Category: Criminal law

Federal Judge Orders Mueller To Turn Over Flynn Material

In a surprising move, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Mueller late Wednesday to turn over all of the government’s documents and “memoranda” related to Flynn’s questioning. This follows a Flynn filing that described an effective trap set by agents who encouraged him not to bring a lawyer and left inconsistencies unaddressed in what has been described by critics as a “perjury trap.”  I have practiced in front of Judge Sullivan for years and he is a respected judge who has a keen eye for prosecutorial and investigative abuse.  That does not mean that he will find such abuse here and could ultimately make a finding that nothing improper occurred.  Yet, despite a recommendation of no jail time, Sullivan wants to review the entire record before deciding on the issue.

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Reality Check: Why Trump Is Neither Vindicated Or Vanquished By The Recent Filings

Below is my column in The Hill Newspaper on the unrestrained hype on both sides after the recent filings by the Special Counsel and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. 

Here is the column:

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James Clapper’s Unwitting Irony: Former National Intelligence Director Dismisses Claim Of Innocence Of Maria Butina

There are moments on television where the irony is so great that it leaves you dumbfounded.  On Tuesday night, CNN brought on its contributor, James Clapper, to address the plea deal struck by accused Russian Agent Maria Butina.  Clapper was asked by Wolf Blitzer if it is possible that Butina could have simply been used unwittingly by the Russian government.  It is a fair question, but Clapper immediately dismissed claims of “unwitting” actions and insisted ” I suspect she was witting.” If that sounded familiar, it should and, while Clapper is clearly an expert on intelligence matters, he is an even greater expert on what constitutes “witting” crimes.

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Turley To Give Keynote On Privacy and Security At IBIA Conference

This morning, I will have the privilege of giving a keynote address before the National Press Club at a symposium organized by The International Biometrics + Identity Association (IBIA) on privacy and security issues surrounding the rising use of facial identification technology.

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Michael Cohen’s Last Hustle: How Trump’s Former Fixer Blew His Final Play

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Below is my column at Foxnews.com on the inevitable collapse of Michael Cohen’s strategy to avoid jail for his extensive criminal conduct as a businessman and a lawyer.  I recently discussed how the filing detailed the windfall payments of over $4 million that Cohen received from companies like AT&T to buy access and influence with Trump.  It was one of Cohen’s last scams.  He ended up keeping the money despite being embroiled in the scandals that led to his demise.  He then scammed thousands of anti-Trump donors on a GoFundMe site for hundreds of thousands of dollars on the promise of turning against Trump.  He never mentioned the millions that he shook down companies for in his cash for access scheme.  In other words, Cohen continue to hustle but, on this occasion, he came up one hustle too short.

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“Don’t Mess With Santa”: Texas Town Could Face Free Speech Challenge Over Santa Protest

Aaron Urbanski
Aaron Urbanski

There is an interesting free speech case emerging in Cleburne Texas where Aaron Urbanski was arrested after protesting in front of the St. Mark United Methodist Church against its Christmas event.  Urbanski, 31, was screaming that Santa is not real and was arrested for criminal trespass.  It was a remarkably obnoxious and disrespectful act by Urbanski and other protesters, but much will depend on where the protest was held in front of the church.  If the arrests were due to the content of the protests rather than its location, a serious free speech issue could emerge.  For this part, Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain simply declared “Don’t mess with Santa” — a statement that could be cited by the defendant in a first amendment challenge to his arrest.

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Do You Want To Burn A Snowman? South Carolina Man Arrested For Setting Christmas Decorations On Fire

Cameron Baun of Summerville, SC is charged with arson after allegedly burning Christmas decoration

I guess some people in Summerville, South Carolina just do not like winter or at least Christmas.  Cameron Lewis Baun, 29, has been arrested for going on an alleged spree of arson in burning Christmas decorations.  He reportedly started by burning an outdoor Snowman.  He may have misunderstood the lyrics from Frozen. It is “Do you want to build a snowman?”

