CHICAGO — We can thank France, not America, for the flowering of Melvin Van Peebles’ feature film career. The Chicago native, who grew up in suburban Phoenix about 20 miles south of downtown Chicago, died Sept. 21 at the age of 89. Without Van Peebles, there is no Spike Lee, among others. Van Peebles broke through with the outlandish studio-financed satire, “Watermelon Man” (1970), followed a year later by his self-financed, X-rated provocation (also a big success) “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.” Both are part of the newly available Criterion Collection “Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Film...
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'Committee’s definitely got something': Legal experts claim threat of wire fraud charges loom over Trump and aides
In conversations with the Daily Beast's Roger Sollenberger, two former officials in the Department of Justice suggested that specific evidence revealed in the Jan. 6th committee's investigation of Donald Trump provides a roadmap that could lead to wire fraud charges against members of Donald Trump's campaign officials and possibly the former president too.
At issue is the preponderance of evidence that Trump and his aides were well aware that he had lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden on election night and yet sent out a flood of requests for donations maintaining the election results were fraudulent.
As the report notes, "That same day, the Trump campaign sent a fundraising email claiming that 'President Trump will easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with only legal votes cast.' The solicitation called on supporters to donate any dollar amount and join something called the 'Election Defense Task Force.' The campaign, it said, was 'counting on members to help [Trump] fight back and secure FOUR MORE YEARS.'"
Pointing out that legal experts believe that evidence contains the "ingredients for possible federal charges against officials with the campaign and the Republican National Committee—as well as Trump himself," Sollenberger first spoke with former U.S. attorney Barb McQuade, who said wire fraud cases are a specialty of U.S. attorney's offices.
“If it can be shown that Trump or others sent an email asking for money for one purpose, and then used it for another, that could constitute fraud, regardless of whether it can be proved that they knew the election had not been stolen,” she explained.
Her view was bolstered by Natalie Adams, who previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, who bluntly stated, "the committee’s definitely got something."
Speaking with the Beast, she elaborated, "It’s not whether you know something absolutely for sure. It’s if it’s ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to you that people will believe promises and statements that you either know aren’t true, or are reckless or deceptive, which you are trying to use to get something of value.”
According to Adams, there is a wire fraud conspiract case to be made -- which could sweep up the former president as a co-conspirator.
“With conspiracy, you don’t necessarily have to commit an overt act. And jury instructions don’t require proof of a formal agreement, because criminal actors avoid doing that,” she explained.. “But if people work together and profit from it, it’s helpful to show who had the access and opportunity to review those communications, and who would be likely to know by virtue of their job what is ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to occur, who are charged with vetting the truth of statements, and so on.”
You can read more here.
Florida is once again in the national news after Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's bombshell testimony on Tuesday implicated Roger Stone in his third presidential scandal in the Sunshine State since 1996.
"The joke among journalists in South Florida is that there is always a Florida angle to any significant national story — and in this week’s explosive testimony at the Jan. 6 committee hearings by a former White House aide, the local connection was her mention of Roger Stone, a Fort Lauderdale-based political operative and Donald Trump minion," The Miami Herald editorial board wrote on Thursday. "According to Cassie Hutchinson, a former aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in the crucial hours where he hoped to wrest back the presidency he had lost in November, Trump turned to Stone for help. 'Get me Stone!' Can’t you just hear the enraged Trump?"
"Get Me Roger Stone" was the title of a 2017 Netflix documentary that featured commentary from Trump.
"Ms. Hutchinson, is it your understanding that President Trump asked Mark Meadows to speak with Roger Stone and General [Michael] Flynn on January 5?" Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) asked.
"That's correct. That is my understanding," she replied. "I'm under the impression that Mr. Meadows did complete both a call to Mr. Stone and General Flynn the evening of the 5th."
Attorney Katie Phang, who teaches at the University of Miami School of Law, wondered, "Why did Trump want Meadows to talk to Roger Stone & Michael Flynn?"
\u201cThe day before the Capitol attack, on 1/5, why did Mark Meadows want to go to the War Room at the Willard Hotel where Giuliani, Bannon, Eastman, et al. were located?\n\nWhy did Trump want Meadows to talk to Roger Stone & Michael Flynn? \ud83e\udd14\u201d— Katie S. Phang (@Katie S. Phang) 1656531914
The Herald noted Stone was reportedly, "in contact with leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, which also have Miami and Florida ties."
