Drug Lord “La Barbie” Sentenced to Nearly 50 Years

An American citizen who was born in the United States was extradited from Mexico and sentenced to nearly 50 years in prison on drug and money laundering charges by a federal judge in Atlanta. Edgar Valdez Villarreal was known as “La Barbie” due to his light complexion and light eyes. He was also fined a staggering $192 million. Prosecutors remarked that $192 million was a conservative estimate of the value of the cocaine that was transported to the United States by Villarreal. He would then ship payment for the cocaine back to Mexico. Villarreal had pled guilty early in 2016 to conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to distribute the drug and conspiracy to launder money. Each charge carried a minimum 10 year prison sentence. Presently 44-years-old, the man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

The former linebacker for his high school football team in Laredo, Texas, viciously ascended the ranks to get the top of one of Mexico’s most powerful drug organizations. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, he started out by trafficking large shipments of marijuana between New Orleans and Memphis. He then developed a network through which he regularly delivered 150 to 180 kilos of cocaine to different cities on tractor-trailers.

“La Barbie’s” organization later began using speedboats to carry cocaine out of Colombia and other countries in South America into Mexico where it would later be transported to the United States. CNN reports that he worked his way up the organization as a hitman during a turf war for smuggling routes in and around Laredo. Upon his arrest, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized 100 kilos of cocaine and $4 million.

The man had been in custody in the United States since 2016, but he didn’t enter a plea until the middle of 2018. His family members, including his sister who is a Texas state prosecutor, pled with the presiding judge for a lesser sentence

“La Barbie’s” lawyer maintained that his client deserved credit for telling authorities 10 years ago that Mexican drug organizations had learned the identities of undercover law enforcement agents in the area. He argued that the information probably saved the lives of the agents. In response, the judge argued that even after “La Barbie” disclosed that information, he continued to deliver large shipments of cocaine to the United States. He remarked, “I’ve never seen a case like this.”

Remember About Those Cams During a Traffic Stop

If you’re the subject of a traffic stop, you don’t want to tell the officer what to do or how to address you, and you certainly don’t want to tell that officer to “shut the f**k up,” especially with dashboard and body cameras running. Port Authority Commissioner Caren Turner did just that to a Tenafly, New Jersey Police officer, and now she’s a former commissioner. All of that was over an alleged expired registration on a vehicle that he daughter wasn’t even driving. She was a passenger.

Turner purportedly arrived at the scene of the traffic stop to give her daughter a ride, but she apparently intended to use whatever influence she thought that she had over the stop. When the detaining officer asked her if she was at the scene to give her daughter a ride, she denied that. She stated that she was there as a “concerned citizen and friend of the mayor and been in Tenafly for 20 years.” Since the traffic stop had no connection with her other than her adult daughter passenger, the officer told her that she didn’t need to know the circumstances surrounding it. That’s when the officer referred to Turner as “miss.” She snarled back with “No, don’t call me miss. I’m commissioner. Thank you.” When the officer finished his work on the stop, he told Turner that she could take her daughter and her friend away. She snapped, “You may shut the f**k up and not tell me when I can take my kid and friends who are Ph.D. students from MIT and Yale. You may tell me nothing.”

Caren Turner resigned from her position as a Port Authority Commissioner the next day. It’s likely that it wasn’t a voluntary resignation either. Getting out of your car, being belligerent and swearing at a police officer during a simple traffic stop isn’t going to do anything at all to get you or anybody else out of a ticket, especially when it’s all recorded on a dash cam or body cam. The former Port Authority Commissioner Miss Turner is living proof of the possible ripple effect.

Akron Civil Case Moving Forward

Stories in the news of examples of police brutality and other serious situations are becoming increasingly commonplace. In many situations, some of these stories and up resulting in lawsuits that take place as a form of punishment and compensation for those that feel they were wronged. This past week, a new lawsuit emerged related to an unfortunate situation that took place in Akron, OH (http://fox8.com/2018/05/10/family-of-akron-teen-who-died-in-police-custody-files-civil-lawsuit-against-police-department/).

