Crimes and Their Punishments – Through the Ages

Punishments for Crimes through the ages – from the bizarre to outrageous, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We don’t know how lucky we are!

Many of us are apt to complain about sentences handed out by our Courts for crimes these days – too harsh, too lenient. But a quick look at some punishments for crimes through the ages, including in some countries today, we should really consider how much we really have to complain about.

Not only have punishments been truly shocking (and in some instances still are), but even some of the crimes are truly unbelievable.

Many Sydney criminal lawyers would have had their work cut out for them if some of these historical crimes were still on the statute books! Lucky for us that our complaints about the justice systems these days are limited to whether an offender should be given a jail sentence or community service, or whether a 2 year sentence is sufficient or whether 5 would have been better, and so on.

Thank goodness we don’t have to contend with crimes for which the penalty is being tortured to death by some truly unimaginable means. Criminal lawyers in Australia, as in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and others, these days don’t have to plead for the type of mercy that offenders of times gone by had to. And of course, some of these barbaric practices do still exist today in other parts of the globe, as you can see below.

Some Crimes and Some Punishments You Won’t Believe

Take a look …

Crimes and Their Punishments

Indiana State Police to pot smokers: 'Somebody's 4/20 celebration is canceled'

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  • An Indiana State Trooper on Monday pulled over an SUV loaded with over 78 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of about $250,000. 
  • “Somebody’s 4/20 is canceled,” the police tweeted.
  • Medicinal and recreational pot aren’t legal in Indiana. 

Indiana State police said Monday that a trooper pulled over a Ford Expedition for weaving outside of traffic lanes. 

It turned out to be more than a traffic stop. Inside the vehicle, the trooper found over 78 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of around $250,000, the police said in a statement.  

Police named the driver as Christian Elie, 51, of Elbert, Colorado, and the passenger as Austin Johnson, 42, of Indianapolis. They were both arrested on preliminary drug charges, the police said

Sgt. John Perrine of the Indiana State Police tweeted that they had rented the SUV, loaded it up with pot, and driven to Indiana. 

The state is one of about two dozen where neither recreational nor medical marijuana is legal. Last Friday, police said they made two arrests during another traffic stop after the truck’s occupants were found with marijuana. In the county jail, a trooper purportedly found 48 grams that one of meth that one of the suspects was allegedly trying to hide.

In the most recent bust, it was the driving that caught the trooper’s attention, according to Perrine.


He also had this to say for anyone that would have smoked the pot on Friday, April 20, or 4/20, an important holiday for stoners everywhere:


SEE ALSO: Here’s how 4/20 became a holiday for stoners

DON’T MISS: A powerful drug derived from marijuana is on the cusp of federal approval

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Former New York Mayor Giuliani to join Trump legal team – Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a one-time federal prosecutor, is joining U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal legal team, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said in a statement on Thursday.

“Rudy is great,” Sekulow quoted Trump as saying. “He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country.”

JoAnn Zafonte, a representative for Giuliani, did not respond to a request for comment.

Giuliani was one of three attorneys Sekulow said were being added to the president’s legal team dealing with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Russia has denied meddling in the election. Trump has said there was no collusion and has called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt.”

Sekulow also announced south Florida husband-and-wife white-collar defense lawyers Martin and Jane Raskin were joining the president’s legal team.

The addition of Giuliani and the Raskins represents a major boost to Trump’s legal firepower. The president has previously struggled to retain a top-flight criminal lawyer to represent him in the Mueller probe. Washington lawyer John Dowd, the most recent head of his team, resigned last month.

Harry Sandick, a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and former federal prosecutor, said it was not clear how Giuliani would quickly resolve the Mueller probe, given the number of people who have pleaded guilty and have become cooperating witnesses.

But Sandick said Giuliani’s personal relationship with Trump could make the former mayor’s job as the president’s attorney “a little easier.”

Giuliani had a storied career as a federal prosecutor before becoming mayor of New York in 1994 and achieved wide respect for his leadership when the city was attacked on September 11, 2001. But his often hard-bitten remarks in recent years, some made in support of Trump’s candidacy, have drawn criticism.

FILE PHOTO: Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani introduces Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at a campaign event in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 22, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

During the 2016 campaign, he claimed there had not been “any successful radical Islamic attacks in the United States” in the eight years before former President Barack Obama took office, seeming to forget the 2001 attacks, when nearly 3,000 people died.

