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Tag: court

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.

DOJ Urges Judge to Toss Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against FBI Over ‘Distinct’ Claims

Training academy in Quantico, Va.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department urged a federal judge Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by current and former FBI recruits who allege the academy is a “good-old-boy network” that exposes women to a hostile work environment, inappropriate jokes and sexual advances beginning in 2015.

DOJ lawyers argued the class-action lawsuit is inappropriate because each defendant leveled separate and distinct allegations against different instructors without specifying a specific FBI policy that led to the alleged harassment, The Washington Times reports.

Rather, the lawyers said, each of the 16 women should file individual lawsuits.

“Here, plaintiffs have simply failed to allege the required ‘glue’ holding their allegations of disparate treatment together,” the department wrote.

The suit, filed last year, claims some of the women were discriminated against based on their race or disabilities. One African American trainee alleges an instructor called her “spaghetti head” because of her braids.

The lawsuit zeroed in on the mock town known as Hogan’s Alley, where trainees learn about tactical training with fake criminals and terrorists. This phase of training resulted in many women being kicked out of the academy.

At the time of the suit, seven of the 16 women still worked for the FBI.

The women are asking for more female training instructors, an examination of the training evaluation process and $300,000 each for emotional stress.

“The instructors and fellow trainees who are alleged to have discriminated, as well as the timing and the factual nature of the alleged discrimination, are entirely different in the administrative complaints and allegations of” the two plaintiffs, DOJ lawyers wrote.

“Accordingly, to resolve these two separate administrative complaints, the FBI necessarily would have conducted two completely separate investigations which would have involved gathering distinct documents and interviewing different witnesses.”

Populations at ICE Detention Centers for Migrant Families Are Down

ICE official, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

ICE is holding fewer migrants at three family detention centers, where the numbers declined 826 last week, a 39% decline, a federal judge said during a court hearing Monday.

The three facilities hold families in Texas and Pennsylvania, and federal authorities are doing a better job following CDC guidelines, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg of Washington, D.C., said, according to The Washington Post.

The judge, who is considering a request to release families from the detention facilities, ordered ICE to disclose more information about COVID-19 testing and its supplies to help sick people.

“I don’t think . . . you’ve made the showing that [bulk] release is necessary at this point,” Boasberg told attorneys for assisting migrant families seeking asylum. “But what I am interested in is . . . particular categories of information that you seek, and I think requiring the government to provide that information would both benefit this litigation, but would also benefit your clients.”

ICE says none of the detainees has tested positive for the virus.

DOJ Moves to Dismiss Charges Against Russians Accused of Running Troll Farms

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department filed a motion Monday to dismiss charges against two shell companies involved in Russian inference in the 2016 presidential election.

The move comes just two weeks before jury selection was to begin in the case against Concord Management and Concord Consulting, which were charged in 2018 as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller probe.

Prosecutors say the companies were using the case to try to gain access to sensitive information that could harm U.S. national security, The New York Times reports.

“Concord has been eager and aggressive in using the judicial system to gather information about how the United States detects and prevents foreign election interference,” prosecutors said in a motion filed in court on Monday.

Trump Congratulates AG Barr for Intervening in Roger Stone Sentencing Recommendation

Attorney General William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A team of career prosecutors withdrew from the case of Roger Stone Jr. after senior prosecutors for the Justice Department sought a shorter sentence for President Trump’s confidant and friend.

The prosecutors had recommended seven to nine years after Stone, a GOP dirty trickster, was found guilty in November on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

Senior Justice Department officials overruled the sentencing recommendation, saying it was excessive, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. Under the revised recommendation, the Justice Department said the sentence should be “far less,” suggesting the earlier one “does not accurately reflect the Department of Justice’s position on what would be a reasonable sentence in this matter.”

The abrupt and unusual intervention of senior officials raised serious questions about whether the Justice Department – and more specifically, Attorney General William Barr – was bowing to pressure from Trump, who declared on Tuesday that the DOJ’s sentence recommendation was “horrible and very unfair.”

On Wednesday morning, Trump congratulated Barr for intervening.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump tweeted. “Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!”

About 10 minutes later, Trump added, “Two months in jail for a Swamp Creature, yet 9 years recommended for Roger Stone (who was not even working for the Trump Campaign). Gee, that sounds very fair! Rogue prosecutors maybe? The Swamp!”

Of the four prosecutors who withdrew from the case, one resigned entirely from the Justice Department.

Legal experts criticized the Justice Department’s intervention.

Michael R. Bromwich, who was the DOJ’s inspector general under President Bill Clinton, tweeted to “all career DOJ employees:” “Report all instances of improper political influence and other misdeeds to the DOJ IG, who is required to protect your identity.”

“This is not what you signed up for. The four prosecutors who bailed on the Stone case have shown the way,” Bromwich tweeted.

Former CBP Official Sentenced to 31 Months in Prison for Illegally Selling Guns

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former CBP watch commander who operated an illegal gun-selling business and committed other crimes while serving in law enforcement was sentenced Monday to 31 months in prison.

Wei Xu, 58, pleaded guilty in July to four felonies, including unlawfully dealing in firearms, possessing unregistered firearms, lying to a federal agency, and tax evasion, NBC News reports.

Prosecutors said Xu exploited his position as a law enforcement officer to buy and sell off-roster handguns. He also admitted to selling nearly 100 guns over two decades without a federal license, as required by law.

“Mr. Xu betrayed his oath to uphold the laws of the United States solely to put more money in his pocket,” Nick Hanna, the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, said in a statement.

Xu’s attorney, Mark J. Werksman, said described the sentence as fair and said his CBP service convinced a judge to reduce his prison time by a year.

Xu began working with CBP in 2004 and has been on administrative leave from his position at the Long Beach Seaport in California. He likely will be fired, Werksman said.