President Trump commutes sentence of longtime friend, adviser Roger Stone

first_imgMarvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesBy KATHERINE FAULDERS, ALI DUKAKIS, ALEXANDER MALLIN, and JOHN SANTUCCI, ABC NEWS(WASHINGTON) — President Trump has commuted the sentence of his longtime friend and former campaign adviser Roger Stone, the White House announced on Friday.In a statement, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump had “signed an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the unjust sentence of Roger Stone, Jr.,” calling him “a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency.”“In light of the egregious facts and circumstances surrounding his unfair prosecution, arrest, and trial, the President has determined to commute his sentence,” McEnany wrote. “Roger Stone has already suffered greatly. He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”When reached by ABC News, Stone attorney Grant Smith issued a brief statement.“Mr. Stone is incredibly honored that President Trump used his awesome and unique power under the Constitution of the United States for this act of mercy,” Smith told ABC News. “Mr. and Mrs. Stone appreciate all the consideration the President gave to this matter.”House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who oversees the committee Stone was convicted of lying to, condemned the move, accusing Trump of undermining the rule of law.“With this commutation, Trump makes clear that there are two systems of justice in America: one for his criminal friends, and one for everyone else,” Schiff said in a statement. “Donald Trump, Bill Barr, and all those who enable them pose the gravest of threats to the rule of law.”Stone came under scrutiny for activity related to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In February, he was sentenced to 40 months in prison after he was found guilty in November of obstructing justice, witness tampering and five counts of lying to Congress. Stone is currently remanded to home confinement and was expected to report to prison on July 14.While a commutation reduces a convict’s sentence either in part or in full, only a pardon nullifies a conviction entirely. Absent a full pardon, Stone will avoid prison time but will still remain a convicted felon, barring him from voting in any future elections, serving on a jury or seeking elected office. If Trump chooses, as a part of the commutation he also may release Stone from any of the financial obligations that his conviction carried.Stone was convicted of misleading lawmakers on several key elements of their probe into Russian meddling, including communications he had with the Trump campaign discussing WikiLeaks’ dissemination of damaging documents stolen from Democrats during the campaign.Stone formally left the Trump campaign in late 2015 but remained in touch with multiple senior advisers to Trump and the presidential candidate himself. According to testimony and evidence presented at his trial, Stone became the campaign’s informal point-person on all things WikiLeaks — a relationship that underpinned lies he eventually told during sworn testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in September 2017.The commutation comes after Trump had long fueled speculation that he had plans to pardon or commute the sentence of his longtime friend and adviser.  President Trump tweeted in May that Stone “had been treated very unfairly” and made reference to a jury foreperson, who he has previously accused of being biased.“Roger Stone has been treated very unfairly. How about that jury Forewoman, does anybody think that was fair? DISGRACEFUL! Stay tuned,” the president tweeted.After a federal judge in Washington, D.C. last month gave Stone a surrender date of July 14 — though he had sought to report to the Georgia prison on Sept. 3, citing coronavirus fears — the very next day the president tweeted a story about a petition for him to pardon Stone.Stone had asked for a new trial based on alleged juror misconduct, but Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Stone’s request in April, saying Stone failed to “[supply] any reason to believe that there has been a ‘serious miscarriage of justice.’”“The defendant has not shown that the juror lied; nor has he shown that the supposedly disqualifying evidence could not have been found through the exercise of due diligence at the time the jury was selected,” Jackson said.With regard to Stone’s argument that the juror was biased because of comments made on social media, Jackson said, “To the extent one could consider any of the social media posts to be inconsistent with the juror’s questionnaire, they do not warrant a new trial because they do not meet the legal test for something that has been ‘newly discovered.’”During the hearing on the new trial motion in late February, Jackson expressed concern for the safety of a juror from Stone’s trial after Trump repeatedly accused her of being biased.“The president of the United States used his Twitter platform to disseminate a particular point of view about a juror,” Jackson said during that hearing. “Any attempt to invade the privacy of the jurors or to harass or intimidate them is completely antithetical to our system of justice. They deserve our protection. They deserve to have their privacy protected.”Trump has so far granted 25 pardons and commuted the sentences of 10 individuals since taking office, among them a host of controversial figures championed by conservative media as well as several other political allies.    Trump first pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in August 2017, taking the unusual step of doing so after Arpaio’s trial and conviction but prior to his sentencing. Since then Trump has sporadically granted pardons to individuals like conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, Scooter Libby, former NYPD Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik and Conrad Black, a former newspaper publisher who penned a fawning biography of Trump in 2018.    This February, Trump commuted the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was eight years into his 14-year prison sentence on federal corruption charges. Trump has also in several cases commuted the sentences of individuals convicted for non-violent drug offenses, following personal pleas from Kim Kardashian West. He also granted a posthumous pardon to the legendary boxer Jack Johnson.    Typically, modern presidents are known to use their pardon and commutation powers sparingly in their first terms — often through a meticulous process via close coordination between the White House and the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney.    While President Obama set a record in commutations at 1,715 by his final day in office — roughly 98% of which were for prisoners convicted on drug offenses —  at the end of his first term he had only commuted the sentence of a single individual while granting pardons to 22 others. Obama granted a total of 212 pardons before leaving office, fewer than any of his modern predecessors with the exceptions of former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. 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The Latest: Orlando Magic arena becomes distribution center

first_imgWest Ham says “the savings created by the measures above will support the entire infrastructure of the club and enable us to retain jobs and continue to pay 100% of staff salaries.”Southampton said Thursday that its players would defer three months’ wages.Premier League clubs as a collective had hoped squads would all cut wages by 30% but the players’ union rejected the proposal.___The family of Kenny Dalglish says the former Liverpool player and manager has tested positive for the coronavirus but “remains asymptomatic.” ESPN will also show the 2004 bee won by David Tidmarsh of South Bend, Indiana, and the 2008 bee won by Sameer Mishra of Lafayette, Indiana. ___ The French tennis federation has set up a support plan worth 35 million euros ($38 million) to help professional players facing financial problems because of the coronavirus pandemic.The FFT says it has approved the scheme that will also benefit clubs, coaches, instructors, officials and tournament organizers affected by the health crisis.The FFT says practical arrangements for the allocation still need to be discussed. The Latest: Orlando Magic arena becomes distribution center ___On what would have been the final day of the Masters, ESPN will show some masterful spellers.The network says it will broadcast a seven-hour marathon of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Sunday.This year’s spelling bee has been postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic. It had been scheduled for late May at its usual location, a convention center outside Washington. Scripps hopes to reschedule the bee at an undetermined time this year.ESPN has televised the bee since 1994. On Sunday, it will first show the 1997 bee, which was memorably won by Rebecca Sealfon of Brooklyn, New York. Sealfon’s excitement when she was given her winning word of “euonym” — a name well suited to the person, place or thing named — became a classic spelling bee moment when she yelled out each letter. Italy has suffered the most deaths of any nation, nearly 19,000, and is nearing 150,000 cases, hitting 147,577 on Friday.___The Milwaukee Bucks have established an emergency relief fund for part-time employees of FiServ Forum, the team’s home arena.The Bucks Emergency Relief Fund will provide financial relief for part-time employees of the arena’s food and beverage provider, housekeeping employer and parking partners.The relief fund also will assist part-time employees at the Menominee Nation Arena. That’s the home arena for the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks’ NBA G League affiliate. Portuguese officials have defended Cristiano Ronaldo after he left home and was seen training with other people at a soccer pitch amid a national lockdown to stem the coronavirus outbreak.The incident occurred on the island of Madeira, his birthplace. He was observed shooting a ball at a goal with someone playing goalkeeper, along with two other people. They all appeared to be several meters apart.“Cristiano did solely a few minutes of exercize and from that comes no harm to the world,” regional health authority Carlos Ramos said.“All citizens can go out and do some physical exercize as long as they do not gather in big groups and keep their distance from other people they may encounter while exercizing,” Ramos said. “So I think that Cristiano did only what we have seen.”Portugal has been under a state of emergency for three weeks. People are confined to their homes, but they can leave to exercize individually. The country has more than 15,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 435 deaths. The 69-year-old Dalglish was hospitalized on Wednesday as an infection required intravenous antibiotics.A COVID-19 test unexpectedly showed he had the disease despite previously displaying no symptoms.Dalglish’s family says “prior to his admission to hospital, Sir Kenny had chosen to voluntarily self isolate for longer than the advised period together with his family. He would urge everyone to follow the relevant government and expert guidance in the days and weeks ahead.”The family statement concluded by saying Dalglish “looks forward to being home soon.”