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Category Archives: Fifth Amendment

Lorraine Reich: It’s more than corporate money in elections – The Union of Grass Valley

Posted: June 4, 2021 at 3:24 pm

Here we go again. The corporate influence on elections and public policies is again in the news.

The 2021 version centers on major corporations speaking out against proposed and passed voter-suppression laws in Georgia and elsewhere.

When some corporations suspended contributions to Republican politicians who voted against certifying Bidens election, the GOP expressed outrage that corporations dared to take political positions against them.

The GOP simultaneously bemoaned the prospect that the tsunami of corporate campaign contributions might be cut off or reduced. Just shut up and donate, was the message from Mitch McConnell.

My warning to corporate America is to stay out of politics, but Im not talking about political contributions, he stated in response to Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and other national and transnational corporations that criticized new voter-suppression laws across the country. This is a brand new same old story.

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Remember the Supreme Courts 2010 Citizens United decision, which entrenched the notion that money is First Amendment protected free speech? This ruling allowed individuals and corporations to legally spend vast amounts of money in elections, much of it on attack ads targeting candidates on issues the funders oppose.

This decision incensed the public, which feared that the megaphone of mega money would drown out the voices of the vast majority of individuals who dont make big donations.

Here we are again. The public is justly critical of the massive hypocrisy displayed by Mitch and his GOP cohorts who welcome the cascade of corporate and CEO cash, while simultaneously expressing indignation when their corporate donors express political free speech opinions the GOP does not like.

Recall that the GOP did not attack corporate so-called free speech rights when corporations released press statements supporting the 2017 tax cut legislation for corporations and the wealthy.

As with Citizens United, the hypocritical application of the court invented so-called corporate free speech rights invites us to expose and abolish the totality and illegitimacy of anti-democratic corporate constitutional rights.

But even if corporate political free speech rights is abolished, corporate entities will still possess other century-old Supreme Court-invented anti-democratic constitutional rights that shield them from public accountability, and gives them undue political power and ensures that corporate profits preempt the rights of individuals, communities and even the natural world.

Among these never-intended corporate constitutional rights:

First Amendment right not to speak used to overturn state laws requiring the labeling of a dangerous ingredient on food products and chemicals determined to cause cancer.

Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights used to prevent surprise inspections of corporate property, even routine inspections, removing the ability of inspectors to detect dangerous conditions (food contamination, dangerous working conditions) before they are temporarily removed or covered up.

Fifth Amendment takings rights used to overturn public regulations that protect private property from corporate actions. Fossil fuel corporations would undoubtedly challenge laws to keep fossil fuels in the ground to prevent impending climate collapse as a taking of corporate property without just compensation.

Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights used to overturn laws providing protection to local businesses (and local economies) over chain stores, and due process rights used to overturn over 200 state and federal economic regulations.

The corporate hijacking of these constitutional amendments provide business corporations overwhelming unaccountable power to overturn democratically enacted laws at every level of government.

The solution is the We the People Amendment (HJR 48), recently introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., with 56 House co-sponsors. The constitutional amendment would abolish both the money equals speech and corporate constitutional rights doctrines.

Its a response to the fundamental truth that solutions must be equivalent in scale to problems, which in this case are the massive corrupting influences of money in elections from the super rich and corporate control over so many aspects of our lives, as well as plundering of the natural world.

Corporations shouldnt be allowed to meddle in elections. Its up to human persons to fundamentally define what our legal creations can and cannot do. Enactment of the We the People Amendment is a necessary and urgent step toward authentic democracy for all people. Support HJR 48 by calling your congressman and senator today!

Lorraine Reich is a member of Move to Amend, Nevada County.

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Lorraine Reich: It's more than corporate money in elections - The Union of Grass Valley

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Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli Gets a Slap on the Wrist for Using Contraband Phone to Discuss Pharma Business Behind Bars – Law & Crime

Posted: at 3:24 pm

Ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli speaks to the press in front of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York with members of his legal team after the jury issued a verdict on Aug. 4, 2017.

Not even a seven-year sentence for securities fraud can keep Martin Shkreli from allegedly engaging in the machinations that earned him the nickname Pharma Bro.

In a ruling on Tuesday, a federal judge found that Shkreli used a contraband phone to communicate with his associates in the company behind Daraprim, the live-saving drug whose price he jacked up 40-fold roughly half a decade ago.

