Category Archives: LAW

A Utah teen helped his friend plan her suicide, tied the noose, and even filmed her do it — now he'll stand trial for murder

4th district court provo utah

  • An 18-year-old Utah man is facing first-degree murder charges over helping his friend plan and carry out her suicide.
  • A judge ruled that Tyerell Przybycien cannot “escape criminal responsibility” merely because his friend was suicidal.
  • Przybycien’s lawyers have argued that Jchandra Brown’s suicide was caused by her actions alone, not Przybycien’s.
  • The case echoes that of Michelle Carter, the 20-year-old woman recently convicted of involuntary manslaughter for urging her friend to kill himself.

A Utah teenager will stand trial for first-degree murder after he allegedly bought his 16-year-old friend a rope, drove her to a remote location, tied a noose to a tree, and filmed her suicide.

Utah County district court Judge James Brady ruled that it was “reasonable to infer” that 18-year-old Tyerell Przybycien intended to cause the death of his friend, Jchandra Brown. Were it not for Przybycien’s actions, Brady said, Brown would still be alive.

Brady wrote in a 16-page ruling that Przybycien cannot “escape criminal responsibility” merely because Brown was suicidal, and that his involvement “meets the elements of murder.”

“Encouraging and helping to facilitate the suicide of an impressionable minor who could have benefited from support, counseling or therapy is completely lacking of social value,” Brady wrote.

Przybycien is also charged with failure to report a dead body, a third-degree felony, the Daily Herald reported.

Prosecutors alleged in court documents that Przybycien picked up Brown from work on May 5, bought her a rope and industrial-strength aerosol air duster, and drove her to Maple Lake, south of Provo, Utah.

tyerell pryzbycienPrzybycien reportedly told police that once the pair arrived at the scene, he tied the rope to a tree to create a noose, as Brown did not know how to tie one.

He also said that he filmed Brown as she stepped onto a pedestal, inhaled the air duster until she lost consciousness, and then fell off the pedestal, hanging herself. He continued to film her for roughly 10 minutes afterward.

“Her putting the noose around her neck, stepping onto the pedestal, and inhaling the compressed air so she passed out and slipped from the pedestal caused her death,” Przybycien’s attorney Gregory Stewart told the Washington Post. “These intervening acts, we argue, and not Tyerell’s actions, caused her death.”

The case echoes that of Michelle Carter, the 20-year-old woman who was sentenced in August to 15 months in jail after she repeatedly urged her friend Conrad Roy III to kill himself.

But Carter’s and Pryzybycien’s cases differ in several key ways. For instance, Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, not murder, and Carter had not been physically present when she pressed Roy to kill himself, instead communicating with him solely through texts and phone calls.

But the Carter decision was widely expected to establish precedent in instances where people face criminal charges for instructing others to kill themselves. Many legal experts were shocked by the guilty verdict in her case, and criticized the ruling for essentially determining that Carter’s words were lethal to Roy, rather than his own suicidal actions and intent.

SEE ALSO: How Michelle Carter urging her friend to kill himself led to a jail sentence for involuntary manslaughter

DON’T MISS: 20-year-old who repeatedly urged friend to kill himself sentenced to 15 months in jail

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NOW WATCH: The Supreme Court will hear a landmark case on gerrymandering — here’s how the political tactic changed the US forever

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Federal judge in Hawaii blocks Trump's 3rd travel ban

donald trump

A federal judge in Hawaii on Wednesday granted a temporary restraining order against President Donald Trump’s third travel ban, just hours before it was set to take effect at midnight on October 18.

Trump issued a proclamation last month restricting travel to the US from nationals of eight countries, including Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela, Chad, Libya, and North Korea.

Those restrictions came after the first two iterations of the travel ban, which targeted majority-Muslim nations, faced court challenges.

Trump’s newest proclamation, issued on September 24, replaced the outright ban with travel restrictions tailored on a country-by-country basis.

One of the lawyers on the case, Neal Katyal, tweeted, “We have just won.”

Read the full order below:

This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.

SEE ALSO: Trump renews travel ban with restrictions targeting new countries

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NOW WATCH: Construction has started on a prototype of Trump’s border wall

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Trump complains about the Senate being too slow to confirm his judicial nominees, says 'it's not fair'

Rex Tillerson and Donald Trump

President Donald Trump said Monday that the slow pace of Senate confirmations for his long list of judicial nominees is “not fair.”

After going after Senate Democrats for “obstruction” regarding his governmental nominations, he added that he “can say the same thing with our judicial nominees, our judges.”

“We have some of the most qualified people,” Trump said, citing The Wall Street Journal.

“They’re waiting forever on line,” he continued. “It shouldn’t happen that way. It’s not right, it’s not fair.”

