Tag Archives: prosecutor

New York eyeing cooperation with another Trump Org exec to ‘turn up the heat’ on Weisselberg: Florida prosecutor

New York eyeing cooperation with another Trump Org exec to 'turn up the heat' on Weisselberg: Florida prosecutor

On CNN Friday, Palm Beach County, Florida state attorney Dave Aronberg discussed how the efforts of New York prosecutors to get the cooperation of Trump Organization COO and former Trump bodyguard Matthew Calamari puts extra pressure on CFO Allen Weisselberg to try for a deal himself.

Weisselberg, despite being indicted along with the Trump Organization itself on tax charges, has so far shown no interest in cooperating against the organization, the former president, or his family.

“What does it tell you, Dave, that prosecutors are now trying to get Matthew Calamari … to cooperate?” asked anchor Wolf Blitzer.

“It definitely turns up the heat on Allen Weisselberg, who is out there on an island by himself,” said Aronberg. “The indictment of Weisselberg and the Trump Organization, Wolf, said there were two other employees who received substantial amounts of compensation in the form of lodging in New York City and car leases.”

Given that the Calimaris live in Trump apartment buildings, Aronberg continued, it seems natural that prosecutors would explore a cooperation agreement with them.

Watch below:

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Dave Aronberg says Matthew Calamari investigation could pressure Allen Weisselberg

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CLEAT calls for removal of Travis County assistant DA over email

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An email about a job posting for the Travis County District Attorney’s unit that investigates and prosecutes unlawful use of force by officers got the attention of the state’s largest law enforcement organization Sunday.

The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas Executive Director Charley Wilkison is calling for the first assistant DA’s removal in response to an email and posting that he says is an attack on Central Texas law enforcement.

“We call on [DA Jose Garza] today to immediately remove his assistant district attorney, who either by accident or on purpose showed the true colors of this governmental office, which should be seeking facts related to criminal conduct,” said Wilkison in a video response posted to YouTube.

A press release, issued by CLEAT, includes a screenshot of an email First Assistant District Attorney Trudy Strassburger sent, which states that the office is seeking to add another person to their Civil Rights Unit.

“This kind of didactic language is for activists and not for the benign prosecutorial powers that reside inside the wall of an elected district attorney,” says Wilkison in the video response.

KXAN has asked for the Travis County District Attorney’s office to confirm that email was sent.

The online job post says the team’s main purpose is to “investigate and prosecute unlawful use of force by law enforcement in situations of officer involved shootings, deaths in custody and less than lethal uses of force, and also prosecutes officers who have used excessive force.”

The Civil Rights Unit started before Garza was elected and is composed of three attorneys. He says they’re hiring a team lead to help address a backlog and an increasing volume of police misconduct in the community, which includes 11 pending indictments.

“Just this year Travis County Grand Juries, who are made up of our community, family and friends have concluded that seven law enforcement should be charged with felony crimes, including acts of violence like murder and aggravated assault,” Garza tells KXAN. “I hope that they will join us and seek to root out criminal conduct particularly acts of violence committed by members of their organizations.”

Wilkison says Garza’s office is conflicted by personal opinions and beliefs, and the DA should focus on finding prosecutors who follow the facts and seek the truth.

“There’s not a thing we won’t do for you to be treated fairly in a workplace regardless of the political winds that blow,” says Wilkison in the video, addressing the officers the organization represents.

Garza ran on a platform of fully prosecuting any police officer who is not justified in using excessive or lethal force.

Author: Chelsea Moreno
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Andrew Brown Jr. Shooting: Prosecutor Says It Was 'Justified'

A North Carolina prosecutor said on Tuesday that the fatal shooting of a Black man in Elizabeth City, N.C., by local sheriff’s deputies was justified, because the man, Andrew Brown Jr., used his car as a “deadly weapon” as he tried to evade arrest. The deputies will not face criminal charges, he said.

R. Andrew Womble, the district attorney for North Carolina’s First Judicial District, made the announcement in a news conference on Tuesday, during which he described Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies’ efforts to serve a drug-related warrant on Mr. Brown and showed snippets of police body camera video from the brief, deadly encounter.

The facts of this case, Mr. Womble said, “clearly illustrate the officers who used deadly force on Andrew Brown Jr. did so reasonably, and only when a violent felon used a deadly weapon to place their lives in danger.”

Three deputies opened fire on Mr. Brown as he tried to get away in his car on April 21, firing 14 shots. His death, just days after a jury found a Minneapolis police officer guilty of murdering George Floyd, another Black man, sparked days of peaceful protest in Elizabeth City, a majority-Black city of 18,000 people on North Carolina’s eastern coast.

