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The Washington Post

GOP’s Grassley says FBI probe finds no hint of ‘misconduct’ by Kavanaugh; Democrats dispute that, say White House restricted FBI

TMR: Here goes! Will the suppresion of truth and minimising of investigation convince those important to the fray and injustice (improper research and investigation and misguided attention to inability to prove supported ‘sexual misconduct’ forgetting or ignoring all the rest that points to underlying misbeliefs, win the day for America and the (western) world eventually? But, it didn’t start there, it just got hightened! Yet it is still unbelievable.
White House says it has received FBI report on Kavanaugh

The White House said Oct. 4 that it had received the FBI’s completed report on the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.

October 4 at 10:56 AM

BREAKING NEWS: The dueling assessments on Thursday came as senators read the FBI background check of the Supreme Court nominee. Brett M. Kavanaugh had faced allegations of sexual misconduct, including an accusation from Christine Blasey Ford that he assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement that the “uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, told reporters that the report was a “product of an incomplete investigation.” Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he disagreed with Grassley’s assessment.

The Senate is heading toward a procedural vote on Friday and if Republicans prevail, Kavanaugh would be on track to a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.

This a developing story and will be updated.

As the Senate began reviewing the new FBI report on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Thursday, both Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley and the White House stood by President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, saying the investigation found nothing sufficient to corroborate allegations of sexual misconduct while Kavanaugh was a teenager.

“There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know,” Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement after being briefed on the report by his staff. “It’s time to vote.”

Democrats have protested that the FBI probe was rushed and too limited in scope, and lawyers for Kavanaugh’s accusers say the bureau declined to interview multiple witnesses who could have backed up their accounts.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Thursday that the FBI agents had reached out to 10 witnesses — nine of whom were interviewed — and that no one had corroborated the account of Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

“The president, the White House are firmly behind Brett Kavanaugh,” Shah said during an appearance Thursday morning on CNN. “We believe that all the Senate’s questions have been addressed through this supplemental FBI investigation.”

In an earlier tweet, Shah said the White House is “fully confident” that the Senate will confirm Kavanaugh, whose nomination has been roiled by the allegations of three women about his behavior more than three decades ago.

 
 
‘Wrong, vile, appalling’: Trump mocking Ford spurs outrage

President Trump’s comments mocking Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony on her allegation against Brett M. Kavanaugh caused widespread backlash.

In anticipation of the FBI report’s arrival, on Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) teed up a key vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday.

Until that vote, senators will be rushing in and out of a secure facility at the Capitol to review the sensitive FBI report.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats plan to hold a news conference at 11 a.m. to speak about the report.

In morning tweets, Trump decried what he said was “harsh and unfair treatment” of Kavanaugh, who has undergone previous FBI background checks for other federal jobs, and accused Democrats of obstructing the confirmation process.

“This is now the 7th. time the FBI has investigated Judge Kavanaugh,” Trump wrote. “If we made it 100, it would still not be good enough for the Obstructionist Democrats.”

In his statement, Grassley said that “this investigation found no hint of misconduct and the same is true of the six prior FBI background investigations conducted during Judge Kavanaugh’s 25 years of public service.”

In tweets starting around 4 a.m., Grassley announced that the panel had received the report from the White House and that he and its top Democrat had “agreed to alternating EQUAL access for senators to study content from additional background info gathered by nonpartisan FBI agents.”

The FBI’s report will be available at a sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, in the Capitol Visitor Center, a secure room designed for senators to review sensitive or classified material, two Senate officials said. Just one physical copy of the report will be available, and only to senators and 10 committee staffers cleared to view the material.

The two parties will take turns having access to the FBI report in shifts, according to a senior Senate official. It will rotate throughout the rest of the day Thursday and potentially into Friday, with staff members simultaneously briefing senators.

But even before the report was formally sent to the Senate, lawyers for Ford criticized what they viewed as an incomplete FBI probe.

“An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony — cannot be called an investigation,” her legal team said in a statement. “We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth.”

On Thursday, a lawyer for Deborah Ramirez, who has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself while in college, sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray making the same claim.

The letter noted that Ramirez had been interviewed by the FBI for two hours Sunday in Colorado and later provided a list of 20 people who might corroborate her account of Kavanaugh’s behavior.

“Fewer than four days, later, however, the FBI apparently has concluded its investigation — without permitting its agents to investigate,” wrote Ramirez lawyer William Pittard. “We are deeply disappointed by this failure.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, also took issue Wednesday with the decision not to interview Ford and Kavanaugh, both of whom testified at a high-stakes hearing last week, suggesting that the White House had prevented the FBI from contacting them.

