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November 16, 2017
CC BY: KenBermido

The Jehovah's Witnesses have refused to turn over secret documents regarding alleged child sex abuse. And it's getting very, very costly.

A new report from Reveal details how the religion has been mandated to pay $4,000 for every day it doesn't release the documents. So far, the tab has reached $2 million.

It all stems from a court case in which a former Jehovah's Witness and sexual abuse victim sued the religion for not warning congregants they were practicing alongside a confessed child sexual abuser. The accused, Gonzalo Campos, has admitted to abusing children. But the religion's headquarters knew of his conviction and didn't tell the congregation, court documents show.

Reveal has obtained internal Jehovah's Witness documents that suggest this case is part of a much larger cover-up. One of the documents, for example, claims religious elders have been told to keep child abuse allegations a secret since at least 1989.

A California appeals court upheld the $4,000-a-day ruling last week, but the Jehovah's Witnesses show no signs of relenting. You can read more about the ongoing investigation at Reveal. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 15, 2017
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A woman who worked at the Gadsden Mall in 1977 told The Washington Post on Wednesday that Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, repeatedly asked her out on dates, and when she refused to give him her phone number, he called her at Gadsden High School.

Gena Richardson said that a few days after she had refused to give Moore, then a 30-year-old attorney, her number, she was sitting in class when the principal's office alerted her to a phone call in the office. "I said, 'Hello?'" Richardson told the Post. "And the male on the other line said, 'Gena, this is Roy Moore.' I was like, 'What?!' He said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm in trig class.'" He reportedly asked her out on a date during the call, and again when he saw her at Sears a few days later.

Richardson said she felt "nervous and flattered," the Post reports, and finally agreed, telling her parents she was going out with friends. After a movie, Moore drove her to her car, then parked and gave her an unwanted kiss. "It was a man kiss — like really deep tongue," she told the Post. "Like very forceful tongue." She became scared and made up an excuse to leave, she said. Her account was corroborated by a co-worker, Kayla McLaughlin, who told the Post that after the incident, she would warn Richardson when Moore entered Sears, so she could hide.

The Post spoke with more than a dozen people who either worked at the Gadsden Mall or spent a lot of time there, and several of the former employees said they were warned to "watch out for" Moore. Richardson said she came forward after reading last week that Moore had fondled or pursued relationships with other teen girls. "All these years, I thought that was an isolated incident," she said. "Now, as a mother and a grandmother, it just makes me physically sick." Catherine Garcia

October 22, 2017
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Fox News renewed host Bill O'Reilly's contract in January of 2016, promising him $25 million per year for four years, even after he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $32 million with the network's knowledge, The New York Times reported Saturday.

While Times reports from earlier this year revealed O'Reilly and Fox together paid around $13 million in the pundit's various harassment settlements, this larger agreement was previously unknown. The settlement was paid over a woman's allegations of "a nonconsensual sexual relationship" and other repeated harassment including the sending of unwanted pornography.

Fox fired O'Reilly in April of 2017. He denies all wrongdoing. Bonnie Kristian

August 22, 2017

Trump campaign surrogate Katrina Pierson decided to defend retaining Confederate monuments in positions of public honor during a Fox & Friends segment Monday morning by arguing the history of slavery and the Civil War is "good history" that shows "how special and wonderful this country is."

Pierson was speaking with Fox host Ainsley Earhardt opposite Wendy Osefo, a Johns Hopkins University professor and Democratic strategist. Osefo argued the statues represent a "nefarious" part of U.S. history, a part that "doesn't deserve a place on state grounds; it deserves a place in museums." Pierson disagreed, and the result was this remarkable exchange (which has been edited lightly for clarity amid furious crosstalk):

"It absolutely deserves a place," Pierson interjected, "because bad history is still good history for this country."

"Slavery is good history?" Osefo asked in shock.

"Absolutely," Pierson responded. "Where would we be today if not for that Civil War? How would people know how special and wonderful this country is?" [Mediaite]

Pierson appeared to be arguing that slavery and the Civil War was a character-building experience for the United States, and that the country's founders were laudable for being "slave owners who actually put in a place to change the laws." The segment rapidly descended into chaos as Osefo demanded to know whether Pierson realizes that hundreds of thousands of people suffered and died in this "good history."

Pierson's father is African-American, a fact she has used in service of her support for President Trump. "A racist does not pick a single black mother to represent his entire freaking presidential campaign," Pierson said in reference to herself and Trump in a New York Times article last week.

