Steven Bannon Needs A Defense Not A Conspiracy Theory For His Federal Trial

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Below is my column on the Steven Bannon case that ran in the Washington Times.  Notably, one of the defendants indicted with Bannon is a Andrew Badolato, a person who has repeatedly assisted the government in prior cases.  While Badolato has pleaded not guilty and has a long association with Bannon, his history could raise a serious threat for defense counsel that he might cut a deal with prosecutors. In a case of this kind, a cooperating witness confirming an intent to hide transactions would be devastating to the defense. A May 24, 2021 trial date has been set though  U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres called that date “optimistic.” (Note: postings this week may be limited due to my duties in a criminal defense case).

Here is the column:

“This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall.” That was the only response noted from former White House strategist Steve Bannon after his indictment for fraud in New York last week.

Facing up to 20 years in prison, it was perhaps the most ambitious political spin from a man whose creativity was matched only by his audacity. If Mr. Bannon is hoping to convert his signature deep-state conspiracy into a criminal defense, however, he will face perhaps his most formidable opponent yet: himself.

In a recent book, “Deep State: Trump, the FBI and the Rule of Law” by James B. Stewart, Mr. Bannon is quoted as saying “deep state conspiracy theory is for nut cases” and that such claims are out of bounds since “America isn’t Turkey or Egypt.” He is now suggesting the a similar conspiracy is afoot to derail his work to build the wall. However, Mr. Bannon needs an explanation, not a narrative, to address his alleged conduct in the indictment.

The problem with the deep-state conspiracy as a defense is that it only works if prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are pursuing a simple and honest wall builder with bizarre or novel theories of criminality. In fact, the 24-page indictment is as simple as sin itself. It details knowingly false statements to donors coupled with the misuse of contributed funds for personal expenses of the four principle figures behind the “Build The Wall” campaign.

Mr. Bannon never does anything small and, when he decided to delve into the funds of this charity, he did it with signature gusto.

The charity raised $25 million and Mr. Bannon is accused of taking $1 million of that money as personal compensation. His co-defendants Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea are accused of taking their own shares despite assurances to donors that all of the money would go to building the wall along the southern border.

Mr. Kolfage is a double amputee war hero who first founded the campaign with the ambitious goal of seeking $1 billion. As part of the pitch, Mr. Kolfage assured donors that the charity administrators would “not take a penny in salary or compensation.” Yet, he allegedly took more than $350,000 and allegedly use the money on everything from a boat to cosmetic surgery.

It is certainly true that indictments always look more daunting before they are subject to challenge from the defense. For example, prosecutors love to detail expenses like Mr. Kolfage’s purchase of a boat called “Warfighter” to paint a defendant as not just fraudulent but frivolously fraudulent.  Such purchases could have been made with money unconnected to the alleged fraud, but prosecutors love to parade shining objects as some form of loot.

Moreover, the prosecutors highlight the use of nonprofits to distribute money for the campaign. However, the fund-raising site GoFundMe had told Mr. Kolfage that it had concerns about a campaign that only promised to give the money to the government. It pushed Mr. Kolfage to use a nonprofit and Mr. Kolfage appeared to turn to Mr. Bannon for help.

However, the indictment describes a series of shell companies and nonprofits used to distribute payments. That array of companies is all the more troubling when they served to hide that fact that officers were indeed taking considerable amounts of money from the charity. The indictment describes how money was sent to a nonprofit controlled by Mr. Bannon who then used that nonprofit to give money to Mr. Kolfage through “fake invoices and sham ‘vendor’ arrangements.”

What is striking about this indictment is the boldness and clarity of the claims made to donors including that “100% of your donations would be given to the government for the construction of a wall” and that, if the campaign did not attain its goal, the campaign would “refund every penny.” Few lawyers would sign off on such absolute promises even with the most righteous of charities.

When GoFundMe compelled the organizers to go back to donors to get them to agree to send the money to the nonprofit, these pledges were repeated to the crowdfunding site and to donors. This included assurances that “Kolfage will take no salary” and “will personally not take a penny of compensation from these donations.”

These assurances were not just limited to Mr. Kolfage. On social media, Mr. Kolfage declared almost indignantly “I thought it was pretty clear. I made a promise that I would NEVER take a penny 100% of fundraising through … donations will only go towards the wall. 100% means 100% right? Board won’t see any of that money!”

