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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 136)

Rebecca Grant: Fired Navy secretary’s actions prove a ‘deep state’ anti-Trump ‘resistance’ exists at Pentagon

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6108713438001_6108711209001-vs Rebecca Grant: Fired Navy secretary’s actions prove a ‘deep state’ anti-Trump ‘resistance’ exists at Pentagon Rebecca Grant fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 86680a16-d4ae-5540-90c6-1809f1858cef

The resistance movements in Europe in World War II were made up of brave men and women who risked their lives to fight tyrannical Nazi occupation forces. Absurdly, political opponents of President Trump today call themselves “the resistance,” and pretend they are heroically fighting evil in the form of the president of the United States.

We’ve seen those on the left hold protest demonstrations against Trump since he was elected in a dramatic upset in 2016. And with much of the media glorifying those opposed to the president, it has become chic to be part of the anti-Trump resistance.

But that’s not OK within the executive branch of government – especially at the Pentagon, which is in charge of defending our nation.

TRUMP TEARS INTO IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY, DEFENDS MILITARY PARDONS AT FLORIDA ‘HOMECOMING RALLY’

Like it or not, Trump is our duly elected president and the commander in chief of our military. Government workers and members of the military have an obligation to do their best to help the president govern, or to resign if they oppose his policies.

More from Opinion

The latest person to fall under the spell of the anti-Trump resistance was Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. His boss, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, fired Spencer on Sunday for going outside the chain of command when Spencer disapproved of President Trump’s decision to restore the rank of Navy Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher and allow him to retire as a SEAL.

Gallagher had been demoted and the Navy was in the process of reviewing his status as a SEAL after he was acquitted of a murder charge but convicted on a lesser charge of posing with the body of an ISIS fighter in Iraq.

Esper said Trump gave him a direct order to let Gallagher retire as a SEAL. The defense secretary said Spencer sought to have the Navy disciplinary process go forward against Gallagher anyway, but secretly offered a plan to the White House to rig the process to ensure Gallagher would not lose his status as a SEAL. 

“I lost trust and confidence when I found that this secret proposal was happening,” Esper said Monday night.

Not even one bit sorry, Spencer spoke to David Martin of CBS News and said he “had to step up and do something” for the resiliency of the Navy. He complained that President Trump doesn’t understand what it means to be “a warfighter.”

Faced with a direct order, Spencer said: “I could not in my conscience do this.” CBS even got the Spencer family car on-camera pulling up to give the fired official a ride home.

Then, two Navy secretaries from the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush spoke out to bash Trump for interfering with the Navy and label his action in favor of Gallagher “contamination.”  “His values are not the military’s values,” they wrote in The New York Times.

That’s a lot of resistance. All the more shocking is that Spencer took on Trump and Esper both.

The Spencer case is sad proof there is indeed a “deep state” anti-Trump resistance phenomenon popping up within the Pentagon. Spencer felt free to act and speak out as he did because he’s surrounded by like-minded Trump skeptics, and over time it clouds judgment.

The backlash over President Trump’s Syria, Turkey and even North Korea policies provided warning signs, but when senior appointed officials develop a disdain for carrying out clear orders from the commander chief, that’s bad for the military and bad for America.

Fortunately, Esper gets it. Esper fought off a major challenge to legitimate authority, and he’ll have to keep protecting the chain of command against “resistance” groupthink.

The secretary of defense has to get the leadership team at the Pentagon back on track, and he realizes it.

“I want the SEALs and the Navy to move beyond this now and get fully focused on their warfighting mission,” Esper said Monday.

Spencer had no basis for going against Trump’s order regarding Gallagher. The Constitution gives the president the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the nation.

Executive clemency dates back to President George Washington. Where military matters are involved, you never know who presidents may pardon or give a reduced sentence.

Washington forgave the ringleaders of the Whiskey Rebellion, who tried break Pennsylvania out of the infant Unite States. Other presidents let off pirates, killers, Confederate secessionists at the end of the Civil War, and other rebels.

Some clemencies were astonishing.

Army Master Sgt. Maurice Schick admitted he killed the 8-year old daughter of a colonel on a military base in Japan in 1954. Schick was a combat veteran of WWII campaigns in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Europe, including the Battle of the Bulge. In 1960 President Dwight Eisenhower reduced Shick’s sentence from death to life without parole.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon (trial lawyer and World War II veteran) moved Army Lt. William Calley from prison to house arrest after only three days behind bars while Calley appealed his conviction and life prison sentence in the 1968 My Lai massacre in South Vietnam, in which several hundred South Vietnamese civilians were killed. Calley was later paroled after serving three years under house arrest.

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President Gerald Ford famously pardoned Nixon after Nixon resigned as president following the Watergate scandal. Ford also gave back citizenship to Confederate General Robert E. Lee and even pardoned the woman known as Tokyo Rose, the World War II propaganda broadcaster convicted of treason.

President Obama used his power to take double-murderer Pfc. Dwight Loving off death row. Obama pardoned Army Spec. Chelsea Manning, erasing a serious espionage conviction. Obama also swapped five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo to get deserter Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl back from Afghanistan.

The list goes on. Some are easy to grasp, others aren’t. But unless the Constitution is amended, the president has the power to pardon.

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Executive clemency allows the president to show compassion or forgiveness. That’s a heavy responsibility, and history shows presidents use it repeatedly.

This power is one we ordinary citizens may never fully understand. And while we won’t all agree on the clemency decisions by our presidents, we should always respect them, as our Constitution intended.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY REBECCA GRANT

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6108713438001_6108711209001-vs Rebecca Grant: Fired Navy secretary’s actions prove a ‘deep state’ anti-Trump ‘resistance’ exists at Pentagon Rebecca Grant fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 86680a16-d4ae-5540-90c6-1809f1858cef   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6108713438001_6108711209001-vs Rebecca Grant: Fired Navy secretary’s actions prove a ‘deep state’ anti-Trump ‘resistance’ exists at Pentagon Rebecca Grant fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 86680a16-d4ae-5540-90c6-1809f1858cef

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How to hide your Wi-Fi and keep strangers off your network

You’re settling in with a bowl of popcorn and a cozy blanket, ready to catch up on your favorite show. You open up Netflix, hit play, then … uh-oh, it’s buffering. A minute goes by and now you’ve got an image, but it’s so pixelated you can’t even tell what’s happening in the scene.