In August of 2017, Xavier McMullen was arrested with several of his friends and placed in the backseat of a squad car. During the initial arrest, the police officers completed a quick check to make sure that McMullen and his friends did not have any weapons on them. Unfortunately, they did not check hard enough and he actually had a gun in his back pocket. When he was placed in the backseat of the car, he was placed in a certain position that accidentally discharged the weapon. McMullen ended up getting hit in a very serious spot and died shortly after being shot.

At the time of the incident, McMullen was only 17 years old and his family is now looking to file a civil lawsuit against the city of Akron and the police department. The lawsuit was filed in the Summit County Common Pleas Court by a local attorney and is expected to start moving forward very quickly. The situation at the time was heavily covered by the press due to the unusual nature of the situation. While McMullen was shot by his own weapon, there are a variety of odd situations with the case that could make it a very interesting court case.

The primary part of the lawsuit claims that the police officers did not properly search McMullen during the arrest. This then directly led to the gunshot wound and ultimate death of the teen. Another odd thing about the situation was that one of the cameras for the vehicles was not working, which caused the police to lose some very important tape footage that could have been great evidence for the case.

At this point, the police department is not answering any questions about the situation or the case. The police officer that was on the scene was disciplined for not searching the teen properly, but was not fired over the situation. He is also not likely to face criminal charges due to the situation as its not clear that there was any intent.



Cosby Verdict Could Lead to Significant Civil Damages

After his conviction for sexual assault in a Pennsylvania court, famed entertainer Bill Cosby faces many years in jail. But this may not be the only punishment he will face. Experts believe that the conviction could lead to many civil lawsuits, in which women he both assaulted and defamed could sue him for significant sums of money.

On Thursday, a jury convicted Cosby — who is now 80 years old — of assaulting Andrea Constand more than a decade ago. He faces 10 years imprisonment for each count of indecent aggravated assault, though the sentences could be given concurrently.

So far, around 60 women have accused the former star of the hit series “The Cosby Show” of assaulting them, often with aid of drugs. Though only Constand’s accusation resulted in criminal proceedings because the others were beyond the statue of limitations. Cosby has continually denied any wrongdoing.

At the moment, it is believed that around 10 women have filed civil claims against Cosby, in both California and Massachusetts. These lawsuits alone could result in millions of dollars in damages. Attorneys representing Cosby in these suits have not commented about them. But Gloria Allred, who is a famous defense lawyer representing one of Cosby’s alleged victims, says that — if the lawsuit goes to trial — she will definitely introduce Cosby’s conviction as evidence. She says that she believes that his conviction will certainly sway a jury in her client’s favor.

In civil suits, attorneys representing the women will only have to demonstrate a preponderance of evidence to support their claims, which requires a far lower threshold of belief than what is required to convict someone in a criminal court, in which a jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of someone’s guilt.

Lynne Abraham, who was once a district attorney and who is now working in private practice for a firm called Archer, believes that the conviction could lead other women to accuse Cosby, because it will give these women courage to believe that they will prevail in court.

Douglas Wigdor, who is a lawyer who represents plaintiffs in sexual harassment lawsuits, says that judges do not always allow evidence of past behavior as evidence in these suits. He says that there must be a clear pattern of such behavior. In Cosby’s trial, 5 other women testified against the actor, saying that he drugged and assaulted them as well.


Plea Agreement Entered for Woman With Gun in Body Cavity

A 27-year-old Missouri woman has entered a plea of guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm in McLean County, IL. Her plea agreement requires truthful testimony from her against her acquaintance with whom she was arrested. The woman faces up to 10 years in prison on the gun charge and up to 15 years in prison on the controlled substance charge. The controlled substance was heroin. It’s likely that she will receive a significantly reduced sentence if she testifies in accordance with her plea agreement. The man has been charged with unlawful possession of heroin with intent to deliver and possession of ecstacy.

