KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Abortions in Missouri will become illegal in all but the rarest of circumstances, under a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion striking down Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that legalized the procedure nationwide. Missouri passed a law in 2019 that makes abortion almost entirely illegal if Roe is overturned, part of a measure prohibiting abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy that's currently under legal challenge. In Kansas, the draft raises the stakes in an upcoming fight at the ballot box over abortion access. Voters will decide on Aug. 2 whether the state constitution pr...
Stories Chosen For You
Michael Cohen's latest book, "Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the Department of Justice Against His Critics," goes into detail about Allen Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty in court on Thursday. Weisselberg will be sent to prison for about five months in New York's Rikers Island and fined $1.9 million.
Cohen was accused by Weisselberg of being "vengeful" and handing over documents to the district attorney. The New York Daily News reported Weisselberg's attorney, Mary Mulligan, accused then-District Attorney Cy Vance of using Cohen as their main source of information to indict Weisselberg. While Cohen may turn over information to any investigator who asked for it, the reality is the DA's indictment of Weisselberg had nothing to do with Cohen.
DA Alvin Bragg explained that the prosecutors in the Weisselberg case had never even been briefed on the information Cohen gave to them. In May, when Bragg filed his 129-page court document on Weisselberg, Cohen told Raw Story, "this might be the right time for Weisselberg to think about cooperating."
“Weisselberg fails and fails miserably in his vengeful witness defense in the fact that I never testified before the grand jury against him," said Cohen at the time. Assistant District Attorney Solomon Shinerock's "opposition papers clearly demonstrate that the Trump methodology of lying and blaming others only works for Trump; all others get jail time."
Last week, CNN effectively confirmed the concerns about Weisselberg's casual relationship with the truth. New York prosecutors revealed to the press that they started to suspect that Weisselberg was lying to them.
The over 40-year employee of the Trump Organization scored cars, private school tuition and other gifts from former President Donald Trump.
“This case, at its core, is ordinary,” Shinerock was quoted saying in the New York Daily News. “It arises from the fact that Allen Weisselberg violated the basic imperative that all New Yorkers faithfully report and pay tax on their income.”
In his new book, Cohen makes a contrast between himself and Weisselberg.
"Allen was included in everything—not for his legal mind or his strategic abilities, but because he controlled all of the money," the book details. "In every financial transaction, legitimate or otherwise, Weisselberg was somehow involved. My role? I was dispatched to clean up messes created by others in the company. Allen’s role? Make the numbers look good."
He goes on to call Weisselberg the "real liar" and recalled that Weisselberg lied about the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels. That information was then used against Cohen and Weisselberg was granted immunity, he recalled.
Cohen has maintained that neither he nor Weisselberg were as powerful as the head guy: Donald Trump.
"Everything, and I mean everything, was the responsibility of, and all actions were conducted at the direction of Donald Trump for his benefit," Cohen's book also says. "You cannot separate the man from the company any more than you can split yourself in half."
Lawyers for Gov. Brian Kemp are seeking to quash a subpoena to appear before a Fulton County special grand jury investigating election interference as the largely secret proceedings are entering a new phase of bitter public fights over questioning.
The 121-page filing also accuses the Fulton County district attorney's office of being unresponsive to the governor's efforts to meet over the last 18 months and argues DA Fani Willis was making the probe political ahead of the November election.
"Unfortunately, what began as an investigation into election interference has itself devolved into its own mechanism of election interference," the filing from attorney Brian McEvoy reads. "This is particularly egregious when directed toward the State’s highest executive, who is not accused of any wrongdoing and is occupied with the business of governing."
The motion also argues that the governor should not have to answer the subpoena because of sovereign immunity and says some of the things he could be asked about are protected by attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.
Kemp was scheduled to testify Thursday, according to a subpoena filed as part of the motion to quash, after the DA's office canceled a previously-scheduled appointment for the governor to give video testimony. Now, his testimony is on hold until a judge rules on the motion.
Most of the 121 pages are email threads from the governor's attorney and the district attorney's office, detailing the unraveling of a once-cordial relationship into hostile exchanges, including an email from Willis accusing the state's lawyer of being "rude and even disparaging" and delaying his testimony.
"This is NOT a politically motivated investigation," Willis wrote. "You repeatedly referring to it as a politically motivated investigation, does not make it so. In fact, you repeating it so many times only proves you have become very comfortable being dishonest."
But McEvoy, representing the governor, wrote in the filing that the DA's office was the one stalling, sharing emails that show several messages left unanswered and a rotating cast of attorneys from the Fulton County office serving as points of contact, culminating with a "troubling phone call" that rejected proposed dates and nullified previous agreements and conversations about the governor's appearance.
One issue was a pre-interview meeting called a proffer, where Kemp's lawyers sought to discuss concerns about privilege and the scope of his testimony.
Willis said in her July 20 email her office does not do proffers in criminal proceedings like this but instead offered Kemp the "courtesy of having his lawyer present for a taped interview to avoid him having to testify live" before withdrawing that offer and notifying him he would face a subpoena to show up in person.
Kemp's office also provided more than 130,000 pages of documents requested in a subpoena earlier this year that "represents, explains, and provides context" about the 2020 presidential election and its certification process.
