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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 99)

Buttigieg reportedly touted ‘partnerships’ with black-owned South Carolina businesses they denied having

Westlake Legal Group AP20036564224835 Buttigieg reportedly touted 'partnerships' with black-owned South Carolina businesses they denied having Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article a213bce7-1fc4-579d-b41b-c4a2babe609d

A new report alleges that former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg touted “partnerships” with black-owned businesses in South Carolina that the business owners denied making.

Last week, Buttigieg penned an op-ed in a South Carolina newspaper “The State” promoting his “Frederick Douglass Plan,” which he describes is “a comprehensive investment in the empowerment of Black America” that was developed with the help of black activists and business leaders.

“That begins with entrepreneurship, and our campaign has proudly partnered with local businesses like Diane’s Kitchen in Chester, Atlantis Restaurant in Moncks Corner and the Fair Deal Grocery on Charleston’s Eastside,” Buttigieg wrote.

BLOOMBERG UNDER FIRE FOR REFERRING TO TRANSGENDER WOMEN AS ‘SOME GUY WEARING A DRESS,’ USING ‘IT’ PRONOUN

However, according to ABC News, two of those businesses, Diane’s Kitchen and Atlantis Restaurant, said they “only remembered welcoming Buttigieg’s campaign as customers, not forging any sort of partnership with the candidate.”

“I stand for what I stand for and I didn’t say I had a partnership,” Diane’s Kitchen owner, Diane Cole, told ABC News.

The report then alleges that the Buttigieg campaign attempted to “persuade” Cole into changing her position so that “it would more closely match the language Buttigieg used in his op-ed” in multiple messages after ABC News asked the campaign about Cole’s response.

“It sounds like you’re saying that I am your business partner. I’m only going to accept that you all stopped in while you were campaigning in South Carolina and I welcomed you all,” Cole told the campaign in one message.

In a response to Fox News, the Buttigieg campaign clarified that the “partnerships” that the candidate cited in the op-ed were in reference to the campaign events held at those establishments and that they did not equate to endorsements for his candidacy.

“Pete has put forward the most comprehensive plan for Black America, which includes investing in the growth of Black-owned businesses and supporting Black entrepreneurs. We’re proud to live our values as a campaign by holding events and spending money at Black-owned businesses in South Carolina and across the country, something we will continue to do throughout the campaign,” a Buttigieg campaign spokesperson told Fox News.

Buttigieg, who has continued to struggle to gain support among black voters in the polls, faced similar backlash last fall for using stock photos of minorities, including an image of woman from Kenya, to promote the “Douglass Plan” on his website.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The Buttigieg campaign told Fox News that the Kenya photo “was removed from the page on our website promoting the Douglass Plan months ago as part of a regular update. However, we know we owe an explanation for how it came to be used to begin with. Using stock photos is standard practice across many campaigns.” The campaign also offered an apology for “its use and the confusion it created.”

The campaign also unveiled a large list of black South Carolina Democrats who backed the Douglass Plan — but some of those listed later reportedly said they’re supporting other Democrats seeking the presidential nomination.

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and Adam Shaw contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP20036564224835 Buttigieg reportedly touted 'partnerships' with black-owned South Carolina businesses they denied having Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article a213bce7-1fc4-579d-b41b-c4a2babe609d   Westlake Legal Group AP20036564224835 Buttigieg reportedly touted 'partnerships' with black-owned South Carolina businesses they denied having Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article a213bce7-1fc4-579d-b41b-c4a2babe609d

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‘Socialist’ seen as most unpopular quality in presidential candidate, poll finds

Westlake Legal Group BernieSandersPanic021420 'Socialist' seen as most unpopular quality in presidential candidate, poll finds Vandana Rambaran fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1c8a8de7-d372-5005-83a8-8c334492e730

A new poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal indicates that 67 percent of voters are “very uncomfortable” with having a presidential candidate who is a socialist, despite the Democratic party’s front-runner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., declaring himself as such.

