Trump administration questions why a single judge can block its policies nationwide

Here are the stories our panel of top political reporters will be watching for in the week ahead, in this week’s “Inside Politics” forecast.


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‘Here we go again’: Judge blocks Mississippi ‘heartbeat’ abortion law

Mississippi is one of several states that have moved to pass new restrictions on abortion this year.
Health and Science

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Judge blocks $1 billion in funding for President Trump’s border wall

Trump has made building the wall his signature promise.
ABC News: Top Stories

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Federal judge blocks Mississippi abortion law

A federal judge blocked a Mississippi law on Friday that forbids abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.


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Judge unsure if House can sue over border wall

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Judge Orders File In Jussie Smollett Criminal Case Unsealed

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge in Chicago has ordered the file in the Jussie Smollett criminal case unsealed.

Cook County Judge Steven Watkins said Thursday that while there are good arguments in favor of keeping the file sealed, the “Empire” actor forfeited his rights to keep the case sealed to protect his privacy by talking to the media before and after prosecutors dismissed the charges against him.

Smollett had been charged with 16 counts alleging he lied to police when reporting he’d been the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in January. Police insist the actor, who is black and gay, staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted publicity.

Prosecutors dropped all charges with little explanation.

The criminal case was dismissed March 26. Smollett wanted the case sealed, saying that he had “the right to be left alone.”

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2nd judge refuses to block House subpoenas for Trump bank records

A federal judge in New York on Wednesday refused to block subpoenas from the House of Representatives for President Donald Trump’s financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One.


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Judge says Deutsche Bank, Capital One can give Trump financial records to House Democrats

Deutsche Bank and Capitol One can turn over financial documents related to President Donald Trump and his businesses in response to subpoenas from House Democrats, a judge said.
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U.S. judge says Qualcomm violated antitrust law; appeal planned, shares plunge

Qualcomm Inc illegally suppressed competition in the market for smartphone chips by threatening to cut off supplies and extracting excessive licensing fees, a U.S. judge ruled, a decision that could force the company to overhaul its business practices.


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Judge rules against Qualcomm

Newsy

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Judge rips insurance company for ‘immoral, barbaric’ cancer denials

A federal judge blasted UnitedHealthcare last month for its “immoral and barbaric” denials of treatment for cancer patients. He made the comments in recusing himself from hearing a class-action lawsuit because of his own cancer battle — and in so doing thrust himself into a heated debate in the oncology world.


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Federal judge strikes down Kentucky abortion Law

Newsy

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Judge In Nation’s Longest Running Housing Discrimination Case Dies Before Final Victory

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge who worked until his recent death at age 96 left a historic trail of groundbreaking legal opinions. But one case outlived Damon Keith: the longest-running housing discrimination lawsuit in the United States.

Keith declared in 1971 that Hamtramck, a tiny Detroit-area city long known for Polish culture, had intentionally forced out blacks or cut them off from the community to make room for Interstate 75 and so-called urban renewal projects in the 1950s and ’60s.

Hamtramck finally agreed to offer 200 family housing units, as well as housing for senior citizens, for violating the constitutional rights of black residents. Yet even today — decades later — there still are three houses left to build. Keith, who died on April 28, won’t see the keys change hands, an unfortunate postscript for a judge whose steadfast enforcement of civil rights was the emblem of his career.

“The finish line will probably be this summer,” said Michael Barnhart, an attorney who has represented generations of black families in the litigation. “I know his health was declining, but I wanted him to be there after all these years.”

Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski said: “It’s bittersweet. The end really is around the corner.”

Keith, the grandson of slaves, was a judge for 52 years, first at the U.S. District Court in Detroit, followed by 42 years on a federal appeals court. He made history on the bench, ruling against the Nixon administration’s use of warrantless phone taps and ordering George W. Bush’s administration to open deportation hearings.

In the Hamtramck lawsuit, filed in 1968, Keith noted that blacks made up less than 15% of the city’s population but represented more than 70% of residents whose neighborhoods were broken up because of the path of I-75. He also cited other examples.

“The judge referred to it as the ‘black removal case,’” Barnhart said. “It was an extreme example of racial discrimination.”

After nearly a decade, Hamtramck agreed to offer housing at below-market rates to families that wanted to return. But that solution languished for many more years, due to political opposition and the city’s poor finances. By 2010, half of the 200 units were complete, and Keith proudly attended a ribbon-cutting at a new home on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Then work stalled again.

“The problem always was the city was broke,” Barnhart said. “Through the whole case we’ve tried to identify federal programs or county programs or state programs to help us put together the housing that was needed. That has been the fundamental problem.”

Keith had the case for virtually his entire career, keeping it until 2018 despite his promotion to the appeals court. In his 2014 biography, “Crusader for Justice,” the judge scoffed at critics who accused him of “social engineering.”

“If I see inequities … as it relates to discrimination and violation of the law, then I have broad authority to fashion a remedy,” Keith said.

Lemuel Sawyer, 61, and his sisters are among those who have benefited from Keith’s decision. His family was forced out when he was a boy, but he returned to Hamtramck in 2014 to live in a new two-story home. His parents are dead.

