While Senate Republicans are blocking debate on legislation to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Capitol insurrection, federal prosecutors continue to reveal more information on what their investigations have uncovered.
“Hours before Senate Republicans killed an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6th siege, federal prosecutors disclosed communications about how Oath Keepers allegedly plotted to storm Washington, D.C. with guns by boat by way of the Potomac River,” Adam Klasfeld reported for Law & Crime on Friday.
“Those discussions became public in a filing seeking to maintain the strict pretrial release conditions of Oath Keepers member Thomas Caldwell, whom prosecutors allege organized a group of militia members on ‘standby with guns in a hotel across the river.’ In the brief, prosecutors also alleged that a message from the militia’s leader described a ‘worst case scenario’ where former President Donald Trump ‘calls us up as part of the militia to to assist him inside DC.’ Pulling a line from one of the immortal verses of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the extremist group’s Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs allegedly imagined the militia members as the modern day equivalent of their American colonial forebears,” he explained.
Longfellow’s 1861 poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” describes using lanterns to signal troop movements at the start of the American revolution:
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,—
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Meggs reportedly referenced the poem in a message sent on the group’s encrypted Signal channel.
“1 if by land[,] North side of Lincoln Memorial,” he wrote. “2 if by sea[,] Corner of west basin and Ohio is a water transport landing !!”
In February, The New York Times was the first to report on the naval landing scheme.
“Chilling new details emerged on Thursday about the plot by the Oath Keepers militia group to attack the Capitol as prosecutors said that members discussed a brazen plan to ferry “heavy weapons” in a boat across the Potomac River into Washington and began training sessions “for urban warfare, riot control and rescue operations” well before Election Day,” the newspaper reported. “Shortly after the three militia members were arrested last month, prosecutors said that they were some of the first rioters to have planned their part in the attack on the Capitol instead of merely storming the building spontaneously.”
The new filing includes a lengthy message from Meggs to another militia leader:
Can’t believe I just thought of this: how many people either in the militia or not (who are still supportive of our efforts to save the Republic) have a boat on a trailer that could handle a Potomac crossing? If we had someone standing by at a dock ramp (one near the Pentagon for sure) we could have our Quick Response Team with the heavy weapons standing by, quickly load them and ferry them across the river to our waiting arms. I’m not talking about a bass boat. Anyone who would be interested in supporting the team this way? I will buy the fuel. More or less be hanging around sipping coffee and maybe scooting on the river a bit and pretending to fish, then if it all went to shit, our guy loads our weps AND Blue Ridge Militia weps and ferries them across. Dude! If we had 2 boats, we could ferry across and never drive into D.C. at all!!!! Then get picked up. Is there a way to PLEASE pass the word among folks you know and see if someone would jump in the middle of this to help. I am spreading the word, too. Genius if someone is willing and hasn’t put their boat away for the winter.
In the filings, prosecutors included hotel surveillance video screengrabs of militia members carrying objects shaped like long-guns.
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DOJ Adds New Prosecutors for Matt Gaetz Case Who Specialize in Breaking Through ‘Psychological Manipulation’: Report
In an apparent sign of sign of “the complex and high-stakes nature of the inquiry” into whether Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz sex-trafficked a minor, the Department of Justice has added two high-level prosecutors from Washington to the case.
The Washington-based prosecutors recently joined a team of authorities in Florida who’ve been looking into whether Gaetz violated federal law by providing goods or payments to a 17-year-old girl in exchange for sex, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Gaetz has not yet been charged and has denied wrongdoing. His alleged “wingman,” former tax collector Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking the same 17-year-old girl, and is cooperating with the DOJ’s investigation.
According to the Times, the Washington prosecutors’ expertise includes “dealing with children who have been exploited but may not see themselves as having been victimized, which can complicate trials if they are called as witnesses.”
Amanda Kramer, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan who supervised sex trafficking cases for a decade, told the Times that legally, the victim’s state of mind is not a factor juries should consider when determining whether laws were violated.
