Prosecutors in Los Angeles charged Lancaster resident Craig Shaver with two felony counts Thursday for allegedly threatening to kill Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and illegal possession of a revolver by a felon. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said Shaver, 47, was convicted of grand theft in 1991. If convicted of the two new charges, he faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison. Prosecutors did not disclose the contents of the Sept. 30 email Shaver allegedly sent to Feinstein, but Feinstein is the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which at the time was in the middle of contentious hearings over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. President Trump has started attacking Feinstein at his rallies. Peter Weber
Anthony Weiner, the former Democratic congressman from New York who pleaded guilty last year to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor, is scheduled for early release from prison, CNN reported Tuesday.
Weiner pleaded guilty in May 2017, and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. He reported to prison on Nov. 6, 2017, and would have been let out in August 2019, but the Federal Bureau of Prisons website shows his release date is now May 14, 2019. "This projected release date includes credit for good conduct time earned and good conduct time that may be earned throughout the remainder of his sentence," the Bureau of Prisons told CNN in a statement.
Weiner's guilty plea stemmed from communications he had with a 15-year-old girl online between January and March 2016. Speaking in court, he said this was "my rock bottom. I have no excuse. ... I victimized a young person who deserved better." In 2011, a year after he married Huma Abedin, Weiner resigned after it was discovering he was sexting women, and more explicit messages were released in 2013 when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New York City. Abedin filed for divorce last year. Catherine Garcia
Marion "Suge" Knight, the former rap mogul who founded Death Row Records in the 1990s, pleaded no contest on Thursday to a voluntary manslaughter charge.
Knight was accused of running over one man and hitting another with his truck in a Compton, California, parking lot in 2015. Terry Carter, 55, was killed, and Cle "Bone" Sloan sustained serious injuries. The incident took place near where the movie Straight Outta Compton was being filmed, and was caught on surveillance tape. Sloan was working security for the film set, and Knight claimed he was speeding away because Sloan had a gun.
Knight will be sentenced Oct. 4, and is expected to receive 28 years in prison, ABC Los Angeles reports. Under the plea deal, the judge will dismiss additional charges against Knight during his sentencing: making criminal threats and stealing a camera. Catherine Garcia
Two Manchester, New Hampshire, police officers shot by a mentally ill man in May are suing the gun shop that sold the man the handgun as well as the New Hampshire Department of Safety. In their lawsuit, officers Ryan Hardy and Matthew O'Connor argue that Chester Arms LLC, the Department of Safety, and Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes were negligent for allowing assailant Ian MacPherson to purchase the Smith & Wesson despite his history of mental illness and written and verbal warnings from the Merrimack Police Department that MacPherson was disqualified from buying a weapon.
The Department of Safety's Gun Line division is responsible for checking the background of customers at federally licensed gun dealers like Chester Arms, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports, and Hardy and O'Connor argue that MacPherson should have been barred from purchasing a handgun under federal gun laws. In the May 13 incident, MacPherson shot O'Connor in the leg and Hardy was wounded in the face, neck, and shoulder blade. MacPherson, 34, admitted to shooting the officers and pleaded not guilty due to insanity; he was sent to the state prison's psychiatric ward for five years. Peter Weber
Paul Manafort's first high-profile trial begins Tuesday. He and Robert Mueller both have a lot at stake.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's first court trial begins Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, with selection of 12 jurors to consider Mueller's first 18 charges against President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, most of them dealing with alleged financial crimes. Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty. The trial is expected to last about three weeks, and if convicted, Manafort realistically faces seven to 12 years in prison, based on federal sentencing guidelines. Mueller's team has named 35 potential witnesses to help make its case that Manafort fraudulently obtained loans and illegally failed to report a "significant percentage" of the $60 million he allegedly earned in Ukraine to the IRS.
Tuesday morning, before jury selection, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis will adjudicate a motion by Manafort's legal team to exclude prosecutors' evidence detailing Manafort's work for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine, arguing that such information would be "irrelevant, prejudicial and unnecessarily time-consuming." In a second trial later this year, Mueller's team will argue that Manafort acted as an unregistered foreign agent. Mueller, who isn't expected to attend the Virginia trial, has won indictments or guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies, and Manafort is the only American who opted to try his luck in court. If you're wondering why Manafort isn't cooperating with Mueller, The Week's Matthew Walther has some theories. Peter Weber
Milwaukee police chief: Officers acted 'inappropriately' while arresting Bucks player Sterling Brown
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said on Wednesday that officers who used a stun gun on Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown in January "acted inappropriately" and have been disciplined.
