Federal Judge Blocks Alabama’s Abortion Laws

On Thursday, US District Judge Myron Thompson nullified two abortion laws in the Middle District of Alabama. The two laws SB 205 and SB 363 required all clinics within 2,000 feet from K-8 public schools be shut down and ban doctors from performing the fetal-demise (dilation and evacuation) abortion procedure from the second trimester. In 2016, the same court had provisionally blocked both laws through a preliminary injunction and the appeal verdict was pending under the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. ACLU Alabama had appealed for the two laws on behalf of two women’s clinics in Alabama claiming that abortion providers were being subjected to strict legal requirements.

The judge claimed the two laws were undemocratic and bade the state from enacting the procedures, which had been signed into law in 2016 by former Republican an Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. In his ruling, Thompson claimed that the school vicinity law, which was only of a kind in the United States, and the fetal-demise law placed a superfluous gratuitous burden on a woman’s ability to opt for an abortion. He added that it would lead to a closure of two of the five abortion clinics in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa where 72% of the state’s abortions are conducted. This would create long trips for women seeking abortion services and devastate the low-income earners.

The decision adds to other 41 abortion restriction laws enacted by the state legislatures in the US in the first half of 2017. Last year, the Supreme Court also annulled a law in Texas requiring clinics to meet hospital-like standards and clinic doctors to have admission rights at nearby hospitals.

However, the ruling was a huge blow to pro-life activists in Alabama and conservatives in other states. They claimed the verdict undermined the US Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the case of Wade vs Roe 1973. The American Civil Aviation Liberties Union in Alabama supported the judgment claiming that the laws would have imposed a climate of hostility.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-alabama-abortion/federal-judge-strikes-down-two-abortion-restrictions-in-alabama-idUSKBN1CV3NO

Use of Computer Algorithms in Courts

4 years ago in the state of Wyoming, a young man was arrested by the state police for what they described as using a vehicle that had been used in a recent shooting. The man went by the name Eric Loomis. He didn’t object to the fact that he tried to avoid arrest. At the same time, he didn’t object to driving a car without the permission of the owner. On a normal day, he would be hit with a minor fine as few people had been jailed for such crimes. Nonetheless, the judge had other ideas. He cited that his behavior posed a high risk of what he referred to as recidivism. It was further revealed that the decision to sentence him was generated by a computer program known as COMPAS. This is a risk assessment algorithm that has been in use in the state of Wyoming for quite a while now. While the judge refused to offer the man probation, he ordered the man to serve six years in prison and another five years in extended supervision. In total, the man was jailed for 11 years. At the moment, no particular person knows how the COMPAS algorithm works. In fact, the manufacturer of the program has refused to disclose the proprietary on a number of occasions despite pleas from the affected.

Later on, when Mr. Loomis challenged the sentencing, the Wisconsin Supreme Court threw out his case. He had challenged the use of the algorithm in his sentencing as it interfered with his right of being sentenced individually. This meant that other considerations were put in place such as his gender. Three months ago, the United States Supreme Court said that it would not hear the case. However, the use of the algorithm will have far-reaching consequences. The question that many people still ask themselves is why these judges are relying on a computer program which, as far as people understand, these judges don’t even know how it works. This results to a bias system where the judges have the higher hand in taking advantage of the unchecked power which involves looking into issues that are not related to the case. This makes the case look serious than it is. Some states such as Colorado argue that having a computer system I place will result in judgments that are not biased. However, some experts in law argue that while it might seem like the computers do away with bias, they compound and delegate it further.

A Mother Loses a Child and Her Citizenship In a Single Event

The UK’s Ministry of Justice has expressed its deep apologies to Liliya Breha, the mother of a boy who was murdered by her former partner. Probation services did not warn Breha that her partner was involved in a series of convictions for violent behavior against children and women. To make matters worse, Liliya Breha now faces deportation because she has no family ties in the UK.

Events That Led to The Murder

Alex Malcolm, the 5 year old boy, was beaten to death by Maryyn Iheanacho, Breha’s partner. The beating was related to the boy losing his trainers in a park. The court found Iheanacho guilty of murder. During the sentencing, Breha, who is 30 years old, was horrified by Iheanacho’s previous crimes against children and women.

