Category: Criminal law

The Assange Case Could Prove The Most Important Press Case In 300 Years

Below is my column for BBC on the Assange espionage charges. As I have written, I believe that Attorney General Bill Barr is dead wrong on these charges — a view apparently shared by at least two of the prosecutors on the team. Until now, President Donald Trump’s disturbing rhetoric against the media has been disconnected from actual moves against the media with the exception of suspending press passes or changing rules for the White House press corp. This is a quantum leap in the wrong direction. Indeed, this prosecution could easily become the most important press case since John Peter Zenger.

Here is the column:

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Most Hapless Felon Ever

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Every year in reading of the human experience, individuals continue to reinforce the notion that while intelligence has its limits, stupidity knows no bounds. But today’s case-study  imports an existential question into the latter element: Stupidity can be so self-actualized, that it succeeds in preventing procreation, thus constraining the bounds of inheritable haplessness.

It all began simply enough–a felon reportedly stuffed a pistol into the front pocket of his pants and shot himself in the testicles. And yes, the story does get worse for him.

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Bill Barr Is Wrong On Assange

Bill Barr has been (in my opinion) wrongly attacked for many of his actions with regard to the Special Counsel Report. Indeed, I defended his decisions in print and I testified in favor of his confirmation. I still believe that he is an excellent choice for Attorney General. However, on the charges against Julian Assange, he is wrong. Dead wrong. As I stated in a recent column, the use of the Espionage Act strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Now, the Washington Post is reporting that two prosecutors involved in the Wikileaks case argued against the new charges.

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Teen Arrested In Attack On Elderly Couple and Firefighter

The NYPD is still looking for all but one of these teens. This picture shows a group of teenagers who allegedly were harassing and abusing an elderly couple. A 38-year-old firefighter was driving by and stopped to tell the group to stop harassing the elderly couple. The teenagers proceeded to attack the unidentified firefighter, resulting in several broken teeth and a concussion. Yesterday, the police arrested Damir Johnson, 17, was charged with one count of second-degree assault. They are looking for the other five.

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Pelosi Reaffirms No Impeachment . . . Because Trump Wants To Be Impeached

Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference today that left far more questions than she answered . . . except for some members of the press. While CNN asked the more obvious question of why Pelosi keeps saying that Trump is committing impeachable acts but barring impeachment, the other reporters quickly moved to softball questions and the short time ran out, as did Pelosi. However, Pelosi did reaffirm that Trump should not be impeached because he wants it too much. That is consistent with those other principled stances like (1) serial killers should not be arrested if police think that they really want to be caught; (2) suicide jumpers should not be stopped if they really want to be rescued; and (3) bulimia victims should be given more food if you think that they just want you to intervene. The original question is still the operative question: if Trump is committing crimes and a cover up, as Pelosi alleges, why does it matter what Trump wants as opposed to what the Constitution says.

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France Continues Crackdown On Journalists

France appears to be launching a crackdown on the free press with the same vigor it has shown in destroying free speech guarantees in the nation famous for its 1784 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of all the Citizen. Recently, we discussed how the French government was criminally investigating journalists who uncovered false statements by French officials on the country’s role in the war in Yemen. Now, a senior reporter at the renowned French Le Monde has been called in for questioning after Ariane Chemin revealed that a security aide to President Emmanuel Macron has been summoned for questioning by the domestic intelligence service.

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Florida To Impose Sweeping Anti-Semitism Ban On Florida Schools

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is reportedly planning to travel to Israel and use the trip to sign a bill that imposes a sweeping anti-Semiticism law that raises serious free speech implications. Florida and other states are enacting a bill being duplicated through the country that would ban statements that “making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective.” I have previously raised my concerns over the curtailment of free speech from such laws as well as bans on support for boycotts of Israel. While courts have struck down the boycott laws, supporters are still trying to curtail speech under ill-defined hate speech models. Recently, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations called for an international ban on anti-Semitic speech.

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France Investigates Journalists For Exposing Alleged Lies About War In Yemen

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Now France is adding an attack on the free press that parallels its growing intolerance for free speech. A reporter from Radio France and the co-founders of Paris-based investigative news organization Disclose are under criminal investigation for their reporting on France’s role in the war in Yemen with the use of leaked secret documents. In the United States, such journalism could get you the Pulitzer. In France, it could get you prison.

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Trump Attacks GOP Rep As “Loser” For Supporting Impeachment

Rep. Justin Amash (R., Mich.) became the first Republican to call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump this weekend. There are ample grounds to questioning the existence of impeachable offenses. Yet, Sen. Mitt Romney (R., Utah) called Amash’s stand courageous. I agree that breaking from one’s party on an issue of conscience is worthy of respect even if one does not see the merits in the same fashion. However, President Trump stuck with his signature personal insults in calling Amash a “loser” who was motivated by a desire for attention. Once again, I fail to see why Trump engages in such unpresidential, low-grade attacks. It is not only demeaning to his office but ultimately self-defeating to his claims of innocence.

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Nevada Woman Charged With Killing Elderly Man After He Asked Her “To Be Nice” To Bus Passengers

Cadesha Michelle Bishop may seriously want to explore a plea deal. According to the Associated Press, the 25-year-old woman has been charged with murder after an elderly man who she shoved off a Las Vegas bus after he told her to stop abusing other bus riders and to be civil. A videotape shows Bishop matter-of-factly pushing 74-year-old Serge Fournier out a door and head first into the pavement.

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Brazil Prosecutes Comedian In Latest Attack On Free Speech

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in Europe (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here). Now Brazil is joining the anti-free speech movement with a ridiculous prosecution of a comedian named Danilo Gentili. Gentili is known for his caustic and sometimes offensive jokes. One joke about a congresswoman however proved too much for the government and he is now facing criminal charges for making a joke.

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Turley Testifies In House Judiciary Committee On Trump Executive Privilege Assertions

I will be testifying this before the House Judiciary Committee on President Donald Trump’s assertion of executive privilege and congressional oversight. The Hearing will be held 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15th, in Room 2141 in the Rayburn House Office Building. My testimony is linked available below.

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Turley To Testify Before House Judiciary Committee On Executive Privilege

I will be testifying tomorrow before the House Judiciary Committee on President Donald Trump’s assertion of executive privilege and congressional oversight. The Hearing will be held 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15th, in Room 2141 in the Rayburn House Office Building.

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