The woman and a 29-year-old man were arrested after a traffic stop for traveling at 90 mph at 5:00 a.m. on Interstate Highway 55. Police reported that a search of the vehicle uncovered heroin and ecstacy. The woman was transported to the McLean County Jail to be booked and processed. Arrestees are also subject to a strip search. In the woman’s case, the strip search revealed a loaded Kimber .380 handgun hidden inside of the woman’s vagina. The Daily Mail reports that enforcement personnel said that the weapon had a fully loaded magazine and “a bullet in the chamber ready to fire.” An unloaded Kimber .380 is 5.6 inches long and weighs 13 ounces. A criminal history check shows that the woman has been arrested in the past for theft passing bad checks and resisting arrest.

There’s a reason for criminal suspects being strip searched. That’s because this has happened before. A 19-year-old woman was found to have a loaded .22 revolver concealed in her vagina upon being strip searched after being taken into custody in Kingsport, TN. That handgun was four inches in length. An Oklahoma woman who was strip searched after being taken into custody on a drug arrest was found to have a loaded .22 revolver hidden in her vagina.

Allegedly Drunk Man Runs Himself Over With His Own Car

A DUI charge can come in a wide variety of ways. Even weaving within your own lane is a sufficient basis for a traffic stop in some states. Then, there are the atypical ways of catching a DUI. Those might be falling asleep at a red light, riding a horse on a freeway on your birthday like one Florida man did. Another Florida man was charged with DUI after operating a riding lawn mower on a roadway. He was driving back home after getting more beer. Being hit by your own vehicle can give new meaning to not being in control of your vehicle though. That’s what happened to a young man in Virginia.

He was pulled over on a routine traffic stop for an equipment violation. He did pull over, but when he did so, he exited his car and began running. In his haste, the driver apparently failed to put the car in park when he stopped. He ran around the front driver’s side of the car and was hit by his rolling car. The man quickly got back onto his feet and continued running. He was caught after a short foot chase. All of this was recorded on the dash cam of a Fairfax County Sheriff’s Department squad car.

The driver is now charged with felony hit-and-run, a third DUI charge, possession of marijuana and operating a vehicle with illegally tinted windows. The tinted windows were the likely basis of the traffic stop. Felony hit-and-run in Virginia is categorized as a class 5 felony. It’s punishable by up to 10 years in prison with a six month minimum jail term. A third DUI within five years is also punishable as a class 5 felony. That third DUI within five to 10 years is a class 6 felony, punishable by one to five years in prison with a 90 day minimum jail sentence.

“Smallville” Actress Allision Mack Arrested on Sex Cult Allegations

Allison Mack and self-help specialist Keith Raniere were arrested last week. Each of them was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor. Mack is widely known from her role as Chloe, who is Clark Kent’s close friend in the hugely successful television series “Smallville.” If convicted, both face up to 15 years in prison.

Raniere is alleged to be the leader of a sex cult, and Mack has been held out by authorities as a recruiter of unsuspecting women for him and his group called NXIVM Both of them have entered pleas of not guilty. Authorities further allege that Mack told women she was recruiting that they were entering into a female mentorship program. As reported by ABC News, federal prosecutors stated that “Mack and other … masters recruited … slaves by telling them that they were joining a women-only organization that would empower them and eradicate purported weaknesses the NXIVM curriculum taught were common in women.”

In court, one of the prosecutors remarked that “under the guise of female empowerment” the actress “the actress starved women until they fit her co-defendant’s sexual ideal.” A prosecutor went on to say that Mack then made the women who she recruited engage in sexual behavior with Raniere. He then paid the actress in return.

