Secret Epstein settlement with Prince Andrew accuser to be made public

A secret Jeffrey Epstein settlement that Prince Andrew believes should protect him against a sex-assault lawsuit is going to be made public, two judges ruled this week.

Late pedophile Epstein signed the deal in 2009 with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the longtime accuser who is now suing Andrew, 61, for allegedly having sex with her three times when she was 17.

The UK royal’s legal team has insisted the civil settlement — which has remained under seal — also shields him and others “from any and all liability” that stem from Giuffre’s accusations.

On Tuesday, Manhattan federal Judges Loretta Preska and Lewis Kaplan signed a joint order outlining plans to make public the document that Andrew’s team submitted in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

“Mr. Epstein, as is well known, is deceased. The Document is well known to Ms. Giuffre,” the judges wrote, noting it has also “been available to all parties in this case for some time.”

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Authors and Their ‘Progressive’ Book Publisher Sue Sen. Elizabeth Warren Over Free Speech

Aprogressive publishing company and the authors of a book critical of the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus emergency have sued Sen. Elizabeth Warren for allegedly attempting to pressure Amazon.com into yanking their title, The Truth About COVID-19: Exposing the Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal.

Joining Chelsea Green Publishing and authors Dr. Joseph Mercola, an osteopath, and Ronnie Cummins in the suit against Warren is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a well-known vaccine critic who wrote the forward to the book.

The lawsuit is based on a lengthy letter Warren wrote to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy accusing the company he runs of “peddling misinformation” by labeling the book a “best-seller” and allowing it to be at the top of results when consumers search for information about COVID-19.

Chelsea Green Publishing was founded in 1984 to promote “progressive politics” along with “sustainable living…and, most recently, integrative health and wellness,” according to its website, and its titles have earned accolades from The New York Times and several other outlets.

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Top Democrat Lawyer Uses Dark Money Network to Fund Progressive Lawsuits

Top Democratic attorney Marc Elias has been using a dark money network to fund lawsuits geared toward advancing progressive causes, from fighting voter ID laws to enshrining universal mail-in voting, according to the watchdog group Americans for Public Trust.

Elias, who previously helped push the “Russia collusion” hoax after serving as Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer, recently parted ways from the Perkins Coie law firm to start the Elias Law Group – a firm dedicated to advancing the Democratic Party’s agenda in the name of “voting rights.”

“Elias Law Group is a new law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., with an office in Seattle, WA, focused on helping Democrats win, citizens vote, and progressives make change. Central to the firm’s mission will be its own diversity and inclusion,” exclaimed a Perkins Coie press release.

Prior to the formation of his new firm, Elias formed extensive ties with a dark money network headed by Arabella Advisors, a company that manages several non-profits: Hopewell Fund, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the New Venture Fund, and the Windward Fund. According to Fox News, in July 2020, Elias created the Democracy Docket Legal Fund, which was a “fiscally sponsored project of the Hopewell Fund,” one of the non-profits managed by Arabella Advisors:

Wealthy Democratic donors use these funds to pour cash into dozens of initiatives that fall under Arabella’s umbrella.

According to the network’s most recent tax forms, the four funds combined to haul in $715 million in cash from secret donors in 2019 alone. The group also pushes money to outside organizations that do not fall under its auspices.

In addition to Democracy Docket LLC, Elias created the Democracy Docket Action Fund to raise money for voting rights lawsuits, The New York Times reported last year. According to an ActBlue donation page, the action fund is a project of the North Fund, which also boasts connections to Arabella Advisors.

The North Fund reported $9.3 million in donations in 2019, according to its tax forms. Its sole donor was the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the Arabella-managed-group’s tax forms show.

Saurabh Gupta, who is listed in North Fund’s tax forms as general counsel, is also general counsel for Arabella Advisors, according to the consulting firm’s website.

