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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 73)

Georgia homeowner kills three teens wearing masks in possible ‘stand your ground’ case

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Georgia homeowner kills three teens wearing masks in possible 'stand your ground' case

The fatal shooting of three teens by a Georgia homeowner this week could be a “stand your ground” case, the Rockdale County Sheriff says.

The teens, ages 15 and 16, died Monday following an early morning exchange of gunfire with a resident, Sheriff Eric Levett said. He said evidence indicates the three teens attempted to rob three people in a front yard.

“It could be a ‘stand your ground’ type case, based on the preliminary (information) that we have learned so far,” Levett said at a press conference.

Levett said the teens were wearing masks when they approached the yard, and that one of them brandished a gun and reportedly fired shots at the residents.

“One of the intended robbery victims returned fire,” Levett said in a statement. The victims of the attempted robbery were not injured, but one of the teens died at the scene and the others were rushed to a hospital where they died, Levett said.

People emboldened’: George Zimmerman’s lawyer isn’t a fan

Handicapped parking spot spat: Florida man convicted in parking lot shooting of black man

He said the three people at the residence and several neighbors were interviewed and that no charges had been filed so far. Two guns were found at the scene, he said, but it was not clear to whom they belonged.

“This is at the very early stages of the investigation,” Levett said.

Stand your ground laws essentially state that a person who is being threatened by another person’s use of force does not have a duty to retreat or back down.

Lawyer Mark O’Mara represented George Zimmerman in the fatal 2012 shooting of teen Trayvon Martin in Florida, a case that shined a spotlight on stand-your-ground laws even though O’Mara opted for a more standard self-defense argument. O’Mara is not involved in the Georgia case.

“If the guys really were armed when they came up to the house, that is all it takes” to meet the standard, O’Mara told USA TODAY. “It’s pretty much textbook.”

In Conyers, neighbor Carlos Watson told WSB-TV that he heard gunshots at about 4 a.m. Monday morning.

“It was five shots, and then it sounded like a handgun. Then I heard somebody have an assault rifle,” Watson said. “And it was a slew of shots.”

Neighbor Brian Jenkins told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he waited until deputies arrived before checking on the masked man lying in his yard, screaming for help.

“I told him to just calm down and relax,” he said. “It will be OK, just stop moving.” 

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/09/17/stand-your-ground-homeowner-kills-three-teens-shootout/2350531001/

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Barack Obama Mourns The Passing Of Cokie Roberts

Westlake Legal Group 5d810f493b0000039fd5ec91 Barack Obama Mourns The Passing Of Cokie Roberts

Cokie Roberts had a fan in the Obama family.

After the veteran ABC News journalist died Monday at age 75, former President Barack Obama hailed Roberts as a “trailblazing figure” and an inspirational icon.

“Michelle and I are sad to hear about the passing of Cokie Roberts,” he said in an emailed statement. “She was a trailblazing figure; a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men; a constant over forty years of a shifting media landscape and changing world, informing voters about the issues of our time and mentoring young journalists every step of the way.”

“She will be missed ― and we send our condolences to her family.”

Roberts got her start at CBS News in the 1970s, when women rarely occupied prominent roles in the newsroom. Despite those headwinds, she went on to become a decorated journalist, winning three Emmys.

In 2017, Roberts said she felt privileged to have had a career in the “front seat to history.” 

The statement from Obama was a stark contrast from the current president’s response to Roberts’ death. President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that he “never met her,” and once again made a person’s death about himself.

“She never treated me nicely, but I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional and I respect professionals. … Never treated me well, but I certainly respect her,” Trump said, according to a pool report.

Roberts riled up then-candidate Trump in a 2016 interview when she asked him about white children using his name to bully and intimidate Hispanic children. Trump called her question “nasty.”

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Carrie Severino: NY Times’ failed Kavanaugh smear latest unprecedented attack on independent judiciary

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6086709177001_6086709556001-vs Carrie Severino: NY Times' failed Kavanaugh smear latest unprecedented attack on independent judiciary fox-news/politics/senate/democrats fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/confirmation-of-judge-kavanaugh fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Carrie Severino article 24fa4b37-7312-56c3-8338-c0d2cd5fbfd9

The blowup over the New York Times’ latest smear of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is even bigger than the continued character assassination against a good man who’s been a faithful public servant for a quarter-century. It’s part of an unprecedented attack by liberal politicians, media and others on the independent judiciary.