Raniere was arrested in Mexico where NXIVM is also located. He’s presently in Brooklyn and being held without bail. It’s unknown whether anybody else has been or will be charged. Kristen Kreuk was a co-star of Mack’s in “Smallville.” She confirmed that in the past, she was involved in a self-help group involving Mack and Raniere. She stated that she took a course with “Executive Success Programs/NXIVM” to overcome shyness, but left the program about five years ago. She related that when with the group, she never experienced any “nefarious activity”. She was “horrified and disgusted” about the accusations.

Raniere’s lawyer also denied the allegations against his client. In defense of Raniere, he stated that no influence or pressure caused anybody to do anything against their will.

Supreme Court Denies Blagojevich’s Appeal

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to shorten his jail sentence. Blagojevich is currently serving 14 years in federal prison relating to a wide-ranging corruption scandal from his time in office. He was famously convicted of soliciting bribes in exchange for filing the empty Senate seat of Barack Obama after he was elected president in the fall of 2008.

The court’s ruling leaves in place a lower court decision that rejected Blagojevich’s request for a reduced sentence based on the fact that some of the counts in his original conviction back in 2011 have been invalidated. He also claimed that he deserved a reduced sentence because of his good behavior since being incarcerated in prison.

The former governor, who is now 61 years old, was also convicted of extortion and wire fraud in addition to soliciting bribes. He was in office from January 2003 to January 2009. It was during the latter date that the Illinois legislature removed him from office. He then began serving his sentence in 2012.

The charges against Blagojevich, who was also once a contestant on Donald Trump’s reality show “Celebrity Apprentice,” and who is a member of the Democratic Party, went beyond filling Obama’s vacant senate seat. Prosecutors additionally accused Blagojevich of soliciting campaign funds in exchange for raising reimbursement rates relating to pediatric health care in the state, and for supporting legislation that would have benefited local horse racing interests.

In 2015, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago invalidated 5 of the 18 original counts against Blagojevich. They also ordered new sentencing for the former governor. But James Zagel, who is a U.S. district judge, eventually gave Blagojevich the same 14-year sentence that he had first received. Later on in 2017, the same 7th Circuit Court rejected an appeal from Blagojevich and his legsl reprentatives, who maintained that Zagel had abused his discretion when he imposed on Blagojevich the same exact sentence that he had originally received.


Wichita, Kansas Swatting “Prank” Gone Bad’s Police Officer Adjudicated Of Charges Of Killing While On The Job

Video games are a solid source of entertainment for men, women, boys, and girls all around the planet. They’ve also led to new forms of entertainment, such as online live streaming of gamers’ commentary overlapped on various video game footage, of which millions of people tune into every day – that’s considering the entire industry, at large, on sites like Twitch or Facebook via its Live feature.

Just four months ago, Tyler Barriss of Los Angeles, California, was arrested for calling emergency services and effectively sending a fully-decked-out SWAT team to a fellow streamer’s house. Unfortunately, the streamer, 28-year-old Andrew Finch, died following the totally false 911 call.

Finch’s death came just after Christmas 2017.

Tyler Barriss, a 25-year-old living in Southern California, dialed 911 and claimed that he was currently located in Wichita, Kansas and that he had just brutally, unapologetically slew his father and was holding an undisclosed number of relatives inside that same house.

Shortly after the call went through, a Special Weapons and Assault Team (SWAT) called Mr. Finch outside of his home. Considering that Finch knew he had done nothing wrong, coupled with the fact that he was unaware of such a call being made to 911 against him, he didn’t follow the SWAT team’s commands closely enough.

Police reports indicate that Finch’s hands wavered around his waistband for a moment too long, pushing an officer to fire one shot at the video-gaming live-streamer. Finch died immediately.

According to Troy Livingston, the Deputy Police Chief of Wichita, Kansas, Mr. Finch was referred to as “an innocent victim” of a so-called “prank” gone wrong.

Despite the fact that Barriss was shipped from Los Angeles, California all the way to Wichita, Kansas, considering that is where the crime ultimately took place – or, at least where he’s currently being held and will likely be charged in – he’s still not shown any remorse for his actions.

