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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Department Launches Plan to Crack Down on Gun Violence

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department unveiled a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing gun violence and enforcing federal firearm laws.

Dubbed “Project Guardian,” the five-point plan includes coordinated prosecution, enforcement of firearm laws and background checks, improved information sharing, coordinated response to mental health denials, and crime gun intelligence coordination.

The plan calls for strengthening partnerships among the ATF, federal prosecutors, and state and local law enforcement to enforce existing laws.

The deputy attorney general is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the plan.

“I know you share my grave concern regarding the gun violence that has plagued our communities and that you are committed to preventing gun violence whenever possible,” Attorney General William Barr said in a news release. “By initiating Project Guardian, we take an important step in increasing the safety and security of our communities. I look forward to hearing in the coming months about your implementation of this program, which will help make our country a safer place for all.”

White Restaurant Owner Who Enslaved a Disabled Black Man Gets 10 Years in Prison

Bobby Paul Edwards

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A white restaurant manager who forced a disabled black man to work more than 100 hours a week without pay has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Bobby Paul Edwards, 54, beat, burned and hurled racist slurs at John Christopher Smith to make him work harder at a small diner in Conway, South Carolina, the Justice Department said.

“This abusive enslavement of a vulnerable person is shocking,” Jody Norris, FBI special agent in charge of the Columbia Division, said in a statement. “The FBI is always vigilantly searching for these offenses and stands ready to bring perpetrators to justice and help victims reclaim their lives. We understand human trafficking takes many forms and we encourage anyone with information related to these crimes to contact the FBI.”

Edwards used his belt, fists, pots and pans to beat Smith, federal prosecutors said. In one instance, Edwards burned Smith’s neck with metal tongs dipped in hot grease.

The abuse occurred between 2009 and 2014, when Edwards was the manager. State authorities rescued Smith after receiving a tip about the abuse.

The FBI led the investigation.

Edwards pleaded guilty to forced labor on June 4.

“It is almost inconceivable that instances of forced labor endure in this country to this day – a century and a half after the Emancipation Proclamation,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said. “The Department of Justice will continue to investigate, prosecute, and convict human traffickers involved in forced labor, seeking justice on behalf of their victims.”

DOJ’s Review of the Origins of the Trump Investigation Evolves into Criminal Probe

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has long claimed, with no evidence, that the Russia investigation was a hoax and a “witch hunt.”

Now, two years later, the Justice Department’s inquiry into the origins of the probe has evolved into a criminal investigation.

Attorney General William Barr has turned over the investigation to John H. Durham, who will serve as the prosecutor with subpoena power over testimony and documents and the power to convene a grand jury, The New York Times reports.

In other words, the Justice Department is investigating itself over what Democrats say is unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

Durham, a longtime prosecutor known for investigating CIA torture, will determine whether intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted within the law when they investigated possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Barr’s review of the Russia investigation began in May, when Barr said he had discussions with intelligence and law enforcement officials that led him to question the legitimacy of the investigation. At one point, Barr even described law enforcement’s actions as “spying” on the Trump campaign.

In an interview with Fox News in May, Barr said he had been pursuing questions about whether “government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale” to investigate the Russia link.

Since then, no credible evidence has been made public to suggest law enforcement acted inappropriately in investigating Trump’s campaign.

Serious Questions Raised about DOJ and AG Barr’s Handling of Whistleblower Complaint

Attorney General William Barr.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Justice’s handling of the whistleblower complaint involving Ukraine raises a serious question: Why did the DOJ decide not to forward the complaint to Congress?

The complaint was serious enough to spur an impeachment inquiry. It alleges Trump tried to pressure a foreign nation to investigate his political opponent.

The whistleblower also implicates Attorney General William Bar for allegedly helping Trump dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

Democrats are accusing Trump of using the Justice Department to help interfere in the election.

It also has become clear that Barr’s DOJ has stymied the investigation.

As the impeachment inquiry continues, much more will be known about Barr’s involvement.

FBI: Army Soldier Strategized Attacking Major News Network, Beto O’Rourke

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Army soldier was arrested on allegations of planning to attack a major American news network, providing online instructions on building a bomb and strategizing an attack on Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

The 24-year-old soldier, Jarret William Smith, also expressed interest in joining a violent far-right paramilitary group in Ukraine and killing members of Antifa, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Smith, who was assigned to the First Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kan., has been charged with distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction.

Smith faces up to 24 years in prison.

Before joining the Army, Smith expressed interest in fighting in the Ukraine with a far-right group, according charging documents.

“No former military experience, but if I cannot find a slot in Ulaaine [SIC] by October I’ll be going into the Akmy [SIC],” Smith is accused of writing on Facebook chat. “To fight is what I want to do. I’m willing to listen, learn, and train. But to work on Firerums [SIC] is fine by me too.”

After joining the Army, Smith returned to Facebook chat to say he “got knowledge of IEDs for days.”

“We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that.”

Andrew McCabe Failed to Convince DOJ Officials Not to Charge Him

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe faces the possibility of being charged for allegedly make false or misleading statements to internal investigators.

A top official in Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen’s office notified McCabe Thursday that his lawyers had failed to persuade Justice Department officials to drop the case, The Washington Post reports.

“The Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney’s Office’s decision in this matter,” the official wrote, according to one person familiar with the case. “Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney’s Office.”

It’s not clear yet whether McCabe, a 21-year FBI veteran and a target of President Trump’s ire, would be charged.

An inspector general’s report alleges McCabe lied on at least four occasions – three of which were under oath. After the IG’s report was issued, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March 2018, just before his retirement benefits would have kicked in.

McCabe took issue with the report, saying he never intended to mislead investigators.

DOJ Decides Not to Charge FBI Agent Who Shot Kidnapping Victim in Houston

The suspects in the kidnapping.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has decided not to charge the FBI agent who fatally shot a kidnapping victim in a botched rescue attempt at a Houston home.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas “declined to proceed with federal criminal charges against FBI personnel,” a spokesman for the agency wrote in an email to the Houston Chronicle.

The decision was made in May but not publicly disclosed “after a careful and thorough review of all of the available evidence in the matter involving the shooting,” DOJ spokesman Daryl Fields wrote.

“We conducted an approximate 11-month-long, detailed and careful investigation.”

But the unnamed agent isn’t out of hot water yet. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said a local grand jury will be convened to determine if charges should be filed against the agent.

The agent shot Ulises Valladare last year, a day after kidnappers abducted him and his 12-year-old son, both of whom were bound. The kidnappers demanded ransom from Valladare’s brother, falsely claiming they were connected to a Mexican drug cartel.

The next morning, FBI agents swarmed the home. The unnamed agent used an M-4 machine gun to break a window in the rear of the home when Valladares grabbed the gun. The agent fire two shots at Valladares, mistaking him for a kidnapper.

It still isn’t clear whether the FBI took internal action against the agent.

Rare Prosecution of Border Patrol Agent Leads to Resignation for Punching Migrant

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A 49-year-old Border Patrol agent who assaulted a migrant in U.S. custody has resigned in exchange for pleading guilty to a charge filed by the Justice Department.

Jason Andrew McGilvray was working at the Calexico Border Patrol Station in California in February 2019 when he spotted an undocumented migrant jump the international border fence. McGilvray apprehend the man and struck him “in the face with the intent to deprive [him] of his constitutional right against unreasonable force during search and seizure,” prosecutors said.

According to Quartz, which first reported on the arrest, it’s extremely rare for Border Patrol agents to be held charged for on-duty wrong-doing. Since 2016, only two Border Patrol agents have been arrested for “mission-related misconduct.”

By contrast, Border Patrol agents are five times more likely to be arrested for off-duty conduct than other federal agents.

Under McGilvray’s plea agreement, he dodged jail time and was sentenced to a year of probation.

McGilvray joined Border Patrol in 2006.