January 2023


House votes to end Covid public health emergency


Still, the disclosure that Biden plans to wind down the emergencies might have helped shore up the Democratic vote. The final tally was 220-210, with no member crossing party lines.

Republicans, who know the bill has no chance of being enacted with Biden in the White House, said their aim was to send a message and push the administration for a more detailed plan for winding down the emergency.

“We’ve been asking for one for a year,” Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee chair, told POLITICO. “Hopefully, this will have them send a plan … there are issues we need to deal with.”

Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), noting that Biden had declared the pandemic over in an interview with CBS News in September, argued it shouldn’t take months to unwind the emergency.

“I’m pleased the administration is following the House Republicans in finally abiding by President Biden’s own acknowledgment,” she said.

The end of the emergencies will halt a wide-ranging set of eased regulations established at the pandemic’s outset to bolster the country’s response. The administration’s move will mean many patients will have to pay for all, or some portion, of the costs of Covid therapeutics, depending on their health insurance or lack thereof.

The unwinding could also mean the end of Title 42, ordered by the Trump administration in March 2020 to shut down the southern border, though Republicans argued the policy could remain. The Biden administration has tried to end Title 42, but courts have blocked those efforts several times and Title 42’s fate will likely be decided by the judiciary.

Democratic leadership whipped against the bill Tuesday, saying the legislation would “abruptly end numerous policies” without sufficient coordination and leave states without billions in funding.

But they also said the emergencies shouldn’t go on indefinitely and backed the administration’s plan to end them in a few months.

“There’s a right way to wind down,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “Make sure there aren’t vulnerable people that would be impacted …This isn’t a serious effort. This is about messaging.”

The House also voted mostly along party lines, 227-203, to end a federal rule requiring health care workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Republicans plan to bring to the floor later this week the resolution by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) to end the Covid national emergency.

That declaration undergirds Biden’s plan, now stuck in court, to forgive some federal student loans. The Senate passed a resolution by Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall in November to end the national emergency, with 12 Democrats joining a united GOP in the 61-37 vote.

Marshall took advantage of a provision in the 1976 National Emergencies Act that allows senators to call for a vote on presidentially declared emergencies, and he could do so again.

Guthrie told POLITICO before the House vote Tuesday that Republicans would have a Senate vehicle to end the emergency in case the Biden administration doesn’t do so on May 11.


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Austin Butler Reflects On ‘Immediate’ Connection To Lisa Marie Presley: ‘I Will Treasure That Forever’


Austin Butler will always cherish the instant friendship he formed with Lisa Marie Presley.

While appearing on The Tonight Show on Monday, the 31-year-old opened up about what it was like to meet Elvis Presley‘s daughter for the first time after filming the award-winning biopic. He shared:

“I first met Lisa when we screened the film at Graceland. And I’ve never had an experience where I met somebody and felt an immediate depth of relationship to them.”

We bet all the time he spent portraying her father before their first introduction must have made their natural bond so much more surreal.

Related: Austin FINALLY Credits Ex Vanessa Hudgens With Elvis Role!

During their first meeting, the Lights Out vocalist felt close to Austin almost immediately, too — and she proved it by giving him a tour of parts of Graceland the general public never gets to see, such as bringing him to see Elvis’ slippers and bedroom, he revealed:

“[I] get goosebumps. That was after we screened the film and the bedroom, you know, his bedroom is a place that most people never get to see. And she said, ‘I want to show you something.’ And she took me up there we just sat in his bedroom. And up there, he’s not Elvis, he was just dad, you know? And so, to hear those stories, I truly will treasure that forever.”

Sounds like a very special interaction! Getting a bit emotional, the Carrie Diaries alum added elsewhere in the conversation:

“She was a person who didn’t really have anything to prove and wouldn’t open up to everybody, and she just opened up to me and we got so close, so fast. So, yeah, it’s just devastating.”

