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Singer Chris Brown has repeatedly landed himself in the headlines amid legal problems resulting from bouts with anger, including his highly publicized 2009 attack on fellow pop singer and then-girlfriend Rihanna.
But in a recent Instagram post, the singer said that he’s tired of the “devil ruining” his life, and indicated that he’s turning over a new leaf.
Though his candid message included some expletives, the brief post invoked God, described intense struggles that the singer faces and proclaimed that — despite his public persona — he has a pure heart and soul.
“When u tired of the f**king devil ruining your life and u hear God speak for the first time. No one knows what I deal with on a day to day,” he said. “The average man wouldn’t hesitate to blow his f**king brains out but that’s the cowards way out… Most won’t understand the genius and beauty in change and learning and the people who have devilish intentions will win in the short term.”
Brown went on to say that his “soul will always be pure of heart” and that, though he might look like “one big party” on the outside, on the inside ”there is a little boy looking for help and guidance.”
In the end, Brown said that his goals are to be a good father to his daughter and to “stay out of the way and do music.”
R&B singer Chris Brown appears at Los Angeles Superior court Monday, July 15, 2013 (AP)
“I don’t have any more patience for anything that will cause me to self destruct!” he said.
Brown is no stranger to controversy, with a 2009 attack on Rihanna leading to an arrest and felony probation, amid other alleged fights and acts of violence. Read more about the singer’s past problems here.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that creates a short-term task force of veterans to review and make recommendations for change to the state’s Bureau of Veterans Services is among a group of 65 bills in legal limbo as the Legislature and Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s lawyers prep to duke it out in the state’s highest court.
The bill, LD 729, sponsored by Rep. Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, and was supported by the LePage administration, before the governor vetoed the bill earlier this month.
Whether the vetoes stand is one of the questions justices on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court will attempt to answer Friday. LePage requested their advice on whether the Legislature adjourned in June, preventing him from returning the bills within the 10 days allowed under the state constitution.
Golden, a Marine Corps veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, brought the bill after several meetings with younger veterans who suggested that the bureau, while providing some important services, needed an overhaul.
The measure received a neutral recommendation from outgoing bureau Director Peter Ogden, who retires this year and has been replaced by Adria Horn.
In his written testimony to the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, Ogden said he was concerned about staffing the commission’s meetings and expanding the bureau’s work without increasing the staff.
“From past experience, I would caution the committee that the brunt of any recommendations and changes will fall on the shoulders of the Bureau of Veterans Services to take on,” Ogden said. “This will not work unless the addition of appropriate staff to complete the task is part of the recommendation of the commission.”
In his veto message, LePage references Horn, writing that the commission the bill creates is unnecessary because Horn was already working on reforming the bureau and said those with suggestions could her call or email her. In the veto message, LePage included Horn’s office contact information, including her phone number.
Attempts to reach Horn for comment Wednesday were not successful.
Those testifying in favor of the bill, including the American Legion’s Department of Maine, agreed there were “gaps” in services for veterans in Maine. The legion, in its written testimony, suggested the commission be tasked with finding ways to ensure National Guard veterans, who may not have served on active duty, also be provided benefits from the state.
“We agree there are gaps, duplications and possible inefficiencies in how services within the state of Maine are provided to veterans,” the American Legion wrote in its testimony. “This alignment of services should include identifying and resolving these gaps, duplication and inconsistencies, especially in current state law, as quickly as possible to better serve our veterans, dependents and survivors.”
The bill directs the commission in six areas and any others it identifies, including:
* Review the services provided by the state to veterans for gaps, duplication and inefficiencies;
* Study improving the state’s engagement and communication with veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq;
* Study how the state can provide health care and mental health services to the state’s veterans when there is a clear gap in federal services;
* Study how to better align community, state and federal services and resources for homeless veterans;
* Study how the state can develop and implement a campaign and marketing strategy to communicate with veterans and military retirees, and encourage them to attend state colleges and to live and work in Maine;
* Make recommendations to the commissioner of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management concerning practices and rules regarding services and programs for veterans and the development of a five-year work plan.
Under the bill, the commission would be made up of 11 people, including the director of the bureau or her designee. The commission would also include three members of the House of Representatives, two senators and five citizens, including at least one member between the ages of 30 and 40 and one between the ages of 41 and 64 to be appointed by the speaker of the House and the Senate president. The commission would be required to have both male and female membership to ensure the specific concerns of veterans of both genders are considered.
