Thursday, April 18, 2019

DOJ: Department of Justice Releases Reports Focused on Improving Safety and Wellness of the Nation’s 800,000 Law Enforcement Officers


The Department of Justice today released two complementary reports that focus on the mental health and safety of the nation’s federal, state, local and tribal police officers. The reports, Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act: Report to Congress and Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Programs: Eleven Case Studies, were published by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) as required by the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (LEMHWA) of 2017. 

The LEMHWA passed both chambers unanimously and without amendment and was signed by the President shortly thereafter. These actions show that its purpose and intended effects are uncontroversial among policymakers – law enforcement agencies need and deserve support in their ongoing efforts to protect the mental health and well-being of their employees. Congress took the important step in improving the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services that will help our nation’s more than 800,000 federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers.  
"Serving as a law enforcement officer requires courage, strength, and dedication," Attorney General William P. Barr said. "The demands of this work, day in and day out, can take a toll on the health and well-being of our officers, but the Department of Justice is committed to doing our part to help. I want to thank the men and women of our COPS office for their hard work to support our officers every day, and specifically for these thoughtful and insightful reports, which detail both the challenges facing our officers and some specific ways we can give them the support that they deserve."
"A damaging national narrative has emerged in which law enforcement officers – whether federal, state, local, or tribal – are seen not as protectors of communities but as oppressors," said COPS Office Director Phil Keith. “In this environment, where an inherently stressful job is made more so by a constant undercurrent of distrust and negative public opinion, the risks to officer wellness are exacerbated. This report is an important measure and reflection in our ongoing commitment to protect those who protect us. "
Under the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, the COPS Office was required to submit reports to Congress that addressed:
(1) Recommendations to Congress on effectiveness of crisis lines for law enforcement officers, efficacy of annual mental health checks for law enforcement officers, expansion of peer mentoring programs, and ensuring privacy considerations for these types of programs;
(2) Mental health practices and services in the U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) that could be adopted by federal, state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies; and
(3) Case studies of programs designed primarily to address officer psychological health and well-being.
The first report, Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act: Report to Congressincludes 22 recommendations to Congress ranging from supporting programs to embed mental health professionals in law enforcement agencies to supporting the development of model policies and implementation guidance for law enforcement agencies to make substantial efforts to reduce suicide.
The case studies report, Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Programs: Eleven Case Studies, is designed to provide an overview of multiple successful and promising law enforcement mental health and wellness strategies with the joint aims of informing Congress, state and local government officials, and the law enforcement field. The report includes 11 case studies from a diverse group of sites across the United States.
The Department of Justice is pleased to respond to the LEMHWA as officer safety, health, and wellness is a longstanding priority of the agency. The reports released today address some of the most pressing issues currently facing our law enforcement community.
The COPS Office has a near 25-year history of supporting the efforts of state, local and tribal law enforcement, including the management of the National Blue Alert Network. The agency awards grants to hire community policing officers, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing.
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JUDICIARY: HOUSE CHAIRS DEMAND AG BARR CANCEL PRESS CONFERENCE ON MUELLER REPORT

Such a shame Bill did not get Jolly Jerry's memo....or did he?





Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Committee on Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, and Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel issued the following joint statement calling for Attorney General William Barr to cancel a press conference on Special Counsel Mueller’s report scheduled to take place before Congress is set to the receive the report:

“The Department of Justice announced today that the Attorney General will hold a press conference tomorrow morning before Congress has even seen Special Counsel Mueller’s report.  This press conference, which apparently will not include Special Counsel Mueller, is unnecessary and inappropriate, and appears designed to shape public perceptions of the report before anyone can read it. 

“In addition, we understand from press reports that the Department of Justice has had ‘numerous conversations’ with lawyers from the White House about the report, which ‘have aided the President’s legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report.’  There is no legitimate reason for the Department to brief the White House prior to providing Congress a copy of the report. 

“These new actions by the Attorney General reinforce our concern that he is acting to protect President Trump. The Attorney General previously stated, ‘I do not believe it would be in the public’s interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report or to release it in serial or piecemeal fashion.’ We agree.

“He should let the full report speak for itself. The Attorney General should cancel the press conference and provide the full report to Congress, as we have requested. With the Special Counsel’s fact-gathering work concluded, it is now Congress’ responsibility to assess the findings and evidence and proceed accordingly.”

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DOJ: Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force Takedown Results in Charges Against 60 Individuals, Including 53 Medical Professionals


Charges Involve Over 350 Thousand Prescriptions for Controlled Substances and Over 32 Million Pills; ARPO Strike Force Grows to 10 Districts, Expanding to Include the Western District of Virginia Attorney

