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Tag: court

3 U.S. Marshals Charged in COVID-19 Vaccination Dispute with Judge

A federal judge charged three members of the U.S. Marshals Service with contempt of court and obstructing justice over a dispute about COVID-19 vaccinations in South Dakota. 

U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann lashed out at the supervisory law enforcement officers on Monday for allegedly permitting a deputy marshal to escort prisoners from a courtroom after refusing to disclose whether she had been vaccinated, The Washington Post reports.

The agency’s Chief of Staff John Kilgallon, South Dakota Marshal Daniel C. Mosteller, and Deputy South Dakota Marshal Stephen Houghtaling were charged in the dispute. 

“This was such an outrageous thing to do,” the judge said. “Nothing like this that we could find has ever been done in this country. If it is the marshals’ position that they can override court orders, they are badly mistaken.”

Kornmann is asking the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute the case. 

In a letter to federal officials in March, Kornmann said he expects to be informed of the vaccination status of people who work in the courthouse. 

“We are not talking about politics or conspiracy theories. We are talking about science and protecting all of us who serve the public here as well as the jurors, lawyers and parties who come to this building,” Kornmann wrote. “If you are refusing to take the vaccines, I want to know that so I can decide what further action is required on my part.”

Woman Who Fatally Shot FBI Agent Ordered to Stay in Prison

Christina Korbe

By Steve Neavling

Christina Korbe, who fatally shot an FBI agent during a drug raid in Pennsylvania, won’t be freed from prison early, a federal judge has ruled. 

Korbe was sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing FBI Agent Sam Hicks when her home was raided for drugs at her Indiana Township home in 2008. Hick was 33. 

U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan rejected her bid for early release, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Slain FBI Agent Sam Hicks/fbi photo

“Ms. Korbe has spent a significant period of time in prison, which has placed a burden on her family,” the judge wrote. “While the Court empathizes with Ms. Korbe and her family, empathy doesn’t always translate into compassionate release. The circumstances presented here simply do not rise to the standard that Congress has authorized for early release.”

Korbe’s attorney requested the early release because she claimed she had the coronavirus in the spring, but prosecutors disputed that. Whatever the case, the judge said Korbe is not at a high risk because she lacks underlying health conditions. 

Korbe was convicted in 2011 of voluntary manslaughter and using a fund during a crime of violence. She was spared a life sentence for a murder a federal agent.

Korbe is eligible for release in 2022.

Judge Doesn’t Dismiss Michael Flynn Case, Says He’s Not ‘Rubber Stamp’

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

A federal judge overseeing the criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn raised more questions Tuesday about the Justice Department’s decision to drop the case. 

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said his role “is not intended to serve merely as a rubber stamp” for prosecutors who want to dismiss a case, NBC News reports.

By Steve Neavling ticklethewire.com

Accusing the judge of “abject bias” against Flynn, who served briefly under President Trump, Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell said she plans to ask Sullivan to recuse himself from the case. 

Powell also revealed to the court that she recently met in person with Trump and asked him not to pardon Flynn. 

“I provided the White House an update on the status of the litigation,” she said. “And I asked that the president not issue a pardon.”

In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit ruled that Sullivan can does not have to promptly dismiss the case just because the Justice Department sought to drop it.

In 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. 

Now the Justice Department and Flynn want the case to be dismissed, drawing criticism from Democrats and legal experts who have questioned Attorney General William Barr’s motives for intervening in a case tied to Trump.

Judge to Hear Arguments about DOJ’s Bid to Dismiss Case against Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A judge may decide today whether to accept the Justice Department’s unusual move to dismiss the criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a former President Trump appointee who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.

The case returns to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit ruled in late August that he can does not have to promptly dismiss the case just because the Justice Department sought to drop it.

Sullivan will hear final arguments in the case.

The Justice Department and Flynn want the case to be dismissed, while former federal judge John Gleeson is arguing that Sullivan can move forward and sentence Flynn.

Democrats and legal experts have questioned Attorney General William Barr’s motives for intervening in a case tied to Trump.

EX-FBI Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Doctoring Email Used for Surveillance of Trump Adviser Carter Page

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former FBI lawyer pleaded guilty Wednesday to altering an email used to seek the continued surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Kevin Clinesmith, 38, admitted he doctored the email, which was submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

The guilty plea stems from the investigation into how the Obama administration investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The email suggested that Page was not a source for the CIA, even though he had a relationship with the agency.

Clinesmith admitted he was guilty but said he believed at the time that his statement about Page was true.

“At the time, I believed that the information I was providing in the email was accurate,” Clinesmith told Judge James E. Boasberg of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, The New York Times reports. “But I am agreeing that the information I inserted into the email was not originally there, and I inserted that information.”

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 10. He faces up to six months in jail based on sentencing guidelines.

DOJ Lawyer Suggests Secret Info May Have Prompted Barr to Drop Flynn Case

Attorney General William Barr

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr may have decided to drop the criminal case against Michael Flynn based on secret information, a government lawyer said Tuesday.

The possible existence of nonpublic information was revealed by Jeffrey Wall, the acting U.S. solicitor general, during an appeals court hearing over the dismissal of Flynn’s case in federal court.

“The attorney general sees this in the context of nonpublic information from other investigations,” Wall told the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“It may be possible that the attorney general had before him information that he was not able to share with the court and so what we put in front of the court were the reasons that we could, but it may not be the whole picture available to the executive branch,” Wall said.

“The attorney general made that decision or that judgment on the basis of lots of information,” Wall added. “Some of it is public and fleshed out in the motion. Some of it is not.”

The appellate court is trying to determine whether a lower-court judge was obligated to accede to the Justice Department’s request to dismiss the case.

Judge Postpones Ruling on DOJ’s Request to Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Hold up, Michael Flynn.

A federal judge on Tuesday postponed a ruling on the Justice Department’s request to drop the criminal case against Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he will give outside parties an opportunity to weigh in on the Justice DEpartment’s request, The New York Times reports.

Attorney General William Barr has been widely criticized for intervening in the case against Flynn, whom Trump has been calling to be exonerated.

The judge has some authority to reject the Justice Department’s request.

Flynn’s attorney objected to the judge’s decision.

“This court has consistently — on twenty-four (24) previous occasions — summarily refused to permit any third party to inject themselves or their views into this case,” the attorneys said in a motion filed after the judge’s order. “Only the Department of Justice and the defense can be heard.”

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat and even cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

Appellate Court Overturns Order to Reduce Detainees at ICE Facility Over Coronavirus Fears

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Adelanto ICE Processing Facility in California won’t have to remove a significant number of its detainees after a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel overruled a lower court’s order, The Los Angeles Times reports.

U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter issued a preliminary injunction on April 23, ordering the facility near Los Angeles to decrease the population by at least 250 people by April 30 over fears of a coronavirus outbreak. The facility holds about 1,200 detainees but has room for nearly 2,000.

The Trump administration urged the appellate court to halt the injunction.

But the three-judge panel said Hatter’s order to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for detention facilities may remain intact.

The case began with a lawsuit by the ACLU of Southern California and the law firm Latham & Watkins.

“We remain very concerned about people who remain detained at Adelanto and will do everything we can to protect them,” ACLU attorney Minju Cho said.