web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 134)

Reps. Biggs and Fulcher: House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment just another sham led by Democrats

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6111084468001_6111086967001-vs Reps. Biggs and Fulcher: House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment just another sham led by Democrats Rep. Russ Fulcher Rep. Andy Biggs fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 70996e55-a5ab-519b-8974-830659e56e84

The House Judiciary Committee will hold another impeachment hearing this week related to Democrats’ vindictive effort to impeach President Trump. The committee will be entering a strange new place never encountered before in the history of the republic by receiving jury instructions without a trial.

The Judiciary Committee has historically been the committee of jurisdiction for impeachment; instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gave control to Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and the House Intelligence Committee.

During the secret proceedings, Schiff attempted to control everything related to impeaching President Trump. Public sentiment was supportive of the Democrats’ impeachment obsession as long as they only heard the leaked information from Schiff that was purposefully selected to color the president in an unflattering light.

LIZ PEEK: REGRETFUL DEMOCRATS LOCKED INTO TRUMP IMPEACHMENT – AND PAYING A PRICE FOR IT

When the hearings were opened, and Democrats paraded a cast of characters before the public, Americans quickly soured on the notion of impeachment. Democrats have yet to identify what high crime President Trump has supposedly committed.

In desperation, Democrats started testing various catchphrases to focus groups in an attempt to find something that would resonate with the country. That hasn’t worked either. They are shedding public support like a St. Bernard in an Arizona summer sheds hair.

More from Opinion

And now Schiff and company have written a report on their so-called evidence to give to the Judiciary Committee so that they can proceed to write their Articles of Impeachment to be considered by the House of Representatives.

So, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is having at least one hearing this week. Will the Judiciary Committee have real witnesses appear? Not likely. The committee has instead invited several lawyers to come in and tell us what the report’s evidence means and that impeachment of President Trump is consistent with their respective interpretations of the law.

But isn’t that what the Judiciary Committee itself is for? The committee itself determines whether impeachment is appropriate based on the evidence is.

And that’s the real problem here. House rules are generally silent on the impeachment process. In House practice, however, precedent should be followed when there are no specific rules. Thus, we should do what was done in the Clinton and Nixon proceedings.

In those proceedings, the House Judiciary Committees were triers of fact and law. In other words, we hear witnesses, review evidence, and hold a hearing in conjunction with the impeachment proceedings. As the Judiciary Committee receives this evidence, it sifts through what it sees and hears and determines what the facts of the case are. Thus, “triers of fact.”

At the conclusion, we should review the laws pertinent to the case and then apply them to the facts. Thus, “triers of law.” Each member of the committee then reaches their respective conclusions and then votes.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

But, like so much in this shameful, sham of a coup, we are doing it backward. On Wednesday, we anticipate either receiving jury instructions from Nadler’s lawyers before witnesses and evidence are presented to the committee, or the committee will not conduct evidentiary hearings at all.

In either case, it is a perpetuation of the unfair, distorted procedure that the Democrats have conducted thus far. Apparently, they are as obtuse in their knowledge of procedure as they are in the purported charges they assert against the president. They continue to flail at gnats.

So the Judiciary Committee will hold a meaningless “hearing” where no witnesses will testify to the facts and those who appear will be giving us jury instructions before we hear the evidence. Another fail on the part of Democrats.

Republican Russ Fulcher represents Idaho’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY REP. ANDY BIGGS

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6111084468001_6111086967001-vs Reps. Biggs and Fulcher: House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment just another sham led by Democrats Rep. Russ Fulcher Rep. Andy Biggs fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 70996e55-a5ab-519b-8974-830659e56e84   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6111084468001_6111086967001-vs Reps. Biggs and Fulcher: House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment just another sham led by Democrats Rep. Russ Fulcher Rep. Andy Biggs fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 70996e55-a5ab-519b-8974-830659e56e84

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Blasts Macron For ‘Very Nasty Statement’ On NATO

Westlake Legal Group 5de63de9250000b23cd2ef67 Trump Blasts Macron For ‘Very Nasty Statement’ On NATO

LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump launched an angry broadside against his European allies ahead of a NATO summit in London on Tuesday, singling out France’s Emmanuel Macron for “very nasty” comments on the alliance and Germany’s shortfall on funding commitments.

