Dershowitz Sued For Defamation Over Jeffrey Epstein Case

We have been following the scandal involving the case of sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein (left). Epstein was accused of being a sex trafficker for powerful men ranging from former President Bill Clinton to Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz has called his accuser a perjurer and recently declared that he wanted to be sued for defamation. He has now gotten his wish. Dershowitz will now face a trial on the merits of the allegation after Boies Schiller filed the requested defamation action against him.

Tensions recently came to a head in a New York courtroom with allegations against Dershowitz made by former federal judge Paul Cassell.

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Federal Judge Attacks Barr Over Creating Public Doubts Over Report

Today will be the long-awaited release of the Special Counsel report. (I will be in New York doing analysis for CBS and BBC). District Court Judge Reggie Walton however did not wait for the release of the report or the press conference planned by Attorney General Bill Barr for the morning. Walton made a surprising statement in court on Tuesday criticizing Barr. Walton objected that “The attorney general has created an environment that has caused a significant part of the public … to be concerned about whether or not there is full transparency.” Walton did not explain what precisely Barr did to create such public doubts, but the comments appeared immaterial to the merits. A few days ago, we discussed another federal judge attacking President Trump at an awards ceremony. Walton’s comments are not nearly so problematic but they were unfortunate and untimely in my view.

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Roughly 300 Years Later, Is Julian Assange The New John Peter Zenger?

Below is my column in the BBC on the historical and potential legal significance of the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Much of the prosecution could turn on whether Assange is a journalist. Notably, Assange just received a European journalism award from the European parliamentarians. Assange is this year’s recipient of the 2019 GUE/NGL Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers & Defenders of the Right to Information.

In the meantime, there are some interesting comparison between the Assange and Zenger cases in the long-standing debate over what constitutes press freedoms.

Here is the column:

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Columbia Professor: Barr Can Release Grand Jury Information But Does Not Want To Do So

As we await the release of the Special Counsel report, there are some curious standards being suggested for the release of grand jury information. Various media organizations have featured experts insisting that Barr could release such information called Rule 6(e) information. That is news for me. I was counsel in one of the largest Rule 6(e) cases, the Rocky Flats Grand Jury case, years ago in Denver. Yet, the Nation has posted an explanation by Columbia University Law Professor Jeffrey Fagan that the rules for such disclosure are “elastic” and Barr could be “creative” in making releases. In my view, that is in direct contradiction with not just long-standing but recent precedent. There should not be just a wildly different account by legal experts on such a question so I would like to explain why such views are misplaced.

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Islamic Cleric Instructs Men On How To Beat Their Wives “Out of Love”

We have previously discussed tutorials from Islamic clerics on how to beat your wife (here and here and here). The latest such grotesque lesson is from a leading cleric Abd Al-Aziz Al-Khazraj Al-Ansari in Qatar. Using a young boy as a stand-in for his wife, Al-Ansari, explains how to beat a wife “out of love” and how some women secretly want beatings because their want “violent and powerful husbands.”

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“He Is Our Property”: The D.C. Establishment Awaits Assange With A Glee And Grudge

Below is my column in USA Today on the Julian Assange arrest. We are still learning more about Assange’s confinement, including bizarre accounts of Assange’s conduct in the Ecaudorian Embassy in London. The key question will be the highly generalized allegation in the single count indictment from the Justice Department that Assange played an active role in the hacking. That would cross the Rubicon for journalists and make this an even more difficult case for those worried about free speech and the free press. Yet, the indictment is strikingly silent on details or an assertion that Assange actually used the password. We will likely learn more as the May hearing approaches for his extradition.

Here is the column:

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Florida Man Upset With Dogs Urinating On His Yard . . . Sprays Owner With His Own Urine

Florida continues to be an endless well of bizarre criminal stories. Joel Benjamin, 71, reportedly told police that he was not remorseful after he sprayed a woman walking her dog with his own urine. The reason? He was upset with dogs urinating on his lawn so he decided do retaliate with his own urine.

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The Trolling Of Bill Barr: How Politics Has Outstripped Meaning

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the rising attacks against Attorney General Bill Barr even before the redacted report has been released. Many in the media has notably omitted critical facts like Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein helped write the summary and also concluded that there was not case for criminal obstruction to be made against President Trump. There may be grounds to criticize Barr for his redactions, but critics omit the fact that Robert Mueller’s office is assisting in those redactions. I have a long relationship with Barr and testified in favor of his confirmation. However, I will not hesitate to criticize his actions when it is warranted. For example, I do not approve of the Justice Department refusing to defend the Affordable Care Act — disregarding the function of the Department to defend duly passed laws. Yet, Barr’s conduct with regard to the report and thus far been open and consistent with what he said in this confirmation hearing.

