Retired USMC General James E. Cartwright, once known as “Obama’s favorite general”, appeared on short notice in a DC courtroom Monday to plead guilty to lying to the FBI. “It was wrong for me to mislead the F.B.I. on Nov. 2, 2012, and I accept full responsibility for this,” General Cartwright told U.S. District judge J. Richard Leon. “I knew I was not the source of the story and I didn’t want to be blamed for the leak. My only goal in talking to the reporters was to protect American interests and lives; I love my country and continue to this day to do everything I can to defend it.”
An investigation into leaks about a joint US – Israeli “Operation Olympic Games” effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program through cyberattacks led the FBI to question General Cartwright. A book by New York Times reporter David Sanger, ‘Confront and Conceal’, brought public attention to the covert program and led to congressional investigation.
The Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases yesterday morning – a third argument was heard in the afternoon, but I didn’t sketch that one.
The first case, Samsung Electronics v. Apple, involves the design patents of Apple’s iPhone. Samsung, having lost in the lower courts, was ordered to pay Apple all the profits from smartphones that copied design elements of the iPhone, close to $400 million. Samsung naturally argues that such an outsized award is unfair considering their smartphones are more than just the package.
In the second case, Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, the justices were asked to make an exception to the rule that jurors cannot testify about deliberations. Here one of the jurors expressed a strong racial bias against the defendant and his alibi witness, both of whom are Hispanic.
Here are sketches from three of the five cases argued in the Supreme Court during this first week of the October 2016 term (wish I hadn’t skipped Tuesday’s bank fraud argument, Shaw v. U.S., and missed Justice Breyer’s Kardashian hypothetical ).
Tuesday’s collateral estoppel double-jeopardy case, Bravo-Fernandez v. U.S. :
Wednesday’s insider trading case, Salman v. U.S. :
. . . and the Texas racial bias in death penalty arguments in Buck v. Davis :
. . or the all catholic bench.
As the first day of Rosh Hashanah this year coincided with the first day of the Supreme Court’s new term no arguments were heard on Monday. Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan were absent, presumably in observance of the Jewish new year. That left the remaining five justices, all of whom are roman catholic. . . . L’shanah tovah !
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?
It’s been a strange Supreme Court term, like a meal that doesn’t satisfy. With only eight members on the bench after Justice Scalia’s death the odds were good that the last blockbuster opinion of the term would fall to a tie.
But, once again, Justice Kennedy was the fulcrum that allowed the Court to do some heavy lifting. In a 5-4 opinion authored by Justice Breyer in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt the lie was exposed that Texas’ restrictive abortion clinic regulations were enacted to protect women’s health.
That left the dissenters arguing only on procedural grounds that Whole Woman’s Health had lost an earlier round and should never have got another bite of the apple.
Oh, and there was also the unanimous opinion in McDonnell v. United States. It’s perfectly okay now, through gifts and cash, to purchase access to politicians, even if it stinks.
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.
My sketches from yesterday’s closing arguments in the trial of Baltimore Police officer Caesar Goodson. He drove the van in which Freddie Gray suffered injuries that led to his death last April and the ensuing riots the day of his funeral.
Judge Barry Williams will announce the verdict on Thursday morning.
After one mistrial and one acquittal a lot is riding on the prosecution of the van driver facing the most serious charge in the death of Freddie Gray. During opening statements Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow promised to show that Freddie Gray had been given a “rough ride” in the police van without the benefit of a seatbelt result in the spinal injury that caused his death.
I missed most of the trial last week but from what I’ve read, especially the judge’s remarks during motions, a conviction on the charge of depraved heart murder seems a stretch. We’ll know soon enough. I’ll be there to sketch closing arguments Monday morning.