“Last week’s hearing is no substitute for FBI interviews, especially when you consider the tenor of Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony,” Feinstein said in a statement. “When he wasn’t yelling and demeaning senators, he was making misleading statements that cast doubt on his overall trustworthiness. I don’t think that would happen with FBI agents seated across the table.”

The reopened FBI investigation was prompted by reservations expressed last by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) about moving forward on a full Senate vote without further examination of the accusations of Ford and other “credible” accusers.

Even as the White House gave the FBI permission to broaden its examination, it continued to hold the bureau to a strict timeline.

Moreover, the inquiry focused mainly on the account of Ford, the research psychologist who alleges that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high school students in the Washington suburbs.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the White House had restricted the FBI from scrutinizing the nominee’s drinking habits, as well as possible disparities between his alcohol consumption as a young man and his account before Congress.

Much of the focus Thursday will be on the reactions of three Republicans whose votes are considered key to Kavanaugh’s fate: Flake, Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

On Wednesday, all three took issue with Trump’s mocking of Ford the night before at a political rally in Mississippi that drew laughs from his supporters.

“What I want is I want to see the report,” Murkowski told reporters last night. “That’s what I’m waiting for.”

Besides Flake, Collins and Murkowski, Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) also have yet to announce how they will vote.

While trying to round up votes on his side, McConnell has also taken sharp aim at Democrats, accusing them of trying to “move the goal posts” on Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight by suggesting that Friday would be too soon for a key vote on him.

Senate Democrats opened a new front Wednesday in their objections to the investigations of Kavanaugh’s conduct, suggesting in a letter to Grassley that past FBI background checks of Kavanaugh include evidence of inappropriate behavior, without disclosing specifics.

The letter, signed by eight of the 10 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, challenged the accuracy of a tweet from the committee’s Republican staff on Tuesday that said: “Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which the committee has reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of ANY issue — at all — related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.” 

The Democrats said the information in the tweet is “not accurate,” urging the GOP to correct it.

“It is troubling that the committee majority has characterized information from Judge Kavanaugh’s confidential background investigation on Twitter, as that information is confidential and not subject to public release,” the Democrats, led by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), wrote to Grassley. “If the committee majority is going to violate that confidentiality and characterize this background investigation publicly, you must at least be honest about it.”

The two committee Democrats who did not sign the letter were Sens. Christopher A. Coons (Del.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.). 

Grassley’s staff responded on Twitter that “nothing in the tweet is inaccurate or misleading.” 

“The committee stands by its statement, which is completely truthful,” the committee Republicans said. “More baseless innuendo and more false smears from Senate Democrats.”

Josh Dawsey, Mike DeBonis, Tom Hamburger and Isaac Stanley-Becker contributed to this report.

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Women’s group disappointed at acquittal of police officer on kidnapping and sex charges

Women’s group disappointed at acquittal of police officer on kidnapping and sex charges

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Oct 3, CMC – The non-organisation organisation, Women Against Rape (WAR), has expressed disappointment at the decision that led to a police prosecutor accused of kidnapping and having sex with a 13 year-old child being able to walk free earlier this week.

“At age 13 there was a charge…how come now at this point in time there’s an acquittal when at age 13 the person was charged with an offence, granted that being charged with an offence does not mean that the person is guilty of an offence, so we need to look at all of those ramifications,” said WAR president Alexandrina Wong.

The girl had told the court that she no longer wanted to continue with the case against the police officer after she had spoken with her mother, counsellor and guardian.

She told Justice Keith Thom that she has forgiven the accused, and had she been in his shoes, she would have wanted to be forgiven as well.

The child, who is now a ward of the state, having been removed from her parents’ care, said she understood the seriousness of the allegations before the court which include one count of kidnapping and two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse – the latter is an offence which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Crown Counsel Shannon told the court that the girl, who is now 15 years old, had also spoken to her about the incident and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Anthony Armstrong had asked for the Directorate of Gender Affairs to be involved and to offer counselling to the teen.

As a result of the request from the teen not to proceed with the trial, the prosecution withdrew the charges, and the cop of over a decade service, walked out the court, free of all the allegations.

The police officer had been charged after the investigations had revealed that on July 26, 2016, during the Carnival celebrations that the child was working with a woman who sent her to a shop nearby.

