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Archive for October 5th, 2017

Judge Tosses Substantial Charges Against Ex-Congressman William Jefferson and Orders Immediate Release

William Jefferson

William Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, who was serving a 13-year sentence,  has gotten the break of his life.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of Alexandria, Va.,  issued an order Wednesday dismissing the most of the  substantial charges against Jefferson and ordered “his immediate release” from prison while his new sentence is determined, Greg LaRose of the New Orleans Times Picayune reports. He is five years into a 13-year term for corruption, but now seven of the 10 charges against him have been thrown out on appeal.

The judge could potentially resentence Jefferson to time serve.

Jefferson, 70, was tried for 16 counts of corruption in 2009 and convicted of 11.

 

FBI Warned about Lone Shooters at Concerts 9 Months Before Las Vegas Massacre

police-lineBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than nine months before the mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival earlier this week, the FBI and Homeland Security warned of the threat of lone gunmen carrying out massacres during large gatherings like music venues.

The federal agencies issued a “Joint Special Event Event Threat Assessment” to warn of lone offenders launching an attack on large crowds, Foreign Police reports

A main concern cited by the December 2016 document was someone targeting the New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Las Vegas Strip.

“Unaffiliated lone offenders and [homegrown violent extremists] are of particular concern,” the document states, “due to their ability to remain undetected until operational; their willingness to attack civilians and soft targets; their ability to inflict significant casualties with weapons that do not require specialized knowledge, access, or training; and their unpredictability, as witnessed in the Orlando, Florida and San Bernardino, California terrorist attacks.”

The agencies addressed concerns “about the sustained interest by terrorists and criminals in targeting mass gatherings,” including at concerts.

Special Counsel Investigating Extent of Trump’s Pardon Powers

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel for the Russia investigation.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel for the Russia investigation.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel team investigating possible collusion between Russia and President Trump’s campaign team is investigating the extent of Trump’s authority to pardon family members and close associates.

In July 2017, Trump bragged on Twitter that “the U.S. President has complete power to pardon.”

Bloomberg reports that Mueller’s top legal counsel, Michel Dreeben, is researching past pardons to determine the extent of Trump’s power to issue pardons. 

“He’s seen every criminal case of any consequence in the last 20 years,” said Kathryn Ruemmler of Latham & Watkins LLP, who served as White House counsel under President Barack Obama. “If you wanted to do a no-knock warrant, he’d be a great guy to consult with to determine if you were exposing yourself.”

Bloomberg wrote:

Pre-emptive pardons are a distinct possibility now that current and former Trump advisers are under Mueller’s scrutiny. Trump himself has tweeted that everyone agrees the U.S. president has “complete power to pardon.” Some of those kinds of executive moves have been well studied, including Gerald Ford’s swift pardon of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton’s exoneration of fugitive financier Marc Rich. But the legal territory is largely uncharted over pardons of a president’s own campaign workers, family members or even himself — and how prosecutors’ work would then be affected.

Las Vegas Gunman Had Escape Plan, May Have Had Help Planning

Stephen Paddock

Stephen Paddock

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The gunman who opened fire at a country music concert in Las Vegas planned to escape after the mass shooting, and he may have had help planning the attack, authorities said.

But Stephen Paddock left behind a note and turned the gun on himself as police closed in on him in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay

after the massacre that killed 58 people.

“He was doing everything possible to see how he could escape at this point,” Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said, CNN reports. 

The note left inside the hotel room was not a suicide note, police said, but did not elaborate.

More than 100 investigators, including FBI agents, are trying to determine whether Lombardo had help. He meticulously planned the attack and bought 33 firearms, mostly rifles, over the past 13 months.

“Do you think this was all accomplished on his own? You’ve got to make the assumption he had to have some help at some point,” Lombardo said.

FBI: U.S. Should Have Foreseen Russia’s Meddling in Election

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. authorities should have foreseen Russia’s efforts to meddle in the presidential election because of the Kremlin’s actions in the past, said FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

While the extent of Russia’s involvement was surprising “in some ways,” McCabe said the intelligence community had plenty of reasons to be suspicious.

“The fact is, the Russians have been targeting us with everything they have over the last 50 years,” McCabe said, CNN reports. “We sort of should have seen this coming.”

Whatever the case, McCabe said investigators will ensure Russia “pays” for its actions.

But that doesn’t mean the U.S. will be able to stop Russia in the future.

“The experience in the 2016 elections allowed us to diagnose the problem,” McCabe said. “Have we cured it yet? Absolutely not.”

Brazen Thief Steals Copper from FBI Construction Site in New Orleans

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A brazen New Orleans man was arrested after stealing copper from a construction project at the FBI New Orleans Field Office.

FBI security cameras and guard spotted Michael Bailey, 39, stealing copper from the construction site of the new visitor center built at the field office, the Times-Picayune reports

Bailey was charged with a felony count of theft on Wednesday.

Video surveillance shows Bailey scavenging the site for copper wire. He was able to flee in his truck.

He was arrested Wednesday after investigated interviewed him.