Friday, July 9, 2021

Former Fox News Anchor Ed Henry Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Network


Ed Henry

Former Fox News Anchor Ed Henry Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Network
ADWEEK, June 30, 2021

Former Fox News anchor and correspondent Ed Henry was fired by the network on July 1, 2020 for “willful sexual misconduct in the workplace.”

Nearly one year to the day later, the former TV newser, who has vehemently denied the allegations of sexual misconduct. has filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News chief executive officer Suzanne Scott and is making a number of explosive claims in the process.

Through a statement from his attorney Ty Clevenger, Henry claims that Scott “publicly smeared” him, and that he was fired “in order to divert attention from Scott’s long history of covering up actual misconduct.”

Henry expounds on that statement, accusing Scott of “covering up other incidents involving Fox News senior executives and program hosts, including an extramarital affair between Fox News President Jay Wallace and a subordinate.”

The former Fox Newser goes on to claim that the subordinate ended up getting a “plum assignment” at the company.

Henry states in his lawsuit  that Fox Business Network president (formerly Fox News morning programming chief) Lauren Petterson told him that Scott was tired of “carrying water” for then-President Trump during the 2020 campaign. His lawsuit also alleges that Scott instructed producers at the network to rein in coverage of the national anthem controversy that Trump had been pushing about NFL players kneeling during the anthem. His lawsuit further alleges that Scott shut down the story because Fox Sports was trying to secure a multi-billion-dollar contract with the NFL.

“As we stated one year ago, Fox News Media conducted a thorough independent investigation into Ed Henry immediately after we were made aware of a serious misconduct claim against him by a former employee,” said a Fox News spokesperson via statement. “Based on the results of those findings, we promptly terminated Mr. Henry’s employment for willful sexual misconduct and stand by the decision entirely. We are fully prepared to vigorously defend against these baseless allegations as Mr. Henry further embarrasses himself in a lawsuit rife with inaccuracies after driving his personal life into the ground with countless extramarital affairs in a desperate attempt for relevance and redemption.”

The network spokesperson also addressed the claims being made about Scott: “Under the leadership of CEO Suzanne Scott, Fox News Media has worked tirelessly to transform the company culture, implementing annual, mandatory in-person harassment prevention training, creating an entirely new reporting structure, more than tripling the size of our HR footprint, conducting quarterly company meetings and mentoring events, as well as executing a zero tolerance policy regarding workplace misconduct for which we engage outside independent firms to handle investigations. No other company has enacted such a comprehensive and continuous overhaul, which notably, earned Fox News Media recognition as a ‘Great Place to Work’ for the first time in its existence, a testament to the many cultural changes that Ms. Scott has instituted during her incredibly successful tenure as CEO.”

The network put out a third statement, this one concerning the claims Henry has made about Wallace.

“Fox conducted a full and independent investigation of the claims against Jay Wallace — he was cleared of any wrongdoing and the allegations are false,” said the spokesperson.

Michael Avenatti Sentenced To 21/2 Years In Prison For Attmepting To Extort NIKE and Defrauding His Client


FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2018, file photo, attorney Michael Avenatti, speaks outside
court in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File) 
The Associated Press

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Michael Avenatti Sentenced To Over Two Years In Prison For Attempting To Extort Nike And For Defrauding His Client

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MICHAEL AVENATTI was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court by United States District Judge Paul G. Gardephe to 30 months in prison for attempting to extort NIKE, Inc., and for defrauding a client.  AVENATTI was previously found guilty on February 14, 2020, following a three-week jury trial.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “Michael Avenatti used illegal and extortionate threats and betrayed one of his clients for the purpose of seeking to obtain millions of dollars for himself.  Not only did Avenatti attempt to weaponize his law license and celebrity to seek to extort payments for himself, he also defrauded his own client.  Avenatti will now serve substantial time in prison for his criminal conduct.”

According to the Complaint, Superseding Indictment, court documents, and evidence presented at trial:

In a scheme that unfolded in less than a week, AVENATTI used threats of economic and reputational harm to seek to extort NIKE, Inc. (“Nike”), while defrauding his client (“Client-1”), by promising to settle potential claims by Client-1 against Nike if Nike agreed to make extortionate payments to AVENATTI.  AVENATTI threatened to hold a press conference on the eve of Nike’s quarterly earnings call and the start of the annual National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) basketball tournament at which he would announce allegations of misconduct by employees of Nike.  However, AVENATTI stated that he would refrain from holding the press conference and harming Nike only if Nike made a payment of $1.5 million to Client-1, who was in possession of information potentially damaging to Nike, and further agreed to “retain” AVENATTI and another individual to conduct a supposed “internal investigation” – an investigation that neither Nike nor Client-1 requested – for which AVENATTI demanded to be paid, at a minimum, between $15 million and $25 million.  Alternatively, in lieu of such a retainer, AVENATTI demanded a total payment of $22.5 million from Nike to resolve any claims Client-1 might have and to buy AVENATTI’s silence. 