While on the way, the officer allegedly approached the teen, whom he knew, and told her to join him in his vehicle and when she did not, he forced her inside and took her to his home. There, he allegedly engaged her in sex even though she was 13 and the age of consent is 16.

The following day, he allegedly reached out to her and she went to his home where he again, allegedly had sex with her contrary to the Sexual Offences Act which sets out the age of consent.

Wong, speaking on a radio programme here, said her organisation intends to “find out what led to this acquittal”.

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Sunday Times

Aid used in Caribbean child sex inquiry

David Brandt, who led the Montserrat government from 1997 to 2001, is being investigated
David Brandt, who led the Montserrat government from 1997 to 2001, is being investigatedCHRIS BRANDIS

TMR:

There is so much more to this story in several areas – but seen here taken from the angle which once again shows the bias about money being spent in Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory. There is however a more than suspicious nature of moneys spent as mentioned, which reportedly is more than the £230,000 mentioned in the story. In Montserrat the question regarding the money is, what about the case that warrants almost or over EC$1 million to be spent? Reports are that there is more money being spent in other unrelated matters which represents another situation involving what some refer to as overzealous behaviour, but which is really deeper than that. All matters which must be of concern and interest to the government and the tax payers. Yes there are many issues questions that are much better placed than why the money is spent here instead of there! The writer should note that the money is benefiting their own and not Montserrat. Their research is misplaced and shows the bias only.

Britain has handed more than £200,000 of its foreign aid budget to the National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate the former chief minister of Montserrat on suspicion of child sex abuse.

Officers from the elite crime-fighting force, dubbed the “British FBI”, are making regular trips to the tiny Caribbean island, one of the UK’s overseas territories, to help police investigate David Brandt, who led the government there from 1997 to 2001.

The NCA inquiry in an outpost of Britain’s colonial past — which was devastated by volcanic eruptions in the 1990s — comes at a time when police chiefs in the UK are warning there is not enough money to investigate the “unprecedented” scale of child sexual abuse at home.

Tony Blair met David Brandt in Downing Street in 1997
Tony Blair met David Brandt in Downing Street in 1997 PAUL HACKETT

Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk police and national lead officer for child abuse investigation, has previously called for increased rehabilitation and treatment for low-level sex offenders, rather than prosecution, in an attempt to meet swingeing budget cuts.

Documents seen by The Sunday Times show that the Foreign Office has assigned almost £230,000 of public money to the NCA inquiry, which is understood to have been active since 2016.

The news will raise fresh concerns over child sex abuse in British overseas territories following scandals on Jersey and St Helena.

The Foreign Office said: “All our funding programmes follow the government’s agreed standards and receive robust financial scrutiny.”

@TomJHarper

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Grenadian family taking Barbados to CCJ over treatment by police

Grenadian family taking Barbados to CCJ over treatment by police

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Sept 26, CMC – The lawyer representing a Grenadian family who claimed they were bullied and humiliated over a false accusation of stealing a mobile phone in Barbados, says the matter is now heading to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Attorney Ruggles Ferguson said that the action will be taken against the state of Barbados and ‘we have applied for what you call special leave to bring the matter in the CCJ.

“So the application before the CCJ is for special leave to file the matter in the Caribbean Court of Justice,” he said.

In October 2016, five members of the Gilbert family were in Barbados for an appointment with the United States Embassy to have their visas renewed.

Having successfully completed their business early, they decided to go to Bridgetown for some shopping and to enjoy each other’s company, since they had never travelled as an entire family before, Tamika Gilbert told the Barbados TODAY publication then.

But they said the trip became a nightmare after a store owner accused the young women of stealing her mobile phone.

“Confident of their innocence, they offered to have their bags searched by the storeowner, who turned down the offer and said she would check recordings from security cameras. Instead, “an excessive amount of police officers showed up at the scene” and during a heated exchange with the store owner, they were threatened with arrest,” Barbados TODAY reported.

They said three members of the family were virtually stripped of their dignity by the officers, who shouted at them, insulted them, prevented them from speaking to other family members, brought them water three hours after they had made a request, and had one sister use the toilet with the door opened and an officer standing guard.

However, Tamika gilbert said that the most humiliating experience was when they were strip-searched.

Ferguson, the former president of the Grenada Bar Association, said that a matter had been filed in the Barbados courts on behalf of one of the family members “who lives in Barbados and was also subjected to that treatment.

“We have taken that matter in the local courts in Barbados. That matter is ongoing. But the ones involving those resident in Grenada we decided to bring it to the CCJ because in the CCJ we can count on speed<’ said Ferguson, who is also the President of the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations (OCCBA).