Since the Democracy Docket legal and action funds “are fiscally sponsored by other nonprofits, they are not required to file individual tax forms to the IRS that would shed light on their financials,” noted Fox News.

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Lawsuit alleges Bob Dylan sexually abused a 12-year-old in 1965

A lawsuit filed in New York City claims that legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan sexually abused a 12-year-old girl in 1965, according to court documents filed Friday.The now-68-year-old woman, identified in the lawsuit as J.C., alleges that “over a six-week period” the singer “befriended and established an emotional connection” with her and ultimately sexually abused her multiple times between April and May of 1965 when she was 12.In a statement to USA Today, a spokesperson for Dylan said Monday that “the 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended.” CNN has reached out to two publicists who represent Dylan for comment.

Attorneys for J.C. claim that Dylan befriended J.C. “to lower her inhibitions with the object of sexually abusing her, which he did, coupled with the provision of drugs, alcohol and, threats of physical violence, leaving her emotionally scarred and psychologically damaged to this day,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit further claims that Dylan used his status as a famous musician by “grooming J.C. to gain her trust and to obtain control over her” and alleges that he sexually abused her “at certain times” in his apartment at the Hotel Chelsea in New York City.

When reached by CNN, an attorney for J.C. declined to say how she came to meet Dylan and would not elaborate on the nature of sexual abuse claims.”The complaint speaks for itself. We’ll prove all of the allegations in a court of law,” said attorney Daniel Isaacs. “The complaint was filed after much research and thorough vetting and there’s no doubt that she was with him at the Hotel Chelsea.”

J.C., who now resides in Greenwich, Connecticut, said in the lawsuit that she has suffered and continues to suffer “serious and severe mental distress, anguish, humiliation and embarrassment, as well as economic losses” and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from Dylan.The suit was filed one day before the New York Child Victims Act expired on August 14, 2021. J.C.’s attorney told CNN the lawsuit was filed pursuant to the act, and that it gave her “opportunity to seek redress.”

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Pasco County Cops Harassed Them and Searched Their Homes Without Warrants. A Judge Says They Can Sue.

It’s not every day you receive a letter from the local police department congratulating you on your acceptance into an exclusive program. Such is the story shared by several residents in Pasco County, Florida, a community in the Tampa area. One problem: None of the recipients applied.

“We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected to participate in a Prolific Offender Program,” reads a letter from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO). “Research indicates that barriers to successful living may involve struggles with mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, finding a job, or several other challenges many people face on a daily basis. It is possible you have struggled with some of these issues. If so, please know the Pasco Sheriff’s Office is committed to support you in overcoming these challenges through this program.”

The “support” it offers, originally detailed in an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times, includes sending cadres of cops to people’s homes, where officers show up unannounced, harassing them and their family members, performing warrantless searches on their homes, and trying to nab them on petty offenses, like having grass that is too tall. The lucky winners were “selected as a result of an evaluation of your recent criminal behavior,” according to the PCSO, “using an unbiased, evidence-based risk assessment designed to identify prolific offenders in our community.”

In other words, the program is ostensibly trying to keep people out of trouble and deter future criminal behavior before anything goes dramatically awry. That sounds well-intentioned on the surface. But its “relentless pursuit” of community members has ruthlessly entangled people with the state—including targets’ family and friends—trampling over their Fourth Amendment rights in the process, says a recent lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm.

Their clients received good news this week: Though the PCSO sought to have the suit dismissed on a litany of different grounds, a federal judge struck each down in a ruling issued on Wednesday, allowing the claim to proceed.

“The Fourth Amendment protects the right to be safe and secure in your person and property,” says Ari Bargil, an attorney on the suit. “This program violates that right,” he notes, “because it allows and requires Pasco County Sheriff’s Office deputies to approach people at their home, harass them, refuse to leave, and in some instances demand entry without a warrant. These are obvious and clear Fourth Amendment violations.”

