fbpx
Connect with us

Louisiana Illuminator

One for the books as Trump and rest of Fulton 19 enter Georgia justice system over 2020 election

Published

on

lailluminator.com – Ross Williams – 2023-08-25 15:27:39

One for the books as Trump and rest of Fulton 19 enter Georgia justice system over 2020 election

by Ross Williams, Louisiana Illuminator
August 25, 2023

ATLANTA — At the end of a historic week at the Fulton County jailhouse, the criminal case against former President Donald Trump and his 18 allies also accused of subverting Georgia's 2020 presidential election is just beginning.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis alleges Trump and the rest of the group – which include lawyers, former federal officials, people accused of trying to secure fake electoral votes for Trump and people alleged to have broken into election equipment – with racketeering charges.

Trump denied the charges as politically motivated and described his experience in an interview on Newsmax.

“Terrible experience,” he said. “I came in, I was treated very nicely, but it is what it is. I took a mugshot, which, I never heard the words mugshot, they didn't teach me that at the Wharton School of Finance, I had to go through a process, it was election interference.”

Trump spent less than half an hour in jail, and nearly all of the alleged co-conspirators had similarly short stays, save one, Harrison Floyd, who was booked on Thursday but not yet released, according to jail records.

According to the indictment, Floyd, as director of Black Voices for Trump, assisted in getting Trevian Kutti in touch with Fulton County poll worker Ruby Freeman, who had become the center of false conspiracy theories surrounding the vote count in Fulton County.

The indictment lists a series of phone calls between Floyd and Kutti on Jan. 3, 2021, before Kutti traveled from Chicago to Atlanta the next day. Kutti then allegedly traveled to Freeman's home and told a neighbor she was a crisis worker looking to help Freeman.

According to the document, Kutti later set up a meeting with Freeman, which Floyd attended by phone, and the two allegedly attempted to convince her to make false statements about her role in the vote count, which Willis says amounts to witness tampering.

Willis' office has not released a statement explaining Floyd's continued stay in the jail. Floyd was also charged with allegedly attacking an FBI officer who knocked on this door earlier this year to serve him a subpoena in relation to the U.S. Justice Department's investigation of efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump supporters, detractors face off outside jail as he's booked on Georgia racketeering charges

According to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland, Floyd, a former U.S. Marine and MMA fighter, chased after two officers who served him the subpoena in his Rockville, Maryland home. According to the filing, Floyd charged into one of the agents on a stair landing “striking him chest to chest” and knocking him backward and shouted profanities at them.

Floyd later placed a 911 call alleging that the agents had accosted him and was recorded saying “They were lucky I didn't have my gun on me, because I would have shot his f–-–ing a–,” according to the filing.

On Monday, Mark Meadows, Trump's former top White House aide, is scheduled for a hearing in Atlanta's U.S. District Court on his request to have his case moved from Fulton County's jurisdiction to federal court. Meadows' attorneys are arguing for the change in court jurisdiction because they say Meadows was acting on the president's behalf as a federal officer at the time of the alleged offenses.

Three fake GOP electors, including now-state Sen. Shawn Still, charged in the Fulton County election interference probe are also trying to have their case moved to federal court.

The 41-count, 98-page indictment contends that the alternate elector meeting, which was held as Georgia's legitimate electors met to cast the state's official electoral ballots, was a key part of a multistate criminal plot to overturn the 2020 election results. The GOP electors signed and mailed a certificate falsely stating Trump won Georgia, which he narrowly lost by about 12,000 votes.

Then-state GOP party chairman David Shafer and ex-Coffee County chairwoman Cathy Latham were booked and released Wednesday, each under $75,000 bond agreements. Still surrendered early Friday morning and posted a $10,000 bond.

The three argue they were serving in a federal role – calling themselves “contingent” presidential electors – and were advised by counsel, including an attorney representing the president at the time, to cast electoral ballots to preserve Trump's election challenge.