This is not the evening you envisioned. Your slow Wi-Fi could be an issue with your internet service provider, or maybe your modem and router need a reboot. Tap or click for 5 router settings that can speed up your Wi-Fi.

Maybe everyone in your neighborhood had the same idea and you’re all fighting for bandwidth in the same service group. Or just maybe, just maybe, it’s a neighbor piggybacking on your network.

Slow internet drives all of us crazy. So do those never-ending “storage full” notifications. There’s an easy trick to free up space, though. Tap or click to learn how to to get more space on your PC, Mac, iPhone or Android.

Aside from the obvious — that lagging connection  — there are a few other reasons you really don’t want other people stealing your Wi-Fi. I’ll tell you what they are and show you how to lock down your network and keep strangers out.

Why you don’t want your neighbors on your network

Routers these days can broadcast a signal well beyond your home’s walls. Now it’s time to find out if a neighbor is stealing your Wi-Fi, correct the issue and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s not just about the inconvenience of slow internet. That’s certainly aggravating, but what you really need to think about is how the theft of your internet service can actually get you in trouble.

For instance, your ISP most likely prohibits sharing Wi-Fi. If they’re tracking your usage and it’s much higher than usual or even double, you could be slapped with extra fines or other restrictions. But it gets worse.

RELATED: Harmful apps don’t just clog your memory and eat up storage space. They can also fill your phone with intrusive ads and malware. Tap or click to see a list of apps most likely to ruin your phone. Delete them now!

Although it’s illegal for your neighbor to piggyback off your wireless network and “steal” your service, there’s been no real uniform attempts at criminal enforcement aside from small fines depending on where you live.

But think about this: What if your neighbor is going beyond just stealing your internet service? It’s going to be a big problem if your he or she is using your wireless network for illegal activities. And it’s your name attached to the account when law enforcement gets involved. ISP fees will be the least of your worries when police show up at your door.

Take a close look at your wireless network

Now that you know the ramifications, you need to figure out what’s happening. If you’ve ruled out problems with your service and tried the usual corrective steps, it’s time to check out your router.

Depending on the make, model and age, there’s a good chance a companion app is available to access your router settings.

Otherwise, log in through a web browser with the provided IP address, which in most cases is 192.168.1.1. That isn’t the default IP address for every router, but it should work on many. Other common addresses are 192.168.0.1 and 192.168.2.1.

If you’re not sure where to start, check your router’s user manual. Tap or click here for a free resource that compiles thousands of user manuals if you can’t find your copy.

Access your router by logging in with your username and password. Hopefully, it’s not the default credentials that came with the router, because that could be a big indication of why it’s so easy for someone to access your network in the first place. But more on that later.

Look for the list of connected devices. Some you’ll be able to identify based on IP and MAC address, or the name(s) you’ve assigned, while others might not be so clear.

If you see something called Bob’s iPhone and you don’t know any Bobs, it looks like you have a problem.

You should regularly check your network for devices you don’t recognize. Tap or click here for 3 free ways to see everything using your connection.

Changing router settings and hide your network

Whether you know for sure there’s been an intrusion or not, it’s still time to check and potentially modify some settings on your router. First thing’s first: check the major security features. These tips aren’t just for setting up new routers. It’s also strongly encouraged you check the security settings on your existing device.

1. Improve your login and network credentials

When you take your brand new router out of the box, it comes with a default set of credentials for the control panel. For example, the username could be “admin” and the password might be the same thing. Pick a much less generic username and create a sophisticated password.

The visible name of your wireless network, or SSID, will also be generic right out of the box, usually the name of the manufacturer and maybe a few numbers.

Change that as well, because if you’ve got someone looking to get into your network, the manufacturer’s name alone can make it easy to find default login information, as well as any brand-specific exploits. Pick something else, but name it in a way that’s not going to identify you or your family. Be creative.

Then, there’s the network password. Definitely don’t use easy passwords for this, either. Although it can be a pain to remember, choose a long and complex password or passphrase made up of letters, numbers and symbols. Need some help? Tap or click here to check out our tips on creating strong passwords and passphrases.

With a strong password, yes, it’ll take some extra time to set up your own devices but it’ll make it hard for a hacker to crack. Not only that, but it’ll make it hard to share with others who don’t necessarily need the information. Change it often, too. Try changing it around the same time you’re checking the batteries in your smoke detectors.

If login credentials for your network and the router itself are nearly impossible to remember, that’s great. Consider a password manager to store the information for you.

2. Check your Wi-Fi encryption

Check out the wireless security settings on your router. As long as router encryption is enabled, no one will be able to log on and use your Wi-Fi without the password.

Look for the appropriate security menu for your model and make sure it’s set to the encryption level beginning with “WPA2.” If you see “WPA2-PSK AES,” it’s the most secure encryption for most modern routers.

You might even have a better option available. For instance, if you have a brand-new, high-end router, it could be equipped with the new standard, “WPA3.”

Whatever you do, stay away from WEP. If that, or WPA (without the 2 or 3), is all you have available to choose from, and there are no available firmware updates, it’s time to upgrade your router to something more secure.

While you’re at it, enable your router’s firewall and shut down any remote access options. Your router is that much more secure if you can only log into it from a device directly connected by an Ethernet cable.

There’s even more you can do to protect your router. Tap or click for 5 essential security settings you should be using.

3. Make your wireless network disappear

Here’s the grand finale: Now that your router is as protected as it can be, it’s time to make it disappear from neighbors and any other would-be freeloader. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Your router broadcasts its SSID automatically, simply because it makes it easy for your devices to discover and connect to the network. That’s what makes it easy for everyone else, too.

You’ll also make this change while logged into your router’s control panel. Find the menu for wireless settings and you should come across the broadcasting option for your SSID, which is most often enabled by default. Toggle that option off, and you’re all set.

BETTER THAN CALLING TECH SUPPORT: Don’t navigate the digital world alone. I can help you get the most out of your everyday devices with useful tips only the pros know. Tap or click here to try my Tech Tips & How-Tos newsletter.

Adapting to your now hidden wireless network

Now your wireless network is invisible – kind of. Keep in mind you’re hiding its name, not the fact that it’s there. Think of it as a cloaked ship on Star Trek. You won’t be able to see it, but it’s not too hard to find if you’re looking for it.

