home

Home / Crime in the News

Michael Avenatti Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Nike Fraud Case

Michael Avenatti, the former attorney for Stormy Daniels and self-created pundit, was sentenced in federal court in New York yesterday to 2.5 years in prison for his scheme to defraud Nike. On February 14, 2020, following a three week jury trial, he was convicted on all three of the charges against him.

The charges were: Transmitting interstate communications with intent to extort, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 875(d) (Count One); Hobbs Act extortion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 (Count Two); and honest services wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1346 (Count Three).

The sentence was substantially less than the sentencing guideline range as calculated by Probation (135-168 months). [More...]

(39 comments, 751 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Trump Organization and Alan Weisselberg Indicted

Here is the 25 page Indictment of the Trump Organization and its chief officer, Alan Weisselberg.

The Indictment alleges the Trump Organization ran a tax fraud scheme for 15 years, allowing executives to evade taxes by compensating them "off the books." From the New York Times:

The 15-count indictment, which charged the Trump Organization with committing a scheme to defraud, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records, accused the company of a long-running conspiracy to help executives, including Mr. Weisselberg, evade taxes on perks and bonuses while at the same time decreasing the company’s own tax obligations.

It also charged Mr. Weisselberg with failing to pay taxes on leased Mercedes-Benzes, bonuses and a rent-free apartment paid for by the company. The indictment also charged him with grand larceny, accusing him of essentially cheating the I.R.S. out of tax revenue.

According to the Times, the investigation continues, with Donald Trump as the next potential target.

(10 comments) Permalink :: Comments

Bill Cosby Freed After Appellate Victory

Bill Cosby's criminal conviction for sexual assault justly met its demise in the PA Supreme Court yesterday, not on a technicality, but because the decision to charge and try him was a bait and switch that violated one of the most basic tenets on which our criminal justice system is founded: due process of law. The Court found the violation was so egregious that only a remedy of dismissal with no chance of retrial was appropriate. Cosby was freed from prison immediately.

The 79-page opinion is here. There is some really good language on the awesome (as in huge, not terrific) power of prosecutors and why, when prosecutors make a promise to a defendant that induces him to give up a constitutional right, that promise must be enforced.

There's also a word I rarely see, and the opinion uses it three separate times: Undergird. (It means brace or support (an underpinning) and apparently was first used in the 1500's). [More...]

(4 comments, 3867 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

NY AG Joins State Criminal Investigation of Trump

The New York Attorney General announced it has joined the New York DA's criminal investigation of the Trump Organization. Previously, the AG's investigation was civil rather than criminal.

A spokesman for the state's top prosecutor, Letitia James, said the inquiry into Mr Trump's property company was "no longer purely civil"....We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA."

The AG spokesman said it has notified the Trump Organization of the change in status. According to the New York Times, it's about Trump Org. Chief Financial Officer Alan Weisselberg and his family. [More...]

(29 comments, 380 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Ghislaine Maxwell Denied Bail Again

Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers tried hard to have her released on bail this month. The Government fought them tooth and nail. Guess who won? The Government. The full order is not yet released because the parties have to go through it and redact it to protect the privacy interests of those mention. But the short version is here.

The ruling is based strictly on flight risk, as the Government didn't argue she was a danger to the community. [More...]

(4 comments, 921 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Ghislaine Maxwell's Deposition Transcript Released

Personally, I would have kept the 2016 deposition transcript of Ghislaine Maxwell sealed. The appeals court decided differently and released the transcript today. Ms. Maxwell is facing criminal charges and is entitled to the presumption of innocence. The only effect of the unsealing will be to further pollute the possible jury pool with the salacious questions asked by the accuser's lawyer (virtually all of which Maxwell denied.)

Deposition transcripts in federal civil cases are not routinely filed with the court, they remain with the lawyers for the parties. It is usually excerpts rather than entire depositions that are admitted at hearings and trial.

The defamation case that was the genesis of this deposition is over. Why should the deposition transcripts be released now as opposed to a year from now? I think they should have remained sealed until after Ms. Maxwell's trial.

The transcript is available here.

(2 comments) Permalink :: Comments

Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Protests

Daniel Cameron, the Kentucky Attorney General announced yesterday that no police involved in the raid that led to the shooting death of of Breonna Taylor will be charged with murder. One former officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with First Degree Criminal Endangerment (the victims of which were Taylor's neighbors), while the other two officers involved, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove, were not charged with any criminal offense. (It was Cosgrove who fired the bullet that struck and killed Ms. Taylor).

The charges accuse Hankison of firing blindly into several apartments and recklessly endangering Taylor’s neighbors, but do not charge him with firing at or killing Taylor. Two other officers involved in the March 13 incident, Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, were not charged. Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor, according to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, but the grand jury considered his action justifiable.

[More..]

(70 comments, 773 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Scott Peterson Death Penalty Reversed

The Supreme Court for the state of California has issued a unanimous 101 page opinion in the Scott Peterson case. Peterson was convicted of killing his pregnant wife Lacie Peterson, whose decomposed body and that of the fetus who would have been named Conor had he been born alive, were found in the water a mile from where Peterson said he had been fishing months earlier. Peterson was convicted sentenced to death. Cable news followed every detail of the case, night after night, from the day of Laci's disappearance through the trial.

The death sentence was reversed because the trial court judge excluded jurors who were opposed to the death penalty in general, but never questioned as to whether they could put those feelings aside and judge this case by its facts, or whether, should they find Peterson guilty, they would impose the death sentence no matter what. U.S. Supreme Court precedent is clear that the Court must not. [More...]

