Fabulous Friday Reads

Good Afternoon!!

The shoes keep dropping in the long effort by the judicial system to hold Trump accountable for his multitudinous crimes. Yesterday, Dakinikat wrote about the verdicts in the Proud Boys trial, the developments in E. Jean Carroll’s civil lawsuit against Trump for raping her in the 1990’s and defaming her when he was president, and the new investigation of whether surveillance tapes from the Mar-a-Lago stolen documents case were altered before being turned over to DOJ. She also wrote about the latest ProPublica revelations about Clarence Thomas and his billionaire sugar daddy Harlan Crow. Later Thursday, there were more developments in all four of these stories.

Merrick Garland made a public statement about the January 6 investigation yesterday afternoon. From the DOJ website: Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers a Statement Following the Jury Verdict in the Proud Boys Trial. Relevant excerpts:

Today, the Justice Department secured the conviction of four leaders of the Proud Boys for seditious conspiracy related to the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

In addition, those defendants and a fifth member of the Proud Boys were all convicted of felonies including obstructing Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election results and conspiring to prevent Congress and federal officers from discharging their duties.

The evidence presented at trial detailed the extent of the violence at the Capitol on January 6th and the central role these defendants played in setting into motion the unlawful events of that day.

Today’s verdict makes clear that the Justice Department will do everything in its power to defend the American people and American democracy….

We have secured the convictions of defendants who fought, punched, tackled, and even tased police officers who were defending the Capitol that day; who crushed one officer in a door and dragged another down a flight of stairs; who attacked law enforcement officers with chemical agents that burned their eyes and skin; and who assaulted officers with pipes, poles, and other dangerous or deadly weapons.

We have secured the convictions of defendants who obstructed the certification of a presidential election as well as the subsequent criminal investigation in the events of January 6th.

And now – after three trials – we have secured the convictions of leaders of both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers for seditious conspiracy – specifically conspiring to oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power.

Our work will continue.

“Our work will continue.” Trump should be shaking in his boots right now, because the importance of the conviction of Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio for seditious conspiracy is that he was not in the Capitol on January 6, or even in Washington DC. He was convicted because he was involved in the planning for the insurrection. Donald Trump, Mark Meadows, and other Trump pals and advisers also were not in the Capitol, but they were involved in planning for the day. Trump himself literally directed his followers to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” It’s also significant that the Proud Boys referred to Trump’s requests for their help throughout the trial.

From NPR: Jury convicts Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys on seditious conspiracy charge.

“Politics was no longer something for the debating floor or the voting booth,” prosecutor Conor Mulroe told jurors in his closing argument last week. “For them, politics meant actual physical violence. … And they liked it and they were good at it.” [….]

Tarrio and the other defendants, who have been held in federal custody in the course of the trial, face as many as 20 years in prison on the most serious charges against them.

Both prosecutors and defense lawyers played the jury a video of Trump calling on the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate, a moment that made the club jubilant and produced a flood of new membership inquiries.

Lawyers for Tarrio — who spent Jan. 6 in a Baltimore hotel room, but who monitored the action from afar — argued he was a mere “scapegoat” for the Justice Department and a far easier target.

“It was Donald Trump’s words, it was his motivation, it was his anger that caused what occurred on January 6 in your amazing and beautiful city,” defense attorney Nayib Hassan said. “They want to use Enrique Tarrio as a scapegoat for Donald Trump and those in power.”

But prosecutors reminded the jury that after a mob overtook the Capitol that day, Tarrio sent a message that read, “make no mistake, we did this.”

So the Proud Boys testified that they acted on Trump’s urging, and the jury convicted a participant in the conspiracy even though he wasn’t physically present during the commission of the crime.

Some news from the E. Jean Carroll case. Yesterday, Trump opened his big mouth and claimed he planned to cut short his trip to Ireland in order to confront Carroll in court. His attorney had already rested his case without any witnesses.

Raw Story: Trump and lawyer disagree if he is returning to ‘confront’ rape accuser.

Donald Trump on Thursday told reporters in Ireland he “has to” cut his trip short because he needs to “confront this woman” in court.