Here is the column:

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Sanders: Congress Not Smart Enough To Look At Trump Taxes

I am continually mystified by the Trump White House and its public responses to controversies — responses that often magnify the legitimate concerns of the public. That was case this weekend when White House Press Secretary Huckabee Sanders attempted to come up with some plausible rationale for Trump continuing to refuse to release his taxes — a departure from decades of tradition. Sanders declared that “I don’t think Congress, particularly not this group of congressmen and women, are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume President Trump’s taxes will be.” It is an attempt to wrap an unjustifiable position within a raw insult to avoid the question. Trump has repeatedly promised to release his taxes but continues to cite the fact that he has been audited as a reason for not turning over the records — a position widely rejected by both tax and legal experts. Now it appears that the collective intelligence of Congress is a barrier to disclosure.

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This is CNN? Coverage Of Tax Change Highlights New Advocacy Journalism

I recently spoke on the changes in American media during the Trump years.  While I continue to be critical of Donald Trump attacks on the media, I also criticized what I view as consistently biased reporting on some networks.  CNN was a focus of some of those criticism even though I have many friends at the network and view some of its reporters to be extraordinary journalists.  As I was about to fly home, however, I saw a program that summed up my concerns in journalism in the age of echo-chamber news. It was part of John Avlon’s Reality Check series which looked at the elimination of the deduction for the state and local (SALT) taxes under the recent the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA).  Not once in the segment did CNN mention the long-standing economic and policy objections to the SALT deductions. Instead, the entire segment framed the change as penalizing states and voters who did not support Trump.  It was wildly unfair and incomplete on the issue and seemed calculated to enrage rather than inform.

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Clinton: Women Govern Differently Than Men

Hillary Clinton has continued her national speaking on what the Democrats should do to win back the White House.  For many, Clinton’s advice after losing to the most unpopular presidential candidate in history strikes a certain dubious note. However, there was an interesting component to some of her last appearances: referring to women as better or at least different leaders because they are women.  It raises a glaring but rarely discussed issue in the media.  The question is whether a male politician would be allowed to claim that voters should vote for him because men govern differently and have special leadership skills do to their gender. It is a view rejected by many women who voted against Clinton — women who Clinton promptly dismissed as controlled by their husbands. It seems like a verboten debate. It is considered fair for politicians to say that being a father or mother makes them a better leader. However, Clinton and others have gone further in suggesting that there is a gender difference to leadership and governing. Activists have argued that women are superior to men as leaders for such reasons as “They know how to spend and save money even when money is scarce.” Even academics are now arguing that women are inherently better leaders.

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Behold The Majesty Of The Arches

I am returning today from speeches in Texas and Utah. As many on the blog know, I tried to use such travel to do some hiking. Utah is one of my favorite places on Earth. You could spend a lifetime hiking this state and only scratch the surface of the natural beauty and wonders. I have hiked all part of this state and expect to do so for many years to come. This trip was tough however because a cold front came in the day I arrived (after 70 degree weather) that dumped more snow on an already heavy snow season. With the rain and snow, most of my selected hikes (and even my backup hikes) were no longer advisable due to slippery rocks and mud. I tried to find a trail on Friday with limited success so I decide to “go big or go home” on Saturday. I decided to drive over three hours to the Moab where snow and rain would not be an issue. While once covered by a prehistoric ocean, this area receives less than 10 inches of rain a year. It proved to be an awesome experience hiking Arches National Park, one of the great gifts of this state to the world. While many of us often hike deciduous forests, these desert hikes hold tremendous beauty and Western parks offer views that can go 100 miles or more.

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Federal Judge Attacks Trump As Adopting The Same Rhetoric and Tactics As The KKK

There is a controversy out of the University of Virginia where federal Judge Carlton Reeves gave a scathing speech against President Donald Trump — likening his conduct to that of the Kl Klux Klan and segregationists from the Jim Crow period. The speech (accepting an award) raising troubling issues about Reeves engaging in political speech in violation of core judicial ethical rules.

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“Deadnaming”: British Woman Arrested For Referring To Transgender Activist By Her Prior Gender

I have been a long critic of the hate crime laws in Great Britain which has devastated free speech protections with regular criminal charges against people deemed to be insulting or harassing to others. One case highlights how such speech codes have turned courts into micromanagers of manners and language used by citizens in public. It began with a mother, Kate Scottow (left), being arrested in front of her children for the crime of referring to a transgender woman as a man online. The alleged victim, transgender activist Stephanie Hayden, has now charged that she is being denied free speech after being accused of trolling on the Internet.

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