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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 71)

‘All My Children’ alum Cameron Mathison says he has kidney cancer

Westlake Legal Group cameron-mathison 'All My Children' alum Cameron Mathison says he has kidney cancer Mariah Haas fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/illness fox news fnc/entertainment fnc b1f3a413-473b-5e73-b3f7-f9f45980ad44 article

Cameron Mathison is asking fans for their thoughts and prayers after revealing in an Instagram post on Tuesday that he’s been given a diagnosis of kidney cancer.

The Hallmark host and actor — who also shared the news about his health on the network’s talk show “Home & Family” earlier this week — explained to his social media followers that about a month ago, he had an MRI done for “some gut issues” and doctors found a tumor on his right kidney.

“It’s consistent with Renal Cell Carcinoma … or kidney cancer,” Mathison said. “The good news is that it hasn’t spread to any other organs🙏🏼 They say my healthy lifestyle and diet has no doubt helped keep it from growing and spreading to other areas, as doctors think it’s been growing in me for minimum 10 years🙏🏼.”

ALEX TREBEK RETURNS TO ‘JEOPARDY!’ AFTER PANCREATIC CANCER TREATMENT 

The former “All My Children” star went on to say he’s “extremely lucky” that doctors found it early, and he thanked everyone around him for their “love and support.”

ALEX TREBEK WAS ‘WRITHING IN PAIN’ BETWEEN ‘JEOPARDY!’ TAPINGS BATTLING CANCER

“My surgery is scheduled on September 12th, I was hoping to receive positive thoughts, prayers, or whatever you feel comfortable with, on 9/12 (my surgery is at 1pm PST) 🙏🏼” he continued. “I announced this on @homeandfamilytv yesterday, and wanted to make sure I posted about it here as well.”

The 50-year-old concluded his post — which was shared alongside a photo of him, his wife, Vanessa, their 13-year-old daughter, Leila and 16-year-old son, Lucas — by saying that he’s “feeling very grateful and optimistic!!”

SINGER EDDIE MONEY REVEALS HE HAS STAGE 4 ESOPHAGEAL CANCER

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Mathison is best known for playing Ryan Lavery on the ABC soap opera from 1998 to 2011.

Westlake Legal Group cameron-mathison 'All My Children' alum Cameron Mathison says he has kidney cancer Mariah Haas fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/illness fox news fnc/entertainment fnc b1f3a413-473b-5e73-b3f7-f9f45980ad44 article   Westlake Legal Group cameron-mathison 'All My Children' alum Cameron Mathison says he has kidney cancer Mariah Haas fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/illness fox news fnc/entertainment fnc b1f3a413-473b-5e73-b3f7-f9f45980ad44 article

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Stunned Colbert Reveals How Trump’s 2 Worst Traits May Have Just Saved Us

Westlake Legal Group 5d7856342300005805512bd7 Stunned Colbert Reveals How Trump’s 2 Worst Traits May Have Just Saved Us

“I have never been more grateful for the president’s pettiness and stupidity,” Colbert cracked. “Because today he was stupidly petty enough to save us from a very smart warmonger.”

Colbert said the two frequently butted heads, with Trump saying publicly that he often “tempers” Bolton’s militaristic instincts. 

“So Donald Trump was the voice of reason?” a stunned Colbert wondered. 

See his full takedown below:

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281 alleged email scammers arrested in global crackdown

Westlake Legal Group 547008-hacker-hacking-security 281 alleged email scammers arrested in global crackdown fox-news/tech/topics/security fox-news/tech/topics/cybercrime fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 002c2b0e-ced9-5c70-b2ad-8585590feac6

The Department of Justice today announced the arrest of 281 suspects in connection with email scams and wire transfer fraud.

The crackdown, which resulted in the seizure of nearly $3.7 million and arrests spanning 10 different countries, is a sign of the federal government’s urgency around this ever-shifting threat. Of those arrested, 74 reside in the United States.

“The Department of Justice has increased efforts in taking aggressive enforcement action against fraudsters who are targeting American citizens and their businesses in business email compromise schemes and other cyber-enabled financial crimes,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen in a statement.

TAYLOR SWIFT THREATENED MICROSOFT WITH LEGAL ACTION OVER RACIST CHATBOT ‘TAY’

According to the Justice Department, investigators began targeting peole involved in this scam in May with Operation reWired, and discovered that conspirators stole more than 250,000 identities and filed more than 10,000 fraudulent tax returns in an attempt to receive more than $91 million in refunds.

These so-called Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams are related to and often done along with other types of fraud like romance scams, rental scams, lottery scams, employement opportunities scams, investigators said.

With employment scammers, victims will often be tricked into submitting their personally identifying information to bogus job listings, get “hired” for work-from-home roles, get overpaid for that work, and then get asked to wire back the overage before the initial payment goes through.

SEXTORTION SCAMS ARE BACK, EXPERT WARNS

“The FBI is working every day to disrupt and dismantle the criminal enterprises that target our businesses and our citizens,” said FBI Director Christopher A. Wray in a statement. “Through Operation reWired, we’re sending a clear message to the criminals who orchestrate these BEC schemes: We’ll keep coming after you, no matter where you are.

Email scams have become ubiquitous. The FBI reported this week that between June 2016 and July 2019 there were more than 166,000 domestic and international reports of email fraud resulting in more than $26 billion in losses.

