Sunday :: March 24, 2019

Barr's Letter on Mueller Report: Donnie Can't Read

We knew Donald Trump wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but who knew he can't even read?

Trump claimed today Mueller's report on the Special Counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and obstruction of justice exonerates him. Attorney General Barr's four page letter contains this direct quote from Mueller's report: (link fixed)

The Special Counsel states that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Either Donnie can't read, or he didn't have the attention span to make it to page three of a four page letter. Take your pick.

[For those of you too young to remember the song, it's "Johnny Can't Read" which was released in 1982.]

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Friday :: March 22, 2019

Mueller Delivers Report on Russia to Attorney General

Robert Mueller has turned in his report on Russia. What's in it? No one knows. Attorney General Robert Barr says he will update Congress this weekend.

Since there have been no announcements of new arrests, I assume D.Jr. skated on charges of lying to Congress. As soon as Trump announced it's okay with him if Mueller's report gets released, I figured that would be the anti-climatic ending.

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Joe Biden: Your Father's Oldsmobile is Honking at Us

Joe Biden has a new gimmick -- he may not only decide to run but he is considering Stacy Abrams as a VP candidate.

Memo to Dems: Stop funding Joe. He is not Obama. He's a crime warrior, especially on drugs. He's got a lousy record on criminal justice issues and has stuck us with some of the worst bills of the last generation. He once bragged in Congress he was tougher than George Bush I on crime. He is a police fan-boy. He's a one-man crime band.

Joe Biden is the self-admitted architect of the worst crime bills in history.

The 1994 crime bill provided tens of billions of dollars to put thousands of additional police on the streets, build new prisons, increase border protection, and fund crime prevention programs. It included several measures — including the Violence Against Women Act and a federal ban on certain assault weapons — that remain popular among many Democrats.


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Monday :: March 18, 2019

New Book Trashes Jared and Ivanka for Self-Dealing

As inexperienced, untalented, and "bubble-ized" as we all know the Trump offspring to be, the new book "Kushner, Inc" shows just how much Donald Trump has imperiled the nation with his nepotism and the tawdry list of characters he has appointed and fired. It's hard to take sides when they are all so appalling.

White House staffers mocked Kushner as the “secretary of everything” for his wide-ranging meddling and derided Ivanka Trump’s team as Habi – “home of all bad ideas”.

...John Kelly, formerly Trump’s chief of staff and homeland security secretary, is quoted as dismissing the couple as “just playing government”.


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Friday :: March 15, 2019

Trump Vetoes Funding Bill

Donald Trump has issued his first veto in response to Congress's rejection of his emergency declaration of a border crisis.

It's unlikely Congress will have the votes to override the veto. Still, at least some Republicans refused to go along with Trump's shenanigans.

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Sunday :: March 10, 2019

Trump Wants $8.6 Billion for Worthless Wall

Donald Trump is asking Congress to pass his budget bill includes $8.6 billion to help pay for his worthless wall.

I do not want a wall. We do not need a wall. Mexico will not pay for a wall. America will not see a dime from El Chapo. Instead, Americans will pay $60,000. a year to warehouse him at Supermax in Florence (assuming that's where he is designated to serve his sentence.) [More....]

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Friday :: March 08, 2019

Trump Requests $100 Million for Ivanka's Project

Donald Trump's 2020 budget includes $100 million for a project created and led by his daughter, Ivanka Trump, named the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative. (I wonder how much they paid for the spiffy website.) It will give $50 million to 50 million women in the developing world.

Do we have a math problem here? How is $1 per woman going to help empower anyone?

What exactly qualifies Ivanka Trump for this position? What does she know about women entrepreneurship in countries where working mothers don't have multiple nannies like she does?

I do not want my tax dollars going to any federally funded position led by a child of Donald Trump. Not a single one of them has been proven to have the experience or skill set to lead anything. It's pure nepotism and like everything Trump, just another branding exercise.

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Thursday :: March 07, 2019

Manafort Sentencing: 47 Months

Paul Manafort is in the courtroom. He is in a wheelchair. If you are following, let us know what happens. [Added: I returned just as the prosecution was wrapping up its argument. The updates below start with the latest and work backwards.

Update 5:23 p.m: Every prominent sentencing hearing in which the judge grants a downward variance from the advisory sentencing guideline is a good thing in that it will serve as a reminder to every other judge of their ability to do so, and that their job is not to impose a guideline sentence, but one that is sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to comply with the purposes of sentencing]. Chief among these factors is the nature of the offense and "the history and characteristics of the defendant."

Every judge must complete the "Judgment" form after sentencing. Part of that form is called a "Statement of Reasons." It lists a lot of factors and asks the Judge to check off the boxes that apply to their decision to impose a non-guideline sentence (called a variance -- a departure is something different.) When the judge completes and submits the Statement of Reasons, it does so under seal (sometimes available to counsel for the defendant). The form itself is not sealed and available on the U.S. Judiciary website. Here is the page with the non-exhaustive list of reasons a judge might choose to vary from and impose a non-guideline reason.

