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Judge Denies DOJ Attempt To End E. Jean Carroll Lawsuit Against Trump

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A federal judge has denied the Justice Department’s effort to intervene in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against President Donald Trump.

What We Know:

  • In her 2019 book, Carroll alleged that Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store in the ’90s. Trump denied the allegations and told reporters that this was her attempt to market the book and that “she’s not my type”.
  • The DOJ attempted to substitute itself as the defendant in the case and replace Trump. This would have effectively ended the case as the federal government cannot be sued for defamation.
  • US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the DOJ could not replace Trump as the defendant because he “is not an ’employee of the Government,’ as Congress defined the term,” and that the lawsuit is not against the United States. Kaplan’s ruling allows for Trump to be sued personally in the defamation case.
  • Judge Kaplan also rejected the DOJ’s argument that Trump’s comments about Carroll were within the scope of the federal government, writing “while commenting on the operation of government is part of the regular business of the United States, commenting on sexual assault allegations unrelated to the operation of government is not.”
  • Carroll filed her defamation suit in a New York state court and the case is now set to proceed to federal court. Carroll’s attorneys can move forward in taking Trump’s deposition under oath and obtaining a DNA sample for the case.

Carroll commented on the decision, saying “When I spoke out about what Donald Trump did to me in a department store dressing room, I was speaking out against an individual. When Donald Trump called me a liar and denied that he had ever met me, he was not speaking on behalf of the United States.”

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Sagar is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo. He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in Trumpet Performance and Economics. Sagar writes for Black News Alerts and the BNA Daily Podcast. He also produces the BossFM Morning Show.

Entertainment

Roy Moore’s Lawsuit Against Sacha Baron Cohen Thrown Out By Judge

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(Julie Bennett/jbennett@al.com)

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and his wife Kayla Moore’s $95 million lawsuit against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen was thrown out by U.S. District Judge John Cronan on Tuesday.

What We Know:

  • The Moore’s were attempting to sue Cohen for defamation and emotional distress after a satirical interview segment which aired in 2018 on Cohen’s comedy series “Who Is America?”. Moore was told he was receiving an award for supporting Israel when Cohen, posed as a counterterrorism instructor named Col. Erran Morad, started discussing bogus military technology. He pulled out a “detection device” he claimed the Israeli army used to identify pedophiles and it lit up when held near Moore, a reference to sexual misconduct scandals faced by the judge. Moore had signed a disclosure agreement prior to the interview that prohibited any legal claims over the appearance.
  • In 2017, Moore lost a special election for Alabama’s open Senate seat to Democrat Doug Jones. Allegations had surfaced that when he was in his 30s he had pursued romantic relationships with teen girls. Some of these women accused him of sexual misconduct; he denied the claims. Moore was also known as the Ten Commandments Judge for his stances against same-sex marriage and support for a public display of the Ten Commandments.
  • Judge Cronan said Moore waived his right to sue when he signed the disclosure agreement which contained “unambiguous contractual language”. He produced a 26-page ruling on the case. “Given the satirical nature of that segment and the context in which it was presented, no reasonable viewer would have interpreted Cohen’s conduct during the interview as asserting factual statements concerning Judge Moore,” Cronan wrote.
  • Kayla Moore’s claims were barred by the First Amendment, according to Judge Cronan. Court records show that Moore and his wife are appealing the suit. In a statement sent by text to The Associated Press, Moore said, “Of course we will appeal —  this court used words like ‘tricked and joke’ in describing Cohen’s behavior but will still do nothing to rein in his fraudulent misconduct.”

Cohen has faced lawsuits in the past for similar pranks, but those were also tossed out because individuals had signed similar releases.

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Supreme Court won’t overturn ruling against business that refused service for gay weddings

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The Supreme Court on Friday declined to wade into the contentious issue of whether businesses have a right to refuse service for same-sex wedding ceremonies despite state laws forbidding them from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

The court dodged the wedding question three years ago in a case involving a Colorado baker who said baking a cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage would violate his right of free expression and religious beliefs. The issue came back in an appeal brought by Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Washington.

The court said Friday that it would not take up her appeal, leaving the state court rulings against her intact and again ducking the hot-button issue. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said the court should have taken the case.

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Trump Organization and CFO Charged in Tax Scheme, Plead Not Guilty

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Allen Weisselberg, center. Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

The Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg were charged with 15 counts for alleged fraud and tax evasion.

What We Know:

  • Lawyers for the Trump Organization and its top executives pleaded not guilty to a 15-count indictment alleging the company secretly redirected money to executives to avoid taxes on $1.7 million of income. Beginning in 2005, the money was untaxed indirect employee compensation. Prosecutors claim the Trump Organization failed to report the payments for tax purposes.
  • CFO Weisselberg and two corporate entities were declared co-defendants in the indictment. Some charges include tax fraud, false statements, false filings, false tax instruments, and falsifying business records. Prosecutors term the fund funneling an “orchestrated scheme” to benefit top executives, giving them undocumented perks and raises that bypass taxing.

“It was orchestrated by the most senior executives, who were financially benefiting themselves and the company, by getting secret pay raises at the expense of state and federal taxpayers,” an assistant district attorney told the judge.

  • Off-the-books payments by corporations are legal as long as they are not in the form of a paycheck. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, however, faults the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg for allegedly failing to account for checks given out, checks which Weisselberg signed.
  • Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty and refute the indictments. The Trump Organization considers the indictment a political attack. Defense lawyers Alan S. Futerfas, Bettina Schein, and Susan R. Necheles consider the case one to be resolved by civil tax authorities.

“In our view, this case was brought because the companies’ name is Trump. This case signals that it is now open season for local prosecutors to target federal political opponents and adversaries.”

  • Former President Donald Trump has not been personally charged with any crimes. Thursday morning, Weisselberg surrendered to authorities and turned himself in. If convicted, he faces more than 10 years in prison.

Weisselberg was released on his own recognizance after giving up his passport. He is expected in court on September 20.

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