Thursday Reads: The Wheels of Justice
Posted: April 13, 2023 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: abortion rights, Blind Justice, Criminal Justice System, Donald Trump | Tags: Aric Toler, Jack Smith, Jack Teixeira, Letitia James, Michael Cohen, mifepristone, Peter Navarro, Special Counsel, Thug Shaker Central |
Lady Justice, by Laura Pierre Louis
Good Day, Sky Dancers!!
“The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.” No one knows the source for this quote–one candidates is Sun Tzu and another is Sextus Empricus. But it looks like that is what is happening now in the many legal investigations of Donald Trump. Frankly, I’ve let go of frustration over how slowly the wheels are turning, because I believe there is progress being made. I’m not convinced Trump will ever go to prison, but I think he will finally pay a price for his crimes against our country. Here’s the latest:
The New York Times: Trump to Face Questioning Thursday in N.Y. Attorney General’s Lawsuit.
Donald J. Trump is set to be questioned under oath on Thursday in a civil fraud lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, the latest in a series of legal predicaments entangling the former president, who also faces a separate 34-count criminal indictment unsealed last week.
Ms. James’s civil case, which was filed in September and is expected to go to trial later this year, accuses Mr. Trump, his family business and three of his children of a “staggering” fraud for overvaluing the former president’s assets by billions of dollars. The lawsuit seeks $250 million that it contends they reaped through those deceptions, made in Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements — and asks a judge to essentially run him out of business in the state if he is found liable at trial.
Ms. James’s office plans to question Mr. Trump as part of the discovery phase of the case, in preparation for the trial.
The former president, who spent the night at his Manhattan residence in Trump Tower, arrived at the attorney general’s office shortly before 10 a.m. As a crowd chanted “New York hates you,” Mr. Trump’s motorcade drove into the parking garage underneath the office building at 28 Liberty Street….
This is the second time that lawyers for Ms. James, a Democrat, are questioning Mr. Trump under oath: He also sat for a deposition in the summer of 2022, shortly before the attorney general filed her lawsuit. During that deposition, Mr. Trump lashed out at Ms. James, accusing her of being motivated by politics and then invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination hundreds of times over the course of four hours.
Depositions are held in private, so the specifics of his testimony will not be immediately known. But as of Wednesday evening, Mr. Trump was not expected to assert his Fifth Amendment right, people familiar with his thinking said.
Because he was in the White House or on the campaign trail for several years — and no longer running his company — Mr. Trump might try to avoid providing direct answers to Ms. James’s questions, instead giving insubstantial responses. He might say, for example, that he does not recall a particular incident or was not present for it. He could also claim that he delegated the valuation of his assets to employees.
Trump vented his anger and frustration in ugly, deranged posts on his Twitter clone, Truth Social. Examples:
This man belongs in a rubber room!
Special Counsel Jack Smith is moving rapidly in his January 6 and stolen documents investigations. The Washington Post reports that Smith is looking into Trump’s fundraising using lies about election fraud: Special counsel focuses on Trump fundraising off false election claims.
Federal prosecutors probing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol have in recent weeks sought a wide range of documents related to fundraising after the 2020 election, looking to determine if former president Donald Trump or his advisers scammed donors by using false claims about voter fraud to raise money, eight people familiar with the new inquiries said.
Franco/Flemish School; Justice; The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology; unknown British artist
Special counsel Jack Smith’s office has sentsubpoenas in recent weeks to Trump advisers and former campaign aides, Republican operatives and other consultants involved in the 2020 presidential campaign, the people said. They have also heard testimony from some of these figures in front of a Washington grand jury, some of the people said.
The eight people with knowledge of the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing criminal investigation.
The fundraising prong of the investigation is focused on money raised during the period between Nov. 3, 2020, and the end of Trump’s time in office on Jan. 20, 2o21, and prosecutors are said to be interested in whether anyone associated with the fundraising operation violated wire fraud laws, which make it illegal to make false representations over email to swindle people out of money.
The new subpoenas received since the beginning of March, which have not been previously reported, show the breadth of Smith’s investigation, as Trump embarks on a campaign for reelection while assailing the special counsel investigation and facing charges of falsifying business records in New York and a separate criminal investigation in Georgia.
The subpoenas seek more specific types of communications so that prosecutors can compare what Trump allies and advisers were telling one another privately about the voter-fraud claims with what they were saying publicly in appeals that generated more than $200 million in donations from conservatives, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.
Read more at the WaPo.
Trump is hilariously suing Michael Cohen for $500 million for violating a nondisclosure agreement. Raw Story: Trump accidentally admits Michael Cohen told the truth in his new lawsuit: Legal expert.
Former President Donald Trump is launching a $500 million lawsuit against his former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, alleging that he violated attorney-client privilege when he issued a tell-all book about the hush payment he helped Trump faciliate to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
But that claim doesn’t make any sense for Trump, said former Manhattan prosecutor Karen Friedman Agnifilo on CNN’s “OutFront” on Wednesday — because it implicitly requires Trump to admit that everything Cohen said, which he is now denying by pleading not guilty to criminal charges against him in New York, is actually true.
“When you look at this, Trump is alleging that Michael Cohen broke attorney-client privilege, he’s talking about all these falsehoods that he put out there,” said anchor Erica Hill. “Is there a legal merit here? I mean, does he have a case?
“It’s an interesting case here because, on the one hand, he’s saying everything is false, right?” said Agnifilo. “So if he was breaching attorney-client privilege, you’re doing that by telling things that were said to you in confidence. But so, is he saying things that Michael Cohen is saying are true because I told him in confidence, and now he’s breached that privilege? Or is he saying that the things are false? Because if they’re false, why didn’t he bring a defamation claim? So it kind of makes no sense.
“It really reads to me like he’s just trying to put his defense in the criminal case out and try and get his statements out there in the court of public opinion.”
She added: “I also think it’s worth noting that there is a little bit of witness intimidation going on here as well. And he’s just using the court system like he seems to want to do, by going after his foes and adversaries.”
Politico: Appeals court rejects Peter Navarro’s bid to retain hundreds of presidential records.
A federal appeals court panel on Wednesday rejected a bid by former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro to retain hundreds of government records despite a judge’s order to return them promptly to the National Archives.
“There is no public interest in Navarro’s retention of the records, and Congress has recognized that the public has an interest in the Nation’s possession and retention of Presidential records,” the three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in a unanimous two-page order.
The Justice Department sued Navarro last year, seeking to reclaim hundreds of records — contained in Navarro’s personal ProtonMail account — that the government said should have been returned to the National Archives after the Trump administration came to an end in January 2021.
Justica Justice, by Fabiano Millani
Navarro acknowledged that at least 200 to 250 records in his possession belong to the government, but he contended that no mechanism exists to enforce that requirement — and that doing so might violate his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected that claim, ordering Navarro to promptly return the records he had identified as belonging to the government.
But Navarro appealed the decision, rejecting the notion that the Justice Department had any legitimate mechanism to force him to return the records. And he urged the court to stay Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling while his appeal was pending. But the appeals court panel — which included Judges Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins, both appointees of President Barack Obama, and Judge Neomi Rao, an appointee of President Donald Trump — rejected Navarro’s stay request.
Within minutes, Kollar-Kotelly put the squeeze on Navarro, ordering him to turn over the 200 to 250 records “on or before” Friday. She also ordered him to perform additional searches or presidential records that might be in his possession by May 8, with further proceedings scheduled for later in the month.
I’m not sure if these records are related to the January 6 investigation, but Navarro has claimed that giving them up will violate his Fifth Amendment rights.
The flurry of filings is the latest twist in a saga that began when the National Archives discovered that Navarro had relied on a ProtonMail account to do official government business — the result of a congressional investigation into the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Navarro is also trying to fend off criminal charges for defying a different congressional investigation — the probe by the Jan. 6 select committee — into his role in strategizing to help Trump overturn the results of the 2020 election. He faces charges for contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena issued by the select committee, a case that has been repeatedly delayed amid battles over executive privilege and immunity for presidential advisers.
In its brief order rejecting Navarro’s stay, the appeals court panel concluded that returning the documents would not violate Navarro’s protection against self-incrimination.
Allegory of Justic, by Gaetano Gandolfi
The wheels of justice are grinding slowly in the Trump investigations, but it looks like they are moving more quickly than the fight for women’s rights their own bodily autonomy. This decision makes no sense to me.
AP: Court preserves access to abortion pill but tightens rules.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal appeals court ruled that the abortion pill mifepristone can still be used for now but reduced the period of pregnancy when the drug can be taken and said it could not be dispensed by mail.
The decision late Wednesday temporarily narrowed a ruling by a lower court judge in Texas that had completely blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the nation’s most commonly used method of abortion. Still, preventing the pill from being sent by mail amounts to another significant curtailing of abortion access — less than a year after the reversal of Roe v. Wade resulted in more than a dozen states effectively banning abortion outright.
The case is likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We are going to continue to fight in the courts, we believe the law is on our side, and we will prevail,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday, speaking to reporters from Dublin during a visit by President Joe Biden.
Opponents that brought the Texas lawsuit against the drug last year cast the decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as a victory.
Abortion rights groups expressed relief that the FDA approval would remain in place for now but criticized the court for reinstating restrictions on the drug. Whole Woman’s Health, an abortion provider that operates six clinics in five states, said in a tweet they were continuing to offer mifepristone in clinics and through virtual services while reviewing the decision that came down shortly before midnight Wednesday.
