Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shock Report: Only Six People Enrolled In Obamacare Out Of 4.7 Million Visitors To

Calling it a colossal disaster to date is an understatement. The Obama administration needs to enroll at least 7 million Americans by March 1 of next year to allow the program to work as planned. That's 39,000 enrollees per day. In a shocking report tonight, CBS News reports that only six people nationwide enrolled in the program during the first 24 hours of's operation out of the 4.7 million Americans who visited the problem-plagued website. By the end of the second day of live operation, there were only 248 enrollments nationwide. Little-known porn websites have more successful launches in enrolling new members than Hell, Angie's List has averaged signing up over 4,000 new members a day since it began trading publicly. What a joke.

Another Law Professor Sides With Ogden In Disciplinary Case: Opinion About Competence Of Judge Is Protected Free Speech

Another law professor is siding with fellow attorney and blogger Paul Ogden in the efforts of the Indiana Attorney Disciplinary Commission to suspend him from the practice of law for criticizing a judge's handling of a probate case in a private e-mail. John Marshall Law School Professor Alberto Bernabe comments on Ogden's case at his Professional Responsibility Blog:
The commission apparently told the attorney he could forgo the possible disciplinary proceeding if he apologized for the comment but the attorney refused and decided to fight the charge instead. I applaud him for this decision because the commission is clearly acting unconstitutionally here. The attorney has the right to express his opinion about the judge and if that statement is what the commission is basing its position on, it does not have any valid basis for imposing sanctions. I hope the Indiana Supreme Court does the right thing here and sends the commission (and the judge) packing.
Ironically, apparently the commission has argued as an aggravating factor that the attorney "believes he is superior to the courts and the law.” Yet, it is the commission which apparently believes its power is superior to the attorney's first amendment protected right to express his opinion.
Hat tip to Ted Waggoner at Lawyers With Troubles. Previously, nationally-respected George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley expressed support for Ogden in a blog post here.

Mitch Daniels Can't Avoid Politics

When former Gov. Mitch Daniels became Purdue University's president, he said he was getting out of partisan politics. Recent events suggest that's an impossible promise for Daniels to keep. Earlier this month he came under fire after it was learned that he had spoken for a fee to a conservative think tank in Minnesota.

This week, he irritated some on his campus when he announced that Purdue, unlike IU, would not oppose the constitutional amendment opponents of same-sex marriage have vowed to push before the legislature next year. At first blush, that would appear to be consistent with his position since Daniels claims the university doesn't typically weigh in on social issues. The problem is that the proposed constitutional amendment puts at risk the domestic partner benefits the university has offered for several years and is inconsistent with the university's nondiscrimination policy. Thus, some critics argue that he put his own political views ahead of the university's stated policies.

Today, the Daily Caller reports on comments Daniels made about our national energy policy. Daniels is quoted while speaking to a group of reporters at an event sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor as saying that a country that can't build the Keystone Pipeline "is not serious about helping poor people." “National policy in a country that needs growth and has that going on should be 100 percent for it and we can’t even build the Keystone Pipeline," Daniels rhetorically asked. When asked about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's bid for re-election, Daniels couldn't help but sing his praises. “His apparent success proves that people will reward decisive action and truth telling and that people are prepared to look beyond maybe their own party affiliations or even ideological predispositions where they see an instance of effective action in the public interest,” he said. “And I think plainly that’s what’s going on when a guy like Gov. Christie is so successful in a state like the one he lives in.”

Let's face it. Politics is in Daniels' blood. He's not going to change just because he's Purdue's president.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Military Admits Spraying Metal Chaff Into The Atmosphere To Create Manmade Clouds

The Indianapolis Star website had an online story the other day showing images of the man-made chemtrails crisscrossing the Indianapolis skyline (as frequently occur) and used it as an opportunity to poke fun of those of us who are intelligent enough to distinguish the difference between normal jet contrails and the chemtrails created when military planes deliberately spray metal agents into the earth's lower atmosphere to create layers of thin clouds that can literally block out the sunlight on an otherwise perfectly sunny, clear day as part of our government's HAARP weather modification program. In case you haven't noticed, these metal toxins that are sprayed into the atmosphere wreak havoc on human respiratory systems, leaving aside what harm they cause to the environment as the metal agents settle in the soil and our water supplies and makes their way through the food chain. It's what happens when the people who run our government begin to believe they are God.

Chalk this up to one of the rare exceptions in mainstream news reporting today when the truth comes to light. Earlier this summer, weather radar detected what appeared to be a strong pop-up storm over Huntsville, Alabama. Local meteorologists worried that they had missed something, but when they checked the weather outside they found no precipitation for hundreds of miles around. After months of speculation and various conspiracy theories, the scientific community and the military have finally come clean and admitted the man-made hand in creating the unusual weather radar blob. They were spraying aluminum-coated silica into the atmosphere as part of a military test to create man-made clouds that can confuse radar-guided missiles:
They found the blob was not nature-made, after all, and was likely so-called military chaff, or reflective particles used to test military radar.
"What we were able to see from the dual-pol radar data looked similar to military chaff cases previously, but the primary difference was that the winds weren't blowing the stuff away," Havin said. "The releases were happening primarily below 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) above the ground and the low-level winds that afternoon were almost nonexistent (less than 3 mph (4.8 km/h)), so the chaff was basically pluming outward over a good portion of the Huntsville metro area."
In fact, the chaff was visible on their radar for more than nine hours, and the news stories lingered even longer.
"Officially, Redstone Arsenal disclosed that it was a military test using RR-188 military chaff," Havin said, referring to aircraft used to spread a cloud of aluminum-coated silica in the case of RR-188.
The cloud can confuse radar-guided missiles, for instance, so they miss their targets.
"My goal was just to show in greater detail how the weather that day was causing things to look the way they did with the chaff release," Havin said of his talk at the NWAS meeting.
On a related subject, since our own government was caught red-handed staging sarin gas attacks in Syria and trying to blame the attacks on the Syrian government as an excuse for starting another war in the Middle East to depose a government in that region that is not under the control of the CIA, we should take note of the fact that in our neighboring state to the south in Kentucky this week there was a report of a sarin gas leak at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Lexington, Kentucky.
Crews at the Blue Grass Army Depot detected a chemical weapon leak Monday within one of the storage igloos at the base. The vapor leak of the GB round was contained within the igloo and was not detected in the air outside the structure, according to a news release from Blue Grass Chemical Activity spokesperson Jana Felts. The release was detected by a mobile monitoring laboratory during routine analysis of the atmosphere within the igloo, Felts said in the release. A powered filter has been connected to the igloo to ensure the leak does not enter the outside atmosphere, she added. Felts said the next step to ensure safety is to determine which round in the igloo has developed the leak. It will then be "overpacked," or placed within a larger, sealed container. The leaking munition then be moved to a separate igloo, and follow-on monitoring will be conducted, she said. GB, also known sarin, is a nerve agent that is stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot along with VX and mustard gas munitions. The 523 tons of chemical weapons are slated for destruction by 2021. Madison County Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program Director Michael Bryant said the county's emergency management agency was alerted when the vapor was detected, and area police departments, fire departments and EMS agencies also were notified. Every day the county's emergency management staff is given in a "morning brief" in which they are informed about the day's activities at the depot, Bryant said. "We know exactly what they're doing each day," Bryant said.
Don't be surprised if the sarin or mustard gas stored at this army depot base finds its way into the hands of "terrorists" for yet another false flag attack in the not so distant future. It's interesting that the Obama administration insists on the destruction of any chemical weapons held by the Syrian government within a matter of a few weeks, while the U.S. military needs decades to destroy its cache of chemical weapons.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nearly 14 Million Expected To Lose Their Current Health Insurance Because Of Obamacare

How many times did President Barack Obama stand before the American people and assure them that his health care plan would not affect people already covered under a health insurance plan? It now turns out that the Obama administration knew that the Affordable Care Act would cause millions of Americans to lose their existing health insurance coverage. At least half of those who purchase individual health care plans are expected to lose their insurance. More than 11 million Americans have already received notices from their insurers that their current health insurance plans are being terminated and the number will grow to at least 14 million. Many of the plans are being cancelled because they don't satisfy the mandated coverage provisions of the law. This is forcing people to turn to the health care exchanges under the ACA for new coverage. Not surprisingly, the rates available on the exchange are almost always much higher than current premium rates. The perverseness of the law will actually provide an incentive to Americans to find a way to reduce their income so that they qualify for subsidies to pay for their premiums, which are provided to those earning up to 400% of the poverty level.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

At Least One Journalist Gets The Issue At Stake In Ritz' Battle With State Board Of Education

The dispute that arose between Supt. of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz and the state's board of education members over the calculation of A-F grades for the state's schools has turned into a political football. To me, it has nothing to do about whether you like Glenda Ritz. The issue is whether the state's open door law can be disregarded so cavalierly by any public body or official as occurred when the state's board of education members took official action through a series of electronic communications amongst themselves. One would think that members of the media would understand the importance of the open door law more than average citizens, but the media coverage has been largely critical of Ritz for challenging the board's authority to act in secret as they did rather than in public.

