Judge releases Capitol rioter to go on vacation after she makes ‘divine special appearance’ in court
U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui released an accused insurrectionist to go on vacation after she spent and night in jail and then verbally agreed to the court's conditions.
The news of Pauline Bauer's release was first reported by Matthew Russell Lee on Inner City Press.
According to the report, Faruqui ordered Bauer to be held in jail after finding her in contempt of court on June 21.
A court document filed on Tuesday recounted Bauer's Monday appearance before Faruqui. The document noted that Bauer claimed that she was making a "divine special appearance" before the court.
At the hearing on June 21, 2021, Ms. Bauer stated that she was making a “divine special appearance" as a “free living soul" and “a woman."2 Ms. Bauer also cited several passages from religious scripture as the basis for her statements. Ms. Bauer also sought to read a document into the record. The Court accepted the document, indicating that it would enter it into the record but rejected Ms. Bauer's request that she be allowed to read the 37- page document during the hearing. Upon information and belief, that document sets out various references to God, citations to Bible passages, and Constitutional Amendments as the basis for Ms. Bauer's statements to the Court.
After spending a night in jail, Bauer again appeared before Faruqui on Tuesday. The judge ruled that Bauer could be released on personal recognizance after she verbally agreed to the court's conditions, which included turning firearms over to her sister.
Faruqui also said that Bauer would be allowed to drive to Mount Rushmore on July 4 for a family vacation.
The FBI has said that Bauer called for the hanging of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Read some of the reports and responses to Faruqui's ruling below.
Judge Faruqui: The conditions would be to turn in your firearms, until your court case is over. You have 2d Amendment rights. If you will say you will comply, I will release you.
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) June 22, 2021
Pauline Bauer: I am one of God's creations...
Judge Faruqui: You cannot travel outside the country without permission. Do you frequently travel outside of the Western District of Pennsylvania?
Pauline Bauer: Yes, sir.
Judge Faruqui: So, the state of Pennsylvania
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) June 22, 2021
Judge Faruqui: Can you give your firearm to, say, your sister? While it's pending. It may not be long. Could you promise me? More than one?
Pauline Bauer: I have no firearms in my business at the moment.
Judge Faruqui: If one if found later, you'll be back here.
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) June 22, 2021
Judge Faruqui is reallllly going out of his way to help self-avowed sovereign citizen Pauline Bauer sign her conditions of release.
She's repping herself and he's now joined her in a virtual "break out" room off-air to assist her w/an interview with pretrial services.
— Alan Feuer (@alanfeuer) June 22, 2021
Update: In DC January 6 Case Pauline Bauer Is Now Ordered Released, After 1 Night, So Will Drive to Mt Rushmore July 4 after appearing before DDC District Judge McFadden June 28 - Inner City Press story: https://t.co/9kV5PGiYge @SubstackInc https://t.co/SgFnY4Cr00
— Matthew Russell Lee (@MatthewLeeICP) June 22, 2021
What a farce. Judge Faruqui accomplished nothing.
So this sovereign citizen agreed, in the moment, to abide by conditions of release? Who thinks she'll ACTUALLY abide by them?
She thinks she's above the law. Particularly with regard to her guns, she poses a danger to us all.
— 🌲Jay E Crawford🌲 (@JayECrawford) June 22, 2021
FWIW, a lot of people are complaining about the deference that Magistrate Judge Faruqui showed to Pauline Bauer, who invoked sovereign citizen rights. But remember--he has to treat her as innocent and has to respect both her right to counsel and her right to defend herself. https://t.co/q6xkJvA51g
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) June 22, 2021
Whistleblowers say Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is distorting testimony to get their lawsuit dismissed
A group of former top aides to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton reiterated in a court filing this week that they believe Paxton committed crimes while in office, and suggested that Paxton is intentionally mischaracterizing witness testimony in their whistleblower case against him for political reasons.
The aides are taking issue with a brief and a press release issued on June 2 where Paxton's lawyers asked the 3rd Court of Appeals to throw out the case four aides filed against the state's top lawyer in which they allege he fired them for reporting his alleged illegal behavior to federal and state authorities. Paxton, who has denied the charges, said he fired aides last year because they had gone "rogue" and made "unsubstantiated claims" against him.
Paxton's lawyer said in June that in a trial court hearing on March 1, former First Assistant Attorney General Jeff Mateer would not say he specifically saw Paxton commit a crime, but only that he had "potential concerns" about Paxton's dealings with real estate developer Nate Paul. Paul is a political donor and friend of Paxton who the whistleblowers allege Paxton helped with his legal issues in exchange for personal favors.