Westlake Legal Group 547008-hacker-hacking-security 281 alleged email scammers arrested in global crackdown fox-news/tech/topics/security fox-news/tech/topics/cybercrime fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 002c2b0e-ced9-5c70-b2ad-8585590feac6   Westlake Legal Group 547008-hacker-hacking-security 281 alleged email scammers arrested in global crackdown fox-news/tech/topics/security fox-news/tech/topics/cybercrime fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 002c2b0e-ced9-5c70-b2ad-8585590feac6

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Texas executes inmate in 2010 murder of elderly woman during crime spree

A Texas man was executed Tuesday evening for killing a 61-year-old grandmother a decade ago during an eight-day crime spree that included another murder.

Mark Anthony Soliz, 37, died by lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. He was the sixth inmate executed in Texas this year. Nine more are scheduled.

Soliz was convicted in the June 2010 killing of Nancy Weatherly in her home in Godley. Appeals to stop the execution were turned down at the state and federal levels. The most recent denial came Monday from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

TEXAS INMATE EXECUTED FOR KILLING MOTHER, 89, DAUGHTER, 71, IN 2003TEXAS INMATE EXECUTED FOR KILLING MOTHER, 89, DAUGHTER, 71, IN 2003

“I have represented Mr. Soliz for many years. Every legal tool in my kit was deployed to prevent this execution. The hope endures, the fight goes on, and the cause never dies,” Seth Kretzer, one of Soliz’s appellate attorneys, said in a statement.

At his 2012 trial, prosecutors said Soliz and another man, Jose Ramos, committed 13 crimes over the course of eight days in June 2010. They fatally shot Ruben Martinez, a deliveryman, on June 29, 2010, and drove to Weatherly’s home in a stolen car, they said.

The duo ransacked the home and shot her in the back of the head after she pleaded with them to leave her dead mother’s jewelry box and spare her life, according to authorities.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO RESUME CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, SCHEDULE EXECUTIONS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2003

Westlake Legal Group AP19252686653343 Texas executes inmate in 2010 murder of elderly woman during crime spree Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc e7cb34b5-8b98-5eb8-b3d5-b558b7af30b9 article

This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Texas death row inmate Mark Soliz. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

A friend of Soliz testified that he bragged about the killing and made fun of Weatherly’s “country” accent. He eventually confessed to the killing. Ballistic and fingerprint evidence tied him to the crime, police said.

Ramos was sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of Weatherly and Martinez.

Soliz’s lawyers argued at trial that he suffered from brain damage stemming from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder because his mom drank while pregnant. His attorneys said the disorder is the “functional equivalent” of conditions already recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as disqualifying exemptions to the death penalty, such as intellectual disability.

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Kretzer said Soliz’s IQ of 75 is considered borderline impaired and that he was intellectually disabled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19252686653343 Texas executes inmate in 2010 murder of elderly woman during crime spree Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc e7cb34b5-8b98-5eb8-b3d5-b558b7af30b9 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19252686653343 Texas executes inmate in 2010 murder of elderly woman during crime spree Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc e7cb34b5-8b98-5eb8-b3d5-b558b7af30b9 article

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Republican Wins North Carolina Special Election Seen As 2020 Bellwether

Westlake Legal Group 5d7818362300001005512baa Republican Wins North Carolina Special Election Seen As 2020 Bellwether

Republicans testing their 2020 strategy to retake the House scored a victory on Tuesday, clinging to a traditionally red seat in a fiercely fought special election.

Dan Bishop, a Republican state senator who ran for Congress as President Donald Trump’s ideological twin, beat Democrat Dan McCready — but not without the aid of millions in outside money and a last-minute Trump rally in a district the president won by 12 points in 2016.

Bishop’s victory ends what was essentially the longest contest of the 2018 midterm elections after stunning allegations of electoral fraud forced the state to invalidate the results of November’s race and hold a special election. Bishop, a bomb-throwing state legislator, won the Republican primary in May. But McCready, who was the Democratic nominee last year, has just wrapped up an unheard-of 27-month campaign.

Republicans will likely greet the victory as a sign that the blue wave that crashed through suburban strongholds in the midterms is receding. If this race — for all its singular drama — offers any prediction about next year’s elections, it’s that Trump’s strength with the Republican base may be enough in some districts to overcome Democrats’ fervor and organizing edge. 

Bishop pitched himself to voters as a loyal Trump foot soldier. “I think defending the president — and being vocal about that — will be a role I intend to take immediately,” he said

He tightly embraced Trump’s harsh anti-immigrant positions, and an early TV ad from his campaign linked McCready to progressive Democrats it dubbed “crazy liberal clowns”: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). 

The approach was a preview of Republicans’ blueprint for retaking the House in 2020 — and of its limitations. North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District is heavily populated by conservative white voters who supported Trump in 2016 and whom Republicans plan to turn out in 2020 with explicit calls to defend the president. But the district is also home to a significant number of Black and Native American voters who traditionally support Democrats, plus a small group of college-educated white suburbanites of the kind who fled Trump and Republicans in the midterms. 

Polls taken in the last weeks of the race showed Bishop and McCready essentially tied, prompting Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to hold last-minute rallies for Bishop on election eve. “To stop the far left, you must vote in tomorrow’s special election,” Trump said Monday night at a Fayetteville rally.