Over the weekend, New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, breathlessly revealed a new allegation in the paper’s Opinion section based on their book on Kavanaugh.

The justice had, they claimed, engaged in an act of sexual misconduct at a party when he was an undergraduate at Yale.

LIZ PEEK: NEW YORK TIMES EMERGES AS RADICAL VOICE OF THE ANTI-TRUMP MOB – AND THERE’S NO TURNING BACK

They neglected to mention in their article that the purported victim denied any knowledge of the incident to her friends and that their only direct source for the story was a former lawyer for the Clintons who himself would not confirm the story.

It is rare for a newspaper to issue a major substantive correction.  It is practically unheard of for a newspaper to do what the New York Times was forced to do by Monday afternoon: admit that an article’s authors had omitted facts that were not only pertinent to the article’s subject but almost flatly contradicted the thrust of the article itself.

Unfortunately, this incident is only the latest of a litany of Kavanaugh accusations that have been roundly debunked.

Deborah Ramirez, who accused Kavanaugh of similar misconduct at a college party, admitted that she only discovered her memory of the incident after “assessing her memories” for almost a week alongside an attorney provided by Kavanaugh’s Democrat opponents.

Julie Swetnick’s accusations—that Kavanaugh and his friends had engaged in unreported serial gang rape—were so roundly discredited that even Swetnick appeared to back off of them in a television appearance.

And Christine Blasey Ford, whose testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee was watched by millions of Americans, told a story that has been rebutted by every single person she herself named as witnesses to it.  Even her longtime friend and Kavanaugh opponent Leland Keyser, who endured months of pressure and intimidation by Ford’s friends and allies, told the FBI that she did not believe Ford’s story.

What is it about Brett Kavanaugh that leaves the left and its press allies so willing to play fast and loose with the truth?  The answer lies in how the left views the role of the judiciary and the Supreme Court.

Conservatives and most Americans view the role of judges as calling balls and strikes—saying what the law is, and not what they think the law should be.  This, incidentally, was the system that the Framers of our Constitution intended.

The left, though, sees things differently.  For the better part of a century, the left has used the courts to enact radical policy changes that could never make it through the democratically accountable branches of government.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTER

From the growth of the administrative state, to individual “rights” found nowhere in the Constitution, to heightened protections for criminals, the left has used the federal judiciary to achieve, through the raw exertion of judicial power, what it could never achieve through democratic politics.

More from Opinion

Now, with the Trump administration’s historic successes in appointing conservative judges to every level of the federal judiciary—the sorts of judges who will interpret the Constitution as written—the left fears losing its most powerful weapon, and entering a new era where they will have to, for once, fairly compete on the merit of their ideas

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

In this light, judges like Kavanaugh are not mere nominees, to be assessed on their merits and the facts and either confirmed or rejected.  They are existential threats to political order the left is trying to bring about.  Judges like Kavanaugh are to be engaged and destroyed.

Until that attitude changes, we can, unfortunately, expect more of the same fake news for each and every new judge and justice nominated by this administration.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6086709177001_6086709556001-vs Carrie Severino: NY Times' failed Kavanaugh smear latest unprecedented attack on independent judiciary fox-news/politics/senate/democrats fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/confirmation-of-judge-kavanaugh fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Carrie Severino article 24fa4b37-7312-56c3-8338-c0d2cd5fbfd9   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6086709177001_6086709556001-vs Carrie Severino: NY Times' failed Kavanaugh smear latest unprecedented attack on independent judiciary fox-news/politics/senate/democrats fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary/confirmation-of-judge-kavanaugh fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Carrie Severino article 24fa4b37-7312-56c3-8338-c0d2cd5fbfd9

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Discussion thread: Corey Lewandowski Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee

Westlake Legal Group r_NQ_QKv0PJ5D6WgOjOxN8SLUoEFWqxK-XMvElbar1k Discussion thread: Corey Lewandowski Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee r/politics

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Lewandowski to describe what former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation concluded were attempts to thwart the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Investigators said Trump asked Lewandowski to pass on an order to limit the scope of the Russia investigation to prevent meddling in future elections, but that he never followed through.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?464369-1/corey-lewandowski-testifies-house-judiciary-committee

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Netanyahu’s Career On The Line As Israel Votes In Second Election This Year

Westlake Legal Group 5d810e2b3b0000c49fd5ea8a Netanyahu’s Career On The Line As Israel Votes In Second Election This Year

JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s career was on the line Tuesday as Israel held its second national election this year, with voters deciding whether to give him another term in office despite a likely indictment on corruption charges.

