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Westlake Legal Group > News Releases (Page 38)

Schiff: Pence aide provided new impeachment evidence — but VP’s office classified it

Westlake Legal Group GvvwNlk3aEQt_hE30VqA7Qqo_nIz_YG6dOsRnPDHlHM Schiff: Pence aide provided new impeachment evidence — but VP's office classified it r/politics

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Why The Trump Decision To Delay Aid To Ukraine Is Under Scrutiny

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1171051394_custom-8348b4d7774bf67c187740d6e8aa8b57a857baf5-s1100-c15 Why The Trump Decision To Delay Aid To Ukraine Is Under Scrutiny

US. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meet in New York. Saoul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Saoul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Why The Trump Decision To Delay Aid To Ukraine Is Under Scrutiny

US. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meet in New York.

Saoul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images

Why the Trump administration delayed nearly $400 millions of dollars in security aid to Ukraine is the question at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Democrats say the president tried to coerce an ally to help him take down a political opponent. Republicans argue it’s a routine use of presidential power.

Interviews with officials and former officials show how the Trump administration’s hold-up of aid to Ukraine was irregular and likely violated U.S. law, but has far-reaching consequences at home and overseas.

Tim Rieser, who has decades of experience with foreign aid, had a front row seat to the process that unfolded this summer. He is a staff director of the Senate subcommittee that handles funding for State Department programs. He also serves as senior foreign policy adviser to Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont.

Rieser usually works behind the scenes advising lawmakers. His Republican counterparts on the House and Senate committees declined to speak with NPR.

The 1974 Impoundment Control Act says a U.S. president can’t unilaterally withhold funds designated for spending by Congress.

“They can’t just simply decide even though Congress appropriated money for X, we’re going to spend it for Y,” he explains.

The way the process typically works, Rieser says, the White House can ask for a delay or to halt funding altogether — but it has to tell Congress.

“We recognize that things do change. Elections happen, governments are overthrown. Policies fail, and it makes sense to revisit them,” Rieser says.

In July, the White House delayed Ukraine’s aid package.

Westlake Legal Group img_0104-8064bd43be842a3cbbddb119d259ff7aba6204ce-s800-c15 Why The Trump Decision To Delay Aid To Ukraine Is Under Scrutiny

Tim Reiser is the Democratic clerk for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Operations. The White House “never expressed concerns to us about corruption in Ukraine, or frankly anywhere,” he says. Sam Gringlas/NPR hide caption

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Sam Gringlas/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Why The Trump Decision To Delay Aid To Ukraine Is Under Scrutiny

Tim Reiser is the Democratic clerk for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Operations. The White House “never expressed concerns to us about corruption in Ukraine, or frankly anywhere,” he says.

Sam Gringlas/NPR

Meanwhile, although the Defense Department had certified that the country was making good on anti-corruption benchmarks, the some $250 million in security assistance the Pentagon had slated for Ukraine hadn’t gone through.

Rieser wondered if that meant State Department aid to Ukraine — another $140 million or so — might be frozen as well. Turns out, it was.

When it comes to congressional funds, it’s “use it or lose it.” So when September arrived, the White House was skirting close to the deadline by which they were legally required to alert Congress to an official reason for the freeze.

Then, someone filed a whistleblower complaint.

The White House released the funds shortly after, on Sept. 11. And by the end of the month, that complaint was public.

In October, Trump explained the delay this way: “We have an obligation to investigate corruption. And that’s what it was.”

Rieser says this is actually part of a broader trend with the current administration. Trump White House budgets consistently tried and failed to slash foreign aid. And the president is not afraid to use diplomatic assistance as leverage.

For instance, when the president worried about migrant caravans at the border, he stopped payment to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador earlier this year.

“We were paying them tremendous amounts of money,” Trump said in April. “And we’re not paying them anymore. Because they haven’t done a thing for us.”

But Rieser says the delay on aid to Ukraine was unusual because it involved military assistance that had bipartisan support.

And after seeing the notes from President Trump’s phone call in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a “favor,” Rieser says it was clearly “fundamentally different” from other situations.

