US appeals court grants Ghislaine Maxwell’s request to delay release of ‘sex life’ deposition after major document dump

A US appeals court has ruled to hold back a deposition about the sex life of Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of aiding Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of underage girls, with her lawyers arguing it would make a fair trial “impossible.”

The order to temporarily withhold the sensitive testimony came on Friday, after the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said it would delay the deposition’s release while it heard further arguments from Maxwell, who insisted the material could prejudice a jury against her unfairly.

The move comes less than 24 hours after the unsealing of hundreds of pages of documents linked to a civil lawsuit of Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who sued Maxwell for defamation in 2015. Though Giuffre settled the case two years later and its related files were placed under seal, another suit brought by conservative blogger Mike Cernovich and the Miami Herald last year saw those pages released on Thursday night.

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Provided in 2016 as part of the same civil suit, the Maxwell deposition reportedly goes into detail about her sex life, however the socialite’s lawyers say she was promised confidentiality before being asked to answer “personal, sensitive, and allegedly incriminatory questions” in that case. They now argue the testimony should remain under that protective order, and not subject to release by the court.

The appeals court will next hear from Maxwell on September 22, when it will rule on the substance of her arguments against the release. She remains in custody without the possibility for bail, deemed an “extreme” flight risk by prosecutors after her July 2 arrest on six counts of procuring minors for sexual abuse, to which she has pleaded not guilty.

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New York Times union wants ‘sensitivity readers’ employed to create a ‘more diverse’ newspaper

A union representing over 1200 employees of the New York Times has met with the paper’s leadership and recommended paying ‘sensitivity readers’ to check content in a bid to make the paper ‘more diverse and equitable.’

The New York Times Guild revealed on Friday some “highlights” from their many recommendations for a “top to bottom resetting of priorities” at the paper. The guild said its proposals were motivated by a desire to “improve the working conditions” for people of color.

Perhaps the most bizarre of the suggested changes is for the newspaper to employ people who will do “sensitivity reads” of every story before it is published, making sure nothing is offensive to any particular group.

While the idea might sound outlandish and akin to censorship, the concept is not entirely new. Some writers and publishing companies have already turned to hiring “sensitivity readers” in recent years to pour over texts and axe anything remotely politically incorrect.

Other recommendations from the union to the Times include making sure the demographics of employees perfectly reflect those of New York City, meaning 24 percent should be black, and over 50 percent should be people of color. This goal, it says, should be met by 2025, though there’s no word on whether those percentages will need to continually change as the city’s demographics do. 

The New York Times itself has not confirmed whether or not it will actually be restructuring its hiring process and bringing on “sensitivity readers” in line with the recommendations. The guild said it is still waiting on a response from management.

The suggestions come after a ‘civil war’ of sorts at the paper. 

Following the publication of an op-ed written by Republican Senator Tom Cotton suggesting the military should be used to stop violent Black Lives Matter protests across the country, numerous Times writers protested, claiming the piece put black coworkers in “danger.”

The squabble led to the resignation of editorial page editor James Bennet, who apologized for publishing the piece, chalking it up to a “rushed” editorial process.

Opinion writer and editor Bari Weiss also left her position and publicly shared her fiery resignation letter earlier this month, detailing behind the scenes drama at the paper and claiming she was bullied over her “centrist” views.

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James Murdoch resigns from News Corp. board over ‘disagreements’ on editorial content

James Murdoch, the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has resigned from the board of News Corp. citing “disagreements” over certain content published by the company’s news outlets.

In a brief resignation letter released on Friday, Murdoch said his decision was “due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company’s news outlets” and “certain other strategic decisions.”

News Corp. disclosed the letter in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, saying his resignation would take effect “immediately.”

A spokesperson for Murdoch refused to comment further on the reasons behind the resignation, telling the New York Times his letter “speaks for itself.” 

News Corp, which is the parent company of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, is controlled by billionaire Rupert Murdoch. The company also owns the Times, Sunday Times and Sun newspapers in the UK, as well as a number of Australian publications.

The Murdoch family also owns Fox Corp., which is the parent company of Fox News.

