Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Second Gascon Recall Effort Approved by County Recorder; More Than 80 Firearms Among Stolen Goods from Trains; Rick Caruso Registers as Democrat and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Safe Surrender program saving babies' lives for 20 years; How to find out if your KN95 is counterfeit; Man out on bail after setting pregnant girlfriend on fire; Slain Agua Dulce Firefighter's Family Sues

Courts & Rulings

Calif. DAs win temporary restraining order preventing corrections dept. from awarding 66% 'good conduct credits' to second-strikers

The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation recently enacted so-called "emergency" regulations to allow for additional "good conduct credits" to be awarded to serious and violent felons, and not based upon these felons completing any rehabilitation programs, or in essence, proving their good conduct.

California Globe

Protester was to blame for her own injuries

A protester who disrupted a city council meeting and was forcibly removed, going limp, had only herself to blame for injuries she incurred from being pulled and handcuffed, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday reversing the denial of summary judgment sought by two officers based on qualified immunity.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

High Court takes up Axon's FTC challenge

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up a case from law enforcement equipment supplier Axon Enterprise Inc., which is seeking to challenge the Federal Trade Commission's authority before the company is hauled into the agency's administrative process. In granting Axon's request for review, the justices limited their consideration to the first question Axon presented in its July petition, which asks whether the federal courts can hear a challenge of the FTC's constitutionality before the agency has issued a final order of some kind.


Judge orders mandatory settlement conference in LA homelessness lawsuit

An exasperated federal judge Monday ordered a mandatory settlement conference in a long-running lawsuit demanding the city and county of Los Angeles work together to find shelter for the thousands of people camping on sidewalks and near freeways. The judge's order came after a 90-minute court hearing via Zoom in which attorneys for the city and county indicated they have no time frame to come to a comprehensive agreement among themselves about how to successfully resolve the long-running case without going to trial.

City News Service

Salesforce wins lawsuit appeal after dozens of women accused company of helping pimps and sex traffickers

A California appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit claiming Bay Area software giant Salesforce helped pimps and human traffickers by providing a database and services to a website that featured adult ads. The suit claimed that a group of 50 plaintiffs, identified as "Jane Does," were victims of sex trafficking facilitated by website Backpage, including women who were allegedly sold for sex as minors via the site.

Mercury News

VanDyke writes for majority, spoofs opinion arriving at contrary result

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Lawrence VanDyke, a conservative who is prone to ridicule his circuit over its liberal tendencies, yesterday wrote for the majority in reversing the dismissal of an action against Ventura County over ordering gun shops and firing ranges to be closed for 48 days in light of the pandemic, then, in a concurring opinion, took the opposite stance in an "alternative draft" which an en banc court could adopt.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

High Court will weigh CWA jurisdiction question

Idaho landowners Michael and Chantell Sackett are appealing the Ninth Circuit's ruling that they need a Clean Water Act permit to build a home on their property. That court in August unanimously rejected the Sacketts' "core argument," which the circuit judges said was premised on rejecting a concurring opinion written by former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2006's Rapanos v. United States, and instead accepting the late Justice Antonin Scalia's plurality opinion for determining the statute's jurisdiction over wetlands.


Navy appeals court decision barring punishment for SEALs who refused vaccine

Justice Department attorneys filed formal notice with a federal appeals court on Friday, saying they're challenging a Texas judge's decision that prohibits the Navy from taking action against 35 special operators who've refused the COVID-19 vaccine because of religious objections. Meanwhile, the government has also filed a new challenge to the Texas court's jurisdiction, and arguing that the case should be moved to a different federal district court, perhaps one more sympathetic to the Navy's religious accommodation process.

Federal News Network

Judge's firing upheld for remarks in sex-harassment-related case

A California administrative judge failed to show he was punished too harshly when he was terminated for comments he made during a workers' compensation appeal by an employee fired for alleged sexual harassment, a state appeals court ruled Monday. T. Fitzgerald Smith, formerly on the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, concedes he made the remarks while presiding over Enrique Sandoval's unemployment benefits hearing, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, said in an unpublished ruling.

Bloomberg Law

Appeals court paves the way for 2 more Oklahoma executions

A federal appeals court rejected a request from two Oklahoma death row inmates to temporarily halt their upcoming lethal injections. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver denied the inmates' motion in a ruling on Monday. The decision paves the way for the state to carry out the executions of Donald Grant, 46, on Thursday and Gilbert Postelle, 35, on Feb. 17.