“It was to try to obtain information that could be advantageous in a political campaign, which has nothing to do with U.S. foreign policy or national security,” Rieser says.

He doesn’t buy the idea that Trump’s team was essentially vetting the new Ukrainian leader.

“It was laughable. They’ve never expressed concerns to us about corruption in Ukraine, or frankly anywhere,” Rieser says. “To the contrary, we’ve watched as they’ve welcomed to the White House, leaders who are known to be corrupt and ruthlessly repressive.”

There are ways for a White House to express concerns about corruption. And Trump’s isn’t the first Republican administration skeptical of how foreign aid is spent.

In 2002, President George W. Bush announced the Millennium Challenge Account, an initiative to monitor and score countries who received special grant funding from the U.S.

Brad Parks helped run the program from 2005 to 2010.

“We documented over 200 instances of anti-corruption reforms that were encouraged or otherwise incentivized by the U.S. government,” he says. “And I’m not aware of a single instance in which the U.S. government made an ask for a government to investigate or prosecute a particular politician for abuse of power.”

Today, Parks runs AidData — a research lab at the College of William and Mary that tracks foreign aid more broadly.

Over the last 15 years, he says, the U.S. has developed a framework for withholding foreign aid — especially those struggling with corruption.

In 2005, for instance, the U.S. withheld aid from Yemen when the country appeared to be backsliding on reforms. But everyone — Congress and the White House — was in agreement.

“And they would ensure that all the different parts of the U.S. government are singing from the same sheet of music,” Parks says, “trying to reinforce the importance of funding anti-corruption agencies and safeguarding the independence to investigate abuses of power without fear or favor.”

Yemen followed through, strengthening its anti-corruption commission and making government contracts transparent.

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1181674376_custom-991f47d4f7b6dfae65e36f8e12d0b63567e2f668-s1100-c15 Why The Trump Decision To Delay Aid To Ukraine Is Under Scrutiny

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney answers questions during a press conference at the White House on Oct. 17. Win McNamee / Getty Images hide caption

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Win McNamee / Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Why The Trump Decision To Delay Aid To Ukraine Is Under Scrutiny

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney answers questions during a press conference at the White House on Oct. 17.

Win McNamee / Getty Images

Parks says Trump’s handling of Ukraine sends the wrong message abroad.

“One of the things I’m paying close attention to, is whether the signal that other countries around the world will get, is that the U.S. is principally concerned with strength of anti-corruption policies, or if parts of the U.S. government use anti-corruption institutions as tools to be used for very specific political purposes — which could undermine efforts underway for better part of the last decade to encourage clean government.”

That’s why a press conference held in October by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, raised alarms.

When asked whether it was a quid pro quo for the White House to hold up aid unless Ukraine agreed to launch an investigation that might help Trump politically, Mulvaney replied: “We do that all the time with foreign policy. … Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.”

Sam Berger was among those who were shocked by Mulvaney’s comments.

Berger used to work as a lawyer for OMB under the Obama administration.

From his perspective, the White House did violate the budget law by delaying assistance to Ukraine. (OMB did not respond to NPR’s request for comment.)

Berger says if you look at the testimony from OMB officials during the impeachment inquiry, they say staffers raised concerns about the freeze on Ukraine aid. Two quit, in part because of it.

As for the White House, Berger says, it had a political appointee sign off on the Ukraine aid delay through the summer.

For Berger, this shows the “irregular process” undertaken to “route around career officials.”

“You don’t do that because you’re doing something straightforward legal that you can justify to everyone. You do that because you’re trying to cover up what it is that you’re getting at,” he says. “And so we saw in an irregular foreign policy process led by Rudy Giuliani and others here, we have an irregular budget process.”

“It’s not that the violation of the budget law itself is an impeachable offense. But it’s what it was used for,” he continues. “It was used to extort a foreign power to interfere in our elections.”

Extortion. Bribery. These are the terms that can land a president under threat of impeachment.

