Bill Cosby Declared ‘Sexually Violent Predator’ by Judge

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Judge Steven O’Neill ruled Tuesday that Bill Cosby fit the definition of a “sexually violent predator.”

The classification means that Cosby must undergo lifetime counseling and report quarterly to authorities. His name will also appear on a sex-offender registry sent to neighbors, schools and victims.

The comedian and former TV star will be sentenced on Tuesday around 1:30 p.m. ET, after being found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in April, which stemmed from the accusation of former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who said that the comedian drugged and molested her at his Pennsylvania home in 2004.

The initial trial ended in a mistrial in July 2017 after the jury was unable to reach a verdict following five days of deliberations. Cosby, 81, had been out on a $1 million bond, though he was confined to his home. Each of the three counts carried a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Also Read: Bill Cosby Found Guilty in Andrea Constand Sexual Assault Retrial

In June, Cosby fired his legal team, which had been led by Tom Mesereau, and instead hired West Chester, Pennsylvania-based criminal trial lawyer, Joseph P. Green Jr.

During the re-trial, jurors heard testimony from Constand, as well as five other Cosby accusers, including model Janice Dickinson, who testified that the comedian raped her in Lake Tahoe, California in 1982.

Constand testified in detail, saying that she had a sip of wine and was given three blue pills by Cosby, after which she “began to see double vision,” adding that her legs became rubbery and she began to slur her words.

Also Read: Andrea Constand Describes Bill Cosby Sexual Assault: ‘I Was a Limp Noodle’

Constand told the court that at one point she “jolted awake” and “felt my breasts being touched,” adding that the comedian put her hand on his penis and masturbated.

Cosby had maintained that his interaction with Constand was consensual and that he had given her Benadryl in an effort to help her relax.

Cosby’s defense sought to highlight what it believed to be inconsistencies in Constand’s accounts of the incident and painted her as a “con artist” and a “pathological liar” during opening and closing arguments.

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During sentencing proceedings on Monday, a state board psychiatrist who testified regarding the question of whether Cosby should be classified as a “sexually violent offender,” the Associated Press reported.

Testifying in a Pennsylvania courtroom, Kristen Dudley told the court that evidence indicates that Cosby has an urge to violate women that he’s unable to control.

During Monday’s testimony, Dudley said that Cosby’s assault of Constand matched a predatory behavioral pattern for Cosby.

Cosby’s legal team maintained that the Pennsylvania law that would allow Cosby to be classified as a sexually violent offender was unconstitutional.

On Monday, Constand also briefly testified, saying that she is seeking “justice as the court sees fit.”

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Harvey Weinstein Says ‘I Love You,’ ‘Booty Call’ Email From Accuser Proves Consensual Relationship

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Harvey Weinstein is arguing for the dismissal of his New York rape case by citing an email in which he says his accuser declared her love for him and said she didn’t want to feel like a “booty call.”

Weinstein and his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said the grand jury that indicted Weinstein should have been shown the email and other messages, because they suggest a consensual relationship between Weinstein and the woman and “appear to contradict that [the accuser] ever believed she had been forcibly raped weeks earlier.”

The woman accuses Weinstein of raping her in 2013. An email that Weinstein said she sent him in 2017 read: “I love you, always do. But I hate feeling like a booty call. :).”

Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Asks Judge to Dismiss Sexual Assault Case

According to Weinstein and his lawyer, the email suggests that the accuser wanted a deeper relationship.

“Although reflecting neither Mr. Weinstein’s words nor feelings, by using the term ‘booty call,’ the complaining witness appears to acknowledge the consensual, intimate nature of her relationship with Mr. Weinstein and perhaps, most importantly, signaled her desire for a fuller and more emotionally committed relationship. This evidence should not have been kept from the Grand Jury.”

Brafman’s filing said the email and other communications should have been presented to the grand jury because they might have made the grand jury less likely to indict.

