Lance Armstrong Settles Federal Fraud Suit

On Thursday, scandal-plagued former bicycle champion Lance Armstrong agreed to pay the U.S. government $5 million, in order to settle a federal lawsuit that claimed that he committed fraud against his former sponsor — the United States Postal Service — when he used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) while competing. The news was confirmed by both federal officials and a lawyer representing Armstrong.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis, and it was later joined by the U.S. government. The suit sought $100 million in damages.

Chad Readler, who is the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Justice Department, said in a statement that people like Armstrong are not “above the law.” He further stated that the outcome of the lawsuit proves that the government will hold those who try to cheat it accountable.

Elliot Peters, who is an attorney who represented Armstrong in the case, said that Armstrong was happy to put the entire matter “behind him.” Peters went to say that the government settled because it could not prove its case that Armstrong’s actions caused the Postal Service damage. He also indicated that the parties came to a settlement ahead of a trial that was set to begin on May 7, and that this was the last unresolved legal matter relating to Armstrong’s doping scandal.

Armstrong, who is currently 46 years old, won the Tour de France — which is the most important race in professional bicycling — a record 7 times. In all but one of these races the Postal Service sponsored him.

In 2012, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stripped Armstrong of his cycling titles and also banned him for life from the sport. It further accused him, in a written report, of being behind one of the most elaborate doping schemes in the history of sports. A year later — in a television interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey — Armstrong admitted to using PEDs while racing.

Armstrong issued his own statement through his attorney, in which he said that he looks forward to dedicating himself to his children and his wife, as well as to his many ongoing projects, which include a podcast and both film and book projects.

A part of the settlement, Armstrong further must pay court costs for Landis in the amount of $1.65 million. Landis was also accused of doping and was stripped of winning the 2006 Tour de France.

“Smallville” Actress Allision Mack Arrested on Sex Cult Allegations

Allison Mack and self-help specialist Keith Raniere were arrested last week. Each of them was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor. Mack is widely known from her role as Chloe, who is Clark Kent’s close friend in the hugely successful television series “Smallville.” If convicted, both face up to 15 years in prison.

Raniere is alleged to be the leader of a sex cult, and Mack has been held out by authorities as a recruiter of unsuspecting women for him and his group called NXIVM Both of them have entered pleas of not guilty. Authorities further allege that Mack told women she was recruiting that they were entering into a female mentorship program. As reported by ABC News, federal prosecutors stated that “Mack and other … masters recruited … slaves by telling them that they were joining a women-only organization that would empower them and eradicate purported weaknesses the NXIVM curriculum taught were common in women.”

In court, one of the prosecutors remarked that “under the guise of female empowerment” the actress “the actress starved women until they fit her co-defendant’s sexual ideal.” A prosecutor went on to say that Mack then made the women who she recruited engage in sexual behavior with Raniere. He then paid the actress in return.

Raniere was arrested in Mexico where NXIVM is also located. He’s presently in Brooklyn and being held without bail. It’s unknown whether anybody else has been or will be charged. Kristen Kreuk was a co-star of Mack’s in “Smallville.” She confirmed that in the past, she was involved in a self-help group involving Mack and Raniere. She stated that she took a course with “Executive Success Programs/NXIVM” to overcome shyness, but left the program about five years ago. She related that when with the group, she never experienced any “nefarious activity”. She was “horrified and disgusted” about the accusations.

Raniere’s lawyer also denied the allegations against his client. In defense of Raniere, he stated that no influence or pressure caused anybody to do anything against their will.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Against David Copperfield Hasn’t Vanished

One of the most famous magicians in the world, David Copperfield, has denied responsibility for a British audience member’s injuries from a fall that were allegedly suffered while participating in an illusion in an MGM Grand alley in Las Vegas. Copperfield testified that if an audience participant did get hurt as a result of something he did wrong when performing, fault would be attributable to him, but he did not acknowledge liability in the case. Copperfield further testified that he never even knew that the man claimed injuries until a year later when he was sued.

The British tourist claimed that he and 12 other randomly selected audience members had apparently vanished onstage. They were led by stagehands with flashlights through curtains and hallways, outside to an alley and inside again through a hotel kitchen in order to seemingly reappear in the theater for Copperfield’s last illusion of his performance. The flooring on the route was said to consist of changing surfaces like linoleum, tile, cement and carpet. Some of the route was said to be covered in construction dust.

