Breaking: A big development in the case against Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinsten, the disgraced Hollywood movie mogul, has been indicted on criminal sex and rape charges according to a statement from the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Here’s what happened 

Weinstein was arrested Friday on first and third-degree rape charges stemming from accusations by two women, one identified as a former acting student. He was released on $1 million bail, but ordered to wear an ankle bracelet.

“This indictment brings the defendant another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged,” said district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. on Wednesday.

“Our office will try this case not in the press, but in the courtroom where it belongs,” he added. “The defendant’s recent assault on the integrity of the survivors and the legal process is predictable. We are confident that when the jury hears the evidence, it will reject these attacks out of hand.”

Earlier during the hearing, Weinstein’s attorney indicated that he would not be testifying on his behalf in front of the grand jury. Weinsten has denied the charges against him.

Weinstein’s defense

Weinstein’s defense attorney Ben Brafman told reporters Tuesday that one of the accusers had a longtime relationship with the movie producer, in an attempt to cast doubt on the allegations.

“This is an extraordinary case in my judgement where the only rape victim that Mr. Weinstein is accused of raping is someone with whom he has had a 10-year consensual sexual relationship,” Brafman said, “both before and after the alleged incident.”

Brafman came under fire for his previous statement in defense of his client, when he said that Weinstein “did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood.”

The beginning of the “Me Too” movement

The “open secret” of Weinstein’s abuses spurred the “Me Too” movement when it was finally documented and revealed numerous accusations from his alleged victims. The culture of silence that helped him allegedly continue to wield his power to pressure and abuse women was unveiled in the entertainment industry, and encouraged other victims to reveal their abuse in other parts of society.

Some have claimed that the movement has gone too far and has caused false or exaggerated accusations to be made against men who were unfairly harmed in a courtroom of unaccountable public opinion.

Here’s a local news story on the indictment:

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House GOP Seeks Last-Ditch Immigration Agreement Amid Rebellion

House Republican leaders are making a last-ditch effort to work out an agreement on immigration legislation as GOP hardliners conceded Tuesday that moderates would otherwise be able to force a vote on bipartisan proposals the conservatives oppose.

Representative Dennis Ross of Florida, a member of the Republican vote-counting team, said he was asked by party leaders to delay signing a petition that — with support from virtually all Democrats and a few dozen Republicans — would force Speaker Paul Ryan to hold votes on four immigration bills that he doesn’t want to bring to the floor.

{snip}

House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows acknowledged that he expects moderate Republicans and Democrats can gather enough signatures to force a vote on the bipartisan proposals, including one to grant a citizenship path to young undocumented immigrants.

“They’ll get to 218” signatures, a majority of House members, said Meadows of North Carolina.

Still, he said that if the House passes a bill to protect the young immigrants known as dreamers, “it’s not going to become law so I’m not sitting here with fear and trembling.”

{snip}

Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican who has signed the petition, expressed confidence that it’ll succeed.

“There’s no doubt that there are enough Republicans who will sign on,” he said in an interview. “This one’s done to bring out four different diverse solutions. It was done in a way not to be disruptive or for political grandstanding.”

Conservative House Republicans are seeking an immediate vote instead on a bill that would put new restrictions on legal immigration, sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. Last week, members of the Freedom Caucus blocked a GOP farm bill on the House floor because they didn’t trust assurances from GOP leaders that the Goodlatte measure would get a vote.

Regarding the Freedom Caucus, Ross said, “I’m tired of the tail wagging the dog.” He said he had been told that GOP leaders are trying to negotiate an immigration bill with Democrats.

{snip}

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Martek Marine Calls for Urgent ISPS Review

Commercial shipping is waking up to the growing threat that drones pose to the safety & security of vessels. Terrorist use of drones deploying explosives is already well documented and the potential for a drone to deliver an explosive charge through the deck of an oil/gas tanker or on a passenger ship with potentially catastrophic results is a stark reality.

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CDC Gives The All-Clear To Start Eating Romaine Lettuce Again

The warning went on for weeks, as the CDC documented 172 cases of E. coli. Fresh supplies of lettuce, harvested in Salinas Valley, Calif, are being shipped to restaurants and stores nationwide. DAVID GREENE, HOST: So if you’ve avoided romaine lettuce due …

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Russia’s new bridge to Crimea is ‘illegal takeover,’ US State Dept. says

The U.S. has formally condemned the construction of a new bridge that connects Russia with Crimea.

Under Secretary of State Heather Nauert called the bridge an attempt to consolidate the “illegal takeover” of Crimea by Moscow, Global News Inside reported this week.

“The construction of the bridge in Russia serves as a reminder of Russia’s continued willingness to circumvent international law,” Nauert said.

