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

Obama is the only president since Nixon who didn't face an independent investigation

Barack Obama

  • Barack Obama is the only president since Nixon who didn’t have to deal with an independent investigation.
  • Former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford all faced investigations into their activities or the activities of their associates.
  • The observation comes as President Donald Trump is under investigation, along with his closest associates, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Former President Barack Obama is the only president since Richard Nixon who didn’t have to deal with an independent investigation into his activities or the activities of his family or subordinates, according to Politico.

The detail comes as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates President Donald Trump and his associates as part of his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice related to his decision to fire former FBI director James Comey, and the special counsel is also looking into Trump’s decision to dictate a misleading statement his son, Donald Trump Jr., released in response to reports that he met with a Russian lawyer said to be offering dirt on opponent Hillary Clinton last June, at the height of the campaign.

Several of Trump’s close associates, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, are also being investigated over their ties to Russia.

As he grapples with the Russia probe, Trump joins former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford, who all dealt with independent investigations.

carter bush clinton obama


Vice President Ford assumed the presidency shortly after Nixon resigned, following the bombshell revelation that Nixon had not only been aware of the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters in 1972, but had attempted to cover it up. When Ford assumed the presidency, the Watergate scandal still loomed large and the investigation had not yet been closed.

Ford’s administration also drew criticism when it was revealed that senior White House officials altered large portions of the Rockefeller Commission’s investigation into the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities. Most significantly, then deputy White House chief of staff Dick Cheney ordered the removal of an 86-page section on CIA assassination plots, according to the National Security Agency’s archives.


President Carter attracted scrutiny when it emerged in 1979 that his family’s peanut business had received questionable loans, and that Carter may have used some of that money as campaign funds in 1976. Paul J. Curran, a renown former US attorney, was eventually appointed special counsel in charge of investigating the allegations.

nixon reagan carter ford

Following a seven-month investigation, Curran concluded there was no basis for criminal prosecution. Carter’s chief of staff, Hamilton Jordan, and campaign manager, Tim Kraft, were also investigated for separate drug-related offenses in 1978 and 1980, respectively, by two special prosecutors.


Reagan’s presidency was marred by several scandals, the largest of which was the Iran-Contra affair. Details of the incident, which involved the US’ decision to sell arms to Iran in an effort to secure the release of six US hostages, first came to light in November 1986.

ronald reaganIn addition to congressional inquiries, the Reagan-appointed Tower Commission also probed the scandal and cleared the president of any wrongdoing. Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh’s investigation into the Iran-Contra affair resulted in the convictions of Vice Admiral John Poindexter and Lt. Colonel Oliver North, though both convictions were later overturned.

Several high-ranking members of Reagan’s Department of Housing and Urban Development were also scrutinized over allegations that they had rigged low-income housing grants, by independent counsels Arlin Adams and Larry Thompson from 1990 to 1998. The investigation resulted in several convictions, but HUD secretary Samuel Pierce Jr., described as one of the key players in the controversy, was not charged after he made a public apology.

Bush 41

George H.W. Bush’s administration came under the spotlight when several administration officials were accused of secretly facilitating the flow of weapons, technology, and support to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war in 1992.

Federal officials were also separately accused of corruption related to their dealings with an international bank in Italy. Retired federal judge Frederick B. Lacey was named special counsel in charge of investigating both matters, and he determined that no federal crime had been committed in either case.


Hillary Clinton Bill ClintonTwo defining events of Bill Clinton’s presidency were the Whitewater investigation and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, both of which took place in the 1990s. The former involved an inquiry into the business dealings of Bill and Hillary Clinton relating to the Whitewater Development Corporation.

The Clintons were accused of pressuring Arkansas banker David Hale into granting an illegal loan to their partner in the Whitewater deal. The allegations were first investigated by the Senate, and later by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. Neither of them were indicted.

The House of Representatives impeached Clinton in 1998 after being accused of perjury and obstruction of justice related to his sexual relationship with Lewinsky, a White House intern. He was acquitted of all charges following a trial in the Senate.

Bush 43

George W. Bush invited controversy of his own when it emerged in 2003 that administration officials leaked the identity of CIA covert officer Valerie Plame to members of the press. Plame was married to Joseph Wilson, a former diplomat and staunch critic of the Iraq War.

Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from investigating the matter and handed the decision off to then-deputy attorney general James Comey. Comey appointed US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as special prosecutor in charge of overseeing the probe.

No one was charged with leaking Plame’s identity to the press, but Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, known as Scooter Libby, was charged and convicted of obstruction of justice and lying. Bush eventually commuted Libby’s sentence.


During his eight years in office, Obama avoided legal prosecution, and wasn’t investigated by any special counsels, breaking a 36-year stretch that dated back to Watergate.