Nonlegislative members of the commission would be required to have experience working with a veteran service organization or other nonprofit group that provides services to veterans.
The commission has a deadline to report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature with suggested legislation no later than Jan. 15, 2016.
But even the appointments to the commission are being stalled while the high court determines whether the bill became law without LePage’s signature or whether the Legislature will be required to override LePage’s veto of the bill.
The bill passed in the House on a vote of 143-0 and in the Senate on a vote of 35-0 and appears to have the support it would need to override a veto.
In his testimony in favor of the bill, Golden drew on his experience as he transitioned from his life as a combat Marine to the life of a civilian college student, detailing some of the obstacles and difficulties he was able to overcome with support from family, friends and federal and state veterans’ programs.
One of the greatest challenges, he said, was making sure all Maine veterans were made aware of what was available for them and that outreach for his generation had to be different from the outreach that worked for previous generations of veterans. “… we are not doing a great job in meeting this challenge,” Golden said.
On Wednesday, Golden said the commission will start its work in September.
“I think it’s really important that the Bureau of Veterans Services has representation, and it’s our intent to work hand in hand with them to help them fulfill their mission, but we will do our work with or without them,” Golden said.
Paul Christopher secretly recorded Joseph A. Mascia repeatedly using the N-word during a tirade about Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, Common Council President Darius G. Pridgen and other black politicians.
Many people – including Mascia – think Christopher’s actions were illegal.
But in New York State, there is nothing illegal about what Christopher did, two top legal experts told The Buffalo News.
That is because New York is one of 38 states that do not bar “one-party taping.”
“If you and I have a conversation in New York State, and I record it without your knowledge, it is legal in this state,” said Joseph M. LaTona, a Buffalo defense attorney.
“Some people may think it’s sleazy, but it’s legal,” said Paul J. Cambria Jr., a defense attorney and First Amendment law expert. “Personally, I think it was sleazy on both ends – for Mascia to say such things and for the other guy to keep baiting him. But making the tape is legal.”
LaTona said that some people are surprised when he explains the state’s law to them.
“They’re surprised because they think you need a court order to tape someone, even if you are party to the conversation,” LaTona said. “As long as you are party to the conversation, you don’t need a court order.”
Mascia, a commissioner of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority and a candidate for the Council’s Fillmore District seat, has been in local headlines since Wednesday of last week, when The Buffalo News obtained a copy of a tape that Christopher made of a conversation between him and Mascia.
On the tape, Mascia is clearly heard spouting the N-word – at least eight times – when Christopher asks for his opinions of Brown, Pridgen, Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, and other prominent African-Americans in government. Mascia also was heard to complain that black politicians are trying to take total control of Buffalo.
Mascia has admitted making the remarks and has apologized for them, but he said Christopher illegally recorded the conversation.
“I’m not making excuses for the harm that’s been done, and not trying to deflect what I did,” Mascia said in an interview.
But he added that he believes that the tape recording is part of “a conspiracy” designed to “shut me up.”
From his understanding of the law, Mascia said, Christopher’s actions were “illegal.” He said he plans to ask the state Attorney General’s Office for a legal opinion on the matter.
Mascia said he believes that all parties involved in a conversation must consent before the conversation can be legally recorded.
That is not true, according to Cambria and LaTona, two attorneys who have worked for decades on legal issues involving one-party taping.
“In Pennsylvania or California, it’s a crime, but in New York State, you can do it legally,” Cambria said.
New York is one of the states in which an individual can secretly record other people – either on the telephone or in person – as long as the person who makes the recording is aware of it, according to the Digital Media Law Project, which is sponsored by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Federal laws on eavesdropping are essentially the same as New York’s statute, the two attorneys said.
While it was legal for Christopher to record his conversation with Mascia, it would be illegal – under both state and federal eavesdropping laws – for a third person to record the two men without their knowledge, the attorneys said.
With the ever-expanding use of social media and with cellphones used as recording devices, there are more opportunities than ever for people to make tapes of one another, both Cambria and LaTona said.