The new bridge connects the peninsula of Tamán in southern Russia with the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014. Since then, most in the international community agrees that the annexation was illegitimate and that Crimea is still a part of Ukraine.

“The United States condemns the construction and partial opening” of the bridge, Nauert said, and that the project was carried out “without the permission of the government of Ukraine.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the inauguration of the $4 billion bridge where he led a convoy of work trucks across to the Crimean side.

Putin signed autographs and shook hands with the workers as state media documented the event.

The bridge can support up to 40,000 passenger cars per day and is now the fastest way to reach Crimea, which has become a popular tourist and vacation spot for Russians. Along with cars, the bridge will also include a railway, which is scheduled for completion at the end of 2019.

“The bridge represents not only an attempt by Russia to consolidate its illegal takeover and occupation of Crimea, but it also impedes navigation by limiting the size of ships that can transit through the Kerch Strait, the only way to reach the territorial waters of Ukraine in the Sea of ​​Azov, “ Nauert added.

Nauert explained that the U.S. reaffirms its commitment with the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and warned that U.S. sanctions related to Crimea “will remain in force until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine.”

The Crimean peninsula was annexed by Russia in early 2014. It currently exists as two Russian federal subjects: the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol.

The vast majority of the international community – including the U.S. – has not formally recognized the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol as part of Russia. Most nations openly reject previous referendums and instead consider Crimea and Sevastopol to be administrative divisions of Ukraine.

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De Blasio literally has no idea how his administration settled on new immigration defense funding policy

Mayor de Blasio hasn’t got a clue. Hizzoner’s office may have announced that private foundations will pick up the tab to defend some undocumented immigrants facing deportation, but the mayor himself said he “literally” had “no idea how that happened …

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‘It’s Really Not Fair’: Rutgers Student Calls Out School for Aiding Illegal Immigrants.. Rutgers student…

'It's Really Not Fair': Rutgers Student Calls Out School for Aiding Illegal Immigrants.. Rutgers student and Campus Reform correspondent Aviv Khavich said he's concerned about a "lack of respect for the rule of law" at his school and at colleges across the country.
Study: Nearly 40 % of Top Liberal Arts Colleges Have No GOP Professors
Student Activists Fight to Shut Down ROTC Program at NYC College
A Rutgers University student is calling out his school for "privileging" illegal immigrants over American citizens and legal immigrants.
In February, Rutgers students started a petition opposing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appearing at a career fair, arguing it would alienate undocumented students. The agency voluntarily withdrew from the career fair after talks with administrators.
Earlier this month, Rutgers held a training workshop designed to help students, faculty, and staff empathize with the illegal immigrant community. One administrator suggested that the program should be mandatory.
And on Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill that allows New Jersey college students who are in the country illegally to obtain financial aid for their education. http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/05/10/rutgers-university-student-calls-out-school-aiding-illegal-immigrants

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1930s Coolidge Legacies In St. J. – Christopher E. Ryan

President Calvin Coolidge’s (1872-1933) association with St. Johnsbury Academy as a post-graduate student in 1891, while preparing for Amherst College, has been well documented over the years. His posthumous presence in St. J. through estate gifts …

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NFL quarterback nabs HS student who tried to steal his truck. The kid couldn’t have made it easier.

It was a comedy of errors all around — but the star quarterback won in the end.

Seems a Florida high school student happened upon a Jacksonville Beach house party Wednesday night and decided to help himself to an unlocked-with-the-wallet-and-keys-inside Ford F-150, police told WJXT-TV.

But it wasn’t just any house party. The residence is owned by Jacksonville Jaguars’ center Brandon Linder, ESPN reported.

And the pickup truck’s owner? None other than the man who stands right behind Linder on the field — Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles.

Let the incompetence commence

Police said Joseph Horton, 18, entered Bortles’ new Ford F-150 and rummaged through the interior, WJXT reported. Witnesses told police that home surveillance video documented the act, the station added.

Joseph Horton (Image source: WJXT-TV video screenshot)

Apparently the video also showed Horton removing Bortles’ wallet from his truck, the station noted, adding that the wallet later found on the ground.

But witnesses told police that Horton’s attempts to drive off in Bortles’ truck were thwarted by other cars boxing in the vehicle, WJXT said.

When life gives you lemons…

With his first plan having bitten the dust, police said Horton actually made his way into the house party, the station said, citing witnesses.

Not only that — he went upstairs.

Horton likely failed to give off that I’m-an-NFL-player-too vibe, and indeed neither Linder nor his party guests recognized him — and police were duly notified, WJXT noted.

But the kid made some new friends

When officers arrived on scene, they found Horton being held by Bortles and two of the quarterback’s buddies, ESPN reported.

Horton told police he was at the party looking for a former girlfriend, WJXT said.

What happened to Horton?

Horton was arrested and charged with burglary, trespassing, and grand theft, the station said, adding that he’s since been released on bond.

