OTAY MESA, Calif. — Federal authorities made what they called likely the largest methamphetamine bust in United States history, finding more than 5,528 pounds of the drug inside a semitrailer that crossed from Mexico at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Agents on Thursday night also found more than 127 pounds of fentanyl inside the commercial truck, which had California license plates and was being driven by a Mexican citizen. The driver, Carlos Gerardo Symonds Saavedra, was charged Friday with two federal felony counts of importing controlled substances into the U.S. Each count carries a minimum s...
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A Texas man entered a guilty plea today to a charge that carries five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines in connection with the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. But for those concerned that MAGA rioters are not getting punished severely enough, this one might become a prime exhibit.
Christian Cortez, 28, of Seabrook, Texas, was accused of joining a crowd of rioters who were attempting to break down Capitol doors. He was arrested with co-defendant Benjamin Larocca, 28, also of Seabrook, who pleaded guilty in April 2022 to a misdemeanor charge of engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct.
Cortez was accused of having stepped in front of the Capitol doors while officers were trying to seal them and having begun swearing.
“Cortez can be heard yelling "F*ck you! Oath breakers! Oath breakers! You' re a f*ckin' oath breaker!" according to the FBI criminal complaint. And, it is alleged, he didn’t back off even after getting sprayed by the officers with a chemical irritant.
“Do it! We're just standing here!" Cortez is said to have screamed while slamming down a blue-colored flag. Citing video evidence, the complaint added: “Cortez takes another step toward officers and thrashes his arms downward, yelling again ‘Do it some f*ckin' more!’
But although Cortez’ conduct was deemed serious enough to rise to a felony, the range of punishment under federal sentencing guidelines – as reported in his plea agreement – is for “0 to 6 months in prison” and a fine ranging from $2,000 to $20,000, a far cry from the $250,000 maximum. The agreement adds, “Your client reserves the right to ask the Court not to impose any applicable fines”
The disposition of the case will be up to a federal judge at his sentencing, which is set for August 31, and that judge is not bound by the plea agreement. But since Cortez accepts full responsibility and his no criminal record, he is subject to reduction in the federal sentencing guidelines.
To date, some 298 of the more than 840 defendants arrested for the riot have pleaded guilty, according to Business Insider. But most of those pleas have been for misdemeanor parading charges and have resulted in probation, in some cases with brief home confinement.
It remains to be seen whether Cortez will serve prison time. His case shows, however, that not even a felony plea guarantees that.
You can read the FBI statement of facts in the case here.
On Wednesday, Business Insider reported former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway alleges in her new book that former President Donald Trump called his first lady to whine about Conway's husband's tweets criticizing him.
"In her new book 'Here's the Deal: A Memoir,' Trump's former senior counselor Kellyanne Conway described how Melania Trump once defended her to Trump as he fumed over the feud," reported Nicole Gaudiano and Brent Griffiths. "'This guy is nasty. He won't stop,' Trump was telling his wife on the phone, according to Kellyanne Conway who could hear the conversation. 'And it's our Kellyanne. She's my top person. She knows a lot, too! What are we going to do?'"
"Conway quoted the former first lady's 'calm' response: ''Donald,'' she said, 'this is not her fault. And she is a big girl. Strong and confident,'" continued the report. "Then she added, according to Conway, 'We don't control our husbands — and you don't control us'!"
George Conway, a longtime Republican lawyer turned critic of the Trump administration and the GOP, has been a staple of talk shows undercutting his wife's associates, and attacking the former president on social media.
Earlier this month, Kellyanne Conway lashed out over the rift publicly, accusing her husband of effectively having an extramarital affair with Twitter — an accusation she doubles down on in her book.
"In the book's afterword, she wrote, 'George and I may not survive,'" said the report. "'Apparently I can't compete with the tweet,' she added. 'Or ninety thousand of them. And why would I even try? She has no personality and she's not even hot. I can't imagine relying upon the odd opaque online world for comfort, friendship, or validation.'"
Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has been sued by the Texas Commission for Lawyer Discipline for "dishonest" representations to the United States Supreme Court while attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The lawsuit, a copy of which was posted online by Reuters legal columnist Alison Frankel, accuses the attorney of "professional misconduct."
"Respondent made representations in his pleadings that: 1) an outcome determinative number of votes were tied to unregistered voters; 2) votes were switched by a glitch with Dominion voting machines; 3) state actors 'unconstitutionally revised their state’s election statutes;' and 4) 'illegal votes' had been cast that affected the outcome of the election. Respondent’s representations were dishonest," the commission argued.
"His allegations were not supported by any charge, indictment, judicial finding, and/or credible or admissible evidence, and failed to disclose to the Court that some of his representations and allegations had already been adjudicated and/or dismissed in a court of law," the lawsuit continues. "In addition, Respondent misrepresented that the State of Texas had 'uncovered substantial evidence… that raises serious doubts as to the integrity of the election process in Defendant States,' and had standing to bring these claims before the United States Supreme Court."
The lawsuit cites the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, stating, "a lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation."
The Commission for Lawyer Discipline asked the court to "impose an appropriate sanction, including an order that Respondent pay reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs of court and all expenses associated with this proceeding."
Read the full complaint.