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Joe Biden Won the Contest For the Most Ridiculous Statement At Last Night’s Debate

Westlake Legal Group JoeBidenAPimage-620x317 Joe Biden Won the Contest For the Most Ridiculous Statement At Last Night’s Debate prison Politics Non-Violent Joe Biden jail Front Page Stories Front Page felons Featured Story Elizabeth Warren Election donald trump democrats criminals Crazy Beto O'Rourke 2020

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Dartmouth College, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Hanover, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Last night, two bad teams got together to pillow fight on Thursday Night Football, yet if you decided to watch it instead of the Democratic Primary debate, congratulations. You made the right decision.

It was full cries of racism, lies about socialism, and Trump bashing, and as per usual, lots and lots of crazy policy proposals. On that front, a surprising candidate took home the award for the most ridiculous one. Yes, Beto O’Rourke wants to take your guns and Elizabeth Warren claims her bazillion dollar programs won’t raise taxes on the middle class, but Joe Biden said something last night that eclipses them all in terms of sheer insanity. Given he’s the supposed “moderate” in the race, that’s not a contest he’s supposed to be winning.

This is Joe Biden, so the first thing we have to ask is whether he even knew what he was saying. This is the same guy who can’t remember what day it is half the time and nearly had his eye explode on national TV. In other words, it’s possible he’ll walk this back.

For the time being though, let’s talk about how nonsensical this is.

Imagine world where “non-violent” criminals like drug dealers, financial scammers, and thieves carry no chance of incarceration. Heck, we don’t even have to imagine it. Just take a flight out to California and witness the chaos caused by the fact that shop-lifters aren’t arrested unless they steal over $900 (Prop 47). What’s that led to? People stealing $800 worth of stuff knowing they likely won’t be pursued and certainly won’t be jailed.

Now, take that outcome and multiply it’s effects by a million and you’d get what would happen if we stopped giving jail time to non-violent criminals. There would be zero deterrent to committing robbery, carrying out white collar crime, or bribing someone in power. The drug cartels would explode even more as nearly every part of their apparatus would no longer be subject to imprisonment.

I’m sure Biden will walk this back. Perhaps he already has. But what this shows though is just how bad he is at this. The guy’s teeth nearly fell out of his head last night as he garbled his words. He talked about record players in a bizarre answer at one point. Am I really supposed to believe this is the guy that’s going to out campaign Donald Trump? No doubt, he starts with major advantages which I’ve laid out before. He’s “ole Joe,” the comfortable, safe pick for a lot of moderates. But this campaign has barely started and if Biden somehow stumbles into the nomination, Trump is going to absolutely work him over. Whether that translates into winning in 2020, I don’t know because Trump has his own issues with voters. What I do know is that Democrats should probably be wishing for someone more capable to take on the incumbent.

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The post Joe Biden Won the Contest For the Most Ridiculous Statement At Last Night’s Debate appeared first on RedState.

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A stolen valor punishment that probably fits the crime

Westlake Legal Group eed08eae-b3e8-4b0f-8ca7-7aa80d12d5c4 A stolen valor punishment that probably fits the crime Veterans The Blog Stolen Valor sign jail

Here’s a little something from the Daily Caller to lift your spirits on Humpday. Two men in Montana (in separate instances) both falsely claimed combat veteran status and were later convicted of a variety of crimes. Ryan Patrick Morris claimed to have served seven combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, while Troy Allan Nelson enrolled himself in Veterans Treatment Court. Neither had served.

The judge in their cases was sentencing them to prison on a variety of crimes, but learning of the incidents of stolen valor, he spiced up the punishment with some prerequisites the two would have to meet before they could be considered eligible for parole. It came in the form of a writing assignment.

A Montana judge sentenced two men to prison on Aug. 23 for separate crimes and ruled they have to complete a writing assignment for lying about military service before becoming eligible for parole.

Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski also said Ryan Patrick Morris, 28, and Troy Allan Nelson, 33, must wear signs at the Montana Veterans Memorial for eight hours on both Memorial and Veterans Day during suspended portions of their sentences, The Associated Press reported Sunday.

“I am a liar. I am not a veteran,” the signs would read. “I stole valor. I have dishonored all veterans.”

The judge ordered Morris and Nelson to hand write 6,756 names of U.S. veterans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and obituaries of 40 Montana veterans killed in those countries, AP reported.

In addition to writing up the signs and wearing them at the Veteran’s Memorial and writing lists of all the names of the fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was more. Each will have to perform 441 hours of community service, one hour for each service member from Montana lost in the wars. They will also have to write letters of apology to various veterans organizations.