But Andrew Natsios, a Republican who headed USAID during the George W. Bush administration, says he does not think that is what Trump has done.

Now at Texas A&M University, Natsios says there are plenty of times he’s disagreed with how Trump handles foreign aid — like withholding support for those Central American countries over migrant policies.

“Did he have the right to do it? Absolutely,” Natsios says. “Was it wise policy? Absolutely not.”

When it comes to the Ukraine aid, Natsios says a crucial factor is the president’s intent. Was the hold on assistance used to personally benefit him?

“You can’t just say you think he did that for this purpose. He can argue, which is what he’s been doing, that he was worried about the level of corruption in the Ukrainian government. You can be skeptical about his reasoning,” he says. “But that is a legitimate question. Whether he had other motives for doing it is a debatable question. Is it impeachable? I don’t think so.”

Ultimately, though, that’s for the Senate to decide.

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Suspect in Boston double murder claims he had affair with one of the victims

A murder suspect who allegedly killed two Boston doctors who were engaged in 2017 claimed he had an affair with one of the doctors before the killing, and even had sexual relations on the day of the murder.

Bampummim Teixeira is the former doorman of a luxury condo building in South Boston where Dr. Richard Field and Dr. Lina Bolanos lived; he is the suspect in their murder.

According to the management company, he had only worked as a doorman at the building for “a few short weeks.” Teixeira had been released from prison before the murders after serving time for a bank robbery.

Westlake Legal Group boston-doctors-58 Suspect in Boston double murder claims he had affair with one of the victims Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/boston fox news fnc/us fnc article 034876a5-f861-52d6-b642-474a8ef7640e

The attack killed Drs. Lina Bolanos, left, and Richard Field.

Field and Bolanos were found in their 11th-floor condominium in May 2017 with their hands bound and their throats slit. Field had sent a text message to a friend before he died that there was a “gunman in the house,” but when police arrived it was too late, according to prosecutors.

BOSTON DOCTORS KLLED: SUSPECT WORKED AS CONCIERGE AT CONDO COMPLEX

Cut-up photos of the couple and a message of retribution was written on the wall with blood, The Boston Globe had reported.

Officers arrested 30-year-old Teixeira after firing shots down a dark hallway. He was wounded in the hand, leg and abdomen.

In an interview the morning after the murders, which was played in court Thursday, Teixeira can be heard telling police he had an affair with Bolanos when he worked at the concierge desk of the building where she lived with her fiance.

He told authorities the affair lasted two months and said Bolanos snuck him into her apartment, according to Boston 25 News.

Teixeira also alleged he and Bolanos had intimate relations the day of the murders. He claimed he had spent several hours there that day. He said Bolanos complained to him that her husband was physically abusive toward her.

ACCUSED KILLER OF 2 BOSTON DOCTORS WAS ‘LURKING’ OUTSIDE THEIR LUXURY CONDO BUILDING: PROSECUTOR

According to Teixeira’s testimony, when Field got home and caught the two having an affair, he became enraged with jealousy and killed his wife. Teixeira said he then killed Field in self-defense.

He said Field stabbed Bolanos and handcuffed her. Teixeira said he ran into the bathroom and locked the door, but didn’t have a phone to call 911. He said Field forced his way into the bathroom and told Teixeira he was going to drown him. Teixeira said he begged Field not to kill him.

He assured detectives he was innocent. He told them he was wearing gloves at the time because he was cold. He said he had around $900 on him because he was homeless and staying at a shelter.

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Dr. Richard Atkinson, the medical examiner, said Field was stabbed on the right side of his neck while Bolanos had 24 sharp-force injuries all around her neck. Blood DNA from both victims had been found on two different sleep masks.

Westlake Legal Group boston-doctors-58 Suspect in Boston double murder claims he had affair with one of the victims Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/boston fox news fnc/us fnc article 034876a5-f861-52d6-b642-474a8ef7640e   Westlake Legal Group boston-doctors-58 Suspect in Boston double murder claims he had affair with one of the victims Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/boston fox news fnc/us fnc article 034876a5-f861-52d6-b642-474a8ef7640e

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Schiff: Pence aide provided new impeachment evidence — but VP’s office classified it

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With Impeachment Unfolding Amid a Booming Economy, What Will Voters Prioritize?