James Murdoch had been on the company’s board since 2013. The youngest son of the media magnate, he had sought to distance himself from the company and his father’s political views in recent years.

Last year, he told the New Yorker that he “really disagrees” with some views expressed on Fox News and admitted there are “periods of time” when he and his father do not speak. He also criticized news outlets owned by his father’s company earlier this year, saying they had downplayed the impacts of climate change as bushfires raged in Australia.

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Seattle City Council moving to defund ‘racist’ police department & replace it with ‘community-led’ public safety system

Seattle lawmakers are attempting to completely defund the city’s police department and replace it with a new “civilian-led” public safety system in response to ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.

The Seattle City Council has already come under fire this week for proposing a 50 percent cut to the police department’s budget — a proposal that prompted hundreds of citizens to express their concerns during a council meeting on Wednesday.

Yet, newly revealed legislation now shows that the council may be doing a lot more than simply stripping police of half their funding. Lawmakers are moving to completely abolish the police department and replace it with a system of “civilian-led community safety and violence prevention.”

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The council argues in the proposal that police in the city perpetuate “racism and violence” and uphold “white supremacy.”

The new department must include people with “culturally-relevant expertise rooted in community connections” and use “trauma-informed, gender-affirming, anti-racist praxis,” according to the proposed legislation.

The “community-led” system would mainly focus on “housing, food security, and other basic needs.” It would also employ social service workers and require anyone working under this new system to “live in the community they service.”

The council said the proposal was motivated by the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.

Seattle is one of many cities to see BLM protests turn violent, with both civilians and police being assaulted. Federal agents were deployed to Portland, Oregon after demonstrators attempted to burn down the federal courthouse. On Thursday, President Donald Trump threatened to send in the National Guard if rioting continues.

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The Seattle proposal also calls for “underutilized public land” to be transferred to “BIPOC community ownership,” BIPOC standing for Black, Indigineous, and People of Color.

It’s not clear when the city council will vote on the new legislation, but a majority of its members have expressed support for at least defunding the police.

The radical proposal to replace the whole department with a community-led initiative immediately raised eyebrows on social media, with many seeing only disaster in the city’s future if they go through with the plan. One suggested the move would surely result in the “immediate collapse of public order.”

The level of public support for the dramatic proposal is unclear, but a recent poll found that over 50 percent of residents supported slashing the police department’s budget in half.

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Political narrative overwhelms hearing on Covid-19 as lawmakers from both parties attempt to pinch opponents

A Covid-19 related hearing on the Hill saw a vivid clash between GOP congressman Jim Jordan and Dr. Anthony Fauci over the risk of protests, while other Democrats and Republicans didn’t miss the chance to score political points.

Steve Scalise (R-LA) began his monologue by deconstructing the title of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, which he read as ‘Urgent need for a plan’.
“That’s not the title of a hearing, that’s a political narrative, a false political narrative,” he added, because “if there wasn’t a plan” there would not have been a hearing.

The meeting’s actual title was ‘The Urgent Need for a National Plan to Contain the Coronavirus’, which is not a response to there being literally no contingencies around the pandemic, but to the rising number of US citizens getting sick.
The congressman then proceeded to dramatically shake a thick stack of supposed Covid-19 guidelines, issued by Trump’s administration, saying that if all state governors acted on those “thousands more” would have been alive. While making this point, Scalise ignored the fact that the government is still yet to issue any mandatory rules on the matter, all the while there are more than 150,000 virus-related deaths and the number keeps growing.

Perhaps ironically, during this same hearing where Scalise lamented the politicizing of a health care crisis, his Republican colleague Jim Jordan repeatedly tried to make US chief immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci voice his opinion on whether the government should limit or ban Black Lives Matter protests over coronavirus concerns as it did with businesses and large gatherings.
Fauci was not put in the corner arguing he can’t tell the government what bans
to enforce, and clarifying that he only said that “crowds” are dangerous, but didn’t specify which exactly.

Democrats were also no exception, as congresswoman Maxine Waters blamed the recent Covid-19 death of former presidential candidate Herman Cain on the no-mask Trump rally he attended before testing positive for the virus, making a political statement out of supposed condolences.