Trump’s legal worries have recently expanded beyond the Mueller probe to include a criminal investigation in New York of the president’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, whose home and offices were raided by the FBI on April 9.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is overseeing the Cohen investigation, is headed by Geoffrey Berman, a former law partner of Giuliani’s at the firm of Greenberg Traurig.

The Republican mayor of New York from 1994 to 2001, Giuliani was also the Manhattan U.S. Attorney for much of the 1980s. During that time, he brought many high-profile cases targeting insider trading on Wall Street, prosecuting Ivan Boesky and the firm of Drexel Burnham Lambert.

Giuliani was also a top Department of Justice official in the Reagan administration. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for president in 2008.

Since exiting the mayor’s office, Giuliani has been in private practice, most recently at Greenberg Traurig. The firm said Giuliani is on a leave of absence, effective Thursday.

The Raskins, whose firm is based in Coral Gables, Florida, are both former federal prosecutors. Martin Raskin headed the criminal division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami in the early 1980s and Jane Raskin prosecuted organized crime cases in Boston.

Miami defense lawyer Silvia Pinera-Vasquez, who knows and has worked with the Raskins, praised them as “excellent strategists” and said Trump was fortunate to have them representing him.

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Martin Raskin declined to comment on their behalf and referred inquiries to Sekulow.

Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Additional reporting by Jan Wolfe, Nathan Layne and Noeleen Walder; writing by Anthony Lin; editing by Lisa Shumaker and Diane Craft

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A security guy at JPMorgan spied on employees emails and phone calls using the secretive software tool Palantir

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  • A security expert hired by JPMorgan used software by Palantir to conduct an extensive spying program on the bank’s staffers and executives, according to a Bloomberg report.
  • Palantir has raised billions in funding from investors in the private markets, but the company has a reputation for secrecy. 
  • The JPMorgan incident highlights a disturbing aspect of big data technology misuse, but it also sheds light on a major challenge facing Palantir.

JPMorgan was once the marquee corporate customer for Palantir, a data-crunching software tool originally created to hunt terrorists and founded by Silicon Valley’s controversial venture capitalist Peter Thiel.

But several years ago, in the hands of a former Secret Service agent JPMorgan hired as a computer security professional, Palantir became a way to spy on bank employees and executives. The security pro’s job was to protect the bank from employees intent on doing harm, according to a new, eye popping report on what Palantir does and who runs it by Bloomberg’s Peter Waldman, Lizette Chapman, and Jordan Robertson.

Back in 2009, this security pro gathered up employee emails, browser histories, GPS locations from corporate smartphones as well as transcripts of recorded phone conversations and other data on employees and dumped it into Palantir, according to the Bloomberg report.

The mission was to discover potential insider threats by looking for signs that an employee was about to go bad. Many financial institutions have similar programs.

Employees planted fake info

Alexander Karp PalantirUsing Palantir, the JPMorgan team looked for signs of disgruntled employees, even something as simple as clocking in later than usual. The security team would then investigate the employee, possibly even physically watching the person after hours, Bloomberg reported

As the spying program grew so did the security expert’s power inside the bank. Employees began to joke that he was always watching. Some even planted fake info in their communications to see if this security pro would fall for it and mention it in meetings, which he allegedly did, according to the report.

Things came to a head in 2013, when JPMorgan executives found out he was using Palantir software to monitor them as well, and he was forced to resign. He went to work for the former co-chief operating officer, Frank Bisignano, who had resigned to become CEO of First Data Corp, according to this report as well as LinkedIn records.

Bisignano was reportedly the executive sponsor of this Palantir project at JPMorgan and the security pro allegedly curried favor by alerting Bisignano when his name came up in an investigation.

As bizarre as this story of employee spying at JPMorgan is, there’s a caveat. Palantir has historically been so hard to use, it requires hiring engineers specially trained to operate it, often from Palantir. Bloomberg reports that this program involved as many as 120 Palantir engineers, costing the bank as much as $3,000 a day. 

So other corporations have not been flocking to Palantir to start spying on their own employees, or even to use it analyze big data for other business reasons.

Some companies, such as  Coca-Cola, Nasdaq, American Express, and Home Depot, have all tried and dropped Palantir. Other companies like Airbus SE and Merck KGaA have been using Palantir for supply chain projects, not employee security programs.

Palantir, which has raised $2.75 billion from investors and never turned a profit, is trying to automate its technology so that it doesn’t require consultants and can be an easier sell to corporate customers.  

