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Hastert Sentencing

Hastert Sentencing

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was sentenced Wednesday on one count of “structuring” bank withdrawals to which he had pleaded guilty last year. But of course it wasn’t at all about a financial technicality. Hastert was confronted in the courtroom with testimony from one of his victims, and from the sister of another victim now deceased. The hearing lasted about two hours, with Judge Thomas M. Durkin taking the last forty-five minutes to explain his sentence of fifteen months, far more than prosecutors recommended.

Hastert Sentencing

Hastert, who sat in a wheelchair through most of the hearing, was helped to a walker and apologized from the podium. “The thing I want to do today is say I’m sorry to those I hurt and misled,” he said, “I want to apologize to the boys I mistreated when I was their coach. What I did was wrong and I regret it.”

Judge Durkin then asked Hastert if he had in fact sexually abused his victims. After some hesitation Hastert answered, “Yes” to sexually abusing victim B. For two other victims he said he couldn’t remember, and that it was “a different situation,” but didn’t dispute the accusations.

“The defendant is a serial child molester,” said Judge Durkin. “Some actions can obliterate a lifetime of good works. Nothing is more stunning than having ‘serial child molester’ and ‘speaker of the House’ in the same sentence.”

Hastert Sentencing

Hastert Sentencing

Hastert Sentencing

Hastert Sentencing

Hastert Sentencing

Hastert Sentencing

Posted in Congress, Courtroom Tagged with: , , ,

Motions Hearings Prior To Goodson Trial

Freddie Gray Trials

Two pre-trial motions hearings were held in Baltimore yesterday for Officer Caesar Goodson who faces the most serious charge, second degree murder, for the death of Freddie Gray. Goodson drove the van in which Gray was given a “rough ride,” shackled hand and foot without the benefit of a seat belt.

Freddie Gray Trials

During the first hearing Judge Barry Williams ruled that the trial will remain in Baltimore, and that the jury will not be sequestered but will be anonymous as in the trial of Officer Porter last month.

Freddie Gray Trials

At a second hearing on whether Officer Porter, who faces a new trial in June after last month’s mistrial, can be compelled to testify in Goodson’s trial Porter took to the witness box briefly and refused to answer questions put to him by Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow.

Freddie Gray Trials

After Judge Williams ruled that Officer Porter can be called to testify under immunity defense lawyer Gary Proctor said that he would seek an injunction to file an appeal in Annapolis first thing Thursday morning. It is unusual, and possibly unprecedented, for a defendant facing trial to be granted immunity without a plea deal. If the Court of Appeals grants the injunction Goodson’s trial, which is to start on Monday, could be delayed.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: , ,

Yesterday’s Mistrial

The first prosecution in the death of Freddie Gray ended in a mistrial for Baltimore Police Officer William Porter yesterday. It wasn’t exactly unexpected since the jury had sent out a note the day before saying they were deadlocked.

Here are a few of the sketches I did leading up to the judge declaring a mistrial. I have not included the sketch of Judge Barry Williams because it missed the mark – I never did get a good likeness of the judge.

The sketch below was done Monday morning while standing in line to get into the courthouse, but I added the color yesterday and so I include it.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: , ,

Closing Statements In First Freddie Gray Trial

Just posting today’s sketches of closing arguments in the trial of Baltimore Police Officer William Porter, and calling it a day.

 

 

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Baltimore Police Officer Testifies In Own Defense

Officer William Porter, on trial for charges relating to the death of Freddie Gray, took the stand on the first day of his defense. I missed his direct testimony which began just as lawyers at the Supreme Court were wrapping up their arguments in a big affirmative action case. But I arrived at the Baltimore courtroom in time to witness the cross-examination by Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow. Officer Porter impressed me as calm and forceful, and maybe even a little defiant. When Schatzow asked him if “stop snitching” was part of the Baltimore police culture Porter shot back, “Absolutely not. I’m actually offended that you would say something like that.”

The defense was done by the end of the week, and tomorrow closing arguments will be made. Then it will be up to the jury.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: ,

A Correction to Yesterday’s Sketches

Yesterday at the trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter I sketched what I believed were the victim’s mother and sister, but when Freddie Gray’s mother broke down sobbing and had to leave the courtroom I realized I had been mistaken. That is not Freddie Gray’s mother in the sketch, though I do think that is Gray’s sister with the white pom pom hat.

