Former Trump campaign aide Nunberg at court for grand jury
Court Watch | 2018/03/10 10:37
A former Trump campaign aide appeared for hours before a federal grand jury Friday, after he defiantly insisted in a series of news interviews just days earlier that he intended to defy a subpoena in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Sam Nunberg spent more than six hours inside the federal courthouse in Washington. He declined to speak with journalists on the way in or out of the building, and it was not immediately clear what testimony he offered to the grand jury or what documents he provided.

His appearance marked a turnabout from extraordinary public statements Monday when Nunberg, in multiple interviews, balked at complying with a subpoena that sought his appearance before the grand jury as well as correspondence with other campaign officials. In doing so, he became the first witness in the Mueller probe to openly threaten to defy a subpoena.

Nunberg said he worked for hours to produce the thousands of emails and other communications requested by Mueller, who is investigating whether Donald Trump's campaign improperly coordinated with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing. His lawyers are currently negotiating the terms and scope of a possible interview with Mueller's office.


Turkish court rejects request for Greek soldiers' release
Court Watch | 2018/03/03 02:46
A Turkish court on Monday rejected lawyers' requests for two Greek soldiers arrested in Turkey to be released from custody.

The two were arrested last week for allegedly entering a Turkish military zone and on suspicion of attempted espionage. Greece said the two soldiers - a lieutenant and a sergeant - accidentally strayed into Turkey due to bad weather during a patrol of the Greek-Turkish border.

The development has added further tensions to already strained ties between the NATO allies.

Lawyers for the two Greek soldiers filed a demand Monday for their release at the court in the northwestern Turkish city of Edirne. The court however, ruled that they must remain in custody on grounds that they did not have permanent residence in Turkey and because the court was still examining the "digital data" seized from them, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Family members of the two soldiers were able to visit them in jail Monday.

Earlier in Athens, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias renewed a demand for their swift release.

"Turkey must observe procedures prescribed by international law, and not turn a routine incident into a big political and legal issue," he said.

A river marks most of the Greek-Turkish border, while a fence runs along much of the land section. However, some parts aren't clearly marked.

Relations between neighbors Greece and Turkey have soured in recent weeks over longstanding disputes about boundaries in the Aegean Sea and natural gas drilling rights off the coast of war-divided Cyprus.

Last month, a Greek coast guard vessel was rammed by a Turkish patrol boat off disputed islets in the east Aegean, and Turkish warships prevented an exploratory gas rig from drilling near Cyprus.

Turkey meanwhile, is angered by court decisions in Greece rejecting the extradition of eight Turkish servicemen wanted by Ankara for their alleged involvement in a failed military coup in 2016. The eight deny any involvement in the failed coup, and Greek courts have ruled they would be at risk of not receiving a fair trial if returned to Turkey.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag rejected speculation that Ankara could use the Greek soldiers' arrest to secure the extradition of the eight Turkish soldiers.

"The arrest of the two soldiers in Turkey is not the subject of a swap," Bozdag said. "Neither the Greek government nor the Turkish government have made a request for a swap."


Court: US anti-discrimination law covers sexual orientation
Court Watch | 2018/02/27 06:58
A New York federal appeals court says U.S. anti-discrimination law protects employees from being fired due to sexual orientation.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday. The decision stemmed from a rare meeting of the full appeals court, which decided to go against its precedents.

Three judges dissented. The ruling pertained to a skydiver instructor who said he was fired after telling a client he was gay.

The case led to two government agencies offering opposing views. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act covers sexual orientation. The Department of Justice had argued that it did not.

Donald Zarda was fired in 2010 from a skydiving job in Central Islip (EYEl-slihp), New York. He has since died.


Maldives court delays reinstating pro-opposition lawmakers
Court Watch | 2018/02/16 14:07
The Supreme Court of the Maldives delayed its order Sunday reinstating 12 pro-opposition lawmakers ahead of a key parliamentary sitting, the latest political turmoil to roil the island nation.

Opposition lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof said the government may call for important votes at a parliamentary sitting Monday to extend a state of emergency or dismiss two Supreme Court judges who have been arrested on allegations of corruption.

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's ruling party may have lost a majority in the 85-member parliament if the 12 lawmakers were to be allowed to participate Monday.

The Maldives has faced upheaval since Feb. 1, when the Supreme Court ordered the release of Yameen's imprisoned political opponents and the reinstatement of 12 lawmakers sacked after they sided with the opposition.

The prisoners include Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first president elected in a free election, who could have been Yameen's main rival in his re-election bid later this year.

After days of conflict with the judiciary, Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency and had the country's chief justice and another Supreme Court judge arrested on bribery allegations.


Kushner firm seeks court change to keep partners secret
Court Watch | 2018/02/10 05:07
The family real estate company once run by presidential adviser Jared Kushner is shifting a federal court case to a new venue so it won't have to reveal the identities of foreign partners behind some of its real estate projects.

With a deadline approaching within hours, the Kushner Cos. filed papers in federal court Friday to move the case involving Maryland apartment complexes it owns with foreign investors back to state court. A federal district court judge ruled last month that the Kushners had to identify its partners by Friday, rejecting arguments from the family company that such disclosures would violate privacy rights.

The Kushner Cos. had also argued that media coverage of the case was "politically motivated" and marked by "unfair sensationalism" given that the company was once run by Jared Kushner, now a senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump.

But the judge sided with a motion from The Associated Press and other media organizations that argued the public right to know held sway.

The case has attracted media attention because it promised a rare glimpse into how New York-based Kushner Cos. raises money for its real estate projects, revealing ties to lenders and investors who could possibly raise conflict-of-interest issues.

The fight over disclosure in federal court stems from a lawsuit that started out in Maryland state court last year on an entirely different matter. That lawsuit was brought by tenants alleging a Kushner Cos. affiliate called Westminster Management charges excessive and illegal rent for apartments. It sought class-action status for tenants in 17 apartment complexes. Westminster has said it has broken no laws and denies the charges.


Supreme Court declines gay rights work discrimination case
Court Watch | 2017/12/11 05:09
The Supreme Court is leaving in place a lower court ruling that a federal employment discrimination law doesn't protect a person against discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

The court on Monday declined to take up the question of whether a law that bars workplace discrimination "because of...sex" covers discrimination against someone because of their sexual orientation.

President Barack Obama's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took the view that it does. But President Donald Trump's administration has argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on gender but doesn't cover sexual orientation. Federal appeals courts are split on the issue. That means the issue is likely to come to the court again.

The case the Supreme Court declined to take involved Jameka Evans, a gay woman who worked as a hospital security officer in Georgia. Lower courts said she couldn't use Title VII to sue for discrimination.

The Supreme Court didn't explain why it was declining to hear the case. But the hospital where Evans worked, Georgia Regional Hospital, told the court there were technical legal problems with the case.


Idaho man upset with court tries to crash into courthouse
Court Watch | 2017/12/10 01:10
Authorities say an Idaho man tried to crash a car into a courthouse in downtown Boise because he was upset with the court system.

The Ada County Sheriff's office says 37-year-old Jonathan Joseph Locksmith drove toward the courthouse in the state's capital city Sunday morning.

According to authorities, Locksmith apparently made it onto the courthouse plaza in the car, spinning it around in a "doughnut" before landing the vehicle in a fountain. There were no injuries reported.

Locksmith has been arrested on a misdemeanor reckless driving charge and is now in jail.  It's unclear if he has an attorney.

The sheriff's office says Locksmith told a passer-by that he was upset with the court system and wanted to be arrested to go back to jail.




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