The CCJ is Barbados’ final court.

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Former CCJ President to speak at educational seminars ahead of upcoming referendum

Former CCJ President to speak at educational seminars ahead of upcoming referendum

ST. GEORGE’S. Grenada, Sep. 13, CMC – Former President of the Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron, is scheduled to address two education seminars ahead of the November 6 referendum which is seeking to make the CCJ the island’s final appellate court.

Sir Dennis will be the guest speaker at  the educational activities on September 18, organised by the CCJ Advisory Committee aimed at bringing a better understanding about the work of the Court to the voting population.

Sir Dennis Byron

“He will be engaging the students at TAMCC (T.A. Marryshow Community College) on matters of the CCJ and then we expect him to address the public at the Deluxe cinema on the same day,”  said Senator Norland Cox

Sir Dennis, who has a long history as a regional and international judicial officer demitted his CCJ post in July 2018. He was replaced by Adrian Saunders.

In 1986, as Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Grenada on secondment from the  Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court  Sir Dennis presided over the famous murder trial of the Grenada 17 who were all accused of playing a role in the assassination of then Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and others.

Since launching its promotional activities last month,  members of the CCJ Advisory committee have been engaging in radio and television discussion programmes all aimed at enlightening the voting population about the role of the regional court.

Last week Friday members of the Lower House of Parliament unanimously approved the CCJ  Bill as it went through its first stage of Parliamentary approval.

On Friday, the Bill will be presented in the Upper House for deliberation and approval .

Following this, it must be Gazetted ahead of the referendum.

The law provides for two third of the voting population to vote yes for the constitutional change to occur.

This will be the second time that the CCJ Bill will be voted on a referendum. In 2016, Grenadians voted against the CCJ by a margin of 9,492 in favour and 12,434 voted against.

The  CCJ settles disputes between Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States and presently serves as the highest court of appeals on civil and criminal matters for the national courts of Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana.

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Venezuelans found with drugs and ammunition arrested

Venezuelans found with drugs and ammunition arrested

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sep. 13, CMC – The police say they arrested three Venezuelan nationals who were found in possession of cocaine, a firearm and ammunition.

The police report that the Venezuelans were arrested early Wednesday by officers assigned to the Drug Squad Unit and the Grand Bay Police . They were arrested on suspicion of possession to cocaine with intent to supply and possession of firearm without being the holder of a valid license.

According to the police   5500 grams of   cocaine, two nine – mm pistols and 22 rounds of live ammunition were discovered in their possession.

Following their arrest,  they were transported to police headquarters for ongoing investigation.

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ECSCourt-logo

2018-2019 Law Year Opens September 18

A Release (adapted) from the High Court Registrar’s office on Montserrat on Thursday this week, informs that: On Tuesday,  September 18, 2018, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court will commence the New Law Year 2018/2019 with its usual Ceremonial Opening in the form of a Special Sitting of the Court in Montserrat.  There will be simultaneous special sittings in the other eight (8) Member States and Territories of the OECS.

The proceedings will commence with a church service in each Member State and Territory, followed later by the procession to the High Court where the formal sitting will be held. 

In Montserrat, the Church Service will be held at The St James Anglican Church in Salem, commencing at 8.00 a.m., followed by the inspection of the Guard of Honour and a Mini Parade at the Car Park at Government Headquarters Brades. This will then be followed by the formal Court Sitting which will be held at the High Court at Government Headquarters Brades.

Chief Justice Janice Pereira

The Chief Justice, Her Ladyship, Dame Janice M. Pereira, DBE will deliver the Opening Address at 10:00 a.m. from Saint Christopher & Nevis where the Court of Appeal is scheduled for its first sitting in the New Law Year.

The theme for the opening of the Law Year’s address is “Challenges, Opportunities and Resilience: The ECSC paving the way to a Modern and Efficient Judiciary for the Eastern Caribbean”.

The Chief Justice’s address will be carried live via simulcast to the other Member States and Territories of the OECS and will also be broadcast throughout the region via the local media.

The public is encouraged to participate in the Ceremonial Opening of the Law Year 2018/2019 by attending either the church service or the special sitting or by listening to the events live on ZJB Radio. 

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) was established in 1967 by the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order No. 223 of 1967.

 It is the superior court of record for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), including six independent states: Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and three British Overseas Territories (BOTs) Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat. It has unlimited jurisdiction in each member State.

