The full Fourth Circuit – less two recused – sat in Richmond yesterday for the first appellate review of Trump’s travel ban. Next Monday the Ninth Circuit will also hear arguments on a Hawaiian judge’s order blocking parts of the “Muslim ban”. The Ninth Circuit allows cameras, so don’t expect sketches.
The State of Virginia has joined the case of Aziz v. Trump, and this morning argued for a preliminary injunction before U.S. District Judge Leoni Brinkema. Brinkema came down pretty hard on the DOJ lawyer for not having any evidence to support the travel ban.
After finding Dylann Roof guilty last month in the murders of nine parishioners attending bible study at Charleston’s Emanuel AME church the same jury will now decide whether Roof deserves the death penalty.
During opening statements the government revealed that Roof, in a journal he kept while held at the county jail after killings, wrote, “I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did, I am not sorry.”
Yet he goes on to ” . . . shed a tear of self-pity for myself.”
Acting as his own lawyer Roof made a three minute opening statement mainly to refute the idea that he acted out of insanity.
As the witnesses took the stand to testify about the loved ones taken from them the atmosphere in the courtroom turned emotional. Very moving testimony from, and about, some very good people.
So busy this week that I didn’t get around to posting this sketch of the Comet Ping Pong Pizza gunman in DC Superior Court on Monday. Just as well as I knew little at the time of this whole crazy #pizzagate conspiracy theory. The New York Times this morning has an article dissecting the origins of this bizarre story.
I’ve been in Charleston, SC this week for the trial of Dylann Roof, the 21 year old who shot to death nine members of the Mother Emanuel AME congregation after they welcomed him to join them in bible study. The lack of humanity in this young man, and the poisonous idea that fill his young head came out in court today as a video of his confession was played.
He doesn’t react at all in court, just sits there gazing down. As of now he still plans to act as his own attorney during the death penalty phase of his trial. It’s hard to imagine how that will go but it will be interesting. In the meantime I’ll just post the sketches from these first three days. It’s been exhausting.
It’s not getting much attention but there’s a pretty important antitrust trial underway in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The Justice Department is seeking to block the merger, actually more of a takeover, between the insurance companies Anthem and Cigna. Each side, of course, argues opposite results for the health care consumer.
Anthem’s CEO, Joseph R. Swedish testified on the first two days of trial which began last Monday and is expected to end before the new year. Another antitrust lawsuit, this time between Aetna and Humana, begins December 5.
A news story about the trial can be found here.
“You have someone here who presents himself as two different people,” said Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite at a detention hearing in Baltimore for the purloiner of tons of NSA files.
The government painted a picture of a serial lawbreaker who knowingly removed boxes of documents and terabytes of electronic files from the NSA, and kept an arsenal of weapons in his home.
Martin’s lawyer, Federal Public Defender James Wyda, by contrast said his client is a hoarder with a drinking problem. “The mental health factor is the only explanation for this that makes sense.”
Harold T. Martin III has so far only been charged with theft and retention of classified material. Although the law only allows detention based on flight risk for such minor offenses the government still argued about the danger he posed to national security. Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers told the judge,“There’s no guarantee that he’s not storing other information somewhere else that he has not told us about.”
Additional charges under the Espionage Act are expected.
NYT story here.
A little late in posting this but here are sketches from last week’s sentencing hearing for Romanian email hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar, aka “Guccifer”.
Lazar displayed a fairly cocky attitude as judge James Cacheris sentenced him to 52 months for hacking into the email accounts of prominent Americans including former secretary of state Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal. It was Lazar who first revealed that Clinton used a private email account while secretary of state, though the government denies that he ever gained hacked her account.
More about the sentencing here.
A DC Metro Transit police officer charged with providing material support to ISIS made a five minute appearance before a magistrate in Alexandria yesterday where he asked for a lawyer. Another hearing is scheduled for today at 2:00 p.m.
According to the complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney, Nicholas Young first came to their attention in 2010 when an acquaintance of his, Zachary Chesser, was arrested trying to board a flight to Uganda to join al-Shabab. The FBI watched Young for years, setting up meetings with undercover agents. One meeting, at a restaurant, included Amine el-Khalifi who was later charged with attempting to bomb the U.S. Capitol.
Agents finally moved in and arrested Young yesterday morning after he sent $245 worth of gift-card codes to what he thought was ISIS, but was in fact an FBI sting operation.
In the courtroom Young, with long hair and bearded, did not look like a typical transit police officer. He may have been undercover, though the blue striped slacks he wore appeared to be from a uniform. Of course, with U.S. Marshals (pictured on the right) sporting mohawks, who knows?
This was the big one, and the State couldn’t prove it. Three of the six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddy Gray last April have gone to trial and so far not one conviction on any charge. Might Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby have overreached?
Everyone knew that the charge of “depraved heart” murder would not stick, but not guilty on all counts? Judge Barry Williams, who is presiding over all of the Freddie Gray cases, sent a clear message, the State had no case.
If it was a bad day for Marilyn Mosby, it was a very good day for officer Caesar Goodson.