“This woman” is journalist E. Jean Carroll, who is suing the ex-president in a civil court case for rape and defamation.

“I’m going back to New York. I was falsely accused by this woman, I have no idea who she is – it’s ridiculous,” Trump said, according to the Irish Examiner. “I’ll be going back early because a woman made a claim that is totally false, it’s fake.”

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan for weeks had been trying to get Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, to let the court know whether or not the ex-president would appear in court and whether or not he would testify….

“I have to go back,” Trump told reporters in Ireland, the New York Daily News adds, “and confront this woman.”

“I have to leave early,” he added. “I don’t have to but I choose to.”

But the Daily News adds, “Trump’s own defense lawyer Joe Tacopina confirmed the ex-president will not attend the civil rape trial, which is expected to wrap up early next week.” [….]

“It’s called false accusations against a rich guy,” Trump complained, “or in my case, against a famous, rich, and political person.”

Judge Kaplan decided to call Trump’s bluff and give him an opportunity to reverse his lawyer’s decision to end the defense case. He gave Trump until 5PM on Sunday to petition the court to allow him to testify. Yahoo News: Judge gives Trump until Sunday to change his mind about testifying in his rape and defamation

Lawyers for the prosecution and defense both rested their case Thursday in the rape and defamation lawsuit brought against former President Donald Trump by writer E. Jean Carroll, but testimony in the case may not yet be over.

Judge Lewis Kaplan said late Thursday that he would give Trump until 5 p.m. Sunday evening to change his mind about taking the witness stand in his own defense to rebut Carroll’s testimony that he raped her in a changing room in the Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s and then lied about it. If Trump decides to testify, his lawyers must file a motion to reopen the case “for the sole purpose of testifying,” the judge said. Kaplan clarified that he will not necessarily grant the motion, simply that he would consider it.

In response to questions from the judge, Trump attorney Joe Tacopina said that he had communicated to his client that he had the right to appear in court and testify in the civil case, and that Trump had voluntarily waived that right. Tacopina told the judge he last spoke to Trump about this matter shortly before entering the courtroom earlier that morning.

But hours earlier, Trump spoke to members of the media at one of his golf courses in Ireland and indicated he was considering returning to the United States to participate in the trial….

If Trump’s lawyers fail to file a motion to reopen the case before the Sunday deadline, Kaplan said, “that ship has irrevocably sailed.”

And new today, the entire Trump deposition was released in a court filing, according to CNBC. See also this story on the deposition at the New York Times: In Rape Trial Deposition, Trump Says Vulgar Tape Simply Reflects Truth.

The latest on the documents investigation–there is now an insider witness! From the New York Times: Justice Dept. Intensifying Efforts to Determine if Trump Hid Documents.

Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of classified documents have obtained the confidential cooperation of a person who has worked for him at Mar-a-Lago, part of an intensifying effort to determine whether Mr. Trump ordered boxes containing sensitive material moved out of a storage room there as the government sought to recover it last year, multiple people familiar with the inquiry said.

Through a wave of new subpoenas and grand jury testimony, the Justice Department is moving aggressively to develop a fuller picture of how the documents Mr. Trump took with him from the White House were stored, who had access to them, how the security camera system at Mar-a-Lago works and what Mr. Trump told aides and his lawyers about what material he had and where it was, the people said.

At the heart of the inquiry is whether Mr. Trump sought to hide some documents after the Justice Department issued a subpoena last May demanding their return.

The existence of an insider witness, whose identity has not been disclosed, could be a significant step in the investigation, which is being overseen by Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. The witness is said to have provided investigators with a picture of the storage room where the material had been held. Little else is known about what prosecutors might have learned from the witness or when the witness first began to provide information to the prosecutors.

But prosecutors appear to be trying to fill in some gaps in their knowledge about the movement of the boxes, created in part by their handling of another potentially key witness, Mr. Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta. Prosecutors believe Mr. Nauta has failed to provide them with a full and accurate account of his role in any movement of boxes containing the classified documents.

