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The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 15th January 2018

The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 15th January 2018

Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week.

Steve Bannon 'ordered to testify to grand jury' in Russian-US Investigation

Reported by Nathan Gore

Trump’s former chief strategist and adviser, Steve Bannon, has been called by the Mueller investigation to testify under oath. This news has been reported widely throughout US media. This investigation, led by Robert S. Mueller, is into possible Russian influence and collusion in the 2016 US Presidential election.

Bannon has already appeared (on Tuesday) before a congressional panel, who are holding their own inquiry into the allegations. This hearing will be different, however, as it is a ‘grand jury’ hearing. In a ‘grand jury’ hearing, instead of determining guilt, which is a trial jury’s job, grand juries merely examine the evidence submitted by the prosecutor.

Why is he doing this? As Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington put it: “Putting witnesses in the glare of the courtroom spotlight, in front of a panel of jurors, with every word noted and every answer compelled, can be quite revelatory.” The Mueller investigative team may also possess information that Bannon may not yet be aware of, and may want to see how he reacts to it, in this setting.

This comes just a few days after Micheal Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury” was published, with its explosive claims, interviews and testimonies. In this book, Bannon was quoted as calling a meeting in June 2016 between Mr Trump’s son Donald Jr and a group of Russians “treasonous”.

This is all part of the widening investigation into the possibility of Russian collusion into the Republican candidate’s 2016 victory. US Intelligence agencies such as the CIA and NSA have lately concluded that the likelihood of Russian involvement was “highly likely”. President Trump has repeatedly poured scorn so far on any conclusions pointing towards collusion. He declared it the “the greatest political witch hunt in history”.

Read more on the BBC here, and in the New York Times here.

Hogan Lovells

Reported by Jutha Cheewat

City law firm accused of involvement with South Africa scandal

Peter Hain, a former labour minister, has told the House of Lords that he has reported the City law firm Hogan Lovells to the Solicitors Regulation Authority over the firm’s report on money laundering at a South African tax agency which is run by the Gupta brothers.

He said that the flawed report produced by the firm made them “complicit in undermining South Africa’s once-revered tax-collection agency, and thereby effectively underpinning President Jacob Zuma and his business associates, the Gupta brothers and others, in perverting South Africa’s democracy, damaging its economy and robbing its taxpayers”.

This report is, according to Hain, a “fatally flawed whitewash”. Hain focuses on the investigation into allegations of corruption against the SARS (South African Revenue Service) deputy commissioner, Jonas Makwakwa, who had allegedly taken around £100,000 and denied any wrongdoing.

This means that the global firms will be caught up in this political scandal amongst other British companies already involved.

Hogan Lovells has responded to this and stated that “If Lord Hain does have evidence of corruption, then that should be reported to the appropriate authorities in South Africa. We look forward to working closely with the SRA on any complaint that Lord Hain might have made to them.”

Read more here.

Brexit

Reported by Anna Flaherty

An Update on Brexit

Brexit talks have been put in danger as the EU demands certain rights for their citizens who come to live in Britain. EU governments have demanded that citizens who come to the UK after Brexit be allowed to remain in the country indefinitely. This threatens to derail all previous deals, as before this move it was agreed that that only EU citizens already living in the UK at the time of Brexit would be allowed to stay indefinitely. Sources report that the UK’s stance has not changed, insisting that only EU workers will be covered.

Donald Tusk – president of the European Council – appealed to the UK to have a second referendum, in light of these resurfacing issues. If not a referendum, he said that at the very least the House of Commons should take a vote on the final Brexit deal. He went as far as quoting a previous speech by David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, where he previously said that “if a democracy cannot change its mind it ceases to be a democracy”. Although the motive of these words was to encourage the reversal of EU decisions after an initial vote, they can equally be applied to the current political issue of the Brexit deal.

Tory rebels, not wishing to create further unrest within the party, have said that it is up to the House of Lords to demand amendments of the Brexit bill. Former attorney-general Dominic Grieve said:

“I do not think the bill is going to go through the upper house without this issue [whether or not Britain should incorporate the EU charter of fundamental rights into UK law after Brexit] being considered,” he said. “I would very much hope they will look at the government’s amendment and decide it might be capable of development.”

Although Britain leaves the EU on the 29th March 2018, there will till be a transition period after this date, which will extend no later than the 31st December 2020. The terms of this transition are to be negotiated next month, demonstrating how uncertain the near future it, let alone the distant future for the UK.

For more information, see The Times, here and here.

Criminal

Reported by Paige Waters

Two men charged with murder of 25 year old model

George Koh, 24 and Jonathan Okigbo, 23, both from North London have been charged of murder of a 25 year old man in west London last Thursday.

The victim has not been officially identified, however, he has been identified in reports as Harry Uzoka. He was described as a “wonderful model but even more so a good person and a pleasure to work with” by one of the companies he modelled for.

When Koh and Okigbo appeared in Westminster magistrates court on Tuesday, the pair did not speak yet when confirming their names, date of births and addresses. They have been charged with murder, yet Koh has been additionally charged with possession of an offensive weapon.

Uzoka was signed by a Premier Model Management which helped launch the career of Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer among others.

The police commented on the matter stating Uzoka was found injured in Shepherds Bush at about 4pm on 11th January.

Read more here.

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