More to ignore, Book 79.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Thomas Lane, one of the three former Minneapolis police officers convicted in February of violating George Floyd's civil rights, was sentenced to 2.5 years in federal prison on Thursday.

Federal prosecutors had asked Judge Paul A. Magnuson to sentence Lane to between 5.25 years to 6.5 years for his role in the fatal restraint of Floyd on a Minneapolis street in May 2020. Earl Gray, Lane's attorney, asked for a sentence of 2.25 years.

Judge Magnuson said that Lane had a "minimal role" in the incident, adding that he is a person of "outstanding character." The judge also noted he received 145 letters in support of Lane. "It's not unusual to receive letters. But I have never received so many letters," he said.

The judge recommended the Bureau of Prisons place Lane in the federal prison in Duluth, Minnesota, to be nearer to his family and friends for visitations.

In addition to the prison sentence, Lane will be required to pay mandatory restitution in an amount to be determined and will be placed on supervised release for two years after serving his prison term.

Lane declined to make a statement to the court......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Riot charges against Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson dismissed, but one cohort convicted by jury
David Neiwert

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Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson, who organized multiple street-brawling incursions into Portland, Oregon, for four years, was acquitted on rioting charges this week.

When prosecutors in Portland, Oregon, in 2019 filed riot charges against Joey Gibson, the leader of the Proud Boys-adjacent street-brawling group Patriot Prayer, it provided a glimmer of hope that the city’s law enforcement officials would finally start taking the organized violence against their citizens seriously.

It didn’t work out that way. On Tuesday, after only a few days of trial, the judge in his case threw out the charges against both Gibson and his cohort Russell Schultz—largely because the prosecutor had chosen a peculiar strategy in prosecuting them on charges that didn’t seem to fit the evidence, while other charges probably would have. Two days later, the jury convicted their third co-defendant, Mackenzie Lewis, because it found the evidence supported the charges.

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Souede chastised the prosecutor for his strategy. “I am somewhat bewildered that the state has driven the case to this point,” Souede said. “As an institution, the district attorney’s office’s decision to push this case to trial is surprising, given the state of the evidence.”

The charges arose from an ugly incident on May 1, 2019, when a cluster of Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys activists led by Gibson descended on a Portland tavern, Cider Riot, where Rose City Antifa was holding an event. Multiple fights broke out, and one woman was knocked unconscious with a baton that fractured a vertebra in her neck.

Souede rebuked both Gibson and Schultz for their behavior. “The record is overwhelming, and I suggest indisputable, that Mr. Gibson spoke obnoxiously to the crowd that was gathered at Cider Riot,” the judge said in his ruling. “He was provocative, he was taunting, he was acting like a troll.”

Nonetheless, none of the video evidence showed either Gibson or Schultz participating in the violence they had egged on. “The state appears to be trying to convict Mr. Schultz for being present at an incident where violence occurred and it may not do so,” Souede said. “It’s the job of this court to prevent this kind of overreach.”

The judge appeared to suggest that charges of offensive touching or harassment might have been effective: “These defendants are not charged with inciting anything or with encouraging anything or with provoking anything,” he said. “The grand jury issued indictments solely for the charge of riot.”

Gibson expressed his gratitude afterwards. “Thank God,” he said outside the courtroom. “I’m thankful for the decision that the judge made and the judge seemed insulted that they [prosecutors] brought this in.”

District Attorney Mike Schmidt disputed the judge’s reasoning. “While we respect the court’s decision regarding Mr. Gibson and Mr. Schultz, we disagree with the legal analysis used to reach it and stand by the charges the grand jury indicted based on the facts and evidence in this case,” Schmidt said in a statement.

The video evidence in Lewis’ case, however, clearly showed him engaging in violence—first punching a woman, then hurling a tear-gas canister at the people drinking on Cider Riot’s outside deck. On Thursday, the jury quickly returned a guilty verdict for the 32-year-old husband of Patriot Prayer figure Haley Adams. He faces up to five years in prison for the riot conviction when he is sentenced Aug. 1.

