Half of Defendants Released Without Bail Committed New Crimes; 4 Wealthy Donors Behind California's Soft-on-Crime Prosecutors; LA Sheriff Won't Enforce Mask Mandate; and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo
A child may be removed from his mother even though she's done no wrong says judge; 2 men charged with planning to bomb Democrat targets;
August 1, 2021
Courts & Rulings
Removing boy from mother's custody appropriate despite lack of blameworthiness on her part
The Court of Appeal for this district declared yesterday that a suicidal and aggressive teenager suffering from traumatic brain injury was appropriately removed from the custody of his mother toward whom he displays animosity, notwithstanding a lack of fault on her part. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker expressly found that the mother, "Sharon M.," had not abused, abandoned nor neglected her son, "Noah M."
Judges rule Petaluma High School grad can't bring police brutality suit
A federal appeals court has ruled a Petaluma High School graduate can't sue for police brutality after a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy threw her to the ground, leaving her face bruised, because she was convicted of resisting the deputy and interfering with his investigation in the encounter.
The Press Democrat
Appeals court sides with CDC on COVID-19 rules for cruise ships
A U.S. appeals court has issued an order temporarily blocking a ruling from a federal judge in Florida last month that barred the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from enforcing coronavirus-era sailing orders. A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to grant the temporary stay shortly before the previous order by Judge Steven Merryday of the Middle District of Florida was scheduled to take hold on Sunday, Reuters reports.
New general order to extend deadlines for criminal by two weeks, and continuing juvenile dependency cases amid notable increase in reported Covid-19 cases in Los Angeles County
Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today announced a 2-week extension of deadlines for certain Criminal cases and a 4-week extension for Juvenile Dependency proceedings, marking a measured shift in court operations to help the Court and its users recover from caseloads impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
LA Court News Release
With Trump appointees, 9th Circuit suffers another year of reversals at Supreme Court
The Supreme Court's favorite target again this year was the California-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which saw 15 of 16 rulings overturned on review. For decades, the high court's conservatives have trained a skeptical eye on the historically liberal appeals court and regularly reversed its rulings, particularly on criminal law and the death penalty.
Los Angeles Times
C.A. calls for liberality in allowing withdrawal of guilty plea
A citizen of Mexico who pled guilty to unlawful possession of drugs and firearms and signed a form acknowledging that such a plea "would" result in his deportation, and confirmed to the judge that he comprehended the potential consequences, must be allowed to withdraw his plea, Div. Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has held, because his lawyer did not specify what count could lead to what outcome.
California judge can't be sued for false assertion that Walt Disney's grandson has Down syndrome
A federal appellate court this week chided a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge for "inappropriate" and "inaccurate" comments that Walt Disney's adult grandson has Down syndrome, but nevertheless ruled that the judge is protected from legal consequences. A panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a lower court dismissal of a civil rights lawsuit by Disney heir Bradford Lund against Los Angeles County Judge David Cowan, who had placed the case under a guardian ad litem.
Southern California News Group
Federal contractor denied access to Capitol riot grand jury records
In a move that is likely to slow down prosecution of hundreds of criminal cases related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. capitol, a federal judge in Washington rejected the government's request to disclose grand jury materials to a private contractor hired to organize the evidence into a database. In May, the Justice Department hired independent contractor Deloitte Financial Advisory Services to set up a database cataloging materials and evidence that the FBI has collected in connection with the Capitol riot.
Courthouse News Service
San Diego media outlets lose bid to obtain Covid outbreak data
San Diego County doesn't have to release the locations of Covid-19 outbreaks because the ability of officials to conduct effective contact tracing outweighs the public's interest in knowing that information, a California appellate court said. The southern California county kept a spreadsheet showing local outbreaks, including dates, the number of people involved, and locations, such as restaurants, gyms, or salons.
Los Angeles District Attorney
La Verne leaders declare no confidence in LA County DA Gascón
La Verne has become the latest city to issue a vote of no confidence in Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. In a 3-2 vote Monday, July 19, the City Council agreed to condemn directives from the District Attorney's Office, calling the policies a risk to public safety. Councilmember Wendy Lau and Muir Davis vote against the resolution.
Los Angeles Daily News
Two dozen cities say they have 'no confidence' in LA County DA George Gascón
Another Los Angeles community has expressed its lack of confidence in County District Attorney George Gascón. With a 3-2 vote, La Verne's city council condemned Gascon's policies Monday, calling them a threat to public safety and security. La Verne becomes the 24th city in Los Angeles County to express this sentiment about the district attorney.
Malibu City Council to discuss "no confidence" vote against DA George Gascon
As violent crime skyrockets across L.A. County as a result of law enforcement defunding by the county Board of Supervisors and the pro-criminal directives of District Attorney Gascon, city leaders throughout the county, many unanimously, have voted No Confidence in DA Gascon's leadership of the District Attorney's office of the largest county in the nation.
Malibu Daily News
LAPD Officer Alejandro Castillo arrested for falsifying report in DUI arrest
A former Los Angeles Police Department officer was arrested on Tuesday for falsifying a police report and perjury. Thirteen-year LAPD veteran Officer Alejandro Castillo was assigned to LAPD West Traffic Division but has since been relieved of his police powers. His arrest comes after an internal affairs investigation into Castillo after reviewing his DUI arrests from October 2019, which investigators say showed inconsistencies between the body-worn camera footage and the written report.
A couple whose 2020 gender reveal party allegedly sparked a deadly wildfire in California has been charged in the death of a firefighter
A Southern California couple whose gender reveal party allegedly sparked the deadly El Dorado wildfire in 2020 has been charged with 30 crimes, including involuntary manslaughter, authorities announced Tuesday. A smoke bomb set off by the couple in Yucaipa, California, on September 5 as part of a gender reveal sparked a fire that went on to burn more than 22,000 acres across two counties, San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson said during a news conference.
Co-owner of Borderline Bar and Grill accused of embezzling $43K
A community fixture following the deadly bar shooting in 2018 that left 12 people dead is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars. Brian Hynes, the co-owner of Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, has a warrant out for his arrest for allegedly embezzling $43,000 from a charity festival, which was intended to benefit a local rotary club.
2 California men charged with planning to firebomb democratic targets
Two men in California are accused of planning to attack targets associated with Democrats, including the John. L. Burton Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento, California, an indictment unsealed in federal court Thursday revealed. Ian Benjamin Rogers, from Napa, California, and Jarrod Copeland, of Vallejo, California, intended to use incendiary devices and began plotting their attacks after the 2020 presidential election, according to the indictment that charges them with conspiracy to destroy by fire or explosive a building used in or affecting interstate commerce.
Courthouse News Service
Durst friend mailed him $115,000 before his arrest on the charge of murdering Susan Berman
Even though they had a decades-long platonic friendship and talked about moving into a "love nest" together, self-published writer Susan Giordano said she never had a sexual relationship with New York millionaire Robert Durst. Giordano also told a jury in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday - where Durst is on trial, accused of murdering another longtime friend, Susan Berman - she wasn't maintaining the friendship with Durst just for the money.
Courthouse News Service
Trump ally accused of acting as foreign agent of UAE
An adviser and confidant of former President Donald Trump has been indicted along with two other men on charges of conspiring to act as unregistered foreign agents for the United Arab Emirates both when Trump was a candidate and when he was an incoming president. Thomas Joseph Barrack, 74, a global investment adviser from Santa Monica, California, served as an informal adviser to Trump's 2016 campaign and later served as chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, according to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.
Courthouse News Service
DOJ puts reporter records off limits in leak investigations
Marking a win for media rights, the Department of Justice announced a new rule Monday blocking federal prosecutors from secretly seizing journalists' records during leak investigations. The practice has been commonplace, and controversial, for both Republican and Democratic administrations, coming to a head last year in wake of reports that the Trump administration had seized phone and email records of journalists at The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN while it looked into sources on the Russia investigation as well as other national security matters.
Courthouse News Service
Newsom signs bill to combat crime, retail theft across California
With violent smash-and-grab shoplifting costing California businesses millions of dollars annually, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law Wednesday aimed at curbing organized retail theft. The law reestablishes the crime of organized retail theft, which lawmakers first created in 2018 but allowed to lapse as of July 1. Prosecutors can again seek to charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Half of people released from jail before trial accused of new crime while free in San Francisco: study
A new study reveals half of the people charged with crimes in San Francisco and released from jail before trial were accused of committing a new crime while they were free in recent years. The study done by California Policy Lab, based at UC Berkeley and UCLA, evaluates 9,000 people from 2016 to 2019. In light of this new study, San Francisco Supervisor Catherine Stefani introduced new legislation at today's board meeting.
4 wealthy donors fuel overhaul of California's criminal justice system
Four wealthy activists intent on reshaping California's criminal justice system are gearing up for their biggest test yet against police and prosecutor groups. The Northern California donors, some with fortunes from major Silicon Valley firms, have already spent millions on progressive prosecutors and ballot fights that have helped untether the state from its tough-on-crime past. Now, California's 2022 attorney general race could be a landmark moment.
Governor selects Contra Costa DA's Office for resentencing pilot
The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office learned Friday it is one of nine in the state selected to participate in the California County Resentencing Pilot Program. A budget bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom contains funding for the program, which starts Sept. 1. The pilot, which is overseen by the nonprofit For the People, builds upon Assembly Bill 2942, which allows for a district attorney to review old sentences and determine if the sentence still serves the interest of justice and the community.
Val Verde Unified postpones vote on sweeping police, mental health changes
Changes to Val Verde Unified's police and mental health programs are on hold for now. At their Tuesday, July 20 meeting, the Val Verde Unified school board voted unanimously to postpone decisions on whether to cut the school police department by 30% and to dramatically increase spending on mental health services. The proposals were both written by board vice-president Matthew Serafin.
Los Angeles County/City
LA sees rise in number of robberies involving gunfire (Video)
Overall crime in LA is down, while shootings and homicides are up. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, July 21, 2021.
Officers likely erred in weighing explosives in South LA blast, LAPD Chief says
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said today human error likely contributed to a destructive fireworks explosion in South Los Angeles, with bomb squad technicians vastly underestimating the amount of explosive material placed into a containment truck. The June 30 blast occurred as the Los Angeles Police Department attempted to detonate a cache of illegal fireworks deemed too unstable to move.
City News Service
L.A. Sheriff says he won't enforce mask mandate, Barger also opposes
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says he won't enforce the new mask mandate that is now in effect. He issued a statement saying his department is underfunded and that he will not expend limited resources to ensure residents are following the order. The county is insisting - without providing scientific evidence and ignoring CDC dictates - everyone wear masks indoors in public spaces even if they are vaccinated because of a sharp rise in cases, many of them tied to the delta variant.
Competitors are lining up to unseat L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva
On Wednesday morning, as part of his weekly online briefing/press conference, Sheriff Alex Villanueva fielded a two-part question. The first section asked whether he will run for re-election, given the recent announcements of rivals entering the 2022 race. The second part concerned his relationship with the Board of Supervisors.
Los Angeles Magazine
Interview with LAPD's Chief Michel Moore on recruitment efforts and issues facing the department (Video)
Carolyn Johnson interviews LAPD's Chief Michel Moore on the recruitment efforts and the recent issues the department faces.
Los Angeles County moves to get more money into the hands of foster youth
In Los Angeles, the County Board of Supervisors has taken a step to make sure foster youth who receive Social Security benefits are actually able to use that money - a move that is exceedingly rare nationwide. The board unanimously passed a motion this week requiring the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services to make sure foster youth who receive Social Security benefits have access to those checks when they age out of the system.
Gang intervention workers and activists welcome $5 million plan to reduce violence in L.A. County
A $5 million plan approved earlier this week by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to reduce violence across the county looks to provide much needed support to community organizations. Groups like Soledad Enrichment Action will now be able to apply for grants through the county's Office of Violence Prevention, which will handle the new funds.
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Website exposes L.A. County Fire employees' COVID-19 vaccination details
The vaccination details of nearly 5,000 Los Angeles County Fire Department employees were posted online this week, prompting concerns about medical privacy and demands for an investigation by a major employee union. The list of employees and their COVID-19 vaccination data was posted on a privately registered and since deactivated web domain - covid.lacofdems.com - that appears to have been connected to the department's Emergency Medical Services bureau.
Los Angeles Times
Boardwalk homeless interventions show promising progress
While the media firestorm around the Boardwalk's homeless crisis raged loudly for months, a much quieter phenomenon is now underway - unhoused individuals are leaving the area. No, encampments have not been cleared from the entire Boardwalk and, no there isn't a guarantee that people won't return once the intervention programs wrap up. But, a significant portion of Ocean Front Walk, from roughly 20th Ave to Brooks Ave, is currently devoid of tents and awash with vendors and street performers.
Santa Monica Daily Press
Camera catches man trying to break into Van Nuys home; LAPD says they can't arrest him due to Prop 47
Doorbell cameras are designed to keep homeowners safe from intruders, but that didn't stop one guy from trying to break into a Van Nuys home and despite the evidence, police couldn't arrest him. On June 29th around 11:30 p.m. a man was seen on security camera video using a metal blade to break into Cindy and Robert Hemingway's Van Nuys home.
2 men caught on camera in brazen daylight theft from Granada Hills TJ Maxx
Two men casually walked out of a crowded TJ Maxx in Granada Hills recently, their arms full with what appeared to be stolen items. "That looks great," one man said as video showed them headed toward the door. One of the men even had an oversized duffle bag on his back. "They didn't even run out, they walked out," Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz said. "And so, that's sending a message that we, the criminals, are winning."
LBPD busts burglary suspect in Downtown/Retro Row break-ins/thefts
LBPD has located and arrested a suspect following a string of commercial burglaries in LB's downtown and Retro Row areas [and some beyond] between June 19 and June 21. In a release, LBPD says its Burglary Detectives arrested Corey James Swayney, 20, of Long Beach, booked on suspicion of commercial burglary and an outstanding warrant. "During each of the incidents, a suspect broke into the business through the front door and stole cash and/or electronic devices.
Long Beach Report
Subway crime rate drops closer to pre-COVID levels after police surge
Subway ridership increased in June while crime dropped in the system, according new data released ahead of this week's MTA board and committing meetings. A total of 111 major felonies occurred on the subways in June - down from 168 the previous month, according to NYPD data to be shown to board members on Monday.
New York Post
Cars keep disappearing in Los Angeles
In the early months of the pandemic, vehicle theft in Los Angeles spiked to unprecedented levels. Public safety experts attributed the rise to opportunistic thieves who pounced when stay-at-home orders meant that cars were parked on public streets for extended periods. Los Angeles traffic is getting thicker as the economy reopens. However, the expectation that more driving would tamp down auto thefts has not come to pass. Thieves are as active as ever.
People living on streets make up significant portion murder victims, data shows (Video)
The NBC4 I-Team spent the day looking into LA crime data for more information about the number of killings of people experiencing homelessness. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Thursday, July 22, 2021.
Sonora nurse accused of foiled murder-for-hire plot seeks mental health diversion
A Sonora woman and former nurse accused of soliciting a hitman to murder her husband has appealed for mental health treatment in lieu of criminal prosecution, claiming the stresses of family and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated her bipolar and anxiety disorders. The motion for the application of mental health diversion was filed by defendant Heidi Butler's court-appointed attorney, Tuolumne County Public Defender Scott Gross, on June 25.
The Union Democrat
Walmart snubs trademark owners - complaints ignored, counterfeit listings remain
Walmart shoppers already face the daunting challenge of identifying counterfeit, fraudulent, and replica products, but now with an unusual twist - Walmart is snubbing trademark owners and leaving the counterfeit items listed. A recent change left trademark owners with an alarming response from Walmart, "We encourage you to contact the sellers offering the product to resolve the matter.
The Counterfeit Report
Counterfeiters are hungry for a piece of Apple's $16B AirPod market
US Customs and Border Protection reports that so far in fiscal year 2021, it has seized about 360,000 sets of wireless headphones, worth an estimated $62.2 million. That's only nine months' worth of seizures - but it's already more than the 290,000 sets worth $61.7 million that were seized throughout fiscal year 2020. In one such large seizure, CBP seized roughly 6,400 counterfeit AirPods and AirPods Pro in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 11th.
Attorney General Bonta announces first-year enforcement update on the California Consumer Privacy Act, launches new online tool for consumers to notify businesses of potential violations
A year after enforcement of the nation's toughest privacy law began, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced successful enforcement efforts and urged more Californians to take advantage of their new rights. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) provides consumers with groundbreaking rights over their personal information.
Attorney General Press Release
Judge advances class action over 'mislabeled' wine
A California winemaker cannot dodge a class action claiming it used deceptive labels to give consumers a false impression that its pinot noir was made in a renowned Oregon wine region, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. Prior to November 2018, Napa County, California-based winemaker Copper Cane labeled its vintage 2016 Elouan pinot noir with references to the "coastal hills" of Oregon, calling it an "ideal region to grow" wine grapes.
