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    by Joseph Weber   Four people in North Carolina have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors for their roles in absentee ballot fraud in a rural part of the state. The fraud occurred in the 2016 and 2018 elections, and the convictions stemmed from an investigation that in part resulted in a congressional election having to be redone, according to the Associated Press. The defendants entered a plea Monday with prosecutors, which Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway accepted in his Wake County court. As part of the agreement, none will have to serve active prison or jail time. Cases against six other defendants remained pending, with hearings scheduled through next month, county District Attorney Lorrin Freeman told the wire service. All 10 defendants, according to the 2019 indictments, were connected to Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., a longtime political operative in the state who was indicted on more than a dozen state charges. Dowless’ case was set to go to trial last month, but he died in April after being diagnosed with lung cancer. He worked in the 2018 congressional race for then-Republican candidate...
    TEEN Mom Chelsea Houska’s home and decor companies have been sued for $4million after the reality star was accused of “hiding assets" in secret businesses. Chelsea, 31, and her husband Cole, 33, were sued by consulting company Envy for $3million in 2020 for allegedly withholding money made from social media promotions.  5Chelsea Houska's businesses have been sued for $4millionCredit: TikTok/cole_deboer 5The businesses are home and decor companies she shares with her husband Cole DeBoerCredit: Chelsea Houska/Instagram The U.S. Sun can exclusively reveal Envy filed an Amended Complaint to the same lawsuit, as Chelsea and Cole’s home company Down Home DeBoer, decor business Aubree Says, Dakota Ln LLC and DeBoer Holding Company have been added as Defendants on the case. The reality star’s company C&A Enterprises remains listed as a Defendant. The Amended Complaint claims Chelsea entered into a contract with Envy in 2015, while Cole signed on in 2016. Based on the alleged contracts, they agreed to “only enter licensing agreements for the Property through Envy, to allow Envy to exclusively negotiate such agreements, to collect all resulting revenue, and...
    by Julie Kelly   Odds are jurors in Douglas Austin Jensen’s trial took longer to fill out the verdict forms than they took to decide his fate. After only a few hours of deliberations on Friday, 12 residents of the nation’s capital found Jensen guilty on seven counts related to his involvement in the Capitol protest on January 6, 2021. Jensen, an alleged QAnon follower, infamously confronted Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman inside the building that afternoon; he potentially faces decades in prison for convictions on impeding law enforcement officers and obstruction of an official proceeding, a dubious nonviolent felony punishable by up to 20 years in jail. NBC News reporter Ryan Reilly, who covers all things January 6, noted in a tweet that “An ongoing issue with these Jan. 6 jury trials is that you barely have time to write the story on closing arguments before the jury returns their guilty verdicts.” Reilly then swooned over the Department of Justice’s “flawless” track record before D.C. juries. CBS News reporter Scott MacFarlane predicted the jury would finish its work in one afternoon since...
    A group of unlawful migrants that Ron DeSantis sent to Martha's Vineyard is suing the Florida governor for allegedly exploiting them.  The plaintiffs allege the governor trapped them in a 'premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme centered on exploiting [the migrants] for the sole purpose of advancing their own personal, financial and political interests.'  DeSantis arranged for 50 migrants to be flown out to Martha's Vineyard, a wealthy island off Massachusetts last week, in a move that set off a firestorm in the political war over immigration.  A group of unlawful migrants that Ron DeSantis sent to Martha's vineyard are suing the Florida governor for allegedly exploiting them Migrants, who arrived on a flight sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, gather with their belongings outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Wednesday Sept. 14, 2022, in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha's Vineyard The plaintiffs, three migrants and one immigration group, said in a court filing the migrants fled crime-riddled Venezuela and upon crossing the border immediately surrendered themselves to immigration authorities. They said they have been authorized to remain in the U.S. until their...
    Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images. Migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard last week by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) have filed a class action lawsuit against him, alleging they were victims of a “conspiracy” to falsely imprison them. The civil lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts Tuesday, just six days after 48 migrants were flown to the island on behalf of DeSantis. The governor is listed as a defendant in a 35-page court filing, as is the Florida Department of Transportation and its leader Jared Perdue. The suit cites four plaintiffs, as well as “others similarly situated,” and complains the flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard violated multiple Constitutional amendments and were part of a “conspiracy.” “These immigrants, who are pursuing the proper channels for lawful immigration status in the United States, experienced cruelty akin to what they fled in their home country,” the suit states. “Defendants manipulated them, stripped them of their dignity, deprived them of their liberty, bodily autonomy, due process, and equal protection under law, and impermissibly interfered with the Federal Government’s exclusive control...
    On Tuesday, September 20, Attorney General Merrick Garland and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that 47 defendants in Minnesota had been indicted on federal charges for their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud a program that provided food for needy children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Altogether, according to DOJ, the alleged fraud amounted to $250 million. In an official statement, Garland said, “These indictments, alleging the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme charged to date, underscore the Department of Justice’s sustained commitment to combating pandemic fraud and holding accountable those who perpetrate it.” The Washington Post’s Tony Romm, in an article published on September 20, explains, “Federal prosecutors said the defendants — a network of individuals and organizations tied to Feeding Our Future, a Minnesota-based nonprofit — allegedly put the wrongly obtained federal pandemic funds toward luxury cars, houses and other personal purchases in what amounted to a case of ‘brazen’ theft…. The alleged scheme centered on the Federal Child Nutrition Program, which is administered by the Agriculture Department to provide free meals to the children of...