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DOJ: Cohen Sold Access To Trump For $4 Million

One of the overlooked portions of the Justice Department filings on Michael Cohen was the calculation of how much Cohen made selling access to Trump after the election. I previously wrote about how Cohen found willing corporations like Novartis and AT&T to give him windfall payments to curry favoritism with Trump.  It turns out that Cohen made over $4 million and appears to have done little since he was quickly ensnared in scandal.  These companies however were outed in what is usually the hidden, seedy underbelly of this town. 

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Can You Identify The Woman Who Shoplifted At Your Store?

7160626-6473655-Alyssa_Zebrasky_27_was_arrested_around_6_30pm_Wednesday_for_shop-a-3_1544248038468-1Something tells me that witness identification at the trial of Alyssa Zebrasky, 27, who was arrested for shoplifting at an Ohio Walmart.  She was accused of stealing a purse and was also found with a hypodermic needle, a ‘whitish rock like substance’ and an ‘orange pill’ in containers in her purse. Continue reading “Can You Identify The Woman Who Shoplifted At Your Store?”

Michael Cohen’s Plea For Leniency Borders On Lunacy

Michelangelo,_Giudizio_Universale_24Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the effort of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen to convince the federal court to show leniency in his sentencing.  While Cohen should get credit for cooperation, it must be balanced against two high countervailing considerations.  First, Cohen spent much of the last two years threatening people and obstructing efforts to disclose wrongdoing. Second, he is an officer of the court.  Judges generally do not look kindly upon lawyers violating their oaths and becoming vehicles for crimes and wrongdoing.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Michael Cohen’s Plea For Leniency Borders On Lunacy”

Massachusetts Judge Under Investigation For Allegedly Helping Undocumented Immigrant Evade ICE

Facebook (Joseph on right)

Massachusetts District Court Judge Shelley Joseph is under investigation after she was accused of helping an undocumented immigrant, Jose Medina-Perez,  evade an ICE officer at the courthouse.  The Boston Globe is reporting that a federal grand jury is investigating Joseph and some have called for her to be barred from handling criminal cases in the interim. Continue reading “Massachusetts Judge Under Investigation For Allegedly Helping Undocumented Immigrant Evade ICE”

Then There Were Three: Flynn Filing Refers To Three Investigations By Special Counsel

The long-awaited filing from Special counsel Robert Mueller on the sentencing of Michael Flynn did not go into detail on what precisely Flynn has given Mueller beyond acknowledging his “substantial assistance.”  It did include however a surprising disclosure that Flynn was not only helping Mueller on the investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to the Russian government but also two other redacted investigations. That has led to considerable unease in some quarters as to what those two additional investigation might be. Continue reading “Then There Were Three: Flynn Filing Refers To Three Investigations By Special Counsel”

New York Police Seek Man In Vicious Attack

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 10.27.12 AM.pngNew York is looking for this man after a brutal attack captured on the videotape below (warning: the video is violent and disturbing. The victim is a 38-year-old man who was left unconscious from the vicious beat down and robbery.  The legal question is whether such attacks should be charged as a type of battery or attempted murder when they continued for such a prolonged period. The suspect was clearly enjoying the attack and resumed attacking the man but there is no way to prove intent to kill.

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Corsi Files Complaint Against Mueller For Allegedly Pressuring Him To Lie

Conservative author Jerome Corsi yesterday filed a “criminal and ethics complaint” against Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team trying to coerce him into giving “false testimony” against President Trump.  The filing was reportedly sent to a scattershot list of addresses including Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, D.C.’s U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu and the Bar Disciplinary Counsel.  There is no strong legal basis for such a challenge. If Corsi is charged, he is likely to be charged for alleged false statements and courts rarely explore the motivations in bringing otherwise valid criminal charges. The filing appears designed for public consumption before any indictment is brought against him. Continue reading “Corsi Files Complaint Against Mueller For Allegedly Pressuring Him To Lie”

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks