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Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied To Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme To Co-Opt CIA/FBI To Tar Trump

Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied To Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme To Co-Opt CIA/FBI To Tar Trump Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations.com, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan figures prominently in a grand jury investigation run by Special Counsel John Durham into an alleged 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign scheme to use both the FBI and CIA to tar Donald Trump as a colluder with Russia, according to people familiar with the criminal probe, which they say has broadened into a conspiracy case. Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan as Clinton campaign adviser for the 2016 election. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File Sullivan is facing scrutiny, sources say, over potentially false statements he made about his involvement in the effort, which continued after the election and into 2017. As a senior foreign policy adviser to Clinton, Sullivan spearheaded what was known inside her campaign as a “confidential project” to link Trump to the Kremlin through dubious email-server records provided to the agencies, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Last week, Michael A. Sussmann, a partner in Perkins Coie, a law firm representing the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of making false statements to the FBI about his clients and their motives behind planting the rumor, at the highest levels of the FBI, of a secret Trump-Russia server. After a months-long investigation, the FBI found no merit to the rumor. The grand jury indicated in its lengthy indictment that several people were involved in the alleged conspiracy to mislead the FBI and trigger an investigation of the Republican presidential candidate -- including Sullivan, who was described by his campaign position but not identified by name. The Clinton campaign project, these sources say, also involved compiling a "digital dossier” on several Trump campaign officials – including Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Carter Page. This effort exploited highly sensitive, nonpublic Internet data related to their personal email communications and web-browsing, known as Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses. Alleged targets: Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page. YouTube/CNN/FNC/RCP To mine the data, the Clinton campaign enlisted a team of Beltway computer contractors as well as university researchers with security clearance who often collaborate with the FBI and the intelligence community. They worked from a five-page campaign document called the "Trump Associates List." The tech group also pulled logs purportedly from servers for a Russian bank and Trump Tower, and the campaign provided the data to the FBI on two thumb drives, along with three “white papers” that claimed the data indicated the Trump campaign was secretly communicating with Moscow through a server in Trump Tower and the Alfa Bank in Russia. Based on the material, the FBI opened at least one investigation, adding to several others it had already initiated targeting the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016. Michael Sussmann: Indicted former Clinton campaign lawyer allegedly coordinated with Jake Sullivan on dubious materials provided to the FBI and media. perkinscoie.com The indictment states that Sussmann, as well as the cyber experts recruited for the operation, "coordinated with representatives and agents of the Clinton campaign with regard to the data and written materials that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media." One of those campaign agents was Sullivan, according to emails Durham obtained. On Sept. 15, 2016 – just four days before Sussmann handed off the materials to the FBI – Marc Elias, his law partner and fellow Democratic Party operative, "exchanged emails with the Clinton campaign’s foreign policy adviser concerning the Russian bank allegations," as well as with other top campaign officials, the indictment states. The sources close to the case confirmed the "foreign policy adviser" referenced by title is Sullivan. They say he was briefed on the development of the opposition-research materials tying Trump to Alfa Bank, and was aware of the participants in the project. These included the Washington opposition-research group Fusion GPS, which worked for the Clinton campaign as a paid agent and helped gather dirt on Alfa Bank and draft the materials Elias discussed with Sullivan, the materials Sussmann would later submit to the FBI. Fusion researchers were in regular contact with both Sussmann and Elias about the project in the summer and fall of 2016. Sullivan also personally met with Elias, who briefed him on Fusion's opposition research, according to the sources. Sullivan maintained in congressional testimony in December 2017 that he didn’t know of Fusion’s involvement in the Alfa Bank opposition research. In the same closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, he also denied knowing anything about Fusion in 2016 or who was conducting the opposition research for the campaign. "Marc [Elias] ... would occasionally give us updates on the opposition research they were conducting, but I didn't know what the nature of that effort was – inside effort, outside effort, who was funding it, who was doing it, anything like that," Sullivan stated under oath. Jake Sullivan's December 2017 House testimony may put him in perjury jeopardy.  House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Sullivan also testified he didn’t know that Perkins Coie, the law firm where Elias and Sussmann were partners, was working for the Clinton campaign until October 2017, when it was reported in the media as part of stories revealing the campaign's contract with Fusion, which also produced the so-called Steele dossier. Sullivan maintained he didn’t even know that the politically prominent Elias worked for Perkins Coie, a well-known Democratic law firm. Major media stories from 2016 routinely identified Elias as "general counsel for the Clinton campaign" and a "partner at Perkins Coie." "To be honest with you, Marc wears a tremendous number of hats, so I wasn’t sure who he was representing," Sullivan testified. "I sort of thought he was, you know, just talking to us as, you know, a fellow traveler in this — in this campaign effort." Although he acknowledged knowing Elias and his partner were marshaling opposition researchers for a campaign project targeting Trump, Sullivan insisted, "They didn’t do something with it." In truth, they used the research to instigate a full-blown investigation at the FBI and seed a number of stories in the Washington media, which Elias discussed in emails. Marc Elias: Prominent Democrat lawyer allegedly also coordinated with Sullivan. Sullivan would later plead ignorance under oath about Elias's role. Perkins Coie Lying to Congress is a felony. Though the offense is rarely prosecuted, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller won convictions of two of Trump’s associates on charges of that very offense. An attorney for Sullivan did not respond to questions, while a spokeswoman for the National Security Council declined comment. After the 2016 election, Sullivan continued to participate in the anti-Trump effort, which enlisted no fewer than three Internet companies and two university computer researchers, who persisted in exploiting nonpublic Internet data to conjure up “derogatory information on Trump" and his associates, according to the indictment.Prosecutors say the operation ran through at least February 2017, when Sullivan met with another central figure in the plot to plant the anti-Trump smear at the FBI. But now the goal was to compel agents to continue investigating the false rumors in the wake of the election, thereby keeping Trump's presidency under an ethical cloud. Daniel Jones: One of the lead figures in helping resurrect the Trump-Russia collusion narrative after Trump's election, Jones coordinated with Sullivan in hatching the effort. McCain Institute/YouTube On Feb. 10, 2017, Sullivan huddled with two Fusion operatives and their partner Daniel Jones, a former FBI analyst and Democratic staffer on the Hill, to hatch the post-election plan to resurrect rumors Trump was a tool of the Kremlin. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, the meeting, which lasted about an hour and took place in a Washington office building, also included former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The group discussed raising money to finance a multimillion-dollar opposition research project headed by Jones to target the new president. In effect, Jones’ operation would replace the Clinton campaign’s operation, continuing the effort to undermine Trump. It’s not clear if Sussmann attended the Feb. 10 meeting, but he was apparently still involved in the operation, along with his crew of data miners. The day before the meeting attended by Sullivan, Sussmann paid a visit to the CIA’s Langley headquarters to peddle the disinformation about the secret server – this time to top officials there, according to the sources familiar with Durham's investigation. During a roughly 90-minute meeting, Sussmann provided two officials at the intelligence headquarters “updated” documents and data he'd provided the FBI before the election, RealClearInvestigations has learned exclusively. Then, on March 28, 2017, Jones met with the FBI to pass on supposedly fresh leads he and the cyber researchers had learned about the Alfa Bank server and Trump, and the FBI looked into the new leads after having closed its investigation a month earlier. That same month, FBI Director James Comey publicly announced the bureau was investigating possible “coordination" between Moscow and the newly sworn-in president's campaign. Despite the renewed push by Jones, the FBI debunked the tip of a nefarious Russian back channel. Agents learned the email server in question wasn’t even controlled by the Trump Organization. "It wasn’t true," Mueller confirmed in 2019 testimony. It turns out that the supposed “secret server" was housed in the small Pennsylvania town of Lititz, and not  Trump Tower in New York City, and it was operated by a marketing firm based in Florida called Cendyn that routinely blasts out emails promoting multiple hotel chains. Simply put, the third-party server sent spam to Alfa Bank employees who used Trump hotels. The bank had maintained a New York office since 2001. “The FBI’s investigation revealed that the email server at issue was not owned or operated by the Trump Organization but, rather, had been administrated by a mass-marketing email company that sent advertisements for Trump hotels and hundreds of other clients,” Durham wrote in his indictment. Nonetheless, Jones and Sullivan kept promoting the canard as true. Democrat Senators Mark Warner and Ron Wyden: Conduits for TDIP's Trump-Russia material. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik With help from Sullivan and Podesta in 2017, Jones launched a nonprofit group called The Democracy Integrity Project, which raised some $7 million mainly from Silicon Valley tech executives. TDIP hired computer researchers, as well as Fusion opposition researchers and Christopher Steele, the British author of the now-discredited Steele dossier, to “prove” the rumors in the dossier. As they sought new dirt on Trump, they fed their information to media outlets, leading Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee (namely Sens. Mark Warner and Ron Wyden), and the FBI. Jones previously worked on the Senate intelligence panel, which had launched a major investigation of Trump and Russia, and he provided a pipeline of information for the committee, according to the sources. As RCI first reported, Jones emailed a daily news bulletin known as "TDIP Research" to prominent Beltway journalists to keep the Trump-Russia “collusion” rumor-mill going, including the debunked rumor about the "secret server." Durham has subpoenaed Jones to testify before his grand jury hearing the case, along with computer experts and researchers recruited by Sussmann for the Clinton campaign project, persons close to the investigation said. Attempts to reach Jones for comment were unsuccessful. In a statement, Durham said his investigation "is ongoing." Special Counsel John Durham: Lengthy single count "speaking" indictment of Sussmann suggests a broader conspiracy case in the works. AP Indictments for a single-count process crime such as making a false statement normally run a page or two. But Durham’s filing charging Sussmann spans 27 pages and is packed with detail. FBI veterans say the 40-year prosecutor used the indictment to outline a broader conspiracy case he’s building that invokes several other federal statutes. "That is what we call a 'speaking indictment,' meaning it is far more detailed than is required for a simple indictment under [federal statute] 1001,” which outlaws making false statements and representations to federal investigators, former assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker said in an interview with RealClearInvestigations. "It is damning,” he added. “And I see it as a placeholder for additional indictments, such as government grant and contract fraud, computer intrusion, the Privacy Act and other laws against dissemination of personally identifiable information, and mail fraud and wire fraud – not to mention conspiracy to commit those offenses." Chris Swecker: The Sussmann indictment "is damning," and "I definitely see more to come," says the ex-top FBI investigator. Miller & Martin "I definitely see more [indictments] to come,” emphasized Swecker, who knows Durham personally and worked with him on prior investigations. The sources close to the case said former FBI general counsel James Baker, who accepted the sketchy materials from Sussmann and passed them on to agents for investigation, is cooperating with Durham’s investigation, along with former FBI counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap, who has provided prosecutors contemporaneous notes about what led the bureau to open an investigation into the allegations Trump used Alfa Bank as a conduit between his campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin to steal the election. According to the sources, Durham also has found evidence Sussmann misled the CIA, another front in the scandal being reported here for the first time. In December 2016, the sources say Sussmann phoned the general counsel at the agency and told her the same story about the supposed secret server – at the same time the CIA was compiling a national intelligence report that accused Putin of meddling in the election to help Trump win. Sussmann told Caroline Krass, then the agency’s top attorney, that he had information that may help her with a review President Obama had ordered of all intelligence related to the election and Russia, known as the Intelligence Community Assessment. The review ended up including an annex with several unfounded and since-debunked allegations against Trump developed by the Clinton campaign. It’s not clear if the two-page annex, which claimed the allegations were “consistent with the judgments in this assessment,” included the Alfa Bank canard. Before it was made public, several sections had been redacted. But after Sussmann conveyed the information to Krass, an Obama appointee, she told him she would consider it for the intelligence review of Russian interference, which tracks with Sussmann’s 2017 closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. (Krass’ name is blacked out in the declassified transcript, but sources familiar with Sussmann's testimony confirmed that he identified her as his CIA contact.) Caroline Krass: Michael Sussmann also gave  Trump-Russia material to this CIA lawyer. CIA/Wikipedia “We’re interested,” said Krass, who left the agency several months later. "We’re doing this review and I’ll speak to someone here.” It’s not known if Sussmann failed to inform the top CIA lawyer that he was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign, as he’s alleged to have done at the FBI. Attempts to reach Krass, who now serves as Biden’s top lawyer at the Pentagon, were unsuccessful. But in his return trip to the CIA after the election, Sussmann “stated falsely – as he previously had stated to the FBI general counsel – that he was ‘not representing a particular client,’ " according to the Durham indictment, which cites a contemporaneous memo drafted by two agency officials with whom Sussmann met that memorializes their meeting. (The document refers to the CIA by the pseudonym “Agency-2.” Sources confirm Agency-2 is the CIA.) Remarkably, the CIA did not ask for the source of Sussmann’s walk-in tip, including where he got several data files he gave the agency. The FBI exhibited a similar lack of curiosity when Sussmann told it about the false Trump/Alfa Bank connection. Attempts to reach Sussmann to get his side to the additional CIA allegations leveled by Durham were unsuccessful. The 57-year-old attorney pleaded not guilty to a single felony count and was released on a $100,000 bond Friday. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.The prominent Washington lawyer quietly resigned from Perkins Coie, which has scrubbed all references to him from its website. And late last month, as rumors of the indictment swirled, the powerhouse law firm divested its entire Political Law Group formerly headed by Marc Elias – who commissioned the Steele dossier. Elias, who worked closely with Sussmann on the Trump-Alfa Bank project, also is no longer employed by the firm. Jake Sullivan’s Golf Cart Rounds In late July 2016, during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the CIA picked up Russian chatter about a Clinton foreign policy adviser who was trying to develop allegations to “vilify" Trump. The intercepts said Clinton herself had approved a “plan" to “stir up a scandal” against Trump by tying him to Putin. According to hand-written notes, then-CIA chief John Brennan warned President Obama that Moscow had intercepted information about the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016, of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump.” That summer, Brennan had personally briefed Democrats, including then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on the Alfa Bank-Trump server rumors, according to congressional reports. Reid fired off a letter to Comey demanding that the FBI do more to investigate Trump's ties to Russia. During that convention, Sullivan drove a golf cart from one TV-network news tent in the parking lot to another, pitching producers and anchors a story that Trump was conspiring with Putin to steal the election. CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News, as well as Chris Wallace of Fox News, all gave him airtime to spin the Clinton campaign’s unfounded theories. Sullivan also gave off-camera background briefings to reporters. "We were on a mission," Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri later admitted in a Washington Post column. “We wanted to raise the alarm." Then, on the eve of the election, Sullivan claimed in a written campaign statement that Trump and the Russians had set up a “secret hotline” through Alfa Bank, and he suggested “federal authorities” were investigating “this direct connection between Trump and Russia.” He portrayed the shocking discovery as the work of independent experts — “computer scientists” — without disclosing their attachment to the campaign. “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan claimed. Clinton teed up his statement in an Oct. 31, 2016, tweet, which quickly went viral. Also that day, Clinton tweeted, “It’s time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia,” while attaching a meme that read: “Donald Trump has a secret server. It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank called Alfa Bank.” The Clinton campaign played up the bogus Trump-Alfa Bank story on the eve of the 2016 election. Twitter/@HillaryClinton It’s not immediately apparent if then-Vice President Joe Biden was briefed about the Alfa Bank tale or other Trump-Russia rumors and investigations. Biden has never been questioned about his own role in the investigation of Trump. However, it was the former vice president who introduced the idea of prosecuting Trump’s national security adviser appointee, Gen. Flynn, under the Logan Act of 1799, a dead-letter statute that prohibits private citizens from interfering in U.S. foreign policy and which hasn’t been used to prosecute anyone in modern times. According to notes taken by then-FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, who attended a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting with Obama and Biden, in which Trump, Flynn and Russia were discussed, Biden raised the idea: “VP: Logan Act,” the notes read. Although he’s not an attorney, Sullivan has argued in congressional testimony and elsewhere that Flynn violated the Logan Act, raising suspicions he may have put the idea in Biden’s head. Sullivan had advised the vice president before joining the Clinton campaign. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

