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New California law eliminates ‘gay panic’ as a defense for attacks on LGBT people

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On Tuesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would outlaw so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses in court for offenders who commit acts of violence against LGBT people.

The East Bay Express reported that Assembly Bill No. 2501 outlaws the use by defendants of a victim’s sexual orientation or gender status as a defense for attacking or killing someone.

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Defense attorneys have successfully used the defense in the past, getting reductions in their clients’ sentences for hate crimes because the victims supposedly “came on” to their attackers or made unwelcome advances, causing the defendant to react violently.

Attorneys for teenager Brandon McInerney successfully used the ploy to get a reduced sentence for the killing of high school freshman Lawrence King, a gay youth who McInerney shot twice in the back of the head in a Los Angeles classroom.

Jezebel blogger Kat Callahan noted that a group of men who attacked and killed trans woman Gwen Araujo in Newark, California in 2002 were unsuccessful at getting their charges and sentences reduced by falling back on the “trans panic” defense.

The measure passed in a 50 to 10 vote in the state Assembly on Tuesday. Equality California’s executive director John O’Connor told the East Bay Express, “We’re glad that the Assembly Public Safety Committee agreed that this manufactured defense that plays upon homophobia and transphobia has no place in California’s justice system. The law should not treat victims of crime any differently because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that includes eliminating anti-LGBT bias as a ‘reasonable’ basis to mitigate the punishment for violent crimes against them.”

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President helped ‘increase anti-Trump turnout’ in red-state governor’s races — which could spell disaster for the GOP

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President Donald Trump was once the Republican Party's greatest asset in an election, mobilizing thousands of supporters to rush to the polls. Recently, however, it seems he's now driving anti-Trump votes up so much that it may no longer be worth the Trump trouble.

“So you’ve got to give me a big win, please,” Trump told a Louisiana crowd this week before the GOP candidate lost the governor's race in a red state.

“What Trump did in Louisiana was increase voter participation. While he increased the pro-Trump turnout, he also increased the anti-Trump turnout. That’s kind of the lesson here,” polling analyst Ron Faucheux told The Washington Post in an interview.

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Ambassador Sondland was updating Trump officials on progress of ‘push for investigations’ — including Mulvaney

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The Wall Street Journal obtained emails showing that ahead of President Donald Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ambassador Gordon Sondland was updating officials on the strive for investigations.

Chief of staff and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was one of the main points of contact, and he replied to the email saying he would schedule the call with Zelensky.

“I talked to Zelensky just now. He is prepared to receive Potus’ call. Will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will ‘turn over every stone,’” Sondland wrote in an email on July 19.

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White House desperately scheduling things for Trump to do so he won’t watch the impeachment hearings

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Given President Donald Trump worked to intimidate witnesses in real-time during the hearings on the impeachment inquiry last week, the White House is desperately searching for something that can keep him busy.

Axios reported Sunday, the presidential daily schedule will be designed to keep the president distracted with their own counter-programming.

"Trump's schedule for the coming week shows him governing," Axios reported. He'll be promoting jobs and talking about things like "art and culture."

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