moment overshadowed by what the pictures revealed: that Ms. Hill and her husband had been having a relationship with a young member of her campaign staff, a subordinate.

The relationship, which she acknowledged, did not violate House rules — updated amid the #MeToo movement — because it happened during the campaign, not after Ms. Hill was elected. But RedState reported that Ms. Hill had also had a relationship with her legislative director, which would have. (Both she and the legislative director have denied this.) An ethics investigation was opened into her conduct.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. was put on a leave of absence after he posted this vacation photo showing him and his wife's assistant with their pants unbutton on his yacht and then tried to explain it on a radio show interview.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., one of the most prominent of the evangelical Christian leaders supporting Donald Trump, was put on a leave of absence after he posted this vacation photo showing him and his wife's assistant with their pants unbutton on his yacht and then tried to explain it on a WLNI local radio show intervew in which he said, "She was pregnant and she couldn't get her pants up....I'm going to try to be a good boy from here on out.")

washington post logojerry falwell jr wWashington Post, Jerry Falwell Jr. will take an indefinite leave of absence from Liberty, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Aug. 8, 2020 (print ed.). The university president, shown also at right in a file photo, came under fire this week after posting a racy photo from vacation.

Aug. 3

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan,via Getty Images)

Down With Tyranny, Commentary: The Seduction of Virginia Giuffre, Thomas Neuburger, Aug. 3, 2020. Virginia Giuffre, an alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein, center, pauses while speaking with members of the media outside of federal court in New York. That appears to be lawyer David Boies, one of her lawyers, looking on over her right shoulder. Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg

I've been reading through the Jeffrey Epstein–Ghilaine Maxwell–Virginia Giuffre documents released last week and have to say, they make fascinating if confusing (to non-lawyers) reading.

The document I want to feature below struck me particularly, though. It's an early phone interview (2011) between Brad Edwards, a lawyer who appears to have been involved in a lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein (Edwards later appears to represent Ms. Giuffre), his own lawyer Jack Scarola, and Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein and Maxwell's alleged victims.

A PDF of this document is here. It's both clear and mind-blowing in the stories it tells.

The purpose of this piece is to encourage you to read it in full. It's only 24 pages, and the lawyer who leads the interview, Mr. Scarola, walks Giuffre through the history of her relationship with Epstein in a straightforward way. He covers other matters as well, but in that respect, the document is simple storytelling, and the story that's told is stunning.

I'll provide just a few excerpts here, and again, encourage you to read it for yourself. My main focus will be on the origin of Giuffre's relationship with Maxwell and Epstein — the initial seduction and its aftermath.

The Initial Seduction

Here's how Giuffre (whose maiden name was Roberts) was introduced to Epstein by Maxwell. Maxwell basically "picked her up" while Giuffre was working at Mar-a-Lago as a women's bathroom attendant. (Except where noted, Giuffre is the speaker. I've added paragraphing to the original for readability. Underscores are in the original.)

I was introduced to Mr. Epstein by Ghislaine Maxwell. I was working at Donald Trump's spa in Mar-a-Lago and I was prompted by Ghislaine to come to Jeffrey's mansion in Palm Beach that afternoon after work to make some extra money and to learn about massage. She met me at the spa, and I was reading a book about anatomy, so I was already interested in massage therapy as it was and not having any of the education or you know anything behind me, I thought this was a great opportunity to work Donald Trump, Melania Knavs, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell (2000) at Mar-a-Lagofor her and go. [Donald Trump, his future wife Melania Knavs, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell are shown in a separate photo during the year 2000 at Mar-a-Lago.]

So, I went to Jeffrey's mansion about 5 or 6 in the afternoon. My dad drove me there. My dad worked at Mar-a-Lago with me, and he met Ghislaine and she seemed like a nice, proper English lady, and she knows, I mean, you know, one time then _once before I left to travel overseas, she just seemed really nice and like she would like to help me out. So my dad left, and I had no problem getting home that night, one of her drivers would take me back after my trial.

So she led me upstairs, and into Jeffrey's bedroom, and past that is Jeffrey's massage room, which has got his steam room and a shower and a massage table, and there is actually an extra room that has, that nobody knows about it, it's kinda like a secret room and it's got a whole bunch of decorative pictures of pornographic literature and sex toys and I can _ ?_ [sic] what happened in there.

After discussion of this private room (which is also brought up later in the interview), Giuffre continues:

So anyways, that was getting there, and I was introduced to Jeffrey, he was laying naked on top of the massage table, and obviously for one, I'm a 15 year old girl [in later interviews Giuffre is presented with documents that cause her to revise the year in which this occurred] and seeing him on the table was weird but, also learning about anatomy and massage, I thought this would be part of it. So obviously, I thought it was part of the massage program, so I said ok, this is fine.

And, he then instructed me on how to touch the body, Jeffrey's body, how to massage him, and for the first hour, it was actually a real massage, maybe not an hour, maybe like 40 minutes or something, but of something like that _and that's when he turned over on the other side and to expose himself fully.

So then Ghislaine told me that she wanted me to undress and began to take off my shirt and skirt, my white uniform from Mar-A-Lago, she also took off her shirt and got undressed, and so I was there with just my undies on, and she was completely bare, and made some kind of little flake [sic] about the underwear that I was wearing because it wasn't my normal sexy girl underwear and just like, I don't know, had red hearts on it or something like that; just your normal, you know, real cute underwear.

Aug. 1

"You never volunteer to be a whistleblower; it falls into your lap."

-- Wayne Madsen

charlotte dennett

OpEdNews, 2020 Annual Whistleblower Summit Features "Telling Stories Almost Too Big to Hear," Marta Steele, Aug. 1, 2020. This year's annual Whistleblower Summit, held on Zoom in combination with a dynamic film festival, featured a world-class panel, "Telling Stories Almost Too Big to Hear," organized by the well-known activist and attorney Andrew Kreig,

The four panelists, all expert whistleblowers who have spoken truth to power, included Charlotte Dennett, author of The Crash of Flight 3804 (shown above), the story of her investigations into the death of her father in a 1947 plane crash en route to report on his work investigating the huge oil industries in the Middle East.

don siegelman stealing our democracy CustomWayne Madsen, left, author of 18 books and master investigative reporter, began this segment of his career with "an A to Z encyclopedia of covert groups focused on the most sensitive issues on Earth, encompassing the intelligence backgrounds of U.S. politicians and judges before they were elected to office."

Former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, right, told his story of a meteoric career up the political ranks in the bright red state of Alabama despite his extremely progressive background and how Karl Rove and his cronies stepped in to ruin him even as he was being short-listed as a Democratic candidate for president in the 2004 general election. He has recently published an amazing memoir, Stealing Our Democracy: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation.

Dr. William Pepper, a close associate of both Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. (with whom he is shown below) in the 1960s, told an amazing life story of investigating the assassinations of both, risking his life in the process.

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July 31

washington post logoWashington Post, Epstein accuser alleged in newly unsealed deposition that Ghislaine Maxwell was his partner in abuse, Rosalind S. Helderman and Shayna Jacobs, July 31, 2020. Maxwell, a longtime companion of the now-deceased financier, has called accuser Virginia Giuffre a liar. A woman who has accused deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein of years-long abuse that began when she was a teenager alleged in a newly unsealed deposition that his former partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, was both his chief accomplice and a participant in the sexual abuse.

Maxwell, who was arrested earlier this month and charged with trafficking minors, had fought unsuccessfully to keep the court documents under seal. She has pleaded not guilty.

The unsealed court documents stem from a defamation suit she settled for an undisclosed sum in 2017 with the woman, Virginia Giuffre, who has alleged that she was forced to have sex with Epstein and his friends. She has claimed that Maxwell recruited her to serve as a traveling masseuse for Epstein after spotting her working a summer job as a locker room attendant 20 years ago at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s private estate.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Ghislaine Maxwell, right, with the United Kingdom's Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts (married name Giuffre, a former Mar-a-Lago towel girl), center, in 2001.

Giuffre’s deposition was among several hundred pages of records unsealed by judicial order late Thursday.

In her testimony, which she gave in 2016, Giuffre describes Maxwell and Epstein as a toxic team that repeatedly exploited her, emphasizing that Maxwell “brought me in for the purpose of being trafficked.”

“You have to understand that [Epstein] and [Maxwell] are joined at the hip, okay?” Giuffre said, when asked about who Maxwell sent her to for sex.

“Jeffrey was just as a part of it as she was,” Giuffre said. “[Maxwell] was just as a part of it as he was.”

At another point, she said of Maxwell: “She’s the one who abused me on a regular basis. She’s the one that procured me, told me what to do, trained me as a sex slave, abused me physically, abused me mentally. She’s the one who I believe, in my heart of hearts, deserves to come forward and have justice happen to her more than anybody. Being a woman, it’s disgusting.”

Maxwell, the daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell, has denied her claims.

“Virginia is an absolute liar and everything she has said is a lie,” she said in a 2016 deposition. “Therefore, based on those lies I cannot speculate on what anybody else did or didn’t do … everything she said is false.”

The unsealed documents also included emails exchanged between Epstein and Maxwell in January 2015. The timing of the missives appear to contradict a claim from her lawyers earlier this month, who in seeking to have released from jail on bond, told a judge that she’d had no contact with Epstein in a decade.

In the emails, Epstein wrote to Maxwell that [she] had “done nothing wrong” and urged her to “start acting like it.”

He told her to “go outside, head high, not as an escaping convict,” adding: “go to parties. deal with it.”

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have alleged that Maxwell recruited and groomed victims and participated in abusing them with Epstein. She was also charged with lying in a deposition in her lawsuit with Giuffre about whether she knew Epstein was having sex with minors. A judge has ordered that deposition also be made public, but Maxwell has appealed the decision.

Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein, charged in sex abuse case

Epstein was arrested last year on federal sex trafficking charges for alleged abuses of underage girls in New York and Florida, but he died by suicide in a Manhattan federal detention center before he could stand trial.

July 30

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative commentary: Formerly sealed documents in Maxwell-Epstein case ordered released, Wayne Madsen, July 30, 2020. Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has ordered released sealed documents from a 2016 defamation lawsuit brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, the now-indicted former assistant to international underage female sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Although the civil case was settled in 2017 it generated a number of documents, including emails, as well as depositions by Giuffre and other abuse victims. Maxwell sought to block the release of the sealed documents on the grounds that they would embarrass her. Judge Preska ruled, "the court finds any minor embarrassment or annoyance resulting from Ms. Maxwell's mostly non-testimony ... is far outweighed by the presumption of public access."

jean luc brunelThe sealed documents reportedly provide additional details concerning the activities of Epstein; Maxwell; and Jean-Luc Brunel, right, the French owner of two Epstein-financed modeling agencies, Karin Models and MC2 Model Management. Brunel is the subject of an international criminal investigation involving the FBI and French National Police. Brunel has not been seen in public since the suspicious Manhattan jail cell death of Epstein in August 2019. Brunel was named in Giuffre's lawsuit against Maxwell. Giuffre said Epstein had bragged to her in claiming that he had slept with over 1,000 of "Brunel's girls."

In 1989, Brunel and his brother, Arnaud Brunel, founded the Next Management Company modeling agency, a subsidiary of the Next Management Corporation, which was founded the previous year as a New York corporation.

The individual listed as the New York Department of State process or agent for the Next Management Corporation is none other than Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump's Secretary of Treasury. Mnuchin, in typical Trump administration fashion, has denied knowing that he was the agent for the Brunel brothers' company or even having ever met either of the Brunels. However, WMR conducted a search of the New York Department of State (DOS) corporation filings and discovered Mnuchin listed as the DOS Process for not only Next Management Corporation but its follow-on identity, Next Time Corporation. Mnuchin cannot honestly claim he had no knowledge of a business relationship with the Brunels that spanned at least a decade.

July 29

Palmer Report, Opinion: New turn in Jeffrey Epstein – Ghislaine Maxwell case, Bill Palmer, July 28, 2020. The arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell isn’t just putting Jeffrey Epstein’s hideous crime spree back into public focus. It’s also serving as something of an opportunity to carry out the criminal case that should have played out against Epstein – perhaps having the potential to finally bring some measure of justice for his victims. It could also take down Epstein’s co-conspirators, whoever they may be.

bill palmer report logo headerTo that end, a judge has ordered that by tomorrow, several documents must be unsealed from an old lawsuit between Epstein and one of his victims. That evidence will include Maxwell’s testimony and her communications with Epstein. Interestingly, it’ll also include testimony from Epstein’s lawyer and friend Alan Dershowitz, who has been accused of participating in Epstein’s sex crimes.

It’s still not entirely clear where this is all headed. But Ghislaine Maxwell is facing seven felony counts related to underage sex trafficking, and she could end up cutting a deal against everyone else involved if the evidence gets ugly enough against her. So this is all headed somewhere.

July 23 alexandria ocasio cortez resized yoho speech july 23 2020 house tv via ap

Real Clear Politics, AOC House Floor Speech: I Was Minding My Own Business And Rep. Yoho Called Me A "F*cking Bitch," Ian Schwartz, July 23, 2020 (video). Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), shown above on a still shot from House TV, blasted colleague Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) for calling her a "f*cking b*tch" in an altercation Tuesday on Capitol Hill. However, Ocasio-Cortez said she wanted to make it clear that Yoho's comments "were not deeply hurtful or piercing" since she has experience in a working-class job and has ridden the subway.

ny times logoNew York Times, Ocasio-Cortez Upbraids Republican After He Denies Vulgarly Insulting Her, Luke Broadwater, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). Representative Ted Yoho apologized for the tone of a run-in with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but denied calling her a misogynistic pair of expletives. “Not an apology,” she responded.

alexandria ocasio cortez officialRepresentative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, right,  forcefully rejected a Republican colleague’s words of contrition on Wednesday after he declined to apologize for referring to her with a vulgar and sexist expletive, denying he had uttered the words.

Representative Ted Yoho, Republican of Florida, appeared on the House floor on Wednesday to express regret for injecting “strife” into Congress and being “abrupt” in a confrontation this week with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York.

“I rise today to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York,” Mr. Yoho said. “It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America, but that does not mean we should be disrespectful.”

But a short time later, he added, “The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at Mr. Yoho on Twitter after his speech, saying that he was refusing to take responsibility for his actions.

“I will not teach my nieces and young people watching that this an apology, and what they should learn to accept,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez wrote. She said Mr. Yoho was lying when he described their interaction as a “conversation.”

“It was verbal assault,” she wrote. “This is not an apology.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a favorite of the progressive left and frequent target of Republicans, said on Tuesday that she had been the victim of “virulent harassment.”

July 22

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump says he knew Jeffrey Epstein’s partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, and wished her well, Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner, July 22, 2020 (print ed.). Maxwell was arrested in early July on charges that she aided Epstein in his years-long sexual exploitation and abuse of underage girls. President Trump acknowledged Tuesday that he knew Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and said he wished her well.

Maxwell was arrested in early July on charges that she aided Epstein in his years-long sexual exploitation and abuse of underage girls. Last week, a federal judge denied her bail.

Epstein and Maxwell socialized with the super-elite, listing among their friends former president Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew and Trump.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump are pictured with one or both of them on multiple occasions.

The president was asked about Maxwell during a news briefing on the coronavirus and what he thought about the possibility that she could work with authorities to turn over names of powerful men who also sexually abused underage girls.

“I wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach,” Trump said. “But I wish her well, whatever it is.”

Trump’s comments drew rebukes from Democrats, and even some Republicans expressed unease, including Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.).

“This is unacceptably obtuse for a woman accused of the most morally depraved of crimes, @realDonaldTrump,” Roy wrote in a Wednesday morning tweet. “She needs to be severely punished . . . and justice must be served for the girls she abused. For ALL involved.”

The reaction from Democrats was more pointed.

“Today, Donald Trump sent well wishes to Ghislaine Maxwell, who is charged with procuring underage girls to be sexually abused,” Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) tweeted Tuesday night. “Has he sent any well wishes to the families of the more than 140,000 Americans who have died during this pandemic?”

djt geraldo rivera resized

Palmer Report, Opinion: Geraldo Rivera goes completely bonkers with bizarre defense of Donald Trump and Ghislaine Maxwell, Bill Palmer, July 22, 2020. When Donald Trump offered well bill palmer report logo headerwishes yesterday to Ghislaine Maxwell, it set off a firestorm among the general public. Why was Trump trying to curry favor with a recently arrested alleged sex trafficker? What does she have on him, and just how afraid is he that she’ll give it up in exchange for a plea deal?

Then there’s Geraldo Rivera, who had an – ahem – different response to Trump’s words than everyone else did:

When asked @realDonaldTrump said he wished #GhislaineMaxwellArrested well. With media mob eager to see her lynched it was brave to weigh in. Fact: cases vs her are for crimes allegedly committed more than 25 years ago. She deserved bail & got solitary confinement: woke politics.

— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) July 22, 2020

What? Why? This is the second time in the past week that Geraldo has doubled down on defending Ghislaine Maxwell. Last time he insisted the evidence was weak (it isn’t). This time he’s insisting that the crimes don’t matter because they happened a long time ago (that shouldn’t matter in this kind of crime).

Is Geraldo just trying to stir up absurd controversy in the hope of keeping his long-fading career alive? Or does Geraldo, like Donald Trump, have a specific reason for trying to remain on Ghislaine Maxwell’s good side? This is as suspicious as it is ugly.

washington post logoWashington Post, New accuser alleges that ex-cardinal McCarrick orchestrated abuse involving other clerics, Michelle Boorstein, July 22, 2020. A lawsuit filed in New Jersey alleges that Theodore McCarrick and five other clerics abused the victim in the early 1980s, when he was between 11 and 16 years old.

theodore mccarrickEx-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, left, already laicized and the subject of a Vatican investigation, is accused in a newly filed lawsuit of orchestrating the abuse of minor boys by multiple other clerics at his New Jersey beach house in the early 1980s.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday evening in New Jersey Superior Court by a man who alleges he was abused by McCarrick, former D.C. archbishop and until recently one of the country’s best-connected and influential Catholic clerics, and five other New Jersey clerics when the victim was between 11 and 16 years old. Four of them did so at the beach house, the suit alleges, when McCarrick was bishop of Metuchen, N.J.

The suit alleges that the boy needed money to pay for his Catholic education, and that one cleric — who had already sexually abused the boy — told him he needed to talk to “the boss,” and then introduced him to McCarrick, who then allegedly began abusing him.

July 21

djt knauss epstein ghislaine maxwell mar a lago getty full davidoff studios

Donald Trump, Melania Knauss [Trump], Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein's friend Ghislaine Maxwell, (left to right at Mar-A-Lago.
Davidoff Studios Photography / Getty Images

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump goes on bizarre bender about Ghislaine Maxwell during catastrophic press conference, Bill Palmer, July 21, 2020. By the time Donald Trump had finished stumbling through a prepared opening statement, we didn’t think his press briefing today could get much worse. After all, he sounded totally confused and barely there, as if he’d been ingesting far too much Lysol. But then Trump started taking questions, and the whole thing turned into a total meltdown – particularly when Ghislaine Maxwell’s name came up.

bill palmer report logo headerFor some reason a reporter asked Donald Trump whether he expected Jeffrey Epstein’s recently arrested associate Ghislaine Maxwell to rat out people like Prince Andrew. Trump responded by claiming that he hasn’t been following the Maxwell story, but that “I just wish her well, frankly.” He then rambled about Palm Beach for awhile, before repeating his assertion that “I wish her well, whatever it is.”

To be clear, Ghislaine Maxwell has been criminally charged for conspiring to help Jeffrey Epstein in the rape of underage girls. Why would Donald Trump be wishing her well? That’s a completely insane thing to say under the circumstances. It’s clear that Trump has no idea what to make of the Epstein-Maxwell mess, and that he’s concerned about where it might be headed.

jacob wohl screen Shot 2018 11 02 Custom

Palmer Report, Opinion: Jacob Wohl allegedly involved in Jeffrey Epstein – Ghislaine Maxwell coverup, Bill Palmer, right, July 21, 2020. We thought we were done writing about Jacob Wohl, above, a far bill palmerright clown who’s been caught making up one laughably absurd fake scandal after another about Donald Trump’s adversaries. But now Wohl is allegedly back in a big way – and if what’s being reported is true, it means he’ll almost certainly end up in prison for it.

bill palmer report logo headerBritish newspaper Daily Mail is reporting that Ghislaine Maxwell recently hired Jacob Wohl to smear Jeffrey Epstein’s victims. The newspaper further reports that proof of Wohl’s involvement is contained in documents filed in the criminal case against Maxwell. Wohl has a history of carrying out these kinds of smear campaigns. He also has a history of being almost hysterically bad at this kind of thing. If Maxwell recently hired him, it suggests that she reached a point of desperation where she was willing to try anything to stay out of prison – even a scheme that was highly unlikely to work.

In any case, if Jacob Wohl really has gotten himself financially involved in the Jeffrey Epstein – Ghislaine Maxwell coverup, it’s difficult to imagine him remaining out of prison. It’s one thing for him to have made up phony scandals about Robert Mueller and Nancy Pelosi, which largely just got laughed it. It’s another thing to get entangled with the hideous Epstein-Maxwell crime spree.

jacob wohl kristen spealman facebook

Daily Mail Online, EXCLUSIVE: Ghislaine Maxwell paid $25K to fake news purveyor Jacob Wohl to 'smear Epstein victims and to get prosecutor Geoffrey Berman fired in attempt to stall sex trafficking investigation against her,' Josh Boswell, July 21, 2020. Ghislaine Maxwell hired fake news purveyor Jacob Wohl to smear her and Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims, a former friend has told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.

As part of a $25,000 deal made in June, Wohl and his lobbyist colleague Jack Burkman also allegedly pushed to get New York U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who had led Epstein's case, fired in order to stall or stop the criminal investigation into Maxwell.

Wohl and Burkman are far-right lobbyists who have become a laughing stock in DC after several failed attempts to smear top political figures including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Cruz, Robert Mueller and Dr. Anthony Fauci by paying women to make false claims of sordid affairs and drug-dealing.

One of the women they tried to use for their smear plots, Maryland model and paralegal Kristin Spealman (shown above in a Facebook photo with Wohl), told DailyMail.com the men had been hired by Maxwell, who currently faces trial over charges she and Epstein trafficked underage girls for sex.

Spealman, 36, said the lobbyists bragged to her they had been hired in early June for $25,000 to dig up dirt on Maxwell's alleged sex trafficking victims and to get Berman fired using Burkman’s supposed influence with Attorney General William Barr.

When contacted for comment Wohl told DailyMail.com that Maxwell ‘deserves representation’.

‘Every person, even those accused of the most odious of crimes, deserves representation and possesses the right to engage lobbyists to petition the government on their behalf,’ the 22-year-old said. ‘Otherwise, we cannot comment on client matters.’

Burkman similarly told DailyMail.com: 'All persons accused of crimes--however terrible--have the right to representation and representation in the court of public opinion.'

DailyMail.com has contacted Maxwell's lawyers for comment.

Federal documents filed this month show a company linked to Maxwell had hired Wohl and Burkman to lobby on ‘issues relating to US DOJ, Senate Judiciary, House Judiciary,’ DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.

A form filed with the US Senate by Burkman’s company, J M Burkman & Associates, on July 3 under the Lobbying Disclosure Act shows Wohl and Burkman were hired by 'Granite Realty LLC,' a frequent misspelling of Granite Reality - the company linked to Maxwell.

Maxwell bought the house through Granite Reality LLC, of 155 Seaport Blvd, Boston MA, the address of Nutter McClennen & Fish, a law firm which has previously acted for her. It is the same address on the disclosure form.

The form lists Burkman and Wohl as lobbyists for 'Granite Realty,' described as a ‘real estate company’, and indicates the pair will be lobbying over ‘Issues relating to US DOJ, Senate Judiciary, House Judiciary.’

New York prosecutors say the firm is connected to Maxwell, with the LLC linked to her purchase of a New Hampshire house where she was arrested on July 2 - the day before Burkman’s lobbying disclosure was filed.

New Hampshire property records show Granite Reality paid $1,070,000 cash in December for the home, aptly named Tuckedaway.

kristin spealman facebookSpealman, shown in a modeling photo via Facebook at right, claimed Burkman bragged to her that he was ‘really good friends’ with Barr and had persuaded him to fire Berman.

On June 19, Barr did release a statement saying Berman would step down – though Trump had reportedly been considering removing the prosecutor for two years.

Berman at first refused to resign, then later capitulated when his deputy was announced as the new acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Spealman claimed Burkman bragged to her that he was ¿really good friends¿ with Barr and had persuaded him to fire Berman. There is no evidence that Wohl or Burkman had any role in Berman's firing. There is also no evidence that Burkman and Barr have a close relationship.

‘The second part of their job was to discredit the [alleged] victims of Jeffrey Epstein and her,’ Spealman said.

‘I believed those girls, I felt like they were telling the truth and they were real victims.

‘I was disgusted with the things [Wohl and Burkman], were telling me. They were saying really bad things about them.

‘That’s their job now, to discredit these victims. Hopefully so that the charges go away or [Maxwell] wins.’

The lobbyists allegedly told Spealman their smear targets included Epstein accusers Virginia Giuffre, Sarah Ransome and Courtney Wild, the model said.In 2018 the young lobbyist and self-styled ‘renegade firebrand’ attempted his first high-profile smear, accusing former FBI chief Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct.

Mueller was serving as Special Counsel at the time, conducting an investigation into Russian meddling in the Trump 2016 campaign.

Wohl and Burkman held a botched press conference over the sexual misconduct claims in a shabby Holiday Inn, where the alleged victim failed to show up and Burkman gave a speech with his fly undone.

In another bungled smear this year, a woman accused Dr. Anthony Facui, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2014 when she was 20, only to recant the story 10 days later confessing that Wohl and Burkman paid her to make it all up.

Their attempt to throw muck at Senator Kamala Harris didn’t stick either. Sean Newaldass, 26, gave a press conference with the two lobbyists claiming he had an affair with Harris, but soon backtracked saying he was a paid actor and the only reason he made the claims was because the two lobbyists told him it was ‘performance art’ for a Spike TV show.

July 20

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Trump's dirty secrets closet slowly opening, Wayne Madsen, July 20, 2020. The more one peers into Donald Trump's closet of past and present relationships, the more one discovers that Trump's association with the late pedophile and investor Jeffery Epstein and his consort, Ghislaine Maxwell, went beyond the mere social and involved shady business operations.

Former Fox News Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry, left, and Fox prime time stars Tucker Carlson, center, and Sean Hannity (Fox News screenshots).

Former Fox News Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry, left, and Fox prime time stars Tucker Carlson, center, and Sean Hannity (Fox News screenshots).

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Fox News faces allegations of sexual harassment, rape, Erik Wemple, July 20, 2020. For the past few years, Fox News has kept telling us that it learned its lesson: The culture of sexual harassment that started with longtime chief Roger Ailes and extended to disgraced former anchor Bill O’Reilly and others had been addressed. New, accountable lines of authority were drawn up; a new HR apparatus was in place; a so-called Workplace Professionalism and Inclusion Council (WPIC) sprung into action.

fox news logo SmallHas it all done any good? Not according to a fresh lawsuit brimming with horrific allegations.

cathy areu left jennifer eckhartOn Monday, former Fox Business associate producer Jennifer Eckhart, shown at right in the adjoining photo, and former Fox News guest Cathy Areu, at left, brought a complaint against the network claiming yet more misconduct that key executives allegedly failed to thwart. The complaint, filed by Douglas Wigdor and Michael Willemin of Wigdor LLP, includes misconduct allegations directed at former host Ed Henry, prime-time mainstays Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity (portrayed above) and media correspondent/host Howard Kurtz.

The most disturbing allegations relate to Henry, a former Fox News host and correspondent who had a stormy tenure at the network. Henry was suspended for roughly four months in 2016 after carrying on an extramarital relationship with a Las Vegas hostess on company time. He returned to work and again climbed the hierarchy, becoming a co-host of the morning program “America’s Newsroom.”

Earlier this month, however, Fox News announced it had fired Henry over sexual misconduct allegations the network received on June 25. “Based on investigative findings, Ed has been terminated,” said top Fox News officials in a memo to colleagues. The conduct in question took place “years ago,” said the memo. At the time, Wigdor told the media that the firm wasn’t in a position to “share any further information.”

Now the other shoe has dropped. The complaint is detailed and not suitable for republication in a family newspaper such as this one.

Ed Henry, former Fox chief white house correspondentIt begins with a caution in red ink: “TRIGGER WARNING: THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS HIGHLY GRAPHIC INFORMATION OF A SEXUAL NATURE, INCLUDING SEXUAL ASSAULT.” It then alleges that Henry “preyed upon, manipulated and groomed Ms. Eckhart starting at the young age of 24, by exerting his abuse of power over her and her career. Mr. Henry not only leveraged this imbalance of power for control over his victim, Ms. Eckhart, but asked her to be his ‘sex slave’ and his ‘little whore,’ and threatened punishment and retaliation if Ms. Eckhart did not comply with his sexual demands.”

According to the document, Henry raped Eckhart at a hotel where the network puts up visiting employees. Eckhart was “helpless and restrained in metal handcuffs, as Mr. Henry preformed sadistic acts on her without her consent that left her injured, bruised and battered with bloody wrists.”

Included in the complaint are alleged text messages between Henry and Eckhart — messages that “establish Mr. Henry’s delusions and prove his violence,” according to the complaint. “Gona make you my little whore again,” reads one of them. Fox has denied allegations against others accused.

  • CBS News interview with plaintiffs Jennifer Eckhart and Cathy Areu here.

roy den hollander esther salas

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘Anti-Feminist’ Lawyer Is Suspect in Killing of Son of Federal Judge in N.J., Nicole Hong, William K. Rashbaum and Mihir Zaveri, July 20, 2020. Roy Den Hollander, above left, had openly seethed against the judge, Esther Salas, right. After the shooting at her home, he was found dead in an apparent suicide. The judge’s son, Daniel Anderl, died from a gunshot wound to the heart. Her husband, Mark Anderl, was shot multiple times and was in the hospital, according to her older brother.

Roy Den Hollander was a self-described “anti-feminist” lawyer who flooded the courts with seemingly frivolous lawsuits that sought to eliminate women’s studies programs and prohibit nightclubs from holding “ladies’ nights.”

In one of his most recent cases, he openly seethed against a federal judge in New Jersey, Esther Salas, whom he described in a self-published, 1,700-page book as “a lazy and incompetent Latina judge appointed by Obama.”

Mr. Den Hollander left the case, in which he challenged the male-only United States military draft, last summer, telling a lawyer who replaced him that he had terminal cancer.

On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Den Hollander showed up at Judge Salas’s home in North Brunswick, N.J., and fired multiple gunshots, killing the judge’s son and seriously wounding her husband, who is a criminal defense lawyer, investigators said. The judge, who was in the basement at the time, was not injured. Attorney Mark Anderl, his wife, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and their son, Daniel Anderl, are shown below.

Attorney Mark Anderl, his wife, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and their son, Daniel Anderl

Last American Vagabond, Investigative Commentary: Alleged Salas Family Assailant Previously Worked for US/Israeli Intelligence-Linked Firm, Whitney Webb, right, July 21, 2020. Alleged Salas whitney webb twitterFamily Assailant Previously Worked for US/Israeli Intelligence-Linked Firm. The alleged gunmen who killed the son of Esther Salas, the judge recently assigned to the Epstein-Deutsche Bank case, worked for a company of corporate spies and mercenaries with ties to intelligence and also to Deutsche Bank.

The news of the shooting of the husband and son of Esther Salas, the judge recently assigned to oversee the Jeffrey Epstein – Deutsche Bank case, caused shock and confusion while also bringing renewed scrutiny to the Epstein scandal just a week after Epstein’s main co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, was denied bail in a separate case.

deutsche bank logoThe case Salas is set to oversee is a class action lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who allege that Deutsche Bank “failed to properly monitor customers that the Bank itself deemed to be high risk, including, among others, the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.” The case came after the New York state Department of Financial Services had settled with Deutsche Bank over the bank’s failure to cut ties with Epstein-linked accounts, resulting in Deutsche Bank paying a $150 million fine. Deutsche Bank, unlike other financial institutions, failed to close all of its accounts linked to Epstein until less than a month prior to his arrest last year, even though the bank had identified him as “high risk” years before.

Beyond the tragedy of Sunday’s shooting, which claimed the life of Salas’ only child, the quick discovery of the death of the main suspect, Roy Den Hollander, of a “self-inflicted” gunshot to the head before he could be arrested or questioned by authorities has led to speculation that there is more to the official narrative of the crime than meets the eye.

With law enforcement sources now claiming that Esther Salas was not the intended target of the attack and some media reports now suggesting that Den Hollander’s motive was related to his dislike of feminism, it appears there are efforts underway to distance Sunday’s tragic shooting from Salas’ recent assignment to the Epstein case, which occurred just four days before the tragic shooting.

The most likely reason for any such “damage control” effort lies in the fact that both U.S. law enforcement investigations and mainstream media reports have consistently downplayed the connections of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual trafficking and financial crimes to intelligence agencies in the U.S. and Israel. Similarly, Roy Den Hollander previously worked for a New York firm has been described as a “private CIA” with ties to those countries’ intelligence agencies and, also, ties to Deutsche Bank.

Founded by Jules Kroll in 1972, Kroll Associates would later become known as the “CIA of Wall Street” and “Wall Street’s Private Eye” and was alleged to be an actual front for the CIA by French intelligence agencies, according to the Washington Post. Part of the reason for this nickname, which was once a boasting point for top Kroll executives, owes to the fact that the firm frequently hired former CIA and FBI officers, as well as former members of MI6 and Mossad.

K2 Intelligence, the successor to Kroll Associates founded by Jules Kroll and his son Jeremy in 2009, has similar hiring practices, counting former FBI and NSA officials among its ranks alongside former high-ranking members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency. Kroll also boasted ties to the Bush family, with Jonathan Bush (George Bush Sr.’s brother) serving on its corporate advisory board, and Kroll was also employed by Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign.

Though it is mainly involved in corporate security and investigations, Kroll has also frequently investigated targets of Washington foreign policy, including Saddam Hussein, and was also the company tapped to “reorganize” Enron in 2002.

Kroll Associates also has long been a subject of scrutiny for those that question the official narrative on the attacks of September 11, 2001, given that the company was put in charge of security for the World Trade Center complex from the 1993 bombing up through the 2001 attacks and has no shortage of ties to companies and individuals that profited from the attacks. Kroll itself experienced a “surge in business” following the events of 9/11, a day when its top executives all avoided going to work despite ostensibly providing security for the complex. (Continued at The Last American Vagabond site.)

 djt goya resized oval office

ivanka trump goya pose resized july 14 2020Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: The Goya Foods-Jeffrey Epstein-Donald Trump connection? Wayne Madsen, left, July 17, 2020. While government ethics experts railed against Ivanka Trump and her father, The Donald, shamelessly tweeting endorsements for Goya Foods, the media missed the confluence that exists between Goya Foods and Mr. Trump's one-time partner in sodomizing underage girls, the late Jeffrey Epstein.

On July 10, at a White House event, Goya Foods chairman Robert Unanue heaped praise on Trump. That, in turn, resulted in Trump and his daughter using the taxpayers' money to tweet product endorsements for Goya Foods in exchange for Unanue's pro-Trump comments.

On July 14, Ivanka tweeted a photograph of her holding up a can of Goya black beans, with the bi-lingual comment, "If it’s Goya, it has to be good. Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno." (Excerpted from full investigative column.)

There's more, much more hidden among the relationships....

July 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: 15 women accuse then-Redskins employees of sexual harassment, Will Hobson and Liz Clarke, July 16, 2020. The allegations of harassment and verbal abuse raised by the women, who all worked for the team, span most of Daniel Snyder’s tenure as owner, running from 2006 to 2019. Among the men accused are three members of Snyder’s inner circle and two longtime scouts.

nfl logoA few months after Emily Applegate started working for the Washington Redskins in 2014, she settled into a daily routine: She would meet a female co-worker in the bathroom during their lunch breaks, she said, to commiserate and cry about the frequent sexual harassment and verbal abuse they endured.

They cried about the former chief operating officer’s expletive-laced tirades, Applegate said, when she recalled him calling her “f-----g stupid” and then requesting she wear a tight dress for a meeting with clients, “so the men in the room have something to look at.” They cried about a wealthy suiteholder who grabbed her friend’s backside during a game, Applegate said, and the indifference the team’s top sales executive displayed when she complained.

But most of all, Applegate said, they cried about the realization their dream job of working in the NFL came with what they characterized as relentless sexual harassment and verbal abuse that was ignored — and, in some cases, condoned — by top team executives.

Applegate is one of 15 former female Redskins employees who told The Washington Post they were sexually harassed during their time at the club. The other 14 women spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing a fear of litigation because some signed nondisclosure agreements with the team that threaten legal retribution if they speak negatively about the club. The team declined a request from The Post to release former female employees from these agreements so they could speak on the record without fear of legal reprisal. This story involved interviews with more than 40 current and former employees and a review of text messages and internal company documents.

dan snyder headshot espnTeam owner Daniel Snyder, right, declined several requests for an interview. Over the past week, as The Post presented detailed allegations and findings to the club, three team employees accused of improper behavior abruptly departed, including Larry Michael, the club’s longtime radio voice, and Alex Santos, the team’s director of pro personnel.

In a statement, the team said it had hired D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson,  left, and her firm, Wilkinson Walsh, “to conduct a thorough independent review of this entire beth wilkinsonmatter and help the team set new employee standards for the future.”

“The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously. … While we do not speak to specific employee situations publicly, when new allegations of conduct are brought forward that are contrary to these policies, we address them promptly,” the team said.

The allegations raised by Applegate and others — running from 2006 to 2019 — span most of Snyder’s tenure as owner and fall into two categories: unwelcome overtures or comments of a sexual nature, and exhortations to wear revealing clothing and flirt with clients to close sales deals. Among the men accused of harassment and verbal abuse are three former members of Snyder’s inner circle and two longtime members of the personnel department:

Michael, senior vice president of content and “the voice of the Washington Redskins.” Seven former employees said Michael routinely discussed the physical appearance of female colleagues in sexual and disparaging overtones. In 2018, Michael was caught on a “hot mic” speaking about the attractiveness of a college-aged intern, according to six former employees who heard the recording. Michael declined an interview request and retired Wednesday.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Five takeaways from The Post’s story on alleged sexual harassment, Les Carpenter, July 16, 2020. As owner Daniel Snyder, below left, prepares to rename nfl logoWashington’s NFL team amid extreme pressure and the franchise’s minority owners are actively seeking to sell their shares, several women have detailed dan snyder redskins comrepeated instances of sexual harassment that have lingered around the organization for some time.

In interviews with The Post, 15 former female employees described numerous incidents in which executives and scouts made unwelcome overtures or comments of a sexual nature and in some cases were encouraged to wear revealing clothing and flirt with clients to close sales calls.

“I am done with the NFL,” one of the women said, adding that the team “has killed any dream of a career in pro sports.”

1. The team environment tolerated frequent sexual harassment and verbal abuse of female employees....

U.S. Law, Courts

djt michael cohen

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Michael Cohen is asked to sign agreement that may violate First Amendment rights, lawyers say, Tom Hamburger, July 16, 2020. The former Trump "fixer" is back in federal prison after refusing to agree not to write a tell-all book.

Michael Cohen, above left, President Trump's former personal attorney, is back in solitary confinement at a federal prison facility in Otisville, N.Y., and legal scholars across the political spectrum are expressing alarm about his treatment.

