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Mississippi man pleads guilty to first federal hate crime for killing transgender ex

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A Mississippi man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal hate crime for killing an Alabama transgender teenager whom he had dated, the nation’s first involving a victim targeted solely based on their gender identity, WKRG reports.

Joshua Brandon Vallum, 29 pleaded guilty to a state murder charge in July 2015; he admitted to beating 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson to death after discovering her biological gender. In court, Vallum admitted he would not have killed Williamson if she was not transgender.

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Authorities say Vallum was in a gang called the Latin Kings, which banned homosexuality. When his friend discovered Williamson’s biological gender, he “believed he would be in danger if other Latin Kings members discovered that he had engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with a transgender woman.”

Several months after ending his sexual and romantic relationship with Willaimson, Vallum reportedly picked her up under false pretenses and killed her, using a stun gun, pocket knife and hammer.

“Our nation’s hate crime statutes advance one of our fundamental beliefs: that no one should have to live in fear because of who they are,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “Today’s landmark guilty plea reaffirms that basic principle, and it signals the Justice Department’s determination to combat hate crimes based on gender identity.”

Valum is currently serving a life sentence in state prison.


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CIA ignores request to brief GOP senators trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s son: report

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On Wednesday, Politico reported that the Central Intelligence Agency is ignoring a request to brief the Republican senators mounting an investigation into Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine.

"The spy agency’s resistance comes amid intelligence officials’ deep skepticism of the probe, which is being led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and focuses on Hunter Biden’s role on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma," reported Andrew Desiderio and Natasha Bertrand. "Democrats argue the investigation is based on Russian disinformation aimed at tipping the outcome of the election toward President Donald Trump — a charge that Johnson rejects."

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Bill Barr has a ‘tell’ that reveals exactly what he will do to win Trump the election: Former Justice Department spokesperson

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Former Justice Department lawyer Matt Miller said that Attorney General Bill Barr has a "tell" that Miller thinks reveals what Barr will do about his new attempt at a GOP-run Russia investigation.

The MSNBC panel discussion looked back at Barr's testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, where he admitted that the White House government appointees have discussions about the 2020 campaign during Cabinet Meetings. Conducting politics under the government is strictly prohibited.

"He has a tell, and the one that you just showed is an example, where there's an answer where you expect the attorney general to give," Miller began. "In the confirmation hearing, the answer you expected him to give was that he would recuse himself from the Russia investigation because of his previous writings on the topic, a memo he had written that was seen as the audition for the job. And he didn't give that answer, and I think we found out why shortly after, it was because he wanted to interfere in the Mueller probe. He's wanted to go back and then discredit it afterward."

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Devin Nunes had another one of his lawsuits thrown out — this time by a Trump judge

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) lost another of his efforts to sue the media.

According to the filing, this suit was against Ryan Lizza, who wrote an expose on Nunes' family moving their family farm from Nunes' district in California to Iowa. Nunes, who has claimed his occupation as a "dairy farmer" was outed for not having a dairy farm just months before the 2018 election. Nunes was quick to sue, as he has with Twitter accounts who mock him online for being a "farmer" without having a farm.

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