Judges Dismisses Charge In Sex Tape Case Involving Waffle House CEO

A judge in Fulton County, Georgia, made the decision to dismiss one of the two charges that have been lodged against a pair of attorneys and their client that stands accused of illegally recording a sex tape that could later be used to as the basis for a future lawsuit.

The unlawful eavesdropping charge that was levied against the trio was dropped by Judge Henry Newkirk. The client for the lawyers, Mye Brindle, was employed by Waffle House Chief Executive Officer Joe Rodgers Jr. as a housekeeper. The video that was recorded reportedly shows Brindle engaged in a sexual act with Rogers.

Brindle attorneys John Butters and David Cohen are still charged with violation of state eavesdropping laws that prohibit the recording of videos in a private location.

A lawyer for Brindle, defense attorney Reid Thompson makes the assertion that her client is a ‘victim’ and characterized the sexual act as just another ‘chore’ that she was required by her employer to perform. Thompson continued her explanation of her client’s actions by saying that Brindle was forced to make a decision that many women have to make in order to keep her job.

Thompson says that Brindle decided on recording the sexual acts she engaged in with Rodgers because he is a rich and powerful man and she felt vulnerable to his power.

Attorneys for Butters and Cohen argue that the pair of lawyers provided Brindle with proper legal advice and felt at the time that the actions undertaken were the right things to do.

Newkirk previously dismissed the entire case brought against the three defendants in 2016. In November, the Supreme Court in Georgia reinstated the Eavesdropping charges but agreed with Newkirk about the dismissal of extortion charges.

Rodgers has maintained throughout the ordeal that the sexual relationship he had with Brindle was consensual and the recordings were a crime of opportunity.

Supreme Court Defers Ruling on DACA

CNN recently reported that the Supreme Court has announced that it will not hear arguments from the Trump Administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). President Trump previously announced that he intended to end DACA by March 5. This announcement by the Supreme Court has the effect of easing the tension in Congress, which would have had to act very quickly to find a solution to the more than 700,000 people residing in the U.S. under DACA.

 

Lawmakers were in a serious bind before the Supreme Court’s recent announcement to postpone hearing arguments on the end of DACA because very little progress had been made in the way of a bipartisan compromise. Both parties remain steadfast in their positions. The Trump Administration had pushed the issue by announcing March 5 as the deadline by which any DACA participants would have to renew their application to the program. The administration announced that it would no longer be accepting new applications or renewing previously filed ones after that date.

 

It is important to keep in mind that the Supreme Court’s announcement does not reflect a ruling on the merits of whether President Trump is allowed to end the DACA program. Rather than considering the issue substantively, the Supreme Court has left it to the lower courts to reach an opinion either way in the meantime. California federal District Judge William Alsup previously ruled that the administration could not end the program, and the administration appealed directly to the Supreme Court instead of appearing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals first. The next step is that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will consider an appeal from Judge Alsup’s ruling. President Trump said that the Justice Department will continue winding down DACA in the interim in an orderly fashion.

Mueller Seeks Charges Against Rick Gates Dropped, Indicating Important Testimony

Business Insider has reported that a Virginia court has granted a request to dismiss over 20 of the criminal charges brought on Rick Gates at the request of Robert Mueller. This turn of events signals perhaps that the former deputy chairman for the Trump Presidential Campaign might have substantial information that can assist the Mueller investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. The charges were brought upon Gates last Thursday in a session alongside former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and involved a bevy of financial crimes. Gates had already pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiracy against the U.S. and lying to federal investigators.

Gates is well known in his role as a deputy to Manafort during the 2016 election. He survived Manafort’s ousting and maintained on the campaign during the Steve Bannon phase, working on the transition team and advised the White House until questions surrounding his ties to Russia forced a departure. Gates was charged in October with the crimes he recently pleaded guilty to.

The former deputy chairman’s privileged role in the campaign as well as close working relationship to Manafort makes him a high-value target for information. The scale at which the Mueller investigation has retracted charges against Gates indicates that special counsel Robert Mueller might be able to extract critical information on both the criminal conduct of Paul Manafort and the extent of which the Russian Government sought to penetrate the 2016 election. Paul Manafort himself has maintained that he is innocent of any wrongdoing while the Russian government denies any role in influencing the election.

Rick Gates would be the third person in the Mueller investigation to agree to a plea deal following campaign aide George Papadopoulus and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The Mueller investigation is still ongoing.

Justices Question Lawyers In Case That Could Dramatically Affect Public Sector Unions

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard argument relating to an important case that could determine whether public sector unions can collect involuntary fees from nonmembers. Based on the questions the justices asked, experts believe that the outcome of the case could be determined by the newest member of the court, Neil Gorsuch, who did not ask any questions during the proceedings.

