Today in Criminal Justice News

Judge Aileen “Loose” Cannon just ended her pre-trial hearing in the documents case, with no rulings. The reporter on MSNBC is saying that Cannon seemed sympathetic to giving Trump a generous amount of time to review documents and videos, but we don’t know.

However, now that Trump (according to Trump) has received a January 6 target letter from Jack Smith, there could very well be other indictments coming sooner rather than later. And that case sure as bleep won’t be handled in Florida.

[Update: This is from Rolling Stone: “The letter mentions three federal statutes: Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States; deprivation of rights under color of law; and tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant. It does not offer further details, nor does it detail how the special counsel believes Trump may have violated the statutes, the source tells Rolling Stone.

“The letter does not mention statutes on sedition or insurrection, according to the source. Trump is the only person named in the letter, the source says.”]

Also this afternoon, the Attorney General of Michigan, Dana Nessel, announced this afternoon that she has filed charges against 16 people in the “fake electors” scheme. Just for fun, here are the Michigan fake electors being turned away from the Michigan statehouse on Elector meeting day.

See also this list of all the fake electors.

For your reading pleasure: Here’s the decision from the Georgia Supreme Court that smacked down Trump’s request that Fani Willis be blocked from indicting him.

In other news: Forgive me for linking to Fox News, but this was unintentionally funny. Trump was bragging about how he could end the war in Ukraine in 24 hours. How? “Former President Donald Trump explained his plan to secure peace in Ukraine within 24 hours of taking back the White House on Sunday, saying he would tell Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to make a deal.”

So, boys and girls, what do you think Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would say if Trump ordered him to make a deal with Putin? Try to keep it clean.

You may have seen this one — MTG warns her fellow MAGAts that Joe Biden is likely to finish was FDR started.

I understand the Biden campaign has been promoting this video.

19 thoughts on “Today in Criminal Justice News

  1. Every once in a while, I think to myself that there's no way a lot of these RepubliKKKLANS can be as stupid and ignorant as they seem to be.

    But then, at that moment of doubt, reliably, a 5-tool dummkopf like Marjorie Traitor Green has some sort of "political epiphany of the obvious," moves her sphincter-like lips, and proves that, yes, indeed, human beings are capable of frightening levels of stupidity and ignorance!

    And yes, the Biden team is using MTG's own "epiphany of the obvious" in political ads.

    Good for them!

  2. OK. Sixteen people charged in Michigan for election fraud. A similar number will be charged within a month in Georgia for the same crime(s.) I'm not sure how directly Rudy was involved in Michigan but I'd bet bucks Rudy will be charged in GA. If the defense of the majority in Michigan is, "Rudy said it was OK.", expect him to be charged in MI also. 

    Regarding the opinion from the Georgia Supreme Court, that was the Hail Mary pass to end all one-in-a-million wild shots. I have to wonder if Trump's lawyers know nothing or do they just follow any ridiculous instructions. "…we note only that Petitioner has not presented in his original petition either the facts or the law necessary to mandate Willis’s disqualification by this Court…"  For those of you asking WTF? – yes, Trump asked the GA Supreme Court to remove and disqualify Willis and to bury the Special Grand Jury Report before the public could view it.

    CNN is reporting that Trump contacted his allies in the House to use their Congressional power to derail Jack Smith. My guess is that Trump is demanding what amounts to Obstruction of Justice by the House. If Merrick Garland charges McCarthy and Jordan with Obstruction, they will respond with impeachment, But the impeachment would go nowhere and the criminal charges might stick. Or there may be a remedy within the federal courts to make McCarthy and Jordan back off of interfering in a criminal proceeding.

    This is a huge Constitutional issue. Trump tried to derail the transfer of power, according to DOJ, illegally. By illegally, I mean in violation of the law. Whether or not it IS an actual crime is, according to the Constitution, to be decided by a jury where Trump may provide a vigorous defense. There are no subtle points of law here. The question is whether or not Trump and his fiends are SUBJECT to the law. (I misspelled 'friends' and decided I liked 'fiends' better.)

    So federal criminal charges for J6 will probably be filed early next month, right with Fani Willis. The ketchup will fly. Jack Smith (so far) tends to include a LOT in his indictment – there may be indications that WH insiders have agreed to testify against Trump re J6. There's been the calculation within the GOP that as long as the base is with Trump, the entire GOP in Congress will do anything for Trump. But when it gets likely bordering on certain that Trump will be convicted of multiple felonies, how tight do you want the picture of you hugging Trump to be? From the time a detailed indictment is released, any Republican in Congress who blindly supports Trump is (or should be) betting his future on the success of a fascist takeover. 

