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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 165)

Bad Timing for Jury Duty

Westlake Legal Group 16onpolitics-pm-facebookJumbo Bad Timing for Jury Duty Warren, Elizabeth Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa Bennet, Michael Farrand

Last January, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan exploded onto the national political scene with her expletive-laden cry to impeach President Trump. A little more than a year later, senators arrived in their chamber today to somberly sign an oath to deliver “impartial justice” in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial.

It’s a moment that many Democrats have been waiting months — even years — to see. But for the four senators running for president, it’s also a moment they wish could have happened just a couple of months sooner.

The rules for senators at the trial are firm: six days a week in the Senate chamber, no cellphones, no talking.

It’s hard to overstate how big a problem this is for the candidates serving as jurors. In Iowa, where the caucuses are less than three weeks away, the four leading contenders are locked in a dead-heat race, polling shows.

Two can keep campaigning without restrictions: Joe Biden, the former vice president, and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind. The other two will most likely be stuck in Washington much of the time: Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

And unlike voters in big states (think Texas or California, where advertising is king), Iowans expect to see their candidates up close. In their living rooms. At their farms and their ethanol plants. Or at the very least, in a banquet hall somewhere.

David Axelrod, one of the architects of Barack Obama’s underdog win in the state in 2008, said Mr. Obama campaigned until he lost his voice, meeting thousands of voters in the final week before the caucuses.

“It was like, meet everyone you can meet, go everywhere you can go,” he recalled. “That personal contact closing the sale is really important.”

So, this is not the time any candidate wants to be locked in a room with 99 other senators, forbidden to speak or even to look at a phone. And no one knows exactly how long the trial will last.

White House aides hope the process will wrap up by the State of the Union address on Feb. 4, the day after the Iowa caucuses. But top Senate Republicans have indicated that they expect the trial could easily extend past then, running into the New Hampshire primary and maybe even beyond if the Senate votes to call witnesses.

The campaigns are trying to make the best of a bad situation, chartering planes for middle-of-the-night flights back to Washington and organizing town hall events hosted via phone or video chat. Mr. Sanders plans to leverage his social media following by hosting live-stream events. (In the first week of January, Mr. Sanders’s live streams received 6.5 million views, according to his campaign.)

They’re also dispatching top surrogates, like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York for Mr. Sanders and Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts for Ms. Warren.

But, of course, supporting cast members can never really replace the star of the show.

The dynamic is probably most damaging to Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who lacks the national brands of Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren and has predicated her success on a strong finish in Iowa, where she is polling in fifth place. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, who has less than 1 percent support in the polls, will also be pulled off the campaign trail.

Meanwhile, Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg plan to spend much of the next three weeks in Iowa.

Aides to Mr. Biden say the trial could be an asset, reminding voters that Mr. Trump fears Mr. Biden as a political opponent. (Revelations that Mr. Trump tried to collect political dirt on Mr. Biden and his family from Ukrainian officials kicked off the impeachment inquiry.) They’ve released a new ad arguing that Mr. Trump is “obsessed” with their candidate.

Mr. Buttigieg is planning to spend 15 of the 18 days before the caucuses barnstorming the state.

“I’ll leave it to the analysts to figure out the political impacts,” Mr. Buttigieg said in Iowa on Wednesday. “We’re going to use every moment available to us to continue making the case and to continue listening to voters.”

For Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, there might be a tiny sliver of sunshine in all this impeachment doom. The hearings will distract from their escalating — and mutually distracting — feud.

“I have no further comment on this,” Ms. Warren told reporters at the Capitol today when asked about her relationship with Mr. Sanders. “We are here right now at an important moment in American history. And that’s what we need to keep our focus on.”


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We want to hear from our readers. Have a question? We’ll try to answer it. Have a comment? We’re all ears. Email us at onpolitics@nytimes.com.


With impeachment racing ahead, it can be hard to keep track of the daily stream of new developments. So our colleagues from the Impeachment Briefing newsletter have generously volunteered to catch us up every Thursday on what has happened during the week.

  • The case has moved to the Senate. This week the House of Representatives formally delivered to the Senate two articles of impeachment charging President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, was sworn in, and then administered an oath to the senators.

  • Democrats picked their managers. Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed a team of seven so-called impeachment managers, members of Congress who will act as prosecutors and present the House’s case against Mr. Trump before the Senate. There were some predictable picks, like Representatives Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler, along with some surprises, including the first-term members Jason Crow and Sylvia Garcia.

  • More evidence came out. House Democrats released dozens of pages of documents that detailed efforts in Ukraine by Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, and his associates. The revelations brought even more intense calls from Senate Democrats to allow new evidence and witnesses to be introduced in the trial.

  • The trial starts next week. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said the trial would begin in earnest next Tuesday, and Senate leaders said they expected it to last three to five weeks. Unlike the House hearings, though, the Senate proceedings will provide little room for grandstanding — senators will submit their questions in writing.

You can sign up for the Impeachment Briefing newsletter here.


Sorry, everyone, Mr. Sanders will not be offering birthday greetings. Here’s what he told the New York Times editorial board on the subject.

This calls for you to be a little self-critical. What are you likely to fail at or to do poorly as president?

Talk to The New York Times. Look, I don’t tolerate [expletive] terribly well, and I come from a different background than a lot of other people who run the country. I’m not good at backslapping. I’m not good at pleasantries.

If you have your birthday, I’m not going to call you up to congratulate you, so you’ll love me and you’ll write nice things about me.

That’s not what I do. Never have. I take that as a little bit of a criticism, self-criticism. I have been amazed at how many people respond to, “Happy Birthday!” “Oh Bernie, thanks so much for calling.” It works. It’s just not my style.

Check out transcripts of the editorial board’s interviews with nine of the candidates. And be sure to tune into “The Weekly” on FX and Hulu on Sunday night, when the board will unveil its endorsement for the Democratic nomination. (The board is completely separate from those of us in the newsroom.)

Who will get The New York Times’s rose?


Were you forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox.

Thanks for reading. On Politics is your guide to the political news cycle, delivering clarity from the chaos.

Is there anything you think we’re missing? Anything you want to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at onpolitics@nytimes.com.

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Reporter’s Notebook: Scenes from inside the opening of Trump’s impeachment trial

Westlake Legal Group Senate-Impeachment-AP Reporter’s Notebook: Scenes from inside the opening of Trump’s impeachment trial Marisa Schultz fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections/senate fox news fnc/politics fnc article 69690876-296c-5d4e-a547-37b6ceaf4813

The Senate chamber was particularly quiet as each senator’s name was called up to sign the impeachment trial “oath book.”

One exception was Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who was having a robust conversation with Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., as they sat together in the back of the chamber at their wooden desks.

All senators were present for this rare moment in history, except for GOP Sen. James Inhofe, who was in his home state of Oklahoma helping a family member with a medical issue.

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, SENATORS SWORN IN AS TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OPENS

It wasn’t a typical day in the Senate. Chief Justice John Roberts was presiding. Senators had to take a special oath and were required to stay in their seats.

The press were subjected to additional access restrictions at the Capitol and required new press badges to be present. A special yellow ticket was also needed to enter the press gallery and watch Day One of the impeachment trial of President Trump.

Senators were banned from bringing electronic devices and cell phones to their seats. That left a unique situation for those in the gallery staring down at this fishbowl moment in history.

First, senators solemnly stood and raised their right hand and pledged “impartial justice” in the trial of the president. Afterward, the senators were called up to affirm their oath by signing their names.

As aides with clipboards ushered the senators to sign the “oath book,” the vibe on either side of the Senate was different.

The Democrats seemed like astute students in the classroom ready to learn. Many had paperwork covering their wooden desks, notepads and pens out. Some were already jotting down notes.

On the GOP side, their wooden desks were largely bare. Some sat stiffly like they were prisoners to a process they believe shouldn’t be happening at all.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Sen James Lankford, R-Okla., were GOP exceptions, and both were spotted taking notes.

At one point, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was reading a book that a Cruz aide identified as the Constitution. Cassidy had a book on Senate procedures at his desk, open to the section on impeachment.

An aide later said Cassidy and Perdue were discussing the Prevent Government Shutdown Act and ways to reform the budgeting process. But largely senators only spoke in soft murmurs as they shared an exchange with their neighbor as the name-signing procession continued.

The biggest outfit stunner was Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who wore a bright red v-neck cocktail dress with a cape. The Arizona Democrat channeled a superwoman vibe for the momentous occasion in a normally buttoned-up Capitol.

For such a big day in the Senate, attendance never reached capacity. Though not all sections are open to the public, there were roughly a couple hundred seats vacant. One notable guest in the senators’ family section was Jane Sanders, wife of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

For his part, Sanders sat with a pen in hand ready to take notes at the trial opening. When it was his turn to sign the oath book, he greeted Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., with a handshake.

All the 2020 White House hopefuls left their campaigns to be jurors.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., walked so quickly and purposefully to sign the oath book, that she almost collided with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., when he stopped in front of her in line. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a moderate who has preached on the presidential campaign trail about her ability to work in a bipartisan fashion, made a beeline for the GOP side of the aisle after the Senate trial adjourned. She had a conversation with Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.