Despite this, the liberal candidate who has proposed a progressive legislative agenda as part of his campaign’s bid for the White House, including “Medicare-for-All” and free college tuition, narrowly clinched the first two early-voting states for the season in both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and is leading in most national polls.

Sanders isn’t the only candidate dubbed a socialist though; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-N.H., who shares many of the same policy stances as Sanders, has also been dubbed the same at times.

BLOOMBERG HITS BACK AFTER TRUMP SAYS ‘MINI MIKE’ IS ILLEGALLY BUYING THE DEMOCRAT NOMINATION’

Socialism was among six other characteristics that gave voters pause. The others included a candidate who is older than 75, had a heart attack in the last year, is younger than 40, self-funds their own campaign with millions of dollars, is gay or lesbian, or is a woman.

Fifty-three percent of voters have reservations/are very uncomfortable with someone who’s older than 75. Sanders, the oldest candidate in the race, is 78, and former Vice President Joe Biden, another top contender, is 77.

Fifty-seven percent of voters say they have reservations/are very uncomfortable with someone who had a heart attack in the last year. Sanders suffered from a heart attack in October 2019 but made a swift recovery, hitting the campaign trail again less than a month later.

Forty-one percent have reservations/are very uncomfortable with someone who self-funds their campaign with hundreds of millions of dollars. Former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who has risen in the polls in recent months after doling out over $300 million for television ads in states voting on Super Tuesday, has faced tremendous backlash from opponents in his own party and President Trump, accusing him of trying to buy the White House.

Forty percent of voters claimed to have reservations/are very uncomfortable with a candidate who is younger than 40, which the youngest contender, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., is at 38 years old.

He is also openly gay and married, a fact that makes 27 percent of all voters very uncomfortable, the poll said.

Several women have made strong surges in the crowded Democratic battlefield, particularly Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., but 14 percent of voters say they are bothered by a candidate who is female.

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When identified by name, 47 percent of all voters say they are “very uncomfortable” with Trump on the ballot in 2020; 44 percent say the same about Sanders; 41 percent say that about Warren; and 39 percent say so about Biden.

Westlake Legal Group BernieSandersPanic021420 'Socialist' seen as most unpopular quality in presidential candidate, poll finds Vandana Rambaran fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1c8a8de7-d372-5005-83a8-8c334492e730   Westlake Legal Group BernieSandersPanic021420 'Socialist' seen as most unpopular quality in presidential candidate, poll finds Vandana Rambaran fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1c8a8de7-d372-5005-83a8-8c334492e730

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UK to start ‘points-based immigration system’ giving preference to skilled migrants

The U.K. government on Tuesday unveiled a new points-based immigration system that will assess prospective immigrants based on their skills, qualifications and salary while shifting the economy away from a reliance on cheap labor.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government said the new rules would “open up the U.K. to the brightest and the best from around the world.”

Westlake Legal Group AP20045413095021 UK to start ‘points-based immigration system’ giving preference to skilled migrants fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/europe/brexit fox-news/world/world-politics fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 71f3abcb-9ed8-5733-b336-0b6b8e50e6f1

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, centre right, after a reshuffle the day before, inside 10 Downing Street, in London, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020.  (AP)

The new rules follow Britain’s calamitous exit from the European Union last month after 47 years of membership.

More than 3 million EU citizens currently living in the U.K. are entitled to stay. But from January 1, 2021, new immigration rules will apply to EU and non-EU citizens alike.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said Britain’s new “points-based immigration system” would assess prospective immigrants on a range of skills, qualifications, salaries or professions.

The new rules make it tougher for EU citizens but easier for people from many other nations starting next year. Skilled immigrants are currently required to have a university degree but in the future will only need the equivalent of Britain’s pre-university “A levels.”

ITALIAN MAN, 101, TOLD HE NEEDED HIS PARENTS TO CONFIRM IDENTITY AFTER BREXIT APP GLITCH

The government said it would come up with specific proposals for scientists, graduates, health care workers and those in the agricultural sector. But there is no specific immigration route for what the government calls “low-skilled workers” — a category it says includes 70 percent of the more than 1 million EU citizens who have moved to the U.K. since 2004.