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-Trump-1-facebookJumbo With Impeachment Unfolding Amid a Booming Economy, What Will Voters Prioritize? United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Presidential Election of 2020 Polls and Public Opinion Labor and Jobs International Trade and World Market

WASHINGTON — President Trump was greeted Friday morning with news of a blockbuster jobs report, showing that employers added 266,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, its lowest level since 1969.

The country’s economic condition, which has historically aligned with a president’s re-election chances, should be helping Mr. Trump sail into a second term. But what should be a top indicator of Mr. Trump’s performance as president came a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the House to begin drafting articles of impeachment against him.

It didn’t take long for Mr. Trump to tie the two together. “Without the horror show that is the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, the Stock Markets and Economy would be even better, if that is possible,” he wrote on Twitter. “And the Border would be closed to the evil of Drugs, Gangs and all other problems! #2020.”

Such is the Trump presidency: a leader who is presiding over a record-long economic expansion that has proved more durable than anyone predicted while defending his fitness to hold office.

With 11 months to go before the 2020 election, a polarized electorate is dividing itself by which story line it views as more pertinent — the president’s potential abuse of power, or the comfort of a steady paycheck credited to his leadership.

The Trump campaign is betting that Mr. Trump’s rote denials of pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate his political foes will eventually sway enough voters to put the entire impeachment issue to the side.

“Trump having a perfectly acceptable phone call with the president of Ukraine doesn’t affect anybody’s daily life,” said Brad Parscale, the president’s campaign manager. “A good job with a bigger paycheck does.”

But Mr. Trump’s presidency is also testing conventional wisdom that a good economy is all voters need to keep the status quo rather than seek out change.

“Were it not for the other factors of the Trump presidency, it should be by far the most popular presidency in history, based on the economics,” said Tony Fratto, founder of Hamilton Place Strategies, a public affairs firm, and a former spokesman for the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush.

Instead of enjoying anything close to overwhelming popularity because of the economy, Mr. Trump’s national approval rating has remained low, dropping about two percentage points to 41 percent since the Ukraine story broke. One problem with Mr. Trump’s campaign message is that the economic expansion started before the president assumed office, causing many voters to take it for granted.

“At this point, voters may think this is just the normal economy,” Mr. Fratto said. “That gives them the luxury to focus on other things, like the behavior of the president.”

Another factor is also at play: While Mr. Trump routinely talks up the economy, he is far more passionate when lashing out at Democrats over the impeachment inquiry, or simply riffing about the news of the day, than when discussing the stock market and unemployment rate. His off-the-cuff comments often overshadow his dutiful recitations of gains.

At the White House on Friday, Mr. Trump noted in a monotone voice that the unemployment rate was “at the lowest rate, as I told you, in many years and in many ways I think we probably very soon say historically.”

He only seemed to come alive when discussing rolling back energy standards on light bulbs. “The new bulb is many times more expensive and I hate to say it, it doesn’t make you look as good. Of course, because being a vain person that’s very important to me,” he said, noting that it “gives you an orange look.”

Mr. Trump’s penchant for steering the conversation away from the economy is frustrating for many Republicans and business leaders, given America is powering through a record 11-year expansion. Employers have hired 2.2 million people over the past 12 months, a surprisingly robust performance at a time when unemployment is at 3.5 percent — its lowest in half a century.

Those gains have often come in spite of Mr. Trump’s policies, not because of them. And it remains an open question how long the pace of growth can continue.

The president’s globe-spanning trade war has put businesses on edge and slowed their investment. Manufacturing has dipped into outright contraction as weak global growth and geopolitical tensions weigh on exports.

Mr. Trump’s economic advisers have been keenly aware of the need to keep the economy humming as the president heads into a re-election year. “America is working and not only is America working, America is getting paid after taxes,” Larry Kudlow, a top economic adviser, said on Friday. “I don’t see any end to it right now. What I see is more strength.”

