The family of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed in 2016, has filed a lawsuit against Fox News, investigative reporter Malia Zimmerman, and commentator Ed Butowsky over a story Rich's family says contained "false and fabricated facts."
Rich was killed in Washington, D.C., in July 2016, and police told the Rich family it's possible robbery was a factor; his murder remains unsolved. At the time, the 27-year-old was a voter-expansion data director with the DNC. In a lawsuit obtained by ABC News, Rich's family says a Fox News article posted on May 16, 2017, contained incorrect information that sparked conspiracy theories falsely linking Rich's murder to WikiLeaks' release of 20,000 hacked DNC emails. Fox News retracted the story later that month.
The suit claims that Zimmerman and Butowsky contacted Rich's parents, Joel and Mary Rich, under false pretenses and they "aided and abetted the intentional infliction of emotional distress" caused by the "sham story." In a statement, Joel and Mary Rich said that "no parent should ever have to live through what we have been forced to endure. The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension." Butowsky told ABC News the lawsuit is "one of the dumbest" he's ever seen. Catherine Garcia
The lawsuit particularly targets the decision to raise the age to purchase a gun in Florida from 18 to 21. Because "for almost all purposes and certainly for the purposes of the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights" an 18-year-old is considered an adult, the NRA argues, denying Americans ages 18-20 the right to buy a gun violates both the Second Amendment and the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.
The suit says Florida's new law is especially unfair to young women who may wish to purchase guns, because "[f]emales between the ages of 18 and 21 pose a relatively slight risk of perpetrating a school shooting ... or, for that matter, a violent crime of any kind." In addition to such constitutional concerns, the NRA said, "preventing a responsible 20-year-old from purchasing the best tool for self-defense will not stop a deranged criminal intent on committing a crime." Bonnie Kristian
Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels filed a lawsuit against President Trump on Tuesday, claiming that the deal she made to keep silent on details of a relationship with Trump is invalid. While Daniels and Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen signed a non-disclosure agreement, the suit says, Trump did not.
The suit, obtained by NBC News, alleges that Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, had an intimate relationship with Trump that lasted from the summer of 2006 "well into the year 2007," with trysts taking place in Lake Tahoe and the Beverly Hills Hotel. Appended to the suit are two agreements: A "hush agreement" that refers to Daniels as "Peggy Peterson" and Trump as "David Dennison," and a side letter agreement revealing that Peterson is Clifford and Dennison is Trump.
The hush agreement states that $130,000 will be paid to the trust account of Clifford's attorney and in exchange, Clifford would stay mum on the relationship and refrain from sharing texts or photos from Trump. Both documents, NBC News reports, have blank spaces where "DD" was supposed to sign; Daniels and Cohen signed them just days before the election, on Oct. 28, 2016. The suit asks the Los Angeles County Superior Court to declare that both agreements "were never formed, and therefore do not exist," and also alleges that Cohen has been trying to intimidate Daniels into silence, with his last attempt on Feb. 27. Catherine Garcia
Claiming the company is "rife with misogyny," former ESPN host and legal analyst Adrienne Lawrence sued the network Monday, alleging that she was fired after telling the HR department she was being sexually harassed by a SportsCenter anchor.
Lawrence's lawsuit states that when she joined the network as a fellow in 2015, John Buccigross offered to mentor her, but soon he started sending inappropriate text messages, and when she turned him down, he started a rumor that she was "sleeping her way to the top." When she went to HR to complain, the suit says, she was told to "give him a chance." Lawrence also claims men watch pornography in the office, make sexually explicit comments, and keep scorecards for their female colleagues, NBC News reports.
ESPN said in a statement the network conducted an investigation and found her accusations are "entirely without merit." Lawrence was hired for two years as part of a talent development program, the network added, and was told her contract would not be renewed. In December, Buccigross told The Boston Globe he did send pictures to her, and considered Lawrence "to be a friend. I'm sorry if anything I did or said offended Adrienne. It certainly wasn't my intent." Catherine Garcia
Roy Moore, the failed Republican Alabama Senate candidate and a former judge, is being sued by a woman who said he touched her sexually when she was 14 and he was in his early 30s.
