Mary Ann R. Ince, ex-deputy chief of criminal appeals division in Maryland’s office of the attorney general, d – Baltimore Sun

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Could a lawyer shortage compromise Vermont's criminal justice system? – WCAX

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) We’re following the graying of the Green Mountains and what happens when professionals don’t want to move to rural areas.

We told you how it was creating shortages in our medical system, and now our Cat Viglienzoni has learned it’s happening in our criminal justice system, too.

There are 2,855 active lawyers in Vermont right now. Many of them don’t cross paths with the criminal justice system.

But when there are open jobs– especially in the public defender system– it’s getting harder to fill them. And some are concerned that could lead to unjust results.

“We are literally a couple or three lawyers away from not being able to do the work we need to do in some of these counties,” Vt. Defender General Matthew Valerio said.

Valerio says his office handles 22,000 cases a year, representing about 85% of the state’s criminal court cases. But he says he dreads filling open jobs in anywhere but Chittenden or Washington counties.

“I was trying to fill a position in Rutland for two years, finally got somebody to do it,” he said.

He says it’s the same in places like Lamoille or Windham counties or the Northeast Kingdom. Most young lawyers just starting out don’t want to work in rural areas and aren’t as interested in defense work in general. He says his office contracts out 45 percent of their cases to local firms, which often don’t have the same benefits.

“In contract offices, the turnover is huge. You’re talking about probably a third every year,” Valerio said.

Which means he’s on the road often trying to recruit young lawyers from Boston or New York to fill jobs that aren’t in his office. And in the meantime, he has to shift resources from other counties to make sure everyone gets represented.

“It’s part of the job,” he said. “I do it literally every week.”

The shortage of lawyers, particularly in the defense system, is also a concern for prosecutors in rural areas.

“I don’t think the defense is adequately staffed at this time, at least in the Northeast Kingdom,” Essex County State’s Attorney Vince Illuzzi said.

Illuzzi says the public defenders in his region do great work but they’re outgunned and defense lawyers with high caseloads burn out quickly. He’s worried the current system is lopsided which could lead to more cases being challenged after the fact.

“What you have are either unjust results or cases that continue to drag and when cases drag, it’s not good for victims, it’s not good for the memory of witnesses and oftentimes results in unjust results,” Illuzzi said.

He wants to see the state pony up more cash to create more public defender positions that have the same pay and benefits as state prosecutors get to keep defense lawyers from switching to the other side of the courtroom.

Valerio says it is a challenge to compete with state’s attorneys’ offices but he’s not sure throwing money at the problem will fix it.

“If people just don’t want to do the work, then it doesn’t matter how much you pay,” he said.

As for possible solutions he’d like to see, Valerio says the state should consider whether we need a law program at one of the local universities that is designed to turn out lawyers who will stay here. He says the Vermont Law School doesn’t do that enough.

And he says another option that could help would be some sort of state program for tuition forgiveness or student loan payment help to entice young lawyers to commit to staying here for a longer amount of time.

This shortage is not unique to Vermont. Rural areas around the country are seeing this same hiring problem. Valerio says Maine, New Hampshire and others are all talking about this. The New York Law Journal also reported lawyers were moving out of and retiring from upstate New York at an alarming rate. The New York Bar Association president calling it a “vast” justice gap and a “crisis” there.

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These Progressive Prosecutors Want to Reshape Justice in Major American Cities – Teen Vogue

Unlike Krasner, Rollins had some experience as a federal prosecutor. She’d spent a few years as an assistant United States attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Massachusetts, handling cases involving fraud, employment discrimination, sexual violence, child abuse, gun trafficking, and narcotics, per her campaign website. She joined then Gov. Patrick Deval’s administration as the first person of color to serve as the general counsel of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and as the first female general counsel of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

Her 2018 campaign was built on a platform of “reducing incarceration, correcting racial and ethnic disparities, adopting alternatives to traditional prosecution, focusing the office’s limited resources on serious and violent crimes, and improving relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.”

After winning her race and assuming office, Rollins said, “I represent not just the victim, but the defendant and the community,” which earned praise from many reform-minded people in her district — and criticism from others.

Despite that pushback, Rollins created a list of 15 “low-level” nonviolent offenses that she and her office would not prosecute. She also dismisses or diverts certain low-level charges that she associates with poverty, mental illness, or substance use disorder. When she realized immigrant victims, witnesses, and offenders were scared to come to court because the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was conducting civil immigration arrests, she joined a lawsuit to stop those arrests from happening in state courthouses.

Rollins appointed an outside panel of investigators to review all fatalities involving a police officer, hoping that increased transparency could renew public trust in the DA’s office and law enforcement in general.

San Francisco district attorney candidate Chesa Boudin

Thirty-eight-year-old deputy public defender Chesa Boudin has had an inside view of the criminal justice system for his entire life. When he was a year old, his parents, who were members of radical 1960s leftist group the Weather Underground, were arrested after they participated in an armored-car robbery that resulted in the deaths of two police officers and a security guard.

Boudin went on to become a Rhodes Scholar, graduated from Yale Law School, and landed a job as deputy public defender in San Francisco. Since taking on that role, he helped steer a successful case to overhaul San Francisco’s cash-bail system.

Boudin is now running for DA of San Francisco, and this election will take place in November.

“We know the system is broken. Everyone knows that,” Boudin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I have the perspective, and the creativity, and the insight into the problems to do something other than just double down on harsher convictions and longer sentences.”

Unique features of Boudin’s platform include creating a Wrongful Conviction Unit and the first Immigration Unit in a DA’s office, focused on protecting immigrant rights. He also promises to test every rape kit the San Francisco Police Department has on file, using updated technology, and to proactively prosecute sex crimes committed against underserved communities.

“Being a progressive prosecutor is about more than just ending mass incarceration and the racial injustice plaguing our criminal justice system,” his site says. “It requires treating sex crimes with the seriousness they demand, and treating victims/survivors with the compassion they deserve.”

Hinds County district attorney candidate Jody Owens

Civil rights lawyer Jody Owens is running to become the next district attorney in Mississippi’s most populous county: Hinds.

Owens is a lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserves and a former special prosecutor currently serving as the managing attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mississippi office. Through his work for the SPLC, he has fought to implement sweeping reforms to the juvenile justice, education, mental health, and prison systems. To achieve that goal, he represented youth and adult plaintiffs as he argued class-action lawsuits that involved fighting mass incarceration, private prisons, and the school-to-prison pipeline, as noted by the Clarion Ledger.

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Criminal Minds Camera Operator Sues Over Years Of Alleged On-Set Harassment – Cinema Blend

4 hours ago

criminal minds penelope garcia season 14

The hit CBS drama Criminal Minds will be bowing out in the near future, with its shortened fifteenth and final season set to hit the network’s schedule in early 2020. Unfortunately, the series is at the center of another possible controversy, as longtime camera operator Todd Durboraw has filed an explicit and disturbing lawsuit alleging that he was the victim of years of harassment in the workplace, both of the sexual variety and otherwise.

In Todd Durboraw’s lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, he alleges that ever since he was first hired on by Criminal Minds in 2011, he was harassed in a variety of different ways by the show’s director of photography, Greg St. Johns. The suit claims that St. Johns touched Durboraw’s body parts in sexually harassing ways on an average of 2-3 times per week over the course of the latter’s eight years of employment on the drama.

For example, it’s alleged that Greg St. Johns had, in a sexual manner, touched Todd Durboraw’s groin, his sexual organs, his buttocks and his anus, and it was also noted that St. Johns would rub Durboraw’s earlobes and flick his nipples. On at least one occasion, the lawsuit states that St. Johns approached the Plaintiff from behind while he was couching down, and the D.P. used his foot to touch Durboraw’s groin and buttocks.

Outside of the sexual groping claims, Todd Durboraw also alleged that Greg St. Johns showed discriminatory harassment whenever the former took some days off of work for the birth of his daughter, who had a medical condition that required follow-up surgeries. It’s claimed that St. Johns would scream at Durboraw about taking off for the birth and medical procedures, despite being foretold about her condition, per the filing posted by Deadline. St. Johns also reportedly began “threatening him with termination, threatening him with demotions,” as well as threatening to obstruct Durboraw’s chances of getting promoted.

According to Todd Durboraw’s lawsuit, he wasn’t the only one being victimized by Greg St. Johns over the years. He claims to have witnessed a variety of different situations involving the director of photography harassing, embarrassing or intentionally causing pain to others. The latter claims tie into St. Johns allegedly screaming into the radio devices used by staffers to communicate, knowing that it would cause pain and damage to those listening.

Todd Durboraw alleged that he witnessed Greg St. Johns pulling down another crew member’s pants, and claims that the crew member was later fired after he protested and reported St. Johns’ behavior. As well, it’s claimed that after another crew member (named “Andre”) went to the hospital for an unknown ailment, St. Johns had a subordinate go to an adult novelty store to purchase a dildo and anal plug to send to Andre as a “get well gift.”

Beyond these claims and others specific instances, Todd Durboraw alleges that certain supervisors were informed of Greg St. Johns’ behavior, but nothing was done to aid the alleged victims. As well, the lawsuit states that some of those who complained about the harassment were wrongfully terminated in retaliation, and that others were denied requests to change positions or to secure work assignments outside of St. Johns’ supervision.

What’s more, it’s claimed that Greg St. Johns actually rewarded those who accepted the harassment without complaining or going to bosses. For example, Todd Durboraw claimed that gifts were bought for those employees, and that he would also offer them promotions, time off when needed, more hours when needed, and other sought-after work assignments.

If any or all of these allegations sounded familiar, it’s probably because a large number of then-current and former Criminal Minds employees went public with similar claims about Greg St. Johns. It doesn’t appear that the director of photography faced any noteworthy discipline in relation to those allegations, and it’s also unclear how CBS will handle Todd Durboraw’s claims. If the network’s HR department already investigated some of the claims he made in his lawsuit and deemed they were non-punishable, it could possibly weaken his overall argument. But that’s all in the hands of the legal system and CBS executives now.

For what it’s worth, there is at least one instance in the lawsuit where details were possibly misreported. The list of defendants includes Warner Bros Entertainment alongside ABC Studios, CBS Corporation, Entertainment Partners, and Greg St. Johns. However, Warner doesn’t have anything to do with Criminal Minds, which also lists Touchstone Television, The Mark Gordon Company and Paramount Network Television among its production companies.

Regardless, it’s never a good thing for a show heading into its final season to be at the center of controversial stories such as this, especially when there are tons of Criminal Minds fans that are hoping to see Thomas Gibson return after his own contentious exit over a scuffle with a writer. Showrunner Erica Messer had previously seemed semi-open to the idea of his return if everything made enough sense for it to happen, but it’s currently unknown if Gibson actually will be making any surprise appearances. (The final season’s production wrapped up in May, so it almost definitely would have been filmed already.)

Criminal Minds dealt with some ratings and viewership dips following Thomas Gibson’s firing, which inspired a popular social media backlash. The crime drama still remained one of CBS’ most dependable hits in more recent years, but the decision was made in 2018 to close things out with Season 15, which will get ten episodes to tie up all the various loose ends.

Loose ends such as figuring out what’s going on with Matthew Grey Gubler’s Reid and A.J. Cook’s J.J., who are seemingly heading for some shared romantic bliss, assuming everything else works out accordingly. As well, the show’s final Unsub is one that might affect the BAU squad in long-lasting ways after the final credits air, although I’d guess that Erica Messer would prefer to end things on more positive notes than negative ones.

Criminal Minds will return to CBS to wrap up its 15-season run at some point in the first months of 2020 as the midseason schedules start up. In the meantime, fans can catch former star Shemar Moore taking over that Wednesday-night time slot with Season 3 of S.W.A.T. Stay tuned for more information, and maybe even a trailer, as Criminal Minds gets closer to its final episodes.

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Attorney: Father of 1-year-old twins who died in hot car is 'inconsolable' – ABC15 Arizona

(CNN) — Juan Rodriguez is living

every parent’s worst nightmare.

In the past 48 hours, his 1-year-old twins died after he forgot them in a car for eight hours in temperatures that reached unimaginable levels in the car and in the mid-80s outside.

The 39-year-old father was arrested and charged with two counts each of manslaughter, criminal negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child, the New York Police Department said.

His attorney, Joey Jackson, told CNN when he went to see his client Saturday, he looked “inconsolable and beside himself.”

Jackson is also a CNN analyst.

“The (Rodriguez) family is ripped apart,” Jackson said. “His mental state is very fragile based on what happened. It’s just an awful scenario.”

Rodriguez faces up to four years in prison for the criminal negligent homicide charge and up to 15 years for the manslaughter charge. He was arraigned Saturday and paid $50,000 on a $100,000 bond, according to a source with the Bronx Criminal Court Central Booking Clerk’s Office.

Rodriguez ‘never had any intention of this happening,’ attorney says

The twins, Mariza and Phoenix Rodriguez, were found unresponsive in the back seat of a Honda sedan in the Bronx, the NYPD said. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

The New York City Medical Examiner will determine the twins’ cause of death, police said.

While the twins were in the car, their father was at work at a nearby VA hospital, officials said.

Jackson said his client “never had any intention of this happening — it’s so sad that this unfortunately happens all across the country. All too often we cover stories like this.”

“Fortunately he’s got a tremendous support network working with him — his family, his wife, his friends,” Jackson said. “He has five kids — now three — and everyone is just besides themselves.”

The district attorney’s office isn’t suggesting the incident was intentional, Jackson said, but they are saying it was reckless and negligent.

“The allegation is that he was he was extraordinarily careless,” Jackson said.

The legal plan for now is to make an appeal to the DA so that the situation is resolved in terms of justice and the family’s grief and pain, Jackson said.

“What do you do to the guy? Throw him in jail and take him from his family and remaining children again? What’s an appropriate resolution for this type of case?” Jackson said.

A judge asked that Rodriguez be put on suicide watch, Jackson said during a news conference Saturday evening. Rodriguez’s next court date is August 1, when a grand jury will decide whether or not to indict.

The ‘dad of all dads, father of all fathers’

Jackson said prior to being called to represent Rodriguez, the two didn’t know each other.

They do, however, share mutual friends who described Rodriguez as the “dad of all dads, father of all fathers,” Jackson said.

Rodriguez is a social worker at the hospital, his friend, Temple Barros, 41, told CNN.

“He’s always been an amazing father. Whatever they need, he’ll go out and get it,” Barros said.

He said the family has a “very bright” older daughter. The mother is “not believing what happened,” he said. “Their parenting is amazing. I’m at a loss.”

Hospital spokesman Jim Connell confirmed Rodriguez is an employee and offered this statement:

“The entire hospital community is saddened by news of this tragic event. While the situation is currently under the jurisdiction of local authorities, we offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family.”

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Without lawyer, inmate sues staff at 201 Poplar over alleged beating; case goes to trial – The Commercial Appeal

Years ago, the prisoner filed a lawsuit accusing three jail officials of bringing him into a classroom inside the criminal justice center at 201 Poplar in Memphis, then punching and kicking him for no reason.

He asked for $1 million in damages. And now the case was going to a civil trial — with the prisoner acting as his own attorney.

So inside the federal courtroom, the man in the light blue prison scrubs was questioning the officers in the crisp dark uniforms, challenging the official account that he, the prisoner, had provoked them into wrestling him to the ground and that they didn’t hit him. 

“Did I come into the room and swing at you?” the prisoner asked one of the officers.

“Not at first,” the officer said. He said that a moment later, the prisoner came toward him with a closed fist, which prompted the jailer to grab the prisoner’s legs and take him down to the floor.

“So you never swung on me, never kicked me, never hit me?” the prisoner asked.

“No sir,” said the officer. 

This unusual interview between prisoner Derek Rawlings Jr. and law enforcement official Garry Arnold was one of the notable moments in a civil trial this week as Rawlings sought monetary damages.

Rawlings was 22 years old  when he hand-wrote his original lawsuit, dated December 2014. He pursued the case for 4½ years, arriving at age 26 for the trial that took place Tuesday and Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Downtown Memphis.  

Two corrections officers escorted Rawlings from a state prison and into the courtroom in chains. They freed his hands and left on his leg shackles. During quiet moments in the trial, he sat at a table alone, not far from the three law enforcement officers he had sued — Arnold, Kenneth Boykin and Keeley Gray — and two lawyers defending them. 

By the time the case went to trial, the Shelby County government had already been dismissed and was not a party to the lawsuit, already reducing Rawlings’ chances of winning a big payout.

At the start of the trial, U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Parker told jurors the obvious: that the man in the jumpsuit with the words “TN Dept of Correction” stenciled on the back was a prison inmate.

“And he deserves a fair trial in this case,” Parker continued. “Is there anybody who would have difficulty giving Mr. Rawlings a fair hearing simply because he is incarcerated?” None of the jurors said yes. 

The judge also discussed other factors that could improperly influence a jury, such as racial bias. Rawlings is African American, as are all three of the officers he accused of beating him. 

Jailhouse lawyers

Incarcerated people frequently file lawsuits complaining about sentences and prison conditions, said Tom Gould, the federal court clerk in Memphis. Most file these cases “pro se,” that is, without the help of a lawyer. 

Gould formerly visited prisons as a legal aid volunteer, and encountered the work of “jailhouse lawyers,” prisoners who study the law and gain enough expertise to help others. “You could put it up against lawyers. Other than the fact that it’s a little scruffy looking, you wouldn’t know who wrote it.” 

While many cases are frivolous, other jail lawsuits address serious wrongs, such as rapes inside the lockup, he said. That’s why the legal system takes these cases seriously.

Still, it’s extremely rare to see one of these pro se prisoner lawsuits make it all the way to a jury trial, Gould said. Most cases are dismissed on technicalities because the prisoner has trouble presenting a valid case.

Diving on the floor in court

At the start of the trial, Rawlings brought forward his only witness: himself. 

He told the jury that a big fight had taken place between inmates and guards on the morning of Oct. 30, 2014, inside the F-pod at 201 Poplar. At the time, he said he was outside the pod, talking with an officer.

