By Jake Kaplan

Here are some of the legal news stories making headlines this week:

The House of Representatives voted to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigation into the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. 

  • On Tuesday, the House voted 222-208, with only two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), joining the entire Democratic caucus to hold Meadows in contempt. Earlier in the week, the committee unanimously voted to cite Meadows for contempt. The House vote also initiates a referral to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.
  • At a committee hearing, Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chair Cheney refuted Meadows’s executive privilege defenses and explained that the committee gave Meadows numerous opportunities to cooperate. Preet and Joyce discussed Meadows’s efforts to avoid complying with the subpoena on this week’s episode of CAFE Insider.
  • According to Thompson, “What’s especially jarring about the referral…is that Mr. Meadows was a member of [Congress] for more than seven years…Whatever legacy he thought he left in the House, this is his legacy now.”
  • Meadows becomes the second Trump administration official to be held in contempt for defying a subpoena from the committee. The House voted to hold former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in contempt in October. About three weeks later, DOJ indicted Bannon on two charges of contempt of Congress. DOJ officials will now need to decide whether to charge Meadows.

On Wednesday, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pled guilty to federal civil rights charges for murdering George Floyd. 

  • In May, a federal grand jury indicted Chauvin on two counts of depriving George Floyd of his rights “to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer” and “to be free from a police officer’s deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.”
  • DOJ brought the federal charges against Chauvin after a Minnesota jury convicted Chauvin of murdering Floyd in April. In June, A Minneapolis judge sentenced Chauvin to 22.5 years in state prison.
  • According to the plea agreement, federal prosecutors will seek a 25-year prison sentence. The sentence will run concurrently with Chauvin’s state sentence, and would extend his current sentence by two-and-a-half years. Chauvin will serve his time in federal prison.
  • As part of the plea, Chauvin “admitted that his willful use of unreasonable force resulted in Mr. Floyd’s bodily injury and death.”

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