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Jeffrey Epstein Death: Outrage at BOP and Pretrial Detention System

I am simply outraged that Jeffrey Epstein died at a federal detention center in New York.

I will have a lot more to say, but for now, I will just say:

1. Jeffrey Epstein should never have been detained without bond. He was not a flight risk. He had not posed a danger to the community in years. The wealthy do not deserve to be treated more harshly than the poor. The accusers' position on bond should have been taken with a great grain of salt. An indictment is merely an accusation, it is not evidence.

2. Jeffrey Epstein should have been on a 24 hour watch. I would like to see the unit and activity logs for the staff. I have not yet read enough to know if I believe he committed suicide or someone killed him. Either was entirely avoidable.

3. It will disgusting to watch his accusers and their lawyers fight over his carcass to obtain whatever funds he had left that they believe they are due even though almost all of them already collected as a result of the Florida state case. Epstein not only paid them damages, he paid their lawyers' fees.

4. Shame on the Bureau of Prisons. R.I.P. Jeffrey Epstein.

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El Paso Shootings: Is Trump Welcome?

The current official total of people killed in the El Paso shootings is 22. The names and nationalities of the deceased are here.

Donald Trump is going to visit El Paso on Wednesday. Not everyone is pleased:

“I call our governor, I call on our senators to send a message to our president and ask him not to set foot in El Paso,” David Stout, a Democratic commissioner in the border city, told VICE News. “It would just put salt on this wound.” He represents Precinct 2, where Trump spoke in February — and where the massacre took place.

The last time Trump was in El Paso was for a campaign rally and VICE News says he stuck the city for a $470k bill.

Donald Trump first blamed video games and "mentally ill monsters" for the El Paso and Dayton shootings. Via The Intercept, here's a breakdown of similarities between the El Paso shooter's manifesto and Trumpspeak and Fox News comments.

Trump is the most divisive and undeserving person ever to occupy a seat in the White House. Enough is enough. Trump needs to go.

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Miguel Caro-Quintero Released From Prison

With a little help from the First Step Act, Mexican drug trafficker Miguel Caro-Quintero, brother of Rafael Caro-Quintero, has finished his 17 year prison sentence and been released, presumably to ICE which will return him to Mexico.

Caro-Quintero did not cooperate. He was scheduled to be released in October, 2019, but under the new First Step Act, which changes the way BOP calculates an inmate's 54 days a year good time, he was entitled to another 7 days per year. (Until now, due to the way it was calculated, 54 days actually translated to 47 days). So his release date moved up from October to July 19.

Contrary to some news reports, Caro Quintero was not released from SuperMax in Florence. He has been serving his sentence since at least 2016 at Victorville, California, a medium security prison. [More...]

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Trump and Epstein Partying Together

NBC has found footage from 1992 showing Epstein and Trump together at a Trump hosted party in Palm Beach.

Esptein is doing nothing inappropriate in the footage and none of the women appear to be minors.

This is the screenshot that leapt out at me as I watched.

Donald Trump, Grabber-in-Chief.

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El Chapo Gets Life, Rebukes U.S. for Torture

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-Loera was sentenced today to life in prison plus 30 years. When given his chance for allocution, he rebuked the U.S.

“Since the government will send me to a jail where my name will not ever be heard again, I take this opportunity to say: There was no justice here,” El Chapo told Cogan, according to the New York Daily News.

“I drink unsanitary water, no air or sunlight, and the air pumped in makes my ears and throat hurt. In order to sleep, I put toilet paper in my ears. My wife had not been allowed to visit, and I can’t hug my daughters,” he said, according to NBC News. “This has been psychological, emotional and mental torture 24 hours a day.”

“My case was stained and you denied me a fair trial when the world was watching. What happened here is the U.S. is not better than any other corrupt country,” Guzman added.

I agree with him. This trial was a showboat, run by his former associates who were given license to claim whatever they wanted in exchange for a reduction in sentence for their own misdeeds. Freedom is a commodity far more precious than money.[More....]

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Jeffrey Epstein Bail Hearing

The Judge in Jeffrey Epstein's case in the SDNY said he likely won't rule today on whether Jeffrey Epstein will be granted release on bail.

Bail is not intended to be punitive. Even though there is a presumption that he is a flight risk and danger to the community based solely on the nature of his charges, the statute allows him to present evidence to rebut the presumption. If he does, the government must prove flight risk by a preponderance of the evidence and danger to the community by the higher standard of clear and convincing evidence. The Court can still consider the presumption in making its final decision.

Epstein successfully completed his community supervision after jail and has incurred no new charges until now, and these charges relate to activity before his Florida case. Photographs in a safe is all the prosecutor has to show he's still a danger. 14 years of compliance in my view is enough to rebut the presumption. [More...]

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El Chapo: Gov't. Asks for Life Plus 30 Years

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced on July 17. Yesterday, the Government filed its sentencing position via a written letter (available here)to the Judge. The Government says the Court must sentence him to life on the continuing criminal enterprise count and a consecutive 30 year term for his conviction on using a firearm (a "machine gun") in connection with a drug offense. The Probation Department apparently agrees. The Government also says a life plus 30 year sentence is appropriate.

Why not just ask for life plus cancer? Maybe they are saving that request for Jeffrey Epstein.

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Kim Dotcom's Final Extradition Hearing Underway

I'm sending good thoughts to Kim Dotcom and his Megaupload partners by playing this catchy tune today as they face their final showdown in the New Zealand Supreme Court which will decide once and for all whether the entrepreneurs can be extradited to the U.S. on charges of copyright violation.