Courthouse News Service
Microsoft says it blocked spying on rights activists, others
Microsoft said Thursday it has blocked tools developed by an Israeli hacker-for-hire company that were used to spy on more than 100 people around the world, including politicians, human rights activists, journalists, academics and political dissidents. Microsoft issued a software update and worked with the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto to investigate the secretive Israeli company behind the hacking efforts.
Courthouse News Service
California lawmakers approve nation's 1st basic income plan
California will send monthly checks to adults exiting the state's foster care system under a first-of-its-kind guaranteed income plan approved Thursday by lawmakers. The taxpayer-funded program will allow qualifying pregnant residents and those aging out of the foster care system - regardless of how much time they spent in the system - to spend the cash assistance freely.
Courthouse News Service
Some police push back on bail reform, citing wave of killings
Law-enforcement officials in Chicago say judges need to stop releasing accused violent offenders before their trials to help stem a surge in violent crime. In April, a 7-year-old girl was killed in a McDonald's drive-through by someone who police said had been let out on electronic monitoring. Police also point to a recent homicide, stabbing and a carjacking allegedly committed by people on electronic monitoring.
Wall Street Journal
Law enforcement unions donate to California Democrats ahead of police reform vote
California law enforcement unions are contributing tens of thousands of dollars to influential Democratic lawmakers as the Legislature advances a controversial police reform bill that would allow departments to strip badges from officers with serious misconduct records. The donors have spent months lobbying against Senate Bill 2, which aims to increase investigations into problematic behavior and decertify law enforcement officers.
San Diego sets itself apart as the state's leader in using red flag gun laws
While state leaders are pushing for more widespread use of California's red flag laws, San Diego has set itself apart as the leader in pursuing gun-violence restraining orders: a pro-active law enforcement tool credited with saving lives. Last year during the height of the pandemic, handgun sales in California shot up by a record 65% compared to the year before.
CBS8 San Diego
Poway synagogue shooter pleads guilty to attack
A former college student admitted Tuesday that he fired an assault rifle inside a synagogue filled with worshipers during Passover in 2019, killing one woman and injuring three others, because of his "hatred for Jews." John T. Earnest, now 22, was wearing a green prison jumpsuit and a face mask as he pleaded guilty to all charges of murder and attempted murder, with hate crime classifications, in connection with the attack at the Chabad of Poway in San Diego's North County on April 27, 2019.
AP/NBC7 San Diego
'Boy Next Door Killer' gets death for murders of 2 women
For crimes he called "vicious and frightening," a judge on Friday gave a death sentence to a man prosecutors called "The Boy Next Door Killer" for the home-invasion murders of two women and the attempted murder of a third. Victims' family members wept as Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler handed down the sentence to 45-year-old Michael Thomas Gargiulo.
Florida man gets 8 months in prison in 1st felony sentence from Capitol riot
A Florida man who was seen carrying a large red "Trump 2020" flag on the floor of the U.S. Senate during the Capitol riot received eight months in prison Monday in the first felony sentence from the Jan. 6 attack. Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, of Tampa, was arrested Feb. 16 after the FBI received a tip identifying him among the hundreds of people seen in photos and videos inside the Capitol.
Corrections & Parole
'A diagnosed psychopath': Family furious as convicted killer Daniel Marsh tries for early prison release
Victoria Hurd says she's furious and traumatized yet again. She and her family are taking to social media to raise awareness about a law they say could put a violent psychopath back on the street. "I don't want him released into the community. He is a diagnosed psychopath," Hurd told CBS13. Hurd says her family has been through enough as convicted killer Daniel Marsh has tried multiple times to get out of prison early.
Former teacher sentenced for sexual relationship with teen
A former Palmdale high school teacher was sentenced Thursday to seven years and four months in state prison for carrying on a sexual relationship with a teenage girl. Superior Court Judge Robert Chu also ordered Anthony Mahari Faaborg, now 54, to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Ex-union president from Glendora sentenced to two years for embezzlement
A former union president from Glendora was sentenced Thursday to 28 months in federal prison for abusing her leadership position to embezzle union funds - behavior that depleted the union's bank accounts and led her to double the dues paid by union members. Aja Ann Jasmin, 42, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald, who said she committed "a very serious crime" that required "a huge amount of planning and cunning."