As a criminal defense attorney, I can say that “clarity” amounts to “100%” of a trial nightmare.

This does not make for a deep-state conspiracy or even a selective prosecution defense. The prosecutors can argue that these officials were actually siphoning off funds that were taken to build the wall. The irony is that the rules governing nonprofits are not particularly stringent.

As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the group was not legally required to disclose its donors or file regular campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) like a political committee. Moreover, charities and nonprofits have long had controversies over compensation packages. The key is to be open about taking the money. The National Action Network of Al Sharpton paid him more than $1 million in compensation in 2018 and then forked over $500,000 for rights to his life story. However, it was all in the open and astonishingly no one seemed to care.

Mr. Bannon could point fingers at Mr. Kolfage, but he was still taking money donated under false pretenses. He will have to sit next to his co-defendant as prosecutors repeat mantra-like “100% mean 100%, right?”

This is why soundbites make for lousy defenses. Steve Bannon et al did a dreadful job in building the wall. What they now need to do is build a defense.

 Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a practicing criminal defense attorney.

193 thoughts on “Steven Bannon Needs A Defense Not A Conspiracy Theory For His Federal Trial”

  1. https://twitter.com/JonathanTurley/status/1301950238668849153

    “Privately built border wall will fail, engineering report says”

    “The report, set to be filed in federal court this week, confirms reporting from ProPublica and The Texas Tribune that found portions of the wall were in danger of overturning if not fixed due to extensive erosion just months after it was built.”

    BY JEREMY SCHWARTZ AND PERLA TREVIZO, THE TEXAS TRIBUNE AND PROPUBLICA SEPT. 2, 20205 AM

    https://www.texastribune.org/2020/09/02/texas-private-border-wall-study/

    1. If anyone has been watching War Room: Pandemic, you will see the most likely motive for busting Bannon. He & co are deep into exposing the ChiComs and other news. China doesn’t like Bannon much. War Room has hosted Chinese whistle blowers who say the china virus was lab doctored & so on. Also War Room has exposed the huge threat that the Three Gorges Dam presents to the Chinese people & a manufacturing site down stream.

      I like Bannon & his crew. They are risking a lot to bring out the truth & they support Prez Trump. That alone is enough to get the corrupt SDNY to go after Bannon & the wall people.

      What the fascist dimms have ignored regarding HRC & the Clinton Foundation is a HUGE tell. Then there is the ongoing frame-up of General Flynn…long list of real crime to investigate– but they go after Bannon… Illegally spy on Trump & his people, but they go after Stone & so on.

      SamFox

    2. All exterior construction corrodes. Even the pyramids are not in the condition they were when build.

      The will public or private will fail in time – much of the Wall Trump has built is NOT new wall, it is replacing wall built 30 years ago that is failing;

      I would also note that we can all cite stories int he news by the engineers who review our roads and bridges that tell us they are in horrible shape – the worst ever. Yet anyone who has been driving for 50 years knows that they are actually in the best shape ever.

      When engineers study something they find defects – that is their job.

  2. As soon as you see alledged, purported, reportedly and similar words or the twisted words of the dirty cop generation or that it was reported by th elike of NYT WaPo or DNC just igure it’s more than likely BS. When you see them circle wagons and now I see Clinton is getting sob sister treatment in the tabloids then you know ther is something of substance such as how come women are voting for the party that supported the number one and number two victimizers of women and made a fortune doing it. Look how long it didn’t take to hide Huma Gotcha when we started touting her as the quintessential fly on the all to probably be the first to turn states evidence.

  3. “Steven Bannon Needs A Defense Not A Conspiracy Theory For His Federal Trial”

    – Professor Turley
    _______________

    Barack Obama Needs A Trial Not An Arbitrary Exoneration By The Justice Department
    ____________________________________________________________________

    “…FALSE DENIALS…FOR WHICH JOSEPH MIFSUD WAS NEVER CHARGED.”

