Category: Criminal law

Yes, Alec Baldwin Could Be Charged Criminally in the “Rust” Shooting But…

We previously discussed criminal and civil liability for the tragic shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the movie set of the indie Western “Rust.” That has led to a number of inquiries on the specific liability of actor Alec Baldwin and whether he could be charged criminally. The answer in one word is “yes.” However, much depends on the still unfolding facts around this fatal mishap with the prop gun. Continue reading “Yes, Alec Baldwin Could Be Charged Criminally in the “Rust” Shooting But…”

An Educational Tonkin Gulf? The NSBA Apologies for the Letter that Triggered the Controversial Federal Operation

Engagement in the Gulf of Tonkin

We recently discussed the controversy following the letter of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) asking the Justice Department to investigate parents causing disruptions or making threats at school board meetings. The letter included a reference to using the Patriot Act against possible domestic terrorism. Attorney General Merrick Garland responded a few days later with an order to the entire Department of Justice to monitor school board meetings around the country and coordinate a response with local officials. Now the NSBA has issued an apology.  The question is whether Garland will now rescind or amend his much criticized memo. It has the feel of an educational version of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Should we reconsider our deployment in light of the false premise that triggered the escalation of hostilities? Continue reading “An Educational Tonkin Gulf? The NSBA Apologies for the Letter that Triggered the Controversial Federal Operation”

“Corners Were Being Cut”: Baldwin Shooting Already Has The Makings of a Blockbuster Tort Action

The fatal shooting at Bonanza Creek Ranch already has the makings of a blockbuster tort action. Within 24 hours of actor Alec Baldwin fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding the director, witnesses have raised serious questions of negligent and unsafe practice on the site for the low-budget film, “Rust.” The question is not whether but when the first torts lawsuit will be filed.  There has already been speculation on the civil and criminal liability in the case, so it may be useful to explore what we know and what it might mean for the likely litigation ahead.

Attorney General Garland and the “Unobstrusive” Federal Monitoring of School Board Meetings

In the 1946 move, “Terror by Night,” Sherlock Holmes assures Lady Margaret that, while he and Dr. Watson would be hanging around, “we’ll be as unobtrusive as possible.” Lady Margaret correctly responds “That would be a novelty from a policeman.” That scene came to mind when Attorney General Merrick Garland testified in Congress to assure members that he does not believe that parents protesting at school board meetings are domestic terrorists. He insists that there was nothing to be worried about because the FBI would simply be monitoring what these parents say or do at school meetings. Promises of such “unobtrusive” investigations or operations ignore the obvious: any national enforcement or monitoring effort is by definition obtrusive, particularly when it comes to free speech.

Continue reading “Attorney General Garland and the “Unobstrusive” Federal Monitoring of School Board Meetings”

Dossier Delusion: Christopher Steele Claims Michael Cohen is Covering for Trump

C-Span/YouTube Screenshot

Christopher Steele, the author of the Russian collusion dossier, gave an extraordinary interview to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos this week where he stood by claims long debunked by past investigations. What was most striking about the interview was Steele effectively claiming that Michael Cohen, one of Trump’s most fierce critics, is still covering for Trump in denying a critical conspiratorial meeting with Russian intelligence. Continue reading “Dossier Delusion: Christopher Steele Claims Michael Cohen is Covering for Trump”

Joe Biden and the Disappearing Elephant: How to Make a Full-Sized Scandal Vanish in Front of an Audience of Millions

This week marked the anniversary of one of the greatest political tricks in history: the disappearance of Hunter Biden scandal. New emails were released that added new details to what was a raw influence peddling operation that netted millions from foreign sources. A new tranche of emails connecting President Joe Biden to key accounts proves just how this political sleight of hand was worthy of Houdini. After all, Houdini only made an elephant disappear. The Bidens made the equivalent to an entire circus disappear in front of an audience of millions. Continue reading “Joe Biden and the Disappearing Elephant: How to Make a Full-Sized Scandal Vanish in Front of an Audience of Millions”

Police Suggest Possible Charges for Those Who Filmed Rape on Train

The recent rape of a woman on a train in Pennsylvania has shocked and disgusted the nation, particularly after passengers did nothing to help the woman as she was allegedly attacked by Fiston Ngoy, 35. Now police are reportedly considering criminal charges against passengers who filmed the rape and did not call the police. Continue reading “Police Suggest Possible Charges for Those Who Filmed Rape on Train”

“What Should We Be Doing Differently?”: CNN Conducts Bizarre Interview with Former Clinton Lawyer Marc Elias

Lawyer Marc Elias has been much in the news lately for his role in funding the Steele dossier, which is a subject of the investigation of Special Counsel John Durham. That investigation just resulted in the indictment of Elias’ former partner at Perkins Coie, Michael Sussman, for lying to federal officials in spreading the Alfa Bank conspiracy theory. Sussman worked with Elias in representing the Clinton campaign. Yet, CNN’s Brian Stelter did a long interview with Elias on how to improve the media without asking him about the investigation or public accusations by reporters that Elias and the Clinton campaign lied to them about their funding of the dossier. It appears that improving the election coverage does not include telling the truth to the media. Instead, Elias objected that the media was not slanted enough toward his work, which he described as “pro-democracy.”