Underlining the breadth of strife in a transatlantic bloc hailed by its backers as the most successful military alliance in history, Trump demanded that Europe pay more for defense and also make concessions to U.S. interests on trade.

The attack echoed a similar volley of abuse by Trump ahead of NATO’s July 2018 summit. It will add to the growing doubts over the future of the bloc, described by Macron as “brain dead” in the run-up to a London meeting intended to be a 70th anniversary celebration.

“It’s a tough statement, though, when you make a statement like that, that is a very, very nasty statement to essentially 28, including them, 28 countries,” Trump told reporters as he met the head of NATO in London.

Explicitly linking his complaint that Europe does not pay enough for NATO’s security missions to his staunch “America First” defense of U.S. commercial interests, Trump said it was time for Europe to “shape up” on both fronts.

“It’s not right to be taken advantage of on NATO and also then to be taken advantage of on trade, and that’s what happens. We can’t let that happen,” he said of transatlantic disputes over everything from the aerospace sector to a European “digital tax” on U.S. technology giants.

Dismissing recent signals from Germany that it was ready to do more to match a NATO target of spending two percent of national output on defense, Trump accused it and other nations which spend less than that target of being “delinquent.”

The Trump attack came only hours after divisions opened up elsewhere in the alliance, with Turkey vowing to oppose a NATO plan to defend Baltic countries unless the alliance backs it in recognizing the Kurdish YPG militia as a terrorist group.

The YPG’s fighters have long been U.S. allies on the ground against Islamic State in Syria. Turkey considers them an enemy because of links to Kurdish insurgents in southeastern Turkey.

“If our friends at NATO do not recognize as terrorist organizations those we consider terrorist organizations… we will stand against any step that will be taken there,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said before traveling to London.

Erdogan, who has already strained alliance ties with a move to buy Russian air defense systems, said he would meet Polish President Andrzej Duda and leaders of Baltic countries in London. Turkey, France, Germany and Britain are also expected to hold separate meetings around the summit.

In an interview with Reuters, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned Ankara that “not everybody sees the threats that they see,” and he urged it, in the name of alliance unity, to stop blocking the Baltics plan.

Queen Elizabeth will host the leaders at Buckingham Palace. But even the British hosts, for generations among the most enthusiastic champions of the trans-Atlantic partnership that NATO represents, are disunited over their project of quitting the EU and distracted by a rancorous election due next week.

“The question is, as we celebrate 70 years, are we waving in celebration or do people think we are drowning?” said a senior European NATO diplomat.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott in London, Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul, Joanna Plucinska in Warsaw; Writing by Mark John Editing by Gareth Jones and Peter Graff)

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Blasts Macron For ‘Very, Very Nasty’ Comments On NATO

Westlake Legal Group 5de63de9250000b23cd2ef67 Trump Blasts Macron For ‘Very, Very Nasty’ Comments On NATO

LONDON (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday took aim at President Emmanuel Macron over the French leader’s criticism of NATO, and criticized the other members of the military alliance for being too slow to beef up their defense budgets.

As prime ministers and presidents of the 29-member alliance converged on London to mark NATO’s 70th birthday, Trump told reporters Macron’s comments were “very, very nasty” when he lamented the “brain death” of the organization due in large part to a lack of U.S. leadership.

“I think that’s insulting to a lot of different forces,” Trump said. “You just can’t go around making statements like that about NATO. It’s very disrespectful.”

During campaigning for the last election, Trump described NATO as “obsolete.” He has since tempered his criticism somewhat.

Macron was angered when Trump unilaterally pulled troops out of northern Syria last month, a move that Turkey saw as a green light for an invasion. The European Union is mired in a political crisis sparked by its inability to manage Syrian refugee arrivals, and fears that more people might flee.

Relations between the U.S. and France are also particularly strained this week after The U.S. Trade Representative proposed introducing tariffs on $2.4 billion in goods in retaliation for a French tax on global tech giants. Trump and Macron are due to meet on the sidelines of the summit.

Discussing military funding, Trump insisted that “a lot of countries haven’t paid.”

After Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, NATO countries halted their post-Cold War spending cuts and began increasing spending. They pledged to “move toward” spending 2% of GDP on their national defense budgets by 2024.

“You could make the case that they’ve been delinquent for 25-30 years,” Trump said, after talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. He added that the figure of 2% “is a very low number, it really should be 4.”

Stoltenberg, given the unenviable task of trying to hold NATO together as its leaders take pot shots at each other, said that “we’re doing more together, North America and Europe, than we have done in many decades.”

But even he conceded that “we should never question the unity and the political willingness to stand together and to defend each other. The whole purpose of NATO is to preserve peace. It’s to prevent conflict by sending a clear message to any potential adversary that if one ally is attacked it will trigger a response from the whole alliance.”

The spats between leaders threaten to expose a lack of unity that could undermine the military organization’s credibility.

Macron insisted ahead of the meeting that the endless spending debate should be set aside so that NATO can focus on important strategic questions like who its enemies really are, how to improve ties with Russia and what to do with an unpredictable ally like Turkey. In turn, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Macron.

Ankara raised the ire of its allies by invading northern Syria, and for buying Russian air defense systems with powerful computers aboard that suck up data and would compromise the military equipment of allies if they were stationed nearby.

Before heading to London, Erdogan suggested that Turkey might not back Poland and NATO’s Baltic allies — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — should they require defending unless the allies support Turkish concerns about Syrian Kurdish fighters, which Ankara sees as terrorists.

That threat raises new questions about NATO’s commitment to its collective defense clause — Article 5 — under which all allies vow to come to the aid of a member under attack. The clause has only ever been activated once, after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

The very public arguments bode ill for a summit hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is deep into an electoral campaign and desperately wants to smooth things over.

The two-day summit kicks off late Tuesday with receptions at Buckingham Palace and Downing Street. One short working session will be held at a golf resort in outer London on Wednesday. The aim is to issue a joint declaration — if the summit can survive the friendly fire.

Trump is due to hold separate talks with Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on the sidelines. Johnson is also set to host talks on Syria with Macron, Merkel and Erdogan later Tuesday.

Zeke Miller in London, Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Daria Litvinova in Moscow and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

US man faces new terrorism charges, allegedly the highest-ranking citizen fighting overseas

Westlake Legal Group terrorarrest-cropped-455am US man faces new terrorism charges, allegedly the highest-ranking citizen fighting overseas fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/san-diego fnc/us fnc Eliott Spagat Associated Press article 5885e558-29ca-5456-9019-4bb6f8e8eb99

A U.S. citizen on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List has been charged with additional crimes involving ties to Somalia’s al-Shabaab rebel group, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.

Jehad Serwan Mostafa, 37, a former San Diego resident, was indicted on similar charges in 2009.

Without providing specifics, the new counts accuse him of having key roles in al-Shabaab activities and providing material support from 2008 to 2017.

UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SASKIA JONES, 23, IDENTIFIED AS SECOND LONDON BRIDGE ATTACK VICTIM

The FBI said it learned this year that he is a leader in al-Shabaab’s “explosives department.”

“Today, Mostafa is believed to be the highest-ranking United States citizen fighting overseas for a terrorist organization,” said Scott Brunner, the agent in charge of the FBI office in San Diego.

The group claimed responsibility for two Sept. 30 attacks on U.S. and European military targets in Somalia, including one by an estimated 25 fighters who were killed when they tried to storm the Belidogle military airstrip, which hosts Somali and U.S. forces.

BORIS JOHNSON SAYS 74 CONVICTED TERRORISTS RELEASED FROM PRISON WILL HAVE LICENSE CONDITIONS REVIEWED

Mostafa was born in Waukesha, Wisc., and raised in San Diego, where authorities say he has relatives. He graduated from the University of California, San Diego, in 2005 and — according to an FBI poster offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest — joined al-Shabaab around 2006, authorities said.

Mostafa was among a handful of young Muslims from the U.S. who took high-visibility roles inside the al-Qaida-linked insurgent force, authorities said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

He was once president of the now-defunct Muslim Youth Council of San Diego, which said on its website that it was “dedicated to showing the world that Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims are a peaceful and productive part of society.”

