According to former prosecutors and attorneys who watched Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL ) appear on Fox News and then fire off a series of tweets following the leak that he is under investigation for sex trafficking, the Florida conservative may have critically damaged his defense if he is indicted and headed to trial.
In a report from USA Today, legal experts were stunned that Gaetz’s advisors allowed him to go on Tucker Carlson’s show and discuss the accusations — with Carlson calling the appearance “the weirdest interview I’ve ever conducted” — and then make other public pronouncements
“Denying allegations before charges are filed is rare in general, although more common for political figures as a way to counter accusations in the court of public opinion,” USA Today reports. “Gaetz went on a full-court press when the allegations arose Tuesday, providing print and television interviews to confirm the investigation and promote his extortion claim. His public appearances declined later in the week, but he continued to proclaim his innocence and draw attention to news stories about the probe on Twitter.”
Former federal prosecutor Patrick Cotter called Gaetz’s comments a “tremendous gift” for the investigating Justice Department.
“The reason good lawyers don’t let clients talk to people who are investigating them usually is because it is so dangerous,. Even if you are completely innocent of the actual allegation, you may make statements which either open you up to an allegation that you’re making false statements to obstruct justice or otherwise mislead the investigators,” Cotter explained, adding, “It’s very dangerous because it paints him into a particular story, which later facts may show he’s not telling the truth about or honestly mistaken. It’s a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea legally.”
Jimmy Gurulé, a University of Notre Dame law professor and former federal prosecutor concurred.
“If Gaetz is trying to somehow trying to sway public opinion in his favor, which appears to be the case here, I think it comes at a very high price,” Gurulé explained. “There is a substantial downside and incredible risk. I think it’s his ego that is driving his conduct at this point and it’s very dangerous.”
Crisis communication expert Richard Levick added, “The strategy would be: go away. He’s trying desperately to save his career when really what he might want to be saving is his liberty.”
You can read more here.
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New Details Revealed in Florida Republican’s Plot to Disrupt the 2020 Election
New details have been released in the investigation of former Florida State Sen Frank Artiles (R) over his involvement in running “scam” campaigns in an attempt to disrupt the 2020 election.
With his trial expected to begin August 30, prosecutors are firming up their case against the former GOP lawmaker in a political corruption case the Tampa Bay Times reports, “has roped in prominent players across Florida over the last several months, including a GOP-linked research firm in Gainesville, a top not-for-profit Miami hospital network and a veteran Republican operative who leads a Tallahassee-based political organization.”
According to the Miami Herald, new revelations show that Florida political operative Alex Alvarado — linked to Artiles — was funneling money to sham campaign officials in an effort to disrupt key 2020 state Senate elections.
The report notes that “documents released late Friday, provide new details into the breadth of the criminal investigation into Artiles and his longtime acquaintance, Alexis Pedro Rodriguez.”
“Prosecutors say Rodriguez was recruited by Artiles and paid some $44,000 to change his party affiliation from Republican to no party to qualify on the ballot and attempt to sway the outcome of the Miami-Dade Senate District 37 election. GOP candidate Illeana Garcia won the race by 32 votes. Rodriguez, who shared the same surname as the Democratic incumbent, received more than 6,000 votes,” the Herald reports. “Between June 15 and November 15, 2020, Artiles was under contract to work for veteran Republican political operative Pat Bainter for $15,000 a month, court documents show. Bainter paid Artiles $90,000 and reimbursed him for his travel, a courier service and $4,000 for ‘research,’ according to those documents.”
As part of the scam, one woman who was pregnant and desperate for money agreed to take $1,500 to chair a political committee with no plans to have her do any work.
In testimony 25-year-old Hailey DeFilippis, explained to investigators she was listed as the chair of “The Truth, a dark-money-funded political committee that spent $180,000 on political mail advertisements promoting sham candidates in key 2020 state Senate elections — two in Miami-Dade and one in Central Florida.”
She was later paid $2,500 more for the “inconvenience” after reporters called up asking about the group.
“Artiles signed a contract with Bainter on June 9, 2020. The next day, Rodriguez met Artiles at Artiles’ Palmetto Bay residence to fill out campaign forms, according to investigators who noted in an arrest affidavit that Rodriguez had ‘no prior knowledge as to what forms needed to be completed to qualify as a candidate for elected office and relied on Artiles’ instructions.,'” the report adds. “Neither Bainter nor Gardner have responded to phone calls or emails seeking comment since the Herald learned they were served subpoenas. The powerful GOP-linked research firm, based in Gainesville, also served as a general consultant for Republican Senate campaigns during the 2020 election cycle.”
You can read more here.
‘Incel’ With a ‘Manifesto’ Planned Mass Slaughter of Sorority Women ‘Out of Hatred, Jealousy and Revenge’: Feds
A member of the “incel” movement has been arrested for stocking up on weapons and plotting the mass slaughter of sorority women at an Ohio college campus.
The United States Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that 21-year-old Hillsboro, Ohio resident Tres Genco was arrested by federal agents after they learned of his alleged plot to go on a shooting spree of women at the college.
The DOJ notes that the suspect left a long trail of self-incriminating evidence, including multiple posts he made to a website frequented by incels, a term for men who are involuntarily celibate.
“Genco also allegedly wrote a manifesto, stating he would ‘slaughter’ women ‘out of hatred, jealousy and revenge…’ and referring to death as the ‘great equalizer,'” the DOJ claims. “As part of this investigation, law enforcement agents discovered a note of Genco’s that indicated he hoped to ‘aim big’ for a kill count of 3,000 people and intended to attend military training. Searches of Genco’s electronics revealed that the day he wrote his manifesto, he searched online for sororities and a university in Ohio.”
Federal investigators also found that Genco in 2019 purchased “tactical gloves, a bulletproof vest… a bowie knife, a skull facemask, two Glock 17 magazines, a 9mm Glock 17 clip and a holster clip concealed carry for a Glock.”
Genco also did internet searches in which he asked questions such as “how to plan a shooting crime” and “when does preparing for a crime become attempt?”
Russian Government Hackers Broke Into RNC’s Computers Last Week: Report
Around the same time criminal extortionist hackers in Russia executed a massive international ransomware attack demanding $70 million in bitcoin, Russian government hackers broke into computers at the Republican National Committee.
“The government hackers were part of a group known as APT 29 or Cozy Bear,” Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. “That group has been tied to Russia’s foreign intelligence service and has previously been accused of breaching the Democratic National Committee in 2016, and of carrying out a supply-chain cyberattack involving SolarWinds Corp., which infiltrated nine U.S. government agencies and was disclosed in December.”
On Saturday an RNC spokesperson denied the attack, claiming there was “no indication the RNC was hacked or any RNC information was stolen.”
Bloomberg calls the move “a major provocation to President Joe Biden, who warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about cyberattacks at a June 16 summit.”
Biden has said he will take appropriate action if Putin continues to engage in criminal cyber warfare. Those attacks appear to have increased in recent weeks.
This is a breaking news and developing story.
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