Dave Aronberg, a state attorney in Palm Beach, Florida, announced the new online portal filled with a treasure trove of documents, videos, and audio files concerning the 2006-2008 prosecution of the infamous sex offender whose suicide has been disputed by private pathologist Michael Baden.
Beyond that, 60 Minutes recently revealed several new data points which raise additional questions regarding Epstein’s alleged suicide.
Epstein warned his lawyers that someone tried to kill him weeks before his death and notified authorities, the Washington Post reported—a fact often ignored by the corporate media. Curiously, security footage recorded in the correctional facility was reported to have been accidentally destroyed in December.
A report by the NY Post has said that Epstein had told his lawyers that his cellmate—alleged mobster and ex-cop Nicholas Tartaglione—had choked him weeks prior. This is the reason that Epstein wasn’t on suicide watch, according to his lawyers. It is worth noting that Tartaglione was allegedly transferred one day prior to Epstein’s death.
However, these newly-released documents are related to the “sweetheart deal” that Epstein received back in 2008. Epstein plead guilty in 2008 to two-state prostitution charges and agreed to an 18-month jail sentence where he was allowed to leave prison for work 16 hours a day. He was also forced to register as a sex offender and promised to reach financial settlements with dozens of his victims.
The files probably won’t provide much new information because many of them have already been public, according to the report. But the statement that was released with the documents is worth look into in itself. Aronberg said:
“First, I had nothing to do with the investigation that resulted in Epstein pleading guilty 12 years ago to prostitution charges instead of federal crimes.
Second, I have no access to one particular file that is sought by special prosecutors appointed last year by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
I have never seen or had access to the Epstein Grand Jury transcripts, as the State Attorney’s office has never possessed them.”
This suggests that even after Epstein’s death there remains a cover-up effort to suppress the Grand Jury transcripts which may include names or information about other people involved in the pedophile ring that were protected as part of the plea deal.
The 66-year-old pedophile was given an unfair plea deal, violating the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act established in 2004, by failing to notify the 32 identified victims, lawyers for the women have repeatedly stated. The plea deal, according to sources, was a deal arranged with the FBI in exchange for ratting out financial malfeasance at Bear Stearns by hedge fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin. It was an unthinkable exchange.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafaña used her personal Gmail account to suggest to one of Epstein’s lawyers that they could file legal papers in a different jurisdiction as a way to “hopefully cut the press coverage significantly.” Villafaña then told Epstein’s attorney that they would “include our standard language regarding resolving all criminal liability and would even mention ‘co-conspirators’.” However, she “preferred to not highlight for the judge all of the other crimes Epstein was accused of and other persons that we could charge.”
The plea deal was brokered with the help of then-U.S. attorney Alexander Acosta. The deal was criticized as lenient because Epstein could have faced a life sentence. There are also allegations that prosecutors were threatened legally, according to Acosta.
Explaining his decision in the case in a 2011 letter, Acosta said he backed off from pressing charges after “a year-long assault on the prosecution and the prosecutors” by “an army of legal superstars” who represented Epstein, including Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, Kenneth Starr, and some of the U.S.’ most prominent defense attorneys including Roy Black, Gerald Lefcourt, and Jay Lefkowitz.
“The defense strategy was not limited to legal issues
Defense counsel investigated individual prosecutors and their families, looking for personal peccadilloes that may provide a basis for disqualification.”
Dershowitz told the Chicago Tribune that no such effort to stir the prosecutors ever took place. “That’s just dead wrong,” he said. “I would never participate in anything of that kind. Of course, we investigated the witnesses but not Acosta’s deputies. That’s absurd.” Acosta’s “intention was to indict, and he fought hard and tried to get the best deal he could,” Dershowitz said. “We out lawyered him.”
However, Acosta’s staff had advocated for him to pursue a federal indictment. Instead, he offered a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein without any of the victims’ knowledge of the deal.
The Miami Herald also dug into public records in Palm Beach and the state of Florida that show Epstein “sought to ingratiate himself with local law enforcement officials.”