Their objections center on a Federal Bureau of Prisons agreement Cohen was asked to sign last week that he and his lawyers say would limit the ex-Trump ally's ability to work on books, including a forthcoming tell-all about the president [which presumably includes payoffs to the many accusers against the president].

Cohen's return to jail last week is likely to open yet another legal front for a man who once described himself as Trump's loyal “fixer” but later offered testimony implicating the president in possible crimes.

Since May, Cohen had been on a novel coronavirus pandemic-related furlough from jail, living at home in New York City. Last week, he went to New York's federal courthouse to attend what he thought would be a routine meeting with probation officers to discuss the conditions of his home confinement.

July 14

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan,via Getty Images)

bbc news logo2BBC, Ghislaine Maxwell denied bail in Epstein sex trafficking case, Staff report, July 14, 2020. Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and ex-girlfriend of the late US convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has been denied bail in a high-profile sex case. At a hearing via video link, a New York judge said she would remain in custody while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors for Epstein.

Ms Maxwell, who pleaded not guilty, will go on trial in July 2021. Her lawyers had said she was at risk of contracting coronavirus in prison, at the Metropolitical Correctional Center in New York City,

Epstein died there on 10 August 2019 as he awaited his trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was determined to be suicide. Ms Maxwell, who was arrested on 2 July, faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

During Tuesday's hearing, federal prosecutors said she was an "extreme" flight risk and should remain in custody. In a filing, they said that when FBI agents visited her property on 2 July, they identified themselves and asked her to open the front door.

"Through a window, the agents saw the defendant ignore the direction to open the door and, instead, try to flee to another room in the house, quickly shutting a door behind her," they said. They added: "Agents were ultimately forced to breach the door in order to enter the house to arrest the defendant."

But her lawyers denied that she was a flight risk and asked for her release on bail of $5m (£4m). The requested bail was secured by a $3.75m property in the UK.

Prosecutors allege that between 1994 and 1997, Ms Maxwell helped Epstein groom girls as young as 14. They have said that they expect "one or more victims" to testify.

Four of the charges Ms Maxwell faces relate to the years 1994-97 when she was, according to the indictment, among Epstein's closest associates and also in an "intimate relationship" with him. The other two charges are allegations of perjury in 2016.

The indictment says Ms Maxwell "assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein's abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18."

washington post logoWashington Post, Ghislaine Maxwell had ex-British military as security at New Hampshire estate, prosecutors say, Shayna Jacobs, July 14, 2020 (print ed.). Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of grooming teenage girls for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, sought to evade FBI detection by using former British military personnel as personal security and wrapping her cellphone in tin foil in an apparent anti-tracing attempt, federal prosecutors alleged Monday.

When the FBI moved on Maxwell at her estate in New Hampshire about two weeks ago, agents had to break down the door and found Maxwell hiding in a room in the interior of the home, according to a new court filing from the government opposing her release on bail.

July 11

Daily Mail Online, Maxwell 'has tapes of two prominent US politicians having sex with minors' and boasted of 'owning' powerful people, former friend and jewel thief claims, Katie Weston, July 11, 2020. Former friend of the couple claimed they wanted to convince him of their 'power.'

Ghislaine Maxwell 'has tapes of two prominent US politicians having sex with minors' and boasted of 'owning' powerful people, according to a former friend. The ex-jewel robber, who used the pseudonym William Steel, said they 'forced' him to watch the footage as they wanted to convince him of their 'power.'

He also claimed to have seen clips of 'celebrities' and 'world figures' having 'threesomes, even orgies' with minors.

It follows Maxwell, 58, being arrested last Thursday on charges she helped lure at least three girls - one as young as 14 - to be sexually abused by Epstein, who was accused of victimising dozens of girls and women over many years.

Steel told The Sun: 'They wanted to convince me of their power and who they held in their grip. They boasted about 'owning' powerful people.' He added: 'I saw videos of very powerful people - celebrities, world figures - in those videos having sex, threesomes, even orgies with minors.' The former friend also referred to two 'high-profile' American politicians who were in videos with minors.

Maxwell, the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, is the former girlfriend and long-time close associate of Epstein. She is accused of facilitating his crimes and on some occasions joined him in sexually abusing the girls, according to the indictment against her. Several Epstein victims have described Maxwell as his chief enabler, recruiting and grooming young girls for abuse.

She has denied wrongdoing and called claims against her 'absolute rubbish.'

Maxwell was arrested by a team of federal agents last week at a $1 million estate she had purchased in New Hampshire. The investigators had been keeping an eye on Maxwell and knew she had been hiding out in various locations in New England.

She had switched her email address, ordered packages under someone else´s name and registered at least one new phone number under an alias 'G Max,' prosecutors have said.

The property where Maxwell was arrested by the FBI seen in an aerial photograph in Bradford, New Hampshire. She is accused in four counts of acting as Epstein's madam

The British socialite will appear in New York's southern district court on July 14 at 1pm and the hearing will take place over video-link due to coronavirus.

She will join from the 'hell-hole' jail where she is being held and only the judge, Alison Nathan, will be present along with one prosecutor and one defence attorney.

Maxwell - a friend to billionaires, celebrities, presidents and royalty before her arrest - is facing a six-count federal indictment which could see her jailed for 35 years.

She is accused in four counts of acting as Epstein's madam, hunting down and 'training' young girls for him to abuse in the late 1990s.

Another two counts accuse her of lying about the abuse to a court when she was sued by one of the victims - Virginia Roberts - in 2015.

However, observers and experts believe she is not the state's primary target, and will likely be offered a plea deal to turn on others in Epstein's circle.

Epstein was initially jailed for 18 months in 2008 after being allowed to plead guilty to a single charge of soliciting sex from a child prostitute, despite at one stage facing a 53-page FBI indictment.

July 7

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s worldview forged by neglect and trauma, his niece says in book, Shane Harris and Michael Kranish, July 7, 2020. President Trump’s view of the world was shaped by his desire during childhood to avoid his father’s disapproval, according to the niece, Mary L. Trump, whose book is by turns a family history and a psychological analysis of her uncle.

A tell-all book by President Trump’s niece describes a family riven by a series of traumas, exacerbated by a daunting patriarch who “destroyed” Donald Trump by short-circuiting his “ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotion,” according to a copy of the forthcoming memoir obtained by The Washington Post.

President Trump’s view of the world was shaped by his desire during childhood to avoid his father’s disapproval, according to the niece, Mary L. Trump, whose book is by turns a family history and a psychological analysis of her uncle.

djt smiling fileBut she writes that as Donald matured, his father came to envy his son’s “confidence and brazenness,” and his seemingly insatiable desire to flout rules and conventions, traits that brought them closer together as Donald became the right-hand man to the family real estate business.

Mary Trump’s father, Fred Jr. — the president’s older brother — died of an alcohol-related illness when she was 16 years old in 1981. President Trump told The Post last year that he and his father both pushed Fred Jr. to try to go into the family business, which Trump said he now regrets.

The memoir chronicles Fred Jr.’s fruitless efforts to earn his father’s respect as an employee, and how his younger brother Donald reliably ridiculed him as a failure who spent too much time following his passion of aviation, and not enough on the family business.

Donald escaped his father’s contempt, Mary Trump writes, because “his personality served his father’s purpose. That’s what sociopaths do: they co-opt others and use them toward their own ends — ruthlessly and efficiently, with no tolerance for dissent or resistance.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Tell-all book by President Trump’s niece to be published two weeks earlier on July 14, Michael Kranish, July 7, 2020 (print ed.). A highly anticipated book by Mary L. Trump, the niece of President Trump, will be published two weeks earlier than planned after a court last week allowed Simon & Schuster to continue distributing copies. The book will be published on July 14 mary trump coverbecause of intense interest in it, the publisher announced Monday.

While the publisher last week was released from a temporary restraining order, Mary Trump is still under the order and is contesting it. In the meantime, her publisher released the book jacket and a news release that promised a sweeping indictment of the president’s psychological makeup.

“From this explosive book,” the news release said, “we learn how Donald acquired twisted behaviors and values” such as that “cheating is a way of life,” “taking responsibility for your failures is discouraged” and “qualities like empathy, kindness and expertise are punished.” It did not provide specifics, leaving that for the book’s publication.

The back cover of the book, also released Monday, said that “Donald is much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning or evolving.” It says that Donald Trump feared his father’s rejection and “suffered deprivations that would scar him for life.”

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: Deutsche Bank just came clean on Jeffrey Epstein, and it’s the last thing Donald Trump needs, Bill Palmer, July 7, 2020. Deutsche Bank, which seems to be at the financial center of every Donald Trump scandal, came clean today about what we all already long suspected: it helped facilitate Jeffrey Epstein’s payoffs to his alleged co-conspirators in his serial child rape scheme.

bill palmer report logo headerThe bank is paying a $150 million fine, which isn’t nearly enough considering what it helped Epstein get away with it.

Here’s the thing, though. It’s the New York State Department of Financial Services that’s bringing this penalty, not the federal government. That means Trump can’t do anything to interfere with deutsche bank logohow this is going to play out. Further, New York says that Deutsche Bank has provided “exemplary cooperation” in the investigation.

This surely means that Deutsche Bank has turned over detailed financial records about these payments to Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators – meaning that New York State now has a money trail for identifying, investigating, and prosecuting Epstein’s co-conspirators. Epstein and Donald Trump go back decades. This is the last thing Trump needs right now.

daily beast logoDaily Beast, Mary Trump Book Claims Trump Praised Her Breasts and His Own Sister Called Him a Clown, Lachlan Cartwright, Andrew Kirell and Scott Bixby, Updated July 7, 2020. Mary Trump’s explosive tell-all about the president details her uncle’s comments about her breasts, his cheating on the SAT’s, and how his own sister called him a clown.

mary trump rverto

Mary Trump’s book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, paints her uncle the president in a horrifying light and reveals explosive details about his character and disparaging comments made by his sister, retired federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry.

“If he is afforded a second term, it would be the end of American democracy,” Mary (who holds a doctorate degree and is shown above in a Daily Beast photo/graphic) bluntly declares in the book. “Donald, following the lead of my grandfather and with complicity, silence, and inaction from his siblings, destroyed my father. I can’t let him destroy my country.”

Business Insider, Trump cheated on his SAT by paying someone to take it for him, according to Mary Trump's new book, Jake Lahut and Oma Seddiq, July 7, 2020. President Donald Trump cheated on his SAT in high school, according to Mary Trump's coming book.

In her tell-all, the president's niece claims that he paid a proxy to take his SAT for him, according to The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the book.
The book said the score helped him get admitted to the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school, according to The Times.

Last year, Penn instituted a policy of revoking degrees if a graduate is found to have provided false information in an admission application, cheated on an exam, or tampered with records.

From the archives: New York Daily News, Trump comments on 1-year-old daughter’s breasts in disturbing 1994 interview, Meg Warner, April 7, 2016. No woman is too young for Donald Trump to sexualize — not even his own baby girl. The Republican presidential frontrunner once discussed his 1-year-old daughter Tiffany's would-be breasts in a disgusting interview on national TV.

In 1994 episode of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," the bombastic billionaire — already known for making creepy comments about his older daughter — and his then-wife Marla Maples opened up about their infant daughter, Tiffany, footage dug up by "The Daily Show" showed.

In a 1994 interview, Donald Trump talked about his baby daughter Tiffany's breasts.

"Donald, what does Tiffany have of yours, and what does Tiffany have of Marla's?" host Robin Leach asked.

Trump answered instantly — and he did not bring up his daughter's eyes, nose or smile.

"Well, I think that she's got a lot of Marla," he said. She's a really beautiful baby, and she's got Marla's legs. We don't know whether she's got this part yet (gestures toward his chest), but time will tell."

Maples smiled as her husband crassly pumped at his chest while he talked about their little girl.

The creepy comment means Trump is two for two when it comes to fetishizing his daughters' bodies. The hate-spewing presidential hopeful has repeatedly commented about his oldest daughter Ivanka's "very nice figure" and suggested he'd date her if he wasn't her dad.

"She's really something, and what a beauty, that one," he told Rolling Stone last year of the 34-year-old businesswoman. "If I weren't happily married and, ya know, her father…"

He made similar incestual comments on "The View" in 2006.

"She does have a very nice figure. I've said if Ivanka weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her," he said.

And he gloated about her body as early as 2003, when she was 22 years old.

You know who's one of the great beauties of the world, according to everybody?" he asked on "The Howard Stern Show." "And I helped create her. Ivanka. My daughter, Ivanka. She's 6 feet tall, she's got the best body."

July 6

Palmer Report, Opinion: Ghislaine Maxwell’s silver hammer, Robert Harrington, July 6, 2020. When I look at photos of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein the phrase “the banality of evil” comes to mind. It doesn’t seem possible that two such normal and ostensibly high functioning-looking people could be as wretchedly wicked as those two were in fact. One expects instead to see Jabba the Hutt with Cruella Deville. But there can be no doubt, they were evil to their very bones. I will even credit that the people who knew them glancingly might have been fooled. I understand why.

bill palmer report logo headerEven so, apparently Ghislaine has some mighty dirt on some mighty people, and I don’t doubt that she will use it to save her skin, if she can. Rumor has it that her erstwhile boyfriend’s luxury jet, “The Lolita Express,” was wired for sound and video. (I can’t help but wonder, what was the first clue for some of the great and near great on board “The Lolita Express” that Epstein might, just might, be a pedophile?)

Whether or not Ghislaine has privileged access to some of the more damning private tapes from “The Lolita” and elsewhere is anyone’s guess. But if she does it just might mean the difference between her being L-WOPPED (Life Without Possibility of Parole) at a SuperMax and an ankle bracelet.

If she has something substantial and she has it on the right people then we’re in for one hell of a news cycle. In a world of hellish news cycles that’s saying quite a bit. The anticipatory hand-rubbing has already contributed significantly to global warming. Look out, evil-doers, here comes Maxwell’s silver hammer.

The big question of what dirt she has and on whom, and how many she has it on, has many delighted and some terrified. As for me — and I’m going to tell you something that just might surprise you — I don’t care. I don’t care one whit if the perps are Republicans, Democrats, left or right. I don’t care if they ever “felt the Bern” or wanted to make America racist again. I just want the bastards caught, humiliated, ruined and jailed. And let the chips fall where they may.

In any case, is it hardly surprising who Epstein and his personal Pandarus hung out with and who they didn’t? I mean really, isn’t it funny that Epstein’s Rolodex included people like Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz, Bill Clinton, Bill Barr, Ken Starr, and a host of other people who you couldn’t exactly knock-me-over-with-a-feather revealing? Notice also who’s missing: the Bidens, the Obamas, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, people like that. Again, is anybody surprised?

Of course, the wheels of justice must grind ahead at their own maddeningly slow speed, and I’m content to await the day when the Final Separation of the sheep and the goats arrives at an American court of law. My number one goal is justice, and I hope that’s your goal too. This should be a distinctly nonpartisan search for the truth. If there is a hell then Dante missed his chance to set aside a particularly nasty part of it for people who despoil children and animals, for people who prey on the helpless, the voiceless and the innocent.

One thing I do know for certain, Donald Trump is among the guilty. That burden has more than adequately been met by available court documents and contemporaneous testimony, and I am convinced of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Jeffrey Epstein made it possible for the viscous buffoon usurping the Oval Office to rape a child, and Trump’s day of reckoning is near. Let’s unite to take the first step, and vote the bastard out of office this November.

DC Clothesline, Opinion: Hollywood Producer Who Was Part Of Jeffrey Epstein’s “Lolita Express Circle” Dead – Falls Off 27th Floor Of Building, Tim Brown, July 6, 2020. I’m sure this is just a coincidence, right? Just prior to the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell this week, Hollywood producer and long time friend of Jeffrey Epstein and Bill and Hillary Clinton, Steve Bing, is alleged to have thrown himself off his apartment building. Of course, this alleged suicide is claimed to have been due to depression.

Fox News reports: "Steve Bing, the film producer and wealthy financier who fathered a child with actress Elizabeth Hurley, has died. He was 55."

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office listed Bing as deceased on its website on Tuesday. His cause and manner of death are still pending an autopsy report.

“The decedent was pronounced dead at the scene on 06/22/2020 at 13:10 hours,” a spokesperson for the coroner’s office wrote to Fox News in a statement on Monday.

The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to Fox News on Monday that authorities were investigating the death of a man in his 50s in the 10000 block of Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City.

Early reports claimed Bing died in a fall from his posh Los Angeles, Calif. apartment building. The Los Angeles Times, citing a law enforcement source, reported that foul play is not expected.

Former President Bill Clinton tweeted, “I loved Steve Bing very much. He had a big heart, and he was willing to do anything he could for the people and causes he believed in. I will miss him and his enthusiasm more than I can say, and I hope he’s finally found peace.”

Vanity Fair produced an article about billionaire pedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein in which they mentioned Bing as being part of Epstein’s “Lolita Express Circle.”

“They were always the most beautiful girls in the room, usually models or former models, with a slightly aloof Stepford Wives aura that masked a deeper vulnerability. Several names came up when they were around: Epstein, supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, film financier Steve Bing, and former president Bill Clinton, then in the prime of his postpresidential career and flying around on Epstein’s jet, dubbed the Lolita Express, or Burkle’s jet, dubbed Air F*ck One.”

Of course, they aren’t expecting foul play, right? But the timing here is uncanny, don’t you think?

Vigilant Citizen adds: "Although no suicide note found, Bing’s death was quickly ruled as a suicide by law enforcement. The reported reason for the suicide: He was depressed about the lack of human contact during the quarantine."

In other words, this exceedingly rich man, who has bought “human contact” his entire life, killed himself right as COVID lockdown measures are loosening. The circumstances behind this death are as bizarre and illogical as those surrounding Epstein’s “suicide”.

Is it possible that Steve Bing was killed by being pushed off a building, Russian Mafia-style? Did he know too much? Was he at risk of squealing on his elite buddies? Here’s a quick look at this rarified environment.

At age 18, Steve Bing inherited an estimated $600 million from his grandfather Leo S. Bing – a real estate developer who made his fortune in New York in the 1920s. After inheriting his fortune, Bing dropped out of Stanford University in his junior year to pursue a career in Hollywood.

I”m sorry, I’m just not buying that he was depressed from lack of contact. People are moving all of California.

Finally, consider that Bill Clinton had a thing for Elizabeth Hurley and now, Bing’s fortune seems to be up for grabs.

The death of millionaire socialite Steve Bing could revive a family feud over whether his two children – a son with actress Liz Hurley and a daughter with tennis player Lisa Bonder – will inherit the family wealth.

Bing, 55, took his own life in Los Angeles on Monday, leaving the remnants of his $600million fortune and a tangled legacy involving two children he had hardly met.

Paternity tests proved that Bing was the biological father of Hurley’s son Damian and Bonder’s daughter Kira Kerkorian, but neither grew up in his home.

Bing’s father, Dr Peter Bing, last year tried to cut Damian and Kira out of a trust he had set up for his heirs – arguing in an affidavit revealed by DailyMail.com that ‘I do not consider them my grandchildren’.

However, Steve Bing and Liz Hurley joined forces to oppose Dr Bing’s gambit, which was dismissed by a US judge – leaving Damian and Kira in line for a share of the reported $480million fund.

Hurley had rejected Bing’s money in 2002 but said yesterday that they had ‘become close again’ recently and spoken on Damian’s 18th birthday.

It is not yet clear who will inherit Steve Bing’s own fortune, or whether he made a will. California law says that the surviving children – in this case Damian and Kira – will normally inherit an estate if there is no will.

July 4

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly turned an intuitive female bond into a tool for abuse, Monica Hesse, July 4, 2020 (print ed.). Having a woman in the room can make things seem okay, even when they’re not. 

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan,via Getty Images)

ny times logoNew York Times, Ghislaine Maxwell, Associate of Jeffrey Epstein, Is Arrested, Nicole Hong and Benjamin Weiser, July 2, 2020. Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested Thursday on criminal charges linked to his alleged sex-trafficking operation, according to a law enforcement official.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderMs. Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire, officials said.The arrest came nearly a year after Mr. Epstein, right, was charged in a federal indictment with sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of underage girls at his mansion in Manhattan, his estate in Palm Beach, Fla. and other locations between at least 2002 and 2005.

The indictment said he paid the girls — at least one as young as 14 — to give him massages while they were nude or topless, in encounters that typically included sex acts.Mr. Epstein hanged himself in August in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, where he was jailed pending trial on the federal sex-trafficking charges.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Ms. Maxwell, a longtime confidante and companion of Mr. Epstein’s, had for years been accused of helping to procure and groom young girls for the financier, including instructing them on how to pleasure Mr. Epstein sexually.

The daughter of the British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, Ms. Maxwell also helped manage Mr. Epstein’s properties and introduced him to the high-profile celebrities and business executives who would form his social circle. She is shown in a photo at left with the U.K. royal Prince Andrew and Epstein-Maxwell accuser Virginia Roberts, center, a onetime pool girl at Mar-a-Lago who was 17 at the time and now uses her married name of Giuffre.

Civil lawsuits have accused Ms. Maxwell of managing a network of recruiters that Mr. Epstein relied on to entice young and often financially strapped girls and women into his scheme, promising he would help them with their education and careers.

 djt knauss epstein ghislaine maxwell mar a lago getty full davidoff studios

Donald Trump, Melania Knauss [Trump], Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein's friend Ghislaine Maxwell, (left to right at Mar-A-Lago.
Davidoff Studios Photography / Getty Images

Palmer Report, Opinion: The real reason the SDNY Public Corruption Unit is handling the Ghislaine Maxwell case, Bill Palmer, July 2, 2020. Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested today and hit with half a dozen charges in relation to Epstein’s rape of underage girls, meaning today is a good day for justice, and a bad day for Maxwell. As it turns out, today is also a bad day for at least one public official.

bill palmer report logo headerFormer SDNY employee and current CNN legal analyst Elie Honig has pointed out that the SDNY Public Corruption Unit doesn’t take up these kinds of sex trafficking cases “unless there is some potential angle against a public official.” This means someone in high office is a suspect or target in the Epstein-Maxwell crime spree.

Former FBI Assistant Director and current NBC News legal analyst Frank Figliuzzi responded to Honig and stated his expectation that the public official in question is former Trump Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, the former prosecutor who helped let Epstein off the hook years ago, and who may have obstructed justice in the process.

Of course there is also the possibility that the “public official” in question is Donald Trump himself. He had a suspicious decades-long relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, which became even more suspicious when Epstein died while in the custody of Trump’s Department of Justice.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan,via Getty Images)

ny times logoNew York Times, Ghislaine Maxwell, Associate of Jeffrey Epstein, Is Arrested, Nicole Hong and Benjamin Weiser, July 2, 2020. Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested Thursday on criminal charges linked to his alleged sex-trafficking operation, according to a law enforcement official.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderMs. Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire, officials said.The arrest came nearly a year after Mr. Epstein, right, was charged in a federal indictment with sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of underage girls at his mansion in Manhattan, his estate in Palm Beach, Fla. and other locations between at least 2002 and 2005.

The indictment said he paid the girls — at least one as young as 14 — to give him massages while they were nude or topless, in encounters that typically included sex acts.Mr. Epstein hanged himself in August in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, where he was jailed pending trial on the federal sex-trafficking charges.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Ms. Maxwell, a longtime confidante and companion of Mr. Epstein’s, had for years been accused of helping to procure and groom young girls for the financier, including instructing them on how to pleasure Mr. Epstein sexually.

The daughter of the British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, Ms. Maxwell also helped manage Mr. Epstein’s properties and introduced him to the high-profile celebrities and business executives who would form his social circle. She is shown in a photo at left with the U.K. royal Prince Andrew and Epstein-Maxwell accuser Virginia Roberts, center, a onetime pool girl at Mar-a-Lago who was 17 at the time and now uses her married name of Giuffre.

Civil lawsuits have accused Ms. Maxwell of managing a network of recruiters that Mr. Epstein relied on to entice young and often financially strapped girls and women into his scheme, promising he would help them with their education and careers.

 djt knauss epstein ghislaine maxwell mar a lago getty full davidoff studios

Donald Trump, Melania Knauss [Trump], Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein's friend Ghislaine Maxwell, (left to right at Mar-A-Lago.
Davidoff Studios Photography / Getty ImagesPolitical Sex Scandals

Daily Beast, ‘Villian’ Ghislaine Maxwell Lived ‘Life of Privilege’ as FBI Hunted Her, Emily Shugerman, New York authorities announced criminal charges against Jeffrey Epstein’s right-hand woman Ghislaine Maxwell Thursday, saying the British heiress “slithered” away to a beautiful New Hampshire home and “continu[ed] to live a life of privilege” as authorities steadily built a case against her for her alleged participation in the late financier’s abuse of minor girls.

The socialite was arrested around 8:30 a.m. in Bradford, New Hampshire, by agents from the FBI and New York Police Department, after months of speculation over where she could be hiding. At a brief appearance in federal district court in New Hampshire Thursday afternoon, Maxwell requested all further hearings be transferred to the Southern District of New York.

Authorities declined to say why they had waited nearly a year since Epstein’s arrest to bring charges against his alleged madam, revealing only that the indictment had recently been voted by a grand jury and that law enforcement “moved when we were ready.”

“We have been secretly keeping tabs on Ms. Maxwell’s whereabouts as we worked this investigation,” Bill Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office said at a Thursday press conference. “More recently we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted on them years ago.”

The six-count indictment against Maxwell alleges she “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse” underage victims dating back to at least 1994.

Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, described the counts as a “prequel” to the charges her office brought against Epstein before he apparently died by suicide in his jail cell last year. She added that her office is seeking detention for Maxwell, reigniting questions about the Bureau of Prison’s inability to keep Epstein alive.

A booking memo filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in support of Maxwell’s detention claims the heiress poses an “extreme risk of flight” because of her wealth and “extensive international connections.”

Maxwell, according to the memo, has maintained at least 15 different bank accounts in the last four years, with balances ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than $20 million. She also reported at least one foreign bank account holding more than a million dollars last year. In 2016, she reportedly sold a residence in New York City for $15 million, and recently purchased a 156-acre property in Bradford—the same town where she was arrested—in cash.

The memo also claims Maxwell has three international passports and has taken at least 15 international flights in the last three years to places such as the U.K., Japan, and Qatar.

Washington Examiner, As coach, Tommy Tuberville handed a one-game suspension to player charged with rape of 15-year-old, Siraj Hashmi, July 2, 2020. When Clifton Robinson, the short but quick receiver from Naples, Florida, returned to the Auburn University football team in August 1999 after pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor to avoid going to trial after being charged with the second-degree rape of a 15-year-old girl, first-year head coach Tommy Tuberville pledged to figure out the right punishment for him.

"Clifton is back on the team," Tuberville said. "He and I will sit down today, and I'll tell him that we do things right around here, so he can expect there will be some punishment. What it is, I don't know yet."

That punishment ended up being a mere one-game suspension from the team's Sept. 4 season opener against Appalachian State. Auburn won 22-15.

Tuberville, now running for the Republican Senate nomination in Alabama with the endorsement of President Trump, is locked in a competitive primary against former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The winner will face Democratic incumbent Doug Jones. The Tuberville campaign has not yet responded to a Washington Examiner request for comment.

Before Tuberville arrived from Ole Miss, his predecessor, Terry Bowden, suspended Robinson and three other players from the 1998 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl for breaking curfew. In essence, Robinson was given the same punishment for two completely different offenses, and one of which was a crime.

Robinson, who was 20 years old at the time, was arrested and charged with second-degree rape after police were called to investigate in the middle of the night on March 31, 1999. Robinson apparently knew the teenager, who was visiting her sister at Auburn.

According to Alabama law, second-degree rape is when the accused "engages in sexual intercourse with a female less than 16 and more than 12 years old, provided; however that the (man) is at least two years older than the female."


June 30

Reuters, Investigation: Objections Overruled: Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench, Michael Berens and John Shiffman, June 30, 2020. In the past dozen years, state and local judges have repeatedly escaped public accountability for misdeeds that have victimized thousands. Nine of 10 kept their jobs, a Reuters investigation found – including an Alabama judge who unlawfully jailed hundreds of poor people, many of them Black, over traffic fines.

Judge Les Hayes once sentenced a single mother to 496 days behind bars for failing to pay traffic tickets. The sentence was so stiff it exceeded the jail time Alabama allows for negligent homicide.

Marquita Johnson, who was locked up in April 2012, says the impact of her time in jail endures today. Johnson’s three children were cast into foster care while she was incarcerated. One daughter was molested, state records show. Another was physically abused.

“Judge Hayes took away my life and didn’t care how my children suffered,” said Johnson, now 36. “My girls will never be the same.”

Fellow inmates found her sentence hard to believe. “They had a nickname for me: The Woman with All the Days,” Johnson said. “That’s what they called me: The Woman with All the Days. There were people who had committed real crimes who got out before me.”

In 2016, the state agency that oversees judges charged Hayes with violating Alabama’s code of judicial conduct. According to the Judicial Inquiry Commission, Hayes broke state and federal laws by jailing Johnson and hundreds of other Montgomery residents too poor to pay fines. Among those jailed: a plumber struggling to make rent, a mother who skipped meals to cover the medical bills of her disabled son, and a hotel housekeeper working her way through college.

Hayes, a judge since 2000, admitted in court documents to violating 10 different parts of the state’s judicial conduct code. One of the counts was a breach of a judge’s most essential duty: failing to “respect and comply with the law.”

Despite the severity of the ruling, Hayes wasn’t barred from serving as a judge. Instead, the judicial commission and Hayes reached a deal. The former Eagle Scout would serve an 11-month unpaid suspension. Then he could return to the bench.

Until he was disciplined, Hayes said in an interview with Reuters, “I never thought I was doing something wrong.”

This week, Hayes is set to retire after 20 years as a judge. In a statement to Reuters, Hayes said he was “very remorseful” for his misdeeds.

Community activists say his departure is long overdue. Yet the decision to leave, they say, should never have been his to make, given his record of misconduct.

“He should have been fired years ago,” said Willie Knight, pastor of North Montgomery Baptist Church. “He broke the law and wanted to get away with it. His sudden retirement is years too late.”

Hayes is among thousands of state and local judges across America who were allowed to keep positions of extraordinary power and prestige after violating judicial ethics rules or breaking laws they pledged to uphold, a Reuters investigation found.

Methodology and Q&A: How we examined misconduct

Judges have made racist statements, lied to state officials and forced defendants to languish in jail without a lawyer – and then returned to the bench, sometimes with little more than a rebuke from the state agencies overseeing their conduct.

Recent media reports have documented failures in judicial oversight in South Carolina, Louisiana and Illinois. Reuters went further.

In the first comprehensive accounting of judicial misconduct nationally, Reuters reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct. In addition, reporters identified another 3,613 cases from 2008 through 2018 in which states disciplined wayward judges but kept hidden from the public key details of their offenses – including the identities of the judges themselves.

All told, 9 of every 10 judges were allowed to return to the bench after they were sanctioned for misconduct, Reuters determined. They included a California judge who had sex in his courthouse chambers, once with his former law intern and separately with an attorney; a New York judge who berated domestic violence victims; and a Maryland judge who, after his arrest for driving drunk, was allowed to return to the bench provided he took a Breathalyzer test before each appearance.

The news agency’s findings reveal an “excessively” forgiving judicial disciplinary system, said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University who writes about judicial ethics. Although punishment short of removal from the bench is appropriate for most misconduct cases, Gillers said, the public “would be appalled at some of the lenient treatment judges get” for substantial transgressions.

Among the cases from the past year alone...

June 27 

george nader djt Custom 2

TheHill.com, Mueller investigation witness George Nader sentenced to a decade in prison in child sex case, Tal Axelrod, June 27, 2020. George Nader, a central witness in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and a former informal foreign policy adviser to the White House, was sentenced to 10 years in prison over his conviction on child sex charges.

Judge Leonie Brinkema handed down the decade-long sentence Friday after Nader pleaded guilty in January to two charges relating to sexual exploitation of children.

Nader, former high-profile adviser to top U.S. and Middle Eastern officials, had admitted to possessing child pornography that showed sexual abuse of minors and bringing an underage boy to the U.S. for sex. The crimes were committed prior to the 2016 race, during which he worked with President Trump’s transition team and was seen at high-level meetings.

The Justice Department had agreed as part of its plea deal with Nader to only seek the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

jared kushner head shotNader was known to have interacted with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, left, former chief strategist Steve Bannon and former national security adviser Michael Flynn and played a role in arranging Trump’s maiden foreign trip to Saudi Arabia in 2017.

The meetings with Trump’s campaign caught the eye of Mueller’s team, who stopped him for questioning in 2018 and discovered several explicitly sexual videos of minors on his phone. He was ultimately arrested in 2019.

Nader has long faced accusations of pedophilia. Charges were first dropped against him in 1984, but he later pleaded guilty in 1991 to transporting child pornography, according to CNN. He was later convicted in 2003 in the Czech Republic for sex with several underage boys.

June 26

OpEdNews, Hotels give a "Wink and a Nod" When Millions of Young Girls' Lives at Stake, Robert Weiner, right, and Zach Filtz, June 26, 2020. Las Vegas could shine its image and lead the nation in fighting human trafficking, a situation made even worse with Coronavirus (Covid-19).

robert weiner columnistHotel chains have shown that a wink and a nod are just fine with them, enabling of the destruction of young girls' lives. Ignoring the need to contain it, they are not revealing information regarding their customers and clients interacting with COVID-19-positive people. Now, researchers in China according to WebMD had found that Coronavirus can be prevalent in semen in men who are still infected or recovering from COVID-19, with findings published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.

While Las Vegas already makes prostitution unlawful, the state of Nevada lets the counties choose to outlaw it. Currently, there are six counties and a city where prostitution is not legal at all: Clark County (which contains Las Vegas), Douglas, Eureka, Lincoln, Pershing, Washoe (contains Reno) and the independent city of Carson City (the state capitol). However, Elko, Humboldt, Lyon, and White Pine Counties all allow brothels in at least parts of their counties. We need sunlight shown on this dark issue, nad question why this is not a statewide prohibition.

Legal sex worker and brothel employee Sandi Benks said to the Reno Gazette Journal that the COVID-19 illness caused her enough worry to stop working in the industry since Nevada shut down brothels on March 19 in the Covid regulations. "I had a gut feeling and I just packed up and left," Benks said. "I bailed on it. I wasn't comfortable. I knew nationally we weren't supposed to be in groups over 10 and I was like this is a group over 10 - I'm outta here. I'm a stickler on that. I'd rather play safe than sorry."

The implications for this legal sex worker is that she, as a legal sex worker, has a choice in the matter is as different as night and day, as it is still believed that illegal traffickers are still forcing their "property" to continue performing sexual services to their black-market customers, are a very different story. Those people -- the unseen victims kept by a force in a clandestine industry -- can't say no unless they safely get help.

For those who are struggling to grasp the experiences of human trafficking survivors, Reno NBC News Channel 4's website encapsulates this horror with "Lisa" (her identity kept a secret). She explains that she was homeless at 12, stripping at 16, and was forced into trafficking soon after that. Lisa says one night she was asked to a friend's house, and that's where five men met her, drugged and beat her and held her for four days. That is where her sex trafficking started in the Reno, Nevada area.

June 23 Ron Jeremy, center, with attorney Stuart Goldfarb at right in Los Angeles Superior Court (LA Times pool photo distributed via AP on in Los Angeles Superior Court June  23, 2020).

  Porn star Ron Jeremy, center, with attorney Stuart Goldfarb at right in Los Angeles Superior Court (LA Times pool photo distributed via AP on June 23, 2020).

Forbes, Adult Film Star Ron Jeremy Charged With Sexually Assaulting Four Women, Lisette Voytko, June 23, 2020. Adult film star Ron Jeremy, 67, was charged Tuesday with sexually assaulting four women in 2014, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, and could face 90 years in prison if convicted as charged.

Jeremy, whose full given name is Ronald Jeremy Hyatt, was charged with “three counts each of forcible rape and forcible penetration by a foreign object and one count each of forcible oral copulation and sexual battery,” according to the district attorney’s statement.

He is accused of raping a 25-year-old woman in West Hollywood in May 2014 and raping a 30-year-old woman at a local bar in July 2019.

Jeremy (shown above in a Los Angeles Times pool photo on June 23 in Los Angeles Superior Court with his attorney) is also accused of sexually assaulting two more women, ages 33 and 46, at that same bar in separate 2017 incidents.

Jeremy has faced accusations of sexual assault in the past. He told Rolling Stone in 2017 that he denies all allegations, calling them “pure lies or buyer’s remorse,” and added “I have never and would never rape anyone.” At the time, Jeremy also expressed support for women and men coming forward about being sexually assaulted, saying, “These real predators need to be taken down.” Jeremy, a prolific adult film star, reportedly made the Guinness Book of World Records for having made the most appearances in adult films.

June 19

jeffrey epstein who killed graphic consortium news Custom

elizabeth vosConsortium News, Analysis: Epstein Case Documentaries Won’t Touch Tales of Intel Ties, Elizabeth Vos, right, June 19, 2020. Two new documentaries on the Jeffery Epstein affair delve into lurid details & give voice to his victims, but both scratch the surface of the political & intelligence dimensions of the scandal.

Investigation Discovery premiered a three-hour special, “Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?” on May 31, the first segment in a three-part series, that focused on Epstein’s August 2019 death in federal custody. The series addresses Epstein’s alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell, his links with billionaire Leslie Wexner, founder of the Victoria Secrets clothing line, and others, as well as the non-prosecution deal he was given.

The special followed on the heels of Netflix’s release of “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” a mini-series that draws on a book of the same name by James Patterson.

Promotional material for “Who Killed Jeffery Epstein?” promises that: “… exclusive interviews and in-depth investigations reveal new clues about his seedy underworld, privileged life and controversial death. The three-hour special looks to answer the questions surrounding the death of this enigmatic figure.” Netflix billed its series this way: “Stories from survivors fuel this docuseries examining how convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein used his wealth and power to carry out his abuses.”

Neither documentary however deals at all with Epstein’s suspected ties to the world of intelligence.

robert maxwell with papers fileAbsent from both are Maxwell’s reported links to Israeli intelligence through her father, Robert Maxwell, former owner of The New York Daily News and The Mirror newspaper in London. Maxwell essentially received a state funeral in Israel and was buried on the Mount of Olives after he mysteriously fell off his yacht in 1991 in the Atlantic Ocean.

In an interview with Consortium News, former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe said Epstein did not work with Mossad. “Military intelligence was who he was working with,” said Ben-Menashe. “Big difference,” he said. “He never worked with Mossad, and Robert Maxwell never did, either. It was military intelligence.”

In Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales, a book published in December, Ben-Menashe is quoted as saying he worked with Robert Maxwell who introduced his daughter and Epstein to Israeli intelligence, after which they engaged in a blackmail operation for Israel. “[Epstein] was taking photos of politicians f**king fourteen-year-old girls — if you want to get it straight. They [Epstein and Maxwell] would just blackmail people, they would just blackmail people like that,” he says in the book.

Victims’ Voices

alexander acosta o cropped CustomThe Netflix and Investigation Discovery productions allow survivors to recount their experiences in interviews as well as taped police recordings and focus on the sweetheart plea deal provided to Epstein by former Trump Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, right, during Acosta’s tenure as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Each series outlines Epstein’s relationships with Wexner (below left), Maxwell, and a variety of elite figures. Investigation Discovery focuses on the controversy surrounding Epstein’s death while Netflix’s “Filthy Rich” examines the second attempt to prosecute Epstein in the context of the Me Too movement.

leslie wexner youtube cropped screenshot american academy of achievementOmitting the intelligence aspect of Epstein’s history allows the Establishment media to portray his case as a mysterious and unsolvable aberration, rather than perhaps a continuation of business-as-usual amongst those in power.

