Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Rep. Jeff Duncan quiet on Roy Moore endorsement despite calling for Conyers' resignation

Duncan praised Moore as "a man of high principle and steadfast character"

Posted by Sam Spence on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 4:57 PM

Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-3) is the only public official from S.C. listed as a Roy Moore endorser - GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Gage Skidmore
  • Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-3) is the only public official from S.C. listed as a Roy Moore endorser
Congressman Jeff Duncan endorsed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore on October 31, calling him "a man of high principle and steadfast character." Since then at least nine women have accused Moore of making unwanted physical advances on them when they were as young as 14 years old.

Republicans in South Carolina and across the country have withdrawn support for Moore since initial reports by the Washington Post, including four of the five incumbent senators listed in the press release noting the 3rd District congressman's endorsement. Moore is accused of initiating unwanted sexual contact including groping and forcibly kissing underage teen girls and young women.

U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott have both taken steps to distance themselves from Moore even though they never actually endorsed him. Duncan, however, is the state's only elected politician found as an official endorser on and has remained silent on his support since the allegations were reported nine days after he signed on with the Moore campaign.

But last week, the congressman did say that he thought his colleague, Democratic Rep. John Conyers should resign over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Political figures accused of sexual misconduct in recent weeks have not been met with the same swift and universal condemnation as men outside the halls of power.

President Donald Trump, himself accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, has renewed his support for Moore and has reportedly confided that he believes reports of what could amount to child sexual assault were fabricated. Trump previously assailed media figures like Matt Lauer on Twitter for their reported sexual advances.

Steve Bannon, the Bretibart executive credited with helping Trump ignore criticism after the Access Hollywood tape, is also standing by Moore despite nearly a dozen accusers. (Trump has reportedly also told people he thinks the Access Hollywood tape is fake.)

In Congress, Democratic and Republican leaders dragged their feet for days before taking a position on Moore, Conyers, and others. Today, a group of female Democrats in the Senate calling for Sen. Al Franken to step down will likely trigger his resignation tomorrow, weeks after allegations first surfaced. Duncan's rebuke of Conyers came around the same time Democratic leaders decided to take a stand.

Conyers resigned this week amid questions by Congressional Black Caucus colleagues as to why pressure centered on him and not other lawmakers in similar circumstances.

Multiple requests for comment on Duncan's endorsement have gone unanswered over the past week.

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Walter Scott's son reads impact statement at sentencing of police officer who killed his father

"He murdered my one and only father"

Posted by Adam Manno on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 2:42 PM

Lead defense attorney Andy Savage and former North Charleston officer Michael Slager in May 2017 - GRACE BEAHM/POST AND COURIER
  • Grace Beahm/Post and Courier
  • Lead defense attorney Andy Savage and former North Charleston officer Michael Slager in May 2017

Sentencing hearings for former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager reached an emotional peak Wednesday afternoon as Walter Scott's son listed the ways his life changed following his father's death in 2015.

"As life goes on, my father will never see me play high school football, graduate from high school, graduate from college," said Miles Scott as he held back tears. "I will no longer see my dad at cookouts, family reunions ... watching him sing, or seeing him in person. My heart is destroyed because the way my father went was rough, and you only get one father, not two."

Scott then urged Judge David Norton to give Slager the strongest possible sentence.

"I would like (for you) to sentence the defendant to the strongest sentence the law will allow because he murdered my one and only father," Scott said.

Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott for a broken brake light in April 2015. Scott fled the scene, afraid because he owed child support payments according to his family. He was shot in the back five times as he ran away. A bystander caught the shooting on video.

This week's sentencing hearings are a chance for Judge Norton to decide the basis for Slager's punishment: second-degree murder, as the federal prosecution is arguing, or manslaughter, as posited by the defense.

The day began with a cross-examination of defense witness and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Charles Morgan. Morgan said Tuesday that his analysis of Slager showed a non-impulsive person who was "high in what we call conscientiousness."

The defense is arguing that Scott grabbed Slager’s stun gun and had an altercation with him on the ground, which cannot be clearly seen in the bystander's video. On Tuesday, audio and video experts claimed that a ground struggle could be seen and heard with professional enhancements.

Dr. Morgan wrote in a report after meeting with Slager that the former officer did not remember Scott being on top of him. Morgan said that Slager told him his torn-up uniform led him to believe he had been "Tasered." Morgan also testified that Slager's varying accounts may be the result of being involved in a high-stress situation.

The defense said that North Charleston's homicide rates have gone up following the possible chilling effect of Slager's 2016 state murder charges. The Post & Courier reported in October that 2017 has been the deadliest year on record for the city.

Retired North Charleston officer Wade Humphries, a former indirect supervisor of Michael Slager, called Slager his "go-to" man in the department and said that Slager was following his training when shooting at the suspect "until the threat cease[d]."

When Judge Norton asked Humphries whether he believed Scott's killing constituted a "righteous shooting," Humphries simply replied, "No."

The prosecution rested its case Tuesday morning.

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