    Regarding "Judge" Cannon… if she slow-walks the trial, it looks like the civil trial in NY (scheduled for October) will go forward. That's $250 million on the table AND it opens the door for criminal charges in NY for business and tax fraud (if the civil case is successful.) I think Trump might get into a cash crunch – yeah, he's actually rich but he may not be liquid. If he has to borrow huge amounts of cash for lawyers, the banks will want security.  

    IF… (I said if) Jack Smith can prove documents went to Bedminster, NY, different charges regarding the exhibition of classified documents to people without clearance can be filed. The sticking point (IMO) is proving that the secret stuff that they have Trump on tape bragging about was never recovered. (As far as I know.) The people in the room saw something… the markings may hint that they were secret but Trump didn't pass them around. So there's a problem – the difference between knowing and proving. 

  3. I don't know who holds the guinness world record for accumulated felonies, but I suspect that Trump is soon to become a serious contender for that honor. He's already got 71 felonies firmly under his belt, and a potential for an equal number of felony charges with upcoming indictments. From my vantage point it doesn't look good for Trump. Bless his wicked little heart!

  4. Michigan on Tuesday became the first state to charge so-called “fake” Trump electors. The 16 electors who signed that document are each charged with eight felonies, including forgery.

    If my math is correct that's 8 x 16 = 128 felonies. To quote with a slight modification the words of the late Jerry Lee Lewis… "There's a whole lot of felonies going on."

  5. It got buried in all the other news, but Harry Litman reported (sorry no linkee) that Garland's DOJ is appealing (I think that's the right term) various courts' sentences of the seditionists – because they're too light. Garland wants to throw the book at these guys. Gives me hope that the Big Kahuna is going to do real time as well.

  6. Garland's reversal of the earlier bad decision in the E Jean Carroll case  – made by Bill Barr, which excused TFG because he was a Federal employee – tells you he's a clean up the various messes left by others kind of guy.

  7. 82 year old false elector John Haggard  'said he didn't believe there was any policy in the country that prevented people from making "a statement." '.

    Your Honor, I did not actually rob that bank, I was merely making a statement about wealth inequality.

  8. I just watched the MTG ad for Biden 2024 – totally hilarious how she's doing all the work for him. Much like her "liar!" outburst at the state of the union, does she even realize she's been played?

  9. If the President of the USA told Zelensky to negotiate with Russia, Zelensky would just do it.  Without US help, Ukraine would lose the war quickly.  The most important weapons we've given them – long-range artillery/short-range missiles – depend on precise targeting data *from US satellites*; without that data, they're shooting blind.

    Trump is always an a$$hole, but he's not *always* wrong.  Of course, negotiations would take weeks or months, not "24 hours", but a ceasefire could probably be set up within a few days.

    Negotiations in Turkey were actually getting close to ending the war in April 2022, but Boris Johnson (the British Trump) flew to Kyiv and told Zelensky to end the talks (which he did). 

    At that point, Ukraine would have had to give up on Crimea, Luhansk, and Donetsk, but could have kept [all of?] Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts.  After those negotiations ended, Russia took control of the southern parts of those Oblasts, and they are now unlikely to cede them in any new negotiations.

    The current Ukrainian [counter-] offensive *might* be able to regain control of those areas, but so far that seems unlikely.  The war has settled into WWI-style trench warfare, where progress is slow at best and lotsa soldiers get slaughtered and maimed by artillery (note: Russia still has a big advantage in front-line artillery).  Ukraine can't really expect to "win" such a war of attrition against Russia (bigger population, military, etc).

    Biden deserves a lot of credit for treading a fine line: supporting Ukraine as much as possible without going over "red lines" which Russia would view as direct Acts of War (US troops or planes in Ukraine; Ukraine hitting targets inside Russia with US-supplied missiles).  (This is why the HIMARS we have given Ukraine are only the short-range versions).

    But the current Ukrainian [counter-] offensive is likely to end soon, and that could be a good time to negotiate.  Peace talks are most (or only?) fruitful when both sides believe that the costs of further bloodshed outweigh the likely benefits.


    • If the President of the USA told Zelensky to negotiate with Russia, Zelensky would just do it.

      I disagree. I think the whole bleeping nation of Ukraine would say no at this point. Their country has been destroyed; might as well send the kids to Poland and fight to the death.  Also, while the U.S. has been Ukraine's primary benefactor, it's not the only one. 