The glaring refusal to address Epstein’s intelligence involvement becomes clear when Investigation Discovery and Netflix’s programs discuss the role of Acosta in securing Epstein’s “sweetheart” plea deal, but do not reference Acosta’s widely reported explanation as to why Acosta agreed to the deal. As reported by The Daily Beast, Acosta claimed that he cut the non-prosecution deal because he had been told that “Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone.”

Independent journalist Whitney Webb has reported on Epstein’s many ties with intelligence, telling CNLive! in August last year that there is evidence this included with the CIA.

“I think that one of the goals of this [Netflix] documentary is to basically imply that Epstein was the head of the operation and that now that he is dead, all of that activity has ceased,” Webb said. “If they had actually bothered to explore the intelligence angle, in some of the more obvious facts about the case, like Leslie Wexner’s role, for example, it becomes clear that Epstein was really just more of a manager of this type of operation, [and] that these activities continue.”

June 6

maria farmer whitney webb interview

whitney webb newer smileThe Last American Vagabond,

, Whitney Webb, right, telephone of Maria Farmer, June 6, 2020 (67:56 mins.). Farmer, above, a former model, describes to Deep State investigative reporter Whitney Webb what it was like working for Jeffrey Epstein and hearing of his mentor/benefactor, Leslie Wexner, the retail store magnate.

June 1

Tara Reade (AP photo by Donald Thompson)

ny times logoNew York Times, Tara Reade’s Tumultuous Journey to the 2020 Campaign, Jim Rutenberg, Stephanie Saul and Lisa Lerer, Updated June 1, 2020. To better understand Ms. Reade, shown above, who accused Joe Biden of sexual assault, The Times interviewed nearly 100 people and reviewed court records and her writings.

Last spring, after years of strife with friends and neighbors and a constant struggle for money, Tara Reade was making a fresh start in a new town, Grass Valley, Calif., near the outskirts of Tahoe National Forest.

But trouble would find her in Grass Valley, too. Work would be hard to come by. Her car would be repossessed. Rent would fall into arrears. Acquaintances who tried to help would accuse her of failing to repay the money they had lent her, of skipping out on bills and misleading them, just as others had done in the places she had left behind.

It was a messy life, played out in obscurity.

Then came accusations from several women that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had made them uncomfortable by touching or kissing them inappropriately in public settings.

Ms. Reade was reminded of her own experience with Mr. Biden, as a junior aide in his Senate office in 1993, and she went public in her local paper. Mr. Biden, she said, would rest his hands on her shoulder and run a finger along her neck. After he requested that she serve drinks at a reception because he “liked my legs,” she said, she refused, only to be marginalized and ultimately forced out.

Eleven months later, after alleging behavior that in her own telling fell short of “sexual misconduct” — it was “about abuse of power,” she said then — she would level a much more serious charge, of sexual assault, which Mr. Biden flatly denies.

Now Ms. Reade’s own back story has been caught up in the churn of #MeToo-era politics, as rising questions about her credibility add fuel to the social-media combat between Mr. Biden’s defenders and detractors.



May 26

Politico, California DA launches investigation into Tara Reade testimony, Natasha Korecki, May 26, 2020. ‘We are investigating whether politico CustomMs. McCabe gave false testimony under oath,’ said a Monterey County prosecutor.

The Monterey County District Attorney’s office has launched an investigation into whether Tara Reade lied on the witness stand while acting as an expert witness.

Reade, under the name Alexandra McCabe, for years testified as an expert in domestic violence cases for the California D.A.’s office. Among the issues is whether she lied about her credentials to qualify as an expert.

“We are investigating whether Ms. McCabe gave false testimony under oath,” Monterey County Chief Assistant District Attorney Berkley Brannon told POLITICO on Tuesday.

Brannon said the office does not yet know in how many cases Reade testified as an expert.

“We have no database or search engine to use to determine in how many cases she testified,” Brannon said. “However, that effort is ongoing.”

Reade in March accused Joe Biden of sexual assaulting her in 1993 when she worked as an aide in his Senate office. Biden has denied the accusation.

Recent news reports have raised questions about Reade’s testimony under oath, including whether she falsely claimed to have completed her bachelor’s degree, gave false testimony about taking the bar exam and exaggerated her job duties in Biden’s office.

Last week, the school where she testified to completing a bachelor’s degree, Antioch University in Seattle, confirmed to POLITICO that Reade attended for only three academic quarters and did not graduate. The university also denied Reade’s assertion she had a special arrangement with a former chancellor to credit her with an undergraduate degree under a different name.

Seattle University Law School confirmed that Reade, under the name Alexandra McCabe, did graduate from law school. But officials wouldn’t comment on whether she had a valid undergraduate degree, which is required under the law school’s current admission standards.

jeffrey epstein mcc cell 60 minutes

Jeffrey Epstein died in August at MCC Manhattan (shown above in a photo via CBS "60 Minutes") while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida. His cell is seen above after his death. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner, but his attorneys have contested that finding. His cell is seen above after his death. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner, but his attorneys have contested that finding.

washington post logoWashington Post, TV Review: Netflix’s Jeffrey Epstein docuseries honors his victims and their stories, but the creep still gets, Hank Stuever, May 25, 2020. The key requirement, it seems, to fully comprehending the sordid tale of Jeffrey Epstein, shown below right, is the ability to remain interested even when it becomes apparent that the whole story cannot be told.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderThere’s no way to avoid getting lost in its details. Some find fuel in the ongoing outrage of it, on behalf of Epstein’s many alleged victims — young women and teenage girls who have said they were lured into an abusive existence of criminal sexual acts and prostitution.

Others tend to be more intrigued by the boldface names who were, to varying degrees, caught in Epstein’s orbit, including President Trump, Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew and billionaire clothing magnate Les Wexner, to name just a few. Still others want to know something definitive about the slipshod circumstances surrounding Epstein’s apparent suicide in August while he was in custody awaiting federal charges of sex trafficking minors.

It’s a lot to sort through (and get angry about), but, in Lisa Bryant’s four-part Netflix docuseries, “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” (premiering Wednesday), the urgency gives way to long stretches of recapping, becoming less-than-riveting stuff.

Nauseating, sure. But in the three episodes provided for this review, there’s never a unifying theme or reason that helps a viewer understand why the Epstein saga still merits four hours of our undivided attention. “Filthy Rich” often plays like a longer, fancier episode of NBC’s “Dateline,” in which facts that are mostly already known are recounted by victims, investigators, attorneys and journalists (including The Washington Post’s Marc Fisher), and then arranged in the most logical manner, with an emphasis on the sex crimes and the courage of victims who are speaking out.

Minnesota Star Tribune, Rep. Ilhan Omar says she believes Tara Reade's sex assault claims against former Vice President Joe Biden, Kevin Diaz, May 25, 2020. First-term U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who won the DFL Party endorsement this weekend in her re-election bid, told the Sunday Times of London that she believes Tara Reade, a former U.S. Senate staffer who has leveled sexual assault allegations against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

ilhan omar o“I do believe Reade,” Omar, right, told the newspaper in an interview that ran Sunday, the same day she won the DFL endorsement. “Justice can be delayed but should never be denied.”

In a subsequent tweet on Monday, Omar said “believing survivors is consistent with my values,” but added she will still vote for Biden and help him defeat President Donald Trump.

The former vice president has flatly denied Reade’s claims, which have grown in different interviews she has given to journalists. Her original accounts of an incident she said took place at the U.S. Capitol in the early 1990s did not include an allegation of sexual assault.

Omar’s remarks, made in a May 6 interview, make her the first major Democratic figure in Minnesota to give credence to Reade’s allegations. The charges against Biden have reverberated in the MeToo movement that has brought down major figures in politics, entertainment and the media.

Omar also told the Times that if it were up to her, Biden wouldn’t be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Omar was a prominent supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has suspended his presidential campaign and thrown his support behind Biden. Another prominent Sanders supporter in the Minnesota DFL, Attorney General Keith Ellison, has yet to publicly endorse Biden.

Republicans have used Reade’s allegations to attack Biden and accuse his Democratic backers of hypocrisy for dismissing her claims. Many leading Democrats, including Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a potential vice presidential pick, have expressed support for Biden.

Biden, dealing with the fallout from the MeToo movement, said in a recent MSNBC interview that if someone believes Reade, “they probably shouldn’t vote for me.”

Omar, answering critics on Twitter on Monday, suggested that “quotes aren’t always in context.” But she did not say which quotes might have been taken out of context, nor did she say whether her published statements about Reade were misconstrued.

antone melton meaux CustomHer campaign spokesman confirmed on Monday the accuracy of the statements attributed to her in the newspaper.

Omar won the DFL endorsement in a single round of balloting Sunday with 65% of the party vote. Her main challenger, attorney and mediator Antone Melton-Meaux, right, received nearly 31%.

Melton-Meaux, criticizing Omar’s penchant for controversy, has vowed to continue his challenge in the Aug. 11 Democratic primary.

“Ilhan Omar’s insistence on propping up a serious allegation without evidence against our presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is not only wrongheaded but dangerous,” Melton-Meaux said in a statement Monday. “Casually promoting right wing attacks to smear Vice President Biden because he’s not your preferred kind of Democrat shows that Rep. Omar does not take seriously the stakes of this election.”

Responding to social media posts accusing her of sowing discord among Democrats, Omar said she would still work hard to defeat Trump.

“We can’t fend off perceived attacks with attacks on others,” she tweeted Monday. “This is the most important election cycle of our lifetimes and we aren’t going to have a chance if we don’t spend our energy mobilizing and building enthusiasm against Trump. That’s the goal we should all be united on.”

May 22

Norma McCorvey, center left, raises arm in triumph with her attorney Gloria Allred following 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, as portrayed in new FX documentary

Norma McCorvey, center left, raises arm in triumph with her attorney Gloria Allred and Supreme Court building in background following 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, as portrayed in new FX documentary "AKA Jane Roe," illustrated by Associated Press photo by J. Scott Applewhite.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Jane Roe’s Pro-Life Conversion Was a Con, Michelle Goldberg, right, May 22, 2020. Norma McCorvey makes a shocking michelle goldberg thumbdeathbed confession.

In 2006, I went to Jackson, Miss., to report on the weeklong siege of the state’s last abortion clinic by the anti-abortion group Operation Save America. Flip Benham, then the group’s leader, had T-shirts made up, black with white lettering, saying, “Homosexuality Is Sin! Islam Is a Lie! Abortion Is Murder! Some Issues Are Just Black and White!”

By his side was Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade. In 1995 Benham opened the headquarters of Operation Rescue, an earlier iteration of Operation Save America, next to the Texas abortion clinic where McCorvey worked, and converted her during her smoke breaks. In Mississippi, she tore up the decision bearing her alias, telling the abortion protesters: “You’re so beautiful. I’m so sorry for what I did.” That night, the group burned all the scraps in a church parking lot. McCorvey lit the match.

It was a cultural coup for the right when McCorvey publicly turned against legal abortion. Jane Roe rejecting Roe v. Wade was something abortion opponents could throw in the faces of pro-choice activists. So it is a bombshell that McCorvey has revealed, in the posthumous new documentary AKA Jane Roe, that it was, at least in some sense, an act. “I am a good actress,” she said.

The movie, which debuts on Friday on FX, also makes clear that anti-abortion leaders understood this. They’ve been perpetrating a scam on us all for 25 years.

In the documentary’s final 20 minutes, McCorvey, who died of heart failure in 2017, gives what she calls her “deathbed confession.” She and the pro-life movement, she said, were using each other: “I took their money, and they put me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say, and that’s what I’d say.”

In her career as a pro-life icon, she collected nearly half a million dollars. But at the end of her life, she once again affirmed a belief in the right to abortion, and evinced pride in Roe v. Wade. “Roe isn’t going anywhere,” she said early on election night in 2016, when she thought Hillary Clinton was going to win. “They can try, but it’s not happening, baby.”

Given the political damage done by her cynical about-face, it’s surprising how sympathetic McCorvey — campy, foul-mouthed and irreverent — comes off. She was a lost soul from a traumatic background. Her father was absent and her mother beat her, and she ended up in reform school after running away from home at 10. She entered an abusive marriage at 16, became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and lost custody of her first child.

norma mccorvery fx documentary

Christianity Today, Opinion: Deathbed Apology: Norma McCorvey’s Pro-Life Friends Tell Another Story, Jonathon Van Maren, May 22, 2020. What the ‘AKA Jane Roe’ documentary gets wrong.

"In February 1970, I was Norma McCorvey, a pregnant street person, a twenty-one-year-old woman in big trouble,” writes McCorvey in her 1994 memoir I Am Roe. “I became Jane Roe at a corner table at Columbo’s, an Italian restaurant at Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue in Dallas.”

That short meeting with Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, two lawyers looking for the right case to strike a blow on behalf of abortion rights, transformed McCorvey’s life. The following month, Weddington and Coffee filed a lawsuit against Dallas district attorney Henry Wade for enforcing Texas’s abortion law and used McCorvey as their lead plaintiff. The case ended up at the United States Supreme Court, and on January 22, 1973, the justices overturned the law seven-to-two and legalized abortion in all fifty states.

norma mccorvey jane roe 1989On that day, Norma McCorvey (shown at left in a 1989 photo) became Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade — part symbol, part person, trapped in the maelstrom of history and the sound and fury of America’s abortion wars. When she left the abortion industry for the pro-life movement in 1994, she made headlines across the nation.

Now again, McCorvey is making headlines as the bombshell subject of a new FX documentary, AKA Jane Roe, which claims that she changed her mind a second time and reverted back to a pro-abortion position. Producer Nick Sweeney tells a story in which McCorvey’s relationship with the pro-life movement was strictly a financial one.

In a series of interviews that she dubbed her “deathbed confession,” McCorvey calls it all an “act.”

“I was the big fish,” McCorvey says in the documentary. “I think it was a mutual thing … I took their money and they’d put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say.”

Numerous headlines have suggested that McCorvey was “paid to change her mind” on abortion, despite the fact that those are not actually her words. In trying to unearth the real narrative, I spoke with many of her close friends, three of whom went on the record. Those three, in addition to others, reject the idea that she was bribed into switching sides. Their story of McCorvey and their relationship with her is much more complex, intimate, and humane.

“For this new documentary to quote Norma saying she was not genuinely pro-life is very suspicious,” said Father Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life. “I knew Norma. Her pro-life convictions were not an act.”

Pavone was part of McCorvey’s faith story. As she described in her second memoir, Won By Love, her relationship with various pro-lifers led her to Christianity and also to the pro-life movement. On August 8, 1995, she was baptized in a backyard swimming pool in Dallas, Texas. In 1998, she became a Roman Catholic and adopted Pavone as her spiritual director. (His organization recently released a statement on the Sweeney documentary.)

Starting the year of her baptism, McCorvey spoke at numerous pro-life events and publicly expressed remorse for her role in the legalization of abortion. In 2004, she even sought to have the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade based on new evidence that abortion hurts women. (The case was dismissed the following year.)

Was McCorvey bribed for her ongoing contributions to the movement? Sweeney’s evidence for this claim — that over the decades, McCorvey had been paid at least $456,911 in gifts — supports an opposite conclusion, in my opinion. The figure is not a high one, considering that some pro-life speakers often earn upwards of $10,000 for a single speaking engagement. And being paid to advocate for a position is not the same thing as being paid to change your mind.

More importantly, my sources suggest that these monetary contributions were primarily given not for coercive purposes but for supportive ones. McCorvey’s pro-life friends cared deeply for her and often helped her financially when she was in need.

Tara Reade (AP photo by Donald Thompson) 

ny times logoNew York Times, As Tara Reade’s Expert Witness Credentials Are Questioned, So Are Verdicts, Lisa Lerer, Jim Rutenberg and Stephanie Saul, Updated May 22, 2020. Defense lawyers are reviewing cases in which Ms. Reade, the former Senate aide who has accused Joe Biden of sexual assault, gave expert testimony.

Defense lawyers in California are reviewing criminal cases in which Tara Reade, the former Senate aide who has accused Joseph R. Biden Jr. of sexual assault, served as an expert witness on domestic violence, concerned that she misrepresented her educational credentials in court.

Then known as Alexandra McCabe, Ms. Reade testified as a government witness in Monterey County courts for nearly a decade, describing herself as an expert in the dynamics of domestic violence who had counseled hundreds of victims.

But lawyers who had faced off against her in court began raising questions about the legitimacy of her testimony, and the verdicts that followed, after news reports this week that Antioch University had disputed her claim of receiving a bachelor’s degree from its Seattle campus.

The public defender’s office in Monterey County has begun scrutinizing cases involving Ms. Reade and compiling a list of clients who may have been affected by her testimony, according to Jeremy Dzubay, an assistant public defender in the office.

Roland Soltesz, a criminal defense lawyer, says he believes Ms. Reade’s testimony made a significant difference in the outcome of the 2018 trial of his client Victoria Ramirez. Both Ms. Ramirez and her co-defendant, Jennifer Vasquez, received life sentences for attempted murder, arson and armed robbery.

“People have been convicted based upon this, and that’s wrong,” said Mr. Soltesz, adding that he “could care less about the politics of this whole thing.”

Ms. Reade has accused Mr. Biden of assaulting her in the Senate complex in 1993, placing his hand under her dress and penetrating her with his fingers. Mr. Biden flatly denies her accusation.

Questions about Ms. Reade’s education background were first reported by CNN. Ms. Reade told The New York Times that she had obtained her degree through a “protected program” for victims of spousal abuse, which, court records show, she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband in the mid-1990s. That history, she said, caused her to change her name, leading to confusion about her status at the school. She later received a law degree from Seattle University.

But an Antioch spokeswoman, Karen Hamilton, told The Times that while Ms. Reade had attended classes, she was certain Ms. Reade had not received a degree.

Related story:

ABC News, Under oath, Biden accuser Tara Reade cited Biden’s work for women; defense attorneys now question her other testimony, Mike Levine, May 22, 2020. Tara Reade has often testified as an expert witness in domestic violence cases. At least three times in the past two years, Tara Reade – the woman who now accuses Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexual assault – took the witness stand in a trial centered on domestic violence.

Each time, before a judge would allow her to describe the insidious cycles of domestic violence, she had to show she was qualified to testify in court as a so-called “expert witness.” And each time, she began her answer by citing two things: Biden’s past efforts to protect women from violence, and her time on his Senate staff in the early 1990s, when she now says the sexual assault took place.

“What’s your experience specifically with respect to domestic violence?” Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Robin Duffy asked Reade during a trial in California early last year, according to a transcript of the testimony.

“Well,” Reade responded, “I worked originally for former U.S. senator Joseph Biden as a legislative aide. He worked on the Violence Against Women Act.”

In the January 2019 testimony, Reade seemed to praise what Biden started as a U.S. senator, saying that “going way back to my former boss, Joe Biden,” there has been a “movement” to “take the onus off the victim” by encouraging neighbors or other associates of victims to report domestic violence to authorities.

She also cited Biden and the Violence Against Women Act during testimony in October last year, six months after she first publicly accused Biden of inappropriately touching her nearly two decades ago, limiting her complaints then to allegations he stroked her neck and twirled her curly hair between his fingers.More Resources

May 21

ny times logoNew York Times, A Campaign Milestone: ‘I Was Drugged and Raped,’ Heard in a Candidate’s Ad, Lisa Lerer and Giovanni Russonello, May 21, 2020. A Democratic congressional candidate in Virginia is releasing a TV spot where she speaks candidly about assault, a new step in a political landscape altered by the #MeToo movement.

The photo could have been taken at any prom or sorority formal. Girls with long hair and fancy dresses, their arms draped around one another’s shoulders, smiling wide.

claire russo Custom 2Just five seconds into the campaign ad, a narrator makes clear that the image had not captured a celebratory kind of night.

“It was 2004,” says Claire Russo, 40, right, a former combat veteran running for Congress in Virginia. “I was attending the Marine Corps Ball when I was drugged and raped by a superior.”

Ms. Russo, a Democrat, spent the next few years trying to get her day in court, she says. After the Marine Corps decided not to charge her superior and denied her request to transfer to another base, she took her case to the San Diego district attorney’s office. Her attacker pleaded guilty to sodomy before his civilian trial began and was sentenced to three years in prison. After serving about half of his jail time, he received an honorable discharge from the Marines, according to reports.

Now, Ms. Russo is placing her assault and the battle that followed at the center of her campaign to be the Democratic candidate in a southern Virginia congressional race. Her television ad is the first to feature a candidate’s personal recollection of rape, according to political strategists and organizations that track political ads. Set to air on broadcast and cable networks starting this week, the spot is expected to make up a major portion of her advertising, according to her campaign.

“I have been someone whose voice has been silenced. I have been someone who was denied justice,” Ms. Russo said in an interview. “It is important to show the voters in this district that we can win and that we can take power back.”

As she leans into her history as a survivor of sexual violence, Ms. Russo is aligning herself with a powerful element of the Democratic Party’s identity in the #MeToo era: that it is the party for women, by women. Over the last three years, many Democrats expressed a zero-tolerance stand on sexual misconduct.

Though occasionally divisive within the party, that position has allowed Democrats to draw a clear contrast with President Trump. Frustration over Mr. Trump’s history of misogynistic remarks and allegations of sexual violence, as well as the treatment of Christine Blasey Ford during Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in 2018, helped Democrats win control of the House in the midterm elections — largely on the support of suburban women.

But the party’s position grew far more complicated in March, when Joseph R. Biden Jr. was accused of sexual assault by Tara Reade, a former Senate aide. As Democrats have rallied to the defense of their presumptive presidential nominee, Republicans are seizing on the issue, slamming the party as hypocritical for continuing to support Mr. Biden.

Public polling has found that a significant number of Americans of all political stripes are uncertain about whom to believe regarding Ms. Reade’s allegations. Even so, some experts say, the charges of hypocrisy could be weaponized to undermine the Democratic Party’s credibility on gender issues — particularly in swing suburban areas with independent voters who are likely to be a key voting bloc in November.

May 20

Fox 9 (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Law professor falsely accused of rape, wins defamation case, Tom Lyden, May 20, 2020. A University of Minnesota Law School professor, Francesco Parisi, has won a nearly $1.2 million defamation case against a woman who had falsely accused him of rape.

In his blistering ruling on Tuesday, Hennepin County Judge Daniel Moreno wrote that Parisi’s former lover, Morgan Wright, had pursued an “untruthful narrative crusade,” and her “accusations were false, and made with malice.”

It is believed to be the largest defamation judgement in Minnesota. The vast majority of the judgement, $814,514 is for economic losses, as well as reputational and emotional damages. Only $100,000 was for punitive damages.

francesco parisi headshotParisi walked out of jail three years ago, his life in shambles.

He was criminally charged with raping Wright and trying to run over her with his car. While in jail for three weeks, with his bail set at a half-million dollars, his mother died in his native Italy.

Days later, the Hennepin County Attorney would drop charges because of insufficient evidence. Prosecutors privately conceded there was no evidence.

But the damage was already done. “It was a horror movie,” said Parisi.

Many of his law school students, especially the women, assumed he was guilty. Enrollment in his classes dropped by 60 percent with some classes cancelled

And in the eyes of the internet, he might as well have been convicted.

“Even after those charges were dropped, people Google my name and only see a professor accused of so many crimes," Parisi explained.

A Real Estate Deal, A Rape Allegation

The relationship between Parisi and Wright began in September of 2014 with a chance meeting outside his condo on Washington Avenue in the North Loop.

That night they had sex. And quickly were involved in a real estate venture together to partition Parisi’s large condo to create a studio for Wright.

Parisi’s attorney, John Braun, said there were red flags from the beginning.

But the deal fell apart, and the relationship soon soured.

There were protracted legal proceedings over the next year as Parisi tried to evict Wright from the property.

Days after the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld Wright’s eviction in June 2016, Wright reported to Minneapolis Police that Parisi had raped her 18 months earlier, on January 22, 2015.

The rape allegation was jaw dropping. Wright claimed Parisi had anally raped her, smashing her face into a concrete floor. She claimed the attack left her with three broken teeth, a prolapsed rectum, and a damaged colon.

But there was no evidence, not even medical reports, or corroborating accounts from people she might’ve told about the attack.

Wright had not mentioned any rape allegation in previous court filings for restraining orders.

Wright also accused Parisi of attempting to run her over with his car in broad daylight in downtown Minneapolis. Once again, there was no evidence. And the allegations were nearly identical to those she made a decade earlier against an ex-husband who is now deceased.

“It turns out the allegations were all false, lies,” said John Braun, Parisi’s attorney, who added, “there were plenty of red flags.”

“One Minneapolis Police Officer actually read the case that way and declined it for prosecution,” he said. “Morgan Wright came back six months later and found another police officer and the whole thing started over again.”

Judge Moreno meticulously details a half-dozen other fabrications in his findings. She lied about having a degree in music from Julliard, about being a doctor, and having other advanced degrees.

She has also claimed her father was former U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskhold, who was a bachelor, likely gay, and died in a plane crash. She even adopted his name.

And while Wright claims to be destitute and on disability for a seizure disorder, she lives in a luxury downtown condo and is known to drive a Mercedes convertible.

When FOX 9 reached her by phone, Wright declined to comment referring a reporter to her attorneys. Her attorneys, Cassandra Merrick and Matthew Pelikan, of the law firm Madel PA, did not return calls or emails requesting comment.

Parisi, a noted legal scholar in Italy and U.S., said he has lost numerous speaking engagements and business opportunities, becoming a pariah in his profession.

His personal life is a vacuum.

“I used to be the popular guy at parties,” he said. “I’m Italian, I bring the good wine. I don’t get so many invitations now.”

Parisi said he regrets that his mother never got to see him vindicated. He fears his reputation is buried with her.

Parisi, who is the father of five daughters, said he believes in the "Me Too" movement, and believes the tragedy of the case is that it could take away credibility from real victims who should be heard and believed.

Reade Allegation

tara reade joe biden Custom

The Nation, Opinion: We Should Take Women’s Accusations Seriously. But Tara Reade’s Fall Short, Katha Pollitt, May 20, 2020. I would vote for Joe Biden even if I believed Tara Reade’s account. Fortunately, I don’t have to sacrifice morality to political necessity. 

I would vote for Joe Biden if he boiled babies and ate them. He wasn’t my candidate, but taking back the White House is that important.

Four more years of Trump will replace what remains of our democracy with unchecked rule by kleptocrats, fascists, religious fanatics, gun nuts, and know-nothings. The environment? Education? Public health? The rights of voters, workers, immigrants, people of color, and yes, women? Forget them. And not just for the next four years: A Trump victory will lock down the courts for decades. I cannot believe that a rational person can grasp the disaster that is Donald Trump and withhold their support from Biden because of Tara Reade,shown above.

I would say this even if I had no problems with Reade’s account—after all, Biden will be running against Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by 25 women and has confessed to “grab[bing] them by the pussy” on tape. (I’ll leave it to others to explain why the writer E. Jean Carroll’s claim last summer that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s was a one-day story, while Reade has been all over the news for weeks.)

Fortunately, I may not have to sacrifice morality to political necessity. When I started writing this piece too many long days ago, Trumpies, Berners, and many feminists alike supported Reade’s allegation, first made public on March 25 on Katie Halper’s podcast, that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 when she was a staffer in his Senate office.

I was on the fence. I wrote, “I’d like to know more” on Twitter and Facebook and was reviled as a feminist hypocrite—interestingly enough, mostly by men. It was also mostly men who demanded that I sign on immediately to #IBelieveTara.

I take women’s accusations very seriously, but there have always been reasons to be skeptical about this one. To believe Reade, you have to believe that Biden put her up against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers on the spur of the moment in a hallway in the Capitol complex, where she says she was looking for him to give him his gym bag. This corridor, which she can’t precisely identify, is a public space. (Her lawyer said he assaulted her in “a semi-private area like an alcove.”) Indeed, Reade told Megyn Kelly that before she caught up with Biden, he was talking to another person. It was the middle of a workday. To believe Reade, you have to believe Biden would take that risk.

Here are some of the difficulties I have with Reade’s accusation:

She has changed her story — not just added to it, as her defenders claim, but altered it over and over. She has said she was essentially forced out, given one month to find a new job, but she has also said she left to follow her boyfriend to the Midwest, to pursue a career as an actress, and because she loved Russia and hated imperialism. Her former colleague in Biden’s office told CNN that she told him at the time her employment was terminated because of a health issue she had. She tweeted positively about Biden, aka “my old boss,

May 18

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: ‘Believe All Women’ Is a Right-Wing Trap, Susan Faludi, May 18, 2020. Joe Biden has been accused of sexual assault, and conservatives are having a field day, exultant that they’ve caught feminists in a new hypocrisy trap. A woman, with no corroboration beyond contemporaneous accounts, charges a powerful man with a decades-old crime? Hmm, doesn’t that sound mighty close to Christine Blasey Ford’s complaint against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh? Yet this time, many liberals who’ve championed the #MeToo movement seem skeptical?

ny times logoNew York Times, Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True? Ben Smith, May 18, 2020 (print ed.). He has delivered revelatory reporting on some of the defining stories of our time. But a close examination reveals the weaknesses in what may be called an era of resistance journalism.

Ronan Farrow, in Los Angeles in February, may now be the most famous investigative reporter in America.Credit...Danny Moloshok/Reuters

It was a breathtaking story, written by The New Yorker’s marquee reporter and published with an attention-grabbing headline: “Missing Files Motivated the Leak of Michael Cohen’s Financial Records.”

ronan farrowIn it, the reporter, Ronan Farrow, right, suggests something suspicious unfolding inside the Treasury Department: A civil servant had noticed that records about Mr. Cohen, the personal lawyer for President Trump, mysteriously vanished from a government database in the spring of 2018. Mr. Farrow quotes the anonymous public servant as saying he was so concerned about the records’ disappearance that he leaked other financial reports to the media to sound a public alarm about Mr. Cohen’s financial activities.

The story set off a frenzied reaction, with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes calling it “an amazing shocking story about a whistle-blower” and his colleague Rachel Maddow describing it as “a meteor strike.” Congressional Democrats demanded answers, and the Treasury Department promised to investigate.

Two years after publication, little of Mr. Farrow’s article holds up, according to prosecutors and court documents. The Treasury Department records on Michael Cohen never went “missing.” That was merely the story put forward by the civil servant, an Internal Revenue Service analyst named John Fry, who later pleaded guilty to illegally leaking confidential information.

The records were simply put on restricted access, a longstanding practice to prevent leaks, a possibility Mr. Farrow briefly allows for in his story, but minimizes. And Mr. Fry’s leaks had been encouraged and circulated by a man who was barely mentioned in Mr. Farrow’s article, the now-disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti, a passionate antagonist of Mr. Cohen.

Mr. Farrow may now be the most famous investigative reporter in America, a rare celebrity-journalist who followed the opposite path of most in the profession: He began as a boy-wonder talk show host and worked his way downward to the coal face of hard investigative reporting. The child of the actress Mia Farrow and the director Woody Allen, he has delivered stories of stunning and lasting impact, especially his revelations about powerful men who preyed on young women in the worlds of Hollywood, television and politics, which won him a Pulitzer Prize.

I’ve been watching Mr. Farrow’s astonishing rise over the past few years, marveling at his ability to shine a light on some of the defining stories of our time, especially the sexual misconduct of the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, which culminated with Mr. Weinstein’s conviction in February just before the pandemic took hold. But some aspects of his work made me wonder if Mr. Farrow didn’t, at times, fly a little too close to the sun.

ronan farrow catch and kill CustomBecause if you scratch at Mr. Farrow’s reporting in The New Yorker and in his 2019 best seller, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, you start to see some shakiness at its foundation. He delivers narratives that are irresistibly cinematic — with unmistakable heroes and villains — and often omits the complicating facts and inconvenient details that may make them less dramatic. At times, he does not always follow the typical journalistic imperatives of corroboration and rigorous disclosure, or he suggests conspiracies that are tantalizing but he cannot prove.

Mr. Farrow, 32, is not a fabulist. His reporting can be misleading but he does not make things up. His work, though, reveals the weakness of a kind of resistance journalism that has thrived in the age of Donald Trump: That if reporters swim ably along with the tides of social media and produce damaging reporting about public figures most disliked by the loudest voices, the old rules of fairness and open-mindedness can seem more like impediments than essential journalistic imperatives.

That can be a dangerous approach, particularly in a moment when the idea of truth and a shared set of facts is under assault.

The New Yorker has made Mr. Farrow a highly visible, generational star for its brand. And Mr. Farrow’s supporters there point out the undeniable impact of his reporting — which ousted abusers like New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, and helped rewrite the rules of sex and power in the workplace, sometimes with his colleague Jane Mayer. Ken Auletta, The New Yorker writer who helped Mr. Farrow take his work from NBC to the magazine, said that the important thing is that Mr. Farrow helped reveal Mr. Weinstein’s predatory behavior to the world and bring him down.

“Are all the Ts crossed and the Is dotted? No,” Mr. Auletta said of some of Mr. Farrow’s most sweeping claims of a conspiracy between Mr. Weinstein and NBC to suppress his work.

“You’re still left with the bottom line — he delivered the goods,” Mr. Auletta said.

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, defended Mr. Farrow’s reporting, calling it “scrupulous, tireless, and, above all, fair.”

“Working alongside fact checkers, lawyers and other editorial staff members at The New Yorker, he achieved something remarkable, not least because he earned the trust of his sources, many of whom had to relive traumatic events when they talked to him,’’ Mr. Remnick said in a statement. “We stand by Ronan Farrow’s reporting. We’re proud to publish him.”

Mr. Farrow, in his own statement to The New York Times, said he brings “caution, rigor, and nuance” to each of his stories. “I’m proud of a body of reporting that has helped to expose wrongdoing and to bring important stories into public view.”

It’s impossible, however, to go back and answer the question of whether Mr. Farrow’s explosive early reporting would have carried such power if he’d been more rigorous and taken care to show what he knew and what he didn’t. Is the cost of a more dramatic story worth paying? Because this much is certain: There is a cost.

That becomes clear in an examination of Mr. Farrow’s debut article on Mr. Weinstein, back in October 2017, which provided the first clear, on-the-record claim that Mr. Weinstein had gone beyond the systematic sexual harassment and abuse revealed days earlier by The Times into something that New York prosecutors could charge as rape. The accuser was Lucia Evans, a college student whom Mr. Weinstein had approached at a private club, and then later lured to his office with a promise of acting opportunities. There, she told Mr. Farrow, he forced her to perform oral sex on him.

But a fundamental principle of the contemporary craft of reporting on sexual assault is corroboration: the painstaking task of tracking down friends and neighbors a traumatized victim may have confided in soon after the assault, to see if their accounts align with the victim’s story and to give it more — or less — weight. In much of the strongest #metoo reporting, from the stories about Mr. Weinstein in The New York Times to The Washington Post’s exposé of Charlie Rose and even some of Mr. Farrow’s other articles, clunky paragraphs interrupt the narrative to explain what an accuser told friends, and often, to explore any conflicting accounts. Americans are now watching this complicated form of reporting play out in the stories about Tara Reade, who has accused Joe Biden of assaulting her.

Mr. Farrow’s first big story on Mr. Weinstein offered readers little visibility into the question of whether Ms. Evans’s story could be corroborated. He could have indicated that he had, or hadn’t, been able to corroborate what Ms. Evans said, or reported what her friends from the time had told the magazine. He wrote instead: “Evans told friends some of what had happened, but felt largely unable to talk about it.”

It appears Mr. Farrow was making a narrative virtue of a reporting liability, and the results were ultimately damaging.

A crucial witness, the friend who was with Ms. Evans when both women met Mr. Weinstein at the club, later told prosecutors that when a fact checker for The New Yorker called her about Mr. Farrow’s story, she hadn’t confirmed Ms. Evans’s account of rape. Instead, according to a letter from prosecutors to defense lawyers, the witness told the magazine that “something inappropriate happened,” and refused to go into detail.

But the witness later told a New York Police Department detective something more problematic: That Ms. Evans had told her the sexual encounter with Mr. Weinstein was consensual. The detective told the witness that her response to the magazine’s fact checker “was more consistent” with Ms. Evans’s allegation against Mr. Weinstein and suggested she stick to The New Yorker version, prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorneys office later acknowledged. The detective denied the exchange, but when Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers unearthed the witness’s contradictory accounts, the judge dismissed the charge. Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers gloated, though, of course, their client was ultimately convicted on other counts.

May 17

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: There is a huge difference between Christine Blasey Ford and Tara Reade, Jennifer Rubin, May 17, 2020. When Tara Reade, a former staffer in the office of then-Sen. Joe Biden, stepped forward to make a claim that Biden had sexually violated her, an endless stream of commentary ensued: It’s hard to not believe her if you believed Christine Blasey Ford (who accused Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault when both were teenagers). Democrats are in a pickle! Live by the “believe women” rule!

This effort at moral equivalency made the same error that all such comparisons do: It attempted to treat unequal things as equal. In the case of Ford, she had never changed her account of an assault at a party, which Kavanaugh denies. She testified under oath, credibly recounting the episode. There was also another alleged incident of sexual misconduct from Kavanaugh’s time at Yale, which a credible third party reported having witnessed (which Kavanaugh has also denied). Although we will never know for certain, Kavanaugh’s denial of heavy drinking and his implausible explanations about his calendar undercut his testimony.

In the case of Reade, the overwhelming weight of evidence suggests no sexual assault occurred. To conclude she is telling the truth, you would have to believe that, for the first and only time in his career, Biden decided to assault a woman in a fully visible spot in the Capitol. Reade, as previously reported, repeatedly modified her story. At one point she claimed the assault had been documented in a written complaint. After Biden denied the incident, she said come to think of it, the complaint wouldn’t have included the assault portion. There was plenty here to set off alarm bells. Sure enough, the more media entities investigated, the more flaky Reade’s story seemed.

PBS published a massive investigation on Friday, which included interviews with 74 former Biden staffers, 62 of them women. Rather than any hint of impropriety, “people who spoke to the NewsHour described largely positive and gratifying experiences working for Biden, painting a portrait of someone who was ahead of his time in empowering women in the workplace.” (Some did, however, acknowledge his nonsexual touchy-feely conduct, for which Biden has apologized.) In addition, the investigation spoke to a staffer who sat next to Reade and “told the NewsHour that Reade was fired for her poor performance on the job, which he witnessed — not as retaliation for her complaints about sexual harassment.”

Finally, the specifics of her allegation — that Biden accosted her in a hallway when she brought him his gym bag — turn out to be wholly improbable:

Reade’s attorney told the NewsHour that Reade recalls the assault happening “in a semiprivate area like an alcove” and that it was “somewhere between the Russell (building) and/or Capitol building.” He pointed out that survivors often have difficulty with specifics about trauma. … A recent walk through that area showed the subway tunnel contains no out-of-view areas, like an alcove. The remaining portion of the route includes multiple stairwells as well as corridors lined with offices. It is a main thoroughfare for senators and staffers.

Politico also investigated Reade’s charge, interviewing more than a dozen people. “A number of those in close contact with Reade over the past 12 years, a period in which she went by the names Tara Reade, Tara McCabe or Alexandra McCabe, laid out a familiar pattern: Reade ingratiated herself, explained she was down on her luck and needed help, and eventually took advantage of their goodwill to extract money, skip rent payments or walk out on other bills,” Politico found. “The people [interviewed] provided copies of past emails, screenshots of Facebook Messenger or text exchanges with Reade, copies of billing invoices or court records detailing their grievances or correspondence.