SEE ALSO: Trump rails against Russia investigation and Russian Facebook ads in Saturday tweetstorm

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Why The Gene-Pool Lottery Losers Wind Up In Jail – Above the Law

A longtime friend (and criminal defense attorney) is married to a woman who helped run a high-end modeling company.  She represented people like Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Naomi Campbell.

My friend got to know this bevy of beauties and because I’d never met any super-models, I asked him what they were like.

“They’re just like you and me,” he told me.  “Except they won the gene pool.”

What he meant was, they didn’t ask to be who they were.  It just happened.  They were born with an extraordinary combination of genes that made them incredibly beautiful.  Without taking anything away from their hard work and perseverance (there are plenty of good-looking people who aren’t successful), this genetic bonus — their beauty — gave them an automatic step up in life.

In comparing this bounty with the people I represent and have seen in criminal court and behind bars, I can state that 95 percent of them are the gene-pool losers.  Not because they’re bad looking, but because from the get-go they were born with an extraordinarily unlucky combination of genes and life circumstances that made it highly probable that they’d be maladjusted and eventually enter the criminal justice system.

Let’s start with the obvious ones — low IQ, mental illness, emotional problems, and a home life that subjected them to childhood trauma since the day they were born.

Take my client Lana.  Her mom was only 16 when she was born.  She abandoned her at age five (trauma no. 1).  Lana spent the next 10 years in and out of foster homes, some good, some horrific (trauma no. 2).  She then, through Facebook, reunited with her biological dad who invited her to live with his new family.  He started having sex with her (trauma no. 3).  She became pregnant with his baby.  The baby was born with serious medical problems (trauma no. 4).  The father pleaded guilty to statutory rape and received a sentence of only one year in jail (trauma no. 5).  Meanwhile, Lana was kicked out of the home and ordered never to see her half-siblings again (trauma no. 6).  She was later arrested for violating this order of protection.  She became homeless (trauma no. 7).  Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) is now threatening to take her baby away from her.  He still hasn’t left the hospital (trauma no. 8 and 9).

Lana, unbelievably, is still making it on her own.  She’s smart, motivated, and looking for work.  But the bad stuff life has thrown her way would put even a super hero out of commission. (Lana’s worst enemy is her own anger, but is there any reason she shouldn’t be angry?)

I’m guessing there are thousands of stories like Lana’s out there, and probably even worse.  Talk to anyone doing time in jail, and you’ll hear a history of childhood trauma, abuse, neglect, poverty, drug addiction, and mental illness.  Our jails have become the country’s de facto asylum for the poor.  Except without sufficient treatment, rehab, medication, and support.  And that’s just crazy.

According to Christopher Wildeman, a sociologist at Cornell University and co-director of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect, “Childhood trauma is a huge factor within the criminal justice system.  It is among the most important things that shapes addictive and criminal behavior in adulthood.”

The criminal justice system rarely takes this into account in meting out punishment, especially for recidivists. So a person’s had a screwed up life.  Maybe when he’s 17 and busted for pushing someone and stealing his cell phone, a judge will consider any past trauma as mitigation.  But if he commits the same crime at age 21, and then 27, even though he suffered the same childhood trauma whether it be mental illness, drug addiction, or sexual abuse, that history no longer matters.  Not only will his sentence get longer, but ultimately, it could lead to a life in prison (the three-strike rule.)

The question we have to ask ourselves is whether this approach is cost effective or fair.

The presumption in the criminal justice system is that we all start out as equals.  We make personal choices and decisions that lead us toward or away from getting into trouble.  We have free will.  But the reality is, some of us have less free will than others.

Some people are born into the hole of poverty, despair, and bad genes — a step below everyone else.  Before those people can even reach a semblance of equal footing, they’ve got to dig themselves out of that hole. Unless this reality is addressed through better schools in poor neighborhoods, outreach to young parents who need help, and better access to mental health and drug treatment, the revolving door of prison will never stop.  That’s a high cost to everybody.

Nobody gets better in prison. They just lose more ground.

I got a guy out of prison last month after winning his trial.  He showed up in my office last week, still homeless, still delusional about how his former lawyer wasn’t a “real” lawyer, still looking for work, sleeping on the subway, and washing up in the bathroom of a porn shop where his friend sweeps the floor. Do you think he’ll end up in jail again in the near future?   I hope not, but fear so.

Some people obviously become so unable to abide by the rules of society, they need to be segregated from it.  But many of these people, I daresay most, wouldn’t need the confines of a prison had there been sufficient early intervention, better education, and treatment.  A lot of this deficit stems from the poverty, lack of education, and the trauma their own parents suffered.

A more cost-effective and humane way, then, to deal with crime is not through longer terms of prison, but by spending the money to intervene sooner, and to keep intervening as the need arises.

