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DOJ announces lawsuit against Idaho to ‘protect reproductive rights’

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On Tuesday the Department of Justice announced a plan of action to “protect reproductive rights.” A press conference was held by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta to announce the “first affirmative litigation to protect access to reproductive healthcare following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs” the DOJ’s media advisory noted.

In the delivered statement by Gupta, it was announced that the DOJ filed a lawsuit challenging Idaho Code § 18-622 (§ 18-622), which is set to go into effect on Aug. 25 and imposes a near-total ban on abortion.

The Department of Justice’s Press Release titled “Justice Department Sues Idaho to Protect Reproductive Rights: Complaint Alleges Idaho Law Violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act” summarizes Garland and Gupta’s statements:

The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that § 18-622 conflicts with, and is preempted by, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) in situations where an abortion is necessary stabilizing treatment for an emergency medical condition. The United States also seeks an order permanently enjoining the Idaho law to the extent it conflicts with EMTALA. 

“On the day Roe and Casey were overturned, we promised that the Justice Department would work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.  “That is what we are doing, and that is what we will continue to do. We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the emergency medical treatment to which they are entitled under federal law. And we will closely scrutinize state abortion laws to ensure that they comply with federal law.” 

“Federal law is clear: patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live,” said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Women should not have to be near death to get care. The Department of Health and Human Services will continue its work with the Department of Justice to enforce federal law protecting access to health care, including abortions.”

“One critical focus of the Reproductive Rights Task Force has been assessing the fast-changing landscape of state laws and evaluating potential legal responses to infringements on federal protections,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “Today’s lawsuit against the State of Idaho for its near-absolute abortion ban is the first public example of this work in action. We know that these are frightening and uncertain times for pregnant women and their providers, and the Justice Department, through the Task Force’s work, is committed to doing everything we can to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services.”

 EMTALA requires hospitals that receive federal Medicare funds to provide necessary stabilizing treatment to patients who arrive at their emergency departments while experiencing a medical emergency. When a physician reasonably determines that the necessary stabilizing treatment is an abortion, state law cannot prohibit the provision of that care. The statute defines necessary stabilizing treatment to include all treatment needed to ensure that a patient will not have her health placed in serious jeopardy, have her bodily functions seriously impaired, or suffer serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

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Stormy Daniels lawyer in Trump trial, Michael Avenatti, sentenced to prison for stealing millions from clients

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Lawyer Michael Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against former President Donald Trump was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Avenatti was sentenced for stealing millions of dollars from his clients. He was also fined a whopping $10 million.

U.S. District Judge James v. Selna said “Avenatti’s sentence in Southern California will be served after he finishes a five-year term for separate convictions in New York” reported the Associated Press.

“This was the last of three major federal criminal cases to wrap up against the 51-year-old Californian. Avenatti is currently serving prison time for stealing book proceeds from Daniels — who sued to break a confidentiality agreement with Trump to stay mum about an affair she said they had — and for trying to extort Nike if the shoemaker didn’t pay him up to $25 million” adds the AP.

Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., used the news of Avenatti’s conviction to bring up an old Tweet of his. On October 11 2018, Avenatti predicted Trump Jr. would be going to prison: “Donald Trump Jr. will be indicted before his birthday on 12-31-18. If you doubt my prediction, please check my record over the last 7 months. #winning.”

Trump Jr. is getting the last laugh. Jr. tweeted Avenatti’s 2018 prediction with the Associated Press headline of the conviction: “BREAKING: Incarcerated lawyer Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for cheating clients out of millions of dollars – AP.”

Earlier this year Avenatti plead guilty to “four counts of wire fraud and a tax-related charge despite not reaching a plea deal with federal prosecutors, saying he wanted to be accountable and spare his family further embarrassment” added the AP.

“He was accused of negotiating and collecting settlement payments on behalf of his clients and funneling the money to accounts he controlled, and spending it on his own lavish lifestyle, including a private jet.”

The Associated Press  also went into further detail on Avenatti’s court hearing:

“Despite the significant advantages that this defendant had — a first-rate education, a thriving legal career — he chose to commit the deplorable acts in this case time and time again,” prosecutor Brett Sagel told the court in Santa Ana. “The defendant is just another criminal who thinks the law is something that applies to other people.”

His voice breaking, Avenatti apologized to the clients he bilked, including two who told the court about how losing the money and their trust in someone they thought had their back upended their lives.

“I am deeply remorseful and contrite,” Avenatti said. “There is no doubt that all of them deserve much better, and I hope that someday they will accept my apologies and find it in their heart to forgive me.”

Authorities in California said Avenatti carried out what amounted to a “sophisticated Ponzi scheme” by collecting settlement payments on behalf of vulnerable clients and using the money to fund his exorbitant lifestyle.

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