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Legal News Roundup: December 23

Here’s a roundup of recent legal stories in the news.

Pardons from President Trump

NBC News – President Donald Trump pardoned former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos on Tuesday, along with over a dozen other people, including several former congressmen.

The White House said that Trump was granting full pardons to 15 people and commuting parts or all of the sentences of five others.

Among those granted clemency were Republican former Representatives Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York and four ex-Blackwater contractors convicted in the killings of Iraqi civilians.

Read the full story.

DOJ Sues Walmart over Opioid Crisis

CNN – The Justice Department is suing Walmart, accusing the retailer of contributing to the prescription opioid crisis by filling thousands of invalid prescriptions and failing to report suspicious orders of opioids.

The complaint alleges that Walmart violated the Controlled Substances Act both as an operator of its pharmacies and of its wholesale drug distribution centers. The penalties the government is seeking could total billions of dollars.

In its response, Walmart criticized the Justice Department for subscribing to “a legal theory that unlawfully forces pharmacists to come between patients and their doctors.”

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Driving on Outer Edge Line is OK

Court News Ohio – An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper incorrectly charged a motorist with a traffic violation for driving on—but not over—the single solid white line on the right edge of a state highway, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled.

The 5-2 decision found that the trooper was wrong to pull over and charge Ryan Turner for committing a marked-lanes violation on Old State Route 74 in Clermont County in 2018. The stop led to a charge of operating a vehicle under the influence.

The Supreme Court’s decision reversed a split ruling by the Twelfth District Court of Appeals, which found the trooper was justified in making the stop because a vehicle is required to stay within the lines of a highway lane.

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Ohio judge blocks collection of House Bill 6 nuclear bailout fee

cleveland.com – A Franklin County judge blocked the collection and distribution of the House Bill 6 (HB 6) nuclear bailout fee, which Ohio ratepayers were scheduled to start paying next month.

The ruling comes as state lawmakers decide on what—if anything—to do about the $1 billion-plus nuclear bailout in HB 6, the law that ex-House Speaker Larry Householder allegedly pushed through using the largest bribery scheme in Ohio history.

Judge Chris Brown stated, “To not impose an injunction … would give the OK that bribery is allowed in the state of Ohio and that, you know, any ill-gotten gains can be received. All you’ve got to do is find the right legislator, find the right speaker of the House.”

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