One reporter, WISH-TV's Jim Shella, pulled archived video of the last board meeting where one board member queried Ritz about the possibility of engaging the Legislative Services Agency to help verify the accuracy of the grading once it was completed, a move Ritz said she would welcome. Shella conflated that exchange as official action approving the use of LSA to perform the grade calculations as board members would later request of legislative leaders after exchanging e-mails and faxes following the board meeting. There was no formal motion made, discussed or approved by the board. Shella and others have used the video exchange, which was taken completely out of context, to make Ritz look like a fool for contesting the legality of the board members' action following the meeting, which essentially sought to delegate a duty delegated by statute to the Department of Education to the Legislative Services Agency.

Finally, one member of the media finally gets what's really at stake. Lesley Weidenbener has a spot on column in today's Louisville Courier-Journal explaining why the public should be concerned if officials actions of a board can be taken in the manner done so by the state's board of education.
The law is clear about a few things: Official action is a broad term that includes deliberating, making recommendations, establishing policy and making decisions. It’s also clear that government boards — city councils, county commissions, state boards and others — must give the public notice that a meeting will occur and then post an agenda of what’s to be discussed or acted on . . .
[I]f a judge decides what the board did is legal, it could set a dangerous precedent for other public groups and may call for legislators to rethink the Open Door Law . . .
After all, what would stop city council members from simply circulating a letter to approve a contract for snow removal? Or why couldn’t the Indiana Gaming Commission vote to discipline a blackjack dealer who broke the rules by just emailing the proposed punishment around to members? 
For that matter, why would a board ever really need to meet again at all if the members could take care of business through email?
Sound extreme? Of course it does. And the action taken by 10 members of the State Board of Education was nothing like approving a contract, spending money or issuing a penalty.
The members requested that the legislative branch get involved in a Department of Education function. They didn’t even have the authority to demand that lawmakers get involved . . .
The concerns raised by Weidenbener should come to mind intuitively for any good journalist. Yet like we've seen with recent disclosures of unprecedented surveillance by the NSA and what it means for the loss of privacy, most of the media just greets it with a collective yawn, or even worse, take the side of those who are doing the offending

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bankruptcy Judge Orders Dan Laikin To Pay $33 Million To Fair Finance Trustee

Dan Laikin, the imprisoned former CEO of National Lampoon and brother of former Brighpoint CEO Bob Laikin, has been ordered by a federal bankruptcy trustee in Ohio to pay $33 million to Fair Finance's bankruptcy trustee. The close pal of convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham was sent to prison in 2010 for a stock pumping scheme he led to boost the price of National Lampoon's stock. Durham took over management of the troubled company after Laikin's conviction before he too was sent to prison for his role in defrauding the Fair Finance investors out of more than $200 million.

Judge Marilyn Shea-Stonum was critical of Laikin for withholding key evidence during discovery in his case, including the misplacement of his laptop computer and cell phone. The federal district court judge reserves the right to modify the bankruptcy court judge's order. The odds of the trustee recovering much of the judgment are slim to none. The bankruptcy trustee also won large judgments against Durham and his business partner, James Cochran, but has so far recovered very little from the pair. What little the trustee has recovered to date has largely been consumed by his own fees and expenses. The trustee spent $1.3 million to win the judgment against Laikin.

NOTE: Laikin was scheduled for release from prison on May 1, 2013.

Frustrated By FBI Stonewalling, Grassley Not Buying FBI's Boston Bombing Fable

Sen. Chuck Grassley
At least one member of the U.S. Senate appears to be capable of exercising common sense and not simply go about conducting his oversight role of the federal government with eyes wide shut as virtually all other members of Congress now do. A recently-revealed letter Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent to FBI Director James B. Comey, Jr. reveals his frustration with the FBI's stonewalling of questions he asked about the Boston Marathon bombing months ago that were never answered, an event readers of this blog have been duly informed was a complete false flag attack carried out by rogue forces within our own government. Nothing adds up and the more Grassley learns, the more he becomes convinced that the government is lying to the public and Congress about its role in the attack.

Grassley's skepticism is found near the beginning of his letter to Comey when he reminds him that 14 of the 19 planned terrorist attacks since 9/11 "involved FBI sting operations using undercover agents and informers who pose as terrorists." Grassley still is seeking answers about whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev was used by the FBI as a tactic of recruitment or sting operation and what other conversations the FBI may have had with the Tsarnaev brothers prior to the bombing other than the interviews the agency only acknowledged conducting of the brothers after the Russians revealed they had warned U.S. intelligence agencies about the brothers. As readers of this blog have been informed, the Tsarnaev brothers' uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, has a past association with the CIA and was once married to the daughter of one of the intelligence agency's top operatives, Graham Fuller.

As anyone with a brain could figure out, it is inconceivable that the FBI didn't know who the Tsarnaev brothers were when they released to the public images of them near the scene of the bombings and identified them as suspects. Grassley wants to know when the images of the brothers were first identified, what agency made that identification, what investigative steps the FBI undertook before releasing their images to the public and whether the suspects were under surveillance by the agency prior to the release of the photos.

The FBI would have the public believe that the two suspects, upon learning they had been identified as the suspects, shot and killed an MIT police officer sitting in his car for no apparent reason, carjacked a vehicle driven by a Chinese man, engaged in a high speed chase with police for the local mass transit agency after the carjacking victim fled the car and called police, followed by a shootout with police that left another police officer seriously wounded from friendly fire and the elder brother shot dead and run over by the younger brother's fleeing vehicle. The FBI, according to this meme, was just sitting back and watching it all play out from the sidelines.

Grassley's investigators learned information that really troubled Cambridge Police. Prior to MIT Officer Sean Collier being shot and killed in his car, Cambridge police officers encountered "multiple teams of FBI employees conducting surveillance in the area of Central Square in Cambridge." Despite the agency's participation in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, nobody within the police department had been made aware of the FBI's surveillance activities. Grassley wants to know if the FBI was conducting surveillance of the Tsarnaev brothers when these wild events supposedly played out on the night in question.

A flack in the local FBI office told a local Fox affiliate in Boston that the agents seen by local police in Central Square were conducting a separate investigation of MIT students the agency supposedly thought might be linked to the bombing. The local FBI office is also sticking by its story that it did not know the identity of the brothers until after the shootout in Watertown where Tamerlan's body was supposedly recovered--the same location where amateur video footage captured images of Tamerlan stripped naked and being taken into custody by police alive and unharmed. Indiana's Sen. Dan Coats, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, has expressed no interest in learning what truly happened in Boston.

Murder Victim's Brother: Carl Brizzi "Ripped Out Our Hearts And Held It In Front Of Our Faces"

It's refreshing to see a reporter view U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett's decision this week not to pursue evidence that former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi accepted bribes from the father of a murderer in exchange for his daughter's early release from prison from the perspective of those impacted by the decisions of our politicians instead of the other way around. WRTV's Derrick Thomas took the time to speak to Richard Willoughby, whose brother Darrell was murdered in 1991 after Paula Willoughby and her boyfriend hired a hit man to kill him. Paula Willoughby's boyfriend, Douglas Stueber, pleaded guilty and received a 45-year sentence. Paula was found guilty at trial and sentenced to 110 years in prison. The alleged hit man, Kevin Spohr, was found not guilty. As a result of an appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court reduced Willoughby's sentence to 70 years in 1996. Thanks to a re-sentencing agreement initiated by Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi's office, Willoughby's sentence was reduced to 40 years and is now a free woman.

Richard Willoughby told Thomas that "It's a scar on our hearts that my brother is not here." "And they just ripped out our hearts and held it in front of our faces as we are dealing with this." "Our family … just because we don't have any money and we can't buy our way out of stuff, doesn't mean we don't have the same rights as someone who has millions and billions," Willoughby said. "Let a jury decide," Willoughby said. "Why not? Let a jury decide. You got enough on this guy." Unfortunately, Richard, that's not the case in this county and this state where two forms of justice exist: one for the ruling elites where the law is always a moving target and another for the rest of us serfs where the law is always firmly written in stone.

Paula Willoughby's father, Harrison Epperly, who hired the attorney who sought the sentence modification, made a number of large campaign contributions to Brizzi, totaling $29,000 prior to the sentence modification being granted. Brizzi's chief deputy, David Wyser, accepted a $2,500 campaign contribution from Epperly for his bid to become Hamilton County Prosecutor. Earlier this year, Wyser pleaded guilty to a single federal bribery charge and is still awaiting sentencing. At the time his plea agreement was announced, Hogsett's office said that Wyser had agreed to cooperate fully in an ongoing investigation. Yet this week Hogsett announced that no charges would be brought against Brizzi in the Willoughby case or other cases under investigation. Inexplicably, Hogsett said that Wyser had no information to offer prosecutors that would implicate his former boss. Wyser has been living in Nevada according to news reports while he awaits his sentence. He will presumably lose his law license. Hogsett, who has done a lot of huffing and puffing the past few years about how serious he is about prosecuting public corruption said he will instead recommend that the state's attorney disciplinary commission investigate whether Brizzi violated the rules of professional conduct.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Maryland Attorney General Caught In Middle Of Underage Drinking Party Attended By His Son

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler (D), who is running to become the state's next governor, is having to explain how someone captured him in the middle of a rowdy underage drinking party at a house on a Delaware beach this past June. According to the Baltimore Sun, classmates at the prestigious Landon School in Bethesda threw what they dubbed an "eviction party" at a South Bethany rental home where plenty of alcohol was consumed. Gansler, an outspoken advocate against teenage drinking, told reporters that he was simply stopping by to check on his son when someone captured a photo of him holding out a cell phone taking a picture of three teens partially unclothed dancing on a table. Gansler claims he was unaware that alcohol was being consumed. Even if he realized they were drinking, Gansler said it wasn't his responsibility to break up the party as a parent since it wasn't his home and was taking place outside of his state. "Assume for purposes of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party," Gansler said. "How is that relevant to me? … The question is, do I have any moral authority over other people's children at beach week in another state? I say no." Gansler insists that his son wasn't among those who were drinking.