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Soros-backed St Louis prosecutor accused of not disclosing trips paid for by left-wing organization

St Louis, Missouri attorney Kim Gardner, probably best known for trying to prosecute the McCloskey couple, took trips paid for by a George Soros-backed group and never reported them, a local news outlet claims.

The trips, according to an investigative report by KMOV-TV, were funded by Fair and Just Prosecution, an organization Soros has contributed to – he has also donated to Gardner’s political campaigns. Not reporting the funded trips could be a violation of state and city law. 

According to the report, the attorney’s trips were “problematic” beyond apparently just being kept in the dark from the public. During various excursions in 2018 and 2019, Gardner was allegedly “unreachable,” causing delays in work and massive backlogs. 

A public information request found no evidence of trips during those two years, despite social media suggesting that the attorney had indeed taken them. She had a history of traveling with the group in 2017, when she reported trips to cities like Chicago and New York.

The attorney gained national attention in recent weeks for controversially attempting to prosecute Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a Missouri couple caught on camera brandishing guns as Black Lives Matter protesters walked by. The couple said they were defending their home after protesters destroyed the gate to their neighborhood and began marching through.

Gardner’s office responded to the report about her travel by saying, “The suggestion that there is any quid pro quo involved here is patently absurd.”

“By working with FJP, she has access to a network of prosecutors who are also implementing change in their communities across the country, prosecutors who are working to create a fairer, more equitable justice system,” the statement added.

Gardner also “refuses to apologize” for “seeking reasonable opportunities to further her knowledge and access prosecutors from throughout the nation.”

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“The Circuit Attorney is confident that the public will see through this veiled attempt to disparage her and her efforts to continue to change our criminal justice system to be more just and fair.”

Fair and Just Prosecution has not directly addressed the trips in question, but it has said it is common practice to pay for travel and lodging for people attending their events. 

Gardner has been the circuit attorney in St Louis since 2017, and this is far from the first time she has faced criticism for her handling of the job. A grand jury probe was launched after she tried to prosecute former Missouri Republican Governor Eric Greitens for alleged invasion of privacy. The case was quickly dropped, but Greitens resigned from office amidst the controversy. 

The decision to pursue charges against the McCloskey couple has also come under fire, and the state’s attorney general has already sought to dismiss the entire case. An attorney for the couple has filed a motion to block Gardner and her office from moving forward with any charges, as she used the story based on the viral video to attack President Donald Trump and solicit campaign donations.

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‘Huge finger to the public’: Johnson prompts outrage after nominating Russian-born media mogul Evgeny Lebedev for peerage

Evegeny Lebedev, the Russian-British owner of the Independent and the Evening Standard newspapers, has been nominated for peerage by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, setting off a round of hysteria on social media.

Moscow-born Lebedev is the son of Alexander Lebedev, a former member of the KGB, who was stationed at the Soviet Union’s London embassy in the 1980s.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the father made his fortune in banking and eventually moved to the UK permanently — and both he and his son are outspoken critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But ardent believers in the narrative of omnipresent Russian influence in the UK now see the family’s interactions with the British elite as nefarious Kremlin influence.

Last year, the Guardian newspaper sensationally reported that Johnson had met with the elder “ex-KGB agent” Lebedev in Italy, naturally portraying the get-together as highly suspect and nefarious. The meeting has frequently been cited by Guardian journalists Luke Harding and Carole Cadwalladr as proof of Russian influence on Johnson.

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In addition to owning the Independent and Standard, Evgeny Lebedev, who has spent most of his life in Britain, is a high-profile charity campaigner and has long had a friendship with Johnson.

Peerage is bestowed by British leaders on chosen individuals, elevating them to the House of Lords where they can claim perks and allowances simply for showing up. The arcane system has long been criticized with many calling for an overhaul.

Along with Lebedev, the PM nominated 35 others, including England cricket legend and vocal Brexit supporter Sir Ian Botham, former Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson and a slew of other political friends for peerages. He also nominated his own brother, Jo Johnson, prompting many to accuse him of cronyism and nepotism.

Yet, it was Lebedev’s nomination which caused the biggest stir on social media. Despite the fact that the media mogul family are highly critical of Russian and Kremlin policy, many Russia-skeptical Brits instantly erupted into anger and conspiracy theorizing on Twitter.