“Believe women” does not mean we must be blind to facts or engage in willful blindness. Sexual assault is a crime. In our system of justice and in the court of public opinion, facts still matter, and not all allegations are equally meritorious. Some are downright false. With regard to Reade, it’s long past time the media stopped indulging in the notion that if you believe Ford, you must believe Reade.

May 15

tara reade screenshot via the hill Custom

Tara Reade (screenshot via The Hill newspaper).

Politico, ‘Manipulative, deceitful, user’: Tara Reade left a trail of aggrieved acquaintances, Natasha Korecki, May 15, 2020. A number of those who crossed paths with Biden’s accuser say they remember two things: She spoke favorably about her time working for Biden, and she left them feeling duped.

Harriet Wrye did a double take the first time she saw Tara Reade on television lodging sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden.

“Jim, that’s Tara,” the 79-year-old author and psychologist called out to her husband, “but she has a different name.”

Wrye and her husband knew Reade as Tara McCabe, the woman who had rented a yurt on their 12-acre California property and tended to the couple’s horses — and her own — for about 10 months beginning in 2017. They were well-acquainted with their former tenant, who frequently knocked on the door of their home seeking emotional support, asking for financial help or forgiveness for late rent payments, which they granted.

“I would sit down and talk to her and try to be encouraging and supportive,” said Wrye, who noted Reade “had heart and some good qualities.”

“This lack of money was hugely problematic for her, she was always on the ropes in that way.”

Reade had spoken highly of Biden, the former boss who employed her as a staff assistant from late 1992 to August 1993, and never mentioned assault or harassment, Wrye recalls. But what Wrye remembers most is that by the time Reade left their property and moved on, Wrye felt burned.

After her husband suffered a brain injury that forced the couple to sell the property, Wrye said, Reade turned on them.

“She became really difficult,” Wrye said. “She said, ‘You’re going to have to pay me to get me to leave.’”

“She was manipulative,” said Wrye, a self-described feminist and social activist. “She was always saying she was going to get it together, but she couldn’t. And ‘could you help her’?”

Wrye’s distressing experience with Reade wasn’t an isolated case. Over the past decade, Reade has left a trail of aggrieved acquaintances in California’s Central Coast region who say they remember two things about her — she spoke favorably about her time working for Biden, and she left them feeling duped.

As part of an investigation into Reade’s allegations against Biden — charges that are already shaping the contours of his campaign against a president who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by multiple women — POLITICO interviewed more than a dozen people, many of whom interacted with Reade through her involvement in the animal-rescue community.

A number of those in close contact with Reade over the past 12 years, a period in which she went by the names Tara Reade, Tara McCabe or Alexandra McCabe, laid out a familiar pattern: Reade ingratiated herself, explained she was down on her luck and needed help, and eventually took advantage of their goodwill to extract money, skip rent payments or walk out on other bills.

The people quoted in this article provided copies of past emails, screenshots of Facebook Messenger or text exchanges with Reade, copies of billing invoices or court records detailing their grievances or correspondence. POLITICO also reviewed dozens of public records, including court documents, divorce filings and Reade’s 2012 bankruptcy records.

The accounts paint a picture of Reade’s life in the years leading up to her allegations, in which she spoke often of her connection to Biden but also of troubles in her personal life and a need for money. Sexual abuse victims sometimes offer contradictory information about their alleged abusers, so her comments do not necessarily refute her claims against the former vice president. But they add weight to the evidence that she spoke positively about him in the years before she accused him of digitally penetrating her in the early ’90s.

tara reade youngerReached by phone, Reade (shown at left in a file photo from her younger days) declined to answer specific questions and referred the matter to her attorney, Douglas Wigdor.

Wigdor argued that Reade’s favorable comments about Biden are no different than how some of Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein’s accusers continued to have contact with him even after they said he abused them.

“Sort of like some of the late victims of Harvey Weinstein,” said Wigdor, who has represented several Weinstein accusers. “That is not uncommon.”

But many of those who knew her well in recent years said she frequently lied or sought to manipulate them, in many instances taking advantage of their desire to help a person they felt was down on her luck.

“You can use these words: manipulative, deceitful, user,” said Kelly Klett, an attorney who rented Reade a room in her home in 2018. “Looking back at it all now, that is exactly how I view her and how I feel about her.”

“She has a problem,” said Lynn Hummer, who owns a horse sanctuary where Reade volunteered for two years, beginning in 2014.

She described Reade as “very clever, manipulative. ... I do think she’s a liar.”

Hummer provided an email from an exchange in which, within weeks of starting at the ranch, Reade asked whether she could bring her car on Hummer’s property to hide it from “the repo man.” Hummer declined.

In another instance, Reade came by the ranch desperately seeking $200 to pay the rent, Hummer said. On the way to Reade’s house, Hummer said she didn’t notice that Reade texted her and upped her request from $200 to $350.

Hummer also alleged Reade called a veterinarian to the ranch to service her personal horse, leaving Hummer to pay a $1,400 bill.

Hummer has publicly leveled that charge and others since Reade’s accusations against Biden have gone public. On social media last month, Reade denied them.

“A lawyer will be in contact with you for defaming me,” Reade said over Twitter. “You may not continue to spread false information regarding my life.”

PBS, What 74 former Biden staffers think about Tara Reade’s allegations, Daniel Bush and Lisa Desjardins, May 15, 2020. Over his decades-long career in the Senate, former Vice President Joe Biden was known as a demanding but fair and family-oriented boss, devoted to his home life in Delaware and committed to gender equality in his office.

He was not on a list of “creepy” male senators that female staffers told each other to avoid in the elevators on Capitol Hill.

Yet Biden, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was also a toucher, seemingly oblivious to whether physical contact made some women uncomfortable. That behavior has persisted in recent years. Biden is now facing fresh scrutiny after a former aide in March charged that he sexually assaulted her when she worked in his Senate office in the early 1990s, an allegation Biden has categorically denied.

The PBS NewsHour spoke with 74 former Biden staffers, of whom 62 were women, in order to get a broader picture of his behavior toward women over the course of his career, how they see the new allegation, and whether there was evidence of a larger pattern.

None of the people interviewed said that they had experienced sexual harassment, assault or misconduct by Biden. All said they never heard any rumors or allegations of Biden engaging in sexual misconduct, until the recent assault allegation made by Tara Reade. Former staffers said they believed Reade should be heard, and acknowledged that their experiences do not disprove her accusation.

In all, the NewsHour tried to contact nearly 200 former staffers of Biden’s, based primarily on public records of his time in the Senate and White House and also from interviews with current campaign advisers. They include former interns and senior aides, from his 1972 Senate campaign through his time at the White House.

Some are still in politics, others left long ago to pursue other careers. They were asked about Reade’s allegation but also whether they, or anyone they know, were ever uncomfortable around Biden. Many said that her sexual assault allegation was at odds with their knowledge of Biden’s behavior toward women.

The interviews revealed previously unreported details about the Biden office when Reade worked there, such as an account that she lost her job because of her poor performance, not as retaliation for lodging complaints about sexual harassment, as Reade has said.

Other recollections from former staffers corroborated things she has described publicly, such as Biden’s use of the Senate gym and a supervisor admonishing her for dressing inappropriately.

Overall, the people who spoke to the NewsHour described largely positive and gratifying experiences working for Biden, painting a portrait of someone who was ahead of his time in empowering women in the workplace.

“The one thing about Joe Biden is, he is a man of the highest character and that’s why these accusations are so surreal and just can’t comport with the man I worked with,” said Marcia Lee Taylor, a senior policy advisor on the Judiciary Committee, where women held leading roles when Biden served as chairman.

But he had blindspots, which Biden himself has publicly acknowledged, when it came to how his interactions with women in public could make them uncomfortable.

Reade declined the NewsHour’s interview request but her attorney, Doug Wigdor, sent detailed answers to a number of questions by email. He wrote that Biden’s public touching is evidence that he could have mistreated his client in the way she claims.

“I don’t think anyone would describe these situations as normal,” Wigdor wrote. “They are troublesome, to say the least.”

Many former Biden staffers said they believe Reade’s allegation is false.

Addressing Tara Reade’s allegations

Since Reade went public with her assault accusation in March, former staffers of Biden’s world have been scanning their memories, considering the details of her story and their own experiences.

Reade, in interviews with multiple news outlets, has alleged that Biden attacked her in the Senate complex when she met him on an errand. But her accusations are also more sweeping. She has charged that the Biden office was a toxic place to work, that the senator touched her shoulders and neck multiple times, and that she was asked to serve drinks because he thought she was pretty. Reade has also claimed she was demoted and ultimately pushed to leave because she complained about workplace harassment.

The NewsHour spoke with more than 20 people who worked for Biden when Reade was also a staffer. Some remembered her, many did not.

Ben Savage, who said his desk was next to Reade’s in the Biden mailroom, disputed her charge that she was forced out of her job in retaliation for a sexual harassment complaint she claims to have filed.

Savage, who worked as the office’s systems administrator, overseeing computers and information processing, told the NewsHour that Reade was fired for her poor performance on the job, which he witnessed — not as retaliation for her complaints about sexual harassment.

But according to Savage, Reade had been mishandling a key part of her job and an essential office task — processing constituent mail, something they worked on together. Savage said he recalls reporting these issues to his boss, deputy chief of staff Dennis Toner. After that, Savage said he began diminishing Reade’s duties, taking over some of her tasks and rerouting parts of the process to exclude her.

“Of all the people who held that position, she’s the only one during my time there who couldn’t necessarily keep up or who found it frustrating,” said Savage, who worked in the office for three years, from 1993 to 1996.

Toner, who was Savage’s direct supervisor, told the NewsHour that he did not remember Reade. He said he did remember Savage as a good worker who stood out in the office.

“I can’t take issue with Ben saying that her job performance was not up to par. We would have had a discussion with Tara or whomever the employee would have been to see how we could make it work,” Toner said. “I do not recall Tara being in the office. I can’t comment on why she would have left or anything like that,” he added.

Wigdor, Reade’s attorney, said that she does not remember Savage specifically, but said his story is wrong and her performance had nothing to do with her termination.

“Ms. Reade recalls that there was a lot of nitpicking regarding her performance in the office,” he wrote. “She was also very nervous at that point and distracted so it is possible that from time to time there was a mistake made … but her performance had nothing to do with her termination.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden says he does not remember Tara Reade, Annie Linskey, May 15, 2020. Joe Biden says on MSNBC that he does not recall the former senate aide, who worked for him in the early 1990s.

Former vice president Joe Biden said Thursday that he does not remember Tara Reade, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was working in his Senate office in the early 1990s.

Asked by MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell if he remembers Reade, Biden said: “To be honest with you, I don’t.”

Biden made the remarks in an interview that aired Thursday evening on “The Last Word.” The presumptive Democratic nominee for president appeared alone in one segment of the program, and was then joined by Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial nominee.

Abrams is a potential vice-presidential pick for Biden, and he asked that she join him on the program. He complimented her work on voting rights, saying she “knows what she’s doing and she’s incredibly capable person.”

tara reade joe biden CustomBefore Abrams, Biden was asked about Reade and made his most extensive comments since he first addressed the accusation on “Morning Joe” earlier this month.

“Her story has changed considerable times,” Biden said at one point. “This claim has changed as it’s gone on.”

Last year, Reade was among several women who said that Biden had made her feel uncomfortable. She told The Washington Post that he touched her neck and shoulders but did not mention the alleged assault.

This year Reade added to the story, saying that he pushed her against a wall in a Senate hallway and put his hand up her skirt.

“Nothing like this ever happened,” Biden said Thursday. “She should be heard and the story should be vetted but ultimately the truth matters.”

Biden also addressed the distress that the accusation has caused on the left, in which some activists take her claims seriously but also want to defeat President Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault by at least 16 women.

Arizona Pursuing Conservator Promoter of Sex Charges

Jacob Wohl, whose supposed investment acumen as a 17-year-old, was featured by Fox Business News (screenshot)

Jacob Wohl, whose supposed investment acumen as a 17-year-old, was featured by Fox Business News (screenshots). Separate from his investment activities, Wohl has become known as a promoter of scandal allegations against perceived opponents of Donald Trump and other Republicans. On May 7, Diana Andrade and Jacob Wohl (Andrade photo via Reason.com)2020, Reason Magazine published a column quoting Diana Andrade, shown below right in a photo with Wohl when she said they were dating, in a story headlined as follows: Reason, She Said Anthony Fauci Sexually Assaulted Her. Now She Says Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman Paid Her to Lie.

Salon, Arizona attorney general “actively pursuing” right-wing troll Jacob Wohl, Roger Sollenberger, May 15, 2020. Right-wing provocateur Jacob Wohl owes $43,000 in Arizona, and the state AG is prepared to come for him. The Arizona attorney general's office is actively pursuing collection efforts against right-wing social media provocateur Jacob Wohl, who has not made any payments toward nearly $38,000 in fines from a 2016 investment fraud ruling against him, Salon has learned.

A spokesperson for the Arizona Corporation Commission notified Salon about Wohl's delinquency in response to a Salon article last week.

"The Commission, through the Arizona Attorney General's Office, is actively pursuing collection efforts against Mr. Wohl," the spokesperson told Salon in an email.

"Mr. Wohl has not paid anything since the matter was sent to the Attorney General's Office for collections," the spokesperson wrote in an email. "Given his indictment last year, I would venture that any available funds are going to pay his criminal defense counsel."

The Commission said it retains the right to take further action against Wohl "if he violates any part of the order or if he commits additional actions that violate the Arizona Securities Act or the Investment Management Act."

According to the court order, the commission said, Wohl accrues interest on any unpaid amount.

"Between penalty and restitution, Mr. Wohl owes approximately $43,000," the commission spokesperson said. "The Attorney General's office has engaged California counsel to assist in collections efforts. Those lawyers are utilizing all statutorily allowed collection methods to obtain the funds owed to the state."

The 22-year-old Wohl, who has achieved a modest measure of media infamy with a series of hapless attempts to fabricate smears of sexual impropriety against Democratic elected officials and other public figures — including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former special counsel Robert Mueller, and, most recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci — apparently cut his teeth on investment fraud beginning in his late teens.

In 2017 the Arizona Corporation Commission filed a cease-and-desist order against Wohl, at the time 20 years old, alleging that he and his business partner broke the law in 2015 and 2016 when they misled clients about how much of their money would be at risk and exaggerated the size of their company.

The commission ordered Wohl to pay his victims $32,919 in restitution, plus $5,000 in penalties. Wohl asked for a continuance. "I'm wondering why we're going through this exercise, and why you think your client is going to make payment on a later date if he's not able to make payment today," Commissioner Boyd Dunn said to Wohl's counsel at a hearing.

"This is a relatively small amount," the attorney replied. "I know you guys have seen hundreds of thousands of dollars for these types of cases."

"It's not a small amount to the investor. So don't belittle it," Dunn said. The commission accommodated Wohl with a four-week continuance, after which he was required to pay his fine in monthly installments of $1,371.61. Arizona Central reported in 2018 that Wohl had not paid any of it, and that balance remains unchanged today.

The scams earned Wohl a lifetime ban by the National Futures Association, and led directly to felony charges currently facing him in California. (Wohl has denied wrongdoing.)

In 2016 an Arizona man tipped off the Riverside County district attorney's fffice that Wohl and his business partner, Matt Johnson, 30, had swindled him out of $75,000 he invested through Wohl Capital Investment Group. The man killed himself shortly afterward, according to Wohl's arrest warrant.

The tip led the Riverside County DA to open an investigation into a separate matter, which led the office to indict Wohl, who lives in Corona, California, as well as Johnson, on two counts of selling unregistered securities. The Daily Beast first reported those charges last September.

In February, Wohl and Johnson pleaded not guilty, but their hearing, set for April 24, was postponed due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and has not been rescheduled.

The tip led the Riverside County DA to open an investigation into a separate matter, which led the office to indict Wohl, who lives in Corona, California, as well as Johnson, on two counts of selling unregistered securities. The Daily Beast first reported those charges last September.

In February, Wohl and Johnson pleaded not guilty, but their hearing, set for April 24, was postponed due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and has not been rescheduled.

May 13

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: ‘Believe Women’ was a slogan. ‘Believe All Women’ is a straw man, Monica Hesse, May 13, 2020 (print ed.). There’s a bit of semantic gaslighting going on right now, so subtle that I recently had to go digging through news archives and online databases to verify that I hadn’t lost my mind.

In 2017, as the hashtag #MeToo rose in popularity, another slogan rose along with it: “Believe women.” It had been used before — there are several references from 2016 — but it was really Harvey Weinstein’s downfall that put the phrase in the popular lexicon.

Was it evocative and open to interpretation? Yes, as all slogans are. But generally the idea was to neutralize bias: “Believe women” meant “don’t assume women as a gender are especially vindictive, and recognize that false allegations are less common than real ones,” the feminist author Sady Doyle wrote in Elle in November 2017. In other words, allow yourself to believe that women are just as trustworthy as men have been believed to be for decades.

The slogan appeared on posters at protests and as a hashtag all over Twitter — you can go back and look.

Believe women. Two words.

I revisited the history of the phrase because its original meaning is being retroactively altered, amid discussions of Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden, to “Believe all women.” And that extra word is a weapon.

“The Left’s ‘believe all women’ standard was shattered when Tara Reade accused Joe Biden of sexual assault,” Glenn Beck posted on Facebook.

“Democrats say believe all women — just not Tara Reade,” read a Boston Herald columnist’s headline.

“ ‘Believe all women’? Now that Reade has accused Joe Biden of sexual assault, never mind,” opined a columnist in USA Today.

“I think [the #MeToo movement] went very sadly off track when we started getting into the territory of believing all women,” Fox news anchor Martha MacCallum said on air last week.

Megyn Kelly used the phrasing during her exclusive interview with Reade, posted Friday: “Some of those who touted the ‘we must believe all women’ line . . . certainly seem to have changed their tune when it comes to you.”

I could keep going, but you get the picture.

The alteration might strike you as nitpicky. Could three new letters really make that much of a difference?

They could, and do. Let’s explore.

“Believe women” was a reminder, not an absolute rule; the beginning of a process, not an end. It was flexible enough to apply to various contexts: Believe women . . . enough to seriously investigate their claims. Believe women . . . when they tell you about pervasive indignities — catcalling, leering — that happen to them and their friends when you’re not around. Over the weekend an exasperated medical student complained on Twitter that her male professor kept insisting IUD birth control wasn’t painful upon insertion, despite a classroom full of aspiring female doctors telling him differently. Dear heavens, believe those women!

CounterPunch, Opinion: Who Are You Kidding? The Democratic Party and the Joe Biden Fiasco, Gabriel Kuhn, May 13, 2020. If Joe Biden did what Tara Reade accuses him of, anyone who doesn’t share the Trumpian notion of personal morals being nothing but inconvenient baggage on the way to personal success would have to consider him unfit to occupy the highest public office in the country.

As, in all likelihood, no one will ever know for sure what happened between Tara Reade and Joe Biden except for Tara Reade and Joe Biden, it means that everyone endorsing him, campaigning for him, and joining his team must give him the benefit of the doubt.

May 12

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump presses immunity argument in Summer Zervos defamation case, Shayna Jacobs and Rosalind S. Helderman, May 13, 2020 (print ed.). A new court brief filed this week is part of the president’s multi-front legal battle to limit the ability of private citizens, Congress and even law enforcement to investigate him while in office.

Lawyers for President Trump this week reiterated their argument that a defamation lawsuit from a woman who alleges Trump groped and kissed her without consent should be halted because the president is immune from lawsuits filed in state courts while serving in office.

A new 28-page court brief, filed Monday and released publicly by the New York State Court of Appeals on Tuesday, is Trump’s latest salvo in a multi-front legal battle to limit the ability of private citizens, Congress and even law enforcement to investigate him as a sitting president.

The release came on the same day that Trump’s lawyers argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that the president should be able to shield his tax returns and private business records from subpoenas issued by Democratic-led House congressional committees and the Manhattan district attorney. They argued the president should be immune from requests he believed were political attempts to harass.

summer zervos cnnThe filing in New York was also a pointed reminder that Trump continues to quietly battle two women in court who allege he sexually assaulted them, fighting their efforts to obtain testimony and documents that could shed light on their accusations. The women, Summer Zervos, left, and E. Jean Carroll, below right, are among more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of unwanted physical contact in the years before he was elected.

Trump’s efforts to fend off their legal claims come as his allies have sought to spotlight allegations that his Democratic e jean carroll cover new york magazinerival, former vice president Joe Biden, sexually assaulted a Senate aide in 1993, a claim he has denied.

Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, declined to comment on the Zervos and Carroll cases.

This week’s filing came in a defamation case brought by Zervos, a former contestant on the reality show “The Apprentice,” who alleges that Trump aggressively groped and kissed her in a Los Angeles hotel room in 2007, at what she thought would be a meeting to discuss a job opportunity at the Trump Organization.

She first made the allegations in October 2016 after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump could be heard bragging about grabbing women between their legs.

May 9

Hill.com, Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: 'Why wait until Biden is our only hope?' Joe Concha, May 9, 2020. HBO's Bill Maher on Friday night questioned the timing of Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden while arguing that Democrats backed themselves into a corner with their calls to "believe all women" amid the "Me Too" movement.

The progressive commentator weighed in as Reade's allegation that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993, when she was a Senate staffer, continues to generate coverage following her on-camera interview with former NBC News and Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly this week.

"You waited 27 years. You think it couldn't wait a few more months? That's what I'd like to ask Ms. Reade. Why now?" Maher said during a segment on his show Friday night. "I'm not saying why not 27 years ago. I understand it can take victims years to come forward. I'm saying, why not before Super Tuesday? Why not last fall when we still had a dozen other candidates to choose from? Why wait until Biden is our only hope against Trump and then take him down?"

Maher also mocked The New York Times for its recommendation that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) investigate the claims against Biden.

"The New York Times is calling for the DNC to establish a truth panel on this. Truth panel, huh? Which part? Putin’s reverence for animals or how intoxicating he is to women?" the host continued, citing past reported remarks from Reade about Russian President Vladimir Putin

"Democrats are coalescing around the position that this accusation must be thoroughly vetted for the party to keep its credibility," the host continued while broadcasting from his home in Los Angeles.

"Well, you know credibility certainly is a problem for the party on this issue," Maher added, claiming Democrats "'woke' themselves into a corner" by embracing "believe all women," often echoed during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's 2018 confirmation hearings.

“That was never tenable because believing everything doesn’t make you noble,” the host noted. “It makes you gullible and leaves us with the world where Republicans don’t care about this stuff. So it’s just a unilateral weapon that is used only against Democrats.”

May 7

Diana Andrade and Jacob Wohl (Andrade photo via Reason.com)

Diana Andrade and Jacob Wohl (Andrade photo via Reason.com)

Reason, She Said Anthony Fauci Sexually Assaulted Her. Now She Says Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman Paid Her to Lie, Nancy Rommelmann, May 7, 2020. After failing to frame Robert Mueller, Elizabeth Warren, and others for sexual misconduct, the infamous Trumpster hoaxers tried to go after Fauci. But the woman they hired to play the victim had second thoughts.

I'd just finished Saturday morning's second cup of coffee when an email popped through, subject line: "Exposing Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman."

"Hi Nancy, I hope you are having a nice weekend. I feel very bad about lying to you and others about Dr. Fauci. I took it upon myself to call Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman and record them (see attached)… Many thanks and again, I feel very bad about all this. I apologize to you, the other reporters and Dr. Fauci."

The writer of the email identified herself as Diana Andrade. I had never before emailed with Andrade, but had spoken with her 10 days earlier, when I knew her as "Diana Rodriguez." At that time, Rodriguez alleged that when she was 20 years old, in 2014, she'd been sexually assaulted by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the most visible faces in the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For those lucky enough to be unfamiliar with the exploits of Wohl and Burkman, they are pro-Trump provocateurs who've found a niche drumming up fake sexual harassment allegations that end comically badly, including against former FBI Director Robert Mueller (who turned out to have been serving jury duty the day he was supposed to have committed the assault) and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (the press conference for which took place on Burkman's stoop, and whose supposed victim was a 24-year-old Marine).

Being on the receiving end of an allegation of sexual misconduct is now a rite of political passage — a perverse sign you've made it.

Fauci's star rose in March as he appeared at COVID-19 briefings day after day, outshining President Donald Trump and occasionally knocking the president's pronouncements out of the headlines. Here, then, was an opportunity for Wohl and Burkman to take down the newest of Trump's perceived enemies, to maybe become favorites in Trump's actual orbit. On the chance it would cause their own star to rise, they would move Fauci toward irrelevancy, if not infamy.

The rollout of their latest smear job was a fiasco, a series of "media alerts" announcing press conferences with no start times, never mind that neither the public relations contact nor the company she worked for appeared to exist, and a "statement" from Rodriguez so breathless it seemed intended to steam up the windows. (Not for nothing, Sally Quinn recently confessed she based a thinly veiled D.C. heartthrob in her 1991 bestseller "Happy Endings" on Fauci, so Wohl and Burkman aren't the first to write this particular fan fiction.)

"He looked rich and powerful, and I love smart men with grey hair. He told me all about his fantastic career in medicine, so I went upstairs," Rodriguez wrote of her fictional meeting with Fauci at the bar of the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. After detailing some ineffective hotel bed wrestling and managing to flee with her honor intact, Rodriguez closed with the statement, "Now, when I see him on TV touted as some kind of hero, I want the nation to know the truth. This is my truth. This is my story."

It was all in a league of its own weirdness, a collision of Harlequin romance and #MeToo. Nevertheless, several journalists called into a conference call to hear Rodriguez's story. We were treated, instead, to Wohl and Burkman on the line, stating they'd on the fly been invited to represent Rodriguez, who haltingly told a story that varied significantly from the media alert and, when questioned for clarification, was talked over by Wohl.

"People come forward against figures that are considered media darlings with very credible allegations and are attacked by the media," he told us. "And you see the same sort of victim-blaming here."

With the exception of The Daily Dot, which covered the claim only to debunk it, no outlet touched the story. There was no there there, and while it might've been instructive to show readers how the rancid sausage is made, did we want to give these charlatans more sunshine, especially in light of Fauci leading the battle against a deadly pandemic?

And that would have been that — until Saturday's email, which included Andrade telling me, "The reality is that I've known Jacob since 2018 and that he charmed me into taking money to do this (see attached picture of us together)," taken when they were romantically involved. Also, that Wohl and Burkman "had me do something like this…back in January...."

May 6

washington post logoWashington Post, Poll Analysis: Believe Tara Reade or Joe Biden? Voters are split, Amber Phillips, May 6, 2020. Former vice president Joe Biden tara reade joe biden Customhas unequivocally denied the allegation that he sexually assaulted a Senate staffer in the 1990s. But voters are torn about whom to believe, and many of them haven’t come down one way or the other, according to the first high-quality national poll following Biden’s public denial of the allegation, which was released by Monmouth University on Wednesday.

There is one notable group of voters who seem more inclined to believe Biden’s accuser, Tara Reade, than him — the independents whom Biden pitched his primary campaign on being able to win.

The Behavior Panel via YouTube,

, Marbowen, Greg Hartley, Chase Hughes, Scott Rouse, Mark Bowden, May 6, 2020 (95:51 mins.). The world's top body language experts weigh in on Joe Biden's body language during the MSNBC interview about Tara Reade.

May 5

Mediaite, NY AG Reportedly Initiated Harassment Investigation Into NBC News Including Claims Against Andy Lack, Chris Matthews, Rudy Takala, May Letitia James 150x1505, 2020. New York’s attorney general Letitia James, right, launched an investigation into NBC News in late 2019, according to a new report, over allegations of sexual harassment, retaliation and gender discrimination.

The investigation involves allegations against former “Hardball” host Chris Matthews and NBC News chief Andrew Lack, according to the Tuesday report in Variety. It comes after the network’s Monday announcement that Lack was retiring earlier than anticipated.

Sources told the publication the attorney general’s office had interviewed a number of women in connection with the investigation, including former “Today” host Megyn Kelly. Attorney Douglas Wigdor is reportedly representing several of the women.

Former NBC News producer Rich McHugh said in a Monday interview he wasn’t aware of the details, but that the attorney general’s civil division was spearheading the investigation. “We’re not sure if it could lead to anything criminal, but I do know they have been looking into this and interviewing employees over a number of months,” McHugh said.

andy lackFormer “NBC News at Sunrise” anchor Linda Vester, who accused the network’s Tom Brokaw of misconduct in 2018, said the attorney general’s office asked her to share details of her allegations. “They asked me to recount my original experience, and wanted to know a lot about the retaliation after I told the Brokaw story and what I thought might be Andy Lack’s involvement in it.”

A woman who spoke anonymously said she was harassed by Matthews and that the network retaliated against her for reporting it. “Everyone in that company knew about it and they knew about it for years and it was horrible,” she said.

Another woman, Addie Zinone, who alleged that she had a 2000 affair with NBC anchor Matt Lauer while she worked as a 24-year-old production assistant, said the AG’s office also contacted her. “It’s time to ask what top management at NBC and other outlets are doing to change the culture that allowed Lauer, along with numerous news anchors with questionable attitudes toward women, to stay in their positions for nbc logoso long,” Zinone said.

Lauer, who was fired from the “Today” show in 2017 over a rape allegation, infamously had a button installed under his desk that allowed him to lock his door while visitors were in his office. NBC at the time denied the report in a vaguely-worded statement, saying, “The button releases a magnet that holds the door open. It does not lock the door from the inside.”

NBCUniversal said on Monday that Telemundo chief Cesar Conde would replace Lack at the network. Lack, who served as NBC’s president and chief operating officer, became a controversial figure after he quashed reporting by Ronan Farrow on allegations of sexual abuse by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Democrats, Tara Reade and the #MeToo Trap, Michelle Goldberg, right, May 5, 2020. Don’t compare the case against Joe michelle goldberg thumbBiden to the one against Brett Kavanaugh.

Blasey had four sworn affidavits from people whom she’d told that she’d been assaulted, as well as therapist’s notes and the results from a polygraph. She testified, and was cross-examined, under oath. The Democratic plea, at the time, was for a thorough F.B.I. investigation.

Now feminists are caught in a trap. They don’t want to repeat the errors many of them made when they dismissed Bill Clinton’s accusers, nor do they want to erode the #MeToo taboo against picking apart the motives and histories of women who recount sexual assault. But just as Reade’s story can’t be wished away because it’s politically inconvenient, neither can its contradictions.

On Friday, the website Law & Crime reported that a niece of Christine O’Donnell, a former Republican Senate candidate in Delaware, said that Biden commented on her breasts at a 2008 Gridiron Club dinner, when she was 14. Several people said they were told about this at the time, but it emerged that Biden wasn’t at the dinner. O’Donnell then said it might have happened at the Gridiron dinner in 2007, but Biden wasn’t at that one either. It was a demonstration of how easily #MeToo can be misused as a political weapon.

I suspect that whatever happens in this campaign, the credibility of the movement will suffer. The original #MeToo stories were carefully and meticulously documented. Now it threatens to become a way to handicap one political faction in the middle of a partisan free-for-all. In a season full of appalling and sickening losses, this is just the latest one.

May 4

washington post logoWashington Post, Andy Lack, longtime NBC News and MSNBC executive, steps down from chairmanship after internal, external criticism, Sarah Ellison and Elahe Izadi, May 4, 2020. Andy Lack, right, who has served as chairman of NBC News and MSNBC for five years after a longtime affiliation with the company, is stepping down from his job amid a corporate restructuring.

andy lackLack “has decided to step down and will transition out of the company at the end of the month,” according to a statement from NBC. The move came months ahead of schedule, according to people familiar with the deliberations, who said Lack had planned to step down after the 2020 presidential election.

The announcement ended Lack’s lengthy tenure at NBC, one split into two tours and marked by significant upheaval within his ranks, particularly in his most recent time at the network.

The news came the same day NBCUniversal announced it was reorganizing its news and entertainment divisions. Cesar Conde, who has overseen Spanish-language Telemundo and NBC’s international organization, will now serve in the newly created role of chairman of NBCUniversal News Group, which includes NBC News, CNBC and MSNBC.

It’s the first big executive shuffle by CEO Jeff Shell since he took over for Steve Burke earlier this year. Lack’s direct reports, who included NBC News President Noah Oppenheim and MSNBC President Phil Griffin, will now report to Conde, along with CNBC Chairman Mark Hoffman.

msnbc logo CustomThe move comes now in part because Shell wanted to make his imprint on the company and is facing intense budget pressure during economic fallout from the novel coronavirus, according to NBCUniversal insiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

That fallout had already forced NBC to place on hold an ambitious plan to launch a news service with Sky News, which NBC parent Comcast gained control of in 2018.

matt lauer todayLack, 72, a veteran TV news producer, first joined NBC as news division president in 1993 after a long career at CBS and oversaw a surge in the ratings for “NBC Nightly News” and the “Today” show. He left the network for a series of other corporate media jobs a decade later.

Since returning to the network as chairman of its news division in 2015, Lack oversaw a resurgence of some of NBC’s marquee shows, such as “Today,” and urged NBC News to fully embrace its cable partner MSNBC, pushing anchors from both divisions to work together.

He also oversaw high-profile controversies and missteps: anchor Brian Williams’s suspension and demotion for exaggerating his reporting exploits; the network’s apparent delay during the 2016 presidential campaign of the “Access Hollywood” recording from 2005 in which Donald Trump ronan farrowbragged about groping women; “Today” host Matt Lauer’s firing for sexual misconduct in 2017 (Lauer is shown at left in a file photo); and the signing of Fox News host Megyn Kelly to a huge contract that resulted in a low-rated talk show and her eventual departure from NBC.

Lack was also in charge when NBC parted ways three years ago with investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, right, who subsequently won a Pulitzer for the New Yorker magazine with his groundbreaking story revealing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as a repeat sexual offender and harasser.

chris hayes Custom

Palmer Report, Analysis, MSNBC Chairman Andy Lack resigns after network faces backlash for phony Biden scandal, Bill Palmer, May 4, 2020. MSNBC just had its ugliest five day stretch in the network’s quarter-century history. Host Chris Hayes, above, falsely characterized a non-credible allegation against Joe Biden, which led to Biden going on Morning Joe and refuting the whole thing.

bill palmer report logo headerEven after the Associated Press confirmed that the accuser was fundamentally changing her story, MSBNC still spent the weekend obsessively hammering away at the story as if it were a real scandal. Meanwhile, MSNBC’s audience began loudly rebelling against MSNBC across social media for its journalistic malpractice.

Now MSNBC chairman Andy Lackandy lack, right, is suddenly resigning. NBC is officially saying that this is due to a larger restructuring. But these kinds of “restructuring” moves in the corporate world are often orchestrated as cover for getting rid of a specific executive without making it look like a controversial ouster.

Given the timing, it’s difficult to imagine that Lack’s abrupt departure is mere coincidence. We’re coming off a week in which large chunks of Chris Hayes’ own audience are calling for his resignation, the names of other MSNBC hosts like Ali Velshi have been trending amid backlash, and MSNBC figures like Andrea Mitchell have been getting severely “ratioed” with negative replies on Twitter.

It was fairly clear that certain MSNBC hosts felt confident in breathlessly hyping the phony Biden scandal – even as it was completely falling apart – because they felt that it was what the MSNBC bosses wanted them to do. Now that the entire thing has blown up in MSNBC’s face, and its audience is outraged, that “boss” is suddenly resigning. Again, NBC will continue to paint this as being mere coincidence. But let’s see if there’s a shift in on-air tone today at MSNBC, now that the debacle appears to have cost the network’s chairman his job.

washington post logoWashington Post, Senate rejects Biden’s call to release any potential records on alleged misconduct, Sean Sullivan and Matt Viser, May 4, 2020.  Senate officials said they cannot legally release any potential records related to a complaint purportedly filed by a former aide.

us senate logoSenate officials said Monday that they cannot legally release any potential records related to a complaint purportedly filed by a former aide to Joe Biden who has since accused him of sexual misconduct, rebuffing a request by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Tara Reade has accused Biden, who was then a senator from Delaware, of sexually assaulting her in 1993, although she has said a formal complaint she filed that year describes only harassment, not assault. Biden, who denies all the allegations, has responded in part by calling on the Senate to release all the documentation pertaining to the complaint that Reade says she filed.

Responding to a letter Biden sent Friday, the secretary of the Senate’s office, on the advice of legal counsel, concluded that the “Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested.” The office, which did not confirm or deny the complaint’s existence, based its decision in part on a review of confidentiality requirements.

Reade has told The Washington Post that her complaint dealt with harassment in the office, not assault. She has said that she cannot recall the office to which she filed her complaint and that she does not have a copy.

The Nation, Opinion: I Believe Tara Reade. And You Should, Too, Kate Manne, May 4, 2020.  We already knew that Biden is the type. Had we as voters, and had the Democratic Party, taken this seriously, we wouldn’t be in this mess now.

May 3

Palmer Report, Opinion: ABC News retracts phony Joe Biden story, apologizes, Bill Palmer, May 3, 2020. Even as MSNBC continues to take a bizarre victory lap for having promoted a phony Joe Biden scandal that’s falling apart in real time, ABC News has made a mess of its own, with an entirely different phony Biden scandal. This has landed the ABC reporter in hot water and made an even bigger mess of things.

bill palmer report logo headerIt all started when a woman claimed that Joe Biden had made inappropriate remarks to her during a 2008 event, while she was underage. This allegation was dead on arrival, because there’s widespread documentation that Biden wasn’t even at the event in question.

But when ABC News reporter Sasha Pezenik posted a Twitter thread about the non-story, she listed the allegation in the first tweet – where everyone would see it – and then she only acknowledged the falseness of the allegation deeper in the thread, where no one would see it.

This morning Pezenik tweeted this: “Last night I posted a tweet about Vice President Biden. The allegations in my tweet had not been vetted or put through the ABC News standards process. I have since removed the tweet and I apologize for posting it.”

This is a huge and inexcusable error in judgment – but at least she was willing to retract it and apologize.

msnbc logo CustomWhen TV news outlets breathlessly overhype a “scandal” they know is phony, and then they’re called out on it, too often they sanctimoniously double down on the false story instead of backing down. There’s a hashtag pushing for Pezenik to be fired, but we’re not sure we agree with that. She handled this very differently than MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who openly mocked his audience for daring to point out that he mischaracterized a phony Biden scandal.

May 2

ap logoAssociated Press, AP Exclusive: Harassment, assault absent in Biden complaint, Alexandra Jaffe, Don Thompson and Stephen Braun, May 2, 2020. Tara Reade, the former Senate staffer who alleges Joe Biden sexually assaulted her 27 years ago, says she filed a limited report with a congressional personnel office that did not explicitly accuse him of sexual assault or harassment.

“I remember talking about him wanting me to serve drinks because he liked my legs and thought I was pretty and it made me uncomfortable,” Reade said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press. “I know that I was too scared to write about the sexual assault.”

Reade said she described her issues with Biden but “the main word I used — and I know I didn’t use sexual harassment — I used ‘uncomfortable.’ And I remember ‘retaliation.’”

Reade described the report after the AP discovered additional transcripts and notes from its interviews with Reade last year in which she says she “chickened out” after going to the Senate personnel office. The AP interviewed Reade in 2019 after she accused Biden of uncomfortable and inappropriate touching. She did not raise allegations of sexual assault against Biden until this year, around the time he became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

tara reade youngerThe existence of the Senate report has become a key element of the accusations against Biden, which he has flatly denied. Reade says she doesn’t have a copy of the report, and Biden said Friday that he is not aware that any complaint against him exists. He asked the Senate and the National Archives to search their records to try to locate a complaint from Reade.

