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Archive for April 24th, 2018

Mueller Confirms Manafort Raid Targeted Records on Trump Tower Meeting, Russian Oligarch

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

When FBI agents raided the home of Paul Manafort, the former head of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, last summer, a judge signed off on seizing records related to a previously undisclosed meeting between the campaign and Russian lobbyists at the Trump Tower in June 2016.

Agents walked out with tens of thousands of records, including documents related to a civil lawsuit over a drawn-out dispute with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, Bloomberg reports.

The scope of the search was revealed Monday in a court filing by Robert Mueller’s special counsel team that is investigating possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The disclosure is significant because it means Mueller is focusing on a potential collusion case against members of Trump’s campaign.

Deripaska, who is believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, hired Manafort as a political consultant and invested $18.9 million with Manafort’s cable-television venture. Deripaska, the billionaire founder and majority shareholder of En+ Group, also paid Manafort $7.35 million in management fees.

When the deal went sour, Deripaska sued.

Deripaska was among the Russians penalized with sanctions last month by the Trump administration.

Manafort, who faces trial on numerous charges related to conspiracy and fraud in connection with his business relationship with pro-Russia, Ukrainian officials. Manafort has pleaded not guilty, while his longtime business partner has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation as part of a leniency deal in exchange for pleading guilty to some charges.

Border Patrol Agent Acquitted in Shooting Death of Mexican Teen

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors are mulling whether they should pursue a retrial in the case of a Border Patrol agent charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a teenager after an Arizona jury deadlocked on the lesser accounts.

The jury found Agent Lonnie Swartz not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was with a group throwing rocks at agents from the Nogales, Mexico, side of the border.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked on a lesser charge of manslaughter, NPR reports

In October 2012, Swartz responded to the rocks by firing 16 shots, striking Rodriguez eight times in the back and twice in the head.

Swartz’s attorneys said the agent was protecting himself and fellow agents when he opened fire. Prosectors said he pulled the trigger because he was frustrated with rock throwers.

DEA Investigates Ex-Agent Accused of Providing Intel to Colombian Drug Traffickers

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The DEA is investigating a former agent accused of providing intelligence to Colombian drug traffickers.

The former agent, Jose Irizarry, resigned abruptly after investigators began suspecting he passed information to Colombia drug traffickers, BuzzFeed News reports. 

Sources told BuzzFeed the scope of the investigation is unprecedented.

“It’s a major case,” one of the sources said. 

The DEA confirmed the investigation.

“We are looking into his activities in Colombia,” the spokesperson said, adding that “the scope is unclear.”

She said the case is being handled by the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

One source said the Justice Department and FBI also are investigating Irizarry, who was based in the Cartagena, Colombia, field office.

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