R. Kelly had ‘rules’ to control nearly everything girls did, ex-assistant testifies

R. Kelly was so controlling of his young girlfriends, he had a list of “Rob’s rules” that dictated they must ask permission to do most things — and were forbidden from leaving certain rooms in his Chicago mansion, his former personal assistant testified in Brooklyn federal court Friday.

Anthony Navarro, who worked for the “Bump n’ Grind” crooner between 2007 and 2009, was asked to enforce the rules — which also barred him from speaking to any of the females as he shuttled them to the abode in a Lamborghini and other high-end cars.

“The things you had to do was just a bit uncomfortable…it was almost like the ‘Twilight Zone,’ you went into the gate and it was like a different world, just a strange place,” Navarro said on the third day of the 54-year-old singer’s sex crimes and racketeering trial.

While on the job with Kelly, he allegedly escorted his teenage girlfriends to their designated rooms at the Olympia Fields manse, then made sure they didn’t leave, said Navarro, who said he’s also worked for Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, and Kanye West.

“If they’re not where they’re supposed to be, you’d have to tell Rob or a manager,” said Navarro. “They weren’t supposed to be wandering around, they weren’t supposed to leave the room.”

R. Kelly allegedly controlled where girls and women entered in his Chicago mansion, according to Anthony Navarro.
E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Pool via REUTERS/File

But, while reviewing surveillance camera footage, he once saw two teenage girls hop a fence at the home and run in an apparent attempt to escape.

“They looked really young,” said Navarro. “I thought they were like mid-aged teenagers.”

Navarro also saw Kelly’s associates hand out the singer’s phone number to girls in the audience at shows or at malls and restaurants, he testified.

“We were instructed not to talk to any of the females,” he said. “Sometimes they would get envelopes of money when leaving.”

Former assistant Anthony Navarro testifies in R. Kelly's sex abuse trial at Brooklyn's Federal District Court in New York on August 20, 2021.
Former assistant Anthony Navarro testifies in R. Kelly’s sex abuse trial at Brooklyn’s Federal District Court in New York on August 20, 2021.
REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Navarro was an assistant for Kelly during the same time period he’s accused of sexually assaulting Jerhonda Pace when she was age 16 and he was 42.



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New Mexico House Democrat Resigns Amid Criminal Probe Into Racketeering, Money-Laundering

New Mexico House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton, a Democrat, resigned Friday amid a criminal probe involving allegations that include money laundering and racketeering, according to reports.

Stapleton announced her resignation in a July 30 letter, obtained by The Paper, to the Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, in which she “unequivocally” denied the allegations.

“This is a decision that weighs heavily on me, and which I have made after a tremendous amount of consideration of the best interest of the People,” she wrote, adding that she “must devote a significant amount of time and energy to fully defend against these allegations.”

While no charges have been filed against Stapleton, authorities are investigating her for possible racketeering, money laundering, kickbacks, and violations of a law governing the conduct of state lawmakers, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Stapleton’s attorney, Ahmad Assed, told the Albuquerque Journal on Wednesday that it’s too early to comment on the investigation.

“We have to do our due diligence and our own investigation,” Assed said. “Rep. Stapleton will have a comment when it is appropriate. That could be soon or later in the process.”

Authorities are probing Stapleton’s possibly illegal connections to a company that received more than $5 million in contracts to do business with Albuquerque Public Schools, and whether she received financial kickbacks.

As part of that investigation, the Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday executed search warrants at Stapleton’s home and businesses, and at Albuquerque Public Schools, where Stapleton oversees career technical education, according to documents featured in The Paper’s report.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can assure New Mexicans that because this matter involves schools and public funds, we will be swift and diligent in concluding this investigation,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement about the investigation.

Stapleton has been put on paid administrative by the school district, The Associated Press reports.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said in a statement that she is “deeply, deeply troubled by the reports this morning about a law enforcement investigation into Rep. Stapleton,” adding that “public confidence in government is seriously damaged by even the appearance of impropriety, or illegal activity, which is why public officials must always hold themselves to the highest possible standard of behavior.”

“New Mexicans expect and deserve elected officials who, regardless of party, will put the people before themselves. Anything less violates a sacred public trust and must be dealt with accordingly,” Grisham added.

