The man who was busted painting swastikas on FDNY ambulances should be cut some slack because he’s an “artist,” his lawyers argued during his arraignment on felony hate-crime and vandalism charges Sunday.
Jem Ibrahimov, 42, was caught Saturday morning outside the Engine 93/Ladder 45/Battalion 13 station house on West 181st Street in Fort George — where he allegedly scrawled the hate symbol on a door and wrote “Nazi rapist pigs” and “pedophiles.”
He’s also accused of drawing the symbol on four ambulances outside FDNY EMS Station 13 on West 172nd Street in Washington Heights.
Ibrahimov pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of aggravated harassment, criminal mischief as a hate crime, making graffiti, and possessing graffiti instruments at his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal court Sunday — where his attorney argued he should not face stiff bail because he’s an artist with ties to the community.
“He’s an artist,” said lawyer Barbara Ho. “He worked as a painter.”
Ibrahimov graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with a degree in fine arts in 1998, according to a profile on networking website Harri.
He worked as a photographer for the Bulgarian parliament and also as an art handler here in New York, according to the site, which lists his most recent occupation as “climbing wall installer” for Bulgarian company Walltopia.
The swastika incident is Ibrahimov’s first arrest, according to Ho, who said her client speaks three languages and has worked as an interpreter for the US Army. He was, however, wanted for skipping out on a court date related to a criminal summons, prosecutors noted.
Ibrahimov was remanded and bail was set at $10,000 cash or $50,000 bond.
If President Donald Trump refuses to sit for a voluntary interview, the special counsel Robert Mueller could serve him with a grand jury subpoena.
Three previous presidents, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, were served with subpoenas while in office.
Here’s what those presidents did, and what a legal expert says could happen if Trump resists a subpoena.
Three previous US presidents, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, were served with subpoenas while in office, and President Donald Trump could be the fourth.
For months, negotiations have dragged on between the special counsel Robert Mueller and lawyers for President Donald Trump to set the terms for a possible voluntary interview with Trump. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Trump campaign’s potential role in it, and whether Trump has obstructed justice during the probe.
There are a lot of questions Mueller is trying to answer that only Trump has the answer to.
In May, the Washington Post reported that during a March negotiation, Mueller threatened to subpoena Trump to testify before a grand jury if he did not agree to a voluntary interview. In July, Trump’s team reportedly rejected Mueller’s terms for the interview, maintaining they did not want the president to be questioned about potential obstruction of justice.
Legally speaking, a subpoena is a binding court order to provide evidence or testimony in a criminal case. For private citizens, failing to comply with one usually means being held in contempt of court. But the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on whether a president can legally refuse a court order to testify before a grand jury.
Trump’s lead attorney Rudy Giuliani recently told Business Insider’s Allan Smith that he plans to fight a potential grand jury subpoena “all the way to the Supreme Court.” If the high court rules against the president and he still refuses to comply, it’s anyone guess as to what could happen.
Here’s what past presidents did when they were subpoenaed, and what legal experts say could happen with Trump.
Jefferson became the first sitting president to be subpoenaed in 1807 in the trial of his Vice President Aaron Burr, who was accused of committing treason by planning a military invasion of Mexico.
In granting the prosecution’s request to subpoena Jefferson to testify in court, then-trial judge and future Supreme Court Justice John Marshall wrote, “it is not known ever to have been doubted but that the chief magistrate of a state might be served with a subpoena.”
Jefferson failed to comply with the subpoena and did not appear in court, citing a logistical inability to travel from Washington, DC to the location of the trial of Richmond, Virginia.
In a letter to one of prosecutors in the case, he wrote that his absence from the White House to testify “would leave the nation without an executive branch.”
He did, however, produce certain documents requested by the court, and offered to be questioned in Washington. His lack of compliance with the order to testify in Richmond was never legally challenged.
In 1973, Nixon was served with a federal subpoena to provide a trove of tapes and other materials relating to former White House staff who had been indicted in the Watergate scandal.
The president was listed as un-indicted co-conspirator in the grand jury indictment of the six people charged as part of Watergate, and the House of Representatives had begun impeachment proceedings.
Nixon’s lawyer challenged the constitutionality of the subpoena, citing the executive privileges laid out in Article II of the US constitution. The matter went all the way up to the US Supreme Court, and resulted in a landmark case, US v. Nixon.
In a 8-0 decision, the court, led by Chief Justice Warren Burger, ruled against Nixon, ordering him to turn over the tapes and setting crucial legal precedent. Notably, Nixon was able to bring his case directly to the court without first being held in contempt.
The majority opinion acknowledged the existence of executive privilege, but dismissed the concept that the president is entitled to “absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances.”
Sixteen days after the court’s decision, Nixon resigned from office before the issue of whether a sitting president could be compelled to testify before a grand jury could be tested in court.
In July 1998, independent counsel Ken Starr served Clinton with a subpoena to testify before a grand jury, as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Clinton was already battling a civil suit from Paula Jones, an Arkansas state employee who accused him of sexual harassment. In the landmark case, Clinton v. Jones, in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that presidents cannot claim immunity from civil litigation if the accusations were from before they took office.
The president struck a deal to testify voluntarily, prompting Starr to withdraw the subpoena.
On August 17, he gave four hours of testimony before a grand jury, and later delivered a televised address to the American people in which he admitted to his infidelity — and to his previous public lies about it, including his famous “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” speech.
“Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate,” Clinton told the grand jury. “In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.”
The House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton in December 1998 on charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” specifically perjury and obstruction of justice. The Senate later acquitted him on both charges in January 1999.
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