On the plus side, you shouldn’t have to worry about your neighbors “borrowing” your internet service any longer, or committing any other crimes – unless they’re skilled in the digital arts. That’s because the router will still broadcast a signal from time to time, regardless of the hidden SSID setting and if someone’s up to no good and motivated, they’ll be able to spot a masked network without any trouble.

Something else to consider: It’s going to be a little more complicated for you, your family and any trusted visitors to connect to your wireless network. Since it’s no longer visible when your smartphone searches for a network, those credentials will need to be configured manually.

It could involve more than just SSID name and password, requiring additional info like the security mode your router is set to. The good news is, once you’re signed-on, your device will store info the same way it does any other network.

So it comes down to, is it a good idea to hide your wireless network? The answer is yes. Although there are a couple of extra steps to connect new devices, combining this with your router’s extra security measures will kick any unwanted neighbors off your network and keep them off.

After you finish changing your router settings and hiding your SSID, you can get back to watching your show. This time, without the slowdown. And without worrying about police officers knocking on your door.

BONUS TIP FOR EXTRA KNOW-HOW: 8 essential apps you don’t want to be without in an emergency

It doesn’t take much to spot a story on wildfires, hurricanes, health scares or missing people. Unfortunately, these incidents occur quite often.

Although no one wants to think they’ll face an emergency, chances are you or someone you know will find themselves in an urgent situation and will need help. Whether it be a weather-related disaster, a lost loved one or someone in need of first aid, being prepared is critical.

Tap or click to see how these 8 apps can provide peace of mind and help in the event of an emergency.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group b18197fa-computer-iStock How to hide your Wi-Fi and keep strangers off your network The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/technologies/wifi fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 4313a2e9-2ccd-5b9a-8745-e3a25c8cfad3   Westlake Legal Group b18197fa-computer-iStock How to hide your Wi-Fi and keep strangers off your network The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/technologies/wifi fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 4313a2e9-2ccd-5b9a-8745-e3a25c8cfad3

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Trump Knew There Was a Whistleblower When He Suddenly Released Military Aid to Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group DkEzzaet_8qAgIm4z1Ur_sddikWshhnKG3IGol8Q7TU Trump Knew There Was a Whistleblower When He Suddenly Released Military Aid to Ukraine r/politics

I appreciate the sentiment re: judges. But let’s not venture into this fantasy world where Trump actually picked any of these people. He was/is given names, and he nominates them. That is the entire extent of his involvement in this process, and that is likely the key part of the deal with him and GOP leaders like McConnell.

That, and the fact that Trump is such an effective buffer for the GOP. He gets to say all the racist shit they can only dogwhistle about, and they get to signal their support for those ideas to their base via support for Trump. When confronted about his most heinous shit, they can just say, “I clearly don’t agree with everything he says, but it’s better than the socialist Dems!” And that’s good enough for most right-leaning moderates.

Donald Trump neither knows nor cares about the significance of the judiciary… or anything about governing, for that matter. Every single second of this man’s life–every thought he has and every action he takes–is about himself. The Republican Party doesn’t matter, the United States doesn’t matter, only his image and ego.

At this point, there are only 2 viable options for the GOP:

1.) Protect Trump. He is leading a cult of people who used to identify politically as Republicans first, but now associate their entire political identity with him.

2.) Ditch Trump, lose power in the short term, but save the party in the long-term.

Now, the second option would obviously be the smartest because Trump won’t be around forever regardless of what happens in this impeachment, and when he’s gone, there will be a natural slump in engagement among his cult followers. Combine that with changing demographics, and the lifespan of the GOP in its current form is in its end-stage.

They’re not going to do this because they know what happens the moment they lose power. The Democrats will begin systematically dismantling all the mechanisms the Republicans have put in place to maintain minority control of government. Starting with election security and campaign finance reform. And if Democrats can implement even a modest amount of the platform, the American people will begin reaping the benefits almost immediately.

So, the GOP is in desperation mode. In many ways, their flailing and lying and justifications of Trump’s crimes are a good sign for the future. They wouldn’t be doing this on this scale if they felt like they had literally any other viable option to stay in power. It’s a Hail Mary pass and they’re down 8-points instead of 7, so they have to pull off a miracle and get the 2-point conversion to even just tie the game.

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

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Devlin Hodges chided for old tweets supporting Trump

Westlake Legal Group Devlin-Hodges Pittsburgh Steelers' Devlin Hodges chided for old tweets supporting Trump Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/sports fnc article 62bf000d-6859-5a1d-940c-ced6fc6cd05b

The Pittsburgh Steelers will start Devlin Hodges, who made waves earlier this season with his outspoken support of President Trump, at quarterback Sunday as they take on the Cleveland Browns, more than two weeks after a helmet-swinging melee that shook the NFL, coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday.

It will be Hodges’ second career start. He started earlier this season for the injured Mason Rudolph in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers on the road. Hodges and the Steelers picked up the win in that game behind the rookie’s 132 passing yards and one touchdown pass.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS BENCH MASON RUDOLPH AHEAD OF REMATCH WITH CLEVELAND BROWNS WEEKS AFTER FIGHT

While Hodges may have been ecstatic about getting the start, he quickly became the target of social media trolls who resurfaced his past tweets – mostly about President Trump. The Samford product was caught deleting the tweets about Trump, but Twitter users saved the receipts.

Hodges was subsequently lambasted for his support of the president.

The first-year player the latest target over his support for Trump.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS’ MASON RUDOLPH DENIES RACIAL-SLUR ALLEGATION AFTER GETTING BENCHED IN WIN

Earlier this year, rookie defensive end Nick Bosa was chided over his tweets about Trump and his opinions on Colin Kaepernick. The San Francisco 49ers ended up drafting him and team president Al Guido said the tweets had no impact on the team selecting him with the No. 2 pick of the draft.

Rudolph was also hit earlier this year for his apparent support for Trump.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

Hodges is not an outspoken quarterback and its unclear whether the criticism online will end up rattling him. He is walking into a big game this weekend against a division rival. The Steelers are 6-5 this season and are in contention for an AFC playoff spot.

