Bishop denies assaulting Bynum

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Just When I thought this was pretty much played out, another wrinkle develops in the melodrama that is the Weeks-Bynum divorce. 

Turns out that Bishop held a press conference today in which he denies beating her.   Amazing.  From what I can tell, he told a boldfaced lie.    This press conference is a naked PR ploy to cloud the issue of domestic violence and play on the sympathies of the weak minded.  You be the judge and read for yourself.

Hat Tip: by John Shriek, 11Alive News

“She said,” last week.
“He said” on Friday afternoon.

Ten days after Evangelist Juanita Bynum proclaimed herself “the face of domestic violence,” her estranged husband, Bishop Thomas Weeks, told reporters he wanted to speak out to try to set straight “the many discrepencies, dramatizations and untruths.” Weeks denied violence toward Bynum, and insisted he walked away from a confrontation with her on August 21, the night he’s accused of assaulting her.

I have always loved my wife and have been nothing but faithful to her,” Weeks said in a statement he read to reporters at his church, Global Destiny Ministries, in Duluth. “I want to be clear in saying I do not condone in any way, shape or form, violence of any kind towards women. My role has always been to operate as a protector and not as an aggressor. I have walked away from many situations between the two of us, just like I walked away that night.”

Weeks did not answer questions from reporters, on the advice of his attorneys, and did not comment further on the criminal assault charges against him.Atlanta police say a hotel bellhop saw Weeks kicking, beating and choking Bynum in the parking lot of the hotel that night, and that the bellhop heard Weeks threatening to kill Bynum as the bellhop pulled Weeks off of Bynum.

“I want to share my heart with the people,” Weeks said Friday, “to inform all that will listen that there are two sides to every story.”

He asked people to keep an open mind while he fights the criminal charges against him.

“I am asking that everyone that has already judged me to take the time to consider other perspectives. I understand that my silence to date has given me the perception of guilt,” but he said he does not believe in speaking publicly about what he considers to be private matters between him and his estranged wife.

Weeks said their current troubles began on June 3, when, he said, Bynum suddenly announced to their congregation that she was quitting the church, the church that she and Weeks had founded together, never to return. “It was the first time I knew she felt this way about our church family,” Weeks said. Bynum has always maintained her own, separate ministry that she founded and led prior to their marriage in 2002.

“The shock to the congregation was the start of many rumors,” Weeks said of Bynums’ surprise announcement.

Two days later, he said, her office sent a fax to his staff, “cancelling a major, international event and noted the reason was due to our marital separation. I was then informed by my staff about the fax. It was the first time that I was made aware of our separation.”

Thenn on June 14th, Weeks said, Bynum’s attorney mailed him a “cease and desist” letter ordering him to stop using Bynum’s name, face image, sound or likeness in anything related to the church.

“We were not legally allowed to mention her name even in prayer,” Weeks said. “Many people were offended by my removal of her image, as it appeared that it was of my own doing…. I did not share her letter from her lawyers to the church family in an effort to cover and protect her from negativity and perceptions, as I have done countless times over the past five years.”

Weeks said he still hoped he and Bynum could work out a reconciliation, and on August 16 he said she showed up at his office saying she, too, wanted to reconcile. “It was that day that I first began to believe that our marriage was moving in a positive direction. It was my understanding that the relationship was salvageable,” Weeks said.

On August 20, he said, “I was with my wife the entire night… and felt that our love for each other was going to get us through these hard times.”

Weeks emphasized that, contrary to earlier statements and reports, the reason he met with his wife on August 21 was not that he was seeking a reconciliation. He thought that their previous night together meant that they were already reconciling.

On August 21, he said, she called him asking to meet with him at a hotel, saying to him that, as he described it Friday, “Juanita Bynum Ministries was in need of our church facility and members’ support in order to raise monies” for one of Bynum’s projects. “She shared her urgency that we meet that night,” Weeks said.

