Wisconsin Republicans this week introduced a bill that would undercut a judge’s order to hold special elections in two competitive legislative districts that have been vacant for months. Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds last week ordered GOP Gov. Scott Walker to promptly schedule elections for the two seats, which have been open since the incumbents left to take jobs in Walker’s administration in December. The next day, Walker threw his support behind legislation that would disallow special elections after regularly scheduled spring elections in even-numbered years, or less than four months after a vacancy. Walker said it was “senseless to waste taxpayer money” on special elections when the legislative session was almost over, adding that the seats could be filled in the regular November election. Critics said the governor was denying citizens their right to vote.
Clark’s sobbing grandmother
California’s attorney general announced he was stepping in to oversee the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark, 22, an unarmed black man killed in his grandparents’ Sacramento backyard, hours after Clark’s family made an emotional plea for justice over his death. Protests erupted in Sacramento following Clark’s killing; he was shot as police responded to a 911 call that someone had been breaking car windows in the neighborhood. Officers initially said Clark had advanced toward them holding an object. Videotape showed one officer shouting “gun, gun, gun” before he and another officer fired 20 shots at Clark. Afterward, they could only find a cellphone by his body. “Why didn’t you shoot him in the arm? Shoot him in the legs? Send in dogs? Send in a Taser?” said Clark’s weeping grandmother Sequita Thompson at a news conference, amid ongoing demonstrations in the city. “Why, why, why?”
Nassar’s boss arrested
A former Michigan State University dean who was the boss of disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was arrested this week on his own charges of criminal sexual conduct. William Strampel, 70, who as dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine oversaw the clinic where Nassar worked, is accused of groping two students’ buttocks, of soliciting nude photos from at least one other, and of using his office to “harass…and sexually assault female students.” About 50 photos of female genitalia and “selfies” of MSU students were found on his work computer, as well as a video of Nassar performing a pelvic “treatment” on a student. Strampel also faces two misdemeanor charges for failing to enforce exam-room restrictions on Nassar that were imposed after a patient in 2014 accused the now-imprisoned doctor of molesting her. Strampel has been released on $25,000 bail.
Days after a woman accused then–Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct, two of Moore’s supporters offered $10,000 to her attorney if he agreed to discredit her claims, The Washington Post reported last week. Last November, in the middle of Moore’s special election campaign, Leigh Corfman accused the Republican candidate of touching her sexually when she was 14 and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. Soon after, Gary Lantrip and Bert Davi, business partners who had recently attended a private fundraiser for Moore, approached Corfman’s lawyer and offered him money as well as a potential meeting with Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon to say he didn’t believe her allegations. “All they want to do is cloud something,” Lantrip was recorded saying during one phone call, referring to Bannon and Moore. Davi said Bannon had no knowledge of any offer; Lantrip declined to comment.
Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the infamous dossier about Donald Trump, has provided the FBI with another secret report that claims Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former media czar was bludgeoned to death by hired thugs in Washington, D.C., BuzzFeed.com reported this week. The body of Mikhail Lesin, the founder of Kremlin-funded news channel RT, was found in a hotel room in the U.S. capital in November 2015, on the eve of a scheduled meeting with Justice Department officials. A coroner determined Lesin had suffered blunt-force injuries to the head, neck, and torso; a federal prosecutor officially ruled his death an “accident” from a series of drunken falls. Steele’s report, though, contends that Lesin was beaten to death by Russian security agents working for an oligarch close to Putin—though those thugs were only supposed to injure him, Steele concluded. An FBI spokesman declined to confirm or deny the existence of the report.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has taken over the investigation into hacker Guccifer 2.0, who accidentally outed himself as a Russian intelligence officer, TheDailyBeast.com reported last week—raising new questions about the links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Guccifer, who claimed responsibility for hacking the Democratic National Committee’s servers, has described himself as a lone Romanian hacktivist. But U.S. investigators have reportedly determined he is a member of Russian military intelligence, after he slipped up and failed to mask his IP address on one occasion while logging in from Moscow. Trump campaign surrogate Roger Stone has admitted to communicating with Guccifer shortly after the hacker gave stolen DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Mueller is also investigating links between the Trump campaign and Cambridge Analytica, which harvested the data of more than 50 million Facebook users to target voters. ■