Progressive Briefing for Friday, September 7

State Senator sentenced to jail time for bribery, Alex Jones banned from Twitter, India legalizes gay sex, and more.


Former State Senator sentenced to 18 years in prison for bribery scheme

Found guilty on 15 counts, including conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering, former Arkansas State Senator Jonathan Woods was sentenced Wednesday to serve more than 18 years in federal prison. In addition, U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks sentenced Woods to serve three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay over $1.6 million in restitution.

While serving as Arkansas state senator from 2013 to 2015, Woods and other Arkansas legislators, including former State Representative Micah Neal, accepted bribes from officials at nonprofit entities in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in government grants. According to the evidence presented at trial, Ecclesia College’s former president, Oren Paris III, also bribed Woods by hiring Woods’s friend to an administrative position at the college.

India legalizes gay sex ruling discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation a human rights violation

A colonial-era law against gay sex was voted down by India’s top court on Thursday. The landmark ruling was celebrated throughout India and other parts of South Asia.

While gay sex is taboo for many Indian conservatives, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and was punishable by up to 10 years in prison, India’s Supreme Court ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a fundamental violation of rights.

“Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults – homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians – cannot be said to be unconstitutional,” Dipak Misra, the Chief Justice of India, said. “

Jury fines man $1 for punching Charlottesville rally organizer

For the crime of striking “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler, a Charlottesville, Va., jury says Jeffrey Winder must pay a fine of $1 – far short of the maximum possible penalty. Winder had appealed his original guilty finding, which included a 30-day jail sentence.

A judge had found Winder guilty of misdemeanor assault in February. After Winder appealed, a jury affirmed the guilty verdict this week but decided he should serve no jail time – and pay only a minimal fine.


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