And this wasn't Stone's third Florida scandal involving a presidential campaign.
In 2008, Jeffrey Toobin was taken to the Miami Velvet swinger's club by Stone while writing a New Yorker profile published under the headline, "The Dirty Trickster."
"Stone served as a senior consultant to Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign for President, but that assignment ended in a characteristic conflagration. The National Enquirer, in a story headlined 'Top Dole Aide Caught in Group-Sex Ring,' reported that the Stones had apparently run personal ads in a [Florida] magazine called Local Swing Fever and on a Web site that had been set up with Nydia’s credit card. 'Hot, insatiable lady and her handsome body builder husband, experienced swingers, seek similar couples or exceptional muscular . . . single men,' the ad on the Web site stated. The ads sought athletes and military men, while discouraging overweight candidates, and included photographs of the Stones," Toobin reported. "At the time, Stone claimed that he had been set up by a 'very sick individual,' but he was forced to resign from Dole’s campaign. Stone acknowledged to me that the ads were authentic."
For years later, Stone was yet again involved in the Brooks Brothers riot during the 2000 Florida recount, which he told Toobin he directed from a Winnebago.
“I set up my command center there. I had walkie-talkies and cell phones, and I was in touch with our people in the building. Our whole idea was to shut the recount down. That was why we were there. We had the frequency to the Democrats’ walkie-talkies and were listening to their communications, but they were so disorganized that we didn’t learn much that was useful," Stone said.
Watch the trailer for "Get Me Roger Stone":
Get Me Roger Stone | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix www.youtube.com
Women from 'trigger law' states banned from medical abortions at Planned Parenthood of Montana: report
Planned Parenthood of Montana will no longer be providing medication abortions to patients in South Dakota and three other states with “trigger laws,” according to an all-staff email sent by organization President and CEO Martha Fuller Thursday.
South Dakota, along with Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, have total bans on abortion care that went into effect via “trigger laws” that went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade — the case which had guaranteed some form of federal protection for the medical procedure.
In Fuller’s email she said that PPMT has seen a “significant number of patients” seeking care from South Dakota.
Every state bordering Montana has “trigger laws” in place, with South Dakota’s already in effect and Wyoming and North Dakota to follow within a month. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit with Idaho’s Supreme Court earlier this week to block its trigger law banning nearly all abortions, the Idaho Capital Sun reported.
Fuller said in the email to comply with the change, all medication abortion patients would be required to provide proof of residency.
“The risks around cross-state provision of services are currently less than clear, with potential for both civil and criminal action for providing abortions in states with bans,” Fuller said in the email.
Fuller did not go into detail in the email as to what documents would be acceptable to prove residency, but did say the organization would be providing guidance to clinical staff, adding that they may not be able to identify all acceptable forms of proof immediately.
“We do not enter this lightly, and recognize that this change disproportionately impacts Indigenous patients,” Fuller said.
Fuller’s email was sent to Planned Parenthood of Montana staff Thursday afternoon and was made public on Twitter not long after.
In a statement, Fuller addressed that Planned Parenthood will continue to serve patients from out of state who are seeking abortion.
“Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe, we must make decisions around the provision of abortion care in consideration of the rapidly changing landscape for abortion access across the country and amid the cruel intention of anti-abortion politicians to sow chaos and confusion,” Fuller’s statement read. “No matter what, Planned Parenthood of Montana will do whatever we can to protect patients, providers, and health center staff. Access to abortion in Montana remains constitutionally protected and is available.”
Patients from states with abortion bans that take effect after six weeks, like Texas and Ohio, would not be able to attain medication abortion care after that time from PPMT. There will be no change to surgical abortion care provided by the Montana non-profit.
Wyoming and North Dakota also have “trigger laws” that will likely go into effect in the next 30 days.
As reported by the Montana Free Press, abortion providers in Montana have been preparing for a surge in out-of-state patients in the run-up to the expected fall of Roe v. Wade after a draft opinion from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico in May.
Abortion in Montana is currently protected under the 1999 state Supreme Court decision in Armstrong v. State, which extended constitutional privacy rights to medical procedures.
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