Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man, stabbed six marchers in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. What is equally disturbing is that Schlissel was just released after serving 10 years for stabbing participants in the Gay Pride Parade in 2005. Schlissel immediately demanded a court held in accordance with Jewish law, a request which was denied.
The Obama Administration has been accused by public interest groups of being one of the most hostile administration toward whistleblowers since the Nixon Administration. Not only whistleblowers but reporters have been subject to abusive investigations and crackdowns under President Obama. Now, that record has taken an even more dangerous turn. The Justice Department is facing bipartisan criticism after it moved to restrict access of inspectors general to documents needed to ferret out corrupt and abusive practices. The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has issued a controversial 68-page memo that says that the department’s inspector general would be required to get permission from the agencies it is investigating to obtain wire taps, grand jury testimonies, and credit information.
Despite the determination of investigators at the State Department and intelligence agencies that Hillary Clinton did use her personal email system to handle confirmed classified information (and potentially compromised “hundreds of classified emails”), Clinton dismissed such allegations and assured the public that it is “pretty clear” that there was no classified information on her personal email system — a system that she used rather than the secure State Department system.
In a major development on the Clinton email scandal, the New York Times is reporting that the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence community have asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether there was mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton using a personal email account while secretary of state. While the newspaper referred to the action as a criminal referral, the Administration quickly moved to counter the story and insist that it is not technically a criminal referral. We have previously discussed this story and the insistence of Clinton that she did nothing wrong in maintaining a private email system and that none of the emails were classified. I disagreed with both premises as well as expressed great skepticism over Clinton’s insistence that she was really not trying to control her emails and insulate them from review but rather simply did not want to carry around two phones. According to the New York Times, investigators believe that Clinton’s email archive contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” Nevertheless, the Justice Department appears to be moving to counter any expectation of a criminal investigation against the former Secretary of State under Obama. We have previously discussed the special treatment historically given powerful figures in violating national security rules or practices.
Police in New York have arrested Zvi Shor, 64, the founder of the National Children’s Leukemia Foundation (NCLF). He is accused of a truly despicable fraud. The New York Attorney General’s office alleges that roughly 83 percent of the nearly $10 million that the NCLF raised from 2009 to 2013 was paid to professional fundraisers and less than one percent— $57,541— went to direct assistance for leukemia patients. Shor, whose son died of leukemia, has previously been accused of fraud. He was convicted of felony bank fraud in the Eastern District of New York in 1999.
I have been a critic of aspects of the case against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich, 58, was convicted of 18 counts of corruption and given a 14-year sentence. The most problematic charge in my view concerned Blagojevich’s wheeling and dealing for the appointment of a successor to fill the 2008 vacant U.S. Senate seat of then-President-Elect Barack Obama. Now a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has overturned five of the counts specifically dealing with that vacancy controversy.
Television personality Kelly Siegler is under fire this month for what critics are saying is a history of unethical conduct as a prosecutor, including the hiding of evidence in capital punishment cases. After a career as a Harris County prosecutor, Siegler became the star in a reality series on TNT called Cold Justice, now in its third season. Siegler’s allegedly checkered history as a prosecutor is reminiscent of the controversy surrounding Nancy Grace, who was denounced an an unethical prosecutor who violated the rights of accused persons but has been retained by CNN as a show host and legal commentator.