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Feds Target Trump Organization’s Handling of Cohen’s Hush Money

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Trump Organization and two company officials are the target of a federal investigation involving payments to silence adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.

Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office are zeroing in on how the company handled hush money that then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen gave adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, the New York Times reports.

Prosecutors have discovered that the organization reimbursed Cohen as a legal expense and that company officials falsified legal invoices to hide the true purpose.

Cohen told a judge earlier this week that the money was intended to silence Daniels, who claimed she had affairs with Trump.

Grand Juror Who Leaked Information about ‘Snitch’ Sentenced to Prison

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A grand juror who leaked secret information about a “snitch” involved in a federal investigation was sentenced Thursday to one year and one day in prison for obstructing justice.

Leslie Lynn Heburn, 37, of Miami tracked down on social media the girlfriend of a man recently indicted to tell her that her boyfriend had been set up by a confidential informant.

Grand jurors are routinely warned they are prohibited from divulging information they learn during the grand jury proceedings.

Heburn, who earlier pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, acknowledged to a judge that she and other jurors had been warned about leaking information about the proceedings but did so anyway.

Assisting the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida was assisted by the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force, Miami-Dade Police Department and the ATF.

Inmates Train Puppies Before They Become Bomb-Sniffing Crime Stoppers

Photo courtesy of Puppies Behind Bars.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Taylor spent most of her early life behind the walls of a New Jersey women’s correctional facility.

Now the black Labrador is answering a higher calling, sniffing out bombs and shell casings for the ATF.

The two-year-old dog, who is more hyper than her explosives-detecting predecessor, shares a home with his veteran agent handler, Nic Garlie of the St. Louis ATF office, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports in an uplifting story about second chances and America’s best friend. 

Taylor was raised by prison inmates under a program called, Puppies Behind Bars, which gives criminals an opportunity to raise puppies that are being groomed to work for agencies such as the ATF. It gives inmates a sense of responsibility and provides positive interactions.  

“They really feel like part of them leaves prison when the dog succeeds and goes on to work,” Gloria Gilbert Stoga, the program’s founder, said.

One of Taylor’s handlers, Neville, spent much of her 12 years behind bars alone, bored and without much to accomplish.

The four-legged friend changed Neville’s outlook, according to her journal entries.

“It is a wonderful nervous energy to think while I am locked in this world, I can still be a service to someone,” Neville wrote.

Now Taylor is prepared to help keep America safe.

Manafort Judge Mulled Declaring a Mistrial Over Chatty Jurors

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The judge in the Paul Manafort trial was so concerned about chatty jurors that he considered declaring a mistrial in the middle of the fraud case against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Judge T.S. Ellis had learned that some jurors during the trial were commenting on the case and politics, and one juror stated “the defense was weak,” according to newly unsealed court transcripts.

Jurors are prohibited from discussing the case until deliberations begin.

Ellis interviewed each juror before deciding not to declare a mistrial.

The concerns about chatty jury members explains why the trial was delayed for five hours on Aug. 10 and continued with interruptions for the next three days.

Ellis also discussed the revelations with the defense and prosecution, expressing his concerns about jurors violating the rules, which are meant to keep jurors from influencing each other before the closing arguments.

Manafort’s defense attorney, Richard Wrestling, argued the chit-chat was a sufficient reason to declare a mistrial.

“This clearly is crossing the line if it, in fact, happened,” Wrestling told the judge. “It suggests someone who has left beside — behind the presumption of innocence the defendant is entitled to until the evidence is all in.”

After one-on-one interviews with the jurors, the judge decided the jury had maintained its objectivity and wasn’t influencing each other.

Showoff FBI Agent in Court After Backflip Leads to Gun Shooting Man

Screenshot of a viral video showing the agent’s weapon going off.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent charged with a felony for accidentally shooting a man when the gun in his holster fell off after he did a backflip on a Denver dance floor waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Chase Bishop, 30, is now scheduled to be arraigned in district court on Oct. 18 on one count of second-degree assault in connection with the June 2 nightclub shooting that wounded a man in the leg, the Denver Post reports

FBI Agent Chase Bishop

The news went viral after a video of the incident was posted online. It showed Bishop, who was off duty, showing off as onlookers encircled him when he did a backflip, causing the gun to fall from his holster around his waist. As he retrieved the weapon, it fired into the crowd.

In a strange development, Bishop was allowed to carry his service weapon again – on and off duty.

Lone Holdout Prevented Jury from Convicting Manafort on All 18 Counts

Juror Paula Duncan

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A lone holdout in the trial of Paul Manafort prevented the jury from convicting the former Trump campaign chairman on all 18 counts of bank and tax fraud, according to a juror who described herself as a supporter of President Trump.

“We all tried to convince her to look at the paper trail. We laid it out in front of her again and again, and she still said that she had a reasonable doubt,” juror Paula Duncan said in an interview on Fox News. “We didn’t want it to be hung, so we tried for an extended period of time to convince her. But in the end she held out, and that’s why we have 10 counts that did not get a verdict.”

The 12-member jury unanimously reached a guilty verdict in eight of the 18 counts but could not reach consensus on the other 10 counts because one juror who said she had reasonable doubts about the other 1o counts could not be swayed, Duncan said.

As a result, Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on the 10 counts.

Duncan described the deliberations as intense and emotional.

“It was a very emotionally charged jury room – there were some tears,” Duncan said.

Duncan, an avid Trump supporter, said she was skeptical of the prosecutors’ motives in charging Manafort but had no choice in reaching the guilty verdicts because the prosecutors’ case was too strong. 

“Certainly Mr. Manafort got caught breaking the law, but he wouldn’t have gotten caught if they weren’t after President Trump,” Duncan insisted, adding that she believed the special counsel’s case was a “witch hunt to try to find Russian collusion.”

Manafort was ordered to stay in jail until a sentencing hearing was scheduled for sometime later this year. The 69-year-old who spent more than $15 million to fund his lavish lifestyle, could end up sending the rest of his life behind bars.

Manafort also faces another trial later this year on separate charges.

GOP Rep. Hunter Indicted Over Lavish Personal Expenses from Campaign Funds

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, via U.S. Department of Defense.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted Tuesday on dozens of charges that allege they used campaign donations to pay for personal expenses, from family vacations and dental work to theater tickets and school tuition.

The Republican from Alpine, Calif., is accused of spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses between 2009 and 2016 and filing false campaign finance records to cover up the unlawful spending, the Wall Street Journal reports

House Speaker Paul Ryan stripped Hunter of his committee assignments.

“The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious,” Mr. Ryan said in a statement.

Nevertheless, Hunter claimed the 60-count indictment was politically motivated.

According to the indictment, Hunter and his wife used the campaign funds for ski trips, hotel stays, European vacations, dinners and even video games.

Watergate Prosecutor Calls Trump ‘An Unindicted Co-Conspirator’ After Cohen Plea Deal

Nick Akerman

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Nick Akerman knows a thing or two about corruption in the White House: He was one of the Watergate prosecutors who helped bring down President Nixon.

So what did Akerman think of Michael Cohen implicating his former longtime client, President Trump, on Tuesday?

“There’s no question about it,” Akerman told MSNBC. “This makes the president of the United States an unindicted co-conspirator.”

The ominous term, “unindicted co-conspirator,” was used by the Watergate grand jury to describe Nixon’s involvement in the scandal.

“This is the first time this has happened since Richard Nixon was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Watergate trial,” Akerman said. “This is a big deal.”

Akerman wasn’t alone in using the Watergate-era phrase to describe Trump.

“If the prosecutors accept what is in this indictment, then the president just became an unindicted co-conspirator,” said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University. “If they believe that what’s in this indictment was true, and that he was directed to make this payment … then the president just became an unindicted co-conspirator, and he could become an indicted co-conspirator depending on the timing and circumstances.”