Prosecutors are risking their careers by refusing to enforce some controversial laws passed by Republican legislators in various states.
The elected law enforcement officials have said they're doing the right thing by ignoring GOP-passed bans on abortion, voting restrictions, limits on protest activities, discriminatory laws against LGBTQ people, and restrictions on mask mandates, but even prosecutors in heavily Democratic strongholds will eventually have to face voters, reported The Associated Press.
"The real limit on this is political," said William & Mary Law School professor Jeffrey Bellin. "These prosecutors have to stand for election almost everywhere in the country. Ultimately, the limit on this is popularity."
Nashville prosecutor Glenn Funk vowed not to prosecute teachers and school officials defying Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's executive order allowing parents to opt out of mask mandates, and he won't enforce a GOP-passed law requiring notices outside public restrooms warning that transgender people could be inside.
"It's also incumbent, I think, upon public officials who disagree to stand up and say so," Funk told The AP. "Because if people who are elected officials just stay quiet in the face of unconstitutional laws being passed, in the face of a social debate that might actually be dehumanizing large sections of our population, then if nobody speaks up, then the impression is that there is a not another side to this argument, and that there really is no argument."
The Gwinnett County solicitor vowed not to punish anyone who distributed food or water to voters in line, as Georgia Republicans had required, and prosecutors in Florida, Kansas and Vermont have also refused to enforce laws they see as cruel or discriminatory.
"We know that our country has seen a past where some have sought to criminalize interracial marriage or individuals of different race who choose to sit at a lunch counter together, or ride a bus together, or use certain bathrooms and certain drinking fountains," said Miriam Krinsky, executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution. "Change often starts at the ground and moves its way on up."
According to a report from Politico, a convicted former Florida tax official who is often described as the "wingman" for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) during his partying days, has successfully forestalled his sentencing after pleading guilty to sex crimes last year because he is still providing an "unexpected' wealth of information to federal investigators.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell agreed to move Joel Greenberg's sentencing out until March at the request of Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg who called the Gaetz associate, "a prolific criminal" in court.
In making his case to hold off on the sentencing, Handberg explained, "Mr. Greenberg was not alone. This is an unusual situation in the number of different investigations and lines of investigation we are pursuing," adding investigators require more time "because of the need to follow up on some of these leads."
Additionally Handberg said some information given by Greenberg was "unexpected," telling the judge, "The investigators in this case have followed the evidence where it takes them. This is obviously not a normal situation."
As Politco's Marc Caputo writes, "The biggest prize for federal prosecutors is Gaetz, who was not mentioned in court Monday and is under investigation on suspicion he paid to have sex with a 17-year-old girl to whom Greenberg had introduced him in 2017."
The report adds, "Sex-trafficking a minor isn't the only potential charge Gaetz faces. Prosecutors have been looking at a 2018 Bahamas trip Gaetz was on to see if the congressman and two political allies violated the Mann Act, which forbids taking people across state lines to engage in prostitution. Greenberg wasn't on that trip, but the victim of his sex trafficking was, though at that point she had turned 18. Gaetz previously said he never paid for sex."
Moving the sentencing out will continue cast a cloud of Gaetz who is facing reelection in 2022 and will likely be a campaign issue for him.
According to a recent report from Mother Jones, Gaetz is having fundraising difficulties.
"Gaetz campaign's latest filing shows that his fundraising has all but dried up. He raised just $527,000 from July 1 to September 30. He spent far more—$627,000—trying to raise that money. In another parallel to Greene, Gaetz's biggest expenses are direct mail and paying fundraising consulting costs to his vendors. In fact, those two things ate up more than 60 percent of his donations," the report states.
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Meghan Markle's estranged father on Tuesday pleaded with his daughter to let him see his grandchildren.
Thomas Markle told ITV's Good Morning Britain program that "we're at a point where I think both of us, we should grow up, talk, make up for the sake of the children."
"This is ridiculous, almost four years, it's crazy," he said.
He is yet to meet grandson Archie, born in 2019, or granddaughter Lilibet, who was born in June.
"My message for the kids is that they have two loving families," he said.
"Their great grandmother is the Queen of England, and I think it's important for them to know that they have two families and eventually they're going to grow up and they're going to want to know more about them."
The 77-year-old Emmy-winning former lighting director was interviewed from his home in Mexico.
He claimed that Meghan, who became the Duchess of Sussex on marrying Prince Harry, had wanted him to stop talking to her step-sister and step-brother, "and I couldn't".
"She's never been that way before. And once she hooked up with Harry, she changed," he added.
Thomas separated from Meghan's mother Doria Ragland when the duchess was young.
Raglan was at her wedding at Windsor Castle and has had tea with Queen Elizabeth II.
Thomas Markle declined to attend the wedding after he took part in staged paparazzi photos. He also cited forthcoming heart surgery. Meghan dropped contact with him soon after the wedding.
Thomas did not attend the 2018 wedding of his daughter Meghan and Prince Harry Ben STANSALL AFP
Harry and Meghan stunned the royal family last year when they announced they were stepping back from frontline royal duties.
They moved to Los Angeles, cutting financial ties with the royal family and signing a string of lucrative deals, including with the streaming giant Netflix, and Apple TV+.
But they caused controversy by accusing an unnamed senior member of the royal family of racism, in a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey that divided opinion on both sides of the Atlantic.
© 2021 AFP
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