The Ministry of Justice suspended two officials who were charged with supervising Iheanacho. In a statement, a spokesman of the ministry stated that they had put in place measures to prevent a repeat of tragic events like this.

The terms of Iheanacho’s license stated that he was forbidden from having unsupervised access to children who were below 16 years and that probation officers were required to monitor any new relationships he had with women.

Iheanacho’s Criminal Record

Iheanacho’s previous crimes include spanking a former girlfriend with a belt, breaking the jaw of a former partner, and attempting to strangle a 13 year old boy. Before the day of the attack, Breha was not aware of her partner’s predisposition to violence.

It was after the incident that she learnt that the probation service, which was keeping an eye on Iheanacho, should have informed her about her husband’s criminal record. Breha knew that her husband was fresh out of prison but she knew nothing about the licensing terms related to children and women. In fact, Iheanacho occasionally used Breha’s phone to communicate with his probation officer and Breha also spoke to the officer a few times.

Breha’s Immigration Status

Shortly after the incident, Breha learnt that she may not be able to live in the UK after she updates her immigration status in June. This is because she no longer has a child; therefore, she has no family ties in the UK. Breha arrived in the UK 10 years ago. She came on an exchange programme while studying at the “National University of Water Management and Nature Resources Use” in Ukraine.

Johnny Depp Sues His Attorneys For Malpractice

Early this year, Johnny Depp, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, made headlines when he took his former management company to court. Depp held that the employees of this company were mismanaging his finances and failing to provide most of the basic services. This week, Depp went to court again suing his former legal counsel for engaging in self dealing and pursuing interests that would only benefit them. Depp wants at least 30 million in damages from Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman. This recent lawsuit comes to show that Depp has been dealing with professionals who are slowly bleeding him dry.

Misleading Advice Cost Mr Depp Millions

Like many movie stars who rely on the advice of professionals, Depp claims that he depended on his attorneys to deal with his legal affairs ethically and competently. However, instead of protecting the interests of their client, the lawyers violated the basic tenets of attorney-client privilege and engaged in misconduct all to the financial detriment of Mr. Depp.

The lawsuit refers to a loan that is cutting into the actor’s income from six films and providing his lawyer and business manager with millions of dollars in contingency fees. The loan was secured even before Mr. Depp started making money.

According to Depp, TMG and Bloom’s law firm are to blame for the mismanagement of his fortune. The U.S. Department of Justice, SEC, and IRS are looking into possible money laundering, mismanagement, and fraud at TMG.

TMG’s Response to The Law Suit

According to TMZ, Depp disregarded warnings about his lavish $2 million per month lifestyle and his over the top purchases which include several islands in the Bahamas, a 150 foot luxury yacht, 70 collectible guitars, and art works by Gustav Klimt and Andy Warhol. TMG claims that Depp is partly liable for his financial woes.

 

Sexual Allegations against Bill O’Reilly

It has emerged that Bill O’Reilly settled a sexual harassment case back in January for $32 million. This came six months after he was ejected as an employee of Fox News. Details about the settlement were to light by people close to the investigation who sought for anonymity as they didn’t want to jeopardize their careers. This is the first time that these claims are being made public. Nonetheless, 21st Century Fox, the sister company of Fox News said that it had been notified about the claims of the woman. While the allegations included sending of pornography materials to the woman, others included nonconsensual sexual relationship, use of explicit material when with the woman and repeated harassment. The people who briefed the New York Times about the issue confirmed that this is the sixth time that defendant has settled this case. The defendant includes Mr. O’Reilly or his company. However, the latest settlement is the largest so far. With the 21st Century Fox fully aware of Mr. O’Reilly record, the company went ahead and negotiated a contract with him last February. Eventually, he was awarded a 25 million contract that would run for four years. According to the sources, it was revealed that the company unsuccessfully tried to stop the second wave of accusations against Mr. O’Reilly. These allegations were filed last summer, and once they emerged to the public, the former chairman Rodger Ailes was fired.