Toni Messina has tried over 100 cases and has been practicing criminal law and immigration since 1990. You can follow her on Twitter: @tonitamess.

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15 states are refusing to hand over voter data to Trump's panned election commission — here's how every state has responded

Kris Kobach trump pence election Commission voter fraud

  • Fifteen states are refusing to hand over voter data to President Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
  • States attorneys general who refused balked at the commission’s original request for information including partial Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and voting history.
  • The commission is tasked with investigating voter fraud, even though scientific research has shown it is extremely rare.

More than a dozen states still refuse to release detailed voter data to President Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which is investigating voter fraud.

The commission has stirred controversy from the moment it was established last spring. Critics say Trump is using it to find support for his unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud that cost him the popular vote during the 2016 election. Democrat Hillary Clinton received 2.8 million more votes nationwide than Trump.

All states that have agreed to comply are withholding some details the commission sought and are releasing only information considered public under state law. The commission sent one request in late June and another in July after a court said the data collection could move ahead.

While there have been isolated cases of voter fraud in the US, there is no evidence of it being a widespread problem, as Trump suggests.

Critics argue the commission is stacked with people who favor voting restrictions, rather than those who want to expand access, and that the commission has a predetermined agenda that will result in recommendations making it more difficult for people to register to vote, stay registered and cast ballots.

Its first significant action was to request a wide range of information about all registered voters in every state, including partial Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and voting history. The commission scaled back its response after stinging criticism.

A tally by Associated Press reporters nationwide shows that 15 states denied the request, raising questions about how useful the information will be. Here is how every state responded:

SEE ALSO: US states overwhelmingly reject Trump voter-fraud panel’s request for sensitive voter information

DON’T MISS: The White House is allowing people to publicly comment on Trump’s voter-fraud commission — and it’s going as you’d expect


Secretary of State John Merrill, a Republican, said the commission can buy the information at a cost of more than $32,000. And it will exclude information such as Social Security and driver’s license numbers.

ALASKA: Comply

Josie Bahnke, director of the state Division of Elections, said the commission paid the $21 that is standard for these types of request for publicly available voter data. The information was sent to the commission in September.

ARIZONA: Undecided

Matt Roberts, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, said in early October that the office has yet to receive a formal request from the commission for the data.

“In the secretary’s mind, we haven’t responded because we haven’t received anything that remotely resembles a formal public records request, nor the accompanying payment for said voter registration records,” Roberts said. He would not speculate on how the secretary would respond to such a request.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Kathy Griffin has ugly break with her lawyer over beheaded Trump pic – Fox News

Kathy Griffin is in another public feud, this time with a person thought to be a close ally. The star called out her former attorney, Lisa Bloom, prompting a response from the civil rights attorney soon after.

Bloom, who has a history of helping celebrities with legal matters and is currently representing Blac Chyna in her lawsuit against the Kardashian family, previously helped Griffin after her now infamous scandal involving a photo she took with a fake severed head of president Donald Trump.

The two previously appeared together at a press conference in which Griffin was meant to explain her outrage over the backlash her photo received both from the public and the president’s family. Bloom took specific issue with the fact that Griffin was being singled out by the high-profile family while other male artists weren’t.

Since that time, there seems to have been a falling out between the two women as Griffin took to Twitter on Saturday to dress down Bloom and demand her money back from her legal services.

“Dear @LisaBloom pls stop calling me. If you’d like to refund me the tens of thousands of $$ I wasted on your services maybe I’ll talk to you,” she wrote.

Soon after, Bloom posted a lengthy message to Twitter explaining what went wrong in that press conference, but making sure not to denounce her former-client.

“Kathy Griffin reached out to me after her Trump mask photo posted a few months ago and a few days later I had a press conference with her,” Bloom wrote. “Her entire team (entertainment lawyer, criminal lawyer, and several others) approved in advance the statements she and I were going to make. Yet Kathy then during the press conference spontaneously chose to put aside the notes we had worked so hard on together. She said on camera “my notes are by the wayside and it’s all off the cuff” and then ad libbed. I was sorry she made that choice but I respected her right to speak as she saw fit. She was, as she always says, then widely panned for her comments. Now she blames me. She’s the only client I’ve ever had who chose to extemporize at a press conference rather than read from notes we prepared in advance.

“I got a lot of death and rape threats afterward and still do. I know Kathy has as well and I’m sure it’s unnerving.

“Kathy has now made a video about how women should stand together, and yet she’s attacked me, a lifetime women’s right attorney, and not the rest of her team, all of whom were men. This is sad, but I still believe that Kathy Griffin is one of the funniest comics alive, that she meant no ill will with the photo, and I wish her the best.”

