MIAMI — As a former University of Florida professor and researcher, Lin Yang, 43, obtained $1.75 million in federal grant money from the National Institutes of Health, according to the Department of Justice. The problem, investigators say: Yang, a resident of China, never revealed that he was getting support from China and that a company he founded in his home country benefited from the research. Now, Yang, who resided in Tampa at the time, is facing charges including six counts of wire fraud and four counts of making false statements to an agency of the United States. Yang has been in China s...
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Judge issues scathing opinion at Wisconsin legislature: 'A pernicious and selfish attempt to repaint the truth'
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank D. Remington issued a 90-page opinion on Wednesday attacking the Wisconsin state legislature calling them liars.
Michael Gableman, who previously served on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, was hired by Republicans (at taxpayer expense) to help investigate "2020 election fraud." The GOP goal was to prove that Joe Biden somehow "stole" the election from Trump.
The lawsuit is about a records request from American Oversight, a state-level government watchdog group. They are looking into Gableman's investigation and requested documents. Already they've filed several lawsuits trying to get the information about the research that Gableman did and what he did with the taxpayer dollars he was paid. Ultimately, Remington agreed that the documents should be released and Gableman was fined him $2,000 a day until he turned them over.
Gableman submitted an affidavit on June 28 saying that he did a search, which Remington ultimately said he believed the former Supreme Court Justice, but he was still ordered to fork over $24,000 in contempt charges. American Oversight, however, said that they got most of the documents but not all of them.
Gableman's attorney, James Bopp, Jr. who is out of Indiana, swore that the documents didn't exist and he signed a sworn statement to that effect.
“These overbroad statements that ‘everything was produced, we searched everything,’ it’s just almost too broad to be credible given what we know from other sources and given what we know about the Office of Special Counsel’s records procedures,” attorney Christa Westerberg said.
An example revealed last month is that Gableman swore in an affidavit that he searched several electronic devices personally for records. Remington didn't think that he even had the technical capabilities to do such a search.
“Is there a reason he did not enlist the services of individuals with more sophisticated understanding of electronic communications?” Remington asked Gableman, who didn't own a personal computer at the start of the investigation and was using one from the public library.
“Quite plausibly, Mr. Gableman has demonstrated he’s not capable of conducting a professional and thorough investigation, that he deleted records, public records, and what you’re trying to do is superimpose a level of professionalism on an entity and an individual that just doesn’t exist,” Remington said last month in court, according to KPVI. “All the questions that you asked, even if I sent it back to them for supplemental response again and again and again, we’ll never get to the end of the question because you’re expecting more than what this organization and individual was prepared and able to deliver. Does that mean then you made your point and the answers will be left to the history books to wonder?”
The judge then ordered the Wisconsin Assembly to pay $160,000 in attorneys fees after holding Gableman in contempt. The Assembly had only allocated $676,000 for the investigation into the 2020 election, but Gableman has spent closer to $1 million at this point, said WISPolitics.com. At one point in the trial, Gableman was even caught on a hot mic mocking the judge and sarcastically pretending to invite the American Oversight attorney "come back into my chamber" so she could dictate what she wanted.
Meanwhile, the cases have continued and "Remington berated Bopp and his team for arguing that records had to be withheld because they were 'strategic' to the investigation," reported the AP. "The records Gableman eventually turned over included mostly blank pages, dozens of pages of duplicates and a complaint against film and television actors for criticizing the government, the judge wrote, demonstrating that the investigation accomplished nothing."
The GOP Assembly fired Gableman from the probe, with the Assembly speaker citing unprofessional behavior. But Judge Remington had a few more words for Bopp and the legal team in an order revoking five attorneys from being able to represent the Assembly Office of Special Counsel. Gableman made a number of false claims that sent Remington to issue the 90-page response.
Judge Remington said the lawyers' effort was "a pernicious and selfish attempt to repaint the truth. In doing so, [the Assembly counsel] denigrates our entire unified court system. Wis. Const. art. VII, § 2. OSC accuses me of threatening a witness, a felony under Wis. Stat. § 940.201. It does these things carelessly, with no regard for the law of the State of Wisconsin or for the facts of this case, and perhaps most perplexingly, OSC never even bothers to invent an explanation for why I am supposedly biased."
To make matters worse, the lawyer, Bopp, who works out of state in Indiana, tried to say that the judge's comments and his order to remove the lawyers was "pointless and meaningless" because the case is going to the trial court."
On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is privately flustered and worried about the effectiveness of Democratic attacks on him as a wealthy elitist who uses his political office to enrich himself.
This comes as Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes mounts a campaign to unseat him in the midterms — and as the most recent poll from Marquette University shows Barnes leading by 7 points with likely voters.
"Johnson’s ability to reintroduce himself in a more positive light — his favorability has been on a steady decline since 2019 among voters here — is key to Republicans’ strategy to retain a Senate seat that could ultimately determine control of the chamber, where Vice President Kamala Harris is now the tie-breaking vote," reported Natasha Korecki. "Several Johnson aides and allies said the senator has privately fumed over Democrats’ depiction of him as a Washington insider who’s profited off of his position and lost touch with the average Wisconsinite — a message that Barnes is now helping to steer."
