'They're not going to shut up MAGA!' Federal judge orders former Trump advisor Steve Bannon to prison

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A federal judge has ordered former Trump advisor and "War Room" host Stephen K. Bannon to report to jail by July 1.

Bannon told reporters outside the courthouse Thursday that "all of this is about one thing. This is about shutting down the MAGA movement, shutting down grassroots conservatives, shutting down President Trump."

"Merrick Garland, Lisa Monaco, the entire Justice Department — they're not going to shut up Trump. They're not going to shut up Navarro. They're not going to shut up Bannon. And they're certainly not going to shut up MAGA!" added Bannon.

Background

While it is apparently acceptable for Democrats and elements of the Biden Department of Justice to ignore subpoenas by House Republicans, that tolerance is evidently not universal.

Bannon was convicted in July 2022 of two charges of contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas from the Democrat-controlled House Select committee investigating the Jan. 6 protests. He was subsequently sentenced to four months in prison.

'Can I ask you what American justice even means anymore?'

In response to the ruling, Bannon said, "We're gonna win at the Supreme Court," reported the National Pulse. "There's not a jail built, not a prison built that can shut me up."

Around the time of Bannon's sentencing, Blaze Media cofounder and nationally syndicated radio host Glenn Beck said in a special, "Do you recognize your country anymore? We used to be a nation of fundamental rights granted to us by God, and we lived under a system of laws that promised justice. Not social justice, but justice justice. Can I ask you what American justice even means anymore?"

"Was it justice when Steve Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison for contempt of Congress? We've seen people defy Congress for decades, but no one ever goes to jail," continued Beck. "The last time someone went to jail for this was back in 1961. Before that ... 1948! It's rare, even though we've seen people openly defy Congress time after time."

"Selectively deciding whether or not they'll decide to enforce the law isn't justice," added Beck. "[Bannon will do] four months in jail, but in January 2021, the former FBI lawyer that got caught falsifying evidence to spy on a member of President Trump's staff was spared prison and given a minor slap on the wrist."

Bannon was not the only Trump advisor subjected to selective justice.

The following September, Trump's former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was also convicted of contempt of Congress.

Navarro's lawyers wrote to the Supreme Court saying that the "prosecution of a senior presidential advisor asserting executive privilege conflicts with the constitutional independence required by the doctrine of separation of powers."

"Not once before Dr. Navarro's prosecution has the Department of Justice concluded a senior presidential advisor may be prosecuted for contempt of congress following an assertion of executive privilege," added his lawyers.

Having been unsuccessful in his appeal, Navarro reported to prison in March.

Bannon to prison

Carl Nichols, the Trump-nominated judge overseeing Bannon's case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, initially paused his sentence while the "War Room" host appealed his conviction, reported CNN.

However, a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously tossed Bannon's challenges. Partisan prosecutors then asked Nichols to send Bannon packing to prison.

The judge indicated Thursday that he no longer felt there was cause to pause Bannon's sentence "any longer."

'Biden and his aides are taking off the political battlefield two of Trump's top surrogates before the 2024 presidential election.'

Bannon's defense attorneys reportedly argued ahead of Thursday's hearing that the judge lacked the authority to toss him in prison before he exhausted his options to appeal, including to a full panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court as Navarro had attempted.

Outside the court, one of Bannon's attorneys said, "This case raises a dynamic separation of powers issue. We know from years and decades of case law that the president and a former president has the authority to invoke executive privilege. ... It's his prerogative to invoke and it's presumptively valid when invoked. It's not for Congress to determine whether it was an appropriate invocation or otherwise, and Congress cannot be the arbiter of how to respond to that. Only a court can be."

— (@)

Reactions

Christopher Bedford, senior editor for politics and Washington correspondent for Blaze Media, said, "It paints a pretty clear picture of the DOJ's priorities that you're seeing Steve Bannon actually go to prison for contempt of Congress while so many others have slipped by."

"I would like to say that it sets a precedent that Republicans ought to use in their own investigations. For example, the Republican leaders of the House Oversight and Accountability, Judiciary and Ways and Means committees referred Hunter Biden for arrest for contempt for lying to Congress. But that's not going to be enforced," said Bedford. "And it's not going to set a precedent because Republicans aren't going to take the same tack that Democrats have, unfortunately."

Mike Davis of the Article III Project noted in a statement, "We have had constitutional executive privilege for 250 years — going back to George Washington — so the President of the United States can receive candid, confidential advice from his advisors without fear their advice will get publicly aired before courts or Congress."

"President Biden and his Attorney General Merrick Garland have shamefully destroyed this, in their partisan quest to politicize and weaponize the Biden Justice Department to go after President Trump and his top aides," said Davis. "Biden and his aides are taking off the political battlefield two of Trump's top surrogates before the 2024 presidential election."

Davis added that this was all part of "a broader criminal conspiracy by Biden, his aides, and his allies to politicize and weaponize law enforcement and intel agencies to violate the constitutional rights of Trump, his aides, and his allies for the purposes of partisan lawfare and election interference."