Administration officials have been exploring ways to ensure the expansion continues, including tax cuts aimed directly at the middle class. The White House has not indicated which income brackets would see a lower rate but Mr. Trump is expected to back a plan that would make permanent the individual tax cuts included in the tax package he signed in 2017. Those cuts are now slated to expire in 2025.

Mr. Trump has dangled the additional tax cuts as a reason voters should back him and Republican House candidates, warning that the economy — and retirement accounts — will tank if Democrats win the White House.

“If any of these people that I’ve been watching on this stage got elected, your 401(k)’s would be down the tubes,” Mr. Trump said in October. “You’d destroy the country.”

At rallies and speeches, he has told supporters, “you have no choice but to vote for me,” citing dire economic consequences of electing any of the Democratic candidates, whom he has tried to broadly portray as a band of extreme socialists.

So far, the economy is complying with Mr. Trump’s re-election message.

Average hourly earnings increased 3.1 percent in the year through November, a moderate but sustainable pace. Bigger paychecks have given consumers more cash to spend on everything from restaurant meals to holiday shopping, helping to power the economy.

Such a strong economic track record should help insulate Mr. Trump from attacks by Democrats claiming that they can do a better job managing the economy. So far, his rivals have floated plans that they say would spread wealth more equitably by raising taxes on corporations and the rich to finance universal health care and free college tuition.

But Democrats have found a ripe opening in impeachment to hone their attacks on Mr. Trump.

“The Constitution makes clear no one is above the law,” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said in a recent interview with MSNBC. “I hope we hold him accountable.”

Even without the impeachment drama, it’s not clear that the economy will continue complying with Mr. Trump’s campaign messaging.

Mr. Trump said this week that trade talks with China may last past the 2020 election, rattling stock markets around the world. Additional tariffs on Chinese goods are slated to take hold Dec. 15, and it is unclear whether they will be delayed. Global growth remains fragile, and while many economists expect it to accelerate in 2020, that forecast could be upended by an escalation in the trade war.

“We’re really in terra incognita here, I think, in terms of what’s possible next year, just given all of the geopolitical factors at play,” said Ernie Tedeschi, policy economist at Evercore ISI.

Mr. Trump has jawboned the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates more aggressively, blaming the central bank for not doing enough to propel the economy. The Fed cut rates three times in 2019 as it tried to insulate the economy against trade tensions and slowing global growth, but it is unlikely that it will cut borrowing costs again without good reason.

For now, Mr. Trump is hoping his economic message wins out over impeachment, an issue campaign advisers predicted would be firmly in the rearview mirror by November.

“Stock Markets Up Record Numbers,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Friday, adding: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Alan Rappeport contributed reporting.

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Rep. Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty to campaign fund misuse, says he will resign after holidays

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R.-Calif., announced Friday that he plans to resign from his House seat “shortly after the holidays.”

“Shortly after the holidays I will resign from Congress. It has been an honor to serve the people of California’s 50th district, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years,” Hunter said in a statement.

After months of claiming innocence, Hunter reversed course and pleaded guilty this week to a single count of conspiring with his wife to misuse at least $150,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

The 42-year-old lawmaker will be sentenced on March 17 and faces up to five years in prison. Hunter told a local news station Monday that he will resign from Congress and is prepared to face jail time.

The Hunters were indicted in August of misusing $250,000 in campaign funds. The indictment accused Hunter of using the funds to purchase trips to Hawaii and Europe, to pay for his family’s dental work and school tuition, and to fly the family’s pet rabbit across the country.

According to the indictment, Hunter and his wife illegally spent the funds on a birthday party for their young daughter at a posh hotel and social outings with friends at a French bistro in Washington, among other things.

Prosecutors also said that Hunter spent some of the money on extramarital affairs with lobbyists and congressional aides.