Mostafa’s father, Halim Mostafa, a Kurdish Syrian, made a low-budget film, “Mozlym,” that was released in 2008 and billed as an effort to show how the true meaning of Islam is often lost amid misconceptions of non-Muslims in America.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group terrorarrest-cropped-455am US man faces new terrorism charges, allegedly the highest-ranking citizen fighting overseas fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/san-diego fnc/us fnc Eliott Spagat Associated Press article 5885e558-29ca-5456-9019-4bb6f8e8eb99   Westlake Legal Group terrorarrest-cropped-455am US man faces new terrorism charges, allegedly the highest-ranking citizen fighting overseas fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/san-diego fnc/us fnc Eliott Spagat Associated Press article 5885e558-29ca-5456-9019-4bb6f8e8eb99

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Greta Thunberg approaches Lisbon after 20-day trip across Atlantic

Westlake Legal Group AP19298851953803 Greta Thunberg approaches Lisbon after 20-day trip across Atlantic fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 95258397-dcad-58c0-b163-d32300a71646

The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg neared the port of Lisbon, Portugal, early Tuesday after making a nearly three-week-long journey across the Atlantic Ocean in a catamaran in order to attend a United Nations climate change summit in Madrid.

Thunberg is two days late to the UN Climate Change Conference 2019, which began on Monday and will continue until Dec. 10. She will spend Tuesday in Lisbon before taking on an overnight train to Spain to attend the summit where she is to deliver a speech.

UN REPORT: WORLD ALREADY FAR BEHIND PROGRESS NEEDED TO REACH PARIS CLIMATE GOALS

The 45-foot-long La Vagabonde catamaran carrying Thunberg, British navigator Nikki Henderson and the Australian family who own the vessel, first set sail from Hampton, Va., on November 13. The teenager opted to make the 3,400 miles journey via yacht instead of taking a direct flight to Madrid as an act of protest against fossil fuel emissions that come with air travel.

“Heading into Lisbon!!” Thunberg wrote on Twitter just after sunrise.

She shared an image of city lights in Lisbon before daybreak writing: “Land ahoy!”

On Monday, Thunberg shared a selfie of her travel companions, writing: “Day 20. Our last day on the ocean! We can now almost smell land! We expect to arrive at Doca de Santo Amaro, Lisbon sometime between 8.00-10.00 tomorrow morning.”

The mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, as well as a group of Portuguese youth activists from Fridays for Future Lisbon, were set to greet Thunberg at the dock.

The conference in Madrid — organized by Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, and Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s caretaker prime minister – will bring together representatives from about 200 countries who signed the 2015 Paris climate accord, France 24 reported.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

“In one way, lots of things have changed, and lots of things have moved in the right direction,” Thunberg told AFP before setting sail from Virginia. “But also in a sense, we have gone a few more months without real action being taken and without people realizing the emergency we are in.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19298851953803 Greta Thunberg approaches Lisbon after 20-day trip across Atlantic fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 95258397-dcad-58c0-b163-d32300a71646   Westlake Legal Group AP19298851953803 Greta Thunberg approaches Lisbon after 20-day trip across Atlantic fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 95258397-dcad-58c0-b163-d32300a71646

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Missouri State ranked for first time in 15 years

Missouri State coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton was playing for Hofstra the last time the Lady Bears appeared in the poll 15 years ago.

Now, the first-year coach has the team in The Associated Press women’s basketball Top 25 this week at No. 22. She inherited a really good squad that returned 12 players from last season’s Sweet 16 appearance.

“It’s tough because expectations are high as they had a great season coming off a Sweet 16,” Agugua-Hamilton said. “Coming in with a new philosophy and style of play than the last coach. I want them to buy in and believe in my vision.”

Agugua-Hamilton said that she’s tweaked a few things and that it was made easier because the players took to her and the staff.

“It made it an easy transition,” she said.

Agugua-Hamilton said that one of the goals for the season was to get the Lady Bears ranked — something she experienced many times as an assistant at Michigan State. That goal was reached Monday — the Lady Bears first ranking since the 2004 season.

“It has been 15 years, and I’m really excited that our program is being recognized and our players are being recognized for their hard work,” she said. “I think it’s hard to get ranked as a mid-major. When it happens its super exciting. My message to them is I want to stay ranked. Want our RPI to stay where it is. Build our resume for the NCAA Tournament.”

The Lady Bears’ (7-1) only loss this season came at Oregon State in the finals of the Preseason WNIT Tournament. To get to the final, Missouri State won at Boise State and Oklahoma.

“It’s almost like we played a postseason tournament early in the season. It helped us preparation wise,” Agugua-Hamilton said. “At the end of the day, we have a really good team and are not playing our best basketball yet. We got a lot of things to work on and continue to improve on defensively.”