    • In addition to what Maha correctly pointed out, I'll pile on with an observation of what TFG's "plan" for ending the war shows us about the TFG.  At this point, I think the leader of the invading country would be happy to have a negotiated settlement in which the invading country gained even more of Ukranian sovereign territory.  So the TFG would happily give his favorite hero what he wants. No surprise there.

    • Russia signed a deal with Ukraine that guaranteed Ukrainian sovereignty and its borders. That was the Budapest Memorandum, signed in 1991. Putin was not in charge but he was obliged to honor the Accord. It was never a "territorial dispute." The borders and the obligation were in writing, including Crimea. 

      Here's my question. If Putin ignored a deal that Russia made in '91 by invading, why should Keiv or DC or any European country expect that Putin would honor the boundaries of that deal in five years, or three, or one? 

      SO far, among the people who argue for a negotiated peace, nobody is saying, "This is how it would be enforced." My idea of a guarantee is to give Putin Crimea and the territory he holds. And NATO will give Ukraine hypersonic nukes that could hit Moscow in minutes. 

  10. Going off-topic… Trump is about to have the hammer drop on J6 and for various election crimes in Georgia. If those happen (a good bet) that puts the number of criminal trials at four… and counting. Is it too soon to speculate on outcomes and penalties?

    NY – The "weakest" case is the fraud Trump committed by hiding the payoffs to a couple of porn stars as the election was heating up. Cohen did time for being on the receiving end of payoffs from Trump. (Cohen paid up front – Trump paid him back.) It WAS election fraud but it was a financial hoax. I don't see Trump doing criminal time for it. This is likely to be the first criminal trial to hit a jury.

    FL – The federal case for classified documents should be the second criminal trial to hit a jury. Cannon is likely to let Trump drag it out. If she's obvious about favoring Trump, Smith might ask for her to be replaced. If she does it one delay at a time, Smith may not be able to prove the appearance of bias by an accumulation of bad decisions until well into '24. On the other hand, if Cannon is replaced for dragging the trial out for Trump, the new judge might move things along VERY briskly because Team Trump has had MORE time to prepare than they needed. 

    The violations of the Espionage Act are not trivial. I don't see any way that DOJ won't demand jail time and appeal a conviction if the sentence does NOT include jail time. 

    GA – Willis seems to have done a bang-up job assembling evidence. So many witnesses fought tooth and nail to avoid testifying under oath. I think it is likely that those who took the Fifth will all be charged. IMO, these trials will proceed without excess delay. The GA Supreme Court gave Trump the middle finger but in legal jargon. When Trump tries to tell Georgia (appealing to the GA Supreme Court) that their measly trial has to wait because he's running for POTUS, the smackdown will be epic. GA will proceed and be concluded well before November 2024. I'm not sure where the federal courts will come down in the appeals process if GA secures a conviction. Depending on the charges, I can see Willis arguing for mandatory jail time for meddling in Georgia elections.

    DC – Federal charges for J6? Nobody outside DOJ knows what evidence and witnesses are lined up. Speculation includes Jared and Rudy and Mark Meadows. The indictment may or may not include hints. The Democrats in the House J6 committee did a good job assembling info – Jack has stuff to work with in weaving a prosecution out of what we know. This is the MOST unfriendly territory for Trump of all the trials. I expect Trump to ask for a change of venue (To Judge Cannon's court.) 

    This is the trial I most want to have happen before the election. I believe that Trump 1) lost in November. 2) Knew he lost and proceeded with a plan to steal the election, 3) enlisted the aid of others in a conspiracy to reverse EC results 4) put into action a plan to create fake documents from the states Trump lost to claim in writing that Trump won 5) tried to persuade the VP to participate in the scheme 6) assembled and directed a mob to attack the capitol to derail the process of certifying Biden's win. 

    I think all this happened. I want Jack Smith to prove it in a court of law where Trump will have every opportunity to present his defense according to federal rules of evidence. (No BS – present proof and testimony under oath with the threat of penalties of perjury for false witness.) Trump's string of failures in court show that he's really vulnerable when a judge holds the defense to a set of rules which prohibits the BS Trump excels at.

    Depending on the charges and assuming a conviction, can ANY judge justify anything LESS than prison time for subverting democracy? 

    LAST THOUGHT: When Trump is running out of appeals and there are multiple convictions in multiple jurisdictions with the end in sight for all, will Trump stay in the US to be taken to jail?  I've faced that time, waiting for BOP letter telling me when and where to report to prison. I do not think Trump has the character to accpet his fate with dignity, 


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