General William P. Barr and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar II, together with multiple law enforcement partners, today announced enforcement actions involving 60 charged defendants across 11 federal districts, including 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners, and seven other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in the illegal prescribing and distributing of opioids and other dangerous narcotics and for health care fraud schemes.  In addition, HHS announced today that since June 2018, it has excluded over 2,000 individuals from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and all other Federal health care programs, which includes more than 650 providers excluded for conduct related to opioid diversion and abuse.  Since July 2017, DEA has issued 31 immediate suspension orders, 129 orders to show cause, and received 1,386 surrenders for cause nationwide for violations of the Controlled Substances Act. 
“The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, and Appalachia has suffered the consequences more than perhaps any other region,” Attorney General William P. Barr said.  “But the Department of Justice is doing its part to help end this crisis.  One of the Department's most promising new initiatives is the Criminal Division's Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force, which began its work in December.  Just four months later, this team of federal agents and 14 prosecutors has charged 60 defendants for alleged crimes related to millions of prescription opioids.  I am grateful to the Criminal Division, their U.S. Attorney partners, and to the members of the strike force for this outstanding work that holds the promise of saving many lives in Appalachian communities.”
“Reducing the illicit supply of opioids is a crucial element of President Trump’s plan to end this public health crisis,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.  “It is also vital that Americans struggling with addiction have access to treatment and that patients who need pain treatment do not see their care disrupted, which is why federal and local public health authorities have coordinated to ensure these needs are met in the wake of this enforcement operation.  The Trump Administration’s law enforcement and public health leaders will continue to work hand in hand to end this crisis that has hit Appalachia hard and steals far too many lives across America every day.” 
Attorney General Barr and Secretary Azar were joined in the announcement by Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr. for the Eastern District of Kentucky; U.S. Attorney Russell M. Coleman for the Western District of Kentucky; U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman for the Southern District of Ohio; U.S. Attorney William J. Powell for the Northern District of West Virginia; U.S. Attorney Michael B. Stuart for the Southern District of West Virginia; U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey for the Eastern District of Tennessee; U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee; U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant for the Western District of Tennessee; U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town for the Northern District of Alabama; U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen for the Western District of Virginia; Executive Assistant Director Amy Hess of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch; Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Gary L. Cantrell of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Assistant Administrator John J. Martin of the DEA Diversion Control Division, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Program Integrity (CPI) Alec Alexander.
In addition to the cases announced today, Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced today that the ARPO Strike Force will expand into the Western District of Virginia, making it the tenth ARPO Strike Force district.  ARPO is a joint law enforcement effort that brings together the resources and expertise of the Health Care Fraud Unit in the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section (HCF Unit), the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for ten federal districts in six states, as well as law enforcement partners at the FBI, HHS Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  In addition, the operation includes the participation of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, multiple State Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and other federal and state agencies.  The mission of the ARPO Strike Force is to identify and investigate health care fraud schemes in the Appalachian region and surrounding areas, and to effectively and efficiently prosecute medical professionals and others involved in the illegal prescription and distribution of opioids. 
The charges announced today involve individuals contributing to the opioid epidemic, with a particular focus on medical professionals involved in the unlawful distribution of opioids and other prescription narcotics, a priority for the Department.  According to the CDC, approximately 130 Americans die every day of an opioid overdose.  
“Today’s takedown demonstrates the FBI’s unwavering commitment to working alongside our Strike Force partners, including the HHS-OIG and DEA, to fight the opioid epidemic and related criminal activity in the Appalachian region,” said FBI Executive Assistant Director Hess. “We will not stand by and allow the harmful and oftentimes deadly practice of over-prescribing highly addictive drugs to continue unchecked. The FBI will pursue medical personnel who misuse their positions of trust to blatantly disregard others’ very lives for their own financial gain.”
“The opioid crisis has had a devastating impact in the Appalachian region,” said Principal Deputy Inspector General Chiedi. “Addressing this public health issue and ensuring beneficiaries have continuity of care requires a collaborative approach with our federal, state, and local partners. Our commitment is resolute. We will continue working together to protect the health and well-being of all Americans and ending this terrible epidemic.”
“Opioid misuse and abuse is an insidious epidemic, created in large part, by the over-prescribing of potent opioids nationwide, and unfortunately, Appalachia is at the center,” said DEA Assistant Administrator Martin.  “Today’s announcement sends a clear message that investigations involving diversion of prescription drugs have been, and continue to be, a priority for DEA.”
“CMS CPI is proud to work very closely everyday with our law enforcement partners to stop the exploitation of vulnerable patients and misuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Deputy Administrator and Director of Center for Program Integrity Alexander. “Nowhere is this collaboration more important than in our fight against the opioid crisis in America. This is one of the President’s highest priorities and we are proud to be an important part of the largest prescription opioid enforcement effort ever undertaken. We will continue to work tirelessly through investigation, data coordination and administrative action to protect the health and wellbeing of all Americans.”
The ARPO Strike Force is made up of prosecutors and data analysts with the HCF Unit, prosecutors with the 10 U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the region, including the newly added Western District of Virginia, and special agents with the FBI, HHS-OIG and DEA.  The ARPO Strike Force operates out of two hubs based in the Cincinnati, Ohio/Northern Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee, areas, supporting the 10 districts that make up the ARPO Strike Force region.  In addition, the APRO Strike Force works closely with other state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, State Medicaid Fraud Control Units. 
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For the ARPO Strike force locations, in the Southern District of Ohio, six individuals, including two doctors and three registered pharmacists were charged with several counts, including unlawful distribution of controlled substances and conspiracy to obtain controlled substances by fraud.  In one case, a doctor who is alleged to have been at one time the highest prescriber of controlled substances in the state, and several pharmacists are charged with operating an alleged “pill mill” in Dayton, Ohio.  According to the indictment, between October 2015 and October 2017 alone, the pharmacy allegedly dispensed over 1.75 million pills.  These cases were brought with assistance from the FBI, DEA, and HHS-OIG, as well as the Ohio Attorney General's Office, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit; the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Ohio; the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and the Ohio Medical Board.
In the Western District of Kentucky, a doctor was charged with controlled substance and health care fraud counts in connection with providing pre-signed, blank prescriptions to office staff who then used them to prescribe controlled substances when he was out of the office, and for directing staff at the clinic, including individuals not licensed to practice medicine, to perform medical services on patients.  In another case, a doctor, a Florida compounding pharmacy and its owner were charged in connection with a scheme that involved the payment of alleged kickbacks in return for writing prescriptions for compounded drugs that included controlled substances, and for fraudulently inflating the costs for prescriptions that were billed for reimbursement by Medicare and TRICARE.  These cases were brought with assistance from the FBI, DEA, HHS-OIG, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, as well as the Kentucky State Police, the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, the Kentucky Office of Inspector General, the Kentucky Department of Insurance, and the Kentucky Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