 

 

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Man charged with air rage, wins appeal

Man charged with air rage, wins appeal

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Aug 21, CMC  – A 53-year-old Bermudian man who was fined US$700 for shouting obscenities at crew members and a family during a flight from London to Bermuda has had his conviction overturned on appeal.

Attorney Peter Sanderson argued that his client, Helder Viera, could not be convicted in Bermuda as there was no proof the offence happened inside the island’s jurisdiction.

Supreme Court Puisne Judge Shade Subair found that under the legislation, the offence had to happen in Bermuda or on a Bermuda-registered aircraft to secure a conviction.

Justice Subair in a written judgement Tuesday said “regrettably, the learned magistrate (Khamisi Tokunbo) was never addressed on this jurisdiction issue.

“The Crown, having brought the charges before the court, clearly did so under a misguided notion that it was well placed to do so. Further, the appellant was not represented by Mr Sanderson in the Magistrates’ Court when he entered his guilty plea.

“The Crown did not present any evidence before the court to prove that any relevant part of the appellant’s offensive conduct occurred in Bermuda and there was no evidence before the court to suggest that the aircraft concerned was registered in Bermuda. For these reasons, the conviction is unsafe,” Justice Subair said.

Viera was arrested on December 31 last year after an incident on board a British Airways flight from Gatwick.

In January, the Magistrates’ Court heard that Viera began to hurl obscenities at a young family with an infant about two hours into the flight. Viera was warned by cabin crew to calm down.

He later pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive, insulting words and threatening behaviour under the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order.

That legislation does extend to Bermuda, but Justice Subair said that offences must happen in Bermuda or over its territorial waters to be prosecuted in the island’s courts.

During Viera’s court case seven months ago Magistrate Tokunbo said the maximum US$1,000 fine for the offence was “peanuts”.

“This penalty encourages people to behave like this,” he added.

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Manafort convicted on 8 counts; mistrial declared on 10 others

Michael Cohen says he worked to silence two women ‘in coordination’ with Trump to influence 2016 election

The Washington Post

Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty – makes deal

President Trump’s former attorney pleaded guilty Aug. 21 to charges related to his business dealings, according to those familiar with the matter.

August 21 at 5:50 PM

BREAKING: The president’s longtime personal lawyer, who pleaded guilty to eight violations of banking, tax and campaign finance laws on Tuesday, faces a recommended jail sentence of between four and five years. This story will be updated.

President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Manhattan courthouse to eight violations of banking, tax and campaign finance laws in a federal investigation that scrutinized his business dealings and efforts to silence women with negative stories about Trump.

Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making a false statement to a bank and two campaign finance violations: making an unlawful corporate campaign contribution and making an excessive campaign contribution.

“Yes, sir,” Cohen answered when the judge asked if he pleaded guilty.

Cohen — long the self-professed “fixer” for Trump — agreed to the deal after prosecutors claimed he risked more than a dozen years in prison, according to a person familiar with the matter.

His guilty plea follow a months-long grand-jury investigation into Cohen’s activities, including his taxi business, as well as a hush-money payment that Cohen arranged to an adult-film actress, Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had a tryst with Trump years ago.

Cohen has said he used a home-equity line of credit to finance a $130,000 payment to Daniels in October 2016, a month before the 2016 election.

Cohen is the fifth Trump associate to have pleaded guilty or be charged with criminal wrongdoing since Trump took office, including his former national security adviser, his deputy campaign chairman and a former campaign policy adviser.

Cable television played Cohen’s plea in an extraordinary legal split screen, as a Virginia jury convicted Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts in his bank and tax fraud trial.

Reminded that he had previously vowed to “take a bullet” or “do anything” to protect the president, Cohen told ABC in July that Trump is not his top priority. “To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty,” he said.

Last month, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis released an audio recording of a September 2016 conversation between Trump and Cohen in which they discussed a deal that a Playboy model made to sell the rights to her story of an alleged affair with Trump. The move was seen as a dramatic turn against Trump by the Cohen camp.

 
3:26
Trump’s many denials about knowledge of Michael Cohen’s payments

CNN aired audio from 2016 of Trump and Cohen discussing paying for a story about an alleged affair, after months of Trump and his advisers claiming ignorance.

Trump’s current attorney and advisers have said he has nothing to fear from Cohen.

“If he gets indicted for something that has nothing to do with the president, well, I feel sorry for Michael, although I don’t know how sorry I feel for him, because he was tape recording the world and deceiving them, including his client,” Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani told Fox News on Monday.

“But it has nothing to do with us,” he added.

