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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.

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.

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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.

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.”

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Read the full report here.


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Jeffrey Epstein denied bail — will stay in jail until sex trafficking trial

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A federal judge denied bail bail to Jeffrey Epstein after his arrest on sex-trafficking charges.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman heard arguments from prosecutors and Epstein's attorneys Monday but waited until Thursday to issue his ruling.

Prosecutors argued that Epstein, who has pleaded not guilty, should remain jailed because he's a danger to the public and a flight risk, pointing to a phony passport listing a Saudi Arabia residence that was found in a safe at his New York home, along with cash and diamonds.

Defense lawyers insisted Epstein would not flee the country and asked for him to be released on house arrest at his Manhattan townhouse and equipped with GPS monitoring.

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The FBI believes Donald Trump and Hope Hicks discussed silencing Stormy Daniels with payments

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New court documents released from the Southern District of New York revealed that Hope Hicks and Donald Trump were both involved with the hush-money payments given to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The information released were documents related to the search warrant for the campaign finance violations that former Trump fixer Michael Cohen pled guilty to. They were supposed to be fully unredacted, however, dozens of pages and names remain redacted.

"The government has effectively concluded its investigation of (1) who, besides Michael Cohen, was involved in and may be criminally liable for the two campaign finance violations to which Cohen pled guilty [redacted]; and (2) whether certain individuals, [redacted], made false statements gave false testimony or otherwise obstructed justice in connection with this investigation [redacted]," the documents revealed.

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Florida county GOP disinvites ex-Trump official from fundraiser because he criticized the president’s racist tweets

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Anthony Scaramucci, who had an infamously short career as President Donald Trump's director of White House communications, is now paying a price for calling out the president's racist tweets.

Politico reports that the Palm Beach County GOP has disinvited Scaramucci from speaking at its annual fundraising event because he criticized Trump's tweets telling four Democratic women of color to "go back" to the countries they came from even though all four are American citizens.

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