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Archive for November, 2019

Former AG Jeff Sessions Running for His Old U.S. Senate Seat in Alabama

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he is running for his old U.S. Senate seat in Alabama.

“Our freedoms have never been under attack like they are today. We have major party candidates for President campaigning on socialism, confiscating firearms, and closing down churches they disagree with,” Sessions said in a news release. “I’ve battled these forces my entire life, and I’m not about to surrender now. Let’s go!”

Sessions lauded President Trump in a video accompanying the announcement, saying Trump is “doing a good job for America and Alabama.”

Sessions stepped down from the Senate seat after he was appointed Trump’s first attorney general in 2017. The relationship quickly soured after Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation.

Sessions joined a crowded field of Republicans running against incumbent Democrat Doug Jones, who won in an upset over GOP candidate Roy Moore in 2017.

White Restaurant Owner Who Enslaved a Disabled Black Man Gets 10 Years in Prison

Bobby Paul Edwards

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A white restaurant manager who forced a disabled black man to work more than 100 hours a week without pay has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Bobby Paul Edwards, 54, beat, burned and hurled racist slurs at John Christopher Smith to make him work harder at a small diner in Conway, South Carolina, the Justice Department said.

“This abusive enslavement of a vulnerable person is shocking,” Jody Norris, FBI special agent in charge of the Columbia Division, said in a statement. “The FBI is always vigilantly searching for these offenses and stands ready to bring perpetrators to justice and help victims reclaim their lives. We understand human trafficking takes many forms and we encourage anyone with information related to these crimes to contact the FBI.”

Edwards used his belt, fists, pots and pans to beat Smith, federal prosecutors said. In one instance, Edwards burned Smith’s neck with metal tongs dipped in hot grease.

The abuse occurred between 2009 and 2014, when Edwards was the manager. State authorities rescued Smith after receiving a tip about the abuse.

The FBI led the investigation.

Edwards pleaded guilty to forced labor on June 4.

“It is almost inconceivable that instances of forced labor endure in this country to this day – a century and a half after the Emancipation Proclamation,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said. “The Department of Justice will continue to investigate, prosecute, and convict human traffickers involved in forced labor, seeking justice on behalf of their victims.”

Senate May Vote on Chad Wolf’s Nomination to Lead Homeland Security by Tuesday

Chad Wolf

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Senate may vote as early as Tuesday on President Trump’s pick of Chad Wolf as acting Homeland Security secretary.

If approved by the Republican-controlled Senate, Wolf would be Trump’s fifth leader of Homeland Security, a department that has been shaken up by its focus on immigration.

A closure vote today would open the door for a full floor vote next week, CBS News reports.

Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan would resign if Wolf’s nomination is approved.

It’s unclear whether Trump plans to tap Wolf for the permanent secretary position.

Sen. Bernie Sanders Calls for Dismantling ICE, CBP And Pausing Deportations

Sen. Bernie Sanders at a Detroit rally. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his immigration plans Thursday, calling for a moratorium on deportations and an end to ICE raids and President Trump’s “racist and ineffective” wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The long-anticipated plan, entitled “A Welcoming and Safe America for All,” pushes for a pathway to citizenship and says “Trump has manufactured” a humanitarian crisis at the border.

Sanders also wants to dismantle ICE and CBP and “redistribute their functions to their proper authorities.” To do so, Sanders is calling for the restructuring of the Department of Homeland Security, an agency that the Vermont senator voted against in 2002.

Under the plan, the Justice Department would once again handled deportation, enforcement and border authority. The Treasury Department would take over customs. And the State Department would handle naturalization and citizenship authority.

If elected, Sanders says he will “end the barbaric practice of ripping children from their parents and locking children in cages” on his first day in office.

Sanders also pledges to end Trump’s “racist and disgusting Muslim ban and instruct DOJ to drop any litigation or funding restrictions relating to sanctuary cities.”

Former FBI Director Freeh, Alan Dershowitz Lobby for Sanctioned Israeli Billionaire

Former FBI Directors Louis Freeh (center) with ex-Attorney General Mike Mukasey and William H. Webster in 2008, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh has teamed up with controversial defense attorney Alan Dershowitz to register to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of an Israeli billionaire with a sketchy past, according to a registration form reviewed by CNBC.

The Trump administration sanctioned the international businessman, Dan Gertler, for making “hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corruption mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” the Treasury Department said in December 2017.

Dershowitz, an outspoken supporter of Trump, said he’s an attorney for Gertler.

“I am acting as a defense lawyer, not a lobbyist. But the rules require registration if you present a defense to a non-judicial agency,” he told CNBC.

Dershowitz and Freeh are lobbying the Treasury Department, which froze Gertler’s assets two years ago.

Freeh’s security team was hired by Dershowitz to investigate claims that he sexually assaulted a woman who later alleged she was abused by Jeffrey Epstein. In 2016, Freeh said his independent investigation “found no evidence to support the accusations of sexual misconduct.”

Retired DEA Agent Accused of Helping Drug Traffickers in Exchange for $250K

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A now-retired DEA agent is accused of accepting $250,000 in bribes to protect drug traffickers that he believed had ties to “Italian organized crime.”

Joseph Bongiovanni, 55, was charged with 11 counts in a federal case that alleges he took bribes from at least 2008 until he retired in February, Buffalo Law Journal reports, citing the indictment.

The Tonawanda, N.Y., resident faces up to life in prison on a drug conspiracy charge.

The indictment alleges Bongiovanni shared inside DEA information with his friends and associates who dealt large quantities of cocaine and marijuana. Prosecutors say he lied to the DEA, hid information from the agency and dissuaded colleagues from investigating the drug traffickers.

State Department Offers Reward Of Up to $20 Million for Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Department of State is offering up to a $20 million reward for information leading to the safe location, recover and return of Robert A. Levinson, a former FBI agent who was abducted March 9, 2007 while on Kish Island, Iran.

In a press release the FBI stated:

Bob served his country for 28 years, including 22 years as an FBI special agent. The FBI stands by its commitment to investigate Bob’s abduction and bring him home. The FBI renews its repeated calls on the Iranian government to uphold its prior commitments to assist in reuniting Mr. Levinson with his family. In addition to the Department of State Rewards for Justice reward, an FBI reward of $5 million remains unclaimed.

Dayton Cop on DEA Task Force Shot and Wounded

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four people were arrested Monday night at a house in Dayton, Ohio where a police detective on a DEA Task Force was shot and wounded, the Dayton Daily News reports.

The task force was serving a warrant when the shooting occurred.

Authorities recovered a large amount of fentanyl, cash and weapons from the house.