The immigration plan still has to be passed by Parliament — which is highly likely since the Conservatives have a large majority.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

In response to some employers’ arguments that the new changes could bring about a labor crisis for sectors such as health and social care, the government said the U.K. needed to “shift the focus of our economy away from a reliance on cheap labor from Europe and instead concentrate on investment in technology and automation,” adding: “Employers will need to adjust.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP20045413095021 UK to start ‘points-based immigration system’ giving preference to skilled migrants fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/europe/brexit fox-news/world/world-politics fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 71f3abcb-9ed8-5733-b336-0b6b8e50e6f1   Westlake Legal Group AP20045413095021 UK to start ‘points-based immigration system’ giving preference to skilled migrants fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/europe/brexit fox-news/world/world-politics fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 71f3abcb-9ed8-5733-b336-0b6b8e50e6f1

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Sen. Tom Cotton stands by startling theory on coronavirus origins: ‘We need to be open to all possibilities’

Westlake Legal Group MacCallumCotton Sen. Tom Cotton stands by startling theory on coronavirus origins: 'We need to be open to all possibilities' Yael Halon fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/media fnc article a7888d0c-97d6-535a-8ac3-2a7cc03187ea

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. stood by his earlier suggestion that the deadly coronavirus may have originated in a high-security biochemical lab in Wuhan, China, telling “The Story” Tuesday that we “need to be open to all possibilities” in exploring the origins of the outbreak that has sickened more than 75,000 people around the world.

When host Martha MacCallum pressed the Senator on his startling and unverified claim, Cotton cited a study published by Chinese scientists in The Lancet, which he called a “respected international science journal.”

“I’m suggesting we need to be open to all possibilities and we need to demand that China open up and be transparent so a team of international experts can figure out exactly where this virus originated,” Cotton said.

CHINA STILL LYING ABOUT CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK: TOM COTTON

He also brought up the “questions” surrounding the biosafety level 4 “super laboratory” in Wuhan, the city where the virus is believed to have originated.

“We know it didn’t originate in the Wuhan food market based on the study of Chinese scientists … I’m not saying where it started, I don’t know. We don’t know because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) won’t open up to international experts,” Cotton said. “That’s what we need to do so they can get to the bottom of where the virus originated and hopefully can effect a diagnostic test and vaccine for it.”

Cotton also pushed back against critics, specifically Rutgers University chemical biology professor Richard Ebright, who said he found no indication in the genome sequence of the virus to indicate it was engineered.

“Let’s take the professor,” Cotton said. “He was …in fact today cited in the Asia Times saying that it was quite possible that it was a laboratory incident.”

“That’s not saying this is a bioweapon,” Cotton clarified, “but we do know they were investigating and researching coronavirus in that laboratory. It could’ve been an accidental breach, it could’ve been a worker that was infected.”

“Until we get all the evidence from the Chinese Communist party, it is only responsible, not irresponsible to keep an open mind about the hypotheses.”

— Sen. Tom Cotton, ‘The Story’

“My point is that we don’t know,” Cotton said, adding that “until we get all the evidence from the Chinese Communist Party, it is only responsible, not irresponsible, to keep an open mind about the hypotheses.”

Cotton also mentioned reports earlier Tuesday that the State Department has designated five Chinese media outlets as “foreign missions,” calling them, in essence, state-sponsored propaganda agents of the CCP.

MacCallum told Cotton that the State Department’s designation “does go to the point that you are making that the information we are getting is very difficult to verify,” but Cotton turned his focus to The Washington Post and The New York Times, which have both published articles criticizing Cotton since his initial remarks and claimed he suggested the virus was the result of a Chinese bioweapon.

STATE DEPARTMENT DESIGNATES 5 CHINESE MEDIA OUTLETS ‘FOREIGN MISSIONS’

“It tells you the Chinese Communist Party, just like any communist party, has a widespread propaganda effort and regrettably The Washington Post and New York Times have taken millions and millions of dollars from something called ‘China Daily’  to run so-called inserts that purport to be news but in reality are Chinese propaganda,” Cotton claimed.

