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Prosecutors offer plea deal to Comet Pizza gunman

Hearing set for Feb. 10

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Comet Ping Pong, gay news, Washington Blade

A gunman fired shots inside Comet pizza in December. (Photo by Elizabeth Murphy; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s office offered a plea bargain on Tuesday to the North Carolina man arrested on Dec. 4 for entering D.C.’s Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant with an assault rifle, claiming he was investigating whether a child sex ring operated there.

During a Jan. 24 status hearing at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Assistant U.S. Attorney Demian Ahn told a federal judge a plea offer had been made to Edgar Maddison Welch, 29, who has been charged with multiple federal and D.C. gun-related offenses in connection with the Comet pizza case.

Ahn did not disclose the terms of the plea offer, and the offer was not entered into the public court records as of late Tuesday.

“The offer was not made public,” William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office, told the Washington Blade

U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson scheduled another status hearing for Feb. 10, when Welch and his Public Defender Service attorney are expected to disclose whether Welch accepts the plea offer. If he does, the terms of the offer will be publicly disclosed.

At a court hearing on Dec. 16, Welch pled not guilty to a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition and D.C. charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.

D.C. police said Welch fired his rifle at least three times inside the restaurant after frightened customers and employees fled the premises when they saw him enter with the rifle strapped to his shoulders.

Police said no one was injured and Welch surrendered to police peacefully after he determined there were no signs that a child sex ring reportedly linked to Hillary Clinton was operating in a hidden room at the restaurant. Welch told police he became convinced such a ring was exploiting children at the restaurant after reading what authorities say were fake “news” stories posted online.

Comet Ping Pong, which is owned by gay businessman James Alefantis, became the target of harassing phone calls, including death threats, after the fake stories linking it to a pedophile ring were posted on social media outlets and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Brown said Welch, who has been held in jail since the time of his arrest, will remain in jail until at least the time of his trial.

Edgar Maddison Welch, Comet Ping Pong, gay news, Washington Blade

Edgar Maddison Welch (Photo via Facebook)

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Kurt

    January 26, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    What you just read is fake news. The guy is an actor from NC. Played a gunman in one movie. This was a stunt to throw off those investigating what has been exposed starting with the Wikileaks of John Podesta’s emails. He was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. There is a LOT of disturbing stuff surrounding this, things they don’t want to you know, or to investigate. Don’t be a sheep. Start, but by no means stop, with this CBS report: https://youtu.be/-GZFHLAcG8A Use it as a starting point only The more you dig the worse it gets. Also tied to this is the ritual Spirit Cooking. Dive into #PizzaGate on Twitter. I understand there is more news to come out soon.

    • John Kelley

      January 27, 2017 at 2:39 am

      You need to see a doctor.

      • Kurt

        January 27, 2017 at 5:47 pm

        Enjoy your blissful ignorance.

      • Brad Raiche

        February 4, 2017 at 10:20 pm

        Get back to the herd.

      • ThePuppetShow

        February 7, 2017 at 5:30 pm

        LOL Brace yourself cupcake, your world is about to change drastically.

    • Sean Geissler

      February 2, 2017 at 1:56 am

      Kurt, thanks I follow pizzagate a bit but had not yet learned of this fellows background. Interesting stuff.

    • Brad Raiche

      February 4, 2017 at 10:40 pm

      I totally agree.

      I make no conclusions other than there is SOMETHING more than NOTHING to the massive body of hard, albeit much of it circumstantial, evidence.

      Ben Swann put out a purely factual presentation of SOME of the facts on his mainstream media program, and look what happened to him. ALL of his social media have gone dark; his personal website has gone dark; and he has declared that his documentary on an unrelated matter has been suspended. Clearly the powers that be are terrified on ANY sunlight that is shined on the whole so-called Pizzagate issue.

      The Truth, I believe, is that Pizzagate is but a tiny tip of one iceberg in a sea of icebergs.

      Check into George Webb’s work. There are dozens of us investigating and documenting hard evidence that deals with child abduction and pedophilia, human trafficking and organ harvesting, extortion, illicit arms distribution, CIA operations, regime change, and much more. It’s a huge effort performed openly, methodically and honestly. We want the Truth, the real Truth.

      I am no conspiracy nut. This is some seriously scary stuff. I wish it were “fake news,” but I know enough empirical facts already to know that there is a lot of honestly real things going on. Most wish to remain ignorant while believing that things are as they seem; sometimes I wish I hadn’t red pilled, because like you said: ignorance is bliss.

      • Les Deplorables for Trump

        February 7, 2017 at 6:26 pm

        small correction: hard evidence is the opposite of circumstantial evidence.

        also, Ben Swann notified people he would be disappearing and told people to trust him.

        given how many pizzagate reports have been deleted all over the internet, and what we are seeing this week with the arrests, it looks like there already HAVE been ongoing investigations.

        we are about to see the chit truly hit the fan with DC arrests this week.

      • Howell Cobb

        February 8, 2017 at 12:04 am

        That’s why the Sessions confirmation hearings are being dragged-out.

    • WE

      February 7, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Absolutely fake, notice the very first thing the fbi did was obtain an order to have Welch’s cell phone records sealed by the court.

      So everyone can’t see who he was calling in the fbi setting this up.

    • Desertwhale

      February 7, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      They can’t hide. PEDOSTA is going down when sessions is confirmed.

      • Howell Cobb

        February 8, 2017 at 12:05 am

        Pedosta was involved with Denny Hastert.

    • Jackie Owens

      February 7, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      BTW Ben Swann has disappeared

      • Kurt

        February 7, 2017 at 7:40 pm

        Yeah I see that. Silenced. Hope he’s ok. The truth will come out, despite garbage media trying to push it down.

  2. Lophatt

    February 7, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Of course he is. Acting jobs have been a little scarce lately with the temporary reduction in false flags and hoaxes.

  3. MISSLADYPANTS

    February 7, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Fake news!!!!

  4. SuperRPfan .

    February 7, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Anyone check the visitors logs at the white house?

  5. Holly

    February 7, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    he is an actor. offered a plea bargain. total setup. pizzagate is real. look out sessions is coming for you in t-20 hours. we’ve got your EEEEE mails.

  6. Jack Lee

    February 7, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Drop all charges. That’s the only deal he should take!

  7. Ev1L

    February 7, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    we arent falling for the false flag nonsense,notice how NO ONE on the left went all anti-gun after this event as they do with 99% of them?it was in the news cycle just long enough to try and discredit/smear ANYONE looking into #pizzagate

    WE will NEVER give up…WE WILL get justice for ANY & ALL abused children

    • Mr Lizard

      February 7, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Ya good point. This dude is the perfect looking whitesupremacistgunmanbitterclinger and all we heard was cuzFakenews.

    • Howell Cobb

      February 8, 2017 at 12:06 am

      They weren’t paid to show up & burn things. And, Madonna wasn’t available.

  8. Hydrium

    February 7, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    This is utterly fake bullshit news.

  9. Cof5

    February 7, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    You’d think a gay reporter would have more concern for boys getting raped.

  10. LOLGovernment

    February 7, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Pizzagate is real!

  11. GTKRWN

    February 8, 2017 at 12:50 am

    This can’t be real, but it’s also on the Washington Post. Clinton leaves Haiti, massive child prostitution ring uncovered just days later. Massive child prostitution bust in California that the (((media))) still hasn’t said a peep about. Now this?

    Dude must have found an entire basement full of chained and gagged little boys, with a Jewish senator balls-deep in one of them. It’s the only way you get to “plea” out of something like this.

  12. SSpeedracer

    February 8, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Edgar Maddison Welch ran over a child several months ago. Rather than prosecute him, they made him a deal to be patsy as Comet Pizza deranged shooter. Chibbaro is protecting pedophiles. Any real journalist including you could easily search the above on the internet. Its everywhere if you look deep enough.

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Comings & Goings

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Troy Cline, gay news, Washington Blade
The 'Comings & Goings' column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Shin Inouye, gay news, Washington Blade
Steven McCarty

Congratulations to Steven McCarty on being named president of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. He said, “I’m honored to be installed as the president of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. and to be able to shepherd our programs and volunteers to impact youth where they are needed most. Our club’s new partnership with SMYAL has already turned a portion of their Youth Center in Southeast D.C. into the first Clinical Services Department in the District that offers free and affirming mental healthcare to LGBTQ Youth. As an openly gay man, I’m proud to further our club’s mission with radical empathy and inclusion.” McCarty has also recently been awarded Kiwanis’ highest honor, the George Hixson award.

McCarty is a Technical Program Specialist at stac labs in D.C. He is also founder and campaign manager at Abolish Racism 2020. He worked as a Senior Customer Success Manager,  Crowdskout. He was a workplace equality intern at Human Rights Campaign and a summer fellow at Michigan State AFL-CIO, in Lansing, Mich. 

McCarty earned his bachelor’s in Political Science and Communications Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Congratulations also to Shin Inouye on his appointment as Executive Vice President of Communications, The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Human Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund. 

Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference and The Education Fund said, “We are thrilled Shin Inouye will be taking on even greater responsibilities on our senior leadership team. His incredible talent and commitment to this organization and our work are truly outstanding, and his strategic leadership will no doubt continue moving us forward in the fight to protect and advance civil and human rights.”

