Category Archives: Blog

Best in all legal news.

Pandemic Puts the Screws to New York’s Mafia. In Italy, the Mobs Are Thriving.

Traditional organized-crime rackets like betting and construction are bleeding the New York mafia dry. But in Italy, the mobs are stronger than ever.

ROME—The New York mafia is taking a hit from the novel coronavirus pandemic after many of its money-making outlets have been shuttered.

Gambling halls, sporting events, and construction projects have long fed the Empire State gangs, but now that they are taking an “historic” blow, a law-enforcement source told the New York Post. “There’s never been a time when they weren’t making money through gambling,” the source said.

The American mafia families are also losing out on the extortion racket after restaurants and other entities close their doors under New York City’s “shelter in place” order. A halt to non-essential construction jobs, which includes transportation and port entry, has also put a dent in the U.S. mob’s profits.

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Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine released early from prison due to coronavirus; Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, other celebs want out, too

While most everyone in America is sheltering in place in fear of coronavirus, some celebrities behind bars, such Bill Cosby and R. Kelly, are pressing to be released from lockups where they fear the killer virus is raging or soon will be.

On Wednesday, the 23-year-old Brooklyn rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine (real name Daniel Hernandez), who suffers from asthma and once was hospitalized for bronchitis, was released from a federal prison to serve the remaining four months of his two-year racketeering sentence in home confinement, according to Nicholas Biase, spokesman for the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

“The government did not oppose counsel’s motion for compassionate release because the defendant’s medical condition placed him at high risk during the coronavirus outbreak,” Biase said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.

Dawn Florio, one of his lawyers, confirmed his release to USA TODAY and said the rapper and his legal team were “super excited – ecstatic” about the news.

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New York Legal Marijuana Push ‘Effectively Over’ For 2020, Governor Says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) conceded on Saturday that it’s unlikely marijuana will be legalized in the state this year.

“Marijuana and the gig economy were two of the more complicated initiatives that we wanted to work through that we didn’t get a chance to do,” he said in response to a question about which policy issues he would’ve liked to tackle in the annual budget bill that passed this week.

“Is the session effectively over? It’s up to the legislature, but I think it’s fair to say it’s effectively over,” he added, noting that several state lawmakers have been infected with coronavirus.

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U.S. taxpayers already paid for COVID-19 treatments — we cannot let Big Pharma make us pay again

U.S. taxpayers have already paid for the research and testing of the most promising treatments

There’s much we don’t yet know about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. We don’t know how long the pandemic will last, when a vaccine will be developed, or how many lives antiviral medications can save. But there’s one thing we know for sure: U.S. taxpayers have already paid for the research and testing of the most promising treatments.

These treatments should be available to everyone who needs them at no cost. But the Trump administration’s drug policy is led by two former pharmaceutical executives, and that is having devastating consequences for potential access to treatments and vaccines for the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’ve been watching Donald Trump’s daily press briefings, that might come as a surprise. During his 2016 campaign, Trump loved to talk tough on pharma and say he would fight for lower drug prices. But then he put Alex Azar, a big pharma CEO infamous for doubling the price of insulin, in charge of regulating health care. Several weeks ago, Azar refused to guarantee that a coronavirus vaccine will be affordable for all, citing the need to protect big pharma’s profits.

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ACLU-MN lawsuit claims ICE illegally held Minnesota man, U.S. citizen for 11 months

ST. PAUL — The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is suing the federal government for holding a U.S. citizen living in Minnesota in Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) custody for 11 months.

According to a Thursday, March 26, news release from the nonpartisan litigating group, Ali Abdalla sought refuge in the United States from Somalia, and was granted citizenship in 2003. Fourteen years later in 2017, ICE arrested him and threatened deportation despite Abdalla’s citizenship status.

ACLU-MN alleges that ICE broke the law by holding Abdalla for 11 months in three different jails, and never properly investigating whether he was a citizen. They also allege that one Minnesota county jail failed to give Abdalla his necessary anxiety medication, causing additional distress.

ACLU-MN claims immigration officials violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, and falsely arrested and imprisoned Abdalla. The lawsuit says that what happened to Abdalla was a “consequence of official policies, patterns, practices, and customs that manifest not only intentional discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and religion as well as disregard of basic principles of due process, but also a reckless disregard for human life and liberty.”

While he was in detention, the ACLU-MN said an immigration judge ruled that Abdalla was a citizen and moved to terminate his removal proceedings. But ICE appealed the ruling and held onto Abdalla for five more months.

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