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Newsletter: Today: The DOJ Wrestles With AT&T

US Department of Justice files civil antitrust lawsuit to block AT&T acquisition by Time Warner, New York, USA - 04 Dec 2008
The U.S. Department of Justice has sued to block AT&T’s proposed $85-billion purchase of Time Warner Inc.
(LANE/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock / LANE/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The first mega-deal to come before the Trump administration is headed for a legal showdown.

TOP STORIES

The DOJ Wrestles With AT&T

The U.S. Department of Justice says AT&T’s proposed $85-billion purchase of Time Warner Inc. would greatly harm American consumers with higher TV bills and fewer choices — and it’s going to court to make its case. But independent legal experts say the lawsuit to block one of the largest media mergers ever in the U.S. looks shaky. For one, a so-called vertical merger such as this hasn’t been stopped by the DOJ for 50 years. For another, there are all those tweets from President Trump bashing Time Warner’s CNN, muddying the waters around the motive. Times columnist Michael Hiltzik thinks the deal should be stopped, but not because of Trump’s rhetoric.

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Amid Harassment Allegations, He’ll Resign — in 10 Months

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, a Democrat from the northeast San Fernando Valley, says he will resign his seat on Sept. 1 after six women told The Times they faced unwanted sexual advances or unwelcome communication from him during his career in state government as a chief of staff, a candidate and a legislator. The women allege the incidents took place after the Assembly Rules Committee had already disciplined him in 2009 after allegations of groping a fellow staffer. Though Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon says he will move to expel Bocanegra if an investigation affirms the allegations, some in Sacramento want him to step down immediately, not 10 months from now.

Et Tu, Charlie Rose?

Amid the growing number of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against prominent men in politics (including a second Al Franken accuser), Hollywood, media and beyond, this one took many by surprise. CBS News and PBS have suspended interviewer Charlie Rose after a Washington Post report that he sexually harassed eight women who worked on his PBS talk show from the 1990s to 2010. Rose has acknowledged and apologized for the behavior, but for the 75-year-old broadcaster, this may end his career.

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Return to Haiti

It’s been seven years since a deadly, devastating earthquake hit Haiti, followed by a cholera epidemic and hurricanes. When Haitians fled the island, the U.S. granted them temporary status that shielded them from deportation. Now, the Trump administration says Haiti has recovered enough to take its citizens back, and it’s giving nearly 60,000 people primarily in Florida and New York 18 months to leave — or hope Congress offers a solution for them to stay. Many have built careers in the U.S. and raised children who are now American citizens.

More Politics

-- National security officials are urging Trump to approve the sale of nearly $50 million worth of U.S. weapons to Ukraine. It’s unclear whether the president, who has been reluctant to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin, will approve the plan.

-- Trump says he is putting North Korea back on the small list of official “state sponsors of terrorism,” a move that could lead to more sanctions.

-- The White House says Trump spoke rhetorically on Twitter and does not regret helping three UCLA players come back to the U.S.

Must-Watch Video: The Actors of the Roundtable

Awards season is usually a time of Hollywood escapism. This year, there’s no escaping the news of the myriad sexual harassment and assault claims going through the industry. So when we gathered some of the top actors in film today — Gary Oldman, Hugh Jackman, James Franco, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jeremy Renner and relative newcomer Timothée Chalamet — earlier this month for our Envelope roundtable series, they talked not only about their craft but also the dark reckoning taking place in Hollywood. Watch clips from their discussion here.

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From left, actors James Franco, Timothee Chalamet, Gary Oldman, Jeremy Renner, Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal take part in the Envelope Roundtable.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times )

CALIFORNIA

-- Lawyers representing more than 450 victims of the Oct. 1 Las Vegas massacre have filed multiple lawsuits in Los Angeles County Superior Court, arguing that hotel and concert officials did not do enough to prevent a shooting that left 58 people dead.

-- The ACLU of Southern California says Anaheim police officers use excessive force at a rate that far outpaces law enforcement agencies in most similar-sized or larger cities.

-- A San Pedro man is accused of threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters in a voicemail filled with racist and anti-gay slurs after he became angered over her criticisms of President Trump.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- HBO said that it plans to continue Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy series despite accusations of sexual misconduct against the hip-hop mogul.

-- Lena Dunham has been accused of “hipster racism” after she initially defended a “Girls” writer facing an allegation of rape.

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-- What does theater critic Charles McNulty think of “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical”? Heaven knows the Queen of Disco deserved better than this.

-- TV critic Lorraine Ali says “Marvel’s Runaways” on Hulu has a sharp premise but needs something more.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

She was a gospel singer for Mahalia Jackson when she was only 13, became the first black woman to guest-host “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and had her own show, “Della,” in 1969-70. But it was for “Touched by an Angel” that Della Reese gained the most fame. Reese, who died at age 86, even performed the wedding ceremony for her co-star, Roma Downey.

NATION-WORLD

-- Union officials say the Border Patrol agent killed in west Texas was ambushed by migrants who beat him in the head with rocks.

-- Nebraska regulators have approved the Keystone XL pipeline after years of fighting, but its future is still uncertain.

-- Zimbabwe’s ruling party expects to start impeachment proceedings against longtime President Robert Mugabe today, after he failed to meet a deadline to step down.

-- Germany faces an uncertain political future after talks on a new coalition government collapsed and Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that she would rather face another election.

BUSINESS

-- Trump is expected to name Mick Mulvaney as interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Columnist David Lazarus says Mulvaney has no background in consumer protection, “unless running a franchised Mexican restaurant in North Carolina is your idea of sticking up for the little guy.”

-- Disneyland has stopped selling annual passes for residents of Southern California, but they may come back someday. (Shades of the McRib?)

SPORTS

-- How NBA rookie Kyle Kuzma found a path to the Lakers from a YMCA basketball court in Flint, Mich.

-- UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is trying to get the football team to a bowl game and prove he’s the right pick for coach.

OPINION

-- Now that Charles Manson is dead, can we finally let the obsession with him die?

-- Trump’s best decision so far: Doubling down on banning elephant trophies.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- The hunt for serial killers via crime records and an algorithm. (The New Yorker)

-- A star New York Times reporter is suspended after sexual harassment allegations. (Vox)

— “One of the troubles with our culture is we do not respect and train the imagination. It needs exercise. It needs practice,” says science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin. (Los Angeles Review of Books)

-- Four moments from LaVar Ball’s interview on CNN about Trump. (Sporting News)

ONLY IN L.A.

Architect Frank Gehry envisioned Walt Disney Concert Hall as a “living room for the city.” For a 12-hour music marathon on Saturday, it became just that — along with a beer garden, food trucks, free ice cream and cool T-shirts. And if that wasn’t enough, the “Noon to Midnight” festival even gave our classical music critic Mark Swed a good workout: a three-mile walk and 28 floors’ worth of stairs.

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