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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.

 

Wife of Missing Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Feels U.S. Hasn’t Done Enough to Pressure Iran

Christine Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The wife of former FBI agent Robert Levinson is expressing frustration about efforts to locate her husband and bring him back home. He vanished in 2007 while on an unauthorized mission in Iran for the CIA.

Christine Levinson told a House panel Thursday that she holds Iran responsible for the disappearance of her husband, Robert, but she also said three American administrations have failed to press the Tehran government hard enough for his return, CBS News reports.

Robert Levinson

“Time and time again, Bob has been left behind, deprioritized, or seemingly forgotten,” she said at a House hearing on the status of Americans detained in Iran. She believes her husband is alive but U.S. officials haven’t done enough to return him home.

“My husband served this country tirelessly for decades,” she said. “He deserves better from all of us and from our government. He deserves our endless pursuit to bring him home, to fight day and night and leave no stone unturned.”

 

Retired FBI Agent: After Attending Meeting With Christopher Wray, I’m Confident Bureau Is Headed in Right Direction

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Retired FBI Agent Herman Groman, who attended a meeting Wednesday with FBI Director Christopher Wray and members of the Las Vegas FBI Field Office, said he left with great confidence that the bureau is headed in the right direction.

Groman said about 150 people attended the meeting at the Marriott hotel in Las Vegas, including about 15 retired agents.

 

Michael Cohen Asked His Lawyer to Inquire About a Pardon Last Year

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Michael Cohen, the former lawyer for President Donald Trump, asked one of his attorneys last summer to inquire about getting a presidential pardon,  Cohen’s attorney and spokesman Lanny Davis tells ABC News.

 Cohen asked his now former attorney Stephen Ryan to meet with Rudy Giuliani about the possibility of a pardon shortly after an FBI raid on his home and offices, Davis tells the network.

Davis said Cohen was part of a joint defense agreement with the president and many of his advisers a the time, but he later bowed out of the agreement and “tell the truth.”

Eric Jackson, Head of Dallas FBI, Leaving With Some Politicians Headed For Prison

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Eric Jackson, who began heading up the FBI in Dallas in March 2017, is leaving with a list of accomplishments, particularly in the area of public corruption.

He’s leaving behind a list of local public officials who are now facing prison time, NBC5 reports.

The station talked with Jackson about his tenure in Dallas.

Man Charged With Stealing Guns From ATF Facility in West Virginia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 52-year-old contractor has been arrested after allegedly stealing firearms from an ATF facility in West Virginia.

Christopher Lee Yates faces federal charges of theft of government property and possession of a stolen firearm from ATF, the Journal newspaper reports. 

“Investigation and intelligence reveals that Yates traveled from West Virginia to Maryland to sell the ATF firearm parts for financial gain,” the complaint signed by ATF Special Agent Seth Cox said. “Yates willfully and knowingly did steal firearm slides and firearm parts of a value exceeding $1,000.”