Trial began this week in Virginia for Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign who has been charged with a variety of crimes unrelated to the campaign. Manafort’s current trial involves charges of bank fraud, money laundering, lobbying disclosure violations, and obstruction of justice, with the alleged offenses largely stemming from lucrative political consulting work Manafort performed in Ukraine. Prosecutors say that Manafort hid his overseas income to avoid taxes, and then committed bank fraud to obtain loans when the income stream dried up. Manafort is scheduled to face trial on other charges in September. Keep reading for more news.
Settlement. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the city “is on the verge of paying a settlement to the unarmed black pedestrian who was beaten, shocked and choked by a white officer after being accused of jaywalking last August.” As the News Roundup has noted, the incident giving rise to the potential settlement involved former officer Christopher Hickman violently detaining Johnnie Rush. Details of the settlement have not yet been made public.
Judge Candidate Surveys. The Greensboro News & Record recently published surveys from candidates running to fill seats on the North Carolina Court of Appeals in the election this fall. The surveys allow candidates to provide information about their backgrounds and answer questions about their qualifications for the judgeships. All of the surveys are available here under the “Law” category.
Parkland March. The Greensboro News & Record reports that students from Parkland, Florida, the site of one of the school shootings that have occurred this year, held a March for Our Lives rally in Greensboro this week. The rally in Greensboro was one stop on a national tour by the March for Our Lives group, whose focus is increased gun control and an end to gun violence. A responsive rally supporting Second Amendment rights was held across the street, and another rally in support of the Second Amendment was held in Hillsborough late last month.
Printing Guns. The nation returned to a debate over 3D-printed guns this week as a federal judge granted a temporary injunction preventing the public release of design plans for guns that can be produced on 3D printers. Cody Wilson, the founder of a company called Defense Distributed, played a key role in the development of the first such weapon five years ago and has been involved in legal challenges advocating for public release of the design files. Recently, the Department of Justice reached a settlement with Wilson which allowed him to publish the files on August 1, but the injunction has temporarily halted the release. Wired has a series of articles on this complex story here, here, and here.
Police Department on Leave. The Wilmington Star-News reports that the entire Southport Police Department is on paid leave following the arrest of the department’s Chief and a lieutenant. Police Chief Gary Lee Smith and Lt. Michael Christian Simmons were charged with various offenses after it was alleged that the two men worked second jobs at a trucking company while on duty with the police department. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is increasing patrols in Southport while the department is on leave.
Blawg 100. In a years-long saga, Jeff, captain of the North Carolina Criminal Law Blog, has been tirelessly pursuing a listing on the ABA’s Blawg 100 list of top legal blogs. It’s time again to wade into that fraught endeavor, and we’d love to have some help from readers. As described here, the ABA is asking for reader-submitted nominations of quality legal blogs for inclusion on the Blawg 100 list. If you enjoy the blog and find it useful, you can quickly fill out this form to let the ABA know that the blog is one of the best on the web.