But Bishop, in a possibly nervous departure from his script, closed the race by talking up his “lengthy record of bipartisanship” and attacking McCready’s record in business rather than trying to yoke him to progressives in Congress. 

McCready’s offer to voters was contrastingly sober. The Marine Corps veteran who became a solar energy investor spent most of the campaign talking about prescription drug prices and health care premiums — in short, a continuation of the campaign Democrats ran on and won with in Republican-leaning suburbs in 2018.

What set him apart is that, thanks to staggering claims of electoral fraud involving his former opponent, McCready’s campaign lasted nearly a year longer than he had bargained for. 

On election night in November 2018, McCready believed he’d lost to pastor Mark Harris by 905 votes, conceded and left for a family vacation to Disney World. But Harris never made it to Congress. Credible allegations that a Republican contractor illegally submitted hundreds of mail-in ballots in order to steal the race forced the state board of elections to order an unprecedented new election. Harris, after questions arose about his knowledge of the scheme, bowed out of a rematch. 

The new election meant McCready was in for 10 more months of campaigning. As of Tuesday night, he had campaigned 27 months, making his campaign older than his youngest daughter — who just turned 2.

Bishop distinguished himself in a 10-way primary as the field’s most bombastic conservative. He is the author of North Carolina’s infamous “bathroom bill,” which targeted transgender people by mandating they use public facilities corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. National Republican groups poured millions into the primary, including groups hoping to make a woman, Leigh Brown, the face of the party’s attempts to maintain its grip on the district.

“The answer is a ‘Who knows?’” said Julie Conway, the president of a group, VIEW PAC, which seeks to elect more Republican women and supported Brown, asked recently if she thinks Brown would have fared better. “But clearly Bishop isn’t lighting it on fire.”

His campaign against McCready unleashed a geyser of outside spending and fundraising by both political parties. Republicans and outside groups mounted a deluge of negative television ads. McCready, who raised roughly $3 million more than Bishop; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; and allied groups spent millions on data and organizing efforts to turn out traditionally Democratic voters, such as college students, Blacks and Native Americans. 

McCready’s message to those voters: Don’t let them silence you.

“Our right to vote is our most sacred right as Americans,” he said recently. “It’s a right that people have fought for here at home in the battle for civil rights. And that was stolen from the people.”

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Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dan Bishop, a Republican state senator, scored a narrow victory on Tuesday in a special House election in North Carolina that demonstrated President Trump’s appeal with his political base but also highlighted his party’s deepening unpopularity with suburban voters.

Mr. Bishop defeated Dan McCready, a moderate Democrat, one day after Mr. Trump made a full-throated plea for support for the Republican at a rally on the conservative, eastern end of a Charlotte-to-Fayetteville district, which the president carried by nearly 12 points in 2016.

With most votes counted on Tuesday night, Mr. Bishop was ahead by about two percentage points, according to The Associated Press.

As Mr. Trump heads into a re-election year, the closeness of the outcome in a district that hasn’t been held by a Democrat since the 1960s confirmed once more that he energizes Democrats and some independents to fight against him just as much as he inspires Republicans to fight for him. In 2018, Democratic candidates flipped several G.O.P.-held House seats in districts that Mr. Trump had won, a sign of distaste among moderate and suburban voters who reluctantly backed him in 2016.

For Democrats looking ahead to 2020, those midterm results and Mr. Bishop’s slim margin in a conservative seat offer more evidence that Mr. Trump could face trouble in states such as North Carolina, which is Republican-leaning but filled with the sort of college-educated voters who have grown uneasy with the president.

As even some Republican pollsters and officials acknowledge, Mr. Trump — who enjoys high approval ratings with Republicans, but slipping ratings with voters overall in some recent polls — needs to improve his standing with suburban voters, particularly women. He carried North Carolina by 3.6 percentage points in 2016.

In Washington, Mr. Bishop’s victory is unlikely to be seen among Republicans as improving their chances of winning the House back in 2020. Indeed, Mr. Bishop’s win came only after outside Republican groups poured over $5 million into the district. Republican strategists said they do not see a Bishop win as slowing the steady trickle of G.O.P. lawmakers who are retiring rather than seeking re-election with an unpopular president on top of the ticket.

The House district, which extends from Charlotte through a number of exurban and rural counties to the east, has not been represented by a Democrat since the early 1960s. But in the midterms of 2018, Mr. McCready, surfing the national anti-Trump mood, ran a close race, losing by 905 votes to the Republican candidate at the time, Mark Harris.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160551399_e860c37d-1133-40cb-a1cc-52ea7aed1f9f-articleLarge Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )

Dan McCready, a Democrat, ran seeking to flip control of the longtime Republican-held Ninth Congressional District.CreditLogan R. Cyrus for The New York Times

Then came one of the more bizarre plot twists in recent American politics: The state elections board threw out the entire election and ordered a new one after evidence surfaced that Mr. Harris’s campaign had funded an illegal vote-harvesting scheme in rural Bladen County.

Mr. McCready, 36, a businessman, decided to keep running, and had been on the campaign trail for 27 straight months. A centrist, he focused on the issue of health care affordability and criticized Mr. Bishop for opposing the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Bishop, 55, a Charlotte lawyer, is perhaps best known statewide for sponsoring the so-called bathroom bill that required transgender people to use restrooms that corresponded with the gender on their birth certificate. He boasted of his endorsement from the National Rifle Association, and he repeatedly attacked Mr. McCready by lumping him with the more left-leaning elements of the Democratic Party.