Inouye has held a number of positions with the organization including Managing Director of Communications. Inouye also held a number of high-level positions in the Obama administration, including Press Secretary and Acting Senior Adviser for Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Adviser for Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Executive Office of the President; White House Office of Communications: Director of Specialty Media; and served as an authorized spokesperson for the Obama Inaugural Committee, with a focus on specialty media outlets, including LGBTQ, AAPI, Native American, Youth/College, Faith, and Jewish press. Prior to that Inouye was Communications Director in the Office of Congressman Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and has also worked for the ACLU and as a summer intern with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. 

Inouye received a number of honors including being named One of 25 “LGBTI next generation leaders to watch” by Out in National Security and the Atlantic Council; and One of “40 Asian American Pacific Islander National Security & Foreign Policy Next Generation Leaders” by New America and the Diversity in National Security Network.

Shin Inouye
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Youngkin reiterates opposition to marriage equality

Va. gubernatorial candidate says issue ‘legally acceptable’ in state

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(Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Glenn Youngkin in an interview with the Associated Press has reiterated his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Youngkin—a Republican who is running against Democrat Terry McAuliffe to succeed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam—said in an interview published on Friday that he feels “called to love everyone.” Youngkin then reiterated his opposition to marriage equality before he added it is “legally acceptable” in the state.

“I, as governor, will support that,” Youngkin told the AP.

McAuliffe was Virginia’s governor from 2014-2018.

Same-sex couples began to legally marry in Virginia a few months after McAuliffe took office.

McAuliffe in 2014 became the first governor of a Southern state to officiate a same-sex wedding. The lesbian couple who McAuliffe married recently appeared in one of his campaign ads.

McAuliffe on Friday criticized Youngkin. “As governor, I worked my heart out to keep Virginia open and welcoming to all,” said McAuliffe in a tweet. “This type of bigotry and intolerance has no place in our commonwealth.”

The anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has categorized as an extremist group, earlier this month endorsed Youngkin, but Log Cabin Republicans are among the groups that have backed his campaign. The Human Rights Campaign in 2019 named Youngkin’s former company, the Carlyle Group, as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” in its annual Corporate Equality Index.

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D.C. school board calls for LGBTQ-inclusive teaching standards

Sweeping resolution proposing content in curricula approved unanimously

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Gay State Board of Education member Allister Chang.

The D.C. State Board of Education voted unanimously on Oct. 20 to approve a resolution calling for LGBTQ+ Inclusive Education Standards for the city’s public schools that “reflect on the political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific contributions and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”

The two-page resolution, which was introduced by gay State Board of Education member Allister Chang, who represents Ward 2, cites national research showing that students who have access to LGBTQ+ curricula in their schools “are more likely to report lower frequency of bullying, lower levels of depression, more accepting peers, and greater feelings of safety in school.”

The resolution states that research also shows that multicultural education, including the teaching of LGBTQ topics, “helps prevent the formation of bias and prejudice and creates more democratic communities.”

LGBTQ rights advocates have long considered the local D.C. government through its mayor and City Council to be highly supportive of the LGBTQ community. But Chang and other supporters of the resolution approved by the board Wednesday night say their research shows that D.C. public schools, while supportive of LGBTQ students, are far behind the school systems in several other states in the inclusion of LGBTQ topics in school curricula.

As an example, supporters of the resolution point out that curriculum standards for social studies classes in the D.C. school system include only one mention of LGBTQ people in a teaching section related to victims of the Holocaust.   

Unlike most other cities and states, under current D.C. law, the school system is controlled by the mayor through the D.C. Department of Education, which is headed by a Deputy Mayor for Education and who, in turn and in consultation with the mayor, appoints a State Superintendent of Education who oversees the day-to-day operations of the schools.

Under a change in the education statute approved by the D.C. Council and signed by then-Mayor Adrian Fenty in 2007, the school board, which was renamed the State Board of Education, became a mostly advisory body on education matters with some statutory authority to approve education standards on which school curricula are based.

Thus, the resolution approved by the board on Wednesday “advises” and “recommends” that the State Superintendent of Education develop school curricula, guidance for teachers, and school-based leaders and staff “in providing LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons and practices in their classrooms.”

The resolution concludes by recommending that the State Superintendent of Education conduct a survey of students within two years after the Oct. 20 adoption of the resolution “to establish baseline data and to gain an understanding of the current experiences of LGBTQ+ students across the district and what all students know and understand about the contributions and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the relevant subject areas.”

Chang and other members of the State Board of Education noted at the Oct. 20 meeting, which was virtual, that Will Beckerman, who graduated this year from D.C.’s School Without Walls High School, played an important role in conducting the research used to prepare the LGBTQ standards resolution and helped in the drafting of the resolution.

Chang noted that much of the background information used to draft the resolution came from Beckerman’s senior year school research paper and advocacy project that focuses on the topic of LGBTQ-inclusive education.

