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Tuesday, Jan 31st

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Highest-profile Jan.6th trial to begin

Highest profile Jan 6 trial begins

The January 6 committee investigating the attack on the Capitol may have issued its huge final report, but the wheels of the justice system in the US are grinding on and one of the most high-profile trials emerging from the insurrection is about to begin in earnest.

Jury selection began last week with the seditious conspiracy trial against ex-Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio and four others involved in the far-right, often violent militia group.

Tarrio and his co-defendants in the Washington DC federal court trial – Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl, Dominic Pezzola and Proud Boy organizer Joe Biggs – are charged with seditious conspiracy and other counts related to the attack that delayed congressional certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, injured dozens of police officers and is linked to multiple deaths. They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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Judge tosses Kari Lake's election-challenge in Arizona governor's race

Kari Lake case lost

A judge on Saturday dismissed Republican Kari Lake’s election challenge and affirmed Democrat Katie Hobbs’ election as governor two days after a trial in which he said Lake failed to prove her case.

Maricopa County Judge Peter Thompson, who oversaw the two-day trial, ruled that Lake’s legal team never offered clear and convincing evidence showing the election was rigged against her.

Lake can appeal the case before Hobbs is expected to be sworn into office Jan. 2. Because of the tight timetable, the case may move swiftly to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Thompson noted that real problems did affect the election, but election workers tried their best and performed their role "with integrity."

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How Trump jettisoned restraints at Mar-a-Lago and prompted legal peril

Trump at Mar-a-LagpWhen Donald Trump invited the rapper formerly known as Kanye West and white supremacist Nick Fuentes to join him for dinner on the patio of his Florida club last month, the former president had no chief of staff or senior aide at his side.

There was no scheduler, either, nor a press aide. Only one person staffed Trump at the gathering with antisemites that drew days of denunciations: Walt Nauta, a cook and military valet in the Trump White House who is now employed as an all-purpose gofer for the former president and who ushered the group to the table before leaving them alone to talk. Nauta has continued to serve Trump loyally at Mar-a-Lago, even as he has emerged as a key witness in the Justice Department’s investigation of whether Trump purposely hid classified documents stored at the club from authorities.

The Nov. 22 dinner, described by three people familiar with the event, neatly encapsulates Trump’s post-presidential life — a reminder of how a former president who worked steadily to dismantle the government guardrails imposed by his elected office is now almost entirely without restraint.

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28 Republicans Vote Against Bill To Protect Child Sex Abuse Survivors

Larry NassarIn the House vote Wednesday on the Respect for Child Survivors Act, 28 Republicans said no to the legislation that aims to address the FBI’s mishandling of child sex abuse cases.

The bipartisan bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in the wake of the investigation of Larry Nassar, the longtime doctor for the U.S. women’s national gymnastics team. Multiple reports of Nassar’s sexual abuse of children and young women on the team were ignored for years. Through this legislation, the FBI would be required to use multidisciplinary teams of trained professionals in investigations of sexual abuse to address the problems of poorly conducted interviews and the re-traumatizing of survivors.

Nassar was convicted in federal and state trials in 2017 and 2018 and is serving 60 years in federal prison before he begins his state prison sentences.

Despite opposition from the GOP lawmakers, the bill passed in the House on a vote of 385 to 28. But many are calling attention to the hypocrisy of the Republicans who voted no.

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Sean Hannity admits in deposition he didn’t believe Trump voter fraud claims

Sean HannityFox News host Sean Hannity admitted under oath that he “did not believe” for “one second” there was mass voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Hannity’s testimony was included in court depositions released on Wednesday in the Delaware Superior Court, according to The New York Times. The depositions were part of a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News brought by Dominion Voting Systems.

Hannity was responding to a question in the deposition on whether he believed the false claims made by former President Trump’s attorney Sidney Powell in November 2020.

Powell told Hannity then that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election and that voting machines manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems helped steal the election by switching votes.

“I did not believe it for one second,” Hannity said in the released deposition, according to the Times.

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DeSantis appoints judge who denied abortion to girl over school grades

DeSantis

Florida’s rightwing Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has appointed a judge who was previously ousted over a controversial ruling where he denied a teenager an abortion, citing her school grades.

DeSantis appointed Jared Smith to the newly established sixth district court of appeal, an appointment which will begin on 1 January 2023. Smith previously served as a judge on the Hillsborough county court until he was ousted in August after his decision on the abortion-related case.

In January, Smith had ruled that a 17-year-old teenager was unfit to obtain an abortion as he questioned her “overall intelligence”. According to Florida law, both parental notification and consent is required in order for a minor to receive an abortion. In the teenager’s case, she had asked the court to waive the requirement.rre

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House Ways and Means Committee votes to release years of Trump’s redacted tax records

House Committee Chairmen Neal and BradyThe House Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday evening to release redacted versions of federal income tax returns filed by former President Donald Trump when he was running for and serving in the White House.

The 24-16 vote along party lines came after the Democratic-controlled committee spent more than four hours in executive session discussing whether to release the tax returns, which span from 2015 through 2020, and the manner of that release.

The committee last month received the returns from the Internal Revenue Service after a multi-year court battle to obtain them over objections from Trump.

Tuesday’s vote was the latest in a series of negative developments for Trump, who last month announced he will seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2024.

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