Category: Criminal law

Two Giuliani Associates Arrested While Leaving The Country

Two Florida businessmen and associated for Rudy Giuliani, president Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, were arrested at Dulles International Airport with one-way tickets out of the country. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are charged with campaign finance violations and the prosecution could prove a further complication for the Trump legal team. Some media outlets are reporting that the men had lunch with Giuliani only hours before their arrest. Trump has said “I don’t know them” and told reporters to “ask Rudy.”

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Tlaib Calls For Banning Facial Recognition After Detroit Police Chief Calls Her Earlier Comments Racist

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D, Mich.) doubled down on her uninformed and controversial statements about facial recognition technology (FRT). We discussed Tlaib’s earlier call for the Detroit Police Chief to hire only African Americans to use FRT. That bizarre call was denounced as racist by Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who is black, and said that he would not adopt a race-based hiring program for FRT. Now, Tlaib has written an oped going further and demanding a ban on the use of FRT. In her  op-ed in The Detroit News, Tlaib denounced FRT as “racist technology.”

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Former Drexel Professor Allegedly Spent Government Grant Money On Strip Clubs and Personal Expenses . . . Drexel Agrees To Repay Costs

Academics often struggle with the confining language of grants, particularly federal grants, in purchasing equipment and hiring staff. Former Drexel University professor, Dr. Chikaodinaka D. Nwankpa, has been accused of an alleged departure from any reasonable interpretation. The former head of Drexel’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering allegedly spent nearly $200,000 in federal grant funds on trips to strip clubs and sports bars in Philadelphia. Worse yet for Drexel, the school will now have to pay for the strip club parties. What is fascinating is that Nwankpa has not been criminally charged and he has only been barred from government contracting for six months.

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Federal Court Rejects Trump Effort To Block Release Of Tax Returns

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York has rejected the effort of President Donald Trump to block a subpoena of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., for his tax returns. As I noted when the action was filed, the position of the President that he cannot be subject to any criminal process of any kind while in office is extreme and unsupportable in the Constitution. The full opinion is below.

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Oregon Woman Slashes Throat Of Man At Taco Bell . . . Receives Only Seven Years

Oregon seems to have a rather generous criminal code. Caley Mason, 22, tried to murder a man by slitting his throat at a Taco Bill. She then fled the scene and left 48-year-old Jason Luczkow to die with an 8-inch gash across his face and throat. He survived with the help of 100 stitches. Her boyfriend was also arrested. Mason however was given just seven years after pleading guilty to second-degree assault. I fail to see the justice in that sentence for the victim.

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Mischief or Misfud? Barr Calls Reveal Ongoing Investigation, Not Incrimination

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the allegations that Attorney General Bill Barr is now somehow “implicated” in the Ukraine controversy because he spoke with counterparts in England, Italy, and Australia about assisting in the investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham. If those calls were truly about the Durham investigation, it would be entirely proper for Barr to ask for such assistance. I have always maintained that the Congress has a legitimate interest in investigating the Ukraine controversy. However, the chorus of recriminations on the Barr matter reveal the hype triggering much of the hypoxia.

Here is the column:

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Report: Trump Allegedly Suggested Shooting Migrants In The Legs And Building A Moat

The New York Times is reporting that, based on interviews with more than a dozen White House officials involved with a meeting in March, President Trump suggested shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down. When cabinet members told him that his some of his proposals were illegal, Trump reportedly yelled “You are making me look like an idiot!. I ran on this. It’s my issue.” The paper also alleges that Trump suggest a moat filled with snakes or alligators. The sheer number of sources is illuminating in this story. There has always been a surprising number of leakers in this White House but the numbers appear to be growing.