Klobuchar, a daughter of a journalist, earlier this week expressed concerns about the severe press restrictions during impeachment and said she had raised the issue with Blunt.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, sat next to each other without notes or paperwork on their desks. The two moderates are often partners when they break with their party on some thorny issues. Democrats are counting on them to be the two of the four senators they need to vote in favor of allowing witnesses and documents into the trial.

Collins said Thursday she’s inclined to support a motion to call witnesses after the first phase of the trial is complete.

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The Senate trial adjourned until Tuesday. Senate Democrats told reporters afterward they hoped the solemnity and gravity of the occasion would shake loose some more Republican votes over the weekend.

“We should have a trial — not a cover-up — that features documents, evidence (and) witnesses, rather than a historic sham that fails to meet the moment,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said.

Westlake Legal Group Senate-Impeachment-AP Reporter’s Notebook: Scenes from inside the opening of Trump’s impeachment trial Marisa Schultz fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections/senate fox news fnc/politics fnc article 69690876-296c-5d4e-a547-37b6ceaf4813   Westlake Legal Group Senate-Impeachment-AP Reporter’s Notebook: Scenes from inside the opening of Trump’s impeachment trial Marisa Schultz fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections/senate fox news fnc/politics fnc article 69690876-296c-5d4e-a547-37b6ceaf4813

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Trump Impeachment Updates: Key Moments

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-highlights-promo-facebookJumbo Trump Impeachment Updates: Key Moments United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schiff, Adam B Roberts, John G Jr Republican Party impeachment Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party

Here’s what you need to know:

With the six other House Democrats serving as impeachment managers beside him, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, ceremoniously walked the articles of impeachment from the House chamber to the Senate chamber midday Thursday. It was the second such journey for the group in the past 24 hours, after formally delivering the articles to the Senate on Wednesday evening.

With the full Senate seated before him, Mr. Schiff read aloud the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against Mr. Trump. The two charges together are just over eight pages long.

“President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States,” Mr. Schiff said as he concluded.

That Mr. Schiff would assume the spotlight during this historic moment was sure to irk Mr. Trump, who has targeted him for mockery and criticism and accused him of being the one who committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, hit back on Twitter and accused Democrats of the same crimes covered by the articles.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was sworn in Thursday afternoon to preside over the president’s trial where he will perform a largely ceremonial role. (Under Senate rules, the chief justice’s decisions in the trial can be overruled by a majority vote of the senators).

Chief Justice Roberts’s exact duties have yet to be defined, but as the deep partisanship between the Democrats and Republicans spills out over a trial that is expected to last weeks, his reputation for being independent is at stake.

The oath reads: “I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.”

After Chief Justice Roberts took his oath, read to him by Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, he turned to the senators in the chamber and asked them to do the same. Then, the senators signed their name in an oath book.

Aides said Mr. Trump was not watching the ceremonial events on television as the trial got underway. But after an event in the Oval Office celebrating National Religious Freedom Day, the president told reporters that he hoped the trial would not last long.

“I think it should go very quickly,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s a hoax, it’s a hoax. Everybody knows that.”

Mr. Trump has vacillated between favoring a short trial or a longer spectacle that could be used as an opportunity to present his side of the story.

White House officials and senior senators have predicted the trial will last two to six weeks. The impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton was five weeks long.

An independent federal watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, found that the Trump administration broke the law when it withheld millions of dollars in security assistance to Ukraine. The report, released Thursday, cited a violation of a 1974 law that protects the spending decisions of Congress. The White House budget office rejected the finding.

The White House and Trump allies continued to undercut a flood of new details coming from a Soviet-born businessman involved in the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to help him politically. The businessman, Lev Parnas, is an associate of the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Mr. Parnas is under federal indictment but out on bail. In a series of interviews with reporters Wednesday, he alleged that his efforts along with Mr. Giuliani to oust the American ambassador to Ukraine were done with the president’s knowledge and consent. Mr. Parnas said Attorney General William P. Barr was also involved in these efforts.

Earlier this week, House Democrats disclosed documents from Mr. Parnas revealing efforts by him and another man to follow the American ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch. On Thursday, the Ukrainian police announced an investigation into whether she was under illegal surveillance while she was stationed there.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, announced a series of deadlines to be met by the impeachment managers and the president’s legal team before the trial begins on Tuesday at 1 p.m. Mr. Trump has until 6 p.m. on Saturday to submit his formal responses to the charges against him.