With less than 90 days to go before the November election, Kemp's lawyers asked to postpone his testimony until after Election Day, where he is facing a tight reelection battle against rival Stacey Abrams.
"Given the politically motivated nature of the Office's ongoing investigation and the fact that we are now in an election cycle in Georgia, we are also concerned about potential leaks of substantive testimony," McEvoy wrote on July 20.
The investigation intensifies
The heated public spillover of the mostly private proceedings over the last several months represents the difficult tightrope that the Fulton County DA's office is trying to walk investigating politically motivated election interference by Republican supporters of former president Donald Trump while avoiding the appearance of politically motivated prosecution.
Willis and her staff have already been disqualified from investigating state Sen. Burt Jones, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, because the DA held a primary runoff fundraiser for Charlie Bailey, his Democratic opponent.
Jones was one of the leading voices questioning the 2020 election results, and lost his committee chairmanship ahead of the 2021 legislative session because of it. Jones, who received Trump's endorsement in the primary election, signed on to a failed Texas Supreme Court challenge that Georgia's attorney general, also a Republican, called "constitutionally, legally and factually wrong."
Jones also traveled to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, 2021 with a letter intended for then-Vice President Mike Pence, urging him to delay certification of the Electoral College votes based on already-debunked false claims of fraud, and served as one of 16 Republicans that falsely claimed to be the state's rightful presidential electors.
This week also saw numerous other developments in the wide-ranging probe seeking to find who might have broken state laws in the failed attempts to reverse Trump's defeat in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
On Monday, a federal judge ruled that Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina could not avoid testifying in front of the special grand jury about calls he made to Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger allegedly seeking to throw out absentee votes, denying his claims of privilege as a high-ranking government official and highlighting the jury's desire to ask him about other topics.
Tuesday, lawyers for 11 of the other fake electors asked a judge to reconsider his ruling denying their request to disqualify Willis from investigating them, writing that because of their prominent positions within the state GOP they are "inextricably" tied to Jones.
And hours before Kemp's explosive filing, Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani spent six hours answering questions in the Fulton County courthouse, flying down from New York after a protracted battle over the timing of his testimony and after Giuliani declined to fight the subpoena. The former mayor of New York City was informed Monday he is a target of the investigation, and is a central figure in the sustained fight by Trump and his allies to subvert Georgia's thrice-counted election results. That fight includes several appearances before Georgia lawmakers where he made fantastical and false claims of fraud and wrongdoing with the state's election system and results.
It is unclear when the grand jury will author its report recommending what, if any, charges should be brought against any of the figures that have testified and been targeted in the probe, but both the judge and the DA have indicated a heightened sensitivity will be taken surrounding the beginning of early voting in October. A redacted filing submitted by Judge Robert McBurney outlines a security plan for the drafting of the report.
This story comes to Raw Story through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia
The lead prosecutor for special counsel Robert Muller's investigation offered an analysis on MSNBC after Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to fifteen charges on Thursday as part of a plea agreement that will result in a five-month sentence to Rikers Island Prison Complex.
MSNBC's Katy Tur interviewed NYU Law professor Andrew Weissmann, who served as chief of the fraud section at the Department of Justice prior to his appointment to Mueller's team. He had also previously served as general counsel for the FBI.
Weissmann noted Georgetown Law professor Paul Butler had listed the state and federal investigations Trump is known to be facing.
Weissmann said, "I think the sleeper case here is the Manhattan D.A.'s office. You know, I think that it isn't getting enough attention and there are a lot of telltale signs in that case that the Manhattan D.A.'s office is not done with Weisselberg or Donald Trump in the way that it's particularly crafted."
Tur asked Weissmann to, "expand on why you think that this is so intriguing."
Weissmann noted that Weisselberg will have to testify at the Oct. 24th trial of the Trump Organization.
"It seems very, very hard to testify truthfully in that case and not implicate Donald Trump," the former prosecutor explained. "We're not talking about a huge company like Exxon or JPMorgan, we're talking about a small family-owned company and the scheme was so rampant with signatures by Donald Trump himself, I think that he has very reputable lawyers who are going to tell him if you want your five-month deal, you have to be truthful in front of the judge who is ultimately going to sentence you."
"So i think it would be very hard not to implicate Donald Trump," Weissmann continued. "But the second thing that I found really telling is there was no coverage provision here. And what i mean by that is a typical defendant asked the government I will plea to x, y and z but I need to know this is it, I'm not going to get charged again. So what you normally see is the defendant pleading but the government putting on the record that this covers a whole host of potential crimes. In this case what you would have expected to see is something that said that this covers any and all crimes that Allen Weisselberg may have committed as part of the Trump Organization. That was not in there."
"That is not something that — these are such good lawyers that he has, we're not dealing with sort of the run-of-the-mill people that you see in sort of Trump world, these are really first-rate lawyers — they clearly had to have asked of that," he continued. "To me, that is a tell that there is more that the Manhattan D.A.'s office has up their sleeve."
"Time will tell whether I'm right, but it is striking to me that there wasn't that coverage language," Weissmann concluded.
Andrew Weissmann www.youtube.com