The Lady Bears host Wichita State on Wednesday in their next game.

While Missouri State made the poll for the first time in a while, Stanford moved to No. 1; the Cardinal’s appearance atop the poll is its first in seven years.

“It’s exciting for our team to be ranked No. 1,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “For our team, the No. 1 ranking comes with confidence and humility. We’re a humble team. We could have lost games this season so far, but found ways to win. I feel like I’m on the Peloton bike in the first five minutes of the ride, but there’s a lot of pedaling left. I love when I’m on the top of the leaderboard. It motivates me to pedal harder. It motivates us to work really hard.”

The Cardinal will have to wait a little bit to defend their ranking as they are on exam break for the next two weeks. VanDerveer said it’s a chance to fine tune some things and get better in areas.

Here are a few other tidbits from the poll:

STRONG UP TOP: The Pac-12 has three teams in the top five of the poll, with Stanford, Oregon (3) and Oregon State (5). It’s the first time since 2014 that a conference has three of the top five teams in the poll. The Southeastern Conference had three in the 2014-15 preseason poll.

MILESTONES: Doug Bruno, coach of No. 16 DePaul, earned his 700th career win at his alma mater on Sunday in a victory over rival Northwestern. Bruno is one of three active coaches in Division I to win 700 games at only one school, joining UConn’s Geno Auriemma and Villanova’s Harry Perretta. … Oregon State coach Scott Rueck earned his 500th career victory on Saturday against Liberty.

BIG TEN SUCCESS: With Michigan re-entering the Top 25 on Monday, the Big Ten has four teams in the poll. The conference has gotten off to a great start this year, winning 80% of its games, so far. That’s the best start in the 39-year history of women’s basketball in the Big Ten. Ten of the 14 schools are undefeated or have just one loss.

Westlake Legal Group Missouri-State-WBK Missouri State ranked for first time in 15 years fox-news/sports/ncaa-bk fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 48c0dc5e-505f-5d24-8bea-e8b8deaa25d7   Westlake Legal Group Missouri-State-WBK Missouri State ranked for first time in 15 years fox-news/sports/ncaa-bk fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 48c0dc5e-505f-5d24-8bea-e8b8deaa25d7

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump border wall $400 million contract handed to company owned by Republican donor who promoted firm on Fox News

Westlake Legal Group f0SeVbk9e0tBygLmCGnTWuroiih1jj5zLySmrfW6bCc Trump border wall $400 million contract handed to company owned by Republican donor who promoted firm on Fox News r/politics

As a reminder, this subreddit is for civil discussion.

In general, be courteous to others. Debate/discuss/argue the merits of ideas, don’t attack people. Personal insults, shill or troll accusations, hate speech, any advocating or wishing death/physical harm, and other rule violations can result in a permanent ban.

If you see comments in violation of our rules, please report them.

For those who have questions regarding any media outlets being posted on this subreddit, please click here to review our details as to whitelist and outlet criteria.


I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Fires Mean Messages Back At His Trump-Supporting Viewers

Westlake Legal Group 5de63182250000b23cd2ef44 Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Fires Mean Messages Back At His Trump-Supporting Viewers

Fox News host Neil Cavuto came for his critics once again on Monday’s episode of “Your World.”

Mean messages from viewers who don’t like his occasional criticism of President Donald Trump greeted the anchor on his return to air following a week-long vacation. So Cavuto, as he has done on multiple previous occasions, read several of them out.

“Just when I thought Fox had finally fired you, I come to discover it was just a vacation. Pity,” said one message.

Another read: “Hey, Mr. Never Trumper, how about never showing up for work? Hate to break it to you but no one misses you while you’re gone.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Sex Trafficking via Facebook Sets Off a Lawyer’s Novel Crusade

Westlake Legal Group 03facebooksuit-facebookJumbo Sex Trafficking via Facebook Sets Off a Lawyer’s Novel Crusade Zuckerberg, Mark E Suits and Litigation (Civil) Instagram Inc human trafficking Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet Annie McAdams

HOUSTON — Tech has led to a lot of trouble lately: hate speech, financial scams, undermined elections. Yet tech companies have largely avoided legal consequences, thanks to a landmark 1996 law that protects them from lawsuits.

Now that federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, has a new threat: Annie McAdams, a personal-injury lawyer in Houston.