The trial will be held each day of the week, except Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. During the trial, senators will not be allowed to have their cellphones or other electronic devices in the chamber and their movements outside the chamber will be constricted.

Out of public view, Mr. McConnell and his aides were working to complete a resolution that would set the parameters for the first phase of the trial and be put up for a vote on Tuesday. Democrats could oppose it en masse because it does not guarantee that witnesses can be called and new evidence admitted.

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James Comey focus of FBI leak investigation, report says

The Justice Department is investigating whether then-FBI Director James Comey illegally leaked secret information concerning a Russian document to The New York Times and The Washington Post, the Times reported late Thursday.

The new review, which the Times downplayed as a possibly politically motivated probe, reportedly concerned a Russian intelligence document “claiming a tacit understanding between the Clinton campaign and the [Obama] Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server,” as the Post described it in May 2017.

Dutch intelligence accessed the document on Russian computers and provided it to the FBI. Included in the document was a discussion between Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., then the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Leonard Benardo, who worked with the George Soros-founded group Open Society Foundations.

Schultz told Benardo in the document that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch would ensure Clinton was not prosecuted in the email probe.

LYNCH ACCUSES COMEY OF MISREPRESENTING KEY CLINTON PROBE CONVERSATION

The two have denied the conversation, and citing “people familiar with its contents,” the Post reported in 2017 that the document “has long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable and possibly a fake” by Russians.

Now, suspicion has fallen on Comey being one of those “persons familiar with” the document’s contents, according to the Times’ reporting.

The document played a role in Comey’s decision to unilaterally announce in the summer of 2016, without seeking Lynch’s approval, that no “reasonable prosecutor” would charge Clinton. Comey was worried that Russia could leak the email and undermine the investigation’s appearance of impartiality otherwise, the Times reported.

COMEY ADMITS HE WAS ‘WRONG’ ON FISA MATTERS, SURVEILLANCE OF TRUMP TEAM

Daniel Richman, a Columbia Law School professor and longtime Comey friend who helped him leak memos of private conversations with President Trump that ultimately led to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment, was quoted in the Times’ 2017 article describing the Russian document.

The DOJ decided last year against prosecuting Comey for leaking classified information following a referral from the department’s inspector general. The IG did find, however, that Comey had violated FBI policy in his handling of the memos, which contained the “code name and true identity” of a sensitive source.

COMEY MEMOS CONTAINED FAR MORE SECRET MATERIAL THAN PREVIOUSLY KNOWN, INCLUDING CODE NAME AND TRUE IDENTITY OF CONFIDENTIAL SOURCE

“Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official told Fox News at the time. “They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”

Westlake Legal Group daniel20richman James Comey focus of FBI leak investigation, report says Gregg Re fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/james-comey fox news fnc/politics fnc e10f9376-1944-53c2-ad6f-44cfb5e1ceb8 article

Sources familiar with Daniel Richman’s status at the FBI told Fox News that he was assigned to “special projects” by Comey, and had a security clearance as well as badge access to the building.

Comey penned memos memorializing his interactions with Trump in the days leading up to his firing. He then passed those documents to Richman, who gave them to The New York Times. Comey admitted to that arrangement during congressional testimony.

After the fact, the FBI classified two of those memos as “confidential.”

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz had referred Comey for potential prosecution as part of an internal review.

COMEY HEARING: EX-FBI DIRECTOR SAYS HE LEAKED MEMO TO SPUR SPECIAL COUNSEL APPOINTMENT

But, one of the key factors leading to the DOJ declining to prosecute apparently was the fact that the two memos were labeled “confidential” after he set in motion the chain of events that led to them ending up with the press.

Trump, for his part, has called Comey corrupt repeatedly, saying his termination was justified.

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Comey’s former deputy at the FBI, Andrew McCabe, has admitted he lied to investigators about his own leaks to the media.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6080296558001_6080282052001-vs James Comey focus of FBI leak investigation, report says Gregg Re fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/james-comey fox news fnc/politics fnc e10f9376-1944-53c2-ad6f-44cfb5e1ceb8 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6080296558001_6080282052001-vs James Comey focus of FBI leak investigation, report says Gregg Re fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/james-comey fox news fnc/politics fnc e10f9376-1944-53c2-ad6f-44cfb5e1ceb8 article

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Christopher Tolkien, ‘Middle-earth’s First Scholar,’ Dies At 95

Christopher Tolkien, who for decades preserved and extended the beloved literary fantasies of his father, J.R.R. Tolkien, has died at the age of 95. The son’s death, announced Thursday by the Tolkien Society, ends a distinguished career devoted to his father’s legacy and the world he crafted in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

As the literary executor of the elder Tolkien’s estate, Christopher edited and published a trove of works that had been left unfinished at the time of his father’s death in 1973 — beginning in 1977 with The Silmarillion, a compendium of creation myths from Middle-earth, and continuing through the publication of the love story Beren and Lúthien in 2017.

