Two different attorneys who at one time represented a convicted Florida con man have been convicted in unrelated cases of helping him break the law.The latest is attorney Marlon Smikle, 29, who last week pleaded no contest to conspiring to smuggle a cellphone to inmate Donald Heflin Mitchell Jr. at the Seminole County jail, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Smikle had been representing Mitchell in an auto-theft case.Smikle, who had been scheduled to go to trial in his own case this week, was sentenced to two years of probation and agreed to a one-year suspension from practicing law, the newspaper article says. He had previously maintained his innocence but declined to comment at the time of his plea.Court records allege that the attorney bought an iPhone 6 earlier this year and spent seven minutes with Mitchell at the jail later the same day. Mitchell was subsequently found in his cell with an iPhone 6 that had the same serial number as the one Smikle purchased, authorities said.A week … [Read more...] about 2 lawyers who helped 1 client break the law are convicted in unrelated cases
Breaking the law
Following Vice President Joe Biden’s advice on self-defense could land you in jail, according to the National Rifle Association.Biden was making the point that assault weapons aren’t necessary for self-defense in a town hall chat on Facebook last week, U.S. News and the Washington Post report. Firing a shotgun from your balcony will ward off an intruder, Biden said.Here is his advice: “If you want to protect yourself, get a double barrel shotgun. Have the shells for a 12 gauge shotgun, and I promise you, as I told my wife—we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded—I said, Jill, if there’s ever problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you whoever’s coming in is not going. You don’t need an AR15. It’s harder to aim, it’s harder to use. And in fact, you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun. Buy … [Read more...] about Would following Joe Biden’s shotgun advice break the law?
A report this weekend says former Vice President Dick Cheney told the CIA to withhold information from Congress about a secret counterterrorism program, raising questions about whether such an order violates the law.Two unidentified sources told the New York Times that the new CIA director, Leon Panetta, has halted the program and has told congressional intelligence committees that they were not previously told of the program because of orders by Cheney.Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told FOX News Sunday that, if the report is true, the Bush administration may have broken the law, FOX News reports. The New York Times also covered the comments in a separate story.The amended National Security Act of 1947 says the president should keep the intelligence committees “fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity,” the Times says.But … [Read more...] about Did Cheney Break the Law by Hiding CIA Program from Congress?
In a series of tweets early Friday morning, President Donald Trump suggested he may have proof of what was said in his previous conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey.“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump wrote. The New York Times and the Washington Post covered Trump’s tweets.The tweets follow a report in the New York Times that Trump had asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to the president. According to the two anonymous sources cited in the story, Comey had replied that he could give Trump his “honesty.” When pressed further, Comey reportedly agreed to give Trump his “honest loyalty.”Trump also appeared to be unhappy with press reports about shifting White House explanations of Comey’s firing. Initial reports indicated Trump acted after receiving a memo outlining the case against Comey by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. On … [Read more...] about Did Trump break the law by firing Comey? He hints at ‘tapes’ in early morning tweets
A legal group called out White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Monday for apparently getting the law wrong. The Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit that describes itself as nonpartisan, said she insinuated Democrats broke the law by funding the research leading to a salacious dossier on Donald Trump. In fact, they said, it’s more likely that the Trump campaign violated a campaign finance statute.Sanders attacked Dems Monday, and compared it to Donald Trump Jr‘s infamous 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.“The big difference here is you have a meeting that took place versus millions of dollars being sent to create fake information to actually influence the election,” Sanders said. “If you compare those two, those are apples and oranges. What the Clinton campaign did, what the DNC did, was actually exchange money. They [Trump Jr. and others] took a meeting. Those are far different.”But Democrats didn’t break the … [Read more...] about Looks Like Sarah Sanders Got the Law Wrong When Talking Dems and Trump Dossier
Rick Scott signed a bill into a law on Wednesday to officially end the Sunshine State’s 148-year-old ban on unmarried couples living together.The anti-cohabitation statute was first passed in 1868 and included a punishment of up to 2-years in prison and a $300 fine if “any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together.” The punishment was amended over the years, most recently in 1971 to include up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine as a second-degree misdemeanor, but the law was never fully taken off the books.According to a local news report, data showed that between 2007 and 2011 approximately 700 couples were penalized in some form for living together while unmarried. However, according to census data from 2014, approximately 438,000 Floridians were living together as unmarried male-female couples, so the law was rarely enforced.The bill co-sponsors say it made little sense to keep the … [Read more...] about Approximately 438,000 Unmarried Florida Couples Are No Longer Breaking the Law
and his Project Veritas are following voters to polling sites in order to keep an eye out for potential voter fraud, according to a video O’Keefe tweeted Tuesday morning. In the video, he says he’s following a pastor’s bus that is taking people to vote, implying that they might be doing something wrong, without giving any evidence.There’s nothing wrong with providing transportation to voters, but the implication is that the same people are voting multiple times by going to different locations. This goes along with a heavily-edited video that Project Veritas released in October where a New York City Board of Elections commissioner railed against voter fraud, saying “They put them in a bus and go poll site to poll site.”Now, it remains to be seen whether O’Keefe will actually uncover any wrongdoing, but he better watch himself as closely as he watches others. University of California-IrvineLaw School professor Rick Hasen said … [Read more...] about Project Veritas Monitoring Voter Fraud, but They Might Be Breaking the Law Themselves
Donald Trump had a little outburst when Hillary Clinton accused him of not paying federal income taxes. Trump interjected, “That makes me smart.” Trump clarified his statement a bit, but what he pays, if anything, is not clear. As we reported earlier, even with hundreds of millions in revenue from Trump’s real estate empire, it is entirely possible and also would be perfectly legal for him to pay zero federal income taxes. However, there are understandably still a few questions on this topic.CNN’s Jake Tapper was discussing the subject with Trump surrogate Kayleigh McEnany this afternoon, but seemed to have a lot of trouble with some of Trump’s statements. Tapper said, “I’m not saying that he has ever violated the law.. I’m saying maybe he hasn’t paid his taxes completely in accordance with the law.” Tapper is not a lawyer, but he sure sounds like one. Being not “completely … [Read more...] about CNN’s Jake Tapper Insists He’s Not Accusing Trump of Breaking Tax Laws
Julian Castro, despite knowing he broke the law.On Monday, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued a report that found Castro violated the Hatch Act during a Yahoo News interview on April 4, 2016. According to the press release, “Secretary Castro’s statements during the interview impermissibly mixed his personal political views with official agency business despite his efforts to clarify that some answers were being given in his personal capacity.” Castro reportedly expressed his support for Hillary Clinton during the interview and said Donald Trump was unfit to be president. It has been widely reported that Castro is on the shortlist to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate.Federal employees are not allowed to make partisan remarks when using their official title or when speaking about agency business. Castro made his remarks in the HUD studio with the HUD seal visible behind him during the interview.In his reply to OSC report, Castro … [Read more...] about Clinton VP Contender Won’t Be Punished, Said He Didn’t ‘Intend’ To Break Federal Law