Judges given final chance to allege discrimination in age bias lawsuit against California's Judicial Council

A state judge gave a group of retired judges a final chance to show that they were adversely affected by new limits on how long judges can continue working after retirement. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman dismissed the case for the second time on Wednesday after finding no harm arising from rules that cap participation in a program that gives retired judges temporary assignments at 1,320 days.

Courthouse News Service

Los Angeles District Attorney

Los Angeles DA George Gascon recall petition approved by county registrar

The second effort to recall embattled Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon was officially approved by the Los Angeles County Registrar on Thursday. Gascon has faced criticism from conservatives and victims' advocates over his liberal justice policies that they say put criminals first and have led to high crime rates. Now that the petition has been approved, organizers will have to get 566,857 signatures - about 10% of registered voters in the county - by July 6.

Fox News

Los Angeles DA defends soft-on-crime accusations by Union Pacific on train robberies

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon sent a letter to Union Pacific Railroad that blamed the company for thefts caused by gangs of armed bandits who storm the trains and pilfer millions of dollars' worth of goods. The letter, dated Friday, comes two days after the Washington Examiner reported that the famed Union Pacific police force had arrived in LA full time to combat the problem.

Washington Examiner

George Gascón: Package thefts and other high-profile crimes threaten to derail the reform-minded Los Angeles County DA

A rash of package thefts from freight trains passing slowly through downtown Los Angeles has raised a fundamental question facing this city and others: how to balance attempts at criminal justice reform with the need for crime prevention. "What the hell is going on?" asked an exasperated Gov. Gavin Newsom last week when he joined an effort to clear the cargo detritus from the train tracks.


Outrage as trans child molester gets just 2 years for assaulting 10-year-old

A transgender woman convicted of sexually assaulting a ten-year-old girl as a juvenile has been awarded just two years behind bars because Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon declined to prosecute her as an adult. In 2020, Hannah Tubbs had pleaded guilty to molesting the victim inside the bathroom of a Denny's in 2014. At the time, she was 17 and known as James.


Fresno County DA criticizes LA County DA George Gascón over policy changes

Fresno County's top prosecutor has penned a letter to her counterpart in Los Angeles County, telling him that a series of controversial directives he issued upon taking office last month are "extreme" and "already wreaking havoc on crime victims." The letter, dated Monday, is the second that George Gascón has been sent in recent weeks in which a district attorney from another county has refused to grant him jurisdiction in cases involving defendants accused of committing crimes in the counties they represent.

Fox11 LA


NBA player Jaxson Hayes charged with domestic violence, resisting arrest in L.A.

New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes has been charged with domestic violence, resisting arrest and battery against a police officer in connection with a July incident at a Woodland Hills home that ended when LAPD officers choked him and hit him with a Taser. The Los Angeles city attorney's office charged Hayes on Monday with five counts of abusing a spouse or co-habitant, one count of resisting arrest, one count of battery against an LAPD officer, three counts of vandalism, one count of false imprisonment and one count of trespassing in connection with the July clash.

Los Angeles Times

California DA says 'rogue prosecutors' need to be reined in

The Sacramento County district attorney slammed "rogue prosecutors," such as Los Angeles' George Gascon and San Francisco's Chesa Boudin, for emboldening criminals in California. "This is just yet another example of the chaos that we're seeing here in California and the violence," Sacramento County DA Anne Marie Schubert told "Fox & Friends" Friday. "And it's not just that, it's the fact that we've got a tsunami of poor public policies, and you've got rogue prosecutors that are not holding people accountable to the fullest extent of the law that we can."

Fox News

LA County deputy public defender argued to release crime suspects pretrial

A Los Angeles County deputy public defender co-authored a proposal in 2020 arguing for the creation of a "needs-based pre-trial release system" from jail. Rachel Pendleton co-wrote the paper while in law school at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2020. The proposal was part of a bail reform practicum within the criminal justice program at the law school. The proposal, "Creating a needs-based pre-trial release system: The false dichotomy of money bail versus risk assessment tools," offers to "re-envision the pre-trial release process."