China Daily Distribution Corporation is among the five media outlets designated foreign missions.

“They ought not be doing that,” Cotton added.

SEN. TOM COTTON: ELIMINATING CORONAVIRUS REQUIRES CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY TO MAKE BIG CHANGES

The senator said he “hoped” such contracts would be terminated and revealed that he had personally raised the matter in a letter to the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“I wrote to the Department of Justice and Attorney General Bill Barr a few weeks ago asking them to examine these inserts and whether or not they ought to be registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” he said.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group MacCallumCotton Sen. Tom Cotton stands by startling theory on coronavirus origins: 'We need to be open to all possibilities' Yael Halon fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/media fnc article a7888d0c-97d6-535a-8ac3-2a7cc03187ea   Westlake Legal Group MacCallumCotton Sen. Tom Cotton stands by startling theory on coronavirus origins: 'We need to be open to all possibilities' Yael Halon fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/media fnc article a7888d0c-97d6-535a-8ac3-2a7cc03187ea

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Pennsylvania Democrat apologizes for old pro-Trump, anti-Hillary Clinton Facebook posts

Westlake Legal Group Benham-Kass_Twitter Pennsylvania Democrat apologizes for old pro-Trump, anti-Hillary Clinton Facebook posts Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc c56b88b1-2c91-55c6-a616-72beacbb43ba article

A Pennsylvania Democrat endorsed by a local committee to run for the state’s seat in the House of Representatives is facing backlash after the contender she defeated dredged up old posts made on social media indicating she bashed Hillary Clinton and expressed her support for President Trump instead.

Heather Kass, of Carrick, Pittsburgh, apologized for the resurfaced Facebook posts, in which she slammed recipients of Obamacare, saying “THESE LAZY NO GOOD IDIOTS SUCKING THE SYSTEM DRY AND I STILL HAVE TO PAY FOR THEM.”

BLOOMBERG HITS BACK AFTER TRUMP SAYS ‘MINI MIKE’ IS ‘ILLEGALLY BUYING THE DEMOCRAT NOMINATION’

She also wrote in the post from 2105, “GO TRUMP!!!!!!!!!!!!” with 12 exclamation points, according to reports by the Pittsburgh City Paper.

A year earlier, Kass also shared another post on Facebook from the right-wing group Freedom Works, decrying that they did not want Hillary Clinton to become president in 2016.

Kass, a moderate Democrat was endorsed by the Allegheny County Democratic Party on Monday despite the posts, to replace retiring Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Penn., in April. She was selected after beating another more liberal candidate, Jessica Benham, by a landslide, 49 to 19 for the endorsement.

Democrats will decide on a final nominee for the seat in April.

“I apologize for what I said five years ago,” Kass told KDKA, a local Pittsburgh affiliate of CBS. “What I said was wrong. I don’t want to be chained to my past.”

Her Democratic opponent, Benham, called Kass a Trump supporter telling KDKA: “I thought it was interesting that someone running as a Democrat supported Trump,” adding, “voters in the district get to decide between myself, who is running as a progressive champion, and a Trump supporter.”

Kass said she does not support Trump and never has and explained that at the time of the posts, she was struggling with health issues and disgruntled at her high premiums and medical bills.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“I did not support anybody…At the time, I was going through a lot of issues with health,” she said. “And whenever I made the post—not only about that but about other things—I was under a lot of stress, had huge medical bills that had come in, and I was aggravated.”

Westlake Legal Group Benham-Kass_Twitter Pennsylvania Democrat apologizes for old pro-Trump, anti-Hillary Clinton Facebook posts Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc c56b88b1-2c91-55c6-a616-72beacbb43ba article   Westlake Legal Group Benham-Kass_Twitter Pennsylvania Democrat apologizes for old pro-Trump, anti-Hillary Clinton Facebook posts Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc c56b88b1-2c91-55c6-a616-72beacbb43ba article

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Ben Affleck: Divorce From Jennifer Garner Is ‘Biggest Regret Of My Life’

Ben Affleck says his divorce from Jennifer Garner is the biggest regret of his life.