He said after the fight, members of the gang intelligence unit came to the area to talk with inmates.

Officers later testified that the intelligence unit is a special group of jail officials that uses inmate interviews to gather information about gang activity both inside and outside the lockup.

Rawlings said that when he was brought to a classroom inside the jail, he expected officers to question him about the big fight.

Instead, one of the officers punched him in the face, he said. 

He asked the judge if he could stand up to demonstrate what happened next. The judge said yes, and Rawlings shuffled in his leg shackles to the front of the jury box.

“I fell like this onto the ground,” he said, and lay himself down, face-first. Some jurors immediately stood up to see him better.

In court, he got up quickly and said he took more punches and kicks on the ground, including a hard kick to the head that made him black out and left a knot on his face.

The court saw a photo of Rawlings with a big swelling under his eye. They also saw  jailers’ reports about the incident, which described the prisoner as the aggressor.

In testimony, officers said Rawlings was shouting curses and threatened an officer with a clenched fist, and that when officers wrestled him down, the right side of his face hit the floor. They denied striking him.

A thin case

Rawlings put on a thin case, with no video evidence and no witnesses other than himself to support the story of the beating. Before the trial began, he told the judge he’d struggled with lockdowns at the prison and lack of access to the law library.

Later, he said he didn’t know how to get in touch with another inmate who could confirm his story. Though he said he got his GED in prison, he wasn’t used to legal work. “I’m new to this,” he said.

And attorneys representing the jailers attacked Rawlings’ credibility by pointing to his criminal history.

After his pretrial detention at 201 Poplar, where the alleged beating happened, Rawlings was transferred to the state prison at Whiteville, where he is serving an eight-year sentence on charges of aggravated robbery and being a felon in possession of a handgun.

Attorneys for the jailers presented gang intelligence documents that said he’s a member of the Vice Lords.

Rawlings insisted he’s not a Vice Lord. He said he’s actually a member of the Bloods. 

Still, Rawlings showed some basic courtroom skills, including raising objections to testimony, presenting documents, giving brief opening and closing statements about the incident, calmly questioning witnesses and answering questions himself. 

The verdict comes in

The judge told the jurors that the plaintiff in the civil lawsuit, Rawlings, had the burden of proving his case. If the evidence was 50-50, the jury would have to rule in favor of the officers. 

In closing arguments Wednesday, an attorney for the jailers, Bruce D. Brooke, said Rawlings had failed to prove the officers did anything wrong.

Rawlings said he’d told the truth about the beating for years.

The jury of four women and six men soon reached a verdict, ruling against Rawlings and for the officers. The officers won’t have to pay any damages.

Back to prison

For now, Rawlings returns to Whiteville Correctional Facility, about 60 miles east of Memphis.

His sentence ends in July 2021. He might get out early — he’s scheduled for a parole hearing in April, a prison system spokeswoman said.

During the closing arguments, Brooke said Rawlings didn’t deserve to win. But he called Rawlings an intelligent man and acknowledged the unusual circumstances.

“And isn’t it remarkable that in our country, we’ve heard him out,” he told the jury.”You’ve heard him out.”  

Investigative reporter Daniel Connolly welcomes tips and comments from the public. Reach him at 901-529-5296,, or on Twitter at @danielconnolly.

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Facebook was once a hot startup looking to conquer the world. Today, my journalist friends in the Philippines grapple with threats and lies on the social network (FB)

rodrigo duterte

  • Facebook was once a startup focused on convincing Wall Street that it could continue growing and making more money. They did this partly by expanding to pretty much every corner of the world — including my homeland, the Philippines.
  • But Facebook turned into a platform used to defend Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs which critics charge turned into mass slaughter.
  • Many of the targets have been Filipino journalists reporting on the carnage. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories

I covered Facebook when it was the hottest startup in Silicon Valley, when its biggest problem was not FTC probes or hate speech or fake accounts, but convincing Wall Street that it could make tons more money than it was already raking in.

Many have probably forgotten that its blockbuster IPO in 2012, one of the most high profile offerings of the decade, was a huge flop. Facebook’s stock gained a dismal 23 cents in its Wall Street debut and subsequently sank on growing fears on the Street that it wouldn’t make that much money on mobile.

Well, that turned out to be a non-issue. Facebook’s stock has soared, as the social media giant made loads of dough, through targeted ads delivered to billions of users mobile and desktop devices.

Every corner of the world

It’s been able to do that partly by trying to expand to pretty much every corner of the globe — including my homeland, the Philippines.

In 2013, Facebook announced that it was offering free or discounted messaging access to users in a dozen countries, including the Philippines. As I wrote a short item about it, I remember thinking, “That’s pretty cool.” 

Only years later, after I left the Facebook beat and took a break from  journalism, did it become clear that it was not. What happened next was summed by the headline of a New York Magazine article: “Facebook Used the Philippines to Test Free Internet. Then a Dictator Was Elected.”

I returned to the tech beat recently as a harsh spotlight was turned on Facebook’s record on hate speech.

A private Facebook group run by current and former US Border Patrol agents sparked an uproar over xenophobic and sexist posts. Two months ago, co-founder Chris Hughes pointed to Mark Zuckerberg “unilateral power over speech,” calling it “the most problematic aspect of Facebook’s power.”

 “There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people,” Hughes wrote in the New York Times, in an editorial in which he called for the break up of Facebook.

Targeting journalists

In the Philippines, those conversations feature virulent posts that sometimes include threats of violence. Much of that hate has been directed against journalists, including some of my friends. And much of it comes from supporters of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the leader widely condemned for inspiring mass killings since he took power in 2016.

Duterte launched his presidency by declaring war on illegal drugs.  But that campaign has led to the deaths of thousands of alleged users and dealers, most of whom were poor Filipinos slaughtered without due process. Many were killed by police who claimed they resisted arrest, and others were murdered execution-style by vigilantes supposedly aiding the anti-drug campaign, according to Human Rights Watch.

Philippines drug war crime vigilante justice extrajudicial killings

On Facebook, the Duterte-inspired bloodbath got a boost from an army of online supporters who defend the campaign, who deny the killings were happening or harassed critics of the anti-drug campaign. Some of the targets of this harassment include journalists simply doing their jobs.

