Mar a Lago raided by FBI

mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Seriously, I have no life.
@Swerd many thanks. Don't remember seeing that overhead picture, mostly from the side so I didn't picture it. The bomb exploded on the vehicle bridge and the explosion happened to ignite fuel cars on RR bridge.
 
M

Mr._Clark

Audioholic Field Marshall
Since there isn't a separate thread for the January 6 DOJ criminal investigation, I figured I'd post this here (the legal issues involved in the DOJ's Mar-a-Lago and January 6 investigations have similarities because both involve Trump vs the executive branch rather than Trump vs the legislative branch as in the January 6 hearings)(legally, Congress has box cutters whereas the DOJ has very long knives).

The gist of the CNN report is that Trump seems to be losing most of his arguments that executive privilege and attorney-client privilege apply.

In a sense, we can thank Nixon for losing 2 U.S. Supreme Court cases in which he asserted executive privilege. The first while he was president, and the second after he was president. These cases didn't hold that executive privilege does not exist, but they put significant limits on it.

It will be interesting to see if Trump manages to surpass Nixon with regards to having his name on more losing Supreme Court cases. Given Trump's eagerness to charge into losing legal battles, he might just pull it off.

>>>Trump and his allies have used claims of confidentiality – both executive privilege and attorney-client privilege - with mixed results in multiple legal quagmires that surround the former President. Those include the January 6 federal criminal investigation, the Mar-a-Lago documents federal criminal investigation, Georgia’s Fulton County investigation of election meddling, and the House select committee probe of January 6 as well. Some of the privilege arguments Trump has raised have never been settled in federal court, and some of the fights could lead to the Supreme Court.<<<


The CNN report is interesting, but it should be taken with a grain of salt because it's largely based on leaks, not actual court documents.
 
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M

Mr._Clark

Audioholic Field Marshall
I'm assuming you're referring to the fraud lawsuit filed in NY:


It's obviously not a trivial matter, but I'm somewhat skeptical because these types of cases tend to be difficult to prove:

>>>Yet her case against him could be difficult to prove. Property valuations are often subjective, and the financial statements include a disclaimer that they have not been audited. And at a trial, his lawyers will most likely emphasize that Deutsche Bank and his other lenders were hardly victims; all of his loans are either current or were paid off, some early.
Mr. Trump also famously does not use email, so any instructions he might have given his employees about the company’s financial statements might not be in writing. The lack of a damning email — or a witness inside his company willing to testify against him — might complicate her effort to show that he intentionally used his financial statements to defraud lenders and insurers.<<<

Who knows, it could eventually lead to Trump taking a big hit but I'm not holding my breath.

I noticed Trump invoked his favorite "witch hunt" accusation:

>>>Mr. Trump has cast each inquiry as part of a never-ending “witch hunt” and denied all wrongdoing.<<<

To my mind there may well be a "witch" and the prosecutors may well succeed in one or more of the cases.
Just in case there was any doubt about how Allen Weisselberg would be "rewarded" by Trump for being a loyal trooper and taking a hit for the team, Trump, true to form, threw Weisselberg under the bus right out of the gate:

>>>"It was something that both former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Trump biographer Tim O'Brien predicted: lawyers for the Trump family threw Allen Weisselberg under the bus in court on Monday, reported Mother Jones

"I think they're going to be worried about Allen Weissberg because Allen was Fred Trump's accountant before he was Donald Trump's CFO, and he knows where all the financial bodies are buried, and I think they're worried about his testimony to the point that they've already signaled they're going to accuse him of lying," said Trump biographer Tim O'Brien, who has been sued by Trump.<<<


It is actually somewhat refreshing to see some other people getting thrown under the bus along with the lawyers.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
"I think they're going to be worried about Allen Weissberg because Allen was Fred Trump's accountant before he was Donald Trump's CFO, and he knows where all the financial bodies are buried, and I think they're worried about his testimony to the point that they've already signaled they're going to accuse him of lying," said Trump biographer Tim O'Brien, who has been sued by Trump.
Is there anyone who Trump doesn’t accuse of lying?
 
M

Mr._Clark

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ooh. I got this one… ;)

Himself.
This got my curiosity up. A couple google searches revealed that he has actually admitted (more or less) to lying:



If someone were to ask me to write headlines, I would change the VOX headline to "Trump can be weirdly weird about being weird."
 