The best part?

Oh, and after Horton gave police his address, a little research indicated that the residence is a multimillion-dollar home on the Intracoastal Waterway just a few blocks down the street, WJXT added.

Image source: WJXT-TV video screenshot

Neighbors said Horton lives there with his parents, the station noted.

As iconic cultural commentator David Lee Roth once put it, “His folks are overjoyed.”

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Disgruntled Yukon Bureaucrat Claims Racism, Said He Was Sacked for Secretly Recording His Co-Workers for Six Months

A disgruntled former Yukon Government bureaucrat, who was let go after catching colleagues on tape making disparaging comments about Indigenous education in a government staff meeting, is fighting in court to get his job back.

Andrew Schaer claims he secretly recorded two co-workers, both of them senior business development advisers in the Yukon Government’s department of economic development, during a staff meeting in September.

On the recording, a male voice can be heard laughing. He seems to call the Yukon College’s Institute for Indigenous Self-Determination “b——t.”

Minutes later, while discussing a program aimed at improving post-secondary outcomes for First Nations students, the same man asks, “Shouldn’t they get them out of high school first? It’s a 50 per cent grad rate.”

“Yeah, minor technicality,” a female voice replies, laughing.

According to the Yukon Government’s statistics, the high school graduation rate for First Nations students last year was 62 per cent, not 50. The territorial average was 75 per cent.

The female voice is then heard suggesting it would be better to “just mail them their certificates” rather than fund programs to improve Indigenous students’ college and university performances.

“That would be way cheaper,” she said.

Two sources The Star spoke to confirmed the meeting took place and the recording is real. A transcript of the recording, filed in court by the Yukon Government, also matches the tape. A government spokesperson confirmed the recording but would not identify the employees in question.

The government said in a statement it would not confirm whether the employees in question faced any disciplinary action because of privacy legislation barring it from disclosing employees’ work history.

Schaer claims the voices on the tape belong to Ian Young and Erin Deacon.

Reached by phone, both Young and Deacon refused to comment. Emails to both people were not returned.

Schaer was let go five days after coming forward with the tape in November. He is now suing the government and his former bosses for wrongful dismissal, claiming protection under the territory’s whistleblower legislation.

“They messed with the wrong marine,” Schaer told the Star. “They didn’t count on me being 12 steps ahead of them.”

Government documents filed in court, however, claim Schaer’s abrasive and confrontational attitude with colleagues and clients as reasons for his termination.

Schaer forwarded the recordings to Yukon College president Karen Barnes in February, who was concerned enough to send them on to the government herself.

“I feel disappointed, but I’m not surprised,” Barnes said. “I mean, wow, as a society, have we not gone further?”

Barnes said language like that on the recording is still far too common in the Yukon.

She said countering those outdated perceptions is a big part of what the college does, in part by ensuring all staff and students take a course called First Nations 101.

So how and why did Schaer start making secret recordings in the first place?

Schaer started working for the Yukon Government on May 10, 2017, under a standard six-month probationary period. Almost immediately, he began feeling harassed and bullied, he said.

“Andy, you won’t be here very long at (the Yukon Government) if you become a liability,” Schaer claims one colleague told him early in his tenure. He claims other employees belittled his triple-honours master’s degree, saying “You can get a degree anywhere these days. You can buy them online.”

Fearing for his job, Schaer said he didn’t file any official complaints, but instead began using his phone to secretly record every interaction he had at work over a six-month period.

Meanwhile, his co-workers were growing uncomfortable. While they were not aware of his secret recording, affidavits later sworn by deputy minister of economic development Justin Ferbey and Schaer’s co-worker Denise Monkman include multiple references to Schaer’s allegedly “aggressive” communication style.

An affidavit sworn by Monkman said she never witnessed any bullying or harassment of Mr. Schaer. Instead, when she tried to explain to Schaer that his behaviour was making her and others uncomfortable, Schaer insisted that “pretty much everyone else in the office was trying to sabotage him with false complaints.”

Monkman’s affidavit says Schaer’s behaviour became so difficult to bear that she had to take time off work.

As his relationships with colleagues continued to deteriorate, Schaer said he kept the recorder rolling the whole time.

In late September, that tape picked up the meeting where the two bureaucrats, who Schaer claims are Deacon and Young, allegedly made the disparaging comments.

Schaer said the comments were especially hurtful not only because of his Métis heritage, but because his partner is Tsalagi (North Carolina Cherokee) and their children share her Indigenous heritage.

“When they were deriding First Nations youth, calling them stupid, saying it would be cheaper to mail them their certificates rather than (having) them go to school, the only thing I thought of was my daughter,” Schaer said.

Still, he said he kept his mouth shut and recorder running.