Just days ago, he logged onto Twitter and shared “How am I on the Internet if I’m in jail? Oh, because I’m an eGod, that’s how.”

As it turns out, 13 other inmates accessed the Internet, as well, due to a security upgrade on a kiosk used by inmates to keep track of commissary balances and to message others using email technology. Normally, inmates are never allowed to access the Internet.

The only reason Barriss logged online is through a fault of the prison’s administration.

I’ll take, “Who’s not an eGod for 400, please.”

Bill Cosby Returns to Court for the Start of His Retrial

Bill Cosby’s retrial is set to begin on Monday in Pennsylvania, and the dynamics surrounding this trial are much different than the trial the comedian faced in 2017.

The 80-year-old comedian, best known for playing Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show”, is facing three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He’s been accused of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University, in his home back in 2004.

Cosby faced a previous trial for these charges last year, but Judge Steven O’Neill of Montgomery County declared a mistrial because jurors were unable to come to a unanimous verdict. Cosby and Constand reached a civil settlement in 2006, although the details of that settlement have remained confidential.

Cosby’s new lawyer, Tom Mesereau, is expected to portray Constand as being “greedy” during the civil settlement. Mesereau is best known for defending Michael Jackson during his child molestation trial. Mesereau plans on calling Margo Jackson to the stand, a woman who claims that Constand told her that she could lie about being drugged and raped by a famous celebrity and get a lot of money for it. Jackson did not testify during Cosby’s first trial.

The prosecution’s case relies heavily on Constand’s testimony, since there is very little forensic evidence. The prosecution does have one thing going for them, however. The rise of the recent #MeToo movement has put a spotlight on sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry.

Entertainment icons like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer have all faced sexual assault allegations and their career’s have suffered because of it. Cosby is the only entertainer currently facing a trial.

During jury selection, potential jurors were asked how they felt about the current #MeToo movement, so their viewpoints on it could play a factor in Cosby’s retrial. The jury consists of six white men, one African American man, four white women, and one African American woman. The six alternate jurors include four men and two women.

Prosecutors will be allowed to have five women testify during Cosby’s retrial. Only one woman, who previously accused the comedian of drugging and assaulting her, testified in his first trial.

Cosby’s trial could have both legal ramifications for the comedian, and cultural consequences for the nation as people focus on how the jury’s decision will be affected by the #MeToo movement. Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutor Reportedly Had Intimate Relationship With Alleged Detective Rapist

There are allegations that a married 34-year-old Kings County prosecutor with two children has been having an affair with a 33-year-old former NYPD detective who stands accused of raping an 18-year-old woman while she was handcuffed in the back of a police van on September 15, 2017. That prosecutor has now been referred for investigation for possible violations the rules of professional conduct for lawyers licensed in the State of New York. She had been a prosecutor for less than a year before her relationship with the former detective came to light. The relationship was discovered during a search of the cell phone records of one of the teen’s alleged assailants.

Like his former partner, the detective who was allegedly involved with the prosecutor is the subject of a 50 count indictment. The two men stand accused of taking the teenager into custody in Calvert Vaux Park for allegedly being in illegal possession of prescription medication. According to Newsweek, the teen was forced to perform a sexual act on one of the detectives while the other watched from the van’s rear view mirror while driving. The second detective then allegedly raped her. The phone calls between the prosecutor and former detective began before the alleged rape, but they continued after the September 15, 2017 date. The prosecutor is said to have known the second detective socially. A spokesman for the Office of the District Attorney stated that the married prosecutor and mother of two “had no involvement in or access to the investigation or prosecution of the two detectives.” Both of the former detectives claim that the sex with the teen was consensual, but they both resigned.

The attorney for the teen said that he intends to use the former detective’s affair with the prosecutor in a federal civil rights suit that both former detectives and the City of New York are defendants in. He asserted that it’s completely relevant to the civil rights lawsuit as it goes to the credibility of one or both of the former detectives. That lawsuit remains pending.