“I have told clients for many years, ‘Never say anything to anyone, either in public or private conversation, that you don’t want to hear played back in a courtroom someday,’ ” LaTona said. “And now, I can add to that, never say anything that you wouldn’t want published in the newspaper or broadcast in the media.”
Minnesotans with low to moderate incomes who need legal advice can get free help from Volunteer Lawyers Network. Volunteer lawyers provide free legal advice by phone on legal issues like bankruptcy, debtor/creditor issues, consumer issues, employment law, immigration law, criminal expungement and unemployment compensation.
VLN lawyers can also help with completing legal forms for garnishments, debt collection answers and criminal expungement petitions.
Eligibility for services is based on income, assets, and county of residence. If a person is not eligible for VLN services, VLN refers them to other places that might be able to help.
For more information, call 612-752-6677. Phone lines are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. More information is available at www.vlnmn.org/help.
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It took a year, but Wences Casares, CEO of bitcoin wallet provider Xapo, is fighting back in court against a claim LifeLock brought against him in August 2014.
LifeLock is a $1.5 billion, publicly-traded online-identity protection company that acquired Casares’s digital wallet company Lemon in 2013 for $42.6 million. Casares eventually left LifeLock and founded Xapo, a digital wallet company focused on bitcoin (Lemon was not). LifeLock’s lawsuit, which went unreported untilFortune wrote about it earlier this summer, claimed that Xapo was developed “by Lemon employees, in Lemon’s facilities, on Lemon’s computers, and on Lemon’s dime.”
LifeLock has asked the California Superior Court in Santa Clara, Calif. to force Casares and his co-defendants (former Lemon employees) to “disgorge the value of the Xapo product attributable to Defendants’ misrepresentations, omissions, breaches of duty, and other wrongful conduct.”
Now Casares has fired back. Initially, he had filed a “demurrer,” which amounts to a motion to dismiss, but California Superior Court Judge Peter Kirwan rejected it and gave Casares until July 24 to formally reply to LifeLock’s complaint.
Casares’s cross-complaint, filed on July 24, accuses LifeLock of: breach of contract; breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; conversion (an act by one party that violates ownership rights of another party); unjust enrichment; and declaratory relief.
In layperson’s terms, Casares is claiming that LifeLock initially blessed the idea of a new product, to be called LifeLock Wallet, that Casares was working on. At some point, though, the company’s “dysfunctional management” left him and his Lemon team “hamstrung,” forcing him to leave to finish the product, which would become Xapo. From the cross-complaint, emphasis ours:
LifeLock assured Casares that it would not interfere with his management of Lemon’s operations, and agreed to automatically accelerate the vesting of certain stock options if the company materially diminished his responsibilities as Lemon’s General Manager … Casares lived up to his contractual promises and, in the weeks leading up to the closing of the LifeLock/Lemon deal, worked with his team to prepare and launch the “LifeLock Wallet,” a new and rebranded version of the Lemon Wallet app that represented the first step in integrating the LifeLock and Lemon products. The Lemon team working under Casares had previously developed new versions of the Wallet app quickly, and finished the all-new LifeLock Wallet in just over a month. Contrary to their agreement, however, immediately following the Lemon acquisition, LifeLock repeatedly and consistently obstructed Casares’s management of the Lemon team and directly obstructed his development of the next generation LifeLock Wallet. LifeLock’s highly dysfunctional management proved itself to be adept at corporate infighting and bureaucracy, and ultimately unwilling to support the innovative Lemon team that it had acquired, or to permit that team to be led by Casares without interference. LifeLock’s dysfunctional management—and its willful and intentional post-acquisition breaches of its agreements with Casares and his team—squandered the success of its acquired company, and then sought to blame everyone but themselves for their mistakes. By torpedoing the LifeLock Wallet app, and preventing Casares from doing his job, LifeLock not only willfully breached its contract with Casares, but virtually guaranteed the failure of its acquisition, Lemon… by mid-2014, LifeLock had decimated post-acquisition Lemon’s entire team, and Casares was hamstrung and left unable to salvage the Wallet product.
In addition, in a February 2014 letter posted in June by Bitcoin Magazine, LifeLock president Hilary Schneider told Casares the company was aware he was working on bitcoin pursuits and was okay with it: “LifeLock acknowledges and agrees that your past and continuing work on the Bitcoin business and development of Bitcoin IP is unrelated to LifeLock’s business and is not covered by and does not violate the terms of the Proprietary Rights and Restrictive Covenants Agreement between you and Lemon, Inc.”
