Tuesday News: Apparently 1st Amendment is "confusing"


WILLIAM BARBER TRESPASSING TRIAL TURNS HINKY: In a hearing ahead of his trial on 2nd-degree trespassing charges, an attorney for the Rev. William Barber said Monday that a jury should be able to decide whether a North Carolina citizen can be found guilty of trespassing in a building the people own and maintain for the purpose of addressing their political leaders. An assistant district attorney argued that’s for a judge to find, because it’s too complicated an issue for a jury to handle. This question arose in a pretrial hearing for a motion by Wake County Assistant District Attorney Nishma Patel, who had asked the court to keep Barber’s attorney from “misleading” or “confusing” a jury by talking about First Amendment rights, or about whether trespassing laws apply in the case.

NC LAWMAKERS MULLING RIDER PROTECTIONS FOR UBER & LYFT: Some North Carolina lawmakers are seeking more protections for ride-sharing service users following the death of a college student this year in South Carolina. The House Transportation Committee scheduled Tuesday debate on legislation pushed by House Majority Leader John Bell. Bell and other legislators recently proposed a requirement that drivers for Uber, Lyft and similar companies display illuminated logo signs. The idea came after police say a University of South Carolina student mistakenly got into the car of someone impersonating an Uber driver in March. She was later killed. South Carolina legislators initially introduced a similar logo sign idea, but instead mandated that drivers display their license tag numbers on a sign on the front of their vehicles. Ride requesters can match the numbers with what the company sends them.

CIVIL WAR MUSEUM DEAD ON ARRIVAL AFTER FAILING TO RAISE FUNDING: Fayetteville and Cumberland County no longer are obligated to make good on $14 million in pledges for a new Civil War history museum, Democratic State Sen. Ben Clark said Monday. The senator said the foundation that is raising money for the proposed North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center clearly has fallen short of fundraising requirements for the city and county to make good on their pledge of $7.5 million each towards the project, which is scheduled to be built next to the remnants of a Confederate Army arsenal on Arsenal Avenue on Haymount Hill. Clark said the city and county resolutions of support for the project that also include the pledge for each of the government bodies to contribute $7.5 million towards the project are null and void. Clark said that in 2018 the foundation was not even able to raise the $2.5 million that was required to receive the $2.5 in matching state funds. “And often times if you read the statements that they issue regarding the amount they have raised, usually they speak in terms of pledges and receipts,” Clark said. “They have raised no where near the $20 million that they are required to raise.”

TRUMP SUED BY FORMER PARTNER IN PANAMA HOTEL FIASCO, TAX EVASION ALLEGED: The owners of a luxury hotel in Panama City that ousted the Trump Organization as property managers last year accused it on Monday of evading taxes in Panama and creating a “false light” around the hotel’s finances. The accusations, made in a legal filing in Manhattan federal court, are fraught with potential diplomatic and legal complexities for President Trump. They essentially assert that his family business cheated a foreign government, a claim the Trump Organization characterized in a statement as “completely false.” The president’s company, the filing alleges, “also made fraudulent and false claims to the Panamanian tax authorities” to “cover up its unlawful activities.” This was originally detected during an audit last year by that country’s tax agency, according to the filing. The filing also alleges, among other claims, that the Trump Organization understated employee salaries in reports to the Panamanian social security agency, which may have reduced the hotel’s social security tax payments.

CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS MAY BE ABOUT TO TURN ON TRUMP OVER MEXICO TARIFFS: Congress passed such a resolution in March after Trump reallocated the border wall funds, but he vetoed it. Now, as frustration on Capitol Hill grows over Trump’s latest tariff threat, a second vote could potentially command a veto-proof majority to nullify the national emergency, which in turn could undercut both the border-wall effort and the new tariffs. Republican lawmakers aren’t eager to be drawn into a conflict with the president. But some feel they might have to take action following a growing consensus within the GOP that these new tariffs would amount to tax increases on American businesses and consumers — something that would represent a profound breach of party orthodoxy. Trump has said he would put in place 5 percent tariffs on all Mexican goods as of June 10, rising by another 5 percent a month until October, unless Mexico stops all illegal migration into the United States. “I think this calls into question our ability to pass the USMCA, much less get it passed by Canada and by Mexico,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) told reporters Monday. “And so we need to put our heads together and try to come up with a solution.”