They were reporting on the killings and how Duterte, at times, appeared to be celebrating the bloodshed. Duterte even openly declared once, “My only sin is the extrajudicial killings.”

In 2016, Manny Mogato, a reporter with Reuters’ Manila bureau, covered a Duterte appearance in which the Philippine president likened himself to Adolf Hitler. 

In stunning public comments, Duterte noted that the Nazi dictator murdered millions of Jews, then added, citing a statistic that has been disputed: “There are three million addicts (in the Philippines). I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

News reports of the speech predictably sparked outrage. But it also prompted Duterte supporters to hit back on social media, especially Facebook. Among their targets were journalists who were painted as being part of a conspiracy against the Philippine president.

Manny was vilified for reporting Duterte’s comments.

“Some were calling for punishment like tokhang,” he told me, referring to the name of the police anti-drug operation that critics charge have led to summary executions.

The harassment escalated as Manny continued reporting on Duterte’s presidency. His Facebook account was hacked, forcing him to change his name on the social network.

“It was the first online attack on Reuters journalists so my editors were concerned and sent a security team to look into our safety,” he said. “We were advised to take a vacation for a week. My family got scared.”

But Manny kept reporting and documenting the abuses under Duterte. Last year, he and two other Reuters reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for Duterte’s War, a series on the killings in the Philippines.  (The previous year, the New York Times won a Pulitzer for breaking news photography for a feature titled “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals.“)

Another journalist who’s been targeted on Facebook is Glenda Gloria, managing editor of Rappler, the online media startup which has won praise, and has been the target of the attacks, for reporting on Duterte.

Glenda was on a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard last year when trolls posted a photo of her family, including her daughter, and accused her of being aligned with the opposition political party. 

Her Facebook Messenger inbox “was flooded with all sorts of hate messages,” she told me. Trolls called her ugly, stupid and told her, “Your days are numbered.” Facebook Messenger is “my least fave messaging app precisely because that’s where I got trolled,” she said.

Where Facebook IS the internet

In the Philippines, Facebook is the internet. And it’s largely because the tech giant wants to be dominant, no matter the cost.

Maria Ressa, founder and CEO of Rappler, tried personally to explain this to Facebook’s top brass, including Zuckerberg. 

She was named one of Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year for leading Rappler in a turbulent time. She is also the most vilified Filipino journalist on Facebook. She has received death and rape threats, and been taunted by Duterte supporters on the social network.

Partly due to her efforts, Facebook has been focusing intensely on the Philippines, identifying pages and accounts found to be engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” including attacks against journalists and politicians opposed to Duterte. 

Facebook also added Rappler and another Philippine news site, Vera Files, to its International Fact-Checking Network, giving them the ability to flag stories and posts suspected of being misleading or hoaxes. In fact, Facebook has turned to the Philippines for even more intensive, excruciating work, hiring Filipino contractors to flag gruesome images and video, including knife slashings and child molestation.  

These moves have been welcomed in the Philippines. But Facebook has had such a huge impact on the country, many feel these are not enough and that Facebook has yet to fully reckon with how its influence in the Philippines. The ongoing harassment and threats Filipinos are experiencing on Facebook can only be resolved if the tech giant takes a much more muscular role policing the environment it created. 

But Zuckerberg has, at times, suggested that that’s not really a priority.

In a 2017 meeting, Maria asked Zuckerberg to visit the Philippines to “see the impact” the social network is having on her country, where 97% of the population are on Facebook, she recalled in an interview with Kara Swisher

Zuckerberg responded: “What are the other 3% doing, Maria?'”

Got a tip about Facebook or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @benpimentel. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Experts say that Intel had no choice but to sell its smartphone modem business to Apple for a less-than-expected $1 billion

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‘Criminal Minds’ Crew Member Sues Over Alleged Sexual Harassment & Battery By Supervisor – Deadline

A longtime camera operator for the CBS drama Criminal Minds is suing CBS Corp, series’ producer ABC Studios and others over what he alleges is a long pattern of sexual harassment and battery by a supervisor on the show. (The suit also names Warner Bros. Entertainment as a defendant, though that studio has nothing to do with Criminal Minds.)

According to the often graphic and explicit lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), the incidents began soon after plaintiff Todd Durboraw started work as 2nd assistant camera on the series in 2011. His suit claims that director of photography Greg St. John “touched Plaintiff’s body sexually” on “numerous occasions” throughout Durboraw’s employment. St. John and Entertainment Partners Enterprises also are named as a defendant in the case.

Scales Of Justice Gavel

The filing also alleges a pattern of harassment that included St. John “screaming” at Durboraw, threatening him with termination or demotions and preventing him from being promoted. The plaintiff also claims that other Criminal Minds employees “were wrongfully terminated in retaliation for complaining about harassment, sexual harassment, and discrimination by Defendant St Johns.”

The suit alleges that “St. Johns touched Plaintiff in a sexually harassing manner approximately two to three times a week on average from the time Plaintiff was hired through approximately October 2019 (sic).”

Representatives for CBS and ABC Studios have not responded to Deadline’s requests for comment.

Attorneys Joseph Lovretovich, Jared Beilke and Adam Sherman of JML Law in Woodlands Hills are representing Durboraw in the suit. Seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages, it also alleges assault, discrimination, retaliation and infliction of emotional distress.

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50 States of True Crime – The New York Times

CreditRoss MacDonald

From the safety of your armchair, lose yourself in some classic — and completely terrifying — real-life stories of murder, mayhem, corruption, arson and robbery.

This memoir of an activist lawyer is essentially “the story of Walter McMillian, whom Stevenson began representing in the late 1980s when he was on death row for killing a young white woman in Monroe­ville, Ala., the hometown of Harper Lee.”

“Not since ‘The Shining’ has family life off the grid seemed as terrifying as it does in ‘Pilgrim’s Wilderness,’ about a homesteading family in which things have gone very, very wrong.”

“Lazar’s father died in 1975 of distinctly unnatural causes in a stairwell at a Phoenix parking garage. His name was Ed Lazar, and he was an accountant with ties to the once-booming land-fraud community in Arizona.”

