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Roger Stone Trial

After just six days of testimony and closing arguments the fate of Roger Stone is in the hands of the jury this morning. It was an unusual trial from the start, but who would expect anything less when the defendant has a reputation for political dirty tricks going as far back as Watergate. He famously has the image of Richard Nixon tattooed on his back, after all. Nevertheless, in spite of a courtroom full of kooks, the trial progressed in an orderly and efficient manner. I wasn’t there every day, and unfortunately missed most of the witnesses’ testimony. Politico has a good story on the trial here.

Michael Flynn Status Hearing

At the same time Michael Flynn, Trump’s first National Security Advisor, was sitting in a courtroom, where among other matters a tentative date was set for his sentencing, John Bolton, the third person to occupy that position, was given the boot.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Courthouse

Time to come ashore and get back to work, reluctantly. In Boston last week for the latest episode of the Hollywood college admissions scandal, this time featuring Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli. They appeared before US magistrate judge M. Page Kelley for a Rule 44 hearing concerning possible conflicts in their representation by counsel. I expect to be back in Boston next week for the sentencing of Felicity Huffman who pleaded guilty in May, admitting she paid $15,000 to arrange for cheating on her daughter’s SAT test.

Maria Butina Sentencing

Not a spy but still an agent is how the government portrayed Russian gun rights enthusiast Maria Butina who managed to establish close relationships with senior members of the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party.

From the government’s sentencing memo:

Butina was not a spy in the traditional sense of trying to gain access to classified information to send back to her home country. Acquiring information valuable to a foreign power does not necessarily involve collecting classified documents or engaging in cloak-and-dagger activities. Something as basic as the identification of people who have the ability to influence policy in a foreign power’s favor is extremely attractive to those powers. This identification could form the basis of other forms of intelligence operations, or targeting, in the future.

Butina received a sentence of eighteen months. With credit for time already served she will be ready for deportation back to Russia in approximately nine months.