Trial opens in E. Jean Carroll’s rape lawsuit against Trump
A nearly 30-year-old rape claim against Donald Trump went to trial Tuesday as jurors in the federal civil case heard a former advice columnist’s allegation of being attacked in a luxury department store dressing room. The former president says nothing happened between them. E. Jean Carroll will testify that what unfolded in a few minutes in a fitting room in 1996 “would change her life forever,” one of her lawyers, Shawn Crowley, said in an opening statement. “Filled with fear and shame, she kept silent for decades. Eventually, though, silence became impossible,” Crowley said. And when Carroll broke that silence in a 2019 memoir, the then-president “used the most powerful platform on Earth to lie about what he had done, attack Ms. Carroll’s integrity and insult her appearance.” Trump — who wasn't in court but hasn't ruled out testifying —- has called Carroll a “nut job” who fabricated the rape claim to sell her book. Defense attorney Joe Tacopina told jurors Tuesday that her story was wildly implausible and short of evidence. He accused her of pursuing the case for money, status and political reasons, urging the jurors from heavily Democratic New York to put aside any animus they themselves might hold toward the Republican ex-president and ex-New Yorker. Also Read: Rape lawsuit trial against Donald Trump set to get underway “You can hate Donald Trump. That’s OK. But there’s a time and a secret place for that. It’s called a ballot box in an election. It’s not here in a court of law,” Tacopina told the six-man, three-woman panel. “Nobody’s above the law, but no one is beneath it.” The trial stands to test Trump's “Teflon Don” reputation for shaking off serious legal problems and to reprise accounts of the type of sexual misconduct that rocked his 2016 presidential campaign as he seeks office again. Trump denies all the claims, saying they are falsehoods spun up to damage him. The trial comes a month after he pleaded not guilty in an unrelated criminal case surrounding payments made to bury accounts of alleged extramarital sex. Carroll's suit is a civil case, meaning that no matter the outcome, Trump isn't in danger of going to jail. She is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a retraction of Trump statements that she alleges were defamatory. Among his comments: “She’s not my type," which her lawyers say was tantamount to calling her too unattractive to assault. Jurors — whose names are being kept secret to prevent potential harassment — range in age from 26 to 66 and include a janitor, a physical therapist and people who work in security, health care collections, a library, a high school and other settings. They were questioned about their news-watching habits (which vary from watching “everything” to ignoring it all), political donations and support for any of a roster of right- and left-wing groups. They were asked, too, whether they used Trump’s social media platform, read Carroll’s former Elle magazine column and even if they’d seen Trump’s former reality show “The Apprentice” — and whether any of these and other matters would make it difficult for them to be fair. Carroll, 79, is expected to testify as soon as Wednesday that a chance encounter with Trump, 76, turned violent, and that he defamed her when responding to the rape allegations. She says that after she ran into the future president at Manhattan's Bergdorf Goodman on an unspecified spring Thursday evening in 1996, he invited her to shop with him for a woman's lingerie gift before they teased one another to try on a bodysuit. Carroll says they ended up alone together in a store dressing room, where Trump pushed her against a wall and raped before she fought him off and fled. Her suit argues that she was psychologically scarred by the alleged attack, and then subjected to an onslaught of hateful messages and reputational damage when Trump painted her as a liar. “This case is Ms. Carroll's chance to clear her name, to pursue justice,” Crowley said. Tacopina countered that it was “an affront to justice.” He suggested her account of being violently raped in the Fifth Avenue store, with no one around, was preposterous. Also, Tacopina noted, there was no record that Carroll had any injuries, sought out a doctor or therapist, asked the store about surveillance video or even wrote about the alleged attack in her diary. “It all comes down to: Do you believe the unbelievable?” he asked in his opening statement. Also Read: Trump's day in court as criminal defendant: What to know Jurors are also expected to hear from two other women who say they were sexually assaulted by Trump. The jury will also see the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump is heard asserting that celebrities can grab women sexually without asking. Carroll's allegations normally would be too old to bring to court. But in November, New York state enacted a law allowing for suits over decades-old sexual abuse claims. The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Carroll has done.
