On Monday, October 16th, Army deserter and former Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty to charges of misbehavior before the enemy and desertion. His upcoming trial at Fort Bragg could end with a sentence of life in prison. In 2009, Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan and ended up a prisoner of the Taliban. Six of his fellow soldiers died while attempting to search for him. For leaving his post and endangering his fellow soldiers, he was charged at Fort Bragg.
Bergdahl claimed that he left his post because he had issues with his command. He told the judge in his recent case that he was trying to go to another base to notify them of specific information. However, Bergdahl’s former platoon members dispute his story. According to Bergdahl, he got lost while traveling to the other base, and the Taliban captured him. These Taliban fighters ultimately handed him over to the Haqqani network in Pakistan. For years, the Taliban occasionally tortured Bergdahl.
The Army began a search and recovery mission, which led to the injury and death of other soldiers. During the trial, Bergdahl stated that he was unaware of the recovery efforts and that he tried to escape 12 to 15 times. He claims that one of these escape attempts lasted eight days until he was recaptured.
Obama Trades Terrorists for Bergdahl
In May 2014, the Obama administration made a deal with the Taliban to exchange five terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl. According to Obama, Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction.” Critics protested the move and declared that Bergdahl was a traitor. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office eventually decided that the Obama administration broke the law by not providing Congress with notice of its plans.
Bergdahl was originally charged in March 2015. After Trump became president, his lawyers argued that the charges should be dismissed. Since Trump was a vocal critic of Bergdahl, Bergdahl’s lawyers claimed that he would be unable to have a fair trial. A military judge ruled against the defendant, and Bergdahl chose to be tried by a military judge instead of a jury.
The desertion charge carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison. The misbehavior charge, however, could land Bergdahl in prison for life.
On October 4th, police found the body of Diana Martinez-Gonzalez in the woods near Greenville, South Carolina. The 18 year old had just started her junior year at Greenville High School. An illegal immigrant shot and killed her.
Daniel De Jesus Rangel Sherrer, age 19, believed that Martinez-Gonzalez had spread some sort of rumor about him. He chased her down, shot her, and left her to die in the woods. Officials say that he also held another victim against her will, but that the second victim managed to escape.
Perpetrator Here Illegally
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) revealed to the public that Sherrer, a Mexican national, illegally immigrated to the United States. ICE has issued a detainer for him, which may lead to deportation. Sherrer confessed immediately when approached by deputies, and a judge denied him bond.
Sherrer believed that his victim had been spreading rumors about him, and he killed her as an act of revenge. He will remain in jail before his court hearing. Diana Martinez-Gonzalez leaves behind her parents, a brother, and a sister.
Courtney Hacking’s life changed forever on March 31, 2016. That day, Margarito Quintero-Rosales drove his vehicle head-on into her family’s car. The collision killed her husband, Peter, and their children, Ellie and Grayson.
Quintero-Rosales is an illegal immigrant. He did not hold a driver’s license on the day he made Courtney Hacking a widow. Quintero-Rosales fell asleep at the wheel, and then swerved into the Hackings’ car.
In contrast to his killer, Peter Hacking was a volunteer firefighter who immigrated to the United States legally from the United Kingdom.
An Insulting Sentence
Last week, Quintero-Rosales plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide. The Texas court sentenced him to serve two years in prison. Courtney Hacking felt betrayed by the justice system. Days ago, she told Fox & Friends, “To me, being illegal in this country was a crime on its own, so I don’t understand how he did get only two years. To me, I take it offensively. I take it personally.”
Four months from now, Rosales will walk free from prison. (He has been incarcerated since the accident). On that day, Courtney Hacking will still be grieving her husband and two of her children…and Rosales will still be an illegal immigrant.
5 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe About the Las Vegas Shooting
In the wake of the shooting in Las Vegas, people are scrambling to uncover information about the deadly attack. Several stories have emerged that are false. We are committed to stopping the spread of fake information. Here are five false statements that some outlets are reporting as fact:
1. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, was an ISIS member.
