Butina admitted to making contacts with Republicans and conservative groups at the direction of Russia, and will cooperate with prosecutors. Here’s her plea agreement.
American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, has agreed to cooperate with New York federal prosecutors. The announcement was made by the Department of Justice through a public statement sharing that a non-prosecution agreement with American Media Inc. was met “related to its payment of $150,000 to [former Playboy model Karen McDougal] to influence 2016 presidential election,” per the statement.
Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday for crimes that included arranging payments during the 2016 election to silence women who claimed affairs with Trump after the President’s onetime “fixer” attributed his offenses to “my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.” In a court filing, the Office of the Special Counsel said Cohen has disclosed ‘relevant and useful’ information to its investigation. Read the Special Counsel’s memo on Michael Cohen. Federal prosecutors recommended a ‘substantial’ prison term for Michael Cohen. Read prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for Michael Cohen.
Almost exactly a year ago, Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn entered into a cooperating plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Flynn admitted lying to investigators about his communications with Russia’s ambassador to the US late in December 2016. The discussions related to sanctions then president Barack Obama had imposed on Moscow over its interference in the US election, and a UN security council vote on halting new Israeli settlements. After several postponements, Mueller has now made his sentencing recommendation illuminating the extent to which Flynn cooperated with the Office of Special Counsel in the Russia probe.
Read Mueller’s sentencing memo for Michael Flynn here and the redacted addendum here. The latter discusses the significance and usefulness of Flynn’s assistance. See also this Washington Post analysis and this New York Times analysis.
A judge capped the costs award in an occupier’s liability personal injury costs judgment, writing that the use of artificial intelligence should have “significantly reduced” counsel’s preparation time. The decision in Cass v. 1410088 Ontario Inc., 2018 ONSC 6959 reduced the starting point for disbursements by $11,404.08, citing both research fees as well as other aspects of the lawyers’ bill, and awarded a total cost award against the plaintiff of $20,000.
The sentencing memo submitted by Cohen’s lawyers attributes to misplaced loyalty his decision to lie to Congress about Trump’s business negotiations over a Moscow hotel project. Cohen does not say that the president instructed him to lie. He was aware, his lawyers write, of the president’s public statements—that he had no such dealings with Russia—and he chose a line of testimony that would not contradict them. For more, see Lawfare’s There’s a Lot Going On in Michael Cohen’s Sentencing Memo and The Atlantic’s Three Remarkable Things About Michael Cohen’s Plea.
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos of the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of seven states that sued the Justice Department after it required in June that states comply with new rules enforcing federal immigration law. Justice Department “did not have lawful authority” to force local and state governments to notify the federal government when an undocumented immigrant was in custody. Read the opinion and order here.
Prosecutors with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III said Monday that Paul Manafort breached his plea agreement, accusing President Trump’s former campaign chairman of lying repeatedly to them in their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Read the Manafort Status Report.
In a ruling late Monday, Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco issued a temporary nationwide restraining order barring enforcement of the policy. President Trump’s action was announced on Nov. 9, 2018. The judge’s order remains in effect until Dec. 19, at which point the court will consider arguments for a permanent order. Here’s a copy of the court’s order granting temporary restraining order against Trump administration asylum policy.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday, claiming that Trump violated the Appointments Clause of the Constitution by choosing Whitaker for a Cabinet-level position even though Whitaker has never been Senate confirmed for a position. The complaint seeks to block Whitaker from serving in the role, which includes overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center maintain databases that track hate groups but the Center focuses on the big picture. First Vigil digs into the detail the Center leaves out by tracking white nationalist court cases. For background on First Vigil’s creator, see The Data Scientist Tracking America’s White Supremacists, Motherboard, Nov. 14, 2018.
CNN has sued the Trump Administration on behalf of reporter Jim Acosta on Tuesday, asking a federal court to restore Acosta’s White House press pass after President Trump suspended it last week. Here’s the text of the complaint.
