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Trump Is Not Immune From Prosecution In His 2020 Election Interference Case, US Appeals Court Says

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Washington  — A federal appeals panel ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump can face trial on charges that he plotted to overturn the 2020 election results, rejecting the former President’s claims that he is immune from prosecution and paving the way for additional challenges that could delay the case.

The decision is notable for its sharp rejection of Trump’s innovative immunity claims and for reviving a landmark case virtually stalled for weeks while the court evaluated the appeal.

However, the one-month gap between when the court heard arguments and published its decision has already cast doubt on a trial schedule in a calendar-clogged election year, with the judge supervising the case cancelling the planned March 4 date last week.

Trump’s team has vowed to appeal, which could push the case back weeks or months, especially if the Supreme Court chooses to hear it. The judges granted Trump a week to petition the Supreme Court to intervene.

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Trump Is Not Immune From Prosecution In His 2020 Election Interference Case, US Appeals Court Says

The eventual trial date has far-reaching political implications, with special counsel Jack Smith’s team expecting to charge Trump this year and the Republican front-runner hoping to postpone it until after the November election. If Trump defeats President Joe Biden, he could use his position as head of the executive branch to order a new attorney general to dismiss the federal proceedings against him, or he could seek a pardon for himself.

Tuesday’s unanimous decision is the second occasion since December that courts have ruled that Trump can be prosecuted for conduct performed while in the White House and in the lead-up to January 6, 2021, when a mob of his supporters stormed the United States Capitol. The conclusion, which was predicted given the panel’s scepticism towards the Trump team’s arguments, was steadfast in rejecting Trump’s notion that previous presidents have absolute immunity for activities that fell within their official job obligations.

“Presidential immunity from federal indictment would imply that Congress, the Executive, and the Judiciary could not legislate, prosecute, or evaluate the President. We cannot believe that the Presidency’s prior occupants are above the law indefinitely,” the judges wrote.

They stated that the “interest in criminal accountability, held by both the public and the Executive Branch, outweighs the potential risks of chilling Presidential action and permitting vexatious litigation,” and rejected Trump’s claim that a president has “unbounded authority to commit crimes” that would prevent election results from being recognised.

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Trump Is Not Immune From Prosecution In His 2020 Election Interference Case, US Appeals Court Says

“Nor,” they said, “can we sanction his apparent contention that the Executive has carte blanche to violate the rights of individual citizens to vote and to have their votes count.”

A Trump spokesperson said Tuesday that the President would appeal the decision “to protect the presidency and the constitution.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit took centre stage in the immunity debate after the Supreme Court announced in December that it would be staying out for the time being, rejecting Smith’s team’s desire to hear the case promptly and deliver a decision. However, the Supreme Court might still opt to hear a Trump appeal.

There is no deadline for the Supreme Court to decide, but the justices will likely hear Smith’s input before determining whether to stay the court verdicts against the former President. If the court denies Trump’s request for a stay, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan can resume the trial proceedings.

The length of the trial’s delay, if the Supreme Court grants Trump’s request, will depend on the schedule set.

If the court granted Trump’s request without speeding up the appeals process, he would only have to file his full appeal in early May. However, the justices could set considerably shorter timelines for a conclusion.

The Supreme Court has ruled that presidents are immune from civil liability for official activities, and Trump’s lawyers have argued for months that this immunity should also extend to criminal prosecution.

They claimed that Trump’s activities in his failed attempt to cling to power after losing the 2020 election, such as pressuring his vice president to refuse to recognise the election results, were all within the “outer perimeters” of a president’s official acts.

However, Smith’s team has stated that such immunity does not exist in the United States Constitution or earlier cases and that Trump’s acts were not part of his official duties.

Donald Trump urges Supreme Court to keep him on ballot in final pitch  before arguments | CNN Politics

Trump Is Not Immune From Prosecution In His 2020 Election Interference Case, US Appeals Court Says

Chutkan, the judge presiding over the case, dismissed Trump’s arguments in a December judgement, stating that the presidency “does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.”

Trump’s lawyers then resorted to the D.C. appeals court, but Smith requested the Supreme Court to rule first to obtain a quick and definite decision and maintain the March 4 trial date. The high court denied the request, leaving the subject to the appeals court.

Democrat Joe Biden appointed Judges Florence Pan and J. Michelle Childs to the bench, and Republican President George H.W. Bush appointed Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson to the bench.

During arguments last month, the judges made it clear that they were sceptical of Trump’s claims, peppering his lawyer with questions and posing a series of extreme hypotheticals to test his legal theory of immunity, including whether a president who directed Navy commandos to assassinate a political rival could face prosecution.

D. John Sauer, Trump’s lawyer, said yes, but only if the President had been impeached and convicted by Congress. That stance was consistent with the team’s belief that the Constitution did not allow for the prosecution of ex-presidents who had been impeached but acquitted, such as Donald Trump.