Westlake Legal Group Devlin-Hodges Pittsburgh Steelers' Devlin Hodges chided for old tweets supporting Trump Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/sports fnc article 62bf000d-6859-5a1d-940c-ced6fc6cd05b   Westlake Legal Group Devlin-Hodges Pittsburgh Steelers' Devlin Hodges chided for old tweets supporting Trump Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/sports fnc article 62bf000d-6859-5a1d-940c-ced6fc6cd05b

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Iran’s Khamenei claims protests a US-backed ‘conspiracy’

Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday claimed without evidence that recent protests across the Islamic Republic over government-set gasoline prices rising were part of a “conspiracy” involving the U.S., as authorities began to acknowledge the scale of the demonstrations.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the comment while addressing members of the Revolutionary Guard’s all-volunteer Basij force, which help put down the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, one lawmaker was quoted as saying authorities arrested more than 7,000 people over the protests while a security official claimed demonstrators attempted to take over Iranian state television.

SEE IT: POMPEO SIGNALS AMERICAN SUPPORT OF IRAN PROTESTERS

Iran’s government still hasn’t offered any statistics on injuries, arrests or deaths in the protests and security crackdown that followed government-set gasoline prices rising Nov. 15. Amnesty International says it believes the violence killed at least 143 people, something Iran disputes without offering any evidence to support its claims.

In his comments reported by state media, Khamenei said the Iranian people extinguished “a very dangerous deep conspiracy that cost so much money and effort.” He praised the police, the Guard and the Basij for “entering the field and carrying out their task in a very difficult confrontation.”

Westlake Legal Group Supreme-Leader-Ayatollah-Ali-Khamenei Iran's Khamenei claims protests a US-backed ‘conspiracy’ JON GAMBRELL fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fnc/world fnc f46617c8-6024-5b30-bafa-a3af15188fcf Associated Press article

In this picture released on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting at his residence in Tehran, Iran. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday, June 24, 2019, targeting Iran’s supreme leader and his associates with financial sanctions, the latest action the U.S. has taken to discourage Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and supporting militant groups. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state, described the protests as being orchestrated by “global arrogance,” which he uses to refer to the U.S. He described America as seeing the price hikes as an “opportunity” to bring their “troops” to the field but the “move was destroyed by people.”

Wednesday marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Basij. Videos from the protest purport to show plainclothes Basij officials and others on motorcycles beating and detaining protesters.

Meanwhile, the moderate news website Entekhab quoted Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, a member of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, as saying more than 7,000 people had been arrested in the demonstrations. He did not elaborate.

IRANIAN COMMANDER WARNS US, ALLIES, ‘WE WILL DESTROY YOU’

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli also claimed in an interview late Tuesday on state television that “some 500 people” tried to storm Iran’s state television offices. He did not elaborate and no protests had been previously reported in the northern Tehran neighborhood home to the state broadcaster.

Fazli also estimated as many as 200,000 people took part the demonstrations, higher than previous claims. He said demonstrators damaged over 50 police stations, as well as 34 ambulances, 731 banks and 70 gas stations in the country.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“We have individuals who were killed by knives, shotguns and fires,” he said, without offering a casualty figure.

Starting Nov. 16, Iran shut down the internet across the country, limiting communications with the outside world. That made determining the scale and longevity of the protests incredibly difficult. While home and office internet has been restored, access on mobile phones remains rare.

The gasoline price hike came as Iran’s 80 million people have already seen their savings dwindle and jobs scarce under crushing U.S. sanctions. President Donald Trump imposed them in the aftermath of unilaterally withdrawing America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Westlake Legal Group Supreme-Leader-Ayatollah-Ali-Khamenei Iran's Khamenei claims protests a US-backed ‘conspiracy’ JON GAMBRELL fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fnc/world fnc f46617c8-6024-5b30-bafa-a3af15188fcf Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group Supreme-Leader-Ayatollah-Ali-Khamenei Iran's Khamenei claims protests a US-backed ‘conspiracy’ JON GAMBRELL fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fnc/world fnc f46617c8-6024-5b30-bafa-a3af15188fcf Associated Press article

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The Judge In The Larry Nassar Case Is Risking Everything Survivors Fought For

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina ― who made her name advocating for sexual assault survivors during predator Larry Nassar’s sentencing ― is now threatening the very justice she helped get for dozens of victims, several sources and a legal expert tell HuffPost. 

Aquilina, a Michigan Circuit Court Judge, rose to national prominence in early 2018, when she sentenced Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor, to 40-175 years in prison for sexually abusing young women. More than 160 survivors and family members read impact statements during a remarkable seven-day sentence hearing in Aquilina’s court.  

But attorneys for Nassar filed an appeal in April, arguing that Aquilina has shown ongoing bias — and that Nassar’s sentence should be thrown out. And now, nearly two years after the famous hearing, some survivors of Nassar’s abuse are worried that Aquilina’s ongoing media appearances and speaking engagements could strengthen Nassar’s chances of winning that appeal.

Madeleine Jones, one of the seven victims whom Nassar admitted, in his plea deal, to abusing, found Aquilina’s behavior during and after sentencing to be inappropriate, she told HuffPost.

“I’ve never really seen a case where the judge gets appearances and interviews for doing their job. It’s very unprecedented and it seems very unnecessary,” Jones, 20, said. “It really does open the door to give slight credibility to Nassar’s appeal.” 

Another Nassar survivor, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed with Jones, telling HuffPost that Aquilina’s actions are affecting her ability to put this case behind her. 

“Judge Aquilina’s public persona doesn’t just jeopardize our case, it also jeopardizes our healing,” she said. “We all feel like we owe her so much ― and we do ― but at the same she’s also the person who’s prolonging our pain.” 

Judge Aquilina’s public persona doesn’t just jeopardize our case, it also jeopardizes our healing. -Nassar survivor

Aquilina did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. Nassar’s lawyers have pointed to Aquilina’s strong language during sentencing, ongoing public appearances and barefaced advocacy on social media and in the press as evidence of bias.  

“It is impossible for a judge who has become so enmeshed in the public adoration and celebrity resulting from the severity of her treatment of Dr. Nassar to be seen as neutral and unbiased,” attorneys Malaika Ramsey-Heath and Jacqueline McCann wrote in Nassar’s appeal.  

The judge’s behavior does indicate some appearance of impropriety, Charles Wolfram, a professor at Cornell Law School and an expert in legal ethics, said. 

“Her post-litigation conduct, to me at least, indicates a strong probability that her mind was likely made up about several facts that would otherwise have been relevant to a sentencing judge,” he said. “Given the close connection in time between sentencing and the onset of her repeated conduct, its occurrence post-sentencing should be given just as much weight as if it had occurred before sentencing.” 