Paxton's lawyers argued that the appeals court should overturn a trial court decision denying the Office of the Attorney General's plea to dismiss because the court doesn't have the jurisdiction to hear the case.
But in a new brief filed on Monday by the whistleblowers' lawyers, they argue Paxton's lawyers took the exchange they cited out of context to argue Mateer never saw Paxton commit a crime. They said Mateer's comment was in response to a specific question about whether any employees raised concerns about Paxton's behavior in June 2020, three months before former employees reported Paxton's behavior to law enforcement.
"This claim distorts Mateer's testimony," the brief states. "In fact, Mateer testified unequivocally that he believed at the time of Appellees' FBI report—and still believes today—that Paxton committed crimes, including abuse of office and bribery." They also point out that Mateer signed a letter on Oct. 1, 2020 that alerted the attorney general's office that the whistleblowers had reported Paxton's behavior to the FBI, further proving Mateer believed Paxton had violated the law.
Mateer, who is not a plaintiff in the case, did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Paxton's lawyer.
The whistleblowers' attorneys say the AG's office did not accurately explain to the appeals court that Mateer's potential concerns were specifically in response to a question about Paxton and Paul's relationship in June 2020.
"OAG took even greater license in its [June] press release, predicting victory because its brief shows that Mateer "swore under oath that Paxton committed no actual crimes," the lawyers wrote in a footnote in the brief. "Given the … OAG's mischaracterization of what Mateer 'swore under oath,' perhaps this portion of OAG's brief was written for an audience other than the justices of this Court."
A lawyer in the case told The Texas Tribune they believed the press release was written for Paxton's supporters and Texas voters, rather than to make a legal argument.
Paxton issued the press release hours before Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced he is running against Paxton for attorney general in the 2022 Republican primary. Since then, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman has also announced her candidacy for the position.
Paxton will likely face sharp criticism for this lawsuit during the primary campaign, as well as the six-year-old felony fraud case in which prosecutors claim Paxton persuaded investors to buy stock in a technology firm without disclosing he would be compensated for it while he was in the Texas House of Representatives.
The lawyers asked the 3rd Court of Appeals to consider this appeal without hearing oral arguments. If the court decides to hear arguments, the aides requested it happen as quickly as possible.
The four former aides also laid out in detail in the filing the specific instances where they believe Paxton broke the law.
In February, they alleged in a court filing that Paul helped Paxton remodel his house and gave a job to a woman with whom Paxton allegedly had an affair. In return, the aides allege, Paxton used his office to help Paul's business interests, investigate Paul's adversaries and help settle a lawsuit. The filing in February was the most detailed explanation as to what the former aides believe Paxton's motivations were in what they describe as a "bizarre, obsessive use of power."
They also alleged Paxton improperly intervened in multiple open records requests to help Paul gain access to government documents after his company had been raided by the FBI.
"Paxton personally spoke to Paul about the subject matter; told [whistleblower Ryan M.] Vassar that he did not want to assist the FBI or DPS; took personal possession for several days of files that OAG could not officially release to Paul; and specifically directed the release of the FBI's unredacted brief to Paul," the brief states.
The whistleblowers also allege Paxton used AG resources to help Paul in a lawsuit filed against him by an Austin charity and pressured staffers to issue a legal opinion that would help Paul, despite the fact the ruling was inconsistent with previous opinions. The whistleblowers say in the court filing that they reported their concerns to multiple authorities and "spent several hours with two FBI agents telling what they had observed, answering questions, and discussing reasonable inferences they could draw."
The brief also rejects Paxton's repeated argument that he cannot be sued under the Whistleblower Act because he is not a public employee.
The assault on democracy that's taking place all around the country in various state legislatures has come boldly into focus in recent days and not a moment too soon. Democrats across the nation are begging the national government to step in and do something to protect our electoral system. And in a stunning irony, the Republican response is to use the federal government's most undemocratic institution's most undemocratic rule to prevent that from happening.
On Tuesday, Republicans invoked the filibuster to prevent the Senate from bringing S.1, the For the People Voting Rights Act, to the floor for debate, effectively killing the bill. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin had even cobbled together a compromise, giving Republicans a bunch of goodies they have wanted for a long time, including national voter ID and federal permission to purge the voter rolls, just trying to tempt them into even allowing a debate on the issue.
It did no good.
