New York Attorney General Resigns Over Physical Assault Allegations

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 5, 2017, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks at a rally to defend DACA in New York. PHOTO: Yorker. Bryan R. Smith / AFP

 

New York state’s top prosecutor, a public champion of the #MeToo movement, resigned on Monday hours after being accused by The New Yorker magazine of physically assaulting four women.

It was an abrupt fall from power for Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general and a Donald Trump opponent whose office had launched multiple legal challenges against the Republican administration.

“In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

“While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I, therefore, resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8.”

Two of the women spoke to the magazine on the record, alleging that Schneiderman repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent.

Both say they sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face and also choked, the magazine said.

The New Yorker said none of the women classified the behaviour as consensual.

Earlier, Schneiderman issued a statement denying that he had assaulted anyone or that he had ever engaged in non-consensual sex.

“In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity,” he said.

Nothing ‘as despicable’

Schneiderman is the latest powerful man to fall in the wake of the avalanche of sexual misconduct allegations from women that have poured forth since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke late last year and effectively ended the Hollywood movie producer’s career.

In February, Schneiderman sued The Weinstein Company for failing to protect its employees from the disgraced mogul despite multiple complaints from staff.

“We have never seen anything as despicable as what we’ve seen right here,” Schneiderman said then.

He had also been instructed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to review a 2015 decision by the Manhattan district attorney not to prosecute Weinstein over allegations of assault.

One of the women named in The New Yorker story described her experiences with Schneiderman as awful.

Michelle Manning Barish said he slapped her after they had been drinking.

“It was horrendous,” she told the magazine.

“It just came out of nowhere. My ear was ringing. I lost my balance and fell backwards onto the bed.

“I sprang up, but at this point, there was very little room between the bed and him. I got up to try to shove him back or take a swing, and he pushed me back down. He then used his body weight to hold me down, and he began to choke me. The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked. In every fibre, I felt I was being beaten by a man,” she said.

After the allegations against Schneiderman emerged, fellow Democrat Cuomo urged him to resign.

“My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as attorney general,” Cuomo said.

Schneiderman “has made a career railing against this type of abuse. Yet apparently he intends to revictimize these courageous women who have come forward by pulling out that age-old sexist trope that they wanted it,” said Debra Katz, a lawyer for Manning Barish.

AFP

Trump Blasts United States’ Attorney General, Sessions Again

US 'Not Concerned' With Short Term Dollar Value, Says Mnuchin
FILE PHOTO  US President Donald Trump flanked by daughter Ivanka and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (L).        Mandel NGAN / AFP

 

President Donald Trump blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions via Twitter Wednesday, labelling the country’s top law enforcement official “disgraceful” over his handling of White House allegations of illegal wiretapping.

It was the second critical tweet in a week against Sessions, who reportedly submitted his resignation at least once last year after Trump insulted him.

Trump on Wednesday questioned Sessions’ commitment to Republican demands that he investigate the use of so-called FISA national security warrants in 2016, when Barack Obama was president, to wiretap members of Trump’s election campaign team over their contacts with Russia.

On Tuesday, Sessions said he had ordered the inspector general of the Department of Justice to look into whether highly secretive FISA warrant process was abused.

“Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse,” Trump asked in a tweet.

“Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!” Trump said.

One week ago Trump took aim at the attorney general in another tweet referencing Justice Department investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded with that.

“Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation?” he wrote.

“Why aren’t Dem[ocrat] crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Sessions!” Trump wrote.

The Justice Department declined to comment on Trump’s tweets.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator who joined Trump’s campaign for the presidency early on, has been a stalwart enforcer of keynote administration policies like cracking down on illegal immigration, violent gang crime and drugs, and installing conservative judges and prosecutors across the justice system.

But Trump has frequently targeted Sessions with his ire, particularly over independent special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia and Trump’s possible obstruction of that investigation.

Because he was part of the campaign, Sessions recused himself early on from overseeing the probe, infuriating Trump.

According to former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus, he had to convince Sessions at least once last year to rescind a decision to resign, and rescued him from being fired on two other occasions.

Priebus told Chris Whipple for his upcoming book “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency,” that Sessions submitted his resignation in May 2017 after Trump called him an “idiot” in the Oval Office following the Justice Department’s appointment of Mueller to handle the Russia probe.

Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence convinced Sessions to stay, and then persuaded Trump to reject the resignation letter, according to an excerpt of the book published in vanity Fair.

Two months later, according to Priebus, Trump, frustrated over the Mueller probe, had to be talked out of firing Sessions, whom he had labelled “weak.”

AFP

Trump Blasts U.S. Attorney General

Trump Appoints Ty Cobb As White House Special CounselU.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday (July 25) continued to blast the investigation into alleged Russian meddling into last year’s U.S. election, slamming his attorney general for not investigating his presidential rival in the race and raising questions, without offering evidence, about Ukraine’s role.

In a pair of early morning tweets, Trump said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had “taken a very weak position” toward former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and cited “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign – quietly working to boost Clinton’.”

Court Frees 35 Biafra Agitators In Port Harcourt

Court Frees 35 Biafra Agitators In Port HarcourtThe Rivers State Judiciary complex in Port Harcourt was full of jubilation as 35 pro-Biafra agitators were discharged.

The agitators were arrested by the Police on January 20, during a rally in solidarity for the inauguration of the U.S. President, Donald Trump.

They were charged by the Police on two counts bordering on conspiracy to commit treason and treasonable felony.

The Chief Magistrate, Andrew Jaja, freed the suspects for what he described as lack of diligent prosecution by the Police.

In his ruling on Friday, Justice Jaja held that neither the Attorney-General nor the Commissioner of Police showed up in court within the 20-day period as stipulated by law, to file the necessary court processes to show proof why the agitators should continue to be held in prison custody for the offences for which they were charged.

Trump’s Attorney General Under ‘Fire’ Over Russia

Trump's Attorney General Under 'Fire' Over RussiaThe United States government has confirmed Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, met with Russia’s ambassador in 2016.

At his January confirmation hearing, Mr Sessions, a senator at the time, said he had no contracts with the Russians during the campaign, stressing that he never met any Russian official to discuss campaign issues.

The democrats, have however accused him of lying under oath, saying he must resign.

They have also called on him to step aside from the FBI investigation which he oversees as Attorney General such as the alleged Russian interference in the U.S election.

Mr Trump’s National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, was fired last month after he misled the White House about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, allegedly regarding sanctions against Moscow.

Rejection And Re-submission Of Magu’s Name; A Lawyer’s Perspective

daniel bwala nigerian lawyer on MaguA Nigerian lawyer, Daniel Bwala, on Tuesday gave his opinion on the Senate’s rejection of the request for confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu and the resubmission of his name by President Muhammadu Buhari. 

The Senate had on December 15 refused to confirm Mr Magu.

Explaining the reason behind the decision, the Senate said that security report available to it showed that Mr Magu was not fit to be chairman of the body.

In this regard, the lawmakers sent back his nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

On Monday, however, the Nigerian President re-submitted Magu’s name to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency.

It was gathered that the President’s letter to that effect has been received by the Senate and may be read on the floor of the upper legislative chamber on Tuesday.

But Mr Bwala believes the earlier rejection by the Senate was more political and personal than it was on his character.

He insisted that the right process would have been the quizzing of Mr Magu at plenary, with the allegations put forward and an opportunity presented to him to defend himself.

On Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, the lawyer said that the resubmission of the name may have been as a result of recommendations made to the presidency by the Attorney General’s office after an investigation of the allegations against Mr Magu.

“It is possible that the President may have, after the recommendations of the Attorney General, come to the conclusion that there is no serious allegation against him.

“I have always had the view that magu’s rejection was political and personal than on the fact that was presented to the national assembly.

“We had thought that it was a serious allegation that the Senate had put forward.

“The circumstances surrounding the rejection and the procedure should be considered. There is supposed to be a debate for the suitability of the person for the position that the Presidency was nominating him for,” he explained.

The lawyer further alleged that on personal ground, Mr Magu’s desire to prosecute some former minister and governors, whom he said were now Senators, could have made the Senators refuse to confirm him.

“We all heard that prior to the period that Magu had said that the EFCC was embarking on prosecuting former governors and Minister. Most of this persons are in the Senate.

“EFCC is larger and bigger than Magu.