JPMorgan declined comment. Palantir, First Data and the security professional did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SEE ALSO: 51 enterprise startups to bet your career on in 2018

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Ratings: The Originals Returns Up, Criminal Minds Flat With Finale – TVLine

The Originals opened its fifth and final season on Wednesday with 1 million total viewers and a 0.4 demo rating, up from both last season’s Friday average (940K/0.3) and finale (800K/0.3) while also doubling Life Sentence‘s short-lived average in the time slot.

Opening The CW’s night, Riverdale (1.08 mil/0.4) ticked up with its musical episode.


CBS | Leading out of a steady Survivor (7.7 mil/1.6), bubble drama Criminal Minds‘ first episode did 6 mil and a 1.0, while the actual finale (5.3 mil/0.9) matched last week’s numbers/all-time demo low.

ABC | Leading out of a Goldbergs rerun, Alex Inc. (2.9 mil/0.6) was down 16 and 33 percent week-to-week. Leading out of Modern Family/American Housewife repeats, Designated Survivor (3.5 mil/0.6) ticked up from its audience low while steady in the demo.

NBC | A special airing of The Voice (8.2 mil/1.4) was down just a tick from Tuesday’s numbers and delivered Wednesday’s largest audience. Leading out of that, SVU (6.5 mil/1.4) surged 20 and 27 percent, while Chicago PD (6.6 mil/1.2) rose 19 percent and one tenth.

FOX |Empire (5.3 mil/1.7) slipped two tenths but still led the night in the demo; Star (4 mil/1.3) was steady.

Want scoop on any of the above shows? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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Prince's Overdose Death Results in No Criminal Charges – New York Times

Prince’s Overdose Death Results in No Criminal Charges

Prince in Paris in 2009. In dealing with chronic hip pain, he apparently became addicted to painkillers and died of an overdose in 2016.CreditBertrand Guay/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Two years after the sudden death of Prince by accidental fentanyl overdose, one of the lingering mysteries surrounding the enigmatic musician concerned how and where he obtained the powerful synthetic opioid that killed him and whether anyone would be held responsible.

On Thursday, law enforcement authorities in Minnesota closed a major part of their investigation, announcing that no one would be criminally charged in the case.


Prince sold more than 100 million records, won seven Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Here’s a look at the lengthy career of the ambitious musician, who died at 57.Published OnApril 21, 2016

The Carver County attorney, Mark Metz, said in a news conference that Prince died after unknowingly taking counterfeit Vicodin that contained fentanyl, but that there was “no reliable evidence of how Prince obtained” the fatal drug.

“We have no direct evidence that a specific person provided the fentanyl to Prince,” he said, adding that the investigation uncovered “no sinister motive, intent or conspiracy to murder Prince.”

However, a Minnesota doctor, Michael Schulenberg, who had treated Prince twice not long before his death, has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil violation for an illegal prescription, his lawyer, Amy Conners, said on Thursday. In a search warrant last year, investigators said that Dr. Schulenberg had told them he had prescribed an opiate painkiller to the singer in someone else’s name — Kirk Johnson, Prince’s longtime friend, bodyguard and sometime drummer — to protect Prince’s privacy.

[ALSO READ: How Prince Concealed His Addiction: Aspirin Bottles of Opiates]

Dr. Schulenberg admitted no liability as part of the settlement and has maintained he did not prescribe drugs to anyone with the intention they be redirected to Prince. His lawyer said in a statement that Dr. Schulenberg “is not a target in any criminal inquiry and there have been no allegations made by the government that Dr. Schulenberg had any role in Prince’s death.”

Mr. Metz said on Thursday that the pills prescribed by Dr. Schulenberg did not lead to Prince’s death.

Kirk Johnson, Prince’s longtime friend, bodyguard and sometime drummer, in 2016.CreditJeff Wheeler/Star Tribune, via Associated Press

“The bottom line is we simply do not have sufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime in relation to Prince’s death,” he said.

In addition to Dr. Schulenberg, investigators had focused on doctors and medical personnel who were attempting to treat Prince for an apparent painkiller addiction, as well as Mr. Johnson, an employee of the musician since the 1980s, according to court documents tied to the homicide investigation released last April.

Though Prince had been a strict proponent of sober living, friends said after his death that the singer had suffered from chronic hip pain that he was attempting to manage and perform through. After his death, “a sizable amount” of narcotics were found at his Paisley Park home and studio, where he died, according to search warrant documents. Among them were dozens of pills containing fentanyl, for which Prince did not have prescriptions, including some in aspirin bottles.

