Category Archives: LAW

Photos show thousands of counterprotesters descending on Boston to drown out a right-wing 'free speech' rally

boston counter protesters

Roughly 40,000 people descended on Boston Common on Saturday to protest a controversial right-wing “free speech” rally that had been planned.

The event came one week after violence and chaos erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia during a white nationalist rally. One woman died after an apparent white supremacist plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.

In contrast, Saturday’s demonstrations in Boston remained largely peaceful, despite some skirmishes with police. Twenty-seven people were ultimately arrested, police told media.

Here’s how the day unfolded:

SEE ALSO: Trump labels Boston protesters ‘anti-police agitators,’ then praises them for ‘speaking out against bigotry and hate’

A right-wing rally for ‘free speech’ had been planned for Saturday

But many feared it would draw white supremacists and neo-Nazis

Roughly 40,000 people showed up to protest against the rally

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Sheriff David Clarke is being sued by family of an inmate who died after not receiving water for a week

david clarke

The family of a man who died from dehydration in jail back in April 2016 has filed a lawsuit against Milwaukee county and Sheriff David Clarke.

Terrill Thomas, 38, was found dead on the floor of his cell at the Milwaukee County Jail eight days after he was admitted in April 2016.

Three months after an inquest jury recommended charges for seven prison officials, Thomas’ family has filed a lawsuit against both Milwaukee County and Clarke, who runs the jail.

According to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, other defendants named in the lawsuit include eight jail supervisors, 14 correctional officers along with medical professionals who worked at the jail at the time of Thomas’ death.

Post-death examination found that three prison officers turned off Thomas’ water as punishment for bad behavior and trying to flood his cell after being admitted to jail. According to the Sentinel, they never restored the water or notified a supervisor of their actions.

Thomas had a history of mental illness and bipolar disorder, but instead of moving him to a special needs union, the officers also allegedly left him without water or adequate food supply from April 17 until his death on April 23, according to the Sentinel.

“The change in Mr. Thomas’ condition was obvious to every jail employee who looked into his cell, including multiple defendants,” reads the lawsuit. “However, not a single one bothered to call for help until it was too late to save Mr. Thomas’ life.”

By the time of his death Thomas had allegedly lost more than 34 pounds.”By April 23 he was too weak to yell or bang on his window. He was simply lying naked on his cell floor, barely able to move, severely dehydrated, literally dying of thirst,” the lawsuit reads.


While lawsuits have alleged Clarke’s negligence towards his duty in running a jail over the last year, Clarke hit the campaign trail with Donald Trump. During the 2016 campaign, Clarke regularly made appearances endorsing Trump on conservative media networks while decrying President Barack Obama and Black Lives Matter on Twitter.

Clarke’s loyalty to Trump did not go unnoticed in Wisconsin, where many accused him of abandoning law enforcement in his home state to seek fame and power.

“He has to run a law-enforcement department, which has very specific responsibilities, and a city that has had a really, really tough year,” Charlie Sykes, a recently retired conservative Wisconsin radio host who has known Clarke for more than 20 years, told Business Insider. “And when he gets involved, it often has an almost gratuitous, grandstanding sense to it.”

Jails run by Clarke have repeatedly been called out for its inmate treatment — Milwaukee County auditors launched an investigation after four inmates died in custody at the county’s two jails within the span of months.

SEE ALSO: Prosecutors say an inmate at the jail Sheriff David Clarke runs died of dehydration after not receiving water for a week

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'I think he's a greedy little man': Prospective jurors revealed contempt for 'pharma bro' Martin Shkreli

martin shkreli

Martin Shkreli was found guilty on two counts of securities fraud earlier this month, but the process of selecting a jury for the case against the former pharmaceutical CEO and hedge fund founder appeared to be as lively as the trial itself.

Some of the 200 potential jurors apparently did not hold back their views toward Shkreli during court interviews held over the course of three days in June. Their court interviews were compiled by Harper’s Magazine ahead of its September issue.

“I’m aware of the defendant and I hate him,” Juror No. 1 said. “I think he’s a greedy little man.”

When asked by the court if the juror agreed that jurors were obligated to “decide the case based only on the evidence,” Juror No. 1 responded with: “I don’t know if I could. I wouldn’t want me on this jury.”