“We know that there are quite a number of cases that are on Magu’s table and if he is replaced, there is 90 per cent charge that they will die a natural death.

“When you say you want to investigate ministers, former governors that are now in the Senate and former Senators, it goes without saying that they will probably make an attempt to stop you from being confirmed,” he added.

Mr Bwala says he expects the Senate to confirm Mr Magu following the right process of fair hearing, pointing out that Nigerians also need to hear how Mr Magu will respond to the allegations against him.

Lagos State To Enforce Child Protection and Safeguarding Programme

Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos State, Child AbuseLagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has approved the first ever Executive Order establishing a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in Nigeria.

The governor said the policy was designed as a catalyst for driving awareness and commitment of all stakeholders, including every member of the community, towards the protection of children.

Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, in a statement, said that the programme was developed to put management systems in place to create and maintain a safe environment for children.

He added that “in clear terms, the policy also articulates procedures to be adopted when disclosures of abuse are made”.

According to Mr Kazeem, the Executive Order which was signed by Governor Ambode on December 16 highlighted the emphasis which the present administration placed on protecting the lives of all children in the state.

He noted that the order applied to all State Government organisations, all public and private schools, child centred institutions and orphanages located in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.

UBEC Decries Number Of Out Of School Children

Incidences Of Child Abuse

The Attorney General stressed further that the policy also provided the steps that must be followed in the case of a disclosure, the role of the Designated Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer, as well as the process of reporting and dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff.

“The Executive Order now makes it mandatory for Child Protection policy to be integrated into the induction programme of newly recruited staff into child-centred institutions. As regards employment of staff, it is now mandatory for all child-centred institutions to conduct detailed background checks.

“Ultimately, the ratification of this Executive Order would reduce and possibly eliminate incidences of child abuse, establish a culture of early identification of trends and effective intervention to limit the occurrence of cases,” he said.

child-female-girl

The Justice Commissioner noted that in the next coming months, the Lagos State government would strongly drive adoption of the policy to ensure that all child-centred institutions adopt and adhere strictly to the provisions of the order, while electronic copies would be made available on the state’s website and other relevant social media platforms to ensure proper dissemination.

“The State government therefore uses this medium to sound a very clear warning to all child-centred institutions both public and private, that it would no longer tolerate negligence in ensuring the safety of children under their supervision.

“Failure to adhere to the content of the policy would warrant significant repercussions varying from withdrawal of licenses to filing of criminal charges due to negligence,” Kazeem warned.

The ratification was announced on Thursday in a statement issued by the Director of Public Affairs at the State’s Ministry of Justice, Bola Akingbade.

Okowa Goes Tough On Cultists In Delta State

Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State, CultistsDelta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has vowed that there will be no hiding place for cultists and anyone involved in the act of terrorism in the state.

The Governor validated his vow as he signed six bills, including the Delta State Anti-Cultism and Anti-Terrorism Bill 2016 into law.

Others bills presented for assent by the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Honourable Monday Igbuya, and Clerk of the Legislature, Mrs Lyna Ochulor include: Delta State Bursary and Scholarship Bill 2016, Delta State Public Procurement Commission Bill 2016, Delta State Signage and Advertisement Agency Bill 2016, Delta State School of Nursing and Midwifery Bill 2016 and the Delta State Traditional Rulers and Chieftaincy (Amendment) Bill 2016.

Governor Okowa, while lauding the legislature for their diligence and cooperation towards having an egalitarian society where there is law and order, emphasised the importance of the bills he signed into law.

He expressed optimism that the laws would improve the peace, security as well as socio-economic life of the people and the environment in the state.

The Governor stressed that the Delta State Anti-Cultism and Anti-Terrorism law is important for the security of life and property in the state.

“Our youths should know that government will not take likely any breach of security, especially people who partake in cultism and terrorism.

“I want to caution our youths to shun all forms of cultism and terrorism this yuletide period because if they are caught, the law will take its cause, no matter the position of the person.”

Dr. Okowa revealed further that the Delta State Signage and Advertisement Agency law 2016 would also bring about smarter cities with proper signage regulations.

He observed that the Schools of Nursing located in different areas of the state do not have laws backing up their setup until recently, adding that the Delta State Public Procurement Commission 2015 would help improve government procurement process.