However, it has been reported that Rupert Murdoch together with his sons unanimously agreed to stand with Mr. O’Reilly in what was referred to as a calculated business stand. Together with his sons James and Lachlan, it has been revealed that they were aware of the sexual harassment accusations made against the executive. It was reported that the decision to stand by Mr. O’ Reilly was an effort to prove to the board, employees and the public in general that they had transformed the workplace culture of the company. The decision to hold onto him might have been inspired by his worth to the company after Megyn Kelly left the company for greener pastures. However, the Murdoch family decided to fire the executive in April when the allegations became public. This meant that the executive posed a great threat to their executive. It has emerged that federal prosecutors looking into the sexual harassment allegations against the former Fox employee have asked for documents related to the case.

The UN Calls On China To Release Human Rights Activists

The United Nations has asked China to set free three human rights activists. The UN further demands that the individuals be paid compensation for wrongful imprisonment among other damages. According to the report which was released to the guardian, the rights of the three activists were violated.

Hu Shigen, a Christian church leader, and lawyers Xie Yang and Zhou Shifeng were incarcerated and tried in a nationwide crackdown on human rights activists and attorneys that started in July 2015. The covert operation saw the detention and questioning of 250 people.

The Findings of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

According to the UN report, China has six months to release the activists and compensate them. The UN rejected claims by the Chinese government that the three men had voluntarily confessed their crimes and affirmed that their detentions were not subject to the international standards of the right to fair trials.

The group that reviewed the case, the UN working group on arbitrary detention, is a panel consisting of five experts who fall under UN’s human rights council. China joined the council after running for the seat on August 2016. During this time, it pledged to cooperate with the working group on arbitrary detention and to make unremitting efforts in favor of individual human rights.

The findings of the group was that the trio were denied a host of rights including denying them access to legal counsel, failing to notify their families about their whereabouts, and holding them incommunicado detention.

The Release of Xie

Xie was released on bail in May but his wife confessed that he never lived like a free man. Security agents were stationed blocks from his hall and 12 guards stood guard outside his building. Police would follow him when he was on the move and despite undergoing this surveillance; Xie was required to prepare reports on what he had done and who he had talked to every four hours.

Response of the Chinese Government

The Chinese government has defended its move to incarcerate the trio stating that they were involved in criminal activities. Critics say that Hu was taken into custody for spear heading an underground church that was working against the government. Hu had been previously incarcerated during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Zhou, a well known human rights lawyer, is the founder of the Fengrui law firm that came to the limelight for the 2015 government “war on law”.

The UN previously demanded the release of Liu Xia, the wife of Lui Xiaobo, Nobel peace prize laureate, who died while in detention. Liu Xia has been subjected to house arrest for almost 7 years.

Supreme Court Ruling on Stored Communication Act of 1986

Reports from Washington DC confirm that the United States Supreme Court will rule on whether technology companies can be forced by federal prosecutors to hand in information stored outside the US. This ruling comes at an opportune time where the Justice Department and technology companies in the US have been involved in such battles. The Supreme Court will decide on the emotional issue where technology companies’ desire to protect their customers’ information and the demands of law enforcement. This lawsuit has been made possible by a case known as United States v. Microsoft, No 17-2. This is a case based in the United States and involves federal drug-related charges. Prosecutors, in this case, have demanded emails of the suspect that are stored in Microsoft data center that is located in Dublin. On their part, federal prosecutors demand that they should be given access to the emails as Microsoft is an American company based in Seattle. Back in 2013, a New York federal judge issued a search warrant. He argued using a 1986 law known as the Stored Communication Act. Federal prosecutors were unable to carry out the search as Microsoft challenged the decision in court arguing that they cannot be forced to hand in information stored outside the United States.