Mr. Trump tweeted his endorsement for Mr. Bishop and sent out a fund-raising email on his behalf. In July, Mr. Bishop spoke at Mr. Trump’s rally in Greenville, N.C., in which the crowd responded to the president’s attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born Democrat, with chants of “send her back!”

The election was effectively the last campaign of the 2018 season, and what alarmed national Republicans was how ominously it recalled the midterm elections: As with so many races last year, a centrist Democrat raised significantly more money than the Republican candidate. And it happened in a historically conservative district that is now tilting toward the political center because of the suburban drift away from the G.O.P.

Live Results
North Carolina Special Election Results: Ninth House District
See full results and maps from the North Carolina special election.

Sept. 10, 2019

Westlake Legal Group results-north-carolina-house-district-9-special-general-election-1568140508937-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )

At Olde Providence Elementary School in Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon, voters moved in and out of their polling place at a steady trickle, braving 93-degree heat and a gauntlet of volunteers for local campaigns who lined the sidewalk outside.

The elementary school is surrounded by a relatively prosperous clutch of neighborhoods in South Charlotte — exactly the kind of place where Mr. McCready needed to rack up votes if he was to score an upset.

Lisa Rockholt, 58, a registered nurse, said she voted for Mr. McCready. She said she typically voted for both Republicans and Democrats, but was fed up with all the available options in the last presidential election, and wrote in her boyfriend’s name.

Ms. Rockholt said she disagreed with Mr. Bishop’s opposition to the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in this state. As an R.N., she said, she has seen the toll that a lack of insurance can take on North Carolinians. And she liked Mr. McCready’s talk about keeping down the price of prescription drugs.

Stephanie Dillon exited the polling place with her seven-week-old son, Wells, in a stroller. She considers herself a political independent and she recalled voting for Mitt Romney in a previous presidential election.

Ms. Dillon, 34, represented a kind of nightmare-scenario voter for Mr. Bishop and Mr. Trump. Her conservatism is of the fiscal and business-friendly variety. She works in human resources, though she is on maternity leave now, and has seen the pressures that businesses must overcome to survive. But this time around, she voted for Mr. McCready.

She is not an immigration hard-liner (Mr. Bishop has referred to himself as “pro-wall”) and she has very few kind things to say about President Trump. “The whole kind of sexist persona totally turns me off,” she said, adding, “Why is he spending his time tweeting to celebrities?”

Caroline Penland, 44, a Republican, said she voted for Mr. Bishop. She is a reliable Republican voter, and a Christian who opposes abortion and favors “keeping God in schools.” She also favors some gun control, after being deeply affected by a 2012 shooting that occurred at the high school from which she graduated.

But now, she said, was not a time to stray from the Republican fold. She voted for Mr. Trump and would do so again. “From an economical standpoint he’s doing really well,” she said.

“First of all, he’s in my party. And I’m going to stick to my party right now,” Ms. Penland said of Mr. Bishop.

Ms. Penland, who works in marketing, also said that Mr. Bishop’s incessant ads targeting Mr. McCready stuck with her. She said her children were even referring to Mr. McCready as “McGreedy,” the epithet used against him in some attack ads.

In the late afternoon, Mr. Bishop arrived at an elementary school in a suburb southeast of Charlotte, wearing a Carolina-blue dress shirt and slacks. A group of reporters surrounded him and he reiterated his vision, which is squarely pro-Trump.

“The principles I stand for are timeless,” he said. “I think one problem we have is too many politicians shape-shift, and mold themselves to what they think people will want to hear and I don’t do that.”

Indeed, the fliers his supporters handed out painted a stark contrast between Mr. Bishop (“The Right Dan”) and Mr. McCready (“The Wrong Dan”), noting Mr. Bishop’s support for Mr. Trump’s border wall, his N.R.A. endorsement, his anti-abortion stance and his endorsement from Mr. Trump.

Mr. Bishop criticized the Democratic Party for a leftward lurch, and said that his opponent, who considers himself a moderate, has received funding from “the farthest-left sources of money in the country.”

The race, he said, was “a clear clash of different visions.”

“I represent a Trump vision of America. I join in President Trump’s vision of America of a booming economy and taxes that are lower and jobs that are more plentiful and border security and the idea of American exceptional continuing into the indefinite future.”

Mr. Bishop shook a few hands of voters as they made their way in to the polls, then huddled for an extended period of time with one man in shorts and a ball cap. After the man went inside, Mr. Bishop spoke with William Brawley, a former state representative who was defeated in 2018, and was handing out pro-Bishop fliers.

“What was his beef?” Mr. Brawley said of the man in the cap.

“Doesn’t like Donald Trump,” Mr. Bishop replied.

North Carolina Politics
Read more about the special election.
With the Faithful at Trump’s North Carolina Rally: ‘He Speaks Like Me’

Sept. 10, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_160520076_b90154dd-663a-4e83-b77c-df30cc81e5b0-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )
In North Carolina Do-Over Vote, a Reliable Republican District Is Up for Grabs

Sept. 8, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-northcarolina1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )
North Carolina’s ‘Guru of Elections’: Can-Do Operator Who May Have Done Too Much

Dec. 8, 2018

Westlake Legal Group 09carolina1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )
A Rare Do-Over Congressional Election Is a Chance to Battle-Test 2020 Strategies

July 31, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 31northcarolina1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )

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Court Seems Skeptical Of Overturning 5-Year Prison Sentence For Illegal Voting

FORT WORTH, Texas  ― A Texas appeals court appeared hesitant on Tuesday to overturn the criminal conviction of Crystal Mason, a 44-year old woman sentenced to five years in prison for illegally voting in the 2016 election.