Westlake Legal Group AP19241682093266 Rep. Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty to campaign fund misuse, says he will resign after holidays Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/san-diego fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox news fnc/politics fnc article 92df19f3-ffe3-53f8-bf48-eebdf594a481

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (AP Photo/Denis Poroy,File)

REP DUNCAN HUNTER, IN REVERSAL, PLEADS GUILTY IN CAMPAIGN FUNDS CASE 

Until his switch to a guilty plea, Hunter resisted calls to resign, framing the charges as a political attack by Democratic prosecutors.

His wife, Margaret Hunter, was also charged in the case but accepted a plea deal in June that called for her to testify against her husband. The couple could have faced decades behind bars prior to the plea deals.

US REP. HUNTER BLAMES ‘DEMOCRAT PROSECUTORS’ FOR HIS INDICTMENT ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

Hunter’s upcoming departure from one of the GOP’s few remaining seats in heavily Democratic California leaves a number of Republicans vying to fill his seat, best-known among those being former congressman for California’s 49th district Rep. Darrell Issa. The 50th Congressional District has an 11-point Republican registration lead over Democrats.

Prior to this week, Hunter had been actively running for reelection while under indictment. He narrowly won his race in 2018 after being indicted.

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Hunter was elected in 2008 after his father represented the district for 28 years.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19241682093266 Rep. Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty to campaign fund misuse, says he will resign after holidays Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/san-diego fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox news fnc/politics fnc article 92df19f3-ffe3-53f8-bf48-eebdf594a481   Westlake Legal Group AP19241682093266 Rep. Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty to campaign fund misuse, says he will resign after holidays Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/san-diego fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox news fnc/politics fnc article 92df19f3-ffe3-53f8-bf48-eebdf594a481

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Knicks fire head coach David Fizdale following blowout losses

New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale has been fired following back-to-back blowout losses and a rough start to the season, according to reports.

The Knicks have lost eight straight games, dropping to an Eastern Conference worst 4-18 for the season — the second-worst record in the NBA.

The team suffered a 129-92 loss to the Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Afterward, Fizdale called the result “sickening.”

Fizdale was 21-83 in two seasons with the struggling franchise. His .202 winning percentage is the worst in the team’s history. He is still owed the remainder of his four-year, $22 million contract, ESPN reported.

Assistant coach Keith Smart was also fired, according to the outlet. Assistant coaches Mike Miller and Pat Sullivan are possible candidates to become interim head coach.

KEVIN DURANT EXPLAINS WHY HE RESPONDS TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING TROLLS, ON SOCIAL MEDIA

The loss came three days after a 132-88 spanking at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Fizdale was hired less than two years ago to build a team around Kristaps Porzingis, only for the team to trade the star player to the Dallas Mavericks for draft picks and salary-cap space months later.

Westlake Legal Group AP19334072998834 Knicks fire head coach David Fizdale following blowout losses Louis Casiano fox-news/sports/nba/new-york-knicks fox-news/sports/nba fox news fnc/sports fnc article 2942fb24-073a-5f75-adeb-146c53ebab11

New York Knicks coach David Fizdale reacts during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, in New York. Fizdale was fired after back-to-back blowout losses, according to media reports. (AP Photo/Steven Ryan)

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The team once known for its aggressive play has struggled in the two decades of James Dolan‘s ownership. The Knicks have seen multiple coaching changes and stars come and go with no success.

The team has failed to make the playoffs for the past six seasons. Their next game is at home against the Indiana Pacers.

Westlake Legal Group AP19334072998834 Knicks fire head coach David Fizdale following blowout losses Louis Casiano fox-news/sports/nba/new-york-knicks fox-news/sports/nba fox news fnc/sports fnc article 2942fb24-073a-5f75-adeb-146c53ebab11   Westlake Legal Group AP19334072998834 Knicks fire head coach David Fizdale following blowout losses Louis Casiano fox-news/sports/nba/new-york-knicks fox-news/sports/nba fox news fnc/sports fnc article 2942fb24-073a-5f75-adeb-146c53ebab11

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Elon Musk Is Cleared in Lawsuit Over His ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet

Westlake Legal Group 06musk-facebookJumbo Elon Musk Is Cleared in Lawsuit Over His ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet Unsworth, Vern twitter Tesla Motors Inc Rescues Musk, Elon Caves and Caverns

Elon Musk did not defame a British cave explorer by calling him a “pedo guy” on Twitter, a jury concluded on Friday in Los Angeles. The verdict ended a short trial based on an acrid dispute between the men over the high-profile rescue of a group of children trapped in Thailand in the summer of 2018.