The longest serving leader in Israeli history was seeking a fourth consecutive term in office and fifth overall. But he faced a stiff challenge from retired military chief Benny Gantz, whose centrist Blue and White party is running even with Netanyahu’s Likud. Both parties could struggle to form a majority coalition with smaller allies, though, forcing them into a potential unity government.

Throughout an abbreviated but alarmist campaign characterized by mudslinging and slogans condemned as racist, Netanyahu has tried to portray himself as a seasoned statesman who is uniquely qualified to lead the country through challenging times. Gantz has tried to paint Netanyahu as divisive and scandal-plagued, offering himself as a calming influence and honest alternative.

After casting his ballot in Jerusalem, Netanyahu predicted the vote would be “very close.” Throughout the day, he frantically begged supporters to vote.

“It’s not in the bag. But if you go (vote), we will win,” Netanyahu blared through a megaphone to shoppers at a Jerusalem market after stopping at other Likud strongholds in the city.

Voting in his hometown of Rosh Haayin in central Israel, Gantz urged all Israelis to hope. “We will bring hope, we will bring change, without corruption, without extremism,” he said.

The election marks their second showdown of the year after drawing even in the previous one in April.

At the time, Netanyahu appeared to have won another term, with his traditional allies of nationalist and ultra-religious Jewish parties controlling a parliamentary majority.

But Avigdor Lieberman, his mercurial ally-turned-rival, refused to join the new coalition, citing excessive influence it granted the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties. Without a parliamentary majority, Netanyahu dissolved parliament and called a new election.

Opinion polls have forecast similar results this time, potentially putting Lieberman once again in the role of kingmaker.

After voting, Lieberman reiterated his promise to avoid a third election and force a secular unity government between Likud and Blue and White.

The performance by the Soviet-born politician’s Yisrael Beitenu party is just one of the factors that could determine Netanyahu’s future. Several small parties are fighting to squeak past the minimum 3.25% threshold for entering parliament. The performances of these parties could make or break Netanyahu’s ability to form a coalition.

Netanyahu is desperate to secure a narrow 61-seat majority in parliament with his hard-line religious and nationalist allies, who are expected to approve legislation that would grant him immunity from prosecution.

Israel’s attorney general has recommended pressing criminal charges against Netanyahu in three separate corruption cases, pending a long delayed pre-trial hearing scheduled next month. Without immunity, Netanyahu would be under heavy pressure to step aside.

With his career on the line, Netanyahu has campaigned furiously and taken a late hard turn to the right in hopes of rallying his nationalist base.

He has beseeched supporters to vote to stave off the prospect of a left-wing government he says will endanger Israel’s security. He also has accused his opponents of conspiring with Arab politicians to “steal” the election, a message that has drawn accusations of racism and incitement.

In his attacks on Arabs, Netanyahu has made unfounded claims of fraud in Arab voting areas and unsuccessfully pushed for legislation to place cameras in polling stations on election day.

After Netanyahu’s proposal, seen as an attempt to intimidate Arab voters, was rejected, election officials barred cameras, including journalists, from all polling stations. In several cases, police blocked news photographers from approaching the stations.

Heavier turnout by Arab voters, many of whom stayed home in April, could hurt Netanyahu. After casting his ballot, the leader of the main Arab faction in parliament, Ayman Odeh, said Netanyahu was “obsessive” in his incitement toward Arabs. He said the answer was that his constituents “must be first-class voters on the way to becoming first-class citizens.”

Facebook on Tuesday punished Netanyahu’s page for the second time during the campaign, briefly suspending his automated chat function after it illegally published an opinion poll in the days before the election. By early evening, the chat page was working again. Last week, the account was suspended for 24 hours after a post claimed that Arabs want to “annihilate all of us.”

The page and the chatbot were posting aggressively Tuesday, with numerous videos of Netanyahu pleading with voters to turn out.

Turnout has emerged as a key element for this election day, which is a national holiday aimed at encouraging participation. In April, turnout was about 69%, slightly below the 72% figure in a 2015 election.