In the Eastern District of Kentucky, a total of five people were charged, including three doctors, a dentist and an office assistant who were charged in connection with several health care fraud and/or controlled substance schemes.  In one case a doctor operating a clinic that focused on pain management allegedly provided pre-signed, blank prescriptions to office staff who then used them to prescribe controlled substances when he was out of the office.  In another case, a solo practitioner who operates a five-clinic family practice focusing on pain management allegedly billed Medicare for urine testing that was not done and for urine testing that was not medically necessary.  A dentist was charged for alleged conduct that included writing prescriptions for opioids that had no legitimate medical purpose and that were outside the usual course of professional practice, removing teeth unnecessarily, scheduling unnecessary follow-up appointments, and billing inappropriately for services.  In yet another case, a doctor was charged for allegedly prescribing opioids to Facebook friends who would come to his home to pick up prescriptions, and for signing prescriptions for other persons based on messenger requests to his office manager, who then allegedly delivered the signed prescriptions in exchange for cash. These cases were brought with assistance from the FBI, DEA, HHS-OIG, and the Kentucky Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
In the Middle District of Tennessee, federal indictments were unsealed today charging nine Middle Tennessee medical professionals, including four doctors, four nurse practitioners and a pharmacist, with various charges alleging their participation in illegally prescribing and dispensing opioids and other dangerous narcotics and health care fraud schemes.  Two cases involve doctors who were previously sanctioned by the Tennessee Medical Board in connection with the overprescribing of opioids, one of whom was sanctioned for providing prescriptions to vulnerable patients, while the other allegedly prescribed opioid pills after serving a Board imposed term of probation.  Another case alleges that a doctor prescribed opioids and other controlled substances to at least four individuals.  In another case, an advanced practice registered nurse at a pain management clinic allegedly wrote prescriptions for opioids that had no legitimate medical purpose and that were outside the usual course of professional practice.  Separately, a pharmacist was charged for allegedly dispensing large amounts of opioids outside the usual scope of professional practice and for no legitimate medical purpose.  Finally, a podiatrist was charged with unlawful distribution of controlled substances.  In addition to assistance provided by the FBI, DEA, and HHS-OIG, these cases were brought in connection with assistance from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit; the 18th Judicial District Drug Task Force; the Sumner County District Attorney’s Office; and the District Attorney General for the 22nd Judicial District.
In the Eastern District of Tennessee, at total of eight individuals, including five doctors, a nurse practitioner, a physician’s assistant, and an office manager were charged in four cases.  Four doctors, a nurse practitioner and a physician’s assistant were charged with the unlawful distribution of opioids.  Two doctors were charged with health care fraud violations.  Three of these cases are related to alleged pill mill operations in the Eastern District of Tennessee. In addition to assistance provided by the FBI, DEA, and HHS-OIG, these cases were brought in connection with assistance from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
In the Western District of Tennessee, 15 individuals were charged, involving eight doctors and several other medical professionals.  In one case, a doctor who branded himself the “Rock Doc,” allegedly prescribed powerful and dangerous combinations of opioids and benzodiazepines, sometimes in exchange for sexual favors; over approximately three years, the doctor allegedly prescribed approximately 500,000 hydrocodone pills, 300,000 oxycodone pills, 1,500 fentanyl patches, and more than 600,000 benzodiazepine pills.  In another case, a nurse practitioner charged with conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances allegedly prescribed over  500,000 Hydrocodone pills, approximately 300,000 Oxycodone pills, and approximately 300,000 benzodiazepine pills (mostly Alprazolam), along with a myriad of other controlled substances.  In another case, a physician charged with controlled substances and health care fraud violations allegedly prescribed approximately 300,000 hydrocodone pills, 200,000 oxycodone pills, 2,500 fentanyl patches, and 180,000 benzodiazepine pills, and prescribed medically unnecessary durable medical equipment that was billed to Medicare.  Another doctor charged with controlled substances violations allegedly prescribed approximately 4.2 million opioid pills, sometimes in dangerous combinations with other drugs, such as benzodiazepines, and prescribed opioids to known addicts.  In addition to assistance provided by the FBI, DEA, and HHS-OIG, these cases were brought in connection with assistance from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Tennessee Office of Inspector General, and the West Tennessee Drug Task Force (28th District).
In the Northern District of Alabama, multiple individuals were charged in five cases, including four doctors.  In one case, the owners and operators of a medical clinic and dispensary were charged with the unlawful distribution of controlled substances and health care fraud.  In that case, a doctor allegedly prescribed opioids in high dosages, dangerous combinations, and in many cases, after having knowledge that patients failed drug screens and were addicts, preferring cash payments and charging a “concierge fee” that ranged from approximately $50 per visit or $600 per year.  In another case, a doctor allegedly recruited prostitutes and other young women with whom he had sexual relationships to become patients at his clinic, while simultaneously allowing them and their associates to abuse illicit drugs at his house.  In yet another case, a doctor allegedly dispensed controlled substances and other prescription drugs directly from the clinic, and prescribed excessive quantities of controlled substances to the same patients several times per month resulting in as many as 15 pills per day for some patients.  In that case, the doctor also signed blank prescription forms to be completed by her staff when she was not at the clinic. 
In addition to assistance provided by the FBI, DEA, HHS-OIG, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, these cases were brought in connection with assistance from the Hoover Police Department, the Huntsville Police Department, the Huntsville Area HIDTA Drug Task Force Strategic Counter Drug Team, the Marshall County Drug Task Force, the Alabama Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. 
In the Northern District of West Virginia, a case was brought against an orthopedic surgeon who allegedly used fraudulent prescriptions to obtain tablets of acetaminophen-codeine for his own use. To obtain the pills, the surgeon allegedly wrote out prescriptions using his DEA number, and in the names of a relative even though the pills were for his own use, using a driver’s license that he had stolen from a colleague to obtain the pills from pharmacy.  This case was brought in connection with assistance from the DEA and HHS-OIG.
In the Southern District of West Virginia, a doctor was charged with allegedly distributing narcotics, including dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, and amphetamine salt, to a patient who did not have a medical need for the drugs and whom the doctor never examined. This case was brought in connection with assistance from the DEA and HHS-OIG.
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In addition to the ARPO Strike Force districts, today’s enforcement actions include cases brought in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Eastern District of Louisiana. 
In the Eastern District of Louisiana, a neurologist at an alleged pill mill was charged with conspiracy to dispense controlled substances and conspiracy to commit health care fraud.  The defendant allegedly pre-signed prescriptions for controlled substances, including oxycodone, for patients whom he did not personally examine to determine medical necessity for the prescriptions, and pre-signed prescriptions for controlled substances while he was travelling internationally.  The defendant allegedly knew that certain of these patients used their Medicare Part D and Medicaid benefits to pay for the medically unnecessary prescriptions. In addition to assistance provided by the FBI, DEA, HHS-OIG, these cases were brought in connection with assistance from the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs – Office of Investigations.
In the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a former licensed practical nurse allegedly filled fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone in her name and in the names of others at a local pharmacy in order to obtain the pills for herself and to distribute to others. In addition to assistance provided by the FBI, DEA, HHS-OIG, the Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Marshalls Service, these cases were brought in connection with assistance from the Caln Township Police.
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For any patients impacted by the law enforcement operations, DOJ, DEA, HHS-OIG, HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and all five State Departments of Health are deploying federal and state-level strategies to address patient harm and insure continuity of care.  Additional information regarding available treatment programs and where patients can turn for assistance is available as follows:
Alabama: The Alabama Department of Mental Health has a dedicated telephone number to connect those affected by the closure. The toll-free substance abuse number is 1-844-307-1760.   Information about substance abuse and opioids is available at the following websites:
Kentucky: If you are in Kentucky and are suffering with addiction you can find help by calling 833-8KY-HELP or logging in at Findhelpnowky.org
Ohio: If you are seeking help in Ohio, please call the OhioMHAS patient helpline, at 1-877-275-6364
Tennessee: If you are seeking help in Tennessee:
  • For a referral to addiction treatment services, call the Tennessee REDLINE: 800-889-9789.
     
