Today's Paper Latest Primary runoff results Voter guide Sports Core Values Newsletters Weather Obits Puzzles Archive Story ideas iPad

The nation in brief: Florida congressional maps reinstated;De Blasio to seek redrawn district seat;MyPillow CEO hit with legal fees, costs;Guilty plea entered for Jan. 6 actions

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | May 21, 2022 at 3:51 a.m.

Florida congressional maps reinstated

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A new congressional map drawn by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' staff that could diminish the state's Black representation in Washington was reinstated by an appeals court Friday, a week after a lower-court judge said the map was unconstitutional.

The 1st District Court of Appeals ruled Judge Layne Smith erred when he ordered a replacement map be used for the 2022 election. The latest order means the governor's map is reinstated pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

The DeSantis map is considered likely to increase the number of Florida seats held by Republicans, while also making it difficult for Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson to maintain his seat in a north Florida district where nearly half the voters are Black. Another district that currently favors Black candidates is also redrawn in a way that would make it more difficult for them to win.

The order is likely to be appealed to the state Supreme Court, where three of the seven justices have been appointed by DeSantis.

The ruling comes as the state nears its June 13-17 qualifying period for federal office. The appeals court cited that urgency in its ruling.

De Blasio to seek redrawn district seat

NEW YORK -- Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that he will run for Congress in a redrawn district that includes his Brooklyn home.

De Blasio, whose second mayoral term ended last year, announced on MSNBC that he will seek the Democratic nomination for the 10th District, which will include part of Manhattan and a swath of Brooklyn.

Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler represents the district now but will no longer live there under maps that have been redrawn under the supervision of a New York judge. Nadler has said he believes the new maps are unconstitutional, but if they do become final, he intends to run in the 12th District, currently represented by Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

The primary has been pushed back from June to Aug. 23.

De Blasio, 61, toyed with running for governor this year but decided not to challenge incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul. He also had a short-lived run for president in 2019.

MyPillow CEO hit with legal fees, costs

MyPillow Inc. CEO Mike Lindell was ordered to pay legal fees and costs incurred by a voting technology firm that he accused in a lawsuit of rigging the 2020 presidential election.

A federal judge in Washington on Thursday imposed sanctions on Lindell and his former lawyers as part of a decision throwing out his defamation lawsuits against Dominion Voting Systems Inc. and Smartmatic Corp., which were falsely placed at the center of a conspiracy theory after the election.

Lindell, an ally of former President Donald Trump, sued after the companies sued him for defamation over his election-fraud claims. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said the CEO failed to properly allege a conspiracy by the two companies or back up his claim that they defamed him. The judge also partially granted Smartmatic's motion for sanctions and fees. The amount will be determined later.

"The Court agrees with Smartmatic that Lindell has asserted at least some groundless claims," Nichols said. More than one claim "falls on the frivolous side of the line."

Lindell said he'll decide later whether to appeal because he is busy challenging the continued use of Dominion and Smartmatic voting machines across the United States. "Whatever the judge thinks, that's his opinion," he said.

Lindell's claims against Smartmatic were "a waste of everyone's time," said J. Erik Connolly, a lawyer for the company. He said Smartmatic's defamation suits against Lindell and others "have merit, and we look forward to litigating those cases."

Dominion's claims also remain pending.

Guilty plea entered for Jan. 6 actions

WASHINGTON -- A California man who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, opened the doors to other rioters and sat in the Senate chair of then-Vice President Mike Pence has pleaded guilty to a federal charge.

Christian Secor, 23, of Costa Mesa, entered the plea Thursday in a Washington court to obstructing an official proceeding.

Secor was a University of California, Los Angeles student who had founded a far-right conservative student group called America First Bruins, authorities said.

According to court documents, Secor sent a text message on Election Day stating, "We're gonna win bigly and if we don't we're taking this ship down in flames," the U.S. Department of Justice said.

He sent another message on Jan. 5, 2021, telling an acquaintance that he had taken a gas mask to Washington and "wouldn't be surprised if conservatives just storm the police and clobber antifa and the police but that's wishful thinking."

He later tweeted that "one day accomplished more for conservatism than the last 30 years."

Sentencing guidelines call for 21 to 27 months in prison, or 53 to 61 months if Secor is found to have caused injuries or property damage.

Print Headline: Florida congressional maps reinstated De Blasio to seek redrawn district seat MyPillow CEO hit with legal fees, costs Guilty plea entered for Jan. 6 actions


Sponsor Content