Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

He’s Number 1!

August 22, 2018

He's Number 1!

U.S. President Donald J.Trump has been implicated by Michael Cohen, his former attorney, in violating campaign finance law. In Mr. Cohen’s plea agreement, the unindicted co-conspirator in the White House is simply identified as “Individual-1.”

“Of all the things Trump has been called, ‘Individual 1’ may be the most damaging,” John Dickerson, CBS News

More:

“How Michael Cohen’s guilty plea implicates Trump,” Sam Baker, Axios

“Michael Cohen Attorney: ‘Donald Trump Directed Him To Commit A Crime,’” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

“With Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea, President Trump Has Been Implicated in a Criminal Conspiracy,” Adam Davidson, The New Yorker

“‘He’s Unraveling’: Why Cohen’s Betrayal Terrifies Trump,” Michael Kruse, Politico

Related:

“Cohen Has ‘Knowledge’ of Ru,ssia Campaign Conspiracy, Lawyer Says,” Shannon Pettypiece,  Jennifer Jacobs , and Terrence Dopp, Bloomberg

“Is Donald Trump Above the Law?” James Risen, The Intercept

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Manafort: Guilty. Now for the next trial. Oh, and Michael Cohen.

August 22, 2018
Manafort: Guilty. Now for the next trial. Oh, and Michael Cohen.

Paul Manafort’s new LinkedIn photo.

Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort has been found guilty of filing false income tax returns, failing to report his foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud, 8 counts in all, carrying a combined maximum penalty of 80 years in prison. The jury could not reach unanimity on the remaining 10 counts, and Judge T.S. Ellis declared mistrials on those, meaning prosecutors may ask for a new trial on those counts. Mr. Manafort’s next federal trial begins on September 17th in Washington DC on charges alleging he acted as an unregistered foreign agent and additional fraud charges. Paul Manafort is the fourth former Trump aide to be convicted of crimes charged by special counsel Robert Mueller.

In unrelated GOP crime news, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, pleaded guilty today to income tax evasion, making an unlawful corporate campaign contribution, bank fraud, and making an excessive campaign contribution, 8 counts in all. While combined penalties could  total as much as 65 years imprisonment, this plea deal means Mr. Cohen probably faces up to 5 years in prison. The plea agreement does not preclude him from providing information to special counsel Mueller, a deal that would involve sentence reduction. In his plea, Mr. Cohen said he made the illegal campaign payments – hush money – at the direction of a presidential candidate. Sentencing is scheduled for December 12th.

More:

“Michael Cohen says he worked to silence two women ‘in coordination’ with Trump to influence 2016 election,” Devlin Barrett, Carol D. Leonnig, and Renae Merle, Washington Post

“Why Donald Trump can’t distance himself from Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, in one tweet,” Dara Lind, Vox

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Manafort Trial Begins

July 31, 2018
Manafort Trial Begins

Paul Manafort’s new LinkedIn photo.

The first federal trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort begins today. This is his trial for money laundering, bank fraud, and related charges resulting from Mr. Manafort’s unregistered lobbying and consulting for Russia-backed candidate Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine’s 2010 presidential election.

In this trial, with one exception, we don’t expect to hear any references to the defendant’s role in Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, or his presence at the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives, but there are certain to be juicy details about the lavish lifestyle funded by Paul Manafort’s questionable gains.

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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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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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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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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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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

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