Cohen’s plea agreement comes just one day after the New York federal court overseeing the seizure of Cohen’s records finished its review of which documents were protected by attorney-client privilege.

The case against Cohen stems in part from a referral by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and examined Cohen’s role in at least two episodes involving Russian interests, according to people familiar with that probe.

However, special-counsel investigators have indicated to federal law enforcement officials that the office does not require Cohen’s cooperation for its probe, according to two people familiar with their work.

The Cohen investigation first burst into public view in April, when FBI agents searched his New York office, home and hotel room. The searches — in which agents collected all of Cohen’s phones and electronic devices — set off panic in the White House that federal investigators were looking into Trump’s business dealings and communications with Cohen.

Since then, the probe has led to revelations about how Cohen sought to squelch negative stories about Trump and then leverage his access to the president.

After the raid, Giuliani acknowledged that the president had made several payments reimbursing Cohen for the $130,000 settlement with Daniels. Trump had previously denied knowledge of the payoff.

Meanwhile, leaked documents showed that Cohen was paid millions last year by companies such as AT&T and Novartis to provide advice about the new administration.

Cohen had been under scrutiny by federal prosecutors starting in the fall of 2017, when Mueller’s team came across some unusual financial transactions and loans Cohen had obtained.

The special counsel referred the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which has been looking for evidence of possible bank fraud, wire fraud or violations of campaign finance laws in Cohen’s business dealings, according to people familiar with the matter.

The investigation has examined loans related to Cohen’s taxi medallion business and whether any laws were broken as part of an effort to stifle negative stories about Trump when he was running for president, according to people familiar with the matter.

A central focus of the probe has been on matters that have nothing to do with Cohen’s most famous client but rather Cohen’s attempts to borrow substantial sums of money against his taxi medallions and evidence suggesting he lied to get the money. On more than a dozen loan documents, according to two people familiar with investigators’ work, Cohen dramatically inflated the value of his medallion business year after year, even as the industry suffered from the rise of ride-hailing businesses.

In May, a New York taxi operator and former Cohen business partner agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of a plea deal in a separate New York state criminal tax fraud case.

Cohen is also under investigation for defrauding the IRS and failing to report his earnings, according to one person familiar with requests for information about Cohen’s financial records.

Cohen worked for Trump for more than a decade, starting in 2007. The raid on Cohen’s office enraged the president, who claimed prosecutors were violating attorney-client privilege.

Cohen also argued that prosecutors had violated attorney-client privilege by seizing what his lawyers said could be thousands or more items related to his work as a lawyer.

It is unusual for investigators to seize the papers of an attorney, but in court filings federal prosecutors maintained that Cohen was doing very little legal work and that they were investigating his business dealings to search for evidence of potential crimes.

U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood appointed a former federal judge to act as a special master and review the seized items to assess what material must be withheld from investigators because it is covered by attorney-client privilege.

In the end, only a tiny fraction of the seized material was found to be covered by the privilege, according to court filings.

Although Cohen has for years been portrayed as a lawyer who handled some of the most important and sensitive issues for Trump, the president has insisted to associates in recent months that Cohen was not that closely involved with him.

However, Giuliani said in May that Cohen was routinely asked to handle issues that could cause personal embarrassment for Trump, such as the claim of an affair by Daniels.

Trump has denied the affair, but Cohen directed that Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, be paid $130,000 just before the November 2016 election to ensure her silence, Cohen acknowledged this year.

“The agreement with Michael Cohen, as far as I know, is a long-standing agreement that Michael Cohen takes care of situations like this, then gets paid for them sometimes,” Giuliani said in May.

Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.

Manafort convicted on 8 counts; mistrial declared on 10 others

Manafort guilty on 8 counts of tax and bank fraud, with jury deadlocked on other 10

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud. The judge declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 charges.

August 21 at 5:58 PM

A jury has found former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty on tax and bank fraud charges — a major if not complete victory for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as he continues to investigate the president’s associates.

The jury convicted Manafort on eight of the 18 counts against him and said it was deadlocked on the other 10. U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on those charges.

Manafort stood impassively, his hands folded in front of him, and showed little reaction as the clerk read the word “guilty” eight separate times. As through most of the three-week trial, Manafort showed no apparent emotion as he looked at the six women and men who convicted him.

President Trump reacted to the verdict by denouncing Mueller’s investigation.

