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Silicon Valley Bank Collapses in Second-Biggest Bank Failure in US History
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Regulators took over California-based Silicon Valley Bank on Friday in the second-biggest bank failure in US history.

The Santa Clara-headquartered bank was shuttered by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as the receiver.

This is the biggest bank collapse in the US since the 2008 failure of Washington Mutual during the height of the global financial crisis.

Silicon Valley Bank failed after depositors — mostly technology workers and venture capital-backed companies — began withdrawing their money, creating a run on the bank.

Shares of the bank were halted on Friday before the opening bell of the Nasdaq after they tumbled 66 per cent in premarket trading. The FDIC did not announce a buyer of the bank’s assets, which is usually done when there’s an orderly wind-down of a financial institution.

The seizure of Silicon Valley’s assets in the middle of the business day rather than at the close of business is perhaps a sign of how dire the situation had become. Questions were raised this week after the bank announced plans to raise up to $1.75bn in order to strengthen its capital position amid concerns about higher interest rates and the economy.

Silicon Valley Bank was the 16th largest in the US — and had approximately $209bn in total assets and about $175.4bn in total deposits, as of 31 December 2022. Washington Mutual has total assets of $307bn when it was shuttered on 25 September 2008, 10 days after Lehman Brothers failed.

What led to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank?

Founded in 1983, Silicon Valley Bank was the 18th largest bank by assets in the US prior to its collapse, with 17 branches in California and Massachusetts.

Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, it primarily catered to startups in the technology and healthcare sectors.

Ultimately, the failure of SVB can be traced back to the Federal Reserve’s battle against inflation through aggressive interest rate hikes, which have battered the tech sector over the past year.

In 2021, when interest rates were near zero and easy money flooded the economy, venture capital investments in startups surged to a record high of $671 billion in the US, according to KPMG.

That also meant booming business for SVB, as the bank’s startup clients increased their deposits with the bank, which roughly doubled in 2021.

The bank then used those deposits to grow its loan portfolio, the basic business model banks use to generate a profit, though its interest-generating loans did not grow as quickly as its soaring deposits.

For safekeeping, SVB invested much of the extra cash from customer deposits into US Treasuries and other government bonds, which is a standard practice at banks.

The situation began to change after the Fed began its rate hikes one year ago.

As interest rates rose, VC investments began to dwindle, and SVB’s startup clients drew down their accounts at the bank faster than expected to cover expenses.

At the same time, rising interest rates also decreased the market value of the Treasury securities in which SVB had invested deposited funds.

On Wednesday, SVB revealed that in the face of a cash burn from dwindling deposits, it was forced to sell off its bond holdings at a $1.8 billion loss. The bank announced plans to seek $2 billion from investors to cover the shortfall.

The announcement triggered a panic in Silicon Valley, and on Thursday some prominent venture capitalists, including Peter Theil, began urging their portfolio companies to withdraw any deposits from SVB.

What followed appears to be a classic bank run: a rush of customer withdrawals that tips a bank into failure when it is unable to meet the demand for immediate cash.

SVB scrambled on Friday to find alternative funding, including through a sale of the company. Later in the day, however, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) then announced that SVB was shut down and placed under its receivership.

Will SVB’s customers get their money back?

Following the shutdown, the FDIC said SVB depositors will have full access to their insured deposits no later than Monday morning.

The federal agency insures each depositor up to at least $250,000.

For customers that have deposits larger than $250,000, which likely includes many of the bank’s startup company customers, what happens next is less clear.

Depositors with funds above the insured amount will receive a dividend within the next week, and a receivership certificate for the remaining amount of their uninsured funds.

As the FDIC sells off the assets of Silicon Valley Bank, future dividend payments may be made to uninsured depositors.

The FDIC said that at the time of the shutdown, the amount of uninsured deposits at the bank was undetermined.

In theory, it is possible that uninsured deposits could eventually be repaid in full, because the bank’s total assets are larger than the amount it owes depositors.

At the time of failure, SVB had $209 billion in total assets and owed depositors about $175.4 billion, according to the FDIC.

However, some of those assets could be difficult to liquidate, such as ownership stakes in companies that are not publicly traded, or loans to early-stage startups.

Ultimately, only time will tell how much of the uninsured deposits are returned to customers.

CEO sold $3.57 million just two weeks before collapse

The CEO of Silicon Valley Bank sold $3.57m of stock in a pre-planned, automated sell-off two weeks before it collapsed – and the CFO ditched $575,000 the same day.

Greg Becker sold 12,451 shares at an average price of $287.42 each on February 27. The price plunged to just $39.49 in premarket Friday before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) seized the bank’s assets.

The day his sale went through, Becker bought the same number of shares using stock options priced at $105.18 each, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The options, which allow you to buy a company’s stock at a set price, were due to expire May 2. The transactions were made through a trust that he controls, using a trading plan that he had set up on January 26, records show.

SVB’s CFO Daniel Beck sold 2,000 shares at $287.59 per share on the same day as his boss. He set up his trading plan on January 24.

What happens next at Silicon Valley Bank?

To protect insured depositors, the FDIC created the Deposit Insurance National Bank of Santa Clara (DINB).

When the bank was shuttered Friday, the FDIC immediately transferred all insured deposits of Silicon Valley Bank to the DINB.

Starting on Monday, the main office and all branches of Silicon Valley Bank will reopen under the control of the DINB.

‘Banking activities will resume no later than Monday, March 13, including on-line banking and other services. Silicon Valley Bank’s official checks will continue to clear,’ the FDIC said in a statement.

Customers with accounts in excess of the insured amount of $250,000 should contact the FDIC toll-free at 1-866-799-0959.

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Disney VP Admits on Hidden Camera That Company Refuses to Hire ‘White Males’

For almost a decade Disney has been on a Diveristy, Equity and Inclusion induced spiral into clown world (along with a number of major entertainment and media companies). The shift by corporations towards promoting ideological propaganda instead of chasing profits started out subtle and has quickly escalated into a crescendo of absurdity.

Disney has become the public focus of the wokification of media for a number of reasons including the conglomerate’s massive size and global reach, but more than anything else, it used to be family favored company. When an organization makes the virtues of family and childhood innocence its brand, any slide into degeneracy or indoctrination is going to be amplified and scrutinized.

In the past, most companies sought to remain neutral (at least in public) when it came to political affiliations and aspirations. However, this principle has also been thrown out the window in recent years with Disney being one of the worst perpetrators of open political interference and influence; they even tried to go to war with the highly conservative state of Florida a couple years ago and that didn’t work out too well for them.

Disney’s political allegiances are clearly to the far-left. One might even argue that without companies like Disney the woke movement wouldn’t exist. Part of this movement is the demonization of traditional western values, structures and specifically the men who built them. That is to say, the “white man” is now persona non grata.

Every Marxist/Communist movement needs a great enemy, a monolithic monster to focus the ire of their followers and give them a justification for the destruction of the target society. For the woke devout, white males are the ultimate villain that needs to be diminished and chained down for the “safety” of everyone else. In other words, the anti-white male movement is an integral part of the woke movement. The two things cannot be separated.

It has long been suspected that woke corporations have been actively discriminating against white males in the name of DEI. Much like Affirmative Action, DEI initiatives have led companies to reject better qualified candidates for employment in favor of less qualified or completely unqualified diversity hires. The quality of products, especially when it comes to the entertainment industry, is clearly in decline.

