Man in 'sextortion' case might have coerced 350 women
January 30, 2013, 11:28 AM ET
Man in 'sextortion' case might have coerced 350 women
Federal agents on Tuesday took aim at a new type of scam called “sextortion,” arresting a Glendale, Calif., man on charges that he hacked into e-mail and Facebook accounts of young women and then posed as a woman to convince others to send him nude photos of themselves. Karen “Gary” Kazaryan…
Former federal prosecutor Katzberg, who does commentary for Slate told the site that former President Donald Trump has a serious problem controlling himself.
No person likes being attacked, but it's dangerous when it comes to a judge or a federal prosecutor going on a public attack campaign that endangers the lives of those working for the court. There's no rule against it, given there isn't an indictment, much less a case. Still, Trump has gone on a spree over the past several months, alluding to special counsel Jack Smith being a partisan hack. He's attacked Smith's wife.
For a while, Trump had a bizarre conspiracy theory claiming Jack Smith wasn't his real name. His name is John Smith, but he goes by Jack. Slate cited Smith's local hometown newspaper that went to the high school to find a yearbook, finding that Smith did go by Jack as far back as his teens.
Slate asked Katzberg why Trump was doing it.
“I just don’t think he’s able to control himself. Any experienced lawyer would have resigned a long time before that," he said.
He attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a “degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA.” He insulted New York Attorney General Letitia James and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as “racists in reverse.” He then began using racially charged language about the two Black women and calling James "Peekaboo," confusing many trying to figure out what it meant. In the Urban Dictionary, "Peekaboo" has an X-rated connotation. The other is that Trump is referring to the racist word that begins with "J" and sounds a lot like peekaboo.
Katzberg thinks it all goes to Trump's insecurities. He explained Trump "has the thinnest skin of any human being in history and is incapable of keeping his mouth closed."
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen thinks Trump has dementia.
"Let me put it to you this way," Cohen told Insider last year. "As you sit and listen to Trump speak, you realize that he has, at best, a 10-year-old's vocabulary. He's using peekaboo as a hide-and-seek term."
"His rambling about 'we were settling' and then questioning why anyone would settle when they're not guilty is indicative of some cognitive impairment," alleged Cohen.
He doesn't appear to be alone in allegations about Trump's health. Former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman said that. Trump intends to run for president again; then he should come clean about his "health" to the American people. She didn't elaborate further.
Another option could be similar to a legal tactic that Roger Stone used in 2020 during his case. During his trial, Stone regularly attacked the judge in his case. It finally came to a head when he posted a photo of the judge with a target by her face. Not long after, Stone and his lawyers demanded a different judge in the case, saying that Judge Amy Berman Jackson couldn't possibly be impartial after they'd spent months attacking her.
It could be a strategy Trump is trying to use, hoping he could get a better judge.
"Federal courts have long held that a party can't insult or antagonize a judge and then demand her recusal on the theory that the insults have biased her. That’s why President Trump couldn’t force United States District Judge Gonzalo Curiel off his case with his bigoted and boorish claims that Curiel’s ethnic background disqualified him from hearing the Trump University case," as The Atlantic explained in a 2019 piece.
After struggling to find any scandal they could link to President Joe Biden, House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. James Comer (R-KY) asked for a 90-day extension on his investigation. The last thing they uncovered was several different LLCs owned by several president's family members. It prompted analysts to question the significance, given Donald Trump's family has control over 500 of LLCs, all inter-linked, and in many different countries, CNBC reported in 2018.
At the same time, Republicans have been cagey on an interview that the FBI did in June 2020 with someone who had an accusation involving Biden. Neither the FBI nor the GOP will say anything about it, Washington Post columnist Philip Bump wrote Sunday. In fact, Republicans won't even tell Democrats what they know about it or how they learned the details about the investigation.
Comer, along with Senate Budget Committee ranking member, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), subpoenaed form FD-1023 that has the word "Biden" on it. Comer then told Fox host Sean Hannity that they wanted any document saying Biden "and the words 'five million dollars.'"
It's because they have very specific allegations. The Republicans claim that Biden was bribed. The two men sent a press release about the letter and their subpoena. Fox has thus mentioned Biden and "bribe" or "bribery" more than 100 times since then.