According to the bostonglobe.com, Copperfield’s legal team brought a pretrial motion to close part of the trial to the general public on the basis that he would be giving away performance secrets. That motion was denied. A mere 10 minutes before the plaintiff allegedly fell, Copperfield himself used the same route in a different illusion, but that illusion didn’t involve audience participation. An attorney for MGM Grand stated that had Copperfield discovered an unsafe condition along the route, he would have notified stagehands of it. Neither Copperfield nor his staff inquired into what type of footwear the participants were wearing before the alleged accident.

The plaintiff claims that he has suffered permanent brain and other personal injuries as a result of his fall. He is also claiming in excess of $400,000 in medical expenses. The jury in the case has yet to be sent out to render a verdict. Copperfield remains one of the highest paid performers in the world.

Multistate Bar Exam Scores Reach New Low

In February, a new group of law graduates sat for their respective state bar exams. The results have never been worse. Examiners report that bar exam scores on the Multistate Bar Exam have never been as low as they were for the February 2018 bar exam. They say the average MBE score dropped more than one point.

Even though each state has their own exam rules and scoring guidelines, most states use the Multistate Bar Exam or MBE. The Multistate Bar Exam is a multiple choice test that reveals the test taker’s knowledge of basic legal principles as well as their legal reasoning skills. There are 200 questions on the MBE. States rely on the MBE in order to make their bar exams easier and faster to administer.

States typically combine the MBE with other testing methods. People sitting for the bar exam typically must answer essay questions. There may also be an ethics portion of the test. Each state has their own formula to determine how much weight to give the MBE along with the other portions of the bar in order to determine whether to pass the applicant.

MBE officials say that February test takes did the worst on average of any group that has ever taken the exam. They say that the average score on the MBE for the February 2018 group was a 132.8. They say that last year’s average was a 134.1. The number of test takers was also down. Five percent fewer test takers sat for the exam in February 2018 than took the test in February 2017.

Officials say that even among first-time examinees, average MBE scores fell. They say that last year the average was a 135.3, and the first-time average went down to a 135. Among repeat test takers, the average fell by 1.7 points. Even with a low MBE score, an applicant can still pass the bar exam if they score well in the other test sections. However, the MBE is a major testing component in all of the states that use it.

The drop in MBE scores comes as accrediting agencies continue to debate how law schools should accept students. The American Bar Association says that law schools should only accept students who have a reasonable chance of success in school. They say that too many schools admit students who don’t have a good chance of becoming lawyers. They say that LSAT scores and grade point averages can shed light on an applicant’s aptitude. Others say that open admissions policies encourage diversity and help qualified students have the opportunity to succeed.

 

 

 

Cohen Reveals That Sean Hannity Is a Client

On Monday in a New York federal court, the personal attorney of President Trump was made to reveal that, in addition to representing the president, he has performed legal work for Sean Hannity, who is a TV host on Fox News who outwardly supports the president.

Michael Cohen, who represents the president on a variety of personal matters, was forced by a judge to name Hannity through his own attorney. Watching all this from the gallery was Stormy Daniels, who claims that she was engaged in an adultrous relationship with the president a decade earlier.

Daniels is currently engaged in a separate lawsuit, in which she is disputing a non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2016, in which — in exchange for $130,000 — she agreed not to discuss the alleged affair, which the president claims never happened. Cohen represented the president in the settlement.

Hannity, who is 56 years old, insists that Cohen has never officially represented him in a legal capacity, nor has he ever paid for his legal services. Though he says that he once did seek confidential legal advice from him. Not only has Hannity strongly and publicly defended the president and his policies on his popular television show, he has also received praise from the president because of it.

Cohen was in court so that he could ask a judge to limit the ability of government prosecutors to review documents that the FBI took from both his home and his office in connection to a criminal investigation relating to possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

The White House is said to be frustrated with the investigation, which has ensnared some of the president’s closest aides.

According to CNN, during the proceedings, Kimba Wood — who is the judge in the case — listened for more than 2 hours to arguments from attorneys representing Cohen, the federal government and the president. She is expected to rule in the case at a later time.

Though on Monday she did rule that federal prosecutors must provide the attorneys representing Cohen copies of all documents that they have seized from Cohen before the next scheduled hearing happens.

