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Former Venezuela Supreme Court judge flees to US, denounces President Maduro

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Former Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice Christian Zerpa has fled to the United States to protest President Nicolas Maduro’s second term that will begin with his inauguration this week, the onetime Maduro backer told a Miami broadcaster on Sunday.

The latest defection from the crisis-stricken OPEC nation’s government comes amid growing international pressure on Maduro over his new term, which resulted from a broadly boycotted 2018 vote dismissed by countries around the world as a sham.

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“I’ve decided to leave Venezuela to disavow the government of Nicolas Maduro,” Zerpa said in an interview with EVTV, which is broadcast over cable and the internet.

“I believe (Maduro) does not deserve a second chance because the election he supposedly won was not free and competitive.”

The Supreme Court confirmed in a statement that he had fled, referring to him as a former magistrate and adding it opened an investigation of him in November over accusations of sexual harassment by women in his office. The court’s leadership recommended that he be dismissed over the allegations, it said, without providing details.

Zerpa was for years a crucial ally of Maduro on the Supreme Court, which has backed the ruling Socialist Party in every major legal dispute since Maduro’s 2013 election.

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He wrote a 2016 ruling that provided the legal justification for Maduro’s government to strip congress of most of its powers after the Socialist Party lost control of the body to the opposition in a landslide election.

Zerpa in the interview described the Supreme Court as “an appendage of the executive branch,” and said that justices were at times summoned to the presidential palace to receive instructions on how to rule on certain sensitive cases.

The Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Zerpa said he did not criticize Maduro’s May 2018 election to make sure he could pave the way for a safe exit from the country in the company of his family.

Opposition leaders have urged foreign governments not to recognize Maduro after his inauguration on Thursday, and a group of Latin American nations on Friday called on Maduro not to take office.

But diplomats consulted by Reuters said few countries were likely to shutter embassies or sever ties with Venezuela.

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Zerpa’s words echoed those of former Justice Eladio Aponte, who fled to the United States in 2012 and said the government of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez – Maduro’s predecessor – systematically manipulated court affairs.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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2020 Election

Trump campaign mocked after unveiling new red hats: ‘Do you have arm bands as well?’

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President Donald Trump's 2016 "Make America Great Again" hats have been replaced with new "Keep America Great" hats.

Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale modeled one of the hats on Twitter.

Here is some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/LazarusLeBaron/status/1165430924093165568

Here I made an arm band design for you pic.twitter.com/inTyqVi2wo

— Christopher Goodwin (@LazarusLeBaron) August 25, 2019

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‘This will not end well’: Far-right extremism expert warns of Trump’s intensifying authoritarianism

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An expert on the far-right in America warned of President Donald Trump's "genuinely dangerous levels" of authoritarianism on Saturday.

Author David Neiwert posted a long Twitter thread on the commander-in-chief's "Social Dominance Orientation" -- and warned it will not end well.

Neiwert is the author of the 2017 book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Here is the thread he posted:

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428067138846720

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428524808724480

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165429018486702081

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2020 Election

‘The Mooch’ attended Biden fundraiser in the Hamptons — because Trump ‘has lost his mind’

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Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci attended a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday.

CBS News reporter Ben Mitchell posted a photo of Scaramucci at the event, and subsequently interviewed "The Mooch."

Scaramucci said he was still a registered Republican, but added that Trump "has lost his mind."

Spotted at a Biden event in the Hamptons: Fmr. Trump WH Comms Director Anthony @Scaramucci pic.twitter.com/PWVTZ8Qm15

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