The 47-year-old actor and filmmaker opened up about his battle with alcohol addiction, the divorce and his career in a candid interview with The New York Times published Tuesday.

Affleck, an Oscar-winning screenwriter and director of Oscars Best Picture winner “Argo,” explained that his alcoholism and his crumbling marriage fueled one another in a vicious cycle in 2015 and 2016. He and Garner announced they were separating in 2015 and divorced in 2018.

The pair had first started dating in 2004 and married the following year. They share three children: Violet, 14; Seraphina, 11; and Samuel, 7.

Affleck told the Times that he was still struggling with guilt about the split, but had worked past the feelings of shame.

“The biggest regret of my life is this divorce,” he said. “Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e4c7cc22600008902b5ece8 Ben Affleck: Divorce From Jennifer Garner Is ‘Biggest Regret Of My Life’

C Flanigan via Getty Images Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner arrive at Vanity Fair’s Oscar party in 2014.

Moving forward, Affleck said, is about picking himself up and learning from his mistakes. He spent a third stint in rehab around the time of the divorce and after the 40-day stay at a treatment facility, shared a statement on Instagram about his “lifelong and difficult struggle” with addiction, thanking his family, colleagues and fans for their support.

He suffered another relapse in October last year but said at the time he would not let the slip “derail” him.

“Relapse is embarrassing, obviously,” he told the Times of the incident when he was filmed drunk at a party by TMZ. “I wish it didn’t happen. I really wish it wasn’t on the internet for my kids to see. Jen and I did our best to address it and be honest.”

In his upcoming sports drama “The Way Back,” set for release next month, Affleck takes on a role with poignant parallels to his own experience. His character, a former basketball star, tries to make his comeback as a high school coach after his battle with alcoholism cost him his marriage. 

According to the Times (spoiler warning), in a moving scene toward the end of the film, Affleck apologizes to his ex-wife (played by Janina Gavankar) while in rehab. Director Gavin O’Connor said Affleck had a “total breakdown” on set after completing the scene.

“It was like a floodgate opened up,” O’Connor told the Times. “It was startling and powerful. I think that was a very personal moment in the movie. I think that was him.”

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Mike Bloomberg is the Donald Trump of democrats. If we vote him in, we sacrifice everything we stand for.

Westlake Legal Group MZCAgrt7JPnqcWjnnHmTPN1epN7lMfdr2P9fsNcp5TQ Mike Bloomberg is the Donald Trump of democrats. If we vote him in, we sacrifice everything we stand for. r/politics

Sometimes those of us perusing and commenting on reddit have to step back and remember there are large portions of the population that just don’t stay up to date with politics and let the TV be their source.

We, as a country, have gotten complacent, and settle for being told what to think (ie 95% of media). So when Debbie Dontknow turns on the TV after a long day of work and sees Bloomberg, and Obama, and all these good things he’s talking about, they feel like he’s pretty up and up.

The general populace “doesn’t have time” to dig and learn about candidates, congress people, senators, or even how the government is supposed to work (a lof of us here too!) I put that in quotes because we all absolutely have the time, we just typically don’t make it.

So if all you knew about Bloomberg came from his (tons of) ads, you might think this man is decent.

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North Carolina voter ID law blocked by appeals court as discriminatory

A North Carolina appeals court on Tuesday blocked the state’s voter identification law from going into effect, arguing it was a “discriminatory intent” to suppress black votes and should have been blocked months ago.

In its unanimous ruling, the three-judge Court of Appeals panel reversed a lower court’s July decision that refused to prevent implementation of the photo ID requirement approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. The law came after voters added an ID requirement to the state constitution in November 2018.

Westlake Legal Group AP20045048109554-1 North Carolina voter ID law blocked by appeals court as discriminatory fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox news fnc/politics fnc Bradford Betz article 798bc830-2e37-55bc-9fbb-1eb7d9db1673

“I Voted” stickers wait for voters at a polling station inside the library at Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School in Los Angeles. 

