Criminal lawyer charged over plot linked to death of teen: police – The Sydney Morning Herald

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Criminal lawyer charged over plot linked to death of teen: police
The Sydney Morning Herald
Following his arrest, police charged Mr Abbas with being an accessory after the fact to murder, knowingly participating in a criminal group to assist crime, acting with intent to pervert the course of justice and unlawfully bringing anything into a
Solicitor Ali Abbas charged over murder of Sydney teenager Brayden DillonABC News
Lawyer Ali Abbas charged over plot linked to murder of teenager Brayden DillonDaily Telegraph
Solicitor is charged with accessory after the fact to murder after police investigating the execution-style killing Daily Mail –
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Criminal Minds Season 14 Episode 5 Tall Man Sneak Peek: What Is … – TV Guide

It’s urban legend time on Criminal Minds! The BAU is getting into the spirit of Halloween by solving a mysterious set of kidnappings in J.J.’s (A.J. Cook) hometown that were allegedly perpetrated by Tall Man.

Tall Man is an urban legend about a — you guessed it — abnormally tall man who abducts victims in the woods and then cuts them until they reveal their darkest secrets. Brave teenagers purposefully venture into the woods and chant for Tall Man to find them and if they survive the night, they’ve survived the terrifying legend.

Halloween Costume Contest: Enter to Win Big Prizes

The team arrives after three teen girls go missing, but one of them manages to make it back to a hospital where she’s treated for severe cuts. Our exclusive sneak peek shows Alvez (Adam Rodriguez) and Lewis (Aisha Tyler) questioning the girl to find out what she saw in the woods, but her memory is hazy. She was doing the chant when her two friends found her saying they need to talk. Before they can have a real conversation, they fall to the ground unconscious. Our victim doesn’t remember what happened between then and being found, which is going to make it hard for the team to figure out where her friends are and find them before they suffer a worse fate.

The Halloween episode is directed by Matthew Gray-Gubler and will bring up traumatic memories for J.J. about her older sister’s tragic death years before.

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)

<img src="" class="article-attached-image-img" alt="Adam Rodriguez and Aisha Tyler, Criminal Minds” width=”2070″ height=”1380″ title=”Adam Rodriguez and Aisha Tyler, Criminal Minds​”>Adam Rodriguez and Aisha Tyler, Criminal Minds

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Top criminal lawyer Pete Mihalik shot dead by hitman in front of his two children as he dropped them off at school … – Evening Standard

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Evening Standard

Top criminal lawyer Pete Mihalik shot dead by hitman in front of his two children as he dropped them off at school
Evening Standard
A top criminal lawyer was shot in the head as he dropped his two children off at the school gates in Cape Town. Advocate Pete Mihalik died instantly when the assassin fired two bullets from point blank range at his head. Mr Mihalik's eight-year-old son
VIDEO FROM THE SCENE: Criminal lawyer Pete Mihalik shot dead outside Green Point schoolNews24
Top criminal lawyer Pete Mihalik killed in hit outside schoolBusiness Day
Father of murdered lawyer #PeteMihalik perplexed by killingIndependent Online
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'Criminal Minds' at 300: Evolving Formats and the Ongoing Hunt for New Serial Killers – Variety

When the wheels go up on Season 14 of “Criminal Minds” on CBS, the series won’t just unroll a new slew of cases and delve deeper into its roster of characters’ personal lives; it will also celebrate a landmark 300th episode.

The episode, aptly titled “300,” picks up a few minutes following the Season 13 cliffhanger finale, in which Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) were at the mercy of a deadly cult. But it also features a killer who has 300 murders under his belt, the return of Luke Perry as deceased cult figure Benjamin Cyrus, and flashbacks to when viewers first met each of the current team members.

“After 300 episodes a lot of people feel like they’ve seen it all, but this they’ve never seen,” showrunner Erica Messer tells Variety. “The team’s mission is to find two of our heroes without being able to use the super power of those two heroes. It ends up being a really great ride for these characters — certainly Garcia, who has never been taken captive like that — to be on.”

Here, Messer talks with Variety about keeping a show alive throughout a rotating cast of characters, evolving viewer habits and spinoffs, and the ultimate path to 300 episodes.

How did the idea of a killer who killed 300 times come across your desk?