AVENATTI never told Client-1, among other things, that AVENATTI planned to and did threaten Nike that, unless Nike paid AVENATTI, he would hold the press conference, or that AVENATTI planned to and did seek money for himself separate from, and to the financial detriment of, Client-1.

*                *                *

In addition to the prison sentence, AVENATTI, 50, of Venice Beach, California, was sentenced to three years of supervised release. The Court deferred a determination as to restitution for a later date. 

Ms. Strauss praised the work of the FBI and the Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Podolsky, Daniel C. Richenthal, and Robert B. Sobelman are in charge of the prosecution.

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Thomas More Law Center Wins a Landmark First Amendment Case Against Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris

Thomas More Law Center Wins Landmark First Amendment Case for Every American in the U.S. Supreme Court

Press Release July 1, 2021

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued a landmark First Amendment decision holding that Americans are free to support nonprofit organizations without fear of harassment. In 2015, a federal lawsuit was filed against then-California Attorney General (AG) Kamala Harris, who had threatened severe sanctions against the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) if names and contact information of its major donors were not disclosed to her office.

In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with TMLC, a leading national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in its case Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta. In doing so, SCOTUS held that California’s law requiring donor disclosure was facially unconstitutional.

“When it comes to the freedom of association,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the Court’s opinion, “the protections of the First Amendment are triggered not only by actual restrictions on an individual’s ability to join with others to further shared goals. The risk of a chilling effect on association is enough, because First Amendment freedoms need breathing space to survive.”

Richard Thompson, TMLC’s President and Chief Counsel, hailed the Supreme Court’s ruling as a “landmark victory for the First Amendment.” He said, “Today’s victory is attributable to the superb legal work of attorney John J. Bursch and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) legal team who represented TMLC in the Supreme Court, as well as San Francisco-based attorney Louis H. Castoria, who singlehandedly tried the case in the federal district court against a phalanx of California assistant district attorneys.”

Bursch, ADF senior counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy, said, “The Court has confirmed that every American is free to peacefully support causes they believe in without fear of harassment or intimidation.”

On March 24, 2015, then-California AG Harris threatened in a letter to TMLC that if the Law Center did not provide her office with a list of its major donors within 30 days, the Law Center could lose its right to solicit donations in California and TMLC’s officers and tax preparers could be held personally liable for any penalties. Rather than comply under threat, TMLC filed a federal case claiming the AG was violating TMLC’s and its donors’ First Amendment rights of free speech, freedom of association, and the free exercise of religion, citing the 1958 SCOTUS ruling in NAACP v. Alabama as precedent.

A 3-day bench trial was held by Federal District Court Judge Manuel Real beginning on September 13, 2016. Auditors and investigators from the AG’s office testified that they never had a complaint against TMLC; they have never investigated TMLC; and they do not normally use major donation reports to start investigations.

On November 16, 2016, Judge Real permanently enjoined the AG from requiring TMLC to file a copy of its major donor list. The AG appealed Judge Real’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which vacated the injunction. On August 26, 2019, TMLC asked the U.S. Supreme Court (petition for certiorari) to review the Ninth Circuit’s ruling. The Supreme Court agreed, and on April 26, 2021, the Court heard oral arguments on the case.

In the Internet Age, where doxing one’s opponents has led to job loss, boycotts, ostracization, and violence, the fear of such repercussions should one’s charitable contributions become public could be enough to stymy giving, leaving the personal beliefs of many Americans to go unrepresented in the public square. While TMLC is considered by the media as a conservative Christian organization, an array of organizations across the political spectrum filed amicus briefs in support of the First Amendment arguments being made by the Thomas More Law Center.

To read the full opinion, click here.

SOURCE Thomas More Law Center

CONTACT: Tom Lynch, 734-707-5160,

            Photography via Creative Commons

Kamala Harris’ appointment is historic but don’t ignore her problematic past

The vice president-elect’s record as a prosecutor is more than troubling.
Shahed Ezaydi, 11 NOV 2020

After endless days of international anxiety, the United States finally elected a new president. Yet it’s his vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, grabbing the headlines around the world. The former prosecutor and attorney general of dual Black and South Asian heritage, has made history by becoming the first woman and person of colour to be America’s VP. And everyone is overjoyed – news outlets and social media are heralding her as the queen of feminism, the ultimate Girl Boss and an icon of representation. But beneath all the jubilation, there are people like me, wary of painting her as the epitome of progressiveness, given that Kamala Harris’ record is uncomfortable at best.