Casares is now seeking a jury trial, and his cross-complaint, which is against both LifeLock and Lemon, asks for “a monetary award” as well as “punitive damages” from Lemon and LifeLock “in an amount to be determined at trial.” In other words, unless there is a surprise settlement, this fight is just beginning, and is only going to get more vicious.
(Separately, LifeLock is dealing with another P.R. nightmare: the FTC, for the second time, is taking action against the company for allegedly lying about its identity protection services and failing to protect customer data.)
As Fortune wrote in June, a LifeLock win in this suit could embolden the company to go after Xapo directly. In addition, a LifeLock win would mean that Casares, CEO of a financial services company, would be convicted of fraud. That result could be ruinous to the success of Xapo, which has raised $40 million in funding and is arguably one of the hottest bitcoin startups.
Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush wants the 11 million immigrants in America illegally to have a pathway to legal status, he told Telemundo Monday in a Spanish-language interview.
“For The 11 million people [undocumented immigrants in America], they must come out of the shadows, receive a work visa, start paying taxes and also pay a small fine, learn English, don’t receive government benefits, but they come out of the shadows and they receive legal status after some time,” he said in the interview. Excerpts of the interview aired Monday, while the rest will show on Sunday.
Bush promised that he would prioritize immigration reform if elected and panned President Obama for failing to do so when he had a super majority in Congress.
“He likes to talk about this as a political topic, because it wins votes. He thinks that way instead of solving the problem,” Bush said.
“I believe that a new president that’s committed to protect the border and to do everything that’s needed, so that there is more trust, that the laws can be complied with.”
He also criticized presidential rival Donald Trump’s recent comments on Mexican immigrants as “vulgar,” arguing that he has been counterproductive and shedding doubt on his status as the current polling frontrunner.
“I was hurt, hearing somebody speaking in such a vulgar fashion. This makes the solving of this problem much more difficult when we have politicians talking like that,” he said.
“And besides, that this offends millions of people that are here legally. It makes no sense. In a political sense, it’s bad. But it creates an environment where we can resolve the problem it makes it worse.”
Bush has received flack from his rivals over his more moderate stance on immigration reform. He previously supported a pathway to citizenship and backed the Senate’s 2013 immigration plan, also backed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), which included that plan. But he has since walked back that and supports legal status for immigrants in America illegally.
He doesn’t share that view with the majority of Republican voters. Sixty-three percent of Republican registered voters want the country’s immigration priority to be stopping illegal immigration and deporting those already in the country, according to a recent CNN/ORC poll. Just 34 percent of Republicans want that priority to be granting legal status to those in the country illegally.
Haggen has cut back on employee hours, laid off hundreds of staffers in its grocery stores in the Southwest, and is now waging a legal battle against Albertsons, a sign that the Bellingham grocer’s big expansion launched earlier this year has been a rough ride.
The chain’s store footprint ballooned ninefold and its workforce quintupled after it bought 146 stores throughout the West that were left behind by a merger between Albertsons and Safeway.
Critics warned about the high risks of diving into highly competitive markets in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada, where the brand was unknown. But the rewards were luring for the small grocer, which overnight joined the ranks of the top five grocers in the western U.S.
“Our challenge is to establish and grow the brand in competitive new markets,” Haggen Pacific Southwest CEO Bill Shaner said in a statement. “To ensure we’re operating as efficiently as possible, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily cut back on staffing at our stores, with specific reductions varying by store.” Haggen declined to specify how many jobs were eliminated.
Haggen also acquired 26 stores in Washington state. It didn’t immediately respond to comment about the status of employees at those stores.
A local union of retail workers in Los Angeles and Central California, UFCW Local 770, said that “several hundred” clerk helpers (employees who bag groceries and deal with shopping carts) had been laid off.
Kathy Finn, the local’s director of collective bargaining, research and education, said in an interview that most staffers’ hours also had been cut, leading the union to file a grievance.
Finn said Haggen’s move was a major turnabout after the company had come in promising to take care of all staffers, asking them to stay and recognizing their existing benefits and seniority.
“It’s very shocking,” Finn said.