“He’s the most hated man in America,” Juror No. 47 said. “In my opinion, he equates with Bernie Madoff … My parents are in their eighties. They’re struggling to pay for their medication. My mother was telling me yesterday how my father’s cancer drug is $9,000 a month,” the person claimed.

The court, emphasizing that the case would have to be considered with “an open mind,” dismissed Juror No. 47, who said, “I would find that difficult.

“When I walked in here today I looked at him, and in my head, that’s a snake — not knowing who he was,” Juror No. 52 said. “I just walked in and looked right at him and that’s a snake.”

Benjamin Brafman, Shkreli’s attorney, quipped, “So much for the presumption of innocence.”

“From everything I’ve seen on the news, everything I’ve read, I believe the defendant is the face of corporate greed in America,” Juror No. 77 said.

“We would object,” Brafman responded.

“You’d have to convince me he was innocent rather than guilty,” Juror No. 77 continued.

“I heard he bought an album from the Wu-Tang Clan for a million dollars,” Juror No. 144 said, referring to an exclusive single-copy album the hip-hop group released. Shkreli paid $2 million for the record in 2016. 

“The question is, have you heard anything that would affect your ability to decide this case with an open mind,” said the court. “Can you do that?”

“I don’t think I can because he kind of looks like a dick,” Juror No. 144 responded.

Juror No. 59, after being called upon to address the court, came out of the gates storming: “Your Honor, totally he is guilty and in no way can I let him slide out of anything because —” Juror No. 59 began, before being cut off.

“Okay,” the court interjected. “Is that your attitude toward anyone charged with a crime who has not been proven guilty?”

“It’s my attitude toward his entire demeanor, what he has done to people,” Juror No. 59 responded.

“All right,” the court said. “We are going to excuse you, sir.”

But Juror No. 59 wasn’t done: “And he disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan.”

Read the full transcript here »

SEE ALSO: Investor says Martin Shkreli reminded him of ‘Rain Man’

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Uber agrees to outside audits of its privacy program for the next 20 years to settle FTC charges it 'deceived customers'

uber vehicle car black

Uber has reached a settlement with the U.S. government following charges it “deceived customers” by not properly protecting their private information. One of the results of Uber’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is that Uber has agreed to third-party audits of its privacy program for the next 20 years. 

The FTC’s complaint alleged that the ride hailing service “rarely monitored internal access to personal information about users and drivers,” despite claims to the contrary. This genesis of this complaint dates back to 2014, when an Uber manager was revealed to have used the “god view” tool to track a reporter’s location

In addition, the FTC alleged that Uber was at fault for the May 2014 data breach that saw an intruder gain access to to more than 100,000 names and driver’s license numbers stored on a third-party cloud provider operated by Amazon. The FTC’s complaint said the San Francisco-based company “did not take reasonable, low-cost measures that could have helped the company prevent the breach.” 

In a statement, FTC acting chairman Maureen K. Olhausen said that Uber had failed its customers in two ways. 

“First by misrepresenting the extent to which it monitored its employees’ access to personal information about users and drivers, and second by misrepresenting that it took reasonable steps to secure that data,” she said. “This case shows that, even if you’re a fast growing company, you can’t leave consumers behind: you must honor your privacy and security promises.”

Under the agreement, Uber will be “prohibited from misrepresenting how it monitors internal access to consumers’ personal information” and “prohibited from misrepresenting how it protects and secures that data.” In addition, the company will have to implement a new, comprehensive privacy program that directly addresses the risks related to new and existing products. 

If Uber violates the agreement it will be hit with steep financial penalties.  

Read the FTC’s full press release here. 


SEE ALSO: Benchmark, in open letter to all employees, says it’s suing Uber’s ex-CEO because of ‘behavior that was utterly unacceptable’

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A San Francisco Bay Area police department retweeted a white nationalist and people are wondering why

Alameda County Sheriff Richard Spencer

The official Twitter account for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office retweeted a posting from alt-right founder and white nationalist Richard Spencer on Monday.

The retweet is a video of a press conference Spencer held earlier in the day, in which he panned assertions that President Donald Trump was disavowing a white supremacist rally that turned deadly on Saturday. During that press conference, Spencer called Trump’s comments “kumbaya nonsense,” and said “only a dumb person would take those lines seriously.”