As we’ve been following, the 54-year-old tragically passed away on January 12 after suffering cardiac arrest. Her official cause of death is still under investigation. She leaves behind three daughters, Riley Keough, 33, and twins Harper and Finley Lockwood, 14.

Related: Priscilla Calls Losing Daughter Lisa Marie A ‘Dark, Painstaking Journey’

Her passing came just days after she joined Austin at the Golden Globes, making his ongoing award show successes — such as landing an Oscar nomination for Best Actor — “bittersweet.” He explained:

“It’s weird in moments like this, because it’s so bittersweet. I mean, so much great stuff is happening but it’s really [sad]. I’m just devastated for her family, and for her to not be here celebrating with us.”

Thankfully, his last moments with the singer-songwriter are ones to remember. Reflecting on what it was like to attend the Globes with Lisa Marie and her mother Priscilla Presley, he sweetly added:

“Just to get to be with her at the Golden Globes, like, I’ll never forget that for the rest of my life.”

It must be so difficult to experience so many highs in his professional life while also mourning this very sudden loss of a friend — not to mention the daughter of the legendary icon he was portraying in the film.

Just days before the Oscars noms were announced, Austin was one of many who flew to Memphis, Tennessee to pay tribute to the late star at a Graceland memorial service. We’re sure she’ll be close to his heart as he continues with awards season. Check out his full interview (below).

You can tell how much the Presley family means to him… Thoughts? Let us know (below)!

[Image via Tonight Show/ET/YouTube]


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Alec Baldwin Officially Charged For Rust Shooting – Because Of His TV Interviews?!?


Well, it really happened. Alec Baldwin has officially been charged with involuntary manslaughter for his role in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

He and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of weapon safety on the western, were both charged in new court on Tuesday. The probable cause statement laid out the entire event in the most matter-of-fact terms:

“The set-up was to be a close-up on BALDWIN and the firearm, as he drew the weapon and pointed it. Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza were viewing the practice scene on a monitor attached to the camera. BALDWIN drew the revolver from the holster, pointed it at Halyna Hutchins, and fired the weapon. When reviewing the script and witness interviews, for this particular scene and close-up shot, evidence indicates the scene/shot did not require the weapon to be fired. It was also determined by consultation with expert armorers that in a rehearsal, a plastic gun or replica gun should be used as no firing of blanks is required. However, BALDWIN fired the single action 45 long colt revolver resulting in the discharge of a projectile that struck ‘and traveled through right armpit area of Halyna Hutchins, exited her back (from the OMI’s official report), then struck Joel Souza in the right shoulder and lodged into his right back.”

The most important words there, of course? Baldwin “fired the weapon.” The doc even explicitly notes that Baldwin “approached responding deputies on the day of the shooting, wanting to talk to them because he was the one who ‘fired’ the gun.”

Related: Alec Baldwin Was Terrified Donald Trump Followers Would Kill Him After Shooting

However, he has since denied he ever “fired” the gun — something that shocked a lot of people who have followed the story. He told George Stephanopoulos in his first TV interview:

“The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger. I would never point a gun at someone and pull the trigger on them, never.”

Coming out with that defensive a stance — a statement that seemed to shirk responsibility — may have damned him in the long run. The probable cause statement specifically mentions his “inconsistent accounts” of what happened in “multiple media interviews”:

“Many media interviews and law enforcement interviews were conducted by BALDWIN, and he displayed very inconsistent accounts of what happened during the incident when firing the gun that killed HUTCHINS.”

Wow. If there’s one thing prosecutors tend to pounce on, it’s lying. It implies a guilty mind, something to hide.

As for what actually happened, the doc describes “photo and video evidence” from inside the church where the rehearsal was taking place that show Alec with his finger on the trigger:

“The photos and videos clearly show BALDWIN, multiple times, with his finger inside. | of the trigger guard and on the trigger, while manipulating the hammer and while drawing, ‘pointing, and holstering the revolver.”

Meaning he wasn’t in a safe position — he could easily have accidentally pulled the trigger without even trying.