    Share this: On Wednesday, in federal court in Brooklyn, an indictment was unsealed charging six defendants for their roles in overseeing and operating a large-scale illegal, online gambling business under the protection of the Lucchese organized crime family.   In operation for more than 15 years, the gambling business known as “Rhino Sports” utilized an offshore website and dozens of bookmakers in the New York area to take millions in illegal sports bets, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Four of the defendants, Lucchese crime family solider Anthony Villani and associates Louis Tucci Jr., Dennis Filizzola and James Coumoutsos, were arrested at their residences in the New York area and were arraigned Wednesday afternoon by United States Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann, E.D.N.Y.  
    Former President Donald Trump criticized the U.S. Capitol Police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt. Video shared on Twitter by News2Share editor-in-chief Ford Fischer showed the former president on the phone with Babbitt’s mother Micki Witthoeft at a rally for jailed Capitol riot defendants in Washington, D.C. Fischer said the call took place outside a Washington jail where rioters are confined. Witthoeft answer a call, and Trump’s voice could be heard on speaker phone. BREAKING VIDEO: Former President Trump spoke tonight on the phone to Micki Witthoeft, mother of Ashli Babbitt, as she rallied for January 6 defendants outside DC jail. “We’re with you. We’re working with a lot of different people on this,” Trump said. “We can’t let this happen.” pic.twitter.com/os0MZnMwUv — Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) September 13, 2022 Witthoeft placed the phone up to a microphone and told Trump he was live. Trump addressed the crowd: Well, Micki, it’s an honor to be with you and to everybody listening, it’s a terrible thing that has happened to a lot of people that are being treated very, very unfairly....
    MUCH like the rest of America, crime rates have skyrocketed in Illinois during the Covid-19 pandemic. And a new law that changes bail rules has sparked fear and debate, with many questioning whether it will it improve or decrease the statistics. What is the Illinois law? The SAFE-T Act eliminates cash bail and addresses the injustice of poor people remaining in jail pretrial, while others who can afford bail are released. The act, which stands for Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today, means defendants will be either held in jail without bail or released without having to post bail. It has been highly criticised by law enforcement officials because it essentially means some criminals can walk free while awaiting trial. However, supporters of the act said the current bail system in Illinois – even after state-wide changes enacted in 2017 reduce bail by $30 per day for certain charges – still unfairly penalizes Black, Hispanic and other defendants who tend to be low-income and less likely to afford bail. 1A law that will come into effect in Illinois in...
    by Trevor Schakohl   A juror who helped convict two men last month of plotting to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was allegedly “far-left leaning” and had said they would seek to “hang”, the defendants’ legal team alleged a witness said in a court filing this week. A retrial jury found Adam Fox guilty Aug. 23 of conspiracy to kidnap and possession of a weapon of mass destruction, while Barry Croft Jr. was convicted of the same crimes in addition to unregistered destructive device possession. Fox and Croft’s lawyers asked Tuesday for a hearing on whether the juror committed misconduct, and a new trial because of the juror’s purported misconduct and an alleged appearance of judicial bias affecting the retrial proceedings. In evidence presented with the filing, former Fox defense team investigator Gary Gaudard declared that one of the juror’s coworkers had said he personally knew the juror to be “far-left leaning.” According to Gaudard, the coworker claimed to have heard that the juror said Fox and Croft were “guilty, no matter what” and would “hang” if the juror was chosen for the jury....
    Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the opening of "Vital Voices Women's Embassy", just days after a leak revealed the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, in Washington, U.S., May 5, 2022.Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters A federal judge dismissed former President Donald Trump's sprawling lawsuit alleging Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and many others conspired to spread a false narrative of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. In a searing order Thursday, Judge Donald Middlebrooks said that Trump's lawsuit was merely "seeking to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those that have opposed him." The former president's claims "are not only unsupported by any legal authority but plainly foreclosed by binding precedent," Middlebrooks wrote in U.S. District Court in southern Florida. Trump filed the lawsuit in March, seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages for violations of the RICO Act, a federal law that aims to combat organized crime, among other claims. It came more than five...
    TEEN Mom Chelsea Houska got furniture, decor and other home items for free while building her South Dakota farmhouse, her manager admits.  Chelsea, 31, and Cole, 33, bought land and built their South Dakota farmhouse, as the family moved into the dream home in early 2021.  5Chelsea Houska and her husband, Cole Deboer, received free furniture and decor for their South Dakota farmhouseCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk 5The couple received the railings pictured for freeCredit: Instagram The U.S. Sun can exclusively reveal that Chelsea and Cole received many free items during the building process, including paint, furniture, decor and more.  The social media deals were mentioned in Chelsea and Cole’s $3million lawsuit.  The couple was sued by consulting company Envy for $3million for allegedly withholding money made from social media promotions.  The information was revealed in Chelsea and Cole's manager William Dzombak’s deposition taken on August 18, 2022. In the court papers obtained by The U.S. Sun, William was asked: “So what materials did they receive as part of promotions, branding, licensing, et cetera? Beyond just rugs, the...