For goddess sake! Just leave women alone to decide on their medical care in consultation with their doctors!! It’s time to ban Viagra, which is far more dangerous than Mifepristone.
In other news, the case of the leaked classified documents is moving rapidly. The New York Times has now named the leaker: Leader of Online Group Where Secret Documents Leaked Is Air National Guardsman.
The leader of a small online gaming chat group where a trove of classified U.S. intelligence documents leaked over the last few months is a 21-year-old member of the intelligence wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The New York Times.
The national guardsman, whose name is Jack Teixeira, oversaw a private online group named Thug Shaker Central, where about 20 to 30 people, mostly young men and teenagers, came together over a shared love of guns, racist online memes and video games.
Two U.S. officials confirmed that investigators want to talk to Airman Teixeira about the leak of the government documents to the private online group. One official said Airman Teixeira might have information relevant to the investigation.
Federal investigators have been searching for days for the person who leaked the top secret documents online but have not identified Airman Teixeira or anyone else as a suspect. The F.B.I. declined to comment.
Starting months ago, one of the users uploaded hundreds of pages of intelligence briefings into the small chat group, lecturing its members, who had bonded during the isolation of the pandemic, on the importance of staying abreast of world events.
The New York Times spoke with four members of the Thug Shaker Central chat group, one of whom said he has known the person who leaked for at least three years, had met him in person, and referred to him as the O.G. The friends described him as older than most of the group members, who were in their teens, and the undisputed leader. One of the friends said the O.G. had access to intelligence documents through his job.
While the gaming friends would not identify the group’s leader by name, a trail of digital evidence compiled by The Times leads to Airman Teixeira.
The Times has been able to link Airman Teixeira to other members of the Thug Shaker Central group through his online gaming profile and other records. Details of the interior of Airman Teixeira’s childhood home — posted on social media in family photographs — also match details on the margins of some of the photographs of the leaked secret documents.
The Times also has established, through social media posts and military records, that Airman Teixeira is enlisted in the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. Posts on the unit’s official Facebook page congratulated Airman Teixeira and colleagues for being promoted to Airman First Class in July 2022.
This is kind of funny, because The Washington Post claimed an exclusive in a story this morning that did not name the leaker: Leaker of U.S. secret documents worked on military base, friend says. But it really wasn’t an exclusive, because Aric Tolder reported the story at bellingcat first.
Now, he has the byline in the NYT story. Hahaha. Hooray for the underdog. He also plans to stay at bellingcat for now.
I imagine there will be more news breaking on this story today. I’ll be watching. Have a great Thursday everyone!!
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Horrific story of injustice out of Indiana:
Samuel Alito is the justice for the 5th Circuit, which is an abomination of an appeals court. They used the freaking Comstock Law, which means they’re declaring reproductive health, which will soon include birth control pills fucking immoral.
The Fifth Circuit’s chaotic new mifepristone decision, explained
Republican judges claim the power to second-guess the FDA’s scientific judgments.
By Ian Millhiser
Thanks for the great coverage today BB! No justice no fucking Peace!!!
Idiotic judges. What could possibly go wrong with thinking you know more than the expert in a totally different specialty?
If I had a nickel for every dude (and it’s almost always a dude) who thought because they had an education in one area that made them an expert on everything…I could buy an island and retire. (Yeah, I’m looking at you Neil deGrasse Tyson and Larry Summers.)
One of the most appalling things about the last 40 years or so has been the devaluing of actual expertise…even by people that have some limited claim to expertise in a given area and should fucking know better.
Happy Birthday to JJ!!!
Have your cake and eat it to JJ!!!!
Happy BIrthday, JJ!
Thank you💜💜💜 I’ve had the best birthday, our plumbing is all fucked up and we can’t use the toilets! Innit it wonderful!
It’s 80 degrees here today, so I’m testing out my air heat pump cooling. It seems to be working great!
That’s wonderful! I’m almost envious about the 80 degrees — we’re still in colder than average weather here, and have been since about January.
It will be 81 tomorrow and then back to the 50s.
This is basically saying “neener, neener, you can’t make me.” Lock him up!
The WaPo leak story just has “breaking,” not exclusive, tagged on its story when I checked right now, but no mention of Toler’s initially breaking the story. Not very professional.
They must have changed it. Exclusive was at the top in big letters when I posted. No, not professional at all.
They arrested the leaker.
The leaker was arrested at a home in Massachusetts. He is in the Massachusetts National Guard. He looks about 17. How did he get access to government secrets?
Ooops, posted without reloading and so hadn’t seen BB’s. Yes, something very sloppy — and dangerous — is going on.