Friday, December 06, 2019

George Zimmerman SUES Trayvon Martin's family and Florida prosecutors for $100MILLION, claiming they engineered false evidence in his homicide trial for shooting dead the black teen in 2012

Zimmerman was certainly the target of a political prosecution.  There was nothing above-board about it

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted in the 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, is suing Martin's family and Florida prosecutors, claiming that they engineered false evidence in the homicide trial. 

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Polk County Circuit Court seeks $100million in civil damages for defamation, abuse of civil process and conspiracy.

It alleges that the prosecution's key witness in Zimmerman's 2013 murder trial, Rachel Jeantel, was an imposter coached by the family and their lawyers.

The lead defendant in the suit is Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother. Fulton became a nationally-acclaimed advocate for social justice and reducing gun violence in the wake of her son's death, and is now running for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

The second defendant is the family's attorney, Ben Crump. He is accused of defamation and attempting to 'deprive Zimmerman of his constitutional and other legal rights'.

The lawsuit also names Harper Collins, accusing the publisher of defaming Zimmerman by publishing Crump's book, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, 'with actual malice knowing the untruth or at a minimum a reckless disregard for the truth'.

Crump responded to the lawsuit on behalf of himself and Martin's parents in a statement Wednesday.

'This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions,' he said.

Soon after reports of the lawsuit emerged, the hashtag #IStandWithSybrina began trending on Twitter as users expressed support for Martin's mom.

Zimmerman, 36, is being represented by high-profile conservative legal crusader Larry Klayman.  Klayman released the full legal complaint to the media on Wednesday before it was officially filed. 

The complaint alleges that the Sanford Police Department thoroughly investigated the February 2012 shooting and closed the case as self-defense the following month. 

One week later, the suit claims, Crump produced a recording of 'Diamond Eugene', who he said was Martin's 16-year-old girlfriend who was on the phone with the victims minutes before the confrontation with Zimmerman. 

Two days after that, 18-year-old Jeantel, Eugene's half sister, appeared before the court and 'provided false statements to incriminate Zimmerman based on coaching from others'.

The suit alleges that Martin's cell phone records prove Jeantel was not on the phone with him before the altercation, and that she 'lied repeatedly to cause Zimmerman's arrest and to try to send him to prison for life'.

It charges that Eugene was Martin's real girlfriend and did speak with him prior to the shooting, but that Eugene asked Jeantel to pretend to be her so that she didn't have to testify. 

Klayman said several defendants in the suit 'have been proven to know about the switch to the imposter witness' - including Fulton, Crump and Florida prosecutors Bernie de la Rionda, John Guy, Angela Corey. 

The attorney said the allegations did not emerge at the trial and that 'the fraud was perpetuated on the court'. 'It was a complete travesty of justice which destroyed my client's life,' Klayman said. 'People are destroyed and smeared and they have to start fighting back.'

Klayman said the allegations in the new lawsuit are based on shocking evidence exposed in a book and documentary by film director Joel Gilbert, called The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America.

The attorney, a former US Department of Justice prosecutor, is the founder of watchdog groups Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch.



Don't price workers out of their jobs

“Black Friday” sounds dire but is actually a cause for celebration. For most of the year, retail stores are fortunate just to break even. But the beginning of the holiday shopping season finally brings profit margins wide enough to carry them out of the red and into the black.

The day after Thanksgiving, and the coming days before Christmas, thus remind us of the importance of seasonal spending on our economy. They also provide a constant warning that the success of the retail industry depends on operating as efficiently as possible to keep up employment and production.

Yet just as the holiday season spikes job creation from brick-and-mortar department stores to warehouses for online retailers, Christmas carols also sound the tune of socialist sad-sacks demanding that state and city governments pass ordinances raising the minimum wage to $15 — no, $20! — per hour.

Companies such as Costco and Amazon are probably even wise to pay their workers a minimum of $15 per hour voluntarily. That they do so, and that only 2.3% of all jobs in the United States pay the actual minimum wage, is evidence that employers generally wouldn't and couldn't pay people less if there were no minimum wage at all.

But not all businesses are created equal. Department stores such as Macy’s have seen their profit margins slump asymptotically, and others, such as Sears, have gone back into the red seemingly for good. Given the mounting cost of deliveries and online competition for shoppers, there exist many stores, especially small businesses, that could not keep their doors open if they had to pay workers significantly more than our current federal minimum wage of $7.25.

For struggling stores and small businesses, holiday sales are a godsend. Even more welcome are the hundreds of thousands of jobs created. Retailers created more than 700,000 jobs during the holiday season last year. That includes not just hundreds of thousands from profitable juggernauts such as Target, but also 80,000 from Macy’s and 90,000 from Kohl’s. The labor market has continued to tighten, meaning companies that can afford higher wages will be forced by the market to provide them, or else lose competent, honest, and reliable workers.

Holiday-season workers comprise a little less than one-fifth of total retail sales workers, whose median wage was $11.70 per hour last year. With companies such as Piaggio now selling retail robots, automation is threatening the livelihoods of many retail workers. This will get worse if the government artificially increases the cost of hiring them with a $15 or $20 minimum wage, plus the additional employer payroll tax that comes with it. This is especially true given today's low inflation. Put it all together, and a sudden doubling of the minimum wage would make the option of outsourcing such jobs to robots all the more attractive.

Businesses could instead simply close, or stop hiring workers (especially younger workers) who do not produce $15-20 of value each hour. The workers worst hit would be those trying to pay for school or at the start of their careers.