    A federal judge dismissed Carter Page’s lawsuit against fired FBI Director James Comey, the FBI, and others involved in the improper Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act snooping that had relied on British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier. Judge Dabney Friedrich relied on her interpretation of the criminal statutes that Page alleged the FBI officials had violated when she ruled against the onetime Trump campaign associate who was surveilled under FISA. Friedrich was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by then-President Donald Trump in 2017. “Page alleges that the individual defendants violated §§ 1809(a) and 1810 both by unlawfully engaging in electronic surveillance and using or disclosing the fruits of that surveillance. ... Each defendant claims that Page fails to sufficiently allege that he or she violated the statute,” the judge said Thursday. “The Court finds that the claims are not time-barred but that Page does not state a claim against any of the individual defendants.” The judge added: “This plain-text understanding — that Congress allowed suit against only those who conduct unauthorized surveillance, and...
    TEEN Mom star Chelsea Houska has been accused of “hiding” assets in secret companies by her ex-business partner in a nasty $3million lawsuit.  Chelsea, 31, and her husband Cole, 33, were sued by consulting company Envy for $3million for allegedly withholding money made from social media promotions.  5Chelsea Houska is involved in a $3million lawsuitCredit: Instagram 5Chelsea and her husband Cole Deboer have been accused of 'hiding' assetsCredit: Instagram Chelsea and Cole responded to the lawsuit by filing a counterclaim in May 2020, alleging Envy actually withheld over $150,000 from them. The U.S. Sun can now exclusively reveal the former Teen Mom 2 stars have been accused of hiding revenue in various secret LLCs.  In a letter to the judge obtained by The Sun, Plaintiff Envy requested to extend the deadline to complete the discovery process, which includes documents and financial statements, from October 30, 2022 through November 30, 2022. Envy claimed Chelsea and Cole “failed to disclose the existence” of their LLCs Dakota Ln, Down Home DeBoers, DeBoer Holding Company and Aubree Says.  The letter continued to state that William...
    NEW YORK — Three leaders of a multimillion dollar international yoga network that promoted itself as “Yoga to the People” before closing down amid published reports that it operated like a cult were arrested Wednesday in Washington State for failing to pay federal taxes while they lived lavishly, authorities in New York announced. A complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court said the donation-based organization generated over $20 million in revenue for a decade while promising that its classes featured no-ego and no glorified teachers because “yoga is for everyone.” The organization started in the East Village of Manhattan in 2006 before becoming “extremely popular” and spreading elsewhere, with about 20 yoga studios in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland in California, Tempe, Arizona, Orlando, Florida, and cities in Colorado, Washington State, Spain and Israel, the complaint said. Arrested on charges of tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service were Gregory Gumucio, 61, and Haven Soliman, 33, both of Cathlamet, Washington, along with Michael Anderson, 51, of Bellevue, Washington. It wasn’t immediately clear who would represent them at a...
    Two men part of a teenage sex trafficking ring that was headquartered in the Philadelphia suburbs have been convicted, authorities said. A jury found 36-year-old Dimas Omar Hernandez, aka “Adonys,” of Malvern, and 27-year-old Franklin Rivera-Mendieta, aka “Mono,” of Downingtown, guilty on charges of trafficking minors, involuntary servitude, rape, kidnapping, and other related offenses, according to the Chester County District Attorney's Office. On May 28, 2020, a missing 14-year-old Maryland girl's Facebook message to her mother led multi-state authorities to her location, sparking an investigation into her captors, prosecutors said. The message, which stated in part that she "didn't want to be here anymore," was crucial in the subsequent arrests of Hernandez, Rivera-Mendieta, and six other individuals. “Dimas Hernandez and Franklin Rivera Mendieta trapped these vulnerable victims in a cycle of sexual abuse for the purpose of lining their pockets with money," DA Deb Ryan said. "This kind of human degradation is deplorable." A third co-defendant, 25-year-old Josue Sibrian Sanchez, aka “Sibrian,” of Malvern, already pleaded guilty. All three men will be sentenced at a later date. Diana Ordonez, 27, Luis...
    Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan and SNL showrunner Lorne Michaels should be named as defendants in a sex abuse case against ex-SNL star Horatio Sanz, says the woman accusing Sanz of grooming and groping her when she was 17. The Pennsylvania woman, anonymized as Jane Doe in the suit, said Sanz, 53, brought her to two after-parties and inappropriately kissed her, groped her and digitally penetrated her at a party in May 2002. She also alleges the incident happened while Fallon, Morgan, Tina Fey, Seth Meyers, Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell and other SNL stars looked on, according to her affidavit. She claimed the stars all appeared 'grossed out' by the action but continued staring or carried on in a wild party attended by 'sex workers' and reportedly thrown by Tracy Morgan.  The woman claims that alleged behavior means that some of Sanz's fellow comics should also be held liable for the abuse she says he inflicted on her. All the people she has accused deny her allegations of wrongdoing.  The woman claims Jimmy Fallon, left, was fully aware of her relationship with Sanz and...
