Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Supreme Court to Rod Blagojevich: Stay In the Slammer

April 18, 2018

Supreme Court to Rod Blagojevich: Stay In the Slammer

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from 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 won’t be sprung until May 2024.

More:

“U.S. Supreme Court again rejects hearing Rod Blagojevich’s appeal,” Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune

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Client Number Three

April 18, 2018

Client Number Three

After the FBI seized documents from his office, home, and hotel room, Trump fixer Michael Cohen is on trial in New York for as-yet unspecified federal crimes, most likely bank fraud and campaign law violations relating to his hush money payoffs to women on behalf of his adulterous clients Donald Trump and Elliott Broidy. Mr. Cohen isn’t much of a lawyer, but he’s had one more client, whose identity he tried to withholdJudge Kimba Wood wasn’t having it, and “client number three” turned out to be Sean Hannity, the vociferous defender of Donald Trump and Michael Cohen on Fox News. Hilarity ensued.

More:

“Yes, Sean Hannity was a legal client of Michael Cohen’s,” Philip Bump, Washington Post

“No Disclosure? No Problem. Sean Hannity Gets a Pass at Fox News.” Michael M. Grynbaum and John Koblin, New York Times

“Sean Hannity’s idea of ‘attorney-client privilege’ was right out of ‘Breaking Bad,’”  Kyle Swenson, Washington Post

“Sean Hannity’s Ties to Two More Trump-Connected Lawyers,” Rosie Gray, The Atlantic

“Michael Cohen and the Busting of the Trump Crime Family,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“Trump Should Be Worried by Cohen Probe. Really Worried.” Noah Feldman,  Bloomberg View

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Michael Cohen Goes to Court Today

April 16, 2018

Michael Cohen, personal lawyer of Donald Trump, will be in U.S. District Court in New York this afternoon, trying to exclude thousands of documents seized by the FBI from the federal case against him. Mr. Cohen has been charged by Deputy U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami, not (as in the SNL skit above) Robert Mueller. Since Mr. Cohen has only one client, Donald Trump, the case against Michael Cohen is more of a present threat to Mr. Trump than the Mueller investigation. And since Michael Cohen serves Donald Trump in the capacity of bagman and fixer, not as a lawyer, attorney-client privilege does not apply. In any case, a lawyer abetting a client in criminal acts cannot hide behind privilege.

More:

“Trump advisers see Cohen probe as greater threat to Trump than Mueller: report,” Max Greenwood, The Hill

“What Exactly Was Michael Cohen Doing for Donald Trump?” David A. Graham, The Atlantic

“Trump Wants to Review Seized Michael Cohen Materials Before Federal Prosecutors,” Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine

“Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency,” Adam Davidson, The New Yorker

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One Liar Pardons Another

April 13, 2018

President Donald Trump, who makes six nonfactual statements a day, has pardoned convicted perjurer I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr.  “I don’t know Mr. Libby,” said Mr. Trump, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly.” Evidently, golf clubhouse chatter is now a major force in our legal system.

The real message in this presidential act: Lie to Mueller for me and get out of jail free.

Keep track of Trump falsehoods here.

More:

“Trump grants pardon to former Bush official; some say he is using the law as a political tool,” Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

“Trump Pardoned Libby to Protect Himself From Mueller,” Marcy Wheeler, New York Times

Related:

“Donald Trump says it’s okay for him to lie since ‘people agree with me.’” Graham Vyse, The New Republic

“Trump is perfecting the art of the Big Lie,” Max Boot, Washington Post

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Guilty: Kellyanne Conway Violated the Hatch Act

March 16, 2018

Guilty: Kellyanne Conway Violated the Hatch Act

The federal U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recently ruled that Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act twice, both times while appearing on television in her official capacity.

“In the first interview, Conway advocated against one Senate candidate and gave an implied endorsement of another candidate. In the second interview, she advocated for the defeat of one Senate candidate and the election of another candidate. Both instances constituted prohibited political activity under the Hatch Act and occurred after Conway received significant training on Hatch Act prohibitions ….” — OSC

That “significant training” was mandated after an earlier televised ethical breach, when Ms. Conway shilled for Ivanka Trump products during an interview on Fox News.

Special Counsel Henry Kerner sent his office’s findings to President Donald Trump “for appropriate disciplinary action.” As a presidential appointee, it is up to the president to decide on Ms. Conway’s punishment, so naturally she received a firm executive shrug. A career federal employee would be terminated for this. “The White House cannot continue to have one standard for the federal workforce generally and a lower standard for appointees who are close to this President,” observed Walter Shaub, former Director of the Office of Government Ethics.

More:

“Kellyanne Conway found to have violated Hatch Act,” John Bowden, The Hill

“Kellyanne Conway broke the law. The White House shrugs.” Washington Post editorial

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Carlos Danger’s In the Dungeon

November 7, 2017

Carlos Danger's In the Dungeon

Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner (aka Carlos Danger) finally entered prison on Monday after pleading guilty to sending sexty photos to a 15-year-old girl.. Since quitting Congress and losing a local election in New York City, Mr. Weiner was fired by Time-Warner cable news outlet NY1 and the New York Daily News, and divorced by Huma Abedin. Mr. Danger Weiner will spend 21 months in a federal lockup near Boston, where other celebs include inside-trader Raj Rajaratnam, and Bernie Madoff’s kid brother Peter. 40 percent of the slammer’s residents are sex offenders.