As of 4 p.m., Israel’s central election committee said 44.3% of eligible voters had cast their ballots. It marked a slight increase over the figure at the same time in April.

A centerpiece of Netanyahu’s eleventh-hour agenda has been the pledge to extend Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank and to annex all the Jewish settlements there, something Netanyahu has refrained from doing during his decade-plus in power because of the far-reaching diplomatic repercussions.

His proposal sparked a cascade of international condemnation, including from Europe and Saudi Arabia, an influential Arab country that has quiet, unofficial ties with Israel. Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Tuesday the proposed annexation would be a “disaster” for the region.

The U.S., however, has had a muted reaction, suggesting Netanyahu coordinated his plan with the Americans ahead of time.

Netanyahu has also been flaunting his close ties to President Donald Trump, who has promised to unveil a peace plan after the election.

Trump chimed in with his prediction, telling reporters at the White House on Monday that it “will be a very interesting outcome. It’s gonna be close.”

Netanyahu also claimed to have located a previously unknown Iranian nuclear weapons facility and said another war against Gaza militants is probably inevitable.

In some of his TV interviews, the typically reserved Netanyahu has raised his voice and gestured wildly as he warned of his imminent demise.

Balloting began at 7 a.m. with exit polls expected at the end of the voting day at 10 p.m. Official results are projected to come in overnight.

That’s when the real jockeying may get under way, with attention shifting to President Reuven Rivlin, who is responsible for choosing a candidate for prime minister. He is supposed to select the leader who he believes has the best chance of putting together a stable coalition.

The honor usually goes to the head of the largest party, but not necessarily. Just as important is the number of lawmakers outside his own party who recommend him to the president.

Rivlin’s selection will then have up to six weeks to form a coalition. If he fails, the president can appoint an alternative candidate and give him up to four weeks for the task.

In an overnight video, Rivlin said he will do everything in his power to “get an elected government in Israel as soon as possible and to avoid another election campaign.”

Follow Heller at www.twitter.com/aronhellerap

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

Netanyahu’s Career On The Line As Israel Votes In Second Election This Year

Westlake Legal Group 5d810e2b3b0000c49fd5ea8a Netanyahu’s Career On The Line As Israel Votes In Second Election This Year

JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s career was on the line Tuesday as Israel held its second national election this year, with voters deciding whether to give him another term in office despite a likely indictment on corruption charges.

The longest serving leader in Israeli history was seeking a fourth consecutive term in office and fifth overall. But he faced a stiff challenge from retired military chief Benny Gantz, whose centrist Blue and White party is running even with Netanyahu’s Likud. Both parties could struggle to form a majority coalition with smaller allies, though, forcing them into a potential unity government.

Throughout an abbreviated but alarmist campaign characterized by mudslinging and slogans condemned as racist, Netanyahu has tried to portray himself as a seasoned statesman who is uniquely qualified to lead the country through challenging times. Gantz has tried to paint Netanyahu as divisive and scandal-plagued, offering himself as a calming influence and honest alternative.

After casting his ballot in Jerusalem, Netanyahu predicted the vote would be “very close.” Throughout the day, he frantically begged supporters to vote.

“It’s not in the bag. But if you go (vote), we will win,” Netanyahu blared through a megaphone to shoppers at a Jerusalem market after stopping at other Likud strongholds in the city.

Voting in his hometown of Rosh Haayin in central Israel, Gantz urged all Israelis to hope. “We will bring hope, we will bring change, without corruption, without extremism,” he said.

The election marks their second showdown of the year after drawing even in the previous one in April.

At the time, Netanyahu appeared to have won another term, with his traditional allies of nationalist and ultra-religious Jewish parties controlling a parliamentary majority.

But Avigdor Lieberman, his mercurial ally-turned-rival, refused to join the new coalition, citing excessive influence it granted the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties. Without a parliamentary majority, Netanyahu dissolved parliament and called a new election.

Opinion polls have forecast similar results this time, potentially putting Lieberman once again in the role of kingmaker.

After voting, Lieberman reiterated his promise to avoid a third election and force a secular unity government between Likud and Blue and White.