But by mid-October, things reached another boiling point. Schaer, who said he is also Francophone, claims he was speaking in French on the phone with an employee at the federal government.

During the call, according to an affidavit sworn by Schaer, Young told him to “Take that f——g French s–t someplace, else!” And still Schaer did not report the abuse, and, he said, kept recording.

At the end of October, Ferbey, who is a citizen of the Carcross Tagish First Nation, gave Schaer a letter saying his six-month probationary period was being extended for another six months “to see if these issues could be addressed successfully,” according to Ferbey’s affidavit.

By this point, Schaer said, he couldn’t wait any longer. On Nov. 3 he met privately with assistant deputy minister Stephen Rose and disclosed what he said was six months’ worth of detailed, documented instances of harassment and abuse. He also emailed a detailed list of his allegations to his bosses, and their bosses.

Five days later the government ended Schaer’s employment.

Schaer claims the decision to extend his probation in the first place was an attempt to buy time while his bosses figured out a legal way to fire him, which he claims they ultimately did.

The Yukon Government denies this, and is opposing Schaer’s attempt in court to be reinstated. It was also granted an injunction barring Schaer from publishing any more of his recordings, and a restraining order preventing him from contacting Denise Monkman.

Emails between numerous senior Yukon Government staff spanning the five days in question shed some light on the situation.

“Obviously some pretty concerning allegations from the employee as well as some alarming behaviour from the same employee,” wrote executive council office deputy minister Jim Connell on Saturday, Nov. 4, the day after Schaer’s “whistleblowing” email.

On Nov. 8, Thomas Ullyett, the acting public service commissioner, emailed Connell to tell him Schaer had been dismissed. “He was rude and demanding to the end,” Ullyett writes.

Ullyett then emailed Justin Ferbey. “I’d recommend that you have a conversation with Cheryl about how the (Respectful Workplace Office) would help the branch in question. If there’s any truth to Schaer’s recordings, it appears to be a dysfunctional workplace.”

On Nov. 8, the day Schaer was let go, he said he and Ferbey got into a confrontation. Schaer was told to leave the building immediately. He refused, arguing with Ferbey about why he was being let go. And, as he had done for months, Schaer was recording.

During a recording of this confrontation, a male voice can be heard saying, “Andrew, you need to read the letter. You are being terminated because you are taping people.”

Schaer asks to return to his desk to collect his belongings. The male voice at first refuses, then agrees to escort Schaer to his desk. When Schaer tries to leave with a backpack, the male voice insists the backpack must be searched to ensure Schaer isn’t leaving with sensitive government information. Schaer refuses and the stand-off continues.

On the recording Schaer can be heard picking up his desk phone and calling the RCMP. He claims he is being held against his will, and asks the police to come and investigate. With the police on their way, Schaer is allowed to leave with his bag unsearched before police arrive.

While the case goes to court this month, it won’t be the first time Schaer’s picked a legal fight following his removal from an organization.

In the early 2000s, Schaer was a member of the Barrie, Ont. yacht club. After a similar falling out – where club members accused him of being impossible to work with, and he accused the club’s executive of orchestrating an illegal ouster – Schaer sued the club and several of its executives.

Court documents show he served each member with his statements of claim himself, in person. During several of those interactions, the police were called. One of those members was Ian White.

On July 12, 2001, White returned home from a late dinner with his wife to find Schaer’s statement of claim shoved under his front door.

“He also saw a liquid puddle on the front stoop which he identified by smell as urine,” wrote Justice Spyros Loukidelis, who authored the decision.

Schaer admitted to leaving the documents but denied peeing on White’s porch.

Two days later Schaer appeared at White’s door at 9:15 p.m. White armed himself with a 40-centimetre fibreglass baton, opened the door, “and in no uncertain terms told (Schaer) to “Get the f–k off my property,” Loukidelis wrote.

What happened next is a matter of some dispute. Schaer claimed White attacked him with the club, striking a smashing blow to his head and leaving him to collapse in a neighbour’s driveway.

A hospital report showed only minor swelling and a superficial cut to his left temple.

White claimed that after he opened the door, Schaer jumped back, “struck a karate-style pose” and continued to taunt White with claims that they would see each other in court.

White was found not guilty in a separate criminal trial. Loukidelis dismissed Schaer’s civil claim.

Schaer also lost his broader suit against the yacht club over his removal from its membership, though not before he appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which declined to hear the case.

“In hindsight, the battle that I picked with the Barrie Yacht Club probably wasn’t the right battle to pick,” Schaer said.

“This battle I’m picking (with the Yukon Government) is the battle I was born to pick,” he said.

“I believe that I was chosen for this,” Schaer said. “I think that God knew I would have the conviction, at my own peril, to stand up and speak truth to power, to shine a light and blow the whistle because what they are doing is wrong.”

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