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Top eight today

Top eight stories for today including the Senate Judiciary Committee pushed for the government to remove digital paywalls for online court records; An EU court adviser said a former state monopoly cannot be allowed to benefit unfairly from its past position as the only game in town; Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was found guilty of staging a hate crime, and more.

National

Senate group recommends free online access to federal court records

The Senate Judiciary Committee pushed Thursday morning for the government to remove digital paywalls for online court records, opening free access to the digital document system known as PACER.

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Dick Durbin discusses reforms to the online federal court document system known as PACER, during a meeting on Dec. 9, 2021.

Trump loses appeal to block House from accessing Jan. 6 records Pacific threats

A federal appeals panel on Thursday rejected former President Donald Trump’s attempt to withhold nearly 800 pages of documents regarding the Capitol riot from a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. 

With the White House in the background, President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, prior to the U.S. Capitol insurrection. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Letting Democrats raise the debt ceiling, Senate paves way for debt vote

In a unique solution to avoid a default on the country's debt, the Senate approved a plan Thursday that would allow Democrats avoid any support from the GOP to increase how much money the country can borrow.

The Senate voted 64-36 to change rules for a vote to raise the debt ceiling on Nov. 9, 2021.

Jussie Smollett found guilty of staging hate crime

Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was convicted of criminal disorderly conduct Thursday for falsely reporting to police that he was the victim of a hate crime.

Actor Jussie Smollett, right, departs with his mother Janet from the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, after jurors began deliberations in his disorderly conduct trial. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Capitol rioter who stole ‘do not enter’ sign pleads guilty

A Capitol rioter who brought weapons to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and took a “do not enter” sign from the building pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. 

Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump stand outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Regional

Maine press files brief in First Circuit challenging judge’s OK of access blackout

Maine media outlets along with Courthouse News filed a First Circuit brief saying a trial court judge made profound errors in ruling that court clerks can black out new complaints for an unlimited amount of time.

The John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston, home of the First Circuit Court of Appeals. (Photo by Beyond My Ken from Wikipedia Commons via Courthouse News)

Judge halts California ban on ‘pay to delay’ pharma deals

A federal judge on Thursday suspended California’s first-in-the-nation ban on pharmaceutical industry pay-for-delay deals, ruling the law intended to increase the flow of affordable generic drugs likely violates out-of-state commerce protections.

(Pixabay image via Courthouse News)

International

Court adviser eyes clarifying EU antitrust laws in Italy electricity dispute

The European Union's top court should use a dispute over the opening of Italy's retail electricity market – long the domain of a state monopoly – as an opportunity to clarify key aspects of the bloc's antitrust laws, a court adviser said on Thursday.

The European Court of Justice, based in Luxembourg, is the European Union’s supreme court in matters concerning EU law. (Molly Quell/Courthouse News)

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