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Archive for May 16th, 2018

Justice Department Announces Improvements to Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced improvements to the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program including provisions addressing claims of fatal heart attacks, strokes and vascular ruptures and those injured in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“At this Department of Justice, we back the blue,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “Officers killed or wounded in the line of duty and their families deserve our gratitude and our support. That’s why we are determined to make improvements to the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, which provides for them when they need it most.  We are making it simpler to apply for benefits for those who are injured. We have already made significant progress in reducing the time for application processing. Now, we are also doing our part to help some of the brave first responders who are suffering from the effects of the September 11th terrorist attacks. ”

The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program provides death and education benefits to the eligible survivors of fallen law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders, and disability benefits to officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty.

Improvements and updates to the Program include:

  • Heart Attack, Stroke, and Vascular Rupture Claims: The new rule helps implement a change in the law that reduces the need in many cases for families to submit difficult-to-find and costly medical records for their loved ones. This regulatory change alone positively impacts nearly one-third of the PSOB death claims filed each year.
    Filing Process:  The new rule includes administrative updates to make filing claims more straightforward and less burdensome for survivors and public safety agencies.
    Law Enforcement and Firefighter Trainees: Recognizing the dangerous nature of law enforcement and fire suppression, and the rigorous training required to help keep communities safe, the new rule clarifies the coverage of certain individuals fatally or catastrophically injured during formal training provided by law enforcement and fire academies.
    September 11th Exposure Claims: The new rule facilitates the PSOB Program’s medical examiners’ review of the nearly 150 claims pending for certain public safety officers who responded to the September 11th attacks to assist in rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts, and who were exposed to hazards and toxins resulting from the attacks.

Judge Refuses to Toss Special Counsel Case Against Paul Manafort

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A D.C. federal judge has given special counsel Robert Mueller the green light to continue the case against Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Business Insider reports.

U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson declined on Tuesday to toss the charges against  Manafort, who faces two indictments from the special counsel. Manafort is charged in Virginia and Washington with tax and bank fraud connected to his lobbying work for the Ukrainian government and pro-Russia interests in Ukraine.

The judge ruled the indictment “falls squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel,” the publication reports.

“Given the combination of his prominence within the campaign and his ties to Ukrainian officials supported by and operating out of Russia, as well as to Russian oligarchs, Manafort was an obvious person of interest,” the ruling reads.

Opinion Piece: DEA Has No Clue What It’s Talking About When it Comes to Pot and Opioids

Paul Armentano is the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is the co-author of the book, Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? and the author of the book, The Citizen’s Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws. This piece appears in The Hill.

By Paul Armentano
For The Hill

Is state-level medical cannabis access mitigating or fueling America’s opioid crisis? Testifying before Congress last week, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) acting administrator Robert Patterson claimed the latter. But when he prompted to provide evidence in support of the agency’s position, he acknowledged that he could not.

His failure to substantiate this claim is unsurprising. That is because numerous peer-reviewed studies show that increased cannabis access is associated with declining rates of opioid useabusehospitalizations, and mortality. Among patients enrolled in state-sanctioned medical marijuana access programs, participants’ use of not only opioids, but also their use of numerous other prescription medications — such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs — declines significantly.

To read the full piece click here.

Ex-CIA Employee Suspected of Leaking Documents to WikiLeaks Faces Sexual-Related Charges

Joshua Adam Schulte (Linkedin photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There may be a lot questions surrounding 30-year-old former CIA employee Joshua Adam Schulte, but one thing is certain: This man needs lawyers.

First, the federal government suspects he gave a massive trove of agency documents to WikiLeaks about the CIA’s hacking operations, though he has yet to be charged with that, reports Huffington Post.

In the meantime, he faces child pornography charges and charges in Virginia, where he’s accused of snapping photos as he sexually assaulted a passed-out friend as she lay on the floor of his bathroom.

Schulte was arrested back in August on federal child pornography charges, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that The Washington Post and New York Times reported the government was interested in Schulte because it suspected WikiLeaks leaks.

NBC News reports that he’s currently in a Manhattan federal jail on the child porn charges.

 

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