judge Rules

Judge Rules on Request to Expose Meghan’s Friends – Newser


The Duchess of Sussex received a day-late birthday present Wednesday when a High Court judge ruled that the identifies of five friends who defended her last year will remain secret—at least for now. The issue is part of Meghan Markle’s lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail on Sunday, which published portions of Markle’s private letter to her father in February 2019, per ABC News. Thomas Markle said he shared the letter to set the record straight after one of Meghan’s friends referred to it while speaking anonymously to People. Five friends who’d defended the duchess to People then had their names included in a confidential court document. Associated Newspapers argued their identities should be made public as they are “important potential witnesses on a key issue.”

But Markle said the paper was “threatening to publish the names of five women—five private citizens—who made a choice on their own to speak anonymously with a US media outlet … to defend me from the bullying behavior of Britain’s tabloid media.” “These five women are not on trial, and nor am I,” she said in a witness statement, adding the paper was trying “to create a circus and distract from the point of this case.” Her lawyers further argued that exposing the friends’ names was an “unacceptable price to pay” for pursuing legal action over the publication of portions of a private letter and that the women had “a basic right to privacy,” per the Guardian. Justice Mark Warby ruled Wednesday that the friends’ identities will remain secret “for the time being at least.” A trial date has not been set. (Read more Meghan Markle stories.)

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Judge rules to unseal documents in 2015 case against Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged accomplice – CNN

(CNN)A federal judge ruled on Thursday to publicly release documents that have been kept under seal in a case involving Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s one-time girlfriend and alleged accomplice.

US District Judge Loretta Preska verbally unsealed the documents in a ruling held via teleconference. She is giving Maxwell’s legal team a week to pursue an appeal to her decision but ordered the court to have the documents ready to be posted “within a week.”
The documents are connected to a 2015 defamation case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed Epstein sexually abused her while she was a minor and that Maxwell aided in the abuse. The case was settled in 2017.
Included in the now unsealed documents are Maxwell’s 2016 deposition related to the lawsuit in which she denies knowing if Epstein had a scheme to recruit underage girls for sex. Other documents include emails and depositions by others, including Giuffre and anonymous women who also claim to have been abused by Epstein.
Preska ruled that several medical records included in the court filings will remain sealed. In addition, she noted that the multiple anonymous women — “Jane Does” who accused Epstein of abuse but have not publicly spoken out — will continue to have their identities redacted in the documents.
In her ruling, she said that the public’s right to have access to the information carried heavier weight than the “annoyance or embarrassment” to Maxwell.
“In the context of this case, especially its allegations of sex trafficking of young girls, the court finds any minor embarrassment or annoyance resulting from Ms. Maxwell’s mostly non-testimony … is far outweighed by the presumption of public access,” she said.
Maxwell, 58, was charged by federal prosecutors in early July for allegedly helping recruit, groom and ultimately sexually abuse minors as young as 14 as part of a years-long criminal enterprise with Epstein. She pleaded not guilty and was ordered jailed pending trial.
Parts of the deposition were unsealed last August, a day before Epstein killed himself in his jail cell while awaiting trial for allegedly running a sex-trafficking enterprise.
The charges against Maxwell, which came almost exactly a year after Epstein’s arrest, also include two counts of perjury for comments she made during a legal deposition in April and July 2016 as part of the defamation case.
During the deposition, Maxwell denied having given anyone a massage, specifically denied having given Minor Victim-2 a massage and said, “I wasn’t aware that (Epstein) was having sexual activities with anyone when I was with him other than myself.”
Asked whether Epstein had a “scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages,” she replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

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New York judge gives Trump deadline in lawsuit over tax returns following major Supreme Court ruling – The Washington Post

NEW YORK — A federal judge in Manhattan has given lawyers for President Trump a Wednesday deadline to say whether he will further challenge a subpoena for his tax documents, part of an ongoing investigation by local prosecutors here into hush money payments made during the 2016 election season.

