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Archive for March, 2019

Mueller Team Funded Through September

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is funded through the end of September if necessary, Reuters reports.

The funding wasn’t addressed in the budget requests for the next government fiscal year issued by the White House and Justice Department on Monday because Mueller’s office is financed by the U.S. Treasury under special regulations issued by the Justice Department, Reuters reports.

“The Special Counsel is funded by the Independent Counsel appropriation, a permanent indefinite appropriation established in the Department’s 1988 Appropriations Act,” a Justice Department spokesman said.

 

McCabe’s Book: Session Said Bureau Was Better Off With All Irish Men. ‘They Were Drunks But They Could Be Trusted ‘

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe paints a very unflattering portrait of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his new book.

McCabe writes that Sessions didn’t read intelligence reports, mixed up classified material with what he had seen in newspaper clips and was confused about the structure and purpose of organizations, the Washington Post reports. He also blamed immigrants for nearly every societal problem and uttered racist sentiments with shocking callousness.

Session also made some unflattering remarks about the bureau, once saying it was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen. They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?”

Secret Service Agent Robert DeProspero, Fierce Protector of Presidents, Dies at 80

Robert DeProspero

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Robert DeProspero who became the Secret Service agent in charge of Reagan’s protection after the 1981 assassination attempt, died last Monday in Scottsdale, Arizona at age 80, the New York Times reports. He suffered from was amyloidosis, a rare disease in which an abnormal protein is deposited in tissues and organs.

After taking over the Reagan detail he added measures to shore up the president’s safety, the Times reports.

“There’s no question that if you made a wrong move or did not do what you were supposed to do, it would ruin your life, your family’s life, and would ruin anyone who was associated with you,” he told The Associated Press in 1985.

In a video message to agents in 1984, he said: “I don’t ever care about being criticized for overdoing as long as we consider security our first priority. We can’t afford to let up.”

In all, he protected five presidents.

Ex-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe Shocked by Manafort’s ‘Lenient’ Sentence

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he was stunned by the “incredibly lenient sentence”  ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort received in Alexandria, Va. last Thursday.

“Well, I was really surprised by the sentence he was given,” McCabe told Face the Nation. “I think it was an incredibly lenient sentence.”

“Like most people, I was shocked,” he added.

Manafort got 47-months in prison, far short of the 19-24 years suggested in sentencing guidelines.

Ex-Detroit U.S. Attorney on Manfort’s Sentence: ‘It Reflects The Class and Racial Disparities That Exist In The Criminal-Justice System’

U.S. Attorney McQuade

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Outrage is voiced about a 47-month prison sentence for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, whose federeal penalty for bank and insurance frauds falls far short of the 19-24 years suggested in sentencing guidelines. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III on Thursday called the guidelines “vindictive” and “way out of whack.”

But ex-Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, who now teaches law at the University of Michigan, sees something far more troubling than the judge did. She thinks class and racism are at play, and that Manafort may have benefited from being a privileged white guy.

She writes in The Daily Beast:

In the case of Manafort, I believe that the drastic variance from the guidelines range has little to do with Manafort’s connections to Trump, though Judge Ellis openly expressed hostility to the special counsel and its prosecution of Manafort throughout the case. Instead, I think it reflects the class and racial disparities that exist in the criminal-justice system.

As a former federal prosecutor, I have often seen white-collar defendants receive sentences below the calculated guidelines range. This practice sends a terrible message that wealthy and powerful defendants are treated differently than other defendants. I didn’t see many drastic drops from the guidelines in sentences for indigent defendants.

During his sentencing hearing, the closest Manafort came to contrition was saying that he felt shame and suggesting he had already been punished. This is a common trope from white-collar crime defendants, who suggest that they don’t need to go to prison because their loss of income and status in the community is punishment enough. They submit letters of support that their expensive lawyers have billed many hours gathering from prominent people to praise their good works.

Indigent defendants, on the other hand, don’t receive leniency because they have suffered harm to their status in their community. Their overworked court-appointed lawyers don’t have the resources to collect letters, nor do the defendants know the kinds of prominent people who might persuade a judge to impose a lower sentence. We fill our prisons for lengthy periods of incarceration with disadvantaged people with few economic opportunities, but defendants whose crimes are motivated by nothing more than greed are the ones who get a break. The sentence imposed by Judge Ellis appears to reflect that tendency.

Weekend Series on Crime: The Albanian Drug Cartels

Fed Judge in Virginia Defends Lighter Sentence for Paul Manafort

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III,  a curmudgeonly fellow who’s not shy about speaking his mind, defended his sentencing Thursday of ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. He gave him 48 months, far less than the 20 years Manafort faced under sentencing guidelines.

Speaking before a packed courtroom in Alexandria, Va., he said that anyone who didn’t think the punishment was tough enough should “go and spend a day, a week in jail or in the federal penitentiary. He has to spend 47 months,” according to a report in the Washington Post.

Ellis, who was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, called that guidelines calculation “excessive.”

San Jose Man Charged With Posing As DEA Agent; Pulled Over Motorists

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 49-year-old San Jose man is charged with impersonating a DEA agent after he allegedly donned a gold badge and used a Volkswagen Jetta equipped with police lights to stop drivers, including an actual government official, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Authorities arrested Alex E. Taylor last weekend outside his home.

Taylor first came to the attention of federal authorities on Christmas Eve, when he pulled over a U.S. Department of Transportation official at Chelsea and Stratford drives in San Jose, the FBI alleged in an affidavit by agent Jason Cheng.  Taylor was wearing a DEA badge around his neck and identified himself as a DEA agent. He asked the official why she was in such a hurry.

The official said she was heading to church, then reportedly said:

“DEA, huh?” the official reportedly asked Taylor. “Since when does DEA make vehicle stops?”

Taylor insisted he had the authority to issue a ticket. Taylor then told the official to have a nice day and drove off.

The paper reported:

A break in the case came on Feb. 12, when DEA Special Agent Casey Rettig learned that an off-duty Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy had witnessed a Jetta with red and blue lights stop a tow truck on Highway 17 in November 2018, Cheng wrote. The lights, the deputy noted, did not appear to be of the law enforcement variety.