January 10, 2020

Covington Catholic Student Nick Sandmann’s Lawyers Go After Rival Attorney
A rift between lawyers representing students at the center of the Covington Catholic video controversy broke into the open this week, with attorneys for high-schooler Nick Sandmann threatening legal action against a lawyer best known for representing conspiracy theory website InfoWars. Robert Barnes, who has become a personality on the right-wing internet thanks in large part to his legal work for InfoWars host Alex Jones, was quick to offer help to the Covington Catholic students after video of their interactions with a Native American drummer at the Lincoln Memorial went viral in January 2019. Barnes’ legal predictions about the case garnered him further fame on the right, with Trump supporters eager to see the students win big legal victories against their critics. Since then, Barnes has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Covington students against various public figures.But Barnes, whose Covington plaintiffs are all anonymous in the lawsuit, doesn’t represent Sandmann, the MAGA-hat-wearing student who had the central role in footage of the Lincoln Memorial incident. Now Sandmann’s attorneys are threatening legal action against Barnes, saying that he’s falsely implying to his Twitter followers that he represents their client. “We’re taking issue with some of his statements that, in our view, suggest that he is involved in our lawsuits on behalf of Nick Sandmann,” said Todd McMurtry, one of Sandmann’s attorneys.The long-simmering tensions between Barnes and Sandmann’s camp—led by attorneys McMurtry and Lin Wood, who once represented wrongfully accused Atlanta Olympics bombing suspect Richard Jewell—exploded two days after CNN settled a lawsuit with Sandmann for an undisclosed amount. Responding to a tweet noting that author and former CNN commentator Reza Aslan had deleted a tweet saying Sandmann had a “punchable face,” Barnes tweeted that Aslan had likely just been served in a lawsuit on behalf of the ‘CovingtonBoys.”  That irritated Sandmann’s camp, who saw it as Barnes’s latest attempt to suggest he’s representing Sandmann, the most publicly visible of the Covington students. Sandmann himself shot back on Twitter, accusing Barnes of “lying to the public.”“Would you like to explain why you’re suing for me without my permission?” Sandmann tweeted. “You’ve blocked my lawyers on twitter and now claim you’re suing over the Reza Aslan tweet? Retract and stop lying to the public.” Wood followed up on Sandmann’s tweet, noting that he would “prefer” to not take “legal action” against Barnes, who had blocked him on Twitter. “Please remind him that he cannot ‘block’ a formal demand letter, a civil complaint, or an ethics complaint,” Wood tweeted. “I hope he finally gets the message.”Wood’s co-counsel, McMurtry, joined in, tweeting that the Sandmann team was “done putting up” with Barnes. Yet Barnes, who has tweeted that he doesn’t represent Sandmann, insists there’s “no issue” with the Sandmann team.“My understanding is no issue exists with Sandmann's lawyers,” Barnes told The Daily Beast. “I have always made clear my clients are anonymous to protect them from being double-doxxed, and I do not represent Sandmann, who has publicly identified himself. I am glad Aslan deleted the tweet, and the process server should be able to get him served soon.”McMurtry, though, is not happy with Barnes’ comments about the case. “By tying his views of the case and his ideas of the case to Sandmann, it interferes with our claims,” McMurtry told The Daily Beast. This isn’t the first time Barnes has exchanged Twitter barbs with Sandmann’s legal team. While Wood and Barnes were initially friendly as the Covington controversy unfolded, within two months, Barnes was tweeting that Sandmann “needed new lawyers.”  An amused Aslan told The Daily Beast that no matter what Barnes said, he hasn’t been served in any case filed by him. “Whatever fantasy this guy is living, it has nothing to do with me,” Aslan said. “I’ve never heard of him, I’ve never been contacted by him, I’ve never been served by any lawsuit.” 
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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