Ms. McAdams is waging a legal assault against Facebook and other tech companies, accusing them of facilitating the sex trafficking of minors. In a series of lawsuits in California, Georgia, Missouri and Texas, she is using a novel argument to challenge the 1996 law, and finding some early success. This year, a Texas judge has repeatedly denied Facebook’s motions to dismiss her lawsuits.

Section 230 states that internet companies are not liable for what their users post. Ms. McAdams argues that, in the case of pimps using Facebook and Instagram to lure children into prostitution, separate laws require Facebook to warn users of that risk and do more to prevent it.

“If you sell a lawn mower and the blade flies off and chops someone in the leg, you have the responsibility to fix it and warn people,” she said. “Nowhere else has an industry been afforded this luxury of protection from being held accountable for anything that they’ve caused.”

Ms. McAdams’s lawsuits are part of a broader, yearslong effort to use the courts to upend how the 23-year-old law governs the internet.

While Section 230 is increasingly debated in Washington and on the presidential campaign trail, legislation is not expected to significantly weaken the law anytime soon. Instead, lawyers are pushing ahead with federal and state lawsuits to challenge its protection of internet companies. After years of court rulings that strengthened the law, cracks have recently begun to show.

In 2016, a federal appeals court ruled that Section 230 didn’t protect a modeling website that two men used to lure women they drugged and sexually assaulted, because the site’s owners knew of the threat and failed to warn the women.

In March, a federal appeals court affirmed a ruling that Airbnb could be held liable if its users violated home-rental bans in Santa Monica, Calif. And in July, another federal appeals court rejected Amazon’s Section 230 arguments and said it could be held liable for selling defective products after a woman sued over a broken dog leash that partly blinded her. The court is rehearing the case at Amazon’s request.

“Plaintiffs keep taking cracks at it, and every time they don’t instantly lose, they pour more resources into that crack to see if they can split it open,” said Eric Goldman, a Santa Clara University law professor who supports the law.

Ms. McAdams’s case is one of the widest cracks today. Facebook asked Steven Kirkland, a state judge in Houston, to dismiss two of Ms. McAdams’s lawsuits because of its immunity under Section 230. The judge denied the company’s motions, though his rulings offered little insight into his thinking. He declined to elaborate in an interview.

“It’s always noteworthy when a 230 dismissal isn’t granted in a case involving someone like Facebook, because we just presume Facebook won’t be liable for what its users are doing,” Mr. Goldman said.

Facebook responded to the judge’s decision in Houston with a nearly 50-page petition to a Texas appeals court, arguing that Judge Kirkland had erred. “The claims here asserted against Facebook have no basis in law,” Facebook’s lawyers wrote in the petition.

A Facebook spokeswoman added that the company “has zero tolerance for any behavior or content that exploits children on our platform” and that it used sophisticated technology and a partnership with a children’s advocacy group “to aggressively combat this behavior and protect children.”

Ms. McAdams’s approach could prove significant. If the Texas rulings hold up on appeal, they could persuade judges in other states and potentially even draw the Supreme Court to weigh in, said Jeff Kosseff, a United States Naval Academy law professor who wrote a book on Section 230.

If judges began allowing such product-liability claims to get around Section 230, it would probably mean many more companies would be held legally responsible for harms that occurred on their sites, particularly if plaintiffs could show the companies’ decisions or policies had led to those harms, according to Mr. Kosseff and two other law professors who spoke to The New York Times.

Judge Kirkland said he expected Facebook’s appeals would continue to the Texas Supreme Court, meaning a trial would most likely wait until 2021.

“My clients know it’s going to be a 10-year fight,” Ms. McAdams said. “I’m not looking for a settlement. I’m looking for a day in court.”

Ms. McAdams, 43, poses an unusual challenge for the tech companies. She is not an Ivy League lawyer with a history of Supreme Court cases; she is a personal-injury attorney who has taken on drunken drivers, real estate developers, insurance companies and a church after a coffin floated away in a flood.

Over fajitas at her favorite Tex-Mex joint in Houston, she said she had acquired the restaurant’s secret margarita recipe in legal discovery when she sued the place for serving a man too much alcohol.

She dismisses academics critical of her approach, and she delivers bold pronouncements — particularly to a reporter with a voice recorder — in a disarming Texas drawl.