Leveritt unravels a sensational case in West Memphis, Ark., where three teenage boys were tried and convicted in the 1992 murders of three 8-year-old boys.


CreditRoss MacDonald

“Was Patricia Hearst responsible for her crimes, or was she a victim who did what she needed to do to survive? Or is the truth somewhere in between? … Toobin uses his knowledge of the justice system and his examination of the evidence to pierce the veil of spectacle and make sense of many contradictory elements.”

“The broad outlines of what happened at Columbine High School in Colorado … are well known. Yet what’s amazing is how much of Cullen’s book still comes as a surprise.”


CreditRoss MacDonald

In 1973, Peter Kelly — 18 — was arrested and charged with his mother’s vicious murder. “Convinced of Peter’s innocence as they were incensed by the overzealousness of the state police, citizens of the small, western Connecticut community in which he and his unmarried mother lived alone joined together to raise his bond money, hire him a lawyer and get him out of jail.”

Anne Marie Fahey was a young secretary working for the governor of Delaware when she met Tom Capano, a wealthy attorney and former state prosecutor who turned out to be a psychopath.

In this deconstruction of Andrew Cunanan’s killing spree and suicide, “the breadth and thoroughness of Orth’s research are often staggering.”

Berendt’s book, “a combination of true crime and travelogue,” follows the case of Jim Williams, a rich antiques dealer “charged in the 1981 shooting of Danny Hansford, a tempestuous young man known as ‘a walking streak of sex’ to both men and women in town.”


CreditRoss MacDonald

In this “honest, creepily fascinating memoir/true-crime story,” Spalding recalls the time she spent serving on the jury of a murder trial, and goes back to reinvestigate the crime.

“A compelling account of the killing of two game wardens in early 1981 in an Idaho desert by a ‘mountain man’ named Claude Dallas.”

“‘The Devil in the White City,’ a book as lively as its title, has the inspiration to combine two distantly related late-19th-century stories into a narrative that is anything but quaint. One describes planning and preparation for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. … The book’s other path follows a prototypical American serial killer who … built and operated a conveniently located World’s Fair Hotel, complete with walk-in vault, greased wooden chute and person-sized basement kiln. As for where this would lead, ‘only Poe could have dreamed the rest.’”

“By 1868 the formerly quiet town of Indianapolis was becoming ‘a city of strangers,’ and nearby Cold Spring was a more inviting place to settle — except for that blood-soaked patch of ground on the west bank of the White River where the bodies of Jacob and Janey Young were found on the morning of Sept. 13.”

In 1900, the brutal murder of the farmer John Hossack galvanized Iowa — especially after it appeared that his wife, Margaret, had been the one to bludgeon him to death.

Capote’s famous “nonfiction novel” about the Clutter murders got a rave review in The Times, which called it “a grieving testament of faith in what used to be called the soul.”

Sharkey’s tale of an F.B.I. agent-turned-criminal is “a close examination of the mind of an ordinary man driven to an extraordinary act.”

The women — “all prostitutes and drug addicts, which made them vulnerable and defenseless, expendable in a jurisdiction that’s centrally positioned along the route of the Gulf Coast drug trade” — were killed between 2005 and 2009.


CreditRoss MacDonald

“In the early morning of May 12, 1994, Sarah Perry’s 30-year-old mother, Crystal, was stabbed to death in her home, while Sarah, who was 12 at the time, sat frozen on her bed on the other side of a thin wall. The murder, which went unsolved for 12 years, marked Perry, infecting her with a ‘viscous blackness’ unleashed by the killer’s act. Like the partial solar eclipse Perry and her mother witnessed two days before the murder, this blackness blotted out the daughter’s and the mother’s former selves. ‘After the Eclipse’ is Perry’s effort to look behind this shadow.”

In 1988, when he was a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, Simon followed a squad of homicide detectives in Baltimore, “chronicling the mind-numbing violence that has become synonymous with virtually every American city.”

“The Brothers” examines how ­Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, became the Boston Marathon Bombers.

“In March 1969, Jane Mixer, a 23-year-old University of Michigan law school student, signed up on a campus ride-board to travel home for spring break. Soon after, her body was found with two bullets in her brain and a stocking so ambitiously wound around her neck that her head was nearly severed.” Thirty-five years later, thanks to a DNA match, someone was finally arrested for the crime.

“This is the dark side of Lake Wobegon. The victims and villains of ‘Final Harvest’ are not stronger, smarter or above average. Like other Americans, they were swept up in the tornado of social and economic change in American agriculture.”


CreditRoss MacDonald

When the white supremacist Richard Barrett was murdered, “a young black man, Vincent McGee, was accused and convicted of the killing. Supposed motive: Mr. McGee’s anger at being underpaid for maintenance work Mr. Barrett had hired him to do. But the situation was so full of unanswered questions that it brought out Mr. Safran’s inner Truman Capote.”

In an area of the Ozarks blighted by poverty and crime, a local Vietnam vet went on a killing spree. Cuneo decided to find out why.

“Krakauer looks at the University of Montana, the local police and the prosecutor’s office through the eyes of five women who reported rapes or attempted rapes between 2010 and 2012.”

Eli Stutzman was a respected Amish farmer. He was also, as it turns out, a murderer.

“Viewed in the proper perspective, Pileggi’s story is a morality tale about two men who tried to begin their lives anew by moving to Las Vegas, that ‘city with no memory,’ Pileggi calls it, ‘the nation’s only morality car wash.’ One of the men was brains, the other muscle, but each left his lasting mark on America’s gambling capital.”

“The murders of Half and Susanne Zantop, popular professors at Dartmouth, stunned the residents of somnolent Hanover, N.H., where only four murders had been committed in the last century.”

“In 2003, the world discovered what a night nurse named Charles Cullen had been doing during the preceding 16 years. He had killed a judge, a priest and an unknown but large number of other people. He may have been the most prolific serial killer in history.”

“Two buddies on a camping trip wound up stranded in the desert. They became so desperate that Raffi Kodikian stabbed David Coughlin in the heart, purportedly as an act of mercy killing. The setting was Rattlesnake Canyon in New Mexico, described here as a crack in the landscape and ‘a moral fracture as well.’”