  • In a mental health crisis, call the Statewide Crisis Line: 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471).
     
  • For help accessing substance abuse or mental health services call the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Helpline: 800-560-5767 or 615-532-6700.  This line is staffed Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CT.

West Virginia: If you are in West Virginia and are suffering with addiction you can find help by calling 1-844-HELP-4WV or logging in at https://HelpandHopeWV.org
For individuals seeking help in other states, please call 1-800-662-HELP
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion.  The Medicare Fraud Strike Force, including the ARPO Strike Force, has charged more than 200 individuals with opioid-related crimes.
If you, a family member, friend or loved one believe you may be a victim in any of these cases or in connection with any charged defendant, please visit the following website for additional information:
Additional documents related to this announcement are available here:

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DOJ: Attorney General William Barr holds press conference before release of Mueller Report, live stream




Watch: Attorney general discusses Mueller Russia report



Washington – After nearly two years of waiting, America is about to get some answers straight from Robert Mueller– but not before President Donald Trump’s attorney general has his say.

The Justice Department says it will release later today a redacted version of the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign, opening up months, if not years, of fights over what the document means in a deeply divided country.
Even the planned release of the nearly 400-page report quickly spiraled into a political battle Wednesday over whether Attorney General William Barr is attempting to shield the president who appointed him and spin the report’s findings before the American people can read it and come to their own judgments.
Barr is holding a news conference to discuss the report before providing redacted copies to Congress and the public. The news conference, first announced by Trump during a radio interview, provoked immediate criticism from congressional Democrats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Barr had “thrown out his credibility” and “the DOJ’s independence.” And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “The process is poisoned before the report is even released.”
“Barr shouldn’t be spinning the report at all, but it’s doubly outrageous he’s doing it before America is given a chance to read it,” Schumer said.
Hours before Barr’s press conference, Pelosi and Schumer issued a joint statement calling for Mueller to appear before Congress “as soon as possible.”
Trump himself was in a high state of alert ahead of the report’s release. He repeated what has become a near daily refrain of criticism of the Russia investigation using his favored Twitter account. “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” he wrote.
Barr was accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the investigation after Mueller’s appointment in May 2017. Mueller and team will not attend, special counsel spokesman Peter Carr said.
After the news conference, the report is to be delivered to Congress on compact discs between 11 a.m. and noon and then posted on the special counsel’s website.
Barr formulated the report’s roll-out and briefed the White House on his plans, according to a White House official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The White House declined to comment on an ABC News report that it had been briefed on the contents of Mueller’s report beyond what Barr has made public.
At a later date, the Justice Department also plans to provide a “limited number” of members of Congress and their staff access to a copy of the Mueller report with fewer redactions than the public version, according to a court filing.
The report was expected to reveal what Mueller uncovered about ties between the Trump campaign and Russia that fell short of criminal conduct. It was also to lay out the special counsel’s conclusions about formative episodes in Trump’s presidency, including his firing of FBI Director James Comey and his efforts to undermine the Russia investigation publicly and privately.
The report was not expected to place the president in legal jeopardy, as Barr made the decision that Trump shouldn’t be prosecuted for obstruction of justice. But it is likely to contain unflattering details about the president’s efforts to control the Russia investigation that will cloud his ability to credibly claim total exoneration. And it may paint the Trump campaign as eager to exploit Russian aid and emails stolen from Democrats and Hillary Clinton’s campaign even if no Americans crossed the line into criminal activity.
The report’s release provides a test of Barr’s credibility as the public and Congress judge whether he is using his post to protect Trump.
Barr will also face scrutiny over how much of the report he blacks out and whether Mueller’s document lines up with a letter the attorney general released last month. The letter said Mueller didn’t find a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government but he found evidence on “both sides” of the question of whether the president obstructed justice.
Barr has said he is redacting grand jury and classified information as well as portions relating to ongoing investigations and the privacy or reputation of uncharged “peripheral” people. But how liberally he interprets those categories is yet to be seen.
Democrats have vowed to fight in court for the disclosure of the additional information from the report and say they have subpoenas ready to go if it is heavily redacted.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., joined the chairs of four other House committees in calling for Barr to cancel his news conference. But Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, defended Barr and accused Democrats of “trying to spin the report.”
Collins said Barr has done “nothing unilaterally,” saying he had worked with Rosenstein and Mueller’s team “step by step.”
Mueller is known to have investigated multiple efforts by the president over the last two years to influence the Russia probe or shape public perception of it.
In addition to Comey’s firing, Mueller scrutinized the president’s request of Comey to end an investigation into Trump’s first national security adviser, his relentless badgering of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his recusal from the Russia investigation and his role in drafting an incomplete explanation about a meeting his oldest son took at Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected lawyer.
Overall, Mueller brought charges against 34 people – including six Trump aides and advisers – and revealed a sophisticated, wide-ranging Russian effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. Twenty-five of those charged were against Russians accused either in the hacking of Democratic email accounts or of a hidden but powerful social media effort to spread disinformation online.
Five former Trump aides or advisers pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation, among them Trump’s campaign chairman, national security adviser and personal lawyer.