Disney and others have consistently denied that they have an ongoing policy of white discrimination or male discrimination. But now it appears this claim has been proven false.

A Disney Senior VP, Michael Giordano, was recently caught on camera by an undercover journalist working with James O Keefe alleging that Disney actively and blatantly discriminates against white men when it comes to every area of company operations.

This includes their hiring habits for TV and film productions as well as internal company promotions. Disney is seeking out that perfect pie chart of ethnicity, disability and sexuality to become a church of woke, sacrificing merit and success for ideological purity.

To be fair to Michael Giordano, he seems to be a victim in this situation as he notes that he is also a white male and is more likely to be passed up for promotion because of his skin color. He mentions, sadly, that Disney also discriminates against people with mixed ethnic backgrounds if their skin is “too white.” They can’t just be the part genetically, they have to look the part. The revelations he puts forward are confirmation of a DEI conspiracy that many have accused Disney of participating in.

These actions and more have inspired an army of commentators that have put Disney under a microscope, leading to increasing box office failures, dwindling streaming service numbers and a host of losing legal battles. When Disney went woke they declared war on western culture. It’s no surprise that they are suffering defeat after defeat as western culture fights back.

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3 Killed, 10 Wounded in Mass Shooting Outside Arkansas Grocery Store — UPDATE: Shooter Identified

UPDATE:

State Police later identified the suspected shooter as Travis Posey. A booking record on the Ouachita County Sheriff’s jail website shows Travis Posey, 44, as being held for another county.

Posey is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, according to inmate search site VINELink, which was first reported by SouthArkansasReckoning, an online news site. ASP later confirmed that information in a press release.

SouthArkansas Reckoning also noted a LinkedIn page lists Posey as the owner of Posey Tree Service in Kingsland in Cleveland County.

Posey was arrested in New York in 2011 for possessing a handgun at the Fort Drum military base in Watertown, about 30 miles from the Canadian border, a local outlet wrote at the time.

He was charged with 4th-degree criminal possession of a weapon but pleaded down to disorderly conduct in the town of LeRay Court. Police confiscated the gun and he paid a fine of $200.

The suspect and the law enforcement officers are not considered to have life-threatening injuries, ASP Director Mike Hagar said at an afternoon press conference near the scene of the shooting.

The condition of the remaining victims range from non-life-threatening to “extremely critical,” Hagar said.

Original post:

A gunman opened fire at an Arkansas grocery store Friday, killing at least three and wounding several others, authorities said.

The deadly incident unfolded just before 11:40 a.m. CT at the Mad Butcher in Fordyce, a small town about 70 miles south of Little Rock, state police Director Mike Hagar said at a late-afternoon news conference.

Eleven people were wounded, including the three who died, the Arkansas State Police leader said. Two officers were also injured but had non-life-threatening injuries.

Some of the eight surviving civilians were in “extremely critical” condition, Hagar said.

The shooter was critically wounded by police with non-life-threatening injuries and taken into custody, police said.

“It’s tragic,” the state police director said, “Our hearts are broken.”

Hagar, also the state’s secretary of public safety, said it was too early to determine what motivated the suspect. Arkansas State Police is leading the investigation, he added.

Meat cutter Matt Gill was in the back of the store when he heard gunfire and shattering glass.

“He came in and started shooting,” Gill said. “We made it out the back door. I had to get out there, I have a wife and kids at home.”

The shooting appeared to begin in the parking lot as sisters Amiya and Ashiya Doherty were in the back of the family SUV where they said they were nearly struck.

“He shot at my mother’s car and hit the tire and pssshshsh,” Amiya said, mimicking the sound of air escaping.

Car windows all around them were shot, but the sisters’ SUV had only tire damage. Amiya said she grabbed her sister Ashiya and pulled her down to avoid being hit.

“It was like a movie,” said Ashiya, who was also unharmed.

The violence stunned Roderick Rogers, a Fordyce native and pastor at Grace United Church.

“I saw people just lying in the parking lot,” he said. “There were shots going on everywhere.”

Video that was verified by NBC News but does not show what transpired beforehand showed a man in a parking lot firing a long gun, some rounds appeared to be directed at vehicles and the weapons was then lowered when he reloaded.

“Look at him,” a woman can be heard saying on the video that appears to have been shot from the far side of U.S. Highway 79, the road in front of the store.

“They done went into the Mad Butcher shooting … ” she said.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders praised authorities for their immediate reaction.

“I am thankful to law enforcement and first responders for their quick and heroic action to save lives,” she said in a statement.

Fordyce is a city with a population of 3,396 and a median household income of $35,116, that is less than half the nationwide median of $74,580, according to the U.S. Census Bureau data.

The Arkansas attack follows a mass shooting in Oakland, California on Wednesday, when 15 people were wounded during Juneteenth events near Lake Merritt, officials said.

Also on Wednesday, seven people were injured after a shooting in Philadelphia, officials said.

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WATCH: Maryland LGBTQ Dems Leader Busted After Meeting Up with 14-Year-Old Decoy

Alex Rosen, the founder of the Houston-based vigilante organization Predator Poachers, has uploaded a new video of Maryland’s Democrat LGBTQ Diversity Council Chair meeting up with a man he believed was 14 years old.

Rosen wrote on X, “We just busted the head of the LGBTQ Dems of Maryland going after a 14-year-old.”

According to Rosen, Michael Knaapen, chair of the Maryland Dem’s LGBTQ Diversity Council, attempted to meet up with a 14-year-old decoy after exchanging sexually inappropriate messages with the decoy, who told Knaapen he was 14.

In Rosen’s stings, he usually uses both men and women who pose as minors in order to catch predators.

Journalist Andy Ngo further reported on the bust and reported, “A leader in the Maryland Democratic Party was allegedly caught in a child s—x predator sting. Michael Knaapen, chair of the Maryland Dem’s LGBTQ Diversity Council, allegedly talked about wanting to r—pe a 14-year-old.”

Watch:

In regards to police getting involved, Rosen wrote:

In regards to the lack of police involvement in this, please note:

⁃We tried to turn this in back in November, and they didn’t want to do anything with it

⁃Though he admitted to sending d pics, in Maryland the law states you have to be a cop or a real kid for it to be a charge

⁃He admitted to previously possessing CP but did not have any in his possession currently

⁃We are still going to turn all of this over to the cops, but calling them to the scene would have done nothing.

Rosen released the messages that were reportedly exchanged between Knaapen and the man he allegedly believed was 14 years old:

Rosen further pointed out that Knaapen was invited to Vice President Kamala Harris’ house.

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Judge Cannon Wants to Know Whether Merrick Garland Is Supervising Jack Smith

Judge Aileen Cannon grilled attorneys in Florida on Friday about how much independence special counsel Jack Smith had over the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump.

Cannon’s questions came as part of hearing on a request Trump made in February that the case be dismissed on the grounds that Attorney General Merrick Garland allegedly unlawfully appointed Smith as special counsel.

The hearing was dense and involved Cannon, a Trump appointee, entertaining weedy legal theories about the constitutional provisions and statutes that govern special counsel appointments, according to reports from the courtroom.

The judge did not rule from the bench on Trump’s motion to dismiss his charges, and she has set aside three more days of hearings next week to continue the discussion, as well as address other pending legal disputes in the case.

