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MOSCOW (AP) — The lower house of Russia’s parliament on Thursday stripped a lawmaker who is critical of the Kremlin of his immunity, allowing prosecutors to press charges against him over the allegedly illegal killing of an elk during a hunting trip.

Valery Rashkin, 66, first denied the accusations but later reversed course and admitted the killing.

He insisted, however, that he was unaware that he was breaking the law and described the case against him as politically driven.

The State Duma voted 341-55 to strip Rashkin of his immunity. Rashkin, who will retain his parliament seat pending the probe, may face a fine or a prison term of up to five years if convicted.

Some Russian media alleged that Rashkin, a member of the Communist Party, faced the charges due to his frequent criticism of the Kremlin and his support for jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the most high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In September, Rashkin was among a few Communist Party members who vociferously protested alleged fraud in online voting in Moscow during Russia’s parliamentary and local elections.

Speaking to lawmakers Thursday, Rashkin charged that the case against him was politically motivated, claiming that the real reason behind his prosecution was his “fight for honest elections that vexed the authorities.”

Russia’s Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov denied any political motivation behind the case.

The Communist Party is nominally in opposition to the Kremlin, but it votes in line with its wishes on key policy issues. Some observers alleged that Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov could have quietly backed the charges against Rashkin, whom he sees as a destabilizing figure.

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Tags: russia’s parliament the case against him the communist party the communist party charges against his immunity as politically the kremlin alleged that he the charges

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Chris Cuomo Breaks Silence on Brothers Sexual Harassment Allegations: The Media Never Really Liked Him

CNN’s Chris Cuomo weighed in on the allegations of sexual assault and harassment against his brother on Tuesday, asserting that he was forced to resign as New York’s governor, in part, because “the media never really liked him.”

“The game has rules,” Cuomo said in a segment of program on SiriusXM program, responding to a caller who opined on the matter. “And one of the general principles is you can fight against the other party, and you can fight against the media, but only if you have your party. Andrew had his party enforcing a rule against him that if you have accusations, you have problems, and you don’t really get to really vet the accusations, and you don’t get to go against your accusers.”

Cuomo’s elder brother, Andrew Cuomo was forced to vacate his position as governor in August after facing a slew of accusations that he harassed staffers in his office. He was charged with a misdemeanor in October on an allegation that he groped one of those staffers, and is scheduled to appear in court over the matter in January. The events demarcated a change of fortune for the former governor, whose press conferences at the dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic received ample coverage from cable networks — including CNN — and led to a number of fawning interviews from members of the press, including CNN’s Cuomo.

However, the junior Cuomo argued that his brother’s resignation was necessitated, in part, because “he had the Republicans hating him,” and because “the media never really liked him.”

“So that is too much,” Cuomo said. “And that is why he had to resign. I did not want him to resign in the beginning, because I believed him. … But eventually, when there wasn’t going to be due process, and his party was against him, and obviously the Republicans weren’t going to help him, then he had no choice because he couldn’t do the work of the state anymore.”

The younger Cuomo has been forced to fend off detractors of his own who have questioned his decision to provide political advice to his brother amid the scandal. Those critics were fueled on Tuesday by a new revelation that he sought to use his connections in the media to gather information on unreleased reporting related to his brother’s conduct.

Listen above via SiriusXM.

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