I wondered earlier on in Season 13 if that would be possible, so I did some research and it’s actually not that crazy. It’s happened before. The way we were ending our season, episode 299 allowed us to make that come to fruition. It’s really wild what has happened in this world. When you dig into whether something like this is possible the answer is yeah, it is. I’d like to believe it isn’t, because we have an elite team of profilers who would catch somebody before 300 people die, but we’re able to answer that in a believable way as well — why the team hadn’t solved this case in all these years.

How does the return of Luke Perry, whose character previously died, factor into the premiere?

What we do in terms of trying to solve how 300 people have been killed and we didn’t know about it, is we have to dig back into our own history and that history leads us down the path of Luke Perry’s character and his beliefs. Knowing that history helps us solve the present-day crime.

After 300 episodes, how did you land on which guest stars to try and bring back?

Picking up from 299, there were things that would have just gotten in the way of telling the history of the series. Instead we wanted to focus on the big task at hand: getting the team members out of jeopardy. It felt like we just had to focus in on the one that would make the most sense to conclude our story. That’s why we didn’t bring other characters who have been on the show back — there was no time for it. It was an efficiency model, really.

The episode launches Garcia down a certain path, but how does it set up the rest of the season?

The challenge is to make this new team feel as solid as the original team. That was our point here — everybody gets to have a heroic moment in “300,” and it’s all for the greater good of keeping our team together, and that will continue to play out for the remainder of the season. We’re going home with a character pretty much every week for the first nine or 10 episodes because that’s how you get to know the team better and get a new insight into what makes them tick.

At this point is there an audience appetite for breaking episode format like that or is it an earned risk?

There is a format but there are plenty of times we’ve broken it — and we did that early on. Around episode 15 of the first season we opened up the episode with our team in SUVs driving to Florida to interview a husband-wife serial-killing team before he’s put to death. That broke the mold of what we had given everyone. Those kinds of episodes are what make people come back. In “300” we do flashbacks. We even open the show with a series recap in a way and show every character that’s currently on the show back when the audience first met them. Even that little thing is a nod and thank you to the fans for watching all this time. And in that recap there is never-before-seen [archival] footage of a character. It’s just a really small bit in the series recap, but those kinds of things are important to tell in the passage of the years spent telling these stories together.

Given the way consumption habits have changed does it make more sense to play with the format for nine or 10 straight episodes now than it would have in the past?

It probably does. When we first started the show, streaming wasn’t a thing so you didn’t really expect people to binge a boxed TV set. They did, but you didn’t really create a series based on that. Today you do think about that. If somebody is sitting down and they’re watching it all back-to-back, [we think about] do we have too many of this kind of story over the season or do we need to split those things up a little bit? This year we inadvertently have a few stories where there’s kids involved at the core of the case, and that’s something in the past we might only do once a year, if at all. This year we ended up with three different episodes in our 15-episode order, and so we didn’t want them to be back-to-back for the streaming purposes of the show. We have such a new audience finding the show now; there are kids watching now who were born when the show came out. My son was one when the show came out and now he’s a freshman in high school and his friends are watching. Because of the ability to binge we’re finding that young audience all over again but the loyal fans who have been watching us every Wednesday night for years are still tuning in.

How has the research process in terms of serial killer stories you find for inspiration changed since that original season?

When we started, no one had written a show about serial killers before. We all had our foundation of like, “Silence of the Lambs,” and we were all aware of maybe a handful of killers like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, The Zodiac Killer, Jack the Ripper. You knew of serial offenders. But after those first 13 were done we had to dig much deeper and it turns out that it feels like an endless supply. There are books about serial offenders, and we also have an incredible resource in the FBI itself. We have a few consultants who tell us about cases they had worked on that aren’t in any books. All of a sudden this wall of bad guys — these stories — were endless. And weird things would happen. Years ago [executive producer] Breen Frazier was writing this story about a kidnapped girl, who was having children in captivity, and then Jaycee Dugard’s story came out. It broke in the news while we were shooting the episode. These real life things were happening out there. The Ariel Castro case in Ohio — we [were] writing about some weird stuff, but it was already happening in the world. Some people will sometimes ask if we’re afraid we’re inspiring this stuff. I’m not afraid of that because from my side-chair profiling, somebody either wants to do harm or they don’t want to do harm. It’s not anything we’re encouraging in any way. Who made Jack the Ripper do it? It wasn’t a TV show. It wasn’t a movie. What we’ve studied about human behavior is that there are many things that have to happen. It’s nature and nurture and stresses and triggers and all of these things that have to come together, and usually it’s part of some kind of mental illness. If you don’t have those things, watching something is not the thing that’s going to make you do it.

