By Robert A. Vella


In the criminal cases against Paul Manafort, Special Counsel Robert Mueller will file a the first sentencing memo today (with another scheduled for next week) which is expected to recommend that the judge throw-the-book at Trump’s former campaign manager for violating the conditions of his plea deal by deliberately lying to investigators.  And, Manafort’s woes got even worse today when New York state prosecutors announced they are preparing charges against him in the event that he is pardoned by President Trump.  Presidential pardons do not apply to state and local jurisdictions.  See:

Mueller to file sentencing memo in Manafort conspiracy case

Bloomberg News: NY prosecutors preparing charges against Manafort if he gets Trump pardon


The judge in the Roger Stone case slapped a full gag order yesterday on the Trump ally and Republican dirty trickster for violating the conditions of the partial gag order she had imposed on him previously.  Stone, who likes to portray himself as a defiant “provocateur” for right-wing extremism, groveled for mercy in court after the judge rejected his apology as not being credible.

From:  Judge rips into Roger Stone, bars him from speaking publicly on case: ‘This is not baseball. There will be no third chance’

A federal judge has barred former Trump political adviser Roger Stone from speaking publicly about his ongoing prosecution on obstruction and false statement charges, following a hearing on Thursday in which Stone said was “heartfully sorry” for the picture of the judge that appeared on his Instagram showing what appeared to be crosshairs in the background.

The image was accompanied by a caption referring to “deep state hitman Robert Mueller” and called his prosecution a “show trial.”

On Thursday, Stone denied using his phone to post the image himself, and insisted that an unnamed “volunteer” was responsible. But U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, after a short recess, said she did not find Stone’s apology to be credible and that she would issue a new, more comprehensive gag order.


From:  White House ’looking into‘ Acosta’s role in illegal sex offender plea deal

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday declined to say whether President Donald Trump still has confidence in Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, a day after a federal judge ruled the Justice Department broke the law while Acosta was a U.S. attorney.

Florida-based U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra ruled Thursday that Acosta — then the U.S. attorney in Miami — signed off on a 2008 plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein, the Palm Beach billionaire and serial sex abuser, without informing victims about what they were doing.


The deal reached between Acosta and Epstein’s attorneys allowed him to not be prosecuted in federal court, and instead sentenced in state court. The immunity from prosecution also extended to some of Epstein’s co-conspirators.

Epstein pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges and served 13 months in county jail, according to the Miami Herald. The victims were not told of the agreement or sentencing until it was too late to intervene.


The political career of Republican candidate for Congress Mark Harris may have ended this week after he emotionally broke-down upon seeing his own son testify against him in a state election board hearing.  John Harris, a federal assistant attorney, testified that he had warned his father that the ballot gathering activities performed on Mark’s behalf constituted a felony.

From:  Analysis: A federal election will be rerun because of fraud. Republicans aren’t talking about it much.

North Carolina’s State Board of Elections voted Thursday to throw out the results of the election held in November in the state’s 9th Congressional District after the candidate who led in the vote, Mark Harris, suddenly agreed that a new election was warranted. Harris had resisted a do-over, claiming that fraud allegedly perpetrated on his behalf through the manipulation of absentee ballots would not have been enough to affect the outcome of the contest (which may or may not be true). After Harris’s son testified Wednesday that he’d warned his father about the election worker accused of committing the fraud — and after Harris admitted having failed to turn over emails from his son to investigators — Harris agreed to support a new election.

From:  NC state board votes for new election in 9th District after GOP candidate calls for new race

Harris spent the morning answering questions about his relationship with Bladen County political operative McCrae Dowless. But his attorney stopped the queries after Harris repeatedly denied telling anyone that emails between he and his son John would not be part of evidence. When Harris returned after a nearly two-hour break, he admitted that testimony was incorrect.


Another constitutional lawsuit has been filed against President Trump’s national emergency declaration to build his border wall project (see:  El Paso County sues over Trump border wall declaration), and Trump’s children are contesting a lawsuit involving possible RICO crimes.

From:  Trump, adult children urge dismissal of marketing scam lawsuit

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and his adult children on Thursday urged a federal judge to dismiss a racketeering lawsuit accusing them of using the family name to promote sham marketing opportunities to vulnerable, financially struggling investors.


They accused the Trump family of having received millions of dollars of secret payments from 2005 to 2015 to endorse American Communications Network, which charged $499 for a chance to sell videophones and other goods, and two other businesses.

The lawsuit said the Trumps deliberately conned victims into believing Donald Trump stood behind the investments and thought they would pay off, when the real goal was to enrich themselves. They said this violated a federal anti-racketeering law known as RICO.


From:  The Military Is Cracking Down on Immigrant Recruits. But Advocates Say It’s Ignoring a White Nationalism Problem

Civil rights advocates say the arrest of a Coast Guard lieutenant charged with planning a massive domestic terrorist attack show the military has allowed a problem with white nationalism in the ranks to fester while it focused on aggressively vetting immigrants.

Since 2017, branches of the U.S. military have boosted background checks on immigrant recruits, changing the naturalization process, adding extra security screenings and discharging hundreds who had been recruited specifically for valuable foreign language and medical skills.

At the same time, advocates charge that military officials have failed to take effective action to root out enlistees who support white nationalism and white supremacy, pointing to the case of Christopher Paul Hasson, who was arrested last Friday, as a notable example.


From:  With fewer undocumented workers to hire, U.S. farmers are fueling a surge in the number of legal guest workers

DURANGO, Mexico —For decades, U.S. farmers, landscapers and builders tapped a seemingly endless supply of cheap labor: the waves of undocumented immigrants coming across the southern border. The workers arrived in time for harvests and construction booms. They did the low-wage manual labor that Americans were unwilling to do.

By the 2000s, more than half of American farmworkers were undocumented, according to the Labor Department. But now — thanks to border enforcement, the surging cost of smugglers and changes in migration patterns — the number of people crossing into the United States illegally is nearing the lowest level in decades. There are more Mexicans leaving the United States than arriving there.

For the White House, that might be a triumph. But for the agriculture industry, the impact is acute. Each year, its labor force dwindles.

From:  Food supply under threat due to biodiversity loss across globe: UN report

A drop in global biodiversity is putting our ability to produce food at risk, a new United Nations report warns.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, biodiversity in food and agriculture “is indispensable to food security and sustainable development.”

However, in recent years biodiversity at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels have all been in decline, reducing our overall food and agriculture systems’ ability to respond to shocks and stresses such as climate change.

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