After the drug went from $13.50 per tablet to $500 overnight, Shkreli was criminally prosecuted for an unrelated Ponzi-like scheme involving investors in another drug company, Retrophin.

After a federal jury convicted him of securities fraud charges, state and federal regulators piled on civil antitrust charges revived from the old Daraprim scandal. Those accusations could lead to Shkrelis lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry.

En route to trial, the Federal Trade Commission and multiple attorneys general asked U.S. District Judge Denise Cote to sanction Shkreli for destroying evidence. They asked the judge to effectively decide the cases major issues in their favor before a trial, seeking judicial findings that Shkreli was continuously involved in Vyera and Phoenixuss business from 2015 to present, communicated with Vyera executives about company business from prison, and engaged in the challenged conduct to restrain generic entry into the Daraprim market.

Refusing to go quite so far, Judge Cote made clear that she agreed with at least some of the regulators allegations about Shkrelis handling of the evidence.

The plaintiffs have shown that Shkreli has used a prison phone to discuss highly relevant company business and that he knew in doing so that those communications should have been but would not be preserved, the 11-page ruling states. Shkrelis use of the prison phone to discuss business development constitutes intentional spoliation and warrants sanctions.

The business communications at issue have to do with the company Vyera, the rebranded name of the company behind Shkrelis price hike of Daraprim, Turing Pharmaceuticals. Phoenixus is the parent company of Vyera. Shkreli founded the company.

Vyera executive Akeel Mithani testified that he communicated with Shkreli about business development from the end of 2018 through February 2019, while Shkreli was incarcerated inside a low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.

Some of those communications took place over the encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp, Mithani testified.

Kevin Mulleady, an owner and former director of Vyera, produced two text messages that he received from a still-incarcerated Shkreli in October 2017, some two months after the reputed Pharma Bros conviction.

When asked during a deposition earlier this year whether he had a cell phone in prison, Shkreli invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to the ruling.

The plaintiffs have been prejudiced by Shkrelis conduct because they do not have access to messages about Vyera that Shkreli sent and received while in prison, Judge Cote found, opting for the lighter sanctions Shkreli proposed rather than what regulators requested.

In an exercise of discretion, however, this Court declines to impose the plaintiffs proposed sanctions, her ruling states. As a result, Shkrelis proposed sanction that he be precluded from introducing any argument or evidence contrary to the presumption that he communicated with Mr. Mulleady and Mr. Mithani about company business from prison is adopted.

Cote declined to find that Vyera fell short in failing to preserve Shkrelis messages by wiping his company-issued iPhone during a factory reset between 2016 and 2017, after regulators placed a preservation notice.

Although it is undisputed that the Shkreli phone was subject to a factory reset in or around 2016-2017, Vyera has represented that it automatically backs up employee messages to iCloud, Judge Cote found. No party has suggested that that back up would not include text messages Shkreli sent and received using the Shkreli Phone. Counsel for Vyera will be required to confirm that an appropriate search has been conducted for these messages and that any relevant communications have been produced.

Cote directed Vyera to file a letter stating whether it searched the companys iCloud backup to or from the Shkreli phone.

Shkrelis lawyer did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

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(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli Gets a Slap on the Wrist for Using Contraband Phone to Discuss Pharma Business Behind Bars - Law & Crime

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Imprisoned Felon Martin Shkreli Busted For Using Contraband Phone To Discuss Pharma Business With Associates Following Daraprim Scandal – Radar Online

Posted: at 3:24 pm

Imprisoned felon Martin Shkreli nicknamed "Pharma Bro" was busted for using a contraband phone to discuss pharmaceutical industry business matters with associates from behind bars.

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U.S. District JudgeDenise Cote made the ruling on Tuesday, saying the 38-year-old widely disdained ex-pharmaceutical executive used the contraband phone to communicate with former Vyera Pharmaceuticals colleagues.

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Shkreli founded Phoenixus, the parent company of Vyera, which is the rebranded name of Turing Pharmaceuticals. It's the company behind the overnight price hike of the life-saving antiparasitic medication, Daraprim, whose cost Shkreli jacked up from $13.50 per tablet to over $500 per tablet in 2015.