Soon after, in an impromptu press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump again complained about the slow pace of confirmation. He added that he will set records in terms of how many judges his administration will nominate and have confirmed, and called his administration’s handling of the judicial vacancies on the federal bench one of the “unsung” victories of his term in office.

McConnell echoed Trump in his comments, pushing for a faster pace of confirmation.

Trump’s comments came after McConnell last week pushed for Republicans to crush one of Democrats’ biggest weapons in combating Trump’s nominations to the federal bench.

McConnell told The Weekly Standard in an interview published Wednesday that “blue slips” — a tradition that allows senators to give or withhold their blessing for a judicial nominee from their state — should be viewed as a confirmation of how a senator will vote on nominees, breaking with the norm of needing a blue-slip approval to move forward with a judicial nominee.

The blue-slip process gives the party that does not control the White House leverage over the president’s nominations, and some Democrats have used that power to deny a handful of Trump’s nominees from moving forward in the Judiciary Committee. That, in turn, makes it easier for Trump to advance nominees in states that do not have any Democratic Senate representation.

With Democrats now having the ability to, in many states, prevent Trump’s judicial nominees from advancing, McConnell told The New York Times last month that he thought the blue-slip practice should be scrapped for circuit-court nominations (though it would remain the same for other judicial nominees). That sparked backlash from Democrats, who said the move would be hypocritical, as Republicans staunchly defended the blue-slip process while President Barack Obama was in office.

McConnell pushed the issue again after Politico reported last week that he was receiving heat from influential outside conservative groups for the slow pace of confirmation of Trump’s judicial nominees. The push from those conservative groups came as Trump recently hit 65 combined nominations between appeals courts, district courts, the US Tax Court, and the US Court of Federal Claims. There are currently roughly 140 vacancies on the federal bench, providing Trump with the opportunity to cement a lasting legacy on the courts.

SEE ALSO: McConnell gives strongest hint yet that GOP should gut the biggest weapon Democrats have to halt Trump’s judicial nominees

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NOW WATCH: Roger Stone explains what Trump has in common with Richard Nixon

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Here's what airlines legally owe you if you're bumped off a flight

The biggest US airlines involuntarily bumped 40,629 people in 2016According to the Department of Transportation, you are entitled to certain things if you are involuntarily bumped off a flight.

If the rescheduled flight gets you to your destination an hour late domestically or two hours late internationally, you are not entitled to any monetary compensation. After that, the window of time varies for how much money you are entitled to. But airlines can owe you up to $1,350 for a one-way ticket, and you can negotiate for more if you feel entitled.

But make sure you show up on time and have a confirmed reservation. Otherwise, you may be entitled to nothing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published on April 11, 2017

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Las Vegas sheriff chokes up recalling stories of heroism during concert massacre

las vegas police

Sheriff Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department choked up at a news conference on Friday as he described instances of heroism from his officers earlier this month during the mass shooting that left 58 dead and hundreds more injured.

One of those officers was Brady Cook, who had been working his second shift on the job, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, when the shooting occurred. Cook suffered four separate gunshot wounds to his shoulder, bicep, chest, and back, Lombardo said. Lombardo and undersheriff Kevin McMahill visited Cook and other injured officers on Thursday to check on their conditions.

“The reason why I bring this up is he asked me if he could go back to work today,” Lombardo said.

Lombardo also said he believes the police response that night saved lives by directing the gunman’s attention away from the concertgoers once officers began arriving in their vehicles.

“It is readily apparent to me that he adjusted his fire and directed it toward the police individuals,” Lombardo said. “So the responses of those individuals, I believe, saved lives.”

Another officer Lombardo named was Samuel Whitworth, who broke his leg while he was attempting to help concertgoers escape the shooting. He remained on the scene, regardless, to provide security for medical personnel still working, Lombardo said.

Lombardo also described a group of police officers who helped other first responders triage at least 50 gunshot victims, at one point even using their own equipment to control bleeding when they ran out of tourniquets.

The officers “calmly took care of the wounded and the dying” while they waited for ambulances, even placing people with more serious injuries on the backs of trucks to move them to hospitals more quickly, Lombardo said.

“Not all the victims made it out as the night wore on,” he said. “Those same officers were assigned to guard those deceased victims, not allowing any of them to be alone.”

SEE ALSO: ‘There is no conspiracy’: Las Vegas sheriff clarifies 6-minute discrepancy in massacre timeline

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NOW WATCH: ‘Rocket man is on a suicide mission’: Trump threatens to ‘totally destroy North Korea’ in major UN speech

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Meet Robert Mueller, the former FBI director and tenacious investigator now leading the Trump-Russia probe

Robert Mueller

It’s been almost five months since Robert Mueller became the special counsel in the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

In Washington, Mueller has a reputation for being a tenacious investigator. Both Republicans and Democrats welcomed his appointment in May with bipartisan backing.