    The computer system at Los Angeles County’s largest jail crashed over the weekend, causing an unknown number of people to be kept behind bars for days longer than they should have been. When the Sheriff’s Department’s jail information management system went offline at Men’s Central Jail in downtown L.A. sometime Saturday, staff were forced to process inmates for release by hand, according to Capt. Lorena Rodriguez, the department’s chief spokeswoman. Rodriguez said the system did not come back online until late Monday. The outage was caused by a manhole fire, according to an internal e-mail reviewed by The Times. On average, Men’s Central Jail houses roughly 4,500 people, most of them either awaiting trial or in custody for misdemeanors. Rodriguez did not provide an estimate of how many people who should have been released from the jail were kept locked up because of the shutdown. Rodriguez said releases were “only delayed,” not halted outright. The Times spoke to several attorneys and relatives of people being held in the jail, who said their clients or loved ones were...
    Delphine Paci has agreed to defend Salah Abdeslam after the resignation of French lawyer Olivia Ronen, who represented his interests in the trial of the attacks in Paris. “It seems to me irreconcilable to launch a legal battle on the merits of the case in Brussels when Abdeslam has given up defending himself in the Paris proceedings without appealing against the judgment of June 29, 2022,” the lawyer said.is coming. Read: Salah Abdeslam acquitted by one of his lawyers At the Paris trial, Delphine Bassi defended Hamza Attu, one of the three defendants. The lawyer, who has already defended several people accused of terrorism in Brussels, will be assisted by a colleague who has not revealed his identity in support of Salah Abdeslam. Read: Salah Abdeslam not appealing life sentence in France Morocco was sentenced in June by the Paris Assizes Court to life imprisonment and inviolable protection for his role in the November 13, 2015, attacks in Paris. Transferred to Itre prison in Belgium on July 13, he will appear with nine other defendants in the trial of the...
    PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – District Attorney Larry Krasner and members of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Gun Violence Task Force will announce the convictions of two defendants with known street group affiliations who were indicted by a Philadelphia Grand Jury for their roles in a series of shootings that occurred in the city’s Overbrook and Mantua sections in 2018 and 2019. A weekly gun crimes update will also be provided. The briefing will take place at approximately 11 a.m. and be streamed on CBS News Philly above. What: DA Krasner, Gun Violence Task Force to Announce Convictions of Two Defendants for Multiple Shooting Incidents, Provide Gun Crimes Update When: Monday, August 8, 2022 Time: 11:00 a.m. Online stream: Live in the player above and your mobile streaming device. Stay with CBSPhilly.com for updates on this developing story
    DALLAS — Pro-Donald Trump social media personality and Jan. 6 riot defendant Brandon Straka confronted Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) onstage at "CPAC: Texas" on Friday, arguing lawmakers have not done enough to help such defendants, to the cheers of attendees at the conservative conference. SARAH PALIN BLASTS RANKED CHOICE VOTING AS SHE TAKES CENTER STAGE AT CPAC Jan. 6 riot defendants were painted as victims and political prisoners by the panel. Straka told the conference that he attended the riot and was on the steps and was later arrested and held on felony charges. He attended the conference with what he called “performance art,” sitting in a cell while crying, accompanied by audio recordings of the riot defendants describing their arrests. (Kate Scanlon/Washington Examiner) He said he has been banned from certain social media platforms and is subject to additional screenings at airports. Straka pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of engaging in disorderly and disruptive conduct in the Capitol Building or grounds, avoiding jail time and receiving 90 days of home...
    THE FAMILY of Anton Black is suing Maryland's Eastern Shore police department over his 2018 death. His tragic passing has since been compared to the death of George Floyd, who was murdered by police on May 25, 2020. 2Anton Black died in September 2018Credit: Facebook/anton.black.716 Who was Anton Black? Anton Black was a 19 year old Maryland resident. He made headlines after he died on September 15, 2018, while in police custody. Outside of his death, little information is available on his personal life. Read More Crime'PARTICULAR CRUELTY' What to know about Derek Chauvin's sentence PRAISING PROTESTERS AOC says protests have 'woken up' US to racism and police brutality How did Anton Black die? Since Black's death was announced, many have claimed that he died as a result of police brutality. However, the state medical examiner's autopsy reported his death as accidental, claiming that his congenital heart condition, mental illness, and stress from the struggle contributed to his death, according to CBS News. At the time, police were responding to an attempted kidnapping call...
    Getty Kelly Clarkson in April 2022. The legal battle between the former “The Voice” coach Kelly Clarkson and her ex-father-in-law’s company is going to continue until at least 2023, court records obtained by Heavy show. Clarkson and her ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock, finalized a divorce settlement this year, but are still working out the final details in court, records show. After the couple split, Blackstock’s father’s company, Starstruck Management Group, sued Clarkson, according to court documents. Narvel Blackstock said in the 2020 lawsuit that Clarkson owes his company nearly $2 million in unpaid commissions. Clarkson filed a countercomplaint with the California Labor Commissioner accusing Narvel Blackstock and his son, Brandon Blackstock, of acting as unregistered talent agents, court documents reveal. A new judge was assigned to the civil lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Starstruck Management, in February 2022. Judge Wendy Chang recently issued an order staying any action until after Clarkson’s complaint is heard by the state labor commission. Chang said in her order, which can be read here, that a status conference...
