NEW YORK — Attorneys for accused sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, echoing prior high-profile sexual abuse cases, launched a legal offensive against prosecution witnesses before presenting their defense. From opening arguments to cross-examination, lawyers for Maxwell — accused of procuring underage girls for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein — focused on the witnesses’ past drug and alcohol use or mental illness, while suggesting in some cases they were motivated by money. “Now suddenly, after Epstein dies and she has a lawyer by her side, she now remembers all this horror that happened ...
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The world's richest man is seeking to hire a team of lawyers to sue people on behalf of his electric car company.
"Tesla is building a hardcore litigation department where we directly initiate & execute lawsuits. The team will report directly to me," Musk posted to Twitter, which he is seeking to acquire.
He included an email address and asked people to "please send 3 to 5 bullet points describing evidence of exceptional ability."
"Looking for hardcore streetfighters, not white-shoe lawyers like Perkins or Cooley who thrive on corruption," he explained.
"There will be blood," the billionaire added ominously.
Musk's search for streetfighters came the same day The New York Times reported, "Tesla’s shares have declined more than 40 percent since April 4 — a much steeper fall than the broad market, vaporizing more than $400 billion in stock market value. And the tumble has called attention to the risks that the company faces. These include increasing competition, a dearth of new products, lawsuits accusing the company of racial discrimination and significant production problems at Tesla’s factory in Shanghai, which it uses to supply Asia and Europe."
The company's problems may get worse.
"Mr. Musk has not helped the stock price by turning his bid to buy Twitter into a financial soap opera. His antics have reinforced the perception that Tesla lacks an independent board of directors that could stop him from doing things that might damage the company’s business and brand," The Times reported. "Tesla’s image is under pressure in ways that could hurt the automaker among the environmentally conscious, politically liberal customers who have long been its biggest customer base. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is suing Tesla, accusing it of allowing racial discrimination and harassment to flourish at its factory in Fremont, Calif., near San Francisco."
Also on Friday it was reported that Larry Ellison, the biggest backer of Musk's takeover bid of Twitter, was on a planning call with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Fox News personality Sean Hannity about keeping Trump in office despite the fact he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden.
Federal court changes ballot rules in Pennsylvania — potentially scrambling razor-thin vote count in GOP Senate race
On Friday, POLITICO reported that a federal appeals court has overruled Pennsylvania state court guidance on how to count certain ambiguously-marked absentee ballots — a move that will reduce the likelihood that several hundred people's ballots will be rejected, but that also throws a monkey wrench into a painfully close Senate Republican primary vote where the count is already in progress.
Currently, fewer than 2,000 votes separate TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz and hedge fund magnate David McCormick in the contentious Senate primary — and an automatic recount appears all but certain whoever has the most ballots initially.
"On Friday afternoon, a three-judge panel for the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals issued a judgment saying election officials should count several hundred mail ballots that were submitted without a date written on their mailing envelopes in a Nov. 2021 county judgeship election, as long as they were otherwise received on time," reported Zach Montellaro and Holly Otterbein.
"It was not immediately clear how sweeping the reach of the circuit court’s ruling will be because a formal opinion from the panel is still forthcoming. But it could have a serious impact on the Senate race," said the report. "Oz and McCormick were separated by about 1,100 votes as of Friday afternoon, and the ruling could introduce into the pool an as-yet-unknown number of similarly-situated ballots that would not have initially been counted. A spokesperson for the Department of State told POLITICO that it was not immediately clear how many ballots that were otherwise received in a timely fashion by county election officials were rejected because of a missing date."
Trump endorsed Oz for Senate in the race, which also featured controversial firebrand talk radio host Kathy Barnette.
On his Truth Social media platform, Trump has urged Oz to declare victory even with the count currently undecided, and has demanded that Pennsylvania officials stop counting even eligible ballots.
'Y'all didn't do anything': Police brutality victim confronts DC mayor about being Tased in his own living room
On Friday, the Washington City Paper reported that Lennon English, a Black police brutality victim, confronted D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser about his incident as she was giving a press conference at the Hillcrest Children and Family Center next door to his apartment.
"By the end of Bowser’s remarks, English had walked over to join the reporters and community members who’d gathered at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and Raleigh Street SE. When the mayor asked for questions from the community, English spoke up," reported Mitch Ryals. "'I want to know what are you gonna do about the effects of police brutality and police violence against African Americans in this city, both the mental health of the victims, who are African American, but also the mental health of your administration and police officers who are participating in brutality?' English asked."
"Bowser said that she would not tolerate officers who don’t follow the rules and directed English to file a complaint," said the report. "He had already filed a complaint, English told the mayor, adding that in January 2021, Sergeant Matthew Nickerson and several other officers beat him and shocked him with a stun gun in his living room while he was still wet from the shower. 'I came to your office about it,' English told the mayor. 'Y’all didn’t do anything to those officers. You haven’t done anything to help my mental health at all.'"
According to the report, Bowser pledged to investigate the matter but did not issue an apology to English.
This comes amid multiple incidents around the country in which improper police conduct around stun guns has been called into question.
This week, a sheriff's deputy in Osceola County, Florida was charged with misdemeanor culpable negligence for Tasing a biker at a live gas pump, resulting in a fuel explosion that left the suspect hospitalized with third-degree burns covering 75 percent of his body. And in February, former Minneapolis police union boss Kim Potter was sentenced to 16 months for fatally shooting Daunte Wright after confusing her gun and her Taser.