Continue reading ““What Should We Be Doing Differently?”: CNN Conducts Bizarre Interview with Former Clinton Lawyer Marc Elias”

Biden Calls for the Prosecution of Anyone Refusing Subpoenas in the Jan. 6th Riot Investigation

We recently discussed the troubling declaration of guilt made by President Joe Biden at the start of the investigation into border agents allegedly whipping or “strapping” undocumented Haitians trying to enter the country. The statement shattered the integrity of the investigation as well as the reputation of the federal agents. Now, President Biden has called for the Select Committee looking into the Jan. 6th riot to hold those who refuse subpoenas in contempt and for his Department of Justice to prosecute them. Continue reading “Biden Calls for the Prosecution of Anyone Refusing Subpoenas in the Jan. 6th Riot Investigation”

Is it Time for a Special Counsel on the Hunter Biden Scandal?

“Come on H this is linked to Celtic’s account.” Those nine words from a retired Secret Service agent to Hunter Biden in recently released emails may prove a nasty complication for some in Washington who have struggled to contain the blowback from the still-unfolding scandal linked to Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop. Continue reading “Is it Time for a Special Counsel on the Hunter Biden Scandal?”

Maryland Homeowner Kills Intruder in Latest Castle Doctrine Case

Police in Montgomery County, Maryland are investigating a new “Castle Doctrine” case after Harry Trueman Powell, 34, was shot and killed by a homeowner. Powell allegedly had been sleeping in the basement of the home for some time — a home that had its own firing range. Since there is no report that Powell was armed, the case is likely to raise Maryland’s Castle Doctrine defense. Continue reading “Maryland Homeowner Kills Intruder in Latest Castle Doctrine Case”

Is Durham Circling Jake Sullivan? The Special Counsel May Not Be Done With the National Security Adviser

Last month Washington was rocked by the indictment of Michael Sussman, former counsel for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, for his alleged role in spreading a false Russia conspiracy theory. Special counsel John Durham — who is variously described as either painfully methodical or positively glacial as a prosecutor — reportedly was prompted to indict Sussman by an expiring statute of limitations.

Absent such a deadline involving Sussman, it seems unlikely that Durham would have disclosed as much as he did in the indictment. The reason is that he is likely focusing on other possible targets and witnesses. That could include the most notable figure exposed in the Sussman indictment: Jake Sullivan. Continue reading “Is Durham Circling Jake Sullivan? The Special Counsel May Not Be Done With the National Security Adviser”

Minnesota Woman Arrested After Running Over Man Who Allegedly Robbed Her

There is an interesting criminal case out of Minnesota that highlights both criminal and tort doctrines on the defense of self and defense of property.  Landis Rachel Hill, 31, and her boyfriend, Christopher Dwayne Grayson, were arrested after Hill ran over a man who allegedly robbed them. Al Rakip J. Zaidi, 21, died from “severe head trauma” after being hit by their 2001 Ford Expedition.

Continue reading “Minnesota Woman Arrested After Running Over Man Who Allegedly Robbed Her”

The Age of Rage: Police in Minnesota and Georgia Charge Individuals Pretending to be Members of the Far Right and Far Left to Fuel Race Tensions

We often discuss our age of rage and how many people seem addicted to rage. That concern was evident this week in two stories in which individuals are facing criminal charges for fueling rage by pretending to be KKK or BLM supporters. Continue reading “The Age of Rage: Police in Minnesota and Georgia Charge Individuals Pretending to be Members of the Far Right and Far Left to Fuel Race Tensions”

Clinton Lawyer’s Indictment Reveals “Bag of Tricks”

Below is my column in the Hill on the Sussmann indictment by Special Counsel John Durham. The single charge under 18 U.S.C. 1001 is not as significant as the supporting narrative and facts disclosed by Durham in this prosecution. The indictment fills in a number of blanks in how the Clinton campaign pushed a false Russian collusion narrative despite the objections of its own researchers.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Clinton Lawyer’s Indictment Reveals “Bag of Tricks””

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks