Trump attorney’s statement that he paid Stormy Daniels $130K raises ethics questions-ABA Journal

BY STEPHANIE FRANCIS WARD

Michael D. Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, said Tuesday that he used his own money to pay a porn actress $130,000 who is alleged to have claimed to have had an affair with Trump before he became president. But the statement, made to the New York Times, has raised ethics questions.

The payment made to Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as the pornographic movie actress Stormy Daniels, was first reported in January by the Wall Street Journal. The payment was made shortly before the 2016 election, the Washington Post reports. Cohen has previously said that Trump denied having an affair with Clifford.

But some attorneys–and an article in Above the Law by its executive editor–question whether such a payment would violate New York State Court’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 1.8(e) prohibits attorneys from advancing or guaranteeing financial assistance to clients related to considered or pending litigation, with some exceptions for court costs.

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Ravi Ragbir and Immigrant Groups Lawsuit Against ICE Et Al

By Andrew Denney

Suit Alleges That ICE Is Targeting Immigrant-Rights Advocates

A prominent New York City immigrant-rights activist recently released from custody by immigration authorities alleges in a lawsuit filed on Thursday that he and other activists are being targeted for deportation because of their political speech. READ MORE » (may require free limited subscription or paid subscription)

Read the Complaint…

Public Defenders Walk Out Of Bronx Courthouse After College Student Detained By ICE – WNYC News – WNYC

 by Gwynne Hogan

About 75 public defenders walked out of Bronx Criminal Court Thursday afternoon in protest of the sudden detention of one of their clients following a routine court date.

The walk-out dramatized the ongoing dissatisfaction by immigrant advocates with federal agents, whose presence at the courthouses they say intimidates witnesses and victims from coming forward for fear of being deported.

Read more…

The Michigan town where only Christians are allowed to buy houses | US news | The Guardian

By Rose Hackman

In Bay View, only practicing Christians are allowed to buy houses, or even inherit them. Prospective homeowners, according to a bylaw introduced in 1947 and strengthened in 1986, are required to produce evidence of their faith by providing among other things a letter from a Christian minister testifying to their active participation in a church.

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The Christian exclusionary component was introduced in the 1940s. This was a time of heightened racial anxiety and antisemitism in the US, with swaths of Jewish refugees denied asylum from Europe – an act supported by a majority of the American public.

The Christian-only clause was introduced together with a white-only clause, which the association eliminated the following decade. Catholics were given a 10% quota, which was eventually dropped. Over the years, however, the Christian-only requirement was, if anything, reinforced.

The lawsuit charges that Bay View Association, although private (some private entities including gentlemen’s clubs or the Boy Scouts, for example, historically have been able to discriminate), acts in effect as a governmental entity, endowed with the powers to police and enforce laws.

As such, the lawsuit claims, it is engaging in religious discrimination in violation of the US and Michigan constitutions, Michigan’s civil rights act and the Fair Housing Act.

Mike Steinberg, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, believes the lawsuit is an “open-and-shut case”.

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New York judge rules it’s unconstitutional to set bail without regard to ability to pay–ABA Journal

BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

Setting cash bail without considering an accused person’s ability to pay is unconstitutional, a judge in New York state has ruled.

Judge Maria Rosa of Dutchess County ruled Jan. 31 in a suit filed on behalf of Christopher Kunkeli by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York Law Journal reports. Rosa said setting bail without considering ability to pay violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the federal and state constitutions. A NYCLU press release is here.

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Could Canada be a refuge for DACA recipients if no immigration deal is reached?

When President Donald Trump canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September, the fate of about 700,000 young adults was thrown into doubt. With DACA recipients set to begin losing their status in March, and no legislation yet agreed upon, could they find a safe harbor in Canada?

Read the Nunes Memo, Annotated – The New York Times

House Republicans released a previously secret memo written by Republican staff members of the House Intelligence Committee and declassified by President Trump. The memo claims that F.B.I. officials abused their authority and favored Democrats in the early stages of the Russia inquiry.

The documents released on Friday include a letter from the White House counsel to the head of the House committee, Representative Devin Nunes of California, and the memo itself. Read our reporters’ analysis below.

Original document (pdf) | More coverage »

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