M

Mr._Clark

Audioholic Field Marshall
The NYT article also mentions the Fifth Amendment:

>>>There is another potential legal hurdle. If there is reason to believe that Mr. Corcoran, Ms. Bobb or both are at risk themselves of being charged with crimes like obstruction or lying to federal investigators, they would have a Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.

As a result, neither could likely be compelled to testify before a grand jury about their interactions with Mr. Trump without a grant of immunity from prosecution at a minimum.<<<(emphasis added)

A grant of immunity "trumps" (pardon the pun) the Fifth Amendment. Thus, the Fifth Amendment is not necessarily a major roadblock if the primary target of an investigation is not the person who took the Fifth:

>>>Federal prosecutors may provide immunity to a culpable person to obtain evidence to prosecute others. A person receiving immunity cannot be prosecuted using their compelled statements. Accordingly, an individual provided with immunity cannot assert their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because they are not being forced to assist in their own prosecution.<<< (disclaimer: I do not know this attorney, but everything I've seen so far on this webpage appears to be accurate)


More bluntly, a prosecutor can grant immunity and force a person to comply even if the person took the Fifth.

What if the person still refuses? The judge will send them to the Greybar Hotel until they change their mind.

It is being reported that John Eastman took the Fifth in the Georgia case:

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/3622689-eastman-invoked-fifth-amendment-where-appropriate-in-appearance-before-georgia-grand-jury-lawyers-say/

The cynical side of me says he's fishing for immunity by taking the Fifth. Get in line buddy, get in line.
It looks like the immunity deals are starting to play out. Once the government grants immunity, the Fifth Amendment goes bye bye and the witness can either sing like canary or go to the Greybar Hotel.

Having said that, Patel may not be a great witness for the prosecution. He strikes me as being too flaky and incoherent to be credible.

>>>The Justice Department offered on Wednesday to allow Kash Patel, a close adviser to former President Donald J. Trump, to testify to a federal grand jury under a grant of immunity about Mr. Trump’s handling of highly sensitive presidential records, two people familiar with the matter said.

The offer of immunity came about a month after Mr. Patel invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in front of the grand jury and refused to answer questions from prosecutors investigating whether Mr. Trump improperly took national security documents with him when he left the White House and subsequently obstructed attempts by the government to retrieve them.<<<

 
M

Mr._Clark

Audioholic Field Marshall
I was thinking someone should make a movie about Trump's lawyers called "Snakes on a Train" but then I realized there was a already a movie by that name. Thus, I propose a sequel: "Snakes on a Train Wreck." Hopefully it will be just as forgettable as the original.

It looks like one of the snakes narrowly averted a train wreck by settling a civil lawsuit just before trial. Habba says a lot of really dumb things, but settling this was undoubtedly a good choice. There's a good chance Trump would have been burned to a financial crisp if this went to a jury.

 
M

Mr._Clark

Audioholic Field Marshall
Keep in mind that I was speculating on a possible motive, not intent. The following is reasonably decent overview of the differences:

>>>Although motive and intent are often used interchangeably, they are distinct concepts in criminal law. Motive deals with an individual’s underlying reasons for committing a crime, whereas intent is concerned with their willingness to carry out specific actions related to the offense.<<<
. . .

In other words,, in terms of criminal liability it doesn't really matter what Trump's motivation was. The DOJ does not need to convince a jury he wanted to make money or gain power with the documents (your proposed motivation). The DOJ also does not need to convince a jury he's an egotistical wack job (my proposed motivation).
It looks like we'll be seeing a lot more news coverage of the Mar-A-Lago case now that the mid term elections are (almost) over. I'm not sure we'll ever know with certainty what Trump's motivation was, but this article suggests it was ego and a desire to hold on to the materials as trophies of some sort.

>>>Federal agents and prosecutors have come to believe former president Donald Trump’s motive for allegedly taking and keeping classified documents was largely his ego and a desire to hold on to the materials as trophies or mementos, according to people familiar with the matter. . . .

That review has not found any apparent business advantage to the types of classified information in Trump’s possession, these people said. FBI interviews with witnesses so far, they said, also do not point to any nefarious effort by Trump to leverage, sell, or use the government secrets. Instead, the former president seemed motivated by a more basic desire not to give up what he believed was his property, these people said. . . .