“To me, this is my mother’s home. This is my family’s home,” Sawyer said, speaking in his doorway on Goodson Street. “Judge Damon Keith — he saved the day. He gave us optimism.”

Hamtramck, a 2-square-mile (5.1-square-kilometer) city surrounded by Detroit, was a haven for Polish immigrants who worked in area factories. A park features a towering statue of St. John Paul II, who visited as a cardinal and as pope. But the city now is culturally diverse: Someone looking for a meal can find a pierogi on one side of Hamtramck and a kebab at the other. Most City Council members are Muslim. A mosque sits across the street from a Roman Catholic church.

“The greatest monument in Hamtramck to Judge Keith is the fact that most of the residents have learned to live together in peace,” city attorney James Allen said.

PHOTO: AP


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U.S. judge rules Spanish museum can keep Pissarro confiscated by Nazis

A Madrid museum cannot be forced to return a Camille Pissarro painting that was seized by the Nazis from its Jewish owners during World War Two, despite the institution’s failure to honor its “moral commitments,” a federal judge in California has ruled.


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Maria Butina gets emotional before US judge sentences her for infiltrating conservative groups and promoting Russian interests around the 2016 election

A federal judge sentenced Russia national Maria Butina to 18 months in prison on Friday, after she pleaded guilty to trying to infiltrate conservative political circles and promote Russian interests before and after the 2016 presidential election.


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Judge Denies Petition By Prince Heirs To Limit Bank’s Power Over Late Singer’s Estate

A Minnesota judge has denied a request by Prince’s heirs to limit Comerica Bank & Trust powers over the administration of the late singer’s estate.

As we previously reported, three years after the death of music icon at age 57, his massive estate, believed to be worth hundreds of millions, remains in limbo as it is “still unsettled, still not officially valued and still not disbursed to the heirs, his six siblings,” USA Today writes.

Prince’s heirs — Tyka Nelson, his full sister, and his half-siblings, Norrine Nelson, Sharon Nelson, John Nelson, Alfred Jackson and Omarr Baker — claim administrators have spent $ 45 million on probate-related administrative expenses, including $ 10 million in legal fees. They also claim the estate still owes $ 31 million in unpaid taxes that continues to collect interest.

The siblings are trying to take more control over the estate so they filed a petition earlier this month to limit the power of Comerica Bank & Trust. But Judge Kevin Eide ruled that the heirs presented “little or no specificity” and until they come up with some “viable alternative” the Comerica arrangement will stay in place, Billboard reports.

“While the Court certainly appreciates the Heirs’ concerns with respect to preserving estate assets, minimizing estate exposes and planning for distributions, those concerns are more effectively addressed through discourse and mediation,” Eide ruled.

The judge said while he understands that the heirs want to reduce expenses, their motions have the rick of “significantly increasing Estate expenses.”

He said reducing Comerica’s power would “create a vacuum of uncertainty” and “may result in the loss of entertainment deal opportunities, which are necessary to raise needed funds to pay estate taxes and lead to the distribution of funds to the Heirs.”

He also noted that Comerica agreed to reduce its monthly compensation from $ 125,000 to $ 110,00 (not including expenses).

The judge also ordered the bank to keep the heirs informed of the exact amount of the outstanding tax liability.

A statement from Sharon Nelson reads: “We are continued to be dismayed and disappointed in the Judge Eide partially to Comerica and their advisors who have done a poor job managing this estate.”

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Young children judge others based on facial features as much as adults do

Just like adults, children by the age of 5 make rapid and consistent character judgements of others based on facial features, such as the tilt of the mouth or the distance between the eyes. Those facial features also shape how children behave toward others.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Judge upholds New York City’s mandatory measles vaccination order

A Brooklyn judge on Thursday ruled against a group of parents who challenged New York City's recently imposed mandatory measles vaccination order.
Health and Science

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Patriots owner Kraft asks Florida judge not to release ‘pornography’ sting video

A lawyer for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Friday asked a Florida judge not to make public a video that led to the billionaire being charged in a prostitution sting at a massage parlor, calling the evidence “basically pornography.”
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Spain: Judge releases man in suspected assisted suicide case

A Madrid court has released a 70-year-old man who admitted to helping his 61-year-old wife end her life
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CMS Ignores Federal Judge Ruling To Approve Medicaid Work Rules in Utah

Less than 48 hours after a federal judge struck down Medicaid work requirements, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Friday gave Utah permission to use those mandates.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in her approval letter that requiring Medicaid enrollees to work was allowed because it helps make them healthier.

“Therefore we believe an objective of the Medicaid program, in addition to paying for services, is to advance the health and wellness needs of its beneficiaries, and that it is appropriate for the state to structure its demonstration project in a manner that prioritizes meeting those needs,” she wrote.

Verma’s stance runs directly counter to U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg, who in twin rulings Wednesday said work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky are illegal under the 1965 Medicaid law. Boasberg said several times that promoting health was not the objective of Medicaid, despite that opinion from Verma and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

In his Kentucky ruling, Boasberg wrote that using health as an objective would be “arbitrary and capricious.”