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Hillary Clinton, NXIVM, FEC & Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare

I learned about bundling by watching them do it.

As explained by the FEC, Lobbyist bundled contributions are defined as:

A bundled contribution is any contribution that is either:
  • Forwarded to a reporting committee by a lobbyist/registrant or lobbyist/registrant PAC; or
  • Received by the reporting committee and credited to a lobbyist/registrant or lobbyist/registrant PAC through “records, designations, or other means of recognizing that a certain amount of money has been raised.”
Bundled contributions do not include contributions made from the personal funds of the lobbyist/registrant who forwards or is credited with raising those contributions and the personal funds of that person’s spouse. Likewise, contributions made from committee funds of a lobbyist/registrant PAC that forwards or is credited with raising those contributions are not bundled contributions.
Crediting through “records” means that the reporting committee or candidate attributes contributions to a lobbyist/registrant or lobbyist/registrant PAC through written evidence (such as writings, charts, computer files, tables, spreadsheets, databases, and other data or data compilations in any medium or format).

Crediting through “designations or other means of recognizing that a certain amount of money has been raised” means that the reporting committee has given benefits to a lobbyist/registrant or lobbyist/registrant PAC for having raised a certain amount of contributions. Examples include titles, tracking identifiers, access to events or activities, and mementos (such as photographs with the candidate, or autographed copies of books authored by the candidate). This list is not exhaustive, and “designations or other means of recognizing that a certain amount of money has been raised” need not be in writing.



Hillary Clinton's Bundlers


Bundlers are people with friends in high places who, after bumping against personal contribution limits, turn to those friends, associates, and, well, anyone who's willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate.

The Federal Election Commission requires disclosure only of those bundlers who are registered lobbyists. Beyond that, it's up to the candidate. The Clinton campaign is releasing information about bundlers who raised over $100,000 (see list below); the campaign does not specify how much each of these individuals has raised beyond that. The Trump campaign has released no information about its bundlers whatsoever.

Together, 1,129 elites are directing at least $112,300,000 for Clinton's election efforts -- money that has gone into the coffers of her campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee.

COURT DOCS: Prosecutors Ask To Present Evidence That NXIVM Sex Cult Leaders Illegally Bundled Money For Hillary Clinton Campaign

Prosecutors have asked to present evidence in the NXIVM sex cult racketeering trial showing that NXIVM leaders including Nancy Salzman and Clare Bronfman illegally bundled money for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign by compelling members to donate to Clinton and then reimbursing the members.

(READ: Ex-NXIVM Employees: Kirsten Gillibrand’s Father and Stepmother, Second Cousins, Were Very Active In The Cult, Acted As Broker To Democrat Politicians).

“I was there, and I knew that the contributions were made by more than a dozen NXIVM members to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign,” former NXIVM employee Frank Parlato tells Big League Politics, confirming that the court documents refer to Clinton’s campaign. Bronfman’s donations to Clinton are recorded here. 

The prosecutors state:
“Campaign Contribution Evidence i. Facts At trial, the government intends to introduce witness testimony and documents demonstrating that in 2007, the defendants and their co-conspirators were involved in an illegal scheme to exceed contribution limits to a presidential primary campaign.
Witness testimony, corroborated by documentary evidence, will demonstrate that at least 14 members of the Nxivm community, including at least five defendants and co-conspirators, made the maximum campaign donation to a primary campaign with the understanding that they would be reimbursed by Bronfman or Nancy Salzman.

At the suggestion of a political operative, who has since pleaded guilty to an unrelated New York state bribery charge also involving campaign contributions, the contributions were “bundled” and presented to the candidate at a fundraising event attended by conspirators, including Nancy Salzman.

A cooperating witness who attended the event will testify that the defendants and their co-conspirators made the contributions in hopes of obtaining political influence to advance their own agenda, including targeting perceived enemies of Raniere. The government will also seek to introduce evidence of similar conduit contributions to other elected officials, as well as use of other political lobbyists in attempts to gain influence.

ii. Admissibility The defendants’ and co-conspirators’ involvement in the conduit contribution scheme and related acts described above, is direct evidence of the charged racketeering conspiracy. Their work together to commit crimes as part of a coordinated effort to curry political favor, evidenced in part by the records of maximum contributions by members of Nxivm on the same day, demonstrates the relationship of trust among the defendants and coconspirators, which is proof of the Enterprise’s existence.

… The same evidence also demonstrates the nature of the criminal relationships between the defendants, which defendants are attempting to portray as a purely legitimate association. The evidence of the conduit contributions is also direct evidence of the existence of the Enterprise and the pattern of racketeering activity because it is probative of the defendant and co-conspirators’ “us[e of] harassment, coercion and abusive litigation to intimidate and attack perceived enemies and critics of RANIERE,” (Indictment ¶ 6(f)).