Supreme Court Denies Blagojevich’s Appeal

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to shorten his jail sentence. Blagojevich is currently serving 14 years in federal prison relating to a wide-ranging corruption scandal from his time in office. He was famously convicted of soliciting bribes in exchange for filing the empty Senate seat of Barack Obama after he was elected president in the fall of 2008.

The court’s ruling leaves in place a lower court decision that rejected Blagojevich’s request for a reduced sentence based on the fact that some of the counts in his original conviction back in 2011 have been invalidated. He also claimed that he deserved a reduced sentence because of his good behavior since being incarcerated in prison.

The former governor, who is now 61 years old, was also convicted of extortion and wire fraud in addition to soliciting bribes. He was in office from January 2003 to January 2009. It was during the latter date that the Illinois legislature removed him from office. He then began serving his sentence in 2012.

The charges against Blagojevich, who was also once a contestant on Donald Trump’s reality show “Celebrity Apprentice,” and who is a member of the Democratic Party, went beyond filling Obama’s vacant senate seat. Prosecutors additionally accused Blagojevich of soliciting campaign funds in exchange for raising reimbursement rates relating to pediatric health care in the state, and for supporting legislation that would have benefited local horse racing interests.

In 2015, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago invalidated 5 of the 18 original counts against Blagojevich. They also ordered new sentencing for the former governor. But James Zagel, who is a U.S. district judge, eventually gave Blagojevich the same 14-year sentence that he had first received. Later on in 2017, the same 7th Circuit Court rejected an appeal from Blagojevich and his legsl reprentatives, who maintained that Zagel had abused his discretion when he imposed on Blagojevich the same exact sentence that he had originally received.

 

Major Prison Fight In South Carolina – 7 Dead

Just short of 2.5 million Americans are locked away in the so-called “big house” – in other words, prison, which houses convicted perpetrators of serious crimes whose sentences last at least one full year.

Unfortunately, the United States of America is home to more prisoners than anywhere else on planet Earth, though that’s not to say that Americans are downright evil. Rather, American culture has dictated for at least the past 40 years that locking people in cells for years at a time is an effective means of rehabilitation.

Either way, whether you’re for or against the extremely high rate of imprisonment and alarming lack of true rehabilitation, here’s an alarming news story that’s certain to scare even the hardest of people.

Widespread prison riots in South Carolina took several lives

At roughly 3:00 a.m. Eastern Savings Time, in the rural, Southeastern state of South Carolina, a massive prison riot broke out at what’s supposed to be a maximum security prison.

Although it might sound as if maximum security prisons would have fewer fits of violence and other illegal activity, it’s actually the other way around; these prisons house the gnarliest criminals in all of the Southeastern United States of America.

Jeff Taillon, an official spokesman for the prison system there in South Carolina, made public the fights that broke out in the wee morning hours at Lee Correctional Institution.

According to TheGuardian.com, a whopping 17 inmates were injured, most of which required immediate medical attention, whereas seven others were found dead upon the arrival of emergency services.

Fortunately, no law enforcement officers or correctional officers are harmed, despite fights that took place from roughly 7:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, April 15, 2018, through roughly 3:00 a.m. on Monday – that’s today – April 16, 2018.

Lee Correctional Institution takes its home in the tiny town of Bishopville, South Carolina. The prison has a history of violence, some major events of which include a 2015 fight that features two correctional officers being non-fatally stabbed.

As recently as February 2018 – just two short months ago – an inmate was convicted of the murder of another ruthless criminal locked away in prison.

It took how long to resolve those fights?

Official reports indicate that law enforcement personnel fought for eight consecutive hours in attempts to stop fighting among prisoners there in Bishopville.

End Citizens United Issues Statement on Retirement of Speaker Paul Ryan

Since its founding in 2015, End Citizens United, a political action committee that is supported through grassroots efforts, has focused its efforts on unseating candidates who are known to be bought and paid for by special interests. As a vociferous and persistent opponent of campaign finance reform, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has been in the organization’s cross hairs since day one. With the 2018 midterm elections looming on the horizon, Ryan threw his party for a loop by announcing his retirement on April 11, 2018. Although he will serve out the rest of his term, the congressman won’t seek reelection in November.

