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‘Unlawful Attempt to Stigmatize, Silence, and Erase LGBTQ People’: Equality Florida Sues DeSantis Over ‘Don’t Say Gay’

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Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is the leading defendant in a massive 80-page lawsuit by Equality Florida against the “Don’t Say Gay” law he signed this week. Roberta Kaplan, one of the nation’s top civil rights lawyers, who successfully argued the Supreme Court case that effectively overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),  is the lead attorney on the case.

“Florida House Bill 1557 (widely known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law) is an unlawful attempt to stigmatize, silence, and erase LGBTQ people in Florida’s public schools. It seeks to do so by imposing a sweeping, vague ban covering any instruction on ‘sexual orientation and gender identity,’ and by constructing a diffuse enforcement scheme designed to maximize the chilling effect of this prohibition,” the lawsuit begins.

“Through H.B. 1557, Florida would deny to an entire generation that LGBTQ people exist and have equal dignity. This effort to control young minds through state censorship—and to demean LGBTQ lives by denying their reality—is a grave abuse of power. The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that LGBTQ people and families are at home in our constitutional order. The State of Florida has no right to declare them outcasts, or to treat their allies as outlaws, by punishing schools where someone dares to affirm their identity and dignity,” it continues.

The lawsuit, first reported by Reuters legal columnist Alison Frankel, cites both the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It also blasts DeSantis and his far-right press secretary, Christina Pushaw.

“Governor DeSantis also made clear that the bill’s limitation on ‘sexual instruction’ does not apply to instruction on heterosexuality and cisgender identities. Rather, he asked rhetorically, ‘How many parents want their kids to have transgenderism or something injected into classroom instruction?'”

“Governor DeSantis’s press secretary, Christine Pushaw, confirmed this understanding. She called H.B. 1557 an ‘Anti-Grooming Bill’ and said that ‘If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children.’ Charitably read, Pushaw’s statement implied that even discussing LGBTQ issues or acknowledging LGBTQ people’s existence entices students to ‘become’ LGBTQ; less charitably and perhaps more accurately read, it is a gross assertion that school personnel who discuss LGBTQ issues with students are akin to molesters.”

The lawsuit asks the court to block the implementation and enforcement of HB1557, the “Don’t Say Gay” law, damages, and other costs.

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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‘Not Going to Comment’: Johnson Dodges Trump-Stormy Daniels Allegations

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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is refusing to comment on the allegations at the center of Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial, that he paid “hush money” to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

“You’ve been very clear about your disdain for the hush money case, but what about the underlying alleged conduct of paying off a porn star to keep this extramarital affair allegedly quiet?” CNN’s Manu Raju asked Speaker Johnson Wednesday (video below). “You’re a deeply religious man, a moral man, does that alleged crime cause you any concern about the former president’s character?”

Johnson, a Christian nationalist who has said the Bible is the basis for his “worldview,” and, “I am a Bible-believing Christian,” would not weigh in on the indicted ex-president’s alleged infidelity.

“At least 26 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, with allegations stretching back to the 1970s and running through 2016,” Business Insider has reported.

READ MORE: ‘Deeply Dangerous’: Critics Slam Trump and Allies Over False Biden Assassination Plot

“Melania gave birth to the couple’s only son, Barron, in March 2006,” BI continues. “Adult film star Stormy Daniels alleged that she and Trump had a sexual encounter just four months later, in July 2006,” and “Playboy model Karen McDougal alleged that she started an affair with Trump even closer to the birth of Barron in June 2006.”

Trump has denied all the allegations.

Johnson ignored the 34 felony charges brought by the State of New York. They include falsification of business records with the intent to cover up the hush money payments to unlawfully influence the 2016 presidential election.

Instead, the Speaker claimed District Attorney Alvin Bragg is “going after” Trump “for who he is.”

But Johnson also promoted a Trump talking point, falsely claiming that “the case is patently absurd, you’ve had every legal analyst across the board acknowledge as much.”

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Not an Accident’: Trump’s ‘Unified Reich’ Video Alarms Historians and Fascism Experts

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‘Deeply Dangerous’: Critics Slam Trump and Allies Over False Biden Assassination Plot

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Donald Trump and his allies are falsely claiming President Joe Biden, the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had a plot to assassinate his top political rival, the ex-president, during the execution of a search warrant in 2022 at Mar-a-Lago. Critics, including law enforcement experts, are blasting Trump and his MAGA associates for the “dangerous” lie.

On Tuesday a U.S. District Judge unsealed court documents in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Espionage Act case against Trump where he faces 40 felony counts, most over his alleged unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return classified documents including some of the nation’s top nuclear secrets.

One of those filings, as The Washington Post reported, was a law enforcement documents that included a standard statement reminding FBI agents on the Bureau’s policy on the use of deadly force, “which says officers may resort to lethal force only when the subject of such force poses an ‘imminent danger of death or serious physical injury’ to an officer or another person.”

But on Tuesday, Trump explosively posted on Truth Social, “WOW! I just came out of the Biden Witch Hunt Trial in Manhattan, the ‘Icebox,’ and was shown Reports that Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ, in their Illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE. NOW WE KNOW, FOR SURE, THAT JOE BIDEN IS A SERIOUS THREAT TO DEMOCRACY. HE IS MENTALLY UNFIT TO HOLD OFFICE — 25TH AMENDMENT!”

READ MORE: Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

Later, in a fundraising email Trump went much further.

“They were authorized to shoot me!” the subject line reads, according to an archive of political emails.

“TRUMP ALERT,” it begins. “BREAKING FROM TRUMP: BIDEN’S DOJ WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME!”

“You know they’re just itching to do the unthinkable… Joe Biden was locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.”

