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Harvey Weinstein: fourth accuser opts out of settlement to pursue own claim

Harvey Weinstein: fourth accuser opts out of settlement to pursue own claimExclusive: Dominique Huett says settlement amount ‘not very fair’ and joins growing list of women to reject proposed dealA controversial proposed settlement between Harvey Weinstein and alleged victims of his sexual misconduct faces further delays, as a fourth accuser opts out and several others plan to object.Dominique Huett will remove herself from the settlement in order to pursue her own claim against the movie mogul, the Guardian can reveal. At least two other accusers have retained lawyers to file formal objections to the deal.Last month, it was reported that Weinstein and more than 30 women had reached a tentative deal following two years of negotiations.However, the Guardian has learned that a settlement hearing that was due before Weinstein’s criminal trial in New York has been postponed until at least February. It is not known if this was due to the growing number of women opting out.Huett joins three others who have decided to not be a part of the agreement: Wedil David, Kaja Sokola and Alexandra Canosa.Huett told the Guardian: “Originally I thought it was the best option for everyone, but after finding out more details, I think that opting out is the best way to get a better deal for me and for everyone.”Under the proposed deal, Weinstein would not have to pay a penny or admit any wrongdoing. The settlement would be paid by insurance companies representing the producer’s former studio, the Weinstein Company. More than $ 12m – a quarter of the overall package – would go towards legal costs for Weinstein and his board.“I feel the settlement amount is not very fair for all victims and the way it is structured really benefits the defendants a lot more than us,” Huett said. “I want to opt out to set a precedent for others and say that this settlement is not just.”> The settlement is not very fair and benefits the defendants more than us> > Dominique HuettHuett has retained a new attorney, Douglas Wigdor, who represents two others who have opted out. Wigdor believes the $ 500,000 Huett was offered was “not fair”. “I think Dominique’s case is worth significantly more than this,” he said.Wigdor will take on Huett’s claim, which was filed in a California court in October 2017, under sex trafficking laws. She was the first alleged Weinstein victim to file a civil claim and unlike many other accusers has a case within the statute of limitations.Huett alleges that in 2010, Weinstein invited her to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel in Los Angeles for a business meeting. She says he forced oral sex on her then masturbated, telling her it was a right of passage to a career in Hollywood.“He wouldn’t take no for an answer,” she said. “I refused and said no but was so shocked and paralysed by fear that I froze.“It’s devastating to think that what he did to me had happened to so many other actresses in the years before and that if his company had acted when they first learnt of his behaviour, it would never have happened to me.”Weinstein has denied any claim, criminal or civil, of non-consensual sex.The proposed settlement with some of his alleged victims is part of a $ 47m deal aimed at paying Weinstein Company debts. Of this sum, around $ 6.2m would go to 18 accusers who filed cases in the US, Canada and the UK. Approximately $ 18.5m is thought to be set aside for class-action participants, more of whom are expected. Board members of the Weinstein Company would be protected from liability.Zelda Perkins and Rowena Chiu have also retained Wigdor to file objections to the deal, the Guardian has learned. Kevin Mintzer is also counsel for Huett, Perkins, and Chiu.Perkins and Chiu, Weinstein’s British assistants in the late 90s, reached a settlement and signed an NDA in 1998 after they alleged he attempted to rape Chiu at the Venice film festival. Perkins and Chiu are not part of the proposed settlement, but say they are speaking out for other victims.“This is the whole reason I broke my NDA, so women can’t be pushed into a corner,” Perkins told the Guardian.“It is not indicative or correct compensation for the crimes and the majority of that money is being fed back to Harvey’s own defence,” she said of the deal. “They’re making it look like he’s compensating victims but he and his board of directors will be gaining more than the individuals will be.”Perkins added: “Ultimately the most important thing is that these women get compensation.”Wigdor said: “We are not seeking to prevent survivors who want to participate in a settlement from doing so. We just want to ensure that those who don’t are not precluded from going after insurance proceeds and the directors, and that the terms of the agreement are fair.”Caitlin Dulany, a lead plaintiff in the settlement, believes it is the best option for many women.If the settlement did not go ahead, she said, “it would mean that the majority of us – whose claims were dismissed or outside the statute of limitations – would be unlikely to recover anything. The settlement is important to me because it recognises the trauma that all survivors have endured, and not just that of a select few.”If the proposed settlement or an amended version were to proceed, it would allow other accusers to join.Katherine Kendall who like Dulany was part of the original class action, said: “It’s been a huge effort for all of us over the past two years, but the main thing is we want to be in a position where other women can come forward and join us..”Lisa Rose, who worked as a British administrator for Weinstein in 1988 and claims he harassed her, said she would file an objection to the settlement but added: “I understand completely that for some women taking the settlement is the right course of action and don’t want to get in their way.”