Here are the rest of yesterday’s sketches:

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: , ,

First Freddie Gray Trial Gets Underway

This morning the press gathered in the Media Room before final jury selection.

The jury was empanelled in short order and opening statements were heard. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby took a seat directly in front of a bench full of sketch artists, but maybe thought that wasn’t such a good idea and moved back a couple of rows just before Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow began his opening statement.

 

Defense attorney Gary Proctor painted the jury a different picture of the defendant, Officer William Porter.

 

With opening statements completed, the State called their first witness, Officer , who trains police on how to identify and respond to possible medical conditions such as Freddie Gray’s.

 

The judge has kept the trial moving swiftly and promises to finish in just two weeks. We shall see.

 

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: ,

Jury Selection In First Of Freddie Gray Trials

Baltimore City police officer William Porter stood before a courtroom full of prospective jurors as his trial began. Porter is the first of six police officers to go on trial for the death of Freddie Gray.

After some preliminary questions were asked of the jury pool individual void dire moved into chambers so there was not much to sketch, especially as the jurors are not to be identified.

Freddie Gray Trials

Around half-past noon one of the jurors in the back of the courtroom stood up to get the bailiff’s attention. He pointed to the clock above his head, and then to his belly indicating that he felt it was time for lunch. He also motioned that he would like a cigarette break. Lucky for him the court soon adjourned for lunch.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: ,

The Subway Guy Goes To Prison

The former spokesman for the Subway chain of sandwich shops sat in an Indianapolis courtroom Thursday morning waiting for the ax to fall on life as he knew it. Once worth fifteen million, Jared Fogle, who became famous for losing over 200lbs on a diet of Subway sandwiches and exercise, was about to plead guilty and be sentenced on charges related to his predilection for kiddie porn and young prostitutes.

After he entered his plea Jared’s lawyers called two witnesses. The first witness, a Canadian psychiatrist, testified by phone that Fogle exhibited “mild pedophilia”, a diagnosis which does not exist in U.S. according to the defense’s second witness, Dr Rick May.

The government then put a detective on the stand to read from some of Jared’s text messages where he was seeking to procure juveniles for sex. “Did you find some young girls or boys?” Fogle texted to an 18 year-old prostitute saying he would pay $400 for someone 16 or younger, more if their age could be documented.

The government and defense then sparred over the extent to which “the Subway guy” was culpable in the harm he caused and the danger he remains to children. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota said Fogle did nothing to stop the child pornography created by his partner-in-crime and director of The Jared Foundation, Russell Taylor, but rather participated “enthusiastically”.

When it was the turn of the defense, Jeremy Margolis, argued that Jared “traded a horrible food addiction for a horrible sex addiction.” He said Fogle has seen the “crashing and burning of his life” but is committed to getting well.

Then it was Jared’s turn to address the court.

“Where do I even try to begin, your honor? For most of my adult life, I’ve been in the spotlight, trying to be a positive role model for others,” Fogle said. “I became dependent on alcohol, pornography and prostitutes” he continued, apologizing to his victims as he wiped away a tear.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt went beyond the prosecutions recommendation of twelve and a half years saying, “the level of perversion and lawlessness exhibited by Mr. Fogle is extreme,” imposing a sentence of 188 months.

In this last unfinished sketch Jared Fogle is seen removing his jacket, tie and belt before marshals handcuff him. He blew a kiss and waved to friends and family members before being led out of the courtroom.

Jared Fogle Plea & Sentencinga

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: , , , , ,

A Common Theme?

The week before last – time flies, I’ve been busy – I went on the road to cover two hearings a few hundred miles apart though in some ways alike. Both defendants were at one time coaches, and both are suspected of sexual relations with young boys.

In Chicago former House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty to a felony charge of concealing large withdrawals of cash. By doing so he avoided a trial and possible testimony from the victim he was paying off.

The next day, in Bellefonte, PA, former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky appeared in court as his lawyer sought to challenge the grand jury investigation that led to the charges of child sexual abuse of which Sandusky was convicted in 2012.

 

 

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: , , ,
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