In the Facebook case, she predicted a jury would award her clients billions of dollars. “They have to do everything to keep me from that jury,” she said, “because once facts are known, it’s over.” She said she was “building the blueprint” for lawyers in other states to sue social-media companies on similar grounds.

Ms. McAdams first pursued lawsuits against the hotels where pimps set up shop. Then, when interviewing potential clients, she noticed a common thread: Almost all the girls had met their pimps on Facebook or Instagram.

She still wasn’t exactly sure how to build a case, until she watched Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, testify to Congress last year. “I couldn’t believe he went on the record saying I’m responsible for the content,” she said. “I have 17 references under oath.”

After she sued, Facebook enlisted about a dozen outside lawyers, including in Houston, Dallas and Austin, and flooded her with court filings. “Every time they file, we’ll punch back,” she said.

Her lawsuits accuse Facebook of violating Texas sex-trafficking and product-liability laws. Section 230 basically protects tech companies from being sued for what people do on their platforms; Ms. McAdams argues that her case is about what Facebook didn’t do to protect its users.

“We’re not trying to hold Facebook accountable for something some random person posted,” she said. “We’re trying to hold Facebook accountable for their independent actions and omissions in the facilitation of trafficking.”

She said laws required Facebook to do more to stop predators who use its products to find victims and to warn people of that risk. For instance, she said, Facebook could require users to verify their identities and better restrict adults from connecting with minors.

While Congress amended Section 230 last year to allow federal lawsuits against tech companies that facilitate sex trafficking, Ms. McAdams is suing Facebook in state court.

The product-liability argument has not always succeeded. While her argument appeared to persuade one judge, a second Texas judge overseeing another of her lawsuits against Facebook rejected it. He is letting her continue the suit under different claims.

Carrie Goldberg, a New York lawyer, tried a similar legal argument when suing the dating app Grindr for enabling her client’s ex-boyfriend to send more than 1,000 men to her client’s door looking for sex. Two federal courts cited Section 230 and dismissed the suit, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case in October.

Ms. Goldberg said that if a product-liability argument succeeded against tech companies, it could force companies to make their sites safer. Such product-liability law are “how we have seatbelts and windshield wipers; it’s because of court cases where companies have been held liable for dangerous conditions,” she said.

Ms. McAdams is hedging her bets. In addition to her three suits against Facebook in Texas and one in Tennessee, she has sued Salesforce in Texas, California and St. Louis, accusing the business-software company of helping the prostitution site Backpage do business. Those suits have had mixed results so far. Salesforce declined to comment. Last week, she sued the email company MailChimp in Georgia for also helping a Backpage imitator. A MailChimp spokeswoman declined to comment specifically on the suit but said the company doesn’t allow illegal activity on its platform.

Next up, Ms. McAdams and her co-counsel, David Harris, are talking about suing other large tech and financial firms for their roles in sex trafficking. “The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” she said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Treinen, Sanchez, Russell, Sánchez become free agents

Former All-Stars Blake Treinen, Aaron Sanchez and Addison Russell were among 56 players who became free agents along with current Gold Glove second baseman Yolmer Sánchez when their teams declined to offer 2020 contracts Monday rather than make them eligible for salary arbitration.

Baltimore, faced with a similar decision, traded second baseman Jonathan Villar to Miami, which claimed first baseman Jesús Aguilar off waivers from Tampa Bay.

One big-name free agent found a home: All-Star infielder Mike Moustakas and the Cincinnati Reds agreed to a $64 million, four-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced.

For the second straight offseason, the Reds are making a splash as they try to shake themselves out of a rut of six straight losing seasons. Their first move involves getting a player from NL Central rival Milwaukee. The 31-year-old Moustakas could fill a hole at second base that opened when Scooter Gennett got hurt and then was traded last season.

Cincinnati scored the fourth-fewest runs in the NL despite one of the league’s most hitter-friendly ballparks. Bulking up on offense, stabilizing the outfield and overhauling the bullpen are the Reds’ priorities in the offseason.

Ahead of the deadline to offer 2020 contracts to unsigned players on 40-man rosters, San Diego obtained second baseman Jurickson Profar from Oakland for catching prospect Austin Allen, then agreed to a $5.7 million, one-year contract. Cleveland acquired catcher Sandy León from Boston for minor league right-hander Adenys Bautista and agreed to a $2 million deal.