Apparently, there were parents present for the party acting as chaperones to ensure that the party didn't get too far out of control, who nonetheless permitted beer and wine but not hard alcohol to be consumed by the underage teens. Incredibly, with the parents chaperoning the party, the house sustained about $50,000 in damages from moisture damage to the house's hardwood floors and dents on the bar and a pool table made from high heels. According to the Sun, social media photos posted on the Internet depicted a clear liquid being poured onto dancers from a second floor balcony above the teens dancing on the bar and table. Parents of the teens claim that someone broke into the house after they cleaned up and left and caused the damage. Yeah right. No arrests were made. Although the drinking age in Delaware and Maryland is 21, parents in both states are permitted to serve alcohol to their children at home. No wonder kids are so screwed up today. The parents are just as irresponsible as the kids. And to think these are people who supposedly come from the upper crust of society.

See the hypocrite's public service message below:

Third Time Is A Charm For Former State Trooper Accused Of Killing Wife And Children

Former Indiana State Trooper David Camm has twice been convicted by a jury of killing his wife and two children at their Georgetown, Indiana home in 2000. Camm was convicted in 2002 by a Johnson County jury of committing the killings, but he won a right to a new trial on appeal in 2004 due to improper testimony the prosecution was allowed to offer. Police re-charged Camm and later a second man, Charles Boney, who had told police that he had been at the Camm home when the murders were committed for the purpose of selling a gun. Camm and Boney initially were to be tried together but Camm's attorney later won the right to have his case tried separately. Both men were found guilty in separate trials, but Camm appealed for a new trial based on utterances made by the prosecutor during closing arguments that Camm had allegedly molested his daughter. In 2009, the Indiana Supreme Court agreed and granted Camm a new trial. Today, a jury hearing the case for the third time agreed with Camm's long-held contention that he was innocent of the charges and acquitted him. Boney is still serving a 225-year sentence for the murders.

If Skakel Case Is The Standard, Charlie White's Ineffective Counsel Argument Is A Slam Dunk

Michael Skakel is the 52-year old nephew of Robert Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy, who was belatedly tried and convicted  a little more than ten years ago for the killing of Martha Moxley, a Greenwich, Connecticut neighbor found bludgeoned to death by a golf club in 1975. Skakel was represented by high-profile criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman, who basked in the limelight of the trial's non-stop coverage at the time on cable TV news. Yesterday, Judge Thomas Bishop found that Skakel had been denied a fair trial due to ineffective counsel in a scathing 135-page decision and ordered a new trial. Skakel is likely to be released from jail on bail after serving more than ten years in prison.

Skakel's older brother, Thomas, and a live-in tutor, Kenneth Littleton, had also long been suspects of police in the killing. The case had remained unsolved until 25 years later when then 39-year old Michael was charged with committing the brutal crime. During a hearing where Skakel's new attorneys examined Sherman, they portrayed him as "a money-hungry lawyer with financial woes who spent time in the media spotlight and at 'A-list' parties instead of on Skakel's defense strategy." Skakel's lawyers also hammered away at Sherman's failure to call key witnesses on behalf of his client, including a witness who would have provided an alibi of his whereabouts at the time the crime was committed. Because this witness was a non-family member, it carried more weight than the family member alibi witnesses called by Sherman at trial.

Despite there being strong evidence linking Skakel's 17-year old brother to the crime, Michael's attorneys complained that Sherman failed to press that angle. Judge Bishop wrote in his opinion, "Sherman's failure to point an accusatory finger at T. Skakel was and is inexplicable." "Given the evidence of T. Skakel's culpability available to Attorney Sherman before trial, there was no reasonable basis for his failure to shine the light of culpability on T. Skakel," he continued. Judge Bishop said that Sherman wasn't required to prove that Thomas killed Moxley; rather, he needed only argue direct and circumstantial evidence of his potential culpability.

Former Secretary of State Charlie White has been in the news as of late with his hearing for post-conviction relief in which he is arguing that he received ineffective counsel from former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, who federal prosecutors confirmed this week had been under investigation for accepting bribes at the time he represented White in his 2012 trial. Like Sherman, Brizzi basked in the media limelight White's widely covered  trial received but did little to prepare for his case according to his new lawyer. Unlike Sherman, Brizzi failed to call any witnesses who could prove that White lived at his ex-wife's home, not the new condominium he purchased during that short several month period in 2010 when he was accused of casting a single vote in one election in a precinct in which he did not reside. Family members who had testified in his defense during the civil case challenging his eligibility to hold office had expected to be called until Brizzi's last-minute decision not to put on a defense. Brizzi refused to even call an expert witness whose testimony using the GPS data on White's cell phone would have placed his whereabouts at his ex-wife's home on many nights during the time in question, which would have destroyed the testimony of the state's expert.

Brizzi defended his decision not to call his client or members of his family to testify because of credibility problems he found with their testimony, notwithstanding the fact that their testimony had proven credible during the civil case against him where the state's Recount Commission found in his favor. He also questioned the credibility of the expert witness he blamed White and his father for hiring, who he believed had credibility problems due to concerns Brizzi had about his ethics in a former job after he received a phone call from the special prosecutor leveling personal charges against White's expert witness. Family members complained that Brizzi never prepared them to testify before trial. Brizzi claimed that he met with White's wife late at night after the trial had already started and decided based on one of the answers she provided to him that her testimony might not be truthful if he offered it. White's wife denied the witness prepping incident had occurred. In a stunning admission, Brizzi admitted that he mistakenly believed that documentary evidence that had been stipulated prior to trial that would have supported White's contention that he resided at his ex-wife's home had been entered into evidence when in fact he had forgotten to formerly tender the evidence during trial.

White's attorneys also pointed to evidence of Brizzi's own health problems and serious health problems his now-deceased mother was having at the time of the trial that distracted him from the case. Brizzi was hospitalized the week following White's trial for heart-related problems. It is also curious that the U.S. Attorney's Office waited until after White's post-conviction hearing had been concluded before releasing information about the closure of his office's three-year investigation of bribery charges against Brizzi. The U.S. Attorney's office had been very tight-lipped about whether Brizzi was a target of the investigation, even after it announced charges and a plea agreement with his former chief deputy. If Brizzi knew at the time of White's trial that he was the target of a federal investigation, it obviously could have weighed heavily on him at the time.

White and another client of Brizzi, former Hancock County Coroner Tamara Vangundy, are both suing him for malpractice. Vangundy argues that she received ineffective counsel from Brizzi when he told her to accept a plea agreement that he assured her would allow her to keep her office when in fact the plea agreement she signed forced her to give up her county office. Hamilton Superior Court Judge Daniel Pfleging will rule on White's ineffective counsel argument after attorneys for both sides present their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. White also intends to appeal the six felony convictions against him on separate legal grounds.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

White House National Security Staffer Fired For Tweeting Under Fake Name

The Daily Beast is reporting that a director in the non-proliferation section of White House's National Security Staff, Jofi Joseph, has been fired after the White House learned that he had been tweeting under a fake name since February, 2011, often tweeting negative comments about high-ranking members of the Obama administration, along with Republicans. According to the report, Joseph formerly worked for the State Department and on the Hill for Sen. Bob Casey and Joe Biden while he was still a member of the Senate. Here's a sample of some of Joseph's past tweets:

  • “I'm a fan of Obama, but his continuing reliance and dependence upon a vacuous cipher like Valerie Jarrett concerns me,” he once tweeted.
  • “Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Wiener? Almost as bad a pairing as Samantha Powers and Cass Sunstein ....,” he tweeted on another occasion, insulting a top Clinton aide, a then Congressman, and two White House senior officials in one tweet.
  • “So when will someone do us the favor of getting rid of Sarah Palin and the rest of her white trash family? What utter useless garbage .... ,” he tweeted last October.
According to the Daily Beast, Joseph was a "well known among policy wonks" in Washington's foreign policy community. Joseph is married to Carolyn Leddy, a Republican staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Only Two Health Insurance Companies Offering Health Plans On ACA Exchange In Marion County

InfoWars provides access to an Excel Spreadsheet that allows you to see the monthly premium rates offered on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges nationwide. I checked the offering in Marion County, which is very limited. Only Anthem and MDwise are offering health insurance plans on the exchange to people living in Indianapolis. The monthly premium rates for young adults range from a low of about $224 for a bronze plan to as high as $393 for a gold plan. For adults 50 and over the monthly premiums range from a low of about $382 for a bronze plan to as high as $670 for a gold plan. Family plans run from as low as $757 for a bronze plan to as high as $1,329 for a gold plan.

