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Tag: court

FBI Expected to Reveal New Details of Houston Man Accused of Plotting Terrorist Attack

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is expected to reveal more details Thursday about an 18-year-old Houston man accused of plotting a violent attack in U.S. soil.

U.S.-born Kaan Sercan Damlarkaya is set to appear in federal court for a detention hearing, the Houston Chronicle reports

Damlarkaya was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on one count of providing material support to terrorists, two counts of attempting to provide material support to ISIS and two counts of unlawfully distributing explosive information, according tot he Justice Department.

Most of the charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Damlarkaya’s public defender declined to discuss the case.

ATF Under Fire for Controversial Stings Primarily Targeting African Americans

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF stings have come under fire because they’re predominately targeting African Americans and prompting allegations of racial profiling and entrapment.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the ATF has “convinced hundreds of would-be robbers across the country that they were stealing large quantities of narcotics, only to find out the drugs were a figment of the government’s imagination.” 

Because of mandatory federal sentencing laws, suspects caught up in the controversial stings are spending decades or even life behind bars, even though the drugs never existed.

The Tribune wrote:

Now the legal battle is coming to a head in an unprecedented hearing at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago before a panel of nine district judges overseeing a dozen separate cases involving more than 40 defendants.

The hearing, which has been four years in the making, will take place over two days in the courthouse’s large ceremonial courtroom. As many as 30 defendants, their relatives and individual attorneys are expected to attend, and an overflow courtroom has been set up to handle the anticipated crowd.

“In my 46 years of practicing law, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” attorney Richard Kling, who represents one of the defendants, told the Chicago Tribune this week.

The testimony will focus on dueling experts who reached starkly different conclusions about the racial breakdown of targets in the stash house cases.

A nationally renowned expert hired by the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School — which is spearheading the effort to have the cases dismissed — concluded that disparity between minority and white defendants in the stings was so large that there was “a zero percent likelihood” it happened by chance.

Other Stories of Interest

Hacker Accused of Stalking FBI Agent Back in Jail for Criticizing Bureau

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An alleged hacker accused of online stalking and harassment of an FBI agent is back in jail after criticizing the FBI on a blog post. 

The Texas man, Justin Shafer, had been free of jail after his March arrest on charges of online stalking and harassment of an FBI agent who was investigating a link between him and a notorious hacking group, the TheDarkOverlord

A judge said Shafer violated conditions of his release that included avoiding posts on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, The Dallas Morning News reports

But 12 days after the order, the 37-year-old criticized the FBI agent on his bog post, prompting a federal magistrate to order him held in custody until trial.

Share’s attorney claims the jailing violating his client’s rights to free speech.

“Mr. Shafer has a First Amendment right to criticize his prosecution and rebut the accusations made against him,” said his New York lawyer, Tor Ekeland, in an appeal of that judge’s order.

Other Stories of Interest

Former Trump Aides Under House Arrest After Money Laundering Charges

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two aides who were influential parts of Donald Trump’s campaign team are now under house arrest as their attorneys go on the defensive.

Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manaf0rt, and another aide, Rick Gates, have been under house arrest since Special Counsel Robert Mueller unsealed a 12-count indictment stemming from their work for a pro-Russian faction in Ukraine, Reuters reports

They have been ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device as they await a tial on money-laundering and other charges.

The aides’ attorneys said they case was embellished and overblown by the special counsel team and unsuccessfully requested that their clients not be forced to wear monitoring device.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she’s “concerned, very concerned” that an unsecured appearance bond was “not sufficient” without some sort of monitoring.

“If they leave and don’t come back, we need to know where they went,” the judge said.

Immigration Officer Gets 4 Years in prison for Requesting Sex for Silence on Citizenship

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration officer was sentenced to four years in prison for demanding sexual favors from a woman accused of getting married just to gain citizenship.

Officer Jovany Perez told the woman he could help her avoid trouble in exchange for sexual favors, the Miami Herald reports

After giving in during the first meeting, the woman declined a second sexual advance and alerted Homeland Security, which set up a sting to catch the 34-year-old making ultimatums on audio and video surveillance.

Perez was convicted on July 26 of receiving a bribe from a public official.

Border Patrol Agent Convicted of Stealing $100K Worth of Gun Parts

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Border Patrol agents accused of stealing $100,000 worth of gun parts and equipment from the agency had their day in court – and the outcome was different for each one.

One of the agents, Jesus Manuel Franco, was convicted one one count of theft of government property and two counts of unlawful possession and transfer of a machine gun, the Arizona Daily Star reports. 

The other agent, Edgardo Jose Munoz Cruz, was acquitted.

Both were accused of conspiring to steal gun barrels, scopes, magazines and other equipment.

Franco faces up to 10 years in prison.

Other Stories of Interest

Veteran DEA Agent Indicted on Scheme to Steal Money, Property

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A veteran DEA agent accused of stealing money and property during drug investigations has been indicted.

The agent, Chad Allen Scott, who worked in New Orleans, is also accused of perjury and accepting illegal payments of $10,000 and more for advocating for a reduced sentenced for a criminal defendant, the U.S. News reports

Also charged was Hammond Police Officer Rodney Gemar also has been charged with conspiracy.

The Justice Department investigated.

Judge: Border Patrol Agents Had Right to Use Deadly Force Against Rock Thrower

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A San Diego federal judge defended Border Patrol’s use of deadly force against rock throwers in a case involving a lawsuit filed by the family of a Mexican man killed at the border.

Border Patrol Agent Dorian Diaz fatally shot Jesus Yanez Reyes, 40, while he allegedly was throwing rocks at agents who were pursuing him.

U.S. District Judge William Hayes ruled last week that Border Patrol agents should not be held liable for Reyes’ death, the Los Angeles Times reports

“The Court concludes that the unique circumstances surrounding Yañez’s death implicate national security issues related to the security of our nation’s borders,” Hayes said.

Hayes also said Diaz is entitled to qualified immunity.

Lawyers for Reyes’ family plan to appeal.

“We feel strongly the law was clearly established on this point,” said attorney Gerald Singleton.