Arguments lasted about an hour, and the questions that came from the court’s conservative wing seem to suggest that they were sympathetic with the arguments made by anti-union groups. They argued that forcing nonmembers to pay fees to the unions — to cover costs related to negotiating collective bargaining agreements with local and state governments — was tantamount to restricting the freedom of speech of those nonmembers. Conversely, justices who represent the liberal wing of the court asked questions that suggest that they were supportive of continuing the fees.

At issue was whether negotiating collective bargaining agreements was a political activity. The conservative justices seem to think that it is, while the unions and their liberal supporters on the court insist that negotiating the contracts is separate from their political activities.

Outside the court, protesters on both side of the issued attempted to get their voice heard on the issue. Those supporting union rights held signs that insisted that the country needed good union jobs, while their counterparts held signs that stated that they were standing with Mark. The latter refers to Mark Janus, who is a an Illinois state worker and the plaintiff in the case.

Currently, more than 20 states require around 5,000,000 workers to pay these fees, which are called “agency fees.” If these fees were disallowed, it would be a major setback to unions, and could affect what can spend in political races. Commonly, unions support Democratic candidates over Republicans.

Legal Education Leader Dies At Age 106

Isidor Starr decided that the law was a great foundation to teach civics to high school students. As a teacher and law student, he decided to use legal lessons to get his students thinking about social studies and the American justice system. He influenced generations of students until his death in February 2018.

Instead of having students simply listen to a lecture, he wanted to make students evaluate the political system. He explained how things are in society and then asked students if it should be that way. He said it was a great way to help students understand concepts and become active participants in their society.

Because of Starr’s efforts, law became a part of social studies on all educational levels. He began using the law in his civics classes at Brooklyn Technical High School in 1934. At the time he was a student himself at St. John’s University’s law school.

Legal experts say that Starr’s methods changed the environment in the classroom. Instead of sitting in their seats, the students became engaged. They raised their hands and had opinions.

Starr branched from teaching into studying and advocating for legal-based education. He went on to earn advanced degrees on the topic. Colleagues also say that Starr had a sharp sense of humor.

Starr says that it’s important for lawyers to work with educators. He says that individuals can respect the rule of law when they understand it. He says that when students are interested and inspired, they have a greater appreciation for the rule of law. They can also help think of ways to make the legal system better.

Legal experts say that Starr’s influence is behind the American Bar Association’s efforts to educate the public on topics of law. They maintain a website with legal primers and popular interest articles. They say Starr influenced education and the legal profession for the better.

Graffiti Ruled to be Worth Millions in New York Case

Graffiti is usually considered to be an eyesore, but in at least one case it has been labeled as valuable artwork. It was deemed so valuable in this case that a court has awarded millions of dollars to those responsible for its creation, this to compensate for its destruction.
The graffiti in question had covered a complex of buildings in the Queens section of New York City. The owner of the property had the graffiti erased in 2013 as part of a renovation project that would ultimately involve the razing of the buildings and their replacement with luxury apartments. However, some of the graffiti was considered artwork of a “recognized stature,” and was thus protected under the Visual Artists and Rights Act, a federal law enacted in 1990. It was this law that served as the basis of the court action.
A jury ruled against the property owner, leading to the awarding by a federal judge of $6.7 million to 21 graffiti artists. Although the jury had initially concluded that only 36 separate pieces of artwork were legally protected, the judge increased the number to 45 when he approved of the damages, which were the largest allowed under the law. Several art experts had testified that the graffiti was of sufficient stature to receive protective status. More about the case is available at www.reddit.com/r/LegalNews.
The graffiti had actually been authorized by the owner in 1993 as a means of fighting crime that was rampant in the area. The complex would subsequently become a tourist mecca because of the unique murals that some considered more than simple graffiti. However, it was generally agreed upon by both sides that the buildings would eventually be taken down.
The law had in the past been used against clothing designers who had copied the work of graffiti artists, with those cases being classified as “intellectual” thievery. However, this is the first time it was cited to protect specific examples of graffiti.

Federal Court Decision Could Make Embedding Tweets Illegal

For online publishers, one of the most useful features of the social network known as Twitter is the ability to embed tweets, a function that can be accomplished by means of copying a snippet of HTML code and pasting it onto a web page; however, a recent federal court decision appears to have ruled such an action to be a violation of American copyright law.

According to a news article published by Reuters, Judge Katherine Forrest of the Manhattan Federal District Court issued an opinion that a photograph taken by Justin Goldman in New York, which would later end up posted on Twitter, should not have been embedded by several online news organizations such as Breitbart.com, Yahoo News, Time magazine, and the New England Sports Network. The photo was taken on a public setting, and it featured NFL quarterback engaged in conversation with retired NBA player Danny Ainge, an influential figure in the Boston Celtics back office. Goldman shared the photo on the Snapchat mobile network, and it did not take long for the image to be shared on Twitter.