In court documents ahead of Friday’s hearing, Trump’s attorneys had argued that outside of Smith and Robert Mueller, no one in the last 40 years has been appointed special counsel who had not first served as a Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney.

At the hearing, Trump attorney Emil Bove said at one point that if Garland could grant someone special counsel authority who had not already been vetted by the Senate, then Garland was effectively running a “shadow government,” according to NBC News.

“That sounds very ominous, a shadow government. But what does that mean?” Cannon asked.

Bove said it was merely the risk that appointing non-U.S. attorneys poses, to which Cannon questioned if that was “really a realistic risk” when “well-defined” statutes already dictate special counsel authorities.

Toward the end of the hearing, Cannon also raised an issue Trump has been highly vocal about: what involvement, if any, Garland, and by extension President Joe Biden, had in the federal prosecutions against him.

James Pearce, a prosecutor arguing on behalf of Smith, appeared caught off guard by Cannon’s question, according to Politico. Pearce eventually said he was “not authorized” to discuss communications between Garland and Smith.

“I don’t want to make it seem like I’m hiding something,” Pearce said.

The question came as part of Cannon’s quest to define how Smith acted independently of Garland while also acting as a subordinate to him.

The judge had numerous questions about special counsels prepared for both parties and did not give any signs about how she might rule on Trump’s request, according to courtroom reports.

Cannon’s decision to hold a hearing on the special counsel question has drawn criticism from some who say that arguments surrounding special counsel appointments have been exhaustively entertained in courts.

National security attorney Bradley Moss said ahead of the hearing that the question “should have been resolved weeks ago on the papers alone” and that there was “no need for a lengthy hearing.”

The scrutiny over Cannon’s pace comes after the judge had initially scheduled a trial to begin in May 2024 but then scrapped the date because of a logjam of legal motions and other incomplete pretrial steps. The judge has not yet set a new date.

Cannon’s approach has been favorable to Trump, who pushed for a trial to occur after the presidential election. The buildup of unsettled disputes in the case and Cannon’s willingness to hold full hearings on matters that other judges might not normally hold has made the prospect of a post-election trial increasingly likely.

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Rasmussen Poll: Trump Up Double-Digits on Biden

Former President Donald Trump is up double-digits on President Joe Biden in a national matchup, a Rasmussen Reports survey, released Friday, found.

The survey shows Trump leading Biden with a ten-point advantage in a matchup that includes third-party candidates.

Trump garners 46 percent support, followed by 36 percent for Biden, nine percent for independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., two percent for independent candidate Cornel West, and one percent for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

In a head-to-head matchup, Trump leads Biden by nine points — 49 percent to Biden’s 40 percent.

The survey was taken on June 20 among 1,000 likely voters and has a ± three percent margin of error.

This survey follows a May Rasmussen Reports survey, which found that most Democrats — 54 percent — would like to replace Biden with another candidate for their side.

As Breitbart News’s John Nolte detailed:

Rasmussen polled 1,113 likely voters between May 20-22 and asked a very straightforward question: “Would you approve or disapprove of Democrats finding another candidate to replace Joe Biden before the election in November?” While only 49 percent of everyone polled said that they approved, that number bumped up to 54 percent among Democrats.

Only 43 percent of Republicans agreed.

You can see why. Democrats are looking at the polls, looking at another four years of Donald Trump proving all of their ideas are stupid, and panicking. As far as Biden, he’s proved all of their ideas are terrible, so they want to dump him so they can blame their policy failures on him instead of their bad ideas.

This survey also coincides with another Rasmussen Reports survey, which found that 57 percent of voters said that Biden’s mental decline is real.

That reality comes as the Biden White House remains rattled by videos showcasing Biden’s alleged cognitive decline, many of which have gone viral. While the Biden White House has claimed that the videos are inaccurate, the Trump campaign has contradicted the White House’s claims.

“The truth hurts,” Trump Campaign Communications Director Steven Cheung told Breitbart News. “When the Biden campaign is confronted with that cold, hard reality, they offer ridiculous claims that anyone who clearly sees Biden acting like a brain-dead dope is part of some media-wide conspiracy,” he said.

“That’s what happens when you have junior staffers and interns running Biden’s campaign strategy for a candidate who can barely walk and talk at the same time,” he added.

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Cuomo: Trump Hush Money Case ‘Should Have Never Been Brought’

Former Democratic Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo recently told HBO host Bill Maher that if former President Trump wasn’t running for president, he would’ve never been prosecuted in the state for his hush money payments.

The former governor made the statements on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday, agreeing with the host that the New York District Attorney should not have brought that case against Trump, because it reeks of politicization.

“The attorney general’s case in New York frankly should have never been brought,” Cuomo declared on-air, noting that state residents who don’t even like Trump are offended by it because it looks like weaponization of the justice system.

Cuomo’s attack on the case, which resulted in Trump’s conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records, began by describing how a large swath of New Yorkers don’t view it as a fair case.

“The trials in New York, New Yorkers said – 66% said the justice system is politicized. And there’s nobody in New York who likes Trump,” he said. “And still, 66% said the justice system is politicized. That’s why I think he’s not paying the same price for these verdicts because they believe it is political.”

Cuomo, who resigned as governor following a sexual harassment scandal in 2021, described that the real threat to democracy is these cases undermining peoples’ belief that the justice system is fair.

“And you want to talk about a threat to democracy: when you have this country believing you’re playing politics with the justice system and you’re trying to put people in jail or convict them for political reasons, then we have a real problem,” he said.

Maher followed up by talking about how much money Trump got from supporters over his conviction, calling it the “greatest fundraising bonanza ever.”

Elsewhere, he expressed the same opinion as Cuomo on the hush money trial, saying, “I don’t think they should’ve brought that one. It was just always going to look like a sex case and people were always just going to look at it that way.”

The former governor and former New York attorney general agreed, and then went on to argue that the case was brought against Trump because of who he is.

“If his name was not Donald Trump and if he wasn’t running for president – I’m the former AG of New York – I’m telling you that case would’ve never been brought. And that’s what’s offensive to people.”

“And it should be,” he said, adding, “because if there’s anything left, it’s belief in the justice system.”

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Judge Judy Slams Hush Money Case Against Trump as ‘Nonsense’

Television star Judge Judy Sheindlin on Friday harshly criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for prosecuting former President Donald Trump over what she considers “nonsense.”

The Manhattan jury in Bragg’s case convicted Trump in late May of 34 felony counts of falsifying business documents to conceal a payment to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election for her to be silent about an alleged affair. Sheindlin told host Chris Wallace in an episode of Max’s “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” that Bragg should be focused on prosecuting criminals who make New York unsafe rather than the former president, who she said the district attorney targeted for personal reasons.

Watch:

“I would be happier, as someone who owns property in Manhattan, if the district attorney of New York County would take care of criminals who were making it impossible for citizens to walk in the streets and use the subway, to use his efforts to keep those people off the street, than to spend $5 million or $10 million of taxpayers’ money trying Donald Trump on this nonsense,” Sheindlin said. “That’s my view. But I, as a taxpayer in this country, resent using the system for your own personal self-aggrandizement.”

Bragg’s office on Thursday dropped charges against most of the protesters arrested for occupying several campus buildings and participating in an encampment at Columbia University in April, attributing the decision to lack of evidence. Since taking office, Bragg has downgraded 52% of felonies to misdemeanors and only convicted slightly over half of the defendants he prosecuted for felonies, the New York Post reported in November 2022.

“You had to twist yourself into a pretzel to figure out what the crime was,” she added, later saying she thinks Trump “was a good businessman.”

To charge Trump with a felony, Bragg alleged the purpose of the falsification of records was to cover up or commit another crime, but the district attorney did not specify the aggravating offense in his 2023 indictment.

Trump has consistently alleged that President Joe Biden’s administration played a key role in Bragg’s prosecution, referencing it as a “Biden witch hunt” and the “Biden Case.”

MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin on Thursday accused Trump of engaging in “perniciously racist” rhetoric through these allegations.

“For a variety of reasons, that narrative makes no sense, it is factually false and it’s also dangerously and perniciously racist because it assumes that DA Alvin Bragg, who is black, could not have executed this prosecution on his own without the supervision of a bunch of white elders,” Rubin said.

Rubin acknowledged Trump’s claim is based on Matthew Colangelo, who was Biden’s acting associate attorney general and spent two years in his Department of Justice, joining Bragg’s office as senior counsel in December 2022. However, she minimized his role in the case.

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Massive Illegal Streaming Service Busted — 5 Men Convicted in Vegas

Five men were convicted by a federal jury in Las Vegas this week for their part in operating Jetflicks, which officials say was one of the largest illegal streaming services in the U.S.

Jetflicks, which charged $9.99 per month for the streaming service, generated millions of dollars in subscription revenue and caused “substantial harm to television program copyright owners,” the Justice Department said Thursday.

At one point, Jetflicks claimed to host more than 183,200 TV episodes — a lineup larger than the combined catalogs of Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and Amazon Prime Video, according to prosecutors.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, beginning as early as 2007, the five men — Kristopher Dallmann, Douglas Courson, Felipe Garcia, Jared Jaurequi and Peter Huber — operated the Jetflicks streaming service. The group used “sophisticated computer scripts” and software to scour piracy services (including the Pirate Bay and Torrentz) for illegal copies of TV episodes, which they then downloaded and hosted on Jetflicks’ servers, according to federal prosecutors. The men were charged in 2019 with conspiring to violate federal criminal copyright law.

The jury convicted the five men of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. In addition, the jury convicted Dallmann of two counts of money laundering by concealment and three counts of misdemeanor criminal copyright infringement. Dallmann faces a maximum penalty of 48 years in prison, while Courson, Garcia, Jaurequi and Huber each face a maximum of five years in prison, according to the Justice Department. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to federal prosecutors, when complaints from copyright owners and issues with payment service providers threatened to bring down the illegal outfit, the defendants “tried to disguise Jetflicks as an aviation entertainment company.”

“The defendants operated Jetflicks, an illicit streaming service they used to distribute hundreds of thousands of stolen television episodes,” principal deputy assistant attorney general Nicole Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said in a June 20 statement.

“Their scheme generated millions of dollars in criminal profits, while causing copyright owners to lose out. These convictions underscore the Criminal Division’s commitment to protecting intellectual property rights by prosecuting digital piracy schemes and bringing offenders to justice.”

Motion Picture Association senior EVP and global general counsel Karyn Temple called the verdict “a landmark victory for intellectual property rights.”

“The Motion Picture Association applauds the Department of Justice for its successful prosecution of five individuals who brazenly and illegally profited by infringing upon copyrighted works belonging to ACE,” Temple said, referring to the Alliance for Creativity in Entertainment, a coalition of entertainment companies focused on combatting piracy. “The jury’s conviction underscores the criminal nature of these types of offenses and the significant harms caused to the creative industry and the tens of thousands of workers who earn a living from key industry roles, including set designers, caterers, hair and makeup artists, and camera operators, to name a few.”

According to federal prosecutors, a member of the original Jetflicks group, Darryl Julius Polo (aka “djppimp”), left to create a competing site called iStreamItAll, whose subscription plans had a monthly fee of $19.99. Like Jetflicks, iStreamItAll did not have permission to distribute the TV and movie content on the platform, officials said. In 2019, Polo pleaded guilty to criminal copyright and money laundering charges, according to the Justice Department. In 2020, he was sentenced to 57 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $1 million in “criminal proceeds.”

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Nevada Judge Dismisses Trump ‘Fake Electors’ Case

A Nevada judge dismissed a case Friday against six so-called fake electors who falsely claimed former President Trump won the state in the 2020 presidential election.

Clark County District Judge Mary Kay Holthus ruled that prosecutors with the Nevada attorney general’s office chose the wrong venue in which to file the case, calling off a trial scheduled for January.

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford (D) brought the case in Clark County, home to Las Vegas, but defense attorneys contended that it should have been filed in a northern Nevada city closer to where the alleged crime occurred.

“We disagree with the judge’s decision and will be appealing immediately,” said John Sadler, a spokesperson for the Nevada attorney general’s office.

Following the judge’s decision, defense attorneys told reporters the case is “done” since a three-year statute of limitations on filing charges expired in December, meaning that the state likely could not bring the case to a grand jury in a different venue.

The pro-Trump electors who were charged were Michael McDonald, Jesse Law, Jim DeGraffenreid, Durward James Hindle III, Shawn Meehan and Eileen Rice.

They each faced felony charges of offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged document, which carry penalties up to four or five years in prison.

When announcing their indictments, the state attorney general’s office said in a statement they posed as “duly qualified” electors to “disrupt the results of a free and fair presidential election.”

The alternate electors scheme relied on former Vice President Mike Pence to certify slates of Trump-supporting electors in battleground states instead of the true Electoral College votes cast for now-President Biden.

Pence declined to do so on Jan. 6, 2021, the day of the election certification, after which a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol.

In addition to Nevada, slates of pro-Trump electors have faced criminal charges in three of those states — Michigan, Georgia and Arizona.

Trump’s lawyers spearheaded the plan, and several face charges in other states in connection with it. Trump himself also faces federal charges and charges in Georgia in connection with alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in his favor. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Biden won Nevada by more than 33,000 votes in 2020.

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Trump: I Will Give Green Cards to Non-Citizen College Graduates

Former President Donald Trump has floated green cards for all foreign students who graduate from US universities and junior colleges in a podcast interview — prompting hardline immigration advocacy groups to lash out at what they called a “cockamamie proposal.”

“You graduate from a college, I think you should get automatically, as part of your diploma, a green card to be able to stay in this country, and that includes junior colleges too,” Trump, 78, told “The All-In Podcast.”

Jason Calacanis, one of several Silicon Valley tech investors who hosts the podcast, prompted the response when asking whether the 45th president would “promise us you will give us more ability to import the best and brightest around the world to America.”

“I do promise,” Trump said before proposing to keep foreign graduates of four- and two-year US higher education institutions in the country.

He also claimed he would have enacted the policy had the COVID-19 pandemic not erupted during the final year of his first term in office.

Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Post that the green-card handout was “a cockamamie proposal” that would unleash a “firehose of foreign cash” by effectively “stapling a green card to the diploma” of any US college graduate.

“If someone earns a PhD. at a university in a hard science, I personally will drive to their house and give them a green card,” Krikorian said. “The issue is any foreign college graduate, even from a bogus two-year master’s program or gender studies [major], would get a green card.