“In mid-December 2010, the Suffolk County police discovered the bodies of four women, each wrapped in burlap, on a desolate, bramble-covered stretch of sand called Gilgo Beach. It was a gothic whodunit for the internet age, replete with prostitutes, drugs, family dysfunction, investigative incompetence, not to mention a strange, insular beach community and, of course, the websites of Craigslist and Backpage, where the women had advertised for customers.”

“When a wealthy mother and daughter were gunned down gangland-style at their Louisville, Ky., home in 1984 with no obvious motive, a detective predicted: ‘That family has a dark cloud in it somewhere. Find that cloud and you’ve found your killer.’ It was not until 10 months later, in the wake of a seemingly unrelated triple murder in Winston-Salem, N.C., that the dark cloud emerged.”


CreditRoss MacDonald

Homicides are rare in North Dakota, so when three people from the same small town were killed, everyone in the state paid attention.

In 1977, “in a period of eight days, two women, one a nurse, the other an optometry student, had been kidnapped, compelled under threat of death to cash checks at various suburban banks, robbed and raped.” The man arrested for the crimes, William Stanley Milligan, “became the first person in this country’s history to be declared not guilty by reason of insanity on the grounds of a psychiatric diagnosis of ‘multiple personality.’”

“Grann’s book, about how dozens of members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma in the 1920s were shot, poisoned or blown to bits by rapacious whites who coveted the oil under their land, is close to impeccable. It’s confident, fluid in its dynamics, light on its feet.”

In 1977, Jentz and a fellow college student, on a 4,200-mile bike journey, were attacked by an ax-wielding stranger: “Understatement is the quiet power that fuels Jentz’s writing, and our rage as we read it. Here is a woman viewing the aftermath of her attempted killing through the smeary haze of her own blood.”


CreditRoss MacDonald

“Equal parts serious journalism and sisterly sass, ‘Busted’ is a personable and fast-reading ride along with two Philadelphia Daily News journalists as they chase a police corruption story down the rabbit hole.”

“Two very short sections open Leah Carroll’s memoir: the description of her mother’s murder in a seedy hotel room, and the description of her father’s death in an equally seedy hotel room 14 years later. Carroll proceeds from these haunting twin plot points through a patchwork of vignettes, reportage and reflection that reaches after her absent parents with sensitive longing.”


In a 1994 case that riveted the nation, a hysterical Susan Smith told police officers that her car had been stolen with her two small sons still inside it. As it turned out, something quite different had happened.

Late one night in 1973, four teenagers sitting around a campfire at a South Dakota state park were gunned down. A fifth, called the “Gitchie Girl,” survived.


CreditRoss MacDonald

“A tale of sexual assault, greed, power, political corruption and drug addiction unfolded daily for years in the unassuming, sleepy little town of Dyersburg, Tenn., in the chambers of a venerable judge.”

“A fast-paced true-crime tale about a Mexican drug cartel and the Texas cops who chase it. … Del Bosque based her account on scores of personal interviews and reams of court documents, and proves herself fluent in detailing the exceedingly different, but equally rich, milieus of cartel kingpins, Texas equestrians and federal investigators.”

“A compelling volume that traces the sad, violent history of the Gilmore family and shows, in its author’s words, ‘how its webwork of dark secrets and failed hopes helped create the legacy that, in part, became my brother’s impetus to murder.’”


CreditRoss MacDonald

In 1981, a rape and murder case rocked a small town in Vermont when the perpetrators were discovered to be 15 and 16 years old.

Hesse’s tale of an arson spree in Accomack County, Va., “has all the elements of a lively crime procedural: courtroom drama, forensic trivia, toothsome gossip, vexed sex.”

In his examination of the murder of two young women in Seattle, Sanders — a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist — discovered that the killer, who was mentally ill, was not getting the treatment he needed for his disease.

Sidiropolis explores what life was like in Wheeling, W.Va., in the early 1900s, when murder and corruption were rampant and the city was ruled by organized crime.

A biography of Wisconsin’s most prolific serial killer, who was also known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal.”

In one of Wyoming’s most notorious cases, two sisters were abducted and thrown off a bridge — and one of them lived to identify her attackers.

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PayActiv, a payments startup that works with Walmart and Goodwill, is being sued by an ex-employee over allegations of racial harassment and shady business practices


  • A former employee is suing the financial-services startup PayActiv, alleging racial discrimination and harassment, disability discrimination, and shady business practices.
  • PayActiv, which has raised some $40 million from firms like SoftBank and Generation Partners, counts Goodwill and Walmart among its customers.
  • The former employee, Pedro Ibarra, said that leading up to the November 2016 presidential election he faced racism and harassment from management.
  • He also said PayActiv’s app, which allows users to access earned income before payday, puts people in a “cycle of debt” and should be subject to lending regulations.
  • Ibarra said he was dismissed from his job while he was on medical leave and five days after he sent a letter about his concerns about the app.
  • PayActiv’s chief operating officer, Ijaz Anwar, described the lawsuit as “spurious and without merit.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A former employee is suing the financial-services startup PayActiv, alleging racism, harassment, and disability discrimination, and that the startup was misleading about its core product in a way that could be harmful to consumers.

PayActiv, a company in San Jose, California, that works with customers like Goodwill and Walmart, allows employees to access part of their wages before payday. It’s backed and has raised $41.05 million from investors including SoftBank Capital and Generation Partners.

It says on its website that it “was founded to level the playing field for the millions of lower-income hourly workers being exploited and monetized for their ‘between paychecks’ cashflow timing issues.”

Pedro Ibarra, who was PayActiv’s director of operations, said in his lawsuit that he was terminated five days after sending an email to the leadership team raising his concerns about PayActiv’s business model — specifically, that PayActiv was not being honest about its product, did not comply with regulations, and did not properly encrypt sensitive financial data.

He also alleged that he was let go while he was on medical leave stemming from the pressure of dealing with his experiences at the company.

“It was very high stress, mostly because of the way we were operating,” Ibarra told Business Insider. “I knew there was something wrong with the business model. I brought it up to the executives. I brought it up to the founders on numerous occasions. I felt like what I was telling them was falling on deaf ears.”