___ So far, the Bucks have provided $500,000 in financial assistance to the part-time employees, and an additional $500,000 is on the way through the relief fund.NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and All-Star forward Khris Middleton have contributed $100,000 each. All their Bucks teammates have committed to donate to the cause. Bucks ownership is matching all player donations.___Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says one team employee — not a player — tested positive for the coronavirus and is “on the road to getting better.”Rizzo says no players for the reigning World Series champions have shown any symptoms of COVID-19 at any point and so no one has been tested. Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin says the virus outbreak means the parties in the legal proceedings should avoid a ruling against Russia because it would fracture the Olympic movement.He adds that “when you see that everyone is isolated and everyone is at home … people understand that now there are priorities and there are issues which go on the backburner. The priority is the future of the Olympic movement.”Matytsin says sanctioning Russia would damage the Olympic movement and says the country is prepared to host more international sports events once the virus outbreak recedes.___More AP sports: and,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 The nationwide lockdown in Italy has been extended through May 3 but Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora is urging the country’s sports federations to develop health protocols in order to resume activity on May 4.Spadafora urges sports authorities “not to let these weeks be lost” and to urgently make plans for when the lockdown expires.Previously, the lockdown was set to expire on Monday.The extension came as the number of people in Italian hospitals and intensive care wards eases and the growth in the number of new cases and deaths is narrowing. Experts have said it will take a decrease in the number of cases to enter a so-called Phase II, allowing more freedom of movement to individuals but with precautions to guard against any new outbreaks. ___Basketball’s Sabrina Ionescu, soccer’s Carli Lloyd and swimming’s Katie Ledecky are among the athletes who will help young girls and women stay mentally and physically fit during the coronavirus pandemic.The Women’s Sports Foundation and Yahoo Sports are launching #WeKeepPlaying, a live-stream event on Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT. They’ll join tennis great Billie Jean King and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in taking questions from young athletes and providing tips on resilience and training.King says it’s about “bringing together our community of prominent women athletes and leaders to empower, support and inspire young girls — and each other — during this unprecedented time.”Sports broadcaster Cari Champion will moderate the hour discussion, streamed on ___West Ham has become the latest Premier League club to announce its players will defer some wages as the competition is suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.The percentage of the wages being held back was not disclosed by the London club on Friday.West Ham did say manager David Moyes, vice chair Karren Brady and finance director Andy Mollett are taking a 30% pay reduction.Co-owners David Sullivan, David Gold and fellow shareholders are also injecting 30 million pounds into the club. April 10, 2020 Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The Orlando Magic’s home arena will become a distribution center for medical equipment and supplies as part of the ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic. He said the team’s medical staff checks in each day with every player and staff member.According to Rizzo, the employee who got the illness was at the team’s spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, and now is home and his quarantine has ended. Rizzo said the employee is fever-free and symptom-free.Rizzo did not identify the person who was sick other than to say it is not someone who plays for the Nationals — “and we’re going to keep it at that.” The GM said the person tested positive “well after” the Nationals already had shut down their facilities in Florida and Washington.Rizzo also said Friday on a conference call with reporters that the Nationals are partnering with chef José Andrés to distribute tens of thousands of meals per day to people in need in parts of Washington.__ Associated Press The eight-team Turkmenistan league was suspended on March 24. The national soccer federation says it will resume on April 19. Fans will be allowed to attend games.Turkmenistan has not reported any cases of the coronavirus.___The Russian sports minister says it’s time for international authorities to “turn a new page” and forget the country’s Olympic doping ban because of the coronavirus pandemic.The World Anti-Doping Agency barred Russia from the Olympics for four years after ruling last year that doping data from a Moscow laboratory had been manipulated. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is to rule on whether the ban is valid but hearings have been delayed because of the health crisis. The ATP and WTA announced this month that the men’s and women’s professional tours would be suspended until at least July 13. Wimbledon has been canceled because of the deadly virus while the start of the French Open has been postponed from late May to late September.___Florida State offensive lineman Andrew Boselli says he had the coronavirus and detailed some of what his famous father went through in his own fight against COVID-19.The son of former NFL lineman Tony Boselli says in a first-person account he wrote for Florida State’s athletic department website that he dealt with the worst of the virus for about three days.The Seminoles’ lineman wrote that he wants “everyone to know just how hard it was. I spent days feeling miserable” and his healthy 47-year-old father with no underlying health conditions “spent three days in the intensive care unit.” The Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League has loaned two sanitation machines to a local hospital to see if they could help clean personal protective equipment worn by hospital staff.The Crunch uses one of the machines in its locker room and the other to clean equipment but doesn’t need them right now with sports on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. Turns out they’re a good fit at Upstate University Hospital.Chief executive officer Dr. Robert Corona thought of the idea. He says after careful analysis of tests performed by the hospital’s infection control team, infectious disease specialists, microbiology team and other clinical experts, the hospital has developed a process for collecting used shields, decontaminating them with the Sani Sport sanitation machines, and re-using the shields.Crunch chief operation officer Jim Sarosy says the AHL has been in touch with the other teams in the league, and he says a firehouse in Boston and the State University of New York at Cortland also have reached out to the team.According to the website of the Quebec-based company, its customers include 28 NHL clubs, 16 in the NFL, and six in MLB. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the plan Friday, along with the Magic. The Amway Center, which includes the AdventHealth Practice Facility that serves as the Magic’s training home, will be used as a staging space for as long as is required. There are contingencies to continue if the need is still there when NBA play resumes.Dyer says the arena will be a hub for equipment and supplies that will go to 50 hospitals in Central Florida as well as facilities in seven other states.Magic CEO Alex Martins says conversations with AdventHealth and the city alerted the team to the need for such a space. “It is our honor to partner with the city of Orlando to provide assistance in the use of the Amway Center to meet AdventHealth’s and our community’s needs,” Martins said.The Magic have been very active in responding to the pandemic, with several players donating money to various causes and the DeVos family — which owns the team — pledging up to $2 million to assist Amway Center hourly workers for lost games.___ Tony Boselli is now back home and Andrew Boselli says he and his family are recovering from the massive scare. He says his brother and mother also dealt with the virus.Andrew Boselli says he’s looking forward to being around fellow students and teammates again but added a word of caution by writing “the only way for that to happen is listen to the experts and follow their guidance.”___Turkmenistan is set to restart its suspended soccer league amid the coronavirus pandemic.The Central Asian nation will become part of a small group of countries around the world where professional soccer is being played despite the virus outbreak. That includes the former Soviet nations of Belarus and Tajikistan, as well as Burundi and Nicaragua.last_img read more

Nebraska wind farms sue to enforce contract and keep utility from flying off into the sunset

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural & Resource Law ProgramThree Nebraska windfarms in a power supply contract with the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) have filed suit to prevent the utility from backing out of the contract.  The wind farms filed a complaint in federal court in Nebraska on Jan. 30, alleging that NPPD expressed its intention to terminate a power purchase agreement, and that doing so would be wrongful.The complaint explains NPPD’s position that the wind farms materially violated the contract by investing in other businesses and operations.  The plaintiffs disagree that there was a breach, but say that even if there was, NPPD cannot terminate the contract because it knew of the transactions.  The plaintiffs also note that NPPD has eminent domain power.They argue that by terminating the contract, NPPD knows that the wind farms will likely enter default with creditors.  This could allow NPPD to acquire the rights of the wind farms through a foreclosure sale or eminent domain.  To prevent NPPD from terminating the contract, the parties requested, and were granted, a temporary restraining order until March 1st that requires NPPD to honor the contract.  The case is cited as Laredo Ridge Wind, LLC v. Nebraska Pub. Power Dist., No. 8:19-cv-45 (D. Neb.).last_img read more

Documentary Editing Tips and Avoiding Unconscious Bias