Public Access Counselor Declines Reporter's Public Records Request For Indiana State Police's Use Of Warrantless Tracking Technology

An Indianapolis Star reporter's public records request of the Indiana State Police to produce purchase orders and invoices regarding any technology it may have purchased from Florida-based Harris Corporation that can be used to conduct warrantless mobile phone tracking was denied on the grounds that public disclosure of the police agency's use of the technology would have "a reasonable likelihood of threatening public safety." Hah! It's public knowledge that the FBI uses Harris' Sting Ray mobile phone tracking system, but Indiana's Public Access Counselor Luke Britt agrees with Capt. David Bursten that it's none of your damn business what kind of warrantless tracking devices the police agency is using. While he agreed with the Star reporter's contention that "contracts and other vital financial information that show how government agencies spend tax dollars and are traditionally among the most readily available public documents at an agency," he's giving ISP the benefit of the doubt because "the nature of this records request is particularly sensitive." Courts are still trying to sort out the potential for Fourth Amendment violations as a warrantless search. The ACLU applauded a decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals today holding that the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant based on probable cause to attach a GPS tracking device to a car.

Hat tip to Indiana Law Blog.

Ritz Sues State Education Board Members For Violating Open Door Law: Why No Separation Of Powers Claim?

Ten members of the Indiana State Board of Education appealed in a letter last week to House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long to get their assistance in having the Legislative Services Agency, an agency of the legislative branch, to conduct the Department's A-F grade calculations for the state's schools because they believe the Department of Education under the direction of State Supt. Glenda Ritz was taking too long. Ritz says the agency is still awaiting data from the scorer of the state's ISTEP tests before it can make the calculations. Recall that the integrity of the entire grading process has been called into question after the former superintendent, Tony Bennett, changed the grading system after learning that a charter school founded by his largest campaign contributor was about to receive a "C" instead of the "A" he believed it should be receiving. This is a matter that has been of little concern to state board members who worshiped at Bennett's altar.

The board members seem to rely on the fact that they did not formally meet to take their "official action" that is clearly represented by the request they made in their letter to the legislative leaders on board letterhead to reassign the grade-calculating duty to the Legislative Services Agency. Instead of conducting a formal meeting, they communicated by e-mail and phone and made the decision to formalize the request of the legislative leaders by letter signed by the board members. If a public board can simply discuss matters amongst themselves and take actions in private without providing notice to the public of a meeting held open to the public as prescribed by the Open Door Law in order to take official actions, then the Open Door Law is rendered meaningless. Even executive sessions of a board are required to be publicly-noticed under the law.

Interestingly, the recently-appointed "Democratic" member to the state board, Gordon Hendry, signed the letter, which should disabuse Democrats of any idea that he is anything but a Republicrat doing the bidding for the political insiders in this state using the mantra of education reform to engage in self-enrichment. His signature clearly appears on the letter despite the protestations of his wife, Jennifer Wagner, on her Twitter account that "we were on fall break in Florida the exact same dates she was on her China trip." "It's unclear to me how an alleged SBOE meeting happened while we were on the beach in Florida," she adds. Remember, this is the guy whose real estate brokerage firm stands to make a million bucks off a costly plan concocted by the administration of Mayor Greg Ballard, who can't approve new charter schools at a fast enough pace that are backed by political insiders, for the redevelopment of a prime block of real estate on Mass Ave, which has unnecessarily resulted in the cost of relocating the fire department headquarters and construction of a costly new fire station at a time the city is supposedly struggling to fund public safety. Not surprised the spokeswoman for the Democratic Party would be attacking her party's only statewide elected official.

In response to the board members' letter, the legislative leaders directed LSA to conduct the grade calculations the Department is statutorily required to perform as soon as possible. Today, Ritz filed a lawsuit against the ten members who acted outside a publicly-noticed meeting of the board, for violating the state's Open Door Law. She cites the fact that the letter was drafted, signed and mailed in secret to the legislative leaders by the members of the board she statutorily chairs. If their action didn't constitute a violation of the state's Open Door Law, I don't know what would constitute a violation of it.

I have another concern that isn't raised by Ritz' lawsuit. The Department of Education is an administrative agency within the executive department of state government. The Indiana Constitution expressly provides for the division of power in state government across the three departments: executive, legislative and judicial. It specifically provides that "no person, charged with official duties under one of these departments, shall exercise any of the functions of another, except as in this Constitution expressly provided." In addition, the State Superintendent of Education is a constitutionally-recognized state official within the executive department whose duties are to be prescribed by statute. The legislature has vested the Dept. of Education under her control with the task of performing the A-F grade calculations. The legislative leaders are violating the separation of powers doctrine and the state law they passed by attempting to delegate that responsibility to a legislative agency under their control. Who would guess that both legislative leaders are attorneys?

Not surprisingly, Gov. Mike Pence, who also supposedly has a law license, expressed his support for what are demonstrably illegal actions of the state board members and the legislative leaders. "Governor Pence strongly supports the actions taken by the bipartisan membership of the State Board of Education to ensure the timely completion of last year's A-F school accountability grades," a statement released by his spokesman read. "The Governor is confident that all relevant Indiana laws were followed."

UPDATE: The Northwest Indiana Times has posted a copy of Ritz' lawsuit here.

Indy Chamber Announces Opposition To Constitutional Ban On Same-Sex Marriages

The Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce joins a number of prominent Indiana businesses in voicing its opposition to continued efforts to enact an amendment to Indiana's Constitution to ban legal recognition of same-sex marriages, which have been statutorily outlawed in Indiana since 1996. The Chamber expressed concern that passage of the amendment would make it difficult for businesses to attract talented workers to the state. The issue has heated up after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down earlier this year a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denied benefits offered under federal law to same-sex couples who entered into legal marriages that are offered to opposite-sex couples based on their marital status. The Indiana State Chamber of Commerce has so far remained neutral in the debate despite the fact that some of its largest members, including Eli Lilly and Cummins, have publicly spoken out against the amendment.

Brizzi Won't Face Federal Charges

While his former chief deputy prosecutor and business associates have faced federal criminal charges, U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett announced today that former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi will not face criminal charges. Rumors have been circulating for a couple of weeks that a federal grand jury returned a no-bill indictment in the investigation of Brizzi after hearing evidence, but when this blogger contacted a spokesman for Hogsett's office, Tim Horty, I was told that the office could not comment on my question as to whether the investigation of Brizzi had been concluded without any charges. Notwithstanding Horty's lack of candor towards me, Hogsett's office released a statement this afternoon to the IBJ acknowledging no charges would be filed against Brizzi. It reads, in part:
For some time now, Carl Brizzi has been the target of a federal investigation into actions taken and decisions made while he was the elected Prosecutor of Marion County.
The inquiry has centered on two cases: State of Indiana vs. Paula Willoughby and State of Indiana vs. Joseph Mobareki. This investigation of possible violations of federal criminal law involved, but was not limited to, allegations of bribery.
While it may be unacceptable for a prosecutor to receive a $29,000 campaign contribution from the father of a woman who has requested her prison sentence for murder be modified (Willoughby), or for a prosecutor to have a financial relationship with a criminal defense lawyer while determining what plea bargain should be extended to a client of that same defense lawyer (Mobareki), the criminal law requires more to support a conviction.
As the United States Attorney, I must determine that there is sufficient admissible evidence to prove a federal crime beyond a reasonable doubt prior to authorizing criminal charges.
The federal criminal investigation and prosecution of David Wyser for bribery produced no direct evidence from any witness – including David Wyser – that any individual other than Wyser authorized a sentence modification for Paula Willoughby.
Likewise, the federal criminal investigation and prosecution of Paul Page for bank fraud in relation to the Elkhart property produced no direct evidence from any witness – including Paul Page – that the proceeds Mr. Brizzi received from the Elkhart transaction influenced the decision to give Paul Page’s client Joseph Mobareki an unusual plea bargain.
Because neither Paul Page, nor David Wyser, nor any other witness has provided direct evidence that Mr. Brizzi received a bribe in connection with the Willoughby matter or the Mobareki plea bargain, I have determined that there is not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Brizzi committed the crime of bribery and sustain a conviction.
However, under the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is obligated to report Mr. Brizzi’s alleged misconduct in the Willoughby and Mobareki matters. I have instructed that this office provide the evidence gleaned from this investigation to the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility for their determination on whether the alleged misconduct should be referred to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.
It is truly remarkable that two knowledgeable attorneys like Wyser and Page could plead guilty to committing federal crimes that, on their face, required some participation on the part of Brizzi. Yet, the U.S. Attorney's Office tells us that neither could provide any information that was useful in obtaining a criminal indictment against Brizzi. Instead, he's going to report Brizzi to the Disciplinary Commission to consider whether he violated the rules of professional conduct. Think about it. Brizzi didn't pay anything to gain a 50% stake in that Elkhart building that was leased to the Department of Child Services under a sweetheart deal. This came after he decided not to pursue a criminal investigation of DCS officials in the Tajanay Bailey case that he had announced months earlier, an agency that coincidentally employs his ex-wife. The sweetheart lease deal was brokered with the same guy representing the state with whom he executed a sweetheart lease deal for office space for the prosecutor's office. His interest in the Elkhart building supposedly represented a finder's fee. The last time I checked Brizzi isn't a licensed real estate broker in Indiana. How could he receive compensation for brokering a real estate agreement if he's not licensed while he's supposedly working full-time as prosecutor of the state's largest county?