But Christopher Tolkien, who grew up in Oxford, U.K., listening to tales of the Bagginses and their adventures, set to work as his father’s editor far earlier than that.

“Christopher was an editor from the age of 5, catching inconsistencies in his father’s bedtime tales, and was promised tuppence by his father for every mistake he noticed in The Hobbit,” HarperCollins UK said in a statement released Thursday.

“As a young man he was typing up manuscripts and drawing maps of Middle-earth and around the time he was commissioned an officer in the [Royal Air Force] in 1945, his father was already calling him ‘my chief critic and collaborator.’ “

He was also responsible for composing the original map of Middle-earth included with the The Lord of the Rings series when it was first published in the mid-1950s.

“Christopher’s commitment to his father’s works have seen dozens of publications released, and his own work as an academic in Oxford demonstrates his ability and skill as a scholar,” Shaun Gunner, chairman of the Tolkien Society, said in a statement released Thursday.

“Millions of people around the world will be forever grateful to Christopher for bringing us The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, The History of Middle-earth series and many others. We have lost a titan and he will be sorely missed.”

The organization described the younger Tolkien as “Middle-earth’s first scholar.”

Yet he was also an accomplished scholar in matters independent of hobbits and orcs. He served as a lecturer in Old English at Oxford, where his father once taught, and in 2017 earned the famed Bodleian Libraries’ highest honor for his contributions as a teacher, editor and all-around scholar.

“One of the great privileges of my life was to know Christopher Tolkien,” the library’s senior executive, Richard Ovenden, said Thursday on Twitter.

“A great scholar & writer, his literary relationship with his father was unique in the world of letters. Like Thorin Oakenshield, he goes ‘to the halls of waiting, to sit beside my fathers.’ “

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Barneys Workers Oversee Store’s Slow End With Own Fates in Limbo

Westlake Legal Group 16barneys2-facebookJumbo Barneys Workers Oversee Store’s Slow End With Own Fates in Limbo Shopping and Retail Madison Avenue (Manhattan, NY) E-Commerce Barneys New York Bankruptcies Authentic Brands Group

A job at Barneys New York once represented a glimmering opportunity in a challenging retail landscape — the kind of chain where sales associates might work for decades, earning competitive salaries as well as commissions, while honing expertise in fine jewelry and designer apparel.

But that reality evaporated soon after Barneys filed for bankruptcy last year and liquidation specialists took over its stores. Since November, employees at Barneys’ flagship at Madison Avenue and 61st Street have been in limbo, lacking basic information about the store’s closing date, severance pay and their benefits.

Paychecks were delayed this month after what a company email said was a “cyber incident,” further stressing employees, who don’t know if their personal information was compromised.

Many of the concerns were detailed in a letter filed on Tuesday to the judge overseeing the bankruptcy case from employees who have worked at Barneys for more than 20 years.

Their worries are not only financial. The letter noted that security at the store has been lacking. Employees said in interviews that the bathrooms were dirty and that the television in the break room had stopped working. At one point, employees were sharing a single microwave, down from four, for meals. They were warned not to steal as the liquidation started.

“We hope that making the court aware of what has been happening in what has become a disastrous execution of the liquidation and our well-being will help in some way,” said the letter by the group, led by Anthony Stropoli, a sales associate who joined Barneys in 1997. The letter said that the liquidation firm, Barneys’ remaining management and the workers’ union had been unable to answer their inquiries for a month.

Barneys responded in a separate filing, and said it had only about $2 million to pay $4 million in severance obligations. Of that, $800,000 has already been paid out.

While the $2 million was negotiated when Barneys was sold, the shortfall was not disclosed in public court filings. Five current employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were still hoping to receive severance pay, said the shortfall was also not disclosed to Barneys workers. They said the prospect of severance pay was the reason many employees have continued working since the bankruptcy sale.

Barneys added that it did not expect the firm liquidating the remaining seven stores, B. Riley Financial’s Great American Group, to hit sales targets of at least $303 million, which would have resulted in an infusion to the severance fund of at least $2 million. Great American is not in charge of administering employee severance, pensions or benefits, according to a company representative.