This was the status last July when they lost in the Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court has provided a handy and fairly concise explanation of the case to date and issues here. [More...]

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More Indictments for Michael Avenatti

How many Indictments does this make? Michael Avenatti has been charged in new indictments with ripping off Stormy Daniels and his extortionist threats to Nike.

What are the odds he can beat all of them?

The Nike extortion Indictment has dozens of references to "CC-1, who is attorney Mark Geragos. Geragos retained Ben Brafman after the failed power play made the news. It seems to me that Brafman did an amazing job keeping Geragos from getting indicted.

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Government Seeks 17 Years for Son of Ismael Zambada-Garcia

The Government filed its sentencing memorandum today in the case of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa Cartel co-leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia, who cooperated with the government and testified against El Chapo. A post on his plea agreement is here.

Vicente has been in custody since 2010. In his own case, he initially raised the "public authority" defense and tried to convince the Court he was acting with the approval of the D.E.A. as an informant. After that failed, he became a cooperator and was interviewed more than 100 times.

He and his family will remain in the U.S. after he finishes his sentence, with new identities courtesy of the Witness Protection Program.

The government could have recommended 10 years, but it didn't. It is recommeding 17 years, 2 years more than the Flores twins. (See their history and the history of their co-consspirators here). It points out that Vicente ordered the murders and kidnappings of many people. But unlike the Flores twins, who got 14 years, he never lied.

Initially, Mexico was unhappy with the government's deal with Zambada-Niebla's cooperation deal and the plan to extradite El Chapo. I wonder what the new AMLO Admninistration feels the same.

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Admissions Cheating Scandal: Updates and Thoughts

Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud/honest services fraud. Her sentencing guidelines according to the plea agreement (available here) are either 4 to 10 months (government’s calculation) or 0 to 6 months (Huffman's calculations.) Prosecutors say they will recommend 4 months in prison either way.

A jail or prison sentence is unlikely in my view. [More...]

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Michael Cohen: "The Fixer" Heads to Otisville

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is scheduled to surrender Monday to the federal prison complex at Otisville, NY. Like all Otisville inmates, he will first be evaluated at the medium security prison. When his eval is over, he will walk up the road to satellite prison camp, (a minimum security facility with communal dorm rooms instead of cells that is more like an army barracks than a prison.) According to the Bureau of Prison's Statistical page, today there are 113 inmates at the camp. (Fill in the blanks with "Northeast Region" and "New York" and "Otisville").

Here is an account written by an attorney and friend of mine of his first days at Otisville (published in Chicken Soup for the Soul), and an extremely irreverent but sometimes funny and occasionally insightful blog (if you can get past the deprecating language the Jewish author, a former attorney and Otisville inmate named Lawrence Dressler, uses for his fellow Jews and others which he thinks is funny)about life at Otisville. (He was there for mortgage fraud). Here's his latest post about Michael Cohen.

Mike "the Situation" Sorrentino from the Jersey Shore reality TV show is serving a short sentence at Otisville right now for a tax offense. So is Billy McFarlan of the infamous "Freye Festival". Most but not all of the 113 camp inmates are Jewish and sentenced for white collar or drug offenses. Sorrentino and McFarlan are exceptions.

I highly doubt Cohen will have a problem with other inmates because he cooperated with Mueller. He'll have lots of company on that front. Also, he didn't get a cooperation reduction in the NY case for which he's going top jail. The government wrote in its sentencing brief: [More...]

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Mass. State Judge Indicted for Assisting Undocumented Defendant Avoid ICE

Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, a state district court judge in Mass. has been indicted for obstruction of justice and related charges for assisting an undocumented defendant with an ICE detainer to leave the courthouse.

I haven't had time to read the Indictment yet but it is available here.

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Michael Avenatti Indicted in California

Lawyer and TV pundit Michael Avenatti has been charged in federal court in Los Angeles with 36 counts of fraud, tax crimes, obstruction and related offenses. The charges principally relate to his use of settlement money received for clients for his own use, and failing to pay his taxes. The U.S. Attorney's long announcement is here. The even longer Indictment is here.

There are four clients highlighted in the charges "client 1" client 2 client 3 and client 4. Client 1 is a parapalegic for whom he (and co-counsel) obtained a $4 million settlement from the City of Los Angeles. The unnmamed client is Geoffrey Ernest Johnson. The case is 13-cv-04496-MMM-AJW in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In one pleading I read, Doc. 119, Avenatti and cocounsel describe their client:

Plaintiff is a paraplegic who sustained his life altering injuries while in Defendants’ custody at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. Plaintiff sustained his injuries when he attempted to commit suicide for a second time while in Defendants’ custody. Both times it was by jumping from an upper tier. Since Plaintiff was an inmate in Defendants’ custody, Defendants and their employees had a constitutional obligation to take reasonable measures to protect Plaintiff’s safety and to provide safe conditions of confinement.

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Julian Assange Charged With Hacking Conspiracy

Julian Assange has been arrested and removed from the Ecuador Embassy in London, where he has spent the last 7 years, due to the return of an Indictment in the U.S. charging him with conspiring with Chelsea Manning and others to commit conspiracy intrusion. The charge carries up to five years in prison. The Indictment is available here.

Assange, arrested by British police in London and carried out of Ecuador’s embassy, faces up to five years in prison on the American charge, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement. His arrest paved the way for his possible extradition to the United States.

The Indictment was obtained in March 2018 and sealed until today. [More...]

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