The federal investigation into the Capitol riot reached deeper into the Charlotte area on Thursday when a Gaston County man pleaded guilty to taking part in a Proud Boys seditious conspiracy to block the presidential transfer of power. Jeremy Bertino, 43, of Belmont, a leader in the militant right wing group, becomes the third North Carolinian to plead guilty to the sprawling prosecution’s most serious charge — a conspiracy to use force to oppose the government of the United States. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. As part of his plea deal with fe...
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On Tuesday, NBC News reported that outgoing Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) has been ordered by the House Ethics Committee to pay a $15,000 fine, made out to charity, over his improper promotion of an anti-Joe Biden themed cryptocurrency scheme.
"The fine caps an investigation announced in May that looked into whether the scandal-plagued lawmaker touted a cryptocurrency known as a Let's Go Brandon coin in which he had a financial interest, and whether he engaged in 'an improper relationship' with an aide on his congressional staff," reported Zoë Richards. "The committee said in its 81-page report that it did not find evidence of improprieties between Cawthorn and the staffer."
"However, the subcommittee that conducted the probe said Cawthorn violated rules against conflicts of interest surrounding the cryptocurrency and directed him to pay $14,237.49 to an appropriate charitable organization by Dec. 31," said the report. "It also found that Cawthorn, 27, failed to file timely reports to the House 'disclosing his transactions relating to the cryptocurrency.' And even though the panel determined that he did not knowingly fail to file the disclosures in a timely fashion, he was still required by law to pay $1,000 to the Treasury Department in late fees."
"Let's Go Brandon" is a popular phrase coined by Trump supporters which is code for "F**k Joe Biden" — so called because NASCAR fans chanting the profane phrase were misheard by a sports announcer to be cheering their support for driver Brandon Brown.
"The House probe came after an April complaint filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics by the American Muckrakers PAC citing a Washington Examiner article that named 'multiple watchdog groups' suggesting the first-term lawmaker may have violated insider trading laws in an alleged cryptocurrency scheme," said the report.
Cawthorn lost his bid for re-nomination earlier this year after Republicans in North Carolina, tired of his antics and baseless attacks on fellow GOP members, endorsed state Sen. Chuck Edwards for his seat instead.
On Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported that far-right conspiracy theorist webcaster Alex Jones is lashing out at neo-Nazi livestreamer Nick Fuentes, after having him and rapper Kanye "Ye" West on his InfoWars show, where they gave effusive praise for Adolf Hitler.
"Jones attempted to distance himself from them on Tuesday morning with right-wing YouTuber Steve Crowder, as the Sandy Hook denier claimed that Fuentes and West have a 'homoerotic' interest in the Nazi Party leader and genocidal dictator Adolf Hitler," reported Zachary Petrizzo. "'There is this Hitler fetish. And no, I’m not into dudes in fancy peacock military uniforms that, by the way, got 22 million Germans killed,' Jones said, taking issue with Fuentes and West’s admiration for Hitler. 'Hitler was horrible, screw Hitler, burn in hell Hitler.'"
"On Telegram, Fuentes responded by calling Jones 'controlled opposition' yet didn’t return The Daily Beast’s questions on the matter," said the report. "Elsewhere in the segment, Jones called Fuentes — his old ‘Stop the Steal’ rally speaking sidekick — 'baby Hitler' and a 'Nazi lover.'"
Jones himself is currently facing over a billion dollars in damages from a series of lawsuits over his use of his platform to harass and intimidate the parents of the children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. He recently filed for bankruptcy in response to the judgments.
Ye and Fuentes also recently met for a dinner meeting with former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida, triggering widespread outrage and condemnation even from some members of his own party.
Trump has responded by claiming that he didn't know anything about Fuentes — but has still not directly condemned him for his Nazi ideology.
This judge is showing Kari Lake that the courts are 'not a toy' for 'partisan theatrics': journalist
Critics of far-right MAGA Republicans Kari Lake (who lost to Hobbs) and Mark Finchem (who lost to Fontes) campaigned on the Big Lie, falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. But that wasn’t a recipe for success for Lake and Finchem, who have been quite litigious. And now, according to journalist Steve Benen, they are finding out that some judges don’t like having the courts used for cheap political theatrics.
In an op-ed published on MSNBC’s website on December 5 for MaddowBlog, Benen explains, “Months before any ballots were cast, these two filed a federal lawsuit, hoping to prevent Maricopa and Pima Counties from using electronic election equipment. By any fair measure, the litigation was not smart. It also wasn’t successful. But before the case was thrown out over the summer, members of the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors sought sanctions against the plaintiffs for the ‘numerous false allegations about Arizona elections’ Lake, Finchem, and their attorneys made in their complaint.”
Those sanctions, Benen notes, are being granted by U.S. District Judge John Tuchi.
The Arizona Republic, on December 2, reported, “In a blistering 30-page opinion, a federal judge ordered sanctions against the attorneys of Kari Lake and Mark Finchem in their lawsuit against voting machines, hoping to deter ‘similarly baseless suits in the future’.... In his order granting sanctions…. (Tuchi) delivered strong punches to the arguments that Lake, Finchem and their attorneys put forth in what he deemed a ‘frivolous complaint.’”
The lesson for MAGA Republicans, Benen stresses, is that the courts are not a stage for political theatrics.
“American courtrooms are not supposed to be abused by politicians filing frivolous cases in pursuit of partisan theatrics,” Benen writes. “The judiciary is not a toy. There is a reasonable expectation that all litigation, even if ultimately unsuccessful, have at least some merit.”