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Trump Pardons Disgraced Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio

August 28, 2017

Trump Pardons Disgraced Racist Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, recently convicted on federal contempt charges for violating a court order forbidding his racial profiling tactics, has been pardoned by President Trump.

In 2016 the 83-year-old Sheriff, an early and ardent Trump supporter, failed to win re-election after 23 years in office, despite having armed deputies assigned to polling places in an effort to intimidate Mexican-American voters. While elderly Arpaio failed at the polls, his voter suppression effort helped deliver more votes for Donald Trump in Maricopa County than any other county in America. One more reason for Mr. Trump’s bromance with the law-breaking ex-lawman.

President Trump was so eager to get “Sheriff Joe” off the hook, he asked Jeff Sessions to drop the case before Arpaio was convicted.

More:

“Trump pardons Joe Arpaio, former sheriff convicted in racial profiling case,” Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian

“Trump pardons `Sheriff Joe’ for defying court orders to halt racial profiling,” Todd J. Gilman, Dallas News

(more…)

Donald Trump Jr.’s Cartoonish Campaign Conspiracy

July 13, 2017

Donald Trump Jr.'s Cartoonish Campaign Conspiracy
So this Ivy-League-educated New York millionaire frat boy gets an email from a British music promoter and professional fat guy he met at a Moscow beauty pageant, who tells him a Russian government attorney he knows through a Russian pop singer client has dirt on the political opponent of the millionaire’s daddy that she got from the Russian chief federal prosecutor. “I love it,” responds the millionaire New Yorker, and forwards the email to his brother-in-law and his poppa’s campaign manager, and they all meet with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower, in violation of federal campaign law, and they don’t tell anyone until after they win the election. The Big Apple frat boy then incriminates himself via twitter and hires a trombone-playing mob lawyer to defend him.

Natasha Fatale: “What do you think?”
Boris Badenov: “I think he is as dumb as a sack of hammers.”

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Montana Wrestles With the First Amendment

May 25, 2017

Montana Wrestles With the First Amendment
In Montana on Wednesday, a reporter attacked Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte with dangerous questions about the deadly House healthcare bill, so the candidate responded by body-slamming the journalist to the ground and punching him. Knowing Montana, that should get the GOP hopeful a victory in today’s special election as well as a Gallatin County misdemeanor conviction.

After all, Montana voters already elected a dangerously impulsive rich guy who hates the media and press freedom to the White House, so adding another one to Congress should be a snap.

More:

“Fox News crew ‘watched in disbelief’ as Montana’s Greg Gianforte ‘slammed’ and ‘began punching’ reporter,” Fred Barbash, Washington Post

“Three Montana newspapers rescind Gianforte endorsements after alleged body-slamming incident,” Louis Nelson, Politico
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Comey Filed a Memo of Trump’s Obstruction Request

May 17, 2017

Comey Filed a Memo of Trump's Obstruction Request

“President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

‘I hope you can let this go,’ the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.

Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

— “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation,” Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

More:

“Notes made by former FBI director Comey say Trump pressured him to end Flynn probe,” Devlin Barrett, Ellen Nakashima and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

“U.S. lawmakers want to see Comey memo on Trump meeting,” Bill Trott and Peter Cooney, Reuters

“Chaffetz demands Comey-Trump memos in letter to FBI,” Heather Caygle, Politico

“Senate Intel Committee Wants Comey Memos And Testimony,” Allegra Kirkland, TPM Livewire

“Law professor: ‘If the allegations are true, Trump has committed a serious federal crime,’” Dylan Matthews, Vox

“Another Bomb Drops: Initial Thoughts on Trump Asking Comey to Kill the Flynn Investigation,” Helen Klein Murillo, Jack Goldsmith, Susan Hennessey, et al., Lawfare

“Is Trump guilty of obstruction of justice? That depends …,” William Yeomans, The Hill

“What Is Obstruction of Justice? An Often-Murky Crime, Explained,” Charlie Savage, New York Times

“Legal analysts: Trump might have obstructed justice, if Comey’s allegation is true,” Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

“A Short History of Presidential Obstruction of Justice,” Jon Schwarz, The Intercept

“Donald Trump has committed the exact offense that forced Richard Nixon to resign,”
Updated by Dylan Matthews, Vox

“Comey’s Memo Is the Smoking Gun of Donald Trump’s Watergate,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“GOP Rep. Justin Amash on Comey memo: if true, there are grounds for impeachment,” Tara Golshan, Vox

“‘I think we’re in impeachment territory,’ says David Gergen, former aide to Nixon and Clinton,” Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

“Is the Comey Memo the Beginning of the End for Trump?” David Remnick, The New Yorker

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