Notably, not all 16 “alternate” GOP electors were swept up in the sweeping indictment. At least eight of them have accepted plea deals, agreeing to cooperate with Fulton County prosecutors, according to court filings.

This week a judge denied Meadows request to delay his arrest beyond Friday's deadline set by prosecutors. Instead Meadows would turn himself into Fulton authorities on Thursday.

Another defendant, Jeffrey Clark, who served as Trump's top environmental lawyer, also turned himself in after a judge denied his motion to halt the county proceedings. Clark is also seeking for his case to be taken up in federal court.

The indictment alleges that Clark solicited a U.S. attorney general and deputy attorney general to make false statements about significant concerns about the election's outcome in December 2020. That was after Georgia election officials certified the presidential victory for President Joe Biden.

Willis shot down those requests on Wednesday in a fiery response, and a judge declined to extend the Friday deadline.

Willis had said she intended to try all 19 defendants at once. She initially put forward a timeline that included arraignments during the week of Sept. 25 with the trial to commence March 4, 2024, which Trump's camp complained was too soon.

But the trial could come even sooner for at least one of the defendants. On Wednesday, one of the defendants, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, filed a demand for a speedy trial, and Willis responded by offering an Oct. 23, 2023 trial date.

This article was first published by the Georgia Recorder, part of the States Newsroom network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: info@georgiarecorder.com. Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and X.

Louisiana Illuminator is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Greg LaRose for questions: info@lailluminator.com. Follow Louisiana Illuminator on Facebook and Twitter.

Read More

The post One for the books as Trump and rest of Fulton 19 enter Georgia justice system over 2020 election appeared first on lailluminator.com

Louisiana Illuminator

Biden touts gun safety record to advocates, as son found guilty on felony charges • Louisiana Illuminator

Published

on

lailluminator.com – Ariana Figueroa – 2024-06-12 05:00:32

by Ariana Figueroa, Louisiana Illuminator
June 12, 2024

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday touted his administration's efforts to reduce gun violence as the second anniversary of bipartisan gun safety legislation he signed into law approaches.

“Never give up on hope,” Biden said during an annual conference hosted by the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

The speech came hours after the president's son Hunter Biden was found guilty in a federal court in Delaware of lying on paperwork related to purchasing a gun and unlawfully possessing that gun, according to media reports.

The federal jury found Hunter Biden, who has struggled with drug addiction, guilty on three related felony charges: lying to a licensed gun dealer, falsely stating on an application for a gun that he was not using drugs and for unlawfully having the gun for 11 days.

He could face up to 25 years in prison, though as a first-time offender his sentence is expected to be much less severe.

The president has avoided publicly commenting on his son's case and he did not mention the verdict in his speech.

GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX

SUBSCRIBE

Gaza protest

Shortly after Biden began his speech, he was interrupted by a protester who accused the president of being “complicit” in the high death toll of the Israel-Hamas war. The conflict has killed 35,000 Palestinians since Oct. 7, according to the Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip run by the Hamas-controlled government. An agreement over a U.S. backed cease-fire deal remains elusive.

The crowd immediately drowned out the protester. A group of protesters was removed, according to a White House pool report.

Biden tried to calm the crowd.

“That's alright,” he said. “Folks, it's OK, look they care, innocent children have been lost, they make a point.”

Law nears second anniversary

Biden went back to his speech, and thanked the gun safety advocates and survivors “who have turned their pain” into advocacy.

“You've helped power a movement,” Biden said.

The gun safety law Biden signed in 2022 was the most comprehensive federal gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years. It stemmed from two deadly mass shootings less than two weeks apart in 2022.

One was at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were murdered, making it the second-deadliest mass shooting since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

The other was in Buffalo, New York, where a white supremacist targeted a Black neighborhood and killed 10 Black people in a grocery store.

Worries about guns in school mount as permitless concealed carry law looms

The 2022 law provided $750 million for states to enact “red flag laws,” which allow the courts to temporarily remove a firearm from an individual who is a threat to themselves or others as well as $11 billion in mental health services for schools and families. The law cracked down on straw purchases, illegal transactions in which a buyer acquires a gun for someone else.