    The accused also occasionally wore devilish costumes and blew smoke from various drugs into the children's faces. Other charges leveled at the defendants involve the abuse and torture of animals. Some of the adults have been accused of forcing the children to kill dogs and forcing the boy to stab a bird to death. One of the girls was also supposedly made "to act like a dog" and "eat cat and dog food" until she vomited. There are yet still more charges issued against the defendants, but these charges are apparently so heinous that writers at the Scottish Sun refused to print them. The identities of the children have not been released, and it is not known whether any of the children are related to any of the accused. There were 16 or 17 total adults named in the indictment, but anywhere from three to five of them have already died. Judge John Beckett scheduled a hearing for either some or all of the defendants in October and an eight-week trial is set to begin in September 2023.
    A man with ties to the Texas Three Percenters, a far-right militia movement, showed up to the Capitol riot last year with zip ties and a handgun on his hip. “We’re all going to drag them motherfuckers out kicking and screaming,” he had recorded himself saying just hours before. On Monday, that man, 49-year-old Guy Reffitt, received the longest sentence yet handed down over the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Reffitt was sentenced by a federal judge to 87 months, or just over 7 years, in prison. The first Jan. 6 defendant to go on trial, the Wylie native was convicted on five felony counts in March, including obstruction of Congress, interfering with police, and carrying a firearm to a riot. A jury also found that he had threatened his teenage son, Jackson, who eventually tipped off federal agents as to his father’s participation in the attack. Prosecutors alleged during Reffitt’s trial that he had warned Jackson and his daughter that he would shoot them should they turned “traitors” on him. On Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Risa...
    by Julie Kelly   For the first time since the government failed to win a single conviction in the alleged criminal plot to “kidnap” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, a top Justice Department official was publicly confronted about the FBI’s primary role in concocting the hoax. It was not a welcome line of inquiry, to say the least. Matthew Olsen, head of the National Security Division, repeatedly rebuffed questions by U.S. Representative Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) about the case during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday. A Michigan jury in April acquitted two men charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer after defense attorneys successfully argued their clients had been entrapped by the FBI; the jury deadlocked on two other defendants. Shortly after the stunning verdicts were handed down in what the Justice Department considers one of its most prominent “domestic terror” investigations in recent history, prosecutors announced they would retry Barry Croft and Adam Fox, the alleged ringleader of the group. The new trial involves Olsen’s division, but rather than take time to perform the usual self-indulgent back slapping and...
    (CNN)The Justice Department is trying to block the Oath Keepers they've charged with seditious conspiracy from shifting blame to Donald Trump when they are tried in federal court later this year, according to a court filing.The DOJ's requests come as both sides in the case are aiming to shape the limitations of the jury trial. Several new pre-trial court filings on Friday also amount to a preview of some of what the DOJ is planning to show at the trial. That includes threatening notes and messages -- including one labeled a "death list" -- about government officials, defense lawyers say.The prosecutors' planned approach to the trial is to keep a jury focused on the individual responsibilities of the defendants and not to allow them to say they were following Trump's orders, according to the filing. Oath Keeper members brought explosives to DC area around January 6 and had a death list, prosecutors say"Any 'public-authority' defense put forth by the defendants would fail for two reasons: no government agent possessed actual authority to order the defendants' criminal actions, and, in any...
    The nation’s op-ed columns are now bursting with equal parts of frustration and botheration from laypersons and lawyers alike as we await Department of Justice action regarding a failed coup on Jan. 6, 2021. We will see if that famous precept about American justice is more than just a mere precept: that no person in our nation is above the law.  Those of us with practical experience getting our hands soiled in both the civil and criminal courts know that this precept is now verging upon a mere platonic ideal which bears little real resemblance to reality.  Go visit your local state court arraignment or first appearance calendar and you will understand what I mean. Its precincts and holding cells will be filled with the poor and the Black and the Brown. Very few defendants are there dressed in sport coats and tasseled loafers.  America now lives not only in two economic realities, but in two realities as to the real meaning of justice. The defendants who live in the everyday system of justice know it all too well. So...
    The Justice Department urged a federal judge to reject requests from members of the Oath Keepers to delay their trial and to move it outside Washington, D.C., arguing statements made by the Jan. 6 congressional committee are irrelevant to a fair trial. “The Court should deny the defendants’ motion for a continuance. The defendants’ litany of complaints about the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol’s hearings do not justify a continuance in this case,” the DOJ said Tuesday. “The Court has twice denied the defendants’ motions to change venue. Circumstances have not changed.” The DOJ announced in January that Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and 10 others were charged with seditious conspiracy related to the Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021. Prosecutors noted on Tuesday that the defendants have argued for a continuance or for a trial location outside of Washington, D.C., with the Oath Keepers pointing in part to the “highly inflammatory and prejudicial hearings” conducted by the House select committee. The defendants have also argued that...
    ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The family of a New York City firefighter killed last month when a tree fell onto the car he was driving at the Biltmore Estate has filed a lawsuit accusing the North Carolina tourist attraction of gross negligence. Casey Skudin was driving near the Biltmore’s entrance June 17 with his wife and two children, when the tree fell across the road, striking the car, officials said. A tree limb fell across the road amid high winds, an estate spokesperson has said. Casey Skudin died from his injuries and his wife, Angela Skudin and their two sons were also hurt, including their 10-year-old son, who was knocked unconscious and sustained multiple fractures to his spine and sternum, the lawsuit filed on behalf of Skudin’s family states. The suit claims the Biltmore “knowingly and intentionally kept a massive, rotted tree on its property next to a main road where Defendants knew it would cause great harm when it fell,” news outlets reported. It claims Biltmore knew the tree posed a danger to guests and tried to keep it...
    ROME (AP) — Italy’s top criminal court has rebuffed prosecutors’ efforts to revive the trial of high-level Egyptian security officials in the 2016 torture-slaying of an Italian doctoral student. The Court of Cassation ruled in Rome on Friday evening that there were no grounds to appeal a lower court decision last year that the trial couldn’t go forward because the defendants hadn’t been officially notified of the charges and the trial date. Giulio Regeni, 28, was researching labor unions for Cairo street vendors when he was abducted, tortured and slain, his mutilated body found along a highway days after his disappearance in the Egyptian capital. The case strained relations between Italy and Egypt, an ally in Italian efforts to combat international terrorism. At one point, Italy withdrew its ambassador to press for Egyptian cooperation in the investigation. Italian prosecutors pursued the case, eventually winning indictment of the four Egyptians, to be tried in absentia in a Rome courtroom. In a phone interview broadcast on Italian state TV Saturday, family lawyer Alessandra Ballerini called the latest decision a “wound...
    OAKLAND — An Antioch woman who was homeless when she was recruited in a multimillion dollar identity theft scheme involving Bay Area rappers has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison, court records show. Susan Arreola-Martin, 71, was also charged with providing fentanyl to her 21-year-old granddaughter, a Martinez woman, who promptly overdosed from the drug and died. That happened while Arreola-Martin was on pretrial release in the fraud case. Arreola-Martin’s sentence is the longest handed down so far by U.S. District Judge James Donato, who has sentenced three of the seven co-defendants in the identity theft case. Several of the co-defendants are people who were recruited when they were homeless, according to court papers. The lead defendant in the case is Amir Rashad, also known as Mark Django Hicks, a well-known Bay Area rapper who uses the stage name Kafani. Both Rashad and his half-brother, Demarcus Hicks, have pleaded guilty to multiple federal offenses and are awaiting sentencing. Rashad was charged while on supervised release for another fraud conviction. Prosecutors say the co-defendants played various roles in a...
    NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump and two of his children — Donald Jr. and Ivanka — are due, in the coming days, to face questioning under oath in New York’s civil investigation into their business practices. But will the Trumps answer? The ex-president’s lawyer has indicated that he will advise Trump to stay mum and invoke the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination. It’s a constitutional right that gets high-profile exposure in settings from Congress to TV crime shows, but there are nuances. Here’s what it means — and doesn’t — to “plead (or ‘take’) the Fifth.” WHAT IS ‘THE FIFTH’? The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishes a number of rights related to legal proceedings, including that no one “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” In the most direct sense, that means criminal defendants don’t have to give damning testimony in their own cases. But it has come to apply in non-criminal contexts, too. WHAT’S THE THINKING BEHIND IT? “It reflects many of our fundamental values and...
    Former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA), who owes roughly $220,000 in attorney fees to two news outlets and two conservative journalists after an unsuccessful lawsuit in a California state court, has filed for bankruptcy, the Los Angeles Times reports. In 2019, the openly bisexual Hill resigned in disgrace after reporters uncovered she was engaged in a “throuple” relationship with her former husband, Kenny Heslep, and Morgan Desjardins, one of her former staffers. In the weeks leading up to Hill’s resignation, the Daily Mail and Red State covered Hill’s “throuple” and published nude photographs of the former congresswoman brushing another woman’s hair. These photographs and reports caused the House Ethics Committee to investigate Hill’s allegedly improper sexual relationship with a male congressional staffer. However, the Ethics Committee investigation did not finish, as Hill resigned from Congress before its conclusion. Disgraced former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) has sued her ex-husband and media outlets RedState and the Daily Mail. https://t.co/4nCu7XljBD — Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 25, 2020 Hill later sued the journalists and news outlets involved in the reporting, arguing they violated her right to privacy. However, a California...
    NEW YORK -- Three people were charged Tuesday in an alleged conspiracy involving the handwritten lyrics to the classic rock juggernaut "Hotel California" and other hits by the Eagles.Prosecutors said the defendants, despite knowing the material was stolen, lied to auction houses and buyers about the manuscripts' origins.An indictment filed in state court in Manhattan accuses Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski of plotting to possess Don Henley's notes and lyrics for songs that also included "Life in the Fast Lane" and "New Kid In Town," altogether valued at more than $1 million.The men pleaded not guilty through their lawyers at the arraignment. They were released without bail."The DA's office alleges criminality where none exists and unfairly tarnishes the reputations of well-respected professionals," the attorneys said in a statement. "We will fight these unjustified charges vigorously. These men are innocent."In a statement, the Eagles thanked prosecutors for bringing a case that exposes "the truth about music memorabilia sales of highly personal, stolen items hidden behind a facade of legitimacy."It called the items "an integral part of the legacy Don...
    SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Seven defendants, all from South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, were charged in two separate indictments related to a drug trafficking operation that spanned nearly two years, prosecutors said Friday. The defendants were: READ MORE: 'They Said He Lacks Empathy': Parole Denied For Manson Follower Bruce Davis For Slayings In 1969Wendy Labuda, 64, of South Lake Tahoe Epifanio Ramirez, 47, of South Lake Tahoe Sarah Anderson, 32, of South Lake Tahoe Fabian Gomez, 33, of South Lake Tahoe Joaleen Rogers, 53, of South Lake Tahoe Robert Choate, 38, of South Lake Tahoe William Owen, 47, of Sacramento All but Choate were charged in one indictment with counts, including distribution of meth and heroin, specific to each person, U.S. Attorney Philip A. Talbert announced. Choate was charged in a separate indictment with distribution of methamphetamine and heroin, as part of the same investigation. READ MORE: Yosemite Wildfire Is Latest Threat To Giant Sequoia TreesBetween August 2020 and May 2022, all seven individuals sold methamphetamine and heroin in and around the South Lake Tahoe region, prosecutors said. Some of the...
    A federal grand jury indicted five men in Brooklyn this week for allegedly participating in a “transnational repression scheme” orchestrated by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to silence critics of the communist country in the United States. According to the Justice Department, one of the defendants currently serves as a federal law enforcement officer while another is a retired federal law enforcement officer. “Among other items, these defendants allegedly plotted to destroy the artwork of a PRC national residing in Los Angeles, who was critical of the PRC government and planted surveillance equipment in the artist’s workplace and car to spy on him from the PRC,” said the DOJ press release. Fan “Frank” Liu and Matthew Ziburis of the PRC were arrested in March while another collaborator, Qiang “Jason” Sun, remains at large. Liu and Ziburis were arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint in March 2022, while Sun remains at large. The indictment this week added two new defendants, Craig Miller and Derrick Taylor, both of whom worked in federal law enforcement. Per the press release: Miller is a 15-year employee...
    Five men were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday for an alleged "transnational repression" scheme to target United States residents critical of China, according to the Justice Department. Among the defendants were a deportation officer for the Department of Homeland Security and a retired DHS law enforcement officer who worked as a private investigator. Four of the five defendants had been arrested and charged with various crimes in the U.S. Eastern District of New York Court. One remains at large. CHINA DENIES FBI AND MI5 ALLEGATIONS OF ESPIONAGE AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT “As alleged, this case involves a multifaceted campaign to silence, harass, discredit and spy on U.S. residents for exercising their freedom of speech — aided by a current federal law enforcement officer and a private investigator who provided confidential information about U.S. residents from a restricted law enforcement database, and when confronted about their improper conduct, lied and destroyed evidence,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement. Three of the defendants had been charged in...
    Gosh, why would D.C. feel like it had been attacked? It seems that facing consequences for their actions isn’t something that many Jan. 6 insurrectionists are familiar with. “D.C. is a city that, as a whole, feels that it has been the victim of a crime,” the defense attorneys in two of the Oath Keepers’ trials argued in court. As if their clients were not actually traitorous criminals who were caught in the act on live, national television. So far, prosecutors and judges are not swayed. “In any U.S. jurisdiction, most prospective jurors will have heard about the events of January 6, and many will have various disqualifying biases,” U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan wrote in denying one request. Finding an impartial jury in Washington, D.C., is not impossible. It’s been done. The real problem for the defendants is that they’re being convicted, even as potential jurors are disqualified. As this report from AP details, so far 838 people have been charged in the insurrection, and 335 convicted on charges ranging from “low-level misdemeanors to felony seditious conspiracy.” One has been acquitted, while...
    GENOA, Italy (AP) — Fifty-nine people went on trial Thursday for the 2018 collapse of Genoa’s Morandi bridge, accused of manslaughter and other charges in the deaths of 43 people. The defendants include former executives and experts of the company that manages many of Italy’s bridges and highways, as well as former officials of the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. A huge section of the Morandi Bridge broke off during a violent rainstorm on Aug. 14, 2018, when highways were packed with vacationers, sending cars plunging into the dry riverbed below. Prosecutors have alleged the defendants knew the bridge, which was built in the 1960s, was at risk of collapsing and that corners were cut on maintenance to save money. The bridge’s designer had recommended regular upkeep to remove rust, especially due to the corrosive effect of moist air from the nearby Ligurian Sea, and maintenance to counter the effect of pollution on concrete. In April, a Genoa judge approved plea bargain requests by both the highway company, Autostrade per Italia, and the Spea engineering company, to pay...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — For some of the Washington, D.C., residents who reported for jury duty last month, a pro-Trump mob’s assault on the U.S. Capitol felt like a personal attack. Ahead of a trial for a Michigan man charged in the riot, one prospective juror said a police officer injured during the melee is a close friend. Another has friends who are congressional staffers or journalists who worked at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. A woman whose boyfriend lived near the Capitol recalled the terror she felt that day. None of them served on the federal jury that swiftly convicted Anthony Robert Williams of storming the Capitol to obstruct Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. But their personal connections to the riot highlight the challenge facing judges and attorneys in choosing impartial jurors in Washington to decide the hundreds of criminal cases stemming from the insurrection — especially as lawmakers hold high-profile public hearings on the insurrection less than a mile from the courthouse. One of the most serious cases brought by the Justice Department in...