"The plaintiffs have shown that Shkreli has used a prison phone to discuss highly relevant company business and that he knew in doing so that those communications should have been but would not be preserved," Cote's 11-page ruling states. "Shkreli's use of the prison phone to discuss business development constitutes intentional spoliation and warrants sanctions."

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Two Vyera executives testified that they were in communication with Shkreli from 2017 to 2019 while the reputed Pharma Bro was incarcerated at a low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.

Akeel Mithanisaid he communicated with Shkreli about business development from the end of 2018 through February 2019, sometimes using the encrypted messaging platform, WhatsApp, while Kevin Mulleady provided two text messages he received from Shkreli in October 2017.

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When asked during a deposition earlier this year whether he had a contraband phone in his procession or had access to one in prison, Shkreli invoked his Fifth Amendment right.

"The plaintiffs have been prejudiced by Shkreli's conduct because they do not have access to messages about Vyera that Shkreli sent and received while in prison," Cote said. "In an exercise of discretion, however, this Court declines to impose the plaintiffs' proposed sanctions. As a result, Shkreli's proposed sanction that he be precluded from introducing any argument or evidence contrary to the presumption that he communicated with Mr. Mulleady and Mr. Mithani about company business from prison is adopted."

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Cote did not find that Vyera as a company fell short in failing to preserve Shkreli's messages by wiping his company-issued iPhone during a factory reset, even after regulators implemented a preservation notice; however, she did order Vyera to file a letter stating whether it searched for the messages in the company's iCloud backup.

"Although it is undisputed that the Shkreli phone was subject to a factory reset in or around 2016-2017, Vyera has represented that it automatically backs up employee messages to iCloud," she said. "No party has suggested that that back up would not include text messages Shkreli sent and received using the Shkreli Phone. Counsel for Vyera will be required to confirm that an appropriate search has been conducted for these messages and that any relevant communications have been produced."

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After a federal jury convicted Shkreli in 2017 of securities fraud for an unrelated "Ponzi-like scheme" involving investors in another drug company, Retrophin, he was slapped with additional civil antitrust charges in connection to the Daraprim scandal.

Those accusations, says Law & Crime, could lead to Shkreli'slifetime banfrom the pharmaceutical industry.

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Imprisoned Felon Martin Shkreli Busted For Using Contraband Phone To Discuss Pharma Business With Associates Following Daraprim Scandal - Radar Online

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The FBI Took Their Safe Deposit Box and Everything Inside It. Two Months Later, They’re Still Waiting for It To Be Returned. – Reason

Posted: at 3:24 pm

Inside the safe deposit box they rented at U.S. Private Vaults in Beverly Hills, California, Jennifer and Paul Snitko kept the sort of things that any law-abiding American might want to store securely: a will, backup copies of their home computer's hard drive, and some family heirlooms including jewelry, a fancy watch, and a class ring.

The Snitkos are not criminals. They've not been charged with any crimes. During his career as an aerospace engineer, Paul even held several security clearances.

But since March 22, they've been treated like criminals. The Snitkos' valuables have been in the possession of federal prosecutors following an FBI raid that resulted in hundreds of safe deposit boxes being seizeddespite the fact that the warrant authorizing the raid, as Reason previously reported, explicitly forbade federal agents from conducting "a criminal search or seizure of the contents of the safe-deposit boxes."

But the FBI did not merely seize the safe deposit boxes housed at U.S. Private Vaults. Federal agents then proceeded to search each box, even brazenly tearing open sealed envelopes and rummaging through the belongings found inside. More than two months after the raid at U.S. Private Vaults, the Snitkos and other innocent people who had their stuff taken have no idea when their valuables might be returned.

"When you've done nothing wrong, you shouldn't be subjected to an investigation," says Paul Snitko. "That the federal government broke open our safety deposit box was shocking and that we have no idea when we will get our property back is infuriating."

On Friday, just hours after the Snitkos filed a lawsuitwith help from the Institute for Justice (IJ), a libertarian law firmchallenging what they say was the FBI's unlawful seizure of their safe deposit box, they finally got some good news. Sort of. According to IJ, the couple received a phone call from the FBI informing them that they would have their property returned in "about two to three weeks from now."