Griffin has not yet responded and it’s unclear at this time what caused the celebrity to turn on her former lawyer.

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Trump is going through an 'extremely unusual' process of picking US attorneys — and it has ethics experts bewildered

Donald Trump

  • President Donald Trump is reportedly interviewing US attorney candidates in jurisdictions that directly affect him and his businesses.
  • That has left Democrats and ethics experts up in arms.
  • The White House says it’s his constitutional right to do so.

Democrats and former officials in the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations are up in arms over reports that President Donald Trump personally interviewed US Attorney candidates in a trio of jurisdictions that could directly affect him.

“I never heard of a president interviewing a US attorney candidate,” Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who served as Bush’s chief ethics lawyer, told Business Insider.

Politico reported this week that Trump interviewed candidates for the Southern and Eastern District of New York, citing sources.

Trump reportedly interviewed Geoffrey Berman, who works at the same law firm as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, for the vacancy in the Southern District of New York, the spot vacated by former US Attorney Preet Bharara. In the Eastern District of New York, Trump interviewed Ed McNally, who works at the law firm headed by Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s former top lawyer in handling special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“These are individuals that the president nominates and the Senate confirms under Article II of the Constitution,” a White House official told Politico. “We realize Senate Democrats would like to reduce this President’s constitutional powers. But he and other presidents before him and after may talk to individuals nominated to positions within the executive branch.”

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara speaks during a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York City, U.S., July 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File photo

The Southern District of New York is home to Trump Tower, the Trump Organization, and several prominent Trump properties. It was where the Trump campaign was headquartered, and where a controversial June 2016 meeting of a Russian lawyer, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort took place. Trump initially told Bharara during the transition period that he could stay on in his post, but subsequently fired him in March, along with dozens of other US attorneys.

The publication reported that documents submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year showed that Trump met with Jessie Liu, his nominee for US Attorney for the District of Columbia. That’s another spot that could have implications over a number of Trump-related prosecutorial decisions, including any findings of the Mueller probe. Liu has already been confirmed to the post.

“I understand that he’s personally interviewed the potential applicants for US attorney in Manhattan and Brooklyn and one in Washington, DC — which happen to be places where Donald Trump has property and assets and companies — and not interviewed personally US attorneys for other positions,” Bharara told CNN Wednesday. “I think that reasonably raises a number of questions.”

He later tweeted that “it is neither normal nor advisable for Trump to personally interview candidates” for US attorney, particularly in the Southern District of New York.

Trump has not interviewed other US attorney candidates he nominated, Politico reported, citing “Democrats who have been asking that of all nominees.” US attorneys are subject to what is known as the “blue-slip” process in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which gives home state senators the power to block a nominee from moving forward in the committee. That means Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand could prevent Trump’s nominee in either of those two New York jurisdictions from getting a vote.

Trump has already nominated 40 people for vacant US attorney slots, moving quickly to fill the many voids. But he has largely avoided nominated US attorneys in states with Democratic senators such as New York.

FILE PHOTO: Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) questions Supreme Court nominee judge Neil Gorsuch during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 21, 2017.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts“To be very blunt, these three jurisdictions will have authority to bring indictments over the ongoing special counsel investigation into Trump campaign collusion with the Russians and potential obstruction of justice by the president of the United States,” Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal told Politico. “For him to be interviewing candidates for that prosecutor who may in turn consider whether to bring indictments involving him and his administration seems to smack of political interference.”

Blumenthal mentioned the interviews during a congressional hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this week. Sessions said he was “not sure” whether Trump interviewed for the New York vacancies “but if you say so, I assume so.”

“And he has the right to, for sure, because he has to make an appointment, and I assume that everybody would understand that,” he continued.

Matthew Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman in the Obama administration, said the former president “never interviewed” a US attorney candidate.

“Trump is trying to breach the DOJ wall, plain & simple,” he tweeted.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement Thursday that “there’s no reason” for Trump to be meeting with candidates for those vacancies.

“The U.S. attorney for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York — like the US attorney for Washington, DC —would have jurisdiction over many important cases, including those involving President Trump’s personal and family business interests. There’s no reason for President Trump to be meeting with candidates for these positions, which create the appearance that he may be trying to influence or elicit inappropriate commitments from potential US attorneys. US attorneys must be loyal to the Constitution — not the president.”

Painter, the ex-Bush administration lawyer who has often been critical of Trump, said that while the president “has the legal right to” interview those candidates, he called it “extremely unusual” and added that Bush never, to his knowledge, interviewed a US attorney candidate.

And “if he’s interviewing a US attorney, why is he only interviewing in these districts?” Painter told Business Insider. “That’s highly peculiar. And it suggests that he has an interest in the outcome of the US attorneys work in these districts.”