Statement by End Citizens United

End Citizens United, or ECU, didn’t waste any time issuing a press release regarding the senator’s announcement. Later that same day, in fact, the organization issued an official statement about Senator Ryan’s impending retirement. In its release, Tiffany Muller, president of ECU, stated: “As Speaker, Ryan pushed his party to respond to the will of mega-donors and corporations, including an effort to strip health care from tens of millions of Americans and a tax bill that raises taxes on middle class families while giving benefits to the richest Americans.”

Paul Ryan’s Dark Money Track Record

It doesn’t take a lot of sleuthing to figure out why Paul Ryan has been a chief target of ECU since its inception. Ryan started serving as senator for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in 1999, and he quickly aligned himself with big money and special interests. In particular, he has allied himself with the Congressional Leadership Fund, or CLF, a Super PAC that has accepted more than $8 million in dark money–including more than $6 million in 2017 alone. Through these alliances, Ryan has placed top priority on keeping big money and special interests happy while throwing his Wisconsin constituents under the bus.

Again and again, Paul Ryan appeared in the news through the years to vocally oppose any and all efforts in support of campaign finance reform. While in office, he championed a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or ACA–a move that would leave countless of his constituents without health insurance. More recently, Ryan worked tirelessly in support of the $50 million tax reform bill. Given that the passage of the bill was a top priority for Republican mega-donors, it makes sense that it was so important to Ryan. More than half of the benefits derived from the bill would go to the top 1 percent while more than 13 million middle-class Americans would see their taxes go up over the next 10 years.

ECU’s Big Money 20

To understand what a pivotal role Paul Ryan has played in the aftermath of the disastrous 2010 Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court decision, it helps to understand why ECU has made getting him out of office a top priority. The organization, which was founded in 2015, maintains a list called the Big Money 20. Paul Ryan has held a spot on the list since its inception, and that says a lot.

For a politician to land on ECU’s Big Money 20 list, they must be an incumbent whose voting record reflects that they work for special interests and not for their constituents. Paul Ryan was a natural choice for the list when it was initially developed because his voting record has long reflected a bias toward big money and against hardworking Americans. Besides, Paul Ryan was a major opponent of enacting a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United vs. FEC, and he has consistently voted against campaign finance reform measures throughout his political career–including the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002.

The Race for Paul Ryan’s Seat

ECU had already been gearing up to try to vote Paul Ryan out of office in the 2018 midterm elections. Randy Bryce, the likely Democratic nominee for the 1st Congressional District seat, had enjoyed support from ECU for some time. Unlike Senator Ryan, Bryce, a former ironworker and U.S. Army veteran, does not accept donations from Super PACs or other dark money sources. Instead, he relies solely on grassroots efforts and an average donation of $25. During the first quarter of 2018, Bryce’s campaign outraised Ryan’s campaign by $1.75 million.

Now that Bryce will no longer be facing the powerful incumbent, he has an even better chance of winning the coveted seat. Winning the seat is just one part of ECU’s overarching effort to turn congress from red to blue during the midterm elections. Although there has been some speculation about who the Republicans will nominate to run for the seat, the filing deadline isn’t until June. As for who will replace Ryan as Speaker of the House, a few names have been floated around lately. They include Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

Does ECU Have Paul Ryan Running Scared?

The timing of Ryan’s announcement and impending retirement is interesting. Naturally, Republicans claim that the senator sincerely wishes to retire only so that he can be around more for his family, which includes three teenage children. However, it might also be that Ryan is feeling the heat from efforts of groups like End Citizens United and isn’t up for the kind of work that would be needed to retain the seat for another term. Whatever his true motivations may be, there’s no question that his retirement is a positive development for the country.

Even though Paul Ryan is out of the race in November, ECU will continue to support Randy Bryce in his efforts to win the exiting senator’s coveted seat. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the organization seeks to elect candidates who support campaign finance reform generally and the overturning of Citizens United vs. FEC specifically. Bryce may have an easier time running against someone other than Ryan, but he still faces an uphill battle. The district voted for Trump by a margin of 10 percent in 2016, and it is still regarded as leaning more Republican than Democrat.

Campaign Finance Reform in a Post-Paul Ryan World

As exciting as the news of Paul Ryan’s impending retirement may be for supporters of campaign finance reform, it is far from enough to incite real, lasting change. Since the disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision, which famously argued that corporations are people, the very democracy of the United States has been thrown into jeopardy. More than ever, special interests and dark money hold the strings, and congress people are mere puppets doing their bidding. With any luck, Paul Ryan’s former opponent will emerge victorious in November along with many other campaign finance reform champions, and we will be that much closer to overturning Citizens United once and for all.