Articles of Interest
Police officers speak to Black drivers less respectfully, study finds. Here's why it matters
Police officers communicate in a friendlier, more respectful way to white drivers than Black drivers during routine traffic stops, and these routine interactions can erode police-community trust, a new study found. Study author Nicholas Camp, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, has previously found that officers use less respectful language with Black drivers, but the peer-reviewed study published this week in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveals differences not in what police say but how they say it.
Will facial recognition technology allow teams to actually enforce lifetime bans?
In hindsight, wearing a neon-yellow shirt with funny messages on live TV was a poor way to hide a crime. KP Watershed sees that now. It was like he was livestreaming himself reaching into a cookie jar. But at the time, he wasn't thinking about consequences. He was just a Yankees fan blinded by the light of a righteous cause, rising up against an enemy of all that the U.S. holds true and dear: Marlins Man.
'Megataxers' hang $94 million in bonds on tiny Bassett Unified
Bassett Unified School District (Bassett) was established in 1898. The district serves the communities of La Puente and Baldwin Park, encompassing around 8 square miles. The area is absent of hills and valleys; residents call it "Pancakes" or the "Flatlands." The Eastside 13 did not walkout in this neck of the woods and face 66 years in prison. They marched for better conditions in schools and spearheaded a movement. Just ask Moctesuma Esparza.
Hews Media Group
Ex-Girardi Keese attys can't duck stolen settlement claims
An Illinois federal judge refused Monday to toss Chicago firm Edelson PC's claims that two former Girardi Keese PC Partners helped Girardi steal settlement funds, ruling the court has jurisdiction over both California lawyers while agreeing to pause a portion of litigation until the firm's bankruptcy case is resolved.
The California dream is dying
Behold California, colossus of the West Coast: the most populous American state; the world's fifth-largest economy; and arguably the most culturally influential, exporting Google searches and Instagram feeds and iPhones and Teslas and Netflix Originals and kimchi quesadillas. This place inspires awe. If I close my eyes I can see silhouettes of Joshua trees against a desert sunrise; seals playing in La Jolla's craggy coves of sun-spangled, emerald seawater; fog rolling over the rugged Sonoma County coast at sunset into primeval groves of redwoods that John Steinbeck called "ambassadors from another time."
Spyware used to snoop on smartphones of journalists, activists, report says
Spyware from Israeli firm NSO Group has been secretly installed on tens of thousands of smartphones, many of which are owned by heads of state, activists, and journalists, according to a report from Paris-based media non-profit Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International. NSO's Pegasus software can be installed on a phone without any action from its owner; sending a text message is all that's required in some cases.
Laying blame for Microsoft hacks, US joins world powers in condemning China
The Biden administration, together with a swath of U.S. allies, accused China on Monday of hacking Microsoft email servers and engaging in other large-scale ransomware and cyberattacks. "The United States is deeply concerned that the [People's Republic of China] has fostered an intelligence enterprise that includes contract hackers who also conduct unsanctioned cyber operations worldwide, including for their own personal profit," the White House said in a statement, underlining that China's Ministry of State Security has engaged in ransomware attacks, cyber-enabled extortion, crypto-jacking as well as rank theft.
Courthouse News Service
Wynn accuses insurer of stalling in 'absurd' footnote fight
The Las Vegas casino giant told the Nevada district court that the 85 evidentiary footnotes cited in its lawsuit against Factory Mutual Insurance Co. are related to its COVID-19 claims for three resorts in Las Vegas and Massachusetts, as required, and the insurer's assertions otherwise are baseless. Factory Mutual has answered allegations from footnotes in other lawsuits, Wynn said, which "makes its current claim of purported 'undue burden' here absurd."
California teachers' pension mulls co-investment expansion
California's second-largest public pension system is weighing a loosening of its rules around co-investing, including tripling the amount it can commit to individual deals, with a goal of increasing the proportion of private-equity commitments made through the lower-cost strategy.
Wall Street Journal
Big year for CalPERS means higher pension costs for some public employees
Some local government employees in California likely will have to pay more toward their pensions as an indirect result of CalPERS' good year on investment returns. The California Public Employees' Retirement System reported a 21.3% preliminary return on its investments for the fiscal year that ended in June. The big return - triple a 7% target - improves the retirement system's long-term outlook and shields local governments from new debt payments.
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