Mason cast a provisional ballot in 2016 while on supervised release for a federal felony related to inflating tax returns. Texas prohibits felons from voting while they are serving their sentences, but Mason says she had no idea she was ineligible to vote.

Election officials didn’t count Mason’s ballot, but Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson (R) brought charges against her anyway and successfully convinced a lower court judge that Mason knew she was ineligible to vote and did so anyway. The state pointed to the fact that Mason signed a provisional affidavit warning her about voter eligibility to prove she knew she could vote. 

Much of a brief oral argument Tuesday afternoon focused on the fact that Mason voted with a provisional ballot. Mason didn’t actually vote because her ballot was rejected, Thomas Buser-Clancy, one of Mason’s attorneys, told the three-judge, all-Republican panel. Federal law requires election officials to offer people like Mason a chance to vote if they are uncertain about their eligibility, and it’s determined later whether their ballots should count. That’s exactly what happened in Mason’s case, Buser-Clancy argued, and by prosecuting her, Texas was essentially criminalizing a process protected by federal law. 

“Ms. Mason was convicted of illegal voting for following procedure set forth by the federal government to submit a provisional ballot,” Buser-Clancy, an attorney with the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said during his oral argument. “Ms. Mason did not vote on November 8, 2016. Ms. Mason submitted a provisional ballot and that ballot was rejected. That is not a vote in an election.”

Justice Dabney Bassel noted the state’s illegal voting statute requires that the person know they are ineligible while voting to commit a crime. He pressed Buser-Clancy on whether prosecuting a person who knowingly votes illegally is incompatible with federal law that requires provisional ballots for people unsure about their status. 

Justice Elizabeth Kerr seemed interested in whether casting a provisional ballot could be construed as an “attempt to vote.” But Mason’s lawyer Buser-Clancy and Helena Faulkner, who represented the state of Texas, noted that Mason was not charged with attempting to vote; she was charged with actually voting.

Mason’s case immediately drew national attention last year because her sentence was so severe. Mason’s lawyers say her case is an obvious attempt to scare minority voters and people with criminal histories away from the ballot box.

Westlake Legal Group 5d77ed002300001005512b48 Court Seems Skeptical Of Overturning 5-Year Prison Sentence For Illegal Voting

Michael Caravella / HuffPost Crystal Mason attends church in Dallas on Sept. 8, 2019. Mason is fighting a five-year prison sentence for illegally voting.

The small courtroom for Tuesday’s oral argument was packed to capacity with spectators, including several members of Mason’s family and church. Passersby outside the courtroom stopped to ask what the case was about. 

When Buser-Clancy pointed to several provisions in Texas law that treated provisional ballots differently than votes, Justice J. Wade Birdwell, who asked the most questions on Tuesday, seemed unmoved. He noted that the word “vote” in the state’s illegal voting statute was a verb focused on someone’s conduct. The provisions Buser-Clancy was pointing to, he said, seemed to treat it as a noun.

Buser-Clancy said if there was any ambiguity about the meaning, the law required it to be interpreted in Mason’s favor.

The state’s two key witnesses during Mason’s trial failed to provide evidence that Mason had read a warning about voter eligibility, Buser-Clancy argued. One poll worker said Mason appeared to read the warning, but he couldn’t say for certain. The second said he saw Mason go over the language with her finger. But the provisional affidavit has two sides and the warning is only on one of it, Buser-Clancy noted. Neither witness testified that they saw Mason read the side with the warning.

In interviews with HuffPost, both witnesses gave different stories about what happened at the polls. The worker who offered Mason the provisional ballot, who was 16 at the time, said he was aware that she was ineligible to vote but forgot when she walked into the polling place. 

Faulkner, the attorney representing the state, argued that Mason’s provisional ballot was a vote under Texas law. She said that if the court adopted Buser-Clancy’s argument, it would allow people to knowingly cast provisional ballots, have them rejected and walk away without punishment. 

“Nothing in the Texas election code indicates that the verb “to vote” has to include, only includes a vote that was tallied in the final election,” Faulkner said. “She knew she was ineligible to vote. She wasn’t mistaken, as the court found, she knew.”

Westlake Legal Group 5d789073240000c92b77cb5b Court Seems Skeptical Of Overturning 5-Year Prison Sentence For Illegal Voting

Michael Caravella / HuffPost Crystal Mason is appealing a 5-year prison sentence for illegally voting in the 2016 election.

The decision to prosecute Mason for casting a provisional vote was unusual. Since 2014, 12,668 people cast provisional ballots in Tarrant County, and election officials rejected 11,085 of them. Mason appears to be the only provisional voter who was singled out and prosecuted for illegal voting.

Birdwell also pushed Faulkner to explain what the election judge had done to ensure that Mason had read the warning about voter eligibility on her provisional affidavit. Faulkner said the election judge had directed Mason to read the provisional affidavit, but Birdwell said there was a question about what Mason had actually read. 