The Mobarecki and Willoughby cases are even more outrageous. Brizzi allowed approximately $20,000 seized from an accused drug dealer to be returned to his attorney, who was also Brizzi's business partner, Paul Page, so the money could be used to pay the client's legal fees. Prosecutors almost never give back money they seize from drug dealers, particularly when they plead to a crime. The early release arranged for Paula Willoughby, who was serving time for hiring someone to murder her husband, while receiving a large campaign contribution from her father is even more troubling. Wyser accepted a much smaller campaign contribution and agreed to plead guilty to bribery. Yet no charges are brought against Brizzi, who ultimately got to decide whether his office would support an early release from prison for Willoughby. I guess I'm having a difficult time understanding why Wyser and Page agreed to plea deals if there wasn't enough evidence to charge the guy at the top. That's to say nothing of his close relationship with convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham with whom he once lived while going through his divorce.

To quote Woody Allen's character Fielding Mellish in "Bananas","It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham." Or at least that's what poor Charlie White must be thinking after he got hit with six felony convictions for casting one vote in one election while registered to vote at his ex-wife's house while he was in between marriages and now may lose his law license, thanks in large part to the representation, or lack thereof, that he received from Brizzi. Word on the street is that Brizzi has plans to move to London. So much for Joe Hogsett's huffing and puffing a few months ago when he stood before TV cameras claiming he had important people in this town shaking because of how seriously he takes prosecuting public corruption. A lot of hot air if you ask me.

Given the current state of affairs in our U.S. Prosecutor's office here in Indianapolis, enjoy the court scene from Woody Allen's "Bananas."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Walkup Resigns From Ivy Tech Board Over Raunchy E-Mails

The disclosure by the Indianapolis Star of raunchy e-mails Ivy Tech board member Bruce Walkup sent to others, including then-DNR Director Rob Carter over a one-year period, has resulted in Walkup's resignation from the board he once chaired. Walkup's resignation occurred after Gov. Mike Pence condemned his e-mails earlier in the day, although he refused to say whether he would ask for his resignation. According to the Star, Walkup released a short resignation statement this evening. “I have informed the Governor’s office that I am resigning from my position on the board of trustees effective immediately,” the statement said.

Gov. Pence tells the Star that he has asked the state's Inspector General David Thomas to investigate whether any state ethics rules were violated in special hunting privileges Carter handed out to Walkup while he was pursing a high-paid job in charge of security for Ivy Tech. State House observers have to laugh at the idea Thomas is going to do anything. After all, virtually every noteworthy complaint that has been filed with his office for investigation falls into a deep hole never to see the light of day again. I frankly can't recall a single thing he's done since Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed him to the newly-created office that justifies his existence. I honestly believe that he sees it as his job to cover up embarrassing scandals that would paint the administration in a bad light. He's certainly done little to root out corruption in state government.

CIB Funds May Be Used To Make Improvements To IUPUI's Natatorium

Anyone who has watched the building spree that has gone on at the IUPUI campus over the last couple of decades knows the sky is the limit when it comes to spending on new buildings. Yet IUPUI officials claim they can't afford to maintain and make improvements needed to the campus' Natatorium, which IU officials say needs about $17 to $20 million in improvements. To whom are they looking to pick up those expenses? That would be the cash-rich CIB, which absolutely would hear nothing about using its more than $70 million in surplus funds to help ease the city's budget woes this year. The CIB's president Ann Lathrop acknowledges that the CIB normally doesn't spend its money on facilities it doesn't own, but she says that contributing to the Natatorium's needs isn't out of the question because of its importance to city tourism. Naturally, the topic comes up for discussion after the city completed a budget deal for next year. From the IBJ:
There has even been some discussion that CIB might operate the Natatorium the way it does Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center, both of which are municipally owned. CIB leaders have resisted that idea.
“We understand that’s an important facility for this community which draws events that keep hotels and restaurants in the area extremely busy, and that drives tax revenue to the CIB,” Lathrop said. “As a board, we need to look at whether or not we participate in this. And if we decide to participate, we have to decide in which capacity. Everybody wants to see that we find a solution. We just don’t have one yet.”
Mayor Ballard is aware of the discussions, and now that the city’s budget is resolved, his chief of staff, Ryan Vaughn, said the issue will move to the front burner.
“The mayor recognizes this is an important facility for our tourism economy and sports strategy,” Vaughn said. “We’d never just walk away from this issue. We haven’t been forwarded a proposal [by IU]. When we do, we want to see if it makes sense … and see if we can get something done.”
It's laughable hearing Lathrop claim the Natatorium draws tourism to the city that helps keep the downtown hotels busy. Even their big events are sparsely attended. More people attend a high school basketball or football game anywhere in the city than attends events at the Natatorium. Beyond the participants, there are very few people who show up to watch the events. If it's so important to the downtown hotels, let's see how much money they contribute to the improvements at the facility. If this facility isn't important enough to IU to maintain, then it should be of no priority to the taxpayers of this city.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

IEDC Withholding Information About The Size Of Its Taxpayer Kickback To The Pacers

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is too embarrassed to reveal publicly just how much it is paying billionaire Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers to put a stupid, meaningless logo on the basketball court at Banker's Life Fieldhouse, which broadcasters may or may not allow to be shown during national broadcasts of the Pacers games. It is believed the IEDC is paying several million dollars to the Pacers to have an idiotic slogan, "A State That Works," painted on the court's sideline under a two-year deal, but the state-funded agency isn't revealing the true number because it tells the Courier-Journal's Lesley Weidenbener that it doesn't even have a signed contract with the Pacers.
When asked how much the deal is worth or how much the state is paying, an IEDC spokeswoman said this in an email:
“Since this is a mutually beneficial partnership, the Pacers offered a custom, comprehensive package to the IEDC well below market value. Releasing the exact amount of the package could hinder the ongoing advertising negotiations of both the Pacers and NBA.”
In other words, it’s not good for the Pacers to reveal how much — or how little — the state paid for the sponsorship, which includes the words “A State that Works” along the court’s out-of-bounds lines.
As Weidenbener goes on to explain in her story, the agency can't withhold from the public how much it is spending on the advertising deal without a legal reason. The only reason the IEDC can offer at this point is that it has not yet finalized a written contract with the Pacers. The Secretary of Commerce Vic Smith claims the amount that will be spent annually is within the agency's $1.3 million marketing budget, which would indicate that virtually all of its budget is being spent on this one advertising item--unless the earlier reports pegging the size of the deal in the low seven-figure range was simply made-up as a scheme to trick other would-be advertisers into paying a similar amount for advertising deals. The agency recently announced that it was spending about $65,000 on a 15-second spot that runs on a large CBS-owned TV screen in Times Square marketing the state's business climate to New York visitors.

Perhaps one of the dumbest quotes I've ever heard is this one from a spokesperson for the agency: “The Pacers represent the embodiment of a ‘made-not-bought’ success story,” the spokeswoman told me. “This compelling story mirrors the state of Indiana’s legacy of hard work and determination that serves as the bedrock supporting our strong fiscal condition, balanced budget and regulatory freedom." Nothing could be further from the truth. The business demands public subsides in the tens of millions of dollars annually, in addition to a state-of-state art rent-free facility in which to conduct its business. That's nothing like how businesses operate in the real world, Indiana or elsewhere.

Star Report: Ivy Tech Board Chairman And Former DNR Director Liked Exchanging Raunchy E-Mails

The Indianapolis Star last spring put in a public records request of all e-mail correspondence between then IVY Tech Board Chairman Bruce Walkup and DNR Director Rob Carter, Jr. for a one-year period from April 2012 to April 2013. After six months, the state finally got around to responding to the request, which showed that Bruce Walkup frequently sent raunchy, sexist jokes using his private e-mail account that included on the list of recipients a number of prominent figures, including the university's president, Tom Snyder, former Daniels chief of staff Earl Goode and Daniels' sister, Deborah Daniels. It didn't appear that any of the respondents paid any attention to the e-mails other than DNR Director Rob Carter, Jr., who responded favorably to them and appeared to have a cozy relationship with Walkup.

The Star found that Walkup had sent at least one e-mail to Carter referencing his future $120,000 a year job as head of Ivy Tech's security job before the job had even been advertised to the public. Carter, a former Hamilton Co. Sheriff, got the job for which there were about a dozen job applicants. Walkup insists that he had nothing to do with the hiring as the board's chairman. It also appears that the two's cozy relationship allowed them to participate in a coveted annual duck hunting opportunity at the Goose Pond in Linton. A lottery is supposed to be used to determine a handful of hunters who can enter the state-owned preserve to duck hunt. Anyone else caught duck hunting can be issued a citation by DNR police. Carter insists that he broke no rules at DNR by arranging the duck hunting opportunity with Walkup.