Furthermore, the FBI crime lab rigorously tested the gun to try to make it go off accidentally, without pulling the trigger — and they couldn’t. So they determined he did pull the trigger, intentionally or not, and then tried to lie about it.

Related: How Alec Says The Gun Went Off

The doc also says Baldwin “was not present for required firearms training prior to the commencement of filming” — as he was on his phone. Then on the day “failed to demand at least two safety checks between the armorer and himself and witnessing the handling of firearms by a first assistant director”:

“Standard protocol is the armorer is to show the actor the firearm, pull the bullets out in front of the actor, and demonstrate there are no live rounds (but dummies) in the firearm. BALDWIN knows this is standard safety protocol as he has mentioned it in media interviews and in law enforcement interviews.”

Once again, those interviews came back to bite him. This is why lawyers always tell you never to speak in public about these things.

Baldwin — also a producer on the film — failed to get his required safety training and then failed to make sure there was proper safety on the day, including  putting his finger on the trigger and pulling it. As the doc says, even without that extra training Baldwin should know from his many films using firearms that “the first rule of gun safety is never point a gun at someone you don’t intend on shooting.” Prosecutors concluded:

“Baldwin’s deviation from known standards, practice and protocol directly caused the fatal death of Hutchins. Baldwin acted with willful disregard for the safety of others and in a manner which endangered other people.”


As for Gutierrez-Reed, it wasn’t just the fact she didn’t make sure Baldwin got his safety training and that he went through all safety protocols that day. The doc says there were five other live rounds in addition to the one that killed Halyna Hutchins found on the set. That is the responsibility of the armorer. Seems pretty simple.

What do YOU think of these charges, Perezcious readers??

[Image via ABC News/YouTube/Alec Baldwin/Instagram.]


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‘They come to me’: Jane Roberts’ legal recruiting work involved officials whose agencies had cases before the Supreme Court


Jane Roberts’ placements included at least one firm with a prominent Supreme Court practice, according to the complaint, which also includes sworn testimony from Roberts herself, in which she notes the powerful officials — whose agencies have had frequent cases before her husband — for whom she has worked.

“A significant portion of my practice on the partner side is with senior government lawyers, ranging from U.S. attorneys, cabinet officials, former senators, chairmen of federal commissions, general counsel of federal commissions, and then senior political appointees within the ranks of various agencies, and I — they come to me looking to transition to the private sector,” Roberts said, according to a transcript of a 2015 arbitration hearing related to her former colleague’s termination.

In her testimony, Roberts also noted the benefit of working with senior government officials: “Successful people have successful friends.”

Jane Roberts and her firm, Macrae, did not immediately respond to requests for comment by email.

A spokesperson for the Supreme Court declined to respond to questions Tuesday about the complaint and whether the court is pursuing the issues raised in it.

In response to earlier questions about the justices’ financial disclosures, the court pointed to a 2009 ethics opinion from the Judicial Conference that judges generally don’t need to recuse themselves in cases simply because their spouse works as a consultant or service provider to a firm involved in litigation before the court.

“As a general proposition, the fact that the spouse or the spouse’s business has a business relationship with an entity that appears in an unrelated proceeding before the judge usually does not require the judge’s recusal,” the opinion says.

The high court also noted that the federal government’s rules for financial disclosures generally do not require public disclosure of the clients of officials’ spouses.

As the most senior officials in the judicial branch, the justices are not bound to follow such guidance or policies. However, they look to those practices for guidance, a spokesperson said.

The complaint included a list of Jane Roberts’ placements between 2007 and 2014 and her alleged commissions, some of which are hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is unclear whether the figures represent her earnings or the firm’s billings for her work.

In an analysis filed along with the complaint, Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman writes that “it is plausible that the Chief Justice’s spouse may have leveraged the ‘prestige of judicial office’ to meaningfully raise their household income.”

