July 14, 2020

Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell has been denied bail.

In a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Alison Nathan ordered Maxwell, who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly conspiring with Epstein to sexually abuse minors, to be jailed until her trial, which is now set to begin in July 2021, Axios reports. She pleaded not guilty.

Maxwell's attorneys had asked for her to await trial outside of jail, arguing that "COVID-19-related restrictions on attorney communications with pre-trial detainees significantly impair a defendant's ability to prepare her defense." But prosecutors said Maxwell is an "extreme" flight risk, and on Tuesday, the judge agreed, saying Maxwell "poses a substantial actual risk of flight," The New York Times reports. The judge denied the request "to be allowed to stay in a luxury New York City hotel — instead of federal lockup — until her trial," The New York Post writes.

Accuser Annie Farmer at the hearing urged the judge to deny Maxwell bail, saying that she is a "sexual predator who groomed and abused me and countless other children and young women," CNBC reports. Prosecutor Alison Moe also read a statement from another woman who wasn't identified by name saying that "without Ghislaine, Jeffrey could not have done what he did." Brendan Morrow

April 16, 2020

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that President Trump's longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone does not deserve to have a new trial, saying that his legal team's claim of juror misconduct "is not supported by any facts or data and it is contrary to controlling legal precedent."

Stone was convicted in November of lying to Congress and witness tampering, and sentenced to three years and four months in prison. In her 81-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote that the jury forewoman's social media posts "may suggest" that she has "strong opinions about certain people or issues, they do not reveal that she had an opinion about Roger Stone, which is the opinion that matters."

She also said Stone's attorneys had the chance to do more research on the juror before agreeing to place her on the panel, and their motion was a "tower of indignation" with "little of substance holding it up." Catherine Garcia

March 25, 2020

A federal judge on Tuesday said President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen must "accept the consequences of his criminal convictions," and cannot leave prison early because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Cohen was sentenced in 2018 to three years in prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress. He is now serving time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York. His lawyers have argued that with the coronavirus spreading so easily, prisoners are "at an enhanced risk of catching the virus," and the federal Bureau of Prisons is "demonstrably incapable of safeguarding and treating" inmates.

Cohen requested that either his sentence be reduced to 12 months and a day or he serve the rest of his time in home confinement. U.S. District Judge William Pauley III was unmoved, writing on Tuesday that this was "just another effort to inject himself into the news cycle." Cohen has served 10 months of his prison term, Pauley said, and it is time he "accept the consequences of his criminal convictions for serious crimes that have had far reaching institutional harms." Catherine Garcia

January 10, 2020

The Army has rejected a request from Maj. Matt Golsteyn, the soldier charged with murder who was pardoned by President Trump in November, that he be reinstated in the elite Green Berets.

In 2018, Golsteyn was charged was murder, accused of killing a man in Afghanistan in 2010. Golsteyn said the man was a suspected Taliban bomb maker who was killed during an ambush. He admitted to the killing while taking a polygraph exam for a position with the CIA. His trial was set to begin in December, but Trump intervened in November, giving him clemency.

After his pardon, Golsteyn asked that his Special Forces tab be restored, but the Army notified his lawyer last month that his request had been denied. The decision was reaffirmed on Thursday, NBC News reports, and this could lead to a showdown between the Defense Department and Trump. Catherine Garcia

December 10, 2019

Bill Cosby's appeal of his sexual assault conviction has just been rejected.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Tuesday rejected Cosby's appeal to overturn his conviction, The Associated Press reports. Multiple arguments from Cosby's lawyers were rejected, including their objection to the judge allowing five women to testify during his retrial when only one testified in the first trial. The Superior Court found this was permissible for establishing a pattern of behavior.

Cosby, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, was sentenced in 2018 to three to 10 years in prison on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004. He can now appeal to the state Supreme Court, and his spokesperson in a statement Tuesday said he plans to do so.

"We're not shocked because it shows the world that this isn't about justice, but this is a political scheme to destroy America's Dad, however they will not stop us and we will prevail in the State Supreme Court," Cosby's spokesperson said, adding that Cosby "remains hopeful and he stands behind his innocence."

Constand on Tuesday told AP, "This decision is a reminder that no one is above the law." Brendan Morrow

August 15, 2019

Two Democratic lawmakers with plans to visit Israel in the coming days may not be allowed to do so.

Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), two members of the "squad" that President Trump has feuded with, have a trip to Israel scheduled for Aug. 18 through Aug. 22nd. But CNN cites a government official as saying "there is a possibility that Israel will not allow the visit in its current proposed format."

This reported decision would be over the two lawmakers' support for the boycott of Israel movement of BDS, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, which Tlaib and Omar voted against a condemnation of. Israel has implemented a law blocking travel visas to foreign nationals who support a boycott.

Congressional Democrats have now "quietly braced for a new public fight" with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should entry to the two lawmakers be denied, reports The Washington Post, adding that it's unclear whether the decision will be followed through on after Wednesday backlash. The Post points out that Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said just last month that Israel would not deny any U.S. lawmakers entry due to its "respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America."

Were Israel to deny Tlaib and Omar entry, it seems Trump would be pleased, as Axios recently reported that the president has told his advisers he thinks the two lawmakers should be prevented from visiting the country, and his "private views have reached the top level of the Israeli government." The White House denied issuing a directive to Israel. Brendan Morrow

July 31, 2019

The inspector general of the intelligence community notified four top Senate Democrats on Wednesday that he cannot launch an investigation into how the White House handled security clearances for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, as only President Trump can make such a request.

In his letter, obtained by NBC News, Michael Atkinson told Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) that the "authority over access to classified information ultimately rests with the president of the United States. It is well-established that the president of the United States has broad latitude concerning the process through which security clearances are granted, transferred, or revoked, as well as broad flexibility in determining whom to choose as his advisers and to what extent those advisers may gain access to information, including national security information."

The senators quickly fired off a letter to Trump, asking him to request the investigation, as "public reporting has raised serious concerns about irregularities and questionable decisions related to eligibility determinations for [White House] personnel access to classified information."

Multiple outlets have reported that Kushner's security clearance application was rejected by specialists in the White House's personnel security office and intelligence officials, over concerns raised by his background check, but they were overruled. He's not the only one who has top-secret clearance and shouldn't, a whistleblower told the House Oversight Committee earlier this year; she testified that despite warnings about criminal conduct, foreign ties, and drug use, 25 people received clearances or access to national security information over the previous year. Catherine Garcia

July 18, 2019

Jeffrey Epstein won't be released to the scene of his alleged crimes.

As the multimillionaire faces charges for allegedly running a sex ring involving dozens of minor girls, Epstein's lawyers proposed a bail package that would allow him to wait for his trial in his Manhattan townhouse. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman dismissed what he called an "irretrievably inadequate" package Thursday, saying he posed a "danger to the community" if he returned home, NBC News reports.

Epstein has been accused of sexual abusing girls both in his Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, properties, and faces sexual abuse charges that carry a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison. He recently pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his lawyers then proposed a $77 million bail package that would let Epstein stay in his townhouse guarded by private security. The package would also require he deregister his vehicles and private jet.

But on Thursday, Berman still decided that prosecutors displayed "clear and convincing evidence" that Epstein remained a flight risk. Berman also cited Epstein's failure to comply with a 1980 plea deal that required him to check in with the New York Police Department and mentioned that he "considered" the recent testimonies of two of Epstein's alleged victims in making his decision. Kathryn Krawczyk

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