As of Friday afternoon, two other clients represented in the same lawsuit have not received similar phone calls.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, joins several other legal actions already launched on behalf of anonymous individuals whose property was similarly caught up in the FBI raid of U.S. Private Vaults. Federal prosecutors have charged U.S. Private Vaults with several crimes including conspiracy to commit money laundering and, earlier this week, filed forfeiture motions against roughly 400 of the nearly 1,000 safe deposit boxes seized in the raid.

As Reason previously reported, the unsealed warrant authorizing the raid of U.S. Private Vaults granted the FBI permission to seize the business's computers, money counters, security cameras, and "nests" of safe deposit boxesthe large steel frames that effectively act as bookshelves for the boxes themselves. However, FBI procedure required federal agents to take the safe deposit boxes into custody as well.

What happened after that is what's truly enraging about the situation. Federal agents were supposed to identify the boxes' owners so property taken in the raid could be returned. In many cases, that was as easy as checking the documents that were taped to the tops of the boxesbut, instead, legal filings show that investigators brazenly rifled through the boxes.

Like other victims of the raid, the Snitkos also had identifying information attached to the lid of their safe deposit box. Opening the box, their lawsuit argues, is a clear violation of their Fourth Amendment rights, while the FBI's continued retention of their property represents both Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment violations.

"The government's dragnet search of innocent peoples' private security boxes is the most outrageous Fourth Amendment abuse that the Institute for Justice has ever seen," says Robert Frommer, a senior attorney with IJ. "It is like the government breaking into every apartment in a building because the landlord was dealing drugs in the lobby."

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Citing privacy concerns, Huntsville wont explain why convicted officer is still employed – AL.com

Posted: at 3:24 pm

The city of Huntsville isnt explaining why it hasnt rescheduled a disciplinary hearing for the police officer convicted of murder more than three weeks ago.

To somebody who is familiar with the citys process its really astounding, said Eric Artrip, a Huntsville attorney who has more than a decade of experience representing city employees in disciplinary hearings.

Ive never seen a city employee afforded the opportunity to remain on the payroll and ride it out using their accrued leave, he said. That just hasnt happened in my experience.

Will Culver, who was a Huntsville city councilman for 12 years, said the city could have avoided this predicament if it had either fired Darby or put him on leave without pay after he was indicted. If Darby was acquitted at trial, Culver said, the city could have reinstated him and given him back pay.

If it had been an officer that the chief of police wanted to terminate who had been in a situation like that or who was not in good graces with the mayor, said Culver, that never would have happened like that.

He would have been terminated before he was indicted, if you want to know the truth, he said, because they wouldnt want to have that on the citys roll as one of their own indicted. They went above and beyond to protect this officer.

In a statement released almost two weeks after Officer William Ben Darbys conviction, the city said it had scheduled and then later indefinitely postponed a disciplinary hearing to consider whether to fire Darby.

The city said it canceled the hearing because Darby availed himself to certain rights under federal law and changed his status from leave with pay to accrued pay.

As a result, his formal hearing has been postponed and will be promptly rescheduled to a later date following a change in his leave status, the city said in the statement.

City Attorney Trey Riley in an interview with AL.com last week declined to cite which laws the city took into account when it indefinitely postponed Darbys disciplinary hearing. Riley said that identifying which laws are involved could be a violation of Darbys privacy.

Under federal law, attorneys told AL.com, Darby could be entitled to postponement of his hearing if he is on medical or sick leave.

Riley declined to comment further on Darbys leave status, but said Darby is not on vacation.

We are treating Mr. Darby the same as we would a similarly situated city employee, Riley told AL.com.

But some attorneys and employment law experts question whether Darby is getting preferential treatment from city officials who have defended him since he shot and killed Jeff Parker three years ago.

Its just a very curious result, given the facts of this particular case, said Artrip. Far less serious infractions have resulted in termination within days, without a look at accrued leave.

Attorneys representing Darby in his employment case declined to comment and referred all questions to the city attorneys office.

The city has faced criticism including from two former federal prosecutors for keeping Darby employed after his conviction.

This situation in Huntsville, Alabama, where an officer convicted of the murder of a suicidal man who called for help, is still employed by the PD is badly wrong, Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama wrote on Twitter. It will take a public spotlight to fix it, apparently a conviction wasnt enough.

Jay Town, Vances successor, also weighed in on Twitter.

