Jeffrey Epstein is dead. The accused serial sex trafficker who once counted President Trump and former President Bill Clinton among his high-profile friends was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell Saturday morning. Authorities say he hanged himself. Epstein had been put on suicide watch after he was found unconscious with marks on his neck in July, but authorities had removed him from suicide watch 11 days before his death. Epstein had been in jail since July, when he was arrested for allegedly running a sex trafficking operation by luring underage girls as young as 14 years old to his mansion in Manhattan. His death came less than 24 hours after hundreds of pages of court documents were unsealed with testimonies from former employees and new details of sexual abuse committed by Epstein, which also implicated a number of well-known figures. Men named in the papers include former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former Senator George Mitchell, Alan Dershowitz and Prince Andrew. While the federal criminal prosecution of Epstein will likely end, prosecutors can still pursue charges against any of his accomplices. Civil suits will also continue against Epstein’s multimillion-dollar estate. We speak with Casey Frank, the Miami Herald’s senior editor for investigations. The newspaper’s multipart series published in November is largely credited with reopening the Epstein case.
Kristina Karamo, a 2022 Republican Michigan secretary of state candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is set to speak at an upcoming QAnon conference billed as the “Great Awakening Weekend" in Las Vegas.
Scheduled from Friday until Monday, the “For God & Country: Patriot Double Down" event is being organized by John Sabal, known as “QAnon John" who recently called for a “military mutiny" against President Joe Biden.
Its roster of speakers features a whirlwind of QAnon devotees who have dedicated good chunks of their recent lives to promoting the right-wing conspiracy theory that's rooted in anti-Semitic tropes and revolves around Trump hunting down and eventually killing Democratic politicians and wealthy liberals who lead double lives as Satan-worshipping cannibals running a child sex-trafficking ring.
Karamo, of Oak Park, confirmed on her campaign Facebook page that she will speak at the event, and she's also listed as a speaker on the event's official website that displays a promotional video filled with such QAnon phrases as “the truth will set you free" and “where we go one we go all." The video ends with the image of a playing card emblazoned with the words, “God wins."
“Come To The Patriot Double Down Where I will be speaking!!!" Karamo wrote earlier this month.
Karamo did not immediately return a request for comment for this story.
The Republican secretary of state candidate has not explicitly endorsed QAnon but she has consistently promoted the false and repeatedly debunked notion that the 2020 election was stolen and Trump is the true victor, an idea that's central to QAnon conspiracy theorists. Karamo gained national attention as a poll watcher in 2020, pushed unproven claims about Wayne County election practices before a state Senate panel, and traveled to Arizona for a so-called election “audit" that found no evidence the 2020 election was stolen.
Just last week, Karamo was on One America News Network, a far-right, pro-Trump cable channel, where she again repeated the false idea that “there was massive cheating and fraud in the election."
Karamo could potentially face state Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) and Plainfield Township Clerk Cathleen Postmus for the GOP nomination. Voters will not pick the nominee; delegates at the Michigan Republican Party convention will in April. The nominee will likely face Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
One of the speakers at the “Great Awakening Weekend" is Jim Watkins, the owner of the 8kun website that is home to messages from “Q," the anonymous internet poster who launched the QAnon phenomenon by claiming to be a high-ranking U.S. government official with access to classified information. Jim Watkins' son, Ron Watkins, will also speak at the event. Ron Watkins has been accused of being “Q" himself and is now running for Congress in Arizona.
QAnon has found a prominent home among Michigan GOP activists in recent years. At a pro-Trump rally last week calling for a so-called “audit," state Rep. Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) wore a QAnon pin, which she has also donned in the Legislature.
The conspiracy theory was born in 2017 when an anonymous account posted on 4chan, one of the internet's oldest and most infamous message boards, and began writing about Trump's so-called secret war against a deep state cabal of pedophiles and sex traffickers.
The anonymous account, named “Q Clearance Patriot," went on to become known simply as “Q." The account has since made thousands of posts, known as “drops" in the QAnon world, first on 4chan, then on 8chan, another message board, and now at 8kun.