Specifically, the bundled campaign contributions were part of an attempt to curry favor with a presidential nominee to advance the goals of the defendants and co-conspirators, including by obtaining indictments against enemies and gaining advantages in litigation.

The evidence of the conduit contributions also demonstrates the relatedness of the predicate acts, because it demonstrates the attitude of defendants and co-conspirators that they must “cheat to win” to fight the conspiracy they believed was operating against them.

… Moreover, the conduit contributions is also probative of motive and intent as to the DOS-related acts and charges, because the evidence at trial will demonstrate that one of the defendants and co-conspirators purposes in forming DOS was to have a pyramid of collateralized powerful women who he could order to do things for him or order to vote in a group to “turn elections.”

Finally, because several cooperating witnesses are implicated in the campaign contribution scheme, such evidence is also admissible to corroborate their testimony and to front issues that are expected to be raised on cross-examination.”

Court document passage ends

Democrat senator and presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand’s family ties to the NXIVM sex cult are coming to light, raising serious questions about her relationship with the cult that she once denied knowing about.

Gillibrand’s father and stepmother, who are second cousins, were both heavily involved in the cult in the period shortly before they got married, according to eyewitness accounts from ex-NXIVM employees who spoke on the record to Big League Politics, and according to court documents proving that Gillibrand’s father Doug Rutnik was employed by NXIVM.

Gillibrand’s father served as a broker between NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere — whose initials were branded on his female sex slaves — and then-New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer to resolve Raniere’s financial problems with the state, according to  ex-employee whistleblower Joseph O’Hara, whose revelations are printed below.

Gillibrand’s stepmother Gwenn Belcourt got “hooked” on the cult as did Bill Clinton’s close friend Richard Mays, according to the whistleblower. Nancy Salzman, the NXIVM president, acted as a personal “guru” for Gillibrand’s stepmother.

Ex-cult employee Frank Parlato — who exposed the fact that Raniere was branding women — is working with Big League Politics to uncover the deep longstanding links between Gillibrand, the Clintons, and NXIVM.

“The very first time I ever met Gillibrand she was at an event for Hillary Clinton in the Hall of Springs in the State Park. This was in 2006. I was at a table with a Russian friend and Mike Roohan and his wife. I was on the Democratic committee at the time and was given two comp tickets.

Gillibrand came up to me introduced herself and said she was running against John Sweeney. This was before all the stories of his drunken behavior came out. He was still congressman kickass at that time. I promised my support and wished her well. i than commented to Mike that with her baby voice and demeanor that she was a lightweight. Boy was I wrong. But the kicker was when the mixing was over and Clinton went to speak. Gillibrand sat with one of the front tables. Yeah the three front VIP tables were all brought by NXIVM and she was sitting with Nancy Salzman. You can quote me on that,” said witness John Tighe in a statement provided to Big League Politics.

Nancy Salzman has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy while her daughter Lauren Salzman admitted to enslaving a woman, stating in court, “I knowingly and intentionally harbored Jane Doe 4, a woman whose identity is known to me, in a room in the home in the Northern District of New York” and “threatened to deport Jane Doe 4 back to Mexico if she did not complete labor requested by myself and others.”

JOSEPH O’HARA TELLS BIG LEAGUE POLITICS HIS NXIVM STORY

Joseph O’Hara was living in Saratoga Springs at the time, and a woman he met socially called him up out of the blue and asked for him to meet with the leaders of NXIVM.

“I agreed to meet with them. We met the very next day. We had coffee and that’s when I was introduced to Nancy Salzman, the president of NXIVM, and she described to me the various problems they were having,” O’Hara said, referring to lawsuits, public relations issues, and governmental issues stemming from trying to get a building permit for a NXIVM center.

“I said give me a day or two,” O’Hara said. “After I thought about it, I wrote back to them and said I don’t think there’s anything I can do personally but I can play centerfielder and pull in people you need. I think you need a bigger law firm on this. Yes I can get you a PR firm that can come in and help you. That’s what I proposed to them, that I would be a middle man.”

“They hired me in October of 2003 and I worked for them for 15 months. At the end of 2004 a variety of issues had come up and I resigned.”

O’Hara, whose official title was “consultant,” said he “met primarily with Keith” Raniere and with bookeeper Cathy Russell and legal liaison Kristin Keefe. O’Hara remembers Raniere vividly.

“I thought he was a little strange. He was an odd fellow. Before I met him I had been told a lot about him. I guess when I met him I was a little underwhelmed,” O’Hara said, referring to a tall tale about how Raniere supposedly tied a record in the hundred-yard dash. Raniere held volleyball games with the women in his cult, but O’Hara did not attend.

Kirsten Gillibrand’s Father Doug Rutnik Acted As A Broker Between NXIVM and then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer

“I had known Doug Rutnik for a number of years. He was one of the people I thought of immediately for a couple of the problems that he (Raniere) had,” O’Hara said, including the fact that Raniere agreed to pay a certain amount of money to New York State stemming from the bankruptcy of his previous venture Consumer’s Buyline. “Keith never made the payments. I think it was around 45 or 50 thousand dollars.”

“I contacted Doug, and explained to him the situation. Doug could be the broker between Keith and the attorney general” O’Hara said. The attorney general was then Eliot Spitzer.

“Doug and I, Nancy and Keith had lunch at a little club. Keith came in and looked like a young middle-aged business exec. Doug said let’s check this out a little further,” O’Hara remembers. NXIVM was trying to get a license for a school.

The meeting occurred at the Fort Orange Club in Albany in 2004, according to O’Hara.
O’Hara hired a third party attorney in Albany to take a 5-day executive course at NXIVM, and the attorney expressed concerns about the group potentially not paying taxes and “living off the grid.”
Doug Rutnik’s Second Cousin, Gillibrand’s Future Stepmother, Got Very Involved
“Doug said I know somebody else I could send in. It’s his cousin Gwenn Belcourt. She comes back with rave reviews and Doug gets hired. Keith comes up with the money and pays off the attorney general.”

