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Appeals court revives challenge to consumer agency

•  Court News     updated  2015/07/27 08:40

A federal appeals court on Friday revived a legal challenge to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal office created to protect consumers in financial dealings with banks, lenders and credit card companies.
 
The federal appeals court in Washington ruled that a Texas bank could challenge the constitutionality of the watchdog agency's powers even though the bank's conduct has not been subject to any enforcement.

A federal district judge had dismissed the lawsuit in 2013 after finding the bank had no legal standing to bring the claims.

The independent agency was created in 2010 by a sweeping law that overhauled financial regulations following the 2008 financial crisis. Wall Street interests and Republicans in Congress fiercely opposed the agency.

The appeals court sent the case back to the lower court to consider the challenges.

Eleven states had joined the lawsuit filed by State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, to argue that Congress delegated too much power to the bureau. They also argue that it should not be headed by just one person and that President Barack Obama illegally appointed the agency's director, Richard Cordray, during a congressional recess. Cordray was later confirmed by the Senate.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court said those arguments could proceed. Judge Brett Kavanaugh said the bank did not have to intentionally violate the law in order to launch a constitutional challenge.

But Kavanaugh said the bank could not challenge the constitutionality of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, created by the financial overhaul law to designate certain financial companies deemed "too big to fail" for additional regulatory oversight.

The court also rejected the bank's challenge to part of the law that allows the Treasury secretary to order liquidation of a failing financial company that poses a risk to the financial stability of the U.S. government.

The government has argued that the bureau's structure and powers are constitutional.


Appeals court revives challenge to consumer age

•  Court News     updated  2015/07/24 16:11

A federal appeals court on Friday revived a legal challenge to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal office created to protect consumers in financial dealings with banks, lenders and credit card companies.

The federal appeals court in Washington ruled that a Texas bank could challenge the constitutionality of the watchdog agency's powers even though the bank's conduct has not been subject to any enforcement.

A federal district judge had dismissed the lawsuit in 2013 after finding the bank had no legal standing to bring the claims.

The independent agency was created in 2010 by a sweeping law that overhauled financial regulations following the 2008 financial crisis. Wall Street interests and Republicans in Congress fiercely opposed the agency.

The appeals court sent the case back to the lower court to consider the challenges.

Eleven states had joined the lawsuit filed by State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, to argue that Congress delegated too much power to the bureau. They also argue that it should not be headed by just one person and that President Barack Obama illegally appointed the agency's director, Richard Cordray, during a congressional recess. Cordray was later confirmed by the Senate.


NY state Sen. Sampson found guilty of obstruction

•  Legal Business     updated  2015/07/23 16:11

A once-powerful New York politician was convicted Friday on charges he lied to the FBI in an attempt to obstruct a corruption investigation targeting him for embezzlement.

A federal jury in Brooklyn reached the verdict after deliberating for about a week at the trial of state Sen. John Sampson.

The Brooklyn Democrat was found guilty of one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements. He was acquitted on six other counts, including witness tampering.

Sampson, 50, who was re-elected last year, was at the center of the latest federal trial resulting from federal prosecutors' campaign against dirty dealing in Albany.

The verdict showed that the jury agreed that the defendant has an "utter disregard for the rule of law and criminal justice system," acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie said outside court.

Defense Attorney Nathaniel Akerman called the mixed verdict a partial victory, and told reporters he would pursue all his appeal options to appeal the convictions "until Mr. Sampson is vindicated."

Also speaking outside court, jury forewoman Kim O'Meally said that jurors decided to clear Sampson on the counts tied to a government cooperator, real estate developer Edul Ahmad. Asked what she thought of the witness, she replied: "He's dirty."

Prosecutors originally charged him with embezzling funds while acting as a court-appointed referee for home foreclosure proceedings in the mid-2000s. They also alleged he persuaded Ahmad to loan him nearly $200,000 to cover up the theft in exchange for political favors.



A Ukrainian filmmaker who has been in a Russian jail for more than a year on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Critics have dismissed Oleh Sentsov's prosecution as revenge for his pro-Ukrainian position in Russia-occupied Crimea. Sentsov, a Crimean native, was a vocal voice against Russia's annexation of Crimea which followed a hastily called referendum in March.

The 39-year-old Sentsov was arrested in Crimea's capital in May 2014 after a pro-Ukrainian rally protesting the annexation.

At the opening of his trial in the southern city of Rostov-on Don on Tuesday, Sentsov pleaded not guilty and insisted the case against him is a fabrication, Russian news agencies reported.

Sentsov's defense team describes Sentsov's arrest in May 2014 as a kidnapping.

Sentsov, who unlike many Crimeans didn't apply for Russian citizenship, was grabbed on the street in Crimea's capital, Simferopol, by Russian security agents and resurfaced days later in custody in Moscow.


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