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Tag: lawsuit

Former FBI Agent Strzok Sues DOJ, Bureau over His Firing

Peter Strzok, via EPA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI special agent Peter Strzok filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department and bureau on Tuesday, claiming he was fired because of “unrelenting pressure from President Trump and his political allies in Congress and the media.”

The suit claims Strzok’s termination was politically motivated and violated two constitutional amendments, The Hill reports.

According to the suit, Strzok was fired for expressing is First Amendment right to use political speech. In addition, Strzok’s attorney said the FBI denied him the right to appeal the firing, which “deprived” him of due process under the Fifth Amendment.

The suit also claims the defendants unlawful leaked information that led to his firing.

“The concerted public campaign to disparage and, ultimately, fire Special Agent Strzok was enabled by the defendants’ deliberate and unlawful disclosure to the media of texts, intended to be private, from an FBI systems of records, in violation of the Privacy Act,” according to the court documents.

Strzok was fired in August 2018.

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.

Black Secret Service Agent Claims He Was Detained, Held at Gunpoint Because of His Race

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A now-retired Secret Service agent can proceed with his lawsuit claiming two U.S. Park Police officers arrested and held him at gunpoint because he is black, a federal judge ruled.

Nathaniel Hicks alleges in the suit that he was in his Secret Service-issued vehicle on the shoulder of a Maryland highway waiting to join Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s motorcade when he was arrested by the Park Police officers in July 2015.

According to the suit, Park Police Officer Gerald L. Ferreyra approached Hicks’ vehicle, “drew his gun, pointed the weapons at Special Agent Hicks, and began screaming at him.”

Hicks said he explained what he was doing and showed his credentials to Ferreyra, who kept his gun pointed at the agent, whose car had a police antenna and a flashing bar.

The lawsuit alleges Ferreyra called for backup anyway, and Park Police Officer Brian Philips arrived. For more than an hour, according to the suit, the officers detained Hicks, and Ferreyra yelled and “spoke to him in a degrading manner.”

Meanwhile the motorcade passed, and one of the officers “mockingly waved his hand goodbye at the motorcade as it passed.”

After a supervisor arrived, Hicks was finally released but he was not able to reach the motorcade. According to the suit, Phillips then pulled over Hicks again and demanded his identification and car registration “despite just having had possession of these documents, and continued to talk to him in a demeaning and degrading tone with no possible justification.”

Hicks was eventually let go.

The officers, who dispute Hicks’ versions of events, asked a judge to dismiss the case against them, arguing immunity because they acted in a reasonably lawful way and did not violate Hicks’ rights.

Hicks’ attorneys disagree, saying the officers had “discriminatory motives,” partly based on their hostility toward Hicks.

“Based on upon the absence of probable cause, or even any reasonable suspicion to justify his prolonged seizure, it appears that Special Agent Hicks was singled out for unlawful treatment because of his race,” the complaint alleges.

In his deposition, Hicks described a tense encounter.

“When there is a gun pointed at you, regardless of what time it is, whether it’s night or day, you’re not going to forget that,” Hicks said. “In all my years of my position as a law enforcement officer, I never had that happen before.”

U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm declined to dismiss the suit this week, saying the officers did not have a good argument for failing to release Hicks before the motorcade arrived, NBC News reports.

“It is clearly established that detaining a person under these circumstances — when the officers had a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was underway but, after some investigation, became aware that no criminal activity was happening at the scene — is a violation of the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights,” Grimm wrote.

Hicks, who retired shortly after filing the suit, is suing for compensatory and punitive damages, saying he suffered “significant embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress, and the deprivation of his constitutional rights.”

“In addition to the manner in which defendants spoke to and treated him, it was particularly humiliating to be held on the side of the road as his colleagues passed by. That he was subjected to unlawful treatment because of his race compounds his emotional distress,” Hicks’ lawsuit said.

Supreme Court to Tackle Thorny Case of U.S.-Mexico Border Shooting

Border marker, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When Mexican teenagers are shot at the American border, can American families sue in U.S. courts?

The U.S. Supreme Court will try to answer that question, it announced Thursday in deciding to take a case involving a Border Patrol agent who was in Texas when he shot across the border and killed a 15-year-old boy in Mexico, The Associated Press reports.

The family of Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca said the teenager was playing a game with friends when he was shot in the head by Agent Jesus Mesa Jr.

Mesa said he pulled the trigger because he was under attack by rock throwers.
The Supreme Court took the case in February 2017 but sent it back to a lower court for more proceedings.

At the time, the Trump administration argued the right to sue in U.S. courts “should not be extended to aliens injured abroad.”

FBI Agent Sued in Botched Mission to Rescue Hostage in Houston

Jimmy Tony Sanchez was one of three people arrested in the kidnapping case.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who shot and killed a hostage during a botched rescue mission in Houston in January has been sued.

