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Tag: Justice Department

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.

DOJ Drafts Proposal to Expedite Death Penalty for Convicted Mass Shooters

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

People convicted of carrying out mass shootings would face an expedited path to the death penalty under legislated drafted by the Justice Department.

The bill follows the DOJ’s announcement in July that it would begin capital punishment again for the first time in two decades.

The proposal was drafted Attorney General William Barr with the help of Vice President Mike Pence’s policy team, CBS News reports, citing VP Chief of Staff Mark Short.

The proposal is likely part of a White House package of gun safety proposals.

Last month, President Trump advocated an expedited death penalty for convicted mass shooters. But Trump’s position on gun control measures has been in constant flux and impossible to pin down.

Internal Watchdog Discovers DOJ Official Viewed Porn on Government Computers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A deputy assistant attorney general was looking at “sexually explicit” material on two Justice Department computers and later lied about it, according to a report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The unnamed DOJ official was interviewed twice by the watchdog’s office and then resigned before the investigation was complete.

Horowitz report stated that a “forensic examination of two DOJ computers issued to the DAAG determined that the computers contained data regarding numerous sexually explicit website searches, visits to websites hosting sexually explicit videos, sexually explicit search engine terms, and sexually explicit images.”

During the investigation, Horowitz concluded the official “made false statements under oath.”

In second interview after the internal investigation uncovered forensic evidence, the official “ultimately admitted” that he or she “may have” accessed pornorgraphy on government computers.

Attorney General William Barr Books Holiday Party at Trump Hotel in D.C.

AG William Barr

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Right or wrong, the optics look bad.

Last month, Attorney General William Barr booked a “Family Holiday Party” in President Trump’s D.C. hotel on Dec. 8 that is likely to deliver Trump’s business more than $30,000 in revenue, Jonathan O’Connell and David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post write.

 The party will include a buffet and an open bar for about 200 people.

The Justice Department says Barr is paying for the party and chose Trump’s hotel only after finding that other hotels were booked.

“Career ethics officials were consulted and they determined that ethics rules did not prohibit him from hosting his annual party at the Trump hotel,” an unnamed Justice official told the Post.

Schiff Says DOJ Should Reopen Hush-Money Case After Trump Leaves Office

Rep. Adam Schiff on “Face the Nation”

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump has dodged potential charges in at least two cases because of the Justice Department’s position that a sitting president can’t be indicted.

But what happens after Trump leaves office is an open question.

On Sunday, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on “Face the Nation” that he believes the 2016 hush-money case to silence two women “will be reopened when he leaves office provided that the statute of imitations has not run, and the Justice Department will have to weigh whether to indict a former president.”

The case involves payments made to women who said they had affairs with Trump.

“From my point of view, if the evidence supports that, he should be indicted,” Schiff said. “And it’s certainly the view of the Justice Department, that’s reflected in that indictment, that Donald Trump was the one who coordinated and directed that illegal scheme.”

DOJ’s Opinion That Presidents Cannot Be Indicted Factored into Hush-Money Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s opinion that a sitting president cannot be charged played a role in federal prosecutors’ decision to end the hush-money investigation, the USA Today reports, citing a person familiar with the situation.

It had previously been unclear why the Justice Department closed its investigation into hush money to women who had accused Trump of having sex with them.

Prosecutors have alleged the hush money violated campaign-finance law.

The DOJ’s opinion also factored into special counsel Robert Mueller’s decision to not pursue charges against the president.

FBI Training Academy Under Fire over ‘Disturbing’ Claims of Gender Discrimination

FBI academy, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Judiciary Committee leaders are requesting the Justice Department’s internal watchdog investigate the FBI’s training academy after 16 women accused the bureau of gender discrimination.

The women claimed in a lawsuit filed last month that they were disproportionately disciplined and were subjected to a male-biased review process and overt sexual discrimination at the academy in Quantico, Va.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and ranking Republican Douglas Collins, R-Ga., sent a letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, saying the allegations were “disturbing” and “require an investigation into the FBI’s training and selection practices for new agents,” The Washington Post reports.

“If true, such conduct cannot be tolerated,” the lawmakers wrote. “The selection process employed by the FBI must be free from discrimination on the basis of factors such as gender and race, and individuals hired to these important positions should reflect the diversity of our country.”

Horowitz’s office declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, the women were discharged, but seven still work at the FBI in other capacities.

“Because of the FBI’s history of tolerating the Good Old Boy Network, the subjective evaluations by these male instructors result in female trainees being written up and subsequently dismissed at a rate significantly and disproportionately higher than their male counterparts,” the lawsuit alleges.