In a message posted on its website, the union pointed to poor performance when Haggen opened its doors. Some local media reported initial mixed reviews from customers miffed at relatively high prices.
“When we met with Haggen management prior to the store conversions, they assured us that they were committed to making this takeover a success and that they would do everything possible to keep customers,” the union said. “It is now apparent that they have not followed through on those commitments, and in fact, have done nothing to assure that customers’ first impressions would be positive.”
Compounding Haggen’s woes is a $41.1 million lawsuit by Albertsons, which according to legal website Law360, alleges Haggen didn’t pay for the inventory held by some 38 Albertsons stores it acquired. The lawsuit, filed last week with a county court in Los Angeles, alleges Haggen breached its contract.
Haggen said the suit came in response to its own allegations against Albertsons of violating the purchase agreement for the transfer of the stores. Haggen said it had hoped to negotiate amicably with Albertsons, but the rival chain “has chosen to file what appears to be nothing more than a strike suit to avoid addressing its wrongful conduct.”
Haggen said it would mount a “vigorous defense.”
A spokesman for Albertsons confirmed the lawsuit against Haggen but said he wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.
Haggen’s southward expansion was an unexpected step for the 82-year-old retailer, which focuses on fresh and locally produced foods. It was a struggling company for a while; in 2011 it was bought by a private equity firm.
Donald Trump might tell you he risked his life in south Texas last week. Wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, he strutted off his private jet in the city of Laredo and was chauffeured to the nearby US-Mexico border, trailed by a pack of reporters waiting to hear what the real-estate-mogul-turned-2016-presidential-candidate would say next.
“They say it is a great danger but I have to do it, I love the country and there’s nothing more important than what I’m doing,” Trump told the press herds (the FBI, incidentally, rated Laredo as one of Texas’ safest cities in 2013). “I’m the one who brought up the problem of illegal immigration and it’s a big problem, a huge problem.”
Trump, whose theatrical tirades about the dangers posed by Mexican immigrants have launched him to the top of the 2016 GOP field, spent 40 minutes at the border Thursday, touring the line between the US and Mexico with the mayor of Laredo, and pontificating that “you have to make the people who come in [to the country], they have to be legal.”
While even Republicans have acknowledged that Trump’s comments are extreme, the GOP presidential candidates generally agree on his broader points, insisting that they too will tighten border security, crack down on undocumented workers, and require local law enforcement to hand illegal immigrants to Immigration Customs and Enforcement.
But some GOP candidates are taking the battle a step farther, calling for a reduction in the number of foreign immigrants who legally enter the US. “It’s not just about being tough on the border. It’s about legal immigration,” Rick Santorum said in a speech at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa earlier this month. “We have to hold the line on illegal immigration, to stop it, but also to reduce legal immigration of unskilled workers by 25 percent so we can bring wages up in this country.”
Santorum’s comments echoed those of his fellow Republican 2016 hopeful, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who told Glenn Beck in April that the government should consider curbing legal migration limits to shield the domestic workforce.
“The next president and the next Congress need to make decisions on the legal immigration system that are based on, first and foremost, protecting American workers and American wages,” Walker said in an interview, noting that the US now has its largest foreign-born population in history at about 40 million people, according to 2010 census data. “Because the more I’ve talked to folks…the more I see what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing for wages.”
In Congress, Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, has argued several ties for the US limit its visas for foreigners to protect American workers. “We should not admit more people in this country than we can expect to vet, assimilate, and absorb into our labor markets and schools,” Sessions said in a statement this month. “It is not mainstream, but extreme, to continue surging immigration beyond all historical precedent.”
Related: We Asked an Expert What Would Happen If Donald Trump Actually Became President
Other Republicans, including several 2016 presidential candidates, have focused on reducing legal immigration from predominantly Muslim countries, citing an increased risk of terrorism. In the wake of the shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee earlier this month, Rand Paul told Breitbart News that he is trying to restrict arrivals from “countries that have hotbeds of jihadism and hotbeds of Islamism.” Ted Cruz also issued a statement after the shooting calling for heightened scrutiny of Muslim immigrants.
In the meantime, public opinion is split over the issue of legal immigration. A poll released by the Pew Research Centerearlier this year found that 36 percent of Americans surveyed favored curbing legal immigration, while 31 percent supported an increase; 25 percent wanted rates to remain the same.