Jack Posobiec, senior editor at Human Events and frequent guest on Bannon's "War Room," highlighted the nominal Republicans who voted to hold Bannon in contempt and effectively sealed his fate.

— (@)

Natalie Winters, cohost of "War Room," tweeted, "F*** Merrick Garland," then "War Room isn't going anywhere."

Former Trump White House official Darren Beattie noted that when the Democrats are no longer "able to force social media companies to censor, they resort to simply jailing their critics. Prison is the second stage of deplatforming."

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'Tragic injustice': Clinton-appointed judge sentences pro-life rescuer to nearly 5 years in jail over peaceful protest

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A Clinton-appointed judge has sentenced pro-life activist Lauren Handy to four years and nine months in prison plus three years' supervision for peacefully speaking out in support of the lives lost and threatened at an infamous late-term abortion clinic in the nation's capital.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's heavy-handed sentence in Handy's case, which was just one year shy of what Biden's admittedly pro-abortion Department of Justice advocated for, has been blasted by Republicans and other pro-life activists.

'Meanwhile, abortionists who dismember and kill children walk free. A grave injustice!'

The Thomas More Society, which defended Handy in the case, has indicated it will proceed with an appeal on behalf of Handy, not only to overturn her conviction but to challenge the constitutionality of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, under which she was convicted in August.

Other pro-life rescuers who took part in the peaceful 2020 protest appear to also be headed to prison, including John Hinshaw, who was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in prison.

Background

Handy, 30, is the director of activism and mutual aid for Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising.

According to its website, PAAU is "committed to the progressive feminist values of equality, non-violence, and nondiscrimination through an anti-capitalist lens. ... We're committed to unparalleled bravery and to always challenging the oppressive status quo. We're committed to ending elective abortion to matter how long it takes."

Blaze News previously reported that Handy and four other PAAU activists — John Hinshaw, Heather Idoni, William Goodman, and Herb Geraghty — were convicted of FACE Act violations last year for supposedly blocking access on Oct. 22, 2020, to the Washington Surgi-Clinic, operated by the late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo.

The FACE Act prohibits anyone from obstructing the entrance to an abortion clinic or intimidating or interfering with a woman attempting to have her unborn baby exterminated.

The Biden DOJ claimed that Handy partook in a "clinic blockade that was directed by Handy and was broadcast on Facebook. The defendants conspired to and did forcefully enter the clinic and block access to the clinic using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes. Once the blockade was established, footage of the activities was live-streamed."

Legal analysts at the Heritage Foundation noted that "Congress specified that the FACE Act doesn't 'prohibit any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration) protected from legal prohibitions by the First Amendment to the Constitution,' including the 'free speech or free exercise clauses,' occurring 'outside a facility.'"

Handy's defense also characterized the incident as a "rescue and protest," noting that she was under the distinct impression, in part due to an undercover video published by Live Action, that Santangelo was not just executing live-birth abortions but leaving born-alive infants to die.

Kollar-Kotelly ultimately barred the defendants from claiming their protest was protected by the First Amendment as well as from claiming they had protested in defense of a third person, stating "a defendant may not don a vigilante's hood." The Clinton judge, who made sure to chastise a nun in the public gallery for daring to make the sign of the cross, also prevented the defense from showing the undercover 2012 footage that prompted Handy to want to intervene for fear of prejudicing the jury.

Handy, convicted of a FACE Act violation as well as of conspiracy against rights, sat in prison for nine months until her sentencing.

Sentencing

The Biden DOJ asked Kollar-Kotelly to give Handy 6.5 years, claiming she was among the "masterminds who chose the clinic, advertised the event, recruited participants, and planned the crime," reported the Washington Examiner.

Handy's defense alternatively asked for a one-year sentence, emphasizing the peaceful nature of the event that entailed an "attempt to rescue preborn children from imminent death at the hands of an abortionist who Ms. Handy believed performed illegal late-term procedures."

The Clinton judge reportedly expressed concern that Handy's protest hindered multiple prospective patients from speedily entering the clinic, including a woman experiencing labor pains.

"Your views took precedence over, frankly, their human needs," said Kollar-Kotelly, apparently discounting the human needs ignored deeper within the clinic.

Prosecutors apparently also won the judge over with the claim that the protest was not peaceful, as a clinic nurse allegedly sprained her ankle when one of Handy's co-defendants entered the clinic, reported the New York Post.

Kollar-Kelly claimed Handy was not being punished for her pro-life beliefs but rather her actions, stating, "The law does not protect violent nor obstructive conduct, nor should it."

Response

The outcome incensed Republicans, women's organizations, and pro-life activists, who ostensibly agreed that the FACE Act has outstayed its welcome, especially after having been weaponized against pro-life activists by the Biden DOJ.

Live Action president Lila Rose noted Handy "has just been sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for handing roses and resources to women at an abortion facility[.] Meanwhile, abortionists who dismember and kill children walk free. A grave injustice!"

