For those interested in the complex world of state-sponsored terrorism lawsuits, the DC Court of Appeals today ruled that family members of victims didn't need to be on the scene of an attack to claim intentional infliction of emotional distress dccourts.gov/sites/default/…
These lawsuits are typically filed in federal court, but this case — involving a suit against Sudan over the Dar es Salaam and Nairobi attacks in 1998 — raised a question of DC law that the DC Circuit certified to the DC Court of Appeals (DC's highest local court) to resolve
There is a lot of money at stake in state-sponsored terrorism cases — judges have ordered billions of dollars in judgments against Iran and Sudan over the years. Iran doesn't participate in the litigation, but Sudan has started to, and is trying to fight the damages
A brief digression from all the Kavanaugh news to talk about a report released today by the DOJ inspector general's office about how the Bureau of Prisons manages female inmates. Here's the report: oig.justice.gov/reports/2018/e…
The conclusion: "Overall, we concluded that BOP has not been strategic in its management of female inmates." BOP only recently took steps to review its own progress following a manual for how to manage female inmates, and didn't require special training for national exec staff
Getting into the details, the report focused on issues with trauma treatment (long wait lists at some prisons), underuse of programs for pregnant inmates, and lack of clear policies re: how prisons should handle the distribution of feminine hygiene products
Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements on 12/1/17: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil… He agreed to delay sentencing while he cooperated with Mueller's office. More than nine months later-->
Earlier in the summer, there were signs we were getting closer to sentencing in Flynn's case. In early July, the lawyers said they weren't ready yet, but asked if the court could start the process of getting a presentence report ready
That's not normally how things work, so the judge, US District Judge Emmet Sullivan held a hearing on July 10 to get more info. Sullivan wasn't the judge who did Flynn's plea hearing, so he explained he also wanted a chance to get to know the parties before sentencing
BREAKING: Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort is expected to enter a guilty plea. Special counsel Mueller's office just filed a new criminal information, a type of charging document that usually means there's a plea deal buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
NEW: The court just changed Manafort's upcoming 11 a.m. hearing from a "pretrial conference" to an "arraignment and plea agreement hearing." Story: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
Waiting in the hall to go in for Manafort's 11 a.m. plea agreement hearing, and a whole crew from Mueller's office just showed up: Weissmann, Andres, Rhee, Prelogar, Dreeben, Jed, Van Grack, and EDVA AUSA Asonye. Check back for updates, story here: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
Here's the latest status report in the Ms. L case (family separation class action): As of 9/10, the govt had reunited 8 more kids with parents and discharged 24 kids (to sponsors, for instance) assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4878…
This week's report (left pic) organizes the numbers differently from last week's (right pic). The govt has characterized a large number of parents, in the US and outside of the US, as no longer part of the covered class, b/c the ACLU has confirmed they don't wish to be reunified
So basically, per this latest chart from the govt, there are 211 kids in ORR care who the govt is working to reunify with a parent or discharge to a sponsor, or
who the govt and the ACLU are still trying to figure out if they're eligible for reunification
The court judge ruled DOJ has to turn over a few redacted documents involving communications with the White House related to a FOIA request for docs re: the Hensarling situation — the judge reviewed the docs and said they're not protected by attorney-client privilege
On the other hand, the judge found that DOJ properly withheld documents between an exec branch agency and three DOJ offices — some are a clear request for legal advice and some divule confidential agency info, he wrote
The Judicial Conference, the policymaking body for the federal courts, today released a set of proposed changes to the Code of Conduct and the Rules for Judicial Conduct/Disability Proceedings: uscourts.gov/rules-policies…
The proposed changes include new sections expanding definitions of misconduct, and making clear that if a judge sees what is clearly misconduct and doesn't report it, that is itself misconduct
The Judicial Conference's meeting is not open to the public. DC Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland, as chair of the conference's Executive Committee, briefed reporters after today's meeting. He said the judges heard from AG Sessions and Reps. Goodlatte, Issa, and Johnson
#SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh's responses to written Qs from Senate Judiciary members are in: judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/… There's a long answer in response to Qs from Whitehouse about his finances: "I have not had gambling debts or participated in “fantasy” leagues"
Kavanaugh on what happened with him not shaking the hand of the father of a Parkland shooting victim: "If I had known who he was, I would have shaken his hand, talked to him, and expressed my sympathy. And I would have listened to him." Prev. on this: buzzfeednews.com/article/amberj…
Leahy asks: "Do you personally believe that Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, or white nationalists are “fine people”?"