    “FBI Notes Reveal Mysterious Maltese Professor Joseph Mifsud’s False Denials To Agents — For Which He Was Never Charged”

    Notes on the FBI’s interview with the mysterious Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud were made public Tuesday, showing denials from a key Trump-Russia inquiry figure who special counsel Robert Mueller says lied to investigators yet was never charged. The notes, released as part of a BuzzFeed Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, span only a page and a half, indicating that the FBI’s Feb. 11, 2017, interview with Mifsud in the lobby of the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., was a brief and cursory one in the grand scheme of the investigation. George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser who ple aded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to federal agents about his communications with Mifsud and two Russian nationals, Olga Polonskaya and Ivan Timofeev, told investigators that Mifsud said at a London meeting in April 2016 that Russia possessed damaging information on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails, a claim Australian diplomat Alexander Downer says Papadopoulos later conveyed to him. The FBI says the diplomat’s account spurred the beginning of the Trump-Russia investigation. “Mifsud stated he had no advance knowledge Russia was in possession of emails from the Democratic National Committee and, therefore, did not make any offers or proffer any information to Papadopoulos. They spoke about cyber security and hacking as a larger issue,” the interviewing agent wrote. “Papadopoulos must have misunderstood their conversation … Mifsud has not seen Papadopoulos since the U.K. meeting.” The FBI wrote that “Mifsud did not believe Polenskaya was related to Vladimir Putin or any other Russian government officials.” Papadopoulos said that Mifsud had told him that Polenskaya was Putin’s niece. The bureau also said that “Mifsud stated Papadopoulos was interested in foreign policy ideas, Trump’s recent speech, Israel, migration, Russia, and other geopolitical subjects” and that Mifsud called meeting Papadopoulos mere “happenstance.” In an email from Mifsud to the FBI shortly after the interview and obtained by the Hill, Mifsud claimed that “cybersecurity was never the direct object of any of our conversations” — a likely reference to Russia’s hack of the DNC. Mifsud left the United States after his FBI interview and was last seen in public in October 2017 at Link Campus in Rome. Efforts by the Senate Intelligence Committee to interview him were unsuccessful. Mifsud’s passport was discovered to have been sitting in a lost-and-found on the Portuguese island of Madeira since August 2017. Mueller’s report said Mifsud lied to the FBI, noting that Mifsud “denied that he had advance knowledge that Russia was in possession of emails damaging to candidate Clinton.” The special counsel said Mifsud “also falsely stated that he had not seen Papadopoulos since the meeting at which Mifsud introduced him to Polonskaya,” despite evidence showing Mifsud and Papadopoulos met at least two other times in April 2016. Mifsud also “omitted that he had drafted (or edited) the follow-up message that Polonskaya sent to Papadopoulos.” Mueller’s team argued in its sentencing memorandum for Papadopoulos that “his lies to the FBI in January 2017 impeded the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference.” Mueller’s team claimed that Papadopoulos’s lies “substantially hindered” its ability to “question” Mifsud effectively and “undermined” its ability to “challenge” Mifsud or “detain or arrest him.” During Mueller’s House testimony in July 2019, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan asked Mueller if the special counsel interviewed Mifsud, if Mifsud lied to them, and whether Mifsud was Western intelligence or Russian intelligence. Mueller replied, “I can’t get into that” each time, prompting Jordan to lament: “The central figure [Mifsud] who launches it all lies to us, and you guys don’t hunt him down and interview him again, and you don’t charge him with a crime.” During an FBI interview on Feb. 1, 2017, Papadopoulos told the FBI he “knew Mifsud to be an associate of a Russian discussion club” and “that Mifsud was … coordinating all things related to Russia at the London Centre of International Law Practice.” He told the investigators that “Mifsud recently reached out to Papadopoulos and indicated that he may be traveling to Washington, D.C., in February 2017.” Papadopoulos offered to “potentially meet with Mifsud” when traveling to London three weeks later. Mueller’s 2019 report said Mifsud had “connections to Russia” and noted he “traveled to Moscow in April 2016” and “met with high-level Russian government officials” before telling Papadopoulos about the Clinton “dirt.” The FBI sent informants, including Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, and spoke with and recorded Papadopoulos, but Papadopoulos’s repeated denials of Russian collusion were never relayed to the FISA Court. House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes has said Mifsud likely has links to Western intelligence and accused Mueller’s team of deciding to “cherry-pick” information, saying Mueller’s team should be looked at criminally. Former FBI Director James Comey called Mifsud a “Russian agent” last year, something not claimed by Mueller. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz didn’t find evidence that Mifsud was an FBI asset. Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham are conducting an inquiry into the Russia investigation’s origins and have sought information about Mifsud. Horowitz found the Trump-Russia investigation had “sufficient factual predication.” Durham disagreed, saying that “we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.” Barr said the basis was “insufficient.” Downer met Papadopoulos at London’s Kensington Wine Rooms in May 2016. Papadopoulos said the Russians had damaging information on Clinton, and, two months later, when WikiLeaks published emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee by Russia, Downer informed the U.S. The Senate Intelligence Committee report from August found that “Mifsud was aware of an aspect of Russia’s active measures campaign in the 2016 election and that Mifsud told Papadopoulos what he knew.” The panel said investigators “could not determine if Papadopoulos informed anyone on the Trump Campaign.” The report assessed that Papadopoulos “was not a witting co-optee of the Russian intelligence services,” but “Papadopoulos’s contacts with Mifsud … are highly suspicious.” The report said Mifsud “exhibited behavior consistent with intelligence tradecraft” but didn’t reach a conclusion about whether he was working for anybody.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/fbi-notes-reveal-mysterious-maltese-professor-joseph-mifsuds-false-denials-to-agents-for-which-he-was-never-charged

