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Tag: court

Prosecutors Call for 4-Year Prison Sentence for Ex-FBI Agent Who Leaked Classified Documents

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors are pushing for a four-year prison sentence for the former FBI agent who acknowledged he disclosed classified terrorist-profiling guidelines to the media.

But former agent Terry Albury’s attorney argues he should not be sentenced to prison during a hearing later this month, Politico reports.

In April, the 16-year FBI veteran pleaded guilty to felony charges of illegal transmission of national security information and illegal retention of the data.

Albury admitted he leaked the bureau’s procedures for handling sources in terrorism investigations, but he said he did it out of concern about the FBI’s interactions with minority communities.

Mueller Ended Plea Deal Talks with Manafort Before Second Trial in September

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller put an end to negotiations for a last-minute plea deal between his prosecutors and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Manafort’s legal team began plea discussions while jurors were deliberating after closing arguments in their client’s fraud case in which he ultimately was convicted of eight of 18 counts tax and bank fraud, the Wall Street Journal reports

The plea talks involved Manafort’s upcoming Washington D.C. trial, but they fell apart after Mueller expressed unknown concerns and objected to a potential deal.

The specifics of the potential deal were unclear.

Manafort’s convictions last week came about a month before his second trial is set to begin Sept. 17 on charges of lying to federal investigators and failing to register as a foreign agent.

How Unrelated, Decades-Old Cold Case May Prevent Mueller from Disclosing Russia-Trump Report

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The unsolved disappearance and apparent murder of a Columbia University professor more than 60 years ago may prevent special counsel Robert Mueller from disclosing revealing information about the Trump campaign and Russia.

The cold case has nothing to do with Mueller’s investigation into potential ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, but the six-decade-old mystery has given rise to a legal question that is entirely relevant to the special counsel probe, Politico reports

At issue is whether judges have the right to release grand jury information that typically is kept secret. An appeals court is expected next month to deliver a decision on whether grand jury information can be disclosed in the case of the Columbia University professor Jesus Galindez.

Author and attorney Stuart McKeever, who has been closely following the cold case, is suing the Justice Department for the release of grand jury testimony involving the 1956 disappearance.

If the court sides with the Justice Department’s argument that grand jury information must be kept secret, it could set a precedent that would prevent Mueller from releasing a report on his findings to Congress or the public.

“If the D.C. Circuit were to accept the Department of Justice’s arguments…that would have potentially enormous implications for the future of the information from the Mueller investigation. That could close out a path by which that information becomes public,”  Harvard Law professor Alex Whiting said.

Jury Convicts Manafort on 8 of 18 Counts

Paul Manafort

Update: 6:04 p.m. Tuesday —  A federal jury in Alexandria, Va., found President Trump’s campaign manager guilty of eight tax and bank fraud charges. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10, the Washington Post reports. 

________________________

Reported from Earlier Today

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The jury in the trial of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman accused of bank and tax fraud, alerted a judge that it is split on at least one count and wanted instructions on how to proceed.

The news came late Tuesday morning on the fourth day of deliberations in a case that could send Manafort to prison for the rest of his life if he’s found guilty.

“Your honor, if we cannot come to a consensus on a single count, how should we fill in the jury verdict form for that count, and what does that mean for the final verdict?” the note asked U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, the Washington Post reports

The jury is tasked with reaching a verdict on 18 counts filed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to meddle in the presidential election.

Manafort is accused of hiding millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts to avoid paying taxes on profits he made while working as a consultant for a Ukrainian political party with ties to the Kremlin. He also was charged with lying about his income to obtain loans to support what prosecutors described as an extravagant, excessive lifestyle that included six homes and an assortment of very expensive clothes.

Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to Probation for Possessing Illegal Firearm, Heroin

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent arrested last year for possessing an illegal firearm and heroin was sentenced to three years’ probation and time served.

Brandon James Herrera was arrested in April 2016 after police in Oceanside, Calif., found a short-barrel rifle and about five grams of heroin in the agent’s trunk, NBC7 reports

Police pulled over Herrera after they said his truck matched the description of a vehicle driven by a suspicious person.

Herrera pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of an assault weapon on July 23.

Jury Begins Fourth Day of Deliberations in Manafort Trial. Is That Unusual?

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The jury in the Paul Manafort fraud trial began its fourth day of deliberations Tuesday morning after failing to reach a verdict Monday evening.

The jury deliberated until 6:15 p.m. Monday, which is the latest it had gone home for the day.

Manafort’s attorneys suggested the jury’s failure to reach a verdict after three days of deliberations is good news.

But experts largely disagreed, saying it’s not unusual for a jury to take days – even more than a week — to reach a verdict in a case as complex as the one against Manafort, who is charged with 18 counts, ranging from tax fraud to tax fraud.

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

Check back with Ticklethewire.com for updates on the deliberations.

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.”

Jury Reconvenes Today After Asking Judge to Clarify Meaning of ‘Reasonable Doubt’

Ex-Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A jury will reconvene Friday morning after failing to reach a verdict during its full day of  deliberations in the fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Just before the jury said it wanted to go home at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the panel asked Judge T.S. Ellis to clarify the meaning of “reasonable doubt,” the threshold for acquittal. The judge clarified that the prosecution must prove their case beyond “doubt based on reason,” not “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The jury also asked three other questions, including the legal requirements to disclose foreign bank accounts and the definition of “shelf” companies.

Ellis provided no insight, except to say the jury should rely on their “collective recollection.”

The jury will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Friday to determine whether Manafort is guilty of 18 counts of tax and bank fraud, which prosecutors said the Republican consultant committed to indulge in an excessive lifestyle that included more than $6 million on seven homes, $820,000 ons manicure the lawns, a $21,000 black titanium and crystal watch, a $15,000 ostrich jacket and an $18,000 python jacket. 

If convicted, Mueller could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The jury’s decision in the first trial brought forward by special counsel Robert Mueller carries a lot of weight for special counsel Robert Mueller and President Trump, who has long complained that the investigation is a “witch hunt” designed to force him out of office.

Whatever the case, Manafort faces a second trial in several months on money laundering charges, and prosecutors are expected to have even more evidence in that case.