Federal lawsuit seeks records about Seth Rich murder

This morning I filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that asks a federal judge in Brooklyn to order the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice to release records concerning the murder of former Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich.

Back in October, I wrote about the U.S. Department of Justice ordering the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. to release records about the murder, but since that time not a single record has been produced.  Around the same time, the FBI refused to search for records in its Washington Field Office, even though that is where the records are most likely to be found.  The lawsuit notes that the FBI has a history of trying to hide records from FOIA requestors and Congress.

I also asked the court to order the National Security Administration to release all of its communications with members of Congress regarding Seth Rich, Julian Assange, and Kim Dotcom, among others.

As you are probably aware, Mr. Rich’s parents filed suit this week against Fox News, producer Malia Zimmerman, and frequent guest Ed Butowsky.  I think that was a serious tactical error.  All of the defendants now have the legal right to subpoena documents and witnesses, and you can be sure they will use that power aggressively. … Read more

Rusty Russ ran scared, his cronies lied, and somebody may get sued for it

The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” — Proverbs 28:1

Last week I blogged about how 82nd District Judge candidate Bryan F. “Rusty” Russ, Jr. fled a judicial candidates forum in Franklin, Texas, and ever since his supporters have accused me of “lying.” Well, now that I have video and police reports from the event, we can all see who was lying (hint: it wasn’t me).  Body camera video from three Franklin police officers shows a slightly-stooped, unarmed elderly man with a wavering voice as he displays legal documents to the officers and explains why he believes Mr. Russ is unfit to hold judicial office. Click on these links to see for yourself:

Body camera video of Officer Anthony Mangham

Body camera video of Officer David Myers

Body camera video of Sgt. Brian Taylor

Sgt. Taylor’s video is the most comprehensive, probably because he arrived first, and it refutes most of what Mr. Russ’s supporters have said about the incident.

This morning I sent a letter on behalf of that elderly gentleman, 71-year-old Ronald Braneff, demanding a front-page retraction and apology from The Robertson County News, as well as the termination of publisher Dennis Phillips for defamation.  Mr. Phillips did not attend the candidates forum, but one of his reporters did, and he must not have liked what she had to say because he did not let her write about it in the newspaper.

Instead, Mr. Phillips wrote an an opinion column trying to portray Mr. Russ’s cowardice as a profile in courage. And while Mr. Phillips had every legal right to spin the story in favor of his preferred candidate, he did not have the legal right to make a false accusation that Mr. Braneff  had previously attacked Mr. Russ.  Granted, Mr. Phillips did not mention Mr. Braneff by name, but people in the community knew exactly who he was writing about.

In a similar Facebook post, Mr. Phillips described Mr. Braneff (again, not by name) as “unstable” and further claimed that five gunshots had been fired near Mr. Russ’s house on the evening of the candidates forum. Bear in mind, Mr. Phillips was not at the candidates forum and had never met nor talked with Mr. Braneff, so I emailed a couple of questions to Mr. Phillips: … Read more

The spoof that got me kicked off the Marlin, Texas Facebook page

Rusty Russ’s minions are fit to be tied.  Yesterday I wrote about how Mr. Russ ran scared from a debate with Judge Matthew G. Wright, his opponent for 82nd District Judge, and now all of his flunkies are trying to say it never happened.

Well, it happened alright. I’ve now heard from four eyewitnesses, including the elderly man who purportedly caused Mr. Russ to flee in fear (never mind the fact that the sheriff and another cop were in the audience). As you can see from the comments beneath yesterday’s post, Mr. Russ’s cronies know they have a serious problem on their hands. Did they really think I was going to let Mr. Russ run for office without reminding everyone that he is a liar, a cheater, and a career white-collar criminal?

In most communities, a reprobate like Mr. Russ would be driven out of town (and in fairness to the First Baptist Church of Franklin, Mr. Russ has been driven out of some places).  Mr. Russ and his law partner, however, own the town, the county, the district judge, etc.  Even worse, there are a lot of backwards people who keep them (and the rest of the Booger County Mafia) in power.

Now I’m not knocking small towns, as I am proud to have grown up in a rural community, namely Union Grove in East Texas (it’s a suburb of metropolitan Gladewater). Nonetheless, as the prophet Peter Gabriel has written, people in some small towns think so small, they use small words. … Read more

Why did Rusty Russ walk out of the judicial candidates forum?

Attorney Bryan F. “Rusty” Russ, Jr. walked out of the 82nd Judicial District candidate’s forum last night in Franklin, Texas, according to witnesses. I did not attend the forum, in part because my wife bought tickets to a concert in Carnegie Hall as part of her ongoing efforts to civilize me, but I received some email reports this morning.