Before the liquidation started, Barneys employed about 2,300 people, 2,100 of them full time. The remaining seven stores, according to the company, are expected to close on or before Feb. 29, while the restaurant Freds will most likely close by Jan. 31.

Barneys’ employees — some with decades of experience — are the latest workers to be squeezed by the churn of retail bankruptcies, as businesses struggle to keep up with the shift to e-commerce and grapple with poor management and disastrous private-equity deals. Already this year, Opening Ceremony, the high-end fashion retailer, said it would close its handful of stores, and Pier 1, which has been bleeding cash, said it would shut up to 450 of its locations.

When bankruptcies result in major liquidations, as has happened at notable retailers like Payless ShoeSource and Toys ‘R’ Us, workers often end up participating in what is essentially the death march of their stores. The white-collar firms managing such exits need the employees for orderly transitions; many workers stay for promised payments, out of a sense of loyalty or because they are not yet sure of their next move.

B. Riley Financial’s Great American Group is in charge of the Barneys liquidation.Credit…Stephen Speranza for The New York Times Barneys does not expect the liquidation firm to hit sales targets that would help fund more severance payments.Credit…Stephen Speranza for The New York Times

“You have to understand, there are people who worked for decades there, built a clientele and this actually helped build Barneys,” Mr. Stropoli said in a phone interview, emphasizing that he spoke on behalf of a much bigger group. “They need to know: Will I be out of a job the 15th, the 10th, the 8th?”

The severance pay is also significant as workers look for new jobs, which may not pay as well as their positions at Barneys or require the same expertise.

“It’s harder because I’m competing with about 400, 500 people from my building probably for the same job,” said Frank Elbling, a sales associate at Barneys for 16 years, who has started to send out job applications.

“I’ve had some interviews over the phone and they want to offer around 30, 40 percent less pay,” he said, adding, “I can’t afford to do that.”

The New York-New Jersey Regional Joint Board, which represents more than 600 Barneys employees, said it was filing claims with the bankruptcy court on behalf of members, in the hopes of extracting more severance pay.

“The union has been in contact with representatives of both Barneys and the buyers to try to obtain as much information as possible so we can report it to our members,” Julie Kelly, general manager at the union, said in an email. “Unfortunately, Barneys has not provided clear information as to how much money will be available to pay severance claims.”

She also said that nonunion employees might not have any right to severance.

Despite a desperate search for alternatives, Barneys was sold in two parts in a $271 million deal last October. Its intellectual property went to the licensing firm Authentic Brands Group while its assets were bought by B. Riley. Store closing sales quickly started at the five full-price Barneys stores, two outlets and online.

The unusual deal has made it difficult for employees to know where to direct questions. Barneys still has its own management team in place, though the company’s chief executive, Daniella Vitale, left almost immediately and took a job as chief brand officer of Tiffany & Company. (Ms. Vitale earned about $1.3 million between August 2018 and July 2019, according to court filings.)

Other firms working on the case are M-III Partners, a consultancy, and Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm that worked on the Toys ‘R’ Us bankruptcy. M-III Partners declined to comment on the severance fund while Kirkland & Ellis did not respond to requests for comment.

Barneys’ two stores in Manhattan are hardly recognizable these days. Employees said that Great American Group had brought in wares that were never sold at Barneys, including a large supply of rugs and merchandise with tags from Macy’s and Asos. Some have been relabeled and marked up, which can potentially be misleading for shoppers.

“Some of it is from similar vendors but it looks like they cleaned out some of their warehouses,” Mr. Elbling said, adding that there has been an influx of mysterious rugs and furs. “We don’t sell that kind of stuff.”

The representative for Great American said “the rugs and furs are supplementary inventory brought in to enhance the sale and generate additional customer traffic.” This person said that the firm did not purchase items from Macy’s or Asos for the sale.

When visitors walk into the Madison Avenue store, they are greeted by four televisions announcing the sale and garish store closing signs covering the walls. Many of the floors were virtually empty on a recent afternoon.

Some mannequins and display tables bear “sold” tags with the buyer listed as Saks. (Saks Fifth Avenue is licensing the Barneys name; the store’s website already directs users to the Saks site.) The downtown store was selling hardware like clamps for $3 last weekend.

Eon Huntley, who has worked in sales at Barneys for the past three years, said he found the lack of money for his colleagues, particularly those who had worked there for decades, to be “appalling,” especially given the role they played in recent months.

“They started the liquidation with very modest discounts so they were definitely reliant on associates and their clients and our relationships,” he said. “Knowing that, and knowing how people have spent their lives working and giving their time to this company, you’d think they would make sure there was something set aside for these people.”