In a joint statement, New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf, House Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos, and House Majority Caucus Chair D. Wonda Johnson, said they support Stapleton’s decision to resign.

“Given the weight of the allegations against Rep. Stapleton and the ongoing investigation, her resignation from the House is appropriate and in the best interest of the Legislature and the state,” they said.

Commenting on the probe, New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce called it “a sad day in New Mexico politics.”

“I know Rep. Stapleton personally, and we have worked together, but there’s no excuse for what she’s apparently done,” he said in a statement Friday. “Rep. Stapleton must be held accountable, and we hope the investigation and judicial process will take the proper course in this matter.”

Officials cited by The Associated Press said that 11 additional district staff who are subjects of the investigation have also been placed on administrative leave.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.



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New Mexico House Majority Leader Under Criminal Investigation, Racketeering, Money Laundering

New Mexico House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton, a Democrat, is under criminal investigation by the Attorney General’s Office on allegations of racketeering, money laundering, receiving illegal kickbacks, and other violations, officials said this week.

Investigators from the Attorney General’s Office searched Stapleton’s Albuquerque office on Tuesday and her home on Wednesday, according to arrest warrants. They were looking into irregularities in her work as an administrator at Albuquerque Public Schools since the spring

The investigators are trying to determine whether Stapleton’s connections to Robotics Management Learning Systems, a Washington-based company that has done business with the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS). They found that every invoice issued by Robotics Management to the school system was for an even dollar amount, with no cents, and most payments were reportedly for $40,000.

Stapleton is involved with several other companies that received payments from Robotics Management, investigators said.

“APS paid Robotics $5,360,030.00 from March 2006 to June 2021,” according to a search warrant. “Bank of America records detail that overwhelmingly, Robotics’ primary source of income is its contracts with APS. APS employees and [New Mexico Attorney General] Investigators have noted that the procurement process with regard to Robotics was not performed in accordance with state law.”

The warrant further stated that investigators found that about 60 percent of the money paid to “Robotics by APS between 2014 and 2021 was subsequently redirected to Sheryl Williams Stapletons’ direct interests,” including to her son and her restaurant and other businesses.

No charges have been filed yet in the case.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can assure New Mexicans that because this matter involves schools and public funds, we will be swift and diligent in concluding this investigation,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement about the investigation.

In a statement, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she is “deeply, deeply troubled by the reports this morning about a law enforcement investigation into Rep. Stapleton,” adding that “public confidence in government is seriously damaged by even the appearance of impropriety, or illegal activity, which is why public officials must always hold themselves to the highest possible standard of behavior.”

“New Mexicans expect and deserve elected officials who, regardless of party, will put the people before themselves. Anything less violates a sacred public trust and must be dealt with accordingly,” the Democrat governor added.

Stapleton’s attorney, Ahmad Assed, told the Albuquerque Journal on Wednesday that it’s too early to comment on the investigation.

“We have to do our due diligence and our own investigation,” Assed said. “Rep. Stapleton will have a comment when it is appropriate. That could be soon or later in the process.”

The Epoch Times has contacted the lawmaker’s office for comment.



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Union Violated Federal Racketeering Law, Worker Says

Cash-hungry union executives forged an Oregon worker’s signature in order to deduct money from her paychecks, according to a new lawsuit.

The suit, filed in late March, accuses a local chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) of forging Staci Trees’s signature on a membership card authorizing the continued withholding of union dues from Trees’s paycheck. The Oregon woman is turning to the courts to intervene and curtail labor union influence.

The suit is alleging the local chapter of the union, SEIU 503, violated federal racketeering law by deceptively continuing Trees’s membership and requiring her to continue paying dues after she attempted to leave.

“Since she resigned membership in 2018, Ms. Trees has given no consent to have her employer deduct union dues from her wages for the benefit of SEIU 503,” the complaint states. “SEIU 503 intentionally used electronic communications and/or United States mail to falsely and fraudulently inform DAS [Oregon Department of Administrative Services] that Ms. Trees has authorized deduction of dues past July of 2018, despite their knowledge that Ms. Trees had withdrawn her authorization.”

The suit comes as the SEIU stands to benefit from President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package, which proposes spending $400 billion on in-home health care through the Medicaid program. The package also includes the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, a pro-union bill that would roll back right-to-work laws active in 27 states that allow workers to opt out of union dues. The SEIU boasts nearly 2 million members nationwide and is a prolific financial supporter of Democratic politicians.

