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Terror Threat: Man Warned LGBT Pride Officials He Would Bring His ‘Guns to Kill Every Gay Person I Can,’ Police Say

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An Overland, Missouri man who was accused by police of threatening to bring his guns to next weekend’s St. Louis LGBTQ Pride festival and “kill every gay person I can” is in jail.

Edward Terry, 49, was arrested Tuesday and charged with making a terrorist threat. He is being held on a $20,000 bond.

The Riverfront Times reports Terry “is accused of sending Pride an email, saying he would ‘come to pride fest with my guns to kill every gay person I can before I kill myself.'”

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell says Terry is a risk to the community and he will ask a judge to have him held without bond, CNN reports.

Terry is a registered sex offender who has a long arrest record.

Organizers of St. Louis PrideFest alerted the FBI. Prosecutors say Terry used his own cell phone to send the message via a fake email account he had created.

 

Image: St. Louis Pride. Photo by David A. Clark, Jr. via Flickr and a CC license

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‘Given My Experience’: Gaetz Waiting to ‘Render Judgment’ on Florida GOP Chair Accused of Rape

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U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz is urging his fellow Florida Republicans to wait to “render judgment” on Christian Ziegler, the Trump-endorsed state Republican Party chairman accused of rape by a woman he and his wife allegedly had a consensual sexual relationship with.

“Given my experience I tend to wait for the facts to come out before rendering judgment,” Gaetz told Florida Politics. The far-right Florida GOP lawmaker has faced both DOJ and House Ethics Committee investigations into a variety of possible crimes, among them, alleged sex trafficking, alleged sex with an under-aged girl, illicit drug use, and public corruption.

Sarasota police are reportedly investigating Florida GOP chair Christian Ziegler after a woman he has known for two decades accused him of rape. Christian’s wife, Bridget Ziegler, told police she and her husband had a consensual sexual encounter with the woman who is now his accuser.

READ MORE: The Christian Ziegler/Moms for Liberty Scandal Could Hurt Ron DeSantis

“Christian Ziegler is also alleged to have secretly videotaped the sexual encounters between the couple and the woman, sources said,” the nonpartisan Florida Center for Government Accountability reported last week.

Bridget Ziegler is an elected member of the Sarasota County School Board and a co-founder of Moms for Liberty, which is a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated extremist group that opposes LGBTQ equality and has pushed for book bans. “Although Bridget Ziegler has officially left Moms for Liberty, she also still has ties to the group, having been a featured speaker at their national summit. She also helped develop DeSantis’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill that Moms for Liberty publicly advocated in favor of,” the SPLC noted in its report on the group.

“A search warrant shows Sarasota Police have footage of Ziegler showing up at the accuser’s apartment, where she told police he came in and forced her to have sex with him,” Florida Politics reports. “Christian Ziegler to date has rebuffed calls for his resignation, including by Florida Republican leaders including Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and Florida House Speaker Paul Renner.”

Christian Ziegler on Saturday sent an email to Florida Republican Party members refusing to resign. “We have a country to save and I am not going to let false allegations of a crime put that mission on the bench as I wait for this process to wrap up,” he wrote, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

READ MORE: Speaker Mike Johnson to Be Keynote Speaker at Hardline Christian Nationalist Lawmakers’ Gala

On Thursday, Moms for Liberty posted then removed a statement supporting its co-founder, Bridget Ziegler. It later reposted the statement.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Moms for Liberty and its nationwide chapters combat what they consider the ‘woke indoctrination’ of children by advocating for book bans in school libraries and endorsing candidates for public office that align with the group’s views. They also use their multiple social media platforms to target teachers and school officials, advocate for the abolition of the Department of Education, advance a conspiracy propaganda, and spread hateful imagery and rhetoric against the LGBTQ community.”

The DOJ reportedly told Gaetz’s attorneys earlier this year he would not be prosecuted, but the House Ethics Committee reopened its investigation. Gaetz has denied all accusations.

 

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‘Simply Nonsense’: Judge Shoots Down Rudy Giuliani’s Desperate Bid to Escape Liability

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A federal judge peevishly shot down Rudy Giuliani’s last-ditch effort to avoid a jury trial in a libel suit brought by a mother-daughter pair of Georgia poll workers.

District judge Beryl Howell denied the former Donald Trump lawyer’s request by repeatedly noting that his attorney had missed deadlines in the case filed by Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, and she rejected his argument that mistakes by the pair’s counsel justified a shift from a jury trial to a bench trial.

“This is simply nonsense,” Howell wrote in a footnote to her order. “Giuliani’s counsel’s two-sentence email cited three out-of-circuit, non-binding cases, dated between thirty and nearly fifty years ago, without any express statement that Giuliani planned to seek a bench trial or that he would do so in reliance on this cited authority.”

Howell found Giuliani liable for defamation in a default judgment August and has ordered him to pay tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees for the two women, and she fined him more than $100,000 in September after he failed to comply.

The jury trial will determine Giuliani’s penalty for falsely claiming Freeman and Moss had engaged in fraudulent activities following the 2020 election, which he claimed had cost Donald Trump re-election and led to a deluge of violent threats toward the two women.

Giuliani is among 19 defendants, including Trump, who have been charged in a racketeering case in Fulton County related to efforts to overturn the ex-president’s election loss.

 

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On World AIDS Day, DOJ Says Tennessee Law Discriminates Against Those With HIV

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World AIDS Day

The Department of Justice celebrated World AIDS Day by calling out a Tennessee law that discriminates against people with HIV.

The DOJ released a report Friday that the state’s aggravated prostitution law violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. A person arrested under the aggravated prostitution law is normally changed with a misdemeanor, and faces up to six months in prison and a $500 fine. However, if the person arrested has HIV, the crime becomes a felony, and if they’re convicted, they would face between three and 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law is outdated, has no basis in science, discourages testing and further marginalizes people living with HIV,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “People living with HIV should not be treated as violent sex offenders for the rest of their lives solely because of their HIV status. The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination.”

READ MORE: Activists Arrested After AIDS Funding Protest in Kevin McCarthy’s Office

The law was originally passed in 1991. It classifies HIV-positive sex workers as violent sex offenders, according to WKRN-TV. This means that in addition to the sentence, those convicted are put on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, usually for the rest of their lives.

The DOJ advised the state—and particularly, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, which enforces the statute most frequently, the department says—to stop enforcing the law. It also calls on the state to repeal the law and remove anyone from the registry when aggravated prostitution is the only offense. If this doesn’t happen, Tennessee could face a lawsuit.

Tennessee isn’t the only state to have laws applying to only those living with HIV. In 1988, Michigan passed a law requiring those with HIV to disclose their status before sex, according to WLNS-TV. The law is still on the books, but was updated in 2019 to lift the requirement if the HIV-positive person has an undetectable viral load. The law now also requires proof that the person set out to transmit HIV.

Laws like these can work against public health efforts, according to the National Institutes of Health. The NIH says these types of laws can make people less likely to be tested for HIV, as people cannot be punished if they didn’t know their status. In addition, critics say, the laws can be used to further discriminate. A Canadian study found a disproportionate number of Black men had been charged under HIV exposure laws.

World AIDS Day was first launched in 1988 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to highlight awareness of the then-relatively new disease. The theme of the 2023 World AIDS Day is “Let Communities Lead,” calling on community leaders to end the AIDS epidemic.

Featured image by UNIS Vienna/Flickr via Creative Commons License.

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