The bill also requires those who are under 21 and want to purchase a firearm to undergo a background check that takes into account a review of juvenile and mental health records. It also led to the creation of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

The Justice Department also announced Tuesday it has charged more than 500 people under provisions of the gun safety law to “target the unlawful trafficking and straw-purchasing of firearms.”

The statutes “directly prohibit straw purchasing and firearms trafficking and significantly enhance the penalties for those crimes, providing for up to 15 years in prison,” according to the Justice Department.

“Criminals rely on illegal gun traffickers and straw purchasers to obtain the weapons they use to harm our communities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

More work to do

Biden acknowledged that more needs to be done on gun safety legislation and he called on Congress to ban assault weapons and require universal background checks and safe storage of firearms. In a divided Congress, any gun-related legislation is unlikely to pass.

The last time Congress passed major gun legislation was 1994, when then-President Bill Clinton signed a ban on assault weapons that spanned 10 years. When it expired, Congress did not renew the ban.

Biden also took a jab at his rival, former President Donald J. Trump, and said that he won't tell people to “get over” a mass shooting.

After a school shooting in Perry, Iowa, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee said during a campaign speech in Sioux City, Iowa, that while the school shooting that left two dead – an 11-year-old student and the principal – was a “terrible thing that happened,” his advice was to “get over it. We have to move forward.”

SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.

DONATE

Louisiana Illuminator is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Greg LaRose for questions: info@lailluminator.com. Follow Louisiana Illuminator on Facebook and Twitter.

Read the original article

The post Biden touts gun safety record to advocates, as son found guilty on felony charges • Louisiana Illuminator appeared first on lailluminator.com

Continue Reading

Louisiana Illuminator

Pair of U.S. House Dems add to chorus calling for Alito, Thomas recusals • Louisiana Illuminator

Published

on

lailluminator.com – Ariana Figueroa – 2024-06-12 05:00:51

Pair of U.S. House Dems add to chorus calling for Alito, Thomas recusals

by Ariana Figueroa, Louisiana Illuminator
June 12, 2024

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Democrats echoed Senate colleagues Tuesday in calling for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito to recuse themselves from Jan. 6 cases, and for congressional Republicans to support passing an enforceable ethics code for the entire bench.

Reps. Jamie Raskin, ranking member of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, and vice ranking member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brought together fellow progressive Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse with experts and advocates for a roundtable discussion on the “ethics crisis” facing the nation's highest court.

Recent revelations of flags sympathetic to the “Stop the Steal” movement flown outside Alito's home have reignited simmering concerns over justices' conflicts of interest as they decide politically divisive issues. This year, justices are set to rule on access to the abortion pill and whether former President Donald Trump enjoys immunity from criminal charges alleging 2020 election interference, among other cases.

Raskin and Ocasio-Cortez delivered searing remarks, admonishing decades of court actions beginning with the 5-4 decision in 2000's Bush v. Gore that ultimately decided the presidential victory for George W. Bush. The lawmakers continued on to recent events that Ocasio-Cortez characterized as “corruption that is almost comical.”

“The Supreme Court as it stands today is delegitimizing itself through his conduct,” the New York Democrat continued in her opening statement. “Americans are losing fundamental rights in the process — reproductive health care, civil liberties, voting rights, the right to organize clean air and water because the court has been captured and corrupted by money and extremism.”

Raskin, of Maryland, said the “highest court in the land today has the lowest ethical standards.”

In his opening statement, Raskin characterized the court as “the judicial arm of the Republican Party,” drawing a throughline from Bush's appointments to the bench of Chief Justice John Roberts and Alito to Trump's appointments of conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

“Now this right-wing corporate court, carefully designed to destroy Roe v. Wade and marry right-wing religion to untrammeled corporate power, has been demolishing women's abortion rights and contraceptive rights, civil rights law, voting rights law, civil liberties, environmental law, workers' rights and consumer rights, enshrining government power over people and corporate power over government,” Raskin said.