Westlake Legal Group 5d3b221b3b00004b00dad91e Court Seems Skeptical Of Overturning 5-Year Prison Sentence For Illegal Voting

Crystal Mason’s provisional ballot. 

A ruling in the appeal could come at any time. If Mason loses, she would likely appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest court, which could choose to either hear or reject her case. Buser-Clancy told reporters that Mason would appeal to that court if she lost at the Texas Court of Appeals. 

Mason is out of state prison on an appeal bond, but the case has already upended her life. Because she was convicted of a crime while on federal supervised release, she was sent back to federal prison last August and held there until May. Mason was the primary breadwinner for her family ― which includes three of her own kids, four of her brother’s kids and several grandchildren ― and they nearly lost their home to foreclosure while she was incarcerated.  

On Tuesday, Mason gathered outside the courtroom in a prayer circle before the court hearing began. She sat a few rows back in the courtroom with her children, nephews, nieces and grandchildren. Seated next to her was her 20-year-old daughter Taylor, who ran the household while Mason was in federal prison. Taylor bounced one of Mason’s grandchildren on her lap during the hearing as Mason sat expressionlessly, replaying the day she went to vote in 2016 while arguments went on.

“There’s no way I would do anything to jeopardize leaving my kids again. There’s no way that I would have went to vote if I knew I couldn’t vote,” Mason said during a press conference after the hearing.

She knew she was ineligible to vote. She wasn’t mistaken, as the court found, she knew. Assistant Criminal District Attorney Helena Faulkner

Voter fraud is rare in the United States. Recently, there have been several examples of prosecutors bringing charges against people who illegally vote, many of which appear to be instances in which someone was confused.

For example, a Tarrant County woman was sentenced to eight years in prison for voting repeatedly as a noncitizen, even though she said she didn’t know she was ineligible. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has touted an entire unit in his office dedicated to election integrity, but nearly all of the cases it has brought have been resolved with little punishment. 

In North Carolina, a U.S. attorney loudly announced charges against 20 noncitizens for illegal voting, but almost all of the defendants have said in court over the last year they didn’t know they couldn’t vote. 

Most of the cases have been quietly settled.

“They know that these prosecutions and harsh sentences in cases like Crystal’s are thinly veiled attempts to suppress the vote,” said Beth Stevens, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project helping to represent Mason. “These are efforts that are meant to strike fear in the heart of other people.”

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Who Could Replace John Bolton?

President Trump on Tuesday announced the departure of John R. Bolton as his national security adviser, the third person to hold the job since the beginning of the Trump administration. Though the White House has said Mr. Bolton’s current deputy, Charles M. Kupperman, will take over in the interim, Mr. Trump has said he will announce a successor next week.

A guessing game immediately began among the president’s formal and informal advisers about who still left in the president’s orbit might get the job.

The expanding list of possibilities, generated by those hoping to promote their allies or harm their enemies, included Fred Fleitz, Mr. Bolton’s former chief of staff; Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general and a former acting national security adviser; Jack Keane, a retired Army vice chairman currently advising the vice president on national security; Robert Blair, an adviser to Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff; and Robert C. O’Brien, the administration’s hostage envoy who called Mr. Trump the greatest hostage negotiator in American history.

As the administration begins to resemble a game of reverse musical chairs — too many open slots without enough loyalists to fill them — a short list of plausible replacements emerged.

The acting Adviser

Mr. Kupperman, a former Reagan administration official and defense contracting executive, is a longtime Bolton associate. Known by many national security officials by his nickname, “Kupperware,” for his blandness, Mr. Kupperman, 68, was appointed in January as deputy national security adviser under Mr. Bolton.

Shortly after Mr. Bolton left the White House on Tuesday, Hogan Gidley, a deputy White House spokesman, told reporters that Mr. Kupperman would serve as Mr. Bolton’s acting successor. Acting officials have a way of sticking around in this administration for indefinite lengths of time, but Mr. Kupperman’s track record as someone ensconced in Mr. Bolton’s inner circle could shorten his tenure.

Still, the president appreciated Mr. Kupperman’s just-the-facts style compared with Mr. Bolton’s often ideologically charged delivery: If Mr. Trump had to have a national security brief concerning long-term planning, he preferred it from Mr. Kupperman as opposed to Mr. Bolton, according to a person with knowledge of that process.

The representative to North Korea

Mr. Biegun, the United States’ special representative for North Korea, had a firsthand window into the clashes between Mr. Bolton, who never wavered from a hawkish, hard-line stance on North Korea, and the president, who has tried to use a charm offensive to persuade Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, down a path to denuclearization.

Mr. Biegun is considered a capable technocrat rather than a big-ideas person, unlike Mr. Bolton, who had firm ideological views that shaped his policy positions. Recently Mr. Biegun has been in closer alignment with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mr. Trump than with the hard-line, anti-North Korea views of Mr. Bolton.

In a speech at the University of Michigan last week, Mr. Biegun, 56, said that he did not question Mr. Trump’s choice to play down evidence that Mr. Kim was building an advancing arsenal.

“The challenge is to find a way through diplomacy to resolve it,” Mr. Biegun said. “The president has made it clear that short-range missiles don’t make him happy, but it’s not going to disrupt our efforts in order to engage diplomatically to resolve the very issues that we are referring to.”

