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On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that a Drug Enforcement Administration agent is being charged with accepting "tens of thousands of dollars" in bribes to release agency secrets to the defense attorneys of suspects.
"John Costanzo, Jr., 47, traded 'nonpublic DEA information, including information about forthcoming, sealed indictments and nonpublic investigations, such as the identities of individuals charged and the anticipated timing of arrests; and intelligence which Costanzo obtained from a confidential DEA database,' according to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court," reported Justin Rohrlich. "Costanzo, who allegedly used a so-called burner phone to throw investigators off the scent, spent the money on repairs to his Porsche, airline tickets, and a $50,000 down payment on a condominium, the filing alleges."
"The feds say Costanzo shared the sensitive data on an 'as-needed basis' to former DEA Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Manuel Recio, 53, who worked out of the Miami Field Office until his retirement in 2018," said the report. "He then began working as a private investigator for defense lawyers in Miami, using privileged info to help them recruit new clients and get a leg up on the government in court, the indictment states. On top of providing restricted data, the filing alleges that Costanzo — while on the DEA payroll — in fact 'assisted Recio in his work as a private investigator on behalf of charged defendants.'"
According to the report, if Costanzo and Recio are convicted, they each face up to 60 years in prison.
"In all, the feds say Recio paid Costanzo more than $70,000 to leak DEA secrets to him," the report continued. "The funds were routed through a network of bank accounts controlled by coworkers, family members, and associates, according to prosecutors. In one example, feds say the unnamed task force officer working with the DEA incorporated a company that Recio used to transfer more than $20,000 to Costanzo. The transactions were memorialized in texts between Costanzo and the task force officer, with Costanzo asking for 'the exact name of the company,' and the task force officer replying with a photo of his checkbook."
The DEA has been hit hard by scandals and misconduct allegations in recent years. In one incident last November, an intoxicated DEA agent was arrested after he pulled his government issued-firearm on a fellow patron in a bar in Bozeman, Montana. Another DEA agent attended the January 6 Capitol insurrection, believing he could use it as a platform to launch a podcast and a line of cigars, then lied to the FBI about flashing his government credentials at the scene.
The former mayor of New York City was finally interviewed by the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump's onetime personal attorney and a lead architect of his attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, on Friday met with the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection," CNN reported Friday evening, citing two sources.
The interview reportedly lasted more than nine hours.
"The Select Committee's investigation has revealed credible evidence that you publicly promoted claims that the 2020 election was stolen and participated in attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of the election results based on your allegations," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) explained in Giuliani's subpoena in January.
"Between mid-November 2020 and January 6, 2021 (and thereafter), you actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of former President Trump and sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results," he added.
"According to public reporting, on January 6 and in the days prior, you were in contact with then-President Trump and members of Congress regarding strategies for delaying or overturning the results of the 2020 election," he add.
Judicial ethical standards provide a clear framework to evaluate the latest bombshell revelations about Ginny Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
"Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors,” according to emails obtained by The Washington Post. The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud," the newspaper reported Friday.
For analysis, MSNBC's Chris Hayes interviewed Slate editor Dahlia Lithwick, who hosts the podcast Amicus.
Hayes noted "there are people that say Ginni Thomas is her own person which he does is irrelevant. Everything we find out, it just gets harder, and harder to just divide it, even just conceptually or factually, from Justice Clarence Thomas, who sits on the court."
"So, here is the good news, Chris, to the extent that there is good news," Lithwick said.
"You, know there are federal statutes and there are judicial canons and they don't parse the questions are asking," she explained. "They don't try to figure out who is an independent ethical agent, they don't try to figure out whether spouses or working in tandem with their spouse, they simply state, and this is 28 U.S. Code § 455, any justice, judge, our magistrate judge is required to disqualify in any case where spouses are known to have an interest in the proceeding."
"And so I think the way I would reframe your question gently is 'Does this look awful? If it does, it is awful and he should not be involved in these cases."
Watch the segment below or at this link.
Ginni Thomas www.youtube.com