The increasing breadth of his investigation, however, has irked some Trump supporters.

Mueller’s colleagues, meanwhile, say he has proven his bipartisan bona fides over the years. After all, he served under both Republican and Democratic presidents as FBI director and as an attorney in the Department of Justice.

As the probe into Trump and his associates heats up, here’s a look at Mueller’s history:

SEE ALSO: Raids, warrants, and wiretaps: The Trump-Russia probe ‘has reached a critical stage’

DON’T MISS: Meet the all-star team of lawyers Robert Mueller has assembled for the Trump-Russia investigation

Born Robert Swan Mueller III in New York City in 1944, “Bob” grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the elder brother to four younger sisters. Their father was an executive at DuPont. He captained the soccer, hockey, and lacrosse teams in high school.

Sources: FBI, St. Paul’s School

Mueller went to undergrad at Princeton University, got his Master’s in international relations from New York University, and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973.

Source: FBI

When one of his friends died in the Vietnam War, Mueller was inspired to join the military. He had been previously pursuing a career in the medical field.

Source: Princeton Alumni Weekly

 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The NYPD has launched a criminal investigation into Harvey Weinstein, as sexual assault allegations surface

harvey weinstein serious

Recent allegations of sexual harassment and assault committed by Harvey Weinstein have prompted the New York Police Department to open a criminal investigation into the film mogul, police told Variety and The New York Post.

The investigation comes in the wake of bombshell reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker, which detail numerous allegations against Weinstein.

An NYPD spokesperson confirmed the investigation to Variety with the following statement: 

“Based on information referenced in published news reports the NYPD is conducting a review to determine if there are any additional complaints relating to the Harvey Weinstein matter. No filed complaints have been identified as of this time and as always, the NYPD encourages anyone who may have information pertaining to this matter to call the CrimeStoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.”

Weinstein avoided prosecution from the Manhattan district attorney in 2015, when actress Ambra Batillana Gutierrez, then 22, said he groped her. In a subsequent sting operation, the NYPD secretly recorded Weinstein admitting to groping Gutierrez in a hotel room.

In the audio, released by The New Yorker, Gutierrez asks Weinstein, “Why yesterday you touch my breast?” 

Weinstein responds, “Oh, please. I’m sorry. Just come on in. I’m used to that.” He then admits to groping her by saying, “I won’t do it again.”

Here’s the audio:

The Manhattan district attorney ultimately decided not to file charges against Weinstein at the time, following a two-week investigation.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office released the following statement on Tuesday, in response to outrage that Weinstein was not prosecuted: “While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent.” 

SEE ALSO: All the women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault

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The black man beaten at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville now faces a felony charge

deandre harris attack charlottesville

A 20-year-old black man who was rushed and brutally assaulted by a group of white supremacists in Charlottesville two months ago is now himself facing a felony charge.

Deandre Harris was participating in a counterprotest to the white nationalists’ “Unite the Right” rally in August when a clash broke out in a parking garage near the University of Virginia campus.

Video of the incident shows Harris on the ground being violently kicked and beaten with poles by several attackers.

One person involved in the brawl, who has not been identified by authorities, has now accused Harris of injuring him during the exchange. The Charlottesville police department said in a press release on Monday it has issued an arrest warrant for Harris for unlawful wounding.

The video and several images of Harris’ beating went viral, triggering a social media crusade to identify the white supremacists responsible for the violence. Harris told media he had suffered injuries from the beating including lacerations to his head, a concussion, a broken wrist, and a chipped tooth.

Two men — 18-year-old Daniel Borden of Ohio and 33-year-old Michael Ramos of Georgia — were identified, arrested, extradited to Virginia, and charged with malicious wounding in August. At a court hearing for Ramos last month, his attorney reportedly said it may have been Harris who “struck the first blow in that fracas.”

Harris’ attorney S. Lee Merritt has described the charge against his client as “clearly retaliatory” and said Harris will soon turn himself into police.

“We find it highly offensive and upsetting, but what’s more jarring is that he’s been charged with the same crime as the men who attacked him,” Merritt told The Washington Post.

He added that it was “highly unusual” for a warrant to come from the magistrate rather than the police department, and suggested that the alleged victim had previously made an unsuccessful attempt at accusing Harris.

The Charlottesville Police Department, however, said in its press release that the warrant was issued by the police department, at the request of the magistrate.