This summer, Mr. Biegun was initially floated internally as a possibility to succeed Jon Huntsman Jr., who resigned in August as the administration’s ambassador to Russia. That job ultimately went to John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state under Mr. Pompeo.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about whether Mr. Biegun had recently interviewed with the president for the job of national security adviser.

Mr. Biegun also served as an executive secretary of the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. In August 2001, Mr. Biegun was with the president, then on vacation at his ranch in Texas, when Mr. Bush received a daily brief containing an article with the title “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

The administration’s Iran representative

ImageWestlake Legal Group 10dc-adviser2-articleLarge Who Could Replace John Bolton? United States Politics and Government United States International Relations O'Brien, Robert C (1952- ) North Korea National Security Council McMaster, H R Kupperman, Charles M Kellogg, Joseph Keith Jr (1944- ) Keane, John M Iran Grenell, Richard Bolton, John R Appointments and Executive Changes

Brian H. Hook, the special representative to Iran, is one of the remaining appointees of the Rex W. Tillerson era.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Mr. Hook, 51, is also said to be in contention to succeed Mr. Bolton. He is the administration’s special representative for Iran and a senior adviser to Mr. Pompeo.

Mr. Hook, a lawyer brought into the State Department under Rex W. Tillerson, is one of the remaining survivors from that era. An administration official familiar with Mr. Hook’s relationship with Mr. Trump said that the two “interact on Iran” and that “the president is happy with how the strategy is going there.”

He would also probably have the support of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who has tried to push his allies into high-profile administration positions before. But Mr. Hook could already be engaged. He has stepped up to take on Mr. Kushner’s Middle East portfolio as Jason Greenblatt, the co-architect of the administration’s peace plan for that region, prepares to leave.

Another Fox News fixture

Mr. Trump is almost certainly familiar with Mr. Macgregor, a retired Army colonel who has written several books on reorganizing the military. But more important to Mr. Trump, he also appears frequently on one of the president’s favorite Fox programs, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

In June, when Mr. Trump decided at the last minute to call off a round of strikes against Iran, he had listened to Mr. Carlson’s assertion that a strike could prove politically fatal. A frequent guest on the show that week was Mr. Macgregor, who backed up that rationale.

Reached by telephone on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Macgregor seemed to expect the call. “It’s no comment, no comment, no comment,” he said, declining to say whether he had talked to the White House about Mr. Bolton’s job.

Either way, solid television performances may not be the safest route to Mr. Trump’s good graces. The president had also liked the look of Mr. Bolton’s fiery Fox News performances before he hired him for the national security adviser post.

The wild card

Mr. Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany, is personally liked by the president. At times, he has emulated Mr. Trump’s brash diplomatic style. Shortly after beginning his post in Germany, he elicited the annoyance of politicians there by admonishing any German companies doing business with Iran.

Mr. Grenell, 52, who is gay, is perhaps best known for enthusiastically defending the president’s position on gay rights, even as the Trump administration has taken steps to roll back civil rights for gay and transgender people. He has also led an effort to decriminalize homosexuality around the globe.

Throughout his tenure, Mr. Grenell has told his allies that he has been considered for several high-ranking positions — this year, his name was floated as a prospective nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, a position that Kelly Knight Kraft, the ambassador to Canada at the time, ultimately filled. He expects to be interviewed for Mr. Bolton’s job, according to a person with knowledge of the planning process.

The really wild card

General McMaster, who was ousted last year weeks after a furious tweetstorm from Mr. Trump over his comment that there was “incontrovertible” evidence of Russian election interference, has received at least one phone call from the president on matters of national security, according to a report from NBC News and confirmed by The New York Times.

The chances he is offered the job? “Less than zero,” according to a person familiar with his historically fraught relationship with Mr. Trump.

In any other administration, that would mean he wouldn’t have a chance.

Another possibility from the McMaster era could be Ricky Waddell, a former deputy national security adviser who left the White House last year. In an interview on Tuesday with Fox News, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said that Mr. Trump had mentioned Mr. Waddell by name, along with Mr. Hook and Mr. Kellogg.

Adam Goldman, Edward Wong and Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

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Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire

Authorities in California on Tuesday identified five additional victims of last week’s fatal dive boat fire.

The five victims, all from California, were ID’d as: Adrian Dahood-Fritz, 40, of Sacramento; Lisa Fiedler, 52, of Mill Valley; Kristina “Kristy” Finstad, 41, of Santa Cruz; Fernisa Sison, 57, of Stockton; and Kristian Takvam, 34, of San Francisco.

Finstad, a marine biologist who led the scuba tour, had led hundreds of dives in the Channel Islands. She had just returned from spending several years sailing across the Pacific with her husband.

Westlake Legal Group Kristina-Finstad Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article

Kristina “Kristy” Finstad, 41, of Santa Cruz, Calif. (Facebook)

Fiedler, a Michigan native, was a hairdresser and photographer who thought of herself as “part fish” because of her ocean addiction.

CALIFORNIA DIVE BOAT OWNERS FILE LAWSUIT TO AVOID LIABILITY AFTER DEADLY FIRE

Westlake Legal Group Lisa-Fiedler Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article

Lisa Fiedler, 52, of Mill Valley (Facebook)

The other three victims identified Tuesday were on the boat with co-workers and loved ones.

Sison’s husband, Michael Quitasol, and her three stepdaughters also perished in the fire. Sison and Quitasol worked at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton.

