And now, “The lies made me do it”

A second person has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the January 6th insurrection.

A man who wore goggles and carried a Trump flag into the Senate chamber on January 6 as the US Capitol was overrun with rioters became the second riot defendant to plead guilty on Wednesday, setting the tone for what may come as more of the hundreds of cases head toward being resolved in court.

The obstruction charge he has pleaded guilty to carries a maximum 20 years in prison, though judges almost never sentence defendants to the maximum amount.

Still, the resolution of Hodgkins’ case sends a signal for other riot defendants that prosecutors may not be willing to significantly reduce charges for those who entered the Capitol building.

Many of the Capitol riot defendants are already engaged in plea talks, and, as is typical in the criminal justice system, a large proportion are expected to plead guilty.

Previously, the Justice Department cut a deal for an Oath Keeper founder to cooperate, the first plea deal in the insurrection investigation.

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Add “The mob made me do it” to the “Trump made me do it” excuse

Some of the people arrested in the January 6th insurrection are pleading that it was the mob that made them invade the Capitol building that day.

Christopher Grider said he came to Washington on Jan. 6 with no intention of rioting. But he got caught up in the mob of angry supporters of then-President Donald Trump as they surged into the U.S. Capitol, breaking through police barriers and smashing through doors.

It wasn’t his fault, he said, that he ended up inside the building with a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag around his neck as lawmakers ran for their lives.
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Is this harsh treatment really necessary?

The treatment of people caught up in the US penal system is often brutal. One of the results of celebrities going to jail is that we get to hear of harsh treatment that is meted out to detainees that are ignored when poor and unknown people are subjected to it. One such case is Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s close associate, who has complained to an appeals court during a bail hearing that she is not allowed to sleep at all. Recall that Epstein died by suicide in jail though no evidence has been presented that Maxwell is suicidal.

Two of three judges on a second US circuit court of appeals panel in Manhattan expressed concern about light shone in her cell every 15 minutes at night as Federal Bureau of Prisons (BoP) guards make sure she is breathing.
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The ‘Trump made me do it’ defense is not working

As the trials start to unfold for those who took part in the January 6th insurrection, we see the various defenses being brought forward. One that is being tried is “I was following Trump’s leadership”. One of those trying it in order to get out on bail is a 51-year old geophysicist from Colorado named Jeffrey Sabot who, after returning home, tried to destroy evidence by zapping his phone in the microwave (would that even work?) and making other moves. His problem is that he is seen on videos attacking a police officer at the Capitol. He then decided to flee to Switzerland (which with the US does not have an extradition treaty) and say that he was going to ski.

But after arriving in Boston and going to the airport to leave the country, he panicked when he saw police officers whom he thought were coming for him so he left the airport and drove south in a rented car, throwing his phone over a bridge along the way. But he was caught and arrested anyway.
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Trevor Noah on police brutality

He uses the George Floyd trial and the shooting this week of Daunte Wright to make some very sharp points about how police behavior will never change as long as they keep getting away with things like this. The resignations of the police officer who shot Wright and her police chief and the firing of one of the police officers who pepper sprayed and threatened Caron Nazario is perhaps a sign that the wall of immunity is showing at least some cracks.

Don’t deliberately cough on people for any reason

Debra Jo Hunter, a woman in Florida (of course) who deliberately went up to someone and coughed in her face during the early days of the pandemic, was sentenced last week to 29 days in jail. The woman she coughed on had recently had brain tumor surgery.

Duval County Court Judge James Ruth first heard testimony from Hunter’s husband, friends and family who said she has a “really huge heart” and is “broken-hearted” over how she coughed on cancer patient Heather Sprague. But after they spoke on behalf of Hunter, Sprague told the judge about the confrontation that happened only months after she underwent brain tumor surgery. 

Sprague said she watched Hunter, 53, give at least 15 minutes of what she called “escalating bullying,” swearing and threats to Pier 1 staff about a broken item with Sprague’s children nearby. It was only when Sprague said she started shooting video in the final minute of the tirade that she was yelled at, then coughed on.

Here’s video of the incident.

I really doubt her family’s claim that she has a “really huge heart”. People like that do not berate shop assistants, give the double finger to strangers, and call them names. Also, deliberately coughing on someone is something that everyone would agree on is disgusting, similar to spitting on them.

There is something about the pandemic that has unhinged some people to the extent that they react so angrily. Hunter was with her two children. Doesn’t she care what kind of role model she is for them?

The other legal shoe drops

Dominion Voting Systems has hit Fox News with a $1.6 billion lawsuit for defamation for its wild allegations against the company that it engaged in massive election fraud to deprive Trump of the presidential election victory. It had earlier sued Trump’s erstwhile lawyer Sidney Powell for $1.3 billion.

The company alleged that the network “recklessly disregarded the truth” and participated in a disinformation campaign against it because “the lies were good for Fox’s business.”

n the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election, then-President Donald Trump falsely asserted that the election had been rigged against him. His allies promoted outlandish conspiracy theories about Dominion to support Trump’s false claims.

“Fox took a small flame” of disinformation and “turned it into a forest fire,” Dominion said in its lawsuit.

“The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” Dominion’s lawsuit added. “Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process. If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does.”

In its lawsuit, Dominion specifically mentioned hosts Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, and Jeanine Pirro, three of whom were named as defendants in Smartmatic’s lawsuit. Fox is the sole defendant in this suit.

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Sidney Powell now says that she was just kidding all along

Remember Sidney Powell, the member of Trump’s crack (or should I say cracked) legal team that accused Dominion Voting Systems of orchestrating a massive fraud that deprived Trump of. his election win? Dominion sued her for defamation and was asking for $1.3 billion in damages. Well, she has now come up with a defense that no one in their right mind could have thought that she was serious, despite her going on TV, meeting in the White House with Trump, and giving press conferences multiple times making those allegations.
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Why did Giuliani, Powell, and Fox News pick on Smartmatic?

Smartmatic is a software company that works with election systems. They became the target of a systematic campaign by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell and Fox News personalities Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro, who accused the company of rigging the votes in order to enable Joe Biden to win. The puzzling thing is Smartmatic’s only involvement in the election was in Los Angeles county where there was never any need to to fraudulently aid Biden to win since California was assured. So why pick on this company? The answer may be that its founder Antonio Mujica is originally from Venezuela. Aha! There was the smoking gun!

On that flimsy basis this bunch of loonies spun their fantastic yarn of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, George Soros, and the international Communist movement working to steal the election from Trump. Smartmatic has had enough and, like the Dominion Voting Systems company that manufactures voting machines who were also accused by this crew of stealing the election, they have initiated a massive $2.7 billion lawsuit against these five people as well as Fox News and its parent Fox Corporation.
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