Riley told AL.com the city did not pursue a disciplinary hearing after Darby was indicted because calling him to testify in the hearing would have violated his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent about the pending murder charge.

Peter Joffrion was the city attorney in Huntsville for 30 years until he retired in 2015. He explained how the disciplinary hearing process works.

At a disciplinary hearing, both the city and the employee can present arguments and witnesses to a hearing officer. Joffrion said the city has a roster of local attorneys who agree to serve as hearing officers.

The hearing officer decides the facts and sends a report to the employees department head. The department head in Darbys case thats police Chief Mark McMurray decides whether punishment is appropriate and what the punishment should be.

If the employee is fired, the city would have to pay them for their accrued benefits, like vacation days.

In Darbys disciplinary hearing, the city will have to show evidence proving he was convicted of a felony murder and stripped of his law enforcement certification.

The city hasnt yet rescheduled a disciplinary hearing.

Darby was found guilty of murder on May 7. Another officer testified against Darby, saying that she was trying to de-escalate the situation with Parker, a man who wanted to kill himself, before Darby showed up and killed him.

Mayor Tommy Battle and Chief McMurray have continued to support Darby, saying they disagreed with the jurys decision.

Meanwhile, Darby awaits sentencing for his murder conviction on Aug. 20 in Madison County Circuit Judge Donna Pates courtroom.

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What the House should quickly do if the January 6 commission fails in the Senate – WTVA

Posted: May 27, 2021 at 8:02 am

With Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing his opposition to the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, prospects for Senate passage of the recent House bill creating such a commission appear slim.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should follow through on her willingness to create a select committee in the House to conduct a full and professional investigation of the January 6 insurrection instead. And she should do so quickly.

The model for this panel should be the select committee that investigated the Iran-Contra affair.

In January 1987, the House decided to launch an investigation into the most significant presidential scandal since Watergate. Given the magnitude of the investigation and the importance of bringing it to a quick conclusion, the House select committee was given legal powers beyond the usual norms of congressional oversight.

The chair of the select committee had full authority to issue subpoenas, compelling the production of documents and witnesses with the force of law. The committee also took the unusual step of conducting some 250 depositions -- sworn testimony under oath -- by its staff attorneys. Since the staff was comprised largely of former prosecutors, the witness testimony was analogous to a grand jury inquiry.

During the course of depositions, some witnesses asserted their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The committee, therefore, had the power to seek compulsion of testimony over Fifth Amendment objections by obtaining a court order immunizing a witness against the use of compelled testimony.

Only after having completed its investigative phase did the select committee hold 40 days of public hearings, with 29 witnesses testifying over the course of three months.

I served on the committee as counsel from its inception to its close. Our chair was Congressman Lee Hamilton, a Democrat, who insisted on the highest standards, and specifically that counsel conduct full and professional questioning of all witnesses before members of Congress had more limited turns. If the House decides to create a select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol, it should follow his precedent.

Chairman Hamilton also worked diligently to cooperate with the minority Republicans on the select committee, but given the intractable Republican opposition now, Speaker Pelosi should endeavor to only accept the appointment of Republican members, such as Rep. Liz Cheney, committed to a professional investigation.

Republican Sen. Howard Baker, who later served as Ronald Reagan's chief of staff, posed the famous question that animated the Watergate hearings in the Senate: "What did the President know and when did he know it?" Chairman Hamilton told me that we could not perform our duty to the country unless we answered the same question in our investigation of the Iran-Contra scandal.

When it comes to the January 6 insurrection, this Congress must have the same courage and fidelity to the Constitution to ask, what did then-President Donald Trump know and when did he know it?

It took three hours and 19 minutes between the time Capitol Police requested military assistance and the time when the military was finally ordered to respond, according to the testimony of DC National Guard Commanding Maj. Gen. William Walker.

Did former President Trump have any responsibility for the delay? Did he have any advance knowledge of the insurrectionists' plans? Was there any coordination with the rioters beyond the President's public words?

When faced with possible collusion by President Trump, now is not the time for business as usual on Capitol Hill.

A select House committee needs to conduct a thorough and proactive investigation adopting the model of the Iran-Contra select committee. Appoint a staff of experienced former federal prosecutors. Subpoena and depose witnesses under legal compulsion and under oath before even beginning public hearings. Immunize witnesses where necessary but freely and widely.

