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Tag: Florida

Congressman Matt Gaetz Asked For Preemptive Pardon

By Allan Lengel

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz said he did nothing wrong. Nonetheless, he sought a preemptive pardon in the final months of the Trump administration regarding an investigation by the Justice Department into whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, the Washington Post reports. He never got it.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida.

Former White House aide Johnny McEntee, according to people familiar with his testimony, told the Jan. 6 committee that Gaetz told him during a brief meeting “that they are launching an investigation into him or that there’s an investigation into him.”

McEntee added that Gaetz told him “he did not do anything wrong but they are trying to make his life hell, and you know, if the president could give him a pardon, that would be great.” Gaetz told McEntee that he had asked White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for a pardon, the Post reports.

The Justice Department probe centered around whether Gaetz paid for sex, paid for women to travel across state lines to have sex, and had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, the Post reports.

Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes but his associate Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector for Seminole County, Fla., pleaded guilty in the spring of 2021 to six criminal charges, including sex trafficking of a minor. Greenberg is cooperating with authorities.

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DOJ Alleges Trump ‘Likely Concealed And Removed’ Classified Documents at Mar-a-Lago

Former President Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department said it has evidence that classified documents were “likely concealed and removed” from a room in Mar-a-Lago and “that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.” 

In a 54-page court filing late Tuesday, federal prosecutors said the FBI raid on former President Trump’s house in Florida came after he and his advisers refused to turn over highly classified documents, The Washington Post reports.

The recovered documents were so sensitive that “even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents,” the filing says.

Included in the filing was a photograph that showed various files labeled “Top Secret” that were found inside a container in Trump’s office. One of the documents was marked “HCS,” or human confidential sources. 

The filing came two days before U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon considers Trump’s request to appoint a special master to conduct a review of the seized documents.

Florida House Candidate Banned from Twitter over Call to Shoot FBI, IRS, ATF Agents

By Steve Neavling

A Republican Florida state house candidate was banned from Twitter after suggesting he wanted to legalize shooting federal agents. 

“Under my plan, all Floridians will be able to shoot FBI, IRS, ATF, and all other federal troops on sight,” Luis Miguel tweeted. “Let freedom ring.”

Miguel defended his statement, telling Florida Politics that violence is justified because the IRS has been “weaponized by dissident forces.” He didn’t try to justify shooting other federal agents.

Miguel also made the statement on Instagram and Facebook. 

In the Aug. 23 primary election, Miguel will incumbent Rep. Bobby Payne. A predominately GOP district, the winner of the primary is expected to win the general election. 

Threats of violence against the FBI have increased after agents searched the home of former President Trump earlier this month.

Nearly $2M Worth of Cocaine Washes Ashore in Florida

Nearly $2 million worth of cocaine found in Florida. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

Large bundles of cocaine worth nearly $2 million recently washed ashore on a beach in Florida. 

The roughly 126 pounds of cocaine wasn’t found at once. 

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office found the first package on Saturday after it washed ashore near a residence near the beach in the Florida Keys. 

“The package was found near the Ocean Pointe Condominiums in the mangroves along the shoreline,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. “The large package contained multiple smaller packages tightly packed with black tape.”

That package weighed 71.6 pounds. 

Then Border Patrol agents in Florida seized a large package Monday after someone spotted it washed up on a beach.

George Piro, Retiring Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Miami Field Office, Opens Up About Career

Special Agent George Piro

By Steve Neavling

George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, is retiring with plans to become a martial arts pro. 

Beginning next week, Piro will train as a Brazilian ju-jitsu fighter, with a fight scheduled later this year in Las Vegas, he told 7News in a wide-ranging interview.

Piro said the pinnacle of his career was landing the top job at the Miami Field Office. 

“That was a dream come true,” he said. “My best day was when I was selected to be head of the office.”

The lowest point off is career was finding out that two of his special agents had been killed while serving a warrant in a child exploitation case. 

“My worst day was on Feb. 2 at 6:18 a.m, when my phone rang that day,” Piro said. “The FBI had lost two incredible special agents, Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger.”

Piro is known for interrogating Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2004.  

“The idea was to allow him to come to the conclusion that I was a very powerful very high-ranking member of the government,” Piro said.

In truth, he had been on the jobs for less than five years. 

“For example, when I walked into the detention area, where Saddam was being held, the MPs cleared the path, they showed a lot of deference to me,” Piro said. “If I said something they would run.”

His plan worked, and Hussein opened up that the country’s weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed. 

Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Miami Field Office George Piro Retires

By Steve Neavling

George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, is retiring following allegations that he improperly transferred a case involving a Florida sheriff to South Carolina, FloridaBulldog.org reports.

Piro, who’s known for interrogating former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, is a 23-year FBI veteran who led the Miami Field Office between 2014 and 2017 and November 2018 to date. He also served as director of the International Operations Division at FBI headquarters and held a variety of other positions since joining the bureau in 1999. 

His official retirement date is June 30. 

According to sources who spoke with FloridaBulldog, a subordinate complained that Piro improperly transferred his office’s probe of Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony to South Carolina. 

A source said Piro made the decision because he didn’t want his office to be responsible for arresting Broward’s first Black sheriff and that making an arrest would harm his office’s relationship with the sheriff’s office. 

Tony was accused of fraud, kickbacks and bid-rigging. 

Neither Piro nor the FBI commented for the story. 

Special Agents in Charge Appointed to FBI’s Tampa Bay, St. Louis Field Offices

The FBI’s Tampa Bay and St. Louis field offices have new leaders. 

David Walker was named special agent in charge of the Tampa Bay Field Office. Before the appointment, he was serving as section chief in the Critical Incident Response Group at FBI headquarters. 

Walker’s career with the FBI began in 1998, when he investigated terrorism cases at the New York Field Office. 

Before joining the bureau, Walker was an attorney. 

Jay Greenberg was named special agent in charge of the St. Louis Field Office. Before the appointment, he was serving as assistant director in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters. 

Greenberg joined the FBI in 2005, investigating civil rights, corruption and government fraud out of the Washington Field Office. 

Greenberg received a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University. Before joining the bureau, he worked in management and technical consulting. 

FBI: Proud Boys Member Made Threatening Call to Agent Investigating Jan. 6 Attack

Barry Bennett Ramey during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Photo: FBI

By Steve Neavling

A Florida man connected to the Proud Boys is accused of making a threatening call to an FBI agent who was investigating his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. 

Barry Bennett Ramey, 38, was arrested Thursday after agents say he pepper-sprayed police during the riot, according to an FBI affidavit.

Special Agent Ryan Nougaret said he received a threatening call from Ramey while investigating his connection to Jan. 6. 

“Is this Mr. Nougaret? And you still live at [your affiant’s home address],” said the caller, whom the FBI says was Ramey.  

The agent later received a text message from the same number with a VIN number for a vehicle that the agent previously owned. 

“Check that VIN number.;),” the text started.

Ramey’s charges include assault on federal law enforcement officers with a deadly or dangerous weapon, obstructing law enforcement, entering or remaining on restricted grounds with intent to impede, knowingly engaging in an act of physical violence while using or carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon and an act of physical violence on Capitol grounds.