Leigh Corfman filed a defamation lawsuit in Montgomery County Circuit Court on Thursday, and Moore's campaign is also listed as a defendant, AL.com reports. The suit says Moore and his campaign committee "have defamed Ms. Corfman, repeatedly and in all forms of media, calling her a liar and questioning her motivation for publicly disclosing that Mr. Moore sexually abused her in 1979 when she was a 14-year-old high school freshman and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney."
In November, Corfman told The Washington Post about her encounter with Moore. Several other women later came forward and also accused Moore of sexual misconduct; he denied all of the allegations. Corfman's lawsuit calls for the defendants to retract all defamatory statements made against Corfman, apologize publicly for the statements, and refrain from making additional defamatory comments. Catherine Garcia
A federal appeals court on Friday became the second court this week to rule against the Trump administration's plan to stop transgender people from joining the military beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.
Both courts rejected the administration's request to override a previous court order to stay Trump's transgender recruitment policy. It must be remembered, Friday's decision said, that all transgender recruits "seek during this litigation is to serve their nation with honor and dignity, volunteering to face extreme hardships, to endure lengthy deployments and separation from family and friends, and to willingly make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives if necessary to protect the nation, the people of the United States, and the Constitution against all who would attack them."
The ruling also said the White House has "not shown a strong likelihood that they will succeed on the merits of their challenge." The Jan. 1 deadline was already a delay from the Obama administration's July 1 deadline for the military to begin accepting openly transgender recruits. The Trump administration argues neither deadline will permit the military to make necessary preparations for the change. Bonnie Kristian
Hours after President Trump announced Monday he will shrink the size of two national monuments in Utah, outdoor retailer Patagonia said it will sue to try to stop him.
"Americans have overwhelmingly spoken out against the Trump administration's unprecedented attempt to shut down our national monuments," Patagonia President and CEO Rose Marcario said in a statement. "We've fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we'll continue that fight in the courts."
— Patagonia (@patagonia) December 4, 2017
The homepage of the company's website now reads, "The President Stole Your Land," and calls Trump's plan to reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 50 percent an "illegal move" and "the largest elimination of protected land in American history." Several other groups, including Friends of Cedar Mesa and Archaeology Southwest will join Patagonia in the lawsuit. Their suit will be filed after the Inter Tribal Coalition goes forward with a lawsuit of its own, AdAge reports. Catherine Garcia
Late Sunday, one of two officials who will show up on Monday to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed suit, asking a federal court to block the other claimant. The fight over short-term control of the top U.S. consumer financial watchdog began Friday, when CFPB director Richard Cordray resigned and appointed his chief of staff, Leandra English, deputy director and thus, under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, acting director. President Trump then appointed his White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, acting director, citing a more general law, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.
English filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., asking for a temporary restraining order and recognition of her claim to be "rightful acting director." Trump's "purported or intended appointment of defendant Mulvaney as acting director of the CFPB is unlawful," English's suit argues. "The president's attempt to appoint a still-serving White House staffer to displace the acting head of an independent agency is contrary to the overall statutory design and independence of the bureau."
Congress created the CFPB with an unusual amount of autonomy in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, to insulate it from political pressure. Trump will nominate a director soon, and that director, once approved by the Senate, is expected to scale back the CFPB's scope and regulatory activity. Under Cordray, the CFPB has gone after banks and abusive debt collection agencies, winning debt cancellation for 29 million Americans and nearly $12 billion in refunds. Banks have bristled and Republicans accused the bureau of overreach, and Mulvaney has called the CFPB a "joke" and urged its dissolution. "Wall Street hates it like the devil hates holy water," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on CNN Sunday.
The Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel and CFPB general counsel Mary E. McLeod have sided with the White House, but until the courts settle the dispute, all CFPB actions will likely be subject to legal challenge. Peter Weber