Watch the Fox conversation below. Bonnie Kristian

July 9, 2017
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Donald Trump Jr. agreed in June 2016 to take a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer after being told he would receive compromising information about Hillary Clinton, multiple White House advisers told The New York Times.

The Times first reported on the meeting, which was also attended by Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign chairman at the time, and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on Saturday, but found out more about the motivation behind the meeting following additional interviews on Sunday. The meeting took place June 9 at Trump Tower, and is the first known private meeting with Russians involving Trump Jr. It's unclear if the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, gave any damaging information to Trump Jr., but he went to the meeting expecting that she would, the people who spoke with the Times said.

In a statement to the Times, Trump Jr. said he agreed to meet with Veselnitskaya at the request of an acquaintance, and Veselnitskaya "stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous, and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information." What Veselnitskaya did want to talk about was adoption of Russian children by Americans and the Magnitsky Act, which lets the United States withhold visas and freeze the finances of Russian officials believed to be involved in human rights abuses, Trump Jr. said, adding, "it became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting."

On Saturday, Trump Jr. told the Times the meeting was just about Russian adoptions, and did not mention the promise of information on Clinton. He also said he asked Manafort and Kushner to attend the meeting, but did not tell them what it was going to be about. Veselnitskaya told the Times she "never acted on behalf of the Russian government" and "never discussed any of these matters with any representatives of the Russian government." A spokesman for Trump's legal team said "the president was not aware of and did not attend the meeting." The report comes as there are several federal investigations going on looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials before the election. Catherine Garcia

June 29, 2017
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Before he died in May, a longtime Republican operative, Peter W. Smith, told The Wall Street Journal during an interview that last fall he gathered together a small group of researchers and attorneys in an attempt to track down emails he thought had been stolen from Hillary Clinton's private server, possibly by Russian hackers.

A computer security expert named Eric York told WSJ that when Smith asked him to work on the project, he implied Michael Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to Donald Trump's campaign, was involved. "He said, 'I'm talking to Michael Flynn about this — if you find anything, can you let me know?'" York said. Smith told WSJ he knew Flynn, but did not say if he was part of the group; Flynn did not respond to a request for comment. Emails written by Smith and one of his associates show that their group considered Flynn and the business he started in 2014, Flynn Intel Group, to be connections, and an anti-Clinton research document put together by Smith and his crew mentioned that Flynn's son, Michael G. Flynn, was associated with the effort, WSJ reports.

U.S. officials with knowledge of the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election told WSJ that U.S. investigators have looked at reports from intelligence agencies that say Russian hackers were talking about ways to obtain emails from Clinton's server and get them to Flynn through an intermediary. An unidentified computer expert told WSJ that based on his conversations with Smith, he understood that the elder Flynn was working with Smith in his capacity as a member of the Trump campaign.

Smith revealed that he found five different groups of hackers who said they had Clinton's deleted emails, and two were most likely tied to the Russian government. He was never able to authenticate the batch of emails they sent him, Smith said, so he told the hackers to send them to WikiLeaks so they could leak them; WikiLeaks did not publish the documents Smith saw or claim to have the emails. Read the entire report at The Wall Street Journal. Catherine Garcia

June 9, 2017
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The U.K.'s newly elected House of Commons holds the global record for the most openly gay members. University of North Carolina professor and election expert Andrew Reynolds calculated that now 7 percent of Parliament is openly LGBTQ.

Eight men — five from the Labour Party and three from the Tories — are the newest LGBTQ members of Parliament, bringing the total up to 45 out LGBTQ MPs. Reynolds reported that in total there are 19 Labour members, 19 Tories, and 7 SNP members who are openly gay.

While Thursday's election was a win for the LGBTQ community, it marked a devastating loss for British Prime Minister Theresa May as her Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority. May's party did remain the largest party in Parliament, prompting May to say she will still form a government.

The Conservatives are expected to win just 318 seats, while Labour is expected to bump its number of seats up to 261. Becca Stanek

June 1, 2017

Republican super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund found a way to incorporate comedian Kathy Griffin in its new ad targeting Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff. The ad — which features the controversial image of Griffin holding up a bloodied, detached head resembling that of President Trump — claims Griffin is a "celebrity supporter" of Ossoff, who is running against Republican Karen Handel in Georgia's special House election.

"Liberal extremists have gone too far," the ad declares. Images of filmmaker Michael Moore, protesters smashing windows, and cars on fire flash on the screen before the ad concludes that Ossoff is "one of them."

Watch it below. Becca Stanek

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