“Sometime between June 1, 2001, and May 31, 2002, while accusers say he was operating what amounted to a sexual pyramid scheme—luring underage girls to his home then having them recruit other girls—he gave $50,000 to the Palm Beach Police Scholarship Fund, which offers tuition help to the children of law officers. This was followed by an Oct. 16, 2003, donation to the Town of Palm Beach for $36,000. Finally, Epstein donated $90,000 to the Palm Beach Police Department on Dec. 14, 2004—just a few months before the initial police investigation into his conduct began. With Epstein under scrutiny, the $90,000 was held under the pretense of purchasing new equipment. The department reasoned that returning the money might have tipped off Epstein to the fact that he was under scrutiny. The department issued him a $90,000 refund the day he turned himself in at the local jail.”
Epstein also paid off the Palm Beach police department with a $128,000 bribe through his nonprofit organization during his incarceration between 2008 and 2009. The bribe was paid to the Sheriff’s Office as part of the arrangement for his supervised work-release program, which allowed him to leave for 16 hours a day, the Sun Sentinel reported.
Even former Palm Beach police chief Michael Reiter, whose department conducted the initial investigation into Epstein, said in a civil lawsuit deposition that Epstein got off easy.
“That wasn’t an appropriate resolution of this matter,” Reiter said, arguing that the charges against Epstein were “very minor” compared to what the facts called for.
Reiter, who was the partner of Joseph Recarey, further stated prior in 2010 in an exclusive interview with the Daily Beast that during the investigation they became aware they were being watched under surveillance for several months by an unknown source. Reiter also previously stated that State Attorney Barry Krischer was hesitant to prosecute Epstein, causing Reiter to send a letter to Krischer complaining of the “highly unusual conduct.”
The facts become even more disturbing and chilling when you learn that State Attorney Krischer, who turned a blind eye to this case, was also in charge of Florida’s Crimes Against Children Unit, a position of power in which he could directly affect cases against persons accused of crimes against children.
Additionally, in July 2008, shortly after reaching his non-prosecution deal Epstein sent a shredder to his Palm Beach home. He also shipped a tile and carpet extractor from the Virgin Islands to his Manhattan townhouse and silk carpets to his Zorro ranch shortly after a Florida federal judge invalidated his deal, the Intercept reported.
To many it appears that Epstein was in fact destroying evidence, obstructing justice, bribing officials, and hiding potential DNA such as hair follicles, blood, and bodily fluids that may have been embedded into the carpet/tiles. It is hard to deny that there was a massive network behind Epstein protecting him and others. Some have gone so far as to suggest it is possible that those same individuals could have had the convicted pedophile killed to keep their dirty sick secret.
UN Says Trump Violated International Law With Pardons for Blackwater War Criminals
A United Nations panel has strongly denounced U.S. President Donald Trump’s pardons for several former Blackwater mercenaries and convicted war criminals that were found guilty of massacring over a dozen civilians in Baghdad.
The U.N. working group on the use of mercenaries released a statement Wednesday condemning the White House decision to pardon the four killers as an offense to basic justice and insult to the memory of over a dozen people killed in the 2007 massacre, reports Reuters. The panel also sharply condemned the move as a violation of U.S. obligations to international law.
“Pardoning the Blackwater contractors is an affront to justice and to the victims of the Nisour Square massacre and their families,” said panel chair Jelena Aparac.
“These pardons violate U.S. obligations under international law and more broadly undermine humanitarian law and human rights at a global level,” she added.
The four men, all of whom were American, were involved in the indiscriminate killing of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians, when the mercenaries opened fire during busy traffic at the Baghdad square. Twenty additional civilians were injured. Nicholas Slatten was convicted of first-degree murder while Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty and Paul Slough were each convicted of voluntary and attempted manslaughter.
The four men were employed by the private security firm Blackwater which was owned by security contractor Erik Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Prince has reportedly served as an informal adviser to the White House while also helping to orchestrate spying efforts to infiltrate campaigns by political and labor groups considered hostile to Trump, the New York Times reported earlier this year.