The one catch in the story is that neither of the attorneys for the two men has agreed to the requirement to wear the signs, so they’ll probably be challenging that.

The problem is, punishment for these types of activities have been historically difficult to make stick. Keep in mind that the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 was challenged by a couple of cretins after George W. Bush signed it into law and it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012.

The subsequent Stolen Valor Act of 2013 has stood up thus far, but it’s quite limited by comparison. It only applies to people who fraudulently wear or claim to have earned any of a specific list of medals. And even if they do, you have to be able to prove that they did so “with the intention of obtaining money, property, or other tangible benefit.” That makes it much tougher to get a conviction and probably wouldn’t apply to the two liars in this story.

Montana does have a history of taking such things seriously, though. In May of this year, a jury awarded a Marine $1.7 million from a man accused of fraud and negligent misrepresentation. He had claimed to also have been an active duty Marine. The man had no service record.

We’ll put a pin in this story and circle back later to find out if the two convicts have any luck in getting the stolen valor portions of their sentences kicked. I hope they don’t, but I’m not confident.

The post A stolen valor punishment that probably fits the crime appeared first on Hot Air.

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Epstein cell video “unusable?”

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The investigation into convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide is leaking like a sieve and none of the information showing up in the press is likely doing much to bolster anyone’s confidence. (For the record, I’m not quite ready to put the word suicide in scare quotes yet, but man… it’s getting close.) The latest news from the Washington Post will only serve to further muddy the waters. It’s being reported that a camera monitoring the hallway outside Epstein’s cell had mysteriously malfunctioned and at least some of the video taken around the time of his death is “unusable.” Before I go completely off the rails here, let’s see what the report actually says.

At least one camera in the hallway outside the cell where authorities say registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself earlier this month had footage that is unusable, although other, clearer footage was captured in the area, according to three people briefed on the evidence gathered earlier this month.

It was not immediately clear why some video footage outside Epstein’s cell is too flawed for investigators to use or what is visible in the usable footage. The incident is being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, which are attempting to determine what happened and how to assess whether any policies were violated or crimes committed.

Look, I don’t want to be that guy. You know. The one who hops aboard every conspiracy theory that comes barreling down the tracks of the internet. But how much more of this garbage are we supposed to sit through? Let’s review the chain of events one more time, shall we?

– First, a jail that was so overcrowded that everyone was working twelve-hour shifts somehow wound up with Epstein in a cell by himself.
– A doctorate-level psychologist took Epstein off suicide watch after only six days, despite having found that he’d tried to kill himself.
– The cell he was alone in was one without a camera monitoring the interior, even though the prisoner had recently been on suicide watch.
– The overworked guards were so tired that they fell asleep during the critical hours when the death occurred.
– The autopsy revealed Epstein had broken his hyoid bone, which one study claims only happens in 6% of hanging suicides. (Other experts dispute that.)
– And now, a camera monitoring the hallway that might have revealed if anyone had gone in or out of the cell during that time has malfunctioned.

I will force myself to remind everyone that coincidences actually do happen in this world. In fact, they happen every day. But they also spur us to look more closely at a situation to make sure that it really was a coincidence. And in the case of Epstein’s death, the coincidences are piling up like jets waiting to take off from JFK.

On top of that, the personnel at that jail haven’t exactly been covering themselves in glory. The internal investigation found something (or things) that led them to transfer the warden and suspend some of the guards. We already know that they falsified logs indicating that they had been personally checking on the prisoners. And now a camera that could have potentially recorded vital evidence has mysteriously failed?

There comes a point where we have to at least ask the obvious question. How sure are these officials that it had to be a suicide? The officials at the jail seem to have done their level best to raise suspicions about their behavior. And every avenue of definitively showing that nobody else was in the cell that morning has mostly collapsed.

Yes, I will still give a nod to the other side of this coin. As I’ve said repeatedly, Epstein had every reason in the world to take his own life if he was so inclined. And assuming the reports of the initial “incident” are accurate, he’d already tried to do it once. So we obviously can’t rule it out. But at the same time, there were other people who obviously might have found it “convenient” (at a minimum) if the guy were to suddenly take leave of the land of the living. Perhaps it still really did happen the way the official story is being told. But boy, howdy, it’s getting to the point where it almost seems like they’re begging us to go with a conspiracy theory.

The post Epstein cell video “unusable?” appeared first on Hot Air.

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So a “high level psychologist” took Epstein off suicide watch?