Fox News

Indictment names six in scheme to provide high-powered firearms and huge quantities of ammunition to Mexican drug cartel

A federal grand jury indictment alleging a scheme to smuggle weapons and ammunition to one of the world's most violent and dangerous transnational criminal organizations has led to the arrest of four defendants, the Justice Department announced today. The arrests on January 19 are the result of Operation Semper Infidelis, a Los Angeles Strike Force investigation that targeted a domestic weapons trafficking organization that provided firearms and ammunition to the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), one of the largest and most violent drug cartels in Mexico.

Department of Justice Press Release

S.F. cop charged in baton beating says D.A.'s office withheld evidence, asks judge to toss case

A San Francisco police officer charged with unnecessarily striking a man with a baton has asked a judge to dismiss the case against him, claiming that the District Attorney's Office withheld incriminating evidence from police that justified his use of force. Officer Terrance Stangel's motion, filed last week in San Francisco Superior Court, claimed the DA's office committed misconduct when prosecutors allegedly withheld from police an interview with a witness who said that the man Stangel struck, Dacari Spiers, was assaulting his girlfriend before officers approached him.

San Francisco Chronicle


Starting a duty pistol red dot optic program

More and more law enforcement agencies are now allowing their officers to train with red dot sights on their duty handguns and to use these optics on their duty weapons. Some agencies are even issuing the handgun optics. And at least one - the Houston Police Department - has made red dot optics mandatory on the duty pistols of recruits. Three years ago, a red dot sight (RDS) on a duty pistol would have been unusual. Now, some experts believe these optics may soon be standard equipment on police pistols.


No bail vs the public's safety

In December 2021 Los Angeles City Council member Joe Buscaino made a resolution to reinstate cash bail for those individuals arrested for low level, non-violent criminal offenses throughout the whole of the county of Los Angeles. The California State Supreme Court recommended and enacted a ZERO Bail mandate for those individuals arrested for low level and non-violent criminal offenses in response to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus throughout both local city and county jails facilities within the state of California.


Theft wave and organized smash-and-grab shoplifting show California law needs change

If any California proposition of the last half-century is an obvious candidate for a major rewrite, it is the 2014 Proposition 47, which made it a small-time offense to steal anything worth less than $950, unless you have a history of violent crimes. For sure, it is under threat. Lawmakers have introduced measures to cancel most of Prop. 47 or increase penalties for some crimes it covers.

California Focus

Los Angeles County/City

COVID testing firm says it plans to sue Sheriff Alex Villanueva for defamation

A coronavirus testing company is asking a judge to allow some discovery of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva's cell phones and to take a limited deposition of the sheriff ahead of its plans to sue him for defamation. Fulgent Genetics Inc. and its subsidiary, Fulgent Therapeutics LLC, allege in a petition filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court that Villanueva, in a Nov. 29 letter to the Board of Supervisors and published on the LASD website, falsely stated that the FBI warned him against using Fulgent's COVID-19 testing services because of "concerning information" that the company would provide to China the DNA data of county employees.

City News Service

Barger on illegal pot grows: Enough is enough

Residents from across the Antelope Valley brought their concerns over rampant illegal marijuana growing operations to a discussion hosted by Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, on Saturday. The town hall-style meeting, held at the Westside Christian Fellowship in Leona Valley, featured local governmental officials, law enforcement and a panel of experts fielding questions and addressing concerns for several hours.

Antelope Valley Press

Woman settles suit alleging she was denied LAPD job on false hearing diagnosis

A woman who sued the city, alleging she was wrongfully denied a Los Angeles police civilian position in 2017 because of a false hearing loss diagnosis, has settled her case. Nicole Downey brought her suit in Los Angeles Superior Court in April 2020, alleging discrimination based on a perceived disability and failure to hire in violation of public policy. Her attorneys filed a notice of settlement on Dec. 21 with Judge Timothy Patrick Dillon. No terms were divulged.


After 20 years, LA County's Safe Surrender program saving more babies' lives

Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe was at Cerritos Regional Park a few years ago when a 9-year-old boy approached him, wrapped his arms around his leg and said he was "number 39." Since Knabe initiated the county Safe Surrender program in 2002 allowing parents or legal guardians to hand over newborns at hospitals or fire stations with no threat of arrest for child abandonment, he met dozens of youth whose lives were saved through the program.