The analysis of Trump’s likely motive in allegedly keeping the documents is not, strictly speaking, an element of determining whether he or anyone around him committed a crime, or should be charged with one. Justice Department policy dictates that prosecutors file criminal charges in cases in which they believe a crime was committed and the evidence is strong enough to lead to a conviction that will hold up on appeal. But as a practical matter, motive is an important part of how prosecutors assess cases and decide whether to file criminal charges.

Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor, said keeping hundreds of classified documents, many marked top secret, at a private home “is such a perplexing thing to do” that it makes sense for prosecutors to search for a motive.

“It makes perfect sense as to why prosecutors would be spending time scouring through the various records and documents to look for some kind of pattern or theme to explain why certain records were kept and why others were not,” Mintz said. “In presenting a case to a jury, prosecutors typically want to explain the motive for committing a crime. It’s not necessary to prove a crime, but it helps tell the story of exactly how a crime unfolded, according to the government.”<<<

 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Overlord
^
I saw that too.

Another article detailed that Uncle Clarence was once again a lone dissenter to the rejection of the appeal seeking to protect the AZ politician's phone and records from the Jan.6 Committee... or more appropriately, in trying to protect his Wife from potential exposure and possible criminal liability for her own actions in leading the charge to overturn an otherwise lawful election.

Hey Uncle Clarence.. It's time to retire, you crooked-@$$ SOB. You aren't protecting anybody and we all see it. You are a corrupt judicial activist who isn't even pretending to care about the law, much less the Constitution which you are sworn to uphold and protect. GTF out of the way so some real adults can do the job you are incapable of performing.

:D
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Then again with all the bullshit that drumphy spews, hard to know what his motives are.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
Keep in mind that I was speculating on a possible motive, not intent. The following is reasonably decent overview of the differences:

>>>Although motive and intent are often used interchangeably, they are distinct concepts in criminal law. Motive deals with an individual’s underlying reasons for committing a crime, whereas intent is concerned with their willingness to carry out specific actions related to the offense.

Definition of Motive

Usually, a person’s motive can be determined by looking at various factors leading up to the commission of the crime. For example, if Bill punched Barry, an examination of the facts might reveal that Barry had stolen Bill’s watch, giving Bill a motive for punching him. Although investigators may be able to determine a person’s motive, that does not link them to the crime; the prosecutor does not have to prove the defendant had a reason to engage in criminal behavior. However, a judge or jury may consider motive when hearing the case.

Definition of Intent

Intent refers to a person’s conscious decision to commit an act that violates state or federal laws. Generally, intent is an element of an offense that the prosecutor must prove. For example, in Florida, a person commits battery when they “actually or intentionally touch or strike another person..” or they “intentionally cause bodily harm to another person.” Returning to the example of Bill and Barry, if Bill was waving his hands in the air while telling a story and accidentally hit Barry, his actions were not intentional, and he would not be charged with battery. However, if he purposefully punched Barry, he may be charged.<<<


In criminal cases, providing evidence of motive typically comes up in the context of convincing the finder of fact (e.g. a jury) that the defendant was the person who committed the crime. In a variation of the example above, if Barry was killed but it was unclear who did it, his stealing of Bill's watch would give Bill a motive and make it more likely that Bill did it, but there would still need to be evidence Bill actually did it with the necessary intent.

In other words,, in terms of criminal liability it doesn't really matter what Trump's motivation was. The DOJ does not need to convince a jury he wanted to make money or gain power with the documents (your proposed motivation). The DOJ also does not need to convince a jury he's an egotistical wack job (my proposed motivation).
I've also been looking forward to the post-election days for a good number of reasons, including hearing more from the Jan 6 Committee or the Justice Dept. I wonder what testimony or evidence will emerge concerning the trove of secret documents found at Mar-A-Lago.

