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Convicted Australia cardinal sentence to be broadcast live

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The sentencing of Australian Cardinal George Pell for child sex crimes will be broadcast live Wednesday in a rare move by the local judiciary, which had kept his trial under wraps for months with a draconian gag order.

Pell, the most senior Catholic clergyman ever found guilty of child sex abuse, faces a maximum 50 years in prison for assaulting two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral in 1996-97.

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The 77-year-old Australian was found guilty by a jury in December, but a suppression order from county court Chief Judge Peter Kidd prevented media from reporting the case until late February, when prosecutors withdrew plans to hold a second trial.

The controversial suppression order had banned any reporting on Pell’s case since June 2018.

In support of the principles of “open justice”, the Melbourne court said Tuesday it will allow video showing Justice Kidd reading out his sentencing remarks.

No-one else in the courtroom, including Pell who is currently in custody, will be filmed.

“The County Court is committed to the principles of open justice. Chief Judge Peter Kidd’s sentencing remarks in this matter will be broadcast live,” a County Court spokesman said in a brief statement.

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Australian courtrooms rarely allow live broadcasts of court proceedings, and this is believed to be the first time the County Court in Melbourne is allowing such a move.

Pell has already lodged his leave to appeal the guilty verdict, with the hearings in the Court of Appeal scheduled to be heard on June 5-6.

The verdict ignited a storm of public debate about the Church’s handling of child sex abuse allegations given Pell’s lead role in setting up the process in Melbourne in 1996.

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The case is also expected to encourage victims of alleged sex abuse by other clergy to come forward.

Advocates said the sentencing would be an important symbol for other survivors of child sex abuse.

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“Hopefully, this sentencing can herald fundamental change in the Church and other institutions,” Cathy Kezelman, the president of child abuse victims support group Blue Knot Foundation, said in a statement Tuesday.

“It needs to be a time for zero tolerance to abuse, and survivor respect, support and justice.”


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GOP will be ‘aided and abetted’ by Russian bots and trolls defending Trump: Former FBI counter-intel chief

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The former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned Americans to "hunker down" because Russian intelligence will be repeating Republican talking points.

Frank Figliuzzi was interviewed Thursday by MSNBC's Brian Williams on "The Last Word."

"Frank, Fiona Hill -- who richly deserves it -- has been awarded front page status tomorrow morning on the front page of The New York Times, and I imagine newspapers and websites across this country," Williams noted.

"It was extraordinary today when she -- in effect, begged -- asked, certainly, members of the committee to stop supplying Russian talking points, to stop advancing Russian propaganda in the Congress of the United States," he continued.

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Trump has committed 6 impeachable offenses: Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe says ‘the evidence is all there’

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Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe broke down the six impeachable offenses President Donald Trump has committed during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Tribe has argued 36 cases before the United States Supreme Court and taught at Harvard Law for 50 years. He co-authored the 2018 book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment with Joshua Matz.

"Everyone was in the loop, it was no secret. That was the testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland yesterday as he implicated the president, Secretary of State, White House chief of staff, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton and other administration officials in the plot to bribe the president of Ukraine to publicly launch an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid to Ukraine that was authorized by Congress and that the president was withholding," O'Donnell reported.

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Rachel Maddow breaks down how public opinion is catching up with the facts of Trump’s impeachment

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Thursday broke down how the details from the televised impeachment hearings are being reported in local newspapers.

The host read the headlines from multiple newspapers following the damning testimony by Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

The Los Angels Times headlined, "Sonland implicates president." "Envoy says Trump directed effort," was The Wall Street Journal headline.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch headlined, "'Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret': Defiant Sondland says he followed Trump's orders."

"Trump directed pressure on Ukraine, ambassador says," headlined The Kansas City Star.

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