“That is very problematic, because we’re looking at a situation where he could be trying to get a promise of loyalty from a US attorney,” he added. “He’s probably not going to be stupid enough to ask, but he’s probably going to be interviewing somebody who is not going to prosecute certain cases.”

Painter said the Senate Judiciary Committee should ask any US attorney candidate that comes before the panel what the president has said to him or her, and that candidate should be testifying under oath as to what was said.

Barack Obama Loretta Lynch

“It’s obvious what he’s trying to do,” Painter said. “He made a big deal about Bill Clinton walking on the airplane with the attorney general. Well, you know, what’s going on here?”

“You never know what happened in these interviews just like you never know what Bill Clinton said to the attorney general,” he continued, mentioning the much-maligned 2016 meeting between the former president and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “But, it doesn’t look good.”

Speaking to CNN, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch defended Trump for interviewing for those jurisdictions. But he added that it is complicated by his businesses.

“That does complicate the matter,” he said. “But he’s the president of the United States who picks these people, so he’s going to get blamed [by Democrat]  no matter what he does. So I think it’s a good thing that he’s willing to interview these people.” Hatch said

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told CNN that the interviews appear to him to be “kind of an extension of ‘The Apprentice,’ I guess.”

The left-leaning ethics organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has pending litigation involving Trump in those jurisdictions, summed up its thoughts on the interviews in three words.

“This isn’t normal,” the organization tweeted Thursday.

SEE ALSO: 3 Republicans are holding up what could be a signature legislative achievement of Trump’s first year in office

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Line Between Lawyer Ethics and Crime to Highlight Ex-Big Law Partner's Trial –

Evan Greebel and Martin Shkreli

The trial starting this week against Evan Greebel, a former Kaye Scholer and Katten Muchin Rosenman partner and onetime adviser to Martin Shkreli, will not only dive into federal conspiracy charges, but also explore at what point federal prosecutors claim ethical violations by a lawyer can become a crime.

In battling letters on the eve of trial to U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Manhattan, Greebel’s defense lawyers assert that the government is apparently contending that violations of attorney ethics rules relate to its criminal prosecution.

“To set a precedent allowing the government to wield ethical guidelines as swords of criminal liability would be extremely damaging to the entire bar,” stated the Oct. 13 letter from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Reed Brodsky. “This is frightening for the legal profession and for every corporate lawyer in the United States simply doing their job representing clients.”

Greebel is charged with agreeing to engage in a scheme to defraud and “one way of the ways in which he agreed to do that was by agreeing to, and then in fact, failing to, disclose material facts that he had a duty to disclose,” said prosecutors in a response filed Oct. 14. “It would be particularly inappropriate to preclude evidence or argument about a duty derived from the attorney-client relationship in this case.”

In a case where legal ethicists could take the stand, jury selection began Monday and opening arguments are scheduled for Wednesday. The government, which plans to call about 25 witnesses, anticipates its case will take about three weeks, according to court documents.

While Greebel is one of many lawyers from large law firms in the last decade to stand trial for criminal charges, his case stands out because he was arrested in late 2015 alongside his client’s CEO, Shkreli, who led biopharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc.

Greebel was Retrophin’s outside counsel and a Katten Muchin partner at the time of the conduct at issue in his case. (Kaye Scholer hired Greebel from Katten Muchin in mid-2015.)

Prosecutors claim that Shkreli and Greebel engaged in a scheme to defraud Retrophin by misappropriating Retrophin’s assets in an effort to pay off Shkreli’s debts, including obligations he owed to investors in two of his former hedge funds. The government argues the two used a series of settlement and sham consulting agreements that hurt Retrophin and its investors.

Greebel and Shkreli were charged together in two counts: Conspiracy to commit wire fraud related to Retrophin and conspiracy to commit securities fraud related to Retrophin stock. Greebel resigned from Kaye Scholer’s partnership shortly after his arrest in December 2015.

On Aug. 4, a New York jury convicted Shkreli, Greebel’s onetime co-defendant, on three counts and acquitted him of five counts, including count seven, a key wire fraud conspiracy charge that Greebel also faces.

Since the verdict, Greebel’s defense lawyers have argued that count seven should be dismissed because of Shkreli’s acquittal on the count and because the government has introduced no evidence showing that Greebel conspired with anyone else other than Shkreli.

Matsumoto, in a decision issued late Friday, said the government can proceed to try Greebel on count seven given its stated intention to present evidence that may differ from that presented at Shkreli’s trial. Even if the government proceeds on the theory that Shkreli was Greebel’s only co-conspirator, a different result would not be required, Matsumoto said.

“The government,” the judge said, “is not bound to repeat the same case it proffered against Shkreli; it may present additional or different evidence and may argue that additional individuals conspired with Mr. Greebel.”

