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An image from a court filing by the Justice Department showing documents seized during the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. WASHINGTON—An appeals court has ordered an end to the “special master” process for reviewing documents seized from former President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago residence, delivering a major boost to the Justice Department’s continuing criminal investigation. In a 3-0 decision issued on Thursday, a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said Mr. Trump’s objections to the search should have been promptly dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.
WASHINGTON—A jury on Tuesday found two members of the Oath Keepers militia group guilty of seditious conspiracy by plotting to forcefully disrupt the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election, and convicted three others on lesser charges in the closely watched trial stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. After a seven-week trial in Washington and three days of deliberations, the jury said Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and one of his co-defendants, Kelly Meggs, plotted to use force to block Congress from formally certifying President Biden‘s election victory.
Supreme Court Weighs Limits in Fraud Prosecutions
  + stars: | 2022-11-28 | by ( Jan Wolfe | Jimmy Vielkind | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: 1 min
WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a set of public-corruption cases that shook up New York politics, with the justices mulling whether to limit how federal prosecutors can pursue fraud cases nationwide. The court heard two cases emerging from former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara ‘s crackdown on what he called a “show-the-money culture in Albany” during the tenure of former Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo . Mr. Cuomo, who resigned from office in August 2021, wasn’t accused of wrongdoing in the cases, but they cast a shadow over his governorship.
Abraham Hamadeh . Republican candidate for attorney general in Arizona, is joined by the Republican National Committee in a lawsuit alleging poll workers’ errors may have influenced the results. The Republican candidate for attorney general in Arizona, joined by the Republican National Committee, has filed a lawsuit alleging errors by poll workers may have influenced the results of the race. The lawsuit, brought jointly by Republican Abraham Hamadeh and the RNC, requests an order that he be certified as the winner of the race, among other forms of injunctive relief.
WASHINGTON–The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it wouldn’t block a House committee from accessing Donald Trump’s tax returns, handing a defeat to the former president in a long-running court fight. The court denied Mr. Trump’s request for a temporary order, known as a stay, that would have blocked the House Ways and Means Committee from obtaining the tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service. The unsigned order from the court had no dissents.
A federal appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday as it looks to resolve a simmering procedural dispute in the Justice Department’s escalating investigation of former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Days after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to take over the investigation, Justice Department attorneys are expected to urge the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to end a document-vetting arrangement, instated by a lower court, that prosecutors have argued has slowed the investigation into the material the FBI seized from the Florida resort in August.
An artist sketch of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who testified that it was ‘really stupid’ of members of his militia to breach the Capitol. WASHINGTON—Federal prosecutors urged jurors to convict members of the Oath Keepers militia for plotting to violently overthrow the U.S. government, presenting their closing arguments in the first sedition trial stemming from last year’s Capitol riot. “These defendants repeatedly called for the violent overthrow of the United States government, and they followed those words with action,” Justice Department lawyer Kathryn Rakoczy told jurors during a closing argument on Friday.
WASHINGTON—A federal judge in Washington struck down a pandemic-era policy known as Title 42 that the Biden administration has used to expel migrants crossing the border illegally, a ruling that will affect the government’s efforts to slow illegal border crossings. In a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said that Title 42 was promulgated in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, a federal law that dictates how agencies can issue regulations. Judge Sullivan said Title 42 “does not rationally serve its stated purpose in view of the alternatives,” and that the policy was therefore “arbitrary and capricious.”
Alina Habba, with Peter Ticktin, led a group of lawyers for former President Donald Trump in a case dismissed in September. A federal judge in Florida has imposed monetary sanctions on a team of former President Donald Trump’s lawyers, castigating them for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and other Democrats earlier this year. In a scathing 19-page decision, U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks said a group of lawyers for Mr. Trump, led by Alina Habba and Peter Ticktin, showed a “cavalier attitude towards facts” throughout the brief history of the case.
Pennsylvanians Rush to Fix Mail Ballots After Court Ruling
  + stars: | 2022-11-08 | by ( Jan Wolfe | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: 1 min
Some Pennsylvania election officials scrambled Tuesday to help voters fix mail-in ballots, following a ruling last week from the state’s Supreme Court that could determine the outcome of a closely watched U.S. Senate race. Election officials in Philadelphia County and Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, published online the names of thousands of residents whose ballots were at risk of being rejected following the Nov. 1 decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
WASHINGTON— Stewart Rhodes , founder of the Oath Keepers militia, sought to distance himself from other members of the group on Monday, testifying during his seditious-conspiracy trial that his associates were “stupid” to have entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Under friendly questioning by his lawyer, Mr. Rhodes testified that he wasn’t aware until after the Capitol riot that some of his fellow Oath Keepers had gone into the building.
The Federal Trade Commission is one of the agencies that use administrative courts in which judges rule on the legality of mergers and make other decisions. WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court on Monday will hear arguments over the Federal Trade Commission’s authority, the latest case before the high court that seeks to rein in federal agency power. The justices will hold an oral argument in Axon Enterprise Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission, a lawsuit brought by the maker of Tasers and other police equipment against the antitrust enforcement agency.
In Arizona, after armed activists began monitoring ballot drop boxes, two Republican officials in Maricopa County issued an unusual joint statement to poll watchers: “Don’t dress in body armor to intimidate voters as they are legally returning their ballots.”In Pennsylvania, the Democrat who oversees the state’s elections has embarked on a public speaking tour to explain why delays and other unevenness in reporting election results is normal—and not an indicator of fraud.
