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Judicial Watch: Buttigieg agrees to search his email for records regarding his role in the creation of ‘ID cards to help illegal aliens’

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Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg agreed to do his own personal search of his emails, rather than be deposed for testimony by a top conservative government watch dog group “for records related to the creation of ID cards to help illegal aliens in South Bend, Indiana,” stated the organization Wednesday.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit for Buttigieg’s emails in August, 2019. According to JW, he agreed to the search, in an effort to avoid being deposed and in response to the court order  issued by the judge, after the City of South Bend failed to respond as required by law to open records requests. The records request was for all emails between Buttigieg, members of his staff and officials of La Casa de Amistad, regarding the Community Resident Card program, Judicial Watch stated.

On Wednesday President-elect Joe Biden named Buttigieg his Transportation Secretary nominee.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said that the former South Bend Mayor was working to create ID cards for illegal aliens to help them stay in the country.

“This victory will help the public understand Mayor Buttigieg’s plan to create special ID cards to make it easier for illegal aliens to stay in the United States contrary to law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is curious that the mayor fought us for so long on this simple request for information.”

In August, 2019, when the lawsuit was filed by JW, Buttigieg’s spokesman Mark Bode, said “In 2016 Mayor Buttigieg helped jump-start the municipal ID program with a local nonprofit so that immigrants in our community could feel welcome and live without fear. Records related to the municipal ID are inaccessible by public records laws, as they are maintained by the nonprofit. We will continue to protect the well-being of all who live in our neighborhoods.”

In 2016, Buttigieg signed an executive order requiring city departments, such as police, fire and parks, to recognize the ID.

DOCUMENTS REQUESTED FROM THE JUDICIAL WATCH LAWSUIT

Judicial Watch initially sought a deposition of Buttigieg, but withdrew its request upon his agreement to search his personal email for the following records:

  • Emails between Mayor Peter Buttigieg on any personal/private or non-South Bend email account and any of the below listed individuals from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 containing the following terms: “Community Resident Card,” “CRC,” “Municipal ID,” “SB ID, ”Resident ID,” and/or Community ID.”
  • Individuals:  Same Centellas, John Collins, Felix Bueno, Jr., Laura O’Sullivan, Tammy Bell, Genevieve Miller, Molly Buser, Cherri Peate, Scott Ruszkowski, Mark Bode, Eric Horvath, Jamie Morgan, Marcia I. Jones
Why is Judicial Watch is requesting the records?

On December 16, 2016, the South Bend Tribune reported that, “A nonprofit Latino advocacy group … unveiled a new identification card it hopes will make life easier for undocumented immigrants who live in [South Bend].” La Casa de Amistad Inc. are the creators of this “SB ID.” Buttigieg reportedly worked “closely with La Casa de Amistad, South Bend’s main Latino outreach center … and the nonprofit’s executive director, Sam Centellas,” to create a “Community Resident Card … created and distributed by the group — a private organization — not the city.” “Buttigieg’s part to make it all work was to sign an executive order requiring local services and institutions — like law enforcement, schools, the water utility and libraries — to accept the card as a valid form of identification.”

South Bend refused or ignored Judicial Watch APRA requests for multiple times between June 24, 2019, and July 18, 2019. Each time, South Bend said the requests were too broad and not “reasonably particular.” After each refusal, Judicial Watch would comply with South Bend’s suggestion to limit their request. After four exchanges, South Bend produced Mayor Buttigieg’s executive order and 2 information bulletins that were already publicly accessible.

JUDICIAL WATCH

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Parler @SaraCarterOfficial or on Twitter @SaraCarterDC

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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”

Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.

RELATED: De Blasio ‘sickened’ by Cuomo sexual harassment claims

“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”

“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”

This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”

RELATED: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment claims, saying he ‘may have been insensitive’

During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.

“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”

“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”

Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.

RELATED: ‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video

Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.

“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.

“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”

He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.

Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”

“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.

MORE ON CUOMO: NY dem says state legislature is ‘inching toward’ Cuomo impeachment probe

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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