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Tag: court

Trump Congratulates AG Barr for Intervening in Roger Stone Sentencing Recommendation

Attorney General William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A team of career prosecutors withdrew from the case of Roger Stone Jr. after senior prosecutors for the Justice Department sought a shorter sentence for President Trump’s confidant and friend.

The prosecutors had recommended seven to nine years after Stone, a GOP dirty trickster, was found guilty in November on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

Senior Justice Department officials overruled the sentencing recommendation, saying it was excessive, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. Under the revised recommendation, the Justice Department said the sentence should be “far less,” suggesting the earlier one “does not accurately reflect the Department of Justice’s position on what would be a reasonable sentence in this matter.”

The abrupt and unusual intervention of senior officials raised serious questions about whether the Justice Department – and more specifically, Attorney General William Barr – was bowing to pressure from Trump, who declared on Tuesday that the DOJ’s sentence recommendation was “horrible and very unfair.”

On Wednesday morning, Trump congratulated Barr for intervening.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump tweeted. “Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!”

About 10 minutes later, Trump added, “Two months in jail for a Swamp Creature, yet 9 years recommended for Roger Stone (who was not even working for the Trump Campaign). Gee, that sounds very fair! Rogue prosecutors maybe? The Swamp!”

Of the four prosecutors who withdrew from the case, one resigned entirely from the Justice Department.

Legal experts criticized the Justice Department’s intervention.

Michael R. Bromwich, who was the DOJ’s inspector general under President Bill Clinton, tweeted to “all career DOJ employees:” “Report all instances of improper political influence and other misdeeds to the DOJ IG, who is required to protect your identity.”

“This is not what you signed up for. The four prosecutors who bailed on the Stone case have shown the way,” Bromwich tweeted.

Former CBP Official Sentenced to 31 Months in Prison for Illegally Selling Guns

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former CBP watch commander who operated an illegal gun-selling business and committed other crimes while serving in law enforcement was sentenced Monday to 31 months in prison.

Wei Xu, 58, pleaded guilty in July to four felonies, including unlawfully dealing in firearms, possessing unregistered firearms, lying to a federal agency, and tax evasion, NBC News reports.

Prosecutors said Xu exploited his position as a law enforcement officer to buy and sell off-roster handguns. He also admitted to selling nearly 100 guns over two decades without a federal license, as required by law.

“Mr. Xu betrayed his oath to uphold the laws of the United States solely to put more money in his pocket,” Nick Hanna, the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, said in a statement.

Xu’s attorney, Mark J. Werksman, said described the sentence as fair and said his CBP service convinced a judge to reduce his prison time by a year.

Xu began working with CBP in 2004 and has been on administrative leave from his position at the Long Beach Seaport in California. He likely will be fired, Werksman said.

Appeals Court Upholds Murder Convictions in Death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry

Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Two men convicted in the 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry lost their appeal in which they claimed they were illegally extradited.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the murder convictions of Ivan Soto-Barraza and Jesus Lionel Sanchez-Meza, who are serving life sentences, saying their extraditions were lawful, The Associated Press reports.

Terry was fatally shot during a firefight with a seven-men “rip crew” that robbed smugglers crossing the Arizona-Mexico border.

Terry’s death revealed the botched “Fast and Furious” operation in which federal agents permitted criminals to buy firearms so they could be tracked to criminal organizations.

Five other men have been indicted in connection with Terry’s murder.

Lawsuit Challenging Conditions at Border Patrol Detention Centers Goes to Trial

A overcrowded, cold detention facility in Tucson.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A trial is set to begin today over conditions at detention centers at several of Border Patrol’s stations in Arizona.

The case involves a lawsuit filed in 2015 that challenges what attorneys say are unsafe and deplorable conditions at eight Border Patrol facilities in Arizona, The New York Times reports.

The lawsuit was filed four years before the surge in immigrants last year caused even bigger problems at the facilities, which activists say are inhume.

Photos used as evidence in the case show men packed under an aluminum blanket, rusty toilets, soiled toiled paper, and women changing a baby’s diaper on a concrete floor littered with trash.

“We’re talking about ensuring that the government is meeting constitutional standards when it comes to the detention of people in these facilities,” said Victoria López, advocacy and legal director for the ACLU of Arizona, one of the organizations involved in the suit.

Border Patrol didn’t respond to questions from The New York Times.