The Washington case is one of four prosecutions that Trump faces as he bids to recover the White House. He faces federal accusations in Florida for illegally retaining sensitive materials at his Mar-a-Lago home, a case brought by Smith and scheduled for trial in May.

He is also accused in Georgia state court of attempting to sabotage the state’s 2020 election, as well as in New York of making hush money payments to porn actor Stormy Daniels. He’s denied any misconduct.

SOURCE – (AP)

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2024: Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

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Bridgit Mendler, known for appearing on Good Luck Charlie and other Disney productions, is venturing into new territory: space.

Disney has effectively launched the careers of major stars such as Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. However, one former child actor who starred on the network is pursuing a different venture: a space corporation.

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Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

Bridgit, a 31-year-old singer and actor best known for her role as Teddy Duncan on the Disney Channel original series Good Luck Charlie, announced this week on X (formerly Twitter) that she is venturing into uncharted territory by launching Northwood Space, a California-based satellite data startup.

Bridgit will lead the company as CEO, while her husband, Gryphon Cleverly, whom she married in 2019, will serve as chief technical officer. “Expect the unexpected!” she posted on X, reacting to a CNBC reporter who broke the story.

According to Ari Eisenstat, the space programme director for the upcoming Texas Eclipse Festival, Bridgit’s venture into science “is a great example of space moving from the domain of governments to becoming accessible to everyone”. Eisenstadt adds that we should all look to “younger generations to see diverse entrepreneurs create social, economic, and environmental impact in the space community”.

According to Bridgit’s post on X, investors have already provided $6.3 million (£4.9 million) in preliminary funding for the startup to create “a data highway between Earth and space.” Mendler said, “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but that’s the fun part.”

While it may come as a surprise to her followers, Mendler has always had interests beyond performing. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2016 and began working at the MIT Media Lab in 2017. She enrolled in the graduate programme in 2018 and will begin her doctorate in philosophy at MIT in 2020. The next year, Mendler enrolled at Harvard Law School.

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Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

Then, Mendler told CNBC that the seed of the Northwood idea was planted while she was in New Hampshire during the COVID-19 lockdown. “While everyone else was preparing their sourdough starts, we created antennae from whatever we could find at Home Depot. For me, the ground side is important because it brings the effects of space closer to people. However, it wasn’t until she started working at the Federal Communications Commission in 2022 that she understood her new path: she told CNBC it was when she “completely fell in love with space law”.

Mendler’s big news has her admirers excited to follow up, and her X announcement currently has over 23,000 likes. Northwood Space, which plans to mass-produce massive terrestrial antennas that connect to satellites in space, says: “The one-lane rickety road for space data needs to adapt to a ten-lane highway routing continuous traffic across the globe.”And, as a woman in science who changed careers to pursue her ambition, Mendler is likely to inspire other women to make timely career changes.

mendler

Bridgit Mendler, A Former Disney Actor Turned Space Startup CEO, Is Reaching For The Stars

Laurie Bardon Syphard, an environmental science educator, says she’s impressed by Mendler’s credentials and is already excited about her new business. “My gut is telling me that she is going to go really far with this career in science and technology,” she adds, adding that the young scientist’s Disney admirers would most certainly keep an eye on her, especially given space is “one of the areas that just is exciting and inspires people”.

Mendler’s followers appear to agree and have taken to X to celebrate her continuous success. One fan wrote, “She’s Barbie. Like 12 different careers. Singer/songwriter, actor, Harvard PhD in law, MIT PHD student, startup CEO.”

SOURCE – (BBC)

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2024 OSCARS: Everything You Need To Know About This Year’s Oscars

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NEW YORK — After a winter of award events, including the Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys, the granddaddy of them all, the Academy Awards, is just around the horizon. The 96th Academy Awards may be a coronation for “Oppenheimer,” which leads with 13 nominations, but other films, including “Barbie,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and “Poor Things,” are also in the running.

Here’s what you should know about this year’s show:

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When are the Oscars?

The Oscars will be on Sunday, March 10, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The event will begin at 7 p.m. EDT, one hour earlier than normal, and will be live on ABC. The pre-show will begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT. This is an early reminder to set your clocks – the first day of daylight saving time in the United States.

Are the Oscars livestreamed?
You can access the show on ABC.com and the ABC app with a cable subscription. You may also watch on Hulu Live, YouTube, AT&T, and FuboTV.

Who is hosting the Oscars?
Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the ceremony last year, will serve as emcee for the fourth time. That matches him with fellow four-timers Whoopi Goldberg and Jack Lemmon, leaving Kimmel trailing only Johnny Carson (five), Billy Crystal (nine), and Bob Hope (eleven) among Oscar hosts. “I always dreamed of hosting the Oscars exactly four times,” Kimmel told the audience.

What films are nominated for Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars?
The ten best-picture nominees are: “American Fiction,” “Anatomy of a Fall,” “Barbie,” “The Holdovers,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Maestro,” “Oppenheimer,” “Past Lives,” “Poor Things,” and “The Zone of Interest.”

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Who are the favourites?

Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is the front-runner. Nolan, the best director favourite, is expected to win his first Oscar. The best actress category could be a close call between Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) and Emma Stone (“Poor Things”). If Gladstone wins, she will be the first Native American to win an Oscar. Best actor might also be a tight call between Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”) and Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”). They would be first-time winners. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Giamatti’s co-star, is the favourite to win Best supporting actress, while Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”) is predicted to win Best Supporting Actor. Ryan Gosling is his closest competitor for “Barbie.”

What’s with the ‘Barbie’ snubs?
While “Barbie,” 2023’s largest box-office blockbuster, received eight nominations, much of the conversation has focused on the film’s lack of nominations. Greta Gerwig was not nominated for directing, while Margot Robbie did not win best actress. Some have detected reflections of the misogyny spoofed in “Barbie,” while others have noted comedians’ traditionally poor reception at the Oscars. The nominations for “Barbie” include best-adapted screenplay (by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach), best supporting actress (America Ferrera), and two best song nominees: Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For” and Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt’s “I’m Just Ken.”

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Are there any changes to this year’s Oscars?

Though prior Oscars have been marred by slaps, envelope snafus, and debates about which prizes are presented live during the ceremony, this year’s show promises to remain relatively unchanged. All of the awards will be broadcast live. The academy is introducing a new award for best casting, but the trophy will be handed in at the 2026 Oscars.

What else is there to look for?
Composer John Williams has been nominated for his record 49th best-score Oscar for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and 54th overall. Godzilla is making his Oscar debut, with “Godzilla Minus One” nominated for outstanding visual effects. Two non-English language films are nominated for Best Picture for the first time: the German-language Auschwitz drama “The Zone of Interest” and the French courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Fall.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Beatles To Get A Fab 4 Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

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NEW YORK — The Beatles are receiving the big-screen biography treatment in not just one film but four, with each band member getting his spotlight – all directed by Sam Mendes.

For the first time, the Beatles, traditionally among the most stingy rights holders, are granting complete life and music rights to a film project. Sony Pictures revealed Monday a contract that may dwarf all previous music biopics, with the story of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr divided across four films.

The Mendes-conceived films are intended to be released theatrically in a unique manner, with the films coexisting or intersecting in theatres. Specific release plans will be communicated at a later date. Sony has set a release date of 2027.

beatles

Beatles To Get A Fab Four Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

McCartney, Starr, and the families of John Lennon and George Harrison have all approved the initiative through the band’s Apple Corps. Ltd. Sony Music Publishing has rights to the majority of Beatles’ songs.

“I’m honoured to be telling the story of the greatest rock band of all time, and excited to challenge the notion of what constitutes a trip to the movies,” Mendes stated in an e-mail.

Each film will be told from the perspective of one of the Beatles.

“We intend this to be a uniquely thrilling and epic cinematic experience: four films, told from four different perspectives, which tell a single story about the most celebrated band of all time,” stated Pippa Harris, the film’s producer. “To have The Beatles’ and Apple Corps’ blessing to do this is an immense privilege.”

The Beatles’ most well-known film appearances were during their early career. From 1964 to 1970, they appeared in five films, including “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) and the animated “Yellow Submarine” (1968). They have, of course, been the subject of numerous documentaries, most recently Peter Jackson’s 2021 “The Beatles: Get Back.”

beatles

Beatles To Get A Fab Four Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

The Beatles reunited in 2023 using artificial intelligence in the newly released song “Now and Then.” The track was made feasible by technology employed by Jackson on “Get Back,” it included a music video directed by the New Zealand director.

Attempts to dramatise the Beatles’ narrative have been intermittent and less effective. A 1979 biography titled “The Birth of the Beatles” was developed while Lennon was still alive, with the Beatles’ original drummer, Pete Best, serving as an adviser. The 1994 indie drama “Backbeat” followed Lennon’s connection with Stuart Sutcliffe before the Beatles became famous. Aaron Taylor-Johnson portrayed a teenage Lennon in the 2009 “Nowhere Boy” film.

However, music biopics have become a lucrative business in the last decade. Box-office successes like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Rocketman,” and “Elvis” have prompted Hollywood executives to seek the next jukebox blockbuster. Over Presidents Day weekend, “Bob Marley: One Love,” co-produced with the Marley estate, was the top-grossing film in theatres. A Michael Jackson biopic is currently under production.

beatles

Beatles To Get A Fab Four Of Biopics, With A Movie Each For Paul, John, George And Ringo

“Theatrical film events today must be culturally significant. “Sam’s daring, large-scale idea is that and more,” said Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group.

The combination of Mendes’ crew “with the music and stories of four young men who changed the world, will rock audiences all over the globe,” Rothman added. “We are deeply grateful to all parties and look forward ourselves to breaking some rules with Sam’s uniquely artistic vision.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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