Read Next:  End Citizens United Endorses Beto O’Rourke for the Senate

House Passes Bill To Prevent Speculative Trading Among Banks

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill known as the “Vocker Rule,” which gives the U.S. Federal Reserve the sole power to prevent banks from engaging in speculative trading.

Named after the former Federal Reserve chairman who served during the Carter and Reagan administrations, the bill won approval with a vote of 300-104. If enacted, the law would make the current rule easier to manage. As the bill received broad support from both parties, some believe that the House will eventually include the measure in a larger banking bill that the Senate has already approved.

The Volcker Rule was originally put into force a number years after the Dodd-Frank financial reform law was enacted, which addressed issues relating to last decade’s financial crisis. The rule prevents American banks from engaging in speculative transactions on their own account. It also prevents them from hedge fund investing.

Some executives in the banking industry maintain that the rule is not only too difficult to follow but that it is also very confusing, and that it further limits market liquidity.

The new law would give the Federal Reserve full authority to change the rule. Currently, five separate regulatory authorities must agree to a rule change. The other authorities include the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. A number of banks say that this requirement is largely unmanageable.

Jeb Hensarling, who runs the House committee that wrote the bill, said that the law will help make the rule more clearer. He says that — independent of how someone may feel about a particular regulation or rule — everyone can agree that they should be clearly understood and that they should be interpreted in only one way, and that they should be enforced by one single authority.

The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and then it further needs the signature of President Trump.

Many big banks are in favor of the bill, and they hope that it may be included in the banking bill that the Senate recently passed, which eases various banking regulations. This bill is still pending in the House, but Hensarling indicated that the Senate version of the bill still needs changes.

Wichita, Kansas Swatting “Prank” Gone Bad’s Police Officer Adjudicated Of Charges Of Killing While On The Job

Video games are a solid source of entertainment for men, women, boys, and girls all around the planet. They’ve also led to new forms of entertainment, such as online live streaming of gamers’ commentary overlapped on various video game footage, of which millions of people tune into every day – that’s considering the entire industry, at large, on sites like Twitch or Facebook via its Live feature.

Just four months ago, Tyler Barriss of Los Angeles, California, was arrested for calling emergency services and effectively sending a fully-decked-out SWAT team to a fellow streamer’s house. Unfortunately, the streamer, 28-year-old Andrew Finch, died following the totally false 911 call.

Finch’s death came just after Christmas 2017.

Tyler Barriss, a 25-year-old living in Southern California, dialed 911 and claimed that he was currently located in Wichita, Kansas and that he had just brutally, unapologetically slew his father and was holding an undisclosed number of relatives inside that same house.

Shortly after the call went through, a Special Weapons and Assault Team (SWAT) called Mr. Finch outside of his home. Considering that Finch knew he had done nothing wrong, coupled with the fact that he was unaware of such a call being made to 911 against him, he didn’t follow the SWAT team’s commands closely enough.

Police reports indicate that Finch’s hands wavered around his waistband for a moment too long, pushing an officer to fire one shot at the video-gaming live-streamer. Finch died immediately.

According to Troy Livingston, the Deputy Police Chief of Wichita, Kansas, Mr. Finch was referred to as “an innocent victim” of a so-called “prank” gone wrong.

Despite the fact that Barriss was shipped from Los Angeles, California all the way to Wichita, Kansas, considering that is where the crime ultimately took place – or, at least where he’s currently being held and will likely be charged in – he’s still not shown any remorse for his actions.

Just days ago, he logged onto Twitter and shared “How am I on the Internet if I’m in jail? Oh, because I’m an eGod, that’s how.”

As it turns out, 13 other inmates accessed the Internet, as well, due to a security upgrade on a kiosk used by inmates to keep track of commissary balances and to message others using email technology. Normally, inmates are never allowed to access the Internet.

The only reason Barriss logged online is through a fault of the prison’s administration.

I’ll take, “Who’s not an eGod for 400, please.”

Nun Asks Pope to Intervene in Sale of Convent

A nun who takes exception to the purchase of a former convent has written Pope Francis and asked him to intervene. The buyer who wants to close on the property is pop icon Katy Perry. Sister Rita Callahan is now 80 years old. She maintains that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles wrongly entered into a contract to sell the convent to Perry. It sits on eight acres of land in the Los Feliz area. A purchase price of $14.5 million has been agreed upon, but the Vatican must approve the deal before it can close.