Paddock has no known connection to ISIS. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but the FBI has found no evidence that ISIS had anything to do with the shooting.
2. Paddock was a loner with no real social ties.
Paddock lived with Marilou Danley, his girlfriend of four years. He had a piece of Danley’s identification at the time of the attack. Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters that law enforcement has located Danley, who was in the Philippines at the time Paddock went on a murdering spree. Paddock wired $100,000 to the Philippines before unleashing horror at Mandalay Bay. The FBI considers Danley a person of interest and is investigating if she received that wire transfer.
3. Another active shooter situation took place at the University of Southern California.
The school received reports of sounds of gunfire and instated “shelter in place.” Administrators later announced that there was no active shooter, and no danger to the school community. Reports of a shooting at USC – all false – are still circulating.
4. Paddock was politically active and may have been politically motivated.
Various sites have attempted to paint Paddock as an extremist on both sides of the political spectrum. However, Paddock is not known to have any political affiliation at this time. Stephen Paddock’s brother, Eric Paddock, told reporters that Stephen has never been politically engaged. He described the terrorist as a multimillionaire real estate investor.
5. A silencer could have made the shooting more deadly.
Hillary Clinton has resumed a campaign against the NRA, claiming that a silencer would have allowed the killer to shoot more people before the concertgoers realized what was happening. However, a gun silencer does not make the gun silent. A gunshot, even with a silencer, measures between 130-140 decibels. That’s louder than most concerts, which typically clock in around 120 decibels.
Senator Bob Menendez’s Bribery Trial: What You Need to Know
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) might soon find himself behind bars. The Senator is facing federal corruption charges in court this week. He allegedly took bribes from donor Dr. Salomon Melgen in exchange for political favors. Melgen, a Florida opthamologist, is Menendez’s co-defendant in this case.
Menendez Maintains Innocence
Menendez still holds his Senate seat, and he pleads “not guilty” to all charges. Federal prosecutors claim that he pulled strings at the State Department in exchange for donations from Melgen, and that he pressured the Dominican Republic to pursue policies that benefited Melgen’s business.
The charges, including bribery and conspiracy, get even more scandalous: Menendez allegedly secured visas for not one, but several of Melgen’s girlfriends! If convicted, both men could face several years in prison.
However, Menendez wants to remain active in the Senate. He asked the judge for a waiver to travel to D.C. for Senate votes. The judge denied his request.
Media Ignores Party Affiliation
The New York Times entirely omitted Menendez’s party affiliation from their reporting on the trial – until readers told them their story was incomplete. The NYT then added the fact that Menendez is a Democrat; they tucked it away in the article’s 4th paragraph. NBC initially identified Menendez as a Republican, though he has never been part of the GOP.
A new report shows that the IRS re-hired 213 fired employees. While initially employed by the agency, these employees committed offenses like tax evasion, falsifying documents, and misuse of taxpayer data.
Refilling the Swamp?
These “public servants” have access to Americans’ most sensitive financial information. Someone who abuses that power could collect data on innocent citizens and potentially use that information to commit a crime.
The 213 fired employees represent only a fraction of the problem at the IRS. Out of all the IRS employees caught breaking the law, Forbes reports that only 39% get fired. Though the agency demands honesty and accuracy from citizens, it seems to have much lower standards for its own internal dealings.
Commissioner Koskinen Under Fire
The re-hiring began in late 2015, under the leadership of Commissioner John Koskinen. Koskinen, an Obama appointee, faced impeachment hearings last Fall regarding the alleged targeting of conservative groups.
A year later, the IRS faces public scrutiny yet again.
Travis Boys shot and killed Officer Daryle Holloway two years ago this month. In New Orleans, on the morning of June 20, 2015, police arrested the then-33-year-old Boys for aggravated assault against his wife. After booking at a local jail, Officer Holloway drove Boys to what was then Orleans Parish Prison. Boys maneuvered his way into contact with Holloway, accessed a firearm, and fatally shot the 22-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department.