Politico is reporting that a federal appellate court panel on Friday ordered Robert Mueller as well as attorneys trying to knock the special counsel out of his job to file new legal briefs that explain how this week’s shake-up atop the Justice Department could influence their case. “In a one-paragraph order, the three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit told Mueller and lawyers for a former aide to Roger Stone that they have until Nov. 19 to turn in briefs that sift through Wednesday’s firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the legal reaction it may have created.”
Yesterday’s ruling by Judge Brian Morris of the United States District Court for Montana repudiates one of Donald J. Trump’s first acts as president. Two days after taking office, Mr. Trump signed an executive order approving the Keystone pipeline that had been blocked by former President Barack Obama because of environmental concerns. Here’s the text of the court order.
Dr. Jonathan Tennant, UK; and Prof. Dr. Björn Brembs, Germany, filed a complaint with the EU Competition Authority. Here’s a snip:
We write to notify you of what we believe to be the anti-competitive practices of RELX Group in the scholarly publishing and analytics industry, based on the following two articles of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU):
- Article 101 of the Treaty, which prohibits agreements between two or more independent market operators which restrict competition; and
- Article 102 of the Treaty prohibits firms that hold a dominant position on a given market to abuse that position.
This complaint regarding RELX Group, and specifically its daughter company, Elsevier, is based on the following grounds:
- General problems within the scholarly publishing market sector that actively prohibit competition in the common market between EU member states (Article 101); and
- Abuse of a dominant position within this market (Article 102).
H/T Gary Price’s InfoDocket post.
“The law is not copyrightable. … Someone needs to stand up for the proposition that public law is in the public domain.” — Ed Walters, Fastcase CEO, Feb. 2016
Fastcase’s lawsuit against Casemaker can proceed ruled the 11th Circuit. [text] The lawsuit, now over two years old, started when Fastcase received a take-down notice for publishing the Georgia Administrative Rules and Regulations. Casemaker claimed they had exclusive rights to distribute, for commercial use, the Georgia Administrative Rules and Regulations. For an analysis of yesterday’s ruling, see Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites post.
Today, a civil RICO suit was brought against The Trump Organization, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York for their participation in a pyramid scheme. Here’s the text of the class action complaint.
From the abstract for JoAnne Sweeny, Incitement in the Era of Trump and Unite the Right, Capital University Law Review, Forthcoming:
Incitement, a First Amendment doctrine that has long been relegated to the history section of law school case books, is now the centerpiece of two major lawsuits: one against Donald Trump for the violence that erupted in his Louisville, Kentucky rally, and one against the organizers of the fatal Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Incitement, a long-recognized exception to the freedom of expression, has been rarely used except in times of political unrest. Unsurprisingly, then, as political unrest has re-emerged in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, incitement has become relevant once again. However, the alleged incitement at these violent political rallies is largely dependent on the use of modern technology, including ubiquitous media reporting and the ease and anonymity of social media, and therefore presents an odd fit for the more traditional incitement definition stated in Brandenburg v. Ohio. For that reason, this article argues that the Trump rally in Louisville and the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville show how incitement should evolve to include more context, and how that context will become essential to properly decide incitement cases going forward.
Mother Jones reports “Washington’s state Supreme Court has ruled that it’s unconstitutional to sentence teen offenders to life in prison without parole because their brains are less developed than those of adult offenders, arguing that they should be granted a second chance because of their potential for growth.
“The 5-4 decision on Thursday comes one week after the court abolished the death penalty in the state. Washington is now one of at least 21 states, along with the District of Columbia, that ban life-without-parole punishments for crimes committed by people under the age of 18.”
On June 8, 2018, New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), requesting that the BIA make all of its unpublished decisions since 1996 publicly available in an electronic format under 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(2) as the BIA’s decisions, whether published or unpublished, are “final opinions” and “orders” of the agency. EOIR denied NYLAG’s request, and NYLAG submitted an administrative appeal. On October 17, 2018, after EOIR and the BIA failed to respond by the statutory deadline, NYLAG filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, represented by attorneys at Public Citizen Litigation Group and NYLAG. NYLAG contends that the BIA’s failure to make its unpublished decisions publicly available in an electronic format violates FOIA or, in the alternative, the Administrative Procedure Act. Here’s the text of the complaint.