Sister Rita alleges that Archbishop Gomez of the Los Angeles archdiocese “tried to sell our convent to a person whom we do not support.” She went on to state that the remaining nuns in her order “do not agree with her lifestyle that has strayed far from any faith.” Perry maintains that she wants to live on the property with her mother and grandmother.

Callahan, who seeks a meeting with Pope Francis, related that the nuns were promised by Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles “that we would always be taken care of by the archdiocese and we would live out the rest of our lives at the convent.” She wrote further that Archbishop Gomez broke that promise. A spokesperson for the archdiocese told Fox News that the archdiocese denied any broken promises to the five remaining nuns who lived on the property. It has been vacant since 2011 “because it became too costly for the five remaining sisters to maintain and no longer accommodated their physical needs.” Callahan has asked Pope Francis to speak with the Signatora which is “like the U.S. Supreme Court” at the Vatican.

A lower court judge in Los Angeles County has already ruled that the archdiocese has authority to sell the property. Sister Catherine Rose Holzman, who was 89-years-old at the time, collapsed and died at a hearing last month in connection with the case. Callahan wants the property to be sold to a specific developer, trusting that the developer would honor the spirit of the order’s former h

 

 

200 Roosters Incarcerated in Arkansas Jail

Cockfighting is a culture that takes place in the shadows of vacant buildings and warehouses. It’s commonly known as a blood sport. Roosters that are bred and raised for the sole purpose of aggression and fighting are outfitted with nail-like daggers and blades. Then, they’re placed into a small open ring to fight to the death. Cockfighting is more than 6,000 years old, and in the United States, it’s usually accompanied by the illegal sale of alcohol and drugs. Of course, betting is involved too.

Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Several law enforcement agencies and dozens of officers recently participated in a raid on a cockfight venue on March 17, 2018. It was located in De Queen, AR. Authorities allege that it was an organized operation, and the Associated Press reports that the fights changed locations every week. The investigation reportedly lasted for 18 months. Arrests included both felony and misdemeanor cockfighting violations. Some of those who were arrested were fighting cock owners, and others were spectators. About 200 cocks were taken into custody too. They’re in the same jail as some of the offenders and being cared for by some of the inmates at the Sevier County Jail.

Sheriff Robert Gentry said that the care taking inmates haven’t been charged with any cock fighting offenses. The humans that were charged were from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and as far away as New Jersey. The fighting cocks will be held in Sheriff Gentry’s custody until such time as a judge decides what to do with them.

Workers at neighboring business establishments said that the roosters were noisy. Sevier County Jail inmates are complaining about 4:00 a.m. wake up calls being earlier than usual. None of the fighting cocks are in the general jail population for fear of retaliation. Regardless of the fact that people bet on them, the fighting cocks remain unpaid. Not a single one out of the 200 has been able to post bail.

U.S. Prosecutors File New Charges in Basketball Scandal

On Tuesday, U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan filed additional charges in a case involving bribery in college basketball. Prosecutors have accused an executive working for Adidas AG of offering money to American high school basketball players, in exchange for them attending North Carolina State University and the University of Kansas, which are schools the company sponsors.

James Gatto, who is the Adidas executive named in the indictment, was previously arrested in September for bribing high school basketball players to attend the University of Miami and the University of Louisville, which are two other schools Adidas sponsors. Tuesday’s charges were made in a superseding indictment, which were unsealed in New York federal court.

Merl Code, who is a consultant working for Adidas, was also charged of brbery in the cases relating to the University of Miami and the University of Louisville, and so was Christian Dawkins, who had bern working at a sports management company,

In response to the original indictment, the 3 defendants pleaded innocent to charges of conspiracy. The three have subsequently been charged with wire fraud as well. None of the attorneys representing the 3 defendants have yet to make comments. Nor has Adidas commented.

However, Joe Monaco — who is a spokesperson for the University of Kansas — has said that the school will fully cooperate with authorities. He further made note of the fact that the indictment does not accuse the university — or any of its employees — of any wrongdoing. At the same time, a spokesperson for the University of Louisville refused to comment, and the two other schools named in the indictments were unable to be reached.