    – Washington Examiner

  4. Pelosi is now blaming the salon owner for lawlessness. She, the salon owner, is moving away to escape the Pelosi dragon breath.

    But I wonder, who will dare to take care of the witch’s hair now? Something goes amiss and you are destroyed.

    Dem governor of Nevada caught dining in with live music and no mask contrary to orders.
    Dem mayor of Philadelphia caught inside a restaurant dining with no mask.
    Dem Governor Newsom caught leaving his winery open while closing all the others.
    Dem mayor of Chicago having police she openly hates guard her street while leaving everyone else exposed to reparations looters.

    They really do think they are just sooo special.

  5. Frauds In The News:

    TRUMP TELLS NORTH CAROLINA REPUBLICANS TO (ILLEGALLY) VOTE TWICE

    President Trump on Wednesday suggested that people in North Carolina stress-test the security of their elections systems by voting twice — an act that constitutes the kind of voter fraud the president has railed against.

    Mr. Trump made the comment in a briefing with reporters, where he was asked about his faith in the state’s system for voting by mail, which is expected to be more expansive in the 2020 presidential election than in previous years because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

    Mr. Trump encouraged people to send in an absentee ballot and then go vote in person on Election Day.

    “Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” the president said. “If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote.”

    “That’s the way it is,” he added. “And that’s what they should do.”

    Voting twice in the same election is illegal.

    But Mr. Trump’s suggestion that people should vote twice is one he has discussed privately with aides in recent weeks amid concerns he is depressing turnout among his supporters by raising alarms about the security of mail-in voting.

    As the number of people planning to mail in their ballots has increased, Mr. Trump has repeatedly made false claims about widespread fraud in mail voting. With his advisers trying to tell him that he’s scaring his own supporters, including older voters, with his broad condemnations, he has sought to draw a distinction between universal mail voting and more limited absentee voting in which the person is away from home or has a disability.

    But even as he has made such distinctions, he has continued to float wild theories about extensive voter fraud that are not backed up by evidence. He has repeatedly detailed far-fetched, seemingly manufactured stories about ballots being forged.

    The attorney general, William P. Barr, declined to comment on Mr. Trump’s suggestion on Wednesday.

    “We haven’t had the kind of widespread use of mail-in ballots that’s being proposed,” Mr. Barr said, adding that he wasn’t familiar with the specifics of North Carolina’s voting laws.

    Edited From: “Trump Encourages People In North Carolina To Vote Twice, Which Is Illegal”

    Today’s New York Times

    1. If your claims about Mail In Voting are correct Trump’s suggestion will backfire and not only will the duplicates be struck – but likely the originals as it is not possible to tell which vote is correct. Left wing nuts should favor Trump voters burning their own voters.

      But you are whigged out – because you know – as Trump does, and as the rest of us do, that if they vote twice it is likely their votes will be counted twice. We all know there will be massive efforts to commit mail in vote fraud, the only question is whether that will succeed.

      The Brennan center and the left says it will not.
      Reality and experience – as recently as the primaries says otherwise.

      So who you going to beleive – and “expert” or the facts ?

    2. If every Trump voter voted twice it would still pale next to the DNC, FBI, CIA, SOS, Obama, etc. felonious conspiracy to stop and spy and on Trump’s campaign pre-election, and thwart/remove him from office after he was sworn in, including Schiff, Swalwell and Pelosi lying into the camera for 3 years straight railing about a Russia conspiracy they absolutely knew did not exist.

