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Archive for August 20th, 2018

Why the Manafort Jury Likely Hasn’t Reached a Verdict Yet

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the verdict in the Paul Manafort trial, it may feel like the jury has taken a long time.

But according to experts, juries typically take days – even more than a week – to reach a verdict on cases as complex as this one.

In the Manafort case, the jury began its third day of deliberations Monday. Manafort is charged with 18 counts, including bank fraud, conspiracy, filing false income tax returns and failure to report foreign or financial assets.

The news site Vox interviewed eight lawyers about the deliberations, and each said there’s nothing unusual about the jury take several days to reach a verdict.

“Probably means nothing,” Shira Scheindlin, a former United States district judge in the Southern District of New York, told Vox. “Most juries are very meticulous. Bank fraud and tax fraud are complex statutes and involve unfamiliar concepts. They are not in the everyday experience of jurors.”

Defense attorneys’ suggestion that “the length of the deliberations  is a good sign for them is pure spin,” said Michael Bromwich, former Justice Department inspector general. “Indeed, quick verdicts in complex cases are frequently for the defendant.”

Harry Litman, former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said juries taking their jobs seriously and thus are methodical.

“The most likely thing it means is that they’re going through the charges, which are paper-driven and require confirmation methodically,” Litman said. “We know that’s happening, based on their questioning, and it’s the kind of the case that doing that would take three, four, five days anyway.”

How FBI Background Check Failed to Prevent Felon from Buying Gun That Injured 3 Officers

Marlin Mack

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Marlin Mack, a felon with an extensive rap sheet, passed an FBI background check to buy a gun that he used to shoot and kill a university graduate student and wound three Kansas City police officers.

So how was the 25-year-old able to pass the background check?

FBI Spokesman Stephen Fischer told Fox4 that Mack gave false information on his application to buy the gun.

“Mr. Mack provided false biographical information at the time of his firearm purchase. That information can only be verified at the point of sale,” Fischer said. “The false information was submitted to the FBI and searched through the national instant criminal background check system (NICS).  As the false information did not match a prohibited record, the request was cleared to proceed.”

But Fox4 discovered that the FBI still should have discovered that Mack had “a long list of felony convictions.”

For answers, reporters turned to retired FBI agent Michael Tabman, who routinely does background checks for his company, Spirit Asset Protection.

FOX4 gave him the exact information provided to the FBI and asked him to see what he could find.

Tabman entered the name Marlin Mack with the birthday Mack provided, 5-25-93, and Marlin James Mack Jr. popped up right away with a long list of felony convictions.

Although the middle name is not the same, Tabman said this should have at least triggered a three-day hold while the FBI investigated further.

When FOX4 asked Fischer about the information we uncovered, he replied, “We have no further comment at this time.”

Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah Blasts Fundraiser for Fired FBI Agent Peter Strzok

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah slammed fired FBI agent Peter Strzok for raising money on the fundraising site, GoFundMe, to help cover legal costs and “lost income.” 

The Daily Show host suggested Friday that the fundraiser for Strzok, who was fired over anti-Trump text messages, was capitalizing on hatred for the president on a site that raises money for cancer patients.

“Because seriously, half a million dollars on a GoFundMe just for hating Donald Trump!” Noah said. “There are cancer patients on that site that are like, ‘Hey, we hate him, too. Can you help pay for my treatment?’ ” 

The comedian also criticized the fundraiser for increasing the  goal from $150,000 to $350,000 to then $500,000.

“Okay, first up, this is some bullshit we need to address about GoFundMes in general,” Noah said. “How do people say, ‘This is the amount I need,’ and then change the amount when they get it?”

A similar outpouring of support happened in April after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired just two days before he was eligible to retire with full benefits. More than $500,ooo was raised, more than tripling the fundraising goal.

Trump Calls Special Counsel Team ‘Thugs’ Who Are ‘Looking for Trouble’

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump continued to lash out this morning about a New York York Times story that revealed his White House counsel, Don McGahn, has been cooperating with the special counsel team investigating potential collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign. 

In a series of increasingly “incendiary tweets, Trump suggested special counsel Robert Mueller is “looking for trouble” for spending more than 30 hours interviewing McGahn.

“Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russia Collusion is just someone looking for trouble,” Trump tweeted. “They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side – the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more!”

Trump called Mueller’s team “thugs” and a “National Disgrace.”

The Times reported Sunday that McGahan provided new “detailed accounts” that may help Mueller’s team determine whether Trump obstructed justice.

On Sunday, Trump called the authors of the Times piece “two fake reporters” who falsely claimed the White House counsel “TURNED on the President.”

“This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!”

Trump’s Ex-Attorney Cohen May Be Charged with Fraud by End of Month

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors who are investigating President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen for bank and tax fraud are considering filing charges by the end of the month.

The New York Times revealed Sunday that investigators “have have zeroed in on well over $20 million in loans obtained by taxi businesses that he and his family own,” citing people familiar with the probe. 

Prosecutors also are investigating whether Cohen violated campaign finance laws when he arranged hush money for women who said they had affairs with Trump.

The FBI raided Cohen’s office, hotel room and home in April, provoking outrage from the president, who called the searches an “attack on the country.”

Trump and his lawyers fear Cohen could strike a plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for information on Trump.