One disbelieving commenter said the move was a “huge finger” to the British public and a “totally brazen” decision that was all about “Russian money.”

Another expressed concern about the “discreet raucous parties” thrown by Lebedev where Johnson allegedly throws off his security protection — and another called the Evening Standard Johnson’s “very own Pravda.”

One person suggested Johnson was simply acting on Putin’s orders and compared Lebedev’s elevation to the House of Lords to the US’ recent decision to withdraw its troops from Germany.

The peerage for Lebedev was also unsurprisingly linked to the recently-released ‘Russia Report’ which accuses Moscow of meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum as well as last year’s general election — alleged interferences which Johnson’s critics say he has turned a blind eye to. The highly-anticipated report did not add much in the way of evidence to any of those allegations, however, relying heavily on media speculation instead.

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Death sentence for Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev overturned by US Appeals Court

The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has overturned the death sentence handed down to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in 2015 for his part in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Tsarnaev’s conviction for helping to carry out the bombing that left three people dead and over 260 injured is being upheld, but a new trial will take place to determine a different sentence.

His attorney argued in December 2019 to the Appeals Court that his 26-year-old client’s death sentence was the product of an unfair trial, one which took place in Boston, despite objections. Attorney Daniel Habib claimed the city’s anger over the attack “filtered” through the jury and the massive media coverage of the event meant no juror could be impartial.

Tsarnaev carried out the bombing with his brother, Tamerlan, who was killed by police in the days after the April 15 attack.

A massive manhunt led by the FBI was launched in the wake of the bombing. Boston residents were told to stay indoors and most businesses shut down to allow police to search for the then-suspects. 

A 26-year-old MIT patrol officer was killed by the brothers when they got into a struggle over his gun. The Tsarnaevs later held a shootout with police in Watertown, where two officers were injured in the firefight. Tamerlan was wounded and run over by a car his brother was driving as Dzhokhar fled the scene. The manhunt for Dzhokhar continued in the Watertown area until a resident found him hiding in a boat on his property on April 19. 

Dzhokhar later admitted to police that the bombing at the Boston Marathon was supposed to be the first of multiple attacks. The next planned bombing was to be in Times Square in New York City.

The surviving brother was found guilty in 2015 on multiple charges, including use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, and aiding and abetting. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was 22 when he was sentenced to death.

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Perfect 10: Khabib’s cousin Usman wins in FORTY SECONDS with UFC lightweight champ in corner after tribute to Abdulmanap (VIDEOS)

Khabib Nurmagomedov has guided his undefeated cousin to a 10th professional MMA win with a lightning victory in Dubai, having worn a t-shirt paying tribute to the UFC champion’s late father, Abdulmanap, at the weigh-in.

The lightweight had little chance to show his full range of skills as he crushed Finnish veteran Jerry Kvarnstrom with a vicious striking display before earning a verbal submission 40 seconds into the opening round of the UAE Warriors 12 card in Abu Dhabi.

That gave the rising star his fifth victory in a year and his second of 2020 after he knocked out Ruslan Tuyakov in the second round at GFC 24 in February.

Lightweight king Khabib was seen offering advice to his promising relative as he prepared to leave his dressing room, using his hands to demonstrate technical points as he sat backstage with the rest of the visiting Dagestani team.

Nurmagomedov wore a mask and top showing his late uncle when he weighed in, becoming the first of the revered MMA trainer’s fighters to compete since his passing from complications relating to the coronavirus earlier this month.

“Boom, baby,” said the suitably impressed commentary team as Nurmagomedov immediately walked down Kvarnstrom, delivering a devastating flurry of strikes and flooring his opponent before referee Marc Goddard stepped in.

“Perfect timing. Nobody wants to fight this guy.

“Undefeated – what can’t he do? He really hasn’t been challenged yet.”

Nurmagomedov also won new fans for his brutal performance. “Usman Nurmagomedov is something else,” said one.

“Sheesh, that was a performance.”

Another joked: “Imagine trying to wrestle a dude named Usman Nurmagomedov. I would just quit right then and there.”

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