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Aubrey Plaza Attempted Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Hustlers’ Pole Dance And It Was Something

Westlake Legal Group 5e20c09924000051006c429b Aubrey Plaza Attempted Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Hustlers’ Pole Dance And It Was Something

Take it from Aubrey Plaza: Pole-dancing is not for the faint of heart. 

Appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Thursday, Plaza shared a few details about her forthcoming gig as host of the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards. Jennifer Lopez, who scored a Best Supporting Female nomination for “Hustlers,” is one of the many stars she’s looking forward to seeing.

To Plaza’s chagrin, DeGeneres suggested the “Parks and Recreation” actor pay tribute to Lopez’s “Hustlers” performance by demonstrating a few stripper pole moves. The result was, well, really something. 

Fortunately, it doesn’t seem that Plaza harbors any hard feelings toward DeGeneres. 

“I actually don’t mind being humiliated,” she said. “If I can humiliate myself, then I sacrifice myself for the viewers, for the good of mankind.” 

Elsewhere in the interview, Plaza opened up about how to slide into Joe Jonas’ DMs on Instagram in order to score tickets for a Jonas Brothers concert in Las Vegas. The star said she and her sister, Renee, were ushered backstage after the concert, where they became part of the brothers’ entourage for one night, even if things didn’t go exactly to plan.

No doubt more hijinks will ensue when Plaza hosts the Independent Spirit Awards on Feb. 8 in Los Angeles.

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Library takes a ‘lonely’ book out and gives it a day it’ll never forget

Westlake Legal Group library Library takes a 'lonely' book out and gives it a day it'll never forget Michael Hollan fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc eccb67f5-be06-51ee-8fa0-5411fe509ad4 article

This book just had a better day than you.

While going through their records, the Royal Holloway Library in Egham, England, made a “sad” discovery: a single book that had not been checked out in a very long time. They decided to fix that in the most special way possible.

“Loyal followers. We bring sad news,” the RHUL Library account wrote Wednesday on Twitter. “As part of our research into the Top Five Most Borrowed Books 2019, we found that one book hadn’t been borrowed for a very long time. It’s just been there, collecting dust, staring out the window at other books achieving their book destiny.”

AMERICANS DIVIDED OVER ‘BONELESS WINGS,’ SURVEY FINDS

The library decided that “this could not stand,” so they decided to do “the honorable thing.”

They “took the book out on loan for a day that it would never forget.”

“Here’s what we got up to on our book date with ‘There and Back’ by George MacDonald,” the library said.

Obviously having some fun with the concept, the librarians tweeted about the book’s big day.

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“We took it to all the best spots in the library,” they wrote. “The Mezzanine, the Feature Wing. We settled down for a good read on the bridge in the Atrium. You can’t say we don’t know how to show a book a good time. It’s also a prime spot for keeping an eye on the queue for coffee.”

They also marked some of their favorite passages (using sticky notes, of course, because librarians know a thing or two about proper book etiquette). They even pretended to show the book around one of the library’s exhibits.

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The Twitter thread concluded with the library making an announcement. “Not sure if we’re supposed to submit a form somewhere to do this,” they said, “but without consulting anyone else we’re declaring 15th January 2021 to be ‘Borrow a Lonely Library Book Day.’ It’s a date.”

Westlake Legal Group library Library takes a 'lonely' book out and gives it a day it'll never forget Michael Hollan fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc eccb67f5-be06-51ee-8fa0-5411fe509ad4 article   Westlake Legal Group library Library takes a 'lonely' book out and gives it a day it'll never forget Michael Hollan fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/entertainment/genres/books fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc eccb67f5-be06-51ee-8fa0-5411fe509ad4 article

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Gilgo Beach cold case investigators unveil piece of evidence, seek help via new website

The trail of a prime suspect in a spate of long-unsolved murders along a desolate coastline of Long Island, N.Y., has led to no new developments for years, leading investigators to look to the public for help.

Suffolk Country Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart held a news conference Thursday to present what the agency called a “previously undisclosed piece of evidence” in the Gilgo Beach murders, in which a serial killer was believed to have killed up to 16 people over a period of nearly two decades. Most of the victims were women and believed to have been involved in prostitution. Their bodies turned up in areas along the south shore of Long Island.

“This investigation is perhaps the most well-known and most complex that our department has seen,” Hart said before introducing evidence which, until this week, was not released to the public. “A black leather belt found on the site, we believe, was from the suspect … not the victims.”

The belt turned up at one of the crime scenes along Ocean Parkway during what Hart described as “the initial stages of the investigation.”