Gibson’s right-wing supporters were exultant, and used the acquittal to rewrite history. “Now, if officials had listened to Gibson, it might have avoided the deadly riots that consumed downtown Portland with a hundred nights of arson and looting and violence,” crowed Portland radio host Lars Larson. “But Gibson’s attorney says Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler sent out an email confessing that his real goal was to silence the founder of Patriot Prayer.”

Another longtime Gibson supporter, pseudo-journalist Andy Ngo—who was present at the Cider Riot attack, was seen on video laughing along with Patriot Prayer members as they discussed their strategy that night, and who a witness identified as present during the planning—began viciously attacking one of the witnesses in the trial, targeting him for harassment by tweeting out his name and smearing him to Ngo’s million-plus followers.

Their court victory worries civil rights groups in the region. “We frequently see groups like Patriot Prayer and other bigoted and anti-democracy groups pushing legal boundaries because their goals are to accelerate political violence and conflict without facing accountability,” Lindsay Schubiner of the Portland-based Western States Center told Oregon Public Broadcasting.

She noted that the entire purpose of groups like Gibson’s and the Proud Boys is to create the conditions where political violence can occur. That’s not a problem the law enforcement apparatus can tackle alone.

“That makes it even more important that other community and government institutions respond to the threat posed by bigoted and anti-democracy groups,” she said. “We can’t let them normalize political violence.”

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A January 6, 2021, US Capitol rioter who said she had looked for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to kill her that day was sentenced to 60 days behind bars Thursday.

"We broke into the Capitol, we got inside, we did our part," Dawn Bancroft said in a selfie video she took after leaving the Capitol on January 6. "We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the frickin' brain, but we didn't find her."

"Those comments, Mrs. Bancroft, are not acceptable in a democratic society," district Judge Emmet Sullivan said during Thursday's sentencing. "I feel bad for you, I feel bad for you that you made these comments."

Sullivan said he considered sentencing Bancroft to more time behind bars but chose to stick with the Justice Department's request of two months.

Bancroft, 59, pleaded guilty to unlawfully protesting in September and will also serve three years probation and 100 hours of community service.

"The comments made by you on the steps of the Capitol in the presence of others ... they were reckless statements that people should be held accountable for," Sullivan said, adding that others could have acted on her comments.

"How many others left there that day (thinking), 'Hey, next time I come I'm going to bring my bullets for Nancy,'" Sullivan said.

Bancroft told the court that she "made a very bad choice that day" and that she regretted her actions. She also said that she had been threatened and harassed with phone calls and letters since her arrest......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A rioter who asked "where those pieces of sh-t at?" during the breach of the US Capitol was convicted by a Washington, DC jury in federal district court Thursday for his role in the January 6, 2021, attack.

Matthew Bledsoe, a Memphis-area businessowner, was found guilty on five counts, including the felony of obstructing an official proceeding.

Bledsoe, 38, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, though he will likely receive a lighter sentence. He will be sentenced in October.

Bledsoe shook his head as the jury delivered each verdict.

While testifying Wednesday, Bledsoe said that, at the time, he thought January 6 was "pretty peaceful" and a "fun experience." Bledsoe did add, however, that is no longer his perception of the day.

Bledsoe also blamed police officers for not stopping the rioters, telling the jury that "it felt like we were being let in" by police officers at the Capitol. "Ninety to 95% of the people wouldn't have gone in if they [police] would have said something," he said.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Defense rests in blowhard Steve Bannon's contempt of Congress trial, deliberations begin Friday
Brandi Buchman

Here’s the latest on where things stand with Steve Bannon, the former Trump strategist who was indicted on two contempt of Congress charges after refusing to answer a subpoena from the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. If found guilty, Bannon faces a maximum of two years in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000.

On Thursday afternoon, per CNN and NBC, Bannon’s defense team rested its case and put jurors on a path toward a verdict. Deliberations, though always hard to predict, likely won’t take long and will unfold Friday.

Bannon opted not to testify on his own behalf. His attorney David Schoen said in court Thursday that Bannon was aware it was his right to take the stand and that he “has very much wanted to do so since the day he was indicted.”

But he ultimately would not do so, Schoen argued, because his testimony would directly conflict with what Bannon says he believes about advice his former lawyer, Robert Costello, gave him with regard to cooperating with the Jan. 6 probe.