In comments supporting the resolution, Chang also spoke about how the very limited LGBTQ content he encountered during his high school days helped him accept himself as a gay youth.

“As a student myself, I don’t remember a single mention of any LGBTQ people in any of my classwork until I read Thomas Mann in my senior year in high school,” Chang said. “And in Death in Venice, this Nobel Prize winner touches upon his struggles with homosexuality but never actually names it explicitly,” Chang told fellow board members.

“And I remember holding on to this novella despite the self-hatred that’s woven throughout this story because it was the first time that I saw this aspect of my identity reflected in my class work,” he said. “My hope – and I think this hope comes true with this resolution tonight – is that future generations of LGBTQ students have more opportunities to see themselves reflected in their class work and to feel less isolated by their class work than I did growing up.”

It couldn’t immediately be determined whether D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will endorse the school system changes proposed by the resolution approved by the State Board of Education.

The full text of the resolution follows:

State Board of Education Resolution

On LGBTQ+ Inclusive Education Standards

SR21-7

WHEREAS, the 2019 District of Columbia Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual students make up 15.9 percent of high school students in the District and transgender students make up1.9 percent of District high school students;

WHEREAS, in the District, these students, in comparison to their heterosexual peers, experience double the rate of bullying on school property, report higher rates of being removed from class for disciplinary reasons, and are more than twice as likely to experience suicidal ideation;

WHEREAS, national data shows that lesbian, gay, and bisexual students are significantly more likely to receive grades of D or F than their heterosexual peers and were more likely to be truant;

WHEREAS, consistent research suggests that students with LGBTQ+ inclusive curricula in their schools are more likely to report lower frequency of bullying, lower levels of depression, more accepting peers, and greater feelings of safety in school—and this safety leads students to report higher attendance, higher GPAs, a greater sense of belonging in the school community, and higher educational aspirations;

WHEREAS, research shows that multicultural education helps prevent the formation of bias and prejudice and creates more democratic communities ; 

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education recognizes the need to have revised social studies standards that create “windows and mirrors” so students see themselves and people like them reflected in the content of standards and curriculum, as well as having the opportunity to learn about diverse people, cultures, places, and experiences unlike themselves—explicitly noting that the current standards emphasize the lives of presidents and other figures who held/hold power and under-represent or lack representation of people and groups like those identifying as LGBTQ+, and their respective histories;

WHEREAS, in the State Board of Education’s review and revision of the social studies standards, the State Board called upon the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to “seek standards writers who reflect the demographics and experiences of District students and of the communities they are writing about” sharing a list of examples that included writers identifying as LGBTQ+;

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education is committed to ensuring students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be engaged global citizens in a diverse democratic society; and,

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education has a commitment to promote equity, introduce policies to reduce disparities between students, and create safe school environments for all students.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT, upon the next revision of any District of Columbia state education standards, the State Board of Education should adapt standards, when appropriate, that reflect on the political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific contributions and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education advises the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to provide guidance to teachers and school-based leaders and staff on creating inclusive lessons in science and English language arts (ELA) classes that align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core ELA standards, respectively;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education recommends that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) implement professional development for teachers and school-based leaders and staff to aid them in providing LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons and practices in their classrooms, such that that the professional development includes: workshops for local education agencies (LEAs) and teachers to draft curriculum related to LGBTQ+ topics in their subject areas, lessons on use of inclusive language in the classroom, lessons on ensuring LGBTQ+ students’ safety and confidentiality while maintaining respect for their name and pronouns, and mandatory diversity training related to the LGBTQ+ community; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education recommends that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) survey students within two (2) years of adoption of this resolution to establish baseline date and to gain an understanding of the current experiences of LGBTQ+ students across the district and what all students know and understand about the contributions and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the relevant subject areas.

https://osse.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/osse/publication/attachments/2019%20DC%20YRBS%20Report.pdf

Brikett, Michelle et al. “Sexual-orientation disparities in school: the meditational role of indicators of victimization in achievement and truancy because of feeling unsafe.” American Journal of Public Health vol. 104, 6 (2014): 1124-8. doi: 10.2105/AJHP.2013.301785

Kosciw, Joseph G., et al. “The 2019 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth in Our Nation’s Schools.” GLSEN, GLSEN, 2020, glsen.org.

Camicia, Steven P. Critical Democratic Education and LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum: Opportunities and Constraints. Routledge Focus, 2016.

Camicia, Steven P. “Prejudice Reduction through Multicultural Education: Connecting Multiple Literatures.” Social Studies Research and Practice, vol. 2, no. 2, 2007, pp. 219–227.

socstrpr.org/files/Vol%25202/Issue%25202%2520-%2520Summer%25202007/Action%2520Research/2.2.6.pdf

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