September 24, 2020

Prosecutors are reportedly dropping prostitution charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Kraft in 2019 was charged for allegedly soliciting prostitution at a Palm Beach County massage parlor, but court papers filed on Thursday showed that the charges against him are being dropped, NBC News reports.

"Although there was probable cause to make an arrest, the evidence cannot prove all legally required elements of the crime alleged and is insufficient to support a criminal prosecution," a court filing said.

This comes after last month, the Florida 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that Jupiter police violated Kraft's rights by secretly installing cameras inside the spa's massage rooms, and the court said that video footage of Kraft allegedly paying for sex at the spa couldn't be used during the trial, The Associated Press reports. This decision was expected to lead to charges against Kraft being dropped after prosecutors did not appeal it. The owner and the manager of the spa still face charges in the case, per the AP.

Kraft had pleaded not guilty to the charges. He issued an apology in March 2019, though, saying, "I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard." Brendan Morrow

May 26, 2020

Insider trading investigations into three senators have reportedly been closed by the Justice Department.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that investigations into Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), are being closed, although a probe of Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) remains open.

The senators came under scrutiny following reports that they sold stock holdings earlier this year after receiving briefings about the coronavirus, shortly before markets took a dive as the pandemic accelerated. Loeffler, Feinstein, and Inhofe said they weren't involved in making the stock trades, though the Journal notes Burr had a "more direct involvement in his trades."

Burr, who sold between $628,000 and $1.72 million in stock, has denied allegations of wrongdoing, claiming he "relied solely on public news reports." After the FBI seized his cell phone, Burr stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, calling the scandal a "distraction." Brendan Morrow

March 6, 2020

The publisher that acquired Woody Allen's memoir is looking to close the book on the controversy it spawned.

Hachette Book Group said Friday it will no longer publish Allen's memoir after its decision to do so generated a backlash and an employee walkout, per The Hollywood Reporter.

This comes just days after it was announced that the book from Allen, Apropos of Nothing, was set to be published by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette. Other publishers had reportedly turned down the book in light of the allegation of molestation Allen has long faced from his daughter, Dylan Farrow, which he has denied. Allen's son, investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, published his book Catch and Kill with a different division of Hachette, and he blasted the company earlier this week for not informing him about the project. Farrow also said Hachette did not fact-check the book.

On Thursday, employees of Hachette staged a walkout in protest of the book, with staffers saying they "stand in solidarity with Ronan Farrow, Dylan Farrow and survivors of sexual assault."

Hachette on Friday said the decision to cancel Allen's book was "difficult," but that after "extensive conversations with our staff and others," the company determined "that moving forward with publication would not be feasible." The publisher said, though, that "we have published and will continue to publish many challenging books."

In a statement, Dylan Farrow on Friday thanked the employees who took part in Thursday's walkout, writing, "For someone who has felt alone in my story for so long, yesterday was a profound reminder of what a difference can be made when people stand and unite together for what's right." Brendan Morrow

February 14, 2020

Sorry, President Trump: former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe won't be charged.

The Justice Department said Friday that its investigation into McCabe, who was fired in 2018 for allegedly lying to investigators about a disclosure to the media, has been dropped, and he will not face criminal charges, The New York Times reports.

"We said at the outset of the criminal investigation, almost two years ago, that if the facts and the law determined the result, no charges would be brought," McCabe's lawyers said on Friday. "We are pleased that Andrew McCabe and his family can go on with their lives without this cloud hanging over them."

McCabe has alleged his firing was politically motivated, in a lawsuit last year claiming it was part of a "plan and scheme to discredit and remove DOJ and FBI employees" who weren't "politically loyal" to Trump. The Justice Department's inspector general concluded in a 2018 report McCabe "lacked candor" under oath multiple times when questioned by investigators about authorizing a leak to The Wall Street Journal about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe denied intentionally lying to investigators.

"Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time, we consider the matter closed," prosecutors said Friday, per The Associated Press.

Friday's news is sure to spark some angry tweets by Trump, who has repeatedly blasted McCabe on Twitter, writing in 2018 after the release of the inspector general's report, "He LIED! LIED! LIED!" Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs noted Friday that given this context, the decision not to charge McCabe "could be politically explosive." Brendan Morrow

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