Weeks did not describe, in his statement Friday, his August 21 meeting with Bynum, what led to their confrontation or anything else about it, and he did not discuss the indictment against him. He has pleaded Not Guilty.

“I would like for Juanita to know that I respect but regret her decision for a divorce. My church family is fully aware that I have always supported her in every endeavor. I have never hindered her from pursuiing her ministry vision or personal goals in life…. I want her to know that I am praying God’s best for her.”

Weeks’ divorce attorney, Randy Kessler, told reporters after Weeks read his statement that “he can’t stop the divorce from happening.” Kessler said Weeks just wants it to be settled as soon as possible, in private.

“The Bishop is not interested in money, this is not a case about money,” Kessler said. “We’d like all offers to remain private” as the two negotiate a financial settlement.

“Everybody, all of us, have blemishes, have flaws, that we do not want exposed” in a public courtroom, Kessler said, and Weeks is hoping to settle both the divorce and the criminal charges against him out of court.

There was no pre-nuptual agreement, Kessler said.

“The truth will eventually be known by all,” Weeks said. “In the end, God will always get the glory.”
 

Charges against Mychal Bell overturned in Jena 6 case

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Hat Tip: Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press, USA Today 

NEW ORLEANS — A state appeals court on Friday threw out the only remaining conviction against one of the black teenagers accused in the beating of a white schoolmate in the racially tense north Louisiana town of Jena.

Mychal Bell, 17, should not have been tried as an adult, the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal said in tossing his conviction on aggravated battery, for which he was to have been sentenced Thursday. He could have gotten 15 years in prison.

His conspiracy conviction in the December beating of student Justin Barker was already thrown out by another court.

Bell, who was 16 at the time of the beating, and four others were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder. Those charges brought widespread criticism that blacks were being treated more harshly than whites after racial confrontations and fights at Jena High School.

Bell’s attorney Louis Scott said he didn’t know whether his client, whose bond was set at $90,000, would get out of jail immediately.

“We don’t know what approach the prosecution is going to take — whether they will re-charge him, where he would have to be subjected to bail all over again or not,” Scott said.

Civil rights leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, had been planning a rally in support of the teens for the day Bell was to have been sentenced.

“Although there will not be a court hearing, we still intend to have a major rally for the Jena Six and now hopefully Mychal Bell will join us,” Sharpton said in an e-mailed statement.

Said Jackson: “The pressure must continue until all six boys are set free and sent to school, not to jail.”

Jena, La., is a mostly white town where racial animosity flared about a year ago when a black student sat under a tree that was a traditional gathering place for whites. A day later, three nooses were found hanging from the tree. There followed reports of racial fights at the school, culminating in the December attack on Barker.

The reversal of Bell’s conviction will not affect four other teenagers also charged as adults, because they were 17 years old at the time of the fight and no longer considered juveniles, said attorney George Tucker of Hammond.

Prosecutors have the option of appealing to the state Supreme Court. District Attorney Reed Walters did not return a call Friday.

Judge J.P. Mauffray had thrown out Bell’s conspiracy conviction, saying it was not a charge on which a juvenile may be tried as an adult. But he had let the battery conviction stand, saying Bell could be tried in adult court because the charge was among lesser charges included in the original attempted murder charge.

Teenagers can be tried as adults in Louisiana for some violent crimes, including attempted murder, but aggravated battery is not one of those crimes, the court said.

Defense lawyers had argued that the aggravated battery case should not have been tried in adult court once the attempted murder charge was reduced.

The case “remains exclusively in juvenile court,” the Third Circuit ruled.

Obama snags Oprah and Hillary courts Magic

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Hat Tip: by Michael R. Blood, Associated Press

Hillary Rodham Clinton pursued votes Friday in the city’s historical black heartland with basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson at her side. Less than a week ago, her rival Barack Obama banked $3 million at a fundraiser at Oprah Winfrey’s seaside estate.

For the two leading Democratic presidential contenders, the dueling events just six days apart highlighted the stiff competition for support and dollars within one of the party’s key voter groups — blacks.

