Enjoy good journalism?
… then let us make a small request. The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism. 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 legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.
Raw Story is independent. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.
We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.
Value Raw Story?
… then let us make a small request. The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. Like you, we 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 need your support to do what we do.
Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.
Capitol rioters have been ratted out by loved ones, high school friends and 'Facebook stalkers': analysis
On Wednesday, The Daily Beast released an episode of the "Fever Dreams" podcast in which Will Sommer and Asawin Suebsaeng interviewed Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly about the ways that Capitol rioters have been caught by federal authorities.
One of the key takeaways, Reilly told them, is that many of the rioters have either outed themselves by mistake, or been ratted out by girlfriends, other loved ones, or just random people in their current or past lives.
"Reilly has spent the past three months meticulously cataloguing the dark, perversely humorous ways in which many of these far-right extremists have found their way into FBI custody," said the report. "They gratuitously incriminate themselves. They pretend to be tough guys, and then are revealed to be impersonating a trooper or a federal agent. The feds keep making fun of the defendants in affidavits and in court documents. Often, they get ratted out by old high-school chums and rivals, loved ones, or even a random 'Facebook stalker' from their home town."
Many of these rioters' stories have been catalogued over the past few months. One was busted in February by an ex-girlfriend after he called her a "moron" in a text message incriminating himself. In another case, a Florida man was identified by the FBI because he stood out in the crowd "screaming and brandishing a flagpole with a U.S. flag emblazoned with a coiled snake."
Listen to the full podcast here.
There's new movement in the "Making a Murderer" case, but whether it inspires a Netflix follow-up remains to be seen. For now, Steven Avery is still behind bars after being convicted of murdering photographer Teresa Halbach.
"Making a Murderer" attorney Kathleen Zellner filed a motion Monday afternoon in Manitowoc County that alleges Avery's nephew Bobby Dassey was seen moving Halbach's car onto the Avery property. A former Wisconsin newspaper delivery driver signed a sworn affidavit attesting that he notified the sheriff's office at the time of Halbach's disappearance that he witnessed this, but was never contacted for more information.
"Mr. [Thomas] Sowinski was a motor-route driver for Gannett Newspapers, Inc. and delivered papers to the Avery Salvage Yard in the early morning hours of November 5th of 2005," the motion reads. "Prior to delivering the newspapers to the Avery Salvage Yard, he turned onto the Avery property and witnessed two individuals, a shirtless Bobby Dassey ("Bobby") and an unidentified older male pushing a dark blue RAV-4 down Avery Road towards the junkyard."
As outlined in the popular Netflix docuseries "Making a Murderer," Avery was once already wrongfully convicted and served 18 years in prison for a sexual assault he did not commit, though was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003. Two years later, as Avery was in the midst of civil lawsuit against Manitowoc County to recover $36 million dollars in damages for his wrongful conviction, he and his nephew, Brendan Dassey — who is Bobby's brother — were arrested in connection to Halbach's murder.
Her car, a dark blue RAV-4, was found by law enforcement on November 5, 2005, just hours after Sowinski alleges he saw it being pushed by Dassey. However, when Sowinski called the sheriff's office to file a report, he says he was told by a female officer, "We already know who did it." He was told to leave his phone number, but no one ever called to follow up on his tip. That phone call was not included in evidence during Avery's trial either.
The newly filed motion — which can be viewed in its entirety here — has left viewers of the series with some questions. Here's what you need to know about how it could impact the Halbach case.
What role did Bobby Dassey play in Steven Avery's conviction?
As Zellner mentions in the motion, Bobby "was the State's primary witness against Mr. Avery at his trial." Prosecutor Ken Kratz told the jury that Bobby was the last person to see Halbach alive and that he should be recognized for his credibility as "an eyewitness without any bias."
During the trial, Bobby told the jury that he observed Halbach, who was a photographer for Auto Trader Magazine, arrive on Avery's property and begin taking photographs of his mother's van. He testified that he then saw her walk to Steven Avery's door.
"After seeing this woman walking toward your Uncle Steven's trailer, did you ever see this woman again?" Kratz asked, to which Bobby responded, "No." He testified that when he returned from hunting later that evening, Halbach's vehicle was no longer in the driveway.
What does this mean for Steven Avery's legal case?
Zellner argues that the prosecution committed a Brady violation because they suppressed evidence that was favorable to the defense and was material to an issue at the trial.
The motion reads: "The suppressed evidence from Mr. Sowinski was favorable to the defense and material to a pivotal issue in trial because it would have 1) destroyed the credibility of Bobby as the State's primary witness; 2) established that Bobby was directly involved in the murder of Ms. Halbach; and 3) established that Bobby planted evidence to frame his uncle, Mr. Avery."
Consequences of a Brady violation can include having a conviction vacated, as well as disciplinary actions against the prosecutor.
Will this impact Brendan Dassey's conviction?
Brendan Dassey's attorneys have long maintained that his confession that he assisted in the murder of Teresa Halbach was coerced by Manitowock County law enforcement. However, after navigating through lower courts, his legal team failed to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case in 2018. His only chance at parole is in 2048; he's been serving in prison since he was 16 years old.
However, in a 2019 interview with the Daily Beast, Zellner said that if Avery is freed that may "ultimately help him" as Brendan Dassey's legal team could go back to the lower court in Wisconsin with new evidence to dispute the validity of the confession.
"But the problem in the post-conviction world is there are so many procedural hurdles," she said.
Who was the second man allegedly seen pushing the car?
According to Sowinski, the man pushing the car with Bobby was at least 6-feet tall and had a beard between 8 to 12 inches long. Zellner said in her interview with The Patch that the man does not match the description of Scott Tadych — whom she has previously theorized might be involved in the murder — and "it certainly does not match Steven Avery."
For now, the man remains unknown.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday launched an attack on President Joe Biden as he suggested his leadership may lead to an incident similar to the tragic 9/11 attacks that claimed the lives of thousands of Americans.
When Graham appeared on Fox News on Tuesday, April 13, he aired his grievances about the Biden administration's deadline to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan no later than September of this year. Despite criticism, the president has made it clear that he and his administration is committed to this timeline and Graham is not happy about it.
"Our military told President Biden that if you withdraw all of our forces, al Qaeda and ISIS will come roaring back, Afghanistan would disintegrate into civil war, and we can avoid all of that by having 3,000-5,000 American forces making sure that ISIS and al Qaeda never come back to hurt us," the South Carolina senator said. "He rejected that advice. Afghanistan is going to deteriorate pretty rapidly, al Qaeda and ISIS are going to come back, he is paving the way for another 9/11."
In response to Graham's criticism of Biden, Twitter fired back in the president's defense. Many users quickly reminded Graham of how the United States ended up facing its last terrorist attack at the hands of its own people and how he was complicit in the series of events that led to that deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Graham was also reminded that it was former President Donald Trump who initially set the deadline to remove troops from Afghanistan. One user wrote, "Trump paved the way for January 6. Fixed it for ya, Linds."
Another user said, "Remember just a little while ago when republicans were praising Trump for "bringing our troops home" every time he made a terrible decision to withdraw troops?"
The new withdrawal date serves as an extension of Trump's previous May 1 deadline to fully withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Behind closed doors, Graham reportedly lobbied Trump to consider keeping a small number of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan amid the signing of the peace agreement with the Taliban.
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month