Author: jonathanturley

Dershowitz Loses Bid To Prevent Defamation Trial By Alleged Victim In Epstein Scandal

Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz once dared his accusers to sue him in the ongoing controversy over his role in the alleged abuse of underaged girls in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. One did just that. Virginia Giuffre has claimed that she was forced to have sex as an underaged girl with friends and acquaintances of Epstein, including Dershowitz. Dershowitz called her a liar on multiple occasions, including statements he never met Giuffre and that she is a “serial perjurer,” a “serial liar,” and a “serial prostitute.” She sued him for defamation and U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in New York has rejected Dershowitz’s motion to dismiss and held that Dershowitz will have to face a trial on her claims. Former judge Paul Cassell has also leveled charges against Dershowitz as one of the abusers.

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Browns Fan Sues Team Over Misidentification In Beer Dumping Episode At Titans Game

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There is an interesting lawsuit in Ohio where Eric Smith is suing the Cleveland Browns after he was falsely accused of being the fan who poured beer on Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan last month after he jumped in the stands to celebrate a touchdown. He is alleging negligence, defamation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, false light, and loss of consortium as a result of being misidentified and then banned from future games. He claims that he has not been to a game since 2010 and was serving as a DJ at a wedding at the time of the incident.

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Gallup: 52 Percent Support Trump’s Impeachment And Removal

There is another poll showing a significant increase in support for the impeachment and removal of President Donald Trump. What should worry the White House is that among the 52 percent of Americans now supporting impeachment in the Gallup poll is a rising number of key independent voters. These various polls reflect, in my view, a continuing failure of the White House to reframe its impeachment strategy and narrative. It is not working. In the end, impeachment could end with a simple party muscle vote but that is not going to win over key voters like independents. There is clearly damage below the water line for the White House and the control of the Senate could rest in the balance.

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Report: Trump Tax Documents Show “Major Inconsistencies”

President Donald Trump has steadfastly refused to release his tax documents and is continuing litigation in both D.C. and New York despite rulings against him to bar the disclosures of prosecutors or congressional committees. Now, ProPublica has reported that it was able to review tax and loan documents for New York properties that show disturbing major discrepancies in reported expenses and profits.

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Washington Post: Giuliani Pushed To Turn Over Elderly Cleric Wanted By Erdogan

Over the years, I have been highly critical of the performance of Rudolph W. Giuliani as counsel for President Donald Trump. Nevertheless, I was floored by a story in the Washington Post this morning that Giuliani pressed Trump to transfer an elderly Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, to Turkey where he is widely expected to be tortured and killed by the authoritarian Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. If true, the effort by Giuliani would succeed in reaching a new low in the various scandals swirling around the White House. Notably, former national security adviser Michael Flynn was reportedly working on the same effort, which I previously criticized as one of lowest tasks ever undertaken for profit. The story reminds me of the old joke about why scientists have started to use lawyers rather than rats in experiments because there are certain things that even rats won’t do.

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Pelosi Again Refuses To Hold Impeachment Vote

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Cal.), has again refused to hold a House floor vote to formally start an impeachment investigation. I have previously said that the allegation of self-dealing in the Ukrainian call could be an impeachable offense if a quid pro quo is established. However, Pelosi has undermined the position of the House by refusing to allow a vote that preceded the investigations in the Nixon and Clinton impeachments. As I stated in a recent column, this is a mistake if House Democrats are serious about pursuing an impeachment. Recently, in the case concerning Trump tax records, one of the three judges dissented on the basis that there has been no vote to establish the start of an impeachment investigation. Pelosi seems to believe that she can hold a press conference and expect courts to accept that a formal impeachment process has begun. Some judges are likely to be uncomfortable with such an immaculate impeachment.

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“Does This Sound Like A Good, Or Even Great Lawsuit?”: No, Mr. President, It Does Not.

President Donald Trump responded to the release of tapes from CNN this weekend showing a strong anti-Trump bias and agenda at CNN. The tapes were no surprise to many of us who have criticized CNN for its open advocacy against Trump and slanted coverage of political and legal issues. However, Trump again returned to his continuing call for lawsuits against the media over the issue: “Does this sound like a good, or even great, lawsuit?” The answer is no, Mr. President, it does not.

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LeBron James Denounces Pro-Hong Kong Support By Morey As “Misinformed”

It appears that social justice causes have a strict geographic (and financial) limit — at least for NBA player LeBron James. James, who has defended such protests as the NFL kneelers, ridiculed the tweet by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey in supporting protesters in Hong Kong fighting for the most basic human rights and democratic power. James said that Morey was “misinformed”  and an example of being “not informed about something.” What was Morey misinformed of? The denial of free speech, democratic rights, or basic human rights? How about the threat of Chinese President Xi Jinping to fill the streets with “crushed bodies and shattered bones“? The view of the NBA, and James, appears that Morey was not informed about the billions of dollars to be made in China or the price of supporting people fighting for freedom.