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Explainer: Biden, allies pushed out Ukrainian prosecutor because he didn't pursue corruption cases

Explainer: Biden, allies pushed out Ukrainian prosecutor because he didn't pursue corruption casesTrump has claimed Biden forced out Ukraine's top prosecutor in order to benefit his son. Former diplomats say the prosecutor wasn't doing his job.



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Judge Pressures Prosecutors to Decide Whether to Pursue a Case Against McCabe

Judge Pressures Prosecutors to Decide Whether to Pursue a Case Against McCabeWASHINGTON — The Justice Department has come under increasing pressure in its investigation of the former deputy FBI director Andrew G. McCabe, as a federal judge threatened to release internal department records unless prosecutors decide whether to move forward with or abandon the politically charged case.Judge Reggie B. Walton of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who is presiding over a lawsuit over FBI documents related to McCabe's firing last year, said at a hearing on Monday that he would soon begin releasing them. The Justice Department has argued that the materials should stay confidential while prosecutors investigate McCabe over whether he lied to internal investigators about dealings with the news media."You all have got to cut and make your decision," Walton said, according to a transcript. "It's not a hard decision, and I think it needs to be made. If it's not made, I'm going to start ordering the release of information because I think our society, our public, does have a right to know what's going on."McCabe, long a target of President Donald Trump's, was the subject of a scathing report by the Justice Department inspector general's office that faulted him for violating media policy and repeatedly misleading its investigators. They were asking about an October 2016 Wall Street Journal article about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe, working through the FBI press office, had authorized a spokesman and a bureau lawyer to speak to a reporter to rebut allegations that he had slowed the inquiry.McCabe was fired in March 2018, hours before retirement benefits would have kicked in, and the inspector general referred his findings to federal prosecutors in Washington a month later.Walton's stern warning came as prosecutors grappled with whether to bring charges in what is a seemingly straightforward case with a limited set of facts and witnesses that has been under investigation for 19 months."This matter is a high-profile matter," Walton said. He added that as long as prosecutors hold off on deciding how to proceed, they "undermine the credibility not only of the Justice Department because it's not making these hard decisions, but also the court."McCabe's lawyers have argued that the case is weak and that he is being singled out because of the president's disdain for him. Trump has relentlessly attacked McCabe, potentially complicating any prosecution. McCabe has said the president targeted him to undermine his standing as a witness to whether he obstructed justice in the Russia inquiry.In August, McCabe's lawyers met with Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy attorney general, to make a last-ditch appeal for prosecutors to drop the case. Their pleas were rebuffed, and an indictment appeared imminent. But the grand jury hearing the case reconvened last month after weeks without meeting but did not indict McCabe, raising questions about whether prosecutors delayed a vote by jurors to avoid a rare and embarrassing setback of their declining to hand up an indictment.Other setbacks have emerged for the government. One prosecutor on the case left the Justice Department and has said it lacked merit while another left on what seemed like the eve of a possible indictment.A key witness in the case — Lisa Page, the former FBI lawyer whom McCabe authorized to speak to the Wall Street Journal reporter — also told the grand jury that he was not motivated to lie about the episode because he was authorized to speak with reporters and thus did not violate media policy. Her sympathetic testimony to McCabe would most likely be a problem for prosecutors.Another important witness who testified before the grand jury, Michael Kortan, the spokesman involved in the episode, could not immediately remember how the leak unfolded.Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group, sued in July 2018 for the records related to McCabe's dismissal. The organization is seeking access to investigators' notes taken during Kortan's interview, which could be exculpatory to McCabe, the group's lawyer, Anne Weismann, argued during the hearing."We're in dark times," she told the judge, saying that growing evidence showed that Trump was abusing his powers to go after perceived enemies in the intelligence and law enforcement communities. McCabe, she said, was "swept up in that."The judge seemed to acknowledge her point, noting that Trump was "going after the courts, too." He later added, "I totally appreciate what you just said and share many of the same concerns that you have expressed."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company



