Yesterday’s hearing before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on President Trump’s efforts to block a House committee’s subpoena for financial records is likely just the first skirmish in a lengthy battle to be fought in the courts.
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.
According to federal prosecutors 28 year-old Rondell Henry, inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, planned a terrorist truck attack like the one in Nice, France that killed 84. It wasn’t a very well thought out plan. Henry stole a U-Haul in Alexandria and drove it to Dulles Airport in the early hours of March 27. Unable to get access to the airport he then drove to National Harbor to “get the largest number of casualties.” At National Harbor he broke into a boat and hid overnight. When he came back to the U-Haul police, who had the stolen vehicle under surveillance, arrested Henry. He soon confessed to the plot.
Harold Martin, a former NSA contractor with a top secret security clearance was arrested in 2016 for taking home the equivalent of a half billion pages of physical and digital classified documents. He didn’t pass the materials on to anyone, just hoarded them compulsively in his home. Last week he pleaded guilty to one count in exchange for a nine-year sentence and having the remaining 19 charges dropped.
Martin’s lawyer, James Wyda, told the court, “His actions were the product of mental illness, not treason. . . . He is deeply remorseful.”
If I heard correctly, a couple times during the hearing Martin said, “It’s time to close the Pandora’s box.”
Celebrity screen actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, along with Loughlin’s husband Mossimo Giannulli, had a five-minute appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Boston on Wednesday. They, along with over thirty other parents, are facing charges in a nation-wide college admission fraud scandal.
Nattily dressed in a light grey double breasted suit with black tie and pocket square, Roger Stone appeared before judge Amy Berman Jackson today for a status hearing. Unlike his last appearance where he took the stand to attempt to explain his Instagram post of a photo of the judge with cross-hairs, today’s hearing was mainly routine. A trial date of November 5 was set, and Stone was sworn to abide by the new conditions – i.e. gag order – of his release. Next status conference is April 30.