By Jonathan Allen MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd was due to begin on Monday with the screening of jurors to weigh murder and manslaughter charges in a case seen as a referendum on police violence against Black Americans. The judge has set aside three weeks for jury selection alone, mindful of the difficulties finding impartial Minneapolitans in a case that has convulsed a nation and in which an image of the victim — a selfie of Floyd faintly smiling — has fast become an international icon of racial justice. The...
Legal experts sounded the alarm after a bombshell court filing was unsealed showing the Department of Justice under Bill Barr attempted to use a secret grand jury subpoena to learn the identity of a parody account on Twitter that is critical of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).
"The Justice Department under President Trump secretly obtained a grand-jury subpoena last year in an attempt to identify the person behind a Twitter account dedicated to mocking Representative Devin Nunes of California, according to a newly unsealed court document. But Twitter fought the subpoena, as well as an associated gag order barring the company from talking about it publicly. Twitter executives raised skepticism about whether the Justice Department might be abusing federal criminal law-enforcement power to retaliate against a critic of Mr. Nunes, a Republican who is a close ally of Mr. Trump, in violation of the First Amendment," The New York Times reported Monday.
The subpoena was withdrawn after Biden took office, but the new documents show Twitter blasting the subpoena.
"It appears to Twitter that the Subpoena may be related to Congressman Devin Nunes's repeated efforts to unmask individuals behind parody accounts critical of him. His efforts to suppress critical speech are as well-publicized as they are unsuccessful," Twitter wrote in a motion opposing the unmasking of the author. "Given Congressman Nunes's numerous attempts to unmask his anonymous critics on Twitter—described in detail herein—Twitter is concerned that this Subpoena is but another mechanism to attack its users' First Amendment rights."
"Over the past two years, Congressman Nunes and his campaign committee have brought at least nine lawsuits—including in this district—against individuals, the media, and one research and intelligence firm for either their disagreement with his political actions and policies, publishing statements that Congressmen Nunes deemed critical of himself, or hosting critical statements with which Congressman Nunes disagreed," the social media company argued.
The account in question said it was about "silencing" critics.
There's nothing remarkable about me. I'm a basic smartass with a Twitter account. So then why am I being sued by a… https://t.co/vgWdz2qWWv— Devin Nunes' Alt-Mom (@Devin Nunes' Alt-Mom)1621287466.0
Legal experts blasted Barr's DOJ for the subpoena. Former Southern District of New York Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Signorelli called for an investigation of the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) who signed subpoena.
This outrageous subpoena was issued by AUSA Michael J. Friedman. He should have refused the assignment. Instead, h… https://t.co/BVC47DWfvz— Richard Signorelli (@Richard Signorelli)1621302565.0
Michael Friedman may not be the only attorney facing investigations over the subpoena.
Former federal prosecutor Daniel Goldman, who served as the majority counsel in Donald Trump's first impeachment trial, said Barr should lose his license to practice law.
What possible basis could Barr’s DOJ have to issue this subpoena? This appears to be Barr using the awesome power o… https://t.co/IhSDfBG2ws— Daniel Goldman (@Daniel Goldman)1621288139.0
The controversial audit of the 2020 election by Arizona Republicans could go on for months, a leading Republican worried on Monday.
"The private contractors hired by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann to audit Maricopa County's general election don't know what they are doing, and the county didn't delete any election files, county officials fired back on Monday," The Arizona Republic reports. "Jack Sellers, county Board of Supervisors chairman, accused Fann of attempting to legitimize 'a grift disguised as an audit.' He said the contractors, led by a Florida-based cybersecurity firm called Cyber Ninjas that was hired to lead the audit despite no experience, thought files were missing because 'they don't know what they're doing. And we wouldn't be asked to do this on-the-job training if qualified auditors had been hired to do this work.'"
KPNX-TV reporter Brahm Resnik asked Sellers, a Republican, if his "line in the sand" was an ultimatum.
Sellers did not directly answer the question, but said that any further questioning from the Arizona audit could occur in court.
"So this can go on for months?" Resnik asked.
"It really is up to them at this point, if they want to continue this," he replied.
The audit began on April 23rd.
UPDATE I asked County Board Chair Jack Sellers whether this "line in the sand," as he called it, was an ultimatum t… https://t.co/5vmt2IjpwC— Brahm Resnik (@Brahm Resnik)1621300485.0
'You want to cheat!' CNN's Cuomo rips far-right group that bragged about authoring voter restrictions
On CNN Monday, anchor Chris Cuomo slammed the right-wing group Heritage Action after its chief was caught on tape bragging about authoring voter suppression bills around the country.
"When it comes to our politics, there is a game afoot, and here we expose it for you. Caught on tape tonight," said Cuomo.
The head of a major dark money group — remember, the problem in politics isn't illegal money, it's the legal money — this head of this dark money group brags about ghostwriting many of the bills clearing GOP state houses across the nation."
"Now look, we reached out to Heritage about the video and the claims. Here's their response," said Cuomo, reading it off. "'Heritage Action is proud of our work to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. That work begins at the state level through our grassroots and continues through state legislatures across the country. Left-wing media' — that's us — 'who want to spin up panic and paranoia instead of focusing on real efforts to save our elections should be ignored.'"
"Here's the problem," said Cuomo. "They're right about how it works. Money matters. And this is the intelligence of money in politics. They have ideas they want to get across. The platitudes are easy. The policy is hard. What does that mean? Well, we want to make it hard to cheat. No, you want to cheat. You want to limit how many people can vote. For minority groups and big urban areas and those local officials you want cut out of the process. That's what you want. Because that is the far-right sale of white fright. These suppression advocates organize and then weaponize, many selling white fright and false notions that the election was stolen by big groups."
"Who is she talking about cheating?" said Cuomo. "Who is cheating? You see what I'm saying? You have to look at the premise. Who was cheating? Now, that's going to matter here. In just a moment, minority areas and local officials there, that's who they're talking about."
Chris Cuomo slams Heritage Action voter suppression video www.youtube.com
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