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Tag: court

Judge: 17 Years Is Too Long to Wait for FBI Records under FOIA

judge and gavelBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A judge slammed the FBI for saying it would take 17 years to provide public records to a documentary film filmmaker.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler of Washington said the FBI’s insistence that it would take until 2034 to provide records about anti-war and civil rights activists in the 1960s and ’70s was unacceptable, Politico reports. 

The judge rejected the FBI’s proposed timeline, which is based on the bureau’s policy of release large record requests at a pace of 500 page a month. The bureau insisted that a quicker pace could shut down the FBI’s FOIA operation.

Documentarian Nina Seavy, who is 60, said she can’t wait 17 years to get about 110,000 page of records from the FBI.

Neither didn’t the judge.

“Neither proffered justification is persuasive,” the Clinton appointee wrote. “In the name of reducing its own administrative headaches, the FBI’s 500-page policy ensures that larger requests are subject to an interminable delay in being completed. Under the 500-page policy, requestors must wait 1 year for every 6,000 potentially responsive documents, and those who request tens of thousands of documents may wait decades.”

The judge also didn’t buy the argument that providing records at a pace faster than 500 pages a month would jeopardize smaller FOIA requests.

“If the FBI really wanted to demonstrate that processing larger FOIA requests would impact the processing of other requests there are numerous data points it could provide the Court,” Kessler said. “Instead, the limited data the FBI has provided suggests exactly the opposite.”

FBI: Abduction Suspect Viewed Sexual Fetish Website Before Kidnapping

Abduction suspect Brendt Christensen, via LinkedIn.

Abduction suspect Brendt Christensen, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

About two months before police say he kidnapped a Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois, the 28-year-old suspect appears to have visited the most popular sexual fetish networking site on the internet.

Brendt Allen Christensen was charged in the June 9 abduction of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang, who authorities believe is dead. On April 19, federal investigators said Christensen used his phone to visit FetLife.com, a forum that included threads called “Perfect abduction fantasy” and “planning a kidnapping,” CNN reports. 

Christensen, who remains behind bars, is expected in federal court in Urbana on Monday.

FetLife bills itself as “the Social Network for the BDSM, Fetish & Kinky Community” and was created in 2008 by Canadian software developer John Baku. Since then, the site claims to have more than 5 million registered members.

The site dubs itself as a “safe place for kinksters” and is only intended for consensual adults.

According to the FBI, Zhang was kidnapped during the day after she was running late to sign a lease. Authorities believe she agreed to hop in the case with Christensen, a stranger, after missing two buses.

During surveillance, the FBI said Christensen admitted to kidnapping the Chinese scholar.

Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to 29 Months in Prison for Sexual Assault

Orlando Gomez

Orlando Gomez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent convicted of coercing a 15-year-old girl to have sex with him in 2014 and 2015 was sentenced Thursday to 29 months in prison.

Orland Gomez, 43, of Las Cruces, was arrested in August 2016 after the victim revealed the inappropriate relationship to a relative, KVIA reports

The victim told authorities that Gomez threatened to kill himself if she didn’t have sex with him.

Gomez was convicted after pleading no contest to two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor in the fourth degree.

The victim urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence of 36 months.

“I commend the victim in this case for the courage she demonstrated in coming forward to report this crime,” Doña Ana County District Attorney Mark D’Antonio said. “But for the courageousness of this young girl and victims like her, too many of these crimes would go unreported and unprosecuted.”

Gomez also is required to registers as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Other Stories of Interest

Updated: FBI Agent Indicted for Allegedly Lying about Oregon Refuge Standoff

Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was the spokesman of the occupation. Via YouTube.

Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was the spokesman of the occupation. Via YouTube.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Update: 10:15 a.m. Thursday —  FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita, a member of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) based in Quantico, Va., was arraigned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland on three counts of making false statements and two counts of obstruction of justice.

Astarita was one of a number of FBI agents assigned to the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He was present during the shooting of Robert LaVoy Finicum on Jan. 26, 2016, in Harney County, Oregon.

Finicum was stopped by a roadblock, where he allegedly challenged officers to shoot him. He was shot and killed by state troopers while moving his hands toward his pocket, where he had a loaded weapon.

The indictment alleges, according to a Justice Department press release, that Astarita knowingly and willfully made false statements to FBI supervisory special agents, knowing that the statements were false and material to the FBI’s decision not to investigate the propriety of an agent-involved shooting.