The four mercenaries were included in a wave of controversial pre-Christmas pardons announced by the Trump administration that critics derided as corrupt and immoral.
“While U.S. Army contractors convicted of massacring civilians in Iraq are pardoned, the man who exposed such crimes against humanity, [WikiLeaks founder] Julian Assange, rots in Britain’s Guantanamo,” tweeted Greek economist and parliamentarian Yanis Varoufakis.
The pardons for the former Blackwater mercenaries, in particular, were sharply criticized by Gen. David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the two top American officials in charge of U.S. policy in Iraq at the time of the 2007 massacre, who called the move “hugely damaging, an action that tells the world that Americans abroad can commit the most heinous crimes with impunity” in a joint statement.
The U.N. working group’s chair also said that the pardons send the signal that private security contractors would essentially give them the green light to “operate with impunity in armed conflicts” as states increasingly rely on the firms to circumvent their obligations under humanitarian law.
In recent years, military contractors have increasingly been deployed in sensitive conflict zones by companies from the U.S., U.K., Russia, South Africa and other countries.
Blackwater, which has since been renamed as Academi, earned worldwide notoriety for the 2007 massacre, after which the company was stripped of its license to operate in Iraq by the country’s government.
Documents released by WikiLeaks have also highlighted major human rights abuses, including the murder of civilians, by private security services such as Blackwater throughout the Iraq War.
Trophy Hunters Killed 1.7 Million Animals Over the Past Decade – Including Endangered Species
The bloodthirsty “sport” of trophy hunting managed to kill one animal every three minutes over the past decades, according to a devastating new exposé of the industry.
Over 1.7 million animals – including elephants, lions, and rhinos – have been slaughtered by trophy hunters, with the wealthiest among them paying top dollar to kill rare and endangered creatures hovering at the brink of extinction.
The grim data underscores the ties between an industry that rakes in over $400 million per year and the global elites thirsty for a chance to kill the rare animals that conservationists have tirelessly worked to rescue.
The new book, entitled Trophy Leaks: Top Hunters and Industry Secrets, was written by Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting (CBTH) founder Eduardo Gonçalves, and exposes the shocking scale of an industry that disingenuously claims that it is pursuing the aim of conservation.
Instead, the book reveals that trophy hunters have killed some “100 endangered animals” every day in 2018. The book, which also relies on analysis by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, shows that the life of an animal is taken for sport every three minutes in a blatantly irresponsible contribution to a loss of biodiversity that has seen the global rate of species extinction accelerate to unprecedented levels in recent decades.
For this reason, Gonçalves aptly characterizes the trophy hunting trade as an extinction industry that banks on the wholesale slaughter of creatures.
“An estimated 1.7 million animals were shot by trophy hunters over the past decade – the equivalent of almost 500 animals a day, or one every 3 minutes,” Gonçalves writes.
The book also reveals how shills for the game-hunting industry have run high-profile disinformation campaigns on social media to counter the efforts of the U.K. government to outlaw imports linked to trophy hunters. About £600,000 (USD $800,000) was used to prop up sock puppet accounts on Facebook and Twitter that purported to be Africans opposed to Boris Johnson’s pledge to ban trophy imports to Britain.
According to the book, nearly 800 hunters have won the “African Big 5” prize from the industry, which rewards those who have slain at least one buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and black or white rhino.
Hunting lobbyists with the Safari Club International (SCI) industry association have also awarded special prizes to hunters who have killed over 80 different African species.
Hunting advocates have also allegedly pledged over $2 million to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in hopes of seeing a generous return on investments under his administration.
While Trump has previously denounced trophy hunting as a “horror show,” his two sons are prominent trophy hunters and the Humane Society of the United States has denounced his administration for catering to wealthy trophy hunters and ignoring the pleas of conservationists to ban the import of slain animal “trophies.”
“Future generations will look back aghast at how we allowed the world’s most endangered species to be gunned down in their droves by adrenaline junkies in pursuit of grinning selfies and gruesome souvenirs,” Gonçalves told the Daily Mail.