But Reade [shown at left in a photo from her younger years] is suggesting that even if the report surfaces, it would not corroborate her assault allegations because she chose not to detail them at the time.

According to a transcript of her 2019 interview with the AP, Reade said: “They have this counseling office or something, and I think I walked in there once, but then I chickened out.” She made a similar statement in a second interview with AP that same day, according to written notes from the interview.

On Friday, Reade said she was referring to having “chickened out” by not filing full harassment or assault allegations against Biden. In multiple interviews with the AP on Friday, Reade insisted she filed an “intake form” at the Senate personnel office, which included her contact information, the office she worked for and some broad details of her issues with Biden.

Reade was one of eight women who came forward last year with allegations that Biden made them feel uncomfortable with inappropriate displays of affection. Biden acknowledged the complaints and promised to be “more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.”

During one of the April 2019 interviews with the AP, she said Biden rubbed her shoulders and neck and played with her hair. She said she was asked by an aide in Biden’s Senate office to dress more conservatively and told “don’t be so sexy.”

She said of Biden: “I wasn’t scared of him, that he was going to take me in a room or anything. It wasn’t that kind of vibe.”

The AP reviewed notes of its 2019 interviews with Reade after she came forward in March with allegations of sexual assault against Biden. But reporters discovered an additional transcript and notes from those interviews on Friday.

A recording of one of the interviews was deleted before Reade emerged in 2020 with new allegations against Biden, in keeping with the reporter’s standard practice for disposing of old interviews. A portion of that interview was also recorded on video, but not the part in which she spoke of having “chickened out.”

The AP declined to publish details of the 2019 interviews at the time because reporters were unable to corroborate her allegations, and aspects of her story contradicted other reporting.

In recent weeks, Reade told the AP and other news organizations that Biden sexually assaulted her, pushing her against a wall in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in 1993, groping her and penetrating her with his fingers. She says she was fired from Biden’s office after filing a complaint with the Senate alleging harassment.

The accusation has roiled Biden’s presidential campaign, sparking anxiety among Democrats. Republicans have accused Biden backers of hypocrisy, arguing that they have been quick to believe women who have accused President Donald Trump and other conservatives of assault. Trump has faced multiple accusations of assault and harassment, all of which he denies.

Reade says she was reluctant to share details of the assault during her initial conversations with reporters over a year ago because she was scared of backlash, and was still coming to terms with what happened to her.

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: Joe Biden accuser changes her story again, admits she didn’t originally even accuse him of assault, Bill Palmer, right, May 2, 2020. Even as certain MSNBC hosts continue to breathlessly hype a sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden that was already uniquely non-credible on its face, the accuser has now fundamentally changed her story yet again – and it appears she’s now trying to backtrack in rapid fashion.

Yesterday, Biden called on the National Archives and Senate archives to release their copy of the report that Tara Reade claims she filed in 1993. The National Archives says it has no such report. If the Senate confirms the same, it’ll strongly point to Reade bill palmer report logo headerhaving never filed a report to begin with. Now Reade is telling the AP that when she filed the report, she didn’t accuse Biden of sexual harassmentor assault. Instead she simply said that she felt “uncomfortable.”

This changes things in a rather massive way. By her own admission, the key supposed piece of her contemporaneous corroboration – the report she filed – absolutely does not corroborate her story. She can still argue that the assault happened and that she only filed a vague report about msnbc logo Customfeeling “uncomfortable” instead. But that won’t hold any credibility, because she originally claimed that she filed a report about sexual assault.

Biden’s accuser had already changed fundamentally changed her story in self-contradictory manner multiple times, and several of her supposed corroborators had already shot her down, before MSNBC host Chris Hayes opened this can of worms by falsely characterizing the allegation as “credible” and “corroborated.” How Hayes still has a job is anyone’s guess. At this point, this isn’t even a Joe Biden scandal; it’s a Tara Reade scandal. MSNBC had absolutely no business hyping this mess as if it were some legitimate story.

 tara reade screenshot via the hill Custom

Tara Reade (screenshot via The Hill newspaper).

The Hill, Tara Reade says she is not ready to respond to Biden denial, Marty Johnson, May 2, 2020. Tara Reade, the former Senate aide who alleged that former Vice President Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 while she was working on his staff, said Saturday that she isn't ready yet to respond to Biden's denial of the allegations.

“I’m digesting and processing everything he said,” she told The Wall Street Journal. “I will respond.”

Reade said that she had planned on doing a sit-down interview with Fox News on Sunday, but canceled it due to threats she received aimed at her and her adult daughter.

In 2019, Reade was one of several women who came forward and said that Biden’s alleged public touching made them uncomfortable. In late March, Reade alleged publicly that in 1993, the former vice president sexually assaulted her in a corridor on Capitol Hill.

Since Reade came forward with her allegations, Biden's campaign has vehemently denied them. However, Biden – the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee — didn't directly respond to them until Friday.

“It’s not true, I am saying unequivocally. It never, never happened," Biden told MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski on "Morning Joe."

Reade also told the Journal that she doesn't remember if she used the words "sexual harassment" in the complaint that she said she filed at the time with Senate personnel office against then-Delaware Sen. Biden.

“I know that I described what happened, that I felt uncomfortable, that I felt retaliated against,” she said. “I don’t know that I used the phrase ‘sexual harassment’—I don’t remember, and I haven’t seen the form.”

She told The Associated Press on Friday that she remembered including in the complaint that Biden wanted her to serve drinks at an event because "he liked my legs and thought I was pretty."

The complaint that Reade said that she filed has yet to be found.

Reade claims that the complaint is in Biden's Senate records that are housed at the University of Delaware. However, Biden has said that he doesn't have personnel files in his records, and the university has said that they won't release Biden's records until he's stepped away from public life.

Medium, Investigation / Opinion: The Tara Reade Case: Eight things the media won’t tell you, Clifford MacArthur, May 2, 2020. The social media world has spent the last month obsessed with the Tara Reade sexual assault allegation.

The far right, led by the Trump campaign and Fox News, has heavily promoted the story. Anti-Biden outlets on the left, such as The Intercept, Chapo Trap House and The Young Turks, have been even more aggressive in their advocacy. Both groups have a vested interest in promoting the allegation as true and bullying doubters into submission. Their opinions have dominated social media.

The mainstream media, for its part, has been focused on “reaction pieces” rather than direct coverage. What are the consequences of the story? What does it mean for #MeToo? What does it mean for the Democratic Party? How should Biden respond? There is little interest in verifying the story itself. For the most part, the media has reported Reade’s account uncritically. CNN and POLITICO, like the political extremists on social media, are motivated to sensationalize the story and present it as true.

Missing from all this coverage is an answer to the most important question: Is the story true? Did Joe Biden sexually assault a staffer in 1993? The public deserves to make an informed decision based on all the available evidence. Analyzing Reade’s statements, as well as her past and present behavior, reveals a pattern of lies and deception.

1: Tara Reade’s ever-changing story

tara reade youngerTara Reade [shown in a file photo from years ago] first gained prominence in April 2019, when she was one of several women to accuse Joe Biden of inappropriate touching. Specifically, Reade said that Biden made her uncomfortable by rubbing her shoulders and neck. Her story was first published in The Union on April 3. She followed it up with a Medium post on April 6, and an opinion piece, also in The Union, on April 19. In these pieces, she says that in addition to the shoulder touching, she was told by a superior that she should serve drinks at an event because Biden “liked her legs.” She asserts that when she refused, Biden’s staff made life hard for her, and she eventually resigned and left DC.

This is a very different story from her sexual assault allegation, made in late March 2020. She explains the difference by saying she felt “shut down” in the April 3, 2019 interview.

I was going to tell the whole thing… the whole history with Biden… But the way I was being questioned, it made me so uncomfortable that I didn’t trust it. And no offense to the reporters out there, it’s just maybe that’s something that can be learned, how to talk to somebody who got… Because I just really got shut down.

This reasoning does not line up with Reade’s behavior. She published two separate pieces after the April 3 interview where she repeated her original story. Afterwards, she relentlessly promoted the story, sharing it hundreds of times on Twitter in replies to celebrities and politicians. She was proud to be “speaking out” with her shoulder-touching story. Is this the behavior of a woman who felt “shut down”?

Reade’s telling of the story evolved over time to become more and more severe. In April, Reade said “she didn’t consider the acts toward her sexualization. She instead compared her experience to being a lamp.” Despite sharing her story hundreds of times in 2019, she never once described her experience with Biden as “sexual harassment.” December 2019 was her first time adopting that characterization. She then wrote 37 tweets about experiencing “sexual harassment” from Biden.

On January 9, 2020, she wrote an article re-telling the drinks-serving episode, where she claimed to have been “destroyed” by Biden. On March 5, she called Biden a “misogynistic pred.” On the same day she claimed to have filed a “sexual harassment & worse complaint.” She made similar ominous tweets throughout the month of March, leading up to her interview on March 24.

On that same day, March 24 2020, Reade went back to her April 6, 2019 Medium post and edited it to remove details that contradicted her current telling. For instance, in the original piece she says she resigned, but after editing, she now claims to have been fired.

Throughout all this, Reade claimed that she was being “silenced.” In fact, between the Union interview in April 2019 and her Halper interview in March 2020, she wrote 59 separate tweets alleging that the Biden campaign was silencing her. Although she spent much of 2019 complaining about her story being silenced, in January 2020 she wrote a Medium post where she merely repeated her earlier complaints of shoulder-touching and drink-serving. What was stopping her from telling her story?

ny times logoNew York Times, Why Women Answered for Joe Biden on Tara Reade Before He Did, Jessica Bennett and Lisa Lerer, May 2, 2020. Even with the progress of #MeToo, women are called upon to defend male colleagues. In the 2020 election, the movement itself could be on the line.

One by one, Democratic and progressive women diligently threw their weight behind Joseph R. Biden Jr. for president. Then, with Mr. Biden the all-but-certain Democratic nominee, came Tara Reade. A former employee who had worked in Mr. Biden’s Senate office, Ms. Reade gave a podcast interview in late March, accusing him of sexually assaulting her in a Senate hallway in 1993.

On Friday, Mr. Biden, the former vice president, directly addressed the matter for the first time, forcefully denying that the incident took place. He did so in a conversation with Mika Brzezinski on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” though Ms. Brzezinski’s husband and co-host, Joe Scarborough, would sit this one out until the discussion moved on from Ms. Reade to the other news of the day. “It’s just going to be you and me,” Ms. Brzezinski told Mr. Biden.

It was 17 minutes of a cable television interview, and it was also a microcosm for the way this saga has played out: Women have been expected to discuss the allegation against Mr. Biden. Their male colleagues have not.

The particulars of Ms. Reade’s account, and Mr. Biden’s denial, have pushed the #MeToo movement — and the politicians who supported it, like Mr. Biden himself — into uncomfortable territory.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s head is spinning, Bill Palmer, May 2, 2020. Over the past twenty-four hours Donald Trump has seemed to insinuate that the phony allegation against Joe Biden is both credible and fake. Last night Trump’s lapdog Lindsey Graham went on Fox News and dct underage wmr tweetstrongly defended Biden against the allegation, suggesting that Team Trump wants nothing to do with it – even amid reports that the Trump campaign was testing out a TV ad aimed at legitimizing the phony allegation. So what’s going on?

bill palmer report logo headerIt’s pretty clear that Donald Trump and his team don’t know what to do with this phony Biden scandal. That’s not surprising. It wasn’t invented for Trump’s benefit. It was invented by “Bernie or Bust” fanatics masquerading as journalists, in a desperate last-ditch attempt at taking Biden down, under the delusional belief that this would somehow result in Bernie Sanders being the nominee instead. Nevermind that Sanders has dropped out and strongly endorsed Biden; now that Bernie has formally divorced himself from the “Bust” crowd, they’ve become even more deranged in their behavior.

Joe Biden aced his interview about the fake scandal yesterday, meaning it’s not going to have the impact that the “Bust” crowd was hoping for.

Biden has a 100% chance of being the nominee. Sanders isn’t going to withdraw his endorsement and magically reenter the race, no matter how much time his more deranged supporters spend fantasizing over this.

Bernie’s reasonable supporters are already lined up behind Biden. Yet now this Biden vs Trump race has a fake Biden scandal that could end up djt pedo graphic IMG 3170 Custombeing more of a problem for Trump than for Biden.

The mere existence of the phony Biden scandal has prompted the media and the public to recall that Donald Trump has dozens of credible accusers.

If Trump and his team start trying to promote the Biden scandal, it could backfire on them, as everyone is reminded of who the actual sexual criminal is in this race. On the other hand, as the focus shifts more toward Trump’s status as a sexual predator, he and his team could feel compelled to try to play up the fake Biden allegation in the hope of shifting the focus back.

There’s a reason Donald Trump’s head is spinning as he tries to figure out how to handle this. When a fake scandal is invented about a Democratic candidate, it’s usually invented by the Republicans, meaning they get to come up with a fake scandal that specifically works in their favor.

This is a fake scandal about a Democratic candidate that was invented by the fringe left to keep the Democrat from getting to the general election to begin with, so it’s not at all a good fit for what Trump needs right now. No wonder he’s not sure what to do with it.

Law & Crime, Here’s What Jeffrey Epstein was Doing at Harvard After Giving the University Multi-Million-Dollar Gifts, Colin Kalmbacher, May 2, 2020. Harvard University released a report late Friday night detailing numerous connections to deceased pedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

The 27-page document recounts a myriad of relationships between Epstein (shown at right with his attorney and friend, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz) and the elite university.

Jeffrey Epstein and Alan DershowitzThose relationships include the distribution of monetary largess, untoward and unearned professional ties and titles, a provision for personal office space, the cultivation of an Epstein-dominated fundraising network on Harvard’s behalf, and more.

“In 2005, Harvard admitted Epstein as a Visiting Fellow in Harvard’s Psychology Department for the 2005-2006 academic year,” the report notes before explaining. “Visiting Fellow is a title awarded to an independent re-searcher registered with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as a graduate research student.”

harvard logoEpstein, however, had absolutely no qualifications for such a distinguished position. What he did have was a longstanding relationship with Professor Stephen Kosslyn, the Chair of the Psychology Department — buoyed by $200,000 in money that Epstein had lavished on the psychologist who “recommended Epstein’s admission as a Visiting Fellow.”

“Epstein lacked the academic qualifications Visiting Fellows typically possess, and his application proposed a course of study Epstein was unqualified to pursue,” the report notes. “We found no evidence that he engaged with Harvard students as a Visiting Fellow. In February 2006, Epstein applied to be re-admitted as a Visiting Fellow for a second year, the 2006-2007 academic year, and Harvard again admitted him.”

The essential condition for understanding Epstein’s influence at Harvard is noted at the very beginning of the report itself: the now-dead man was rich.

Harvard University released a report late Friday night detailing numerous connections to deceased pedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

The 27-page document recounts a myriad of relationships between Epstein and the elite university.

Those relationships include the distribution of monetary largess, untoward and unearned professional ties and titles, a provision for personal office space, the cultivation of an Epstein-dominated fundraising network on Harvard’s behalf, and more.

“In 2005, Harvard admitted Epstein as a Visiting Fellow in Harvard’s Psychology Department for the 2005-2006 academic year,” the report notes before explaining. “Visiting Fellow is a title awarded to an independent re-searcher registered with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as a graduate research student.”

Epstein, however, had absolutely no qualifications for such a distinguished position. What he did have was a longstanding relationship with Professor Stephen Kosslyn, the Chair of the Psychology Department — buoyed by $200,000 in money that Epstein had lavished on the psychologist who “recommended Epstein’s admission as a Visiting Fellow.”

“Epstein lacked the academic qualifications Visiting Fellows typically possess, and his application proposed a course of study Epstein was unqualified to pursue,” the report notes. “We found no evidence that he engaged with Harvard students as a Visiting Fellow. In February 2006, Epstein applied to be re-admitted as a Visiting Fellow for a second year, the 2006-2007 academic year, and Harvard again admitted him.”

The essential condition for understanding Epstein’s influence at Harvard is noted at the very beginning of the report itself: the now-dead man was rich.

May 1joseph biden mika brzezinkski may 1 2020

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden denies he sexually assaulted former Senate aide, Sean Sullivan and Matt Viser​, May 1, 2020. Joe Biden's statement, released shortly before he appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” is the first he has made about the allegation by Tara Reade, who worked in his Senate office for nine months ending in 1993. He also called on the National Archives to release any record of a complaint.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Friday denied that he sexually assaulted a former Senate aide, addressing the allegation publicly for the first time under increasing pressure from his party to speak about it.

joe biden 2020 button Custom“I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago,” Biden said in a statement released by his campaign. “They aren’t true. This never happened.”

Biden echoed his denial on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” shortly after the statement was released. “No, it is not true,” he said. “It never, never happened.”

Biden also called on the National Archives to release any record of a complaint that the former aide, Tara Reade, says she filed. “If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there,” he said.

tara reade joe biden CustomReade, shown at left in separate file photos with Biden, has said that she filed a complaint with a congressional human resources or personnel office but did not remember the exact name. Her complaint dealt only with the alleged harassment, not the assault, she said.

The Post could find no record of the complaint, and Reade said she didn’t have a copy.

In his MSNBC interview, Biden, who appeared from his makeshift home television studio in Delaware, faced questions from host Mika Brzezinski.

Biden declined to comment on Reade’s motivations for her claims.

“I’m not going to question her motive,” Biden said of Reade, adding, “I don’t understand it.”

The presumptive nominee said he has never asked anyone to sign a nondisclosure agreement. And Biden said that “women have a right to be heard,” but that “in the end in every case, the truth is what matters.”

  •         Justice Integrity Project summary of prominent #MeToo claims, denials: click here.

Biden Accuser Commentary

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion: What Joe Biden did right in rebutting Tara Reade’s claims, Jennifer Rubin, right, May 1, 2020. Political pundits will “grade” former vice president Joe Biden’s response to Tara Reade’s allegation that he digitally penetrated her more than 25 years ago. The campaign’s written statement was empathetic and respectful but definitive. Biden sat for a tough interview Friday without losing his cool. He was not angry or accusatory; he did not claim a conspiracy nor insult the accuser. He volunteered to open Senate papers (which he said are at the National Archives, not at the University of Delaware).

In short, he did what an innocent person would do and say.

The lines “If you believe Christine Blasey Ford, you have to believe Reade” or “You didn’t believe President Trump, so you cannot believe Biden” (or other variations) are the worst examples of mindless “balance” and faux objectivity. It takes a minute to identify fundamental differences between situations that bear little resemblance to one another.

Trump never sat for a grueling interview to go through the facts of more than a dozen claims against him. Biden sat for an interrogation of a single claim of sexual assault. (And no, his penchant to ignore personal space and excessive hugginess were not sexual, although they were inappropriate.)

Unlike Republicans and now-Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who refused to allow a full investigation of charges, Biden has put no restrictions on media inquiries and has offered up relevant documents. (Republicans also refused to open up all documents relevant to Kavanaugh’s past White House work having nothing to do with Ford’s allegation.)

tara reade recent headshotAnd let’s get real: Reade [shown in a recent photo at left] and Ford [below at right] are not similar accusers.

Ford’s story was consistent for years. Reade’s has not been. Ford did not claim to have complained contemporaneously; Reade did and was rebutted by Biden staff to whom she would have complained. In Kavanaugh’s case, there was another witness to an alleged, separate incident of sexual misconduct at Yale University involving Kavanaugh. In Reade’s case, no one else has christine blasey ford sept 27 2018accused Biden of anything like Reade’s claim.

Biden’s statements in writing and in the interview are hard to dispute: Women should be heard and believed, but facts and the truth matter like in every other crime. (In his written statement enumerating the fundamental concerns in these cases, Biden said, “One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.”) If a witness changes her story (“Responsible news organizations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways”), her credibility is seriously compromised.

Several points deserve emphasis.

First, the media do not question Trump about the serial allegations against him at his endless daily appearances. They’ve shrugged their shoulders and given up trying to pin him down on the numerous complaints of harassment and/or assault. They should continue to scrutinize his claims and ask questions whether he answers or not.

Second, people are entitled to believe Reade despite her inconsistencies, the denials from Biden and his staff and the (so far) dearth of written evidence of her complaint. The question is whether the American people decide the evidence is credible. Unless more evidence surfaces, I would wager they do not.

Third, Democrats perpetually worried that the Biden team is “blowing it” (Biden is hidden away! Not in the news!) might want to chill. This was a textbook example of effective campaign communication. The candidate is leading in the polls, and Trump is melting down (in the latest ABC/Ipsos poll, “his disapproval rating among Americans reached a numeric high of 57%, with only 42% approving.”) Maybe these people do know what they are doing.

les wexner mansion jeffrey epstein wmr graphic maria

The Justice Integrity Project in cooperation with the Wayne Madsen Report (WMR) has reported extensively on allegations of sex crimes by Donald Trump, as illustrated by a WMR graphics above and below at right. Authorities and the major media have for the most part failed to question Trump or investigate the specifics, including the circumstances of Epstein's suspicious death last summer in a facility controlled by Trump's defender, Attorney General William Barr.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Why we’ll never have resolution on Tara Reade’s accusation against Joe Biden, Paul Waldman, May 1, 2020. We will dct underage wmr tweetbe spending a good bit of time debating whether Biden’s comments were properly sensitive or politically deft, and people will continue to argue about whether Reade’s charge or Biden’s denial is more convincing.

But we should understand that there will be no resolution to this controversy, no satisfying conclusion, no point at which anyone feels that we’ve fully understood what happened and what we should think about it. It may fade as a campaign issue, but it will remain an open wound.

And yes, we can point out that President Trump [shown at left with his future wife Melania, his friend Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein's friend and fellow sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell) has been credibly accused of various forms of sexual misconduct, all the way up to rape, by no fewer than two dozen women, not to mention the fact that djt knauss epstein ghislaine maxwell mar a lago getty full davidoff studioshe is on tape bragging about his ability to sexually assault women with impunity.

And we can observe that unlike Biden, who reiterates that women have a right to be heard and refrains from attacking Reade, Trump has met his accusers with the accusation that they’re all despicable liars; in one case, he said, “Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you.”

You can point all that out to Trump’s supporters, but it won’t do you any good.

Unlike liberals for whom sexual assault and gender equality are important issues, many conservatives are unencumbered by questions of principle, and they’re practiced at pretending to care about something for donald trump ivanka bed kissonly as long as it gives them political advantage. Remind them that the president they worship is an accused sexual predator [JIP Editor's note: including inappropriate involvement with his daughter, as shown at right], and they’ll just laugh.

And right now, they couldn’t be happier.

If you search “Tara Reade” at FoxNews.com, you come up with more than 2,500 results. It’s a game they’re practiced at playing. They don’t need to persuade the public that Trump is good, only that everyone else is just as bad as he is — just as corrupt, just as venal, just as dishonest, just as morally contemptible.

The fact that the charge against Biden is the same kind that has been leveled so many times (and far more persuasively) against Trump isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.

DJT affectionate collage

Palmer Report, Lindsey Graham just gave away the game for Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, May 1, 2020. Even as Bernie Bros like Chris Hayes have bent over backward to give false credibility to a uniquely non-credible allegation against Joe Biden, in the delusional hope of taking Biden down so Bernie Sanders can somehow become the nominee instead, pro-Trump forces have been largely avoiding the allegation like the plague.

bill palmer report logo headerAfter Hayes falsely characterized the allegation on Wednesday night it forced Joe Biden to go on Morning Joe on Friday to set the record straight. But prior to that, the one time Donald Trump was asked about the allegation against Biden, he insinuated that it was false – and even Fox News had been loathe to touch it.

Now that this nonsense story is out on the open, news outlets are still somewhat hesitant about what to do with it. For instance, Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper didn’t cover it at all, while Chris Hayes did a bizarre segment in which he tried to dishonestly characterize his own prior reporting on the story. When Lindsey Graham appeared on Fox News on Friday night, he was asked about it – and he gave away the game.

Lindsey GrahamNot only did Lindsey Graham, right, refuse to play up the allegation against Biden, he went out of his way to defend Biden, saying the two spent decades traveling together and he never once saw anything improper, or heard about anything improper. This is coming from the same Lindsey Graham who likes to promote the most phony and deranged Ukraine-related scandals about Biden that he can think of.

Graham just gave away that Donald Trump and his team don’t really want there to be a lot of focus on the Biden allegation.

The reason is fairly obvious. Biden has one overtly non-credible allegation against him, while Trump has dozens of credible allegations against him – and this will merely prompt the media to finally revisit Trump’s long history of sexual assault.

As Trump’s poll numbers continue to get uglier and the election gets closer, they could decide to revisit this.

When you’re facing the growing prospect of losing badly, you tend to start throwing everything at the wall – even the things that you suspect will backfire on you. And there’s already talk of Team Trump testing out a TV ad about the Biden scandal, just in case. But for the moment at least, Trump’s own people are afraid of the Biden allegation getting too much attention, and then morphing back into the Trump scandal that it should have been all along.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Biden begs off questions about University of Delaware documents, Aaron Blake, May 1, 2020. Joe Biden gave his first public interview Friday about allegations of sexual assault against him. And he set up the interview by issuing a lengthy statement in which he called for the National Archives to release any record of the complaint that his accuser, Tara Reade, says she filed in the early 1990s — but that Biden says didn’t exist.

But during the subsequent interview on MSNBC, he struggled to answer questions about other documents that could also potentially shed some light: ones housed at the University of Delaware.

joe biden 2020 button CustomBiden resisted repeated inquires from “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski about also releasing documents from his personal files there. Those documents are being held back now since they are generally released once an official like Biden leaves public life.

Biden repeatedly sought to beg off questions about the files by saying that they would not contain any documents pertinent to the Reade allegations.

“First of all, let’s get this straight: There are no personnel documents. You can’t do that,” Biden said, adding: “You have my income tax returns. They’re private documents. They do not get put out in the public. They’re not part of the public record.”

He repeatedly drove home the point that there were “no personnel records” in the documents. Pressed further, he said he was also sure there was nothing about Reade in those documents.

“So personnel records aside, are you certain there was nothing about Tara Reade in those records --” Brzezinski asked.

“I am absolutely certain,” he said, adding: “There is nothing. They’re not there. I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make. There are no personnel records, by definition.”

Biden also said he worried that disclosing documents, including his confidential conversations with foreign leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, “could really be taken out of context.” He emphasized that those documents are generally released when someone leaves public office.

“All of that to be fodder in a campaign at this time — I don’t know of anybody who’s done anything like that,” Biden said.

Brzezinski then offered a compromise: Why not have someone search just for documents that pertain to Reade?

Biden, though, wouldn’t commit to it. “Who does that search?” he said.

Brzezinski said the university or some kind of commission could do so, but Biden reverted to talking about how any actual complaint should be in the National Archives.

But while the complaint — which Reade has said was not for the alleged assault but for making her feel uncomfortable — might not be in Biden’s University of Delaware files, those files could contain other documentation that could shed light. As The Post’s editorial board wrote recently in urging Biden to release any such relevant records:

The editorial board repeatedly acknowledged there may indeed be nothing pertinent or about Reade in those files, as Biden now insists, but it said they should be examined:

There are 1,875 boxes and 415 gigabytes of electronic content, largely uncataloged. Searching won’t be as easy as some might assume. But an inventory conducted with an eye toward releasing only relevant material could at least ascertain whether personnel records are part of this archive at all.

April 2020

April 30

tara reade screenshot via the hill Custom

Tara Reade (screenshot via The Hill newspaper).

washington post logoWashington Post, Former neighbor of Joe Biden accuser confirms she was told of an incident in the 1990s, Amber Phillips and Matt Viser, April 30, 2020 (print ed.). The former vice president’s campaign has denied that he sexually assaulted Tara Reade, a then-Senate aide, and Biden has not commented on her accusation.

The former Senate aide who accused Joe Biden of sexual assault shared details of the alleged incident in a conversation in the mid-1990s, her former neighbor confirmed Wednesday.

Lynda LaCasse told The Washington Post in a text message that while she lived near Tara Reade in 1995 and 1996, Reade told her that “Joe Biden sexually assaulted her.”

  • Washington Post, Opinion: The new Tara Reade revelations make it imperative that Biden address the allegations, Ruth Marcus, April 30, 2020 (print ed.).

Daily Kos, Opinion: Biden Accuser Reade's Allegations Match Scene from Dead Father's Novel, DoctorWho, April 30, 2020. Yes, that’s right. In just another twist from the You-Can’t-Make-This-Sh*t-Up, 2020 Edition, late last night it was discovered that Tara Reade’s late father, Robert Moulton, wrote a novel in 2010 1998. Moulton’s obituary can be found here:

Robert Moulton, sports writer for the Wausau Daily Herald during the 1960s, died at his home in Newhall, California, on February 29, 2016, at age eighty after several months of declining health. He is survived by his children, Kimberly, Diane, Collin Reade and Tara.

The novel, ‘Loss,’ listed on Amazon and Google Books, contains a scene, which bears uncanny similarity to her allegation against Joe Biden:

“After several weeks of flirting with him she spent the night in his room on Bleeker Street next door to the Russian strip joint...” — actually I will stop there as the scene gets pretty adult and would not be appropriate for a diary IMO. You can see the highlighted text at this twitter thread for more info.

Major media has practically run away from giving these allegations air time and it’s clear why: every time someone does some digging, her story falls apart. Nevertheless toxic elements in our party have continued to try and breathe life into this disaster of a story.

Following the same pattern as the ‘mental decline’ narrative which went from ‘Biden has dementia’, to ‘well maybe not dementia but he’s old/frail/something’s not right’, to ‘people are talking about it, so maybe there’s something there,’ to ‘it may not be true but he should just address it,’ the Reade narrative is playing out just the same way.

It’s like a 12-step program for disinformation, the goal being to keep the narrative in the ether as long as possible even if it’s just to create doubt. Even if under the guise of being pro-active.

But just like the mental decline narrative, the Reade story has failed. Instead it’s backfiring on the few who are trying to give it new life. Like a hand grenade being desperately lobbied across the field and blowing up as the needle’s pulled every time. But this isn’t backfiring on Trump and the Republicans. It’s backfiring on *us*. It’s undermining our credibility on the left since ‘the calls are coming from inside the house’. The overwhelming memes and social media posts I see are from those purporting to be left.

It’s just another message to the base of our party that the lessons of 2016 were not learned.

Reade pilfered her dead father’s work for her allegations against a presidential candidate. That’s about as low as one can get IMO. There’s nothing for Biden or anyone to address, except Reade. Her 15 minutes are done.

Those of us who feel compelled to hand wring over this trainwreck should ignore the toxic, dare I say infectious, fumes on social media. Learn the lessons of 2016. The overwhelming majority of America is focused on who can best lead us to a life free of fearing our next day may be our last, not a Ryan Murphy-esque political intrigue best left for a Netflix binge with box wine.

Edit: Off to bed, so won’t reply for some time. Be safe everyone. Practice Social (Media) Distancing.

Edit Part II: So your arms are crossed and you’re looking over glasses professorially and going ‘well that’s not much to go on, hrmm.’ Then feel free to check out Ian’s diary with the legal/prosecutorial takedown in USAToday. That’s the thing with this fiasco, there are so many angles you can dismantle depending on your evidence-based bias you can have a field day. There’s Russia/Putin, there’s legal/prosecutorial claim, there’s this dead father, um, situation, there’s the, um, horse vet thing… take your pick.

April 29

usa today logoUSA Today, Opinion: Why I'm skeptical about Reade's sexual assault claim against Biden: Ex-prosecutor, Michael J. Stern, April 30, 2020 (print ed.). If we must blindly accept every allegation of sexual assault, the #MeToo movement is just a hit squad. And it's too important to be no more than that.

During 28 years as a state and federal prosecutor, I prosecuted a lot of sexual assault cases. The vast majority came early in my career, when I was a young attorney at a prosecutor’s office outside Detroit.

A year ago, Tara Reade accused former Vice President Joe Biden of touching her shoulder and neck in a way that made her uncomfortable, when she worked for him as a staff assistant in 1993. Then last month, Reade told an interviewer that Biden stuck his hand under her skirt and forcibly penetrated her with his fingers. Biden denies the allegation.

When women make allegations of sexual assault, my default response is to believe them. But as the news media have investigated Reade’s allegations, I’ve become increasingly skeptical. Here are some of the reasons why:

► Delayed reporting … twice. Reade waited 27 years to publicly report her allegation that Biden sexually assaulted her. I understand that victims of sexual assault often do not come forward immediately because recounting the most violent and degrading experience of their lives, to a bunch of strangers, is the proverbial insult to injury. That so many women were willing to wait in my dreary government office, as I ran to the restroom to pull myself together after listening to their stories, is a testament to their fortitude.

Even so, it is reasonable to consider a 27-year reporting delay when assessing the believability of any criminal allegation. More significant perhaps, is Reade’s decision to sit down with a newspaper last year and accuse Biden of touching her in a sexual way that made her uncomfortable — but neglect to mention her claim that he forcibly penetrated her with his fingers.

As a lawyer and victims’ rights advocate, Reade was better equipped than most to appreciate that dramatic changes in sexual assault allegations severely undercut an accuser’s credibility — especially when the change is from an uncomfortable shoulder touch to vaginal penetration.

► Implausible explanation for changing story. When Reade went public with her sexual assault allegation in March, she said she wanted to do it in an interview with The Union newspaper in California last April. She said the reporter’s tone made her feel uncomfortable and "I just really got shut down” and didn't tell the whole story.

It is hard to believe a reporter would discourage this kind of scoop. Regardless, it's also hard to accept that it took Reade 12 months to find another reporter eager to break that bombshell story. This unlikely explanation damages her credibility.

► People who contradict Reade’s claim. After the alleged assault, Reade said she complained about Biden's harassment to Marianne Baker, Biden’s executive assistant, as well as to top aides Dennis Toner and Ted Kaufman. All three Biden staffers recently told The New York Times that she made no complaint to them.

And they did not offer the standard, noncommittal “I don’t remember any such complaint.” The denials were firm. “She did not come to me. If she had, I would have remembered her,” Kaufman said. Toner made a similar statement. And from Baker: “I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct (by Biden), period." Baker said such a complaint, had Reade made it, "would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware, on March 12, 2020.

► Missing formal complaint. Reade told The Times she filed a written complaint against Biden with the Senate personnel office. But The Times could not find any complaint. When The Times asked Reade for a copy of the complaint, she said she did not have it. Yet she maintained and provided a copy of her 1993 Senate employment records.

It is odd that Reade kept a copy of her employment records but did not keep a copy of a complaint documenting criminal conduct by a man whose improprieties changed “the trajectory” of her life. It’s equally odd The Times was unable to find a copy of the alleged Senate complaint.

► Memory lapse. Reade has said that she cannot remember the date, time or exact location of the alleged assault, except that it occurred in a “semiprivate” area in corridors connecting Senate buildings. After I left the Justice Department, I was appointed by the federal court in Los Angeles to represent indigent defendants. The first thing that comes to mind from my defense attorney perspective is that Reade’s amnesia about specifics makes it impossible for Biden to go through records and prove he could not have committed the assault, because he was somewhere else at the time.

For instance, if Reade alleged Biden assaulted her on the afternoon of June 3, 1993, Biden might be able to prove he was on the Senate floor or at the dentist. Her memory lapses could easily be perceived as bulletproofing a false allegation.

► The lie about losing her job. Reade told The Union that Biden wanted her to serve drinks at an event. After she refused, "she felt pushed out and left Biden's employ," the newspaper said last April. But Reade claimed this month in her Times interview that after she filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Senate personnel office, she faced retaliation and was fired by Biden’s chief of staff.

Leaving a job after refusing to serve drinks at a Biden fundraiser is vastly different than being fired as retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint with the Senate. The disparity raises questions about Reade’s credibility and account of events.

► Compliments for Biden. In the 1990s, Biden worked to pass the Violence Against Women Act. In 2017, on multiple occasions, Reade retweeted or “liked” praise for Biden and his work combating sexual assault. In the same year, Reade tweeted other compliments of Biden, including: “My old boss speaks truth. Listen.” It is bizarre that Reade would publicly laud Biden for combating the very thing she would later accuse him of doing to her.

► Rejecting Biden, embracing Sanders. By this January, Reade was all in for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Her unwavering support was accompanied by an unbridled attack on Biden. In an article on Medium, Reade referred to Biden as “the blue version of Trump.” Reade also pushed a Sanders/Elizabeth Warren ticket, while complaining that the Democratic National Committee was trying to “shove” Biden “down Democrat voters throats.”

Despite her effusive 2017 praise for Biden’s efforts on behalf of women, after pledging her support to Sanders, Reade turned on Biden and contradicted all she said before. She claimed that her decision to publicly accuse Biden of inappropriately touching her was due to “the hypocrisy that Biden is supposed to be the champion of women’s rights.”

► Love of Russia and Putin. During 2017 when Reade was praising Biden, she was condemning Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s efforts to hijack American democracy in the 2016 election. This changed in November 2018, when Reade trashed the United States as a country of “hypocrisy and imperialism” and “not a democracy at all but a corporate autocracy.”

Reade’s distaste for America closely tracked her new infatuation with Russia and Putin. She referred to Putin as a “genius” with an athletic prowess that “is intoxicating to American women.” Then there’s this gem: “President Putin has an alluring combination of strength with gentleness. His sensuous image projects his love for life, the embodiment of grace while facing adversity.”

In March 2019, Reade essentially dismissed the idea of Russian interference in the 2016 American presidential election as hype. She said she loved Russia and her Russian relatives — and "like most women across the world, I like President Putin … a lot, his shirt on or shirt off.”

Pivoting again this month, Reade said that she “did not support Putin, and that her comments were pulled out of context from a novel she was writing,” according to The Times. The quotations above, however, are from political opinion pieces she published, and she did not offer any other "context" to The Times.

Reade's writings shed light on her political alliance with Sanders, who has a long history of ties to Russia and whose stump speech is focused largely on his position that American inequality is due to a corporate autocracy. But at a very minimum, Reade's wild shifts in political ideology and her sexual infatuation with a brutal dictator of a foreign adversary raise questions about her emotional stability.

► Suspect timing. For 27 years, Reade did not publicly accuse Biden of sexually assaulting her. But then Biden's string of March primary victories threw Sanders off his seemingly unstoppable path to the Democratic nomination. On March 25, as Sanders was pondering his political future, Reade finally went public with her claim. The confluence of Reade’s support of Sanders, distaste for the traditional American democracy epitomized by Biden, and the timing of her allegation should give pause to even the most strident Biden critics.

► The Larry King call. Last week, new "evidence" surfaced: a recorded call by an anonymous woman to CNN's "Larry King Live" show in 1993. Reade says the caller was her mother, who's now deceased. Assuming Reade is correct, her mother said: "I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington? My daughter has just left there after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him."

As a prosecutor, this would not make me happy. Given that the call was anonymous, Reade’s mother should have felt comfortable relaying the worst version of events. When trying to obtain someone’s assistance, people typically do not downplay the seriousness of an incident. They exaggerate it. That Reade’s mother said nothing about her daughter being sexually assaulted would lead many reasonable people to conclude that sexual assault was not the problem that prompted the call to King.

The "out of respect" explanation sounds more like an office squabble with staff that resulted in leaving the job. Indeed, in last year's interview with The Washington Post, Reade laid the blame on Biden’s staff for “bullying” her. She also said, “I want to emphasize: It’s not him. It’s the people around him.”

► Statements to others. Reade’s brother, Collin Moulton, told The Post recently that he remembers Reade telling him Biden inappropriately touched her neck and shoulders. He said nothing about a sexual assault until a few days later, when he texted The Post that he remembered Reade saying Biden put his hand "under her clothes.”

