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Tag: capitol riot prosecutions

Is Trump Gang Setting Up John Eastman As Fall Guy In Coup Plot?

According to reporting from Rolling Stone, former President Donald Trump and friends are preparing to feed conservative attorney John Eastman to the wolves.

Eastman and his “coup memo” have brought way too much heat on Trump following the House’s Jan. 6 committee hearings, outlining his role in assisting the former president’s efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 election and making the legal case for former Vice President Mike Pence to reject the certification of the Electoral College.

One of three primary sources with direct information on the topic told Rolling Stone, “It has been repeatedly communicated to the [former] president that he should not even bring up Johnny Eastman’s name because he is maybe the most radioactive person [involved in this] when it comes to … any so-called criminal exposure.”

Rolling Stone reports that Trump has decided not to defend or even talk about Eastman, has instructed his team not to discuss him, and has said privately that he “hardly” or “barely” knows him. As Trump's social media platform Truth Social shows, as much talking as he does, Eastman’s name has been almost nonexistent.

Before turning to conservative constitutional law, Eastman worked as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

“Johnny does not have many friends in [the upper crust of] Trumpworld left, and most people loyal to the [former] president are fine with him being left out on his own, to deal with whatever consequences he may or may not face,” a source said.

Last Thursday, during the public Congressional hearings, Eric Herschmann, a Trump White House attorney, said that following the insurrection, he told Eastman to “get a great fucking criminal defense lawyer” because “you’re going to need it.” Eastman then infamously emailed Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to say, “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list if that is still in the works.”

As Rolling Stone reports, the idea of Eastman as a patsy has become a common conversation.

Last week, Mark Levin, a Fox News and radio host, said:

“How many lawyers did Trump have? He had several … And John Eastman has turned into the fall guy. … He’s a lawyer, he’s an advocate for the [former] president. Whether you agree with his legal judgment, his legal findings, or not, it’s what lawyers do.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Facing Judgment, Alex Jones Begs For Help From The 'Deep State'

Facing growing legal troubles which three bankruptcy filings have only exacerbated, Alex Jones has turned to the U.S. government — which he so often called the “deep state” — for help.

Jones, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and avid Trump supporter, rose to prominence by making absurd allegations against the government and disseminating conspiracies of an alleged shadowy cabal of world-controlling pedophiles, a belief that’s the foundation of the QAnon movement.

Jones’ conspiracy empire has made him a massive fortune and attracted millions of daily visits to his websites and social media accounts, per the New York Times. Jones’ Infowars store raked in $165 million from 2015 to 18, all while he pleaded for donations from his supporters to help him stay financially solvent, according to records obtained by HuffPost.

Just what could Jones have sold to his supporters? According to the Texas Tribune, during the pandemic, Jones’ Infowars store sold products like “Nano Silver” toothpaste and “Superblue Silver Immune Gargle,” both of which he claimed could fight Covid-19. Jones has also sold doomsday pepper materials and diet supplements, products he labeled antidotes for the phony threats he made up on his shows.

Last Tuesday, Jones announced an “emergency blowout sale,” where “thousands of great items, books, you name it” will be sold on his Infowars store. "This is do or die time if you want to keep us on the air," Jones said, referring to the sale. "They are trying to silence you. They are trying to take down the leading voice of resistance."

Jones’ radio show, his so-called “voice of resistance,” is actually his bullhorn for a litany of conspiracy theories. Jones has claimed that Austin authorities often used “black helicopters” to survey the public; that 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by the government; that the high school survivors of the tragic Parkland, Florida, shooting were “crisis actors” on the payroll of Democrats and George Soros, a regular target for right-wing conspiracies; that juice boxes made kids “gay”; and that Sandy Hook elementary school massacre was a hoax cooked up to curtail the right of U.S. citizens to own guns.

“Sandy Hook is synthetic, completely fake, with actors, in my view, manufactured,” Jones told his listeners in 2015. In subsequent episodes, Jones mocked the weeping parents mourning the death of the children and shared addresses and other personal information of the victims’ families.

After months of continued harassment by Jones’ Infowars supporters — one of whom was sentenced to prison for sending death threats to one victim’s family — the mourning parents fired back with defamation lawsuits, and Jones quickly admitted that the shooting happened but blamed “anti-free speech Democrats” and the media for his predicament.

Jones has tried to slow his legal reckoning by failing to obey court orders to turn over documents; filing late settlement offers, which the victims’ families have rejected; and even citing a bogus medical problem as a reason for failing to show up in court.

In September, Jones was found liable for defamation by a Travis County judge in lawsuits filed by two families of Sandy Hook victims. One month later, Jones lost again in a separate suit filed in Connecticut by eight other families of Sandy Hook victims.

However, Jones’ legal troubles don’t end there. He is also being investigated by the Justice Department for his role in the January 6 insurrection, an inquiry Jones contended could damage him more than the Sandy Hook defamation lawsuits.

Jones has rolled over for the Justice Department, desperate to share all he knows about the January 6 insurrection in exchange for prosecutorial immunity.

On April 18, one week before juries were to make their decision on damages in the Sandy Hook defamation lawsuits, three companies affiliated with Jones, including Infowars, filed for bankruptcy.

The Justice Department’s bankruptcy monitor quickly objected because Jones, who generates and controls Infowars’ income, didn’t file for bankruptcy himself. The bankruptcy filing was for three Infowars offshoots that had no assets, employees, or income.

A restructuring office for Infowars, Mark Schwartz, justified the move by saying Jones would ruin “his good name” and harm his “ability to sell merchandise” if he filed for bankruptcy himself, the Times reported.

Jones wanted the bankruptcy court to approve a $10 million settlement fund for the victims’ families suing him. The families, all of whom want to see Jones in court, filed a motion to dismiss his bankruptcy motion.

A judge has scheduled a status conference on Jones’s bankruptcy motion for Friday.

Capitol Rioter Who Brought Gun On January 6 Said He Was Hunting Pelosi

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham and others on the far-right have been accusing Democrats of exaggerating the violence that occurred when Donald Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6. And they have dismissed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's January 6 select committee as overblown political theater. But according to Politico, 56-year-old Indiana resident Mark Mazza — one of the defendants charged with bringing a gun to the Capitol that day — has implied to investigators that he would have committed violence against Pelosi had he been able to get to her.

Politico's Kyle Cheney reports, "An Indiana man charged with carrying a loaded firearm to the Capitol on January 6 told investigators that if he had found Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 'you'd be here for another reason,' according to court documents posted over the weekend. Mark Mazza, 56, is the latest of about half a dozen January 6 defendants charged with bringing a gun to the Capitol. In this case, Mazza allegedly carried a Taurus revolver known as 'The Judge,' which is capable of firing shotgun shells — two of which were in the chamber, along with three hollow-point bullets. A Capitol Police sergeant obtained the weapon after allegedly fending off an assault from Mazza."

On March 29, according to Cheney, two investigators from the Capitol Police went to Mazza's home in Shelbyville, Indiana, where he told them, "I thought Nan and I would hit it off. I was glad I didn't because you'd be here for another reason. And I told my kids that if they show up, I'm surrendering. Nope, they can have me, because I may go down a hero."

Former President Trump has tried to paint the Capitol rioters as largely nonviolent, but Cheney points out that in fact, a variety of things were used as weapons on January 6.

"The mounting evidence has undercut claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies that the mob attacking the Capitol was unarmed," Cheney notes. "In addition to the growing number of firearms authorities suspect were carried onto Capitol grounds, rioters brought knives, axes, batons, tasers, bats, poles and even a crutch and hockey stick. Others stole police shields and used metal barricades and furniture as makeshift weapons. But Mazza's case is the most clear-cut yet of a loaded firearm on Capitol grounds that day."

Cheney continues, "Prosecutors obtained the gun from the alleged assailant himself and used its serial number to trace it back to him. They located Mazza after learning that on January 8, Mazza himself reported the gun stolen to local authorities. He told the Shelbyville police that it was taken from his car on January 5 while he was driving through Ohio. Mazza's report was entered into a national database, which Capitol Police accessed as they attempted to find the gun's owner."

'You Were Gullible': Senior Judge Torches Trump Election Lies At Rioter's Hearing

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Although former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Al Gore both lost presidential elections, there are some crucial differences between their responses to their losses. Gore, in 2000, eventually conceded defeat to then Texas-Gov. George W. Bush and congratulated him on his victory; Trump, however, still doesn't admit that now-President Joe Biden defeated him in 2020. And Senior District Judge Reggie Walton noted, in blunt terms, that Gore/Trump contrast when Capitol rioter Adam Johnson appeared in his courtroom this week for a plea hearing.

Johnson, one of the many Trump supporters who invaded the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 in the hope of stopping Congress from certifying Biden's Electoral College victory, bought into Trump's false, debunked claims of widespread voter fraud.

Walton told Johnson, "Al Gore had a better case to argue than Mr. Trump, but he was a man about what happened to him. He accepted it and walked away."

Following the 2000 presidential election, Gore questioned the election results in Florida. Gore went weeks without conceding, but some prominent Democrats urged him to concede for the good of the country — including former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, who had become chairman of the Democratic National Committee and later became a two-term governor of Pennsylvania. Gore eventually took Rendell's advice, congratulated the president-elect and conceded to Bush, who was sworn in as president on January 20, 2001.

Republican Dick Cheney was sworn in as vice president that day, and his arch-conservative daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, has become a scathing Trump critic on the right. Cheney is part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's select committee on the January 6 insurrection.