Prince, who was 57, was found dead in a Paisley Park elevator in Chanhassen, Minn., on April 21, 2016, by Mr. Johnson and others. A toxicology report, obtained by The Associated Press in March, found high concentrations of fentanyl in the singer’s stomach, liver and blood. Fentanyl is often used to manufacture counterfeit pills that are sold on the black market as oxycodone and other pain relievers.

Mr. Johnson’s lawyer, F. Clayton Tyler, has said that Mr. Johnson did not provide the drugs that caused Prince’s death. Mr. Johnson still works at Paisley Park as an estate manager, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has not been questioned since the initial interviews, Mr. Tyler said.

Notoriously private in life, Prince remained shrouded in secrecy after his unexpected death. Investigators said in court records that those who were present at the home that morning “provided inconsistent and, at times, contradictory statements.” The musician also left no will, leading to complex and ongoing proceedings among his six heirs.

There had been signs that Prince’s closest confidantes were concerned with his apparent addiction. Six days before his death, a chartered jet carrying the singer made an emergency stop in Moline, Ill., where Prince was treated with overdose medication. The incident prompted a friend of Prince’s to call on an opioid addiction specialist based in California, who put his son on a red-eye flight to Minneapolis with a drug used to curb opioid addiction that requires a special license to dispense.

Dr. Schulenberg, who had seen Mr. Johnson as a patient, had also seen Prince in the days leading up to the singer’s overdose.


Dr. Michael Schulenburg, who is paying $30,000 to settle a federal civil violation for an illegal prescription related to the case.

As part of the settlement, Dr. Schulenberg agreed to two years of “heightened compliance requirements for logging and reporting his prescriptions of controlled substances to the D.E.A.,” the United States Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis said in a statement.

“Doctors are trusted medical professionals and, in the midst of our opioid crisis, they must be part of the solution,” Greg Booker, the United States attorney for Minnesota, said in the statement. “As licensed professionals, doctors are held to a high level of accountability in their prescribing practices, especially when it comes to highly addictive painkillers.”

Ms. Conners, the doctor’s lawyer, said in a statement that Dr. Schulenberg never prescribed drugs to Prince in someone else’s name. “After he learned of Prince’s addiction, he immediately worked to refer Prince to a treatment facility and to transfer care to a chemical dependency specialist,” Ms. Conners said.

Dr. Schulenberg moved to a new job in a different suburb of Minneapolis soon after Prince’s death, and is still a doctor in good standing in Minnesota, according to state licensing board records.

Prince’s death coincided with a surge in fentanyl on the black market in Minnesota, officials have said, and the high-profile case helped heighten the level of concern about opioids there. In addition to requiring prescribers to use the Prescription Monitoring Program, legislators have recently pushed for a “penny-a-pill” tax on opioids to fund prevention and treatment programs.

Although fentanyl can be prescribed legally, frequently in the form of a patch, most fentanyl overdoses come from illegal versions of the drug bought on the street or on the “dark web” in pill form, said Ken Solek, an assistant special agent in charge of the Minneapolis office of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Because it’s cheap to produce, the drug is often smuggled into the country and sold as pricier prescription pain pills.

“Most of it’s being ordered from China and dealers encapsulate it or press it into pills in a basement,” Mr. Solek said, adding that users may think they are buying pills such as Oxycodone, but in reality, they are 100 times stronger.

Recently, some of Prince’s family members have pushed for more definitive answers regarding his death, saying they are considering a wrongful-death lawsuit. Lawyers retained by the family gained access to medical examiner records, as well as investigative documents related to the emergency landing in Illinois.

Joe Coscarelli reported from New York and Sheila M. Eldred from Chaska, Minn.

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The 27 countries in the world with the most freedom

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Freedom means different things to different people.

But Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization that releases an annual report on freedom around the world, measures it in terms of civil liberties and political rights. 

Their annual report, Freedom in the World, “operates from the assumption that freedom for all people is best achieved in liberal democratic societies.”

In 2018, more than 130 in-house and external analysts and advisers from academia, think tanks, and human rights institutions created the report by collecting data from media, research articles, government documents, and other sources. 

That data was then used to score a country’s political rights on a scale of 0-40 and its civil liberties on a scale of 0-60.

Freedom House measured political rights by the degree with which a country’s elections are free and fair, as well as by how much political pluralism and participation there is. Civil liberties, on the other hand, were measured by how free and independent the media is and how much freedom of expression and assembly there is.