That Reade’s brother neglected to remember the most important part of her allegation initially could lead people to believe he recounted his Post interview to Reade, was told he left out the most important part, and texted it to The Post to avoid a discussion about why he failed to mention it in the first place.

In interviews with The Times, one friend of Reade’s said Reade told her she was sexually assaulted by Biden. Another friend said Reade told her that Biden touched her inappropriately. Both friends insisted that The Times maintain their anonymity.

On Monday, Business Insider published an interview with a friend of Reade’s who said that in 1995 or 1996, Reade told her she was assaulted by Biden. Insider called this friend, Lynda LaCasse, the “first person to independently corroborate, in detail and on the record, that Reade had told others about her assault allegations contemporaneously.”

But Reade alleged she was assaulted in 1993. Telling a friend two or three years later is not contemporaneous. Legal references to a contemporaneous recounting typically refer to hours or days — the point being that facts are still fresh in a person's mind and the statement is more likely to be accurate.

The Insider also quoted a colleague of Reade’s in the mid-1990s, Lorraine Sanchez, who said Reade told her she had been sexually harassed by a former boss. Reade did not mention Biden by name and did not provide details of the alleged harassment.

In prior interviews, Reade gave what appeared be an exhaustive list of people she told of the alleged assault. Neither of the women who talked to Business Insider were on that list.

The problem with statements from friends is that the information they recount is only as good as the information given to them. Let’s say Reade left her job because she was angry about being asked to serve drinks or because she was fired for a legitimate reason. If she tried to save face by telling friends that she left because she was sexually assaulted, that’s all her friends would know and all they could repeat.

Prior statements made by a sexual assault victim can carry some weight, but only if the accuser is credible. In Reade’s case, the statements coming from her friends are only of value if people believe Reade can be relied on to tell the truth, regardless of the light in which it paints her.

► Lack of other sexual assault allegations. Last year, several women claimed that Biden made them uncomfortable with things like a shoulder touch or a hug. (I wrote a column critical of one such allegation by Lucy Flores.) The Times and Post found no allegation of sexual assault against Biden except Reade's.

It is possible that in his 77 years, Biden committed one sexual assault and it was against Reade. But in my experience, men who commit a sexual assault are accused more than once ... like Donald Trump, who has had more than a dozen allegations of sexual assault leveled against him and who was recorded bragging about grabbing women’s genitalia.

► What remains. There are no third-party eyewitnesses or videos to support Tara Reade’s allegation that she was assaulted by Joe Biden. No one but Reade and Biden know whether an assault occurred. This is typical of sexual assault allegations. Jurors, in this case the voting public, have to consider the facts and circumstances to assess whether Reade’s allegation is credible. To do that, they have to determine whether Reade herself is believable.

I’ve dreaded writing this piece because I do not want it to be used as a guidebook to dismantling legitimate allegations of sexual assault. But not every claim of sexual assault is legitimate. During almost three decades as a prosecutor, I can remember dismissing two cases because I felt the defendant had not committed the charged crime. One of those cases was a rape charge.

The facts of that case made me question the credibility of the woman who claimed she was raped. In the end, she acknowledged that she fabricated the allegation after her boyfriend caught her with a man with whom she was having an affair.

I know that “Believe Women” is the mantra of the new decade. It is a response to a century of ignoring and excusing men’s sexual assaults against women. But men and women alike should not be forced to blindly accept every allegation of sexual assault for fear of being labeled a misogynist or enabler.

We can support the #MeToo movement and not support allegations of sexual assault that do not ring true. If these two positions cannot coexist, the movement is no more than a hit squad. That’s not how I see the #MeToo movement. It’s too important, for too many victims of sexual assault and their allies, to be no more than that.

Michael J. Stern, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, was a federal prosecutor for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Baseless allegations against Biden have roots in an early family tragedy, Wayne wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallMadsen, left, April 29, 2020. Dubious allegations of sexual assault brought against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by an individual with a jaded background named Tara wayne madesen report logoReade appear to be part of a longstanding Republican dirty tricks operation aimed at the former vice president and Delaware senator.

Reade, who has claimed a sexual attraction to Russian President Vladimir Putin, alleges that Biden penetrated her with his finger in 1993, while she worked as an aide to then-Senator Biden. She also alleges that she was fired by Biden for refusing to serve drinks at a reception, one routine task, among many others, often expected of congressional staffers.

The appearance of Reade on the scene after Biden announced his presidential candidacy last year fits a pattern of other dirty political tricks that have the trademark signature of convicted Trump friend and associate Roger Stone. In 1972, Stone worked in the Richard Nixon presidential campaign as one of Donald Segretti's political tricks operatives and was active in trying to tarnish Democratic candidates Edmund Muskie and Hubert Humphrey. Stone's operations were exposed by investigative journalist Jack Anderson.

April 28

tara reade screenshot via the hill Custom

Tara Reade (screenshot via The Hill newspaper).

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump allies highlight new claims regarding allegations against Biden, Matt Viser, April 28, 2020 (print ed.). A former neighbor and a former work colleague are reported to have corroborated claims of harassment and assault by a former Senate aide to Joe Biden.

Some allies of President Trump pointed Monday to new claims by a woman who said she was told about sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden decades ago, renewing attention to questions about the past behavior of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Apparent corroboration surfaced this week for elements of two accusations made by Biden’s former Senate aide Tara Reade, one involving harassment and the second a sexual assault. Biden has not commented on the allegations, but his campaign has denied them and pointed to his record on women’s rights and promotion of women in his offices.

Lynda LaCasse, who was one of Reade’s neighbors in California, where Reade moved after working for Biden, said in an interview with Business Insider published Monday that Reade told her in the mid-1990s that Biden had “put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her.”

Lorraine Sanchez, a former colleague of Reade’s in the office of a California state senator, also told the news outlet that Reade told her in the mid-1990s that she “had been sexually harassed by her former boss while she was in DC and as a result of her voicing her concerns to her supervisors, she was let go, fired.” Sanchez did not recall whether Reade mentioned Biden specifically, or whether she provided further details about the allegation.

In recent days, a 1993 call into Larry King’s CNN talk show also surfaced. In it, a woman whom Reade identified as her ­now-deceased mother called to report unspecified “problems” her daughter was having with her employer, whom she called “a prominent senator.” The caller said her daughter did not want to go public with her account “out of respect for” the unnamed senator.

Neither LaCasse nor Sanchez responded to messages left by The Washington Post on Monday. Reade made the harassment accusation last year, and she recently offered details of what she said was a sexual assault in a hallway somewhere on Capitol Hill.

The allegations have percolated for weeks, a period in which Biden has become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Three of Reade’s supervisors from the time, to whom Reade says she complained about Biden’s behavior, have said they don’t remember Reade or any complaints from her.

Biden’s campaign declined to comment on the new reports, pointing to previous statements from deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield, who said that while women’s accounts of wrongdoing should be examined, the one from Reade “absolutely did not happen.”

As part of an in-depth examination published two weeks ago, Reade had told The Post that she described the alleged assault soon afterward to a friend, to her brother and to her mother.

Her friend corroborated Reade’s account of their conversation but declined to be named. Her brother, Collin Moulton, told The Post that she told him in 1993 that Biden had behaved inappropriately by touching her neck and shoulders. He said in a later text message to The Post that he recalled her telling him that Biden had put his hand “under her clothes.”

Biden has done several interviews since the assault allegations emerged but has yet to be asked about them. It has, however, been a topic for other top Democrats, including some of his potential running mates.

“I think this case has been investigated,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said on MSNBC, pointing to her own work to make it easier to bring such cases forward. “I know the vice president as a major leader on domestic abuse. I worked with him on that.”

gretchen whitmer CustomMichigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), right, who has said she was sexually assaulted while in college, was asked on NPR if she was concerned about the allegations.

“Well, I think women should be able to tell their stories. I think that it is important that these allegations are vetted, from the media to beyond. And I think that, you know, it is something that no one takes lightly,” Whitmer said. “But it is also something that is, you know, personal. And so it’s hard to give you greater insight than that, not knowing more about the situation.”

Trump has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual assault. He has denied all of the allegations. His son Donald Trump Jr. has repeatedly tweeted about the accusations against Biden in recent days. On Monday afternoon, he retweeted the Business Insider story.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that the allegations against Biden deserve to be scrutinized as much as those against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who during his nomination hearings was accused of a past assault.

The Hill,

, April 28, 2020 (12:51 min. video). Krystal Ball uncovers new Tara Reade evidence from Rich McHugh, who worked with Ronan Farrow on Harvey Weinstein story, reports in Business Insider that Tara's neighbor has come forward to corroborate her sexual assault allegations.

Scammer's Nightmare, Opinion with documents: Tara Reade: Legacy of Lies (Part One Background), Hedgehog200 and friends, April 29, 2020. Tara Reade AKA Alexandra Tara McCabe, Tara Reade Moulton, Alexandra Reade among other aliases has a long history. (Editor's note. Daily Kos has removed the column by this name.)

There is a legacy of lies that she tara reade youngertells regarding her past. Then there is the unvarnished truth regarding this woman who cons, scams and steals from people. Tara Reade (shown in a youthful file photo) has been a flimflammer almost her entire adult life.

Where to start with this huge volume of information is the dilemna we have to consider.

Another consideration was what to put in and what to leave out for the potential well being of people who know her. We have decided to post all of the material we have obtained in what will be a three-part account.

So let's begin at the beginning. Tara Reade was born Tara Reade Moulton on February 26, 1964. Her father was Robert Moulton and her stepmother Sally Ann Moulton. Her mother's name is Jeanette Altimus.


Tara Reade (Alexandra McCabe) uses [in a Tweet shown in the article] that she is poor, a survivor of domestic violence and a single mother who put herself through college as an excuse for everything she's done. It appears to us she didn't put herself through school, banks did and she did not pay them.

She owned pets but did not care for them herself she manipulated a friend into doing so. Then for the rest of the vets on her bankruptcy pages she did not pay them. She was a single mother caring for a young daughter who owed restaurants, housing, food markets and she did not pay them.

We all know single mothers. Do they all lie, cheat and steal? Con people? We think not. Most in fact are honest, hardworking women looking to do the best that they can in life. To rise above their circumstances with honor and dignity. Not by swindling, defrauding and grifting money from their friends, neighbors, landlords, local pizza places and food stores.

But Tara Reade is not those women. She is a con artist whose accounts concerning any subject can not be believed. Ms. Reade should be given no credence in anything she claims. What is revealed here is a life long pattern of dishonest, potentially illegal activity. Still, there is some left out and more yet to come, This is only the beginning of Tara Reade's story. Next we will directly address her false accusations against VP Joe Biden. There are many revelations yet to divulge. To be continued.....

**This will be a three part series of articles. This first one is background, The second part will directly address the false accusations against VP Biden with all inconsistencies and documents posted. Part Three will be an expose on the reporters involved in pushing this story and the truth concerning their motivations.

April 22

“Look, this isn’t about protecting women. This isn’t about the #metoo movement. This isn’t about Joe Biden. This is about truth. Tara Reade stole from me. She lied to me. She stole from my organization. She manipulated me and she duped me. I want that to be shared because it’s important information. And I have documentation, images and emails to prove it.”

Lynn Hummer, Founder/President of Pregnant Mare Rescue and self-proclaimed ‘feminist’

Medium, Biden Accuser, Tara Reade, Allegedly Stole from Non-Profit Organization, Brian & Eddie Krassenstein, right, April 22, 2020. Interview with the brian and eddie krassenstein twitterowner of a Watsonville, California-based non-profit horse rescue exposes allegations of theft and deceit on the part of Tara Reade.

Since Alexandra Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden have come to light, careful examination of her account unveils more questions than answers.

Three weeks ago, we reported on the many contradictions in Reade’s account, as well as the extreme changes in her attitude toward the former vice president. She has evolved from a woman who repeatedly praised Joe Biden for work he’s done to tara reade joe biden Customhelp end sexual assault in America, in 2017, to someone who now says Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993.

Now we’ve obtained new information concerning Tara Reade’s character, from a non-profit organization based in Watsonville, California, called Pregnant Mare Rescue (PMR). Lynn Hummer, Founder/President of the highly-rated horse sanctuary that’s committed to rescuing pregnant mares and orphan foals from abuse, tells us that Tara Reade (McCabe) volunteered at her rescue for a couple of years (from 2014–2016).

During this time, Hummer alleges that Reade “stole from her nonprofit, lied, and created stories to obtain sympathy and money.”

We’ve also obtained receipts and emails that back up many of Hummer’s claims.

According to Hummer, Tara Reade has a history of manipulation and deceit. Whether it was asking to hide her car on the ranch in order to avoid repossession, or if it was asking the organization to waive adoption fees for a horse, there was always some sort of manipulation going on.

While Hummer views most of these actions by Reade as just annoyances, there were instances where it went beyond annoying, and became, in Hummer’s view, “illegal” activity.

April 20

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion / Analysis: Is William Barr a remnant KGB sleeper agent? Wayne Madsen, April 20, 2020. In the 1970s, the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, operated an extremely aggressive intelligence gathering and recruitment effort in New York City.

wayne madesen report logoIn 1973-74, one subject of interest to the KGB resident agency in New York may have been Donald Barr, the quirky former Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer during World War II and the headmaster of the exclusive private Dalton School....

Today, William Barr's only real accomplishments as Attorney General have been to stifle his department's and the FBI's and CIA's investigation of foreign intelligence interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, permitting Jeffrey Epstein to be put in a position where he could be "suicided," ensuring that Epstein's underage victims cannot receive damages from the Justice Department for their rights as sex trafficking victims being violated, and other outrages.

April 17

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washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Tara Reade, Joe Biden and the limitations of journalism, Monica Hesse, April 17, 2020 (print ed.). Reporters can’t always clear away the fog. Being a journalist reporting on sexual assault allegations is a delicate, humbling, horrifying task, which feels worse than any other task except for the alternative: not reporting on the allegations — allowing an accuser’s pursuit of justice or an accused’s pursuit of exoneration to wither in your voicemail.

This week, The Washington Post and the New York Times both published lengthy investigations into a sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden — an account that had previously been reported via the Intercept and on a podcast, and which the Biden campaign denies.

Tara Reade (shown above), who worked in Biden’s Senate office in 1992 and 1993, last year came forward to say that Biden had touched her neck and shoulders when she was in his employ. She has now expanded that account with a more serious charge:

Reporters didn’t have access to the full police report; it’s not public. And, unlike the legal system, reporters don’t have the power to subpoena witnesses and compel truthful testimony; key players can decline to comment at any moment. And news outlets can’t sentence individuals to prison, and they cannot know, with 100 percent certainty, exactly what happened on congressional grounds or at parties or in basements or with powerful celebrities 20 or 30 years ago.

The profession has limitations, memory has limitations, people have limitations.

I know all of this, and yet, even as I read the account I found myself thinking the same things I thought during Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s hearings or while reading accounts of a molestation accusation against Woody Allen or with any number of other accusations regarding long-ago events: Solve this. Show us the smoking gun, or the indisputable security-camera footage, or the telltale lie. Produce an old roommate, an old diary. Eliminate all doubt, so we don’t have to live with it.

April 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Assessing Tara Reade’s allegations, Ruth Marcus, April 16, 2020 (print ed.). What to make of former Joe Biden staffer Tara Reade’s allegations that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee sexually assaulted her in 1993? This is a difficult and important question — not least for those who were persuaded by Christine Blasey Ford’s assertion that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were high school students in the 1980s.

Indeed, it’s a difficult and important question for me, as someone who not only expressed alarm about Ford’s allegations at the time but also wrote a book that concluded she was telling the truth, and that the flawed, rushed investigation meant Kavanaugh’s tenure “will forever have an asterisk attached.”

This column represents a good-faith effort to grapple with the seriousness of, and flaws in, the Reade allegations. My conclusion is that while Ford’s allegations are on balance stronger, those who took Ford’s complaints seriously cannot simply dismiss Reade’s claims out of hand. I don’t think what Reade claimed happened, yet the evidence is murky.

April 14

daily beast logoDaily Beast, Court Rules Against Epstein Victims on Controversial Plea Deal, Kate Briquelet, April 14, 2020. A federal appeals court says the Crime Victims’ Rights Act does not apply to Epstein’s victims, who sued over the pedophile financier’s controversial 2008 plea deal.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderA federal appeals court has denied relief to victims of Jeffrey Epstein, right, under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, refusing their requests for remedies such as the release of FBI documents and a public hearing on Epstein’s criminal case in Florida.

The opinion comes as part of a 12-year legal battle between Courtney Wild, who was underage when Epstein sexually abused her, and the federal government. After Epstein secured a controversial plea deal in 2008, Wild was one of two “Jane Does” to sue the feds, alleging the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA) by keeping more than 30 victims in the dark about Epstein’s non-prosecution agreement.

In May of 2007, Epstein was facing a 53-page indictment for trafficking underage girls and could have spent life behind bars, if charged and convicted. But Epstein’s lawyers secretly negotiated with federal prosecutors to scrap the drafted indictment, and the perverted financier pleaded guilty to lesser state charges instead. (Epstein served 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach County jail. The money-manager was permitted to spend 12 hours a day, six days a week, on “work release,” and during that time, he continued to abuse young women.)

On Tuesday, the appeals court ruled the CVRA does not apply to Wild’s case because “the government never filed charges or otherwise commenced criminal proceedings against Epstein” and thus “the CVRA was never triggered.”

“Despite our sympathy for Ms. Wild and others like her, who suffered unspeakable horror at Epstein’s hands, only to be left in the dark — and, so it seems, affirmatively misled — by government lawyers, we find ourselves constrained to deny her petition,” wrote the panel, which included judges Kevin C. Newsom, Gerald Bard Tjoflat and Frank M. Hull. (The decision was written by Newsom, with Tjoflat concurring. Judge Hull dissented.)

“We hold that at least as matters currently stand—which is to say at least as the CVRA is currently written—rights under the Act do not attach until criminal proceedings have been initiated against a defendant, either by complaint, information, or indictment,” the judges’ decision continued.

“Because the government never filed charges or otherwise commenced criminal proceedings against Epstein, the CVRA was never triggered. It’s not a result we like, but it’s the result we think the law requires.”

Brad Edwards, a lawyer for the victims, told The Daily Beast he would request a hearing before the full Eleventh Circuit court to reconsider the panel’s decision.

“It is clear that even the majority detested the government’s treatment of the victims but apparently felt there was a loophole in the CVRA that the prosecutors and Epstein successfully exploited,” Edwards said in an email.

kenneth marra open jurist cropped“For all the reasons given in the 60-page dissenting opinion, we strongly disagree with today’s ruling—which leaves victims like Ms. Wild without any remedy, even for victims like her who have been ‘affirmatively misled’ by federal prosecutors.”

In February of 2019, U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra, left, ruled federal prosecutors in Miami violated the CVRA by secretly negotiating with Epstein’s lawyers to downgrade his charges to state court. “Petitioners and the other victims should have been notified of the Government’s intention to take that course of action before it bound itself under” a plea agreement, Marra wrote in his decision.

But in September, Marra rejected victims’ requests for remedies, which included voiding the plea deal’s immunity provisions that protected Epstein and his alleged accomplices. The alleged co-conspirators, according to the agreement, include “Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova.”

April 12 

tara reade joe biden Custom

ny times logoNew York Times, Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden, Lisa Lerer and Sydney Ember, April 12, 2020. Ms. Reade, a former Senate aide shown above at left, has accused Mr. Biden of assaulting her in 1993 and says she told others about it. A Biden spokeswoman said the allegation is false, and former Senate office staff members do not recall such an incident.

A former Senate aide who last year accused Joseph R. Biden Jr. of inappropriate touching has made an allegation of sexual assault against the former vice president, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee this fall.

The former aide, Tara Reade, who briefly worked as a staff assistant in Mr. Biden’s Senate office, told The New York Times that in 1993, Mr. Biden pinned her to a wall in a Senate building, reached under her clothing and penetrated her with his fingers. A friend said that Ms. Reade told her the details of the allegation at the time. Another friend and a brother of Ms. Reade’s said she told them over the years about a traumatic sexual incident involving Mr. Biden.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Biden said the allegation was false. In interviews, several people who worked in the Senate office with Ms. Reade said they did not recall any talk of such an incident or similar behavior by Mr. Biden toward her or any women. Two office interns who worked directly with Ms. Reade said they were unaware of the allegation or any treatment that troubled her.

Last year, Ms. Reade and seven other women came forward to accuse Mr. Biden of kissing, hugging or touching them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable. Ms. Reade told The Times then that Mr. Biden had publicly stroked her neck, wrapped his fingers in her hair and touched her in ways that made her uncomfortable.

Soon after Ms. Reade (shown via a screenshot of The Hill newspaper)made the new allegation, in a podcast interview released on March 25, The tara reade screenshot via the hill CustomTimes began reporting on her account and seeking corroboration through interviews, documents and other sources. The Times interviewed Ms. Reade on multiple days over hours, as well as those she told about Mr. Biden’s behavior and other friends. The Times has also interviewed lawyers who spoke to Ms. Reade about her allegation; nearly two dozen people who worked with Mr. Biden during the early 1990s, including many who worked with Ms. Reade; and the other seven women who criticized Mr. Biden last year, to discuss their experiences with him.

No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade’s allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.

On Thursday, Ms. Reade filed a report with the Washington, D.C., police, saying she was the victim of a sexual assault in 1993; the public incident report, provided to The Times by Ms. Reade and the police, does not mention Mr. Biden by name, but she said the complaint was about him. Ms. Reade said she filed the report to give herself an additional degree of safety from potential threats. Filing a false police report may be punishable by a fine and imprisonment.

Ms. Reade, who worked as a staff assistant helping manage the office interns, said she also filed a complaint with the Senate in 1993 about Mr. Biden; she said she did not have a copy of it, and such paperwork has not been located. The Biden campaign said it did not have a complaint. The Times reviewed an official copy of her employment history from the Senate that she provided showing she was hired in December 1992 and paid by Mr. Biden’s office until August 1993.

The seven other women who had complained about Mr. Biden told the Times this month that they did not have any new information about their experiences to add, but several said they believed Ms. Reade’s account.

Last year, Mr. Biden, 77, acknowledged the women’s complaints about his conduct, saying his intentions were benign and promising to be “more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space.”

In response to Ms. Reade’s allegation, Kate Bedingfield, a deputy Biden campaign manager, said in a statement: “Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women. He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”

Ms. Reade made her new allegation public as Mr. Biden was closing in on the Democratic presidential nomination after winning a string of primaries against his chief rival, Senator Bernie Sanders. Ms. Reade, who describes herself as a “third-generation Democrat,” said she originally favored Marianne Williamson and Senator Elizabeth Warren in the race but voted for Mr. Sanders in the California primary last month.

She said her decision to come forward had nothing to do with politics or helping Mr. Sanders, and said neither his campaign nor the Trump campaign had encouraged her to make her allegation.

President Trump has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by more than a dozen women, who have described a pattern of behavior that went far beyond the accusations against Mr. Biden. The president also directed illegal payments, including $130,000 to a pornographic film actress, Stormy Daniels, before the 2016 election to silence women about alleged affairs with Mr. Trump, according to federal prosecutors.

Mr. Trump has even boasted about his mistreatment of women; in a 2005 recording, he described pushing himself on women and said he would “grab them by the pussy,” bragging that he could get away with “anything” because of his celebrity.

Even so, Mr. Trump has at times attacked opponents over their treatment of women. The president has not mentioned Ms. Reade’s allegation, which has circulated on social media and in liberal and conservative news outlets.

April 7

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Teen sex assailant and trafficker Jeffrey Epstein's accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre has been hospitalized and fears the coronavirus: "@VRSVirginia: I’m so scared right now, having trouble breathing, fever & cough. Getting tested for Covid-19 praying it’s not positive." Photo above via Twitter.

More U.S Crime, Trafficking

dayton jones mug child porn

matt bevinFox News (WAVE TV, Louisville, KY), Felon freed by Bevin last year now accused of child porn, John P. Wise, April 7, 2020. A man whose 15-year prison sentence was commuted by former GOP Gov. Matt Bevin on Bevin’s way out of office last fall is now the subject of additional allegations.

Dayton Jones, 24, of Hopkinsville, shown in a mug shot above, is accused of producing and sharing child pornography. Jones had previously been convicted of sodomy and wanton endangerment in the brutal attack of a teenager at a party in 2014.

Jones was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but was among one of several controversial pardons and commutations by Bevin following the former governor’s unsuccessful bid for re-election late last year.

April 6

washington post logogeorge pell afp customWashington Post, Australian court overturns sexual-abuse conviction of Cardinal George Pell, former Vatican finance chief, Staff Report, April 6, 2020. The High Court acquitted Pell, right, on all charges, ruling that there was reasonable doubt. He is expected to be released from prison Tuesday.

April 4

#MeToo Claims

Medium via OpEd News, Deep Reporting / Commentary: Evidence Casts Doubt on Tara Reade's Sexual Assault Allegations of Joe Biden, Brian Krassenstein and Eddie Krassenstein (right), April 4, 2020. Alexandra Tara Reade’s accusations of sexual assault against Joe Biden appear very brian and eddie krassenstein twitterquestionable once the story is fully investigated. We reached out to Ms. Reade for comment but she refused.

(For more Justice Integrity Project coverage, see March 31 and March 30 excerpts in #MeToo coverage here.)


March 31

Democracy Now! Opinion: “It Shattered My Life”: Former Joe Biden Staffer Tara Reade Says He Sexually Assaulted Her in 1993, Amy Goodman, March 31, 2020. In an exclusive Democracy Now! TV/radio broadcast, we speak with Tara Reade, the former staffer in Joe Biden’s Senate office who has come forward with allegations that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993.

Last week, The Intercept reported that the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, set up to help survivors of rape and sexual assault, refused to fund a #MeToo investigation into allegations against Biden. Reade told journalist Katie Halper in an interview published Tuesday that Biden repeatedly touched her without her consent and sexually assaulted her.

Reade approached the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in January looking for assistance, but was reportedly told the fund could not help her because Biden is a candidate for federal office, and pursuing a case could jeopardize the fund’s nonprofit status. Reade says she learned from The Intercept report that the public relations firm representing Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is SKDKnickerbocker, whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you give us the circumstances, how you ended up — what was the day, how you ended up alone with Joe Biden? Explain what happened that day.

TARA READE: I was approached by my supervisor. She handed me a gym bag and said, “Hurry, Joe wants this, so get it to him. He’ll meet you down towards the Capitol.” And I went down the stairs, and I don’t remember exactly where I was, because there’s connections between the Russell Building and all of that and the corridors, but we were in a semi-private location. It wasn’t a room. It wasn’t, you know, the Russell Office Building — I mean, in his office. It was down in the corridors. And I handed him the gym bag.

And then he — it was one, as I described, fluid moment. He was talking to me, and he said some things that I don’t recall. And I was up against the wall. And he — I remember the coldness of the wall. And I remember his hands underneath my blouse and underneath my skirt, and his fingers penetrating me as he was trying to kiss me and I was pulling away. And he pulled back, and he said, “Come on, man. I heard you liked me.” But he was angry. It was like a tight voice. And he tended to smile when he was angry. And he isn’t like the Uncle Joe like everybody talks about now. He was younger. He was my dad’s age at that time and very strong. And he looked insulted and angry. And I remember feeling like I had done something wrong when he said that statement. And then I was standing there when he said — he was still near me. He said — pointed his finger and said, “You’re nothing to me. You’re nothing.” And he walked away.

The next thing I remember was that night and talking to my mom, and she was like, “You need to file a police report. It’s a sexual assault.” And I didn’t think of it as sexual assault, and I didn’t really understand. And I was trying to just get over the shock of it, because I looked up to him. He was supposed to be a champion of women. And I was so thrilled to be at that office and so honored, and it shattered my life and changed the trajectory of my whole career and life. And I lost my job after I complained, and I was fired.

AMY GOODMAN: And how exactly did you complain, Tara? You filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Senator Biden at the time? Now, let’s be clear, this is 1993, two years after he led the Senate Judiciary Committee around the Anita Hill charges against Clarence Thomas. So this is soon after that. You filed a complaint. Did you talk about this happening?

TARA READE: No, I didn’t talk about the sexual assault. What I did was I went through office protocol, which would be to go to your supervisor. And if you’re not happy, you go to the next supervisor, and then the next one would be the chief of staff. And I did go up the chain verbally. And there were a couple of meetings — more than a couple, actually. And there were people taking notes. I mean, I know they took notes. And some were more informal in the hallway, with Marianne. And I was basically — after I had not served the drinks, that whole, you know, episode, I was immediately told, like within a few days, by Marianne’s assistant that I dressed too provocatively, that I was too — that I needed to be less noticeable. And then Marianne got me in the hallway, because I was annoyed by that, and she said, you know, “You want to just keep your head down and do as you’re told, if you want to last here.”

And I went to them and told them I was uncomfortable. So I couched it in those terms. We didn’t use the term “sexual harassment” a lot back then. And I remember saying I was uncomfortable and why. But nothing happened. And in fact, I was put in a windowless office, and I had my duties taken away from me. I was given a desk audit. I was told to call one of my upper-level supervisors even if I went to the restroom. I was not to call or talk to other staffers or go to legislative hearings. I was told that I was given a month to find another job. And I sent out my résumés. And before I did that, because of this retaliation, I told my mother, who gave me the term “retaliation” and explained to me what was happening, and said to march in there and file a sexual harassment claim. And I said — and she used the word. And I said, “Well, you don’t just march into their office. Like, that’s not how this is done.”

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Salon, Opinion: A woman accuses Joe Biden of sexual assault, and all hell breaks loose online. Here's what we know, Amanda Marcotte, March 31, 2020. Alexandra Tara Reade accused Biden of sexual assault. Salon untangles fact from fiction in the politicized fall-out.

Last week, podcaster Katie Halper, an avid fan of presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, released an episode of her podcast containing a shocking accusation: In an interview, Alexandra Tara Reade, who briefly worked for former Vice President Joe Biden when he was in the U.S. Senate, said that Biden had sexually assaulted her in 1993, pinning her up against a wall and digitally penetrating her during an encounter on Capitol Hill.

At the same time, Ryan Grim of The Intercept — a publication which has been strongly supportive of Sanders and critical of Biden — published a story insinuating that the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund had rejected Reade's case out of political loyalty to Biden.

These twin stories are currently tearing up social media, with competing conspiracy theories flying from both pro-Biden and pro-Sanders camps in response. Biden supporters are accusing Reade of being a Russian agent, or at least a kook with suspicious intentions who's in love with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sanders supporters are accusing the mainstream media and Time's Up of covering up Reade's accusations to protect Biden. (To be clear: Neither candidate's campaign has engaged with these conspiracy theories in any way.)

Reade says there were no witnesses to the alleged 1993 assault, which is of course extremely common in such cases. She said in her interview with Halper that she told her brother and a friend about the assault at the time, which Halper says she confirmed. That's the most common method of establishing credibility when reporting on allegations of sexual harassment or assault. The audio of the interview is compelling, as Reade speaks with a lot of emotion about the alleged assault. The same was true in her interviews with Salon.

Yet it is also true that outside of a handful of aggregated stories, there has been almost no high-profile media coverage of a story as explosive as this — an accusation that a former vice president and near-certain Democratic presidential nominee committed an act of sexual violence against a woman who worked for him. Why?

After reaching out to Reade, representatives from Time's Up, a lawyer who spoke with Reade, the Biden campaign, Reade's former bosses and the journalists who first broke the story, Salon hopes this story will offer clarity about what is and isn't true in the bizarre narratives swirling around Reade and her story. That clarity may also help answer the question of why the mainstream media has largely steered clear of this messy situation.

1. Is the mainstream media burying Reade's story out of loyalty to Biden and/or hatred of Sanders? That's unlikely. Here's why.

There's a reason why mainstream journalists such as Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker and Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey of the New York Times — all Pulitzer Prize winners for their meticulous coverage of the 2017 Harvey Weinstein investigation — are so careful when reporting allegations of sexual harassment and assault. (Salon is not addressing any individual outlet's choice not to cover this specific story, but the general considerations typically involved in such a decision.) It's not just about fairness to the accused, but also to the accusers. Women who tell these stories inevitably get blasted by skeptics who pick their stories apart, so it's critical to their safety that the reporting holds up under close scrutiny. That's only going to be more true when the story has major political implications or confusing twists that could be interpreted as red flags — or both, like this one does.

Reade's story of what happened during her tenure working for Biden has changed over time. In April of 2019, Reade spoke to a local Nevada County paper, claiming Biden "would touch me on the shoulder or hold his hand on my shoulder running his index finger up my neck during a meeting."

She also recounted an incident where she says she was told by staff that she had to serve drinks at a Biden event because he "liked my legs." She told Salon she rejected this request and complained directly to supervisors Marianne Baker and Dennis Toner. Reade says that her complaints led to being sidelined and pushed out of Biden's office. Both Baker and Toner denied to Salon ever having such a conversation with Reade.

Reade's April 2019 account of why she left Biden's office also conflicts with earlier things she has written. In a December 2018 Medium post she's since deleted, Reade wrote that she quit working for Biden to pursue a vocation in the arts and because she loves "Russia with all my heart" and rejected "the reckless imperialism of America" and what she saw as an anti-Russian view on Capitol Hill.

Before 2019, Reade lived under another name — she changed it for many years to escape an abusive husband, and provided the paperwork demonstrating this to Salon — and her public statements about Biden were entirely positive. After making her April 2019 allegations that Biden had touched her inappropriately, Reade spent months tweeting that story, dozens of times, at various figures — politicians, celebrities, media outlets, even Donald Trump — to no response.

Under both her current and prior name, Reade has expressed public support for a variety of Democratic politicians in the past, ranging from Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Elizabeth Warren to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson. Then, over the past few months, Reade began heavily retweeting pro-Sanders accounts and regularly engaging with prominent Sanders supporters like Halper. It was during this time that Reade started to hint publicly that what happened with Biden had been far more serious than her 2019 story detailed. Such hinting led — as Reade told Salon, which Halper confirmed — to an anonymous woman suggesting that Reade seek Halper out to tell her full story.

When asked why her story had changed so much in the past year, Reade told Salon that she had considered describing the assault to the original reporter from the Nevada County paper, but the "way he asked the questions" had "shut me down." (That reporter did not respond to Salon's request for comment.) She also said she felt intimidated by social media attacks and threats in the aftermath of her original accusations, and therefore stayed silent.

The timeline shows that Reade's involvement in the online world of Bernie fandom coincided with her escalation of accusations against Biden. To be clear, this does not mean she's lying. But taken along with the other discrepancies in Reade's accounts — which are also, on their own, not reasons to discredit her — it's enough to make publications take a slow and careful approach to amplifying this story.

"Other outlets, for good reason, do their own reporting on stories like this," Grim told Salon. "As they do, I expect we'll see more coverage."

Salon asked Grim and Halper about their reporting process, but got few answers. Halper confirmed Reade had been connected to her through a woman on Twitter. Grim confirmed that he and Reade have been in contact since early March. (Grim has relevant experience here: He broke the story about Christine Blasey Ford writing to Sen. Dianne Feinstein with her accusation that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had attempted to rape her in high school.)

Grim and Halper have both publicly said that they spoke to Reade's brother and friend, who both confirmed that Reade had told them about the alleged assault when it happened. Attempts to reach the brother and the friend — key steps in reporting a story like this independently — have proven fruitless for Salon. Reade did not respond to Salon's request for her friend's identity, and Reade's brother has not responded to Salon's requests to talk.

In light of these details, Salon concludes that mainstream outlets who are being criticized for not writing about Reade's allegations probably aren't making that choice because they're covering up for Joe Biden. What's more likely driving the silence — so far — is a genuine reluctance to dive into a story that contains such a high number of complicating factors and proves difficult to pin down, especially with the coronavirus emergency dominating the news cycle.

2. Did Time's Up refuse to help Reade as a political favor to Biden? Almost certainly not.

As Reade herself said when she was interviewed by pro-Sanders pundit Krystal Ball, Time's Up offered her considerable help when she first reached out to the organization. In its partnership with the National Women's Law Center, Time's Up connected Reade with a number of lawyers who interviewed her to see if she had a case worth pursuing. None of those lawyers took Reade on as a client.

It's important to understand here that Time's Up Legal Defense Fund only provides support beyond these referrals — such as PR assistance — if a client obtains a lawyer and moves to take legal action on workplace harassment. But Reade told Salon she wasn't interested in suing Biden. Instead, she was angry "about the smears about being a Russian agent" from Biden supporters and was hoping a lawyer could find a way to stop them.

One law firm Reade spoke with confirmed that they would not take a case with the ambiguous goal of trying to shut down people on social media who were speculating about an accuser being a "Russian agent."

Carrie Goldberg runs a firm dedicated to defending women against sexual abuse. Time's Up helped Reade set up a meeting with her. Goldberg told Salon that she would not "comment on who reaches out to our firm for help" but said that "our firm never hesitates to take on powerful adversaries." She said her firm is not, however, in the business of threatening "to sue conspiracy theorists for potentially protected speech."

Salon's discussions with Reade indicated that she was less interested in legal action and more in public relations representation — for "protection" and to handle "being inundated" by phone calls from reporters. After this interview, Reade continued to send messages to Salon indicating her anger over not getting help with PR. (To clarify: That doesn't rule out Reade retaining legal counsel for matters related to her allegations, but at press time she had not done so.) It's important to understand here that the mission of Time's Up Legal Defense Fund is providing support for clients taking action on workplace harassment, who have secured a lawyer, and the PR services are in support of that.

In a written statement to Salon, Uma Iyer of the National Women's Law Center confirmed what Grim reported in The Intercept — their status as a nonprofit comes with "a strict and absolute prohibition on participating in electioneering or political campaign activity." Considering Reade's active presence on Bernie Twitter and her enthusiasm for the Sanders campaign, the concerns that any involvement with her allegations during a presidential primary could be perceived as electioneering don't seem unfounded.

Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon who covers American politics, feminism and culture. Her new book, "Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself" is out now. She's based out of Brooklyn and can be followed on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte.

#MeToo Claim Against Biden

tara reade screenshot via the hill Custom

Tara Reade (screenshot via The Hill newspaper).

Reason.com, Opinion: Why Are the Mainstream Media Ignoring Tara Reade's Sexual Assault Accusation Against Joe Biden? Robby Soave, March 30, 2020. So far, it's been silence from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and others.

On September 14, 2018, The New York Times reported the existence of an unverified sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The story cited three people who had read a letter sent by the accuser—Christine Blasey Ford—to Sen. Diane Feinstein (D–Calif.). Ford was not interviewed for the story; indeed, she wasn't named.

Unconfirmed reports of a teenaged Kavanaugh assaulting a teenaged Ford evidently merited coverage from The Times. This prompts an obvious question: Why is the paper of record now declining to publicize a very troubling allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden?

The Times is hardly alone in this regard. The mainstream media have remained bafflingly silent about Tara Reade, a former member of then-Senator Biden's staff who claims that he sexually assaulted her in 1993. Reade's name has only appeared twice in The Washington Post, and both were quick asides: A news roundup from April of last year briefly acknowledged an earlier, milder version of Reade's accusation, and a recent rapid-fire Q&A asked a Post political reporter to weigh-in on the political ramifications "of the Tara Reade bombshell." (The nature of the bombshell is not described.)

And while the coronavirus pandemic is obviously dominating news coverage, CNN has made plenty of time for Biden. Chris Cillizza is still ranking Biden's potential veep choices, and the network conducted a virtual townhall event with the candidate last Friday. Reade's name didn't come up, and it has never appeared at CNN.com. At NBC, it's the same story: Chuck Todd interviewed Biden but didn't ask about the allegation.