Attorney and former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa observed, “Including the deadly force policy [in] an ops plan is SOP [standard operating procedure]. But just so I make sure I’m following the plot, according to Trump’s position in court, what he is accusing Biden of would be perfectly legal and within the scope of his ‘official’ powers, right?”

Trump repeatedly has insisted presidents must have complete and total “absolute immunity.” His attorneys have argued in federal court and before the U.S. Supreme Court a president could order Seal Team Six to assassinate his political rival and it would be lawful, as was noted here:

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was among the top allies who falsely characterized the court filing.

“The Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate Pres Trump and gave the green light,” she posted to her official federal government account on X. “Does everyone get it yet???!!!! What are Republicans going to do about it?”

She also wrote: “This is grounds for impeachment of Wray and Garland. Trump and team was cooperating the entire time with the FBI,” Greene claimed, both of which are false.

READ MORE: ‘Incomprehensible’: More Classified Docs Were Found at Mar-a-Lago, Unsealed Court Filing Reveals

“Was deadly force authorized against Biden for his docs? Were they going to shoot SS then Pres Trump, Melania, and Barron too??? Speaker Mike Johnson fully funded the DOJ and FBI plus new building and tied our hands behind our backs to hold them accountable. We have the power of the purse and Johnson has handed the purse to Chuck Schumer. All of this is unforgivable.”

Fox News Business host Maria Bartiromo also promoted the false claims Wednesday morning:

NBC News’ Ryan Reilly mockingly explained the situation: “GOP members of Congress think the feds wanted to assassinate Trump and so they did a raid on his place in Florida when they knew him to be in New Jersey because Mar-A-Lago was closed for the season.”

Meanwhile, critics are sounding the alarm on Trump’s and the GOP’s lies.

“This is wildly irresponsible, even for professional troll like Marjorie Taylor Greene,” wrote conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg. “FBI knew Trump wasn’t there. It was all coordinated with Secret Service in advance. This is deeply dangerous bullshit.”

“Trump wasn’t there,” said talk radio host Joe Walsh, a former GOP U.S. Congressman, responding to U.S. Rep. Greene’s remarks. “Everything was coordinated with Secret Service & local law enforcement. Even for you, this is a deeply irresponsible and dangerous thing to say.”

David Axelrod, the former top Obama strategist and White House advisor, remarked, “This is patently nuts…and dangerously provocative!”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Wack Pack’: Questions Swirl Over ‘Trump Uniforms’ and Who’s Funding ‘Weird’ Trial Surrogates

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Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

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An unnamed witness, reportedly an adviser to Donald Trump, scanned the contents of a box that had contained classified documents, and saved those digital files to her laptop, which belongs to a political action committee which pays Donald Trump’s legal expenses.

The stunning revelation was tucked away in the footnote of an 87-page court document unsealed by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell on Tuesday, in response to a separate filing in which Trump’s attorneys are claiming prosecutorial misconduct, according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney who reported the details.

The filing revealed that at least four more classified documents had been found at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and resort, in his bedroom, even after FBI agents executed and completed a search warrant months earlier, in August of 2022.

Judge Howell, Politico reports, “noted that [a] Trump adviser connected to his Save America PAC had acknowledged scanning the contents of the box that contained the classified materials in 2021 and storing them on a personal laptop provided by the PAC.”

READ MORE: Republican Calls for Economic ‘Shut Down’ While Accusing Biden of Marxist Agenda

In the footnote Judge Howell writes, “on January 6, 2023, the former president’s counsel informed the government that, in 2021, WITNESS scanned the contents of the box—produced on January 5, 2023, and previously containing classified documents—onto a laptop in her possession owned by the Save America Political Action Committee (‘PAC’), a PAC formed by the former president in 2020. … The former president’s counsel saved those scans onto a thumb drive and provided the thumb drive to the government that day.”

Axios adds: “A witness scanned the contents of the box containing the classified materials and stored them on a laptop in her possession owned by Trump’s Save America PAC, according to a footnote in the opinion.”

The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell, pointing to the Politico report, adds: “This was the incident where Trump aide Chamberlain Harris — known as ROTUS, short for Receptionist of the United States — scanned and uploaded classified docs onto her laptop … Guardian reported this contemporaneously last year, as did CNN.”

Lowell also pointed to The Guardian’s report.

The Save America PAC according to Open Secrets, raised well over $108 million in the 2021-2022 cycle, and spent over $121 million. In the 2023-2024 cycle, the PAC has raised over $76 million, and spent well over $85 million.

“Since leaving office, former president Trump has been involved in an array of criminal and civil litigation — some that relate to his campaigns and presidency and some that do not. To cover the enormous legal bills, estimated at more than $100 million, he has turned to his political action committees (PACs), essentially having campaign donors pay costs for which he would otherwise be on the hook personally,” the Brennan Center for Justice reported earlier this month.

READ MORE: ‘Not an Accident’: Trump’s ‘Unified Reich’ Video Alarms Historians and Fascism Experts

“Following his 2020 election loss, Trump received more than $250 million in donations from supporters to fuel an ‘election defense fund.’ He divided that money between two campaign entities: his 2020 presidential campaign committee, which he subsequently converted into a freestanding PAC called Make America Great Again (MAGA) PAC, and a second entity called Save America PAC, which is a so-called ‘leadership PAC‘ (a type of PAC that a federal candidate can establish for the ostensible purpose of supporting other candidates).”

National security attorney Brad Moss on Tuesday, commenting on Politico’s report of the additional classified documents at Mar-a-Lago wrote: “Reminder that the MAL docs case was and will always have been the cleanest, most straightforward criminal prosecution of the four against the former president. That the public won’t see it brought to fruition before they go to the voting booth is a stain on the judicial system.”

This article has been updated with the details from The Guardian’s Lowell.

 

 

 

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