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Trump “Trying To Find Out” Identity Of Whistleblower Despite Federal Law

In a continuing failure to respect the spirit and letter of the whistle-blower law, President Donald Trump said on Monday that he was “trying to find out” the identity of the whistle-blower who accused him of using military aid to pressure a foreign government to investigate his political rival. Once again, there is no need for such a highly inappropriate effort. This is part of an impeachment inquiry, and the witness is likely to appear before Congress. However, the whistle-blower law — and good policy — protects the identity of such staff members. Trump previously had compared the whistle-blower to a spy — an accusation that was clearly threatening and improper.

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You Want Impeachment? Find A Quid To Go With The Pro Quo

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the implications of the still developing Ukraine story. The testimony yesterday and release of the information on the complaint still lacks the critical nexus needed for a public corruption crime. If you establish the basis for such a crime, then the use of the separate server becomes a serious problem as covering up a crime. But you still need a crime. Otherwise, Trump can argue that he had been the victim of leaks about diplomatic calls and they took the step to better control access to such information. So, if you want impeachment, find the quid.

Here is the column:

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Turley To Speak At Biometic Conference

It is my great pleasure to give a keynote speech at the Federal Identity Conference in Tampa, Florida today — an international gathering of government, private, and academic experts in the field of biometric technology. I will be presenting material from two forthcoming law review articles on privacy in the biometric age. I will be speaking at the Tampa Convention Center at 10:15 am.

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Transcript: Trump Asks For “Favor” in Investigating The Bidens But Stops Short Of A Quid Pro Quo

The release of the transcript of the conversation of President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy falls a quid short of a pro quo but still raises troubling questions. As I have discussed on CBS and BBC, the transcript shows that Trump never expressly tied military aid to the “favor.” However, he does push his counterpart to reopen the investigation and even promises to put together a call with his private counsel Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr. However, the Justice Department has released a statement that Barr was not informed of the call by Trump and never spoke with the Ukrainians. While Republicans have called the release of the transcript as a mistake, I believe credit again should be given for the waiver of executive privilege. As with the Mueller report, the White House erred on the side of transparency and that should be noted. There remains a serious question for Congress to investigate but the transcript does not establish the quid pro quo that is practically needed for a compelling case of impeachment.

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Report: Trump Froze Military Aid Shortly Before Ukrainian Phone Call Asking For An Investigation Of Joe Biden And His Son

Calls for impeachment are rising on Capitol Hill as more details emerge from a call by President Donald Trump to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he repeatedly asked for the investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Now, reports indicate that Trump froze roughly $400 million in military aid shortly before the call. The timing could reinforce arguments of an implied or express quid pro quo arrangement. Update: Trump confirmed that he ordered the withholding of funds.

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Weld: Trump Guilty Of Treason

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who is running against President Trump in the Republican primaries, drew headlines on Monday by declaring that Trump’s call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asking for an investigation of Joe Biden and his son constitutes treason. Indeed, the normally circumspect Weld, said that Trump could be executed for his conversation. The claim is wildly off base. The call could theoretically be criminal if, as I have written recently, there were a quid pro quo or suffice as an impeachable offense. That will depend on the facts that unfold in the coming weeks. However, it achieves nothing to escalate the debate far beyond the reasonable interpretation of the criminal code.

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Bronx Postal Worker Charged With Murder After Chasing Down Burglar And Killing Him With Pipe

One of the areas that I teach in torts is the use and limits of the privilege of self-defense and defense of property. We recently discussed in Illinois case involving the use of a spring gun in a case of defending property. Now in New York, postal worker Troy George has been charged with murder, manslaughter and weapons possession after he chased down an alleged burglar and killed him with a pipe.

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Family Of Whitey Bulger Files Wrongful Death Action

The family of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger have filed a wrongful death action against the federal Bureau of Prisons, alleging that he was “deliberately placed in harm’s way.” As I have written previously, Bulger’s murder would seem the result of either gross negligence or an intentional act by prison officials in allowing the attack on Bulger, 89. Perhaps a lawsuit will produce the full accounting that has yet to emerge from the prison.

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