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Twitter account responded to a reporter who asked why the department was retweeting Spencer. The account replied, “That was an accidental retweet and was in no way done intentionally,” but the retweet was not immediately deleted.

A follow-up tweet read: “We are working to take this accidental retweet down. It is not showing up in our feed for is is [sic] to delete.” The posting was finally deleted around midnight local time.

The department was not immediately available when contacted by phone.

SEE ALSO: White nationalist Richard Spencer: Trump ‘didn’t condemn us,’ and ‘only a dumb person’ would take his statement seriously

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Tech billionaire must open gates to California beach next to property he bought for $37 million, courts say

vinod khosla

A Silicon Valley billionaire has lost a legal battle over access to a California beach.

A California appeals court ruled earlier this week that Vinod Khosla must open gates providing access to Martins Beach, which is an hour south of San Francisco.

Khosla, who made his fortune as one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems and as a venture capitalist, bought property surrounding Martins Beach in 2008 for $37 million, according to NPR, and closed the beach to the public the year after.

Since then, he has been locked in a series of legal battles over whether the public can access the shore. Before Khosla bought the property, there was a gate and parking area permitting access to the beach, which was a well-liked surf spot.

California’s First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 3-0 that Khosla violated state law when he blocked the public from accessing Martins Beach, rejecting Khosla’s appeal.

The court ordered Kholsa’s companies to pay the attorney costs for the Surfrider Foundation, the group that had brought the legal challenge over the beach.

But the battle isn’t over yet — Khosla can still appeal, and other lawsuits over access to the beach are still pending.

martins beach 15

martins beach 16

martins beach

SEE ALSO: A New Law Could Force Billionaire Vinod Khosla To Sell His Land If He Doesn’t Open Access To The Beach

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A HuffPost writer being sued by a Fox News host for $50 million is fighting back

eric bolling

Attorneys representing a HuffPost contributing writer are fighting back against Fox News host Eric Bolling’s $50 million defamation lawsuit, calling it “utterly devoid of merit” and demanding that it be dismissed.

“The Summons with Notice you filed … is purposefully sparse on allegations, and does not identify which purportedly ‘false and misleading’ statements could possibly support a $50 million damages award,” Yashar Ali’s attorney, Patricia Glaser wrote in a letter addressed to Bolling’s attorney.

Bolling filed the defamation lawsuit against Ali, a paid freelancer under contract, who published allegations that Bolling sent lewd messages to some colleagues at Fox News. Attorneys for Bolling claim that Ali’s report had injured their client’s reputation “through the intentional and/or highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading statements.”

Ali’s counsel are fighting the defamation accusation, saying that “there is no evidence of actual malice” and that Ali had “conducted a thorough investigation and verified his information with 14 independent sources.”

“As a result, Mr. Bolling, a public figure, is not entitled to any damages from Mr. Ali. Furthermore, truth is always a defense to defamation,” Glaser’s letter continued.

The fiery response also appeared to call out the specific target of the dispute. “We view your decision to sue Mr. Ali in his individual capacity, for $50 million, without also naming the Huffington Post, as a calculated effort to harass and intimidate Mr. Ali personally. It will not work,” the letter said.

“We welcome the opportunity to depose Mr. Bolling and review his message history, as we presume that you have instructed him to preserve communications,” the letter to Bollin’s attorney read. “At best, you failed to investigate Mr. Bolling’s claims, at worst, you were aware his claims were false but proceeded regardless.”

SEE ALSO: Fox News host Eric Bolling is suing a reporter for $50 million over a story about sexual-harassment allegations

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Could an increase in lawsuits end sexism in tech? Anita Hill thinks so (TWTR, MSFT)

Anita Hill

*Famed lawyer Anita Hill thinks women who face gender discrimination in tech should consider filing class-action lawsuits.

*Twitter and Microsoft both face on-going gender discrimination lawsuits, stemming from 2015.

*Both lawsuits have faced unusual delays. 

Want to end gender discrimination in tech? File a class-action lawsuit. 

That’s the advice given by Anita Hill, the attorney and professor who garnered national attention in 1991 when she accused Clarence Thomas, then a nominee to the US Supreme Court, of sexual harassment.

On Tuesday, in an opinion piece in the The New York Times inspired by the ongoing controversy over a memo opposing corporate diversity efforts that was written by a Google software engineer, Hill wrote that women in tech “can’t afford to wait for the tech industry to police itself — and there are few indications that it will ever do so.”

In a conversation with Business Insider on Thursday, Hill said that while class-actions can be difficult, they are the most efficient way of addressing systemic issues, such as biased hiring and discriminatory promotion processes. When a woman pursues a lawsuit on an individual basis, it’s easier to dismiss her claims. 

“The problem isn’t one individual. It wasn’t just Ellen Pao,” Hill said, referring to the lawsuit filed in 2012 against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers by one of its female partners in which she claimed to have been the victim of gender discrimination; Pao lost her suit. “The problem seems to be an attitude toward women. What I’m proposing is an option that looks at bigger systems and problems that are common throughout the system.”

Twitter and Microsoft 

The recent history of litigation against tech companies is not a story of progress, but delay. 

There are at least two ongoing gender discrimination class-action lawsuits in the tech industry — one against Twitter, and one against Microsoft. Both suits were filed in 2015, but have been drawn out due to disputes over which documents the defendants have to hand over to the plaintiffs. 

The case against Microsoft was brought against the company in 2015 by a former technician, Katherine Moussouris, who alleged that performance reviews and a peer-ranking procedure led to discrimination against women.

“Female technical employees were systematically undervalued compared to their male peers because as a group they received, on average, lower rankings despite equal or better performance,” she charged in the suit.

GettyImages 697905324Microsoft has refuted the claims.

“We’re committed to a diverse workforce, and to a workplace where all employees have the chance to succeed. The plaintiffs’ allegations are unsubstantiated and we are defending the case in court,” a representative said in a statement. 

The case against Twitter is similar. Tina Huang, a former engineer at the company, alleged that Twitter failed to promote women who were equally or better qualified than their male peers to leadership positions in engineering.

The “company’s promotion system creates a glass ceiling for women that cannot be explained or justified by any reasonable business purpose, because Twitter has no meaningful promotion process for these jobs,” she alleged in the case.

Twitter declined to comment. 

Class-action lawsuits take time, and it’s not uncommon for defendants to resist handing over documents requested by the plaintiffs. However, Jason Lohr, who represents the women suing Twitter, said the two-year time frame is out of the ordinary. 

“Twitter has been fighting tooth and nail to give us anything,” said Lohr, an attorney at Lohr Ripamonti & Segarich.

“Our case is based upon disparate impact, meaning that we claim that the promotion process unfairly favors men over women,” he said. “To support this, we need granular access to Twitter’s employment and promotion statistics. Twitter resisted our efforts to get this information for well over a year.” 

Other barriers

While Hill sees class-action lawsuits as the best way to resolve systemic discrimination, she understands why some women don’t pursue them.

“There still are difficulties. This is not a finger wagging, ‘let’s go blindly into lawsuits, and everything will be alright,'” Hill said. “I want to provide options.” 

Women contemplating such suits face numerous barriers. Many tech employees have clauses in their employment contracts that discourage legal action. Others fear that filing a suit will make it harder for them to find a job in the future, said Anne Shaver, a partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, which is leading the suit against Microsoft.

ellen paoAnd then there are the cultural barriers. The industry encourages employees to internalize their successes and failures, rather than blaming others for them. That attitude can be the most difficult hurdle to overcome, Shaver said.

“Tech is a sector where women have been extremely reluctant because it’s such a culture of individual merit,” Shaver said. “The value of the class action is that it gives you access to the data of what’s happened across an entire company, and you are able to see those patterns for what’s happening to women compared to men.”

Ironically, Hill said, the tech industry also claims to have a culture of progress. 

When it comes down to all of those things, you have to do a lot of deep thinking about how to change — how to be truly disruptive,” Hill said. “It is, I find, very interesting that we’re talking about a sector that prides itself on disruption, and they haven’t done the deep work to disrupt the traditions that are holding the sector back.” 

SEE ALSO: Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg helps bring extended bereavement leave to her late husband’s company

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Fox News host Eric Bolling is suing a reporter for $50 million over story about sexual harassment allegations

eric bolling

Fox News host Eric Bolling filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against a HuffPost writer after Bolling was accused of sending lewd text messages to colleagues in a report published last week.

