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Key FBI agent in Whitmer kidnapping plot posted anti-Trump rants online during investigation

Federal prosecutors dropped the testimony of an FBI special agent involved in the investigation of an alleged plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after findings he called former President Donald Trump a “piece of s***” on social media during the investigation’s course, according to a defense attorney.

Michael Hills — who represents defendant Brandon Caserta, who is among the six people charged in the case — said during a court hearing Thursday that prosecutors decided not to use Agent Richard Trask’s testimony during a pending October trial. Prosecutors gave defense teams access to Trask’s social media posts this week, with at least one taking aim at Trump and his supporters, Hills said, according to the Detroit News.

“If you still support our piece of s* president you can f* off,” read the March 28, 2020, post. “As someone whose wife works in the hospital I hope you burn in hell along with your douchebag f*** reality tv star. His ego is going to kill a lot of people and anyone who supports that is a dumbass. This is what you get when you elect an egotistica/narcissistic (sic) maniac to the top office. He needs people to be nice to him or he won’t help. F you douche.”

It was not immediately clear why prosecutors dropped Trask’s comments. However, the defendants’ “Wolverine Watchmen” militia group had connections to another group, the Three Percenters, whose members were among the group of Trump supporters charged in connection to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The Washington Examiner contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan for comment.

Trask’s involvement in the case had already been complicated after he was arrested in July for allegedly beating his wife during a dispute over a swingers’ party.

Before his arrest, he gave testimony in court about his findings during the conspiracy investigation, and in an Oct. 6 affidavit, Trask swore to an account detailing what agents discovered.

“Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” the affidavit said. “The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message.”

Defense teams have fought the charges, including kidnapping and weapons of mass destruction conspiracies, repeatedly accusing the FBI of unlawfully furthering the plot.

Hills last month alleged an FBI agent instructed an informant to lie and delete text messages that would reveal the agency furthered the kidnap conspiracy, asking the court to order prosecutors to produce communications between agents and informants.

Questions about the FBI’s role in investigating the conspiracy preceded Hills’s request. A report published in July revealed the FBI’s deep involvement in the militia group’s alleged plot, as the agency had a dozen informants working on the case, including one who became the group’s second-in-command.

Federal prosecutors have countered that defendants were not entrapped, and the FBI was not involved in furthering the conspiracy. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler wrote in a recent filing that “defendants were predisposed” to join the conspiracy.

Source: Washingtonexaminer

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Elon Musk and Grimes Have “Semi-Separated”

The Tesla founder confirmed the news of the split, but said they’re still on good terms and will continue to co-parent their son, X Æ A-Xii.

Grimes’s dream of one day dying on Mars just became substantially more difficult to achieve after news that she and Elon Musk have broken up.

The Tesla founder confirmed the split, telling Page Six that he and the pop star are now “semi-separated” after dating for three years. But he added that despite the breakup, they still get along and will continue to co-parent their one-year-old son, X Æ A-Xii Musk. He told the outlet, “We are semi-separated but still love each other, see each other frequently and are on great terms. It’s mostly that my work at SpaceX and Tesla requires me to be primarily in Texas or traveling overseas and her work is primarily in LA. She’s staying with me now and Baby X is in the adjacent room.”

The couple’s last public appearance together was at the Met Gala earlier this month, the fashion event where they also first confirmed their relationship in 2018. Although Grimes walked the red carpet alone, she was joined by Musk inside the dinner and he also hosted an after-party at the private members only club, Zero Bond. While Musk has been working on his businesses in Texas, the singer has started filming a new competition show for Fox called Alter Ego in which she serves as one of the judges. She also recently opened up about her life as a new mom in a video for Vogue, saying, “I think having a baby was a big, kind of like, rebirth for me, like artistically. Like, it just, like, I don’t know. Being a mother feels weird to say for some reason. I don’t, like, identify with that word. Which is also really weird because X, he says Claire, but he doesn’t say mama…maybe he can sense my distaste for the word mother.”

Source: Vanityfair

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UFC star Jon Jones arrested on misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Las Vegas

UFC star Jon Jones was arrested Friday morning by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, just hours after a past UFC fight of his was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Jones is being charged with misdemeanor battery domestic violence and injuring or tampering with a vehicle, a felony, Officer Larry Hadfield of the Las Vegas Metro PD told ESPN. He is currently being held at Clark County Detention Center, per online inmate records. His total bail is $8,000, but Jones is on a 12-hour hold, per records. He is scheduled to have his first appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Jones was arrested at 5:45 a.m. Friday at a resort near Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, Hadfield said. The UFC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jones adviser Richard Schaefer told ESPN’s Mike Coppinger, “The facts are still developing, we really don’t know yet the full story so I’m not going to make any comment until I have a chance to talk to Jon and until we see see how this plays out.”

Jones, 34, is regarded as perhaps the best UFC fighter of all time. He held the UFC title for the better part of nine years and has never truly been beaten in the cage. His only career loss was via controversial disqualification. But the Albuquerque, New Mexico, native has been in trouble several times outside of the Octagon, including a felony hit-and-run arrest and two failed drug tests.

Jones has been bulking up for a return at heavyweight, wanting to add that title to his collection. He told ESPN on Thursday night before the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony that he weighed 255 pounds and was looking to bulk to 270 for his heavyweight debut. Jones’ 2013 fight with Alexander Gustafsson was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Thursday night during a ceremony at Park MGM.

Source: espn

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The sexism that led to the Elizabeth Holmes trialBreakout

Elizabeth Holmes’ biotech company was once considered the hottest startup in Silicon Valley. But for lab techs working in Theranos’ blood lab, it didn’t exactly feel like a dream job.

Holmes claimed to the world that she had invented mini blood testing machines that could revolutionize healthcare.

But the blood test machines failed so frequently that staff had to work around-the-clock recalibrating, lab tech Erika Cheung testified in court Friday.

“We had people sleeping in their cars because it took so long,” Cheung told the jury.

Blood lab results were supposed to take two hours to complete. But Theranos’ machines often produced false blood lab results, and recalibrating the machines took two or three days, Cheung said.

After a federal investigation into the lab, Holmes was charged with defrauding investors and patients.

Her defense attorneys are trying to convince the jury that Holmes had no idea her invention gave bogus blood test results.

In court Friday, prosecutors chipped away at the defense by calling ex-Theranos employees to testify.

Senior scientist Surekha Gangakhedkar testified that Holmes was in fact aware of problems in the blood lab. Gangakhedkar said she met with Holmes directly on a regular basis. When she found out that Theranos was moving forward with accepting patients, she left the company.

“It made me uncomfortable. I didn’t think that was the right decision,” Gangakhedkar testified.

Cheung testified that she was afraid of the company’s executives. When Theranos’ human resources director called her, even the HR director sounded scared, she said.

“When I heard (the HR director’s) voice and how scared she sounded, it just reminded me of how scared I was working for that company. I had a right to not speak to them.”

After she left the company, Cheung received an email from the company’s legal team threatening her with a lawsuit for defamation. The letter also accused her of leaking confidential information, including trade secrets.

Text messages made public record recently by prosecutors expose private exchanges between Holmes and Theranos COO, Sunny Balwani, when their company was coming under fire.

There are texts about seeking to silence medical professionals and Theranos employees who were raising red flags to federal authorities and journalists.

“We’ll get them,” Holmes texted Balwani on May 13, 2015 after a lab gave her company a bad review.

In one text exchange, the duo was trying to figure out which of employees were leaking information.

Balwani wrote to Holmes, “I am narrowing this down in CLIA. Down to 5 people. Will nail this mr fr.”

Source: Kron4

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