But for over a month, Comer has been unable to produce any information or documents to prove it, Bump explained. Comer and Grassley say it's because the FBI is standing in their way. But in a statement to Hannity, the FBI gave a statement:
“Releasing confidential source information could potentially jeopardize investigations and put lives at risk,” it explained. “The FBI remains committed to cooperating with Congress’s oversight requests on this matter and others as we always have.”
Hannity was shocked and appalled. He complained, “Well, then hand it over,” skipping the statement's first sentence saying they won't release anything that is part of an ongoing or open investigation.
Bump looked at other FD-1023 forms to explain that they have a header with information about the agent's name doing the interview, the time and place, the source reporting, which has all of the details involved, and the agent's signature.
"In other words, it is a document that records an allegation and little else," wrote Bump. "That’s the argument the FBI used to reject the request to release it in the first place."
An allegation isn't an investigation, nor is it anything confirmed. It's simply the allegation.
“An FD-1023 form documents information as told to a line FBI agent. Recording the information does not validate the information, establish its credibility, or weigh it against other information known or developed by the FBI,” Bump quoted FBI acting assistant director Christopher Dunham saying. “The mere existence of such a document would establish little beyond the fact that a confidential human source provided information and the FBI recorded it.”
Comer told Fox that he asked the FBI what they did to investigate the claim. The answer is the same as what they told Hannity. They don't reveal anything from an open investigation.
The GOP leaders say the FBI is intentionally refusing to work with them. They're correct. The FBI intentionally informed them they don't reveal information involving ongoing investigations. It isn't new.
Meanwhile, there's no additional information that something is happening beyond what the House Republicans claim.
Comer indicates that there is an informant, which Bump explained folks should be wary of given his "reliability in discussing such an informant is shaky; in the Bartiromo interview, he claimed that the informant was 'missing,' but then his staff clarified that he was talking about someone else." Still, it gave enough speculation that allowed Fox a full day of conspiracy theories.
A few weeks ago, Fox hosts complained Comer didn't have anything.
"There exists a transcript of what was alleged by the whistleblower; Comer told Hannity earlier this month that he’d read such a document. It has not been provided to Democrats on the committee," Bump explained, noting that the House rules require that such information be given to both sides.
“[I]n an effort to maximize innuendo on Fox News and dodge accountability, Chairman Comer has continued to insist he has secret evidence that he has concealed from Committee Democrats and the American public,” said the Democratic spokesperson. “These tactics reflect Republicans’ willingness to weaponize the Committee to achieve their political ends instead of engaging in responsible oversight.”
Bump closed his piece by saying that there's no more information now than there was a month ago when Comer and Grassley made their first allegations.
According to former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, a letter from two of Donald Trump's lawyers to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding an audience to discuss special counsel Jack Smith should not be taken seriously by anyone, and is a ploy that will not help them if and when DOJ indictments come down.
In a column for MSNBC, the attorney claimed the letter — and the way it was shared on social media — is a sign of desperation and fear as Smith reportedly is coming to the conclusion of one of his many investigations into the former president.
Getting right to the point, McQuade wrote that after Garland's refusal, "Trump will wail that this rejection proves once again that he is a victim of witch hunts and hoaxes. The predictability of Trump’s game would be tiresome if it were not so harmful to public trust in government institutions."
The ex-U.S. attorney also noted a reference to President Joe Biden and an investigation into his son Hunter's business activities which she described as a sad Trump attempt to make the case to his followers that, "...everyone is corrupt, so support the leader who shares your values."
RELATED: Proof that Trump shared Mar-a-Lago docs 'changes the game' for Jack Smith indictment: Guardian reporter
Writing, "Trump’s guilt or innocence has nothing to do with these other investigations, but drawing the false equivalency provides a talking point for Trump’s supporters," she explained, If Trump’s lawyers really wanted a meeting to discuss the investigation, they would not post the letter on a public website — a phone call to a member of the trial team would do."
"The final tell in the letter is its motive — fear. Sources familiar with the case told The Wall Street Journal that a charging decision in the case may be near," she elaborated. "This letter is a pre-emptive strike that Trump can use if he is indicted. He will cite the letter to show that even before he was charged, his lawyers were on record complaining of unfairness."
"Those complaints may score points in the court of public opinion, but they are irrelevant in a court of law," she predicted.
You can read her whole column here.
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