Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) announced Tuesday that he’s designating a day that recognizes the end of slavery in the U.S., as an official holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders to the people of Galveston, Texas that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free.
Gov. Northam’s announcement was made in the capital city of Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy. He made the announcement after more than a year of backlash for his controversial 1984 medical school yearbook photo, which featured two men (one of them Northam himself), one wearing Ku Klux Klan robes and the other with blackface.
Virginia’s Gov. Coonman von Blackface Northam must be getting nervous with everything getting cancelled again. pic.twitter.com/MWM1RmvNc8
— ForAmerica (@ForAmerica) June 17, 2020
Juneteenth is celebrated each year on June 19. As an official holiday in Virginia, Juneteenth would be a paid day off for all state employees.
“It’s time we elevate this,” Gov. Northam said of Juneteenth. “Not just a celebration by and for some Virginians but one acknowledged and celebrated by all of us.”
Northam was joined Tuesday at his press conference by musician Pharrell Williams, a Virginia native. Pharrell said he believes that Juneteenth deserves the same level of recognition and celebration as Independence Day.
“Here’s our day, and if you love us, it’ll be your day too,” Pharrell said.
WATCH: Pharrell joins the governor of Virginia in announcing Juneteenth is officially a state holiday. Celebrated on June 19th, it marks the day in 1865 when African Americans heard the news that slavery was abolished. https://t.co/hfiG0NQAMr pic.twitter.com/xfVoVjiD4F
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 17, 2020
Virginia is the second state to declare Juneteenth as a state holiday. Texas did so in 1980.
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Former FBI official investigating Trump indicted on charges of working for Russian Oligarch he was investigating
The former FBI official involved in the investigation into the made up Trump-Russia collusion has been charged with…wait for it…Russia collusion. Former FBI official Charles McGonigal was charged with “violating sanctions and collaborating with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.”
The Department of Justice made the announcement Monday. “Charles McGonigal, a former high-level FBI official, and Sergey Shestakov, a Court interpreter, violated U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams wrote in the released statement.
“Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska perform global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion, and violence,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael Driscoll noted in a statement. “There are no exceptions for anyone, including a former FBI official like Mr. McGonigal.”
According to federal prosecutors, McGonigal received “concealed payments” from a Russian intelligence officer in exchange for his help in having sanctions targeting Deripaska lifted. “McGonigal is being charged by the Federal District in Manhattan with additional counts relating to money laundering and conspiracy” reports National Review.
Both McGonigal and Shestakov had “previously worked with Deripaska to attempt to have his sanctions removed, and, as public servants, they should have known better,” Williams’ statement added.
McGonigal’s legal team announced their plans to enter a plea of not guilty before a federal court appearance. Seth DuCharme, head of McGonigal’s legal team old the New York Times “Charlie served the United States capably, effectively, for decades.”
“We have closely reviewed the accusations made by the government and we look forward to receiving discovery so we can get a view on what the evidence is upon which the government intends to rely” DuCharme added.
McGonigal was arrested at JFK Airport in New York City on Saturday upon returning from recent travels to Sri Lanka.
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