About two dozen players agreed to contracts, and the total of players eligible for arbitration dropped from about 230 at the start of the day to approximately 165.

Seattle chose not to offer a contract to infielder Tim Beckham, who has 32 games remaining on a drug suspension, and San Francisco let go outfielder Kevin Pillar.

Milwaukee was the most active team in cutting its budget for arbitration-eligible players, allowing a quintet to go free: left-hander Álex Claudio, right-handers Junior Guerra and Jimmy Nelson, infielder Tyler Saladino and third baseman Travis Shaw. The Brewers also agreed to a $2.2 million, one-year deal with shortstop Orlando Arcia and a $1.4 million, one-year contract with outfielder Ben Gamel, whose deal includes a $2.55 million team option for 2021.

After starting the day with 10 arbitration-eligible players, the Brewers finished with three: right-hander Corey Knebel and lefties Josh Hader and Brent Suter.

“I’d say that payroll flexibility helps and isn’t a bad thing as we evaluate potential acquisitions throughout the offseason,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “The way the arbitration system is set up, sometimes you’re forced to make difficult decisions if it doesn’t appear that allocating the payroll to specific players in the way the arbitration would dictate would be the most effective use of those dollars.”

Baltimore jettisoned its top player in Villar in exchange for minor league pitcher Easton Lucas. Villar played in all 162 games this year and led the 108-loss Orioles with 176 hits, five triples and 40 stolen bases. He likely will command a salary of about $10 million in arbitration.

“He was a tremendously exciting player for us, a joy to have,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “It was hard to let him go, but we’ve got to keep an eye on our strategic objectives, which is prioritize the future right now.”

Russell, a 2016 All-Star, was banned for 40 games last offseason under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy after a series of allegations made by ex-wife Melisa Reidy. The 25-year-old returned to the Chicago Cubs in May and batted a career-low .237 with nine homers, 23 RBIs and a .699 OPS.

Russell earned $4 million in 2019 and was likely to gain a raise in arbitration, probably to around $5 million.

“We decided to non-tender Addison Russell today simply because the role we expected him to play for the 2020 Cubs was inconsistent with how he would have been treated in the salary arbitration process,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement.

Treinen, a 31-year-old right-hander, had a 4.91 ERA for Oakland this year, up from 0.78 ERA in his All-Star season of 2018. Treinen was expected to command roughly $7.5 million in arbitration.

Sanchez, a 27-year-old right-hander, was an All-Star for Toronto in 2016 and was dealt to Houston on July 31. He went 2-0 in four starts and 18 2/3 innings, including the first six innings of a combined no-hitter against Seattle in his Astros debut. But the team said on Sept. 5 that he needed shoulder surgery.

Among others cut loose were Philadelphia third baseman Maikel Franco and second baseman César Hernández, Arizona outfielder Steven Souza Jr., and Minnesota first baseman C.J. Cron.

Westlake Legal Group Addison-Russell Treinen, Sanchez, Russell, Sánchez become free agents fox-news/sports/mlb/tampa-bay-rays fox-news/sports/mlb/seattle-mariners fox-news/sports/mlb/san-francisco-giants fox-news/sports/mlb/san-diego-padres fox-news/sports/mlb/oakland-athletics fox-news/sports/mlb/miami-marlins fox-news/sports/mlb/cleveland-indians fox-news/sports/mlb/cincinnati-reds fox-news/sports/mlb/boston-red-sox fox-news/sports/mlb/baltimore-orioles fox-news/sports/mlb fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 3330af96-8d99-5ecf-b092-64edaddd62b1   Westlake Legal Group Addison-Russell Treinen, Sanchez, Russell, Sánchez become free agents fox-news/sports/mlb/tampa-bay-rays fox-news/sports/mlb/seattle-mariners fox-news/sports/mlb/san-francisco-giants fox-news/sports/mlb/san-diego-padres fox-news/sports/mlb/oakland-athletics fox-news/sports/mlb/miami-marlins fox-news/sports/mlb/cleveland-indians fox-news/sports/mlb/cincinnati-reds fox-news/sports/mlb/boston-red-sox fox-news/sports/mlb/baltimore-orioles fox-news/sports/mlb fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 3330af96-8d99-5ecf-b092-64edaddd62b1

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com