USA Today reported that Schoen said Bannon would “be barred from telling true facts.”

Ahead of trial, Bannon argued that Costello told him former President Donald Trump had asserted executive privilege over his interactions with the committee.

But that privilege assertion never happened, according to the committee members and an attorney for Trump, Justin Clark. Clark said the privilege was not invoked over Bannon when Clark sat for an interview with the FBI on June 29, per court records filed earlier this month.

No Privilege Invoked Bannon Clark by Daily Kos on Scribd

Notably, days before Bannon’s trial, Trump issued a letter claiming he was waiving privilege over Bannon so he could fully cooperate with the committee. Trump’s waiver was moot since there was no proof he ever asserted it anyway.

During pretrial hearings, presiding U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols ruled that Bannon would not be allowed to present any evidence supporting his claims of executive privilege asserted by Trump because they were meritless, but he did agree to let Bannon’s attorneys argue before jurors that he was merely unaware of the deadline of the subpoena and its flexibility.

But according to CBS affiliate WUSA9, that changed in court on Wednesday when Nichols decided to allow letters—including the one from Trump issued this month—into evidence.

Prosecutors objected on grounds that the documents might be confusing. They were overruled. During witness questioning, assistant U.S. attorney Amanda Vaughn sought to clarify matters by asking the select committee’s general counsel, Kristen Amerling, if Trump’s letter or the others tied to executive privilege admitted into evidence changed how Bannon has responded to the subpoena.

When Vaughn asked Amerling if Bannon had yet provided a single document to the committee since Trump’s supposed waiver, she replied: “Not unless he’s provided some since I’ve been sitting here today.”

Amerling also reportedly said that Costello never asked for an extension on the subpoena deadline. Costello almost purely relied on the already-thin executive privilege argument.

Per Politico, a special agent for the FBI, Stephen Hart, testified against Bannon, too. Hart described Bannon’s social media posts on the site GETTR to jurors and noted how the ‘War Room’ podcast host would regularly boast online about his non-compliance with the Capitol assault probe.

Bannon unsuccessfully pushed for other witnesses to appear for questioning at trial, including the chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, and members of House leadership like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and majority leader Steny Hoyer, among others.

Questions for Thompson would have reportedly revolved around the details of the Sept. 23, 2021, subpoena and its legitimacy, as well as why Thompson set the deadline as he did. The deadline for Bannon’s records production was Oct. 7, 2021, with an appearance in person requested for Oct. 14, 2021.

Per NBC News, Judge Nichols asked Schoen on Thursday why Bannon was intent on having Thompson testify and not the entire committee. Schoen said he thought, in fact, Bannon was “entitled to have the whole committee here, quite frankly.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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DHS launches criminal investigation of Secret Service over Jan. 6 text purge
Mark Sumner

One week ago, the DHS inspector general Joseph Cuffari informed members of the House select committee on Jan. 6 that the Secret Service had improperly deleted text messages for the dates surrounding the attempted coup. A spokesperson for the Secret Service promptly responded by calling the inspector general a liar, saying that while “data resident on some phones” was lost as part of a “pre-planned system migration,” it wasn’t as if anything had been deleted.

In fact, said the spokesperson, “none of the texts [the inspector general’s office] was seeking had been lost in the migration.” That statement came exactly two days before the Secret Service informed the select committee that, whoops, it had no texts to provide. Except, somehow, for exactly one from former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund.

All of which makes it seems like the Secret Service deliberately purged its text messages from the period, then lied about purging them. Spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi also appears to have lied when he claimed that the Secret Service deleted those text messages before it had any idea there was a reason to keep them, as Congress ordered the preservation of those records ten days after the assault on the Capitol.

With all that, it’s not a huge surprise that NBC News is reporting DHS has opened a criminal investigation into the Secret Service.
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On Wednesday, Cuffari reportedly informed the Secret Service that the investigation into those text messages is now a criminal investigation.

In a letter from Inspector General Gladys Ayala to Secret Service Director James Murray, the inspector general’s office called a halt on any other action concerning the texts from the Secret Service side. That includes a freeze on all digital media, and insists that the Secret Service ”immediately refrain from interviewing potential witnesses, collecting devices, or taking any other action that would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.”