Goldman sued more than a dozen news websites that embedded the tweet featuring the photo he took, which in 2016 fueled speculation about a potential signing of a contract by NBA star Kevin Durant to play with the Celtics, a move that would have required the influence of Tom Brady.

In her opinion, Judge Forrest did not agree with the arguments presented by defendant such as the Boston Globe, a newspaper that claimed to be protected since the photo they embedded has never been stored on their servers or content management systems.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a strong advocate of free speech on the internet, filed an amicus brief urging Judge Forrest to reconsider her opinion, citing the 2007 precedent known as Perfect 10 v. Amazon, which protects publishers who embed digital content from sources such as Twitter. Judge Forrest actually relied on the American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo decision in 2014, which determines that servers alone do not determine copyright infringement.

Florida Senators Get Law Enforcement To Help In Puerto Rico

Florida Senators are trying to send out law enforcement in order to curb the crime in Puerto Rico. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio sent a letter to Jeff Sessions on Thursday. The letter urged Sessions to work with law enforcement in order to curb the crime. There have been several reports of increased crime in Puerto Rico. Many of the businesses in the area are closed. Some places still do not have any power.

There were 46 murders last month. This is twice as many murders as there were last year around this time. Many of these murders are due to gang activity. Gang activity has been on the rise because of diminished police presence.

It has been four months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. It is estimated that 500,000 people in this country do not have any power. Christina Rodriquez has talked about how difficult it is to live in a place without any power. She said that she cannot buy any milk or eggs. She also stated that she cannot buy any eggs.

Christina and her husband Luis have been eating spam and canned sausages for months. She stated that might die of high blood pressure because of the massive amount of sodium. Despite the fact that there is a lot of crime in Puerto Rico, many people are coming together and making the most of a bad situation. Christina stated that many people are coming together and helping each other.

They do not have much, but they are sharing what they have. Christina and Luis cook for several people each day. They were serving 300 meals per day at one point.

Key Legal Case Coming Up Next Month With Many Ramifications

A major legal case is coming up next month. In December, the Supreme Court of the United States will decide on a key law relating to civil rights. It is known as Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

There are two issues at play here. One is the need for civil rights laws to protect the rights of all couples, regardless of orientation. Another is the right of businesses to choose which customers they want to serve. Which right is more important? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 decided that it is more important to protect civil rights than it is to let people choose who they want to hire. Will the Supreme Court decide that the same applies when it comes to businesses choosing their customers?

Another issue at play here is religious freedom. Do the store owner’s religious beliefs come into play here, and are they more important than protecting civil rights?

In a previous case, the Supreme Court, led by Justice Antonin Scalia, ruled against Native Americans who brought a lawsuit against the state of Oregon. It had to do with their religious ceremonies. The Supreme Court ruled that since the thing that they were not allowed to do was not based on religious discrimination, meaning that the law to prohibit it was neutral and not motivated by any religious factors, the Native Americans could not claim religious discrimination. It is possible that the Supreme Court will decide the same here, meaning that the civil rights laws are not motivated by any religious factors and are simply neutral. Therefore, it cannot be said that religious beliefs are being violated.

Another issue at stake here is whether compelling someone to bake a cake would be compelled speech, which is a violation of the First Amendment which guarantees the freedom of expression, meaning that you can choose to not say something as well.

Disappointed Lawyer Sues Oxford for $1.3 Million

A lawsuit by an Oxford University graduate is underway in London’s High Court. Former student Faiz Siddiqui alleges that when he graduated from Oxford he earned a less-desirable degree as a result of poor teaching and faculty negligence. According to Siddiqui’s suit, his low grades prevented him from attending law school at Yale University and damaged his burgeoning legal career.

Siddiqui enrolled at Brasenose College, Oxford in 1997 and began to study modern history. Like many Oxford students, he hoped to earn a first class honors degree from the school. However, after taking his final exams in 2000, Siddiqui discovered that he had instead received an upper second class bachelor of arts honors degree.

Siddiqui’s lawsuit alleges that poor teaching and low faculty numbers were responsible for his depressed grades. In his suit, he claims that teachers were overworked and inadequately prepared to deal with an increased number of students. According to Siddiqui, many of the college’s teachers were on sabbatical, leaving only one tutor to assist students with the Indian special subject portion of the exams. The lawsuit alleges that this tutor was in charge of twice the number of students that college tutors typically supervise. Siddiqui also cites another student from his class who submitted complaints to the university after she received low grades on the same exams. Furthermore, Siddiqui claims that the university failed to take a medical condition into account when grading his exams; his doctors had diagnosed him with severe hay fever, a condition which they said would affect his concentration.

Siddiqui claims that his second-class decree from Oxford left him depressed and unable to sleep. He states that as a result of these emotional problems, he performed poorly in his duties at several different jobs he has held over the years and eventually became unemployed. He is suing Oxford University for a total of $1.3 million. As part of his suit, Siddiqui is also seeking restitution for lost earnings.