A majority of judges on the lower state court had declared that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate they were likely to win at trial on claims that the December 2018 law designed to implement the amendment showed discriminatory intent against black voters.

Republican lawmakers said this law expanded the types of qualifying IDs and made it easier for registered voters without IDs to have their votes counted, making it very different from a 2013 voter ID law that federal courts previously overturned as discriminatory.

FLORIDA SEES CONFUSION A YEAR AFTER ALLOWING CONVICTED FELONS TO VOTE

U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs wrote a similar opinion on Dec. 31, saying the new voter ID rules appear to contain the racially discriminatory taint of the 2013 law. The federal plaintiffs say the new law violates the U.S. Voting Rights Act and Constitution.

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, whose lawyers are helping represent the voters in the state case, have said both injunctions are important in case one is overturned.

Lawyers for the state of North Carolina are appealing the federal ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Republican legislative leaders have not said whether they’ll also appeal the state ruling.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The members of Tuesday’s panel — Judges Toby Hampson, Allegra Collins and John Arrowood — are all registered Democrats but aren’t on the 2020 ballot. Six of the seven state Supreme Court justices are registered Democrats. Three of those seven seats are up for election in the fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP20045048109554-1 North Carolina voter ID law blocked by appeals court as discriminatory fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox news fnc/politics fnc Bradford Betz article 798bc830-2e37-55bc-9fbb-1eb7d9db1673   Westlake Legal Group AP20045048109554-1 North Carolina voter ID law blocked by appeals court as discriminatory fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox news fnc/politics fnc Bradford Betz article 798bc830-2e37-55bc-9fbb-1eb7d9db1673

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Gregg Jarrett: AG Barr was right in Stone case to overturn harsh sentencing recommendation – new trial needed

Westlake Legal Group image Gregg Jarrett: AG Barr was right in Stone case to overturn harsh sentencing recommendation – new trial needed Gregg Jarrett fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/roger-stone fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc bc8ff4c4-863c-52d3-b8a6-99aac0e99680 article

Toward the end of his life, the legendary criminal defense attorney Clarence Darrow gazed back on his long career and sadly observed to a reporter: “There is no such thing as justice – in or out of court.”

Darrow knew through experience that, all too often, prosecutors are willing to abandon their ethical duty that requires them to see that justice is done. Instead, emboldened by their immense powers and unlimited resources, they become consumed by a zeal to win, sometimes at any cost.

Fairness and justice become secondary to the goal of gaining a conviction and a harsh penalty. The law, Darrow concluded, had evolved into a “horrible business.”

JUDGE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH ROGER STONE SENTENCING AMID CONTROVERSY

Darrow was likely right. His thesis can be seen in the unduly harsh punishment of Donald Trump’s former adviser Roger Stone that was sought by trial prosecutors, compounded by the irrational demand of more than 2,000 former Justice Department employees that Attorney General William Barr resign for attempting to insert reasonableness into the process.

Stone was found guilty by a Washington jury of making false statements, obstruction and witness tampering in a case that arose from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The four trial prosecutors, two of whom worked for Mueller, requested a seven- to nine-year prison sentence for Stone.

Barr and other senior Justice Department officials felt the recommended sentence was “excessive” under the facts and circumstances of the case. In an interview with ABC News, Barr explained that “when people are working on one case, and devoting a lot to it, they can sometimes lose perspective.”

More from Opinion

After consulting with senior lawyers at the Justice Department, Barr was under the impression that the trial prosecutors would back off their draconian recommendation. Instead, according to Barr, he expected the prosecutors would “let the judge decide and explain why a lower sentence could be justified.” Obviously, this did not happen.

Barr called it a “miscommunication.” When he learned that the line prosecutors had advocated to the judge a seven- to nine-year sentence, Barr notified his staff that corrective action would need to be taken the following morning “to amend and clarify what our position was.”