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said in a statement obtained by Blaze News, "Today's outrageous 57-month sentence for a progressive pro-life activist is a stark reminder: Biden's DOJ is fully weaponized against pro-life American citizens, and they are using the FACE Act to do it."

Roy stressed that "House Republicans should defund the DOJ weaponization, repeal the FACE Act, and stand up for the freedoms that we campaign on."

'Ms. Handy deserves thanks, not a gut-wrenching prison sentence.'

"This sentencing of @PAAUNOW's Lauren Hardy is a tragic injustice," said Penny Nance, CEO of the Concerned Women for America. "In policy and practice, the FACE Act is an unjust law that must be repealed. It is an unconstitutional breach of the states' police power, and the Biden Administration has used it to attack political opponents most blatantly."

\u201cThis sentencing of @PAAUNOW's Lauren Hardy is a tragic injustice,\u201d said Penny Nance, CEO of CWA. \u201cIn policy and practice, the FACE Act is an unjust law that must be repealed. It is an unconstitutional breach of the states\u2019 police power, and the Biden Administration has used it\u2026
— (@)

Martin Cannon, senior counsel at the Thomas More Society, said in a statement, "There was only one thing around which Ms. Handy and her co-defendants were unified, and that was nonviolence. They conspired to be peaceful."

"For her efforts to peacefully protect the lives of innocent preborn human beings, Ms. Handy deserves thanks, not a gut-wrenching prison sentence," continued Cannon. "We will vigorously pursue an appeal of Ms. Handy's conviction and attack the root cause of this injustice, that is, the FACE Act — which we believe is unconstitutional and should never again be used to persecute peaceful pro-lifers."

Steve Crampton, senior counsel at the Thomas More Society, added, "The remains of several later-term aborted babies discovered by Ms. Handy and her associates, known as the 'D.C. Five,' have underscored the truth of Ms. Handy's concerns that abortionist Cesare Santangelo has more likely than not been violating the Born Alive Infants Protection Act by reportedly refusing to provide life-saving care to infants born alive as a result of an attempted abortion."

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Last Week In Lawfare Land: Witness Testimony, Another SCOTUS Case, And A New Indictment Drop

Here’s the latest information you need to know about each prosecution Democrats are waging against the Republican presidential candidate.

Survivor of communist concentration camp makes peace with dying in US prison over peaceful pro-life protest

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A Christian pro-life activist who survived a communist concentration camp in post-war Yugoslavia is now making peace with the possibility she may not outlast the Biden administration.

Eva Edl, 88, has long been familiar with the consequences of dehumanization. After the Nazi forces were routed in Europe and the war at large was coming to an end, Edl, not yet 10 years old, was tossed into one of communist dictator Josip "Tito" Broz's concentration camps in Yugoslavia along with thousands of other Danube Schwabians who had been collectively branded as Nazi collaborators by Tito's communist Partisans and targeted for their German ethnic backgrounds.

Edl told WJBF-TV, "We were considered to be non-human. It was just permission for torture and killing by the government."

In camp Gakowa, Edl indicated she ended up losing all of the skin on her legs and was hobbled by sores. "People gagged when they came near me," she said. "The flies and the fleas and the lice, and the bed bugs just loved this festering body."

Edl and her remaining family members ultimately managed to escape into Austria. After spending several years in refugee camps, they made it to the United States where she now might die in prison for defending the lives of the biggest cohort of dehumanized people, slaughtered by the tens of millions globally every year.

The Biden Department of Justice charged Eva Edl, 88, and 10 other pro-life activists in October 2022 for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act — a law ratified in 1994 by former President Bill Clinton. The pro-life activists had staged a peaceful protest inside the Carafem abortion clinic in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, on March 5, 2021, singing and praying in support of those persons who had and would be slain deeper inside the abattoir.

— (@)

Earlier this month, Edl and the final four of the 11 pro-life activists were convicted. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee indicated the octogenarian faces up to six months in prison, five years of supervised released, and up to $10,000 in fines. It appears she was spared what could otherwise have been over a decade in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 because of the strictly nonviolent nature of her perceived offense.

Edl recently told the Daily Signal in an interview, "When I was indicted, I began to prepare to die there."

"Right now, I'm ambivalent," she continued. "I'm doing the best I can to get ready. Haven't talked to a funeral director yet."

"I'm just being sensible," added Edl. "There's no guarantee that I survive it."

Edl explained to the Daily Signal that her activism started when the issue was brought to her attention during an English course in 1968.

"I didn't know what [abortion] meant," she said. "I tried to speak up in that subject, but I must have done a very bad job because I don't think I convinced the person that I was speaking with. And after that, I just brought the subject up all the time because it bothered me that people would actually think of killing their own children."

She made clear to her husband that inaction was unacceptable.

"We are doing what we are condemning others for," Edl recalled telling her husband. "This is what people should have done for us."

Edl began actively protesting abortion and staging rescues in the late 1980s, which landed her in jail even before Clinton signed the FACE Act into law.

Despite her conviction earlier this month, Edl maintains her actions were justified, certain that such protests can spare babies' lives today just as similar protests could have saved multitudes of lives in the mid-20th century.