The order by U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero follows Thursday’s highly anticipated Supreme Court ruling in favor of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who had been seeking the president’s tax records as part of a probe into the Trump Organization’s role in the payments. In its ruling, the high court said Trump did not have “absolute immunity” from the state court-level criminal subpoena.

Trump could, however, further contest the grand jury subpoena outside of the presidential immunity question. The subpoena was issued Aug. 29 and has been tied up in appeals as part of a lawsuit brought by Trump since shortly thereafter.

“We will respond as appropriate,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said after Marrero’s order Friday setting July 15 as the deadline by which the parties must say if there will be additional legal challenges.

Marrero, in the two-page order, also scheduled a phone conference for Thursday to discuss future proceedings, should the litigation continue.

Vance is investigating whether the Trump Organization falsified business records to conceal alleged payoffs in exchange for silence made ahead of the 2016 election to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump years ago. Trump has denied the allegations.

Lawyers from Vance’s office previously argued that delays could jeopardize their ability to file charges if any are warranted. The statute of limitations for a misdemeanor falsifying business records count has already passed, and the five-year deadline by which to bring a felony-level case is approaching.

In public filings, lawyers for Vance’s office said the records requested “relate to business and financial matters unrelated to any official acts” of the president “and are primarily from the time-period before [Trump] assumed that office.”

A spokesman for Vance declined to comment Friday.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court shot down Trump’s argument that, as president, he is immune from legal action on a local level and from investigations conducted by Congress. In its Trump v. Vance ruling, the court sent the cases back to lower courts, where, the justices said, Trump also could challenge the specifics of Vance’s inquiry. The ruling said Vance had the authority to look into Trump’s personal and business financial records.

Trump’s lawsuit tried to block Vance from being able to subpoena the president’s tax records from his accounting firm, Mazars USA, arguing that he was immune from facing criminal charges in a local court while in office — a claim his personal attorneys have also made in a set of lawsuits pending in New York.

Vance, who called the landmark ruling “a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice,” has been investigating whether the Trump Organization doctored records to conceal hush money payments to two women during Trump’s 2016 campaign. One of the women is outspoken pornography actress Stormy Daniels.

The payments were made by Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and adviser Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to charges related to campaign finance fraud and tax evasion. Cohen, who had been allowed to serve the remainder of his prison term at home due to coronavirus concerns, was returned to federal custody this week due to a dispute over his home confinement conditions.

Trump could raise a host of new challenges to the Mazars USA subpoena. Details of his tax filings, which he has staunchly refused to release to the public voluntarily as sitting presidents have traditionally done, are not likely to be made public in any fashion before November’s election as both challenges are expected to face further litigation.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing the majority opinion in the 7-to-2 ruling in Trump v. Vance, wrote that the public was entitled to “every man’s evidence,” which “since the earliest days of the Republic” has “included the President of the United States.”

Robert Barnes contributed to this report.

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judge Orders

Judge Orders ICE To Free Detained Immigrant Children Because Of COVID-19 – NPR

Immigrants seeking asylum hold hands as they leave a cafeteria at the ICE South Texas Family Residential Center. Independent inspectors told the judge that COVID-19 tests at the centers and the infection rates in the counties where the Texas facilities are located are cause for concern.

Eric Gay/AP

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Eric Gay/AP

Immigrants seeking asylum hold hands as they leave a cafeteria at the ICE South Texas Family Residential Center. Independent inspectors told the judge that COVID-19 tests at the centers and the infection rates in the counties where the Texas facilities are located are cause for concern.

Eric Gay/AP

Citing the unrelenting spread of the coronavirus, a federal judge has ordered that all children currently held in ICE custody for more than 20 days must be released by July 17.

Judge Dolly Gee of California issued the scathing order Friday afternoon saying the Trump administration had failed to provide even the most basic health protections for children and their families amid the pandemic.

She described the ICE-operated facilities as being “on fire,” adding that “there is no more time for half measures.”

“Although progress has been made, the Court is not surprised that COVID19 has arrived at both the [Family Residential Centers] and [Office of Refugee Resettlement] facilities, as health professionals have warned all along,” Gee wrote.

The order applies to all three of the family detention facilities in the U.S. Two are located in Texas and a third is in Pennsylvania, as well as shelters housing unaccompanied minors.

As of June 25, at least 11 people at a family detention center in Karnes City, Texas, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to an independent report filed with the court. Four employees at another facility in Dilley — about 90 miles away — have also tested positive for the respiratory illness, and test results for residents there remain pending.

Meanwhile, an independent monitor and a physician who inspected ICE’s family detention centers reported earlier this month that given the infection rates in the counties where the Texas facilities are located, there is “even more cause for concern.”

Court documents show that as of June 8 there were 124 children in the three detention centers housed alongside family members. Another 507 children were in ORR shelters as of June 7.

The order essentially forces ICE to adhere to existing laws established in the Flores Settlement Agreement, which limits how long minors can be held in ICE custody.

Holly Cooper, co-director of the University of California, Davis Immigration Law Clinic and one of the lawyers representing Flores agreement class members, is elated by the latest ruling.

She says Gee’s decision could lead to the long-awaited the release of entire families. Some of whom have been living in which she called “horrific conditions” for more than a year.

Until now, ICE has been reluctant to release children held in family detention centers “because in order to do it in a humane way, they have to release the child with a parent,” Cooper said.

Instead, the Trump administration has offered families a binary choice: stay together in detention or allow the children to be transferred to a sponsor or family member somewhere in the U.S.

The problem is “ICE makes a real horrible guardian of children … and so far ICE has opted to keep children detained … during a global pandemic,” Cooper said.

But now, under pressure of the looming July 17 deadline, Cooper said, “What we’re hoping is that ICE will do the humane thing, and not separate any child from their parents because that’s what the children want. That’s what our class members want. That’s what the advocates want. That’s what the parents want.”

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Queens judge tosses Trump family request to block publication of niece’s tell-all – CBS News

Melania Trump and “The Art of Her Deal”

Washington — A New York City judge on Thursday tossed out a request filed by President Trump’s younger brother that sought to block publication of a tell-all book written by the president’s niece, Mary Trump, set to hit shelves next month.

Judge Peter Kelly of the Queens County Surrogate’s Court said in his four-page ruling that the court lacks the jurisdiction to grant the request from Mr. Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, to halt the book’s release, as any relief should instead be obtained through action in the New York State Supreme Court.

Kelly said Robert Trump’s requests contained “several improprieties” and that his court is the “improper” forum for the request.

Theodore Boutrous, who is representing Mary Trump in the dispute, praised the decision, saying in a statement the request by the Trump family to stop publication was “baseless.”

“We hope this decision will end the matter,” Boutrous said. “Democracy thrives on the free exchange of ideas, and neither this court nor any other has authority to violate the Constitution by imposing a prior restraint on core political speech.” 

Charles Harder, who is representing Robert Trump, said in a statement that he “will proceed with filing a new lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court.”

The book by Mary Trump, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” is set to be published July 28 by o be published by Simon & Schuster, a division of ViacomCBS. The publisher describes the book as a “revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him.” Mary Trump is the daughter of Mr. Trump’s older brother, Fred Trump Jr., who died more than 30 years ago.

Earlier this week, Robert Trump filed a request with the Queens County Surrogate’s Court to block publication of Mary Trump’s book, claiming it would violate the terms of a nondisclosure agreement signed by the Trump family, including the president, his siblings, Mary Trump and his nephew Fred Trump III. The confidentiality agreement was part of probate proceedings in the estate of Mr. Trump’s father, Fred C. Trump, and mother, Mary Trump.

Harder said Robert Trump filed the matter in the Queens County Surrogate’s Court because he and and the family “agreed to jurisdiction of future disputes” there.

According to The Daily Beast, Mary Trump is expected to reveal in the book that she was a source for the New York Times in its bombshell investigation into Mr. Trump’s finances.