A well-documented and substantive record of professional fact-finding will help counter any claims of partisanship.

Traditional norms of oversight alone are not enough. Our democracy literally hangs in the balance.

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Trial starts for two men charged in the murder of 8-year-old King William child – 8News

Posted: at 8:02 am

KING WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) A six-day trial for the two men accused of murdering an 8-year-old boy during an attempted robbery in King William County is underway in Circuit Court. Its been more than two years since the crime was committed and Orlando Anderson Jr.s parents are hoping to finally get justice and accountability.

Day two of the trial started at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. 8News witnessed Alexis Mines and Orlando Anderson Sr., who are now grieving parents, walking into the King William County Courthouse wanting one thing.

Justice, Anderson told 8News outside the courthouse.

Justice for their son, Orlando affectionately known as Scrappy, who was killed in his sleep on January 21, 2019. Shortly before midnight, an intruder kicked in the familys door on Robin Lane and opened fire. A bullet struck the 8-year-old in the head. He died from his injuries at the hospital; Mines telling 8News she donated his organs.

Back in 2019, just two days after the incident, Orlandos parents sat down with 8News Reporter Talya Cunningham in a heart-wrenching interview.

Yall robbed me, sobbed Anderson. Somebody took my son from me.

Anderson and his mother, Linda Anderson, were in the house, the night of the incident and continue to relive the trauma. Anderson told 8news he was woken up to gunfire and tried to save his son.

I suffer from PTSD, so it really hasnt been good, Anderson said on Tuesday. Ive been having a lot of nightmares.

After a year of no answers, a crack in the case. Virginia State Police arrested 32-year-old Charles Coleman and 35-year-old Keith Hargrove.

Coleman is charged with first degree murder, attempted robbery with a firearm, armed burglary of a residence, conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit robbery, and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Hargrove faces two additional charges: discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

A possible motive coming out during Mondays opening statements. Family members at the courthouse told 8News that the Commonwealths Attorney is claiming the two men broke into Andersons home, attempting to steal lottery winnings that Anderson posted about online.

On Tuesday, a Special Agent with the Richmond Police Department testified about what led authorities to zero-in on Hargrove as a suspect. Fourteen jury members watched body camera video, worn by the special agent, during an unrelated arrest. It was stated in court that Hargrove was wanted for drug possession.

As officers came into contact with Hargrove on Jan. 30, 2019, a firearm was located in his jacket pocket. That firearm was traced back to the crime, according to family members.

A ballistic report is expected to be presented on Wednesday in court. Also during a body search oxycodone pills, marijuana, heroin, a wad of cash, and two cell phones were found on Hargrove.

The prosecution pushed technology as major factor in the case bringing in several agents from VSPs High-Tech Crimes Unit to testify. Several cell phones, including Hargroves, were analyzed and email accounts seized.

Sources tell 8News on Wednesday, the prosecution is expected to tell the jury what they discovered on the phones and how it will likely incriminate the two men.

Im just a little anxious and Im just trying to see how this is going to play out, Anderson told 8News.

Tuesdays proceedings wrapped up early after a witness Donell Downey refused to testify, citing his fifth amendment rights. Downey stated loudly into the microphone when asked any questions by the Commonwealths Attorney I plead my fifth amendment rights, I changed my mind, I dont want the plea, Ill go back to jail, and Im following my constitutional rights.

According to online court records, Downey is charged in King William Circuit Court with charges similar to Hargrove and Coleman including first-degree murder, armed burglary, etc. Sources tell 8News Downey was charged later in the crime, but offered a plea deal to testify against the two suspects, however he rescinded the deal while on the stand.

On Tuesday, both Hargrove and Coleman did not speak and sat next their attorneys.

A verdict should be reached on Friday.

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How to Remember the Difference Between Invoke and Evoke – Lifehacker

Posted: at 8:02 am

Photo: hafizi (Shutterstock)

If youve ever wondered if you should invoke something or evoke it, youre not alone. Not only do the words sound similar, but the difference in their meanings is subtle, and theyre also not likely to be words we use often. Thats when its time to invoke the knowledge of the grammar gods.

The first reason these two words can be tricky to distinguish between is that they both derive from the same Latin root word (vocare or vox, which means to call or voice). They can both mean to conjure or to cite, but there are some nuances to what you might invoke versus what you might evoke.