When it comes to the economic impact of immigration, Santorum and others have proposed that capping unskilled labor visas would benefit Americans, allowing raises to rise and opening up new opportunities for unemployed workers.”What is in the best interest of American workers? What are we going to do to get those salaries up?” Santorum told the audience at the Family Leadership Summit. “The vast majority of people coming into this country are unskilled workers competing to keep wages down.”
But analysts say that Santorum’s proposal to cut unskilled worker visas by 25 percent would prompt a marginal—if any—shift for US employees. For one thing, the US State Department issues so few visas for unskilled workers that the population is a drop in the bucket in the overall workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 500,000 people annually receive temporary unskilled labor visas, while the entire US labor force is composed of at least 93 million people , Santorum’s proposal would cut temporary visas by 125,000 annually—reducing our workforce by just about .1 percent.
“Most of the research shows that immigration in the past 3 decades has had a modest impact on the least educated workers, people without high school degrees,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research.
Like this? Watch The Business of Life: The USA and Its Immigration Dilemma
If temporary visas for unskilled workers are reduced, Baker warned, more individuals might choose to enter the country without papers. “If you decrease the number of people who can come here legally it may be offset by people who come here illegally,” he said. “Most employers have very little fears when they hire an undocumented worker. They can face fines but it’s rare. More effective controls would be enforcement at point of hiring, and serious penalties for employers who don’t follow [the rules].”
Legal immigration has benefited the economy overall, said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a Cornell University Law School professor who works on immigration and asylum law. A 2011 report from the American Enterprise Institute found that temporary workers, both unskilled and skilled, actually add jobs to the US economy, and that there is no evidence that foreign-born workers, taken in aggregate, hurts American employment.
Despite the economic benefits, though, the visa programs for unskilled laborers, like most aspects of the country’s broken immigration system, are in need of reform. Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research for the Economic Policy Institute, said employers could easily abuse their temporary workers, who rely on their bosses for permission to remain in the country, citing a 2011 review of the student worker program, in which he found that employers often failed to provide their employees promised accommodations or benefits.
“The employer essentially owns the guest worker visa, so if you’re fired you’re deportable,” Costa said. “So it makes workers afraid to complain, because if they do they have to leave the country.”
He added that the US government should institute greater safeguards for foreign workers, who are a “critical part of the economy.”
“I’m less worried about the numbers [of visas] and more about creating a procedure that is fair for US and foreign workers, so foreign workers have more protections from retaliation and even wages,” Costa told me. “I think the candidates are making blanket statements that reducing immigration is going to open up jobs, but it’s not that simple.”
A deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) suggested on Monday that public-sector workers who refuse to implement court rulings, particularly those of the Constitutional Court and the Council of State, should be sued for damages by those whose rights are violated.
The proposal to sue government officials if they do not implement court decisions within 30 days comes after the interim Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government recently refused to implement several verdicts made by the Constitutional Court and the Council of State.
The Council of State ruled in June that 8,400 unlawfully demoted school principals should be allowed to return to their former posts. However, the Ministry of Education recently sent a note to provincial governors’ offices requesting that they not enforce the ruling. The government could be forced to pay billions in compensation if the principals pursue the matter in court.
In another example, on July 13 the Constitutional Court ruled to annul a controversial law seeking to close down private preparatory schools known as dershanes, stating that not doing so would be in breach of the Constitution. However, the Ministry of Education has also so far refused to implement this ruling.
The AK Party also amended the law regulating how to file a claim for compensation against government officials who do not implement court rulings, as result of which it is now impossible to seek redress from a bureaucrat who has refused to implement a law.
CHP deputy Barış Yarkadaş, who prepared the legal proposal, said in the petition that by blocking people from seeking their rights from those who refuse to comply with court rulings, the government has entrenched arbitrary practices by state officials.
Top judge from the Netherlands visits Turkey over concern for arrested judges
Judge Tamara Trotman from the Court of Rotterdam and the chairperson of the Judges for Judges foundation in the Netherlands visited Turkey on Monday to discuss the situation of Judges Metin Özçelik and Mustafa Başer, who were arrested after they ruled for the release of Samanyolu Broadcasting Group CEO Hidayet Karaca and 62 police officers in June.
