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A federal appeals court threw out a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of illegally profiting off the presidency through his luxury Washington hotel, handing Trump a significant legal victory Wednesday.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the ruling of a federal judge in Maryland who said the lawsuit could move forward.

The state of Maryland and the District of Columbia sued in 2017, claiming Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting profits through foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel. The case is one of three that argue the president is violating the provision, which prohibits federal officials from accepting benefits from foreign or state governments without congressional approval.

In the case before the 4th Circuit, the court found the two jurisdictions lack standing to pursue their claims against the president, and granted a petition for a rare writ of mandamus, directing U.S. District Court Judge Peter Messitte to dismiss the lawsuit.

Trump heralded the decision in a tweet, saying, "Word just out that I won a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt." Trump tweeted that he doesn't make money but loses "a fortune" by serving as president.


An appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday on whether Congress effectively invalidated former President Barack Obama’s entire signature health care law when it zeroed out the tax imposed on those who chose not to buy insurance.

It’s unclear when the three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel will rule in a case that appears destined for the Supreme Court, which has reviewed the law, and its coverage and insurance protections for millions of Americans, before. The ultimate outcome will affect protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Medicaid expansions covering roughly 12 million people, and subsidies that help about 10 million others afford health insurance.

Tuesday’s arguments are the latest in a lawsuit filed by Republican officials in 18 states, led by the Texas Attorney General’s Office. It was filed after Congress — which didn’t repeal the law, despite pressure from President Donald Trump — reduced to zero the unpopular tax imposed on those without insurance.

In challenging the law anew, “Obamacare” opponents noted the 2012 ruling of a divided Supreme Court that upheld the law. Conservative justices had rejected the argument that Congress could require everyone to buy insurance under the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. But Chief Justice John Roberts, joining four liberal justices, said Congress did have the power to impose a tax on those without insurance.

With no tax penalty now in effect, the Texas lawsuit argues, the individual mandate is unconstitutional and the entire law must fall without it. Texas-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor agreed in a December ruling. The law’s supporters appealed.

In addition to the 18 states, two individual taxpayers are part of the lawsuit. The Trump administration is not defending the law and has filed arguments in favor of O’Connor’s ruling.

California’s attorney general represents a coalition of mostly Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia seeking to overturn O’Connor’s ruling and uphold the law. The House of Representatives has joined them. Among the arguments by the law’s supporters: Those who filed suit have no case because they aren’t harmed by a penalty that doesn’t exist; the reduction of the tax penalty to zero could be read as a suspension of the tax, but the tax’s legal structure still exists; and that, even if the individual mandate is now unconstitutional, that does not affect the rest of the law known as the Affordable Care Act.



Wealthy financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is due in court following an arrest in New York on new sex-trafficking charges involving allegations that date to the early 2000s, according to law enforcement officials.

One of the officials said Epstein is accused of paying underage girls for massages and molesting them at his homes in Florida and New York.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the pending case.

A message was sent to Epstein’s defense attorney seeking comment. Epstein is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

Epstein’s arrest, first reported by The Daily Beast, comes amid renewed scrutiny of a once-secret plea deal that ended a federal investigation against him.

That deal, which is being challenged in Florida federal court, allowed Epstein, who is now 66, to plead guilty to lesser state charges of soliciting and procuring a person under age 18 for prostitution.

Averting a possible life sentence, Epstein was instead sentenced to 13 months in jail. The deal also required he reach financial settlements with dozens of his once-teenage victims and register as a sex offender.



President Donald Trump says he is “very seriously” considering an executive order to get a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The Justice Department says it will continue to search for legal grounds to force the inclusion of the question.

Trump says his administration is exploring a number of legal options, but the Justice Department has not said exactly what options remain now that the Supreme Court has barred the question, at least temporarily.

The government has already begun the process of printing the census questionnaire without that question.

The administration’s focus on asking broadly about citizenship for the first time since 1950 reflects the enormous political stakes and potential costs in the once-a-decade population count. The Justice Department says it will continue to look for legal grounds to force the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

But the department says it’s unclear how that will happen.

That’s according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs who took part in a conference call Friday with government lawyers and a federal judge who demanded clarification of the administration’s plans. President Donald Trump had reopened what appeared to be a final decision by his administration to proceed without the citizenship question on the next census.



A young man who says Kevin Spacey groped him in a Nantucket bar in 2016 has dropped his lawsuit against the Oscar-winning actor, his lawyer said Friday.

Spacey still faces a criminal charge. He pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery in January.

His accuser’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, announced in an email that the suit filed June 26 in Nantucket Superior Court has been voluntarily dismissed. No reason was provided either by Garabedian or in the court filing. Garabedian said he would have no further comment. A telephone message was left at his office.

According to the court filing, the suit was dismissed “with prejudice,” which means it cannot be refiled.

An email was left Friday requesting comment from Alan Jackson, Spacey’s attorney. Jackson has previously said the man is lying in the hopes of winning money in a civil case against Spacey.

The legal development could have significance for the criminal case against Spacey, legal experts say.

While there are a range of reasons why a civil suit is dropped so quickly after being filed, it could be an indicator a private settlement was reached and that the accuser may ultimately stop cooperating with prosecutors, said William Korman, a former prosecutor in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office who is now a criminal defense lawyer specializing in sexual assault cases.


A lawyer for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will be in a federal courtroom Tuesday asking three appellate judges to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, and this time it will be with the full support of the Trump administration.

The U.S. Department of Justice earlier this year announced that the agency, like Paxton, believes the entire law should be struck down, reversing its previous position that certain sections, including a provision allowing states to expand Medicaid, should not be affected by the case.

Opposing them in Tuesday’s oral arguments at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will be lawyers for the U.S. House and 20 Democratic-led states who say striking down the law would wreak havoc on the health care system and put lives at risk.

The showdown will produce a decision that could give the U.S. Supreme Court another crack at deciding whether the 2010 law, a signature achievement of Democratic President Barack Obama, remains in effect.

At stake is health insurance for about 20 million Americans, either directly through the program sometimes called Obamacare or through expanded Medicaid coverage, as well as protection for millions more who have preexisting medical conditions.


U.S. rapper A$AP Rocky was ordered held by a Swedish court Friday for two weeks in pre-trial detention while police investigate a fight in downtown Stockholm.

Prosecutor Fredrik Karlsson said Friday after the hearing at the Stockholm District Court that A$AP Rocky — the stage name of Rakim Mayers — was to be held on a lesser assault charge than he initially had demanded.

"They were attacked and he made use of self-defense," said defense lawyer Henrik Olsson Lilja, adding they would appeal the ruling.

The rapper was involved in the fight Sunday before appearing at a music festival in Sweden. It was not clear who else was involved in the incident. Videos published on social media show a person being violently thrown onto the ground by A$AP Rocky. He and others punched and kicked the person on the ground.

After the video was published online, the rapper posted his own videos to his Instagram account, which purport to show the man in question following and repeatedly harassing him and his entourage.


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