      If the DNC was fair they’d not even nominate a candidate this year.

      If you think the DNC is not conspiring to intentionally enter known fraudulent ballots and toss ballots from known GOP neighborhoods I have a red bridge for sale N. of San Francisco.

    3. ““We haven’t had the kind of widespread use of mail-in ballots that’s being proposed,” Mr. Barr said, adding that he wasn’t familiar with the specifics of North Carolina’s voting laws.

      I think NC is one of the 2 vote states but I’d have to look it up. Barr surely couldn’t be expected to know this and this is just more of that “gotcha” journalism he and Trump have to put up with.

  6. So this Badolato character is bad news. Who? Badolato, a Bannon associate.
    Who snitched on a fellow he owed money to, in order to get out of paying the vig. Newspapers imply that another charge may ensue against Steve if Mr Badolato wants to begin to sing some more songs.

    Oh those newspapers, suggesting to the government what charges they file next. Mass media, they are so cute. Tell us what to believe and the government what to do next.

    Of course, in general, bad idea to associate with people who turn evidence to avoid paying their debts

    https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/2020/08/20/steve-bannon-and-sarasota-county-resident-andrew-badolato-indicted/5616274002/

    No wonder Trump cut Steve loose. Too bad he made poor choices, Steve has a lot of political vision, and I believe a sincere desire to help America.
    I hope he gets a fair trial and emerges from these difficulties exonerated.

  7. Brennan Center for Justice

    “Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement”

    “SUMMARY: The government’s response to known connections of law enforcement officers to violent racist and militant groups has been strikingly insufficient.”

    by Mike German

    PUBLISHED: August 27, 2020

    https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/hidden-plain-sight-racism-white-supremacy-and-far-right-militancy-law

    1. brennan center is so weak. seriously. so pathetic

      that article stinks, just another long string of anti police slanders

      Mike German is foolish aclu lawyer who’s tried to make a career out of calling cops racist. now maybe he’s on easy street at brennan center

      guys like this laid the intermediate foundations for BLM and the riots we face today. he’s an enemy of order in society. these scoundrels create chaos and call it freedom. it never is.

        1. The Brennan Center has a long track record of being WRONG on myriads of issues.

          They are often quoted as claiming their is no in person voter fraud in the US.

          Yet that is false – while inperson voter fraud is incredibly hard to detect or prove without voter ID – nearly impossible.

          We have thousands of provable instances in every election, and more than a hundred arrests and dozens of convictions.

          And that is for a crime that we have almost no means of detecting and proving. Given better tools we would with near certain have several orders of magnitude more cases. Regardless we have far more than the Brennan center ever admits.

          Approximately 4500 new hampshire voters in 2016 have never verified residence in NH. These people were allowed to register and vote based on claimed residences in NH – but despite numerous efforts to prove NH residency none appear to have lived in NH at the time of the election. It is highly likely that nearly all of these are college students – who are all eligable to vote – in the state they legal reside – which is NOT NH.

          Left wing nuts and the Brennan Center ignore actual facts.

          1. More crap from John Say above:

            After Exhaustive Investigations, N.H. Officials Find No Widespread Fraud in Recent Elections

            “While Edwards couldn’t recall any such complaints in 2016, she said they did come up in past elections when political parties worked with out-of-state bus companies to provide shuttles transporting college students to local polling places.

            “We’ve received calls about Vermont buses, Massachusetts buses, and Maine buses,” Edwards explained. “Each time we have sent an investigator out to the polling place, and they have been able to determine the situation is that the bus company is from Maine, or Vermont, or Massachusetts, but not the voters on the bus.”

            Edwards said similar complaints also came in from concerned voters who spotted a fleet of Massachusetts cars parked outside a Salem polling place, right across the Massachusetts border, in 2014.

            “It turned out, it was individuals from Massachusetts who had come up and were holding campaign signs outside. They said it wasn’t an exciting election in Massachusetts, so they were going to come up and hold signs in New Hampshire. but they weren’t trying to vote – they were just out there holding campaign signs.”

            Elsewhere in the article:

            “Such confusion accounted for one of the four wrongful voting prosecutions the state has flagged so far from the 2016 general election.

            As Edwards explained at the Ballot Law Commission meeting, and as previously reported by NHPR, one man who owns residential properties in both Hampton and Salem was fined after he voted in both Hampton and Salem in November 2016.