The United States Court of Appeal later convened a three-judge panel that confirmed that the warrant could not be used beyond the US borders. They argued that the 1986 law could not be used extraterritorially. One of the judges by the name Gerald E. Lynch asked the Congress to revisit the law and see how it can be used for cases involving data stored abroad. Later on, the Full Second Circuit could not agree whether the warrant could be used as the court judges were deadlocked to a 4-4 vote. The Justice Department has requested the Supreme Court not to be influenced by Microsoft’s decision to store data aboard yet the same information can be accessed domestically by a mouse click. At the same time, the Justice Department has argued that the results of the ruling will affect thousands of investigations in the country. This could range from fraud, child pornography as well as terrorism. They attribute this to the inability of the government to obtain electronic evidence due to bureaucracy. Microsoft has also issued a statement in regards to the case where it has said that it’s upon the Congress to revise the 1986 law.

President Trump Faces A Legal Battle Over His Private Twitter Account

Donald Trump’s Twitter account, @realdonaldtrump, which is not to be confused with the official White House account, @potus, is under fire for the way in which President Trump has been handling the account. The president has been blocking his critics on Twitter from viewing his personal account and, in response, Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute has joined with a group of seven other users of the social media site to sue Trump. The suit contends that the president’s use of Twitter’s blocking feature violates their First Amendment rights.
Is @realdonaldtrump Really a Private Account?
That’s the question that is at the heart of this lawsuit and, in this instance, it’s not easily answered. While Donald Trump opened his Twitter account before he was ever elected, he has since used the account to share official news and his own thoughts as president. For example, he uses the account to promote legislation, highlight supporters, and draw attention to those he views as disloyal.
In light of those kinds of posts, it would seem that, although Donald Trump may have started the account as a private citizen, he now treats it as a public forum. That, essentially, is the basis for the lawsuit from those critics who the president has blocked. They argue that the president treats the account as a public forum, which has risen to amass 20 million more followers than the @potus account, and therefore should be viewed as such by others. In light of that, President Trump’s blocking action is a violation of First Amendment rights.
The Department of Justice Responds to the Lawsuit
The Justice Department is representing President Trump in this matter and has offered an answer to the complaint, arguing that @realdonaldtrump is and always has been a private Twitter account. They assert that the account was initiated by a private individual with a private company and has nothing to do with the office of the president.
“The president does not operate his personal Twitter account by virtue of federal law, nor is blocking made possible because the President is clothed in Article II powers,” the Justice Department stated in the court documents.
Further, the brief admits that the president may make official announcements via his private account, but that doesn’t make the account an official state outlet. They also point out that not every tweet published on @realdonaldtrump is official state business. The Department of Justice argues that Knight Institute and other critics of the president do not have standing to bring their case against the presidency and cannot win the injunction to prevent Donald Trump from blocking Twitter users from viewing his personal account.
The case will move forward on November 3, when the plaintiffs, which comprises the group of blocked Twitter users, respond to the DOJ’s request for summary judgment.

Gatorade Settles Lawsuit Over Anti-Water Sports Game

Gatorade has settled a suit brought by the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for $300,000. Becerra accused the beverage manufacturer of violating the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act after they released a free game advocating against drinking water. The game in question is the 2012 mobile game “Bolt!”, featuring Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt. The game urged players to “keep your performance level high by avoiding water”. It then went on to encourage users to drink Gatorade instead. Water and Gatorade were also built into the gameplay; Gatorade helped players win the game, while touching water in-game lost players points.

Becerra stated that the game was of particular concern because it targeted children and teens. One of the stipulations of the settlement requires Gatorade to refrain from advertising in apps to audiences made up largely of children under 12. According to the settlement, if 35% or more of the market meets this criteria, the company must refrain from marketing to them. Other stipulations include a prohibition on claims that water interferes in athletic performance and a restriction on promoting Gatorade over water.

In a press release, the Attorney General’s office announced that $120,000 of the $300,000 settlement will go towards nutrition research and education.

The settlement has attracted the attention of legal experts, who say it could be a sign that companies need to avoid comparative advertising in their campaigns. In 2013, a similar suit was brought against Abbott Laboratories by New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. The company claimed that children who consumed SideKicks and Sidekicks Clear were more energetic and better at sports than those who did not. In that case, Abbott settled for $25,000.

Research compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition shows that most medical professionals recommend that children abstain from sports drinks. According to their 2011 report, the committee found that habitual consumption of sports drinks among children and teens can increase their risk of weight gain and obesity.