Update: 5:00 p.m. (MT): Manafort is sentenced to 47 months. Quite a departure from the guidelines, which reportedly were 19 to 24 years (according to the Government and Probation.) As a defense lawyer, I say good for Judge Ellis for so publicly recognizing that the advisory guidelines are just the starting point. Judges may not even presume the guidelines to be reasonable. [More...]

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Tuesday :: March 05, 2019

Tuesday Open Thread

I had jury duty this morning in state court. They want you there by 7:30 a.m. That is really, really early. They don't start sending you to the courtroom till almost 10. There's virtually no parking so I took an Uber. But, I was late, and even though they had just started sending jurors to courtrooms, they said I have to do the whole thing again in two weeks. I don't mind, I just wish it were at 1:00 pm instead of 7:30 a.m.

I've been doing this periodically for decades and I've never been picked. What prosecutor is going to leave a practicing criminal defense lawyer on a jury? But Colorado has no occupational restrictions, so it's mandatory. (With a potential 6 month jail term if you fail to show up.)

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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CO Gov Jared Polis Says He'd Sign Bill to Repeal Death Penalty

Colorado Democrats have re-introduced a bill to repeal the state's death penalty law. If it passes, Colorado will be the 21st state to ban the death penalty.

Our new Governor, former Congressman Jared Polis, says he will sign the bill if it passes. (In a Denver Post article, he said he also might then grant clemency to the three men on Colorado's death row, all of whom were prosecuted in Arapahoe County and all of whom are African-American.)

The bill will get its first hearing Wednesday. If you are a Colorado voter, please email your Representative and Senator (find them here)and urge them to pass this bill. You can read the bill here and follow its progress. And send thanks to Gov. Jared Polis.

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Monday :: March 04, 2019

Former CO Gov. Hickenlooper Enters Presidential Race

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. a moderate Democrat, today announced he will run for President.

“I think it’s probably the worst period of division we’ve had in this country since the Civil War,” he said. “Ultimately I’m running for president because I believe that not only can I beat Donald Trump, but that I am the person that can bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done. The division is keeping us from addressing big issues like climate change and the soaring costs of health care.”

I think Hickenlooper did a very good job as Governor here. He works hard, listens to both sides, takes risks when he needs to, doesn't bow to pressure and isn't an egomaniac. I'd support him as the candidate if he gets that far. I also like his campaign logo.

In other 2020 news, Eric Holder is not running. That's a good thing because he is very polarizing - the right hates him. Whenever the race turns personal rather than focusing on differences on issues, the voters lose. We can't avoid that with one candidate (the carnival barker with the desk in the oval office) but we can with whoever opposes him. Don't dismiss Hickenlooper, he might be the one if primary voters split between the more well-known candidates and cancel each other out.

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Saturday :: March 02, 2019

Trump's Most Deranged Speech Yet?

Donald Trump went off-script today in his speech at Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. It may have been the most deranged speech he has given yet (in addition to making out with the American flag -- I pity the poor thing.)

"Mothers who love their daughters give them massive amounts of birth control pills, because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border. Think of that. True story told to me by the Border Patrol. Think of how evil that is."

..."They are embracing open borders, socialism, & extreme late-term abortion...lawmakers in NY cheered as they passed legislation to allow babies to be ripped from the womb of their mothers. Right up to the very moment of death... the will execute the baby."

If you had any doubt that the United States is leader-less and running on empty,this speech is all you need. [More...]

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Wednesday :: February 27, 2019

Michael Cohen Under Oath

Michael Cohen is testifying before Congress. Here is a link to stream it live.

His prepared written statement is here.

His wife and daughter are with him. Also accompanying him (on the left) is his new attorney, a long-time friend and colleague, Michael Monico from Chicago. I've known Michael for 25 years and he is not only supremely ethical but highly skilled. Cohen made a great choice.

I'll be listening in the car as I head up to a jail in the mountains. Here'a a place to discuss it. Also, don't miss this story of IRS agent John Frye being charged in San Francisco for leaking Cohen's SARS (suspicious activity reports from banks) to Michael Avenati. (Case No. CR 3-19-70176 LB.) The Complaint is here, and it's got all the details on his deposits and withdrawals regarding Stormy Daniels, his reimbursement and monies flowing to and from other countries.

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Monday :: February 25, 2019

Monday Night Open Thread

San Francisco erases 8,000 marijuana convictions, dating to 1975.

Also, San Francisco loses a crusader for justice -- Public Defender Jeff Adachi has died.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Former Campaign Staffer Sues Trump

Alva Johnson, a former Trump campaign staffer, sues Donald Trump for a forcible unwanted kiss and lower pay than males and non-African American employees received.

The Complaint is here. In the Introduction, Johnson alleges

Plaintiff Alva Johnson brings this lawsuit to hold the President of the United States, Defendant Donald J. Trump, accountable for his sexually predatory conduct.

The Complaint recites the long litany of such claims against Donald Trump. She is suing the Trump campaign and Trump individually on her behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated.

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