In the past few weeks, at least four more Mar-a-Lago employees have been subpoenaed, along with another person who had visibility into Mr. Trump’s thinking when he first returned material to the National Archives, according to people briefed on the matter. Two people said that nearly everyone who works at Mar-a-Lago has been subpoenaed, and that some who serve in fairly obscure jobs have been asked back by investigators.

Prosecutors have also issued several subpoenas to Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, seeking additional surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago, his residence and private club in Florida, people with knowledge of the matter said. While the footage could shed light on the movement of the boxes, prosecutors have questioned a number of witnesses about gaps in the footage, one of the people said.

But hoping to understand why some of the footage from the storage camera appears to be missing or unavailable — and whether that was a technological issue or something else — the prosecutors subpoenaed the software company that handles all of the surveillance footage for the Trump Organization, including at Mar-a-Lago.

There are gaps in the surveilance footage!! That is a BFD.

Also in the NYT story is this little nugget:

One of the previously unreported subpoenas to the Trump Organization sought records pertaining to Mr. Trump’s dealings with a Saudi-backed professional golf venture known as LIV Golf, which is holding tournaments at some of Mr. Trump’s golf resorts.

It is unclear what bearing Mr. Trump’s relationship with LIV Golf has on the broader investigation, but it suggests that the prosecutors are examining certain elements of Mr. Trump’s family business.

Did Trump share any of the stolen documents with the Saudis in return for the golf deal?

Finally, there is an updates in the Clarence Thomas corruption story. From The Washington Post: Judicial activist directed fees to Clarence Thomas’s wife, urged ‘no mention of Ginni.’

Conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo arranged for the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to be paid tens of thousands of dollars for consulting work just over a decade ago, specifying that her name be left off billing paperwork, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post.

In January 2012, Leo instructed the GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway to bill a nonprofit group he advises and use that money to pay Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the documents show. The same year, the nonprofit, the Judicial Education Project, filed a brief to the Supreme Court in a landmark voting rights case.

Leo, a key figure in a network of nonprofits that has worked to support the nominations of conservative judges, told Conway that he wanted her to “give” Ginni Thomas “another $25K,” the documents show. He emphasized that the paperwork should have “No mention of Ginni, of course.”

Conway’s firm, the Polling Company, sent the Judicial Education Project a $25,000 bill that day. Per Leo’s instructions, it listed the purpose as “Supplement for Constitution Polling and Opinion Consulting,” the documents show.

In all, according to the documents, the Polling Company paid Thomas’s firm, Liberty Consulting, $80,000 between June 2011 and June 2012, and it expected to pay $20,000 more before the end of 2012. The documents reviewed by The Post do not indicate the precise nature of any work Thomas did for the Judicial Education Project or the Polling Company.

The arrangement reveals that Leo, a longtime Federalist Society leader and friend of the Thomases, has functioned not only as an ideological ally of Clarence Thomas’s but also has worked to provide financial remuneration to his family. And it shows Leo arranging for the money to be drawn from a nonprofit that soon would have an interest before the court.

Clarence and Ginni certainly do have a lucrative racket going. Here’s Kellyanne’s “explanation.”

That’s finally it for me today. I hope I’ve found something you hadn’t already heard.

13 Comments on “Fabulous Friday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a great weekend, Sky Dancers!!

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      The woman on the right is Ivanna, lol. He didn’t recognize her either.

  4. dakinikat says:

    The Thomases are skeazeballs and the world would be a better place without them. Trump needs to be put in a padded room with no ability to be on any kind of media. He’s a clear and present danger via his ugly militia freaks. I’m so tired of these people!

    • quixote says:

      God. Are they ever. And as so many of us have said, if only there’d been some sign, an indication, any hint at all during Thomas’s confirmation hearings that he really wasn’t fit to be on the Supreme Court. ***cough*** Anita Hill ***cough***

  5. Great post BB, I still think there is secret docs buried with Ivanka. That was a full size coffin hole for an urn size cremated person. Lol

    • quixote says:

      I didn’t know she’d been cremated! And given how cheap the Dump is, no way he’d pay for a coffin any bigger than it had to be.

      So, yeah. Exhumation time.