News Brief (April 12): Former Employee of DA Fani Willis Is Giving Republicans Information: Jordan | AUDIO

Good morning, and welcome to the Epoch Times News Brief for Friday, April 12, 2024. I’m Bill Thomas, and today we have some crucial stories of the day.
News Brief (April 12): Former Employee of DA Fani Willis Is Giving Republicans Information: Jordan | AUDIO
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Ga., on March 1, 2024. (Alex Slitz/AFP via Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to the Epoch Times News Brief for Friday, April 12, 2024. I’m Bill Thomas, and today we have some crucial stories of the day.

Let’s dive into our first headline.

Former Employee of DA Fani Willis Is Giving Republicans Information: Jordan

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan said on Tuesday that a former employee of the Fulton County District Attorney’s office is providing information to House Republicans as they investigate potential misuse of federal funds by the office.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has confirmed that District Attorney Fani Willis may have misused federal funding.

Ms. Willis’s office is currently prosecuting former President Donald Trump and others in connection with allegations of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election. A spokesperson for the DOJ confirmed that they have “noticed some inconsistencies” in Fulton County’s reporting to the Federal Subaward Reporting System.

Mr. Jordan previously issued a subpoena to Ms. Willis for documents related to the possible misuse of federal funds. A former employee alleged that grant funds meant for gang prevention were instead used for personal expenses.

Ms. Willis has not publicly responded to these allegations, and her office did not comment.

Previously, Ms. Willis said her office would provide information as requested and criticized Mr. Jordon’s investigation. She said that the subpoena would not stop the Trump case, claiming that there was not a conflict of interest that should force Ms. Willis off the case.

President Trump’s lawyers have requested an appeal in the case. The Court of Appeals has 45 days to decide whether to accept the case.

Turning from Fulton County’s legal disputes, we note a significant passing.

OJ Simpson Dead at 76—Cause Revealed

OJ Simpson, the former NFL star who was acquitted of murder charges in the 1990s, has passed away at the age of 76. His family announced that he died in Las Vegas after a battle with cancer.

Mr. Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman were found dead in 1994, leading to a highly publicized murder trial. Although he was found not guilty, he was later held liable in a civil lawsuit brought by the victims’ families. The former NFL star, however, maintained his innocence and had publicly promised to find the “real killer.”

In 1997, he was ordered to pay $33.5 million for the wrongful deaths of the two victims. Some of his property was seized and auctioned, but most of the judgment has not been paid.

Mr. Simpson later served nine years in prison for robbery and kidnapping over an attempt to steal back some of his sports memorabilia. He insisted his conviction and sentence were unfair, saying that he had only wanted to get back personal mementos and items allegedly stolen from him following his acquittal in the killings.

Following his release, he maintained a low profile but occasionally made social media posts.

Mr. Simpson’s athletic career was marked by numerous achievements, including winning the Heisman Trophy and excelling in the NFL, where he won four rushing titles and scored 76 touchdowns. He also dabbled in acting and became known for his roles in “Roots” and “The Naked Gun.”

Despite public outrage, a book by Mr. Simpson titled “If I Did It” was released but retitled as “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer” after Ron Goldman’s family won control of the manuscript.

Mr. Simpson’s attorney also confirmed his death Thursday to TMZ and other media outlets.

Next, a significant rule change that could reshape the landscape of firearm sales in America.

ATF Issues Controversial Rule—Millions Impacted

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has submitted a final rule to change the definition of being “Engaged in the Business” of dealing in firearms.

The change, mandated by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, aims to require individuals who regularly trade firearms for profit to obtain a Federal Firearms License and conduct background checks. The rule applies to both online and in-store sales.

Critics argue that it will effectively end private transactions, including the inheritance of firearms within families.

Just over a year ago, President Joe Biden issued Executive Order 14092, which directed Attorney General Merrick Garland to clarify the definition. The proposal immediately drew criticism from gun rights activists. Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) wrote in a letter to ATF Director Steen Dettelbach that the proposal “advances a radical left-wing agenda.” He said that it “will undermine the Second Amendment and the Constitutional rights of all Americans.”

Mr. Garland signed the rule on April 10, which will become effective on May 10, 2024. Critics also claim that the rule could criminalize private firearm sales and subject parents to federal prosecution for passing family heirlooms along to their children.

However, the ATF states that individuals not “engaged in the business” can continue engaging in intrastate private sales without a license. The ATF states that the rule is an effort to close avenues for criminals to acquire firearms.

Second Amendment advocates argue that the new rule is part of the Biden administration’s administrative approach to implementing gun control measures that face challenges in the legislative process.

We continue with more contentious legal and political battles, this time focusing on voting laws and the DOJ. Here’s what’s happening.

16 GOP Attorneys General Challenge Garland’s Comments on Voting Laws

A group of Republican state attorneys general, including Todd Rokita of Indiana, Ken Paxton of Texas, and Liz Murrill of Louisiana, have criticized U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s comments about interfering in state voting laws.

They argue that his remarks, made at a church in Selma, Alabama, are concerning and represent a weaponization of the DOJ.

In a detailed letter, Mr. Rokita voiced concerns about such federal interference. He called this a “weaponization of the DOJ” fueled by Mr. Garland’s personal views, saying that it is a“serious threat to the principles of federalism and separation of powers, but also to democracy and the rule of law.”

He argues that the U.S. Constitution clearly leaves state elections up to elected representatives and any interference would undermine the Constitution and law and order.

In his speech at the church, Mr. Garland had discussed challenging state laws that he claimed place restrictions on black voters, such as restrictions on mail-in voting, the use of drop boxes, and voter ID. Mr. Rokita counters that voter ID laws are not discriminatory but rather prevent voter fraud and that mail-in voting and drop boxes pose security risks.

He argued that people “are required to use an ID to prove identity when driving a car, boarding an airline, buying cigarettes, or purchasing alcohol” and that “none of these requirements are considered ‘discriminatory’ or ‘burdensome.’” Mr. Rokita added that “requiring an ID to vote in an election is no different.”

He also disputes Mr. Garland’s claim that the Voting Rights Act has been weakened, emphasizing that the act was originally intended as temporary legislation to address specific historical discrimination issues.

Mr. Rokita accused Mr. Garland of using the DOJ to build up votes for the Democratic Party and diminishing democratic principles.

Our final story today comes from Wisconsin, where changes in the state’s Supreme Court could influence future legal landscapes. Here’s what’s happening in their Supreme Court.

Liberal Justice Will Step Down From State Supreme Court

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who has been on the court since 1995, announced that she won’t seek reelection, potentially jeopardizing the court’s liberal-leaning majority. She acknowledged that she could win reelection but felt it was time to bring fresh perspectives to the court.

Liberal justices gained control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2023, and Justice Bradley celebrated the shift, as she had been dissenting for years due to the court’s conservative domination. After her retirement announcement, Democratic state officials expressed their appreciation for her work and expressed confidence that a liberal-leaning justice would win the election for her vacant seat.

Former Republican Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has been campaigning for the seat since November, aiming to challenge the court’s leftist majority. Wisconsin Appeals Court Judge Chris Taylor is also considering running for the seat.

Recent key rulings include overturning Republican-drawn maps of the state’s legislative districts and considering challenges to a state law interpreted as banning abortion.

Chief Justice Annette Ziegler and Justice Rebecca Bradley expressed concerns about the new majority advancing a partisan agenda. The court had to meet a tight deadline to set district boundaries for the November election. Wisconsin’s elections commission has said district boundaries must be set by mid-March to meet deadlines for election officials and candidates. Candidates can start circulating nomination papers on April 15 for the August 13 primary.

Producers Faye and Mel are frantically waving their arms, giving me the wrap cue, which means we’re almost outta time, so that’s gonna be our final story on today’s edition of the Epoch Times News Brief!

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