Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Trump May Pardon Rod Blagojevich

August 9, 2019

Trump May Pardon Rod Blagojevich

President Donald Trump is again considering  commuting the prison sentence of one-time Celebrity Apprentice contestant and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the incarcerated Chicago Democrat who tried to sell Barack Obama’s vacant senate seat after the 2004 election. “Blago,” a devoted Elvis fan, is probably all shook up. He’s serving a 14-year sentence and is scheduled to do the Jailhouse Rock until May 2024.

More:

“After Strongly Suggesting He May Commute Blagojevich’s Sentence, Trump Says Matter Is Under Review,” Maggie Haberman, New York Times

“Trump, getting facts wrong, says he may free Blagojevich,” Michael Tarm, Associated Press

“Jared Kushner urged Trump to pardon disgraced Illinois governor to appeal to Democrats: report,” Travis Gettys, Salon

 

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Epstein: ‘many of them are on the young side’

July 19, 2019

“Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” — Donald Trump, on sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, 2002.

More:

“Trump called Epstein a ‘terrific guy’ who enjoyed ‘younger’ women before denying relationship with him,” David A. Fahrenthold, Beth Reinhard and Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post

“Epstein Arrest Is a Worry for Donald Trump,” Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg

“Watch: Donald Trump parties in 1992 with now-accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, pats woman’s rear end,” Dan Mangan, CNBC

“Behind the scenes the night Trump partied at Mar-a-Lago with Jeffrey Epstein and NFL cheerleaders,” By Rosalind S. Helderman and, Washington Post

“Jeffrey Epstein Was a Sex Offender. The Powerful Welcomed Him Anyway.” David A. Fahrenthold, Beth Reinhard and Kimberly Kindy, New York Times

“The pressure on a prosecutor: How Epstein’s wealth and power steered Acosta toward lenient deal,” Marc Fisher, Devlin Barrett and Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post

“Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who is friends with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, explained,” Jane Coaston and Anna North, Vox

“Jeffrey Epstein: how US media – with one star exception – whitewashed the story,”Ed Pilkington, Guardian

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Anti-Trafficking Watchdog Gave a Pass to Rich Sex Trafficker

July 11, 2019

Anti-Trafficking Watchdog Gave a Pass to Rich Sex Trafficker

In 2008, when Alexander Acosta was U.S. Attorney in Miami, he arranged a sweetheart deal for wealthy sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, who targeted underaged girls. Mr. Alexander is now U.S. Secretary of Labor, the Trump cabinet official charged with preventing human trafficking, a stated priority for President Trump.

As Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta has tried to cut his agency’s anti-trafficking program by 80 percent. Now Jeffrey Epstein has been arrested on new sex trafficking charges in New York.

Updates:

“Acosta out as Labor secretary as Epstein child sex scandal engulfs White House,” John T. Bennett, The Hill

“Acosta to Resign as Trump’s Labor Secretary Over Epstein Plea Deal,” Annie Karni and Eileen Sullivan, New York Times

“Trump labor secretary Alex Acosta resigns amid Epstein plea deal scandal,” Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian

“Alex Acosta is the 5th Trump Cabinet member to leave thanks to a personal scandal,” Kathryn Krawczyk, The Week

More:

“Acosta defends wealthy sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal, says Epstein would’ve had no jail time if his office had not intervened,” Kimberly Kindy, Felicia Sonmez, Ashley Parker, and Seung Min Kim, Washington Post

“Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has no good answer for cushy Jeffrey Epstein plea deal,” Anna North, Vox

“How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime,” Julie K. Brown, Miami Herald

“Trump’s Labor Secretary Once Helped a Billionaire Child Rapist Hide His Crimes,” Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

“Ex-Palm Beach attorney blasts Alex Acosta over Epstein criticism,” Ben Feuerherd, NY Post

Related:

“Trump praises Acosta,who faces growing calls to resign over earlier Epstein case,” John Wagner and Lisa Rein, Washington Post

“NYPD let convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein skip judge-ordered check-ins,” Elizabeth Rosner, Tina Moore, Larry Celona and Bruce Golding, NY Post