If Mr. Russ would like to give his side of the story, or if he would like to respond to the evidence that he is a liar, a cheater, and a thief, I will gladly post his response on my blog verbatim. And if you were there, or if you know what the back story is, please post something in the comments section below. Here are the emails (senders’ names redacted):

Really interesting night, last night. It seems, a guy Rusty has had a spat with since 2001 was there and Rusty felt intimidated enough to call the cops. The cops took the guy out back to talk to him. He came back and, just sat in the back without saying a word. They left a cop there. Sheriff Yetzek was there, too. Rusty, still, felt so intimidated, he picked his marbles without saying a word and left. Really courageous of him, don’t you think?
————————————————————–
So last night Rusty threw a hissy fit at the candidate forum in Franklin…. said that some guy there had put out a death threat against him and he left and refused to face Matthew. The guy he accused of “threatening him” was about 70 and even I coulda taken him in a fight. 🙂 🙂

Matthew did great, everyone loved him….

Rusty is a coward and a piece of work…
————————————————————– … Read more

The sun still rises in the east, and Rusty Russ is still a criminal

Occasionally someone asks if I am worried that attorney Bryan F. “Rusty” Russ, Jr. will sue me because I openly refer to him as a criminal. My answer is always the same: I have no worries, because Mr. Russ knows that I can prove that he is a criminal, and truth is the ultimate defense to a defamation claim.

Mr. Russ’s crimes are acutely relevant these days because he is running to succeed 82nd District Judge Robert M. Stem (a crook in his own right). If you live in Falls County or Robertson County, and you like being ruled by criminals, then by all means vote for Mr. Russ.  Otherwise, pay close attention as I recap the highlights (lowlights?) of Mr. Russ’s career of lying, cheating, and stealing, and then vote for Judge Matthew G. Wright.

REAL ESTATE FRAUD

Mr. Russ and his law partner, James H. “Jimmie” McCullough, are very skilled at defrauding people who own real estate in Robertson County or Falls County. They tend to target black people, poor people, and people who live out of state, and may God help you if you fall into more than one of those categories.

In 1998, for example, Robertson County resident Ruthie Roberts and her mother paid Mr. Russ for advice on how to clean up the title to some family land, and Mr. Russ told them nothing could be done.  About seven years later, he and Mr. McCullough successfully stole the mineral interests from beneath that land.  Fortunately, they were caught and had to return most of what they had stolen.  In Mr. McCullough’s deposition testimony, he admitted what he and Mr. Russ had done, and you can read the transcript by clicking here. … Read more

Hearne city councilman acquitted, federal civil rights lawsuit will move forward

Last night a jury acquitted Hearne City Councilman Rodrick Jackson of a charge that he forcibly kissed and groped a fifteen-year-old girl, and I think the verdict proved what I have been saying all along: the charge was politically motivated and never should have been filed in the first place. The acquittal also creates serious problems for the City of Hearne, because Mr. Jackson’s civil rights lawsuit can now proceed in federal court.

As you may recall, the Texas Rangers and Robertson County District Attorney’s Office investigated the allegation against Mr. Jackson and District Attorney Coty Siegert rejected the case, but the City of Hearne then charged Mr. Jackson, an outspoken critic of corruption at city hall, with Class C misdemeanor “assault by contact.” A Class C misdemeanor is the legal equivalent of a traffic ticket.

As of December 17, 2017, the city had spent nearly $20,000 in legal fees for a special prosecutor from suburban Houston, and I suspect that figure will climb significantly after yesterday’s trial. All of that for a citation that is punishable by a maximum $500 fine and no jail time.

On January 18, 2018, I asked the U.S. District Court in Waco to block the prosecution on the grounds that the city was retaliating against Mr. Jackson for exposing corruption at city hall. Judge Robert Pitman denied our request for an injunction, but he asked the city’s attorney afterwards, “This looks bad, doesn’t it?”

Indeed it does. If you are not familiar with the case, you may be wondering why it was tried in municipal court, i.e., traffic court, because it’s a felony for a grown man to kiss and grope a teenage girl. The short answer: politics. Apparently city officials could not get the Rangers and the DA to do their dirty work for them, so their only option was to charge Mr. Jackson in municipal court, where the maximum charge is a Class C misdemeanor. … Read more

Document dump provides more evidence that FBI was playing politics

As if we needed any more evidence that the FBI was politicized under James Comey, we get this in a Friday evening document dump:  The top attorney for the FBI and an attorney representing Hillary Clinton loyalists worked together to keep politically-damaging computer contents from being subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Beth Wilkinson, wife of former NBC host and current CNN commentator David Gregory, represented Clinton aides Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, and Jake Sullivan during the FBI’s whitewash investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s secret email server, and Ms. Wilkinson apparently convinced an all-too-cooperative FBI to protect the contents of Ms. Mills’s and Ms. Samuelson’s laptop computers from public scrutiny.