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Amid competing conspiracy theories and official explanations, we finally learned last week that the coroner ruled Jeffrey Epstein’s death to be suicide by hanging. Fair enough. If that’s the case, it still doesn’t answer the question of how and why he was taken off suicide watch in less than a week and if his guards were literally asleep at the switch when he wrapped a sheet around his neck. Nor do we know why he was alone in his cell.

Addressing the question of the suicide watch, we have another tidbit of official claims this weekend. NBC News is reporting that Epstein was interviewed by a “high level psychologist” who made the decision that he was no longer a danger to himself.

Jeffrey Epstein, the multimillionaire financier who died by suicide while in federal jail on sex-trafficking charges, had been taken off suicide watch by a doctoral-level psychologist, the Justice Department said in a letter to Congress…

He had been placed on suicide watch in July after he was found in his cell semiconscious with marks on his neck.

But he “was later removed from suicide watch after being evaluated by a doctoral-level psychologist who determined that a suicide watch was no longer warranted,” the Justice Department said in a letter Friday to the House Judiciary Committee’s chairman, Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and its ranking member, Doug Collins, R-Ga.

I remain unsure what to make of all this. Officials at that jail have now been shown to have falsified official records and broken standard protocol on multiple occasions in the handling of Epstein while he was there. I’m not saying I’m buying into the idea he was murdered, but at some point, you’ve got to wonder how much of the conflicting stories are the result of bad management and not actual malfeasance.

Then again, there’s truth to Hanlon’s razor, which advises us to never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. But the real villain (or screwup) in this story is quickly shaping up to be the as-yet-unnamed “doctoral-level psychologist” who was responsible for evaluating Epstein. Anyone can make a mistake, and I’m certainly living proof of that, so I feel rather bad pointing fingers here. But how good of a snow job would Epstein have had to deliver to pull the wool over this doctor’s eyes?

Keep in mind that the decision to take him off suicide watch came after only six days. He’d very recently attempted to take his own life according to prison officials. There was a mountain of evidence against him and he was almost certainly on his way to dying behind bars. He had fallen from the heights of wealth and power to the lowest of lows. The guy pretty much had nothing left to live for. How does a doctor take all of that into consideration and decide that he wasn’t a suicide risk?

Unfortunately, the only person who could ever have fully answered that question is no longer among the living. (I only say “unfortunately” in terms of the public being able to get to the bottom of this and, to a lesser extent, for the victims who will never see him face his day in court.) And we still probably have years to go until we know the fate of his very valuable estate.

The post So a “high level psychologist” took Epstein off suicide watch? appeared first on Hot Air.

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San Francisco prosecutors didn’t put up a fight to keep deranged homeless man behind bars

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Last week a woman in San Francisco named Paneez Kosarian was violently attacked by a deranged homeless man named Austin Vincent. Kosarian and a lot of other people were stunned when, days after the attack, Vincent was sent into a pretrial diversion program and released. A public backlash built against the judge who made that decision, fueled in part by the victim herself tweeting a video of the attack to Gov. Newsom.

Within hours, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and others had condemned the judge’s decision. And suddenly the judge herself had a change of heart, claiming she had seen a video of the attack on TV while eating lunch. She required that Vincent be given an ankle monitor.

While all of this was happening last week, the prosecutor’s office was vigorously protesting innocence. In tweets and statements to the media, the prosecutor’s office claimed it had strongly urged the judge to jail Austin Vincent from the start. But KRON 4 News got a transcript of the court proceeding and found that wasn’t really the case. Yes, the prosecutor did recommend jail for Vincent, but only in the mildest possible way.

A transcript of that initial arraignment obtained by KRON 4 indicates while against Vincent’s release, the district attorney’s office didn’t put up a fight.

In fact when the judge asks the prosecutor if she’s missing anything, the prosecutor makes no mention of the video and seems unfamiliar with the police report.

“The terror of this incident is clearly not communicated to the judge having reviewed the transcript,” says Suzy Loftus, candidate for San Francisco District Attorney…

“The DA’s Office doesn’t even use the words ‘I object to the release’ and that is really troubling because the prosecutor is the person in court whose job it is to do justice,” she said.

Monday we learned that at least two other people had contacted police claiming they were also attacked by Austin Vincent. The calls came after the victims recognized his mugshot on TV.  Vincent agreed to surrender himself and was finally put in jail where he belongs.