There are several possible outcomes from the pending appeal. The Michigan Court of Appeals could simply penalize Aquilina for her behavior but keep her original sentencing in place. The court could also order a completely new sentencing with a new judge where survivors could choose to re-read their gut-wrenching impact statements. 

“Knowingly risking to have him re-sentenced, to me, is the greatest insult to these women,” a source close to the case told HuffPost under the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution. “Very few of us can really understand what it’s going to be like for them to have to go through that again, and how much pain that’s going to drudge up.”

It is extremely unlikely that Nassar’s sentence of life in prison would change. Oral arguments for the appeal are set to be held before the end of the year.

Westlake Legal Group 5ddda4ce2100007f7e34e29c The Judge In The Larry Nassar Case Is Risking Everything Survivors Fought For

Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images Judge Rosemarie Aquilina speaks onstage at the 2018 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards on November 12, 2018 in New York City. 

During Nassar’s sentencing, Aquilina took a unique and at times controversial approach. The judge continually told survivors to leave their trauma with her in the courtroom, repeating phrases such as: “This was done to you. It was not done by you,” and, “He’s going to break while you’re healing, and I believe that he will remain broken.”

At one point, she even suggested that what Nassar did to these women should be done to him in prison. In one of her most infamous statements, Aquilina told Nassar she signed his “death warrant” after handing down his sentence. 

Over the last year, Aquilina has built a long resume of press appearances. The judge first appeared at the ESPYs last summer, and she went on to attend several red carpet events and award dinners. She has continued to speak to press, including NBC Nightly News and Glamour, and was even photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair magazine. She told ESPN in August that she could be the next Judge Judy, but “in a classier way.” 

Aquilina takes two to three speaking engagements a month, some paid, and has hired an agent, she told the Lansing State Journal in June. The judge is also listed as a board director for The Army of Survivors, an organization created by Nassar survivors to support other victims of sexual assault. 

Multiple sources told HuffPost that Aquilina has had direct contact with victims ― behavior that judges are supposed to avoid while cases are still under appeal. The anonymous survivor who spoke to HuffPost said that Aquilina used to routinely send her memes depicting the judge and articles about the judge. 

Aquilina is often credited with “allowing” survivors to speak at Nassar’s sentencing. But the extensive victim impact statements were actually part of Nassar’s plea deal, which was crafted by prosecutor Angela Povilaitis, not the judge.

“Judge Aquilina always says, ‘I let every victim speak.’ Which, yes, she let them speak but that wasn’t her idea. At all,” Jones said. “It was Angie’s idea.”

Jones added that she felt Aquilina’s remarks during sentencing were disingenuous. “Her comments were very supportive, they were very kind ― but I remember thinking at the time: ‘This isn’t necessary,’” she said. “It felt like she was trying to get the last word in on my statement.” 

Aquilina’s newfound celebrity calls into question the intent behind her self-described advocacy for “sister survivors.” The survivor who wished to remain anonymous said that she, along with other victims, believe Aquilina’s advocacy has become self-serving and even manipulative. 

“It’s scary to think that we’ve been here before: where the person that is helping us is also the person that’s hurting us,” she said. “It’s a really scary cycle to break, but we have to.”

She said many victims feel similar to her but are nervous to come forward. For all of Aquilina’s shortcomings, the survivor explained, the judge has still helped a lot of young victims heal. Gratitude for that has forced many Nassar survivors to stay quiet even as Aquilina’s ongoing advocacy threatens to dismantle their case. 

“People don’t want to admit that their hero could also be hurting them,” the survivor said. 

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We Need More Holidays

In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that standards of living would at least quadruple over the next 100 years, as compound interest and technological innovation allowed mankind to overcome the struggle for survival. 

He made that prediction in the midst of the Great Depression, and without the benefit of modern growth theories, but he basically got it right. In more economically developed countries at least, living standards have actually increased by a bigger factor, and starvation has been eradicated. 

Yet he also predicted that people would be working just 15 hours per week by now and that our biggest problem would be not knowing what to do with all our free time. 

“For we have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy,” Keynes wrote in his essay “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren.” “It is a fearful problem for the ordinary person, with no special talents, to occupy himself, especially if he no longer has roots in the soil or in custom or in the beloved conventions of a traditional society.”

Westlake Legal Group 5ddc34b3210000787e34e050 We Need More Holidays

Tim Gidal via Getty Images English economist John Maynard Keynes at his desk on March 16, 1940. 

Instead of fretting over how best to enjoy an abundance of leisure, Americans work roughly the same number of hours they did in the 1930s: around 40 per week. We got the higher living standards Keynes predicted, so what happened to the free time?

The simple answer is that we boofed it. The 40-hour workweek has so entrenched itself in our culture, we’ve forgotten the dream entirely. Meanwhile, we may even be losing our grip on some of our hard-earned, well-established holidays, like Thanksgiving as retailers increasingly force people to work that day to get a jump on the Black Friday rush. 

But we can fix this mistake. We can take a stand. We can not only reclaim Thanksgiving; we can extend every weekend to three days.  

Taking Back Our Time

The average U.S. worker put in 1,786 hours of labor in 2018, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — placing in the top third of the 36 OECD countries.

If you look at nations with similar levels of economic growth, the U.S. is a ridiculous outlier. In a recent report, the People’s Policy Project, a left-wing think tank, analyzed the correlation between GDP and hours of labor. If America followed the trend of other OECD nations, we’d work about 33 fewer days each year. 

Fifty years ago, people in Western European nations worked about the same as people in the U.S. But our counterparts there have prioritized time off through requirements that employers provide paid vacation and paid leave for illness or childbirth, as well as shorter hours and more holidays.

The U.S. is the only advanced economy that doesn’t require any paid vacations or parental leave. 

The average German worker worked 1,363 hours last year. That’s about 52 fewer workdays than the average American — or an extra 10 weeks off. 

Excessive work can impair your physical health, your family’s happiness, and maybe even your effectiveness on the job, which might be why workers in Germany and some of the other countries with lower work hours have higher levels of productivity than those in the United States. 

Catching up to Germany might be too much to ask, but People’s Policy Project offered a modest proposal: The U.S. could add five new official holidays, starting with new ones in the four months that currently have none: March, April, June and August. 

