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Tag: Justice Department

DOJ Won’t Charge FBI Agents for Mishandling Probe of Larry Nassar

Larry Nassar is charged with child pornography.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has decided it won’t pursue charges against two FBI agents for mishandling the sex-abuse investigation into Larry Nassar, the disgraced USA Gymnastics team doctor. 

In a statement Thursday, the DOJ said it “is adhering to its prior decision not to bring federal criminal charges” after a “careful re-review” of the allegations against the agents.

“This does not in any way reflect a view that the investigation of Nassar was handled as it should have been, nor in any way reflect approval or disregard of the conduct of the former agents,” the Justice Department said. “While the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General has outlined serious concerns about the former agents’ conduct during the Nassar investigation, and also described how evidence shows that during interviews in the years after the events in question both former agents appear to have provided inaccurate or incomplete information to investigators, the Principles of Federal Prosecution require more to bring a federal criminal case.”

The review comes about 10 months after the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded in a searing 119-page report that the FBI mishandled the investigation.

Horowitz also found that W. Jay Abbot, special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office, lied to investigators about the botched investigation and his personal conflicts in the case. 

Abbott retired in January 2018, and Agent Michael Langeman was fired for his role in the investigation. 

According to the report, Nassar sexually abused at least 70 young athletes between 2015 and August 2016. Nassar is effectively serving a life sentence in prison. 

In September, FBI Director Christopher Wray apologized for the bureau’s “totally unacceptable” fails in the Nassar case.

“I’m sorry that so many people let you down again and again,” Wray said to the victims while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I am especially sorry that there were people at the F.B.I. who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed, and that is inexcusable. It never should have happened, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”

DOJ Opens Grand Jury Investigation into Trump’s Handling of Classified Material

President Trump

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has launched a grand jury investigation into former President Trump’s handling of classified documents after authorities discovered he brought boxes of White House documents to his Florida home. 

Investigators are conducting interviews with former White House aides and issued a subpoena to the National Archives and Records administration to determine how the documents made their way into Mar-a-Lago, The Washington Post reports.

It’s a federal crime to mishandle classified materials. 

The Justice Department declined to comment. 

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said Trump “consistently handled all documents in accordance with applicable law and regulations. Belated attempts to second-guess that clear fact are politically motivated and misguided.”

Authorities recovered 15 boxes of government documents at the Florida home. 

The boxes were supposed to go to the Archives. 

“I can remember watching the Trumps leaving the White House and getting off in the helicopter that day, and someone carrying a white banker box, and saying to myself, ‘What the hell’s in that box?’” David S. Ferriero, who retired last month as archivist of the United States, said in a previous interview.

DOJ Orders U.S. Marshals to Protect Supreme Court Justices Amid Roe v. Wade Draft Opinion

U.S. Supreme Court

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has ordered the U.S. Marshals to provide protection for the U.S. Supreme Court and its justices amid the looming decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

Protesters have staged rallies outside of the homes of some of the conservative justices. 

“The Attorney General directed the U.S. Marshals Service to help ensure the Justices’ safety by providing additional support to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Police,” the Justice Department said in a press release Wednesday.

Republicans have called on the Justice Department to provide protection for the justices. 

AG Garland Releases Statement on 27th Anniversary of Oklahoma City Bombing

Attorney General Merrick Garland. (Photo: DOJ)

By Steve Neavling

On the 27th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland released the following statement:

“Every year on this day, we remember those who were killed when a domestic terrorist bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, taking the lives of 168 people, including 19 children, and seriously injuring hundreds of others.

“And every year on this day, we commemorate the strength of the Oklahoma City community that came together in the face of that loss.

“The Justice Department apprehended, prosecuted, and convicted the men responsible for the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. As we did, we never forgot the victims, in whose memories we worked.