Importantly, this decision was made before President Trump tweeted a criticism of the sentencing recommendation as “horrible, unfair and a miscarriage of justice.”

The following exchange with ABC News removes all doubt about political interference by the president.

ABC News: So just to be clear, did you talk to the president at all about your decision regarding the recommendations?

Barr: The recommendations on this case? Never.

ABC News: Anybody from the White House call you to try to influence you?

Barr: No. Nope. I have not discussed the Roger Stone case at the White House.

ABC News: At all?

Barr: At all.

Barr insisted that he didn’t need anyone to tell him that seven to nine years was an overly harsh sentence. He then posed a rhetorical question: “You think I need the president’s tweet to tell me that seven to nine years is excessive?” Barr added that he would “not be bullied or influenced” by anyone on any case.

While Darrow’s cynical view of overzealous prosecutors was surely a product of the many injustices he witnessed as a defense attorney, Barr is still a practicing idealist.

The attorney general refused to allow an injustice to occur on his watch. “I came to the view as my colleagues did that I wouldn’t support affirmatively advocating what I thought was an excessive sentence,” Barr said.

There is no evidence that President Trump or anyone in the White House had any involvement in Barr’s decision to revise the sentencing recommendation in the Stone case to a more reasonable and appropriate level. But that did not stop the more than 2,000 former Justice Department staff members from signing an online petition urging the attorney general to resign.

Did any of them bother to consult the facts or Barr’s explanation of what happened before they demanded that he be banished from the Justice Department? Did any of them consider that, by any reasonable standard, the trial prosecutors were wrong in seeking an extreme sentence or that the attorney general was attempting to dispense justice fairly and equitably? Apparently not.

As law professor Jonathan Turley pointed out: “The critics have shown the very same disregard for the facts, the merits, and the process that they ascribe to Barr.” Indeed, they have.

Before passing judgment, shouldn’t these former Justice Department officials have withheld their condemnation until the attorney general offers his testimony on the matter before the House Judiciary Committee in March?

This would be prudent, notwithstanding the fact that Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has already prejudged Barr by accusing him of “the misuse of our criminal justice system for political purposes.” 

Even more baffling, if not injudicious, is the move by the Federal Judges Association, which has reportedly called an emergency meeting to discuss the Justice Department’s intervention in the Stone case. Apparently these judges intend to disregard the same admonition they give to jurors that they must wait until all of the evidence is presented before reaching a conclusion.

This brings us to Tuesday’s decision by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson who presided over the Stone trial. She has decided to proceed with the sentencing of the defendant on Thursday, despite compelling new evidence that the jury foreperson harbored extreme anti-Trump opinions which she may have concealed from the court during jury selection.

Jackson, an Obama appointee, expressed reluctance to hold a hearing to inquire about juror misconduct, although she said “I may decide to do it in an abundance of caution.” Fundamental fairness, not caution, demands that she hold such a hearing. Jackson’s failure to recognize this bodes poorly for Stone.

As I detailed in my recent column, there is ample evidence that the foreperson, Tomeka Hart (who is also a lawyer), is a Democratic activist who has communicated a string of social media posts critical of Trump and actively engaged in protests against him.                                                   

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Before Hart was picked as a juror, she made specific comments about the Stone case, praised the Mueller investigation, and suggested that the president and his supporters (such as Stone) were racists.

At one point, Hart referred to Trump with a hashtag of “klanpresident.” When questioned during jury selection, Hart disclosed only her ties to the Democratic Party. It seems that she conveniently omitted her incendiary accusations of racism that would almost certainly have disqualified her from serving due to bias.

In America, we expect jurors to be fair and impartial. Hart’s record demonstrates an acute prejudice against the defendant by virtue of his close association with President Trump.

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Hart should never have been permitted to sit in judgment of the case, much less to serve as the foreperson of the jury, who may have guided the convictions.

Stone deserves a new trial. If Judge Jackson doesn’t recognize the obvious, then Clarence Darrow will again be proven correct when he concluded: “There is no such thing as justice – in or out of the court.”