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Judge rejects Trump administration request to block John Bolton’s book – New York Post

June 20, 2020 | 11:09am | Updated June 20, 2020 | 1:28pm

A federal judge has denied a request by the Trump administration to halt the publication of a new memoir by former national security adviser John Bolton.

Team Trump had argued the book should be halted because it includes classified information. US District Judge Royce Lamberth disagreed in his decision, handed down Saturday.

“While Bolton’s unilateral conduct raises grave national security concerns, the government has not established that an injunction is an appropriate remedy,” Lamberth wrote.

“With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe — many in newsrooms — the damage is done. There is no restoring the status quo,” the judge wrote.

Though the judge handed Bolton a partial victory, he noted the White House was likely to ultimately win the case, and slammed the former ambassador for pushing the book through to his publisher before the government had completed its security review.

“Bolton was wrong,” noting Bolton “stands to lose his profits from the book deal, exposes himself to criminal liability, and imperils national security.”

Bolton, who served from April 2018 to September 2019, gives a brutally critical account of the Trump administration.

Revelations that include an accusation that Trump tried to get Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win reelection with strategic purchases of US agricultural products, have already begun to leak out. Bolton also accused the president of being “stunningly uninformed on how to run the White House.”

Though he lost the case, President Trump spun the court decision as a win for his administration.

“BIG COURT WIN against Bolton. Obviously, with the book already given out and leaked to many people and the media, nothing the highly respected Judge could have done about stopping it…BUT, strong & powerful statements & rulings on MONEY & on BREAKING CLASSIFICATION were made… Bolton broke the law and has been called out and rebuked for so doing, with a really big price to pay. He likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them. Now he will have bombs dropped on him!” Trump said.

Earlier, as he has with past aides who have penned critical accounts of their White House work, Trump offered a blistering attack of the new book online.

“Wacko John Bolton’s “exceedingly tedious”(New York Times) book is made up of lies & fake stories. Said all good about me, in print, until the day I fired him. A disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war. Never had a clue, was ostracized & happily dumped. What a dope!” he said in a Thursday tweet.

Bolton’s lawyers bristled at the notion their client had flouted his “contractual prepublication obligation” to the government, noting in a statement to The Post, “The full story of these events has yet to be told—but it will be.”

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Judge Pirro: The Michael Flynn case has become an ‘absurdity’ – Fox News

Judge Jeanine Pirro said on Friday that former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s case has become an “absurdity,” reacting to Judge Emmet Sullivan being accused of exceeding his power for attempting to block federal prosecutors from dismissing Flynn case.

“The absurdity of this is the fact that the judge, in this case, Emmet Sullivan, envisions himself as someone who is beyond the Constitution,” the host of “Justice with Judge Jeanine” told “Fox & Friends.”

Pirro said that Article Two of the Constitution makes clear that the executive branch has the authority to enforce the laws, and Article Three makes clear that a case fraught with controversy calls for the intervention of the courts.

“Right now, there is no controversy,” Pirro said.

“Imagine if you’re just a viewer and you’re suing your contractor and you have already agreed on something and the judge has said, ‘Well that’s not enough.’ And you say to the judge, ‘Look, we don’t want to go forward anymore’ and the judge says, ‘Well, I want to know why?’”

“That’s none of your business, judge, the parties don’t care,” Pirro said


Flynn‘s attorneys are arguing in a new court filing that Judge Sullivan “exceeded his power” and has no right to block federal prosecutors from dismissing the case.

Flynn asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to force Sullivan to drop the case, requesting a writ of mandamus in which a higher court orders a lower court judge to perform his or her duties.

“Respondent is not in the Executive branch and, being an Article III judge, has no authority to gin up his own case or controversy where none exists,” Flynn’s legal team said in a court filing Thursday, claiming that prosecutors have the authority to decide whether to dismiss a case, even when the defendant has already pleaded guilty. “The game is over and this Court should order the umpire to leave the field.”