“Barr won’t recuse from Epstein prosecution but will remain uninvolved in any review of past plea deal,” Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

“House panel requests Acosta’s testimony on Epstein’s 2008 plea deal,” Orion Rummler, Axios

“The Department of Labor Is Making It Harder for Trafficking Victims to Get Protection,” Isabela Dias, Pacific Standard

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Federal Watchdog: Fire Hatch Act Violator KellyAnne Conway

June 13, 2019
Federal Watchdog: Fire Hatch Act Violator KellyAnne Conway

   GUILTY OF SERIAL HATCH ACT VIOLATIONS.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel sent a report to the White House on Thursday recommending that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway “be removed from federal service” for repeatedly using her official position for political purposes, violations of the Hatch Act:

“Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions. Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system—the rule of law.”

“Nyah, nyah, nyah,” responded Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves. The OSC does not have legal authority to remove a presidential appointee like Ms. Conway, but would have booted a career federal official long before this point. OSC had reprimanded Ms. Kelly over ethics concerns starting in 2017, and for multiple Hatch Act violations in 2018 and 2019. The Special Counsel of OSC is Trump-nominated investigator Henry Kerner. During the first year of the Trump Administration, Hatch Act violation compliants to the OSC rose 30 percent.

Attention lawyers: How many public ethics violations does an attorney need to commit before she’s disbarred?

More:

“Special counsel: Kellyanne Conway violated Hatch Act, should be removed,” Nicholas Sakelaris, UPI

“Kellyanne Conway Should Be Fired For Violating Ethics Law, Oversight Office Says,” Brian Naylor, NPR News

“Federal agency recommends that Kellyanne Conway be removed from service,” Anita Kumar, Politico

“Federal watchdog agency recommends removal of Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act,” Felicia Sonmez, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

Updates:

“Trump says he won’t fire Kellyanne Conway over Hatch Act violations,” John Wagner and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post

“Nobody Will Need To Respect The Rule Of Law After The Trump Administration,” Elie Mystal, Above The Law

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Florida: Biggest Health Care Fraud Ever

April 12, 2019

Florida: Biggest Health Care Fraud Ever

A Federal jury has found Florida health care network owner Philip Esformes guilty of running an 18-year, $1.3 billion Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme. He used some of the money to bribe the University of Pennsylvania basketball coach to get his son into Penn. If his son is pre-law, maybe the kid can help him with the fraud appeal.

Philip Esformes, a man of convictions. We reluctantly point out that this is the “largest health care fraud in U.S. history.” Every time we do that, some Florida Man is found pulling an even bigger scam.

More:

“Florida businessman convicted in $1B Medicare fraud case,” Adriana Gomez Licon, Associated Press

“Miami healthcare exec Philip Esformes found guilty of paying kickbacks and bribes,”Jay Weaver and David Ovalle, Miami Herald

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The Trump Foundation Christmas Party Is Cancelled

December 20, 2018

The Trump Foundation Christmas Party Is Cancelled

This week New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced that she is euthanizing the rogue Donald J. Trump Foundation. The so-called nonprofit outfit was directly run by Donald Trump and three of his spawn. Rather than engaging in charitable actives,said the AG, there was a“shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation—including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more. This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” This included funding Trump Senior’s election campaign, promoting his businesses, paying off his legal obligations.

As Charles Blow observes, “How can a family that can’t run a charity run a country?”

More:

“Trump’s Crooked Foundation Dissolves, But Investigation Continues,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

Clinton Foundation exec mocks Trump Foundation closing amid legal trouble
BY Morgan Gstalter, The Hill

“What the Collapse of the Trump Foundation Tells Us About Donald Trump,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker

“Trump lashes out at New York attorney general who sued his foundation,” David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

“Trump Foundation dissolves, but Trump abuses and pursuit of personal gain live on,” Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen, USA Today

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The Magna Carta Caper

October 29, 2018

The Magna Carta Caper

In Wiltshire last week, a man was arrested for attempting to steal the 800-year-old Magna Carta on display at Salisbury Cathedral. The ancient document was unharmed, but its display case was heavily damaged. The criminal caper was foiled by Matt Delcambre, an American tourist from Louisiana, who tackled the hammer-wielding miscreant. “Back home he would have been hog-tied on the ground,” explained Mrs. Delcambre.

The alleged offender, free on bail, awaits his day in court, a right established by the Magna Carta.

More:

“Man Tried To Steal Magna Carta, 800-Year-Old Symbol Of The Law, Police Say,” Bill Chappell, NPR

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Jamal’s Apple Watch

October 15, 2018

Jamal's Apple Watch
On Saturday, pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah reported that Turkish officials have audio recordings of the torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a US-based Saudi journalist who went missing on October 2nd after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul and is presumed dead at the hands of a Saudi hit squad. The newspaper claims that Khashoggi recorded his own death on his Apple Watch and transmitted the audio files to his iPhone, held by his fiancée on the street outside the consulate.

That’s a memorable but unlikely story. Smartwatches connect to cellphones via Bluetooth, and it’s doubtful a signal could travel that far, and the likely recording app only transfers audio files after the watch wearer turns it off, a hard task for the deceased. If Turkish agents have such recordings, it’s most likely because they have the Saudi consulate bugged, and they spread the watch story as cover.

Mr. Khashoggi was a permanent resident of the U.S., so maybe the American ambassadors to Turkey and Saudi Arabia can look into the matter. Oh wait, President Trump still hasn’t appointed anyone to those crucial diplomatic posts.

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Trump Family: Tax Scams All the Way Down

October 4, 2018

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The New York Times revealed a multi-million-dollar case of Trump family tax fraud last week. Poppa Fred Trump set up phony companies to funnel money to his progeny withour paying gift tax to the IRS — that is, to American taxpayers. He also routinely undervalued properties. Donnie Trump was “earning” $200,000 a year as a 3-year-old,  and was a millionaire by age 8. So much for the “self-made-man” myth. Donald Trump seems to have continued the chicanery with daddy’s money when he was full grown. No wonder he’s never revealed his personal tax returns, despite his campaign promises.

Times reporter Susanne Craig first looked at the financial papers of President Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, submitted to the Senate when she was nominated as a federal judge. An odd $1 million payment from a mysterious family-owned company stood out, and led to the Times investigation.

The charges were denied by a Trump family attorney, and of course Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied about them. President Trump called the Times story “old and boring,” but didn’t deny the story’s findings.Mr. Trump has been caught committing tax fraud before, and New York State tax authorities are looking into the new allegations.

More:

“Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father,” Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and David Barstow, New York Times

“Fred Trump’s Tax Scheme Was Quite Impressive,” Matt Levine, Bloomberg

“Republicans Rigged the System to Enable Crimes Like Trump’s Tax Evasion,” Harry Cheadle, Vice

“Trump’s Shady Accounting Playbook for the Hyper-rich,” Annie Lowery, The Atlantic

“The Trump Family’s Tax Dodging Is Symptomatic of a Larger Problem,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker

“How Times Journalists Uncovered the Original Source of the President’s Wealth,” Melina Delkic, New York Times

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Bill Cosby Lands In the Pudding

September 25, 2018

Bill Cosby Lands In the Pudding

Bill Cosby, a once-beloved entertainer now convicted of sexual assault and a registered sex offender, has been sentenced to 3 to 10 years in a Pennsylvania prison. Earlier, Mr. Cosby admitted obtaining Quaalude prescriptions in order to surreptitiously administer the sedative to women so he could have sex with them. Quaaludes, the “date-rape drug” of the Disco Era, were made a controlled Schedule 1 drug in 1985. Bill Cosby made a public service announcement for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids in 1990.

That’s not the only irony. Bill Cosby’s otherwise family-friendly 1960s comedy act had a routine where he described his teenage fantasy about slipping Spanish Fly, a legendary aphrodisiac, into women’s drinks so he could have sex with them. Nothing funny there, after all.

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