Adan Frasch Convicted of Murdering His Wife

Despite the jury finding him guilty, Adam Frasch says that he didn’t kill his wife. The case is posing new questions as allegations arose at sentencing that the district attorney in the case failed to disclose evidence that worked in Frasch’s favor. Frasch and his attorney say that they’ll use the evidence to ask for a new trial.

Fransch was tried and convicted of murdering his wife and the mother of their two young children. She was found at the bottom of her swimming pool. The medical examiner couldn’t say how long she had been there. There was testimony that she had head injuries, but the medical examiner also said that those injuries weren’t consistent with the golf club that police say Frasch used to kill his wife.

The district attorney relied on the evidence of a jail house informant. They say that Frasch told the informant that he hit his wife in the head with a golf club. Police say they used that information to find the golf club in Frasch’s house.

Frasch says that the informant received leniency in his own case from the district attorney in exchange for his testimony. They say that the police finding the golf club in the house is both too convenient and scripted. They say that the golf club belonged to the victim.

Frasch plans to ask the court for a new trial based on the statement from the victim’s mother. At sentencing in the case, the district attorney read a letter from the victim’s mother. In the letter, the mother reported a prowler around the home in the days before the victim’s death. Frasch and his legal team say that this is exculpatory information that the district attorney had an obligation to give them ahead of the trial.

The district attorney says that she didn’t know about the contents of the letter until she read it in court. This is despite having to get the letter translated in advance of the hearing. Whether the district attorney purposefully failed to disclose the contents of the letter may not ultimately make a difference. If the courts find that the evidence is substantial enough that it may have caused a different result if it had been presented at the trial, they can throw out the conviction against Frasch. This may be the result even if they find that the district attorney’s actions in failing to disclose the contents of the letter were not intentional.

Michigan Custody Cases Raise Eyebrows

Two Michigan custody cases are creating headlines. In one case, a judge jailed a mother who refused to vaccinate her son despite a court order. In the other, a judge awarded joint custody to a father who raped the child’s mother.

Vaccines and the family court

A Detroit mother served 7 days in jail for refusing to follow a court order that required her to vaccinate her son. The mother says that she doesn’t believe in vaccines. She says that the child’s father didn’t believe in vaccines either until they began fighting in family court.

In addition to the week in jail, the mother lost primary custody of the child. The parents now share custody of the 9-year-old boy. Michigan allows parents to refuse to vaccinate their children. However, the question becomes more complicated when parents in a custody case disagree. In that event, it’s up to the court to decide the best interests of the child. The American Medical Association strongly recommends vaccination for almost all children.

The mother said that she was only protecting her children. The father says the same. The court allowed the father to keep the child while the mother was in jail and until he could arrange for vaccinations. Activists stood outside the Oakland County courthouse to show their support for the mother.

Custody and child support

Meanwhile, in Sanilac County, Michigan, a judge awarded joint custody of a child to a father convicted of criminal sexual conduct against the child’s mother. The judge later reopened the case and said that he didn’t know about the father’s criminal past. Michigan law allows the court to deny a parent access to a child in cases of rape.

The local prosecutor’s office initiated the paternity case on behalf of the mother. Because the mother receives public assistance, Michigan law requires the prosecutor to try and establish paternity and a child support order on behalf of the mother. Usually that means proving paternity and determining the best interests of the child. The father has the option to ask the court for joint custody. The court may consider it.

In the Sanilac County case, the court awarded joint custody. The father had two criminal sexual conduct convictions including one involving the child’s mother. A representative from the Michigan Supreme Court even weighed in to defend the judge. He said that the judge didn’t have complete information when he made the decision. He also said that the father agreed to pay support.

Informant in Case Against Attorney Retracts His Story

The testimony of Dale Fisher once put a former prosecutor and Michigan attorney in prison. Fisher claimed that Clarence Gomery solicited him and paid him to kill a legal rival. Now in prison himself, Fisher is retracting his story. Fisher now says that it was the legal rival that conspired with him to set up Gomery. Based on the information, Gomery has made a motion in the 13th Circuit Court in Grand Traverse County, Michigan to ask a new judge to throw out the conviction against him.