In the ranking below, countries with a shared freedom rating were listed by alphabetical order, except for the three countries that received the top score.

Check out the 27 countries with the most freedom below:

SEE ALSO: FBI data reveals some of the most violent cities in nearly every state

27. United Kingdom

Freedom Score: 94

The United Kingdom received a score of 95 in Freedom House’s 2017 report, losing five civil liberties points in the freedom of expression and belief, rule of law, and individual rights categories.

26. Tuvalu

Freedom Score: 94

Tuvalu also received a score of 94 in Freedom House’s 2017 report

25. Spain

Freedom score: 94

Spain also received a score of 94 in Freedom House’s 2017 report, losing two political rights points under the functioning of government category, and four civil liberties points under the freedom of expression, rule of law, individual rights, and associational and organizational categories.


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Veteran 'Criminal Minds', Comedies 'Life In Pieces' & 'Kevin Can Wait' Among Series Left In Limbo After CBS Renewals – Deadline

CBS today renewed 11 more series, seven of them scripted, all of them dramas. So far, CBS has picked up 10 dramas for next season — all but one fully owned by the network — and only 3 comedies, Chuck Lorre’s The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon and Mom. None of the remaining series are considered sure things for renewal.

Criminal Minds once again faces uncertainty as it is heading into its 14th season finale tonight. The veteran crime drama’s renewal usually comes down to negotiations between CBS and ABC Studios that go down to the wire but so far have not led to an agreement. That may be again be part of the conversation this year. All Criminal Minds veteran cast members already have deals for next season, so the cost of the series is known, but there always is room for a network to ask for concessions from an outside studio, with its leverage getting bigger as the upfronts draw near. After a long run at 9 PM, Criminal Minds moved to 10 PM this season. It has improved the time period and is doing well in delayed viewing, which should work in its favor. But CBS will wait to see how medical drama Code Black, also a co-production with ABC Studios, does and evaluate its pilots before making a final decision on Criminal Minds. The crime drama is ending its 13th season tonight on a cliffhanger. A cancellation would rob its loyal fans of a proper ending and would deprive the series of hitting the 300th episode milestone, which would be its Season 14 premiere, ending its run with 299.

Not surprisingly, for a second year in a row, Scorpion has found itself heavily on the bubble. It has struggled on Monday, which has been a problematic night for CBS all around, a ratings hole this season. It’s not a surprise that the network has not renewed a single Monday series yet. That includes comediesKevin Can Wait, Man With a Plan and Superior Donuts. None is considered a sure thing, even the Kevin James starrer Kevin Can Wait, which was flying high in Season 1. While doing a decent job opening the night and ranking as CBS’ top Monday program, the sitcom, a co-production between Sony TV and CBS TV Studios, has posted steep year-to-year ratings declines following the controversial killing off the comedy’s female lead. Of the freshman comedy series that have aired on Monday this season, neither looks promising to continue. That includes 9JKL, Living Biblically and the unofficially canceled Me, Myself & I.

Image courtesy CBS

More surprising is the bubble status of comedy Life In Pieces. Now in Season 3, the family comedy has delivered solid ratings. But it comes from 20th Century Fox TV, a studio CBS has not had a great relationship with over the past few years. Additionally, while the other recently renewed Thursday series, Mom and S.W.A.T., have improved their time periods vs. last season, Life In Pieces has not. Still, LIP is well received and features a very strong ensemble cast. It also is the fourth highest-rated and most watched CBS comedy series behind the three that have been renewed, likely helped by its Thursday location.

With comedies not doing great, especially on Monday, it will be interesting to see whether CBS would drop an hourlong comedy block in favor of a drama series next season.

Elementary is yet to premiere its new season. It has not been a strong linear performer the last couple of seasons but it remains a major profit generator for CBS with lucrative off-network and international deals, so I hear it is possible for CBS to order more for next season down the road. Midseason drama Instinct has not made a strong case for renewal yet and is heavily on the bubble.

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Trump lawyer Michael Cohen suggests four names for special master – CNBC

Federal prosecutors in New York on Wednesday suggested that a retired judge who once awarded President Donald Trump $5 million from a beauty pageant winner be appointed to review sensitive files seized from his lawyer Michael Cohen’s office.

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Theodore Katz was just one of seven names floated by prosecutors and Cohen’s lawyers for the position of “special master.” That watchdog, if appointed by a judge, would help decide which documents seized from Cohen could be seen by prosecutors conducting a criminal probe of Cohen.

