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“I’m Not Hiding My Disgust”

A crowd of supporters showed up for what was expected to be a lenient sentencing for former national security advisor Michael Flynn, some no doubt hoping the judge would criticize the government for coming close to entrapment. But in an unexpected twist Judge Sullivan, who is known for holding government officials to a higher standard, instead focused his ire on the defendant.

“He was a high-ranking government official, advising the president of the United States,” Sullivan said. “I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain, for this criminal offense.”

After repeatedly rebuking Flynn and having him admit on the record that he knew when he lied to the FBI that he was breaking the law, Judge Sullivan recessed the hearing so that Flynn could consult with his lawyers and decide if he wanted to continue with sentencing and almost certainly go to jail or continue cooperating with the government in the prosecution of his former business partners, and face sentencing at a later date. Flynn chose to postpone sentencing.

 

 

 

 

Maria Butina’s Guilty Plea

Russia is just as gun crazy as the U.S. so why not make connections and alliances with the NRA as a way to influence American policy? It was a good plan and Maria Butina sounded proud of her efforts as she entered a plea of guilty in federal court this week. Her answers to the judge’s questions were remarkably rapid and crisp, almost as if she were responding to a drill sergeant.

 

What is “Separate Sovereigns”, Alex?

Answer: an exception to the double-jeopardy rule.

Here are a few sketches from Thursday’s argument in Gamble v. United States where Terance Gamble challenges his prosecution and conviction for the same offense in both state and federal court despite the Fifth Amendment’s rule that  no “person [shall] be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”

This Week’s SCOTUS Sketches

On Monday the justices heard argument over whether an antitrust lawsuit brought by iPhone users unhappy that apps may only be purchased through the Apple store can move forward. Apple claims it does not have a monopoly because it is the app developers who set the prices.

Tuesday saw argument about who owns Oklahoma brought by members of the Muscogee Creek Nation.

Wednesday’s only case was about seizure of assets upon criminal conviction in state court and whether that violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on excessive fines.