Fisher said that the rival, also an attorney, had blackmail on Fisher that he used to coerce Fisher to be a part of his plan. Fisher says that the rival and alleged victim threatened to report him for having sex with an underage relative. Fisher says that he went along with the plan to frame Gomery, but that the alleged victim had him charged anyways.

To make the case even more puzzling is the timeline of the charges against supposed hit man Fisher. Only a week after Gomery’s original sentence, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney brought charges against Fisher for allegations of retail fraud for stealing cell phones from Walmart. Fisher’s actions that led to the charges allegedly happened months prior. There’s no explanation for why prosecutor Cooney held off on issuing charges.

As part of the retail fraud case, prosecutor Cooney also agreed not to bring the criminal sexual conduct charges against Fisher that relate to the alleged victim’s relative. Agreeing not to charge a criminal sexual conduct charge in order to secure a retail fraud conviction is enough to raise eyebrows. However, a short time later, Cooney brought the charges anyways. Cooney has not admitted to knowing about any scheme between Fisher and the alleged victim. However, the alleged victim previously served as the attorney for a Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s sergeant defending allegations of use of force.

In his court filings, Gomery also says that 13th Circuit Court judge Philip Rodgers promised him a lighter sentence than he received. Gomery says that his attorney and prosecutor Bob Cooney met with Judge Rodgers in chambers where Rodgers made the promise. He claims that Rodgers promised a harsher sentence if Gomery took his case to trial. If that claim is true, the judge was in violation of Michigan judicial ethics that prohibit judges from penalizing defendants for exercising their constitutional right to a trial.

Self-Driving Cars Expected To Hit The Roads By Mid-2018

It has now been confirmed that self-driving cars will be able to move along California highways mid next year thanks to revised rules affecting the deployment of these vehicles. The new regulations are a result of a compromise with motor vehicle and technology companies.

The Previous Versus The Current Rules on Self-Driving Cars

The California rules may still contradict federal legislation that bars states from authorizing autonomous vehicles. However, they are a break-through for manufacturers of motor-vehicles who want to launch vehicles that operate without human controls in California. Over 40 companies in California are running tests on self-driving vehicles with human controls. Many of these vehicle manufacturers have research centers.

Previous rules required firms to present safety assessment reports to state regulators and to seek fresh authorization for new vehicles. They also required driverless cars to have a backup human driver.

According to the Association of Global Automakers, a trade union representing mostly European and Asian automakers, California had not gone far enough in its new rules. The trade group stated that a special permit was still a requirement for deploying, an issue that raised concerns on whether autonomous vehicles would be able to go beyond state lines.

Companies are still required to have a California permit to test or release their vehicles on state roads. Furthermore, automakers and technology firms would still be required to provide information regarding autonomous sensors that are triggered 30 seconds before a crash. Vehicles must also follow all the state laws, except when the safety of road users and a vehicle’s occupants is at stake.

Opponents of the New Rules

Consumer Watchdog was against the revisions arguing that California’s earlier regulations were much stricter. The group further noted that local communities would not be able to block testing under the new rules.

Implications of the Senate Bill

Last week, a bill was approved by Senate with the aim of fast tracking the deployment of self-driving vehicles without human controls in the U.S.. The bill also bars states against imposing regulatory road barriers for these automated vehicles.

The Bill allows automakers to be exempted from safety rules involving human controls if they adhere to certain standards. States were permitted to set rules on licensing, registration, insurance, liability, and safety inspections. However, the performance standards were regulated by federal laws. According to Mary Barra, General Motors’ Chief Executive, the federal legislation will allow automakers to deploy these vehicles on the road. Barra; however, did not say when the company would be seeking approval for exemption.