Does being a mother and female give you any storytelling edge when running a show revolving around a world of predominantly male serial killers?

One of the constants in the world is that a majority of serial killers are men and a majority of the victims are women and children. Most of the time it’s men attacking women and children. We have tried to make an effort to have more female killers, and to have the victims be equal opportunity. It’s not necessarily what statistics would tell you, but for our purposes killing women every week is not great. A lot of showrunning is parenting. Ed Bernero, who was the showrunner before me, is a dad with three kids. They were out of the house by the time I met him, but we would talk about that stuff all the time. It brings an honesty and a vulnerability to the storytelling. There’s a quote we have in an upcoming episode that “When you have a child, the world has a hostage.” I don’t know if it adds an edge, but it adds an honesty.

Criminal Minds” has been reported as a bubble show for years — would you have done the cliffhanger finale last year if you felt there was real danger of cancellation?

I’m not necessarily a big risk-taker in life, but every year … we’re not the show that gets the early pickup. We’re always last-minute and a lot of that is just business because we’re an ABC Studios show for CBS network and they’ve always got something to work out. But one thing I do feel good about is we are a consistent player for CBS. When I see how we do with the younger audiences in streaming, all of those things make a difference. I did feel like at the very least CBS would have allowed us to wrap that storyline in some way like they did with the two-hour movie to end “CSI.” At the very least I was banking on CBS’ prior behavior. It was a risk, but I felt like there would be some satisfactory ending.

You’ve sustained numerous cast changes over the years. At this point is there a member of your core cast without whom the show could not survive?

We’ve certainly had our share of changes, but I would argue any show that’s been on this long does. Certainly the biggest test to our ensemble was when Mandy Patinkin quit in Season 3. Without him, did we have a show? We didn’t know. We hoped so. We felt, behind-the-scenes, that we had a lot of strong characters that could keep the show going. And that’s what happened — the viewers got behind the remaining cast and we wrote to the emotions that we felt after he left and wrote it into how the characters felt that Gideon left. We ultimately dealt with it and moved on. The viewers stood by and we kept going. When that happens so early in the life of a show, it proves the show is bigger than any one person. Everybody has their favorite character and that character might not be there anymore, but there’s a greater admiration for the team as a whole and that keeps people watching.

What does “Criminal Minds” have that resonates with audiences that its two spinoffs maybe didn’t?

Some of that goes back to knowing characters for so long. When “Criminal Minds” started in 2005 it was an ensemble and it’s a lot of work to let the audience know every character. The second season we dove in more and then by the third season we were cooking with gas. Both spinoffs — although “Borders” got an additional midseason — only had 13 and 26 episodes for audiences to fall in love. I would argue that not everyone fell in love with “Criminal Minds” really until midway through Season 2. That’s over 26 episodes. Part of it is that, and part of it is that audiences like to believe there’s only one team out there that does this. I tried to change it with “Borders,” but ultimately they like this skill set to belong to one group of people, and that’s the people they’ve been watching since 2005.

“Criminal Minds” returns Oct. 3 on CBS.

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Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas taps Florida lawyers for defense team in criminal case – The Journal News |

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas has again turned to lawyers for his adviser Joseph Spiezio, this time to defend Thomas against criminal charges that he stole campaign funds and failed to report his personal use of inaugural funds.

Thomas has tapped Spiezio’s Florida legal team — Michael Pizzi and Ben Kuehne — as he prepares for trial in Westchester County Court. Pizzi is an outspoken South Florida attorney and former mayor of the town of Miami Lakes.

If Thomas was hoping for lawyers who know how to beat criminal charges, Pizzi and Kuehne could be his men.

Pizzi was found not guilty of federal corruption charges four years ago — and Kuehne was the lawyer who won the acquittal.

“We strongly believe in Mayor Thomas’ innocence and expect him to be vindicated,” Pizzi said in a phone interview Sunday.