(5 comments, 897 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Suspect in Judge Family Shooting Kills Himself

The suspect in yesterday's shooting of the son and husband of a federal judge in New Jersey has committed suicide.

He was a lawyer named Roy Den Hollander who billed himself as "anti-feminist".The Daily Beast reports he had a pending case with Salas.

Also, he may have been terminally ill with cancer: [More...]

(11 comments, 298 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Does Ghislaine Maxwell Have an Agreement for Bond?

The Government filed a peculiar letter request with the Court last night. First, it identifies Ghislaine Maxwell's attorney as Christian Everdell, even though no entry of appearance has been filed.

Everdell is a former AUSA in the Southern District of New York whose main beat was international drug traffickers, like El Chapo and his Colombian associates, and some FARC members and some of the more ridiculous cases, like the ones I've written up many times as the "DEA's Most Excellent African Adventures." (And don't just take it from me, see Ginger Johnson's more excellent article, The Narco-Terror Trap, especially on the Oumar Issa case.

Curiously to me, Everdell resigned in November 2016, months after Chapo was caught for the last time in January and about to be extradited. El Chapo arrived here in January, 2017.

I would think that a prosecutor who spent ten years chasing El Chapo, FARC and Colombian traffickers (even getting a medal from a police group for his work on El Chapo) would stay to see him prosecuted. [More...]

(15 comments, 816 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Ghislaine Maxwell Arrested for NY Indictment

I did not expect this today. Ghislaine Maxwell, former paramour and business associate of Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested in New Hampshire where she has been temporarily residing, to face charges stemming from her relationship with Epstein.

Maxwell faces charges that include transporting a minor for the purposes of criminal sexual activity and conspiring to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, according to a six-count grand jury indictment that was unsealed earlier in the day.

The Indictment is here. The Government is asking she be held without bond. "In short, Maxwell has three passports, large sums of money, extensive international connections, and absolutely no reason to stay in the United States and face the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence." (From its detention motion"

But what about her immunity agreement? None of the other recruiters Epstein employed who were granted immunity as part of his plea deal have been charged. For example, according to the NY Times, Sarah Kellen (now Sarah Vickers) was "right under" Ghislaine. If I recall correctly, the immunity provision in Epstein's plea agreement only covered the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of Florida. Also, I wonder if Ghislaine has standing to raise immunity conferred by someone else's plea agreement once he's dead? [More...]

(22 comments, 515 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Floyd: Charges Expanded, Obama to Speak

MN Attorney General Keith Ellison today announced that three additional police officers present at the scene of George Floyd's death who witnessed Derek Chauvin's attack on Floyd have been charged with aiding and abetting Chavin. Chauvin's charges were upgraded to second degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

These are state, not federal charges. The officers are Thomas Lane, Alexander Keung and Tou Thau. Lane is already in custody, police are in the process of arresting the other two.

Obama is speaking now. You can watch here. He says the events of the last few weeks have given us a chance for change. He's excited about all the young people coming out. He feels optimistic -- like this country is going to get better. [More...]

(89 comments, 1761 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Lori Loughlin and Husband to Plead Guilty Friday

Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli will plead guilty today in federal court in Boston via video-conference to conspiracy charges in the college cheating scandal "Varsity Blues" case.

Loughlin will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, while Giannulli will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud.

As part of the plea, Loughlin has agreed to serve a two month sentence of incarceration and Giannulli has agreed to a five month sentence.

Loughlin's plea agreement is here and Giannulli's is here. [More...]

(1133 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Roger Stone Sentenced to 40 Months

Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Roger Stone today to 40 months in prison.

  • COUNT 1 - 40 MONTHS
  • COUNT 2 to 6 -- 12 MONTHS
  • COUNTS 7 -- 18 MONTHS
    all to run concurrently*

Stone will remain free, at least for now while she still has a motion for new trial pending. (His motion for new trial based on the supposed juror misconduct issue was roundly denied by the Judge last week. Here is a copy of the Order.

The Government today seemed to back off its revised sentencing memo a bit by agreeing with the judge that some enhancements applied. Still, the sentence she imposed was inline with the Government's lower revised sentencing memo.

There's a lot of talk that Trump may pardon Stone if Judge Jackson does not grant his subsequent motions for new trial.

(23 comments) Permalink :: Comments

DOJ Lowers Sentencing Recommendation for Roger Stone

Update: Three of the prosecutors on Roger Stone's case have just filed notices to withdraw their appearances for the Government. (Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis and Adam Jed ). John Crabb, Jr. has entered his appearance for the Government and filed a supplemental sentencing memo asking for a lighter sentence for Stone even in view of the "arguably" correct guideline range of 87 - 108 months. Crabb is the Acting Chief of the Criminal Division and is licensed in New York. In the new brief, Crabb writes:

As noted above, a sentence of 87 to 108 months more typically has been imposed for defendants who have higher criminal history categories or who obstructed justice as part of a violent criminal organization.
Tell that to Rod Blagojevich who got 14 years. Tell that to non-violent drug traffickers who by law must get a ten year mandatory minimum sentence if their offense and uncharged relevant conduct exceeded 5 kilos of cocaine or 1,000 pounds of marijuana. Which is a more serious offense? I'd say lying to interfere with an investigation into foreign interference in a presidential election.

[Original Post below:]

(48 comments, 615 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Next 15 >>