Congress hasn’t enacted a new federal holiday since establishing Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. Building on PPP’s report, here are some suggestions for those sad no-holiday months:  

  • Daylight Saving Day (March) ― the first Monday after the clocks change, so we can all figure out what time it is.

  • Tax Day (April) ― Make April 15 a relax day. 

  • Juneteenth (June) ― Obviously, commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. on June 19 would be good.

  • American Family Day (August) ― In 1977, Arizona chose the first Sunday in August to recognize the importance of families spending time together. (Let’s adopt that idea, but switch it to the first Monday.)

We’ve also got to protect the holidays we already have. They are extremely vulnerable. 

The federal government recognizes 10 holidays each year (plus Inauguration Day every four years). Federal workers get these days off, and many private employers follow the government’s lead. But because there’s no actual requirement that private employers do so, they don’t always. 

Take Presidents’ Day. It is actually called George Washington’s Birthday, but when the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968 moved it from Feb. 22 to the third Monday in February ― so that people could enjoy longer weekends ― the observance lost both its fixed date and its historical moorings. Advertisers essentially claimed the day for themselves, and employers don’t respect it. Only one-quarter of all workers got that day off last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Veterans Day, on the other hand, has a fixed date, but that still hasn’t saved it. Only 19% of workers get the day off. 

We’ve also got to protect the holidays we already have. They are extremely vulnerable.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be sacred. But retail stores are trying to take it over it by extending “Black Friday” earlier and earlier into Thanksgiving Day, yanking workers away from their families in the process. Target first opened at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving in 2012, and this year it will open at 6 p.m. Walmart, the largest employer in the U.S., has always kept its supercenters open on Thanksgiving ― and has been moving its stampede-causing Black Friday promotions earlier and earlier. This year, they’ll start at 6 p.m. 

Congress could do something about Black Friday encroachment by requiring time-and-a-half pay for holiday labor. That’s how the Fair Labor Standards Act discourages overtime work for large employers, thereby enforcing the 40-hour week. (Another method: Three states restrict commerce on Thanksgiving via so-called “blue laws” that were originally drafted to encourage people to go to church on Sundays and holidays.) And Congress could also make the day after Thanksgiving another national holiday; 43% of workers have the day off already. 

There’s some precedent for fussing with Thanksgiving. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to move the date up to the third Thursday of November in 1939 at the behest of businesses who wanted more time for Christmas shopping. Everyone hated “Franksgiving” so much that two years later, Congress passed a resolution that put it on the fourth Thursday of November. 

We need to channel some of that Franksgiving rage into Black Friday Encroachment rage.

The Long History of Shorter Hours

Keynes had a good reason to think people would work shorter hours in the future. The average workweek shortened from around 60 hours when he was born, in 1883, to fewer than 50 hours by the time of his essay. Workers, wanting more time off, went on strike constantly. 

The shorter hours movement dominated the economic conversation in the United States for more than 100 years, according to historian Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt, a professor at the University of Iowa who has written multiple books on the subject. 

Workers demanded the 10-hour day in the early 1800s, seeking to escape exploitative industrial labor conditions. After the Civil War, they demanded eight hours, high-mindedly arguing that they needed time to better themselves through recreation and education. 

Labor unions also argued that reducing work hours would empower workers by forcing companies to hire more people, since they’d need more people working the shorter shifts. With fewer workers unemployed, desperate and willing to take jobs at lower pay, the bargaining position of laborers in general would improve. 

Westlake Legal Group 5ddc30aa2500005123d2e2bd We Need More Holidays

Chicago History Museum via Getty Images In an image published in Harper’s Weekly, Samuel Fielden, a radical socialist from England, stands atop the speaker’s wagon as a dynamite bomb explodes, triggering the tragic events at Haymarket Square, Chicago, in 1886. 

Business owners fought back, often with local police forces and national guardsmen on their side. People got killed, most famously during an 1886 general strike for the eight-hour day in Chicago. After a bomb went off at a protest in a public square, police shot several demonstrators, then rounded up movement leaders in a crackdown that saw several people accused of anarchism and sentenced to death. The “Haymarket Affair,” as it’s known, is internationally observed as May Day around the world. 

In the early 1900s, the American Federation of Labor shifted to a more business-friendly argument ― that shorter hours would increase productivity. Better technology allowed workers to produce more per hour, and the improved output could pay off as higher wages, shorter hours or both. 

“Instead of arguing that shorter hours would drive up wages, labor maintained that industrial efficiency made both shorter hours and higher wages possible,” Hunnicutt wrote in his 2013 book “Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream.” 

That view still prevails today, and economists estimate that workers took a smaller and smaller share of their productivity gains as increased leisure, opting instead for higher wages, from the mid-1800s through the early 1900s. 

But weekends didn’t come about thanks only to economics. Hours came down gradually thanks to constant agitation and piecemeal policy changes in cities and states. 

The shorter hours movement dominated the economic conversation in the United States for more than 100 years.

That movement really hit the big time during the Great Depression. In the 1930s, Congress nearly passed legislation supporting a six-hour workday. Wanting to alleviate the misery of the Great Depression while still playing nice with big business, FDR threw his support behind other reforms. Instead of a 30-hour week, we got the 40-hour week plus retirement insurance, unemployment benefits and child labor laws ― and a promise that the government would support “full employment” by encouraging economic growth. 

In the 1940s, we accidentally created an obstacle to shorter hours: the employer-based national health insurance system. Firms offered insurance as a way around wartime price controls, and then Congress codified a tax exemption for the health benefits that became one of the biggest tax expenditures on the books. Insurance is now a huge fixed cost per worker, and a key reason why firms may be reluctant to consider employees full-time if they work fewer than 40 hours.

And that’s that. We were working about 40 hours a week in the 1930s, and we’re working about 40 hours a week today, while Congress fusses over growth and our international peers take more family leave and vacations.  

Shorter Hours And Today’s Politics 

I know my dream of a permanent three-day weekend might sound weird to the average American. The concept is so foreign here that asking even the politician you think is most likely to be sympathetic to the idea ends with them looking at you like you’re a space alien. 

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is a staunch worker advocate who recently published a book titled “Desk 88,” a paean to past liberal senators who wrote legendary legislation from the same Senate desk where Brown now sits. One of them, Hugo Black (D-Ala.), was the chief sponsor of the bill creating a 30-hour week, which passed the Senate in 1933 but stalled after that. 