OpEdNews, Opinion: Everything has Changed. The Democratic primary is no longer over, Nathan J. Robinson (Editor, Current Affairs), condensed with added commentary from Stephen Fox), March 30, 2020. This is a historic crisis requiring nothing less than FDR-style ambition and leadership. We've got just the guy.

tara reade joe biden Custom

Medium, Investigative Commentary: Evidence Casts Doubt on Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegations of Joe Biden, Brian Krassenstein and brian and eddie krassenstein twitterEddie Krassenstein (shown at right), March 30, 2020. Alexandra Tara Reade’s accusations of sexual assault against Joe Biden (both shown above) appear very questionable once the story is fully investigated.

We were able to contact a longtime friend of Reade’s who wished to remain anonymous, but they said they “do not believe her allegations,” claiming she has always been one to seek attention. Note: We reached out to Ms. Reade for comment but she refused.

Every allegation of sexual assault must be taken seriously, and the #metoo movement has certainly given the victims of sexual harassment and assault a greater shield of confidence in coming forward with less fear of being attacked themselves. With this said, however, it is the media’s responsibility to thoroughly investigate accusations before jumping into a story and allowing those allegations to potentially destroy another human being, or, in this case, a political campaign. Every woman deserves to be heard, but every media outlet still has the responsibility of investigating and then relaying to the public all of the facts at face value.

joe biden 2020 button CustomAlexandra Tara Reade came forward last week with quite disturbing allegations against former Vice President and current 2020 Presidential candidate Joe Biden. In April of 2019, Reade originally said that Joe Biden’s handsiness made her feel uncomfortable when she worked as a Senate aide in 1993. At the time, however, she said that she did not consider Biden’s actions to be sexualization, instead comparing her experience to that of being a beautiful lamp.

This story suddenly changed last week when Reade took part in an interview with podcast host Katie Halper. In the interview, Reade claimed that then-Senator Joe Biden “penetrated” her, against her will, with his finger, in an encounter that took place in ‘93.

While the allegations made by Reade are impossible to prove or disprove, examining Reade’s actions over the years and other evidence Vladimir Putin Il Corrierethat has been archived on the internet, brings her honesty and integrity into question.

Below we will cover many of the inconsistencies in her story, the endless contradictions she has made over the years, and the evidence that paints a picture of someone who went from seemingly adoring Joe Biden and disliking Vladimir Putin, right, in 2017, to someone who showed compassion and love for Vladimir Putin in 2018, to someone who accused Biden of doing horrific things to her in 2019 and 2020.

Who is Alexandra Tara Reade?

Alexandra Tara Reade has gone by many names and aliases over the years. According to our research, she was born as Tara Reade Moulton, before changing her name in her early 20s to Tara Reade, then changing it back to Tara Moulton again, and then changing it once again later in life (through marriage) to Alexandra Tara McCabe.

It appears as though sometime between 2017 and early 2018 she began calling herself Alexandra Tara Reade.

According to a website that she recently deleted, Reade is the founder of Gracie’s Pet Food Pantry, graduated from Seattle University School of Law, and was the co-host, creator and producer of a soul music radio show called “Soul Vibes” on KNRY — an AM radio station that serves the Santa Cruz and Monterey areas in California.

At one point in her life Reade worked on the domestic violence unit for the King County Prosecutor, in Seattle, WA, as a ‘Victim’s Advocate,” and on at least one occasion testified as an expert witness on domestic violence.

Reade also worked for former Congressman Leon Panetta, former Senator Joe Biden, and former California State Senator Jack O’Connell.

In 2017 Alexandra Tara Reade Praised Joe Biden for Helping End Sexual Assault.

In 2017 Alexandra Tara Reade praised Joe Biden for his action in helping stop sexual assault, not just once, but on multiple occasions.

Alexandra Tara Reade’s other Twitter account under her legal name Alexandra (Tara) McCabe.

Between September of 2016 and May of 2017, Alexander Tara Reade used a Twitter account, under the name Tara McCabe, to spread praise of Joe Biden via tweeting, retweeting and liking various Tweets.

There are multiple examples of this, as seen below:

  • In the below instance, Reade retweeted a tweet by Margaret Cho that appears to commend Joe Biden for working with Lady Gaga to end sexual assault.
  • In 2017 Joe Biden worked with Lady Gaga to help end sexual assault. In February of 2017, Tara Reade retweeted this tweet apparently commending Biden for his work in doing so.
  • Then again in April of 2017, Reade liked a tweet by the Huffington post that praised the former Vice President for helping men realize how important they are in the fight against sexual assault. The article commends Biden for the steps he has taken to encourage men to take responsibility in stopping assaults against women.



No, no one will be able to say with certainty whether Tara Reade’s latest allegations are legitimate or not, but the very least we can do is ensure that the public has as much information as possible to make an informed decision. That’s the purpose of this article.

With that, we leave you with two things to think about

#1) A tweet response made by Reade just weeks before coming forward with new allegations seemingly contradicting her original story, and just days before The Daily Beast reported on the Russian media becoming concerned with Joe Biden’s resurgence. As you can see, it seems as though Reade is admitting that she’s waiting for the perfect time to release her new allegations in order to hurt Joe Biden’s campaign:

And #2) A tweet response that Reade made to the parents of accused rapist Julian Assange. She called the man “a hero.”

Note: UPDATE 4/2/20: We were able to contact a longtime friend of Reade’s who wished to remain anonymous, but they said they “do not believe her allegations,” claiming she has always been one to seek attention.

We went out of our way to get Reade on the record to defend herself and also spoke to individuals close to her for years in an effort to get someone to tell us that Reade was telling the truth. Those we spoke to could not do so and in fact left us even more convinced that things don’t add up.

Background on Krassentein Brothers

brian krassenstein ed krassenstein left facebook

Heavy.com, Krassenstein Brothers: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know, Erin Laviola, Updated May 24, 2019. Ed (above at left) and Brian Krassenstein (above right in the Facebook photo), the Florida brothers who became famous on Twitter for their outspoken opposition of President Trump, have been permanently banned from the social platform.

The Krassensteins were accused of creating fake Twitter accounts and purchasing automated “bots” that could share and “like” their tweets in order to boost their own profiles. They shared the official statement that Twitter sent out on their website, the Hill Reporter:

“The Twitter Rules to apply to everyone. Operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions are strictly prohibited. Engaging in these behaviors will result in permanent suspension from the service.”

Ed and Brian Krassenstein have denied the accusations. They wrote in an op-ed on May 24, 2019 “We NEVER, and we want to make twitter bird Customthis as clear as day, ever bought or sold ANY Twitter accounts or interactions. We swear on our graves that this is 100% true.”

The Krassenstein brothers had more than 1.6 million followers between them before Twitter banned them from the site. Ed and Brian Krassenstein have been tweeting about Donald Trump and his administration since late 2016. Many of their tweets have called for his impeachment and accused him of being corrupt. They often were seen responding to the president’s tweets. They are also credited with helping to promote the hashtag “Resistance” on social media.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Ed & Brian Krassenstein Began Tweeting About Donald Trump in Late 2016; The Brothers Say They Started Posting About the President Out of Sincere Concerns About the Administration

2. The Krassenstein Brothers Deny Paying For Bots & Have Asked Twitter to Review The Suspension

3. Federal Investigators Searched Ed & Brian Krassenstein’s Homes in 2016 After They Were Accused of Helping to Promote Scams Run By a Russian Crime Organization; The Brothers Were Never Charged With a Crime

4. Ed & Brian Krassenstein Have Operated Dozens of Websites Since the Early 2000s

5. Brian & Ed Krassenstein Are Both Married Fathers & Live in the Same Neighborhood in Fort Myers, Florida

Variety, Twitter Permanently Bans Anti-Trump Krassenstein Brothers, Who Deny They Broke Platform’s Rules, Todd Spangler, May 24, 2019. Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of Ed and Brian Krassenstein — progressive political activists famous for trolling Donald Trump and his supporters — with the company alleging the brothers used bogus accounts to amplify their reach on the platform.

The brothers denied they broke Twitter’s rules, claiming that they never purchased fake accounts or engaged in fake account interactions.

Daily Beast, Twitter Bans #Resistance-Famous Krassenstein Brothers for Allegedly Operating Fake Accounts: GONE, Will Sommer, May 23, daily beast logo2019. Ed and Brian Krassenstein are banned for life after ‘operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions,’ a Twitter spokesman said.

Twitter has permanently banned prominent anti-Trump brothers Brian and Ed Krassenstein, alleging that two of the biggest stars of #Resistance Twitter had broken the site’s rules about operating fake accounts and purchasing fake interactions with their accounts.

“The Twitter Rules apply to everyone,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. “Operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions are strictly prohibited. Engaging in these behaviors will result in permanent suspension from the service.”

The suspensions are a major loss for the Krassensteins, who had used their massive Twitter followers and ability to quickly respond to tweets from Donald Trump to make themselves internet celebrities. Ed Krassenstein had roughly 925,000 followers before he was banned, while Brian Krassenstein had more than 697,000.

twitter bird CustomThe brothers appeared to be unusually good at getting attention on Twitter. While the Twitter statement doesn’t explain what the Krassensteins allegedly did to illicitly promote their accounts, “fake interactions” could engage buying bots to retweet their posts, or buying fake followers to inflate their profiles on the site.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, the Krassensteins denied breaking Twitter rules.

“Twitter claims that we manipulated our interactions through the purchase of fake accounts and fake interactions,” the Krassenstein brothers said. “We have never once acquired anything for the purpose of increasing our Twitter presence.”

The Krassensteins say they only operated secondary accounts on Twitter to monitor death threats, as well as accounts for their businesses.

“None of those accounts were ever used for manipulative purposes as Twitter claims,” the Krassensteins said in the statement.

March 24

Katie Halper Show via Player FM, Opinion: Tara Reade, Joe Biden's accuser, finally tells her full story (excerpt), Katie Halper, March 24, 2020. (7:45 min. audio). Tara Reade has been trying to tell her story since it happened in 1993, when she was working as a staff assistant for Joe Biden. She told part of her story-- about how Biden would put his hands on her shoulders and run his fingers up and down her neck-- in the spring of 2019 after Lucy Flores accused Biden of kissing the top of her head and smelling her hair inappropriately.

But Reade didn't tell her full story. As Ryan Grim reveals at The Intercept, Reade asked for help from Time's Up, but the organization said it could not support her because a case taking on Biden would jeopardize their non-profit status. Tara is finally telling the story she's been trying to tell for decades. While there were no witnesses to Biden's alleged sexual assault of Tara Reade, her brother and close friend, both of whom I've spoken to, recall Reade telling them about it at the time. The rest of the interview will be released shortly.

The Intercept, Time’s Up Said It Could Not Fund a #MeToo Allegation Against Joe Biden, Citing Its Nonprofit Status and His Presidential Run, Ryan Grim, March 24 2020. Last April, Tara Reade watched as a familiar conversation around her former boss, Joe Biden, and his relationship with personal space unfolded on the national stage. Nevada politician Lucy Flores alleged that Biden had inappropriately sniffed her hair and kissed the back of her head as she waited to go on stage at a rally in 2014.

Biden, in a statement in response, said that “not once” in his career did he believe that he had acted inappropriately. But Flores’s allegation sounded accurate to Reade, she said, because Reade had experienced something very similar as a staffer in Biden’s Senate office years earlier.

After she saw an episode of the ABC show “The View,” in which most of the panelists stood up for Biden and attacked Flores as politically motivated, Reade decided that she had no choice but to come forward and support Flores.

She gave an interview to a local reporter, describing several instances in which Biden had behaved similarly toward her, inappropriately touching her during her early-’90s tenure in his Senate office.

In that first interview, she decided to tell a piece of the story, she said, that matched what had happened to Flores — plus, she had filed a contemporaneous complaint, and there were witnesses, so she considered the allegation bulletproof. The short article brought a wave of attention on her, along with accusations that she was doing the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin. So Reade went quiet.

To get legal help, Tara Reade reached out to Time’s Up, established in the wake of the #MeToo movement to help survivors tell their stories.

March 22

ny times logoNew York Times Magazine, The Accusations Were Lies. Could We Prove It? Sarah Viren, March 22, 2020 (print ed.). When the university told my wife about the sexual-harassment complaints against her, we knew they weren’t true. We had no idea how strange the truth really was.

March 21

Niagara Gazette, At New York prison, Harvey Weinstein put in isolation after contracting virus, Joe Mahoney, March 21, 2020. Oscar-winning movie producer Harvey Weinstein, now one of New York's most notorious prison inmates after being sentenced for sexual assault, has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, according to officials connected to the state prison system.

harvey weinsteinWeinstein, who turned 68 last Thursday is being isolated at Wende Correctional Facility in Western New York, officials told CNHI Sunday.

He is one of two Wende inmates who have tested positive, the officials said.

Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault in a prosecution that attracted world-wide attention amid the #MeToo movement.

Officials familiar with his situation said it is believed Weinstein was positive for the virus when he entered the state prison system last Wednesday from Rikers Island, a New York City jail.

Weinstein was sent to Wende, where the prison system operates an intake center for new state inmates. Inmates are typically sent to other facilities from there after medical and security concerns are assessed.

Weinstein was accepted by the prison system last week following his sentencing at a Manhattan courtroom. During his trial, he had been alternating his time between Rikers Island and a New York City hospital, where he was treated for high blood pressure and chest pains.

March 18

djt knauss epstein ghislaine maxwell mar a lago getty full davidoff studios

Donald Trump, Melania Knauss [Trump], Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein's friend Ghislaine Maxwell, (left to right at Mar-A-Lago.
Davidoff Studios Photography / Getty Images

Miami Herald, Ghislaine Maxwell stakes claim to a piece of Jeffrey Epstein’s fortune, Kevin G. Hall, March 18, 2020. Maxwell, 58, has long said she had a miami herald logospecial relationship with him.

She hasn’t appeared publicly in months and her former neighbors just off posh Park Avenue say they’ve heard nothing. Yet from some mystery location, Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime partner and alleged enabler in his sex trafficking network, has filed a claim against the estate of the multimillionaire financier.

perversion of justice miami herald logoThe filing occurred in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the estate of the disgraced businessman is being settled. It was filed on Friday but it appeared on the docket late Tuesday, just hours before the March 18 deadline that effectively closes the window for asking the court for a piece of Epstein’s fortune. It was first reported by the New York Times on Wednesday but had been rumored for days.

The Miami law firm Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer filed the action on behalf of Maxwell. It has an office in the Virgin Islands and has not responded to requests for comment.

Search for images of her on the Internet, and there Maxwell is on Epstein’s arm alongside Donald and Melania Trump (shown above). She appears in Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001photos with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, British royal Prince Andrew (left) and even in one with Epstein and movie mogul and recently convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein.

Maxwell has largely been missing since Epstein’s controversial death by hanging last Aug. 10 at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. It was the culmination of Epstein’s world caving in following the Miami Herald’s Perversion of Justice series that highlighted how powerful people helped him escape punishment in 2008.

Since then she was photographed reading a book on espionage at a Southern California In-N-Out Burger, maybe spotted briefly in New England and reported without any proof to have been in southern Brazil, Israel or even in FBI custody at a safe house.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005. Credit Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005 (Joe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan,via Getty Images)

March 11

ny times logoNew York Times, Harvey Weinstein Is Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison, Jan Ransom, March 11, 2020. The sentence capped a stunning downfall for Mr. Weinstein, a former Hollywood mogul who was convicted of two felony sex crimes. Mr. Weinstein has been housed in an infirmary unit on Rikers Island since his conviction on Feb. 25.

harvey weinsteinHarvey Weinstein, right, the once powerful movie producer, ruled Hollywood for decades, making and breaking careers, racking up Oscars and reshaping the film industry.

But on Wednesday, after years of private complaints about his abuse of women burst into public scandal, he was sentenced in a Manhattan courtroom to 23 years in prison for raping one woman and sexually assaulting another.

The startling sentence meant that Mr. Weinstein, who is 67 and in poor health, might spend the rest of his life in prison. Just before the sentencing, Mr. Weinstein, who was sitting in a wheelchair, told the court that he was remorseful, but also “totally confused” about what had happened to him.

The sentence marked a significant milestone in the #MeToo movement, which ignited after several women openly accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment. Women around the globe shifted the cultural landscape as they began to speak about mistreatment at the hands of powerful men.

Justice James A. Burke, who presided over the trial in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, could have sentenced Mr. Weinstein to as little as five years, but he heeded the arguments of prosecutors who urged him to hand down a long sentence.

Two of Mr. Weinstein’s victims gave emotional statements about the damage he had done to them. Miriam Haley, who testified Mr. Weinstein forced oral sex on her in 2006, said he had forever altered her life, crushing her spirit.

“He violated my trust and my body and my personal right to deny sexual advances,” she said.

Given a chance to speak, Mr. Weinstein suggested in a rambling speech to the court that he thought his relationships with his victims were consensual.

“We may have different truths, but I have remorse for all of you and for all the men going through this crisis,” he said, addressing his accusers.

He added: “I really feel remorse for this situation. I feel it deeply in my heart. I’m really trying, I’m really trying to be a better person.”

Justice Burke was unmoved. He gave Mr. Weinstein 20 years for the felony attack on Ms. Haley and an additional three years for the rape of Jessica Mann, an aspiring actress who testified he had forced himself on her in a Manhattan hotel in 2013.

Six women had given graphic accounts on the witness stand of Mr. Weinstein’s sexual assaults, and they all entered the courtroom together on Wednesday, sitting in the front row of the gallery, just behind the prosecution’s table. Some sobbed as the sentence was announced.

Next to them sat the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr. The rows behind Mr. Weinstein were largely empty.

A Manhattan jury of seven men and five women found Mr. Weinstein guilty on Feb. 25 of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape.

March 6

bbc news logo2BBC, Woody Allen book pulped after walkout at publisher, Staff report, March 6, 2020. Hachette Book Group (HBG) has cancelled plans to woody allen tribeca festival 2009 david shankbonepublish a memoir by Woody Allen, the award-winning film director who has been accused of sexual abuse. Allen is , shown at right in a 2009 photo by David Shankbone.

The decision on Friday came one day after Hachette employees staged an office walkout in protest at the plan to publish the book.

It also came after Allen's son, Ronan Farrow, spoke out against the decision.

ronan farrowMr Farrow, left, a journalist, wrote a book for HBG last year about how powerful men avoid punishment for misconduct. Mr Farrow is Allen's son with actress Mia Farrow.

His adopted sister, Dylan Farrow, has accused Allen of sexually abusing her in 1992 when she was seven years old. He has denies the claim.

A statement by HBG spokeswoman Sophie Cottrell called the decision to pulp Allen's autobiography -- Apropos of Nothing -- "a difficult one".

"At HBG we take our relationships with authors very seriously, and do not cancel books lightly. We have published and will continue to publish many challenging books," she added.

She said that listening sessions had been held with staff members, which led the publisher to come "to the conclusion that moving forward with publication would not be feasible".

The publishing house also plans to return the rights to Allen, the statement added. The book seems to have been acquired by HBG last year, but the announcement that it would be released in April only came this week.

ronan farrow catch and kill CustomDylan Farrow had released a scathing statement on Monday, accusing Hachette of betraying one of their authors, her brother Ronan Farrow, whose book, Catch and Kill, was published by HBG in October 2019.

"Hachette's publishing of Woody Allen's memoir is deeply upsetting to me personally and an utter betrayal of my brother whose brave reporting, capitalised on by Hachette, gave voice to numerous survivors of sexual assault by powerful men," she wrote.

"This provides yet another example of the profound privilege that power, money and notoriety affords. Hachette's complicity in this should be called out for what it is and they should have to answer for it."

Mr Farrow also released a statement, saying that HBG had "concealed the decision from me and its own employees while we were working on Catch and Kill -- a book about how powerful men, including Woody Allen, avoid accountability for sexual abuse".

Catch and Kill tells the story of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was jailed for rape last month.

March 5

tavis smiley Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Jurors find Tavis Smiley violated contract with PBS after testimony about dating and sexually harassing employees, Keith L. Alexander, March 5, 2020 (print ed.). A jury in the District on Wednesday found former PBS talk-show host Tavis Smiley, above, violated his contract with the TV network after hearing accounts of six women who said he had sexually harassed them when they worked for him.

After about 1½ days of deliberations, the jury of seven men and two women determined Smiley, 55, had acted counter to the network’s morals clause, which prohibited on-air talent from participating in any public behavior that would negatively affect the employee or the network.

The women testified through video deposition that during their tenure with Smiley’s company, TS Media, Smiley had pressured them for sex or told lewd jokes. The trial, which lasted about three weeks, was held at D.C. Superior Court because TS Media, while based in Los Angeles, is incorporated in the District.

Smiley admitted to having intimate relationships with two of the women, but testified he never used his position as their boss to pressure or threaten them. And he said any jokes were innocent and not intended to offend.

For 14 years, PBS distributed Smiley’s late-night talk show to 238 PBS stations nationwide, about 72 percent of its network.

The court case began when Smiley claimed the network terminated his contract without proof of the allegations and sued PBS for nearly $1 million. The network countersued for about $1.7 million that it said Smiley owes in money it provided to him for a season that never aired.

PBS attorneys said Smiley could be ordered to pay the network as much as $1.9 million, including penalties and fees. Judge Yvonne Williams, who oversaw the trial, scheduled another hearing to finalize Smiley’s financial penalties.

Epstein Case

PhilosophyInsights via YouTube,

, March 5, 2020 (15 min. video). In this new interview from March 2020, New York financier Dr.  Eric Weinstein goes to the bottom of what happned to Jeffrey Epstein, and asks precisely why journalists and government official do not ask some very basic questions.

Is journalism broken? What was his impression when Eric met Epstein in 2002?

Weinstein, with a Harvard Ph.D. in mathematics, is managing director of Theil Capital. His Wikipedia profile is here.

March 2 chris matthews screenshot

nbc news logoNBC News, Chris Matthews announces retirement, mutually parts ways with MSNBC, Jason Abbruzzese, March 2, 2020. Matthews was due to retire in the near future with the events of the past week playing a factor in the timing of the move, an MSNBC spokesperson said.

Chris Matthews, one of the longest-tenured voices at MSNBC, announced his retirement during Monday’s night’s airing of his talk show, “Hardball.”

Matthews, 74 (shown in a 2011 photo by David Shankbone), said he and MSNBC had mutually agreed to part ways. The decision followed a series of events that resulted in criticism of the host’s statements about Bernie Sanders, African-American lawmakers, and comments he had made to female journalists and coworkers.

“I’m retiring,” Matthews said. “This is the last ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC.”

Matthews was due to retire in the near future with the events of the past week playing a factor in the timing of the move, an MSNBC spokesperson said.

msnbc logo CustomAfter MSNBC aired a commercial following the announcement, Matthews did not return to the program. Steve Kornacki, a political reporter for the network, took over the rest of the hour, and seemed shocked by the news. “That was a lot to take in,” he said, saying it had been an honor to work with Matthews, and then beginning a discussion about the coronavirus response.

Matthews, a former speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter, has hosted “Hardball” on MSNBC since 1999 and remained a centrist voice on the cable news channel’s prime-time programming, which often features commentary that is further to the left.

NBCUniversal is the parent company of MSNBC and NBC News. Matthews said he was not retiring due to a lack of interest in politics, but nodded to changes taking place.

February 2020

Feb. 25

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Harvey Weinstein’s conviction allowed victims to have messy stories. That’s revolutionary, Monica Hesse, Feb. 25, 2020 (print ed.) The #MeToo movement began in 2017 with allegations that the movie mogul had been systemically assaulting women since the beginning of his career. Now, in 2020, we’ll bookmark the spot where a New York jury convicted him of rape in the third degree.

Feb. 12

gabriel matzneff infographic

ny times logoNew York Times, Gabriel Matzneff, Who Wrote for Years About Pedophilia, Is Charged, Norimitsu Onishi, Feb. 12, 2020. Gabriel Matzneff  (shown above), the French writer who talked openly for decades about engaging in pedophilia, was charged on Wednesday in a Paris court with promoting the sexual abuse of children.

Mr. Matzneff, who has been in hiding in the Italian Riviera and did not appear in court, was accused of defending and justifying pedophilia through his many books and public appearances, according to the case filed by l’Ange Bleu, an anti-pedophilia organization.

The court set September 2021 as the start of the trial, which will scrutinize not only the author’s actions but also those of the French elite who published his books, promoted his career and even helped him evade justice.

“Everyone will have to take responsibility,” l’Ange Bleu’s lawyer, Méhana Mouhou, said after the hearing.

L’Ange Bleu is using a special legal procedure to force Mr. Matzneff to stand trial, arguing that its interests as an organization devoted to fighting pedophilia were damaged by Mr. Matzneff’s longstanding promotion of pedophilia. If convicted in that case, Mr. Matzneff, 83, could face up to five years in prison.

Although Mr. Matzneff is not scheduled to appear in court until next year in the case brought by the anti-pedophilia organization, he could face legal challenges sooner if prosecutors decide to charge him in specific cases of abuse.

Prosecutors, who have been criticized in recent weeks for their long inaction despite Mr. Matzneff’s avowed pedophilia, are moving on a separate track that could lead to more criminal charges.

They said on Tuesday that they would actively seek other victims of the author, and on Wednesday they raided for the second time the headquarters of Gallimard, one of Mr. Matzneff’s publishers, to seize more of his books and manuscripts, according to the French news media.

Mr. Matzneff openly talked and wrote about pedophilia, but the dynamic changed after the publication last month of Le Consentement (“Consent”) by Vanessa Springora, the first testimony by one of the writer’s underage victims.

Fueling an abrupt cultural shift in France, the book touched off the sudden downfall of Mr. Matzneff, who was dropped by his three publishers, stripped of a rare benefit from the French government and abandoned by longtime supporters.

Until just a few weeks ago, Mr. Matzneff was recognized as a celebrated writer.

In many books, Mr. Matzneff writes about his relations with teenage girls in France and sex tourism in the Philippines with boys as young as 8. His breakthrough book as an author, from 1974, had the title Les Moins de Seize Ans (“Under 16 Years Old”).

Feb. 11

U.S. Crime / Trafficking

U.S. Department of Justice, United States Attorney Announces Money Laundering Charges Against Operators Of Multimillion-Dollar Nationwide High-End Prostitution Enterprise, Staff Report, Feb. 11, 2020. Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) in New York, and Dermot Shea, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the arrest of Tracy Reynolds, a/k/a “Sara,” and Izhak Cohen, for money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with their ownership and operation of VIP Escorts, a nationwide multimillion-dollar business offering high end prostitution services, as well as the seizure of bank accounts and 391 websites related to the VIP Escorts business.

Reynolds was arrested this morning at Tampa International Airport while boarding a flight to Mexico and was presented today in Tampa federal court. Cohen was arrested by Israeli authorities in Hadera, Israel. The United States Attorney’s Office will seek Cohen’s extradition to stand trial in the United States.

According to the allegations in the Complaint sworn out in Manhattan federal court:[1]

From at least 2012 to the present, Reynolds and Cohen have operated an online high-end prostitution business through their company and its affiliates known as “VIP Escorts.” VIP Escorts maintains a website, http://wvvw.vipescorts.com (the “VIP Escorts Website”), which it used to promote its prostitution services and was registered to Cohen. VIP Escorts also operates an array of affiliated escort websites, which also advertised its prostitution services, with names such as “Prestige Escorts,” “American Escorts,” “Russian Escorts,” and “Manhattan Exotics,” all of which are registered to Cohen.

As part of their prostitution business, Reynolds and Cohen arranged for escorts to meet clients in Manhattan and in numerous other locations for prostitution services, charging them thousands of dollars. Reynolds and Cohen required escorts to deposit the proceeds of their commercial sex acts into a large number of bank accounts that they controlled, many of them in the name of fake entities. Reynolds and Cohen then laundered the money through thousands of domestic and international financial transactions. In total, over $10 million passed through various personal and business accounts controlled by Reynolds during the course of this conspiracy, and over $1 million was sent from Reynolds in the United States to Cohen in Israel in thousands of small transactions designed to conceal the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the proceeds.

Reynolds and Cohen then used the proceeds of the prostitution scheme for personal gain and to further their illegal prostitution business. They paid, for example, over $295,000 from bank accounts under their control to advertise the VIP Escorts business on a known advertising platform for the prostitution industry.

Feb. 9

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Harvey Weinstein accuser Jessica Mann’s dramatic testimony is a new kind of test in sex-crime trials, Shayna Jacobs, Feb. 9, 2020. The actress's admitted consensual sexual relationship with Weinstein, both before and after the alleged assaults, makes her a traditionally imperfect witness.

Feb. 1

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘Angels’ in Hell: The Culture of Misogyny Inside Victoria’s Secret, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Katherine Rosman, Sapna Maheshwari and James B. Stewart, Feb. 1, 2020. Victoria’s Secret defined femininity for millions of women. Its catalog and fashion shows were popular touchstones. For models, landing a spot as an “Angel” all but guaranteed international stardom.

But inside the company, two powerful men presided over an entrenched culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment, according to interviews with more than 30 current and former executives, employees, contractors and models, as well as court filings and other documents.

edward razekEd Razek, right, for decades one of the top executives at L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, was the subject of repeated complaints about inappropriate conduct. He tried to kiss models. He asked them to sit on his lap. He touched one’s crotch ahead of the 2018 Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

Executives said they had alerted Leslie Wexner, the billionaire founder and chief executive of L Brands, about his deputy’s pattern of behavior. Some women who complained faced retaliation. One model, Andi Muise, said Victoria’s Secret had stopped hiring her victorias secret logofor its fashion shows after she rebuffed Mr. Razek’s advances.

A number of the brand’s models agreed to pose nude, often without being paid, for a prominent Victoria’s Secret photographer who later used some pictures in an expensive coffee-table book — an arrangement that made L Brands executives uncomfortable about women feeling pressured to take their clothes off.

The atmosphere was set at the top. Mr. Razek, the chief marketing officer, was perceived as Mr. Wexner’s proxy, leaving many employees with the impression he was invincible, according to current and former employees. On multiple occasions, Mr. Wexner himself was heard demeaning women.

January 2020

#MeToo / Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Top NRA official placed on leave, Virginia court filing states, Beth Reinhard, Jan. 31, 2020. A top National Rifle Association official has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the nonprofit group’s lawyer, according to a recent court filing, in a sign of ongoing turmoil surrounding the nation’s largest gun group.

nra logo CustomThe removal of Joshua L. Powell, the NRA’s chief of staff, was referenced in a Jan. 23 filing in Alexandria Circuit Court by the NRA’s former public relations agency, Ackerman McQueen. “Mr. Powell has now been placed ‘on leave’ by the NRA pending an investigation by NRA counsel,” the filing in Virginia says.

The NRA and Ackerman are engaged in a sprawling legal battle with multiple lawsuits and countersuits that encompass accusations of reckless spending and leaks to the media.


Jan. 31

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump signs executive order to combat human trafficking as some advocacy groups boycott summit, Jessica Contrera, Jan. 31, 2020. President Trump signed an executive order Friday creating a position within his domestic policy team dedicated solely to fighting human trafficking. The order, signed during a White House summit on the issue, also proposes an additional $42 million in funding for service programs and prosecutions.

“Human trafficking is worse than ever before because of the Internet,” Trump said. “The Internet has caused lots of good things to happen and lots of really bad things, and this is probably the worst of the bad things.”

Trump was joined by Vice President Pence and first daughter Ivanka Trump, whom he credited for championing the issue.

“I would say that this issue may be closest to her heart because of the level of evil that you would never believe is even possible in a modern age,” Trump said.

william barr new oIvanka Trump’s office organized the summit to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which established trafficking as a federal crime. While some anti-trafficking organizations were grateful for the spotlight on the issue, others boycotted the event, citing the administration’s treatment of trafficking victims who are immigrants. Among them was Polaris, the organization that runs the national human-trafficking hotline.

He praised Attorney General William P. Barr, right, for going after traffickers.

“My administration is fighting these monsters, persecuting and prosecuting them, locking them away for a very, very long time,” Trump said. “We have had a tremendous track record, the best track record in a long time.”

Statistics from the Justice Department show otherwise. Prosecutions of sex and labor traffickers, which fluctuated during the Obama years, are down from 531 in fiscal 2016 to 343 in fiscal 2019.

  • Washington Post, Anti-human-trafficking groups refuse to attend Ivanka Trump’s White House summit, Jessica Contrera, Jan. 30, 2020.

Jan. 29

keith raniere nxivm

ny times logoNew York Times, Nxivm ‘Sex Cult’ Was Also a Huge Pyramid Scheme, Lawsuit Says, Nicole Hong, Jan. 29, 2020. Eighty people contended that they were bilked out of millions of dollars through a “coercive” scheme by the self-help group. The self-help group Nxivm gained a reputation as a “sex cult” last year after its leader, Keith Raniere, was convicted of coercing some of his female followers into sexual servitude, even creating a ritual in which they were branded with his initials.

But a lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday illuminated another unsavory side of Nxivm. Most participants in the group were not Mr. Raniere’s sex slaves, the lawsuit said, but rather victims of an insidious pyramid scheme who were lured by false scientific claims into paying thousands of dollars for classes.

“They get you to not trust your own decision-making process,” said one former member, Sally Brink, who said she paid $145,000 to take Nxivm classes over the years. “They tell you that you need them to make decisions. You start to doubt everything.”

Ms. Brink was among the 80 plaintiffs who sued Mr. Raniere and 14 other associates of Nxivm (pronounced NEX-ee-um).

The 200-page lawsuit details sprawling allegations of fraud and abuse, including that Nxivm’s leaders drew “from methods used in pyramid schemes” to take people’s money and make it “physically and psychologically difficult, and in some cases impossible, to leave the coercive community.”

Jan. 27

geoffrey berman epstein

ny times logoNew York Times, Prince Andrew Offers ‘Zero Cooperation’ in Epstein Case, F.B.I. Says, Nicole Hong, Jan. 27, 2020. The United States attorney in Manhattan said the prince had not responded to their requests. Federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. have sought to interview Prince Andrew about Jeffrey Epstein, but he has provided “zero cooperation,” the United States attorney in Manhattan said on Monday.

Geoffrey S. Berman, shown above in a file photo with a portrait of Epstein, the United States attorney, revealed Prince Andrew’s lack of prince andrew august 2014cooperation in response to a reporter’s question during a news conference outside Mr. Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion about victims of human and sex trafficking.

Prince Andrew, shown at right, following a disastrous TV interview over his ties to Mr. Epstein, said in a statement late last year that he was willing to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in their investigations into the disgraced financier and his associates.

“Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required,” his statement said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The Post’s misguided suspension of Felicia Sonmez over Kobe Bryant tweets, Erik Wemple, Jan. 27, 2020.
The Post has suspended reporter Felicia Sonmez following her social-media activity over the death of NBA great Kobe Bryant. Here’s the explanation from Managing Editor Tracy Grant: “National political reporter Felicia Sonmez was placed on administrative leave while The Post reviews whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy. The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues.”

What did Sonmez do to deserve this brushback? She tweeted out a very good story from the Daily Beast.

News of Bryant’s death on Sunday prompted an immediate and overwhelming expression of grief on Twitter, with fans and followers praising an NBA icon. The perennial all-star perished in a helicopter crash along with eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Sonmez wished to remind everyone of one incident in Bryant’s life.

An immediate and overwhelming expression of anger piled on Sonmez from Twitter users. Sonmez had directed her followers to this April 2016 story in the Daily Beast by Marlow Stern. Written at the time of Bryant’s farewell tour through NBA cities, the story takes a deep look at the sexual-assault allegation against Bryant stemming from his 2003 visit to Colorado’s Lodge & Spa at Cordillera. The case never made it to trial because the 19-year-old accuser — “who had been dragged through the mud for months by the media and Bryant’s defense team,” wrote Stern — declined to testify. She did, however, file a separate civil complaint, which Bryant settled.

Associated Press via Washington Post, ‘I’m being raped’: Weinstein accuser details alleged assault, Michael R. Sisak and Tom Hays, Jan. 27, 2020.
As she tried to fight off Harvey Weinstein’s advances, Mimi Haleyi told him “no, no, no” before he held her down on a bed and forcibly performed oral sex on her, she said in emotional testimony Monday at Weinstein’s trial.

harvey weinsteinHaleyi, one of two women whose assault accusations led to Weinstein’s trial, took the stand Monday and, at times sobbing, detailed her allegation that the disgraced movie mogul sexually assaulted her at his New York City apartment in 2006.

“I did reject him, but he insisted. Every time I tried to get off the bed, he would push me back and hold me down,” the former “Project Runway” production assistant testified, adding that she told Weinstein she was menstruating in an attempt to deter him.

Haleyi, now 42, told jurors she thought, “I’m being raped,” and considered different options. “If I scream rape, will someone hear me?” she wondered.

“I checked out and decided to endure it,” she said. “That was the safest thing I could do.”

Haleyi is the first of the two women at the heart of the case to take the stand at his trial. A total of six accusers are expected to testify, but because of the statute of limitations and other legal technicalities, Weinstein is charged in only two incidents: The alleged rape of an aspiring actress in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and the alleged sexual assault of Haleyi. Under New York law applicable at the time, Weinstein is not being charged with rape in connection with Haleyi’s accusations.

Weinstein, 67, has insisted any sexual encounters were consensual.

One of his attorneys, Damon Cheronis, used his cross examination to zero in on Haleyi’s continued relationship with Weinstein after the alleged assault.

He showed jurors a friendly email she sent him after they ran into each other at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. Cheronis pointed to calendar entries and emails that show Haleyi meeting with Weinstein, above right, pitching him on a television show and traveling at his expense to Los Angeles and London. When they couldn’t connect before she left London, she sent him an email lamenting: “totally bummed to have missed you guys.”

Haleyi conceded she’d been in contact with Weinstein “not often, but yes occasionally” and that she sent the 2008 email after a newspaper article reminded her of a conversation they had weeks before the alleged assault.

Jan. 25

jeffrey epstein mcc cell 60 minutes

Epstein died in August at MCC Manhattan (shown above in a photo via CBS "60 Minutes") while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida. His cell is seen above after his death. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner, but his attorneys have contested that finding. His cell is seen above after his death. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner, but his attorneys have contested that finding.

Daily Mail, Warden who was in charge when Jeffrey Epstein died behind bars is quietly given a top job at 'Club Fed' prison -- despite Bill Barr ordering him assigned to a lowly desk job, Keith Griffith and Associated Press, Jan. 25, 2020. The warden in charge when Jeffrey Epstein died in his jail cell is getting a cushy new supervisor's job at 'Club Fed' despite Attorney General Bill Barr's demand that he be reassigned to a desk job.

Lamine N'Diaye is being reassigned to a leadership role at FCI Fort Dix, a low-security prison in Burlington County, New Jersey, two people familiar with the matter said.

The move comes months after Barr ordered N'Diaye be reassigned to a desk post at the Bureau of Prisons' regional office in Pennsylvania after Epstein´s death as the FBI and the Justice Department´s inspector general investigated.

One of the people said the agency planned to move N´Diaye into the new role on February 2. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal personnel matter.

It was unclear why the agency was planning to return N'Diaye to a position supervising inmates and staff members, even though multiple investigations into Epstein´s death remain active.

The inspector general's investigation is continuing, and the Justice Department is still probing the circumstances that led to Epstein´s death, including why he wasn´t given a cellmate.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderEpstein, right, died in August while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.