According to the report, strategists helping Johnson are eager to paint Barnes as an extremist — but are wary the messaging could backfire, as they did against another Black Democratic candidate, now-Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia.
"Despite the early zeal to compete against Barnes, Republicans are also approaching their Wisconsin strategy with some caution, with some privately acknowledging they’ve learned lessons from Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s January 2021 win in Georgia," said the report. "In that campaign, Republicans depicted Warnock as a radical and liberal — the same attack the GOP has already launched against Barnes."
"Johnson’s persona, meanwhile, has been increasingly defined by the controversial headlines he routinely captures over his statements on issues like abortion, his perpetuation of dubious and unproven Covid treatments, and even the recent FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump’s residence in Florida," said the report.
"A campaign aide said Johnson is most unnerved by Democrats’ depiction of him as a “billionaire bogeyman in it for himself” and at shots at his integrity, including two ethics complaints that were lodged against him. One, questioning his flights to Florida from Wisconsin, was dismissed. Still pending is a complaint over a $280,000 gift to a chief of staff — payments, according to his campaign, that were meant to cover the longtime employee’s cancer treatments. "
Johnson came under further scrutiny this week with his remarks opposing the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act provision allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs as "punishing the pharmaceutical industry."
On August 4th, 2022, Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren – a twice-elected Democrat from Tampa's Hillsborough County – after Warren announced that he would not enforce the Sunshine State's unconstitutional restrictions on reproductive freedom, which include a 15-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest as well as the criminalization of gender-affirming care.
DeSantis accused Warren of "neglect of duty" and "incompetence" and stated for him "to take a position that you have veto powers over the laws of the state is untenable."
Warren responded that DeSantis is "trying to overthrow democracy here in Hillsborough County."
Yet the fight is just beginning. On Wednesday morning, Warren filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the Northern District of Florida challenging his dismissal. It alleges that DeSantis overstepped his executive authority.
"The Florida Constitution sets very limited parameters under which a governor can suspend an elected official and what's happening here is, he's trying to overturn a free and fair election," Warren told CNN of DeSantis. "He's trying to throw out the votes of hundreds of thousands of Floridians. And he's trying to substitute his judgment for that of the voters who elected me."
CNN pointed out that "under Florida law, a governor can remove 'any county officer' for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony." But Warren's lawyers argued in their complaint that "the First Amendment still applies even though DeSantis is the Governor of Florida and that the Constitution of the State of Florida means what the courts say it means, not whatever DeSantis needs it to mean to silence his critics, promote his loyalists, and subvert the will of the voters."
A few hours after Warren's appearance on CNN, the South Florida Sun Sentinel Editorial Board blasted DeSantis for his "legally suspect" decision.
"DeSantis is driven by partisanship and a zeal to use the powers of his office to silence critics — and wants voters to give him four more years in November so he can continue to run roughshod over his critics. Who’s next?" the editors wrote.
"What’s important to know about the suspension of Warren is that the prosecutor is a Democrat who has been vocal in his opposition to Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, with no exception for rape or incest, passed earlier this year by the Legislature and signed into law by DeSantis. A circuit judge struck down the Florida law as unconstitutional and the state is appealing," they explained. "With the abortion law in legal limbo, Warren said in June that he would not prosecute people for providing or seeking abortions, and cited 'well-settled discretion' of prosecutors. He did that in a signed pledge through a national group, Just and Fair Prosecution, along with nearly 100 other prosecutors across the country. The only other Florida prosecutor who signed was State Attorney Monique Worrell of the Orange and Osceola County circuit."
The Board noted that "the fatal legal flaw in the suspension order is that Warren was punished not for any action taken or not taken, but because of public statements he has made. DeSantis is governor, not the thought police. 'At no time while in office,' Warren’s lawsuit states, 'has Warren ever been referred a case involving a request to prosecute abortion-related crimes,'" adding that policy disagreement "is not sufficient cause to suspend Warren from office and invalidate the results of two countywide elections in Florida’s fourth-largest county."
DeSantis, the paper continued, "overreached. He should have waited at least until Warren decided an abortion case, though the law is clear that he has prosecutorial discretion. DeSantis could have issued an order, transferring all abortion cases to another state attorney as former Gov. Rick Scott did when former Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala declared her opposition to seeking the death penalty. Suspension, and sending an armed deputy to escort Warren from his office, is an extreme act that reeks of vengeance and partisanship."
The battle between Warren and DeSantis will be formidable, as both men are skilled in making their case. Warren, however, holds one key advantage.
The Sun Sentinel recalled that "as a candidate for governor four years ago, DeSantis got 234,835 votes in Democrat-leaning Hillsborough County, losing the county to rival Andrew Gillum. Two years ago, Warren proved much more popular with county voters, getting 369,129 votes despite being farther down the ballot. The 2020 election was a much higher-turnout presidential race, but the numbers speak for themselves."
Therefore, the Editorial Board posited in its conclusion, "who speaks more clearly for most of Greater Tampa — DeSantis or Warren?"