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Westlake Legal Group image Gregg Jarrett: AG Barr was right in Stone case to overturn harsh sentencing recommendation – new trial needed Gregg Jarrett fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/roger-stone fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc bc8ff4c4-863c-52d3-b8a6-99aac0e99680 article   Westlake Legal Group image Gregg Jarrett: AG Barr was right in Stone case to overturn harsh sentencing recommendation – new trial needed Gregg Jarrett fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/william-barr fox-news/person/roger-stone fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc bc8ff4c4-863c-52d3-b8a6-99aac0e99680 article

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Ontario’s New License Plates Have A Problem: You Can’t Read Them

Westlake Legal Group eqyaqzmwkaaikye-6879a3ad9fecb9ed6ba48d5f5276c863c926f164-s1100-c15 Ontario's New License Plates Have A Problem: You Can't Read Them

Toronto videojournalist Andrew Collins noticed that the new plates are “totally unreadable from a distance at night.” He tweeted this still from a dash camera video. Andrew Collins hide caption

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Andrew Collins

Westlake Legal Group  Ontario's New License Plates Have A Problem: You Can't Read Them

Toronto videojournalist Andrew Collins noticed that the new plates are “totally unreadable from a distance at night.” He tweeted this still from a dash camera video.

Andrew Collins

Ontario’s newly-designed license plates just hit a speedbump. Call it Plate-gate.

A little background: The Canadian province’s new design was unveiled by the provincial government — led by center-right Ontario Premier Doug Ford — last year.

Almost immediately, people started comparing the plate design unfavorably to a box of Q-tips.

The plates also had a new slogan – “A Place to Grow” – which drew the ire of some critics, who preferred the previous “Yours to Discover,” which the plates had sported since 1982.

Then there was the palette: Observers noticed that the new plates had the same blue color scheme as Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party.

But the real problems began once the plates went into use this month.

“Has anyone else noticed that the newly designed @ONgov license plates are totally unreadable from distance at night?” tweeted videojournalist Andrew Collins on Friday. “Could be an issue for [Toronto] police forces in the future.”

A Twitter user who describes himself as a police sergeant in Kingston, Ont., tweeted another photo with the same complaint the next day: “Did anyone consult with police before designing and manufacturing the new Ontario licence plates? They’re virtually unreadable at night.”

It appears the new plate design is struggling with its most important job: clarity.

“It’s crazy, right? It’s unbelievable,” says Collins, the videojournalist.

“If citizens can’t read them and call in impaired drivers and traffic complaints, a police officer is certainly not going to be able to read them in a chase situation,” he posits.

Journalists at Toronto’s CTV network wanted to see if they could recreate the problem, so they shined a light on the new and old plates while slowly moving away. In their video, the old plate remains plainly legible, while the letters on the new one quickly disappear into a blaze of white.

Unsurprisingly, police chiefs in the province are concerned.

“Some officers are surprised and have been taking photos, saying this is what they’re looking at,” Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police spokesman Joe Couto told the Ottawa Citizen. “It shows very clearly that, especially at night, there may be some visibility issues.” He said some police departments reported that their handheld scanners weren’t able to read the new plates.

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1136345920_wide-1cd2b2a33704e9e50782212eca32a15005a7aa22-s1100-c15 Ontario's New License Plates Have A Problem: You Can't Read Them

The new license plates were touted by Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images hide caption

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Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Ontario's New License Plates Have A Problem: You Can't Read Them

The new license plates were touted by Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

In an emailed statement, Ontario’s government says it “consulted with key stakeholders to test the readability, reflectivity and functionality of the new high definition plate design. Ontario’s new high definition licence plates were tested using advanced plate reader technology under multiple visibility conditions, and plates were successfully read under those conditions.”

But it acknowledged that “some Ontarians are reporting concerns with readability to the naked-eye under certain light conditions,” and says it is looking into the issue.

One silver lining? The plates are so new that very few vehicles have them.

“You pretty much have to have bought a new or used car in the last few weeks,” says Collins. “Or, you’re super with this government and you rushed out to get the Doug Ford plates.”

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