RICK GUNN FACES ALIENATION OF AFFECTION LAWSUIT OVER AFFAIR WITH EMPLOYEE: A lawsuit accuses a North Carolina state senator of breaking up a marriage by having an affair with his legislative assistant. Arthur Johns’ lawsuit accuses Sen. Rick Gunn of having an affair with Johns’ wife, Karen, leading to their divorce. The five-term senator, a Burlington Republican, is not seeking re-election. He announced that decision in November 2019, four months after the Johnses divorced. The lawsuit says Gunn employed Karen Johns until recently. She has worked in the legislature as a legislative assistant since 2011, according to her LinkedIn profile. As Gunn’s legislative assistant, she was encouraged to spend time with the senator outside his working hours, respond to his constant communication immediately and travel alone with him, the lawsuit alleges.
ADVOCATES PRESS JUDGE TO APPOINT SPECIAL MASTER TO PROTECT PRISONERS FROM COVID 19: A North Carolina judge may bring in an expert to weigh in as the court watches over the state prison system's response to the coronavirus pandemic and its implementation of court orders dictating safety measures. But Wake County Superior Court Judge Vinston Rozier Jr. seemed Friday to caution groups pressing him to crack down on the system, indicating that he may not go as far as they'd like. They accuse the state of failing to keep to Rozier's orders when it comes to prison conditions and of misleading the public about their efforts. An attorney for the state called the accusations "offensive" in the face of good-faith efforts during an unprecedented pandemic. At a Friday morning hearing held through video conference, Rozier pondered a request from the NAACP, the ACLU and others to bring in a "special master," an expert the groups want to review inmate cases and consider early releases from prisons around the state.
RALEIGH PROTEST OVER JACOB BLAKE POLICE MURDER MOSTLY NON-VIOLENT: What began as a peaceful march through downtown Raleigh to protest police violence and systemic racism took a turn Friday night, with some scattered vandalism and a handful of arrests as some people remained downtown more than an hour past the city’s 10 p.m. curfew. After more than two hours of marching and speeches, the crowd had grown close to 1,000 with many intent on violating the curfew set by Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. At the Wake County Justice Center, some protesters tossed around plastic barricades meant to keep them away from the building, while others started a fire in the middle of Salisbury Street and sprayed red paint on a memorial to fallen Wake County sheriff’s deputies. Raleigh police tweeted that a portable toilet had been knocked over, and one protester pulled up a street sign and smashed the window of a substance abuse agency on Davie Street. “We are asking protesters to keep it peaceful,” the police Twitter account said at about 9:20 p.m.
SECRET SERVICE HIT HARD BY CORONAVIRUS THANKS TO TRUMP'S RALLY FEVER: When President Trump gave a speech to a group of sheriffs in Tampa late last month, his decision to travel forced a large contingent of Secret Service agents to head to a state that was then battling one of the worst coronavirus surges in the nation. Even before Air Force One touched down on July 31, the fallout was apparent: Five Secret Service agents already on the ground had to be replaced after one tested positive for the coronavirus and the others working in proximity were presumed to be infected, according to people familiar with the situation. The previously unreported episode is one of a series of examples of how Trump’s insistence on traveling and holding campaign-style events amid the pandemic has heightened the risks for the people who safeguard his life, intensifying the strain on the Secret Service. In the past two months, dozens of Secret Service agents who worked to ensure the security of the president and Vice President Pence at public events have been sickened or sidelined because they were in direct contact with infected people, according to multiple people familiar with the episodes, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the incidents. Despite that, Trump has continued to hold large gatherings — most dramatically at the White House on Thursday night, when he delivered his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention before a crowd of 1,500 people seated closely together on the South Lawn, with few masks in sight. The vast majority were not tested for the coronavirus ahead of time.
U.S. HOUSE COMMITTEE MOVES TO HOLD SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO IN CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS: The House Foreign Affairs Committee announced on Friday that it would move to hold Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt of Congress for defying its subpoenas related to the State Department’s participation in Senate Republicans’ investigation targeting the Bidens. The move, announced on Friday by Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the panel, would amount to a rare and stinging rebuke of the nation’s top diplomat, who has drawn criticism for flouting norms of diplomatic custom in pursuit of President Trump’s political interests and his own ambitions. Mr. Engel said he had sought records from Mr. Pompeo regarding “his transparently political misuse of department resources,” including in his recent address to the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem, but had been stonewalled in an “unprecedented record of obstruction and defiance.” The chairman said he had been told that receiving the records was contingent upon his committee agreeing to investigate the Bidens. “He has demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the Constitution provides to prevent government corruption,” Mr. Engel said of Mr. Pompeo. “He seems to think the office he holds, the department he runs, the personnel he oversees and the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of it are there for his personal and political benefit.” “Mr. Pompeo is demanding that the committee do essentially the same thing Russia is doing,” Mr. Engel said in a statement, “spreading claims about corruption” in order to “interfere in the American presidential election.” He added, “I want no part of it.” The announcement came the morning after Mr. Trump accepted his party’s renomination at a rally-like political event on the South Lawn of the White House, flouting the law by turning the official seat of the United States government into a partisan campaign prop, complete with signs and fireworks bearing his name.