Trial Witnesses

Greebel’s defense lawyers are contending that the government appears to be making an argument that “a lawyer’s duty to disclose certain information to his client’s board of directors rises to the level of a criminal violation.”

In response, the government said in its Oct. 14 letter that it has “never argued and does not intend to argue that the [Greebel] should be found guilty merely because he violated state bar rules.”

Prosecutors noted that one element of wire fraud is that there was a scheme to defraud or to obtain money under false pretenses, which may be demonstrated through evidence of misstatements or omissions so long as the defendant had a duty to disclose the omitted information. There is no basis for attorneys to receive special treatment while all others who also have fiduciary duties—such as accountants and corporate officers—are held to a different standard, according to prosecutors.

What Greebel is arguing for, prosecutors say, is “an extraordinary carve-out from criminal law when the defendant charged with a crime is a lawyer,” said assistant U.S. attorneys Alixandra Smith, David Pitluck and David Kessler.

Greebel has said his potential witnesses include two authorities on New York state legal ethics, Stephen Gillers, a professor at the New York University School of Law, and Ronald Minkoff, a partner at New York’s Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.

Such potential expert witnesses could end up guiding a jury through a lesson on legal ethics, especially after jurors read animated emails expected to be shown by prosecutors.

“[I’ve repeatedly] done all you ask,” Greebel said in one email to Shkreli from 2013, “and very rarely chase you for money.”

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3 Richard Spencer supporters charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting at protesters

mugshots richard spencer supporters

  • Florida police have charged three Texas men with attempted murder after one of them allegedly shot at people protesting a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer.
  • Police say the men made threats and Nazi salutes at the protesters.
  • Florida officials had been worried Spencer’s talk would prompt violence — the University of Florida spent $500,000 on security for the event.

Three Texas men have been arrested in connection with a gunshot fired at protesters following a controversial speech at the University of Florida by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

Tyler Tenbrink, 30, William Fears, 30, and Colton Fears, 28, have all been charged with attempted murder, according to the Gainesville Police Department. The Fears brothers are being held on $1 million bonds and Tenbrink, who faces additional charges for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, is being held on $3 million.

Police reports said the men drove up in a silver Jeep to a group of people protesting Spencer’s talk on Thursday afternoon. The men then began “threatening, offering Nazi salutes and shouting chants about Hitler” at the protesters, according to police.

During the confrontation, police said, Tenbrink pulled out a handgun as the Fears brothers urged him to shoot at the protesters. Tenbrink then fired a single shot, missing the protesters and striking a nearby building, police said. The men then fled the scene in their Jeep, the police reports said.

richard spencer uf speechOne of the protesters, who “amazingly remained calm,” noted the Jeep’s tag number and reported the incident to police, who located the vehicle hours later and arrested all three men.

Florida officials had feared that Spencer’s talk could prompt an outbreak in violence. Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency over the speech, and the university spent roughly $500,000 on security for the event.

Tenbrink and William Fears also attended the infamous white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, at which one woman was killed after a white supremacist mowed down pedestrians with his vehicle, the Miami Herald reported.

William Fears has even spoken about his beliefs to media, recently telling The Washington Post that his radicalization occurred within the last year, after Hillary Clinton condemned the so-called alt-right movement during a campaign speech last year.

“Things are life and death now, and if you’re involved in this movement, you have to be willing to die for it now,” he told the newspaper shortly after the Charlottesville rally.

SEE ALSO: Florida declared a state of emergency before a white nationalist’s speech — and protesters showed up with confetti, high-fiving state troopers

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'Criminal Minds' Recap: The Number 372 Haunts a Drone-Obsessed … – BuddyTV (blog)

In season 13 episode 4 of Criminal Minds, titled, “Killer App,” the BAU travels to California to help investigate a workplace shooting. They soon realize, however, that this is no ordinary shooting. Rather, this crime was not executed physically by an unsub, instead, it was carried out by a drone. The team must rush to find out who’s behind the tech before it’s too late.

A Shooting in Silicon Valley

The episode begins with a hip tech company in Silicon Valley. All of a sudden, shots ring out and the employees run and duck for cover, but no one can seem to see a shooter.

At the BAU, Prentiss asks Luke to her office to talk about what happened with Scratch. She says Luke wasn’t specific enough in his report. Luke admits that he didn’t try to help pull Scratch up. Prentiss said he did the right thing.

Homeland security calls the BAU for help with the workplace shooting at tech company, Ori-Gamey. The team heads to Silicon Valley. On the jet, the team evaluates what they know about the shooting so far. They haven’t found a shooter, nor has a terrorist organization claimed responsibility. Three victims of three different races were killed and the team theorizes that the shooting might be a hate crime.