“My faith in humanity is restored,” Mr. Musk told reporters after hearing the verdict.

The explorer, Vernon Unsworth, sued Mr. Musk in September last year, arguing that the billionaire had used the tweet to insinuate that Mr. Unsworth was a pedophile and damage his reputation. Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, and his lawyers countered that “pedo guy” was a generic insult borrowed from his youth in South Africa.

Both men had become involved in the rescue shortly after rising waters trapped a boys’ soccer team in a cave in June 2018. Mr. Unsworth had firsthand knowledge of the cave system, while Mr. Musk flew in a team of engineers and proposed an unorthodox rescue plan using a minisubmarine.

After Mr. Unsworth slammed the idea in a televised interview, suggesting that Mr. Musk “stick his submarine where it hurts,” the billionaire lashed out on Twitter, describing Mr. Unsworth as a “pedo guy” in a post to his 22 million followers at the time.

“I felt it to be disgusting,” Mr. Unsworth testified on Wednesday, the second day of the trial. “I was effectively given a life sentence without parole.”

Mr. Musk and his lawyers argued that Mr. Unsworth was not appreciably harmed by the post, which Mr. Musk deleted shortly afterward with an explanation that it had been written “in anger.” Specifically, a lawyer for Mr. Musk pointed in court to a photograph of Mr. Unsworth standing next to the British prime minister at a ceremony, as well as video of the explorer smiling and celebrating the rescue.

It was not the only time that Mr. Musk’s posts on Twitter have created problems for him. Also last year, he was replaced as chairman of Tesla’s board as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a tweet in which he said the company had “funding secured” to take the company private. He later explained in a blog post that he had mistakenly believed such a deal to be closer to completion than was really the case.

Even after deleting the tweet about Mr. Unsworth, Mr. Musk did not let the dispute go, later telling BuzzFeed News in an email that Mr. Unsworth was a “child rapist,” an assertion offered without evidence. The accusation was based on information from a man he had hired who claimed to be a private investigator and, it turned out, had been convicted of fraud in Britain.

While that story was brought up in the trial, the judge overseeing the case, Stephen Wilson, instructed the jury that it was not the subject of the case.

On the witness stand this week, Mr. Musk apologized for using the term in the first place and drawing attention away from the ultimately successful effort to save the children.

“It should’ve just been, ‘Here’s a rescue, and that’s great,’” he testified.

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

Elon Musk Is Cleared in Lawsuit Over His ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet

Westlake Legal Group 06musk-facebookJumbo Elon Musk Is Cleared in Lawsuit Over His ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet Unsworth, Vern twitter Tesla Motors Inc Rescues Musk, Elon Caves and Caverns

Elon Musk did not defame a British cave explorer by calling him a “pedo guy” on Twitter, a jury concluded on Friday in Los Angeles. The verdict ended a short trial based on an acrid dispute between the men over the high-profile rescue of a group of children trapped in Thailand in the summer of 2018.

“My faith in humanity is restored,” Mr. Musk told reporters after hearing the verdict.

The explorer, Vernon Unsworth, sued Mr. Musk in September last year, arguing that the billionaire had used the tweet to insinuate that Mr. Unsworth was a pedophile and damage his reputation. Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, and his lawyers countered that “pedo guy” was a generic insult borrowed from his youth in South Africa.

Both men had become involved in the rescue shortly after rising waters trapped a boys’ soccer team in a cave in June 2018. Mr. Unsworth had firsthand knowledge of the cave system, while Mr. Musk flew in a team of engineers and proposed an unorthodox rescue plan using a minisubmarine.