The belt was embossed with two letters, believed to be the initials “WH” or “HM.”

Westlake Legal Group gilgo-beach-evidence Gilgo Beach cold case investigators unveil piece of evidence, seek help via new website Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime/cold-case fox news fnc/us fnc article 42cea1e0-2693-5749-84dd-35acc236fb9b

Investigators say that this belt found at one of the crime scenes related to the Gilgo Beach murders likely belongs to a suspect. (Suffolk County Police Department)

Hart also announced that Suffolk County officials are launching their own website, GilgoNews.com, for ongoing updates in the case and as a way to crowdsource new tips from the public that could lead to an arrest.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver justice and in doing so give a sense of closure,” Hart said.

As of early Thursday afternoon, Gilgo News was experiencing technical difficulties and was not accessible by the public.

FLORIDA DAD CHARGED WITH KILLING WIFE, CHILDREN, DOG FACES JUDGE

The search for a suspect in the killing began back in May 2010, when Suffolk County Police led a search for Shannan Gilbert, a missing 24-year-old woman from New Jersey.

Westlake Legal Group ShannanGilbert1 Gilgo Beach cold case investigators unveil piece of evidence, seek help via new website Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime/cold-case fox news fnc/us fnc article 42cea1e0-2693-5749-84dd-35acc236fb9b

Shannan Gilbert, seen in an undated photo provided by the Gilbert family’s attorney, had vanished in 2010.

Gilbert, a 24-year-old sex worker, vanished in spring 2010 after leaving a client’s house on foot and disappearing into the marsh.

Months later, a police officer and his cadaver dog were looking for her body in the thicket along Ocean Parkway when they happened upon the remains of a different woman. Within days, three other bodies were found, all within a short walk of one another.

By spring 2011, that number had climbed to 10 sets of human remains — those of eight women, one man, and one toddler — all found along several miles of the parkway. Some remains were later linked to dismembered body parts found elsewhere on Long Island, making for a puzzling crime scene that stretched from a park near the New York City limits to a resort community on Fire Island and out to far eastern Long Island.

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Police found the skull of a sex worker named Jessica Taylor, who was 20 when most of the rest of her body was found in a wooded area of Manorville shortly after she disappeared in 2003. Body parts found on Gilgo Beach were also linked to another corpse found in Manorville in 2000. That female victim has never been identified.

Gilbert’s body was found in the marsh in the community of Oak Beach in December 2011, about 3 miles east of where the other 10 sets of remains were discovered.

Fox News’ Jeremy Copas and Cristina Corbin contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 041011_gal_gilbert_FNC_041111_17-20 Gilgo Beach cold case investigators unveil piece of evidence, seek help via new website Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime/cold-case fox news fnc/us fnc article 42cea1e0-2693-5749-84dd-35acc236fb9b   Westlake Legal Group 041011_gal_gilbert_FNC_041111_17-20 Gilgo Beach cold case investigators unveil piece of evidence, seek help via new website Perry Chiaramonte fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime/cold-case fox news fnc/us fnc article 42cea1e0-2693-5749-84dd-35acc236fb9b

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Suspended Texas high school student stabbed 2 classmates, police say

Westlake Legal Group Crime-Scene-iStock Suspended Texas high school student stabbed 2 classmates, police say Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/education/high-school fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc c81d7d5b-985a-53c7-8872-d7b3f787b374 article

A suspended student at a Texas high school stabbed two of his classmates in an early morning attack on campus before fleeing the scene, police said Thursday.

The suspect was arrested almost 30 minutes after the 8 a.m. incident at Abilene High School, police spokesman Rick Tomlin told KTXS-TV

Both victims were rushed to Hendrick Medical Center and their conditions are unknown.

TEXAS SCHOOL DISTRICT FALLS FOR EMAIL SCAM, LOSES $2.3 M

Police said the attack appeared to be targeted and a result of a “previous altercation” between at least one of the victims and the suspect, Tomlin said.

“He showed up here this morning, apparently, directly targeting the two victims,” he said.

All three of the male students involved in the incident are minors and are “around 16” years old, police said.

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The stabbing happened right outside the school’s cafeteria and there was an increased police presence on campus following the attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Crime-Scene-iStock Suspended Texas high school student stabbed 2 classmates, police say Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/education/high-school fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc c81d7d5b-985a-53c7-8872-d7b3f787b374 article   Westlake Legal Group Crime-Scene-iStock Suspended Texas high school student stabbed 2 classmates, police say Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/education/high-school fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc c81d7d5b-985a-53c7-8872-d7b3f787b374 article

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