"When we were rounded up to be killed, we were placed in cattle cars, and our train was headed toward the extermination camp. What if citizens of my country would have overcome their fear, and a number of them stood on those railroad tracks between the gate of the entrance to the death camp and the train?" said Edl. "The train would have to stop. And while the guards on those trains would be busy rounding up the ones that were in front of the train, another group could have come in, pried open our cattle car and possibly set us free, but nobody did."

"When we place our bodies between the woman and the clinic, we buy time to get our sidewalk counselors the opportunity to speak with women, and hopefully open their hearts with love for their babies and let their babies live," said Edl.

Tommy Valentine, the director of accountability at CatholicVote, suggested in an op-ed Monday, "It is unquestionable that Eva and her pro-life compatriots' prosecutions are intended to send a message. The FBI and Department of Justice have prosecuted nonviolent pro-life offenders with the FACE Act, while turning a blind eye to the violent, ongoing and terrifying attacks on other institutions protected by the FACE Act: churches and pregnancy help centers."

Valentine noted that while Edl is likely headed to prison, the Biden DOJ has "failed to federally prosecute a single one of the more than 400 egregious FACE Act violations against Catholic Churches since May 2020, or to meaningfully address the 90 attacks on pregnancy resource centers across the nation since May 2022."

Last year, Republicans Rep. Chip Roy (Texas) and Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) proposed legislation that would repeal the FACE Act.

"Free Americans should never live in fear of their government targeting them because of their beliefs. Yet, Biden's Department of Justice has brazenly weaponized the FACE Act against normal, everyday Americans across the political spectrum, simply because they are pro-life," Roy said in a statement.

Lee stated, "Joe Biden's DOJ has weaponized this constitutionally dubious law against pro-life sidewalk counselors while failing to protect pregnancy centers and churches from arson, vandalism, and violence. It's time to repeal the FACE Act once and for all."

Eva Edl Full WJBF Interviewyoutu.be

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Biden DOJ sues Tennessee over law penalizing prostitutes who knowingly expose others to HIV — claims it's discriminatory

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HIV is an incurable auto-immune disease that afflicts roughly 1.2 million Americans, predominantly non-straight men. The Biden Department of Justice wants to eliminate a law in Tennessee that might spare countless more Americans from contracting it.

A year after suing Tennessee over its ban on child sex-changes, the Biden DOJ has sued the state again, this time in hopes of killing a state law that makes prostitution a Class C felony if a person knowingly infected with HIV engages "in sexual activity as a business or is an inmate in a house of prostitution."

The law was reportedly reclassified as a "violent sexual offense" in 2010 due to the grievous, lasting physical harm it can result in. As a result, those so convicted are required to register as sex offenders.

According to the complaint filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Tennessee and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation "unlawfully discriminate against individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a disability, in their maintenance and enforcement of Tennessee's aggravated prostitution statute."

The lawsuit downplays the risks associated with HIV — a lifelong disease for which antiretroviral therapeutics cost potential sufferers anywhere from $1,800 to $4,500 every month — and takes issue with the requirement that persons convicted of aggravated prostitution must register as sex offenders. After all, this can impact convicts' employment potential and precludes convicts from hanging out alone with children in secluded areas.

The lawsuit cites a nameless black transvestite as a complainant "aggrieved" by the law. He was arrested in 2010 for prostitution "near a church or school" and pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated prostitution, having engaged in sex for money despite knowing he had HIV since 2008.

The transvestite alleges that as a result of the law — contra his conscious decision to sell sex while infected with a debilitating disease — he now has trouble finding employment because of his sex offender listing in the TBI's registry; is precluded from spending time alone with his nephew; and cannot change his name to "match [his] gender identity."

The DOJ claims that the TBI and the State of Tennessee are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by continuing to enforce the statute.

The aim of the lawsuit is to nullify the law; to remove all relevant convicts from the TBI's sex offender registry; and to shake the state up for damages for "Complainant A and other aggrieved individuals with aggravated prostitution convictions."

"The enforcement of state criminal laws that treat people differently based on HIV status alone and that are not based on actual risks of harm, discriminate against people living with HIV," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ's so-called Civil Rights Division. "People living with HIV should not be subjected to a different system of justice based on outdated science and misguided assumptions. This lawsuit reflects the Justice Department’s commitment to ensuring that people living with HIV are not targeted because of their disability."

Brandon James Smith, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti's chief of staff, said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press, "We are aware of the DOJ's findings, will give them appropriate consideration, and look forward to finding out more about DOJ's apparent cooperation with local activist organizations and private litigants related to this matter."

Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) suggested the DOJ's lawsuit was evidence that "the fight is not in Washington. The fight is with Washington."

The ACLU and the Transgender Law Center beat the Biden DOJ to the punch on attempting to decriminalize prostitutes' intentional exposure of unsuspecting strangers to HIV. The Hill reported that the radical groups filed the challenge in the U.S. District in Memphis on behalf of four plaintiffs and OUTMemphis in October 2023.