“Technically, the government needs only to prove that the child was underage when the sexual activity occurred and that the child received something of value in exchange for it,” the Times reports. “But, Ms. Kramer said, the defense could try to use such witness testimony to confuse the jury or sour the legitimacy of the prosecution, although many judges would most likely shut down such a line of questioning.”
Kramer told the NYT: “It’s not uncommon for teens who have been trafficked to view themselves as willing participants and not as victims, often as a result of psychological manipulation by their traffickers. That’s one of many dynamics that make sex trafficking cases challenging for prosecutors, but it’s far from fatal to the case.”
Josh Duggar Dealt Another Blow as Judge Refuses to Suppress Video Evidence in His Child Porn Case
Josh Duggar was dealt yet another blow on Monday, after a judge refused his attorneys’ request to suppress video evidence in his bombshell child pornography case.
Duggar, once a darling of the religious right, an executive for an anti-LGBTQ hate group, and a “19 Kids and Counting” reality TV star, was arrested by U.S. Marshals and charged with two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was involved in the investigation.
“In Mr. Duggar’s case, he has not shown that federal agents acted with reckless disregard for proper procedure,” U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks said Monday in denying attorneys’ requests, as the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports. “And he certainly has not shown that the agents acted in bad faith. Moreover, Mr. Duggar cannot show he was prejudiced by any delay; the devices remained in law enforcement’s safe keeping throughout this time period, and the probable cause warranting the initial seizure of the devices remained viable through the date of indictment.”
In 2015 news broke that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter when he was a teenager, according to his parents.
Just three weeks ago the judge refused nearly all of Duggar’s attorneys’ requests, including dismissal of all charges.
His attorneys have tried to get photographs that include the 33-year old Arkansas native’s hands and feet suppressed, and even tried to have the case dismissed because the head of the Department of Homeland Security at the time of the investigation under then-President Donald Trump was, according to a federal judge, “unlawfully” appointed.
Trial is scheduled to begin November 30.
‘Did Greenberg Have Information on Gaetz Trying to Buy Himself a Pardon?’ Asks Former Trump University Prosecutor
An attorney who prosecuted the case against Trump University is weighing in on news that the Dept. of Justice just successfully delayed the sentencing date of Matt Gaetz’s “wingman,” Joel Greenberg by four months, saying it points to something “HUGE.”
“Update on Matt Gaetz — his buddy Joel Greenberg has had so much dirt that prosecutors have opened up entire new wings of their case,” says former New York State prosecutor Tristan Snell, “The investigation into financial crimes now includes help from Secret Service agents. There’s something HUGE here.”
On Monday federal prosecutors convinced the judge that Greenberg’s sentencing date should move from November 18 to some time in March.
“Did Greenberg have information on Matt Gaetz trying to buy himself a pardon from Donald Trump? Is that why the Secret Service is now involved in the investigation?” Snell tweeted.
Calling it a “bombshell,” in April The Daily Beast reported it had “obtained a confession letter that Joel Greenberg wrote after asking Roger Stone to help him obtain a pardon.”
That letter, The Beast revealed, was written by Greenberg “in the final months of the Trump presidency” and “claims that he and close associate Rep. Matt Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women—as well as a girl who was 17 at the time.”
“On more than one occasion, this individual was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself,” Greenberg wrote in reference to the 17-year-old.
Snell does not refer specifically to that letter, but adds: “Greenberg appears to have given the feds information about crimes totally beyond the scope of the original indictment of Greenberg — so the entire matter has snowballed.”
“And if they haven’t indicted Gaetz yet, it may be because the new material also implicates Gaetz.”
CNN reported that on Monday “Roger Handberg, an assistant US attorney, said that Greenberg has made allegations to investigators that ‘take us to some places we did not anticipate.'”
Handberg called the need for a second delay “unusual” but added the department was in an “unusual situation given the number of different investigations and lines of investigation we are pursuing.”
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