News Round-Up: September 10, 2020

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov (screen capture via HBO Sports)

Some news items you might have missed:

The Daily Beast: A Russian social media dissident was captured in Chechnya and forced to sit on a glass bottle as an act of apology to Putin’s favorite enforcer, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (above).

OUT: Jussie Smollett in a recent Instagram Live chat, “From the very, very beginning, it was set up to seem like I was lying about something or everything.” The gay Empire actor was referencing his January 2019 claim that two men attacked him near his Chicago apartment while spewing racist and homophobic slurs, physically assaulting him, and hanging a noose around his neck. The police alleged it was a false report.

Edge Media: Actor Anthony Rapp (Star Trek: Discovery, Rent) and an anonymous accuser have filed a civil lawsuit in New York State court Manhattan against Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey for alleged sexual assaults in the 1980s.

Oscar winner Kevin Spacey (screen capture via YouTube)

NY Daily News: The Trump administration has secretly siphoned nearly $4 million away from a program that tracks and treats FDNY firefighters and medics suffering from 9/11 related illnesses. The Treasury Department mysteriously started withholding parts of payments — nearly four years ago — meant to cover medical services for to firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics treated by the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program.

The Advocate: Donald Trump has unveiled a new shortlist of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees, and it includes such anti-LGBTQ+ types as Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley as well as the lawyer who defended the Defense of Marriage Act.

Washington Blade: The venerable LGBTQ news outlet has officially endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president. “There’s no reason for any informed American voter to grant Trump another four years. There’s even less reason for LGBTQ voters to support him, no matter what the hypocrites at Log Cabin tell you.”

Election 2020: A new campaign ad from Joe Biden hits Donald Trump over the revelations Trump knew the severity of the coronavirus for months while telling the American people “it’s like the flu.”

Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty To New Charges Of Filing False Police Report

Former ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett (center)

Former Empire star Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty Monday to a fresh round of charges accusing the actor of staging a homophobic and racist attack last year.

From CBS Chicago:

A new indictment filed earlier this month charged Smollett with six counts of disorderly conduct, accusing him of filing false police reports that he was attacked on the way home from Subway in the middle of the night in Streeterville in January 2019.

Cook County prosecutors dropped the original case against Smollett, dismissing 16 counts of disorderly conduct against him last March, without requiring he admit any wrongdoing, in a controversial move just weeks after he’d pleaded not guilty.

A special prosecutor later was assigned to look into the entire case, after a judge found “unprecedented irregularities” in how Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx handled the case, specifically by handing it over to her second-in-command after announcing she had recused herself.