“That concern, together with the failure of the Chief Justice to recuse himself in cases where his spouse received compensation from law firms arguing cases before the Court, or at least advise the parties of his spouse’s financial arrangements with law firms arguing before the Court, threaten the public’s trust in the federal judiciary, and the Supreme Court itself,” Gershman wrote.

A sworn affidavit backing the complaint was submitted by Kendal B. Price, a Massachusetts attorney and former colleague of Jane Roberts at the legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, where Price was a managing director in the partner practice group.

Price, who was eventually fired from the firm, recalled in his affidavit being told that Roberts was the company’s highest-earning recruiter and that her early significant commissions, going to someone with so little recruiting experience, represented a “stark anomaly” compared to the rest of the field. When he raised the issue, colleagues did not seem to wish to discuss it, he said.

In a statement to POLITICO, Price said he decided to file a complaint with government authorities in order to expose potential ethical issues regarding the Supreme Court.

“The national controversy and debate regarding the integrity of the Supreme Court demanded that I no longer keep silent about the information I possessed, regardless of the impact such disclosures might have upon me professionally and personally,” Price said. “Not sharing it with the appropriate authorities for purposes of enabling them to investigate weighed on me increasingly, and I felt obligated to make this contribution to this important national conversation.”

A New York attorney who submitted the complaint on Price’s behalf, Joshua Dratel, said his client acted in part out of frustration that there is no official mechanism for raising ethics issues at the Supreme Court and due to previous reporting in POLITICO and elsewhere about ethics concerns at the high court. In September, POLITICO reported that gaps in ethical disclosures enabled justices, including Roberts, to shield their spouses’ clients who may have business before the court.

“The importance of this issue and the unavailability of any viable means of addressing this is what led to us sending it to the places that we sent it to,” Dratel said Tuesday. “This is a gap in transparency that’s only become more critical in the past year in terms of the impact that it has on the integrity of our institutions.”

In 2014, Price sued Major Lindsey over his termination, alleging that the firm had not paid his commissions and that another colleague there had stolen his clients, according to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Jane Roberts was named as a defendant in the case. Price explained in his affidavit sent to Congress that he had been afraid of potential negative consequences of coming forward with allegations against Jane Roberts.

Price’s suit against Major Lindsey was moved from a Massachusetts state court to an arbitrator, who eventually ruled against Price. In his affidavit, he noted that he only directly interacted with Jane Roberts once during his time as an employee of Major Lindsey.

In a statement, John Cashman, president of Major Lindsey, maintained that Roberts, who worked at the firm for more than a decade, was among “several very successful recruiters at [the firm].”

“As a firm, MLA makes placements at hundreds of law firms each year – and like many of our highly-skilled recruiting consultants, Mrs. Roberts had a strong track record of excellent work,” Cashman said in the statement. “The success of our recruiters – and of our organization – stems from the fact that we hold our work and each of our consultants to the highest standards: Candidate confidentiality, client trust, and professionalism are the cornerstones of our 40 years of successful business.”

Dratel, Price’s attorney, rejected the notion that Price leveled the complaint against the Robertses out of lingering spite over his firing or the failure of his legal action against the firm.

“We’re well down the road from that,” Dratel said. “This is about the nation and the integrity of the court and knowing something that contributes to that. … He didn’t publish this. He sent it to Congress.”

Among the officials represented by Roberts at Major Lindsey was former Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar, who joined the prominent Washington-based law firm WilmerHale in 2013, according to Price. For arranging Salazar’s hiring, Price calculated that Roberts must have received about $350,000, he alleges. And as part of that deal brokered by Roberts, WilmerHale also agreed to open an office in Denver.

In the 2015 testimony in Price’s suit, Jane Roberts said lawmakers she has placed at law firms have started at annual salaries ranging up to $3 million.

WilmerHale did not immediately respond to a message asking for comment.

Salazar is currently U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Five years after Roberts received the commission from WilmerHale, the firm’s lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court representing a marine construction company, the Dutra Group, in a case regarding a sailor injured on one of the company’s vessels. Chief Justice Roberts ultimately sided with WilmerHale’s client, that the sailor was not owed punitive damages, Gershman noted.

