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Tag: coronavirus

Rhode Island Mobster “Bobby” DeLuca Granted Early Release from Prison

Rhode Island mobster Robert P. “Bobby” DeLuca.

By Steve Neavling

Rhode Island mobster Robert P. “Bobby” DeLuca will be released early from prison because of the health risks during the coronavirus pandemic. 

U.S. District Judge Denise J. Casper granted compassionate release to DeLuca, who had four months left on his sentence for lying to investigators about the gangland murder of a Providence native in 1993, The Providence Journal reports.

Casper citied DeLuca’s age – 75 – and his heart condition and chronic kidney disease. 

DeLuca, a onetime capo in New England La Cosa Nostra, will be on probation for three years. 

In 2016, DeLuca pleaded guilty to making false statements and obstruction of justice related to the death Boston nightclub owner, Steven A. DiSarro, who authorities say DeLuca helped bury in Providence. 

Secret Service Agents Often Don’t Wear Masks While Accompanying Trump to Events

By Steve Neavling

Secret Service agents are tasked with protecting the president, but they often don’t wear masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus at campaign events, according to an ABC News review of videos and photographs.

Secret Service agents are required to wear masks, and the CDC recommends the use of face coverings as a primary defense against COVID-19. 

Agents who accompany Trump to rallies and events – both indoor and outdoor– frequently don’t wear masks. Then again, neither does Trump, who was diagnosed with the coronavirus earlier this month.

Trump event mocked Democratic presidential candidate Vice President for relying on masks. 

“I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away and he shows up with biggest mask I’ve ever seen,” Trump said.

At events and rallies for Biden, by contrast, Secret Service agents are seen wearing masks.

The Secret Service declined to explain why agents protecting the president often don’t wear masks, but said in a statement, “The Secret Service continues to follow CDC guidelines regarding the use of PPE. While we continually assess the environment in which we conduct our protective operations, we will not discuss the manner in which we conduct them.”

The Secret Service has been tight-lipped about whether agents have been infected in connection with the diagnosis of Trump and others in his inner circle. 

Ex-Secret Service Supervisor Blasts Trump for Putting Agents ‘Needlessly’ at Risk of COVID-19

By Steve Neavling

A former Secret Service supervisor assailed President Trump for putting the agents hired to protect him at an elevated risk of contacting the coronavirus. 

In a Washington Post Op-Ed, Joseph Petro, a 23-year special agent and senior executive with the Secret Service, said Trump’s jaunt in an SUV around Walter Reed National Military Medical Center over weekend was “a gratuitous and dangerous political exercise that needlessly exposed his Secret Service agents” and their families.

“It was an avoidable risk, and someone should have objected,” he wrote. 

Petro said that protecting agents was “aways our highest priority.”

But not under Trump, who Petro points out rarely wore a mask, even though it’s one of the most effective ways of curbing the spread of COVID-19.

“He has refused to wear a mask on nearly all occasions, and his staff and most attendees at his rallies follow his example,” Petro said. “The inevitable result has been the surge in positive cases among the president’s staff and other associates.”

Petro said Secret Service management must be committed to protecting its agents.

“The Secret Service cannot protect the president from himself, but its management has a solemn responsibility to protect those agents who put their lives on the line every day to protect him,” Petro said. “It should not be that hard to do.”

Trump Blasted for Putting Secret Service Agents at Risk During ‘Joy Ride’ around Walter Reed

By Steve Neavling

Secret Service agents are trained to take a bullet for the U.S. president. 

But on Sunday, agents faced an entirely different – and unnecessary – risk when they drove President Trump, infected with COVID-19, around Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  

The jaunt drew strong criticism from current and former Secret Service agents, as well as doctors. 

“He’s not even pretending to care now,” one agent told The Washington Post.

“Where are the adults?” a former Secret Service member said. 

White House spokesman Judd Deere insisted “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the president and all those supporting it,” adding that the trip “was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”

Although Trump wore a mask during the jaunt around the hospital, doctors said face coverings are not perfect. 

Masks “help, but they are not an impenetrable force field,” tweeted Saad B. Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health.

Doctors said the Secret Service agents will have to be quarantined for 14 days. 