Manchin couldn't even coax one of his "good Republicans" to vote for it. His bipartisan crusade is 0 for 0 so far. Before the vote on Tuesday, Sen. Rafael Warnock, D-Ga, described the GOP's shamelessness perfectly:
"What could be more hypocritical and cynical than invoking minority rights in the Senate as a pretext for preventing debate about how to protect minority rights in the society?"
Mother Jones' Ari Berman elaborates:
Congressional Democrats' signature voting rights bill, the For the People Act, is set to be defeated on Tuesday by the very anti-democratic system it's meant to reform.
The 50 Democratic senators who support the For the People Act (or least Sen. Joe Manchin's compromise proposal keeping some key elements of the bill while excluding others) represent 43 million more Americans than the 50 Republican senators who oppose it, according to data compiled by Alex Tausanovitch of the Center for American Progress. Yet because of the 60-vote requirement to pass most legislation, 41 Republican senators representing just 21 percent of the country can block the bill from moving forward, even though it's supported by 68 percent of the public, according to recent polling.
It is certainly true, as Republicans are quick to proclaim, that progressives and liberals have used the filibuster to stop GOP legislation in recent years as Mitch "Grim Reaper" McConnell, R-Ky, escalated the use of the process to an unprecedented frequency in order to entrench his minority party's chokehold on legislation. But not since the Dixiecrats all defected to the Republican Party when they rebranded themselves as the official white supremacy party 50 years ago have Democrats used the filibuster to subvert the electoral process.
And keep in mind that McConnell was happy to change the rules when he needed to do it. His Holy Grail was packing the courts and he made sure that he was unencumbered by the filibuster when he did it. Don't ever doubt that he would entirely eliminate it in a heartbeat if he felt he needed to.
The GOP's overriding goal at the moment is obviously to keep as many Democrats as possible from voting and to subvert any universal commitment to the idea that the democratic process should be non-partisan. After the Republicans all voted to sustain the filibuster against S.1 on Tuesday, CNN's Manu Raju asked McConnell, "are you okay with states like Arizona, that's conducting it's own audit to throw into question Joe Biden's victory there?"
Reminiscent of his smug declaration that he would break his own rules if he had the opportunity to steal another Supreme Court seat (which he did), a dead-eyed McConnell flatly replied:
"I'm ok with the states sorting this stuff out. So, regardless of what may be happening in some states, there's no rationale for federal intervention. They'll figure it all out. They'll go to court. They'll determine whether there's any rational basis for this. That's not unusual in this country."
I guess all those death threats against election officials are the sign of a healthy democracy working like clockwork. McConnell's comments were eerily reminiscent of the old states' rights arguments against desegregation and universal suffrage. Some things never change. This was how they "figured it out" in the states before "federal intervention" 55 years ago:
It is no coincidence that it was after the right-wing majority on the Supreme Court declared the Voting Rights Act effectively dead that states run by the white supremacist party are back to their old tricks. (Remember, one of the Big Lie's fundamental tropes is that urban cities with large Black populations — Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Atlanta — all cheated to deny Trump his rightful place as the president of white America.)
In the big picture, this latest assault on democracy is not only a throwback to the days of Jim Crow, although it certainly is that. In this era of disinformation and propaganda, they are also encouraging the idea that our system relies on nothing more than an exertion of power and winning by any means necessary. The vote on Tuesday shows that McConnell and his party, including the so-called "moderates" are all in on that part of the program too.
If what it takes to win means that they have to let states that are important to preserving minority power put QAnon conspiracy theorists and MAGA fanatics in charge of the electoral system, well that's just how it has to be. Sure, these new rules and laws will eventually wend their way through Mitch McConnell's handpicked federal judiciary. And in a few years, some of them will probably be overturned if only to keep up appearances. But expecting Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, the man who wrote the despicable opinion overturning the Voting Rights Act back in 2013, to do a 180-degree shift on this issue seems highly optimistic.
There is still a way around all this, of course.
The Democrats could eliminate the filibuster and pass this bill. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's plan to hold a whole bunch of votes like this one to illustrate the folly of pursuing bipartisanship in the hopes that it will persuade the filibuster fetishists to change their minds. After Tuesday's vote, Manchin almost said Republicans were being unreasonable (shock!) by failing to even consider his compromise, so maybe Schumer's plan will work?
We'd better hope so. The Republicans are hard at work in the states to ensure that the Democrats are ousted from power by any means necessary. They better use it while they have it or they are going to lose it for good.
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