“It doesn’t involve me … it’s a very sad thing,” the president said after arriving in West Virginia for a political rally, adding that the Manafort case “has nothing to do with” Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort,” Trump said. “Again, he worked for Bob Dole, he worked for Ronald Reagan. He worked for many people. And this is the way it ends up.”


Paul Manafort’s attorneys, Kevin Downing, center, Richard Wetling, left, and Thomas Zehnle leave the Federal Courthouse after their client, Paul Manafort, was convicted on 8 counts of tax and bank fraud. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

Manafort, 69, was found guilty of filing a false tax return in each of the years from 2010 through 2014, as well as not filing a form to report a foreign bank account as required in 2012. He was also convicted of two different instances of bank fraud, related to a $3.4 million loan from Citizens Bank and a $1 million loan from Banc of California.

The charges on which the jury deadlocked included three counts for not filing a form to report a foreign bank account, and seven for committing bank fraud or conspiring to commit bank fraud.

After the clerk read the verdict, Ellis asked the jurors if they wanted to keep their names confidential. The group responded, “Yes, sir.” Ellis then said he’d keep their names under seal, but that they could talk about the case if they desire.

The judge thanked the jury members for their service and they were dismissed.

Once the jury left the courtroom, Ellis asked Manafort to approach the lectern. The judge told Manafort that he would be ordering a pre-sentencing report and it was important for Manafort to “pay careful attention to the preparation of the document.” Manafort, in a black suit, listened as the judge explained the pre-sentencing process.

 
0:57
‘I feel very sad’: Trump reacts to Manafort guilty verdict

President Trump reacted on Aug. 21 to the conviction of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts tax and bank fraud charges.

Manafort’s possible prison sentence wasn’t immediately clear, but legal experts said he likely faces more than a decade in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

The verdict comes as President Trump has stepped up his criticism of Mueller’s investigation, publicly criticizing it on a weekly basis. As the Manafort trial began, Trump called for the probe to be shut down immediately.

Manafort’s guilty verdict may strengthen Mueller’s hand as he continues to investigate possible conspiracy and seeks an interview with the president; an acquittal could have led to a broader effort by conservatives to shut down the special counsel’s office.

The 18 charges in the Manafort trial centered around Manafort’s personal finances, and had little to do with the special counsel’s mandate of probing Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with those efforts.

But the trial was the first to emerge from Mueller’s probe, and as such it marked a significant public test of his work.

The jury deliberated for four days before announcing its verdict.

Over two weeks of testimony, more than two dozen witnesses, including his former right hand man Rick Gates, as well as his former bookkeeper and accountants, testified against Manafort. They said he hid millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts that went unreported to the IRS, and then later lied to banks in order to get millions of dollars in loans.

His lawyers had argued that Gates, not Manafort, was the real criminal, pointing to Gates’ admitted lies, theft, and infidelity. Gates pleaded guilty in February to lying to the FBI and conspiring against the United States, and has said he hopes to get a lesser prison sentence by cooperating against Manafort.

Prosecutors, in turn, told the jury that the most compelling evidence in the case were the dozens of documents, many of them emails, showing Manafort oversaw the false statements to the IRS and banks.

Manafort called no witnesses at all, as his lawyer argued prosecutors had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to defraud the government or banks. Manafort’s lawyers repeatedly suggested their client might not have known the law.

The trial featured heated arguments at times — not between the government and defense lawyers, but between U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis and prosecutors. The judge repeatedly chided prosecutors in front of the jury, though at the end of the trial he urged the panel not to consider during deliberations any opinions he may have expressed.

Manafort faces a second trial in September in Washington D.C., on charges he failed to register as a lobbyist for the Ukraine government, and conspired to tamper with witnesses in that case. Manafort has been in jail since June as a result of the witness tampering charges.

On Tuesday morning, the jury sent a note indicating they were split on at least one count. At that time, Ellis said he might be open to accepting a partial verdict at a later point, but not yet.

Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing argued jurors should be given a new verdict form that would give them the option to be undecided on the charges. The “third option should be hung as to each count,” said Downing, who added that the jury “shouldn’t be misled” into thinking that a hung jury is inappropriate.

Prosecutor Greg Andres objected to that suggestion, saying such a form goes against the judge’s instruction for the jury to keep deliberating. The judge agreed, saying that if the jurors still can’t come to a consensus after he sends them back to continue deliberating, then he would “ask them to tell me where they stand.”

When the jurors were brought into the courtroom, Ellis told them only that if they failed to agree on a verdict, the case would be “left open and undecided,” and that there was no reason another 12 jurors could decide the case “better or more exhaustively” than they could. He told jurors not to yield their beliefs, but asked them to consider whether they stood in the minority, and if so, whether they should change their minds.