Sheriff Chris Nocco, the brains behind the program, openly admitted that it’s intended to do more than what the congratulatory letter implies: He hopes it will “take them out” of the community, he said, with one of his former employees conceding that their job was to “make their lives miserable until they move or sue.”

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Facebook faces lawsuit for suspending user who cited lack of evidence for masking children

An influential COVID policy skeptic is threatening to sue Facebook for suspending his account based on a graphic he posted Tuesday, titled “Masking Children is Impractical and Not Backed by Research or Real World Data.”

Justin Hart was identified in a recent MIT paper as one of a handful of “anchors” for the anti-mask network on Twitter. He’s also chief data analyst for the COVID contrarian website Rational Ground.

warning letter to Facebook from Hart’s lawyers at the Liberty Justice Center said the graphic was “science-based and contains footnotes to scientific evidence supporting its claims.” Facebook issued him a three-day suspension the next day, citing the post as misinformation. The page remains live but the post is no longer there.

Hart’s mask argument is similar to one made recently by University of California San Francisco epidemiologist Vinay Prasad. “No one has any clue” if the benefits of masking children outweigh the risks, he wrote in MedPage Today. “During the last year and half, the scientific community has failed to answer these questions. Failed entirely.”

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Florida Man Files Lawsuit Against CDC’s Mask Mandate in Supreme Court

A Florida man who frequently files on planes asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) mask requirements for public transportation, decrying the regulation as unconstitutional.

Lucas Wall appealed to the court on Tuesday and named the CDC, President Joe Biden, and other federal agencies as defendants in the case. Previously, he filed a lawsuit against seven airlines and alleged they engaged in discrimination against fliers who cannot wear face masks due to medical reasons.

“This Court has issued at least five emergency injunctive orders in the past seven months unequivocally holding that governments may not restrict First Amendment rights even in the name of fighting a pandemic,” Wall wrote in his Tuesday petition. Now, he wants the court to rule on whether other constitutional rights “can’t be suspended by the federal defendants because of COVID-19.”

Wall was ejected from the Orlando International Airport last month because he wasn’t wearing a mask, according to reports and video footage he posted online. In his previous lawsuit, Wall said he has a generalized anxiety disorder that makes it not possible to follow what he called an “improper, illegal, and unconstitutional” mandate on mask-wearing.

When he was ejected from the airport, Wall told Transportation Security Administration agents: “I refuse to comply with that,” reported the Washington Examiner, citing his video.

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A Court Ruled Rachel Maddow’s Viewers Know She Offers Exaggeration and Opinion, Not Facts

MSNBC’s top-rated host Rachel Maddow devoted a segment in 2019 to accusing the right-wing cable outlet One America News (OAN) of being a paid propaganda outlet for the Kremlin. Discussing a Daily Beast article which noted that one OAN reporter was a “Russian national” who was simultaneously writing copy for the Russian-owned outlet Sputnik on a freelance contract, Maddow escalated the allegation greatly into a broad claim about OAN’s real identity and purpose: “in this case,” she announced, “the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda.”

In response, OAN sued Maddow, MSNBC, and its parent corporation Comcast, Inc. for defamation, alleging that it was demonstrably false that the network, in Maddow’s words, “literally is paid Russian propaganda.” In an oddly overlooked ruling, an Obama-appointed federal judge, Cynthia Bashant, dismissed the lawsuit on the ground that even Maddow’s own audience understands that her show consists of exaggeration, hyperbole, and pure opinion, and therefore would not assume that such outlandish accusations are factually true even when she uses the language of certainty and truth when presenting them (“literally is paid Russian propaganda”).

In concluding that Maddow’s statement would be understood even by her own viewers as non-factual, the judge emphasized that what Maddow does in general is not present news but rather hyperbole and exploitation of actual news to serve her liberal activism:

On one hand, a viewer who watches news channels tunes in for facts and the goings-on of the world. MSNBC indeed produces news, but this point must be juxtaposed with the fact that Maddow made the allegedly defamatory statement on her own talk show news segment where she is invited and encouraged to share her opinions with her viewers. Maddow does not keep her political views a secret, and therefore, audiences could expect her to use subjective language that comports with her political opinions.