Walkup was first appointed to Ivy Tech's board of trustees by Gov. Mitch Daniels, who told the Star that "Walkup is sort of a salty guy." Gov. Mike Pence had no response when contacted by the Star about the content of Walkup's e-mails, which frequently joked about erectile dysfunction and women's breast size and contained nude images of women comparing them to various animals. According to a spokesman for Gov. Pence, nobody at Ivy Tech had made requests for Walkup's removal from the board either under Pence or his predecessor, Mitch Daniels. It's kind of a joke that someone like Walkup, a mediocre former race car driver, would be appointed to Ivy Tech's board of trustees, let alone be elevated to its board chairman. He was also president of the Indiana State Fair Board at one time. Although he is no longer Ivy Tech's chairman, he still sits on its board. As corruption in state government goes, this doesn't even rank on the list of concerns. I would think the Star could have found better use of the three reporters' time who worked on this story.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Indiana Affordable Care Act Exchange Rates Make Indiana Among Most Costly States To Purchase Health Insurance

The IBJ headline says it all: "Indiana insurance exchanges are pricey." Assuming you are able to eventually log onto the website and sign up to participate in the exchange set up by the federal government since Gov. Mike Pence refused to set up an exchange for the state's citizens, you'll find offered premium rates that are among the 10 most-expensive states in the country according to data released by the Department of Health & Human Services. Persons who enroll in the program and who earn less than 400% of the poverty rate will be eligible to receive tax credits to offset their costs but only after paying out-of-pocket the cost of the pricey premiums up front.

UPDATE: A few readers have brought to my attention final ACA rules that allow persons who qualify for the reduced premiums because their income is below 400% of the poverty level to receive the discounted premium up front rather than claiming a tax credit for premiums paid.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Consumer Alert: Credt Card Fraud Rampant At Sam's Club In Greenwood

It's been brought to my attention that rampant credit card fraud is occurring at the Sam's Club store in Greenwood, Indiana. What is particularly troubling about this fraud is that the store is doing nothing to protect the consumers who are being defrauded. In fact, the store is insisting that consumers who've been defrauded be held responsible. One defrauded consumer was told by Greenwood Police that more than $30,000 in fraudulent charges have occurred at the store within the past several weeks.

The perpetrators are creating fake credit cards using real credit card numbers at one of the store's self-check out lanes. The consumer with whom I spoke had his Capital One credit card number stolen by the perpetrators of this scam. The perpetrator who stole his credit card number swiped two other phony credit card numbers before the self checkout ATM accepted one of the cards that had his credit card number imprinted on the card. When the consumer received his credit card bill in the mail and discovered more than $2,000 in charges at the Sam's Club in Greenwood where he has never shopped, he immediately notified Capital One of the fraudulent charges to his account. The perpetrator used the phony credit card to purchase two, $1,000 gift cards, along with some small items totaling $42.00.

Greenwood Police investigated the credit card scam and told the consumer there had been more than $30,000 in fraudulent charges reported at the store in recent weeks. Police said the surveillance camera images of the perpetrator did not provide a clear enough image for identification purposes. Here's the kicker. Sam's Club is refusing to acknowledge the crime occurred and, instead, is insisting that the consumers be held liable for the fraudulent use of their credit card numbers. Incredibly, the store is defending its action by claiming that the credit card had not been reported stolen when it was used and that it has a signature on file for the credit card charge so the victim of the scam must pay. In the case of the consumer with whom I spoke, the evidence clearly showed the same person had swiped multiple credit cards with numbers belonging to multiple individuals before getting the ATM to accept a card. Even worse, the charge backs are being reported to the credit reporting services, leaving a bad mark on the defrauded consumers' credit reports.

This is an outrage what Sam's Club is doing to innocent consumers. It's making the victims of this scam eat the expense of its loose system that allows individuals to steal money from its store. The Indiana Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division should begin an immediate investigation of the store's practices to put a stop to this before it allows these scammers to rip off more innocent consumers. Because the scammers are using the phony credit cards to purchase gift cards, Sam's Club could easily detect who the perpetrators are if they would simply seek identification information from people using gift cards at their stores with stolen funds but they aren't. The store should be ashamed of what it's doing, but bottom line profits are obviously more important than protecting consumers from fraud at their store.

This has apparently happened at other Sam's Club and Walmart stores in other parts of the country, as well as right here in Indiana. Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett brought charges against five individuals who were apparently traveling the country using counterfeit credit cards at Sam's Clubs. These individuals were caught while using them at a Sam's Club in Clarksville, Indiana. according to a report by WAVE:
The U.S. Attorney's Office will prosecute an alleged credit card fraud case against five people arrested after shopping at Sam's Club on Veterans Parkway. Federal agents said the group is from New York and may have been traveling the country using counterfeit credit cards.
Paul Johnson, the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, said the cards are reproduced "into what we call white plastic to make them look like genuine credit cards. So there's actual names and actual victims out there."
"They sought to purchase ipads and gift cards from the Sam's Club location," said Joseph Hogsett, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
Police received information from Sam's Club that the suspects were attempting to use fraudulent credit cards. The Sam's Club employee gave police a description of the suspects and their vehicle.
It's too bad the store management in Greenwood isn't as good at detecting fraud and holding those responsible as the store in Clarksville. A couple in Florida managed to steal nearly $1 million worth of purchases at stores in Central Florida a couple of years ago using counterfeit credit cards before the pair were caught. The Orlando-Sentinel had this report on charges brought against the couple by federal prosecutors in Orlando:
According to a criminal complaint recently filed in Orlando against Shoukry and Holley, the duo obtained counterfeit identification bearing their photos, along with the pertinent identifying information of their would-be victims.
Shoukry, Holley and others, who are not identified in court records, then obtained duplicate credit cards at the membership desks at various Sam's Clubs. Each time, Shoukry and Holley posed for a new membership photo.
They then went on shopping sprees, prosecutors allege. And court documents give several examples of their alleged illegal spending:
On Feb. 15, 2011, Shoukry got a credit card at a Lakeland Sam's Club and made $8,208 in purchases at Sam's stores the same day.
On April 11, Shoukry got a counterfeit credit card at the Ocoee Sam's Club, and bought $7,408 worth of merchandise.
Prosecutors said Shoukry, 61, committed the same scheme in May at the Sanford store.
Holley, 34, is accused of making $23,263 in fraudulent purchases on a single card.
Prosecutors say he spent $29,327 on another at Sam's Club stores in Daytona Beach, Ocoee and Fern Park; and Walmart stores in Daytona Beach, Orlando, Kissimmee, Tampa and Casselberry.
Shoukry is accused of obtaining at least eight duplicate credit cards from January 2011 to May 2011; Holley is accused of obtaining at least 35 duplicate cards through this scheme from May 2011 to December.
Prosecutors say the combined loss in the Orlando-area because of their fraud is $982,881.

Failed Governator Wants Constitution Changed So He Can Run For President

Arnold lobbies for White House run
Arnold Schwarzenegger spent two terms as California's governor. He promised to straighten out the Golden State's fiscal affairs, but the exact opposite occurred as government and taxes grew, along with the size of the state's mounting debt. The only thing he proved himself good at was cheating on his wife and fathering children out of wedlock while married to a member of the Kennedy clan. Now the Austrian-born son of a Nazi commander wants the U.S. Constitution amended so that he can run for president in 2016. As a naturalized citizen, Schwarzenegger holds dual citizenship and is ineligible to run because he quite clearly is not a natural born citizen. The New York Post's Page Six column discusses Schwarzenegger's rumored plans to ensure that gets changed:
One source said: “Schwarzenegger has been talking openly about working on getting the constitutional rules changed so he can run for president in 2016. He is ready to file legal paperwork to challenge the rules.”
Arnie was born in Austria, and the US Constitution prevents foreign-born citizens from holding the nation’s top job. Any amendment to the Constitution must be approved by two-thirds majority in the House and the Senate.
But Arnold, who became a US citizen in 1983, still could mount a legal challenge. In 2010, he appeared on the ‘Tonight Show,’ and was asked by Jay Leno if he would make a White House run if the law were changed.
Schwarzenegger replied, “Without any doubt.” With America becoming more diverse, it is not clear what would happen if Arnie or any other foreign-born naturalized citizen decided to run.
Columbia University Law School professor Michael Dorf, an expert in constitutional law, said about the Governator’s case in 2007, “The law is very clear, but it’s not 100 percent clear that the courts would enforce that law rather than leave it to the political process.”
The way things are headed in this country, Schwarzenegger probably won't need a constitutional amendment since our Supreme Court refuses to even say what a natural born citizen means when persons challenging candidates not meeting the constitutional requirement are denied the opportunity to have their cases heard and the so-called legal experts touted by our media keep amending its meaning on the fly. Once upon a time, it was pretty clear that only children born in the U.S. to American citizen parents were considered natural born. Then along came Obama and so-called constitutional scholars claimed a person need only be born on American soil in order to qualify regardless of their parents' citizenship status. After the Canadian-born Ted Cruz decided he wanted to run for president, some legal scholars began changing their tune and claiming that even persons born abroad who are deemed citizens at birth by an act of Congress are now considered natural born citizens. By 2016, I wouldn't be surprised if people begin reading the constitutional requirement as only requiring that a person be a citizen, regardless of how they attained that status, in order to meet the natural born citizenship requirement. The Bill of Rights are being read right out of the Constitution. Why wouldn't the natural born citizenship clause meet the same fate?  

