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San Diego man with no criminal record faces life in prison for flashing gang signs on Facebook

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A San Diego man with no criminal record is facing a possible life term in prison for flashing gang signs in some Facebook photos.

Aaron Harvey and 14 other men, including the rapper Tiny Doo, were charged under an obscure California law accusing them of conspiring with gang members who shot nine people in 2013 and early 2014.

Harvey and the rapper, whose real name is Brandon Duncan, are not directly tied to the shootings, but prosecutors are employing a 2000 conspiracy law that allows prosecution of gang members if they benefit from crimes by other gang members.

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Prosecutors say Duncan’s music sales were boosted by the shootings, but Harvey’s alleged gains are not easily quantified.

“They’re saying I benefited because my stature, my respect, went up,” Harvey said. “I didn’t even know I had any stature. I don’t understand how someone can benefit from something they don’t even know exists.”

Superior Court Judge David McGill recently dismissed charges against some of the defendants in the case, finding that prosecutors failed to prove the men willfully benefited from the shootings.

Attorneys for Harvey and Duncan will ask the judge to dismiss their charges in a hearing set for March 16, and about 75 people rallied Friday before a court hearing the case at San Diego County Courthouse.

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“If the district attorney wins this case, and I am convicted of crimes I didn’t commit or have any knowledge of, not only will my life change forever, but so may the lives of every young person who had been wrongly documented as a member of a gang,” Harvey said.

Harvey was entered into the state’s CALGANG database at some point during one of the 50 times he says he was stopped by police, although he’s never been convicted of a crime.

Much of the evidence tying Harvey to the Lincoln Park gang came from social media, such as Facebook posts showing him making hand gestures associated with the gang or photos of him alongside other gang members from his neighborhood.

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“It’s not a guessing game — they’ve made it as obvious as they possibly could,” said Dana Greisen, head of the district attorney’s gang prosecution unit. “The social media stuff is in our face, in their rivals’ faces in no uncertain terms.”

Legal experts say the Section 182.5 conspiracy law, which carries a possible life prison term, is constitutional – but it’s “unbelievably tough.”

“This is as draconian a conspiracy law as you’ll see anywhere in the United States,” said Robert Weisberg, a professor at Stanford Law School.

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Harvey, who moved to Las Vegas in 2013 and worked as a club promoter while studying to become a Realtor, is set to stand trial April 20 if his charges aren’t dismissed.

“This is not the American justice system,” said his lawyer, Edward Kinsey. “We attach personal liability to things. You’re not guilty by mere association or mere membership — it’s just wrong. If they can get away with this, I fear for our future as free citizens.”

Watch Harvey discuss his interactions with police in this video posted online by Nadin Abbott, editor of Reporting San Diego:

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Ex-prosecutor demands congressional investigation after latest report on the FBI and Brett Kavanaugh

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Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had another allegation of sexual misconduct revealed on Saturday in a bombshell report in The New York Times.

"A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly," the newspaper reported.

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Boris Johnson promises Britain will be like the Incredible Hulk during Brexit negotiations

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday he was making a "huge amount of progress" towards a Brexit deal with the EU, in an interview in which he compared Britain to the Incredible Hulk.

"It's going to take a lot of work between now and October 17" when EU leaders gather for their final summit before Britain's scheduled exit from the bloc, he told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"But I'm going to go to that summit and I'm going to get a deal, I'm very confident. And if we don't get a deal then we'll come out on October 31."

His comments came ahead of talks with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Luxembourg on Monday.

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NYT blasted for ‘spectacularly offensive sentiment’ after tweet illustrating ‘rape culture’

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The results of a 10-month investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly was published on Saturday.

But attention was taken away from the powerful reporting after the Twitter account of The Times opinion page posted a shocking message.

"Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun," read the tweet.

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