Katz was acting as a private arbitrator for Trump’s claim of defamation against the beauty queen. He was one of three retired federal magistrate judges suggested by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for a potential special master.

All three men were judges in that district, which includes Manhattan and the Bronx.

Cohen’s lawyers suggested four former prosecutors from the Southern District.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on its list or Katz specifically.

A special master, if appointed, would review all or some of the files seized from Cohen’s home and office last week to see if any of them should not be turned over to prosecutors because they are protected by attorney-client privilege. Such privilege could preclude them from being used in a criminal case against Cohen or other people.

Katz, in a 2012 private arbitration, ruled that Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012, Sheena Monnin had to pay Trump $5 million because she defamed him by saying his Miss USA pageant was rigged.

Cohen, then general counsel to the Trump Organization, was quoted in a news story in 2012 saying that a clause in the Miss USA pageant gave pageant officials the right to pick the top five finalists and the eventual winners. But Cohen said Trump never used his power to overrule pageant judges.

Monnin, who did not place in the top 15 in the Miss USA Pageant, later told reporters that the case with Trump “has been resolved.”

“I can say that no money was paid out of my pocket,” she said in 2016, according to a news story.

Trump had insulted Monnin’s looks after she claimed the pageant was rigged.

“If you look at her compared to the people who are in the top 15, you’ll understand why she’s not in the top 15,” Trump said.

Prosecutors on Wednesday also reiterated their opposition to a special master being appointed, saying it would slow down a review of Cohen’s files by at least two months.

Prosecutors additionally revealed that they expect to start giving Cohen copies of the materials seized from him on April 27, and expect to finish that process by May 11.

Cohen and Trump lost a bid during a court hearing Monday to get first crack at reviewing the files seized from Cohen’s office last week to identify files that might be held back from prosecutors because of attorney-client privilege protections.

Lawyers for both Cohen and Trump expressed deep concern about the prosecution’s plan to have a “filter team” of prosecutors not connected to Cohen’s case conduct that review. The filter team, prosecutors said, would prevent the case prosecutors from seeing information that could taint the legality of any case filed against Cohen or someone else.

But U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood left open the possibility that she would appoint a special master to help make that determination to some extent. She asked prosecutors and representatives for Cohen to identify candidates for that post.

Wood also left open the possibility that she would have a filter team of prosecutors handle all or some of the initial review work.

Prosecutors, in their court filing Wednesday, said any review conducted by a special master would not begin until June, at the earliest.

In contrast, prosecutors said, a filter team could begin that review this month.

“The Government continues to believe … that a Special Master is not warranted to review the seized materials for privilege and that a Government Filter Team would fairly and most efficiently accomplish this task,” prosecutors wrote.

But in the event a special master is needed, they added, prosecutors asked that one of three retired magistrate judges be appointed to that post.

The recommended names were Frank Maas, James Francis and Katz.

Maas and Katz are both currently associated with JAMS, the largest private provider of mediation and arbitration services in the world.

Francis is a distinguished lecturer at the law school of the City University of New York.

Cohen’s first choice is Bart Schwartz, chairman of Guidepost Solutions, a corporate intelligence firm. Schwartz previously was chief of staff to Rudy Giuliani when Giuliani headed the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, is a supporter of Trump’s who was considered but rejected, for the post of United States Attorney General in the Trump administration.

Cohen’s second choice is Joan McPhee, a partner in the Manhattan law firm Ropes & Gray. McPhee represented an engineer indicted for obstruction of justice in the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Three weeks before trial in 2015, charges were dropped against her client.

Tai Park, a partner in the Manhattan firm Park Jensen Bennett, is Cohen’s third choice. Park had served for a decade in the U.S. attorney’s office, where he was chief of the narcotics unit as well as senior trial counsel in the securities and commodities fraud task force.

The fourth proposed candidate is George Canellos, a partner in the New York office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, where he is global head of the litigation and arbitration group. Canellos had previously been at the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he served as co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division. At the SEC, he supervised the insider trading actions against Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon Management.

Cohen is being investigated for business-related matters, according to prosecutors.

On April 9, FBI agents, armed with a search warrant signed by a federal judge, raided Cohen’s office, apartment and a hotel room where he has been staying while his home is being renovated. Agents seized computer files, cellphones and boxes of documents.

Among the files seized were ones relating to a $130,000 payoff that Cohen made shortly before the 2016 presidential election to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Daniels has said Cohen gave her that money in exchange for her agreement not to publicly discuss an affair she claims to have had with Trump in 2006. The White House has said Trump had no such affair, and Trump has said he was unaware of the deal Cohen cut with Daniels at the time it occurred.