The complaint indicated that there were just over 80 potential super spreaders registered for aggravated prostitution in the state.

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Trump lawyers hint at legal defense in filing highlighting bias, White House involvement, and ignored evidence

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Lawyers representing former President Donald Trump in his Mar-a-Lago documents case provided some hints in a Tuesday night filing about how they might approach the Republican front-runner's legal defense.

Trump's team appears to be gearing up to argue that the case against him was a stitch-up from the beginning — a "crusade" reliant on a myopic reading of the available facts launched by the Biden administration and antipathetic bureaucrats with the aim of kneecapping the Republican ahead of the 2024 election.

What's the background?

Trump, like President Joe Biden, Barack Obama and former Vice President Mike Pence, kept sensitive documents after leaving office. Unlike Biden, Obama, and Pence, however, Trump had his property raided by armed agents, was subjected to a penetrating FBI investigation, and now faces scores of criminal charges.

The original indictment, filed by Biden Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith on June 8, 2023, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, listed 37 felony counts against Trump, including 31 counts of willful retention of classified documents; one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice; one count of scheme to conceal; and one count of making false statements and representations.

Prior to the indictment, Smith's aide reportedly first met with Biden staffers for a "case-related interview."

In July, Trump was slapped with a superseding indictment listing an additional three federal criminal charges.

Strategy coming into focus

Lawyers for Trump indicated in their Tuesday motion that the prosecution has withheld critical evidence that would serve both to contradict various claims levied against the former president and highlight the "politically motivated" nature of the case.

Citing evidence obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests, the motion notes that "politically motivated operatives in the Biden Administration and the National Archives and Records Administration ('NARA') began this crusade against President Trump in 2021."

"The FOIA releases, coupled with other evidence scattered throughout more than 1.2 million pages of discovery, reflect close participation in the investigation by NARA and Biden Administration components such as the White House Counsel's Office, as well as senior officials at DOJ and FBI. These revelations are disturbing but not surprising," continued the motion.

Among the material Trump's lawyers want exposed and brought into evidence are White House records, especially communications between Smith's team and Biden officials. The motion underscores in particular the need for National Security Council and White House Counsel's Office documents to be brought to light.

Trump lawyers Christopher Kise and Todd Blanche suggested to Judge Aileen Cannon that the NSC "was responsible for the creation and handling of many of the documents at issue, and the Special Counsel's Office will be required to rely on personnel from the National Security Council at trial to demonstrate that the documents it authored are classified and constitute information 'relating to the national defense.'"

White House Counsel's Office records were deemed similarly of interest by the defense, as they "repeatedly supported the investigative activities," according to the motion.

"Although the Biden Administration clearly took steps to create a false appearance of separation from the investigation that it was driving, these White House components cannot escape the import of these activities for purposes of the prosecution-team analysis. The Special Counsel's Office must produce discoverable information from the White House's files," said the motion.

Trump's team also seeks records from deeper in the state, including from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and from the Department of Energy, the latter of which is said to have "retroactively terminate[d]" a security clearance for the former president following his June indictment.

Besides drawing attention to bias on the part of NARA and a possible coordinated effort involving the White House to kneecap Biden's top rival ahead of the 2024 election, the legal team argued to Cannon that:

  • Smith's office has an "affirmative obligation to collect and produce discoverable evidence in the possession of the entire prosecution team";
  • Smith's office must be compelled to comply with their discovery obligations;
  • contrary to prosecutors' claims, the location where the records were stored — his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida — was secure; and
  • there has been investigative misconduct on the part of the various elements of the prosecution.

The Associated Press indicated that prosecutors will likely argue to Judge Cannon that much of the requested materials are irrelevant to the case.

The trial is tentatively scheduled to kick off on May 20.

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Biden’s DOJ Tormented These Four J6 Protesters To Death

Biden's Justice Department made examples out of Jan. 6 protesters for daring to question the results of the rigged 2020 election — and four of them took their own lives.

Rep. Chip Roy and other Republicans seek to repeal FACE Act after more pro-life rescuers targeted by Biden DOJ are convicted and thrown in jail

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Three more peaceful opponents of America's abortion regime were found guilty Friday of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances Act and of felony conspiracy against rights by a D.C. jury.

Jean Marshall, 73, of Kingston, Massachusetts, 74-year-old Joan Bell of Montague, New Jersey, and 41-year-old Jonathan Darnel of Arlington, Virginia, each face up to 11 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $350,000.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the Clinton-appointed judge presiding over the case, immediately had all three pro-lifers thrown in jail, just as she did with another five Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising protesters three weeks earlier. The pro-lifers will remain detained until their sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled.

The Biden Department of Justice's heavy-handed approach to the peaceful pro-lifers and the possibility that some could ultimately die in jail has prompted significant backlash.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and other Republicans are now advancing legislation to repeal the FACE Act, and former President Donald Trump, who recently criticized the efforts of pro-lifers, has committed to issuing pardons if elected next year.

What's the background?

The newly convicted pro-life advocates are members of PAAU, a leftist activist group that acknowledges there is no group today more oppressed than the unborn.