The Houston doctor who was fired for administering leftover vaccine doses is suing Harris County, Texas, after being acquitted by a grand jury

"I don't think I was treated fairly, so I'm hoping to get a sense of fairness out of this, that's number one," Dr. Hasan Gokal told Insider. Dr. Hasan Gokal Courtesy of David Oates/PR Security Dr. Hasan Gokal was fired in January for giving away 10 COVID-19 vaccine doses that were due to expire. The Harris County District Attorney charged Gokal with theft but a grand jury acquitted him in June. Gokal is now suing Harris County for more than $1 million for discrimination. See more stories on Insider's business page. A Houston doctor who was accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccine doses and later acquitted by a grand jury is now suing Harris County in Texas for discrimination for more than $1 million. Last December, Dr. Hasan Gokal was working with Harris County Public Health at their first vaccination site. At the end of a shift, Gokal tried to find eligible people for leftover doses of the Moderna vaccine that would have expired and went door-to-door to administer shots.Gokal was accused of violating protocols and fired. District Attorney Kim Ogg also filed theft charges against him.Harris County Public Health also reached out to the Texas Medical Board to initiate an investigation for unethical behavior which was dismissed in March. Gokal was unable to work until that investigation was complete. In June, a grand jury acquitted Gokal of the charges. Gokal told Insider it was soon after the charges were dropped that he began thinking about suing the county, but it wasn't until about a month ago that he seriously discussed it with a lawyer. He said while he was relieved the case against him has been dropped, the past nine months weighed heavily on him and his family and hopes the suit will bring him justice."The first few months of this was rough, not being able to do a job. Not sure if my career is over. What's going to happen with the criminal charges and so on and so forth. Anybody in that level of stress and degree of uncertainty in life is going to be impacted by that uncertainty," Gokal said. "It was felt throughout my family. The kids are young and you can see the stress on them. My wife, certainly her condition got worse through all the stress."Gokal added that he's also hoping to ensure this doesn't happen again: "You're talking about a physician who does what a physician does, and you suddenly turn it into a criminal issue. That shouldn't happen to anybody else. Any way you cut it, it's just wrong," he told Insider. Additionally, Gokal said he wants to bring attention to the issue that Harris County Public Health, like other public health agencies across the country, is "not using physicians anymore and they're making decisions on their own without it." He said these agencies are making decisions about public health without necessary experts like doctors. "This has changed in the last year, and it's a very worrisome and dangerous trend," Gokal said. In a press release emailed to Insider, Gokal and his attorney said the public health department told him "he picked the wrong people to help - too many of them had 'Indian' names, too many of them were Asian.""It's very clear that if he had vaccinated people named Anderson, Smith, and Jones he would have been called a hero and not have been fired, charged, vilified, and brought before a grand jury that thankfully refused to indict him," Gokal's attorney, Joe Ahmad, said. The Harris County District Attorney did not respond to Insider's request for comment at the time of publication but previously told CBS News "The District Attorney's Office prosecutes state crimes that occur in Harris County. In pursuing prosecution against all accused, our intent is to seek and obtain justice in every case. We follow a strict protocol of evidence-based prosecution. The criminal charges of Theft by a Public Servant against this Defendant were based upon evidence obtained from witnesses and statements of the accused, both before and after his employment was terminated by the Harris County Health Dept. While grand jury witnesses are also prohibited in Texas from revealing what occurred in the grand jury, they are free to tell you about what they witnessed in an incident."Ahmad told Insider it's not clear how much of a financial loss the charges and case against Gokal will cost him, but they assume the impact will extend for years. "The full nature of the damages isn't known yet because frankly, the economic damages are still being suffered. Dr. Gokal is working, he's taking some shifts in the ER room. It's not the ideal job, but he's doing it," Ahmad told Insider.Gokal told Insider the case caused him a lot of stress and he wasn't able to dedicate his attention to patients full time. Additionally, Ahmad told Insider the publicity from the case has negatively impacted Gokal's reputation. "We believe he's going to be suffering a year from now, two years from now, if for no other reason than the nature of the publicity against him - how he was vilified, nationwide, worldwide," Ahmad said. "And so, do we believe that the damages could exceed $1 million? Absolutely. We'll know more as time goes by."Gokal said he's frustrated because he did what he was supposed to do."I don't think I was treated fairly, so I'm hoping to get a sense of fairness out of this, that's number one," he said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 22nd, 2021

