Saturday Reads: Steubenville News, Democrats’ Latest Cave, Plus Villager Snits and Fits


Good Morning!!

There is some news coming out of Steubenville, Ohio in the buildup to the the grand jury investigation, which begins hearing from witnesses on Tuesday.

From The Columbus Dispatch: School, other sites searched in wider Steubenville rape probe

Police officers and investigators yesterday were searching the eastern Ohio high school attended by two football players who raped a 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

Searches also took place at Vestige Ltd., a digital-evidence company in northeastern Ohio, and the offices of the Steubenville school board in addition to Steubenville High School, DeWine said. The searches are part of an attempt to learn whether other laws were broken in connection with the rape.

“What I hope people will believe when we’re done is that we did everything we could to find the truth and that justice was done,” DeWine said in an interview. “What you’re seeing today is just part of that effort.”

Using warrants, police officers and investigators began the searches about 2 p.m. and possibly would work into the night, DeWine said. There was no immediate word on what the searches turned up…

Judges sealed investigators’ requests for the search warrants at the request of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, ruling that disclosing them “would be detrimental to the ongoing criminal investigation,” according to the judges’ orders.

Investigators leaving Steubenville High School on Thursday with documents, servers, and computers (Atlantic Wire)

Investigators leaving Steubenville High School on Thursday with documents, servers, and computers (Atlantic Wire)

The Atlantic Wire asks: What Is Steubenville Still Hiding?

Toward the end of the school day Thursday, more than eight months after a Steubenville Big Red pre-season game turned into a serious of house parties and a series of attacks on a 16-year-old girl, local police and investigators showed up — as if out of nowhere — at Steubenville High. They stayed on campus into the night, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told the Associated Press, executing search warrants that were either new or unheard of — and certainly fascinating. “Steubenville Police assisted the Attorney General in the search warrants,” said William McCafferty,  the local police chief who “begged” for evidence when the initial crime was reported. Officials for Steubenville city schools, who have been publicly silent (save for one brief statement) since that fateful August night that brought a social media and judicial storm upon the Ohio town, confirmed the search in a a statement released Friday reading in part that “we have been from the beginning and are continuing to fully cooperate with the authorities in this investigation.”

But this is a new investigation, and this week’s search appears to have an urgency of its own, as DeWine’s grand jury prepares to convene on Tuesday. The attorney general said the searches at Steubenville city schools were “just part of that effort” — an effort he announced after two Steubenville High students and football players, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were found guilty of rape. “We cannot bring finality to this matter without the convening of a grand jury,” DeWine said at the time. “I anticipate numerous witnesses will be called. The grand jury, quite frankly, could meet for a number of days.”

Grand juries, by their nature, are conducted in secret, and the warrants executed on Thursday remain sealed — and so it remains unclear whether investigators were searching computers, paperwork, or physical evidence. DeWine has said the grand jury will be looking for, among other things, at the crimes of failure to report a felony, tampering with evidence. DeWine explained that “indictments could be returned and additional charges could be filed” in light of the jury, the nine members of which were seated last week but will begin hearing testimony and reviewing evidence on April 30. He alsocalled the grand jury “a very good investigative tool as well as a very deliberative body,” which makes the timing of the school search all the more interesting.

It sounds like this could get interesting. Personally, I’m hoping Coach Reno Saccoccia gets his comeuppance.

Yesterday, Democrats in Congress once again allowed Republicans to treat them like doormats when they voted to ease sequestration “pain” for the mostly wealthy frequent flyers.

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Crack of Dawn Tuesday Open Thread: Did They or Didn’t They?

Luntz gingrich

Good Morning Early Birds!!

I’ll have a Tuesday Reads post up a little later on, but here’s something to get you started.

Remember when we learned about what some Republican leaders were doing on the night of President Obama’s Inauguration in 2009? They met at a dinner organized by Frank Luntz in which they planned how they would thwart Obama’s agenda by obstructing every single initiative he brought forward. Robert Draper revealed it in his book on the U.S. House of Representatives, Do Not Ask What Good We Do.

From The Daily Beast:

On the night of Barack Obama’s inauguration, Republican leaders met in a private dining room at an expensive Washington, D.C., steakhouse to plot their comeback. It was a mix of congressmen and senators with three others added to diversify the gathering of white men. Pollster Frank Luntz, right-wing journalist Fred Barnes, and former speaker (and soon-to-be former presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich. Gingrich gave the opening remarks and gave tactical advice throughout, including a suggestion for Republicans to target the tax problems of New York Democrat Charlie Rangel. At the end of the night, Gingrich proclaimed, “You will remember this day. You’ll remember this as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown.”

Fortunately, Gingrich was wrong about that. Now Jason Horowitz of the Washington Post reports that Luntz tried to get the old gang together again last night.

Luntz is apparently trying to get some of the band back together, according to the office of Sen. Ronald H. Johnson (R-Wis.). This year’s strategy session will not be held in one of the private salons of the Caucus Room, much to the chagrin of Cristina Cravedi, the restaurant’s special-events coordinator, who said all the attention to the last banquet “was good for business.” Luntz, along with former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour (R) and power lawyer Tom Boggs, is an investor in the Caucus Room.

On Sunday, a few minutes after chatting with Obama confidant David Axelrod at Cafe Milano, Luntz declined to confirm or deny this year’s dinner. But he claimed that the depiction of his dinner four years ago was inaccurate. “There was never a conversation about how to make Obama look bad; that was never part of it,” he said…

Texas Rep. Pete Sessions hinted that such a meeting might happen.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), who attended the last dinner (“The first question was, ‘Are you going to accept the fate that falls your way? No!’ ”), said that he again planned to dine with Cantor and Jim Jordan, a conservative Ohio representative who was forced to apologize for lobbying colleagues to oppose House Speaker John A. Boehner’s debt plan. “There will be another one of those and it will be equally expressive,” he said of the dinner. (Asked whether he meant the Luntz dinner, he said, “I’m not going to spill those beans. I’m going to let you call Frank.”)

Others who attended last year’s dinner said they’d be meeting in smaller groups.

“We’ll find some Mexican restaurant somewhere,” said Coburn, who plans to discuss the debt limit with his friends, GOP Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Richard Burr of North Carolina). Others are legally barred from breaking bread (“The crazy ethics rules will keep me from meeting with any members,” said Republican former senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who now heads up the Heritage Foundation. “We’ll just stay away for now.”

Did they or didn’t they? What is their plan this time? What enterprising reporter will get the lowdown on the meeting?

Remember, this is an open thread!