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A federal judge on Thursday ordered the release from prison of President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen by Friday afternoon.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein found that Cohen was taken into custody July 9 and returned to prison in retaliation for balking at a condition that he not publish a book — about Trump or anyone else — while serving the remainder of his three-year criminal sentence on home confinement.
“I’ve never seen such a clause, in 21 years in being a judge and sentencing people,” Hellerstein said at a Manhattan federal court hearing held after Cohen sued this week to win his re-release from prison.
“How can I take any other inference but that it was retaliatory?” Hellerstein asked about the condition, which also would have barred Cohen from speaking to journalists or posting on social media.
I’ve known a couple of lawyers I had considered honest and straightforward. Then – like Trump’s lawyers – they proved willing to ignore reason and justice, trying to build a sleazy case to achieve an absurd decision on behalf of a client at any cost. I parted company with them, forever. When your job description presumes ethics and your practice demonstrates hypocrisy and deceit – you’re not worth hiring. Or even sharing a couple of beers with at a ballgame.
Hmm! Didn’t Nixon’s Attorney General end up in the slammer for his collusion?
❝ Alan Turing, the father of computer science and artificial intelligence who broke Adolf Hitler’s Enigma code system in World War II — but who died an outcast because of his homosexuality — will be featured on the Bank of England’s new 50-pound note…
❝ Turing was just 41 when he died from poisoning in 1954, a death that was deemed a suicide. For decades, his status as a giant in mathematics was largely unknown, thanks to the secrecy around his computer research and the social taboos about his sexuality. His story became more widely known after the release of the 2014 movie The Imitation Game.
❝ The Turing commemoration is the U.K. government’s latest public reevaluation of the genius who was convicted of homosexuality under “gross indecency” laws in 1952. By the time he died, Turing had been stripped of his security clearance and was forced to undergo a “chemical castration” regime of estrogen shots to avoid serving a two-year prison term.
The treatment of non-conformity by “polite” society over the centuries ranged from indecent to inhumane and cruel. Those who offended political pop culture and religion both – with their sexual preference – received the worst of it. Admitting narrow-minded stupidity of this sort is typically accompanied by “not on my watch” hand-wringing. And not much more. Still, the admission is part of the process of sorting out the dross remaining in our cultural brain.
❝ Happy 4/20, everyone! Now that pot is legal in 33 states and counting, it’s a pretty heady moment for stoner culture. Fans of cannabis can celebrate 4/20 openly and in style in more places than ever before. And even if you’re not in a state that legalized pot, there’s a still a pretty good chance that the cops won’t hassle you as you spend 4/20 doing your thing.
❝ Sorry to bring you down, but that’s the harsh reality. If you love pot AND you’re white, everything is totally awesome these days. In 2017, 81% of cannabis executives were white. Meanwhile, even in states where pot is legal, and even though Black people and white people use pot at similar rates, Black people are still arrested way more often than whites. We love 4/20 and we love legalization, but that’s not OK.
That’s not enough.
RTFA for facts and ideas. No rest without justice.
NY Gov. Cuomo’s top advisor sentenced to six years – Pickett/NYTimes
❝ Joseph Percoco, a former top adviser and confidant to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday in a case that cast a long and unflattering shadow over the Cuomo administration.
Mr. Percoco, 49, was convicted in March of soliciting and accepting more than $300,000 in bribes from executives of two companies with state business in return for taking official actions on the firms’ behalf.
❝ “I hope that this sentence will be heard in Albany,” Judge Valerie E. Caproni, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, said before sentencing.
She said the case had reached to the highest level of the executive branch. “Frankly, it’s not surprising that the citizenry of this state have absolutely lost faith in their government.”
My question, of course, is…Anyone surprised?
❝ Even though hundreds of children separated from their families after crossing the border have been released under court order, the overall number of detained migrant children has exploded to the highest ever recorded — a significant counternarrative to the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce the number of undocumented families coming to the United States.
Population levels at federally contracted shelters for migrant children have quietly shot up more than fivefold since last summer, according to data obtained by The New York Times, reaching a total of 12,800 this month. There were 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017.
❝ The huge increases, which have placed the federal shelter system near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors…
Or – perish the thought – returned to their own families.
❝ Controversial televangelist Jim Bakker has claimed that the Missouri town in which he is building a Christian community is equipped to survive the end of the world, and is selling survival gear, such as 6-packs of water bottles for $150.
❝ Bakker said on his program…that various prophets have predicted that if there is a major world disaster and humankind faces the end of the world, people in large cities are not going to be able to survive.
That is why for 15 years Bakker has been building his Morningside community in Blue Eye, Missouri, which will come with an amphitheater, houses for the residents, and a chapel that can be used for weddings.
❝ He also is advertising survival gear, such as a pack of six “extreme survival” water bottles being sold for $150. His website claims that the bottles are “designed using a combination of both Advanced and Radiological filters.”
Nothing much new in Bakker’s hustle. Whether you recall the history of his so-called ministry – or that of many peers. He ended up in the slammer for fraud, accused of rape. Mainly, he was guilty of being caught. Many of his breed simply keep stealing from true believers and never even get investigated. The Land of the Free includes the opportunity to be gobbled up by sharks cruising the Great American Ocean of Superstition.
❝ Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert started serving a 19-month prison sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice on Monday, becoming the first Israeli premier to be imprisoned and capping a years-long legal saga that forced him to resign in 2009…
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say this about George W Bush? Trouble is – even the anti-government Tea Party-types won’t join the campaign. Ideology still overrules any sense of fighting for justice.