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Kim Dotcom Extradition Appeal To Be Live-Streamed

Update: 8/30/16, 9:15 pm MT: Live stream started 1/2 hour ago here.

A New Zealand appeals court today began hearing the appeal of Kim Dotcom against extradition to the U.S. The hearing is expected to take six to eight weeks. Kim Dotcom has been requesting the hearing be live-streamed. Today, the court granted his request and live streaming begins tomorrow.

Justice Murray Gilbert granted the application, subject to agreement from Mr Dotcom and the other men that the case would only be livestreamed and any footage would be removed as soon as the six-week hearing was over. The footage would also be streamed with a 20 minute delay, to allow the court to prevent any suppressed material from being published.

Check Kim Dotcom's twitter feed, @kimdotcom, for the live stream link. Also check out Torrent Freak, which has been doing a good job of following the case all these years. [More...]

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Mexican Media Report El Chapo's Son Freed, Back in Sinaloa

Riodoce reported this morning it has confirmed that Alfredo Guzman-Salazar, son of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-Loera and the other five men kidnapped at La Leche Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta have been freed and are back in Sinaloa. Alfredo and his brother Ivan Archivaldo reportedly are both there. According to Sinaloa Press, all six were released unharmed and El Chapo has been informed.

Sin Embargo and now almost all Mexican media, and the AFP, are reporting the same. La Pared reports no additional details are being provided because of the pending extradition request from the U.S. for both sons:

Neither the Attorney General's Office or the Office of Jalisco have issued information regarding the release of the imprisoned son of Sinaloa cartel leader, but a source of the Sinaloa Attorney mentioned that there are indications that the release is correct.

"It is information that can not be confirmed because this person is a fugitive, there are only reports was released by his captors," said the source.

[More...]

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6 Bodies Found in Jalisco, None Believed to Be El Chapo's Son

6 bodies were found today in several locations in towns around Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco.

In the El Mirador, in Tonala, police authorities placed the bodies of three men between 25 and 30 years. The first two victims were found inside a vacant lot and another in a gap in the same area. The dead showed signs of torture and gunshot wound.

In Tlajomulco de Zuniga, in the La Teja ranch, the gap La Cajilota, were located the bodies of two people "you encobijadas", one of them apparently female. Another body of a "encobijado" was found in Dr. R. Michel Avenue and Stadium; near the body of the authorities assured a card with a chilling message that further details were not given.

Puerta Vallarta, where 6 men, including Alfredo Guzman-Salazar, the son of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, were kidnapped from La Leche restaurant this week, allegedly by rival cartel CJNG, is also in Jalisco.

The Attorney General of Jalisco says that as of now there is no indication the dead bodies discovered today are related to those kidnapped in Puerta Vallarta. [More...]

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El Chapo's Son: Kidnapped in Puerta Vallarta or Not?

It's amazing how bad some news reports are. They just publish without fact-checking. Memo to the AP, AFP and Australia News and other news outlets: This photo is not Alfredo Guzman-Salazar or any son of El Chapo. It's a nobody 23 year old used car salesman named Felix Beltran Leon that police mistook for Alfredo in 2012

The stocky, baby-faced suspect had been presented as the son of Guzman, the chief of the Sinaloa Cartel, and a Navy official described him as a rising operator in the international drug trafficking organization. But Beltran Leon's wife, Karla Pacheco, said he is the father of a toddler and works with his mother-in-law at a used car dealership.

The Attorney General's Office said that "necessary tests" had proved that he wasn't the drug lord's son, but said he would remain under investigation for the guns and money found during his arrest.

[More...]

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Cameron Douglas Released to Halfway House

It's been a long 7 years for Cameron Douglas, son of actor Michael Douglas. This week the former heroin addict and meth seller was released from federal prison to a half-way house.

He looks in much better shape than he did at the time of his original arrest in 2009.

In 2012, Cameron was badly hurt in prison. In 2011 and 2012, I provided a lengthy recap of his legal troubles from court pleadings available at the time here and here. In 2010, I wrote about the sentencing pleadings and very candid family letters and provided a recap of events . Posts about his 2009 arrest and release on bail are here and here.

I took all of the information in the posts from publicly available pleadings, not just in his case, but in the cases of the Escalera brothers, against whom he testified. All of my posts on his case are accessible here.

Here's a letter Cameron wrote from prison in 2013. According to the Page 6 article, he's planning on writing a book of his experiences.

The Bureau of Prisons failed Douglas in my view. He more than did his time, under very harsh conditions. I wish him and his family well.

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El Proceso Scores Interview with Rafael Caro Quintero

The DEA and Mexico (at the request of the U.S.) have been trying to find Rafael Caro-Quintero since 2013, when Mexico released him from prison after serving 28 years of a 40 year sentence, following a court decision later reversed.

I doubt they had a clue where he is. And I wonder if they haven't just used an old trick on him: Accuse him of something he hasn't done so he surfaces to make a denial. If so, it worked, because El Proceso will broadcast an interview with Caro Quintero from an undisclosed location today -- his first since his 2013 release from prison. [More...]

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Oscar Pistorius Sentenced to 6 More Years

Oscar Pistorius is back in jail today, sentenced to 6 years following last month's re-sentencing hearing which was the result of the state winning an appeal over the judge's decision to toss the murder charge.

