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Tag: judge

Judge: Acting Homeland Security Director Wolf Likely Serving in Role Unlawfully

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is likely serving in his role unlawfully, a Maryland judge ruled said.

In the ruling, Judge Paula Xinis blocked the Trump administration’s new asylum restrictions because Wolf appears to lack the authority to introduce them, The Hill reports.

“In sum, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs are likely to demonstrate (former acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin) McAleenan’s appointment was invalid under the agency’s applicable order of succession, and so he lacked the authority to amend the order of succession to ensure Wolf’s installation as Acting Secretary,” Xinis’ said in a 69-page ruling on Friday.

The judge’s decision comes a month after the Government Accountability Office determined that Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, were not appointed through a valid process and therefore aren’t legally qualified to hold their positions. The GAO said their appointments violated the laws detailing who can fill Senate-confirmed posts.

The White House has said it’s not acting on the findings.

FBI Links Murder of New Jersey Judge’s Husband to California Slaying of Another ‘Men’s Rights’ Attorney

Roy Den Hollander, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The “anti-feminist” lawyer suspected of fatally shooting the son of a New Jersey federal judge and wounding her husband at their family home on Sunday is now a suspect in the murder of a rival “men’s rights” attorney in California.

“We are now engaged with the San Bernardino California Sheriff’s Office and have evidence linking the murder of Marc Angelucci to FBI Newark subject Roy Den Hollander,” the FBI’s said in a statement.  “This investigation is ongoing.”

Hollander, 72, who allegedly posed as a FedEx deliveryman before shooting the son and husband of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, turned the gun on himself and was found dead in Liberty, N.Y. In addition to finding a FedEx packaged addressed to Salas in Hollander’s car, authorities also found papers mentioning Marc Angelucci, who was fatally shot at his home in California, The Daily Beast reports.

The FBI said investigators found evidence that Hollander was in California at the time of the Angelucci shooting. It was not immediately clear what other evidence the FBI had to link Hollander to Angelucci’s death.

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.

Judge Orders Review of Barr’s Report, Criticizes AG’s ‘Lack of Candor’

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal judge ordered the Justice Department to turn over an unredacted copy of the Mueller report after sharply rebuking Attorney General William Barr’s “lack of candor” in his handling of the special counsel report.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said Barr issued a “distorted” and “misleading” account of the report’s findings, The New York Times and other media reported.

Walton bluntly said Barr couldn’t be trusted because of “inconsistencies” between his public statements about the report and the public, partially redacted version of it.

The judge plans to review the unredacted report to determine the justification for the information that was blacked out.

The inconsistencies “cause the court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller report to the contrary,” wrote Walton, an appointee of President George W. Bush.

The judge’s decision came as part of a lawsuit filed by EPIC, a watchdog group, and BuzzFeed News.

The judge’s criticism of Barr is just the latest rebuke of an attorney general who has been accused of politicizing the attorney general’s office.

Reputed Gang Member Sentenced to Nearly 17 Years for Shooting ATF Agent in Face

Ernesto Godinez

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A reputed gang member who shot an ATF agent in the face in Chicago last year was sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison Wednesday.

A federal jury found Ernesto Godinez guilty in June in the shooting of Kevin Crump, who was nearly killed when a bullet tore through his neck and exited between his eyes on May 4, 2018.

Godinez, 29, was sentenced to 16 years and 8 months in prison, CBS News reports.

Calling the attack “brazen, callous, and cowardly,” federal prosectors said Crump is lucky to be alive.

“The depravity of the defendant’s crime is remarkable. A sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment is the only fair answer here, both to punish this reprehensible crime and to protect the community he endangered time and time again,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing recommendation.

Police said Crump was placing a tracker on Godinez’s car when the reputed gang member ambushed the agent and opened fire. Prosecutors said Godinez, who was arrested three days later, believed he was shooting a rival gang member.

Surveillance cameras captured Godinez before and after the shooting.

Godinez’s attorney acknowledges his client was in the area the morning of the shooting, but insists Godinez was not involved in the shooting. The 12-member jury didn’t buy that.

Black Secret Service Agent Claims He Was Detained, Held at Gunpoint Because of His Race

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A now-retired Secret Service agent can proceed with his lawsuit claiming two U.S. Park Police officers arrested and held him at gunpoint because he is black, a federal judge ruled.

Nathaniel Hicks alleges in the suit that he was in his Secret Service-issued vehicle on the shoulder of a Maryland highway waiting to join Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s motorcade when he was arrested by the Park Police officers in July 2015.