Transit: First cargo ship from India arrives at Mongla port for trial run
The first trial-basis cargo ship meant to carry goods for northeastern India through Bangladesh's internal waterways reached Mongla port with two containers on Monday. Bangladesh flag-bearing cargo vessel MV Rishad Rayhan anchored at jetty-9 of the port in the morning, having left Kolkata port on August 1, said the Mongla port authority. This is the first of the four trial cargo ships on this route. The cargo ship is now waiting for a trial run on the Mongla-Tamabil and Mongla-Bibirbazar(in Cumilla) routes. This movement of cargo is part of the trial runs being undertaken for the operationalization of the agreement to use Chattogram and Mongla Ports for the transit of goods to and from India which was signed between Indian and Bangladesh in 2018. In two containers, the vessel carried 16.38 ton of iron pipes in 70 packages and 8.5 ton prefoam in 249 packages. Unloading from the cargo ship began around 11 am. Also read: First shipment of goods for Bangabandhu Rail Bridge arrives at Mongla port A truck was loaded with container and steel products which left for India around 12 pm. One of the containers will go to India’s Meghalaya state through Tamabil while another will go to India’s Assam through Bibirbazar border, said the port authority. According to the port authority, an agreement and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) regarding the use of Mongla Port for transportation of goods from India have been signed between the two countries. The decision to conduct the trial run was taken after the 13th Bangladesh-India Joint Group of Customs (JGC) meeting held in March 2022. Chairman of Mongla Port Authority Rear Admiral Mohammad Musa, Mongla Customs House Commissioner Mohammad Newazur Rahman, Indian Assistant High Commissioner in Khulna Inderijt Sagar and representatives from Maersk India Ltd were present at the port while the cargo vessel was anchored. Indian Assistant High Commissioner Indar Jeet Sagar said, “This initiative has been taken to speed up the trade using inland waterways on the India-Bangladesh protocol route. This agreement will have a more positive impact on the development of the economy and bilateral relations of the two countries. As per the agreement, the first trial cargo has been shipped to Mongla port today.” There are eight approved routes for transit of goods under the agreement, namely, Chattogram/Mongla Port to Agartala via Akhaura, Chattogram/Mongla Port to Dawki via Tamabil, Chattogram/Mongla Port to Sutarkandi via Sheola, Chattogram/Mongla Port to Srimantapur via Bibirbazar and vice versa on all four routes. During the visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh to India in 2019, a SOP was signed to operationalize the agreement. Also read: How Padma Bridge led to largest shipment of reconditioned cars to arrive at Mongla Port Another trial run is expected be done on the Mongla-Sheola-Sutarkandi route by the end of August 2022 which will mark completion of trial runs on all approved routes under this Agreement, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka. As per the understanding reached earlier this year between the two governments, necessary permanent standing order/notification would be issued by the government of Bangladesh after completion of these trials for the operationalization and regular movement of goods under this agreement.
Rape survivor’s character can’t be questioned during trial: Cabinet clears draft law
The Cabinet on Monday approved an amendment to the British-era Evidence Act that will disallow questioning about a rape survivor’s character during court trial handing a key victory to the rights groups who find the provision insulting to victims. The draft of Evidence (Amendment) Act, 2022 sailed through Cabinet at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who joined it through a virtual platform from her official residence Ganobhaban. The proposed amendment seeks to restrict section 146(3) of the Evidence Act so victims cannot be asked “obnoxious questions” regarding their character without court’s permission, according to media briefing by Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam. Also read: Writ seeks cancellation of Evidence Act provisions on rape victims’ character “Some amendments were brought in the draft law as the digital court has been recognized,” he said. He said there is a tendency to question the character of victims by the opponent side. “In the draft law, there is a restriction on it. The permission will have to be taken from the court to raise questions over the character of anyone straightway,” he said. According to the proposed law, digital records will be accepted as evidence, he said, adding that data alongside information can also be used. The authorities concerned have been asked to translate the law (The Evidence Act, 1872) into Bangla immediately, he said. Besides, the Cabinet in principle approved the draft of Village Court (Amendment) Act, 2022 changing the provision to dispose of a case within 15 days instead of 30 days as well as incorporating the word ‘child’ in place of ‘Nabalok’ (minor child). As per the draft law, no child can be produced before the village court and the child will be defined as per the Children Act, said the top bureaucrat. He said the court can raise the maximum compensation of Tk 300,000, which was Tk 75,000 in the Children Act, 2013. The Cabinet also cleared the draft of Marine Fishing Guideline, 2022. The Cabinet directed the Fisheries Department to mark the marine fishing vessels with specific colour and number within four months as it would take time to bring all the vessels under the registration process. Khandker Islam said the number of marine fishing vessels might be more than 10,000. The Cabinet gave the final approval to Bangladesh Art-Design Act, 2022 aiming to protect the intellectual properties. The properties that go against ethics, public order and welfare of the people would not get the protection under the law, said Khandker Islam adding that unregistered arts or designs would not get protection as well. Also read: Female UP member ‘gang-raped’ in Faridpur, one held The meeting cleared the draft bilateral agreement over flight operation between Bangladesh and Rwanda. The meeting asked the authorities concerned to assess the economic aspects further before signing the agreement.