Trump"s lawyer says he"s not worried prosecutors named Trump personally in the tax-fraud indictment against his namesake company

Donald Trump's lawyer Ronald Fischetti said he's confident the Manhattan DA's office wouldn't charge the former president as part of its inquiry. Former President Donald Trump at an August 21 rally in Cullman, Alabama. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images A tax-fraud indictment against the Trump Organization and its CFO personally named Donald Trump. Still, his lawyer Ronald Fischetti told Insider he didn't think the Manhattan DA would charge Trump. He said Trump's tax savings in the alleged fraud scheme would amount to "pennies." See more stories on Insider's business page. An attorney representing Donald Trump said he wasn't worried that the former president was personally named in the indictment against his namesake company, telling Insider he's confident Trump wouldn't be charged in the Manhattan district attorney's long-running investigation.Prosecutors named Trump in charging documents unsealed July 1. They said he cut checks for family members of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, whom they also accused of tax crimes."Trump Corporation personnel, including Weisselberg, arranged for tuition expenses for Weisselberg's family members to be paid by personal checks drawn on the account of and signed by Donald J. Trump, and later drawn on the account of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust," prosecutors alleged in the indictment.Trump's lawyer Ronald Fischetti told Insider the mention had no bearing on the former president's personal legal exposure in the district attorney's investigation. He said Trump paid the tuition bills personally, rather than through corporate accounts, and took "no deductions" on them."All that money paid for [Weisselberg's] grandson's tuition - to the same school that Donald Trump's son Barron goes to - was paid by Donald Trump personally, never from the company," Fischetti said. "No checks ever went from the company to pay for that tuition."Fischetti said Trump made the tuition payments because Weisselberg's son, Barry, was undergoing an acrimonious split from his wife, Jennifer Weisselberg. Trump wanted to make sure the grandchildren of a "trusted employee" could remain at their school, Fischetti said."Donald Trump, out of his generosity, paid for it personally," Fischetti said. "No deductions, no nothing."The Trump Organization is expected to face trial next yearWeisselberg and attorneys for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to a 15-count indictment, where prosecutors described a wide-ranging tax scheme in which they accused Weisselberg of dodging taxes on $1.7 million of his income, much of which they said came in the form of perks like tuition payments, apartments, and cars.Prosecutors said more than $359,000 of that untaxed compensation came in the form of tuition payments from 2012 to 2017. They alleged the tuition payments were categorized as compensation in the Trump Organization's internal records but not on Weisselberg's personal tax forms. The Trump Organization's CFO, Allen Weisselberg, in State Supreme Court in New York City on Monday. Jefferson Siegel/The New York Times via AP Fischetti said that Trump paying the tuition out of his own pocket, rather than corporate coffers, indicated Trump had already paid all the appropriate taxes on his end."It's not taxable for that person," Fischetti said. "And it's not a deduction for the person who's giving it to them."Weisselberg's grandchildren have attended the Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in Manhattan's Upper West Side, which was subpoenaed in the district attorney's investigation.Since last fall, Jennifer Weisselberg has been a cooperating witness and has given troves of documents to prosecutors. She told Insider in an interview earlier this year that the Trump Organization sometimes gave employees perks like apartments and tuition payments in lieu of monetary bonuses as a way to control their lives.In a court hearing Monday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said attorneys for Weisselberg and the Trump Organization had until January to review 6 million pages of documents in the case and submit pretrial motions. Merchan told the attorneys to expect a trial to begin in August or September of next year.Fischetti said Trump's tax savings in the alleged fraud scheme would amount to 'fucking pennies'Bryan Skarlatos, an attorney representing Weisselberg in the case, said in court Monday that he expected more indictments from the grand-jury investigation.Fischetti told Insider he didn't expect Trump to be among the indicted. He said the tax savings prosecutors describe would amount to "pennies" for the former president."This guy's a billionaire. What's he going to get out of this?" he said, adding: "It's fucking pennies! It's ridiculous. They have nothing on the president. Absolutely nothing."Fischetti said he met with prosecutors in June and they'd brought no evidence that Trump had any personal knowledge of or involvement in the alleged tax scheme."They have said nothing about the president knowing about this," Fischetti said. "They have no tape recordings, they have no email, they have no text. They have no documents. They have nothing!" Weisselberg waiting for a car after leaving a court appearance on Monday. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle Prosecutors typically meet with attorneys of people they plan to accuse of white-collar crimes shortly before indictments, but Fischetti said he'd heard nothing from the district attorney's team since that summer meeting. Mark Pomerantz - Fischetti's former law partner and a leading member of the Manhattan district attorney's team - assured Fischetti he'd give him a chance to defend Trump in advance of bringing any charges.Attorneys for other witnesses who've testified before the grand jury said none of the clients had anything to say about Trump's personal involvement, according to Fischetti. He said prosecutors' only hope of indicting Trump would be to "coerce" people to tell the grand jury they acted at Trump's direction."The only thing they could possibly have are witnesses that would go into the grand jury and say, 'Yes, I got a free car and I got a free apartment, and he deducted it from my salary or would give it to me as a bonus so the company made money,'" Fischetti told Insider. "He needs witnesses! He has none! Zero!"A representative for the Manhattan district attorney's office declined to comment for this story.Prosecutors also were said to have been investigating whether the Trump Organization broke tax laws by keeping two sets of books to secure favorable tax, insurance, and loan rates, as well as whether the company broke campaign finance laws by facilitating hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels in advance of the 2016 election.Fischetti said he hasn't heard anything about charges related to those inquiries.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 21st, 2021

Donald Trump"s lawyer says he"s not worried prosecutors named Trump personally in the tax fraud indictment against his namesake company