The judge said there were mitigating factors and rejected a prosecution request for a 15 year sentence. He will be eligible for parole in 3 years.

One mitigating factor:

Mr. Pistorius, the judge said, had shown genuine remorse in trying, repeatedly and unsuccessfully, to apologize in person to the victim’s parents.

There were others, and the Judge recognized that a long term of imprisonment would not be in the best interests of justice. [More...]

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"Snatched" and the Story of Operation Princess

Snatched: From Drug Queen to Informer to Hostage--A Harrowing True Story

I have always been fascinated by the story of the Princess and the DEA. My computer is filled with thousands of pages I downloaded from PACER in her civil lawsuit against the DEA in the Federal Court of Claims: Case No. 97-cv-00579-MCW. In this overly long post about the DEA and money laundering stings, at the very end I wrote:

I hope the Princess gets $10 million or more from the Government for what the DEA did in her case. Her expert witness, former DEA Agent Michael Levine, filed an 861 page report (97-cv-00579-MCW, Document 196, Filed 05/31/11). I''m surprised there hasn't been a made for TV movie of the case yet. It's filled with tales of informant and agent-induced money laundering schemes,cops picking up money and sending it around the world, kidnappings, agents breaking rules and even stealing the traffickers' money, and corrupt foreign officials.

Now there's a book out about her case. It's called Snatched: How the DEA Got a Cartel Queen to Flip by Bruce Porter, the author of "Blow," which became a hit movie. The Daily Beast published an excerpt this week. The Daily News recaps the story here, along with photos of the Princess and some others. [More...]

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DOJ and FBI Release Full Transcript of Orlando 911 Call

The Department of Justice and FBI reversed themselves today and released the full transcript of Omar Mateen's 911 call. The partial transcript released hours earlier omitted any reference to ISIS.

Why the change? From DOJ's statement: [More...]

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El Chapo's Lawyers Denied Extradition Documents

Some new developments in the extradition efforts against Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman:

His lawyer Jose Refugio was refused permission to meet with El Chapo when he went to the Prison.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to give his lawyer, Andres Granados Flores, a copy of its extradition orders. It said it had given the certified copies directly to El Chapo.[More...]

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Freddie Gray Officer Acquitted

A Baltimore judge today found police officer Edward Nero not guilty in the death of Freddie Gray. From the Baltimore Sun:

The judgment, following a five-day bench trial, is the first in the closely-watched case. Nero, 30, faced four misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office.

Prosecutors had argued that Nero committed an assault by detaining Gray without justification, while the reckless endangerment charge related to Nero's role in putting Gray into an arrest wagon without buckling a seat belt. In closing arguments Thursday, Williams had skeptically questioned prosecutors about their theory of assault, which legal experts said was unprecedented.

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El Chapo's Options (Other Than Amparo)

Besides fighting extradition through requests for writs of Amparo and Appeals, which could take one to three years, what other options does Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman have for avoiding life in a U.S. prison?

His lawyer says they have a lawyer in the U.S. and they are interested in resolving all of his charges (and not by going into witness protection.) Via Google translate:

Before the endorsement of the Government of Mexico for his extradition to the United States, Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, could plead guilty in Exchange for some benefit, said his lawyer José Refugio Rodríguez, in an interview with EL UNIVERSAL.

The defense of Guzman Loera said that they have not contemplated that will welcome witnesses protected in that country programme, but yes looking for a settlement with the US authorities that require it.

[More...]

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Mexican Court Supports Extradition of El Chapo to Texas

A judge in Mexico has found a U.S. extradition request for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the Western District of Texas (El Paso) legally sufficient for extradition. El Chapo was one of more than 20 people indicted on charges ranging from drugs (cocaine and marijuana) to money laundering, firearms, murder and Continuing Criminal Enterprise.

It's not alleged that El Chapo committed the murders, but that he ordered his sicarios to kidnap and murder. One murder was of a Sinaloa drug dealer in 2009 who claimed to have lost a load of 670 kilos of marijuana. He was kidnapped in the U.S. and his tortured body was later found in Mexico. Another was a groom who was kidnapped at his own wedding along with some others and later tortured and murdered.

Mexico's announcement is here (in Spanish).

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El Chapo Update and Open Thread

Another court today granted temporary protection to Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-Loera. The case number is 398/2016 and the Court is the Juzgado Segundo de Distrito de Amparo en Materia Penal.

El Chapo also filed at least two other amparo requests. One is against extradition and the other is to return him to Altiplano.

El Chapo's lawyers say their extradition challenges will take between 1 and 3 years to resolve.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome. (The El Chapo news went down the rabbit hole, I just noticed it wasn't there and replaced it.)

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El Chapo: Extradition Decision Moves to Foreign Affairs Dept

The potential extradition of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-Loera is making headlines again. A few quick points:

1. The Mexican Judiciary announced today a judge in Mexico's Third District federal criminal court (Mexico City) recently ruled that the U.S. request for El Chapo's extradition to the Southern District of California (San Diego) is legally sufficient, meaning it complied with the treaty requirements. The ruling applies to the Fourth Superseding Indictment in the 1995 Otay Mesa tunnel case. The announcement (in Spanish) is here. [More...]

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