Los Angeles Daily News

Widow, children of slain firefighter Tory Carlon sue LA County, shooter's estate

The widow and three children of a Los Angeles County Fire Department engineer who was slain by a colleague at the Agua Dulce station sued Los Angeles County and the killer's estate today for wrongful death. The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was brought by Heidi Carlon, who was married to the late 44-year-old Tory Carlon; her adult daughter, Joslyn Carlon; and Heidi Carlon's two other daughters, who are both minors, seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

City News Service

Vanessa Bryant accuses L.A. County of destroying evidence in "cover up" over crash photos

Two days after Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash, Joey Cruz, a deputy trainee at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, was spotted at a Norwalk bar showing off gruesome photos of the crash site. Cruz, who was not at the scene of the accident, had no legitimate reason for possessing the photos. He was one of at least 28 sheriff's personnel and a dozen firefighters the photos were passed along to before they were quietly ordered to scrub them off of their phones in what Vanessa Bryant's lawyer has called a "mass-deletion campaign" that was allegedly part of a cover up scheme.

The Hollywood Reporter

L.A.'s wakeup call

Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascón - a George Soros-backed progressive Democrat - won over voters last year with promises of sweeping criminal-justice reforms. To help him win the November 2020 election, virtually every elected Democrat in California withdrew their support from the two-term incumbent DA, Jackie Lacey, a moderate Democrat. The Biden-Harris administration, the Los Angeles Times, and Black Lives Matter leaders all rushed to endorse Gascón.

City Journal


Yes, there are ways to determine if a KN95 or N95 mask is counterfeit

As the highly transmissible omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to surge in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidance on which types of masks offer the most protection in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Well-fitting respirators, including N95s, that have been approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), offer the highest level of protection against COVID-19, according to the CDC.

ABC10 Sacramento

Crime/Public Safety

More than 80 pistols and shotguns among items stolen from LA freight trains

More than 80 newly manufactured guns were among the items stolen from freight trains near Los Angeles in recent months, local police officials say. The pilfered firearms, which included at least 36 pistols and 46 semi-automatic shotguns, were taken from a container car that was burglarized in August. The shipment's destination was Tennessee, the Los Angeles police officials said. Only two have been recovered thus far, they said.

NBC News

$80K in stolen goods, 8 arrests: The Watts Serial Shoplifter allegedly strikes again

While much of California has been struggling to fight off coordinated attacks on stores by massive smash-and-grab gangs, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says that Watts resident Brittany Moore, 31, may be at the center of her very own one-woman crime wave, shoplifting more than $80,000 worth of goods from retail outlets across L.A., Orange and San Diego counties.

Los Angeles Magazine

Sheriff Villanueva to tackle homelessness in Hollywood next

Tackling homelessness in Hollywood is on Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva's list. Earlier this month, Villanueva caught the attention of viewers on Facebook when he discussed wanting to better the tourism industry. "We have to support and defend our tourism industry," said Villanueva. Villanueva reassured his listeners that he has plans to work on this, and called on city officials to take action.


For one Pasadena neighborhood, gun violence is unrelenting

In Pasadena, shootings rose 22% between 2020 and 2021, from 60 to 73, according to the police department. Seven were killed in 2020 and six more last year. The increase - part of a spike in homicides across Los Angeles County - has sparked grief, pain and outrage in a city marked by many upscale neighborhoods, as well as lower-income neighborhoods where crime has long been a problem, and some residents say city leaders are not doing enough to make conditions safer.

Los Angeles Times

Thieves raid catalytic converters from 39 city vehicles in North Hollywood (Video)

Investigative reporter David Goldstein reports on a Christmas weekend crime spree where thieves stole nearly 40 catalytic converters from vehicles at a city yard in North Hollywood, and it's not even the first time the city has been hit with similar crimes.


LAPD officer's killing brings attention to one of L.A.'s largest gangs

Seven decades ago, Latino youths in South Los Angeles banded together to form a gang. They called themselves Florencia, after the east-west thoroughfare that ran through the heart of their territory. Years of violent conflict over that territory with other gangs lent Florencia an identity and reason for being. Over the years, demographic and social shifts have weakened many street gangs and caused some to die out altogether.

Los Angeles Times

Brazen gang of thieves raid an Ulta store in crime-plagued California

A group of bold thieves, two of whom didn't even bother covering their faces, were caught on camera filling trash bags with cosmetics at an Ulta Beauty salon in Los Angeles County as a security alarm blared and fed-up shoppers groaned. 'When are people gonna say enough?' an exasperated bystander can be heard saying as the group of at least six shoplifters fled the store and piled into a white Dodge Challenger in the parking lot of the Azalea shopping center in South Gate.