“They might get sick. They may die. For political theater,” James P. Phillips, a professor at George Washington University who is affiliated with Walter Reed, tweeted. “Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”

Phillips described the risk of viral transmission “as high as it gets outside of medical procedures,” especially since the SUV is “hermetically sealed.”

“The irresponsibility is astounding,” Phillips tweeted. 

Inside a hospital, physicians and nurses wear extensive protective gear such as gowns, gloves, and N95 masks, said Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University.

“By taking a joy ride outside Walter Reed the president is placing his Secret Service detail at grave risk,” Reiner tweeted.

Barr Slams Career Prosecutors As ‘Headhunters,’ Compares Them to Preschoolers in Boisterous Speech

Attorney General William Barr, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr lashed out at his own prosecutors on Wednesday, calling them “headhunters” in search of big name targets and equating them to preschoolers.

During the wide-ranging, boisterous speech at conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan, Barr also said nationwide coronavirus lockdowns would be the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties” outside of slavery, according to CNN.

“Individual prosecutors can sometimes become headhunters, consumed with taking down their target,” Barr said, The Associated Press reports. “Subjecting their decisions to review by detached supervisors ensures the involvement of dispassionate decision-makers in the process.”

Barr, who has been criticized for interfering in cases involving allies of President Trump, insisted he has the authority to intervene in such cases and that career prosecutors don’t always get the final say.

“Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency,” he said.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder blasted Barr’s criticism of career prosecutors.

“Though dangerous, Barr is becoming increasingly absurd. When I was at DOJ – regardless of my ultimate authority – I saw the career staff as trusted colleagues, not pre-schoolers,” Holder tweeted Wednesday. To my friends at DOJ, know that this nation values and supports you. I do.

Barr also castigated governors who have imposed restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said to thunderous applause.

Largest ICE Raid During COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to 2,000+ Arrests

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A six-week ICE operation netted more than 2,000 arrests of undocumented immigrants, most of whom have been charged or convicted of a crime.

The operation, which ran from July to August, led to arrests in communities across the country, CBS News reports.

About 85% of those arrested had been charged or convicted of crimes ranging from domestic abuse to robbery. Those without criminal charges involved immigrants who did not leave the country after a judge ordered them to be deported.

It was the largest operation since the coronavirus pandemic.

ICE has limited its operations amid COVID-19 to avoid outbreaks among detainees. ICE arrested 94,500 arrests inside communities in this fiscal year, as of Aug. 22. During the same time period last year, ICE arrested more than 143,000 people.

$1.75 Billion in Funding for New FBI Headquarters Is Added to Coronavirus Relief Bill

FBI headquarters, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Funding for the long-delayed construction of a new FBI headquarters is tucked inside a coronavirus relief bill that Senate Republicans agreed to Monday.

The White House insisted the bill include $1.75 billion in funding for a new headquarters in downtown Washington D.C., drawing criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, The Washington Post reports.

Trump has long called for the headquarters, which is a stone’s throw from his Washington D.C. hotel, to be built downtown, rather than in the suburbs.

Asked why the headquarters funding was added to the coronavirus relief bill, Sen. Richard C. Shelby said, “Good question.”

“This is an administration proposal to move on with the FBI,” Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said. “They need a new FBI building down the street; it’s not safe to work in, you know, and so forth.”

Democrats were quick to criticize the headquarters funding.

“They managed to have enough money for $2 billion for the FBI headquarters that benefits Trump hotel and they say they have no money for food assistance,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “What the heck is going on?”

The White House defended the funding.

“As President Trump has said, the FBI desperately needs a new building and this measure provides critical funding for this project that would keep the building responsibly near the Department of Justice,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

McAllen Station Border Patrol Agent Dies from COVID-19

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent from the McAllen Station in Texas has died from the coronavirus.

Enrique J. Rositas died Saturday “after a courage battle with COVID-19,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Brian Hastings announced on Twitter.

“Agent Rositas proudly served the United States Border Patrol for nearly 23 years. Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and coworkers during this difficult time,” Hastings said. “He will be truly missed.

The McAllen Station, which patrols 53 miles along the Rio Grande, is part of the Rio Grand Valley Sector.

“The El Paso Sector mourns the loss of Border Patrol Agent Enrique J. Rositas of the Rio Grande Valley Sector,” El Paso Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the agents & professional staff employees of RGV.”