Westlake Legal Group Fernisa-Sison Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article

Fernisa Sison, 57, of Stockton (Facebook)

Dahood-Fritz and her husband, professional photographer Andrew Fritz, also both died in the blaze. Dahood-Fritz had recently started a job as a senior environmental scientist for California’s Ocean Protection Council under the California Natural Resources Agency.

Westlake Legal Group Adrian_Dahood-Fritz Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article

Adrian Dahood-Fritz, 40, of Sacramento (Facebook)

Takvam was a vice president of engineering at the education platform Brilliant in San Francisco. His coworker, Carrie McLaughlin, also died.

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Fox 11 reports that investigators have identified 27 of the 33 people whose remains were recovered from the wreckage of the Conception. Authorities said efforts to find the final victim and salvage the Conception are expected to continue Wednesday.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the victims, 21 women and 13 men from 16 to 62 years old, appear to have died from smoke inhalation before they were burned. Five of six crew members, including the captain, survived after multiple efforts to rescue the dozens trapped below deck.

As part of the investigation, the FBI is seeking photos and videos related to the fire as multiple agencies examine whether the captain and boat owners followed safety requirements.

Click for more from FOX 11 Los Angeles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ec93ddab-Boat-Fire-2 Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article   Westlake Legal Group ec93ddab-Boat-Fire-2 Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article

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Gun control: Alyssa Milano begs Ted Cruz 'to have the courage to lead' at meeting after Twitter spat

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Gun control: Alyssa Milano begs Ted Cruz 'to have the courage to lead' at meeting after Twitter spat

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is usually unflappable when speaking to reporters, but she became visibly angry Tuesday when discussing gun violence legislation that she said is being held up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Sept. 10) AP, AP

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and actress-turned-activist Alyssa Milano met in person Tuesday in Washington, D.C., after the outspoken conservative and the equally outspoken liberal got into a lively Twitter discussion about gun control and the Bible that resulted in the senator telling the actress he would be “happy to sit down & visit next week about uniting to stop gun violence & about the Constitution.”

There was even a Facebook live stream, as the unlikely pair met on Capitol Hill, along with Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jamie was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting. Guttenberg has since become an activist on the issue of gun violence. 

Tuesday’s meeting was also attended Ben Jackson, co-founder of #NoRA, an anti-NRA organization “inspired by the Parkland shooting,” according to its website.

More: GOP leaders meet with Trump as pressure mounts on gun legislation

The sit-down happened as senators arrived back on Capitol Hill following the summer recess.. While Congress was absent from Washington, four high-profile shootings occurred this summer. Now, Republicans are facing pressure to take up legislation on guns and congressional Democrats say they aren’t going to back down in their demands that the Senate and the White House do something.

Congressional GOP leaders also met at the White House with President Trump Tuesday in an effort to chart a path forward.  

Texas, the state Cruz represents, has seen multiple mass shootings in the last few years, including a recent rampage through Odessa and Midland that left 7 dead, a shooting last month at Walmart in El Paso where 22 were killed, a 2018 shooting at a high school in Santa Fe where a student shot and killed ten people and another in Sutherland Springs in 2017 where a gunman killed 26 people at the First Baptist Church.

When she originally challenged Cruz to meet, Milano had said in a tweet last week that the meeting should be live-streamed so the “American people can hear your bull**** first hand.”

But, the consensus after the hour-plus-long meeting was that there needs to be civility in political conversation and policy debates, even if their legislative views remain unchanged.

On the issue of gun violence, Milano told Cruz that she is begging him “to have the courage to lead” and that “for many people in this country, your stance has made you almost like this caricature of a villain.”

“That is why this meeting was so important to me. I wanted to look at you in the eye, and know that you really are a human with a heartbeat,” she continued. 

Throughout the meeting, both Milano and Guttenberg pressed the conservative senator to “please do something,” and talked about how little they could do as private citizens compared to what a legislator like Cruz can do. 

Cruz consistently decried legislation backed by Democrats, such as bills that would impose more comprehensive background checks, especially for private firearm purchases and purchases at gun shows. He often pivoted to highlight the gun control bill he and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced that aims at “keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals.” 

Cruz said he fears more restrictive bills could lead to a gun registry and buyback programs. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Cruz’s 2018 Senate race opponent and now a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has already proposed mandatory buybacks of assault weapons.

More: Beto O’Rourke takes on Meghan McCain over gun rights

“A gun registry is how gun confiscation is carried out,” Cruz stated Tuesday.

Following the meeting, Milano tweeted: “I just left. He was gracious. I’m unsure if it changes anything. But appreciative for the opportunity to bridge the divide with civil, meaningful, discussion. Link to entire meeting below. #NoRA”

Guttenberg also posted online with the same tone, saying: “Thank you @SenTedCruz for agreeing to meet with @Alyssa_Milano, @DadoftheDecade and I today.  Our meeting lasted a very candid 90 minutes. While I am not sure it changed anything, I appreciate that we had the chance to try and find some common ground.”

Cruz tweeted a thread following the meeting, beginning with: “Always grateful for the opportunity to engage in positive, civil discussion on substantive issues. Today’s meeting with @Alyssa_Milano and @fred_guttenberg was productive and respectful, and I appreciate their willingness to come here with an open mind.”

Before the streaming video of Tuesday’s meeting ended, Cruz and Milano hugged.

Contributing: Jeanine Santucci, Nicholas Wu, and Christal Hayes.

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