“The Government explicitly agreed that the FBI would not assert custody and control of the devices in the face of Freedom of Information Act requests,” Ms. Wilkinson wrote in an August 11, 2016 email from Ms. Wilkinson to James A. Baker, who was then the general counsel of the FBI.  Here’s an excerpt from the agreement that Ms. Wilkinson cut-and-pasted into her email.

The Device is being provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) solely for the purposes of the Department of Justice Investigation, and for the Department’s use in connection with the investigation. In voluntarily providing the Device, Cheryl Mills does not relinquish ownership or control over the Device, except for the FBI’s limited investigative use as specified by this agreement. The FBI does not assert custody and control over the Device or its contents for any other purposes, including any requests made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552.

Let me translate that excerpt into plain English: Even though the FBI clearly had custody and control of the laptops, it would deny that it had custody and control whenever somebody (like me) submitted a FOIA request for the contents of those laptops. And I must rely on Ms. Wilkinson’s representation of the agreement because, even though I asked for copies of all agreements between Ms. Wilkinson and the FBI / DOJ more than ten months ago, the government still has not produced the actual agreements. … Read more

Federal death row inmate wants to be re-sentenced by a judge who is not drunk

If you thought the drunken debauchery of former U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. of Waco, Texas was old news, think again.  A motion filed this morning by a federal death-row inmate asks the court to set aside his sentence on the grounds that the alcoholic judge was too impaired to pass judgment.

In the motion filed by attorneys Robert C. Owen of Northwestern Law School and Asst. Public Defender John R. Carpenter of Tacoma Washington on behalf of Brandon Bernard, they cite records from a judicial misconduct complaint that I filed against Smith in 2014, including the deposition testimony of a former deputy clerk who says she was sexually assaulted by Smith in the federal courthouse in 1998 while he was drunk (I have uploaded the motion’s evidentiary exhibits below).  Bernard was sentenced to death for his role in the 1999 murders of Todd and Stacie Bagley, a married couple who served as youth ministers for a church in Iowa.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a pro bono co-counsel for one of Bernard’s co-defendants in the murder cases. Although I normally do not practice criminal law, and I certainly do not dispute the horror of the Bagley murders, I happen to think that defendants have a right to be sentenced by a judge who is not drunk. Is that really such a radical idea? … Read more

Top Texas cops investigated for forgery, and it’s all because of Snoop Dogg

A top commander in the Texas Department of Public Safety forged a signature and tampered with government records in an attempt to fire a whistleblower, according to a federal lawsuit that I filed this morning, and the commander probably didn’t act alone.  Meanwhile, an East Texas DA has referred the case to the Texas Attorney General for further investigation and possible prosecution.

You may recall that Trooper Billy Spears made international headlines in 2015 after he was reprimanded for allowing himself to be photographed with Calvin Broaddus, a.k.a. the Doggfather of rap, a.k.a. Snoop Dogg. You may also recall that we obtained an email from DPS Director Steven McCraw complaining that Billy allowed himself to be photographed with a “dope smoking cop hater.” DPS brass took a beating in the press, and shortly thereafter we filed suit against Billy’s superiors for retaliating against him (both before and after the Snoop Dogg photo).

Things have only gotten worse since then.

In 2016, someone in Billy’s chain of command post-dated a memo and cut-and-pasted Billy’s signature onto it in order to deny him a medical waiver for an on-duty knee injury.  Billy submitted the original memo in late May of 2016, but the date was changed to June 2, 2016 to make it appear untimely (and the altered memo included facts that had not occurred as of the time that the real memo was written). … Read more

Maryland’s high court protects Hillary Clinton’s lawyers

Here’s some news you won’t see in the New York Times or the Washington Post: In an order dated November 17, Maryland’s highest court temporarily blocked a lower court order that required bar prosecutors to investigate Hillary Clinton’s lawyers for destroying evidence. At the same time, the Maryland Court of Appeals denied my request to appoint a special counsel to investigate the crimes that bar prosecutors keep trying to bury.

The appellate court’s stay order will remain in effect until oral argument in March, but the handwriting is already on the wall: the left-wing court intends to protect attorneys David Kendall, Cheryl Mills, and Heather Samuelson at all costs, never mind the law and the facts.

How do I know the case is rigged? Let’s start with the stay order itself.  Normally, when a party asks an appellate court to temporarily stay a lower court’s order, that party must first request a stay from the trial court. If the trial court denies the request, then the appellate court will then consider it. In this case, however, the bar prosecutors never requested a stay from the trial court, but the Court of Appeals granted a stay anyway.

Similarly, appellants normally must raise arguments or objections at trial before those issues can be raised in the Court of Appeals. In their petition asking the Court of Appeals to hear the case, the bar prosecutors asked the court to apply an amended rule retroactively in order to bury my complaints against Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers, but they had never presented that argument in the trial court.  Even though bar prosecutors offered no excuse whatsoever for failing to raise the argument at trial, the Court of Appeals decided to hear it anyway. … Read more