Rudy Giuliani’s false claims of election fraud weren’t enough to overturn the presidential election, but they did motivate Republican lawmakers in Georgia to pass a law that restricts voting rights, the state’s Republican lieutenant governor said.

Under the new election law, signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) last month, it’s harder for voters to request and drop off absentee ballots; ballot drop boxes are limited; voters can’t be approached and handed food or water while they wait in line to cast their ballots; and the secretary of state is no longer chairman or a voting member of the Georgia State Election Board.

During an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) said the restrictions are “the fallout from the 10 weeks of misinformation that flew in from former President Donald Trump. I went back over the weekend to really look at where this really started to gain momentum in the legislature, and it was when Rudy Giuliani showed up in a couple of committee rooms and spent hours spreading misinformation and sowing doubt across, you know, hours of testimony.”

Joe Biden won Georgia, a fact that was affirmed during three different ballot counts in the state. Giuliani still tried to get Georgia to overturn the election results, appearing before state lawmakers to spread multiple falsehoods, including that thousands of dead people voted. He also claimed, without any evidence, that the voting machines were “like Swiss cheese. You can invade them. You can get in them. You can change the vote.” He is now the subject of a $1.3 billion defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems.

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Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) said Wednesday morning that he did not have an extramarital affair, claiming that the woman who alleged otherwise, Cesaire McPherson, was “stalking” and “harassing” him. When AL.com played Merrill a recording of him and McPherson discussing various sexual acts they performed over dozens of encounters, Merrill acknowledged the affair and said he will not make an expected run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). “It’s clear that I had an inappropriate relationship with her, and it is not something that I am proud of or something that is something that — I’m very disappointed in myself,” Merrill told AL.com. “I will obviously not be a candidate for the United States Senate nor will I be seeking any other elected position in 2022.” Merrill, in office since 2014, was term-limited out of seeking a third term. Conservative Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Lynda Blanchard, President Trump’s ambassador to Slovenia, are both expected to run for Shelby’s seat. McPherson, 44, had provided explicit text messages with Merrill to the conservative website National File on Tuesday, then gave a 17-minute audio recording to AL.com, which posted an excerpt. “I don’t want to say anything other than here’s the proof that John Merrill is a liar,” she told AL.com. “Here’s the true John Merrill.” In a long interview with National File, McPherson said Merrill used his state car and state cellphone to carry on their affair, and also that he’s a “real bad racist” who would refer to Black people as “the coloreds.” The Alabama Democratic Party highlighted those allegations. “With the exception of the use of state resources to facilitate his affair, Merrill’s personal life and conduct are just that — personal,” said Wade Perry, state party executive director. “The Democratic Party is much more concerned about the allegation that he regularly referred to African American judges and citizens in Alabama as ‘The Coloreds.’ If true, he must apologize AND resign immediately.” Merrill said it’s not true, telling AL.com Wednesday night he “never referred to African Americans and Black folks as coloreds,” adding: “I don’t do that. I’ve never done that.” Regarding the use of state resources, he said he doesn’t “have any other things to say about this particular incident, now or in the future.” More stories from theweek.comThe Matt Gaetz allegations show how QAnon corrupts its followers5 scathingly funny cartoons about MLB vs. the GOPTexas investigating 3 reports of abuse at federal facility for migrant teens, governor says

Donald Trump said in a written statement that Congressman Matt Gaetz never asked him for a pardon. Investigators are looking into whether he had an inappropriate relationship with a minor.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a pivotal vote in the evenly divided Senate, said on Wednesday he was opposed to a process called reconciliation that makes it easier to pass bills without Republican support, a potential blow to President Joe Biden’s chances of passing a huge infrastructure measure. Manchin also said he would not support any step to weaken the ability of Republicans to mount filibusters to block legislation. “I simply do not believe budget reconciliation should replace regular order in the Senate,” Manchin said in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.

Prosecutors have accused Ghislaine Maxwell of allowing her prison cell to become “dirty and smelly” by not cleaning it and regularly failing to flush her toilet. In a lengthy letter to a judge they rejected allegations from Ms Maxwell’s lawyers that her conditions were “fitting for Hannibal Lecter”. They also disputed suggestions the former socialite had lost 15 pounds, and some of her hair. A claim that she had been physically abused during a pat-down search had been investigated and was “unfounded”, they added. Audrey Strauss, a New York prosecutor, wrote: “Staff directed the defendant to clean her cell because it had become very dirty. “Among other things, staff noted that the defendant frequently did not flush her toilet after using it, which caused the cell to smell. In addition, the defendant had not cleaned her cell in some time.” Ms Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges and denies grooming girls for sex with Jeffrey Epstein.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s donation page warns that they’ll “have to tell Trump you’re a DEFECTOR & sided with the Dems.”