“[Her] extensive communications and contact immediately following the now claimed forcible rape instead reflect a consensual, intimate relationship with Mr. Weinstein in an exchange of more than 400 warm, complimentary and solicitous emails with an alleged rapist for more than four years after the alleged rape, never once in those 9 communications claiming to have ever been harmed by Mr. Weinstein,” the filing reads.

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Weinstein, who’s been indicted on six counts including two counts of rape, said in the filing that the Manhattan D.A. “failed to provide the grand jury with exculpatory evidence of the long-term, consensual, intimate relationship between Mr. Weinstein and the alleged rape victim.”

Weinstein was indicted on six charges including predatory sexual assault, criminal sexual act in the first degree, rape in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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Judge Suspends Closure of BuzzFeed France

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A court in Paris has halted the closure of BuzzFeed France and demanded that the company provide more information about the circumstances surrounding its decision, employees said in tweets Wednesday.

The news was reported by BuzzFeed France journalist David Perrotin, who said that the decision had come from the Tribunal de grande instance de Paris, the country’s largest court.

“BuzzFeed will comply with today’s ruling and provide the Court with additional information, which we believe will further validate our decision to reevaluate our current operations in France,” the company said in a statement. “We remain firm in our intent and committed to providing our employees with the support they need throughout this process.”

Also Read: BuzzFeed France to Shut Down, Company Cuts at Least 12 Jobs

Breaking! A judge has suspended the closing process at BuzzFeed France, until the management explains its decision further with more documents.

— Jules Darmanin (@JulesDrmnn) June 27, 2018

???? BuzzFeed France a obtenu gain de cause. Le TGI de Paris a décidé de suspendre la procédure de licenciement jusqu’à ce que BuzzFeed US nous fournisse les documents nécessaires pour comprendre les raisons de notre fermeture (sous astreinte)

— David Perrotin (@davidperrotin) June 27, 2018

“In the French law, when people are projected to be fired for economic reasons, the employer has to provide justifications for the employee representative(s) to give an informed opinion on the project,” a BuzzFeed France employee told TheWrap.

“We did not think that the justifications were sufficient, so we asked for more. First directly to the company, then we ask a judge to suspend the process until our demands are met. He agreed with us on this and suspended the process until some documents on BF fr’s financial health are given to us. If and when they are, the process will be restarting from scratch.”

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Earlier this month, TheWrap reported that BuzzFeed would close its French operation and shed at least a dozen employees. The news came as a surprise to BuzzFeed staff in the country, with many members of editorial tweeting their dismay with the decision.

“Brutal and completely unexpected decision,” tweeted BuzzFeed France journalist Stephane Jourdain at the time. “It’s very sad.”

In a statement to TheWrap at the time, the company said it was reconsidering its presence in the country.

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“We are taking steps to reconsider our operation in France given the uncertain path to growth in the French market,” BuzzFeed said. “We have begun a consultation process with BuzzFeed France and will follow up when we have more information to share.”

In December, BuzzFeed laid off dozens of employees from its office in the United Kingdom, which had been plagued by faltering traffic and budget woes. Talk of an IPO this year largely tapered off as well after the company fell more than $70 million short of a $350 million revenue target for 2017.

Growth has, however, been stronger in recent months.

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Former Epix Executive Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison for Fraud, Identity Theft

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Emil Rensing, the former chief digital officer for cable network Epix, was sentenced on Friday to a more than four years in prison after being found guilty of fraud.
Rensing was charged in April 2016 with stealing more than $7 million from Epix over a …

Jeff Bewkes Says DOJ’s Key Antitrust Argument Against AT&T-Time Warner Merger Is ‘Ridiculous’

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Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes testified on Wednesday in DC District Court, saying the Department of Justice’s assertion that a merger with AT&T would allow the mega-company to blackout pay-TV operators as a negotiating ploy is “ridiculous.”

“If our channels are not in distribution we lose lots of money (from subscriptions and advertising),” he said while defending the potential $85.4 billion merger against the government’s antitrust arguments, according to a Reuters report.