Trees’s lawsuit says that she joined the union in 2009 and signed a membership card that authorized the withholding of her membership dues. After the Janus decision in June 2018, Trees made the decision to leave the union. The union did not process her request to leave until December 2020 and informed Trees that she still owed the union the dues collected in the meantime because she signed a membership card in 2016. Trees denied ever having signed a card and accused the union of forging her signature.

Additionally, Trees’s attorney, Rebekah Millard of the Freedom Foundation, said that the Supreme Court’s recent rulings in favor of free speech, such as in the Janus decision, suggest that union power over workers could be curtailed in the courts. But she said that unions continue to exercise political influence and have a receptive audience in the White House.

“It’s a difficult political environment,” she said. “Unions have a lot of political influence, even among these nonpolitical courts. We have an uphill battle in the lower courts, but once it gets up to the appellate courts or the United States Supreme Court, it starts to become a little more clear that this is a First Amendment issue. This is an issue that implicates people’s rights.”

The Supreme Court struck a significant blow to public sector unions with its decision in Janus where it held that public sector unions could not collect union dues from non-members. Since that decision, anti-union groups have been pushing the High Court to hear cases involving mandatory dues deductions that help fund union activities. One such case, Belgau v. Inslee, could limit the abilities of public sector unions to withhold dues without explicit consent from employees.

SEIU 503 did not respond to a request to comment on the lawsuit or the accusation that its officials forged Trees’s signature.

The Biden administration has repeatedly signaled its support for organized labor, going as far as calling for Congress to pass the PRO Act as part of its infrastructure package. The passage of the act would require the elimination of the congressional filibuster.





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MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace Says She Watched ‘Mob Movies’ During Trump Presidency To ‘Familiarize’ Herself With Terms Like ‘Racketeering’

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace said Monday she watched “mob movies” while former President Donald Trump was in office in order to “familiarize” herself with “all the terms being thrown around” related to investigations against him, such as “racketeering.”

During her broadcast of “Deadline: White House,” Wallace discussed with guest Andrew Weissmann the possibility that racketeering charges could be brought against Trump over his January phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump had seemingly asked Raffensperger “to find 11,780 votes” for him. (RELATED: Georgia Prosecutors Investigating Alleged 2020 Election Interference)

Wallace began with a report by Reuters that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis hired an experienced racketeering attorney, which Wallace described as “a sign that racketeering may be a big part of the case against Trump and his allies.” She then asked Weissmann what he thought the hire meant.

Weissmann explained that Willis “has really ripped a page from the Cy Vance playbook” because Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney investigating Trump and the Trump Organization for tax fraud, hired experts in fields pertaining to where his investigation was heading.

“Racketeering harkens back all of the mob movies, and I actually went back and watched all of them during Trump’s presidency just to familiarize myself with all the terms being thrown around,” Wallace responded. “What is a racketeering investigation and how does that call, that we now all heard with our own ears, where he’s clearly telling the secretary of state to go find votes, he’s clearly telling him to commit a crime, how does that fit into a racketeering probe?”

Weissmann began to answer Wallace’s question before he experienced technical difficulties.

Wallace started reading from the Reuters report, saying, “If she pursues racketeering charges, Willis will need to prove a pattern of corruption by Trump, alone or with his allies, aimed at overturning the election results to stay in power. While racketeering is typically pursued by prosecutors in cases involving such crimes as murder, kidnapping and bribery, the Georgia statute defines racketeering more broadly to include false statements made to state officials.”

Weissmann returned, only to cast doubt on the certainty of racketeering charges, and whether the call between Trump and Georgia officials was criminal. He concluded by saying “it’s clear” Georgia is taking the call “very seriously,” and that “whether it is criminal or not still remains to be seen.”

Following the presidential election, Trump criticized Georgia officials over the results of the election in Georgia. The current investigation stems from the phone call with Raffensperger, when Trump mentioned the exact number of votes he would need to overcome President Joe Biden’s lead of 11,779 votes.

Both investigations in New York and Georgia are still ongoing. No potential charges against Trump, his family or the Trump Organization have been announced.



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