Prosecutors Weigh Child-Pornography Charges Against Anthony Weiner

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Federal prosecutors are weighing bringing child-pornography charges against former congressman Anthony Weiner over sexually explicit exchanges he allegedly had with a 15-year-old girl.

Erica Orden and Nicole Hong report: Federal prosecutors are weighing bringing child-pornography charges against former Rep. Anthony Weiner over sexually explicit exchanges he allegedly had with a 15-year-old girl, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Weiner, a New York Democrat, is being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which seized his electronic devices, including a laptop and a cellphone, as part of the probe.

Officials initiated the investigation last fall, after the Daily Mail in the U.K. reported that Mr. Weiner had exchanged sexually explicit messages and photos with the girl.

Anthony Weiner at the Democratic National Convention in July Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Anthony Weiner at the Democratic National Convention in July Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In recent weeks, according to some of the people familiar with the matter, attorneys for Mr. Weiner have had discussions with federal prosecutors in Manhattan in hopes of dissuading them from bringing charges, or at least from bringing the most serious one: production of child pornography, which carries a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence upon conviction.

These types of discussions can indicate both sides are trying to reach an agreement in which the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a less-severe charge.

Mr. Weiner could face the production charge, some of the people familiar with the case say, because he allegedly solicited explicit images from the teenager. Read the rest of this entry »


Academic Freedom Update: Student and Faculty Rights Bill Coming in Washington State

The bill is crucial to preserve academic freedom and the ability of faculty members to blow the whistle when they observe wrongdoing.

 reports: 2016 is right around the corner, and it promises to bring good news to college students and faculty members in Washington state. When the Washington State Legislature reconvenes in January, State Representative Matthew Manweller plans to introduce HB 3055, a bill that includes items on FIRE’s wish list.

“The bill’s wide-ranging scope includes a provision that would prevent campus administrators from forcing faculty members to affix “trigger warnings” on class syllabi that caution students that certain topics might be unsettling.” 

Included in the bill’s meritorious provisions is the Campus Free Expression Act (CAFE Act), similar to a new law in Missouri, which would prevent public institutions of higher education from limiting expressive activity in the open outdoor areas of campus to tiny, misleadingly labeled “free speech zones.”

“The legislation also forbids institutions from punishing students or faculty for so-called ‘microaggressions’—defined by proponents as ‘everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.’”

Another important part of Representative Manweller’s legislation is a provision aimed at ensuring faculty at the state’s public colleges have the freedom to speak out on institutional policy and matters of public concern without fear of reprisal. The bill is crucial to preserve academic freedom and the ability of faculty members to blow the whistle when they observe wrongdoing.

“Due process protections are also front and center in Representative Manweller’s comprehensive bill. Like legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support earlier this year in North Dakota, the bill would provide students accused of non-academic offenses that could result in lengthy suspensions or expulsions with the right to hire lawyers to represent them and fully participate in the campus process.” 

The bill’s wide-ranging scope includes a provision that would prevent campus administrators from forcing faculty members to affix “trigger warnings” on class syllabi that caution students that certain topics might be unsettling. Under the legislation, individual faculty members would decide if and when they want to include such warnings. The legislation also forbids institutions from punishing students or faculty for so-called “microaggressions”—defined by proponents as “everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” Read the rest of this entry »


Report: ATF misplaced 420 million cigarettes

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Braun reports: Government agents acting without authorization conducted dozens of undercover investigations of illegal tobacco sales, misused some of $162 million in profits from the stings and lost track of at least 420 million cigarettes, the Justice Department‘s inspector general said Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »