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Mon, 30 Jan 2023
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Long Island Mortgage Broker Who Aided FBI Gets 27 Months in Prison for Insider Trading Scheme

© The Star Ledger
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman is pictured outside the federal courthouse in Newark.
A Long Island mortgage broker whose extensive cooperation with investigators helped break open one of the largest and longest-running insider trading frauds ever prosecuted was sentenced to just 2 years and 3 months in prison today, as the sentencing judge praised Kenneth Robinson for helping the FBI make damning secret recordings of his two co-conspirators.

Robinson, 45, of Long Beach, N.Y., got a sentence that was well below the roughly six to seven years recommended for him under federal sentencing guidelines. And his sentence came just a day after the same judge gave his two co-conspirators 12 years and nine years in prison, respectively.

The 12-year sentence handed down Monday to blue-chip corporate lawyer Matthew Kluger, a central figure in a 17-year insider-trading scheme that funneled $37 million in illicit profits to three white-collar professionals, is being hailed by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman as the longest sentence ever imposed in an insider-trading case in the United States.

"It's very clear to me that only one of the three defendants (charged in the case) is literally living in this world, living and breathing the air that we breathe," said U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden as she credited Robinson for both his cooperation with authorities and contriteness, while also distinguishing him from co-defendants who she said may still not grasp the impact and wrongness of their crimes.


TV weatherman recovering after being shot in the chest with a crossbow during home invasion

© unknown
Gerald Taylor is accused of breaking into an Ashworth Court home and attacking owner Robert Batot
A Tennessee man has been charged with attempted murder after shooting a TV weatherman in the chest with a crossbow during a home invasion.

Gerald Delbert Taylor, 53, from Johnson City, is accused of breaking into the home he once shared with Robert William Batot, 43, and firing a crossbow bolt into Batot's chest during an altercation.

Batot fleed the house as Taylor also fired at him with a 9mm handgun, missing him with every shot.

Batot, who uses the name Rob Williams when working as a meteorologist for WJHL Channel 11, still had the bolt sticking out of his chest when police arrived on the scene after the attack early on Monday morning.

It is unclear why Taylor launched such a vicious attack against Batot, but the TV personality had taken out a restraining order against Taylor in May.

In court details for that order or protection, Batot alleged that Taylor had earlier vandalised his car - slashing the tyres - had stolen from him, and had threatened to kill him on precious occasions.

Taylor, who had been staying at a local motel after being evicted from Batot's house, had allegedly threatened to ruin Batot's reputation, before threatening to kill Badot and then himself.

The restraining order prevented Taylor from going to Batot's Ashworth Court home or his place of work at Channel 11.

No Entry

State Torture Panel Faces an Abrupt Ending

© José M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune
David Thomas, executive director of the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission.
Legislature stripped funding for commission, which is to submit its first recommendations Tuesday

On Tuesday, a state commission set up to investigate claims of police torture will refer its first cases to Cook County's chief judge, beginning to fulfill its mandate to plumb one of Chicago's most stubborn scandals by making recommendations for legal relief.

Then it will go out of business.

The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission was approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn in the summer of 2009, a response to the long-standing scandal around former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge and many of his subordinates, who were accused of torturing suspects to get confessions. After appointing a slate of commissioners and hiring a small staff, it launched investigations of its first cases in September.

Its budget last year: $150,000. Its proposed budget for the coming year, which called for adding a staff attorney: $235,000.

The state House and Senate, however, voted last week to strip the commission of its funding, meaning it will go out of business June 30, although the law that gave the commission its existence will remain on the books. The panel's eight voting members, led by a former judge and including a former public defender and former prosecutor as well as three non-attorneys, were unpaid, said David Thomas, the executive director.

Thomas said he is unsure why the funding was cut or how it happened. He simply got notice that the money would not be there.


TSA Fires, Suspends Dozens for Screening Violations

  • Five workers fired and 38 more suspended after failing to conduct extra screenings on passengers and their bags
  • TSA says probe was conducted over two-month period last year
  • Republican congressman demands answers on whether security lapse put fliers at risk

Five TSA workers are out of the job and another 38 have been suspended after they reportedly failed to conduct random security screenings on passengers and their luggage.

The employees were all based out of Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, and have been replaced by agents from other locations.

The affected workers were employed in different capacities at the airport, including supervisors and front-line security screeners, the News-Press reported.

Muslim Baby Ordered Off Plane For Being On No Fly List

5 Things the TSA Doesn't Want You to See


Luka Rocco Magnotta Will Not Fight Extradition to Canada

Luka Rocco Magnotta
© luka-magnotta.com
Luka Rocco Magnotta
Luka Rocco Magnotta could be back in Canada very soon.

Magnotta, who is accused of the grisly murder of Lin Jun - a 33-year-old Chinese student living in Montreal - made his first court appearance Tuesday after being arrested at German Internet cafe a day earlier.

The German prosecutor responsible for his case says Magnotta will not be fighting extradition and could be in Canada within a week.

"The suspect said that he will not fight the extradition," senior Berlin prosecutor Martin Steltner said in an interview with the Globe and Mail.

"The extradition process is very complicated in Germany, and it can take months, even years - but not in this case," he said. "It will be much easier to get him to Canada."