Court filings from the New York State Supreme Court reveal that Yashar Ali, a HuffPost contributing writer, was issued a summons notice to appear in court.

“The nature of this action is for damages and injunctive relief based on defamation arising from the defendant’s efforts to injure the plaintiff’s reputation through the intentional and/or highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading statements about the plaintiff’s conduct and character,” read the court notice.

Bolling was suspended from Fox News after being accused of sending unsolicited photos of male genitalia to several colleagues at various departments over a span of several years. The allegations, first brought to light by Ali’s report, cited over a dozen sources.

“Eric Bolling has been suspended pending the results of an investigation, which is currently underway,” Fox News said in a statement emailed to Business Insider on Saturday.

In response the lawsuit, Ali said on Twitter that he would stand by his reporting and protect his sources.

“Not going to stop reporting on Eric Bolling or anyone else,” Ali tweeted. “I’ve had family members killed/jailed in Iran, a lawsuit isn’t going to scare me.”

Ali made another observation: “It’s important to note that Bolling’s summons does not include HuffPost – he is coming after me personally,” Ali tweeted.

Members of HuffPost’s editorial team weighed in to defend Ali, describing him as a “careful and meticulous reporter.”

“We stand by his reporting,” HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen tweeted.

HuffPost also said it had “no hesitation” to financially stand by Ali, who is a paid freelancer under contract with the news organization.

Following the initial report on the Bolling allegations, Caroline Heldman, a former Fox News contributor, explained in a Facebook post that the cable news host’s alleged conduct had been “wildly inappropriate for years.”

“Once, he took me up to his office in New York, showed me his baseball jerseys, and in the brief time I was there, let me know that his office was his favorite place to have sex,” Heldman recounted.

Fox News has retained the services of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a prominent law firm with prior experience in handling legal cases in the entertainment industry, to head the investigation. “We are investigating this matter and all claims will be taken into account,” a Fox News statement read, following Heldman’s allegations.

After being suspended, Bolling said that he was “overwhelmed by all the support.”

“I look forward to clearing my name asap,” he tweeted Monday.

As Ali’s court notice began circulating on Wednesday, Bolling also tweeted: “I will continue to fight against these false smear attacks! THANK YOU FOR CONTINUED SUPPORT.”

Neither HuffPost, nor its parent company, Oath, were immediately available for comment.

SEE ALSO: Eric Bolling responds to sexual harassment allegations and Fox News suspension

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Julian Assange wants to hire the Google engineer who got fired for writing the anti-diversity manifesto (GOOG, GOOGL)

Julian Assange

On Monday Google fired an engineer who wrote a now infamous memo against diversity that went viral within the company, was published by the press and has been the cause of non-stop talk ever since.

But the engineer, James Damore, needn’t worry about a job if he needs one.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has publicly offered to bring him on board:

As you might expect, Assange argued that the guy had a right to express an opinion, however unpopular.

However, Assange went even further and appeared to defend the ex-Google engineer’s controversial views by tweeting and linking to various bits of content that seem to be about scientists backing up the engineer’s claims. To recap: the engineer basically argued that many traits generally considered sexist stereotypes are in fact basic attributes baked into human biology. The engineer also equated his belief system with being a member of the political right.

Later, after the controversy began, the engineer revised his memo to say that the world is misrepresenting his ideas, “I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes,” he wrote, and said that he’s heard from a lot of Googlers that agreed with him but are afraid to say so for fear of getting fired. (Here’s the full copy of the memo.)

It’s also worth noting that Assange has a history with Google. In between his defense of the engineer on Tuesday, Assange also fired off a tweet that plugged his book which includes a chapter on Google. Assange believes that Google had a “special relationship” with Hillary Clinton. 

The memo enrapt and enraged so many people inside Google and outside that Google CEO Sundar Pichai cut his family vacation short to come back and calm his employees down.

SEE ALSO: The Google employee who wrote the anti-diversity manifesto was fired after CEO Sundar Pichai called it ‘not OK’

SEE ALSO: Inside the world of Silicon Valley’s ‘coasters’ — the millionaire engineers who get paid gobs of money and barely work

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