Thus, Gillibrand’s father acted as the broker between NXIVM and attorney general Eliot Spitzer after Gillibrand’s future stepmother Gwenn Belcourt gave NXIVM her full seal of approval.
“Doug was the one, I don’t know who he talked to, but he was the one who got the okay for…NXIVM sent Doug the check, and it was expressly to resolve the issue over Consumers Buyline. And then the issue went away.”

“Gwenn and I met. Doug said let’s have Gwenn go in and take a week-long course. She went in and she wrote up a report and was extremely positive. No issues with the schooling. No issues with the curriculum” at the NXIVM Center, O’Hara recalled.

“He told me this is my second cousin Gwenn. She was engaged at the time. She was a lawyer, someone Doug trusted.”

“Things were happening, one right after the other. Gwenn comes in, she writes the report, and Doug is doing work for them.”

“Meanwhile Gwenn does her thing and she starts taking more classes on her own. We paid for the one class she took…at some point Doug says, this is getting a little weird with Gwenn. He said she broke off her engagement because Nancy told her she needed to re-think her life. Nancy Salzman became Gwenn’s personal guru. She wanted to bring Gwenn in as full-time in-house counsel.”
“I know that she was taking a lot of classes at NXIVM,” O’Hara said of Gwenn Belcourt.

“NXIVM initiates a lawsuit against me and Doug, and Gwenn is still involved in NXIVM at that point. Doug goes in like a rescue mission. He finally convinces her what’s going on there and she leaves NXIVM. The next thing I know all of a sudden he said Gwenn and I are dating now. Shortly after that they’re engaged.”

“For several years, I saw them after they were married,” O’Hara said, noting that the couple was no longer in the cult.

Clinton Friend Richard Mays and Gillibrand’s Stepmother Gwenn Belcourt Both Got “Hooked” on the Cult

“I had done work down in Arkansas, I had met Richard (Mays) down there. He had great connections with Governor Clinton. His lieutenant governor Tucker became governor. I was trying to get in to make a presentation to the governor. Richard got me the meeting. He got me the meeting with Jim Guy Tucker,” O’Hara said.

“One of the other problems Keith had, he had an unpaid bill in Arkansas and he wanted to get an exoneration in Arkansas so he brought Richard Mays in and he got involved. Richard Mays started taking classes and got his daughter taking classes” at NXIVM.

“There were people who got hooked on it. Richard Mays was one. Gwenn Belcourt was another,” O’Hara said.

“I Had Created This Monster”

O’Hara said that he uncovered Raniere evading taxes and illegally obtaining private investigator information on his enemies, which led him to quit. NXIVM then waged lawfare against him.
“They destroyed me. I had created this monster. They didn’t know how to get political consultants.

They didn’t know how to hire former senator D’Amato, they didn’t know how to hire Richard Mays out of Arkansas, best friends with the Clintons. They had all these people now in their arsenal and they destroyed me in short order,” O’Hara said.

Raniere once admitted in a videotape pulled from the Internet, “I am just a demon.”

PROOF RUTNIK WORKED FOR NXIVM

Former NXIVM employee Frank Parlato provided Big League Politics with copies of the court documents in NXIM’s suit against Rutnik, which prove Rutnik’s employment by the group. (READ THE FULL DOCUMENTS HERE).

“I worked as the publicist,” Frank Parlato told Big League Politics. “We ran into a major disagreement and we split. At the time I worked for them I thought they were a little peculiar but it wasn’t until the end that I realized they were a downright evil group.”

“There are women on the record who are now adults who have accused Raniere of statutory rape and there are some very suspicious incidents where Mexican girls came under the perimeters of Raniere’s control and left under suspicious circumstances. They came from Chihuahua Mexico. I reported this to the authorities,” Parlato said.

“Her father Doug Rutnik came to work as a consultant for NXIVM…he was fired, they sued him, and he had to pay them $100,000,” Parlato said, referring Gillibrand’s father.

Parlato is the NXIVM whistleblower who blew the lid off the case, including the revelation that NXIVM leader Keith Raniere’s cult was branding women with his initials.

“Her father’s wife, her stepmother, was also a member of NXIVM…Doug got her into the cult, Gillibrand’s father got Gillibrand’s future stepmother into the cult. Doug left the cult because he was sued. Clare Bronfman after her father was sued donated money to Gillibrand. Gillibrand accepted it.”
“One is inclined to call her a liar,” Parlato says of Gillibrand.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Clueless In Michigan: More Trafficking Tiny Humans Lawsuits - Will St. Vincent Sarah & Bethany Christian Move To Enjoin To Nancy Edmunds' Court?

If St. Vincent and Bethany Christian can sue Michigan over new gay adoption rules, well, by golly, Michigan can sue St. Vincent and Bethany Christian, and all the other Foster Care & Adoption Agencies for Trafficking Tiny Humans.

It is only logical considering the fact that they are the ones who are trafficking tiny humans.

I wonder if the Michigan GiGi Interlopers, DHHS Robert Gordon and Garlin Gilchrist, will show up, or at least publicly admit that child trafficking is foster care and adoption.

Oh, wait.

I forgot.

Nancy Edmunds is supposed to decide if Michigan is all better when it comes to its child welfare system.

Perhaps, St. Vincent and Bethany Christian can enjoin in the Dwayne B. v. Granholm (now Gretchen Whitmore) action.

Probably not.

Trafficking tiny humans through foster care and adoption is how St. Vincent and Bethany Christian maximizes their revenues.

As for the LBQRSTUV adoption issue, it is just a legal property ownership argument under the law of chattels.

Welcome to Foster Care & Adoption in Michigan, oops, I mean, human trafficking.


Happy Child Abuse Propaganda Month!