Daily Mail


Gov. Newsom shocked California looks like 'a Third World country'

Californians have recently been treated to images of mountains of trash along the Union Pacific rail line in Los Angeles. CBS-LA reporter John Schreiber went to the site and took video of looted packages from Amazon and UPS, prescription drugs, "unused Covid tests, fishing lures, EpiPens. Cargo containers left busted open on trains." His videos went viral on social media, and many news reports followed. California Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the site Thursday and helped perform clean up for the cameras.

California Globe

Amid violent crime wave, permissive, Soros-funded prosecutors under fire nationwide

Across the country, left-wing district attorneys funded by progressive megadonor George Soros are facing severe backlash, including efforts to oust them from office, for pushing soft-on-crime policies during a nationwide surge in violent crime and, in some cases, allegedly engaging in prosecutorial misconduct. Soros, 91, has spent the last several years injecting tens of millions of dollars into local district attorney races throughout the country, backing progressive candidates who support policies such as abolishing bail, defunding the police, and decriminalizing or deprioritizing certain offenses.

Just the News

Finance Committee rejects settlement tied to allegations of police wrongdoing

City Council members were harshly criticized for signing off on a $5 million settlement to the family of Laquan McDonald - before a lawsuit had even been filed - without asking tough enough questions or seeing the incendiary shooting video. The Finance Committee and the City Council voted for the settlement in April 2015. And Council members have spent the last six years questioning every police misconduct settlement that comes before them during closed-door briefings and public meetings.

Chicago Sun-Times

Man beaten with a plastic bat in S.F.'s Chinatown sues D.A. Boudin's office, claiming his rights as a victim were violated

A Vietnamese American man who was beaten with a bat two years ago in Chinatown sued the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and the city for what his attorneys said was a failure to ensure the man's rights as a victim in a racially motivated attack. Anh Lê, 69, said prosecutors failed to inform him of plea bargaining discussions with the man convicted of attacking him and failed to notify him about hearing dates where he could read a victim impact statement before agreeing to a "slap on the wrist" plea agreement, the suit states.

San Francisco Chronicle

Detroit man accused of setting pregnant girlfriend on fire released on bond

A man accused of pouring gasoline on his pregnant girlfriend and lighting her on fire has posted bond in Detroit, Michigan. Devonne Marsh posted a $5,000 bond and walked out of jail in Wayne County, Michigan on Friday after being arrested two days earlier for allegedly lighting his girlfriend, who is 6 and a half months pregnant with twins, on fire and burning over 60% of her body, according to Fox 2 Detroit.

Fox News


El Chapo's drug trafficking conviction upheld by federal appeals court

Notorious drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's conviction on charges of running a multibillion-dollar narcotics trafficking operation was upheld Tuesday by a federal appeals court in New York. In an opinion filed Tuesday morning, a three-judge panel for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a host of arguments Chapo's lawyers raised in an effort to overturn his conviction. Potential juror misconduct was among the arguments raised by his attorneys after an unnamed panelist spoke to Vice News and claimed members of the panel had followed media coverage of the case during the trial.

New York Post

Ex-DWP executive pleads guilty in corruption case

A former top executive of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to a federal bribery charge stemming from the probe of the city's handling of the botched launch of a DWP billing system. David H. Wright, 62, of Riverside, accepted bribes from a lawyer in exchange for supporting a $30 million, no-bid DWP contract, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Wright admitted in his plea agreement that he accepted kickbacks and participated in "corrupt schemes" while leading the municipal utility.


Former school principal pleads guilty in criminal case

A former principal at schools in Inglewood and Pasadena has pleaded guilty to misappropriation of public funds, forgery and grand theft. Kyle Douglas, now 51, was ordered to pay $67,700 in restitution, along with 120 days of community service and three years probation in connection with his plea last Friday, according to Greg Risling with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

City News Service

Corrections & Parole

Man who killed estranged wife, stabbed stepdaughter in 2003 denied parole

A man who stabbed his estranged wife to death and then stabbed his stepdaughter in the back in 2003 has been denied parole, according to the Kern County District Attorney's Office. Eddie Knight was convicted in 2003 for the second-degree murder of his estranged wife and assault with a deadly weapon, according to the DA. On Jan. 14, Knight was denied parole by the Board of Parole Hearings. Knight was 50 years at the time of the killing.


