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Iowa judge accused of conspiring with ICE to boost husband’s private prison investments

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An Iowa federal judge and her husband allegedly conspired to enrich themselves by purchasing stock in private prisons, then herding hundreds of immigrants into those prisons during one of the largest immigration raids in U.S. history.

Mother Jones reported Thursday that Judge Linda R. Reade and her husband Michael Figenshaw were already vested in private prisons owned by CoreCivic and GEO Group, but five days prior to the immigration raid on a meatpacking plant in Postville, IA on May 12, 2008, Figenshaw purchased additional shares in the two companies.

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The 2008 raid was the largest workplace immigration raid ever, netting 400 undocumented workers who were driven to a fairground in Waterloo and tried en masse, shackled to each other and dragging chains. Reade — the top judge in northern Iowa — presided over the mass trial, which was hit with serious accusations of prosecutorial misconduct.

Reade insisted that the proceedings were fair and unhurried, but hearings were held in just nine days in an ad hoc collection of trailers and even a dance hall. The trials were presided over by a group of judges brought in from other counties and districts.

Normally, defendants in cases like this are charged with civic misconduct and then deported, but under Reade’s jurisprudence, the 400 defendants were “charged with criminal fraud for using falsified work documents or Social Security numbers. About 270 people were sentenced to five months in federal prison, in a process that one witness described as a ‘judicial assembly line,’” wrote Mother Jones‘ Samantha Michaels.

Reade met repeatedly with immigration officials in the months preceding the raid, according to a lawsuit resulting from the raid and subsequent prosecutions. She and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees laid out strategies for charging detainees.

The judge was told to expect around 700 arrests, a number that she happily agreed to, expressing her “full support” for the roundup, arrests and mass trial.

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Michaels wrote, “Reade’s husband bought between $30,000 and $100,000 worth of additional CCA and GEO Group stock five days before the Postville raid, according to her financial disclosure forms. When he sold his prison stocks about five months later, they were collectively worth between $65,000 and $150,000.”

Read the full report here.


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Andrew Cuomo threatens to bail on CNN interview when his brother shows vintage photo of governor in bellbottoms

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) appeared to feign anger during a CNN interview Wednesday in which his brother, Christopher Cuomo, showed a vintage photo of their family with the elder brother clad in bellbottoms, a rhinestone belt and an unfortunate attempt at an afro.

The younger Cuomo is still suffering from the effects of coronavirus, appearing redfaced and wiping his brow. However, his brother noted that he seemed more animated than he has in days.

"Now I've seen you referred to a little bit recently as the 'Love Gov' and I'm wondering if that's making you a little soft on the president, that you don't want to really criticize him, because you need him and now's not a time for fighting," said the younger Cuomo. "But don't you have to balance that with calling him out if he's doing things that you don't think are great for the people of your state to be hearing and experiencing? Love Gov?"

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Fox News hosts are going back to downplaying threat from coronavirus: report

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Major Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity spent weeks assuring viewers that the novel coronavirus wasn't a serious threat. In recent weeks, however, they have shifted to a different narrative, acknowledging that the virus is dangerous but giving President Donald Trump credit for taking action and criticizing Democrats' lack of action — even though many Democrats, in fact, warned the pubic first.

But according to The Daily Beast, even as there is no clear end to the crisis in sight, and even as the U.S. crosses 13,000 deaths, many Fox News hosts are going back to downplaying the virus, either telling viewers it wasn't as bad as advertised and urging the president to end public safety measures against it.

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The dangers of Trump TV: MSNBC host hammers Fox News as ‘genuine public health threat’ amid pandemic

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Tuesday night, Fox News decided that all anyone needed to do is to pump Americans with a Malaria drug and send them back to work to save President Donald Trump's economy.

Speaking Wednesday night, MSNBC host Chris Hayes bashed the conservative network for downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus, saying that they are "a genuine public health threat."

While Trump has advisers like Dr. Anthony Fauci, he also has the unofficial advisers he sees on Fox News.

They "are coalescing around the idea the whole thing is just overblown and we need to pump everyone full of the malaria drug and get them back to work. This is what you heard if you watch trump tv just last night," Hayes said. He then played clips illustrating exactly that, with hosts ranting and raving about the virus not being as serious as the flu.

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