The performance by the Soviet-born politician’s Yisrael Beitenu party is just one of the factors that could determine Netanyahu’s future. Several small parties are fighting to squeak past the minimum 3.25% threshold for entering parliament. The performances of these parties could make or break Netanyahu’s ability to form a coalition.

Netanyahu is desperate to secure a narrow 61-seat majority in parliament with his hard-line religious and nationalist allies, who are expected to approve legislation that would grant him immunity from prosecution.

Israel’s attorney general has recommended pressing criminal charges against Netanyahu in three separate corruption cases, pending a long delayed pre-trial hearing scheduled next month. Without immunity, Netanyahu would be under heavy pressure to step aside.

With his career on the line, Netanyahu has campaigned furiously and taken a late hard turn to the right in hopes of rallying his nationalist base.

He has beseeched supporters to vote to stave off the prospect of a left-wing government he says will endanger Israel’s security. He also has accused his opponents of conspiring with Arab politicians to “steal” the election, a message that has drawn accusations of racism and incitement.

In his attacks on Arabs, Netanyahu has made unfounded claims of fraud in Arab voting areas and unsuccessfully pushed for legislation to place cameras in polling stations on election day.

After Netanyahu’s proposal, seen as an attempt to intimidate Arab voters, was rejected, election officials barred cameras, including journalists, from all polling stations. In several cases, police blocked news photographers from approaching the stations.

Heavier turnout by Arab voters, many of whom stayed home in April, could hurt Netanyahu. After casting his ballot, the leader of the main Arab faction in parliament, Ayman Odeh, said Netanyahu was “obsessive” in his incitement toward Arabs. He said the answer was that his constituents “must be first-class voters on the way to becoming first-class citizens.”

Facebook on Tuesday punished Netanyahu’s page for the second time during the campaign, briefly suspending his automated chat function after it illegally published an opinion poll in the days before the election. By early evening, the chat page was working again. Last week, the account was suspended for 24 hours after a post claimed that Arabs want to “annihilate all of us.”

The page and the chatbot were posting aggressively Tuesday, with numerous videos of Netanyahu pleading with voters to turn out.

Turnout has emerged as a key element for this election day, which is a national holiday aimed at encouraging participation. In April, turnout was about 69%, slightly below the 72% figure in a 2015 election.

As of 4 p.m., Israel’s central election committee said 44.3% of eligible voters had cast their ballots. It marked a slight increase over the figure at the same time in April.

A centerpiece of Netanyahu’s eleventh-hour agenda has been the pledge to extend Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank and to annex all the Jewish settlements there, something Netanyahu has refrained from doing during his decade-plus in power because of the far-reaching diplomatic repercussions.

His proposal sparked a cascade of international condemnation, including from Europe and Saudi Arabia, an influential Arab country that has quiet, unofficial ties with Israel. Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Tuesday the proposed annexation would be a “disaster” for the region.

The U.S., however, has had a muted reaction, suggesting Netanyahu coordinated his plan with the Americans ahead of time.

Netanyahu has also been flaunting his close ties to President Donald Trump, who has promised to unveil a peace plan after the election.

Trump chimed in with his prediction, telling reporters at the White House on Monday that it “will be a very interesting outcome. It’s gonna be close.”

Netanyahu also claimed to have located a previously unknown Iranian nuclear weapons facility and said another war against Gaza militants is probably inevitable.

In some of his TV interviews, the typically reserved Netanyahu has raised his voice and gestured wildly as he warned of his imminent demise.

Balloting began at 7 a.m. with exit polls expected at the end of the voting day at 10 p.m. Official results are projected to come in overnight.

That’s when the real jockeying may get under way, with attention shifting to President Reuven Rivlin, who is responsible for choosing a candidate for prime minister. He is supposed to select the leader who he believes has the best chance of putting together a stable coalition.

The honor usually goes to the head of the largest party, but not necessarily. Just as important is the number of lawmakers outside his own party who recommend him to the president.

Rivlin’s selection will then have up to six weeks to form a coalition. If he fails, the president can appoint an alternative candidate and give him up to four weeks for the task.

In an overnight video, Rivlin said he will do everything in his power to “get an elected government in Israel as soon as possible and to avoid another election campaign.”

Follow Heller at www.twitter.com/aronhellerap

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

Jennifer Lawrence, Cooke Maroney Spark Marriage Rumors With New Photos

Jennifer Lawrence and Cooke Maroney were spotted at New York City’s marriage bureau on Monday with a friend, a photographer and two security guards, according to the New York Post, fueling speculation the two may have tied the knot after getting engaged in February. 