            Edwards said the state has punished at least three other people for voting illegally in the 2016 general election: an elderly woman who submitted an absentee ballot for her late husband and two Dixville Notch voters who no longer lived in the first-of-the-nation enclave…”

            https://www.nhpr.org/post/after-exhaustive-investigations-nh-officials-find-no-widespread-fraud-recent-elections#stream/0

            John, I suggest that you check with authoritative and respected news sources before repeating the crap you pick up on Fox, Facebook, or whatever news slum you usually hang out in.

        2. I read the article and I read his bio. You probably didn’t anonymous or you wouldn’t have asked.

          I also read a series of cases related to supposed racist cliques inside various police departments. Cases that were germane to his article

          Cases that ACLU was involved with at certain junctures. And possibly him specifically.

          I also have followed the Brennan center for years and seen their quality decline as they increasingly try and grab donor attention with “racist” this and that stories such as this.

          I could go on and on but it bores me to explain such things and I realize that those who like the headline rarely care about the context nor the validity of the assertions advanced.

  8. the US brings a lot of weak cases that will have some zing to them if the pros wins, while they ignore more obvious and harmful ones which merit more attention

    here they get crazy going after Alderman Ed Burke, who has been around forever, and maybe just because he has been around forever

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/criminal-justice/ ct-edward-burke-corruption-charges-trial-delay-20200902-m3fgepnm25gs5hvy4hopbjfouq-story.html

    I’d like to see a Turley write up on this one. Somehow i suspect, he wont go there.

    Personally it sounds really really lame to me. Maybe FBI can’t find anything better to do then hound a good old boy. Since they finally got something to stick on some other famed alderman they could move on to Burke.Instead of bothering with these local politicians who had some real estate deals in which FBI will make a mountain out of molehill, not unlike this case against Bannon— How about rounding up more gang figures (El Rukn, Latin Kings, Black Gangster Disciples, Vice lords, whomever who are threatening to kill assasinate Chicago cops? Really weak FBI and sad

    https://news.yahoo.com/fbi-reports-chicago-gangs-formed-181326876.html

    “A federal intelligence alert from the FBI field office in Chicago, Ill., warned that about 30 gangs in the city have made a pact to shoot police officers if they draw their weapons in public, ABC 7 reported on Monday.

    Intelligence alerts are frequently distributed to law enforcement officials, especially if the alerts involve threats to an officer’s safety. This particular alert was based on “a contact whose reporting is limited and whose reliability cannot be determined,” meaning a street source, witness, or information obtained through surveillance.

    The alert states that Chicago gangs have agreed to “shoot on-sight any cop that has a weapon drawn on any subject in public.”

    UM< THANKS FOR THE WARNING FBI

    I want to ask a question that's been nagging me for years now.

    Is Chicago so much better off that the old corrupt beer drinking politicians have been replaced by new corrupt wine sipping ones?

    Is it so much better now that one Italian organized crime gang (Outfit) has been displaced by a bunch of street hoodlums such as described above? VL, BGD, etc.

    I just ask, I do not answer.

  9. Edward Snowden tweeted:

    “Seven years ago, as the news declared I was being charged as a criminal for speaking the truth, I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA’s activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them.

    “And yet that day has arrived.”

    https://twitter.com/snowden?lang=en

    Jameel Jaffer
    @JameelJaffer

    “Someone with time on their hands should catalogue, for posterity, all of the misrepresentations that intel officials made to courts, congress, and the press in defense of post-9/11 surveillance programs.”

    Things are so much worse than many/most people realize.

  10. BREAKING NEWS: “In a long-awaited decision, the 9th Circuit has ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ call records was illegal.”

    Patrick Toomey
    @PatrickCToomey

    Breaking: In a long-awaited decision, the 9th Circuit has ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ call records was illegal.

    The court held that the mass surveillance program violated Section 215—and very likely violated the 4th Amendment too.

    https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/united-states-v-moalin-ninth-circuit-opinion?redirect=legal-document/us-v-moalin-ninth-circuit-opinion

    Thomas Drake

    “Paging @Snowden
    — 9th Circuit declares NSA program unlawful as intel officials misled, lied & covered up NSA’s bulk call record collection (err, mass surveillance) as NatSecState secret. Some of us charged like spies w/ Crimes against the State for exposing this spying post 9/11.”