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Iran says it will pursue aggressor even after limited attack – TV

Iran says it will pursue aggressor even after limited attack - TVIran will pursue any aggressor, even it carries out a limited attack, and seek to destroy it, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday, after attacks on Saudi oil sites which Riyadh and U.S officials blamed on Tehran. “Be careful, a limited aggression will not remain limited. Iran denies involvement in the attacks, which were claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, an Iranian-aligned group fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s civil war.



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Beto O’Rourke Vows to Pursue Gun Confiscation: ‘Hell Yes, We’re Going to Take Your AR-15’

Beto O’Rourke Vows to Pursue Gun Confiscation: ‘Hell Yes, We’re Going to Take Your AR-15’Beto O'Rourke vowed to confiscate legally owned rifles during the third Democratic primary debate on Thursday evening.Citing the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the former Democratic congressman said the federal government must seize certain semi-automatic rifles to prevent further tragedy.“The high-impact, high velocity round, when it hits your body shreds everything insider your body because it was designed to do that, so that you would bleed to death on the battlefield,” O’Rourke said to raucous applause.“When we see that being used against children, and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15 and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time,” he added. “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore.”O'Rourke went on to argue that his gun confiscation plan enjoys the support of the majority of voters, including those who reside in traditionally red states.“Folks who said, I would give that up, cut it to pieces, I don’t need this weapon to hunt, to defend myself. It is a weapon of war, so, let’s do the right thing, but let’s bring everyone in America into the conversation,” he said.Hours before the debate, O'Rourke urged major financial institutions not to finance gun transactions.“However inadvertent or deliberate, credit card companies and banks profit off of those who terrorize our communities,” O’Rourke said in an email to voters on Thursday. “And we know that in this moment, no one can sit on the sidelines. Everyone has a responsibility to do their part.”O'Rourke released an ambitious gun control plan last month that would create a national gun registry, and ban assault-style rifles, bump-stocks, silencers, and magazines that hold more than ten rounds.



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John Bolton's firing frees Trump to tear up his Iran policy, and pursue an unprecedented meeting with its president — at the risk of angering his hardline backers

John Bolton's firing frees Trump to tear up his Iran policy, and pursue an unprecedented meeting with its president — at the risk of angering his hardline backersWith John Bolton out, Trump could pursue a meeting with Iran's Hassan Rouhani. But this could anger some of his supporters, like Israel allies.



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Epstein’s Victims Will Pursue Civil Cases Against His Estate