The lawsuit was filed by Brooke Pearce, the sister of Ulises Valladares, who was killed when an unidentified FBI agent fired two shots into a Houston home.

The lawsuit alleges an illegal search and seizure and wrongful death, the Houston Chronicle reports

“(Valladares) had a very good job and was studying to be an engineer, so had the FBI not killed him he would’ve been able to support his son,” said Randall Kallinen, one of the attorneys who brought the lawsuit along with U.A. Lewis. “The main goals are to find out what happened so other hostages aren’t killed, and also to get compensation for this child’s future.”

The FBI responded that the shooting is being investigated by the bureau, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Houston Police Department.

“No additional information will be provided, as this matter is under review by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General,” an FBI spokeswoman said.

The Houston Chronicle wrote:

Law enforcement raided a Houston residence in the 7300 block of Elbert Street in the early hours of Jan. 25, nearly a day after Valladares, 47, was taken for ransom from his Conroe home by two men who later claimed to be members of a Mexican cartel. Investigators have since said that was a scare tactic designed to intimidate Valladares’ brother, Ernesto Valladares, into giving them money.

An FBI agent used an M-4 assault rifle to break into an unlit side room through a window where Valladares was held and bound, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in January. The agent, who did not know Valladares was in the room and fearing that one of the kidnappers was attempting to wrestle the rifle away from him, fired two shots, one of which killed the Conroe father.

Former Watergate Attorney: Trump Invoking Fifth Amendment Would Be ‘Political Suicide’

Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Watergate prosecutor warned that President Trump would commit “political suicide” if he invokes his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the lawsuit filed by pornographic film star Stormy Daniels.

“He cannot take the Fifth Amendment,” Jill Wine-Banks said on MSNBC. “That would be political suicide.”

Her comments follow news that longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid depositions and disclosing sensitive information that could be used against him in the criminal investigation.

“Michael Cohen can take the Fifth Amendment,” Wine-Banks said. “But the president of the United States cannot say, ‘I can’t answer questions because they might incriminate me in another matter.’ That just is not politically acceptable.”

Daniels filed a lawsuit against Cohen to get out of a nondisclosure agreement i which Cohen said he paid her $130,000 to stay quiet about an affair she said she had with Trump.

Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney of President Trump, plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid testifying in a lawsuit filed against the president by pornographic film star known as Stormy Daniels.

Cohen, whose office, hotel room and home were raided by the FBI earlier this month as part of a criminal investigation by prosecutors in New York City, cited the probe in a court filing in California, where the lawsuit was filed, the New York Times reports. 

According to the filing, Cohen said if he’s called as witnesses in the lawsuit, “I will assert my 5th Amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

Cohen said he paid Daniels $130,000, which she said was meant to keep her quiet about claims that she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

By invoking the Fifth Amendment, Cohen won’t be subjected to depositions and be forced to disclose sensitive information that could be used against him in the criminal investigation.

Cohen to Invoke Fifth Amendment in Lawsuit by Stormy Daniels

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney of President Trump, plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid testifying in a lawsuit filed against the president by pornographic film star known as Stormy Daniels.

Cohen, whose office, hotel room and home were raided by the FBI earlier this month as part of a criminal investigation by prosecutors in New York City, cited the probe in a court filing in California, where the lawsuit was filed, the New York Times reports

According to the filing, Cohen said if he’s called as witnesses in the lawsuit, “I will assert my 5th Amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

Cohen said he paid Daniels $130,000, which she said was meant to keep her quiet about claims that she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

By invoking the Fifth Amendment, Cohen won’t be subjected to depositions and be forced to disclose sensitive information that could be used against him in the criminal investigation.

Manafort Sues DOJ, Claims Special Counsel Probe Exceeded Authority

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, filed suit against the Justice Department, arguing the special counsel investigation has exceeded its authority by indicated him on charges unrelated to the presidential campaign. 

Manafort, who also sued Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said his indictment on conspiracy and money laundering charges are unrelated to whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to undermine the presidential election.

Therefore, Manafort alleges in the suit. Mueller does not authorize the special counsel “carte blanche to investigate and pursue criminal charges in connection with anything he stumbles across while investigating, no matter how remote.” 

Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May to investigate allegations that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

Manafort and his former campaign aide Rick Gates were charged in October and originally placed on house arrest.

Rosenstein’s lawsuit seeks to stop Mueller from investigating issues that are unrelated to Russian and alleged collusion.

“Mr. Mueller’s investigation of Mr. Manafort has extended far beyond links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” the lawsuit states. “The investigation has focused on Mr. Manafort’s offshore business dealings that date back to as early as 2005—about a decade before the Trump presidential campaign launched—and have been known to the United States government for many years.”

The Justice Department dismissed the lawsuit as “frivolous.”

“But the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants,” the Justice statement said, USA Today reports