Donald Trump's lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, said he's confident the Manhattan DA's office won't charge the former president as part of its investigation. Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses supporters during a "Save America" rally at York Family Farms on August 21, 2021 in Cullman, Alabama. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images A tax fraud indictment against the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg personally named Donald Trump. Still, his lawyer Ronald Fischetti told Insider he doesn't believe the Manhattan DA will charge the ex-president. He said Trump's tax savings in the alleged fraud scheme would amount to "fucking pennies." See more stories on Insider's business page. An attorney representing Donald Trump said he isn't worried that the former president is personally named in the indictment against his namesake company, telling Insider he's confident Trump won't be charged in the Manhattan District Attorney's long-running investigation.Prosecutors named Trump in charging documents unsealed on July 1. They said he cut checks for family members of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who they also accused of tax crimes."Trump Corporation personnel, including Weisselberg, arranged for tuition expenses for Weisselberg's family members to be paid by personal checks drawn on the account of and signed by Donald J. Trump, and later drawn on the account of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust," prosecutors alleged in the indictment.Trump's lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, told Insider that the mention had no bearing on the former president's personal legal exposure in the DA's investigation. He said that Trump paid the tuition bills personally, rather than through corporate accounts, and took "no deductions" on them."All that money paid for [Weisselberg's] grandson's tuition - to the same school that Donald Trump's son Barron goes to - was paid by Donald Trump personally, never from the company," Fischetti said. "No checks ever went from the company to pay for that tuition."Fischetti said Trump made the tuition payments because Weisselberg's son, Barry, was undergoing an acrimonious split from his wife, Jennifer Weisselberg. Trump wanted to make sure the grandchildren of a "trusted employee" could remain at their school, Fischetti said."Donald Trump, out of his generosity, paid for it personally," Fischetti said. "No deductions, no nothing."The Trump Organization is expected to face trial next yearWeisselberg and attorneys for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to a 15-count indictment, where prosecutors described a wide-ranging alleged tax scheme in which Weisselberg dodged taxes on $1.7 million of his income, much of which they said came in the form of perks like tuition payments, apartments, and cars.More than $359,000 of that untaxed compensation came in the form of tuition payments from 2012 to 2017, prosecutors said. They alleged the tuition payments were categorized as compensation in the Trump Organization's internal records, but not on Weisselberg's personal tax forms. The Trump Organization's Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg appears in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 in New York. Jefferson Siegel/The New York Times via AP Fischetti said that Trump paying the tuition out of his own pocket, rather than corporate coffers, indicated that the ex-president had already paid all the appropriate taxes on his end."It's not taxable for that person," Fischetti said. "And it's not a deduction for the person who's giving it to them."Weisselberg's grandchildren have attended the Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in Manhattan's Upper West Side, which was subpoenaed in the DA's investigation.Since last fall, Jennifer Weisselberg has been a cooperating witness and has given troves of documents to prosecutors. She told Insider in an interview earlier this year that the Trump Organization sometimes gave employees perks like apartments and tuition payments in lieu of monetary bonuses as a way to control their lives.In a court hearing Monday, New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan said attorneys for Weisselberg and the Trump Organization had until January 2022 to review 6 million pages of documents in the case and submit pre-trial motions. Merchan told the attorneys to expect a trial to begin in August or September 2022.Fischetti said Trump's tax savings in the alleged fraud scheme would amount to 'fucking pennies'Bryan Skarlatos, an attorney representing Weisselberg in the case, said in court Monday that he expects more indictments from the grand jury investigation.Fischetti told Insider he doesn't expect Trump to be among the indicted. He said the tax savings prosecutors describe would amount to "fucking pennies" for the former president."This guy's a billionaire. What's he going to get out of this?" he said, adding: "It's fucking pennies! It's ridiculous. They have nothing on the president. Absolutely nothing."Fischetti said he met with prosecutors in June, and that they've brought no evidence that Trump had any personal knowledge of or involvement in the alleged tax scheme."They have said nothing about the president knowing about this," Fischetti said. "They have no tape recordings, they have no email, they have no text. They have no documents. They have nothing!" The Trump Organization's Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, center, awaits a car after leaving a courtroom appearance in New York, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle Prosecutors typically meet with attorneys of people they plan to accuse of white-collar crimes shortly before indictments, but Fischetti said he's heard nothing from the district attorney's team since that summer meeting. Mark Pomerantz - Fischetti's former law partner and a leading member of the Manhattan DA's team - assured Fischetti he'd give him a chance to defend Trump in advance of bringing any charges.Attorneys for other witnesses who've testified before the grand jury said none of the clients had anything to say about Trump's personal involvement, according to Fischetti. He said that prosecutors' only hope of possibly indicting Trump was to "coerce" people to tell the grand jury that they acted at Trump's direction."The only thing they could possibly have are witnesses that would go into the grand jury and say, 'Yes, I got a free car and I got a free apartment, and he deducted it from my salary or would give it to me as a bonus so the company made money,'" Fischetti told Insider. "He needs witnesses! He has none! Zero!"A representative for the Manhattan DA's office declined to comment for this story.Prosecutors also were said to have been investigating whether the Trump Organization broke tax laws by keeping two sets of books in order to secure favorable tax, insurance, and loan rates, as well as whether the company broke campaign finance laws by facilitating hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels in advance of the 2016 election.Fischetti said he hasn't heard anything about charges related to those inquiries.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 21st, 2021

Federal prosecutors subpoenaed a top Trump Organization executive to testify in the Michael Cohen case

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters A top Trump Organization executive was reportedly summoned to testify before a grand jury in the ongoing criminal investigation involving President Donald Trump's former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen. The executive, Allen.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 26th, 2018