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Not Funny: Video Played At Trump Resort Conference Shows Trump Murdering Political Opponents and Media Figures

The video is an edited version of the church massacre scene from the 2014 film Kingsman: The Secret Service. Trump's head is superimposed on the body of the film's star, Colin Firth, who goes on to kill the parishioners who are depicted as media entities

A videotape (shown below) by Trump supporters has horrified Democrats and Republicans alike in depicting Trump savagely murdering his political opponents like Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden while wiping out media figures. It is a take-off of the church massacre scene from the 2014 film Kingsman: The Secret Service with Trump superimposed for one of the main characters, Colin Firth. The delay in denouncing this film is only fueling the recriminations. I have previously criticized Trump for his reckless attacks on American media as “the enemies of the people.” There is no evidence that this video was approved or even known by the Trump campaign. I assume that it would have been taken down immediately if it were known (as it happened when organizers ultimately learned of its screening). However, there is a rising concern that Trump’s over-heated rhetoric against the press has fueled the anger of some supporters.

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He Who Must Not Be Named: How Hunter Biden Became A Conversation Stopper

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the media treatment of the Hunter Biden controversy in Ukraine. I continue to marvel at the non sequitur in the mantra that there is “no evidence of wrongdoing” in the contract. What does that mean? Is the sole measure whether the Ukrainians (or even the U.S.) would prosecute a contract as a crime? Wrongdoing would seem to cover any form of corruption or influence peddling — whether or not it constitutes a crime. The fact is that the payment of sweetheart deals to the spouses and siblings is common in both the Ukraine and the United States. Does that make it right? The suggestion is that there is nothing wrong with this contract. Wrongdoing would seemingly include ethical violations and not just what Ukraine would prosecute as a crime (a curious standard for one of the most corrupt countries on Earth). Indeed, many of us have criticized Trump for sometimes suggesting that the criminal code as the measure of presidential conduct. With Biden, Democrats seem to be doing the same thing in dismissing any objections since “it is all perfectly legal.” If that is the case, then most of the criticism of Trump’s conduct can be dismissed as devoid of “evidence of wrongdoing.”

The fact is that there is a great deal wrong with this contract and no one has actually put forward evidence to suggest that the Ukrainians seriously selected Hunter Biden for his energy or business experience. What is left is a raw effort to curry favor with his father with an unjustified and lucrative contract.

Here is the column:

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“I’m The Reason There Is An Impeachment Going On”: Biden Addresses Son’s Dealings . . . Sort Of

I recently wrote a column on the growing taboo in the media over mentioning the actual facts, or even name, of Hunter Biden and his dealings in the Ukraine. Yesterday, former Vice President Joe Biden addressed the issue . . . sort of. Once again, he was not pushed to deal with the specifics of the dealings or the overwhelming view that the contract was a raw effort to influence him through his family. Instead, Biden continued the mantra that there is no proof of wrongdoing and then added that “no one — no one — has asserted my son did a single thing wrong.”

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University of Washington Professor Denounces SpongeBob SquarePants As Violent Colonialist and Cultural Appropriator

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University of Washington Professor Holly M. Barker has published an article “Unsettling SpongeBob and the Legacies of Violence on Bikini Bottom” that seeks to strip away the true meaning of SpongeBob SquarePants as a colonizing, violent cultural appropriator. Moreover, the cartoon is deemed as “whitewashing of violent American military activities” against natives of the Pacific.” What is most remarkable however is that she appears to be serious.

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Turkey’s Proxy Fighters Now Executing Kurdish Civilians in Syria

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

As part of the Turkish Government’s invasion of Syria and attacking of Kurdish border towns–officially known as “Operation Peace Spring”–pro-Ankara mercenary forces began the execution of civilians in Tel Abyad. This included the assassination of a prominent Syrian Kurdish leader and her driver.

Hevrin Khalaf and her driver were “taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions”, the political arm of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a statement. “This is a clear evidence that the Turkish state is continuing its criminal policy towards unarmed civilians,” it added. Khalaf was the secretary-general of the Future Syria Party.

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Sunday Hikes: From Billygoat to Scott’s Run

I started Sunday with a dawn hike at Billygoat trail. I then went on a hike with visiting family (and our dog Luna) to Scott’s Run. It was a gorgeous fall day with temperatures hovering in the 50s. Scott’s Run is shorter, but you can walk to the waterfall and then along the river. It tends to be quite busy, but it remains a favorite for dog owners.

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O’Rourke Pledges To Strip Religious Organizations Of Tax Exemption If They Do Not Support Same-Sex Marriage

Roughly 15 years ago, I wrote about the collision between anti-discrimination laws and the free exercise of religion. I have been critical of the premise of the use of the tax code to effectively punish organizations that do not comport with the IRS’s view of good public policy. Now, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has fulfilled the prediction in the piece by promising to strip religious organizations of the tax exemption if they do not recognize same-sex marriage.

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