FILE PHOTO – U.S. Attroney General William Barr passes President Donald Trump as he heads to the podium to speak during the presentation of Public Safety Medals of Valor to officers in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an order allowing Attorney General William Barr to declassify any information Barr sees fit during his review of the events that prompted the FBI to open an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The order also directed leaders of the U.S. intelligence community and other departments and agencies to cooperate with Barr during his review.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Makini Brice; Editing by David Alexander
Bill Cosby appeals 2018 conviction for Pennsylvania sex…
June 25 (Reuters) – Bill Cosby’s lawyers on Tuesday formally appealed his conviction for drugging and sexually attacking a former friend at his home near Philadelphia 15 years ago, citing what they called errors in legal procedure that allowed trial testimony and evidence the defence contends should have been excluded.
By Barbara Goldberg and Steve Gorman
Attorneys for the once-beloved American actor and comedian, star of the hit television sitcom “The Cosby Show,” urged the appellate-level Pennsylvania Superior Court to either throw out his 2018 guilty verdict altogether or grant him a new trial.
The 348-page appeal asserts that Cosby, 81, was wrongly convicted on the basis of “flawed, erroneous, and prejudicial rulings” by the trial judge, including the admission of testimony from several accusers other than the woman he was charged with assaulting.
A jury in Norristown, Pennsylvania, found Cosby guilty in April 2018 of drugging and sexually violating former Temple University administrator Andrea Constand, at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.
It marked the first such criminal conviction of a celebrity accused of sexual misconduct since the #MeToo movement that has brought down dozens of powerful, privileged men in American media, politics and business since the autumn of 2017.
In September of last year, trial Judge Steven O’Neill designated Cosby a “sexually violent predator” under state law, requiring Cosby to register as a sex offender for life, and sentenced him to a term of three to 10 years in prison.
Cosby, who is married, has insisted all along that any sexual encounters he had were consensual. He was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
A major thrust of Cosby’s appeal is the contention that his conviction hinged on testimony from six other women who had accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, “all having occurred approximately 15 or more years before the charged crime.”
The defense asserted that allegations of the other women, five of whom testified in court, should have been inadmissible because they bore too little similarity or connection to the offense for which Cosby was prosecuted.
The appellate brief also said the judge should not have allowed prosecutors to introduce incriminating admissions by Cosby from a sworn statement he had once given in a separate civil case filed by Constand.
That 2005 deposition, in which Cosby acknowledged giving sedatives called Quaaludes to young women for purposes of having sex with them, was cited as a key piece of evidence in the criminal case brought a decade later by District Attorney Kevin Steele.
The defense argued it should have been excluded as irrelevant to the criminal case and a violation of Cosby’s constitutional protection against self-incrimination.
Cosby’s lawyers maintain the criminal case was itself a violation of a 2005 promise by Steele’s predecessor, Bruce Castor, to refrain from prosecuting Cosby if the entertainer agreed to sit for the sworn deposition in Constand’s civil suit.
The two sides in the case are scheduled to present oral arguments over the appeal to the Superior Court on Aug. 12, according to a court spokeswoman. (Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
In other news…
The South African economy is choking harder than the Proteas. Although to be choking you have to actually be eating and the Proteas seem to be on some sort of juice cleanse-like fast…*
Back to the economy: In the first quarter the GDP dive-bombed by a whopping 3.2%. The sense of futility can paralyse us into inaction and moaning. But it’s times like these that call for effort and action, no matter how small. Yes, South Africa is hurting. Yes the ravaged economy is evident everywhere you look. But you can make a difference, in your own personal way and by supporting independent media like Daily Maverick. We’ve pledged to continue the fight through producing incisive and impactful investigations and analysis, the same way we have done every day for the last decade.
By becoming a Maverick Insider you can help us keep doing what we do, so that you and others who can’t afford it, can keep reading the truth. For whatever amount you choose, you can support DM and it only takes a minute.
*Proteas, you know we love you. We’d just love you more if you won occasionally…
Egypt vs DRC Prediction, head-to-head, score and TV stream
After four days of small crowds, a capacity 75,000 crowd is expected in Cairo to cheer Egypt as they seek a third win in four Cup of Nations meetings with the DR Congo.
There will be contrasting pressures on the teams with the Pharaohs eyeing a second-round place and the Leopards fighting for survival after a horror first outing.
“We must learn to handle the pressure of being among the favourites in order to realise our goal of becoming African champions,” said Aguirre.
DR Congo came to Egypt as one of the most unpredictable qualifiers having finished third in 2015 only to make a timid quarter-final exit two years ago.
“We let our country down against Uganda,” confessed captain Youssouf Mulumbu. “It was a bitter lesson for us and we plan to correct the situation quickly.”
Prediction, head-to-head and TV stream
Egypt are strong favourites with a win probability of 68%. The draw is the second most likely at 22% while a win for Congo DR is at just ten percent.
Just seven previous meetings between these two teams. Egypt have won five and drawn two.
Where and what time
Kick off is at 22:00 SAST.
In Africa, SuperSport 4 and 10 will broadcast the match and
the opening ceremony.
Elsewhere: Eurosport Player (UK) and beIN Sports Connect
Jackson fans sing, sob, leave sunflowers and roses on 10th anniversary of death
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With roses crafted into heart shapes and crowns made of bright yellow sunflowers, Michael Jackson fans from as far afield as Iran and Japan paid tribute on Tuesday to the King of Pop on the 10th anniversary of his death.
A Michael Jackson impersonator dances next to Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame ten years after the death of child star turned King of Pop in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 25, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Several hundred fans gathered outside his burial place in the Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, north of Los Angeles, and held a minute’s silence at 2:26 p.m., the moment when Jackson, 50, was pronounced dead on June 25, 2009. They then broke into a rendition of “Heal the World” as some mourners quietly sobbed, hugged or wiped away tears.
Fans, some dressed like Jackson, placed posters, dolls, sequined gloves and even a red jacket like the singer’s signature “Thriller” outfit outside the private mausoleum where he is buried.
“Forever King,” “We’ll never forget you” and “We’ll never let you part” read some of the messages from Iran, Hungary and Japan.
Joan Simons traveled to the cemetery from the Netherlands, meeting up with people she had met on fan Facebook groups over the years. “We all feel the same – the love for Michael as a person, his music,” Simons told Reuters.
Jackson died at his Los Angeles home after an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, which he was using as a sleep aid. His doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted at a 2011 trial of involuntary manslaughter.
“A decade later, Michael Jackson is still with us, his influence embedded in dance, fashion, art and music of the moment. He is more important than ever,” the Jackson estate said in a statement marking the anniversary.
While Jackson’s death was met with a wave of grief in 2009, his reputation has come under scrutiny again because of the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” in which two men gave emotional accounts of what they said was sexual abuse by the singer in the 1990s when they were boys.
Jackson was acquitted on charges of molesting a different boy in 2005, and his family have denied the accusations made in the documentary.
“People are going to believe what they want to believe. But if they really do their research, they’ll know the truth,” Rem Garza, 22, a Jackson impersonator from Long Beach, California, said on Tuesday.
Carla Tonti said she traveled from Florence, Italy, to the cemetery with her 79-year-old mother, Sabrina. “We feel like as if we are close to the people who just enjoy Michael as much as we did,” Tonti said.
Reporting by Reuters Televsion; Editing by Leslie Adler
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