Articles of Interest

Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six

Among the hundreds of arrests I've made in almost 40 years of police work, I can think of only one I regret. It happened in 1984, give or take a year, a time of increasing violence in Los Angeles, especially South-Central L.A., where I was working as a patrol officer. In the division I was assigned, as in those nearby, we saw two or three murders a week and twice as many non-fatal shootings, and we were drilled constantly on the need to be proactive and get guns off the streets.

Jack Dunphy/The Pipeline

Rick Caruso registers as Democrat ahead of mayor's race

Real estate mogul, billionaire and possible 2022 Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso announced Monday he changed his voter registration to Democrat after almost a decade of being registered with no party preference. Caruso considered running for mayor in 2013 but opted out, and in October it was reported that he hired a high-profile political consulting firm as he considers another run for mayor of Los Angeles, which is led almost entirely by Democrats.

City News Service

Supreme Court to hear Harvard admissions challenge

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it would hear oral arguments likely this October in a lawsuit challenging race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. The outcome of the case could dramatically alter higher education in America. The justices agreed to take up the question of whether Harvard, and colleges and universities across the country, can continue to use race as one factor among many in their admissions processes.

The Harvard Gazette

Biden is defending key Trump immigration policies in court

President Joe Biden's administration is defending two of his predecessor's more inhumane immigration policies in court: pandemic-related border restrictions and family separations. The Department of Justice is actively fighting in federal court for border restrictions that have barred most asylum seekers from entering the US. In separate federal cases, it has argued that the policy of separating migrant families under former President Donald Trump was lawful, and has fought against payouts for those families.


New study finds voting by mail does not increase risk of voting fraud

The Covid-19 pandemic led to an expansion of mail voting throughout the United States in 2020. A first-of-its-kind study has assessed the likelihood of the occurrence of various potential attacks on this voting method. More than 159 million Americans cast ballots in the November 2020 presidential election - the largest total turnout in U.S. history. Expanded mail-in voting is credited as one of the main factors responsible for this record participation.

Courthouse News Service

Michael Avenatti trial begins, unearthing artifacts of the Trump era

For much of 2018, the California-based lawyer Michael Avenatti and his client Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress, were key figures in the fervent political opposition to President Donald J. Trump. They became stars of what was often called "the resistance" - and were seen by some as potential agents of Mr. Trump's undoing. For a time, the brash Mr. Avenatti even flirted with a run to replace Mr. Trump.

New York Times

Chargers owner Dean Spanos in legal fight with nephews over family trust

Dean Spanos, co-owner of the Los Angeles Chargers, is mired in a family dispute that has prompted another court battle. Dimitri and Lex Economou, Spanos' nephews, sued him this week in San Joaquin County, according to the Los Angeles Times. They accuse him of improperly re-directing money from the family trust that controls 36% of the team. The plaintiffs are the sons of a Spanos sister, Dea Spanos Berberian.

Times of San Diego

Marin fraudsters' scheme fuels $437 million property selloff

The fallout of a massive fraud scheme by Marin investment managers has resulted in a $436.5 million sale of North Bay properties. The sale involved 60 sites formerly controlled by Professional Financial Investors Inc. and its associated fund, Professional Investors Security Fund Inc. The principal, Ken Casey of Novato, died in 2020. The properties, amounting to more than 1.4 million square feet, were sold off last month in federal bankruptcy court.

Marin Independent Journal

Amazon to pay $2.25M to resolve Washington state AG's claims of price fixing on third-party products

Amazon will pay $2.25 million under a consent decree with Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to settle claims that one of the company's former programs for third-party sellers constituted illegal price-fixing. The case involves a since-discontinued program called Sold by Amazon (SBA), in which selected third-party sellers were invited to give Amazon control over the prices of specific products. In exchange, Amazon established a "Minimum Gross Proceed" that guaranteed the seller would make at least that much even if the price was lower.



Sagging stocks aren't the only threat to pension plans

Last year was a great time to manage a pension fund. Thanks to strong stock market gains, plans around the country pulled in returns that exceeded 30 percent in many places, bringing their overall funding levels almost back where they'd been before the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009. "This is probably the best news that state and local pension plans have received in many years," says Richard Johnson, director of the retirement policy program at the Urban Institute. "These returns have greatly improved their funding levels."


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