Honourable Igbuya explained that the presentation of the bills were in line with the constitutional duties of making laws that would impart positively on the people of Delta State.

He said the bills passed through rigorous process before they were passed by the legislature.

The event was also attended by the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Honourable Friday Osanebi and other principal members of the state legislature.

The Secretary to the Delta State Government, Honourable Festus Ovie-Agas, the Head of Service, Mr Reginald Bayoko and the Attorney-General, Mr Peter Mrakpor, among others also witnessed the event

Rivers Murder Trial: Accused To Face Fresh Murder Charges

murder trialThe murder trial involving the former chairman of Asari Toru Local Government, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, has taken a new twist.

This is because the State High Court 1 presided over by the chief judge of the state has ordered the Nigerian Prisons Authority to produce the accused in court on Monday, July 4, 2016 to face fresh charges of murder brought before it.

This comes as the Court of Appeal is set to hear the bail application filed by the accused before the Court of Appeal over the first murder charge brought against him.

More controversy appears to be trailing the trial, as counsel to the accused, Ken Atsuwete, told journalists in the state capital that the Rivers State Government is hell- bent on persecuting his client

He said that his client was being denied access to justice.

However, the Attorney-General of the state, Emmanuel Aguma, has insisted that the government remains committed to achieving justice in the matter

From the look of things, the accused may be appearing before two courts on July 4, as many wait to see how it will all play out.

Alleged Forgery: Senate Summons Attorney-General

Attorney General, Alleged ForgeryThe Senate has summoned the Attorney General of the Federation to appear before its committee on judiciary and human rights to justify with concrete evidence his allegations of forgery against top officials of the Senate.

The motion came under matters of urgent national importance after a closed door session that lasted ‎for over two hours.

The motion enjoyed the support of the lawmakers present at the days plenary.

The lawmakers were appalled that the same rules of the Senate was used in the administration of its proceedings during the ministerial confirmation process which brought the Attorney-General to office as well as other top government officials.

The Deputy Senate President, Mr Ike Ekeremadu read the resolution of the upper legislative chamber after the Senators gave their contributions.

The Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, is to appear before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights not later than Thursday.

The Senate said that the allegation by the executive is another attempt to overthrow the legislature, insisting that its rule is authentic and not forged.

Reps Yet To Resolve Issues In Kogi House Of Assembly

Kogi House of assembly AssemblyThe House of Representatives says it is yet to resolve some of the issues that led to the reopening of the Kogi State House of Assembly.

An ad-hoc committee of the House, which is looking into contentious comments attributed to the Attorney General of the Federation which led to the reopening of the Kogi State House of Assembly, gave the position of the lawmakers on Monday.

Addressing reporters after a closed-door meeting with the Attorney General, the chairman of the Committee said the lawmakers would reach a decision by next week.

Reps Commence Hearing, Meet IGP Over Kogi Crisis

Kogi crisisThe Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, has blamed communication gap for the reopening of the Kogi State House of Assembly despite a resolution of the National Assembly sealing it.

The Police chief put forward this position after appearing before the adhoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate comments made by the Attorney-General of the Federation that the National Assembly was wrong to have taken over the duties of the state assembly.

The House demanded to know why the IG ordered the reopening of the Kogi State House of Assembly after the National Assembly invoked Section 11 Subsection 4 of the constitution and ordered its closure.

“I think the area of disagreement is that we were not able to distinguish who were the members and who were the staff of the Assembly.

“We didn’t want to prevent the staff of the Assembly from coming into the Assembly and that day that they came in, I’m sure it was an oversight and we shouldn’t have allowed them to do that,” the IGP said.

The Inspector-General of Police further said that he only sought advice from the Attorney-General of the Federation.

At this point, journalists were excused and the meeting continued behind closed doors.

At the end of the closed-door meeting, the House of Representatives Majority leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, spoke to the newsmen.

“The hearing is a process; this is the first day and there are several sides to it. We have taken the position of the IG, the Attorney-General will be with us hopefully on Monday and we will now come to a decision,” he said.

The IG also reaffirmed his position to newsmen after the meeting, “We felt that there was a communication breakdown somewhere and I actually told them (lawmakers) that I would not do anything to abridge the constitution.

“I am a law officer and I have sworn on the constitution to obey the constitution at all times.”