“If this proposal were adopted, you would see an explosion of quickie, one-year master’s programs around the country as a way of selling green cards to foreigners,” he added, which lobbyists and others would “exploit” to earn profits from potentially “billions of people around the world.”

“There’s no percentage limit for any particular institution,” Krikorian concluded. “Foreign students are one of the drivers of immigration because if you come here to study from Yemen or Cameroon, why would you want to go back?”

“This would only apply to the most thoroughly vetted college graduates who would never undercut American wages or workers,” Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt claimed in a statement.

“President Trump has made it clear that on day one of his new administration, he’s going to shut down the border and launch the largest mass deportation effort of illegal aliens in history,” added Leavitt, touting an “aggressive vetting process” that would “exclude all communists, radical Islamists, Hamas supporters, America haters and public charges.”

“He believes, only after such vetting has taken place, we ought to keep the most skilled graduates who can make significant contributions to America,” she explained. “This would only apply to the most thoroughly vetted college graduates who would never undercut American wages or workers.”

“We already have way, way too many foreign students,” Krikorian disagreed. “Letting any large group of people is going to inevitably affect the wages of Americans.”

“US immigration policy must serve the interests of all Americans, not the interests of elite business leaders who seek cheap labor,” added Chris Chmielenski, the president of the conservative Immigration Accountability Project.

The Trump handout “would reduce wages for all Americans, increase job competition, particularly for recent college graduates, and pose a threat to national security,” he said.

There are more than 1 million foreign college students in the United States, according to a November report from the International Educational Exchange — meaning Trump’s initiative, if it happens, could become one of the most popular new paths for immigration to the US.

Of the 1,057,188 foreign college students in the US during the 2022-2023 academic year, an estimated 289,526 (27%) were from China and 268,923 (25%) were from India.

Other countries with significant numbers of students in the US include South Korea (4.1%), Canada (2.6%), Vietnam (2.1%), Taiwan (2.1%), Nigeria (1.7%) and Japan (1.5%).

Foreign college students are sought after by some universities because they often are assessed higher tuition and fees than American students — meaning greater income for the institution.

Foreigners often are billed more even than out-of-state students at public colleges, where state governments often impose quotas that require the admission of a large number of in-state students who pay less for their education.

“Foreign students pay full freight, which the universities love,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform, who called it “a bad deal” to make temporary student visas “a stepping stone to get into the United States permanently.”

“It’s also undermining the interests of a lot of American college students,” he added. “You have kids coming out of college — it’s a tough job market. These are just more people that they’re going to have to be competing with.”

The green-card extension would cut against some of Trump’s promised immigration restrictions if he is elected to a second term — including plans for “nearly 20 million” illegal migrants to be removed through the “largest mass deportation effort” in US history.

At a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Trump also ripped President Biden for a “mass amnesty” plan to hand out work permits to non-citizens who graduate from US colleges and universities and let other migrants achieve permanent residency status if their are married to Americans.

“All an illegal alien has to do is sign up for his new program — it’s a sham marriage or college degree — and they can expect amnesty and taxpayer support,” he said of the plans the Biden administration announced this week.

“We are supporting people that come in illegally, but our soldiers, our veterans, are dying on the streets of these horribly-run Democrat cities,” he added.

“Our country is under invasion. We should not be talking amnesty. We should be talking about stopping the invasion.”

Biden’s proposal emphasized speeding up visa approvals for nearly 600,000 migrants on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status as well as other non-citizen college graduates.

Trump did not specifically say Thursday whether he would extend the automatic work authorization to DACA status holders, a main thrust of Biden’s immigration announcement Tuesday.

In fiscal year 2023, US Citizenship and Immigration Services fielded a record-breaking 10.9 million applications for naturalization — adding to a mounting backlog.

The overall visa processing backlog was only reduced by 15% that year, according to the agency, and 878,500 new citizens took the Oath of Allegiance.

Public polling shows immigration is one of Biden’s weakest issues among US voters, with even a majority of Hispanics siding with Trump on efforts to deport illegal immigrants, a CBS/YouGov poll this month found.

One of the “All-In” hosts, David Sacks, has endorsed the former president’s 2024 candidacy.

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Supreme Court Upholds Gun Ban for Domestic Abusers

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld a federal law that bans guns for those subject to domestic violence restraining orders (DVROs) in the first major test of the Second Amendment at the high court this term.

In an 8-1 opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the court’s majority said, “[W]e conclude only this: An individual found by a court to pose a credible threat to the physical safety of another may be temporarily disarmed consistent with the Second Amendment.” Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter.

Both liberal and conservative justices agreed with the Biden administration that there was a history and tradition of keeping firearms from dangerous persons, despite the lack of any specific ban that may have been in place when the Constitution was enacted in the 1790s.

The case, U.S. v. Rahimi, is first major test of the Second Amendment since a high court ruling in 2022 expanding rights of law-abiding citizens to carry handguns outside the home for protection, and could have major implications for several gun-rights measures working their way through the legal system and in state legislatures.

The conservative majority in that case known as “Bruen” said gun regulations must be consistent and analogous with “the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation” in order to withstand present-day constitutional scrutiny.

It could also affect current cases that deal with whether current and former drug users can similarly be denied gun ownership — like that of Hunter Biden. The president’s son plans to challenge his conviction this month for lying on a federal registration form in 2018 about his addiction when buying a firearm.

The case before the court stemmed from a lawsuit that involves a Texas man, Zackey Rahimi, who — under a DVRO — argued he still had a right to keep a gun for self-protection. Rahimi was charged with separate state offenses that began with the 2019 physical assault of his ex-girlfriend and later another woman by use of firearms.

A Texas court in a civil proceeding found Rahimi had “committed family violence,” then granted his former girlfriend a protective order that included suspension of Rahimi’s gun license. Court records show he was warned gun possession under the protective order would be a federal offense.

After repeatedly violating the order, including approaching the victim and threatening her, Rahimi was also accused of firing a gun in public in five different locations within a span of weeks. Police then searched his residence and found a handgun, rifle and ammunition.

While contesting some of the allegations against him, he pleaded guilty to a violation of federal law for later possessing a handgun despite an earlier restraining order, but then appealed.

The 5th Circuit U-S Court of Appeals ruled for Rahimi, saying the federal restriction was unconstitutional since there was no historical analog justifying the burden on individual self-defense rights.

A major question was whether there was a precise analog now to the 18th century legal concept of domestic violence and gun rights — that would give modern day legislatures and courts the discretion to limit gun possession for those deemed dangerous or irresponsible.

Friday’s decision in the DVRO case was narrow in scope, focusing only on whether the Second Amendment protects those considered a danger to society.

“When a restraining order contains a finding that an individual poses a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner, that individual may — consistent with the Second Amendment — be banned from possessing firearms while the order is in effect,” the Chief Justice wrote for the majority.

“Since the founding, our Nation’s firearm laws have included provisions preventing individuals who threaten physical harm to others from misusing firearms. As applied to the facts of this case, [the statute] fits comfortably within this tradition,” he wrote.

Six justices filed separate concurrences, agreeing with the outcome, but offering separate thoughts on the scope of the majority opinion — signaling some concerns with Roberts’ reasoning laid out in the majority opinion.

Those were Justices Sonia Sotomayor, supported by Elana Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Thomas wrote a long dissenting opinion.