The family of Mr. Brown and their lawyers, who saw some video footage of the shooting earlier, have described it as an “execution,” arguing that deputies overreacted by opening fire on a man who was trying to get away from them, not hurt them. They said a private autopsy showed that he was hit by five bullets and killed by a shot to the back of the head.

But Mr. Womble said on Tuesday that Mr. Brown, at one point, drove his car “directly at” a deputy, giving the officers the legal right to open fire. Mr. Womble said an official autopsy showed that Mr. Brown was shot twice, including in the head, during an interaction that took a total of 44 seconds.

The prosecutor said that after the deputies arrived at Mr. Brown’s house to serve the warrant and surrounded him while he was in his car, Mr. Brown put the vehicle in reverse. At that point, Mr. Womble said, Sgt. Joel Lunsford, who had his hand on the driver’s side door handle, “was pulled over the hood of Brown’s vehicle, where his body and his safety equipment were struck by the vehicle.”

Mr. Womble said that Mr. Brown ignored deputies’ commands to stop, continued to back up and then put the car in drive. At that point, Sergeant Lunsford was “directly in front of the vehicle,” Mr. Womble said, and Mr. Brown drove directly at him.

“It was at this moment that the first shot was fired” by sheriff’s investigator Daniel Meads, Mr. Womble said. It went through the front windshield. Then multiple shots rang out.

The prosecutor said that a bag with a substance containing what is believed to be crystal methamphetamine was found in Mr. Brown’s mouth by the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy.

The officers, Mr. Womble said, were “duty-bound to stand their ground, carry through on the performance of their duties, and take Andrew Brown into custody. They could not simply let him go, as has been suggested.”

Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina, a Democrat, had asked Mr. Womble to turn the case over to a special prosecutor, as have lawyers for the Brown family. Mr. Womble said Tuesday that a special prosecutor was not accountable to the people of North Carolina’s seven-county First Judicial District. “I am,” he said.

Bakari Sellers, one of the lawyers representing Mr. Brown’s family, said that Mr. Womble’s decision was “disappointing, but expected.” The video played by Mr. Womble at his news conference, Mr. Sellers said, shows “an unjustified shooting,” despite the prosecutor’s decision.

“It shows you why you shouldn’t take any solace in the George Floyd verdict,” Mr. Sellers said. “Because justice in cases like this is so fleeting. What we saw today illustrates just how difficult it is for officers to be held accountable.”

Ronald Wright, a professor of criminal law and criminal procedure at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., said Mr. Womble’s decision most likely ended the possibility of any state-level criminal prosecution of the officers.

But he said that Mr. Womble’s decision does not prevent the Brown family from pursuing civil litigation. He also noted that there is a federal investigation of the shooting by the F.B.I., which is working with federal prosecutors and the civil rights division of the Justice Department.

That investigation could potentially include exploring whether the deputies deprived Mr. Brown of his constitutional rights by using excessive force.

“You can hope that the D.O.J. can come in,” said Mr. Sellers, the lawyer for the Brown family. “Unfortunately, that may be our last hope.”

Mr. Womble’s description of the police body and dash camera footage was starkly different from the description offered by Mr. Brown’s family and members of their legal team, who had been given two occasions to see some of the footage.

“We did not see any actions on Mr. Brown’s part where he made contact with them or try to go in their direction,” said Chance D. Lynch, a lawyer who reviewed about 20 minutes of the recordings with family members this month. “In fact, he did just the opposite.”

A slow-motion review of the footage from the news conference by The New York Times’s Visual Investigations unit shows that after deputies surrounded Mr. Brown’s car with weapons drawn, he appears to clip an officer when he reverses briefly.

Mr. Brown then drives forward, toward the same deputy, and tries to drive away between him and a second, appearing to try to avoid hitting them while driving across a vacant lot. As he appears to be directing the car away from the deputy in front of him, who briefly places his left hand on the hood of the car, an officer fires the first shot, according to the Times review.

A local judge delayed the public release of the body camera videos, citing concerns that their release could compromise the investigation. The decision angered demonstrators and family members who said members of the public should have the right to see the recordings and decide for themselves whether the shooting was justified.

Although Mr. Womble showed portions of the video on Tuesday, he said he was not authorized to release the full footage publicly.

Christoph Koettl contributed reporting.

Author: Richard Fausset
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Prosecutor Says Trial in Mollie Tibbetts’ Death ‘Not Going to be Pleasant’

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A prosecutor warned prospective jurors Monday that the trial of a Mexican national charged in the 2018 fatal stabbing of a University of Iowa student will include graphic evidence that will be emotionally difficult to see and hear.

Prosecutor Scott Brown said the first-degree murder trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera will feature photos and testimony about the stab wounds 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts suffered after going for a run.