The outlet also cited a since-deleted tweet from someone also at the bureau that said, “When you go get your marriage license and Jennifer Lawrence walks by to tie the knot before your eyes. Yeah, kids, City Hall is COOL. The place to go!”

Of course, it’s possible the two were there to get paperwork ahead of an official wedding planned for next month. HuffPost reached out to the couple’s representatives for a request for comment.

The Oscar-winner and the New York art dealer first sparked dating rumors in the spring of 2018, after she split from director Darren Aronofsky.

Her friend Laura Simpson reportedly set her up with Maroney, a director at Gladstone Gallery, who Lawrence has described as the “greatest person” she’s ever met. His gallery features works from artists like Carroll Dunham, Lena Dunham’s father. 

Westlake Legal Group 5d81030d24000012277cda69 Jennifer Lawrence, Cooke Maroney Spark Marriage Rumors With New Photos

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images Lawrence attends the premiere of 20th Century Fox’s “Dark Phoenix” on June 4, in Hollywood. 

The actor and Maroney got engaged in February 2019 after nearly a year of dating. Page Six first confirmed the news after spotting Maroney and Lawrence in a New York restaurant with a “massive ring” on her ring finger. 

“It was a giant rock. They seemed like they were celebrating and people were talking about it. The ring was very noticeable,” an anonymous source told the outlet. 

While Lawrence has mostly remained mum about other relationships she’s had in the public eye, she spoke candidly about her fiancé during an appearance on Catt Sadler’s podcast, called “Naked with Catt Sadler,” in June. 

Westlake Legal Group 5d8102523b00002efad5d537 Jennifer Lawrence, Cooke Maroney Spark Marriage Rumors With New Photos

Patrick McMullan via Getty Images Cooke Maroney and Vanessa Riding attend an after-party at Bar 2000 on March 6, 2009 in New York City.

“I definitely wasn’t at a place where I was like, ‘I’m ready to get married,’” Lawrence said to Sadler. “I just met Cooke and I wanted to marry him. We wanted to marry each other, we wanted to commit fully.”

“He’s my best friend. I want to legally bind him to me forever,” she quipped. “And fortunately the paperwork exists for such a thing. You find your favorite person on the planet and you’re like, ‘You can’t leave!’”

The star added that Maroney is “the greatest person I’ve ever met” and that she “feels very honored to become a Maroney.” 

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Facebook Expands Definition of Terrorist Organizations to Limit Extremism

Westlake Legal Group 17FACEBOOK-01-facebookJumbo Facebook Expands Definition of Terrorist Organizations to Limit Extremism Terrorism Social Media mass shootings Hate Crimes Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet Artificial Intelligence 8chan

Facebook on Tuesday announced a series of changes to limit hate speech and extremism on the social network, expanding its definition of terrorist organizations and planning to deploy artificial intelligence to better spot and block live videos of shooters.

The company is also expanding a program that redirects users searching for extremism to resources intended to help them leave hate groups behind.

The announcement came the day before a hearing on Capitol Hill on how Facebook, Google and Twitter handle violent content. Lawmakers are expected to ask executives how they are handling posts from extremists.

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, has been under intense pressure to limit the spread of hate messages, pictures and videos on its site. It has also faced harsh criticism for not detecting and removing the live video of an Australian man who killed 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In at least three mass shootings this year, including the one in Christchurch, the violent plans were announced in advance on 8chan, an online message board. Federal lawmakers questioned the owner of 8chan this month.

In its announcement post, Facebook said the Christchurch tragedy “strongly” influenced its updates. And the company said it had recently developed an industry plan with Microsoft, Twitter, Google and Amazon to address how technology is used to spread terrorist accounts.

Facebook has long touted an ability to catch terrorism-related content on its platform. In the last two years, the company said, it has been able to detect and delete 99 percent of extremist posts — about 26 million pieces of content — before they were reported to them.

But Facebook said that it had mostly focused on identifying organizations like separatists, Islamist militants and white supremacists. The company said that it would now consider all people and organizations that proclaim or are engaged in violence leading to real-world harm.

The team leading its efforts to counter extremism on its platform has grown to 350 people, Facebook said, and includes experts in law enforcement, national security, counterterrorism and academics studying radicalization.