According to the suit, Park Police Officer Gerald L. Ferreyra approached Hicks’ vehicle, “drew his gun, pointed the weapons at Special Agent Hicks, and began screaming at him.”

Hicks said he explained what he was doing and showed his credentials to Ferreyra, who kept his gun pointed at the agent, whose car had a police antenna and a flashing bar.

The lawsuit alleges Ferreyra called for backup anyway, and Park Police Officer Brian Philips arrived. For more than an hour, according to the suit, the officers detained Hicks, and Ferreyra yelled and “spoke to him in a degrading manner.”

Meanwhile the motorcade passed, and one of the officers “mockingly waved his hand goodbye at the motorcade as it passed.”

After a supervisor arrived, Hicks was finally released but he was not able to reach the motorcade. According to the suit, Phillips then pulled over Hicks again and demanded his identification and car registration “despite just having had possession of these documents, and continued to talk to him in a demeaning and degrading tone with no possible justification.”

Hicks was eventually let go.

The officers, who dispute Hicks’ versions of events, asked a judge to dismiss the case against them, arguing immunity because they acted in a reasonably lawful way and did not violate Hicks’ rights.

Hicks’ attorneys disagree, saying the officers had “discriminatory motives,” partly based on their hostility toward Hicks.

“Based on upon the absence of probable cause, or even any reasonable suspicion to justify his prolonged seizure, it appears that Special Agent Hicks was singled out for unlawful treatment because of his race,” the complaint alleges.

In his deposition, Hicks described a tense encounter.

“When there is a gun pointed at you, regardless of what time it is, whether it’s night or day, you’re not going to forget that,” Hicks said. “In all my years of my position as a law enforcement officer, I never had that happen before.”

U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm declined to dismiss the suit this week, saying the officers did not have a good argument for failing to release Hicks before the motorcade arrived, NBC News reports.

“It is clearly established that detaining a person under these circumstances — when the officers had a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was underway but, after some investigation, became aware that no criminal activity was happening at the scene — is a violation of the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights,” Grimm wrote.

Hicks, who retired shortly after filing the suit, is suing for compensatory and punitive damages, saying he suffered “significant embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress, and the deprivation of his constitutional rights.”

“In addition to the manner in which defendants spoke to and treated him, it was particularly humiliating to be held on the side of the road as his colleagues passed by. That he was subjected to unlawful treatment because of his race compounds his emotional distress,” Hicks’ lawsuit said.

Fed Judge Tosses Statement of NSA Contractor Because FBI Failed to Mirandize Him

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a big mistake that’s been made over the years by law enforcement.

This time it involves a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor.

Dell Cameron of Gizmodo reports:

In the case of a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor accused of stealing a huge cache of classified documents, a federal judge this month agreed to toss out statements made by the contractor, Harold “Hal” Martin, on the basis that FBI agents failed to Mirandize him properly during four-hour interrogation, even though the suspect was not under arrest at the time.

Charged with 20 counts of willful retention of national defense information and theft of government property, Martin, 54, was arrested following a search of his Glen Burnie, Maryland, residence on Aug. 27, 2016. There, FBI agents discovered both digital and physical copies of documents that, according to prosecutors, contain classified and top-secret information said to be critical to “a wide variety of national security issues.”

 

Judge: Trump Opened Door for FBI Disclosure After Declassifying Dossier Documents

Members of the House Intelligence Committee. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s decision to release a declassified report on the Steele dossier and the Democratic rebuttal to it means the FBI must cough up information on whether the report verifies the evidence suggesting a link between Trump and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta in February supported the FBI’s decision to deny a request seeking to confirm the existence of records involving the controversial dossier, Politico reports

But Trump’s decision to declassify the competing reports nullifies the question of whether the documents exist.

“It remains no longer logical nor plausible for the FBI to maintain that it cannot confirm nor deny the existence of documents” related to attempts to verify information in the dossier, Mehta wrote in a 13-page opinion.

The FOIA was filed by a Politico reporter and the James Madison Project.

“This ruling represents another incremental step in revealing just how much the FBI has been able to verify or discredit the rather personal allegations contained in that synopsis derived from the Steele dossier,” said Brad Moss, a lawyer pressing the lawsuit. “It will be rather ironic if the president’s peripheral actions that resulted in this ruling wind up disclosing that the FBI has been able to corroborate any of the ‘salacious’ allegations.”