“I think what we have to do as a party is battle the damage to the Democratic brand,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Jamie Harrison said on The Daily Beast’s latest New Abnormal podcast. Gallup reported Wednesday that, at least relatively speaking, the Democratic brand is doing pretty good. In the first quarter of 2021, 49 percent of U.S. adults identified as Democrats or independents with Democratic leanings, versus 40 percent for Republicans and GOP leaders, Gallup said. “The 9-percentage-point Democratic advantage is the largest Gallup has measured since the fourth quarter of 2012. In recent years, Democratic advantages have typically been between 4 and 6 percentage points.” New Gallup polling finds that in the first quarter of 2021, an average of 49% of Americans identify with/lean toward the Democratic Party, versus 40 percent for Republicans. That’s the largest gap since 2012:https://t.co/YpUvqBKxLx pic.twitter.com/JrNXQvisbv — Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) April 7, 2021 When Gallup stripped out the independents, 30 percent of U.S. adults identified as Democrats, 25 percent as Republicans, and 11 percent were independents with no partisan leanings. The rise in the number of independents, to 44 percent from 38 percent in the previous quarter, “correlates with the decline in Republican Party identification, just as in 2013, when the GOP saw a drop in the popularity during the government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act,” Gallup says. Democratic affiliation has hovered around 30 percent for most of the past eight years. Party identification, polled on every Gallup survey, is “something that we think is important to track to give a sense to the relevant strength of the two parties at any one point in time and how party preferences are responding to events,” Gallup senior editor Jeff Jones told USA Today. Republicans recovered from their 2013 deficit “to make gains in the 2014 midterm elections and are hoping to duplicate that feat in 2022,” Gallup notes. “Like in 2014, their hopes may rest largely on the popularity level of the incumbent Democratic president.” Gallup currently has President Biden’s approval rating at 54 percent. More stories from theweek.comThe Matt Gaetz allegations show how QAnon corrupts its followers5 scathingly funny cartoons about MLB vs. the GOPTexas investigating 3 reports of abuse at federal facility for migrant teens, governor says

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani asked a judge on Wednesday to throw out a voting machine company’s $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit relating to his false claims about the November 2020 presidential election being rigged. Giuliani’s lawyer said in a court filing that Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, and because the company has not adequately justified its request for money damages. The filing said Giuliani denies defaming Dominion, adding that the former New York City mayor would present a more forceful defense on the merits if his jurisdictional arguments are rejected by the federal judge in the District of Columbia who is assigned to the case.

The man accused of strangling the California serial killer known as the “I-5 Strangler” won’t face the death penalty, a prosecutor said Wednesday. Amador County District Attorney Todd Riebe said he had filed first-degree murder charges against Jason Budrow and will seek a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole, the Sacramento Bee reported. Budrow, 40, is accused of strangling Roger Reece Kibbe, whose body was discovered on Feb. 28 in their shared cell at Mule Creek State Prison southeast of Sacramento.

Greene getting kicked off of her committee assignments and openly feuding with her colleagues was a boon to her bank account.

The first woman to accuse Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault and harassment in a lawsuit spoke publicly on Tuesday, alleging she was terrorized by her encounter with the NFL player and that he needs to be held accountable for his actions. During a news conference, Ashley Solis said she was assaulted and traumatized when she tried to give Watson a massage in March 2020. The Associated Press usually does not name victims of sexual assault, but Solis has chosen to publicly identify herself.

Virginia lawmakers have approved Gov. Ralph Northam’s request to legalize the possession and growth of small amounts of recreational marijuana starting July 1, up from the 2024 timeline that had previously been agreed to.Why it matters: The move will make Virginia the first southern state, and the 16th in the nation, to legalize recreational marijuana. Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeDetails: Northam proposed the amendment at the end of March along with others aimed at improving public safety and worker protections in connection to marijuana use. Northam’s office said that a report commissioned by the state found that Black people in Virginia were disproportionately policed and convicted for marijuana use, which is why he wanted to push for immediate legalization. What they’re saying: “Today, with the Governor’s amendments, we will have made tremendous progress in ending the targeting of Black and brown Virginians through selective enforcement of marijuana prohibition by this summer,” Democratic House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said in a statement.What to watch: “As amended, lawmakers need to vote again on the regulatory framework before any business licenses can be awarded,” ABC’s local affiliate reported.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free

Tami Stronach is working on her return to the big screen more than 30 years after she starred in the 1984 cult classic