I walked up to Brown in the Capitol the other day and asked how he felt about creating more holidays and reducing the hours of labor. He answered diplomatically but seemed skeptical of the question. 

“I think that I would start with we need stronger unions and more organized workplaces that people can bargain from our days off,” Brown said. “I guess I hadn’t thought through whether government should just decree more days off.”

In a follow-up statement from his office, Brown said employers should give their workers “reasonable hours and advance notice of schedules,” which has long been a Democratic priority. 

Westlake Legal Group 5ddc31981f0000dc1adef724 We Need More Holidays

Win McNamee via Getty Images This turkey is taking a day off, chilling in its room at the Willard Hotel after being introduced to members of the media during a press conference held by the National Turkey Federation on Nov. 25, 2019. 

Nobody has introduced legislation to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to shorten the workweek since the late Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) pitched a 35-hour week in 1979. The only new holiday Democrats are pushing is Election Day, so people can vote more easily. (There’s a resolution designating March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day, but not as a federal holiday.) 

It’s not hard to imagine what would happen if Democrats embraced shorter work hours through new holidays. Paid holidays already cost employers almost 8 cents per hour for the average worker earning $36.61 hourly in pay and benefits, according to the latest data. More holidays would cost more pennies, bosses would be mad, and Republicans would call it socialism.  

The technocratic counterargument is that so long as worker productivity continues to increase, workers should be able to reap the benefit without hurting employers. Say we wanted to add two new holidays next year, bringing the total annual hours worked down from 1,786 to 1,770, a reduction of about 0.9%. Labor productivity growth over the past year stood at 1.4% ― enough of an increase that there would be room for days off, higher pay and higher profits.

As it stands, most Americans, and even most Republicans, tell pollsters that they favor a paid vacation mandate. And most Americans think retail stores should stay closed on Thanksgiving. An enterprising politician could pick up this issue and run with it. Giving everyone more time off is less fanciful, and less complicated, than giving everyone $1,000 per month, as Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has proposed. 

A good job can be very fulfilling, but work is not that great. And everybody loves weekends.

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Sixteen of the 39 migrants found dead in UK truck repatriated to Vietnam amid human trafficking investigation

Westlake Legal Group AP19306732188746 Sixteen of the 39 migrants found dead in UK truck repatriated to Vietnam amid human trafficking investigation fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/human-rights fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 909d0116-603f-5f0c-a194-d2b7f3344932

The bodies of sixteen of the 39 migrants found dead in the back of a refrigerated truck in the United Kingdom last month were repatriated to Vietnam early Wednesday and returned to next of kin, according to reports.

TRUCK DRIVER PLEADS GUILTY TO IMMIGRATION CHARGE IN CASE OF UK SMUGGLING DEATHS

This comes as officials in the UK and Vietnam continue to investigate an international human trafficking ring after eight women and 31 males, including two boys both aged 15, were found dead in the back of a truck in Essex on Oct. 23. All 39 were later identified as Vietnam nationals.

The remains of sixteen of the migrants arrived in Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport early Wednesday and were transported by ambulances to their family’s homes in the Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces, according to Sky News.

“After waiting for so many days, my son has finally arrived,” Nguyen Dinh Gia, father of victim Nguyen Dinh Luong, told Reuters in a phone interview from his home in Can Loc, Ha Tinh province. “We are deeply saddened, but we have to hold back the emotion to organize the funeral for my son.”

UK and Vietnamese officially are working to repatriate the remaining victims in the near future.

“This is a very difficult time,” British ambassador to Vietnam, Gareth Ward, said in a video statement released on Wednesday. “I promise the families and the Vietnamese people as a whole that we will continue to boost the cooperation between the UK and Vietnam to prevent human trafficking and protect vulnerable people here.”

Each body will cost about $2,856 to repatriate, according to the vice minister of foreign affairs. The Vietnamese government will advance the payment and the victims’ families will be required to pay back the cost of to fly the bodies in from the UK at a later date. A crowdsourcing campaign has raised more than $110,000 for the relatives of the deceased migrants, BBC reported.

The minister added in a statement that families were encouraged to have the bodies cremated “to ensure speed, low cost and sanitation safety.” Many relative instead agreed to pay to have the bodies shipped back to Vietnam for traditional burials given cremation is rare in the country’s rural areas, The Guardian reported.

On Monday, Maurice “Mo” Robinson, 25, of Craigavon in Northern Ireland, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to assist illegal immigration. He admitted to driving the truck where the bodies were found. Robinson told the court he conspired with others from May 1, 2018, to Oct. 24, 2019 to assist unlawful immigration and acquired cash that he knew or suspected came from criminal conduct, Reuters reported.

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On Sunday, the Essex police said Christopher Kennedy, 23, also of Northern Ireland, had been arrested in connection with the investigation. He was charged with conspiracy to arrange people trafficking and conspiracy to break U.K. immigration law. A third suspect was being held in Ireland. Two other suspects from Northern Ireland, brothers Ronan and Christopher Hughes, were being sought, the New York Times reported.

Police in Vietnam have arrested 10 people in connection with the deaths.

Fox News Robert Gearty contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19306732188746 Sixteen of the 39 migrants found dead in UK truck repatriated to Vietnam amid human trafficking investigation fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/human-rights fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 909d0116-603f-5f0c-a194-d2b7f3344932   Westlake Legal Group AP19306732188746 Sixteen of the 39 migrants found dead in UK truck repatriated to Vietnam amid human trafficking investigation fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/human-rights fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 909d0116-603f-5f0c-a194-d2b7f3344932

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Florida authorities investigating offer to sell baby for $500 on Craigslist

Someone in Florida posted a Craigslist ad purporting to sell a newborn baby for $500, leading investigators scrambling to determine if the ad was just a hoax.

‘PUNKY BREWSTER’ STAR SOLEIL MOON FRYE SAYS DEMI MOORE HELPED DELIVER HER FOUR CHILDREN

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement opened up an investigation Friday into the online ad, which claimed the baby is a well-behaved 2-week-old who sleeps quietly through the night.

The person who posted the ad said they didn’t want to be judged for “not wanting these kids,” according to The Miami Herald.

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The ad said the alleged baby-seller would provide clothes, formula and even offered to give away the baby’s 4-year-old sister free of charge.

