Judges’ association calls emergency meeting after DOJ intervenes in Roger Stone case
A national association of federal judges called an emergency meeting Tuesday to address growing concerns about the intervention of Justice Department officials and President Donald Trump in politically sensitive cases. The group of more than 1,000 federal jurists called for the meeting last week after Trump criticized prosecutors’ initial sentencing recommendation for his friend Roger Stone and the Department of Justice overruled them. The unusual concern voiced by the independent Federal Judges Association comes in the wake of an equally unusual protest — more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials called on Attorney General William Barr to resign Sunday for his handling of the Stone case.
Boy Scouts files for bankruptcy in the face of thousands of child abuse allegations
Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Tuesday amid declining members and a drumbeat of child sexual abuse allegations that have illuminated the depth of the problem within the organization and the Scouts’ failure to get a handle on it. The scouting organization has been deeply mired in civil litigation since a landmark case in 2010 that resulted in $19.9 million in damages, the largest ever for a single individual against the Boy Scouts. That case triggered the release of more than 20,000 confidential documents, which became known as the “perversion files.”
Harvey Weinstein trial set to go to jury
A jury of seven men and five women is set to begin deliberations Tuesday in the Harvey Weinstein sex crimes trial in New York. Weinstein, 67, is facing five charges, including rape and assault in connection with accusations from two women. Four additional women testified and accused him of similar behavior. Weinstein’s case is the first (and so far only) case put before a criminal jury in the #MeToo era. Whether for conviction or acquittal, a verdict must be unanimous. If the jury cannot agree on a verdict, the judge will probably declare a mistrial. He faces up to life in prison if convicted on all counts.
Last day for candidates to meet polling requirement to qualify for Nevada debate
To qualify for the Nevada debate, candidates must receive 10% or more in at least four polls between Jan. 15 and Tuesday. This includes national polls or Nevada and South Carolina state polls. Candidates can also qualify for the debate if they get one delegate in either Iowa or New Hampshire. There will be no donor requirements. The altered criteria to qualify for the debate could pave the way for former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg to make it on stage. The Nevada debate will be held on Wednesday with the state’s caucus four days later on Feb. 22.
Rare celestial alignment to cause Mars to disappear behind the moon
The moon will pass directly between Earth and Mars, causing Mars to briefly be out of sight early Tuesday. This rare celestial alignment is known as an occultation. Early risers in North America can see Mars disappear behind the moon just before sunrise. Mars will reappear from the other side less than two hours later.