House Stenographer Says Holy Spirit Woke Her Up

Dianne Reidy, the stenographer for the U.S. House of Representatives who walked up to a live microphone at the well of the House and began condemning members of the body for their ungodly ways before being forcefully removed, has sent an e-mail to Fox News' Chad Pergram explaining why she did it:
“For the past 2 and 1/2 weeks, the Holy Spirit has been waking me up in the middle of the night and preparing me (through my reluctance and doubt) to deliver a message in the House Chamber.
That is what I did last night”
Her husband Dan says “My wife is a sweet, level-headed wonderful woman of God. I am proud of her.”
I guess that puts her in the same company as the televangelists we see on TV who are making tens of millions of dollars telling us what God has spoken directly to them to communicate to all of us.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Super Lawyer William Conour Receives 10-Year Sentence For Bilking Clients Out Of $6.7 Million

William Conour
Somone makes money peddling "Super Lawyer" status to Indiana lawyers, a badge trial lawyer William Conour gladly wore to sell his credibility to would-be clients. Unfortunately, at least 36 of his clients found out the hard way that he was a two-timing crook who stole as much as $6.7 million from funds he recovered for them to settle their personal injury claims in order to finance an opulent lifestyle for him and his trophy wife. The victims included widows, orphans and victims with long-term medical needs. Part of their money went to fund a large donation to the Robert McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, whose atrium now bears his name.

Today, a federal judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison for his misdeeds. Federal prosecutors had urged Judge Richard Young to sentence him to 20 years in prison. Despite complaints made by clients and one of his former partners over a several year period, the Attorney Disciplinary Commission says it lacked the resources to take action against him until he was charged by federal prosecutors after the FBI concluded its investigation. Conour resigned his law license last year rather than defend his actions.

Consider yourself warned. Whenever you see an Indianapolis area lawyer boasting that he or she is a "Super Lawyer," it means absolutely nothing other than they know how to play the game to get the publisher of the publication to bestow that designation on them. It in no way reflects on their competence or integrity as a lawyer, and it's no more reliable than some of those private rating services on which people waste time and money; it's merely the opinion of a very small sampling of people who participate in their annual survey.

The practice of attorneys being allowed to use this meaningless designation in their advertising should be barred under the rules as misleading and deceptive, but it's not. Indiana is not alone in allowing the "Super Lawyer" designation, which is always carried out by a publishing company that makes money selling advertising to attorneys who seek the self-serving designation. Time and time again throughout the country there have been so-called Super Lawyers busted for committing the most dastardly of deeds. Vanity is not a virtue. Just remember that.

[NOTE: An earlier version attributed the Super Lawyer list publication to IBJ Publishing Corp. Editor Greg Andrews says the publisher "has no business connection to Super Lawyers and don't peddle anything related to Super Lawyer status." I apologize for the error. It has been brought to my attention that is actually distributed through Indianapolis Monthly, which is a publication of Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications.

Indiana University Decides Against Privatization Of Parking Assets

After a lengthy study of the issue, IU President Michael McRobbie recommended to IU's Board of Trustees that the university pass on a plan to privatize the university's parking assets at its Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses. Instead, the university will focus on developing a "strategic business plan to increase operating efficiency and optimize parking revenue."

“We conducted a thorough and inclusive analysis of both the financial and nonfinancial aspects of a long-term parking agreement and, in the end, concluded that the valuation of our parking assets simply wasn’t compelling enough to justify losing control of our operations for 50 years,” said [IU's CFO Mary Frances] McCourt, who presented a summary of the university’s analysis to the Board of Trustees today. “Our decision is based, in large part, on the assumption that we will make improvements to our existing parking operations that will result in additional revenue to the university, and we will begin that work immediately.”

According to the university's press release, IU hired Goldman Sachs and Walker Consulting, both of which have participated in heavily-criticized municipal parking privatization deals, to aid in its analysis that led to the university's decision not to privatize. Walker Consulting was a partner in Indianapolis' privatization effort. Goldman Sachs served as a financial adviser on Chicago's controversial privatization deal for its parking assets.

Feds Bring Additional Charges Against Perps In Indy Land Bank Scheme

A former member of the Ballard administration responsible for administering Indianapolis' Land Bank program, along with one of his co-conspirators, is facing additional wire fraud charges. The IBJ reports that Reginald Walton, who formerly ran the Land Bank, and David Johnson, executive director of the Indiana Minority AIDS Coalition, face additional charges for allegedly lining their own pockets by requiring qualified buyers of homes held by the Land Bank to pay $5,000 per home instead of the $1,000 price that was supposed to be charged to them. Walton and Johnson allegedly pocketed the $4,000 difference for themselves. Ironically, the victims of their scheme were people the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office had identified as being the victims of a previous mortgage fraud scheme. U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett's office previously announced 8 charges of wire fraud, bribery and conspiracy charges against five defendants involved in a series of fraudulent transactions undertaken by the city's Land Bank under Walton's leadership.

House Stenographer Loses It As House Votes To Raise Debt Limit To End Government Shutdown

House stenographer Diane Reidy apparently could take no more of the madness that evolves around the way our elected officials in Washington are driving us right off a financial cliff by continuing to borrow and print imaginary money. Reidy erupted as the House prepared to concur in a Senate-passed resolution that kicked America's day of reckoning down the road by extending the national debt limit another 90 days. Reidy had to be led off the House floor after she erupted before an open microphone about the deception that the United States is "one nation under God," referring to the freemasons who drafted the U.S. Constitution as devil worshipers. “He will not be mocked, don’t touch me, he will not be mocked,” Reidy ranted as she was being led off the floor, adding, “The greatest deception here is this is not one nation under God, it never was.” Looking at the video, it appears that Indiana's Rep. Susan Brooks was in the chair at the time Reidy walked to the microphone in a trance-like state and began her rant. UPDATE: Scratch that. It was Florida's Ileana Ros Lehtinen who was in the chair when Reidy began her rant.

Indiana's congressional delegation divided on the 285-144 vote. The state's two Democratic members, Andre Carson and Pete Visclosky, joined Republicans Susan Brooks and Todd Young in voting for the resolution. Republicans Larry Buschon, Luke Messer, Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman and Jackie Walorski joined the majority of Republican members in voting against the resolution. Sen. Dan Coats and Sen. Joe Donnelly both voted for the resolution in the Senate where it passed on an overwhelming vote of 81-18. The nearly two-week government shutdown produced no fundamental changes in the way Washington conducts our government's business, leaving Americans shaking their heads in bewilderment at the sight of members of Congress playing their typical political games while wallowing in the corruption that permeates our nation's capital as Rome burns. What is the definition of insanity? Who is the insane one here? Diane Reidy or our leadership in Washington?

UPDATE: Law professor Jonathan Turley shares his thoughts about this incident at his blog:
For many of us, Congress has become a circus like environment with two parties exercising a duopoly of power despite record levels of contempt from voters for their conduct and policies. For sane people, Congress simply could not get more bizarre. Think again. At the height of the vote to end the government shutdown, Dianne Reidy, an official reporter with the Office of the Clerk, took the mike and began to condemn Congress (starting out well) and then rave against Freemasons (ending not so well). The most troubling thing about the scene? For many voters, she still seemed the most sane and honest person in the chamber.
Reidy calmly took the rostrum and began shouting “the House is divided . . . He will not be mocked . . . This is not one nation under God. It never was. . . The greatest deception here is this is not one nation under god! It never was. Had it been, it would not have been! The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons!”
Members immediately demanded that she be withdrawn. Only 435 unhinged individuals are allowed to scream uncontrollably in the chamber so Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen, R-Fla. ordered her removed. Besides any of the members could easily show that this was nearly the “greatest deception” in Congress.

Meanwhile, a Chinese rating agency responded to the debt ceiling increase by downgrading our credit-worthiness as a nation. 
"The fundamental situation that the debt growth rate significantly outpaces that of fiscal income and gross domestic product remains unchanged," Dagong said in the statement, adding Washington's solvency was vulnerable as old debts were still repaid through raising new debts.
"Hence the government is still approaching the verge of default crisis, a situation that cannot be substantially alleviated in the foreseeable future," it said.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cory Booker Doesn't Live In Newark

The mainstream media has been fixated on promoting the political career of Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker. Neighborhood residents insist that he has never lived at the home he claims as his residence in their city. Instead, they claim the townhouse is only used as an office by city police charged with providing security for him. Booker doesn't have to reside in Newark in order to run in the special election being held today to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D); however, he is required to live in the city in order to serve as the city's mayor, and to cast votes in the precinct in which he claims as his residence. Neighbors believe that he actually lives somewhere in New York City. Nonetheless, nobody in the mainstream media seems to be the least bit concerned about his residency. Why? Booker is heavily favored to win today's special election over this conservative Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan, who the media has virtually ignored throughout the campaign.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brizzi's Decision Not To Put On Defense In Charlie White Case Based On His Doubts About Wife's Testimony

Arguments by the attorney representing former Secretary of State Charlie White in his petition for post-conviction relief resumed today in Hamilton Superior Court Judge Daniel Pfleging's courtroom with testimony from White's trial attorney, Carl Brizzi. In February, 2012, White was forced to give up his office after a jury found him guilty on six of seven vote fraud-related charges arising out of prosecutors' claims that he voted illegally once by casting a vote in the 2010 primary election in a precinct in which he didn't reside. White's attorney, Andrea Ciobanu, is arguing that White received ineffective counsel from Brizzi, the former Marion Co. Prosecutor. Ciobanu blames Brizzi's failure to put on a defense in the case by calling any witnesses as the main reason jurors found him guilty. For the first time today, we got a better picture of Brizzi's claimed rationale for closing his case without offering any witnesses or evidence in defense of his client.

