News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Prosecutor says Trump ally got break; lawyers' extortion plea

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Prosecutor to testify that Trump ally was treated better

A prosecutor who resigned in the Roger Stone case plans to tell Congress on Wednesday that his supervisors told him that Stone was given favorable treatment because he was an ally of President Donald Trump. The prosecutor, Aaron Zelinsky, says he was told that acting U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea “was receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break.” The U.S. Department of Justice overruled Zelinsky and other prosecutors who recommended a sentence of seven to nine years in prison for Stone for lying to Congress about his contacts with the Trump campaign regarding WikiLeaks, for obstructing the congressional probe of Russian influence, and for witness tampering. (Politico, USA Today, the Associated Press, Zelinsky’s prepared testimony)

Lawyers plead guilty in scheme to extort chemical company

Two Virginia lawyers have pleaded guilty in an alleged extortion scheme against a multinational chemical company. Timothy Litzenburg, 38, of Charlottesville, and his law partner, Daniel Kincheloe, 41, of Glen Allen, each pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting interstate communications with the intent to extort. Prosecutors didn’t identify the targeted company but said it makes a chemical used in weed killer. Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, isn’t the company targeted, a spokesperson told Law360. (Law360, Department of Justice press release)

Judge grants compassionate release to reputed mob enforcer

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber of Chicago has granted compassionate release to a reputed mob enforcer who is 65 years old and has several health problems. Lawyers for Mario Rainone said he has heart and breathing problems, skin cancer, cataracts, liver disease and prostate cancer. Leinenweber said Rainone is more likely to experience major complications if he contracts COVID-19. (The Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune)

Lawsuit challenges reversal of transgender health protections

A lawsuit filed Monday challenges the Trump administration’s reversal of protections for transgender patients in regulations interpreting the Affordable Care Act. The suit says the Supreme Court’s June 15 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County forecloses the administration’s bid to deny full protection to LGBTQ individuals under the health law. Bostock held that the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects gay and transgender workers. The new suit was filed by lawyers with Steptoe & Johnson and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund on behalf of LGBTQ advocacy groups and health care providers. (The National Law Journal, the June 22 lawsuit)

Would-be lawyers in New Hampshire won’t be asked about mental health

New Hampshire has joined with at least a dozen other jurisdictions to remove questions about mental health history from bar admission applications. The state will continue to ask would-be lawyers about past conduct. New Hampshire’s decision follows a similar move by New York in February. (Law360, Fox News)

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