The lesson here is that it’s not just San Francisco judges that are keeping homeless drug addicts on the streets, it also appears to be a lackadaisical prosecutor’s office which put minimum effort into this case until it blew up on social media. If prosecutors had displayed as much initiative in handling Vincent’s case as they did in defending themselves, he would never have been released in the first place.

Here’s KRON 4’s video report on the transcript:



The post San Francisco prosecutors didn’t put up a fight to keep deranged homeless man behind bars appeared first on Hot Air.

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Sanders joins the ranks of those hoping to empty the jails

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All of the serious 2020 Democratic primary candidates have some form of justice reform or prison reform on their agenda and now Bernie Sanders has joined their ranks. The Vermont Senator’s plan, while sparse on details, looks like an ambitious one. He plans on emptying half of the nation’s prison population and putting them back on the streets. He will also legalize pot and do away with all privately operated prisons. Assuming, of course, that he could get Congress to go along with any of this if he manages to get elected. (Associated Press)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is proposing a criminal justice overhaul that aims to cut the nation’s prison population in half, end mandatory minimum sentencing, ban private prisons and legalize marijuana. He says the current system does not fairly treat people of color, addicts or the mentally ill.

“We have a system that imprisons and destroys the lives of millions of people,” Sanders told The Associated Press before the planned released of his proposal Sunday. “It’s racist in disproportionately affecting the African American and Latino communities, and it’s a system that needs fundamental change.”

Sanders was promoting the plan during a weekend of campaigning in South Carolina, where the majority of the Democratic electorate is African American.

All in all, the ideas Sanders is pitching here are fairly standard stock for Democrats on the furthest left wing of the party. The prison/jail reform ideas are particularly popular with black and Latino voters, an area where Sanders has been struggling in recent polls. (Curiously, Joe Biden seems to be doing the best with minority voters and he has no such radical proposals. Do you suppose they know that these candidates are unserious and are just pandering to them?)

If any reporters feel like taking the time to actually do their jobs, I’d love to hear them sit down with Sanders and ask exactly how one goes about dumping half of the country’s prison population back on the streets and what that would look like. What offenses should we stop locking people up for or release those currently incarcerated?

Marijuana is the favorite subject brought up when this question is asked, but letting out everyone imprisoned for possession isn’t going to put a dent in the total population. Even the WaPo was recently forced to admit that only 92 people received federal sentences for possession in 2017 (and they were “possessing” a lot, or already had lengthy records). Fully 99% of people imprisoned on drug charges are behind bars for trafficking, commonly in conjunction with related charges including gun crimes.

What other “non-violent” criminals can we let out in mass numbers? White-collar crimes? Those tend to be wealthier, frequently white people so that probably won’t go over very well. The next largest category of prisoners (covering more than 30K inmates) according to the Bureau of Prisons’ statistics, are in the crowbar motel for charges involving “Weapons, Explosives, and Arson.” Shall we just throw open the cells and let all of them go?

Seriously, if you think there is a way to release half of the prison population and stop locking so many people up, let’s hear your plan. The data is all out there for your use, Senator Sanders. Let America know which of these criminals you plan to dump back into our neighborhoods and how your law enforcement agencies will respond when most of them go back to their old ways.

The post Sanders joins the ranks of those hoping to empty the jails appeared first on Hot Air.

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Barr: things at the jail where Epstein died were not right

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The Attorney General appears to be on top of the entire Epstein suicide debacle and has no intention of letting go. Speaking during a law enforcement conference in New Orleans, William Barr described conditions at the Manhattan jail as having “serious irregularities” but failed to specify what they had dug up thus far. He also had a word of caution for any of Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators. (NY Post)

Attorney General William Barr said Monday that there were “serious irregularities” at the federal pen in Manhattan where accused perv Jeffrey Epstein allegedly committed suicide.

“We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability,” Barr said at a law enforcement gathering in New Orleans.

Barr also had a warning for anyone involved in the supposedly wealthy financier’s alleged crimes.

“Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they will get it,” the top US law enforcement official vowed.

The Justice Department hasn’t had very long to dig into the details, so I’m wondering what sort of “irregularities” he could be referring to. I was doing a couple of radio hits this morning talking about this and a few possibilities came up that we can kick around for a bit.

Right off the bat, we’re being told that there is no video footage of Epstein’s cell during the time he allegedly did himself in. Does that mean there was no camera covering that cell or that it was broken or possibly turned off? If it was a cell lacking camera coverage, why would you put the most high-profile prisoner you have in that cell? Surely they could have swapped cells with a carjacker or someone of less interest and freed up a cell with a camera. This is particularly true when the prisoner was only recently taken off suicide watch.

But if there was a camera and it was broken, wouldn’t they know that immediately? You would think they would move him to another cell in that case also. If there was a camera and it was turned off, some really interesting questions arise and the staff at the jail is going to have to answer them.

The failure of anyone to check on Epstein for two hours could, I suppose, be written off to the staffing issues they claim to be dealing with. Overtired guards who are doing long shifts might screw something like that up. But yet again… Epstein was the rock star of the prison world at that facility and surely the warden knew the eyes of the world were on him. One would think that would be a high priority. Of course, as I mentioned here previously, Epstein was renowned for being able to talk his way into or out of nearly anything. Could he really have fooled them all?

We’ll hopefully learn more after the Justice Department finishes their investigation, but the more we learn about this the more one thing becomes clear. For all of this to have gone down the way the jail officials are telling us, a shocking number of things had to go wrong in very short order, or Epstein would likely still be alive today, if somewhat injured.

But now that he’s out of the picture, we’re left with the next big question which Ed Morrissey asked this morning. Where in the world is Ghislaine Maxwell? She is now public enemy number one in this case and may also be one of the only people left who can name all the names. Sure, she might just be in the wind, but there will be a lot of people looking for her. And if you really want to see the conspiracy theories go completely nuclear, just wait and see what happens if she turns up at room temperature. Heck, at that point even I’ll probably start wondering if this is all too much to be explained by coincidence and incompetence.

The post Barr: things at the jail where Epstein died were not right appeared first on Hot Air.

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Epstein had been off suicide watch for more than a week

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One of these days we might actually learn exactly how convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein wound up dead, but for the moment we’re still watching a game of finger-pointing unfold in the media. In the early hours after learning that he had killed himself, everyone (including yours truly) seemed to be under the assumption that he was on suicide watch. And yet somehow he managed to take himself out, assuming you don’t believe any of the rampant conspiracy theories making the rounds. But now, as confirmed by ABC News, we’re learning that the guards weren’t even checking on him every thirty minutes as they were supposed to and there is no video of the cell from when he accomplished the deed.

Jail protocols requiring routine checks on the wellbeing of accused sex trafficker Jeffery Epstein appear to have not been followed in the hours before the millionaire was found hanging in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, sources told ABC News on Sunday.

As an inmate in the Special Housing Unit at MCC, Epstein should have been checked on by a correctional officer every 30 minutes, according to Bureau of Prison protocols. But sources told ABC News that protocol was not followed prior to Epstein’s death by suicide.

In recent weeks, the correctional officers’ union has complained of understaffing. Those gripes are now part of the investigation into whether the 30-minute checks were happening, sources said.

According to sources from inside the jail, Epstein had originally been placed on suicide watch on July 23. That followed the initial incident where he either tried to kill himself or was attacked by another inmate, depending on which story you believe. But he was taken off suicide watch on July 29. They only had him on suicide watch for six days? Prison officials discounted the claims that he was attacked, so they apparently believed he had tried to take his own life. If that’s the case, what would lead them to think he was no longer suicidal less than a week later?

One person ABC News spoke to speculated that Epstein may have “charmed his way” off of the suicide watch list. Given how he was able to manipulate so many other people over the course of his life I suppose that’s possible. But following jail protocol, he would have had to convince a trained clinical psychologist that he was no longer a danger to himself. Even if there’s nothing fishy going on here, the wheels obviously came off the normal procedures at some point.

Muddying the waters are the claims that the guards at the Manhattan jail were working heavy loads of overtime shifts and the facility is understaffed. Under those conditions, they might easily have failed to do the required thirty-minute checks and mistakes were certainly possible.

As of this morning, officials haven’t even listed an official cause of death yet. An autopsy was performed, but the results have yet to be released. But with everything we’ve learned over the past 48 hours, rather than looking for any sort of grand conspiracy, it’s beginning to appear as if this might have been nothing more than a confluence of incompetence and mistakes leading up to an opportunity for Jeffrey Epstein to take the “easy” way out rather than face his day in court.

The post Epstein had been off suicide watch for more than a week appeared first on Hot Air.

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Breaking: Epstein allegedly committed suicide last night

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Stand by tor the conspiracy theories to erupt around the net. According to multiple reports, convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein took his own life last night in a Manhattan jail. Or at least “someone who looked like Epstein” was seen being wheeled out of the facility on a gurney. (New York Post)

Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein is dead, law enforcement sources said Saturday.

A gurney carrying a man who looked like Epstein was wheeled out of the Manhattan Correctional Center around 7:30 a.m. The ambulance went to New York Downtown Hospital.

The incident comes two weeks after Epstein, 66, was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck.

The obvious questions about this will likely be circulating for a while. First of all, was this an actual suicide or an “assisted suicide? The last time he was found unconscious with wounds to his neck, some reports claimed that another prisoner had tried to take him out. But since they put him on suicide watch after that, it appears the authorities were convinced he’d done it himself.

And what about that suicide watch? Unless someone at the Manhattan jail mistakenly thought that meant “watching people commit suicide” this shouldn’t have been possible. Surely they removed anything he could have hung himself with. And unless someone smuggled in some lethal drugs (which also seems highly unlikely) his guards should have been able to prevent this from happening. One early report coming out of CNN is suggesting that it was hanging, though that doesn’t seem to be confirmed yet.

Either way, this requires a full investigation and the guards, along with the people in charge at the jail will have to be held accountable. All of the women that Epstein victimized over the years will never fully receive justice now and Epstein won’t face them in court.

Assuming it really was suicide, is anyone really surprised that he would try this? The mountains of evidence coming to light made it highly unlikely he would slip through the fingers of law enforcement again. His life was basically ruined and he was destined to likely spend the rest of his life in a cell, either in solitary or dodging the types of prisoners who enjoy taking down child abusers. In any event, it appears the monster has left the world stage and he can now reap whatever “reward” awaits him. We’ll update this post later if more details are confirmed.

The post Breaking: Epstein allegedly committed suicide last night appeared first on Hot Air.

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Judge: Nope. Chelsea Manning needs to pay those fines

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As you may recall, back in March we learned that Chelsea Manning was back in jail on contempt charges for failing to answer questions before a grand jury looking into the affairs of Julian Assange, among other things. At the time, the judge decided to add a bit more “persuasion” to the equation by imposing fines for every day that Manning maintained her silence. The fines started at $500 per day and increased to $1,000 per day after one month. That was roughly five months ago, so as you could imagine, the fines have grown substantially and continue to increase by approximately $30K per month. Considering that the jury could be impaneled for as much as 18 months, the final bill could easily go well past a half million.

With this in mind, Manning’s attorneys asked for a new hearing where they would ask that the fines be dismissed. As it turns out, the judge is in no mood for any of this and has flatly rejected the request. (WaPo)

Chelsea Manning will not get a hearing to challenge steep daily penalties imposed for her refusal to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

In an order issued Monday, Judge Anthony J. Trenga in Alexandria federal court said there were no “reasonable grounds” to reconsider his decision to impose the fines, which started at $500 per day and have now risen to $1,000. Manning, 31, who was first jailed in March for refusing to testify, could be in jail for up to 18 months, and her attorneys estimate that the total cost will be close to half a million dollars.

Her attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen said Manning “expects to remain” in jail for about 400 more days. She added that while they are “evaluating our legal options . . . above all right now we are all working to strategize for her long-term health and welfare.”

This stunt is getting expensive quickly. In case you’re curious, the grounds Manning’s attorneys used in asking for the dismissal of the fines was that she wouldn’t be able to pay them. Now, I’m no attorney (and I don’t even play one on television), but I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works. The defendant’s ability to pay is likely a factor taken into consideration for low-level crimes at the county courthouse, but not a grand jury considering matters of national security. Manning will have to be released when the jury is dismissed, but the fines will still remain.

The dumbfounding part of all of this is that it’s so completely unnecessary. Manning can’t be tried a second time for her original crimes against the nation and was given full immunity regarding any testimony provided before the grand jury. She has literally nothing to lose here. Her claim that she has no additional information about Assange, Wikileaks or anything else that she didn’t provide during the original trial is also irrelevant. If that’s the case, then take a seat and truthfully answer additional questions by saying you don’t know. (Unless, of course, you’re lying about that and suspect the government has evidence to prove it.) When the questioning is complete you can simply go home. If you did it soon, I’d be willing to bet the judge would at least consider dismissing or lowering the fines.

But everything is a circus with Chelsea Manning. It has to be all drama all the time so she can play the beleaguered victim fighting for social justice or something. The same could be said of her abject failure of a Senate campaign. So I suppose we’ll just stick with the status quo and Manning will continue to chill out in jail until the grand jury is dismissed. And then she can figure out where she’s going to come up with half a million dollars. Maybe Tom Steyer can front it to her.

The post Judge: Nope. Chelsea Manning needs to pay those fines appeared first on Hot Air.

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