Penguin Random House sought to acquire Simon & Schuster for roughly $2 billion. A federal judge on Monday blocked Penguin Random House from acquiring rival book publisher Simon & Schuster for about $2.18 billion, agreeing with the Justice Department that the planned merger would unlawfully lessen competition. (More to come)
WASHINGTON—Former President Donald Trump has asked the Supreme Court to block a House committee from obtaining his past tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service before a Thursday deadline for the material to be turned over. In an emergency application filed on Monday to Chief Justice John Roberts , who is responsible for such requests for the D.C. Circuit, Mr. Trump’s lawyers asked the court to issue an interim order known as a stay by Wednesday. Such an order would block the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee from accessing the tax documents until further legal briefs are filed before the justices.
Former U.S. Capitol Police Officer Michael Riley, in a portrait photo taken outside Capitol Police headquarters in 2011. WASHINGTON—A jury on Friday convicted a former Capitol Police officer of obstruction of justice relating to him having sent and later deleted Facebook messages to a man who entered the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot. After several days of deliberation, jurors found Michael Riley guilty of one of the two obstruction charges he faced. The jury deadlocked without reaching a verdict on the other count, on which the Justice Department could seek to retry him.
About 140 police officers were assaulted during the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to the Justice Department. WASHINGTON—A Tennessee man received a 7-1/2-year prison sentence for dragging a police officer into a mob of rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, the second-most severe punishment handed down for a defendant linked to that day’s attack on the Capitol. Calling him one of the “most serious offenders” during the Capitol riot, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed the 90-month sentence on Albuquerque Cosper Head during an emotional court hearing Thursday in the District of Columbia.
A judge has ordered Mark Meadows , former President Donald Trump’s final chief of staff, to testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, a spokesman for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said. A state court judge in Pickens County, S.C., ruled that Mr. Meadows is a necessary witness in the investigation, rejecting arguments by the former Trump adviser that he isn’t required under South Carolina law to testify.
WASHINGTON—The sedition trial for Oath Keepers members charged in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol resumed on Tuesday after the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes , agreed to miss part of the proceeding while he recovers from Covid-19. Mr. Rhodes, who is being isolated in a Northern Virginia jail, waived his right to observe eight government witnesses, allowing the Justice Department to resume presenting its case to a District of Columbia jury.
WASHINGTON—A jury trial begins this week for five members of the Oath Keepers militia, including its founder Stewart Rhodes , in a test for prosecutors seeking to hold leaders of far-right groups accountable for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Mr. Rhodes will go to trial in Washington along with four other Oath Keepers associates on charges including seditious conspiracy, the most serious crime leveled by the Justice Department in its sprawling investigation of the Capitol breach.
WASHINGTON—A jury trial got under way Tuesday for five members of the Oath Keepers militia, including its founder Stewart Rhodes , in a test for prosecutors seeking to hold leaders of far-right groups accountable for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Mr. Rhodes is being tried in Washington along with four other Oath Keepers associates on charges including seditious conspiracy, the most serious crime leveled by the Justice Department in its sprawling investigation of the Capitol breach.
Sedition Trial Begins for Oath Keepers Tied to Capitol Riot
  + stars: | 2022-09-27 | by ( Jan Wolfe | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: 1 min
WASHINGTON—A jury trial got under way Tuesday for five members of the Oath Keepers militia, including its founder Stewart Rhodes , in a test for prosecutors seeking to hold leaders of far-right groups accountable for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Mr. Rhodes is being tried in Washington along with four other Oath Keepers associates on charges including seditious conspiracy, the most serious crime leveled by the Justice Department in its sprawling investigation of the Capitol breach.
WASHINGTON—Former President Donald Trump’s assertion that he declassified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago has come under judicial scrutiny this week, as judges highlighted the limits of that defense and noted a lack of courtroom evidence substantiating it. Mr. Trump has for weeks said he declassified materials taken to Mar-a-Lago, his home in Florida. In a Fox News interview that aired on Wednesday night, he said a sitting president doesn’t need to have a formal process for declassifying documents, and can carry out such an order “even by thinking about it.”
WASHINGTON—An appeals court late Wednesday granted the Justice Department’s request to retain control of the classified materials seized at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and continue its criminal investigation into the handling of those documents, in a big win for the government. In a 29-page decision, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta lifted an earlier order from a federal judge who had barred federal agents from using roughly 100 classified documents seized as part of its probe into whether any national-security risks had been posed by the way the highly sensitive government material was being held at Mr. Trump’s Florida home.
This Jan. 7, 2021, image taken from a Coffee County, Ga., security video, appears to show Republican official Cathy Latham, center with white hair, introducing local election officials to a computer forensic team hired by an ally of former President Donald Trump. WASHINGTON—A former Republican Party official helped a computer forensics firm inspect voting equipment in Georgia and then made misleading statements under oath about her role in the episode, voting-rights activists alleged in a new court filing. The court filing, which includes time-stamped screenshots of surveillance footage, describes what happened inside the Coffee County elections office on Jan. 7, 2021, an episode that is being investigated by law-enforcement agencies in the state.
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