Britney Spears' ex ordered to trial on stalking charge
A California judge found Monday that there is enough evidence against a man once briefly married to Britney Spears who showed up uninvited at the pop star's wedding to go to trial on a felony stalking charge. After a two-hour preliminary hearing, Ventura County Judge David Worley ruled that 40-year-old Jason Allen Alexander should be held to answer on the charge, along with misdemeanor counts of trespassing, vandalism and battery, court records showed. Not guilty pleas to all the charges were entered by an attorney for Alexander, who did not attend and remains jailed. Also read: Britney Spears marries Sam Asghari in California Spears married longtime boyfriend Sam Asghari at her home in Thousand Oaks, California, on June 9, in front of several dozen guests including Selena Gomez, Drew Barrymore, Paris Hilton and Madonna. Alexander, a childhood friend of Spears to whom she was married for less than three days in 2004, appeared uninvited at the house before the ceremony, livestreaming his raid on Instagram. Richard Eubler, a since-fired security guard for Spears, testified at Monday's hearing that Alexander got inside her house and up to the locked door of Spears' bedroom while she was inside, according to multiple media reports. Also read: Britney Spears’ dad will exit conservatorship, but not yet Eubler said Alexander had also tried to enter the property in the days before the wedding. Alexander's attorney, Sandra Bisignani, argued there was no evidence he had any intention of harming Spears.
Raihan’s custodial death: Trial of ex-SI Akbar, 5 others from May 10
A Sylhet court on Sunday framed charges against six accused, including suspended SI Akbar Hossain Bhuiyan, in a case over Raihan Ahmed’s death at Bandarbazar police outpost. Sylhet Metropolitan Session Judge Md Abdur Rahim framed the charges and fixed May 10 for starting the trial. Earlier in the day, police produced five of the accused in the murder case, including then in-charge of Bandarbazar police outpost, the suspended SI Akbar Hossain Bhuiyan, before the court amid tight security. Also read:Raihan murder: Court asks fugitive accused to surrender Before today, charge framing in this case had been deferred several times. On September 30 last year, the court accepted the chargesheet submitted by police against six people in the case. The court also issued an arrest warrant against the sixth accused -- Abdullah Al Noman, who had allegedly helped Akbar flee the country, who remains absconding. The other four accused in the case are sub-inspector Hasan Ali, assistant sub-inspector Ahshque Elahi, and constables Harunur Rashid and Titu Chandra Das of the Bandarbazar police outpost. They are all currently in judicial custody. In May 2021, the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) submitted the chargesheet in the case. According to the chargesheet, Akbar, constables Harunur Rashid and Titu, and ASI Asheque were directly responsible for Raihan's custodial death. On October 11 in 2020, the 34-year-old resident of Akharia in Sylhet city, was allegedly beaten to death in police custody. His wife Tahmina Akter Tanni filed a complaint at the Kotwali police station the following day, following which an FIR was registered against unidentified people. Four policemen, including then in-charge of the Bandarbazar police outpost Akbar, were suspended on October 12. The three other policemen were also withdrawn from the outpost the same day. Later, the case was transferred to the PBI. How Raihan died Raihan called his mother from an unknown number and told her that police took him to the Bandarbazar outpost and demanded Tk 10,000 for his release, in the early hours of October 11, 2020. Later that day, his uncle rushed to the police outpost with Tk 5,000 but the cops allegedly refused to accept the bribe and asked him to return after arranging Tk 10,000. Raihan’s uncle then again went to the Bandarbazar police outpost with the money but was told that his nephew had fallen sick and was taken to a hospital at 6.40am. When his uncle went to the hospital, he came to know that Raihan was dead and his body had been sent for post-mortem. Also read: One year on, justice for Raihan’s death in custody still remains elusive Turning down the allegations of custodial torture, police at first said that Raihan was caught by locals in the Kastghar area attempting a robbery and had been lynched. However, the news of Raihan’s death triggered massive protests and locals blocked the Sylhet-Sunamganj Highway, demanding action against the accused cops.