After Mr. Unsworth slammed the idea in a televised interview, suggesting that Mr. Musk “stick his submarine where it hurts,” the billionaire lashed out on Twitter, describing Mr. Unsworth as a “pedo guy” in a post to his 22 million followers at the time.

“I felt it to be disgusting,” Mr. Unsworth testified on Wednesday, the second day of the trial. “I was effectively given a life sentence without parole.”

Mr. Musk and his lawyers argued that Mr. Unsworth was not appreciably harmed by the post, which Mr. Musk deleted shortly afterward with an explanation that it had been written “in anger.” Specifically, a lawyer for Mr. Musk pointed in court to a photograph of Mr. Unsworth standing next to the British prime minister at a ceremony, as well as video of the explorer smiling and celebrating the rescue.

It was not the only time that Mr. Musk’s posts on Twitter have created problems for him. Also last year, he was replaced as chairman of Tesla’s board as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a tweet in which he said the company had “funding secured” to take the company private. He later explained in a blog post that he had mistakenly believed such a deal to be closer to completion than was really the case.

Even after deleting the tweet about Mr. Unsworth, Mr. Musk did not let the dispute go, later telling BuzzFeed News in an email that Mr. Unsworth was a “child rapist,” an assertion offered without evidence. The accusation was based on information from a man he had hired who claimed to be a private investigator and, it turned out, had been convicted of fraud in Britain.

While that story was brought up in the trial, the judge overseeing the case, Stephen Wilson, instructed the jury that it was not the subject of the case.

On the witness stand this week, Mr. Musk apologized for using the term in the first place and drawing attention away from the ultimately successful effort to save the children.

“It should’ve just been, ‘Here’s a rescue, and that’s great,’” he testified.

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

Navy identifies gunman and victims from Pearl Harbor shipyard shooting

A Navy sailor who opened fire at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii on Wednesday has been identified as Gabriel Antonio Romero, the Navy confirmed to Fox News on Thursday.

Romero, a Texas native and machinist’s mate auxilliary fireman, was just a week shy of his two-year anniversary with the Navy when the incident occurred. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Navy confirmed.

SAILOR AT PEARL HARBOR NAVAL SHIPYARD KILLS 2 CIVILIANS BEFORE TURNING GUN ON HIMSELF, REPORT SAYS

The shooting took place near the USS Columbia, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, which Romero had been stationed at since June 28, 2018.

The submarine, homeported in Pearl Harbor, remains in dry dock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for routine maintenance.

Westlake Legal Group AP19339116769569-1 Navy identifies gunman and victims from Pearl Harbor shipyard shooting Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/honors/pearl-harbor fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 38c77a27-29ab-56c2-aabf-f0ba95568cf5

The USS Arizona Memorial can be seen from the Pearl Harbor National Memorial Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Honolulu. A U.S. sailor shot and wounded several civilian Department of Defense employees before taking their own life on Wednesday, the military said. The shipyard is across the harbor from the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

The shooter was an active-duty U.S. Navy petty officer attached to the submarine, according to a Navy official.

Romero shot three civilians before turning the gun on himself. The Navy identified the victims as Vincent J. Kapoi and Roldan A. Agustin, both Hawaii natives who worked at the base.

Westlake Legal Group AP19339106989139 Navy identifies gunman and victims from Pearl Harbor shipyard shooting Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/honors/pearl-harbor fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 38c77a27-29ab-56c2-aabf-f0ba95568cf5

Security forces attend to an unidentified male outside the the main gate at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Hawaii, following a shooting. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

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Kapoi was a metals inspector apprentice through the shipyard’s Intermediate Maintenance Facility Apprentice Program. Agustin was a shop planner.

Westlake Legal Group AP19339107493016 Navy identifies gunman and victims from Pearl Harbor shipyard shooting Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/honors/pearl-harbor fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 38c77a27-29ab-56c2-aabf-f0ba95568cf5   Westlake Legal Group AP19339107493016 Navy identifies gunman and victims from Pearl Harbor shipyard shooting Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/honors/pearl-harbor fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 38c77a27-29ab-56c2-aabf-f0ba95568cf5

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