Preet Bharara Details Impeachment 'Nightmare Scenario' at L.A. Tech Summit

Tami Abdollah

Tami Abdollah was dot.LA's senior technology reporter. She was previously a national security and cybersecurity reporter for The Associated Press in Washington, D.C. She's been a reporter for the AP in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times and for L.A.'s NPR affiliate KPCC. Abdollah spent nearly a year in Iraq as a U.S. government contractor. A native Angeleno, she's traveled the world on $5 a day, taught trad climbing safety classes and is an avid mountaineer. Follow her on Twitter.

Preet Bharara Details Impeachment 'Nightmare Scenario' at L.A. Tech Summit
Courtesy AirCam

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, walked into the Upfront Summit tent in the middle of sunny and bright Pasadena Thursday morning and brought a hush over the crowd as he spoke passionately against President Donald Trump, urging the audience to go out and vote him out of office.

"I've come to a conclusion that whatever your specific issue you care about, for your family and the world is, the No. 1 way to get there in nine months is to have a different president," Bharara said." So don't forget the forest for the trees, think about that in November."


Bharara was fired by Trump months into his term after he refused to step down when then-Attorney General asked him to. He's since become an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and hosts his own podcast and appears regularly on cable news.

At turns puzzled and other times openly dismayed and dejected by the state of current affairs, Bharara said the impeachment trial has been marked by softball questions and the strange lack of witnesses and documents.

He said Republican members of Congress appear intimidated by ramifications of being challenged politically in the upcoming elections should they do anything against Trump, like allow John Bolton to testify, because "how can you prefer this guy to Mike Pence if you're a Republican?" Bharara said he believes U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice would rather abstain from getting involved in the political fighting over witnesses than take an aggressive stand or even a peripheral role.

"The person I feel most bad for, other than all of America," Bharara said to laugher, "is John Roberts, who cannot be happy sitting up there, he prides himself on not getting into politics and preserving institutional activity. He doesn't want to put his thumb on the scale in one way or the other, so my guess is he'll just abstain."

Plus, should Roberts allow for witnesses, for example, Senate rules allow for him to be overruled "and that's a terrible look for the Chief Justice."

Bharara weighed in on Bolton, noting that the White House appears to be "effing with him" by telling him his book violates the law and hurts sources and methods because of its classified material. The government is the arbiter of what's classified, and "the reason you know it's B.S. is that the manuscript is sitting unsecured somewhere on some NatSec officer's desk."

For Bharara, the "nightmare scenario" is that Trump has been allowed to get away with the stuff revealed in the Mueller investigation, and what's revealed in the impeachment trial, and that by continuing to escape accountability he commits "worse things in the future and gets away with it."

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tami@dot.la

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom Vetoes California ‘BitLicense’ Bill To Regulate Crypto Exchanges

Steve Huff
Steve Huff is an Editor and Reporter at dot.LA. Steve was previously managing editor for The Metaverse Post and before that deputy digital editor for Maxim magazine. He has written for Inside Hook, Observer and New York Mag. Steve is the author of two official tie-ins books for AMC’s hit “Breaking Bad” prequel, “Better Call Saul.” He’s also a classically-trained tenor and has performed with opera companies and orchestras all over the Eastern U.S. He lives in the greater Boston metro area with his wife, educator Dr. Dana Huff.
Gov. Gavin Newsom Vetoes California ‘BitLicense’ Bill To Regulate Crypto Exchanges
State Attorney Alleges Gov. Newsom Interfered in Activision Lawsuit

California isn’t getting its version of the New York BitLicense bill anytime soon after all. Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed the bill Friday.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Tim Grayson out of Vallejo, passed by the state assembly in a 71-0 vote at the beginning of September. Like New York State’s 2015 BitLicense legislation, AB 2269 would have set out requirements for the behavior of crypto exchanges such as Coinbase or Binance. Additionally, California crypto exchanges would’ve been prevented from trafficking in stablecoins (cryptocurrencies pegged to the value of an asset like the Yen, dollar, or Euro) without a license to do so.

Gov. Newsom explained his veto in a Sept. 23 message to the Assembly. The governor stated that while he shared “the author's intent to protect Californians from potential financial harm,” his administration “has conducted extensive research and outreach to gather input on approaches that balance the benefits and risk to consumers, harmonize with federal rules, and incorporate California values such as equity, inclusivity, and environmental protection.”

“It is premature to lock a licensing structure in statute,” the statement continued, “without considering both this work and forthcoming federal actions.” Newsom said it’s necessary for the government to be flexible “to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.”

It’s refreshing that a government official knows how legislation connected to new technology can fall short as the tech evolves. Still, Gov. Newsom also pointed out that AB 2269 would’ve cost “tens of millions of dollars for the first several years” out of the state’s general fund—something unaccounted for in the state’s yearly budget.

Rep. Tim Grayson responded to Newsom’s action via tweet, writing in part that the crypto “market is under-regulated at best and deliberately rigged against everyday consumers at worst. A financial market cannot be considered healthy if there are no guardrails in place to protect consumers from scams & bad actors.”

California’s legislators haven’t been alone in examining ways to bring some discipline into the cryptocurrency wilderness. In 2022 alone, Oklahoma passed HB 3279, and Utah passed (and signed into law) SB 182—both bills intended to create regulatory schemes and give state agencies the power to control any business related to digital currency.

Additionally, the White House released a statement on Sept. 16 outlining a “Comprehensive Framework for Responsible Development of Digital Assets,” which was a follow-up to President Joe Biden’s Executive Order from March 9, which was intended to ensure the responsible use of digital assets.


While Gov. Newsom’s veto means California is avoiding additional and possibly costly crypto regulations, for now, the tide nationwide seems to be turning in favor of putting rules in place to protect crypto investors. Given that in June, the Federal Trade Commission reported over $1 billion in losses to cryptocurrency scams since the beginning of 2021, some might say new regulations protecting consumers are overdue.
steve@dot.la
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