Remember all the memes about Kamala Harris being a cop? Though the sources of their dispersal were questionable at the time, it did highlight people’s legitimate concern around the senator’s tenure as San Francisco’s District Attorney and California’s Attorney General. The memes aptly summarised her problematic years of working in the criminal justice system, and told voters that she often used the law to harm people of colour, rather than helping them. Let’s not forget that she also once called herself a ‘top cop’.

“Let’s not forget that she once called herself a ‘top cop'”

During her time as District Attorney, she brought in an anti-truancy programme criminalising the parents of children who skipped school, knowing full well that communities of colour would be hit the hardest. Instead of looking at the causes of truancy, Harris decided that the children would benefit from more disruption, in the form of their parents possibly going to prison.

It gets worse. Harris also fought to keep people in prison, even after their innocence was proven. The most well known example is the case of Daniel Larsen, who was serving a life sentence under California’s Three Strikes Law. However, a court later found that Larsen was innocent and ordered his release. A “progressive prosecutor” would probably just accept this ruling and go home, but Harris chose to appeal on technical grounds that he filed his petition too late. The court denied Harris’ appeal, but this also happened in a number of other cases.

Unsurprisingly, Harris fought to release fewer prisoners in the past. California’s prisons, like most US prisons, are overcrowded, and the federal courts ordered the state to establish a new parole programme that would release some non-violent prisoners. The courts even called the overcrowding “unconstitutional cruel punishment”. But Harris wasn’t happy with this, stating that “prisons would lose an important labour pool”, as though retaining labour is a good enough reason to ignore horrendous, overcrowded conditions.

There’s more. Harris also defended California’s decision to deny a trans woman incarcerated in a men’s prison the surgery for her diagnosed gender dysphoria, arguing that the surgery wasn’t necessary.

And of course, with Black people significantly more likely to come into contact with the American criminal justice system, the positions she’s taken are in direct opposition to what racial justice and civil rights groups are fighting for. She even rejected calls from these groups to investigate deadly police shootings in Los Angeles and San Francisco, following the killing of Micheal Brown in 2014. Even though she’s been vocal about racial justice following the Black Lives Matter protests this year, she’s also been accused of frequently siding with the police unions and not pursuing aggressive enough reforms. It’s safe to say she won’t be joining in the chants to abolish the police any time soon.

“With Black people significantly more likely to come into contact with the American criminal justice system, the positions she’s taken are in direct opposition to what racial justice and civil rights groups are fighting for”

During her presidential campaign, Harris said she’d “end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and protracted military engagements in places like Syria, but she’ll do so responsibly”. She’s also not denounced the possibility of future US invasions, evidenced in the fact she hasn’t co-sponsored the bill which would prohibit US intervention in Venezuela. This “responsible” rhetoric echoes Barack Obama’s stance, who promised a “responsible end” to the war in Afghanistan, whilst continuing the US intervention in the region.

A Black American president didn’t stop the mass bombing of countries in the Middle East or bring an end to imperialism. Just like a partially brown Tory cabinet in the UK hasn’t suddenly reformed the immigration system or stopped the high levels of stop and search against Black communities, highlighting that representation doesn’t always equate to progress.

Another area Harris doesn’t fare particularly well in is around sex work. In 2008, she was a vocal opponent of Proposition K – a measure to decriminalise sex work – and led operations against the ‘Backpage’, a site sex workers could safely use for adverts. For someone who prides herself on fighting for marginalised groups, she made life for sex workers more difficult and risky. However, in a 2019 interview, she stated she would be open to decriminalising sex work. Harris still seems to support criminalising the act of purchasing sex, which is a position that would negatively impact sex workers, by increasing surveillance and policing around their work.

“It feels as though she’s being perceived as progressive because she’s a biracial woman, and not because of her politics”

The vice president-elect has argued that during her presidential campaign, she’s fought for racial justice reform, the reversal of incarceration and putting a stop to the death penalty. And she did manage a few policies that would be considered “progressive”, such as bringing in a scheme that would allow first time drug offenders to get an education and a job, instead of time in prison. Plus, she also refused to pursue the death penalty in a case where a police officer was shot, even when it was a widely unpopular stance.