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A trial in a lawsuit accusing three major U.S. drug distributors of causing a health crisis throughout West Virginia was postponed Tuesday, a day after the companies prevailed in another case in the state. Attorneys who represented Cabell County and the city of Huntington on the losing end of a verdict announced in federal court Monday were granted a continuance of a trial a day later in Kanawha County Circuit Court. The trial involves more than 100 other cities and counties statewide against the same defendants: AmerisourceBergen Drug Co., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. Attorneys for the municipalities and the companies met in the judge’s chambers just prior to the start of the hearing. Once in the courtroom, attorneys for the plaintiffs asked that the start of the trial be continued. The defense had no objections and the request was approved. In the federal bench trial, U.S. District Judge David Faber said the plaintiffs offered no evidence that the companies distributed controlled substances to any entity that didn’t hold a proper registration from the Drug...
    Five members of La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, were convicted Friday by a federal jury for their roles in the kidnapping and murder of two teenage boys in 2016, according to the U.S. State’s Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. According to a news release, MS-13 gang members Elmer Zelaya Martinez, Ronald Herrera Contreras, Henry Zelaya Martinez, Pablo Velasco Barrera and Duglas Ramirez Ferrera, along with their co-conspirators, targeted a 17-year-old boy from Falls Church, Virginia, who they “erroneously” suspected was a member of a rival gang. The first incident happened on Aug. 28, 2016, where the gang lured him to Holmes Run Stream Valley Park in Fairfax County under the pretense there “was going to be a gang meeting.” Instead, in a wooded area of the park, MS-13 gang members “restrained, attacked, and killed him, stabbing and chopping him more than 100 times with knives, a machete, and a pickax.” Afterward, the gang broke one of his legs “so that his body would fit into the pre-dug hole” that was nearby, according to the release. The second...
    The defense, on the other hand, has long alleged that the plot to kidnap Whitmer was actually the result of FBI entrapment and that FBI agents involved in the group known as Wolverine Watchmen goaded the suspects into doing and saying things they otherwise wouldn't have said or done. The defense also alleged that three FBI agents associated with the case were compromised, and the prosecution never put any of those three agents on the stand. The new trial for Fox and Croft will begin on August 9, and federal prosecutors estimate that it should last about two weeks. In the original trial, the federal government argued that the four suspects — outraged over Whitmer's response to COVID — plotted to kidnap the governor at her vacation home, place her in a boat off the shore of Lake Michigan, and then either kill her or take her to Wisconsin to put her on "trial."
    Sixteen people are facing various charges stemming from the gang-related distribution of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine in Connecticut and other areas in the region. A federal grand jury returned the 27-count indictment charging the defendants on Wednesday, June 8, according to an announcement from Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States attorney for the District of Connecticut, on Tuesday, June 28. The US Attorney's Office said the following people were charged: Luis Feliciano, age 38, of East Hartford Jose Tirado, age 41, of Hartford Carl Jones, age 41, of Hartford Luis Robles, age 25, of Hartford Roberto Diaz, age 52, of West Hartford Milton Rosario, age 39, of Hartford Angel Delgado, age 58, of Hartford Martin Maldonado, age 33, of Hartford Jeremy Ozuna, age 27, of New Jersey Robert Valle, age 58, of Schenectady, New York Marsha Watson, age 33, of Bangor, Maine Devin Texira, age 25, of Hartford Joshua Rodriguez, age 31, of Hartford Joel Deleon Jr., age 41, of Hartford Heriberto Mendez, age 43, of Hartford Christopher Gilliard, age 34, of Hartford The indictment alleges that Feliciano and some...
    By Nicolas Vaux-Montgomery and Barbara Surk | Associated Press PARIS — A special French court on Wednesday found 20 men guilty of involvement in the Islamic State terrorist attacks on the Bataclan theater, Paris cafes and France’s national stadium in 2015 that killed 130 people in the deadliest peacetime attacks in French history. The chief suspect and only survivor of the 10-member team of extremists, Salah Abdeslam, was found guilty of murder and attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise, among other charges. He faces up to life in prison without parole, the toughest sentence in France. Presiding judge Jean-Louis Peries read the verdicts in a courthouse surrounded by unprecedented security, wrapping up a nine-month trial. Of the defendants besides Abdeslam, 18 were handed various terrorism-related convictions, and one was convicted on a lesser fraud charge. The sentencing is expected later Wednesday. Over the course of the nine-month trial, Abdeslam proclaimed his radicalism, wept, apologized to victims and pleaded with judges to forgive his “mistakes.” For victims’ families and survivors of the attacks, the trial has been excruciating yet...
    After a 24-day trial, a federal jury in the Middle District of Florida convicted two individuals for their roles in a conspiracy that fraudulently billed approximately $1.4 billion for laboratory testing services in a sophisticated pass-through billing scheme involving rural hospitals. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Jorge Perez, 62, and Ricardo Perez, 59, both of Miami, Florida, conspired with each other and others to unlawfully bill for approximately $1.4 billion of laboratory testing services which were medically unnecessary, and that fraudulently used rural hospitals as billing shells to submit claims for services that mostly were performed at outside laboratories. Jorge Perez and Ricardo Perez also committed health care fraud on five specific occasions, and conspired to launder the proceeds of this fraudulent scheme. “These defendants preyed on and exploited the vulnerable – vulnerable hospitals, vulnerable underserved communities, and vulnerable patients seeking treatment for addiction – to line their own pockets,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “We will...