To detect more content relating to real-world harm, Facebook said it was updating its artificial intelligence to better catch first-person shooting videos. The company said it was working with American and British law enforcement officials to obtain camera footage from their firearms training programs to help its A.I. learn what real, first-person violent events look like.

Since March, Facebook had also been redirecting users who search for terms associated with white supremacy to resources like Life After Hate, an organization founded by former violent extremists that provides crisis intervention and outreach. In the wake of the Christchurch tragedy, Facebook is expanding that capability to Australia and Indonesia, where people will be redirected to the organizations EXIT Australia and ruangobrol.id.

“We know that bad actors will continue to attempt to skirt our detection with more sophisticated efforts,” the company said, “and we are committed to advancing our work and sharing more progress.”

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Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Felipe Vazquez arrested for solicitation of a child in Florida

Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Felipe Vazquez has been arrested for soliciting a child for sexual acts, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) said. 

Agents from the FDLE and Pennsylvania State Police took the 28-year-old Vazquez into custody in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning on one count of soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices and one count of providing obscene material to minors. 

“Today we were made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vázquez and his subsequent arrest. We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously.  We have informed the commissioner’s office of the investigation and arrest,” said Pirates president Frank Coonelly in a statement Tuesday.

“The commissioner’s office will immediately place Felipe Vázquez on Administrative Leave (and, as a result, Restricted List) pursuant to the Joint MLB/MLBPA Policy.  We need to be respectful to all involved and the ongoing legal proceeding.  As a result, the organization, our staff and players cannot comment any further at this time.”

The FDLE said its investigation began last month when agents became aware of a sexual relationship and a 13-year-old female victim, who is now 15. The two continued having a relationship over text messages, and the child received a video in July from Vazquez “in which he is shown performing a sex act.” The suspect also sent texts insinuating that the two would meet up after the baseball season for sex. 

According to the arrest affidavit obtained by USA TODAY Sports, the victim’s mother discovered the messages, two pictures and a video one week after they were sent to the victim on July 16. At that point, the mother told the suspect he was communicating with a minor. Police began an investigation on Aug. 8. 

The photographs and video did not show the suspect’s face, but the images “depicted numerous tattoos about the suspect’s body.” Officials found the suspect’s tattoos “unique and distinguishable,” and identified Vazquez. Additionally, the telephone number attached to the messages, videos and photos belongs to Vazquez.  

“Further, the victim refers to the sender by the name Felipe numerous times throughout the text message conversation,” the affidavit reads. 

The Pennsylvania State Police said Vazquez was arrested in Pittsburgh “without incident.”

Following the arrest, police seized electronic devices that will be examined as part of the investigation. Officers brought Vazquez to Allegheny County Jail, and he will be extradited to Lee County, Florida.

Vazquez is a back-to-back All-Star who has saved 65 games over the last two seasons with a 2.22 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 126 appearances. Last week, he and fellow reliever Kyle Crick were involved in a locker-room confrontation that resulted in Crick being injured

Vazquez went by Felipe Rivero until he legally changed his name in 2018, to match that of his of his sister.

Westlake Legal Group  Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Felipe Vazquez arrested for solicitation of a child in Florida

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Justice Department Sues Edward Snowden For Book Proceeds

Westlake Legal Group 5d8114aa2400002e2a7cfaf3 Justice Department Sues Edward Snowden For Book Proceeds

The Justice Department has filed suit against National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, seeking to seize any proceeds he makes from his new book, “Permanent Record.”

“Edward Snowden has violated an obligation he undertook to the United States when he signed agreements as part of his employment by the CIA and as an NSA contractor,” Jody Hunt of DOJ’s Civil Division said in a statement. “The United States’ ability to protect sensitive national security information depends on employees’ and contractors’ compliance with their non-disclosure agreements, including their pre-publication review obligations. This lawsuit demonstrates that the Department of Justice does not tolerate these breaches of the public’s trust. We will not permit individuals to enrich themselves, at the expense of the United States, without complying with their pre-publication review obligations.”

The suit would not block the publication of Snowden’s book, but rather seeks to prevent him from profiting from it. The suit names the book’s publishers as defendants, which DOJ said was intended only to ensure that no funds were transferred to Snowden while the lawsuit plays out.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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