12-07-2021  3:54 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Judicial Conduct Commission Files Charges Against Judge

The Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct announced it has filed a statement of charges against former Clark County District Court Judge Darvin Zimmerman.

Trial Date Set for Tacoma Sheriff in Confrontation with Black Newspaper Carrier

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer was charged with false reporting and making a false or misleading statement after telling police Sedrick Altheimer had threatened to kill him

Famously Soggy Seattle Sees Its Wettest Fall on Record

Seattle, a city known for soggy weather, has seen its wettest fall on record.

Longtime Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio Won't Seek Reelection

DeFazio, the longest serving U.S. House member in Oregon’s history and a staunch advocate for environmental issues, said Wednesday he is retiring

NEWS BRIEFS

SPLC Responds to DOJ Decision to Close Emmett Till Investigation

Yesterday, the Department of Justice closed a reopened investigation into the murder of Emmett Till without filing new charges. ...

Portland Couple to Receive Lowenstein Award

The Lowenstein Trust will present the 2021 Steve Lowenstein Award to Allen and Joy Fowler for their volunteer advocacy efforts on...

Senator James Manning Makes a Stop at The Skanner

Oregon Sen. James Manning stopped by The Skanner News building on Monday to discuss campaign topics. ...

Suspect in Colorado Church Vandalism Sought in Portland

A reward has been established for information that leads to Madeline Ann Cramer's arrest. ...

Congressional Cannabis Caucus Co-Chairs Blumenauer, Joyce, Lee and Young Urge VA to Offer Veterans Access to Lifesaving Cannabis Treatment

“…over twenty veterans continue to die by suicide each day—it is past time we stop barring access from these innovative...

Man sentenced to almost 4 years for trafficking meth

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A man accused of trafficking methamphetamine and was caught with six pounds of drugs at a Puyallup drug deal was sentenced Monday to almost four years in prison. Omar Arellano-Hernandez, 28, will spend 46 months in prison for his drug dealing activity in Western...

Socialist Kshama Sawant faces recall vote in Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) — A controversial member of the Seattle City Council – firebrand socialist Kshama Sawant – faces a recall election Tuesday one month after voters chose moderate candidates over progressives in the general election. The recall is seen as a further test of whether...

Missouri to face Army's triple option in Armed Forces Bowl

Army (8-3, Independent) vs. Missouri (6-6, SEC), Dec. 22, 8 p.m. ET LOCATION: Fort Worth, Texas. TOP PLAYERS Army: LB Andre Carter II, 14.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, leads the nation in sacks per game; QB Christian Anderson, 545 yards...

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri, caps best season since 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Sam Pittman grinned for almost the entirety of his postgame press conference Friday night. The Arkansas coach and his team had done something no others ever had. The No. 25 Razorbacks capped their regular season with a 34-17 victory over Missouri,...

OPINION

State is Painting Lipstick on Its One-of-a-kind, Long-term-care Law

Starting in January, the unpopular law imposes a stiff new tax of 58 cents per 0 earned for every worker in the state ...

Giving Thanks

Just by being alive we can be sure of having moments of sadness as well as happiness. When you’re active in politics, you experience both wins and losses. Sometimes it can be hard to feel grateful. ...

Acting on Climate will Require an Emphasis on Environmental Justice

Climate change affects us all, but its effects aren’t distributed equally. ...

Small Businesses Cannot Survive With Current Level of Postal Service

At The Skanner News office we received an important piece of correspondence that was postmarked June 12, 2021, and delivered to us on November 4, 2021. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

UN court orders Azerbaijan, Armenia not to aggravate dispute

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Judges at the United Nations’ top court ordered Azerbaijan on Tuesday to protect all the prisoners it captured during the country's war last year with neighboring Armenia, to prevent incitement of racial hatred against Armenians and to punish vandalism of Armenian...

Rohingya sue Facebook for 0B, alleging role in violence

LONDON (AP) — Rohingya refugees sued Facebook parent Meta Platforms for more than 0 billion over what they say was the company's failure to stop hateful posts that incited violence against the Muslim ethnic group by Myanmar's military rulers and their supporters. Lawyers filed a...

China says US diplomatic boycott violates Olympic spirit

BEIJING (AP) — China accused the United States of violating the Olympic spirit on Tuesday after the Biden administration announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Games over human rights concerns. Rights groups have pushed for a full-blown boycott of the Games, accusing...

ENTERTAINMENT

Fired CNN anchor Chris Cuomo steps away from SiriusXM show

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fired CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said he's dropping his SiriusXM radio show, a decision that followed a sexual harassment allegation. “While I have a thick skin, I also have a family, for whom the past week has been extraordinarily difficult,” Cuomo said in a...