Prosecutors also reportedly sought files related to a payment made by the National Enquirer to another woman, Playboy model Karen McDougal, who likewise claims she had sex with Trump.

At a court hearing Monday, Cohen’s lawyers revealed that in addition to Trump, Cohen had two other clients who he had recently done legal work or consulting for.

One is now-former Republican Party fundraiser Elliott Broidy, a venture capitalist who consulted with Cohen about a $1.6 million payoff the married Broidy made to another Playboy model whom he had an affair with and impregnated. Broidy quit his GOP post last Friday after his infidelity came to light.

The other client Cohen identified was Fox News host Sean Hannity, who had asked Cohen’s lawyers to keep his name out of court filings.

Hannity, after his name was revealed in court by Wood’s order to Cohen’s lawyer, said he only had “brief discussions” relating to legal issues with Cohen, most of which concern real estate.

Hannity also said the discussions “never involved any matter between me and a third party.”

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San Francisco just voted to regulate the glut of shared electric scooters that startups are putting all over the city’s streets

spin electric scooter san francisco

  • San Francisco has voted to regulate electric scooters, requiring them to apply for a permit before operating on city streets.
  • The legislation was passed unanimously. 
  • The San Francisco MTA expects applications for permits to be ready in May.

Just weeks after a raft of electric scooters have filled the streets of San Francisco — and drawn complaints from local residents — the city has voted to regulate them. 

In a unanimous vote, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to require electronic scooter startups to apply for a permit before operating in the city, giving authorities the power to impound any scooter without a permit.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority told Business Insider before the vote it will be ready to accept permit applications in May, which will be before the law is set to take effect.

“These scooters are certainly something that can help and assist some users in San Francisco’s complex world of transportation challenges, but that does not mean that we are going to sacrifice the same spaces that are options for pedestrians, people in wheelchairs, parents with strollers. Those are not the places for the devices to be used,” said San Francisco supervisor Aaron Peskin at the meeting.

Ride and park responsibly

Since the terms of the permit applications have yet to be written, it is unclear exactly what the three venture-backed companies with scooters in the city — Bird, LimeBikes, and Spin — will have to show the city before receiving a permit. But Paul Rose, a spokesman for the SFMTA, said in an email that the companies will have to “educate their users on how to ride and park responsibly, holding the companies accountable to produce good behavior from their users.”

Two of the three high-profile startups with scooters in the city, Bird and Spin, told Business Insider they supported the regulation and expressed a willingness to “work with the city” despite the escalating tension between city officials and scooter companies in recent weeks.

scootersLimeBikes has not made any public statements about the legislation and did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Business Insider. 

The startups let people reserve a local scooter from a smartphone app, ride for a small fee, and, at the end of the journey, leave the scooter wherever to be claimed by the next rider. Unlike existing bike-sharing programs, there’s no dock, so the scooters can be left anywhere. The scooters have cropped up in other cities, too, such as Santa Monica, Austin, and Washington DC.

The companies and their proponents argue that electric scooters are an evironmentally-friendly transportation alternative that can reduce traffic. Supervisor Jeff Sheehy called the scooters an “innovation,” saying at the meeting that he’s even ridden one. But he added that regulation and more bike lanes are necessary and called the rollout of the scooters “disasterous.”

The city has received numerous complaints since the scooters first descended on San Francisco. Residents have complained of the scooters routinely blocking sidewalks and building entrances, causing people to trip, and making sidewalks less accessible for people who use wheelchairs. Residents have also reported encountering people riding the scooters, which can reach speeds of up to 15 mph, on sidewalks, which is illegal in the city.

Twitter users have even begun to keep track of scooters breaking the law in the city with the hashtag #scootersbehavingbadly.

In a completely separate action than the Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco city attorney’s office on Monday issued cease and desist orders to Bird, LimeBikes, and Spin for violating state and local laws already on the books that dictate how scooters need to be ridden and where they can be parked. The orders, for example, cite riders lying scooters in the middle of sidewalks, riding without a helmet, and riding with multiple passengers — all of which are already illegal. 

SEE ALSO: San Francisco threatens to punish the controversial scooter startups for their riders’ bad behavior

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Sean Hannity's idea of 'attorney-client privilege' was right out of 'Breaking Bad' – Washington Post

On Monday, Sean Hannity walked himself right into an awkward comparison.

