Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper on Thursday defended its decision to publish photos of one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election rivals entering the mansion of disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein in 2016.
Ehud Barak’s lawyers wrote to the Daily Mail on Wednesday demanding that it retract Tuesday’s story and pay “substantial damages to vindicate his reputation and compensate him”.
Epstein had already been convicted in 2009 as a sex felon and served a 13-month prison term.
He was arrested in New York on July 8 this year on charges of sexually exploiting dozens of underage girls.
The Daily Mail “stands by its recent story concerning Ehud Barak’s relationship with the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein 100 percent,” the newspaper said in a statement to AFP.
“We note that Mr Barak’s assertion that he was not party to Mr Epstein’s illegal activities is a denial of a claim we have never made.”
The popular newspaper and website ran photos of four young women separately entering Epstein’s New York residence around the same time as Barak himself went in.
Israeli media have also highlighted his past business ties with Epstein.
Barak hinted that Netanyahu and his allies could ultimately be behind the media attention.
The Daily Mail firmly rejected the claim.
“The reason for the latest article is that Mr Barak has now admitted he is the man in the photographs,” the Daily Mail statement said.
It added that it would not be removing the story from its website because “it is absolutely clear that this is a story of the utmost public interest”.
Barak is a former armed forces chief of staff who succeeded Netanyahu as prime minister in 1999 and served as defence minister under him from 2009 to 2013 before retiring from politics.
He formed a new party in June that will compete in September legislative elections Netanyahu called after being unable to form a new government in the wake of inconclusive April polls.
Barak sounded a defiant note in the face of the mounting allegations at a rally late Wednesday.
“I am a feminist,” he said to audience applause.
DC mayor has massive ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural painted on street leading to the White House
According to a report from CNN, the mayor of Washington, D.C. has directed city workers to paint a massive "Black Lives Matter" mural on a street leading up to the White House early Friday morning.
Washington has been the site of more than a week's worth of protests in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. St. John's Church, the site of President Trump's roundly criticized photo-op during a peaceful protest, sits along the expanse of road that now bears the BLM message," CNN reports.
Vigilante mob traps multi-racial family in campground after accusing them of being ‘antifa’
Police in Clallam County, Washington, are investigating an incident where a family of four was falsely accused of being members of antifa by people at a campsite they were staying at, the Peninsula Daily News reports.
The family, who is multi-racial, were trapped in the campground after someone cut down trees and placed them across the roadway, preventing their exit from the area.
After the family arrived at the campground, they went shopping for camping supplies and confronted “by seven or eight carloads of people in the grocery store parking lot,” according to Sgt. Ed Anderson of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Department.
Trump accused by ex-Defense Secretary of putting US on ‘the trail toward a dictatorship’
During an appearance on CNN on Friday morning, former Defense Secretary William Cohen - who also served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican -- denounced Donald Trump in no uncertain terms, saying his use of military personnel against anti-police brutality protesters is a sign he has set the country on the path to a dictatorship.
To emphasize his point, he later called Trump the "dictator-in-chief."
Speaking with host Jim Sciutto, Cohen didn't mince words after the CNN host noted that the president and his former attorney called the protesters "terrorists."
"What does it mean for you to hear a sitting president dismissing a whole range of protesters, who in fact were largely peaceful around the White House, dismissing a whole range of them as terrorists? What does that mean to you?" the CNN host asked.