The DOJ had previously warned District Judge Richard Leon — the sole decider in whether the deal goes through — that a combined AT&T-Time Warner would allow the company to raise licensing fees and blackout pay-TV operators in the midst of negotiations.

Bewkes believes that makes no sense.

Also Read: Who Is Winning in DOJ’s Case Against AT&T-Time Warner?

The Time Warner CEO offered up as evidence that less than 2 percent of subscribers jump ship in the event of a blackout, something that is not uncommon during carriage fee negotiations. Blackouts in pay-TV happen occasionally when operators and distributors can’t agree to terms.

Last week, economists for both sides argued over one of the lynchpins in the DOJ’s case against AT&T-Time Warner, which is an arbitration provision the companies agreed to.

The arbitration provision essentially says that AT&T won’t black out Time Warner channels during negotiations with carriers, and it requires the combined company to enlist an arbiter to use fair market value to determine prices for things like licensing fees.

So yeah, this blackout thing is a big issue.

Also Read: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the U.S. Gov’s Lawsuit to Kill the AT&T-Time Warner Merger

But it’s not the only one — and Time Warner isn’t exactly without concern for the future itself.

The pending merger is in Time Warner’s best interest, Bewkes said today in court, and a way for the company to combat the impact it feels from the likes of Google, Facebook and other Internet companies.

Bewkes explained that Time Warner has been at a disadvantage in innovating and advertising because of the lack of granular information about the viewers that pay-TV and Internet companies have. You know, like the Facebook data news you simply cannot avoid these days.

The government has rested its case, but AT&T-Time Warner still have plenty left to say. The trial goes on.

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ACLU Backs Trump on First Amendment Right to Shout ‘Get ‘Em Out of Here!’ at Rally (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Talk about strange bedfellows.

In a rare show of unity with President Donald Trump, the American Civil Liberties Union agrees with the chief executive’s argument that he had a First Amendment right to yell “Get ‘em out of here!” at his campaign rallies last year even if protesters ended up “manhandled by the crowd.”

“There is no question that Trump’s decision to use his bully pulpit to actually bully protesters and to rile up his crowds against them is morally despicable,” Lee Rowland, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, wrote in her April 20 blog post about the lawsuit.

But Trump should be dismissed from a Kentucky lawsuit brought against the president by three protesters who claim Trump’s words intentionally incited violence against them, Rowland wrote.

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“It’s important to remember that political candidates — including Donald Trump — have constitutional rights, too,” Rowland wrote.

“It is never a good time to alter the law so that more speech can be punished, the ACLU lawyer said in her post. “Political speech should qualify as incitement only if it is unequivocally and inherently a request for violent and unlawful action.

“‘Get ‘em out’ just doesn’t meet that bar,” she said.

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The ACLU is publicly supporting Trump in the Kentucky lawsuit at the same time the civil rights group has filed several lawsuits against Trump over his now-delayed ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment prohibition against religious discrimination.

Rowland wrote in her post that there is insufficient evidence that Trump intentionally incited violence and the protesters’ claim of negligent incitement of violence is barred by the First Amendment.

She cited several Supreme Court decisions that found First Amendment protections for emotionally charged, controversial political speeches so long as they are not “likely to cause imminent and serious lawlessness.”

Incitement allegations are dangerous because they can be used to chill legitimate speech, she warned. “Incitement charges have been used to jail anti-war protestors, labor picketers, Communists, and civil rights activists,” Rowland said in her post.

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Trump’s lawyers have argued in the Kentucky case that his campaign speech was not intended to incite violence, the protesters did not have a First Amendment right to protest at the rally, and his speech is absolutely protected by the First Amendment as a political speech.

A judge rejected Trump’s arguments and refused to dismiss the case, at least at the early stage. The three plaintiffs, Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau, allege that Trump knew about the history of violence against protesters at his rallies and his “Get ‘em out of here” instruction was intended to incite further violence by his supporters against protesters.