"Nasser Was Not An Outlier" - Exposing The FBI"s Incurable Rot

'Nasser Was Not An Outlier' - Exposing The FBI's Incurable Rot Authored by Julie Kelly via American Greatness (emphasis ours), The incurable incompetence, corruption, and moral rot of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was on full display last week. Within a 24-hour period, some of America’s toughest female athletes recounted to a Senate committee their painful tales of how the FBI ignored evidence that team doctor Larry Nassar was a sexual predator, and a powerful attorney who colluded with the FBI to concoct one of the most animating chapters of the Trump-Russia collusion fiction was indicted for lying to federal officials. Overlap in the two cases is more than ironic, it’s illustrative: Michael Sussman, a lawyer for Perkins Coie, the law firm that was working on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign, met with the FBI’s general counsel in September 2016 to plant a false story about Donald Trump’s financial ties to a Russian bank. That same month, the Indianapolis Star broke the story of how Nassar, the longtime physician for the USA Gymnastics team, had sexually abused several female gymnasts. One victim filed a lawsuit after the FBI refused to investigate complaints made to at least two FBI field offices in 2015 and 2016. But the FBI at that time was too preoccupied with protecting Hillary Clinton to deal with a monster who had systematically raped nearly 300 female American athletes. (As Lee Smith recently noted, the FBI “has been used for a quarter of a century as the place to clean up the Clintons’ dirt.”) Months before the 2016 presidential election, the FBI, led by James Comey, used its unchecked authority to sabotage Donald Trump. Meanwhile, elite American athletes, including Olympic gold medalists, could not get the bureau’s attention while a sexual abuser continued his rampage. Local FBI agents passed the buck and allegedly falsified reports; one agent reportedly tried to shake down a USA Gymnastics official for a job with the organization. The FBI’s political game-playing came with irreversible human cost. According to an analysis by the New York Times, at least 40 women and girls, including some of the youngest victims, were assaulted by Nassar between July 2015, the first contact with the FBI, and September 2016. Had the Star not published its exposé of Nassar that month, which finally prompted some action by the FBI, who knows how long his depraved predation would have continued? “If they’re not going to protect me, I want to know, who are they trying to protect?” McKayla Maroney, a two-time Olympic medalist and one of Nassar’s most frequent victims, asked the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 15. Maroney may or may not be surprised to learn the agency assigned with protecting the most vulnerable is actually in the business of protecting the most powerful. Nasser Was Not an Outlier FBI Director Christopher Wray, hired by President Trump in 2017, publicly apologized. The “fundamental errors” made in the Nassar case, Wray told the judiciary committee, would not happen again as long as he’s head of the agency. “I want to make sure the American people know that the reprehensible conduct . . . is not representative of the work that I see from our 37,000 folks every day.” The rank-and-file, Wray insisted, perform their jobs with “uncompromising integrity.” But Wray is wrong to claim that the Nassar case is an outlier. From the top of the command chain down, the FBI has trashed its reputation through a series of scandals. It’s not just the alarming texts between spousal cheats Peter Strzok and Lisa Page; the ambush of Lt. General Michael Flynn in the White House; Comey’s use of the shady Steele dossier to set up Donald Trump; or Andrew McCabe’s lies to his own FBI investigators. It’s not just the other set of “errors”—17 to be exact—found in the FBI’s four unlawful FISA applications on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Or the official email doctored by a top FBI lawyer cited as evidence on one of the applications. Or the fact that no one in the agency has gone to jail for perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in history on the American people. As seen in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, lowlifes populate the FBI’s rank-and-file. Richard Trask, the special agent in charge of the investigation, was arrested in July for physically assaulting and choking his wife after attending a swinger’s party. Trask was fired this month; he faces numerous criminal charges. Prosecutors decided not to use Trask as a witness after his social media account revealed numerous anti-Trump posts, including calling the president a “piece of shit.” Defense attorneys in the Whitmer case asked the judge to delay trial for 90 days as they investigate the conduct of at least a dozen other FBI agents involved in the conspiracy. The FBI gave one informant $24,000 and a new car for his services. Wray brags that every FBI field office is participating in the Justice Department’s “unprecedented” investigation into the breach of the Capitol. But reports of how his agents have handled more than 600 arrests do little to support Wray’s assurances of professional “integrity.” Defendants have been subjected to pre-dawn raids conducted by dozens of armed agents using military-style vehicles. I spoke with the spouse of one defendant who told me agents interrogated her about what cable news channel she watched, her views on illegal immigrantion, and who she voted for in 2020. The FBI raided the home of an Alaska couple then handcuffed and interrogated them in separate rooms for hours until investigators realized they had the wrong suspects. A 69-year-old man in New York City suffered a heart attack as FBI agents raided his apartment with a television news crew standing by; the man never was charged. FBI agents arrested a Florida man in front of his wife and young daughter, who asked why officers were “locking daddy’s hands.” Casey Cusick was charged only with misdemeanors for entering the Capitol on January 6. Agents seized as evidence a Lego set of the Capitol building during the raid of Robert Morss, an Army ranger with three tours in Afghanistan. Far from nefarious intent, Morss had the Lego set to use with his students as a substitute high school history teacher. (He was fired after his arrest.) And those are just a few stories. No Accountability Wray picked up where Comey left off, allowing his agency to be part of Democratic Party political spin. He recently issued a “threat assessment” on QAnon and disclosed that the FBI so far has arrested at least 20 “self-styled QAnon adherents” related to the Capitol breach investigation. Wray designated January 6 as an act of “domestic terror” and his agency regularly tweets out the faces of “most wanted” Trump supporters who were at the Capitol on January 6. Infuriatingly, Wray fired only one agent involved in the Nassar fiasco—and the man was fired the week before the Senate hearing, six years after he first interviewed Maroney. “Someone perhaps more cynical than I would conclude it was this hearing here staring the FBI in the face that prompted that action,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said to Wray. But what ails the FBI cannot be solved with a few firings. It cannot be solved with more congressional oversight or threats to cut federal funding. The moral rot that infects the agency from top to bottom renders the agency unsalvageable.  “This conduct by these FBI agents . . . who are expected to protect the public is unacceptable, disgusting, and shameful,” Maggie Nichols, the gymnast who first reported Nassar’s crimes to the FBI, told the committee. Her description, however, applies to the entire FBI—an institution with no shame, no remorse, and no accountability. There’s no fix for that. *  *  * About Julie Kelly Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 20:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

Adamis Pharmaceuticals discloses NY grand jury subpoena, criminal investigation

See the rest of the story here. Theflyonthewall.com provides the latest financial news as it breaks. Known as a leader in market intelligence, The Fl.....»»

Category: blogSource: theflyonthewallMay 25th, 2021

A grand jury has been impaneled in the federal investigation into Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani's attorney told ABC News that his assistant was doled a subpoena to appear in front of a feder.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 28th, 2021

Swiss probe incident involving ex-Credit Suisse banker Khan, private detectives

Zurich prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into an incident last week in which private detectives allegedly shadowed ex-Credit Suisse banker Iqbal Khan and his wife, the district attorney's office said on Monday.....»»

Category: topSource: reutersSep 23rd, 2019

Stenger hires preeminent criminal defense attorney

County lawmakers on Sunday told media outlets that a federal grand jury has issued a subpoena to St. Louis County, seeking records involving the county executive......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMar 26th, 2019

Facebook data deals under criminal investigation

The New York Times reports that federal prosecutors are  into Facebook's data deals with major electronics manufacturers. The newspaper says a grand jury in New York has subpoenaed information from... To view the full story, click the title link......»»

Category: blogSource: crainsnewyorkMar 15th, 2019

U.S. criminal probe of Facebook is said to extend to grand jury

A Facebook Inc. investigation by the U.S. J.....»»

Category: topSource: latimesMar 14th, 2019

Facebook data-sharing being investigated by grand jury: report

A grand jury is undertaking a criminal investigation into Facebook Inc.'s data-sharing practices, ac.....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchMar 13th, 2019

Trump Organization CFO"s Immunity Deal Shows Value of Finance Chief

Prosecutors granting Allen Weisselberg immunity after he testified before a grand jury in the investigation on President Trump’s former lawyer, underscores the critical role accountants and CFOs play in criminal prosecutions......»»