2021's notable moments on TV: Capitol riot, 'Rust,' Shatner

If a year can be accused of bait-and-switch, 2021 is fair game. It was reasonable to believe, or hope, that the pandemic would steadily recede in the rear-view mirror, that a White House transition might mean less political rancor, that America could honorably end its “forever...

Man charged in death of Jacqueline Avant, music icon’s wife

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors filed charges Monday against a 29-year-old man in the fatal shooting of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, the wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant, last week at their Beverly Hills home. Aariel Maynor is also charged with the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Whistleblower: As Afghanistan fell, UK abandoned supporters

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Foreign Office abandoned many of the nation’s allies in Afghanistan and left them to...

'Cheugy,' 'omicron' among 2021's most mispronounced words

“Cheugy” is apparently a lot to chew on. Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Billie Eilish and Philadelphia...

European drug regulator backs mixing COVID-19 vaccines

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The European Union drug regulator gave its backing Tuesday to mixing different...

Whistleblower: As Afghanistan fell, UK abandoned supporters

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Foreign Office abandoned many of the nation’s allies in Afghanistan and left them to...

Blast levels French building; at least 1 dead, baby found

PARIS (AP) — French rescue workers dug out the body of a man but rescued his baby and the child's mother alive...

Man in Germany suspected of killing 4 relatives and self

BERLIN (AP) — German investigators said Tuesday that a man suspected of killing his family and then himself left...

Matt Volz the Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Two Montana lawmakers are trying to start a class-action lawsuit against "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson, claiming they were duped into buying Mortenson's best-selling book and donating to his charity based on lies they thought were true.

The claim filed Thursday in federal court in Missoula is the latest fallout from reports by "60 Minutes" and author Jon Krakauer last month that alleged that Mortenson lied in "Three Cups of Tea" about how he became involved in building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The reports also questioned whether Mortenson financially benefited from his charity, Central Asia Institute, and whether CAI built the number of schools it claimed.

The complaint, which tells only one side of a legal argument, alleges Mortenson and CAI induced state Rep. Michele Reinhart of Missoula to buy the book and Rep. Jean Price of Great Falls to donate to the charity. Reinhart and Price claim Mortenson and the charity engaged in fraud, deceit, breach of contract and racketeering under a statute normally used for prosecuting mobsters.

The Democratic legislators are seeking class-action status, saying the lawsuit potentially could be joined by millions of people who bought Mortenson's books, heard his speeches or donated to his charity.

"They purchased the book because of his heart-wrenching story which he said was true," said Great Falls attorney Alexander Blewett, who is representing Reinhart and Price. "If people had known all of this was fabricated, they would not have given the money."

Mortenson was in his Bozeman home awaiting word on whether he could safely undergo surgery to repair a hole in his heart, according to a statement by his doctor posted on the Central Asia Institute's website.

Anne Beyersdorfer, a Mortenson family friend who is running the charity in Mortenson's absence, told The Associated Press that officials at CAI have not seen the complaint and she could not comment on the particulars. But, she said, Mortenson has done nothing wrong and he is looking forward to refuting the accusations against him when his health improves.

"He's weak, his oxygen levels are low and he's not well," Beyersdorfer said. "He is not able to speak because of his health issues, but he (will be) ready to tell his version of the story, which is very important."

Mortenson has previously denied any wrongdoing, though he has admitted some of the events in his book were compressed over different periods of time. CAI has pledged full transparency and posted years of financial statements on its website.

Reinhart heard Mortenson speak at the University of Montana in 2007 and bought "Three Cups of Tea" in 2009. Price heard a presentation by Mortenson or CAI in Great Falls in 2009 and made a donation "relying on the truthfulness of his statements," according to the complaint.

Neither immediately returned calls for comment. Their attorney, Blewett, is the father of another Democratic state lawmaker, Sen. Anders Blewett.

The plaintiffs are asking a judge to rule that Mortenson and CAI violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO. They made the RICO claim because Price gave CAI a second donation after receiving a solicitation in the mail, which Alexander Blewett said constitutes mail fraud.

The racketeering claim allows the plaintiffs to seek triple the amount Mortenson and CAI have made from book sales, speeches and donations.

The complaint asks the judge to place the money into a trust administered by a court-appointed charity that would direct it to schoolchildren in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Three Cups of Tea" was released in 2006 and sold more than 3 million copies. That notoriety helped Mortenson grow the Central Asia Institute by generating more than $50 million in donations.

The fallout from the "60 Minutes" and Krakauer reports prompted Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock to open an inquiry into the charity last month.

Blewett said a class-action lawsuit represents the best way for the public to find out the truth because it could result in Mortenson's sworn testimony.

"We welcome the opportunity to let Mr. Mortenson testify under oath to all these things. To us, it seems overwhelmingly false and we will give him ample opportunity to explain away all of the falsehoods," Blewett said.

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