Until we know more, I like what Michael Cohen had to say about Trump's possible motives. While speculating about this, he suggested that:
Trump stole those all highly classified documents as future bargaining chips against prosecution for crimes he committed while president. He would threaten to release them publicly, or reveal them to Russia or China, unless federal prosecutors back off. It's nothing less than blackmail. Cohen described how Trump often collected dirt on prosecutors, judges, rivals, or troublesome politicians in the past, in case he needed extortion ammunition to protect himself.
In support of Cohen's idea, there is the story of Trump's threat to Christine Whitman, Gov of NJ. Apparently, her son made a loud drunken appearance in Trump's casino/hotel in Atlantic City. Of course, it was preserved on the hotel's closed circuit video. When New Jersey state officials had threatened Trump with some sort of trouble, he contacted Gov. Whitman, saying it would be too bad if her son's performance became public. According to Cohen, saving ammunition for future use as blackmail or extortion is standard operating procedure for Trump.
 
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GO-NAD!

GO-NAD!

Audioholic Spartan
It looks like we'll be seeing a lot more news coverage of the Mar-A-Lago case now that the mid term elections are (almost) over. I'm not sure we'll ever know with certainty what Trump's motivation was, but this article suggests it was ego and a desire to hold on to the materials as trophies of some sort.

>>>Federal agents and prosecutors have come to believe former president Donald Trump’s motive for allegedly taking and keeping classified documents was largely his ego and a desire to hold on to the materials as trophies or mementos, according to people familiar with the matter. . . .

That review has not found any apparent business advantage to the types of classified information in Trump’s possession, these people said. FBI interviews with witnesses so far, they said, also do not point to any nefarious effort by Trump to leverage, sell, or use the government secrets. Instead, the former president seemed motivated by a more basic desire not to give up what he believed was his property, these people said. . . .

The analysis of Trump’s likely motive in allegedly keeping the documents is not, strictly speaking, an element of determining whether he or anyone around him committed a crime, or should be charged with one. Justice Department policy dictates that prosecutors file criminal charges in cases in which they believe a crime was committed and the evidence is strong enough to lead to a conviction that will hold up on appeal. But as a practical matter, motive is an important part of how prosecutors assess cases and decide whether to file criminal charges.

Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor, said keeping hundreds of classified documents, many marked top secret, at a private home “is such a perplexing thing to do” that it makes sense for prosecutors to search for a motive.

“It makes perfect sense as to why prosecutors would be spending time scouring through the various records and documents to look for some kind of pattern or theme to explain why certain records were kept and why others were not,” Mintz said. “In presenting a case to a jury, prosecutors typically want to explain the motive for committing a crime. It’s not necessary to prove a crime, but it helps tell the story of exactly how a crime unfolded, according to the government.”<<<

If it came down to charges and conviction, could the motive have some bearing on the sentence? I mean, I think I would seek a harsher penalty for taking the documents in order to sell them, than just to have them as souvenirs.

What a freakin' doofus. :rolleyes:
 
M

Mr._Clark

Audioholic Field Marshall
If it came down to charges and conviction, could the motive have some bearing on the sentence? I mean, I think I would seek a harsher penalty for taking the documents in order to sell them, than just to have them as souvenirs.

What a freakin' doofus. :rolleyes:
I'm not sure. My best guess is "yes" it could have an effect on sentencing, but I have not reviewed the sentencing guidelines for these crimes.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
If it came down to charges and conviction, could the motive have some bearing on the sentence? I mean, I think I would seek a harsher penalty for taking the documents in order to sell them, than just to have them as souvenirs.

What a freakin' doofus. :rolleyes:
There has been at least one case where an employee (at the NSA?) with a high level clearance took cartons of top secret documents and stored them at his home. Apparently (if memory serves me), he did not try to sell them. At least, the DOJ had no evidence, usable in a public court room, that he attempted to sell or turn the documents over to someone else.

He was convicted, and is in prison now. I wish I remembered more details.

The important factor in this case was that the employee had signed documents informing him of the espionage laws and his requirement to keep those secrets. As president, Trump never had a background investigation or a formal security clearance. (If there had been such an investigation, he would have certainly been denied a clearance.) I also believe, but I am not certain, that presidents are not required to sign those kind of documents, however they are entitled to ask to see any classified documents. I do not know if this will have any bearing if Trump is prosecuted.
 
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Trell

Trell

Audioholic Ninja
There has been at least one case where an employee (at the NSA?) with a high level clearance took cartons of top secret documents and stored them at his home. Apparently (if memory serves me), he did not try to sell them. At least, the DOJ had no evidence, usable in a public court room, that he attempted to sell or turn the documents over to someone else.

He was convicted, and is in prison now. I wish I remembered more details.

The important factor in this case was that the employee had signed documents informing him of the espionage laws and his requirement to keep those secrets. As president, Trump never had a background investigation or a formal security clearance. (If there had been such an investigation, he would have certainly been denied a clearance.) I also believe, but I am not certain, that presidents are not required to sign those kind of documents, however they are entitled to ask to see any classified documents. I do not know if this will have any bearing if Trump is prosecuted.
There is also obstruction charges that can be brought as it seems he has done so.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
It took some searching, but I found news links to the case I had spoken of. Harold Thomas Martin III, a contractor for the NSA, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for stealing nearly half a billion classified documents in digital form over a period of nearly 20 years.

@Mr._Clark
What precedents, if any, do you see between the Martin case, and Trump's theft of classified documents?
The FBI investigation found no evidence that Martin, a Navy veteran who served 1988 to 1992, had any malice against the United States nor an intent to transmit the documents to anyone else, said James Wyda, Martin’s attorney.
At the time of Martin’s arrest in August 2016, the government believed he was feeding information to the Shadow Brokers, the notorious hacking group that dumped a trove of NSA cyber weapons onto the internet earlier that summer. Many intelligence officials saw the leak as more damaging than the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013, and the world is still dealing with its repercussions today.

According to prosecutors, Martin had been communicating with individuals online in Russian and attempting to mask his digital tracks though anonymized internet connections and other technical tools. That said, given his digital security expertise, Martin’s use of such tools probably wouldn’t raise eyebrows outside the context of the case.

In August 2016, Martin also reached out to the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab on Twitter requesting a meeting and referencing time-sensitive information. The messages were sent less than an hour before the Shadow Brokers dumped their first trove of data. The cryptic communications, first reported by Politico, prompted Kaspersky to notify the NSA, which ultimately led the FBI to obtain a search warrant for Martin’s property.

However, over the course of the trial, the Shadow Brokers theory faded. The defense argued there was no evidence Martin shared the information he possessed with anyone, and the government never disclosed a definitive connection between Martin and the group, at least publicly. The Shadow Brokers also continued to leak information while Martin was in prison, indicating that he himself did not operate the account. The group’s identity remains a mystery today, though many suspect it’s linked to Russia.
Here are 4 links:
https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/pr/government-contractor-charged-removal-classified-materials-and-theft-government-property
https://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2019/07/ex-nsa-contractor-serve-9-years-hoarding-classified-information/158564/
https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-glen-burnie-man-sentenced-nsa-20190719-elck7ytza5f77okxeax4upzmim-story.html
 
M

Mr._Clark

Audioholic Field Marshall
It took some searching, but I found news links to the case I had spoken of. Harold Thomas Martin III, a contractor for the NSA, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for stealing nearly half a billion classified documents in digital form over a period of nearly 20 years.

@Mr._Clark
What precedents, if any, do you see between the Martin case, and Trump's theft of classified documents?


Here are 4 links:
https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/pr/government-contractor-charged-removal-classified-materials-and-theft-government-property
https://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2019/07/ex-nsa-contractor-serve-9-years-hoarding-classified-information/158564/
https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-glen-burnie-man-sentenced-nsa-20190719-elck7ytza5f77okxeax4upzmim-story.html
Trump can of course make numerous arguments (e.g. "I declassified the documents," executive privilege, etc.) that Martin could not. Also, the practical implications of trying Trump in a federal court will undoubtedly play some role in the DOJ's decision. If the DOJ indicts him while he's a candidate the trial will inevitably turn into a three ring circus due to Trump's antics (I wish these types of things played no role, but I see little point in pretending it won't).

As I see it, the main take away from the Martin case is that one can be sentenced to a significant prison term for willful retention of national defense information, even if the DOJ doesn't prove that the defendant sold the information or gave it away. On the other hand, my initial impression is that the Martin case is probably an outlier and I highly doubt Trump would be sentenced to anywhere near 9 years.

I also doubt that Trump will actually go to trial, but anything is possible right now. Trump is such a bizarre human being it's hard to know if he'd choose a trial.

And, of course, he hasn't even been indicted so this is all speculative.
 
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