The immediate result is some confusion: The select committee has subpoenaed the Secret Service for those messages, while the inspector general has ordered them to stop looking. Past messages from the Secret Service and statements from Guglielmi had demonstrated a high level of disdain for inspector general Cuffari. So it would not be surprising to find that the agency erred on the side of ignoring his instructions.

On the other hand, there is the phrase “criminal investigation.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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An Atlanta-area judge said Thursday he will not quash subpoenas for 11 of the "fake electors" who participated in a plan to subvert the Electoral College and are now targets of an ongoing criminal investigation.

Judge Robert McBurney of Fulton County Superior Court said he would let the parties work out a framework with the Fulton County District Attorney's Office regarding their appearance before the grand jury and potentially invoking their Fifth Amendment rights.

"I will not be quashing any of the subpoenas," McBurney said during a motion hearing. "I'm going to let the parties develop the framework they want to use as we go forward," he continued, adding that "It may be that the witnesses have very brief appearances in front of the grand jury."......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Former first lady Melania Trump said in a new interview with Fox that she was "unaware" of the ongoing riot on January 6, 2021, because she was too busy photographing a rug in the White House.

"On January 6, 2021, I was fulfilling one of my duties as First Lady of the United States of America, and accordingly, I was unaware of what was simultaneously transpiring at the US Capitol Building," she said.

Trump said it was her "duty" as first lady to archive the contents of the White House, which is not exactly true. The White House curator and the White House Historical Association are predominantly responsible for keeping a record of the contents of the official White House collection.

"As with all first ladies who preceded me, it was my obligation to record the contents of the White House's historic rooms, including taking archival photographs of all the renovations. Several months in advance, I organized a qualified team of photographers, archivists, and designers to work with me in the White House to ensure perfect execution," she continued. "As required, we scheduled January 6, 2021, to complete the work on behalf of our Nation."

Trump's response comes several weeks after Stephanie Grisham, her former chief of staff, revealed a text message exchange in which the former first lady responded to a tweet Grisham had drafted calling for the violence on Capitol Hill to stop as it was happening. The then-first lady responded with the word, "no," declining to send a statement condemning the insurrection.

In the interview with Fox, Trump claimed she was in the dark about what was happening that day, although it was broadcast worldwide on television and all over social media. Trump said Grisham "failed to provide insight and information" that day.

"Had I been fully informed of all the details, naturally, I would have immediately denounced the violence that occurred at the Capitol Building," Trump said. "And while Ms. Grisham's behavior is disappointing, it is not surprising or an isolated incident."

In response to Trump's statements, Grisham told CNN, "Everything she said is bullshit and she knows it."

Trump waited until five days after the riot to tweet a condemnation of the violence.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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LIVE: Follow along with the Jan. 6 committee for its eighth public hearing
Brandi Buchman

Tonight the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol will convene its eighth public hearing, where investigators will pore over a gut-wrenching 187 minutes of former President Donald Trump’s dereliction during the Capitol attack.

Tonight’s hearing will start at 8 PM ET and is expected to be the final public hearing. However, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson has emphasized repeatedly in recent days that should another hearing be warranted, investigators are open to conducting it. For now, the plan for panel members is to continue interviews and collecting evidence as they barrel toward publishing an interim report in September. A final report will follow, though details on that deadline are not yet clear. Thompson has indicated that he is eager to wrap things up before November midterms.

Witnesses expected Thursday night include two former White House officials who submitted their resignations on the day of the attack: Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews. Pottinger is a former U.S. Marine and journalist who later served on Trump’s National Security Council. Matthews served as the White House deputy press secretary.

