Bid to sue Jeffrey Epstein estate for racketeering gains ground
MIAMI — A federal judge on Wednesday handed a partial victory to the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, who is pursuing a civil racketeering complaint against the estate of Jeffrey Epstein, partially granting her access to an ongoing civil lawsuit that involves the disgraced financier and close associates.Attorney General Denise George brought a civil enforcement action against the Epstein estate in January, calling it an ongoing criminal enterprise. She went on to identify the two executors to the estate — Epstein lawyer Darren K. Indyke and accountant Richard Kahn — as alleged co-c...
Ann McFeatters: Yes, there's hope in the air
Finally, there are glimmers of … hope.Yes, it has been a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year. Many of us lost loved ones. Some of us lost good health. Some said goodbye to jobs and savings. Many lost their faith in democracy.But still so many of us think there is so much good in so many fellow Earth dwellers that we can still smile and laugh and plan and learn and look forward to finding a path out of a dark period of despair. The pendulum has swung. Not all the way back, but it’s moving.The system worked. The man with 6 million more votes won. The Supreme Court did not decide the victo...
Tribune News Service
Florida Supreme Court won't reinstate death penalty for killers once sentenced to execution
MIAMI — The Florida Supreme Court won’t be returning dozens of convicted murderers to death row.In two decisions on Wednesday that clarified months of confusion, justices said they did not have the legal authority to reinstate the death penalty for the killers who had previously been on death row, but had sentences tossed out because of legal questions over whether juries must be unanimous in meting out the ultimate punishment.In one of the cases, against convicted Orange County murderer [Bessman Okafor](“We acknowledge the burden that resentencing proceedings will place on the victims of Okaf...
Federal judge knocks down 2 permits needed for proposed $2 billion Kalama methanol plant
SEATTLE — A U.S. District Court judge in Tacoma struck down Army Corps of Engineers permits for a proposed $2 billion methanol plant in Kalama, Cowlitz County, because they were not the result of a full review of greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts, according to a ruling released Monday.The loss of the two federal permits is the latest in a series of setbacks for the project first proposed in 2014 by NW Innovation Works to convert natural gas to methanol for shipment to China. The project also has so far failed to gain approval by the state Ecology Department.The permits —...
The Seattle Times
Commentary: Gray wolf population in peril unless Biden restores 'endangered species' protections
After decades of bitter legal feuds and culture war skirmishes over the fate of wild wolves in the United States, the Trump administration has tried to put a point at the end of the sentence. In stripping gray wolves of their Endangered Species Act protection across the country, the responsible federal agency went against both science and public opinion, and declared the species “biologically recovered.”But this delisting rule won’t stand up to scrutiny. More wolves will die as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service squares off, once again, in court against conservationists with strong arguments t...
Biden likely to help states increase health care access
President Donald Trump has spent four years trying to undermine the Affordable Care Act. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to bolster the law and give states new tools to expand coverage.Among them: more money and additional guides to help people buy health insurance on the ACA exchanges; support for states that want to allow more people onto Medicaid rather than fewer; and a crackdown on health care plans that don’t offer the minimum benefits required by Obamacare.Unlike the Biden health care idea that has attracted the most attention — the addition of a Medicare-like public option to the...
Federal prosecutors charge 15 alleged Philly mobsters with racketeering, drug dealing and extortion
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia mob has limped along on life support for the past decade, its former leaders, Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, out of the picture after high-profile federal prosecutions.But reports of La Cosa Nostra’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed Monday by U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain. In fact, the mafia was adding new soldiers to its ranks as recently as 2015, prosecutors say, in ceremonies overseen by veterans of those former regimes.Fifteen mobsters have been indicted on racketeeri...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Pennsylvania counties certify election results, despite baseless fraud claims from Trump allies
PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania counties rushed Monday to certify results from the Nov. 3 election, even as President Donald Trump and his Republican allies continued to press their increasingly long-shot effort in court to stop the state from finalizing the vote tally declaring Joe Biden the victor.As county boards of elections convened for what is normally little more than sleepy formality, the impact of the president’s push to undermine public trust in the integrity of the vote repeatedly surfaced.In at least three of the state’s most populous counties — Montgomery, Allegheny and Luzerne — boar...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
President Trump's legal team is a 'national embarrassment,' Chris Christie says
As the court losses continue to mount, President Donald Trump’s ally and informal adviser Chris Christie called the commander-in-chief’s legal team a “national embarrassment.”The former New Jersey governor said it was time for the president to face reality.“If you have got the evidence of fraud, present it,” Christie said on ABC Sunday morning.“Quite frankly, the conduct of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment,” he said, referring to Trump attorney Sidney Powell’s accusations against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a fellow Republican.“This is outrageous conduct by any lawyer,...
New York Daily News
New details in notorious 1990 'killer clown' case show why prosecutors are so sure who was under the wig
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — After South Florida’s killer clown slipped away three decades ago, witnesses told investigators the culprit wearing white makeup and an orange wig looked like a man.But finally it’s been revealed that evidence found in the getaway car — a strand of burgundy head hair with the root attached — is why authorities in 2017 unmasked the clown as a woman: Sheila Keen Warren.In court documents filed this month, Palm Beach County prosecutors gave new insights into how they intend to use DNA evidence and other findings to win a conviction in the 1990 murder of Marlene Warren.It’s...