Morales released 30 minutes of body camera footage showing the incident, which began in the early hours of Jan. 26 in front of a Walgreens. The video shows an officer approach Brown, whose car appears to be parked so it takes up three spaces. After a few minutes, they begin arguing, and more police cars drive up. Brown is heard asking what is going on, and eight minutes in, he's told to take his hands out of his pockets. An officer is then heard yelling, "Taser! Taser! Taser!" Officers are later seen looking through Brown's car, and one is heard telling another, "He was being an ass and trying to hide something."
Brown was arrested, but criminal charges were never filed. The Bucks released a statement supporting Brown, calling the incident "shameful and inexcusable," and Brown, who plans on suing the department, said the experience "has forced me to stand up and tell my story so that I can help prevent these injustices from happening in the future." Morales apologized for the incident, saying he was sorry it "escalated to this level." Catherine Garcia
On Monday, surrounded by military and national security leaders, President Trump said that the New York federal prosecutor's office had launched "an attack on our country" and "an attack on what we all stand for" by ordering an FBI raid on his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, and suggested he might fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and/or Attorney General Jeff Sessions. But he was angrier in private, White House sources tell The Washington Post, The Associated Press, and other news organizations.
Trump found out about the raids on Cohen's office and residences late Monday morning, and "caught off guard and furious with the encroaching inquiry, the president showed a flare of temper watching cable news coverage of the raid Monday afternoon," AP reports. Trump also complained frequently about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, The Washington Post adds, "and stewed all afternoon about the warrant to seize Cohen's records ... and asked detailed questions about who was behind the move."
There are several reason this is different that Mueller's indictments of other people in Trump's orbit. First, the investigation is from the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, whom Trump appointed. Second, it reportedly includes Cohen's $130,000 payment to porn star and purported Trump paramour Stormy Daniels in October 2016, exposing Trump to a raft of potential new criminal charges. But mostly, it's because "Cohen is Trump's virtual vault — the keeper of his secrets, from his business deals to his personal affairs," the Post explains. Jeffrey Toobin elaborated on CNN Tuesday morning:
— New Day (@NewDay) April 10, 2018
"This search warrant is like dropping a bomb on Trump's front porch," former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance tells the Post. "This strikes at the inner sanctum: your lawyer, your CPA, your barber, your therapist, your bartender," adds Washington attorney Mark Zaid. "All the people who would know the worst about you." If Cohen was involved in shady business, Trump may not be able to count on attorney-client privilege, either. Peter Weber
Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio became the third Republican with a conviction to jump into a major 2018 race, The Washington Post's Aaron Blake noticed Tuesday. Arpaio is running for the soon-to-be-vacated seat of Sen. Jeff Flake (R) and is still legally guilty of criminal contempt of court despite President Trump's decision to pardon him last year. "The judge in Arpaio's case has said pardons moot punishments in criminal cases but don't erase convictions," The Associated Press reported in October.
Some 2,000 miles away from Phoenix, in West Virginia, Don Blankenship has filed to run in the Republican primary for a chance to take on incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D). The former chief executive of coal company Massey Energy, Blankenship served a year in prison for a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards after a 2010 mine explosion killed 29 people.
In New York, a convicted Republican is eyeing a chance to serve in Congress — again. Michael Grimm, a former congressman representing Staten Island, has formally announced plans to take on Rep. Dan Donovan (R) for the Republican nomination. Grimm formerly served seven months in prison for one count of tax evasion. "A convicted felon, Grimm isn't prohibited from running for federal office," SIlive.com explains. "The Constitution has age, citizenship, and residency requirements — it is silent on felony status and thus it's allowed. The state Legislature has a specific prohibition on those convicted of a felony — they're not allowed to serve. But other state and city positions are fair game."
Democrats are not exempt from convictions, either. In New Mexico, David Alcon is running for the 2nd Congressional District seat. He was convicted of misdemeanor trespassing and aggravated stalking almost 10 years ago and was arrested on a felony stalking charge in October 2017, The New Mexican reports. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has announced that it will not support his candidacy. Jeva Lange