More on tonight’s witnesses is available in the related story links below. The committee is expected to air additional testimony from former White House lawyer Pat Cipollone. It is anticipated that more will be exposed regarding Trump’s surreal video message that he issued hours after the Capitol was stormed. Outtakes from the video—which reportedly required at least three takes before it was deemed publicly acceptable—are expected to be shown. Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Elaine Luria will lead the hearing tonight and Thompson, who was recently stricken with COVID-19, will appear remotely.
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Thursday, Jul 21, 2022 · 8:03:16 PM EDT · Brandi Buchman

Tonight’s hearing is now underway. Vicechair Cheney will preside after Chairman Thompson contracted Covid-19.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Cassidy Hutchinson's claims about Trump fighting to go to Capitol confirmed by multiple witnesses
Mark Sumner

On June 28, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson gave what was, until then, some of the most shocking testimony of the Jan. 6 hearings. In a session that was added to the schedule with little notice, Hutchinson came forward to say that Donald Trump was aware that many in the crowd present at his rally were armed; that Donald Trump was determined to go to the Capitol to personally led the insurrection already in progress; and that Trump got into an angry confrontation with his driver and members of the Secret Service when they failed to deliver him to the heart of the mob.

For her courage, Hutchinson was roundly attacked in right wing circles. Multiple news sources—including the Washington Post, New York Times, and broadcast networks—claimed that anonymous sources had informed them that members of the Secret Service were ready to testify that Hutchinson’s claims were false, and there was no altercation inside the presidential limousine. Both Trump and Trump supporters in Congress made Hutchinson the target of claims that she was a liar, with Trump claiming that Hutchinson was just upset that she had been turned down for a job at Mar-a-Lago because “no one wants her.”

But the ninth hearing of the committee jumped straight into testimony from multiple witnesses that confirmed and expanded on Hutchinson’s testimony.
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The first part of this testimony came from a “security professional working in the White House complex on Jan. 6.” It’s highly likely that this individual was a member of the Secret Service or an official involved in national security, but the committee went out of the way to protect the identity of this witness, using a disguised voice and no images. Considering the way that the Secret Service handled emails related to Jan. 6, it seems a very good idea that, if this witness was part of that agency, they be protected from other agents. Rep. Elaine Luria noted that some witnesses have “expressed a fear of retribution.”

The witness quickly confirmed that the White House was aware of multiple reports that members of the crowd at Trump’s rally, some of whom were already at the Capitol as Trump began to speak, were heavily armed. Then the witness confirmed not only that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol, but that everyone was aware of what would happen if he did.

Witness: “To be completely honest, we were all in a state of shock. … We all knew what that implicated. What that meant. That this was no longer a rally, that this was going to move to something else if he physically walked to the Capitol. I don’t want to know if you want to use the word insurrection or coup. Whatever. We all knew that this would move from a normal democratic public event into something else.”

This was followed by D.C. Police sergeant Mark Robinson, who confirmed the other part of Hutchinson’s testimony — that Trump had an altercation with his driver and others in the motorcade in an attempt to force the vehicles to take him to the Capitol.


Robinson: “The president was upset, and was adamant about going to the Capitol, and there was a heated discussion about that.” Robinson also testified that, even though he had been part of the presidential motorcade over 100 times, this was the only time he was aware of Trump arguing over where the driver was trying to go.
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blue aardvark
Jul 21, 2022 at 09:55:42 PM

It is pretty significant that witnesses need protection as though they were testifying against organized crime.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The House Republican Conference publicly attacked Sarah Matthews, former deputy press secretary in the Trump White House, for testifying before the Jan. 6 Committee – despite the fact that she is currently working as a communications director for the Republican staff on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

“Just another liar and pawn in Pelosi’s witch-hunt,” House Republicans tweeted during Thursday’s Jan. 6 committee hearing, quoting another tweet from Matthews on Jan. 20, 2021, thanking former President Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence for their service and saying that it was an honor to serve in their administration.

The tweet was quickly deleted.

“The tweet was sent out at the staff level and was not authorized or the position of the conference and therefore was deleted,” a House GOP spokesperson said.

The tweet garnered public blowback and criticism. Alyssa Farah Griffin, former White House strategic communications director, took aim at House GOP Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) over the tweet.

“.@RepStefanik, a woman I once admired, is allowing the official @HouseGOP account to be used to defame a fellow Republican woman for bravely testifying before Congress under oath. Shameful,” Farah Griffin tweeted. “Glad the tweet was taken down,” she later added.

She, too, later deleted those tweets.


Matthews offered testimony to the panel about what she saw on Jan. 6. Matthews described one tweet sent by Trump as giving a “green light” to those attacking the Capitol.
 

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