“We’re going to talk about the violent death of a young girl, Mollie Tibbetts,” said Brown, an assistant Iowa attorney general, said during jury selection at an events center in Davenport, where lawyers began working to whittle down a 183-person pool to 12 jurors and three alternates. “It’s not going to be pleasant.”

Legal experts say ensuring a fair trial for Rivera, a farm laborer who is suspected of entering the country illegally as a teenager, will be difficult. Rivera’s arrest inflamed anger over illegal immigration, with then-President Donald Trump calling Rivera a killer who exploited lax immigration laws and Iowa’s governor calling him a predator. The case deepened anxieties about random violence against women, since Tibbetts was attacked while out for exercise in her small town of Brooklyn, Iowa.

Jury selection will continue Tuesday before a two-week trial at the Scott County Courthouse.

Rivera, 26, has been jailed since his August 2018 arrest. He wore a dress shirt and slacks Monday and listened through headphones as an interpreter translated the proceedings into Spanish. He’s likely to face a predominantly white jury in a state that Trump carried in 2020.

Defense lawyer Chad Frese told prospective jurors that his client’s immigration status had become an unfortunate “flashpoint” but said it had nothing to do with the trial. He said Rivera enjoys the same constitutional rights as a U.S. citizen, and that jurors cannot hold his lack of English language skills against him.

The vast majority of about 30 potential jurors questioned Monday said they had heard about the case, and a dozen said they’d formed opinions about it. At least six were excused after being questioned in private about their views.

One prospective female juror said she felt sympathy for Rivera because he’s accused of a horrible crime, and for the family of Tibbetts, who she said was “so viciously murdered.”

“I think whoever did this should definitely pay,” the woman said, adding that her view would “not at all” prevent her from serving.

Tibbetts’s disappearance in July 2018 triggered a massive search that featured hundreds of law enforcement officials and volunteers and drew extensive media coverage to her hometown of 1,700. Detectives say they zeroed in on Rivera a month later after obtaining surveillance video showing a Chevy Malibu appearing to circle Tibbetts as she ran, and a deputy later spotted him in town driving that vehicle.

Rivera initially denied involvement but federal agents put an immigration detainer on him during a lengthy interrogation after finding blood in the Malibu’s trunk. Hours later, investigators say he confessed to approaching Tibbetts, killing her in a panic after she threatened to call police and hiding her body in a cornfield. He allegedly led police to the body, which had been buried underneath leaves.

An autopsy found that she died of sharp force injuries due to stabbing, although investigators have not recovered a murder weapon. Police say that DNA testing on blood found in the trunk of the vehicle showed it was a match for Tibbetts.

Rivera, the father of a young daughter, had no prior criminal history. Frese suggested Monday he will argue his client gave a false confession after hours of questioning, and will cast suspicion on others for the death.

The trial was moved to Scott County — 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Brooklyn — after defense lawyers noted that local residents had “very strong opinions” about Rivera’s guilt and Mexican nationality, and that they were nearly all white. Scott County’s population is diverse by Iowa standards but is still roughly 80% white and 7% Hispanic or Latino.

Trump seized on Rivera’s arrest to argue for strengthening the nation’s immigration laws, calling him an “illegal alien” who killed “an incredible, beautiful young woman.” Gov. Kim Reynolds expressed anger that “a broken immigration system allowed a predator like this to live in our community.”

The anti-immigrant backlash was swift. The Republican family who employed and housed Rivera under an alias reported getting death threats. Robocalls linked to a white supremacist group blanketed Iowa calling for mass deportations. Immigrants, even many in the country legally, said they were afraid.

The anger cooled after Tibbetts’ family members demanded that politicians stop using her killing to promote a racist agenda she would have opposed, and said immigrants should be treated as neighbors, not scapegoats.

“My clients tell me that her family’s speeches saved lives, that they might have prevented violent reprisals,” said Bram Elias, who directs an immigration practice at the University of Iowa law school. “In some ways it’s a sign of how effective they were that today we are thinking about how he can get a fair trial.”

The Associated Press

Author: AP News
This post originally appeared on Snopes.com

Court rules Air France, Airbus should stand trial over 2009 crash – prosecutor

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The first Air France airliner’s Airbus A350 takes off after a ceremony at the aircraft builder’s headquarters in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau 2/2

PARIS (Reuters) -A French court has ruled that Air France and Airbus should stand trial over a 2009 crash in the Atlantic Ocean which killed 228 people, a judicial source from the prosecutor’s department said on Wednesday.

The court, ruling on a request from French prosecutors, overturned a previous ruling that there should not be a trial.

An Air France representative said the carrier had no immediate comment. Airbus, the manufacturer of the aircraft involved, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Air France flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed on June 1 2009. Everyone on board was killed.

French investigators found the crew mishandled loss of speed readings from sensors blocked with ice from a storm, and caused the aircraft to stall by holding its nose too high.

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Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News