Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon’s (D) “political future” will be “in the hands of a jury” 11/9, “when her trial on theft charges begins.” Dixon is “accused of asking wealthy developer pals to donate gift cards worth thousands of dollars, saying they would be given to poor families — then using them” for “personal shopping sprees” and “knickknacks at Target.”
Dixon “faces a separate trial later on perjury charges stemming from accusations that she didn’t report gifts” from her ex-boyfriend, “a real estate developer who received tax breaks from the city.” Dixon has said she won’t resign, but “a plea deal is not an option,” and “under state law, she can’t remain in office if convicted of any felony or misdemeanor related to her official duties” (Nuckols, AP, 11/7).
Jury selection begins 11/9, and it is “perhaps” the most important part of the trial, in which “race and politics will play critical roles, outside observers say.” Dixon’s defense team “will want jurors who like their mayor and the work she has done,” and “would be wise to select jurors from her political base of older black women,” while the “white Republican” prosecutor is “apt to favor those who will dispassionately review the evidence” (Bykowicz, Baltimore Sun, 11/9).
Pictures May Be Worth More Problems
Ex-KY state Rep./‘03 KY GOV candidate Steve Nunn (R), “facing a murder charge in the shooting” death of his ex-fiancee, “has been indicted” on “six counts of wanton endangerment” for allegedly firing “a gun near six police officers” before his arrest (Estep, Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/7).
Police are also “tracking” Nunn’s “digital footprints,” specifically “looking to see whether Nunn kept” a “naked” photo of his ex-fiancee “on his cell phone, as witnesses have alleged,” in possible violation of “a domestic violence order against him.” According to another search warrant, police “are also checking for child pornography on Nunn’s computers” (Honeycutt-Spears/Alessi, Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/8).
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Given the Senate's inaction on the continuing budget resolution (so far), the White House "said it has begun to work with agencies to prepare for the possibility of a large swath of the federal workforce being furloughed without pay beginning at midnight." Even if a shutdown occurs, however, "Senate procedures will allow the chamber to approve the CR with only a handful of Democrats in support by Sunday morning. Of the roughly 900,000 federal employees who were subject to furloughs in agencies’ most recent calculations, most would not be materially impacted as they do not work on weekends."
President Obama has called for a "full review" of the hacking that took place during the 2016 election cycle, according to Obama counterterrorism and homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco. Intelligence officials say it is highly likely that Russia was behind the hacking. The results are not necessarily going to be made public, but will be shared with members of Congress.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are threatening to block the spending bill—and prevent the Senate from leaving town—"because it would not extend benefits for retired coal miners for a year or pay for their pension plans. The current version of the bill would extend health benefits for four months. ... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday afternoon moved to end debate on the continuing resolution to fund the government through April 28. But unless Senate Democrats relent, that vote cannot be held until Saturday at 1 a.m. at the earliest, one hour after the current funding measure expires."
The South Korean parliament voted on Friday morning to impeach President Park Geun-hye over charges of corruption, claiming she allowed undue influence to a close confidante of hers. Ms. Park is now suspended as president for 180 days. South Korea's Constitutional Court will hear the case and decide whether to uphold or overturn the impeachment.