Border Patrol Agent Who Intentionally Hit Migrant with Truck Sentenced to Probation

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who intentionally struck a Guatemalan migrant with his truck in 2017 – and called immigrants “subhuman” – was sentenced to three years of probation and supervised release.

Matthew Bowen, a 39-year-old agent stationed in Nogales, had faced up to one year in prison after admitting in August that he intentionally struck a 23-year-old migrant while arresting him for illegally crossing the border.

“I want you to remember this,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Ferraro told Bowen during the federal sentencing hearing in Tucson, The Phoenix New Times reports. “I can’t ignore the seriousness of this offense. Nationally, people are complaining about ICE and Border Patrol and the job that they do. Your conduct reinforces their stereotypes, and makes it much more difficult for your colleagues to preform their duties. It only takes one incident like this to really undermine things.”

Bowen also has come under fire after text messages surfaced showing he called immigrants “subhuman” and “mindless murdering savages.”

Bowen, a 10-year veteran of the Border Patrol, was placed on unpaid suspension in June 2018, shortly after he was indicted on assault charges. As part of a plea agree, Bowen resigned.

A video of the incident showed Bowen “accelerating aggressively” and striking Antolin Lopez Aguilar twice with the front of his truck. Bowen then arrested Lopez.

Bowen’s attorney, Sean Chapman, denied his client was racist, despite the evidence against him.

“There have been claims in the media that Mr. Bowen made racist comments about the immigrant community, and it’s simply not true,” Chapman said.

Mueller’s Secret Grand Jury Materials Sought in Impeachment Trials

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Much of evidence collected during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has remained secret, but that could change as the impeachment inquiry continues.

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit is expected to consider whether the grand-jury materials from the investigation should be released to the House Judiciary Committee.

The three-member panel is set to consider a lower-court’s ruling that called for the release of evidence that the House Committee says is critical to determining whether President Trump should be impeached, The Washington Post reports.

The Justice Department argues the redacted materials cited in the Mueller report should not be released because the impeachment proceeding are not “judicial.”

House lawyers argued in court filings that the material is important to “aid the House in determining whether the President committed impeachable offenses, including attempted obstruction of the Special Counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election and solicitation of Ukrainian interference in the 2020 Presidential election.”

Border Patrol Agent Charged with Soliciting Prostitution from Undocumented Immigrant

Donato Cantu, 43.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been charged with soliciting an undocumented immigrant for prostitution in Laredo.

Donato Cantu, 43, was served with a warrant Friday and is accused of soliciting the sex worker while off duty.

CBP confirmed the arrest.

“He has been with the service for over 13 years,” Border Patrol said in a statement. “As a matter of policy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not comment on on-going investigations. Inquiries regarding the case are best directed to the Webb County District Attorney’s Office.”

The agency added, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection holds its employees accountable and expects the entire workforce to adhere to the agency’s standards of conduct.”

The FBI and CBP Office of Professional Responsibility had been investigating the case for several months and discovered that the undocumented immigrant used social media and other websites to find clients for sex work.

Father Recalls Horrifying Encounter with FBI Agent: ‘I Just Want Some Justice’

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent is accused of chasing a teenager inside his home in California and pointing a gun at him over a prank – and the agent has yet to face trial nearly two years later.

“If this had happened to me, this thing would have been over and two months later, I’d be in prison,” father Chris Perry told CBS13. “I have more flashbacks and whacked out visions of it all the time.”

The horrifying incident happened in December 2017, when the boy was celebrating his 14th birthday. He and a friend decided to knock over an inflatable snowman on the FBI’s agent yard in Roseville.

The FBI agent, Michael Corrigan, is accused of chasing the teen to his home and then pointing a gun at him.

“I fly out of bed and I turn the corner and there’s a dude in my house, two feet inside my house pointing a gun at my son and his friend, and I just flipped and tackled him out the door. It was just panic,” Perry said.

Last year, the agent was charged with a felony. But after all this time, the case has still not gone to trial.

“It’s been two years. I just want some justice with it,” Perry said.

The FBI declined to comment on the case and whether the agent has been disciplined.

Defense attorney Bill Portonova responded in a written statement: “Special agent Michael Corrigan is an honorable family man with an exemplary career in law enforcement and he has full faith that these unfortunate proceedings will achieve a just end.”

On Friday, Corrigan was in court for a status conference, but no date has been scheduled yet for a trial.