Rana Plaza murder case: Trial begins 5 years after charge framing
Trial in the murder case filed over Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 began officially on Monday by recording statements of the witnesses. On July 18, 2016, Dhaka District and Session Court Judge SM Kuddus Zaman framed charges against the accused and passed an order to begin the trial. But it got barred as most of the accused appealed to the higher court challenging legality of the order. On Monday after clearing the appeals, District and Session Court Judge AHM Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan recorded the statement of plaintiff, then Sub-Inspector of Savar police station Wali Ashraf. The court set February 16 to record the statements next. Also read: 57pc Rana Plaza survivors remain unemployed: Survey Prime accused in the case, owner of Rana Plaza Sohel Rana is currently in jail while 40 others are on bail. According to the case statement, On April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza, an illegally-constructed building in Savar which housed five garment factories, came down crashing upon 5,500 workers. Bodies of 1,138 people were recovered in the incident while over 2,000 others suffered injuries and got paralysed. Over the tragic incident then SI of Savar police station Wali Ashraf filed a murder case accusing the owner and others of dereliction and negligence in building construction. On June 1, 2015, Assistant Superintendent of Crime Investigation Department (CID) of police Bijoy Krishna Kar submitted charge sheet in the case against 41 people including the building owner Sohel Rana. A total of 594 people were made witnesses in this case. Also read: HC issues rule on why Rana Plaza owner should not get bail Some other significant accused in the case are- Rana’s father Abdul Khaleque, Rana’s mother Morzina Begum, ATM Masud Reza, Assistant Professor(Architecture) of Khulna University, engineer Sazzd Hossain, Md Refatullah, Mayor of Savar Municipality, Uttam Kumar Roy, former executive officer of Savar Municipality, executive engineer Rafiqul Islam, former assistant engineer Mahbubur Rahman, former deputy-assistant engineer Rakibul Hasan Russel, former town planner Farzana Islam, license inspector Md Abdul Mottalib, former secretary of the municipality Morzina Khan, former secretary Md Abul Bashar, Md Aminul Islam, Chairman of Phantom Apparels Ltd, Bajlul Samad, MD of New Wave Bottoms Ltd, Md Anisur Rahman, Chairman of Ether Tex Ltd.