While Pizzi declined to discuss specifics of the charges against Thomas, he called the case “a lot of overreaching” by state prosecutors. He questioned why they were targeting “a progressive small town mayor who’s been an agent of change” and suggested Thomas’ only mistakes were campaign violations, not crimes.

Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the New York Attorney General’s Office, would not address Pizzi’s criticism but expressed confidence in the state’s case.

“As we allege, (Thomas) used his campaign and inaugural accounts as personal slush funds – and then lied about it in his filings,” Spitalnick wrote in an email. “We look forward to proving our case in court.”

Pizzi would not discuss his ties to Spiezio, insisting they were not related to his defense of Thomas.

JUDGE: Case against Mount Vernon mayor can proceed

He has been a lobbyist and registered agent for Spiezio’s garbage company in Florida and is currently a co-plaintiff with Spiezio in one lawsuit against the city of Opa-locka over its failure to release public records. Kuehne is an attorney on that lawsuit.  

Pizzi would not say whether lawyer Randall Jackson is remaining on Thomas’ defense team. Jackson, a former federal prosecutor with the firm Boies Schiller Flexner, has represented the mayor since shortly before his indictment in May.

Pizzi and Jackson attended a conference with Westchester County Judge Barry Warhit and prosecutors late Friday afternoon. Beforehand, Jackson would not address whether he was being replaced. On Sunday night, he would say only that he expects to be in court Tuesday when the case is next called.

INTERVIEW: Thomas charged despite lengthy session with prosecutors

Jackson’s motion to have the indictment dismissed was denied by Warhit last month. Jackson had argued that the state Attorney General’s Office did not have the authority to investigate and charge Thomas for campaign violations and that state prosecutors had prevented the mayor from testifying before the grand jury. 

Thomas case background

Thomas is charged with grand larceny for allegedly stealing $12,900 from Friends of Richard Thomas before and after his election in 2015.

He is also accused of filing false statements related to campaign expenses and to more than $75,000 he received from his inaugural committee and from Spiezio and other individuals that he failed to report on his city ethics forms.

Thomas’ initial criminal defense lawyers when he was first arrested in March were Carl Bernstein and Charles Knapp. Thomas named Knapp as Mount Vernon’s new inspector general earlier this month.

Before Jackson was publicly identified as Thomas’ lawyer, the mayor had pushed unsuccessfully to get his fellow members of the city’s Board of Estimate and Contract to retain Boies Schiller to represent him without disclosing the nature of the representation.

Pizzi would not say whether Spiezio is paying for Thomas’ defense. Asked in an email whether he was, Spiezio replied he was not.

Pizzi background

Pizzi was elected mayor of Miami Lakes in 2008 and re-elected four years later. But in 2013 – when he was also the town attorney in Medley – he was arrested on corruption charges, accused of pocketing more than $6,000 from undercover FBI agents posing as Chicago businessmen looking for help getting federal grants for South Florida communities. 

He was suspended as mayor by the governor. A year later, a jury found Pizzi not guilty of all charges. A judge in 2015 ordered his reinstatement as mayor.

Pizzi sought a third term in 2016 and lost.

While awaiting trial in February 2014 he registered as a lobbyist in Opa-locka for Universal Waste Services, Spiezio’s Florida garbage company. Florida incorporation records also show Pizzi is the registered agent of Spiezio’s company, which had its office in the same Miami Lakes suite as Pizzi’s law firm.

Pizzi had previously worked for a company that held the Opa-locka carting contract. Spiezio’s company took over the contract in 2015 when the other company went bankrupt. According to The Miami Herald, the owner of that company secretly recorded Pizzi later that year for the FBI in a failed attempt to implicate Pizzi in corruption schemes.

For six months in 2015, Pizzi was also the assistant city attorney for Opa-locka.

Opa-locka’s city commission awarded Spiezio’s firm a new contract late in 2016 even though it was not the low bidder. When the state overseer of the city’s finances frowned on the award, the city commission stripped the contract from Universal, prompting a $10 million lawsuit by the company, which is represented by Pizzi.

Spiezio of New Rochelle was a campaign adviser for Thomas in 2015. Thomas has used Spiezio’s New York lawyer Jeffrey Buss to represent him, the city and the Mount Vernon Industrial Development Agency on numerous matters since he took office in January 2016.

