December 15, 2020

Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard has been arrested in Winnipeg and hit with sex trafficking charges.

Nygard on Tuesday was indicted on charges including racketeering and sex trafficking as prosecutors accused him of a "decades-long pattern of criminal conduct," The New York Times reports.

The U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York in a news release detailed the nine-count indictment, alleging that over the course of 25 years, Nygard used his company's "influence, as well as its employees, funds, and other resources, to recruit and maintain adult and minor-aged female victims," often targeting victims from disadvantaged backgrounds or with a history of abuse. He and his co-conspirators allegedly "used force, fraud, and coercion to cause women and minors to have sex with Nygard and others," prosecutors said.

Nygard sexually assaulted some of the victims, prosecutors also alleged, and other victims were allegedly "forcibly assaulted by Nygard's associates or drugged to ensure their compliance with his sexual demands." The prosecutors said Nygard used false promises of career opportunities, threats, and other "coercive means" to control his victims, allegedly requiring them to "engage in sexual activity at his direction" and recruit other women or minors for him to have sex with.

News of the indictment comes after The New York Times reported in February that Nygard's Manhattan corporate headquarters and Los Angeles home had been raided amid an investigation into sexual assault allegations. He subsequently stepped down as the chair of Nygard International. Brendan Morrow

November 24, 2020

Apple's head of global security has been indicted after allegedly offering law enforcement officials iPads as bribes in exchange for concealed firearms licenses.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's office on Monday said a grand jury has charged Apple Chief Security Officer Thomas Moyer with bribery. Santa Clara County Undersheriff Rick Sung and Captain James Jensen were also charged. Sung allegedly "held up the issuance of [concealed firearms] licenses, refusing to release them until the applicants gave something of value," while being "aided by Captain Jensen in one instance."

In Moyer's case, four concealed firearms licenses had been "withheld from Apple employees," and he allegedly promised Apple would donate 200 iPads "worth close to $70,000" to the Sheriff's Office in exchange for the licenses. This plan was "scuttled at the eleventh hour" after Moyer and Sung found out about a search warrant for the license records, the District Attorney's office said. A local business owner was also charged for allegedly offering tickets to a hockey game in exchange for a concealed firearms license.

"Undersheriff Sung and Captain Jensen treated CCW licenses as commodities and found willing buyers," Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "Bribe seekers should be reported to the District Attorney's Office, not rewarded with compliance."

Moyer's attorney told The Washington Post he "did nothing wrong," saying his arrangement to donate iPads to an education center for the sheriff's office wasn't connected with the permit requests. The attorney added, "We have no doubt he will be acquitted at trial." An Apple spokesperson also said in a statement, "We expect all of our employees to conduct themselves with integrity. After learning of the allegations, we conducted a thorough internal investigation and found no wrongdoing." Brendan Morrow

October 9, 2020

Rapper Tory Lanez has been charged in connection with the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced that Lanez has been charged for allegedly shooting at Megan Thee Stallion's feet several times and wounding her after they got into an argument in an SUV in July. He's facing charges of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and of carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle.

Megan Thee Stallion had previously spoken out about the incident, alleging that Lanez shot her and sharing a photo of her gunshot wound on social media.

"You shot me," she said in a video in August addressing Lanez, per CNN. "And you got your publicist and your people going to these blogs lying and sh-t. Stop lying. Why lie? I don't understand."

The "Savage" rapper also said that at the time she didn't "tell the police nothing because I didn't want us to get in no more trouble," per The New York Times, asking, "You want me to tell the law that we got a gun in the car so that they can shoot all of us up?"

Lanez if convicted on the charges against him faces up to 22 years and eight months in prison. Brendan Morrow

September 17, 2020

Jerry Harris, one of the subjects of Netflix's hit cheerleading documentary series Cheer, has been arrested on a federal child pornography charge.

The U.S. Attorney's Office on Thursday said that 21-year-old Harris was arrested for "allegedly enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself," and he is charged with one count of producing child pornography. Harris allegedly contacted an underage boy through social media, who told him he was 13 years old, and "repeatedly enticed him" to produce and send him sexually explicit videos and photos, prosecutors said.