Raskin and Ocasio-Cortez's roundtable came less than a week after progressive House Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Hank Johnson of Georgia rallied with activists outside the Supreme Court urging an ethics overhaul.

That same day, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky posted to X: “As the Supreme Court term ends, the Left is once again bullying Justices who refuse to take orders from liberal Senators. The Court should take any action it deems appropriate to reprimand unethical conduct by members of its Bar. And Justices should continue to pay this harassment no mind.”

GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX

SUBSCRIBE

‘Keep the pressure on'

Whitehouse told Democratic members of the Oversight and Accountability Committee that Senate Democrats are shining a “heavy spotlight on the mischief.”

The Rhode Island Democrat has championed an ethics bill titled the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal and Transparency Act, which advanced out of committee along party lines in July 2023 but has not received a floor vote.

“We need to keep the pressure on until they join the rest of the government in having a real ethics code with real fact finding and some prospects for comparing the facts that are found to the rules,” Whitehouse said.

The bill was introduced during the fallout from a 2023 ProPublica investigation revealing that Justice Clarence Thomas received gifts from and traveled with a major Republican donor.

A recent analysis by watchdog group Fix The Court illustrated that over the past 20 years the value of gifts received and likely received by Thomas dwarfs that of his colleagues.

Supreme Court orders Louisiana to use congressional map with two majority-Black districts 

Whitehouse again pressed the court in May after the New York Times published that an upside-down U.S. flag hung outside Alito's Alexandria, Virginia, home just days after former Trump's supporters breached the Capitol. The Times later revealed another flag carried by Jan. 6 insurrectionists flew outside the justice's New Jersey beach house.

Along with Sen. Dick Durbin, who chairs the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Whitehouse requested a meeting with Roberts to urge Alito to recuse himself from cases related to the Jan. 6 attack. Roberts declined, and Alito responded to the senators, declaring he would not recuse himself.

“Thank you Sen. Whitehouse for always flying the flag right side up,” Raskin said.

The court ‘will decide all of this for all of us'

Kate Shaw, University of Pennsylvania law professor, told the lawmakers that the court is “conducting itself in ways that are fundamentally inconsistent with basic separation-of-powers principles that are a core feature of our democracy.”

“This is crystal clear right now, as it is every June, as the country waits with bated breath to learn whether and how the court will upend huge swaths of American law,” she continued.

“This year questions include whether and how the court could further erode the capacity of agencies to regulate in ways that protect our health and safety and well being,” and major firearms decisions, Shaw said.

The court will also decide whether laws on the books will “be used to hold accountable individuals charged with the attack on the Capitol, including the former president,” Shaw said. “And the court is asserting that it and essentially it alone will decide all of this for all of us.”

Over two dozen opinions are expected from the Supreme Court by the end of June.

Two decisions related to two Jan. 6 cases remain pending — one involving a former police officer who breached the Capitol and is seeking to have an obstruction charge dropped. The decision could affect hundreds of Jan. 6 defendant cases, and the 2020 election interference case against Trump, who faces the same obstruction charge.

The court is also set to decide whether Trump is immune from four federal criminal counts alleging he schemed to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and knowingly spread false information that whipped his supporters into rioting on Jan. 6.

SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.

DONATE

Louisiana Illuminator is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Greg LaRose for questions: info@lailluminator.com. Follow Louisiana Illuminator on Facebook and Twitter.

Read the original article

The post Pair of U.S. House Dems add to chorus calling for Alito, Thomas recusals • Louisiana Illuminator appeared first on lailluminator.com

Continue Reading

Louisiana Illuminator

Campaign cash for child care? Louisiana lawmakers decline to endorse it. • Louisiana Illuminator

Published

on

lailluminator.com – Julie O'Donoghue – 2024-06-12 05:00:35

by Julie O'Donoghue, Louisiana Illuminator
June 12, 2024

Five years ago, the Louisiana Board of Ethics told a political candidate she could use her campaign money to cover child care costs as long as the expense was related to her efforts to get elected. But state legislators declined to insert that policy into law this year.

