Your Thursday night briefing from the staff of Courthouse News
Top CNS stories for today including federal prosecutors giving immunity to the publisher of the National Enquirer in the ongoing probe related to payments made by Michael Cohen on behalf of then-candidate Donald Trump; the lawyer for accused Russian operative Mariia Butina receives a warning that his public statements on the case flout a court order; Rep. Duncan Hunter makes his first court appearance after being indicted this week for campaign finance violations; the 11th Circuit affirms Alabama cannot enforce its law that prohibits and criminalize second-trimester abortions unless the fetus is dead before it is extracted; a federal judge sentences Reality Winner to just over five years in prison for leaking top-secret records on Russia’s efforts to get Donald Trump elected president in 2016; refugees describe brutality by Balkans border police, and more.
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1.) Thrusting President Donald Trump’s long history of favorable National Enquirer coverage into the spotlight, several news outlets reported Thursday that federal prosecutors have given immunity to the CEO of tabloid’s publisher.
2.) The lawyer for accused Russian operative Mariia Butina received a warning Thursday that his public statements on the case flout a court order.
3.) Protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in San Diego Thursday where Rep. Duncan Hunter made his first appearance after being indicted this week for campaign finance violations.
4.) The U.S. government may have ignored scientific evidence that the rat poison used to protect illegal marijuana farms is killing the weasel-like Pacific fisher when it decided not to designate the animal for legal protection, a federal judge suggested Wednesday.
5.) A United States Space Force will be a reality by 2020, Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday, doubling-down on the administration’s goal of establishing a sixth branch of the armed forces.
6.) The 11th Circuit affirmed Wednesday that Alabama cannot enforce its law that prohibits and criminalize second-trimester abortions unless the fetus is dead before it is extracted.
7.) Following the government’s recommendation, a federal judge sentenced Reality Winner on Thursday to just over five years in prison for leaking top-secret records on Russia’s efforts to get Donald Trump elected president in 2016.
8.) Drawing an eight-year legal battle to a close, a federal judge ordered the manager of Tailwind Sports to forfeit $1.2 million for his role in concealing Lance Armstrong’s career-long doping habit.
9.) As the Permian Basin region in Texas and New Mexico continues to experience a historic oil boom, a new study has found that water usage for hydraulic fracturing has increased nearly ninefold in the semi-arid region over a five-year period.
10.) Omar Dyab, a 33-year-old Syrian war refugee, shook his head. “Police in Croatia, Mafia,” he said with distaste. Dusk was settling over Sarajevo, the war-scarred capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina ringed by mountains, and shadows grew around the bleak central train station where Dyab and fellow Syrians seeking entry into Europe camped on the pavement.