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Towards the end of his presidency, Donald Trump sued The New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN for running stories alleging that his 2016 campaign "colluded" with Russia. As of this Friday, all those cases have been dismissed.
In an op-ed for Above the Law, Liz Dye writes that the last case to be dismissed on Friday, which was Trump's suit against The Post, "was right out of the Trump litigation 'playbook' of political speeches masquerading as civil litigation memorably called out by Judge Donald Middlebrooks when he benchslapped the former president and his lawyers with a million dollars in sanctions last month."
Middlebrooks sanctioned Trump and his lawyers nearly $1 million for a "frivolous" lawsuit claiming Hillary Clinton had tried to rig the 2016 election.
The judge said the Republican, who is seeking to return to the White House in 2024, exhibited a "continuing pattern of misuse of the courts" and had filed the suit "in order to dishonestly advance a political narrative."
The lawsuit, which Middlebrooks tossed out last year, claimed that Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential election to Trump, and others had created a false narrative that his campaign had colluded with Russia.
Trump had sought $70 million in damages.
But the suit "should never have been brought," Middlebrooks said in the 45-page written court order.
As Dye points out, in the latest ruling, the court was unconvinced by Trump's argument that attacked the alleged liberal ideology of Washington Post reporters, saying that he just presented examples that were "were protected expressions of opinion" and not "actual malice."
According to Dye, Trump's suits never had any merit and were "never defamation suits in anything but name."
"In the meantime, Trump has moved on to crazier lawsuits and weirder lawyers. He’s currently suing CNN in Florida for saying that he lied about election fraud," Dye writes. "Even if his claims about rampant fraud were false, he actually believed them, and so he’s entitled to $475 million in damages — or so he’d have his appointee Judge Raag Singhal believe, anyway. He’s also filed suit against the Pulitzer board in Okeechobee County Florida for defamatory refusal to revoke prizes awarded in 2019 to the Post and the Times."
With additional reporting by AFP
The United States is in the process of recovering debris from the Chinese balloon out of the Atlantic for analysis by intelligence experts and there is no plan to give the remains back to Beijing, the White House said Monday.
"They have recovered some remnants off the surface of the sea and weather conditions did not permit much undersea surveillance of the debris field," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters, two days after a US fighter jet shot down the balloon, which had previously traversed the country.
US personnel will "in the coming days be able to get down there and take a better look at what's on the bottom of the ocean, but it's just started," Kirby said, noting that the area where debris had scattered was "sizeable."
China says the balloon was an errant weather observation aircraft with no military purpose. The United States says the balloon was a sophisticated high-altitude spying vehicle.
After slowly traversing the middle of the United States, reportedly over several top secret military sites, the balloon headed out over the east coast, where President Joe Biden ordered it to be shot down.
Kirby said there was no intention to send the pieces back. "I know of no such intention or plans to return it," he said.
The Biden administration is painting the incident as a provocative move by China that turned into something of an own goal by providing US intelligence services with valuable data.
According to Kirby, measures were taken to ensure the balloon's instruments were "mitigated" in their ability to spy, while "at the same time increasing and improving our ability to collect intelligence and information from it."
"We're still analyzing the information that we were able to collect off of the balloon before we shot it out of the sky and now we're going to recover it and I suspect we may learn even more."
One detail already known, Kirby said, is that the balloon was not merely drifting but had propellers and steering to give a measure of control, even as it was swept along in the high altitude Jet Stream wind.
"It is true that this balloon had the ability maneuver itself -- to speed up, to slow down and to turn. So it had propellers, it had a rudder, if you will, to allow it to change direction," he said. "But the most important navigational vector was the jet stream itself, the winds at such a high altitude."
© 2023 AFP
A Black man from Florida is finally getting justice against a racist neighbor who for years has been targeting him with racist harassment.
Florida-based news station Local 10 reports that Miami resident Alexander Tatum won in court recently after he spent years documenting the racist behavior of neighbor Jesus Hiedra, who has been shown on camera repeatedly hurling the N-word and flipping the middle finger.
In addition to this, Tatum has video showing Hierda spraying some substance onto his property that he believes was a chemical irritant that harmed one of his pet dogs.
After weighing all the evidence compiled by Tatum, the judge overseeing the case ruled in favor of a three-year restraining order against Hiedra, who will be prohibited from having any contact with Tatum and who will have to remain at least 500 feet away from his neighbor at all times except when entering and leaving his own house.
Hierda is also not allowed to post complaints about Tatum in the internet.
Tatum told Local 10 that he feels justice has been served -- and now he can apparently enjoy spending time in his own neighborhood.
"“Peace of mind – mentally, nothing better than having some recourse to the situation,” he told Local 10.