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Colorado judge denies gag order for Planned Parenthood gunman

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Lawyers for the man declared mentally unfit to stand trial for a fatal shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado last year lost their bid on Thursday for a court order to bar him from communicating with the news media.

Robert Lewis Dear’s defense team took the unusual step of essentially seeking a gag order for their own client, saying his penchant for giving press interviews could undermine his right to a fair trial if he were found competent to face prosecution in the future.

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“Some journalists have demonstrated a willingness to publish and broadcast statements made by Mr. Dear despite his obvious mental illness,” his attorneys said in their motion.

As an example, Dear told a Denver television station he intends to plead guilty and expects to be executed. During an earlier court appearance, he proclaimed himself guilty and “a warrior for the babies.” 

But El Paso County District Judge Gilbert Martinez said he would deny the defense request, while also stating that Dear, 58, was still “not competent to proceed” in the criminal case against him.

Following Thursday’s proceedings, Dear was to return to a state mental hospital for further “restorative treatment.” His status will be reviewed again in another 90 days, at a hearing in February.

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Dear has been held without bond since surrendering after a bloody five-hour siege on Nov. 27, 2015, at the Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs, where he opened fire while armed with several guns.

The mother of two small children and a military veteran who happened to be in the clinic’s waiting area were killed, along with a police officer. Nine other people were wounded.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Dear told police detectives afterward that he believed the souls of aborted fetuses would thank him for stopping more abortions when he gets to heaven.

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Prosecutors have charged the South Carolina native with multiple counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and assault in the shooting.

Martinez declared Dear to be mentally incompetent in May after two psychologists testified that the onetime self-employed art dealer suffered from a psychotic delusional disorder. The judge said Dear’s mental state rendered him unable to meaningfully assist in his own defense.

Dear, who has insisted he is competent, launched into a verbal tirade as he was led into the courtroom on Thursday. “Four-thousand babies are murdered every day by Planned Parenthood,” he said in a loud voice.  “Think about that.”

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(Editing by Steve Gorman and David Gregorio)


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2020 Election

Warren narrowly beats Sanders to take over second place for first time in new poll of 17,000 Democratic voters

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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has narrowly taken second place in a new, just-released Politico/Morning Consult nation-wide poll of more than 17,000 registered voters. Warren beat Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for the first time in this specific poll. Former Vice President Joe Biden maintains his first place position.

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Republicans keep dragging trolls, wackos and conspiracy theorists before hearings — are the Democrats finally fed up?

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Republicans in Congress returned to Capitol Hill following their August recess last week and immediately set out to make a mockery of their constitutional obligation — inviting discredited witnesses to provide expert testimony in a manner that only served to derail, dismiss and diminish otherwise serious subject manners.

Former Turning Point USA communications director Candace Owens was again invited by Republicans to appear before a House Joint Oversight Subcommittee on combating white supremacy. Owens, who previously argued that the 2018 mail bombings targeting Democrats actually resulted from a conspiracy plot orchestrated by liberals, claims the NRA was founded as a civil rights organization (it was actually started by Civil War veterans to improve soldiers' marksmanship), and has said, "Black Americans are doing worse off economically today than we were doing in the 1950s under Jim Crow,” to downplay the threat of white supremacy.

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DC Report

Now Betsy DeVos is telling colleges what to teach

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I’m delighted to learn that everything must be fine with America’s public schools, with student loans and debts, with the growth of community colleges, with affirmative action in our school communities, with a healthy diversity, school assaults and shootings, fair pay, teacher satisfaction and childcare issues.

I know this because otherwise, I would have no explanation for why Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would have time to interfere with the content of college abroad classes.

Last week, the Education Department ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake their Middle East studies program run jointly by the two schools because it isn’t offering a positive-enough image of Judaism and Christianity in that part of the world.

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