“Twenty-seven years later, the Justice Department remains vigilant in the face of the threat of domestic terrorism. We believe that the time to address threats of violence is before the violence occurs, so we are putting our resources into disrupting terrorist plots. We also remain committed to holding accountable those who perpetrate such attacks, which are aimed at rending the fabric of our democratic society and driving us apart.

“Today, as we remember Oklahoma City, we must stand together against the kind of hatred that leads to tragedies like that one. Today, we are also reminded of the grace and resilience demonstrated by the Oklahoma City community, which refused to allow hate and division to win.”

FBI Arrests NY Lt. Gov. Benjamin on Bribery, Fraud Charges

Former New York Lt. Gov. Brian A. Benjamin. Photo: New York Senate

By Steve Neavling

New York Lt. Gov. Brian A. Benjamin was arrested Tuesday by the FBI on charges of bribery, fraud and falsification of records while he was a state senator.

Benjamin, 45, resigned soon after the Justice Department announced the charges.

Benjamin is accused of receiving thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in exchange for directing a $50,000 state grant to a non-profit controlled by a real estate developer. 

According to the indictment, the developer also raised money for Benjamin’s failed 2021 campaign for New York City’s comptroller. 

“Exploiting one’s official authority by allocating state funds as part of a bribe to procure donations to a political campaign, and engaging in activity to cover up the bribe, is illegal,” FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll said in a statement. “As we allege today, Benjamin’s conduct in this scheme directly circumvents those procedures put in place to keep our systems fair.”

The developer was not identified in the indictment. 

AG Garland Tests Positive for COVID-19 After Unmasked Press Conference with FBI Director

Attorney General Merrick Garland. (Photo: DOJ)

By Steve Neavling

Attorney General Merrick Garland has tested positive for COVID-19, the Justice Department announced just hours after he held a news conference with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and others. 

Garland, 69, was not experiencing symptoms and tested positive after learning he may have been exposed to the virus, the DOJ said, according to ABC News.

“He asked to be tested after learning that he may have been exposed,” the DOJ said in a statement.

Garland, who is vaccinated and boosted, will follow CDC guidelines and work virtually from home while in quarantine. 

Garland tested positive after attending a Gridiron dinner in Washington D.C. on Saturday. Others who attended the event – Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas – have tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

As of Thursday morning, there was no word on Wray, Monaco and others who attended the unmasked press conference Wednesday.

DOJ Expanding Its Jan. 6 Probe Beyond the Riot

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo via Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department is expanding its investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol to include the events before the riot, The Washington Post and New York Times report.

One of those events was the Jan. 6 rally, attended by President Trump, that preceded the attack. 

In the past two months, a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas requests for information on the planning and execution of the rally. 

One of the subpoenas is searching for information about people “classified as VIP attendees” of the rally. 

Federal prosecutors are also looking for documents and testimony related to the Trump campaign’s promotion of fake electors in a handful of states, as well as Trump’s attempts to overturn the election results. 

Previously, the investigation focused on the rioters. 

DOJ Reaches $127.5M Settlement with Families of Parkland School Shooting Victims over FBI’s Inaction

Nikolas Cruz via instagram

By Steve Neavling

The federal government has agreed to pay the families of victims of the 2018 Parkland shooting massacre $127.5 million. The families alleged in lawsuits that the FBI failed to act on tips that may have prevented the shooting, the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday. 

“The settlement does not amount to an admission of fault by the United States,” the DOJ said. 

The shooting occurred on Feb. 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people and wounded an additional 17. 

The settlement will go to 16 of the 17 families of those killed. One of the families opted not to sue.

The families accused the FBI of negligence for failing to act on tips about Cruz. One came about five weeks before the shooting, when a tipster said Cruz had purchased guns and planned to “slip into a school and start shooting the place up.”

The tip never made its way to the FBI’s South Florida office, and the bureau never contacted Cruz, who had a troubling history of mental and behavioral problems. 

Cruz, who pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder in October 2021, faces a death sentence or life in prison when he is sentenced in April.