Each “drop" is cryptic, leading to followers attempting to decode the dizzying array of false information, from top-level Democrats being involved in child trafficking to the coming “great awakening," which Q followers have said essentially amounts to Trump leading the United States to greatness by unveiling the members and actions of the “deep state," or the group of dangerous top-tier government officials and other elite figures who are secretly running the world.
Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.
REVEALED: Louis DeJoy had more than a dozen conflicts of interest before finally cutting ties with businesses linked to Postal Service
Postmaster general Louis DeJoy faced more than a dozen conflicts of interest related to his business interests in companies closely tied to the U.S. Postal Service, according to newly revealed documents.
The documents obtained by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington show DeJoy had conflicts related to the company he ran, XPO Logistics, and 13 other major companies that do business with the Postal Service, reported NBC News.
"DeJoy and two trusts he managed held substantial investments in companies including AT&T, CVS, Verizon, UnitedHealth, Lockheed Martin, Capital One, Discover Financial Services, Dominion Energy, Honeywell International, IBM, Regions Bank, Travelers Insurance and JPMorgan Chase, according to an August 2020 holdings disclosure," the network reported. "The documents contain two letters that appear to show DeJoy began the formal recusal process for the first dozen companies and XPO Logistics in July and JPMorgan Chase in August. It remains unclear whether he was involved in Postal Service decision making regarding those companies before he started that process."
DeJoy, who was appointed in May 2020, initially recused himself from decisions related to those companies before fully divesting himself of them in August 2020, after months of public pressure upon taking the job.
"Everybody knows that he has these interests, and so even then there are going to be potentially incentives, even if he's not in the room, for others to make decisions that could benefit him," said CREW president Noah Bookbinder.
Federal employees are prohibited by law from holding stocks aggregate market value of more than $15,000 in any company without recusing or divesting themselves from it, and the documents show DeJoy and his family's investments in those companies all exceeded that amount, although the Postal Service inspector general testified in February that DeJoy had properly followed guidance from its ethics staff before divesting.
"When and how he divested reflects the process he was instructed to follow by the Postal Service ethics office in compliance with federal ethics regulations," said Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer. "Additionally, the Postmaster General's divestiture was fully approved by the Office of Government Ethics."
The city of Aurora has reached a settlement agreement with the parents of Elijah McClain, the 23 year-old Black man who died in August 2019 after police officers detained him and paramedics sedated him with ketamine while he was walking home.
“Sheneen McClain confirms that a settlement in principle has been reached with the city of Aurora resolving all claims raised in her federal civil rights lawsuit," reads a statement released Oct. 18 from the lawyers representing Elijah's mother, Sheneen McClain.
“The court will now determine allocation of the proceeds between Ms. McClain, the parent who raised Elijah McClain by herself, and Lawayne Mosley, the absent biological father," the statement continues.
Elijah McClain died days after Aurora police attempted to arrest him on Aug. 24, 2019. He was not suspected of any crime. Officers placed him in violent restraints, including neck holds that restricted blood flow, and a paramedic gave him a large dose of ketamine without proper evaluation. His pulse and breathing stopped moments after that injection.
Sheneen McClain filed the civil rights lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Denver in 2020.
The defendants in the case include the city of Aurora and members of the city's police and fire departments. Those defendants “denied Elijah almost his entire adult life, a life of bright promise both for him and for the many people with whom he would have shared his light and compassion," that lawsuit text reads.
Elijah McClain's father, LaWayne Mosley, also responded to the settlement in a statement through his lawyer.
“Nothing will bring back his son Elijah, whom he loved dearly, but he is hopeful that this settlement with Aurora, and the criminal charges against the officers and medics who killed Elijah, will allow his family and the community to begin to heal," the statement reads.
The settlement comes after a grand jury in September issued 32 indictments against three Aurora police officers and two paramedics involved in detaining McClain, including charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Details about the settlement amount have not been released.
Elijah McClain's death helped inspire a new police accountability law in Colorado that limits first responders' ability to use ketamine to subdue someone.
Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:52 p.m. on Oct. 20 to include the statement from Elijah McClain's father.
Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: email@example.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.
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