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Matt Gaetz Now Under Investigation for Possible Obstruction of Justice: Report

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Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) legal troubles just got worse, according to a Politico report late Wednesday. Federal prosecutors are looking into whether Gaetz obstructed justice when he held a phone call with a witness in the sex crimes case against his friend Joel Greenberg.

Two sources told Politico that the witness was one of a group of women who were in Gaetz’s life around the time he and Greenberg were partying it up in Florida. A phone call between Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend and the witness added Gaetz to the phone call. It’s unknown what was said, but that call has become part of a possible obstruction of justice charge.

Gaetz continues to deny any wrongdoing in Greenberg’s case, and said that he never paid for sex, nor did he have sex with an underage girl, or pay to take her across state lines.

“Congressman Gaetz pursues justice, he doesn’t obstruct it,” a statement from Gaetz’s office said. “The anonymous allegations have thus far amounted to lies, wrapped in leaks, rooted in an extortion plot by a former DOJ official. After two months, there is still not a single on-record accusation of misconduct, and now the ‘story’ is changing yet again.”

Read the full report from Politico.

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CRIME

‘I Hope Your Car Explodes’: Newly Revealed Text Messages Show GOP Rep. ‘Threatening’ Democrat He Used to Date

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In newly revealed text messages, Michigan state GOP Rep. Steve Marino vowed to destroy Democratic state Rep. Mari Manoogian’s life, even saying he hoped her car exploded on her way to work, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“I’m making it my life mission to destroy you,” Marino said to Manoogian in an undated text message, according to Ingham County court records. As the Detroit Free Press points out, the the messages and statements from Marino to Manoogian were used to secure a personal protection order against Marino.

In one text message, Marino tells Manoogian to “hide on the House floor” because “I’m going to park right next to your desk and ream you a new a–hole each session day until I leave that place.”

Court filings show Manoogian said she dated Marino for about four months in 2019, but things changed after their relationship ended. Manoogian said she believed Marino to be mentally unstable.

“Face to face and over text, Steve began threatening me and harassing me. It has escalated to a point where I fear for my safety and for Steve’s own safety,” she said in a statement filed with the court. “I am afraid of Steve. He repeatedly tells me that he hopes I get in a car crash on my commute to Lansing, and that he hopes my car will blow up…He constantly berated me with obscenities, calling me a c—, a b—-, and telling me to go f— myself.”

Manoogian also describes an encounter where Marino allegedly became physically abusive.

“Steve has emotionally and verbally abused me relentlessly. He also physically abused me. I do not like hugs, I am not a touchy-feely person. Steve knows this. He chased me around his apartment and held me against my will in a ‘hug’ until I cried,” she stated.

Read the full report over at the Detroit Free Press.

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NY Prosecutors ‘Aggressively’ Pursuing Trump Tax-Fraud Probe as Weisselberg Returns to Court: Report

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New York prosecutors appear to be “aggressively” pursuing their tax fraud-related investigation of the Trump Organization, which led in criminal charges being filed against the former president’s company and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, in July.

The Trump Organization’s lawyers and Weisselberg are set to appear in court Monday for the first time since they were arraigned three months ago, on charges that they participated in a 15-year scheme to defraud taxpayers by paying company executives with untaxed benefits.

NPR reported Monday that there are “plenty of signs” that New York State Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are “aggessively working the case, including an unannounced court appearance in August by attorneys for both Weisselberg and the Trump Organization.”

“The fact that they are having sealed proceedings is consistent with an ongoing grand jury investigation and suggests the district attorney may be considering further charges or defendants,” said Adam Kaufmann, a former investigations division chief at the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the New York investigation has recently focused on Matthew Calamari, Trump’s one-time bodyguard who later became the Trump Organization’s chief operating officer.

“Mr. Calamari and his son, Matthew Calamari Jr., have lived in Trump Organization apartments, and the elder Mr. Calamari has driven a company car. Earlier this month, the younger Mr. Calamari testified before a grand jury that continues to investigate Mr. Trump’s business affairs, according to people familiar with the matter,” the newspaper reported, adding that Jeff McConney, a senior finance executive who prepared the elder Calamari’s tax returns, also recently testified to the grand jury.

One major question hanging over the investigation is whether Weisselberg will turn on the company and his former boss, reaching a deal with prosecutors to testify against them. Bloomberg News reported Friday that it’s unlikely Weisselberg will “flip” because he’s not facing a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.

“Allen Weisselberg has made the calculation that he can escape, or if he gets a jail sentence, he can get through it,” said New York defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor Adam Frisch, who is not involved in the case.

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‘QAnon Shaman’ Found Competent and Guilty of Felony During Jan. 6 Insurrection – Could Face Years in Jail

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Jacob Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, but best known as the bare chested, horned fur hat wearing, spear and bullhorn carrying man with the red, white and blue face paint whose image was plastered on the front pages of numerous media outlets, has pleaded guilty to a single felony count of obstructing an official proceeding for his actions during the January 6 insurrection. He initially had faced six charges.

He had been ordered to undergo a competency assessment, and was found able to stand trial, a judge announced Friday, revealing he had signed a plea deal late Wednesday.

Chansely, 33, no longer wants to be known as the Qanon Shaman, and has also allegedly decided to “repudiate” QAnon – or, at least the “Q” in his moniker, HuffPost reports.

“Mr. Chansley, a long avowed and practicing Shaman, has repudiated the ‘Q’ previously assigned to him and requests future references to him be devoid of use of the letter ‘Q’,” his attorney, Albert Watkins, said in a statement.

Late Friday morning Watkins asked for Chansley to be released before sentencing, but the federal prosecutor wants him to remain detained.

Buzzfeed’s Zoe Tillman reports Chansley could be facing 41-51 months in jail, according to the prosecutor. That would be more than three years, possibly even more than four, but likely less.

Judge Royce Lamberth has ordered Chansley to remain in jail until sentencing November 17.

 

Image via Shutterstock

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