Johnson, the former Los Angeles Lakers star whose sprawling business interests range from movie theaters to health clubs, was also holding a fundraiser for Clinton at his Beverly Hills home Friday night. It was expected to be considerably smaller than the lavish event staged by Winfrey for Obama, an Illinois senator, on Sept. 8.

Johnson’s fundraiser was co-hosted by music industry heavyweights Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and Clarence Avant, and scheduled guests included Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Guests at the Obama event included Sidney Poitier, Forest Whitaker and Chris Rock.

The divided loyalties among blacks show “the community just isn’t going to go lockstep behind any candidate, even a black one,” said University of California, Los Angeles, political scientist Franklin D. Gilliam Jr.

When it comes to competing celebrity endorsements, “I don’t know if anybody stands equal with Oprah,” Gilliam said. But Clinton, a New York senator, is not conceding the black vote to Obama and “she can compete for it in a legitimate way.”

On Thursday, the California Legislature’s black caucus endorsed Obama — but one of its eight members is backing Clinton. And independent polls in California suggest the black vote is divided, largely between Clinton and Obama.

Obama, whose late father was Kenyan, gives blacks a chance to put one of their own in the White House for the first time. But Clinton benefits from the strong relationship her husband, former President Bill Clinton, maintained with blacks for years.

“People in the black community love Bill Clinton; she’s seen as comfortable in the community,” Gilliam said. And “there’s concern about Obama being electable, period, because he’s black.”

The rivalry between Obama and Clinton also showcases the clout of black political influence and money.

Obama has predicted that black voter turnout could swell by at least 30 percent if he wins the presidential nomination, giving Democrats victory in Southern states that have been voting Republican for decades.

Asked last month why she would be a better candidate for blacks when Obama was in the race, she cited her years of public service and advocacy, and described herself as the more experienced candidate.

“My attitude is, I don’t deserve anyone’s vote. I have to earn everyone’s vote,” Clinton said.

At an event earlier Friday at a school in a heavily minority neighborhood near the Watts section, Clinton shared a stage with Johnson, Villaraigosa and other local leaders. She told a largely minority crowd including many students and supporters that she would bring a new style of leadership to Washington to take on issues like health care, education and ending the Iraq war.

“When I’m president, there will not be any invisible Americans,” she said.

Several people in the audience said they were comfortable with Clinton, in large part because of her long record in the public eye and efforts in her husband’s administration.

John Bruce, 45, a Democrat from Los Angeles who works in security, said the black community is looking for leaders and Obama “seems to be heading in the right direction.” Bruce, who is black, said race was not an issue in picking a candidate.

He said he remains undecided on 2008 but added, “I’m an all-Clinton Democrat.”

Black community activist “Sweet Alice” Harris, who is backing Clinton, said she worked closely with her during her days in the Clinton White House.

What about Obama?

“I don’t know him, but I know her,” Harris said.

Earlier in the day, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, held a private fundraiser for Clinton at a Mexican restaurant in Lynwood, a Los Angeles suburb.

If he stole it

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OJ SimpsonConfessions of the Killer

The useless waste of space that is O.J. Simpson, is caught up in some unnecessary drama once again.   The champagne corks in the household of Ronald Goldman’s family must be popping and the bubbly flowing generously.  Showing once again that God has a perverse sense of humor, the book “I did it,” which purportedly tells the world how O.J. Simpson murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, debuts today.  Also today, the Associated Press is reporting that O.J. Simpson was questioned and named a suspect in the theft of sports memorabilia in a Las Vegas Hotel. 

He claims to have taken part in a “sting” to reclaim stolen football memorabilia from his salad days as a sports hero and semi-respectable Negro.  I dunno.  And don’t really care.  

I refuse to be caught up in O. J. Simpson’s black hole of B.S. on this one.  I really don’t even wanna discuss it.  I just thought I’d pass it along so that y’all could have a good chuckle.