PayActiv’s chief operating officer, Ijaz Anwar, described the lawsuit as “spurious and without merit.”

“We will not comment further on pending litigation but will remain focused on our mission to bring financial security, dignity, and savings to the millions of Americans experiencing financial stress,” Anwar said in a statement.

‘They do not value or see us as equal’

Ibarra, who is Mexican-American, said that in the two months leading up to the November 2016 election, other employees would make jokes and derogatory comments about Latinos coming across the border and about building a wall.

Ibarra said in the filing that PayActiv CEO Safwan Shah told him that “he and his people” better not vote for Donald Trump or else they were “going to get deported.”

Ibarra said that when Trump was elected, he received a text from Anwar: “Mexicans sold out. You lost the Alamo — again.”

Ibarra said in the filing that after the election he “was subjected to intensified harassment” — for example, he said that colleagues frequently used phrases like “bad hombre” and slurs like “beaner” around him and in reference to him.

He said that members of PayActiv’s management also made comments such as “No wall can stop you guys” and “If Trump builds the border wall, who is going to pick the fields?”

Ibarra alleged that despite his title, skills, and work, he was not paid as much as his non-Hispanic coworkers, that the company discriminated against Latinos and African-Americans in hiring for top-level positions, and that leadership roles were occupied exclusively by people of Pakistani descent.

Ibarra said that he complained about the harassment to management and brought up PayActiv’s hiring practices to Shah but that the company did not take action.

Read more: A group of women trying to change the sexist culture of open source software have been harassed online

“I was the only director that was Hispanic,” Ibarra said. “They do not value or see us as equal. In my opinion, I believe they did not want someone with my background or ethnicity managing or holding a high position at the company.”

PayActiv did not comment specifically on these allegations.

A ‘cycle of debt’

Ibarra’s lawsuit also makes allegations about PayActiv’s business practices — mainly that it’s not transparent with users about how the service works.

PayActiv’s core product is a service that helps companies like Walmart offer their employees the ability to access a portion of the money that they’ve earned at any time, even before payday. For example, workers who experience an emergency or an unexpected bill while they’re between paychecks might use this service. There’s a small fee involved, though PayActiv says many employers subsidize that charge.

“No interest is ever charged, and this fee is significantly less than the costs of a payday loan, overdraft fee or typical late fee,” Anwar said in the statement.

The cash is paid out against an employee’s earnings and thus isn’t technically a loan but rather a cash advance. PayActiv gives users the option to pay it back over two pay periods.

Ibarra argued in the complaint that by the time that second pay period rolls around it’s tantamount to credit, because it effectively has to be paid back by hours the employee hasn’t worked yet. For employees in industries like retail, where hours can vary between pay periods, there’s no guarantee that they will make enough to pay it back.

Ibarra said that this is misleading to users and that the company is creating a “cycle of debt.” He argued in the complaint that PayActiv should be subject to the strict financial regulations around organizations that lend credit — and that it should either stop offering repayment over two pay periods or else be more transparent.

“By being transparent, you have to comply with federal and state credit-lending laws,” Ibarra told Business Insider. “You can’t just disregard lending laws because you’re a startup or offering earned wages.”

Ibarra also criticized PayActiv’s support of California Senate Bill 472, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Anna Caballero, that would draw a strict legal distinction between access to earned income and credit while also preventing companies like PayActiv from charging users certain fees. Ibarra told Business Insider he thinks this bill would effectively shield PayActiv from certain credit regulations.

In his statement, Anwar disputed the notion that the service is in the business of credit and said it supported the bill because it “adds consumer protections and clarity to a complicated but much needed industry.”

“PayActiv works directly with employers to offer on-demand access to earned wages. PayActiv is not a loan, but rather functions like a membership program,” Anwar said.

Read the full complaint here:

Read PayActiv’s full statement here:

PayActiv is aware of the lawsuit filed by a former employee. We believe the lawsuit is spurious and without merit. We will not comment further on pending litigation but will remain focused on our mission to bring financial security, dignity, and savings to the millions of Americans experiencing financial stress.

Regarding our business model and data security, PayActiv employs the highest standards of data security, including SOC 1, SOC 2, PCI and ISO27001. Exchanged data is encrypted and stored in a secure manner. Data is only shared with third-party vendors for payment processing for the services we provide for earned wage access. We will never sell user data, or give data to third-parties for marketing purposes. This is done via a contract between users and PayActiv. These vendors also comply with the highest level of information security standards.

PayActiv works directly with employers to offer on-demand access to earned wages. PayActiv is not a loan, but rather functions like a membership program. Users pay $5 per biweekly pay period or $3 per weekly pay period to access earned wages and other wellness related services. They can access their pay multiple times with a cap of 50% of their earned income or $500, which ensures they will always receive a paycheck. No interest is ever charged, and this fee is significantly less than the costs of a payday loan, overdraft fee or typical late fee. There is no charge if wages are not accessed and many employers subsidize the charge. Users also receive access to a number of financial wellness related services like Uber, Amazon, direct bill pay and budgeting and savings tools. There is never any underwriting or recourse for funds accessed.

PayActiv is a sponsor and supporter of Senate Bill 472. This legislation includes responsible guardrails to protect consumers while allowing for innovation. This bill adds consumer protections and clarity to a complicated but much needed industry. For example, the bill as currently drafted:

• Requires that consumers can cancel their service at any time

• Limits fees to $15 per monthly pay period

• Eliminates fee cascading

• Restricts employers from charging employees to participate in the program

• Ensures that users are able to maintain and grow their existing banking relationships. The service providers can’t take ownership of the whole paycheck.

We already operate with many of the responsible guardrails imposed within SB472 because we believe it’s the right thing to do. We are a Public Benefit Corporation, (certified B corporation) because we will not put profits ahead of people.

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at, Telegram at @rosaliechan, or Twitter DM at @rosaliechan17. (PR pitches by email only, please.) Other types of secure messaging available upon request. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: The head of Microsoft’s data cloud business says that its tech ‘battle hardened’ and ready to face Google and Amazon on his home turf

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