Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at

Articles by Catherine

Virginia ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday morning on 11 public corruption convictions for which prosecutors are seeking at least 10 years of jail time.

The governor's fall from grace has been excruciating. A six-week trial that culminated in McDonnell's conviction in early September revealed an apparently broken marriage and dredged up unflattering details of former first lady Maureen McDonnell's mental health. The defense tried to leverage both revelations to prove McDonnell couldn't have conspired with his wife to trade the prestige of the governor's office for more than $165,000 in loans and luxurious gifts from a Virginia businessman.

McDonnell's lawyers previously indicated they would appeal the convictions. In the meantime, the former governor's defense team amassed nearly 450 letters of support from family members, political figures and friends asking U.S. District Judge James Spencer for leniency in sentencing.

Here are some of the more high-profile figures to go to bat for the convicted ex-governor.

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Diners at several popular restaurants in New York City and Oakland got a surprise serving of social justice with their eggs and toast on Sunday morning.

Protesters filed into the eateries during busy brunch hours to recite the names of black people killed by police. About three dozen people participated in the peaceful so-called "#BlackBrunch" protests in New York, according to Yahoo News. Another three dozen demonstrated in Oakland, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) admitted this week that he spoke 12 years ago to a meeting of a white nationalist group founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

However, the Louisiana Republican was adamant in a Monday interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper that he had no knowledge of the group's hateful views when he spoke at its 2002 convention. An adviser to Duke said he personally invited Scalise to speak at the meeting. The adviser, Kenny Knight, insisted the congressman had not been not aware of the nature of Duke's group, the European-American Unity and Rights Organization.

Yet Duke was already notorious in Louisiana politics for mounting several unsuccessful bids for state office from the late 1970s to the 1990s. (He did pull off a runoff election victory for a state House seat in 1989).

Duke's nativist and anti-Semitic views were common knowledge nationwide before the 2002 EURO convention as well, which raises questions about how Scalise could have been ignorant about the kind of audience he was speaking to at the time.

As editor Erick Erickson wrote on Monday: "By 2002, everybody knew Duke was still the man he had claimed not to be. EVERYBODY."

Here's a sampling of the things that were widely known about Duke and his group at the time of the conference:

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