Epstein's death cast a spotlight on the Bureau of Prisons and highlighted a series of safety lapses inside a high-security unit of one of the most secure jails in America.

His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner, but his attorneys have contested that finding and argued he may have been killed.

Barr said even Epstein's ability to take his own life in federal custody had raised 'serious questions that must be answered.'

He said in an interview with the AP in November that the investigation revealed a 'series' of mistakes made that gave Epstein the chance to take his own life and that his death was the result of 'a perfect storm of screw-ups.'

Epstein died in August at MCC Manhattan (above) while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida.

Two correctional officers responsible for watching Epstein have pleaded not guilty to charges alleging they lied on prison records to make it seem as though they had checked on Epstein, as required, before his death.

Instead, investigators say they appeared to sleep for two hours and had been browsing the internet - shopping for furniture and motorcycles - instead of watching Epstein, who was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes.

The attorney general also removed the agency´s acting director in the wake of Epstein's death and named Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, the prison agency´s director from 1992 until 2003, to replace him.

Since Epstein´s death and N'Diaye´s removal as warden, the Manhattan jail has had two interim leaders.

The newest warden, M. Licon-Vitale, used to oversee a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Her first big order of business has been to deal with jailed lawyer Michael Avenatti's complaints about his treatment at the lockup.

The Bureau of Prisons has been plagued for years by chronic violence, extensive staffing shortages and serious misconduct.

Jan. 24

More On Epstein Scandal

Cindy McCain, widow of longtime Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), admits 'we all knew' about Epstein in interview by Georgetown Professor Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, an expert on human rights, religious freedom, and international affairs. The session, "A Conversation: The Scourge of Human Trafficking" excerpted into a two-minute segment on YouTube, was part of a two-day panel "State of the World 2020" on Jan. 9 at Florida International University in Miami.

Washington Examiner, Cindy McCain admits ‘we all knew’ about Epstein, Spencer Neale, Jan. 24, 2020. Cindy McCain, the widow of late Sen. John McCain, blasted authorities who were "afraid" to arrest convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein even though everyone "knew" what he was doing.

"Epstein was hiding in plain sight," said Cindy McCain. "We all knew about him. We all knew what he was doing, but we had no one that was — no legal aspect that would go after him. They were afraid of him. For whatever reason, they were afraid of him."

McCain's comments came after she was questioned by an attendee during her appearance at the State of the World 2020 conference in Florida (on Jan. 9, sponsored by Florida International University).

McCain said a girl from her daughter's high school was one of Epstein's victims and that she hopes Epstein "is in hell."

Epstein's massive wealth and his connections to powerful politicians and celebrities allowed him to continue trafficking young women and girls long after many had exposed his devious interests.

Dr. Barbara Sampson, the New York City medical examiner, said Epstein died by suicide at a Manhattan federal detention facility last August. His death and the circumstances surrounding it have created controversy after the former medical examiner of New York, Dr. Michael Baden, told 60 Minutes that he believes Epstein was murdered.

Cameras from outside Epstein's jail cell failed to record footage on the night of his death, and guards who were supposed to monitor him every 30 minutes fell asleep when the former financier died.

washington post logoharvey weinsteinWashington Post, Opinion: Harvey Weinstein’s defense strategy is wretched, Monica Hesse, Jan. 24, 2020. According to his attorney, if actress Annabella Sciorra really had been raped she would have told her condo board.

  • Washington Post, Opinion: Damning new audio of Trump illuminates the Ukraine scandal’s back alleys, Greg Sargent, Jan. 24, 2020.
  • Washington Post, Opinion: Impeachment managers must choose the bad or the unpalatable, Jonathan Turley, Jan. 24, 2020.

Jan. 23

Law & Crime, Survivors Demand Manhattan DA ‘Resign Immediately’ Over Lenient Treatment of Wealthy Sexual Predators, Colin Kalmbacher, Jan. 23, 2020. Sexual assault survivors in New York City are demanding the immediate resignation of Manhattan District Cyrus Vance Jr. over his long and documented history of leniency toward elite and wealthy sex criminals.

According to Politico’s local desk, several such survivors made their case for Vance’s swift departure at City Hall on Thursday, highlighting a recent sweetheart deal gifted to Columbia University gynecologist Dr. Robert Hadden.

cyrus vance jrThe disgraced OB/GYN is accused of sexually assaulting no less than 19 of his former patients—including Evelyn Yang, wife of 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

“Most women don’t know what you’re supposed to get when you’re pregnant,” Yang recently said in an interview—adding that she was initially unsure about what happened and that she only decided to open up about Hadden after other survivors came forward.

“I feel like I put up with some inappropriate behavior that I didn’t know at the time was straight-up sexual abuse slash sexual assault until much later,” Yang continued, saying those doubts eventually dissipated. “I knew it was wrong. I knew I was being assaulted.”

One of those additional survivors is Marissa Hoechstetter, who led Thursday’s action against Vance. Hoechstetter was the first woman to come forward about Hadden’s abuse. She claims he conducted unwarranted breast exams, made lewd comments about her looks and, as the final straw, licked her vagina during a postpartum examination several years ago. Several additional woman have since come forward to register similar accusations.

“From the start, there were inappropriate questions. There was a lot of touching. There were exams without nurses or other people in the room, and on the last occasion, when I knew that something happened, he licked me. And I knew that that happened and I never went back to the office again,” Hoechstetter previously told CBS News.

Jan. 17

More On Epstein Death

jeffrey epstein mehmet oz david shankbone flickr palm beach sheriff dept Custom

Jeffrey Epstein (left). Dr Mehmet Oz. (Right). Photo credit: David Shankbone / Flickr (CC BY 2.0) and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department / Wikimedia

WhoWhatWhy, More Reasons to Question the Jeffrey Epstein ‘Suicide,’ Staff report, Jan. 17, 2020. Forensic pathologist Michael Baden has expanded on the evidence he provided to 60 Minutes. What he finds is more consistent with murder than with suicide.

On the heels of his analysis in a 60 Minutes interview pointing to reasons to believe Jeffrey Epstein may have been murdered, forensic pathologist Michael Baden is now back with more claims.

Baden, who was hired by Epstein’s family, presented his evidence on a Dr. Oz special, aired on January 16. In case you missed it, here are the main highlights with respect to the medical evidence. (He presented other evidence as well, on both shows.)

Previously, we posted our own observations that suggested Epstein may not have died from hanging: They concerned the strangeness of the marks across his throat — not only their location (too low, as pointed out by 60 Minutes), but the nature of the marks themselves.

 ken starr alan dershowitz Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Kenneth Starr, Alan Dershowitz to join Trump’s legal team, John Wagner and Josh Dawsey​, Jan. 17, 2020. The ken starr baylorexpansion of President Trump’s team will also include Robert Ray, according to someone familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak. Ray and Starr, right, investigated President Bill Clinton.

Jan. 16

Daily Mail via MSN, 'You watched me be abused': Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Roberts takes aim at Naomi Campbell and Ghislaine Maxwell as she tweets 'you saw me at your parties, you saw me in Epstein's homes,' Chris Dyer, Jan. 26, 2020. Jeffrey Epstein's former 'sex slave' has shared photos of what seem to be her standing next to Naomi Campbell and Ghislaine Maxwell in a tweet that claims: 'You watched me be abused'.

Virginia Roberts alleges she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times at the homes of his late friend Epstein, who she says trafficked her while she was underage over the course of years of abuse.

The 36-year-old tweeted a message today alleging guests saw her at parties and did not intervene to help. Roberts appeared to be pictured beside supermodel Naomi Campbell at her 31st birthday party in St Tropez, France, in 2001.

Roberts, who now goes by her married name of Giuffre, named Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein, Naomi Campbell and Prince Andrew in the tweet - though it is not clear who precisely she is accusing of what.

She wrote: 'You saw me at your parties, you saw me in Epstein's homes, you saw me on the plane, you saw me get my haircut, you saw me on the streets, you watched me be abused. You saw me! #Awareness #Justice #GhislaineMaxwell #JeffreyEpstein #NaomiCampbell #PrinceAndrew.'

There is no evidence Campbell or her guests knew of Epstein's crimes or who Roberts was when she allegedly attended the event.

Jan. 15

Miami Herald, Virgin Islands allege Jeffrey Epstein trafficked girls as young as 11 as recently as 2018, Daniel Chang and Kevin G. Hall, Jan. 15, 2020. A miami herald logolawsuit filed Wednesday by the top law enforcement officer in the U.S. Virgin Islands alleges that multimillionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually trafficked hundreds of young women and girls on his private island as recently as 2018 by using a web of shell companies to carry out and conceal his crimes.

The Miami Herald is partnering with the Miami Foundation to launch the Investigative Journalism Fund. With your donations, we can do more projects like Perversion of Justice, our series on Jeffrey Epstein. By Emily Michot

perversion of justice miami herald logoThe allegations, if validated, broaden the scope of Epstein’s sexual trafficking, and shed new light on the tactics Epstein used to hide jeffrey epstein at harvard universityhis illicit activities.

Epstein, right, who was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell last year, allegedly brought girls as young as 11 to his private island, known as Little St. James, and maintained a database to track their availability and movements, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit, first reported by The New York Times, was filed by Denise George, attorney general of the Virgin Islands. George alleged in the lawsuit that Epstein used a network of shell companies to hold properties, including Little St. James and Great St. James, at which the former financier engaged in human trafficking, forced labor, sexual servitude and other criminal behavior.

Jan. 13

jeffrey epstein autopsy photos

Legal Schnauzer, Opinion: Surveillance video of Jeffrey Epstein's jail cell has been "accidentally" destroyed, and that along with analysis of autopsy evidence, points to homicide, not suicide, Roger Shuler, Jan. 13, 2020. Federal prosecutors revealed late last week that surveillance video from Jeffrey Epstein's first "suicide attempt" at New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) no longer exists -- and that adds to troubling questions about Trump attorney general William Barr's possible involvement in a murder coverup, according to a D.C.-based investigative journalist.

The latest turn in the Epstein story came when attorneys for Epstein's [previous] cellmate -- former cop and quadruple drug-ring murderer Nicholas Tartaglione, below right -- requested the video in an nicholas tartaglione facebook Customapparent effort to clear their client of involvement in Epstein's death. The response from federal prosecutors? Any such video has been lost or destroyed. A new story (subscription required) at Wayne Madsen Report (WMR) says that only adds to the stench surrounding Epstein's death.

Writes Madsen:

Federal prosecutors in New York have revealed that the MCC's video of the Special Housing Unit (SHU) cell where Epstein was placed with former cop Nicholas Tartaglione, charged with a quadruple homicide involving a drug ring, was "accidentally" destroyed. Epstein is said to have tried to commit suicide by hanging himself on July 23, 2019, while Tartaglione was in his cell. Under suspicion for strangling Epstein in the alleged first suicide attempt, Tartaglione's attorney requested a copy of the July 23 videotape to demonstrate that he "acted appropriately" in his sentencing. Federal prosecutors are asking for the death penalty for Tartaglione.

It is not known what Tartaglione meant by stating that he "acted appropriately" while Epstein tried to hang himself. Epstein's attorney claimed that marks on Epstein's neck (shown above) were more indicative of a strangling attempt, not an attempted suicide by hanging. Epstein had apparently passed information to his relatives that his first injuries were sustained as the result of a physical attack, and that it was Tartaglione who assaulted him.

How could an exceptionally dangerous bad actor, such as Tartaglione, be placed anywhere near the alleged sex trafficker Epstein, who because of his ties to Trump, was perhaps the nation's most high-profile inmate at the time? That is one of many head-scratchers in this case. Writes Madsen:

It is clear that Tartaglione is trying to bargain his way out of a death sentence. What is not clear is what the July 23 videotape, had it not been destroyed, would have shown. In a January 9 letter a federal judge, prosecutors stated that the MCC "inadvertently preserved video from the wrong tier," adding that the video from Epstein's and Tartaglione's cell "no longer exists." Earlier, prosecutors told the judge that the tape had been "lost." They then changed their story to state that the video they discovered was trained on the wrong cell.

It defies logic that one of the government's most secure correctional facilities, the one that held Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel chieftain "El Chapo" and Gambino family kingpin John Gotti during their trials, could have destroyed a videotape on its most high-profile inmate.

How ugly could Tartaglione's possible ties to Epstein's death get? The answer is "off-the-charts" ugly, as Madsen explains:

Just prior to Epstein's arrival at the MCC following his arrest at a New Jersey airport, Tartaglione had been found with a contraband cell phone. There is a distinct possibility that Tartaglione received orders over the cell phone to kill Epstein at the first practical opportunity. Tartaglione is now claiming that he "acted appropriately" in the cell with Epstein. In Targtaglione's world of gangland-style murders, "acting appropriately" might mean that he tried to carry out his orders to off Epstein, but, for some reason, Epstein managed to survive the attempted strangulation.

Once Epstein survived the first "suicide" event, did someone in authority takes steps to make sure he was safe? Nope. After Epstein was found semi-conscious in his cell on July 23, he was moved to a special cell where he was placed under a suicide watch.

An MCC psychologist later approved Epstein's removal from the suicide watch and back to the SHU. On August 10 [when Epstein had no assigned cellmate], Epstein was found strangled to death from what was reported to have been a noose crafted from a torn orange bed sheet (shown above at left). There are reports that “shrieking” and “shouting” were heard from Epstein’s cell shortly before his body was discovered by guards.

Jan. 12

charlotte remenyik with fencing student ohio state archives CustomOSU fencing coach Charlotte Remenyik gives a coaching tip to a fencing student in 1981 (Ohio State Archives photo).

nbc news logoNBC News, Former Ohio State fencing coach sounded alarm on abusive doctor decades ago, Corky Siemaszko, Jan. 12, 2020. Former Ohio State fencing coach sounded alarm on abusive doctor decades ago. Hungarian refugee Charlotte Remenyik 'was a hero' who dueled with Dr. Richard Strauss, who is accused of molesting hundreds of male athletes.

She watched out for her guys. Former Ohio State University fencing coach Charlotte Remenyik was one of the very few school officials to formally richard strauss osu lantern screenshotsound the alarm about Dr. Richard Strauss during the nearly two decades that he molested hundreds of young male athletes and students, often under the guise of a medical examination. Her warnings can be found in records uncovered by investigators with a law firm hired to conduct an independent investigation into Strauss.

In fact, Remenyik regularly warned her athletes about Strauss, right, and was so persistent that the doctor personally complained about her to the top brass at OSU.

“The reason for the persistence of the rumors in the fencing team became clear: a personal and continuous vendetta against me by Coach Remenyik,” Strauss wrote in a letter dated June 3, 1996, to OSU’s then vice-president for student affairs. “Approximately once a year, Coach Remenyik took various members of the team aside and told them to ‘watch out’ for me, citing ‘rumors’.”

ohio state buckeyes logoStrauss’ redacted letter was included in a damning report released last year by the Perkins Coie law firm, hired by OSU to conduct an independent investigation, which concluded that coaches and administrators knew that Strauss was sexually abusing athletes and students but failed to stop him.

“She was a hero,” said Stephen Snyder-Hill, a Strauss victim and one of the leaders of the drive to hold OSU accountable. “She was the only one who formally stood up.”

Remenyik is also the only former OSU coach named in the report. She appears on page 92 as a person who raised “concerns” about Strauss in 1994 to Senior Associate Athletic Director Paul Krebs.

In a letter dated Nov. 7, 1994, OSU’s then-Director of Sports Medicine John A. Lombardo dismissed Remenyik’s concerns. “I have spoken with her and her concerns are based on rumors which has been generated for 10 years with no foundation,” Lombardo wrote in the letter, which was included in the Perkins Coie report. “However, due to the pervasive nature of these rumors, the male athletes do not feel comfortable with Dr. Strauss as their physicians.”

NBC News was unable to reach Krebs for comment. But Remenyik’s report was not based on rumors, her daughter, Csilla Smith, said. Among the fencers who told Remenyik directly that Strauss had crossed the line was her future son-in-law, Kevin Smith, she said. “He went in to be treated for a torn earlobe and the first thing he said was to drop trou,” Smith said of her husband. “Kevin refused and told my mother what happened.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Short on Legal Options, #MeToo Accusers Turn to Defamation Suits, Julia Jacobs, Jan. 12, 2020. The Weinstein trial is rare because most sexual misconduct claims are too old to litigate. But women, and men, are finding another way to get to court.

ashley judd headshotAshley Judd, right,  was one of the first women to attach her name to accusations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, below at left, but like many of the claims that followed, her account of intimidating sexual advances was too old to bring Mr. Weinstein to court over.

Then a legal window opened to her. After reading about a director’s claim that Mr. Weinstein’s studio, Miramax, had described Ms. Judd as a “nightmare to work harvey weinsteinwith,” she sued the producer for defamation in 2018.

Mr. Weinstein’s rape trial in Manhattan, which began with jury selection last week, is a spectacle not only because he is the avatar of the #MeToo era, but also because it is one of the few sexual assault cases to surface with allegations recent enough to result in criminal charges.

So, unable to pursue justice directly, women and men on both sides of #MeToo are embracing the centuries-old tool of defamation lawsuits, opening an alternative legal battleground for accusations of sexual misconduct.

While the facts of the cases vary, the plaintiffs are generally using defamation law not just for its usual purpose — to dissuade damaging speech about them — but also as a tool to enlist the courts to endorse their version of disputed events.

Jan. 10

Fox #MeToo Scandals

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘I do wish I had done more’: Megyn Kelly tearfully reacts to ‘Bombshell’ and the fallout of the Fox News sexual harassment scandal, Katie Shepherd, Jan. 10, 2020. Hot, dry and windy conditions caused two large blazes to merge into one the size of the state of Delaware — or about eight times larger than New York City. As the young woman excitedly pitched herself for a job to the company’s senior executive, a man dressed in an expensive suit, he appeared to be listening intently, nodding as she listed all of the skills she could bring to the position. Then, he gave her an order: “Do a little spin for me.”

fox news logo SmallThe uncomfortable scene comes from the recently released film “Bombshell,” but the story could have been told by many women at Fox News who said former chief roger ailes wexecutive Roger Ailes, right, asked them the same question in his office.

“Turn around let me see your ass,” Juliet Huddy, a former Fox News host, recalled Ailes telling her in a video shared Thursday by Megyn Kelly after the women watched the movie together. Two other victims of harassment at Fox, Rudi Bakhtiar and Julie Zann, joined them to share their thoughts on the fictionalized drama about the scandal that upended their careers.

All four of the women said Ailes had asked them to twirl for him. Only Bakhtiar, a former Fox News correspondent, said she refused. Kelly recalled the humiliation she felt after Ailes asked her to spin for him.

Cypriot Court

Guardian, Podcast: Why Was an Alleged Rape Victim Convicted for Lying? Rachel Humphreys with Noa Shpigel and Michael Polak, Jan. 10, 2020. On July 17, 2019, an 18-year old British woman claimed she had been gang-raped by a group of Israeli tourists. But 10 days later she was being charged with lying by the Cypriot police. Michael Polak, her lawyer, discusses the case, while Israeli journalist Noa Shpigel describes covering the story.

This week, a British teenager was finally allowed to return home after a Cypriot court handed her a four-month suspended sentence. The student, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been found guilty of public mischief by claiming she was raped by a group of male Israeli tourists while on holiday in Ayia Napa last July.

The verdict led to widespread criticism of both the Cypriot justice system and the judge who heard the case. Michael Polak is a lawyer for the legal aid group Justice Abroad and is representing the British woman.

Jan. 5

CBS Epstein Probe

michael baden office cbs Custom

The New York City Medical Examiner's Office ruled Epstein's death a suicide by hanging, but a forensic pathologist (shown above in a CBS 60 Minutes screenshot) who observed the four-hour autopsy on behalf of Epstein's brother, Mark, tells 60 Minutes the evidence released so far points more to murder than suicide in his view. Dr. Michael Baden's key reason: the unusual fractures he saw in Epstein's neck.

cbs news logoCBS, 60 Minutes investigates the death of Jeffrey Epstein, Produced by Oriana Zill de Granados, correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi, Jan. 5, 2019. (14:14 mins). 60 Minutes examines the circumstances surrounding his death in a Manhattan federal jail cell. Warning: This report contains graphic images that some viewers may find disturbing. Continued from above.

In July 2019, Jeffrey Epstein, already a convicted sex offender, was arrested and charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors. On August 10, Epstein was found dead in his federal jail cell at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC).

The New York City Medical Examiner's Office ruled Epstein's death a suicide by hanging, but a forensic pathologist who observed the four-hour autopsy on behalf of Epstein's brother, Mark, tells 60 Minutes the evidence released so far points more to murder than suicide in his view. Dr. Michael Baden's key reason: the unusual fractures he saw in Epstein's neck.

"There were fractures of the left, the right thyroid cartilage and the left hyoid bone," Baden said. "I have never seen three fractures like this in a suicidal hanging."

"Going over a thousand jail hangings, suicides in the New York City state prisons over the past 40-50 years, no one had three fractures," Baden said.

The medical examiner's office said it stands "firmly" behind its finding of suicide by hanging, arguing that fractures of the hyoid bone and cartilage can be seen in both suicides and homicides.

Still, questions linger.

Epstein was directing money to be deposited in other inmates' commissary accounts in exchange for protection, sources say, because he feared for his life. But the government says Epstein was suicidal and made his first, failed suicide attempt weeks after he arrived at MCC.

According to a federal indictment, on July 23 Epstein was found "on the floor of his cell with a strip of bedsheet around his neck." The government says it was a failed suicide attempt, but Epstein claimed his cellmate, 52-year-old former police officer Nick Tartaglione, attacked him. Tartaglione, who is accused of murdering four men, denied that and his lawyer says: "Absolutely nothing like that happened." His lawyer also says Tartaglione was cleared by jail officials.

jeffrey epstein new mug cropped july 2019Epstein was put on suicide watch after the incident, but one week later, "at the direction of the MCC's psychological staff," he was taken off suicide watch and "required to have an assigned cellmate."

Epstein (Jeffrey Epstein, seen in a March 28, 2017, image provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry) was moved back to his old unit and assigned a new cellmate, but the night before his death, Epstein's cellmate was released. According to court documents, "no new cellmate was assigned" before he died, even though he was required to have one.

That night, federal prosecutors say, "Epstein was escorted into his cell by Tova Noel at approximately 7:49 p.m." Noel and Michael Thomas, the two guards who were working the overnight shift in Epstein's unit, allegedly didn't check on him again until "shortly after 6:30 a.m." the next morning.

The two guards have been charged with falsifying documents and conspiracy to defraud the federal government. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Federal prosecutors say surveillance video "makes clear" that the guards "search[ed] the internet" and "appear to have been asleep" on their overnight overtime shift. One thing the video may not show, according to sources, is Epstein's cell door and the doors of the other inmates on his unit tier. Sources say the camera that should have captured those angles was corrupted the night of Epstein's death. Epstein's cell was about 15 feet away and up a set of stairs from the guards' station, with a single locked gate between them.

60 Minutes reviewed hundreds of graphic photographs from Epstein's autopsy and inside his cell. There are multiple nooses, a bit of orange sheet tied to the grate of a window. On the top bunk, bottles and medicines stand upright. Below it, another piece of fabric is tied through a hole on the bed about four feet from the ground.

Did Epstein, who was nearly 6 feet tall and 185 pounds, somehow lean in and hang himself from the lower bunk? We don't know.

Dr. Baden, the forensic pathologist hired by Epstein's family, says the noose that was sketched and included in the autopsy report doesn't appear to match the wounds on Epstein's neck. And Baden says, the ligature mark was in the middle of Epstein's neck, not beneath the jawbone, as one would expect in a hanging. Also puzzling to Baden is that Epstein would make a noose out of a bedsheet when wires and cords were present in his cell, as photographs show.

There are not any photos of Epstein's body in his cell, Baden says – he was rushed to an emergency room after guard Michael Thomas found him. But Baden believes, based on the autopsy, Epstein had been dead for two hours by then and he says the scene should have been treated as a crime scene, leaving the body alone. Federal Bureau of Prisons protocol mandates a suicide scene should be treated with the "same level of protection as any crime scene in which a death has occurred."

Baden has taken several controversial positions over his decades-long career.

.And Baden said, at this point, he doesn't have all the information needed to make a final conclusion. The Justice Department told the family, they say, that it won't release the video pertaining to the case and additional forensic testing because of the ongoing criminal case against the two guards on duty the night of Epstein's death.

The charges have also silenced the guards themselves. Michael Thomas's attorney Montell Figgins says Thomas still hasn't spoken to investigators or revealed how he, alone, found Epstein's body, a key piece of information in any death investigation.

One member of the Justice Department who has gone on record about the case is Attorney General William Barr. He told reporters in November he personally reviewed surveillance video that showed nobody entered the area where Epstein was held. Sources say he may be talking about surveillance video above the guard area or at the entrance to the Special Housing Unit. But this remains to be seen as the Department of Justice would not comment to 60 Minutes about which cameras were working that night.

Weinstein Trial To Begin

ny times logoNew York Times, Weinstein Heads to Trial in a Case Seen as Larger Than One Man, Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor and Jan Ransom, Jan. 5, 2020. The Hollywood producer (shown at right)  faces sexual assault charges in a case that has already been fraught both for prosecutors and his legal team.

harvey weinsteinSince the Harvey Weinstein story broke more than two years ago, everything about it has been outsized: the scope of the allegations of sexual harassment and assault, stretching back decades; the number of his accusers, who total more than 80; and the global scale of the reckoning their stories have inspired.

Many supporters of the #MeToo movement that Mr. Weinstein’s accusers helped ignite are looking to see whether the legal system can deliver justice for victims. Lawyers for Mr. Weinstein, who lost his company, his reputation and his marriage, are arguing that the case is proof that #MeToo has gone too far. At the courthouse, media from around the world, demonstrators outside and spectators in packed galleries will be watching.

Now, as the Hollywood producer’s criminal trial begins Monday in Manhattan, the outcome already is anticipated as a verdict on much more than one man’s alleged wrongdoing.

Jan. 7

Media News

daniel hopsickerMadcow News, Investigation & Commentary: Paint It Mint, Daniel Hopsicker, right, Jan. 7, 2020. On the eve of war, with breaking news advancing like an electrical storm across the horizon, I was outmaneuvered by an internet troll into promising to explain what I know about a bizarre little Minneapolis news site called MintPress News.

This is that story.

Who stands behind Mint Press, a small Minneapolis-based site with a progressive bent that hides its funding even from employees and has mysterious connections to the Middle East?

Their poking around also establishes the nature of the mystery. The background to the case.

In stories filed with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, MinnPost, and the Colombia Journalism Review, journalists on the ground in Minnesota provided most of the following details.

Interviews with former employees and people familiar with the inner workings of Mint Press, they wrote, paint a portrait of a dysfunctional outlet where employees are left in the dark about the site’s sources of funding and are alienated from the Muhawesh family that runs it:

odeh muhawesh CustomMnar Muhawesh, the editor-in-chief, her brother-in-law and managing editor Muhammad Muhawesh, and her father-in-law Odeh Muhawesh, 54, left, a Minneapolis businessman born in Jordan.

They also revealed an agenda that lines up, from its sympathy with the Syrian regime to its hostility to Sunni Saudi Arabia, with that of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where Odeh Muhawesh studied under an ayatollah for five years after the Islamic Revolution, and where he visited as recently as last summer.

A fellow researcher recently discovered information indicating Odeh Muhawesh was part of a government operation with the father of Peter Strzok, the recently-famous and controversial FBI Agent.

Before to the invasion of Iraq by the George W. Bush regime, Muhawesh opened an office as president of Middle East Trading Company, Inc. in Jordan to provide agricultural and developmental projects within Iraq with funding from federal agencies like U.S. AID and the United Nations World Food Progress.

Peter Strzok, Sr. was the former director of humanitarian and development programs throughout the Middle East. Strzok organized a program to send used tractors and other farm equipment to Iraq.

Both Muhawesh and Srtzok’s Dad, himself a former FBI Agent, are affiliated with the Minnesota-based American Refugee Committee, part of a USAID program to distribute relief supplies in Iraq.

If their USAID program wasn’t connected to the CIA, it would likely be the only one operating in country.

 daniel hopsicker barry boys coverJustice Integrity Project Editor's Note: The project has not independently verified the allegations in the investigation above made by Hopsicker, author of Barry and the Boys, whose cover is shown at right, and Welcome To Terrorland. Our project has excerpted columns also by MintPress News, most notably a series of cutting-edge reports by Whitney Webb during the summer of 2019 regarding context for the Jeffrey Epstein scandals. We are seeking reaction from MintPress News and Webb to Hopsicker's report.

Justice Integrity Project, MintPress News Denounces Hopsicker's Claims As Error-Filled 'Smear,' Andrew Kreig, Jan. 13, 2020 (updated). MintPress News Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh and correspondent Whitney Webb rebutted claims made Madcow News founder Daniel Hopsicker in the column above, describing it as a poorly researched, inaccurate and highly biased "dangerous smear."

Webb, shown below in one of the photos she uses to illustrate her columns, wrote on Twitter on Jan. 8, "Dangerous smear about Mintpress sadly coming from D Hopsicker, who falsely claims that it has 'direct ties' to Iran and whitney webb twitterspecifically Soleimani at a time when the US is about to go to war w Iran and MSM calling Soleimani a 'terrorist'. Clear attempt to get MPN deplatformed."

She wrote also, using the Twitter name @whitneywebb, "Hopsicker also claiming, after looking up the names of my relatives, that my dad worked for the OSS, an agency that was liquidated years before my dad was even born. Hopsicker began to 'investigate"'me after he implied I was a Nazi for merely being an American living in Chile."

"Hopsicker's problem with me,"  Webb continued, "is because I wrote about the links between Epstein and Israeli intel (I also covered his links to US Intel btw). His smears now being promoted by other alt media ppl who think it's impossible that I wrote my Epstein series w/o special help fr a govt."

In another Tweet, she wrote, "Nearly [sic] smear since my Epstein series has come from old men in alt media who are clearly upset that a woman half their age (I'm 30) made connections in that case in a couple of months that they couldn't make for years."

MintPress editor Muhawesh wrote in a separate Tweet, "No mention of my response to BuzzFeed smear & Odeh's role as a tech & HR advisor when I first started MPN. Why didn't Hopsicker mention my actual editorial & other business advisors like Mickey Huff & Kate Madonna. Is it because they are not brown Muslims?"

The MintPress website describes its background and alliances in part as follows: "MintPress News is proud to partner with leading journalism venues and activist sites that work tirelessly to bring attention to social justice issues at home and abroad. These syndication partners include: Shadow Proof, TruthOut, CommonDreams, Media Roots, War Is A Crime, Occupy.com , and several others. Become a MintPress partner! If you’d like to become a syndication or news partner or are simply interested in collaborating on an investigation with MintPress, contact our editor Mnar Muhawesh."

Hopsicker replied with a Jan. 11 Tweet asserting in call capitals, "THE SECOND THING...WHITNEY WEBB DISSOCIATED HERSELF FROM MINT PRESS NEWS YESTERDAY."

Webb responded the same day as follows: "For those asking, this is not even remotely true. I have several reports coming out for Mintpress this week. An absurd smear campaign inventing its own victory lap. Can't make this stuff up."

South Florida Sun Sentinel, Judge denies release of Jeffrey Epstein’s grand jury records, Marc Freeman, Jan. 7, 2020. A judge Tuesday rebuffed criminal investigators looking at sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s cushy treatment by South Florida authorities over a dozen years ago. It happened when special prosecutors appointed by the governor came to the Palm Beach County Courthouse seeking records from a 2006 grand jury that indicted Epstein, right, on a single felony prostitution count.

jeffrey epstein sex offenderThey said they’d like to know whether the grand jurors ever heard that police had evidence that several minor girls were molested by the financier at his Palm Beach estate.

Not so fast, ruled Chief Circuit Judge Krista Marx, refusing to order the release of the grand jury tapes at this time. Marx pointed to well-established Florida law that the closed-door grand jury proceedings can be unsealed only as a “last resort,” and when it is clear that doing so will lead to a discovery of wrongdoing.

It’s clear, however, that the Epstein saga remains unending even after his death last summer in a New York City jail cell. Officials said he committed suicide by hanging, rather than face prosecution on new sex trafficking charges.

Epstein’s former attorney Jack Goldberger attended Tuesday’s hearing but did not participate.

Judge Marx told investigators they first need to try other ways of getting the grand jury information, such as asking some of Epstein’s victims if they were asked to testify.

And Marx told prosecutors they have to make more than just a “bare-bones” claim that it is in the “furtherance of justice” to release the grand jury records to them.

“It sounds like a fishing expedition to me,” Marx told Assistant State Attorney M. Levering Evans, of Fort Pierce. She added, “I’m not understanding how it will be helpful and to what end.”

Evans explained that investigators want to figure out how the grand jury — convened by then-State Attorney Barry Krischer’s office — settled on the solicitation of prostitution charge. Was information kept from the panel, and if so, why?

“We are charged with looking simply for crimes,” Evans said of the work being done alongside agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

He said the grand jury records could lead to a search for financial documents and the possibility of corruption.

Matt Weissing, an attorney for a Fort Lauderdale-based law firm representing 10 Epstein victims, testified in support of the investigators. He said Epstein’s teenage victims were not paid prostitutes.

Jan. 4

U.S. Courts, Scandal

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge awards $13 million to women who say they were tricked into pornography, Brittany Shammas, Jan. 4, 2020 (print ed.). The trial of the owners of GirlsDoPorn revealed the “calculated steps” the company took to persuade women after recruiting them for modeling jobs on Craigslist, including concealing the true nature of the business and deploying bait-and-switch tactics.

A California judge has tentatively ordered a pornography company to pay $13 million to 22 young women, finding that they were tricked into performing in videos that threw their lives off course and led several to attempt suicide.

The ruling Thursday followed a years-long legal battle waged by the women against the owners of GirlsDoPorn, a San Diego-based business that has made millions of dollars producing pornography it distributes through a subscription website and other online adult-video providers. The company is also the subject of a separate criminal case in which its owners and employees face federal sex-trafficking charges.

Key to the GirlsDoPorn business model, San Diego Superior Court Judge Kevin A. Enright noted in the civil case, is the construct that the women in the videos “are not professional porn stars but are amateur college-aged women filming pornography for the first and only time.”

The 99-day trial revealed the “calculated steps” the company’s operators took to persuade those women after recruiting them for “modeling” jobs on Craigslist, including concealing the true nature of the business, deploying bait-and-switch tactics and offering what the judge said was “little choice in completing the shoot.” They repeatedly promised that the videos would be available only on DVDs purchased by private collectors overseas and that the identities of the women — all between the ages of 18 and 22, most of them cash-strapped college students — would not be revealed.

ny times logoNew York Times, He Was Accused of Enabling Abuse. Then Came a Downward Spiral, Anemona Hartocollis, Jan. 4, 2020. A professor said a sexual misconduct suit against Dartmouth College had falsely portrayed his actions, and was overcome by the anguish that followed.

david bucci dartmouth photo CustomWhen a group of graduate students wanted to alert Dartmouth College to sexual misconduct by three professors, David Bucci was the one they turned to.

He was the chairman of the department where the students and professors worked, and he reported the accusation to the college administration.

So he was blindsided when seven female students later named him in a lawsuit against Dartmouth, accusing him of looking the other way and intimidating those who had spoken out.

He grew deeply distressed, his wife and closest colleagues said, especially after he was advised not to complicate the litigation by defending himself publicly. The ordeal eventually brought back the crippling depression he had been treated for years earlier. Some colleagues shunned him. A woman at his food co-op called him a “disgusting human being,” said his wife, Katie Bucci.

In October, 11 months after the lawsuit was filed in late 2018, he took his own life. He was 50.

To friends and family members, Dr. Bucci was a casualty of a scorched-earth legal strategy to pin blame on the Ivy League college. They said that they did not question the credibility of the women who came forward, but that his death showed how bit players can be swept up with perpetrators, and badly hurt.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Ghislaine Maxwell, right, with Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts, centre, in 2001. A source says ex-special forces are shuttling Miss Maxwell from one safe house to another

Daily Mail, Prince Andrew's friend Ghislaine Maxwell, the former lover of paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, is under 24-hour guard by former US Navy Seals amid fears for her life, Ian Gallagher, Jan. 4, 2020.

A source says ex-special forces are shuttling the 58-year-old friend of Prince Andrew from one safe house to another across the American Midwest following ‘credible death threats’.

Epstein is said to have sexually abused dozens of teenage girls and Miss Maxwell, along with others, is alleged to have ‘facilitated’ his behaviour. She has denied any wrongdoing.

She is now the principal focus of an FBI investigation and is said to hold the key to the truth about the Duke of York’s relationship with the disgraced financier and whether he had sex with a 17-year-old girl. The Duke has repeatedly denied these allegations and any suggestion of wrongdoing.

While Miss Maxwell has never been accused by the authorities of criminal wrongdoing, Epstein’s alleged victims have portrayed her as his ‘madam’ and ‘fixer.’

A source said: ‘There has been so much rubbish written about Ghislaine. The reality is she receives multiple, credible death threats on a daily basis. The hate mail is sometimes 2 feet high.

‘She is constantly moving. Her life is in danger. She is being guarded by the best of the very best and that includes former US Navy SEALs. She’s not under the protection of any government. She’s on her own.’

Jan. 3

eric bauman nbc Custom

ny times logoNew York Times, California Democratic Party Settles Sexual Misconduct Lawsuits Against Former Chairman, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Jan. 3, 2020. The California Democratic Party said on Friday that it had settled lawsuits with five people who had accused the party’s former chairman of misconduct (shown above in an NBC photo) including sexual assault, discrimination and harassment.

Eric C. Bauman, the former chairman, led the state party for a year and a half until November 2018, when he resigned after several employees said he had harassed and intimidated them. At least one employee said he had been sexually assaulted.

Rusty Hicks, who is now the chairman of the state party, said the organization had reached “equitable settlements” with five people who had sued. Mr. Hicks said that the party valued “fairness, respect and dignity for all” and that the settlements were meant to acknowledge the accusers’ “service to our Party.”

Citing an unnamed source, The Wall Street Journal reported that the state party would be paying more than $1 million to settle the claims.

William Floyd, a former assistant to Mr. Bauman, said in April that Mr. Bauman, 61, had sexually assaulted him three times while he served as chairman of the state party and when he was chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. Throughout that time, Mr. Floyd said, his boss, who was more than twice his age, also groped him and made inappropriate comments to him.

The other lawsuits, filed by three former party employees and a Democratic activist, made a host of similar claims against Mr. Bauman and the party, accusing the former leader of sexually assaulting, groping or harassing them and the party of failing to stop the abuse. At least one former employee also said Mr. Bauman discriminated against her because she was black, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Mr. Bauman was involved in Democratic politics in California for more than three decades and had long been known for his advocacy on behalf of unions and L.G.B.T. groups. He resigned when an article published in The Los Angeles Times in November 2018 added to growing outrage over his behavior. The article said Mr. Bauman had physically intimidated people and touched them without their consent.

Jan. 2

Epstein Scandal

TruNews, Commentary on Ghislaine Maxwell: Which Spy Agency is Hiding Her? The Rev. Rick Wiles with Doc Burkhart and Edward Szall, Jan. 2, 2020. Today on TruNews, we demand answers to the simple question of where Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking scion has found refuge after the Mossad agent allegedly killed himself in America's most secure jail. We also address who stands to gain in the wake of the storming of the $736 million U.S. embassy fortress in Baghdad, and how a war with Iran may be exactly what embattled and indicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted for Christmas in order to stay in power.

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


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