Sullivan has called into question the circumstances of the Justice Department’s decision to drop the case after Flynn had already pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, and called for third parties to submit briefs to arguing against the government and to weigh in on whether Flynn should be charged with perjury for now claiming he is innocent.

Retired judge John Gleeson and the House Judiciary Committee have already filed briefs claiming that the circumstances surrounding the DOJ’s motion to dismiss are suspect, but Flynn’s lawyers claim that it is far from unusual for defendants to be exonerated after guilty pleas.


Pirro said that Sullivan is insisting to continue forward with the case.

“This judge is insisting and he’s got his pal, former Judge John Gleeson, to come out and say there has got to be wrongdoing here,” Pirro said.

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Judge Rules that Oregon Virus Restrictions are Invalid –

This article is republished here with permission from The Associated Press. This content is shared here because the topic may interest Snopes readers; it does not, however, represent the work of Snopes fact-checkers or editors.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A judge in rural Oregon on Monday tossed out statewide coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, saying she didn’t seek the Legislature’s approval to extend the stay-at-home orders beyond a 28-day limit.

Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff issued his opinion in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by 10 churches around Oregon that argued the state’s social-distancing directives were unconstitutional.

Brown filed paperwork within hours seeking an emergency review by the Oregon Supreme Court and a hold on the ruling until the high court could take it up. Her attorneys had asked the judge to stay his ruling until that time, but he declined.

In a statement, Brown said: “The science behind these executive orders hasn’t changed one bit. Ongoing physical distancing, staying home as much as possible, and wearing face coverings will save lives across Oregon.”

In a seven-page opinion, Shirtcliff wrote that the damage to Oregonians and their livelihood was greater than the dangers presented by the coronavirus. He also noted that other businesses deemed essential, such as grocery stores, had been allowed to remain open even with large numbers of people present and have relied on masks, social distancing and other measures to protect the public.

“The governor’s orders are not required for public safety when plaintiffs can continue to utilize social distancing and safety protocols at larger gatherings involving spiritual worship,” he wrote.

Courts in other states have ruled against similar orders. The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order last week, ruling that his administration overstepped its authority when it extended the order for another month without consulting legislators.

A federal judge in North Carolina on Saturday sided with conservative Christian leaders and blocked the enforcement of restrictions that Gov. Roy Cooper ordered affecting indoor religious services during the pandemic.

The order from Judge James C. Dever III came days after two churches, a minister and a Christian revival group filed a federal lawsuit seeking to immediately block enforcement of rules covering religious services within the Democratic governor’s executive orders.

In Louisiana, however, a federal judge refused a minister’s request to temporarily halt Gov. John Bel Edwards’ stay-at-home order, which expired that same day.

The ruling in Oregon turns on the legal mechanism Brown used to issue her orders. The plaintiffs allege — and the judge agreed — that they were issued under a statute pertaining to public health emergencies, not an older provision that addresses natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes or floods.

The public health statute contains the 28-day time limit, while the other would give Brown broader powers but is not relevant in the current situation, said Kevin Mannix, who is representing business owners in the case.

California, Washington state and New York — other states where governors have repeatedly extended coronavirus restrictions — give their governors more power in public health emergencies, but Oregon law puts a specific clock on those “extraordinary powers,” he said.

“Maybe other states will take a lesson from us in the future about what to do about public health emergencies,” Mannix said. “We’ve thought about it, we’ve balanced the powers of the governor with the powers of the people and their representatives.”

Brown declared a statewide state of emergency due to the virus on March 8 and has issued multiple executive orders since then, including the closure of all schools, non-essential businesses and a ban on dine-in service at restaurants and bars.

Earlier this month, Brown extended the order another 60 days until July 6. All but a handful of Oregon counties, however, got the state’s approval to begin loosening those restrictions last Friday.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum urged residents to abide by the stay-at-home orders while the ruling is appealed.

“We will argue that the judge erred in his construction of the relevant statutes and that he abused his discretion in issuing the preliminary injunction,” she said in a statement. “We will also be asking for an immediate stay of his order.”