Epstein’s Victims Will Pursue Civil Cases Against His Estate(Bloomberg) — Jeffrey Epstein is dead in an apparent suicide, but the women who say he sexually abused them plan to seek justice by suing his estate and helping any prosecutions of his enablers, according to lawyers and one of the women.Epstein, a financier accused of sex trafficking and conspiracy, was found dead Saturday morning in his jail cell in lower Manhattan. He was accused last month of trafficking underage girls from 2002 to 2005, but authorities may have expanded the case after dozens of potential victims contacted the FBI.Prosecutors acknowledged that Epstein’s death posed “yet another hurdle” for victims but signaled that others may be charged with aiding him. “Our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment – which included a conspiracy count – remains ongoing,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.Last month, Jennifer Araoz said he had raped her when she was a 15-year-old New York City high school student. On Saturday, she was angry that Epstein won’t have to face the survivors of his abuse in court.“We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed,” or the “pain and trauma he caused so many people,” Araoz said in a statement. “Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served.”Dozens of women claim that Epstein lured them to his Palm Beach, Florida, mansion, where he coerced them into sex, paid them, and asked them to bring him other girls. At least one other woman claims that Epstein trafficked her to his rich and powerful friends.The abuse allegedly took place as well at his Manhattan mansion, his Virgin Islands island and his New Mexico ranch property.Epstein will now carry to his grave the secrets of his sordid conduct, the escapades of his wealthy friends, and the mysteries of his financial dealings.Cheated Once Again“Jeffrey Epstein’s victims have once again been cheated out of an opportunity for justice,” said Jack Scarola, a Florida attorney who represented five women and litigated with him for 12 years. “I’m sure that none of them regret his death. All of them regret the loss of information that died with him.”Lawyers said that victims may pursue civil lawsuits against the estate of Epstein, a process that could take years and run up against laws barring claims that are too old. A decade ago, more than two dozen women reached confidential settlements with Epstein in Florida. The size of Epstein’s estate is unknown, although prosecutors say that after his arrest, he claimed a net worth of $ 559 million.Many questions have arisen since then about his wealth and business practices.Araoz’s lawyer said she planned to sue under a New York law that takes effect on Aug. 14, giving victims of child sexual abuse one year to sue over older claims. In Florida, sexual abuse victims have four years to file claims, with some exceptions for children, said Scarola.Emotional DayEmotions ran high for lawyers and victims on Saturday.“It’s possible that other people who conspired to protect Epstein, destroy evidence, pay off witnesses, or otherwise facilitate his sexual trafficking and predatory pedophilia may be charged,” said attorney Josh Schiller of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in Manhattan, whose firm represents nine victims. “They may also be sued individually as they are identified.”One person at potential risk is Ghislaine Maxwell, a friend of Epstein’s who at least one victim has accused of procuring underage girls for him. She settled an earlier case but could be named in other lawsuits.Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents three women, said the estate should preserve assets for his victims.“I am calling today for the administrators of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate to freeze all his assets and hold them for his victims who are filing civil cases,” Bloom said in a tweet. “Their lives have been shattered by his sexual assaults, their careers derailed. They deserve full and fair compensation NOW.”Epstein entered a controversial non-prosecution agreement more than a decade ago with U.S. prosecutors, which barred federal charges in the Southern District of Florida against him and four named conspirators. Instead, he admitted to two state prostitution charges and served 13 months in jail.Federal prosecutors in New York, who filed sex trafficking charges against Epstein last month, said they weren’t bound by the non-prosecution agreement in Florida.“I hope and expect that the investigation into his co-conspirators is ongoing and will continue,” Scarola said. “It’s hard to imagine that there is not an ongoing investigation into the involvement of others in Epstein’s criminal activities.”A federal judge ruled in February that the Justice Department broke the law by making that deal without consulting the accusers. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who was the lead federal prosecutor in Florida, resigned last month because of renewed public fury over the case. The judge in Florida is considering how to proceed in that case, in which Epstein was a party.Constitutional RightIn his civil lawsuits a decade ago, Epstein repeatedly invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination before settling cases.“The civil cases against Jeffrey Epstein were prosecuted in the absence of Epstein, who was asserting his Fifth Amendment right throughout,” Scarola said. “He might as well have been dead. The claims were progressing in the absence of Epstein being a source of information.”Epstein’s death came a day after a federal appeals court unsealed hundreds of pages of documents in a case that revealed new details about how he allegedly lured his victims and who enabled his sexual crimes.Read more: Epstein Pal Maxwell Loses Last-Ditch Attempt to Seal PapersThe filings revealed new allegations of sexual abuse by powerful men who associates with Epstein, including former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, and asset manager Glenn Dubin, chairman of Castleton Commodities International LLC. All three men deny the claims.(Adds prosecutors' statement in third paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: David Voreacos in New York at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net;Patricia Hurtado in Federal Court in Manhattan at pathurtado@bloomberg.net;Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Heather Smith at hsmith26@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Ian FisherFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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FBI agents are reluctant to pursue white nationalist extremists because they don't want to target Trump's base, former counterterrorism official says

FBI agents are reluctant to pursue white nationalist extremists because they don't want to target Trump's base, former counterterrorism official saysOne former FBI agent told The Washington Post that he thought political controversies had muted the response to violence by white nationalists.