Elizabeth Holmes takes the stand in her criminal fraud trial
Fallen Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes, accused of bamboozling investors and patients about her startup Theranos and its medical device that she said would reshape health care, took the witness stand late Friday in her trial for criminal fraud. The surprise decision to have Holmes testify so early in her defense came as a bombshell and carries considerable risk. Federal prosecutors, who rested their months-long case earlier on Friday, have made it clear that they're eager to grill Holmes under oath. Prosecutors aren't likely to get that chance until after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Holmes attorney Kevin Downey told U.S. District Judge Edward Davila that he expects to continue steering her through her story when she returns to the stand Monday and again Tuesday in a San Jose, California, courtroom before the trial breaks until Nov. 29. READ: Credit Card Fraud Prevention: How to Protect Your Credit Card Online? Prosecutors called 29 witnesses to support their contention that Holmes endangered patients' lives while also duping investors and customers about Theranos’ technology. Among them was Gen. James Mattis, a former U.S. defense secretary and former Theranos board member, who explained how he was first impressed and ultimately disillusioned by Holmes. They also presented internal documents and sometimes salacious texts between Holmes and her former lover, Sunny Bulwani, who also served as Theranos’ chief operating officer. In court documents, Holmes' attorneys have asserted she was manipulated by Balwani through “intimate partner abuse" — an issue that is expected to come up during her ongoing testimony next week. Until she took the stand Friday, Holmes had sat bolt upright in her chair to the far right of the jury through the trial, impassive even when one-time supporters testified to their misgivings about Theranos. That combination of compelling testimony and documentary evidence apparently proved effective at convincing Holmes to tell her side of the story to the jury of 10 men and four women (including two alternates) who will ultimately decide her fate. If convicted, Holmes -- now 37 and mother to a recently born son -- could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Shortly after 3 p.m., Holmes walked slowly to the stand before a rapt courtroom filled with spectators and jurors, all wearing masks. Maskless behind a transparent barrier, Holmes recounted her early years as a student at Stanford University and her interest in disease detection. That culminated in her decision to drop out of school in 2003 at the age of 19 to found the startup that eventually became Theranos. Holmes said the name was derived from the words “therapy” and “diagnosis”. Holmes said she convinced her parents to let her use her college savings to finance her ambitions to shake up the health care industry. “I started working all the time ... trying to meet people who could help me could build this,” Holmes said in a husky voice that became one of her trademarks during Theranos' rise. As the company took shape, so did its vision. Ultimately Theranos developed a device it called the Edison that could allegedly scan for hundreds of health problems with a few drops of blood. Current tests generally each require a vial of blood, making it both slow and impractical to run more than a handful of patient tests at a time. READ: Sepp Blatter, Platini indicted for fraud in Switzerland Had it worked as promised, the Edison could have revolutionized health care by making it easier and cheaper to scan for early signs of disease and other health issues. Instead, jurors heard recordings of Holmes boasting to investors about purported breakthroughs that later proved to be untrue. Witness testimony and other evidence presented in the trial strongly suggested that Holmes misrepresented purported deals with major pharmaceutical firms such as Pfizer and the U.S. military while also concealing recurring problems with the Edison. But the Edison problems didn't become public knowledge until The Wall Street Journal published the first in a series of explosive articles in October 2015. An audit by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirmed those problems the following year. By then, Holmes and Balwani had raised hundreds of millions of dollars from billionaire investors such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the Walton family of Walmart and struck deals with Walgreens and Safeway to conduct blood tests in their pharmacies. Those investments at one point valued Theranos at $9 billion, giving Holmes a $4.5 billion fortune — on paper — in 2014. Evidence presented at trial also revealed that Holmes had distributed financial projections calling for privately held Theranos to generate $140 million in revenue in 2014 and $990 million in revenue in 2015 while also turning a profit. A copy of Theranos' 2015 tax return presented as part of the trial evidence showed the company had revenues of less than $500,000 that year while reporting accumulated losses of $585 million. Ellen Kreitzberg, a Santa Clara University law professor who has been attending the trial, said she thought the government had made a strong case. “There’s nothing sort of fancy or sexy about this testimony," she said. “The witnesses were very careful in their testimony. None of the witnesses seemed to harbor anger or a grudge against her. And so because of that, they were very powerful witnesses.” Other witnesses called by the government included two former Theranos lab directors who repeatedly warned Holmes that the blood-testing technology was wildly unreliable. Prosecutors also questioned two part-time lab directors, including Balwani's dermatologist, who spent only a few hours scrutinizing Theranos' blood-testing technology during late 2014 and most of 2015. Holmes' lawyers noted that part-time lab directors were allowed under government regulations. Other key witnesses included former employees of Pfizer, former Safeway CEO Steve Burd and a litany of Theranos investors, including a representative for the family investment firm of former education secretary Betsy DeVos. The DeVos family wound up investing $100 million.