According to the new indictment, in 2015 Gatto attempted to transfer $40,000 to the parents of a high school basketball player, as enducement for the player to enroll at North Carolina State University. The government further alleges that the player also agreed to sign an endorsement deal with Adidas upon his entry into the National Basketball Association, if such a thing were to occur. The payment was said to be made through a coach at the university, though this person was not named in the indictment.

Prosecutors also assert that Gatto in 2016 further tried to transfer $90,000 to the mother of a player, to induce this player to attend the University of Kansas and eventually sign an endorsement deal with Adidas once he became a professional.

Clark Hill and Strasburger & Price In A Shocking Merger

Clark Hill and Strasburger & Price are two large law firms that span across multiple states. Once the merger is complete, their staff will consist of 650 attorneys in 25 different offices. Both stages of the merger should be complete by the second quarter of this year.

Texas seems to be a main focal point of the merger, in which they will reform and target specified industries. Local energy laws, taxes, and healthcare are primary targets of the merged law firm force. Strasburger already has 6 offices in the state and Clark Hill will likely expand their force and expertise to the area.

The leadership of Clark Hill felt that the core values, corporate culture, and business goals were similar to theirs. With this merger, the company will perfectly expand into higher markets and will reach an entirely new customer base. The merger wasn’t the first idea in their minds since their original goal was a strategic partnership. After working out their market goals and legal complications, a merger seemed like the most logical step.

Thorp Reed & Armstrong and Morris Polich & Purdy are other firms that had been absorbed into Clark Hill. Future mergers are entirely likely since both firms have expansion set into their sights.

John Hern Jr. is the CEO of Clark Hill and he will continue as a managing partner for the new combined company. The previous leadership of Strasburger will also lead to executive positions.

More About Clark Hill

Clark Hill is an international law firm that has lawyers with specialties in multiple disciplines. They have industry knowledge that allows them to work with clients that need to accomplish goals for their businesses. You will find them in big cities across the United States and in Dublin, Ireland. Their main office is based out of Detroit and they have an impressive staff of over 450 attorneys.

More About Strasburger

Strasburger has been operating for over 75 years in Texas, specializing in many local industries. They work with a lot of middle market clients and clients that are expanding into international business deals. They have specialized lawyers in 30 different disciplines, making them one of the best-equipped law firm in the area. They work with large corporations, small businesses and even publicly traded companies. Aside from their large offices, they also have satellite locations in Washington D.C., Mexico City, and New York City.

 

Bill Cosby Returns to Court for the Start of His Retrial

Bill Cosby’s retrial is set to begin on Monday in Pennsylvania, and the dynamics surrounding this trial are much different than the trial the comedian faced in 2017.

The 80-year-old comedian, best known for playing Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show”, is facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He’s been accused of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University, in his home back in 2004.

Cosby faced a previous trial for these charges last year, but Judge Steven O’Neill of Montgomery County declared a mistrial because jurors were unable to come to a unanimous verdict. Cosby and Constand reached a civil settlement in 2006, although the details of that settlement have remained confidential.

Cosby’s new lawyer, Tom Mesereau, is expected to portray Constand as being “greedy” during the civil settlement. Mesereau is best known for defending Michael Jackson during his child molestation trial. Mesereau plans on calling Margo Jackson to the stand, a woman who claims that Constand told her that she could lie about being drugged and raped by a famous celebrity and get a lot of money for it. Jackson did not testify during Cosby’s first trial.

The prosecution’s case relies heavily on Constand’s testimony, since there is very little forensic evidence. The prosecution does have one thing going for them, however. The rise of the recent #MeToo movement has put a spotlight on sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry.

Entertainment icons like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer have all faced sexual assault allegations and their career’s have suffered because of it. Cosby is the only entertainer currently facing a trial.

During jury selection, potential jurors were asked how they felt about the current #MeToo movement, so their viewpoints on it could play a factor in Cosby’s retrial. The jury consists of six white men, one African American man, four white women, and one African American woman. The six alternate jurors include four men and two women.

Prosecutors will be allowed to have five women testify during Cosby’s retrial. Only one woman, who previously accused the comedian of drugging and assaulting her, testified in his first trial.

Cosby’s trial could have both legal ramifications for the comedian, and cultural consequences for the nation as people focus on how the jury’s decision will be affected by the #MeToo movement. Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.