When the team arrives in California, Prentis works with Homeland Security on the scene. Things aren’t adding up. The security guard who was killed had served in Afghanistan. He was shot several times but he never fired his weapon. Luke, J.J., Reid, and Simmons interview employees at the scene. A few people say they saw the shooter, but none of the stories add up. Prentiss and Luke play out what happened to the three victims. Abdullah was killed first, then Devlin and the security guard, one after the other. They theorize that there might have been two shooters.

Shemar Moore Returning to Criminal Minds for Season 13>>>

Garcia calls the team with the name of a possible suspect, Hugh Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was fired, had a grudge, and was in the building earlier. The BAU tracks him down and he tries to outrun them in his car but fails. Hugh reveals that he tried to get away because he keyed his boss’s car. He insists, however, that he did not shoot up the office. The team, therefore, theorizes that the shootings are personal and that the three victims were killed for a reason.

Flash to another tech company where four employees are working. As they work, bullets start to fly, and all four people are killed. The BAU responds to the second shooting. Based on the four people killed, the team rules out a hate crime and confirms that the killer probably is targeting specific people.

Killer Drone

Reid notices that no one responded to the shooter and that the trajectory of the bullets is too high to make sense. He realizes that there is no physical gunman. Instead, a drone is being used to attack the offices and the unsub controls it offsite.

They deliver the profile. The unsub is a lone wolf using a drone. He’s a young, white male, tech-astute, with a personal vendetta. He’s using a custom built drone and could be military trained. He’s operating off a kill list and targeting specific victims. The team hasn’t found the connection between the two companies, but they know it’s the key to finding out who the unsub is.

In reviewing what they know, the team concludes that the security guard was the only one killed who wasn’t on the unsub’s list. J.J. discovers that the common thread between all the victims is a period of unemployment in 2016.

A blonde woman named Tori is talking on the phone in her car. She is afraid because coders “on the team” are dead. Then her car starts getting shot by the unsub. The BAU finds the shot up car, but the unsub has taken Tori. Tori works for a private military consulting firm called Peakstone. The team theorizes that Peakstone’s civilian drone operations could be the connection. Prentiss speaks with the Homeland Security agent, who insists that the BAU take over the case. The unsub, whose name is Jake, is holding Tori at gunpoint. He thinks she won’t remember him, but she does.

The team looks into Tori and find out she was in charge of drone teams consisting of coders and one pilot. They think the unsub is a former drone pilot blaming the coders on his team for making killing people seem like a game. Garcia calls in with helpful information. Tori’s team ran during the time in 2016 that lines up with the victims’ unemployment, until their contract was canceled in July 2016. The team’s last mission, attacking an insurgent camp, had a lot of casualties, 372 dead. Garcia is trying to find the unsub’s name from Peakstone but isn’t have much luck.

372 Casualties

Meanwhile, Jake has brought Tori back to his house. She tries to convince him that he should be proud of his service, he kept his country safe. Prentiss goes to the Homeland Security agent, trying to get him to help her obtain the unsub’s name from Peakstone. The agent says he can’t help, but after Prentiss insists, he gives her his contact.

Still keeping Tori captive, Jake reveals he’s upset about the letter he received after the team’s contract ended that broke down every mission, including body count. When Jake puts down his gun, Tori takes the opportunity to grab it, fire, and run out of the house. 

Prentiss meets with the Peakstone contact to try and get Jake’s name. The contact refuses to give up the information. Tori runs out into the street and flags down a car to help her.

Prentiss returns to the team, letting them know Peakstone won’t give up the information. Simmons announces that Tori is at the hospital. When the team arrives, J.J. and Luke talk to Tori and she admits she shot Jake. When they ask about the casualty counts, however, Tori lies, saying Jake said nothing about casualty counts.

Rossi and Simmons go to Jake’s house and find him dead. He was shot multiple times, just like his earlier victims. Tori fired once and then dropped the gun on her way out. Rossi and Simmons wonder who could have wanted the unsub dead.

Quiz: Which Special Agent TV Hunk Would You Date?>>>

Back at the station, Garcia calls the team to let them know what she found out about the mission with the 372 casualty count. It turns out that there is no record of such a mission occurring at an insurgent training camp. Instead, she has finds that there was a bombing at an elementary school that matches the 372 count. Peakstone, the team realizes, covered up the bombing of the elementary school. They also find out that Tori was on the phone with the company when she was kidnapped.

Peakstone’s to Blame

Tori, therefore, is unfinished business for Peakstone, because she knows what happened with the elementary school. Not only did Peakstone kill Jake, but they were trying to kill Tori as well. Just as the team makes this discovery, a suspicious cop takes over watching Tori’s door at the hospital.