Relatives and friends of a Texas family shot dead in an apparent murder suicide over the weekend are remembering them as a “fun-loving, simple” clan known for their kindness, intellectual prowess and friendly nature. Brothers Farhan Towid, 19, and Tanvir Towhid, 21, are believed to have systematically shot their mother, father, sister and grandmother in the family’s Allen home Saturday before taking their own lives in what Allen Police Sgt. John Felty described to Oxygen.com as a “tragedy beyond description.” Allen Police discovered the bodies of all six early Monday morning after a concerned friend called the department to request a welfare check around 1 a.m. after seeing that Farhan had posted a disturbing suicide note on Instagram taking credit for the killings. Police have identified the victims as Towhidul Islam, 54; Iren Islam, 56; Farbin Towhid, 19; and Altafun Nessa, 77, along with the two brothers. Farbin and Farhan had been twins. Farhan Towhid, Tanvir Towhid, Towhidul Islam, Iren Islam and Farbin Towhid. Photo: Facebook Shawn Ashan, a close friend of Towhidul Islam for about 11 years, told The Dallas Morning News he learned of the deaths from a friend on Monday morning. “I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’” he told the paper. “I couldn’t breathe for 20 minutes to be honest with you, I was crying in my office.” Towhidul had always been “proud” of his three children, Ashan said. Sahnewaz Hossain, who got to know Iren Islam in a religious class they took together, similarly recalled the pride she had in her family. “The mom always talked about the boys, how they’re good in studies, how they’re getting into good schools with scholarships,” she said. “Every time I would come home, I’d tell my kids how good they were doing. They were a fun-loving, simple family.” Fazia Rahman graduated from Allen High School with Farbin and Farhan last year. “Their parents were genuinely the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life,” Rahman told The Dallas Morning News. “So friendly, caring. … They treated everyone like they were their own kids. They’d be like ‘Come in, we have food for you, come eat.’” Angelina Biswas, another fellow classmate, remembered Farbin as sweet and friendly. “[She] was so bubbly,” Biswas said. “Talking to her was like a lightbulb going off all the time.” Farbin had reportedly had a full scholarship to New York University. Friends said Nessa had been visiting the family from Bangladesh and had planned to return home last week but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before moving to Texas, the family had lived in New York City while Towhidul earned his master’s degree and worked multiple jobs to support his young family. Yuen Sang told The New York Post the family had lived in her Queens apartment building 15 years ago. She described the family as “such nice people” and said Towhidul had been a “wonderful man.” “He is a gentleman, very good man, love(s) his family. Works very hard,” she said, describing how he worked as a baker when she knew him and how he was “so happy” when he received his master’s degree. But while Sang remembered young Farbin as being “very bright” and a “nice girl” she said Farhan had “some problems” even then and had gone to a special school. Farhan alluded to his personal struggles in the lengthy note he posted on Instagram, describing how he failed out of college, had been cutting himself since the 9th grade and struggled with debilitating depression. “He had some incidents lately that did not go well for him,” Felty said. According to the note, the two brothers not only decided take their own lives, but also kill their family because they didn’t want their loved ones to have to live with the grief and sadness they’d likely experience after their deaths. “If I killed just myself, they would be miserable,” Farhan wrote, according to local station KTVT. “I love my family. I genuinely do. And that’s exactly why I decided to kill them.” But those who knew the family say they hope they’re remembered for more than their tragic final moments. “We don’t want this to be their family legacy,” Rahman told The Dallas Morning News. “They were such great people; they genuinely touched the lives of everyone who they came in contact with. … They were good people who had bright futures ahead of them.”

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The German military has launched a drive to address troop shortages by offering new recruits a guarantee they will not be deployed abroad. A thousand recruits a year will be able to join a new Homeland Security Force which will only be deployed inside Germany to deal with domestic security and crisis management. Those serving with the force will not be sent on missions abroad and the military has pledged to deploy them as close to their homes in Germany as possible. “The Homeland Security Force will give young people the opportunity to stand up for Germany and protect their homeland,” Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the defence minister, told a press conference to launch the new service. “There are many young people who are interested in a career in the armed forces, but don’t want to commit themselves too strongly to serve.” Despite the similar name, the new force bears no resemblance to the US Department of Homeland Security. Instead its work is expected to focus largely on disaster relief and managing crises like the coronavirus pandemic.

Dominic Raab has condemned the “bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime” in London after the nation’s ambassador to the UK was barred from entering his embassy. Kyaw Zwar Minn, who has served as the Asian nation’s ambassador to the UK since 2014, told The Telegraph he had been “betrayed” by former colleagues whom he had worked alongside in the building. The Foreign Secretary on Thursday paid tribute to the “courage” of diplomat Minn, who reportedly spent the night in his car having been locked out the evening before. Mr Raab tweeted: “We condemn the bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime in London yesterday, and I pay tribute to Kyaw Zwar Minn for his courage. “The UK continues to call for an end to the coup and the appalling violence, and a swift restoration of democracy.” Although himself a former military colonel, Minn drew the ire of his country’s armed junta last month after he expressed his opposition to the successful coup they launched on February 1. He called publicly for the release of deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ousted president Win Myint. He also went on to hold a meeting with Mr Raab, who applauded his “courage and patriotism” in speaking out. The Foreign Secretary called on the military regime to “end their brutal crackdown and restore democracy”.

Eva Mendes is going deep in her latest Instagram post. On the surface, it looks like another celebrity trying to thirst-trap us into looking at their nude selfie. In reality, the actress is calling attention to an important post about consent and allowing her children to own the word “no” when it comes to their […]

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News – Georgia’s GOP lieutenant governor says Rudy Giuliani’s false voter fraud claims triggered voting restrictions