Kavanaugh: "There is no place in American public life for vile ideologies of hate."
Alleged Russian agent Maria Butina is due back in court this afternoon. Butina's lawyers are argung to have her released pending trial. The government is asking for a gag order for her laywers. Previously on a judge's decision to detain her: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
- The judge denied Maria Butina's motion to reconsider her pretrial detention, agreeing w/ earlier finding that there were no release conditions that would ensure she doesn't try to flee
- The judge imposed a gag order, finding comments by Butina's lawyer crossed a line
The judge did ding the govt for making the "rather salacious" claim that Butina offered sex for a position and then walking it back, saying it took her five minutes after reading the messages to conclude they were a joke. Judge said she was "dismayed" by govt's handling
We may get a bit more info soon on what's going on in Andrew Miller's (former Roger Stone associate) case, the judge will unseal the joint motion filed to unseal the contempt order against Miller. Previously from @chrisgeidner on this:
Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has been sentenced to 14 days in prison -- the judge said he was prepared to sentence him to 30 days, but was impressed with Papadopoulos's show of remorse buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
George Papadopoulos donned sunglasses and did not speak to reporters as he exited the courthouse with his wife and got into a black SUV. Story: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
George Papadopoulos was the first person to plead guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, in October 2017. Nearly a year (and what feels like several lifetimes) later, he was sentenced to 14 days in prison buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos is going to be sentenced this afternoon. This is the first time we'll see him in court — when he pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, it was in a sealed hearing. Our first story on him: buzzfeednews.com/article/buzzfe…
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. He admitted misleading agents about his comms with people who said they had connections to Russia during the campaign. You'll recall he's the one who said a professor told him the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton
Papadopoulos is asking for no jail time: buzzfeednews.com/article/chrisg… Yes he lied, his lawyers said, but it was to try and protect his career and out of a "perhaps misguided" loyalty to Trump, not to actively hinder the investigation. He's cooperated as part of the plea deal
New: Jerome Corsi, the conservative author with ties to Roger Stone who was subpoenaed by Mueller's office to testify before the grand jury today, will *not* be making an appearance, his lawyer says. No further comment. Earlier: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
Earlier this week, Corsi's lawyer told us he was trying to set up a separate sit-down with Mueller's office, which could make a grand jury appearance unnecessary. But his lawyer isn't commenting now on what happened
The grand jury will still have something to do this morning -- Randy Credico, another witness in Roger Stone's orbit, just arrived at the courthouse. Here he is with his dog Bianca
Day three of Brett Kavanaugh's #SCOTUS confirmation hearing is set to begin in about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, protesters have taken over Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley's office
Here's Kavanaugh coming in. Grassely has gaveled in to start the hearing, and begins by addressing the controversy over the public release of confidential documents, saying Dems "only have themselves to blame if they didn't get the documents they wanted"
Grassley said that in order to accomodate last-minute requests to release committee confidential documents, they're working with the Justice Dept. to get those out. Grassley says that before the day is over, members will have the docs they want to ask Qs
Sen. Hirono just asked a series of Qs related to sexual harassment. She started by asking two Qs she asks all judicial nominees: 1. If they ever engaged in sexual harassment as an adult, and 2. If they ever faced discipline/entered into any settlements. Kavanaugh says no to both
Kavanaugh clerked for and remained close with former judge Alex Kozinski, who stepped down amid multiple allegations of harassment by former clerks (see: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…). Hirono asks if Kavanaugh knew about allegations of harassment against Kozinski. Kavanaugh says no
Hatch had previously asked if Kavanaugh was on an email list that Kozinski used to have to send out sexually explicit and crude jokes. Kavanaugh said he didn't remember that. Hirono asks him about this again. He said doesn't remember "anything like that"
All eyes are on Kavanaugh this morning, but I'm a few blocks away at the federal courthouse, where Paul Manafort's lawyers and prosecutors are back for a pretrial conference (you'll recall jury selection is set to begin 9/17, and opening statements are scheduled to start 9/24)
The latest hearing in Paul Manafort's DC case just wrapped up. We got a series of rulings from the judge on what will and will not be allowed in his upcoming trial — some are similar to the EDVA case, and some are different:
- No evidence allowed about the fact that the Russian collusion probe is ongoing; judge said this means the lawyers will need to be careful about how they ask Rick Gates about his cooperation (if he testifies, that is — the govt said that wasn't for sure yet)
Judge Brett Kavanaugh's #SCOTUS hearings kick off this morning. Dems are furious at the number of docs being withheld re: his time in the White House under W. Bush. Republicans are defending the extent of disclosures. @chrisgeidner has been on it -->
The Kavanaugh hearing just got started and there's already chaos. Dems are interrupting Grassley as he starts to read his opening statement to protest the latest production of docs right before the hearing. Blumenthal is moving to adjourn. Grassley says they will proceed.