The protesters point to Trump’s statements at earlier rallies that “maybe [a protester] should have been roughed up,” his urging to supporters to “knock the crap” out of anyone “ready to throw a tomato,” and he would “like to punch [a protester] in the face,” as well as Trump’s pledge to pay for his supporters’ legal fees if they were sued by protesters.

Nwanguma, who is African-American, alleges she was repeatedly shoved by Matthew Heimbach, who is affiliated with the Traditional Worker Party and is opposed to interracial marriage. She also alleges she was shoved and hit by Alvin Bamberger.

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Shah also claims she was repeatedly shoved by Bamberger.

Brousseau, a 17-year-old high school student, claims he was punched in the stomach by an unknown Trump supporter.

Bamberger is seen on several videos at the March 1, 2016 rally wearing a Korean War Veterans hat and repeatedly shoving Nwanguma. He said in his court answer to the lawsuit that he “admits only that he touched a woman” and “denies that he assaulted that woman.”

Bamberger’s lawyers wrote that “to the extent that Bamberger acted, he did so in response to — and inspired by — Trump and/or the Trump Campaign’s urging to remove the protesters.”

Bamberger also filed a counterclaim against Trump and his campaign, arguing that Trump or his campaign should pay for any legal judgment Nwanguma wins against him.

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Trump Lawyers: Demonstrators Had No Constitutional Right to Protest at His Campaign Rally

Trump Lawyers: Demonstrators Had No Constitutional Right to Protest at His Campaign Rally

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

President Donald Trump was not inciting violence when he urged his supporters to eject protesters from a campaign rally, and those demonstrators had no First Amendment right to protest at his rally in the first place, Trump’s lawyers argued in a court motion Thursday.

“Mr. Trump was not ‘inciting a riot’ but was rather exercising a core First Amendment freedom when he said ‘[G]et ‘em out of here’ and ‘Don’t hurt ‘em,’” Trump’s lawyers argued in a motion asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit by three protesters.

The protesters sued Trump and some of his supporters, claiming Trump should be held responsible for inciting a riot and engaging in negligent speech when he urged supporters to eject the three protesters from a March 2016 campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky. The protesters claim in their lawsuit called that they were injured by violent Trump supporters who were acting on Trump’s orders.

“Of course, protesters have their own First Amendment right to express dissenting views,” Trump’s lawyers wrote, “but they have no right to do so as part of the campaign rally of the political candidates they oppose.”

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Trump argued that his campaign rally was like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston and the protesters are like the gay activists who were banned from marching in the parade — because both are organized by non-government groups with the right to choose who attends.

“Accordingly, when a campaign has decided to exclude a message it does not like from a campaign rally, that is enough to invoke the campaign’s right as a private speaker to shape its expression by excluding or expelling demonstrators who express contrary views,” the president’s lawyers said. Trump’s legal team cited a 1995 Supreme Court decision unanimously upholding the right of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to exclude gay marchers.

Trump’s lawyers argued that the candidate had “every right” to call for the ejection of the protesters since they “obviously interfered with the Trump campaign’s First Amendment right” by “vigorously expressing their disdain for Mr. Trump” with several anti-Trump messages, including “a sign depicting Trump’s face on the body of a pig.”

Also Read: NY Times Editor Apologizes to Trump Over Misleading Tweet: ‘I’m an Idiot’

The federal district judge presiding over the lawsuit has already rejected Trump’s motion to dismiss. The judge ruled on March 31 that at this early stage of the case, Trump cannot win dismissal based on a claim of absolute immunity under the First Amendment.

The judge also ruled that the protesters were not trespassers and had a right to attend the rally because they had obtained tickets and were permitted to enter by organizers.

Trump, who is being represented by private lawyers, asked the judge to delay the case and allow Trump to ask an appellate court to review Trump’s argument that he’s absolutely protected from the lawsuit under the First Amendment.

Trump argues that he was urging security guards, not the crowd, to eject the protesters, and that because he added, “Don’t hurt ‘em,” he was not inciting violence.

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