The president has repeatedly spoken out publicly in support of Manafort, both at the trial’s outset and during jury deliberations. On Monday morning, Trump tweeted that Mueller’s investigators “are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side — the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more! Mueller’s Angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a National Disgrace!”

During closing arguments last week, Manafort’s lawyers accused the special counsel’s office of having gone on a fishing expedition to find evidence of financial crimes.

“Nobody came forward to say we’re concerned about what we’re seeing here. Not until the special counsel showed up and started asking questions,” lawyer Richard Westling said, suggesting the special counsel “cobbled together” information to “stack up the counts” against Manafort and overwhelm the jury.

“It is not enough that wrong information or even false information was given,” Westling said, telling jurors that to convict his client, they had to be convinced that Manafort intended to deceive banks and the IRS.

Downing, another defense lawyer, said the government was so desperate to charge Manafort they made a deal with Gates, who should not be trusted.

“To the very end, he lied to you,” Downing told the jury.

Prosecutors charged Manafort failed to pay taxes between 2010 and 2014 on millions of dollars in overseas bank accounts which he kept hidden from his accountants and the IRS. He earned that money working as a consultant for Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych fled Ukraine in 2014 amid massive street protests, causing Manafort’s income to dry up, according to witnesses.

Prosecutors called Manafort’s bookkeeper and former accountants to testify against him. Those witnesses said Manafort misled them about foreign bank accounts he controlled. A former accountant for Manafort said she went along with falsifying information on Manafort’s tax return to lower the amount he would have to pay.

Other witnesses included employees of luxury clothing stores, a landscaper, and a home entertainment company employee, all of whom testified to the big ticket purchases Manafort made — paid via wire transfers from foreign bank accounts.

Witnesses said Manafort spent a small fortune at the time he was cheating the IRS — more than $1 million on clothes, including a $15,000 ostrich jacket, more than $2 million on home entertainment systems, and millions of dollars on homes for himself and his family. One witness said Manafort spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on landscaping, including a bed of red flowers in the shape of an “M” in the backyard of his Hamptons home.

Michael Brice-Saddler contributed to this report.

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The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court brings Golden Anniversary Celebrations to an Official Close

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States press room Logo

ECSC Media Statement

Monday, March 26, 2018 — The closing ceremony of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations was held on Thursday, 22nd March 2018 at 5:00 p.m., at the Finance Administrative Centre (FAC) Conference Facility, 5th Floor, Finance Administrative Centre, Pointe Seraphine, Castries. This ceremony was held to bring to a close the wonderful year-long celebrations.

The ceremony was attended by His Excellency Sir Emmanuel Neville Cenac, Governor General of Saint Lucia and his wife Lady Julita CenacHer Excellency Dame Calliopa Pearlette Louisy, Former Governor General of Saint Lucia, Judicial Officers of the Court of Appeal and High Court, Honourable Stephen Julien, Attorney General of Saint Lucia Mr. Thaddeus Antoine, OECS Bar Association President, Mrs. Mary Julianna-Charles, Saint Lucia Bar Association President, Staff of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s Headquarters and Saint Lucia High Court, Members of the Public and Private Bar, Principals, Teachers, Parents and Saint Lucian Students who were successful in the ECSC 50th Anniversary Essay and Poster Competition.

The event gave Her Ladyship an opportunity to personally thank everyone who contributed to the yearlong celebrations of the Court’s milestone anniversary celebrations. Additionally, Her Ladyship also took the opportunity to assure the members of the legal fraternity present that the Court will do everything possible to embrace the use of technology so that justice can be dispensed in a timely and efficient manner. 

However, Her Ladyship lamented about the limited and often inadequate resources allocated to the Court and asked everyone present to be patient and continue to give the Court their continued support as it serves the citizens and residents of the OECS by administering and delivering the quality of justice that they deserve.

Attendees were treated to a video highlight of the 50th Anniversary events held in all Members States and Territories. The event was also used to launch the ECSC’s future logo and the 50th anniversary Commemorative Magazine.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by Saint Lucian Songstress Mrs. Claudia Edward-Ladner and the award winning Royal Saint Lucia Police Band. Immediately after the closing ceremony, there was a cocktail reception where the lively and appreciative gathering, took the opportunity to mingle and socialize as the curtains officially closed on the celebrations.

Posted in Court, News, OECS, Regional0 Comments

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