Beyond the Dutra case, WilmerHale maintains a significant practice before the Supreme Court, and between 2013 and 2017, argued more cases before the court than any other law firm, according to data from SCOTUSBlog cited in the complaint.

Gershman argued that, given his wife’s relationship with the firm, the judicial recusal statute would require the chief justice to recuse himself from WilmerHale’s 27 cases between 2013 and 2017. Alternatively, Roberts could have sought disclosure and waiver. Gershman argued that the chief justice must recuse himself from all cases with counsel that have “made substantial payments to his household or ‘fully disclose’ such payments to counsel and seek a waiver by the litigants.”

Gershman also noted that Roberts’ financial disclosures list his wife’s income as salary, as opposed to commission. The allegations that Jane Roberts may have used her husband’s position for financial benefit, combined with the deficiencies in Roberts’ financial disclosures, is “far from trivial, technical, or harmless,” Gershman writes.

“It directly threatens the public’s trust and confidence in the federal judiciary at the highest level,” he noted.


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The NFL Wives Are Coming For Jeffree Star!!


The hunt to identify Jeffree Star‘s new hunky footballer boyfriend is driving some NFL wives nuts!

As we reported, the makeup mogul has been teasing fans with photos of a mystery man for several days now, claiming the secret beau is in the NFL but not headed to the Super Bowl (meaning anyone on the Philadelphia Eagles or Kansas City Chiefs is off the list). On Monday, internet sleuths were in a frenzy after Jeffree shared some major clues alongside a photo of the pair holding hands in a bathroom. The NFL star’s back was facing the camera, so only his hair was notable. Ch-ch-check it out!

It’s very hard to tell who the athlete in the photo is, but that hasn’t stopped many fans from making their guesses. It could seriously be anyone, so, who’s at the top of the list??

Related: Damar Hamlin Speaks Weeks After On-Field Cardiac Arrest

One running theory is…

Henry Anderson, a defensive end for the Carolina Panthers! While orange isn’t a team color (despite this seemingly being one of Jeffree’s clues), many seem to think Henry’s build and haircut prove he was the one in the snapshot. There’s just one *major* problem — he’s NOT single! Yup, you read that right! Fans think Jeffree’s cheating with a married man!!


Henry’s wife, Saryn Anderson, is now clapping back at all the allegations hitting her inbox – and begging Jeffree to shut down the manhunt after she was “harassed” with allegations about her hubby! Uh oh! On Tuesday, the YouTube sensation took to Twitter with a screenshot of a direct message he received from the player’s wife, who argued:

“I’m getting harassed bc my husband is in the NFL and ppl think it’s him. Please stop.”

Damn. That would be so frustrating! But, um, we doubt she got the reaction she was looking for!

Related: NeNe Leakes Speaks Out After Fans Pose Questions About Son’s Sexuality!

Instead of privately responding (or even just ignoring the message), Jeffree blasted it out to his millions of fans, clapping back:

“OMG now the #NFL wives are coming after me!!!”

While making light of the DM, the beauty guru did shut down the speculation that Henry was his secret lover, adding:

“Girl… Don’t be so insecure. I don’t mess with married men.”

Well, then. The jury is still out! Saryn has since switched her account to private, so she seems to be checking out of this drama as much as possible! At least Jeffree helped her out by denying the rumors! Now that Henry’s out of the picture, do YOU think you know who the NFL lover is?! Send us your guesses (below)!!

[Image via Jeffree Star/YouTube/Instagram]


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Sneaky Princess Catherine Secretly Launched A New Instagram Account!


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren’t the only royals branching out in new media endeavors! Princess Catherine just launched a brand new Instagram account!

On Monday, Kate Middleton made a splash on social media by debuting a social media page for her new project, The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood. Kate created the organization alongside her and her husband Prince William‘s larger org The Royal Foundation in June 2021 to raise awareness about the importance of the first five years of a child’s life.