Manhattan District Attorney Declined to Prosecute Harvey Weinstein in 2015

Celebrities are continuing to come forward, either to add accusations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein or to condemn him to the public. As it turns out, this isn’t the first time Weinstein has been accused, however. A 2015 complaint might have outed Weinstein earlier, if the Manhattan district attorney handling the complaint, Cyrus Vance Jr., hadn’t declined to prosecute the case.
Harvey Weinstein was Accused of Sexual Misconduct in 2015
Two years ago, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a model and former Miss Italy finalist, accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually accosting her. The incident occurred in Harvey’s office, claimed the model, who stated in her complaint that Weinstein lunged at her, during the interview. He grabbed her breasts and slid his hand up her skirt, according to Ms. Gutierrez.
After filing a complaint with the police, Ambra agreed to wear a surveillance wire for a meeting with Mr. Weinstein at an area bar. At the meeting, the film producer asked Ambra up to his hotel room and she accompanied him, but stopped before going into the room. Ms. Gutierrez took the opportunity to confront Harvey about why he had groped her in his office a day earlier.
In response, Weinstein told Ambra that he was sorry and it wouldn’t happen again, commenting that “I’m used to that”.
While the wiretap produced some incriminating statements against Weinstein, it was Gutierrez’s past that stirred reluctance in District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.’s to prosecute the case. The police uncovered evidence that Gutierrez had accused another individual, an Italian businessman, of sexual assault, but later refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez Recanted her Allegations
Later, Ambra admitted the alleged sexual misconduct never happened. That recanting of her allegation was stated in a nondisclosure agreement she signed with Harvey Weinstein. Sources report the NDA was a common practice Weinstein employed to ensure women accusing him of misconduct wouldn’t later step forward and reassert their complaints.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo has since issued a statement regarding the 2015 incident, assuring the public that Mr. Weinstein would have been prosecuted, if police had gathered enough evidence. She added that prosecutors weren’t consulted on what exactly was needed in the wiretapped conversation between Weinstein and Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to constitute sufficient evidence for a prosecution.
“While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent,” reads Agnifilo’s statement in part.
The Chief A.D.A. concluded her statement by admitting there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward with prosecution. As a result, charges against Harvey Weinstein were dropped.

Man Loses Attorney License for Beating Dog

One man has lost his freedom and his law license all in one day. Corporate lawyer Anthony Pastor is a lawyer no more after he was convicted of beating his girlfriend’s dog to death. A jury convicted the 46-year-old of felony aggravated cruelty to animals. The jury also convicted him of other charges.

The dog’s name was Snoopy, and he was 4 years old. The jury handed down the convictions on May 9, 2017. The court said that Pastor showed malice and violence when he beat the dog. Pastor allegedly flew into a rage when the dog went to the bathroom inside. The court also said that their sentence is justified because the dog suffered in pain before dying from his injuries. Judge Robert Mandelbaum also criticized Pastor for going back to work on his computer rather than trying to get help for the dying dog. The judge said that Pastor’s violence in the incident is “almost incomprehensible.”

In his defense, Pastor’s lawyer Gerald Lefcourt says that Pastor suffered trauma as a child. He said that he was the only Jewish child at a boarding school, and that he suffered abuse in the environment. Lefcourt went on to say that Pastor is at a crossroads in his life. He said that Pastor wanted to repair his relationship with his son.

Largely rejecting Pastor’s pleas, Judge Mandelbaum pointed out the cruelty of the crime when handing down his sentence. The two years that Pastor is going to spend in prison is the maximum possible sentence for the crime. He also has to register in the state’s registry of animal abusers. The judge said that Pastor obviously demonstrated that he has the ability to act in a dangerous and violent way. The judge said that it was Pastor’s own actions that damaged his relationship with his son. He also called Pastor a “terrible father.”

Pastor has been the target of some threats. In response, on judge’s orders, law enforcement has given Pastor protective custody since May. The dog’s owner and Pastor’s then-girlfriend Taly Russell found the deceased dog. The dog had severe injuries including nine broken ribs. The dog had internal bleeding and injuries to his kidneys.

Another of Pastor’s ex girlfriends also testified that her dog died under similar circumstances. In addition, a landlord testified to having witnessed Pastor’s mistreatment of animals. Russell said that while she understands the sentence can’t bring Snoopy back, she hopes it will prevent violence against more animals.