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Mexico to pursue legal action after seven citizens killed in El Paso shooting

Mexico to pursue legal action after seven citizens killed in El Paso shootingForeign minister described the shooting as ‘an act of terrorism’ against Mexican-Americans and Mexican nationals in the US Mourners in Ciudad Juárez take part in a vigil after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. Photograph: STRINGER/ReutersMexico has promised to explore pursuing terrorism charges in the US legal system over the shooting in El Paso, Texas, which claimed the lives of seven Mexican citizens and left seven more injured.The Mexican foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, also said Sunday that Mexico would try to take legal action against the person or firm who sold the assault weapon used in the Saturday slayings. The country will also pursue the possibility of extraditing the suspect to Mexico, Ebrard said.“We consider this an act of terrorism against the Mexican-American community and Mexican nationals in the United States,” Ebrard told reporters. “Mexico is outraged. But we aren’t proposing to meet hate with hate. We will act with reason and according to the law and with firmness.”A 21-year-old man is suspected of opening fire in a Walmart store in the US border city on Saturday, killing at least 20 people. Police in El Paso are examining a hate-riddled message on the website 8chan, posted around 20 minutes before Saturday’s attack, that stated: “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”El Paso is located on the US-Mexico border, opposite the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez. Six of the victims in El Paso were Mexicans and another seven Mexicans were injured, including, Gloria Irma Márquez, a school teacher from Ciudad Juárez who crossed the border to shop Saturday and was killed in the gunfire, according to the newspaper Reforma.Mario de Alba, 45, travelled from Chihuahua state to shop in El Paso. He was shot in the back, according to the Associated Press. His wife, Olivia Mariscal, and 10-year-old daughter Erika were also wounded, but are recovering, according to relatives.The shooting in El Paso was just one of two to rock the United States over the weekend. A gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, in the early hours of Sunday morning, killing at least nine people.The spate of weekend shootings in the United States has caused indignation in Mexico – parts of which the US government warns citizens to avoid due to drug cartel violence.People gather in Juarez, Mexico, 3 August 2019, in a vigil for the Mexican nationals who were killed in an El Paso shopping-complex shooting. Photograph: Christian Chavez/APBut the shootout also triggered some uncomfortable self-reflection. It comes as Mexico endures waves of violence, including its own murder rate reaching record highs and frequent shootouts which claim multiple victims, but which generate little outrage outside the affected areas or get lost in a crowded news cycle.It also comes as Mexico cracks down on Central American migrants trying to transit the country on the way to the US border – even as it doggedly defends the rights of its own citizens living in the United States.“We’ve told ourselves that story for decades: we’re the victims in this (US-Mexico) relationship. And, in many ways, we have been,” said Carlos Bravo Regidor, a journalism professor in Mexico City.“With this new policy toward (migrating) Central Americans, the tables have turned and now Mexicans are the Americans to Central Americans.”The El Paso shootout prompted rare terse words on the US situation from Mexico’s foreign policy officials.“The intentionality of the attack against the Mexicans and the Latino community in El Paso is frightening. NO to hate speech. NO to xenophobic discourse,” tweeted Martha Bárcena, Mexico’s ambassador in Washington.The administration of president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commonly called “Amlo”, has pushed for action on the flow of US guns into Mexico, which inevitably end up in the hands of cartel thugs. But Amlo has preferred not provoke Trump, even as Trump has badmouthed Mexico ahead of his re-election campaign and threatened Mexico with tariffs if migration through Mexico wasn’t stopped.“We don’t want to interfere in the affairs of other countries. We’re going to continue sticking to the principles of non-intervention,” Amlo told an audience Sunday.“Hugs, not bullets. That’s our posture,” he added, repeating a campaign slogan from his successful 2018 presidential campaign.



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Justice Department will not pursue criminal contempt charges in Census dispute with Congress

Justice Department will not pursue criminal contempt charges in Census dispute with CongressThe U.S. Justice Department will not pursue criminal charges against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, after Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to hold them in contempt in a dispute over documents concerning whether to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. "Accordingly, the department will not bring the congressional contempt citations before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the Attorney General or the Secretary," he added.



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