“The question before us is not whether Rahimi and others like him can be disarmed consistent with the Second Amendment. Instead, the question is whether the Government can strip the Second Amendment right of anyone subject to a protective order — even if he has never been accused or convicted of a crime. It cannot,” he said.

“The Court and Government do not point to a single historical law revoking a citizen’s Second Amendment right based on possible interpersonal violence. The Government has not borne its burden to prove that [the statute] is consistent with the Second Amendment’s text and historical understanding.

“The Framers and ratifying public understood ‘that the right to keep and bear arms was essential to the preservation of liberty,'” he continued.

“Yet, in the interest of ensuring the Government can regulate one subset of society, today’s decision puts at risk the Second Amendment rights of many more. I respectfully dissent,” he said.

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Bannon Files Emergency Appeal with Supreme Court to Stay Out of Prison

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon on Friday filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to remain out of prison for his contempt of Congress conviction.

Bannon was ordered by Judge Carl Nichols to surrender to prison by July 1 to serve his four-month sentence.

“An even-handed approach thus strongly favors allowing Mr. Bannon to remain on release,” Bannon’s attorney argued in Friday’s filing.

“There is also no denying the fact that the government seeks to imprison Mr. Bannon for the four-month period immediately preceding the November presidential election,” Bannon’s attorney said.

“There is no reason for that outcome in a case that presents substantial legal issues.”

Bannon was sentenced to four months for contempt of Congress in October 2022 after he was found guilty of defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, but Judge Nichols agreed to postpone the jail term while Bannon appealed the conviction.

After a federal appeals court upheld the criminal conviction in May, prosecutors requested Bannon begin serving his prison term.

“All of this is about one thing. Shutting down the MAGA movement. Shutting down grassroots conservatives, shutting down President Trump,” Bannon said to reporters in June.

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Biden, Trump Prep for Presidential Debate

President Joe Biden is hunkered down with aides at Camp David for several days to get ready to debate rival Donald Trump, who is eschewing traditional preparation and instead holding informal policy discussions between campaign stops.

The face-off in Atlanta, at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday (0100 GMT on Friday), will be the earliest presidential debate in modern U.S. history and a critical event for both candidates.

Biden, 81, and former president Trump, 78, are neck-and-neck in national opinion polls, with a considerable slice of the electorate still undecided five months before the Nov. 5 vote.

The debate will provide the starkest contrast yet of the two men, the oldest candidates ever to seek the U.S. presidency, as voters question their age and mental sharpness.

“It’s an incredible test of their cognitive competence,” said Patrick Stewart, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas who has written a book on presidential debates. “This is our chance to see how much they’ve declined or if they’ve declined.”

With strict speaking limitations, a ban on notes and no audience to cheer them on during the 90-minute CNN debate, they will need to prepare for tough questions and a format that takes them out of their comfort zones, Stewart said.

Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. didn’t make the cut, so Biden, a Democrat, and Trump, a Republican, won’t have to worry about him.

Ron Klain, Biden’s former chief of staff and a veteran of debate preparation, is leading Biden’s sessions at Camp David, the mountain retreat in western Maryland where the president prepped for his fiery State of the Union speech in March.

A campaign spokesperson declined to comment on whether former White House counsel Bob Bauer would reprise the role of Trump he played during debate prep in 2020.

Biden’s team will focus on refining the argument that Trump pursues extremist policies on abortion and other issues, is a danger to democracy, and is beholden to the rich donors writing him checks, a campaign official told Reuters.

While Biden will not shy away from attacking Trump for past actions, including his role in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, the president wants to project himself as a wise and steady leader in contrast to Trump’s division and chaos, the official said.

“What he wants to do is have that split screen, show that contrast and have President Trump be forced to account for his more extreme views,” said another strategist advising the campaign, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.

Informal Approach

The Trump camp, meanwhile, wants to make Biden defend his administration’s record on immigration and inflation, as well as how he is dealing with “a world on fire,” senior campaign adviser Brian Hughes said in reference to the conflict between Israel and Hamas and Russia’s assault on Ukraine.

Trump has held a series of meetings in recent weeks with U.S. senators and advisers at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and elsewhere to review the kind of substantive policy points he would like to make on the debate stage.

Among those involved in the discussions with Trump are U.S. senators J.D. Vance and Marco Rubio – both leading contenders to be Trump’s running mate – and Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to Trump during his presidency known for his hardline stance on immigration.

Trump’s aides say he is taking a more informal approach to readying for the debate than in the past, when former ally Chris Christie assumed the roles of rivals Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020.

Trump, the aides say, has been honing his argument to voters during more than a year of rallies and media interviews. He is not expected to participate in a mock debate.

“The idea that he has to be in a room and mock out – first this guy does that, then you do this – it’s just not his style,” Hughes said.

“If we’re doing anything at all,” Hughes added, “it’s simply reviewing with him policies and accomplishments and looking ahead with him at what he’ll do in the four years ahead.”

Alan Schroeder, professor emeritus of journalism at Northeastern University, sees some risk in the less formal approach for Trump, who like Biden has not debated in four years after eschewing face-offs with his Republican primary challengers.

One of the rules that could prove challenging for Trump: Microphones will be muted except when it is each candidate’s turn to speak.

“He’s done so many TV events of different types that he sort of thinks he can wing it,” said Schroeder, an expert on presidential debates. “But debating is a very specific thing. It doesn’t really pay to just show up.”

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Home Prices Hit Record High

Sales of previously owned homes are sitting at a 30-year low and didn’t move much in May as prices hit a new record and mortgage rates remain high.

So-called existing home sales in May were essentially flat, down 0.7% from April to a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 4.11 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors, or NAR. Sales fell 2.8% from May of last year.

This count of closed sales is based on contracts likely signed in March and April. The sluggish sales pace came as rates took a big leap in April.

The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed loan started the month just below 7% and then rose to just over 7.5% by mid-April, before settling back slightly in May, according to Mortgage News Daily. That rate is now right around 7%.

“Home sales refuse to recover,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NAR. “I thought we would see a recovery this spring. We are not seeing it.”

Sales were unchanged month to month in all regions except the South, where they fell 1.6%.

The biggest change in May is that the inventory of homes for sale jumped, up 6.7% month to month and 18.5% higher than in May last year. At the current sales pace, there is now a 3.7-month supply. While inventory is gaining, it is still very low given demographics and demand.

“Eventually, more inventory will help boost home sales and tame home price gains in the upcoming months. Increased housing supply spells good news for consumers who want to see more properties before making purchasing decisions,” Yun added.

Record prices

That demand continues to push prices higher. The median price of an existing home sold in May was $419,300, a record-high price in the Realtors’ recording and up 5.8% year over year. The gain was the strongest since October 2022. Prices gained in all regions.

The Realtors noted in a release that the mortgage payment for a typical home today is more than double what it was five years ago. Not only have rates climbed, but home prices are more than 50% higher than they were five years ago. That comes in part because the median is skewing to the higher end.

Sales of homes priced below $250,000 were lower than a year ago, while sales priced between $250,000 and $500,000 were up just 1%. Sales priced between $750,000 and $1 million were 13% higher, and sales priced over $1 million were up nearly 23%.

Cash is still king, accounting for 28% of sales. First-time buyers are hanging in at 31% of sales, up from 28% the year before.