    1. “Patrick Toomey
      @PatrickCToomey

      The opinion also contains an important ruling on the government’s duty to give notice of secret surveillance—including sweeping spying activities under Executive Order 12,333 [sic].

      12:35 PM · Sep 2, 2020·Twitter Web App”

      1. Young:

        “For once the Ninth got it right. Maybe someone told them they were being spied on too.”
        **********************
        They read the newspapers and know who McCabe, Rosenstein and Comey are.

    2. So it’s your “GUESS” that it MAY violate the 4th Amendment? These clowns should have been marched out to the guillotines for treason a long time ago.

      “…SECURE IN THEIR PERSONS, HOUSES, PAPERS, AND EFFECTS, AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES, SHALL NOT BE VIOLATED,…”

      What part of the 4ht Amendment do you communsits (liberals, progressives, soicalists, democerats, RINOs) not understand?
      __________________________________________________________________________________________________

      “You can’t handle the truth!”

      – Colonel Jessup
      _____________

      You can’t grasp the scope and breadth of American freedom.

      American citizens are the new “Sovereign” and government is the “Subject” of the “Sovereign.”
      ___________________________________________________________________________

      4th Amendment

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    3. Thanks,

      I read your piece & made a call to someone that can effect change & had a very nice cardio workout on this issue of NSA bulk spying on Americans in violation of the 4th/etc… & some other related issues like the Commie Flu/illegal mandatory killer-injurious vaccines/Contact Tracing by US/State govts hiding behind & buying info from Google/Apple/etc. phone computer data.

  11. Radley Balko
    @radleybalko

    It gets better! Just learned that this officer was promoted in 2016. See here:

    https://wgtd.org/news/kenosha-police-officer-pablo-torres-promoted

    Radley Balko
    @radleybalko

    In 2015, Kenosha cop Pablo Torres shot and killed a man armed with a bucket. It was his first day back after another shooting 10 days earlier. He had a 200-page disciplinary file, with 9 excessive force complaints. The Kenosha police union paid tribute to him with this billboard.

    https://twitter.com/radleybalko/status/1301204751774814215

    1. If what you typed is true, it would be better for all police if some secret assassination squad took him out in private, and make it look like a random crime or suicide.

      One thing is certain. If police don’t like defund campaigns, it’s time for all police including all unions in one voice to demand the de-criminalization of all drugs; law enforcement and justice funds go straight to treatment and prevention campaigns.

      If you’re not willing to line chronic drug users up and shoot them en masse daily, decriminalize it. The current situation is obviously insane. What the ratio of hardened users who quit, really, I want to know? 2%? 5%? 1/2%?

    2. iIRC the japanese named sniper who murdered the mother carrying her baby @ Waco was promptly promoted. Also, the 20th/last 9-11 high jacker was in prison pre-9-11, and the FBI had his computer with the 9-11 plan, but did not open and read it. A low level agent sent up the food chain a request to read the computer. The FBI had the right to read it, but refused the suggestion. That supervising agent should be rotting in prison for life as a warning to the next dope. Instead, of course he was promoted.

      Police have a tough and dangerous job. Their worst most common sin is covering for cold blooded scum bag and/or idiotic coworkers.

      1. His name was Lon Horiuchi… he shot Vicki Weaver who was only carrying a baby in her arms. That incident was called “Ruby Ridge”

        BUT YES HE WAS AT WACO TOO… may people did not know that

        https://web.archive.org/web/20010407142129/http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/991108/horiuchi.htm

        It is possible as Horiuchi claims, that the shooting was an accident

        it is also possible that Horiuchi was given an illegal order and followed it, and by claiming accident he protected his superiors.

        however it happened, the Feds paid Weaver’s family in excess of a million for the two homicides and one dog shooting they inflicted on his family in that debacle

        my how much restraint they have shown to BLM and their camp followers.. Consider the contrast.

          1. The Book, could that be because the Bundy’s had a LOT of armed people there to back them? At Waco the people were trapped in a building.

            SamFox

            1. The Feds did NOT show restraint with the Bundy’s.

              For anyone who wants to bother there is lots of very disturbing testimony on this.

              The FBI had sniper’s out and were looking to provoke violence. They WANTED an excuse to respond to the Bundy;s with violence.

              They did not expect the broad local support the Bundy’s received and quickly discovered they were vastly outnumbered and under armed.