Related: Spice Girls Are Reuniting… For King Charles?!

As part of the IG launch (which included eight posts over two days), she appeared in a video promoting the new Shaping Us campaign, explaining:

“Our early childhood, the time from pregnancy to the age of five, fundamentally shapes the rest of our lives. But as a society, we currently spend much more of our time and energy on later life. Today, the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood is launching a new campaign, Shaping Us, to raise awareness of the life-changing impact we can have when we build a supportive, nurturing world around children and those who care for them.”

The page also includes insight into the Princess of Wales’ trip to the University of Leeds, where she visited with Childhood Studies students, and the Kirkgate Market, where she spoke with vendors about their experience of early childhood. Ch-ch-check it out (below)!

The account also launched a new claymation movie promoting the campaign, take a look:

Sounds like a great initiative! And she’s taking a page right out of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s book by finally leaning into the media! Thoughts?! Would you like to see Kate get online more? Let us know (below)!

[Image via MEGA/WENN]


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N.Y. AG’s office: Trump and kids ‘falsely deny facts they have admitted’


The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James says former President Donald Trump and three of his adult children lied in the answers they submitted to the court in response to James’ $250 million lawsuit accusing them and the Trump Organization of large-scale financial fraud.

Both the former president his children “falsely deny facts they have admitted in other proceedings,” deny knowing things “ that are plainly within their knowledge,” and use defenses “repeatedly rejected by this Court as frivolous and without merit,” Kevin Wallace, senior enforcement counsel in the Attorney General’s office, said in a letter to New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron.

James’ office is seeking a pre-trial conference to work out fact from fiction and to “sanction Defendants and their counsel,” for the false claims, according to the letter.


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Man Accused Of Luring 15-Year-Old Into Trafficking From Dallas Mavericks Game Arrested


The 15-year-old girl who was trafficked after being kidnapped from a Dallas Mavericks game last year is well on her way to getting justice.

In case you need a refresher, back in April the unnamed now 16-year-old went to use a restroom before halftime of the game she had attended with her father. Surveillance footage showed the teen leaving the American Airlines Center, but not with anyone she knew — her dad was left waiting for his daughter to return to her seat. The teen became a sex trafficking victim after she went missing — her captors made money putting nude photos of her online.

Related: Man Accused Of Torturing Woman Is On Dating Apps!

Luckily, she was found 10 days later in Oklahoma City, mostly unharmed. In a disturbing series of events, the parents of the young girl identified their daughter by the nude photos that were taken of her, which directly helped police find her. It’s wonderful she was found before it was too late, but still, she and her family going through trauma like that is heartbreaking…

Eight people were arrested relating to her disappearance on a variety of charges — including human trafficking, conspiracy, and computer crimes. Kenneth Nelson, Sarah Hayes, and Karen Gonzales were among those arrested. Police alleged Nelson, who is a known sex offender, had an ID card with a different name that he was using to rent the hotel rooms in Oklahoma City, Gonzales was accused of taking the nude photos of the teen, and Hayes apparently confessed later to police that she saw the photos being taken and later posted them in the online sex ads.

But what about the person who lured her away from the game to begin with? Well, police finally named a suspect and made an arrest.

Emanuel Cartagena, 35, (pictured above in the CCTV) was arrested on Thursday due to an outstanding warrant of sexual assault on a child. The Dallas Police Department and US Marshals Task Force allege he’s the man who met the then-15-year-old outside the AAC and lured her away from the arena. Police are also saying he took the girl to a house in Dallas and sexually assaulted her before she was eventually found 10 days later. Just sickening!

The family’s attorney, Zeke Fortenberry, says the teenager is still recovering and struggling with the trauma she faces from being a victim of sexual abuse.

Thankfully the victim is able to continue to recover as she awaits justice. Our hearts go out to her and her family.

[Image via YouTube/CBSDFW/WFAA]


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