The family, the poster alleged, is from a “quiet influential neighborhood.” They seller claimed to work for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

This story originally appeared in the New York Post

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The Judge In The Larry Nassar Case Is Risking Everything Survivors Fought For

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina ― who made her name advocating for sexual assault survivors during predator Larry Nassar’s sentencing ― is now threatening the very justice she helped get for dozens of victims, several sources and a legal expert tell HuffPost. 

Aquilina, a Michigan Circuit Court Judge, rose to national prominence in early 2018, when she sentenced Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team doctor, to 40-175 years in prison for sexually abusing young women. More than 160 survivors and family members read impact statements during a remarkable seven-day sentence hearing in Aquilina’s court.  

But attorneys for Nassar filed an appeal in April, arguing that Aquilina has shown ongoing bias — and that Nassar’s sentence should be thrown out. And now, nearly two years after the famous hearing, some survivors of Nassar’s abuse are worried that Aquilina’s ongoing media appearances and speaking engagements could strengthen Nassar’s chances of winning that appeal.

Madeleine Jones, one of the seven victims whom Nassar admitted, in his plea deal, to abusing, found Aquilina’s behavior during and after sentencing to be inappropriate, she told HuffPost.

“I’ve never really seen a case where the judge gets appearances and interviews for doing their job. It’s very unprecedented and it seems very unnecessary,” Jones, 20, said. “It really does open the door to give slight credibility to Nassar’s appeal.” 

Another Nassar survivor, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed with Jones, telling HuffPost that Aquilina’s actions are affecting her ability to put this case behind her. 

“Judge Aquilina’s public persona doesn’t just jeopardize our case, it also jeopardizes our healing,” she said. “We all feel like we owe her so much ― and we do ― but at the same she’s also the person who’s prolonging our pain.” 

Judge Aquilina’s public persona doesn’t just jeopardize our case, it also jeopardizes our healing. -Nassar survivor

Aquilina did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. Nassar’s lawyers have pointed to Aquilina’s strong language during sentencing, ongoing public appearances and barefaced advocacy on social media and in the press as evidence of bias.  

“It is impossible for a judge who has become so enmeshed in the public adoration and celebrity resulting from the severity of her treatment of Dr. Nassar to be seen as neutral and unbiased,” attorneys Malaika Ramsey-Heath and Jacqueline McCann wrote in Nassar’s appeal.  

The judge’s behavior does indicate some appearance of impropriety, Charles Wolfram, a professor at Cornell Law School and an expert in legal ethics, said. 

“Her post-litigation conduct, to me at least, indicates a strong probability that her mind was likely made up about several facts that would otherwise have been relevant to a sentencing judge,” he said. “Given the close connection in time between sentencing and the onset of her repeated conduct, its occurrence post-sentencing should be given just as much weight as if it had occurred before sentencing.” 

There are several possible outcomes from the pending appeal. The Michigan Court of Appeals could simply penalize Aquilina for her behavior but keep her original sentencing in place. The court could also order a completely new sentencing with a new judge where survivors could choose to re-read their gut-wrenching impact statements. 

“Knowingly risking to have him re-sentenced, to me, is the greatest insult to these women,” a source close to the case told HuffPost under the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution. “Very few of us can really understand what it’s going to be like for them to have to go through that again, and how much pain that’s going to drudge up.”

It is extremely unlikely that Nassar’s sentence of life in prison would change. Oral arguments for the appeal are set to be held before the end of the year.

Westlake Legal Group 5ddda4ce2100007f7e34e29c The Judge In The Larry Nassar Case Is Risking Everything Survivors Fought For

Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images Judge Rosemarie Aquilina speaks onstage at the 2018 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards on November 12, 2018 in New York City. 

During Nassar’s sentencing, Aquilina took a unique and at times controversial approach. The judge continually told survivors to leave their trauma with her in the courtroom, repeating phrases such as: “This was done to you. It was not done by you,” and, “He’s going to break while you’re healing, and I believe that he will remain broken.”

At one point, she even suggested that what Nassar did to these women should be done to him in prison. In one of her most infamous statements, Aquilina told Nassar she signed his “death warrant” after handing down his sentence. 

Over the last year, Aquilina has built a long resume of press appearances. The judge first appeared at the ESPYs last summer, and she went on to attend several red carpet events and award dinners. She has continued to speak to press, including NBC Nightly News and Glamour, and was even photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair magazine. She told ESPN in August that she could be the next Judge Judy, but “in a classier way.” 

Aquilina takes two to three speaking engagements a month, some paid, and has hired an agent, she told the Lansing State Journal in June. The judge is also listed as a board director for The Army of Survivors, an organization created by Nassar survivors to support other victims of sexual assault. 

Multiple sources told HuffPost that Aquilina has had direct contact with victims ― behavior that judges are supposed to avoid while cases are still under appeal. The anonymous survivor who spoke to HuffPost said that Aquilina used to routinely send her memes depicting the judge and articles about the judge. 

Aquilina is often credited with “allowing” survivors to speak at Nassar’s sentencing. But the extensive victim impact statements were actually part of Nassar’s plea deal, which was crafted by prosecutor Angela Povilaitis, not the judge.

“Judge Aquilina always says, ‘I let every victim speak.’ Which, yes, she let them speak but that wasn’t her idea. At all,” Jones said. “It was Angie’s idea.”

Jones added that she felt Aquilina’s remarks during sentencing were disingenuous. “Her comments were very supportive, they were very kind ― but I remember thinking at the time: ‘This isn’t necessary,’” she said. “It felt like she was trying to get the last word in on my statement.” 

Aquilina’s newfound celebrity calls into question the intent behind her self-described advocacy for “sister survivors.” The survivor who wished to remain anonymous said that she, along with other victims, believe Aquilina’s advocacy has become self-serving and even manipulative. 

“It’s scary to think that we’ve been here before: where the person that is helping us is also the person that’s hurting us,” she said. “It’s a really scary cycle to break, but we have to.”

She said many victims feel similar to her but are nervous to come forward. For all of Aquilina’s shortcomings, the survivor explained, the judge has still helped a lot of young victims heal. Gratitude for that has forced many Nassar survivors to stay quiet even as Aquilina’s ongoing advocacy threatens to dismantle their case. 

“People don’t want to admit that their hero could also be hurting them,” the survivor said. 

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