However, we need to be careful in painting her as the beacon of progress and instead focus on her actions. It feels as though she’s being perceived as progressive because she’s a biracial woman, and not because of her politics. Yet we all know that not all Black and brown people are liberal by nature – look at Priti Patel.

Kamala Harris has made history, and that is something we should absolutely celebrate. Representation of women of colour in top positions is really great to see, and to be honest, long overdue. But representation alone doesn’t help the communities being represented if they there aren’t policies in place to support them. Black and brown faces in politics won’t solve the deep-rooted and systemic issues that people of colour face every day, especially if those faces support policies that uphold white supremacy.

As we celebrate this historic milestone, we shouldn’t lose sight of Harris’ track record. Instead, let’s hold her accountable and allow her to prove to American society that she’s fighting for progress.

Inside Kamala Harris’ polarizing record as a prosecutor

Kamala Harris’ rampant prosecutorial abuses

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Ohio Judge Strikes Down Biden's Ambiguous Tax Mandate in $1.9T Relief Package

Then-Republican candidate Dave Yost gives his victory speech after winning the Ohio Attorney General race at the Ohio Republican Party's election night party at the Sheraton Capitol Square in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 6, 2018. (Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

Federal Judge Strikes Down Ambiguous Tax Mandate Provision in Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Relief Package

July 3, 2021 Updated: July 3, 2021

A federal judge issued a permanent injunction on Thursday to block the ambiguous tax mandate in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

U.S. District Judge Douglas R. Cole from the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled that the tax mandate in the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)—which seems to tie the relief fund to the states’ authority to reduce tax—exceeds the Congress’s authority under the Spending Clause due to its ambiguity.

The Interim Final Rule (IFR) issued by the Treasury Department intended to clarify the tax mandate “does not cure that constitutional violation,” the judge stated.

“Accordingly, this Court GRANTS Ohio’s Motion for a Permanent Injunction (Doc. 38), and enjoins the [Treasury] Secretary from seeking to enforce the Tax Mandate, 42 U.S.C. § 802(c)(2)(A), against Ohio,” reads the ruling (pdf).

The judge also expressed concerns that the tax mandate has breached the separation-of-powers principles laid down by the framers.

The Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost applauded the ruling and criticized the Biden administration for overreaching.

“The Biden administration reached too far, seized too much, and got its hand slapped,” Yost said. “This is a monumental win for the preservation of the U.S. Constitution—the separation of powers is real, and it exists for a reason.”

The Epoch Times reached out to the White House and the Treasury Department for comments.

A stipulation in the $1.9 trillion sweeping relief package has caused considerable disputes between red states and the Biden administration.

“A State or territory shall not use the funds provided under this section … to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the net tax revenue of such State or territory resulting from a change in law, regulation, or administrative interpretation during the covered period that reduces any tax (by providing for a reduction in a rate, a rebate, a deduction, a credit, or otherwise) or delays the imposition of any tax or tax increase,” the bill reads.

Several red states argued that this paragraph may deprive their authorities to reduce tax after receiving the relief.

Ohio became the first state to sue Biden’s administration over his pandemic rescue plan, arguing on March 17 that the provision holds a “gun to the head of states” by blocking them from cutting taxes, and exceeds the authority of Congress.

Thirteen states followed Ohio and launched legal action against the tax mandate provision.

The lawsuit (pdf) by the 13 states says the provision is “one of the most egregious power grabs by the federal government” in the nation’s history. It argues that the provision, by stipulating how states use federal funds with regard to tax cuts, is akin to forcing states to relinquish control of their taxing authority, which is not allowed under the Tenth Amendment.

The lawsuit also accuses the federal government of violating the conditional spending doctrine and the anti-commandeering doctrine.

The tax mandate “disables States from decreasing taxes on their citizens for a period of over three years” and in doing so, “usurps” the ability of the states to reduce their tax burdens, the states alleged in the lawsuit.

Treasury Secretary Jenet Yellon asserted back in March that the American Rescue Plan Act doesn’t prevent states from enacting a broad variety of tax cuts.

“That is, the Act does not ‘deny States the ability to cut taxes in any manner whatsoever.’ It simply provides that funding received under the Act may not be used to offset a reduction in net tax revenue resulting from certain changes in state law,” Yellen wrote in a letter responding to 21 attorneys general. “If States lower certain taxes but do not use funds under the Act to offset those cuts—for example, by replacing the lost revenue through other means—the limitation in the Act is not implicated.

The Treasury Department issued an IFR (pdf) accordingly on May 7, 2021.

Isabel Van Brugen and Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to the report.

Follow Allen on Twitter: @AllenZM