Trotman met with the judges’ lawyers, Hacer Yılmaz and Önder Durdu, and attended a press conference held by the lawyers in front of the Mehmet Selim Kiraz Courthouse. Trotman stated that there are serious indications that the judges had been arrested simply due to their decision to release Karaca and others.
Trotman stressed that she will share her observations with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and other international legal bodies.
Bill Cosby’s legal team is not going to take it anymore.
Last week, a new public face appeared in Monique Pressley, defending the once-beloved comic performer now beleaguered by allegations of sexual assault from dozens of women. The Washington, D.C-based attorney, whose specialties include civil litigation, became the main legal spokesperson after a leaked 2005 deposition in which Cosby admitted he gave drugs to women with whom he wanted to have sex.
“There are a thousand-plus pages that are available of Mr. Cosby in his own words, and what we’re seeing so far are headlines that are grabbing one excerpt or two and misinterpreting them,” Pressley told ABC’s “Good Morning America” last week. “The deposition said that there was use of Quaaludes, which was done often in the ’70s.”
Pressley enters the picture late in the game. In the last year, after decades-old allegations resurfaced and found a new force through social media, Cosby’s image as a wise, caring and loving father figure cultivated through his wildly popular stand-up act, books and TV roles has largely been obliterated. The alleged victims coming forward in the last year have grown from a handful to 40, with most claiming a similar scenario — being given drugs without their consent and then being sexually assaulted.
Cosby has denied all accusations in statements and the few brief exchanges he’s had with the news media. But before Pressley, the comedian did not have an authorized talking head aggressively defending him from a legal standpoint.
Public relations experts, however, contend that winning back public opinion will be an extraordinarily difficult if not impossible task at this point in the Cosby narrative. The damage inflicted upon the entertainer’s reputation since a comedy routine by Hannibal Buress last year may simply be too great to repair.
“I think he moved too slowly to change his strategy,” said Jason Maloni, a senior vice president at the crisis management firm Levick. “Where was Monique Pressley months ago when these accusations emerged? And it wasn’t simply one or two. More than a dozen women were recounting eerily similar patterns of behavior. That would have been a more effective time to go on offense. Right now, the public’s impression is made up. It’s a little late in the game to be punching back.”
Howard Bragman, chairman of Fifteen Minutes Public Relations, also doesn’t believe Cosby has much to gain at this point. “I’m convinced Cosby is asking his legal team: ‘Why aren’t we fighting back?'” he said. “What I do think is when you’re getting attacked and have lots of resources — money — it feels better to fight back — even if it’s futile.”
Pressley declined to discuss the circumstances under which she’d joined Patrick O’Connor, Martin Singer and other members of Cosby’s legal team, citing client confidentiality. But she made it clear about her intended role.
“[I want] people who are covering this to stick to the facts and not give more credit and more weight to allegations than is given to facts and reality concerning the legal issues,” she told The Times. “I always start by reminding people of what I think gets lost. My client has never been charged with a crime, never been convicted of a crime and, in light of the recent deposition excerpts, has never admitted to the commission of a crime.”
The 2005 deposition stems from a lawsuit filed by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who accused Cosby of drugging and molesting her. But Cosby said he gave her three Benadryl tablets before engaging in consensual sexual activities, according to the court documents.
The depositions in the case, settled out of court, are the only time Cosby is known to have responded to such claims against him while under oath.
Pressley said public defenses of Cosby have been a challenge for the legal team, because some of his accusers have filed defamation suits in response to the comedian’s denials.
While she said such suits rarely hold up in court, they can tie up resources and have an inhibiting effect on addressing the claims.
“The only thing I can equate that to is someone goes into a person’s house, sets it on fire, the person who owns the house comes in to put out the fire, and then gets sued for putting it out,” she said.
Pressley, who is also a motivational speaker, said she will assertively highlight information in court documents that supports her client but isn’t getting attention in the media. She cited the deposition in the Constand case as an example, even though the headlines it generated turned off Whoopi Goldberg, one of the few public supporters Cosby had left.
“The fact that that the deposition is out to me is not necessarily a negative,” Pressley said. “You see in there that Mr. Cosby denied any nonconsensual sex with any person, denied slipping someone a drug without their knowledge. He admitted that he had Quaaludes and someone chose to take one.”