One year on, justice for Raihan’s death in custody still remains elusive
Even though one year has elapsed since the shocking death of Raihan Ahmed in ‘custody’, his family members are worried as there has been little progress in starting the trial of the sensational case to bring the offenders to justice. The slow pace in the investigation has led to frustration among Raihan's family members as they are still on the streets demanding justice. On Sunday afternoon, the day before the one-year death anniversary, Raihan's mother and wife took part in a human chain here with Raihan's one and a half years’ old baby girl, Alfa, in the lap of one of the participants, demanding justice for the murder. Read: Raihan custodial death case: Sylhet court accepts chargesheet against 6 Family’s frustration At the human chain, Raihan's frustrating mother, Salma Begum, and wife, Tahmina Akhter Tani, demanded that the trial of Raihan's murder be disposed of as soon as possible. Salma Begum said, “Even though most of the accused were arrested, we’re disappointed over the delay in submitting the chargesheet. The case could be shifted to a Speedy Trial Tribunal, if necessary.” Tani said Abdullah Al Noman, one of the accused, is still on the run and he might have fled the country. “The authorities should immediately trace him and do whatever is needed to bring him back if he’s hiding abroad,” she said.
Sinha murder trial: Fourth witness testifies before court
The second day of second phase of testimonial statements in the murder case of Maj (retd) Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan concluded at Cox’s Bazar court Monday with the testimony and statement of the fourth witness. The court adjourned at around 5 pm with CNG driver Kamal Hossain’s testimony as an eyewitness and interrogation by defense lawyers. The statement was recorded before Cox’s Bazar district and session court Judge Md Ismail. Fifteen accused of the murder case were presented to the court under intense security around 10 am Monday. READ: Sinha murder: Court warns against 'media trial' Public Prosecutor Faridul Alam said six witnesses of the case were sent a notice on Sunday. On September 7, the fifth witness of the case will be produced before the court. Meanwhile defense lawyer Rana Dasgupta said there is no proof that the fourth witness is a CNG driver and he gave a different statement to the Investigation Officer earlier. In the three-day testimonial statements recording August 23 to 25, plaintiff Sharmin Sahariya Ferdous, sister of Sinha, and witness Shahedul Islam Sifat’s testimony were recorded. On Sunday, third witness of the case Mohammad Ali’s statement was recorded at the court. On July 31 last year, Sinha was shot dead at the Shamlapur police check-post in Baharchhara Union of Cox's Bazar while returning to town after filming for a documentary. On August 5, Sinha's sister, Sharmin Shahriar Ferdous, filed a case with Teknaf Senior Judicial Magistrate Court accusing nine members of law enforcement agencies of being involved in the killing, including Pradeep Kumar Das and Baharchhara police outpost inspector Liakat Ali. On December 13, 2020, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) submitted a charge sheet against 15 people, including police source Ayaz and three APBn members, in connection with the case filed over Sinha's murder at a checkpost manned by APBn, where officers of the Teknaf police station intercepted Sinha's car. All of the 15 accused in the chargesheet are currently in jail. Of them 12 have given confessional statements before court except OC Pradeep Kumar Das, constable Sagar Dev and Rubel Sharma. READ: Sinha murder trial: Third day of trial concludes with Sifat's testimony Other accused of the case are- Inspector of Baharchara Police outpost Liakat Ali, sub-inspectors Nandolal Rakkhit and Tutul, assistant sub-inspector Liton Mia; constables Shafanur Karim, Kamal Hossain, Abdullah AL Mamun, , Md Rajib and Md Abdullah, ASI of APBN Md Shahjahan and Nurul Amin, Md Nizamuddin and Ayaz Uddin.
Sinha murder: Defence lawyers allegedly obstruct trial
On the first day of recording statements of the witnesses in the Maj. (retd) Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan murder case trial, the defence plawyers allegedly tried to delay the proceedings at a Cox’s Bazar court. Defendant’s lawyer advocate Rana Dash Gupta submitted 11 petitions praying to suspend the case but the court didn’t accept them, said Plaintiffs’ lawyer advocate Mohammad Jahangir and public prosecutor advocate Faridul Alam to media. Meanwhile, the trial proceedings of the sensational murder case began with recording the testimonial statement of Sinha’s sister and plaintiff of the case Sharmin Shahriar Ferdous. Also read: HC refuses bail to another 3 accused in Sinha murder case