Category: smallbizSource: wsjAug 28th, 2018

R. Kelly facing potential criminal charges over sex tape after a secret grand jury convened in Chicago

AP Photo/M. Spe.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 17th, 2019

Donald Trump could be charged with multiple crimes over his attempts to overturn his loss in the state of Georgia, report says

The Brookings Institution report says Trump and his allies attempted to pressure Georgia officials to "change the lawful outcome of the election." Former President Donald Trump. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images Donald Trump could be charged with crimes over Georgia election interference, a new report says. The report says Trump and his allies pressured Georgia officials to overturn his loss in the state. Trump is facing several probes in relation to his post-election conduct in Georgia. See more stories on Insider's business page. Former President Donald Trump could be charged with multiple crimes over election interference in Georgia, a new report says.The report by the Brookings Institution, a leading think tank in Washington DC, analyzes publicly available evidence that shows that Trump and his allies attempted to pressure Georgia officials to "change the lawful outcome of the election."A key piece of evidence is the now-infamous call made by Trump on January 3 to Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger. He told him to "find 11,780 votes" to overturn Biden's win.The report adds that Trump publicly pressured and personally contacted several other officials in Georgia to ask them to help him overturn his loss in the state.It includes Governor Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr, who Trump reportedly placed direct calls to in December to urge them to go along with "his increasingly desperate plans to decertify his loss.""We conclude that Trump's post-election conduct in Georgia leaves him at substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes," the report said."These charges potentially include criminal solicitation to commit election fraud; intentional interference with performance of election duties; conspiracy to commit election fraud; criminal solicitation; and state RICO violations."The report added that criminal liability could extend to some Trump allies, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.Giuliani appeared before committees in the Georgia Capitol with the intent of convincing state lawmakers to "take extraordinary action to reverse Biden's win," the report notes.In February, Raffensperger's office opened a probe into Trump's efforts to overturn his loss in the state.Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis also launched a criminal investigation into Trump's conduct relating to the election.The Brookings Institution report analyzes these probes and suggests what crimes Trump could be charged with and his legal defenses.The report suggests that Trump would likely claim immunity, arguing he cannot be prosecuted for actions taken while he was president.Former presidents enjoy a measure of immunity for actions taken that "fall within the scope of their lawful duties as a federal official," according to the report. However, in this case, Trump's actions were "well outside the scope of his official duties," the report says.Trump and his allies have continued to promote baseless claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent.The former president is currently facing several criminal probes over his conduct while in office, as well as his personal finances.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt19 hr. 57 min. ago

Here"s everything you missed in Week 3 of Elizabeth Holmes" Theranos fraud trial

Witnesses at Elizabeth Holmes' trial this week included a patient whose results falsely indicated miscarriage and former Defense Secretary James Mattis. Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos. Stephen Lam/Reuters The third week of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes' fraud trial has wrapped up. Witnesses included a patient who got false results, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and more. Here's everything that happened in the trial in its third week. See more stories on Insider's business page. Defense cross-examines a former Theranos scientistSurekha Gangakhedkar, a former Theranos scientist who testified last week, returned Tuesday for cross-examination. She had testified last Friday that Theranos' Edison machines weren't ready for patient use when they began rolling out in Walgreens stores. This week, defense attorney Lance Wade responded by arguing that challenges are to be expected in developing anything. "Sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed, right?" he said, according to The Wall Street Journal.A patient speaks out on false Theranos results that indicated a miscarriageThe jury heard the trial's first patient testimony when Arizona medical assistant Brittany Gould took the stand Tuesday to explain how a Theranos test falsely suggested she was having a miscarriage when she really wasn't, according to The Mercury News. Gould had miscarried three times before but gave birth to a girl from that pregnancy. She said she and her nurse practitioner, Audra Zachman, discussed options for possibly terminating the pregnancy after getting the test results."You can't provide accurate patient care with inaccurate results," Gould said, according to CNBC. Gould added that she never took another Theranos test again.Zachman also testified, saying that Gould took a test from lab giant Quest to measure levels of the hormone hCG, which is produced during pregnancy, according to The Verge. On September 30, 2014, the Quest test showed hCG levels of 1,005, which could indicate pregnancy. Zachman said these levels can double in 48 to 72 hours in a normal pregnancy. But on October 2, a Theranos test said Gould's hCG level was 12,558. Two days later, another Theranos test showed it had plummeted to 125.58; the sharp decline suggested Gould was miscarrying. Theranos later told Zachman that its second test result had a misplaced decimal and should have also showed 12,558. James Mattis takes the standOn Wednesday, former Defense Secretary James Mattis took the stand to describe his experience on Theranos' board. Mattis said he had invested nearly $85,000 in the now-defunct startup to "have skin in the game." He also discussed his plans with Holmes for a military pilot project of Theranos' technology. Mattis testified that "there came a point when I didn't know what to believe about Theranos anymore" after a Wall Street Journal investigation said the company's tests didn't work as advertised.Former Theranos employee testifiesAdam Rosendorff, Theranos' former lab director, testified on Friday that he once believed Theranos was "going to be the next Apple," according to the Mercury News. As his time at the company progressed, though, he "came to realize that the company really valued PR and fundraising over patient care."He said that, days before the commercial launch of Theranos' machines, he tried to alert Holmes that the machines were yielding inaccurate results, according to the Wall Street Journal."She was very nervous," he said of Holmes. "She was not her usual composed self."Rosendorff also testified that he was expected to explain away dubious test results, according to the Wall Street Journal. "I was often called upon to come up with reasons other than test performance," he said. "I felt pressured to defend the company's results to physicians."More texts revealedCNBC obtained hundreds of pages of messages between Holmes and Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, her ex-boyfriend and former Theranos COO and president. One text from 2014 showed Holmes calling herself "best business person of the year." Earlier this month, prosecutors released other texts between Holmes and Balwani.You can catch up on what happened in Week 1 here and what you missed from Week 2 here. You can read about how Holmes wound up on trial here and find out everything else you need to know about the case here. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