Brother of Seth Rich Files Lawsuit Relating to DNC Hacking Incident

While the police are still investigating the death of Democratic National Committee (DNC) employee Seth Rich that occurred in the summer of 2016, speculation that his death was related to the releasing of thousands of DNC emails has continued. This has lead Rich’s brother Aaron to file a lawsuit.

This past week, Rich filed a suit against Ed Butowsky, who is a Dallas financial advisor who had a central role in the early reporting of the case. Rich has also sued a prominent conservative conspiracy theorist, as well as the Washington Times. His lawsuit contends that the three propogated unsubstantiated claims that Aaron Rich was involved in the leaking of emails to WikiLeaks, which then publicly disseminated the material. National security and intelligence officials in the United States — both under President Obama and President Trump — have concluded that hackers working for the Russian government were solely responsible for the hacking of DNC emails.

According to wbgo.org, the lawsuit filed against the three is the third such suit relating to the circumstances of Seth Rich’s death. In May of last year, Fox News made claims about how Seth Rich’s death was related to the emails. Fox retracted these claims a week later, but the parents of Seth Rich still sued the network earlier this year. Butowsky, who sometimes contributes to Fox News, allegedly provided information that was the basis of the story, according to a third lawsuit that was filed against Fox in August of last year.

Aaron Rich’s lawsuit refers to public statements Butowsky has made, as well as statements made by a conservative conspiracy theorist named Matt Couch and his company, America First Media. These statements, according to the lawsuit, insinuated that Aaron Rich helped provide the stolen emails to WikiLeaks and did so in exchange for financial compensation.

Donald Trump, when he was a candidate for president, applauded WikiLeaks for publishing the DNC emails, which showed discord within the organization.

Michael Gottlieb, who is an attorney for Aaron Rich, says that his client wants to clean his good name. He further says that the accusations against him are not based in reality and have been completely made up. According to the lawsuit, Aaron Rich is a defense contractor who holds a secrurity clearance. The suit contends that the accusations made against him were no different than accusing him of treason.

Federal Court Overturns Drug Patent Verdict

On Wednesday, a U.S. federal judge overturned a verdict previously handed down by a jury, which required Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to pay British drug company GlaxoSmithKline PLC. in excess of $235 million because of patent infringement relating to a blood pressure drug called Coreg.

Leonard Stark, who is a U.S. district judge in Wilmington, Delaware, stated that the facts in the case did not support the jury’s verdict. In June of last year, the jury determined that Teva — which sells a generic version of Coreg — led to doctors infringing the patent of GlaxoSmithKline. According to The Telegraph, the jury subsequently awarded GlaxoSmithKline $234.1 million, to make up for the loss of profits. It further gave the company another $1.4 million for royalty payments owed them, and it rejected the argument that Teva had made that GlaxoSmithKline’s patent was invalid. Judge Stark did not overturn that part of the decision.

In response to the ruling, GlaxoSmithKline issued a statement that expressed disappointment with Judge Stark’s decision. They further said that they were exploring their options as it relates to the case.

Teva did not issue a comment about the ruling.

In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved carvedilol, which is a generic version of Coreg that Teva manufactures. But GlaxoSmithKline argued that Teva’s FDA application did not include using the drug for the treatment of chronic heart failure, which they insist was under patent. They further argued that, starting in 2011, Teva began marketing carvedilol specifically as a treatment for chronic heart failure.

But Judge Stark did not agree with the company’s argument. He said that the evidence presented in the case did not show that Teva’s actions directly led to doctors infringing GlaxoSmithKline’s patent. He said that there could have been other factors that led doctors to infringe GlaxoSmithKline’s patent. He then concluded by saying that — if GlaxoSmithKline could not prove causation — the ruling of the jury could not stand.

The case was filed under GlaxoSmithKline LLC. et al v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, No. 14-cv-00878.