It began with Sen. Harris jumping in as soon as Grassley began, to say they had not been given the opportunity to review documents. Sen. Blumenthal pressed to adjourn. Now Sen. Booker is calling for time to debate the process.
Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Alexandria anymore. Hello on this steamy morning from the DC federal courthouse, where there's a pretrial hearing in Paul Manafort's case. Jury selection is set to start Sept. 17
Here's the pretrial statement both sides filed last week: assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4792… There are several pending motions, incl. the govt's motion to exclude selective prosecution args and Manafort's motion to exclude info about legal advice he got on FARA
And on a related note, check out this story from @aviswanatha, who reports that there were plea discussions to try to resolve Manafort's DC case, but they stalled wsj.com/articles/manaf…
New: The latest status report in the Ms. L family separation class action is in. As of 8/20, there were 528 children in federal care where the adult associated with them is either ineligible for reunification or is unavailable assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4782…
This number is down from the 565 children who were identified as being in ORR care as of 8/16. There was a drop in the number of children with parents who indicated they didn't want to be reunified, and kids with parents outside the US
And here are the latest numbers from the ACLU on efforts by a steering committee to reach parents who are outside the US, which make up the largest proportion of adults associated with children still in the US
NEW: Another federal judge, this time in Maryland, has rejected the Trump administration's effort to get legal challenges to the inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census tossed out of court assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4780…
Last month, a federal judge in Manhattan denied the administration's motion to get one of the citizenship question lawsuits dismissed in that court, see: buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetil…
The judge in Maryland found that the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged at this early stage of the case that a citizenship question in the Census doesn't bear a “reasonable relationship to the accomplishment of an actual enumeration of the population"
Manafort Trial Day 16: The jury is set to begin its fourth day of deliberations at 9:30am. We haven't gotten any questions from the jurors since the first day, so it's tough to guess where they're at. On yesterday's (non)excitement:
The jury went out to deliberate at 9:37 am (by my watch). No other business was discussed and the judge recessed. Now we wait. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: The Manafort jury may be having trouble reaching a consensus. They sent out a note asking: if they could not reach a consensus "on a single count," how should they fill out the verdict form, and what did that mean for the final verdict? Nothing is final yet, however
Manafort Trial Day 15: More waiting. The third day of jury deliberations is set to kick off at 9:30am. What's the jury thinking? We don't know much -- they sent out just one note on Friday, and it was to ask for a 5pm departure. Stay tuned.
The jury went out to begin deliberating at 9:33am. Notable: Special counsel prosecutor Greg Andres was not in court. Ellis noted his absence, and said he hoped Andres was okay. AUSA Uzo Asonye replied, "He's fine, your honor" (no indication re: where he is)
Recall that last week, the judge said he planned to unseal most sealed bench conferences once the trial is over. Today, he asked the lawyers to confer about what should stay sealed (having to do with any ongoing investigations) — judge said it should be "very, very little"
Special counsel Robert Mueller's office filed its sentencing memo tonight for George Papadopoulos. Prosecutors aren't recommending a specific sentence, but argue that something in the guidelines range of 0-6 months "is appropriate and warranted" assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4776…
Govt argues Papadopoulos' lies to investigators "were not only deliberate, but repeated," and warrant incarceration. They also said that around the time he provided false statements in Jan. 2017, he was actively seeking a job in the Trump administration assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4776…
George Papadopoulos' sentencing memo is due Aug. 31. His sentencing is set for Sept. 7.
The jury went out to deliberate at 9:37am. After they left, the judge addressed a motion that a coalition of media groups (including BuzzFeed) filed seeking info on jurors and to unseal various sealed docs/transcripts. Here's the motion: assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4770…
The judge granted the media's motion to intervene to argue for access, and said he'd try to hold a hearing this afternoon on the substance of the request. The judge said he plans to release sealed materials at the end of the case, with "one exception" (didn't say what that was)