Accused double-killer might have had vendetta for sex offenders

© Chris Tucker/Peninsula Daily News
Patrick B. Drum enters the courtroom for his first appearance in Port Angeles on Monday. He is being held in jail without bail.
Washington State - Convicted felon Patrick B. Drum, accused of murder in the weekend shooting deaths of two convicted sex offenders - one of them his roommate - had intended to kill more sex offenders when he was arrested following an extensive manhunt, Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly said Monday.

A probable-cause statement issued Monday by the Clallam County Sheriff's Department alleged that Drum, 34, of Sequim committed two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree burglary.

The victims were Drum's roommate, Gary Lee Blanton Jr., 28, found dead at the 5011 Sequim-Dungeness Way residence Blanton and Drum shared.

Jerry W. Ray, 56 - earlier accounts had said he was 51 - was found dead at Ray's 31 Heuhslein Road home east of Port Angeles.

Drum was arrested with a shoulder-holstered 9 mm pistol at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday after an intense manhunt by about 65 law enforcement officers from city, county, state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Border Patrol, which deployed a helicopter, authorities said at a news conference Monday afternoon.


Traffic stop reveals toddler holding handgun

© NBC Chicago
Queshawn King was stopped last week in Chicago.
Chicago police received a surprise this week when they reportedly found a three-year-old girl holding a handgun during a routine traffic stop.

Police pulled a car of six people over in East Garfield Park, a community in the west side of Chicago, last Wednesday night . Two children were seated inside, with no car seats or seat belts, police said. When the officer approached the vehicle, he saw the 19-year-old driver, Queshawn King, making "furtive" downward movements to the three-year-old, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing police.

An officer then asked the man, who was described as "nervous," to step out of the car. He heard King yell to the toddler by her nickname, "Fatty" multiple times.

A police sergeant approached the front passenger side of the car and saw the child holding the handgun. When he tried to retrieve it, she threw the 9 mm weapon to the floor.

It was loaded with eight rounds, but did not discharge, police said.

King was charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon for having a loaded weapon inside the vehicle, misdemeanor endangering the life and health of a child, and misdemeanor possession of a firearm without a valid FOID (Firearms Owner's Identification) card.

Besides King and the young girl, four other people were in the car, including another child, the 3-year old's mother, grandmother and a man who was behind the wheel.

The other occupants of the car reportedly told the police the gun did not belong to them, the Tribune reported.

King was subsequently taken to Cook County Jail Thursday after a judge set his bail at $50,000, according to the Cook County sheriff's office.

Bad Guys

The Roots of Tragedy: Lakota People's Law Project Challenges New York Times "Poverty's Poster Child"

Lakota People's Law Project
Nicholas Kristof's portrait of the Pine Ridge Reservation in his piece for the May 9th New York Times "Poverty's Poster Child" is shocking and sympathetic, but, according to the Lakota People's Law Project, it does not address social and economic structures of oppression in South Dakota. While he implies that regular economic investment models could help Native American communities, he does not depict the reservation system's perpetuation of conquest and Native American self-destruction. The Lakota People's Law Project states that Mr. Kristof has completely overlooked South Dakota's systematic abduction of Lakota children from their families, continuing the 150 year policy of destroying the Lakota People's family and societal structures. This omission is more puzzling considering NPR's Peabody Award-winning three-part expose of the South Dakota foster care system last October by Laura Sullivan.


Obama Refuses to Allow Lech Walesa Accept Medal of Freedom for Member of WWII Polish Underground


Lech Walesa
Lech Walesa was once a trade-union activist. He was often arrested for speaking his mind against Communist oppression behind the Iron Curtain in Poland and for defying the Soviet Union. He was an electrician who, with no higher education, led one of the most profound freedom movements of the 20th century - Solidarity. He became president of Poland and swept in reforms, pushing the Soviet Union out of his homeland and moving the country toward a free-market economy and individual liberty. And President Obama doesn't want him to set foot in the White House.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Polish officials requested that Walesa accept the Medal of Freedom on behalf of Jan Karski, a member of the Polish Underground during World War II who was being honored posthumously this week. The request makes sense. Walesa and Karski shared a burning desire to rid Poland of tyrannical subjugation. But President Obama said no.

Administration officials told the Journal that Walesa is too "political." A man who was arrested by Soviet officials for dissenting against the government for being "political" is being shunned by the United States of America for the same reason 30 years later.


Miss Ohio Claims 'Pretty Woman' Prostitute is a 'Positive Role Model'

Audrey Bolte
© Unknown
On Sunday, Miss Ohio Audrey Bolte named Julia Roberts' prostitute character in the film 'Pretty Woman' as movie a role where women were portrayed in an "accurate and positive way" (video below).

Judge Marilu Henner asked Bolte during Sunday's Miss USA pageant on NBC: "Do you think women are depicted in movies and on television in an accurate and positive way? And please give us an example."

Bolte answered: "I think it depends on the movie. I think there are some movies that depict women in a very positive role, and then some movies that put them in a little bit more of negative role. But by the end of the movie, they show that woman power that I know we all have."

"Such as the movie Pretty Woman. We had a wonderful, beautiful woman, Julia Roberts, and she was having a rough time, but, you know what, she came out on top and she didn't let anybody stand in her path."

Comment: Losing Femininity in the Elusive Search for Kansas