Texas Governor Grants Clemency For Man Who Killed Family

Convicted murderer Bart Whitaker was only 40 minutes away from execution. That’s when Texas Governor Greg Abbott stepped in and canceled it. Instead, Whitaker will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The grant of clemency comes at the request of Whitaker’s father. The man is the only person who survived Whitaker’s planned attack on his family. Whitaker murdered both his mother and his brother in the attack. The attack came in the family home.

Whitaker killed his mother and brother in an effort to hide the secret that he wasn’t graduating from college as he claimed. Instead of going to school, he had been hanging around a house that his parents were paying for. He spent most of his days playing video games. He told his family that he was graduating from school, and the family went out to dinner to celebrate.

During dinner, Whitaker had a friend go and wait in the house. When the family arrived home, the friend attacked. To make it look like an accident, the friend shot Whitaker in the arm.

Whitaker’s denials unraveled when he traveled to Mexico under a false identity. There, he met a girlfriend. The girlfriend had a fight with her parents. To her amazement, Whitaker suggested that she murder her parents.

Despite Whitaker’s death sentence, his father begged anyone who would listen not to proceed with the execution. His father said that he still loved his son and would miss him if he were executed. His father said that he was a victim of the crime, too, and his words should have weight.

The state’s attorney wasn’t moved by the father’s pleas. He said that it was his job to represent the people of the State of Texas as a whole. He said that he doesn’t represent victims specifically.

Whitaker’s father took his case to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. After reviewing the entire case, they recommended granting clemency. The governor finally made his decision 40 minutes before the execution was to take place. Preparations had already begun for the execution.

Whitaker’s father says that Whitaker has made the most of his time in prison. He’s had 11 years to think about his crimes. He believes that his son has a mental illness. Whitaker has reportedly learned Spanish. He hopes that Whitaker continues to grow and learn while he’s in prison. Whitaker’s father says that forgiving his son has helped him find healing.


City Mayor Convicted For Abusing His Position

A Pennsylvania mayor has been convicted of 47 different charges that relate to abusing his public position. The federal conviction includes charges of bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and trying to extort campaign donations. Ed Pawlowski was the mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania. He used his position to try and get law firms to make donations to his campaigns. In exchange, he promised them legal business from the city. He also sought donations from tech, engineering and construction companies in exchange for promises of city tax dollars.

Becoming the mayor of Allentown wasn’t all that Pawlowski aspired to. Instead, he wanted to become the Governor of Pennsylvania or a Senator. He wanted to use his position of Allentown mayor in order to illegally get the money to fund his additional campaigns. Pawloski received acquittals for seven additional charges.

Pawlowski maintained his innocence of the charges throughout the trial. He said that prosecutors couldn’t prove that he gave those companies work because of contributions. He said that the case against him was weak and that the jury shouldn’t believe the witnesses.

In addition to the convictions for Pawlowski, an attorney was tried and convicted of related charges. The jury convicted Scott Allenson of conspiracy and bribery. They say that he tried to get money to the mayor in hopes of getting work for a law firm in exchange.

To secure the convictions, the prosecution team presented audio recordings. The recordings were made in secret. Pawlowski’s campaign manager and another person working for the campaign made the recordings. Authorities say that the recordings were telling and even bizarre at times. The parties involved talked about code words for bribes like the word meatballs.

The law firm that the attorney worked for tried to distance themselves from the lawyer’s actions. They said that he acted on his own to commit the offenses. They say that the law firm doesn’t do anything unethical.

One of Pawlowski’s acquittals was for allegations that he sought a bribe from an attorney. The attorney was allegedly a tax attorney who worked for the city to collect delinquent taxes. Another acquittal involved allegations that Pawlowski sought a bribe from another law firm’s partner.

The verdict forces Pawlowski out of his post as mayor. His ouster ends 12 years in office and ends his ambitions to become a governor or senator. He only began his latest term in January of 2018. In addition, he faces an upcoming sentencing hearing. The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison.