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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Jazmine Ulloa, Austin American-Statesman

AUSTIN, Texas — Three men have each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to bribe a public official after they were charged last year for attempting to offer more than $1 million to Austin federal Judge Sam Sparks.

Undercover agents had fooled Francisco Colorado Jr. and Ramon Segura Flores into believing they were sealing a deal in exchange for lesser punishment for Francisco Colorado Cessa, one of nearly 20 defendants convicted of laundering millions through the U.S. horse industry for Los Zetas, one of the most violent organizations in Mexico, according to court records filed in the U.S. Western District of Texas.

In a federal court in Austin on Wednesday, all three men appeared in faded striped jail jumpsuits before Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin. They answered respectfully as they said they understood that by taking the plea agreements they would be waiving their right to trial, would be facing up to five years in prison and deportation.

The plea documents have been sealed.

Prosecutors declined comment after the proceedings. Defense lawyers said it would be inappropriate to comment at this time except to say that the family was happy to put the case behind them.

Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)