When various Democrats, in 2001 and 2002, asked Gore if he believed that he really won Florida, the former vice president would emphatically state: George W. Bush is president of the United States, I lost the election. End of discussion. And Walton, a Bush appointee, made it clear to Johnson that he has a lot more respect for Gore than he does for Trump. Walton essentially called Trump a sore loser and called Johnson a sucker for believing him.

The judge told Johnson, "What concerns me, sir, is that you were gullible enough to come to Washington, D.C. from Florida based on a lie, and the person who inspired you to do what you do is still making those statements, and my concern is that you are gullible enough to do it again."Another key difference between Gore and Trump: Gore won the popular vote in 2000 even though he lost the electoral vote, whereas Trump lost both.

Johnson was in Walton's courtroom to plead guilty to a charge of being on restricted grounds illegally, which is a lesser charge than what he was originally looking at. According to CNN reporters Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand, "Johnson was originally charged with three federal crimes, including theft of government property, but those charges will be dropped as part of his plea deal. He could face a sentence of up to six months in prison, according to his agreement with prosecutors read at his plea hearing on Monday. He will also pay $500 in restitution for damage done to the Capitol during the riot."

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Oath Keepers Conspiracy Trial Delayed By Massive Stack Of Evidence

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The federal judge overseeing the Oath Keepers conspiracy case in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection ordered their trial delayed this week, primarily because of the overwhelming amount of evidence still being produced in their cases. Though the delay was expected, its reasons are stark reminders that January 6 will be one of the most complex prosecutions in history and that the investigation remains very active as more evidence piles up. There are likely some very big shoes still to drop.

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FBI Releases New Video Showing Extreme Violence At January 6 Insurrection

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Nine months after one of the most violent days in the history of our country, investigations are still ongoing as more than 670 people have been charged with involvement in the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence depicting the violence of the day, some officials are continuing to play dumb and ignore the brutality that occurred.
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Capitol Police Officer Arrested For Aiding January 6 Rioter

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On Friday, U.S. Capitol Police officer Michael A. Riley was arrested and indicted on obstruction of justice charges connected to the January 6 insurrection. The Associated Press reports that the 50-year-old Riley is accused of "tipping off someone who participated in the riot by telling them to remove posts from Facebook that had showed the person inside the Capitol."

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Proud Boys Defendant Blasts Trump: ‘You Left Us On The Battlefield Bloody And Alone’

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Pat yourself on the back if you sized Donald Trump up in two minutes, like a normal person. You could have instead been Ethan Nordean, who wasted years of his life and squandered his precious freedom for a guy who'd likely feed him to alligators—or a marginally more reptilian creature such as Roger Stone—if he ever showed up at one of his golf courses.

Nordean is a "sergeant-at-arms" (FYI: All of these military titles are pretend) of the Proud Boys Seattle chapter, and he's had it with his supreme golden clod. Nordean has been charged with conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, and aiding and abetting in connection with his alleged assault on the Capitol on January 6, and he's none too happy with his Amazing Disappearing Messiah.

Take a look, and try not to laugh too hard:

For the non-tweeters:

"Alright I'm gonna say it. FUCK TRUMP! Fuck him more than Biden. I've followed this guy for 4 years and given everything and lost it all. Yes he woke us up, but he led us to believe some great justice was upon us...and it never happened, now I've got some of my good friends and myself facing jail time cuz we followed this guys [sic] lead and never questioned it. We are now and always have been on our own. So glad he was able to pardon a bunch of degenerates as his last move and shit on us on the way out. Fuck you trump you left us on [t]he battle field bloody and alone."

Ouch.

But wait! I thought Trump was going to join the insurrectionists at the Capitol building on January. 6. That's what he said, anyway. And as every true Proud Boy knows, Donald Trump is always true to his word.

Of course, as Nordean suggests, Trump could have pardoned Nordean and his confederates, and he probably would have if there had been anything in it for him—like if Nordean had a relative who worked at KFC and could slip him a few bonus pieces of Extra Crispy in his buckets. But, alas. This is just some fool who sacrificed everything important in his life for what he saw as a righteous cause. Trump hates suckers like that.

From USA Today:

Prosecutors say Nordean, along with other Proud Boys members, planned to push through police barricades and force themselves inside the building that day.
[...]
In a court filing Thursday, prosecutors detailed communications sent through the instant messaging app Telegram that they say show additional evidence that Nordean and other Proud Boys members conspired to breach the Capitol. Prosecutors included the anti-Trump diatribe in which Nordean seemed to acknowledge he and others are facing criminal charges because they followed Trump's lead.

OK, get this through your cartilaginous skulls, Trumpers: Donald Trump doesn't care about you. He never did. Do you still check your bank account every 30 minutes to see if the Nigerian prince has deposited your money? It's over, y'all. You've been scammed, and that's all there is to it.

This does give me some hope, though. Trump lost the 2020 election by seven million votes, and it doesn't look like he's picked up a single voter since then. On the other hand, people like Nordean are slowly waking up.

Let's hope they're all out of their comas by the 2022 midterms, at least.