“The victim went to the Magistrate’s office, presented the facts of what occurred and attempted to obtain the warrant. The magistrate requested that a detective respond and verify these facts,” the release said. “A Charlottesville Police Department detective did respond, verified the facts and a warrant for Unlawful Wounding (va Code 18.2-51) was issued.”

After news broke of the arrest warrant against Harris on Monday, white nationalists openly celebrated on Twitter. One even suggested that a crowdsourced effort to produce evidence against Harris occurred:

hunter wallace tweet deandre harris

SEE ALSO: White nationalists carrying torches returned to Charlottesville chanting ‘we will be back’

DON’T MISS: Using social media to identify Charlottesville attackers can be a dangerous game

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NOW WATCH: The mysterious life of the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

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Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento just shared the movie scene she filmed based on his alleged sexual assault

Asia Argento Getty

Following the explosive story in the New York Times last week on movie producer Harvey Weinstein, The New Yorker came out with its own piece Tuesday that includes allegations of sexual assault against the disgraced movie mogul.

One of the revelations is that Weinstein allegedly performed unwanted oral sex on Italian actress-director Asia Argento in a hotel room in 1997.

“It was a nightmare,” Argento told The New Yorker.

It was a nightmare that Argento then partially dramatized in public, for all to see.

In 2000, a movie Argento wrote and directed, “Scarlet Diva,” was released. It includes a scene that’s similar to what she allegedly went through with Weinstein three years earlier.

The character Argento plays, Anna, is cornered in a hotel room by a heavyset producer who asks her for a massage and tries to assault her.

Argento said in The New Yorker story that after the movie was released, other women recognized that the producer character was a portrayal of Weinstein. 

“People would ask me about him because of the scene in the movie,” Argento said. Women also told her about similar encounters with Weinstein.

According to Argento, Weinstein — who by that time had built a friendship with Argento — saw the movie when it was released in the US and recognized himself. “Ha, ha, very funny,” Argento recounted him saying to her. But he also allegedly said that he was “sorry for whatever happened.”

Argento said there’s one major difference in the movie versus her real life experience. “In the movie I wrote,” she said, “I ran away.”

After The New Yorker story went live, Argento took to Twitter and posted the hotel scene in “Scarlet Diva.” 

Watch it below:

SEE ALSO: Martin Scorsese goes nuclear on Rotten Tomatoes in a scathing column

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After Trump took office, he told Tillerson that American businesses were being unfairly penalized by laws prohibiting them from bribing foreign officials

rex tillerson donald trump

President Donald Trump told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that American businesses were being unfairly penalized by federal laws prohibiting the bribing of foreign officials, according to a profile of Tillerson by The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins

Tillerson, who had initially called the meeting with Trump to introduce the president to a prospective deputy, was taken aback by Trump’s position.

“Tillerson told Trump that America didn’t need to pay bribes — that we could bring the world up to our own standards,” a source with knowledge of the meeting told The New Yorker.

Tillerson then relayed an anecdote to Trump from his time as the CEO of Exxon Mobil, when he met with a senior Yemeni official to discuss a deal. During the meeting, Yemen’s oil minister reportedly handed him a business card, with the account number to a Swiss bank account written on the back.

“5 million dollars,” the Yemeni official reportedly told him.

“I don’t do that,” Tillerson responded, per The New Yorker. “Exxon doesn’t do that.”

Tillerson told the Yemenis that they’d have to play the deal by the book if they wanted Exxon’s business. A month later, they acquiesced.

Abolishing federal laws barring foreign bribes has been something of a pet issue for Trump, whose family real estate company has been involved in deals around the globe. 

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R) meets with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif at the State Department in Washington, U.S., October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

In 2012, Trump told CNBC that The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars US companies from using bribes for a competitive advantage, is a “horrible law” that stifles American businesses working abroad.

“It puts us at a huge disadvantage,” he said.

In February, Trump’s administration killed a rule that forces energy companies listed on US stock exchanges to disclose their payments to foreign officials. Congress got rid of the rule, but kept the amendment — which means the Securities and Exchange Commission has to come up with a new disclosure policy, reports CNBC

Jay Clayton, the SEC chairman, has expressed skepticism about the law in the past as well, leading some to believe he will be lenient with enforcement. 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, however, said in April that the Justice Department would continue to enforce the FCPA, “and other anti-corruption laws.”

The relationship between Trump and Tillerson is strained amid reports that Tillerson called Trump a “moron” in a meeting. Tillerson called a press conference on Wednesday pushing back on the report and expressed his commitment to remaining at the State Department, amid widespread rumors that he had to be talked out of resigning earlier this year.

SEE ALSO: Gary Cohn says the White House is ‘very excited’ about the dismal jobs report that showed the US economy lost jobs

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