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Alan Dershowitz goes down in flames defending The National Enquirer’s ‘extortion-ish’ threat to Jeff Bezos

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Law professor Alan Dershowitz on Sunday defended The National Enquirer‘s parent company, AMI, and its chairman, David Pecker, against allegations that they attempted to blackmail Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

In an interview on ABC’s This Week, Dershowitz claimed that AMI had a First Amendment right to threaten to publish nude photographs of Bezos if he did not drop an investigation into their “catch and kill” business practices.

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“The First Amendment needs breathing room,” Dershowitz argued. “This is a fight between two media moguls. There was a negotiation. It was a tough negotiation. I’m certainly not here to defend the journalistic ethics of The National Enquirer, but the First Amendment doesn’t distinguish between The Washington Post, ABC News and The National Enquirer.

“You need to draw a line between what is extortion-ish and what is extortion consistent with the First Amendment,” he added.

Attorney Dan Abrams, however, suggested that Enquirer’s threats amount to “extortion.”

“There are crimes based on words and that’s what extortion is,” he explained.

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“That’s not what I’m talking about,” Dershowitz shot back. “I’m talking about the fact that we’re dealing with media here, and remember too that the alleged extortion occurred in a letter from a lawyer.”

“I have been practicing law for over 50 years and I have never seen an extortion come in the form of a lawyer,” the law professor added. “You don’t get extortion by mail.”

“Yeah, but the fact that American Media is a media entity does not immunize them from the types of crimes we’re talking about here,” Abrams pointed out.

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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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‘He’s a child going to a playdate’: Trump’s inability to talk to world leaders mocked by MSNBC guest

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On MSNBC Saturday, former professor and Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed blasted President Donald Trump's inability to behave like a world leader at the G7 summit, or to have meaningful dialogues with the heads of allied countries.

"Abdul, do you think there is any chance that Donald Trump gets through this weekend without any drama?" asked anchor Alex Witt.

"Well, look, if you used the last week as any indication, I think it's no chance," said El-Sayed. "We're talking about the president of the United States as if he's a child going to a playdate."

"Honestly, we have to have a serious conversation about the fact that he's just headlong pitched our economy down the tubes," continued El-Sayed. "He's been doing it because of a spat that he has with a leader in China. And we're talking about whether or not he's going to have a good time at the G7. This is the president of the United States. We have to treat him as such and we have to be asking about whether or not we are willing to get serious about the conversation that we need to be having about what's going to happen in our future."

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Florida teacher suspended after boasting he’d have a 1000-student body count if he shot up his school

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A teacher at Lakeland High School in Florida has been placed under a temporary risk protection order after boasting that he could rack up a 1,000-person body count if he perpetrated a school shooting.

Keith Cook, a math teacher and a veteran, described hypothetical acts of violence to students during a lockdown drill, including how if he were a school shooter, he'd first plant IEDs around the school, start shooting, drive panicked people into the areas where he had rigged up the explosives, and then detonate them. Some students were horrified by what he described.

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If Trump were the raving mad King of Liechtenstein all of this would be comical

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

This week, a former White House official told Politico that “Trump’s been asking his government for some matter of months what can we do to make sure that China doesn’t get Greenland.”

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