Michigan DHHS Director Robert Gordon,
& Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist - Clueless in Michigan

An adoptive mother, a former foster child, and a Michigan faith-based adoption agency are challenging a recent state settlement that bans state contracts with foster and adoption agencies that refuse to work with gay couples.

St. Vincent Catholic Charities, former foster child Shamber Flore, and Melissa Buck, a mother of five special needs kids adopted through St. Vincent, filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging the new rules violated the group’s First Amendment rights. The agency is represented by religious liberty group, Becket Law.

The lawsuit is filed against Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon, Children's Services Agency Director Herman McCall, Attorney General Dana Nessel, the federal Health and Human Services department and its secretary, Alex Azar.

The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction on the settlement's provisions that would require the state to stop contracting with agencies that, because of their religious beliefs, refuse to work with same-sex couples.

Nessel's office declined to comment until officials had a chance to review the lawsuit. 
In a Monday statement announcing the lawsuit, Buck, of Holt, said her family still relies on the support of St. Vincent “in every step of our journey together as a family" and could have problems should the family look to adopt siblings of their adopted children through St. Vincent in the future.

“We are hopeful that the courts will step in, do the right thing and allow faith-based agencies to continue to help vulnerable families like mine,” Buck said.

In March, Nessel reached a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and two gay couples who had sued the state when they were rejected by agencies with religious objections to same-sex couples. The agencies were St. Vincent Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services.

The settlement required the state Department of Health and Human Services to maintain non-discriminatory provisions in foster care and adoption agency contracts by ending state contracts with agencies if they discriminate against same-sex couples.

Because the settlement was between the state attorney general's department and the ACLU, St. Vincent as an intervenor in the lawsuit had no option but to file a separate action, said Nick Reaves, a lawyer for Becket.

Without the state contract, St. Vincent would be forced to close its doors and the settlement could have a similar effect on "any other organization that shares their religious beliefs," Reaves said. He added that he is not aware of any contracts being dropped so far in light of the March settlement.
“Faith-based agencies like St. Vincent consistently do the best work because of their faith, and we need more agencies like them helping children — not fewer,” Becket President Mark Rienzi said in a statement.

Catholic agencies make up a small portion of the 58 private agencies that contract with the state for adoption and foster care services, proving "there really isn't any access problem" for gay couples seeking an agency through which they can adopt, Reaves said.

For example, in Ingham County, 17 other adoption agencies besides St. Vincent are available to parents seeking to adopt, he said.

Agencies already can refer couples to different adoption agencies for various reasons, including geography, wait lists or a family's search for a specific type of child.

Further, a same-sex couple still can adopt a child within St. Vincent after receiving a home study and becoming a certified pre-adoptive home through a different agency, St. Vincent said in its lawsuit.
Nessel’s office maintained a 2015 law passed by the Republican-led Legislature only protected faith-based agencies that declined to provide services based on religion when it came to “private action.” The protection did not carry over into state-contracted services, she argued.

Such a conclusion is in "serious tension" with previous interpretations of the law and the language of the law itself, Reaves said.

Republican former Attorney General Bill Schuette had defended the state against the ACLU lawsuit when it was filed in 2017. But even before taking office Jan. 1, Nessel had signaled she would not continue to support Schuette's position on the lawsuit.

As of mid-February, St. Vincent and Bethany were responsible for nearly 10% of the more than 13,000 children under state supervision.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Notre Dame Fire Gets $600M To Rebuild, Louisiana Landry Parrish Three Churches Gets Nothing, Michelle Obama Has A Best Selling Book

It seems Michelle Obama was serendipitously in Paris for the controlled burning of Notre Dame Cathedral, during her miraculous book tour, where I have yet to find one person who has purchased her book that has generated millions and millions of dollars, in venues with extreme rates of poverty, like Detroit.

It must be a pretty good book.

Perhaps, she can awe us, again, with her soothsaying skills to reassure everyone that the churches in Louisiana Landry Parish will soon awe us again.
Perhaps, she can ask Bernard Arnault for a few pointers on rebuilding historic churches, archiving the history, since the Vatican seems to have omitted the history of black churches in the United States, but hey, what do I know.

I know she will never do it.


Suspected arsonist facing hate crime charges over Louisiana black church fires

The man who was arrested after a string of fires left historically black churches gravely burned is now facing hate crime charges.

Holden Matthews was arrested Wednesday after investigators tied him to three church fires that spanned a 10-day period in Louisiana's St. Landry Parrish.

Matthews, the 21-year-old son of a sheriff's deputy, appeared in court in Opelousas on Monday. He entered a not guilty plea via his court-appointed lawyer.

The Associated Press reports Matthews did not speak during the hearing, which came after prosecutors filed papers to add three charges accusing Matthews of violating the state's hate crime law. Those three charges come in addition to three charges of arson of a religious building that Matthews already faced.


Holden Matthews, 21, of Opelousas, La., is pictured in a photo released by the Louisiana State Fire Marshal on April 11, 2019. (Louisiana State Fire Marshal)
Holden Matthews
Matthews was denied bond on Monday, which law enforcement officials pushed for because they view him as a continued threat.

"We felt that he was an immediate risk to public safety," said Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning, according to the AP.

"In my mind, I felt another fire was imminent," Browning said in court Monday.
Browning made similar sentiments shortly after apprehending Matthews. During a news conference on Thursday, Browning said officials were still working to determine his motives, but added they found that Matthews had ties to "black metal and its association and history with church burnings in other parts of the world."

Black metal, a distant genre of devil-worshipping death metal music, has roots in the Norwegian heavy metal scene that reportedly was the inspiration for several church burnings in the country in the early 1990s.

Matthews' father, who works for the local sheriff's department, was present at Monday's hearing. The AP said the suspect's parents watched from a video conference of the courtroom, and at one point his father was seen leaving the room in tears.

The three fires investigators tied Matthews to were all near the town of Opelousas, and no one was hurt as no one was inside any of the structures at the time of the blazes.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©