The top Republican in the Oregon House applauded the judge’s ruling but cautioned people to continue to follow federal guidelines so as not to undo the progress the state has made against the virus.

“This ruling will be appealed but the need for the governor to create the least possible harm in the exercise of extraordinary power remains, “she said. “There has been no accountability throughout this emergency declaration, until now.”

Attorney Ray Hacke, who represented the plaintiffs in the case, said the ruling was a vindication not just for freedom of religion, but for all freedoms of people in the state.

“Praise God. I’m excited, and I’m glad that the judge saw that there are limitations on the governor’s power, even in the midst of emergencies,” he said. “If people want to get their haircut, they can. They can leave their home for any reason whether it’s deemed essential in the eye of the state or not.”

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Judge denies ‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli’s ‘delusional’ request to leave prison to fight coronavirus – The Washington Post

A judge this weekend denied convicted pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli’s request to leave prison so he could research a treatment for the novel coronavirus, after officials dismissed his rationale as the type of “delusional self-aggrandizing behavior” that got him locked up.

Prisoners nationwide have sought release during the coronavirus pandemic, as correctional centers turn into hot spots for the virus. But Shkreli’s request was unusual: Last month, his attorney asked federal authorities to release him to his fiancee’s New York City apartment so he could perform lab work.

In a separate research proposal posted online, Shkreli, 37, said that the pharmaceutical industry’s efforts to create a treatment for covid-19 are “inadequate” and that he is “one of the few executives experienced in ALL aspects of drug development.”

In their review of Shkreli’s request for a three-month release under “strict supervision,” the probation department overseeing his case marveled at Shkreli’s claim that he could find a covid-19 cure that has “so far eluded the best medical and scientific minds in the world working around the clock.”

It’s that type of thinking that landed him in prison, the department said, according to U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto’s nine-page ruling issued Saturday. The disgraced executive has repeatedly flouted authorities and seemed to revel in even a critical national spotlight; he famously smirked at a congressional hearing on drug price-gouging and live-streamed to supporters the day after his first arrest.

In her denial of the furlough request, Matsumoto wrote that Shkreli was “healthy,” that he had no “recent history of preexisting medical conditions that place him at higher risk” and that no cases of the virus have been reported at the prison.

“Defendant requests to be released into, among other places, an apartment in New York City, the epicenter of the covid-19 pandemic,” Matsumoto wrote.

Ben Brafman, Shkreli’s attorney, said in a statement Sunday that they were “disappointed” by the decision but that it was “not unexpected.”

Derek Hawkins contributed to this report.

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Judge Jeanine Pirro says Flynn case judge should be ’embarrassed to put a robe on’ after unusual order – Fox News

Judge Jeanine Pirro told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan‘s decision to allow a third party to present arguments opposing the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn was “absolutely foreign.”

“The judge has an obligation to rule on the case before him,” Pirro told host Tucker Carlson. “It is not complicated. It is a motion to dismiss with one of the most fact-laden affidavit[s] … behind it to support the application to dismiss. It’s a ministerial move that this judge apparently doesn’t want to make.”


Earlier Wednesday, Sullivan appointed retired New York federal judge John Gleeson as an “amicus curiae,” or friend of the court. On Tuesday, Sullivan issued an order indicating he’ll soon accept “amicus” submissions in the case — drawing immediate scrutiny and a planned ethics complaint against Sullivan, who had previously refused to hear amicus briefs in the case.

“Now, they want to bring in the clowns,” the “Justice with Judge Jeanine” host told Carlson. “This morning, it was all the retired Watergate attorneys who want to come in and now we’re going to bring in someone else to tell the judge how to rule. He’s [Sullivan’s] been a judge for 30 years.”


Pirro called on for Sullivan to “recuse himself,” adding that he “should be embarrassed to put a robe on.”

“This judge doesn’t belong on that case,” Pirro said. “And now what he’s doing is he’s poisoning the 2020 election … He’s trying to destroy the whole thing so that [Attorney General William] Barr looks like the villain here.”

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