Although invoke and evoke are both used to call things, invoke has more of a call upon connotation, particularly as it relates to an authority, aid, or assistance of some kind. (Thats why we invoked the knowledge of the grammar gods, who are working through me to help clear up any confusion.)

You might invoke your fifth amendment right, or you might want to invoke a creative muse when youre feeling blocked.

Evoke more often means to call forth, which sort of sounds like the same thing but refers more to calling a memory, image, or emotion to your mind. To smell freshly made applesauce might evoke memories of holidays at Grandmas house, but a bad attitude is not likely to evoke sympathy from your partner.

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Actually remembering the difference when you need it is the struggle, but there are some tricks that might work for you. As Grammarly says:

The difference between the two could be summarized like this: Invoke is active and direct, and it can have a material effect; Evoke is passive and indirect, and it usually has an emotional or intellectual effect.

My takeaway here is that if you can remember that Evoke is often related to Emotions, you should be good to go in most cases.

Merriam-Webster also points out that lengthening the words can help clear up the difference when youre extra stuck:

There is little confusion with longer forms of each word, which may help you in differentiating between them. Examples of these include evocative, which means evoking or tending to evoke an especially emotional response, and invocation, which is frequently used in the sense of a summoning up or calling upon for authority or justification.

And finallybecause someone at Merriam-Webster must have been feeling extra spicy on this particular daythey also point out that if youre still confused, its no big deal. Thats just English being English, and heres a cute limerick they wrote to drive that point home:

You think that you mightve misspoke

With your recent use of invoke

We offer the thesis

That such catachresis

Our language is made to provoke

If nothing else, we all know what catachresis means now, which is something.

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How to Remember the Difference Between Invoke and Evoke - Lifehacker

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Notable investigations, trials and dates ahead 1 year after George Floyds death – NewsNation Now

Posted: at 8:02 am

MINNEAPOLIS (NewsNation Now) Americans on Tuesday marked the first anniversary of the death ofGeorgeFloyd, which catalyzed the largest U.S. protest movement in decades over police brutality against Black people.

Four police officers arrested the 46-year-old Black man after he was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a Minneapolis corner grocery store. Floyd died after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee of Floyds neck for more than 9 minutes while he washandcuffed and pleading that he couldnt breathe.

A jury convicted Chauvin on all charges related to Floyds death including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

However, the aftermath of Floyds murder is far from over. Ongoing investigations and trials, including one for the three other officers involved in Floyds death, are set for next year.

Here is a look at the investigations, trials and notable dates ahead:

Chauvin will be sentenced on June 25 at 1:30 p.m., by Peter Cahill, the Hennepin County judge who oversaw the trial, according to online court records.

Chauvin was found guilty on all charges in April: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Even though he was found guilty of three counts, under Minnesota statutes,hell only be sentenced on the most serious one second-degree murder.While that count carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, experts say he wont get that much. They say that for all practical purposes, the maximum he would face is 30 years, and he could get less.

Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are expected to be arraigned on civil rights violations on July 14 in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

The trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting in Floyds death was pushed back until May 2022.

Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao were previously scheduled to face trial Aug. 23.

Judge Peter Cahill said he changed the date so the federal case can go forward first. He also said he felt the need to put some distance between the three officers trial and Chauvins due to all the publicity around the case. Their trial is expected to be broadcast.

A federal grand jury indicted Chauvin, Lane, Keung and Thao in May, accusing them of violatingFloyds rights as he was restrained face-down on the pavement and gasping for air, according to unsealed indictments.

Specifically, Chauvin is charged with violating Floyds right to be free from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force by a police officer. Thao and Kueng are also charged with violating Floyds right to be free from unreasonable seizure, alleging they did not intervene to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyds neck. All four officers are charged for their failure to provide Floyd with medical care.

Conviction on a federal civil rights charge is punishable by up to life in prison or even the death penalty, but those stiff sentences are extremely rare and federal sentencing guidelines rely on complicated formulas that indicate the officers would get much less if convicted. A trial date has not been released but is expected after other trials.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced in April that the Justice Department launched a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis after the guilty verdict in Floyds death.

The probe will assess whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including during protests,Garlandsaid.