Specifically, Astarita falsely stated he had not fired his weapon during the attempted arrest of Mr. Finicum when he knew he had in fact fired his weapon. Astarita also knowingly engaged in misleading conduct toward Oregon State Police officers by failing to disclose that he had fired two rounds during the attempted arrest. Neither round hit Finicum.

___________________________

Posted on Wednesday.

An FBI agent accused of lying about shooting at a rancher during the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon has been indicted.

Sources familiar with the case told the Oregonian that prosecutors allege the agent made a false statement with intent to obstruct justice.   

The agent, who has not yet been identified, was the subject of a yearlong investigation by the Justice Department inspector general. He will be identified in federal court on Wednesday.

As local, county and federal authorities moved in on the occupiers, the Deschutes County sheriff said an FBI agent shot twice at the spokesman of the occupiers, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, a 54-year-old Arizona ranger. 

The bullets missed, but in the chaos that ensued, state police troopers fatally shot Finicum as he reached in his pocket, where he had a loaded handgun.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the FBI agent is on leave or has been fired.

Video: Border Patrol Agent Shoots Mexican Teen While He’s Lying Down

    Antonio Elena Rodriguez was fatally shot by a Border Patrol agent. Antonio Elena Rodriguez was fatally shot by a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Newly released video shows a Border Patrol agent firing 13 of 16 shots at a 16-year-old Mexican while he was lying facedown on the ground dying.

The video was played during a U.S. District Court hearing Monday for Border Patrol Agent Lonnie Swartz, who fired 16 shots through the border fence in Nogales, Ariz., at Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was on the Mexican side, the Arizona Republic first reported. 

Rodriguez died.

Swartz, who was on the scene responding to a smuggling incident, appeared to be firing his gun while Rodriguez was lying on the ground and barely moving.

Rodriguez was shot in the head back and arms while he was on the ground, expert witness James Tavernetti said.

Swartz, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder, said he fired his weapon in response to people throwing rocks at him from the Mexican side of the border.

Swartz’s trial is scheduled for October.

His attorneys are asking a judge to prevent the video from being shown during the trial because, they argue, the video evidence is unreliable. District Judge Raner Collins has not made a decision yet.

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Breaking into Secret Service Vehicle Near Trump Visit

Cleveland Cooley Jr.

Cleveland Cooley Jr.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Florida man who broke into a Secret Service vehicle in Palm Beach County has pleaded guilty to theft of government property.

Cleveland Cooley Jr., 36, broke into a Secret Service car that was parked at a Courtyard by Marriott while President Trump was visiting in March.

The Riviera Beach man faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 30 in U.S. District Court, according to CBS 47. 

Authorities said Cooley stole a wireless modern, a First Aid trauma kit, two Toughbook tablets and a tripod kit. He then tried to sell one of the tablets.

Cooley told authorities that he was assisted by two people he identified as “Arties” and “Trey.”

No additional arrests have been made. 

Bomb Suspect’s Lawyers: FBI Improperly Interrogated Suspect in Hospital

Ahmad Khan Rahami

Ahmad Khan Rahami

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI likely won’t use statements gained from a bombing suspect who was slipping in and out of consciousness while agents asked him questions.

Defense attorneys for Ahmad Khan Rahimi argued in court papers that the statements shouldn’t be used in court because it was improper to interrogate someone who was barely conscious, the Associated Press reports

It appears prosecutors weren’t planning to use the statement as part of evidence they’ll present in court.

Rahimi is accused of going on a bombing rampage through New York and New Jersey in September.

Amid Threats of Charges, WikiLeaks Founder Assange Still Waiting to Hear from U.S.

Julian Assange on Fox News

Julian Assange on Fox News

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. government said more than a week ago that it’s preparing criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other members of his organization, but so far Assange has not heard from the government, his lawyer told Mother Jones. 

“The only thing that’s happened is there’s been a very vibrant rumor mill,” Barry Pollack, Assange’s US-based lawyer, tells Mother Jones. “Obviously there’s been a lot of chatter, but the only thing I’ve seen is that the Department of Justice has sort of confirmed that it is looking at the Vault 7 leak,” —WikiLeaks’ March 7 dump of thousands of pages of CIA hacking tools.

The Department of Justice has not gotten back to me in any way or answered any of my repeated attempts to enter a dialogue with them to tell us what they’re actually doing,” Pollack says.

Pollack says it’s unclear what the government is planning.

“It is uncommon, in fact unprecedented in my experience, that they’re not willing to engage in a broad conversation about the status of the investigation and where a particular person fits in with respect to an investigation.”

Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 to avoid being picked up on sex charges from Sweden.