Twitter: @jonbandler

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Take a look behind the scenes of 'The People's Court' to see how TV court shows really work

  • Court shows have been a staple of American entertainment since the Golden Age of Radio.
  • “The People’s Court,” which began in 1981, started a whole new era: arbitration-based reality shows.
  • But are the cases we see on TV court shows real? Are the participants paid? Are these even real judges?
  • Insider visited the set of “The People’s Court” and spoke to Judge Marilyn Milian to find out how these shows actually work.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: One of the best things about staying home from school as a kid was watching daytime court shows. My personal favorite? “The People’s Court.” Judge Milian is electric, and the cases are always so ridiculous.

Judge Milian: Where was your cart? By the watermelons, with you, or where the opening is? Okay, no, no.

Narrator: But what if I told you that this is not an actual courtroom? And when a person loses a case, they don’t even have to pay the settlement. So what’s actually going on?

Court shows have long been a staple of American television, but they didn’t start on TV. The first court shows popped up in radio’s golden age. The early programs were typically reenactments of real court cases.

Radio: There’s no telling what would happen to him or his life if he resists the authorities.

Narrator: But “The People’s Court,” which began in 1981, started a whole new era: arbitration-based reality shows. Presiding since 2001, Judge Marilyn Milian is the show’s longest serving host and the first Latina judge to host a nationally syndicated court show. Before “The People’s Court,” Milian was an assistant state attorney in Florida and was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Miami Circuit Court, working in the criminal division.

Judge Milian: I had a gubernatorial appointment, and it was a sure thing. And I had crossed every “T” and dotted every “I” to make sure that I had an upward trajectory in the judiciary. And I was giving all that up if I decided to join what many in the law see as the frivolity of television. Of course, now that it’s been on the air 20 years, I’m a genius. But back then, people were worried about what it is that was gonna happen in my career.

Narrator: What you see on the show are real small claims cases. They’re lifted directly out of the courthouse to be arbitrated by Judge Milian.

David Scott: If you get your case in small claims, there’s one judge, and there’s three or 400 cases that show up on any given day. And it’s very hard, impossible, for that one judge to get through those cases, so they offer you something called binding arbitration. And that is, you can go to a lawyer, plead your case to the lawyer with the person you’re suing, and that lawyer will decide the case. It’s binding arbitration, there’s no room for appeal, and you have agreed, and the defendant has agreed to allow this arbitrator to hear your case. And that’s basically exactly what we do.

Narrator: So how do they pick the cases?

David Scott: This is like panning for gold. We go out, and we go to all these courts, and we get all of these cases, and we sift through them. We love a relationship case. We love where an ex-wife is suing their ex-husband. We love cases where there’s a lot of personal kind of stuff along with the legal stuff. So it’s the personalities that we’re looking for. We’re looking for a good argument, we’re looking for a good defense. That’s how we select our cases.

Judge Milian: We shoot to bring the public the juiciest cases we can get. They were juicy then, they’re juicy now, and hopefully they’ll continue to be juicy.

Narrator: The show covers travel expenses for the participants and will pay the settlement if the case is ruled in your favor. But for most cases, it’s not really about the money.

Judge Milian: We once had a guy who paid $40 to file a case over a $5 lottery card. And it was a thing of beauty, because what it shows you is that small claims is never about the money. It’s always about the principle.

Narrator: So you’ve got a case. How do you get the judge on your side?

Judge Milian: Absolutely the biggest mistake people make is coming unprepared. If you want a judge to rule against somebody and believe you, you have to bring evidence. You can’t just show up with your flapping gums. People will just walk it in there, they’re insulted that you didn’t just take their word for it. It’s insanity. I think people think that because they believe their story so much, all they have to do is come forward and say it, and everyone else is gonna see it their way. But when there’s two sides involved, you have to prove what it is you’re saying.

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Avenatti hit with 2nd criminal probe referral after client says he 'twisted' her words about Kavanaugh – Fox News

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Friday referred lawyer Michael Avenatti to the Justice Department for a second criminal investigation amid reports his accuser recanted her allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh even before he submitted her sworn declaration.

The referral follows the one issued Thursday — alleging that Avenatti and client Julie Swetnick engaged in a “conspiracy” to provide false statements to Congress about Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual misconduct — after the accuser backtracked on some allegations.

The Friday referral concerns the second sworn declaration Avenatti submitted to the committee that supposedly backed up Swetnick’s allegations.


Grassley cited an NBC News report revealing – nearly three weeks after Kavanaugh’s confirmation – that a second, unidentified accuser walked back on her allegations even before the lawyer could post her statement on social media, saying the lawyer “twisted” her words.

The woman, who remains unidentified, said in a sworn statement posted by Avenatti that she saw Kavanaugh “spike” the punch at the parties.

But in an interview with NBC News on Sept. 30, prior the release of the statement, she said “I didn’t ever think it was Brett” who spiked the drinks and denied ever seeing Kavanaugh acting inappropriately toward women.

After reviewing her statement posted by Avenatti, she told the outlet that “It is incorrect that I saw Brett spike the punch. I didn’t see anyone spike the punch. … I was very clear with Michael Avenatti from day one.”

"It is incorrect that I saw Brett spike the punch. I didn’t see anyone spike the punch. … I was very clear with Michael Avenatti from day one."

— Michael Avenatti’s second Kavanaugh accuser

She also said “I would not ever allow anyone to be abusive in my presence. Male or female,” adding that she did not “like that [Avenatti] twisted my words.”


Grassley said in the letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray that the woman’s sworn testimony submitted to the committee Oct. 2 “appears to be an outright fraud.”

“In light of this new information, I am now referring Mr. Avenatti for investigation of additional potential violations of those same laws, stemming from a second declaration he submitted to the Committee that also appears to contain materially false statements,” he added.

In response to the referral, Avenatti lashed out on Twitter. “How ignorant is Grassley? He keeps publicly demanding an investigation knowing full well that it will likely never happen – it is all for show. And if it does, he has placed Kavanaugh at risk of being removed from the SCOTUS. This is what happens when you never attend law school,” he wrote in a tweet.

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The Pittsburgh synagogue shooter was reportedly armed with an AR-15 — here's how it became the weapon of choice for America's mass shooters

ar-15 rifle

Parkland, Florida.

Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Now, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Recent deadly mass shootings in these US cities have at least one thing in common: the AR-15.

The gunman who stormed The Tree of Life Synagogue and opened fire on Saturday, killing at least eight and wounded eight more in the suspected hate crime, was reportedly armed with the weapon.

The suspected gunman has been identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers.

This weapon has become increasingly popular in the US, especially since the 1994 federal weapons ban expired in 2004, and has been used in many other mass shootings around the country. Not just the three listed above.

To understand how and why this has happened, we put together a historical overview of the weapon and spoke with David Chipman, a senior policy analyst at Giffords and former special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

The National Rifle Association did not respond to our request for comment.

SEE ALSO: A 15-year-old JROTC cadet sacrificed himself to save ‘dozens’ during the Florida shooting — and thousands of people want him buried with full military honors

The AR in AR-15 stands for Armalite Rifle — not assault rifle.

In the mid-1950s, the US Army asked a gun-manufacturing company called Armalite to develop a smaller version of the AR-10 to replace the M-1 Garand, which had been widely used in World War II and the Korean War.

The result was the AR-15.

But Armalite then sold the design to Colt, which in turn began selling the weapon to Pentagon. In 1962, the US Department of Defense changed the name of the AR-15 to the M-16.

In 1963, Colt began marketing the AR-15 to the American public as a “superb hunting partner.”

While it was still legal for gun dealers to sell automatic weapons until the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act, which banned new automatic weapons, these first Colt AR-15s were semi-automatic weapons.

An automatic continuously fires when the trigger is held down, whereas the operator must continuously pull the trigger to repeatedly fire a semi-automatic weapon.

However, to this day, civilians can still own automatic weapons that were grandfathered in before 1986.

And, even then, the AR-15 was incredibly lethal.

It shoots a .223 Caliber or 5.56 mm round at roughly 3,300 feet per second, which is about three times the muzzle velocity of a typical Glock pistol.

The AR-15’s effective firing range is also more than 1,300 feet at the least, whereas a typical Glock’s firing range is just over 160 feet.

Chipman, the senior policy analyst at Giffords and former ATF special agent, told Business Insider that the AR-15 is so powerful that they weren’t allowed to carry it during indoor raids because the rounds travel so fast that they could penetrate a victim, then a wall, then a bystander through that room.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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FBI's media agency buying probe 'very serious,' could lead to fraud charges, says ANA lawyer – (blog)

Credit: ANA

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into agency media-buying practices will focus on the extent to which agencies covered up attempts to take revenue that clients maintain is theirs, the Association of National Advertisers’ top lawyer said Friday.

“It is a very serious investigation,” Doug Wood, a partner at Reed Smith and the Association of National Advertisers’ general counsel, said during a presentation at the organization’s Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando. “They have issued some subpoenas. They will be issuing more subpoenas,” he said. “It may turn out to be nothing is wrong,” he added, but “it could turn out quite the opposite…we’ll know that in the next six months to a year.”

The investigation, which Wood estimated began in April, concerns allegations that agencies engaged in non-transparent practices, including collecting cash rebates from media vendors and not passing it along to clients. The probe was sparked in part by a 2016 ANA report conducted by independent firm K2 Intelligence. Earlier this month, the ANA revealed that the FBI had recently contacted Reed Smith about the investigation in attempt to get cooperation from ANA members, which include some of the largest media spenders in the nation. The ANA is leaving the decision up to individual advertisers, but suggesting they do not talk to the FBI without a lawyer.

Wood suggested criminal liability for agencies will come down to what, if anything, they did to conceal their behavior to clients. If a shop lied about it, that could put agency execs in legal jeopardy. For instance, if an agency mailed a letter to a client claiming it did not engage in improper media-buying behavior, and the FBI can prove it indeed did, that could amount to mail fraud, Wood said. Email communications could result in wire fraud charges. “If more than two people at an agency talked together and decided to do it, that’s potentially conspiracy,” he said. “If they did it more than five times, that’s potentially racketeering.”

The 4As, a trade association representing agencies, has downplayed allegations of improper media-buying practices. In the wake of the ANA’s 2016 report, 4As slammed it as “anonymous, inconclusive, and one-sided.” In April, agencies faced more pressure from a report by McKinsey & Co. claiming that rebates and other “non-transparent” incentives from media companies to agencies “remain common.” 4A’s CEO Marla Kaplowitz responded by saying the majority of agencies claimed they don’t take rebates, or that when they do, they are disclosed to clients.

The 4A’s has declined comment on the FBI investigation.

The ANA next week is expected to share a white paper with members giving detailed instructions about how to deal with the FBI, as well as the ramifications of the probe.

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Facebook has discovered an Iranian influence campaign that was followed by more than 1 million people (FB)

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

  • Facebook said on Friday that it had suspended dozens of “inauthentic” pages and accounts that originated in Iran.
  • The accounts were spreading divisive political posts on the social network and had amassed about 1 million followers, the company said.
  • Facebook said that it had found no ties to the Iranian government and that it didn’t know “for sure who is responsible.”

Facebook said it had detected a coordinated influence campaign run out of Iran that created pages and groups followed by more than 1 million accounts on the social network.

The social network said in a blog post on Friday that it had taken down 30 pages, 33 accounts, and three groups on Facebook, as well as 16 accounts on Instagram, that were tied to the campaign, which it described as “inauthentic behavior.”

The pages posted politically divisive content targeted at users in the US and the UK in apparent attempts to sow division, Facebook said.

“Our threat intelligence team first detected this activity one week ago. Given the elections, we took action as soon as we’d completed our initial investigation and shared the information with US and UK government officials, US law enforcement, Congress, other technology companies and the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said in the post. “However, it’s still early days and while we have found no ties to the Iranian government, we can’t say for sure who is responsible.”

The pages and accounts also organized seven events, Facebook said. It was unclear whether these were real-world events or whether anyone attended — though people have in the past gone to events pushed by covert foreign influence campaigns.

In August, Facebook said it had disrupted another Iranian influence campaign in which the groups posed as news organizations. There is “some overlap” between the two efforts, the company said.

On a conference call with reporters on Friday, Gleicher declined to say how many posts the various groups and pages had made or how many people had seen them in total.

But the pages spent less $100 in advertising in total, according to the company — indicating how divisive influence campaigns can grow their audiences organically through Facebook’s platform without having to dish out cash.

Here are some of the examples of the posts Facebook released:

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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