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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service

News briefs

Video shows fake Trump elector aided copying of Georgia election data

ATLANTA — Security camera video made public Tuesday shows that a phony elector who tried to reverse the results of the last presidential election escorted a group of computer experts into the elections office in Coffee County, Georgia, where they copied confidential software and files in January 2021.

The video also reveals later visits to the county elections office by Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, who led a controversial Republican ballot review in Arizona after the 2020 presidential election, and Jeff Lenberg, a computer security consultant who analyzed voting equipment in Michigan and New Mexico.

The recording is the latest evidence of an effort by supporters of former President Donald Trump to take sensitive data from voting equipment manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems in several states. Previously disclosed documents indicated that Trump attorney Sidney Powell paid Atlanta tech firm Sullivan Strickler for the data extraction.

The video surfaced last week, 20 months after it was created, when it was turned over by attorneys for Coffee County in response to an ongoing election security lawsuit.

—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Juul reaches $439 million settlement over marketing to children

Juul Labs Inc. reached an agreement in principle to pay $438.5 million to 33 states to resolve a two-year bipartisan probe into the e-cigarette manufacturer’s marketing and sales practices, particularly claims that it marketed addictive nicotine products to children.

The accord, which also includes Puerto Rico, would force Juul to comply with a series of “strict injunctive terms severely limiting their marketing and sales practices,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, who led the negotiations with Texas and Oregon, said Tuesday in a statement.

Under the deal, Juul will refrain from all youth marketing, paid product placement, advertising on public transportation,funding education programs, depicting anyone under 35 years old in advertisement or using cartoons in ads, among other marketing activities, according to the statement. Juul also agreed not to advertise on billboards or use paid influencers to promote products.

“Juul’s cynically calculated advertising campaigns created a new generation of nicotine addicts,” Tong said in the statement. “They relentlessly marketed vaping products to underage youth, manipulated their chemical composition to be palatable to inexperienced users, employed an inadequate age verification process, and misled consumers about the nicotine content and addictiveness of its products.”

Juul said in a statement that the settlement is a “significant part of our ongoing commitment to resolve issues from the past,” adding that the terms of the deal are already in alignment with its current business practices.

“We remain focused on the future as we work to fulfill our mission to transition adult smokers away from cigarettes — the No. 1 cause of preventable death — while combating underage use,” the company said.

—Bloomberg News

Judge rules South Carolina’s firing squad and electrocution execution methods are unconstitutional

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A state judge has ruled South Carolina’s execution methods of electrocution and the newly installed firing squad are cruel and unusual, therefore both violate the state Constitution.

“In 2021, South Carolina turned back the clock and became the only state in the country in which a person may be forced into the electric chair if he refuses to elect how he will die. In doing so, the General Assembly ignored advances in scientific research and evolving standards of humanity and decency,” Circuit Court Judge Jocelyn Newman wrote in a multipage opinion published Tuesday.

Newman’s 39-page ruling means the state is permanently enjoined from carrying out executions by either method, at least for the time being.

The case is likely to be appealed to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

“We are very pleased with the result and are reviewing the Court’s Order. We anticipate SCDC and the Governor’s Office will appeal the decision,” said attorneys for the death row inmates who sued over the execution methods.

“We will assess the order and determine the next step,” said Chrysti Shain, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections,which along with Corrections Director Bryan Stirling is a defendant in the case..

Gov. Henry McMaster is the other defendant, and his spokespeople could not be reached for an immediate comment.

—The State (Columbia. S.C.)

Biden speaks to new British prime minister, with allies' ‘special relationship’ at stake

WASHINGTON — With Liz Truss as the new British prime minister, the “special relationship” with the U.S. is on course for redefinition with a conservative leader who is much more of a hard-liner than her predecessor.

President Joe Biden spoke to his counterpart Tuesday afternoon, in a conversation that will set the tone for the future working relationship of two allies that have been historically close but do not always see eye to eye.

The White House’s description of the call alluded to the potential friction between Biden, a Democrat, and Truss, a Conservative who underwent a political transformation and went from being anti-Brexit to one of its most dedicated cheerleaders.

The leaders “discussed their shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the importance of reaching a negotiated agreement with the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol,” the White House said in a statement.Before the call, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the U.S. continued to make a priority of “the gains of the Belfast Agreement and preserving peace, stability and prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland.”

Biden was critical of the UK departing the European Union and given his Irish American background felt particular concern about how a UK government could undermine the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which drew a line under three decades of violence in the region.

The worry is whether Truss, who succeeded Boris Johnson earlier Tuesday, would tear up key parts of the Brexit deal that keeps Northern Ireland in the bloc’s single market for goods to avoid imposing a hard border on the island of Ireland.

—Bloomberg News

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