Garden State Equality: Dharun Ravi Early Release ‘Travesty Of Justice’
Steven Goldstein, head of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s largest LGBT organization, labeled today’s early release of convicted webcam spy Dharun Ravi a “travesty of justice.” Goldstein had advocated against “throwing the book at Dharun Ravi,” but, like the majority of New Jersey residents, felt Ravi’s sentence was too lenient. Ravi first made national news after it was learned his roommate, Tyler Clementi, jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death after Ravi had secretly recorded Clementi’s private intimate encounter with a man in their Rutgers dorm room.
“Dharun Raviâ€™s walk out of jail after only 20 days is practically a Monopoly gameâ€™s ‘get out of jail free’ card â€“ a travesty of justice,” Goldstein wrote on theÂ Garden State Equality website today.
Had Ravi gotten two yearsâ€™ jail time, or a year â€“ or heck, even six months â€“any of those would have better reflected a balance of crime and punishment without vengeance for the sake of vengeance. Instead, 20 days in jail was a fleeting and repugnant non-lesson for a young man who passed up nearly every chance to show remorse.
Given our view that Raviâ€™s 20 days in jail were way too light a sentence, how do we feel about the U.S. governmentâ€™s decision not to deport him? We have opposed deportation because it would have gone to the other extreme. We are uncomfortable with the governmentâ€™s using citizenship or residency status as a weapon against someone who has spent almost his entire life in the United States.
But again, that does not take away from our bottom line: A mere 20 days in jail for Dharun Ravi, engineered by powerhouse lawyers and a publicity machine few others in his position could ever afford, is a travesty of justice. Our thoughts continue to be, and must be, with Tyler Clementiâ€™s family.
Just one month ago, Goldstein wrote:
Dharun Ravi has been sentenced to 30 days in jail. We have been public in taking a position of balance: We opposed throwing the book at Dharun Ravi. We have spoken out against giving him the maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and against deporting him. That would have been vengeance beyond punishment and beyond sending a message to the rest of society.
But we have similarly rejected the other extreme that Ravi should have gotten no jail time at all, and todayâ€™s sentencing is closer to that extreme than the other. This was not merely a childhood prank gone awry. This was not a crime without bias.
Remember that Ravi had messaged his motivation in violating Tylerâ€™s privacy: â€œI saw him making out with a dude. Yay.â€ Remember that before Tyler took his life, Ravi messaged a friend: â€œKeep the gays away.â€ And remember that because Ravi had tampered with evidence, his post-facto messages to Tyler that he, Ravi, had no problem with gay people understandably lost their credibility to the jury.
Dharun Ravi wasnâ€™t convicted of a bias crime unfairly. Dharun Ravi was convicted of a bias crime because his own words broadcast anti-gay animus to Tyler Clementi and the world.
The L.A. Times adds:
The executive director of another organization,Â Campus Pride, which is a national nonprofit working to make colleges and campuses safer for LGBT students, issued a statement saying he was “deeply disappointed and remains conflicted over the punishment in this case.”
Shane Windmeyer said he hopes that schools nationwide have learned something from the tragic case: “Colleges and universities across the country need to take greater accountability for the safety of LGBT students and actively discourage the bystander behaviors that attributed to this tragedy.”
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Debt Ceiling: McCarthy Faces ‘Lingering Anger’ and a Possible Revolt as Far-Right House Members Start Issuing Threats
As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to negotiate a deal to avoid a debt crisis, members of the far-right Freedom Caucus are growing furious with him over broken promises he made to them.
According to MSNBC political analyst Steve Benen, with a slim GOP majority in the House, McCarthy is walking a tightrope to get a budget deal passed and may need help from House Democrats if members of his caucus refuse to go along with him.
As Benen points out, in order to win the speakership McCarthy agreed to an easier path for a motion to “vacate the chair” which could end his tenure as Speaker. That could come into play if the Freedom Caucus stages a revolt.
“… as the negotiations approach an apparent finish line, the House Republicans’ most radical faction is learning that it isn’t likely to get everything its members demanded — and for the Freedom Caucus, that’s not going to work,” he wrote in his MSNBC column.
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Citing a Washington Times report that stated, “[Freedom Caucus members] want everything from the debt limit bill passed by the House last month plus several new concessions from the White House,” Benen suggested far-right House Republicans are now issuing veiled threats.
In an interview, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) stated, “I am going to have to go have some blunt conversations with my colleagues and the leadership team. I don’t like the direction they are headed.”