Promoting health, he added, is “far afield of the basic purpose of Medicaid: ‘reimbursing certain costs of medical treatment for needy persons.’”

Verma noted that Utah is structuring its program somewhat differently than other states.

Sara Rosenbaum, professor of health law and policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., said the Trump administration is “doubling down” by allowing a state to add work requirements.

“This is such a remarkable example of sticking a finger in the eye of the court,” Rosenbaum said. “We will see what happens. Because when you disrespect a court, it can backfire.”

CMS’ approval also allows Utah to cap enrollment if the state runs out of money.

Health experts said Utah’s letter clearly shows that the Trump administration plans to appeal Boasberg’s decision.

In addition to Kentucky, Arkansas and Utah, CMA has approved Medicaid work requirements in Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Verma’s approval was for an application that Utah made in 2018. It will partly expand Medicaid to cover all adults under the poverty level ($ 12,490 for an individual this year). Enrollees will be asked to make some job searches but they will not be required to report a certain number of hours of work.

In November, Utah voters approved a ballot measure calling for the expansion to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (about $ 17,200) as allowed under the Affordable Care Act.

State officials expect about 90,000 people to gain coverage under the expansion approved Friday. About 150,000 people would have been covered under the plan approved by voters.

The plan approved Friday will require Utah to pay a bigger portion of the costs for the new enrollees because they will enter Medicaid under the traditional program and the state will get a 70 percent contribution from the federal government to cover their care. If the state had expanded to 138 percent of poverty, the federal government would have paid 90 percent of the costs.

November’s vote raised concerns among state officials, who have opposed Medicaid expansion for years. They have opted instead to prepare another request to CMS that seeks the full 90 percent funding for the new enrollees. But to secure that, Utah is offering to accept unprecedented annual limits on federal and state spending.

Allison Hoffman, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said getting a federal judge to accept the premise that Medicaid is improving health is vital to getting work requirements through the courts. Federal officials “need a judge to buy that,” Hoffman said. “They are going to fish for a different jurisdiction to push this opinion.”

What’s most compelling about the Utah approval, Hoffman said, is how the state legislature ignored the will of voters who approved the referendum. “The legislature is blocking what people voted for … and it appears to be an anti-democratic move.”

Kaiser Health News

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Federal Judge Again Blocks Medicaid Work Requirements

For a second time in nine months, the same federal judge has struck down the Trump administration’s plan to force some Medicaid recipients to work to maintain benefits.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg blocks Kentucky from implementing the work requirements and Arkansas from continuing is program. More than 18,000 Arkansas enrollees have lost Medicaid coverage since the state began the mandate last summer.

Boasberg said that the approval of work requirements by the Department of Health and Human Services “is arbitrary and capricious because it did not address … how the project would implicate the ‘core’ objective of Medicaid: the provision of medical coverage to the needy.”

The decision could have repercussions nationally. The Trump administration has approved a total of eight states for work requirements, and seven more states are pending.

Still, health experts say it’s likely the decision won’t stop the administration or conservative states from moving forward. Many predict the issue will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, has threatened to scrap the Medicaid expansion unless his state is allowed to proceed with the new rules, a move that would drop more than 400,000 new enrollees. He said the work requirement will help move some adults off the program so the state has enough money to help other enrollees.

Bevin, who is running for re-election this fall, had threatened to end the Medicaid expansion during his last campaign but backed off that pledge after his victory.

Kentucky had been slated to begin its work requirement next Monday, but current provisions will instead stay in place, according to Adam Meier, who heads up the state’s Medicaid program. He said officials there believe they have “an excellent record for appeal and are currently considering next steps.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was disappointed with the decision. He added that he would read review the opinion overnight and announce Thursday how the state would respond.

In his decision on Kentucky, Boasberg criticized HHS officials for approving the state’s second effort to institute work requirements partly because Bevin threatened to end the Medicaid expansion without it.

Under this reasoning, he said, states could threaten to end their expansion or do away with Medicaid “if the Secretary does not approve whatever waiver of whatever Medicaid requirements they wish to obtain. The Secretary could then always approve those waivers, no matter how few people remain on Medicaid thereafter because any waiver would be coverage promoting compared to a world in which the state offers no coverage at all.”

In a statement, Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare &  Medicaid Services, suggested the rulings would not dissuade her efforts to approve work requirements in other states. The administration wants “to give states greater flexibility to help low income Americans rise out of poverty,” she said and will “vigorously support their innovative, state-driven efforts to develop and test reforms that will advance the objectives of the Medicaid program.”

The decision by federal officials in 2018 to link work or other activities such as schooling or caregiving to eligibility for benefits is a historic change for Medicaid, which is designed to provide safety-net care for low-income individuals.

Top Trump administration officials have promoted work requirements, saying they incentivize beneficiaries to lead healthier lives. Democrats and advocates for the poor decry the effort as a way to curtail enrollment in the state-federal health insurance entitlement program that covers 72 million Americans.

Despite the full-court press by conservatives, most Medicaid enrollees already work, are seeking work or go to school or care for a loved one, studies show.