Thus, Maddow’s show is different than a typical news segment where anchors inform viewers about the daily news. The point of Maddow’s show is for her to provide the news but also to offer her opinions as to that news. Therefore, the Court finds that the medium of the alleged defamatory statement makes it more likely that a reasonable viewer would not conclude that the contested statement implies an assertion of objective fact.

The judge’s observations about the specific segment at issue — in which Maddow accused a competitor of being “literally paid Russian propaganda” — was even more damning. Maddow’s own viewers, ruled the court, not only expect but desire that she will not provide the news in factual form but will exaggerate and even distort reality in order to shape her opinion-driven analysis (emphasis added):

Viewers expect her to do so, as it is indeed her show, and viewers watch the segment with the understanding that it will contain Maddow’s “personal and subjective views” about the news. See id. Thus, the Court finds that as a part of the totality of the circumstances, the broad context weighs in favor of a finding that the alleged defamatory statement is Maddow’s opinion and exaggeration of the Daily Beast article, and that reasonable viewers would not take the statement as factual. . . .

Here, Maddow had inserted her own colorful commentary into and throughout the segment, laughing, expressing her dismay (i.e., saying “I mean, what?”) and calling the segment a “sparkly story” and one we must “take in stride.” For her to exaggerate the facts and call OAN Russian propaganda was consistent with her tone up to that point, and the Court finds a reasonable viewer would not take the statement as factual given this context. The context of Maddow’s statement shows reasonable viewers would consider the contested statement to be her opinion. A reasonable viewer would not actually think OAN is paid Russian propaganda, instead, he or she would follow the facts of the Daily Beast article; that OAN and Sputnik share a reporter and both pay this reporter to write articles. Anything beyond this is Maddow’s opinion or her exaggeration of the facts.

In sum, ruled the court, Rachel Maddow is among those “speakers whose statements cannot reasonably be interpreted as allegations of fact.” Despite Maddow’s use of the word “literally” to accuse OAN of being a “paid Russian propaganda” outlet, the court dismissed the lawsuit on the ground that, given Maddow’s conduct and her audience’s awareness of who she is and what she does, “the Court finds that the contested statement is an opinion that cannot serve as the basis for a defamation claim.”

What makes this particularly notable and ironic is that a similar argument was made a year later by lawyers for Fox News when defending a segment that appeared on the program of its highest-rated program, Tucker Carlson Tonight. That was part of a lawsuit brought by the former model Karen McDougal, who claimed Carlson slandered her by saying she “extorted” former President Trump by demanding payments in exchange for her silence about an extramarital affair she claimed to have with him.

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Black Men Have Lower Cognitive Skills Than White Men, NFL Asserts In Brain Injury Lawsuits

Former NFL players who suffer from dementia or other brain injuries may be entitled to payouts under the NFL’s $1 billion settlement of brain injury claims but the league uses a scoring algorithm that requires former Black players to score lower for cognitive skills than their white counterparts to receive an award which has been called “race-norming.”

The settlement is overseen by senior U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody, who was handed 50,000 petitions on Friday by former Washington running back Ken Jenkins, 61, and his wife Amy Lewis. The petitions call for equality in how former Black football players’ cognitive skills are evaluated in order to get a portion of the settlement.

“Norming by race is not the stance that the NFL ought to take. It continues to look as if it’s trying to exclude people rather than trying to do what’s right, which is to help people that, clinically, have obvious and severe disability,” New York University medical ethicist Dr. Art Caplan told the Associated Press.

The NFL’s scoring algorithm asserts that Black men have lower cognitive skills to begin with and has impeded the ability for former Black players to attain awards from the league’s settlement as they are required to score significantly lower than their white counterparts.

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