With Politico reporting, “The [House Freedom Caucus] was already unlikely to support a final bipartisan deal, but lingering anger with Kevin McCarthy could have lasting implications on his speakership,” Benen added, “If this is simply a matter of lingering ill-will from members who come to believe that GOP leaders ‘caved,’ the practical consequences might be limited. But let’s also not forget that McCarthy, while begging his own members for their support during his protracted fight for the speaker’s gavel, agreed to tweak the motion-to-vacate-the-chair rules, which at least in theory, would make it easier for angry House Republicans to try to oust McCarthy from his leadership position.”
Adding the caveat that he is not predicting an imminent McCarthy ouster he added, “But if the scope of the Freedom Caucus’ discontent reaches a fever pitch, a hypothetical deal clears thanks to significant Democratic support, don’t be surprised if we all start hearing the phrase ‘vacate the chair” a lot more frequently.”
Prosecutors Tell Trump They Have a Recording of Him and a Witness: Report
Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial have notified the ex-president’s attorneys they have a recording of him and a witness. The notification comes in the form of an automatic discovery form, CBS News reports, which “describes the nature of the charges against a defendant and a broad overview of the evidence that prosecutors will present at Trump’s preliminary hearing or at trial.”
CBS reports prosecutors have handed the recording over to Trump’s legal team.
It’s not known who the witness is, nor are any details known publicly about what the conversation entails, or even if it is just audio or if it includes video.
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According to the article’s author, CBS News’ Graham Kates, via Twitter, prosecutors say they also have recordings between two witnesses, a recording between a witness and a third party, and various recordings saved on a witness’s cell phones.
Manhattan prosecutors disclosed to Trump a recording of him and a witness in his criminal case. pic.twitter.com/EIz3bvpEkj
— Graham Kates (@GrahamKates) May 26, 2023
Trump is facing 34 felony counts in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case related to his allegedly unlawful attempt to hide hush money payoffs to a well-known porn star by falsifying business records to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.
See the discovery form above or at this link.
Image via Shutterstock
‘Likely to Be Indicted Soon’: Trump Might Face Seven Different Felonies, Government Watchdog Says
It’s no secret the U.S. Dept. of Justice is investigating Donald Trump for his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and for his likely unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of documents with classified and top secret markings.
Earlier this week Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal reported, “Special counsel Jack Smith has all but finished obtaining testimony and other evidence in his criminal investigation into whether former President Donald Trump mishandled classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.”
And while it’s unknown if or when Trump will be indicted, a government watchdog says the ex-president who is once again staging a White House run is “likely to be indicted soon.” The organization is offering details on what it claims could be seven felony charges he might face.
“The next criminal charges former President Donald Trump may face could well come from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s possession of nearly 300 classified documents — including some marked as top secret — at his Mar-a-Lago residence and business in the year and a half after he left office,” Betsy Schick and Debra Perlin of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) state in a lengthy report published Friday.
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“While Fani Willis’ Fulton County, Georgia investigation into election interference continues, as does a federal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and Alvin Bragg has already indicted Trump in New York for his role in false statements connected to hush money payments to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) during the 2016 presidential campaign, an indictment by Smith in the Mar-a-Lago investigation would yield the first federal charges against the former president,” CREW notes.
“Trump may face charges ranging from obstruction of justice and criminal contempt to conversion of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material.”
Here is a list of “possible crimes” Trump might be charged with, according to CREW:
Obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C. § 1519)
Criminal contempt (18 U.S.C. § 402)
False statements to federal authorities (18 U.S.C. § 1001)
Conversion of government property (18 U.S.C. § 641)
Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material (18 U.S.C. § 1924)
Removing and concealing government records (18 U.S.C. § 2071)
Gathering national defense information (18 U.S.C. § 793(e))
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CREW also offers that Trump’s attorneys may try to argue several different defenses, including:
No “knowing” removal
Deference to the intelligence community
Challenging the constitutionality of the Special Counsel regulations
Additionally, several reports this week also appear to suggest an indictment might be coming, and soon.
Citing a Washington Post report published Thursday, several top legal experts are predicting DOJ will charge Donald Trump, and those charges will include obstruction and violations of the Espionage Act.
Earlier this week NYU School of Law professor of law Ryan Goodman said Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith had struck “gold” after obtaining the contemporaneous notes of a Trump attorney who counseled the ex-president on his possibly unlawful handling of classified documents.
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