PG&E Charged With Deaths Of 4 In 2020 Wildfire Started By Its Equipment

PG&E Charged With Deaths Of 4 In 2020 Wildfire Started By Its Equipment Shares of the perennially-troubled PG&E - America's largest utility whose aging equipment has helped start a rash of deadly wildfires across California - tumbled Friday after the DA in Shasta County hit the company (which just emerged this spring from its second bankruptcy filing in as many decades) with a 31-count indictment, including 11 felonies, and 4 manslaughter charges. The charges were mostly tied to the 2020 Zogg fire in northern California, where hundreds of homes were destroyed During a Friday news conference, Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said her office had determined back in July that PG&E was “criminally liable” for last year’s Zogg Fire, which blazed near the NorCal city of Redding. "They failed to perform their legal duties. Their failure was reckless, criminally negligent, and resulted in the deaths of four people," Bridgett said during the briefing. PG&E's recent criminal convictions from the last few years, which have been marred by intense wildfire seasons in the West, include pleading guilty last year to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter tied to the Camp Fire, the 2018 blaze ignited by its long-neglected electrical grid that nearly destroyed the town of Paradise. It's also still facing criminal charges from the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, the 2019 Kincade Fire in Sonoma County and was on probation from the deadly San Bruno explosion when a 30-inch pipe exploded into flames killing eight people. Bridgett explained PG&E's liability thusly: the fire was started because PG&E didn't remove a tree, which had been marked to be removed in 2013, but never was. A grapevine left in place on that tree caused significant physical defects to its trunk, which ultimately fell on an electrical line during a windstorm on Sept. 27, 2020. The charges were announced three days before the anniversary of the fire. "I have determined that we have sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Pacific Gas & Electric Company is criminally liable for their reckless ignition of the Zogg Fire and the deaths and destruction that it caused," she said at a news conference. "While criminal prosecutions of corporations is rare. One of the primary reasons to charge a corporation criminal is a finding that illegal behavior is widespread and serious. Their failure was reckless and was criminally negligent, and it resulted in the death of four people." The indictment counts span from murder to environmental crimes; 20 are misdemeanors. PG&E said previously the death and destruction caused by the Zogg fire (and all the other fires its equipment has caused) have been "heartbreaking" but that it has resolved civil claims with Shasta County and continues to reach settlements with victims and their families. "We do not, however, agree with the district attorney’s conclusion that criminal charges are warranted given the facts of this case," the utility’s statement said after the DA announced her desire to charge the utility this summer. Of course, the more legal pressure PG&E is facing, the higher the odds that it will simply retreat once again behind bankruptcy protection (what would be its third since 2001) to manage its claims. Though there's also the threat that its regulator, the Public Utility Board of California, takes over control (something that would probably horrify shareholders). And, in what's perhaps the most perverse outcome of all, whatever fines it pays out will be offset by rate hikes borne by its customers, about 16MM people in northern and north-central California. And no matter what happens, next year we'll get to go through this whole process again since PG&E has already copped to starting more fires this year. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 15:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

PG&E charged with manslaughter after equipment sparked deadly California wildfire in 2020

The nation's largest utility was charged on Friday with manslaughter and other crimes following a northern California blaze in 2020. A house burns on Platina Road during the Zogg Fire near Ono, California, in 2020. AP Photo/Ethan Swope, File Pacific Gas and Electric was charged on Friday with manslaughter and other crimes. It follows a 2020 Northern California blaze started by alleged neglected equipment, AP reported. Four people were killed and hundreds of homes were destroyed. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Pacific Gas and Electric was charged on Friday with manslaughter and other crimes following a Northern California blaze last year that prosecutors allege was started by neglected equipment, the Associated Press reported. Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett announced 31 charges against the nation's largest utility company, including 11 felonies.State prosecutors said the September 2020 fire began after a pine tree fell on a PG&E transmission line and scorched the communities in the Sierra Nevada, the report said. The blaze quickly grew out of control, killing four people and incinerating hundreds of homes. California's Shasta and Tehama counties sued PG&E alleging negligence, and said the company didn't remove the tree, even though it had been marked to be taken down two years earlier, the Associated Press reported. PG&E did not immediately respond to a request from Insider for comment.It's not the first time in recent years that the company has found itself in serious trouble. Last year, PG&E pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter from a 2018 blaze sparked by a neglected electrical grid. That fire destroyed the town of Paradise, along with 10,000 homes, the report said, leading to hundreds of lawsuits and causing the company to file for bankruptcy protection in 2019.PG&E already faced charges in April from the Sonoma County district attorney's office after a 2019 fire that displaced 200,000 people, according to the Associated Press. It's also on criminal probation after a 2010 pipeline explosion near San Francisco that killed eight people. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

A Trump adviser"s emails say "election stuff" repeatedly took precedence over the president"s pandemic response

Emails sent by Steven Hatfill, a virologist on Trump's pandemic response team, showed how COVID took back seat to challenging the election results. Emails obtained by the House Select Subcommittee investigating the Trump White House's pandemic response have revealed how the Trump administration continually prioritized challenging the 2020 election results over their COVID-19 response. Win McNamee/Getty Images The Trump administration continually prioritized challenging the 2020 election results over responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is according to emails sent by Steven Hatfill, a virologist who worked on the Trump White House's COVID response. The emails were obtained by a House Select Subcommittee probing the government's COVID-19 response. See more stories on Insider's business page. The Trump administration reportedly prioritized former President Donald Trump's attempts to challenge the election over fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new documents from a House Select Subcommittee investigation. Emails from Steven Hatfill, a virologist who advised White House trade director Peter Navarro were obtained by the House Select Subcommittee that is now probing the US government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and shared with The Washington Post. Hatfill's correspondence repeatedly references working on election issues over pandemic response.For instance, in response to a January 5 email sent by a colleague at the George Washington University asking why he was not "fixing the virus," Hatfill said it was because of the dispute over the election results."Because the election thing got out of control. I go where my team goes," Hatfill wrote in his reply.Hatfill also wrote in emails that he shifted his focus from the pandemic response over to the election fraud investigation in November, writing in his correspondence that he was working on "the election stuff."This included traveling to Arizona, emailing White House officials on a Dominion Voting Systems conspiracy theory, and forwarding Navarro an email regarding a "Plan B for Trump Legal Fight" intended "For Rudy" - which could refer to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Judges have ruled resoundingly against the Trump camp's lawsuits alleging voter fraud in states like Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.But according to Hatfill's emails, the Trump administration's COVID-19 response was already taking a "back-seat" in the fall of 2020. "Now with the elections so close, COVID is taking a back-seat, yet the disease is rearing its ugly head again," Hatfill wrote in an email to an unnamed colleague in October in an email seen by the House Subcommittee. "Throughout the months of November and December 2020, the pandemic continued to worsen in the United States-with more than 11 million new cases and 132,770 deaths in those two months alone," wrote James Clyburn, chairman of the COVID-19 House Select Subcommittee in a September 23 memorandum. "The Select Subcommittee seeks to understand whether the Trump White House officials working on the pandemic response diverted their efforts from the coronavirus response to invalidating the 2020 election, contributing to one of the greatest failures of leadership in United States history," Clyburn wrote. Clyburn added that nearly 200,000 Americans lost their lives to COVID-19 between Election Day and Inauguration Day.Hatfill responded to The Washington Post's queries on the subcommittee's investigation in a statement, writing: "From my perspective as a Doctor, I was, and continue to be, frustrated with public health being treated as a political football.""Moreover, I was disgusted with the destruction of the National Pandemic Plan at the hands of conflicted petty bureaucrats; a plan that focused on early treatment and community outreach, rather than experimental vaccines and panic," Hatfill added in his statement to The Post. "In truth, we do not have a clue how many are infected in the USA. We are expecting the first wave to spread in the US within the next seven days," Hatfill wrote to Navarro on February 29. Hatfield was among the first voices to sound the alarm about the pandemic. In a February 2020 email to Navarro first reported on by The Hill, he told his boss that the coronavirus should be treated with "frank honesty about the situation and decisive, direct actions that are being taken and can be seen in the broadcast news."He recommended increased coronavirus testing and suggested that the National Guard help with the distribution of tests. However, Hatfill's recommendation, which was passed on to Trump by Navarro, was not taken.Hatfill did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021