News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Man who recorded Arbery video faces charges; Flynn judge asked for response

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Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Photo from

Official explains charges against man who recorded Arbery video

The charges brought against the man who recorded the fatal shooting of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery represent a significant expansion of criminal liability in Georgia, his lawyer said Friday. William “Roddie” Bryan was charged with felony murder and attempted false imprisonment. A state criminal warrant said Bryan tried to use his vehicle to “confine and detain” Arbery. Investigators contend that the underlying felony helped cause Arbery’s death, according to Vic Reynolds, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Georgia’s felony murder law says felony murder happens when a felony results in death. Bryan’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, said there is no precedent for Bryan’s prosecution. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, NBC News)

DC Circuit orders Michael Flynn judge to address dismissal bid

On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit told the judge in the Michael Flynn case to respond to a petition asking the court to order dismissal of the case. The U.S. Department of Justice had asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on May 7 for permission to drop the case against the former national security adviser. Rather than granting the motion, Sullivan appointed a former federal judge to present arguments against the government’s bid to drop the case. (The National Law Journal)

Judge sanctions US in census citizenship question case

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of Manhattan has sanctioned the Trump administration for failing to produce more than 2,000 documents in litigation seeking to block a citizenship question on the 2020 census. The failure “may well have been inadvertent, but is nevertheless unacceptable for any litigant, and particularly for the Department of Justice,” Furman said. The judge ordered the government to reimburse nongovernmental organizations that sued for costs and fees that they incurred as a result of the discovery error. The government abandoned efforts to include the question after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Commerce Department had to provide a better explanation of its decision to add the question. (The New York Law Journal, Furman’s opinion)

More judges rule on COVID-19 shutdown orders

Two judges in Michigan have ruled for and against the governor in challenges to shutdown orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Cynthia Stephens said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had the authority to extend a state of emergency in a challenge by lawmakers. But Judge Matthew Stewart refused to grant a preliminary injunction to shut down a barber who defied orders. In Pennsylvania, U.S. District Judge John Jones III refused to block restrictions on businesses in the state. (The Detroit News here and here, the Detroit Free Press,

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