PAAU notes on its website that it is "committed to the progressive feminist values of equality, non-violence, and nondiscrimination through an anti-capitalist lens. ... We're committed to unparalleled bravery and to always challenging the oppressive status quo. We're committed to ending elective abortion to matter how long it takes."

Marshall, Bell, and Darnel protested on Oct. 22, 2020, at the Washington Surgi-Clinic, operated by the infamous late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo. They were joined by the five pro-life activists similarly convicted of FACT Act violations on Aug. 29 in Kollar-Kotelly's court.

The FACE Act prohibits anyone from obstructing the entrance to an abortion clinic or intimidating or interfering with a woman attempting to have her unborn baby exterminated. While it applies also to protesters interfering with pro-life pregnancy centers, the Daily Signal indicated that 26 pro-lifers were charged with FACE Act violations last year, yet not a single leftist has similarly been charged.

According to President Joe Biden's admittedly pro-abortion Department of Justice, the trio "engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade at the reproductive health care clinic to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services."

While Darnel livestreamed their protest, Marshall and Bell, who had traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the protest, supposedly entered the clinic and blocked two doors "using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes."

Still in heart and conscience free

Bernadette Patel, a pro-life activist who was not involved in the rescue attempt on Oct. 22, 2020, told the Catholic News Agency that upon hearing the jury's verdict, "Joan Bell's children were in the audience shaking and crying."

Although her family was upset, Bell remained defiant.

"Joan took off her red shirt to reveal a bright yellow shirt with the words 'Pro Life' written on it," said Patel.

"Jonathan Darnel gave a wave before being escorted out," continued Patel. "Jean Marshall brought a doctor's note saying that she was scheduled for a hip replacement, but the judge refused to keep her under house arrest and all were taken away. Chris Bell [Joan's husband] teared up as he went to his car."

Darnel, an avowed Christian, told Fox News Digital, "I am definitely not guilty of the charges leveled against me, which is rather ironic that I should find myself in this position. ... Nevertheless, if a jury finds me guilty of FACE even erroneously, it would be an honor because the kids are worthy of protection."

Republicans take action

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) introduced legislation Tuesday to repeal the FACE Act, cosponsored by Republican Reps. Chris Smith (N.J.), Bob Good (Va.), Andrew Clyde (Ga.), Jim Banks (Ind.), Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.), and Doug Lamborn (Co.).

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has indicated he will follow suit in the Senate, reported the Daily Signal.

"Free Americans should never live in fear of their government targeting them because of their beliefs," Rep. Roy told the Daily Signal. "Yet Biden's Department of Justice has brazenly weaponized the FACE Act against normal, everyday Americans across the political spectrum, simply because they are pro-life."

"Our Constitution separates power between the federal government and the states for a reason, and we ignore that safeguard at our own peril," continued the Texas Republican. "The FACE Act is an unconstitutional federal takeover of state police powers; it must be repealed."

Earlier this year, Roy joined several other Republicans in demanding that Congress withhold funding for the enforcement of the FACE Act and "seriously consider repealing the statute in its entirety."

Andrew Bath of the Thomas More Society, the legal firm that has represented a number of the pro-life activists now facing possible 11-year sentences, stressed, "The FACE Act has been weaponized by this administration. ... Even if enforced honestly, the FACE Act is unconstitutional. If our constitutional system of separation of powers and the ideal of citizen self-government are to be preserved, the FACE Act must be repealed."

The executive director of PAAU said in a statement concerning the Republican endeavor to repeal the FACE Act, "This is a monumental step towards justice for our preborn siblings and Rescuers alike. The FACE Act has been flying under the radar for decades, and only now when it has been truly challenged has the truth about it come to light."

"Those fighting to sustain abortion violence and their allies in The White House will never be able to stop the Rescue movement, because Rescue is love, and the preborn have a right to be Rescued."

After the trio's conviction Friday — and just hours before he threw pro-life advocates under the bus and called a six-week abortion ban a "terrible mistake" during an NBC interview — former President Donald Trump told the 2023 Pray Vote Stand Summit that he would pardon the pro-life activists targeted by the Biden DOJ.

"Marxists and Stalinists in the administration got a Washington, D.C., jury to convict five pro-life activists who are now facing up to 11 years in prison for simple acts of protest," said Trump, not accounting for the three additional activists convicted that day.

"Under Biden, others are being sentenced to 10, 15, and even 20 years in prison for retribution for their political beliefs, while Antifa and other groups burn down cities like Portland, like Minneapolis. … They kill people, they loot, they plunder, and they go free," continued Trump. "The political repression is immoral and it's very, very un-American and it's very dangerous."

"To reverse these cruel travesties of justice, tonight I’m announcing that the moment I win the election, I will appoint a special task force to rapidly review the cases of every political prisoner who's been unjustly persecuted by the Biden administration ... so that I can study the situation very quickly and sign their pardons or commutations on day one," said Trump. "Never again will the federal government be used to target the religious believers."

