High court temporarily blocks subpoena over sex ads

by Sam Hananel, The Associated Press Posted Sep 6, 2016 5:42 pm MDT Last Updated Sep 6, 2016 at 6:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday temporarily blocked a congressional subpoena that seeks information on how the classified advertising website Backpage.com screens ads for possible sex trafficking.The order came hours after Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer asked the high court to intervene, saying the case threatens the First Amendment rights of online publishers.A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Friday that the website must respond to the subpoena within 10 days. Roberts said Backpage does not have to comply with the appeals court order until further action from the Supreme Court. He requested a response from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations by Friday.The Senate panel has tried for nearly a year to force Backpage to produce certain documents as part of its investigation into human trafficking over the Internet.After the website refused to comply, the Senate voted 96-0 in March to hold the website in contempt. The vote allowed the Senate to pursue the documents in federal court, marking the first time in more than two decades that the Senate has enforced a subpoena in court.A federal district judge sided with the Senate last month, rejecting arguments that the subpoena was unconstitutional, overly broad and burdensome. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed.Senate investigators have said that Backpage is a market leader in commercial sex advertising and has been linked to hundreds of reported cases of sex trafficking, including the trafficking of children. Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, says the documents he is seeking will help lawmakers determine what if any businesses practices and policies the company has to prevent criminal activity.While Backpage has produced over 16,000 pages of documents responding to the subpoena, Ferrer said documents relating to the website’s system for reviewing ads are part of the editorial process protected under the First Amendment.“This case presents a question of exceptional nationwide importance involving the protection the First Amendment provides to online publishers of third-party content when they engage in core editorial functions,” Ferrer said in a brief filed to Roberts.Roberts handles emergency requests from the appeals court in Washington, D.C. High court temporarily blocks subpoena over sex ads read more

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Grenfell fraudsters lived in luxury hotels at taxpayers expense for nearly a

Both said they were residing in flat 91 on the 19th floor – flat 91 is actually on the 12th floorprosecutor Benjamin Holt Brooks also started off at the Radisson Blu before being moved to another hotel. He spent 243 nights in hotel accommodation, costing RBKC more than £49,000.He racked up a room service bill of £276 and charges of £9,000 on a pre-paid credit card, and was also given an Oyster card. Two illegal immigrants who posed as victims of the Grenfell Tower fire were put up in hotels funded by the taxpayer for almost a year.Elaine Douglas and Tommy Brooks, who are Jamaican, falsely claimed more than £100,000 in accommodation and pre-paid credit cards before staff at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea realised the flat they claimed to live in did not exist.The pair, both 51, also tried to take advantage of a scheme allowing residents of the tower leave to remain in the country for at least five years in case fears over immigration status prevented victims coming forward.Douglas was housed in the Radisson Blu in Kensington for 276 nights at a cost of just over £55,000 to the council, as well running up a room service bill of £267.After complaining about the food in the hotel, she was given a pre-paid credit card, running up charges of more than £11,000. She was also handed a pre-paid Oyster card so she could travel for free.  In total, he claimed £58,396 in relief intended to help the victims of the fire, while Douglas claimed £67,123.On Wednesday, both defendants – of no fixed address – pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception at Isleworth Crown Court.The offences took place between August last year until their arrest on May 2 this year. Judge Robin Johnson adjourned sentence until June 13 – almost a year since the disaster – to allow time for Brooks to be legally represented.Seventy-one people died in the fire on June 14 last year, including an unborn baby.Members of the victims’ families were seated in the public gallery to watch Brooks and Douglas’s case.The defendants were remanded in custody until sentence. Prosecutor Benjamin Holt said: “The defendants both claimed to have been together in the fire. Both said they were residing in flat 91 on the 19th floor – flat 91 is actually on the 12th floor.”Mr Holt told the court both had managed to avoid immigration authorities for 16 years after entering the UK illegally in the early 2000s.”Following the fire at Grenfell Tower the Government introduced a policy to allow those with insecure immigration status that had lost their homes to regulate their situation,” he said. “They were granted leave to remain for 12 months and that was later extended to five years.”On February 22 2002 Ms Douglas was refused leave to enter the UK and a flight back to Jamaica was booked for February 24. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “She was deemed too ill to travel and a flight was rebooked for March 8 of the same year. She did not attend for that flight and nothing has been heard of her in the intervening 16 years.”Mr Brooks arrived on August 11 2001 and was granted leave to remain until September 9 of that year.”He applied for leave to remain and that was granted until February 2002, and in the intervening years nothing was heard of him.” read more

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