The investigation is known as a pattern or practice and will be a more sweeping probe of the entire department. It may result in major changes to policing there, an official told the Associated Press.

The examination will look at practices used by police and whether the department engages in discriminatory practices. It will examine the departments handling of misconduct allegations, among other things, according to APs source. Its unclear how far back that will go.

Chauvins defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, filed a motion asking for a new trial at the beginning of May. Nelsons motion argues a new trial is valid for 10 different reasons, including prosecutorial and jury misconduct, as well as denying a change of venue.

Chauvins legal team argues in the court documents filed that the jury should have been sequestered for the duration of the trial and told to avoid all media which resulted in jury exposure to prejudicial publicity regarding the trial during the proceedings.

They also argue that the court failing to orderMorries Hall, a friend of Floyds, to testify violated Chauvins rights under the Confrontation Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Hall used his Fifth Amendment rights to refuse self-incrimination from his testimony. Chauvins defense team had subpoenaed him to testify that Floyd took opioid pills before the arrest and appeared to fall into a deep sleep at some point.

It is unknown if the motion will be granted and how it will move forward at this time.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Notable investigations, trials and dates ahead 1 year after George Floyds death - NewsNation Now

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AG’s Move to Criminal Probe Is a Red Alert for the Trump Org – The Daily Beast

Posted: at 8:02 am

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is doing the right thing by joining forces and investigations with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. Until now, James had been heading up a civil investigation of the Trump Organization while Vance was conducting a criminal one. Now, it appears that the states civil investigators have found red badges indicating criminal fraud.

What is the difference, you ask?

First and foremost, a criminal case means that executives from the Trump Organization, including its namesake chief honcho, can go to jail if convicted of criminal violations, while civil penalties are monetary in nature. But theres also a technical, but important, difference here, about how investigators obtain their evidence while respecting the rights of the folks they are investigating.

When conducting a criminal investigation, the prosecutor and the agents must allow for the Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. This means the agents cannot compel Donald Trump or any Trump executives to testify against themselves. It also means that Trump and his children don't have to turn over tax returns or other potentially incriminating records voluntarily. Third-party records must be subpoenaed, and that provides for the possibility of intervening with lawsuits as happened in the Mazars accounting firm saga, when they took their fight against releasing Trumps taxes, which they had prepared, all the way to the Supreme Court.

Think about an IRS audit. When Uncle Sam demands to see receipts supporting the charitable contributions you claim to have made on your tax returns, you must comply and hand them over with no viable recourse.

But if a Special Agent from the IRS Criminal Investigation Division shows up at your door and wants to question you about potential fraud with regard to your tax returns, that agent must first read you your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

Its a really big difference!

Classic indicators of criminal fraud include the use of more than one set of books and records; the use of false invoices; the use of shell companies to conceal financial transactions and the altering of books and records and false statements by the subjects of the investigation.

The IRS almost never conducts a criminal investigation at the same time it is conducting a civil audit. The audit is frozen the minute the criminal investigation is initiated. This means that there can be no confusion for the subject of the investigation as to the nature of the investigation and the right to not self-incriminate.

Only after the criminal investigation is completed can the civil audit resume. Tax and penalties can be asserted then, and no legal confusion ensues.

One other point about the timing of James decision to convert a civil investigation into a criminal one: IRS auditors are trained that when conducting civil audits that they are to make criminal referrals once firm indications of fraud are unearthed. This means that evidence may have been obtained demonstrating that financial records were intentionally and/or willfully falsified or concealed in some fashion.

Classic indicators of criminal fraud have been held by the courts to be the use of more than one set of books and records; the use of false invoices; the use of shell companies to conceal financial transactions, and the altering of books and records and false statements by the subjects of the investigation.

Taxes and penalties can be asserted later on and there may well be an opportunity for the criminal investigation to result in seizure and forfeiture of Trump assets should the Trump Organization be indicted and convicted of criminal RICO and/or money laundering charges that include forfeiture counts.

By making the wise decision to convert her civil investigation into a criminal investigation, the AGs investigators can provide quality subject matter expertise to the DA that will maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of what is likely a complex case, and James has an opportunity to share in the spotlight of a potentially successful joint criminal investigation of one of New York's most notorious real estate tycoons.

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AG's Move to Criminal Probe Is a Red Alert for the Trump Org - The Daily Beast

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