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Clinton judge refused to hear pro-life rescuers' First Amendment defenses, then locked them up immediately after DC jury found them guilty of protesting at infamous late-term abortion clinic

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A Clinton-appointed judge could throw five peaceful opponents of America's abortion regime in prison for up to 11 years and slap each of them with a $350,000 fine after a D.C. jury found them guilty Tuesday of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances Act and of felony conspiracy against rights. Until their sentencing, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly will have the pro-life rescuers sit in jail.

The newly convicted pro-life advocates are members of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, a leftist group that manages some rare consistency in its discussion of victimhood, acknowledging that there may be no group today more oppressed than the unborn.

According to its website, PAAU is "committed to the progressive feminist values of equality, non-violence, and nondiscrimination through an anti-capitalist lens. ... We're committed to unparalleled bravery and to always challenging the oppressive status quo. We're committed to ending elective abortion to matter how long it takes."

Lauren Handy, 29, the group's director of activism and mutual aid, and four others — John Hinshaw, 68; Heather Idoni, 58; William Goodman, 52; and Herb Geraghty, 27 — were convicted on all counts Tuesday for supposedly blocking access in 2020 to the Washington Surgi-Clinic, operated by the infamous late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo, reported the Washington Post.

The FACE Act prohibits anyone from obstructing the entrance to an abortion clinic or intimidating or interfering with a woman attempting to have her unborn baby exterminated.

The Heritage Foundation noted that "Congress specified that the FACE Act doesn't 'prohibit any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration) protected from legal prohibitions by the First Amendment to the Constitution,' including the 'free speech or free exercise clauses,' occurring 'outside a facility.'"

Nevertheless, Kollar-Kotelly prevented the defendants from arguing that their protest was protected by the First Amendment or was committed in defense of a third person, stressing that "a defendant may not don a vigilante's hood."

Biden's admittedly pro-abortion Department of Justice noted that the defendants "conspired to and did forcefully enter the clinic and block access to the clinic using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes. ... Evidence also showed that the defendants violated the FACE Act by using force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with the clinic's employees and patients."

The Thomas More Society, which defended Handy in the case, alternatively characterized the incident as a "rescue and protest," noting that "some simply kneeled and prayed at Santangelo's facility, some passed out pro-life literature and counseled abortion-minded women, and others roped and chained themselves together inside the facility."

The term "rescue" was key to Handy's defense, since she was under the distinct impression, in part due to an undercover video published by Live Action, that Santangelo was not just executing live-birth abortions but leaving born-alive infants to die.

Handy and other members of PAAU would later obtain the remains of 115 slaughtered babies that had been discarded by Santangelo's clinic from a driver for Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services. At least five of the babies appeared to have been viable, ostensibly confirming Handy's earlier suspicions, reported the National Catholic Register.

Handy noted in court on Aug. 22, "My belief that was formed after watching the video was … if the fetus survived the abortion attempt, they were left to die" at the clinic.

The Clinton judge, who castigated a nun in the public gallery for daring to make the sign of the cross, prevented the defense from showing the undercover 2012 footage in court, claiming that it was a "propaganda" video that would prejudice the jury, reported WUSA9.

The Thomas More Society maintains that "contrary to what the federal government’s prosecution attempted to argue, Lauren was there to prevent the horror of live-birth abortions — which is not a violation of the FACE Act."

At most, the pro-life advocates' defense attorneys indicated their clients were guilty of trespassing.

Handy's attorney, Martin Cannon, told the jury, "There was never an attempt to obstruct. At one point, you saw Ms. Handy holding the door open for the patients," adding she "never pushed or threatened anyone. ... Planning an event is not a conspiracy."

Prosecutors focused much of their ire on Handy, stressing that she had masterminded the blockade, used a fake name to book an appointment and get inside, and worked to bar patients' entry, reported the Post.

"They planned their crime carefully, to take over that clinic, block access to reproductive services and interfere with others’ rights," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb alleged in his closing arguments. "The idea of deliberately breaking the law, to them, was sexy."

The Clinton judge had the five defendants locked up immediately after their conviction in light of the jurors' suggestion that they were somehow violent criminals. Handy and the other pro-life advocates will remain in custody as they await sentencing.

Steve Crampton, senior counsel with the Thomas More Society, told LifeSiteNews that the immediate incarceration of the pro-life advocates due to the supposed "violence" of their crime was an "outrage," adding that "the real violence is what happens during the abortion procedure."

Cannon, Handy's attorney, underscored that the outcome was disappointing, stating, "Ms. Handy has been condemned for her efforts to protect the lives of innocent preborn human beings, something she should never have been arrested for. We are preparing an appeal and will continue to defend those who fight for life against a Biden Department of Justice that seems intent on prosecuting those who decry abortion and present it as it is — the intentional killing of children in utero."

Goodman, among the defendants, called for his supporters to "forgive the jury, the judge, and all those who witnessed against us, and to pray that they would see how God loves the gift of every human life."

The pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America noted in a statement obtained by TheBlaze, "This is a shameful day for a nation founded on unalienable rights, first and foremost including life. Pro-life advocates like Lauren Handy have put their freedom on the line – peacefully and bravely – to protect babies and women from the brutality of abortion. They have done a vital public service in exposing the horrors of late-term abortion taking place in D.C., where there are no limits on abortion up to birth, and across the country."

"Instead of being recognized for their heroism, the most pro-abortion administration in history has weaponized the full power of the federal government against them – treating them like terrorists and threatening them with as many as 11 years in prison, all while the authorities turn a blind eye to Santangelo's atrocities," continued SBA. "The extreme pro-abortion bias on display throughout this trial – for instance, donors to abortion giant Planned Parenthood permitted to serve on the jury – shows that they were never going to get a fair hearing in Judge Kollar-Kotelly's court. Wherever one stands on abortion, we should all be able to agree this is wrong and un-American."

Caroline Taylor Smith, the executive director of PAAU, indicated the convictions won't stop the group's pro-life advocacy, stating on X, "Rescue lives on. The unborn have a right to be Rescued. Abortion is murder, and we are going to act like it, no matter the consequences, with solidarity and courage."

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Mark Levin outlined a legal strategy for the beleaguered former president. Trump has embraced it.

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BlazeTV host Mark Levin detailed Thursday evening how former President Donald Trump's attorneys should handle the legal warfare presently being waged against their client by the Biden Department of Justice in the person of special counsel Jack Smith.

This morning, Trump indicated he would pursue Levin's proposed strategy, leaving some to conclude that the conservative commentator was the Republican front-runner's de facto legal counsel.

Levin, a former DOJ chief of staff and the author of the forthcoming book "The Democrat Party Hates America," addressed Trump's legal team in a Twitter post wherein he first described the nature of the indictments, then highlighted where legal armor could be found.

Levin suggested that the timing of the indictments, together with the special counsel's insistence that the charges be quickly adjudicated, suggests the Biden DOJ is looking to exert "maximum influence on the election," in part by sapping Trump's campaign funds and time.

The Associated Press indicated that Trump may have spent upwards of $40 million on legal fees already this year.

"These indictments are being used as political weapons," wrote Levin, adding that the charges "should have been filed AFTER the election, as there was no possibility the statute of limitations would run on any of them."

Whereas the Biden DOJ let the statute of limitations run out in the Hunter Biden tax case, Levin has noted there is no such issue in the Trump cases, meaning there is no urgency to pursue these cases prior to the election besides that perceived by partisans keen to cling to power.

"It is not something that should left to various district courts or local courts to sort out in the course of regular judicial proceedings," the BlazeTV host continued. "In fact, that is part of the intended strategy by the prosecutors who are engaged in this assault on our electoral system."

Rather than get bogged down dealing with middling activists and/or reward the prosecutors "for their treachery and exploitation of the legal system and the courts," Levin claimed that Trump should instead "seek an emergency hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court."

Levin stressed that the only constitutional body left that can do something about this "unprecedented legal warfare" is the Supreme Court of the United States.

While doing so might not resolve the legal disputes, it would serve to "at least temporarily halt the abomination of this legal warfare that is unfolding in front of us."

— (@)

Friday morning, Trump agreed, echoing Levin in a Truth Social post.

"My political opponent has hit me with a barrage of weak lawsuits, including D.A., A.G., and others, which require massive amounts of my time & money to adjudicate," wrote Trump. "Resources that would have gone into Ads and Rallies, will now have to be spent fighting these Radical Left Thugs in numerous courts throughout the Country."

Recognizing "this is not a level playing field," Trump stated, "It is Election Interference, & the Supreme Court must intercede. MAGA!"

Following Trump's apparent recognition that the top court was the best way forward, Levin returned to Twitter with a road map.

Levin indicated that it may be prudent for Trump's "attorneys in the Florida document case to appeal the lower court's ruling for a trial start date in May to the circuit court making, in part, the arguments I discussed on air last night and below on this site."

Accordingly, Trump's legal team would make an emergency appeal to the circuit court "since what's being raised is the government's efforts in using the courts and the judicial process as tools to deny Trump his constitutional right to effectively defend himself and his freedom, and conduct his campaign for president at the same time."

Levin suggested an appeal Florida because the D.C. judges "are political activists who have rubber stamped everything the DOJ and Garland-Smith have sought," whereas Trump's lawyers might get a fairer shake in the Sunshine State.

TheBlaze previously reported that the federal judge assigned to former President Donald Trump's criminal case in D.C., Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, is a leftist Obama appointee whose history of ruthlessly hammering Jan. 6 defendants, fighting the Trump administration, and rubbing shoulders with Biden donors might be of some concern for the Democratic incumbent's top political rival.

Looking beyond the election, Levin noted that if sworn into office, Trump should pardon himself "from everything Biden-Garland-Smith are throwing at him during the course of this campaign" — not just the federal crimes, but state and local prosecutors' charges as well by way of asserting the Supremacy Clause.

Rogue Prosecutor Jack Smith, Backed by Crime Lawyer Garland, Is Attacking Trump Again. And It’s BSyoutu.be

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