USA Today reported earlier this week that Harris was under investigation by the FBI, also reporting that Varsity Brands, a private company that conducts business in the cheerleading industry, had made police aware of "inappropriate sexual conduct" allegations against Harris. The investigation, USA Today writes, is "based on allegations brought by 14-year-old twin brothers," who "described a pattern of harassment, both online and at cheer competitions, that started when they were 13 and Harris was 19" and "continued for more than a year." An attorney representing the alleged victims filed a lawsuit against Harris earlier this week, CNN reports.

A spokesperson for Harris said "we categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager," adding that "we are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed." But Harris reportedly "admitted to investigators that he had asked the underage boy for sexually explicit photos through Snapchat," according to BuzzFeed News.

Prosecutors said Harris' initial court appearance is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Brendan Morrow

June 23, 2020

Porn star Ron Jeremy has been hit with sexual assault charges.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office on Tuesday announced that Jeremy has been charged with sexually assaulting four women in incidents from 2014 through 2019, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Prosecutors accused Jeremy of forcibly raping a woman at a West Hollywood home in 2014, sexually assaulting two women at a West Hollywood bar in 2017, and forcibly raping a woman at that West Hollywood bar in 2019. He was charged with three counts each of forcible rape and forcible penetration by a foreign object, as well as one count each of forcible oral copulation and sexual battery, prosecutors said.

Jeremy had previously been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women, per Rolling Stone. He has denied the allegations, telling Rolling Stone in 2017, "These allegations are pure lies or buyers remorse. I have never and would never rape anyone." Jeremy faces up to 90 years in prison if convicted on the charges. Brendan Morrow

June 6, 2020

Two Buffalo police officers, Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, were both charged with one count of second-degree assault Saturday, prosecutors said, after they were seen on video Thursday shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground during a protest against police brutality. The officers have pleaded not guilty and were released without bail, The Associated Press reports.

The video sparked outrage across the country, and criticism intensified when the Buffalo Police Department said the protester, Martin Gugino, tripped and fell. Gugino, described as a longtime peace activist, was hospitalized with a head injury resulting from the fall. He is now in "serious, but stable condition" and is "progressing in his recovery."

McCabe and Torgalski were suspended without pay Friday, prompting all 57 of their colleagues on the Buffalo Police Department's emergency response team to resign from the unit — but not the police force altogether — in their defense.

The charges are the latest examples of swift action being taken against police officers in the wake of George Floyd's death. In Minneapolis, the officer who pressed his knee against Floyd's neck has been fired and charged with second-degree murder, while three other ex-officers who watched the scene unfold and did not intervene were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. And two officers in Atlanta were fired this week after footage captured them using excessive force against two African-American college students who were out after a citywide curfew. Read more at The Associated Press and NPR. Tim O'Donnell

June 3, 2020

Three former police officers are reportedly being hit with charges in connection with the death of George Floyd, and another ex-cop's charges have been upgraded.

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd said he couldn't breathe, last week was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. On Wednesday, the Star Tribune reported that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will elevate the charges to second-degree murder.

Additionally, the three other officers who were are at the scene, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane, are being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, according to the Star Tribune.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) heralded the news in a tweet, writing, "This is another important step for justice." CNN on Wednesday afternoon cited court records confirming the other officers have been charged.

This development comes after attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Floyd family, said he expected the other three officers seen in videos of Floyd's death to be arrested "before we have the memorial here in Minneapolis tomorrow," calling them "just as guilty for the death of George Floyd as Officer Chauvin." Crump released a statement to the Star Tribune on Wednesday saying "this is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd's body was laid to rest." Brendan Morrow

May 29, 2020

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was arrested in connection with the death of George Floyd, has now been charged with murder.

Prosecutors on Friday announced that Chauvin, who was fired after he was filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost 10 minutes while Floyd said that he couldn't breathe, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The charges were unveiled shortly after Chauvin's arrest was announced and four days after Floyd's death, which has sparked nationwide outrage and protests.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman in a press conference said this is "by far the fastest we've ever charged a police officer."

"We can only charge a case when he have sufficient, admissible evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt," he said. "As of right now, we have that."

An investigation into the other officers involved in the incident is ongoing, Freeman said, adding that "I anticipate charges." A complaint is being processed and will be released later today.

Shortly after the charges were announced, Attorney General William Barr said in a statement that the Department of Justice is "conducting an independent investigation to determine whether any federal civil rights laws were violated," saying "I am confident justice will be served." Brendan Morrow

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