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Calif. prosecutors try using obscure law to send musician to prison for life over rap album

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A California rapper is facing life in prison because prosecutors have charged him under a little-known law, claiming that his album sales benefited from gang murders.

Rapper Brandon Duncan, who goes by the name Tiny Doo, and 14 other gang members were arrested last week on charges relating to an alleged gang conspiracy in 9 shootings in the San Diego area, KGTV reported.

Although Duncan is not directly tied to the shootings, prosecutors for the first time have employed an obscure California law passed in 2000 that allows gang members to be prosecuted if they benefited from the crimes of other gang members. And according to prosecutors, Duncan’s album sales were boosted by the shootings.

“We’re not just talking about a CD of anything, of love songs. We’re talking about a CD (cover) … there is a revolver with bullets,” Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna told KGTV.

Duncan’s attorney, however, suggested that the first use of this California law could be a “huge” violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s shocking,” attorney Brian Watkins pointed out. “He has no criminal record. Nothing in his lyrics say go out and commit a crime. Nothing in his lyrics reference these shootings, yet they are holding him liable for conspiracy. There are huge constitutional issues.”

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Thomas Jefferson School of Law professor Alex Kreit agreed that the law may run afoul of the First Amendment.

“Where does that end if that’s the definition of criminal liability? Is Martin Scorsese going to be prosecuted if he meets with mafia members for a movie for his next film?” Kreit asked. “The Constitution says it can’t be a crime to simply make gangster rap songs and hang out with people that are committing crimes. You have to have more involvement than that.”

Watch the video below from KGTV, broadcast Nov. 18, 2014.

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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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CNN

‘He clocked Beto’: Van Jones says ‘Castro came out of nowhere’ to dominate the first Democratic debate

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CNN host Van Jones asserted on Wednesday that former Transporation Secretary Julián Castro was the breakout star of the first Democratic presidential debate.

"I was super proud to be a Democrat," Jones said following the debate. "I thought they all did better than Trump."

The CNN host went on to call Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) a "college professor" compared to the other candidates, who he said were more like "graduate students."

"She is able to go back and forth between policy and the human thing," Jones marveled before moving on to praise Castro.

"It was Castro that came out of nowhere!" Jones exclaimed. "Nobody was talking about Castro. He did the Texas takedown, turned around, clocked Beto [O'Rourke]. I mean, you never saw it coming."

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Activism

Dem debate audience goes wild over Elizabeth Warren’s plan to ‘deal with’ Mitch McConnell

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Sen. Elizebeth Warren (D-MA) revealed at Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate that she has a plan to "deal with" obstruction from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) if she becomes president.

At the first Democratic debate of the 2020 election cycle, host Chuck Todd asked Warren about what he called "the Mitch McConnell thing."

"You have a lot of ambitious plans," Todd said. "Do you have a plan to deal with Mitch McConnell? If you don’t beat him in the Senate and he is still the Senate majority leader, it’s plausible you can be president with a Republican Senate."

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