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Prisoner at center of ‘KopBusters’ campaign may soon be freed

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The woman at the epicenter of a Texas filmmaker’s crusade against allegedly corrupt police may soon be freed thanks to a federal judge’s decision to vacate her sentence.

Yolanda Madden, who was jailed in 2005 after being convicted of possession of and intent to distribute narcotics, was the reason that Barry Cooper came to Odessa, Texas last December. After being hired to embarrass the local police by Yolanda’s father Raymond, Cooper set up a fake marijuana grow house and baited officers to stage an illegal raid. When they did, police were confronted by an empty house and lots of cameras, with a hand-written poster explaining they had become part of a new reality show called “KopBusters”.

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For Yolanda, the stunt was just the beginning of efforts to secure her freedom. Cooper and Madden’s father insist Odessa officers planted the narcotics she was jailed for.

At a Thursday evidentiary hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Junell granted a motion to “vacate, set aside, or correct” Yolanda’s sentence, effectively guaranteeing a new trial and possibly her freedom, according to CBS 7 in Odessa.

Madden has previously lost an appeal before the fifth circuit court. That decision is available here. [PDF link]

“We have proof that neither one of the cops were at where they said they were,” Raymond Madden told the CBS affiliate.

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Cooper, a long-time drug officer who turned against prohibition and became an activist, claims Madden’s arresting officers were his former partners.

“The lead investigator, Officer Greg Traveland, claimed he took a verbal confession from Yolanda at the police station when he was actually miles away booking informant, Keith Phillips, into jail,” Cooper wrote on his Web site.

Cooper and Madden’s attorneys allege that to cover his tracks, Traveland then altered Phillips’ booking paperwork to make it appear that a now-deceased officer had brought the man in.

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“I know it’s been hard on her to be away from her family but we’re looking forward to getting her smiles and her hugs,” Madden’s grandmother told CBS.

Cooper, who recently helped officers from Combine, Texas arrest a former police chief accused of soliciting minors, said he plans more high-profile stings soon.

This video was broadcast by CBS 7 in Odessa on Dec. 11, 2009.

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This video was broadcast by CBS 7 in Odessa on Nov. 25, 2009.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer

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President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"

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‘Both Putin and Xi will be voting Trump in 2020’: NYT columnist says Russia and China want ‘turmoil and chaos’

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The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.

Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"What do we know about how the leaders of other countries see Donald Trump at this stage in their dealings with him?" O'Donnell asked. "Especially this weekend, when it comes at the end of a week in which they’ve heard him call himself the King of Israel, they have heard him say he is The Chosen One. They have heard all the crazy things that everyone here has heard the president say."

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Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’

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President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.

"Rick Wilson, your assessment of where the president stands as he heads off to the G7 summit?" O'Donnell asked.

"I think Donald Trump has had a week in which he is proving that this isn’t 87-dimensional chess game, this isn't some masterful strategy of communications or persuasion," Wilson replied. "This is an old man who is sick and who has problems and who has mental disconnects and who has aphasias and who has moments where he doesn’t remember who and where he is."

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