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Florida court may relieve gun owners of burden of proof in ‘Stand Your Ground’ cases

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An appeal before the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday could shift the burden of proof for the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, relieving gun owners of a legal duty to prove self-defense when they brandish weapons in violent confrontations.

If the high court sides with Jared Bretherick, who was charged with aggravated assault for pointing a pistol at a man in a road-rage incident, the burden of proof would be shifted to prosecutors to show that a defendant claiming the law’s protection did not act in self-defense.

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The 2005 law allows citizens to use deadly force when they reasonably perceive that their lives or the lives of others are in danger.

Court records indicate Bretherick was riding with his family on Dec. 29, 2011, when a passing vehicle driven by Derek Dunning nearly sideswiped their SUV near Orlando.

The Indiana family said Dunning cut them off and stopped his own SUV in front of them, jumping out, and that driver Ronald Bretherick called 911 and showed his holstered gun to warn the man away.

The Brethericks said Dunning returned to his vehicle but backed it up toward them. Jared Bretherick then took his father’s gun and stood beside their vehicle. Deputies said the younger man was pointing the gun at Dunning’s SUV when they arrived.

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No shots were fired. Jared Bretherick said he heard Dunning say he had a gun, although none was found, and he was charged with aggravated assault. He said he stayed by the SUV to protect his father, a disabled veteran, until police arrived.

Judge Scott Polodna denied “Stand Your Ground” immunity at a hearing in June 2012, saying Dunning was not committing a violent crime, and had retreated by returning to his own SUV.Faced with a mandatory three-year sentence if convicted, Bretherick appealed and a district appellate court asked the state Supreme Court to decide the proof issue.

The National Rifle Association has filed a brief supporting Bretherick.

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The NRA-backed “Stand Your Ground” law drew nationwide attention in the 2012 fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in 2013.

This year’s Florida legislative session produced a new law permitting gun owners to display their weapons, or even fire warning shots, to ward off attackers without facing assault charges if they fear death or injury.

(Reporting by Bill Cotterell; Editing by David Adams and Mohammad Zargham)

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Trump has figured out how to get taxpayers to renovate one of his golf courses: MSNBC panel

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President Donald Trump has figured out how to have taxpayers pay to renovate his Trump National Doral Miami golf course, according to an analysis by MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle.

"Before setting himself on fire on Ukraine yesterday, Mick Mulvaney came into the White House briefing room to break to the nation the fact the that the Trump Doral golf resort turns out to be -- in his estimation, organically, just sitting there -- the best possible place to have a G-7 Summit of world leaders," MSNBC's Brian Williams reported. "That was provision number one. There’s no better place that we can find. Number two was, the president will not profit from said G-7."

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Bill Maher reveals plan to ‘bribe’ Trump with one billion dollars — for him to leave office

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The Constitution has two mechanisms to remove President Donald Trump from office prior to his term ending on January 20, 2021: impeachment and the 25th Amendment.

HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher noted that Trump could also choose to resign.

Maher waved around a $1 million check that he said he would give to Trump to quit.

He said he also knew 1,000 people who would do the same -- which would land Trump over $1 billion.

Maher said even poor people would pawn their wedding rings to add to the pot.

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Trump can’t fire Mulvaney because nobody else wants to be his chief of staff: report

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White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will likely stay on at the White House despite his public confession of a quid pro quo in the Ukraine scandal at the center of the impeachment inquiry, The New York Times reported Friday.

"But Mr. Mulvaney’s job has been anything but normal since the news conference on Thursday at which he seemingly undermined the Trump administration’s strategy for avoiding impeachment by acknowledging that Mr. Trump had sought a quid pro quo for providing Ukraine with American aid," the newspaper reported. "In the chaotic aftermath, the president’s Republican allies are questioning Mr. Mulvaney’s savvy and intelligence even as the Trump campaign is defiantly turning one of his lines from the news conference into a T-shirt."

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