              They wanted another Ruby Ridge, what they got was closer to Lexington and Concord.

              The Bundy’s are religious nutjobs. Regardless, all they wanted was to be left alone and allowed to farm the land their families had farmed for a century and a half.

              Under Obama BLM was actively trying to shut down cattle ranchers int he west. They were trying to reclaim lands that were supposed to have been transfered to private hands centuries ago – the Constitution severely limits the amount of land the federal government can have inside a state. Our founders did NOT want the federal government owning significant land. They wanted as much land in private hands as possible. They understood that government is a lousy steward. But who follows the constitution ?

              1. John– I agree. I believe, in fact, that the prosecutors were rebuked by the judge for misconduct, but as usual with that lot there is never any punishment within the agency.

                I recall thinking about the federal land issue when I was reading ‘The Laws of England Before Edward I’ and wondering who stands in the feudal position of king with respect to federal lands. Odd approach, I know.

                But if the federal government releases or loses title to land, say an old military base, the title ultimately rests with the state. The state can’t relinquish its ultimate overlordship on real property. If a property owner dies and there are no heirs the property escheats to the state government and never to the federal government. The state government is on top of the property pyramid even though the federal claims are difficult to dislodge. Kind of like trying to get rid of an obnoxious tenant. The tenant has an estate but . . . .

                Another approach, if the federal government sells property in fee simple, or grants a patent as was done with mining towns in the Old West, absent a deed provision, that property would always escheat to the state government.

                It is arguable that the federal government’s claim to Western lands is subordinate in some fundamental respects to the ultimate claim of the state.

                Yes, I know there is such a thing as allodial title, but it is very rare and does not change the argument above.

                1. I am less concerned with the land laws of old england than the criteria in the constitution.

                  The federal government was allowed land within states for forts and post offices.
                  That was it. Until late in the 19th century the federal government sold or gave away all federal land prior to a teritory becoming a state.
                  This was considered required by the constitution. But like many provisions in the constitution we eventually ignored it away, and then when enforcing it became near impossible we decided that clause had no meaning.

                  The constituion does not dictate the state ownership of land. But the same principle applies.

                  We know uniformly that government is a horrible steward of property.

                  There is no landlord worse than government. There is no worse pollution in the US than that of government.

                  The idea that putting resources under the control of government produces good results is ludicrously stupid.

                  One of the blogs I follow is CoyoteBlog by Warren Meyer.

                  Warren has done extremely well managing local, state and federal parks.

                  He pays the government to manage a park.
                  He charges lower rates than park services do.
                  He maintains – often adds to the properties he manages – even though the improvements belong to the government.
                  He does all of this while running a profit, increasing services and public demand.

                  It should be obvious that if he can do that – that government has no clue how to manage a park.

                  1. It is removed by a considerable distance, but the old laws of England underlie much of our law. I once used the Statute of Westminster II (1285) to prevail in case that nobody thought I could win.

                    Even in America land is held of someone. It used to be the king and now it is the state. That someone gets the property back in an escheat and echeat is always to a state and never to the federal government. The federal ownership of land is of a different and lesser character than state ownership. The feds don’t have an underlying title interest in state land, but the state always had an underlying legal title interest in federal land.

                    There are arguments for the federal government to release federal land to the states and bearing in mind that legally it is ultimately state land could help the arguments.

                    It is a long stretch and it has been awhile since I have given it any thought, but there it is.

                    1. The federal government did release the land to the states – prior to a teritory becoming a state much of the land belonged to the federal government – which priot to the late 19th century turned it over to the state of sold it privately as required by the constitution before the teritory became a state.

  12. Every American sees the fraud, conspiracy, malicious prosecution and treason of the Obama Coup D’etat in America.

    America has thoroughly enjoyed the epic theatrical masterpiece and stage play:

    “Obergruppenfuhrer Mueller’s Totally Fake Russian Collusion Political Scam, Hoax and Melodrama, 2017 – 2019 – Starring The Schutzstaffel Reichsführer Andrew Weissmann Gang”

    This prosecution of Steve Bannon had better be iron-clad or it will go down in history as Mike Nifong II, the Sequel.

    It will be time for an investigation of the investigators.

    If Steve Bannon actually thought he could fool the world, if Steve Bannon actually engaged in criminal activity to obtain financial resources, Steve Bannon will go down as the stupidest person in human history – which, of course, he isn’t.

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