It happened after the bombshell revelation in a Manhattan courtroom that Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s client list included the Fox News Channel host. On his afternoon radio show, Hannity explained that his relationship with Cohen was limited to a few “brief discussions” about business matters.

“I might have handed him 10 bucks [and said,] ‘I definitely want your attorney-client privilege on this,’ ” Hannity told listeners Monday afternoon. “Something like that.”

Online, the “handed him 10 bucks” line immediately launched comparisons to an infamous scene from AMC’s smash hit “Breaking Bad.”

In a memorable exchange, one of the shadiest lawyers in television history, Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, tells the show’s meth-dealing main characters to “put a dollar in my pocket” to ensure that their conversations about criminal misdeeds remain protected.

And if you are trying to steer clear of a scandal, it’s best if your legal thinking does not echo the “Breaking Bad” lawyer, who later became the protagonist of the prequel, “Better Call Saul.”

“I love ‘Breaking Bad’ as much as the next person, but I probably wouldn’t take Saul’s ‘put a dollar in my pocket’ approach to attorney-client privilege,” one Twitter user said.

But both “Breaking Bad” and Hannity’s conception of attorney-client privilege seem to rest on a faulty understanding of the legal concept. In a 2015 article in the New Mexico Law Review, Armen Adzhemyan and Susan M. Marcella compared the popular show’s presentation of the law with the reality of federal court, including what the pair called the “myth of the dollar bill.”

“Saul has a habit of grossly overstating the reach of the attorney-client privilege,” the two authors wrote.

The famous scene between Goodman, Walter White and Jesse Pinkman appears in the show’s second season, in the eighth episode, titled “Better Call Saul.” Hoping to intimidate one of the attorney’s clients, White and Pinkman kidnap Goodman at gunpoint, bind his wrists and take him out into the desert.

But in true sleazy lawyer fashion, Goodman flips the script, instead offering advice on the pair’s criminal enterprise.

“First things first, you’re gonna put a dollar in my pocket, both of you,” Goodman tells them. “You want attorney-client privilege, don’t you? So that everything you say is strictly between us? I mean it, put a dollar in my pocket, make it official.”

Both stuff cash into the lawyer’s suit jacket.

“You’re now both officially represented by Saul Goodman and Associates,” Goodman announces. “Your secrets are safe with me under threat of disbarment.”

Not exactly, Adzhemyan and Marcella said.

Attorney-client privilege is not laid out in one law or the U.S. Constitution. Instead, the concept has worked its way into American jurisprudence through the English common law, state statutes and rulings of the courts.

Privilege exists between a lawyer and a potential client or client seeking legal advice when the “predominant purpose of the communication was to render legal advice,” Adzhemyan and Marcella wrote.

The “Breaking Bad” scene in the desert is incorrect, the pair argue, because payment is not necessary if the conversation is about legal advice. “There is simply no reason to exchange a dollar,” they wrote. “To invoke the privilege, Saul only needs to confirm that Walt and Jesse seek his legal advice as potential clients.”

The flip side to this is that payment — as Hannity suggested on his radio show — does not automatically mean privilege.

“Exchanging a dollar bill with a lawyer does not magically cloak subsequent conversations with that lawyer under the protection of the privilege,” Adzhemyan and Marcella said. “Not even seven barrels of cash can buy the attorney-client privilege where none is warranted.”

And courts have narrowly defined privilege as legal discussion between lawyer and client. It “does not apply to business, lobbying, or public relations advice, even from a lawyer.”

Then there’s criminal activity, which is what the three characters were ultimately engaged in. The “crime-fraud exception” to the privilege excludes from confidentiality communication between an attorney and a potential client that’s in furtherance of a crime — even if the lawyer does not realize at the time the advice is for something illegal.

On Monday, Hannity continued to deny that he had ever hired Cohen but also appeared to contradict his “handed him 10 bucks” line.

“I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees,” the Fox News host tweeted. “I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were attorney-client confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third party.”

By then, however, the “Breaking Bad” meme had exploded.

And Hannity was taking withering criticism for not disclosing his relationship with Cohen to viewers even while using his show to repeatedly and vehemently criticize the federal raid on Cohen’s office and home, as The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi reported.

But at this point in the chaotic legal mess swirling around Cohen, Trump and now Hannity, another bit of dialogue from that “Breaking Bad” scene in the desert might be worth keeping in mind.

“The way I see it, someone is going to prison,” Goodman tells his new clients. “It’s just a matter of who.”

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