Previously, Brizzi has maintained in public interviews that his strategy not to put on a defense was based on his belief that the prosecution had not met its burden in proving any of the charges against him, a tactic he says caught prosecutors off guard. Today, he told Judge Pfleging during his testimony that he had never made any firm decision until what, if any, witnesses he would call until the prosecution neared the end of its case against his client. Brizzi claimed that during a late-night meeting with White and his wife, Michelle White, that he began to question the truthfulness of the testimony that she had previously provided to the Indiana Recount Commission, where she testified that she and her husband did not reside together in the condominium he purchased a few months before their marriage until the couple tied the knot Memorial Day weekend after the May primary. Michelle testified that White spent much of his time on the road campaigning for Secretary of State, but that he slept in the basement of his ex-wife's home until they were married. White's ex-wife, Nicole Mills, buttressed her testimony during the Recount Commission proceedings.

Brizzi acknowledged that he had represented Michelle White during the Recount Commission as her pro bono counsel when she testified in support of her husband. During a tough late-night grilling of her during the trial, Brizzi claims that in an agitated and emotional state Michelle claimed Charlie didn't really "live there, live there" in reference to Nicole's home, which Brizzi characterized as a "confession" or "recantation" of her Recount Commission testimony. At that moment, Brizzi says his trial strategy began to change. He says that he came to the conclusion that the rules of professional conduct would not have allowed him to offer testimony from Michelle that he said he believed would be untruthful. When asked why he argued to jurors in his closing argument that White resided at his ex-wife's home during the time in question if he didn't believe Michelle, he responded that it was his duty to argue his client's case as best as he could to the jury.

Ciobanu questioned Brizzi's judgment for not spending any time prepping any of the witnesses he had listed on his final witness list prior to trial and questioned whether he ever had any intention of calling witnesses. Brizzi explained that it was not necessary for him to sit down and interview all potential witnesses prior to trial. He said that he typically speaks to witnesses shortly before or at the time of the trial.

At the beginning of his testimony, special prosecutor Dan Sigler, Sr. strenuously objected to any attempts by White's attorney to impeach Brizzi's testimony with testimony he gave last week in the civil case White has filed against Brizzi for legal malpractice. Sigler complained that White's attorney circumvented a deposition of Brizzi in the post-conviction relief proceeding by filing a civil lawsuit against him and deposing him in that matter instead without notice to him. Ciobanu shot back that Sigler had been made aware of the deposition and had been afforded the opportunity to attend the deposition but chose not to attend it. Judge Pflefging overruled Sigler's objection and permitted Brizzi to be examined on matters discussed in the deposition that were relevant to whether he had provided ineffective counsel.

One by one, Brizzi dismissed the value of calling witnesses. After dismissing Michelle's testimony as untrustworthy, he said he didn't want to call White's ex-wife, Nicole, because he believed that she was too corporate-like in her answers and jurors would wonder why she testified if White's wife didn't testify. He said that White's mother was "too emotional" to be an effective witness. He had ethical concerns that an expert witness that Brizzi says was retained by White and his father without his consultation, Ryan Harmon, a former Indiana State Police sergeant, would not be credible. Harmon was prepared to offer testimony based on his analysis of GPS data gathered from White's cell phone records that he said would prove that White spent most nights at his ex-wife's home during the period in question when he wasn't traveling throughout the state.

Brizzi said that he was concerned about information Sigler had shared with him before trial about a phone conversation that he said Harmon had recorded with a State Police investigator, whom had been relied upon by the prosecution, and whom Harmon had supposedly accused of being selected to conduct White's investigation as a favor to the governor and Sigler. According to the allegation, the State Police investigator was using the prosecution to angle for a promotion within the department. Brizzi said that the concerns shared with him by Sigler raised ethical challenges in offering him as a credible witness. He said that he concluded that Harmon's testimony would not be needed after he was satisfied that he had adequately discredited the expert testimony offered by the prosecution, a Sprint employee. Ciobanu pointed out that the prosecution had not identified Sprint employee Ray Clark as an expert witness until right before trial. Brizzi admitted that the late disclosure had initially caused him concern, and that he briefly considered seeking a continuance but that after he saw the evidence that he intended to offer and based upon his prior conversations with Harmon he said that he was comfortable with the state being allowed to offer the surprise, last-minute witness to their case.

Following a recess in this morning's testimony, Judge Pfleging had an admonition to everyone involved in the case whose emotions were running high. It was not immediately clear what had prompted the call for a side bar between the prosecution, White's attorney and Brizzi's attorney during a break that prompted the admonition from the judge. One court room observer saw an exchange occur during a break in today's proceeding between Brizzi and Harmon during which the witness claims that Brizzi was overheard to say that Harmon had better watch his back. Harmon, who had been seated in the courtroom at the beginning of today's proceeding, was asked to leave due to a separation of witness order issued by the judge.

Ciobanu also questioned Brizzi about whether he had considered seeking a continuance in the case due to his mother's failing health at the time of the trial and the distraction it was causing him. Brizzi acknowledged that a health care worker at St. Vincent's where his mother was being treated had made emergency calls to him about his mother near the time of the trial, but he said he later dismissed the health care worker as being a "chicken little" because he would find his mother doing fine when he rushed to be by her side after receiving a call from her. Brizzi's mother passed away this past May.

Brizzi's most critical testimony was about White himself being called as a witness. Brizzi said that after working for months prior to trial for hundreds of hours with White he concluded that he would do more harm for his case by testifying in his defense. Calling him as a witness would have been a "disaster" Brizzi claimed, although White did previously testify in his own behalf during his Recount Commission hearing without disastrous consequences. Brizzi criticized White for being too emotional and worked up with the prosecution team, claiming that White inappropriately stared down the prosecutors when they were in the same room and showed too much of an inclination to want to get into a fight with them. Brizzi had also suggested that the amount of money being spent on the case was of concern to his client, although Ciobanu needled him about incurring the added expense of renting office space across the street from the Hamilton Co. Courthouse for a three-month period for a trial that lasted only a few days especially for White's case.

White's attorney criticized Brizzi for relying upon jury nullification as a jury strategy, a characterization challenged by Sigler, who claimed there was nothing in the record to support a jury nullification strategy. Brizzi, however, conceded that during voir dire he had asked potential jurors whether they were sympathetic to the argument that it would be unfair to prosecute someone for a technical violation of the law that few people were prosecuted for breaking. As an example, Brizzi mentioned the example of prosecuting someone for betting small wagers while playing poker, which is technically illegal gambling. Ciobanu believes that Brizzi poisoned the jury pool from the outset by suggesting to them his belief that his client had broken a law that most people are never prosecuted for breaking. Ciobanu noted that the prosecution struck potential jurors who answered sympathetically to the question posed to them by Brizzi.

Perhaps the most damning admission from Brizzi during his testimony this morning came when he admitted that he mistakenly believed that evidence to which the prosecution and defense had stipulated prior to trial would be admissible had never been formerly tendered by him as evidence for the jury to consider. That included documentary evidence White offered to prove that he resided at the home of his ex-wife for the brief period during which he had abandoned the apartment in which he had been residing following his previous divorce but before he said that he moved into the condominium he purchased for him and Michelle to reside following their marriage. White claims that he did not immediately move into the condominium with Michelle because of her young children from a prior marriage who were residing there with her. Brizzi dismissed the significance of the omission, claiming the evidence broke both ways in that some of it could have been used by the prosecution to prove he had actually resided at the condominium. Nonetheless, the same evidence had been offered at his Recount Commission, which determined that he satisfied residency for voting purposes based upon the standards set out in statute and as interpreted in prior Supreme Court decisions.

There were also lengthy discussions during Brizz's testimony about instructions made to the jury. Brizzi agreed that he had worked with Jerry Bonnet, general counsel for the Secretary of State's office, prior to trial on jury instructions. He acknowledged that the instructions given to the jury did not include instructions Ciobanu argued were critical to allowing the jury to properly apply the law to the facts. Sigler contended those were issues decided by the judge and not left up to Brizzi alone, and that those issues had been preserved for White's appeal. Ciobanu faulted Brizzi for not arguing to the jury the correct legal standard for establishing residency for voting purposes and for not moving for a directed verdict if he believed that the prosecution's evidence did not support a conviction. Brizzi defended his actions, noting that he had filed motions prior to court based on those legal arguments, which were rejected by the trial court judge. This afternoon, White's attorney offered testimony from family members, including his ex-wife and mother, who believed they were going to be called as witnesses but were never called to testify by Brizzi during the trial.

UPDATED: After reviewing the tweeting by some of the mainstream media reporters who covered today's hearing, it only confirms my view that these reporters come to a story with preconceived notions and an agenda that heavily taints their reporting on all matters concerning Charlie White. Once these people have decided they don't like you because the establishment folks to whom they suck up tell them you're an outcast and must be treated as such, they will not report anything about you accurately or fairly. This is the sad state of affairs where we find ourselves with today's journalists. There is little distinction between fact reporters and opinion commentators. These people are incapable of discerning real corruption from fabricated outrage. This is why it's possible for a President today to commit crimes far worse than President Nixon imagined committing on his darkest days in office and not cause today's reporters who are supposed to represent the top news organizations in the country to even bat an eye.