Two-thirds of homes went under contract in less than a month, so competition is still strong despite higher prices. Redfin, a real estate brokerage, is reporting that an increasing number of listings are becoming stale, so if a home comes on the market that is well-priced and doesn’t need much work, it goes fast. Other homes are sitting longer.

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Pakistani Muslim Mob Burn Tourist Alive for Committing ‘Blasphemy’ Against Islam

A tourist has been dragged from a police station and killed by a mob in north-west Pakistan after being accused of blasphemy.

The police had been attempting to protect the man from the large group in the town of Madyan, a town in Swat district.

The mob had gathered after the man was accused of desecrating the Quran, Islam’s holy book, on Thursday.

Lynchings are not uncommon after an accusation of blasphemy, which is punishable by death in Pakistan.

A Christian man was attacked last month after being accused of burning pages of the Quran, dying shortly afterwards.

Video of this latest incident has prompted outrage on social media in Pakistan. Footage shows the man’s body being paraded through the streets and then set alight.

Police confirmed that the tourist had been “torched” and some 11 people were injured in the incident.

Malankand division’s regional police chief Mohammad Ali Gandapur accused the local mosque of encouraging people to gather after police first rescued the man, who was reportedly visiting the Swat Valley – a popular destination in summer.

He told Reuters news agency that eight officers were among the injured.

Dr Zahidullah, police officer in the Swat region, told BBC Urdu police made a concerted effort to clear blocked roads to disperse the angry crowds of people on Thursday night.

Police say they have opened a case against hundreds of people involved in the incident – some as young as 13. Local authorities have since deployed additional security forces to the region.

According to BBC Urdu, hotels in the town had been full, but tourists were now scrambling to leave.

Religion-fuelled violence in Pakistan has risen since the country made blasphemy – made a crime under a 19th century law brought in by the British – punishable by death in the 1980s.

Even unfounded accusations can incite protests and mob violence against alleged perpetrators. Human rights critics have long argued that minorities are often the target of accusations.

Around 96% of Pakistan’s population is Muslim. Other countries, including Iran, Brunei, and Mauritania also impose capital punishment for insulting religion.

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Judge Cannon to Weigh Removing Jack Smith in Trump Documents Case

The judge presiding over former President Trump’s classified records case is holding a hearing Friday to consider whether the appointment of U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith and the funding of his investigations is “unlawful.”

Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida had postponed the trial stemming from Smith’s investigation into Trump’s alleged improper retention of classified records indefinitely.

Upon postponing the trial, Cannon scheduled deadlines for reports on June 10 and 17 and a nonevidentiary hearing on a motion to dismiss on Friday, “based on unlawful appointment and funding of special counsel.”

Cannon expanded Friday’s hearing to allow amici to argue before the court, as well as Trump defense attorneys and federal prosecutors.

Former Attorney General Ed Meese, who served under former President Reagan, filed an amicus brief in the case, in which he argues that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of Smith as special counsel – a private citizen at the time – is in violation of the appointments clause of the Constitution.

Garland appointed Smith as special counsel on Nov. 18, 2022 – just days after Trump announced he would run for president in 2024.

“Not clothed in the authority of the federal government, Smith is a modern example of the naked emperor,” the brief states.

“Improperly appointed, he has no more authority to represent the United States in this Court than Bryce Harper, Taylor Swift, or Jeff Bezos,” they argued.

Meese argues that the “illegality” of Smith’s appointment is “sufficient to sink Smith’s petition, and the Court should deny review.”

Meese and company noted in the brief that Smith was appointed “to conduct the ongoing investigation into whether any person or entity [including former President Trump] violated the law in connection with efforts to interfere with the lawful transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election or the certification of the Electoral College vote held on or about January 6, 2021.”

Garland defended his move earlier this month during a hearing on Capitol Hill, arguing that “there are regulations under which the attorney general appoint special counsel. They have been in effect for 30 years, maybe longer, under both parties.”

“The matter that you’re talking about, about whether somebody can have an employee of the Justice Department serve as special counsel has been adjudicated,” Garland argued, adding that other special counsel appointments he and other attorneys general have made cite a regulation that points to a statute.

Meese, however, in his briefs filed in several points in the Trump cases, argued that “none of those statutes, nor any other statutory or constitutional provisions, remotely authorized the appointment by the Attorney General of a private citizen to receive extraordinary criminal law enforcement power under the title of Special Counsel.”

Meese’s brief was even mentioned in a question by Justice Clarence Thomas in the Supreme Court oral arguments over Trump’s presidential immunity in Smith’s other case regarding 2020 election interference, which the high court is expected to decide this month.

Presenting arguments on June 21 in Florida on behalf of Meese will be Gene Schaerr; Josh Blackman on behalf of Professor Seth Barrett Tillman; and Matthew Seligman on behalf of constitutional lawyers, former government officials, and “State Democracy Defenders Action.”

Meanwhile, Cannon scheduled an additional hearing from June 24 to 26 and set deadlines for disclosures from the special counsel for early July and the defendants’ speedy trial report for July 19 – the final day of the Republican National Convention.

Trump is set to be sentenced in Manhattan after being found guilty on all counts in New York v. Trump, stemming from District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation on July 11.

Cannon scheduled a status conference for July 22 and another hearing for later that day.

Cannon did not schedule a new trial date.

Trump faced charges stemming from Smith’s investigation into his possession of classified materials. He pleaded not guilty to all 37 felony counts from Smith’s probe, including willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements.

Trump was also charged with an additional three counts as part of a superseding indictment from the investigation – an additional count of willful retention of national defense information and two additional obstruction counts.

Trump pleaded not guilty.

Cannon’s move last month to indefinitely postpone the trial comes after the judge unsealed a slew of documents related to the FBI’s investigation into the former president and the FBI’s raid on his Mar-a-Lago, Florida, estate in 2022.

The documents provided a detailed look into the personnel involved in the raid on Mar-a-Lago and a play-by-play timeline of it. One of the documents is an FBI file that suggests the agency’s investigation into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents was dubbed “Plasmic Echo.”

Another unsealed FBI memo memorialized the role of Garland in the investigation.

In a document dated March 30, 2022, Garland provided his approval to allow the investigation into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents to upgrade to a “full investigation.”

“This email conveys Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney General (AG) [Merrick Garland] approval for conversion to a full investigation,” a synopsis of the restricted document reads.

Also, last month, Smith and federal prosecutors admitted in a court filing that documents seized during the raid on Mar-a-Lago are no longer in their original order and sequence.

“There are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” Smith’s filing states.

The prosecutors had previously told the court that the documents were “in their original, intact form as seized.”

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is investigating whether that evidence was “altered or manipulated.”

Smith also charged Trump in a separate jurisdiction, in Washington, D.C., out of his investigation into election interference and Jan. 6. Trump pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well.

That trial was postponed indefinitely. The Supreme Court is considering arguments on presidential immunity and whether Trump is immune from prosecution in Smith’s case.

The high court is expected to rule on the matter by the end of the term next week.

Follow live updates.

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NYT: Senior Judges Told Aileen Cannon to Step Down from Trump Docs Case

Judge Aileen Cannon, the judge overseeing former President Trump’s classified documents case, rejected suggestions from two of her superiors on the bench to pass the high-profile case to a more experienced judge, the New York Times reports.

Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge, has come under intense scrutiny over her handling of the classified documents case, with critics accusing her of intentionally slow-walking it.

The New York Times reports that the chief judge in the Southern District of Florida, Cecilia M. Altonaga, and another judge, unnamed by the newspaper, urged her to consider passing the Trump trial over to a more experienced judge.

The judges contacted her via phone call shortly after she took on the case, per the NYT.

Cannon was appointed to the bench during Trump’s final months as president.

She worked as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 2013 to 2020. She had presided over four criminal trials as a federal judge before taking on Trump’s case.

The first judge to call Cannon told her the case would be better handled by a jurist closer to Miami’s busiest courthouse, per the NYT.

The grand jury that indicted Trump sat in this courthouse, and it had a secure facility approved to hold classified information that might be used in the case.

Altonaga then called Cannon and said the optics of her overseeing the trial would be bad.

Cannon was criticized by legal experts for accepting Trump’s bid in a lawsuit for a special master to review evidence seized by the FBI and blocked federal prosecutors from reviewing the materials.

“Like any Senate-confirmed, presidentially appointed judge, she has a life tenure and independent standing and is free to choose to ignore any such advice,” the NYT reported.

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Appeals Court Denies Steve Bannon’s Emergency Request to Stay Out of Prison

A federal appeals court Thursday night rejected Steve Bannon’s bid to delay the July 1 start of his criminal contempt-of-Congress prison sentence.

Following the ruling from the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals, it is likely the former adviser to former President Donald Trump will seek the intervention of the Supreme Court.

The panel voted 2-1, with Judge Cornelia Pillard, a Barack Obama nominee, and Judge Bradley Garcia, a Joe Biden nominee, in the majority. The majority opinion, however, was unsigned.

Judge Justin Walker, a Trump appointee, dissented from the panel’s Thursday night decision, writing that the precedent Bannon is contesting is a “close” question and that Bannon should be allowed to stay out of prison while he appeals it to the Supreme Court.

A jury found Bannon guilty of contempt nearly two years ago for not complying with a House January 6 Committee subpoena for his testimony, but his trial judge initially paused his four-month prison sentence for his appeal to play out.

Earlier this month, however, US District Judge Carl Nichols lifted that hold on Bannon’s sentence at the request of the Justice Department, which pointed to a recent decision by the DC Circuit that upheld his conviction.

Absent a Supreme Court intervention, Bannon is slated to serve his sentence at a low-security prison camp in Danbury, Connecticut, CNN previously reported. Because he is facing New York state criminal charges for his involvement in an the allegedly fraudulent “Build the Wall” fundraising scheme, he will not be sent to the minimal-security prison camps known as a “Club Fed.”

Bannon’s attorneys had argued that he should be allowed to stay out of prison as he continued to appeal the conviction, pointing to his ability to have the full DC Circuit review the case and then, if need be, a potential Supreme Court appeal.

At a June 6 hearing, Nichols said that he had initially let Bannon delay his sentence because he believed there was a “substantial” legal question about a DC Circuit precedent that limited the defenses Bannon could put forward at his trial. But, because of the way that the DC Circuit panel went on to embrace that precedent when it upheld Bannon’s conviction, Nichols said did not believe that “the original basis for my stay exists any longer.”

Nichols, a Trump appointee, gave Bannon a short window to obtain the emergency intervention of a higher court.

Bannon, who hosts a podcast that’s popular among conservatives, told the appeals court in filings last week that the Biden administration was trying to silence his criticisms of its policies ahead of the election.

“The government seeks to imprison Mr. Bannon for the four-month period leading up to the November election, when millions of Americans look to him for information on important campaign issues,” his attorneys said in the filings.

His lawyers also claimed that being forced to serve his prison sentence now would “also effectively bar Mr. Bannon from serving as a meaningful advisor in the ongoing national campaign.”

Prosecutors countered that “Bannon’s role in political discourse is simply not a relevant factor” under the federal statute dictating when a defendant’s appeal can delay his sentence.

“Bannon also cannot reconcile his claim for special treatment with the bedrock principle of equal justice under the law,” prosecutors told the appeals court in a filing.

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Missouri AG Sues New York Over Trump Hush Money Case

Missouri’s attorney general announced Thursday that he’s suing the state of New York for alleged election interference and wrongful prosecution over former President Trump’s hush money case.

It marks the beginning of what’s expected to be the next wave of legal action after an N.Y. jury found the presumptive Republican presidential nominee guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, with red states suing on Trump’s behalf.

His allies immediately urged Republican state attorneys general to take action following the historic case that saw Trump become the first-ever former U.S. president to be a convicted felon.

Attorney General Andrew Bailey claims that the case was brought solely to smear presumptive presidential nominee Trump going into November’s election.

He argues that the statute of limitations on misdemeanor business records falsification expired in 2019 and that the New York DA never specified “intent to commit another crime.”

“We have to fight back against a rogue prosecutor who is trying to take a presidential candidate off the campaign trail. It sabotages Missourians’ right to a free and fair election,” Bailey said in a Thursday evening post to X. “Stay tuned.”

Bailey in August will face a primary challenge from Will Scharf, a member of Trump’s legal team.

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Texas Girl, 12, Strangled to Death by Illegal Immigrants Who Were Released Into US Just Weeks Ago

A young Houston girl, 12, was brutally killed by two alleged illegal immigrants from Venezuela. She died by strangulation and her body was found dumped in a creek earlier this week, police said.

Johan Jose Rangel Martinez, 21, and Franklin Jose Pena Ramos, 26, have been arrested on capital murder charges over the killing of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray, according to the Houston Police Department. When pressed about reports that the two suspects are Venezuelan nationals, police declined to comment and said their legal status is still under review as of Thursday, Fox News reports.

Department of Homeland Security sources told the New York Post that Ramos illegally entered the US on May 28 through El Paso, Texas, and was quickly released by border agents. Ramos reportedly told authorities that he planned to live with his cousin in Houston before his court appearance in July.

Multiple DHS sources told Fox News that Martinez illegally entered the US through El Paso in March and was released on an unknown basis. Houston police Lt. Stephen Hope said investigators used surveillance footage to track Martinez and Ramos before and after the killing, allegedly pinning them to the crime.

The victim’s boyfriend, also 13, told investigators that he was talking to Jocelyn on the phone after she snuck out of her parent’s apartment on Sunday night. He told authorities he could hear Jocelyn talking to two men over the phone while at a convenience store.

Police said Martinez and Ramos were at a restaurant and then were spotted on surveillance video walking southbound. They were later captured on video having a meeting with Nungaray. The three chatted for several minutes then proceeded to walk southbound toward a 7-Eleven convenience store.

All three of them left the convenience store and walked to a bridge, where police later found Nungaray’s dead body. The two suspects left the bridge and walked to their apartment complex, leaving the victim’s body behind.

Authorities believe Martinez and Ramos lived in the same apartment complex as Nungaray.

The Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Nungaray died by strangulation.

Houston Police Chief Larry J. Satterwhite told reporters that the department has reached out to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to find out Martinez’s and Ramos’s immigration status and whether or not they are legally in the US.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire unleashed on the criminals and said: “We’re gonna be watching you; the arrests have taken place, and the charges have been filed. Now, we want the justice system to do its job. If there was ever a circumstance where you do not give someone bail, this is it.”

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