“Trophy-hunting isn’t about a handful of sick individuals – it is about a huge global industry which wields extraordinary power and manipulates governments.”
Texas Dad Beaten, Maced, Taken to Jail for Filming Cops Arrest His Son for ‘Wide Right Turn’
As 2020 draws to a close, the year is likely to go down in history as a time when people across the United States finally decided to take a stand against systemic police brutality and widespread human rights abuses at the hands of law enforcement. Despite the protests, however, the widespread abuse of U.S. residents under color of authority is showing few signs of disappearing.
And in one especially egregious recent incident, a Texas police officer can be seen arresting a motorist for allegedly making too wide a right turn. The officer then proceeds to call for backup, after which the officers pepper-spray the driver and then beat the man’s father for lawfully filming the arrest.
The North Texas man is now suing two officers with the Keller Police Department for the disturbing incident, which occurred on Aug. 15 and has already led to the police chief disciplining the offending officer and apologizing to the family.
“It’s undeniable that their conduct was horrible,” Scott Palmer, one of the lawyers suing Keller PD, told New York Times. “They’re supposed to preserve and protect, and they caused havoc and mayhem.”
Dillon Puente, 22, was on his way to his grandmother’s home when he was pulled over for making a wide right turn. In police bodycam footage, Sergeant Blake Shimanek can be seen requesting that Dillon exit the car before he placed him in handcuffs.
In a police report reviewed by WFAA, Shimanek claimed that he arrested Puente for the mere traffic infraction out of fears for his own safety.
After Dillon was arrested, his father Marco Puente arrived at the scene to video record the arrest.
“He was ticketed and taken to jail for a wide right turn,” Marco later recounted.
Marco parked his truck in the lane adjacent to his son before Shimanek sharply warned him to move his vehicle, warning that he could be arrested for obstructing the roadway. Marco quickly complied before returning to record the arrest with his phone from the sidewalk across the road.
“The officer didn’t like me being there recording anything,” Marco said.
At that point, Shimanek ordered Officer Ankit Tomer to place Marco under arrest for filming the scene, which was well within his rights.
“Put your phone down,” Tomer said in footage captured by his bodycam. “Put your hands behind your head.”
“This guy is arresting me for just standing here,” Marco said.
It was at that point that Tomer escalated the situation by initiating force against Marco, an innocent civilian who was simply watching out for his son.
“They tried to take me down and pepper spray me, and it was a fiasco,” Marco said.
In the video, the officers can be seen tackling Marco to the ground and repeatedly spraying him with mace before placing him, too, in handcuffs. The father-son pair were then detained and hauled to the local jail.
However, Dillon Puente was ultimately only given a minor citation for the initial wide turn. Marco wasn’t charged with any crime, and he was quickly released.
Two days after the incident, the Keller police chief himself met with Marco to apologize for the conduct of his officers. Shimanek was also demoted from sergeant to officer for his role in the unnerving altercation.
In the lawsuit against the two officers, Keller PD leadership are quoted as calling the use of force and arrest of Marco Puente entirely “inappropriate.”
Regardless of the police department’s apologies, the lawsuit is being filed as a matter of ensuring basic accountability.
“Marco is not a criminal. This is a man, a concerned father, and if this can happen to him, it can happen to anyone,” Marco’s attorney Scott Palmer said. “These officers knew better. I believe they were trained better, but why did they not execute better? I don’t know.”
Shimanek also has a history of misconduct, including a 2016 incident where he unlawfully entered a home without a search warrant and other incidents.
“It’s disturbing to know that these are the people we are entrusting with providing safety in the community and they are abusing that power,” said James Roberts, an attorney who works with Palmer’s law firm. “I know that they knew better. I know that they knew what they were doing was wrong, yet they still did it.”
The Puente family is still disturbed by the incident, months after it transpired. And while Marco recognizes that the apology was a “nice” gesture, further accountability is required.
“This is going on everywhere,” Puente said about police brutality. “If people keep on brushing it under a rug, it’s going to keep happening.”
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