Critics of the work policy hailed the latest ruling, which many expected since Boasberg last June stopped Kentucky from moving ahead with an earlier plan for work requirements. The judge then also blasted HHS Secretary Alex Azar for failing to adequately consider the effects the policy.

“This is a historic decision and a major victory for Medicaid beneficiaries,” said Joan Alker, executive director for the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. “The message to other states considering work requirements is clear — they are not compatible with the objectives of the Medicaid program.”

Sally Pipes, president of the conservative San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institute, called the ruling “a major blow” to the Trump administration but said this won’t end its efforts. “The Department of Health and Human Services is very committed to work requirements under Medicaid,” she said.

“It is my feeling that those who are on Medicaid who are capable of working should be required to work, volunteer, or take classes to help them become qualified to work,” Pipes said. “Then there will be more funding available for those who truly need the program and less pressure on state budgets.”

Several states, including Virginia and Kentucky, have used the prospect of work rules to build support among conservatives to support Medicaid expansion, which was one of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. That expansion has added more than 15 million adults to the program since 2014.

Previously the program mainly covered children, parents and the disabled.

Particularly irksome to advocates for the poor: Some states, including Alabama, which didn’t expand Medicaid, are seeking work requirements in the traditional Medicaid program for parents with incomes as low as $ 4,000 a year.

The legal battle centers on two issues — whether the requirements are permissible under the Medicaid program and whether the administration overstepped its authority on allowing states to test new ways of operating the program.

Alker said that state requests for Medicare waivers in the past have involved experiments that would expand coverage or make the program more efficient. The work requirements mark the first time a waiver explicitly let states reduce the number of people covered by the program.

States such as Kentucky have predicted its new work requirement would lead to tens of thousands of enrollees losing Medicaid benefits, though states argued some of them would get coverage from new jobs.

Under the work requirements — which vary among the states in terms of what age groups are exempt and how many hours are needed — enrollees generally have to prove they have a job, go to school or are volunteers. There are exceptions for people who are ill or taking care of a family member.

In Arkansas, thousands of adults failed to tell the state their work status for three consecutive months, which led to disenrollment. For the first several months last year, Arkansas allowed Medicaid recipients to report their work hours only online. Advocates for the poor said the state’s website was confusing to navigate, particularly for people with limited computer skills.

While the administration said it wanted to test the work requirements, none of the states that have been cleared to begin have a plan to track whether enrollees find jobs or improve their health — the key goals of the program, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.

Craig Wilson, director of health policy at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, a nonpartisan health research group, said he believes policymakers will appeal court rulings all the way to the Supreme Court.

“As long as they hold on to hope that some judge will rule in their favor, states will continue to pursue work requirements,” he said.

Kaiser Health News

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Judge advises Lampert’s firm to pay back millions swiped from Sears

A bankruptcy judge has “strongly” advised the company that bought Sears out of bankruptcy to hand over millions of dollars to the old Sears. At a Thursday hearing, Judge Robert Drain weighed in on the contentious financial dispute between Sears and Transform Holdings, the firm owned by billionaire investor Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund, which bought…
Business | New York Post

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Judge sentences Trump ex-aide Manafort to 3-1/2 more years in prison

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced on Wednesday to about 3-1/2 more years in prison for charges arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election, with the judge giving him a stern lecture about his lies and criminal behavior.


Reuters: Politics

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WATCH: Federal Judge Issues New Order Against Trump Administration’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy

A family complains about telemedicine call; Arnold Schwarzenegger has ‘a new hero’ — a bodybuilder with cerebral palsy
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Judge orders Trump admin to reunite more migrant families

A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reunite more families that were separated at the border. US District Judge Dana Sabraw ruled the government must bring parents and children who were separated as early as July 1, 2017 back together, in an updated ruling on a lawsuit brought by the ACLU. Previously, he ruled…
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Chicago Judge Allows Jussie Smollett To Travel To Meet With Attorneys

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago judge says “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett can travel out-of-state to meet his lawyers while he’s free on bond on charges he falsely reported being attacked by two masked men.

Anne Kavanagh is a spokeswoman for Smollett’s attorneys, who say he’s innocent.

Kavanagh says attorney Mark Geragos, who’s based in Los Angeles, is Smollett’s lead attorney. She says a defense lawyer asked Monday that Smollett be allowed to travel to California and New York for meetings with his legal team.

Chicago police charged Smollett with disorderly conduct. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says Smollett, who is black and gay, staged a racist and homophobic attack , then told police his attackers yelled racial and anti-gay slurs and referenced President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

He was released last week after posting $ 10,000 cash. He was ordered to surrender his passport.

PHOTO: AP


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DOJ asks judge to give final approval on CVS-Aetna merger

President Trump’s Department of Justice asked a judge to give final approval of the $ 69 billion merger between CVS and Aetna on Monday — but there’s only a 50 percent chance of the judge agreeing, insiders said. Drugstore company CVS Health did close its planned merger with insurance giant Aetna in November after getting the…
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Judge Sets R. Kelly’s Bond at $1 Million

(CHICAGO) — A judge on Saturday gave R. Kelly a chance to go free while the R&B star awaits trial on charges that he sexually abused four people, including three minors, in a case that seemed likely to produce another #MeToo reckoning for a celebrity.

Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. set bond at $ 1 million bond, meaning that the 52-year-old Grammy winner must post $ 100,000 to be released or remain behind bars until he is tried on the allegations that date back as far as 1998 and span more than a decade.

Kelly turned himself in late Friday and spent a night in jail before being taken to the courthouse. He stood with his hands behind his back and said to the judge, “How are you?”

His attorney, Steve Greenberg, said Kelly is not a flight risk and told the judge, “Contrary to the song, Mr. Kelly doesn’t like to fly.” One of Kelly’s best-known hits is “I Believe I Can Fly.”

The bond equals $ 250,000 for each of the four people Kelly is charged with abusing, the judge said.

Greenberg said Kelly “really doesn’t have any more money,” suggesting that others had mismanaged his wealth. Still, he said he expected that Kelly would be able to come up with enough money for bail.

Asked later how Greenberg would get paid, he said, “That’s none of your business.”

The judge called the allegations “disturbing.” The singer-songwriter looked down at the floor as the judge spoke.

Kelly’s DNA was found in semen on one of the accuser’s shirts, and semen found on one worn by another was submitted for DNA testing, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said.

Kelly met one of the accusers when she was celebrating her 16th birthday party at a restaurant and another when he signed an autograph during his 2008 trial on child-pornography charges, Foxx said.

Prosecutors said they have a video of another accuser that shows R. Kelly having sex with her when she was 14.

A fourth accuser, a hairdresser, told prosecutors that she thought she was going to braid R. Kelly’s hair, but that he instead tried to force her to give him oral sex. The woman, who was 24 at the time, was able to pull away, but Kelly ejaculated on her and spit in her face, Foxx said.

After the hearing, Greenberg told reporters that Kelly did not force anyone to have sex.

“He’s a rock star. He doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex,” Greenberg said.

The judge ordered Kelly to surrender his passport, ending his hopes of doing a tour of Europe in April. Kelly defiantly scheduled concerts in Germany and the Netherlands despite the cloud of legal issues looming over him.

The recording artist, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. He was charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse.

Kelly, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, has consistently denied any sexual misconduct. He broke into the R&B scene in 1993 with his first solo album, “12 Play,” which produced such popular sex-themed songs as “Bump N’ Grind” and “Your Body’s Callin’.”

He rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side and has retained a sizable following. Kelly has written numerous hits for himself and other artists, including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. His collaborators have included Jay-Z and Usher.

The jury in 2008 acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges that centered on a graphic video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. He and the young woman allegedly seen with him denied they were in the 27-minute video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them, and she did not take the stand. Kelly could have gotten 15 years in prison.

Charging Kelly now for actions that occurred in the same time frame as the allegations from the 2008 trial suggests the accusers are cooperating this time and willing to testify.

Because the alleged victim 10 years ago denied that she was on the video and did not testify, the state’s attorney office had little recourse except to charge the lesser offense under Illinois law, child pornography, which required a lower standard of evidence.

Each count of the new charges carries up to seven years in prison. If Kelly is convicted on all 10 counts, a judge could decide that the sentences run one after the other — making it possible for him to receive up to 70 years behind bars. Probation is also an option under the statute.

Kelly was charged a week after Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose clients have included porn star Stormy Daniels, said he gave prosecutors new video evidence of the singer with an underage girl.

At a news conference Friday, Avenatti said a 14-year-old girl seen with R. Kelly on the video is among four victims mentioned in the indictment. He said the footage shows two separate scenes on two separate days at Kelly’s residence in the late 1990s.

During the video, both the victim and Kelly refer to her age 10 times, he said.

Avenatti said he represents six clients, including two victims, two parents and two people he describes as “knowing R. Kelly and being within his inner circle for the better part of 25 years.”

Legally and professionally, the walls began closing in on Kelly after the release of a BBC documentary about him last year and the multipart Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired last month. Together they detailed allegations he was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”

#MeToo activists and a social media movement using the hashtag #MuteRKelly called on streaming services to drop Kelly’s music and promoters not to book any more concerts. Protesters demonstrated outside Kelly’s Chicago studio.

In the indictment, the prosecution addressed the question of the statute of limitations, saying that even abuse that happened more than two decades ago falls within the charging window allowed under Illinois law. Victims typically have 20 years to report abuse, beginning when they turn 18.


Entertainment – TIME

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Judge sets $100,000 bond for Smollett, orders ‘Empire’ actor’s passport surrendered

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was arrested in Chicago early Thursday morning for allegedly filing a false report of a crime, police said.
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Roger Stone cannot speak publicly about case, judge rules

Roger Stone is in hot water heading into a court hearing on Thursday afternoon.


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Judge voids Paul Manafort plea deal, says he ‘intentionally’ lied to the FBI, special counsel and grand jury

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, lied to special counsel Robert Mueller, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.


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U.S. judge limits evidence in trial over Roundup cancer claims

A federal judge overseeing lawsuits alleging Bayer AG’s glyphosate-based weed killer causes cancer has issued a ruling that could severely restrict evidence that the plaintiffs consider crucial to their cases.


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Judge says Affordable Care Act will remain in effect during appeal

The federal judge who declared the Affordable Care Act’s individual coverage mandate unconstitutional earlier this month issued an order on Sunday saying despite his previous ruling the law can remain in effect pending appeal.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Judge orders North Korea to pay Warmbier family $500 million for wrongful death

A federal judge in Washington awarded the parents of Otto Warmbier more than half a billion dollars in a wrongful death suit against the North Korean government, which detained and allegedly tortured the college student over 17 months before returning him to the US last year, where he died days later.


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US judge orders North Korea to pay $500 million in student’s death

A federal judge has ordered North Korea to pay more than $ 500 million in a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died shortly after being released from that country.
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‘I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain’: Veteran judge upends hopes of Trump allies as he spotlights Flynn’s misdeeds

Supporters of former national security adviser Michael Flynn thought the independent-minded jurist would reveal overreach by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the FBI.
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Health-care stocks plunge after federal judge rules Obamacare unconstitutional

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor of Texas argued that the Affordable Care Act cannot stand on its own since Congress last December repealed the individual mandate, which imposed a tax penalty on consumers who went uninsured.
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Judge Strikes Down ACA Putting Law In Legal Peril — Again

The future of the Affordable Care Act is threatened — again — this time by a ruling Friday from a federal district court judge in Texas.

Judge Reed C. O’Connor struck down the law, siding with a group of 18 Republican state attorneys general and two GOP governors who brought the case. O’Connor said the tax bill passed by Congress last December effectively rendered the entire health law unconstitutional.

That tax measure eliminated the penalty for not having insurance. An earlier Supreme Court decision upheld the ACA based on the view that the penalty was a tax and thus the law was valid because it relied on appropriate power allowed Congress under the Constitution. O’Connor’s decision said that without that penalty, the law no longer met that Constitutional test.

“In some ways, the question before the Court involves the intent of both the 2010 and 2017 Congresses,” O’Connor wrote in his 55-page decision. “The former enacted the ACA. The latter sawed off the last leg it stood on.”

The decision came just hours before the end of open enrollment for ACA plans in most states that use the federal Healthcare.gov insurance exchange. It is not expected that the ruling will impact the coverage for those people — the final decision will likely not come until the case reaches the Supreme Court again.

Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees those insurance exchanges, said in a tweet: “The recent federal court decision is still moving through the courts, and the exchanges are still open for business and we will continue with open enrollment. There is no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan.”

The 16 Democratic state attorneys general who intervened in the case to defend the health law immediately vowed to appeal.

“The ACA has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court,” said a statement from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “Today’s misguided ruling will not deter us: our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and wellbeing of all Americans.”

It is all but certain the case will become the third time the Supreme Court decides a constitutional question related to the ACA. In addition to upholding the law in 2012, the court rejected another challenge to the law in 2015.

It is hard to overstate what would happen to the nation’s health care system if the decision is ultimately upheld. The Affordable Care Act touched almost every aspect of health care, from Medicare and Medicaid to generic biologic drugs, the Indian Health Service, and public health changes like calorie counts on menus.

The case, Texas v United States, was filed in February. The plaintiffs argued that because the Supreme Court upheld the ACA in 2012 as a constitutional use of its taxing power, the elimination of the tax makes the rest of the law unconstitutional.

In June, the Justice Department announced it would not fully defend the law in court. While the Trump administration said it did not agree with the plaintiffs that the tax law meant the entire ACA was unconstitutional, it said that the provisions of the law guaranteeing that people with preexisting health conditions could purchase coverage at the same price as everyone else were so inextricably linked to the tax penalty that they should be struck.

The administration urged the court to declare those provisions invalid beginning Jan. 1, 2019. That is the day the tax penalty for not having insurance disappears.

The protections for people with preexisting conditions was one of the top health issues in the midterm elections in November. While the issue mostly played to the advantage of Democrats, one of the Republican plaintiffs, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, defeated Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. Another plaintiff, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, lost to Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin.

President Donald Trump was quick to take a victory lap, and pressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the presumed incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to fix the problem. He tweeted Friday night that “As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!”

But congressional leaders were quick to point out that the suit is far from over.

“The ruling seems to be based on faulty legal reasoning and hopefully it will be overturned,” said a statement from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Many legal experts agreed with that. “This is insanity in print, and it will not stand up on appeal,” tweeted University of Michigan Law School Professor Nicholas Bagley, an expert in health law.

Even some conservatives were left scratching their heads. “Congress acted last year to repeal the mandate, but leave everything else in place and the courts should have deferred to that,” tweeted former congressional GOP aide Chris Jacobs.

Kaiser Health News

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Federal judge in Texas strikes down Affordable Care Act

A federal judge in Texas said on Friday that the Affordable Care Act’s individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of the law must also fall.


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Judge Issues Orders Of Protection In Cardi B Case

(AP Photo)

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has issued orders of protection against platinum rapper Cardi B in a case involving a melee at a New York strip club.

Cardi B appeared in court Friday after a summons was issued on Oct. 1 for misdemeanor reckless endangerment and assault.

Her lawyer has said she didn’t harm anybody.

Police said Cardi B and her entourage were at the club when she argued with a 23-year-old bartender. They say a fight broke out during which chairs, bottles and hookah water pipes were thrown, slightly injuring the woman and another employee.

Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy” is among the nominees announced Friday for the 2019 Grammy Awards’ album of the year. She scored a total of five nominations.

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What a judge can — and can’t — do in ruling on the Justice Department’s deal with CVS and Aetna

Judge Richard Leon is considering halting CVS Health and Aetna's integration. The Justice Department's agreement with the companies needs his approval, but he can't block the deal outright. 
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Sole Black GOP Senator Votes for Judge Accused of Suppressing Black Vote

The U.S. Senate’s only Black Republican senator is facing heat after voting for a controversial judicial nominee, who’s been accused of hurting Black voters. South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott voted to advance the vote for Thomas Farr for the Eastern District of North Carolina on Wednesday, per CNN. Vice President Mike Pence was the tie-breaking vote, after the 50-50 vote. All 49 Senate Democrats opposed Farr’s nomination, referencing his past support of legal measures that negatively impacted African-American voters, such as working with the with North Carolina Republican Party on the state’s congressional map, which was struck down earlier […]

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Judge blocks Trump administration from denying asylum to immigrants who cross border illegally

A federal judge on Monday issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration from denying asylum to immigrants who cross the US-Mexico border illegally.


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Real Witches Judge the Witch Culture of ‘The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’

If you’re watching The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina on Netflix, you’ll know that it’s a very funny, occasionally petrifying, ultra-progressive, extremely emotional TV drama. Well, that’s what we think. But what do actual witches think about the way their culture is represented in the show? We pulled together a coven of witches to tell us what’s what…

Please introduce yourselves and explain your relationship to witchcraft and the occult…

“My name is Tania Ahsan. I’ve been a practising witch for 25 years and was previously the editor of Prediction magazine, a now-defunct occult magazine. I write the witchcraft column for Kindred Spirit magazine.”

“My name is Evelyn Hollow, I was raised with a mixed background of Celtic Pagan beliefs & Mediterranean Roma blood. As an adult, I obtained a Master’s degree in Psychological Research specialising in Paranormal Psychology. I have been an academic of the occult for more than six years and was a lecturer of Psychology for the last few of those years.”

“And my name is Anna McKerrow. I’m a fiction writer and eclectic Pagan witch. My work is always about witchcraft, and I’m passionate about representing modern, contemporary witches in realistic and thoughtful ways.”

So the new Sabrina, let’s start with what you think the show did well… and what it didn’t.

Anna: “I’ve read so much comment about the new Sabrina show from other witches. I think most of us are enjoying it for what it is: a fun TV drama. If you want to talk about realism… well, someone walking in the woods chanting to themselves or meditating or even a group ritual isn’t going to fit this kind of high-action, stylised TV format. Witches and those following alternative, broadly Pagan/polytheistic or pantheistic beliefs often tend to be philosophical about the inaccurate ways that they and their spiritual beliefs are depicted in fiction, partly because the stereotypes are so pervasive, partly because of an attitude that runs ‘whatever — allows me to stay under the radar’ and, I would say, a mindfulness of the still-recent repeal in the UK of the witchcraft laws in the 1950s.”


Sabrina
Sabrina Spellman on trial in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Tania: “There are Satanic witches but it is only one type of witchcraft. A far larger sect of witchcraft is Wicca, the way devised by Gerald Gardner in the 1960s. But I’m not surprised that they decided to go with the Satanic type. This seems to be a bit of a wet dream for the Bible Belt and is the antithesis of the feminist witchcraft that is currently seeing a huge revival. The idea that a woman can only have power when she is an evil cannibalistic Satan-worshipping minx is one that has been put about to keep women down. It breeds fear of witchcraft and the occult. The salt baths to cleanse energetically is pretty accurate though and some witches work with animal guides. Although I don’t think they call them ‘familiars’ as this is again something that is rooted in the literature of a tradition that persecutes and wilfully misunderstands us.”

Evelyn: “I think it’s an improvement on the original series. I liked the original series, but it was more about the pitfalls of being a weird teenage girl than it was about witchcraft. I think this one is one of the better paranormal horror shows to come out in recent years. I also applaud its use of diverse casting and inclusion of important narratives that intersect race, gender, and socioeconomics.”


Sabrina-Spellman
Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina Spellman in the series.

Anna:Sabrina is good in my view because there has been a reasonable amount of research done in the detail; cleansing bad energy/curses with salt, the fact that worship takes place outside in nature, the reference to the historic, inherited trauma of the witch trials and how that still affects women now. How we still feel and fear that punishment for standing in our power. I believe they have witch and occultist consultants for the show, which is a good thing. I also like that Sabrina practices magic in ‘ordinary’ ways too – forming a support group for the girls at her school, doing things in her world that makes change in positive ways. Magic is the changing of one’s experience of the world in a beneficial way. Witches know — or should know — that writing good CVs, voting and earning money are all necessary and effective things as well as journeying, meditating, chanting and being in nature.”

What would be your main criticism of the show?

Evelyn: “Perhaps the Hollywood glamourizing of witchcraft as high-drama rituals involving getting naked and spilling blood in the woods under a full moon. Everyday rites are more small moments of ritual crafted in order to create spaces that have positive effects on our mental health and restore feelings of control to our lives.”


Sabrina-still
Outdoor rituals in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Anna: “For me, the main problem is the Beast as Sabrina’s witch family’s deity or spiritual leader. Now, that is not to say that there aren’t witches who might work with the Lucifer energy and do what is called ‘shadow work’, which is absolutely nothing to do with the schlocky Hammer Horror devil stuff we’ve all been brought up on. Shadow work is the absolutely necessary healing and recognition of our full selves by loving all that we are; the balance of ourselves as perfectly imperfect beings. The ‘Beast’ is, as witches see it, also not a problem — that’s Aleister Crowley’s naming of the sexual life force of humanity; the horns of the wild horned gods of nature. The main problem with these terms and representations is the Christian duality of light/good and dark/bad that lies under them. This duality is at odds with a witch’s worldview, which tends more to the holistic and embraces the dark as a necessary complement to the light.”

Tania: “I think it is actually quite racist. Why is good always white or light? Why is evil always dark or black? The fact is there is no easy dualism in the way that it is described. The reason it has played out this way is that monotheism needs to find a way to suppress the Paganism that went before so the Horned God, the representation of the male divine, was co-opted as the image of the Devil and witches were all meant to be butt-kissing this goat-legged fallen angel. They absolutely hate that instead women might have freedom and power and so they have to attribute it to a male overlord. Yeah, good luck with that.”

Can you think of any other areas of pop culture where witchcraft has been covered well?

Tania: “Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics had a character called Thessaly who I felt was an accurate depiction of a witch. She played by rules that weren’t those that we attribute to either a hero or a villain, again she moved beyond the duality and basically just did what worked and made her way in the world in the manner she wanted. She was also depicted as a very plain-looking bespectacled woman who was quiet and watchful. She definitely did not wear a Grand Puba cape and put up a website with many different colours and fonts and a predilection for writing IN CAPITALS. Another top description is Gandalf in Lord of the Rings; he feels fear and goes through a journey in which he faces his greatest fear and emerges stronger and better. Of course, his hair is all white afterwards so the trope of white being right is still there, but props to him for facing his demon.”


the-craft-girls-walking-with-lightning and sparks
The Craft.

Evelyn:The Craft is one of the better displays of young women developing their path via witchcraft. The kind of spirit invocation and binding practices they use are relatively common in covens.”

Anna: “I always enjoy The Wicker Man, to be honest – apart from the grisly end, it’s quite nice to imagine what a free-spirited Pagan island might look like! And I liked Willow Rosenberg as a witch in Buffy because she learns to be a Wiccan witch. It’s very ’90s but she’s a normal girl, she’s a lesbian, she studies, she gets things wrong, she’s part of online witch groups. It went quite supernatural with the witch storyline in the end but the beginning was good. Oh, and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon is a hugely popular book among witches because, though it’s fantasy and set in the King Arthur myth, it was one of the first — and still very few — fiction works to celebrate the empowerment of the goddess on Morgan, the witch character. It shows her route to power, her learning her witchcraft as a priestess of the moon and her adoration of the goddess.”

Thank you for your time! Before we go, tell our readers anything you’d like to plug…

Anna: “Thank you! My current book Daughter of Light and Shadows is available on Amazon…”

Tania: “My insta is @Tania_The_Witch and my website is taniaahsan.co.uk — there’s an e-book of candle spells on there isf you fancy having a go yourself!”

Evelyn: “I’m a resident author on a publication called Esoterica Zine, which may be of interest to anyone interested in the obscure. In fact, the next issue to be released is themed around witchcraft! Issues can be accessed at https://gumroad.com/esotericazine Other than that my Twitter, @_EvelynHollow is the best place to find me!”

41 Spooky ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Details You Probably Missed

The post Real Witches Judge the Witch Culture of ‘The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’ appeared first on FANDOM.

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Decision could open door for plaintiffs to begin seeking documents from president’s company.
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Judge Napolitano Teaches Basic Civics to Desperate ‘Fox & Friends’ Hosts

via Fox and Friends

Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News’ longtime senior judicial analyst, appeared on Fox & Friends early Thursday to teach the hosts a basic civics lesson in light of President Trump’s announcement this week that plans to end birthright citizenship through an executive order.

Though hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy appeared eager to find a method to carry out Trump’s proposed policy, Napolitano dashed their hopes with a sit-down worthy of a 7th-grade classroom.

“Look, the president can’t change the plain meaning of the Constitution with the stroke of a pen,” Napolitano said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Yankees’ Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Masahiro Tanaka named AL Gold Glove finalists, no Mets make the cut

The Yankees’ Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Masahiro Tanaka were named finalists for the Rawling Gold Glove awards at their respective positions on Thursday.

The winners will be announced in early November.

The other finalists among American League pitchers are Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and Dallas…

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Kavanaugh moves closer to Senate confirmation as GOP argues FBI report exonerates the judge

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