first_imgWe took a behind-the-scenes look into the workflow of one documentary filmmaker’s quest to avoid unconscious bias in her work.In this Adobe featurette on award-winning documentary filmmaker Robin Hauser, we not only get a peek inside the editing workflow of a talented and diverse team, we also get insights into the ever-present challenge of avoiding unconscious bias.Hauser, who had previous documentary success with CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, takes us through her editing workflow on bias — her latest documentary, which is fresh off its world premiere at the Bentonville Film Festival.What Is Unconscious Bias?I consider myself a fair-minded person, but the more I learn about unconscious bias, the more I see how it influences my life. My closest friends are a lot like me. I make assumptions about people based on their appearances and where they grew up. I began to wonder: what biases do I have that I am not aware of and how do they affect my choices and actions? From these questions, the bias documentary was born.If you’ve ever taken a documentary film class — either as a film student or in a film appreciation role — you’ll quickly learn that good documentaries are about issues. Not only do they inform, they also create a conversation, ideally building a dialogue that resonates with audiences well after the screening. Hauser’s bias does not simply explain away the issue of “unconscious bias” as social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Both the filmmaker and the audience explore the issue.Build Your Editing TeamDocumentary films tend to get really complex by the end. We have dozens of interviews, each shot with multiple cameras. For bias, we also combed through many hours of archival footage and sprinkled in original animation to flesh out our film. The challenge was trying to edit all of this footage into a single 90-minute story.For bias, Hauser reunited herself with editor Christie Herring from her previous film Code: Debugging the Gender Gap. As with most documentaries, this project meant the duo had to go through thousands of hours of footage to build out their narrative. It’s important to not only have a good workflow but also a solid relationship between director and editor. For Hauser and Herring, tackling a nuanced subject like unconscious bias meant that they needed good communication to check each other and keep their narrative on target.Moving from Mac to PCI was thrilled that Premiere Pro functions the same on both Mac and PC. It was such a relief to me and my team that we could switch environments and still have everything we needed exactly where we expected it to be.While Hauser and her team had previously worked in a Mac ecosystem, they decided to move to a PC-based workflow on Dell workstations for bias. One big issue for all documentary filmmakers and editors moving forward digitally is the decision to work with proxies and transcoded media — as is the case for many Mac workflows — or to use more powerful workstations to edit footage organically in native 4K resolution.Share Edits in Real TimeTeam Projects was the key to our whole workflow. I could share changes in real time with my assistant editors, talking to them over phone or chat as we looked over changes in real time. It increased our efficiency and gave us enormous control over how we did our work. We were not forced to be tied to one edit system.When Hauser and Herring moved from a Mac-based workflow to PC, they also switched over to Premiere Pro — mostly for their preference for Team Projects as a way to share edits remotely and in real time. This allowed the duo to work while traveling and in a more digital office space where they could stay hyper-connected while shaping their documentary’s story and messaging.All images via bias.For more information about bias, you can check out the film’s website here. For more documentary editing tips and tricks, check out some of these resources.Documentary Editing Tips for Working with Lots of FootageInterview: Filmmaker Bradley Olsen and His FCPX Documentary “Off the Tracks”12 Video Editing Tips for Cutting a DocumentaryDocumentary Film Editors Talk About Their ProcessHow to Organize a Feature Film Edit Like a Prolast_img read more

Film Premiere To Benefit Tsunami Victims

first_imgThe London premiere of Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts’ new film, The Impossible, will benefit a charity set up to help victims of the devastating 2004 Asian Tsunami.The ImpossibleIndian Ocean Disaster Relief works to alleviate the suffering of communities in the Indian Ocean region, through the provision of sustainable education and training programs that improve the capacity of local organizations and enhance the livelihoods of vulnerable children and young people.The Impossible tells the story of a family affected by the disaster, and the premiere – which will be attended by the stars and director of the movie – will take place at the BFI Imax Cinema in London on November 19.“Indian Ocean Disaster Relief are delighted to be appointed as the official charity partner for the U.K. charity premiere of The Impossible,” said IODR founder and chairman Tony Matharu. “The story running through the heart of this film was an actuality for many of the children and young people we continue to support. The narrative objectives of this film mirror those of Iodr, highlighting many of the issues faced by those we support, both bringing and maintaining attention on their continued plight.”Tickets to the premiere cost £20, and more information can be found here.last_img read more