Who is Travis Boys?
Boys’ criminal past stretches back nearly two decades. Courts found Boys guilty of escape and attempted escape in 2000 and 2005. Boys has also faced charges of child cruelty and possession of stolen property. On the day he shot Officer Holloway, police arrested Boys for pulling a gun on his wife and telling her “I’m going to kill you.”
The New Orleans District Attorney has not yet sought the death penalty for Boys. Refusing to seek the death penalty may speed up Boys’ trial. However, a sentence of life in prison does not guarantee that Boys could not be released on parole in the future. The National Police Association is leading a grassroots campaign to tell the DA to seek the death penalty.
GOP baseball practice turned terrifying this morning when an armed gunman opened fire on the Congressmen and aides at a field in Alexandria, Virginia.
Lives Saved by Capitol Police
Rep. Steve Scalise suffered a shot to the hip. He underwent emergency surgery and will make a full recovery. Capitol Police were attending practice as part of Rep. Scalise’s security detail. Two officers sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Sen. Rand Paul praised the Capitol Police officers for their rapid response. “Everybody would’ve died except for the fact that Capitol Hill police were there,” he said. The shooter fired off an estimated 50 to 60 shots. He is currently in custody. The FBI is handling the case, but has not yet released the suspect’s name.
Early Morning Terror
Witnesses to the attack say that Scalise dragged himself across the field as he bled. Members of Congress and aides hid in the dugouts, with one member’s young child hidden below a dugout bench. When the shooter was captured, Sen. Jeff Flake constructed a makeshift tourniquet for Rep. Scalise. He even took Scalise’s cell phone to call his wife, so that she could hear the terrible news from a friend and not from television news.
As of 11:00 AM on June 14, the Congressional Baseball Game is still scheduled for June 15. The annual bipartisan event raises money for charity.
Former Democrat Congressman Anthony Weiner entered a plea deal that could land him in prison. Weiner carried on an explicit texting relationship with a 15 year old girl, whom he knew was underage.
Because Weiner is pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser charge, he faces a potentially reduced sentence. The judge could sentence him to 10 years in prison, or no prison time at all. Several sources report that Weiner must also register as a sex offender.
Anthony Weiner, Sex Offender?
In addition, prosecutors in this case recommend between 21 and 27 months in prison. Should the federal judge take that advice? Or will Weiner walk free?
2 Muslim Doctors Accused of Maiming Young Patients
Federal authorities have indicted 2 doctors on charges of performing female genital mutilation (FGM) surgeries on young girls.
Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and Dr. Jumana Agarwala allegedly operated on two seven year old girls. Dr. Attar’s wife also received an indictment. The girls’ parents brought them to the “clinic” from their home state of Minnesota. They lied to the girls about what would be done to them at the doctors’ office. CNN summarizes the court documents:
“One girl said they had gone to the doctor’s office because…the doctor had to ‘get the germs out.’ The second girl said that after the procedure, ‘she could barely walk, and that she felt pain all the way down to her ankle.’ Both girls said their parents told them not to talk about the procedure.”
FGM is common in some Muslim communities in Africa, as well as among the Dawoodi Bohra Muslims of India and Pakistan. The practice provides absolutely no heath benefits. Victims of the surgery report chronic pain, trouble having children, infection, and scarring.
How does it happen here?
Michigan is home to one of the nation’s largest Muslim enclaves.
It is also one of 26 states with no law against female genital mutilation. Federal law bans the practice, but the law has hardly been enforced. In fact, these are the first ever indictments for FGM in America.
These two doctors had been working together since 2005. Investigators don’t yet know how many girls they operated on, but medical investigators confirmed that the Attars’ own young daughter received the same damaging surgery. Her parents lost custody based on the indictment and the nature of the crime.
How Many Victims?
The CDC estimates that 513,000 women in America have been victims of FGM. This is much higher than the rate decades ago. The rate has increased alongside an increase in immigration from Muslim regions in Africa and South Asia.