Contrary to fears about robots and immigrants taking jobs, automation will create millions of skilled and semi-skilled jobs in coming years. But lower-income and younger workers in retail and manufacturing have the most to lose in the process of creative economic destruction. Take away low-wage jobs and you throw them out of work.

If your aim is to help low-income workers, there are much better ways to do it than to crank up the minimum wage. Oren Cass has argued for an expansion of earned income tax credits. Andrew Yang argues for a need-blind universal basic income. Whatever the merits of these proposals, at least neither one will mess up opportunities for willing, low-skilled workers.

That’s what matters most. Although a minimum wage increase sounds compassionate, making workers too expensive for their jobs is anything but. It is cruelty masked as sympathy.



Congress bans short-term lending, the poor pay a high price

Washington do-goodism almost always fails to help the people it is supposed to because politicians ignore the Law of Unintended Consequences. Nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to a congressional plan to put payday lenders and other short-term lending institutions, such as the burgeoning online lenders, out of business.

These are lenders that provide the service of last-minute or emergency loans –- typically of between $100 and $600 — to mostly low-income Americans or those with poor credit scores cash. Liberal “consumer advocacy groups” and liberals in Congress demonize these companies as modern day Shylocks, the nefarious lender in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” who demands a pound of flesh if loans aren’t repaid on time. 

Rep. Jesus Garcia, Illinois Democrat, and Rep. Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin Republican, are the cosponsors of a bill called the Veterans and Consumer Fair Credit Act, (the VFCA bill has nothing to do with veterans and several veteran groups have written to complain of this ruse). It would cap interest rates on short-term and emergency loans at 36 percent. Critics of short-term lenders say they “target” low-income and minority Americans. The left says this new law would “save” low-income Americans between $5 billion and $10 billion a year. 

No one forces anyone to go to these stores or use online lenders. They do so because these folks feel it’s the best and most convenient option for them. There’s no shortage of customers on a Thursday or Friday afternoon as workers line up to get an advance on their paychecks so they have spending money for the weekend or can pay their grocery bills.

It’s the same reason that tens of millions of more affluent Americans are willing to pay a $3.50 fee to get a $100 cash withdrawal from an ATM machine –- a convenience that many in Congress also want to prohibit.

The VFCA would make it illegal for a lender to provide someone with a $250 cash advance and then pay back the “loan” a week later with a $10 fee. But why? Can’t consenting adults make up their own mind about whether they want to engage in this transaction? Or is it really true that the left is so contemptuous of the poor that they think their voters are incapable of making sound every day decisions on their own?

Perhaps it is the Washington politicians who are the ones who are financially clueless here. Well more than half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck today. Often times these workers have poor credit scores, so they can’t get a traditional loan or consumer credit from a bank. About one-in-five Americans can’t get a credit cards, or if they do have one, the alternative to a short-term payday or online loan when they are scrapped for cash, is to ring up debt on their Visa card, which is far more expensive than the charge on a payday loan.

According to a 2019 Federal Reserve Board study, almost 4-of-10 Americans today “lack the savings to cover an emergency expense of $400.”

For Americans tangled in these kinds of financial tight spots, payday lenders are saviors, not devils. The $5 to $20 fee for an emergency cash loan is a small price to pay. Except that many in Congress don’t think so. They complain that a $10 or $15 fee for a $200 loan paid back in two weeks can have an annual percentage rate interest or up to 400 percent. But an APR is a totally irrelevant statistic on a 10- or 14-day cash advance. The Wall Street Journal has calculated that the APR for a bounced check or a late credit card payment can sometimes exceed 1,300 percent. Are we going to eliminate credit cards too?

One vital on-the-street reality that the consumer advocates and politicians fail to take into account is that payday and online lenders have actually helped low-income areas in an important way: They have largely replaced loan sharks. The interest rate on an unpaid loan to the loan shark isn’t a $10 or $20 fee, but a broken arm.

It also speaks volumes of the motivation of the Fair Credit Act and its supporters that the law would exempt credit unions. These are tax-exempt institutions that are direct competitors to the payday and online short-term lenders –- and they’d like nothing better than to run the competition out of town –- just like McDonald’s would love to shutter Burger King. Credit unions are also major funders of many of the consumer interest groups hammering payday lenders. So it might be too charitable to even say that VFCA supporters are primarily driven here by a misguided concern for the financial well-being of lower-class Americans.

But the motives really don’t matter here — the results do. Run short-term lenders out of business, as some states have already done, and the victims are the people who can no longer use the convenience of these services that were once down the street. There is evidence that many Americans living near a state border, drive out of the state without payday lenders into the states that have them. If Reps. Garcia and Grothman have their way, Americans won’t even have the option of doing that anymore. It’s a law that only the loan shark could love.




NOTHING TO SEE HERE: Husband of Democrat in impeachment hearings took $700K from firms tied to Ukrainian oligarch "accused of ordering contract killings" (The Daily Wire)

GOOD COP, BAD COP: Georgia governor appoints Kelly Loeffler to Senate in defiance of Trump (National Review)

INTOLERANCE: Army says faith-based group can no longer put Bible verses on dog tags after complaint (Fox News)

HISTORIC CONTRACT: "Generational leap": Navy to pay $22 billion for nine nuclear-powered submarines (The Washington Times)

PUSHBACK: Hospital groups sue to block price-transparency rule (The Wall Street Journal)

POLICY: Hong Kong shows Taiwan what unifying with China really means (Hudson Institute)


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


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