The cop goes in the room to shoot and kill Tori and the team arrives and arrests him. Tori reveals to J.J. and Luke that Jake blamed everyone on the mission team for turning him into a murderer. She also explains that Peakstone made her file fake reports and cover the mistake up. They place Tori under arrest. Rossi and Prentiss arrest the contact at Peakstone.

Back in D.C., Luke tells Prentiss that Tori cut a deal to testify against Peakstone. The government ended all contracts with the company and those responsible are going to jail. As Prentiss is swamped with paperwork, Luke offers Thai food and stays to share it with her.

What did you think of this complex episode? Did you feel sympathy for Jake, the unsub? What did you think of the brief conclusion to the Mr. Scratch saga? Let us know in the comments!

Criminal Minds season 13 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Criminal Minds Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

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Toronto criminal lawyer charged with child porn offences – Toronto … –

A 54-year-old Toronto criminal lawyer is facing child pornography charges following a four-year police investigation.

Toronto police said their probe began on Oct. 10, 2013, after they were advised that the accused possessed and accessed child sexual abuse material on computer devices in his home in the Sheppard Avenue East and Yonge Street area.

Police said they attempted to secure the evidence on Nov. 1, 2013, but were unable to do so as they believed some of the material on the devices was subject to attorney-client privilege.

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“In this case, due to the accused profession, there was believed to be solicitor/client privilege information on these devices,” Det. Sgt. Paul Krawczyk told Global News.

“So therefore there’s a whole process, the Supreme Court has laid it out in previous cases, a process we must follow. In this case, it took a long time to get to this point.”

READ MORE: Lawyers offering free services to those caught up in Toronto police sex sting

Investigators said the material had to be independently reviewed, as required by law, before they were released.

“Because there’s privilege information on this devices, a referee must be appointed, an independent person involved in the process,” Krawczyk said.

“We don’t analyze the devices, an independent party agreed to by all those involved, actually does the analysis of the devices.”

Police said Jamuar Sharat Vijaya of Toronto was arrested on Oct. 19 and charged with one count each of possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography.

According to the Law Society of Upper Canada, the suspect operated a private practice in North York near Lawrence Avenue and Don Mills Road.

READ MORE: Toronto lawyer facing sex assault charges now charged with indecent act

A Facebook page with the suspect’s name and image indicates he studied at the University of Windsor.

A description on the website says he is an “experienced criminal trial lawyer in the GTA” and lives with his wife and children in Toronto.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-8500 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

With a file from Mark Carcasole

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Coca production is booming in Colombia — here's how it gets turned into cocaine

Colombia cocaine production

In late 2016, Colombia sealed a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a left-wing rebel group and major drug trafficker.

But they have struggled to implement important aspects of the deal, and coca production has only increased.

After hitting a low in 2012, cultivation of coca — the base ingredient in cocaine — increased 134% between 2013 and 2016.

While the FARC agreed to exit the drug trade, dissident members have remained, and criminal groups that have proliferated in Colombia are also jockeying for a piece of the trade. Other factors, like few economic alternatives for coca-producing farmers, have helped keep the crop popular.

The Trump administration has pressured Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to address the increase. Santos has resisted a more hardline approach, and experts worry a focus on cocaine overlooks other potent threats developing in the country.

The photos below, taken by the Associated Press’ Rodrigo Abd in early 2016, show how coca leaves are made into paste and then into cocaine, revealing the humble origins of one of the world’s most lucrative illegal drugs.

SEE ALSO: Amid a cocaine boom in Colombia, a deeper problem is emerging

Coca plants grow just two months a year amid the lush greenery of the Colombian countryside. Below, a coca field owned by Edgar and his father, Gonzalo, stands ready for harvest in the mountain region of Antioquia, Colombia, January 7, 2016.

Edgar and his family, who live in Antioquia in northwest Colombia, run a small coca-paste-production operation, a minor cog the the Colombian cottage industry that produces cocaine for world consumption


Despite cocaine’s reputation for decadence, the production process is relatively simple and crude. Farmers, sometimes families aided by neighbors, pick leaves by hand and put them through a complex and noxious process to eventually turn the leaves into paste, which can then be sold to traffickers.

The territory that Edgar’s farm is in was controlled by the FARC before the rebel group agreed to demobilize. At one point the FARC controlled 70% of Colombia’s coca crops.


Gonzalo’s whole family lives off the production of coca paste and are threatened by the idea of coca eradication. “We will confront anyone who touches our plants,” said Fernando Zapata, the communal president of the village. “They want to do away with the livelihood of our families and the entire region.”

For farmers like those the AP talked to, coca production is less of a moneymaking scheme that a financial imperative. Some Colombian farmers, rather than dealing directly with traffickers, trade their coca paste to local stores in exchange for much-needed goods.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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