They scuttled Senate Bill 153 to ensure candidates could use campaign dollars for election-related child care. 

The proposal passed the Louisiana Senate 31-3 but died in the House and Governmental Affairs Committee. Committee members said too many questions about the bill remained. 

The legislation's failure doesn't necessarily mean candidates can't use money raised for their campaigns to pay child care expenses. It just means the issue will be left up to the ethics board, which could reverse its 2018 decision at any time. 

“In some cases, it's better to have these individual decisions made, as they are, through [the ethics board],” House Republican Caucus Chairman Mark Wright of Covington said.

Former Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, wishes the Louisiana Legislature had made a definitive statement on the issue. As a candidate for Baton Rouge mayor and single father, James has sometimes wished he had child care for his 6 year-old daughter while campaigning. He has not used any election money for child care yet, but juggling his daughter during nighttime and weekend events can be difficult, he said.

“I think that the Legislature could have and should have put some clarity to it,” James said. 

What's a legitimate campaign expense in Louisiana has been interpreted liberally over the years. Candidates are allowed to use their funds for Mardi Gras parades, restaurant dining, flowers for constituents, charity golf tournaments, fuel and vehicle maintenance.

Several elected officials buy Saints and LSU football tickets with campaign money every year. They also collectively spent over half a million dollars in campaign funds to attend D.C. Mardi Gras, a four-day event that includes dozens of parties, in 2022. 

“If folks can use campaign money to buy Saints, Southern and LSU tickets, I certainly think [child care] should be permissible,” James said.

In the past, the ethics board has also waffled over whether campaign money can be used to cover child care costs.

SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.

DONATE

 

The board issued two opinions to male candidates in 2000 indicating they could use campaign funds to cover child care to attend fundraisers. Based on that decision, a group of men who ran for office, including U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, tapped their campaign accounts to cover child care for years. 

Then, in 2018, the board, with a different lineup of members, told legislative candidate Morgan Lamandre she could not use campaign money for child care. One member, former House Rep. Charles Emile “Peppi” Bruneau, told Lamandre her primary responsibility was to provide for her children, not to be a political candidate. 

After widespread criticism of the decision and Bruneau's remarks, the board backtracked a few months later in 2019 and voted 6-4 to allow Lamandre the child care expense. 

Senate President Pro Tempore Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, sponsored the Senate bill this year to clear up any confusion that might remain. She said 31 other states already have a law on the books that allows campaign cash to be used for child care.

“I'm trying to codify what the [ethics board] ruling says,” Barrow said.

During debate on the bill, a handful of legislators implied child care should not be an allowable campaign fund use. 

“Are you aware we have a general prohibition against using campaign funds for personal expenses?” Sen. Blake Miguez, R-New Iberia, asked Barrow during debate on the Senate floor.

“Yes,” Barrow said. 

“So why are you bringing the bill?” Miguez replied. 

Miguez, who voted against Barrow's legislation, said allowing campaign funds to be used for child care would open “Pandora's box.” During the Senate debate, he listed utility bills, lawn care, car leases and “car notes” as costs that candidates might try to cover with campaign funds if child care became an allowable expense.

Legislators already use campaign money to cover car leases. Gov. Jeff Landry also put his campaign money toward paying “a portion of a note on a motor vehicle” for years until the ethics board told him to stop in 2022. 

“Don't you think that's very important to have [a candidate's] animal taken care of while they're out there campaigning?” Miguez asked Barrow during debate on her child care bill. 

“I know that you're not equating pet animals to children,” Barrow replied. 

“I'm not. I'm just giving you some specific examples of where this could go,” Miguez said.

SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.

DONATE

Louisiana Illuminator is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Greg LaRose for questions: info@lailluminator.com. Follow Louisiana Illuminator on Facebook and Twitter.

Read More

The post Campaign cash for child care? Louisiana lawmakers decline to endorse it. • Louisiana Illuminator appeared first on lailluminator.com

Continue Reading

News from the South

Trending